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Showing posts with label Palaces. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Palaces. Show all posts

In the City of 14 Gods, Agartala

In between the journey of life, one has to squeeze moments for life.
I was travelling to Tripura, which is a hilly state in northeast India and Agartala, the capital of Tripura and is the second largest city in North-east India after Guwahati. That’s all I knew about Agartala, when I landed one late evening in Agartala. At the back of mind was the feeling that Tripura is a beautiful state so was expecting some free time to go around the city as well.
As the lady luck got benevolent on this poor fellow, I got half a day for myself and an extra 30 minutes as lunch went for a vacation. Got guided by my new friends to visit Temple of 14 Gods, known as Chaturdasha Temple, around 8 km. from Agartala. 
I hired an Auto quickly and reached the sacred “Temple of 14 Gods”, the deity temple of royal family of Tripura and was built by King Krishna Manikya Debbarma around the year 1760. All 14 presiding deities of this temple have been continually worshipped by the royal family of Tripura since times immemorial. Tradition of worshipping all of the Gods together has been a practice and has been delegated to coming generations.

This temple captures the soul of influence of nature on lifestyle of people of Tripura and no surprise, Tripura is also known as the Country of Fourteen Gods and Goddesses. Only Lord Shiva, Vishnu and Goddess Durga are worshipped all throughout the year, while other 11 Gods are worshipped during weeklong Kharchi Puja festival, around July. No worries, you can pray to the beautifully statues:

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Mandu - City of Love destroyed by Powerquest

Situated approx. 100 km. from Indore, Mandu is a small ancient city in the state of Madhya Pradesh. Mandu rose to its peak of glory under patronage of then king Baz Bahadur. This was the time when love story of Baz Bahadur and his queen Rani Roopmati had painted the Mandu in colours of love during 16th century. Till date their love story is the flavour of all folk tales and song-dance theme in this Malwa region. Baz Bahadur (commonly known as Brave Hawk) was a warrior par excellence who fall in love with Roopmati, a shepherd with a symphonic voice.


Testimony to their fairy tale saga: To respect the desire of Roopmati to worship river Narmada every morning, Baz Bahadur constructed a Pavilion (Roopmati Mandap) cum military observatory fort to enable Roopmati get a sight of and worship river Narmada daily from terrace of pavilion.

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Chang-Gyeong-Gung Palace, Seoul..

Changgyeonggung Palace is one of the major attraction for heritage lovers in Seoul. It was built in 1483 by King Seongjong (the 9th king of the Joseon Dynasty) dedicated to his father and also to take care of the wives of the preceding kings.

It is one of the "Five Grand Palaces" built by the Joseon Dynasty (1392–1897). Majestic Myeongjeongmun Gate for welcoming the visitors and leading to  Myeongjeongjeon Hall. 
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24 hours in Bikaner

A quick escape to the warmth of Rajasthan is just what you need this winter
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Orchha - Land of Forts, Palaces, Cenotaphs, Relics and Ruins

Going beyond the ravines of Chambal, we were on the way to explore a small hidden town of Orchha, which literally means hidden. Orchha is a small town on banks of Betwa river in Niwari district of Madhya Pradesh, 125 km. from Gwalior and 15 km. from Jhansi. Kingdom of Orchha was established in the 16th century AD, year 1531 AD by the Bundela Rajput chief, Rudra Pratap Singh on the banks of Betwa River. Orchha was developed as an impenetrable fortified citadel. Orchha fort complex consists of numerous temples, forts and cenotaphs (Chhatris), these all make Orchha an interesting spot to explore.


All good things shall start with a prayer to the Gods; first spot in Orchha shall be the Raja Ram Temple, an acclaimed temple which was earlier in fact a queen’s palace. This is the only temple in the world where Lord Rama is worshipped as King Rama. 

Adjacent to Raja Ram temple is the gigantic Chaturbhuj Temple, built by the king Madhukar to idolize Lord Rama. However, Lord Rama decided to rest in the Raja Ram Temple. 
Read the interesting story about Raja Ram temple and Chaturbhuj Temple...

After praying, time to walk the heritage trail. Orchha fort consists of many palaces like Raja Mahal, Jahangir Mahal and Rai Parveen Mahal. Jahangir Mahal reflects the Bundela architecture. The views from the balconies in the palace are spectacular. Raja Mahal is most ancient historic monuments in Orchha fort. Standing on the island created by Betwa River, Raj Mahal is surrounded by a battlement wall.

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"Istanbul"...Melting Pot of Civilisations

There is something in History which keeps us spellbound and engaged. No matter how modern our new cities have become, the charm of the ancient places is still incomparable.

 

One of such Places in "Istanbul", "Constantinople" of in ancient times. Being one of the oldest cities on this earth, History is spread everywhere in Istanbul. Istanbul is the largest city in Turkey and had been the capital of Ottoman Empire from 1452 - 1923.

 

Most of the locales do not know English, mainly since TURKEY never got colonized under British rule. Even without knowing English, locales are very helpful. So, if you are struck somewhere, do not hesitate to take the help of locales. As I always say, "Good Travelers do not think themselves to be Foreigners".


I was going to "Pierre Loti Hill" but lost the track somewhere, I am very thankful to the person who came with me all the way to Pierre Loti Hill, just to ensure that I should reach the right place. The hospitality here is amazing. This is one of the more traditional and conservative areas of the city. You have the option of taking a cable car to walk to the top of the hill. Walking will be a better option, as you will be able to explore more. You will be walking amidst the cemetery with graves on both sides. Graveyard holds the tombs of many famous Pashas, Sultans and authors. 


Check out the graves, while moving...

 




 
It has thus become a very spiritual and romantic place with magnificent view of the city. Check out...


Sultan Ahmet Mosque popularly known as the Blue Mosque was built around 1610 AD and is a historical mosque in Istanbul. Mosque with Six minarets, It has been also credited as "the most photogenic building in Istanbul".

With lots of gardens, the surrounding area is a happening place with lot of foreigners and local people assembling in the evenings and offering prayers too.


Blue Mosque is decorated with blue ceramic tiles, that's why the name "Blue Mosque".
Area adjoining Blue Mosque is full of eateries and restaurants.
Nearby to Blue Mosque is the heart of modern Istanbul, lanes to Taksim Square. It is a huge market with lot of shops, restaurants and is a popular spot for foreigners as well as locales in the evening. One can enjoy delicious yet reasonable food here.
The most outstanding here are the floating boat restaurants. Enjoy your evening snacks on the seas. 



Lanes of Istanbul and Taksim Square are perfect for hanging out for a cup of coffee and special Turkish tea with friends. Ambience here will be a great compliment for leisurely walk around this place.

Hagia Sophia was a Christian patriarchal basilica (537 - 1453 AD), later turned into an imperial mosque (1453 - 1931 AD), but now it serving as a museum showcasing the historical times, it has been a witness to. Pictures and relics of Lord Christ and mother Mary were removed or plastered when it was converted into a mosque.  Finally it was secularized and opened as a museum in 1935. This Mosiac reappeared when the plaster was removed while restoration.




Topkapi Palace: 
It is one a very large palace which served as residence of Ottoman rulers for almost 400 years. Now a museum too, which is open every day except Tuesdays. Topkapi Palace is also considered as one of the oldest and largest palace to survive till day.








Galata Tower:
One of the city's most striking landmarks, it is a high, cone-capped cylinder that dominates the skyline and offers a panoramic vista of Istanbul.
Its original conical roof got destroyed by a storm in 1875. The current conical roof was built during 1965 and 1967.
One can enjoy a magnificent view of Istanbul and Bosphorus from the restaurant and café on its upper floors. There is also a night club which hosts a Turkish show on the upper floors. To reach the upper floors, there are two operating elevators. 






Check out the uber beautiful Bosphorous bridge at night.




Turkish people are also well admired for their food habits. Markets here are full of food shops/ restaurants. Try authentic Shawrama and Turkish Pizza. Turkish cuisine is very rich in deserts. Some of the desserts to cherish an take back home: Baklava, Lokum, Puddingly Pizza (Neither Pudding nor Pizza but a mix of bot, extremely smooth and melts in mouth), dried figs and whatever you wish for, there is no dearth of choices here in Istanbul.

Istanbul is the only city on this earth which is on 2 continents, Asia, and Europe. Divided by seas, at this place we can witness "West" meeting "East". As we move from Asian side to European side, we can easily visualize the changes in buildings and topography. One can enjoy the streets of New Delhi to roads of Germany, all in one city. One can correlate this with the changing landscapes too; Istanbul can be perfectly called as melting pot of civilizations.

 

Even the locales like to associate themselves as "from Asian side" and "European side". Very thin line separating inferiority/ superiority complex, tread with caution.

Nonetheless keep travelling Guys...

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The Blue City of Jodhpur...

City of Jodhpur, also known as Blue City has been a travelers delight since times. City of Jodhpur has something which is very unique to Jodhpur only. Mighty Mehrangarh Fort and royal grandeur of Umaid Bhawan Palace has made Jodhpur frequently being listed as most extraordinary places to visit and stay, most recently in 2014 by Lonely Plant. Check Mehrangarh Fort on top of the Hill:


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Deeg Palace - the water world

"Jal Mahal (जल महल)", Water palace is a specialised architecture marvel, wherein a structure is constructed in water. India has mastered the art of Water palaces over the centuries. Water palaces found in India are unique and unparalleled.

 

Jal Mahal in Jaipur and Udaipur are acclaimed world wide for their splendid appearance. However we bring to you one more Jal Mahal at Deeg, which is lying hidden in Bharatpur district, despite the fact that it is very close to cities of Mathura and Agra.


Popularly known as "Deeg Palace", this Jal Mahal was constructed by the powerful Jat rulers in 1722 AD. This palace is unique in construction as this is a cluster of small palaces. Situated just 32 Km. to Bharatpur, 36 Km. from Mathura this can be comfortably visited in 2 hours while visiting Mathura/ Agra.

First one to greet you is the largest palace of all, Gopal Bhawan (गोपाल  भवन ), which used to serve as the royal residence of the king. As seen from the entrance -

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Udaipur: Isn't Venice - Udaipur of the West..

It was all excitement and counting of days as soon as we planned a trip to Udaipur, one of the most romantic places in India and also popular as “city of lakes”. Every lane of the city is worth falling in love and network of Seven (7) lakes provide an ideal setting for romantic evenings. Established by Maharana Udai Singh in 1553, when he shifted the capital of Mewar from Chittorgarh. Udaipur City is one of best examples of Royality defined from India is one of most visited tourist destinations across the world. 

 

Along with Chittorgarh, Udaipur is a proud constituent of Mewar region. Mewar is the region which has weathered most of the attacks coming from the West to protect India. The folk tales of brave Rajputs and Maharana Pratap can be heard at every street and corner of this city. After history hunting at Chittorgarh, it was the time to discover the Grand Udaipur City.


As all good things shall start by prayers; one auto rickshaw driver advised us to first visit the Manshapurna Karni Mata Temple on the Machla Hills and enjoy the ropeway ride to reach the temple on top of hill. While enjoying the ropeway, one can click some breath-taking views of Pandit Deendayal Upadhyay Park adjacent to Doodh Talai Lake.



From the ropeway, the distant emerald Lake Pichola was visible and calling us to cherish the legendary boat rides on its blue waters. As soon as we returned from the temple, within no time we were at the boat ride station entry.

In the front of us were visible the noted monuments of Udaipur. The Boat ride will take you closer to Udaivilas and Lake Palace hotels which are situated in the middle of waters. Lake Palace used to serve as royal residence during summers.


All the lakes are interconnected. While enjoying our ride, a beautiful channel of connection of Lake Pichola with Fatehsagar lake.

No doubts all the boats gather at this point to click, this beautiful spot. Now I fully understood, why foreigners prefer to call Udaipur as “Venice of the East”. Venice must be feeling proud on this comparison with Udaipur. Check out Udaipur City from the water side...
Ride turned a full circle and the majestic City Palace, the royal residence of royal family of Udaipur was standing in front of us.

City Palace is complex of 11 palaces, courtyards and gardens and acclaimed globally for its intricate peacock mosaics, something heard only in mythological stories. A good part of City Palace is now turned into a museum. Camera is allowed inside after paying the prescribed entry fees. Take your camera to capture the grandeur from inside...
Also can have a royal meal inside the premises:

Around 200m. from City Palce is the major attraction and much visited Jagannath temple or Jagdish Temple.

It is believed that Lord Jagannath ordered the Maharana to build a temple in Udaipur where the God himself will come to bless this place. This 100 ft. high temple is also an architectural marvel and various mythological stories have been carved on the walls of this temple.

One has to take 32 marble steps to reach the temple. And to welcome the visitors, there stands two huge elephants with its trunk uplifted on either side of the stairs.
These elephants were built 11 stones’ blocks with such a craft that the joints are never visible. Lord Vishnu is called as Lord Jagdish here and is the worshipped deity here.







Located at the north of Lake Pichola is the Fatehsagar lake, which is an artificial lake and one of the most popular tourist hangout destinations in Udaipur.

Surrounded by Aravalli Ranges, the panoramic lake looks like an artists sketch. It is an ideal place to enjoy some quite moments with yourself or some romantic moments with your beloved.
Near to Fatehsagar Lake is the Maharana Pratap Memorial, the life of Maharana has been depicted by paintings. The most prominent being a caricature of Maharana Pratap slicing the Mughal officer along with his horse into 2 pieces with a single blow of his sword. During the battle of Haldighati Mughal officer had challenged Maharana Pratap for a duel fight.

A model of Chittorgarh Fort is also on display, as we were coming from Chittorgarh, we started identifying all the land mark features of the fort once more...



Next in the line was beautiful aura of lush green lawns, gardens, marble art and fountains, the place known as Saheliyon Ki Badi.







Built by Rana Sangram Singh, the place used to serve as the recreation spot for the royal maids. Notable feature here is the white marble umbrella/ chhatri type of fountain at the centre.

Water dripping down in the form of thin sprays from the terrace of the cenotaphs shaped like birds, create a wonderful sight like singing rains. The Saheliyon-ki-Bari opens from 8 AM to 5 PM.

We may have clicked numerous pictures and enjoyed some great food here, but what which can not be expressed fully in the words is the experience and remarkable hospitality of the people. Something is there in the Udaipur weather. For food lovers, Sukhadia Circle is the epitome of satiating the taste buds. Come early and secure a place, else enjoy the fountains while waiting for your turn at the food stalls.

 

Every moment in Udaipur is exploration of amazing history of our motherland and some memorable romantic moments with the soil of this region. Not only Udaipur city history is spread outside of Udaipur too, take some time to follow the trail of Maharana Pratap and the battle of Haldighati


Keep Travelling Guys…

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