Khajuraho Group of Monuments

Khajuraho Temples

Located 385 miles to the southeast of New Delhi in the Chhatarpur District of Madhya Pradesh, is the Khajuraho Group of Monuments. It is a very popular tourist destination. UNESCO has declared it a world heritage site and it is also included in the seven wonders of India. It is believed that the largest group of Hindu and Jain Temples built during the medieval period and one can find many sculptures which are erotic. The Khajuraho temples were very well maintained by the local villagers and it was noticed by the British Engineer T.S.Burt in the 19th century.

History of Khajuraho

The Northeastern region of Rajasthan, called Dhundhar was ruled by Bargujar Rajputs and they were called Dhundhel. After some time they started calling themselves Chandelas. The ruling classes of the Kashyap Gotra were the vassals of Gurjara – Pratihara Empire of North India and they built major monuments during the period 500 – 1300CE. They built the famous Neelkanth Mahadev Temple and Kalinjar Fort. The temples at Khajuraho were built during a period of 200 years. Though Khaujraho was the cultural capital of the Chandel Kings, Khajuraho has no forts, since they never lived here. One can see very fine architectural styles in the Khajuraho temples and they are very popular due to the representation of erotic scenes depicted in the sculptures.

Architectural Styles

The Khajuraho temples have been geographically divided into three groups: eastern, western and southern. Sandstone has been used to build these temples. A unique feature about these temples is that mortar was not used to keep the stones together. Tenon joints and mortise was used to put them together and gravity was used to hold them in place. Very precise joints are required in this type of construction. The architraves and columns built with megaliths weighed approximately 20 tons. Another temple that has been built just like the Khajuraho temples is the Saraswati Temple, which is in Pilani on the campus of the famous Birla Institute of Technology and Science.

Carvings and Statues

A lot of erotic or sexual art can be seen outside the walls of the Khajuraho Temples and at some places near the deities. Some walls have two layers and the outside layer of the inner wall has small erotic carvings. These erotic carvings are interpreted in many ways. Some people believe that the tantric sexual practices are depicted here. Some carvings depict sexual activities between humans and sexual themes and the changes that take place in the human body. Other carvings show the everyday life of a woman, potters, musicians, farmers etc. Some people refer to this temple as the Kama sutra temple.

Events in Khajuraho

  1. Sound and Light Show – A professional sound and light show is held every evening in the open lawns of the Khajuraho Temples in both English and Hindi. In this one hour show, the philosophy, history and the architecture is explained.
  2. Khajuraho Dance Festival – Another attraction is the Khajuraho Dance Festival, which is held in February every year. One can see various Indian classical dance forms here.

Climate

The summers are hot with the maximum temperature touching 47°C. In winters it gets very cold and sometimes the temperature dips to as low as 4°C. Khajuraho experiences heavy rainfall during the monsoons. The best time to visit Khajuraho is from October-March.

Reaching Khajuraho

  • By Air – Khajuraho has its own airport and there are regular flights to and from Delhi, Mumbai, Bhopal, Varanasi, Allahabad and Indore. Foreign travelers can take connecting flights from Delhi and Mumbai
  • By Rail – Mahoba is the nearest railway station, which is 77 kms away. Another railway station near Khajuraho is Harpalpur, which is 90 kms from Khajuraho. Harpalpur is well connected to all major cities of India.
  • By Road – Khajuraho is well connected to major cities of India.

Places to visit in daman and diu

Daman and Diu

Daman & Diu is a union territory of India. Daman is 640Kms from Diu. For more than 450 years, Daman and Diu, Goa, and Dadra and Nagar Haveli were considered to be a part of the Portuguese India and it was only in the year 1961 that Daman and Diu and Goa were made a part of the Indian Republic by a military conquest. However Portugal did not recognize this status till 1974. Goa, Daman and Diu were considered to be a single union territory till 1987, after which Goa was separated from Daman and Diu and granted statehood. The main languages of Daman and Diu are English, Hindi, Gujarati and Marathi. Some older people also use Portuguese.

Daman

Daman is a small port in the Gulf of Cambay near Surat. It is a storehouse of culture, heritage, adventure, fun, and leisure and business tourism. There are majestic forts, historic churches, beautiful beaches and different cuisines which make a favorable holiday place.

Climate

Daman enjoys a pleasant climate throughout the year. In summers, the maximum temperature shoots to 39°C. It receives average rainfall. Winters are mildly cold. One can explore Daman at any time of the year.

Reaching Daman

  • By Rail – The nearest railway station is Vapi, which is 12 kms away. Vapi is well-connected to major cities through Ahmadabad and Mumbai. One can hire a taxi from Vapi .
  • By Road – Daman is connected to Vapi via NH8. There are regular buses from Vapi to Surat, Mumbai and Saurashtra.

Places to Visit

  1. Beaches – Daman has two stunning beaches, the Devka and Jampore Beach.
  2. Churches – Daman has many magnificent historic churches. These are Church of Bom Jesus, Church of Our Lady of Remedies, Chapel of Our Lady of Rosary and Church of Our Lady of Angustias.
  3. Other Noteworthy Places include the Mirasol Resort and Water Park, the Vaibhav Water Park, the Daman Ganga Tourist Complex, the Fort of St. Jerome, the Fort of Moti Daman and the famous Light House.
  4. Parsi Fire Temple – It is very convenient to reach this temple in Gujarat. It is 130 Kms from Daman.
  5. Shirdi – Located 140 kms away from Daman is the famous Sai Baba pilgrimage site and can be reached via Nasik.

Diu

Diu is a beautiful island located towards the southern coast of the Kathiawar Peninsula of Gujarat. It is a picturesque and serene place for nature lovers. It is a much sought after tourist destination for tourists from all over the world. Also, many business visits take place on this quiet place. A special tree called the Hokka tree which is found in abundance in Diu, is found nowhere in India. A Hokka tree – Hyphaene Indica is a branching palm tree and its cute little fruit has many medicinal properties. It is found near the Nagoa Beach and is believed to be brought by the Portuguese.

Climate

Since it is located very near to the sea, the climate is temperate throughout the year. Its not very hot in the summers and winters are only mildly cold. One can visit Diu anytime during the year.

Reaching Diu

  • By Rail – The nearest railway station is Veraval, which are well-connected to major cities like Ahmadabad and Rajkot.
  • By Road – It is connected to Maharashtra and Gujarat, which are well-connected to all major National Highways of India.
  • By Air – The airport in Diu is called Nagoa, which has daily flights to Mumbai. Mumbai is well-linked to all major cities of India via, rail, road and airways.

Places to Visit in Diu

  1. Beaches – There are some beautiful beaches in Diu. They are the Nagoa Beach, the Ghoghla Beach and the Jallandhar Beach.
  2. Gangeshwar Temple – The Gangeshwar Temple is located 3 Kms from Diu. It is devoted to Lord Shiva. According to an old legend, the pandavas used to worship Lord Shiva here. It has a beautiful cave and five shivlings, surrounded by rocks.
  3. Churches – Diu has some splendid old churches. These are St. Paul’s Church, St. Francis of Assisi and St. Thomas Church, which has been converted into a museum.
  4. Seashell Museum – It is located near the Nagoa Beach. The seashell museum was the first of its kind in the world with a collection of approximately 3000 seashells, which is the maximum in Asia.
  5. Diu Fort – Located on the coast of the island, the Diu Fort is a magnificent structure built between 1535-1541 AD. It is surrounded by the sea on three sides. It has a giant light house. It has beautiful stone work which makes you spell-bound.
  6. Water Sports – The Nagoa and the Ghoghla Beach offer the water sports facility. One can enjoy Water Scooter Riding, Parasailing and Boat sailing here. Apart from this one can also take a ride in the Evening Boat Cruise, which is available at Diu Bunder.

Bodh Gaya – Vishnupad and Mahabodhi Temples

Bodh Gaya – Vishnupad and Mahabodhi Temples

Located 12 Kms away from Gaya City, in the Gaya district of Bihar, Bodh Gaya is known for the Vishnupad and Mahabodhi Temples, where Lord Buddha is believed to have obtained awakening (Bodhimandala). Earlier the main monastery of Bodh Gaya was called Bodhimanda – Vihara but later it came to be known as Mahabodhi Temple Complex. The name Bodh Gaya came into use after the 18th century, before which it used to be called Mahabodhi, Sambodhi, Uruvela or Vajrasana. The best of the year to visit Bodh Gaya is from October – February.

How to Reach

Travel facilities are provided by the Bihar State Tourism Development from Patna to Bodh Gaya. Buses going to Bodh Gaya are available from Kolkata and Varanasi. One can also take a train from Kolkata. The Gaya International Airport is 7kms away from Bodh gaya. It is also referred to as the Bodh Gaya International Airport.

Climate

Bodh Gaya experiences a hot summer season with the maximum temperature reaching 41-44 °C. It experiences plenty of rainfall and the climate becomes pleasant but also humid. The winters are cool and pleasant.

Bodh Gaya History

It is said that in the year 500 BC, in Circa, Prince Gautam Siddhartha was wandering and reached the banks of the river Phaglu, which is near Gaya city. He sat under a tree (Bodhi) and meditated. After meditating for three nights and three days, he said that he had obtained an enlightenment and he had the answers to all the questions which were disturbing him. He spent seven weeks in neighbouring areas at different places and meditated. After this period, he went to Sarnath and started preaching Buddhism.
Gautam Siddhartha’s followers started visiting him during Vaisakh (April- May) on full moon days. Gradually, the place was known as Bodh Gaya, the day of awakening – Budha Poornima and the tree under which Gautam sat, as Bodhi Tree.
Many pilgrims have documented the history of Bodh Gaya through inscriptions. The accounts prepared by Chinese Pilgrim Faxian and Xuanzang in the 5th and 7th century provide significant information. The Turkic army conquered the place in the 13th century.

The Mahabodhi Temple

The Mahabodhi Temple Complex is located 110kms away from Patna and it contains the famous diamond throne (Vajrasana) and the sacred Bodhi Tree. This tree was grown from a sapling of Sri Maha Bodhi Tree in Sri Lanka, which has also been grown from a sapling of the first Bodhi Tree.
Emperor Ashoka visited Bodh Gaya, 250 years after the awakening of the Buddha. Th original Mahabodhi Temple is considered to be founded by him. There is an elongated spire covered by a very small statue and a chhatri on an elevated platform. One needs to climb two flights of stairs to reach the platform. Historians also believe that the temple was renovated during the period of the Kushans in the 1st Century. The temple was buried under many layers of soil and forgotten after the decline of Buddhism in India. It is believed that Sir Alexander Cunningham restored the temple in the 19th century. Sir Cunningham excavated the site with the help of Dr Rajendralal Mitra and J.D.Beglar with great difficulty in the year 1883. They started the renovation and restored the temple.
Bodh Gaya is one of the four most significant places of worship for the Buddhists. This is so because there are four important places associated with the life of Gautam Buddha. They are Lumbini, Kushinagar, Sarnath and Bodh Gaya. The Mahabodhi Temple of Bodh Gaya was declared as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in the year 2002.

The Vishnupad Temple

The Vishnupad temple is located near Bodh Gaya, on the banks of Falgu river. It is believed that the temple is built on the footprints of Lord Vishnu. The footprints of Lord Vishnu are 40 cms long and it is imprinted over a solid piece of rock. This rock is called Dhrama Shiela. The temple displays the Shikhara style of architecture. It was built by Queen Ahilya Bai from Indore. The temple is not open to non-hindus. Many devotees visit the temple and worship the deity of Vishnu with flowers and milk. It is believed that by doing this one secures a place for themselves in spiritual world.

Top 25 Tourist Destinations in India

Best 25 Tourist Places.

There are thousands tourist places in India but I am selecting only 25 of them which I feel are best and suggest you to visit during your travel to India.

Tourist Destinations in North India.

1. Taj Mahal

2. Golden Temple of Amritsar

3. Badrinath and Kedarnath.

4. Jaipur : Amber Fort, Jal Mahal,Hawa Mahal.

5. Jaisalmer Fort, Rajasthan

6. Udaipur

7. Varanasi.

8. Kullu and Manali.

9. Leh and Ladakh

10. Khajuraho Temples with Orchha Forts and Temple

Tourist Destinations in South India.

11. Ajanta and Ellora Caves.

12. Kanyakumari.

13. Hampi.

14. Mysore.

15. Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

16. Madurai ,Tirupati

Tourist Destinations in East India.

17. Jagganath Puri.

18. Bodh Gaya

19. Darjeeling

20.

Tourist Destinations in East India.

21. Dwarka.

21. Somnath Mahadev Temple.

22.

23.

24.

25.

Hampi – A delight for Pilgrims

Hampi – A delight for Pilgrims

The Hampi village is located in Vijayanagara in the state of Karnataka. It is a religious city and has many temples and old monuments which belong to the old city. UNESCO has declared the ruins of the city, a World Heritage Site and it appears as ‘Group of Monuments at Hampi’ in the list. The name Hampi has been derived from the old name of the Tungabhadra River – Pampa, since the city is built on the banks of this river. At times it is also referred to as Virupakshapura and Vijayanagara. Hampi is 353 Kms away from Bangalore and only 74 Kms from Bellary. The nearest railway station is Hosapete, also called Hospet which is 13 Kms from Hampi. Mantralayam city, which is also built on the banks of the Tungabhadra River is in AP and 150 Kms from Hampi. Thousands of pilgrims and tourists visit Hampi every year. There are more than 500 monuments around the valleys and hills, which include remains of aquatic structures, palaces, beautiful temples, ancient markets, bastions, royal pavilions and so on… Hampi is a delight for pilgrims and a great holiday spot for backpackers as well.

The History Of Hampi

In Hampi, the first settlements were as old as 1 CE. Hampi served as one of the most important areas of the capital city of the Vijayanagara Empire between 1336 – 1565, after which the Deccan Muslim Confederacy captured it. Since the city was protected by hills on three sides and the Tungabhadra River on the fourth side, it proved to be of strategic importance.
Both architecturally and historically, the city is of great significance. Several large stones have been found in the city, which might have been used to make idols of the Hindu gods and goddesses. Excavations are frequently conducted in the area by The Archeological Survey of India, in order to find temples and artifacts.

The Government of Karnataka organizes the annual Vijayanagara Festival in the month of November, every year. Agriculture and tourism are the two key industries in the village apart from the endorsements from the Virupaksha Temple and other temples in the neighbourhood of the city.

Several mineral deposits are present in the region, iron-ore and manganese being the principal ones. Mining is done in the region since the past many years. But recently, the mining of iron-ore has been increased due to a boom in the international market. This is a threat to the Tungabhadra dam and the World Heritage Site Hampi.

Significant Places Near Hampi -:

  1. Achyutaraya Temple/ Tiruvengalanatha Temple
  2. Anegondi
  3. Anjeyanadri Hill
  4. Aqueducts and Canals
  5. Archaeological Museum at Kamalapura
  6. Badava Linga
  7. Chandramauleshwar Temple
  8. Elephant stables
  9. Hazara Rama Temple
  10. Hemakuta Group of Temples
  11. Lake(Near sanapur)
  12. Lotus temple
  13. Preksha temple and groups
  14. Sasivekalu Ganesha
  15. Sri Lakshmi Narasimha
  16. The Kings’ balance
  17. The Underground Temple
  18. Tungabhadra River
  19. Uddana Veerabhadra temple
  20. Virupaksha Temple
  21. Virupapura
  22. Vitthal temple
  23. Yantrodharaka Anjaneya temple
  24. Yeduru Basavanna
  25. Zenana enclosure

Temples at Hampi

There are various temples at Hindu which depict vedanta mythology and many people still go there to worship. Some of the important places are:

  1. Virupaksha Temple – Situated in the Bazaar of Hampi, this is the most ancient temple and it is also referred to as Pampapathi Temple. At the entranc e of this temple, there is tower which is 160 ft high. There is a statue of Lord Shiva in the temple. Also, there are many erotic statues of Pampa and Bhuvaneshwari in the temple complex.
  2. Malyavanta Raghunathaswamy Temple – This temple is located three kilometres across the road and depicts the architectural style of the ancient times. Engrossing motifs of fishes and other marine creatures can be seen on the inner walls of this temple.
  3. Hazara Rama Temple Complex– This temple complex is in ruins now. It has a huge courtyard with beautigul gardens. It is best known for the intricate frescos of the Hindu religion. There are over thousand inscriptions and carvings in this temple and these carvings depict the story of the great epic – Ramayana. This is why it is called the Hazara – (Thousand ) Rama temple.
  4. Vitthal Temple Complex – The Vitthala Temple complex is the most famous temple of Hampi. Floodlights have been positioned in the temple to light it up and they enhance the beauty of this architectural masterpiece. There is a stone chariot in the area surrounding the temple, which is the logo of Karnataka Tourism. Many musical pillars are installed in the temple. There are two pillars which are cut. These pillars were cut down by the Britishers, since they wanted to find out the source of the sound but all their efforts were in vain. All they could find was hollow pillars.
  5. Krishna Temple Complex – The Krishna Temple Complex has been excavated in the last decade and efforts are being made for its restoration.

Global Heritage Fund, a non-profit organization, in collaboration with the Hampi Foundation, the State of Karnataka and Cornell University are making all possible efforts to preserve the rich cultural heritage of Hampi.

Mysore – The City of Palaces

Mysore – The City of Palaces

Mysore is located at an altitude of 770m above sea level between the Kaveri and Kabini rivers. It is about 140 Kms away from Bangalore. It is spread across an area of 50 square kilometers. It is often referred to as the city of Palaces. It is one of the most popular tourist destinations in India. Mysore is the cultural capital of the state of Karnataka. It is famous for its Dussehra celebrations, which is a ten day celebration. According to Hindu Mythology, Mahishasura, a demon used to rule over Mysore. The anglicized version of Mahishasura is Mysore. Goddess Chamundeshwari later killed Mahishasura. Goddess Chamundeshwari’s temple is situated on the top of the Chamundi Hills, on base of which Mysore is located.
There are many palaces in Mysore, which include the famous Mysore Palace. The famous Mysore style of painting is named after Mysore. King Raja Wodeyar is the patron of the Mysore style of painting. The gesso work with gold foil is the distinctive feature of these paintings. The Mysore style of painting is considered to be an offshoot of the Vijayanagar painting school. Mysore also lends its name to a sweet dish called Mysore Pak and a silk saree – Mysore Silk which is made from pure silk and gold zari. A traditional silk turban worn by men during traditional ceremonies called Mysore Peta also gets its name from the city. The major industry here is tourism but information technology is also emerging as a leading employer. The first private radio station in India is located in Mysore. The most popular sport in this city is Cricket.

Climate

One can visit Mysore at any time of the year but it is more preferable to go there between September to March. Winters prevail from October to February. It is cool with the minimum temperature dropping to 10°C. Mysore experiences a short summer season from March – May. It becomes very hot during the summers with a temperature as high as 39°C. Medium to heavy rains are expected from June to September.

How to reach

  • Railways – Mysore is connected to Bangalore through trains and all major cities in India are connected to Bangalore.
  • Roadways – The Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation provides a variety of buses from Bangalore to Mysore. There are deluxe and semi-deluxe buses available.
  • Airways – There is a small domestic airport in Mysore and it is connected to Bangalore. One can also take a flight to Bangalore and hire a taxi to Mysore, which is only 140 Kms away.

History

Mysore was called Puragera till the 15th century and King Chamraja Wodeyar III constructed the splendid Mahishuru fort at this time. During the reign of the Vijaynagar kings, Mysore was used as a feudatory of Mysore Kings and later on, Raja Wodeyar made it his capital. Mysore was the capital of the Kingdom of Mysore till 1947. The Wodeyar dynasty ruled the city. Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan ruled Mysore in the 18th century for a short span of time. The Wodeyars have significantly contributed to the cultural heritage of Mysore.
Mysore became an independent state in the year 1565 during King Narasraja Wodeyar’s rule. The Wodeyars ruled Mysore till 1799 and the city was taken over by British allies. During this time, the administrative status of Mysore was lost. It regained its lost glory in the year 1881, when the British made Bangalore their capital. At the time of independence, all kings had to surrender their titles but Raja Jayachamrajendra Wodeyar was permitted to keep his title and he worked as the head (Rajpramukh) of Mysore till 1974, when he died.

Culture of Mysore

Mysore has a rich cultural heritage. It is called Karnataka’s cultural capital. Dussehra is celebrated with much vigor. The celebration carries on for ten days. King Raja Wodeyar first introduced it in the year 1610. On the day of Mahanavmi, the nineth day, people worship the royal sword and it is then taken on embellished horses, camels and elephants in a procession. On Vijaydashami, the tenth day, the traditional Dussehra procession is carried on in the local streets of Mysore. An idol of Goddess Chamundeshwari is placed on a golden mandapa on an elephant during the procession. There are musical band and dance groups which accompany the procession. It starts from the Mysore Palace and goes till the Bannimantapa. The festivities end on the night of Vijayadashami with Panjina Kavayatthu or the torchlight parade.
The city of Mysore is home to a number of palaces, which is why it is often referred to as the City of Palaces. The Amba Vilas or Mysore palace is the most famous palace. The Jaganmohan palace is used as an art gallery. The Rajendra Vilas is known as the summer palace. The Lalitha Mahal has been transformed into a Hotel. The Jayalakshmi Vilas, which was the main palace of Mysore, got burned in the year 1897. One can see the indo-saracenic architectural style in the Amba Vilas Palace. The palace is maintained by the government of Karnataka. A small portion is used by the royal family as their residence. King Chamaraja Wodeyar constructed the Jayalakshmi Vilas Mansion for his daughter Jayalakshammanni but it has been converted into a museum and it displays artifacts and folk culture of the royal family.

Tourism

The Amba Vilas Palace is the most famous monument of Mysore. Apart from other palaces, the Chamundeshwari temple and St. Philomena’s Church are other noteworthy places in Mysore. The Karanji and Kukkarahalli lakes are popular lakes in Mysore. The Mysore Zoo is much loved by kids. There are many museums in Mysore – The Folk Lore Museum, Regional Museum of Natural History, Oriental Research Institute and the Railway Museum. Another museum that houses musical instruments and wax statues is the Melody World. The Krishnarajasagar Dam is only a short distance from Mysore. A musical fountain show is held in the adjacent Brindavan Gardens every evening. Somanathapura, Srirangapatna and Talakad are other places of importance near Mysore. Bylakuppe, Nanjanagud and the waterfalls at Shivanasamudra are places of religious significance close to Mysore. The hill station of Ooty, Madikeri and Sultan Battery are located very near to Mysore. The Himavad Gopalaswamy Betta hill and the B R Hills are also close by. Mysore also has some attractive destinations for those who like wildlife. Some of the popular places to visit are Bandipur National Park, Nagarhole National Park, Kokrebellur and Ranganathittu bird sanctuaries, Mudumalai National Park, B R Hills and Melkote wildlife sanctuaries. Elephants, chital, tigers, Indian leopards, gaur and other threatened species are found in these sanctuaries.

Jaisalmer Fort – The Golden Fortress

Panorama of the Golden Fort of Jaisalmer, RajasthanJaisalmer Fort – The Golden Fortress

The glorious Jaisalmer Fort is located in Rajasthan. It is believed to be one of the largest forts of the world. Rao Jaisal, a Bhati Rajput ruler built it in the year 1156 AD and thats how it is named after him. The fort is located on the Trikuta Hill, surrounded by the great Thar Desert, which has witnessed many a battles. The Fort is also referred to as ‘Sonar Qila’ or ‘Golden Fort’ due to the immense use of yellow sandstone. It is one of the most stunning monuments located right at the heart of City in Rajasthan. The beauty of the fort takes you by surprize and leaves lasting footprints on your mind. It deserves a special mention. The best time to visit Jaisalmer is from October to March.

Climatic conditions – Jaisalmer is typically a desert and has an arid climate. It gets really hot during the summers from April – August. In the winters, it feels pretty cool during the day and pleasant at night. At times, it might also get chilly. Being a desert, the rainfall is negligible.

 How To Reach Jaisalmer -:

  • By Road – Many deluxe and semi-deluxe buses are available from Jaipur, Ajmer & Bikaner to Jaisalmer. The inter-state buses connect Jaisalmer to other cities.
  • By Air – The nearest airport is in Jodhpur and one can take a taxi from here. Jaisalmer is 285 Kms from Jodhpur. Jodhpur is also connected to Jaipur and Delhi by air.
  • By Rail – Railway station is one of the significant stations of Western Railways. It is well-connected to all cities of India.

 The Story Behind Jaisalmer Fort

The city played a key role in trade with countries like Arabia, Persia, Africa and Egypt during the medieval period. There are three layers of walls in the fort. The lower layer or the outer-most layer is made of solid blocks of stone and it strengthens the unconsolidated fragments of the Trikuta Hill. The middle or second wall serves as a boundary all around the fort. This is how the fort is protected by three walls. It is believed that the Rajput warriors had once thrown boiling hot water and oil along with solid blocks of rock at the enemies, who became entrapped between the middle and outer most walls.

In the 13th century, Alaudin Khilji captured the fort and held it for nine years. Many Rajput women committed Jauhar during this period. In 1541, the second battle took place in this fort when it was attacked by Humayun, the mughal emperor.

 Important Places To Visit-:

  1. Raj Mahal (The Royal palace) – Constructed in 1500 AD, it is one of the most spectacular structures, in terms of architecture. It is surrounded by beautiful green lawns and graceful gardens. It has seven storeys. It is best known for its lattice work. Members of the royal family used to live here.
  2. Jain temples – These were built between the 12th and 15th century. They are devoted to the Jain hermits (Tirthankars)- Shambhavdev ji and Rikhabdev ji. They have been built in the Delwara style and have human and animal figures carved on the walls.  These temples are also made from yellow sandstone.
  3. The Laxminath Temple- The Laxminath Temple is devoted to Lord Vishnu and Goddess Laxmi. Tourists and devotees flock to this temple in large numbers to view this marvelous temple which has a spartan look. It has a beautiful entrance which has been decorated with silver framework. This temple was built in 1494 during the reign of Rao Lunkaran. Maharaja Ganga Singhji later renovated it but the deity of Vishnu and Lakshmi were installed by a Brahmin – Sen Pal Shakdvipi.
  4.  4 Massive Gateways – These gates have been named Hava Pol, Ganesh Pol, Akshaye Pol and Suraj Pol. The Akshaye Pol which is situated on the eastern side of the fort is the main entrance. Suraj Pol which is across the road was built by Maharawal Bhim. It is surrounded by 99 heavy bastions, out of which 92 were built between 1633-47. The Suraj Pol adorned with an image of the Sun and Lord Ganesha. The Hawa Pol or wind Gate is a huge gateway which was built in the 17th century. It is connected to the palace and a courtyard which is called Dussedra Chowk. Another massive gateway which is also embellished with a figure of Lord Ganesha is the Ganesha Pol.
  5. Merchant Havelis  – The wealthy merchants of North India used to build large houses often called Havelis and decorated them with carvings of sandstone. There are many havelis which are more than one hundred years old. Some havelis have been converted into museums, while there are others where the original families still live. One such haveli is the Vyas Haveli of the 15th century and another is Shree Nath Palace. Many of these havelis have innumerable rooms and many floors. These havelis were designed by Muslim and Hindu craftsmen.

 

The Jaisalmer Fort is the only fort in the world, where people still live. It is also believed that at one point of time, the entire population of  Jaisalmer had stayed in this fort. Due to the increasing population, some people shifted outside and found space at the tip of Trikuta Hill. This magnificent fort is a must visit since it gives a glimpse of Rajasthan’s rich cultural heritage

Darbar Sahib – The Golden Temple ,Amritsar

Darbar Sahib – The Golden Temple Complex

The Golden Temple, also known as Darbar Sahib or Harmandir Sahib is a spectacular Sikh Gurudwara. It is situated in the city of Amritsar in Punjab. The Darbar Sahib was constructed as a central place of worship for the Sikhs and it is open to all people, irrespective of any caste, creed or religion. More than one lakh people come to pay homage in this holy gurudwara every day. The holy scripture, Guru Granth Sahib is kept in the temple at all times.

History of the temple

The fifth Sikh guru. Guru Arjan Dev, constructed it in the 16th century. In 1604, he also compiled and placed the Adi Granth, the holy book of Sikhs, in the Gurdwara  People of all religions are welcome to visit and pay homage at Harmandir sahib. This is represented by its four entry points. Jassa Singh Ahluwalia, with the help of other Sikhs, rebuilt the gurudwara in the year  1764 and gave it the look it has today. The upper floors of the gurudwara were covered with gold by Maharaja Ranjit Singh, when he captured Punjab in the nineteenth century.

Sri Harmandir Sahib derives its name from Hari (God) and it means the temple of hari or house of god. Guru Ram Das Ji, the fourth sikh guru, dug up a tank in the year 1577, and called it Amrut Sarovar, which later got the name – ‘Amritsar’ which means Pool of Nectar. The Darbar Sahib is built in the centre of this tank.

Construction of The Darbar

In 1574, when the gurudwara was first built, there was a small lake around it in a thin forest. The Great Mughal Emperor Akbar once visited the third Sikh Guru, Guru Amar Das in a town called Goindval and he was impressed by the guru’s simplicity. He gifted a piece of land as a marriage gift to Guru Amar Das’s Daughter Bhani during her marriage to Bhai Jetha, who subsequently became the fourth guru of the Sikhs, Guru Ram Das. Guru Ram Das ji expanded the lake and built a township there. This town was called Ramdas Pur after the name of the Guru.

The complete Gurudwara was built under the guidance of the fifth Sikh Guru, Guru Arjan Dev. In 1588, Guru Arjan Dev laid down the foundation stone. Many people believe that a Sufi Saint of Lahore, Mian Mir laid the foundation stone.

The construction was finished in 1604 and Guru Arjan Dev placed the Adi Granth inside it. However it had to be rebuilt in the 1760s after it was attacked by Jahan Khan, who was a general of Ahmed Shah Abdali from Afghan. A sikh army also went to fight Jahan Khan’s army five miles outside Amritsar and defeated Jahan Khan’s troops.

The Beauty of the Temple

The entire structure is decorated with verses from the Adi Granth. The magnificent golden structure is also studied with beautiful precious stones which are arranged in floral patterns of Islamic style.It has white marble walls and copper cupolas. It is a wonder to look at the Darbar Sahib, a splendid construction surrounded by water.

This pool of sacred water – the Amrut Sarovar is believed to have lots of powers. One must take a walk around the pool – Parikrama in clockwise direction. The pathway which leads from the sarovar to the temple is called Guru’s bridge and is made of marble. It depicts the journey of one’s soul after death. The Darshani Deorhi, which is the path to the bridge has spectacular silver doors.

In the year 1984, the then Prime Minister of India, Mrs Indira Gandhi passed orders to mutilate some  militants, who were believed to be hiding in Darbar Sahib. More than 500 people got killed and the temple suffered a lot of damage. Sikhs all over the world were enraged at this attack the holiest shrine. Mrs Gandhi was killed by her Sikh bodyguards, which lead to a massacre and many Sikhs were killed. The central government was debarred from repairing the temple, and the Sikhs took to the task on their own.

Rules of the Temple

There are some rules which one must follow in the gurudwara:

  • Consuming alcohol, cigarette smoking and eating non-vegetarian food is prohibited.
  • Footwear should be removed while entering the temple.
  • Devotess must keep their head covered. (Scarves are also provided).
  • Devotees must wash their feet before entering the temple.

The Famous Guru Ka Langar

The Guru-Ka-Langar is another highlight of the temple, where more than 35000 people are fed by volunteers free of charge. This is called sewa. Rich or poor, all devotees serve the food to the visitors. All devotees sit on the floor and enjoy the holy food.

The Palki Sahib

Palki Sahib is a ceremony that is carried out every night. The Adi Granth is carried in a procession along the bridge to the temple in the Akal Takht, the seat of Sikh Parliament. All male devotees participate in this procession actively.

A visit to the temple complex and a dip in Amrut Sarovar makes one blessed!

Ram Raja Temple – Orchha

raja-ram-palace-temple-at-orchhaHow Ram Raja is Served.

This is the only temple where Lord Ram is worshipped as a king and that also in a palace. A Guard of Honour is held everyday, police personnel have been designated as Guards at the temple, much in the manner of a king. Armed salutation is provided to Lord Ram everyday three times.. Even today the very first invitation card of any Hindu wedding in the region is sent to Raja Ram.

Story Behind Temple.

The King of Orchha King Madhukar Shah Ju Dev (1554 to 1592) (मधुकर शाह जू देव) was a devotee of Banke Bhihari (Lord Krishna) of  Vrindavan while his wife Ganesh Kunwari (गणेश कुंवरि), also called Kamla Devi, was a devotee of Lord Ram.

Due to some misunderstanding King asked his wife to bring Lord Ram in child form then only he believe that she is ture devotee of Lord Ram. At the end she prove it that she is.Ram raja temple

Vrindavan – Abode of God

Vrindavan – Abode of God

Vrindavan is considered to be a holy place.

Vrindavan is considered to be a holy place by all traditions of Hinduism. The major tradition followed in the area is Vaisnavism, and it is a center of learning with many Vrindavan Ashrams operating. Its a center of Krishna worship and the area includes places like Govardhana and Gokul that are associated with Krishna. Many millions of bhaktas or devotees of Radha Krishna visit these places of pilgrimage every year and participate in a number of festivals that relate to the scenes from Krishna’s life on Earth.