Friday, August 28, 2009

Top 10 places to propose in Europe !!(f)

TripAdvisor, the world’s largest travel community, has compiled it’s top 10 places in Europe to propose, according to TripAdvisor travellers and editors.

1: Eiffel Tower, Paris, France:
Confirm Paris’ reputation as the city of love, by proposing at the top of the Eiffel Tower overlooking spectacular views of the city.Afraid of heights? Set the tower as the backdrop by popping the question at nearby Trocadero Park. A TripAdvisor traveller advises, “Go early in the morning to avoid the crowds and pop the question atop the Eiffel Tower after enjoying the beautiful views of Paris.”
2. London Eye, London, England:
Lift that special someone off their feet and propose high in the sky on the London Eye - the largest observation wheel in the world. Avoid spectators by hiring a private capsule – complete with champagne – for that special moment. As one TripAdvisor traveller said, “A romantic place to propose might be the Millennium Wheel (or London Eye). It gives you a great view of London.”

3. Oia, Santorini, Greece:
Watch the sun set over the caldera in Oia, on Santorini, overlooking the breathtaking Aegean Sea, renowned for its striking sunsets. Squeeze through the narrow passageways and white buildings, to the cliff-like Kastro walls – known for having the best views. As one TripAdvisor traveller said, “The village of Oia is a romantic village perfect for your proposal plans.”

4. Alhambra, Granada, Spain:
Described as a “pearl set in emeralds” by Moorish poets, the Alhambra in Granada, a former palace and fortress, is a perfect place to propose to your gem. Stroll through the magnificent gardens with cypress-lined walkways and listen to the water dance from the fountains. As one TripAdvisor traveller said, “A great private place [to propose] would be in any garden in the Alhambra in Granada.”

5. Canals of Venice, Venice, Italy:
An over-the-top romantic? Work up the nerve to pop the question while reclining on a gondola, gliding under the Venetian bridges, through the windy canals of Venice. Hire a opera singing gondolier so you’re hands-free for that perfect moment (and response). As one TripAdvisor traveller recommends, “Take a gondola ride and hire a guy to sing. See if he can sing something romantic while you propose. Hide some flowers and champagne for when she says yes.”
6. Neuschwanstein Castle, Bavaria, Germany:
Propose like royalty at Neuschwanstein Castle, a 19th century Bavarian palace and former home to King Ludwig II. Channel medieval times by riding up the steep hill to the castle, located on Romantic Road, in a charming horse-drawn carriage. According to one TripAdvisor traveller, the Neuschwanstein Castle is “by far the most fairy tale-like building that I have ever visited.”
7. Mount Pilatus, Lucerne, Switzerland:
Don’t get cold feet at the summit of Mount Pilatus near Lucerne Switzerland, after chugging up the side of the mountain on the world’s steepest cogwheel railway. Celebrate by shouting from the mountaintops, featuring panoramic views of more than 70 peaks and five lakes. As one TripAdvisor traveller said, “From the summit you can take the semi-safe trails to the mountain's precipice and really get a feel of the Alps (don't look down!). What a great place to propose to your significant other.”

8. Trevi Fountain, Rome, Italy:
For the exhibitionist couple, the Trevi Fountain in Rome guarantees an audience and (ideally) cheering crowd. Toss a coin (not the ring) into the fountain, which legend says will ensure your return to Rome, hopefully not alone. As one TripAdvisor traveller recalled, “At Trevi Fountain, a guy asked his girl to marry him and the whole piazza started cheering.”

9. Charles Bridge, Prague, Czech Republic:
Secure a life long connection at the 13th century Charles Bridge in Prague, featuring dreamy views of the Prague skyline. Lined with baroque statues and protected by three bridge towers, visit this walkway at night for a more peaceful moment. As one TripAdvisor traveller said, “Many people I know proposed on the Charles Bridge at night, very romantic!”

10. Piazzale Michelangelo, Florence, Italy:
With sweeping views of the entire city, Piazza Michelangelo overlooks Florence, the Arno River, and golden Ponte Vecchio Bridge. Get down on one knee near dusk when the crowds disperse, and a magical glow is cast on the city below. As one TripAdvisor traveller said, “Piazzale Michelangelo is the spot....buona fortuna, e auguri, or mazel tov, as the case may be!”

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Agra Fort
» Agra Fort occupies a significant place on the map of Agra. The foundation of this majestic citadel was laid by Emperor Akbar , the fort is surrounded by a 70-foot high wall. The fort comprises of several buildings inside. The wall has 2 gates, the Delhi Gate and the Amar Singh Gateof which only the Amar Singh gate is now open to the public. The original and grandest entrance was through the Delhi Gate, which leads to the inner portal called the Hathi Pol or Elephant Gate.

Key Attractions of Agra Fort:
>Diwan-i-Khasor Private Audience Hall was adorned with silver leaves on the wooden ceiling. This room was used by the emperor for reception of kings, ambassadors and nobles in private. The Moti Masjid- Also known as the Pearl Mosque was constructed between 1648-54. From outside the structure appears to be made of brick, but inside it is completely made of marble.
>Mussaman BurjA two-storeyed pavilion, where Shahjahan caught the last glimpse of the Taj Mahal before he died.

Other Attractions :
The Agra Fort houses the Royal Pavilions, which were designed to catch the cool breeze across the river. Other attractions comprise of the Macchi Bhawan or the Fish Palace, the Hammam-i-Shahi or the Royal Bath, the Nagina Masjid or the Gem Mosque, and the Zenana Meena Bazaar, where the ladies of the court would browse through goods like silk, jewellery and brocade.
Red Fort Delhi

Through the pages of history.....
The Red Fort stands as the result of the decision of Shahjahan in 1639, to shift his capital to New Delhi from Agra. Within eight years, Shahjahanabad was completed with the Red Fort-Qila-i-Mubarak (fortunate citadel)-New Delhi's seventh fort.
Specimen of artisitic brilliance- red fort:
The Red Fort stands witness to the glorious Indian history and architecture. This fort built behind red sandstone walls gives the fort its name. The Red Fort or Lal Qila reiterates the period of Moghul magnificence. This famous citadel comprises of massive audience halls and marble palaces. The architecture was accentuated with precious stones when constructed.

The two main gateways are the Lahore Gate and the Delhi Gate.
>The Red Fort is to be entered by the Delhi Gate, that leads to the Hathi Pol or Elephant Gate. >The Diwan-e-am and the Diwan-e-khas are pavilions from where the king addressed the common people and the elite respectively.
>The Rang Mahal is a water-cooled apartment for the royal ladies and in the basement of the fort there is a market where one can buy traditional Indian goods at very competitive rates.
>The Khas Mahal and Sheesh Mahal are exquisitely decorated halls, that radiate the brilliance and splendor of Mughal royalty.
>The Lahore Gate opens to Chatta Chowk which as once a royal market . The arcade was also known as Meena bazar.
>Moti Masjid (pearl mosque) was a private mosque built by by Aurangzeb (Shahjahan's son) for his personal use.
Chittoragarh Fort

Chittor a city which finds its place in the Great Indian Epic Mahabharta has the Fort known as the Chittorgardh Fort. Famously known for the beautiful Queen Rani PADMAVATI, it can be reached either from Delhi (14hrs), Udaipur (3 hrs), Or Jaipur (8 hrs) by road. Luxury buses/ Tourist buses and cabs which are easily avialable from all these places.

It is one fort among other fortresses filled with legends of bravery, love and romance. It dates back to 7th century to the kingdom of Mayuras who first built this fort. Chittorgarh was captured in 1303 by Ala-ud-din Khilji who was then the King of Delhi. In the 16th century Mewar bacame the leading Rajput dynasty. Mewar is also known for two famous personalities Meera - the famous Indian Spiritual poetess who sang in worship of Lord Krishna and Maharana Pratap - the valiant King.

The Fort
Formed in the shape of a fish, it stands on a top hill that is 180m high with a 28 sq km site. Some of its Stupas (pillars) were made by the Mayuras in the 7th century. It has three main gates called as Padal Pol, Bhairon Pol, Hanuman Pol and Ram Pol (Gate). The fort stands its attraction due to the sculpture and the architecture it has. A river seperates the Fort from the rest of the city. This fort is also famous for the beautiful Queen Padmini whose beauty from the word of mouth attracted Ala-ul-din to have a glimpse of her and then later on a wrong intention to possess her. However his evil plans were laid off when the Queen went on to do Jauhar (a mass suicide by the woman in a pyre of the lost warriors of a war).

In and Around
» Padminis Palace : On the southern side of the Fort, there lies the Padminis Fort with a Lotus Pond with central pavillion - the summer palace of the King. The story goes by that it is the same pond where the Glimpse of the Queen Padmini prompted Ala-ud-din to possess her. Near this palace is the prison where the captives were kept.
» Tower of Fame : This Kirti Stambha dates from the 12th century and is smaller in height than the Tower of Victoty. It not made by any King but a Jain (one who followed Jainism), is dedicated to Adinath , the first Tirthankar (one of the 24 revered Jain teachers). It has the sculptures of various Tirthankaras. It is seven storied; though no one is allowed to move inside the tower.

Not to be Missed
» Mewar Festival : It is celebrated to welcome the coming of the spring. The women folk gather dressed in local Rajasthani dress and then carry out processions in various parts of the city with pomp and show. Dances of Rajasthani style and local songs fill the air on this occassion. The procession usually finds its end in the Pichola lake in Udaipur. Fireworks mark the end of the festival.
Ranthambore Fort One of the most beautiful forts built in its era, it showcases the historical developments of Rajasthan. Lying near the place called Sawai Madhopur it can be easily reached from Jaipur by road.

The Chauhan Rajputs were the architects of the fortress of Ranthambore. The Chauhan King Prithvi Raj III was subsequently defeated by Muhhammad of Ghaur in 1192. The Sultan of Illtumish captured Ranthambore in 1226,but it was taken over by the Chauhans in 1236 after the death of Illtumish. Then the fort was again captured by the Mewars under Rana Hamir Singh (1226-1364) and Rana Khumba (1433-1468). It was captured by Rana Udai Singh (1768-1473), and then passed on to HADA Rajputs. Then it was captured by the King of Gujarat (1532-1555) from whom it was taken over by Mughal Emperor Akbar. The fortress was last captured by Kachwaha Maharajas of Jaipur, and it remained a part of Jaipur till independence of India.

The Fort
There are three temples inside the fort dedicated to Ganesha, Shiva and Ramlalji built in 12th and 13th century. The fort is also said to be the site where a number of Jauhars (ritual mass suicide by immolation of self) in the Rajput History. From a distance the fort almost looks indispensible and incredible looking out over the lotus filled lake of Padma Talab which lies in the rampants. It has an area of 405sq kms giving a view of the Badal Mahal ( Cloud Palace).

In and Around
» Pushkar Ka Mela : In the month of Kartika (October - November), in Pushkar there is this Camel Fair held on one of the holiest days of Hindus. Each year around 200,000 people converge here, bringing along them around 50,000 camels and cattle for trade. The place blends itself into with musicians, mystics, tourists, traders, devotees and camel crews. Its a MUST SEE FESTIVE.

Not to be Missed
» Ganesh Chaturthi :The Ranthambore Tiger reserve has a beautiful temple of Ganesha (Lord of Intellect). Here each year in the month of September/October the festival of Ganesh Chaturthi is celebrated with Pomp and Show. It is thought that all auspicious functions of Hindus should began with the first invitation to Lord Ganesha. This festival marks this school of thought.
Jaisalmer Fort Located in the desert of the Thar (meaning adobe of the dead), it is the second oldest Fort of Rajasthan. It can be reached from Jaisalmer by road. Cabs and tourist buses are easily available to take you to the Fort. * It has been listed in the New York Based World Monuments Watch List of the 100 endangered sites worldwide

Built by the Rajput ruler Jaisala, it was the main focus of a number of battles between the Bhattis, the Mughals of Delhi and the Rathores of Jodhpur. Constructed by Raja Jaisal, who was searching for a new capital as the earlier one Lodurva was too vulnerable to invasions, he built the fort and the city surrounding it, thus fulfilling Lord Krishna's prophecy in the Mahabharata The uniquness of the fort lies in the fact that the craftsmen used were mainly Muslims to craft the SONAR QUILA - Rising from the sand!

The Fort
The uniqueness of the fort lies in the fact that 25% of the population of the old city resides within the walls of the fort. There are a number of forbidding gates at the entrance itself, leading to the courtyard. Inside its a whole world with people, shops and kids playing around. However the vehicles cannot go beyond the courtyard. Near the courtyard is the palace of the former King which has its elegant seven stories. The main attraction of the fort is the sculpted walls and the balcony. The doorways connecting the rooms of the fort are quite low - unique to the fort - made so to force those who walked the corridors to the room to maintain a low stature in front of the King and his Queens.

In and Around
» Diwan-i-Khas: This Hall of Private audience is inside the fort. Today it has a collection of old stamps . This room gives a god view of the fort and the the town spread beneath.
» Diwan-i-Am :Just near the Hall of Private audience there is this Hall of Public Audience. It has lower walls with porcelain tiles over them.
» Jain Temples : Just attached to the walls of the fort are the Jain Temples - seven of them, lined to give a maze like look made of yellow sandstone. * Leather items have to be removed before entering the temples and the time of visiting the temples keeps on changing.
» Gadi Sagar :Once the source of water supply of the city, it was built in 1367 by King Gadsi Singh and hence its name
» Museums :There are a number of museums here around the fort like the Desert Culture Center and Museum, Jaisalmer Folklore museum and the Government museum. Watch out for exclusive folk programmes and puppet shows held from time to time.

Not to be Missed
» Camel Safaris : Jaisalmer Camel Safaris are not to be missed out. Trekking Jaisalmer on the back of the Camel is a exciting adventure to do.
Golconda Fort Considered as one of the seven wonders of Andhra Praesh, it is one of the most beautiful Forts of Andhra. It can be easily reached from Hyderabad via road as the fort is only 11 kms from Hydeabad City. It is the same city from which the world known diamonds like KOHINOOR came from. Luxury buses and cabs are easily avaialable to take you to the fort.

Mankal is the other name of the place where Golconda Fort is situated. It derives its name from the Kai Temple which to this date exists in the premises of the Fort. And as the story goes the Fort derives its name from the name Golla Konda, which in Telgu means The Shepherds Hill. It is so said that a little shepheard boy came across an idol which lead to the construction of a mud fort by the then Kaktiya Dynasty ruler of the Kingdom which is today knowm as the Maha Kali Temple(Temple of Goddess Kali). The fort was administered by Recherla Vellamas who ruled over Golkonda, Rajaconda and Devarconda. Their capital was Rajaconda. After the defeat of the Recherla Velamma kingdom, the three forts were ruled by the Bahamani Kings (1364). When the Bahamani Kingdom collapsed, Golkonda rose to prominence as the seat of the Qutb Shahi dynasty around 1507. Over a period of 62 years the mud fort was expanded by the first three Qutb Shahi kings into a massive fort made up of Granite. It remained so until the capital was shifted to Hyderabad. The qutab Shahis were then blown over by Aurangzeb in 1687 who eventually took over the Golconda Fort.

The Fort
Golconda Fort has four distinct forts inside it, with a 10 km outer wall with 87 semi - circular bastions. It has the great cannons to boast of, eight gateways, four draw bridges and royal apartments, mosques, temples inside the circumference of the fort. Then there is the Fateh Darwaza ( The Gate of Victory) with giant iron spikes. This Gate is also famous for its architecture - a hand clap at a peculiar point (ask your Guide for that particular point), below the dome at the entrance reverberates and can be heard at Bala Hisar Pavilion, the highest point around one kilometer away from the Darwaza. (In the olden days it acted as a warning for the residents of the Fort). Golconda Fort has four distinct forts inside it, with a 10 km outer wall with 87 semi - circular bastions. It has the great cannons to boast of, eight gateways, four draw bridges and royal apartments, mosques, temples inside the circumference of the fort. Then there is the Fateh Darwaza ( The Gate of Victory) with giant iron spikes. This Gate is also famous for its architecture - a hand clap at a peculiar point (ask your Guide for that particular point), below the dome at the entrance reverberates and can be heard at Bala Hisar Pavilion, the highest point around one kilometer away from the Darwaza. (In the olden days it acted as a warning for the residents of the Fort).

In and Around
» The Clay Pipes : Though they sound ordinary, these clay pipes fitted into the wall planks provided sufficient supply to the uphill residents. A series of Persian Wheels carried water to the upper terrace where the pipes channalised the water into gardens, kitchens, cisterns etc.
Mehrangarh Fort
Its a beautiful Fort and that is the best thing about it. It can be easily reached as it is situated in one of the major cities of India - Jodhpur. One of the best things about the fort is that it has audio - tours which are multilingual apart from the guided tours. Pick the one of your choice!

On May 12th 1459, Rao Jodha - the Rajput ruler laid down the foundation of the largest Fort of India. It was constructed to give a safer place to the king Jodha. At the time of foundation there on the hill called Bahuchera where the Fort was bult, there was only one lone resident, a hermit called Cheeria Nathji. He did leave the place for the Fort but with a curse of water scaracity in the Fort. Later on, on the completion of the fort, King Jodha made a residential place for the hermit where he reside for years. Though the Fort was made by King Rao Jodha, today what we see has a major portion made by King Jaswant Singh Rao(1638-78). Inside the palace there are seven pols(gates) to commomerate various victories, the queens palace(Moti Mahal) and other residential complexes.

The Fort
Also known as The Majestic Fort it has seven gates (pols) including the Jaya Pol (Victory Gate - to celebrate the victory over Rulers of Jaipur and Bikaner) built by Maharaja Man Singh in 1806.Then there is the Chattri of Kirtasingha Sodha - the brave soilder who fell defending Jodhpur for Jaipuranians. Imritipol is another gate made to defend the fort from the elephants of the enemies and the Fatehpol which was built by the King Ajit Singh to symbolise his victory over the Mughals. Then there are the Loha pol (Iron Gate) - near the ground of Jauhar (an act of self immolition by the wives of war martyrs); the Surajpol which leads to the musem and the Singar Chowk where the coronations took place. Inside the fort there is the Phool Mahal ( Mahal of Flowers) where royal dances took place on large scale. The fine pantings on the walls of the Mahal with golden leaf and the golden ceiling are the main attractions of the Mahal. The Fort is a splendor in itself. * Just near Surajpol there is this eatery called Cafe Maharan (09am-05pm) offering snacks and small meals to ease down your hunger pangs. Try it out - it's the good one.

In and Around
» Thakahat Villas : Its the private chamber of the King Thakhat Singh who had a round about 30 queens. Here you will find the beautiful lac painting in various colors which is so unique of Rajasthan.
» Moti Mahal : The pearl palace as it is also called is the place where the royal ladies had meetings.Its a beautiful palace with sea shell painting on its walls, five alcoves across its walls and gold plated ceilings.
Junagarh Fort

It is known as one of the most impressive forts of Rajasthan. It can be easily reached from Bikaner by road.


Constructed between 1588-1593, by a General in Mughal Army - Raja Rai, it is made on ground and not on the top of any hill. As the time passed by the later on Maharajas added luxorious suites to the Fort.

The Fort
It is one of the most impressive forts of Rajput Dynasty. Once it was protected by a 986m long wall with 37 bastions and was surrounded by a moat. The entrance to the Fort is from the Suraj Pol(the Sun Gate). There are small palaces inside the fort in the southern side which have the coutyards, towers and windows with beautiful carvings on them. Then there is the Daulat Pol which tells the tale of thousand wives of Rajput knights and soilders who commited sati on their husbands pyre. Enter the Diwn-i-Khas (Hall of private audience) with the silver Gaddi(throne) still there to remit the past. It has the gold painted ceiling which is a charm in itself. Then there is the Phool Mahal (Flower Palace), besides which is the statue of the Surya, the Sun God. The entire fort is a beautiful land of paintings and carvings.

In and Around
» Gaj Mandir : It was the private chamber of King Gaj Singh.The Queens chamber here is filled with mirror tiles and gold painting all over its walls. On the other hand, the Maharajas chamber has its ceiling carved out of wood and has beautiful carvings on it with ivory doors.
Not to be Missed
» The Museum : From the Suraj Pol there is a direct way to it. It has all which shows the Western Influence on the Bikaner Kings and there generations. Crockery from countries like France and England are shown here. In addition there is also a cafe and a small shop in the museum to relax and read from the collection of books which are there.
Amber Fort

Just 11kms northeast of Jaipur, stands this magnificent pink fort palace of Amber, once the capital of Jaipur state. It can be easily reached from Jaipur by road with half an hour drive.

Built by RAJPUTS hailing from Gwalior, where they reigned for 800 years. It was the marraige between a Kachhwaha Prince Taj Karan and a Rajput Princess which resulted in in the hranting of the region of Dausa to the prince by the Princes father. It were the descandents of Prince Taj Karan who later on thought of building a fort on the hill top and then realised this dream into reality. The original makers of the Amber fort were the Susawat Minas, the Minas were given a grant of guardian ship of the Kachhwahas Treasury. The todays Amber Fort was made on the ruins of the old structure on the hilltop. The Kachawas with war booty financed construction of fort palace at Amber, which began in 1592 by the King Man Singh. It was later on extended and completed by the Jai Singh.

The Fort
Its from the Jaleb Chowk that you began your journey uphill the fort. Entry is through Suraj pol (Sun Gate). Jaleb Chowk which is the main courtyard is the place where the armies would display their war booties. (Our tour guide will provide you details as you move along the fort). From the Jaleb Chowk move on to Kali Temple which is the revered one of Maharaja Man Singh. Above the image of the Goddess Kali is the image of Lord Ganesha carved out of a single piece of CORAL From here just up the staircase lies the Diwan-i-Am(Hall of Public Audience) where the King used to listen to the audience and their petitions. Around the third courtyard are the Kings Residences. There is the Jai Mandir (Hall of Victory) with its mosiacs and sculptures. It has patterns made of glass which would illuminate in the darkness of light (the convex mirrors) just like the stars. Just opposite the Jai Mandir is the Sukh Niwas (Hall of Pleasure) with a sandalwood door and a channel running down the room (to cool down the temperature of the hall in the summers). From here the view of the Maota Lake is clear as one can see the ducks swimmimg down the lake.The Zenana (Ladies House) make a good part of the fort. The unique thing is that all the rooms have a common entrance but has seperate chambers.

In an Around
Hall of Mirrors:Deep inside the Mahal is the hall of mirriors. Its unique in the sense that so many nirrors have been installed to lighten up the path. It is said that only one candle was enough to ward away the darkness of the night as those thousand mirrors would lighten up as soon as that single candle entered the premises of the hall of miror.
Armory or the Museum:It has all that takes to win a battle - a collection of war weapons and some royal images like the dress worn by the kings and the knights during the battle. It also includes the Shubhat NIWAS (Hall of Wrriors) which has some old drums and carvings to look out for.
Blue Potter:Around the fort you will find shops filled with Blue Pottery. These make for a part and parcel of Jaipur. Don't forget to take some of them along with you.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Famous 10 Forts In India

Famous Forts in India
History has its pages written in the Forts of India. Forts of Indian present the magnamity of the Royal Kingdoms which India used to have. Today these stand as a reminder of the past and the Grandeur it had. See them and realize this fact for yourself. Here is a list of the most famous and prominent Forts of India which has been standing there for ages....

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Jaigarh Fort

Built in 15th and 18th century it showcases the worlds largest cannon. It can be easily reached by road from Jaipur.

FlashbackMade on the 'Cheel ka teela' or the Mound of Eagles, this fort was planned by Sawai Jai Singh I, but was realised by Jai Singh II. It is one of those forts which was never captured, it stands without the palitial frills found mostly in Rajput Forts. It has Amber Fort at its Bottom.

The Fort Its made on the top of the hill - the Mound of Eagles. It has hatted lookout towers which spresd their wings around the fort. The fort was made to made to tighten the security of Jaipur and Amber and thus dosen't have much of a pomp and show. The most spectacular thing about the fort is the massive cannon named Jaivan which was produced during the Mughal Empire - a time period when Jaipur produced many weapons for the Mughals. It dates from 1720, has a barrel(6mts long) which is made from a mix of six metals, and weighs 50tonnes. It requires 100 kg of gunpowder and has a range of 30kms. A big thing at that period of time! Another spectacular thing about the Fort is the rainwater harvesting system. There are the complex channels which fed three large tanks scattered throughout the fort. To this date its a architectural marvel. These tanks had a capacity of 22.8 million liters.

In and Around
» The Museum: The museum inside the fort has a good collection of coins, puppets, old photographs of the King and his Queens, buildings and processions. There is also a pack of cards laid down in a circular form.
Palaces Of India
The Royal Palaces of India represent the Golden Age of India. With their elegance and grandeur still maintained, these are one of the most elegant places to live in. The cuisine, the dress, the services, the rooms, sports and even the surroundings have been maintained to match the Royal Taste. Live here to experience the same....
Tripura Castle
It is situated in Agartala, the capital of Tripura state. It can be easily reached from Tripura by cab or a tourist bus. Agartala on the other hand can be reached from Gwahati, Calcutta and New Delhi via air.

The King Radha Kishore Manikya was the architect of this palace who thought of making this Fort. It costed 1millon rupees to make this magnificent Palace. After the older palace (10kms away from the newr one) was destroyed by an earthquake in 1897, this one was built to replace the old one.In 1949, the kingdom of Tripura was merged in the Indian legislative and so was the palace. The Neoclassical Palace was designed by Sir Alexander Martin of Messrs Martin & Co.

Epitome Of Magnificence:
It covers an area of approximately one square km. The beautiful walls of the palace encase public halls such as the Throne Room, the Durbar Hall (Courtroom), Library and the reception.Then there is the Chinese Room which was made by Chinese artists who were called from China especially for this work. Then there are fountains around the palace with the grand one at the entrance of the Palace.Its a two storied Palace with three large domes which rests atop a four storied central tower. There are the Gardens in the palace on the lines of Mughal Gardens with fountains and two artificial ponds on the either side.
Mandavi - Vijay Vilas Palace
Gujarat is a beautiful place. Its beaches, temples and historical places make it a different place to visit. Considered to be the most advanced states among all other States of India, it still retains its culture in the form of its Historical Forts and Palaces. Kutcchh is place in Gujarat which is famous for its Run ( shallow but vast desert). It is here in Runn Of Kutchh lies the Vijay Vilas Palace, which is worth a watch. Lying in the desert of the Kutchh it is a beautiful Palace from every sense. It is as beautiful as the Rann of Kachchh. It can be easily reached from Bhuj in Gujarat by road.

It was built by a Architect of Jaipur in AD 1920 in the lines of Orchha Palaces as the Royal Adobe of the then Kings.

Epitome Of Magnificence:
This royal adobe was constructed by a local architect and craftsmen from Jaipur in AD 1920. This palace has a great similarity to the Orchha Palace and the Datia Palace. Marble fountains and water channel among the sprawling gardens cover the palace from all sides. The carved stone jalis, colored glasses, stone carved walls make the palace beautiful. What is the most interesting is the Private beach of the Palace which provides for the air conditioning of the palace throughout the year. Another most splendid thing about the fort is the central dome with Bengal Pillars on its sides.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Palaces Of India
The Royal Palaces of India represent the Golden Age of India. With their elegance and grandeur still maintained, these are one of the most elegant places to live in. The cuisine, the dress, the services, the rooms, sports and even the surroundings have been maintained to match the Royal Taste. Live here to experience the same....
Castle of Mandav
The castle is located at the heart of the Shekhawati region. It is easily reachable as it is just is 260 kms from Delhi, 200 kms from Bikaner and 165 kms from Jaipur. A cab or a tourist bus is a easy way out.

Its a 240 yrs old Fortress made by Thakiur Nawal Singh. Now it has been coverted into a Heritage Hotel by the Royal Family.
Epitome Of Magnificence:
It was built by Thakur Nawal Singh in the year 1755. Its a enormous monument - with a whooping nummer of 51 elegant rooms! And the most splendid thing about these rooms is that no two rooms match each others decor - each one is unique! The Darbar Hall (Courtroom) with the royal frame of the Royal family stands there beautifully. The carvings, the colors, the paintings and the jades all adding to the beauty of the rooms. The terrace is another beautiful place to go as from here you can see the beautiful city lit with night lights and temples all around. Also hear the blowing trumphets and see the decorated camels in the royal form.
Thirumalai Palace
Considered to be one of the wonders of South India it is situated in Madurai. It can be easily reached from Madurai by cab or a tourist bus. It is about two and a half kms from Meenakshi Amman Temple.Lord Napier allocated half a million Indian Rupees in 1858 for its restoration.

The Great King Thirumalai Nayak (1623-161659) was the person behind this great architecture. It is thought that it was an Italian Architect who made this beautiful Palace. The Thirumalai Palace is a classic example of Indo - Saracenic architectural style. The beautiful Palace has been divided into two major parts - Swargavilasa and Rangavilasa.

Epitome Of Magnificence:
Its a blend of Dravadian, Islamic and European Style. Its coutyard on the entrance is about 3,700 sq mts in size. It is surrounded by circular pillar and circular garden.The palace was divided into two major parts, namely Swarga Vilasam (Celestial Pavilion) and Ranga Vilasam. These two portions included the royal residence, theatre, apartments, armoury, quaters, pond and garden. The Swarga Villasam was the Thorne Room. It has a octagonal dome which is 70m high supported by massive circular columns.The king used to perform dance and music on daily basis in the palace. The ornate ceilings bear paintings relating to various themes of the Shiavite and the Vaishnovite. The marriage of Sundareswarar with Devi Meenakshi has also been depicted in the paintings.
Palaces Of India
The Royal Palaces of India represent the Golden Age of India. With their elegance and grandeur still maintained, these are one of the most elegant places to live in. The cuisine, the dress, the services, the rooms, sports and even the surroundings have been maintained to match the Royal Taste. Live here to experience the same....
Udaipur Lake Palace

Historical Background:
The Lake Palace is a five star hotel seemingly afloat on the still blue waters of Lake Pichola. The Lake Palace is one of the most romantic hotels in the world. Udaipur's 250-year old palace offers guests a perfect blend of serenity and grandeur.

Epitome Of Magnificence:
Udaipur Lake Palace: Today this pleasure palace is a luxury hotel like none other in the world. Staying here is the ultimate privilege, affording the pleasures of a long gone age of princes. Arrive by boat and spend a lovely holiday amidst slender carved columns, filigreed screens, swimming pools, fountains - all created in the most beautiful marble. There are 84 centrally air-conditioned rooms including 17 suites and 53 Deluxe rooms. Each room is tastefully done with antique decor that takes you back in history. The palace also comprises of a Restaurant, acoffee shop and a well appointed lobby with jewellery and souvenir shops. The royal banquet rooms are now converted into reception rooms, bars and restaurants. This world class hotel offers its guests a wide variety of facilities combined with a high level of personalized service.

Orchha Palaces

Its a combination of Palaces made by susequent Kings Of Orccha. Orccha lies in the state of Madhya Pradesh and can be reached by road and rail from Delhi (220kms), Jhansi (19 kms) and Agra (110 kms).

It was founded by Raja Orccha in the 16th century but what we see today is the work of his Successor, Raja Bharti Chand. There are two main palaces of Orccha - Raja Palace and the Jahangir Palace. Raja Mahal, its construction took place by the King of Orccha, Raja Rudra Pratap but he died in 1531 leaving the work of construction in mid. His son then proceeded with the construction. The final touches were given by later on Kings. The Jahangir Mahal was constructed in the honour of Mughal Emperor Jahangir by Orccha Emperor, Vir Singh for a SINGLE DAY STAY OF JAHANGIR.

Epitome Of Magnificence:
The Raja Mahal is a pure depicture of the Mughal architecture.It has Jaals of stone and artifacts at its entrance. Inside the Palace there are the Diwane Khas and Diwane Aam - Hall of private and publc Audience. The Hall of Private audience is on the first floor. It has massive columns and ceiling with beautiful carving on it. It also has paintings of Mughal and Bundela arts. The exteriors has elephants and lotus flower made on it.On the other hand, the Jahangir Palace is made on the lines of Bundela Art. It has eight stories with eight pavillions. There is a big hall where meetings with the subjects were held. There is a long arcade of elephants upto the entrance. The entire palace is filled with carvings of flowers, peacocks and geometric patterns. The third palace known as Rai Parveen Palace is a three storyed structure made to honour the dedicatd Poetess and Music Composer of Orccha - Rai Parveen. She was also known for her beauty. The third floor of the Palace is filled with carvings of Nritya Mudras. The entire palace was once surrounded by lush green gardens, whose reminances can be seen even today.

Corbett National Park
Corbett National park world renownedand is known as the 'Land of the trumpet, roar and song'. The kaleidoscope of flora and fauna here makes this an ideal destination for an enthusiastic naturalist. Nestling in the foothills of the Himalayas, the Corbett National Park extends over an area of The park is named after the famed hunter-author-photographer-naturalist, Jim Corbett.

A Walk In The Wild:

The park has always been noted for its tigers that are spoted quite often, are one of the prime attrcations for the tourists. The park has a magnificent blend of green flora that include a diverse variety of trees, shrubs, bamboos and grasses. Apart from the greens Corbett National park is home to a long list of wildlife that comprises of 50 mammals, 580 kinds of birds and 25 reptile species. The entire spectrum of animals that this park inhabits include elephants, Himalayan black bear in the higher elevations, sloth bear, varieties of lesser known cats, dhole -the wild dog. If you happen to be passing by the lake then one can spot crocodiles, gharials, tortoises and pythons. Elephants are now permanent inhabitants following the building of the dam & the inundation of their old trekking routes.

Corbett park also has a spectacular bird diversity to offer its visitors. The park, has over 600 species of birds, including the pied kingfisher, crested serpent eagle, fishing eagle and Himalayan grey headed fishing eagle.
Dhikala is the park centre and for the convenience of the tourist it offers accomodation. There are forest rest houses dotted around but these are suitable only if the visitors possess their own transport. Elephant rides are available at low cost from Dhikala & this is the best way to seee the jungle and its inhabitants.
Top Tips:
This park is only open from 15th November to 15th June. For an overnight stay inside the park a permit must be obtained at Ramnagar, this permit allows for a maximum stay of three days. If the park is too busy no permits will be issued. You can enjoy the elephant ride and explore the park. From Dhikala elephant safaris are organized twice a day. There is a watch tower and observation posts at Dhikala for wildlife watching, binoculars are very useful.

Summer begins in March-April, with a minimum of 9 and maximum of 40 degrees; May-June gets hotter at 21-45 degrees. Winter is November - February at 4-26 degrees.

Wheels To Jim Corbett Park:
» By Air: Phoolbagh, Pantnagar at a distance of 50 km is the nearest airport. Delhi at a distance of 300 km is the nearest international airport.
» By Rail: Ramnagar is on the broad gauge track from where the road transport options have to be availed to reach the park.
» By Road: Dhikala is 300 km from Delhi, 145 km from Lucknow and 51 km from Ramnagar.
Ganges River:The Ganges has been a symbol of India's age-long culture and civilization, ever changing, ever flowing, and yet ever the same Ganga. Jawaharlal Nehru, First Prime Minister of India, born in Allahabad on the Ganges.

Background: The river known as the Ganges is officially and popularly known by its Hindu name, Ganga. The river Ganges is very sacred to the Hindus. The river has its source in the Himalayas, at Gaumakh in the southern Himalayas on the Indian side of the Tibetan border. It is 1 560 miles (2 510 km) long and flows through China, India, Nepal and Bangladesh. The Ganges river basin is one of the most fertile and densely populated in the world and covers an area of 400 000 sq miles (1 000 000 sq km). The river flows through 29 cities with population over 100,000, 23 cities with population between 50,000 and 100,000, and about 48 towns.

Ganga in The Hindu Myth:
According to Hindu mythology, Ganga flowed in the heavens but then was ordered to go down to earth. Fearing that her forceful descent might wash away the earth, the gods sought the help of Shiva. Shiva broke the fall of Ganga-Ganges by capturing her in his mighty locks. Since then, Ganga-Ganges resides on top of Shiva's head as his second wife, the first being Parvati.

Religious Significance:
Hindus regard the Ganges as the holiest of rivers. It was named after the goddess Ganga, the daughter of the mountain god Himalaya. Pilgrimage sites are particularly significant along the river. At the confluence of the Ganges and and the Tamuna tributory near Allahabad a bathing festival in January and February attracts hundreds of thousands of pilgrims.
Other holy pilgrimage sites along the river include Haridwar, the place where the Ganges leaves the Himalayas, and Allahabad, where the mythical Saraswati river is believed to enter the Ganges. It is believed that bathing in Ganga washes away one's sins and the water cleanses you of all the evil. The Ganges water is considered to be holy and Hindus cast the ashes of their dead in the river in the belief that this will guide the souls of the deceased straight to paradise.

Cleaning The Ganges:
Along with the glory of Ganga, comes the pollution as well. The pious river has become an agent of the worst waterborn diseases like dysentery, hepatits, and cholera. Money is being raised by the government and other groups such as the Swatcha Ganga to clean the Ganges. The Ganga Action Plan was also initiated with the objective of purifying the holy river. None the less, the Ganges is still the purifying waters for the Hindus of India.
The Ajanta Caves
Location:Located In Maharashtra, 100 kilometers from the city of Aurangabad. The Ajanta Caves were discovered accidentally by a British Captain, John Smith in 1819, while on a hunting expedition. Aurangabad can be reached by flight or train, or even by motored down to from Manmad , the nearest railhead being 55 km north at Jalgaon city of Maharashtra, India.
Ajanta and Ellora:

» Ajanta: These 3rd-century caves are fine achievements by Buddhist monks and are considered the finest masterpiece of Buddhist art and architecture.The caves are cut from the volcanic lava of the Deccan and are set in beautiful blooming surroundings. These historical manmade caves comprise of beautiful paintings on the walls and ceilings that depict the life of the Buddha. At Ajanta, the paintings on the walls, illustrate the events in the life of Gautama Buddha.

» Ellora
The Ellora caves, 34 in number, are the finest specimens of cave temple architecture. These structures reflect the three faiths of Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism, and were carved during the 350 AD to 700 AD period. The 12 caves to the south are Buddhist, the 17 in the centre dedicated to Hinduism, and the 5 caves to the north are Jain. . The interiors of the cave are exquisitely adorned

Ajanta provides a unique platform to study the early phases of Buddhist sculpture, painting and architecture.

Plan Your Trip:One can easily spend 2 days at this impressive cave complex and for a suspended moment in time, lose all track of time.

Climate: The best time to visit the caves is during the monsoons- the river is swollen and the ravine is surrounded by gushing waterfalls. The cooler winter months- between October and March- are also a comfortable time to travel to Ajanta. The summers are quite gruelling, especially as you have to walk around quite a bit.

How to Reach Ajanta:
» By Air : Aurangabad can be reached from New Delhi and Mumbai (Bombay), international airport. Govt. run Indian airlines flight to Aurangabad daily from New Delhi and Mumbai. » By Rail : Two express trains with an accommodation run between Mumbai an Aurangabad, daily. If travelling from New Delhi to Mumbai, alight at Jalgoan from where the caves can be reached in one hour.
» By Road: Ajanta- 106 kms, Bombay- 392 kms, Ellora- 30 kms, Nanded- 272 kms, Nasik- 221 kms, Pune- 229 kms, Shirdi- 136 kms.

Kerala Tourism:Kerala is a land of great natural beauty situated in South India. Kerala is synonmus with azure backwaters, Lush hill stations and exotic wildlife, ayurvedic health holidays and wonderful art forms. The state enjoys a unique topography that makes it a magnetic tourist destination. Kerala is considered an advanced state as there is hundred percent literacy. Kerala is a land of rivers and backwaters.

Kerala At A Glance:Kerala offers some stunning picturesque locales that make it the most sought after tourist destination for visitors from India and abroad. Lose your heart to the mesmerizing charm of Kerala's natural beauty.

Wild Life: God's own country boasts of some exotic wildlife that can be witnessed by you. Watch the elephants swing their trunks, the monkeys doing trapeze on the trees and the deers running on the green grass. If you are an animal lover then visit the famous sanctuaries like Eravikulam National Park, Eravikulam National Park, Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary, Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary and many others.

Backwaters: The backwaters of Kerala are irresistable and what better way to explore them than houseboats. Float on these calm waters in immense luxury in a houseboat, designed in a diverse range to suit the variegated need of the tourist.

Ayurveda: Rejuvenate your body and senses with the age old Ayurveda. Kerala offers some exotic natural treatments that are very popular all over the world.

Shopping Euphoria: Kerala is famous for her ivory carvings. Aranmula mirror, gold and silver brocaded fabrics, boxes, buttons and ash trays of steel with silver lining, pottery and ceramic products are the speciality of Kerala. The shopping centres are Chalai Bazaar and Main Road.

» By Air: Connected to Bombay, Madras, Cochin, Delhi Colombo.
» By Rail: Connected to Calcutta and other important cities.
» By Road: Calicut- 448 kms, Cochin- 223 kms, Kanyakumari- 87 kms, Madurai- 417 kms, Periyar- 272 kms, Ponmudi- 61 kms, Quilon- 73 kms, Varkala- 55 kms.

Climate:The climate is equable and varies little from season to season. The temperature normally ranges from 80 to 90 F in the plains but drops to about 70 F in the highlands. The state gets its due share of both the southwest as well as the northeast monsoons, and the rainfull is heavy, averaging around 118 inches annually.