Forts of Maharashtra- Murud-Janjira

Famous for its diversity, India is a land of vibrant cultures and traditions. The large states of this country are replete with natural beauty and colorful cultures, which attract hordes of tourists every year. Maharashtra is one of the biggest states of India and boasts of a rich heritage, which is beautifully reflected in its edifices. The geographical richness of the place has resulted in several natural formations, which add to the value of this place. Maharashtra holidays are unique opportunities to explore and experience the lifestyle and heritage of this place that can be a delightful memory to take back. Another noted fact about the place is the presence of several forts, which stand proudly, depicting the elegance of eras, to which they belong.

Fort of Murud-Janjira

Murud-Janjira

Murud-Janjira

Murud-Janjira is one such structure, situated on a small island near the coastal village of Murud. This fort is one of its kind and among the only forts, which are located towards the western coast. Once belonging by the Siddis, it has a glorious record of being undefeated from attacks of the Marathas, Dutch as well as the English East India Company. The isle on which the fort is located is oval in shape and lies near the Arabian coast. It had a strong position as it is the strongest marine fort present in the country. The site can be reached through sail-boats approaching from the Rajapuri Jetty. Its frontal area is so protected that it can be seen only after approaching it, after which its exquisite details become visible.

Description

This glorious structure has maintained its 19 rounded bastions till date that speak of its gallant past. Several cannons of native and European styles can be seen near these bastions. After watching it carefully, it can be predicted that the edifice has served as a full-fledged palace, having all sorts of facilities in it. It has various living quarters for important officials, besides areas for formal purposes. There are two large freshwater tanks for catering to the water-related needs of people. A mosque is also situated on the site that was used for worshiping in those times. On the outer walls, a large sculpture depicting a tiger-like animal can be seen. One noteworthy fact is the presence of Ashok Chakras on all the prominent entrances of the fort.

The defensive edifice was strategically built to be helpful during any crisis; hence, there are a number of hideouts and escape routes inside. It can be said that the overall construction is quite strong and unique in that sense. The fort has taken a long span of time to reach this state of magnificence as it was originally built on a small scale, somewhere near the 15th century. Since then, various great rulers added to its worth and kept it undefeated for a long time. There are several such historically-splendid structures in the city that can make any holiday in Maharashtra a memorable experience for visitors.

 

Royal Palaces of Hyderabad- The Falaknuma Palace

The southern part of India is a heaven for those looking for a peaceful destination full of natural beauty and cultural richness. Hyderabad, the capital city of Andhra Pradesh, is one such place to spend a perfect holiday. Hyderabad tours let travellers behold its scenic environs, which are the result of rich natural resources like the Musi River and Hussain Sagar Lake. The city, which known for its rich culture, has developed to a great extent to gain its present status of a metropolis. With a number of IT companies setting up their operations here, it has become one of the prominent technological centers of India. Apart from this, there are several monuments and landmarks, which are prestigious remnants of its vast history.

 

Falaknuma Palace

Falaknuma Palace

Falaknuma Palace

Falaknuma Palace- Interior

Falaknuma Palace- Interior

Located in the shared area of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, Falaknuma Palace is one of the finest palaces of the city. Falaknuma, which literally means like the sky, was initiated under Nawab Viqar-ul-Umra, who served as the prime minister of Hyderabad. He was also a significant person and a relative of Nawab Mir Mahboob Ali Khan Bahadur, who was the Nizam VI. Its foundation was laid in the late 19th century, by the well-known personality – Sir Vicar. The prominent parts of this edifice, such as Zanana Mahal and Gol Bangla, took almost nine years to be completed. It welcomes hundreds of visitors every year that come here to behold its terrific beauty.

Design and Architecture

 

Being an exotic blend of Tudor and Italian architectures, this structure has several interesting influences. The state reception room is among its highlights as it is beautifully decorated with gilded relief designs and frescoes. A unique organ is featured in the ballroom and is one of the rarest of its kind in the world. The large and lavish structure boasts of more than 200 elegant rooms besides several spacious halls. A rich and lavish treasure collection belonging to the Nizam is kept here that includes some of the finest paintings, books, manuscripts and furniture. The dining hall is another feature of this place that has a seating arrangement of around 100 guests at a time.

 

Intricately-carved rosewood chairs with leather upholstery add further elegance to this area. The guests at that time used to relish their meals in golden tableware coupled with the fluted music. A walnut-carved roof is provided in the library, which resembles the Windsor Castle of England to some extent. Besides books and manuscripts, this library has a fine collection of religious scriptures. Tourists can delight themselves by visiting the living quarters, which were used by members of the royal family. There is a splendid billiards room designed by Burroughs and Watts, a pair of whose is placed at the Buckingham Palace. Apart from this, Venetian chandeliers and an efficient electrical system lighting up the whole palace are some other features to notice. Visiting such splendid attractions can add to the pleasure of Hyderabad tour packages availed by vacationers.

Art Galleries of Delhi-The National Gallery of Modern Art

Tourists coming to India and not visiting Delhi can miss out on a memorable experience offered by the city. India, which is already well-known for its vibrant culture, gets an added charm with the bustling cities such as Delhi. The capital city boasts of its rich blend of traditionalism and modernity, which function as a bridge between the present and the bygone eras. It has witnessed the rule of a number of great dynasties, including the Mughal and British, who ruled over India for a long time. Delhi tours let travelers explore its various interesting facets like monuments, landmarks and the lively culture. Apart from its political and social significance, Delhi is also famous for its artistic spirit. Establishment of various galleries in the city has made it a prominent centre for different types of arts.

 

National Gallery of Modern Art

 

National Gallery of Modern Art

National Gallery of Modern Art

The National Gallery of Modern Art, referred as NGMA, is one of the premier art galleries run under the Ministry of Culture. An enormous collection of more than 14000 pieces of artworks is present in this edifice, which receives enthusiasts from far-off places. There are a number of great artists from different backgrounds, whose works are included in the gallery. Raja Ravi Verma, Rabindranath Tagore, Nandalal Bose and Thomas Daniell are some of the prominent ones from the list. Those, with a penchant for quaint pieces, can get the delight of watching sculptures dating back to around 1857. This popular edifice is situated towards the end of Rajpath, near India Gate.

 

History

 

The Maharaja of Jaipur used the structure as his residential palace; hence, the building was formerly known as Jaipur House. Some major areas, such as the central dome along with the building shaped as butterfly, were designed by the renowned architect – Sir Arthur Bloomfield. The gallery was honourably inaugurated by the first Vice-president of India – Dr S. Radhakrishnan, in early 1950s. It got Hermann Goetza, who was a noted art historian from Germany, as its first curator. With the passage of time, a number of facilities were added at the site, including restoration, documentation centre and a reference library.

Showcased Items

 

Authentic designs and works from various parts of the country are collected here that clearly speak of the purpose of NGMA to showcase and promote modern art. With several examples of miniature, Tanjore and Kalighat paintings, it has become an impressive repository, which showcases the resplendent past of the country. The edifice has included landmark works of modern artists like M. F. Husain and Tyeb Mehta. Some minor artistic objects, which were made in late 19th century, are added from the government treasury. A number of European artists, who visited the country during the 18th and 19th centuries, also contributed their artworks here. There are numerous travellers, who like to include these impressive institutions in their itinerary as this offers an opportunity to experience the rich culture of the country and understand the factors, which have influenced them over the time. Delhi holidays are overall pleasing experiences for those, who wish to get a glimpse of how culture evolved here.

Shey Palace and Monastery in Leh Ladakh

The Shey Village

Shey Village

Shey Village

It is a small village located a distance of around 15 km from the capital city. Like other towns of this region, Shey also lies in the middle of high mountain ranges. It was the capital of Upper Ladakh before the Dogras from Jammu invaded the region. The place is among the rare towns of Ladakh that managed to harness waters of the Indus River. It is believed that the name of this village originated from the nearby lake and is the distorted form of the term for shell. Residents of this place celebrate the Sindhu Darshan Festival, every year on the bank of the river. The village is dotted with a number of chortens, which have interesting stories behind them. As per tell-a-tales, the king of Shey did not imprison criminals for wrongdoings and instead asked them to build these structures to beautify the place. He believed that the criminal will be absolved by building these monuments of Lord Buddha.

Shey Palace and Monastery

This palace is located on a hillock, on the Leh-Manali road. It used to be the ideal retreat of the kings of Ladakh in summers. The edifice was built by Lhachen Palgyigon (also known as Deldan Namgyal) in the year 1655. The monastery was constructed in the memory of King Singay Namgyal – his deceased father. This monastery houses one of the largest statues of the country. The giant statue is almost 12 metres long and covers three floors of the monastery. It is said that almost 5 kg of gold was used while building and gilding this copper and tin statue.

Divided into three levels, the statue features the feet of Buddha in the first level with soles pointing upwards. The second level shows murals and the third one features butter lamps, which burn throughout the day. Walls on both sides of this huge statue display pictures of 16 Buddhist saints who achieved Nirvana while the wall behind it shows images of the two revered disciples of Gautama Buddha – Maudgalyayana and Sariputra. Tourists can see a number of beautiful paintings on the top floor or can go through efficiently-preserved manuscripts in the library on the lowest floor. They can book Leh Ladakh tour packages in order to behold the picturesque views of the valley from this palace.

Religious Sites of Kanyakumari

Kanyakumari lies on the southern tip of India, surrounded by huge water bodies from three sides. The ethereal beauty of beaches, sunrise and sunset is the most fascinating highlights of a Kanyakumari tour. Apart from the glittering beaches, this place has an interesting story behind its name, which was taken from the mythological epics of the Hindus. It is said that Kumari Amman (also known as Kanya Devi) – an incarnation of Goddess Parvati (spouse of Lord Shiva), vowed that she will remain a virgin till Lord Shiva does not marry her. She took a penance on one of the stones of this place; and hence the place is called Kanyakumari – meaning a virgin girl. The Kumari Amman Temple, dedicated to this Devi Kanya, lies at the shore of the Arabian Sea, Bay of Bengal and the Indian Ocean.

 

Shrines of Kanyakumari

 

The shrines of this destination are popular for their ingenious architecture and detailed carvings. Beautiful artwork and lavish interiors of these holy sites should not be missed by travellers during their India holidays at this place.A large population of this region worships Lord Murugan, Ayyappan and Krishna.

 Suchindram Temple

Suchindram Temple

The district is dotted with religious sites, including the Vivekananda Rock Memorial and Suchindram Temple, Shri Adukesav Perumal Temple and Kumari Amman Temple.

 

Kumari Amman

 

The shrine is dedicated to Goddess Parvati, who won Lord Shiva after going through harsh atonements in this region. She was destined to kill Banasura – one of the guards of the devil – but only if she was a virgin.

Kumari Amman

Kumari Amman

So, all gods refused to marry her, in order to save the earth from destruction. The nose ring wore by statue of the deity is popular for its dazzling glow. It is said that the unique white glow of this nose ring misled many ships in the past.

 

Sri Adikesava Perumal

 

Shri Adukesav Perumal Temple

Shri Adukesav Perumal Temple

Another prominent pilgrimage in the region can be found at the sacred land of Thiruvattar, known by the name of Sri Adikesava Perumal Temple. The site holds a significant place for followers of Vaishnavism, and is part of the 108 Divya Desams of the country. Surrounded by three well-known rivers – Kothai, Pahrali and Thamirabarani, it is situated among scenic environs of Thiruvattar. According to legends, the deity of this shrine is revered as he defeated a demon named Kesi, leaving his revengeful wife behind.

 

The wife then asked for destruction to be caused under the effect of River Ganges and Thamirabarani, but it could not be achieved and she had to surrender to the Lord. The architecture here is another fascinating thing to note that has been appreciated since years. The intricately-designed pillars, doors and roof are splendid examples of Dravidian style that adds more worth to the structure. Devotees could see the deity lying on his couch made of a snake, through the doors. Other prominent figures inside the shrine are of Lord Adikesava Perumal and Deepalakshmis, which are quite different from each other. The temple is also popular for its various beautiful murals and the festivals celebrated here.

 

Mesmeric Cascades of Shillong

Home to the native Khasi people of the North East, Shillong is the state capital of Meghalaya. It forms the headquarters of the East Khasi Hills, which is an administrative district in the state. The beautiful rolling hills and scenic locales of this place have always earned the admiration of people from far-off regions. It was this scenic beauty of the town that inspired the British to name it as the Scotland of the East. Sparkling lakes, cascading waterfalls, landscaped gardens, lofty peaks and significant museums form integral elements of the tourism circuit in the town. Any Shillong tour is inclusive of visits to such spots, which leave people mesmerized with their beauty and a plethora of information about the place.

 

When talked of natural beauty and pristine environs, Shillong has abundant of these that attract peace lovers and nature admirers. The place is emerging as an ideal holiday haunt for couples because of its tranquility and picturesqueness. Since the recent times, newly-wed couples are considering this town as a perfect location for a well-planned honeymoon tour in India. With its isolated locales and picture-perfect vistas, the destination promises to offer a memorable experience to those coming on a romantic sojourn. Amongst the several stunning elements of the region, its waterfalls are the most striking ones.

 

The Scenic Beauty of Waterfalls

 

Shillong earns a considerable amount of fame for its gurgling cataracts, which fall from cliffs, mountains and hills located at great heights. Surrounded by rich verdure and situated in salubrious locations, these water bodies are the highlights of any trip to the town.

Elephant Falls

Elephant Falls

Elephant Falls, often known as Ka Kshaid Lai Pateng Khohsiew in olden times, is a three-step waterfall amidst dense vegetation. The present name of this fall is taken from an elephant-shaped rock, which was discovered here by the British during their reign. It lies in the outskirts of the town and is an ideal getaway from the crowded locales. A small wooden bridge leads to the site, from where it can be beheld perfectly.

Sweet Falls

Sweet Falls

Sweet Falls – the most beautiful waterfall in Shillong – is a few kilometres away from the famous Happy Valley. Situated in a region dotted will tall and fragrant pines, this fall is worth clicking numerous pictures. Colourful flowers of various native species can be found in the area surrounding it. Resembling the open wings of a giant eagle, the Spread Eagle Falls enjoy a scenic and soothing setting, which allures tourists.

 

Bishop Falls

Bishop Falls

Beadon Falls

Beadon Falls

The twin falls – Bishop and Beadon – are known for their impressive heights and sparkling streams. Both of these drop from the same escarpment and meet a deep gorge, which is mesmeric in appeal. The former of these has a continuous flow while the latter breaks into parts before entering the bottom. Loft green hills and flower-carpeted tracts of land surround these two cascades, which are famous for their unparalleled natural beauty. Tourists have to get down at Mawlai in order to take a convenient route to the site of these stunning waterfalls.

Lakshman Jhukla- the Epitome of Rishikesh

The presence of revered pilgrimage sites is the reason why India has a prominent place in the list of significant religious destinations of the world. There are several hundreds of pilgrimage sites of different faiths that are known to receive hordes of devotees every year. Abundance of natural landscapes is an added advantage that further increase the popularity of these sites worldwide. A trip to this country includes Rishikesh, which is a beautiful city in the hill district of Uttarakhand. Popularly known as the Gateway to the Garhwal Himalayas, it has a rich history with reference in a number of mythological tales. Apart from beautiful landscapes and ghats, people can visit the famous Lakshman Jhula – a prominent place for travelers visiting Rishikesh.

 

Lakshman Jhula

 

Lakshman Jhula – a well-known landmark of the region – is actually a hanging bridge made of iron built over the sacred River Ganges. Watching pleasant views while walking over it is a memorable experience for every visitor who walks over it. These include pleasant vistas of the sunrise and sunset, which can be enjoyed from here as it is located at an elevation of about 70 feet from the river. This long bridge is believed to have played a vital role in the epic of the Ramayana. As per mythology, Lord Lakshman, who was the younger brother of the legendary King Rama, used the site for crossing the river. At that time, it used to be a suspension bridge solely made of jute. After that incident, the place became famous by His name, making it more respectable. In the course of time, jute eroded and a new iron bridge was built at the same place. It falls along the old route to the sacred sites of Kedarnath and Badrinath. This site has gained so much prominence in the last few years that several market hubs have been developed around it, making it a frequent and lively area.

 

Devotees come here in large numbers as there are several shrines and temples located around it. Frequent vacationers are of an opinion that a trip to Rishikesh remains incomplete if the temple called Tera Manzil is not visited. It is a 13-storey pilgrimage, where numerous pilgrims gather to pay homage to the main deity. People can also take out some time to visit the nearby Lakshman Temple and Risha Kund, which is believed to have been sanctified when Lord Rama and His brother took a bath in it. Another reason behind the popularity of the place is the serene and peaceful environment that prevails here. During festivals and other auspicious occasions, it gets filled with chantings of mantras and the cheerful vibes brought by visitors. Markets around it can be ideal spots for souvenir shopping as devotees can buy items like idols of gods and goddesses, holy books and local jewellery. Rishikesh trip finally gets complete by relishing the delectable street food offered here in a number of small stores.