Travel

Ramakkalmedu.

As the famous Hollywood superstar, Leonardo DiCaprio remarked about Ramakkalmedu, ‘If there is a paradise on Earth, it is here.’
Ramakkalmedu, a small abode in the hills of Idukki, is indeed a paradise on Earth. The visit to God’s Own Country of Kerala would remain incomplete without a visit to the beautiful destination of Ramakkalmedu. It is located at a height of 3500 feet above sea level and is 15 kilometers from Nedumkandam in Thekkady.

Ramakkalmedu also called as Kerala’s ‘cradle of wind’ is a famous hill station in Idukki District of Kerala which provides a panoramic view of Tamilnadu villages and towns.
Ramakkalmedu is not only a hill station but also a windy spot too.There are a lot of attractions but the main attraction in Ramakkalmedu is the Kuruvan and Kuruvatti statue, which is  located in one of the hills of Ramakaklmedu.
The myth behind the name “Ramakkalmedu” is Rama – kal – medu literally means “Land of Rama’s Stone” or “Land where Rama kept his leg”. The story behind this place says that Lord Rama kept his feet at the tip of Ramakkalmedu to search Ravana the King of Lanka, who abducted his wife Sita.

Travel

Ponmudi: Wonderful Hilly Retreat of Western Ghats.

health tourism in Kerala Biverah Hotels Suites places to visit in India 3

Ponmudi, is also called Golden peak and is a part of western ghats. It is a small hill station, only 3 hours drive and is the perfect choice. It is situated at an altitude of 3,000 feet, the drive to the hilly retreat is the most scenic. Natives in the capital city of Thiruvananthapuram will always say that weekend drive to ponmudi is the best way to spend time. Families and Friends groups are known to go on long drive through winding road and through the thriving hills and sweepings valleys of the Western Ghats, leading up to Ponmudi from Trivandrum.

Most Flora and Fauna can be seen here including mountain flowers, wild orchids and exotic butterflies. The climate of the place is very pleasant and most part of the year this place is covered with thick mist. A large number of cottages and resorts have come up in the area, tourists can enjoy all essence of nature and its beauty while staying. The tree house view tower is another great place to visit here in Ponmudi.

A special attraction of the ponmudi is meenmuty-Kallar waterfall, One can always stopover at the breath-taking Kallar river on the way. This River flows parallel to the road in the opposite direction, and Meenmutty Waterfalls only a little distance ahead. A good part of this space is covered with dense forest and can be reached only after covering these forest. And the wildflowers growing on the banks of brooks just adds to the overall beauty. The waterfall cascade down and series of boulders to form a large pool. Then cold water flowing through rocks is a beautiful sight. Kallar is also a popular and favorite destination for bird watchers.

ponmudi-hill

Golden Valley doesn’t involve any trek to reach the place. The highlight here is the gushing water of Kallar River, which is perfect for a dip. Also, the place is strewn with golden-hued stones and pebbles which can be the reason behind the name of this place. Wildlife enthusiasts rejoice, because Ponmudi is home to Peppara Wildlife Sanctuary, rich in flora, fauna. The terrain of this sanctuary is hilly, with the beautiful Karamana river meandering through it. The most commonly spotted animals here are the elephant, leopard, sloth bear, sambar, Nilgiri langur, and macaques.

ponmudi-hill-station

A special attraction of the ponmudi is meenmuty-Kallar waterfall, One can always stopover at the breath-taking Kallar river on the way. This River flows parallel to the road in the opposite direction, and Meenmutty Waterfalls only a little distance ahead. A good part of this space is covered with dense forest and can be reached only after covering these forest. And the wildflowers growing on the banks of brooks just adds to the overall beauty. The waterfall cascade down and series of boulders to form a large pool. Then cold water flowing through rocks is a beautiful sight. Kallar is also a popular and favorite destination for bird watchers.

PONMUDI OFFERS BEAUTIFUL TREKKING TRAILS

Varayadumotta

Ponmudi offer great trails to many wonders in nature. Varayamuttom is the most popular treking trails in ponmudi offers the panorasmic view of the hills along with Nilgiri Thar. Nilgiri Thar is known as Varayadu. It is a full day long treking program and climbing the mountain 1100m high. The base of the trek is the evergreen shola forest.

Seethatheertham

Trekking to the stream of Seethatheertham in Ponmudi is a 4 km trekking programme ponmudi. We can find the r uins of temples and can also see the footprints of Goddess Seetha, and once the goddess satiated her thirst in this river as it is believed by the locals. The herds of elephants and gaurs can be spotted here.

Manachala

Manachala is a 6 km trekking programme to the base camp of Varayadumotta Peak organized by Ponmudi Ecotourism. A guide will accompany You during trekking.

Maruthwamala

It is an offseason trekking programme which will be conducted by Ponmudi Eco-tourism to the interior of forests of the Western Ghats region of Ponmudi.

Ponmudi is the ultimate destination for all those who wish to experience nature at its best. There are 22 hairpin bends to route the hill station. The authorities of the forest department had placed a board welcoming tourists to the hill station. They had also issued special instructions in the interest of those who love the the forests as well and requested the visitors to be responsible.

Uncategorized

Chamundi Hills- Mysore.

Visitor Information

  • Famous For: Tourism, Temple, Nature, Panorama and Photography
  • Entrance Fee: The entry is free.
  • Visiting Time: (i) 7:30 am to 2:00 (ii) 3:30 pm to 6:00 pm (iii) 7:30 pm to 9:00 pm – The Chamundi hills houses the Sri Chamundeswari Temple which is open from 7:30 am to 9:00 pm every day, while it closes during lunch time and at twilight.
  • Visit Duration: The visit duration is estimated to be an hour or two.

Mysore is one of the largest cities in the state of Karnataka and is a major factor that adds to the state’s tourism industry. Mysore, the city of palaces, has a rich history and has several tourist attractions. The Chamundi hills in Mysore, is a top tourist magnet that draws in photographers, nature lovers and Hindu devotees, every day of the year.

Traveller Tips

  • The Chamundi hills is a splendid viewpoint that covers a wide angle of the Mysore city. Take your camera and binoculars with you to admire the panorama to the fullest.
  • Maintain silence within the temples, located on the hill.
  • Be prepared to wait in queue, to visit the temple. The hills get overly crowded sometimes, especially during Dussehra which falls sometime in September or October.
  • The place might get windy at times. Ensure you wear comfortable and cozy clothing.
  • If you are planning to reach the summit of the hill, by the stone stairway, ensure that you wear proper footwear. Carry your water bottle with you.

Things to Do

  • The Chamundi hill top provides a breathtaking view of the Mysore city and one can very well identify the Mysore Maharaja Palace and the Karanji Lake, from the hill top.
  • The picturesque landscape surrounding the hills, deserves to make its way to your photo album. Click the most scenic shots with friends and family, right at the summit of the hills.
  • The hill summit can be reached via road or by taking the stairs. If you are adventurous, prefer taking the stone stairs. It might be tedious but once you reach the hill’s summit, you realize how much worth the sweat was.
  • Devotees and tourists can spend some time in the temples located on the hill, to feel the divinity.

Availability of Guides

Local guides are available for assistance.

Best Time to Visit

The best time to visit the Chamundi hills is dawn and dusk. In the late hours of the day, during the Dussehra festival, a view of Mysore from the top of Chamundi hills is like a dream that makes you wonder at the immense beauty of the fully lit up city.

How to Reach

The nearest airport to Mysore is the Bangalore International Airport. Bangalore is one of the most prominent Indian cities which is well connected to the rest of the country by road, rail and air. It is easy to reach Mysore from Bangalore and takes only 3 hours. Mysore is connected by buses and trains to all prominent cities in South India. After reaching Mysore, one can take a taxi or local bus to the foot of the Chamundi hills.

Interesting Facts and Trivia About Chamundi Hills

  • Chamundi hills is located thirteen kilometers off the city of Mysore.
  • The hills are elevated about a kilometer from the sea level.
  • The Chamundeswari temple is located at the hill top. As legends say, goddess Chamundi Devi (Chamundeswari) killed a demon in this place and that is how the place got its name.
  • The very ancient Mahabaleshvara temple is also present in the Chamundi hills and is a pilgrimage site,
  • Mahabalachala is the real name of the Chamundi hills, according to mythology.
  • A statue of demon Mahishasura, is present in the Chamundeswari temple.
  • The sanctum of the temple houses the uniquely posed sculpture of goddess Chamundi Devi.
  • The old stone stairway that leads to the summit of the hill, has one thousand and eight steps.
  • The statue of bull Nandi is present about halfway to the hill top. This bull is considered as the vehicle of Lord Shiva. This statue is carved from a single stone of black granite. The statue is 490 centimeters in height and has a length of 760 centimeters.

Nearby Attractions

  • Mysore Palace
  • Philomena’s Cathedral
  • Mysore Sand Sculpture Museum
  • Namdroling Nyingmapa Monastery
  • Brindavan Gardens
  • Mysore Zoo
  • Jaganmohan Palace
  • Karanji Lake

Nearby Restaurants

  • Vinayaka Mylari
  • Kamat Madhuvan
  • Durga Restaurant
  • Olive Garden
  • Café D
  • Gufha
  • Om Shanthi
  • The Foodie Restaurant
  • RRR Restaurant
  • The Old House
  • Spring

The Chamundi Hills is a must visit if you are travelling to Mysore. The serene hills are a nature lover’s delight, and the temple located on the hills beckons all devotees to its peaceful abode. So, ensure you check out this fabulous spot, the next time you make your way to Mysore.

Uncategorized

Dhanushkodi is the place where you can see the origin of the Ram Setu.

While on one side there’s a wide variety of landscapes, right from the seas to the mountains, on the other, there’s a plethora of languages, cultures and a rich history.

Dhanushkodi, located in the Rameshwaram district of Tamil Nadu, is the place where the wonders of nature and man become one. A place shrouded in mystery, this is a place that’s easy to miss by the regular tourist. Not only because it’s not really a part of the tourist map, but also because this place is hard to reach.

Nonetheless, Dhanushkodi is a place an exploring traveller would love to visit and know more about. For reaching this place one needs to cross over to the Pamban Island from the mainland. The best way to do this is by train, through the famous Pamban Bridge.

It’s here that the journey to Dhanushkodi begins through several fishing villages, accompanied by the mesmerising views of the Palk Strait on both sides. The Palk Strait is the one that stretches between India and Sri Lanka.

After a rather bumpy ride, which is only possible on 4×4 vehicles, thanks to some large sandy stretches on the way, the ‘ghost town’ of Dhanushkodi will welcome you. A long time ago, especially during the British Raj, Dhanushkodi was a small yet prosperous town. It had everything you expect a town full of residents to have–railway station, a church, a temple, a post office, and houses, among other things.

Bordered by the Bay of Bengal on one side and the Indian Ocean on the other, Dhanushkodi once used to serve as an important port for both traders and pilgrims. Ferry services were available between Dhanushkodi and Talaimannar, a town in Sri Lanka (then known as Ceylon). These ferries used to transport both goods and travellers across the sea, from one country to the other. The town of Dhanushkodi was home to all kinds of facilities a traveller would need–hotels, dharamshalas, and textile shops catering to pilgrims, travellers, and traders. And believe it or not, Sri Lanka is located at a distance of just 31 km from this town.

When everything came to an end

But all of these things is no more than history now, thanks to a cyclone that took place in the year 1964. It destroyed everything, and what remains now is a sandy shoreline with ruins dating back to those days.

Although with the stunning views of the two oceans and a beautiful shoreline, Dhanushkodi is a picturesque place to be, there’s an eeriness to the fact that what once used to be a town so significant, is nothing more than a ruin now. The only residents of this island now are the 500 fishermen folk who stay here for the sake of their livelihood in about 50 hutments that are spread across the place.

Ram Setu
Apart from the coastal charm and the mysteries attached to the place, there’s one more thing that makes Dhanushkodi a really unique place to visit. And it dates back to none other than our mythological history, Ramayana.

The town of Dhanushkodi is believed to be the place where Lord Rama had ordered Lord Hanumana to build a bridge which could carry his army across to Sri Lanka, where Demon King Ravana had kept Sita captive. As ordered, Lord Hanuman had obliged and it was here that the Ram Setu was built by the Vanara Sena.

If myths are to be believed, a particularly beautiful stretch of sandy shore you see from Dhanushkodi is the place from where the Ram Setu starts. This is also believed to be the end of the bridge which Lord Rama had broken using his bow and arrow.

Also known as the Adam’s Bridge globally, no one really knows if this is the Ram Setu, but satellite pictures taken over time, and a recent image released by NASA have confirmed that the a stretch of land formation visible between Dhanushkodi and the Sri Lankan mainland is certainly man-made.

We don’t know what the real truth is–research is being done over it for years now. But what we can say about this place with absolute certainty is the fact that as a traveller, Dhanushkodi will never cease to charm and surprise you with its unique mix of history, myth, mystery and unparalleled natural beauty. While sea lovers will love this place to the core, it will prove to be a paradise for birders for its population of migratory birds who fly to this place from places as far as Australia, and those having a hobby of collecting shells for this place is home to the rarest of them.

Uncategorized

Sringeri – Of Temples.

Sringeri is a town located in the Chikkamangaluru district in the state of Karnataka. The hill town is situated on the banks of the River Tunga and is located at a distance of 107 km from Mangalore and 336 km from Bangalore. It can be easily reached from Mangalore through Karkala.

Sringeri holds significance in Karnataka due to the first matha, which was established by Adi Shankaracharya. The first of the four peetha was established here. Located amidst the Western Ghats, the name of Sringeri is derived from Rishyashringa-giri which is a nearby hill and is believed to have contained the rich heritage of Rishi Vibhandaka and his son Rishyashringa.

Sringeri Sharda Peetham

The town is also known as Sringeri Sharda Peetham and it has a 1200 year- old temple located there. It is believed that Adi Shankaracharya chose the site to stay and teach his disciples and impressed with his place, he stayed here for twelve years. He then also established mathas in North India, East India, and West India. Adi Shankaracharya has constructed four temples in all the four directions – these include Kere Anjaneya Temple in the West, Kala Bhairava Temple in the East, Durgamba Temple in the South and Kalikamba Temple in the North.

Must-visit Temples 

There are a large number of temples with historic importance in Sringeri. Sri Sharadamba Temple, Sri Vidyashankara Temple as well as the Parshwanath Jain Temple are very important. At the entrance of the temple, one can sight the beautiful Vidyashankara Temple, which has a blend of the Dravidian, Viyayanagar and Hoyala style of architecture.

Sringeri is well known as a learning center due to the many temples and maths. Many students come down here to learn Vedic philosophy. A variety of options for accommodation are available at Sringeri.

Sightseeing in and around Sringeri

Shardamba Temple: Sharada Devi sits as a deity in Shardamba temple. She is seen seated on a Chakra Peetham and a parrot is seen perched on the top of her hand along side holding a Japa mala. This matha is in charge of the Yadur Veda, which is very prominent in South India. The first image made of sandalwood was installed by Adi Shankaracharya and it was later replaced by a golden image during the 14th century. The Sharada Navrathri festival is celebrated here for 11 days. Friday holds a special importance here because of a procession.

Vidyashankara Temple: It has the famous vidyathirta linga and it is a temple which was built for the memory of the Guru Vidyashankara. The temple was built during the 14th century with the help of the Vijayanagar rulers. This temple has twelve pillars which are called Rashistambhas (zodiacal pillars). The symbols of all of the twelve zodiac signs are engraved over the pillars. They believed that its design had some astronomical concepts and Sankara Jayanti is widely celebrated here.

Sirimane Falls: The falls are located at a distance of 12 kms from the town. Once can easily hire vehicles from Sringeri to the falls.

Hanumanagundi Falls: The Hanumanagundi Falls are well known as Soothanabbi falls and they lie between Sringeri and Horanadu. The falls are at a distance of 36 kms from the town. The falls are located in a National Forest which is famous for the Shola forests.

The best time to visit Sringeri is from October to March.

How to Reach Sringeri

By Air

The nearest airport is Mangalore International Airport at a distance of 105 kms.

By Rail

The city Shimoga which is at a distance of 95 kms from Sringeri is well connected to Bangalore through the rail route. Sringeri is at a distance of 86 kms from Chikkamagaluru which is connected to Bangalore through a rail line via Kadur.

By Road

The town can be reached from Mangalore or Chikkamagaluru by a well-connected road network. Udupi is also at a distance of 80 kms. Various private and KSRTC buses ply from Bangalore as well as Sringeri to Shimoga.

history, Tourism, Travel

Lepakshi Temple.

Lepakshi is historical ancient village in Anantpur District of Andhra Pradesh located at just 15 kms from Hindupur, 120 kms from Anantpur and Bangalore and 225 kms from Tirupati. Lepakshi is one of the key spiritual, cultural and heritage site of Andhra Pradesh, thus well-known tourist place and especially for one day trip from Bangalore. Shrine dedicated to Lord Shiva, Lord Vishnu, Veerbhadra, Papanatheswara, Raghunatha, Sri Ram and Durga are located in the same complex on a hillock – Kurma Saila – tortoise shaped hill in Lepakshi. Veerbhadra Temple is most important in all these shrines. Veerabhadra Temple also referred as Lepakshi Temple is solely dedicated to the deity of Lord Veerabhadra Swamy, a fearsome form of the Lord. The rich notable architecture of Veerbhadra temple is very famous across India. It was built during the Vijayanagar period in 1530 BC by Virupanna Nayaka and Viranna – who were brothers and governor in Vijayanagar Empire. According to Skanda Puranas, it is one of the important temple Divya Kshetras, an important pilgrimage site of Lord Shiva.

The famous fresco paintings are particularly detailed in very bright dresses and colours with scenes of Rama and Krishna from the epic stories of the Ramayana, the Mahabharata and the Puranas. Large Nandi of 23ft in length and 20ft in height is carved from a single black stone, which is one of the largest monolithic Nandi in the world and major attraction near Lepakshi Temple at Basavanna Temple. The images on the pillars and walls of divine musicians, saints, dancers, Goddesses, 14 avatars of Shiva are the major attractive site for the tourist.

There are lots of tale associated with Lepakshi Temple wherein key legends are described here.

Lepakshi is the place where the bird Jatayu fell down after war against the Demon King Ravana who had abducted Ma Devi Sita. When Lord Sri Rama reached the spot during search of Goddess Sita, he saw Jatayu and said caringly, “Le Pakshi” – ‘rise, oh bird’ in Telugu, this is how this spot was popular as Lepakshi.

Another tale associated with Lord snake, the Naga of the Nagalinga was carved out of a single stone by sculptors while they were waited for their mother to prepare lunch.

The hanging pillar supported from the top is a surprise for the visitors where you can pass paper or thin cloth below which indicates the pillar is not supported by the ground.. It is also said that if anyone tried to move one pillar is then all other pillar will start move, what an engineering. To the south of the main shrine is a huge Nagalingam, standing on a granite block, shrouded by a seven-headed cobra, magnificently carved out of single rock which cannot be found anywhere in India. Right across the incomplete Kalyan Mandapa due to certain reason may be, one can witness a red mark in one of the walls which resembles an eye. Another attraction is huge footprint near Kalyana Mandapa and it is said that this is Goddess Sita’s footprint. Water from unknown source from underground constantly sipping and washing this foot in respect of Ma Devi Sita.

How to reach Lepakshi: It is very easily approachable through road via Hindupur. There is also availability of private – state buses and taxi – cab to reach the temple. APSRTC buses leave for Lepakshi every 30 minutes from Hindupur. The nearest railway Station is Hindupur railway Station at a distance of 12kms. The nearest Airport is Kempegowda International Airport at a distance of 68kms and Bangalore at around 100 kms.

Additional Details of Lepakshi Temple

Best Time To Visit: Through out the year

Address: Veerabhadra Temple, Lepakshi, Anantpur, Andhra Pradesh

Activity: Study Architecture, history of Ancient India

Tourism, Travel

Lord Krishna’s childhood abode Brindavan-

PreviousVrindavan, Uttar PradeshVrindavan – Ancient City in MathuraVrindavan – Known as Best Sacred Places for VaishnavismBeautiful View of Kusum SarovarEntrance of ISCKON Temple in VrindavanIdol of Radha Krishna Inside ISCKON Temple, VrindavanPrem Mandir (Love Temple) is dedicated to divine love.Prem Mandir – Maintained by Jagadguru Kripalu ParishatBeautiful Sculpture of Krishna Dancing in Prem MandirAmazing Scultpure Lord Krishna and GopikasHoli is Celebrated Grandly at Vrindavan.

Vrindavan Tourism

One of the oldest cities on the banks of Yamuna, Vrindavan is considered to be one of the most important places of pilgrimage for the devotees of Krishna. It is said that Lord Krishna had spent his childhood in Vrindavan. The name of the city has been derived from Vrinda (meaning basil) and van (meaning grove) which perhaps refer to the two small groves at Nidhivan and Seva Kunj. Since Vrindavan is considered to be a sacred place, a large number of people come here to abandon their worldly life.

The city of Vrindavan hosts hundreds of Lord Krishna and Radha temples scattered throughout, the most famous ones being Banke Bihari temple and the world-famous ISKCON temple. The vibrant surroundings perfectly depict the playful and benevolent nature of Lord Krishna. Located along the waters of River Yamuna, the numerous temples set amidst the thick woods and lush greenery of Vrindavan are the major attractions here. 

Tourism, Travel

Agra Fort.

Fast Facts

Location: Agra, Uttar Pradesh

Built By: Akbar

Built in the Year: 1573

Purpose: Main residence of the Mughals

Area: 380,000 square meter

Current Status: The fort is a UNESCO World Heritage site

Visit Timing: Sunrise to sunset

Entry: Entry to Agra Fort is allowed through the Amar Singh Gate only.

Agra Fort was built in the year 1573 under the reign of Akbar – one of the greatest Mughal Emperors. It took more than 4000 workers and eight years of hardship to complete the fort. Knowing the significance of its location, Akbar built the fort to make it the main residence of the Mughals. The fort remained as the main residence of the emperors belonging to the Mughal dynasty until the year 1638. The fort houses numerous impressive structures like the Jahangir Mahal, Khas Mahal, Diwan-i-Khass, Diwan-i-Am, Machchhi Bhawan and Moti Masjid. In 1638, the capital of the Mughal dynasty was moved from Agra to Delhi, causing the Agra Fort to lose its status as the main residence of the Mughal emperors. The fort is separated from its sister monument Taj Mahal by just 2.5 kilometers. Often described as the walled city, Agra Fort is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Today, the fort is a major tourist spot and attracts many tourists from all over the world.

History of the Fort 

Agra Fort is known for its rich history. The fort has been owned by many emperors and rulers in the past, undergoing many changes in its appearance. It all began in the year 1526 when the first battle of Panipat was fought between Babur and Ibrahim Lodi of the Lodi dynasty. When Babur defeated Ibrahim Lodi, he made the fort and the palace of Ibrahim Lodi as his home. He then modified the fort by building a huge step well (baoli) inside. The fort soon became an important monument to the Mughals. In fact, Babur’s successor, Humayun’s coronation took place at the fort in the year 1530.

Soon emperors from other dynasties started eyeing the fort and efforts to win over the same began. In 1540, Sher Shah Suri of the Sur Empire waged a war against Humayun and defeated him at Bilgram. Sher Shah Suri took over the ownership of the fort from Humayun and made minor changes to it, so as to suit his own architectural taste. The fort stayed with the emperors of the Sur dynasty for the next 15 years. In 1555, Humayun managed to recapture Agra and with it the fort as well. But a year later, Hemu Vikramaditya, the general and military commander of Adil Shah Suri (final emperor of the Sur dynasty) captured Agra. He pursued the fleeing army to Delhi and the Battle of Tughlaqabad ensued between him and Tardi Beg Khan, the military commander of the Mughals. 
 

Tardi Beg Khan lost the battle convincingly and Hemu Vikramaditya crowned himself the king. However, on November 5 1556 and barely a month into the kingship of Hemu, Akbar, along with his army, marched into Delhi and defeated the forces of Hemu. The fort once again belonged to the Mughals, but was fast disintegrating. Back then, it was known as Badalgarh and was built with bricks alone. Realizing its historical and situational significance, Akbar decided to rebuild it with red sandstone. 

During the reign of Shah Jahan, the fort was modified considerably and took the current form. Shah Jahan destroyed some of the edifices within the fort and rebuilt it as per his own architectural taste. During the early 17th century, the fort was captured by the Maratha Empire.During this period, the fort saw many owners including various Maratha emperors and their enemies which included a host of Mughal emperors. In 1761, the Marathas underwent a massive defeat at the hands of Ahmad Shah Durrani, founder of the Durrani Empire. The emperors of the Durrani dynasty made the fort their home until 1785. In 1785, the fort was regained by the Marathas under the reign of Mahadji Shinde. The Marathas then lost their battle against the British in the Second Anglo-Maratha War and with it the fort. The British then enjoyed the comfort of the fort until it was handed over to the government of India in 1947.

Layout of the Fort

The fort, when viewed from above, has a semicircular shape. The base of the fort faces the bank of the river Yamuna. The Agra Fort is enclosed by a double battlemented massive wall of red sandstone. This wall is about 2 kilometer in perimeter and is interrupted by graceful curves and lofty bastions. The walls of the fort are a massive seventy feet high. The fort stretches for almost 2.5 kilometers. It has four gates (one on each side). Out of the four gates, the Delhi gate and Lahore gate are the most prominent ones. The Lahore gate was later renamed as Amar Singh Gate. Akbar used the Delhi gate as his main entrance and the gate also served as a security against the invaders. There is also an inner gateway known as the Elephant Gate. The entrances were built in such a manner that the invaders found it difficult to enter the fort even with the help of war elephants. The Indian army still uses the Delhi gate for security purposes. 

The fort has various palaces and halls. Among the palaces, the prominent ones are Macchi Bhavan, Khas Mahal and Shah Jahani Mahal. The Amar Singh gate leads to the courtyard. The magnificent Diwan-I-Am (Hall of Public Audience) is on the right hand side. A little further lay the royal pavilions, which houses the famous Nagina Masjid and Mina Masjid. The fort also has royal baths made out of marbles, which were used by the princesses. Also, places of worship and a private market place for the ladies were built within the fort. At the base of the fort, a secret passage was dug in an attempt to access it with ease, during times of emergency. Other attractions of the fort include a grape garden, a jasmine tower, a mirror palace (Shish Mahal), courtrooms and the ruins of Akbar’s once magnificent palace. It is said that the fort once housed five hundred beautiful looking buildings. Unfortunately, many of those buildings were destroyed at different time periods for various reasons.

Architecture    

Bricks formed the base of Agra Fort’s structure. Red sandstone was brought all the way from Rajasthan and that was laid on the external surfaces. Back then, the entire fort was built using the red sandstone. This appearance of the fort underwent a major change during the reign of Shah Jahan. Unlike his grandfather, Shah Jahan was smitten by the beauty of white marble. Hence, he destroyed many structures within the fort, only to rebuild them using white marble. Shah Jahan was made to spend his final days in the Musamman Burj of the Agra fort, which was built by him.The Musamman Burj is located on the left of the Khaas Mahal. It is a beautiful octagonal tower with an open pavilion. It is said that Shah Jahan used to view the Taj Mahal from this very place.

When the British took over the ownership of Agra Fort, much more changes were made to the fort. They destroyed many structures and edifices with historical significances, citing political reasons and for raising barracks. The structures that managed to survive showcase the real complexity and workmanship of Mughal architecture. Fine examples of the Mughal architecture within the fort are the Delhi Gate, Amar Singh Gate and the Bengali Mahal. These structures not only represent Mughal architecture, but are also fine examples of Akbari architecture which is also known as Indo-Islamic architecture. Among these structures the Delhi Gate is considered as the most prominent for its workmanship and architectural design. Even today, it is regarded as one of Akbar’s masterpiece. Speaking about masterpiece, there is an interesting legend associated with the architecture of the Agra Fort. It is said that the royal rooms of the fort were built in such a way that they would remain cool even during the summer. The legend has it that the walls were made hollow and then filled with water from the river, so that they would remain cool.

Important Structures Inside the Agra Fort

•    Jahangir’s Hauz – This is a monolithic tank, and was built by Jahangir. The tank was initially used for bathing. It is now a part of Akbar’s Bengali Mahal.

•    Shahjahani Mahal – The Shahjahani Mahal is probably one of the earliest attempts of Emperor Shah Jahan to turn a red sandstone palace into a palace of white marble.

•    Babur’s Baoli (step well) – Babur built a stone step well which took care of the water needs in the ancient fort of Agra. This was probably one of the earliest modifications made to the fort.

•    Nagina Masjid – Nagina Masjid is a mosque which was built by Shah Jahan. The mosque was built using white marble only and was considered a private place of worship. 

•    Diwan-I-Am (Hall of Public Audience) – This hall was built by Shah Jahan. Interestingly, the hall was first built using red sandstone but was later shell-plastered, giving it a look of white marble.

•    Ghaznin Gate – The Ghaznin gate actually belongs to the tomb of Mahmud of Ghazni, one of the rulers of the Ghaznavid Empire. The gate was moved into the fort by the British for political reasons.

•    Bengali Mahal –This palace was built by Akbar and was later modified by Shah Jahan. An interesting aspect of this palace is it is said to be housing secret buildings hidden underneath the palace. 

•    Akbar’s Mahal – The ruins of Akbar’s famous palace still remains in the fort. Akbar breathed his last in this very palace. The entire palace was built using red sandstone.

The Secret Within

Agra Fort has many secret subterranean apartments and edifices. It is said that the entire fort is interconnected through tunnels and other underground pathways. According to historians, the emperors who owned the fort during their respective reigns are said to have contributed to the secret tunnels for obvious reasons. One such known tunnel is located near the Water Gate, connecting the fort to the banks of river Yamuna.

Tourism, Travel

Taj mahal ❤

The Taj Mahal is an ivory-white marble mausoleum on the south bank of the Yamuna river in the Indian city of Agra. It was commissioned in 1632 by the Mughal emperor, Shah Jahan, to house the tomb of his favourite wife, Mumtaz Mahal. The tomb is the centrepiece of a 17-hectare complex, which includes a mosque and a guest house, and is set in formal gardens bounded on three sides by a crenellated wall.
Construction of the mausoleum was essentially completed in 1643 but work continued on other phases of the project for another 10 years. The Taj Mahal complex is believed to have been completed in its entirety in 1653 at a cost estimated at the time to be around 32 million rupees, which in 2015 would be approximately 52.8 billion rupees. The construction project employed some 20,000 artisans under the guidance of a board of architects led by the court architect to the emperor, Ustad Ahmad Lahauri.
The Taj Mahal was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983 for being “the jewel of Muslim art in India and one of the universally admired masterpieces of the world’s heritage”. It is regarded by many as the best example of Mughal architecture and a symbol of India’s rich history.

Tourism

Dragon Palace Temple.

It is a Buddhist temple, situated in Kamptee, Nagpur District of Maharashtra State, India. The Temple Dedicated to Lord Buddha. The temple with its fascinating architecture, pictorial landscape and a tranquil atmosphere attract a large number of tourists and devotees. The Dragon Palace Temple is about 18 km from Nagpur city, on the Nagpur – Jabalpur road.

The Temple considered as a landmark of Indo-Japan friendship. As Madam Noriko Ogawa from Ogawa Society Japan financially contributed to the construction of this beautiful piece of architecture. Dragon Palace Temple also Known as the ‘Lotus Temple of Nagpur’.

The architecture of Dragon Palace Temple.
A unique temple for worship and meditation. It has emerged as one of the most popular attractions for the people coming to Nagpur. It spread over an area of approximately 10 acres. Also, It comprises a magnificent Buddhist prayer center, which offers peace and serenity to its visitors.

The colossal statue of Lord Buddha is the idol that has been carved out of a single block of sandalwood. Also, It surrounded by verdant green, skilfully landscaped gardens with colorful flowers that spread a pleasant fragrance in the environs.

The walls of the temple have painted in the bright white color that symbolizes peace, clarity, and divinity. Also, Dragon Palace Temple of Kamptee was felicitated with the International Award for the best concrete structure of the world.