Author Archives: Untraveled Routes

About Untraveled Routes

Add a little travel zing to life with Charu and Ashish. We decided to call our love for travel - Untraveled Routes. An assorted bundle of our avant-garde ideas and experiences to make every travel and life at large an odyssey to remember!!! We help fellow travelers to create classic memories and timeless experiences. We love everything about travel, photography, music, adventure and much more.

The Myths and Mysteries of Archaeological Park in Mehrauli

A one-of-a kind assortment giving a glimpse of Delhi’s rich history

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Just like the monuments in the park, this tree also seems to be a mishmash of mysteries and looks like it has witnessed decades!!

Mehrauli is a neighborhood in the South West district of Delhi in India, renowned for Qutub Minar, a minaret that forms a part of the Qutub complex, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Qutub Minar is a 73-meters tall tapering tower of five storeys, with a 14.3 meters base diameter, reducing to 2.7 meters at the peak. But, there’s more to Mehrauli.

Adjacent to the Qutub Complex, quite an unremarkable entrance on the side of Delhi’s busy roads opens up a world of 1000 year old history from medieval India. It is believed to be only area in Delhi known for 1000 years of continuous occupation. The 100-odd structures spread across 200 acres consisting of ruins of Lal Kot built by Tomar Rajputs in 1060 CE, and architectural relics from the rule of Khalji dynasty, Tughlaq dynasty, Lodhi dynasty of Delhi Sultanate, and some from the Mughal Empire and the British Raj. However, the monuments are in ruins, quite a few totally gone, there are some which are unattributable to any of the rulers or dynasty but fortunately preserved (only now).

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The park contains several notable structures including the Tomb of Balban, Jamali Kamali Mosque and Tomb, Quli Khan’s Tomb, Gandhak ki Baoli, Rajon Ki Baoli, and Madhi Masjid. Other near by monuments – Jahaz Mahal, Zafar Mahal of Bahadur Shah II alias Lal Mahal, Hauz-i-Shamsi and Tomb of Adham Khan make it even more interesting.

In fact, if you explore the area around the park, few kms in proximity, there’s a monument (unnamed) and other park which again has some ruins scattered. I wish these were restored before. I’m sharing few images right now and soon will be posting dedicated posts to cover separate monuments in detail.

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The downside of the ‘Mehrauli Archaeological Park’ is that since it was  ignored for a very long time and it is spread across acres, it’s not maintained well (yet), few corners have piles of garbage with pigs roaming around freely. The monuments particularly the ‘Baolis’ stink real bad. I don’t know if it happens in other parts of the world too but in India, men (not all) find pleasure in taking a piss anywhere they like including heritage monuments!!

I really wonder, will this casual attitude ever change? Makes me feel sad.

However, I’m trying to get in touch with the authorities who have taken up the project of rehabilitation and maintenance of the Park to provide the feedback and help them to impose stricter measures to keep the Park clean and hygienic.

Till then, enjoy the pictures and keep exploring Untraveled Routes, I shall soon be posting more articles. I’m aware the frequency of my posts has gone down, Life is keeping me happily busy 🙂 but I do want to publish more. Stay Connected.

 

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Categories: New Delhi, Offbeat Travel, Travel Experience, Untraveled Routes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 28 Comments

Cows Strolling or Patrolling!!

I have been away for more than a month, reasons are many, but to cite the important ones – my laptop busted and real bad, when finally it was up and running I had a new schedule in place (jogging in the morning and focus on Fitness) left me exhausted and I couldn’t really dedicate time to writing or anything to with blogging. And, I was also working on other ideas for my start-up. But, I missed my blog and sharing amazing experiences with readers and fellow travelers. And, so, I’m back!!

Goa, in India, is a place which never fails to surprise and excite, I have covered few of the beaches in earlier posts. This is a photo story of the Majorda Beach in South of Goa. We visited this place in the morning, so it wasn’t really bustling with crowd, there were decent number of people plus the Sun was ruthless. Here we were, enjoying the uninterrupted view under shade but not for long, cows soon caught our interest, and they were all over the beach, taking a morning walk probably, hope you enjoy the pictures 🙂

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Hope you have a rocking weekend. For more interesting write-ups on Goa, feel free to explore –

Benaulim Beach – As radiant as it can get

The Betul Beach – Where Sal meets the Sea

 

 

Categories: Beach Vacation, Travel, Travel Experience, Untraveled Routes | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 17 Comments

The Wonderland is YOU!!!

The most endearing thing in Life is to be able to wake up with optimistic notions, unabated smile, balmy heart and an aura that exudes positivity. One might say that’s just not possible with all the stress endowed with current lifestyles and all kinds of responsibilities that Adulting brings with time.

And that is also the reason why it is becoming so rare to find, such a simple delight but most of us are struggling to find it on a daily basis. Happiness is all contained within you, you just need to identify and unleash it.

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Happiness is the most beautiful gift you can gift to yourself. And it’s contagious, it spreads to people around you!!

To put in perspective, Berkeley Wellness recently shared a piece on happiness where Scientists and Researchers have defined happiness as having satisfaction and meaning in your life. It’s the propensity to feel positive emotions, the capacity to recover from negative emotions quickly, and holding a sense of purpose. Happiness is not having a lot of privilege or money. It’s a broader thing: Our ability to connect with others, to have meaningful relationships, to have a community. (The real relationships and social bonding not social media)

There is no dearth of researches that have been conducted in the past affirming that ‘Happiness’ cannot be bought with money, what makes one happy in the long run are relationships, experiences and contentment with Life. That contentment is not going to come if you keep spending hours, days, and months and ultimately years doing the same thing over and over again to earn money unless you have taken a bold choice of pursuing your passion. If every morning you get up and you are raring to go to work, it’s all good.  If not, then rethink. The Science of Happiness encourages people to begin with acknowledging ‘3 beautiful things / incidences’ that they believe make them feel happy and blessed on a daily basis. It’s also called the Happiness Practice, so if you’re really struggling, I’d suggest begin with the Practice.

I often read quotes by Robin Sharma, he is such an amazing writer (his books are awesome too!), two of the quotes are like etched in my brain – ‘Do not Live the same year 75 times and call it a LIFE’ and the other one – ‘Who you are becoming is more important than what you are accumulating’.

I hope your pursuit of happiness finds it’s goal soon.

Dedicating this piece to ‘Happiness’, I’m glad to share beautifully apt pictures in the series, the highlight photo of which is published above. These pictures were shot at Dhankar, Spiti Valley. Dhankar stands tall at an altitude of 12,774 feet. Dhang/dang means cliff, and kar/khar means fort. Hence, the fort on a cliff is popularly known as ‘Dhankar’. The confluence of Spiti & Pin Rivers from this height is incredible!!!

Hope these pictures bring delight and the spirit of happiness to you –

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Well, no denying that Childhood is the most precious and beautiful time of Life. The way these kids were playing at such high altitude and on the road which had no fences, no protection is admirable. Also, they were so happy to face the camera.

It was difficult for us to even get out of the car and fight the crazy wind. This also shows human body is capable of anything. In fact, Spiti is one place which makes me rethink the metro lifestyles.

To conclude, I would say never let go of the child inside you, for it will keep you alive.

 

Categories: Adventure, Experience, Himachal, India, Photography | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 44 Comments

For the Love of Football

Football is a game loved all over the world, people might be separated by geographies or language but the passion for the game unites them 🙂 Recently, when we spent a wandering week in Goa (October 2017), we had a beautiful encounter with the display of sheer passion. Interestingly, this was also the period when ‘2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup’ was taking place in India and few of the matches were held in Margoa, South Goa (Fatorda Stadium). We were staying just few kilometers from the stadium and witnessed few of the practice sessions, however, the practice off the field caught our attention more.

Here is the photo story, all the pictures are shot at Benaulim Beach, South Goa

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I have never played Football like this but while I looked at these kids, I could feel the excitement and a burst of energy

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Football Final

And that is the perfect goal!! That moment and to be able to capture it on Camera gave me a HIGH.

 

 

Categories: Family Travel, India, Untraveled Routes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 51 Comments

Beloved Februa

Happy February!!

The month of February is a treasured one, the weather, the heavens, the lovely feeling is overwhelming. This 7th we celebrate our 7th wedding anniversary, and I’m not able to find enough apt words to describe how happy I am!! Though Ashish and I have been together for more than a decade now, we took wedding vows on February 7, 2011 (feels like yesterday though). To Seven years and counting!!

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This is a picture from our wedding 🙂

This week share your dear love for the theme Beloved

There are so many things that are so close to my heart, making a choice is always difficult. However, as a tribute to our togetherness and to celebrate theme I have picked seven pictures depicting blossoming flowers. Flowers, big or small, I equally love them all. These pictures radiate positive energy and warmth. I hope you find these endearing.

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As the fragrance of wet soil emerged, the drizzle was pertinent

As the drops kissed petals, the colors so bright turned resplendent

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The beauty that spreads Love

Flowers from Srinagar

The flaunting flower bringing Cheer

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The Therapeutic Bunch

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The vibrancy of orange is contagious

Amidst all greens it stands out.

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Pink beauties, the more the merrier!! Continue reading

Categories: Experience, Interests, Jammu & Kashmir, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 47 Comments

The Camels of Thar, Rajasthan

Miles and miles of incessant desert, a land of shifting sand dunes and infinite stories! That’s Thar – The Great Indian Desert.

The Thar Desert is a large arid region in the northwestern part of the Indian subcontinent that covers an area of 200,000 kms. The world’s 18th largest desert forms a natural boundary between India and Pakistan.  About 85% of the Thar Desert is in India, and the remaining 15% is in Pakistan. Most of the desert is covered by huge shifting sand dunes that receive sediments from the alluvial plains and the coast.

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That’s a Camel cart, Camels are the most used form of transport in rural areas of Rajasthan

But wait; isn’t it unimaginable to picture large Desert without its Ship i.e. The Mighty Camel. Indeed it is! The Camel is indispensable part of the Desert. Camels are the most important part of fairs and festivals too in Rajasthan.

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Camels with their Keepers at Jaisalmer, Rajasthan

The big snout, dusky eyes and really long legs could be intimidating at first look but don’t make any opinions and judgements so soon, Camels might carry a tough look but they are adorable and very dear, especially to the camel breeders.

Camels are unique mammals, identified with humped back and found in desert areas of Asia and Africa. There are two types of camels – Dromedary, which have one hump, and Bactrian, which have two humps. The humps consist of stored fat, which they can metabolize when food and water is scarce. The one with one hump is quite common here in Thar Desert, India.

The Quintessential Camel Ride

If you have been to Rajasthan (particularly Jaisalmer), I’m sure you have been on the Desert Safari, it’s almost impossible not to try a Camel Ride once in Jaisalmer. It’s the biggest attraction of the Safari and an unforgettable experience. There’s something about the Camel Ride.

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Look the Camel is posing and smiling too!! A still from our Desert Safari in Jaisalmer.

  • Firstly the funny feeling when the Camel gets up and sits back again.
  • The situation where Camel doesn’t want to get up at all!
  • The fun when he starts running!
  • The feeling while you keep swinging lightly as the Camel moves giving a tour and taste of the Desert.
  • The peculiar smell that Camel carries, one has to get over it 🙂

Continue reading

Categories: Experience, Family Travel, India, Jaisalmer, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 34 Comments

Benaulim Beach – As radiant as it can get

Firstly, wishing all the fellow bloggers and readers ‘Happy New Year’!! It’s been almost a month since my last post, I have been traveling and catching up with loved ones 🙂 So, blogging got out of attention purview. Well, I’m back and here’s the first post for the year….

I saw flurry of colors taking off and

Landing smoothly on the calm waves

I witnessed the smiles while memories were made

The drawings on the golden sand

Making impression on my heart

I wish I could stop Time or may be capture it in a magical box…….

The beautiful Benaulim Beach gave us memories of a lifetime!!

 

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Benaulim now a town in South Goa district (Salcette stretch) was erstwhile known as Banahalli. After Portuguese intervention it was given a new name and since then it has stayed so.

The region has two beautiful churches – The Holy Trinity Church and the St. John Baptist Church. Both the churches have peculiar appeal. However it’s prime beauty is its Benaulim beach adorned with tranquil waves, the swinging coconut trees, the creatures that greet you here and golden sands.

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We spent whole evening here and it was just wholesome entertainment. There were more people swimming here as the waves on this beach were super calm. There was parasailing, jet skiing, boat riding, wind surfing, people jogging, playing volley ball, doing yoga and much more.

The number of sea stars that greeted us here was incredible. Not just that there were all different kinds of crab and all other tiny creatures touching the feet. And Jelly fishes too!!

The varieties of Starfish here was unbelievable, some of them were close to water and hence managed to survive but few others just waited for long to unite with the sea.

Benaulim Quote

And now few snapshots that will make you smile right away!! Continue reading

Categories: Adventure, Travel Quotes, Traveling with a Baby, Untraveled Routes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 35 Comments

The Betul Beach – Where Sal meets the Sea

Photo Tour of the beguiling Betul Beach

A series of tranquil huts ensconced near River Sal in Salcette, South Goa luxuriant with coconut grove and other fruit trees; that’s Betul village. And just across the river there is the beguiling Betul Beach. The sparkling white sandy beach is charming for more than one reasons – the River Sal meets the Sea here creating a beautiful sight, due to high tides the beach is adorned with beautiful lagoon (which will be visible in pictures) and lastly the view of hills on one side where one shall witness the ships moving towards the harbor and the villagers fishing is a sight to behold.

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On the margin of the River, Washing up it’s silver spray;  We will walk and worship ever, All the happy, golden day.

~ Tidings from the poem ‘Beautiful River’ by Robert Lowry

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The Beach was literally covered with shells of all colors and sizes one can possibly imagine! And it was too much fun to collect these with my two year old baby boy.

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That’s my little love – Aayansh 🙂 having a great time exploring the beach. Continue reading

Categories: Family Travel, goa, Photography, Travel Experience, Traveling with a Baby, Untraveled Routes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 33 Comments

Why Mughals had Harem Quarters?

Harems were quintessential part of the Mughal’s palace. Last time I went to the Akbar’s Tomb in Agra, I observed the Harem Quarter was outside the immediate premises, I have seen Harem Quarters in other Mughal palaces too like the big one in Fatehpur Sikri. But the one in Akbar’s Tomb was small and it intrigued me as to why there’s a quarter in the mausoleum? Though the panel outside the structure said it was a Harem but later was used as ‘Hunting Lodge’ by Jahangir.

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The Kanch Mahal (Harem Quarters) outside the Akbar’s Tomb near Agra

And, in a quest to find out more here is what I discovered and it’s worth sharing.

‘Harem’ is derived from the Arabic word ‘haram’, which literally means sacred or forbidden / sacrosanct. Harems were separate quarters (proper living spaces) for women and the entry to these quarters was strictly prohibited for men other than the Emperor. The Emperor was the only adult male who entered the harem freely.

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Ain’t it beautiful enough to catch your attention! Just observe the intricate work executed with Jharokas, borders, balconies; To have such Mahal as your home, not a bad idea I say 🙂

There has been a lot of speculation about this part of the palace as first hand information was never available to historians. The second hand information was was laden with exotic notions, whims and fancies. This was because the outside world couldn’t fathom the arrangement of having separate living area for women folk under the same ceiling. Here is more about the subject :

  • Harems primarily composed of wives, female relatives, concubines, and were arranged in regard to their proximity to the Emperor.
  • The Emperor’s mother and chief wife enjoyed special position. Even foster mothers were given a position of importance. The rulers followed preferential treatment.
  • A large Harem was often considered testimony to King’s supremacy. Hence the more the merrier. It is believed at one time more than 5,000 women lived in Harems in Akbar’s palace (i.e. Fatehpur Sikri near Agra) however only about 300 were his official wives or concubines.
  • The Harem of the Mughal Empire was guarded by Eunuchs, as well as female warriors called Urdubegis. All the harem officers would be women or eunuchs.
  • Akbar was the first emperor to lay down rules for it and turn it into an institution. The harem was called Mahal and the chief officer of the harem was called Nazir-e-Mahal (in-charge of women quarters), there were daroghas (supervising officers) and other supportive staff. It was run as an administration within itself.
  • The Mughal women were very well educated not just in the religious texts but arts, sciences and warfare. And, apart from wives and concubines, lot of women played role of servants and hence the number of women in Harem at any given time was huge.

The Architecture Continue reading

Categories: Akbar, Art and Culture, Experience, Photography | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 43 Comments

The Blue Evening at Colva Beach

Day 3 Exploring Colva Beach, the local Market and Margao

» Read Day 1 and Day 2

Colva Beach is one of those beaches in South Goa that get most swarmed. It’s comparatively closer to the Airport and quite happening too, since it gets so much of crowd all the time. So, if you’re in South Goa and wish to stay out late and enjoy the beach, Colva would be your first choice. All types of water sports facilities are available here. You just need to make a right pick. Here are some of the pictures 🙂 The sky literally turned so beautifully blue that I decided to use the caption – ‘The Blue Evening’!

Colva 3Colva 4Colva 1Colva 2 Continue reading

Categories: Beach Vacation, Family Travel, goa, Untraveled Routes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 34 Comments

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