Experience

Akbar’s Tomb, Sikandra – Where Akbar rests in Eternal Peace!

Akbar’s Tomb is nestled since time immemorial in Sikandra, Agra. The architectural wonder evokes awe and reverence alike. Akbar’s tomb is an impressive illustration of the art, inspiring in many ways than one – the architecture, design, exquisite inlay work, crafted ceilings and walls decorated with calligraphy, placed beautifully in the huge expanse of 119 acres.

Akbar was buried at Akbar’s Tomb, Sikandra in the mausoleum that was commenced by him while he was alive, and after his death finished by his son and successor, Jahangir in 1613 AD.

The story of history of Agra and it’s connection to Mughal Empire in India is incredibly gripping……Let’s rediscover together.

The ancient city (Agra) is referred to as ‘Agraban’ in Mahabharata, one of the two major Sanskrit epics of ancient India; And the other one identified as modern city, which was founded in 1558 AD.

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The main entrance to Akbar’s Tomb in Sikandra. The Architecture is awe-inspiring, it left me wondering in that era such amazing work of art and architecture was created by humans! It’s impossible to replicate or even make something remotely similar reflecting this epitome of beauty and strength.

The Name – Sikandra!

Sultan Sikandar Lodi rebuilt Agra in 1505 AD and made it the seat of the Government. A few miles from Agra there is a village named after Sultan – Sikandra! Ibrahim Lodi, son of Sikandar Lodi, was defeated and slain by Babar at the ‘Battle of Panipat’, near Delhi, in 1526 AD. And thus began the reign of the Mughal Empire that lasted till 18th century (until the time India was gripped by British Raj).

The Era of Akbar the Great

Akbar, the third Mughal Emperor, was born on 15 October, 1542 to Humayun and Hamida Begum at Umerkot in Sindh (now part of Pakistan). Akbar-e-Azam (Abu’l-Fath Jalal-ud-din Muhammad Akbar) was enthroned as emperor at a tender age of 13 on February 14, 1556. He succeeded Humayun and proved to be one of the greatest rulers of the Mughal dynasty in India. Under Akbar’s reign which lasted from 11 February, 1556 to 27 October, 1605 for 49 years, the Mughal Empire tripled in wealth and influence.

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Akbar, is admired for lot of things, for instance Akbar could neither read nor write but that did not stop him from having a great library of over 24,000 volumes spanning across Hindi, Sanskrit, Persian, Arabic, Greek, Latin and Arabic and every book was read through to him from beginning to end. Akbar had remarkably open-minded attitude and invited several missions of Jesuit priests to his court, to learn more about Christian faith and to debate with representatives of Islam and other faiths. Akbar believed that all humankind constitutes a single brotherhood, created by the same God, and fundamentally equal before Him.

A detailed and minute account of Akbar’s life is captured in ‘Akbar-nama’, written by Akbar’s devoted friend Abul Fazl.

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Akbar’s cenotaph inside the mausoleum

 

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The Circumferential Gallery that surrounds the Tomb, observe the geometric impressions on ceiling and the perfection in architecture is so evident

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Categories: Akbar, Art and Culture, Experience, Heritage, Untraveled Routes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

The Art of Marble Inlay

Art is that powerful form of expression that knows no boundaries, no geographies and no limitations!!

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The Art of ‘Marble Inlay’ originates from the Mughal Inlay Art and blossomed beautifully in the age of Mughal Empire. The Marble Inlay Art is indigenously identified as ‘Pachchikari’ or ‘Parchinkari’. It implies the delicate and exquisite process where marble is inlaid with designs in precious or semi-precious stonework. This form of Art is peculiar and one will find it only in Agra and parts of Rajasthan in India. The skilled workers (‘Karigars’) carve incredible designs with their hands and it takes months to complete a piece, and in the process the Karigars survive injuries to the fingers. There is huge demand for the end products in foreign markets and the range of the sale price depends from piece to piece.

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This one needs no introduction 🙂 The Miniature Taj Mahal looks so impressive.

The Origin

The Monuments of Agra showcase the different development stages of Mughal Inlay Art in a progressive sequence spanning from 16th to 17th century as practiced under Akbar (r. 1556-1605), Jahangir (r. 1605-1627), and Shah Jahan (r. 1628-1658). However the Marble Inlay Art evolved and progressed during the reign of Jahangir, the application of same can be seen in the monuments that were completed in the period of his reign.

The Inspiration

It is believed that the inspiration for this form of art was drawn from the distinctive monuments of Mandhavgarh in Madhya Pradesh. Mausoleum in the Ashrafi Mahal and the Tower of Victory in Mandu are the earliest examples of inlaying with rare stones in Mandu and their construction dates back to first half of the fifteenth century though the Asharfi Mahal is in total ruins today.

Jahangir had interests for fine arts and cultural activities. Jahangir encouraged and promoted ‘Marble Inlay’ art and its application can be seen in Jahangiri Mahal to Akbar’s Tomb and then in Tomb of Salim Chisti and Itmad-ud-Daulah’s tomb in Agra.

Today, Marble Inlay art is integral part of Agra’s heritage and its presence can be widely observed in the forms of Tabletops, Lamps, Miniature Elephants, and Miniature Taj Mahal and possibly everything that one can imagine.

So, next time you’re in Agra, do visit a workshop if possible, you’ll be amazed at the process and do pick a beautiful souvenir.

Categories: Art and Culture, Experience, India, Inspiration, Interests, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 40 Comments

How to make most of your ‘One day trip’ to Udaipur, Rajasthan!

A bundle of must have experiences at the ‘City of Lakes’

Udaipur city stands as a testimony to the living heritage and eternal legacy of the Sisodiya dynasty. Sisodiyas ruled the city for over 1200 years. The origin of Udaipur dates back to 1559 AD when Maharana Udai Singh met a sage who blessed the Maharana and advised him to build a palace at this favorably located spot.

Udaipur is a visual treat with it’s shimmering lakes against the backdrop of Aravali Hills, formidable palaces showcasing heritage and enticing structures with distinctive artwork.

Honestly, you must stay in Udaipur for at least 2-3 days to soak in the beauty but even if you can visit this beautiful city for a day, here is how to get the best of it –

Where to Stay?

There are several options located in proximity to Lake Pichola, depending on the tourist flow the charges might vary. The tariff lies between INR 2,200 – INR 4,000 for a decent room subject to further negotiation.

Placed in tiny lanes these hotels look precarious at the first sight but not to worry they are fine 🙂 So find a place close to Lake Pichola, you’re going to love the dawn and will have a dinner to remember overlooking the ethereal Lake. Almost all of them have open roof top restaurant where you can enjoy candle light dinner with the moon gazing at you It’s awesome!!!

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Wake up to a lovely morning !!!

Rent a Bike

One can easily get a Motorcycle for full day here at reasonable prices, you can choose from a variety of options! Having a scooter / bike makes movement much easier and adds zeal to the experience. You’ll need important documents namely – Driving License, Address Proof and Passport size photo for submission. They may ask for Passport / Visa if you’re a foreign tourist.

Let’s begin with Fateh Sagar Lake

Named after Maharana Fateh Singh of Udaipur and Mewar, Fateh Sagar Lake is one of the four lakes of Udaipur. The construction of this Lake first was completed under the supervision of Maharana Jai Singh in 1687, however it got washed away two years later in floods, was reconstructed by Maharana Fateh Singh in 1889.

The Lake is pear shaped, surrounded by Aravalli Hills on three sides and contains three small islands – the largest being Nehru Park, second island is also converted into a public park & the third one addresses Udaipur Solar Observatory, which is the best solar observing site in Asia. The islands are accessible by inboard motor boats.

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City Palace and The Charming Lake Pichola!

City Palace is a palace complex situated on the banks of Lake Pichola and has several palaces built within, the construction of these Palaces took over 400 years with improvisations from each succeeding ruler. Lake Pichola is the oldest and one of the largest lakes of Udaipur built by Pichhu Banjara during the ruling period of Maharana Lakha in 1362.

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City Palace

Taj Lake Palace stands impressively in it’s pristine glory amidst Lake Pichola. Built in 1746, once a pleasure palace of Maharana Jagat Singh II of Udaipur is today the majestic and magnificent Taj Lake Palace.

City Palace is an architectural blend of Medieval, European and Chinese styles. It actually comprises of 11 palaces, there have been additions to the original palace with change in the rulers. Main entrance is through the triple-arched gate – The tripolia, built in 1725. Continue reading

Categories: Experience, Family Travel, Heritage, Photography, Rajasthan, Udaipur | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 36 Comments

The Divine Abode of ‘Goddess Chindi’

A photo tour of the Chindi Mata Temple located in Chindi, Karsog Valley, Himachal !

‘Humanity is the only religion’, he always tells me. He doesn’t stop anyone from Idol worship though opines when sees people around following irrational traditions;  try and force him to be a part of something similar and you are in for a stimulating debate!

Ashish (my soul-mate) is a big inspiration in my life, of so many things that are purely impressive about him; one is that he believes ‘Good Karma is all you need to conquer the Evil’. And for him ‘God’ is another name for rediscovering the power of ‘Good’; And ‘God’ is omnipresent, not restricted to the premises of the Temples!

Then how did we end up in Temple one might think. There could be different reasons why people visit temples!

Well, the Temples in India are commendable work of art and the Architecture of Temples is very specific to the region. For instance, in Tamil Nadu one will find Dravidian styled Hindu Temples while on the other hand, in Himachal a combination of styles – Dome, Timber bonded or Flat roofed.

On our visit to Chindi in Karsog Valley, we discovered this archaic yet incredibly beautiful ‘Chindi Mata’ temple.

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The entrance to the Chindi Mata Temple, the name Chindi name is derived from the place where it is located.

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The timber wood structure and marvelous architecture catches one’s fancy at first sight!

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This is the main temple where ‘Goddess Chindi’ resides

The artists’ impression of ‘Goddess’ (Mata in Hindi) is sensational, above you can see Goddess Durga and Kaali. Goddess Durga has nine different forms and each form (or Avatar) has a beautiful story. Kaali or Kalka is also one of her majestic forms.

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Categories: Discovery, Experience, Family Travel, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 33 Comments

Chindi – A little piece of Heaven

His eyes lit with excitement as he pointed to a tree where the tiny pomegranates were hanging and dangling and swinging beautifully with gust.

We had been to Orchards before, like on Spiti Valley road trip, the accommodation we stayed in at Kalpa, was located right in the middle of Apple Orchard and we could actually touch the Apples from our room’s balcony! But Aayansh was just 11 months old then so that explains the recent enthusiasm he is now 2 :).

 

It was not just Pomegranates; we crossed variety of trees and were as excited as ever – Pears, Plums, Apricots, and Apples. What a blessed place this was!

And the picturesque views of the hills from that altitude were something else! We had spent a lot of time in Himachal over the last five years, and still on our every following road trip we discover some place special casting a magic spell that lingers on in our hearts.

This is Chindi!

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A beautiful drive of about 95 kms from Shimla and you are in ‘Chindi’, a serene charming place in Karsog Valley. The mountains are mighty but so luxuriant with greens and the supple fog that it feels divine. Throughout our road trip we followed Google Maps and decided to take the not so popular route and it turned out amazing as it required us to drive via these quaint villages, orchards and incredible views.

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The misty mighty mountains as viewed from Chindi in Karsog Valley

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Categories: Experience, Family Travel, Hill Station, Himachal, India, Untraveled Routes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 55 Comments

Oh Dear! This is India (2)

Hi all, last week I started a photo series – Oh Dear! This is India. In continuation of the same I’m happy to share the second picture reflecting ubiquitous or unusual pulse of India.

Quite a Charmer!

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Chetan (above) is so happy to pose with his friend (as he points to the Snake and calls him Ramu). We met him on the outskirts of Indore near a village. He told us that the iconic folk art of ‘Snake Charming’ runs through generations in his family. But the business is not as rosy as it used to be.

The business of Charming!

Snake Charmers are known for their art of controlling deadliest of the reptiles (read Cobras) with the use of gourd flute (a musical instrument). For centuries this tribe has performed street shows, rescued snakes and saved the day as the boundaries of the human occupied land has grown. Continue reading

Categories: Experience, India, Travel, Travel Experience, Untraveled Routes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 31 Comments

RenukaJi, Nahan – The Blessed Waters and Heavenly Charm

Tickling the Travel bug with the Renuka Lake – the largest natural lake in Himachal!!

Renuka Lake finds its prime place in the quaint hamlet of ‘Renukaji’. Renuka is located just 40kms away from Nahan in Sirmour district of Himachal Pradesh. Renuka is also a natural wetland with freshwater springs, fed by a small stream flowing from the lower Himalayan out to the Giri river. The lake is home to at least 443 species of fauna including like Puntius, Labeo, Rasboro, Channa.

The place is revered for a number of reasons and cuts for the awesome weekend getaway from Delhi perfectly. New Delhi to Renukaji is a distance of ~300 kms and takes around 7 hours by road.

Renuka Lake, the largest natural lake measuring a little over 3 kms is so scenic and picturesque that it seems perfect to find solace and tranquility.

 

The place is luxuriant with greens and it is treat for eyes. The continuous chirping of birds and light natural music of water makes it really interesting!!

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Renuka Lake during the day 🙂 It looks so serene!

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Yes, boating is available and costs only Rs.250 for 30 – 40 minutes. I’m going to do a elaborate post on Things to do at Renukaji, so stay tuned 🙂

The History

It is believed that Renukaji is the birthplace of ‘Lord Parshuram’, the sixth incarnation of Lord Vishnu. Lord Parshuram was born to Maharishi Jamdagni and his wife Renukaji. Their prayers were answered by Lord Shiva and they both were rewarded for devoted meditation. The legend has it that Maharishi Jamdagni received a divine cow ‘Kamdhenu’ from Gods and was repeatedly attacked by Shastrabahu, to capture the cow, when he failed he killed Maharishi Jamdagni. Following the event, RenukaJi (Jamdagni’s wife) jumped in the Ram Sarovar and took Jal Samadhi, since then, the Lake is popularly known as RenukaJi Lake. The locals believe that the lake (and region around) is blessed by Renukaji and her spirit. The place is highly revered by the devotees.

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It is also believed that on the occasion of Devprabodhini Ekadashi every year, Renukaji and her son Lord Parshuram meet. The day is celebrated with much fanfare. Continue reading

Categories: Experience, Family Travel, History, India, Spiritual | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 33 Comments

Thoughtful Tuesday.

The beauty of Travel !♥

You visit a place and come back to routine life but your heart yearns… for more moments, more memories, more nature walks, may be more pictures too 🙂 You Travel once to particular destination and the experience alters you forever. So, physically you are not traveling though but your brain is!! As they say, ‘ Once a Traveler, Always a Traveler’.

Some destinations are so beautifully blessed that the sights find a special place in your heart and every time a discussion comes up about that place, your eyes sparkle and a positive smile runs across uninhibited.

Today, I’m sharing few of my favorites – pictures as well as quotes, made me introspect , retrospect and HAPPY!!

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Udaipur Tree Quote

All of these were clicked at Udaipur.

Udaipur city stands as a testimony to the living heritage and eternal legacy of the Sisodiya dynasty. Sisodiyas ruled the city for over 1200 years. The origin of Udaipur dates back to 1559 A.D when Maharana Udai Singh met a sage who blessed the Maharana and advised him to build a palace at this favorably located spot.

Udaipur is a visual treat, it’s shimmering lakes against the backdrop of Aravali Hills, formidable palaces, enticing structures,  fascinating ambience makes the city a captivating destination for domestic as well as international tourists.

Happy Exploring 🙂

Just wanted to share one happy news, our Facebook page is now 1100 members strong, so if you would like to connect on FB as well, we will be glad to reciprocate. Charu ♥≈° Ashish

Categories: Experience, History, India, Inspiration, Untraveled Routes | Tags: , , , , , , , | 26 Comments

Wednesday Wisdom :)

Wednesday Wisdom

Read this beautiful saying by Dalai Lama and felt like sharing 🙂 Captured this picture near Kaza during our Road trip to Spiti Valley in April 2016.

Categories: Adventure, Experience, Tour Spiti, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , | 20 Comments

Weekend Wisdom

Srinagar Quotes

On this beautiful note, wish all our fellow bloggers and readers – Happy Weekend 🙂

The picture in background was shot at Badamvaer in Srinagar, Kashmir. More stories on Kashmir here – A cuppa of story from Kashmir, Different hues of Dal Lake, A day at Srinagar.

Categories: Discovery, Experience, Houseboats, India, Inspiration, Travel Quotes, Untraveled Routes | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

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