Heritage

The Legend of Jamali-Kamali

Of many marvels situated in Archeological Park, Mehrauli; a neighborhood in South West Delhi district just a few kms away from the famous Qutub Minar; Jamali Kamali Mosque and Tomb is one of a kind.

Built during the years 1528 – 29, this monument’s architecture was decorated with marble embellishments. The design of the mosque, first of a kind in India, has been appreciated and studied with awe for many years. This mosque and tomb is dedicated to Jamali and Kamali.

Jamali, was a Saint and Sufi poet, who lived between Sikandar Lodi’s reign and that of Humayun. His full name was Sheikh Fazlullah or Sheikh Jamal-ud-din Kamboh Dehlawi. Jamali’s poetry created a special place in Sikandar Lodi’s heart; his works were so impressive that though Mughals conquered India, Jamali remained in the royal court till Humayun’s death.

However, this seemingly just another monument entails more stories and history than one could fathom. Few of them are tough to believe but definitely catch the attention. Let’s get started.

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The gushing leaves in the courtyard seem to welcome every visitor alike. As I enter I couldn’t help but observe the structure of the mosque and the red sandstone work is so peculiar of the Mughal Architecture. It reminds me of the works in Akbar’s Tomb, Sikandra, near Agra.

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The wazukhana (where the followers cleanse themselves before offering prayers), lies empty now and looks more like a shallow pond but illustrates how meticulously it was constructed back then.

As I enter the elegant Mosque, the architecture takes me to another world. The carved bands and medallions, and five arched openings, and the narrow gallery leading to the second floor; there’s something peaceful about the whole setting.

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However, it is believed that the peaceful turns to eerie silence in the evening, the presence of ‘Jinns’ (or the super natural forces) has been confirmed by many stories. Some say, it haunted, I don’t really know. To me, it looks and feels mysterious yet amazing.

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In the adjoining closure, there’s a flat roofed tomb, the entry to this tomb has now been closed, but it’s famous for ornamentation with colored tiles and exquisite patterns embedded with inscriptions composed by Jamali himself.

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It’s the Jamali – Kamali tomb, Kamali’s relationship with Jamali was a special one as illustrated by the fact that Kamali was buried alongside Jamali. Not much validated information is available about Kamali, however there are many stories speculating that he was – A disciple, brother, friend and / or a lover. Historians, explain that during that era homosexual love was as normal as opposite sex and hence there is a high possibility that this burial side-by-side is extension of promise, made in love of being together forever. Like the Taj Mahal in Agra commemorates Shahjahan’s eternal love for his wife Mumtaz Mahal, the Jamali-Kamali tomb has a similar theory. 1000 years back, who knew mausoleums could elicit such great interest in history.

With myriad questions rumbling in my mind I made my way to another ruined monument, a new story and experience and yet more unanswered questions.

 

 

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Categories: Art and Culture, Experience, Family Travel, Heritage, India, New Delhi, Offbeat Travel, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 15 Comments

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: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 51 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: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 47 Comments

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