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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.

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

Seven Things must do at Renukaji!

Last week I shared an engaging post about the offbeat treasure near Delhi – Renukaji, The Blessed Waters and Heavenly Charm

In continuation with the topic, here’s how you can plan your day at Renukaji, the activities you can do and get the most out of it 🙂

  1. The most popular one – Boating : Boating at Renukaji is loads of fun, the colorful boats and serene waters are so inviting! It costs just INR 250/- and the last entry is at around 5 pm. You can enjoy the scenic beauty, can actually see fishes and black turtles too in the water. The kids love it.
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Colorful Boats at Renuka Lake

2. Renuka Mataji Temple and the Parshuram Tal : The Temple is located at the base of the Renuka Lake. 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 locals believe that the lake (and region around) is blessed by Renukaji and her spirit. The place is highly revered by the devotees.

3. Take a Nature Walk around the Renuka Lake : This one is my favorite , start early and embark on the Nature Walk around the Lake, you can combine this with visit to the Zoo. The timings are 9.00 am but you can go before that as well, we chose to start at 7.30 am. The morning walk amidst lush greens was refreshing and infused new energy in us.©

4. Observing the Animals : After all it’s a Zoo, though I’m not a big fan of Zoo, I don’t like animals being restricted in an exhibit but yes since it’s collided with the Nature Park and morning walk we did some animal spotting too. Aayansh found it joyful, for his age he has special fondness for all animals including reptiles!

 

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Categories: Family Travel, Himachal, Offbeat Travel, Traveling with a Baby, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 19 Comments

A Walk to Remember!!

The surreal peaceful charm of Sarahan will devour you as you enter the village. It’s a beautiful village, just 17 kms off the main road (from Jeori) in Himachal Pradesh. We covered Sarahan as part of our 11 days road trip to Spiti Valley.

Sarahan Quote

A landscape view of the village

Sarahan is adorned by impressive Bhimkali Temple that is over 800 years old. The archaic architecture of the temple is intriguing. Take look at pretty pictures!!

Another factor that makes Sarahan so gorgeous is the Shrikand Mahadev peak. The views that surround the village from every angle will make you fall in love with Nature every hour.

The ‘Hawa-Ghar’ at Sarahan!!

It’s not a touristy spot, let me clarify that and no wonder we were the only ones at the location! We spoke to some locals there (as we mostly prefer) and found out about  ‘Hawa-Ghar’. As we approached the location, we were stunned to witness how gorgeous it was.ζ♥ Felt like in the lap of Nature ♥

Beautiful Trails

The super pretty trail luxuriant with greens

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Categories: Road Trip, Sarahan, Kinnaur, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 42 Comments

7 reasons why road trip to Spiti will leave you spoiled !!!

One road trip to Spiti, and all you want to do is ‘Let’s go again!!’

Making up our minds for doing the 11 days road trip with a little baby was not easy at all. It was the first time ever that we were so anxious about our ‘Travel’ plans!! Post baby, the lifestyle changed every bit and traveling together (particularly the adventure trips) became like dream in a glass bottle. However, our zeal for road trips couldn’t keep us away for a very long time and after a break of a year we decided to pack our bags and set out on a road trip along with our 11 months old little love to the revered Spiti Valley, the Land of Lamas in India. Spiti is as stunning as it name sounds!! Lahaul–Spiti lies in the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh. Spiti is predominantly occupied by Tibetan refugees and hence the region has pretty much feel of Tibet. Read a deep conversation with a Tibetan Refugee ‘Jampa’!!

Spiti is a cold desert mountain valley – the middle land between Tibet and India. Itinerary – 11 days from New Delhi – Spiti Valley – New Delhi

We had no idea that we had signed up for the most challenging, surprising and oddly pleasing odyssey. The road trip to this wonderland was an unforgettable journey, the memories are still fresh and though it was freaking difficult we would love to do it again!!

The resplendent Spiti will leave you spoiled, and here is why –

  • Exigent Roads – There are two ways to reach Spiti – one via Manali and the other one that lets you through the Trans Himalayas via Shimla – Kinnaur – Spiti. We covered the region via scenic Kinnaur route, the National Highway 22 (NH -22) and the Hindustan Tibet Road.  It was thrilling as well as challenging to drive on these roads. The transcendent roads are something you would have never seen or experienced before. These roads are touted as one of the most treacherous and dangerous in the world. The NH 22 will drive you insane for lot of reasons but you’ll love the adrenaline rush and thrill.

The hairpin bends of NH – 22, the narrow dimensions, encountering natural waterfalls, close encounters with trucks and buses, the frequent bad patches will make you feel ecstatic and sometimes insane too.   Take a virtual tour of the roads here.

  • Insane Landscapes –The gigantic rustic brown mountains, sometimes chocolate dipped and sometimes covered with snow with extra effect of pristine blue waters flowing. The jaw dropping views of sunset and sunrise will begin around Kalpa. As you keep moving forward the lush green hills will gradually transform to dusty and big sand like mountains. You are going to miss the greens!! But you will be able to embrace the change too.  
Landsc-Dhankar

View of Dhankar village from a distance!!

Spiti Valley Quotes 2017

  • Get High! –The high altitude is not just high is really quite high to handle. Once you cross Sarahan and approach Kalpa, the excitement begins. All the villages in Spiti Valley feel like perched on top to name a few – Totally Tabo (3050 m), Dhankar Heights (3894 m), Key(4166m)!! All wobbly and super windy. Interestingly the route till Tabo is challenging but the one from Tabo to Kaza and Kaza to surrounding villages is not bumpy. You will fall in love with the views from such altitude. However, the wind at such height is strong enough to hurl your car to wobble. We experienced it so many times, while approaching Dhankar, again while visiting Key Monastery and then Gue village.

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  • Intriguing History – The place is inundated with attention-grabbing stories and they will govern you mind space for long as you will keep thinking about it while you drive on empty roads wondering are you the only soul loitering around.

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Categories: Adventure, Tour Spiti, Travel, Traveling with a Baby, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , | 62 Comments

What’s on thy door?

There’s more to temples in India than the deity who adorns the walls and grants so much power to temple that culminates into fan following later. So many time we have heard such phrases –  Lord Krishna’s Maha Mandir; Mata ka bhavya Mandir or Shivji’s temple etc etc. The temple gets its identity and popularity from the deity it houses.

Though on our trips usually do not visit temples a lot but if some temple is known for commendable history to boast of as well as incredible architecture to induce awe we can’t keep it off our list 🙂

On our road trip to Spiti, we observed almost all the temples and monasteries had beautiful rather inspiring doors, sharing few glimpses via this post 🙂

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Categories: Sarahan, Kinnaur, Spiti Valley, Tour Spiti, Uncategorized, Untraveled Routes | Tags: , , , , , | 10 Comments

A friend in disguise!!!

There is something about the ‘Moon’ and it’s crowning splendor!!

Whenever I peek out from the window it’s there!! When I go out for a walk, it’s there. It’s always there with me!!

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Waiting for me to step out and let my chi calm. It seems it keeps inviting me to spend some time with it.

There is something about the ‘Moon’.

Simply, holding hands of my beloved and taking a walk while watching the Moon feels so divine.

As a kid, I loved how ‘Moon’ would follow me and play hide and seek with the clouds. I spent hours lying on the terrace just absorbed by the beauty of ‘Moon’, talking, singing and then gradually falling asleep.

Literally, the Moon is Earth’s only permanent natural satellite. It is one of the largest natural satellites in the Solar System, and the largest among planetary satellites relative to the size of the planet that it orbits.

However, in retrospect, the Moon is the good old ‘Friend’

This post is dedicated to you dear ‘Moon’, for always being there and being so patient!!

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Categories: Nature, Offbeat Travel, Photography, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , | 13 Comments

Color me ‘GREEN’!!!

Monsoon_Shimla

Rain soaked hills at Shimla, Himachal Pradesh!!! Bringing you beautiful greens from the most loved and popular Hill Station – ‘Shimla’

Categories: Kufri, Shimla, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , | 5 Comments

Betaab Valley Nostalgia

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This image was shot at ‘Betaab (Agog in English) Valley’. It’s a beautiful lush green valley with river flowing right besides it, as is visible in the picture. We actually went to Pahalgam but thanks to our exploration spirit we landed at this heaven called Betaab Valley 🙂

Categories: Srinagar, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

Folk players from the streets of Rajasthan, India

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This person has spent more than a decade playing at Gadisagar Lake, Jaisalmer. Infact, if you would google Gadisagar Lake, you will surely find his images 🙂

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Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , | 12 Comments

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