Untraveled Routes

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: , , , , , , , , , | 34 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: , , , , , , , , | 20 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

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.

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

Categories: Adventure, Travel Quotes, Traveling with a Baby, Untraveled Routes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 36 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

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’!

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

The Tall and Mighty – Dudhsagar Falls

Day 2 – Witnessing the fifth largest waterfall of India

Dudhsagar Falls translates to ‘The Sea of Milk’ in English, with a mighty fall of 1,020 feet; these falls are a sight to watch evoking awe and excitement alike. Dudhsagar is a 4-tiered waterfall located on the Mandovi River near Goa – Karnataka border. We covered Dudhsagar Falls on Day 2 of our recent Goa trip (Oct’17).

The falls are located inside a Wildlife Sanctuary and hence governed by the Forest Department, the access is a bit difficult but worth the effort. Dudhsagar has a mighty fall, and the arc sort of design as seen in pictures is actually a railway track, there’s a Bollywood movie shot here too (remember Chennai Express!) ; however the train has been discontinued lately.

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Dudhsagar Falls

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Things to Know, before you go to Dudhsagar Falls

  • Currently, the only way to reach the falls is by booking the ‘Jeep Safari’ which costs INR 400 +INR 30 for life jacket +INR 50 forest department fee, comes around INR 480. The Jeep will take you on a bumpy ride of 10 -12 km and finally once you reach the falls, you’ll have 1.30 hours to enjoy. Photography is allowed but carrying a camera and managing it (particularly DSLR) is a bit difficult.
  • The way that leads to falls is beautiful, risky though, especially if you have a Kid / Backpack. It’s preferable to wear Floaters or Sandals.
  • There is a place where one can enjoy light swimming at the foot of the falls. One has to be careful all the time as there are rocks beneath water.
  • There was a train earlier which used to go till the Falls, but now it has been discontinued.
  • You might encounter the local villagers claiming that they will take you on a trek till the top of the waterfall and charge only INR 1,000 but please do not fall prey to such claims; the area is not safe due to thick forest, presence of wild animals and steep water cliff. Moreover, if anything goes wrong, they will not take any responsibility.
  • Since, we had our bike; we traveled the distance in 2 hours from South Goa to Dudhsagar Falls. However, for someone coming from North Goa this might take 3.30 – 4 hours of travel from one side, so plan accordingly.
  • During monsoons and heavy rains, the falls are closed to avoid casualties.

The lower half of the falls where swimming is allowed –

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Ending the day, Cavelossim way Continue reading

Categories: Adventure, Beach Vacation, Family Travel, goa, Offbeat Travel, Untraveled Routes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 33 Comments

The crack of Dawn at Sunset Beach!!

Let’s begin exploring Goa with the Sunset Beach in South Goa

Right from the time, the first thought of spending Diwali holidays in Goa surfaced to discussions, I couldn’t stop picturing sandy beaches, soothing dawn, fiery sunsets and vibrant nights. Mostly (actually all) holidays till now were spent back in home either in Agra or Mumbai but this time we thought let it be sweetened with Sun, Sand, Sea and Shells. So, it was planned – ‘A wandering week in Goa’! I’ll do a comprehensive post soon covering the whole road trip and a series of detailed posts about the beaches and here goes the first one 🙂

Goa is thronged by domestic as well as international tourists alike and the preferable months for the visit are October – March. You’ll find that foreign tourists share the love for beaches candidly here. In fact few of the beaches that we visited had only foreign tourists cheerfully having a great time.

Goa (Goem in Konkani) is India’s smallest state by area, formerly a Portuguese province, was annexed by the Indian Army in 1961.

How Goa welcomed us!

Our flight from New Delhi landed ahead of the scheduled time (yay!!) and we were out much before the anticipated time. We had taken a bike on rent and the guy handed over the bike to us outside the airport itself. We had booked a Home Stay in South Goa (Fatona area), which according to Google Maps was 30 – 40 minutes away, we thought that’s manageable. BUT, there was something else planned for us, right after five minutes of our drive, it began drizzling and in few minutes a heavy downpour and we were stranded!

With the little baby and the entire luggage, it was so challenging to drive. Moreover, the constant thought that baby might catch cold was making me sick. Though we had an umbrella but it was of little help. It was our first trip to Goa, we had no idea that shops begin to close by 8.30ish, restaurants also being to close early (barring select few), there were no streetlights (only few roads had some lights) and patches were luxuriant with greens. With nothing visible, our only hope and help was google map. And that too was difficult to check because of the constant rain. Finally, all drenched and distressed, we could reach the Home Stay only in 1.5 hours or more.

Waking up next morning to the beauty

The morning was beautiful and we were all pumped up to explore the beach :). The closest beach to our Home Stay was Sunset Beach and it looked something like this in the morning 🙂 The fascinating part is that this is a deserted beach, and in wee hours there was no one around not even the Lifeguard. It looked so calm with the golden sky preparing for sunrise.

Sunset Beach

 

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Categories: goa, Untraveled Routes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 36 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

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: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 56 Comments

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