Posts Tagged With: Nature

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

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!!

Wedding Pic

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

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: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 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

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

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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Continue reading

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

Best of Spiti – In Pictures

The inviting roads, the terrain, the landscapes and topography…….

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) were difficult to fathom. However, our zeal for road trips couldn’t keep us away for a very long time and after an occasional 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. Interestingly, we discovered our baby boy shares the love for Travel 🙂 This trip wasn’t his first though, he had been on few short trips already before Spiti.

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.

We covered the region via Shimla. It was thrilling as well as challenging to drive on these roads. We were bracing ourselves for the drive on one of the most treacherous and deadliest roads of the world. This time it was the thrill of NH-22 and Hindustan-Tibet road. The hairpin bends, the narrow dimensions, encountering natural waterfalls, close encounters with trucks and buses, the frequent bad patches made us  feel ecstatic and sometimes insane:). Take a virtual tour of the roads here.

The region is heaven for photography enthusiasts, to hone skills and experiment with different styles, today I’m sharing the essence of the ‘Spiti Valley’ captured in pictures, a random compilation of awe-inspiring sightings. This is going to be a series of posts and I hope you travel along 🙂

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This is a landscape view of village – Dhankar. 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!!!

Dhankar houses a 16th century old fort monastery; however one can see the new monastery now in the tiny village of Shichilling. The old monastery complex is also known as Lha-O-pa Gompa; it has five different halls and includes a number of multi-storied buildings. The highlight of the monastery is the a statue of Vairochana or Dhayan Buddha with 4 figures seated back to back. The monastery is associated with Gelukpa order of Tibetan Buddhism and has around 150 lamas residing in it.

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Read more about Dhankar

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The natural settings are so beautiful here that we were compelled to take breaks and soak in the beauty, this capture is a humble attempt to share the beauty with the world. Continue reading

Categories: Adventure, Family Travel, Himachal, India, Spiti Valley, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 73 Comments

Of Windows and Travel!

This week’s WPC theme is – Windows!!

I have been reminiscing about this for a long time and was about to do a post. So, I’m glad that it is the theme for the week 🙂 where I can share my pictures reflecting the world through windows, the world that keeps changing. The only constant in these pictures is the ‘Window’ 🙂

The first picture here was shot in Udaipur, Rajasthan. The beautiful city 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. I believe my regular readers would also remember a post I recently did on the city.

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The Pink Evening at Sangla!

The second one captures the essence of ‘Sangla’, a quaint town located in Kinnaur in Himachal region of India. The sky that evening turned pink and looked beyond beautiful. This shot captures the calm mountains overlooking apple orchards.

Glimpse of Sangla

We covered ‘Sangla’ on our 11 days road trip to Spiti Valley, Read – An epic road trip to Spiti Valley , the Land of Lamas in India’

Feel the Royalty at Jaisalmer!

View from Window

This is a capture of the ‘Jaisalmer Fort’ from a restaurant’s dining area. We stayed here for two days and I would recommend to definitely cover Jaisalmer if you’re are exploring Rajasthan.

Jaisalmer is popularly known as the The Golden City, situated amidst Thar Desert, close to Pakistan border; over powered by the Jaisalmer Fort (Sonar Quila) the city with glorious past offers an action packed experience to travelers. Not just the architecture, the whole city oozes different feel tiny gallis (narrow lanes), all the houses constructed from golden bricks, puppet shows and people singing folk songs at all the unexpected locations, its awesome !!!

The Morning at Dal Lake!

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Dal Lake is fondly known as Srinagar’s jewel. Dal Lake is the second largest lake in the state; it is a major tourist attraction as well as source for commercial activities such as fishing and water plant harvesting.

Srinagar, the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir has always sustained the limelight mostly for infamous reasons. Srinagar, truly is paradise and treat for your soul. You can actually plan long vacation to Srinagar and surrounding areas.

For more pictures of Dal Lake read – Hues of Dal Lake

Windows – What do you see through yours?

‘I see beautiful surroundings, that create magic

lit up my eyes

and make me smile!!

Happy Exploring!!

Categories: Discovery, Experience, Family Travel, India, Offbeat Travel, Road Trip, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 58 Comments

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