Posts Tagged With: Travel

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

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 Music that weaves Magic!

When the sound of rustic yet soulful music adorns every nook and corner, you know it’s Rajasthan.

Rajasthan’s diversity is beyond capture in words – rich heritage, vibrant culture, majestic monuments with appealing history,  artistically sound, vast sand dunes, colorful villages, warm people and much more. Rajasthan is famous for showcasing the royal heritage of palaces, forts, havelis & desert safaris, offering a glimpse of it’s spirited culture.

This state has a lot to offer to all groups of travelers and explorers. An ideal destination for royal vacation, adventure lover, family vacation and heaven for antique collectors. Royal life style of the emperors has inspired and promoted a variety of antique art on wood, clothe and stone.

Don’t be surprised when you encounter artists playing folk music and singing melodious songs at all the possible places! When we did Jodhpur-Jaisalmer-Udaipur circuit we observed many such artists but could capture only few but all. Happy to share them here again I know I would shared the pictures earlier in some form or other but these are so apt for ‘Oh Dear! This is India‘ series. They reflect glorious history of India.

The tune of Kamaicha

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This man, deserves all the admiration, he plays at the Gadisagar Lake and has been doing so for more than a decade now!

The instrument that adorns his experienced hands so beautifully is ‘Kamaicha’. ‘Kamaicha’ is one of the oldest musical instruments widely used in Asian music and more so in Rajasthan. It is a string instrument played with a bow.

Read – The Desert Safari and Gala Dinner at Thar

The one called Nagara

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The artist here is playing ‘ Nagara’, also called ‘Kettledrum’ is a cone shaped drum played with two sticks – the Surnai and Nafeeri. I couldn’t capture the sticks very well in the picture though. This man sings and plays at the Mehrangarh Fort (Jodhpur) and it’s so refreshing that one literally starts moving to the music.

Happy Weekend!

Suggested Reading – This is India (I) This is India (II)

 

Categories: History, India, Inspiration, Rajasthan | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 31 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

Hues of Turquoise!

When you see your favorite color like this!

Can you imagine Life without colors around us? I guess that would be a big NO. Colors add so much zing to our otherwise mundane Life, and each color has specific significance to it. The impact of Colors on our moods, emotions, conduct and overall well being can’t be ignored. For instance Green is the color that enhances balance and harmony while the color Blue has an instant calming effect on mind, no wonder beaches and oceans and rivers are so loved by travelers.

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This one is shot at Dal Lake, Srinagar, the impact of greens is so soothing!

Somehow I have always had a special liking for ‘Turquoise’ color and when I saw this sight (the picture below), I was happily amazed.

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And my favorite color! The combination of Green and Turquoise looks so appealing. If you observe closely, there’s a Helicopter parked and it’s tail is also colored Turquoise. Isn’t it beautiful! This picture too was captured in Srinagar, Jammu & Kashmir

The other picture, is a landscape view of the place, and it’s drop dead gorgeous. With the Dal Lake visible in background and the peeking mountain, this landscape is one of my favorite shots.

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This one right here is the landscape view of the Helipad and Golf Course. AMAZING!

Categories: Srinagar, Travel, Untraveled Routes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 33 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

Sutlej- The Flowing Beauty

A morning date with the longest river in Himachal running 1500 kms…

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The longest river (in km) in Himachal Pradesh originates from Lake Rakshastal in Tibet, lying near Lake Mansarovar and south of Mount Kailash. The waters of the Sutlej are allocated to India under the Indus Waters Treaty between India and Pakistan, according to this treaty, India can utilize only 20 per cent of its total discharge of water.

On our recent road trip, we had this beautiful opportunity of spending sometime basking in the charm of Sutlej.

As the light began to touch Earth’s surface, the deceptive cover of fog came into light, it seemed as if the ‘Sutlej’ was asleep under the covers of fog, and the gradual rays were making an attempt to wake her up, slowly and beautifully….

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Keeps flowing, continues it’s journey, what come may.

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Just like Life, it goes on, just like the waves, you’ll never experience the same time again, enjoy every moment! Continue reading

Categories: Photography, Road Trip, Travel Experience, Untraveled Routes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 29 Comments

Oh Dear! This is India.

A series of flagrant pictures that depicts ‘India’ as it is – seizing the audacious and unabashed moments from the vibrant streets of India. I’m glad to share the first one here

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The veil of Religion! Apologize for the low resolution, this one was clicked from a mobile phone, it was so crowded that holding the camera was super risky!

People here are ardent followers of ‘Gods’ and their dedication includes all kinds of prayers, fasting, and what not! Continue reading

Categories: India, Photography, Travel Experience | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 37 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

An epic road trip to Spiti Valley, the Land of Lamas in India

For the last three weeks I have receiving lot of queries regarding travel to ‘Spiti Valley’. More so as we did the circuit with our 11 months old little baby ∞ The road trip that entails more than just planning your days, test of patience and display of mettle!!

So, I decided to share our story, experience and details again for the benefit of the fellow travelers. I have attempted to make this post as comprehensive as possible to serve like a helpful Travel Guide to Spiti. This post has actually been one of the most popular one on Untraveled Routes so far, it received 1000+ views within two days of posting 🙂 Finally here it is –

The Trans Himalayan voyage through Shimla – Kinnaur – Spiti Valley

We have done road trips before (Dainkund Peak, Betaab Valley, Mandhavgarh) but the one we were planning this time was totally different. 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. This time we were going to be away in the majestic rocky deserted mountains, rugged terrains, vertical cliffs and cold desert valley.

And somehow our instincts convinced us that this was totally worth it.

Spiti was on our minds for a long time, an incessant zeal for travel gave us all the courage required to do this trip with our 11 months old baby boy – Aayansh. So we did it in April 2016!!! Gorgeous mountains, flawless cold desert valley, captivating culture, contagious love and warmth, beauty exuding from every quarter… Spiti Valley is a treat for soul.

Continue reading

Categories: Adventure, Tour Spiti, Traveling with a Baby, Untraveled Routes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 35 Comments

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