Posts Tagged With: Travel

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: , , , , , , , , , | 32 Comments

The Wonderland is YOU!!!

The most endearing thing in Life is to be able to wake up with optimistic notions, unabated smile, balmy heart and an aura that exudes positivity. One might say that’s just not possible with all the stress endowed with current lifestyles and all kinds of responsibilities that Adulting brings with time.

And that is also the reason why it is becoming so rare to find, such a simple delight but most of us are struggling to find it on a daily basis. Happiness is all contained within you, you just need to identify and unleash it.

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Happiness is the most beautiful gift you can gift to yourself. And it’s contagious, it spreads to people around you!!

To put in perspective, Berkeley Wellness recently shared a piece on happiness where Scientists and Researchers have defined happiness as having satisfaction and meaning in your life. It’s the propensity to feel positive emotions, the capacity to recover from negative emotions quickly, and holding a sense of purpose. Happiness is not having a lot of privilege or money. It’s a broader thing: Our ability to connect with others, to have meaningful relationships, to have a community. (The real relationships and social bonding not social media)

There is no dearth of researches that have been conducted in the past affirming that ‘Happiness’ cannot be bought with money, what makes one happy in the long run are relationships, experiences and contentment with Life. That contentment is not going to come if you keep spending hours, days, and months and ultimately years doing the same thing over and over again to earn money unless you have taken a bold choice of pursuing your passion. If every morning you get up and you are raring to go to work, it’s all good.  If not, then rethink. The Science of Happiness encourages people to begin with acknowledging ‘3 beautiful things / incidences’ that they believe make them feel happy and blessed on a daily basis. It’s also called the Happiness Practice, so if you’re really struggling, I’d suggest begin with the Practice.

I often read quotes by Robin Sharma, he is such an amazing writer (his books are awesome too!), two of the quotes are like etched in my brain – ‘Do not Live the same year 75 times and call it a LIFE’ and the other one – ‘Who you are becoming is more important than what you are accumulating’.

I hope your pursuit of happiness finds it’s goal soon.

Dedicating this piece to ‘Happiness’, I’m glad to share beautifully apt pictures in the series, the highlight photo of which is published above. These pictures were shot at Dhankar, Spiti Valley. 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!!!

Hope these pictures bring delight and the spirit of happiness to you –

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Well, no denying that Childhood is the most precious and beautiful time of Life. The way these kids were playing at such high altitude and on the road which had no fences, no protection is admirable. Also, they were so happy to face the camera.

It was difficult for us to even get out of the car and fight the crazy wind. This also shows human body is capable of anything. In fact, Spiti is one place which makes me rethink the metro lifestyles.

To conclude, I would say never let go of the child inside you, for it will keep you alive.

 

Categories: Adventure, Experience, Himachal, India, Photography | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 44 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

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

The Camels of Thar, Rajasthan

Miles and miles of incessant desert, a land of shifting sand dunes and infinite stories! That’s Thar – The Great Indian Desert.

The Thar Desert is a large arid region in the northwestern part of the Indian subcontinent that covers an area of 200,000 kms. The world’s 18th largest desert forms a natural boundary between India and Pakistan.  About 85% of the Thar Desert is in India, and the remaining 15% is in Pakistan. Most of the desert is covered by huge shifting sand dunes that receive sediments from the alluvial plains and the coast.

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That’s a Camel cart, Camels are the most used form of transport in rural areas of Rajasthan

But wait; isn’t it unimaginable to picture large Desert without its Ship i.e. The Mighty Camel. Indeed it is! The Camel is indispensable part of the Desert. Camels are the most important part of fairs and festivals too in Rajasthan.

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Camels with their Keepers at Jaisalmer, Rajasthan

The big snout, dusky eyes and really long legs could be intimidating at first look but don’t make any opinions and judgements so soon, Camels might carry a tough look but they are adorable and very dear, especially to the camel breeders.

Camels are unique mammals, identified with humped back and found in desert areas of Asia and Africa. There are two types of camels – Dromedary, which have one hump, and Bactrian, which have two humps. The humps consist of stored fat, which they can metabolize when food and water is scarce. The one with one hump is quite common here in Thar Desert, India.

The Quintessential Camel Ride

If you have been to Rajasthan (particularly Jaisalmer), I’m sure you have been on the Desert Safari, it’s almost impossible not to try a Camel Ride once in Jaisalmer. It’s the biggest attraction of the Safari and an unforgettable experience. There’s something about the Camel Ride.

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Look the Camel is posing and smiling too!! A still from our Desert Safari in Jaisalmer.

  • Firstly the funny feeling when the Camel gets up and sits back again.
  • The situation where Camel doesn’t want to get up at all!
  • The fun when he starts running!
  • The feeling while you keep swinging lightly as the Camel moves giving a tour and taste of the Desert.
  • The peculiar smell that Camel carries, one has to get over it 🙂

Continue reading

Categories: Experience, Family Travel, India, Jaisalmer, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 34 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

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

Bridge-Spiti

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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