Historical

RAMNAGAR FORT

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Architecture of the Ramnagar Fort
This Great Structure was built by Kashi Naresh ( king of Varanasi ) Raja balwant Singh in 1650. He used yellowish cream coloured chunnar sandstone. The Fort is made in Mughal style of architecture with decorative and carved balconies, huge open courtyards and pavilions. The fort has museum which stores the articles used in history of kingdom of Benaras. It has been home to Kashi Naresh since 18th Century . The present resident of this fort is Anant Narayan Singh. He is also Maharaja of Varanasi.So only a part of the fortress is open for public viewing as the rest of it is the residence of Kashi Naresh and his family. The flag on the fort is raised when the Kashi Naresh is in residence in his palace fort. Within the fortress, the palace has two white towers, which are accessed by a flight of steps. At the end of the flight of steps, there is an archway and many courtyards that lead to the white tower. The private residence of the Maharaja is on one side of thetower while the Durbar Hall and reception rooms are on the other side. An inscription on the fort wall attests “Fortified House of the Rajah of Benares ” with his state Boat.

This buildings inside the fort are specially made high above the ground level so that in the case of flood they are safe.
Present opposite Tulsi ghat the fort offers mesmerizing views with its shadow reflecting on slow flowing Ganga river. The pontoon bridge which provides access to the fort has rickety planks. During the monsoon season, the fort is accessible across the river by ferry service only . Crossing the wooden bridge (pontoon) made up of floating drums on vehicle is no more than an adventure as if you travelling on the crooked pebbled roads of villages on a bullock carts. After crossing the river,climbing up a little bit and move towards left will bring one toward the gate of Ramnagar Fort. Many local handicraft shops are present where stunning artworks are sold for nominal price.

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मुंबई की गुफाएँ – मंडपेश्वर और महाकाली

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यह भी कहा जाता है कि जब-जब शासन बदला, तब-तब इस गुफा का विभिन्न प्रकार से उपयोग किया गया. कभी तो यहाँ सैनिकों के टुकड़ियाँ निवास करती थीं, तो कभी शरणार्थी-गण. यह भी समझा जाता है कि प्रत्येक शासन काल में यह गुफा उजड़ी और फिर नए सिरे से बसी. लोग यह भी मानतें हैं कि विश्व युद्ध के समय भी अंग्रेज सैन्य-बल यहाँ बसा हुआ था. इनका यह मतलब निकलता है कि मंडपेश्वर गुफाएं हमेशा से लोगों द्वारा आबादित रहीं हैं.

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Neemrana to Bundi: In search of Indian step wells – Part 1

Neemrana to Bundi: In search of Indian step wells – Part 1

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But leaving the roads apart, when I entered Chand Baori, a WOW just came out from my mouth. I mean Neemrana Stepwell was massive, but this one is like some aliens came to build it. This stepwell is enormous and mind-blowing & now I understand that why a scene of Batman 2008 was filmed here. There is no parallel of such structure in India.

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Road to Eternity

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We followed the surging crowds that seemed to be heading in just one direction – towards the Sistine Chapel. With masses of people packed like sardines inside the chapel, it was hard to imagine it as a quiet place of deliberation. But cardinals have gathered here in conclave for centuries to elect new popes, broadcasting their results through smoke signals from a chimney. It’s also the only place in the museum where photography is prohibited. A world of discovery awaited us as we entered the Sistine Chapel – the pinnacle of western art.

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संजय गाँधी राष्ट्रीय उद्यान, मुंबई की पदयात्रा – “कान्हेरी गुफा”

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पर एक बात थी. कान्हेरी पहाड़ का वह स्थान बिलकुल वीरान था. इतना वीरान कि गुफाओं के अन्दर अकेले जाने में ऐसा महसूस हो कि कोई वहां पहले से मौजूद है, जो आपको निरंतर देख रहा है. उस वीरानी में मन में कई ख़याल आते हैं. जैसे कि क्या वहां जाने वाले का कोई सम्बन्ध पश्चात काल में उस गुफा से था और उसी सम्बन्ध के सहारे वह इस जीवन में भी वहां लौट कर आया हो? उस अंतिम गुफा में बैठ कर मैंने अपनी एक कविता का प्रथम अन्तरा लिखा. इस कविता के दूसरे अंतरे बाद में मुंबई के अन्य गुफाओं की यात्रा में पूर्ण हुए.

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On The Ramayana Trail in Sri Lanka

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The high point of our yatra was the visit to Sigiriya, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Sigiriya or Simha Giriya ( Lion Rock ) is a gigantic rock formation ( 660 ft high ) on top of which a complex capital city was built by one king Kashyap and which was said to have been later usurped by Ravana. Still later, it was used by Buddhists to promote their religion. The rock and its surroundings presents a unique concentration of urban planning, architecture, gardening, engineering, hydraulic technology and art.

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A Triad in Time – Gharapuri, Ambarnath and Pataleshwar

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The most important sculpture here is the Trimutri, 3 faces of Mahadev which have found its space on Maharashtra tourism logo as well. Nearly full length of wall, the faces are very skilfully carved. Point to note that this is not a sculpture of Trimurti – Brahma , Vishnu and Mahesh but these are faces of Shiva only. There has been tradition to carve faces on Shivling as well. And based on number of faces, the shivling gets the name from Ekmukhi to Panchmukhi.
Although the common man thinks these are 3 faces, the experts have always more to add. Stella Kramrisch is one such expert in Indian iconography. She has proven that these are not 3 but 5 faces. There are distinct names to each of the face and it really represents the attribute of colorful character of Shiva. Five faces of Shiva represent five elements, Ishana (sky), Tatpurusha (wind), Aghora (fire), Vamadeva (water) and Sadjoyata (earth) and together this depiction is called as Sadashiv as per iconography. We see three faces and there is one assumed to be behind and one on top.

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Maharashtra Jyotirlings – Aundha Nagnath, Baijnath and Grhrineshwar

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धर्मशाला में रूम का पता किया तो कोई 700 कोई 500 मांग रहा था, हालांकि वहां मन्दिर ट्रस्ट का धर्मशाला भी है वो मन्दिर के पीछे की और है और किसी पण्डित ने बताया की वहां सिर्फ 100 रुपए ही रुकने का किराया है, उन्ही पण्डित जी से हमने अभिषेक करवाने के लिए बात की तो वो भी हमारे साथ हो लिए की चलिए पहले आपको रूम की व्यवस्था करवाता हूँ फिर आराम से अभिषेक और पूजा के लिए चलना क्योंकि सोमवार होने की वजह से बाबा का पूजा अभिषेक 7 बजे तक करने की इजाजत मन्दिर प्रबन्धन देता है,

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Jovial Jaipur…

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As we came out of the hotel, It started raining but we were prepared for this. We took out our Rain-coats and started our exploration. In the market we bargained with an Auto wala and for Rs 600 he agreed to took us to various places including Hawa Mahal, City Palace, Amer Fort and Chokhi Dhani. First of all we went to check out the famous Hawa Mahal of Jaipur. Hawa Mahal is a palace built in 1799 by Maharaja Sawai Pratap Singh, so named because it was essentially a high screen wall built so the women of the royal household could observe street festivals while unseen from the outside.

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Along the old silk route – East Sikkim

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The entire zigzag road was blocked with snow. We were the only souls from far off plain lands stuck in the midst of old silk route, completely disconnected from the outside world and covered in a thick blanket of snow. Our journey to Gnathang Valley was cancelled. But what we witnessed was much more than what we had wanted and could ask for no more.

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