The Devdar Prayers

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Down to earth from heaven, our vehicle proceeded through roads making inroads into sea of deodars. Crossing the valleys and forests our next stop was the famous Khajjiar. This is a relatively small Himalyan meadow and a shallow lake surrounded by mighty pines and devdars all around. One of the most favoured tourist stop was but a bit of disappointment. The meadow was dull and lake looked like a pit of stagnated water with lot of rubbish thrown around. And to add to it, there were stalls selling anything from popcorn to buddhee ke baal on the meadow itself. May be it would be more enchanting when it is monsoon green or winter white. Here again a temple awaited us namely KhajjiNag. A typical Himachali temple in wood and sloping roof has a black stone idol of the Nag devta. Nag worship is quite common in this part of Himalaya with Khajji nag, BhagsuNag and many more.
Again travelling down in setting sun and through darkening valleys we finally reached Chamba, located on the banks of river Ravi. Chamba is a part of settlement between 2 mighty Himalayan ranges Dhauladhar in the south and Pir Panjal in the North. Chamba got its name from Champavati, daughter of Shailavarma. The town was founded in 10’Th or 11’Th century. The name of the king is written differently in many places, Sahilvarma, Shalivahan and Shailverma. Chamba looked like a cheerful town with packed shops of fabric, chappals, mithais and chaat. Not to forget the roadside sellers with radishes and oranges and berries. This temple town is home to some of the exquisite stone architecture blended with intricate wood carvings.

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Rays of Light

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We started our walk and soon saw the first of the Sarnath monument, the Chaukhandi Stupa. A beautiful, well kept garden surrounding the Stupa welcomes you with dancing butterflies and chirping birds. Chaukhandi Stupa has a square base. This stupa was built during Gupta times. And later during Islamic rule, it got the peculiar head with edges. Built in red bricks, it was an impressive site, standing tall under a blue sky, silently remembering the era by gone.
This main road of Sarnath is lined with some beautiful Buddhist temples donated and built by several east Asian Buddhist nations. It really shows their affection and devotion towards Gautam Buddha and it’s land.

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The River and the City

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The airport is located in Babatpur, a slightly funny name but when you see the airport name displayed in bold letters as Lal Bahadur Shastri aiport, suddenly it gains stature and you feel a connection, a long lost memory jogged. And you remember a story of young Lal bahadur swimming across the Ganga for his studies.

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The Lake Mystery

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Lonar lake is a natural wonder. Some 50,000 years back a meteor dashed on the surface of the earth and created a huge depression. It broke the water table, and the depression was filled with water. The water is alkaline and saline. However you see a lot of vegetation on the lakeshore and the lake by itself welcomes the water birds.

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The Temple Bay

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One of the most photographed temple because of it’s location is actually a set of two temples set next to each other with a slight angle. The temple premise is walled with carvings of bulls(‘nandi’) sitting atop. The two temples are medium sized with typical Dravid architecture.

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Poetry in Stone

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With late entry in Khajuraho, though groggy eyed by early rising, we all walked with swift steps through the dusty, shrubby surroundings of the temple town of Khajuraho.

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