Historical

Daulatabad Fort – Maharashtra Yatra (Part 10)

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Aurangzeb funded his resting place by knitting caps and copying the Qu’ran, during the last years of his life, works which he sold anonymously in the market place. Here are also buried Azam Shah, Aurangzeb’s son, Nizam-ul-Mulk Asaf Jah, the founder of the Hyderabad dynasty, his second son Nasir Jang, Nizare Shah, king of Ahmednagar, Tana Shah, last of the Golkonda kings and a host of minor celebrities.

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Ellora caves – The Brahmanical series (Maharashtra Yatra – Part 8)

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It is estimated that the task of quarrying its 3,000,000 cubic feet of rock must have occupied at least one hundred years. It is wonder to see so great a mass in the air which seems so slenderly under-dropped that could hardly forbear to shudder on first entering it. There is no nobler achievement of the Indian architects and sculptors, and no greater marvel of Indian sculpture.

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All about Bhangarh Fort, Rajasthan

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The Mughal connection is attributed to the relationship of Sawai Madho Singh, the ruler of Bhangarh in 16th Century with Raja Mansingh I, who was a general in Akbar’s army. These two chieftains were brother. Their father Bhagwant Singh was the ruler of Amber. This Mughal association is believed to be continued till the death of Aurangjeb. When the Mughal empire weakened, Bhangarh was attacked by Jaishingh II in 1720 AD. Later, a famine broke out in 1783 AD, which forced the inhabitants to abandon the city. However, history apart, the fort premises had the reputation of the haunted place till recent years. And, such reputation became the main reason for the tourist to flow in that sleepy village.

At the first sight, it seemed that the ruins of the fort and residential buildings were scattered all over the place, which makes it difficult to see the important places without any guide. Realising the same, the Archaeological Survey of India had put a reasonably good guide map there. I tried to decipher that map, but could not succeed in the first attempt. I started feeling that such maps could be used only after one visited all over the place and returned to the map only to understand what was what. Anyway, with the help of subsequent attempts at the map, we proceeded towards what was once the jewellery market.

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On the road, from Old Pushkar to Bhangarh, Rajasthan

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Approximately 10 kilometers before the Jaipur City, we had to take a turn towards the NH 11 C through Gopalpura Bypass. The journey from Pushkar to Gopalpura Bypass was so far good and pleasant. But, I was desperate to have a cup of tea. Suddenly, I saw a tea-shop, where tea was being prepared on the log-wood-stove. An old lady owner of the shop was preparing tea. I could not resist myself and stopped the car to have a cup of tea prepared on the flames of log-wood. I felt as if I were in rural Rajasthan. Sipping that tea from a disposable cup was a different experience altogether. Such tea-shops are a rare luxury these days. But, while standing there, I was also surprised to see the attire of that lady-owner of the eta shop. She was wearing the thick silver bangles, silver necklace and the silver nose-ring. Either she must be quite rich in her community or wearing such ornaments by a married lady must be a tradition here.

The tea had the desired effect on me. With the renewed energy, we came to the Toll plaza of the Jaipur-Agra Expressway. One of the Aravalli hills had been cut for makingthe way through a tunnel. Being a Sunday afternoon there was no rush there. My wife, however, pointed out that it was the same tunnel which was depicted as the most-accident prone area in the Amir Khan’s “SatyamevJayte” programme on the road safety. Anyway, we crossed that tunnel without any difficulty and proceeded ahead and continued to our third leg of the journey.

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Majestic Ladakh : Kargil to Fotu La

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The monastery is placed at the centre top of a brown mountain cliff and appears as if suspended in the middle of it. A narrow road with many steps will take you inside to this wonderful cave monastery. This monastery has many elegant frescoes. This is one of the old Buddhist monasteries in Ladakh region.

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Soni Ji ki Nasiyan, Ajmer, Rajasthan

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On the second floor, we reached to a beautifully designed corridor. However, the corridor was made dirty due to misuse and by people, who try to immortalize themselves by writing something on the heritage monuments. But from the windows in the corridor, one could see the very beautiful craftsmanship of the Ayodhya nagri and the incidents of the life of Rishabhdev. The entire hall is full of beautiful models of different aspects of the life and teaching of Rishabhdev. The story is about establishing the Ayodhya nagri in Jambudweepa by Lord Indra, when all other worlds were destroyed. In this Ayodhya nagri, Rishabhdev was born.
The Jains literature tells us about the 16 auspicious dreams seen by the mother of Rishabhdev, before the birth of her most exalted son. His birth was very auspicious to his parents and people at large. His abhishek ceremony was held at the Sumeru Mountain. The Gods showered flowers and Kuber showered many riches during the Abhishek ceremony of Rishabhdev.

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Exploring Akbari Fort and Government Museum, Ajmer, Rajasthan

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The first thing that caught my attention was a red-coloured window situated above the front gate of the fort. The moment I saw this window, a historic event of 1615 AD came to my mind. I was trying to visualize the scene when Mr. Thomas Roe, the ambassador of East India Company, was standing on the very place on the ground where I was standing. Mughal sultanate was at the peak of their rule and the East India Company had sent their emissary to seek permission to do business in the Mughal territory in the then princely India. The difference in their status was so huge that the emperor Jahangir gave Mr. Roe an audience from that window above and read out the firman which permitted the East India Company to do business in India. Ironically, in next 230 years, the same company went on to dislodge the Mughals and to establish the British Raj in India. That thought made me cold. I just stood there thinking about the present day permissions being granted to foreign based establishments to do business in our country. I shuddered to think about the possibilities of another foreign domination, if Indian democracy disintegrates in future.

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Majestic Ladakh : Kargil

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But that war is not the sole identity of Kargil. It was famous even before- famous for centuries among the silk route traders. This land was a transit point of the traders and caravans on their way from Kashmir and Punjab through Leh to China, Tibet and Yarken. The trade route though was closed many decades ago but the place has not yet lost its importance. Even today the travellers choose this small town as their favourite and most convenient place for night stay while going to Leh from Srinagar or when returning from Leh to Srinagar.

We were travelling to Kargil from Sonamarg. Enroute, we passed through the treacherous mountain pass Zojila and the second coldest inhabitat place in the world- Drass. Kargil is about 60 Kms from Drass. We crossed beautiful pasture grounds and Majestic Mountain peaks on the way from Drass.

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Amer – The Pride of Rajputana : Part 2

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Sukh Niwaas, which is opposite to ‘Diwaan-e-Khaas’ having doors made of sandal wood and ivory. There is a channel running through the hall, which carried cool water that worked as an air cooler, with the aid of breeze. In this artistic hall cool climate was artificially created. It is said that the kings used to spend time in this Sukh Niwaas with their queens and sometimes with their mistresses that is why it is known as the residence of pleasure.

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Majestic Ladakh : Kargil War Memorial, Drass

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Kargil War Memorial is a monument established to commemorate the victories of Operation Vijay during the Indo-Pak war of 1999 and also to pay homage to war Martyrs who laid their lives while safeguarding our country against the Pakistani intruders. The memorial is made of pink sandstone at ‘ground zero’ with the backdrop of Tololing Range. On its rear wall, names of the martyrs are inscribed on golden plate.
I read therein the quote, “Beneath this earth young warriors sleep” and few lines from a poem of Martyr Ram Prasad Bismil (He was a great freedom fighter participated in Mainpuri Conspiracy of 1918, and the Kakori conspiracy of 1925 against the British Empire, and was sentenced to death by British Raj) at the bottom of the wall,

Shaheedon Ki Chitaon Par
Lagenge Har Baras Mele
Watan Par Mar Mitne Walo Ka
Yahi Baaki Nishaan Hoga

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