Historical

Sardhana – A piece of Vatican in a dusty UP town

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Move to the right where the front of the building is and you get the imposing view of the church. Magnificent Doric columns adorn the verandah; the Roman domes – large one in the middle over the main altar and the smaller ones over the wings – are similar to the domes of St. Peter’s Basilica, Rome. The massive steeples on both sides pierces the sky; the one on the left holds two bells whereas the other used to have a clock.

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River Saraswati (Ghaggar, Haryana) – The Lost Valley of time, culture and civilization

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Now why were we in Haryana of all the places? We need to get some background on Indus Valley culture over here to appreciate our destination. We all know about Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro as principle sites of Indus culture. Now Indus or Harappan culture refers to archeological finds pertaining to time period of 2500-1900 BC having specific similarities. The distinguishing characteristic of this culture is presence of town planning evident in spacious perpendicular roads, sewerage system, fortified townships and large houses with courtyard and brick walls. Findings of seals, weights, beads, gold ornaments indicate flourished trade.

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Yuksom – a peaceful abode in the laps of Eastern Himalayas

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Yuksom is still regarded as the base camp of Kanchenjungha, although ascent from Sikkim side has stopped over a decade ago. The mountains are revered as God by localites and stepping foot on the sacred slopes amounts to desecration of the divine forces. Kanchenjungha is abode of the Gods. We came across camps of the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute. Their basic and advanced mountaineering courses are conducted at Rathong Glacier, the starting point of which also happens to be Yuksom.

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Karni Mata temple – Not for the faint hearted

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Besides the religious significance, the Karni Mata Temple is also a significant piece of art. Built in the late 19th century and finished in the early 20th century, under the patronage of Maharaja Ganga Singh of Binaker, the temple architecture reflects the Mughal style of artistry.

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Visit to Lothal near Ahmedabad : An introduction to Harappan Civilization

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Excavation site is walking distance of half km from there. Sun is at its peak but cool breeze was maintaining the temperature. At most 20-30 people were there including the staff and visitors. We first visited the Archaeological Museum and it’s better to visit museum first because it contains a lot of information about the site and that will help you to understand and visualize the whole architecture at the site. As photography is prohibited in the museum so no snaps are available inside of it.

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Mecca, the Holiest City of Saudi Arabia

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Mecca is and will always remain one of the most popular destinations for more than two billion people of the planet. I have attempted to demystify the city and open its heart so that they (the people) may understand a little of its piety and glory even if only by proxy.

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Bidar – Of Hasan Gangu, Mahmud Gawan and Barid Shahis

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The Madrasa is the best known example of Bahmani (Persian) Architecture and is one of its kinds in India. The building functioned like a residential University. It is a rectangular three storey structure that consisted of a mosque, lecture halls, professor quarters and student cubicles. The walls were covered with blue, green, golden and white glazed Persian tiles. In its heydays, the madrasa would have looked pretty spectacular with the sun glinting off the majolica work; the minars soaring into the sky reflecting the aspiration of the founder and the students. The architecture provided the perfect setting for intellectual brainstorming and discussions. The scene of harried professors and students scurrying between classes would be similar to being played out at Feroz Shah Tughlaq’s madrasa at Hauz Khas Village in Delhi – unless all inmates fled during Taimur’s plunder of Delhi.

Today, the madrasa is much in ruins. In 1656 Aurangzeb occupied the building (Bidar Sultanate was gone by 1619) and turned it into an army barrack. Aurangzeb believed in occupation and razing rather than building. Rooms in the south-east were used to store gun powder. Since Aurangzeb was not fond of smokers, somebody hid in the corner stealing a few puffs, when reportedly an explosion blew up along with the unwitting arsonist, portions of the south and east walls with the eastern entrance gate. Out of the supposedly two minars, only one 100 feet tall minar on the north east corner survives. The biggest surprise is that the two balconies of the minar project from the structure rather than being supported by brackets. The minar has vibrant colourful patchwork of zigzag motifs. Facing the central courtyard are the reading halls with open arched doorways rising to three storeys creating huge iwans, which in turn are surmounted with domes. The minar, iwans, domes and glazed tiles complete the Persian Architecture.

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A visit to Banaras or Varanasi

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Our next destination Sarnath is about 10 km from Ramnagar. On the way to Sarnath, we saw Sher Shah Suri Makbara. We were at Sarnath around 1 pm and we all were hungry. So, we first ate Dosha and drank Cold Drink in Vaishali restaurant.

We hired a guide there, guide told us that Sarnath has five main point; Ashoka Stupa, Main Temple campus, Japanese Temple, Sachi Stupa and God Budha statue. Ashoka Stupa ruins and Bodhi Tree inside main temple campus are famous and most important place in Sarnath. Main temple is designed in Japanese temple architecture and walls inside the temple have been painted related to God Budha life. We visited all points but we did not explore much due to very hot day.
“भगवान बुद्ध की विशालकाय मूर्ति, मंदिर के दीवारो पर चित्रित उनकी जीवनी, बोधिवृक्ष के नीचे पाँच मित्रों के साथ बनी उनकी मूर्ति उस समय का अनुभव कराती है ।”

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EGYPT – WHERE IT ALL BEGINS (PART 1)

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In the beginning, there was nothing! No this or that, no something or nothing, no light or dark and of course neither Ghumakkar nor Ghumakkari. Aeons upon incalculable aeons passed, then there was a big bang within the millionth of a second……..Cut, Cut, Cut.  

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यमनोत्री से गंगोत्री

यमनोत्री से गंगोत्री

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देखा मंदिर के पास से ही भागीरथी बह रही है. यहाँ पर भागीरथ का छोटा सा मंदिर है. हम लोग भी भागीरथी के किनारे खड़े ही कर निहार रहे थे. सुबह के 7 बाज रहे थे धूप खिली हुई थी. आस पास का वातावरण बहुत सुंदर लग रहा था . कुछ लोग इस ठंडे मौसम मे भागीरथी मे स्नान कर रहे थे. मैने पत्नी से नहाने को कहा पर उनकी तो हिम्मत नही हुई.

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A Balinese Sojourn

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Finally, the last day began with a nice Balinese spa. It was so rejuvenating, one must not miss it at any cost. We went beach hopping that day. First, we went to the Benoa beach, it is famous for beach activities. As I am not very much into water sports, I just took some vibrant pictures and headed to Nusa Dua. Now that is the place one would hanker for. The turquoise calm water of the sea and the vast white sand beaches will make one go weak in the knees.

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