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Bhoramodeo

Bhoramodeo, Chattisgarh – With spectacular and intricately carved temples, this place is ideally named as the Khajuraho of Chattisgarh

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Situated in Kawardha , the north-western Chhattisgarh district Bhoramodeo is often called the “Khajuraho of Chattisgarh”. The picturesque Maikal hills and dense forests make an immensely beautiful blend of nature. The location is famous for the spectacular temple of Lord Shiva. The magnificent sculpture of the temple is breath-takingly beautiful. The intricately carved walls and pillars of the temple are cause of wonder. The idols of elephants and lions are queued up on the top, enhances the decorative look of the temple. The temple has idols mainly those of Uma-Maheswar, Natraj, Narsimha, Vaman, Krishna, Surya, Kaal, Bhairava, Nritya Ganesh, Kartikeya, Tandul, Shivgang, Chamunda, Ambika, Sapta-Matrika and Laxmi-Narayan. You can find traces of ‘Ram-Katha’ engraved in stones. Amidst a variety of idols the erotic sculptures of the temple are known worldwide for their beautiful carving. The different sensual poses,  reflects the lifestyle of those historic periods.

Places to see in Bhoramodeo: Apart from the mesmerizing Shiva temple, there are also some other visiting spots in Bhoramodeo. These include:

Madwa Mahal

The “Madwa Mahal” near the Bhoramdeo temple is another beautiful  historic monument, worth seeing. Just one km. away from Bhoramdeo , Madwa Mahal is known as the memorial of the marriage of Nagwanshi king and Haihawanshi Queen. ‘Madwa’ is a word from the local dialect synonymous to marriage pandal. Madwa Mahal was originally a Shiv temple but due its shape, like a marriage shamiyana, it is known as “Madwa Mahal”. Madwa Mahal was originally a Shiv temple but due its shape, like a marriage shamiyana, it is known as “Madwa Mahal”. It is also called Dullhadeo. Nagwanshi emperor Ramchandra Deo has built it in 1349 A.D. The Shiva Linga is inside the ‘Garbha Grih’ and the ‘Mandap rests upon 16 pillars’. The erogenous idols of this temple are also extremely beautiful. On the outer walls there are as many as 54 erotic sculptures in different poses. They are artistically significant.

Chherki Mahal

This temple is also situated in Shankari-Cherki basin at village Chaura (ancient Chawarapur) near the Mandawa Mahal. The temple is made of brick with plaster. The Cherki Mahal is smaller in size incomparison to those of Bhoramdeo temple and Madwa Mahal. The brick structured temple is 0.5 km away from Madwa Mahal having the main entrance in the east. Nagwamshi emperor had built this Mahal or temple dedicated to Lord Shiva in the 14th century.

Banjari Mata Mandir

Banjari Mata Mandir is a very popular temple of Raipur. It is believed that the temple was established by Shree Harish Joshi. According to folklore Shree Harish Joshi found a stone looking like an idol of Banjari Mata. After discovering the idol he started to worship and hence got the attention of the local people. Since then that particular spot has been converted into a temple.

Nearby attractions around Bhoramodeo: Located at a distance of 16.7 km from Bhoramodeo temple, Kawardha now named as Kabirdham is a peaceful and attractive place located on the Southern bank of river Sakri. Due to the advent of Kabir Sahib and the establishment of the seat of descendants of his disciple Dharmdas, it was named as Kabirdham. It is a treasure trove of breathtaking scenery & fascinating reminders of India’s rich cultural heritage. The site houses a wonderful palace. This lovely property was build in the 1930s by Maharaj Dharamraj Singh using the best Italian marble and stone, stands out in the 11 acres of lush green garden.

Things to do at Bhoramodeo: Sight seeing is all you can enjoy in Bhoramodeo.

Best time to visit Bhoramodeo: The best time for a visit Raipur is during the winter season between the months of October to February/March when the climate is pleasant.

How to go ?

By Air

Chhattisgarh has a domestic airport in state capital, Raipur, which is connected to almost all the important airports of the country. Indian Airlines operate frequent flights to Raipur from various destinations of India. From Raipur buses and taxis are available for different parts of the state.

By Rail

Raipur and Bilaspur are two major railway heads of Chhattisgarh. These railway stations are served by a number of express trains from all over the country.

By Road

Good network of roads criss-cross the state of Chhattisgarh. National Highway No. 6, 16 and 43 connect all the important cities and towns of Chhattisgarh with each other and also with other parts of the country.

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Where to stay ?

Bhoramodeo offers very few accommodation options. Some of these are:

Bhoramodeo Jungle Retreat: www.bhoramdeojungleretreat.com
Tourist Rest House (Chattisgarh): +91-0771-4224600, 4224611, 4224622, 18001026415
Website: www.chhattisgarhtourism.net

Note : Phone numbers given above are according to the information available with us. If you find any contact number/s given above is/are incorrect or not in use, please let us know.

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Old Goa

Old Goa – Once the capital of Goa, this heritage spot strongly reflects the glorious Portuguese era and architectural history

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Old Goa was a thriving city even before the Portuguese arrived in 1510. The place was the capital of the Bahmani Sultan Adil Shah. After the Portuguese conquest, Old Goa became a bustling metro.  The place glittered with glamour at that time. As its reputation grew, the sparkling city attracted visitors from all over Europe. The city also grew rapidly in size and splendour. It was in the 18th century that the outbreaks of the epidemic plague led to its abandonment. The remains of the city is declared by the UNESCO as the World Heritage Site. It is approximately 10 kilometres east of the state capital Panjim.

Places to see in Old Goa: The sight seeing destinations of Old Goa consists of mainly Churches, chapels, and cathedrals that are an architectural delight and are considered as the largest in Asia. These include:

Chapel of St Cajetan

In 1510, the Portuguese mariner Alfonso de Albuquerque conquered Goa. The event was commemorated with the building of the Arch of the Viceroys near the Chapel of St Cajetan, which was modelled on St Peter’s basilica in Rome. This architectural style which is a reminiscent of Lisbon, gives Old Goa a grand, Portuguese feel. Today, the Procession of All Saints on the fifth Monday in Lent is the only such procession besides the one in Rome.

Se Cathedral

Lying south west of St Cajetan’s this church is larger than any church in Portugal and is the largest church in Asia. It has 14 altars, an 80m long aisle, and five bells including the Golden Bell, said to be one of the best in the world. The church is dedicated to St. Catharine.

Church of St. Francis of Assisi

Apart from the portrait of Jesus and St. Francis there are also portraits of Peter and Paul. The Archaeological Museum and Portrait Gallery function in an abandoned convent in the compound. The portrait gallery is decorated with the pictures of Portuguese rulers. The museum is open daily except Friday, from 10am to 5 pm.

Basilica of Bom Jesus

Close to the convent of St Francis, the late 16th century Basilica of Bom Jesus with its richly covered altars is famous throughout the Catholic world. This cathedral is the venue for a pilgrimage for both Christians and Hindus who come to pay homage to the embalmed mortal remains of Goa’s most famous saint, St. Francis Xavier, enshrined in a silver casket since 1553.

Convent of St. Monica

St. Monica Church rests upon the Holy Hill or the Monte Santo of Old Goa, opposite to the ruins of St. Augustine Church. It houses a huge Nunnery and is Goa’s only convent for nuns. It was given the status of a Church only in 1968, although built in 1606. The Museum of Christian Art is just adjacent to it and contains a collection of icons and artefacts used in rituals in religious ceremonies. Most of the sculptures and paintings were actually done by local Hindu artists.

Chapel of Our Lady of the Mount

The Chapel of Our Lady of the Mount is situated on top of the hill behind the St. Cajetan Church. The chapel was built in 1510 by Alfonso de Albuquerque after his victory over the Goan Muslim ruler Yusuf Shah and was renovated in 2001. The Chapel is brightly white washed and is bypassed by many tourists. The structure faces west which provides beautiful views from Divar and Chorao islands, the Mandovi River and the surrounding forested hills, especially during sunset. It also offers the overview of Old Goa where in 1510 Sultan Adil Shah’s placed his artillery to defend the city from the Portuguese assault.

St Augustine tower

The St Augustine tower in Old Goa is one of the most spectacular of monument. This highly visible landmark, a 46m-high tower served as a dome and formed part of the front of a magnificent Church. On entering the church, the visitor would have a glimpse of the grand re table of the high altar, with its large gilt tabernacle sheltered within an arch, through a screen of arched piers. Vestiges of most of these piers were visible until recently; they supported a spacious choir which could have accommodated a large number of Augustinian monks. The Tower and Church were built in 1602 by the Augustinian friars who arrived in Goa in 1587. The church fell into neglect and the vault collapsed in 1842. The church’s demise began with the collapse of this vault. The body of the church was soon destroyed, but the facade remained intact. The tower’s huge bell was moved in 1871 to the Church of our Lady of the Immaculate Conception in Panjim, where it remains and can be seen and heard today. In 1931, the facade and half the tower fell down, followed by more sections in 1938 leaving only half the tower that is seen and visited by thousands of tourists today. This remnant, the renowned St. Augustine’s tower is all that remains of what was once one of the largest buildings in Goa — The Augustinian Monastery.

Nearby attractions of Old Goa: Being a very small state, Goa has no such excursion spots. One part is Old Goa and the other is “Nova Goa” or New Goa. Here you can easily visit any destination from any place and the distance covered and time taken is not much.

Things to do in Old Goa: Sightseeing in Old Goa is all about visiting its various churches, chapels, and cathedrals that are an architectural delight and are considered as the largest in Asia.

Best time to visit Old Goa: The best time to visit Old Goa is between late October and early April. However the place has a maritime climate which makes it accessible almost the entire year.

How to go ?

By Air

Goa has an international airport at Dabolim, 29 km from the capital, Panaji. The regular domestic connections are from Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore, Kochi and Chennai. From the airport to your hotel or to any of the towns, you can hire a cab or a metered taxi. Passengers travelling from Kolkata have to halt at Chhatrapati Shivaji Airport, Mumbai as there are no direct flights available from Kolkata to Goa.

By Train

The two main railway stations are Margao (Madgaon) and Vasco da Gama. The major connections are to Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore, Kolkata, Rajkot and Thiruvananthapuram. From other places in the north, east and southeast you can travel to Londa Junction and then transfer to a connecting train to Margao/Vasco da Gama.

By Road

Old Goa is 9 km from Panaji; the capital city is linked by road to Mumbai, Bangalore, Belgaum,  Kolhapur, Pune , Mysore and many other cities of the neighbouring states. Goa also has three national highways- NH – 4A, NH -17 and NH -17A. Buses run frequently from Panaji’s Kadamba bus terminal to various locations of Old Goa. One can also hire auto rickshaws and taxis, which are costlier but more convenient.

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Where to stay ?

There are a large no. of accommodation options in Old Goa. These are:

Bambolim Beach Resort: +91-0832- 2458242, 2458247  Website: www.bambolimbeachresort.com
Old Goa Residency: +91-0832-2285327, 2285013
Ginger Hotel:  +91-0 832- 664 3333  Website: www.gingerhotels.com
Hotel Ameya: +91-0832 -222 6133

Travel Tips: It is best to visit the place on foot, since there is so much of history to seep in. Local guides, some approved by the tourism department of Goa, are available.

Note : Phone numbers given above are according to the information available with us. If you find any contact number/s given above is/are incorrect or not in use, please let us know.

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Tadipatri

Tadipatri, Andhra Pradesh – Located on the banks of Penneru River, dotted with beautiful temples

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Located on the banks of Penneru Rivers Tadipatri is an authentic pilgrimage place. This quaint destination is in Anantapur district of Andhra Pradesh. It is very popular for the greenery around it. The name Tadipatri also means ‘garden of palm trees’ and it is thus named as there lays a forest of palm trees in the surroundings of Tadipatri.

Places to see at Tadipatri: The sight seeing destination of Tadipatri include:

Chintalaraya Swami Temple

The shrine ‘Chintala Tiruvengalanatha Swami’ locally known as Chintalaraya Swami, was constructed during the reign ‘Pemmasani Thimmanaidu’ and is named after the idol of Vishnu, which is believed to have emerged from tamarind tree. Chintalaraya temple is not only massive but also beautiful. It is a huge solid structure built partly of stone and partly of brick. The stone portion contains exquisite figures of ‘Vidhyadharas’, ‘Apasaras’, and ‘Avataras’ in rows elegantly arranged. Just above the line of the threshold, there are two horizontal lines of carvings one showing a procession of elephants and the other of horses. Inside the temple, every wall is carved with delicately designed pieces of beautiful sculpture. There is stone chariot, a masterpiece or artistic design. It is stated that twice a year the sun’s rays are directly reflected, through two holes carved in the chariot, on the foot of the deity. In the ‘Ranga Mandapa’ there are forty pillars carved in the Vijayanagar style of sculpture. Scenes from Ramayana and Bhagavata are depicted on southern and western walls of the temple.

Ramalingeswara Temple

Ramalingeswara temple is named after Pemmasani Ramalinga Naidu. Local legends states that at the very same spot where the temple stands, sage Parasurama lived and performed penance. In this temple there is a perennial underground stream from which water always oozes into the ‘Garbha Gruha’ (Sanctum Sanctorum) exactly at the spot where the ‘Lingam’ (idol) is consecrated. At the temple, the entire Shiva Purana is carved in stone on the walls with delicate skill and in elaborate detail.  The linga is said to be ‘Swayambhu’ (self-formed). The Tadipatri Kaifiyat records that a sculptor Yellanchari was brought from Benaras to construct the temple. It contains sculptures, illustrative of episodes from Ramayana and the Mahabharata.

RameswaraSwami Temple

This temple dates back to the 15th century Vijayanagar Empire. The architecture of the temple shows a mixture of Chalukyan, Chola and Vijayanagar art. The gopuram although unfinished has the most elaborate sculpture, cut with richness and sharpness. 

Nearby attractions of Tadipatri: From Tadipatri, you can plan a trip to Belum caves.Just 31 km from Tadipatri, these caves are the second longest caves in India with a length of 3,229 metres and are popular for their stalactite and stalagmite formations. The caves have long passages, fresh water galleries, siphons and spacious chambers. These caves have been formed naturally due to constant flow of underground water. At their deepest point, the caves descend to 150 feet from the entrance level and this point is referred to as Pataalaganga. The caves are about 110 kilometres from Kurnool. There is a giant Buddha statue located just outside the caves, which is an indication that the Buddhist monks worshipped here thousands of years ago. However, it is the shivalingam that is present inside the cave attracts devotees and visitors.

Things to do at Tadipatri: Sightseeing is the only activity you can do in Tadipatri.

Best time to visit Tadipatri:  The best time to visitTadipatri is during the winter season.

How to go ?

By Air

You have to reach Bangalore which is extremely well-connected by regular flights from Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and most other important cities in India and abroad. Tadipatri is 248.9 km from here. From here you can avail bus or cabs to reach Tadipatri.

By Train

You have to reach Bangalore first. Bangalore has two important railway stations – Bengaluru City Railway Station and Yeswantpur Junction. Both railway stations have regular trains running from Delhi, Mumbai, Pune, Kolkata and other major cities. Tadipatri which is 248.9 km from here can be reached easily by bus or cabs.

By Road

From Bangalore buses are available for Tadipatri. You can also hire cabs.

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Where to stay ?

There are some budget hotels available in Tadipatri. Some options are:

Brindavan Hotel: +91-08558- 225424
Ismail Hotel: +91-08559-277009

Note : Phone numbers given above are according to the information available with us. If you find any contact number/s given above is/are incorrect or not in use, please let us know.

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Lepakshi

Lepakshi, Andhra Pradesh – Renowned heritage site and known for its handicrafts

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Located in the Anantapur District, of Andhra Pradesh, Lepakshi is a small village having great historical and archaeological significance. Lepakshi in Telegu means, “fly bird”. One can trace this word in the famous epic Ramayana. According to the popular belief, when Ravana was forcefully taking Sita to Lanka, the bird Jatayu tried to stop him. When injured by Ravana Jatayu falls. Sita then tells Jatayu “Le Pakshi” i.e “fly bird and rescue yourself”. Lepakshi is renowned to the world for handicrafts. Thus a trip to Lepakshi is revitalising for those who believe in heritage sites, for those who marvel at the art of our ancestors, and those willing to get away from the routine multiple-destination tourist routes.

Places to see at Lepakshi: The sight seeing destinations of Lepakshi include:

Veerabhadra Temple

One of the best example of Vijayanagar style of architecture, Veerabhadra Temple is bewitching in its architectural beauty. The magnificent temple complex portrays the historical and architectural excellence in its best colour. A reference is made in the ‘Skandapurana’ to Lepakshi as one of the hundred and eight important ‘Shaiva Kshetras’ (shrines). Though the temple of Veerabhadra is claimed to have been constructed by Saint ‘Agastya’ himself, it was developed into the present exquisite shrine by ‘Virupanna’, the treasurer of the Vijayanagar Kings.He conceived the idea as he found the image of Veerabhadra.

Nandi Bull

The huge statue of Nandi Bull made of single granite stone is one of the main attraction of Lepakshi. Located in the vicinity of Veerabadra temple, measuring 4.5 m in height and 8.23 m in length this grand statue is the highlighting feature in Lepakshi.

Pillared Hall

The pillared hall of every temple complex of Lepakshi is object to watch pointedly. Famous for its painting on its ceiling, pillared halls of temple complex are treat for heritage loving tourists.

Nearby attractions of Lepakshi: The trips are can be made from Lepakshi to places like:

Hindupur

Just 16 km from Lepakshi, Hindupur, a small village, is an ideal itinerary spot.  Renowned for its historical temples like Great Saint Sri ragavandrar mutt, Gayathri temple, Anjeneya swamy temples it is a place of visit. Besides the temple, Surrappakunda Waterfalls is another attraction to get away from hectic city life and to rejoice.

Penukonda

Famous for the Penukonda fort it is one of the major tourist attractions from Lepakshi. The place is just 53 km from Penukonda means a big hill. Historical records state that Penukonda, known as “Ghanagiri” or “Ghanadri”, was the second capital to the Vijayanagar kings. It is evident from ancient inscriptions that the Penukonda Fort was built during the reign of Vira Virupanna Udaiyar, the son of king-Bukka I of Vijayanagar. The forts architectural style and sculptures is a standing testimony to the skilled workmanship present during the Vijayanagar rule.

Thing to do at Lepakshi:  A very important historical and archaeological site, Lepakshi offers its visitors to explore some of its famous temple complex. This temple complex located amidst the rich natural environs present a different sightseeing option to tourists. World famous for its handicrafts items, one can buy plenty of collectible items from Lepakshi. Popular items like Banjara embroidery, Brass art ware, Cotton and jute durries, Kalamkari paintings, Kondapalli toys and Cherial scroll paintings are best buy while being here.

Best time to visit Lepakshi: The best time to visit Lepakshi is from September to February.

How to go ?

By Air

Bangalore International Airport (100 km) is the nearest airport having very well air link with domestic and international locations. From Bangalore, taxi and local transport vehicles are available for Lepakshi.

By Rail

Hindupur (12 km) is the nearest railway station connected to main railhead. Taxis and buses are available for Lepakshi from Hindupur

By Road

Nearby prime locations like Hindupur, Anantapur (124 km), and Bangalore are well connected to Lepakshi. Private taxis and local buses are easily available from here for Lepakshi.

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Where to stay ?

There are few budget hotels in Lepakshi. Some options are:

Tourist Lodge: +91-08556- 221284
Maruthi Lodge: +91-08556- 222293
Shaila Lodge: +91-08556-221736

Note : Phone numbers given above are according to the information available with us. If you find any contact number/s given above is/are incorrect or not in use, please let us know.

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Thanjavur

Thanjavur, Tamil Nadu – Famous for the Brahadeeswara Temple, recognized by UNESCO as the world heritage site

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Thanjavur also known as Tanjore is the temple city of Tamil Nadu. Thanjavur rose to glory during the later Chola period between the 9th and 14th centuries A.D. It also flourished later during the rule of the Nayaks and Mahrattas. It has been the treasure house of art for centuries and known as the Rice Bowl of Tamil Nadu. Thanjavur is well-known throughout the world for the celebrated Brahadeeswara temple. This temple is recognized by UNESCO as the world heritage site. The green paddy fields and the Kaveri River make the site a picturesque location.

Places to See in Tanjore: Being a temple city, its sight seeing spots mostly includes temples. However there are some historical sites too.

Brihadisvara Temple

It is one of the most popular tourist sites in Thanjavur. It was constructed by the great Chola king, Rajaraja I. Built in the 10th century AD, the temple of the finest example of Chola architecture. The architecture of the Brihadisvara Temple of Thanjavur is reminiscent of the Egyptian pyramids. The temple is about 63 meters high. The dome of the temple is said to be built with the help of a gigantic piece of granite. The granite which is used to built the dome of the temple is estimated to weigh about 81 tonnes. The dome of the temple is a grandeur in architecture.

Brihadisvara Temple is one of the important shrines in the city. Every year thousands of tourists come to Thanjavur to reverence to the titular deity. Moreover, it is noteworthy that Brihadisvara Temple in Thanjavur has certain restrictions about entering the shrine. According to the rules and regulation of the temple, only Hindus are permitted to go inside the temple and worship there. Others are exempted from entering the temple.

Shrine of Subrahmanya

One of the famous tourist attraction in the city, this 7th century shrine, is also known for its decorative architecture. The Shrine of Sri Subrahmanya is an example of carved stone-work. The delicate pattern and the motifs of the shrine add delight to sightseeing.

The Shrine of Subrahmanya, Thanjavur is specimen of Dravidian architecture. It is known for its delicate artistry and elaborative patterns. The temple possesses a tower, which is 55 feet in height. The tower of the shrine stands on an area of 45 square feet. The Shrine of Sri Subrahmanya in Thanjavur is adorned with beautiful paintings. The portraits of Mahratta kings beautify the walls of the Mandapam.

Annai Vailankanni Shrine

The tour to Annai Vailankanni shrine is particularly not missed by the tourists who have an inclination for religious structures. The Annai Vailankanni shrine is located on the Elliot’s beach at the place called Besant Nagar in Chennai. The picturesque location of the Annai Vailankanni shrine on the Bay of Bengal shores makes this shrine all the more popular. The shrine is located at adistance of about 10 kms from Nagapattinam. A mythical story is associated with the shrine of Annai Vailankanni. According to popular belief, Reverend P T Arulappa saw mother Mary and little Jesus in a dream. Thereafter, he established this wonderful shrine to pay homage to the Virgin mother of God. This close association of the shrine with the international religion of Christianity makes it one of the important religious structures to all the Christians around the world. Mother Mary is often related to the concept of global unity and hence stands for peace and harmony among people belonging to different socio-cultural and religious backgrounds. Innumerable people belonging to Christianity and other religions come on a trip to the Annai Vailankanni shrine.

The closest railway station of the Annai Vailankanni shrine is located at Nagapattinam at a distance of about 10 kms from Vailankanni. The closest airport is situated at Tiruchy at a distance of around 154 kms from Vailankanni. Buses can also be availed from Chennai, Nagapattinam, Pondicherry and Madurai.

Royal Palace and Museum

Also known as the Thanjavur Palace is a huge building dating back to 1550. Situated near the Brihadiswara temple, the palace was partly built by the Nayakas and partly by the Marathas. It has arsenal towers, broad corridors and gigantic halls. The palace is known to possess an art gallery, a museum and a library. The art gallery of the palace houses a rich collection of bronze statues belonging to the Chola Dynasty.

Gangaikondam Cholapuram

A Cholan architectural masterpiece, this temple has been visited by numerous travellers across centuries. The structure has been designed in a manner that at any given point of time, the sun-light shall fall directly on the idol of main deity.

Vijayanagar Fort

Situated about 2 km away from the Brahadeeswara Temple this fort is one of the popular historic monuments of Thanjavur. Siva Ganga Garden, Sangeetha Mahal, and Saraswathi Mahal Library are located in this fort.

Nearby attractions at Tanjore: There are quite a good number of excursion options available from Tanjore:

Airavatheeswar Temple

Airavateeswar Temple is an exquisitely built temple that is located 30 kilometers from the city of Thanjavur. The temple that was constructed around 12th century A.D is counted among the bests of Chola Temples in India. Going by its unique architecture, the place has been recognized by the UNESCO as a WorldHeritageMonument.

Kumbakonam

A visit to the temple town of Kumbakonam is a must for every tourist.  Just 35 kilometers off to the city of Tanjore, Kumbakonam is famous for its temples sculptures having erotic overtones. Some of the must visit temples are Sarangapani, Kumbeswarar, Nageswara and Ramaswamy temples. Kumbakonam is also the venue of the Mahamaham festival that is celebrated every 12 years.

Manora

Manora is situated 65 kilometers from the city of Thanjavur. The building is considered as the largest and tallest of the monuments built by the Tanjore Marathas. Manora is an eight-storied miniature fortress that is hexagonal in shape and is skirted by a moat. Sarfoji II constructed the structure in the year 1815 in honor of Britain’s victory over Napoleon Bonaparte at Waterloo.

Darasuram

Located just 35 kilometers from Tanjore, Darasuram is a magnificent temple that is dedicated to Lord Siva. The temple is among the hundreds built by Rajendra Chola. Darasuram is also famous as a silk weaving center.

Poondi Matha Basilica 

The Poondi village is about 35 kms. from Thanjavur and the nearest Railway Station is Budalur. It is a Roman Catholic Pilgrim Centre like Velankanni. Accommodation is provided to the pilgrims by the Church Authorities.

Thirukarugavoor

The Arulmighu Mullaivananathar and the Karpagarahshambigai temples are situated in the riverbed of River Vettaru a branch of the Cauvery, at a distance of 20 kms northeast of Thanjavur at distance of 20 kms southwest from Kumbakonam. This place Thirukarugavoor is ancient and has been extensively quoted by the Great Shaivite saints Thirugnana Sambandar and Thirunavukkarasar on the dieties Eswara Mullaivananathar and the Goddesses Gharbharakshambigai.

Thiruvarur world Heritage Monument

Located at a distance of 55 km, the Thyagarajaswami temple of Thiruvarur has the biggest temple chariot in Tamil Nadu. This is the birthplace of Saint Thyagaraja, the poet-saint and composer. The Arulmigu Thyagarajaswamy Car Festival is celebrated in March –April, every year. Boating at the Kamalalayam Temple tank is being organised by the Tamil Nadu Tourism Development Corporation Ltd. from April 1997.

Things to do in Tanjore: Apart from exploring the other sight seeing locations which are mostly the architectural master piece, try to make a visit to the famous BrihadisvaraTemple in the evening when the rocks capture a hot palette of reds, oranges, yellows and pinks on the crowning glory of Chola temple architecture. The sight is just breath taking. Thanjavur is a good place to shop for handicrafts and arts. Don’t forget to carry atleast one piece with you that will adorn your showcase by its magnificence.

Best time to visit Tanjore: The best time to visit Thanjavur is from October to March, when you can visit the temples and can opt for outdoor activities.

How to go ?

By Air

The nearest Airport Thiruchirapalli is 55 kms. Indian Airlines and Air Lanka operate flights to Sri Lanka. Indian Airlines also connects Trichy with Madurai and Chennai directly.

By Rail

Thanjavur is connected by rail with Trichy, Madurai, Nagore and Chennai directly.

By Road

Thanjavur is connected with all major cities. Regular Bus Service connects all places of interest in and around Thanjavur.

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Where to stay ?

Tanjore has plenty of accommodation options.

Hotel Tamil nadu (TTDC):  +91 04362 231 325  Website: www.ttdconline.com
Star Residency:  +91-0452-4343999  Website: www.starresidencyhotels.com
Hotel Valli: +9104362 – 231584 , 231580 , 231064 , 231043  Website: www.hotelvalli.com
Hotel Raks Thanjavur: +91 -4362 -227 806

Note : Phone numbers given above are according to the information available with us. If you find any contact number/s given above is/are incorrect or not in use, please let us know.

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Mamallapuram

Mamallapuram, Tamil Nadu – Famous for oldest existing examples of Dravidian art & architecture, declared as a world heritage site by UNESCO

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Mamallapuram, previously known as Mahabalipuram dates back to the Tamil Pallava dynasty in the 7th-9th century. The structures here, mostly carved straight out of granite, are among the oldest existing examples of Dravidian (South Indian) architecture. Today’s Mamallapuram is purely a tourist town and one of the major attractions around Chennai. It is declared as a world heritage site by UNESCO. It is one of the most outstanding examples of Dravidian art and architecture and a precious stone in the crown of Tamil Nadu. In a land where you will find some of the best in temple art, Mamallapuram holds its own, and stands as a silent yet eloquent witness to the glory of its creators.

Places to see in Mamallapuram: Mamallapuram is dotted with numerous tourist attractions which includes:

Shore Temple

While visiting Mamallapuram, this is the first spot to visit. The temple was originally constructed during the 7th century and later it was Narasimha Varman II, (Rajasimha) completed the skilled work in his rule. This is one of the oldest of the south Indian Temples which were structural temples constructed in the nature Dravidian style. This shore temple has gained popularity and tourists gather here because it has been listed among the world heritage sites of the UNESCO. The temple is full of designs made by carvings. There are three temples of which two Shiva Temples face east and west respectively. The other one is the VishnuTemple. One can find the beautifully carved twin Dwarka Palaks (gate keepers) at the entrance of the east facing Shiva Temples. On both sides of the temple inside are the marvelous sculptures of Lord Brahma and Lord Vishnu with their better halves. The top part of the Shivalinga figure inside the temple is found damaged. There are sculptures of Somaskanda – lord Shiva with his better half, Parvati, and his sons, Skanda and Ganesha are found on the near wall. Apart from Lord Shiva’s sculpture, one can find the sculptures of Narasimha and Goddess Durgha also.  The central shrine is in the form of a rectangle. It has a magnificent statue of lord Vishnu which is known as Sthala Shayana Perumal or Ananthasayana which means sleeping Vishnu. The peculiarity about this particular temple is – Vishnu reclines on the floor listening silently the sounds of names. The figure of Vishnu is found in segments which are to be looked through various doors. The other sculpture is portrayed in such a may that Lord Vishnu seated in mountGaruda helping Gajendra, the elephant, found in the southern wall and the northern wall is the portrayals from the life of lord Krishna. The grand temple is surrounded by mandapas and compound walls. There is a rock-cut of a lion rode by two young women. The lion has a small cut, a square shaped cut in its belly. A huge rock nearby the temple has been the target of the waves to touch it from the ancient days. There is also a carving of a buffalo demon running with a stick in his hand, located in the northern side.

Arjuna’s  Penance

Mamallapuram, is renowned for its magnificent sculpted walls, rathas and the magnificent ShoreTemple. Among the walls, Arjuna’s Penance is fascinating. It is a colossal art form, 27 meters long and 9 meters high and is perhaps the world’s largest sculpted base -relief. It depicts the descent of the Ganga and scenes form the Panchatantra.

Varaha Cave

Varaha Cave is a small rock cut mandapam (hall) with two incarnations of Vishnu-Varaha (boar) and Vamana (dwarf). It also has four brilliant panels of the famous Pallava doorkeepers.

The Krishna Temple

The Krishna Temple is one of the oldest. The walls of the temples depict scenes of pastoral life, one with the image of Krishna lifting the Govardhan Hill in his fingertips to protect his people from Indra.The most spectacular sight at Mahabalipuram is the ShoreTemple a sentinel of history standing up against the lashing waves. Dedicated to Lord Vishnu, it is a visual delight with a plethora of architectural display like the compound wall lined with charming sculptures of Nandi, the bull and the figure of Vishnu in the sanctum sanctorum.

Nearby attractions from Mamallapuram: There are many places around Mahabalipuram to be visited. These are:

Cholamadal Artist’s Village

Just 38 km from Mahabalipuram, this village was established in 1965 to promote and develop the traditional art. Exhibitions are regularly put up to exhibit various paintings, Sculptures and crafty articles. The visitors can interact with the artists of the studies in this village.

Dakshina Chitra

This place is 12 km south of the cholamandal village, established in 1984. Separate sectors of Tamilnadu, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka sculptures are found here. This is a ling museum. One can find traditional architecture, artistry workers, exhibitions, workshops, archival library and graft shops etc. The other major activities here are exhibition of crafts, designs, folk arts etc.

Chengalpattu

This city lies on the National Highway between Tiruchirappalli and Chennai. It is about 30kms away from Mahabalipuram. The tourists can find remains and ruins of an ancient Vijayanagar fort. There is also a lake named KolavaiLake. Boating facilities are found in the like by the tourism department.

Kovalam

Kovalam is known as Covelong in English, which is a beautiful spot lies 15Kms from Mahabalipuram and 38 Kms from Chennai. This is a small fishing village but now a famous beach resort of the country. One can find remains of historic port and beautiful hotel resorts. The Olive Ridley Turtles visit the beach between November and March to hatch their eggs.

Mudaliarkuppam

It is about 36 Kms from mahabalipuram on the East Coast Road (ECR). There are facilities that are being developed for boating.

Nithyakalyanaperumal Temple

This is a Hindu pilgrim which is 16 Kms away from Mahabalipuram and is considered to be one of the 108 sacred shrines called as Tirupathi. The deity here is goddess Lakshmi. The events celebrated here are Garuda Sevai, on the Tamil Month Aani, Pooram in Aadi, and spring festival in Vaigasi.

Sadras

This fine beach resort is 13 Kms away from Mahabalipuram towards Kalpakkam. There is a ruined Dutch Fort. There is also a Dutch cemetery finely carved with headstones and inscriptions in the Dutch languages.

Vandalur

The Anna Zoological Park Vandalur is 35 km from Chennai and 55 km from Mahabalipuram. The area of the Zoo is 1,265 acres and is the largest Zoo in south Asia. The zoo has a natural habitat. There are various animals in this zoo. There are safari tours, Nocturnal Animal House, NaturalMuseum and Aquarium in this zoo.

Vedanthangal

This water bird sanctuary is 53 km away from Mahabalipuram, established in the year 1858 and the oldest of the country. The land area is about 30 hectares of marshy lard with a lake. 1,00,000 birds which hare migrated from other countries visit here. The birds that visit here are garganey teals, shovellers, pintails, stilts, sandpipers, coot, moorhens and terns. The best time to visit this bird sanctuary is between November and February. The park has couple of watch tourists and a viewing platform. There are bus facilities from Chennai, Tambaram and Chengalpattu to Vedanthangal. There is a forest Rest House too.

Things to do in Mahabalipuram: The department of Tourism of Tamil Nadu conducts world famous dance festivals every Saturdays and Sundays and also during holidays of the months of December and January. The festival is for 4 weeks and dancers all over the country participate and dance on the backdrop of the Arjuna’s penance. Being the ‘Heart of Indian Temple Sculpture’, it has produced many splendid sculptures. The tourists buy many small sculptures and artistry works made by the artisans. Beautiful statues are made of granite stones.

Best time to visit Mamallapuram: The best time to visit Mamallapuram, also called Mahabalipuram is from October to March, when the climate is pleasant and ideal for sightseeing and outings.
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How to go ?

By Air

The closest airport to Mamallapuram is at Chennai, which is 58km away. Chennai is well connected to the rest of India and has it’s own international airport as well. From the airport you can hire a cab to get to the small town of Mamallapuram.

By Rail

The nearest railway station is at Chengalpattu 29 kms away. The Chengalpattu station is well connected from Chennai and other parts of Tamil Nadu. From here you can take a bus or taxi to get to Mamallapuram.

By Road

Mamallapuram or Mahabalipuram is well connected with the rest of the state. Buses from Chennai, Pondicherry and Chengalpattu and Kanchipuram are frequent. Most tourists prefer to travel to Mamallapuram by road from Chennai. The road is good and you can rent a car and be driven along the coast – it’s a pleasant and pretty drive.

Where to stay ?

There are plenty of accommodation options in Mamallapuram.

Hotel Sea Breeze : +91-44-27443035, 27443065  Website: www.hotelseabreeze.net
Radisson Blu Resort Temple Bay : +91- 800-1800 333  Website: www.radissonblu.com
Chariot Beach Resort: +91 – 44 – 2742 – 5000  Website: www.chariotbeachresorts.com
Indeco Hotels: +91 94444 10394, +91 94450 21742  Website: www.indecohotels.com

Note : Phone numbers given above are according to the information available with us. If you find any contact number/s given above is/are incorrect or not in use, please let us know.

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Badami

Badami, Karnataka – Famous for its unique Cave temple

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Badami is an ancient town situated in the Bagalkot district of Karnataka. It was originally named as Vatapi and was the capital of the Chalukya Dynasty that ruled over the most parts of peninsular India. Situated at an average elevation of 1922 ft above the sea level at the mouth a ravine, Badami is tucked in between two rugged sandstone outcrops. The innovative constructions that are now in its ruins were made by Chalukya king Kirti Varma and his brother Mongolesa. Badami is also famous as the city of the cave temples and attracts a number of tourists annually.

Places to see at Badami: The chief attraction of Badami is the cave temple. There are some other sight seeing location too which include,

The Badami Cave Temples

Badami is famous for its four cave temples – all carved out of sand stone on the precipice of a hill. They all share the same plan – a veranda with columns and brackets leading to a main hall, the pillared maha mandapa which in turn leads to the small sanctum which houses the sculpture. The four cave temples represent the secular nature of the rulers then, with tolerance and a religious following that inclines towards Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism.

The First Cave

The first temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva. You would have to climb about 40 steps to reach it. Built around 578 AD, this is believed to be the earliest of the fourtemples. This cave depicts Shiva in his dancing form – as Nataraja depicted with eighteen arms. There are no less than 81 different dancing poses of Nataraja depicted in this cave. The first cave has gigantic carvings of Ardhanareeswara and Harira manifestations of Shiva in bas relief.There are also reliefs of Ganapati, Shanmukha and Mahishasuramardhini, and may be the oldest in Badami. It is made of red sandstone and has a hall with numerous pillars and a square shaped sanctum hollowed in the control back wall.

The Second Cave

This cave temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu. Here he is depicted in the magnificent Trivikrama form, where he is measuring the earth with one foot, and the sky with the other, with a third food resting on the head of Mahabali.

The Third Cave

The third cave is dedicated to Vishnu, and is the best and the biggest, and it has splendid giant figures of Paravasudeva, Bhuvaraha, Harihara and Narasimha. All these statues are engraved in a vigorous style. An inscription found here records the creation of the shrine by Mangalesha in 578. There are some paintings on the ceiling and the style indicates maturity but has lost its original dazzling colour. The bracket figures on the piers here are some of the finest.

The Fourth Cave

The fourth cave is Jaina which lies a little east of cave III. The sanctum is adorned by the image of Mahavira. The pedestal contains an old Kannada inscription of the 8th century A.D. which registers the death of one Jakkave. A number of Jaina Thirthankara images have been engraved in the inner pillars and walls. In addition to it, there are some idols of Bahubali, Yakshas and Yakshis. Some scholars assign the cave to the 8th century.

Bhuthanatha Temple

The Bhutanatha group of temples comprises of a group of sandstone temples, all dedicated to Lord Shiva. The Bhutanatha group includes two major temples, one on the east and the other on the north-east side of the Agasthya Tirtha or AgasthyaLake. The temple is situated on the eastern side of the Agasthya Tirtha. It is one of the earliest examples of structural temples in South India. This edifice was built during the reign of the Chalukyas of Vatapi, as Badami was known then. Later additions were built by the Kalyani Chalukyas of the west.

Agastya Lake

The lake is named after one of the Saptarishis, Agasthya.

BanashankariAmmaTemple

The BanashankariAmmaTemple was originally built by the Chalukyas during the 7th century. The Goddess Banashankari was their family deity. According to an inscription, this image of the Banashankari Amma was installed by Jagadekamalla I in 630 AD. This temple was later renovated by the Marathas in the 18th century. Its modern structure now reflects the Vijayanagara style of architecture more than the original Chalukya style.

Nearby attractions around Badami: The place is also dotted by some architecturally rich destinations located nearby.

Aihole

Located at a distance of 38 km from Badami Aihole is a historical town situated on the banks of Malaprabha River in Bagalkot district of Karnataka. Earlier, this historical town was also called as “Ayyavole” and “Aryapura”. Aihole was once capital of the early Chalukyan dynasty (6th to 8th centuries). Aihole is rewarded as “the cradle of Hindu rock architecture”. There are about 125 temples divided into 22 groups spread all over the villages and nearby fields. Most of these temples at Aihole were built between the 6th and 8th centuries.

Pattadakal

Just 20 km from Badami, Pattadakal located in Bijapur district of Karnataka was not only popular for Chalukyan architectural activities but also a holy place for royal coronation, ‘Pattadakisuvolal’. Temples constructed here mark the blending of the Rekha, Nagara, Prasada and the Dravida Vimana styles of temple building.

Things to do in Badami: The unique cave temple which is the chief attraction of Badami will undoubtedly attract you. It is really a wonder. Apart from this the sight seeing trip is also worth enjoying.

Best time to visit Badami: Badami has a pleasant climate during winters and spring. The best time to visit the place is from September to February.

How to go ?

By Air

The nearest airport to reach Badami is at Belgaum (150 kms). The nearest international airport is at Bangalore (504 kms). Domestic flights like Jet Airways and Kingfisher are available for Belgaum.

By Rail

Badami, the beautiful town is situated on the Hubli-Sholapur rail route which is exactly 163 kms from Bijapur and 128 kms from Hubli.

By Road

Badami is connected by road to Pattadakal (22 kms), Aihole (44 kms) and Hubli (128 kms). Karnataka State Transport Corporation buses ply from Badami to different major locations of the state.

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Where to stay ?

There are a number of accommodation options at Badami. Some are:

Mayura Chalukya(Karnataka Tourism): +91-08357-220046
Hotel Moombalika Deluxe:+91-08357-220067, 720637
Hotel Anand Deluxe: +91-08357-220074, 221074  Website: www.hotelananddeluxe.com

Note : Phone numbers given above are according to the information available with us. If you find any contact number/s given above is/are incorrect or not in use, please let us know.

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Halebidu

Halebidu, Karnataka – This site is famous for the beautiful Hoyasaleswara Temple

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Halebidu literally means ruined city and got its name after it was attacked twice by the Delhi Sultanate in the 14th Century. Located at a distance of 16 km from Belur, Halebidu was the capital of the Hoysala empire during the 12th and 13th century with the name of Dwarasamudra.

Places to see at Halebidu: The main attraction of the place is the ancient Hoysaleshwara temple.

Hoyasaleswara Temple

The construction of the Hoyasaleswara Temple was started in AD 1121 and continued for around 90 years, but never completed. Nevertheless, even in its incomplete form, this temple is the most outstanding example of Hoysala art and architecture. The temple comprises of two temples standing on a single platform. The walls of the temple have detailed friezes and sculptures depicting scenes narrated in Mahabharatha and Ramayana.Two massive monolithic bulls are also carved inside the temple. it is enclosed by a garden.

The Archaeological Museum

There is also a museum -the Archaeological Museum, located in the temple premises displaying sculptures, woodcarvings idols, coins and inscriptions of 12th and 13th centuries also nearby.

Nearby attractions around Halebidu: From Halebidu you can also plan for a trip to places like:

Belur

Located at a distance of 16 km Belur became the capital of the Hoysala kings in the face of attacks by invaders like the Delhi Sultanate. Subsequently Belur witnesses a spawning of Hoysala temples prominent among which is the Chennakeshava temple.

Shravanabelagola

Another destination named Shravanbelgola is also located near to Halebidu. It is a sacred Jain pilgrimage, Shravanabelagola is known for the giant monolithic statue of Lord Gomateshwara. During the festival of Mahamastakabhisheka, thousands of devotees throng this holy shrine.

Chennakeshava Temple

A supreme example of Hoyasala temple architecture, the Chennakeshava temple in Belur, Karnataka leaves one spellbound with its exquisite structure. The temple was constructed in 1117 AD by Hoysala king Vishnuvardhan to celebrate his victory over the Cholas at the battle of Talikad.

Things to do at Halebidu: The architectural splendours built during the Hoysala dynasty still adorning the place is really a pleasure to watch for all the tourists visiting the place.

Best time to visit Halebidu: The best time to visit Halebidu is between the months of October and April.

How to go ?

To reach Halebidu you have to reach Bangalore first which is connected by rail, road and also airways to all parts of India nad abroad. From Bangalore buses ply to Hasan which 30 kms from Halebidu. No direct transport facilities are available from Bangalore to Halebidu at this time.

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Where to stay ?

Halebidu is ideal for a day trip. However there is a Government tourist lodge. For booking details you may contact:
Maurya Santhala: +91- 08177- 273224

Note : Phone numbers given above are according to the information available with us. If you find any contact number/s given above is/are incorrect or not in use, please let us know.

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Shekhawati

Shekhawati, Rajasthan – The land adorned by exceptionally beautiful havelis

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A small semi desert region in north Rajasthan Shekhawati is situated entirely within the triangle formed by Delhi-Bikaner-Jaipur. Shekhawati represents an entire region and is not just a town or fort. The region derives its name from its ruler Rao Shekha. Shekhawati means the garden of Shekha.

The towns of Shekhawati region are well known for their amazing painted havelis. So varied and architecturally rich are the havelis that this region is also named as the “open art gallery of Rajasthan” by the art-lovers. Enriched by the painted Havelis in rich artistic tradition really fascinates the visitors. Most of the buildings are dated from 18th century to early 20th century. The Shekhawati region is dotted with so many havelis that tracking them is something akin to a treasure hunt. Various forms of fine art decorates the walls and the ceilings of these structures as a contrast to the otherwise flat and barren land. The havelis are noted for their frescoes depicting mythological themes and huge animals. Some later day frescoes reflect British influence in the form of steam locomotives and trains depicted on them. Thus the place is named as open air art gallery by the art lovers.

Places to see at Shekhawati: The exceptionally beautiful painted havelis are the major tourist attractions in the Shekhawati region.

Mandawa

The 18th century town of Mandawa is famous for its enchanting havelis. It is located in the Jhunjhunu district.  A painted archway decorated with Lord Krishna and his cowherds leads to the bazaar. The terrace of castle Mandawa offers a panoramic view of the town. It also has a magnificent fort, now a hotel, with excellent paintings and a small museum. The most attractive havelis in Mandawa include Chokhani, Saraf, Goenka, Ladia and Gulab Rai havelis, all of them displaying some of the finest murals in Shekhawati on both the exterior and interior walls.

Dundlod

Located in the centre of the Shekhawati region, Dundlod is famous for its 18th century fort and havelis. The Fort’s Diwan-e-Khana is furnished with stained glass windows and good paintings. The Jagathia and Goenka havelis with beautiful frescoes courtyards are the major tourist attractions in Dundlod.

Nawalgarh

Nawalgarh is famous for some of the finest frescoes in the Shekhawati region. This town was founded in 1737 by Thakur Nawal Singh, The town has a fort and a number of beautiful havelis including the Aath Haveli, Anaadilal Poddar Haveli, Jodhraj Patodia Haveli, Bansidhar Bhagat Haveli, and Chokhani Haveli.

Mukungarh

Built around a temple square, a few kilometres from Nawalgarh, Mukungarh has a magnificent fort, which is now converted, into a resort hotel with all modern amenities. There are a few prominent properties here in the form of havelis of Kanoria and Ganriwal, which carry fine examples of fresco paintings.

Jhunjhunu

Jhunjhunu is a serene location in the Shekhawati, famous for its beautifully painted havelis. The 18th century Khetri Mahal, BiharijiTemple and Mertani Baori (step-well) with beautiful paintings are the major tourist attractions in Jhunjhunu. Among havelis the Modi Haveli has some of the best paintings in the Shekhawati area. The 19th century Tibrewala Haveli in the main bazaar has many murals on it and colored glass windows.

Khetri-mahal

Bhopal Singh, the founder of Khetri is believed to have built it in 1770 AD.Located behind a series of lanes Khetri Mahal is one of the finest examples of Shekhawati art and architecture. Though now desolate the beauty and symmetry of its elegant arches can still be appreciated.

Pilani

Once a small village, it is now famous for being the hometown of the premier business and industrial family, the Birlas. The town is also known for The Birla Institute of Technology & Science (BITS, Pilani), an all-India Institute for higher education. Its engineering college is reputed to be among the top ten colleges in India. Late Mr G.D. Birla – an eminent industrialist and an associate of Mahatma Gandhi founded the Institute. Other places of interest are The BITS Museum, Shiva Ganga, Saraswati temple and the Pachwati. Pilani is connected by road from Delhi and Jaipur. Its nearest railhead is Chirawa. Pilani also has good hotels.

Churu

Churu is also famous for its excellent havelis. Here the major tourist attractions in Churu  the Kanhaiya Lal Bagla Haveli (1870), the Kothari Haveli (1915) and the Surana Haveli with more then 1,100 doors and windows. Churu Fort is another not to be missed attraction here.

Fatehpur

Once ruled by the Muslim Nawabs, Fatehpur is a historic town in Shekhawati, famous for its beautiful frescoes. The frescoes on the Devra and Singhania havelis are an outstanding combination of Indian and Western styles. Goenka Haveli has excellent paintings on its walls, including several depicting Krishna’s pastimes.

Salasar Balaji

Salasar Balaji refers to famous temple of Shankatmochan Hanuman, which is located in a small town called Salasar. The holy temple requires no introduction to Hindus any where in the world. The history of this temple dates back to 1811 AD. In a village called Asota a farmer while ploughing his field struck a rock under the earth and recovered it. When it was cleaned by his wife, it emerged as an idol of Lord Hanuman. The Thakur of that village dreamt of being asked to shift the idol to Salasar. At the same time, a devotee of Lord Hanuman called Mean Das also had an identical dream. The idol was thus sent to Salasar with all care and devotion for installation. The village came to known as the Salasar Dham. There is now a well developed concrete temple with a large complex. Lakhs of followers from all over the world visit this holy place all the year around.

Khatu Shyam

The legend of this immensely popular Krishna temple can be traced back to the epic, Mahabharat ,where Barbareek, the son of great Pandav brother, Bhim and Nag Kanya (snake princess) displayed his great martial skills. This pleased Lord Shiva who gave his blessings in the form of three infallible arrows (‘Teen Ban’) and Agni Dev (fire god) gave him a bow to enable him to conquer all the three worlds.  In order to watch the famous war of Mahabharat he rode towards the battle field and in between his tryst with Lord Krishna in disguise became a vital part of history and thus the incarnation of Khatu Shamji.

Bissau

Is another small town of fluctuating fortunes. Keshri Singh founded the town. It fell into anarchy when his grandson Shyam Singh extorted huge sums of money from the local merchants. The merchants packed up and fled the town and the local Thakurs indulged in looting and theft. However, after the death of Shyam Singh, his heir restored normalcy and the merchants were encouraged to return.

Shakambhari Shri

The famous temple of Maa Bhagwati Shakambhari, also known as Sakarai Mata, is situated in Sikar district of Shekhawati region. The temple is 56 kms east of Sikar located amidst the green valley of the Aravalis.

Nearby attractions from Shekhawati: From Shekhawati you can make a visit to places like

Jaipur

The pink city of India is just 8km from Shekhawati. This is one of the most favoured tourist destinations in India. The city is filled with forts, monuments, palaces, gardens, temples and museums.

Bikaner

Bikaner is another popular tourist spot that is just 5hrs from Bikaner. The place is famous for its sweets namely the Bikaneri Bhujia. The city has several important tourist spots such as Junagarh Fort and Lalgarh Palace. There are other prominent tourist spots such as Laxmi Niwas Palace, Shivbari Temple, Karni Mata Temple, and Gajner Palace.

Things to do in Shekhawati: While visiting  Shekhawati, you can enjoy a range of leisure activities like taking a leisure walk trip of havelis, Horse and Camel Safaris and shopping for imitations of art pieces from the havelis on cloth, decorative items or carved furniture such as chests, chairs, cradles, low tables, stools and wooden doors. The colorful Shekhawati Festival held every year in the month of February is another must see attraction in Shekhawati.

Best time to visit Shekhawati: The prime time to visit Shekhawati is from October until March, when the weather is the coolest and driest. If you go in early February, you’ll be able to catch the annual Shekhawati Festival that takes place in Nawalgarh.

How to go ?

By Air

Sanganer Airport Jaipur (150 Km approx.) is the nearest one after Indira Gandhi International Airport of New Delhi (250 Km approx). Direct flights from all the major cities of the world touches DelhiAirport. Hence it is easy for one to reach Shekhawati from any corner of the world by first arriving at Delhi and then taking either Rail or Road route to reach Shekhawati.

By Train

The nearest Railway Station is Jhunjhunu Railway Station which is connected to the all major cities of Rajasthan like Jaipur, Sariska, Delhi, Indore and Pune through Rewari-Sikar Passenger, Shekhawati Express and Sadulpur Passenger.

By Road

Just 8 Kms from Jaipur,  Shekhawati is very well connected to various major cities by road.

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Where to stay ?

Not many accommodation facilities are available in Shekhawati. Some options are:

Tourist Bungalow ( RTDC): +91-1592-238266
Hotel Apani Dhani Tourist Lodge: + 91-1594-222239  Website: www.apanidhani.com
Hotel Shekhawati: +91- 01592-223036  Website: www.hotelshekhawati.com

Note : Phone numbers given above are according to the information available with us. If you find any contact number/s given above is/are incorrect or not in use, please let us know.
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Orcha

Orcha, Madhya Pradesh – A quaint historical destination

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Orcha is a quaint destination on the bank of river Betwa. It was founded by Bundela Rajput chieftain Rudra Pratap. The kingdom reached at its highest glory during the reign of Raja Bir Singh Ju Deo, who made the exquisite Jehangir Mahal, a tiered palace crowned by graceful chattris. From here you will get the spectacular view of the soaring temple spires and the cenotaphs. The interiors of the construction represent the finest flowering of the Bundela School of painting.

Places to see at Orcha: A multi-arched bridge, will take you to the Orcha fort has three palaces set in an open quadrangle. The most spectacular of these are:

Jehangir Mahal

Constructed during the reign of Raja Bir Singh Ju Deo in the 17th century to commemorate the visit of Emperor Jehangir to Orchha. Its strong lines are counterbalanced by delicate chhatris and trellis work, the whole conveying an effect of extraordinary richness. 

Raj Mahal

Situated to the right of the quadrangle, this palace was built in the 17th century by Madhukar Shah, the deeply religious predecessor of Bir Singh Ju Deo. The plain exteriors, crowned by chhatris, give way to interiors with exquisite murals, boldly colourful on a variety of religious themes. 

Rai Parveen Mahal

Poetess and musician, Rai Parveen was the beautiful paramour of Raja Indramani (1672- 76) and was sent to Delhi on the orders of the Emperor Akbar, who was captivated by her. She so impressed the Great Mughal with the purity of her love for Indramani that he sent her back to Orchha. The palace built for her is a low, two-storeyed brick structure designed to match the height of the trees in the surrounding, beautifully landscaped gardens of Anand Mahal, with its octagonal flower beds and elaborate water supply system. Skillfully carved niches allow light into the Mahal which has a main hall and smaller chambers. 

Chaturbhuj Temple

The temple lies upon a massive stone platform and reached by a steep flight of steps, the temple was specially constructed to enshrine the image of Rama that remained in the Ram Raja Temple. Lotus emblems and other symbols of religious significance provide the delicate exterior ornamentation. Within, the sanctum is chastely plain with high, vaulted walls emphasizing its deep sanctity. 

Laxminarayan Temple

A flagstone path links this temple with the Ram Raja Temple. The style is an interesting synthesis of fort and temple moulds. The interiors contain the most exquisite of Orchha’s wall paintings. Covering the walls and ceiling of three halls, these murals are vibrant compositions and cover a variety of spiritual and secular subjects. They are in excellent state of preservation, with the colours retaining their vivid quality. 

Phool Bagh

Laid out as a formal garden, this complex testifies to the refined aesthetic qualities of the Bundelas. A central row of fountains culminates in an eight pillared palace-pavilion. A subterranean structure below was the cool summer retreat of the Orchha kings. An ingenious system of water ventilation connects the underground palace with Chandan Katora, a bowl-like structure from whose fountains droplets of water filtered through to the roof, simulating rainfall. 

Sunder Mahal

This small palace, almost in ruins today is still a place of pilgrimage for Muslims. Dhurjban, son of Jhujhar, embraced Islam when he wed a Muslim girl at Delhi. He spent the latter part of his life in prayer and meditation and came to be revered as a saint. 

Chhatris (Centaphs)

There are 14 Chhatris or Memorials to the rulers of Orchha, grouped along the Kanchan Ghat of the river Betwa. 

Shahid Smarak

This epitaph is built to commemorate the great freedom fighter Chandrashekhar Azad who lived and worked in hiding in Orchha during 1926 and 1927. Other places worth seeing are the shrines of Siddh Baba Ka Sthan, Jugal Kishore, Janki Mandir and the Hanuman Mandir at Ochharedwara. 

Ram Raja Temple

The Ram Raja Temple is perhaps the most important though unusual of all the temples in Orchha. This is the only temple in the country where Rama is worshipped as a king that too in a palace. According to legends, once Lord Rama appeared in a dream to king Madhukar Shah and directed him to build a temple for him. The king followed the instructions given by Rama and brought his idol from Ayodhya, the birthplace of the lord. However, the construction of the temple was not complete when the idol arrived from Ayodhya. So it was kept in the palace for the time being. Later, the king remembered that in the dream Lord Rama had specifically mentioned that his idol could not be removed from the place where it has been originally kept. This led the king to abandon the construction of the temple and instead the palace where the idol was kept was converted into a temple.

Nearby Attractions around Orcha: Orcha has a number of nearby attractions.

Jhansi Fort

The fort is about 20 km from Orcha and was built by Raja Bir Singh. The fort lies upon a rocky hill in the town of Balwantnagar now known as Jhansi. The fort has fine collection of sculptures which provide an excellent insight into the eventful history of Bundelkhand. The places of interest include Karak Bijli Toup (Tank), Rani Jhansi Garden, Shiv temple, and a Mazar of Ghulam Gaus Khan, Moti Bai and Khuda Baksh.

Barua Sagar Fort

Perches on a picturesque location from where the excellent view of the lake is really captivating. The place is named after the Barua Sagar Tal, which was created about 260 years ago by Raja Udit Singh. The town is situated on the road to Khajuraho from Jhansi.

Jarai-ka-Math

This beautiful temple is located 20 km away from Orcha and is dedicated to Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati. The battle of Maratha and Bundela kings were fought here.

Things to do at Orcha: Lying along the Betwa River which very rough here, if you have any adventurous bend of mind enjoy the river rafting here. Lying on the other side of the river is the Orcha wild life sanctuary. This was once the hunting ground of the Maharajas of Bundela.

Best time to visit Orcha: The ideal time to visit Orcha is from October to March.

How to go ?

By Rail

Jhansi railway station which is 16 km frm Orcha is the nearest railway station. From there you can hire a car to reach Orcha.

By Road

From Jhansi or Gwalior buses leave from Orcha.

By Air

Nearest airport to Orchha is at Gwalior (119 km), which is connected with regular flights from Delhi and Mumbai.

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Where to stay ?

There are some hotels at Orcha.

Orcha Resort: +91-7680-252222, 290390 Website: www.orchharesort.com
Amar Mahal: +91-7680-252102, 252202, 09893496031  Website: www.amarmahal.com
Hotel Aditya: +91-92111 77444 

Note : Phone numbers given above are according to the information available with us. If you find any contact number/s given above is/are incorrect or not in use, please let us know.
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Hotel Sunrise: +91-9425342335

Indore

Indore, Madhya Pradesh – A place with rich architectural grandeur

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One of the most prominent cities of Madhya Pradesh, Indore boasts of an imperial past. Designed and built by the Holkar queen Rani Ahilya Bai Holkar; the city is bejewelled with some magnificent monuments belonging to the Holkar dynasty. The ‘Rajwada’ and ‘Lalbagh Palace’ are notable examples that highlight the royal splendor and propitious lifestyle of the Holkars. Besides, Indore is one of the most advanced cities of the state. Its rich variety of edifices, its urban trimmings and its vicinity to other places of interest makes it a perfect holidaying getaway. Get to know the various tourist attractions around the place and explore what excursions from Indore covers.

One of the most prominent cities of Madhya Pradesh, Indore has a glorious imperial background. The Holkar queen Rani Ahilya Bai designed and built this city. It is decorated with some magnificent monuments that belong to the Holkar dynasty. The prominent examples among them are the ‘Rajwada’ and ‘Lalbagh Palace’ highlighting the royal splendour and lavish lifestyle of the Holkars. Indore has become one of the most advanced cities of the state. The place is facilitated with all sorts of urban requirements and well connected with all parts of the country. Beside its vicinity to other places of interest makes it a perfect holidaying getaway.

Places to see in Indore:  Indore is dotted with the architectural grandeur. There are also other places of interest here.

Indreshwar Temple

Indrehwar Temple is a temple of Lord Shiva. It was made by Raja Indra Singh on his way to Ujjain. The city of Indore derives it’s name from this very temple.

Khajrana

The citizens of Indore have great faith in this Ganesh temple, built during the reign of Ahilyabai Holkar. It is believed that all wishes are fulfilled by praying here. Nearby is the dargah of Nahar Sayed. This is an important pilgrimage place for Maita Muslims.

Town Hall:

Made in 1904 and originally named King Edwards Hall, it was renamed Mahatma Gandhi Hall in 1948. Its architectural style is Indo-Gothic. Made in Seoni stone, its domes and staples are a landmark of Indore today. It has a four-faced clock tower in front, because of which it is locally known as Ghanta Ghar. It is frequently the venue for the various book and painting exhibitions, fairs and festivals held throughout the year. The building also has a library, a children’s park and a temple.

Bada Ganpati:

Better known for its size than antiquity, this temple houses perhaps the largest Ganesh idol in the world measuring 25 feet from crown to foot. Created as a result of the dream of an Avantika (Ujjain) resident, Shri Dadhich, it was built in 1875.

Hrinkar Giri:

The largest Jain shrine of Indore, situated at a hillock near Indore Airport.

Lal Bagh Palace

Lal Bagh Palace is one of the grandest monuments the Holkar dynasty left Indore. A reflection of their taste, grandeur and lifestyle, its construction began in 1886 under Tukoji Rao Holkar II, and was carried out in three phases. The final phase was completed in 1921 under Tukoji Rao Holkar III. Many royal receptions were held here. It has a total area of 28 hectares, and at one time it had the reputation of having one of the best rose gardens in the country.

Gita Bhavan

Adorned with many statues of gods of various religions, its construction is inspired by the religious motto “many names to a God is after all of one God.”

Gomat Giri

This is an excellent set of Jain temples built on the top of Gommatesher Hill. The main attraction is 24 feet tall statue of Lord Bahubali, and 24 others temples for each of the 24 jain tirthankars.

Chhatris

Chhatris are the tombs or cenotaphs erected in memory of dead Holkar rulers and their family members. The Chhatris picturesquely poised on the Khan river banks near Rajawada are incomparable in terms of Maratha architecture and sculpture of their period. At Chhatri Baag is the main collection of tombs housed in two compounds. Close by is the beautiful Bolia Sarkar’s Chhatri constructed in 1858 AD in memory of Sardar Chimnaji Appa Sahib Bolia.

Annapurna Temple

This temple was inspired by the Meenakshi temple of Madurai. Four life-sized elephants hold an ornately decorated gate in plaster. Inside the temple of Annapurna Devi are also temples of Shiva, Kal Bhairava, Hanuman and a Pravachan Hall. The outer wall of the main temple is decorated with colourful motifs from mythological stories.

Kasturba Gram

8 km from Indore, the Kasturba Gandhi National Memorial Trust was founded by Mahatma Gandhi. Its headquarters were shifted from Wardha to Indore in 1915. The main objective of t his trust is showing ways of improvement in the quality of village life and the welfare of rural women and children. Some of its many commendable activities are : agricultural production, research, training, experiments in fruit orchards, social forestry, new renewable sources of energy, gobar gas, better water management, rural institute for girls, village sanitation programmes etc.

Kanch Mandir

The Kanch Mandir also known as Glass Temple is an exquisite example of a marvel in glass. This JainTemple also known as Jain Mandir was built by Sir Seth Hukum Chand Jain(Kasliwal) in the early 20th century.It is located in the Itwaria Market. The speciality of this temple is that its doors, pillars, ceilings and walls are entirely inlaid with glass with minute detailing. It is one of the most famous tourist attraction of the city. The temple also has paintings which are depicting stories from the Jain scriptures. The top of the temple multiplies the three statues of Lord Mahavir which makes this temple more beautiful place.

Shri Riddhi Siddhi Chintaman Ganesh Temple

It is a famous Ganesh Temple.

Gurudwara

Indore is historically attached to Sikhism. It has numerous Gurudwaras. Gurdwara Imli Sahib is Sikh shrine situated in Indore. In the year, 1567 Guru Nanak Dev Ji in the way of his itinerary diverted from southern states to the north-west and reached Indore. It is centrally located and innumerable devotees assure spiritual knowledge, peace and bliss here.

Gurdwara Charan Paduka Betma Sahib is situated in the small village of Betma. Betma is a town and a nagar panchayat in Indore district in the state of Madhya Pradesh, India. Betma Sahib is one of the pious gurudwaras of historical significance for Sikhs, as it is believed that Guru Nanak Dev Ji visited this place during his southern Udasi.

Bijasen Tekri

A 2 minutes drive from the airport leads you to a hillock on which was perched a guest house of the Holkars, now converted into Border Security Arms Museum, as well as a small temple of Bijasen Mata, built in 1920, which has a magnificent view of the sunset. A mela (fair) is held during the Navratri. A good picnic spot, with a breathtaking view of Indore city by night.

Nearby attractions from Indore: There are many other tourist destinations that are close to Indore. From Indore also arrange for excursions to places like:

Mhow

23 km from Indore is the Military Headquarters Of War (MHOW) which was supposedly the war management centre of the British during the World War. Presently one of India’s most prestigious military training establishments for senior and higher commands, the whole cantonment is beautifully landscaped.

Patal Pani

36 km from Indore, famous for its waterfall. Water falls from a height of 150 feet into a kund, the depth of which is still unknown. It is believed that the bottom of this unfathomable kund reaches Patal (netherworld), hence the name Patal Pani. It is a popular picnic spot.

Wanchoo Point

A high dam on Narmada and main source of water supply for Indore. A popular picnic spot.

Dhar

64 km from Indore on the Indore-Ahmedabad road is Dhar, the capital of Parmar Kings, among whom Bhoj was the most prominent. During the Muslim rule, Dhar was under the Sultans of Delhi. In the monuments one can see the combination of Hindu, Afghan and Mughal architecture. Bhoj Shala, Laat Masjid, the Fort and the lakes are the main tourist attractions.

Jhabua

151 km from Indore on the Indore-Ahmedabad highway, it is the home of the tribal Bhils and Bhilalas.

Nemawar

128 km from Indore, this is situated on the other side of the bank of the Narmada, and was the place where Jamdagni, the father of Parasuram, meditated. The temple of Renukaji is situated near the village, as also the ancient temple of Siddhanath. At Suryakund, is a statue of Lord Vishnu.

Omkareshwar and Maheshwar

These cities which are sanctified by faith are the popular tourist destinations.

Mandu

Mandav or Mandu’s was earlier known by the name of “Shadiabad” meaning the city of happiness (Anand Nagari), it was after the name of princess Mandvi Chouhan of Khandwa, the name was given by then ruler Allauddin Khilji. The city is the tribute to the Legendary love story of the poet-prince Baz Bahadur and his beautiful consort, Rani Roopmati. The city is located at a distance of 97 km from Indore.

Ujjan

Known as Ujjayini in the ancient times, it is a City of temples and a home to the Mahakaleshwar Jyotirlinga, one of the twelve Jyotirlinga shrines to the god Shiva. The city perches at a distance of  62 km.

How to go ?

By Air

Indore is connected with Bhopal, Delhi and Mumbai airports.

By Bus

Indore is connected by bus with Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Aurangabad, Bhopal, Gwalior, Mandu, Maheshwar, Omkareshwar, Ujjain, Sanchi and Vidisha.

By Rail

Indore is on the Western railway and is connected with major Indian cities.

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Where to stay ?

Indore offers numerous hotels for you to relax and savour various delicacies. Some options are:

Ginger Hotels: +91- 731 – 666 3333
Lemon Tree Hotel: +91 – 99 11 701 701
Radisson Blu Hotel: +91- 731-4738888  Website: www.radissonblu.com
Hotel President: +91-731-2528866, 4040616, 4232425  Website: www.hotelpresidentindore.com

Note : Phone numbers given above are according to the information available with us. If you find any contact number/s given above is/are incorrect or not in use, please let us know.
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Jaipur

Jaipur, Rajasthan – The pink city

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Known as the pink city, Jaipur is the capital of Rajasthan. The city is named after its founder, the warrior and astronomer sovereign, Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh (ruled 1700 to 1743). Designed by Vidyadhar Bhattacharya some pink buildings and constructions are still found in the older Jaipur. The pink city can easily catch anyone’s admiration. Jaipur being a busy metropolis still holds an age old charm that really creating a sense of wonder upon the visitors. It is a major tourist destination in India.

Places to see in Jaipur: Jaipur has a number of tourist attractions that includes palaces, museum, fort and many other things. Being a city with rich architectural splendour, Jaipur is a historical wonderland.

Hawa Mahal

The poet king Sawai Pratap Singh built this palace of winds. This is the icon of Jaipur. It is located in the City Palace complex, and is best viewed from the road outside. This five-storey building that faces the busy bazaar street is a fascinating example of Rajput architecture and artistry with its delicately honeycombed 953 pink sandstone windows known as ‘jharokhas’. It was originally built for the ladies of the royal household to watch everyday life and processions in the city from their veiled comfort. Most people come here to get a view of the facade but they can also climb to the top for a wonderful view from the latticed windows. There is also a small archaeological museum there.

Amber Fort

Just 11 km from Jaipur is the Fort of Amber. It was the ancient citadel of the ruling Kachwahas of Amber, before the capital was shifted to the plains, the present day Jaipur. The architecture of the fort is the fascinating blend of Hindu and Mughal architecture. Constructed by Raja Man Singh I in 1592 and completed by Mirja Raja Jai Singh the fort was made in red sand stone and white marble. The fort consists of sprawling gardens, grand, chambers and large rooms. A rich decoration and excellent planning mark the construction of the Amber Palace.

City Palace

Situated at the core of the pink city, this magnificent palace complex with its numerous edifices, vast courtyards and attractive gardens is the prominent example of the royal history. Built by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh its architecture is a blend of Mughal and Rajput architecture.  The Chandra Mahal and Mubarak Mahal are some of the significant structures in the complex. To preserve the valuable items of the bygone era, many compartments of the palace have been converted into museums and art galleries. To witness the beauty of the palace, thousands of visitors from across the world visit the City Palace every year.

Nahargarh Fort

Nahargarh fort stands at the edge of the Aravalli hills. The word Nahargarh means “abode of tigers”. The Fort gives a mesmerizing view of the pink city of Jaipur. The fort has been part of important historical events: treaties of the Marathas were signed here, and it was the refuge of British women during the Sepoy Mutiny. The fort served as a hunting residence for the kings.

Jantar Mantar

Built by Maharaja Jai Singh, this observatory, officially declared as the national monument, has a huge collection of astronomical instruments. Beautifully crafted in marble and local stone, it is one of the largest buildings in the country that is dedicated to the exploration of celestial bodies. It consists of around 14 fixed and focused devices that measure time, predict eclipses, track stars, and locate earth orbits around the sun.

Jaigarh Fort 

Most spectacular of the three-hilltop forts, Jaigarh fort overlooks Jaipur. In Mughal times, the Jaipur region was a major weapon-producing centre for the Mughal and Rajput rulers, several of the weapons being on display in the fort’s museum. It is one of the few military structures of medieval India preserved almost intact, containing palaces, a granary, a well-planned cannon foundry, several temples, a tall tower and giant mounted cannon-the Jai Ban (Jaivan) which is the largest cannon on wheels in the world. Jaigarh Fort is also known as the fort of victory. The display includes a collection of canons, many of which are exquisitely decorated and were used in the Mughal campaigns led by the Rajput King, Raja Man Singh.

Albert Hall

It is one of the oldest museums in Jaipur as well as in India, and was built by Sir Samuel Jacob in the 19th Century. It is known as the state’s museum for Rajasthan and is also well known as the Government Central Museum. The beautiful building is located in the Ram Niwas garden, and stands as the epitome of the conglomeration of the Indo Saracen architecture. Here one can find a rich collection of numerous artefacts like carpets, paintings, stones, ivory, sculptures made up of metal, crystal works decorated with colours and every item that depicts the royal culture of Rajasthan.

Moti Dungri and Ganesh Temple

In the middle of Jaipur is a small hill Moti Dungri meaning pearl hill, because it looks like a drop of pearl. An exotic palace is perched atop the hill which is a replica of a Scottish castle once occupied by Maharaja Sawai Man Singh. From there on, it remained a private property of the royal family. In the recent past it served as a home for Rajmata Gaytri Devi’s only son, the late Jagat Singh. The mere view of this castle is exotic enough. The highlight of this place is the famous and auspicious temple of Lord Ganesh, which is situated at the hill. It is frequented by Jaipurites on religious occasions.

Nearby attractions from Jaipur: From here you can visit the places like

Bagru

This place is just 35 kms away from Jaipur on the Ajmer road leading to Ajmer and is well known for hand block printing on cloth known as Bagru prints.

Tonk

Tonk is located 96 kms away from Jaipur. This is a quiet town which was ruled by ‘Pathans’ from Afghanistan. The focal point of Tonk is the Suneri Kothi, the Golden Bungalow. A fairly ordinary looking monument from outside, it has stunningly rich ornamental interiors. There are some interesting buildings that accommodated the British office. Tonk is also famous for its leather and felt industry and one can pick up a good bargain from the markets. The Nawab of Tonk was an avid book lover and built a sizable library of Arabic and Persian manuscripts. The Arabic and Persian Research Institute is also located here.

Sanganer

Sanganer is located 16 Kms from Jaipur. It is also known for exquisite Jain temples. Moreover, it is an important centre for crafts and hand-printed textiles that are internationally famous.

Karauli

Located at 182 km southwest of Jaipur, it was founded in 1348 and is best known for its famous temples Shri Madan Mohan Temple, Shri Mahaveer Temple, Shri Kaila Devi Temple, Shri Balaji Temple etc. The Bhanwar Vilas Palace, which is owned by the descendants of the royal family and resembles a large manor, is a heritage hotel now. The rooms and meals are available. Karauli is best connected by bus or taxi from Jaipur.

Virat Nagar

Situated on the Jaipur -Alwar state highway at a distance of about 75 Kms from Jaipur, Viratnagar is richly populated with unique and historical Venues which have largely escaped tourist attention.  It is in the area of important and recognized tourist destinations such as Sariska (a Project Tiger sanctuary), Siliserh, Ajabgarh- Bhangarh and Alwar. The venues are not only of great historical importance but are also in a reasonably good state. They can be easily opened to the ever- increasing tourist traffic to the colorful state if Rajasthan. Being close to Jaipur, Alwar and Delhi they can also serve as a welcome break for the tourists already traveling on this circuit. A complex of rock shelter and natural cave shelters found in different hills of Viratnagar indicate the presence of prehistorical people from the beginning of early stone age up to late stone age. The city is said to have been founded by King Virat in whose kingdom the five pandavas spent the thirteen-year of their exile in disguise (Agyatwas). The place Viratnagar assumed a special significance during the period of Mahabharata.

Things to do in Jaipur: Besides visiting these wonderful historical place, you can also be a part of the various fairs that is held in Jaipur every year like Elephant festival, Gangaur festival, Jaipur festival, Kite festival, Teej festival.

Best time to visit Jaipur: Jaipur has a warm climate but October to March can be described as the best time to visit the pink city.

How to go ?

By Air

The Jaipur Airport is situated at Sanganer, 7 km (domestic terminal) and 10 km (international terminal) from the main city. It connects the city to all the major parts of India as well as some of the major overseas countries. I

By Train

Jaipur is well connected to almost every part of India through the means of Indian Railways.

By Road

Jaipur, the pink city is linked with the all the major cities of India through the network of National Highways 8, 11 and 12 to name a few. There’s also a very good bus service between Jaipur and Delhi provided by Rajasthan State Road Transport Corporation (RSRTC) with the buses at about every half an hour to and from both sides.

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Where to stay ?

There are plenty of lodging facility in Jaipur. Some options are:

Hotel Jaipur Palace: + 91-0141-2743161-64 Website: www.jaipurpalace.in
Hotel Umaid Mahal: +91-141-2201952, 2201954 Website: www.umaidmahal.com
Hotel Narain Niwas Palace: +91-141-256 1291, 256 3448 Website: www.hotelnarainniwas.com
Hotel Silver Plaza: +91- 0141- 228 3000 Website: www.hotelsilverplaza.in

Note: Phone numbers given above are according to the information available with us. If you find any contact number/s given above is/are incorrect or not in use, please let us know.
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Khajuraho

Khajuraho, Madhya Pradesh – This temple city is famous for ancient erotic sculptures

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Khajuraho is the temple city of Madhya Pradesh. In the temple architecture of India, the Khajuraho complex remains unique. The eye catching temples of Khajuraho are the enlisted  under the UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE list. One thousand years ago, under the generous and artistic patronage of the Chandela Rajput kings of Central India, 85 temples, magnificent in form and richly carved, came up on one site, near the village of Khajuraho. Today, of the original 85, only 22 have survived the ravages of time; these remain as a collective paean to life, to joy and to creativity; to the ultimate fusion of man with his creator. It was the capital of the Chandelas. The place was the favourite destination of the foreigners. The whole site was built from the span of 950 AD-1050 AD. The main temples lie on the western group. It is possible given the eclectic patronage of the Chandelas and the wide variety of beliefs represented in the temples, that they had the concept of forming a seat of religion and learning at Khajuraho. The temples represent the expression of a highly matured civilization.

Places to see at Khajuraho: Being a temple city Khajuraho represents a wide variety of temple architecture.

The Temples 

The architectural style of the Khajuraho temples is unique, very different from the type of temple constructed in that period. Each stands, instead of within the customary enclosure, on a high masonry platform. Combined with the upward direction of the structure, which is further accentuated by vertical projections, the total effect is one of grace and lightness, reminiscent of the Himalayan peaks. Each of the chief compartments has its own roof, grouped in such a way that the highest is in the centre, the lowest over the portico, a triumph of skill and imagination in recreating the rising peaks of a range. The temples of Khajuraho are divided into three geographical groups: Western, Eastern and Southern.

The Western Group 

This is certainly the best known, because it is to this group that the largest and most typical Khajuraho temple belongs: The Kandariya Mahadev. Perfectly symmetrical, it soars 31 km high. Though the four temples that stand at the corners of the main shrine are now in ruins, the main shrine has an exquisitely carved entrance arch with a multitude of themes. Celestial beings, lovers serenading musicians. movements captured in stone, frozen in time, yet retaining a quality of warm, pulsating life. The very stone seems to have taken on the living, breathing quality of the carved figures. Beyond the archway of the Kandariya Mahadev, lie the six interior compartments; the portico, main hall, transept, vestibule, sanctum and ambulatory. The ceilings are particularly noteworthy and the pillars supporting them have intricately carved capitals. The transept’s outer walls have three horizontal panels showing deities of the Hindu pantheon, and groups of lovers, a pageant of sensuousness, vibrantly alive. 
Also in the western group is the Chaunsat Yogini, the only granite temple in the Khajuraho group. Dedicated to Kali, it is also unique in being quadrangular in plan. Only 35 of the original 65 cells remain and no image of Kali has survived: Not surprisingly, since this is the earliest surviving shrine of the group dated to 900 AD. Another Kali Temple (originally dedicated to Vishnu) is the Devi Jagadambe Temple.

North of it facing eastward to the rising sun, is the Chitragupta temple, dedicated to the sun-god, Surya. The image of this powerful deity in the inner sanctum is particularly imposing: 5ft high, and driving a seven-horsed chariot. The group scenes depicted are equally spectacular: royal processions, elephant- fights, hunting scenes, group dances. The lavish lifestyle of the Chandela kings and their court is here in all its pomp and glory.

Similar in plan to the Kandariya Mahadev is the Vishwanath Temple. Lions flank the northern steps and elephants the southern, leading up to the temple. Within, there is an impressive three headed image of Brahma. The exteriors are profusely carved. Facing the shrine is a Nandi Temple with a massive, 6 ft high Nandi bull. Since the first few Chandela rulers were devotees of Vishnu, there are some important Vaishnavite temples in the Khajuraho group, the finest of which is the Lakshmana Temple. The lintel over the entrance shows the trinity of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva, with Lakshmi, Vishnu’s consort. The sanctum is richly carved and has a three-headed idol of Vishnu’s incarnations, Narsimha and Varaha. The boar incarnation also appears in another Vaishnavite shrine, the Varaha Temple. The statue here is a mammoth 9 ft high one, its surface covered with figures from the Hindu Pantheon. The Khajuraho temples are no longer living places of worship, with a few exceptions. The Matangeswara Temple for example is still a place of worship. Dedicated to Shiva it has an 8 ft high lingam. South of this temple is the open air Archaeological Museum, which has a beautiful displayed collection of statues and friezes collected from the area: the remains of long vanished temples.

The Eastern Group 

Hindu and Jain temples make up the Eastern Group, which lies close to the Khajuraho village. The largest Jain temple, Parswanath, is in this group. Exquisite in detail, the sculptures on the northern outer wall make this temple perhaps the finest in the group. The themes of these carvings are the timeless ones of every day, mortal activity. A woman sits bent pensively on a letter; a lovely young girl removes a thorn from her foot, the master craftsmen of Khajuraho display here their deep understanding of the trifles that make up a human life. Within, the sanctum has a throne, which faces a bull : emblem of the first tirthankara, Adinath. The actual image of Parswanath from which the temple derives its name was installed as recently as 1860. The other Jain temple in this group is the Ghantai Temple. Though almost in ruins now, it still bears evidence of its original splendour. Particularly, arresting is the frieze which depicts, in graphic detail, the 16 dreams of Mahavira’s mother and a multi-armed Jain goddess riding on a winged Garuda. North of Parswanatha is the more modestly sized Adinatha Temple. The three Hindu temples in the Eastern Group are the Brahma, Vamana and Javari Temples. A double row of apsaras, celestial nymphs, adorn the outer walls of the Vamana temple. A variety of sensuous attitudes: languid, provocative, mischievously inviting, give credibility to the theory that Khajuraho’s erotica were meant to test the devotees who came to worship their gods at the temples.

The Southern Group 


5 km from the Khajuraho village, lies the Southern Group of temples. The fine Chaturbhuj Temple in this group has a massive intricately carved image of Vishnu in the sanctum. Duladeo Temple, another of the southern group, is a little away from the road to the Jain group of temples. Though remains of temples belonging to the Khajuraho group have been discovered at Jatkari, 3 km away and even at Maribag in Rewa, it is at the 3 main groups that the imperishable glory of Khajuraho, the sensuous celebration of life, the aspiration towards the infinite, remains.

Nearby Attractions in Khajuraho: From Khajuraho you can make excursion to places like:

Panna National Park 

The so called Gharial Haven is situated just 25 kms away from Khajuraho. Entry fee: Rs 25. Guide Charge: Rs 75. Entry fee of the car: Rs 50.

Visitor’s timings: 9 a.m- 3 p.m.

Pandav Falls 

Located on Panna Road, these falls are around 34 km away from Khajuraho. They make an excellent scenic spot for the tourists.

Raneh Falls

Located at around 20 km away from Khajuraho. Like Pandav falls even these make a beautiful picnic spot on River Ken.

Things to do at Khajuraho: This fascinating Son-et-Lumiere spectacle evokes the life and times of the great Chandela Kings and traces the story of the unique temples from the 10th Century to the present day. Mounted in the complex of the Western Group of temples, the 50-minute show runs in Hindi and in English every evening. Amitabh Bachchan, the Indian super star, narrates the story of Khajuraho in his mesmerizing voice.

Timings of Sound & Light Show at Western group of temples: English: 06:30 pm to 07:25 pm. Hindi: 07:40 pm to 08:35 pm.

Best time to visit Khajuraho: The best time to visit Khajuraho is during the months of October to March.

How to go ?

By Air

Khajuraho is connected to Delhi & Agra with regular flights.

By Bus

Khajuraho is connected by regular bus services with Mahoba, Harpalpur, Satna, Jhansi, Gwalior, Agra, Jabalpur & Bhopal

By Rail

Khajuraho has its own rail head. Apart from that, the other nearest railheads are Mahoba (64 km) and Harpalpur (94 km). Jhansi (175 km) and Satna (117 km) are convenient railheads for visitors from Delhi, Mumbai, Calcutta, Chennai, Agra & Varanasi.

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Where to stay ?

You can stay at both government guest houses and private hotels at Khajuraho. The government guest houses include:

Hotel Jhankar (MPSTDC) :+91 07686- 274063, 274194
Hotel Payal (MPSTDC) : +9107686- 274064, 274076
Tourist Village (MPSTDC) : +9107686- 274062

There are also some private hotels.

Hotel Surya: +91 07686-274145, 274143, 274144
Hotel Siddharta: +91 07686-274627
Gupta Palace and Pramod Palace: +91-9830152169

Note : Phone numbers given above are according to the information available with us. If you find any contact number/s given above is/are incorrect or not in use, please let us know.
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Jaisalmer

Jaisalmer, Rajasthan – The Golden City

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Jaisalmer “the land of the golden fort” lies in the heart of the Thar Desert. The name Jaisalmer evokes utter magic and vibrancy of the desert. It’s straight out of an Arabian Nights fable. Bhati Rajput ruler Rawal Jaisal, after whom the city finds its name, founded Jaisalmer in 1156 AD. During his rule this very fort was constructed.  Crowning the Trikut Parvat this fort is made up of yellowish sandstone. It consists of Jain Mandirs and Havelis. Even today the localites have their residence inside the fort. The fort has four entrances namely Akshay Pole, Suraj Pole, Ganesh Pole, Hawa Pole. The City Palace is also located inside the Fort. The intricate designs of the palace with unique Jharokhas really cast a magic spell on you.

Ages have gone by and the monuments of Jaisalmer have withstood the buffeting winds of the desert all through. Jaisalmer is a paragon of beautiful culture and harsh climatic conditions; these together leave a lasting impression on the visitors. The old city was completely encircled by a wall but much of it has crumbled sadly for want of building material in recent years. The massive golden fort, which is the essence of Jaisalmer, is entered through First Gate; is a burrow of narrow streets with JainTemples and old palaces. The main market, the Sadar Bazar is right below the hill. The bank, offices and several shops are also located near the Amar Sagar Gate to the west.

Places to see in Jaisalmer: The prime attraction of Jaisalmer is the Jaisalmer Fort also known as the Golden Quila. The setting sun in its most colourful shades gives it a fairy tale appearance. The place is also frequented with numerous other sight seeing locations.

Government Museum

Established by the Department of Archeology and Museum. It is another prime attraction for the visitors to Jaisalmer. The trophy of the state bird Godawan – the great Indian bustard, is the most eye catching spot. Traditional house-hold items, rock-cut crockery and jewellery recreate the atmosphere of a by-gone era. A look at the statues of 7th-9th century AD creates a scenario of rich cultural heritage of the time.

Deewan Nathmal Ji Ki Haveli

Two architect brothers built it in the 19th century. Interestingly, while one concentrated on the right, the other concentrated on the left and the result is a symphony epitomizing the side-by-side symmetry during construction. Paintings in miniature style monopolize the walls in the interior. Mighty tuskers carved out of yellow sandstone stand guard to the haveli.
It is a private property.

Deewan Salim Singh Ki Haveli

This haveli is actually worth seeing from outside only. It was built in the first half of the 18th century and a part of it is still occupied. Salim Singh was the prime minister of Jaisalmer a princely state in 19th century AD. The mansion has a beautifully arched roof with superb carved brackets in the form of peacocks. It is just below the hill near the fort. It is said that once it had two additional wooden storeys in an attempt to make it as high as the Maharaja’s palace, but the Maharaja had the upper storey demolished.

Patwon-Ki-Haveli 

A group of apartments, this is one of the largest and most elaborate of Havelis in Jaisalmer and stands in a narrow lane. It is five storeys high and is extensively carved. A part of this beautiful building is owned by the Department of Archaeology and Museum. There are remnants of some paintings on the walls inside as well as some mirror work. This has been the star attraction of Jaisalmer.

Mandir Palace (Badal Mahal)

The delicate pagoda like Tazia Tower rises from Badal Mahal (CloudPalace). Rising in its five-tiered splendour, with each storey graced by a delicately carved balcony, the tower is of historical significance. Muslim craftsmen built it in the shape of a Tazia (A float taken in procession Muharram) as symbol of their religion in the town for royal patrons. Half portion of this palace is converted into a heritage hotel named MandirPalace and another portion of the palace as Badal Vilas, the residence of the ex-ruler’s family.

Desert National Park

The Desert National Park is an excellent example of the eco-system of the Thar Desert and its rich fauna. The Sudashri forest post is the most ideal place for observing wildlife in the Desert National Park. Its inhabitants include the blackbuck, chinkara, wolf, Indian fox, desert fox, hare and desert cat. Flights of sand-grouse start coming to waterholes from sunrise onwards. One can also hear the morning call of the grey partridge. Blue tailed and green bee-eaters, common and bush quail and Indian rollers are birds, which are commonly found around waterholes. The park is also home to the great Indian bustard – the state bird of Rajasthan.

To visit the Desert National Park enclosure at Sudhasari, prior permission is required from the Desert National Park office and office of the District Magistrate, Jaisalmer. Contact No. +91-02992-252489.

Akal Wood Fossil Park

Just 17 Km from Jaisalmer on Barmer Road are fossilized wood of 180 millions years old forest.

Gadsisar Lake

This is a rain water conservation lake built by Maharawal Gadsi in 14th century. It was once the main source of drinking water for the entire town of Jaisalmer. Now a tourist spot, there are many small temples and shrines around it. A wide variety of water birds can be seen here especially in winter. This is the most popular point to take photographs of Jaisalmer fort early in the morning when the fort looks golden with the first rays of the Sun.

The beautiful gateway known as Tillon ki prol, which arches across the road down to the lake was built by a royal courtesan named Tillon at the end of 19th century. An idol of Lord Vishnu was installed in the year 1908 AD on the gate by a courtesan and declared Krishna Temple to save it from demolition by the then Maharawal.

Nearby Attractions from Jaisalmer: From Jaisalmir you can make a trip to the places like

Pokran

It is located at the junction of Jodhpur, Jaisalmer and Bikaner Road. It is en route to Jaisalmer and is also a fort town though the fort is not of the same dimensions as those of Jaisalmer or Jodhpur. Pokran came into limelight in the wake of India’s first underground nuclear explosion. Pokran is also renowned for its furniture and crafts for interior decoration. The fort is located about one and a half kilometres from the bus stand and has a miscellaneous collection of weaponry, brocade clothes and various games of dice and dominoes on display. FortPokran also offers accommodation with a rugged heritage appeal.

Barmer

Barmer is a desert town just 153 kms from Jaisalmer and has a fortress to boast off. This place is primarily famous for its woodcarving, furniture, items of interior decoration, carpets, block printing and embroidered items. The centre for embroidery is the Sadar Bazaar and woodcarvings are found along the Station Road. It has a RTDC Hotel and for private hotels too.

Luderwa

16 kms. Northwest from Jaisalmer, Luderwa is the old capital of Jaisalmer. Now a silent city, the only witness to its former splendour are the Jain temple, toran (ornate arch) and artificial divine tree (Kalptaru). Ruins of the deserted capital and the remains of an apartment of Princess Moomal still recall the famous love legend of Moomal-Mahendra.

Sam Sand Dunes and Camel Ride

Some 45 kms towards the west of the Jaisalmer city are located the barren yet beautiful shifting sand dunes adjoining the village Sam. Here one can have a ride on camel – the ship of desert in the desert sea. Beautiful folk dancers enrich the visitor’s experience with traditional flavour of joy. Sam Dhani, a typical accommodation in the shape of fortress provides the visitors with warm welcome, board and lodging. Herds of camel and cows are attractions on the way to Sam. There is regular bus service that runs from Jaisalmer to Sam village.

Khuri Village & Sand Dunes

Khuri is a village 45 km south west of Jaisalmer. It is a delightfully peaceful place with mud and straw decorated houses. One kilometre away from the village, patches of sand dunes are additional attractions for the tourists. There is regular bus service that runs from Jaisalmer to Khuri village. Villagers in their rural world can be seen on the way to Khuri.

Things to do at Jaisalmer: Explore the immense desert area of Jaisalmir. Apart from sightseeing if you visit Jaisalmer during the month of February you will enjoy the flavour of the real Rajasthan by being a part of the Desert festival of Jaisalmer. Once a year in winter and in the middle of the continually rising and falling stark yellow sands of the great Thar Desert, the empty sands around Jaisalmer come alive with the brilliant colour, music and laughter of the Desert Festival.

Best time to visit Jaisalmer: The ideal time to visit Jaisalmer is from October to the month of March, although the city remains bustling with tourists through out the year. If you are here not for mere fun but to try for adventures then Jaisalmer is worth visiting round the year.

How to go ?

By Air

Though Jaisalmer is not directly connected to Airways as such, Jodhpur airport is 300 Km away. Jodhpur is connected to all the major metros of India by government owned as well as private airlines. From Jodhpur you can hire Cabs or take a train journey according to your wish and preference. 

By Rail

Jaisalmer is connected to major cities of India through broad gauge as well as meter gauge railway tracks. Direct trains from Jaisalmer are available to Jodhpur as well as Delhi. Jaisalmer is connected through both ‘Broad gauge’ as well as ‘Meter gauge’ tracks.

By Road

Jaisalmer has good road connectivity with various cities of Rajasthan and Gujarat. Several state transport and private buses ply on the routes between these cities. 

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Where to stay ?

Jaisalmer is loaded with hotels suitable to all budgets. Some options are:

Hotel Moomol (RTDC) : +91- 02992- 252 392
Hotel Golden City: +91- 02992- 251664, 254565 Website: www.hotelgoldencity.com
Hotel Samdhani (RTDC): +91-02992-2212 8993
Hotel Priya: +91-
02992 – 252755, 250577 Website: www.priyahotels.com 
Payal Safari Camp:
+91.9982634632, 9928263649 Website: www.payalsafaricamp.com

Note : Phone numbers given above are according to the information available with us. If you find any contact number/s given above is/are incorrect or not in use, please let us know.
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Barmer

Barmer, Rajasthan – The land of rich architectural grandeur

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Barmer is a centre of folk architecture and handicrafts. Located at a distance of 153 km from Jaisalmer, Barmer was previously known as Mallinath. The name of Barmer became famous after 18th century with the frequent use by the British. The place is famous for the wood carving, carpet making, embroidery and block printing. Barmer is beautiful and livelihood place and an attractive tourist destination.

Places to see in Barmer: Being the seat of architecture and handicrafts the place has some exclusive tourist spots.

Barmer Fort

The tourist attractions in Barmer are the Barmer Fort. Actually the Barmer town sits atop a rocky hill, where one can find the ruins of the old Barmer Fort scattered all over.

Balark Temple

The Balark Temple, dedicated to Balark (the Sun God) and the ancient ruins of Juna Barmer are other interesting tourist attractions in Barmer.There are three Jain temples, an inscription of 1295 AD and a massive pillar in the hall of the largest temple of Maharaja Kula Sri Samanta Sinha Deva, a ruler of Barmer, which are worth visiting.

Kiradu

Just 35 km from Barmer is a group of five temples in Solanki architectural style at village Kiradu.Once the capital of Punwars, Kiradu was previously named as Kiratkoop, that is revealed by the inscription of the 1161 AD. The ruins of five ancient temples-one dedicated to Lord Vishnu and other four dedicated to Lord Shiva are of major interest to archaeologists and art lovers, alike. The SomeshwaraTemple with a multi-tier spire is the most impressive.

Nearby attractions from Barmer: From Barmer you can make excursions to places like:

Khed

A historical town has an old Vishnu Temple of Ranchhriji, bounded by a crumbling wall, and an image of Garuda (the eagle) at the gate attends the complex. Other temple attractions of Khed include Brahma, Bhairav, Mahadev and a Jain temple.

Jasol

Once a principal state of Mallani, the ancient ancient village of Jasol has a Jain temple and a Hindu temple, both of which are worth visiting. Meva Nagar on the slope of a hill called Nagar-Ki-Bhakarian has three Jain temples, the biggest of these is the one dedicated to Nakoda Parsvanath.

Things to do at Barmer: Barmer is the shopper’s paradise. This place is famous for the vibrantly coloured embroideries with excellent mirror work. Also famous are beautifully embroidered fabrics and pouches often patterned with tiny mirrors. Traditional rugs, blankets, shawls, carpets, “Pattius” Dari in typical Barmer colours and weave are speciality of the district. The shopping spots include the tiny shops along the narrow lanes of the colourful and lively Sadar Bazar. Don’t forget to bag this antique items as these products are worth a keeping. Various fairs like Tilwara Cattle Fair (March – April), Nakoda Parasvanath (December – January), Veeratara Mela, Khed Fair (August – September), Mallinath Fair taking place in Barmer also a tourist attraction.

Best time to visit Barmer: The best season to visit Barmer is the winter season. The temperature remains comfortable and is apt for visiting the monuments and other places of interest in Barmer.

How to go ?

By Air:

The nearest Domestic Airport is Jodhpur Airport, roughly three and half hour drive from Barmer. The nearest International Airport is Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International Airport, Ahmedabad, roughly 375 Kms from Barmer. The Airport is well connected with major cities like Delhi, Mumbai and Pune and Ahmedabad and is also connected with Bangalore, Hyderabad, Madras and Jaipur, Mumbai, Delhi, and Pune.

By Road

Barmer is 68 Kms from Sindari, 87 Kms from Tilwara, 159 Kms from Jaisalmer, 207 Kms from Jodhpur, 239 Kms from Palanpur, 355 Kms from Udaipur, and is connected through Rajasthan State Road Transport Corporation (RSRTC) and some private travel services.

By Train

Barmer has its own Railway Station named as Barmer Railway Station which is connected by numerator conjecture rail to the major city of the state and other cities like Jalore, Jaipur, Agra, Munawa in Pakistan, Delhi, Kalka, Haridwar and Guwahati through Ghy Bme Bkn Express, Dli Jsm Express, Hw Bme Link Express and Klk Bme Express.

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Where to stay ?

At Barmer there are various accommodation options suitable to budget. Some are:

Hotel Khartal (RTDC): +91-02982-6450-7178
Hotel Krishna: +91-09783305054 Website: www.hotelkrishnabarmer.com
Hotel New KK & Restaurant: +91-02982-221087/221088 Website: www.newkkhotel.com

Note : Phone numbers given above are according to the information available with us. If you find any contact number/s given above is/are incorrect or not in use, please let us know.
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Vaishali

Vaishali, Bihar – An archaeological place with large number of visiting destinations

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Today a small village surrounded by banana and mango groves and with extensive rice fields, Vaishali was once a famous historical place. The excavations made in the area have brought forth an impressive historical past. The epic Ramayana tells the story of the Vaishaliheroic King Vishal who ruled here. It is believed by the historians that one of the world’s first democratic republics with an elected assembly of representatives flourished here in the 6th century B.C. in the time of the Vajjis and the Lichchavis. Pataliputra, the capital of the Mauryas and the Guptas, became very powerful politically to exert its influence over the Gangetic plain. At that time Vaishali was the center for trade and industry.

Lord Buddha visited Vaishali frequently and at Kolhua, close by, and preached his last sermon. This occasion, was celebrated by Emperor Ashoka, in the third century B.C. erecting one of his famous lion pillars here.

VaishaliA hundred years after the Mahaparinirvana of the Buddha – Vaishali hosted the second great Buddhist council. Two stupas were erected to commemorate this event. Jainism, too, has its origins in Vaishali, for in 527 B.C., Lord Mahavir was born on the outskirts of the city, and lived in Vaishali till he was 22. Vaishali is then twice blessed and remains an important pilgrim center for both Buddhists and Jains, attracting also historians foraging for the past.

Places to see at Vaishali: This is an archaeological place with large number of visiting destinations.

Buddhist Monastery 

At the outskirts of Vaishali stood the grand double storied Buddhist monastery. Buddha often discoursed here. It is here where Lord Buddha announced his approaching Nirvana and preached his last sermon.

Bawan Pokhar Temple

An old temple built in the Pala period stands on the northern bank of Bawan Pokhar and enshrines beautiful images of several Hindu gods.

Jain Temple

Behind the Bawan Pokhar temple is this Jain temple that is famous for its image of the Trithankar.

Lotus Tank

Just a bit far from these temples is the Lotus Tank. It used to be a picnic spot of the Lichchhavis.

Ashokan Pillar

Emperor Ashoka built the Lion Pillar at Kolhua. It is made of a highly polished single piece of red sandstone, surmounted by a bell shaped capital, 18.3 m high. A life-size figure of a lion is placed on top of the pillar. There is a small tank here known as Ramkund. This pillar beside a brick stupa at Kolhua commemorates Buddha’s last sermon.

Buddha Stupa-I

The exterior of this stupa which is now in a dilapidated condition has a plain surface. One eighth of the sacred ashes of the lord Buddha were enshrined here in a stone casket.

Buddha Stupa-II

Excavation at this site in 1958 led to the discovery of another casket containing the ashes of the Lord Buddha.

The Lichchhavis came a long way to bid him farewell on his way to Kushinagara and finally, they were stopped by a river created by Buddha. He once again paused to have a last of his much loved city. As a piety for Vaishali, he had already given his alms bowl which remained here for long time.

Abhiskek Pushkarini (Coronation tank)

It contains water that was believed to be sacred in the old days. All of Vaishali’s elected representative were anointed here before their swearing in. The Lichchavi stupa was located near here.  The stone caskets of the sacred ashes of Lord Buddha were enshrined here in Vaishali.

Kundalpur

It is believed to be the birth place of Lord Mahavira. According to the local people Jain Tirthankar, Lord Mahavira was born over 2550 years ago. He is said to have spent the first 22 years of his life here.

Raja Vishal ka Garh

A huge mound with a circumference about one kilometer and walls nearly 2 m high with a 43 m wide moat around them, is said to be the ancient parliament house. Over seven thousand representatives of the federal assembly gathered here to legislate and discuss the problems of the day.

Shanti Stupa

On the south bank of the coronation tank, built by Buddha Vihar Society.

Things to do at Vaishali: Vaishali mahotsava is held to celebrate the birth anniversary of the Jain Tirthankar, Lord Mahavira on the full moon day of the month of “Vaisakh” (mid-April). This is worth enjoying. If you visit during the summer don’t miss this celebration.

You can also make a visit at several villages around Vaishali that make delightful home made toys. Sikki Work, the humble blade of grass is hand-woven into delightful baskets and mats. Lac bangles, these handmade lac bangles come from nearby city Muzaffarpur.

Nearby attractions at Vaishali:

Sonepur fair: Sonepur just 35 km is situated on the confluence of river Ganga and Gandak, hosts perhaps Asia’s biggest animal fair, from Kartik full moon day (Oct-Nov). The Fair lasts for almost a fortnight. Millions of visitors come to this typical fair.

Best time to visit Vaishali: The ideal season to visit Vaishali is during winter. The temperature remains mild and soothing during winter. The summer is however scorching. The temperature rises around 45°C. So it is better to avoid that time.

How to go ?

There are three ways to reach Vaishali:

Air: The nearest airport is Patna (70 Km).

Rail: Hajipur on the north eastern railway station (35 Km) from Muzaffarpur Railway station (40 Km)

Road: Vaishali is well connected by road to Patna (56 Km), Muzaffarpur (36 Km) and Hazipur (35 Km).

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Where to stay ?

There is a government Tourist Bungalow at Vaishali. For booking details you may contact: +91-0622-285425.

Note : Phone numbers given above are according to the information available with us. If you find any contact number/s given above is/are incorrect or not in use, please let us know.

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gour

Gour, North Bengal – If you love history then the city of Gour is your ideal holiday destination

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If you love history, then the city of Gour, is your ideal holiday destination. This place fully which is fully soaked in history is located near the west bank of River Ganges. It is around 40 km. downstream from Rajmahal, in the district of Malda of West Bengal. The location is marked with a number of archaeological sites and historical places, and admired with splendid architectures. Though most of the architectural splendours are dilapidated, yet the city of Gour holds some aura, which attracts tourists from far and near.

Places to see at Gour: This tourist spot Gour is a witness to some age-old architectural treasures, which enhance the historical value of the site. Gour is famous for housing an ancient fort on the bank of the River Bhagirathi, where you can only view the ruins of the fort. However, the sight of the main entrance of the fort, the Dakhil Darwaza, admired with five-storied towers built in its four corners is truly amazing. It was built with red bricks, decorated with motifs of rosettes, suns, lamps etc. The south eastern corner of the fort is adorned with the Biasgazi wall, boasting a towering height of 22 yards. You will also admire the extensive Lukochuri Darwaza or the Royal Eastern Gate, built in Mughal style in the year 1655 by Shah Shuja. A domed squared building, known as Kadam Rasul, housing the footprint of The Prophet is also found within the fort area.

Make a visit to the Tantipara Mosque, located near the fort. The mosque features five entrances and is highly decorated with red coloured bricks. Another site of tourist interest is Lattan, gracefully structured with colourful bands of green, blue, white and yellow glazed tiles. You will also be attracted to the beautifully built Firuz Minar, symbolizing the victory of Firuz Shah. The Bada Sona Masjid admired with 44 domes also offers a visual treat. You can spot the Madan Mohan Jiu Mandir in Ramkeli, located nearby the Bada Sona Masjid, frequently visited by the devotees of Sri Chaitanya.

Nearby attractions around Gour: You can highly organize a tour to the old city of Malda, located at the confluence of two rivers. Visit the Mala town located 4 km. away from the Old Malda. The major attractions of the Old Malda city are the Nimasari Tower and The Jami Masjid. The region also features some marshy tracts called bhils, which attracts wild fowl like the Siberian goose.

Things to do at Gour: Explore the city of Gour admired with a number of significant historical places and archaeological sites. You can also enjoy a trail along the forest, encircling the entire region.

Best time to visit Gour: You can visit Gour any time of the year.

How to go ?

Gour is directly accessible from Malda by both roadway and railways. Moreover, direct flights are also available from Kolkata to Malda.

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Where to stay ?

Though the site features some hotels, you can find out some decent accommodation and dining facilities offered by the guest houses and hotels located in Malda. The state tourism department also runs a guest house in Malda. For booking details you may contact:
WBTDC, Tourist Centre ,
BBD Bug (East), Kolkata – 700001
Phone Number – (033)-2219591, 5178
You can also stay at the
Circuit House. Write/Fax to District Magistrate,Malda at (03512)-253092 , (03512)-253049.
Or  Call at: (03512)-252330
For further details you may visit the link: www.wbtourism.gov.in

There are also many private hotels. Some options are:
Hotel Continental
(03512)-220388
Hotel Meghdoot
(03512)-266216

Note : Phone numbers given above are according to the information available with us. If you find any contact number/s given above is/are incorrect or not in use, please let us know.

 

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Burhanpur

Burhanpur, Madhya Pradesh – The city beholding the glorious era of medieval history

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Burhanpur in Madhya Pradesh brings forth the forgotten glory of the medieval Indian Architecture. The city has rich cultural history. It was founded in 1400 AD by the Faruqi King, Nasir Khan, on the northwestern banks of the Tapti. For the next two centuries the Faruqis ruled Burhanpur. It was in the year 1600 that the Mughal Emperor Akbar captured Burhanpur. and for a century thereafter, until Aurangzeb’s death in 1707, it remained integral to Mughal ambitions in the Deccan. Burhanpur remains a city of great architectural importance, but its fame rests largely as a piligrimage for Bohra Muslims as well as for Sikhs. Today the place is well known for its Isabgol plant.

Places to see at Burhanpur: Standing on the banks of river Tapti, Burhanpur contains numerous sites of historical importance.

Jama Masjid

Located at the very centre of town in Gandhi Chowk, was begun by the Faruqi ruler, Adil Shah, and completed by Emperor Akbar. Its symmetrical arches and sparsely decorated pillars create a sense of severe beauty, while the two 36 m high minars tower over the mosque’s arched compound.

Badshahi Qila

A well fortified fort having many structures added to it, the fort houses the Diwan-e-Khas and Diwan-e-aam maintained by the Archaeological Survey of India are set beautifully manicured gardens which come alive in the evenings with families and young couples.

Zenana Hammam

The most striking structure in the Badshahi Qila is the Zenana Hammam. Built in a combination of Mughal and Persian styles, the bath were once decorated with beautiful frescoes on the ceiling, some of which still survive. Visitors can still clearly see an image of what the local guides claim is an early drawing of the Taj Mahal.

Kundi Bhandara

A rare water system (collection and distribution of water) was formed in the rule of Abdul Raheem Khankhana in 1615 A.D. such systems were prevalent in Uran and Iraq. The techniques of these system were taken from these countries, during that period eight water systems were built to supply pure water to the citizens.

Dargah –e –Hakimi

About 3 km from Gadhi Chowk in Burhanpur is the Dargah-e-hakimi, a most sacred pilgrimage for Dawoodi Bohra Muslims. It is the mazar of Syedi Abdulqadir Hakimuddin. Hakimuddin came to Burhanpur in 1729 to spread the word of the Prophet. The entire complex is so well kept that locals refer to it as chhota Amreeka or “little America”.

Nearby attractions at Burhanpur: From Burhanpur you can easily make excursions to places like:

Mahal Gulara

Beautifully located on the banks of the Badi Utaoli river is Mahal Gulara, a Mughal pleasure retreat 21 Kms from Burhanpur on Amaravati Road when, as a prince, Shahjahan arrived to govern Burhanpur, he is said to have fallen in love with a beautiful and talented singer named Gulara. Shah Jahan would spend many moonlit night in this palace as she sang for him. The prince married the singer and named the nearby village after her.

Asirgarh Fort

Perched high on the Satpura range, just under 25 km north of Burhanpur is Asirgarh, one of the most magnificent forts of India, rivaling even the great Golconda in impregnability. Initially ruled local chieftain, Asa Aheer, the fort was captured by the Faruqis in 1400.It soon became the region’s most coveted fortification mainly for its strategic location. Any ruler with ambitions on the Decca had to first control Asirgarh. Indeed, Asirgarh was known as the Dakkhan Ka Darwaza or Gateway to the Deccan.

Ichhadevi Temple

The famous temple of lchhadevi is located 23 km from Burhanpur. Believed to answer any prayer made to her, the Goddess in much revered by the locals. Though the present structure is fairly recent, the original site is said to be over 450 years old.

Things to do at Burhanpur: Explore the historical places of Burhanpur.

How to go ?

By Air:

The nearest airport is Devi Ahilya Bai International Airport at Indore (180km).

By Bus:

Regular bus services connect Burhanpur with Indore, Khargone, Jalgaon, Khandwa Omkareshwar, Maheshwar, Ujjain, Dhar and Bhopal .

By Train:

Burhanpur has its own railway station, 8 km from Gandhi Chowk that is well connected by all major rail routes of the country.

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Where to stay ?

The accommodation facilities at Burhanpur are adequate. Some options are:

Hotel Ambar and Holiday Resort: 094240 – 24949, (07325) 251197, 255154
Hotel Panchvati: 
+(91)-7325-255633, +(91)-9893857555
Hotel Ambika Residency: +91-7325 242-238, 9752689880

Note : Phone numbers given above are according to the information available with us. If you find any contact number/s given above is/are incorrect or not in use, please let us know.

 

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Bhimbetka

Bhimbetka, Madhya Pradesh – Here you will find the earliest traces of human life on the Indian subcontinent

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An archaeological site of the Paleolithic Bhimbetka rock shelters is where you will find the earliest traces of human life on the Indian subcontinent. Painted mainly in red and white with the occasional touch of green and yellow, the themes are taken from the every day events of aeons ago. The scenes usually depict hunting, dancing, music, horse and elephant riders, animals fighting, honey collection, decoration of bodies, disguises, masking and household scenes. The animals such as bisons, tigers, lions, wild boars, elephants, antelopes, dogs, lizards, crocodiles, etc. have been abundantly depicted in some caves. Popular religious and ritual symbols also occur frequently.

It is said that the name Bhimbetka is named after Bhima, a hero-deity of the epic Mahabharata. The word Bhimbetka is said to have derive from Bhimbaithka, meaning “sitting place of Bhima”.

The beginning of the South Asian Stone Age is also evidently traced from here is located in the Raisen District in the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh. At least some of the shelters were inhabited by Homo erectus more than 300,000 years ago. Some of the Stone Age rock paintings found among the Bhimbetka rock shelters are approximately 30,000 years old.[2] The caves also deliver early evidence of dance. They were declared a World Heritage Site in 2003.

Places to see at Bhimbetka: The superimposition of paintings showcase that the same canvas was used by different people at different times. The drawings and paintings can be classified under seven different periods:

Period I – Upper Paleolithic: These are linear representations, in green and dark red, of huge figures of animals such as bisons, tigers and rhinoceroses.

Period II – Mesolithic: Comparatively small in size, the stylized figures in this group show linear decoration on the body. The depiction of communal dances, birds, musical instruments, mother and child, pregnant women, men carrying dead animals, drinking and burials appear in rhythmic movement.

Period III – Chaleolithic: Similar to the paintings of Chaleolithic pottery, these drawings reveal that during the period the cave dwellers of this area had come in contact with the agricultural communities of the Malwa plains and started an exchange of their requirements with each other.

Period IV & V – Early Historic: The figures of this group have a schematic and decorative style, and are painted mainly in red, white and yellow. The association is of riders, depiction of religious symbols, tunic-like dresses and the existence of the scripts of different periods.

Period VI & VII – Medieval: These paintings are geometric, linear and more schematic, but they show degeneration and crudeness in their artistic style. The colours used by the cave dwellers, prepared combining manganese, haematite, soft red stone, wooden coal and also sometimes by animal fat and extracts of leaves is still remains intact.

Nearby attractions from Bhimbetka: While in Bhimbetka you can make a visit to Bhojpur just 20 km from the place. Here the great  Shaivite Bhojpureshwar temple was constructed by the legendary Raja Bhoj.

Another place called Hoshangabad is about 40 km away from Bhimbetka. It is a city based on the banks of river Narmada famous for the Sethani Ghat along the banks of River Narmada and the Hoshangabad Fort.

Things to do at Bhimbetka: At Bhimbetka observe the wonderful paintings painted on the same canvas in the different ages.

Best time to visit Bhimbetka: The best time to visit Bhimbetka Rock Shelters is between the months of June to March – with the monsoon rains ((June to September) arguably being the most optimal with cool temperature adding to the scenic beauty of the location.

How to go ?

By air: Bhopal (46 km from Bhimbetka ) is the nearest airport. It is connected with Mumbai, Delhi, Jabalpur, Indore and Gwalior.

By road: Bhimbetka is connected by bus with Bhopal.

By rail: Bhopal, on the Delhi-Chennai and Delhi-Mumbai mainline is the most convenient rail-head.

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Where to stay ?

There are not many hotels at Bhimbetka. It is better to stay at Hoshangabad or Bhopal Some options are:

Highway Treat: (07480)281558
Amer Greens: +91-755-40127701, 9630097156, 9630097155, 9630097157
Hotel Classic: 0755- 4276412, 2469412, 2469413.

Note : Phone numbers given above are according to the information available with us. If you find any contact number/s given above is/are incorrect or not in use, please let us know.

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Chandraketugarh

Chandraketugarh, South bengal – An archeological site located beside the Bidyadhari River

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Chandraketugarh, is an archeological site located beside the Bidyadhari River, in the district of North 24 pgs and is about 35 km north-east of Kolkata. It lies at a distance of 1 km from Berachampa on the road to Haroa. Excavation has been carried out for many years in this place and relics of several periods unearthed such as Northern Black Polished Ware (NBPW) relics, evidences belonging to the period of 400 BC to 100 BC and relics belonging to Maurya period, Gupta period, Kushanas period and late Gupta period were found.

ChandraketugarhA prayer hall extending over 45 sq km dates back to 700 to 600 BC and the Kharosti script are some of the other notable evidences. Some historians believe that Chandraketugarh and its adjoining areas is the place that was referred to as “Gangaridai” by the ancient Roman and Greek writers. The place is named after the urban civilization Chandraketugarh that flourished in this place for some six eras, under the rule of the mythical King Chandraketu. The civilization existed from the pre-Mauryan period to the Pala period.

Places to see at Chandraketugarh: The tourist attractions mainly comprises ancient ruins like the mythical ancient temple dedicated to characters like Khana and Mihir and the Chandraketugarh Fort that is built by King Chandraketu. The site housing both of these structures is called ‘Khanamihirer Dhipi.’ As per the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), the temple belonged to the period of 4th century BC to 12th century BC and was part of the flourishing urban settlement, Chandraketugarh. The temple is considered the most important archaeological structure of the region with only a flight of stairs and the walls as the remnants of the building. The ruined four-feet thick walls reveal the grandeur of the temple.

ChandraketugarhThe other things found during the excavation of this temple are Buddha stupas and images, decorative designs belonging to Pala period, Jataka stories coins, terracotta sealing and plaques and many more.

The ruins of Chandraketgarh Fort were excavated in 1956-57 and the small field situated in front of it provides an ideal spot to the tourists. Cast copper coins, silver coins, coins of Gupta and Kushana period, different kinds of beads, terracotta plaques and figurines of Sunga, Maurya, Kushana and Gupta periods and various other antique pieces were found, during the excavation of this place.

Nearby attractions of Chandraketugarh: The other interesting structure nearby is the legendary incomplete mosque that was built by Pir Gorachand and his followers in Haroa. Historians believe that the mosque was built on the ruins of a Buddhist stupa, which was built some 1300 years ago, during the time of Jesus Christ. A ‘darga’ of Pir Gorachand is also situated at a distance of Haroa bus stand. You can also visit the Lal Masjid by availing a cycle-van from the Haroa bus stop. A visit to the BidyadhariBridge can be interesting for those wanting to avail a grand view of the river. While returning, you can also visit the erstwhile home of the legendary Bengali actor Chobi Biswas at Chandraketugarh.

Things to do at Chandraketugarh: You can explore the various archaeological structures and the history and legends associated with them.

Best time to visit Chandraketugarh: Any time of the year but try to avoid the rainy season. Also, Basanti Puja is held with much fervor at Chandraketugarh.

How to go ?

Chandraketugarh is situated at a distance of about 50 km from Kolkata and can be reached by road, via Barasat. The journey takes around 2 hours. From Ultadanga and Espalanade, regular buses are available to Barachampa. From there, you can easily reach Chandraketugarh.

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Where to stay ?

There are no such lodging facilities here.  Chandraketugarh is appropriate for day trips from Kolkata.

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