CHAND BAOLI,India's Greatest history still is on --THE KAILASH TEMPLE +ELEPHANT SCULPTURE AT Ellora--KOLKATA HERITAGE TOUR on foot/walk -- KARNATAKA TOURISM ,truly one state with many worlds -- Not many have heard of Burhanpur And fewer still have gone there.But u find out that it's a place well worth one,maybe even two,visits--
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THE HOLE TRUTH
Chand Baoli in Rajasthan is a relic from our glorious past ,well worth a leisurely visit
Long before the world ever heard of global warming ,water was already an essential commodity that was scarce in certain parts.It was fought for and cherished.It inspired poetry and assured trade.To top it all,it also ended up inspiring some great architecture.One stunning example is tucked away in a small village called Abhaneri in Rajasthan.
ON THE BAOLI TRAIL
Chand Baoli ,as the structure is called,is a stepped well,probably the finest water-linked monument in India,though some baolis in Gujarat might want to dispute that claim.Stepping into this ASI-managed complex,one feels awed.While the base pit of the well is like any other,it is the steps that lead up to the pit that make it unique.Built on a square plan,the stepped well comprises an incredible 3,500-plus symmetrically laid out steps going all the way down to the pit.The steps surround the well on three sides while the fourth side has a set of pavilions built one atop another.The overall visual effect is that of a cone-shaped Egytian pyramid,turned upside down !
This amazing structure is believed to have been built during the 8th-9th centuries AD under the patronage of Chandra,a Nikhumba Rajput who ruled the area around what was then called Abha Nagari.The reason behind the building of such an elaborate baoli could also have served as a place where religious rituals were also conducted.What supports this theory is the presence of two carved niches containingrock-cut images of Goddess Durga and Lord Ganesha.Placed right at the bottom of the side that has the pavilions ,these niches occupy a central place within the well.
Whatever the purpose it served,the baoli is gradullay becoming a magnet for those visitors who care for the unusual and are bored with the regular tourist hubs of the golden triangle of Delhi,Jaipur and Agra.
The location of the village also generates interest - it's isolated and the countryside is strewn with green fields.Most people coming here after a long drive usually expect a broken-down structure,and end up gaping drop-jawed at what they get to see.That is the magic of Abhaneri.The nameless workmen who built it are long gone,the patron kings have been dispersed and even Abha Nagari is now humble Abhaneri,but the baoli retains its full glory.Perhaps that was its purpose after all.
FACT FILE -
Getting there : Abhaneri lies in Rajasthan's Dausa district.It's easily accessible from Jaipur via NH 11.From Jaipur,you need to drive to Dausa(55kms)and continue on the highway till the Sikandra crossing (another 25 km).Turn off the highway at that point - Abhaneri is just 8 km away.
Staying there :The best option is to take in Abhaneri as a day trip from Jaipur.In case u want to take the heritage hotel route,the nearby town of Bhandarej is a good option.
Also Visit :Harshat Mata Temple ,which dates back to the same period as Chand Baoli,lies just opposite it.Bhandarej and Bhangarh,both in the same region,also hold interesting heritage sites in the form of another baoli and an abandoned town.
TEMPLE OF DOOM
The Kailash Temple at Ellora + Elephant Sculpture at Ellora
-are absolutely mind-blowing.U will be mesmerised by the sheer size of Cave no.16.Carved out of one huge rock-hill,the artistic and engineering aspects are just stupefying.U will have the privilege of staying at Ellora Hote,a stone's throw from the caves.The 1.5 km-long hillside has 34 caves in total,consisiting of Buddhist,Hindu and Jain temples.A great waterfall,called Sita Ki Nahani,flows by Cave no.29.It is truly magnificent.
A Walk Through History
Have you ever thought of exploring the city on foot - complete with sneakers,sunglasses and caps ?Go on a conducted ' walk ' early in the morning to acquaint yourself with the citys history.You''ll love to rediscover Kolkata !
- Start your journey on a religious note by a visit to the Bengali Buddhist temple off Bow Street and then walk through the Bow Barracks taking a sneak peak at the lives of the Anglo-Indian community.Discover why the Chinese breakfast is so hot at Tiretta Bazaar.Or why the Parsis are dwindling in number as you walk into their temples.Visit a Jain temple in Bagri Market before walking into the Portuguess Church and the Nakhoda Masjid.The walk takes around three hours and is conducted by Calcutta Walks.
HOT TIP : Check out the Chinese temple at Tiretta Bazaar which has a Dhanalakshmi idol.
- Remember granparents reminiscing about the famous departmental store,Hall and Anderson,at the corner of Park Street and Chowringhee ?Walk down memory lane as u soak in the architectural splendour of Queens Mansion,take a peak at Asiatic Society or check out the baked goodies at the Flurys factory.The walk takes around two hours and is conducted by Calcutta Walks.
HOT TIP : Goethals Library.St.Xaviers'sCollege,displays a dagger used for exorcism earlier !
- Visit the Sovabazaar rajbari and see the recently restored nat mandir.Experience the rich heritage of Kumartuli.Visit Rabindranath Tagore's house and the museum before moving to the Marble Palace.After a tiring walk,refresh yourselves at the Indian Coffee House .The walk takes around three hours and is conducted by Heritage Walk.There are separate walks of Kumartuli and Sovabazaar by Calcutta Walks.
HOT TIP : The Sovabazaar rajbari is the oldest residential house in the city.
- Dalhousie Square
Ever wondered why there are so many banks in Dalhousie ? As the capital of British India ,the planners designed Dalhousie in a way so that it would house banks and administrative headquarters in close proximity.Follow the footsteps of history,as you visit the Governor House ,St.John's Courtyard ,Town Hall,Writers' Buildings,High Court,Metcalfe Hall,GPO and Lal Dighi. Both,Heritage Walk and Calcutta Walks conduct this tour.
HOT TIP : The Governor House has been designed after Kedleston Hall,Derbyshire,UK,the estate owned by Lord Curzon's family.
Heritage Walks : firstname.lastname@example.org
Calcutta Walks : email@example.com
One state. Many worlds.
Explore your wild side in the tropical evergreen rainforests of Karnataka.Lose yourself in a fascinating world.Enter the kingdom of tigers,elephants,birds and the mahseer.Remember ,every trek finally leads into your soul.
HABITAT : Bandipur national park.Rajiv Gandhi National park.BR Hills Sanctuary.Cauvery Wildlife Sanctuary.Dandeli Wildlife Sanctuary.Gudavi Bird Sanctuary.Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary.Dubare Elephant Camp
ENCOUNTERS : Wild Trekking.Bird Watching.Elephant Safari.Open Jeep Safari.Camping
Go Bird watching at Ranganathittu
Safari into deep junglt just 20kms from Bangalore atBannerghatta National Park
Ride a giant into the jungle at Bhadra
Take a detour into nature at BR Hills
Dare to go on a true safari at Bandipur/Nagarahole National Park
Bheemeshwari/Doddamakali/Galibore Fishing Camps
Anshi National Park to see live tigers
For more in details,visit - www.karnatakatourism.org
One State .Many Worlds.
Travel thousands of years back in time as you journey through India's most awe-inspiring monuments like Hampi,Badami,Pattadakal and Belur-Halebeedu.Fasten your seat belts.
Pay homage to Bahubali at Shravanabelagola
Marvel at the splendours of the Chalukyan era at Pattadakal
Listen to a story narrated by the ruins at Hampi
Stopover to admire the mystical world at Belur-Halebeedu
Hark to the echoes of history at Gol Gumbaz,Bijapur
Splendours : Hampi.Pattadakal.Belur-Halebeedu.Bidar Fort.Mysore Palace.Badami.Chitradurga Fort.Srirangapatna.Bellary Fort.
Experience : Architecture.Statues.Paintings.Carvings.Caves.Mythology.
For more details log on to -www.karnatakatourism.org
HISTORY COMES CALLING ----
Burhanpur in Madhya Pradesh --
It's probably one of the most under-rated tourist destinations in the country,India.You should visit it if you get the chance.
Burhanpur seems just like any other small dusty town.As you begin exploring it,U find the place choc-a-bloc with monuments,most of which dated back to the Mughal era.This is not surprising,since Burhanpur was an important outpost of the Mughals ,who used it to control the Deccan region.
In fact,Shah Jahan spent a considerable time in the place as Governor of the Deccan,making his own additions to the seven-storey palace -the Shahi Qila,originally built by the Farooqui rulers on the banks of the Tapti.
Today ,the ruins of the palace provide ample proof of the opulence of those times.For instance,the main attraction of the palace is the hamam(royal bath),which was built specifically for Shah Jahan's wife,Begum Mumtaz Mahal,so that she could enjoy a luxurious bath in water scented with khus,saffron and rose petals.Even today,one of which depicts a monument which is said to have been the inspiration for the Taj Mahal.
MELTING POT OF CULTURES --
However,Burhanpur is not just about the Mughals.It's also an important pilgrimage centre for different religious sects.For instance,the Dawoodi Bohra Muslims come here to perform ziyarat at the Dargah-e-Hakimi,a beautifully maintained marble dargah complex.Another religious sect -the Kabirpanthis,also have their gaddi here.In addition,Burhanpur holds special significance for the Sikhs,since the gurdwara here houses a rare copy of the Guru Granth Sahib which carries the signature of the 10th Sikh Guru,Guru Govind Singh,in golden ink.
Although there are many other places to visit,like the Ahukhana(Royal Hunting Lodge),the tomb of Begum Shah Shuja,a Mughal royal lady and the Mahal Gul-ara,Shah Jahan's pleasure palace.One more palace which is the enigmatically named Khooni Bhandara,an ancient water supply system,that was conceived and designed by Abdul Rahim Khan-I-Khana during the reign of Jahangir.The water was ingeniously collected from ground water resources and supplied to the city using baked clay pipes.Most of this system is still in a working condition !
DID YOU KNOW ?
The Taj was originally supposed to have been built at Burhanpur and one can see the site chosen for it,that lies vacant on the Tapti river bank.Next to it is the monument where Mumtaz Mahal's body was kept after her death.Incidentally,Mumtaz died in Burhanpur while giving birth to her 14th child !
HOT TIP ---
Dr.(Major) Gupta of the Matr Sadan Hospital and also an avid coin collector as well as Hoshang Hawaldar,proprietor of Hotel Amber ,are a mine of information about Burhanpur's history
FACT FILE --
Best time to visit : Nov-March
How to go : Burhanpur lies on National Highway 3.Nearby towns are Khandwa(56kms)and Indore
(170kms).There is no direct train to Burhanpur from Kolkata but tourists can get
down at Khandwa and then drive down to Burhanpur.The nearest airport is at Indore.
Where to stay: Hotel Amber,Hotel Devashish and Hotel Pushpak are among the good options
Must see : Shahi Qila,Dargah-e-Hakimi,Khooni Bhandara,Gurdwara,Begum Shah Shuja'a tomb,
Mumtaz Mahal's Kabr,Ahukhana
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