Delhi is the capital city of India, and can be called as a major gateway to India. Delhi is one of the most important metropolis in India,as it is the city of power. It has a very good combination of both modern, as well as ancient culture. It is also known as the Headquarters of Indian politics, as most of the heads of the Indian government and other political parties, reside here, including the Prime Minister, and President of the country. In these 3000 years of its existence, there has been the origin of seven more cities ,where the traditional Indian capital is. Strategic location, mixture of modern and Indian culture, rich history, medieval market, beside the modern ones etc are the main reasons for choosing it, as the seat of power. Delhi is a city waiting to be explored.
Down the ages, the region in and around modern Delhi, saw Lalkot built in the mid-11th century; Siri established by Allauddin Khilji; Tughlakabad and Ferozabad built by the Tuglaks, followed by the city of the Lodis; and then came Shahjahanbad, the capital of the Mughals under Shah Jahan. New Delhi also reflects the legacy, the British left behind. The division between New and Old Delhi, is the distinction, between the capitals of the British and the Mughals respectively. So, wherever the visitor goes, he will invariably confront the past of the city.
How to Reach
New Delhi is well connected by rail, road and air. By air, New Delhi has two terminals, one for domestic and the other for international flights. 4.5 km apart ,the two are linked by coach services. The Indira Gandhi International Airport connects Delhi , to the world. On the domestic front, it is well connected with all state capitals and major metros all over India. By rail, Old Delhi, New Delhi and Hazrat Nizammuddin stations ,connect Delhi to all parts of the country. All these 3 stations ,are located at a distance of maximum 5 km from each other. By road, Delhi is connected by National Highways ,to all the parts of the country. It is also linked by bus services of Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) and state roadways ,of neighbouring states to all important cities and destinations in North India. Delhi is well connected by road ,with many major cities like Mumbai, Kolkata, Jaipur, Jodhpur, Shimla, Nainital, Agra, Ajmer, Gwalior etc.
Mahatma Gandhi was cremated here in 1948. This sprawling site, on the banks of the Yamuna, is marked by a brick platform, flanked by an eternall flame, surrounded by lush green lawns and imposing boundary walls of concrete.
The official residence of the President of India, it stands at the opposite end of the Rajpath, from India Gate. This palace-like building, is an interesting blend of Mughal and western architectural styles, the most obvious Indian feature being the huge copper dome. Attached is a Mughal garden which remains open to the public, only in February and early March. Prior to Independence this was the viceroy's residence.
Although a large and imposing building, Sansad Bhavan, the Indian parliament building, stands almost hidden and virtually unnoticed,at the end of Sansad Marg. A circular colonnaded structure, its relative physical insignificance in the grand scheme of New Delhi, shows how the focus of Power has shifted,from the viceroy's residence, which was given pride of place during the time of the British Raj, when New Delhi was conceived.
Lying to the east of Siri Fort, is the Bahai Temple shaped like a lotus flower. Completed in 1986, it is set amongst pools and gardens, and adherents of any Faith, are free to visit the temple and pray, or meditate silently, according to their own religion. It looks spectacular at dusk, particularly from the air, when it is floodlit, but is rather disappointing close up. The temple lies just inside the Outer Ring Road, 12 km southeast of the city centre.
The red sandstone walls of Lal Qila, the Red Fort, extends for 2 km, and vary in height from 18ms on the riverside, to 33ms on the city side. Started by Shah Jahan in 1638, the construction of the massive fort was completed in 1648. But he was never able, to move his capital from Agra to this new city of Shahjahanabad in Delhi, for he was imprisoned in Agra Fort by his son Aurangzeb. Dating from the very peak of Mughal power, the Mughal reign from Delhi, was a short one. However Aurangzeb was the first and last great Mughal emperor to rule from here.
This main street of Old Delhi, is the colourful shopping bazaar, known as Chandni Chowk. A very sharp contrast to the open, spacious streets of New Delhi. At its eastern end is a Digambara Jain Gurdwara (temple), with a small marble courtyard, surrounded by a colonnade. There is an interesting bird hospital here, run by the Jains.
The largest in India, and the final architectural extravagance of Shah Jahan; Jama Masjid is the great mosque of Old Delhi. It has three great gateways, four angle towers and two minarets constructed of alternating vertical strips of red sandstone and white marble. Broad flights of steps, lead up to the imposing gateways. The Eastern gateway was originally, only opened for the emperor, but is now only open on Friday and Muslim festival days. So large is the mosque's countryard, that it can hold 25,000 people.
A business and tourist centre, it's a vast traffic circle, with an architecturally uniform series, of colonnaded buildings around the edge, mainly devoted to shops, banks, restaurants and airline offices. Willing to shop, you can have any and every thing at your disposal. Its spacious, but busy, and the people will be willing to provide you with everything imaginable, from an airline ticket to Timbuktu, to having your fortune read. The outer circle is known as Connaught Circus.
A short stroll down Sansad Marg, from Cannaught Place, this strange collection of salmon -coloured structure, is one of Maharaja Jai Singh II's observatories. The ruler from Jaipur constructed this observatory in 1725 and a huge sundial known as the Prince of Dials dominates it. Other instruments, plot the course of heavenly bodies and predict eclipses.
Lakshmi Narayan Temple
To the west of Connaught Place, the industrialist B.D. Birla, erected this garish modern temple in 1938. Its dedicated to Lakshmi, the goddess of prosperity and good fortune and is commonly known as Birla Mandir.
This 42ms high stone of triumph, stands at the eastern end of the Rajpath. It bears the names of 85,000 Indian army soldiers, who died in the campaigns of WW I, the NorthWest Frontier operations of the same time, and the 1919 Afghan fiasco.
One of the earliest Muslim monuments in India, it was erected in (c.1230) by Iltutmish of the Delhi Sultanate. Built in the early 13th century, a few kilometres south of Delhi, the red sandstone tower is covered with relief work and has a symbolic function, its a Victory Tower, for glorifying Islam's victory against idolators. The highest monument of India, Qutb Minar is 72.5 m high, tapering from 2.75 m in diameter at its peak, to 14.32 m at its base, and alternating angular and rounded flutings. An indoor staircase leads to the outside galleries, from where the muezzin calls for prayer. The monument is decked out with huge strips of Koranic verses. The surrounding archeological area contains funerary buildings, notably the magnificent Alai-Darwaza gate, the masterpiece of Indo-Moslem art built in 1311, and two mosques, including Quwwatul-Islam, the oldest in northern India, made from materials from about twenty Brahmin temples.
Agra, or the city of the Taj, as it is known all over the world, forms the first destination on the itinerary of most travelers coming into India. Forming part of the famous 'Golden Triangle tour' (Delhi-Jaipur-Agra), it is placed on the western bank of the Yamuna. The magnificent Taj Mahal which is the pride of this city is set around a Charbagh or 'four garden' plan, which is split by watercourses - a reflection of the Persian style.
Agra finds mention in the Mahabharata as Agraban. This city of the Taj Mahal,was established in 1475, by Badal Singh, but came into its own when Sikander Lodi, chose it as his capital ,but was eventually defeated by Babur, who laid the foundation of the Mughal empire. Agra reached its zenith during the reign of the Mughal Empire, to become the center of art, culture, commerce and learning. By mid 16th and the earlier 17th century, Agra witnessed a frenzied building activity purely in the contemporary Mughal style, and it was during this time, when the symbol of love - TheTaj Mahal was built.
Agra has witnessed the rise of the pomp and pageantry of the Mughal Monarchs, who lavished on this fabled city, their love and riches, bringing a change in the culture and life-style among the people. Agra is one of the most important centres for handicrafts, made of marble and soft stone inlay work. Major handicraft products of Agra, besides inlay work are leatherware, brassware, carpets, jewellery and embroidery work. The major languages spoken here are Hindi, Urdu and English.
How to Reach
Agra is well connected by road, rail and air. By air, Kheria airport is 6 kms from Agra and is well connected to cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Khajuraho, Jaipur, Varanasi and other important cities. By rail, the nearest and main railheads are Agra Cantt, Raji-ki-Mandi and Agra Fort railway stations which are well connected to Delhi, Gwalior, Bhopal, Bangalore, Jammu Tawi and other parts of the country. By road, Agra is well connected by good motorable roads. For those driving from Delhi, the best route is by Mathura Road via Faridabad. It is well connected to the neighbouring state of Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh as buses depart for Khajuraho, Jaipur, Jodhpur and Mathura frequently.
The Taj Mahal
Taj Mahal is one of the wonders of the world and the epitome of love, beauty and sacrifice. Built by Shah Jahan in the memory of his queen, Mumtaz Mahal, its construction is believed to have taken 22 years to complete with over 20,000 craftsmen working round the clock. Even as the world is caught in the skirmishes of War and peace, Nuclear and Non-Nuclear; Taj has stood as the epitome of love. One of the most visited and most photographed places in the world, this extravagant monument of love is the culmination point of Indo-Persian architecture.
Situated opposite the Taj Mahal on the other side of the River Yamuna, Itmad-ud-Duala houses a magnificent mausoleum of Ghias Beg, father of Noor Jehan and the Chief Minister of Emperor Jehangir. This white marble tomb and the first complete marble Moghul structure may not be as mammoth as the Taj but the inlay designs and carvings are no less than Taj if not more. The delicate marble latticework in the passages allows the light to enter the interiors. Nur Jahan built a similar tomb for Jehangir in Lahore.
Dayal Bagh is the birthplace of the Radhaswami sect, which was founded by a banker of Agra, Swami Shiv Dayal, in 1861. It is a place of pilgrimage for members of this sect and a temple is built here in honour of their fourth Guru.
Agra Fort is situated in the center of the town. Built principally as a military establishment by Akbar in 1565, the red sandstone Agra fort was partially converted into a palace during Shah Jahans time. Though Akbar built the principle structure, his grandsons made many more additions.
This deserted city lies along the top of a ridge. This new capital of Akbar had to be abandoned, only 14 years after it was created, due to lack of water. But the splendid palaces and mosques remain as a vanquished dream. However, this ghost city, is worth a view for its buildings, and can be classified into religious, secular and architectural wonders. The latticework of Jama Masjid and the Dargah of Sheikh Salim Chishti are among the finest in India. The Bais Palace, Birbals House, Mariams House, Panch Mahal, Shahi Darwaza and the Buland Darwaza definitely deserve a visit.
The picturesque capital of Rajasthan, Jaipur is also known as the Pink city. The colour pink is associated with culture. There is a timeless appeal in the colourful bazaars of Jaipur ,where one can shop for Rajasthani handlooms and trinklets. Beautifully laid out gardens and parks, attractive monuments and marvellous heritage hotels,which were once the residence of Maharajas, are worthy of admiration. Not to mention the ambling camels and cheerful people in multi-hued costumes, that make your trip to the pink city a memorable one.
History : Built in 1727 A.D. by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II, Jaipur displays a remarkable harmony and architectural splendour. The ancient heart of the pink city, still beats in its fairy-tale palaces, rugged fortresses perched on barren hills and broad avenues, that dot the entire city. The only planned city of its time, Jaipur is encircled by a formidable wall. A young Bengali architect, Vidyadhar Bhattacharya, formalised the plans of the city, in a grid system. The wide straight avenues, roads, streets, lanes and uniform rows of shops on either side of the main bazaars, were arranged in nine rectangular city sectors (Chokris), in accordance with the principles of town planning set down in the Shilpa Shastra - an epochal treatise on the Hindu architecture.
Culture : Hospitality is the main feature of the cultural specialities here. The city is also known for its colourful atmosphere, associated with well being and cheer.
Climate & Geogaphical Location : Jaipur is very hot and dry in summer and extremely cold in winter. Jaipur is located at 431 metres above sea level.
By Air : Jaipur is well connected to Mumbai, Delhi, Rajkot, Aurangabad, Jodhpur, Udaipur and Ahmedabad.
By Rail : Jaipur is the main railhead and has excellent connection with Delhi, Bikaner, Jodhpur, Udaipur, Ahmedabad, Secunderabad, Agra, Lucknow, Mumbai and Kolkata.
By Road : Jaipur is on National Highway No. 8 connecting Delhi to Mumbai via Jaipur, Ajmer, Udaipur and Ahmedabad. Jaipur has a thorough network of comfortable deluxe tourist buses. Rajasthan Roadways runs excellent regular services of AC and Deluxe coaches from Delhi. Some road distances are Delhi 259 km, Udaipur 405 km, Jodhpur 336 km, Ahmedabad 657 km.
40 km north-west of Jaipur. The beautiful Samode Palace, has been rebuilt and renovated and provides a fine example of the Rajput haveli architecture and is an ideal spot for outgoings.
At 32 km north-east of Jaipur. A huge artificial lake, was created, by constructing a high bund admist tree covered hills. While the temple of Jamwa Mata and the ruins of the old fort, are some of its antiquities, its beautiful landscape, especially during monsoons, makes it an idyllic picnic spot.
A sentinel to the Pink City, is Nahargarh Fort, situated beyond the hills of Jaigarh. Although much of it is in ruins, the lovely building, added by Sawai Ram Singh II and Sawai Madho Singh II provides interest to the fort.
At a distance of 12 km away from Jaipur city,Sanganer is located on the Tonk road. In addition to its ruined palaces, Sanganer ,has exquisitely carved Jain temples. The town is entered though the ruins of two tripolias (Triple gateways). The town is an important centre for the crafts industry and produces some of the finest hand printed textiles, from units of block and screen printers. This textile is popular all over the country and abroad. It is well connected by roads from Jaipur, apart from other cities.
A beautiful complex of palaces, halls, pavilions, gardens and temples built by Raja Man Singh, over a period of about two centuries, still stand in a magnificent state. The palace complex, emerges dramatically from the placid waters of the Maotha Lake and is approachable only through a steep path. Tourists often ride on the elephant back to the Singh Pol and the Jaleb Chowk. Two flights of stairs rise from one end of the chowk, one leading to the Shila Mata Temple and other to the palace complex. The image of the patron goddess, worshipped by thousands of devotees, was brought from Jessore in East Bengal (now in Bangladesh) by Raja Man Singh, to be installed here. A spectacular pillared hall-- Diwan-e-Aam and a double storeyed painted gateway, Ganesh Pole, dominate the front courtyard. An elegant tiny garden in Charbag style, beyond the corridors, has Sukh Niwas to its right and Jas Mandir to its left. The latter combines the Mughal and Rajput architecture, seen in its beautiful interior with intricately carved Jali screens, delicate mirror and stucco work and painted and carved dadoes. The well proportioned Mohan Bari or Kesar Kyari in the centre of the Maotha Lake and the Dilaram Bagh at its north end provides a spectacular view of the palaces above.
Sisodia Rani Garden
Beautifully landscaped gardens, laid out in the 18th and 19th century, by kings and courtiers, dot the narrow gorge in the south-eastern corner of the walled city, along the road to Agra. Sisodia Rani Garden, has tiered multilevel gardens with fountains, water channel and painted pavilions and suites of living rooms. Amongst others, Vidyadhar-ka-Bagh, is the best preserved one, with shady trees, flowing water, and an open pavilion. It was built by the planner of the city, Vidyadhar.
Amer or Amber, was the former capital of the Kachhwaha Rajputs, of the old state of Dhundhar, for seven centuries. In the high season, this is one of India's most popular tourist sites, with a continous train of colourfully decorated elephants, walking up and down the ramp. From the side of the main road, one can catch a dramatic view of the hilltop palace. The Palace and the Jaigarh fort shows distinct Mughal influence.
The City Palace
In the heart of the old city, is the former royal residence, built in a blend of the Rajasthani and Mughal styles. The carved arches, are supported by grey-white marble columns, ornate with floral motifs in gold and coloured stones. Two carved elephants in marble, guard the entrance. The retainers whose families have served generations of rulers serve as guides. The Palace houses a museum with a superb collection of Rajasthani costumes and armoury, of Mughals and Rajputs, including swords, of different shapes and sizes with chased handles, some of them inlaid with enamel and embellished with jewels, and encased in magnificent scabbards. The palace also has an art gallery, with an excellent collection of miniature paintings, carpets, royal paraphernalia and rare astronomical works, in Arabic, Persian, Latin and Sanskrit, acquired by Sawai Jai Singh II, to study astronomy in detail. The palace is within city limits and accessible by road.
This stone observatory, is the largest of Jai Singhs five remarkable observatories. Its complex instruments, whose settings and shapes are scientifically designed, represent the high points of medievial Indian astronomy. The most striking of these, are the Ram Yantras used for guaging altitudes.
Built in 1799 A.D.,the Hawa Mahal or Palace of Winds, is a major Rajput landmark. This five storey building, along the main street of the old city, is in pink splendour, with semioctagonal and delicately honey combed sandstone windows. The monument was originally conceived, with the aim of enabling ladies of the royal household, to watch the everyday life and royal processions of the city.
Govind Devji Temple
This is the most popular spireless temple of Jaipur, and is dedicated to Lord Krishna. It is located in the central pavilion of the Jai Niwas Garden to the north of Chandra Mahal. The image of the patron Deity-Govind Devji, originally installed in a temple at Vrindavan, was reinstalled here by Sawai Jai Singh as his family deity.
Albert Hall Museum
A lush spacious garden with a zoo, an aviary, a greenhouse, a herbarlum, a museum and a popular sports ground. It was built by Sawai Ram Singh II in 1868 A.D. as a famine relief project. The Albert Hall, a fine example of Indo-Sarcenic style of architecture, designed by Sir Swinton Jacob, was opened later with an exquisite collection of sculptures, paintings, decorative wares, natural history specimen, an Egyptian mummy and the celebrated Persian carpet. Recently, the Rabindranath Manch, with an auditorium, a modern art gallery and an open air theatre, has been added to promote cultural events.
An ancient pilgrimage centre, lying beyond the gardens, amidst low hills,temples. pavilions and holy kunds (natural spring and reserviors) along with lush landscape, make it a delightful spot. The small temple of the Sun God, built by Diwan Kriparam, on the top of the highest peak is visible from all parts of the city.
BM Birla Planetarium
The Planetarium offers unique audio-visual education and entertainment, with its modern computerised projection system. For school groups, concessions are available. It is closed on the last Wednesday of every month.
For a devout Hindu Pushkar is a very important pilgrim centre, for one visit to this holy place in a lifetime is highly prescribed.
Brahma forms the great Hindu trilogy of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva, each symbolising the lifecycle of birth, preservation and destruction. Brahma the creator is depicted as of four bearded heads and four hands each holding a book of Vedas (knowledge). His vehicle is the swan and his consort is Savitri. According to the legend Pushkar means a pond created by flower, was formed when Brahma dropped a lotus flower on the earth to determine a place for his yagna, a holy sacrifice. The story goes that Brahma wanted to perform the yagna at the most auspicious time but his consort Savitri whose presence at the yagna was vital for its performance kept him waiting. Irritated by this Brahma married Gayatri, a milkmaid and installed her instead. Savitri on seeing someone else in her place was infuriated and cursed Brahma that he would be forgotten by people on earth and never worshiped. She relented on pleas from other Gods that he could only be worshiped in Pushkar, hence there are no Brahma Temples elsewhere.
Pushkar is a much loved tourist destination, many who visit there just fall in love with the place and overstay. Situated on the edge on the desert it is separated from Ajmer by the Nag Parbat (the snake hill). The town has very distinct tourist excitement with narrow lanes lined with shops selling various accessories and rooftop restaurants. Despite its high tourist profile the town maintains some mystical charm.
Pushkar is world famous for its cattle fair normally held in the Hindu month Kartika, which is around Oct-November. At this time the town jam-packed with tribal people from all over Rajasthan and tourist. It is commonly known as Camel fair, bringing with them several camels and cattle to the pilgrimage. A Fair ground is fashioned and is packed with shops selling souvenirs and eateries. Games and circus shows also goes on. And villagers come sell camels, horses, elephants and cattle and other livestock. Elaborate arrangement for staying of visitors is made including luxury tents. Just don't miss the Pushkar Fair if you are India around that time.
This is the only existing temple dedicated to lord Brahma and was constructed in the 14th century, standing on a high plinth with marble steps leading up to it. A beautiful carved silver turtle sits on the floor facing the sanctorum or Garbha Griha. The marble floor around the silver turtle is embedded with hundreds of silver coins, with donors name engraved on them.
Old Rangji Temple
Lord Rangji is an carnation in of lord Vishnu. This temple was built in 1823 by Seth Puran Mal Ganeriwal of Hyderabad.This temple is unique due to confluence of South Indian style (Dravid) Rajput and Mughal style of architecture.
The gracious temple is very conspicuous, due to its south Indian style of architecture. It has a high rising Gopuram typical of southern India Pushkar has more than 400 temples, the other important temples are Balaji la Mandir and Man Mandir.
There are quite a few people in Pushkar who offer horse or camel safari. Camel safaris are a splendid way of taking in the sights and experiencing the rugged beauty of the desert. The camels may look aloof, but they are known as the lifeline for the desert people, whose major mode of transportation depends on camels only, also known as the "Ship of the desert".
The pious Pushkar Lake, believed to have been created by the falling of lotus from the hand of Lord Brahma. It is considered to be as old as the creation. The lake is considered as one of the most sacred spots, and believed that one dip in the waters of lake on Kartika Poornima is equivalent to performing yagnas for several hundred years.
The charming lake amidst the hills has fifty-two bathing ghats, built around lake. The water around each ghat is supposed to have special powers. The Naga Kund is belived to give fertility, Roop Tirth gives beauty and charm, Kapil Vyapi Kund water helps in curing leprosy and a dip in the Mrikand Muni Kund grants the boon of wisdom.
A temple dedicated to the first wife of Lord Brahma the Savitri temple is located on the hill behind the Brahma Temple which can be reached by a flight of steps. The temple offers a panoramic view of the lake and the surrounding desertscape.
On the banks if pushkar is the magnificent palace built by Raja Man Singh 1 of Amer now converted into the RTDC Hotel sarovar it offers a comfortable accommodation to the visitors.
The Brahma Temple
It is the only temple in India dedicated to Lord braham. The temple is marked by a red spire and over the entrance gateway us a beautiful statue carrier of Lord Brahma.
An array of stalls all along the main bazar are renowed for embroidered fabrics and shoes colourful beads and bangles, brass utensils, belts studded with brass, cloth covers for cammels with mirror work colourful saddles and leather goods beautiful wall hanging and shoulder bags. The prime shopping spots are home circus, Bazar, Sarafa bazar, Malakhera Bazar and kedalganj Bazar.