I Had a Really Good Week Playing Cards

In fact it did not really have all that much to do with me to be honest, I have not suddenly gotten better at playing poker on the internet. In essence I simply ran into a lot of people who seemed intent on losing a lot of money. I have been playing on this site called poker88 Asia and I simply got into games with people who did not play the game very well. Of course much of the time I was playing with great cards, that always helps and the whole time I was playing things pretty straight. If the odds favored me I took my chances, but if they did not I played without taking big risks. However in this case there was a chat and this one guy seemed to bluster like a hurricane, especially when he was bluffing.

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Umaid Bhawan – Jodhpur

Maharaja Umaid Singhji who built this palace was fascinated with western lifestyles so he marshalled the services of a well-known Edwardian architect, Henry Vaughan Lanchester, a creditable equal of Edward Lutyens to construct a three hundred and forty seven roomed Umaid Palace.

This was to become India last of the great palaces and the biggest private residence in the world. Spectacular Central Rotunda, the cupola rises to a hundred and five feet high; the Throne Room with its exquisite Ramayana murals; an elegant wood-panelled library, and even a private museum; an indoor swimming pool, a Billiards Room, tennis courts and unique marble squash courts makes Umaid Bhawan Palace is unabashedly the most magnificent.

The palace was also built with superficial intentions of providing employment to famine stricken farmers. The Palace now is a five star deluxe palace hotel. The museum of the palace is highly recommended for its display of weapons, an array of stuffed leopards, a huge banner presented by Queen Victoria and an incredible collection of clocks.

This is known as Umaid Bhawan Palace because of the particular type of sandstone used, to build it – which is not weathered. Portions of the Umaid palace have been converted into a hotel and a museum.

Located in the Thar Desert, Jodhpur is known for its impressive fortified bastions, specially those of Mehrangarh Fort, which has been a witness for many battles and is associated closely with the history of the region.

Being a part of the desert triangle, and venue of Marwar Festival it is also covered by the famous “Palace on Wheels”, a super luxurious (emperor style) rail-cum-road package tour.

The city again is of high tourist attraction and has all basic amenities for both domestic and foreign tourists. Hotels from Super Deluxe ranging to low budge can be checked in. It is well connected by rail, road and air to the city as it again witnesses high flow of tourist traffic in winters.

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Taj Mahal – Agra

The story of Taj Mahal reflects the intensity of love. The fairy tale began when walking through the bazaar of Agra prince qhurram saw a girl. The girl was exceptionally beautiful. It was a love at first sight for both of them. After five years, on an auspicious day they were married and from that moment began the great epic of love.

Shah Jahan, “The King Of The World”

Prince qhurram was the fifth son of emperor Jahangir. He was the man of extraordinary brilliance, a great diplomat, a warrior and a lover of art. Once Jahangir wrote, “In art, in reason, in battle there is no comparison between him and my other children”. In the honor of his numerous victories Jahangir entitled him as “Shah Jahan”, “The King of the World”. After Jahangir’s death all his sons quarreled for the thrown, after fighting for years Shah Jahan killed all his brothers under suspicious circumstances and became the emperor, besides him stood his queen, comrade and confidante.

Mumtaz Mahal “The chosen one of the palace” 

Shah Jahan titled her “Mumtaz Mahal”, “The chosen one of the palace”. A rare found combination of beauty and brain. She was her husband’s best friend and confidante. She would counsel him in the diplomatic matters. She too was a great lover of art.

The End of the Fairy Tale 

In 1631 Shah Jahan set up to berahanpur with his troops to subdue a rebellion, accompanied by Mumtaz Mahal Unfortunately during childbirth she suffered some complications and died. According to legend before dieing she extracted a promise from Shah Jahan that he would build a mausoleum as a tribute to their love.

The story of Taj Mahal begins Shah Jahan was obsessed to fulfill his wife’s last wish. He invited the architects and artisans all over the world and planned for the building with absolute perfection. Taj Mahal was structured in Persian style combined with carvings of artisans called from Afghanistan and the garden designers from Kashmir. It took 22years to complete the Taj Mahal, a memento of love with the perfection of art. The carvings of Taj Mahal were decorated with very precious gemstones.

The story of Taj Mahal is unique in itself. It is an evidence that how the emotions and feelings are important to human life. The story of Taj Mahal is an example of devotion and faith. The story of Taj Mahal is a love story not found in papers but stands in the structural form. The story of Taj Mahal is rare.

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Qutub Minar – Delhi

The origins of Qutab Minar are shrouded in controversy. Some believe it was erected as a tower of victory to signify the beginning of the Muslim rule in India. Others say it served as a minaret to the muezzins to call the faithful to prayer. No one can, however, dispute that the tower is not only one of the finest monuments in India, but also in the world.

Qutab-ud-din Aibak, the first Muslim ruler of Delhi, commenced the construction of the Qutab Minar in 1200 AD, but could only finish the basement. His successor, Iltutmush, added three more storeys, and in 1368, Firoz Shah Tughlak constructed the fifth and the last storey.

The development of architectural styles from Aibak to Tughlak are quite evident in the minar. The relief work and even the materials used for construction differ. The 238 feet Qutab Minar is 47 feet at the base and tapers to nine feet at the apex. The tower is ornamented by bands of inscriptions and by four projecting balconies supported by elaborately decorated brackets.

Even in ruin, the Quwwat Ui Islam Mosque in the Qutab complex is one of the most magnificent in the world. Its construction was started by Qutab-ud-din Aibak in 1193 and the mosque was completed in 1197. additions were made to the building by Iltutmush in 1230 and Alla-ud-din Khilji in 1315.

The main mosque comprises of an inner and outer courtyard, of which the inner is surrouded by an exquisite collonade, the pillars of which are made of richly decorated shafts. Most of these shafts are from the 27 Hindu temples which were plundered to construct the mosque. It is, therefore, not surprising that the Muslim mosque has typical Hindu ornamentation.

Close to the mosque is one of Delhi’s most curious antiques, the Iron Pillar. Dating back to the 4th century AD, the pillar bears an inscription which stated that it was erected as a flagstaff in honour of the Hindu god, Vishnu, and in the memory of the Gupta king Chandragupta II (375-413).

How the pillar moved to its present location remains a mystery. The pillar also highlights ancient India’s achievements in metallurgy. The pillar is made of 98 per cent wrought iron and has stood. 1,600 years without rusting or decomposing.

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Konark Temples

The crowning glory of Oriya temple architecture, the 13th century Sun temple also known as ‘the Black Pagoda’, comes with a baggage of centuries – old myths and legends. Legends say that Samba, the son of Lord Krishna, was afflicted by leprosy, brought about by his father’s curse on him. After 12 years of penance, he was cured by Surya, the Sun God, in whose honour he built this temple.

The Sun Temple

Built by Raja Narsimhadeva of the Ganga dynasty, in the 13th century AD, the temple is a pageant of human grandeur, in its perception, and in the execution of even the finest details. It resembles a colossal chariot, with 24 wheels, pulled by seven straining horses, and has a three-tiered pyramidal roof topped off by a fine spire. The Sun – God’s chariot, also represents the seven days of the week, and the 24 hours of the day, in its concept. The temple is a brilliant chronicle in stone, with impressive sculptures. Every aspect of life is represented here, and the erotic imagery, depicts the sublimation of human love manifested in countless forms. Scenes from court, civic life and war are also done with great precision.

Unlike the other temples of the Bhubaneswar-Konark-Puri region, the Konark temple had two smaller outer halls, completely separate from the main structure. The assembly-hall and the tower were built on an imposing platform, which were carved into meticulously crafted twelve pairs of decorated wheels, each 10 feet in diameter. The entrance is reached by a broad flight of steps, flanked on either side by prancing horses, the whole representing the chariot, in which the Sun-God rides across the heavens. The court of the temple, was decorated with large free-standing sculptures of great strength and beauty. Now protected under the World Heritage List, the temple’s interior was filled – up in 1903 A.D., by the then British Lt. Governor of Bengal, to save it from deterioration.

Festivals

The Chandrabhaga Mela or Magha Saptami mela in the month of February, is a grand religious festival. Thousands of pilgrims converge on the pool, on this day to take a holy dip in its curative waters, and then shuffle off to the beach where, in accordance with an age-old custom mentioned in the puranas, they watch the sun rise over the sea. The event is followed by the puja of the Navagraha.

Those interested in attending the Konark Dance Festival, held in the Open air Auditorium north of the Sun Temple, should visit during the first week of December.

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Khajuraho Temples

The temples of Khajuraho are India’s unique gift to the world, representing, as they do, a paean to life, to love, to joy; perfect in execution and sublime in expression. Life, in every form and mood, has been capured in stone, testifying not only to the craftsman’s artistry but also to the extraordinary breadth of vision of the Chandela Rajputs under whose rule the temples were conceived and constructed.

The world renowned temple town of Khajuraho in Madhya Pradesh designated by UNESCO as a world heritage site for its archaeological and historical monuments.

The Khajuraho temples were built in the short span of a hundred years, from 950-1050AD in a truly inspired burst of creativity. Of the 85 original temples, 22 have survived till today to constitute one of the world’s great artistic wonders.

The Creators of Khajuraho claimed descent from the moon and the legend behind the founding of this great dynasty and the temples is a fascinating one. Hemwati, the lovely young daughter of a Brahmin priest, was seduced by the moon-god while bathing in a forest pool.

The child born of this union was Chandravarman, founder of the Chandela dynasty. Brought up in the forests by his mother who sought refuge from a sensorious society, Chandravarman, when established as a ruler, had a dream-visitation from his mother.

It is said that she implored him to build temples that would reveal human passions, and in doing so, bring about a realization of the emptiness of human desire. It is also possible that the Chandelas were followers of the Tantric cult, which believes that gratification of earthly desires is a step towards attaining the infinite liberation of nirvana.

Why they chose Khajuraho, even then a small village, as the site for their great complex is also open to of their faith and the many beliefs represented in the temples, the Chandelas conceived Khajuraho as a seat of religion and learning, to bring together many sects.

With their decline, the temples lay forgotten for many centuries, covered by the encroaching forests, victim to the ravages of the elements. Re-discovered only in this century, restored and claned, the temples of Khajuraho once again testify to a past glory.

Architecturally too, they are unique, being very different from the temple prototype of their period. Each stands on a high masonry platform with a marked upward direction in the structure, further enhanced by vertical projections to create the effect of grace and lightness.

Each of the chief compartments is mounted by its own roof, grouped so that the highest is in the centre, the lowest over the portico; a highly imaginative recreation of the rising peaks of the Himalayas, abode of the gods.

The three main compartments are the entrance (ardha-mandapa), assembly hall (mandapa) and sanctum (garbha griha), with further additions in the more developed temples.

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India Gate – Delhi

Built as a memorial to commemorate the 70,000 India soldiers killed in World War I, India Gate was designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens and completed in 1931.

Located on Rajpath, the road which leads to the magnificent Rashtrapati Bhawan, the gate is 160 feet high with an arch of 138 feet.

Built from sandstone, the arch also houses the Eternal Flame, a gesture in memory of the Indian soldiers who laid their lives in the 1971 war with Pakistan.

India Gate, a majestic structure, 42 metres high, is set at the end of Rajpath, perhaps the most beautiful area of New Delhi with plush green lawns in the backdrop. It is a popular picnic spot during the winters and equally popular as a relaxation area during the summer evenings.

Designed and built by Lutyens, it was originally called All India War Memorial in memory of the 90,000 Indian soldiers who died in the campaigns of World War I, the North-West Frontier operations of the same time and the 1919 Afghan Fiasco.On the walls of the structure are inscribed the names of all the soldiers.

An eternal flame called Amar Jawan Jyoti that runs on gas was lit in 1971 to honour the martyrs. During the night, it is intensely floodlit and the fountains nearby are lit up with coloured lights.

Close by is the canopy which once became controversial and under whose red sandstone roof was the marble statue of King George V which has been shifted from there. The canopy was also designed and built by Lutyens.

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Humayun’s Tomb – Delhi

The mughals brought with them a love for gardens, fountains and water. The first mature example of Mughal architecture in India, Humayun’s Tomb was built by the emperor’s grieving widow, Haji Begum, in 1565 AD. Constructed with red sandstone and ornamented marks the beginning of a new tradition of ornate style which culminated in the Taj Mahal of Agra.

Designed by the Persian architect, Mirza Ghyas, Humayun’s Tomb shows a marked shift from the Persian tradition of using coloured tiles for ornamentation.

Located in the midst of a large square garden, screened by high walls, with gateways to the south and west, the tomb is a square tower surmounted by a magnificent marble dome. The dome stands 140 feet from the base of the terrace and is topped with a copper pinnacle. In addition to the remains of Humayun, the complex also houses the grave of many other distinguished members of the Mughal dynasty.

The first Mughal Emperor, Babur, was succeeded by his son, Humayun, who ruled in India for a decade but was expelled. Eventually he took refuge with the Safavid shah of Persia, who helped him regain Delhi in 1555, the year before his death. Humayun’s Persian wife, Hamida Begum, supervised the construction from 1562-1572 of her husband’s tomb in Delhi.

The architect, Mirak Mirza Ghiyuath, was Persian and had previously designed buildings in Herat (now northwest Afghanistan), Bukhara (now Uzbekistan), and elsewhere in India. The location chosen for the building on the bank of the Yamuna river adjoins the shrine of an important Sufi Chistiyya order saint, Nizam al-Din Awliya.

The Chistiyya was particularly venerated by the Mughals; Humayun’s son, Akbar, would build his new palace at Fatehpur Sikri next to the shrine of another saint of the Chistiyya order. The tomb established some of the important norms for later Mughal mausolea. It is set in a geometrically arranged garden criscrossed by numerous water channels and probably representing symbolically a paradise setting.

Such typical Persian gardens had been introduced into India by Babur; later they would be found in the Red Fort in Delhi and at the Taj Mahal in Agra. The architectural form of the building is Persian and especially in its main chamber shows some familiarity with the tomb of the Mongol Ilkhanid ruler of Persia, Oljeytu, at Sultaniyya.

It is one of a long line of Mughal buildings influenced by Timurid architecture, notably the tomb of Timur (Tamerlane) in Samarkand. Babur was proud of his Timurid heritage and deeply regretted his inability to hold Samarkand. His successors continued to dream of regaining Samarkand and would interrogate visitors about Timur’s tomb.

Humayun’s tomb is the first Indian building to use the Persian double dome; it is noteworthy for its harmonious proportions. As with later Mughal tombs, that of Humayun is set upon a podium or platform.

The most obvious Indian features of the architecture are the small kiosks or chhatris on the roof. The building is also noteworthy for its inlaid tile work, carving embodying both Indian and Persian decorative elements, and its carved stone screens.

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Gateway of India – Mumbai

Mumbai’s most famous monument, this is the starting point for most tourists who want to explore the city. It was built as a triumphal arch to commemorate the visit of King George V and Queen Mary, complete with four turrets and intricate latticework carved into the yellow basalt stone.

Ironically, when the Raj ended in 1947, this colonial symbol also became a sort of epitaph: the last of the British ships that set sail for England left from the Gateway. Today this symbol of colonialism has got Indianised, drawing droves of local tourists and citizens. Behind the arch, there are steps leading down to the water. Here, you can get onto one of the bobbing little motor launches, for a short cruise through Mumbai’s splendid natural harbour.

Built in the Indo-saracenic style, the Gateway of India is meant to commemorate the visit of King George V and Queen Mary to Bombay, prior to the Darbar in Delhi in December 1911. The foundation stone was laid on March 31, 1911 and George Wittet’s final design sanctioned in August 1914.

Between 1915 and 1919 work proceeded on reclamations at Apollo Pier for the land on which the gateway and the new sea wall would be built. The foundations were completed in 1920.

The Gateway is built from yellow Kharodi basalt and reinforced concrete. The central dome is 48 feet in diameter and 83 feet above ground at its highest point. The whole harbour front was realigned in order to come in line with a planned esplanade which would sweep down to the centre of the town.

The cost of the construction was Rs. 21 lakhs, borne mainly by the Government of India. For lack of funds, the approach road was never built, and the Gateway now stands at an angle to the road leading up to it.

The construction was completed in 1924, and the Gateway opened on December 4, 1924 by the Viceroy, Earl of Reading.

The last British troops to leave India, the First Battalion of the Somerset Light Infantry, passed through the gate in a ceremony on February 28, 1948.

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Fatehpur Sikri – Agra

A royal city perfectly preserved, Fatehpur Sikri provides a marvellous escape into the past. Akbar embarked on the construction of a new capital here when a prophecy of the birth of a male royal heir, by the Sufi Saint Salim Chisti of Sikri, came true.

Imposing gateways and light- hearted palaces were built in red sandstone within this fortified city only to be abandoned a few years later.

Among its many architectural game are the places for his queens – Jodha Bai, Mariyam and his Turkish sultana, built in varying styles, each perfect in itself.

The Diwan-e-Khas entirely unique in its concept is a tall vaulted room with an intricately carved central pillar and capital supporting a platform that once held the emperor’s throne.

Narrow galleries link this to the corners of the room where it is believed his ministers sat The airy Panch Mahal a 5 storied structure rising in pyramidal fashion was probably used by the ladies of the court.

Set like a jewel in a courtyard of pink sandstone is the finest building here, the marble tomb of Salim Chisti enclosed by finely carved, lacy marble screens.

The Buland Darwaza, an imposing gateway 54 m high was built to commemorate Akbar’s Aligarh the famous university town is a center of Islamic studies. The city is also noted for its handicrafts and metal wares.

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Charminar – Hyderabad

The Charminar in Hyderabad, at the capital city of Andhra Pradesh, is a massive arch built by Mohammed Quli Qutab Shah, in 1591 to commemorate the end of the plague in the city. The symbol of the city, the Charminar, is an impressive square monument with four minarets. The arch is illuminated daily in the evening, an unforgettable sight indeed.

The city of Hyderabad, with its delightful blend of the ancient and the modern, presents to the onlooker an interesting skyline with modern buildings standing shoulder to shoulder with fascinating 400 year old edifices. It boasts of some fine examples of Qutab Shahi architecture – the Jami Masjid, the Mecca Masjid, Toli Masjid, and of course, the impressive symbol of Hyderabad, the Charminar.

The Charminar was built with granite and lime-mortar. It is a blend of ‘Cazia’ and Islamic style of architecture. The intertwined arches and domes are examples of typical Islamic style of the architecture. The graceful floral motif atop the Charminar is enchanting. The Charminar depicts the Indo-Saracenic tradition – a symbiosis of the Hindu and the Muslim traditions, which has woven the magic of a rich Deccan culture. The Charminar looks spectacular particularly in the nights when it is illuminated.

It offers an excellent panoramic view of the city and Golconda Fort, which makes the mind go back into time and recapitulates the past glory of Hyderabad during the Qutub Shahi times. Charminar has become an inseparable part of the history of Hyderabad.

A magnificent edifice, it epitomises Hyderabad and marks its 400 years of history. Built by ruler Quli Qutb Shah it stands 180ft. tall, the four minarets soar to height of 48.7Mts. each above the ground. Within are 45 prayers spaces and a mosque. It is being pedestrianised for better access as well as safety of the monument. Must See!

A proud sentinel in the heart of the Old City, this magnificent monument built by Quli Qutub Shah, is the unique symbol of Hyderabad. It was built in 1591 by Quli Qutb Shah. to commemorate the end of the plague that had ravaged Hyderabad, The four graceful minarets from which ‘Charminar’ derives its name, literally meaning ‘Four Minars’ soar to a height of 48.7 Mts. each, above the ground.

Charminar, a splendid piece of architecture standing in the heart of the hyderabad city built by Quli Qutub Shah, in 1591. This magnificent monument is the unique symbol of Hyderabad. Charminar is often called as “The Arc de triomphe of the East”. It is considered as the legendary masterpiece of Qutub Shahi’s.

Charminar derives its name from four intricately carved minarets, The four graceful minarets literally meaning ‘Four Minars’, soar to a height of 48.7m each, above the ground. It is located amidst the colourful shops of Lad Bazaar with its glittering traditional bangles in the old city. Enormous in its size, this imposing monument of India exudes a charm that is more than 400 years old

The history of Hyderabad begins with the establishment of the Qutub Shahi dynasty. Owing to the inadequacy of water and frequent epidemics of plague and cholera Quli Qutub Shah established the new city with the Charminar at its centre with four great roads fanning out in four cardinal directions.

The plan is a square, each side 20m long, while the four arches are 11m wide and rise 20m from the plinth. The four-storeyed minarets rise 20m from the roof of the massive monument and measure 24m from the plinth. The western section of the roof contains a mosque, ranking among the finest the gifted Qutub Shahi artisans ever built.

There are 45 prayer spaces with a large open space in front to accommodate more for Friday prayers. To the east of this space is a lovely verandah with a large open arch in the centre, flanked by smaller ones on both sides.

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Ajanta & Ellora Caves

Way back in 1819, a party of British army officers on a tiger hunt in the forest of western Deccan, suddenly spotted their prey, on the far side of a loop in the Waghora river. High up on the horseshoe- shaped cliff, the hunting party saw the tiger, silhouetted against the carved façade of a cave.

On investigating, the officers discovered a series of carved caves, each more dramatic than the other. Hewn painstakingly as monsoon retreats or varshavasas for Buddhist monks, the cave complex was continuously lived in from 200 BC to about AD650. There are thirty caves, including some unfinished ones. Of the Ajanta caves, five are chaityas or prayer halls and the rest are viharas or monasteries.

Hinayana and Mahayana 
The Ajanta caves resolve themselves into two phases, separated from each other by a good four hundred years. These architectural phases coincide with the two schools of Buddhist thought, the older Hinayana school where the Buddha was represented only in symbols like the stupa, a set of footprints or a throne, and the later Mahayana sect which did not shy away from giving the Lord a human form.

Hinayana 
Among the more prominent Hinayana caves are those numbered 9, 10 (both chaityas), 8, 12, 13 and 15 (all viharas). The sculpted figures in these caves are dressed and coiffed in a manner reminiscent of the stupas at Sanchi and Barhut, indicating that they date back to the first or second century BC.

Mahayana 
The Mahayana monasteries include 1, 2, 16 and 17, while the chaityas are in caves 19 and 26. The caves, incidentally, are not numbered chronologically but in terms of access from the entrance. A terrqaced path of modern construction connects the caves, but in ancients times, each cave was accessed from the riverfront by individual staircases.

The sculptures and paintings in the caves detail the Buddha’s life as well as the lives of the Buddha in his previous births, as related in the allegorical Jataka tales. You will also find in the caves a sort of illuminated history of the times – court scenes, street scenes, cameos of domestic life and even animal and bird studies come alive on these unlit walls.

The caves including the unfinished ones are thirty in number, of which five are chaitya-grihas and the rest are sangharamas or viharas. After centuries of oblivion, these caves were discovered in AD 1819. They fall into two distinct phases with a break of nearly four centuries between them. All the caves of the earlier phase date between 2nd century BC-AD.

The caves of the second phase were excavated during the supremacy of the Vakatakas and Guptas. According to inscriptions, Varahadeva, the minister of the Vakataka king, Harishena (c. 475-500 AD), dedicated Cave 16 to the Buddhist sangha while Cave 17 was the gift of the prince, a feudatory.

An inscription records that- Buddha image in Cave 4 was the gift of some Abhayanandi who hailed from Mathura. A few paintings which survive on the walls of Caves 9 and 10 go back to the 2nd century BC-AD. The second group of the paintings started in about the fifth century AD and continued for the next two centuries as, noticeable in later caves. The themes are intensely religious in tone and centre round Buddha, Bodhisattvas, incidents from the life of Buddha and the Jatakas. The paintings are executed on a ground of mud-plaster in the tempera technique.

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Indian Monuments

Ajanta & Ellora Caves
Way back in 1819, a party of British army officers on a tiger hunt in the forest of western Deccan, suddenly spotted their prey, on the far side of a loop in the Waghora river. High up on the horseshoe- shaped cliff, the hunting party saw the tiger, silhouetted against the carved façade of a cave.


Charminar – Hyderabad
The Charminar in Hyderabad, at the capital city of Andhra Pradesh, is a massive arch built by Mohammed Quli Qutab Shah, in 1591 to commemorate the end of the plague in the city. The symbol of the city, the Charminar, is an impressive square monument with four minarets. The arch is illuminated daily in the evening, an unforgettable sight indeed.


Fatehpur Sikri – Agra
A royal city perfectly preserved, Fatehpur Sikri provides a marvellous escape into the past. Akbar embarked on the construction of a new capital here when a prophecy of the birth of a male royal heir, by the Sufi Saint Salim Chisti of Sikri, came true. Imposing gateways and light- hearted palaces were built in red sandstone within this fortified city only to be abandoned a few years later.


Gateway of India – Mumbai
Mumbai’s most famous monument, this is the starting point for most tourists who want to explore the city. It was built as a triumphal arch to commemorate the visit of King George V and Queen Mary, complete with four turrets and intricate latticework carved into the yellow basalt stone.


Humayun’s Tomb – Delhi
The mughals brought with them a love for gardens, fountains and water. The first mature example of Mughal architecture in India, Humayun’s Tomb was built by the emperor’s grieving widow, Haji Begum, in 1565 AD. Constructed with red sandstone and ornamented marks the beginning of a new tradition of ornate style which culminated in the Taj Mahal of Agra.


India Gate – Delhi
Built as a memorial to commemorate the 70,000 India soldiers killed in World War I, India Gate was designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens and completed in 1931. Located on Rajpath, the road which leads to the magnificent Rashtrapati Bhawan, the gate is 160 feet high with an arch of 138 feet.


Khajuraho Temples
The temples of Khajuraho are India’s unique gift to the world, representing, as they do, a paean to life, to love, to joy; perfect in execution and sublime in expression. Life, in every form and mood, has been capured in stone, testifying not only to the craftsman’s artistry but also to the extraordinary breadth of vision of the Chandela Rajputs under whose rule the temples were conceived and constructed.


Konark Temples
The crowning glory of Oriya temple architecture, the 13th century Sun temple also known as ‘the Black Pagoda’, comes with a baggage of centuries – old myths and legends. Legends say that Samba, the son of Lord Krishna, was afflicted by leprosy, brought about by his father’s curse on him. After 12 years of penance, he was cured by Surya, the Sun God, in whose honour he built this temple.


Qutub Minar – Delhi
The origins of Qutab Minar are shrouded in controversy. Some believe it was erected as a tower of victory to signify the beginning of the Muslim rule in India. Others say it served as a minaret to the muezzins to call the faithful to prayer. No one can, however, dispute that the tower is not only one of the finest monuments in India, but also in the world.


Taj Mahal – Agra
The story of Taj Mahal reflects the intensity of love. The fairy tale began when walking through the bazaar of Agra prince qhurram saw a girl. The girl was exceptionally beautiful. It was a love at first sight for both of them. After five years, on an auspicious day they were married and from that moment began the great epic of love.


Umaid Bhawan – Jodhpur 
Maharaja Umaid Singhji who built this palace was fascinated with western lifestyles so he marshalled the services of a well-known Edwardian architect, Henry Vaughan Lanchester, a creditable equal of Edward Lutyens to construct a three hundred and forty seven roomed Umaid Palace.

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Rajasthan Wildlife Sanctuaries

When it comes to wildlife I think most of us love the experience of seeing the wild animals and birds in their natural surroundings. With due respect to their right of living in their own domain that is the real place where they should be and no amount of torture to them is a forgivable crime. Imagine seeing the king of the jungle relishing its prey after a fresh kill or experiencing the dance of a group of deer’s who make swift movements across the jungle or for that matter absorbing the little birds making a flight into the sky where they compete with each other trying to soar high and high into the deep blue sky.

So if you are the types who loves to be amidst nature then get set and pack your bags to come for a holiday spree in India where you will find exotic species of wildlife in these national parks that are a matter of pride to the country and almost all the states of the country houses a national park to protect the animals of the country and give them the life that they deserve. If you are planning to come to India for a holiday to visit the national parks then the right place is the state of Rajasthan.

When you think of Rajasthan all that comes to mind are the images of forts, palaces, lakes, colorful festivals and the mighty Thar Desert. The Thar Desert is the backbone of this sate. But the state of Rajasthan is not only the Thar Desert. The topography of Rajasthan ranges from the barren desert, scrub-thorn arid forests, rocks and ravines to wetlands and lush, green forests. Each of these areas is a haven for a wide spectrum of wildlife, bestowing the state with some of the most fascinating wildlife sanctuaries in India.

Ranthambore National Park 
The national park is located near the outer fringes or one can say the periphery of the Thar Desert that forms the most part of the state of Rajasthan.It is also surrounded by the Vindhya and Aravalli hill ranges. When it comes to visiting the best and the most well known national sanctuary of the state then the first park that comes to one’s mind as a traveler is the Ranthambore National Park which is Rajasthan’s most well-known tiger reserve under Project Tiger.

Sariska National Park 
Sariska Tiger Reserve is one of the last sizable remnants of the dry hilly country, which once stretched across the length of the Aravalli hills. It is a huge national park but its population of tigers have depleted over the years as the jungle authorities have not been able to save them from the poachers who over the years have been successful in washing of the most endangered species of the tigers found here in this park. This hunting preserve of the Maharaja of Alwar was declared a sanctuary in 1955, and when Project Tiger was born in 1979, Sariska Sanctuary was merged into it.

Keoladeo National Park 
If you are bird lover and would love to come over to a paradise of these avian species welcome home to the Keoladeo National Park popularly known as Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary that is one of the best waterfowl habitats in the World. Located at the distance of 180 kms from New Delhi Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary is suitable for outing at the weekends. If you love adventure and likeness for birds than come to Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary.

Bhensrod Garh
A fairly new sanctuary, it was established in 1983 and covers a total area of 229 sq km of scrub and dry deciduous forest.Th edifferent species that one would find are the Leopards, chinkara, sloth bear can be spotted here if one is lucky. The best time to plan you safari in Bhensrod Garh Sanctuary is between October and May.

Darrah Sanctuary
This park was the royal hunting ground of the Maharaja of Kota, it is a thickly forested sanctuary lying along the southeastern border of Kota. This sanctuary has a lot of mountains and is very lofty the thick forest makes it one of the good parks to visit. The animals here include Wolf, Sloth Bear, Chinkara and Leopard. This sanctuary is stretched in the area of 250 sq Kms, almost 50 Kms from Kota. The best time to visit is between February and May.

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Rajasthan Tribals

As this state is very popular for its rich cultural and traditional heritage,so also it is famous for its richness in ancient tribes.The population of this place includes many a tribes which today constitutes around 12% of the total population of the state.The main tribes of Rajasthan are the Bhils and the Minas that were the original inhabitants of the area now called Rajasthan. But they were forced into the Aravalli Range by the Aryan invasion. Smaller tribes include the Sahariyas, Garasias and the Gaduliya lohars.

The tribes share common traits, which seem to link their past together but it is the differences in their costumes and jewellery, fair and festivals that set them apart from one another.

The Bhils
The Bhils compromise 39% of Rajasthan’s tribal population. Their stronghold is Banswara. The term Bhil,means strength and this describe their original talent and strength. The Bhils maintained their numbers by mingling with rebellious outcaste Rajputs.

Legendary stories say that the Bhils were fine archers. Bhil bowmen are mentioned in both the Mahabarata and Ramayan. They fighting capacity was taken in high regards. Although originally food gatherers, the Bhils these days have taken up small-scale agriculture, city residence and employment.

The Baneshwar fair is a Bhil festival held near Dungarpur in January/February each year and large number of Bhils gather for several days for singing, dancing and worshipping. Holi is another important time for Bhils. Witchcraft magic and superstition are deeply rooted aspects of the Bhil culture.

Minas
This is the second largest tribe of the state and the most wide spread too.They are considered to be the original inhabitants of the Indus Valley civilization. The Vedas and the Mahabharta mention them, and it was the Kachhawah Rajputs who finally dispersed them and forced them into the Aravallis. The Minas have a tall, athletic build with sharp features, large eyes, thick lips and a light brown complexion.

They live in the regions of Shekhawati and eastern Rajasthan. The name Minas is derived from ‘men fish’. Originally they were a ruling tribe, but their slow downfall began with the Rajputs, and was completed when the British Government declared them a ‘Criminal tribe’ in 1924, mainly to stop them from trying to regain their territory from the Rajputs.

Just like the Bhils, the literacy rate among the Minas was very low, but is improving. Marriage, arranged by the parents is generally within the tribe and most marriages take place when the children are quite young.

The Gaduliya Lohars
The Gaduliya Lohars, named after their beautiful bullock carts (‘gadis’), were originally a martial Rajput tribe, but nowadays they are nomadic blacksmiths. They are said to have wandered from their homeland of Mewar because of their promise to their ‘lord’ Maharana Pratap who was ousted from Chittaurgarh by Akbar. This clan of warring Rajputs vowed to re-enter the city only after the victory of Maharana Pratap who was, however, unfortunately killed in the battlefield.

Garasias They are a small Rajput tribe found along the Abu Road area of Southern Rajasthan. The Garasias have an interesting custom of marriage through elopement, which usually takes place at the annual Gaur Fair held during the full moon in March. After the elopement, which can be spontaneous or pre-arranged, a bride price is paid to the bride’s father.

Sahariyas They are thought to be of Bhil origin and are found in the areas of Kota, Dungarpur and Sawai Madhopur in the south- east of the state. The Sahariyas are jungle dwellers, their name possibly deriving from the Persian ‘Sehr’. The Sahariyas are regarded as the most backward tribe in Rajasthan and make out a living as shifting cultivators and by hunting and fishing.

Damors The small tribal community of Damors probably migrated from their original home in Gujarat to settle in Dungarpur and Udaipur districts. They are mainly cultivators and manual labourers.

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Rajasthan Shopping

Rajasthan is the home of an astounding variety of traditional crafts. Century-old skills continue to produce some of the most artistic and exciting wares in Rajathan which are admired and collected not only by connoisseurs in India but are popular all across the world Rajasthan is a land of vibrant colours.

These colours are a striking part of the Rajasthani life and are found in the bustling bazars, in fairs & festivals,in the customs worn ” and produced, and in the tradition al painting & murals. When shoping for souvenirs,the subtal yet ethnic appeal of every item is irresistible whether it be furniture, leatherware, pottery, metal craft or textiles.

It is little wonder, therefore, that because of these artistic tressures which let you indulge without being extravagant, rajsthan has been dubbed as the shopper’s paradise its craft have always been a source of facinations whethar one appreciates them for purely pleasure or pauses to savour the underlin history, culture and symbolism.

In the field of arts and crafts. Rajasthan is among the richest states of India. Each period of its history made if contribution to this fild. The kings and nobles were patrons of hart and crafts and encouraged the craftpersons.

There was an obsessive desire to decorate their surroundings. Right from the walls of the forts and palaces, to the walls of the rural villagers,the desire to add colour prevailed. Warriors, not only gave elaborate attention to their clothing and armours, but also ensured that the horses and elephants that carried them into the battleground where equaly decorated.

Ornaments like jewelled saddles and intricate silver howdas were proudly displayed .the women of Rajasthan are famed for there beauty and it is said that the printed patterns on the women’s skirts are different in villege even 30 Kms apart.

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Rajasthan Pilgrim Places

TheLand of colour and vibrance – Rajasthan – resounds with the pure and beautiful melodies of hymns, sung with love and devotion. It is blessed with a rich tradition and a golden heritage that spreads all around. The sanctified pilgrim centres in Rajasthan are not only places of worship but also monuments of great artistic beauty.

The very sight of these centres evoke feeling of purity and devotion, in the hearts of the pilgrims and draws them close to the Drive. The monuments make one feel that eternity has been preserved by mortal men, who have built brilliant architectural wonders to act as places of worship.

Shrinathji Temple, Nathdwara 
The Temple of shrinathji or Lord Krishna, belonging to the Vaishnav religion is located at Nathdwara, 48 kms. north of Udaipur. As thousands of tourists and pilgrims from all parts of the world pass the lofty mountains and serene lakes of Udaipur, it is impossible for them to resist visiting this important pilgrim centre.

Jain Temple, Ranakpur 
Ranakpur is located in the mountain ranges of Pali district, 23 kms away from the Phalna railway station. Ranakpur is reached after passing lush green valleys and streams and the heart capturing views drive away any fatigue of the journey. The Ranakpur Jain temples were built during the region of the liberal and gifted monarch Rana Kumbha in the 15th century.

Brahma Temple, Pushkar
The Brahma temple is an important pilgrim centre for the Hindus. It is nestled in the Pushkar valley which lies beyond Nagaparvat and the Anasagar lake. This place, full of natural beauty, holds a special place in the hearts of Indians for it is believed that Lord Brahma, together with all the gods and goddesses, performed a Yagya here. Legend also has it that the ancient lake Sarovar had appeared miraculously, when a lotus fell from the hands of Lord Brahma and dropped into the this valley. The image of Brahmaji in Pushkar is in a seated Palthi position.

Dilwara Temple, Mount Abu
The Jain temples at Dilwara, near Mount Abu are considered to be masterpieces of temple architecture. The Vimalvashi temple was built by the commander Vimalshah on the order of King Bhimdev in 1031 A.D. It took around 1,500 workers, several years to build. There are forty eight pillars, sixteen pillars have the images of females figures in dancing poses. The rang mandap is a beautiful piece of architecture.

Eklingji Temple, Udaipur
24 kms north of Udaipur is the temple of Eklingji, the tutelary deity of the rulers of Mewar. It is a complex of 108 temples enclosed by high walls with bathing terraces leading down to the water. The atmosphere excludes the fragrance of incense material such as dhoop, deep and sandalwood. The fifty feet high Eklingji temple has a multi- faced image of Lord Shiva made of black stone.

Dargah Sharif, Ajmer
The Dargah Sharif or the place of Where the Muslim saint KhajwaMoinudin Chishti lie sburied, draws piligrams and devotees from all parts of the Islamic world.But his admirers today come from all religions as the Dargah Sharif is considered a shrine where wishes are fulfiled.

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Rajasthan Music

Musical Instruments
The famous music of this state also brings with it a lot of very famous and widely accepted musical instruments.The state of Rajasthan can’t be thought about without its folksongs and folkdances and to keep in tandem, A wide variety of musical instruments are used.

The musical instruments range from the soft tinklers to thunderous kettledrums; from simple, slender flutes to intriguing trumpets; and from the rustic looking resonators for basic rhythm to elegant and fully developed bowing or plucking devices.

It’s a scintillating sight to see the folkmusicians of Rajasthan with their musical instruments, which are decorated with beautiful trappings and ornamental coverings and their colourful attire that mesmerizes the spellbound audience. These musicans are a group with musicin their souls.

Music for all Seasons
The music and the musicians of this state are so rich in their art that they have music for all seasons and festivals. These different Gharanas of muiscans have an almost endless variety of tunes,various mind blowing dance forms and a large number of musical instruments which collectively create the mesmerizing folk music which has retained the traditional form and has been captivating people from different parts of the world from ages.

Hard Working Musicans
The musicans of this state are a hard working lot who live life to the hilt. After a hard days work in the hot sun and rocky terrain, they take time off and let themselves go in gay abandon, dancing, singing watching puppet shows and other community festivities.

Performers of different gharanas like the Bhaats,Mirasis, Nats,Bhopas,Bhands and Dholis are present all across the state and are patronized by the villagers and traveling tourists. Thus the Music and the Musicians of this state go hand in hand to glorify the rich tradition and culture of this state.

The state of Rajasthan is famous for its traditional culture and folklore.The people of this place are humble and that is potrayed in their innocence and art of living.

The cultural tradition of this place has been the cause of anxiety to the people of the whole world. This helpps indrawing a lot of tourists to this state.

The musicand dance of this state reflects the richness of the cultural heritage of this place.The music and dance forms of this state have been a part and parcel of the social customs and have found a proud place in the annals of history as these were patronized by the rulers of different eras.

The legacy is not some decades old, but some centuries old. The music of this state depicts a lot of innocence and pertains to mostly water as the theme.

Mostly the songs sung by women are about water and this style is called Panihari. As Water the life saving drink plays a very significant role in the lives opf the people here, this style of singing is called Panihari.

But it is not only about water that the songs of this state are centered around, but there are folk-songs about love and lovers and the blow hot and blow cold relationship of the mother and daughter-in -law.

Variety in music
The music of this place also has a vast variety. Music has always played a very important role in the history of Rajasthan and is still one of the major contributors to the traditionally rich state. The music of this state also has a strong religious bent and is sung in the dedication of various deities.Most of the religioussongs are folk lores of some of the very famous saints like Surdas,Meerabai andKabirdas and are mostly heard in the night long soirees.

Talented Musicians
The musicians of this state are very talented and have a very deep knowledge of their art. This art of popularising the music has come down from ages as generation after generation has passed down the art of singing to the talented lot of the state.

The traditional entertainers like the Manganniyars,Mirasis,Langas and the Dholis have been instrumental in keeping the music of this state live and kicking for these generations. The songs sung by these particular groups have a vivid traditional touch and these singers are awesomely talented classical singers.

The songs normally begin with an Alap which sets the base and then the recital of the couplet that is called the Dooba.The songs also have the Taan, the Pitch, and the Tibias-ie.theTriplet which lends variance to the tune.

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Rajasthan Museums

The Royal State of Rajasthan is full of majestic palaces and marvellous high standing forts, temples, which are well known for their architecture and design. There are many museums in Rajasthan, which are treasure trove of ancient manuscripts, weapons. This heritage and culture is still alive in the state and is of most interest to all the tourists who viist this state in millions every year and try to take back these memories. These memories are kept in the musesum that throng the state and are highly appreciated. Some of the best Museums are:

Ajmer Government Museum 
The beautiful fort and palace built by the Mughal Emperor Jahagir in 1616 has been converted into this museum. What is today commonly known, as Magazine is the palace quarters where the emperors lived.After the British occupation in 1818 and during the First World War of Independence in 1857 the British that gave the name magazine used it as the Rajputana Arsenal.

Alwar Government Museum 
The Alwar Museum is situated in the old city areand it has different unique collection of arms, bidri work acquered and ivory work, musical instruments, stuffed animals, beautiful brass and pottery works from Jaipur, Multan, Bengal and Ceylon, miniature paintings and Persian and Sanskrit manuscripts. The paintings have been further divided into various sub-styles. The third section of the museum contains the armoury of State rulers. Various kinds of shiedls, swords, pistols, rifles, daggers and other items are on display.

Bikaner Fort Museum 
Ganga Mahal, is one of the special halls taken over by Maharaja Ganga Singh, now it is the Fort Museum.This museum like all museums in the state have a very mind blowing and a fine collection of antique Rajput weaponry, jade handle daggers, camel hide dhals (shiedls) and inliad handguns and camel guns.The furniture that were used then by thes rulers are also asved here for public viewing and the jewellery studded in these artifacts and furniture just leaves you gaping and wanting to see more and more of these very preciuos and priceless belongings.

The Ganga Golden Jubilee Museum 
The Ganga Golden Jubilee Museum is another feather in the cap of the State that has got this museum to its credit, as this museum in Rajasthan is considered to be very important. A fine collection of the heritage of Rajasthan, this museum in Bikaner has some principal sections like the History, Sculpture, Terracotta, Maharaja Ganga Singh Memorial, local Arts and Crafts section, Miniature Paintings, Folk-Arts section and Bronzes Armory.

Fateh Prakash Palace Museum 
Another very important and prominent museum in Rajasthan is the Fateh Prakash Palace Museum in Chittaurgarh.As we know Chittaurgarh is known for its special fort that represents the culture of this small city of Rajasthan.However a small portion of this palace is given for the purpose of keeping the heritage and culture of Rajasthan alive. This museum basically keeps a treasure trove of sculptures. Amongst the important ones are Ganpati from Pangarh along with Indra and Jain Ambica statues from Rashmi village of Podt medieval period. Also on display in the museum are many weapons, daggers, and armory.

Virat Nagar Museum 
Virat Nagar museum is in the capital city of Jaipur.It was also the cpita place of the legendary Matsayadesh. Frequent refences of Matsayadesh have been made in the Indian epic- the Mahabharat. In the period of these maharajas and maharani rule, the area around the district of Jaipur, Alwar and Bharatpur came to be known as Matsayadesh with Virat Nagar as its capital. The museum has a speciality and that is it is not very big in mits appearance as compared to the other museums but the best part is that it is one museum that has the riches collection of artifacts and sculptures that are stored here in this museum. The excavated pikkins old coins, seals, metallic pieces, weaponos and statues have been exhibited here.

Amer (Jaipur) Archaeological Museum 
Located in the Dil-e-A-aram Gardens, of Amer, the ancient capital of Jaipur, and established in 1949. Before the collections of all the excvated materials from Rairh, Bairat, Sambhar, Nagar etc. and the sculptures and epigraphs collected from various sites in the erstwhile Jaipur State were housed at Vidyadhar Gardens in Purana Ghat.

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Rajasthan Information

The Country of Temples and Monuments, country having a rich tradition and culture and a country with a lot of diversity, that’s what INDIA is.

A country so different from the rest in the world, a country which is blessed with Nature and a country which can boast of a lot of peace and tranquility entices every single individual in the world to pay a visit to this wonderful Mystical and Mesmerizing place.

And in this country, the state of Rajasthan is again a jewel in the necklace of this adventurous country India.Rajasthan is situated in the north part of the country and is most famous for its deserts.

To the outer world, this state is basically famous for its vast deserts and rich cultural and traditional heritage and artifacts.

The history of this state is very captivating and alluring too. History of this state goes back to 5000 years and is as rich as its landscapes, grand palaces and history rich forts and the tranquil camel safaris.

The various forts of this state have a long historical to them and were ruled by very Heroic and Dynamic rulers.

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