|Airport City||Kempegowda International Airport Bengaluru, Indira Gandhi International Airport, Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport, Rajiv Gandhi International Airport, Chennai International Airport|
|Offical Languages||Hindi, Bengali., English, Kannada, Gujarati|
|Food||Biryani, Roti & Bhajiya, Malai Kofta|
Autumn : Sep - Dec
Summer : Jun - Sep
Winter : Dec - Mar
Sprint : Mar - Jun
Delhi, India’s capital territory, is a massive metropolitan area in the country’s north. In Old Delhi, a neighborhood dating to the 1600s, stands the imposing Mughal-era Red Fort, a symbol of India, and the sprawling Jama Masjid mosque, whose courtyard accommodates 25,000 people. Nearby is Chandni Chowk, a vibrant bazaar filled with food carts, sweets shops and spice stalls.
Jaipur is the capital of India’s Rajasthan state. It evokes the royal family that once ruled the region and that, in 1727, founded what is now called the Old City, or “Pink City” for its trademark building color. At the center of its stately street grid (notable in India) stands the opulent, colonnaded City Palace complex. With gardens, courtyards and museums, part of it is still a royal residence.
Mumbai is well known for being a city on the edge – its slums overflow with life as its skyscrapers soar to the sky. This strange and extraordinary blend of rich and poor creates a city that strives to move India forward – this most populated city in India has to be seen to be believed.
The center for India’s creative culture, fashion, food and finance, Mumbai has some of the most expensive homes in the world and some of the biggest slums in Asia. This beguiling composite of Indian proportions is where the gateway to India is located – a stone arch built on the waterfront in 1923. Take a trip out of town for some time out and visit the cave temple complex of Elephant Caves.
Shimla is the capital of the northern Indian state of Himachal Pradesh, in the Himalayan foothills. Once the summer capital of British India, it remains the terminus of the narrow-gauge Kalka-Shimla Railway, completed in 1903. It’s also known for the handicraft shops that line The Mall, a pedestrian avenue, as well as the Lakkar Bazaar, a market specializing in wooden toys and crafts
Agra is a city in northern India’s Uttar Pradesh state. It's home to the iconic Taj Mahal, a mausoleum built for the Mughal ruler Shah Jahan’s wife, Mumtaz Mahal (who died in childbirth in 1631). The imposing main building features a massive dome and intricately carved white marble inlaid with precious stones. This is set behind a reflecting pool inside a courtyard defined by 4 minarets.
India’s high-tech hub city sits in the south and has become a booming cosmopolitan center of industry, nightlife and open spaces. This developing and dynamic city has emerged as a cultural bastion of shopping, food, drinking, and altogether good times. Bangalore’s modern outlook means it’s a place for visitors to relax and let their hair down. Enjoy lunches at independent cafes, take walks in its plethora of parks – but don’t forget to visit Krishnarajendra Market for that taste of all things Indian.
Udaipur, formerly the capital of the Mewar Kingdom, is a city in the western Indian state of Rajasthan. Founded by Maharana Udai Singh II in 1559, it’s set around a series of artificial lakes and is known for its lavish royal residences. City Palace, overlooking Lake Pichola, is a monumental complex of 11 palaces, courtyards and gardens, famed for its intricate peacock mosaics.
The old capital of India, Kolkata has a long and complex history. The East India Company founded the city as a trading center in 1773. Since then, the city has grown and developed to become the vast megacity of today. Known as the Tea Capital, Kolkata is a friendly place where poverty and modernity live side by side. Sights in the city include the ornate Dakshineswar Kali Temple, as well as the Taj Mahal-esque Victoria Memorial Museum and the monumental Howrah Bridge.
Darjeeling is a town in India's West Bengal state, in the Himalayan foothills. Once a summer resort for the British Raj elite, it remains the terminus of the narrow-gauge Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, or “Toy Train,” completed in 1881. It's famed for the distinctive black tea grown on plantations that dot its surrounding slopes. Its backdrop is Mt. Kanchenjunga, among the world’s highest peaks.
Varanasi is a city in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh dating to the 11th century B.C. Regarded as the spiritual capital of India, the city draws Hindu pilgrims who bathe in the Ganges River’s sacred waters and perform funeral rites. Along the city's winding streets are some 2,000 temples, including Kashi Vishwanath, the “Golden Temple,” dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva.
Kochi, in the southern state of Kerala, is a breath of fresh air. Situated on the coast, the city has a distinctly different feel compared to any more northern metropolis. The port town has been packed full of cultural diversity since it began trading with Arabs, Chinese and Europeans. The foreign influences can be seen throughout the city, including the tiled bungalows of Fort Kochi and the emblematic cantilevered Chinese fishing nets.
The Punjabi city of Amritsar lies on the border with Pakistan and is home to the holiest of Sikh sites. The Golden Temple is in the heart of the old walled city; this serene Sikh shrine provides a place for reflection and inspiration. The streets surrounding the temple are a frenetic fusion of people, markets and activity. Be sure to pick up some traditional goods, such as hand-embroidered fabrics and delicately ornate shoes.
Previously called Madras, Chennai is positioned in the Bay of Bengal. An important trading outpost, Channai’s Fort St. George was built in 1644 and is where visitors can learn more about the city’s past. Delve into the Chennai’s religious patchwork at the Kapaleeshwarar Temple – intricately adorned with carved images of gods – then take a walk inside the 17th-Century St Mary’s church. Marina Beach offers the chance to take some time out and enjoy tasting the richness of Indian cuisine at the beachfront food stalls.
Jodhpur is a city in the Thar Desert of the northwest Indian state of Rajasthan. Its 15th-century Mehrangarh Fort is a former palace that’s now a museum, displaying weapons, paintings and elaborate royal palanquins (sedan chairs). Set on on a rocky outcrop, the fort overlooks the walled city, where many buildings are painted the city’s iconic shade of blue.
Manali is a high-altitude Himalayan resort town in India’s northern Himachal Pradesh state. It has a reputation as a backpacking center and honeymoon destination. Set on the Beas River, it’s a gateway for skiing in the Solang Valley and trekking in Parvati Valley. It's also a jumping-off point for paragliding, rafting and mountaineering in the Pir Panjal mountains, home to 4,000m-high Rohtang Pass.
Sprawling and dynamic, Pune is the epitome of India’s future goals. The center of business and education, the city also brims with culture and customs. This busy student city strives for the India of the future, whilst still celebrating its traditions and heritage. There are many temples to explore, as well as the 2,000-year-old Sinhagad Fort and the Shaniwar Wada palace – built in 1740 and featuring a gate large enough for an elephant to pass through.
Munnar is a town in the Western Ghats mountain range in India’s Kerala state. A hill station and former resort for the British Raj elite, it's surrounded by rolling hills dotted with tea plantations established in the late 19th century. Eravikulam National Park, a habitat for the endangered mountain goat Nilgiri tahr, is home to the Lakkam Waterfalls, hiking trails and 2,695m-tall Anamudi Peak.
Laden with history, the timeworn, ancient lanes of Hyderabad’s old town are an inviting glimpse into an India of the past. Take a step along its wonky, winding alleys and let the spectrum of colors, smells and people wash over you. This is a city to learn more about India’s Islamic customs and get a glimpse into India’s pioneering high-tech future in this business-focused center – dubbed ‘Cyberbad’. A trip to the city isn’t complete without a visit to the huge and impressive Golconda Fort.
The golden city of Jaisalmer rises out of the Thar Desert in Rajasthan. Enticing visitors to its pretty streets, Jaisalmer’s sandstone fort looms over the city below, protecting it from invaders since 1155. The medieval city was once a trading point for people across Arabia, Egypt and Persia, and the evidence of this exchanging of culture remains evident today. The huge and sprawling citadel hides Jain temples, while the streets below its ramparts are overflowing with sandstone structures such as the incredible traditional haveli townhouses.
Slip into the enchanting atmosphere of Mysore and be mystified by its rich heritage and history. Mysore palace was built out of wood in 1897 and still stands today as an icon of intricate craftsmanship. As night falls, the palace is illuminated to create a magical golden glow. The city isn’t all about its multiple monuments; the beautiful Brindavan Gardens, along with the Karanji Lake, are both special spots in the city to spend time reflecting after a trip to the bustling city bazaars.
What is widely considered as the most beautiful building in the world, Taj Mahal is located in the historical city of Agra. It was built by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan as a memorial for his third wife, Mumtaz Mahal. Constructed entirely out of white marble in the 17th century, it is among the finest edifices of Mughal architecture. Recognised by the UNESCO as a world heritage site, this monument is also considered to be one of the seven wonders of the modern world. Every year visitors numbering more than the entire population of Agra pass through the magnificent gates to catch a glimpse of this breathtaking monument, and only a few leave disappointed. Shah Jahan said about the Taj that it made "the sun and the moon shed tears from their eyes".
The Taj Mahal stands for the Crown of Palaces in the Persian language. It rises from the dust-beaten earth of Uttar Pradesh, but even the wildest imaginations leave visitors underprepared for this world wonder. Covering an area of approximately 42 Acres, the Taj Mahal was constructed using white marble obtained from Makrana in Rajasthan.
Rabindranath Tagore described it as "a teardrop in the cheek of eternity" while Rudyard Kipling said it is "the embodiment of all things pure". The construction of the Taj Mahal began in 1631 and took 17 years before it was completed in 1648! The tomb is laid out in a rectangular shape and can be approached through a massive gateway which has an arch and alcoves on either side of it. The Taj, so majestic from the exterior, has equally splendid artistic work done in the interiors. There are water channels and fountains in the entrance which makes the monument even more spectacular. The reflection of this majestic spectacle in the Yamuna is almost poetic in its perfection!
The Red Fort Complex was built as the palace fort of Shahjahanabad – the new capital of the fifth Mughal Emperor of India, Shah Jahan. Named for its massive enclosing walls of red sandstone, it is adjacent to an older fort, the Salimgarh, built by Islam Shah Suri in 1546, with which it forms the Red Fort Complex. The private apartments consist of a row of pavilions connected by a continuous water channel, known as the Nahr-i-Behisht (Stream of Paradise). The Red Fort is considered to represent the zenith of Mughal creativity which, under the Shah Jahan, was brought to a new level of refinement. The planning of the palace is based on Islamic prototypes, but each pavilion reveals architectural elements typical of Mughal building, reflecting a fusion of Persian, Timurid and Hindu traditions The Red Fort’s innovative planning and architectural style, including the garden design, strongly influenced later buildings and gardens in Rajasthan, Delhi, Agra and further afield.
This palace fortress is known as the Red Fort because of the red sandstone fabric of its rampart walls. The fort with its halls, palaces, pavilions and serene gardens was completed in 1648. Within the enclosure of the red fort are located many fairytale buildings. The Diwan-i-Khas (also known as Shah Mahal) and the Rang Mahal (also called Imtiyaz Mahal or palace of distinctions) are the two most conspicuous buildings inside the Red Fort. The Hall of Public Audience (Diwan-i- Aam) is another famous building within the Red Fort. Son-et-lumiere shows, tracing the history of the Mughal Empire in India, outlining their glory and the eventful causes for their downfall are held in the Red Fort every evening.
Son-et-lumiere shows, tracing the history of the Mughal Empire in India, outlining their glory and the eventful causes for their downfall are held in the Red Fort every evening.
The All India War Memorial, popularly known as the India Gate, is located along the Rajpath in New Delhi. The imposing structure of India Gate is an awe-inspiring sight and is often compared to the Arch de Triomphe in France, the Gateway of India in Mumbai and the Arch of Constantine in Rome. This 42-meter tall historical structure was designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens and is one of the largest war memorials in the country. India Gate is also famous for hosting the Republic Day Parade every year. If you are keen to know more about World War I, you should head out to India Gate. It is also a treat for architecture lovers.
Dedicated to 82,000 Indian and British soldiers who died during the First World War and the Third Anglo-Afghan War, this monument has the names of 13,300 servicemen inscribed on its surface. The foundation stone of this structure was laid down in the year 1921, and the final building was unveiled in the year 1931 by the Indian Viceroy Lord Irwin. The premises of India Gate also houses the Amar Jawan Jyoti, which is a kindled structure right underneath the archway. Built in 1971 post the Bangladesh Liberation War, the Amar Jawan Jyoti symbolises the eternal, immortal soldiers of India. Owing to its rich historical background and astonishing architecture, India Gate has become one of the most popular picnic spots in the city.
Amidst the rush and chaos of Central Delhi, lies the peace and tranquillity of the largest mosque in the country. The 'Masjid-I Jahan-Numa' or Jama Masjid as it is more commonly known, means "World Reflecting Mosque." It was the last of Shah Jahan's impressive collection of architectural undertakings, after the Taj Mahal and the Red Fort. The mosque hosts thousands of pilgrims each year on the holy occasion of Eid to offer special Namaz in the morning. With a capacity of twenty-five thousand people in the courtyard, Jama Masjid is arguably the largest mosque in the country. Unfortunately, non-Muslims are not allowed inside the Masjid during Namaz offerings. Evenings are surreal when the steps leading to the mosque are filled with food and book stalls.
Jama Masjid is situated in the older part of Delhi, now called Chandni Chowk and surrounded by beautiful Mughal structures. It took a huge construction cost of one million rupees at the time, five thousand workers and six years (1650-1656) to complete. The purity of warm welcome can be felt here. To reach the entrance one needs to climb 121 steps. The massive central dome is an outstanding example of Islamic architecture. J Sadaullah Khan who was the Wazir (prime minister) during Shah Jahan's rule supervised the construction of the mosque.
Qutab Minar is the tallest minaret in India, standing some 73 metres (240 feet) tall. It was built after the defeat of Delhi’s last Hindu kingdom in 1193. The first three of its five distinct stories are made of fluted red sandstone, with the two at the top made of marble and sandstone. The basement of Qutab Minar was built in 1200, with the final storey completed more than 150 years later. Each storey is marked with a balcony and tapers, and the entire exterior is marked with detailed carvings and verses from the Koran.
The reason for Qutab Minar’s construction is disputed. Some believe it was constructed as a symbol of victory at the beginning of Muslim rule in India. Others believe it was erected as a minaret, for muezzins to call the faithful to prayer.
At the foot of the tower, visitors can see ruins of Quwwat Ui Islam (“Light of Islam”), which is thought to be the first Muslim mosque built in India. According to an inscription above the eastern gate, the mosque was built with material obtained when 27 Hindu temples were demolished.
Wander through the courtyard around the mosque and make a wish at the antique Iron Pillar, which is famous because of its resistance to rust. The highly skilled ancient Indian blacksmiths managed to extract and process the iron in a way that would stop it from corroding over time. It’s said that if you can wrap your hands around the 7-metre (23-foot) tall pillar while facing away from it, your wish will come true. The government has built a fence around the pillar, but there’s no harm in making a wish.
The Birla Mandir Temple, also known as Laxmi Narayan, is a landmark of New Delhi. The huge red, yellow and white three-storey temple was built in the early 1900s. It’s spread over 3 hectares (7.5 acres) and includes shrines, fountains and a large garden. The outside of the temple is covered with carvings portraying scenes from Hindu mythology.
The temple is dedicated to the Hindu goddess of prosperity, Laxmi, and the preserver of the universe, Narayana. It was inaugurated in the 1930s by Mahatma Gandhi with a condition that all castes would be allowed to enter.
The temple is one of the most popular holy places in Delhi. Take some time to meditate or sit quietly in one of the temple’s halls. Wander into the small temple dedicated to Buddha, in the same complex, where you will see frescoes on the walls illustrating his life. The garden outside is also a quiet and relaxing place to spend an hour or two listening to the manmade waterfalls.
Thousands of Hindus celebrate two festivals at the temple each year. The first, Janmashtami, is held in August or September, depending on the cycle of the moon. It celebrates the birthday of the Hindu god Krishna, the eighth incarnation of Vishnu. Diwali, the festival of lights, is the most important Hindu holiday and is held in October or November.
The temple is open daily and is free to visit. Photography is not permitted inside; lockers are available to store cameras, phones and shoes.
Long before the city skyline was flooded by shopping malls, there existed weekly markets in Delhi. Before Delhi city, turned into a metro city or before Delhi became one of the costliest cities in the world, Delhi was known for its urban haats. The urban haats were traditionally called Bazar and they would offer all kinds of items, at a reasonable price. Over time, with malls opening up, these markets shrank to the verge of extinction.
Incepted by Ministry of Tourism and Textiles in collaboration with Delhi Tourism, Delhi’s first Dilli Haat was inaugurated in the year 2003. The purpose of Dilli Haat was to promote the traditional handlooms and promote and preserve the tradition and culture of India. The markets in Dilli Haat showcase the traditional Indian clothes. Most of the items on sale are handcrafted and a representation of our traditional practices. Dilli Haat, apart from handlooms, also sell home decor items. The items on exhibition have unique design and beauty of the products have no match. The lost handicraft market has seen a surge in the demand as more and more people opt for shopping at Dilli Haat.
Today, Delhi is home to 3 such haats. The first Dilli Haat to open in Delhi was Dilli Haat INA. The market complex is spread over an area of 600 hectares and unlike other weekly local markets, Dilli Haat remains open all days of the week. The second Dilli Haat was constructed in Pitampura with Dilli Haat Janakpuri being the latest of all three. These markets acquaint buyers with the handicrafts of India, which were believed to be extinct a while ago.
Apart from shops, each Dilli Haat also features a food court built within the premise. These food courts allow buyers to grab a bite while they shop. Also, each Dilli Haat hoasts many cultural programmes. The Dilli Haat in Janakpuri boasts of its enchanting amphitheatre which witnesses numerous cultural performance, showcasing popular artists from all genres.
The inception of Dilli Haat was done in order to promote the handicrafts and handlooms in India and these Dilli Haat markets seem to have given the craftsmen a chance to exhibit their mesmerising creations.
Hawa Mahal is also called as Palace of Wind. This is a large screen wall in honeycomb structure, which was used by the women of the royal family to watch festivals happening on the street. Women of the royal family were not usually allowed in public and this building was erected to allow them watch public.
This structure is built like the crown of Lord Krishna, Hindu God. It has five stories with honeycomb structure. There are 953 windows in this palace. The top three floors are one room width where women stand and watch the road. The first two floors have patios furniture. The palace is built with minimal ornamentation. The building was built with sandstones and painted pink. You can find stone inlay work and arch works inside.
Tourists should enter the building through an imperial gateway, which opens to a large courtyard. There are two buildings on three sides of the courtyard and the Hawa Mahal stands on the east side. There is a small museum in the courtyard. The museum has a small collection of weapons, articles and antiques that were used in the past by the royal family. Each window has a chamber behind it where people stand or sit and watch the streets. There is a fountain in front of each chamber. The top two floors are maintained by the archaeological department and can be accessed through ramps.
The best time to visit is during early morning when the golden ray of sun fills the palace. The structure’s windows are normally closed to avoid accumulation of dust. Thus, it is not always possible to enjoy the wind gushing into the palace.
The palace is open from 9:30 am to 4:30 pm. You can stroll near the palace during night to watch the palace being lit with lights. The palace is open throughout the year and the best time to visit is from October to March.
In the Pink City of Jaipur, cradled on the top of the Aravali Hill lies the Amer Fort, one of the most magnificent palaces in India. Also commonly known as the Amber Fort, this majestic building with its maze-like passages and serpentine staircases is an architectural masterpiece and with significant importance in Indian history. Only 11 kilometres away from the capital city of Jaipur, Amer Fort is clad in pink and yellow sandstone and is a part of an extensive complex. Built by one of the most trusted generals of Akbar, Maharaja Man Singh I in the year 1592, Amer Fort served as the main residence of the Rajput Rulers.
The Amer Fort through its large ramparts, several gateways and paved paths overlooks the Maotha Lake in the town of Amer, which used to serve as the capital of the erstwhile Jaipur princely state. The fort is big enough that it will take you at least two to three hours to explore it in detail, and you can also choose to avail of the audio guides to lead you through this fascinating building while explaining the history of the place. Getting an elephant ride up the stairs to the Amber Fort is also a popular tourist activity. The fort sees over five thousand visitors daily and rightfully, the Amer Fort was inducted into UNESCO World Heritage Site list as part of the "Hill Forts of Rajasthan" along with five other forts.
The magnificent City Palace in Jaipur is one of the most famous tourist attractions located in the old part of the city. Built by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh during the years 1729 to 1732, the vast complex of the palace occupied one-seventh of the walled city. In fact, it was once the seat of the Maharaja of Jaipur. The palace is divided into a series of courtyards, buildings and gardens including the Chandra Mahal and the Mubarak Mahal. The museum showcases various unique handcrafted products and other things that belong to the royal heritage of the City Palace.
The facade itself is designed with acute and detailed handiwork and showcases a blend of Mughal and Rajput architecture styles. The outer wall was built by Jai Singh II, however, the palace itself has been subjected to various changes over the course of time, with some of them even belonging to the early 20th century. The City Palace has three gates, out of which the Virendra Pol and Udai Pol are open to the public.
Jaigarh Fort is a grand structure perched on the top of the 'Cheel ka Teela' hills in the Pink City of Jaipur. This magnificent edifice was commissioned by Sawai Jai Singh II in the year 1726 to protect Amer Fort. Cradled on the top of the cliff, it is a palatial structure bounded by verdant greenery and massive battlements. This magnificent fort is connected to Amer Fort through subterranean passages and is famously known as the 'Fort of Victory' as it was never conquered. The fort currently houses the world's largest cannon on wheels - 'Jaivana' and offers a magnificent view of the Jaipur city.
Conceptualized and designed by a talented architect called Vidhyadhar, Jaigarh fort is said to be the strongest of all the three forts and has never faced any major resistance. The fort reflects the city's prosperous past and is named after the ruler who got it built - Sawai Jai Singh II. Other than its elaborate architecture, the fort is also known for the huge treasure that was believed to be buried under it. However, it is believed that the treasure was seized by the government of Rajasthan in the 1970s.
The architectural marvel Jantar Mantar (also called the Vedh Shala Observatory), established in the 17th century is the oldest to be constructed among the group of five observatories ( Jaipur, Delhi, Ujjain, Mathura, and Varanasi). Maharaja Jai Singh took onto its construction in 1719 to help the Hindu scholars and astrologers with their research and studies. Jantar Mantar, an outcome of great diligence has not only served as the research station to astronomers in the old times but also continues to serve its astronomical as well as tourism purpose even today. Visiting the place would make you learn about the ways by which time, revolutions, and position of celestial bodies were calculated in the bygone age. Everything you see would surely make you think about the richness of king's intelligence. Furthermore, the place is a paradise for stargazers.
The studies of motions and orbits constituted here have bought it the name of 'Yantra Mahal'. It has different yantras such as Samrat Yantra, Sun Dial, Niyati Chakra, etc. The primary purpose behind the construction of Jantar Mantar was to illustrate and compile the data collected by astronomical calculations, the results of which helped in the study of the movement of sun, planets and their moons. Moreover, the observatory in Ujjain is the only observatory where astronomical research is still carried out. Several data including the study of planetary motions get published every year. Jantar Mantar indeed is a work of intelligence which undoubtedly has brought grandeur to the Indian Architectural works.
Sitting prettily right in the centre of the Man Sagar Lake on the outskirts of Jaipur, lies the splendid and tranquil Jal Mahal. A masterful creation, it is bordered by the Nahargarh Hills. This low rise symmetrical Palace was once a shooting lodge for the Maharajas and now fascinates many visitors from all over the world. Jal Mahal was constructed in the 1750s and was commissioned by Maharaja Madho Singh. It is indeed one of the most photographed monuments in India. The most striking feature of this palace is that while only one storey that appears above the water level, there are in fact 4 storeys submerged underneath.
It is one of the most beautiful architectural palaces built by combining the Mughal and Rajput styles of architecture. The entry inside the fort is prohibited, but the view from a considerable distance while boating is enough to mesmerize you. During the evenings, the fort lights up and the reflection of the fort in the lake is absolutely gorgeous. With its impressive beauty and laid-back ambience, the Jal Mahal has become a true tourist delight.
The magnificent Birla Mandir in Jaipur is a Hindu temple that forms a part of one of the several Birla temples located all around the country. Also known as the Lakshmi Narayan Temple, the shrine is situated on the Moti Dungari Hill. The temple was built in the year 1988 by the Birlas when the Maharaja of Jaipur gave the land away for a token amount of one rupee. Built purely out of white marble, the edifice of the Birla Temple is an amalgamation of ancient Hindu architecture styles and modern design. The walls of the temple are embellished with intricate carvings of Gods and Goddesses and words of wisdom from the Puranas and Upanishads. The pictures of historical achievers, legends, philosophers and spiritual saints like Socrates, Christ, Buddha, Confucius are also displayed in the temple. Do visit the Birla Temple during Janmashtami, as the temple is abuzz with activity during this time.
As the name suggests, Laxmi Narayan Temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu (Narayan), the preserver and his wife Lakshmi, the Goddess of wealth. The commemorated deity of Laxmi Narayan gets a special attention since it is carved out from a single piece of stone. Besides all other idols, the idol of Ganesha is a magnum opus that appears almost-transparent. The walls of the temple bear illustrations of important events and revelations that have been mentioned in Hindu sacred texts, which add to the aura of serenity in the temple. The gentle chanting of the holy mantras, the diffused fragrance of incense sticks and the occasional ringing of the temple bells will certainly transport you into your own version of higher consciousness. Visit Birla Temple for a rendezvous with the Divine.
Located just north to the glorious wonder called the Taj Mahal and overlooking the Agra Fort and Yamuna river on the opposite side, Mehtab Bagh is one of the last Mughal gardens and one of the most scenic spots in Agra. Perfectly quadrilateral in shape and colloquially known as the Moonlight garden, the stunning Mehtab Bagh is the last one of the eleven similar Mughal- built garden complexes along the Yamuna bank. Laid out in just the right symmetry and perfectly aligned with the gardens of Taj Mahal, the garden provides a picture-perfect view of the Taj from the fountain at the front of the entrance gate. Mehtab Bagh is a popular sunset spot among the photography fanatics and nature enthusiasts.
The splendid Mehtab Bagh has four sandstone towers, one each at the corner with a huge octagonal tank right in the centre. It is believed that Shah Jahan especially got the bagh designed for his personal interests so he could come up here and admire the infinite beauty of his favourite piece of art. On the moonlit nights, the clear reflection of the wondrous Taj Mahal in the waters of the park is a sight beyond description. Mehtabh Bagh is now a horticulture delight with scores of vibrantly blooming floral plants and medicinal herbs, besides the umpteen fruit trees, which add to the beauty of the park.
A city, predominantly made of red sandstone, Fatehpur Sikri was founded in 16th century by Mughal Emperor Akbar. It is essentially a fortified city built by the king and had been the capital of his Empire for fifteen years. Now a UNESCO world heritage site and a famous tourist attraction, it is a fine example of Mughal architecture. Fatehpur Sikri is home to Jodha Bai's palace, Jama Mosque, Buland Darwaza, and a Tomb of Salim Chisti among many other famous monuments, each of which, is an integral part of the Indian heritage.
A unique blend of architectural excellence, as well as religious beliefs - sums up Fatehpur Sikri. This monument was built by Akbar to honour Sheikh Salim Chisti, whose prediction of the birth of a Mughal heir came true while Akbar was visiting the then city of Sikri. In honour of the prophecy, Akbar built this city and Jama Masjid, a stunning mosque which is still in use today. He also undertook the construction of three palaces for each of his favourite wives, one a Hindu, one a Muslim and one a Christian. An Indo-Islamic Masterpiece, Fatehpur Sikri is enclosed by an 11 km long fortification wall which has various gateways.
A paradise for History buffs, this place is a must visit! You can go on a one day trip from Agra to Fatehpur Sikri.
Located within the Red Fort, the Diwan-i-Khas, or the hall of private audiences is where the Emperor would conduct meeting with heads of state and high ranking officials. The hall is essentially a rectangular chamber with high arched openings, which are beautifully engraved. The arches are held in place by piers, which have been adorned with floral designs.
In the centre of the Diwas-i-Khas would rest the famous Peacock Throne on which Shah Jahan would sit and preside over meetings. The throne was eventually looted by Nadir Shah in 1739. The Nahr-i-Bihisht or the “Stream of Paradise” would flow through the centre of the Diwan-i-Khas and the arches at the corner of the hall bore inscriptions from the lines of the famous 9th century Persian poet Ferdowsi.
Experience the tradition, culture and diversity of real India at Korai Village in Agra. One of the most surreal places to visit in Agra, Korai Village offers tourists a perfect way to explore rural life in India. From evening folk dance performances to interacting with locals to seeing their way of living, Korai Village tells everything about the rural lifestyle in India which is intriguing in itself. This popular tourist site in Agra is a culturally-rich place which is worth of tourists’ time, and hence, offers the best holiday experience.
The Kalakriti Cultural and Conventional Centre is an arts, culture and conventional centre in Agra. The aim of the centre is to celebrate the beauty and uniqueness of Indian culture and heritage. The centre offers visitors a chance to view intricate inlay work on marble. Apart from that, the Kalakriti Cultural and Convention Centre has a handicrafts showroom where one can purchase items made of marble, metal, wood and thread. The key attraction of the Kalakriti Cultural and Convention Centre remains the popular musical drama, Mohabbat-the-Taj: The Saga of Love, which is a series of plays staged every day at 6:30 pm.
Pichola Lake is the crowning glory of City of Lakes - Udaipur. This artificial lake was made in the 14th century to cater to the shortage of water in the region. The crystal waters of the lake with the backdrop of the Aravali hills was what impressed the erstwhile Maharanas of Rajasthan and leaves spectators awestruck even today. The most amazing aspects of this lake are the four islands that speck its surface: Jag Mandir Island, Jag Niwas Island, Arsi Vilas Island and Mohan Mandir Island.
James Bond lovers should surely make it a point to visit the lake, as the movie Octopussy (1983) was shot here. When you are enjoying a boat ride in the calm waters of the lake, ask your guide to narrate the tale of Natini's curse to get a taste of local legends and fables.
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Built on the banks of Lake Pichola, the City Palace in Udaipur is considered to be the largest royal complex in Rajasthan. The magnificent palace was built in the year 1559 by Maharana Uday Singh and served as the main seat of power, where the Maharanas lived and administered the kingdom from. Subsequently, the palace was made even more splendid by his successors, who added a number of structures to it. The Palace now has an assortment of Mahals, courtyards, pavilions, corridors, terraces, rooms and hanging gardens. There is a museum here as well that showcases some of the finest elements of Rajput arts and culture - from colourful paintings to the typical architecture found in Rajasthani palaces.
Nestled in the bosom of the Aravallis, the granite and marble edifice of the City Palace stands in contrast to its quaint natural surroundings. The intricate architecture of the regal palace is a subtle mix of medieval, European as well as Chinese influences and is embellished with numerous domes, arches and towers. The City Palace itself lies on a bed of lush green garden and is quite an imposing sight to behold. The regal beauty of this attraction has quite a few fans in the film industry as well, and several movies such as 'Guide' and 'Octopussy' have been shot here. A gentle amalgam of architectural genius and rich heritage, the City Palace of Udaipur is a wonderful trip down the pages of history.
Dedicated to the preserver of the universe, Lord Vishnu; the Jagdish Temple is a grand and majestic structure that stands in the City Palace Complex of the breathtaking city of Udaipur in Rajasthan. Jagdish Temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu, also known as Lord Laxmi Narayan and is reputed for being the most significant temple in the entire city of Udaipur. In fact, the gateway to this grand temple can be seen from the Bara Pol of the City Palace. Beautiful carvings, numerous appealing statues and an atmosphere of serenity make this place of worship an ideal choice for seekers of solace and faith.
The main shrine houses the striking four-armed statue of Lord Vishnu, which is carved out of a single piece of black stone. The main shrine of Lord Jagdish is centrally located, encircled by four smaller shrines. These shrines are dedicated to Lord Ganesha, the Sun God, Goddess Shakti and Lord Shiva respectively. The atmosphere inside the shrine is enveloped with utter calmness and serenity and is an experience that you definitely should not miss.
Eklingji Temple is one of the most popular temples of Rajasthan and is sited at a distance of 22 km to the north of Udaipur. Eklingji Temple is dedicated to the Lord Shiva of the Hindu religion and its brilliant architecture drives several tourists here every year. This double-storied temple looks magnificent with its pyramidal style of roof and uniquely carved tower. The outer walls of the temple are stretched with steps that lower touching the serene waters.
Established in 734 A.D. by Bappa Rawal, Eklingji is purported to have been the ruling idol of Mewar rulers. On entering this hall, you would see a beautiful silver image of Nandi and inside the temple, there are two other images of Nandi carved in black stone and brass respectively. This temple is filled with an enthralling fragrance and is known for a striking four-faced idol of Eklingji (Lord Shiva) that is made out of black marble. Its height ranges around 50 feet and its four faces depict four forms of Lord Shiva. The Shivlinga garlanded by a silver snake is a major tourist attraction.
Located just on the outskirts of the city of Udaipur, perched atop a hill, Sajjangarh Palace is a former royal residence belonging to the Mewar dynasty, who ruled over this place for centuries. The palatial complex is named after its patron, Maharana Sajjan Singh, who ordered its construction and had it erected in 1884. It was originally intended to be a nine-storeyed astronomical observatory to note and assess the arrival and patterns of monsoon clouds, which could be easily perceived from the palace because of its location at a strategic vantage point at one of the hilltops of Aravalli, called Bansdara Peak. For this reason, it has also earned the name Monsoon Palace. It would have also created employment opportunities for the subjects.
However, due to the premature death of Maharana Sajjan Singh, that did not turn into a reality. His successor Maharana Fateh Singh transformed it into a place of recreation. During his tenure and after that, the Monsoon Palace was primarily used as a hunting lodge for the royal family of Mewar and their guests. Staying true to the contemporary styles of that time, Sajjangarh Palace displays a fascinating Rajput architecture, complete with high towers, turrets, balconies and pillars. It even had the facilities to harvest rainwater in unique scientific techniques.
Situated in the Gangaur Ghat Marg of Udaipur in the state of Rajasthan, Bagore ki Haveli is an opulent gracious palace which was built in the eighteenth century on the waterfront of Lake Pichola. Boasting of over a hundred rooms which have elaborate exhibits done up in mirror and glass works, the haveli was built by the Prime Minister of Mewar Kingdom- Amar Chand Badwa. Beautiful paintings and murals from the mewar era adorn the walls of the palace; the Queen’s Chamber is the most popular of the lot which has on display two very gorgeous glass and mirror sculptures of peacocks. Restored and renovated time and again, the haveli has been finally converted into a museum that is thronged by not just regular tourists but also history buffs and culture explorers. The highlight of the haveli is the popular Dharohar Dance Show that is held here every evening which showcases the culture and folk tradition of Rajasthan.
Lying to the north-west of Udaipur, Fateh Sagar Lake is a sparkling lake which is one of the major tourist spots in the city. Surrounded by the Aravalli Hills, it is the second largest artificial lake in the city and is known for its scenic beauty. The atmosphere here is calm, and tourists are bound to find themselves enthralled by the blanket of tranquillity the place warms them up with. One can witness the circumference of the Fateh Sagar Lake by driving on the Moti Magri Road and get a fantastic view of the entire lake. Apart from enjoying a laid-back afternoon in the serene beauty of this destination, you can also try your hand at boating and a number of other water sports that are available here for the visitors.
The Fateh Sagar Lake is sprawled over an area of one square kilometre and is divided into three distinct islands. The largest of these is called the Nehru Park and houses a boat-shaped restaurant and a small zoo for kids. It also doubles as a famous picnic spot. The second island has a public park with water-jet fountains. The third island comprises of the best solar observing site in all of Asia, the Udaipur Solar Observatory. Being one of the four lakes in the city, people often flock here to enjoy boating on the surreal blue waters and look at the scenic beauty. Its surreal beauty and quaint charms have made it one of the most popular weekend destinations and is a must visit for anyone touring the city.
The only road border crossing between India and Pakistan, Wagah lies between Amritsar in India and Lahore in Pakistan, and is located approximately 29 kilometres away from the city.
It is home to the Radcliffe Line, which is the demarcation between India and Pakistan and was drawn during the partition of India in 1947. The illustrious lowering of the flags ceremony takes place here at the Wagah Border; a daily military practice followed by the Border Security Force (BSF) and the Pakistan Rangers, since 1959.
Wagah Border attracts crowds in large numbers including elderly people, children and foreign nationals. From shouts of patriotism, to the powerful show put up by the BSF and Pakistan Rangers, a visit to Wagah is a gripping experience.
One of the most spiritual places in India, Golden Temple, also known as Sri Harmandir Sahib, is the holiest shrines in Sikhism and is alive with religious fervour and sacredness. Its divinity is a thing that can only be experienced and not described. After going through a tumultuous period of demolitions, it was rebuilt by Maharaja Ranjit Singh in 1830 purely with marble and gold. It is the view of the resplendent shrine, glistening in the centre of the tank that brings an infinite calmness. It is located right in the heart of Amritsar and is easily reachable from any part of the city. Serving as a symbol of brotherhood and equality, Golden Temple is visited by people from all over the world who come here to seek spiritual solace and religious fulfilment. In spite of the thousands of people milling about in the premises of the temple, the only voice you will hear around you is silence interspersed with chants of the Sikh prayers.
Located in the beautiful city of Amritsar, Golden Temple is just a small part of the vast complex known as Harmandir Sahib or Darbar Sahib to the Sikhs. The spiritual focus is the tank, the Amrit Sarovar, which surrounds the glistening central shrine. Amritsar takes its name from this Amrit Sarovar which was excavated in 1577 by the fourth Sikh guru, Guru Ram Das.
Around the edge of the compound, there are more shrines and monuments. The Sikh Museum is located inside the main entrance clock tower which shows the oppression endured by the Sikhs at the hands of the Mughals, the British and the Indian Government of 1984. The Ramgarhia Bunga is a protective fortress located at the southeast end of the tank and is surrounded by two Islamic-style minarets. Golden Temple is indisputably one of the most exquisite attractions in the world.
Popularly known as the Amritsar Massacre, this incident took place on April 13, 1919, at Jallianwala Bagh, Amritsar, Punjab. It marks one of the major heinous political crimes committed by the Britishers during the twentieth century. It is named after the famous Jallianwala Bagh, which is a public garden stretched over an area of 7 acres, with walls covering all of its sides
The Jaswant Thada is an architectural marvel with intricate carvings. Famed as one of the most beautiful white marble cenotaphs, it was built in 1899 by Maharaja Sardar Singh in commemoration of his father Maharaja Jaswant Singh II. This white marble wonder of Rajasthan is often called the Taj Mahal of Marwar. The splendid edifice is a perfect example of Rajputana style of architecture. Its impeccable design and architecture is symbolic of the fine craftsmanship of the bygone era.
The main memorial is built like a temple, with beautiful domes and finely carved sculptures. Visitors can see here beautiful portraits of the various rulers of Jodhpur. The complex also features a memorial of a peacock that flew into a funeral pyre. Magnificently carved gazebos, an exquisite multi-tiered garden and a small lake surround the cremation ground.
Built in 1943, Umaid Bhavan Palace in Jodhpur is a wonderful amalgamation of a fascinating past and a luxurious present. It is, at the same time - a heritage hotel, a museum and the residence of the Royal Family of the present owner, Raja Gaj Singh. In addition to being of a historical landmark, the palace was commissioned in 1929, was built in order to provide employment to the drought and grief-stricken farmers of the area and thus took longer to complete. Umaid Bhavan Palace offers amazing encounters ranging from heritage walks to unforgettable dining experiences. The award-winning hotel is well-known and loved for its hospitality and a feel of the luxurious living. It was recently in the news for being the site of the Bollywood Superstar Priyanka Chopra and Nick Jonas - a renowned Pop Star from the Band - One Direction.
At present, the 347 - room palace has been divided into three parts. One part is the residence of the royal family, where the tourists are not allowed to enter. The second houses a museum which displays a rich collection of photographs, arms, clocks, stuffed animals and many other possessions of the royal family. The third part of the palace has been converted into a five-star hotel and offers the most exquisite services to its clientele. It is one of the most popular hotels in Jodhpur. Perched atop the mighty Chittar Hill, this palace is often referred to as the Chittar Palace too. To add to the beauty of the palace, there is a beautiful garden outside with lush greenery and different varieties of flowers.
Mehrangarh, also known as Mehran Fort was built by Rao Jodha in 1459 in Jodhpur, is one of the largest forts in the country. It is situated at the top of a 410 feet elevated hill and guarded by massive walls. One of the most easily recognisable forts in Jodhpur, it has appeared in many Hollywood and Bollywood productions such as The Lion King, The Dark Knight Rises, and the more recent - Thugs of Hindostan. The entrance of the fort, atop a hill, is majestic and has seven gates. These are called Victory Gate, Fateh Gate, Gopal Gate, Bhairon Gate, Dedh Kamgra Gate, Marti Gate and finally Loha Gate. Each of these was built at different times and serves a very specific purpose. While one still has marks of cannon balls being hit on it, the other has spikes that can protect it from elephant and animal attacks. However, Victory Gate was built to commemorate the win of Maharaja Man Singh over Jaipur and Bikaner armies. The fort also has opulent palaces such as the Sheesh Mahal (Glass Palace) and Phool Mahal (Rose Palace).
The intricate carvings on the walls of the fort, the sprawling courtyards, its impressive history, striking palaces, museums and galleries allure tourists from all over the world. The fort also has one of the well-stocked museums of Rajasthan. There are six different galleries in the Mehrangarh Museum: Elephant's howdahs, Palanquins, Daulat Khana, Armoury, Paintings and the Turban Gallery. National Geological Monument, Nagnecha Mataji Temple, Chamunda Temple and Rao Jodha Desert Rock Park are the tourist attractions in Mehrangarh Fort.
Away from the hustle bustle of the main market, the temple is soaked in absolute peace and serenity. You will be charmed by the sheer art of amazing stone carvings that depict local deities, plants and various animals at Hidimba Devi Temple. The stone carving inside the temple had naturally sprung up from earth and the structure is made around it. Devoted to Hidimba Devi, Bheema’s wife in the Mahabharata, this one of its kind temple is flocked by devotees all through the year. Tracing back the origin, it was constructed by Maharaja Bahadur Singh during 1552. The temple also serves as a venue to local weddings, so if you’re lucky, you might chance upon some happy celebrations! Reached by a small flight of stairs, there are benches around the premises where you can relax and treasure a few moments of peace and quiet. The picturesque surroundings offer ample opportunities for amateurs to click away. You can also head to the nearby market and purchase some Himachali shawls.
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The Beas River is a river passing through the northern Indian states of Himachal Pradesh and Punjab. It is one of the five rivers, from which Punjab, meaning 'five rivers', gets its name. The total length of the river is 470 km (290 miles). The drainage basin of the river is 20,303 sq km large.
The Beas town in the Amritsar district of Punjab lying at its banks is named after the river. The river serves as a source of water to all the cities, towns and villages that fall in its course. The river adds to the natural beauty of the Himalayas.
Manu Temple, a beautiful temple dedicated to Sage Manu, is located in the mesmerizing valley of Manali in Himachal Pradesh, India. The temple lies in the Beas River Valley, in Kullu District which is about 275 kilometres North of Shimla. The topographical features of the valley are inviting, and trekkers all over the world are drawn to Manali. It has been a tourist attraction for quite some years, and travellers wanting to come closer to the divine powers of Indian deities usually come here seeking peace and to be spiritually enlightened. As one explores the region, they are sure to notice the calmness around the beautiful Manu Temple. Absorb the tranquillity as you breathe in the fresh air and enjoy the pleasant greenery around.
The Manu Temple is said to be the only temple dedicated to the King Manu, who was later known as Sage Manu in India. The temple is a pagoda structure that offers a glimpse into history and spirituality through its fascinating architecture. The name Manali was derived from the Sage's name who is believed to be the creator of the human race.
Some may find it difficult to reach Manu Temple because there is only a narrow road that leads to the shrine; however, the journey is certainly pleasant. You'd be exhilarated on making it to the magnificent temple and surely will feel blessed at the sight of the deity.
1 ) Diwali
Festival Month - October
This pan Indian festival, famous for lighting up our lives, Diwali is joyously celebrated globally now. Sending a powerful message of the triumph of good over evil, the festival is celebrated in every nook and corner of the country. People enjoy the festival of lights by beginning the day with an auspicious pooja, followed by welcoming the night with new traditional clothes, sweets and glowing deeyas. The houses are decorated with garlands of electric lights and colourful rangolis. Ignite the light of brotherhood and goodness in you being through the festival of Diwali. Best Places to Celebrate Diwali:
2 ) Dussehra- Vijayadasami
Festival Month - October
The culmination of the 9 days of Navrati, end in the 10th day of Dussehra. The key attraction of this festival is the burning down of the effigies of Ravan and his two brothers, symbolic of when Lord Rama destroys Ravan in the epic tale of Ramayana. The effigies are filled with firecrackers, resulting in a cacophony of loud sounds as the entire- almost 100 feet high- structure breaks down. This is followed by even loud cheers from the crowd, that celebrate the symbolic feat. At some places, the days following up to Dussehra are marked by portraying the entire Ramayana through street plays called Ramlila.
3 ) Janmashtmi- Birth of Lord Krishna
Festival Month - August
The revered Hindu God, Lord Krishna’s birthday, is celebrated as Janmashtmi prominently in North India. However, the main festivities take place in Vrindavan and Mathura, the birth place of Krishna. Here, the temples are filled with throngs of people, fasting on this auspicious day and waiting for the temple priest to reveal the Krishna idol at the exact time of his birth. Elsewhere, the festival is celebrated with much gusto, with programs in the local community dedicated to the life stories of Krishna, depicted in an artistic manner.