Tuesday, 23 December 2014

St. Paul's Church, Melaka, Malaysia

 Nossa Senhora Da Annunciada!

Adding to the long list of historical places in Melaka, comes another ruin called "St. Paul's Church". It is located at the top of St. Paul's Hill or alternative called Malacca Hill. 

St. Paul's Church, Malacca 
St. Paul's Church is situated quite close to another famous ruin, A Famosa.  Originally St. Paul's Church used to be a chapel and was called the Chapel of the Mother of God or Our Lady of the Hill. The original structure was constructed 5 centuries back around 1521. The Portuguese captain, Duarte Coelho, constructed this chapel in gratitude to the Virgin Mary for saving his life during a storm at Sea. In 1548, the archbishop of Goa, India, passed the chapel to the Society of Jesus. And Francis Xavier received the title deed on behalf of the Society of Jesus.

Portuguese carried out further construction by adding second floor to the chapel in 1556 and then  adding an additional tower to it in 1590. During the Dutch rule all Portuguese buildings were destroyed beside the A Famosa. Chapel was also damaged very badly. However Dutch carried on reconstruction and convert the chapel to the St. Paul's Church which is the name used till date. Dutch used this place for worship for around 100 years. 

Pictures of St. Paul's Church
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Later on Dutch constructed a different church, Christ Church, downhill and abandoned the St. Paul's Church. In 1824, British took over Malacca and converted St. Paul's Church to a storage house. Till date you can find the Dutch and Portugues tombstones inside. Though these epitaph have long been obscured by lichen, they are noteworthy because their presence provides an interesting catalog of the times, such as the tombstones of five members of a family that died within 20 days of each other during the diphtheria epidemic  of 1756. These things definitely adds to the colorful history of this historical city of Melaka.  Once you reach the top of the hill you can have very good look over the city of Melaka and Straits of Malacca. 


By the way, there is no mystery behind "one hand statue" of St. Paul at the hill, a day after the status was unveiled a tree fell on it and cut off his right hand. Although some people think "one hand statue" represent actual incident where his hand was kept as relic!

How to go to St. Paul Church

St. Paul is situated very close to Christ Church and A Famosa. You should be able to walk to it from Christ Church. If you are far away. The only reliable option for you could be taxi as we found the bus frequency was not good in Melaka.

Happy travelling...

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Christ Church, Melaka, Malaysia


Oldest Surviving Dutch Church Overseas!


Christ Church is the oldest Protestant church in MalaysiaIt's located at Dutch Square, also known as Red Square. This church is one of the main attraction of Melaka. It was originally built in 1753 by Dutch. The bricks used for the construction of the church were specially brought from Holland and walls were not plastered in original structure as you see them today. 

Christ Church
However, Britishers plastered all the walls and painted it light maroon. And later on Malaysian government decided to painted it dark maroon as we see it today. 

Overall the church is very well maintained. Although it is older than 200 years but still being used for worship. You can attend the service on Sunday. 

The Christ church symbolizes the Dutch rule of Malacca. The architecture of the church resembles those back in Netherlands. Near to the church building stands a miniature wind mill to further illustrate the city's link to Dutch.

Queen Victoria Water Fountain 
Of course, this place is one of the most scenic part of Malacca. You will find beautifully decorative rickshaw near to the church as well which makes this entire place more colorful. At the weekend nights the opposite side of the river comes alive with the market called Jonker Street Night Market. 

There are few dislikes as well. First, although it's historical site but you will find traffic all around. Malaysian government should not allow private vehicles here. It really gets messy, you could be stuck in traffic jam for some frustrating time. Second, being a religious place this place deserve to be peaceful but opposite is true. You will hear very loud music from the rickshaws and near by hawkers

You will like the place only if you wish to see a very old architecture. Don't expect this church to drop your jaw, you will be disappointed! And also don't be disappointed if you find it closed for the day. In both cases picture from outside looks more fabulous!

How To Go To Christ Church

Well to be very frank it's next to impossible to miss this place. 

Decorated Rickshaw 
The tourism office and the stadthuys is situated just next of this beautiful building. This church is one of the highlights of Melaka and a post card image of Melaka tourism. Make sure it's in your list of things to do in Malacca!

Happy travelling...

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Delhi, India


The City Of Cities - Delhi

Why Was It On My List?

Delhi is the capital, microcosm and vibrant melting pot of India. Delhi is one of the leading cities in world. It is said to be 5000 years and is one of the oldest habitat-ed city along with Varanasi and Jerusalem. Delhi was destroyed and rebuilt 11 times during these 5000 years. Delhi has been a very important city for different empires if Delhi falls ruler falls, if Delhi holds ruler shines. 

Delhi
It's one of my favorite city to get hungry! The biggest disadvantage of being born in such a historical city, you become very choosy of food, culture and tourist places. Such choices make you very picky, creating a trouble for your own good when travelling other not so privileged cities around the India or world! 

Delhi can be divided into two parts. Old Delhi, capital of Muslim India and New Delhi, capital during British Raj of India. The architectural style of these two parts is completely different. At one side you will find beautiful Islamic architectures and on the another side, you will find grand British style buildings.  

Delhi is home to many great monuments which includes temples, gardens, museums, colorful open air markets and the list goes on and on. It's really very hard to visit all tourist places in shorter period of time unless you plan to stay at least a week or so. 


Things to do or visit in Delhi 

Delhi is one of the most historic capital of world. Following is my pick of tourist places to visit, feel free to add !
  • India Gate
  • Lotus Temple
  • Red Fort
  • Akshardam Temple
  • Qutab Minar
  • Humayun's Tomb
  • National Zoological Park
  • Jama Masjid 
  • Laxminarayan Temple
  • Gurdwara Bangla Sahib
  • Jantar Mantar
  • Mausoleum of Ghiyath al-Din Tughluq
  • Lodhi Gardens
  • Safdarjung's Tomb
  • Purana Qila
  • Sansad Bhavan 
  • Rashtrapati Bhavan
  • Raj Ghat
  • Chandni Chowk
  • Doll Museum
  • Adventure Theme Park 
== Photos From My Trip ==
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Transportation

The public transportation service of Delhi is getting better day by day. The city bus service includes three kind of buses. Low floor red color buses are fitted with air conditioners where as low floor green color buses are without air conditioners and low floor/normal floor orange buses are private companies buses without any air conditioners. As far as the ticket prices are concerned red color low floor bus is the most expensive one. You can get a pass for 50 Rs which will be valid for entire day unlimited rides but note that daily passes are not valid if you happen to choose orange color bus service.

For tourism purpose Delhi government started a bus service called "HoHo" buses (hop on hop off). These buses go to all tourist places in Delhi. Ticket is bit expensive but saves lots of head ache at the end of the day.

Taxis and Autos are easily available at your call. However, the transportation mean which I like the most in Delhi is of course Metro rail service. It's a huge network and still growing. You should be able to find your destination on it's map. If so, Metro should be your choice of travelling.   

Stay

There are places to stay all over the city. You can find the one suiting your choice without much of pain but most of the tourists stay at one of three places, namely, Pahargang, Old Delhi and Karol Bagh. Paharganj should be place for your stay, if you are looking for low budget hotels. It got many backpacker's hotel. Place is easy to find as it is well known tourist pocket near to the New Delhi railway station. If you are looking for mid range hotel with peace surrounding Karol Bagh is the one you should be heading for room. And if you are adventurous then you should be looking for a room in Old Delhi area.  

Food

Indian's first love is street food. The menu is only limited to one's imagination and food is not for light hearted :) If you plan to travel India, it is advisable to make your self used of tasty spicy food. The Indian food you eat outside of India is just a tip of iceberg. Kebab, biryani and tandoori are just part of menu here instead of being complete menu in themselves. For vegetarians, I think India is the only place in the world where a person can remain vegetarian for his entire life and still spoiled with choices. Pay a visit to Chandni Chowk market if you wish to try some great street food.    

Happy travelling...

Monday, 13 October 2014

A Famosa, Melaka, Malaysia


The Famous - A Famosa!


A Famosa is a 16th century built fortress located in Malacca. It is one of most prominent photo spot of this historical city. Although the entire structure has been almost destroyed but a lone gate called 'Porta de Santiago' still stands tall reminding the days of Portuguese control over Melaka.
A Famosa
The original structure had capacity to hold entire Portuguese administration including hospitals, churches, captain's residence and an officers' quarters.  Mind you it's one of the only few existing European architecture still standing in this part of the world.

A bit of history, the Portuguese had control over Goa, India and Macau, China in 16th century. These ports were used for business purposes. En route was the Malacca port which became too famous for it's own good. Portuguese decided to take control of Malacca in their hands. Under the command of Alfonso they attacked the Malacca Sultanate which resulted in Portuguese control over Melaka. 
Graves at the back side of A Famosa
Once Malacca became the Portuguese controlled port they tried to save their win by constructing a fort named "A'Famosa". But their luck run out and fort could not save them from Dutch attack. The Dutch took over the control of the fort and threw Portuguese out of Melaka. Marking the end of Portuguese rule.

During Dutch rule which lasted more than a century many Dutch Style Buildings were constructed to represent their heritage. But they also lost their control over the fort to the Britishers. From 1826 on-wards, British East India company along with Singapore and Penang governed it, under the straits settlement administration in Calcutta, India
A Famous From The Back Side 
Later Britishers were the one who converted this fully constructed fort to a single gate by demolishing it's entire structure.

Seeing it's current condition it is really very hard to imagine that it used to be a defensive seaside fort. Today, this fort is just a lovely little place to pause and take some photos. Inside the remaining gate and on the way up the hill there are various signboards explaining the history of Melaka. You will find a cemetery upstairs of some note worthy person, I don't know whom :) At the end one can only say, that you don't often see a 500 years old fort ( OK, a 500 years old gate!). 

Hang-on this lady doesn't look that old!
It may not be in best condition but still a good posing spot. And mind you this single gate is the biggest contributor to Melaka's historical tag!

How To Go To A'Famosa Fort

Public transportation in Melaka is not at par with other cities like Kuala Lumpur. City buses  are really in very bad shape and taxi charges you hand and leg. if you bargain at front with taxi driver before getting into it might help. To some relief most of the tourist places are situated close by Christ Church, A Famosa is not exceptional. You should be able to walk to A Famosa if you happen to be somewhere near to Christ Church.

Happy travelling...

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Wagah Border, Amritsar, India


A Ceremony Of Hatred!


Daily exactly at 5 PM, in middle of a town called "Wagah" divided into India and Pakistan, people gather in huge number on both sides to be part of a so called border closing 'ceremony'. It begins with cultural programs, people cheering for their respective countries and making you feel like you are part of a program which aims to bring people of these two countries together and then bang! Before you know anything it starts to heat up as soldiers from each of two countries stand head to head and staring each other down. 
Wagah Border*
Crowd starts to shout on their counterparts using all kind of 'respectful' words . The waves of the patriotism sounds in between is so fake that you can sense they want to continue with their 'on spot' invented abusive words for their counterpart than anything else. And soon you realize it is not a calm but tense border and this show off could be anything but a ceremony, you are in middle of a fucking mini war where instead of bullets coming to you are the words like 'teri maaki' 'teri bhanki'!



Police maintaining a sea of people heading towards main ceremony area 
It looks very interesting to be part of this daily stupidity but watch closing you will realize how much we hate each other as countries. Both praying for a dooms day scenario for each other day in and day out. And the icing on the cake is 'love child' born out this romantic relationship' and they named it 'Nuke!'.

That is the last thing you want to have in your counterpart arsenal when there is hell of hatred and mistrust between both countries. It's not only a bad situation for India and Pakistan rather entire south Asia is it at risk of getting nuked! Some people on both side takes this 'nuke' to next level saying "we will nuke this" and "we will nuke that" as if it's not a nuclear bomb but a balloon hanging in a birthday party and waiting to be exploded! Those people don't even understand the consequence of its devastating power. 

Border Security Force, India
Should you visit Wagah border? Hell yeah! You wont get to see such display of hatred any where else on this plant beside South and North Korean border. It's the closest you get to see the 'true' friendship of both countries and 'love' towards each other. And of course you see the land which was once INDIA but some people demanded their share for fighting during independence!

But few things to keep in mind before you decide to pack your bag, Most often or not it is very crowded so crowded that you need to watch your family so much that watching ceremony is more of a ritual waiting to be finished. 
Flag Lowering Ceremony*
Make sure you arrive very early if you are without VIP pass. If a cab driver is promising all kind of five star things, stay away! you will be cheated if you fell for it. I have learnt it hard way, only use VIP PASS! You can get the VIP pass from BSF station in Amritsar

How To Go To Wagah Border

Make sure you have booked taxi in advance for both sides else you may find it very difficult to get a taxi coming back to Amritsar from Wagah Border. We actually hired an auto paid him total around 700Rs and the guy took us to all the tourist places in and around Amritsar.

Happy travelling...

*Kindly note: Some of the images are not originally taken by me. And they are the copyright of their respective owners. 

Thursday, 18 September 2014

Mata Lal Devi Mandir, Amritsar, India


A Small Paradise For God Lovers!


Mata Lal Devi Temple is another Hindu religious site near to the Golden Temple. However, before visiting this place you need to settle on definition of a temple itself. You need to decide what qualifies as temple for you. 

Mata Lal Devi Temple
Can a place with a center theme of representing a normal person like you and me as God and praying her as Goddess is OK with you? If yes, then it's a temple. 

However if you are like me with strict definition of God and Temple, this place is very hard to be considered as temple. At best, I might consider this place as temple because it houses all high profile Hindu god statues as well. 

Having said that, you will find this place is quite interesting in itself. You see it houses all major Hindu Gods at a single place which looks quite small from outside but once you walk upstairs it becomes a different place altogether. The 'temple' itself looks very inspired from the Vaishno Devi temple but on a small scale. 

Photos of Mata Lal Devi Mandir
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How To Go To Mata Lal Devi Mandir

It is location around 2 KM from the Golden Temple. You should be able to catch an auto rickshaw to the model town, Rani ka bagh area to reach to temple. 

All in all it's a reasonable place to visit, crocked stairs, low cellings, crawling, water hazards and everything you can expect to have fun! Oh! Yes I am talking about a temple :) but sometimes you are lost in the fun so much that you even forget it's a temple!  

Happy travelling...

Saturday, 13 September 2014

Ram Tirth Temple, Amritsar, India


The Birth Place To Luv and Kush!


Ram Tirath Mandir is a Hindu religious site located in Amritsar. Just to highlight the importance, this temple is mentioned in Hindu epic "Ramayana". Ram Tirath Mandir used to be the Ashram of Saint Valmiki. At this very place he wrote 'Ramayana".

Ram Tirth Temple
Later on, Goddess Sita came to this place after being deserted by her husband Lord Ram.  And gave birth to her two sons named Lov and Kush who were later trained in warfare by Valmiki in the same temple compound as well. Temple complex also has a big pond which is said to dug by the Lord Hanuman himself. It's a common practice to circle the entire pond, which is around 3 KM, while chanting mantars. 

One can still find Luv and Kush class room and Valmiki hut in the temple complex. One of the prime attraction of Ram Tirath Temple is the annual four day fair which is organized in the month of November at the time of full moon. 

However, I don't know why beside being such a historical place it's not that well presented and maintained. Frankly speaking, Me and my wife didn't even know that the temple has such kind of history until we landed at its door step. Just to check whether we were ignorant, we asked our friends and family about this temple and to our surprise nobody knew! Checked tripadvisor only 4 people have something to say about this place. Government tourist website doesn't bother to give it proper recognition.

Photos of Ram Tirth Mandir
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I guess, we need learn from other countries to showcase our cultural heritage more prominently. Look at Combodia, Thailand or Indonesia they also have faith in Ramayana and I bet you know how prominently they highlight this piece of their history. We should be ashamed of ourselves! One side we have countries which values their heritage so much and at one side we are who don't even bother about maintaining it! Feels like either we are ashamed of our cultural heritage or we don't give a shit about it! 

Our temples are in ruined. They are dirty. All of them are overcrowded, no rule of law, no respect for people standing in queue next to them. People getting killed in stampede! What the heck is that? Is it a person going to temple should be ready for a fight of his life so that his family could see him alive once more. No police, no security. Mentally retarded assholes passing all kind of comments to your female companion. Looking ways to touch them! It just can't get pathetic than this seriously.  Although I have very low expectations but one should never lose hope that things can change in future for good! 

How To Go To Ram Tirath Temple

You can hire an auto from Golden Temple or elsewhere in Amritsar. It is situated around 12 KM from Golden Temple. There is a direct mini bus service from the main bus terminal to the Ram Mandir which is quite affordable also. But I would recommend using Auto instead of bus as the buses are small and tend to get really very crowded at times. 

Happy travelling...

Monday, 8 September 2014

Durgiana Mandir, Amritsar, India

Shri Durgiana Tirth



Durgiana Mandir or also known as Lakshmi Narayan Temple is one the famous hindu religious site located in Amritsar. The temple was constructed around 1908 on the lines of Golden Temple.

Durgiana Tirth Mandir
There is a saying, if you can't go to Vaishno Devi Temple in Jammu and Kashmir you can come here and get the blessings of Goddess Durga. As the legend says she also resides here. 

Advisable timing to visit Durgiana temple is around the evening time when Aarti takes place. It's not the time to miss if you are religious kind of.

In the temple complex there are few other temples as well which worth to pay a visit including Anjaneya and Shitala mata temple. Although the Golden Temple and Durgiana Mandir are very similar, but the Durgiana Mandir is not on that grand level. It's kind of a small replica of Golden Temple. Walking around the sarovar not bring you the exact feeling as of Golden Temple sarovar but it's kind a peaceful place to visit. During our visit to the temple, the main road to the temple was not in good shape but was under construction for good. 

Durgiana Mandir Photos 
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How To Reach Durgiana Mandir

It is situated quite close to the Golden Temple. If you are comfortable with the idea of walking you can tale a walk from Golden Temple to Durgiana Temple. Since, we were travelling with our one year old daughter we had to pick a auto rickshaw from Golden Temple to Durgiana Temple.

Happy travelling...

Sunday, 7 September 2014

Jallianwala Bagh, Amritsar, India


Amritsar Massacre


Jallianwala Bagh, located a stone throw distance from the Golden Temple, is a site of massacre which took place during the British rule of India. On 13 April, 1919 a British army officer, General Reginald Dyer, later got infamous as Butcher of Amritsar ordered open fire on a peaceful civilian gathering including women and children.  

The soldiers, on his command, fired until their guns ran dry, killing hundreds of innocent people. Till date you can see the bullet holes in the park's wall. There is a martyrs well located in the park in which women jumped with their children to save them from the bullets but eventually died by drowning.
Jallianwala Bagh
Going to Jallianwala Bagh will definitely give you a better perspective about Indian independence struggle. All information about Amritsar massacre is very well documented.

Indian government efforts should be applauded for maintaining this piece of our history. The signs are extremely detailed and educational. You don't need any guide to tell you the painful story. Just walk around and you will have a very good understanding of it's horrible past. 

I never felt the pain related to this tragedy during my history classes but literally standing at this very place makes you feel bad about those who lost their lives here. You start to imagine the moment when women and children, which were gathered to celebrate Basakhi festival, jumped into the well. And it comes like shock to know that both Michael and Reginald Dyer, culprits of this mass homicide, walked away without any government punishment.

Jallianwala Bagh Images
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Although it is normal to hear that General Dyer was assassinated by an Indian revolutionary, Udham Singh, in order to take revenge for Amritsar Massacre. Well it was Lieutenant Governor Michael O'Dwyer, not General Reginald Dyer, who was killed by Udham Singh in the London. 

Michael O'Dwyer was the person who got the platform set for Reginald Dyer to kill people. And it feels great to hear that he was killed by Udham Singh else he would go unpunished like Reginald Dyer.

The current generation of Reginald Dyer family gathered at the Jallianwala Bagh and apologized for the wrong doing of their grandfather. They should be applauded for accepting that killing innocent people was a grave sin.

How To Reach Jallianwala Bagh

It is situated very close to the Golden Temple. Actually, the taxi will drop you at the police check post way before the Golden Temple and you will have to walk around 5 mins from the dropping point to reach Golden Temple. Jallianwala Bagh is on the way to Golden Temple from the dropping point. 

Happy travelling...

Saturday, 6 September 2014

Golden Temple, Amritsar, India


Magnificent Golden Temple


Golden Temple also known as Darbar Sahib or Harmandir Sahib is one of biggest and important religious site for the followers of the Sikhism. The main highlight of the trip to Amritsar is Golden Temple. It's really very difficult to put this place in words. I wont be exaggerating if I say it's a heavenly experience to be at Golden Temple. You can't compare this place with any other place of such kind in entire world. Just the sheer beauty of this place can leave you speechless!
Golden Temple
Amritsar city even got it's name from the pond of Golden temple. Although the temple would be crowded for most of the time but still it would be calm. There is this real sense of calmness and peacefulness about the surroundings which you can feel but can't describe. I guess places like Golden Temple and Taj Mahal make you addicted to travelling !

At Golden Temple, you get free food (Prasad) at the langar (a common kitchen). Surprising part of that kitchen is that the most of the people working inside the kitchen are visitor of the temple itself. So what you basically do is, you sit down at the floor with others take your food and once done you go to the kitchen to help other people working there that is if you wish to. It is not mandatory but this is how entire kitchen work gets done at the langar.

Images of Golden Temple
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How To Reach To Golden Temple 

To travel in the city itself, you can hire an auto or book a taxi, there are easily available every where. But make sure to bargain else they might charge you atleast 3 times more. Also take note of weather in Amritsar in day time during summer is quite hot.

I would say Golden Temple is one of the best religious places I ever visited. It was crowded but still clam, neat and clean which is kind of unique if you are in India itself:) Visiting this place may be one of the your most remembered religious place even after years. 

Just to clear some air that roof is really of GOLD :)

Happy travelling...

Monday, 4 August 2014

Thean Hou Temple, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia


The Queen Of Heaven - Thean Hou




Thean Hou Temple is a Buddhist religion temple sitting at the top of a hill with fantastic view of Kuala Lumpur. Undoubtedly, it is one of the best Chinese temple in Kuala Lumpur to visit. Upon entering the temple, along with the large statue of the goddess, you will see a collection of twelve animals. These twelve animals actually represent the Chinese astrology, mine sign is dog by the way, a honest person :)
Thean Hou
Going forward, take the stairs to reach the main worship area. There you get to see three statues of three different goddess. On the right most is the goddess Guan Yin, the Goddess of Mercy. On the left is Shui Wei Sheng Niang the Goddess of waterfront. And Goddess Tian Hou is in the center. The detail and color of each and every corner is very beautiful. It is a very peaceful location to sit and contemplate for a while. 

If you wish to pray, everybody is allowed to worship. First you are advised to drop some donation, amount depends upon your wish to pay. Then you take three incense of equal size, light them up and go in front of each goddess with your prayer. One funny thing I noticed during my prayer, initially for few seconds I was confused what the prayer language should be? Yeh yeh, you can laugh and think of me as an idiot but it was my first time praying anything but Hindu god. Finally I found myself praying in Hindi, I guess because it's my mother tongue and Buddhism also started from India. I wonder whether Gods really care about the languages anyway :)  All right, moving forward, put two incenses out of these three together in joss sticks burner situated up stairs and the last one you got to step down to the center of the temple.

Images of Thean Hau Temple
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Inside the temple you can pick one of the future telling sticks to know your fortune. Once you pick the stick see the number on it and then check the corresponding pink paper slips in the adjacent little compartments. After looking into your future. you can move at the right side of the temple where a smaller version of Guan Yin set amongst rocks and falling water. In order to receive the blessing from the statue you gotta to kneel. 

How To Get To Thean Hou Temple 

There is no direct bus service to the temple itself. It is advisable to hire a taxi straight away. The best thing you can do, if you are some where near to the KL sentral, buy a Thean Hou temple pre-paid taxi voucher and let the taxi driver find it for you. Anyway you shouldn't be facing any issue to find the taxi from any where in Kuala Lumpur to temple.

You can visit the temple when ever you wish to, but nothing can beat it's beauty of Wasek day!

Happy travelling...

Sunday, 6 July 2014

Red Fort, Agra, India


A City Behind Walls


Red Fort, also known as Agra Fort, is a UNESCO World Heritage site located in Agra, India. Red Fort has been used for military purposes in past and present as well. Indian military is still actively using Red Fort as base in Agra so half of the fort is not open for public viewing. Originally, the Red Fort had more than 500 buildings but Mughals and then Britishers destroyed almost all of them. Only 30 buildings survived the hammer.

Red Fort
Red Fort, the original fort known as Badalgarh, was a brick fort. Which was used by Rajput Kings as resident palace around 1048A.D.

Then later on Red Fort became the home of Sikandar Lodi who shifted his capital from Delhi to AgraAlmost all of great Mughal Emperors have lived here starting from Babur, Humayun, Akbar, Jehangir, Shah Jahan and even Aurangzeb.

During this period the Red Fort was used to as head quarter by Mughals to rule the India. Other interesting fact is when the Mughals won the war and took control over the Red Fort, they found the diamond known as "Kohinoor" in it's massive treasure. The architecture of Agra Fort is only one of the few examples of mixed Hindu and Muslim architecture. You can see various animals images on the wall along with a temple inside the Red Fort itself. 

Summarized Historical Information About Agra Fort

  • Where is the Red Fort located? Very close to the Taj Mahal in Agra.
  • Who built Agra Fort? The current red sandstone fort was built by Akbar. However the original fort, known as Badalgarh, was build by Rajputs.
  • When was the Agra Fort built? The current red sandstone fort was built in 1573. However the original brick fort was standing and used by Rajputs in 1080 A.D.
  • Why was the Red Fort built? For residential and military purposes.
Images of Agra Fort
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Getting to Agra Fort

Red Fort is situated very close to the Taj Mahal. One could just take a rickshaw to get there. It should not cost you more than 10Rs per person. If you are travelling by your own car I will suggest you leave your vehicle in the Taj Mahal parking as the parking which is way better than Red Fort parking. Anyways if you take your car to Red Fort eventually you will be paying parking fees again. 

Opening Time: All days from sun rise to sun set. 
Tickets: 20Rs for Indian and 520Rs for foreigner.  

Happy travelling...

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Fatehpur Sikri, Agra, India


The City Of Legendary Emperor Akbar 


Fatehpur Sikri is a historical city, a UNESCO World Heritage City site, situated in the district of Agra, India. The city is said to be built by mughal emperor Akbar and it served as the capital of mughal empire for 15 years starting from 1571 to 1585 before turning into a ghost town.

Mighty Buland Darwaza
History of Fatehpur Sikri is quite interesting. Ambar initially had a son who didn't survive long. Now he needed a heir for his empire so he went to visit sufi saint Salim Chishti. Later on Akbar had a son as predicted by the saint. In order to honor the saint Ambar named his son Salim and decided to build a city at the same place where saint Salim Chishti used to live.

A new master piece known as Fatehabad was constructed which was later know as Fatehpur Sikri. But soon the town run short on water as the lake was not big enough to support such number of people. People started abandoning the city and last nail in the coffin was the continuous attacks from the North West frontier. 

A visit to Fatehpur Sikri will take you to the best of the Mughal architecture. Following are most prominent places will be get to visit:
  • The main entrance, known as Buland Darwaza, it's mighty! It's the biggest door way in the world. 
  • The Mosque, known as Jama Masjid.
  • The Tomb of Salim Chishti where people till date make their wishes regardless of their actual religion. The ritual is to tie a thread to the window. Repeat your wish in side your heart three times. And if your wishes come true, then you need to come back and open a thread from the window.
  • Next to the Salim Chishti tomb is graveyard where all the family member's of Salim Chishti are said to be laid in peace. 
  • Panch Mahal, the pleasure and entertainment place for Ambar.
  • Diwan-i-khas, a place for guests.
  • Anup Talao, it was used as a location of the singing competition. 
  • Queen Palace, a Hindu Queen Palace along with security office.

Pictures of Fatehpur Sikri
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Getting to Fatehpur Sikri

The city is situated around 36KM from the Agra. You can take a taxi from Agra to Fatehpur Sikri palace which will cost you 600Rs for round trip. If you wish to take bus, catch it from Idgah Bus Stand and the mini bus will drop the door of Fatehpur Sikri monuments. If you are driving yourself like us, most of the road is newly built toll road and quite nice to drive on. However, you will have to drive 10 KM on a single lane road with traffic coming from both side. I guess they were in process to re-built this road also.

Happy travelling...