Let the rays of 2017 shine bright on you. Have a wonderful year ahead, full of memorable travels. Happy New Year!
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December 29, 2016
|Image credit- The Leela|
Udaipur is certainly a scenic city worth many visits. What is great about it is that despite the demands of modern life, it has remained largely intact in terms of its history. If you are looking to get a glimpse of India’s rich Rajputana history today, you would do well to take a trip to Udaipur – and start by booking yourself into Udaipur palace hotel.
Here are some historical facts about Udaipur you may not have known:
1 A friendly capital for the British. Udaipur did not face political upheaval when the British invaded India, and it was in fact made the capital city of Mewar in 1818. However, the local kings were not in favour of the foreigners ruling them, and Maharana Fatah Singh showed open rebellion by not attending the Delhi Durbar held for the coronation of King George V in 1911. However, the Brits remained friendly till the end. Before independence, Maharana Bhupal Singh assented to Udaipur merging with the new Republic of India.
2 A great big lake. The famous Jaisamand Lake in Udaipur is Asia’s second largest, and India’s largest artificial freshwater lake. It is also known as Dhebar Lake, and was built in 1685 by Maharana Jai Singh, while building a dam on River Gomati. It is over 14 km long! Even the dam adjoining it is a massive 1,200 feet long and 116 feet high. It is said that the lake holds seven islands, one of which is inhabited by the Bhil Minas tribe.
3 A palace with a view. The Sajjangarh palace is a derelict site with interesting beginnings. The story goes that this 19th century palace was built by Maharana Sajjan Singh as a site to watch the night skies. Soon it became a palace that offered a beautiful monsoon retreat and hunting grounds. Today, it falls under the aegis of the Indian Government and is in ruins, but visitors still come here to watch the stunning view around and the Sajjangarh sanctuary at its base.
4 The second biggest ‘wall’. We’ve all heard about the Great Wall of China, the largest such edifice in the world, but who has heard of the second largest? You will be surprised to note that the wall of the famous Kumbhalgarh Fort is second to China’s Great Wall, and it is located in Udaipur. The Fort was built by Rana Kumbha from Mewar, and is now included in the Rajasmand District.
5 Welcome to the animal fair! This quaint tradition has been in force for centuries now. It is said that this wonderful animal and handicrafts fair is held to worship Lord Shiva and draws devotees from far and wide. It is held at Baneshwar in February and is mostly attended by tribal people. It was originally meant to be an annual gathering of the Bhil community, but today, many others join in. Apart from the animal and cattle fair, there is live music, magic shows, handicrafts sale etc.
P.S.: This is a sponsored post.
December 28, 2016
|Can you spot the statue?|
|View of Chandragiri hill, kalyani and Shravanabelagola town|
|Inscriptions on stone|
|Offerings and prayers|
|Sculptures of thirthankaras|
|Panoramic view from the outer courtyard|
|Up the Chandragiri hill|
|Inscriptions of Shanthaladevi|
|View from Chandragiri hill|
54 Kms from Hassan (Hassan- Channarayapatna- Sharavanabelagola)
155 Kms from Bangalore (Bangalore- Kunigal- Channarayapatna- Shravanabelagola)
Closest rail head- Hassan
Closest airport- Bangalore
Food and Accommodation:
There are numerous small eateries at the base of the hill, most are vegetarian. Stay options are limited and it is recommended to make Hassan or Channarayapatna the base as both have mid range and budget hotels.
December 26, 2016
The lonely road from Hassan was rarely interrupted by a gazing cattle or a farmer in the distance. I rode on, and without a cue the dilapidated church popped up on the frame, in the middle of nowhere. The Rosary church at Shettihalli looked very much like an abandoned structure from a distance. As I took the narrow trail that led to it, my assumption was reconfirmed. With a few church walls, columns and arches remaining, this church intrigues people with its crumbling state that is presently in.
Built by French missionaries for Britishers in 1860 CE, the remains of the church stands desolated amidst an open land by the backwaters of Gorur dam. Marred by graffiti all over by visitors, this European styled church was abandoned when Gorur dam was constructed and backwaters of Hemavathi river flooded the area, forcing the then villagers to relocate.
There are certain destinations which you need to visit during different times of the year and the Rosary church at Shettihalli is one such place. This ruined church gets semi submerged during the monsoon in the backwaters and creating a gorgeous frame. After the rains, the church resurfaces allowing visitors to walk through its interiors. During the monsoon one can go on a coracle ride with the locals as the water levels rise. The setting sun over the backwaters creates wonderful frames and would keep the shutter bugs engaged.
- The church is 18 Kms from Hassan town.
- There are no shops or restaurants nearby.
- Do not litter the place and carry back your trash (It was quite littered when I visited).
- Visit during ear;y morning or evening to avoid the sun and for beautiful captures.
December 16, 2016
Nestled cosily on a ridge and overlooking the Doon valley, Mussoorie, once hailed as Queen of the hills during the British rule still emanates glimpses of the colonial era. Though the tourist inflow has grown multi-folds over the years, especially during the summers, Mussoorie still holds a charm with its unending vistas, valleys, hills and the salubrious climate.
With a day to explore, I decided to visit a couple of places outside the town before hitting the popular mall road trail. Sainji village more popularly referred to as corn village lies away from the town of Mussoorie. The serpentine roads with views of the brown hills and the deep valleys kept me engaged as I took in the fresh mountain air. The vehicle took a detour to go down to Sainji village, which at first glimpse seemed like one of those secluded villages on the mountain slopes which I had spotted on the way. A big welcome board next to the local school greets people to this village where numerous corns are hung outside each home. Though this practice is done to dry the corns, it doubles up as a home decor for an outsider like me. Imagine hundreds of corns outside your home as a decoration, similar to the stars and balls hung during Christmas. Looks absolutely quirky and attractive at the same time. This small village of 35- 40 families have gained some amount of attention from tourists due to this, though their intent was never that. Though they sell the corn outside, this is not their only means of living. While the men go out for work, women work on these dried corns. Women chatted and kids played around as I walked through this beautiful corn village. Contemplating whether to chat or not, I gave half smiles while capturing their attractive homes.
En-route Sainji village, the cascading Kempty falls showed up from a distance. A popular place of interest in Mussoorie, Kempty falls looked like water flowing amidst an array of multi coloured structures from a distance. A perfect example of what excessive commercialization can do to a place. With more resorts and hotels under progress in the already cramped hill, this falls is definitely not a beautiful sight.
It was a refresher to be at Happy valley, a delightful place known for its Tibetan settlement. An apt name with chirpy school children and smiling monks strolling around. Mussoorie was home to the present Dalai Lama when he fled from Tibet as a refugee. It was later that he moved to Dharamshala. Happy Valley has ever since had a significant Tibetan settlement with a Buddhist temple, schools and homes. Shedup Choephelling temple with its colourful walls and interiors is a major attraction here. With panoramic views of valleys, fluttering prayer flags and a serene ambiance, the place is definitely a happy one.
The mall road is probably the biggest attraction and also the most crowded place of interest in Mussoorie. After a scrumptious lunch at Clock Tower Cafe, walked down to Kulri bazaar, which is one end of the mall road. Mall road is basically a long stretch lined with bazaars, numerous shops, hawkers, restaurants and churches along with beautiful vistas of the Doon valley. The winding and intermittently steep mall road ends at the popular Library bazaar, which gets its name from the 19th century Mussoorie library located here. While I liked the Kulri bazaar for its curio shops, Library bazaar was too crowded for my taste. A cable car ride takes you further up to gun hill, which offers more vistas. Despite the crowd what I loved about the mall road are the charming old cycle rickshaws, quaint lamp posts and beautiful benches which are a throwback to the colonial era.
The day ended with a captivating view of Mussoorie's famed winter line from Library bazaar. If you would like to stay away from the crowds, Landour which is soaked in serenity and colonial charm is a short drive up from Mussoorie.
Mussoorie to Sainji village- 19 Kms
Mussoorie to Kempty falls- 14 Kms
Dehradun- 35 KMS
New Delhi- 290 KMS
Food and Accommodation:
Mall road has a wide range of restaurants and food stalls. Chick Chocolate known for its variety of chocolates and Lovely Omelette Centre on mall road are well recommended. Being a popular tourist destination, Mussoorie offers a wide range of stay options.