Saturday, May 30, 2009

Nahargarh Fort, Jaipur

Along with palaces, and other attractions we set our eyes on exploring the most important tourist attractions of the city i.e., the forts. In Jaipur there are 3 most amazing forts - Amber Fort, Jaigarh Fort and Nahargarh Fort. In this as the title of the post suggests we will explore Nahargarh Fort.

This fort is also known by the name Tiger Fort. When seen from the air it forms marvelous sight along with other two forts. It occupies the Northern part of Jaipur on the Aravalli Hills. It is strategically placed to cushion Amer from the enemy attacks.

According to the legend, this fort was named after a dead Rathore prince, Nahar Singh, whose spirit used to haunt the site and would cause collapse of the construction of the fort. Later a Tantrik's prayer was arranged to drive away the spirit, who agreed to leave on the condition that the fort should be named after him. Hence the name. The entrance of the fort leads one into spacious and impressive main courtyard, with large ‘dwars’ on both sides embellished with decorative motifs of elephants, warriors on horseback, flowers and birds. There are also weather-worn cannon carriages that have faced the ravages of time.

The Monsoon Palace

This palace was designed by eminent Bengali architect Vidyadhar Bhattacharya. Built in two floors, the ground was for summer and the first floor for winter residence. It has nine suites, one for each of the nine queens of the maharajah. There are bathrooms, toilets, and kitchens, all well-lit and ventilated. An interesting feature is the long and architecturally elegant, but narrow, corridors, some with windows overlooking the main courtyard. It is believed that the these corridors were used by the maharajah to access each queen independently without the others having knowledge of his whereabouts, but hopeful of a visit nevertheless!

The doors and windows had colored panes, some of which are still intact. And some of the rooms still have Belgian mirrors adorning the walls. Even the brass door latches work. Each suite has the same design of floral and bird motifs. Even the hooks used for hanging the manually operated fans have painted designs to blend with those on the arches and in the niches. The plaster on the walls is of limestone, clean and smooth.

This is the top of the various suites of the palace.

Next we will explore the Jaigarh Fort.

P.S: December is the month when lot of tourists land in Rajasthan. So if you really want all the arrangements to be done properly this has to be done before October end.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Jaipur, the Pink City and more

After visiting many palaces of the city in Jaipur we continued to explore the city and visited quite a lot of forts and other monuments of the city. As we did not spend much time for shopping on the trip we thought of shopping in the city of Jaipur.

In Rajasthan this is the best city to do the shopping. There are many markets known for the art and craft of Rajasthan. Some of them are Kishanpol Bazar, Haldiyon Ka Rasta, Mahiharon Ka Rasta, M.I. Road, Jauhari Bazar, Bapu Bazar, Nehru Bazaar. Each of these markets offer wide variety of products. Explaining the variety does not make any sense and best enjoyed only by experience the shopping here.
There are several monuments in the city and let us visit few of them and the remaining in subsequent post.

Chokhi Dhani

It is neither a monument nor any heritage site. But it does showcase the Rajasthani tradition. It is a five star ethnic village resort located at Tonk road 35 kms away from Jaipur.

For the tourists visiting Jaipur it provides awesome experience with respect to Rajasthani culture. Every day one Mela is organized in the evening. People can visit Chokhi Dhani Village resort, have dinner, enjoy camel ride, Elephant rides, Bullock cart rides on nominal charges. They can also enjoy traditional dance forms, folk songs of Rajasthan here. There is opportunity for everybody who loves shopping in handicrafts.

Albert Hall

Many of the palaces of the rulers of Rajasthan were designed by a British architect, Sir Swinton Jacob. He also designed the Albert Hall. Today, it is home for exquisite collection of sculptures, paintings, objects of art, natural history specimens, an Egyptian mummy and a beautiful Persian carpet.

This is a beautiful place not to be missed during the Jaipur trip. Unfortunately we could not go inside as it was very early in the morning and we had to proceed with our journey as planned earlier. We could take only snaps of the place from outside and proceed further. But on my next visit to the city I surely plan to cover this and many more.

In the next post we shall visit other remarkable forts of the city.

P.S: December is the month when lot of tourists land in Rajasthan. So if you really want all the arrangements to be done properly this has to be done before October end.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Melkote Ponds

Melkote (High or Superior Fort) is located in Mandya district of Karnataka state in India. It is famous for various temples and ponds. Some of the well known ponds of this place are:

Kalyani Pond

The large pond which is part of the Cheluvanarayanaswamy temple is called Kalyani. It is also known by the name Pushkaranani. The beauty of the pond is enhanced by its location, the steps that lead to the water and the Mandaps built around the pond.

The view of the pond from Yoganarsimhaswamy temple.

The mandapa around the pond.

There are carvings at the bottom of the pillars of mandapa. One such carving on the pillar is shown above.

Akka Tangi Kola

There are a pair of ponds behind the Cheluvanarayanaswamy temple known as Akka Tangi Kola In English it translates to sister ponds. The water of Akka kola is sour-salty and that of Tangi kola is sweet. Only the sweet water is used for the temples.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Jaipur, the Pink City

From Udaipur we proceeded towards Jaipur and by distance this is the longest distance we traveled in a single day on this trip. This city is the capital of Rajasthan. The visually charming city is built in 1727 A.D. by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh Ji. The city is also built of pink stucco, an imitation of sandstone. The houses, shops and havelis through out the city are all pink. The only planned city of its time, Jaipur is encircled by a formidable wall. Even this wall and the huge gateways guarding the entrance to the city are all in pink. Hence the name 'the Pink City'.

The city displays a remarkable architectural treat. It is known for its beautiful palaces, rugged fortresses built on barren hills. Once the palaces of Maharaja's are now the heritage hotels and are excellent place to stay and experience royal splendor. Apart from these there are plenty of beautiful gardens and attractive monuments throughout the city.

There are several monuments in the city and let us visit few of them and the remaining in subsequent post.

Hawa Mahal

The world famous landmark of Jaipur, Hawa Mahal is located to the north of the city's main road intersection, the Badi Chaupad. Built in 1799 by Sawai Pratap Singh is the best known specimen of fanciful architecture. it is an integral part of the City Palace though standing away from the main complex. At first glance it looks rather whimsical in design. When looked from the roadside, it appears as mere facade. But there is much more than meets the eye.

It is a five storied architecture and is constructed of red and pink sandstone, highlighted with white quakeee quick lime. The side facing the street outside the palace complex has 953 small windows, and the breeze (hawa) which circulates through these windows gives the palace its name, and keeps it cool even in hot months.

The entrance opens onto a courtyard with a double-storied building on three sides, and one on the eastern wing with three more stories, which is just one room wide. There are no stairs to reach the upper floors, only ramps.

City Palace

Strategically located in the heart of the Pink City of Jaipur, the architecture is an imposing blend of traditional Rajasthan and Mughal art. Sprawling over the one-seventh of the walled city, it is divided into a series of courtyards, gardens and buildings. It is home to several palatial structures like the Chandra Mahal, Shri Govind Dev Temple, Mubarak Mahal, and the City Palace Museum.

Mubarak Mahal, built by Maharaja Madho Singh, is one of the more important palaces inside the City Palace Complex. It has a beautifully carved marble gate with heavy brass doors on either side of this gate. Beyond this gate, lies the 'Diwan-E-Khas'- a meeting place where the Maharajahs used to entertain a select few. Shri Govind Dev Ji temple is highly revered by the erstwhile royal family. Sawai Man Singh Museum was founded in 1959 by Maharaja Sawai Man Singh II. The exhibits comprise of the ancestral collections built up by the successive rulers of Ajmer and Jaipur.

Jal Mahal Palace

An 18th century pleasure palace, hovering over Mansagar Lake, is noted for its convoluted design and magnificent structural design. Situated across the cenotaphs, there is a land bridge that leads one to the Jal Mahal Palace.

In the next post we shall visit other remarkable monuments of the city.

P.S: December is the month when lot of tourists land in Rajasthan. So if you really want all the arrangements to be done properly this has to be done before October end.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Udaipur, City of Lakes and more

Apart from the City Place, this city has lot more to offer. There are beautiful temples and parks that are worth a visit.

Lake Palace

Lake Palace is one of the most beautiful places. The Palace situated amidst the scenic Pichola Lake. It was constructed by Maharana Jai Singh II in 1746. Raised in white marble, the magnificent palace stretches across four-acre island. Other name of this palace is Jag Niwas named after the King.

The wonderful architecture of the Lake Palace comprises of may courtyards. Each of these courtyards are aligned with numerous columns, terraces. The palace has many beautiful fountains and well laid gardens. The palace has several beautiful rooms by the name of Bada Mahal, Khush Mahal, Ajjan Niwas, Phool Mahal and Dhola Mahal. These exotic rooms are decked with carved arches, paintings, crystal work, stained glass work, inland stones of pink and green lotus leaves.

Currently, this palace has been transformed into a five-star hotel that is managed by Taj Group of Hotels. Special thanks to my friend Raghu for this picture. When we had visited the place there was not much water in the lake. He had clicked this snap on his earlier visit.

Jagadish Temple

The temple is located 150m north of the entrance to the City Palace. The temple was built by Maharana Jagat Singh in 1651. 

Sajjan Niwas Garden

This city is famous not only for lakes, but also gardens. There are lot of gardens in the city and we had time to visit only one of such garden.

It occupied around 100 acres of land and this garden famous for the roses. For the same it is also known as rose garden.

From Udaipur we traveled to Jaipur, the Pink City.

Distance: Udaipur ---> Jaipur 405 kms

P.S: December is the month when lot of tourists land in Rajasthan. So if you really want all the arrangements to be done properly this has to be done before October end.

Sunday, May 3, 2009


Melkote (High or Superior Fort) is located in Mandya district of Karnataka state in India. It is in a hilly area comprising of the oldest rock formations on the earth's crust. It is a a religious and a pilgrim center for Hindus, and is home for various famous temples and ponds. The origin of the town is lost in antiquity, but it rose to cultural and religious importance in the 12th century AD when the great philosopher and teacher, Sri Ramanuja lived in the town for twelve years.

Some of the well known sites here are:

Other places of interest nearby are:
How to Reach There

This place is located interior to the Bangalore - Mysore 2 lane highway in the right side while going towards Mysore. Just after crossing Mandya one can see a road on the right and directions are available on highway. It is 37kms from this highway and from Bangalore it is around 130kms. The roads are very good and people do drive here at good speed.