Monday, 30 March 2015

Best Luxury Hotels in Jodhpur

One thing that Rajasthan has clutched to is Grandeur. There is apt equilibrium in its bling and simplicity and that’s what makes this place prepossessing. If you are a luxury traveler, there are abundant hotel options. Talking about Jodhpur in particular, many luxury hotels are built upon bonafide royal residences and some are carved with equal perfection. So, let us introduce you to best luxury hotels of Jodhpur, Rajasthan.

Umaid Bhawan Palace, Jodhpur

Umaid Bhawan Palace in Jodhpur,Rajasthan
Umaid Bhawan Palace is the largest royal residences in the world
Former residence of Maharaja Umaid Singh, this royal residency hasn’t got its charm faded even a bit. The palace is majorly built from Chittar Sandstone; this gives it a special appearance. Now, Umaid Bhawan Palace is owned by Taj Group of Hotels and is one of the finest luxury hotels in India. This luxury heritage hotel is strategically located near the best tourist spots of Jodhpur. The hotel has 64 rooms and suites of six types; Palace Rooms, Historical Suites, Royal Suites, Maharaja Suite, Maharani suite and Grand Royale Suites. The hotel provides all modern facilities like exquisite dining, spa, banquet rooms etc.

Balsamand Lake Palace, Jodhpur

Balsamand Lake Palace in Jodhpur, Rajasthan
Bal Samand Lake Palace - A royal edifice surrounded by wide expanses of lush green gardens
Adjacent to Balsamad Lake, the palace was built by Maharaja Jaswant Singh I. Balsamand Lake Palace has 36 rooms of three categories; Maharani Suite, Regal Suites and Garden Rooms. The hotel has meditation spots, Spa, Conference Rooms, Bar, Restaurants; and offers state of the art facilities. Outdoor facilities are village safari, horse safari, Sand dunes experience, cycling, royal horse buggy ride, nature trail walk etc. Balsamand Lake Palace is close to some of the amazing attractions of Jodhpur, like the Umaid Bhawan Palace, Jaswant Thada and Mehrangarh Fort.

The Gateway Hotel, Jodhpur

The Gateway Hotel in Jodhpur, Rajasthan
Front View of The Gateway Hotel in Jodhpur, Rajasthan
The Gateway Hotel is stretched over an area of 28 acres and has 88 rooms and suites. This traditionally thematic hotel provides modern amenities and gracious hospitality. Apart from accommodation, Gateway Hotel Jodhpur has event area, multi-cuisine restaurant, bar, swimming pool, gymnasium and salon. The guests can take advantage of the facilities like business centre, secretariat services, hi-speed internet, work stations, swimming pool, jogging track, fitness centre, pool etc. The hotel is owned by Gateway Hotels Group which has hotels in 26 other cities of India. The hotel has three dining areas, namely GAD, Frontier and Dunes Bar; all of these have classy ambience where you can spend memorable time.

Park Plaza Hotel, Jodhpur

Park Plaza Hotel in Jodhpur, Rajasthan
Park Plaza Hotel in Jodhpur - A Luxurious Business Hotel
Park Plaza Jodhpur is located in a convenient spot; 1.3 km from airport and 3.5 km from railway station. Location is one of its assets for sure; the hotel is at a short distance from Mehrangarh fort, Clock Market and Umaid Bhavan Palace. Its rooftop bar SKKY 63 and Goeffrey’s are happening places to spend the night at. Park Plaza also has a swimming pool, five multi-cuisine restaurants, banquet hall and conference room. Talking about accommodation, Gateway Hotel Jodhpur has 6 spacious and well-equipped suites. There are two room types: deluxe rooms and superior rooms.

Vivanta By Taj – Hari Mahal

Vivanta by Taj - Hari Mahal, Jodhpur, Rajasthan
Swimming Pool Side View of  Vivanta by Taj - Hari Mahal in Jodhpur, Rajasthan
Having convenient locations and awarding its guests with par-excellence hospitality, Hari Mahal is yet another creation of the Taj Group of Hotels. It has 93 rooms and suites provided with mini-bars, safes, Cable Tv, hair-dryers, coffee/tea makers, phones and everything you would need. Its restaurant, Latitude, is settled in lobby and has local and multi cuisine dishes in its menu. Chinese-cuisine lovers may savor The Good Earth. Hari Mahal also has a bar, fitness-centre, spa, salon and special areas for meetings and events.

Hotel Raas Jodhpur

Raas Hotel in Jodhpur,Rajasthan
Located in the midst of the old walled city, Raas, Jodhpur's first boutique hotel is an 18th-century haveli with a cool, contemporary heart.
Seven edifices of RAAS conspire to form a tone of grandiose and warmth. Guests, from their balconies behold the view of Asia’s Best Fortress (2008), Mehrangarh Fort. This hotel has 39 rooms, 7 of which are suites with separate sitting rooms and larger bathrooms and balconies. So, if you are a nature-buff, you can go for rooms with private gardens as well. Guests can also make the most of their vacation by spending time in heated swimming pool or its two dining areas. Hotel’s spa, ‘ila only’ rejuvenates the guests with nature’s elements. This elegant hotel is worth every single penny you will spend.

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Famous Summer Destinations In India

Kerala is popularly known as God's Own Country. It stretches for 550km along India's southwest coast, divided between the densely forested mountains of the Western Ghats inland and a lush, humid coastal plain. The state of Kerala is swamped with tourists throughout the year. Kerala is one of the hottest tourist destinations on the international map and also has been declared as one of the ten Paradise on Earth. The lustrous state is blessed with long stretches of golden beaches, unnerving backwater for houseboat cruising, romantic honeymoon destinations, fragrant spice and tea gardens and plethora of flora and fauna in the various wildlife parks. Kerala is one of the coolest places to visit in South India!

The golden sandy beaches of Goa are an ideal summer destination. A diverse tourist locale, Goa is celebrated the world over for its laidback culture, sun kissed beaches, gothic churches and rocking nightlife. From north to south, the Goa coastline is marked by a number of beach towns, with relaxed ambience, seafood and water sports such as wind surfing, water skiing, sailing, water-scooters, and dolphin spotting cruises. The beaches of Calangute and Baga are the most visited while other famous beaches include Arambol, Anjuna, Candolim, Colva and Palolem. Cheap air travel to Goas airport, Dabolim, from the rest of India has spawned a dramatic rise in the number of domestic visitors holidaying here in recent years. Goa is the best place to visit for party in summers in India. 

Ooty short for Ootacamund or Udhagamandalam is located in Tamil Nadu at a height of 2240m above sea level. It is one of South India's most popular hill stations and is also known as the  Queen of Hill Stations . Ooty draws a large number of tourists every year. It is nestled in the beautiful Blue Mountains or Nilgiris. Lofty mountains, dense forest, sprawling grasslands and miles and miles of tea gardens greet the passengers on most routes. The annual Tea and Tourism Festival attracts crowds in huge numbers. The sprawling tea and coffee plantations is a must watch in Ooty. In your stay in Ooty, you must visit the Botanical Gardens, the Government Museum, Rose Garden, Tiger Hill, Kalhatty Falls, Ooty Lake, Pykara and try some adventure sports as Trekking and Hang-Gliding.

Kashmir valley is a popular tourist destination for domestic (Indian) as well as foreign tourists. Among the popular tourist places in the valley are Gulmarg that has a ski resort, Dal Lake that has popular house boats, Pahalgam and Amarnath Temple. Let the white snow capped mountains, quaint shikaras, apple orchards, colorful flowers and simple people give you an amazing time. Also do not miss the chance of visiting the Ranbireshwar Temple, Lakshmi Narayan temple and Peer Baba Shrine at Satwari. Kashmir is rightfully said as the paradise on earth. With is amazing natural beauty and serene environment, this is one of the Most Popular Summer Destinations in India.

Manali is one of the main summer destination for backpackers, trekkers and honeymooners escaping the summer heat. Due to its scenic beauty, it is also known as the Switzerland of India. Lapped in the Kullu valley, it is surrounded by towering peaks offering a fine chance for the trekkers. The various Tibetan Monasteries, Naggar Castle, Roerich Museum, Arjun Gufa (Arjun Cave), Jagatsukh, Solang Valley etc. are the other places of interest in and around Manali. The place is also famous for adventure sports like skiing, hiking, mountaineering, para gliding, rafting, trekking, kayaking, and mountain biking. It is one of the best hill stations to visit in North India.

Located in the Eastern side of India, Darjeeling is a signature hill station with cloud covered valleys, wild streams, mesmerizing mountain views and something very unique-the world renowned Toy Trains. Don't skip the opportunity to jump in one of them as it moves in slow pace in the pristine forests on the hills to give you an experience that is hard to replace. Get up at dawn if you want to witness the sun rise from the Tiger Hills and shout out in excitement when the sun comes out from behind the hills and the first rays reflect upon the Kanchenjunga. Other major tourist sites are Batasia Loop, Botanical Gardens, Rock Garden, several monasteries, Chowrasta etc. One of the coolest hill stations in East India.

Gulmarg is one of the most popular ski resort destinations in India located in the Baramulla district of Jammu and Kashmir, also home to the world's highest green golf course. Gulmarg is also known as the "Meadow of Flowers" because of its scenic beauty. With the lush green slopes, flowers in different shades and the valleys, the backdrop is very much like a "dream fantasy" set of a movie. Owing to its pictorial charm, this is a famous honeymoon destination for couples.

Nestled among the lush greeneries of the Western Ghats and exotic scenic environment, Coorg is one of the destinations that you should visit to beat the summer heat.Coorg offers you a fascinating past, captivating natural beauty, great cuisine and aromas of the coffee plantations, oranges and honey. Set amidst verdant valleys, imposing mountains and teak wood forests, this is one of the most beautiful hill stations you can visit. Madikeri Fort, Abbi Falls, Iruppu Falls, Talakaveri, Bhagamandala, Padi Iggutappa Temple, Somwarpet, Little Tibet (Tibetan refugee's colony), etc. are the major tourist spots here. The major outdoor activities that one can indulge in this place are trekking, Angling, White Water Rafting and Golfing.

Srinagar is the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir. It is situated in the Kashmir Valley and lies on the banks of the Jhelum River. The city is famous for its gardens, lakes and houseboats. Srinagar is set around the beautiful Dal Lake, where picturesque houseboats or shikharas carry tourists on boat rides around the lake. It is an ideal summer getaway. Srinagar basically has an alpine weather, as the summers are mild and winters are cold. The major tourist places are Shalimar Garden, Dachigam wildlife sanctuary, Nishat Garden, Shankaracharya Temple, Cheshma Shahi and Pari Mahal. One can even shop for indigenous crafts like hand-woven silks and embroidered shawls.

Often referred as the 'Queen of Hills', Shimla is the present capital of Himachal Pradesh, Shimla is perhaps one of the most popular tourist destinations. Loaded with natural beauty and scenic landscape, Shimla is an integral part of Indian history and heritage. The city of Shimla is blessed by the presence of seven different hills that houses some of the major tourist spots. Your stay in Shimla will be marked by visits to destinations like Christ Church, St Michael's Cathedral, Churdhar Sanctuary, Kufri, Gurkha Castles, Jakhu Hill etc. It is here where a traveller sees a happy co-existence of the modern facilities with the old world charm.

The sheer majesty and beauty of this ethereal place is evident from its location, that is graced by the commanding presence of the mighty Himalayas and the Karakoram range. Spread along the valleys where the altitude rises from 9000 feet to 25170 feet, Ladakh is a destination where time stands still and you won't want to come back again to the regular routine. Enjoy life to the fullest among the monasteries, valleys, lakes, glaciers, festivals and the simple locals. The main attractions of Leh-Ladakh are Zanskar, Sankar Gompa, Alchi, Baltoro Glacier, Lamayuru Gompa, Siachen Glacier, Hemis Festival and so on. The exquisite lakes of Pangong tso and Tso Morari are worth a visit as well as the almost surreal Nubra Valley with its sand dunes and wandering camels.

 Its proximity to the national capital New Delhi has made Mussoorie a famous and much more accessible holiday hub. Located in the amazing Himalayan range, at an astounding 2500 meter height from the sea level, Mussoorie offers a happy weekend outing with attractions that keeps the traveller engaged and pre-occupied. The major of them are as follow: Gun Hill trekking, Kempty falls and trekking and a bit of shopping as the markets are full of traditional stuff like the wooden decorative and gift items, brass statues, ceramic vases, Garhwali Dresses and the ethnic Ladakhi Shawls.

Nainital is a hill station located in the foothills of Kumaon range of mountains in Uttarakhand. Dotted with lakes , Nainital has earned the epithet of 'Lake District' of India . Nainital is set in a valley containing a pear-shaped lake and is surrounded by mountains. The high mountains and the vast stretches of green across the horizon add to the pictorial beauty. The name of this famous hill station is believed to have been taken from the Goddess Naina and a temple dedicated to Goddess Naina is also there. The major tourist places are Tiffin Top, Naini Lake, Naina Peak, Land's End etc. 

Kodaikanal is a hilly retreat established by American missionaries in around 1845 in order to escape from the high temperatures of the plains. Kodaikanal, or Kodai owes its popularity to its hilltop position which is at an altitude of 2,195 m in Tamil Nadu. It offers breathtaking views over the blue-green reaches of the Vaigai plain. Raj-era bungalows and flower-filled gardens add atmosphere, while short walks out of the centre lead to rocky outcrops, waterfalls and dense shola forest. Kodai Lake, Bryant Park, Coaker's Walk, Green Valley View, Shenbaganur Museum of Natural History, Pillar Rocks, Guna caves, Silver Cascade, Dolphin's Nose and Kurinji Andavar Murugan temple are the major tourist attractions in and around Kodaikanal.

Munnar is located in the Idduki district of Kerala state. Along with unique species of flora and fauna, the place also has an extensive stretch of tea plantations amidst the high mountains and unspoiled valleys, giving a pleasant feeling. The scented cool air is filled with the aroma of spices. The rising and falling terrain of Munnar is covered with forests and grasslands. Munnar is also paradise for bird watchers as rare species of birds are found in abundance. Anamudi Peak, Tata Tea Museum, Indo Swiss Dairy Farm, Eravikulam National Park, Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary, Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary, Lock Heart Gap etc. are the major tourist places in Munnar. 

Monday, 23 March 2015

World Heritage Sites in and around Delhi

Did you know that one could visit more than 9 World Heritage Sites in and around Delhi? Yes it is true! Delhi, the capital city of India, has a history dating back to ancient time of Mahabharata.

A continuous political hot seat, Delhi has been ruled by several dynasties. Because of the same reason, Delhi and its nearby destinations like Agra, boast of housing a number of such magnificent structures, which have been declared UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Here are top World heritage sites in and around Delhi: 

Taj Mahal: Teardrop on the cheeks of time

Taj Mahal, Agra
An artist's rendition of Taj Mahal. It was one of the first monuments in India to be inscribed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO
Placed on the banks of river Yamuna, the Taj Mahal is a beautiful white-marble mausoleum in the Mughal city of Agra. Renowned worldwide as ‘the jewel of Muslim architecture in India’, it was commissioned by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in the memory of his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal.

Admired all around the world for its love tale, it boasts of an architecture that is a mix of Ottoman Turkish, Islamic, Indian and Persian architectural styles. Declared a World Heritage Site in 1983, its construction started in 1632 and got completed in 1653.

The mortal remains of Shah Jahan and Mumtaz Mahal are buried in the Taj Mahal that consists of detailed inlay of semi-precious stones. Taj Mahal tour is one of the most important highlights of all golden triangle tour packages in India

Fatehpur Sikri: The Ghost Town

Fatehpur Sikri
The congregational hall of the Friday Mosque inside Fatehpur Sikri, a World Heritage Site in Uttar Pradesh. Photo Courtesy: Lonely Planet
Erected during the second half of the 16th  century, Fatehpur Sikri was the erstwhile capital of Mughal Emperor Akbar for around 10 years between 1571 and 1585.

Founded  in 1569, Akbar built this complex in the honour of Sufi Saint Salim Chishti.This impressive architecture is an excellent proof of the evolution of town planning in India like Old Delhi, then known as Shahjahanabad.

There are several structures within its walls including harem, a mosque, palaces, private quarters and other necessary buildings. Diwan-i-Am, Diwan-i-Kas , Ranch Mahal, Buland Damaza, Jama Masjid, Daulat Khana are some of the prime structures. Earlier it was named as Fatehabad or the ‘City of Victory’.

Agra Fort: Legend of the Fall

Another UNESCO World Heritage site, Agra Fort is placed around 2.5 km north westwards of the Taj Mahal. Known as a walled city, was originally a brick fort that was owned by Sikarwar Rajputs.  It was captured by Sikandar Lodi, the Sultan of Delhi in 1080 who later shifted his capital to Agra and made this fort his home.

Later, his son Ibrahim Lodi built a mosque, a number of palaces and wells within the fort. After several years, Shah Jahan, the grandson of Akbar, also resided in the fort and it was during his reign that this structure flourished and added white-marble structures with semi-precious gems and gold inlays after destroying the earlier ones.

Humayun’s Tomb: India's First Charbagh Mausoleum

Humayun's Tomb
Humayun's Tomb was the first Charbagh to be built in India, a design which was perfected during the construction of Taj Mahal. Photo Courtesy Nikhil Chandra
Inspired by Persian architecture, the Humayun’s Tomb is the burial place of Mughal emperor Nasir ud-din Muhammad Humayun. Constructed by his widow Hamida Banu Begum or Haji Begam after 14 years of his death in 1569,  the tomb is a synthesis of Persian and Indian architectural style.

It is believed that Humayun himself had planned the architecture of his tomb, though there is no proof of it. The main architect of the tomb was Mirak Mirza Ghiyath. Placed in the centre of a square-shaped garden, this red sandstone double-storey square tomb has the grave in an octagonal central chamber. This site is accessible through a passage towards the south.

Qutb Minar Complex: The Might of Islam

Quwwat ul Islam Mosque inside Qutb Minar Complex
Quwwat-ul-Islam Mosque inside Qutb Minar Complex (in picture) was the first mosque to be built in India. Photo courtesy Wikipedia
Built in red and buff sandstone, Qutub Minar is one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Delhi besides the Humayun's Tomb and the Red Fort Complex. The highest tower in India, it is 72.5 meters high. Qutb Minar and its monuments are a major tourist attraction here. The diameter of the Minar is 14.32 m at the base and around 2.75 m on the top.

Its foundation was laid by Qutbu’d-Din Aibak in 1199 and the construction was finished by Shamsu’d-Din Iltutmish, his son-in-law and successor. The walls of the Minar consist of inscriptions in Arabic and Nagari. Quwwat-ul-Islam Mosque, the Iron Pillar, a mosque, The tomb of Iltutmish, Ala’i-Darwaza, Ala’i Minar are some of the other monuments in the Qutb Minar Complex.

Monday, 16 March 2015

Top Places to Visit in Delhi

Humayun's Tomb

Probably not the iconic image of Delhi but unarguably the most splendid work of Mughal Architecture in the capital, Humayun’s Tomb is UNESCO recognized World Heritage Site and definitely tops the list of must visit place.

The structure will give you a glimpse of the iconic Taj as it was here that the Persian Charbagh style was put to test by the Mughal architects and was later perfected in the construction of Taj Mahal in Agra.

Humayun’s Tomb,Delhi
Humayun's Tomb: A UNESCO World Heritage Site

Dilli Haat

Dilli Haat is an open-air food plaza cum craft bazaar located in Delhi near INA (AIIMS), run by Delhi Tourism and Transportation Development Corporation (DTTDC).

There are over 62 craft shops inside this plaza where artisans from every corner of this vast country gather to sell and showcase their handicraft. Then there are food stall offering savory cuisines for the platter of guests. Eat here to get an authentic taste of the pan-Indian cuisines in an enchanting ethnic setting.
Red Fort
Once the pivot of the mighty Mughal Empire, Red Fort, or what’s left of it, is stark reminder of ephemeral nature of empires and powers that be.Once a sprawling fortress complex with an array of palaces and grand structures, lush courtyards and cascading waterholes; Red Fort today is only a shadow of its majestic past.

The significance of this structure is evident in the fact that it was here that the flag of India was hoisted when she gained independence from British Raj, a tradition which is still observed on each anniversary of Indian Independence Day. The Red Fort was declared a ‘UNESCO World Heritage Site’ in 2007.

Red Fort - Attractions in Delhi
View of the front facade of Red Fort

Akshardham Temple

One of the modern marvels of architecture, this sprawling temple complex by the bank of Yamuna is a sight to behold.The architecture and design of this temple complex is a manifestation of the time tested ancient traditions of Hindu culture, beliefs and spirituality which has percolated down the ages.

The popularity of this temple is evident in the fact that 7 out of 10 people who visit Delhi pay their visit to Swaminarayan Akshardham Temple.The son-et-lumiere (musical fountain) show in the complex is the most popular attraction and most recommended too.

Akshardham - Places to visit in Delhi
Swaminarayan Akshardham Temple

Khan Market

A haven of overseas travelers throughout the year, Khan Market is all drenched in the hues of Christmas this time of the year.This high-end shoppers and foodies paradise is located at a short distance from Connaught Place and also well connected to Delhi Metro. 

Khan Market shopping complex houses an array of gourmet food joints and plush restaurants serving cuisines domestic and international cuisines.Then there are gift shops, bookshops, boutiques and fast food joints to keep the shoppers on their toes.

India Gate

Attribute it on the British or the location of this war memorial, India Gate is arguably the most iconic and enduring symbol of New Delhi.

It was build to commemorate the Indian and British soldiers who lost their life during Second World War. Evening is perhaps the best time to visit this resplendent structure when it is floodlit while the fountains nearby make mesmerizing display of varied hues.

Rajghat (Gandhi Memorial)

Rajghat is the place where India’s ‘Father of the Nation’ Mahatma Gandhi’s remains are buried. Einstein when said that people years from now would find it impossible to believe that a person like Gandhi ever walked this earth.

Mahatma Gandhi is best known for his philosophy of Non Violence or Amimsa. A visit to this serene memorial of Gandhi who inspired leaders like Martin Luther and Nelson Mandela is definitely recommended as one of the things to do in Delhi.

Lotus Temple

Lotus Temple or the Baha’i House of Worship located in Greater Kailash is a spectacular specimen of contemporary architecture and one of the must visit places in Delhi.

The choice of Lotus was a conscious decision of the architect Furiburz Sabha as lotus is an important symbol common to Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Islam. Believers of any faith could visit this temple to pray and meditate.

Lotus Temple - Top attractions in Delhi
Lotus Temple or the Baha'i House of Worship

Lodi Garden

Once known as the old Lady Wellington Park, Lodi Garden is a verdant refuge located indelhi renowned for monuments belonging to the Sultanate period in Delhi. The Tomb of Muhammad Shah and Sikander Lodi are the prime attraction in the park.

The garden is well manicured and also offers ample opportunity to photographers. There’s a eponymous restaurant too located at the edge of park offering succulent cuisines in nonchalant ambience.

Jama Masjid

Located in the vicinity of Red Fort, Jama Majid in Delhi happens to be the largest mosque in Asia with courtyard large enough to accommodate 25,000 believers at a time.

It is also considered to be the final architectural wonder built by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan, a great patron of art who is also credited with building Red Fort and Taj Mahal.

Thursday, 12 March 2015

Yercaud the hill station in Tamil Nadu

Int roduction

Yercaud LakeThis quiet little hill station on the Shevaroy hills of the Eastern ghats is the only one of its kind in northern Tamil Nadu. While the rest of this region is generally dry, including the predominantly short and rocky hills of the Eastern ghats, Yercaud presents a welcome contrast with its cool climate

where temperature never rises above 30ºC and dip below 13ºC . It is also a less expensive place than either Udhagamandalam or Kodaikkanal.

Coffee and citrus fruits, most notably oranges, are grown in abundance apart from bananas, pears and jack. Scenically, Yercaud is as enchanting and picturesque as the hill stations on the Western ghats and trekking here can be one of the most pleasurable ways to pass time.

Places for sight-seeing include the Lake, Lady's Seat, Killiyur Falls, Pagoda Point, Arthur's Seat, Kaveri Peak and the Shevaroyan temple
General Information

Area :383q. kms.
Altitude :1515 Metres
Population :36863 (1991 Census)
Climate :
Winter :25° . C13 °. C
Summer :30° . C16° . C
Average 13°.C to 30°.C
Rainfall :Min 1500 mm - Max 2000 mm .
Season :Throughout the year
Clothing Winter :Ordinary cotton with light wollen pull -over is enough.
Clothing - Summer :Ordinary Cotton.
Languages Spoken :Tamil and English.
STD Code :04281

Yercaud Lake
Places of Interest

Yercaud Lake The first thing that attracts a visitor is the lake. It is a picturesque pool surrounded by gardens and well wooded trees. Boating in the cold water of the lake is enchanting as well as refreshing.

The Anna Park : Near the Lake. It is a lovely garden.

Yercaud Lake

Lady's Seat : It overlooks the winding ghat road and provides a breath - taking view. GolfThis view is spectacular at night with the twinking lights of Salem town in sight. The Tourists can have a panoramic view of the plains below through the telescope mounted at the Lady's seat.

Pagoda Point  Another vantage view point.

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

Forts and Palaces in India: The Living Legends

Standing tall and proud, forts & palaces of India are the living legends that stand testimony to a bygone era of indulgence, elegance and romance.

Built sometimes as a mark of victory and at other times as a defense mechanism and yet some times for sheer extravagance and pomp; forts and palaces in India have been the prime jewels of the country’s history.

In the race of heritage forts and palaces, Rajasthan unarguably dominates over any other state such was the penchant of Rajput warrior princes with spectacular, grandiose and elegant structures. Steeped in history dictated by lore of countless battles that tell us the story of valor, romance, chivalry and also tragedies that befell this region, the forts of Rajasthan are truly the living legends of North India.

Here, we will talk about some of the most spectacular, significant and must visit forts and palaces in India listed in no particular order.

 Red Fort, Delhi

Red Fort : Major Tourist Attraction in India
Red Fort in Delhi
Perhaps no other fort in India is as significant historically as the center of power and dominion over entire country as as the Red Fort in Delhi. Red Fort was built at the apex of Mughal power in India. The period when Red Fort or Shahjahanabad, as it was called then, was the most prosperous period of Mughal Empire. However, after the passing away of Shah Jahan and later his successor Aurangjeb, the Mughal empire gradually withered away. The last lines of Mughals ruled just as token symbol, first under the Mughals and later under British before being completely overthrown after the Sepoy Mutiny  in 1857.

Constructed by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in 1638, Red Fort is a UNESCO world heritage site. It is situated in the capital city of India, Delhi the fort is made up of red sandstone.  As Red Fort is an iconic symbol of India, the Prime Minister hoists the national flag on it on every Independence day. Bearing the rage of time, the architecture of Red Fort has been in a mixed condition. Some of the important surviving structures of Red Fort are Lahori Gate, Water Gate, Chhatta Chowk,  Diwan-i-Aam, Diwan-i-Khas, Mumtaj Mahal (now converted into museum and housing relics of Mughal era) and Rang Mahal.

City Palace, Jaipur

City Palace - One of the most famous tourist attractions in Jaipur
City Palace in Jaipur, Rajasthan
Built in the 18th century, the City Palace is one of the prime tourist attractions in the state of Rajasthan. The construction of the City Palace was started by Maharana Udai Singh II and there had been additions in its design by the later rulers of the city. This resulted in the construction of the famous Chandra Mahal and Mubarak Mahal in the Palace premises. A perfect blend of Rajput, Mughal and European architectural style, the City Palace in Rajasthan gives an insight into the rich heritage of the bygone era.

Amber Fort, Jaipur 

Amber fort -  A prime tourist attraction in Jaipur, Rajasthan
Amber fort in Jaipur, Rajasthan
Located in the town of Amer, Amber Fort is one of the principal tourist attractions in the state of Rajasthan.  The fort is a significant blend of Mughal and Hindu architecture, and is made up of red sandstone & white marble. Amber Fort was built in the 16th century by Raja Man Singh. The fort boasts various structures like the Diwaan-i-Khas, Diwaan-i-Aam, Shhesh Mahal and Sukh Niwas. Besides, tourists can also view the splendid architecture of the Magic Flower which is made up of white marble.

Mysore Palace, Karnataka

Mysore palace - one of the most famous tourist attraction in Karnataka
A side view of the Mysore Palace in Karnataka
Also known as Amba Vilas Palace, the Mysore Palace is one of the most visited monuments in India. Once a residence of the Wodeyar Maharaja of the Mysore state.  This Palace in Mysore is a refurbished monument of the original one which got burnt down in 1897.

The present day palace flaunts an amazing mixture of Hindu, Muslim, Rajput and gothic style of architecture. Apart from being served as a tourist spot, Mysore Palace is also famous for hosting the world famous Mysore Dasara Festival.

Golconda Fort, Hyderabad

Golconda Fort - One of the most famous and the biggest fortress in the Deccan plateau of India
Golconda Fort in Hyderabad
A ruined fort of South India, The Golconda Fort is situated near the city of Hyderabad. Built as a part of the defense strategy, the Golconda Fort was built by the Kakatiyas.  The Golconda Fort is one of Hyderabad’s greatest architectural wonders and is built on a 400 foot high granite hill.

Sprawled across an area of 11 km, this magnificent fortress of Hyderabad houses various buildings inside it such as Habsi Kamans, Ashlah Khanna, Taramati, Mortuary bath, Nagina bath, Durbar Hall and Ambar Khana. Apart from the majestic structures, the Fort also had an ingenious water supply system which is now a dried up sight.

Taj Lake Palace, Udaipur

Taj Lake Palace Udaipur - one of the leading luxury heritage hotel in India
Taj Lake Palace in Udaipur
Like the monument Taj Mahal, the Taj Lake Palace in Udaipur is such a marble wonder that is one of its kind. Formerly known as Jag Niwas, the Taj Lake Palace is a vintage luxury hotel, floating on Lake Pichola in the  city of Udaipur. Being voted as one of the most romantic hotels across the globe, the Taj Lake Palace has a wide range of luxury rooms and suites. This royal hotel was built under the consideration of Maharana Jagat Singh II between 1743-1746 AD. Fascinated by the royal aura of  the hotel, several film directors have used it as a shooting place.

Jaisalmer Fort, Jaisalmer

Jaisalmer Fort - One of the largest fortifications in the world
Jaisalmer Fort  in Jaisalmer, Rajasthan
One of the largest fortifications of India and a world heritage site, the Jaisalmer fort is a monument worth visiting. It was built by the then Rajput ruler Rawal Jaisal in the 12th century. It is also known as Sonar Quila, or  the Golden fort and is one of the last princely bastions of Rajasthan.

The major attractions of Jaisalmer Fort are the Raj Mahal, which is the royal palace, Lakshminath temple, 4 massive gateways and the Merchant Havelis. Some of the havelis of this magnificent fort are as old as 100 years and are highly decorated with sandstone carvings.

Chowmahalla Palace, Hyderabad  

Chowmahalla Palace in Hyderabad
Chowmahalla Palace in Hyderabad 
Once used for residing by the Nizams of Hyderabad, the Chowmahalla Palace or Chowmahallat is one of the most ancient heritage buildings in the state. The construction of the Palace was started by Salabat Jung Bahadur in 1750 and was completed during the reign of Afzal Asaf Jah in 1869. It has a picturesque blend of Persian, Rajasthani and European architectural style.

Beautifully decorated with lavish gardens  and cascading fountains, the northern as well as southern courtyard adds on to the beauty of the palace. Major attractions include Aftab Mahal, Afzal Mahal, Tahniyat Mahal and Bara Imam.

Daulatabad Fort, Maharashtra 

Daulatabad fort near Aurangabad in Maharashtra
Daulatabad fort in Aurangabad,  Maharashtra
Standing atop the hill of Daulatabad, the Daulatabad Fort is a magnificent fortress of the 12th century. It is located close to the city of Aurangabad. Also named as Devagiri in the past, Daulatabad Fort boasts an  excellent architecture. Apart from the fortifications, there are other notable monuments around the structure like the Chand Minar and Chini Mahal.

The former is a tower, originally covered with Persian glazed tiles. This tower was built by Ala-ud-din-Bahmani in 1445. On the other hand, Chini Mahal was once of great beauty and was built by Abul Hasan Tana Shah in the 17th century.

Leh Palace, Ladakh

Leh Palace in Jammu & Kashmir
Leh Palace in Jammu & Kashmir
Built in the 17th century, the Leh Palace is perched on top of the Namgyan hill in Ladakh. Considered as a splendid Tibetan architecture, the Palace has nine stories which have been recently refurbished. With the architecture confined to Tibetan style, the Leh Palace features overhanging wooden balconies and massive battered walls.

On the top, lies the famous victory tower, which was built in the memory of brave Ladakhi soldiers. This palace was once the royal residence of King Singe Namgiyal. Whereas in the present time, the  Leh Palace serves as an office for Indian Government’s Archaeological Conservation Organization.  

Bidar Fort, Karnataka

Bidar Fort in Karnataka
Bidar Fort in Karnataka
One of the major tourist attractions of Karnataka. Situated in the Bidar district of Karnataka, the Bidar Fort was built by Sultan Alla-Ud-Din Bahman in the year 1427.  A true depiction of Persian architecture, the Bidar Fort is constructed on the edge of the northern plateau of Karnataka.

Although most of part of the structure has been left in ruins, the bastions, gates and barbicans of the Bidar fort are well preserved. With seven gates, the construction has been a quadrangular layout. The gates of the Bidar fort are divided as the Gumbad Darwaza, Sherza Darwaza, Fateh Gate, Talhat Gate, Delhi Gate and the Mandu Gate.    

Umaid Bhavan Palace, Jodhpur

Umaid Bhavan Palace in Jodhpur, Rajasthan
Umaid Bhavan Palace in Jodhpur, Rajasthan
A modern heritage hotel providing a premium Rajasthani style of accommodation, the Umaid Bhavan Palace was built between 1928 and 1943. It was basically built to provide employment to the people during the time of famine in  the state. The magnificent Umaid Bhavan Palace is located in the city of Jodhpur in Rajasthan. Being one of the largest private residences in the world, the Palace is the home of the present Maharaja of Jodhpur.

The construction of  the Umaid Bhavan Palace looks like an influence of the eastern and western architectural styles.  It has a majestic cupola which gives a memory of the Renaissance time, while the towers are strictly Rajput.