RSS

Monthly Archives: October 2013

Qutub Minar- The Altitudinous Minar of India

The tallest minar in India that attracts people from across the globe is the Qutub Minar. It is located in the capital city Delhi and can be seen from most of the parts of the city. It was built to such a great height (237.8 ft) to commemorate the victory of the Mughals. Being listed in the UNESCO Heritage Site, it is visited by a large number of people. It is made of red sandstone and marble with total 379 stairs, base diameter of 14.3 meters and top diameter 2.7 meters. Its construction was started in 1192 AD by Qutub-ud-din-aibak and was completed by Iltutmish. Several ancient and medieval structures are around it and is collectively called the Qutub Complex.

Qutub Minar

Qutub Minar – Image by Sharkawi Che Din on flickr.com

Qutub Minar

Image by AnkurDauneria on flickr.com

The monument is intricately carved with verses from the Quran and Parso-Arabic & Nagari characters that reveal the history of its construction. Qubbat-ul-Islam Mosque which is located at the northeast of this Minar was also built by Qutub-ud-din-Aibak in 1198 AD. This mosque was earliest built by the Delhi Sultans but after some time a coffee arched screen was erected. The mosque was enlarged by Shams-ud-Din Iltutmish and Allaud-din Khilji. Other remains in the complex are the madarasa, graves, tombs and mosque.

Qubbat-ul-Islam mosque

Qubbat-ul-Islam Mosque Entrance Image by varunshiv on flickr.com

The Iron Pillar that is located in the courtyard has an inscription over it in the Sanskrit Brahmi script of the 4th century AD. This pillar was set up as a Vishnudhvaja on the hill known as Krishnapada in the memory of a mighty king named Chandra. According to traditional belief, anyone who encircles the entire pillar with their arms while standing with their back against the pillar, then their wish will be fulfilled. But, now it is fenced by all around for the safety purpose as it was corroded by the sweat of visitors.

Iron Pillar

Iron Pillar – Image by gwashley by flickr.com

The Minar was used as a watch tower in ancient times. Due to several earthquakes and lightening, it was damaged, but had been repaired by the various rulers of that time. The Minar’s two top floors were damaged due to lightening during the rule of Firoz Shah. He repaired and renovated it perfectly. Similarly, many rulers repaired it after the damages.

Alai minar-Qutb Complex

Alai Minar in Qutb Complex

This pristine Minar tilts over 60 cm from the vertical and is considered to be within safe limits. But experts monitoring is needed in case of rainwater seepage as it weakens the foundation of the Minar. With the great history, the Minar is also used by Bollywood directors for their movies. This is the first monument in Delhi having e-ticket facility.

Qutab Minar and Alai Darwaza

Alai Darwaza (Alai Gate) is entrance to Quwwat-Ul-Islam Mosque

The general public access in the narrow building was end up in the 1981 after the incident of stampede due to the electricity failure on the staircase inside the tower. Around 45 people were killed and most of them were children as tickets for school children were free at that time on Friday and most of the school groups take advantage of it. After the incident, it was prohibited to enter inside the minar. All in all, it is one of the many important tourist attractions in Delhi that are not to be missed.

Trying my luck at ABC Wednesday blog

Advertisements
 

Tags: , ,

Konark Sun Temple –The Black Pagoda

Konark_Temple_Panorama

Konark Sun Temple in Odisha

The Konark Sun Temple located in Konark town of Orissa (Odisha) is a popular tourist attraction that is in the list of UNESCO world heritage sites in India. This temple was built by King Narasimhadeva I of Eastern Ganga Dynasty in 1250. Most of the part of the temple is in ruins now. It is called the Sun Temple because it is dedicated to the Sun God Surya. The shape of the temple is of a gigantic chariot which has carved stone wheels, pillars and walls. It has twelve pairs of elaborately carved stone wheels and is pulled by seven pairs of horses. It was once mentioned as the Black Pagoda by the European sailors.

Konark_Sun_Temple_Statue_of_Sun_God

Statue of Sun God Surya

Wheel of chariot-Konark Sun Temple

Stone Wheel of the Chariot carved on Konark Sun Temple

The architecture of the temple depicts the traditional style of Kalinga architecture. The orientation of the temple is towards the east due to which first rays of sunrise strike the main entrance. It has 128 feet tall audience hall that stands even now. Other structures that survive today are the dance hall and dining hall also known as Nata Mandira and Bhoga Mandapa. Two ruined temples have also been discovered some times ago namely Mayadevi Temple and Vaishnava deity. A Konark Archaeological Museum is also located there having a collection of all the fallen structures.

Carvings on walls - Konark Sun Temple

Carvings and Sculptures on the walls of Konark Sun Temple

Many kinds of images are sculpted on the walls of the Sun Temple. Some of them are of animals such as snakes, giraffe, elephants, etc. Religious figures are also covering the walls of the temple. Also, one can see the intricately crafted images of God Vishnu, Lord Shiva as well as Goddess Shakti. Women and men are also drawn over the walls of the temple in seductive poses of various kinds. Its fine figures that carved on the walls of the temple made it superior to other temples.

Animal carvings

Animals carved on the walls of Sun Temple

So, visiting this temple dwells anyone in its architecture, pictographic sculptures, serene environment, mythological temples, etc. After visiting that, it will remind you in your life as a nice experience. Nearby attraction of this temple is the Jagannath Puri temple. One can also visit this popular temple as it is one of the famous sightseeing in Odisha.

Simha-gaja sculpture at the entrance

 

Tags: ,

The Deserted Mughal City – Fatehpur Sikri

Fatehpur Sikri is an added attraction among the popular destinations of the Golden triangle circuit tour in northern India. This city lies just outside Agra and is a major tourist attraction while traveling from Jaipur to Agra or visa versa. It was built by the Mughal Emperor Akbar during the second half of the 16th century. Emperor Akbar built many buildings during his empire and his unique architecture renowned even now by the people due to which it is in the list of UNESCO world heritage sites.

Panoramic view of Fahpur Sikri

Panoramic view of Fahpur Sikri Palace

This historic site was founded by the Akbar who was searching for a new capital for his empire. He took a keen interest in the designs and construction of the buildings. Red sandstone was extensively used in the construction of this city because of its easy availability in the nearby areas of Fatehpur Sikri. The resulting city after fifteen years of hard work was a grand beauty in red stone but was soon deserted due to the lack of water system. It remained untouched for more than 400 years and remains of Mughal heritage are available there even now.

Fatehpur Sikri

Fatehpur Sikri – Image by Siva Vasanth on flickr.com

Some of the important buildings located in Fatehpur Sikri that are worth visiting sites are as follows:-

Buland Darwaja: – It is the largest gateway 550 meters high in the world. It is sometimes called the Gate of Magnificence. The central portico comprises of arched entrances and the largest arch is placed in the center, so known by the local people as the Horseshoe Gate. Outside the Darwaja, there is deep well. It is an astounding piece of architecture of Mughal Empire.

Buland Darwaja

Buland Darwaja

Tomb of Salim Chisti: – It is a white marble tomb located within the Jama mosque’s courtyard. This single storey structure was built around a central square chamber and within which there is the grave of the saint.

Tomb of Salim Chishti

Tomb of Salim Chishti

Naubat Khana: – Naubat Khana is basically a drum house located near the entry point where significant arrivals are announced.

Naubat Khana - Fatehpur Sikri

Naubat Khana – Image by Glee Bean on flickr.com

Diwan-e-Aam: – It is a famous hall of public audience where the rulers meet the general public and resolve their problems.

Diwan-e-Aam

Diwan-e-Aam – Image by SuprateekaHegde on flickr.com

Diwan-e-Khaas: – It is a hall of private audience and popular for its huge central pillar as it has thirty-six volute brackets supporting a circular platform. It is said that here Akbar had different representatives of different religions who discuss their faiths over there.

Diwan-e-Khaas

Diwan-e-Khaas

Raja Birbal’s House: – Birbal’s house is the house of Akbar’s favorite minister who was a Hindu and a wise man. The building has a unique architecture, the horizontal sloping sunshades or chajjas give it a unique look.

House of Raja Birbal

Raja Birbal’s Palace – Image by rustyproof on flickr.com

Mariam-uz-Zamani’s Palace: – This building shows Gujarati influence and is built around a courtyard and special care is being taken to ensure privacy.

Mariam-uz-Zamani's Palace

Mariam-uz-Zamani’s Palace – Image by octopuzz on flickr.com

Panch Mahal: – It is a five storied structure consists of intricately carved columns especially on the bottom floor. On the ground floor, it has 176 carved columns that make it a unique structure.

Panch Mahal

Panch Mahal – Image by Walwyn on flickr.com

Jama Masjid: – It is a mosque which is the first building that built in the whole complex of Fatehpur Sikri. A notable feature of the mosque is the row of chariot located there for over the centuries.

Jama Masjid in Fatehpur Sikri

Jama Masjid – Image by xiquinhosilva on flickr.com

Other buildings of the city include Taksal, Daftar Khana, Karkhanas, Khazana, Turkic styled Baths, Darogha’s Quarters, Stables, Caravan Sarai, etc. So, visiting this city give you the feeling that it’s a ghost city as it is totally deserted and nobody lives here. After visiting that you will never forget the city’s architecture that is famous all over India and visited by a large number of people.

 

Tags: , , ,

The Graceful Art in the Monuments at Mahabalipuram

The Graceful Art in the Monuments at Mahabalipuram

Mahabalipuram, located in Tamil Nadu, India, is basically famous all across the globe for its famous group of monuments. The monuments and its architecture are so elegant that they are listed in the UNESCO World heritage sites. These monuments were founded by the Pallava Kings in the 7th and 8th centuries. They are popular mainly for their exotic rathas, mandapas, giant open-air reliefs and many more things. These temples are excellent examples of Pallava art.

Mahabalipuram

Panoramic view of Monuments at Mahabalipuram

The monuments of Mahabalipuram are popularly known for its rock carvings and monolithic sculptures. These monuments illustrate the intricate sculptures and carvings which are true evidence to the artisans creativity and craftsmanship. Most of the monuments at Mahabalipuram are very popular like the rock-cut rathas, sculptured scenes of open rocks like Arjuna’s penance, the caves of Govardhanadhari and Ahishasuramardini, and the Jala-Sayana Perumal temple.

Mahabalipuram2

Rock-cut Cave in Mahabalipuram

Of the popular nine monolithic temples, the most important are the Five Rathas. It was named after the famous five Pandava brothers of the Mahabharata fame. Draupadi ratha is a simple and beautiful hut like kutagara shrine while the Arjuna ratha is a dvitala vimana. Similarly, other rathas are there and each has its own significance. Ratha temples in the form of cavalcade chariots, monolithic constructions appear as if they are delightfully emerging from the sand. Other notable landmarks are Varaha Mandapa, Mahisamardini Mandapa, Paramesvara Mahavaraha Vishnugriha, etc.

Varaha-Cave-Mahabalipuram

Varaha Cave Temple

Mandapa, or rock sanctuaries modeled as rooms covered with bas-reliefs. Arjuna’s Penance which is the world’s largest bas-relief panel with over a hundred figures of men, gods and beasts are visited by a large number of people.

Arjuna's Penance

Panoramic view of Arjuna’s Penance

Rock reliefs in the open air modeled a popular story in the iconography of Siva, that of the Descent of the Ganges. Temples built from cutting the stoned, like the Temple of Rivage, which was constructed under the reign of King Rajasimha Narasimavarman II, popular for its high-stepped pyramidal tower and thousands of sculptures which are dedicated to the glory of Siva.

Pancha Rathas at Mamallapuram

Pancha Rathas at Mamallapuram

The colossal attraction of this place is the spectacular Shore Temple that is worth to be visited. It is surrounded from all sides by rows of Nandi bulls that are looking out to the sea. This temple was re-built as it was washed away by the cyclone emerged from the sea. This temple is also referred as the Seven Pagodas but out of the seven pagodas, six are submerged in the sea and only one remains now.

Shore Temple in Mahabalipuram

Shore Temple in Mahabalipuram

It is believed by many people that this area was once surely served as a school for young sculptors. The different sculptures, some of them are half finished, are giving the examples of different styles of architecture, probably demonstrated by instructions and practices by young students of that time. This can also be seen in the Pancha Rathas where each Ratha is engraved in a different style.

The glamour of Mahabalipuram lies not only in its monumental architecture but also in its pristine sandy beach, unique architecture, handicrafts and stone carved sculptures. While exploring the different cities of Tamil Nadu, one must add this place in the itinerary of the Southern region as it is a must visit place.

 

Tags: ,