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Mughal Gardens in Kashmir

Kashmir Dal Lake

Kashmir

Tourist’s spots in Srinagar have always enchanted the visitors. Srinagar is amongst the most beautiful city in India. It also serves as the summer capital of the state Jammu and Kashmir. A very striking river named Jhelum flows through the Kashmir which intensify its beauty to make it a real heaven. Astounding Chinar trees and almond trees planted in a particular straight pattern in the city exaggerate its exquisiteness to the fullest.

Just a simple walk through the pretty riverside bank will make you realise the beauty of the Heaven on Earth.DalLake is also a very prominent feature of Kashmir. Main conspicuous attractions on the DalLake are Shikara, Houseboats and floating gardens and if you are courageous enough and love to go for adventure, you must go for skiing on DalLake in winters when it is frozen. There is nothing else in the world which can give you that much thrill.

Mughal Garden

Evening View Of Mughal Garden

The city of Srinagar was ruled by the Hindus and Buddhists before it was taken over by Mughals.Mughal Gardens in Kashmir listed in world heritage sites by UNESCO world Heritage sites.

Mughals have designed mainly three gardens in the city which are rocking the tourism industry till today.All the three of the gardens are designed accurately like the Mughal architecture and are unconditionally beautiful which never fails to leave you fascinated. The three gardens named The Shalimar Bagh, The Nishat Bagh and The Chashm-e-shahi which means The Royal Spring are exceptionally gorgeous. These were built by Mughal Emperors Shah Jahan,who is also famous for incredible monument Taj Mahal and Jahangir on the pattern of Central Asia, Persia and Turkistan.

Shalimar Bagh

Water Fountains in Shalimar Bagh

Terraced lawns, dazzling fountains, bright coloured long flower beds having stunning Dal Lake on the other side is not less beautiful than a dream. Shalimar Bagh was built by Emperor Shah which shows his love towards Kashmir. It was built for his wife. This beautiful garden has four terraces, each one on one above. The total area of garden is about 539 m by 182 m. In the middle of the garden runs a canal which is lined with polished shinning stones having running water.

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Flowers in Nishat Bagh

Nishat Bagh was built not by the emperor but by the empress Nur Jahan’s brother named Asaf khan in 1633 AD. This garden is the largest of all having seven terraces. Each terrace rises from the east of DalLake and appears not less than a mountain. With dramatically beautiful and vibrant flower beds and lush green gardens, this garden will never fail to impress visitors by its splendor.

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Chashm-e-shahi Of Mughal Garden

Chashm-e-shahi is the first Mughal Garden you will come across while visiting. It was designed by Emperor Shah Jahan in 1632 AD. It is built on a height which is above the main city. In area and size, it is the smallest Mughal garden. It has three terraces and a natural water spring which is covered by shinning stones pergola.

It’s not that only rivers and tress will lure your heart with their beauty. There are countless features which Kashmir has to attract thousands of tourists over the year.Kashmir was also one of the famous Mughal city in Mughal Era.There are some other tourist destinations of Kashmir which are very popular  among families, friends, kids and couples.

 

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Nanda Devi and Valley of Flowers National Park, Uttrakhand

A Beautiful View of Valley Of Flowers

A Beautiful View of Valley Of Flowers

Introduction:   

Valley of Flowers – As the name indicates, it’s a place covered with attractive and coloured flowers which are so gorgeous that this place is included in UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Located along with world famous Nanda DeviNational Park, this Valley of Flowers was discovered by Frank S. Smythe who was a mountaineer and botanist. He found it when he was rock climbing the mountains in India. Nanda Devi National Park is well secluded due to its remoteness from the people. The reason can be its late discovery or the very tough trek which take you to both the parks.

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A Miraculous View Of Nanda Devi Peak

The place is so enchanted and magical that this God’s splendour which is resting on the sly in the colossal Himalayas is being made a Heritage Site in India. After the world came to know across this fact, all botanists, nature lovers and other people who were interested in this amazing miracle run to the valley to experience its beauty. It is positioned in the Chamoli district, midway between the attractive ZanskarValley and The Great Himalayas, in the state Uttrakhand of India.

Location and Accessibility:

You can reach the valley/park only through a long trek which is about 17 kms long and starts from Gobindghat. Gobindghat is a village which is situated near Joshimath. Just before 3 kms from the valley, there is a place named Ghangharia, where the trekkers can rest after their long trek.

Nanda Devi Peak

Nanda Devi Peak (Image By Flickr.com)

To visit the valley, you will require a Forest Check Post’s permit at Ghangharia, only then you will be able to go to the valley. This permission is chargeable at a very nominal fee and is only valid for 3 days. You can visit it only in the summers, i.e., from June to October as it is covered fully with snow in the winters but in summers the valley is full with blossoming flowers, rendering the gorge a splendid charisma.

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Snow Leopard in Nanda Devi National Park(Image From Flickr.com)

Flora and Fauna:

About 1,000 species of plants are found in the park, including the 550 species of trees and 450 species of pinnacle or blooming plants. Apart from the medicinal plants like Polygonatum Multiflorum and Picrorhiza Kurrooa etc, there are beautiful flowers like blue poppy, calendulas, orchids, daisies and cobra lily. Pink lotus is also very common in the valley.

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Himalayan Snowcock (Image From Flickr.com)

Endangered animals which can be seen in the park are Snow Leopard, Blue Sheep, Musk Deer, Brown Bear, Black Bear, Hare, Langur and Serow etc. Birds like Himalayan Snowcock, Golden Eagle, Vulture, Snow Pigeon and Sparrow Hawk can also be found. Above all that, thousands of multicoloured striking butterflies will surely take your gasp away.

Lodgings and Distance:

Overnight stay is not allowed in the valley. Quite a few hotels are provided by state government in Ghangharia and Joshimath where you can stay. You will not find any accommodation in the valley itself. You can travel by flight or by train as the airport is 295 kms away and railway station is 276 kms away.

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An Eye Catching View Of Valley Of Flowers(Image By Pinterest)

This National Park and its Valley are a heritage amongst other Indian Heritages as there is a lot to explore here for the visitors.

 

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Hemis Gompa, Ladakh

Incredible India! The perfect two simply describes the wide INDIAN beauty, its historic existence for future and its wide heritage and culture. India is a land of many carnivals. Starting with the Crown of India, Jammu and Kashmir, till the bottom end, Kanya-kumari, one can see many religions and culture on every 100mile journey.

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Thikse Monastery, Ladakh

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Guru Rinpoche

Hemis – festival devoted to Lord Padmasambhava (Guru Rinpoche), a special festival of Hemis Gompa. Hemis Gompa is a Tibetan Buddhist Monastery of the Lineage, situated in Leh, Ladakh, in Jammu Kashmir.

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Hemis Monastery (image by geo96 on Flickr)

Hemis Monastery is a world heritage site of India founded by first incarnation of Stagsang Raspa Nawang Gyatso in 1630 AD. Monastery was re-established in 1672 AD by King Sengge Namgyal.

The Pupil of Yogi Tilopa (Naropa) and teacher of translator Marpa are allied with this monastery. Hemis is honoured as the largest monastic institution in North India. Monastery is wealthiest and the hoariest ancient remark of Leh. It is located on the west banks of Indus River, near Karu.

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Mural Painting in Hemis Monastery

Hemis is a point of attraction for the tourist not only because of its location, but for the colourful festival of monastery held in June- July. Monastery is well known for the rich collection of ancient fragments made of gold, silver and copper, scared Thangkas, murals and various artifacts.

Monastery belongs to the Drukpa Lineage. It is like an institution where the tantric vajrayana are taught in several sects like Kargyu, Sakya, Gelug. Even monks of monastery perform Tantric Worship.

Dukhang (image by Peteshep)

Dukhang, Main Face of Monastery (Image by Peteshep on Flickr)

Just like the way to monastery is thrilling and striking in itself, the same way monastery welcomes you in its beautiful, colourful and attractive Tibetan style architecture. It is separated into two segments – Dukhang, the assembly hall and Tshogkhang, the Temple. The huge Courtyard is ornamented with unique patterns and gorgeous designs. Highlights are the colourful wall paintings of Buddhist Kalchakra and lords of four quarters.  Courtyard is the place held for all celebrations and public functions.

Snow leopard at Hemis National Park (Fanus Weldhagen)

Snow leopard at Hemis National Park (Image by Fanus Weldhagen on Flickr)

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Stok Kangri (the higest peak of hemis National Park image by Rohit on Flickr)

One more destination of Hemis famed between the tourists is its National Park. Close to the monastery, there is the High Altitude Park which is known worldwide for its rare animal, snow leopard.

Hemis festival, (img by Nick Sampson)

Hemis Festival (Image by Nick Sampson on Flickr )

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Hemis festival, Image by Tama on Flickr)

Another most important part of the Hemis is its Festival. Festival is celebrated on the tenth day of the Tibetan lunar month every 12th Year. Festival is celebrated in restoration of birth anniversary of Guru Rinpoche, the initiator of Tantric Buddhism in Tibet. It is assumed that life mission of Guru Rinpoche was, and is, to improve the spiritual condition of all living beings. Festival is completed dedicated in memory of the Guru. The scared rituals performed are alleged to give spirituals strength and good health. Dance and drama for mission and life are performed wearing colourful masks and dresses accompanied with traditional music. It’s a three day festival, which attracts a lot of tourists from all around the world.

Festival begins with the early morning rituals. For the fest Lamas gather in the monastery and execute plays and dance. Highlights of the fest are the mystic mask dances, which are also known as Chams Performance.

Hemis is a remarkably a destination with many ancients things, which are surrounded by nature and which leaves a memorable journey impressions.

Visit here for other Buddhist Pilgrimage Sites.

 

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Gagaron Fort of Rajasthan also listed by UNESCO

In India, there are many forts and temples present all over the country. They have many historical roots which connect Indians to their ancestors and with the history of their birth place. In many states there are many large forts which were constructed by the kings earlier to get protected from enemies and fight from them.

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Gagron Fort, Jhalawar in Rajasthan

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Gagron Fort (Image by William Warren on Flickr)

Forts are the specialty of Rajasthan and it is very famous for this worldwide. A majority of forts of India is situated in Rajasthan. Among many forts, the fort of Gagaron is very famous. The beautiful fort of Gagaron is a very good epitome of a fort surrounded by water and thus is popularly known as “Water Fort” and “Jal Durg” in Hindi. This fort is among the famous 9 forts which have been mentioned in the mythological books of India.  This fort was started to build in the 7th century and was completed in the 14th century. A Dargah of sufi saint ‘Mittheshah’ is situated outside the fort where Moharram is celebrated and a fair is organized every year.   Gagaron fort has the name of one another famous saint associated with it. He is Saint Pipa Ji who was “Guru Ramanand’s” follower. He was among the main disciples as well as the contemporary of Kabir Saint too.

Dargah of Sufi Saint Mitteshah, Jhalawar

Dargah of Sufi Saint Mitteshah, Jhalawar in Rajasthan (Image by Pavan Gupta on Flickr)

This fort of Garagon has recently been recognized internationally as the World Heritage Site with other five forts of Rajasthan by UNESCO. These forts are unique in the fact that they are surrounded by defending natural landscapes like forests, water bodies, etc.

Location and surroundings of the fort

Gagaron fort is one of the famous forts of Rajasthan in the city of Jhalawar and is 12 kms away from the Jhalawar. The 2 water bodies namely the river Kali Sindh and the river Ahu surrounds Gagaron from its three sides.  The fourth side of this fort was a deep ditch for protection against the enemies but is not present today.  Apart from its rivers this fort has also a dense forest situated behind it. It has the known hill range of “Mukundarrah” due to which this fort is also known as forest fort or ‘vana durg’.  The presence of forests and water bodies made the fort very protected.

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Bridge of Gagron Fort

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Image by William Warren on Flickr

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Image by William Warren on Flickr

Historical Significance

Gagaron fort was built under the rule of the king “Achaldas Khinchi” who got this fort built to protect its army and citizens from the Malwa ruler “Hoshang Shah”. He was the Mandu ruler and proved to be stronger over Raja Khinchi. The king sensing the defeat, with his army and all other Rajputs rushed to fight against the ruler Hoshang but ultimately faced death fighting and protecting their region. The queens and the ladies opted for Johar which was a historical practice done by ladies to surrender themselves to fire. This fort is known for this story of sacrifice, heroism and bravery of the Khinchi rulers and queens.

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Gagron Fort Entrance

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Ruins of Gagron Fort

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Image by Pavan Gupta on Flickr

In medieval India, before the formation of cities like Kota, Bundi, Jhalawar, Gagaron city was very known and superior in Malwa.

Following the blog ABC Wednesday for “U”

 

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Ranthambore Fort, Rajasthan

Ranthambore fort is a part of world heritage site which is situated near Sawai Madhopur town in Rajasthan. Swai Madhopur is a small town which lies in the north Indian state of rajasthan. Ranthambore fort is surrounded by Vindhays and aravallies hill ranges. The name ‘Ranthambore’ is derived from two hills-rann and thambhore . It lies on Thambhore hill which is 481 metres above the sea level. Rann is the adjoining hill to Thambhore hill. From the top of the hill some breathtaking views around the fort can be captured.

Ranthambore fort

Ranthambore Fort (Image by TuAnh Nguyen on Flickr)

HISTORY

This fort was built during the 8th century by the Chauhan ruler. This fort gain popularity when the ruler of chauhan dynasty, Raja Hammir Dev was crowned in 1283 A.D. This fort is also the symbol of glory and bravery of Raja Hammir Dev. When rulers attacked this fort at different point of time during 12th to 15th century in 16th century ,the fort was captured by Mughals. In 19th century the fort was possessed by Maharaja of Jaipur.

ARCHITECTURE

The fort has many splended architectural and historical sites. The fort spreads over an area of 7kms. It is surrounded by huge walls made up of stone which are about 7kms in length. These walls are strengthened by towers .Inside the fort, there are many palaces, temples, Step well and houses . Some of them have been destructed like Hammir’s Fort, Badal Mahal and Phansi Ghar . This fort consisted four gateways, out of these four gateways only one gate is still standing named as MISRADHARA.

Ranthambore Fort

Interior of Ranthambore fort (Image by thesetter on Flickr)

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Ranthambore Fort Badal Mahal (Image by J on Flickr)

Cenotaph of Hammir dev Chauhan

Cenotaph of Hammir dev Chauhan (Image by Marissa Bronfman on Flickr)

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Ranthambore Fort Mosque (Image by Jay Seedy on Flickr)

TEMPLES

There are three Hindu temples inside the fort constructed in 12th and 13th century. The three temples are dedicated to Lord Ganesha , Shiva and Ramlalaji . Main attraction of the fort is ‘The Ganesh Temple’ which is near to the main entry gate. In this temple thousands of pilgrims visit throughout the year from variour parts of the country. There is also a Jain Temple dedicated to Lord SumatiNath and Lord Sambhavanath .

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Lord Ganesha Temple(Image by Marissa Bronfman on Flickr)

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Shiva Temple Ranthambore Fort

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Jain Temple of Ranthambore fort

RANTHAMBORE WILD LIFE CENTURY

In the western part of the fort visitors and tourists usually stay. In eastern part a wild life century is situated which is known for its tiger. This park is the main attraction for the tourists. This is one of the largest Wild life centuries in India. This park is situated within an area of 393 sq.kms. and is popular for its Tiger population. The park was established by the Indian government in 1980 as wild life century to protect the tigers from being extinct. Other wild animals are found here are Leopard, Nilgai , Hyena , Langoors , Fishing cat . This park is also rich in flora, As many species of trees and plants are found here. A large number of banyan trees are grown here .

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Tiger In Ranthambore National Park (Image by Modest Janicki on Flickr)

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Leopard in Ranthambore (Image bySaran Vaid on Flickr)

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Deers in Ranthambore National Park (Image by Rebecca Yale on Flickr)

A visit to Ranthambore is extremely interesting as is provides the tourists with a glimpse and blend of nature, history and religion. Rajasthan is very popular for its fort and Ranthanbore is one of them and visit to this place is more interesting.

 

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Kumbhalgarh Fort, Rajasthan

Rajasthan is a famous state for its forts and handicrafts. There are many other popular things that make Rajasthan very unique and because of its arts in every city it is famous worldwide. A state known as ‘Kumbhalgarh’ is very popular for its fort and is also the birthplace of the warrior ‘Maharana Pratap’ that lies in the Rajasthan in Rajasmand district.

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Kumbhalgadh fort( Image by Ricardo Fernandez on Flickr)

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Kumbhalgadh fort( Image by Ricardo Fernandez on Flickr)

Kumbhalgarh fort is built in 15th century by ‘Maharana Kumbha’.  It is named after its Maharana named ‘Maharna Kumbha’. It lies in Rajasmand district at 64 kms of distance in north–west region of Udaipur.  The specialty of this fort is that it is the second important fort after the ‘Chittorgarh’ fort and it was declared a World heritage site in India by UNESCO. This fort is much secured as it is surrounded by the Aravali ranges. Its protection is very high that it is unconquerable.

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Aerial view of Kumbhalgarh (Image by Ricardo Fernandaz on Flickr)

How to reach Kumbhalgarh fort?

To reach Kumbhalgarh fort is not very difficult because it is very much easy and comfortable to reach their by taxis or buses directly from the Udaipur city. Before reaching to Kumbhalgarh fort, a zig-zag kind of road is made that passes from the thick forests and ravines. The road is finding before few kilometers to fort. On this way one will find many types of ‘Pol’ that one can enjoy very much. The names of such Pol are ‘Nimboo Pol’, ‘Arait Pol’, ‘Bhairava Pol’, ‘Hanuman Pol’ and many more.

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Entrance gate of Kumbhalgadh Fort

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Ram Pol

About Kumbhalgarh

Kumbhalgarh fort is also termed as ‘Badal Mahal’ or ‘Palace of Cloud’. On the top of the fort there is a palace which is also very famous. This palace is known for the birth of the great warrior ‘Maharana Pratap’. This palace is very beautiful and attractive with bright color combinations of turquoise, white and green in the rooms. The color combinations in the rooms give the effects of the cloud and give panoramic effect which looks very attractive.

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Badal Mahal (Image by Pavan Gupta on Flickr)

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Interior of Badal Mahal (Image by Blake Kirkland on Flickr)

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Image by Vicky on Flickr

There are huge watch towers and the fort is covered with seven ramparts and seven gates. The foundation of the fort is very strong and solid and that is the reason why fort is unbeatable till now. Walls of the fort are too broad and that is sufficient to stand the eight number of horses one side another. There are 360 temples located inside the fort and among all the temples, Shiva temple is very famous. Visitors enjoy a lot while visiting the fort because they are the symbol of ancient times.

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kheda deveri temple in kumbhalgarh fort (Image by Eric Parker on Flickr)

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Vedi Temple in Kumbhalgadh Fort

Fort is surrounded by mountain peaks that are thirteen in number.  Fort is found in the international records due to its number of beautiful palaces, gardens and temples.  The fort is surrounded by a wall that is 15 kms long and the wall is the second longest wall in whole world after Great Wall of China. The width of the wall is 15 to 25 Ft and it is the thick wall after ‘Great Wall of China’. The visit to this fort gives people a special attraction and feeling that they want to visit here again and again.

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Great wall of Kumbhalgadh fort (Image by bookchen on Flickr)

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Great Wall of Kumbhalgadh Fort

 

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Jaisalmer Fort, Rajasthan

Rajasthan is very famous for its beauty, sculpture, arts and crafts. It is most popular state all over the world where every tourist wants to visit once in their lifetime. There is a city known as Jaisalmer which is popular for its fort. Among several largest forts, Jaisalmer Fort is one of them and it is located in the Jaisalmer city that is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It was constructed in 1156 A.D by the ruler ‘Rao Jaisal’.

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View of Jaisalmer Fort (Image by Koshy Koshy on Flickr )

The fort stands in the mid of the great ‘Thar Desert’ which looks very beautiful. Many battles have been fought at the Jaisalmer fort. Its yellow color walls look as if a lion is standing during the day. When sun sets, it gives the fort golden color in the desert and that is why it is known as ‘Golden fort’. The local people of the city also called the fort ‘Sonar quila’ and it is located as the heart of the city.

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Main Gate of Jaisalmer Fort (Image by Grete Howard on Flickr)

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Canon of jaisalmer fort ( Image by Blake Kirkland on Flickr )

Features of the fort

The fort is very worth visiting and that is why it has many attractive features which are:
•    It is located in the mid of Jaisalmer and because of this reason it is referred as the heart of the city.
•    Its bazaars, architecture and miniatures are very attractive that pulls everyone towards it.
•    It is made up of sand stones that look very beautiful in the day as well as in night.
•    It is the second oldest fort of Rajasthan.
•  There are many numbers of historical monuments present in the fort which are main reason of the attraction of the fort.

Attractions of Jaisalmer fort

There are various types of attractions of the fort which is the cause of many tourists to come there. The names of such attractions are:-

•    Laxmi Nath temple

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Laxmi Nath temple

•    Jain temple

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Sculptures of Jain temple (Image by Biswarup Sarkar on Flickr)

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jain temple

Image by Andrea Longoni

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Image by dhReist on Flickr

•    4 massive gateways

•    Rajmahal

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Rajmahal palace (Image by Steve Browne $ John Verklir on Flickr)

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Rajmahal palace (Image by nationalx6453 on flickr)

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Silver throne (image by Simaon White on Flickr)

The above are some very beautiful places that attract everyone towards it. The person who visits the fort must surely visit these places. The beauty, art and craft of the places are very effective and attractive. The drainage system of fort is known as ‘Ghut Nali’ that allows the drainage of rain water very easily. The drainage system allows rainwater to flow in the four directions of the fort.
One can find many types of eating item over there which includes French, native cuisines and Italian. One great thing about the fort is that a famous film director ‘Satyajit Ray’ wrote the novel ‘Sonar Kella’. This novel is the detective novel which is based on this fort.

Danger to Fort

Where there is a beauty, there is a threat and just like that fort has also many threats. Inadequate civic amenities, water seepage and derelict houses are some major threats that are affecting the fort. Fort has been built over the very weal sedimentary rock which is also the danger to fort.
Forts have always been a good place to visit and enjoy. Plan a visit to Jaisalmer fort and enjoy the various good and artistic things there.

 

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