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Tag Archives: Heritage Buildings

Churches and Convents of Goa

Goa, famous for its golden beaches, is also known for its catholic religious buildings all over India. Despite being the smallest state of India, it has lots of things to offer to its visitors. One of the main glories of Goa is its Churches and Convents. They are spread all around in Old Goa. Like Maharashtra’s Vasai Fort that showcases the Portuguese heritage, the Portuguese style of art and architecture commemorate the past of the Goa. The Old Goa was the capital of the Portuguese Indies from 1565 and abandoned in 1760 because of malaria outbreak.

Se’ Cathedral-Goa

Se Cathedral – The largest church in India

Old Goa is now an archaeological site and its churches and convents come under the UNESCO World Heritage List. In this place, only few people live now, but it is hard to imagine that once there were two lakh inhabitants. Their religious buildings have survived in the form of Churches and Convents.

Church of St. Francis of Assisi

Church of St. Francis of Assisi

There are many churches and convents are there, some of them are St. Catherine’s Chapel, Church and Convent of Francis of Assisi, Basilica of Bom Jesus, Church of Saint Cajetan, Church of Our Lady of the Rosary and St. Augustine Tower. Most of these Churches are plain, especially the interiors. Some of the above said Churches have faded wall paintings and wooden carvings. All of them are of naïve style. Not only the architecture, the Portuguese influence can also be found in the delicious cuisines in Goa.

Basilica of Bom Jesus-Old Goa

Basilica of Bom Jesus or Borea Jezuchi Bajilika – A UNESCO World Heritage Site

Only one or two cathedrals seem to be used for religious services while the others are just like a historical monument. The Basilica of Bom Jesus is the famous one. It holds the mortals remains of St. Francis Xavier, a missionary across Asia who died in 1552. He was noted as the patron saint of Goa.

St Cajetan Goa

Church of Saint Cajetan

Besides the Churches, there is a Viceroy’s Arch near the coast. This arch is a collapsing gate that was erected to commemorate the capture of the city by the Portuguese. Statue of Vasco DA Gama is located on the top of the gate. Many people visit the Old Goa only to see the remains of Portuguese art and architecture.

St. Augustine Tower Ruins

St. Augustine Tower Ruins – Image by lobodrl on flickr.com

Viceroy’s Arch

Viceroy’s Arch – Image by simonk on flickr.com

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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

 

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Explore the Gleaming Beauty of City Palace of Jaipur

Explore the Gleaming Beauty of City Palace of Jaipur

City Palace of Jaipur has a great historical past and is located in the northeastern part in the originally designed city. It is a popular tourist spot as it is visited by a large number of tourists. The gleaming beauty of the palace attracts the travelers towards it. Once it was the seat of the Maharaja of Jaipur who was head of the Kachwaha Rajput clan. The palace was built in the 18th century means between 1729 and 1732, by the ruler of Amber – Sawai Jai Singh II. He made it with the help of popular architectures of that time period. Apart from the glorious architecture, the palace also offers a ravishing view of the Pink City.

City-Palace-Entrance

City Palace Entrance Gate

The complex of the palace comprises of the Chandra Mahal, Mubarak Mahal, Mukut Mahal, Maharani’s Palace, Shri Govind Dev Temple and the City Palace Museum. There are many pols (gates) to enter the palace namely Virendra Pol, Udai Pol, Tripoli Gate and Atish Pol. Courtyards are arranged in a linear series in the palace.

City-Palace-Jaipur

Inside City Palace

On the ground floor, there is a Pritam Niwas with a small audience hall in its center. The next two storeys are occupied by the marvelous Sukh Niwas. Above of this Niwas, there is the Rang Mahal also known as Sabha Niwas and then the Chhavi Niwas with blue painted interiors, Shri Niwas with the Sheesh Mahal and finally the crowning painting of Mukut Mandir. The arches, motifs, opening, balcony, all shows the Rajput tradition architecture. Compacted and Symmetrical masses were the feature of that period which is reflected in the architecture of the City Palace.

The main attractions inside the palace complex are as follows:-

Mubarak Mahal – This Mahal was built with an amalgam of Islamic, Rajput and European architectural styles by Maharaja Madho Singh II as a reception center of the palace. A beautiful display of the voluminous clothes worn by Sawai Madhosingh I with his 108 wives attracts many visitors towards it.

Mubarak_Mahal-City-Palace-Jaipur

Mubarak Mahal inside City Palace,Jaipur

Chandra Mahal – Chandra Mahal is the most compelling building in the City Palace complex. It is a seven storeyed building and each floor has been given a specific name like Sukh Niwas, Ranga Mandir, Chabi Niwas, Shri Niwas and Mukut Mandir. This Mahal contains a large number of unique paintings, floral decorations.

Chandra-Mahal

Chandra Mahal

Diwan-I-Khas – Earlier, it was a private audience hall of the Maharajas. On display, there are two huge sterling silver vessels of 1.6 meters height and each with a capacity of 4000 liters and 340 Kilogram weight. These vessels are recorded by the Guinness Book of World Records.

Diwan-I-Khas

Diwan-I-Aam – Diwan-I-Am or the Hall of Public Audience is a chamber rich in red and gold colors and decorated with ceiling paintings. It looks dynamic in nature. Now the chamber is like an art gallery, exhibits many exquisite paintings, ancient texts, embroidered rugs, Kashmiri shawls and carpets. Many handwritten original manuscripts belonging to Hindu scriptures can be seen in this gallery. Scripts related to Bhagvad Gita are placed there. Also, visit the Golden Throne locally called as Takht-e-Rawal in the art gallery. Golden throne was the seat of the Maharaja at the time of public audience.

Diwan-I-Aam

Diwan-I-Aam (Sabha Niwas) or the Hall of Public Audience

Maharani Palace – As the name suggests itself, it was the residential place of the royal queens of historic times. Now, it has been converted into a museum where weapons used by the royal kings during war campaigns are displayed.

Maharani-Palace

Maharani Palace Interior

Govind Dev Ji Temple – This temple is dedicated to the Hindu God Lord Krishna and is part of the city palace complex. It is set in a garden environment outside the walls of the palace. It contains the paintings belonging to Indian art. The main thing that allures people in this temple is the ceiling which is ornamented with gold. This temple is located just before the Chandar Mahal Palace where the Maharaja resides and could able to get the direct view of the temple from his room.

Govind Dev Ji Temple, Jaipur

Govind Dev Ji Temple

So, the palace is worth visiting site and nobody should miss it while making his/her trip of Rajasthan as it is the luminous heritage site of Rajasthan.

 
 

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Mastani Mahal recreated at Raja Dinkar Kelkar Museum

Mastani Mahal was a palace built by Bajirao I for his second wife Mastani. Stories and movies related to Mastani are well known to the people. It was named after this leading lady of immense beauty and skills. He built this palace for Mastani at Kothrud. After a long time of negligence, the palace fell into ruins. Mrityunjaya Temple, along with few other ruins, is now what remains at the site.

Painting-of-Mastani

Painting of Mastani

It was Dr Dinkar G. Kelkar who preserved some of its remnant when the palace was dismantled. He tried to recreate the beauty of Mastani Mahal’s inside architecture in Raja Dinkar Kelkar Museum. Dinkar Kelkar was an ardent art collector, so he transplanted the fine wooden pillars and wall paintings to his museum in Pune.

Mastani_Mahal-Replica-in-Raja-Dinkar-Kelkar-Museum

Replica of Mastani Mahal in Raja Dinkar Kelkar Museum

There is a special section inside the museum that is dedicated to the legacy of Mastani Mahal. Its living room assembled the old carpenters work. The replicated architecture inside the museum reveals the intricate design and woodcarving. The breathtaking furnishing recalls the atmosphere of the home of Mastani, whose portrait on glass is also presented in the museum. It is a lesser know, but a great place to visit in Pune.

Mastani_Mahal-Replica-in-Raja-Dinkar-Kelkar-Museum (1)

Replica of Mastani Mahal in Raja Dinkar Kelkar Museum

Mastani_Mahal-Replica-in-Raja-Dinkar-Kelkar-Museum (2)

Mirror in Mastani Mahal

 

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Shivaji’s Childhood Palace – Lal Mahal

Lal Mahal, as the name suggests, is a red brick building located at Pune. It is an important historical building as it was built by Dadaji Konddev in 1640, two years after he had ownership of Pune city from the Adilshahi Sultans. Konddev brought Shivaji and his wife up there, and then built this palace.

Lal-mahal-pune

The renovated Lal Mahal in Pune

It was the childhood home of Shivaji as he spent many years there. The statue of Jijamata (Shivaji’s mother) is placed inside the palace. There is another structure of young Shivaji with a golden plow looked after by his with mother Jijabai and Guru Dadoji Konddev. Four umbrellas on the terrace are the main attraction of the Mahal. This is the place where Shivaji Maharaj cut Shaistekhan’s fingers when he was trying to escape from the windows of the Lal Mahal.

Shivaji-statue-lal-mahal

Many incidents from Shivaji Maharaj’s life are vividly illustrated on the walls of this palace. A garden is also there which is dedicated to Jijamata, so known as Jijamata Garden. In this garden, Kids, Senior Citizens spend their evenings very enjoyably.
The Pune Municipal Corporation had remodeled this Mahal in the year 1988. In its present renovated avatar, this magnificent Lal Mahal resembles more a sandstone red place, than a traditional Wada. This marvelous structure is just next to Shaniwarwada. Many pictorial representations of different incidents from Shivaji Maharaj’s life could be seen on the walls of this palace which attracts lots of tourist. It is another historic place worth visiting in Pune, Maharashtra.

 

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Retracing the legend of Gangadhar Tilak at Kesari Wada

The Kesari Wada, located in Pune city of Maharashtra, has gained much significance as a historical monument. The Gaikwads built this Wada as their personal resident. The Prince of Baroda, Sayajirao Gaikwad Sarkar lived here before selling it to Bal Gangadhar Tilak, the famous leader of the Indian independence movement. Bal Gangadhar Tilak ran the Kesari (Marathi newspaper) and the Maratha (English newspaper) from this place till his death in 1920.

Kesari Wada

Kesari Wada

Originally called the Gaikwad Wada, its name was later changed to Kesari Wada by Bal Gangadhar Tilak. The Wada has witnessed many night-long discussions by India leaders from the freedom moment about the British rule in India. The original building has gone through several renovations to make it fit for the modern lifestyle. However, few things are still the original like the main entrance gate, which is made of wood.

Kesari Wada

Replica of Bal Gangadhar Tilak with his original belongings in Tilak Museum

Kesari Wada still houses the office of Kesari newspaper. The Tilak Museum is a great attraction that houses many belongings of Gangadhar Tilak. There is also a Kesari-Maratha Library on the second floor of the building. Bal Gangadhar Tilak started the annual Ganesh festival celebration in Kesari Wada to unite the people for independence struggle. The trend is still followed and many events like music concerts, lectures and competitions are organized during the Ganesh festival.

 

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Where Mahatma Gandhi was Imprisoned – Aga Khan Palace

Aga Khan Palace is yet another historical site in Maharashtra that holds a great significance in Indian history. It is located at about 2 Km away from Bund Garden in Yerwada, on Pune-Nagar Road. It is also recognized as Kasturba Gandhi Memorial or Kasturba Samadhi. It was built in 1892 by Imam Sultan Muhammad Shah Agakhan III and was donated to India in 1969 by Aga Khan IV as an act of charity because the areas of Pune drastically hit by famine at that time.

Aga Khan Palace

Historically, this palace is a ceremonial building and is closely associated with the Indian Freedom Movement as it served as a prison for Mahatma Gandhi, his wife Kasturba Gandhi, his secretary Mahadev Desai and Sarojini Naidu. It is the place where Kasturba Gandhi and Mahadev Desai died. In 2003, Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) declared the palace as a monument of national importance.

Mahatma Gandhi Memorial inside the Palace

This lonely palace once belonged to the Agha Khan, served as quarters for imprisonment of Gandhi and his wife Kasturba towards the trail end of the British rule in India. It is situated near the river Mula and is just a simple memorial to Gandhi and his lifetimes. A shop attached to the palace sells Khadi or cotton, hand loomed garments and textiles. It is also called the Gandhi National Memorial or the Yerwada Ashram. It is located at Talegaon Road, beyond Fitzgerald Bridge.

Museum inside the Palace

The significance of the Aga Khan Palace is that it has marvelous Italian arches and spacious lawns. The building constitutes of five halls. It covers an area of 19 acres, out of which 7 acres are just a built up area. The palace bewitched the eyes of a spectator with its glamour and picturesque architecture. It took 5 years and an estimated budget of Rs. 1.2 million to complete this palace. The area of the ground floor is 1756 sq meters, in which the first floor is 1080 sq meters and the second floor is 445 sq meters. The specialty of this adorable palace is its corridor of 2.5 meters spreads around the entire building. In 1972, Prince Karim Aga Khan of that time donated this palace to Gandhi Smarak Samittee and since then Parks and Gardens organization is maintaining it.

Mahatma Gandhi Statue

Now, the palace mainly houses a memorial to Gandhi where his ashes were kept. The then prime minister India Gandhi had visited the place in 1974 where she allotted a sum of Rs. 200000 every year, for its maintenance. The amount rose to Rs. 2 million till 1990s, after which the national monument of India, was neglected for many years due to improper allocation of funds. There was a grand protest held at the statue of Mahatma Gandhi near Pune Railway Station on July 1999 to protest against the deteriorating condition of the monument.

Museum view inside Aga Khan Palace

The archives of the palace contain a number of photos and portraits depicting stories from the life of Mahatma Gandhi, the father of the nation of India, and other personalities of the Indian freedom struggle. Many activities are organized there at some special occasions. The Gandhi Memorial Society celebrates the following public functions at the palace: –

30th January – Martyr’s Day 
Mahashivratri – Kasturba Gandhi’s Death Day Celebrated As Mother’s Day
15th August – Indian Independence Day
26th January – Republic Day
2nd October – Mahatma Gandhi’s Birth Anniversary

Other than yearly events, morning prayers terms are held daily at the Samadhi for decades. The prayer attracts a large number of crowds every day, and the number goes up threefold on 2 October as most of the people visit the place to pay tribute to Mahatma Gandhi. So, this monument is worth to see and surely visited by the tourists.

 

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