RSS

Tag Archives: Palaces

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.

kumbhalgadh fort

Kumbhalgadh fort( Image by Ricardo Fernandez on Flickr)

kumbhalgadh fort vies

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.

arieal view of kumbhal fort

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.

7609703-Ram-Pol-Kumbhalgarh-Fort-0

Entrance gate of Kumbhalgadh Fort

Ram pol of kumbhalgadh

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.

badal mahal palacejpg

Badal Mahal (Image by Pavan Gupta on Flickr)

fa_z

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

2042905593_d10ac62f0d_z

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.

kheda deveri

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

Vedi-Temple-Kumbhalgarh-Fort-0

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.

great wall of the kumbhalgadh fort

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

Walls of kumabalgadh fort

Great Wall of Kumbhalgadh Fort

 

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: , , ,

View Through the Windows of the Hawa Mahal

View Through the Windows of the Hawa Mahal

The Palace of Winds is a commonly known name of the famous monument “Hawa Mahal” of Jaipur, Rajasthan, India. Maharaja Sawai Pratap Singh built it in 1798 and the design of it was formed by Lal Chand Ustad. Lal Chand Ustad was the famous architecture of that time, he also designed the Jaipur city. The design of the Hawa Mahal was in the form of the crown of Lord Krishna. The architecture of the palace is really marvelous and reflects the Rajasthani culture.

Hawa-Mahal

Hawa Mahal – Jaipur

This five storey building is very unique in its structure. It looks like a honeycomb of the beehive as it has 953 small windows popularly called as Jharokha. The motive of the number of Jharokas is to allow royal ladies to watch the everyday life in the street as the purdah system was on peak at those times. So, the Mahal was built for the royal ladies so that they can enjoy and interact with the natural surroundings while residing in the palace itself. Besides this the Jharokhas also provide a cool breeze and air conditioned the whole building in peak summers, so, the name is given to it “Hawa Mahal”.

Hawa-Mahal-2

Rear view of Hawa Mahal

An interesting fact about the Hawa Mahal is that the thickness of the walls of the palace is even lesser than a foot but carved so beautifully. It is made of red and pink sandstone, the palace is situated on the main boulevard in the heart of Jaipur’s business center. It forms part of the City Palace and also extends to the Zenana or the women’s chambers. Its view is particularly striking when seen it early morning as it lit with the golden light of sunrise which makes it beautiful.

Hawa-Mahal-3

Jharoka or Latticed Window

On entering the Palace, there is a door which leads to a spacious courtyard surrounded by two-storey buildings on the three sides. Of the five storeys of the Mahal, the top three storeys have broad enough like a single room while the bottom storeys have courtyards. The interior of the Hawa Mahal is flagrant and plain with passages and pillars that leads to the top storey. The palace does not have stairs to reach the top floors; they are connected just by slopes. From Hawa Mahal, one can have a panoramic view of the pink city. It also has an archaeological museum in which the paintings and sculptures of Maharaja’s and Rani’s are located elegantly.

Hawa-Mahal courtyard

Courtyard inside Hawa Mahal

Some nearby tourist attractions while traveling to Hawa Mahal are the Jantar Mantar, Govind Dev Ji temple, Amer Fort, Nahargarh Fort, Ram Niwas Bagh, Birla Planetarium, etc. So, the palace is a tourist site in Rajasthan while one is planning a trip his/her trip. It makes an exemplary portraying dignity in the honor of the city’s royal women, so has a great significance in the history pages of Rajasthan.

 
 

Tags: ,

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.

 
 

Tags: , , ,

The Legendary Fort of Chittorgarh

The Legendary Fort of Chittorgarh

The Chittorgarh Fort holds a great place in the Indian history. Its palaces, broken walls show the heroism of innumerable sieges. This fort is located in the Chittorgarh, Rajasthan. It is a seven mile fort with a number of palaces. This amazing fort is spread in a large area and located at a great height. It is the largest fort in India in terms of area.

Chittorgarh_Fort

The Chittorgarh Fort

Chittorgarh was one of the furiously contested seats of power in India. It was fortified many times but, the legendary founder of the Sisodia dynasty-Bappa Rawal finally received the Chittor in the middle of the eighth century. This seat was the part of the last Solanki princess’s dowry. In 1330, Allauddin Khilji, Sultan of Delhi fascinated by tales of the exquisite beauty of Padmini who was the Rani of Chittor. After this, he wanted to verify himself about the tales. So, he went Chittor with his army. His armies surrounded the Chittor and the sultan sent a message to Rana Ratan Singh, Padmini’s husband, to say that he would leave the city with his army only if he could able to meet his famous beautiful queen. So, at last Rana Ratan Singh compromised with the sultan to save his empire. He sent a message to the Sultan that if you came unarmed into the fort, only then you would be able to take a reflection of the Rani of Chittorgarh. After this, the Sultan decided accordingly to go up the hill and have a glimpse reflection of the beautiful Padmini standing by a lotus pool. After that Khilji decided to conquer the fort to win Rani Padmini in the battle. Many warriors of both the sides died during the battle. Rana Ratan Singh saved himself and did not want to surrender, due to all that, khilji decided to attack Rani Padmini directly. After hearing this, Rani Padmini and other women of the fort decided to perform Jauhar (self immolation of women and subsequent march of men to the battlefield to end their life with respect) to avoid capture and dishonor at the hands of Muslim invaders. So, this was the famous story behind the famous fort and the beautiful rani’s end. Thus, the fort represents the epitome of tribute to the nationalism, courage, sacrifice exhibited by the Mewar rulers of Sisodia and their kinsmen, women and children.

Chittorgarh_Fort-2

Chittorgarh Fort

Many other battles were taking place to conquer the fort but this was the important one in terms of sacrifice. The huge fort has many things inside it to visit. To reach the fort, one has to pass through the seven huge gates (Pol) namely, Padan Pol, Bhairon Pol, Hanuman Pol, Jorla Pol, Ganesh Pol, Laxman Pol and the last one is Ram Pol.

Popular places to see and visit in the fort are:-

Tower of Victory (Vijay Stambh) – It was built in 1440 AD by the famous ruler Maharana Kumbha to commemorate his victory over Mohammed Khilji. It is a nine storey tower, adorned mostly by the sculptures of Hindu deities. Around 157 narrow steps are there that leads to the terrace of the tower.

Vijay-Stambh-Chittorgarh-Fort

Vijay Stambh (Tower of Victory)

Tower of Fame (Kirti Stambh) – This tower is dedicated to Adinathji, the first Jain Teerthankar and adorned with the naked figures of the Digambers.

Kirti-Stambh-Chittorgarh-Fort

Kirti Stambh (Tower of Fame)

Gaumukh Reservoir – This reservoir is basically a deep tank filled by a spring coming from a “cow mouth”, located at the edge of the cliff.

Gaumukh-Reservoir-Chittorgarh-Fort

The Gaumukh Reservoir

Rana Kumbha Palace – This place is totally ruined now and is most famous as the Rani Padmini and other women committed Jauhar there. In spite of the ruined building, it is of great historical and architectural interest.

Rana-Kumbha-Palace-Chittorgarh-Fort

Rana Kumbha Palace Ruins

Padmini Palace – This palace is also famous there as Rani Padmini lived here. It is a distinct feminine structure that overlooks a beautiful pool. This is the palace which is responsible for the battle between Allauddin Khilji and Rana Ratan Singh.

Padmini-Palace-Chittorgarh-Fort

Padmini Palace

Meera Temple – Also known as Meerabai Temple, it was also built by the Maharana Kumbha in 1449. This temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu and Lord Krishna.

Meera-Temple-Chittorgarh-Fort

Meera (or Meerabai) Temple

Kalika Mata Temple – This temple is also located inside the fort and simply dedicated to Goddess Kali. It was built originally as Surya or Sun Temple and after that converted to Kali temple.

Kalika-Mata-Temple-Chittorgarh-Fort

Kalika Mata Temple

Fateh Prakash Palace (Government Museum) – This palace or museum was built up by the Maharana Fateh Singh and so the name of the museum is. It is a huge palace with all modern amenities. There is a big sculpture of Lord Ganesha, a fountain and many frescoes. Now, the palace becomes a museum and has a rich collection of sculptures from temples and buildings in the Chittorgarh fort. Today, it is managed by the government of India.

So, Chittorgarh fort has many places to visit and each has its own past behind it. If anyone visits this place then, one should also visit Udaipur to know the whole past and the history behind the city’s battles and the Maharaja’s & Rani’s sacrifices towards their beloved ones.

 

Tags: , , ,

The Marvelous Fort of Pune – Shaniwar Wada

Shaniwar Wada is a legendary fort located in the city of Pune, Maharashtra. It was built in 1746 and served as the ruling seat of the Peshwa rulers of the Maratha Empire till 1818. While most part of the fort was destroyed in 1828 by a brutal fire, the remaining structure is now maintained by the government as a tourist site. Tourist visits this place due to the elegant architecture and craftsmanship.

Delhi-Gate-at-Shaniwar-Wada-Pune

Delhi Gate entrance at Shaniwar Wada in Pune

This magnificent fort is unique in itself. It has many gates, fortified walls with bastions and court halls. It is a seven storied structure that reflects its beauty very well. The main gate of the fort is known as Dilli Darwaja (Delhi Gate) and the other popular gates are Mastani Darwaja, Khidki Darwaja, Ganehs Darwaja and Narayan Darwaja. The Mastani Darwaja was used by Mastani, second wife of Peshwa Baji Rao I. He later built a separate palace called the Mastani Mahal (previous post) for her. The walls of the palace fort were full of paintings especially the scenes from Ramayana and Mahabharata.

Narayan Darwaja at Shaniwar Wada

Narayan Darwaja at Shaniwar Wada

A glamorous 16 petal lotus shaped fountain stands in the complex of the fort, shows the exquisite work of those times. It was basically constructed for the pleasure of the infant Peshwa Sawai Madhavrao. Each petal of the fountain has sixteen jets with an eighty foot arch. It is said to be the most complex fountain created at that time.

lotus-shaped-fountain

Lotus Petal Shaped Fountain

This historic fort was once a residential area of 1,000 people. Other important buildings in the palace include the Thoraiya Rayancha Diwankhana, Naachacha Diwankhana and Juna Arsa Mahal. After the fire, only the living areas are available. The above said buildings have been designed and constructed by many well-known artisans, including Shivaram Krishna, Devaji, Kondaji Sutar, Morarji Patharwat Bhojraja and Ragho.

Ruins inside Shaniwar Wada

Ruins inside Shaniwar Wada

One can also enjoy the light and sound show available there, especially in the evening. So, during the tour of Maharashtra, this fort must be placed in the itinerary.

 
 

Tags: ,

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

 

Tags: ,