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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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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.

 

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