Saturday, 9 July 2011

Mahabalipuram, Tamil Nadu

Mahabalipuram, derived from 'Mamallapuram' is a town in Kanchipuram district in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. Mahabalipuram was a 7th century port city of the South Indian dynasty of the Pallavas around 60 km south from the city of Chennai in Tamil Nadu. The name Mamallapuram is believed to have been given after the Pallava king Narasimhavarman-I, who took on the epithet Maha-malla (great wrestler), as the favourite sport of the Pallavas was wrestling. It has various historic monuments built largely between the 7th and the 9th centuries.

The monuments are mostly rock-cut and monolithic, and constitute the early stages of Dravidian architecture wherein Buddhist elements of design are prominently visible. They are constituted by cave temples, monolithic rathas (chariots), sculpted reliefs and structural temples. The pillars are of the Dravidian order. The sculptures are excellent examples of Pallava art.

It is believed by some that this area served as a school for young sculptors. The different sculptures, some half finished, may have been examples of different styles of architecture, probably demonstrated by instructors and practiced on by young students. This can be seen in the Pancha Rathas where each Ratha is sculpted in a different style. These five Rathas were all carved out of a single piece of granite in situ.
Some important structures include:

Thirukadalmallai, the temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu. It was also built by Pallava King in order to safeguard the sculptures from the ocean. It is told that after building this temple, the remaining architecture was preserved and was not corroded by sea.

Descent of the Ganges - a giant open-air bas relief

Arjuna's Penance - relief sculpture on a massive scale extolling an episode from the Hindu epic, The Mahabharata.

Varaha Cave Temple - a small rock-cut temple dating back to the 7th century.

The Shore Temple - a structural temple along the Bay of Bengal with the entrance from the western side away from the sea.

Pancha Rathas (Five Chariots) - five monolithic pyramidal structures named after the Pandavas (Arjuna, Bhima, Yudhishthira, Nakula and Sahadeva) and Draupadi, each of these is carved from one single large piece of stone............

Kanchipuram, Tamil Nadu

Kanchipuram, Kanchi, or Kancheepuram is a temple city in Kanchipuram district in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu.

There are several big temples like Varadharaja Perumal Temple for Lord Vishnu and Ekambaranatha Temple which is one of the five forms of abodes of Lord Siva, (it is the earth abode here, other abodes include Chidambaram (Sky), Sri Kalahasti (air), Thiruvanaikaval (water) and Tiruvannamalai (fire)), Kamakshi Amman Temple, Varadharaja Perumal Temple, Kumara Kottam, Kachapeshwarar Temple, Kailasanathar Temple and many more.

Kanchipuram is also called as "City of 1000 Temples". Kanchipuram is also famous for its silk sarees, which are hand woven.

Places to See:

Kailasanatha Temple

Situated on the west side of the town, this temple of Kailashnath is considered to be the oldest and most beautiful temple in Kanchipuram and in the whole of South India. It was build by Raja Rajsimha of Pallava dynasty in the first quarter of 8th century on request of the queen. The facade of the temple was completed by his son Raja Mahendra Barman III. Around the presiding deity, Lord Shiva, there are splendid carvings of 58 divinities with Devi Durga on throne and Vishnu among them. There are absolutely scintillating sculptures depicting a dance competition between Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvathy, these truly magnificent sculptures leave no stone unturned in mesmerizing the onlookers. Various war-like feats of the Pallava rulers are also depicted in bas-relief style on the temple walls with absolute precision. A must visit site.

Vaikuntha Perumal Temple

Situated adjacent to Shri Kamakshi Amman temple, the resplendent Vaikuntha Perumal temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu and is considered among the most important ones. The construction of the temple was completed in the 7th century A.D and was built by the Pallava king Nandivarman Pallavamalla. The presiding deity, Lord Vishnu is shown here by life like sculptures in sitting, standing and reclining postures. The walls of temple are inscribed with description about the wars between the Pallavas and Chlukyas. The temple also has a 1000-pillared hall that has turned out to be a major tourist attraction. Each pillar in the hall has a statue carved on it that gives the hall a unique and brilliant look.

Kamakshi Amman Temple

Kamakshi Amman temple is one of the three most holily shrines dedicated to Sakthi. The other two are in Madurai and Varanasi. The temple, over an area of 1.6 hectares, is in the heart of old town. In none of the fifty Saiva fans, big or small in Kanchipuram, is there a separate shrine for Devi. So do not miss the chance of paying a tribute to the Goddess Sakthi and worship her for her blessings. The temple was built by Pallavas and was renovated in 14th and 17th century. The gates used are of Vijaynagar period. So you can see a mixture of many cultures and styles in architecture.

Vedanthangal And Karikili Bird's Sanctuaries

Both Vedanthangal and Karikili Bird's Sanctuaries are situated in the interiors of Kanchipuram covering an area of 30 hectare and 61 hectare respectively. These sanctuaries are full of Babool and Barringtonia trees. You can also find dry evergreen scrub and thorn forests. The sanctuaries receive birds from Pakistan and Sri Lanka other than birds from far flung areas like Siberia and Australia and New Zealand. Species like Pintails, Stilts, Garganey Teals and Sandpipers are frequently seen in these sanctuaries. Overall 115 species have been recorded in Vedanthangal And Karikili Bird's Sanctuaries.

Kanchipuram is a major temple city of Tamil Nadu. The list gives the consolidated list of temples in and around Kanchipuram revered by the hymns of Alvars as well as Nayanmars.

List of Vaishnava temples

Varadharaja Perumal Temple

Ashtabujakaram - Sri Adhikesava Perumal Temple

Tiruvekkaa - Sri Yathothkari Temple

Tiruththanka - Sri Deepa prakasa Perumal Temple

Tiruvelukkai - Sri Azhagiya Singar Temple

Neervalur - Sri Veetrirunda Lakshmi Narayana Perumal Temple

Tirukalvanoor - Sri Adi Varaha Swami Temple

Tiruoorakam - Sri Ulagalantha Swami Temple

Tiruneeragam - Sri Jagadeeshwarar Temple

Tirukaaragam - Sri Karunagara Perumal Temple

Tirukaarvaanam - Sri Tirukaarvarnar Temple

Tiruparamechura Vinnagaram - Sri Vaikunda Perumal Temple

Tirupavalavannam - Sri Pavala Vanar Temple

Tirupaadagam - Sri Pandava Thoodar Temple

Tirunilaaththingalthundam-Sri Nilathingal Thundathan Perumal Temple

Tirupputkuzhi - Sri Vijaya Raghava Perumal Temple

Parithiyur-Kalyana Varadharaja Perumal Temple

Sri Aadhi Kesava Perumal - Kooran

Vamanar temple

List of Shiva temples

Kailasnatha Temple

Ekambareswarar Temple

Kamakshi Amman Temple

Dhrmalingeswarar Temple (Kayaar Kulam)

Thiru Kayaroganeeswarar Temple


Kachi Metrali

Onakanthan Tali

Kachi Anekatangapadam

Kachi Nerikkaaraikkadu


Tiru Maakaral



Sangupani Vinayakar Temple

Vazhakarutheeswarar Temple

Thirumetrali Temple

Satyanadeeswara Temple

Adhi Kamakshi Temple

Kanaka Durga Temple, Koneri Kuppam

Thiruparruthikundram - Jaina Temple

Chitragupta Temple...........

Mandawa, Rajasthan

Mandawa is capital of the Shekhawati region of Rajasthan. Shekhawati is a semi-arid region located in the northeast part of Rajasthan, India. It encompasses the administrative districts of Churu, Jhunjhunu and Sikar. Inhabitants of Shekhawati are brave, sacrificing and hard working people. The region provides highest number of persons to the Indian Army. The Shekhawati region has produced large number of Marwaris who are controlling the economy of India. The region is popularly known as Scotland of India. 

Mandawa castle, which was once said to be an important halt in the silk route but now it has paintings on folk and social themes with the European themes finding a clear cut reflection in the various murals and frescoes in the castle, located in Rajasthan, North India. 

Mandawa is world famous for its heritage Havelies and colourful fresco art. Thousands of tourist came here to see The open art gallery of Rajasthan & lovely Havlies. The proud of Shekhawati is the Madawa Castle, which was once said to be an important halt in the silk route but now it has paintings on folk and social themes with the European themes finding a clear cut reflection in the various murals and frescoes. Now Castle Mandawa is converted in a beautiful heritage hotel, so you that can experience the old Rajasthani Haveli charm, by paying a handsome amount. The place is also very famous for horse riding, there so many good treks, the available horse breed is the Marwari horse, the best horses in India. 

Places to See: 

The major towns and cities of the Shekhawati region are as under Nawalgarh, Gudhagorji, Dundlod, Mukungarh, Jhunjhunu, Chirawa, Khetri, Pilani, Bissau, Parasrampuria, Baggar, Mandawa, Mahansar, Sikar, Khatu shyamji, Fatehpur, Ramgarh, Laxmangarh, Salasar Balaji, Ratangarh.

The famous Marwari industrial houses of the Aggarwal, Bagari, Bajaj, Banthia, Bharatia, Bhuwalka, Birla, Chamaria, Daga, Dalmia, Dhanuka, Dudavewala, Ganeriwal, Garodia, Goyanaka, Jaipuria, Jaju, Jalan, Jhanwar, Jhujhunuwala, Kankaria, Kanodia, Kejariwal, Khetan, Kothari, Lohia, Malpani, Modi, Mohata, Muraraka, Nevatia, Parasrampuria, Patodia, Poddar, Ruia, Rungata, Sabu, Saravagi, Seksaria, Singhania, Singhi, Somani, Surana, Taparia.

Dalmia's Haveli

Bhilwara, Rajasthan

Bhilwara is the city in Mewar region of Rajasthan, India. When Arjuna was going to Dwarika with all Gopis during Mahabharata period. He was passing through the present Bhilwara region. There was a war of Arjuna & Bhils. Local tradition reveals that it came to be known as Bhilwara because it was mostly inhabited by Bhil tribes in old days. These Bhils were eventually driven away towards the hilly tracts and interior places of less importance by the ancestors of the peasant settlers. It is said to have come up in the middle of the 11th century when a Bhil tribal, supposedly one of the first settlers, built a shiva temple on the site of the existing "Bada Mandir" or "Jataun ka Mandir". This is in the area called Purana Bhilwara, the oldest part of the town. If we are to believe this, the town is more than 900 years old. Ironically enough, now very few Bhils live in this area. Another version recounts that the present Bhilwara city had a mint where coins known as 'BHILADI' were minted and from this denomination was derived the name of the district. A town nearby the city named "Mandal" is assumed to be the base of the Mughals when they attacked Chittor Garh, the moughal forces camped near the "talab" of the town of Mandal, ruins of the camp can still be seen there. A tower served as light house was also built on a small hill in Mandal, know known as "Mandara (minar)" this small hill also houses a devi temple. Bhilwara's history can be back to prehistoric period when neolithic culture was flourishing at Bagore village. A pillar said to be of first century BC at Nandsa village is evidence of Vedic rituals and culture. Classical 'Nagar' style of temple architect can be seen at temples of Menaal (Mahanaleshwer), Gurlan, Gadarmala, Momi, Kanpura and Mandalgarh places. Another notable landmark is the Badnore Fort located some 70 km from Bhilwara. It is a seven storeys fort on the top of a hill & built in medieval Indian Military style of architecture.
Places to See:

Badnore Fort: Fort is 70 km from Bhilwara on the Bhilwara Asind road.

Bijoliyan Mandakini Temple: The town situated in the South East of Bhilwara. It is close to the borders of the District Bundi. The ancient name of Bijoliya was Vindhyavali. It is walled with two gates (North and South) and picturesquely situated on a plateau called the UPARMAL. Objects of historical interests are three Saivite temples, probably of the tenth century. A reservoir called the Mandakini Baori with steps, five Jain temples dedicated to Parswnath.

Shahpura Ramdwara: Capital of the erstwhile state of Shahpura, the town houses the headquarters of the sub division, tehsil, panchayat samiti of the same name. It is about 58 km from district headquarters. The rulers of the erstwhile chiefship of Shahpura belonged to the Sisodia clan of Rajputs. Shahpura is a place of pilgrimage for the followers of the Ram Snehi's sect.

Mandalgarh Menal Water fall: The place, situated at a distance of 54 km towards South-East of Bhilwara. It is sub division, tehsil and panchayat samiti of same name. The place is of historical importance because it was the scene of many a fierce battle during the mediaeval times, according to the Muslim historians. The place was taken twice by Mahmud Khilji of Malwa in the middle of the fifteenth century, and subsequently appears to have belonged alternately to the Ranas of Mewar and the Mughal Emperors.

Pur Udan Chatri: It is situated at about 10 km from bhilwara city. It is famouls for it Udan Chatri, Adhar Shila mahadev where a Big Rock is Balanced on a small one.

Mandal: Mandal is around 16 KM from Bhilwara city have the Battis Khambon ki Chhatri. As the name implies this is a handsome chhatri madeup of sandstone have 32 pillars. Some of them have beautiful carving at the base and the upper portion. Within this chatri a huge Shivlingh is Situated.

Harni Mahadev: on the distance of 8 KM from City temple of Lord Shiva under the large Rock is Situated. it have the name Harni on the name of village near it a Nice place for people from the city for outing as it have hills around. on the occasion of Shiv Ratri 3 days fair is held here. near to this Chamunda mata Mandir is there on Hill from where one can have a view of whole city. Dadi dham temple is also there on the way............

Alwar, Rajasthan

Alwar is a city of Alwar District in the state of Rajasthan, India. It is a part of National Capital Region (NCR) and is located around 160 km south of Delhi, and about 150 km north of Jaipur, the capital of Rajasthan.

Alwar was formerly the capital of the princely state of Alwar. It was formerly spelt as "Ulwar" in British India. This placed it in last position in alphabetically ordered lists, so a king changed the spelling to "Alwar" to bring it to the top.

Historically, the territory of modern Alwar state was under the sway of the Gurjars with capital at rajyapura (Razor). A Gurjar king named Mathandeva were ruling here aroumd 11th century. Hemu also known as Samrat Hem Chandra Vikramaditya, a Hindu Emperor of India, was born in this district at village 'Maccheri Devat' in the year 1501. y. Hemu had won 22 battles against Afghan rebels during 1553-56 spanning entire North India from Punjab to Bengal and had acceeded to the throne of Delhi on 7 October 1556 after defeating Akbar's forces at Agra and Delhi. Hemu had his Rajyabhishake at Purana Quila in Delhi. Hemu Vikramaditya had established 'Hindu Raj' in North India after a foreign rule of 350 years by Islamic invaders and rulers. He had sacrificed his life fighting Mughals in the Second battle of Panipat.

The princely state of Alwar was founded by Pratap Singh, a Rajput of the Kachwaha lineage, in the second half of the 18th century. His adopted son, Bakhtawar Singh, aided the British against the Marathas. After the battle of Laswari (1803), Alwar became the first state of Rajputana to sign a treaty of 'Offensive and Defensive Alliance' with the British East India Company. A few years later, Bakhtawar Singh ventured an armed incursion into neighbouring Jaipur, the senior Kachwaha state, and the erstwhile overlord of his predecessor. Bakhtawar Singh was defeated; a fresh engagement was made with him by the HEIC, prohibiting him from political intercourse with other states without British consent. During the Sepoy Mutiny of 1857, Raoraja Bane Singh sent a force consisting mainly of Muslims and Rajputs, to relieve the British garrison in Agra. The Muslims deserted and the rest were defeated by the rebels. Pran Sukh Yadav, who fought beside Rao Tula Ram of Rewari in 1857, settled along with the kinsmen of dead soldiers at Village Nihalpura,Behror Tehsil, of Alwar District. Following the independence of India in 1947, Alwar acceded unto the dominion of India. On March 18, 1948, the state merged with three neighbouring princely states (BharatpurDholpur and Karauli) to form the Matsya Union. This union in turn merged unto the Union of India. On May 15, 1949, it was united with certain other princely states and the territory of Ajmer to form the present-day Indian state of Rajasthan.

Places to see:

City Palace Complex

Below the Fort is the large, imposing City Palace Complex, its massive gates and its tank lined by a beautifully symmetrical chain of ghats with four pavilions on each side and two at each end. Today, most of the complex is occupied by government offices, but there is a museum housed in the former City Palace.

Company Garden

A picturesque garden, laid out during the reign of Maharaja Shiv Dan Singh in 1868 A.D. The garden has an enchanting setting called 'Shimla' which was built by Maharaja Mangal Singh in 1885 A.D. The lush surrounding and the cool shades make it the idyllic visiting spot during summers.

Alwar Fort

This huge fort, with 5 Km. of its ramparts from north to south and 1.6 Km from east to west , is perched on the ridge top, 340 m above the city and 595 m above the sea-level. Predating the time of Maharana Pratap Singh , it is one of the very few forts in Rajasthan constructed before the rise of Mughals.

Government Museum

This government museum is on the top floor of the City Palace complex, up a ramp from the main courtyard. Exhibits include royal vestments in beautiful brocades; stuffed animals, including an enormous bear; Kashmiri lacquer work; and stone sculptures, such as an 11th century sculpture of Vishnu.

Jai Samand Lake

6-km from the city, Jaisamand Lake makes a beautiful artificial lake constructed by Maharaja Jai Singh in 1910 AD; a popular spot for outings and picnics. During monsoons, sprawling greenery all around makes it a visual treat.


Behind the City Palace is an artificial lake built in 1815 A.D. by Maharaja Vinay Singh with few temples along its banks. A marvellous chhatri with unusual Bengali roof and arches, also known as the Moosi Maharani ki chhatri, is situated in this are Purjan.

Siliserh Lake

Located 13 kms from the city of Alwar, the enchanting Siliserh Lake was built in 1845 AD by Maharaja Vinay Singh for his Queen Shila . The lake was built by constructing an earthen dam between two hills to store the water of a small tributary of river Ruparel. 

Vijay Mandir Palace

Situated 10-km away from the city this palace is a splendid palace, built by Maharaja Jai Singh in 1918 AD. A picturesque lake overlooking the palace makes it a fascinating sight. A fabulous Sita Ram Temple in the palace attracts number of devotees, especially during Ramnavami.

Sariska Tiger Reserve

Sariska Tiger Reserve lies in the Alwar district of the Indian state of Rajasthan. It is a prime a tiger country. The forest is typical dry deciduous, dramatically changing with the change in season............

Bikaner, Rajasthan

Bikaner is a District in the northwest of the state of Rajasthan in northern India. It is located 330 kilometres (205 mi) northwest of the state capital, Jaipur. Bikaner city is the administrative headquarters of Bikaner District and Bikaner division. It was formerly the capital of the princely state of Bikaner. The city was founded by Rao Bika. Bikaner in 1486 and from its small origins it has developed into the fourth largest city in Rajasthan.

Prior to the mid 15th century, the region that is now Bikaner was a barren wilderness called Jangladesh. In 1488 Rao Bika established the city of Bikaner. Rao Bika was the second son of Maharaja Rao Jodha of the Rathor clan, the founder of Jodhpur and conquered the largely arid country in the north of Rajasthan. As the second son of Joda he had no chance of inheriting Jodhpur from his father or the title of Maharaja. He therefore decided to build his own kingdom in what is now the state of Bikaner in the area of Jungladesh. Though it was in the Thar Desert, Bikaner was considered an oasis on the trade route between Central Asia and the Gujarat coast as it had adequate spring water. Bika’s name was attached to the city he built and to the state of Bikaner that he established. Bika built a fort in 1478, which is now ruins and 100 years later a new fort was built about 1.5 km from the city centre which is known as the Junagarh Fort.

Places to See:


Lalgarh Palace

Bhandeswari Jain Temple

Shiv Bari Temple

Devi Kund (Royal Crematorium)

Deshnok Karni Mata Temple

Gajner Wildlife Sanctuary

Ganga Singh Museum


Hanumangarh, Rajasthan

Hanumangarh carved out from Shri Ganganagar district and made a full fledged district of the state on 12th day of July, 1994. The district shares common boundaries with Haryana state in the east, Shri Ganganagar district in the west, Punjab state in the North and Churu district in the South.

The Hanumangarh district also has a significant place in the ancient history. The remains found at Kalibanga [Pilibanga] in 1951 reveal that this area was a part of nearly 5000 years old “INDUS VALLEY” civilization. The remains of human skeleton, unknown scripts, stamps, coins, utensils, jewellary, toys, statues, wells, bathrooms, fort, streets, markets etc., found in excavation tell the story of well developed life style of our ancestors. Besides Kalibanga, more than 100 other places are also there in the district where evidences of this old civilization have been found. The remains found at these places have been kept at Museum at Kalibanga and National museum at Delhi.

Earlier, Hanumangarh was known as “BHATNER”. In year 1805, emperor Soorat Singh of Bikaner captured BHATNER after defeating Bhatis and as the day of his victory was Tuesday (known as the day of god “Hanuman”), he named BHATNER as “HANUMANGARH”.

Places to See:

Bhatner Fort: The ancient fort situated on the bank of river ghaggar was built in year 295 by Bhupat son of king Bhati of Jaisalmer. Research reveals that famous Tarain war fought between Mohammed Gouri and Prithviraj Chouhan is present Talwara Jheel area of the district.

In year 1805, Emperor Soorat Singh of Bikaner captured Bhatner after defeating Bhatis. Since the day of his victory was Tuesday (known as the day of god “Hanuman”), he named Bhatner as Hanumangarh.

Mata Bhadrakali Temple: Built during the reign of Maharaja Ganga Singh Ji, Mandir Shri Bhadrakali Ji is situated at Hanumangarh in Rajasthan. It belongs to the Shakti sector of Hinduism and is dedicated to Goddess Bhadrakali. A mela is celebrated here on Chaitra 8 and 9. Thousands of pilgrims visit this temple during the fair days.

KaliBanga: Kalibanga is a town located at on southern banks of the Ghaggar river in Tehsil Pilibangan, between Suratgarh and Hanumangarh district. Kalibangan Archaeological Museum is one of the important places to be visited. Another interesting place worth to be visited is the archeological site of Kalibangan. This site is as old as the Indus Valley cities of Mohenjodaro and Harappa.

Sri Guru Govind Singh Gurudwara: To mark the Nohar visit of founder of Khalsa Panth and Tenth Sikh Guru, Sri Guru Govind Singh, this historic Gurudwara was built in the year 1730 in Nohar town of the district............
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