Showing posts with label Top Monuments of India. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Top Monuments of India. Show all posts

Thursday, January 26, 2017

About Hawa Mahal Jaipur - Architecture, Facts, History & Visit Timing

Hawa Mahal or the 'Palace Of The Winds' located in the heart of the beautiful Pink City of Jaipur in Rajasthan, India, is one of the most famous tourist attractions and a prominent landmark of the city that is renowned for its rich cultural and architectural history. Built in 1799 by Maharaja Sawai Pratap Singh of the Kachhwaha Rajput dynasty, this beautiful structure is predominantly a high screen wall made of pink and red sandstone that facilitated royal women to get an eyeful of the street festivals and busy city life while remaining out of the view of public. This five-storey building in the shape of a crown of Lord Krishna with 953 jharokhas or windows and a beautifully decorated façade resembling a honeycomb of a beehive that gives one a feel of the rich heritage of the Rajputs.


In 1799, the Kachhwaha Rajput ruler, Sawai Pratap Singh, grandson of Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh ordered Lal Chand Usta to construct an extension to the Royal City Palace. The Purdah system at the time was strictly followed. Rajput royal ladies should not be seen by strangers or appear in any public area. The construction of Hawa Mahal allows the royal ladies to enjoy from every day street scenes to royal processions on the street without being seen.


The five-stores palace was built in the form of Krishna’s crown because Sarai Pratap Singh was devoted to Krishna, the Hindu god.

The mahal has a total of 953 small casements each with small lattice worked pink window, balconies and arched roofs with hanging cornices. This allows cool breeze blow through the mahal and keep it cool and airy in summer. Despite the large number of windows, each of them are size of a peep hole such that the royal ladies were not to be seen by the public.

The top three storeys are a single room thick, namely Vichitra Mandir, Prakash Mandir and Hawa Mandir. The Maharaja worshipped the Krishna at the Vichitra Mandir. while the Prakash Mandir provides an open terrace to both sides. Worth noting is that there are no steps to the upper floors but ramps. They are for the palanquin of the royal ladies.

The autumn celebrations took place on the Sharad Mandir on the first floor. Don’t miss out on the colourful glassworks on Ratan Mandir on the second floor.

Contrast to the rich decoration of the exterior, the interiors of the mahal is much simpler. But it is also where you will find the best view of the city of Jaipur


Located at Hawa Mahal Rd, Badi Choupad in Jaipur, you will not find any hassle while spotting this attraction. In fact, if you run short of time but want to see Hawa Mahal, you can have a quick view of it while travelling through Badi Chaupad. This was built so intricately that you can see the beauty even at a glance.

Best Time to Visit

Since it's Jaipur, which is in Rajasthan, it is always better to plan your trip during October and March. In fact, these are the six months when the Jaipur weather becomes very pleasant. In the day time, the weather becomes pleasing, while in the night, you may need to pull on the quilts.

How to Reach

You can reach the city by three modes of transport, plane, train or bus and even cab.

From Sanganer airport, you will get buses and cabs. It is up to you which one you would like to take. If you want to consider trains, then the nearest metro station is Merta Road Jn Railway Station. Bus service is also available, which will help you to reach the city without any trouble. But if you want even a more convenient travel experience, you can book a cab. You can take a look in and around the city whenever you want.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Qutab Minar

kutub minar delhi
Kutub Minar

Qutab Minar, is the tallest brick Minaret in the world, and an important example of Indo-Islamic Architecture ,One of the most visited tourist spot of Delhi, Qutub Minar was built in 1199 by Qutub-ud-Din.The Qutab Minar and its monuments are listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The sultan's successor and son-in-law, Iltutmish, completed it. The purpose of building this beautiful monument is not very clear as some believe that it was built as a tower of victory to signify the beginning of the Muslim rule in India, while others say it served as a minaret to the adjoining mosque and was used by the muezzins to call the faithful to prayer. It is 72.5 metres high and one has to climb 379 steps to get to the top.The diameter of the base is 14.3 metres while the top floor measures 2.7 metres in diameter. 

Qutub Minar is still the highest stone tower as well as one of the finest Islamic structures ever raised in India. The main mosque comprises an inner and outer courtyard, of which the inner one is surrounded by an exquisite collonade, the pillars of which the inner one is surrounded by an exquisite collonade, the pillars of which are made of richly decorated shafts. The main mosque comprises an inner and outer courtyard, of which the inner one is surrounded by an exquisite collonade, the pillars of which the inner one is surrounded by an exquisite collonade, the pillars of which are made of richly decorated shafts. 

History of Qutab Minar:
Qutabuddin Aibak laid the foundation of Qutab Minar in AD 1199 for the use of Muazzin (crier) to give calls for prayer and raised the first storey, to which were added three more storeys by his successor and son-in-law, Shamsud-Din IItutmish (AD 1211-36). All the storeys are surrounded by a projected balcony encircling the Minar and supported by stone brackets, which are decorated with honeycomb design, more conspicuously in the first storey. 

Numerous inscriptions in Arabic and Nagari characters in different places of the Minar reveal the history of Qutab. According to the inscriptions on its surface it was repaired by Firoz Shah Tughlaq (AD 1351-88) and Sikandar Lodi (AD 1489-1517). Major R. Smith also repaired and restored the Qutab Minar in 1829. The minaret is made of fluted red Sandstone covered with intricate carvings and verses from the Quran. The Qutab Minar is itself built on the ruins of Lal Kot, the Red Citadel in the city of Dhillika, the capital of the Jat Tomars and the Chauhans, the last Hindu rulers of Delhi. 

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Minakshi Temple

Minakshi Temple
Meenakshi Sundareswarar Temple or Meenakshi Amman Temple or Tiru-aalavaai is a historic Hindu temple located in the southern banks of river Vaigai in the temple city of Madurai, Tamil Nadu, India. It is dedicated to Parvati who is known as Meenakshi and her consort, Shiva, named here as Sundareswarar. The temple forms the heart and lifeline of the 2500 year old city of Madurai. The complex houses 14 gateway towers called gopurams, ranging from 45-50m in height, the tallest being the southern tower, 51.9 metres (170 ft) high, and two golden sculptured vimana, the shrine over sanctum of the main deities. The temple is a significant symbol for the Tamil people, and has been mentioned since antiquity in Tamil literature, though the present structure is built during 1623 to 1655 CE The temple attracts 15,000 visitors a day, around 25,000 during Fridays and gets an annual revenue of sixty million₹. There is an estimated 33,000 sculptures in the temple and it was in the list of top 30 nominees of the "New Seven Wonders of the World". The annual 10 day Meenakshi Tirukalyanam festival celebrated during April–May attracts

Akshardham Temple

Akshardham is a Hindu temple complex in Delhi, India. Also referred to as Delhi Akshardham or Swaminarayan Akshardham, the complex displays millennia of traditional Hindu and Indian culture, spirituality, and architecture. The building was inspired and developed by Pramukh Swami Maharaj, the spiritual head of the Bochasanwasi Shri Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha, whose 3,000 volunteers helped 7,000 artisans construct Akshardham. The structure depicts great Indian culture and its architecture is simply immaculate. The temple is located at NH 24, Noida Mor, New Delhi. This amazing structure comprises of 20,000 statues, floral motifs and exquisite carved pillars made of stones.

This beautiful structure and masterpiece architecture was built under the support and funding of the Bochasanvasi Aksharpurushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha (BAPS). The temple was inaugurated on November 7, 2005 by Pramukhswami Maharaj (Leader of BAPS).

It is built along the river Yamuna and lies over an area of around 100 acres with beautiful gardens, water fountains and carved pavilions. The temple took complete two years for completion and a hefty sum of rupees was invested in the construction. According to estimates, around 2 billion was spent in the construction of this masterpiece which indeed depicts the great Hindu religion.
The architecture of Akshardham temple is similar to the one at Gandhinagar in Gujarat. The main monument at the temple is about 141 feet high with a beautiful statue of Lord Swaminarayan. There are various structures within the temple which depicts the history and culture of Hindu Religion.

The Temple, which attracts approximately 70 percent of all tourists who visit Delhi, was officially opened on 6 November 2005. It sits near the banks of the Yamuna adjacent to the 2010 Commonwealth Games village in eastern New Delhi.The temple, at the center of the complex, was built according to the Vastu Shastra and Pancharatra Shastra. In addition to the large central temple crafted entirely of stone, the complex features exhibitions on incidents from the life of Swaminarayan and the history of India, an IMAX feature on the early life of Swaminarayan as the teenage yogi, Nilkanth, a musical fountain on the message of the Upanishads, and large landscaped gardens. The temple is named after a belief in Swaminarayan Hinduism.

Akshardham Temple in Delhi has an important place in Delhi's tourism.

If you want to explore the whole temple then you should take your time off for the whole day as it takes at least five hours to visit each and every structure of the temple.

What to Experience:

Akshardham Mandir: A traditional mandir (temple) dedicated to Bhagwan Swaminarayan that reflects the beauty and spirituality of India’s ancient art, culture, and architecture

Nilkanth Varni Abhishek: A hallowed spiritual tradition in which prayers are offered for world peace and continual peace for oneself, family, and friends with the water of 151 holy rivers, lakes and ponds of India.


Hall 1 - Hall of Values (50 mins): Experience enduring human values through films and robotic shows that depict the ideals of nonviolence, honesty, family harmony, and spirituality.

Hall 2 - Giant Screen Film (40 mins):Discover India through the incredible story of an eleven-year-old yogi named Nilkanth that brings to life the culture and spirituality of India's customs, the majesty of its art and architecture, and the unforgettable sights, sounds, and power of its awe-inspiring festivals.

Hall 3 - Cultural Boat Ride (15 mins):Sail through 10,000 years of India's glorious heritage. Learn about the discoveries and inventions of the rishi-scientists of India, see the world’s first university of Takshashila, sail through the caves of Ajanta-Ellora and discover India's contributions to humanity through the ages.

 Musical Fountain - Circle of Life (Evenings at Sunset - 15 min.):A spectacular musical fountain show that depicts the cycle of birth, life, and death as described in Indian philosophy.

Garden of India:Sixty acres of lush lawns, gardens and exquisite bronze statues, honouring India's child heroes, valorous warriors, national patriots and great women personalities who inspire values and character.

Lotus Garden: A lotus-shaped garden echoing spirituality as expressed by philosophers, scientists, and leaders throughout history

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Khajuraho Temples

Khajuraho , India's unique gift of love to the world, represent the expression of a highly matured civilization. After the Taj it is the most frequently visited monument in India. Khajuraho Situated in the heart of Central India, in the state of Madhya Pradesh, Khajuraho is a fascinating village with a quaint rural ambience and a rich cultural heritage. The fascinating temples of Khajuraho, is a unique example of Indo-Aryan architecture. The Chandela rulers between 950-1050 built these temples. There were 85 temples, which were built, and only 22 of them survive today. The temples are a world heritage site and belong not just to India but to the world. The Archeological Survey of India's dedicated efforts towards their conservation rank them against the best preserved monuments of this antiquity. Most of the temples are built of sandstone in varying shades of buff, pink or pale yellow. They each belong to a different sect, the Shiva, Vaishnava or Jaina Sects, but are often indistingushable from one another to the untrained eye. The temples are lofty with ample walking space separating them. The interior rooms are inter connected and placed in an East/West line. Each contains an entrance, a hall, a vestibule and a sanctum. Windows were added to the larger temples to add a feeling of space and light.

History of Khajuraho: Mystery is the most apt word that can be associated with the history of Khajuraho. Though not much evidence is available but the city is believed to have been ruled by the Pratihara Kings of North India from 500 to 1300 C.E. Mythological beliefs claim the city to have been called as ‘Khajur-vahika’ or ‘Khajjarpura’ during the ancient times. The reason behind the name was sought to be the golden date palms that were then grown here. 
Various legends are allied with the foundation of the city. It is said that Hemavati, the widow daughter of the king gave up her dignity, in order to behold the respect for her father, to the Moon God who was attracted to her. Their union gave birth to a sage named Chandarateya who later became the founder of the Chandela dynasty, the dynasty who built the world heritage temples in Khajuraho. 
In another folklore, Chandravarman was born to Hemavati, a child widow after the moon God ravished her in human form. He later grew to become the first king of the Chandela dynasty.
Not much of historical data is available about Khajuraho. This world heritage site earlier had 80 temples out of which only 22 stand today. However, most of them are in ruins today.

Architecture of Khajuraho Temple: The Khajuraho temples are a pinnacle of the North Indian Nagara architectural style. 

The Nagara style's primary feature is a central tower (shikhara) whose highest point is 

directly over the temple's primary deity.  This is often surrounded by smaller, subsidiary towers (urushringa) and intermediate towers; these naturally draw the eye up to the highest point, like a series of hills leading to a distant peak.  Setting the temple on a raised base (adhisthana) also shifts the eye upward, and promotes this vertical quality. 

The true arch (in which the parts of the arch are supported in tension with each other) was unknown in classical India.  The arches in Khajuraho's temple are made by a technique known as corbelling, in a dome or arch is created by overlapping masonry courses (this accounts for the step-like construction over the three right parts of the building below).  This particular image shows the Vishvanath temple.

Amalaka: a stone disk, usually with ridges on the rim, that sits atop the temple's main tower.  According to one interpretation, the amalaka represents a lotus, and thus the symbolic seat for the deity below.  Another interpretation is that it symbolizes the sun,and is thus the gateway to the heavenly world.  The amalaka itself is crowned with a 
kalasha (finial), from which a temple banner is often hung.

Entrance Porch (Ardhamandapa): The entrance porch formed a transitional area between the outside world and the mandapa or hall.  Most temple buildings have some sort of transitional space between the central shrine (garbhagrha) and the outside world, but only the largest, most developed temples will have all of these elements.

Hall (Mandapa): A hall in the temple, forming a transitional space between the ardhamandapa  and mahamandapa.  In smaller or less architecturally developed temples, this was usually omitted.

Great Hall (Mahamandapa): The temple's main entrance-hall, separated from the central 
shrine (garbhagrha), by a short vestibule named the antarala.  Just about every temple has 
some sort of entrance-hall between the central shrine (garbhagrha) and the outside world, 
but only the largest and most developed temples have all of the transitional members.   At 
Khajuraho, a mahamandapa is often distinguished by transepts (bumped-out portions perpendicular to the temple's main axis).

Vestibule (Antarala): a transitional space between a temple's main hall and the inner sanctum (garbhagrha) where the image of the temple's primary deity would be housed.  The antarala was found only in the largest temples, and in many smaller ones was omitted entirely.  This architectural element marks the liminal space between the exterior world and the divine world, and at Khajuraho the exterior panels on these elements are the primary sites for large panels with sexually explicit scenes (particularly on the Vishvanath and Kandariya Mahadev temples).  This placement cannot be accidental, although observers differ about what these mean.  At the very least, it could indicate that sexuality and encountering the divine are both liminal experiences that force us out of ourselves. 

Inner Sanctum (Garbhagrha):  The temple's inner sanctum, containing the image of the temple's primary deity.  The basic function of a Hindu temple is to serve as the deity's dwelling-place (the most common word for temple, mandir, simply means "house"), and devotees come there to interact with and worship the resident deity (often in family groups).  In this respect, Hindu temples are very different from places of worship in many other religious traditions, which serve as centers for congregational worship.  The word garbha can mean either "womb" or "embryo;" both meanings connote potentiality, hiddenness, and a sense of development.  The garbhagrha was located directly below the summit of the highest tower, with the primary deity directly under the highest point.  Smaller temples may only have a small shrine room at the back end of the temple (a "womb" in the metaphorical sense), but larger temples often also have a processional pathway ("ambulatory") around the central shrine, via which devotees can circle around the deity (always clockwise) as a gesture of respect and worship.

Secondary Tower (Urushringa): smaller towers on the temple's exterior to lead the eye up to the highest point.  Their shape often replicates that of the tallest central tower, and 
serves to draw the eye upward toward it.

Base Platform (Adhishsthana): The raised base on which a temple was built.  These are particularly high in the temples at Khajuraho, and by their height accentuate these temple's upward thrust. 

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Taj Mahal, Agra

Taj Mahal India
Taj Mahal
The Taj Mahal is the epitome of Mughal art and one of the most famous buildings in the world. Yet there have been few serious studies of it and no full analysis of its architecture and meaning. Ebba Koch, an important scholar,  has been permitted to take measurements of the complex and has been working on the palaces and gardens of Shah Jahan for thirty years and on the Taj Mahal itself—the tomb of the emperor's wife, Mumtaz Mahal—for a decade.

The tomb is the representation of the house of the queen in Paradise, and  its setting was based on the palace gardens of the great nobles that lined both sides of the river at Agra India.  You will explore the entire complex of the Taj Mahal with an explanation of each building and an account of the mausoleum's urban setting, its design and construction, its symbolic meaning, and its history up to the present day.

  Taj Mahal was built by a Muslim, Emperor Shah Jahan (died 1666 C.E.) in the memory of his dear wife and queen Mumtaz Mahal(real name was Arjumand Banu) at Agra, India. It is an "elegy in marble" or some say an expression of a "dream." Taj Mahal (meaning Crown Palace) is a Mausoleum that houses the grave of queen Mumtaz Mahal at the lower chamber. The grave of Shah Jahan was added to it later. In the tradition of the Mughals, important ladies of the royal family were given another name at their marriage or at some other significant event in their lives, and that new name was commonly used by the public. Shah Jahan's real name was Shahab-ud-din, and he was known as Prince Khurram before ascending to the throne in 1628.

Taj Mahal was constructed over a period of twenty-two years, employing twenty thousand workers. It was completed in 1648 C.E. at a cost of 32 Million Rupees. The construction documents show that its master architect was Ustad ‘Isa, the renowned Islamic architect of his time. The documents contain names of those employed and the inventory of construction materials and their origin. Expert craftsmen from Delhi, Qannauj, Lahore, and Multan were employed. In addition, many renowned Muslim craftsmen from Baghdad, Shiraz and Bukhara worked on many specialized tasks.

The Taj stands on a raised, square platform (186 x 186 feet) with its four corners truncated, forming an unequal octagon. The architectural design uses the interlocking arabesque concept, in which each element stands on its own and perfectly integrates with the main structure. It uses the principles of self-replicating geometry and a symmetry of architectural elements.

Its central dome is fifty-eight feet in diameter and rises to a height of 213 feet. It is flanked by four subsidiary domed chambers. The four graceful, slender minarets are 162.5 feet each. The entire mausoleum (inside as well as outside) is decorated with inlaid design of flowers and calligraphy using precious gems such as agate and jasper. The main archways, chiseled with passages from the Holy Qur’an and the bold scroll work of flowery pattern, give a captivating charm to its beauty. The central domed chamber and four adjoining chambers include many walls and panels of Islamic decoration.

Open from Sunrise to Sunset
Friday closed; open for offering prayer in the mosque between 12 Noon to 2 P.M.
Night viewing on Full Moon Day and two days before and after it, excluding Fridays and in the month of Ramzan

Entrance Fee:
Citizens of India and visitors of SAARC (Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Maldives and Afghanistan) and BIMSTEC Countries (Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Myanmar) - Rs. 10 per head.

Rs. 250/- per head (ASI);
Rs. 500/- per head as Toll Tax (Agra Development Authority)
Rs. 500/- ticket of ADA is valid for the monuments of Agra Fort, Itimadi-ud-daula, Akbar’s Tomb, Sikandara and Fatehpur Sikri
(children up to 15 years free)

Fee for night viewing

Night viewing of Taj Mahal has been allowed from 28th November, 2004 for five nights in a month including the Full Moon night and two days before and two days after except Fridays and month of Ramzan as per the order of Hon’ble Supreme Court of India. The night viewing of Taj Mahal is opened from 8-30 p.m. to 12-30 in eight batches of 50 persons for half an hour duration. The visitors of the night viewing of Taj Mahal have to report at Shilpagram complex half an hour in advance of the viewing time. The entry is allowed from the Eastern Gate of the Taj Mahal only after security check near the Eastern gate. The visitors have to keep their luggage at the counter fee of cost. No video camera is allowed in side the monument during the night viewing. 

The night viewing tickets of Taj Mahal can be purchased from the Booking Counter located in the office of Archaeological Survey of India, Agra Circle, 22 The Mall, Agra, Uttar Pradesh in between 10-00 am to 6-00 p.m. one day in advance of the date of night viewing. The night viewing ticket can be cancelled in the Booking counter of ASI at 22 The Mall, Agra on the same date of viewing upto 1.00 p.m.with cancellation charge of 25% of the ticket.

Rate of Night Viewing Ticket: Indian (Adult)- Rs 510/-; Foreigner (Adult)- Rs 750/- and Children ( 3Yrs to 15 Years age)- Rs. 500/-.