All Food and Cuisine Attractions

THE FLAVOURS OF INDIA

Agra Fort

A massive red-sandstone fort located on the banks of River Yamuna was built under the commission of Emperor Akbar in 1565 and was further built by his grandson Shah Jahan. The fort, semi circular on plan, is surrounded by a 21.4 m high fortification wall. The fort was built primarily as a military structure; parts of it are still reserved under Indian Army. Later on, it was transformed it into a palace, it also became a gilded prison for eight years after his son Aurangzeb seized power in 1658. The fort houses a maze of buildings, including vast underground sections. The Amar Singh Gate to the south is the sole entry point. A path leads straight from here up to the large Moti Masjid. Just before this is the open Diwan-e-Aam, where Shah Jahan listened to people’s petitions or issues. A small staircase just to the left of Diwan-e-Aam throne leads up to a large courtyard. To the left is a beautiful white marble Nagina Masjid.Nagina Masjid is a beautiful mosque located in Agra Fort. It is located near Moti Masjid. This mosque is constructed with pure white marble and has a beautifully designed prayer chamber. The Mosque built in the north-western corner of the Machchi Bhawan was meant for the personal use of the Emperor. It has a marble paved court enclosed by walls to the north, south and east and the prayer chamber on the west. The prayer chamber is also made up of marble and has three domes on its top. The mosque has a three-arched façade with the cusps and supported on slender piers as its entrance. The arch in the middle is larger and has nine cusps and ones on the either sides have seven cusps only.Other places to see within the Fort are Diwan-e-Khas - which once housed Shah Jahan’s legendary Peacock throne and the diamond Koh-I-Noor, Shish Mahal- a palace with walls inlaid with tiny mirrors, and Khas Mahal - the white octagonal tower and palace. In the South of the fort, there is a huge red-sandstone Jahangir’s Palace, built by Akbar probably for his son Jahangir.

Deor Kothar

Deor Kothar is a location of archaeological importance in Madhya Pradesh, Central India. It is popular for its Buddhist stupas and was discovered in 1982.These stupas are credited to Mauryan emperor Ashoka the great. It is located about 5 km North West of the Katra village in Rewa district at a distance of 75 km from Rewa on Rewa - Allahabad Road. The stupa of Deor Kothar was established by the Mauryan king Asoka in the 3rd century BCE. In the ancient time the site was located on the Dakshinapatha running east west from Patalipurta to Pratishthana in Maharashtra through central part of India. This place, because of it is located near the place like Sagar, Sanchi, Sarnath and Kaushambi, used to be frequently visited by the monks. Discovery of Deor Kothar: This place was discovered by P.K. Mishra along with Ajit Singh in 1982 and in 1988 the place was declared as national importance by Government of India and is being preserved and conserved by Archaeological Survey of India, Bhopal. Architecture of Deor Kothar: The Deorkothar complex proudly houses four brick stupas, the most ever found at a site of this period. The bricks used are of varied sizes like twirling lotus, conical lotus bud, and a simple flower pot on a three-tiered pedestal-the carving of which foreshadows early Buddhist art, can be seen on the railing posts of the largest brick stupa, which rises to a height of nearly 30 feet.  The stencil cut design of the friezes, along with their simple ornamentation and paucity of animal and human figures depict that they are attempt for stone railing art. This stupa was at Deorkothar was built much before the early free standing Sanchi Stupa. Apart from this the site of Deorkothar also comprises monasteries, an ancient pathway, a system for water channel, and 30 stone stupas, many of which contained sherds of high quality northern black polished ware, the pottery of everyday use between 700 and 300 B.C. The absence of such sherds from Sanchi proves the fact that Deorkothar predates that site. There are 63 rock shelters adorned with various types of arts dating back to first century BC which were used by monks for meditation. One of the paintings shows a tree and a stupa surrounded by a railing. Others show social or hunting scenes; men, women, and animals; weapons; and designs.  Although the pillars bear resemblance with the typical Mauryan polish, it is not made of the Chunar sandstone features of the Ashoka Empire but of the local sandstone. Some of the other remains that have been found are that of stone pieces, pottery and bangles with beautiful polish and some exquisite copper fragments. Some of the other art form that are worthy of mention are the stone pieces of the Mauryan polished chattra (the multi-tiered "umbrella" at the top of a stupa) with evidence of radial ribs. To the west of the main stupa, a lump of iron ore, iron slag and white nodules of lime indicate the presence of an iron-smelting furnace nearby.

Dr. Bhau Daji Lad Museum

The Dr. Bhau Daji Lad Museum opened to the public in 1857 and is Mumbai's oldest museum. It is the erstwhile Victoria and Albert Museum, Bombay, that showcases the city’s cultural heritage and history through a rare collection of fine and decorative arts that highlight early modern art practices as well as the craftsmanship of various communities of the Bombay Presidency. The permanent collection includes miniature clay models, dioramas, maps, lithographs, photographs,  rare books, miniature paintings, early modern art, textiles and beautifully crafted objects that document the life of the people of Mumbai and the history of the city from the late eighteenth to early-twentieth centuries.The Museum, once in a derelict condition, underwent a comprehensive five-year restoration by INTACH supported by the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai and the Jamnalal Bajaj Foundation. The project won UNESCO’s international Award of Excellence for cultural conservation in 2005. The Museum re-opened in 2008 andhosts an extensive exhibitions programme which explores the importance of the collection and includes a strong focus on contemporary art and culture.The Museum has partnered with international institutions to showcase artists and exhibitions. From an intensive post-graduate diploma programme on modern and contemporary art, weekend family activites, festive fun, workshops for adult learners, to tours that link school curriculum with the Museum's collection and exhibitions, the Museum strives to offer something to everyone. The programmes and tours at the Museum are available in both English, Hindi  and Marathi.The Dr Bhau Daji Lad Museum is closed on all Wednesdays and certain public holidays. 

Gondhla Castle Or Fort

House of the Thakur of Gondhla, called the Gondhla castle or fort attracts a large number of tourists. The present Thakur, Fateh Chand would like the tourists to believe that the Fort is about 20 generations old, but according to the District Gazetteer of Lahaul and Spiti, the fort was built in 1700 AD by Raja Man Singh of Kullu whose influence stretched till the Lingti plains beyond the Baralacha-la. This Raja also married a daughter of the Gondhla family to cement his ties with the Thakur. The castle is an example of the indigenous timber bonded stone-style of the western Himalayas, consisting of alternate courses of stone and wooden beams cemented together with wet clay. This seven-storey high edifice is topped by a wooden verandah which runs round the upper storey. It looks like a Swiss Chalet. Staircases in the building are partially notched wooden logs and the building has many apartments, which can comfortably accommodate more than 100 people. Its fifth storey, meant exclusively for the Thakur, consisted of personal prayer chamber and a verandah from where he used to listen to the public and later pronounce his judgements. Ganesha is the main deity carved on the facade of the prayer chamber. In one of the prayer chambers the window connecting the outer room is an exquisite work of wood carving. Several weapons including bows, arrows, quivers, catapults, guns and canons besides other articles of antique value can be seen resting in the apartments. Another interesting article to be seen in possession of the Thakur is Sharab Raldi, i.e. 'the sword of wisdom' as Sharab means wisdom and Raldi means a sword. Sword of wisdom (sanskrit Pragya Kharga) has great importance among the Tibetans.

Lalitgiri-Ratnagiri-Udayagiri

Lalitgiri, with its other name as Naltigiri, is the 1st century Buddhist complex in Orissa, which together with Ratnagiri and Udayagiri creates Puspagiri University which has a number of best sculptures of that age – like significant stupas and monasteries (viharas). As a renowned Buddhist pilgrimage, this ancient lush village Lalitgiri is a holy destination for a large number of Buddhism devotees.  Numerous excavations done by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) have related this region with the origin point of Buddhism. ASI has been conducting such excavations since 1985 to today.Ratnagiri has been a historical and religious significance that make it an ideal destination to explore. The small yet religious town in Jajpur District of Odisha is known for a huge monastery that relates to Mahayana Sect along with famous kings like Ashoka and others from Gupta Dynasty. Apart from its strong historical backgroung, Ratnagiri is also known for the flow of main rivers of Odisha known as Mahanadi, Brahmani, Kimiria and Birupa.Udayagiri, an Orissa Buddhist complex to form Pushpagiri University along with udayagiri and Lalitgiri, and bears a number of significant stupas and monasteries (viharas). Udayagiri was referred as ‘Madhavapura Mahavihara’ in the history, as per the epigraphical artifact found in the region. A number of excavations have been conducted by the Archeological Survey of India (ASI) since 1958, which is still in continuity. The large excavation done 1997 to 2000 discovered the Udayagiri-2, the second part of Udayagiri. Several additional stupas and monasteries have been excavated here by ASI. 

Red Fort

The Red Fort Complex was built as the palace fort of Shahjahanabad – the new capital of the fifth Mughal Emperor of India, Shah Jahan. Named for its massive enclosing walls of red sandstone, it is adjacent to an older fort, the Salimgarh, built by Islam Shah Suri in 1546, with which it forms the Red Fort Complex. The private apartments consist of a row of pavilions connected by a continuous water channel, known as the Nahr-i-Behisht (Stream of Paradise). The Red Fort is considered to represent the zenith of Mughal creativity which, under the Shah Jahan, was brought to a new level of refinement. The planning of the palace is based on Islamic prototypes, but each pavilion reveals architectural elements typical of Mughal building, reflecting a fusion of Persian, Timurid and Hindu traditions The Red Fort’s innovative planning and architectural style, including the garden design, strongly influenced later buildings and gardens in Rajasthan, Delhi, Agra and further afield.This palace fortress is known as the Red Fort because of the red sandstone fabric of its rampart walls. The fort with its halls, palaces, pavilions and serene gardens was completed in 1648. Within the enclosure of the red fort are located many fairytale buildings. The Diwan-i-Khas (also known as Shah Mahal) and the Rang Mahal (also called Imtiyaz Mahal or palace of distinctions) are the two most conspicuous buildings inside the Red Fort. The Hall of Public Audience (Diwan-i- Aam) is another famous building within the Red Fort. Son-et-lumiere shows, tracing the history of the Mughal Empire in India, outlining their glory and the eventful causes for their downfall are held in the Red Fort every evening. Son-et-lumiere shows, tracing the history of the Mughal Empire in India, outlining their glory and the eventful causes for their downfall are held in the Red Fort every evening.

Statue of Unity

This is India's world's tallest statue. It's twice the height of the Statue of Liberty in the US and almost five times taller than the Statue of Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil! It's the world's tallest statue and it's in Gujarat, India. The Statue of Unity, an 182-m-tall structure, has been built to commemorate the life of the great visionary and India's first deputy prime minister Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel. Located on the island of Sadhu-Bet on the banks of the Narmada river, around 3.5 km south of the Sardar Sarovar Dam, the statue towers above the blue waters of the 256-km-long reservoir and makes for a spectacular sight, set against the Vindhya and Satpura mountain ranges.The statue is not only an architectural marvel with 1,850 metric tonne of un-staged bronze cladding, it is also the centre of various socio-economic development schemes, which represent the idea of good governance. It is aimed towards boosting tourism, offering several recreational facilities. High-speed lifts will transport visitors to the statue’s viewing gallery located at 500 ft. It will also include a state-of-the-art museum that will offer audio-visual exhibits depicting the life and times of the great leader. The statue can be accessed by a leisurely boat ride. The compound housing the statue is spread over an expanse of 19,700 sq m and includes a hotel and convention centre along with an ultra-modern research and agricultural development institute. A laser light and sound show on the efforts of Unification of India can also be enjoyed here.

Taj Mahal

The Taj Mahal a marvel on marble was built by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan in commemoration of his favourite wife, Empress Mumtaz Mahal. Shah Jahan married Arjumand Bano Begum (Mumtaz Mahal), grand daughter of Itimad-Ud-Daula, the Wazir (Prime Minister)  of Emperor Jahangir in 1612 AD. Mumtaz Mahal died in 1631 A.D. at the birth of her 14th child. The grief stricken emperor made all efforts in building the tomb in her memory, which is universally acknowledged as one of the most beautiful creations on earth. Artisans were requisitioned from all over the empire including Central Asia and Iran. While bricks for the internal framework were locally made. White marble for external surfaces was brought from Makrana, Rajasthan. The inscription on the northern facade records 1057A.H. (1647A.D.) as the date of its completion in 17 years .It is believed that Ustad Ahmad Lahori was the chief of the project while Ustad Isa Afandi prepared the site plan of the Taj Mahal. Amanat Ali Khan Shirazi is known for his calligraphic work and Ran Mal was the garden designer from Kashmir. The plan of Taj Mahal display strict bilateral symmetry. The central point is the tomb (rauza) and its four minarets, flanked by a mosque and assembly hall (Mehman Khana) The Taj is exactly as wide as it is high (55mtrs). A highlight of the monument is the exquisitely carved pietra dura inlaid with semi precious stones.The colour of the translucent marble keeps changing from dawn to midnight giving it a magical aura in keeping with Shah Jahan’s vision that the tomb and garden should represent paradise on earth. It is a unique man made manifestation of the glorious Mughal age and a wonder of the world.After his death in 1666 A.D., Shah Jahan was also buried beside his beloved wife in the Taj Mahal.

Tayul

This gompa above the village of Satingri has the biggest statue of Padma Sambhava and his two manifestations as Singhmukha and Vajravarahi. The statue is 12 feet tall. The gompa houses the library of Kangyur. Thankas in the gompa depict various episodes from the life of Lord Buddha. Tayul gompa written in Tibetan as Ta - Yul means chosen place. It is one of the oldest Dugpa sect monasteries in Lahaul. One Dugpa lama, Serzang Rinchen of the Khan region of Tibet, founded this monastery in the beginning of the 17th Century. There is a story about how this place was chosen for construction of a monastery. Lama Serzang while making the meritorious circumambulation of the holy peak Drilburi spotted a small glade in the juniper forest above Kyor and Tashikyang villages on the opposite side of the valley. He then told his fellow pilgrims, 'Look, over there, that is a suitable and auspicious place for a gompa'. Thus the building of the gompa began to take shape. This monastery houses an extremely expensive 'mani' wheel, by turning it the minds of the sentient beings to open to the compassion of the Lord. This 'mani' wheel is reputed to be 'self-turning' on auspicious occasions. According to the lamas this wheel last turned on its own in 1986. After almost a century a Ladakhi, Tulku Tashi Tanphel of the Tagna monastery renovated and extended the building of this gompa. He decorated the walls with murals, made giant size stucco images referred to the above and brought in the Narthang edition of the Kangyur from Tibet.