The best of Spiritual India in 2015

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The Nasik Kumbh Mela 2015

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Kumbh Mela is taking place in Nasik in 2015. It draws millions of devotees and tourists from all over the country and the world. Trimbakeshwar is a holy town that houses one of the twelve Jyotirlingas in India. It also is the origin of the river Godavari and is situated 38 kms away from Nasik. The Sinhasta Kumbh Mela is held once in 12 years in Nashik and Trimbakeshwar. According to historical records, Nasik is one of four places where the elixir of immortality, the ‘amrit’, fell to earth from a pitcher as gods and demons were engaged in the tussle to gain the ownership of the jar full of ‘amrit’. The Kumbh Mela rotates among the four holy sites every three years. The Kumbh Mela is marked by millions of devotees’ plunge into the river Godavari that is believed would cleanse their souls leading to salvation. A ritual bath at a predetermined time and place is the major event of the festival.

 


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The photographers and people interested in typical spiritual culture of India are mesmerized by the festival as it is the gathering of all of India’s spiritual traditions. The major event of the festival is ritual bathing at the banks of the river Godavari. Other activities include religious discussions, devotional singing, mass feeding of holy men and women and the poor, and religious assemblies where doctrines are debated and standardized. Kumbh Mela is the most sacred of all the pilgrimage. 

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Planning to visit India and the Sub Continents?

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Are you planning a holiday to the most traveled destination of the world, India? Let me tell you, however famous a destination India is, it is still the least explored one. The regular itineraries are too mainstream! Why not go for offbeat destinations? These offbeat destinations are filled with culture, colors, unexplored alleys, monuments and yes, scrumptious cuisines. There is so much that India has to offer! Perhaps, there is so much that we have to offer for your tour to India. Looking for great deals and discounts? Mail us on info@alluringindiadestination.com for alluring offers!

Also, you get to connect with us directly at The New York Times Travel Show 2014 at Jacob K. Javitz Convention Center on March 1st and 2nd at booth #142.

We provide luxury at the best prices and we mean it! If you’re in New York or plan to visit New York in late February, don’t forget to witness the New York Times Travel Show and meet us there for the discounted rates and other add ons!

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Hidden Monuments of Delhi

1) LAL GUMBADH

Location : Malviya Nagar, Southeast From Delhi-Mehrauli Road
Also Known As : Lal Gumbad Or Rakabwala Gumbad
Built In: 1397
Memorial of : Shaikh Kabir-Ud-Din Auliya Image

Immediately before getting Malaviya Nagar by the road forking southeast from Delhi-Mehrauli road, one sees on the south of the road Shaikh Kabiru’d-Din Auliya’s tomb, also known as “Lal-Gumbad” or “Rakabwala Gumbad”. 

Lal Gumbad consists of a square chamber with battered walls faced with red sandstone and the roof surmounted by a plastered conical dome, resembling thus Ghiyath-ud-Din Tughluq’s tomb. Its entrance is on the east through a pointed arch, decorated with marble bands.

The iron rings on its western wall are believed to have been fixed for scaling up the walls by thieves, who are said to have removed its golden finial, from which it has acquired its popular name of Rakabwala Gumbad.

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In 1937 the mortal remains of Saikh Kabir Ud Din Auliya were buried here. The construction of this gumbadh was stopped in the middle of the 14th century when it was fully constructed.

2) TOMB AND MOSQUE AT SADHNA ENCLAVE

Location : Sadhna Enclave

Built in : 15th Century

Memorial Of : Unknown

These two buildings are located in Sadhana Enclave and can be approached from the Ring Road. As one approaches from the main road, the building on the right is the Baradari (Mosque). It comprises of a seven-bay wide and three-bay deep open pavilion whose original use is unknown. Some scholars suggest that this could have been a mosque but very little remains of the western wall to conclusively prove this. The building belongs to the Tughlaq period and probably dates to the late fourteenth century. The front row is made of double columns and a chhajja (dripstone), supported by small brackets that runs across the entire front above the arched openings.

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This tomb belongs to the Lodi period. It is a domed structure measuring 9 square meters, with arched entrance on north, south and east, while the west has a mirhab. The interior of the tomb has a double row of blind arcades. The dome springs from an octagonal drum.

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This Tughlaq period built baradari has an arcaded wall with seven bays from north to south and is 3 bays deep. It is constructed of rubble finished with plaster. There is an outer row of double columns and chajja runs over these arched openings on the eastern side.

3) BIJAY MANDAL

Location : Village Kalu Sarai, Near IIT Flyover

Built in : 1351 AD

Used as : The palace of Muhamamd bin Tughlaq

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This was the palace of Muhamamd bin Tughlaq (1300-1351), a sultan who was so eccentric that he forcibly moved Delhi’s entire population 700 miles south to the Deccan. Having survived many transformations, Bijay Mandal, or what is left of it, is like difficult poetry with the first and last verses missing.

Historians call it Delhi’s most puzzling monument. They guess it was the site of the famous thousand-pillared hall; the pillars were of painted wood and the roof exquisitely carved. All that is gone.

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There is an octagonal pavalion on the roof. But the ramp that leads up ends in a padlocked door. Daring boys climb the walls for a majestic view of the city, but don’t risk it. The northern side of the main hall looks to a burial ground, which houses the shrine of the sufi saint Sheikh Hasan Tahir. Beyond it is an arcaded ruin.

The southern side offers a peek into the private lives of the residents of Begumpur village. If the wind is favorable, you hear the barking of dogs from the bungalows of Sarvapriya Vihar. The silence of the stones is the noisiest.

4) AZIM KHAN’S TOMB

LOCATION : Between Lado Sarai road and the main Mehrauli Road

BUILT IN : Early 17th Century

MEMORIAL OF : AZIM KHAN.

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Though no one is exactly sure who Azim Khan was, most historians concede that he was a nobleman in the court of Mughal emperor Akbar (ruled AD 1556-1605). Legend has it that it that when Akbar’s armies led by his valiant generals were furthering his expansionist policies & annexing small kingdoms in different parts of the country, his foster brother & powerful general Adham Khan would capture a territory for Akbar & enslave all the women in the captured land & add them to his harem.

According to experts, it is evident from the tomb’s unique architecture that it was built during early Mughal rule in the city. In the Intach listing, the monument is graded `B’ in terms of historical relevance. An official of Intach Delhi Chapter said: “There is uncertainty about who the tomb is named after.

Some historians believe it is Azim Khan while others say it is Akbar Khan.” Despite several attempts by historians, Azim Khan remains a mystery as there is no documentation or data pertaining to him.

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5) ADILABAD FORT 

LOCATION : Tughlaquabad, Near Tughlaquabad Fort

BUILT IN : 14th Century

BUILT BY : Mohammed-bin-Tughlaq

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Built by Mohammed-bin-Tughlaq, Adilabad Fort is referred to by historians as the fourth fort of Delhi, in the footsteps of famous contemporaries like Red Fort, Old Fort and the adjacent Tughlaqabad Fort. But despite being under the protection of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), Adilabad Fort remains a rare, hidden treasure of Delhi with very few people even aware of its existence.

The first obstacle any visitor wanting to explore the fort faces is the lack of proper access. Even asking locals in Tughlaqabad area for directions elicit blank looks. A maze of kuchcha paths lead to the beautiful fortress located southeast of Tughlaqabad Fort, partially hidden by foliage and undergrowth.

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Once in Adilabad, it’s like stepping back in time. Broken steps and a kuchcha slope lead into the fortress and one can see that most of the structure is in ruins. According to historians, Adilabad began as a small fort with massive ramparts protecting it. In comparison to its predecessor, the mammoth Tughlaqabad Fort, Adilabad is a dwarf as far as stonework is concerned.

Though much smaller than Tughlaqabad Fort, Adilabad is a treat for any visitor. Much of the fort lies in ruins but fortunately, the basic structure has survived the ravages of time. Conservationists have called for a more elaborate effort from the ASI to protect this legacy of Mohammed-bin-Tughlaq. ”The area is surrounded mostly by villagers which make it difficult to develop both Tughlaqabad and Adilabad forts as proper tourist destinations. But the potential of the fortresses are huge. There are not as many Tughlaq structures in Delhi as there are Mughal or even colonial.

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Khajuraho Dance Festival 2014

Khajuraho, a small town in the State of Madhya Pradesh possesses the largest group of medieval Hindu and Jain temples which are famous for their erotic sculptures. This town, in the heart of India attracts people from all parts of the world, luring them into knowing its history, philosophy and the idea behind those beautifully constructed sculptures. Visitors come when the winters are about to bid farewell and spring fills the atmosphere with joy and the Khajuraho Dance Festival starts in February. It is an opportunity for everyone to experience various Indian classical dances set against the backdrop of the magnificently lit Khajuraho temples

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The cultural festival highlights the richness of Indian dance heritage with a vast variety of styles; Kathak, Bharatnatyam, Odissi, Kuchipudi, Manipuri and Kathakali. No wonder that gods and their escorts are also dancers. There are wonderful mythological stories about that and one can admire them dancing poses on the temple reliefs.

These dances of the mind and soul pervade all aspects of life in the country. They bring color, joy and gaiety to the festivals and ceremonies, as well. The festival offers a great chance to see the dances of nationally and internationally acclaimed performers. One can admire the exhibitions of local crafts by their artisans as well as the dances. The festival is a wonderful way of relaxing and refreshing in a holy and historic environment after a day of sightseeing in and around the city.

 

So let yourself be mesmerized by the performances, tap your feet to the beat and savor the delicious food, witness the dance of the gods. Save the date! 

Khajuraho Dance Festival 
25th February – 5th March, 2014

For Bookings or more details visit,

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UDAIPUR : The City of Lakes

ImageThe City Palace, Udaipur

History

Udaipur was founded in 1559 by Maharana Udai Singh as the final capital of the erstwhile Mewar kingdom. Legend has it that Maharana Udai Singh came upon a hermit while hunting in the foothills of the Aravalli Range. The hermit blessed the king and asked him to build a palace on the spot, assuring him it would be well protected. Udai Singh consequently established a residence on the site. In 1568, the Mughal emperor Akbar captured the The Fort of Chittor, and Udai Singh moved the capital to the site of his residence, which became the city of Udaipur.

The Royal Family of Mewar still resides in Udaipur and owns maximum of the properties in the place. Sriji Arvind Singh Mewar is the 76th custodian of the Mewar dynasty. The Maharanas are considered not rulers but custodians of the kingdom on behalf of Sri Eklingji (Lord Siva). He is the second son of Bhagwat Singh Mewar and younger brother of Maharana Mahendra Singh Mewar.

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Udaipur Offers a variety of Tourist Attractions:

  • The City Palace : From the banks of Lake Pichola, you can see a massive series of palaces built from 1559, one of which includes the main City Palace. The balconies of the palace provide a panoramic view of the Jagmandir Palace, and the Lake Palace. The Mor-chowk (Peacock courtyard), gets its name from the mosaics in glass decorating its walls. here are numerous other palaces such as Dilkhush mahal, Sheesh mahal, Moti mahal and Krishna vilas – in memory of a princess of striking beauty who poisoned herself to avert a bloody battle for her hand by rival princes. Now the palace contains many antique articles, paintings, decorative furniture and utensils and attracts thousands of visitors every day.
  • The Lake Palace : Built in 1746, the Lake Palace is a structure made of marble, situated in the lake Pichola. The palace is made into a 5 star deluxe hotel operating under the ‘Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces’ banner.ImageSaheliyon Ki Bari
  • Saheliyon ki Bari : It was made for a group of 48 young women attendants who accompanied a princess to Udaipur as a part of her Dowry. The gardens set below have Lotus Pools, Marble Pavilions, and Elephant Shaped Fountains. The fountains are fed by the Fateh-sagar lake.
  • The Fatehgarh Fort : This Palace offers a 270 degree bird’s eye view of the historical city of Udaipur and also provides the experience of rival and cultural, spiritual, and environmental heritage based on ancient wisdom. The palace has been converted into a hotel with 51 rooms based on 51 principles of ancient Indian wisdom.
  • Udaipur Solar Obervatory:

    Asia’s only solar observatory, the Udaipur Solar Observatory, is situated on an island in the middle of the Lake Fatah Sagar.

  • Maharana Pratap Memorial/ Mori Magri :

    Atop the Moti Magri or Pearl Hill, overlooking the Fatah Sagar Lake is the memorial of the Rajput hero Maharana Pratap with a bronze statue of the Maharana astride his favorite horse “Chetak”.

BEST TIME TO VISIT

If you plan a visit to Udaipur, it can be at any time of the year, Udaipur’s autumn/ winter climate is the most appealing time to pay her a visit. Tourists arrive in numbers, anytime between mid-September to late March or early April. Even in January, the coldest month, the days are bright, sunny and warm.

HOW TO REACH UDAIPUR

Ahmedabad to Udaipur 257 km
Jaipur to Udaipur 418 km
Indore to Udaipur 482 km
Delhi to Udaipur 678 km
Mumbai to Udaipur 788 km

Udaipur can be easily added to you itinerary if you wish to visit the north or even south of India.

Direct flights are available from Delhi, Mumbai, Jaipur, etc.

A person who loves road trips can start from Delhi to Jaipur to Udaipur by surface.

PLACES FOR ACCOMMODATION IN UDAIPUR

For the people who wish to live like kings, the hotels in Rajasthan offer you a lifetime experience to make your dream come true.

Udaipur has a variety of Palaces converted to Hotels, as well as Hotels which can offer a very luxurious stay.ImageThe Leela Palace, Udaipur

With a majestic location on the Lake Pichola and spectacular view of the Aravalli Mountains, The Leela Palace evokes grandeur and opulence of the land of the Mewar. Beautifully designed to reflect the surrounding style and influences, the intricate craftsmanship and world-class amenities designed by Jeffrey A. Wilkes, while part of Lim Teo Wilkes Design Works, and the attention to detail in the art and embellishment by Mrs. Madhu Nair makes it an ultimate palace experience and regal indulgence.

  • The Fatehgarh Fort : Perched on a hilltop 10 minutes outside the city, this newly constructed 51- room hotel incorporates local stone and antique architectural elements culled from abandoned historic buildings. Lie by the infinity pool, listening to the sound of splashing fountains mingling with live classical shehnai music.ImageThe Oberoi Udaivilas
  • The Hotel showcases the rich heritage of the Mewar region of Rajasthan with its rambling courtyards, gentle rippling fountains, reflection pools and verdant gardens. Grand architecture inspired by the palaces of Rajasthan present a picture of majesty resplendent with pavilions and domes that lead you to a journey of discovery. Interiors embellished with decorative domes, hand painted frescoes, intricate mirror work and beautifully crafted artefacts create an ambience of regal splendour.lake-palace-udaipur-b4The Lake Palace
  • The Vintage coupé glides to a stop at the lake’s edge. It’s hard to believe the floating vision in marble is real. Blink, and indeed, there is a luminous palace emerging from the mist. Suddenly you are in a boat, drifting ever closer and the reality doesn’t disappoint. With the Aravalli Mountains and city palaces as a backdrop one gets an impending sense of enchantment.

There are also many standard hotels in the city for accommodation. For further information contact info@alluringindiadestination.com