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Of Sea Shells & Sand Castles

Agumbe is one of the highest peaks of the Western Ghats, situated in-between Shimoga
& Dakshina Kannada Districts. To enjoy the beauty of the Western Ghats
& a stretch of the Arabian Sea, one has to reach the peak of Agumbe
maneuvering along the 14 steep hairpin bends.
The highlight of this place is to experience the delightful Sunset, which
gets reflected from the Arabian Sea onto the Horizon. Agumbe is the
home of the Lion Tailed Black Macaque (Monkey) and Yellow Ringed
Kraite (an endangered species of snakes).
This place is of religious interest in the interiors of Dakshina Kannada. An outstanding
example of religious and cultural tolerance where charity is a way of life, extended to all
without discrimination. Lord Manjunatha temple is a famous pilgrim center. Sri
Dharmasthala, which is one of the sacred places in South India, is well known to all pious
people. It is situated in the village of Dharmasthala, in Beltangady Taluk of South Canara
The History of this place says that, One-day the guardian angels of Dharma assumed
human forms & riding on horse & elephant, with their retinue in regal pomp & divine
glory came to Nelyadibeedu. Ammudevi Ballathi & her husband received the visitors
with joy & respect. The angels were so pleased with the welcome & charities that they
said "Pergade (Pergade-Heggade) we are attracted by your pious conduct & charities.
Offer this Nelyadi Beedu to us & build another house for yourself nearby & worship us in
this Beedu & we will see that your wealth & charity be unbounded." Thus they blessed &
vanished. It was then that Pergade & his wife were aware that their guests were not
mortal beings but divine visitors who had chosen to test them. From that day they began
propitiating them by putting up a swing cot & burning lamps & incense in their Nelyadi
Beedu. They built a separate residence for themselves nearby.
Thereafter the divinities appeared to the couple in their dreams & commanded thus "We
are powerful Daivas we are Kalarahu, Kalarkai, Kumarswamy & Kanyakumari, you must
build separate Shrines for us at places pointed out by us. You must hold festivals at
appointed times, you must choose for us two mediums of Nobel birth so that we may
speak our will to them. Our commands will be carried out vassal Annappa. You must
appoint four worthy persons, to help you & see that rituals are strictly observed. We shall
reward you & your posterity with health, wealth & longevity so long as you worship us
with faith & devotion. We shall spread our glory far & wide & get you abundance of
offerings. Therefore see that Dana-Dharma is extended to all equally at all times. We
shall back your wishes with support, your word with fulfillment & crown all your efforts
with success. Should you act against this behest you shall suffer. Don't be afraid we will
protect, be peaceful." So, directed by those spiritually beings that appeared in the
effulgent glory Birmanna Pergade & Ammu Devi Ballalthi were overjoyed. They lost no
time to build shrines, install idols of Dharma Daivas & hold Utsava, Parva & Nadavali as
Pergade invited Brahmins for festive offerings, but they refused to come unless Gods
were worshipped along with Daivas, Whilst Pergade was grieving over this problem the
Dharmadevathas sent their vassal Annappa to bring from Kadri the Lingam of Sri
Manjunatha & installed it at the spot in the temple where it now stands. Manjula means

pleasing or beautiful, Natha means Lord. Pergade built a temple there on the right side of
the shrine of Dharma Daivas where Annappa installed the Lingam, established the
performance of the daily poojas & the rituals & the festivals in a befitting manner. The
shrine of Annappa faces the Lingam of Sri Manjunatha. Thus in Kuduma, Sri
Chandranatha, Sri Manjunatha & four Daivas & Annappa Daiva came to be worshipped
simultaneously at different shrines with common festivals. In Nelyadi Beedu, Heggade
alone worships his ancestors & the four Daivas.
In the midst of the Western Ghats, surrounded by greenery Goddess Annapoorneshwari
makes Horanadu her home. The name of the goddess means "Feeding one & all”, like the
ever giving & loving mother. The specialty of this temple is that everybody who visits
this shrine is provided with food & place to sleep or rest.
During the early part of Kaliyuga, the good earth was stricken by famine and pestilence.
It did not rain for years. Even Brahmins were constrained to eat meat and the people were
on the verge of becoming cannibals.
Jabali, the great sage was disturbed in his 'Tapas' by these troubles. Through his 'Gnana
Drishti' he realized the root cause of all this. He found that Arunasura the 'rakshasa' who
escaped from death and fled when Goddess Durga slew Shambasura had increased his
life span by following the teachings of his Guru. He had made the people stop all yagas
and yajnas as revenge against the 'devas', and this has resulted in drought and scarcity for
Moved by compassion, Jabali desired to alleviate man's sufferings and decided to
perform a yajna to placate the devas. He approached Devendra in haven with a request to
permit him to take Kamadhenu for the ritual. Devendra informed Jabali that Kamadhenu
was not available but he could take his daughter Nandini instead. Jabali then went to
Nandini who, however refused to accompany him to the sinful earth, which had
nourished such evil beings as Ravana and Karthivirya. Jabali countered this by saying
that the same earth also produced such saintly beings as Ahalya.
Nandini, however, was firm in her refusal. Jabali, in his anger, cursed that she be born as
a river on earth. Nandini prayed for mercy. Relenting, Jabali advised her to pray to
Goddess Durga to redeem her from the curse, Nandini appealed to Goddess Durga who
appeared to her and informed her that though Nandini would be born as a river in
fulfillment of the curse she, Durga, would be born as Nandini's daughter at the center of
the river, and in the process, Nandini would attain purification. On Magha Shudda
Poornima, Nandini emerged as a river from Kanakagiri Jabali performed his yajna. The
devas were pleased and the earth was once again green and smiling.
When Arunasura realized that earth was flourishing once again, his anger knew no
bounds. He sat in tapas and acquired a boon from Brahma that he would not suffer death
from any two legged or four legged creature or any destructive weapon. Brahma also
blessed him with Gayatri Mantra, assuring him that as long as he recited the mantra he
would be secured from death. Blessed with these powers, Arunasura defeated the devas
and conquered heaven. In their alarm, the devas implored Goddess Durga for help. Durga
suggested that they should somehow prevent him from reciting the mantra and then she
would find a way of destroying him. The devas sent Purohit Bruhaspathi to Arunasura,
Bruhaspathi praised Arunasura's powers and questioned the necessity of his reciting a
mantra to another god. When he himself had risen to the eminence of a god by his own
exploits. Flattered by this praise. Arunasura gave up reciting the provocative mantra.

One day Goddess appeared in Arunasura's garden as a beautiful woman. Seeing this
charming apparition, Arunasura inflamed with desire, approached her. The charming
beauty reminded him that she was the same woman who had killed Shambasura and from
whom Arunasura had escaped death. Conscious of and confident in his newly acquired
powers, he rushed forward, sword in hand, to slay her. She disappeared into a stone.
Arunasura slashed the stone with the sword, and then a vast swarm of bees emerged from
the stone and stung him.
The queen of bees 'Ugra Bramai' stung him repeatedly till his last breath. Devas led by
Jabali performed abhishekam with tender coconut water and requested the Ugra Bramari
to bless the world with her 'Soumya Roopa' Goddess Durga then appeared in her 'Soumya
Roopa' in middle of the river, where present structure of the temple imparts its glory to
the world. 'Kati' being the word which means 'center' (midway between the 'Kanakagiri'
the place where the river was born, and the end, Pravanje, where the river joins the sea)
and 'lla' means area. Thus the place is called 'Kati + lla' Kateel.
A small peaceful town situated 17 Kms from Moodabidri; Karkala is a center of
effervescent activity where dexterity & commitment combine to take an unusual form.
One can see young zealous sculptors engraving beautiful figures and bringing stones to
It also has a huge Chaturmukha Basti. In recent years Ranjal Gopal Sharma, a famous
sculptor, has left behind a living tradition of the art of engraving. Statues made here are
appreciated over the world & exported to Japan.
Karkala also has a massive 12.8 m monolithic Gomateshwara and the St Lawrence
Church which draw thousands of devotees from all communities.
Kukke Subramanya is on the bank of river Dhara. According to Hindu Mythology Lord
Kumaraswamy came to this place after killing the demon rulers Taraka,
Shoorapadmasura and others in a war; and Lord washed his Shakti Ayudha (a battle-axe
in the shape of a bayonet) in this river. From this onwards the river is famous as
Kumaradhara. After his battle with the demons Lord Kumaraswamy came to the top of
Kumara Parvatha along with his brothers Lord Ganesha, Veerabahu and other aides. Lord
Indra along with other Gods received him; pleased by the success of the war Indra prayed
the Lord to be kind enough to marry his daughter Devasena.
This was agreed upon courteously and the marriage took place on the banks of
Kumaradhara on 'Margashira Shudda Shashti'. Lord Kumaraswamy also gave darshan to
Vasuki the head of nagas, who was making a penance here. Vasuki prayed to the Lord to
stay along with him permanently at this place and the Lord with the boon.
From that time it is believed that the Lord has made his spiritual presence in this shrine
along with his wife Devasena and Vasuki. Every year a famous car festival is being held
here on 'Margashira Shuddha Shashti' with special poojas to the Lord.
About approx. 10 Kms from Udupi is Malpe. An ideal picnic spot with its virgin beach.
The endless stretch of golden sand, graciously swaying palm trees, the clear blue sky;
gurgle of the sea… all set the perfect mood for the unforgettable holiday here.
St. Mary's Island, another delightful get away is only a boat-ride away across Malpe, here
one can find a unique formation of volcanic rocks which are vertical hexagonal rocks.
The whole island is a big collection of these rocks in different sizes.
Purusha and Prakriti are twin aspects of Divine glory manifest in the universe Prakriti has
an existence, like Purusha, through ephemeral. The latter appeals to some, while the

former to some others. It is all a question of one's outlook and one's perspective. Shiva is
often referred to as "Ardhanareeshwara", and the feminine part of him embodying
Parvathi is thought of as being more effective and powerful. It is whereupon, perhaps, the
worship of the Mother Goddess has become increasingly popular and pronounced.
Religion is man's life long quest to seek "solace" and protection in a Supreme Being, by
way of a refuge from the turmoil's and tribulations of existence. God, the Supreme Being,
as he is addressed in simple terms, forms the central point of religious experience. God
can be viewed as "personal", symbolized in a male or female power. But, God, seen from
the philosophical gaze, is purely "impersonal" and "absolute". He is in the nature of "a
sprit" or "chethana" as termed in Sanskrit. To look upon God as "a person", however is an
In the coastal belt of the western part of the land of Baratha is situated the harbour town
of Mangalapuram, or the city of Mangalore, which is eternally blessed by the benign
Mother Goddess, Mangalamba. This region, given away as a reward to sage Parashurama
by Samudraraja, is well known for its Kadali fruits. It is the land of enchantment of
Sahyadri Mountains, where the great sages Kanva, Vysa, Vashista, Vishwamitra and other
in the Loral past spent their days of meditation. Bountiful rivers dance down the
mountains here and nature is attired in all her lush-full greenery. The people of
"Chaturvarna" live in harmony and bliss.
This land is hailed as "Parashurama Srusti". On one of the mountaintops Lord Vishnu is
enshrined in his incarnation of Varaha. Holy Netravati flows from his eternal eye gushing
down the Sahyadri Mountains into the plains to form a sacred conjunction with
Kumaradhara to ultimately be in union with the Lord of the western sea. Manjunatha and
Sahasralingeshwara are the hallowed divinities that bless the devotees in this region, as
they throng in their ever-increasing numbers, year after year.
The Taulava kings ruled this land of beauty and plenty in the days of yore. Goddess Devi
who is Vindhyavasini, in her resplendent glory, once felt an irresistible desire to grace the
Taulava kingdom by her holy presence. Accordingly she chose her benevolent "adsthana"
the place situated to the south of the Kadali Kshetra of Lord Manjunatha. Sage
Parashurama, through his perspective gaze of knowledge, came to know of the
Transcendental Mother's bening arrival. Offering his obeisance to her, he hailed the
goddess in slokas of scintillating brilliance and charm.
The divine mother was immensely pleased with the devotion of Bhargava and told him
that she would dwell in his place as "Mangala Devi" to be worshipped by devotees, with
"Pujas" and "Utsavas" in the ages to come. She also ordained that since she would well in
all her spiritual glory, Bhargava would receive her choicest blessings, for his "aradhana"
of her in a mind that is chaste and pure.
Bhargava, in fullest obedience to her dictate, enshrined the goddess, as per her divine
instruction, in a temple carved to perfect design by none other than Vishwakarma himself.
It is thus that the holy shrine came to be established by the great sage Bhargava.
The transcendental glory of Mangala Devi is revealed to millions of devotees in many a
miraculous happenings. There was once, in the days of yore, a king called Veerabhahu
who was ruling the coastal country of Tulu Desha. He was a great bhakta and ardent
disciple of sage Bharadwaja. In his old age renunciation came to him as befits a great
devotee. With the kind permission of his guru Bharadwaja, he handed over his kingdom

to the Anegondi king, Bhangaraja, and went to the forest with his queen, for spending the
rest of his life in solitude and meditation.
Bhangaraja kept up the tradition of the Talava kings by giving a very good government to
his subjects. The glory of tulu desha rose to such a ecliptic heights that Lord Vinayaka
thought it fit to take a decision to establish himself in the sacred abode of sharapura,
(Sharavu,) which formed a part of the holy land of Mangalamba. To fulfill his divine wish
Vinayaka approached Goddess Mangala and appealed to her to appear in the dream of
Bhangaraja to ordain him to build a bountiful city in her name, so that Vinayaka, too
could dwell in that prosperous city along with his Sire, Sharabheshwara, and his Matre,
Mangala. The Goddess, pleased with the divine wish of her beloved son, ordained the
king Bhangaraja to construct the marvelous city of Mangalapura in her name so that his
name too might reverberate in the distant corners of Baratha Varsha with its echoes of
resonance. Bhangaraja, awoke from his dream, offered his prayers to the Goddess, and
immediately set upon himself the task of rebuilding the temple and along with it the
beautiful city, in the hallowed name of the divine mother. He was indeed the chosen man,
twice blessed, for the performance of a duty par excellence, which history record in
letters of gold.
His task done, the blessed king Bhangaraja in utmost humility and devotion, offered his
prayers to the goddess, with a stator of unparalleled beauty and charm. Goddess Mangala
Devi supremely pleased with his devotion blessed the king with a promise to preside over
the destiny of the bountiful city named after her, even and anon. For himself Bhangaraja
built a palace at the heart of the harbour-land. The city so built by the ancient king
extended from Kaladi Kshetra to Bharadwajashrama, where people of all castes and creed
lived in blissful harmony and peace.
Narrow winding streets, lofty coconut trees, quaint gable-roofed houses, beautiful
beaches, temples and churches, the heady fragrance of the Mangalore Mallige, the aroma
of spicy coconut curries… Yes! Mangalore is indeed a city of vivid contrasts. Unfolding
an enchantment that never ends…
As you drive up north along the coastal road to Maravanthe , 50 Kms from Udupi, a
surprise awaits you. The highway bordered on either side by the Arabian Sea and the
Souparnika River, with a backdrop of the Kodachadri Hills, makes the drive an out-of-
the-world experience. And at sunset a crimson sky & golden rays reflected both in the sea
and river convert Maravanthe into a fairyland of scenic beauty. A drive further up will
take you to the Belakal Teertha falls near Baindur.
A place known for its Jainism mainly of Digamber sect, having a large number of Jain
Basadi's (temples). The most famous among them is the 1000-pillared Basadi popularly
known as "Savirakambha Basadi". Once a year a grand Jain festival is celebrated wherein
thousands of Jains take part.
This Basadi is a huge structure & has 1000 unique pillars, no two pillars are identical.
The roof of the main hall of this temple is beautifully carved, & the walls are carved out
with different designs, which give this place a artistic & beautiful look.
As all Gods including Indra had got their wishes fulfilled, and attained the status of
eternal bliss free from rebirth by worshipping the 'Atmalinga' that had found place in the
lotus-heart of "Adimaye" by faith and penance, Ravana, the all-accomplished and all
powerful decided to get the 'Atmalinga' from Parameshwar so that he also could become
invincible and immortal by worshipping it.

With this great ambition he went to Kailasa and performed rigorous penance in solitude
strictly following the rites and singing hymns and doing a variety of dances Lord
Parameshwar was soon propitiated by Ravana's devotion and appeared in his true form
with five faces, three eyes and ten shoulders adorning Ganga and the moon God in his
matted hair, the sovereign serpent round his neck, a garland of skulls touching his ankles,
flanked by Goddess Parvathi on his left.
He then said passionately to the king of Lanka that he was much pleased with his
devotion and that he would bestow any kind of boon he would ask. Ravana's happiness
found no bounds and prostrated before Parameshwar and praised him with humility and
single-mindedness, addressing the Lord with his innumerable names. He then got up and
asked Shiva to grant him the 'Atmalinga'. Though Shiva was worried at Ravana's wish he
did not like to go back on his promise and therefore gave him the 'Atmalinga' that he
himself used to worship always and which was a as lustrous as the light emitted by crores
of suns and moons together, which could give perfect and complete happiness.
Which the holy sages had worshiped and which had been praised in Holy Scriptures. As
Shiva gave the lingam to Ravana, the former told the latter that he should carry it home
by walk, that he should never place it on the earth even for a short while failing which the
lingam would get eternally embedded at the place were he broke his commands. Thus
ordaining Parameshwar disappeared and Ravana soon set out southwards carrying the
lingam in his hands with great care. The Gods learnt this from Sage Narada and were
disturbed at the prospect of Ravana's becoming all-powerful and capable by possessing
and worshipping the 'Atmalinga'. They went to Sri Mahavishnu and lamented their
agitation. Sri Mahavishnu devised a plan to install the lingam somewhere and as he
thought that Sri MahaGanapathi was alone capable of doing it, he along with all the Gods
prayed and pleased him and brought him along with them.
As they were all coming near Gokarna. Ravana, who had set out from Kailasa after
performing the midday rites at Sapthakoteshwar, was approaching Gokarna. Vishnu who
had known well that Ravana was punctual in performing his periodical rites, blotted the
sun out with his sudarshana wheel. Thinking that it was time for the evening rites. Ravana
was in conflict neither to put the idol down nor wishing to give up the evening rites.
Vighneshwara as was planned earlier came to the presence of Ravana in the guise of a
Brahmin boy, Ravana was happy to see him. He called him near and asked him to hold
the lingam in his hand till he came back after finishing the rites.
Ganapathi agreed to hold the lingam on one condition that he would do so till he would
be able to bear its weight and that thereafter he would call Ravana three times and if
failed to come to him by then he would place the lingam on the earth. But before Ravana
could complete the rites and come back Ganapathi placed the idol on the earth at a very
auspicious moment. The lingam at once got firmly entrenched in the earth. The Gods
with jubilation welcomed this and showering flowers as Vishnu with drew his Sudarshana
wheel that had so far blotted out the sun, Ravana saw the bright sunlight and understood
that the Gods had tricked him. He got furious came to the entrenched lingam and tried to
uproot it with all his might it caused tremor that was felt in the woods and the mountains.
But the idol did not budge a little.
The crestfallen Ravana was deeply agitated. He beat the Brahmin boy and in anger he
threw the case of the lingam to the north it fell 23 miles away and got consecrated as
"Sadyojahatmaka" at Samputeshwar. He threw the lid to south it fell 27 miles away in the

form of "Vamadeva Linga" at Guneshwara. He then threw the cloth which had wrapped
the linga once again to the south which fell 32 miles away at Kanduka Hill on the shore
of the 'Salt Sea'. It took the form of "Aghora" at Murudeshwara. The thread that had
bound the linga was flung to south again and that became "Tatpursha Linga" at
Doreshwara, Shiva learnt all these from Vayu, the wind God and came on to Earth with
Paravathi and his train of Gods, he visited these five places and worshipped the linga
which had now taken five forms. Before he left for Kailasa he declared that these five
places would be his "Panchakshetras" (Five Holy Places) and those who worshipped
these forms of his, would be free from all sins and would realize their wishes and
ultimately reach the abode of Shiva.
Sringeri was discovered by Sri Shankaracharya as a place where even natural animosities
did not exist, as he saw a frog in labour protected from the scorching rays of the sun by a
raised hood of a cobra. He installed at that place the Goddess of learning, Sri Sharada.
He also established a Matha for the propagation of Advaita philosophy, and his first
sishya Sri Suresvaracharya was made the head of the Matha. From then onwards, Sringeri
has become famous as a center of learning, philosophy and sublime spirituality. It is one
of the holy places of India and it attracts many pilgrims.
Birthplace of Sankara: Sankara was a Nambudri Brahmin who took sanyasa at the age
of eight and went all over India. He had many marvelous achievements before the age of
32 when he disappeared from this world of mortals. His village home was Kaladi on the
outskirts of Travanacore. He had promised his mother that at the time of her death, she
had only to think of him, and he would be there at her bedside. The tragic day came and
the mother prayed for her son's return.
Sankara was there as if by a miracle. Then the old woman died. His fellow Nambudris
would not help in the disposal of the dead. That was because they mistakenly thought that
sanyasa amounted to heterodoxy. So Sankara by his own hands removed the corpse of his
mother to the backyard of the house. There was no fuel available. So he cut a plantain
tree and arranged its sheaths to cover the body.
A sanyasin is not permitted to make use of fore. So by his yogic power, he produced fire
which burnt the plantain tree and the corpse. He could not, however, suppress his anger.
So he cursed the Nambudris that thereafter, as in his mother's case, their house and
crematorium would be identical.
The Nambudris who had by now realized the mystic powers of Sankara, repented their
original impudence and begged of him not to curse them. Tradition says that Sankara
promised the Nambudris that in a later incarnation as the high pontiff of Sringeri, he
would release them from their curse.
Sachindananda Sivabhinava Narashima Bharati, who in 1911 visited Kaladi and installed
the image of Sankara on the very spot where he was born, released the surrounding
Nambudri villages of the curse that had overtaken them.
Treasure of Gold: Perumbavur is a village on the opposite bank of the Purna River.
Once Sankara as a young mendicant went to a Brahmin house at Perumbavur to beg his
food for a day. The lady of the house was in tears. Sankara appeared to her as Lord Shiva
himself. But she had nothing to give him to appease his hunger. "Why, mother, why do
you cry ?", Sankara asked. The poor woman explained. Then he told her to search her
earthenwares for anything, however small in size that might be.

The Brahmin woman discovered a small dry piece of gooseberry which she shyly and
apologetically gave to the young sanyasin who, putting it into his mouth, addressed
Lakshmi, the Goddess of wealth.
He recited a few verses on the spur moment appealing to her to remove the poverty of the
devoted woman. Immediately afterwards, the poor woman and her husband discovered a
treasure of gold.
Their successors had only known of the tradition but had not seen Sankara. So when
Sachindananda Sivabhinava Narashima Bharati went to install Sankara's image, they
spontaneously ran to him and worshipped his feet with golden coins.
The verses mentioned here are known as the Kanakadhara Satvam. Even now those who
desire legitimate wealth are advised by learned scholars and saints to repeat this set of
verses to invoke the blessings of the Goddess of wealth.
Rishyasringa Hill: Sringeri is the first of the four pithas established by Bhagavan Sri
Shankaracharya. Sringeri is the modern rendering of Sringa Giri or the Mountain of
Rishyasringa, a great rishi whose tomb is still preserved, and thousands of pilgrims brave
the hard path and repair there worship at the holy shrine.
It is said in Ramayana that a 12-year drought and famine had reduced the kingdom of
Anga to a scorching and uninhabitable desert. The reigning monarch, King Romapada,
did everything to alleviate the suffering of his people but in vain. Men, woman and
children died in hundreds being unable to get a morsel of food or even a handful of water.
Cattle perished by thousands.
Somebody suggested to the king that, if he could but persuade sage Rishyasringa to visit
Anga, the rain God would automatically make his appearance to worship the lotus feet of
the sage. Romapada sent a deputation to Sringeri. By the employment of a stratagem the
deputationists succeeded in persuading the rishi to visit Anga.
The moment he set foot on the territory, it poured in torrents. The people were happy;
Romapada was so pleased with the rishi's grace and blessings that he willingly gave his
daughter, Santa, in marriage to the peerless saint.
Afterwards Rishyasringa officiated in King Dasharatha's sacrifice. Later he returned to
his mountain abode along with his spouse.
Selection of Sringeri: The reason Vidyaranya in his Sankara Vijaya relates why Sankara
chose Sringeri to establish his first university or Vidyapitha in detail. Along with
Mandana Misra and his wife Bharati, both of whom he had vanquished in a debate,
Sankara was going towards south. Bharati, who was none other than Goddess Sarasvati,
stipulated that at the spot where Sankara looked back at the divine pair, she would take
her abode.
It so happened that Sankara and the divine pair reached Sringeri on an exceptionally hot
noon. As they proceeded to the river Tunga for their ablutions, they saw a frog struggling
in the blazing sun to be delivered of its offspring. A cobra, the natural enemy of frog,
raised its hood to provide the frog with shelter and protection from the ravages of the
tropical sun.
Sankara was greatly moved by the sight. If there was paradise on earth, here it was,
where the lion and the lamb, the tiger and the cow, the cobra and the frog lived in mutual
amity and peace. He just turned round when, as she had already stipulated, Bharati,
known also as Sarada, decided to stay for good at Sringeri on the banks of the sacred

Mandana Misra, assuming the name of Suresvaracharya, was installed here as the
successor of Shankaracharya before the latter resumed his tour to found his three pithas at
Puri, Dwaraka and Badrinath.
From the time of Shankaracharya to this day, the Sringeri Gurus have been noted for their
scholarship and saintliness. From the available records, it is possible to write a connected
story of the spiritual ministry of each pontiff. But that would be beyond the scope of this
account. Even so a few interest would not be irrelevant.
About 60 Kms from Mangalore is a fairly large and upcoming town that was sanctum of
Madhvacharya, the great Sanskrit Philosopher. The famous temple here, has a fascinating
idol of Lord Krishna that is richly adorned with jewels.
The main attraction of this temple is the 'Kanakana Kindi' -a small window through
which Krishna is believed to have given darshan to his ardent devotee, Kanakadasa.
Lord Narayana, in his incarnation as Parasurama, after making twenty-one assaults on the
Kshatriyas and destroying them, performed a great yajna. In this yajna, he gave away all
the land as gift to Brahmins. Finding that he was not left with any land for himself and
reluctant to stay in the land already given away as gift, he reclaimed from the Arabian
Sea a strip of land from Gokarna to cape Comorin. This coastal strip of land, obtained by
Parasurama from Varuna the Sea God, is known as Parasurama Kshetra or Parasurama's
land. Ramaboja, a great devotee of Parasurama, was proclaimed king of this land.
Intending to perform Ashwamedha yajna or horse sacrifice, Ramabhoja got the site for
sacrificial fire ploughed up. While ploughing, a serpent got killed by the ploughshare.
Although this serpent was nothing but a demon in disguise, Ramabhoja was greatly
worried as it was a sin to kill a serpent. To atone this sin, he was directed by lord
Parasurama to build a big silver pedestal with the image of a serpent at each of its four
corners and to worship him who would be seated in spirit on the pedestal and also to
distribute gold equal to his own weight to deserving persons. Ramabhoja did likewise and
performed the Aswamedha yajna successfully. At its conclusion, Lord Parasurama
appeared and declared that he was pleased with the yajna and that henceforth the
sacrificial land 'Roopya Peetha' (silver pedestal) would become a famous pilgrimage.
This land is also known as 'Thoulava' land and because Ramabhoja performed
'Tulabhara'. This in brief is the ancient history or the legend, of this land.
This Roopya Peetha land is now known as Udupi. The name has been derived from the
Moon. Daksha Prajapati once cursed the moon. To ward off his curse, the moon
performed penance in propitiation of God Iswara in this forestland. Iswara was pleased,
appeared before the moon and removed the evil effects of the curse. This place has since
been known as Chandramuleeswar and there is an ancient temple of this name in this
place. The actual spot where the moon performed penance is known as Abjaranya. There
is a sacred tank Chandra-Pushkarani by its side. In Sanskrit, 'Udu' means stars; 'pa' means
lord of. Hence 'Udupa' means lord of the stars, that is, moon. The place where the moon
performed penance and obtained grace is known as Udupi.
UDUPI SRI KRISHNA: It is believed that Sri Krishna himself was made the idol of Sri
Krishna, installed in Udupi by Sri Madhvacharya, by Viswakarma out of Saligrama stone.
Towards the end of Dwapara yuga, Devaki felt a keen desire to see once again Krishna's
balaleelas. These leelas which were enacted by Krishna for the benefit of his mother were
also witnessed incognito by his wife Rukmini, who falling in love with this balaroopa
requested him to get her a similar image for her daily worship. Thereupon Sri Krishna

asked Viswakarma to make such an idol of Balakrishna with a churn in its right hand and
a cord in the other. This idol was daily worshipped by Rukmini. After Sri Krishna's
disappearance from this world, the idol fell into the hands of Arjuna, who hid it in
Rukmini's garden. By lapse of time the idol got completely covered by gopichandanam. A
sailor from Dwaraka loaded this heavy lump in his boat as ballast, in one of his trips
along the west coast.
Sri Madhvacharya, sensing this by his 'Aparoksha' or divine gnana, awaited the arrival of
this precious ballast at Vadabhandeswar, a seashore spot near Udupi. When the boat
approached that place it was caught by severe storm and was about to sink.
The captain of the boat, seeing a holy man on the sea shore entreated him to save him
from disaster. Sri Madhvacharya waved his upper cloth and quieted the storm. The
grateful captain offered all the riches in his boat to the Acharaya but he accepted from out
of the lot only the lump of 'gopichandana' which was used as ballast. On breaking this,
Sri Acharya found the beautiful and perfect idol of Sri Krishna. He carried the idol to
Udupi, a distance of four miles, singing the praise of Lord Narayana in ecstasy. These
hymns under twelve chapters are called " Dwadasa Stotra". He washed the idol of Sri
Krishna in Madhwa Sarovara and installed it in the temple nearby and started
worshipping it. These poojas have been going on since then even to this day in unbroken
continuity. Since Sri Madhwacharya's time, his disciples who are all ‘balasanayasis’ are
conducting these poojas. The right of touching and worshipping this idol rests with the
pontiff of these eight mutts only who are the spiritual descendants of Sri Madhvacharya.
No one else is permitted to touch the idol.
SRI KRISHNA MUTT: Udupi is famous for its Sri Krishna Mutt which though small is
quite beautiful.
There is no front door for this mutt. Instead there is a small window through which one
could always get the darshana of the idol from outside the mutt. In front of the window
there is a small 'gopuram'. The main entrance to the mutt is on the southern side. As on
enters, on the right side is a tank called Madhwa Pushkarani. This tank has stone steps all
round and a mantapam in the center.
Blue Hills & Verdant Valleys
90 Kms from Mysore & 230 Kms from Bangalore, the Biligirirangana range of hills are
picturesquely situated between the Cauvery & Kapila rivers. At a height of 5,091 feet above sea
level, this hill stretches from north to south for about 16 Kms. All round are
deciduous trees. And roaming amidst the long grass and tall trees are animals.
Plenty of them! So if you're looking for a cool time with a little bit of wild
excitement thrown in, welcome to B.R.Hills. Wake up to the chirping of birds
& humming of bees. Breathe in fresh, clean air. Take a stroll through the
sylvan surroundings. And let the cool breeze blow your cares away.
As the day quietly slips into night, watch the stars come out, one by one. The
moon casts a silver light. And some where in the distance you hear a tiger roar. How close you are
to nature and how peaceful life is here! Isn't this just what the doctor ordered?
215 Kms from Bangalore is Chickmagalur town. 55 Kms north from Chickmagalur town
is Kemmanagundi, a scenic hill station on the Baba Budan range of hills. Kemmanagundi
is also known as K.R. Hills after Wodeyar King, Krishnaraja Wodeyar who had made it
his favourite summer camp. Kemmanagundi, at a height of 1,434 meters, is surrounded

by thick forests and a salubrious climate the year. It has beautifully laid out ornamental
gardens and panoramic view of the mountains.
Kemmanagundi is the ideal place to get away from the heat & dust, the crowds & traffic
jams of the cities. Quite peaceful serene, nesting amidst lush green forests.
Kemmanagundi is sure to revive & rejuvenate you, physically, mentally & spiritually.
The Panoramic views, the ornamentally gardens, the songs of the birds of the birds, the
rays of the sun trying to peep through the of sun trying to peep through the trees. Time
tiptoes gently here & as you take a walk down an inviting mountain trail you find
yourself laughing aloud with the sheer joy of living ! But that's what Kemmanagundi
does to you. Recharge your batteries & puts you in torch with yourself, with life & with
your loved ones.
95 Kms from south-west of Chikmagalur town is KUDREMUKH (horse face) range, so
named because of the unique shape of the KUDREMUKH peak. Overlooking the
Arabian sea, the broad hills are chained to one another with deep valley & steep
As yet undiscovered by tourist, KUDREMUKH is secluded hill station which retains
much of its pristine, natural beauty. Lush green forest interspersed with rivers, grassy
slopes, captivating cascades and rare orchids. What a idyllic background for trekking !
Yes, KUDREMUKH is trek's territory. The richness of its flora and fauna waiting to be
discovered. Caves asking to be explored. Ruins and traces of old civilizations inviting a
study. Lovely, unspoiled places to camp….can any trekker resist KUDREMUKH.
Situated at 1,894.3 meters above sea level, KUDREMUKH is rich in iron ore deposits.
The KUDREMUKH Iron Ore Company conducts mining operations, benefaction and
transportation of the ore as slurry through pipelines to the post at Panambar near
Mangalore. This has given a new life to the region into a humming modern township,
without taking its natural beauty.
The cool bracing wind whips the hair about your faces as you ramble along the streets
that dip and rise delightfully. Breathtaking views surprise you from pretty cottages as you
sniff appreciatively the heady fragrance of coffee blossoms. You are in Madikeri
(previously known as Mercara). A picturesque charming town situated at an elevation of
over 5,000 ft (1,525 m) above sea level.
Madikeri is the district headquarters of Kodagu (formerly Coorg). Dubbed as the
Scotland of India, Kodagu is the home of colorful, robust, martial race - the Kodavas,
Said to be the descendants of the Greeks (Alexander's soldiers), the kodavas are fiercely
independent. Either Tipu Sultan neither the British never conquered them. And so to this
day all kodavas retain the privilege of carrying firearms without a license.
Kodagu is famous for the generals it has produced for the Indian army. The woman is
known for their beauty. But what kodavas are famous for is their hospitality. Madikeri is a
great place to walk, winding lanes meander off the main street, and Mountain trails
promise visual delights. And the Tadiyandamol, the tallest peak in the area, stands
patiently, waiting to be climbed.
Nandi Hills, 65 Kms from Bangalore and 1,478 meters above sea level is Bangalore's
own hill station. It was Tipu Sultan's summer retreat and Tipu's fort walls still stand as
testimony to history. The rivers Pennar, Palar and Arkavati originate from these hills. A
flight of 1.175 steps leads from the base of the hills to the top. A popular hill resort of the

Bangaloreans. The Tipu's Drop, a 600 meter high cliff, where prisoners were hurled down
the precipice is an awe-inspiring sight. Atop the hill is the Yoganandishwara temple.
A trip into the Past
Once the capital of the early Chalukyan dynasty (6th to 8th centuries), Aihole is a
picturesque village on the banks of the Malaprabha river. Variously called Ayyavole &
Aryapura in the inscriptions, Aihole is historically famous as the cradle of Hindu temple
architecture. There are about 125 temples divided into 22 groups scattered all over the
villages and nearby fields. Most of these temples were built between the 6th & 8th
centuries and some even earlier.
Only mere traces of a fort dating from the 6th century can be seen today. A large number
of prehistoric sites have been found in Morera Angadigalu, near the Meguti hillocks in
Aihole. Excavations near some temples have yielded traces of antique pottery and bases
of structures constructed with bricks of pre-Chalukyan times. More temples are being
excavated every day bearing witness to the vigorous experimentation on temple
architecture which went on at Aihole more than 14 centuries ago.
Badami, the one time capital of the Chalukyas , is noted several temples, some structural
& other rock-cut, of the 6th & 7th Centuries. The foundations of Badami, or Vatapi as it
was called, were laid by Pulakeshi I (535 - 566 AD) his son Kirtivarman, the Ist (567 -
598 AD), beautified the town with temples & other buildings.
Mangalesha(598- 610 AD) brother of Kiritavarman I completed the construction of the
cave temples & endowed the temples with the village on the occasion of the installation
of the image of Vishnu. The greatest ruler of the dynasty was Pulakeshi II (610-642 AD)
who among others defeated the Pallava King Mahendra Verman I. The Pallava later
captured & destroyed Badami to avenge their defeat Badami was also in the possession of
the Vijayanagar Kings, The Adil Shahis, The Savanur Nawabs, The Marathas, Hyder Ali
& finally the British who made it part of the Bombay Presidency.
The District Headquarters,Belgaum is a picture of contrasts. On one side is the old town
area where the cotton and silk weavers still create magic with their fingers .And on the
other the modern,bustling,tree-lined Cantonment built by the British.
In the northern-most part of Karnataka lies Bidar-a tiny district steeped in history. The
fort, the cannons, palaces in ruins, the magnificent tombs and the massive monuments, all
combine to make a visit to the one-time capital of the Bahamani and Barid Shahi
dynasties, truly memorable.
The foundation of this historic city was laid during the reign of the Chalukayan Dynasty
of Kalyani between 10th and 11th Centuries. They called it 'Vijayapura' or the city of
Victory from hence comes its present name Bijapur.
Bijapur came under Muslim influence, first under Alauddin Khilji, The Sultan of Delhi,
towards the end of the 13th Century and then under the Bahamani Kings of Bidar 1347. In
1481, Mohammed III, one of the Bahamani Sultans, appointed Yusuf Adil Khan as the
Governor of the Bijapur. One of the sons of Sultan Mohammed II of Turkey, Yusuf Adil
Khan fled his country on the death of his father, to escape the massacre of crown princes
in the battle for the succession to the throne. Mohammed Gavan, the Prime Minister of
Mohammed III, purchased him as a slave. With the decline of the Bahamani power at
Bidar, Yusuf declared his independence in 1489 and thus became the founder of the Adil
Shahi Dynasty which survived as the Kingdom till its annexation by Aurangazeb in 1686.

Bijapur experienced a great burst of architectural activity under the Adi Shahi Dynasty.
The Adil Shahi encouraged building activity to such an extent
that Bijapur itself has over 50 Masks, more than 20 tombs and
a number of palaces. An interesting feature of employment of
large numbers of Indian artisans. Earlier Muslim rulers of the
Deccan deployed Persian Craftsmen and Architects.
A Hindu city before the Muhammadan conquest, Gulbarga is a unique synthesis of two
cultures. When Bahman Shah ascended the throne of Daulatabad, it was this city that he
chose as his capital. He filled it with beautiful places, mosques, stately buildings and
bazaars. he later rulers added to Bahman shah's vision and Gulbarga blossomed.
The tiny village of Pattadakal is situated on the banks of the Malaprabha River. Referred
to as Petrigal by Ptolemy, Pattadakal was later known variously as Raktapura (Red Town)
& Pattadakal Kisuvolal . This place reached its pinnacle of glory under the Chalukyas
from the seventh to the ninth centuries functioning as a royal commemorative site. The
group of about ten temples, surrounded by numerous minor shrines & plinths, represents
the climax of early Western Chalukyan Architecture. King Vikramaditya II (734 - 745
AD) and his art loving queens Lokmahadevi & Trailkyamahadevi, brought sculptors from
Kanchipuram to create fantasies in stone in Pattadakal.
Charming Cities
In the year 1120 AD, the Chola King, Veera Ballalla ruled the Deccan plateau or the
South of India. On a hunting trip in the forest he lost his way. After a long search he met
an old lady in the forest who offered him shelter for the night and served him baked beans
for dinner. To show his gratitude to this lady for having saved his life, the King
constructed a town and named it as Benda Kalooru which means Baked Beans. Later in
1537, a local chieftain, Kempe Gowda helped design this town and give it its modern
Today Bangalore, the capital of Karnataka ranks as one of the fastest growing cities in
Asia. Its pleasant climate, friendly people, and its highly educated population have made
this the Silicon Valley of India with almost all Computer related multinationals setting up
their India head office at Bangalore. Jawaharlal Nehru, India's first Prime Minister termed
this as "India's city of the future".
Bangalore is the "Garden City of India" with its many gardens and boulevards. Its
pleasant climate and laid back charm attracted many senior citizens and thus later on
came to be called at "the retired man's paradise". With the multinational Computer
companies setting up their offices here and its the rich technical expertise found in the
city gave it the name of "Silicon City". And of course what is Bangalore without all its
Pubs. Its is now also called the Pub City with over 200 Pubs all over the town.
Belur is 222 Kms from Bangalore, 34 Kms from Hassan and 149 Kms from Mysore. This
place is famous for its exquisite temples. Belur is known as Dakshina Varanasi or South
Banaras for its temples. The serenity of Belur is attributed to the celebrated temple of
Channakeshava, built by the Hoysala King Vishnuvardhana in 117 A. D. to commemorate
his conversion from Jainism to Vaishnavism.
The great city of Dwarasamudra flourished as a Capital of the Hoysala Empire during the
12th & 13th centuries. During the reign of Veeraballala II, the grandson of

Vishnuvardhana, it reached the greatness of its zenith. Veeraballala II extended his empire
from sea to sea between the Cauvery & Krishna rivers.
On account of certain reasons this came to decadence stage. The State Government
undertook the renovation work about 30 years ago & the town as well as its area
gradually improved. The climate is pleasant. There are buses running from Hassan,
Arasikere & Belur. There is a big tank which feeds thousands of acres of land wherein
sugarcane & paddy are grown.
The sculptural work of the temples is based on Shastras & importance. One can collect
the information to his maximum desire.
Hassan is the Headquarters of the Malanad District. The original town was adjacent to the
Village Channapatna. Channa Krishnappa Naik, a Palegar, founded it in the 11th century.
The place is called Hassan after the Goddess "Hasanamba", the smiling Goddess,
presiding deity of the town. The temple of Hasanamba will be opened only once in a year
about a week, during the second Ashwayuja (October). A big Jatra(shandi or fair) will be
held on this occasion.
Mysore was the political capital of the Wodeyar dynasty which ruled the state of
Karnataka for some 150 years till the independence of the country from the British. These
kings were great patrons of art and culture and Mysore was the cultural capital of the
south under the rule of the Wodeyars. The Wodeyars made the Dasara festival an event.
To showcase the rich culture and heritage of the town. Even to this date this celebration
of the Dasara which is a 10 day celebration during the month of Oct/ Nov is a spectacular
event to watch.
Mysore is a city of palaces, gardens, shady avenues and sacred temples and retains some
of the charm of the Old World with its many institutions that propagate Carnatic Classical
music and dance.
Wedged between two star rocky hills, this legendary pilgrim center and shrine of the
Jains. The monolithic statue of Lord Gomateshwara, a Jain saint and an object of worship
for centuries, standing atop one of the hills (Indragiri) is 18 meter high and is said to be
the tallest monolithic statue in the world.
Chamundaraya, a general and minister of the Ganga King Rachamatta, created the
symmetry in stone around 983 AD. The Mahamastakabhisheka festival, an elaborate
ritual, held here once every 12 years, attracts devotees from all over the World.
Priests climb up to pour pots of coconut water, turmeric paste, and vermilion powder over
the statue head.
Just opposite is the smaller Chandragiri hill where some Jain temples and tomb of
Chandra Gupta Maurya, famous patron of Jainism can be seen.
Srirangapatna is an island town encircled by river Cauvery. The temple of Lord
Sriranganatha is said to have been built by the Chieftain Thirumalaiah in 894 AD. This
was once the capital of Hyderali & his son Tippu Sultan, "The Tiger of Mysore". In the
18th century, Marathas attacked Srirangapatna & forced heavy payments. Hyder drew
back the Marathas & saved the Kingdom. In 1799 Tippu fought a fierce Battle (Battle of
Mysore) against the British & fell bravely defending his capital. Srirangapatna remains in
a ruined state recalling the Battles fought & the past glory.
The Wild and Winsome

Nesting in the foothills of the Nilgiris, the Bandipur National Park was formed by
extending the Venugopal Wildlife Park, set up in 1931 by the Mysore Maharajas. It is one
of the tiger reserves in the country.
A popular game resort of the rulers of Mysore, the flora in the forest comprises Teak,
Rosewood, Honne, Mathi, Bamboo and Sandal Trees. The important animals in the park
are Tiger, Elephant, Gaur, Leopard, Chital and Sambar. Birds like the Peafowl, Partridge,
Quail, Hornbill and Ibis are also found here. Apart from these, Dhole(wild dog), Sambar,
Muntjac or Barking Deer, Giant Squirrel and sometimes Sloth Bear and Nocturnal
Porcupine and Blacknaped hare may be seen in the sanctuary.
Well planned motorable roads close to the perennial and seasonal water points, and
adequate open space in the jungle allow visitors to observe animals closely,
particularly elephant herds, by car. It is always advisable to maintain a safe distance from
these large animals even if you are in your car.
Pug marks on soft earth in the permissible tourism zone attest to the presence of tigers,
though they are rarely sighted. Much less seen is the leopard, the other major carnivore.
Visitors can hire elephants or a vehicle to go round the park. They can also visit the
nearby Mudumalai wildlife sanctuary in Tamil Nadu. The Moyar river forms a natural
boundary between the two.
Lying between Shivanasamudra falls and Mekedatu falls is Bheemeshwari, A perfect
picnic spot where nature has created a natural habitat for the Mahseer fish and a variety
of exciting animals.
Bheemeshwari in Mandya district is an ideal place for viewing wildlife and a relaxing
holiday. The lush forest sheltered by steep valleys and scattered by little streams, invites
large groups of animals. Birds like Heron, Ibis, Cormorant, and Kingfisher… have all
made their home here.. You can see herds of elephants amongst the thick trees. Deer
springing in the air. Wild boars, monkeys, jackals, crocodiles, otters and even leopards !
And what's more exciting is a Fishing Camp! The banks of the River Cauvery provide
enthusiastic anglers a chance to try their luck at fishing. The Cauvery is abounds with
Mahseer-the finest game fish (weighing 100 lbs) that can fight like a tier! The Fishing
Camp here have comfortable tents equipped with all basic facilities like cots, mosquito
nets, shower, toilet and even a kitchen. Food is served in the 'Gol-Ghar', the open air
dining room. If you are the outdoor type this can be a exciting camping holiday.
Mysterious. Magical. And mind-blowing
The secrets of the jungle unwind as you go deep into the seemingly silent forest. Birds
whistle their favorite songs. Monkeys chatter incessantly. Elephants trumpet in delight…
Welcoming you to discover their magnificent land.
Yes, the Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary in the Chikmagalur & Shimoga Districts, is one of the
most fascinating sanctuaries. Sheltering some exquisite flora & fauna. The great Indian
Barking Deer, Flying Fox, Mongoose, Elephant, Panther, Macaque, Babbler, Barbet, Blue
jay, Kingfisher, Robin, Weaver Bird, Drongo….have all made their home here. So the
next time you're looking for some adventure, don't forget to include Bhadra on your list.
Or else, you'll be missing out on some real wild excitement.
100 Kms from Mysore & 227 Kms from Bangalore, the Biligirirangana range of hills are
picturesquely situated between the Cauvery & the Kapila rivers. At a height of 5,091 feet
above sea level, this hill stretches from north to south for about 16 Kms. All round are

deciduous trees. And roaming amidst the long grass and tall trees are animals. Plenty of
them! So if you're looking for a cool time with a little bit of wild excitement thrown in,
welcome to B.R.Hills. Wake up to the chirping of birds & humming of bees. Breathe in
fresh, clean air. Take a stroll through the sylvan surroundings. And let the cool breeze
blow your cares away.
As the day quietly slips into night, watch the stars come out, one by one. The moon casts
a silver light. And some where in the distance you hear a tiger roar. How close you are to
nature and how peaceful life is here! Isn't this just what the doctor ordered?
Nestled amidst the Karapur Forest lies a pristine piece of land that abounds with nature.
Beckoning you to explore it for a wild and exciting holiday.
Kabini, a scenic delight was once the hunting lodge of the erstwhile Mysore Maharajahs.
The steep valleys with rich forests, spectacular pools and rapids provide an ideal
opportunity to revive your adventurous spirits.
A view from the Kabini River Lodge proves to be absolutely breathtaking. Patches of
bright blue pools hidden between the trees, the sun peeping through the thick forest and
animals roaming free. Breathe in the refreshing air, whistle with the wind and carry home
timeless memories. Elephants playing catch, Leopards on the prowl, Antelopes jumping
across the bushes, Or maybe even a tigress with her cubs. These are indeed pictures that
you'll treasure for a lifetime. And no one can offer it better than Kabini.
Nagarahole is derived from the combination of two Kannada words-'nagar' meaning
snake and 'hole' meaning streams and true to its name a number of streams snake through
its rich tropical forests. Nagarahole is situated in the picturesque districts of Kodagu and
Mysore in southern Karnataka.
The Nagarahole National Park was first set up in 1955. In 1975 its area was increased to
include a greater expanse of forest reserve. Once an exclusive hunting preserve of the
erstwhile rulers of Mysore, the terrain of this Park is gently undulating with lush green
vegetation, swamps and numerous water resources, rendering it an ideal habitat for a
wide variety of wildlife.
The Sanctuary here is a paradise for wildlife enthusiasts. Just glance around and you'll
find a host of surprises. Crocodiles basking under the sun, otters running free, flocks of
birds gathered on tiny islands. Ranganathittu are indeed a visual height. Birds would
come from Siberia, Australia and even North America can be spotted here.
So when you're on the cane boats just are ready for a fluttering surprise. It may be the
Open-Bill Stork, The White Ibis, Egret, Heron, Partridge or even the Cormorant trying to
say hello!
Picture an unspoiled land full of breathtaking landscapes, silky sand beaches, rivers,
ponds, lagoons, and waterfalls. Add the welcoming
warmth of the locals and comfortable accommodations that exist in
harmony with the environment, and you have a perfect paradise.
KOVALAM BEACH: Three successive crescent shaped beaches separated by a strip of
powdery golden sand.... the spectacular Kovalam Beach. If you are an inquisitive
vacationer wanting to venture out to discover the beach, we have for you reefs and
shoals, leisurely sailing wooden canoes, clear waters at dawn, corals, shells, marine life,
foliage and rejuvenating herbal and body toning massages.
VARKALA BEACH: The Varkala beach is blessed with blissfully quiet hideaways and
spectacular sunsets. Spend the whole day exploring miles of powdery white sand,

towering cliffs and lush tropical foliage. An ideal place for vacationers who want to swim
and sun in solitude.
A few steps away from the beach are a nature cure center and an ancient temple.
ALEPPEY: Life moves at a gentle pace at the town and other scattered villages of
fishermen in and around Alleppey; come here and find peace and tranquility among it's
abundance of natural beauty. A long sandy beach, furious sea waves, dense palm groves,
a towering light house, palm fringed network of canals, long wooden country boats, old
parishes, green paddy fields and both men and women fishing, tapping toddy and rubber
and fabricating coir... A day in Alleppey and you will be a witness to all this!
Alleppey hosts a unique event, every August, the famous ‘ snake boat ' races. The 100
feet long boats, managed by 150 men including oarsmen, singers and rudders men,
sporting banners and decorations, speed their way from start to finish, arriving almost at
the same time, providing a spectacular sight guaranteed to enthrall the huge crowds that
turn up.
ATHIRAPALLY – VAZHACHAL: Encased by dense forests, the majestic waterfalls
and bubbling brooks of these two waterfalls welcome visitors who long to be with nature.
At the entrance of the Sholayar ranges is Athirapally, the perfect place to recharge your
spirits. Walk along the banks of the swirling river or simply jump in to enjoy the
rejuvenating feeling of the cool and soothing water on your backs.
KAPPAD BEACH: Vasco da Gama, the ancient explorer, landed here in 1498. An
unfrequented and balmy beach encompassing studded rocks, secluded coves, white sands,
palm trees and friendly waves! Kappad is an ideal place for leisurely strolls, sun bathing,
swimming and snorkeling.
BEKAL BEACH: Amidst beautiful palm fringed beaches lies the Bekal Fort of Kerala.
An international tourist destination, Bekal comprises the historic and archeologically
momentous Bekal Fort and the beach. A tour of Bekal provides a glimpse into the
glorious empires of yesteryears. Since the town's small size makes it impossible to get
lost, you can explore the exotic countryside, the mysterious waters and much more!
Sunshine, tender coconut juice, white beaches, tropical rains, festivals... more than what
one can ask for? ...
Then how about the untamed beauty of jagged mountains, rolling hills, dense forests and
exotic botanical gardens?
Welcome to Green Kerala
Centered in the highland area of the Western Ghats of India is a mountainous terrain
which houses rich flora and fauna and a multitude of tribes, each harboring a lifestyle and
culture of its own. Take a look at natures finest and choose which place suits you best.
WAYANAD: At the northeastern tip of Kerala is Wayanad, a hill station with plantations
of tea, coffee, cardamom, pepper and rubber. This picturesque land is blessed with fast
flowing rivers and a large tribal population. The ancient rituals and unique customs of
these tribes have to be seen to be believed!
KUMARAKOM: Be a witness to the blanket of green that covers the serpentine canals
and rural villages. The Kumarakom Country Boat Rides take you amidst coconut groves
through the scenic canals of Kerala.
For those with an eye for birds, a world-renowned bird sanctuary is just a few miles

MUNNAR – ANAIMUDI – MATTUPETTY: Another Kerala wonder, Munnar is a
hilly tract covered with wild trees and man-made tea plantations. Spend long hours
trekking through the plantations and watch tea leaves being picked and processed, and
yes you can buy your own fresh pack too!
Trek at Anaimudi, South India's highest peak, just a couple of miles away from Munnar,
the forests being the home of some of nature’s finest, like the Nilgiri Tahr, Gaur, Lion
tailed Macaque and herds of elephants.
Visit Mattupetty, seat of the Indo - Swiss dairy project which breeds exotic cattle and is a
marked attraction to tourists.
DEVIKULAM: A few miles from Munnar are a piece of heaven where the adorned
green slopes torch the sky and a lovely lake adds bursts of color to this comely land.
Nature lovers will enjoy Devikulam…an ideal place to just lie on the grass and listen to
songbirds trilling in the shade trees overhead.
PONMUDI: At Ponmudi, you can go from habitat to habitat walking along landscaped
paths of lush green woods, straggling streams and observing countless kaleidoscopic
butterflies. A vacation in such a scenic land will be like your dream come true! Ponmudi
has all the appealing attributes of a balmy hill station.... Brooks, dense woods, lotus
ponds, eucalyptus in the air, tea and coffee plantations and much more!
Your options - trek deep into the woods, ride a horse, picnic or just sit back, relax and just
forget the world.
WAGAMON: At an elevation of 110 meters above sea level is Wagamon, is the ultimate
trekkers’ paradise. Stop by to see the unique rock formations at Thangalpara, the lush
green meadows and the hidden valleys, all compelling works of nature. Wagamon is also
known for its tea gardens and the Kurisumala Ashram.
THEKKADY: The Periyar wild life Sanctuary at Thekkady offers a spectacular view of
wild animals. Take a boat ride in the man-made lake, encircled by the Sanctuary, and
come face to face with herds of elephants bathing and drinking from the lake, playing
around in the mud and nursing their little ones.
The Sanctuary is also the natural habitat for bison, spotted deer, sambar and a variety of
birds like the malabar gray hornbill, gray jungle fowl and the jungle mynah.
ERAVIKULAM: India's last and finest stretch of tropical rain forests protects and
shelters wild elephants, tigers, wild dogs, flying squirrels, a variety of snakes and the lion
- tailed macaque, to name a few. Wild life enthusiasts, this is the place for you!
Set up for the preservation of the Nilgiri tahr, an endangered species of the goat family.
The sanctuary is the abode to other animals like the sambars, guars, lion - tailed macaque,
Nilgiri langurs, leopards and tigers.
Drive up to the National park and be a witness to the endangered species climbing the
pinnacles of the rolling hills.
SILENT VALLEY: India's last and finest stretch of tropical rain forests protects and
shelters wild elephants, tigers, wild dogs, flying squirrels, a variety of snakes and the lion
- tailed macaque, to name a few. Wild life enthusiasts, this is the place for you!
THATTEKAD BIRD SANCTUARY: Formed between the branches of River Periyar,
the Thattekad Sanctuary includes both indigenous and water birds. Notable among these
are the heron, egret, rose and blue winged parakeet, grey hornbills and rare species like
the rose billed roller, Ceylon frogmouth and so on. Needless to say, an ideal place for bird

There's more, much more...Kerala will draw you back again and again!
With its various fairs, festivals, art forms, religions and myths, Kerala can rightly be
called the cultural hub of India.
Since time immemorial, it has been Kerala's tradition to open her doors and welcome
visitors from all parts of the world to mingle and contribute to its already vivid and
diverse culture.
SRT relives this tradition by offering a unique and exhilarating experience to its guest and
giving them a rare opportunity to be a part of, and learn from this exotic culture.
Picture you living with a Keralite family and practicing their customs and tradition. Or
how about attending a Kerala wedding. Or better still, get married the Kerala way.
Interested ? Read along, and discover what Kerala's culture reveals.
We arrange special classes to learn various art and dance forms of Kerala, like Ottam
Thullal, Kathakali, Mohiniyattam and Kalari Payattu, the martial art form practiced only
in Kerala. You can get the opportunity to learn these art forms from veterans of the field
and also experience a traditional Kerala classroom atmosphere.
MOHINIYATTAM: An agile and flowing dance form performed only by women
adorned in gold bordered, off-white saris, jasmine flowers and gold jewelry.
KATHAKALI: One of Kerala's greatest assets, it is a celebrated dance drama of the
state. The themes of this varied art form is derived from the abundance of the Indian
mythology and folklore.
We also arrange for special cultural tours for our guests to witness dance and art forms,
listed below are a few.
Theyyam, a dance forms known to glorify an ancient Goddess, usually performed in
villages as an offering by the farmers and their landlords.
Ottam Thullal is a solo dance drama with its rudiments based on satire.
It originated as a dance form to enlighten the common folk about the evils of society.
Here, the actor wears colorful costumes, plays many parts and sings, all by himself.
Kalari Payattu is one of the oldest living tradition of martial art training and physical
culture, unique to Kerala. Kalari, in the local language means 'the place' and payattu
means 'practice or exercise'. It literally means training in the traditional style of combat.
Taught by a master, the disciples are taught to excel in various forms of combat,
including the use of swords, daggers, and staffs.
FAIR & FESTIVALS: Kerala boasts of cultural festivals and fairs throughout the year.
Visit us at any time and be a part of the fun and celebration. If you would like to plan
your visit for a specific part of the year, we can always plan your trip so that you don’t
miss out on any event going on at that time. Listed below are a few of the major events.
Between the months of December and February, the state arranges for special programs,
to promote tourism. The entire state is decked up and illuminated to welcome the loads of
visitors from other states and abroad, hotels and inns run full and all the restaurants put
out their best cuisine.
The great elephant march, featuring 100 elephants from around the country, the food
festivals, fireworks and concerts that go on until early morning, resemble a giant carnival,
Kerala style.
Kerala welcomes the spring in a unique way. The harvest season festivals spring up and
there are lots of sales and fairs around the state. Trichur, the cultural hub of Kerala,

organizes the famous Trichur Pooram, a 10-day festival, with fireworks, dance festivals,
elephant displays and music.
People from all over the country visit here during this time. The atmosphere is truly
Summer is the ideal time to enjoy the tropical climate of the state. Pleasure activities
include beaches, water rides, fishing and enjoying the sun.
SRT arranges special private boat cruises in the Arabian Sea during the night, complete
with band and dinner. We also arrange for snorkeling, sailing, yachting, water scooters
and other facilities.
Onam, the most famous festival, to celebrate the yearly visit of the legendary king of
Kerala, Mahabali, to see his subjects, commences in the month of September. Houses are
beautified with flower carpets and lights.
Though it is a 10-day festival, activities start much early and go on until two weeks after
the finale.
Onam, displays Kerala at her finest. The entire state is decked up and illuminated. Huge
fairs come up in every city.
SIGGHT SEEING: SRT also arranges guided tailor-made tours for its guests to visit
historic monuments like palaces, forts and ancient traditional houses, rich in art and
Visit the famous Padmanabhaswamy temple in Trivandrum and the adjacent royal palace.
Feel the aura and glory of a bygone era. Catch a glimpse of the lifestyles of the once
'rich and the famous', the royal families of Kerala.
In Cochin, the Bolghatty palace heavily influenced by the Dutch architecture and the Hill
palace of the royal family, displaying the wealth and splendor of the royal family.
The ancient Jewish synagogue at Cochin, built in 1568 AD holds the great scrolls of the
Old testament, huge copper plates etched with old official agreements and 200 year old
hand painted Chinese tiles.
The Napier Museum, which is an architectural experience combining Chinese and
Moghul influences with the traditional Kerala culture.
Shri Chitra Art gallery housing the collections of the ruling family and paintings of the
famous Raja Ravi Varma.
The Bekal fort in Bekal, adjacent to the famous beach is the largest and best-preserved
fort in Kerala.
The list goes on and on. For the art crazy traveler, Kerala holds a wealth of unexplored
treasures and sights.
In this page, read about everything you need to know about Kerala and how SRT takes
care of even the most minor aspects of your travel needs. Get the lowdown and the buzz
on everything at Kerala, from the Art to the Weather, we go through it all together with
you. Whichever place you choose - for swimming, shopping, fishing, golf, nightlife,
dance or plain, old-fashioned rest and recreation, visiting Kerala is as easy as ABC….
Art: We arrange various art tours around the state. Visit art galleries and mingle with the
artists and exchange ideas, maybe get a few tips for your next work. Some of the galleries
portray the work done by the late and renowned kings of the state. If you get lucky, you
may even get to buy them. Visit the antiques shop and take some extraordinary items with
you when you go back home….

Airlines: Kerala has three airports at Trivandrum, Cochin and Calicut. The domestic
airlines are Indian Airlines, Jet Airways and NEPC. The state capital, Trivandrum and
Cochin have international airports and regular flights operate from all parts of the world.
Our offices are located at all major cities of Kerala and our friendly staff can easily
secure confirmed bookings for all your travel needs. This apart, we can arrange drop-off
and pickups from the airports and escort you to your hotels in style.
Boat Cruise: Sail out into the sunset and watch the sun go down, ride out early in the
morning to the bay and catch the dolphins racing alongside your boat, and if you are
lucky, you might also see some flying fish land on your boat, remember to put them back
into the water…
Boat Race: Be a witness to this once-in-a lifetime-event here in Kerala's backwaters. The
famous boat race contest. Picture 50 to 60 expert oarsmen in a long narrow snake boat,
and picture 20 such boats rowing simultaneously from the start to the finish. At the end,
there is no single winner because in each teams' hearts, they have had their own private
Backwater rides: Relax with a drink in a house boat and glide along the silent stretch of
backwaters, past villages, thatched huts, watch as the fishermen deftly cast their nets,
their womenfolk going about their daily chores and their little children playing with the
Bus tours: SRT organizes bus tours around the countryside. Travel in a fully air-
conditioned tour bus with snacks and food provided. Have a friendly guide show you
around while you have fun in the bus.
Beaches, Barbecues and Beer: Need we say more? Relax at the beach and perfect that
tan, savor the smell of freshly fried fish or tender meat cooking on the grill, sip from a tall
glass of chilled beer and watch the waves roll in.
Culture: Learn the way of the people with their shy and friendly nature, stay with a
family at the countryside or at a ‘Tharavad’. Observe the customs and traditions of the
people and see how well they treat a visitor and easily fit you into their lives.
Cuisine, Comfort: Enjoy the delicacies of the state, fish fry being the specialty. Dine
with a Keralite family and have a traditional Kerala feast, complete with rich sweets and
Driving: Rent a motorbike or a car, drive around the busy town, we guarantee that it will
be a unique experience, or have a chauffeur drive you around while you laze in the back
Duty free shopping: Check out the stuff at the duty free shops and spend lavishly.
Dance: For those of you that are interested in dance and art forms of Kerala, take part in
a live Kathakali show, watch elegantly clad female dancers perform Mohiniyattam, visit
the countryside to watch Theyyam and Ottam Thullal. Be a part of a tourist group or just
enjoy it all alone. For the young and the restless, visit the local clubs for a lively night
Diving: Make sure you bring your snorkeling or diving essentials or rent them locally.
Plunge into the blue waters and get a breathtaking view of the sea world, live. Just you
and some of the world’s most beautiful sea creatures.
Elephant rides: These rides are definitely worth going for, and rarely seen anywhere else
in the world!!. Feed the elephants on your own, step on their trunks to climb on, act as a
mahout and ‘drive’ around. Take a souvenir from the hair on their tails.

Eco-tourism: Efforts that encourage visitors to enjoy the state’s natural beauty, while
respecting the need to preserve and protect it.
Fishing: The waters of the lagoons and backwaters that run around the state teem with
dozens of sorts of fish. Boats are available for private or group fishing expeditions just
about anywhere. There is no off-season for this one!!!
Festivals: Come to Kerala during any season and be a part of a festival. The mood and
tempo truly resembles a carnival, with the bustle of excited people in the streets, vendors
and hawkers selling their wares at very cheap rates, if you bargain, you can walk away
with a good deal in your hands….
Recommended festivals : Onam, Christmas and new year, Thrissur Pooram
Farms: Relax and rejuvenate yourself in a country farm, away from the hustle of the city.
Go out with the farmers in the morning and watch them work while you laze around
under a shady tree. Drink sweet toddy from a pot and eat their homemade food.
Golf: Kerala has its own share of natural and man-made golf courses. Play with the local
champions and maybe get invited for lunch or dinner afterwards.
Guided tours: Take part in our guided tours and get an insight of the life and history of
the state. Travel alone or in a group to historical places, places of worship, museums,
admire the unique architecture and the modern technology of the state. Watch a display of
‘Kalari payattu’, the local and unique art of self-defense, practiced by the ancient rulers
and passed on by families of teachers to the next generation, somewhat akin to Karate.
Gold: For those of you who love the glitz and the glamour, we shall escort you to the
glittery world of gold and diamond jewelers and help you buy ornaments, made in 22
carat gold, for a good bargain, hand-crafted by some of the finest craftsmen of the state.
Hotels: SRT prides in being associated with a wide network of hotels throughout the state
to offer our customers, reasonable, comfortable and luxurious accommodations during
their period of stay. When we plan your trip, we also plan your accommodation, carefully
keeping in mind, your budget and needs.
Healing and health treats: Ayurvedic healing is a very popular art in Kerala. People
from all over the world come to Kerala for getting cured or rejuvenated through
Ayurvedic remedies. Cures for arthritis, skin diseases, migraine, cataract and other eye
diseases are most famous. Simple body toning and health treatments are also available.
Information: Our brochures, maps and tips sheets offer more than enough information to
our guests when on tour. These documents provide a wealth of information including
local information, weather reports, shopping and bargaining tips, detailed itineraries,
emergency contact information and nearest locations of our offices. Even before your
tour commences we provide you with a carefully prepared checklist of things to carry
while on tour, all this to ensure that you get the best of everything.
Interpreter: SRT arranges interpreters if required, so that our guests don’t miss out on
Internet: We understand your need to be well connected with the world that you are a
part of, so we went ahead and arranged an excellent communication facility for those of
you who need to quickly break your holiday mood and check on that urgent mail list you
need to review…
Languages: The local language of Kerala is ‘Malayalam’. The state boasts of 100%
literacy and has entered its name in the Guinness book of world records for that. Most
locals speak and write fluent English.

Money: The state has numerous banks and offices of reputed exchange bureaus who
provide good conversion rates for your currency, though in urgent cases the U.S. dollars
are widely accepted too. Credit cards are also accepted in most places, most commonly
Visa, MasterCard, Citibank and American Express.
Music: Kerala is famous for its own traditional and contemporary style of music. SRT
arranges for its guests, instrumental and vocal music concerts, if any performances are on
at that time. Visitors can also go to any local music shop and purchase an inexpensive
audiocassette or a CD to carry home with you.
News from home: In most major cities of the state, foreign newspapers are available,
though they may be a day or two late. Newspapers in English and all Indian languages
are available everywhere.
Passports: A passport is required to travel into the country and since it is the easiest form
of identification, it is advisable to carry it safely with you while traveling.
Paddy fields: Kerala is famous for its acres and acres of undisturbed greenery. As one
drives through the countryside, he can see the lush green paddy fields, slowly dancing in
the breeze and farmers working in these fields. Take a walk in between the fields and
enjoy paradise on Earth.
Rental cars: Cars are available for rent from local agencies, however, they would require
valid driving licenses. People under the age of 18 are prohibited from driving a motor
vehicle. Traffic in India follows the right-hand wheel system. There are no speed limits.
Suntans: Kerala enjoys tropical weather, summers can be hot and humid and yet, not
harmful. Perfect for a good suntan. For those who prefer the shades, Kerala is the land of
coconut trees and it is an enjoyable experience to relax in a garden, under a shady tree
and enjoy the cool breeze.
Sports: The most common outdoor sports played in Kerala are football, cricket,
volleyball, basketball, tennis, shuttle badminton and hockey.
Indoor games are table tennis, pool, billiards and card games. Most resorts have huge
indoor and outdoor pools and spas too.
Saris: Kerala’s collection of traditional woven long saris with gold embroidered borders
can be found nowhere else in the world ! Make sure to buy one here.
Sight seeing: It is said that no visitor can get enough of this "God’s own country". One
can spend days and days together and yet not get to see all the sights this beautiful place
has got to offer. Come and see it all for yourselves.
Souvenir Shopping: Visit souvenir shops, big and small, located everywhere around
Kerala, and walk away with items in Brass or Copper, Peacock feathers, Palm hats, clay
pottery, paintings, old manuscripts, wooden and sandalwood curios, perfumes, spices,
rare tea herbs and many more.
Tipping: Tipping is quite common in India, thought not mandatory. Tips are expected at
restaurants, railway and bus stations. Tipping is usually 10 to 15 % of the charge.
Transportation: Kerala has an efficient and well-organized public transport system. The
most common means are buses and auto-rickshaws, which are cheap and ply within the
cities. For inter city travel, tourist taxis or state transport buses are also available.
Trekking: SRT arranges trekking expeditions to some of the state’s most beautiful
locations. Check out with our staff on your personal favorite.

Umbrellas: Sometimes getting caught in a refreshing rain shower is just what you need
in Kerala. Rainstorms tend to come and go quickly. Be prepared with an umbrella, just in
case, or for the more adventurous ones, leave them at home.
Visa Information: Citizens of all countries require a Visa to enter into the country. These
are available at the Indian consulates around the world.
W.: Mainly enjoying tropical weather, Kerala enjoys prominent summer and monsoon
seasons. Winters are mild and pleasant.
Yachts: Go sailing in the Arabian Sea. The tourism department arranges regular boat
cruises for groups as well as private parties. SRT itself arranges night cruises on beautiful
yachts with dinner and entertainment.
SRT tours provide you with the ultimate honeymoon ever. In God's own country. Whether
you and your partner love the splashy sunny beaches or the cool misty and cozy hill
station or maybe a sunset cruises down the backwaters...we have it all. SRT's honeymoon
packages are extremely flexible and can be tailored to suit your budget and likes.
You have an ocean of choices, here are a few samplers:
Picture the pair of you splashing around in the sunny golden beaches of Kovalam or
Varkala, undisturbed. Then stretch out on the beach or in your own hammock, under the
shade of a palm tree and sip tender coconut water.
Play some water sports, treat yourselves to natural body massages, sunbathe in the
confines of your hotel and taste some delicious seafood, prepared fresh only for you.
Or how about the cool, cozy confines of the hill stations, a visit to the tea gardens for a
lazy stroll and a chat with the workers picking tea, camping by the lakeside, campfires,
exotic wild animals like the rare wild goat, steaming curry and chai (Indian tea), hiking,'s never ending.. Or maybe you will like the adventurous but serene
houseboat, gently gliding through the beautiful lagoons with palm trees on either sides,
enjoying the company of your boatman singing his own lullabies, who will also cook you
some fresh Keralite cuisine on the boat.
Try your hand at fishing, listen to the gentle sounds of the oars, far away from the
madding crowd while you and your beau enjoy the confines of the boathouse...
Hey, we have one advice for you, don't forget to bring your camera along too, cos' you'll
never forget your honeymoon for the rest of your lives.. See the wild when you aren't !!
Explore one of the world's best elephant reserves, and see the elephants in their natural
surroundings, live in a tree house, go trekking, boating or fishing.
Be it the kerala backwater cruise or the houseboat tours of India, the shrine temples of
south India, the churches or the beaches of south India, kerala tours offers a complete
holiday cum health tours of India.
Offering yoga and meditation tours and ayurveda tour to India, kerala tour is a tour for
body, mind and soul. A place in south India where nature shimmers in its freshness.
The earliest business travelers to Southern India were the Romans. Ancient Tamil
literature and numismatic evidence testify to flourishing contacts, which existed between
the two great civilizations. Spices and silk of the South attracted the aristocracy of Rome.
From the shores of Southern India, seafaring people under the Cholas carried trade and
art to Kamboj (CAMBODIA), Siam (THAILAND), and Bali as early as the 9th century.

The South does not however live in its past alone. Technological parks and industrial
estates proclaim its economic resurgence in the current times. The temples of south India
and the churches of south India display its architectural legacy.
Peninsular India, i.e., South India with its vast coastline has some of the world's most
unspoiled beaches. Architectural tourism has had forever a strong pull of the South. Great
art forms like Bharatanatyam and Kathakali originated here and have lent continuity to
the Indian cultural activity though music concerts and dance festivals. The entire South
abounds in shrines dedicated to great religions.
The flora and fauna add value in the form of eco tourism. The rich variety of its cuisine is
an interesting feature. Shopping facilities for traditional and skillfully crafted products are
unlimited. Each of the states has its distinct brand of products, particularly silk. The
infrastructure is well developed. The country has a wide network of good roads
Goa, the beach resort on the West Coast receives the largest number of tourist charters
and is well connected by air, train and road. The beach tours of south India offers
tranquility of mind, soul and body.
To the south east of Goa, is Karnataka with pleasant climate round the year. Bangalore,
the capital of Karnataka State, has been built and developed as a garden city and is now
the high tech capital of India.
Bordering Karnataka on its northeast is the State of Andhra Pradesh, parts of which were
ruled by the wealthy Nizams of yesteryear.
To the South of Andhra Pradesh is Tamil Nadu - of temple towers with their unmatched
architectural excellence.
Kerala in the extreme southwest is God's own country where scenic nature is at its best.
This State is famous for its plantations of tea, rubber, coffee, cardamom and pepper. The
British introduced tea in the 18th century. The rulers of Cochin and Travancore made
Kerala a model state with great emphasis on adult education. This is one of the States
where Ayurveda as a system of medicine is practiced seriously and has become popular
as an alternate medicine.
Chennai (Madras), the capital city, is rich in history, from temples of south India and
shrines to forts and palaces, where the past lives harmoniously with the present. Chennai
is the fourth largest city in India and the capital of Tamil Nadu. Retaining much of its
traditional charm, this 350-year-old city is the gateway to the South, providing many a
fascinating vignette of southern heritage.
Mamallapuram, a historical retreat, lies 58kms south of Chennai. This ancient seaport of
the Pallava dynasty of the 7th century AD has its monuments hewn out of solid granite.
Though ravaged by sea and wind through these many centuries, the monuments bear
testimony to the magnificent heritage of Dravidian architecture. Among the legacy of the
Pallavas at Mamallapuram are the Shore Temple, the oldest in South India, standing on
the seashore with its paved forecourts, Arjuna's Penance, an immense bas-relief, 27m
long and 8m high, intricately carved and rock-cut temples excavated from the hillside
with large carved panels depicting stories from Indian mythology.
Kanchipuram: Kanchipuram, the town of thousand temples is one of the seven sacred
cities in India. 71 kms from Chennai it was the capital of the Pallavas and Cholas from
the 7th to 13th century AD. A seat of learning and a center of culture, since early times, it
was at Kanchipuram that Adi Shankaracharya established his religious order.

Kanchipuram is famous for its hand woven silks in the form of saris, dhotis and
yardage. The timeless appeal of vibrantly colored silks makes them prized collections.
Pondicherry: A quaint enclave in Tamil Nadu, 120 kms from Chennai is Pondicherry,
once a possession of the French. It joined the Republic of India in 1960. The town, which
rose phoenix - like after the British literally razed it to the ground in the 18th century, is
home to the much-acclaimed philosopher Shri Aurobindo. His Ashram is in Pondichery.
Thanjavur: Thanjavur, the pride of the Chola dynasty, was the capital of the powerful
Chola Empire. The crowning glory of this Empire is the Brihadeeshwara temple
completed in 1018 AD, with its 66.5m high 'Sri Vimana' dominating the city. The
monolithic granite block that forms a cupola on the top, weighs 81.3 tons, reflecting the
architectural prowess of the Chola builders.
Tiruchirapalli: This ancient citadel, situated on the banks of the Cauvery River, provides
a perfect blend of history, tradition and religion. The Rock Fort dominates Trichy’s
landscape. The Pallavas and then the Pandyas also ruled once the citadel of the early
Cholas, this city. The Nayak rulers of Madurai built the present fort in late 17th century
Srirangam (5kms) is an important temple town, close to Trichy. Built on the banks of the
river Cauvery, the temple is dedicated to Sri Ranganatha (Vishnu)
Madurai: Madurai, in southern Tamil Nadu is the second largest city in the state and an
important cultural and commercial center. Over 2500 years old, Madurai was a seat of
learning in the Sangam period 3500 years ago. Legend has it that when the Pandyan king
was about to name his new city, Lord Shiva appeared and the drops of nectar falling from
his locks gave the city its name - Madhurapuri - city of nector.
Today, Madurai is noted for its splendid temple to the goddess Meenakshi and its
imposing gopurams The Thirumalai Nayak Palace, was built in the Indo-Saracenic style
by the Nayak rulers of Madurai in 1636 AD.
Traditional crafts are still created here in age-old fashion and Madurai is noted for its fine
handloom fabrics and beautiful brass lamps.
Kodaikanal: A charming hill station, Kodaikanal is located in the Palani Hills, 120 kms
from Madurai. It has a magnificent landscape. Its wooded slopes and winding paths are
excellent for leisurely strolls. There is a star shaped lake where boating is a popular
Kanya Kumari
Kanya Kumari, the southernmost tip of peninsular India, is where the waters of the Bay
of Bengal, the Indian Ocean and the Arabian Sea meet - a place from where one can see
spectacular sunrises, colorful sunsets and the full moon rising from another part of the
sky! A temple dedicated to goddess Kanyakumari is located close to the seashore. Off the
coast, on a rocky island, is the memorial to that great Indian philosopher - Swami
Vivekananda who sat in meditation here in 1892.
God's Own Country
Welcome to Kerala, a land of ancient trading ports, of spices, rubber, coconuts, fertile
paddy fields with century-old backwaters. The land abounds with beautiful wooden
temples with magical festivals. The ancient system of medicine, Ayurveda, is still
practiced very effectively here. Its lush fauna and flora around the great Periyar Lake is a
Wild Life Sanctuary. Kerala is a land where people live in tune with nature and Gods.

ALAPPUZHA (Allepey): With the Arabian Sea on the west and a vast network of lakes,
lagoons and fresh water rivers crisscrossing it, Alappuzha, Venice of the East is a district
of great natural beauty. Being near the sea, the town has always enjoyed a unique place in
the maritime history of Kerala. Called Kuttanad - a land of lush paddy fields, where
farming is done below sea level and is the "rice bowl" of Kerala. Alappuzha is also
famous for its boat races and houseboat holidays.
KUMARAKOM (Kottayam): A paradise of mangrove forests, green paddy fields and
coconut groves interspersed with waterways and canals, Kumarakom is situated on the
Vambanad Lake. There are a few resorts of quality in this island, which offer comfortable
accommodation and exclusive leisure options like Ayurvedic massages, yoga, meditation,
boating, angling and swimming.
TRIVANDRUM & KOVALAM BEACH: The present capital of Kerala is Trivandrum
(Thiruvananthapuram) was also the erstwhile capital of the Princely State of Travancore.
Sri Padmanabhaswamy Temple built in the 17th century, many beautiful colonial
buildings, and old houses built in the typical Kerala style give Trivandrum a special
ambience. Kovalam, one of the best-known bathing beaches in India with palm-fringed
bays and clear water, is very near Trivandrum.
THEKKADY (Periyar): Thekkady, in the Periyar forest, is one of the finest wildlife
reserves in India and spread across the entire district. The are good Hotels in the
Sanctuary that enable visitors to take a boat ride in the Perriyar Lake and view animals in
the wild.
MUNNAR: Munnar, 1600 m above sea level, is situated at the confluence of the three
mountain streams. This hill station was once the summer resort of the erstwhile British
Government. Among the exotic flora found in the forests here is the Neelakurinji. This
flower, which bathes the hills in blue every twelve years, will bloom next in 2006 AD.
COCHIN (Kochi): Set on a cluster of islands and peninsulas; Cochin is one of India's
largest ports and a major naval base. This city has the oldest church in India and also the
only existing settlement of Jewish community complete with a 16th century synagogue.
The older part of the city has a blend of medieval Portuguese, Dutch and English country
village architecture.
VARKALA: Varkala is a seaside resort and a spa. It is also an important Hindu center of
Pilgrimage. The final resting place of the great social reformer of the 20th century Shree
Narayana Guru is near Varkala, atop a hill called Sivagiri on the Malabar Coast. The 2000
year old Sree Janardhana Swamy Temple and a Nature Care Center nearby are also
interesting places of visit.
The land of sweet smelling Sandalwood, the aroma of fresh, roasted coffee beans, the
heady fragrance of the "Mysore Mallige"(jasmine), a land of scented roses, Karnataka is a
land of fragrance.
The Arabian Sea for a coastline, thick, lush tropical forests with a variety of trees, plants,
flowers, animals and birds, this State has a sense of history and culture that is all
pervasive. One can visit Forts and ruins, important pilgrim centers or watch the monsoon
rains transform the land. Some of the most magnificent monuments, temples and
forgotten cities abound this State. In many parts of this State, the modern world blends
harmoniously with old. Industries nestle comfortably with the relaxed pace of life.

BANGALORE: Located 1000 m above sea level; this bustling capital of Karnataka was
founded in 1537 by a local chieftain Kempe Gowda. Bangalore has an old world charm
and is popularly known as the Garden City and Silicon Valley of India. Public Gardens,
modern buildings, Palaces, Temples and Bazaars, make this a very pleasant city.
MYSORE: 132 kms from Bangalore, this imperial city was the erstwhile capital of the
Wodeyars retains a quaint charm that never fails to enchant the visitor. The city Palace,
the Museum, the flower and fruit market and the nearby Brindavan Gardens add flavor to
this city.
HASSAN: 194 kms from Bangalore is the District Headquarters of Hassan, the base for
visiting Belur, Halebid and Sravanbelagola.
Belur, 38 kms from Hassan is located on the banks of the river Yagachi and was once the
capital of the Hoysala Empire, made unforgettable for its exquisite temples. The
Chennakesava Temple is one of the finest examples of Hoysala architecture and t took
103 years to be completed. Filled with intricate sculptures and friezes this temple is a
feast for the eyes!
Halebid is 17 kms east of Belur. The Temples of Halebid, like those of Belur bear mute
testimony to the rich, cultural heritage of Karnataka. The Hoysaleswara Temple, dating
back to the 12th century, is astounding for its wealth of sculptural details. Despite 86
years of labour, this magnificent temple was never completed.
Sravanbelagola, 51 kms south-east of Hassan is one of the most important Jain pilgrim
centers where stands the 1000 year old, 17 meter high monolith of Lord Bahubali, the
world's tallest monolithic statue. Thousands of devotees congregate here to perform the
"Mahamastaabhisheka", a spectacular ceremony held once in 12 years. The next
celebration will be held in 2005 A.D.
HAMPI - The forgotten Empire of the Vijayanagaras: world heritage center of today,
Hampi, was the capital of Vijayanagara kingdom from middle of the 14th century till
1529 AD. The ruins and the excavation of this site are full of delightful surprises. Some
of these are the King's balance where kings were weighed against grain, gold or money,
the Queens' bath, the Lotus Mahal, the huge Elephant stables, the splendid Vithala temple
with it musical pillars, the Stone chariot, the Virupaksha temple - still used for worship,
Ugra Narasimha, the 6.7 m tall monolith in granite of the man-lion incarnation of Vishnu.
PATTADAKAL: Pattadakal, a world Heritage center of today, has 10 major temples
representing early Chalukyan architecture. It lies on the banks of the river Malaprabha
and used to be the place where the Chalukyan Kings (7 to 9 Century) were crowned. The
Sanghmeswara, the Mallikarjuna temple and the Virupaksha are splendid.
AIHOLE: Aihole - famous as the "Cradle of Indian temple architecture, has over 125
temples. The oldest temple here is the 5th century Lad Khan. The Durgagudi, circular in
shape and surmounted by a primitive gopuram. The Hutchmalli temple, the Ravalpadi
cave temple, the Konti temple complex, the Uma Maheshwari temple, the Jai Meguthi
temple and the two-storeyed Buddhist temple are some of the interesting temples at
BADAMI: Badami, the capital of the early Chalukyas of Western India of the 6th& 7th
century, is picturesquely situated. It has four rock-cut cave temples that date back to the
6th century AD that are sculptured out of solid rock and are profusely adorned with
carvings of which the 18 armed Nataraja and the flying Ghandarvas are famous and well

The Land Of Opportunity: Andhra Pradesh is the largest of the southern states, the
third largest state in India and is situated in the Deccan Plateau. The fertile deltas of rivers
Krishna and Godavari are important rice cultivation areas of South India. The forest
region of the Srisailam district is a tiger reserve. Though apparently bare and arid, the
Golconda region of the Deccan yielded the most fabled diamonds of the world - Kohi-
noor and Vijaya!
Hindus, Buddhists, Jains and Muslims have left their imprint in the history, art
architecture, philosophy, tradition and language of this region. The temple dedicated to
Sri Venkateswara (Vishnu) at Tirumala, Tirupati is one of the great pilgrim centers of the
Hindus. The Mecca Masjid in Hyderabad with arches, domes and minarets is one of the
largest mosques in India. The remains at Amaravati and Nagarjunakonda tell us of the 3rd
century BC to 3rd century AD Buddhist influence in this region. The courtly north Indian
language of Urdu is as much the lingua franca as the native Telugu, which is Dravidian.
The cuisine is both Mughlai and typically South Indian. Classical music and dance have a
South Indian bias.
HYDERABAD: Hyderabad, the 5th largest city of India, is the capital of Andhra
Pradesh. The twin city of Secunderabad is adjacent and the airport is in Secunderabad.
Hyderabad is famous as the city of the wealthy Nizam of Hyderabad. This city and its
surrounding region is famous for its many monuments, mosques bazaars, bangles, pearls,
fine weaving of single and double ikat in the villages of Pochampalli and Puttapaka,
excellent filigree work in silver, metal work, lacquer work and many more crafts! To this
day, pearls from all over the world are brought to Hyderabad for catering and stringing.
NAGARJUNA SAGAR: Nagarjuna Sagar is an important Buddhist site about 150 kms
from Hyderabad. This center flourished from 3rd century BC to 3rd century AD. A
Buddhist saint scholar, Acharya Nagarjuna set up a center for learning. Today
Nagarjunasagar is home to the Nagarjuna Sagar dam - the world's tallest masonry dam.
During the building of the dam the ruins of an ancient Buddhist civilization were
excavated. Important relics have been preserved in the Museum in the island in the center
of this artificial lake. The vestiges of the sacred Stupa, Vihara, University and a sacrificial
altar have been carefully restructured on the east bank of the reservoir.
TEMPLES OF ANDHRA PRADESH: Temples confirming to the Dravidian school of
art and architecture abound in Andhra Pradesh, which make it an important pilgrim
destination in the country. The temple of Shri Venkateshwara (Vishnu) is in the Tirumala
hills in the South East. A temple dedicated to the philosopher saint of the 18th century
AD is in Mantralaya near Kurnool (South of Hyderabad). The Temple to Veerabadra and
Badra (Shiva and Parvathi) is in Lepakshi in the South Western region of Andhra
Pradesh. This temple has the best mural paintings of the Vijayanagar period (15th & 16th
century AD). Simhachalam, 26kms from Visakhapatnam, has the beautiful temple of
Varaha Narasimha, an incarnation of Vishnu. This temple was built in the 11 & 12 th
century AD. Srisailam, 232kms South of Hyderabad, on the banks of the river Krishna
has an ancient temple dedicated to Shiva as Sri Mallikarjuna Swamy, one of the twelve
"Jyotirlingam" temples of India
VISAKHAPATNAM: Visakhapatnam, a town closer to the State of Orissa, was part of
the Kalinga Empire under Emperor Ashoka in the 3rd century BC. After a checkered
history it came under the Vijaynagara rulers in the 15th century AD. Impressed by its

coastline, the British converted Visakhapatnam into a port town. It now boasts of the
country's largest ship building yard.
The shrine temples of south India portrays living styles of the past and architectural
marvel of the present day.
Just a thought of trekking in Himalayas is a reason of thrill, adventure and excitement.
The most exciting, Leh Ladakh travel, Nepal, Bhutan and the Garhwal Himalayan tours,
comes as one of the most unforgettable experience.
Ladakh is bounded by two of the world's mightiest mountain ranges, the Great Himalayas
and the Karakoram. Ladakh is a high - altitude desert, sheltered from the rain- bearing
clouds of the Indian monsoon by the barrier of the great Himalayan, . Tibet lies to the
East of Ladakh, Sinkian to its North, Pakistan to its north-west and the valley of Lahul
and Spiti in the State of Himachal Pradesh to the South. Leh Ladakh travel, a Himalayan
tour of Kashmir makes trekking in Himalayas the most thrilling and exploratory too.
The main source of water remains the winter snowfall. The summer temperatures rarely
exceed 27 degrees centigrade in the shade, while in winter they may plummet to minus
20 degrees centigrade.
80% of the people of Ladakh follow Mahayana Buddhism. The religious philosophy of
Buddhism is profound and subtle. Every monastery has its festivals and celebrations
which are reckoned according to the cycle of the moon.
The Leh Palace built in the traditional style of Tibetan architecture dominates Leh, the
main town of the region. In its hey day it was said to have been the inspiration in the
construction of the famous Potala in Lhasa
The most famous and well known festival, popular with the tourists and the locals alike,
is the one held at Hemis. The Tsechu is in late June or the first half of July, and is
dedicated to Guru Padmasambhava, the great teacher of the 7th century AD
Samkar, Phyang, Spituk, Stok, Shey, Thikse, and Thak Thok are the other monasteries in
and around Leh.
The great 8th century AD monastery of Alchi is 70 kms from Leh and the monastery of
Likir is 18 kms from Alchi. These can be done as a day return excursion from Leh.
The ancient monastery of Lamayuru is 170 kms from Leh and would need an overnight
stay at the Guest house in Ulleytokpo.
Both these excursions are worth ones while.
A visit to the Nubra Valley would take 2 nights and 3 days over the Khardungla pass
18,390 ft above sea level is the highest motorable pass in the world. Enroute one can visit
the monasteries in Diskit and Hundar. You can enjoy a 5 hour ride on Bactrian camels
from Hundar ti Diskt (subject to weather and availability of camels)
163 kms south west of Leh is Dahanu. The road is through the beautiful villages of
Khaltse, Domkhar and Achinathang. The Drogpa community who live in this area is
considered to be the last race of Aryans in this valley. Their features are Indo Aryan and
they have preserved their racial purity down the centuries. Their culture and religious
practices are very similar to ancient pre- Buddhist religion known as Bonchos.
Pangong lake is 110 kms from Leh. The lake 4500 m above sea level is 60 kms in length
and nearly 3 to 6 kms in width. The colour of the waters of the lake is an exquisite shade

of light blue, which changes to a deep blue by evening. The water of this lake is salty. A
night's halt in tents will be required to visit Pangong.
Tsomoriri Lake in Rupsho Valley is a beautiful expanse of water, 228 kms from Leh in
Rupsho valley. The length of the lake is 23 kms long and 4 ½ to 7 ½ kms wide and is at a
height of 4,600 m above sea level. The water is salty and clear. On the south west bank of
the lake is Korzok village. One can visit the village and the 135 year old Korzok
20 kms south-east of Rangdum stands the Pazila watershed across which lies Zangskar,
the most isolated of all the trans-Himalayan valleys. The Penzila Top (4401 m) is a
picturesque table land adorned with two small alpine lakes and surrounded by snow
covered peaks. As the Zangskar road winds down the steep slopes of the watershed to the
head of the Stod Valley, one of Zagnskar's main tributary valleys, the "Drang-Drung"
glacier looms into full view. A long and winding river of ice and snow, the "Drang-
Drung" is perhaps the largest glacier in Ladakh, outside the Siachen formation. It is from
this glacier that the Stod or Doda River, the main tributary of River Zangskar, rise.
Zanskar comprises a tri-armed valley system lying between the Great Himalayan Range
and the Zangskar mountains. It is mainly along the course of this valley system that the
mainly Buddhist population live. They could be 10,000 people in all. Spread over an
estimated geographical area of 5000 sq. kms., Zangskar is surrounded by high-rise
mountains and deep gorges. The area remains inaccessible for nearly 8 months a year due
to heavy snowfall resulting in closure of all the access passes, including the Penzi-la. This
geographical isolation together with the esoteric nature of Buddhism practiced here has
enabled its inhabitants to preserve and perpetuate their cultural identity. Today, Zangskar
has the distinction of being the least interfered with microcosms of Ladakh and one of the
last few surviving cultural satellites of Tibet. Closer observation of the living conditions
evokes admiration for a people who have learnt to live in perfect harmony with the
unique environment. Within the mountain ramparts of this lost Shangrila stand a number
of ancient yet active monastic establishments. Some of these religious foundations have
evolved around remote meditation caves believed to have been used by a succession of
famous Buddhist saints for prolonged meditation in pursuit of knowledge and
Best time for visit Zangskar and Ladakh is the summer months of June to Septembers.
During these 4 months the days are warm and sunny in Leh and the surrounding areas
(20-30 degrees Celsius) and at night pleasant.
The two most popular months are July/August for Trekking in Himalayan regions.
Travelers come as soon as the passes are free on the Manali Leh Highway and the
Srinagar Leh Highway. This occurs generally around May/June.
However, the airport in Leh, open through out the year is almost always dependent on the
weather conditions.
All tourists need an Inner-line Permit, in order to visit certain areas such as Nubra Valley,
Pangong,Tsokar Lake, Tsomoriri Lake, Hanu etc. These are issued for 7 days which can
be organized by us.
And the Great Himalayan Safari

The Lahaul plateau nourished by the Chandra and Bhaga rivers and the Spiti Valley
linked to it by the Kunzam-la, (pass) are together a district in Himachal Pradesh - another
region where nature can be seen at its wildest. Lahaul is a glacier country and some of its
most dramatic glaciers include the Bara Shigri, Chota Sigri, Samundari and Sonapani.
The narrow Spiti Valley carved by the Spiti River rising from the slopes of the Kunzam-
la is an area of weathered gorges and dramatic mountain. In summer the valleys are
green, the meadows carpeted with flowers and patchworks of fields ornament the
villages. The people are charming, friendly and hospitable.
The only approach to this exotic region is by road. The rugged Manali - Leh highway
(N.H 21) one of the highest mountain roads in the world is open for 3 months in the year
from early June to September. It passes through Lahaul and crosses the Great Himalayan
Range into Ladakh. Manali in Kullu district is the ideal base for visits to this region. It is
in turn linked by road and air (airport at Kullu 40kms away) to Chandigarh, Shimla and
Manali with its forested slopes and beautiful scenery is the beginning of the journey over
some fascinating landscapes in the country. The Rohtang Pass (13,050 ft. / 3978m) is not
far from Manali and takes one abruptly from the lush vegetation of the Kullu Valley into
bare hills and rocky landscapes of Lahaul. At Gramphu the road from Spiti coming over
the Kunzam Pass meets the highway. Just 18kms from Keylong, the 7 storeyed fort of
Gondla guards the road.
At the confluence of the Chandra and Bhaga rivers, just short of Keylong is Tandi. From
here one can visit the monastery of Guru Ghantal believed to have been established by
the Guru Padmasambhava 1200 years ago. Beautiful wall paintings and stuccos ornament
the monastery.
Close to Keylong is the Shashur Monastery (3kms). It is perched almost 600m above the
valley and a steep and difficult track leads up to it. Khardong (5kms) the largest gompa in
the area is located across the valley from Shashur. It is noted for its huge barrel sized
prayer drums, musical instruments, ancient weapons and large life sized images of the
Buddha. A tall statue of Padmasambhava 12 ft. high. 6 kms away at Tayul Monastery the
two manifestations of Guru Padhma Sambhava -Ginghmukha and Vajravarashi can be
seen. An excursion to Udaipur 59kms, in Upper Lahaul is interesting. It is also the base
for treks to the Zanskar Valley. Two beautiful Hindu temples to Mrikula Devi and
Trilokinath embellished with fine carved wood ornamentation can be seen here.
Beyond Keylong the road follows the River Bhaga winding upwards to the Baralacha-la,
(16,050 ft/ 4892 m) the pass across the Great Himalayan range. The 473-km drive is
fairly arduous and the journey can be broken with stops at Sarchu the last post at the
Himachal border or Pang where there are tented camps.
Spiti is accessible during the brief summer months from Manali via the Manali - Leh
Highway. The road branches off from Gramphu in Lahaul to cross the high Kunzam-la.
The longer but popular route into the valley is along the old Hindustan - Tibet road from
Shimla across the scenic district of Kinnaur.
There are interesting little towns along this route. Sarahan is picturesque and is noted for
the Bhimakali Temple with its impressive architecture. Further into Kinnaur, the beautiful
Baspa Valley and the village of Sangla provide a breathtaking excursion. Kalpa with its
fine view of the Kinner Kailash peak and Nako with a little Lake are picturesque.

Spiti, which means 'middle country', is a vast highland basin for swift flowing glacial
streams that have cut deep gorges into the mountain terrain. Among them Pin and Lingti
are the main streams that feed the Spiti River. The Lingti Valley is a living geological
museum noted for its fossils, dating back 250 million years. The Pin Valley, a protected
area with its National Park is the habitat of the ibex and snow leopard.
Spiti Valley is barely three kilometers wide and most of the villages are located along its
wider bank. The terraced fields, groves of juniper and flat roofed houses are set against
the backdrop of rocky mountain - sides that seem painted in shades of purple and pink.
Isolated in this valleys of Spiti are the many Buddhist gompas of great art and learning.
Dhankar, Ki, Tabo, Mud, Kungri, Lidang, Hikim, Sagnam are the more prominent of the
30 or more monasteries in Spiti.
Spiti's most sacred gompa, the 1000-year-old Tabo monastery, is a treasure house of art.
In 1996 Tabo celebrated its millennium. On that auspicious occasion, the Dalai Lama
conducted a Kalachakra ceremony - a rite of initiation, rejuvenation and prayers for
peace. The monastery is said to have been built by the great teacher Rinchen Tsang Po in
1996, the Tibetan Year of the Fire Ape. Over the centuries-succeeding generations
contributed to its expansion and embellishment and today Tabo has nine temples with a
wealth of fine murals and painted stucco work that unfolds the iconography of the region.
In the Temple of Enlightened Gods which is the du-khang or assembly hall of the
complex, there are beautiful murals painted in an Indian style. This is why Tabo is known
as the 'Ajanta of the Himalayas'. Tabo is located not far from Sumdo on the Kinnaur -
Spiti border.
Just 25kms from Tabo is the Dhankar Monastery (3890 m). Dhankar was once the capital
of Spiti. The hilltop gompa, which doubled as a jail in the old days, dominated the
village. The main attraction at Dhankar is a natural lake at 13,500 ft., a perfect camping
site, a walk of 2.5 km from village.
Proceeding along the state highway towards Kaza, the subdivisional headquarters of
Spiti, one gets to Attergu. This is the point of access to the Pin Valley where there is an
interesting gompa at Kungri. Close by too, is the Lingti Valley.
Kaza (3600 m) is located 76 km south east of Kunzam la and 74 km from Sumdo. Ki
Gompa the largest in the valley is 11 km away, located above Kaza at the height of 4116
m. Fine murals and a valuable collection of Kangyur - ancient Buddhist texts are its
attractions. Among its other treasurers are two horns almost three meters long. Brought
out on festive occasions they resound across the valley.
The Himalayan Kingdom
Namaste! Welcome to a land you will never forget - a land of snow-capped mountains
and quiet river valleys, of ancient preserved cities and towering pagoda temples, and
friendly people. Nepal offers something for every one -the pilgrim, the casual visitor, the
tourists and the traveler, trekkers, poets and those in search of a personal Shangri-La.
Within the borders of this small country is an astounding variety of animals, plants and
geologic formations. The world's tallest mountain - Sagarmatha (Mt. Everest), commands
the north, while the luxurious jungles of the Terai-filled with birds and beasts, command
the south. In nearly a dozen wilderness parks and reserves you can find everything from
the majestic Royal Bengal Tiger and Great One-horned rhinoceros to the nimble Musk
deer and the elusive Snow leopard.

Nepal is a land for all seasons. There are a myriad places to go, people to meet and sites
to see. To name a few, Kathmandu or Kirthipur, Patan or Lalitapur. Badgaon or
Bhaktapur. Three ancient cities a few miles apart from each other with their temples,
stupas, monasteries, Palaces, Durbar squares and markets. There are delightful and
colourful festivals the year around.
For the adventurous there are exciting adventure activities in the form of trekking, white
water rafting, biking, mountaineering and jungle safaris.
Nepal is a land where the arts culture are as well preserved as the valleys and forests.
Temples enriched with woodcarving and bronzes, millennium-old statues standing along
the wayside, songs and dances unchanged for centuries, and entire cities preserved in
their medieval splendour. And it is a place where craft traditions are as vital as they were
a thousand years ago, a place where one can buy woodcarvings, statues, gems and
weavings similar to those of the ancient world.
The land of the Thunder Dragon.
Behind the great natural barriers of the Himalayas lies the hidden Kingdom of Druk Yul,
the land of the Thunder Dragon.
Known to the world as Bhutan, the last of the Mahayana Buddhist Kingdoms, this
remote, mystical country is still one of the most unspoilt places in the world. Wedged
between India,China and Bangla Desh, the Kingdom covers approximately 46,000 square
kilometers with an ecosystem ranging from sub-tropical to alpine. The population of a
little over half a million and mostly live in small villages along the mountain slopes and
For years it lay hidden from the occidental tourists, being a forbidden land for outsiders.
Today, however, Bhutan welcomes the discerning traveler in search of a rare and singular
experience. Opened to tourism in 1974 on the coronation of the present King, His
Majesty Jigme Singye Wangchuck, Bhutan is one of the world's most exclusive
destinations. The spectacular landscapes are some of the most awe-inspiring to be found
on earth. The grandeur of the mountain peaks, the terraced hills, the lush, green valleys,
the dense forests filled with rare flowers and diverse wildlife, the fast flowing crystal
clear rivers, the pure, clean air, the unique architecture, art and culture and above all the
delightful people who make the soul smile……… a trip to Bhutan teaches one of life and
real living.
Festivals: Tshechus are the main annual religious festivals of Bhutan that are celebrated
to honour Guru Padmasambhava, also known as "Guru Rinpoche" in the mountain
Kingdom. For the people, the Tshechus are an occasion for socialising in their richest
robes and ornaments. All this against a backdrop of the 'Ucchi' in the central courtyard of
the Dzongs, mask dancers perform their incredible dances in a kaleidoscope of silks and
brocades, while the deep notes of horns and trumpets reverberate across the valley.
Staged at different times of the year in different parts of the Kingdom, for the outsider,
the Tshechu is an experience, extraordinary.
PLACES OF INTEREST: Over the last 25 years a network of roads has been built
across the Kingdom, tracking up the valley sides and over mountain passes, linking many
of the major towns from West to East. The flow of traffic is not heavy and travelers can
enjoy spectacular views of mountains and forests.

Phuntsholing: This small modern town in the south is the gateway of Bhutan for
overland travelers.
Thimpu: The capital city of Thimphu lies in the broad fertile valley of the Thimpu Chu
(river) at an altitude of 7,500 ft.
Paro: Amid a patchwork of rice paddies, wheat fields, trout filled streams and scattered
settlements lies the lush green, historic Paro valley where the Paro Chhu (river)flows
from the watershed in the Jhumolhari (mountain Goddess) range.
Punakha: The Punakha Dzong, the ancient capital of Bhutan, is set just above the
junction where the river Pho Chu and Mo Chu meet.
Wangdiphodrang: A district that is known for it's fine bamboo work and slate and stone
carving, Yak dairy research station is located in Wangdi. It's higher plains provide rich
cattle pastures.
Tongsa: Is home to the striking Tongsa Dzong, ancestral abode of Bhutan's Royal family.
Bumthang: The valley where the majestic "Castle of the White Bird " called ]akar
Dzong is located. It is surrounded by an impressive wall that is almost one mile in
circumference. This is where Guru Padhma Sambhava meditated in a cave.
Beyond Bumthang are Ura, Tashigang from where one can drive into Assam through the
last outpost of Bhutan Samdrupjhongkar.
Famous for its dazzling 120 kms long palm fringed coastline by the turquoise Arabian
Sea, Goa offers a perfect atmosphere for relaxing swimming, sun bathing and savoring
the vast variety of delicious sea food specialties.
The Portuguese came here as early as 1600 AD and made it their haven. Goa owes its
exotic personality to foreign influence. Goan enthusiasm, their hybrid cuisine, palm and
cashew whisky, add to the aroma of a perfect holiday.
600 kms South of Goa along the West Coast and near Trivandrum, Kerala's Capital city,
lies the fishing village of Kovalam, an excellent beach resort with salubrious climate. The
southwest monsoon commences its journey from here by the end of May. October to
March is ideal weather for a Beach Holiday.
The Bangaram Island Resort, Lakshadweep, in the Arabian sea, is encircled by a lagoon
10 kms long and 6 kms wide. The island covers 128 acres of tropical paradise. The
lagoon is beautiful and clear. One can swim, snorkel and sunbathe - this is the only resort
developed in Lakshadweep (a cluster of 100,000 dots of islands!
Agatti, the airport of Lakshadweep is connected by air to Cochin.
On the East Coast of India
Gopalpur on Sea is a miniature seaside haven where boating, yachting and a sea side run
invites visitors to share the expanse of the Sand and Sun. Coconut Palms and Casurina
plantations play hide and seek with the sun along this coastline. A perfect beach.
On account of its location, sun rise and sun set can be seen on the same beach at Puri on
the east coast. Traditional fisherman plying their catamarans draw into their nets rich
catches of prawn, pomfret and other fish.
Covelong & Mamallapuram, on the east coast not far from Chennai have beautiful
beaches spanning 40 kms. The 7th century seaport capital of the Pallavas with their
temples and bas relieves all carved in granite, chiseled in stone and frozen in time - are
sentinels on the Bay of Bengal. A feast of art and sculpture and a beach holiday go hand
in hand from November to February.

India is a peninsula with 6000 kms of coastline. The three oceans -the Bay of Bengal, the
Arabian Sea and the Indian Ocean meet at Kanya Kumari or Cape Comorin. Sun rise and
sun set here are special, soul stirring moments - given an opportunity do not miss the visit
to the Cape at sunset if not at sunrise!
Off the east coast of India
The Andaman and Nicobar Islands - Home of the Jarwas, Nicobaris, Onges, Andamanese
and Sentinals are off the east coast. An idyllic archipelago of white sandy beaches, clear
turquoise sea and picturesque coral reefs, there are great beaches in Corbyn's Cove, Jolly
Buoy and Ross Island. Easy and quick air connections from Chennai & Calcutta can offer
you this treat. A voyage by ship is also possible from Chennai.
Besides these, there are lesser known but equally beautiful beaches along the peninsular
coastline of India. To name a few Mangalore and Mahe on the west coast and
Pondicherry and Sadras on the east coast.
Corbett National Park was formed in 1936 and was India's first Wildlife Park. A popular
hunting ground among the British, the park was named in honour of the legendary
naturalist turned writer and photographer, Jim Corbett. He helped in demarcating the park
Since 1936 twelve more National Parks and many wildlife sanctuaries have been formed
to preserve and maintain the delicate ecosystem necessary for the survival of fauna &
India being a tropical country, it has a rich vegetation - ancient Banyan trees, pipal,
mango and evergreen abound in our forest. To these can be included the teak, sal and the
deodar in forests of north east. Our jungles are thick and ideal home for the nocturnal
tiger. The wild grass is dense and supports the Rhino in the northeastern parks. The little
Rann of Kutch in the desert is the sanctuary of the last population of the Indian wild ass,
the golden langurs - the world’s rarest monkey seen in the forests on the Manas river in
the north east. It is indeed our sacred duty to keep and maintain these forests to respect
the eco system so as to leave a heritage of animal and bird world for the generations to

Situated in Southern Rajasthan this Park derives its name from a hill top 14th century
fortress of Ranthambore dominating the approach to the park. The mixture of historical
sites and wildlife provides magical photo opportunities.
The ancient mountain ranges of Aravali & Vindhya meet here producing a mixture of
steep cliffs which crises cross the park. The varied topography provides a diversity of
habitat for the tiger and other animals like the jackals, sloth bear, leopard and reptiles like
the crocodile and snakes of many kinds, antelope, sambar of-course the Tiger.
The park was declared a wildlife sanctuary in 1957. In 1974 it came under The Project
Tiger. Human encroachment has been effectively checked and this has helped the tigers
shed their nocturnal cloak and adopt diurnal behavior. The chances of enchanting a tigers
are more. The diversity of flora & fauna in Ranthambor is remarkable. There are over 300
different types of trees, 272 species of birds and around 30 different types of mammals.

One can visit the park using jeep or large canters, (open buses) which accommodate 20
Corbett National Park,296 kms from Delhi is situated in Uttar Pradesh the foothills of the
Himalayas covers 320 square kilometers. Once a popular hunting ground of the British,
this park was named in honor of the late Jim Corbett, the legendary hunter-naturalist
turned author and photographer. With the help of the World Wildlife Fund, the first
Project Tiger was launched in Corbett National Park in 1973.
The topography comprises hilly, temporary marshy depressions, plateaus and ravines.
The lower areas are almost completely populated by sal trees. There are 110 tree species,
50 mammals’ species, 580 bird species and 25 reptile species.
Corbett is a haven for tigers, four kinds of deer, wild boar and lesser animals. Leopards
are found in the hilly areas of the park. Sloth bear is found in the lower regions of the
park while the Himalayan black bear is seen in the higher hills. Elephants (solitary bulls
and breeding herds) are one of the main attractions of Corbett.
(Keoladeo Ghana National Park)
50 kms west of Agra this is one of the most important breeding and feeding grounds for
migratory birds in the world. The Siberian crane crosses almost half the world to be here
from December to February.The park en-compasses an area of 40sq. km and is
refreshingly free from any motor vehicles. Walking & cycling along the raised
embankments offers an opportunity to get close to the rich bird life. Many qualified
naturalist guides are available to take the visitor around the park. A cycle rickshaw is
another way of exploring the sanctuary
This is without a doubt India's most spectacular park. The dense forest and Mekal river
provided the inspiration for Rudyard Kipling’s book. This park located in Madhya
Pradesh was commemorated in 1955 to protect Barasingha (a swamp deer). The park
came under Project Tiger in 1974 and has grown into one of the largest parks in India
covering nearly 2000 sq. km and is the home of the Tiger. This forest is a good breeding
ground for nearly 200 species of birds The herbivores in park are Cheetal, Sambhar &
blue bull, whereas the predators are the jackal, the leopard, the hyena besides the Tiger.
One can explore the Park by Jeeps. Elephant safaris are also available in the park.
Set among the Vindhya Hills of Madhya Pradesh with an area of 270 sq. km, this national
park contains a wide variety of habitats and high density of game, including a large
number of tigers. Over half the area is covered by sal forests and there are stretches of
bamboo and grassland. Within the park is the ancient Bandhavgarh fort and caves with
inscriptions dating from the 1st century BC.. In addition to tigers are chousingha (small
four horned antelope), chinkara (gazelle), nilgai (blue bull) antelope, wild boar, jackal,
muntjak (barking) deer, sambar (deer), chital (spotted deer), jungle cat, striped hyena,
porcupine and more. In March and April, gaur (Indian bison), move down from the
higher hills to the southeast of the park and make their way to the central meadows.


In the southwest of the peninsular state of Gujarat, lies the 195 square kilomerers
sanctuary created to protect the last wild population of lions outside Africa. The Gir is a
mixed deciduous forest with teak, flame of the forest, some acacia and banyan trees. It is
a hilly tract with many rivers and offers long pleasant drives of beauty. Since 1913 when
the lion population fell drastically to just 20 animals, the numbers have increased to over
250. The Asiatic lion is slightly smaller than its African cousin and its mane is smaller.
Other animals in the park are leopard, sambar deer, chital spotted deer, nilgai antelope,
chowsingha four-horned antelope, chinkara gazelle, wild boar, langur monkey, jackal,
and hyena.
LITTLE Rann of Kutch

Little Rann of Kutch, is situated in the Thar Desert of Gujaratwas established in January
1972 as a sanctuary for the last population of Indian wild ass (khar). This extraordinary
area gets partly inundated by about 2 feet of water in the monsoon months (July-
September). Once below sea level, this area was raised by earth movements which cut it
off from the Gulf of Kutch, and was broken up by later earth movements into the flat
saline areas, and higher grounds with sandy, salt-free soil. The wild ass depends on the
thorny scrub of the higher ground area for its feed. Also found in this park are chinkara,
blue bull, wolf, blackbuck antelope, hyena, desert fox, jackal and desert cat.
This 400 square kilomeres park in Karnataka has an astonishing abundance of wildlife
including large mammals such as tiger, leopard, wild elephant, dhole (Indian wild dog),
and gaur (Indian bison). Other species present are chital spotted deer, muntjac (barking
deer), mouse deer, four-horned antelope, wild boar, sloth bear, hyena, mongoose, civet,
otter, and more. There are grassy swamps where the soil is clayey, perennially moist, and
which support a luxuriant growth of green grass all year. The Kabini river provides a
unique wildlife viewing experience.

Thekkady, India's largest wildlife sanctuary, is a dream destination for any tourist visiting
India. This sanctuary is spread over an area of 777 Sq.Kms, surrounded by an artificial
lake over an area of 25 sq. kms. A Tiger reserve, Thekkady, with its bountiful treasures of
tropical flora and fauna is the ultimate reservoir of many an endangered species and a
rich tribal culture. Thekkady is a pleasant heaven on earth for those who love nature in its
wild manifestations.


Situated on the south bank of the Brahmaputra river, Kaziranga National Park covering
an area of 430 sq. km is famous for the stronghold of the one-horned Indian Rhinocerous.
The sanctuary provides an unique setting for viewing its best known wild life including
The park is home for varieties of other rare species including royal Bengal tigers,
elephants, Indian bison, swamp deer, hog deer, sloth bear, leopard, hog badger, capped
langur, hillock gibbon, jackal, goose, hornbill, ibis and a host of other wild species.
Spread over 2585 sq. km, the Sundarbans mangrove forest, one of the largest such forests
in the world, is formed at the delta of the Ganges, Bramaputra and Meghna rivers on the
Bay of Bengal. The site is composed of three sanctuaries (Sundarbans West, South, and
East) with a total area of 140,000 hectares. It is located adjacent to the border of India's
Sundarbans World Heritage site, 1987. The three sanctuaries, intersected by a complex
network of tidal waterways, mud flats and small islands of salt-tolerant mangrove forests,
present an excellent example of on- going ecological process, displaying the effects of
monsoon rains, delta formation, tidal influence and plant colonization. The area is known
for its wide range of fauna including 260 bird species, the Royal Bengal tiger and other
threatened species, such as the estuarine crocodile and the Indian python.

Pack your bags for a magic journey, through two of India's most culturally and
historically vibrant states - Gujarat & Rajasthan.
The Royal Orient is one of the few extravaganzas left of an epoch of grandeur. Enjoy
yourself in the luxury of this fascinating train, a spectacular concept in transport, an
aesthetic marvel of modern times.
Thirteen indescribably wondrous, gold embossed saloon cars recreate the resplendent
living of the times of Yore. The luxurious lounge, centrally air-conditioning, library,
television and video entertainment, running hot and cold water and showers, soft channel
music, the watering hole, the well stocked bar, restaurant cars with delicious Indian and
continental cuisine and friendly attendants, all assure you that your epic voyage is as
fantastic as the royal orient itself.
Departure every Wednesday from Delhi cantonment railway station on below mentioned

DAY 01: Tuesday: DELHI

Traditional Welcome, Transferred to the Hotel Overnight at Hotel.
Dep at Delhi 1500 hrs from Delhi Cantonment Railway Station, Tea and Dinner on
Board. Royal Orient.
Arr at Chittaurgarh at 0530 hrs. After break fast leave for Chittaurgarh Fort.
Dep for Udaipur at 0900 hrs. On arrival at Udaipur at 1215 hrs. Transfer to Hotel for
Lunch. Post lunch visit the City Palace, Tripolia Gates, Sahaliyon-ki-Bari (Royal Garden
and shilpgram (craft village)

Dep Udaipur at 1750 hrs for Mehsana. Dinner on board.
Arr at Mehsana at 0645 hrs. Visit to Sun Temple at Modhera, Rani-ki-Vav & Patola
weaving center at patan.
Dep for Ahmedabad at 1115 hrs. On arrival at Ahmedabad, transfer to Hotel for lunch,
afternoon local sight seeing of Ahmedabad – Adalaj step well, Gandhi Ashram, Calico
Textile Museum, Hathising Jain Temple, Sidisayyad’s Mosque and Shopping. And leave
Ahmedabad at 2015. Dinner on board.
B/F on board. Visit the Lion Sanctuary Sasan Gir. Optional sightseeing of somnath
Temple. 0800hrs.
Dep at 1115 hrs for Delwada, Lunch on board. On arrival at Delwada At Delwada. Visit
Ahmedpur Mandvi Beach and Diu. (Fort and St. Paul's Church).
Dep at 2015 hrs for Palitana. Dinner on Board.
DAY 06: SUNDAY: Palitana and Sarkhej
Arrive at Palitana at 0740 hrs. Breakfast on Board at Palitana. Visit 863 Jain Temples
atop Shatrunjaya Hills (3572 steps can be climbed or please use the chairslings arranged
for you if you so desire.)
Dep. For Sarkhej at 1200. Lunch on Board. On arrival at Sarkhej have dinner at
Vishalla Village.
Dep at 2230 for Udaipur.
On arrival At Udaipur at 0745 hrs. Visit to Ranakpur Jain Temple, Lunch at Hotel. PM
return to Udaipur. Dep for jaipur at 2000 hrs, dinner at board.
Arrive at Jaipur at 0750 hrs. B/F on board. Visit to amber fort and Hawa Mahal. Lunch at
the hotel, PM. Visit to the city Palace and Janter Manter (observatory). Dep for Delhi at
2155 hrs.
On arrival at Delhi 0700 Hrs at Delhi Cantonment rly station. & Transfer to airport in
time to catch the international flight to the onward destination.

HALF FAIR - For children between 5 and 12 years of age.

TARIFF INCLUDES: Cost of travel, full catering (morning tea, breakfast, lunch,
evening tea and dinner), conducted sightseeing tours in A/c deluxe coaches, entrance fees
for monuments and palaces visited, cultural entertainment, elephant ride at Jaipur, boat
ride to and from Lake Palace Hotel at Udaipur, still camera fees and on e bottle of
mineral water per person per day.
TARIFF DOES NOT INCLUDE: Liquor, extra mineral water, laundry and other
personnel expenses.
BOOKINGS: At booking beyond 30 days of train departure - 10% of the price
30 days and less from train departure - 90% of the price.

Single Occupancy Single Occupancy
US$ 350 US$ 263

Double Occupancy Double Occupancy

US$ 200 US$ 150

Triple Occupancy Triple Occupancy

US$ 175 US$ 132

CANCELLATION: Rs. 300 per person - For booking cancelled beyond 45 days of
train departure date.
10% of the price - For booking cancelled between 45-30 days of train departure.
50% of the price - For booking cancelled between 29-15 days of the train departure.
100% of the price - For booking cancelled less than 14 days of train departure date.

The Legend travels on

You will be delighted that you choose to see Rajasthan on the Palace on Wheels. On
board, you will feel like an erstwhile maharajah, traveling in regal splendor. Each Coach
named after the former princely states, has 2 twin bedded and 2 double-bedded chambers,
thoughtfully decorated in ethnic Rajasthani décor. Channel Music, Intercom, Attached
washrooms with hot & cold water and wall-to-wall carpeting are some of the facilities to
make you feel at home. Each saloon has personal attendants or Khidmatgars, who are at
your beck and call to extend a courteous helping hand, should you need anything.
The 14 Coaches are…
ALWAR: Located strategically, Alwar is the gateway to Rajasthan from Delhi. With a
turbulent history spanning back to the medieval era. Alwar has been an important place
of trade and commerce. Bestowed by nature with a unique habitat comprising of forests
and deep valleys. Alwar is home to several species of flora and fauna. The ceiling of the
Alwar coach lounge has been done aesthetically in mix-media of cone work, and oils in
relief, depicting a hunting scene. The royal emblem and a miniature adorn the lounge.
Subtle tones of pink enhance the romantic ambience of the lounge.
BHARATPUR: Maharaja Suraj Mal, the valiant Rajput King who was admired for his
chivalry and courage, had his abode here, in Bharatpur. Once a fortified township,
Bharatpur is now an ornithologists paradise, and well known for the Bharatpur water-bird
sanctuary. The sanctuary is home to over 376 avian species. Echoing the vividness of
nature’s gift to Bharatpur the relief work on this coach depicts various species of birds on
the tree of life. A replica of the royal crest of Bharatpur adorns the valance of the blind.
The ‘nature’ theme is further endorsed by the white cedar inlay work depicting birds and
painted peacocks, sitting on a haveli worked on a mirror. The color scheme, with its

profusion of beige and aqua green, is a vivid reminder of lush green forests of Bharatpur
and Ghana.
BIKANER: The state of Bikaner came into being 1486 A.D. when Rao Bika set out to
carve a separate kingdom for himself. The color scheme of the lounge has been
motivated by the opulent coronation rooms in burning red and gold of the Anup Mahal
and Padam Mahal of the Junagarh fort. The royal state crest is placed on the valance
along with some handicrafts of Rajasthan. The ceiling is done up in relief work and oil
painting on canvas depicting the legendary lovers Dhola & Maru on camel back. The
artwork in the lounge belongs to the Mughal influenced Bikaner School of Art style.
BUNDI: The quaint little state of Bundi lies cradled on the hills, east of Mewar. The
palace complex of Bundi towers above the township. An imposing structure; it is
approached by long paved ramp that ascends to the Hathi Pol, and is depicted in
watercolor work in one of the bedrooms. The famous Ragmala also called Rag Ragini,
paintings of Bundi have been highlighted through oil paintings on canvas and are placed
on the ceilings. The royal crest is highlighted on the valance. The famous Bundi School
of painting is depicted in the famed and mounted art pieces and also serves as the basis
for the color scheme and overall décor, including a delightfully frescoed ceiling.
DHOLPUR: Dholpur is known for its locally quarried sandstone used for building
palaces and for latticework extensively used in balcony railings. The rails in the coach
are made in teak ply to depict the fine craftsmanship as done in stone. The Dholpur crest
decorates the valance in zardozi work.
JAISALMER: Founded by Rao Jaisal in 1156 AD, this remote desert city is famous for
the Jaisalmer fort, epitomized by Satyajit Ray, the famous filmmaker in the ‘Shonar
Kella’ (The Golden Fortress), an epic celluloid saga. The city is also famous for its
havelis, cobbled streets, ancient Jain temples and a festive gaiety that reverberates across
the shimmering with conspicuous facades served as the inspiration for the intricately
carved jharokhas on the lounge ceiling. It is done on teak wood with a mirror backing.
The famous Jawahar Niwas facade has been depicted in the state lounge using cone,
metal, copper and silver medium. The royal insignia adorns the valance of the blind. The
color scheme reflects the beige of the desert sands.
JAIPUR: Known the world over as the Pink City, Jaipur was founded by Maharaja
Sawai jai Singh II in 1727 A.D. The architect Vidhyadhar, under the instructions of the
Maharaja, planned the city. The King was an astronomer and a connoisseur of arts. And
his taste is conspicuous in the beautiful city constructed by him. A fascinating land,
Jaipur has innumerable palaces, monuments & gardens that attract hoards of visitors
every. Fairs and festivals reflect the exuberant charm of the people here. The cheerful
nature of the local inhabitants is reflected in the vibrant colors & captivating music that
enliven their spirits even in this arid desert land. The ceiling of the state lounge has been
created using the famed ‘Phad’ or foil work, depicting festivals like Teej, Gangaur, Holi,
and Diwali etc. The royal emblem of the state is worked out in Zardozi work on the
valance. The walls have been decorated with miniature paintings of the famous Jaipur
style of painting. The ceilings have painted frescoes, done in complimentary colors,
reflecting the state’s color scheme of Blue & Gold.
JHALAWAR: This powerful kingdom of the Jhalas, a clan of valiant Rajputs, was
created in the year 1838 A.D. It is a charming land with immense natural beauty. Tales
of valour and chivalry and numerous folklores abound in this region. Jhalawar also has

some beautiful temples and ancient Buddha caves. The ceiling has been worked out in a
medium used by the local inhabitants of Jhalawar to decorate their home. A play of
colors and mirror work has been used in the medium of Plaster of Paris to create a unique
ambience. The royal insignia of the erstwhile state in Zardozi work is seen on the
valance along with handicrafts supporting the tabletops of the state lounge.
JODHPUR: This capital of the Marwar kingdom lies on the tip of the Thar Desert and
was the seat of a formidable dynasty of rulers from the 15 th century onwards. The
Meharangarh fort, which dominates the city of Jodhpur is fascinating with its cusped
arcades and the and the Mughal influenced designs of the Moti Mahal recreated in mother
of pearl work on the ceiling. The royal crest is highlighted on the valance along with the
miniature paintings in the lounge, which is typical of the Jodhpur School of art.
KISHANGARH: The Banio Thani paintings of the state with their exaggerated features
like eyes and long fingers, are well known. One of these famous paintings is recreated
on the ceiling in acrylic, painted with enamel and foil. The crest appears in zardozi work
on the blinds of the window with the Kishangarh School of Art highlighted in an artwork
on the wall of the state lounge.
KOTA: Once a prosperous Rajput state, Kota is picturesquely located beside the
Chambal River, Surrounded by verdant forests and picnic gardens. The City Palace is a
grand structure. The entry to the palace is through the Hathi Pol, which is brightly
painted with figures of elephants. Kota is well known for Kota school of design. These
elements have served as the basis for designing the décor of this coach. The distinctive
features of the Kota school of art can be seen in the oil paintings titled “Raja aur Praja”
(The Monarch and his subjects on the ceiling. It depicts Raja Ram Singh II (1826-66) of
Kota amidst a royal procession.
SIROHI: This erstwhile state has earned an enviable reputation the world over for its
gold fort and with colored glass work that is done near Pratapgarh. The style of work has
a typically Indo-European flavor as European influence is quite conspicuous. The rooms
highlight this style through the framed works of art done in the same styles through the
framed works of art done in the same styles. The ambience and color scheme has also
been designed in keeping with this school of Art. The Gold foil and glasswork also has
semi precious stones embedded in it, and has been done in a mix media created from
cone and paint embossed particleboards. The royal insignia has been placed prominently.
Mounted miniatures done in the Sirohi school style lend a unique character to the décor.
UDAIPUR: Lazing on the edge of the lake Pichola, Udaipur was the capital of the
Sisodia Rajputs after they moved from Chittaur. The City Palace in Udaipur is a
Complex of reception halls, residential suits and internal courts from which the state
lounge and bedrooms take their color schemes-dominant blue and white. The most
fascinating of the inner courts is the Peacock Court where Peacocks have mosaic. The
‘MOR Chowk’ or the Peacock Court influences the lounge décor. The medium used is a
combination of relief work and Patra or oxidized white metal work. The royal crest of
the state, in alluring zardozi work is set on the valance of the blinds.
The opulence, splendor and lavish lifestyle of the erstwhile rulers of princely states
are common knowledge. Such as the Nizam of Hyderbad, once amongst the richest
men on earth. The personal coaches used by such erstwhile rulers and the viceroys
of British India would only have been a topic of conversation and envy for travelers
across the world. However, thanks to the innovation and dedicated efforts of the

Rajasthan Tourism Development Corporation, Indian Railways, the State
Government of Rajasthan and the Government of India, the possibility of traveling
in royal splendor of a bygone ear has become a reality with the introduction of
Palace on Wheels.
The Legends: Palace on Wheels has graced the Rajasthan tourism and Indian railways since
26th January, 1982 when it made its inaugural operations from October 1982. It initially
comprised of saloons that were used by the royalties of India.
The Legend Conserved: In order to ensure a smoother. plush rail journey, Palace on Wheels, on
the lines of the old heritage train was launched in 1991. It comprised of 13 saloons, 2 restaurants,
and a kitchen car, bar-cum-lounge and 4 service cars, fully air-conditioned.
The Legend and the Modern: Palace on Wheels has been rated as one of the best ten luxurious
rail journeys in the world.
In 1995, Rajasthan Tourism Development Corporation Ltd., Indian Railways and Department
of Tourism of the Govt. of India spent Rs. 20 crores to overhaul the train, with a view to make it
the most comfortable and unforgettable traveling experience in the world; the way it is today.
Palace on Wheels has gained remarkable success and attained worldwide acclaim including the
PATA gold award in 1987.
It has carried 30,135 tourists in 492 trips up to April 1999...
And what a train it is: Even the original could not have been as luxurious or as magnificent. It
may not have be historic, but it wears the patina of history lightly, its inspiration clearly the past.
Had the maharajas still be able to, it is such a train they would have ordered.
It stands on its tracks; a gleaming sealed carriage, every bit as royal as the original, and perhaps
more. The air-conditioning works silently, creating a space where only the excitement of the
history of the Rajput kingdoms permeates through, clearly captured in a contemporary mode. In
all, there are fourteen saloons, each equipped with two twin-bedded and two double-bedded
chambers, with attached baths that have running hot and cold water and showers. The modern
conveniences have been thoughtfully provided, sofas to sink into, strategically placed lights to
read by, wonderfully appointed beds with comfortable furnishings, inbuilt wardrobes for the
storage of one’s clothes and bags, and huge plate glass windows to watch the countryside roll
past. Outside the bedrooms, each coach also has a seating lounge where passengers can get
together, just sit watch the cities as they glide past outside the windows, or enjoy a quiet cup of
tea. An attached pantry with each saloon helps provide beverages and refreshments to the
accompaniment of soothing piped music.
Should you seek company, there is the comfortable bar cum lounge where you can relax over
your favorite drink, burrow in a book or converse with fellow passengers. Attached to it are two
restaurant cars, Maharaja and Maharani respectively, with opulently draped curtains,
exquisitely crafted lights and table settings that would do a modern city restaurant proud. Here
accompanying chefs serve up a delicious choice of Indian, including Rajasthani, Continental and
even Chinese cuisine that are a feast for the palate.
The train chugs out of Delhi cantonment on a weeklong run through Rajasthan every Wednesday
night, with a trip also inbuilt to Agra and the Taj Mahal. Turban-wearing attendants take over
form the moment you arrive at the platform, assigning you your coupes and detailing all the
facilities that are on board. The train moves by night and arrives each morning at a new
destination where new experiences await you. If you are an early riser, you will see the sun rise
over the horizon of the desert, a golden orb that flames in pastel colors before it ignites into
brilliant orange as it mounts higher. So it has done for million years, and so it has been watched
on its journey for thousands of them by the residents of the desert; Suryavanshi and
Chandravanshi, descended from the Sun and the Moon – incredible how easy it is to believe it all

The Palace on Wheels is one of the world's most exciting rail journeys, as much for the
train and the facilities provided on board, as for the royal destinations it proceeds to every single
day. With everything taken care of – dining, accommodation, sight seeing - as well as organized
shopping, there is nothing for the traveler to do but sleep in the history of the land, soak in the
colors, and experience the royal life of a Maharaja. The tour starts from Delhi and comes back to
the city after going through, in order:
Jaipur-Jaisalmer-Jodhpur-Sawai Madhopur-Chittaurgarh-Udaipur-Bharatpur-
Day 1: Wednesday, Delhi, the capital city of modern India, a city known for it's rich, valorous
and exotic history. Once the fabled city of the heroes of the Mahabharata, and ruled by the
Rajputs before they were displaced by foreign invaders. The tour starts in the evening with a
ceremonial welcome aboard the Palace on Wheels at Delhi Cantonment. You will be introduced
to your fellow travelers. Feel free to explore your new home, and acquaint yourself with its
various facilities. Relax with a drink at the bar. Dinner will be served on board the two
restaurants. The train departs from Delhi at 17.45 hrs.
Day 2: Thursday, arrives at 00.00 in Jaipur the Pink City, known for it's colorful and fascinating
Architecture. Your tour begins at the Hawa Mahal or the Palace of Winds, followed by a visit to
the Amber Fort, riding on canopied elephants in pomp and royal style of ancient maharajas.
After indulging oneself in shopping at Rajasthali, the State's Handicrafts emporium for souvenirs
and crafts, an exotic and sumptuous lunch awaits you at the majestic Rambagh Palace. The
home of the erstwhile rulers, The City Palace, now a museum, full of royal splendor and the
amazing Jantar Mantra - Astronomical Observatory, are to be explored at leisure. In the evening
after a cultural program of enthralling dance and music, dinner is a celebration under the canopy
of the star-lit skies at exotic Jai Mahal Palace. The train departs from the Pink City at 17.30 hrs.
Jaipur became the capital of the Kachchwaha dynasty when they shifted here from their hilltop
fort of Amber. It was built according to the principles laid down in the ancient Architectural
Treatises, but with all the opulence deserving to a royal city. At its center rose the seven-tiered
palace of the royal family, and around it came up gardens and temples, its Astronomical
Observatory and the myriads of mansions and business houses. Jaipur also offers a greats
shopping experience since the city is the country's capital as far as handicrafts go - and they
include a very extensive range - as well as a major international center for the cutting and
polishing of gems and stones. It also has a large number of palace hotels, and both Rambagh and
Jai Mahal, which are the venues for their lunch and dinner, are intimately linked with the history
of this former princely state. Rambagh, in fact, was the last palace in which the former maharaja
and his glamorous Maharani, and now Rajmata or Queen Mother of Jaipur, the popular
Gayatri Devi, resided. The palace not only has most of the original furnishings and artifacts, but
its famous Polo Bar also has pictures of the last maharaja with English Aristocracy and other
important guests.
Day 3: Friday, arrive at 06.15 hrs at Jaisalmer. Spend the day in this isolated, but
Architecturally, one of the greatest Royal Bastions of the World. After a safari dinner served
under the stars, at a campsite, come back to the train to resume your journey. Departure is at
Jaisalmer was the stronghold for the Bhatti Rajputs, and a hardier race never lived. Their earlier
settlement was marked by bandit, as they looted caravans at will, stealing horses, and inviting the
wrath of the West Asian invaders. Over time they began to settle, and the 12th century fort with its
ninety-nine bristling bastions was established on top of Trikuta hill, exactly as prophesied for
these descendants of Krishna. Isolated Jaisalmer may have been, a lost city in the sands of the
Thar, more mythic than real for those of who heard it, but the caravans that passed through its
territories enriched the coffers of the treasury. It also kept Jaisalmer in touch with the world, for
such caravans carried not merely goods but also artisans and master-craftsmen. The

Maharawalas of Jaisalmer thought little of making use of their services to build the
magnificent, sandstone architecture for which it has become known around the world. However,
even more magnificent, along the cobbled stone pathways of the fort, arose the havelis, the
mansions of the Jain merchants who were as powerful in the court of the time, as they were adept
in business. Their homes are a poetry of sandstone, carved and pierced incredibly into different
patterns, and though they are opulent and effusive, the result is in perfect harmony, and never
offending the eye.
Not only is Jaisalmer’s Architecture magnificent, it’s meandering lanes, the many homes within
the ramparts and the resounding rhythms of the Langa and Manganiyar musicians have frozen
this citadel into a medieval time warp. Escape from here to the desert sands around the fort, and
see them drift in the breeze, or take a camel ride, or simply enjoy the mesmeric dances of its folk
performers. So must the kings have watched over their kingdom? However, you no longer need to
travel to Jaisalmer in a caravan; your carriage is a luxurious train – fitting in the royal context.
Day 4: Saturday, its time for you to visit yet another desert kingdom, Jodhpur, where you
arrive at 08.00hrs. You can spend the morning at Mehrangarh Fort that towers over the city like
an eagle’s eyrie and then come downhill to lunch at Umaid Bhawan Palace, the largest art-deco
residence in the world and now home to the head of the royal family, museum and luxury hotel.
Departure, after unwinding and relaxing at the palace, is at 15.30 hrs.
The 500 year old history of Jodhpur, the bastion of the valiant Rathore Rajputs, bristles with
conflicts and sieges, with battles and savage skirmishes, so it is difficult to believe that they found
the time to not only build the impossibly invincible looking Mehrangarh Fort, but also its lavish
and delicately embellished palaces. Within the Fort, reached by a steep path with huge guarding
at its turns and places at angles, to prevent elephants from storming them, are a large number of
apartments where the maharajas retainers now serve as guides. Within, the apartments are
painted and gilded and have windows and balconies to allow them an uninterrupted view of the
desert around it, now peopled with homes. The vintage battle arms of the royal past are well
presented – swords and daggers and spears and matchlock guns; a battle tent seized from
Emperor Jehangir; howdahs and chariots and carriages; cribs and beds; the royal, octagonal
throne; musical instruments, large drums, even a collection of turbans.
From the ramparts of the fort, where the cannons are still mounted, the sweeping view also takes
in a huge palace located on top of another lower hill. This is Umaid Bhavan, the palace the
Maharajas set out to build as a famine relief project, but also ambitiously as the World’s largest
private residence. It was intended to and did rival the Presidential palace coming up then in Delhi.
Build by a British Architect; while the planning has incorporated the elements of the Rajput
lifestyle (large county yards, for example, or a zenana wing), there is a formal western sense of
symmetry and restrained sense of ornamentation. Only in the royal suites does exuberance take
over, since a Polish artist, then traveling in India, was given the permission to create huge
paintings to suit the art-deco theme of the architecture and furniture in the palace. The grounds of
the palace are huge and towards the back, there is a bougainvillea garden, perhaps the only of its
kind in the world, and at the end, a Baradari, a pillared pavilion where the maharajas held
Mehfils, entertainment courts. Within the palace the courtrooms are more formal, while the
ballrooms resounded, till recently, with the sounds of revelry, now captured in the whispered
conversations of tourists.
Day 5: Sunday, arrive at 04.00 hrs, steam into Sawai Madhopur, to spend the day in the wilds
of Ranthambhor where your hosts are, of course, royal. Ranthambhor National Park is home
to the Royal Bengal Tiger, the most majestic of the big cats, and magnificent in its agility and
grace. As it moves through the underbrush, its tawny gold hide striped with black bands, merges
with nature, and the jungle stands to attention.
Ranthambhor is also very picturesque. A number of lakes from the shallow lands where tiger
sightings are quite common, and where herds of deer can be seen foraging, while crocodiles bask

in the sun. The lofty hills ring the park, and in the distance, the ramparts of Ranthambhor fort
create a dramatic silhouette.
Once, this was the scene for fierce battles, and for fiery Jauhars, but all that is of the past now,
though former hunting lodges such as Jogi Mahal, close to the lakes, is still retains its former
grandeur and glory.
Ranthambhor is particularly well known for its tiger sightings because the undisturbed
ambiance and the spreading, shallow lakes provide them the surroundings best suited to their
needs, and therefore sightings by day time are quite common. Various conservationists and
wildlife photographers have worked at length here to document the life cycle of the tigresses of
Ranthambhor, even giving them names, so that they are now a part of the regional lore.
Since the best time to visit the park is early morning, the train arrives at 04.00 hrs, and
leaves for its destination, Chittaurgarh at 11.00 hrs. Arrival at Chittaurgarh at 15.30 hrs.
Chittaurgarh is India's most valorous fort, its history an unending saga of passion,
chivalry and romance. Within its sprawling ramparts were beautiful palaces, but few of
them remain, the fort having been sacked by invaders. Lunch and dinner are served on
board the train.
Day 6: Monday, arrive at 07.30 hrs, Chittaurgarh and Udaipur, the capitals of the
Sisodia Maharanas, enjoy pre-eminence among the Rajput clans of Rajasthan. Spend
the day sight seeing at Udaipur. Lunch is at Lake Palace, the beautiful island palace
built as a summer resort by the royal family, and now converted into one of the world's
finest hotels. The train departs again at 20.00 hrs, and dinner will be served on board.
Maharana Udai Singh, laid the foundation for a new kingdom-Udaipur-situated by Lake Pichola,
where the impressive City Palace was lavished with aesthetic and imaginative works of art, and
the art of miniature painting was encouraged as decor-et-al . Subsequently, the princes built the
seemingly floating Island Palace, the royal summer retreat, offering a spectacular view of the
lake and surrounding mountains. Besides the Lake Palace, there are other
such retreats that have been converted into modern hotels, one of them, Shiv
Niwas, being run by the current head of the family. A graceful, valorous
race, the Sisodias and their city bring alive the excitement of a medieval
kingdom as it once was, and with a little imagination, can still almost be...
Day 7: If it’s Tuesday, it must be Bharatpur. Arrive at 06.00 hrs at a royal kingdom where
the Jats, rather than the Rajputs, ruled. Bharatpur’s Jat history is not too old, with Suraj Mal
establishing a firm stronghold in a region contested by both the Rajputs and the Mughals. Suraj
Mal’s exploits are legendary, and the fort, Lohargarh, or Iron Fort, has a history that recounts it
with pride. The only fort in the state to have bastions of mud, these proved meritorious because
they simply swallowed up the cannon shells, not allowing them to impact.
However, it is not for its fort, or palace, or even the close by fortified resort of Deeg that
passengers of the Palace on Wheels are here; their attention is drawn to the bird sanctuary, one of
the finest in the world. The Keoladeo Ghana National Park was developed by a royal edict when
dykes were created so that water could be canalized for the hunting preserve at the maharaja of
Bharatpur wished to create. In the early decade of this century, Bharatpur became famous among
visiting British royalty and aristocracy for the amount of game the visitors bagged. These days,
thankfully, only shooting by cameras is permitted in this sanctuary with over three hundred
species of birds, many of them migrant species that come from parts as distant as Siberia and
After visiting the sanctuary in the morning, visitors travel by couch to Fatehpur Sikri, the red
sandstone city build by Emperor Akbar on a lavish scale, but which he had to abandon soon after
because of shortage of water. From here to Agra, first for lunch at Welcome Group Mughal
Sheraton and then for a visit to the world’s most well-known monument and well worth its fame;
The Taj Mahal. Built in the memory of his beloved empress by Emperor Shah Jahan, this marble

mausoleum is the greatest gesture of love known to mankind, and is breathtakingly, bewitchingly
beautiful. Land for the building of the Taj Mahal in Agra came from the maharaja of Jaipur and
the marble used in its construction was from the mines of Makrana, also in Rajasthan. The
precious stones used in its inlay, and the craftsmen employed for the twenty-two years its
construction took, came not only from India, but from all over the World.
The Taj Mahal is the perfect finale to your Royal Sojourn.
Day 8: Wednesday, and you’re back in Delhi as early as 06.00 hrs where, after breakfast on
board the train, you descend to the humdrum existence of modern life, with only royal memories
to retain for the rest of your lifetime.
SARISKA TIGER RESERVE: this game sanctuary, 20 miles southwest of Al war, was once the
personal hunting ground of the Maharajas of Al war. It became a sanctuary in 1955 and was
taken up under project tiger in 1979. It covers an area of 320 square miles (with a core area of
192 square miles). The forested hills of Sariska are among the best places to view tigers in India.
There is a tiger population of approximately thirty here. Unlike other sanctuaries, the tigers here
can sometimes be sighted by day. These daytime sightings are on the increase, with the tigers
gradually becoming more confident with human beings around. The best time of the year to see
the tigers is during the summer months, when they come out to the water holes to drink and when
there is less jungle foliage to provide them with cover. Other animals here are panthers (which
tend not to overlap in the same areas with tigers), jungle cats, and caracals. In addition, there are
the Nilgai, Chital, Sambar, Wild Boar, and Porcupine. The reserve is also rich in Birds, including
gray partridge, quail, sand grouse, and white – breasted kingfisher. The best way to see the
animals is to drive through the reserve either in the early morning or in the late evening. While
there are paved roads within the reserve, and you can drive through it by car, it might be
preferable to hire a jeep so that you can go off the regular track into the interiors of the forest. In
the core areas, especially, you can see from the lovely forests what much of the Indian
countryside must have looked like, right up to the first half of this century. Also, it is a unique
experience to visit the remote little village in the outer areas of the reserve to see how the way of
life, totally untouched by outside influences, remains virtually the same as it has been for
centuries. The villagers still live, for instance, with the daily threat of their cattle being carried
away by leopards!
ALWAR: Alwar, paradoxically, was both the oldest and newest of all the Rajput Kingdoms. On
the one hand, it traced its traditions back to the kingdom of Viratnagra that flourished here around
1500 BC. On the other, it was officially created – carved out of the Martha territories – by the
British as late as the 1770’s. The rulers of Altar were distantly related to the Kachhawaha
dynasty of Jaipur and, until the mid – 18th century, were merely the chieftains of two villages in
Jaipur state. But, by skillfully aligning themselves with the right party at the right time – the Jats
of Bharatpur, the Kachhawahas, the Mughals and, finally, the East India Company – they rapidly
jockeyed themselves into a position of political consequence.
THE MAHARAJAS OF ALWAR: As a result of their relatively junior status, perhaps, the
maharajas of Alwar conducted themselves with great ostentation: their palaces were the most
ornate, their pageantry the most spectacular, and their tiger shikars the most elaborately
organized. They even affected the title of Saiwai, “ the one – and –a – quarter,” following their
grander cousins from Jaipur. It was this innate desire on their part to outshine their fellow princes
that made Altar the picturesque place it is today, with its splendid palaces. But since Altar was a
poorer state than many others were, the maharajas also made themselves fairly unpopular with
their subjects in the process. Altar and its surrounding areas are one of the most interesting and
undiscovered parts of Rajasthan. And one of the things that contributes towards making it so are

the tales of Maharaja Jai Singh (reigned 1892 – 1937), its brilliant but weird ruler in the early part
of this century.
CITY PALACE: The city palace (“Vinay Vilas”, as it is officially called) (left) was built in 1793
by Raja Bakhtawar Singh at the foot of a rugged, towering hill and added to over the centuries by
his successors. The palace is a marriage of Rajput and Mughal styles – an almost baroque
profusion of arches, balconies, pavilions and porticos, with an accent on bangaldar caves; with
seem characteristic of northeastern Rajasthan. Once, this palace was part of the Maharajas’
ornate lifestyle and housed, among other things, a drinking cup cut out of a single emerald in its
treasury and a mammoth, double storied, four elephant carriage in its stables. Today, however,
the palace has been converted into the district’s collectorate, and its halls and chambers have been
turned into government offices.
CENTRAL COURTYARD: The central courtyard of the palace (below) is impressive, with its
graceful marble pavilions set on lotus – flower bases, its inner walls lined with canopied
balconies and its dramatic marble checkerboard floor. Once dancing girls performed here by
moonlight, but today it is often the venue for rowdy teenagers’ cricket matches.
DURBAR HALL: Beyond the marble pavilions lies the splendid, old durbar hall, its walls and
ceilings richly covered with gilded arabesques still remarkably fresh. In an antechamber beyond
is an exquisite frieze of miniature paintings, sealed under glass and set in gilt, running along the
wall. Permission Maharaja, who now lives in Delhi.
RANI MOOSI CHHATRI: Behind the Palace lie the old temple tank and the cenotaph of Raja
Bakhtawar Singh and Rani Moosi, who performed sati. It is a superb example of early 19 th
century Rajput architecture, with its graceful brown Karauli sandstone structure and its nine white
marble canopies. Its style is completely different from those of other cenotaphs in the rest of
Rajasthan. Beneath the dome you can see interesting frescos of scenes from the epics Ramayana
and Mahabharata.
THE MUSEUM: The palace museum has a wonderful collection of exhibits, reflecting the
eclectic tastes – and the personal wealth – of the maharaja of Al war. There are some excellent
manuscripts here, including an illustrated Mahabharata, on a 200 foot long scroll, made from a
single length of paper, with writing so tiny it must be read with a magnifying glass. Other prize
pieces here are illustrated manuscript of Gulistan, Shah Nama, and on Emperor Babur’s life.
There are also some fine Ragamala paintings and miniatures from the Al war, Bundi, and Mughal
schools. (Don’t miss the miniature of the incarnations of Vishnu). In the armory section you will
find several historic swords, including those belonging to Sultan Mohammed Ghori, as well as
the Mughal emperors Akbar and Aurangzeb. You will also find a fascinating collection of armor
(including a suit of crocodile leather armor) and the usual strange Rajput weapons, such as a
nagphas, a carpet –beater shaped weapon ingeniously designed for strangling the enemy. There
are various other heirlooms from the maharajas’ collection, from perfumed sandalwood flywhisks
to a solid silver dinning table (with trompe-l’ oeil waves shimmering across it for good measure).
One thing that is not here, however, is Maharaja Jai Singh favorite car: a gold Lancaster, shaped
in the form of the King of England’s coronation carriage, but without the horses!
MOTI DOONGRI: Visiting Moti Doongri (“Pearl Hill”) is a bizarre experience. All that now
exists is a massive fortified wall, with a flat, empty space at the crest of the hill. Maharaja Jai
Singh dynamited the elegant one hundred roomed palaces that stood here out of existence. The
reason remains a mystery. Was he looking for buried treasure here, as some people say? Was it in
grief at the suicide of his favorite wife? Was it to destroy the tomb of a fakir nearby? Or was it
merely his eccentricity? Nobody knows. The fact is that the demolition took two years and cost
more than the building of the palace itself. Jai Singh possibly wanted to build another palace
BALA QILA: Towering on a craggy hill that dominates the town is Bala Qila (“Young Fort”).
Built on the foundations of an ancient mud fort constructed in AD 928 by Nikumbh Rajputs, it
has had a turbulent history and was successively occupied by the warring Mughals, Pathans and

Jats before finally being captured by Raja Pratap Singh in 1775. Bala Qila is accessible only by
jeep (with special permission from the Superintendent of Police, for there is a police wireless
station located in its citadel today). As you drive up the steep slope you can see the amazing
fortifications that run all the way along the hill, often at crazy, seemingly impossible, angles.
Passing through a series of massive gates, you finally enter Nikumbh Mahal Palace at the top.
Built in the early 19th century, it has graceful bangaldar caves, carved marble columns and
delicate latticed balconies opening onto a central courtyard. Inside the baradari (pavilion), there
are some beautiful gilded frescos on the walls and ceiling. And outside, beneath the canopies
surrounding the courtyard, are traces of other delicately painted panels. From here there is
stunning view of the surrounding countryside, and you can also see the miles of ramparts that
enclose the fort: a feat of military engineering, sometimes running vertically up the hill, and
provided with literally thousands of steps built for the sentries who patrolled its top. You can also
see, on a nearby ridge, the palace of the Mughal Prince Saleem, later Emperor Jahangir, who was
exiled here for three years for trying to assassinate Abu’l Fazal, one of the celebrated “Nine
Gems” of his father Akbar’s Court.
En route to Sariska, 08 miles southwest of Al war, is the water palace of Siliserh and a pretty lake
ringed by low, wooded hills. There is a romantic legend about this palace. Once, a young raja of
Al war was out riding when he heard a beautiful village maiden singing. He immediately fell in
love with her. She seemed to reciprocate his feeling, but her brothers suddenly arrived on the
scene and, infuriated at what they saw to be an insult to their sister’s honor, were about to kill the
raja. The raja then revealed his identity and promised to marry the girl. He built this palace for
her so that she could look out at her old village across the lake’s water. The palace is now a rather
shabby hotel, but it’s worth stopping here briefly, sitting on the lovely terrace, and watching the
cormorants diving for fish in the waters of the lake.
Bharatpur was an unusual Kingdom of Rajasthan because it was the only one that was ruled by a
dynasty of Jats – peasant sons of the soil – rather than Rajputs. Under its aggressive rulers, the
kingdom of Bharatpur became a major military and political force in the 18th and 19th centuries,
its armies sweeping the plains of northern India, virtually olds and masters of all they surveyed.
However, the history of Bharatpur goes back far, far earlier, to the great ancient kingdom of
Matsyadesh that fluorides here around the 5ht century BC. There are several fine archeological
remains of this civilization that you can see in the Bharatpur Museum.
Keoladeo Ghana in Bharatpur, where thousands of migratory waterfowl arrive every winter, is
part of the Indo – genetic plains of India where water birds nest in thousands during the monsoon.
Created in the late 19th century by the Maharaja of Bharatpur to bring the pleasure of wildfowl
hunting to his doorstep, the reserve came into being by the simple act of diverting water from a
nearby irrigation canal. The lowlands holding the monsoon floodwater have been an age less
avian paradise, and were where the Maharaja of Bharatpur hosted duck shoots for British
The city of Jaipur is the logical starting point for anyone traveling in Rajasthan because to its
central location and good air road and rail connections. To the west lies the desert region of
Mercer (Biker, Jaisalmer, and Jodhpur), to the north and south run the craggy Aravalli hills. From
jaipur it is an easy drive to Al war and the Sariska Tiger Reserve. In the Northeast, or to Ajmer,
Pushkar, and Krishangarh in the southwest. Also within reach is the shekhavati region in the
northwest and Ranthambhor National Park in the east.
The kingdom of jaipur was originally known as amber, which was also the name of its ancient
capital situated 7 miles away. Its history can be traced back to the 12th century, when Amber was

the stronghold of the fierce Mina tribesmen. According to legend, the Minas once gave shelter to
a Rajput Prince called Duleh Rai. But the prince later betrayed them by getting them drunk one
night, slaying them, and taking over Amber. In the 16th century, Amber suddenly came to the fore
when the Mughal emperor, Akbar (reigned 1556 – 1605) married one of its princesses, the first of
several shrewd matrimonial alliance between a Mughal ruler and a Rajput Princess.
Amber lies about 7 miles north east of Jaipur. The name is derived from the goddess, Amba Mate,
the Mother Earth, whom the Miner tribe used to worship at this site before the Kachawaha
Rajputs took it over and made it their capital. Amber remained the capital of the kachawahas till
1727, but even after that it was never completely abandoned. When the Mughal emperor
Aurangzeb once asked Raja Saiwai Jai Singh II what his capital looked like, it is said that latter
cut open a pomegranate – to demonstrate how it lay in a protected valley. All around amber, the
hills are ringed with battlements and watchtower, and within the valley lie the including the 13th
century palace (only Bala Bai Ki Sal is somewhat intact). There remains on ornate 17 th century
water tank nearby, Panna Mina kA Kund, built by a eunuch, and Jagat Shiromani Temple, a fine
marriage of north and south Indian architectural styles, with a superbly carved to rana archway
Chamwar Walon Ki Haveli (‘mansion of the fly whisk attendants’), which has now been
painstakingly restored to its original condition. It is a private home, but worth seeing from the
outside at least.
By the water of Maota Lake lie the beautifully laid out old garden of Dilaram Bagh and Mohan
Bari. A formal garden was an idea largely unknown in traditional Indian palace architecture
(although many palaces lay in beautiful natural surroundings) until the Muslim invaders brought
in this Persian concept. The garden concept was one of many Mughal ideas that Raja Man Singh
I imbibed from his close friend, Emperor Akbar, along with such details as cussed arches, domes
and marble filigree – work grilles, all of which he incorporated splendidly at Amber, overlooking
Maota Lake is the old Raja Mahal Palace, built from 1600 onward.
A steep cobbled path from Dilemma Bagh takes you to Suraj Pol and Jaleb Chowk. Often
mistakenly referred to as “Jalebi Chowk”, or “The Candy Square”, it actually means, “The Square
where horses and elephants are fortified double gate, incorporating a blind turn and guard rooms
on three sides. This was once richly painted with frescos, the fading remains of which you can
still see.
Nearby is the beautiful temple to Kali, its pillars carved in the form of banana trees in delicate
Green marble? Raja Man Singh I in 1580 brought the image of the goddess back for Bengal. The
temple’s priests had traditionally been Bengalis but now they are from Bihar.
Jai Mandir, used as a hall of private audience, is created in white marble; its floral ceiling is inlaid
with intricate mirror – work. The walls are decorated with fine murals of leaf scrolls and flowers.
He magnificent entirely covered with intricate inlay – work of mirror and coloured glass. The
stain – glass windows here, by the way, were a later 18th century addition, imported from Europe.
Just above Jai Mandir is Jas Mandir, with a roof ablaze with spangled mirrors and lovely mosaics.
Its entire eastern face is a filigreed marble screen, with a stunning view over Maota Lake and the
rugged hills below, specially designed to catch the summer breeze and draw them in to cool the
Opposite this complex, across the gardened courtyard, is Sukh Mandir (“temple of contentment”),
an empty named pleasure chamber, cooled by a marble water cascade. Do not miss the doors
here, which are made of fragrant sandalwood, inlaid with ivory.
Beyond this lies the Zenana (palace of the Rains), here, clustered around a large central courtyard,
were what used to be the self – contain suites of twelve rains, with chambers for concubines on
the upper floor. There is a device for grinding millet in the floor of the favourite Rani’s suite: it
apparently served as an exercising device to help keep her figure trim! In the courtyard is a fine
boarder (pavilion supported by stately carved pillar sandalwood, inlaid with ivory.

The sprawling city palace was an integral part of Raja Saiwai Jai Singh II’s new city of Jaipur.
Of the nine blocks in the city plan, two were apportioned for the palace. It is almost a city. The
city palace is a superb marriage of the Rajput and Mughal style, with open airy building designed
for different functions, each one set a geometrical garden of its own. But there is also great deal,
especially in the details of the palace, which results from centuries of Rajput (and Jain)
architectural tradition. As you walk deeper into the palace complex, you come to buildings of an
increasingly private function.
You enter through Atish Pol, are “ Stable Gate “ (the palace’s great triple arched Tripoli Gate is
now reserved for the Maharaja’s family which still lives in a part of the palace). Passing through
Chandi Chowk (square of moonlight) and Gained Ki Deorhi (rhinoceros gate), you come to
Mubarak mahal (above). This was a royal guesthouse built in 1900 by Maharaja Madho Singh II.
Designed by Sir Winton Jacob it now contains part of the palace museum costumes for the royal
family dating back to the 18th century.
Nearby is Sileh Khan, the armory section that contains one of India’s finest collections of antique
weapons, including Raja Man Singh Is massive cutlass (weighing II pounds) and an interesting
turban – shaped helmet that belonged to Mirza Raja Jai Singh I. Some of the weapons are real
curiosities such as the dagger that has two miniature pistols built into its handle, hence leaving
absolutely nothing to chance! There is also a bloodthirsty sword – like weapon – a predecessor of
the dumdum bullet concept perhaps – which would spread open on being plunged into the
unfortunate victim’s body.
Opposite Mubarak Mahal is Singh Pol (“ Lion Gate”), this impressive gateway, with its ornate
brackets, carved balconies, and brass – studded doors, is a fine example of the typically Hindu
architectural elements that fill the city palace. On either side of it are enormous white marble
elephants. They were moved here from the Zenana (private maharanis quarters) to mark the birth
of Maharaja Bhawani Singh in 1931, the first direct male heir to the Jaipur throne in two
Beyond Singh poll lays Divan – I – Khas (“ hall of private audience”), a large, breezy, typically
Mughal, and pillared hall. So within an impressive, deep pink courtyard, it has elegant tows of
Marble Pillars and arches supporting its beautiful pavilion roof. Today as a sign of the times, it is
surmounted, incongruously, with a satellite dish antenna.
To the right is Divan – I – Am (“hall or public audience”). Its ceiling, painted in the 1870’s is
decorated with floral motifs in gilt, green, and red. Along one side are latticed galleries provided
so that the maharanis of the household could watch the proceedings below without being seen
they. Today Divan - I – Am houses a major part of the city palace museum, known especially for
its rare manuscripts, miniature paintings and splendid carpets. The manuscripts include a
beautiful, illustrated scroll of the Bhagavad-Gita and a copy of the ancient Shiva Purina, rendered
in almost microscopic calligraphy. The illustrated Geet Govinda is also worth seeing. Among the
miniature paintings, of which there are some wonderful examples here, two are particularly
interesting. One is a painting of the Madonna and child, in which Joseph is depicted in a
European Renaissance style, but he Madonna, curiously, is wearing a typically Mughal headdress
And earrings! Another outstanding painting is lovers at night, executed almost entirely in black
and white, and brilliantly capturing the glimmer of moonlight on marble. The carpets dating back
to the 17th century came from Heart and Lahore. They are exquisitely waveband measure up to
28 feet by 10 feet. The collection includes a carpet that is said to have been that is said to have
been the throne carpet of the Mughal emperor, Jahangir.

Nearby is Pritam Niwas Chowk (“square of the beloved”). It is an enchanting enclosed courtyard
with four 18th century gateways, elaborately decorated in brilliant colors. This courtyard was
originally used for royal dance performances. Performing singers used the balcony above one of
the gates.
Beyond Pritam Niwas Chowk lies the seven – storied Chandra Mahal (“palace of the moon “),
with its Wedgwood – blue Chhabi Niwas hall, its beautiful, floral painted Sukh Niwas hall, and its
even more beautiful rang Mahal, an ornate hall of mirrors, based on the one at the Red Fort in
Delhi. However, the Chandra Mahal complex is where the present Maharaja lives and is closed
to the public.
Walking back towards Sireh Deorhi gate, you come to the large Jaleb Chowk. Here you will find
Govind Devji Temple, the temple of Lord Krishna, in whose name the Kachhawaha kings used to
true Jaipur. The idol was brought back from Mathura, the birthplace of Lord Krishna, by Raja
Saiwai Jai Singh II and installed here in the 1730’s.
Nearby is the ornate Hawa Mahal (: palace of the winds”) it is a delightfully idiosyncratic five-
tier composition of arches and balconies with 953 casements sets in a wide curve. However, it is
little more than a facade as most of the ladies of the royal household of the royal household to
enjoy the breeze and to look out to the outside world, without flouting the confines of Purdah.
The design of Hawa Mahal is said to have been inspired by Jain temple architecture, with its
tradition of taking a single structural motif and repeating it, tier after tier, for the bold vertical
thrust it creates. The 11th century Saabs Jain temple near Gwalior is said to have been the model
on which it was based.
The Jaipur astronomical observatory built by Raja Saiwai Jai Singh II in 1827 is amazing
monument. / Jantar Mantra (the name rough translates as “ the formula of Instruments”) was one
of five observatories that he built in northern India. Its instruments, which look like giant,
Abstract, futuristic sculptures, are actually highly sophisticated devices that could, among other
things, mark time accurate to one second? The first observatory was built in Delhi. The second
and more sophisticated one is at Jaipur. In addition three smaller once, in Varanasi, Ujjain and
Mathura, were built to supplement the observation madder in Jaipur (the Mathura one has since
been destroyed).
QUTAB MINAR: The origins of Qutab Miner are shrouded in controversy. Some believe it was
erected as a tower of victory to signify the beginning of the Muslim rule in India. Others say it
served as minaret to the adjoining mosque and was used by the muezzins to call the faithful to
prayer. No one can, however, dispute that the tower is not only one of the finest monuments in
India, but also in the world.
Qutab-ud-din Aibak, the first Muslim ruler of Delhi, commenced the construction of the Qutab
Miner in 1200 AD, but could only finish the basement. His successor, Iltumush, added three
more stories, and in 1368, Firoz Shah Tughlak constructed the fifth and last storey. The
developments of architectural styles from Aibak of Tughlak are quite evident in the miner. The
relief work and even the materials used for construction differ.
The 238 feet Qutab Miner is 47 feet at the base and tapers to nine feet at the apex. The tower is
ornamented by bands of inscriptions and by four projecting balconies supported by elaborately
decorated brackets.
Even in ruin, the Quwwat UL Islam (Light of Islam) Mosque in the Qutab Complex is one of the
most magnificent in the world. Its construction was started by Qutab – du – din Aibak in 1193

and the Mosque was completed in 1197. Iltutmush in 1230 and Allah-ud-din Khilji in 1315 made
additions to the building.
The main mosque comprises an inner and outer courtyard, of which an exquisite colonnade, the
pillars of which are made of richly, surrounds the inner decorated shafts. Most of these shafts are
from the 27 Hindu Temples that were plundered to construct the mosque. It is, therefore, not
suppressing that the Muslim Mosque has typical Hindu ornamentation.
Close to the mosque is one of Delhi’s most curious antiques, the Iron pillar. Dating back to the 4 th
century AD, the pillar bears an inscription, which states that it was erected as a flagstaff in honor
of the Hindu god, Vishnu, and in the memory of the Gupta King Chandragupta II (375 -–413).
How the pillar moved to its present location remains a mystery. The pillar also highlights ancient
India’s achievements in metallurgy. The pillar is made of 98 per cent wrought iron and has stood
1,600 years without rusting or decomposing.
BIRLA MANDIR: LAKSHMI NARAYAN TEMPLE built in 1938; the temple is an ideal
introduction to some of the gods of the Indian pantheon. The temple contains a large number of
idols and visitors can also watch priests performing ritualistic prayers.
JANTAR MANTAR: At first sight, the Janitor Mantra appears like a gallery of modern art. It is,
however, an observatory. Sawai Jai Singh II of Jaipur (1699-1743), a keen astronomer and a
noble in the Mughal Court was dissatisfied by the errors of brass and metal astronomer
instruments. Under patronage from the emperor, he set on himself the task of correcting the
existing astronomical tables and updating the almanac with more reliable instruments, Delhi’s
Jantar Mantar is the first of the five observatories that he built with large masonry instruments.
The observatory has the Smart Mantra, a simple equal hour sundial, the Ram Mantra for reading
latitudinal angles; Jai Prakash for ascertaining the position of the sun and other celestial bodies,
and the Miser Mantra, which is a combination of four scientific gadgets.
INDIA GATE: Built as memorial to commemorate the 70,000 Indian soldiers killed in World
War I, India Gate was designed by Sir Edwin Lateens and completed in 1931. Located on
Rajpath, the road that leads to the magnificent Rashtrapati Bhawan, the gate is 160 feet high with
an arch of 138 feet. Built from sandstone, the arch also houses the Eternal Flame, a gesture in
memory of the Indian soldiers who laid their lives in the 1971 war with Pakistan.
PRESIDENT HOUSE: RASHTRAPATI BHAWAN Formerly the Vicarage Lodge, the building
is the highlight of Lateen’s New Delhi and was completed in 1929 at a cost of 12,53,000 pound
sterling. Located in an area of 130 hectares, the palace has 340 rooms. At one time, 2,000 people
were required to look after the building and serve the viceroy’s household. The lodge also has an
impressive garden called the Mughal Garden, which is open to public twice in a year, usually in
February and March.
PARLIAMENT HOUSE: This is Lok Sabha & Rajya Sabha House. Where our 525 M.P. seat
they’re to discuss about Indian.
HUMAYUN’S TOMB: The Mughals brought with them a love for gardens, fountains and water.
The empire’s grieving widow built Humayun’s Tomb the first mature example of Mughal
architecture in India. Hajji Begun, in 1565 AD. Constructed with red sandstone and ornamented
with marble bands, this mausoleum marks the beginning of a new tradition of ornate style that
culminated in the Taj Mahal of Agra.
Designed by the Persian architect, Mirza Ghyas, Humayun’s Tomb shows a marked shift from the
Persian tradition of using colored tiles for ornamentation. Located in the midst of a large square
garden, screened by high walls, with gateways to the south and west, the tomb is a square tower
surmounted by a magnificent marble dome. The dome stands 140 feet from the base of the
terrace and is topped with a copper pinnacle, in addition to the remains of Humayun; the complex
also houses the grave of many other distinguished members of the Mughal dynasty.
SAFDARJANG TOMB: Representing the last phase of the Mughal style of architecture,
Safdarjang’s Tomb stands in the center of the extensive garden. Built in 1753 by Nawab Shauja-
ud—Daula to house the remains of his father, who was a minister in the Mughal court, the tomb

is referred to as the “last flicker in the lamp of Mughal architecture.” It shows how the grace and
simplicity of the Mughals had been overtaken by decadence. The tomb also has a mosque.
RED FORT: So called because of the red stone with which it is built; the Red Fort is one of the
most magnificent palaces in the world. India’s history is also closely linked with this fort. It was
from here that the British deposed the last Mughal ruler, Bahadur Shah Zafar, marking the end of
the three-century long Mughal rule. It was also from its ramparts that the first Prime Minister of
India, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, announced to the nation that India was free from colonial rule.
The Mughal emperor, Shah Jahan, after ruling from Agra for eleven years, decided to shift to
Delhi and laid the foundation stone of the Red Fort in 1618. For its inauguration in 1647, the
main halls of the palace were draped in rich tapestry and covered with silk from china and velvet
from Turkey. With a circumference of almost one and a half miles, the fort is an irregular octagon
and has two entrances, the Lahore and Delhi Gates.
From the Lahore Gate, a visitor has access to the Chatta Chowk (vaulted arcade), which was once
a royal market and housed court Jewelers, miniature painters, and carpet manufacturers, workers
in enamel, silk weavers and families of specialized craftsmen. The road from the royal market
leads to the Nawbatkhana (band house) where the royal band played five times a day. The band
house also marks the entry into the main palace and all visitors, except royalty had to dismount
The Divan-I-am is the Ref Fort’s hall of public audience. Built of sandstone covered with shell
plaster polished to look like ivory, the 80 x 40 feet hall is sub-divided by columns. The Mughal
emperors would hold court here and meet dignitaries and foreign emissaries. The most imposing
feature of the Diwan-I-am is the alcove in the back wall where the emperor sat in state on a richly
carved and inlaid marble platform. In the recess behind the platform are fine examples of Italian
pietra-dura work.
The piece de resistance of the fort, the Diwan-khas was the hall of private audience. The most
highly ornamented of all Shah Japan’s buildings, the 90 x 67 feet Diwan-I-khas is a pavilion of
white marble supported by intricately carved pillars. So enamored was the emperor by the beauty
of this pavilion that he engraved on it the following words:
“If there is paradise on the face of this earth, it is this.”
Richly decorated with flowers of inlaid mosaic work of Cornelia and other stones, the Diwan-I-
khas once housed the famous Peacock Throne, which when it was plundered by Nadir Shah in
1739, was valued at six million sterling.
Residence of the senior queens, the Rang Mahal (hall of colors) has a central hall surrounded by
six apartments. The apartments are assured privacy by intricately carved screens that do not
hinder the free flow of fresh air and light. The stream of paradise flows through the main hall,
and is marked in the center by a huge lotus shaped marble basin with an ivory fountain.
Constructed by Emperor Aurangzeb in 1662 as his private mosque Moti Masjid (pearl mosque) is
built with highly polished marble. The mosque is a good example of the Mughal fetish for
symmetry with cussed arches, sinuous decorative deigns, carved cornices and bulbous domes.
Other buildings of interest in the Red Fort complex are the Musamman Burg (octagonal tower),
Khwabagh (bedroom) and the Hammam (royal baths).
JAMA MASJID: Work on the Jama Masjid mosque was begun in 1650 by the Mughal Emperor
Shah Jahan to complement his palace at the Red Fort. More than 5,000 workers toiled for six
years to complete the largest mosque in India. Every Friday, the emperor and his retinue would
travel in state from the fort to the mosque to attend the congressional prayers.
A fine example of Mughal architecture, the Jama Masjid has three gateways. The largest and
highest on the east was reserved exclusively for the emperor. The main courtyard of the mosque
in 408 feet square and paved with red stone. In the center is a large marble tank in which the
devout wash before attending prayers. Three onions shaped domes made of white marble and
inlaid with stripes of black slate crown the main mosque. On the north and south of the complex
are two 130 feet high minarets that offer a spectacular bird’s eye-view of the city.

Jama Masjid is not only architecturally beautiful, but also a place of great religious significance
as it houses a hair from the beard of the Prophet and also a chapter of the Holy Quran written by
RAJ GHAT: The mortal remains of Mahatma Gandhi were cremated on this spot on the West
Bank of the river Yamuna on the evening of 31st January 1948. A simple open platform inscribed
with the Mahatma’s last words, ‘Hey Ram” (ohgod) is set in a garden with fountains and a variety
of exotic trees.
RAIL TRANSPORT MUSEUM: For Railways buffs, the Rail Museum houses the oldest
working steam locomotive in the world – the ‘Fairie Queen’ – in addition to a large number of
unusual locomotives and coaches that once belonged to Indian Maharajas. The exhibit section
traces the almost 140 years old history of the Indian Railways.
PURANA QUILA: The fort is said to be constructed on the historic site of Indraprastha (900BC)
by Humayun and Sher Shah. Covering a circuit of about a mile, the walls of the fort have three
gates and are surrounded by a moat fed by the river Yamuna. Humayun built the wall while the
buildings in the fort are attributed to Sher Shah. The notable buildings that have survived in the
fort are the Sher Mandal and the Quila-I-kholina mosque. Sher Mandal is a two-storied octagonal
tower that was used by Humayun as his library. The mosque, built around 1541 – 42, is a
landmark in Indo – Islamic architecture. The architect has shown skill by enriching each part
with molding, bracketed openings, marble inlay, carving and other establishments. A variety of
materials have also been used to construct the small mosque (168x44 feet). The entrance arch is
of marble, the spandrels of red sandstone studded with marble bosses, the columns and pilasters
of in the 16th and 17th centuries, black and white marble.
Agra was the capital of India under the Munhall, and its capital of India under the Mughals, and
its superb monuments date from this era. They include a magnificent fort and the building that
many people come to India solely to see – the Taj Mahal. Away from its handful of imposing
monuments, there’d little to distinguish Agra from any other Northern Indian City: it has the
usual dense chowk, a large cantonment, lots of predatory rickshaw – Walla’s and highly polluted
air. The Yamuna River, which flows through the city and is the backdrop to the Taj and Agra
Fort, has become an open sewer – scientists recently declared it incapable of supporting and life
It’s possible to day trip to Agra from Delhi, and there’s an excellent train service making this
eminently practicable. However, Agra is worth more than a flying visit, particularly if you intend
to see the nearby deserted city of Fathepur Sikri. The Taj certainly deserves more than a single
visit if you want to appreciate how its appearance changes under different light.
Badal Singh is credited with building a fort on the site of the present Agra Fort in 1475, but this
didn’t stop Sikander Lodi making his capital on the opposite bank of Yamuna in 1501. Babur
defeated the last Lodi Sultan in 1526 at Panipat, 80kms north of Delhi, and December 6,
1999Agra then became the Mughal capital. The city reached the peak of its magnificence
between the mid 16th and mid 17th centuries under the reigns of Akbar, Jehangir and Shah Jahan.
It was during this period that the for, TAJ MAHAL and Agra’s major tombs were built. In 1638
Shah Jahan built a new city in Delhi, and AURANGZEB MOVED THE CAPITAL THERE 10
IN 1761 Agra fell to the Jats, who looted its monuments, administration of the North Western
Provinces to Allahabad, Agra has since developed as an industrial center including the Taj Mahal.
The Martha’s tanked it in 1770, before the British wrested control in 1803. There was heavy
fighting around the fort during the Mutiny of 1857, and after the British regained control, they
shifted the Agra is on the western bank of the Yamuna River, 220kms south of Delhi. The old
part of the city and the main marketplace (kinari Bazaar) are north – west of the fort. The
Spacious British – built cantonment is to the south, and the main road running through it is called

The Mall. The commercial center of the cantonment is Sadar Bazaar. The laborers and craftsmen
who toiled on the Taj set up home immediately south of the mausoleum. This area of congested
alleyways is known as Taj Ganj and today it contains most of Agra budget hotels. The ‘Tourist
Class’ hotels are predominantly in the area south of here.
Agra’s main railway station, Agra cantonment, is west of Sadar Bazaar. The city’s major bus
stand, Idgah, is nearby. Agra’s Airport is seven kms west of the city.
Emperor Akbar began Agra Fort Construction of the massive red sandstone Agra Fort on the bank
of the Yamuna River in 1565, though additions were made up until the rule of
His grandson, Shah Jahan. Akbar’s time the fort was principally a military structure, but during
Shah Jahan’s reign it had partially become a palace.
The auricular fort’s colossal double walls rise over 200m in height and measure 2-½ km in
circumference. They are encircled by a fetid moat and contain a maze of buildings that form a
small city within a city. Unfortunately not all buildings are open to visitors, including the white
marble Pear Mosque, regarded by some as the most beautiful mosque in India.
DIWAN – I – AM: Shah Jahan and replaced and earlier wooden structure built the hall of public
audiences. His predecessors had a hand in the hall’s construction, but the throne room with its
typical inlaid marble work indisputably bears Shah Jahan’s influences. This is where the emperor
met officials and listened to petitioners. Beside the Divan – I – Am is the small Nagina Masjid or
Gem Mosque. A door leads form here into the Ladies’ bazaar, where female merchants came to
sell goods to the ladies of the Mughal court. No males were allowed to enter the bazaar except
Akbar though according to one apocryphal story he still enjoyed visiting in female disguise.
DIWAN – I – KHAS: Shah Jahan also built the hall of private audiences, between 1636 and
1637. It’s where the emperor received important dignitaries or foreign ambassadors. The hall
consists of two rooms connected by three arches. The famous peacock throne was kept here
before being moved to Delhi by Aurangzeb. It was later carted off to Iran and its remains are now
in Tehran.
OCTAGONAL TOWER: The exquisite Museum – man Burj or Octagonal Tower stands close to
the Divan – I – Khas and the small, Private Mina Massaged. This is where Shah Jahan died after
seven years imprisonment in the fort. The tower looks out over the Yamuna and is traditionally
considered to have one of the most poignant views of the Taj, but Agra’s pollution is now so thick
that it’s difficult to see. The tower has been badly damaged over the years and at the time of
writing it was closed for conservation world.
JEHANGIRI’S PALACE: Akbar believed to have built this palace, the largest private residence
in the fort, for his son. This was one of the first signs of the fort’s changing emphasis form
military to luxurious living quarters. The palace also displays an interesting blend of Hindu and
central Asian architectural styles – a contrast to the unique Mughal style that had developed by
the time of Shah Jahan.
OTHER BUILDING: Shah Jahan’s Khas Mahal is a beautiful white marble structure used as a
private palace. The rooms underneath it were intended as cool retreat from the summer heat. The
Shish Mahal or mirror palace is reputed to have been the harem dressing room and its walls are
inlaid with tiny mirrors. The Anguri Bagh or grape garden probably never had nay grapevines
but was simply a small, formal Mughal garden. It stood in front of the Khas Mahal.
In front of Jehangir’s Palace is the Hauz – I – Jehangri, a huge bowl carved out of a single block
of stone. According to one traditional story Jehangir’s wife, Nur jahan, made attar of roses in the
bowl: it’s also fabled to be used for preparing Bang. The Amar Singh Gate takes its name from a
maharaja of Jodhpur who slew the imperial treasurer in the Divan – I – Am in 1644 and, in a bid
to escape, is said to have ridden his horse over the fort wall near here, not surprisingly, the
unlucky horse did not survive the fall – though it is now immortalized in stone: Mar Singh did not
survive Shah Jahan’s wrath.

Justice tended to be summary in those days: there is a shaft leading down to the river where those
who made themselves unpopular with the great Mughals were hurled without further ado.
JAMA MASJID: Across the railway tracks from the Delhi gate of Agra forts is the Jama Masjid,
built by Shah Jahan in 1648. An inscription over the main gate indicates that it was built in the
name of Jahanara, Shah Jahan’s favorite daughter, who was eventually imprisoned with shah
jahan by Aurangzeb. The mosque has no minarets but its sandstone domes have striking marble
The sandstone and marble tomb of Akbar, the greatest of the Mughal emperors, lies in the center
of peaceful garden grazed by deer of Sikander, four kms north – west of Agra. Akbar started its
construction himself blending Islamic, Hindu, Buddhist, Jain and Christian’s motifs and styles,
much like the sincerity religious philosophy he developed called Den Iahi. When Akbar died, his
son, jehangir, who significantly modified the original plans, completed the mausoleum. This
accounts for its somewhat cluttered architectural lines.
Like Humayun’s tomb in Delhi, it’s an interesting place to study the gradual evolution in deign
that culminated in the Taj Mahal. Very tame languor monkey hands out on the walk – way
waiting to be fed. The stunning southern gateway is the most impressive part of the complex. It
has three – a storey minaret at each concert and is built of red sandstone strikingly inlaid with
white marble abstract patterns.
Sikandra is named after Sikander Lodi, the Delhi sultan who ruled from 1488 to 1517
immediately preceding the rise of Mughal power on the subcontinent. He built the Baradi Palace,
in the mausoleum is the across the road from the mausoleum is the Delhi gate. Between Sikandra
and Agra are several tombs and two KOs miners, or milestone.
Described as the most extravagant monument ever built for love, this poignant Mughal
Mausoleum has become the de facto tourist emblem of India. It was constructed by emperor
Shah Jahan in memory of his second wife, Mumtaz Mahal, whose death in childbirth in 1631 left
the emperor so heart broken that his is said to have tuned Grey overnight.
Constructions of the Taj begin in the same year and were not completed until 1653, in total
20,000 – people from India and central Asia worked on the building. The main architect is
believed to have been Is Khan, who was from Shiraz in Iran. Experts were also brought from
Europe – Austin of Bordeaux and Vernon of Venice both had a hand in the Taj’s decoration –
which allowed the British to delude themselves for some time that such as exquisite building
must certainly have been designed by a European.
The most unusual {but almost certainly apocryphal} story about the Taj is that there might well
have been two of them. Shah Jahan, it is said, intended to build a second Taj as his own tomb in
black marble, of negative image of the white Taj of Mumtaz Mahal. Before he could embark on
this second in masterpiece his son, Aurangzeb, deposed him. Shah Jahan spent the rest of his life
imprisoned in Agra fort, looking out long the river to the final resting-place of his wife.
The Taj is definitely worth more than a single visit as its character changes with the light during
the day. Dawn is a magical time, and it’s virtually deserted. Friday tends to be impossibly
crowded and not conductive to appreciating this most serene of monuments.
There are three entrances to the Taj {east, south and west} the main entrance is on the western
side. The Taj is open from 0600 hrs and 1900hrs daily except Friday. Entry cost RS. 105/- at
Sunrise {0600hrs to 0800hrs} and Sunset {1630hrs to 1900hrs}, and RS. 15.50 between 0800hrs
to 1630hrs. There are plan feet of once again open the Taj on Full moon nights, probably up until
The grand red sandstone gateway in the interior forecourt is inscribed with verses from the Koran
in Arabic. It would make a stunning entrance to the Taj, but unfortunately these days you only
exit through here. The entrance is now through a small door to the right of the gate, where
everyone has to undergo a security check. Food, cigarette, matches and a hundred other items,

for safekeeping. Camera is permitted, though there is sign on the walkways approaching the Taj
flagrantly ignores it. Taking photographs inside the mausoleum will, however attract attention.
Paths leading from the gate to the gate to the Taj are divided by along watercourse in which the
Taj is reflected. The ornamental gardens through which the paths lead are set out long classical
Mughal Charbagh lines – a square quartered by watercourse. To the west is a small museum
that’s open daily except Monday and Friday between 1000hrs to 1700hrs. It house original
architectural drawings of the Taj information on the semiprecious stones used in its construction,
and some nifty Caledonia plates, said to split into pieces or change color if the food served on
them contains poison. Entry to the museum is free.
The Taj Mahal itself stands on a raised marble platform on the northern edge of the ornamental
gardens. Tall, purely decorative whittle minaret grave each corner of the platform – as the Taj
Mahal is not a mosque; nobody is called to prayer from them. Twin red sandstone building frame
the building: the one of the western side is a mosque because if faces in the wrong direction.
The central Taj structure has four small domes surrounding the bulbous central dome. The tombs
of Mumtaz Mahal and Shah Jahan are in as basement room. Above them in the main chamber are
false tombs; a common practice is mausoleums of this type. Light is admitted into the central
chamber by the finely cut marble screens. The echo in this high domed chamber is superb: and
there is always somebody there to demonstrate it.
FATEHPUR SIKRI beautiful mosque contains elements of Persian and Hindu design and is said
to be a copy of the mosque at Mecca. The main entrance is through the impressive 54m high
Buland Darwaza, the Gate of Victory, constructed to commemorate Akbar’s victory in Gujarat. A
Koranic inscription inside its archway quotes Jesus say. The world is a bridge, pass over it but
build no house upon it. He who hopes for an hour may hope for eternity’ which seems highly
appropriate considering the fate of the city. Just outside the gateway is a deep well and, when
sufficient numbers of tourists assembler, local daredevils leap from the top of the entrance into
the water.
In the northern part of the courtyard is the and Delhi Gates. From the Lahore Gate, a visitor has
access to the Chatta Chowk (vaulted arcade), which was once a royal market the old city. The
first building inside the gate is palace, commonly but wrongly ascribed to Jodh Bai, Jehangir’s
Hindu Mother and the daughter of the Maharaja of Amber the architecture is a blend of styles
with Hindu columns and Muslims cupolas. The Hawa Mahal (palace of the winds) is a projecting
room whose walls are made entirely of stone latticework. The ladies of the court may have sat
inside to keep and unobtrusive eye on events below.
Thought to have been built either by or for Akbar’s favorite courtier Raja Bridal, this elegant
building provoked victor Hugo, the 19th century French author, to comment that it was either a
very small palace or a very large jewelry box. Bridle, who was a Hindu and noted for his wit and
wisdom, unfortunately proceed to be a hopeless solider and lost his life, and most of his army,
near Peshawar in 1586. The palace fronts onto the Lower Harasser, which was once believed to
be an enormous stable, with nearby 200 enclosures for elephants, horses and camels. This is now
thought to be where the palace maids lived. The stone rings still in evidence were more likely to
have been used to secure curtains than to fetter pachyderms. The Karawam Serai or Caravansary
was a large courtyard surrounded by the hostels used by visiting merchants. The Hiram Miner
(Deer Minaret), which is actually outside the fort grounds, is said to have been erected over the
grave of Akbar’s favorite elephant. Stone elephant’s tusks protrude from the 21m tower from
which Akbar is said to have shot at deer and other game which were driven in front of him. The
flat expanse of land stretching away from the tower was once a lake and still occasionally floods
Close to the Jodh Bai Palace, this house was used by Akbar’s Goam Christian wife, Maryann, and
at one time was gilded throughout giving it the name the Golden House.

This whimsical five-storey palace was probably once used by the ladies of the court and
originally had stone screens on the sides. These have now been removed, making the open
colonnades inside visible. Like a house of cards, each of the five stories is stepped back from the
previous one until the top floor consists of only a tiny kiosk. The lower floor has 84 columns, no
two of which are exactly a like.
For a long time this building was known as Ankle Michael, which translates roughly as ‘hide and
seek’ a game the emperor is supposed to have played here with ladies of the harem. However,
current thinking suggests that the building was the imperial treasury – an idea supported by the
curious struts carved with sea monsters that are believed to protect the treasures to the deep. Near
one corner is a small canopied enclosure known as the Astrologer’s Seat, where starching him? A
more mundane explanation is that the court treasurer parked himself here to watch the dos being
The exterior of the hall of private audiences is plain, but its interior design is unique. A carved
stone column in the centre of the building flares to support a flat – topped ‘throne’ some six
metres high. Narrow stone bridges radiate from the corners of the room and meet at the throne.
The function of the building is disputed: some think Akbar spend much time on the ‘throne’ (so to
speak) discussing and debating with scholars of different religious persuasions; others believe it
to be the perch from which he meted out justice. Another possibility is that this was where the
emperor was weighed at the commencement of the Persian New Year.
Just inside the gates at the north – eastern end of the deserted city is the Hall of Public Audiences,
which consists of a large open courtyard surrounded by cloisters. Beside the Divan – I – Am is
the pachisi courtyard, set our like a gigantic game board. It is said that Akbar played the game
pachisi here, using slave girls as the pieces.
Musicians would play from the Naubat Khan, at one time the main entrance to the city, as
processions passed beneath. The entrance road then ran between the mint and the treasury before
reaching the Divan – I – Am. The Khwabagh, in front of the Daftas Khans, or record office, was
Akbar’s own sleeping quarters? Besides the Khwabagh is the tiny but elaborately carve Rummy
Sultana or Turkish Queen’s House. Near the Karawam Serai badly defaced elephants still guard
the Haiti Pol, or Elephant Gate.
Outside the Jama Masjid are the remains of the small stone – cutters mosque. Sheikh Salem
Chishti cave was supposedly at his site and the mosque predates Akbar’s imperial city. There’s
also a Haiku’s House (Doctor’s House), and a fine Hammam, or Turkish bath, beside it.