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A city that is as old as civilization itself and nurtured with loving care in the hands of several dynasties. As history unfolds itself, we find Delhi a city of magnificent kings and princes, men of great culture, learning and refinement who created famous masterpieces like the Qutab Minar, the Diwan-e-Aam and the Pearl Mosque in the Red Fort. No wonder the city's history is synonymous with the history of India. The evidence of this can be marked distinctly as the city is flourished with tombs, forts, monuments, ramparts and ruins where sightseeing is of great pleasure.
JamaMasjid is one of biggest mosques in India-A magnificent architectural gift by emperor Shah Jahan. Completed in 1658, this mosque has three gateways, four angle towers and two minarets. You can enter the mosque but take precaution to take off your shoes and make sure that you are properly dressed before entering . One can also go to the top of minarets. From here you can have a birds eye view of Delhi. This great mosque of Old Delhi is the largest in India, with a courtyard capable of holding 25,000 devotees. It was begun in 1644 and ended up being the final architectural extravagance of Shah Jahan, the Mughal emperor who built the Taj Mahal and the Red Fort. The highly decorative mosque has three great gates, four towers and two 40 m-high minarets constructed of strips of red sandstone and white marble. Travellers can hire robes at the northern gate. This may be the only time you get to dress like a local without feeling like an outsider , so make the most of it.
It's one of Delhi's major attractions. It's the tomb of the famous Sufi saint Nizamud-Din Auliya. Inside the premises of the shrine is a tank which is surrounded by many other historically significant tombs. The shrine also has the tomb of Amir Khusru and the grave of princess Jahanara, the daughter of Emperor Shah Jahan. It is worth visiting the shrine at around sunset on Thursdays, as it is a popular time for worship, and Qawwali singers start performing after the evening prayers.
The Bahai Temple
Completed in 1986,the Bahai temple is set amidst pools and gardens. Adherents of any faith are free to visit the temple and pray or meditate silently according to their own religion . The structure is in lotus shape so it often called the lotus temple. The view of the temple is spectacular before dusk when the temple is floodlit. East of Nehru place, this temple is built in the shape of a lotus flower and is the last of seven Major Bahai's temples built around the world. Completed in1986 it is set among the lust landscaped
gardens. The structure is made up of pure white marble The architect Furiburz Sabha chose the lotus as the symbol common to Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Islam. Adherents of any faith are free to visit the temple and pray or meditate. Around the blooming petals there are nine pools of water, which light up, in natural light. It looks spectacular at dusk when it is flood lit.
Built by the Hare Rama Hare Krishna cult followers this temple is dedicated to the Lord Krishna. Built on a hillock, this complex is elegantly built and is one of the largest temple complexes in India.
Laxmi Narain Temple (BIRLA MANDIR)
One of Delhi's major temples and a major tourist attraction. Built by the industrialist G. D. Birla in 1938, this beautiful temple is located in the west of Connaught Place. The temple is dedicated to Laxmi, the goddess of prosperity and good fortune. The temple has well grafted gardens. Popularly known as the Birla Mandir. Laxmi Narayan Temple, also known as Birla Mandir , is one of Delhi's major temples and a major tourist attraction. Built by the industrialst G.D. Birla in 1938, this beautiful temple is located in the west of Connaught Place. The temple is dedicated to Laxmi (the goddess of prosperity) and Narayana (The preserver). The temple was inaugurated by Mahatma Gandhi on condition that people of all castes be allowed to enter the temple.
Built in 1648, this sprawling fort of red sand stones along the river Yamuna is surrounded by a wall of about 2.4 km in circumference. It was built by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan. after he transferred his capital from Agra to Delhi. The fort has two main entrances, the Delhi Gate and the Lahori Gate facing the famed Chandni Chowk market. The Fort has Diwan-e-Aam, and Diwan-e-Khas where the king would grant
audience to the public and would grant audience to important people respectively Adjacent to this is the Rang Mahal, the water cooled Apartment for the royal ladies. A Light and Sound show is held in the evening.
Here is a list of places you could visit in Delhi other than the ones mentioned above:
Qutab Minar is a soaring, 73 m-high tower of victory, built in 1193 by Qutab-ud-din Aibak immediately after the defeat of Delhi's last Hindu kingdom. The tower has five distinct storeys, each marked by a projecting balcony and tapers from a 15 m diameter at the base to just 2.5 m at the top. The first three storeys are made of red sandstone; the fourth and fifth storeys are of marble and sandstone. At the foot of the tower is the Quwwat-ul-Islam Mosque, the first mosque to be built in India. An inscription over its eastern gate provocatively informs that it was built with material obtained from demolishing '27 Hindu temples'. A 7 m-high iron pillar stands in the courtyard of the mosque. It is said that if you can encircle it with your hands while standing with your back to it your wish will be fulfilled. The origins of Qutab Minar 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 a minaret to 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 Minar in 1200 AD, but could only finish the basement. His successor, Iltutmush, added three more storeys, and in 1368, Firoz Shah Tughlak constructed the fifth and the last storey. The development of architectural styles from Aibak to Tughlak is quite evident in the minar. The relief work and even the materials used for construction differ. The 238 feet Qutab Minar 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 Ui Islam (Light of Islam) Mosque in the Qutab complex is one of the most magnificent in the world. Qutab-ud-din Aibak started its construction in 1193 and the mosque was completed in 1197. Iltutmush in 1230 and Alla-ud-din Khilji in 1315 made additions to the building. The main mosque comprises of 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, which were plundered to construct the mosque. It is, therefore, not surprising that the Muslim mosque has typical Hindu ornamentation. Close to the mosque is one of Delhi's most curious antiques, the Iron Pillar.
Swaminarayan Akshardham reflects the essence and magnitude of India's ancient architecture, traditions and timeless spirituality. The main monument, depicting ancient Indian "vastu shastra" and architecture, is a marvel in pink
sandstone and white marble that is 141 feet high, 316 feet wide and 370 feet long with 234 ornate pillars, over 20,000 sculptures and statues of deities, eleven 72-foot-high huge domes (mandapams) and decorative arches. And like a necklace, a double-storied parikrama of red sandstone encircles the monuments with over 155 small domes and 1,160 pillars. The whole monument rises on the shoulders of 148 huge elephants with 11-feet tall panchdhatu statue of Swaminarayan presiding over the structure. The other attractions of the complex are three exhibition halls spaced around two huge ponds, where one is a venue for lightand-sound show. The three halls are "Sahajanand Darshan", "Neelkanth Darsdhan" and "Sanskruti Vihar". "Sahajanand Darshan" is where life of Swaminarayan is displayed through robotic shows, while "Neelkanth Darsdhan" has a huge I-Max theatre screening movie based on the life of the Lord. Another amazing presentation is "Sanskruti Vihar" with 12-minute boat ride experience of India's glorious heritage. The sprawling Swaminarayan Akshardham complex spread over 30 acres on the banks of the Yamuna near Noida Mor in East Delhi. For visitors, entry to the complex is free. However, those who want to visit exhibition halls and theatres, Rs.125 is to be paid and for children and senior citizens the charges are Rs.75. "Over 6,000 visitors could easily witness the shows and enjoy boat-rides everyday, while over 25,000 people can visit the temple. We have deployed almost 140 guides who will facilitate visitors during their visit. It requires at least four hours to visit the entire complex thoroughly and see all the shows," said a temple management committee member, adding that the opening ceremony would be telecast live on Aastha channel. Elaborate security arrangements have also been made for the entire complex. Besides installing close circuit television cameras it has also deployed hundreds of its own security personnel.
neelkanth:The Rs.400-crore cultural complex, inspired by Pramukh Swami Maharaj of the Bochasanwasi
Shri Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha (BAPS), will be popularised by its builders as "a place for cultural education and entertainment". The temple complex has drawn inspiration for its architecture from the historic temples of Badrinath (Uttaranchal), Somnath (Gujarat) and Konark (Orissa). It is the second Akshardham complex in the country after the one at Gandhinagar in Gujarat.
At the heart of the complex is a palace-like monument built of at least 12,000 tons of pink sandstone and white marble brought in from Rajasthan. Topped with a series of domes, it stands 129 feet high, 275 feet wide and 315 feet long. Almost every square inch of the exterior has been exquisitely carved with statues and motifs of Hindu deities and Indian flora and fauna. The complex also has two huge exhibition halls; one will take visitors on a visual journey through India's cultural heritage, while the other "will depict Indian moral values through a light-and-sound show". The complex also boasts of an Imax cinema, a canteen big enough to accommodate 5,000 people at one sitting, a research centre for "social harmony" and meditation gardens dotted with fountains and bronze sculptures.
The craftsmen who are registered with D.C.Handicrafts are the ones who are eligible to find a place here. The 62 stalls selling handicrafts are allotted on a rotational basis to craftsmen who come from all corners of the vast & varied land of India at a payment of mere INR 100 per day for a maximum period of 15 Days. This ensures visitors buy authentic wares at prices that have not been inflated by high maintenance costs. You can also savour the inimitable flavors of the delightful local foods from the various regions of India be it the momos from Sikkim or the Bamboos hot chicken from Nagaland, Kahwa & Kebabs from Jammu, Pooranpoli from Maharastra or the Gujrati Dhokla. As many as 25 food stalls offer you variety of foods served in an Eco friendly manner. The DILLI HAAT provides the ambience of a traditional Rural Haat or village market, but one suited for more contemporary needs. Here one sees a synthesis of crafts, food ad cultural activity. This Food and Craft Bazar is a treasure house of Indian culture, handicrafts and ethnic cuisine, A unique bazaar, in the heart of the city, it displays the richness of Indian culture on a permanent basis.
GARDEN OF FIVE SENSES
The Garden of Five Senses is not just a park, it is a space with a variety of activities, inviting public interaction and exploration. The project, developed by Delhi Tourism Transportation Development Corporation, was conceptualized to answer to the city's need for leisure space for the public, for people to socialize and unwind. Such spaces add atmosphere and life to a city and cater to all sections of the society. The twenty-acre site, located at Said-Ul-Azaib village, close to the Mehrauli heritage area in New Delhi, is spectacular area in New Delhi, is spectacular. The Garden was inaugurated in February 2003. Majestic rocks stand silhouetted against the sky, others lie strewn upon the ground in a casual yet alluring display of nature's sculptural genius. It was the ideal ground on which to realize the concept of a public leisure space that would awaken a sensory response and thereby a sensitivity to the environment.
Located near the crossing of Mahura road and Lodhi road, this magnificent garden tomb is the first substantial example of Mughal architecture in India. It was buit in 1565 A.D.nine years after the death of Humayun, by his senior widow Bega Begam. Inside the walled enclosure the most notable feature are the garden squares (chaharbagh) with pathways water channels, centrally located well proportional mausoleum topped by double dome.
At the centre of New Delhi stands the 42 m high India Gate, an "Arc-de-Triomphe" like archway in the middle of a crossroad. Almost similar to its French counterpart, it commemorates the 70,000 Indian soldiers who lost their lives fighting for the British Army during the World War I. The memorial bears the names of more than 13,516 British and Indian soldiers killed in the Northwestern Frontier in the Afghan war of 1919. The foundation stone of India Gate was laid by His Royal Highness, the Duke of Connaught in 1921 and it was designed by Edwin Lutyens. The monument was dedicated to the nation 10 years later by the then Viceroy, Lord Irwin. Another memorial, Amar Jawan Jyoti was added much later, after India got its independence. The eternal flame burns day and night under the arch to remind the nation of soldiers who laid down their lives in the Indo-Pakistan War of December 1971. The entire arch stands on a low base of red Bharatpur stone and rises in stages to a huge moulding. The cornice is inscribed with the Imperial suns while both sides of the arch have INDIA, flanked by the dates MCMXIV (1914 left) and MCMXIX (1919 right). The shallow domed bowl at the top was intended to be filled with burning oil on anniversaries but this is rarely done. During nightfall, India Gate is dramatically floodlit while the fountains nearby make a lovely display with coloured lights. India Gate stands at one end of Rajpath, and the area surrounding it is generally referred to as 'India Gate'. Surrounding the imposing structure is a large expanse of lush green lawns, which is a popular picnic spot. One can see hoards of people moving about the brightly lit area and on the lawns on summer evenings.
Jantar Mantar (Yantra - instruments, mantra - formulae) was constrcted in 1724. Maharaja Jai Singh of Jaipur who built this observatory went on to build other observatories in Ujjain , Varanasi and Mathura. Jai Singh had found the existing astronomical instruments too small to take correct measurements and so he built these larger and more accurate instruments.
The instruments at Jantar Mantar are fascinating for their ingenuity, but accurate observations can no longer be made from here because of the tall buildings around.
The old Lady Willington Park, now known as Lodhi Garden, is dotted with monuments of Sayyid and Lodhi Periods, which include tombs mosques, and bridge . The tombs of Muhammad Shah and Sikandar Lodhi are the good examples of octagonal tombs. Shish and Bara Gumbad are square tombs with imposing dome, turrets on corners and facades giving false impression of being double storeyed. It is a favourite point for early morning walkers from the posh south Delhi colonies.
The Parliament house is a cirular colonnaded builing . It also houses ministerial offices,numerous committee rooms and an excellent library as well. Conceived in the Imperial Style, the Parliament House consists of an open verandah with 144 columns. The domed circular central hall with oak paneled walls and the three semi circular buildings are used for the Rajy Shabha and Lok Shabha meetings.
One does not have to go far to see the old fort or Purans Quila standing stoically amidst wild greenery.Built on the site of the most ancient of the numerous cities of Delhi, Indraprastha, Purana Quila is roughly rectangular in shape having a circuit of nearly two kilometers. The thick ramparts crowned by merlons have three gateways provided with bastions on either side. It was surrounded by a wide moat, connected to river Yamuna, which used to flow on the east of the fort. The northern gate way, called the Talaqui darwaza or the forbidden gateway, combines the typically Isalmic pointed arch with Hindu Chhatris and brackets;whereas the southern gateway called the Humayun Darwaza also had a similar plan. The massive gateway and walls of Purana Quila were built by Humayun who laid his new capital Dinpanah in 1534 A.D. Sher Shah who defeated Humayun in1540 A.D. Purana Quila is the venue for the spectacular sound and light show held every evening built a few building in the complex. to Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Islam. Adherents of any faith are free to visit the temple and pray or meditate.
Around the blooming petals there are nine pools of water, which light up, in natural light. It looks spectacular at dusk when it is flood lit.
Safdarjung's Tomb is the last enclosed garden tomb in Delhi in the tradition of Humayun's Tomb, though it if far less grand in scale. It was built in 1753- 54 as mausoleum of Safdarjung, the viceroy of Awadh under the Mughal Emperor, Mohammed Shah. It has several smaller pavilions with evocative names like Jangli Mahal, (Palace in the woods),Moti Mahal (Pearl Palace) and Badshah Pasand ( King's favourite). The complex also has a madarsa. The archaeologocal Survey of India maintains a library over the main gateway.
The red sandstone walls of the massive Red Fort (Lal Qila) rise 33-m above the clamour of Old Delhi as a reminder of the magnificent power and pomp of the Mughal emperors. The walls, built in 1638, were designed to keep out invaders, now they mainly keep out the noise and confusion of the city. The main gate, Lahore Gate, is one of the emotional and symbolic focal points of the modern Indian nation and attracts a major crowd each Independence Day. The vaulted arcade of Chatta Chowk, a bazaar selling tourist trinkets, leads into the huge fort compound. Inside is a veritable treasure trove of buildings, including the Drum House, the Hall of Public Audiences, the white marble Hall of Private Audiences, the Pearl Mosque, Royal Baths and Palace of Color. An evening sound and light show re-creates events in India's history connected with the fort.
Places to Visit/See - Agra
The world is divided between those who have seen the Taj and those who have not. Very soon, I hope to be on the side that has seen the Taj." Words said by William Jefferson Clinton President, United States of
America while addressing the Indian Parliament on 22.03.2000 rightly defining the immense architectural and emotional significance the Taj Mahal has, in the hearts of people around the world.
Taj Mahal : Agra is famous as being home to one of the seven wonders of the world-the Taj Mahal. The architectural splendour of the mausoleums, the fort and the palaces is a vivid remainder of the mausoleums, the fort and the palaces is a vivid reminder of the capital in the 16th and early 17th centuries.
Agra Fort : Built by the great Emperor Akbar in 1565 A.D. the fort is a masterpiece of design
and construction. Within the fort are a number of exquisite building, including the Moti Masjid, Diwane-IAam, Diwani-I-Khas and musanman Burj, where the Emperor Shah Jahan died in imprisonment beside Jahangirs place, Khaas Mahal and the Sheesh Mahal.
Chini Ka Roza : The tomb of Afzal Khan, the persian poet and minister at Shah Jehan's
court gets its name from the brightly coloured glazed tiles that decorate it . Lies just 1km beyond itmad -ud -daula.
Sikandara : Welcome to Sikandra, a suburb of Agra, only 13 km. From the Agra Fort. The last
resting place of the Mughal Emperor Akbar. Akbar was the greatest of the Mughal emperors and one of the most secular minded royalties of his time. He was the heir to a long tradition of oriental refinement, a great patron of the arts, literature, philosophy and science. A visit to Akbar's monument opens before one, the completeness of Akbar's personality as completely as the Taj Mahal does of Mumtaz Mahal's.
Fatehpur Sikri : Imposing gateways and light- hearted palaces were built in red sandstone
within this fortified city only to be abandoned a few years later. Among its many architectural game are the places for his queens - Jodha Bai, Mariyam and his Turkish sultana, built in varying styles, each perfect in itself. The Diwan-e-Khas entirely unique in its concept is a tall vaulted room with an intricately carved central pillar and capital supporting a platform that once held the emperor's throne. Narrow galleries link this to the corners of the room where it is believed his ministers sat The airy panch mahal a 5 storied structure rising in pyramidal fashion was probably used by the ladies of the court. Set like a jewel in a courtyard of pink sandstone is the finest building here, the marble tomb of Salim Chisti enclosed by finely carved, lacy marble screens. The Buland Darwaza, an imposing gateway 54 m high was built to commemorate Akbar's Aligarh the famous university town is a center of Islamic studies. The city is also noted for its handicrafts and metal ware.
PLACES TO VISIT IN MATHURA
KRISHNA JANMA BHUMI : The Birth Place of Lord Krishna
DWARKADHEESH TEMPLE : Built in 1814, it is the main temple in the town. During the festive days of Holi, Janmashthami and Diwali, it is decorated on a grandiose scale.
GOVT. MESEUM : Located at Dampier Park, it has one of the finest collection of archaeological interest. Rare items from the Gupta and Kushan period (400 B.C.-1200A.D.) are on display. Major attraction for tourists.
JAMA MASJID Built by Abo-in Nabir-Khan in 1661.A.D. the mosque has 4 lofty minarets, with bright colored plaster mosaic of which a few panels currently exist. BANKE BIHARI :
One of the oldest temple, it was rebuilt in 1921 disciples of Haridas Swami who got the idol of Bankey Bihari from Nidhi Van. GOVINDA DEV TEMPLE :
Built by Raja Man singh of Jaipur in 1590, The temple is testimony of the architectural splendor of medieval India. The temple walls average 10 ft. thickness. The upper state is regular triforium. Originally seven stories high, it's upper four stories were destroyed during the reign of Aurangzeb. The Krishna idol was then removed to Jaipur
Kusuma Sarovara is a 460-feet-long lake and according to legend gopis used to pick flowers from here for Krishna. The ghatas at this kunda were built by Jawahir Singh around 1764.
PLACES TO VISIT IN KASHMIR Kashmir
As Mughal emperor Jehangir said of Kashmir, 'If there is paradise on earth, it is here, it is here, in Kashmir' a quote that is oft repeated by anybody who has had the good fortune of visiting arguably the most beautiful part of India. The sheer beauty of the mighty Himalayas and the lush green valleys attract hordes of people each year, who come to get a glimpse of 'heaven'. Kashmir is also popular for its adventure tourism, replete as it is
with breathtaking highways, beautiful rivers, majestic valleys, limpid lakes and evergreen forests.
Gulmarg's legendary beauty, prime location and proximity to Srinagar naturally make it one of the premier hill resorts in the country. Originally called 'Gaurimarg' by shepherds, its present name was given in the 16th century by Sultan Yusuf Shah, who was inspired by the sight of its grassy slopes emblazoned with wild flowers. Gulmarg was a favourite haunt of Emperor Jehangir who once collected 21 different varieties of flowers from here. Today Gulmarg is not merely a mountain resort of exceptional beauty- it also has the highest green golf course in the world, at an altitude of 2,650 m, and is the country's premier ski resort in the winter. The journey to Gulmarg is half the enchantment of reaching there-- roads bordered by rigid avenues of poplar give over to flat expanses of rice fields interspersed with picturesque villages. Depending on the season, nature's colours could be the translucent green of spring, summer's rich emerald, or autumn's golden hues, when scarlet chillies festoon windows of village homes. After Tangmarg, the climb to Gulmarg begins through fir-covered hillsides. At one point, known simply as View Point, travellers generally stop their vehicles for a few minutes and look out a spectacle of snow-covered mountains, almost within touching distance Gulmarg's legendary beauty, prime location and proximity to Srinagar naturally make it one of the premier hill resorts in the country. Originally called ‘Gaurimarg’ by shepherds, its present name was given in the 16th century by Sultan Yusuf Shah, who was inspired by the sight of its grassy slopes emblazoned with wild flowers. Gulmarg was a favourite haunt of Emperor Jehangir who once collected 21 different varieties of flowers from here. Today Gulmarg is not merely a mountain resort of exceptional beauty- it also has the highest green
golf course in the world, at an altitude of 2,650 m, and is the country's premier ski resort in the winter. The journey to Gulmarg is half the enchantment of reaching there-- roads bordered by rigid avenues of poplar give over to flat expanses of rice fields interspersed with picturesque villages. Depending on the season, nature's colours could be the translucent green of spring, summer’s rich emerald, or autumn’s golden hues, when scarlet chillies festoon windows of village homes. After Tangmarg, the climb to Gulmarg begins through fir-covered hillsides. At one point, known simply as View Point, travelers generally stop their vehicles for a few minutes and look out a spectacle of snow-covered mountains, almost within touching distance. What to do: Horse riding/Hiking Cable car riding to Khilanmarg Golf playing Snow Skiing during winter months (End Dec -Middle March)
Gulmarg is surrounded by dense forests of tall conifers ,Gulmarg is known for unparalled beauty nad is rated as one of the matchless tourist spots of the world.It is famous for Golf hikes and boasts of a beautiful highland golf course. It is premier resort for winter sports in the country.The meadow of Flowers is a world famous tourist spot in the Baramulla Distt of Kashmir. The altitude of Gulmarg is 2730 meters. How to Reach Gulmarg: Gulmarg is in Baramula Distt and is 57Kms from Srinagar District .The nearest Airport in Badgam Distt.This Airport is connected with major cities of country. The nearest Rail Head is at Jammu . The journey from Srinagar to Gulmarg takes approx. 2 hours in bus and may take short time by chartered conveyance. The road to gulmarg is very beautiful and is lined with poplar trees all through. All sorts of transport is available to Gulmarg from Srinagar bus stand at Batmallo and from various tour and travel opeartors at the prices fixed.
Where to Stay in Gulmarg: Gulmarg boasts of a number of Hotels of various standards which offer good accomodation and meals. Hotels of International standards are also available. JKTDC has huts on the offer at Gulmarg and all these properties require advance booking from Srinagar when the season is on. Assistance for booking accomodation can be had from the booking manager at Tourist reception centre Srinagar. The accomodation available there suits all budgets. Recreational Activities in Gumlarg: Gulmarg offers a beautiful Golf Course where equipment is also available on hire. A Cable Car(Gandola) is also installed which is great hit with tourists and it takes tourists upto Kongdori. Trek to Alpather Lake can be undertaken which is lake 13 Kms away from Gulamrg. This lake remains frozen even in June There is another spot called Khilanmarg which offers unparalled view of the Himalayan peaks . The famous shrine of Baba Reshi is also located near Gul Marg noted muslim saint who is revered by all faiths. Gulmarg-Khilanmarg-Apharwat-Alpather is one of the important trekking routes.
PAHALGAM - The Valley of Shepherds.
Situated at the confluence of the streams flowing from Sheshnag Lake and the Lidder river, Pahalgam (2,130 m) was once a humble shepherd's village with breathtaking views. Now it is Kashmir's premier resort, cool even during the height of summer when the maximum temperature does not exceed 250C. A number of hotels and lodges cater to all preferences and budgets, from luxurious hotels to unpretentious trekkers' lodges, including J&K TDC's huts. Around Pahalgam are many places of interest, and because the resort is set between fairly steep hills, it is worth hiring a pony rather than walking. Pony fares are posted at prominent locations. The most beautiful of these is the huge, undulating meadow of Baisaran, surrounded by thickly wooded forests of pine. Hajan, on the way to Chandanwari, is an idyllic spot for a picnic. Filmgoers will recognize it instantly as it has been the location of several movie scenes
Situated at the confluence of the streams flowing from Sheshnag Lake and the Lidder river, Pahalgam (2,130 m) was once a humble shepherd's village with breathtaking views. Now it is Kashmir's premier resort, cool even during the height of summer when the maximum temperature does not exceed 250C. A number of hotels and lodges cater to all preferences and budgets, from luxurious hotels to unpretentious trekkers' lodges. The most beautiful of these is the huge, undulating meadow of Baisaran, surrounded by thickly wooded forests of pine. Hajan, on the way to Chandanwari, is an idyllic spot for a picnic. Filmgoers will recognize it instantly as it has been the location of several movie scenes. Pahalgam has within it no fewer than eight tiny villages, one of which is Mamal. There is a Shiva temple here, generally considered to be Kashmir's oldest existing temple, dating to the 5th century. Lidder River Pahalgam is also associated with the annual Amarnath Yatra. Chandanwari (2,895 m), 16 kms from Pahalgam, is the starting point of the yatra that takes place every year in the month of Sawan (July to August). The road from Pahalgam to Chandanwari is on fairly flat terrain and can be undertaken by car. From Chandanwari onwards the track becomes much steeper, and is accessible on foot or by pony. About 11 kms from Chandanwari is the mountain lake of Sheshnag (3,574 m), after which, 13 kms away is the last stop, Panchtarni. The Amarnath cave is 6 kms away from there. During the month of Sawan, an ice stalagmite forms a natural shivling in the Amarnath cave, which waxes and wanes with the moon. Horse Riding/Hiking Pahalgam is the base of a major trek that passes along Aru and Kolohi Glacier Golf
Pahalgam Club has a 9-hole golf course, which can be used by tourists. Golf sets can be hired on the spot.
Pahalgam has a golf course at 2400 meters above the sea level. Camping equipment, ponies and skiing equipment is readily available. Kolahoi is a popular destinantion via Aru a charming meadow. Pahalgam is base camp for the pilgrims of Amarnath. Pahalgam is in Anantnag District and is about 96 Kms from Srinagar. The nearest Airport is in Badgam Distt. This Airport is connected with major cities of India.The nearest Rail Head is at Jammu and from there National Highway NH1A connects the Kashmir valley with India. The road to Pahalgam takes from Khannabal or alternatively from Bijbehara villages from this National Highway. Every sort of transportto suit every budget from Buses to Taxisply on this Highway. It takes around 10 to 12 hours to cross this mountaineous road which crosses some beautiful spots andthe famous Jawahar Tunnel linking Kashmir Valley with India. Bus service is available from Srinagar and Anantnag which leave at fixed time from the Bus stands.Taxis and other sort of transport can be hired from Srinagar at pre-fixed rates.Assistance isavailable at Tourist Reception Centre Srinagar. On Road to Pahalgam one comes across the beautiful Lidder Valley with important spots of Mattan and Aishmuqam.
Where to stay in Pahalgam? Pahalgam has a number of Hotels and lodges of various types which are open only during summer months.Accomodation needs to be booked well in advance from srinagar. What to do in Pahalgam? Lots of recreational activities are on the offer Pahalgam offers trekking adventure. Trekking can be undertaken to Kolahoi Glacier which is very beautiful via Aru village. Sledging at the frozen Glaciers is also offered by locals. Angling ( a license is required) You can take long walks in the jungles and explore rich flora and fauna. Pahalgam is the main base camp to Amarnath Cave. Alpine Skiing is also available at high altitudes. A Popular trek from Sonamarg to Pahalgam and trek to Chandanwari and Sheshnag lake can also be undertaken. Some probability of white water rafting is also available downstrean from Pahalgam in the Lidder river.
SONAMARG - The Meadow of Gold.
he drive to Sonamarg is through the Sindh Valley which presents yet another spectacular facet of countryside in Kashmir. Situated at an altitude of 2730 m, Sonamarg (‘The meadow of gold’) has, as its backdrop, snowy mountains against a cerulean sky. The Sindh River that meanders through the valley
abounds with trout and mahaseer. Ponies can be hired for the trip up to Thajiwas glacier, which is a major local attraction during the summer months. Sonamarg is the base of a major trek that passes along several mountain lakes – Vishansar, Kishansar, Gadsar, Satsar and Gangabal. Sonamarg is also the take off station for the drive to Ladakh across the Zojila, a major pass in the Great Himalayan Range, through which the Srinagar-Leh Road passes. The drive to Sonamarg is through the Sindh Valley which presents yet another spectacular facet of countryside in Kashmir. Situated at an altitude of 2730 m, Sonamarg (‘The meadow of gold’) has, as its backdrop, snowy mountains against a cerulean sky. The Sindh River that meanders through the valley abounds with trout and mahaseer. Ponies can be hired for the trip up to Thajiwas glacier, which is a major local attraction during the summer months. Sonamarg is the base of a major trek that passes along several mountain lakes –Vishansar, Kishansar, Gadsar, Satsar and Gangabal. Sonamarg is also the take off station for the drive to Ladakh across the Zojila, a major pass in the Great Himalayan Range, through which the Srinagar-Leh Road passes. Sonamarg is also a base for undertaking the yatra to the holy Amarnath cave, during Sawan Purnima. For details about the yatra, refer to the Amaranathji Yatra Link. How to get there Sonamarg is situated at a distance of 84 kms from Srinagar, on the Srinagar-Ladakh Road. kashmirtourism.com operates regular buses as well as sightseeing buses during the season. The route passes through the picturesque town of Ganderbal (21 kms), Kangan (40 kms) and Gund of the Sindh Valley, before reaching the resort. Spectacular views of the Harmukh range dominate the horizon all along the route. Tourist Information & Assistance The Tourist Office at Sonamarg is within the premises of the Tourist Complex, behind the cafeteria. Tourists are advised to visit the office for information and assistance. In particular, trekking trips into the mountains should be undertaken only after consulting the Tourist Office at Srinagar or Sonamarg for safety and feasibility.
Leh Leh, the capital of Ladakh, is a popular, if unconventional, tourist spot of Kashmir. The cold desert surrounding the city is visited by scores of tourists looking for a place off the beaten path. Leh is a known as a center for Buddhist culture and religion, and the many monasteries, temples and Gomphas dotting the city is a testimony of the piety and religiosity of the people. Leh Tourism The palace is distinguished monument and a historical building. The nine-storeyed palace was built by the 17th century illustrious ruler of Ladakh, Sengge Namgyal. It is an imposing structure, though in ruins now, situated on a hill and commands a grand view of the Leh town. The building in grand Tibetan architecture is said to have inspired the famous potala of Lahasa, built half a century later. Namgyal Tsemo, the peak overlooking the town, are the ruins of the fortbuilt, by the king Tashi namgyal in the 16th century, as a royal residence.
HOW TO REACH Indian Airlines and Jet Airway cater to the need of world class Air services for the tourists. Leh, the principal town of Ladakh has now become gateway to the world by any connecting flight from Delhi one can fly in to Leh from abroad in a day as well. All through the year, there is air service from Delhi, Chandigarh, Jammu and Srinagar. BY ROAD The main overland approach to Ladakh is from the Kashmir valley via the 434-km. Srinagar-Leh road, which remains open for traffic from early June to November. The most dramatic part of this road journey is the ascent up the 11,500 ft.(3505 m high Zojila, the pass in the Great Himalayan Wall that serves as the gateway to Ladakh. The J&K State Road Transport Corporation (J&KSRTC) operates regular Deluxe and Ordinary bus services between Srinagar and Leh on this route with an overnight halt at Kargil.Taxis (cars and jeeps) are also available at Srinagar for the journey. Groups can charter Deluxe and A-class buses for Leh, Kargil or Padum (Zanskar) from the J&K SRTC at Srinagar. Since 1989, the 473-km Manali-Leh road has been serving as the second land approach to Ladakh. Open for traffic from around mid-June to early October, this high road traverses the upland desert plateaux of Rupsho whose altitude ranges from 3,660 m to 4,570 m. A number of high passes fall enroute among which the highest one, known as Taglang-la, is the world’s second highest motorable pass at an altitude of 17,469 feet (5,325 m.) Himachal Pradesh Tourism, H.P. SRTC and J&K SRTC operate Deluxe and Ordinary bus
services between Manali and Leh. The bus journey between Leh and Manali takes about 19 hours or two days with an overnight halt in camps at Serchu and Pang. Gypsy and jeep taxis are also available, both at Manali and Leh. Zangla Tourism Zangla the old castle now in ruins except from a small chappel, occupies a hill, overlooking the desertic valley below. Nearby is the old Nunnery worth a visit for the austere life style of the small monastic community of nuns. Lying deep in the northern arm of Zanskar at the end of the 35 km. Long rough road from Padum, Zangla was being ruled by a titular king till his death a few years back. An old monastery situated in the nearby village of Tsa-zar has exquisite frescos that should be missed. The village lies mid-way between Stongdey and Zangla. Zangla is the nodal point on the popular Padum-Strongdey-Zangla-Karsha-Padum round trip, which covers most of the cultural sites of Zanskar.
The old rope suspension bridge spanning the tumultuous Zanskar near Zangla- a rare feat of folk engineering - is no more in use, but still visible. The river is now crossed by a temporary footbridge for approaching the left bank along which the trail to Karsha follows. Zangla is also the take-off point for the Padum-Markha valley treks. The 240 km long Kargil-Padun road, of which the first 90 km stretch is paved, remains opened from around mid July to early November. In June, the summer is at its height in the region and the climate is ideal for trekking along the route free from vehicular traffic of any kind and when the countryside is freshly rejuvenated into life after months of frigid dormancy. Zanskar Zanskar is a modern day Shangri La owing to its near inaccessibility. The mountain passes leading into Zanskar are open for only a few weeks in the summer months. But once there, the intrepid adventurer is amply rewarded for his or her pains. The breathtaking beauty of this city in the cold desert area of Ladakh, the Gomphas and Buddhist temples of Zanskar, are the major tour attractions of the city.
Zanskar Tourism Zanskar road winds down the steep slopes of the watershed to the head of the Stod Valley, one of Zanskar's main tributary valleys, the majestic "DrangDrung" 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 the cliff-like snout of this extensive glacier that the Stod or Doda River, the main tributary of river Zanskar, rises. Zanskar comprises a tri-armed valley system lying between the Great Himalayan Range and the Zanskar mountain; The three arms radiate star-like towards the west, north and south from a wide central expanse where the region's two principal drainage's meet to form the main Zanskar River. It is mainly along the course of this valley system that the region's 10,000 strong, mainly Buddhists population lives.
Spread over an estimated geographical area of 5000 sq. kms. High rise, mountains and deep gorges surround Zanskar. 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. To-day, Zanskar has the distinction of being the least interfered with microcosms of Ladakh, and one of the last few surviving cultural satellites of Tibet. 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 enlightenment. The 240 km long Kargil-Padun road, of which the first 90 km stretch is paved, remains opened from around mid July to early November. In June, the summer is at its height in the region and the climate is ideal for trekking along the route free from vehicular traffic of any kind and when the countryside is freshly rejuvenated into life after months of frigid dormancy. The tourist Complex at Padum provides furnished rooms. There is catering arrangement in the complex, while camping place nearby is available for budget tourists travelling with personal tents. Padum town has several private hotels where rooms with basic facilities are available.
Kargil Kargil district lies to the West of Ladakh. The people of Kargil are chiefly agrarian, and have herded cattle and tended to crops for generations. The town of Kargil is the capital of Kargil district. It is famous as one of the transit points on the famous Silk Route of ancient Asia. The Suru River flows through the city, adding to its rugged charm. Kargil Tourism KARGIL (2704 m), 204 kms from Srinagar in the west and 234 kms from Leh in the east, is the second largest urban centre of Ladakh and headquarters of the district of same name. A quite town now, Kargil once served as important trade and transit centre in the Pan-Asian trade network. Numerous caravans carrying exotic merchandise comprising silk, brocade, carpets, felts, tea, poppy, ivory etc. transited in the town on their way to and from China, Tibet, Yarkand and Kashmir. The old bazaar displayed a variety of Central Asian and Tibetan commodities even after the cessation of the Central Asian trade in 1949 till these were exhausted about two decades back. Similarly the ancient trade route passing through the township was lined with several caravanserais. Now, since 1975, travellers of numerous nationalities have replaced traders of the past and Kargil has regained its importance as a centre of travel-related activities.
Being located in the centre of the Himalayan region with tremendous potentials for adventure activities, Kargil serves as an important base for adventure tours in the heart of Himalayas. It is also the take off station for visitors to the erotic Zanskar Valley. Tourists travelling between Srinagar and Leh have to make a night halt here before starting the second leg of their journey. The town lies nestling along the rising hillside of the lower Suru basin. Two tributaries of the Suru River that meet here are the Drass and Wakha. The land available along the narrow valley as also the rising hillsides are intensively cultivated in neat terraces to glow barley, wheat, peas, a variety of vegetables and other cereals. Kargil is famous for the fine apricots grown here. In May the entire countryside becomes awash with fragrant white apricot blossoms while August, the ripening fruit lends it an orange hue.
Patnitop Patnitop is another unusual tourist spot of Kashmir. It is famous for its hill resorts, the fragrant pine forests and breathtaking beauty. Patnitop Tourism Patnitop is enveloped by thickly wooded forests,Patnitop offers beautiful picnic spots, peaceful walks and breathtaking views of the mountainscape of the Chenab basin. In winter, the resort is generally covered with athick mantle of snow thus providing opportunities for various snow games includingskiing. It is the best developed tourist spot of Jammu and is second to none in its natural charm, climate, pine forests and lush green cover. This famous hill resort is perched on a beautiful plateau, at an altitude of 2024 metres across which the Jammu-Srinagar Highway passes.
The occupancy of the huts and Dak Banglow is full in summer months. There is ambitious plan of Patnitop Development Authority to develop Patnitop, Kud, SudMahadev, Mantalai circuit. The costruction work of Mall Road at Kud is also proposed to be taken up. Trekking route from Kud to Patnitop-Sanasar has already been completed. The complete tourist circuit covers Jammu-Katra-VaishnoDeviji, Kud-Sanasar, PatnitopGourikund, Sudmahadev, Mantali, extending upto Latti-Dhuna. There are a large number of huts and Tourists Bunglows, all managed by J&K TDC, Having facilities of Drawing room/Dining room and fully equipped kitchen in all huts and LPG facility.
Amarnathji Yatra - a journey into faith
"The Himalayan pilgrimages are the oldest organised travel system, evolved over time by Hindu sages and embodying the spirit of wander, adventure and spirituality" One of the holy trinity, Shiva is a living god. The most ancient and sacred book of India, the Rig Veda evokes his presence in its hymns. Vedic myths, ritual and even
astronomy testify to his existence from the dawn of time. Shiva is known to have made his home in the Himalayas. He built no house nor shelter, not for himself or his bride. He was an ascetic, and yet married; he could be both for "he was the wild god sporting in the forest or taking his ease on a cloud." Legend has it that Shiva recounted to Parvati the secret of creation in the Amarnathji cave. Unknown to them, a pair of mating pigeons eavesdropped on this conversation and having learned the secret, are reborn again and again, and have made the cave their eternal abode. Many pilgrims report seeing the pigeons-pair when they trek the arduous route to pay obeisance before the ice-lingam (the phallic symbol of Shiva).
"The Himalayan pilgrimages are the oldest organised travel system, evolved over time by Hindu sages and embodying the spirit of wander, adventure and spirituality" One of the holy trinity, Shiva is a living god. The most ancient and sacred book of India, the Rig Veda evokes his presence in its hymns. Vedic myths, ritual and even astronomy testify to his existence from the dawn of time. Shiva is known to have made his home in the Himalayas. He built no house nor shelter, not for himself or his bride. He was an ascetic, and yet married; he could be both for "he was the wild god sporting in the forest or taking his ease on a cloud." Legend has it that Shiva recounted to Parvati the secret of creation in the Amarnathji cave. Unknown to them, a pair of mating pigeons eavesdropped on this conversation and having learned the secret, are reborn again and again, and have made the cave their eternal abode. Many pilgrims report seeing the pigeons-pair when they trek the arduous route to pay obeisance before the ice-lingam (the phallic symbol of Shiva). The trek to Amarnathji, in the month of Shravan (July - August) has the devout flock to this incredible shrine, where the image of Shiva, in the form of a lingam, is formed naturally of an ice - stalagmite, and which waxes and wanes with the moon. By its side are, fascinatingly, two more ice - lingams, that of Parvati and of their son, Ganesha. According to an ancient tale, there was once a Muslim shepherd named Buta Malik who was given a sack of coal by a sadhu. Upon reaching home he discovered that the sack, in fact, contained gold. Overjoyed and overcome, Buta Malik rushed back to look for the sadhu and thank him, but on the spot of their meeting discovered a cave, and eventually this became a place of pilgrimage for all believers. To date, a percentage of the donations made by pilgrims are given to the descendants of Malik, and the remaining to the trust which manages the shrine. Yet another legend has it that when Kashap Reshi drained the Kashmir valley of water (it was believed to have been a vast lake), the cave and the lingam were
Vaishno Devi is the area of one of the holiest Hindu temples in India. Pilgrims travel to this temple in the mountains for days at an end, wait in long lines to sight a glimpse of the idol and offer their prayers in hushed, frantic murmurs on sighting the idol. It offers consolation and hope to many believers as well as magnificent sightings of the mountains and valleys beyond, while on the trek to the heavens.
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