Rajasthan – Mehrangarh Fort, Jodhpur

Jodhpur, the blue city of Rajasthan, so aptly named after the blue painted homes dotting the rustic landscape of Jodhpur. I for one, was very excited and was eagerly waiting to visit the Mehrangarh Fort for many reasons – this was where “The Dark Knight Rises” was filmed! Remember the epic Pit Climb scene with Christian Bale? and the sweeping shot of him standing on the edge of the pit set in front of a massive fort? Yep. That is Mehrangarh Fort, one of the best preserved and colossal forts in all of India, built by King Rao Jodha (of the Rajput clan) 400 feet above the city on a cliff structure composed of igneous rock (the cliff was declared a National Geographic Monument by the Geological Survey of India)

Mehrangarh translates into ‘fort of the Sun’ – trust me. They weren’t kidding, one must visit the fort during twilight or at dusk (as I did, breathtaking to say the least) – Click on images to expand

But it wasn’t just a fort or a military base, it also housed several palaces and was a thriving center for art and culture. Within the fort are well-preserved galleries for public display –

Elephant Howdah (seats used on Elephants)

Palanquin Gallery (typically carried by 2 – 8 persons)

Royal Rooms

View of Jodhpur from the Fort

I was also able to satisfy my fan-boy antics by doing this –

Lastly, the Flying Fox Zipline at the Fort is NOT to be missed! Extreme fun and amazing views of the fort, rocky landscape and the blue city!

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Rajasthan – Abandoned Village of Khaba, Jaisalmer

80 families, deserted an entire village over-night almost 200 years ago. No one knows why. Do I have your attention? I hope so.

This is the eerie story of the Paliwal Brahmin community, who lived in and around Kuldhara (the famous MAIN haunted abandoned village), who packed up and vanished one fine day in the face of a grave danger. Multiple stories claim that the Paliwal village chiefs of 84 villages wanted to protect the honor of their community when the local Mughal ruler wanted the hand of a Paliwal brahmin’s daughter in marriage.

I have seen abandoned houses, but villages? No. Overlooking the Khaba village is a fort (from where these pictures were taken) and surprisingly, one can find many peacocks surrounding the area.

Kabha is about 18Km from Jaisalmer, definitely a place I wouldn’t want to visit once the sun sets. What do you think?

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Rajasthan – Amer Fort, Jaipur

Amer Fort or Amber Fort is one of the 6 Hill Forts of Rajasthan that were recently included in UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites. Built in 1592 by Raja Man Singh I, one of the war chiefs of Emperor Akbar in the 16th Century, Amer Fort is known for its Hindu and Rajput styles of architecture and is one of the important tourist attractions in and around Jaipur. The Fort is in Amer town, which was once the capital of the Kacchawas, who later shifted the capital to Jaipur.

While we had less than 3 hours to cover most parts of the fort, we were able to see the Jaleb Chowk (place for soldiers to assemble), the Sheesh Mahal (a stunning mirror palace), Diwan-i-Aam (Public audience hall), Diwan-i-Khas (Private audience hall) and the magic flower fresco.

Amer Fort, Jaipur:

Amer Fort, Sheesh Mahal:

Apparently, the Queen was not allowed to sleep out in the open. And so to recreate the effect of a starry night, this mirror palace was built! One candle of light was sufficient to illuminate the entire palace, pretty amazing right?

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Architecture of Chennai – Victoria Public Hall

Victoria Public Hall, named after Queen Victoria, was the first town hall in Madras/Chennai and was built in 1890. As mentioned in my previous post, this is another wondeful example of the widespread usage of Indo-Saracenic architecture during the British Empire.

The hall was a famous place for public gatherings and has seen the likes of Subramanya Bharathi, Mahatma Gandhi, Swami Vivekananda and other legendary personalities addressing large audiences here. Interestingly, it was here that Chennai saw its first cinema show 117 years back ! Over the next 70-80 years the building was occupied by several organizations and apparently fell out of public attention as Chennai developed in the south (with the rise in the film industry).

North and Central Madras, till today retain the old world charm of Madras with its amazing historical buildings – i would definitely be visiting this gem as well ! (Click on image to enlarge)

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Architecture of Chennai – Ripon Building

The Ripon Building in Chennai is a fine example of Indo-Saracenic architecture (courtesy of the then ruling British), one of the popular architecture types in Chennai (other examples include Victoria Public Hall, Madras High Court etc) and was built in 1913. In the present day it serves as office for the Chennai Corporation.

Indo-Saracenic architecture to put simply, is a fusion of Mughal and Indian styles developed by British architects.

My grandmother used to tell me stories of how she used to work part-time (stylishly known as an internship these days, hehe!) as a stenographer when she was in her early 20s. It is probably one of the more prominent buildings in Chennai, standing tall and proud in its pure white form!

Definitely on my to-do list to visit this building soon, the picture below was taken from a moving car on a rainy Sunday evening – (click on picture to enlarge)

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Angkor – Ta Prohm!

How can one visit Angkor and miss the awesome Ta Prohm temple made even more famous in Angelina Jolie’s Tomb Raider movie?! (ok movie was terrible)

Click on images to enlarge!

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