Mysore is a city of palaces, but the most magnificent of them all is the Mysore Palace sometimes know as the main palace as well. One of the most unforgettable images of the city is the image of the illuminated Mysore Palace against the dark black sky. It takes ninety seven thousand light bulbs to produce this enchanting image of the palace. The palace is situated in the middle of the city and is a reminder of the grandeur of a by gone era and is today an invaluable nation treasure.

Mysore_Palace_

The palace that stands today is fourth one to be built in the same site. When the capital was shifted back to Mysore from Srirangapatnam, after Tipu Sultan’s death, the palace was hastily rebuilt with wood and mud, in a Hindu style. The royal family moved into it in 1801. But this palace was burnt down in a fire that broke out during the wedding of the oldest daughter of Maharaja chamaraja wodeyar in 1897. The reconstruction of the palace was undertaken immediately and the royal family moved to Jaganmohan palace. The English architect Henry Irwin designed the new palace and it was completed in 1912 at a cost of about Rs 41 lakhs.

There are seven canons in front of the Gombe Thotti and are used to this day to mark the beginning and the end of the Dusehra festivities every year. Ahead of this is the elephant gate, this gate is in the main entrance to the center of the palace. The kalyana mantapa or marriage pavilion has central octagonal gabled roof that is covered with stained glass. This pavilion is in the south of the building. The floor of the Kalyana Mantapa has beautiful geometrical patterns created by using shining glazed tiles imported from Britain.

There are the twelve temples inside the Palace complex dating from the fourteenth to the twentieth centuries and have varying architectural style. The palace is set in a carefully laid out gardens. One can visit the palace of all days of the week between 10 am and 5:30 pm. The palace is illuminated on Sunday, national holidays and state festivals between 7:00 pm and 8:00Pm and during the dusehra festival from 7pm to 9pm.

The Hawa Mahal is an important landmark of the city of Jaipur, the pink city of India. It is an interesting building, although it is actually little more than a facaed. This honeycombed building was originally built to facilitate the women of the royal house hold to watch the everyday life and processions of the city. Built in 1799 by Maharaja Sawai Pratap Singh, this remarkable structure adjoins the outside of the city palace wall. Sawai pratap singh was great devotee of lord Krishna and he dedicated this mahal to the lord, its intricate exterior wall looks like a mukut – crown, which adorns Lord Krishna’s head. It overlooks one of the main streets and lies sandwiched between more prosaic buildings.

Jaipur, Hawa Mahal (Palace of the Winds)

This is five storey, pyramid shaped structure is made up of small casements, each with tiny windows and arched roof with hanging cornices, exquisitely modelled and carved. Its façade makes Hawa Mahal look more like a screen than a palace. Its top three storeys are just a single room thick but a the base are two courtyards. It is a fifty foot high thin shield, less than a foot in thickness, but has over 900 niches and a mass of semi-octagonal bays, carved sandstone grills, finials and domes, which give this palace its unique façade.

There is no definite record as to why Hawa Mahal was built, only conjecture. It certainly was not meant for residential purposes. That becomes clear if one were to view this unusual structure from the rear side. There is total lack of ornamentation on the inner face of the building. The chambers are plain and more mass of pillarsand passages leading to the top storey. It does not seem to be part of the same building. Today Hawa Mahal provides the visitors with some excellent views of the city and a bird’s eye view of the Jantar Manter. The best time to view Hawa Mahal is sunrise when it catches the early morning sun and is bathed in its golden light making it glow like a gem. The entrance to this stranger building si on the rear side.

Jama masjid is the largest mosque in India. Located old delhi, the mosque has the capacity to accommodate 25000 devotees. Jama Masjid was completed in 1656 AD and it was again the great Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan behind this architectural masterpiece. Some 5000 crafts men involved in the construction of the mosque. It is located in old delhi, just opposite to the famous Red Fort.

Jama Masjid Delhi

Jama Masjid is also called the Friday congregational mosque because Muslims turn up in large members to offer Namaz Numa popularly called as Jama Masjid, means the mosque commanding a view of the world. The mosque is a real example of great architecture that existed during the Mugahal period. It has the blend of both Hindu and Mughal style of architecture. Jama Masjid has three gates, two minarets 40 meters in height and four towers. The minarets are made up of red sand stone and white marbles bearing strips of black colour. Tourists visiting the mosque have the option of wearing the traditional ceremonial clothes available at the northern gate. Jama Masjid used to be the main mosque of Shah Jahan. The mosque stands on the hill of Bho Jhala, in the oldMughal capital called Shahjahanabad. Prayer hall on the west is adorned by high cusped arches and marble domes.

The mosque contains several remnants of the Muslim religion like a repica of the Quran written of a deer skin, a red beard hair of the prophet mohammad, sandals of the prophet and his footprint. It is believed that the total cost of Rs 10 lakhs was incurred for the construction of the mosque. Shah Jahan has many mosques to his names that include the famous Moti Masjid at Agra and other mosques in Ajmer and Lahore. One of the specialities of Jama Masjid is the high ground construction that makes the appearance even more beautiful. Board and high steps lead to the main gateways.

The Ajanta caves are a series of 29 Buddhist cave temple in Ajanta, India. Some of them date back to the 2nd century BC. Encompassing both Theravada and Mahayana Buddhist traditions, the Ajanta caves preserve some of the best masterpiece o Buddhist art in India.

ajanta-caves

The Ajanta caves were carved in the 2nd century BC out of a hoursehoe-shaped cliff along the Waghora river. They were used by Buddhist monks as prayer hall and monasteries for about nine centuries, then abruptly abandoned. They fell into oblivion until they were rediscovered in 1819. The caves are numbered from east to west, 1 through 29. Today, a terraced path connects the cave, but in ancient times each was independently accessed from the riverfront. A viewing platform across the river affords an excellent view of the entire Ajanta site. The natural beauty of the area makes it clear why the monks chose the site for their spiritual pursuits.

Inside the caves, there are many masterpieces of Buddhist art. Some reflect the earlier Theravada tradition of depicting the Buddha only in symbolic form such as a throne or footprints. Others, the Mahayana caves, feature colourful murals and statues depicting the life of the Buddha and various Bodhisattvas. The caves also depict scene from everyday life and many included inscriptions indications indicating a prince or prince or noble who gifted the cave to the monks.

It is most practical to explore the Ajanta caves in reverse numerical order, so they are presented in this way below. This keeps you somewhat our of the masses of people moving from cave to cave in the order direction, the brings you out at the exit. The numbers of the must see caves are:

Cave 26 : A Mahayana prayer hall. The highlight is a large carved statue of the reclining Buddha, representing his moment of death.

Cave 17 : A Mahayana monastery is covered with many well preserved wall paintings. Maidens and celestial musicians are on the ceiling, the Buddhas, celestial guardians, goddesses, lotus petals and scroll work adorn the doorway.

Cave 16 : A Mahayana monastery featuring a beautiful painting of the princess Sundari fainting after learning that her husband was going to become a monk.

Cave 15,13,12 : Theravada monstery caves.

Cave 10 : Theravada prayer hall, thought to be the oldest cave temple at Ajanta, dating to the 2ne century BC.

Cave 8 : Theravada monastery cave.

Cave 4 : Incomplete, but the largest of the Ajanta monasteries.

Aga Khan Palace is one of the most magnificent monuments of India, situated at Pune. The palce dates back to the year 1892 and was constructed under the patronage of Sultan Mohammed Shah, Aga Khan 3. There was a noble cause behind its construction. During 1890s, the area around Pune was hit by a severe famine. Sultan Mohammed Shah ordered the construction of this palace, in order to provide employment to the drought hit people.

Aga Khan Palace, Pune Aga Khan Palace, Pune

In the year 1969, Prince Karim El Husseni, Aga Khan IV, donated Aga Khan palace to the Government of India. He donated it to the Government in honor of Mahatma Gandhi. Today, the palace house the samadhis of Kasturba Gandhi – wife of Mahatma Gandhi and Mahadev Desai – a long time aid of Mahatma Gandhi. It is because of the reason that both the individuals left for the holy abode, in the palace itself.

Even the ashes of Mahatma Gandhi have been interred a Aga Khan Palace. Since the palace is closely associated with mahatama Gandhi, it is often known by the name of Gandhi National Memorial also. It serves as the venue of exhibitions, depicting and life and career of Mahatma Gandhi, on a frequent basis. Aga Khan palace was also one of the shooting locales of the famous movie Gandhi based on the life of Bapu. A museum is also situated inside the premises of the palace.

Inside the museum, is a rich and a very wide collection of pictures, which represent almost each and every significant happing in the life of Mahatma Gandhi. One can also see a number of items displayed here, which were used by Gandhiji when he was alive. These include his utensils, clothes, mala chappals, etc. The management of the museum, samadhis and campus of the Aga Khan Palace is being looked after the Gandhi Memorial Society since the year 1980.

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