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Ahmedabad was founded by Sultan Ahmed Shah on the banks of River Sabarmati in 1411 A.D. Legend has it that he decided to build the capital at Ahmedabad because he saw a rabbit attacking one of his hunter dogs. It occurred to him that if the rabbits of the region were so brave, the people must be even braver. Sultan Ahmed Shah graced his kingdom with splendid monuments, mosques, pavilions and mausoleums, marking the beginning of the Indo-Saracenic style of architecture. Modern day Ahmedabad, the capital of the State of Gujarat is the largest city and a leading industrial centre in Gujarat. It is also the sixth largest in India. But Ahmedabad has a lot more to offer visitors. Popularly known as the Manchester of the East, Ahmedabad boasts of the largest denim production in the world. It is also home to several interesting museums. Many of Ahmedabad's buildings bear the signatures of world-renowned architects like Le Corbusier, Louis Khan , Doshi and Correa. It is from the austere habitat of Sabarmati at Ahmedabad, that the 'Father of the Nation' - Mahatma Gandhi took on the mighty British Empire, and gave human race one of its most remarkable ways to fight oppression - non-violence. The Ahmedabad circuit, which covers the northern part of Gujarat, is a fascinating blend of history, culture and adventure. It is home to the Sabarmati Ashram, Mahatma Gandhi's famous retreat and the nerve centre of India's freedom movement, Ambaji -an important place of pilgrimage in Gujarat and some of the finest examples of Indo- Saracenic architecture like the Jumma Masjid and the Siddi Sayyad Mosque. In Ahmedabad you will also find step wells, a unique feature of this region and ornately carved temples at Modhera and Kumbharia.
Day 2: Fly to Goa via Mumbai: Enjoy the exotic beaches of Goa.
Day 3: Goa: Enjoy the exotic beaches of Goa.
Day 4: Goa: Enjoy the exotic beaches of Goa
Day 5: Fly to Bangalore
Bangalore - "Garden City ...Silicon Valley of India ...Fastest growing city in SE Asia...A place to come back home...Mini Subcontinent
Founded by KEMPE GOWDA more than 400 years ago,
Bangalore is special in every respect - a Salubrious Climate, Beautiful parks, Avenues, Old and New Buildings, Museum, Theatre, above all the Cultured People - a standing testimony for Secular INDIA. One of the most prominent landmarks of the city, is a magnificent granite structure housing both the Legislative Chambers of the State Government. This building is standing tribute to the Indian Temple architecture and the Pride of Bangalore.
The exotic gardens, laid out by Hyder Ali in 1760, span an area of 240 acres in the heart of Bangalore, is amongst India's most beautiful botanical parks. This holds the key to major contribution in maintaining the City's healthy environment for generations. Palace of the "Tiger of Mysore" - TIPU SULTAN is one of the most remarkable Islamic buildings in the city, this two storeyed ornate wooden palace has been converted into a museum and is a mine of information about the glorious period of Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan. The Bull Temple is famous for the myth it carries and an awesome monolithic deity of Nandi, the celestial bull, carved out in the typical Dravidian style of architecture. The sheer size of the monumental structure measuring 4.57 metres in height and 6.10 metres in length, is breathtakingly real.
Day 6: Mysore
Mysore is the formal Capital of the erstwhile Wodeyars and also the State of MYSORE before it was shifted to Bangalore. The city of Palaces has been the Culture Capital of Karnataka ever since and even to this day millions of Tourists from allover the World visit Mysore during Dasehra (Nava Rathri) during October.
The island fortress of the legendary Tiger of Mysore - Tipu Sultan, takes you through the pages of history. Every stone, every Temple, every Palace and every Mosque in here has a story to tell. The summer Palace of Tipu Sultan, built fully by wood is today a museum devoted to Tipu Sultan An imposing structure where the mortal remains of Hyder Ali, his wife and Tipu Sultan were confined.
Ranganathaswamy Temple, St Philomena's Church, Brindavan Gardens
Temple of Lord Vishnu in the sleeping posture on the Great Snake Anantha, is one of the Largest temples in the State. It is a beautiful example for both Vijayanagara and Hoysala Styles of Architecture. A beautiful Cathedral with stained Glass Windows and lofty Towers. Reminiscent of Medival Architecture.
World Famous Terrace Gardens with Musical Fountains which gets transformed into a dreamland by night with swirling waters, colourful lights and melodious music.
Chamundi Hills, Mysore Palace
A symbol of victory of Good over Evil is a 335 metre
landmark with 1000 steps. Half way up along the stone steps is Nandi,a majestic
4.8 mts monolith. Atop the hill is huge statue of Mahishasura, the demon and
a temple of Goddess Chamundeshwari, can also be reached by driving 13 Kms.
Built in the Indo - Saracenic Style with domes, turrets, arches and colonnades, the palace in-spite of housing the RoyalFamily is open for Visitors it attracts in millions from all over the world.
Sri Chamarajendra Zoological garden
A house for animals in captivity was established in 19th century under the patronage of the then King, houses many endangered species.
Is known as Athens of the East, Madurai is a place of great historical and cultural importance. It is the oldesvants highly esteemed both by kings and commoners. It was in Madurai that three successful conferences of Tamil scholars called sangams flourished under benevolent royal support.t city in Tamil Nadu and Madurai lies on the banks of the River Vaigai. Madurai is one of the liveliest cities in South India it was originally known as Kadambavanam or the "forest of Kadamba" or the Nauclea kadamba. Legend says that Lord Shiva appeared in the dream on the king, Kulasekhara Pandya. The king was amazed to see drops of nectar or madhu falling down of earth from Lord Shiva's matted hair. The "madhu" was so sweet that the place where it fell came to be known as Madhurapuri, which in course of time became "Madurai." Tamil and Greek documents record its existence from the 4th century B.C. Being in the heart of Tamil Nadu, Madurai has fostered an essentially Dravidian and Tamil culture. Famous for its cultural and scholarly pursuits, the city had an academy consisting of critics, poets and sa
Madurai is famous for housing one of the five traditional dance halls where Lord Siva, in his form as the Silver Hall or the Velli Ambalam. It is situated within the Meenakshi Temple. Madurai was the capital of the dynasty. The Meenakshi-Sundareswarar Shrine is its central glory. The Muslims invaded Madurai in the 14th Century. Later it came under the rule of the Nayaks, and the rule of Thirumalai Nayak, who is remembered as the maker of modern Madurai, was an eventful one.
Day 8: Thanjavur and Trichurapalli. rose to glory during the later Chola period between the 9th and 14th centuries A.D. It also flourished later during the rule of the Nayaks and Mahrattas. The headquarters of this district has the same name as the district. It has been the treasure house of art for centuries. It is called the Rice Bowl of Tamil Nadu. Thanjavur is well-known throughout the world for being the home of the Brahadeeswara temple, the magnificent palace, Rajah Serfoji's Saraswathi Mahal Library, Art Gallery and also for its exquisite handicrafts like the Art Plate, an musical instruments. pithwork, bronze icons, Thanjavur paintings and the classical South Indi Sri Brahadeeswarar Temple This is also called the Big temple and it is dedicated to Lord Shiva. The great Chola king Raja Raja I (985-1012 A.D) built this temple. It is an outstanding example of the Chola architecture. Its unique architectural excellence has made the UNESCO to declare it a World Heritage Monument. In keeping theimmensity of the temple the gigantic mahalingam in the shrine measures 4 mtrs. in height. The monolithic Nandi or the bull mount of Lord Shiva has been chiselled out of single rock. It is the second largest nandi in India. The beautiful Chola Fresco paintings on the inner walls of the temple are no way less than Ajanta paintings. One of the best temples in South India, the Brahadeeswarar Temple is the Chola dynasty's finest contribution to Dravidian temple architecture. What makes the construction so unique is the diversion from the usual temple building norms of having a tall gopuram and smaller vimanams (the tower over the sanctum). At the big temple the vimanam soars high while the gopuram remains stunted. planned its construction in a way that the shadow of the cupola never falls on the ground.
Day 9: Chennai
This metropolis is often called the cultural capital of India for its deep-rooted traditions and long heritage. Chennai is a city younger than its image. More than any other city in India, it is a true reflection of this country's diversity. In a time span of just over 350 years, Chennai has blossomed into a charming city that has a large heart and is very welcoming. It is city that encourages all forms of development, both modern technology and the traditional arts andcrafts, and it embraces a series of paradoxes. It was in 1639 that Francis Day and Andrew Cogan, agents for the English East India Company, acquired a strip of land on lease from the Vijayanagar King. They built the Fort St.George, which remains of the city's important landmarks and serves as the Government Secretariat today. It was built to set up a factory that served as a nucleus for British settlements that began to be formed. Surrounding villages like Triplicane, Purasawalkam, Egmore and Chetput slowly merged with the new developments, to form
Chennapatnam, as it was known. The city was called Madras till 1996 and then renamed Chennai. Today this buoyant metropolis is a blend of the old and the new, the traditional and the modern.
Day 10: : Hyderabad
The name itself brings up vision of a vibrant city of minarets and modern high - rise buildings. A natural and sophisticated blend of old and new - an old 'Nawabi' culture with a new pro-active approach and hospitality. The Teeming bazaars of the old city, in the midst of which stands the 400-year-old Charminar, the modern shopping complexes and ultra-modern malls in the newer areas of the city add to the charm of Hyderabad.
The Golconda fort, capital of the kingdom by that name, is today very much part of the city, as is Cyberabd, a new local area created to keep pace with the zooming Information Technology sector.
Pearls, bangles, silks, computer software, handicrafts and above all a delectgable
cuisine add to the splendour of this great city.
Andhra Pradesh State Museum A visit to the Andhra Pradesh State Museum is a delight for art lovers. Located in the picturesque Public Gardens, the museum boasts of one of the richest repositories of antiques and art objects in the country. Built in 1920 by the Nizam VII, the museum building itself is a fine example of Indo-Saracenic architecture. The museum contains a Buddist gallery, Brahmanical & Jain gallery, Arms & Armour gallery Numissmatics gallery, Ajanta gallery & more. Adjacent to the State Museum is the Contempary Art Museum.
This shimmering ethereal temple of Lord Venkateshwara, built in sculpted white marble, floats on the city skyline, on Kala Pahad. The idol in the temple is a replica of the one at Tirupati.
Charminar is as much the signature of Hyderabad as Taj Mahal is of Agra or Eiffel Tower is of Paris. Mohammed Quli Qutb Shah, the founder of Hyderabad, built Charminar in 1591 at the centre of the original city layout. It is believed to have been built as a charm to ward off a deadly epidemic raging at that time. Four graceful minarets soar to a height of 48.7m. Charminar has 45 prayer spaces and a mosque in it.
Golconda is one of the famous forts of India. The name originates from the Telugu words "Golla Konda" meaning "Shepherd's Hill". The origins of the fort can be traced back to the Yadava dynasty of Deogiri, and the Kakatiyas
of Warangal. Golconda was originally
a mud fort, which passed to the Bahmani dynasty and later to the Qutb Shahis, who held it from 1518 to 1687 A.D. The first three Qutb Shahi kings rebuilt Golconda, over a span of 62 years. The fort is famous for its acoustics, palaces, factories, ingenious water supply system and the Fateh Rahben gun, one of the cannons used in the last siege of Golconda by Aurangzeb, to
whom the fort ultimately fell. Laad Bazaar This is the famous, colourful shopping centre of the Old City. It is tucked away in one of the streets leading off from Charminar. Bridal wear, pearls & the traditional Hyderabadi glass & stone studded bangles are sold here. Legislative Assembly Built in 1913, the building was originally the Hyderabad State Town Hall. The architecture is a synthesis of Rajasthani and Persian styles, with an all white, aesthetic look. Located adjoining the picturesque Public Gardens, a massive statue of Mahatma Gandhi in a sitting posture is erected at the entrance park to the Assembly. Lumbini Park This beautiful entertainment park is situated on the shores of Hussainsagar Lake. The landscaping here is a visual treat. A musically synchronized water fountain and a floral clock are major attractions here. Lumbini Park jetty is a major point for pleasure boating.
Mecca Masjid A hundred yards southwest of the Charminar is the Mecca Masjid, so named because the bricks were brought from Mecca to build the central arch. The Qutb Shahis never finished the building of the mosque, which was completed by Aurangzeb in 1694. Mecca Masjid is poetry in stone, with a hall measuring 67m & soaring to a height of 54m. Fifteen graceful arches - five to each of the three sides, support the roof. Towards the southern end of the mosque lie the graves in marble of Nizam Ali Khan & the families of the Asaf Jahi dynasty.
Qutb Shahi Tombs The tombs of the legendary Qutb Shahi kings lie to the north of Golconda, about a kilometre away from Banjara Darwaza of the Golconda Fort. Planned and built by the Qutb Shahis themselves, these tombs are said to be the oldest historical monuments in Hyderabad. They form a large group and stand on a raised platform. The tombs are built in Persian, Pathan and Hindu architectural styles using grey granite, with stucco ornamentation, the only one of its kind in the world where an entire dynasty has been buried at one place.
Salar Jung Museum This museum houses one of the biggest one-man collections of antiques and artifacts in the world by Mir Yousuf Ali Khan Salar Jung III. The objects d'art include Persian carpets, Moghal miniatures, Chinese porcelain, Japanese lacquer ware, famous sculptures including the Veiled Rebecca and Marguerite and Mephistopheles, a superb collection of jade, daggers belonging to Queen Noor Jahan and the Emperors Jahangir and Shah Jahan, Aurangzeb's sword and many other fabulous items. APTDC has a "Pongali" snack bar here.
The Nizam's Museum Located in the stately Purani Haveli, the palace
acquired in the year 1750, by the second Nizam, is now converted as a museum
with a fascinating collection. The museum showcases the gifts & mementos
presented to the last Nizam on the occasion of Silver Jubilee Celebration
in 1937. A 1930 Rolls Royce, Packard & a Mark V Jaguar are among the vintage
cars displayed. There is an interesting collection of models made in silver
of all the prominent buildings of the city & citations in Urdu about H.E.H
Mir Osman Ali Khan, gold burnished wooden throne used for the Silver Jubilee
Celebrations, gold tiffin box inlaid with diamonds, gold model of Jubilee
Pavilion and a silver filigree elephant with mahout are some of the notable
items on display. The museum is open between 10.30 am & 05.00 pm on all
days except Friday. Location: 2 Kms from Charminar & 1 Km from Salar Jung
Day 11: Kolkata
Kolkata, on the Hooghly, retains the aura of days long gone, weaving the past and the present, the intense and the funloving into a charming fabric. Home to four Nobel laureates - Ronald Ross, Rabindranath Tagore, Mother Teresa and Amartya Sen, Kolkata is the nerve centre of intellect and human values, where many modern movements began in art, cinema and theatre, science and industry. India's quest for freedom began here.
Kolkata is the gateway to Eastern India. A city with a rich heritage, bustling streets and bewildering variety of facets. From October to March, Kolkata wears a radiant look. Sunshine, mild winter, lights, colours, fairs, festivals, galas and excursions, the mood is infectious and spirit sweeping. though the name Kalikata had been mentioned in the rent-roll of the Great Mughal emperor Akbar and also in
Manasa-Mangal, to explore the history of Kolkata, we have to go back to the 17th century. It was in 1690 that Job Charnock of the East India Company came to the bank of the river Hooghly and took the lease of the three villages- Sutanuti, Govindapur and Kolikata (Kolkata) as a trading post of British East India Company. The city became famous in 1756, when Siraj-Ud-Dawlah, the last independent nawab of Bengal, captured the city. But the British regained their power in 1757 and the city was recaptured under Robert Clive. Warren Hastings, the first Governor-General of India, made it the seat of the supreme courts of justice and the supreme revenue administration, and Kolkata became the capital of British India in 1772. By 1800 Kolkata had become a busy and flourishing town, the center of the cultural as well as the political and economic life of Bengal.
The city rises from the high northern bank on the outside curve of Ganga,
the holiest of all Indian rivers, to form a magnificent panorama of buildings
in many varieties of Indian architecture. The unique relationship between
sacred river and the city is the essence of Varanasi - the land of sacred light. The Ganga is believed to have flown from the heaven to wash away the worldly sins of the humankind. Thus, to be in Varanasi is an out of this world experience, and experience of self-discovery, a journey through the present and the past in search of immortality.
Varansi - The Land of Holy River Ganga ( The city of lights and Learning & Burning)
The life and activities in the city revolves around the holy river. Life
on the banks of the Ganga begins before dawn when thousands of pilgrims -men,
women and children, come down to the river to wait for the rising sun. Some
come in groups, some alone, all absorbed in their intense thoughts of salvation,
waiting for the moment when immersion in the sacred river will cleanse them
of their mundane sufferings and wash their sins away. Gradually the sun rises,
and the river mists slowly lift to reveal the magnificent buildings that have
a solemnity unmatched by
any city in the world.
Soon after the sunrise, the city's great amphitheatre of ghats burst into activity. In the charged holistic atmosphere of the morning venerable Brahmins (known as Pandas) recite passages from sacred texts, priests dispense holy ashes to pilgrims to mark their foreheads in veneration of the gods. Boatmen, flower seller, shrill- voiced sellers selling sweetmeats and knick knacks, sacred bulls and cows
Varansi - The City of Inspiration Varanasi inspires one to reflect about life, to ponder about creation and the insignificance of temporal wealth in the face of death. Along the watre's edge, there are the burning ghats. The most sacred one is Manikarnika, associated with Goddess Parvati. Lord Shiva's wife.
According to the historians, the city was founded some ten centuries before the birth of Christ. Situated between the two tirbutaries of the Gangas- Varuna to the north and Asi to the south - it has attained immortality. The city is mentioned in holy scriptures like ' Vamana Purana' , Buddhist texts and in the epic 'Mahabharata'.
Dedicated to Lord Shiva, this temple is the most sacred shrine in Varanasi. The original Temple was destoryed by the Mughal Emperor, Aurangzeb, which was later, restored by Rani Ahilyabai of Indore in the 18th century. The Gold plating of the dome was done during the 19th century by maharaja Ranjit Singhj of Punjab. Foreiners entry restricted.
Bharat mata Temple
This temple is dedicated to Mother India. Just one kmfrom the Varanasi station. The temple is built in the Mahatma Gandhi Kashi Vidyapeeth, which was built by Babu Shiv Prasad Gupt. Mahatma Gandhi inaugurated this temple in 1936 so that the citizens could respect Mother India in statue form. The statute is built in marble. The statue is a replica of undivided India in three dimension, which has the mountains, plains, and oceans in right proportion.
Sarnath 10 Kms
About 10 km away, This fabled place bears testimony to its great past where Lord Buddha delivered his first sermon to his disciples expounding the principles of Buddhism. There are remains dating as far back as the 3rd century B.C. when Emperor Ashoka founded various institutions, stupas, monasteries and pillar edicts. The runs at Sarnath and the art collection in the Archaeological Museum are representations/ examples of the glorious past of Sarnath. Archaeological remains are open from Sunrise to Sunset.
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