Manali is a very old town placed interesting on the national highway that leads to Leh and on the edge of the valley of Kullu. It is in at a distance of 40 kms from Kullu in the north. The origin of the name of this place is mythological in nature as it means the home of Manu. Manu is a very importance character in the Hindu mythology and is the person who was the survivor of the flood which drowned the whole world. He was later on saved by the fish only to recreate the human life later on. Also known as the Switzerland of India, it is a very popular trekking and tourist destination and the home to the growing orchard industry.
For the people who visit other important places of the Kashmir valley like Lahaul, Kinnaur, Zanskar and Leh this is a popular resort. The snow capped peaks, the mountains; the valleys the gorges, the clear water of the Beas River have bestowed this place with unmatched natural beauty. Manali is also blessed with many varieties of wild flowers, deodar and pine trees, fruit orchards and beautiful hamlets. In addition to all these huge flocks of Hindu pilgrims could be seen visiting this place each year.
The best times to visit this places depends on the purpose of the travel. For the ones who are looking to ski, the period between Decembers to February is the ideal time. However the people who are going to take a break from their hectic lives and enjoy the majestic natural beauty usually visit this place between May and October. Manali is also quite popular for Himachal’s Winter Carnival. Some of the most popular tourist attractions of Manali are Hidimba Devi Temple, the Vashisth village and Gadhan Thekochoking Gompa. The Hidimba Devi Temple boasts of its wooden architecture and placement in the midst of dense forest. Of all the places worth visiting in India, Manali is definitely the most popular and outstanding.
Lahaul district is located in the state of Himachal Pradesh. It basically consists of two districts of Spiti and Lahaul. This district was formed in the year of 1960. Out of a total of 640 districts of India this is the third least populous district. The Lahaul valley is interestingly placed in the mountain ranges and is blessed with a unique amalgamation of high mountains and white glaciers. Some of the most popular glaciers of this place are Bara Shigri, Samundari, Chota Sigri and Sonapani glaciers. The region of Hikkim in Lahaul is the fifth highest city in the world. The two most prominent rivers of this place are Chandra and Bhaga and these flows through the valleys of the same name. The net area and the total population of this place are 13835 sq kms and 33,224 respectively.
Lahaul is the home of many of fabulous pieces of works that could be considered as emblems of Buddhist art and culture. In addition to this tourists and travellers could enjoy the golden images of Padmasambhava, ancient murals, thankas and wood carving present in the monasteries. This valley, which lies at a height of 2745 meters, is the ideal place to visit during the summers. Though there are times of intermittent and sporadic rainfalls this place is nothing short of heaven for the climbers, trekkers and wilderness lovers.
Some of the most popular tourist attractions of Lahaul are the monasteries with the most popular among them being Khardong and Shashur. In addition to these other places of interest are Gonda, Keylong, Triloknath Temple, Gemir, Koksar, Baralacha La Pass. Khardong monastery was built in the early 12th century and is blessed with a large collection of Kangyur and Tangyur volumes. These large volumes of Buddhist scripture are Bhoti. Thus no excursion of Himachal Pradesh is complete without getting enchanted by the beauty of Lahaul.
Kullu, with a population of 381,571 and a net area of 5,503 sq kms, is a very prominent tourist attraction of Himachal Pradesh. The hill station of Kullu Manali has been bestowed with heavenly beauty and thus many refer to it as “Valley of Gods”. Kullu earlier referred to as Kulanthpitha which means the end of the habitable world, is located on both sides of Beas River. The snow capped ranges of Himalaya, Dhauladhar and Pir Panjal add to the beauty of Kullu. Kullu is blessed with many valleys and this adds to the delight of the visitors who come in huge flocks to this place all year long. The natives of Kullu commonly interact in Hindi, Pahari, Punjabi and English.
Kullu is also a very popular shopping destination wherein one could get Pashmina Shawls, woven rugs, local tweeds, foot wear or Pullan, natural oils of almond and olive and the Kullu caps. Various items carved out of different varieties of Wood like birch, walnut etc are also found over here. The Dusshera festival, which usually begins here after it has ended all over the country, is celebrated with a lot of pomp and fervour. If one wants to visit Kullu for sightseeing and enjoying the thrills of climbing and river rafting then March to June is the ideal time to do so. However September to November is the right time for anybody wishing to enjoy trekking. For snow-skiing and heli-skiing in region of Manali, December to February is the ideal time.
There are many popular tourist attractions here in Kullu like the Raghunath Temple, the Bijali Mahadev temple, Kasol Manikaran and Roerich Gallery. The construction of Raghunath Temple, which is in veneration to the main deity of Kullu that is Raghunath or Lord Rama, was built with the constant efforts of Raja Jagat Singh. Huge flocks of Hindu and Sikh pilgrims could be seen at the Manikaran Hot Springs. Thus there is no shortage of things that could be done at Kullu and hence one must visit this place whenever planning an adventurous yet soothing excursion
The forbidden land of Kinnaur, which is placed at a very high level on the Himalayas, is open for a few selected groups of people only for six months. The select group of people who are allowed the access to this beautiful place include the general officials, the mountaineers who are looking for an adventurous and a dangerous trip and the Moravian missionaries, living here since 1853. For many centuries this place remained closed and out of reach of the general public especially because of the danger attached with this place. It is located at an altitude of 2670 m and the total area and population of this place is 6401 sq. kms and 78,334 respectively.
Kinnaur also has historical significance attached with this place as it lies on the prehistoric trade route that was heavily used between India and Tibet. It is surrounded by the majestic ranges of Himalayas and Dhauladhar. The angler’s please themselves by catching the trout fish that are found in the rivers of this place in abundance. The lush lands of Kinnaur are also the dwelling spot of Kinners who are the demi gods of the Pantheon. The deeds of the Hindu god Pantheon have been mentioned on several occasions in the ancient Sanskrit poems.
There are many popular tourist attractions in Kinnaur which include Recong Peo, Kalpa, Nichar, Sangla Valley, puh, Sumdo and the list in unending. Recong Peo is famous for the splendid view of the Kinner Kailash, which it offers. Sangla Valley, which gets its name from the Sangla village, is located on the banks of Baspa river. This valley is very popular for its natural beauty. One could enjoy the wildlife of Nichar wherein the most prominent animals are Ghoral, antelopes and bears, both black and red. Another place called Leo, which is located on the banks of Spiti river, is famous for the temple of Jamato.
India is considered to be an ideal tourist destination for the world. The first name which comes up when visiting India is the city of Agra. When you think of Agra, immediately the Taj Mahal comes to your mind. However, the Taj Mahal alone does not define the beauty and majestic past of the city of Agra. When you make your travel plans to Agra, you will be amazed to know that the city reveals its glorious past. This is because the city has many beautiful places to offer to the visitors other than the magic and excellence of the Taj. One such famous spot in Agra is the Agra Fort.
While visiting the Agra Fort, you will be able to take genuine and good pictures of the Mughal customs, their many different types of life style and culture of the people of the 15th and 17th centuries by visiting the Agra Fort. Other than the Taj Mahal this is another tempting attraction to in see in Agra city. It is a master piece when it comes to its design and architecture of the medieval period in India. It was in 1565 A.D. that Akbar built it. Once there, you will be able to see many buildings inside the Agra Fort.
Red stone is what was used to build the Jahangir Place. The stone was brought from the nearby places of Rajasthan and also from central India. The entrance to a huge courtyard is through a huge gate. It has a big room where the queens once lived. You can watch and marvel at the beautiful stone carvings on the walls of the rooms which are all of Persian art designs and architecture. All of these are worth witnessing while you are on your Taj Mahal tours.
It acquired the status of a world heritage site by UNESCO in 1983.
All over the world the Taj Mahal is popular for its beautiful and stunning white marble dome. It is located in Agra, India. More than a million tourists from all over the world come to see the Taj Mahal. It was in 1632 that the construction of the Taj began under Shah Jahan. Shah Jahan was the one who built the mausoleum after he became broken hearted on the death of Mumtaz Mahal his third wife, who died in 1631.
The Taj Mahal represents the Mughal style of architecture which combines Indian, Islamic, Turkish and Persian styles in a masterful way. The principal designer was an architect known as Ustad Ahmad Lahuri. The interior and exterior of the Taj Mahal is intrinsically carved where as the outside is covered with all sorts of decorative elements. On the inside of the Taj Mahal you will be able to marvel at the many precious stones and panels of bas-relief and even more beautiful calligraphy. It is the pure white marble of the Taj which gives it a special effect in different times.
A common story which is doing the rounds is that the head architect and even many of the craftsmen were murdered. Shah Jahan did this so that it was impossible for them to design and build another structure which could rival the beauty and the grandeur of the Taj Mahal. However, there are no sources to prove this fact. It was in 1648 that the mausoleum dome of the Taj Mahal was completed whereas the rest of the rest of the complex was completed in 1653. It was in 1983 that the Taj Mahal was declared as a World Heritage site by UNESCO.
It still remains as one of the most beautiful masterpiece of art and architecture in the world.
In order to reach the Ajanta caves we drove through serpentine roads. On the way there was nothing much to see but thick forests all around us. Our Ajanta caves were nowhere in sight. A stream rambles along. Here and there we were able to see some bridges. The only signs of activity are the roads and the bridges. The Ajanta Caves can be found a distance of 104 kilometers. From Aurangabad it’s a cool three hours drive. The reason for this is the congested Aurangabad-Jalgaon highway which is two lane. It is also possible for you to reach the caves via Jalgaon.
The Ajanta caves were carved from top to bottom into the rock with the help of chisels and hammers in a valley shaped as a beautiful horseshoe near a river. It’s really very amazing to know that despite water damage and animals these paintings have managed to stay as they are for more than 2,000 years in some cases. The caves were draped with vegetation after the 600s. They were simply lost to human civilization for over 1000 years. It was only after 1000 years that they were discovered by the Britishers while hunting a tiger.
The caves of Ajanta have been classified into Chaityagrihas also known as prayer halls or Vihars. Vihars are also known as places of stay. From the entire prayer halls, cave numbers 9 & 10 are the oldest. These two caves were built around the 2nd century BC. These caves owe their adherence to the Hinayana phase of Buddhism. On the other hand the other caves were built during the Mahayana phase although.
The Ajanta caves were considered to be a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the year 1983. Every attraction has an impression of Buddhism in it.
Shahjahanabad, which was the capital of the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan, was blessed with the humongous Red Fort complex. The sole purpose of this beautiful architectural marvel was to make it the palace fort of Shahjahanabad. This fort gets its name from the red sandstone used in making the walls of the Red Fort complex. In close proximity to the Red Fort within the complex stands another fort called Salimgarh, which was built by Islam Shah Suri in the year of 1546. There are rows of pavilions that make up the private apartments. These pavilions are connected with the help of a continuous water channel which is known as Nahr-i-Behisht or the Stream of Paradise.
Many experts are of the opinion that the Red Fort is the emblem of the architecture of Mughal period that saw new heights especially under the reign of Shah Jahan. The planning and construction of the red fort is primarily based on the Islamic paradigm. However different pavilions are representative of different elements of architecture that are normally employed in the construction of Mughal building and representative of an amalgamation of Tumurid, Hindu and Persian traditions. The designing and planning of The Red Fort has had a crucial effect in the constructions that were later on carried out in Delhi, Agra, Rajasthan etc.
Babur had started the planning and designing process of Red Fort in the year of 1526 AD but its current beauty and splendour is owed to Shah Jahan. Red fort could be considered as a symbol of pride for India because every year the Prime Minister and the President of India on Independence Day and Republic day hoist the national flag of India on Red Fort in Delhi. It was declared a World Heritage Site in the year of 2007 and is a very popular tourist attraction among the tourists.
The Nanda Devi National Park, declared a World Heritage Site by the UNSECO in the year of 1988, is located in the midst of western Himalayas. The most prominent feature of this park is the Nanda Devi peak which has a height of about 7,800m and is the second highest in India. There are no human beings living in the park and thus it has remained intact. The main reason for this is the fact that it is highly inaccessible. This place is the habitat of many different kinds of endangered species like snow leopard the Asiatic black bear, the blue sheep, musk deer, bharal and the brown bear. The beautiful landscape in front of the contrasting rugged mountains creates a somewhat paradoxical beauty. The mountain ranges of Zanskar and the Himalayas are awe-inspiring especially for the mountaineers. In addition to this the mountains ranges are considered to be highly significant in Hindu mythology.
The park is basically situated in the Chamoli district in the region of Garhwal Himalaya. This area is naturally blessed with the catchment area of Rishi Ganga., Dhauli Ganga’s eastern tributary that ultimately flows in Alaknanda River. This area has been divided into many parts because of the many ridges running from north to south. The park is also surrounded by mountains with more than 10 peaks, the most prominent ones being Dunagiri, Nanda Devi East and Changbang.
Both parks, that are the Nanda Devi and Valley of National Parks, are blessed with good variety of plants, birds and animals. The entire area of the park that is situated in the Western Himalayas Endemic Bird Area (EBA) plays a very crucial role in the enhancement of the population of the mountain Ungulates and Galliformes. Not only are these endangered but they happen to be the prey of another endangered species called the snow leopard. This natural marvel that is spread on an area of 71,200 is thus not only blessed with flora and fauna but also with natural heavenly beauty and the best part is that it is still out of the reach of the general people.
The mountains railways blesses the travellers with an opportunity to witness and enjoy the glorious beautiful scenes with help of bold and brave engineering work that resulted into a rail link through the mountainous region. The Mountain Railways of India, which includes three railway lines, was adorned with the tag of World Heritage Site by UNSESCO. This prominent World Heritage Site primarily includes the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, The Nilgiri Mountains Railway and the Kalka Shimla Railway line.
The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway line is a railway line of prime importance because it was the first hill passenger railway and it opened in the year of 1881. The Nilgiri Mountain Railway line, which is a 46 km long single track line, runs in state of Tamil Nadu. Although its construction started in 1891 and finished by 1908, the proposition to build it was presented way back in the year of 1854. This delay was primarily because of the tough working situations in the mountainous regions. The Nilgiri mountain railway line is in the elevation range of 326 m to 2,203 m and when it was built it showcased the use of latest technology. The significance of the Nilgiri mountain railway was realized when it helped not only in the movement of the general population during the British era but also in the general social economic development.
The third railways line is the Kalka-Shimla Railway line and it has a total length of 96 kms. The three mountain railways are maintained to be in the best condition even today and are thus operational. The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway Line and the Kalka-Shimla Railway lines are present in the northern India in the Himalayas. However the Nilgiri mountain railway line is present in the south in the Western Ghats.
In addition to these there are four other mountain railway lines. The Kangra Valley railway (1924) and the Kashmir railway (2005), located in the Himalayan region and the Matheran Hill railway () in the Western Ghats. The last mountain railway line is the Lumding-Silchar line present in the Cachar hills of Assam. However, only the Darjeeling Himalayan railway line, the Nilgiri mountain railway line and the Kalka-Shimla railway line have been named as World Heritage Sites.