Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Buddhist Destinations in India :


Buddh Statue, BodhgayaThe exotic town of Bodhgaya is the place where Lord Buddha attained enlightenment. The 2500-year-old religion of Buddhism has its adherents distributed all over the world. Devotees and tourists flock to Bodhgaya from far and wide to gain an insight into the teachings and doctrines of Buddhism. While at Bodhgaya, one can easily observe that peace and spirituality pervades all over the place. The Bodhi Tree under which Buddha gained enlightenment or Nirvana is the cynosure of all eyes here. Even followers from countries like Burma, Sri Lanka, China, Bhutan, Tibet and Japan have established numerous monastic settlements here. These settlements have heightened the spiritual charm of the place all the more. The surroundings are calm and are a perfect haven for those who are in search of peace and tranquility.

Mahabodhi Temple : The Mahabodhi Temple at Bodhgaya is the biggest draw for tourists. It is the site where Lord Buddha attained Nirvana. He sat under a peepal tree, which is popular as the Bodhi Tree, and did not move until he got his queries answered and realised that he had gained enlightenment. Under the tree, one can notice the red sandstone slab where Lord Buddha is believed to have sit and meditated. The temple displays exquisite carvings and also bears a gilded image of Buddha.


» Bodhi Sarovar : At Bodhgaya, you can visit a number sacred sites that give an account of the where, when and how Lord Buddha meditated and got enlightened. One of these is the Bodhi Sarovar where Buddha is said to have a bath before he sat to meditate under the Bodhi Tree.

» Chankaramana or the Jewel Walk : The Jewel Walk is yet another significant site here. It is the place where Buddha reflected deeply on whether or not he should reveal the knowledge to the world. Here, you can also see a Tibetan Monastery that houses a large dharma chakra or the 'Wheel of Law'.



SanchiWhether a Buddhist by faith or not, Sanchi is a name that perhaps everyone must have heard of. Though Buddhism had its genesis in India, its message and philosophies reached far and wide. And today this system of beliefs has its adherents across the globe. Devotees, tourists, researchers and historians flock to Sanchi year after year to gain an insight into the way of life called Buddhism. Sanchi is an accumulation of Buddhist stupas, monasteries, temples and pillars. The site is mainly known for the stupa that was built by the Mauryan emperor Ashoka during the 3rd century BC. During the succeeding years that followed, more stupas, monasteries and temples were erected here. However, with the decline of Buddhism, Sanchi went into a state of oblivion. It was only in the year 1818 that a British officer rediscovered the site. Between 1912 and 1919, Sanchi was carefully restored to its present status by Sir John Marshall.
Ashoka's Stupa : The Ashoka's stupa at Sanchi is the cynosure of all eyes. The stupa was erected by the Buddhist emperor Ashoka during the 3rd century BC. King Ashoka had a change of heart after the gory scene in the battle of Kalinga and thus converted into a Buddhist. He later built a number of pillars and stupas. Originally, there were eight stupas at Sanchi. Unfortunately, only three stand today.

» ASI Museum : The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) Museum is yet another big draw for tourists here. The museum displays numerous antiquities belonging to the Mauryan Period. The artifacts displayed also include a number of metal objects that were used by Buddhist monks in the past. Ancient sculptures dating back between the 3rd and the 1st century BC can also be viewed here.

» Toranas or Gateways : Erected in 35 BC, the four toranas or gateways are fine representation of the early Buddhist art. The gateways depict scenes from the life of Buddha. Some of the symbols on the toranas include Lord Buddha's birth, his being enlightened under the Bodhi Tree and even his footprints.

» Ashokan Pillars : Sanchi is replete with Buddhist pillars and remains of pillars. All the pillars bear Some important proclamations made by emperor Ashoka. For instant, the pillar lying close to the Southern Gateway comes along with a warning against schism in the Buddhist community.

Besides exploring the ancient Buddhist art at Sanchi, you can also visit the nearby sites like Vidisha (12 km) and Udaigiri (13 km). These two sites are known for their ancient architectural legacy and are important historical site

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Red Fort Delhi.

Red Fort Delhi.
the largest of Old Delhi's monuments is Lal Quila or Red Fort whose thick red sandstone walls, bulging with turrets and bastions, have withstood the vagaries of time and nature. The Lal Quila rises above a wide dry moat in the northeast corner of the original city of Shahjahanabad. Its walls extend from two kilometers and vary in height from 18 metres on the river side to 33 metres on the city side. Mughal Emperor Shahjahan started construction of the massive fort in 1638 and work was completed in 1648. The fort contains all the expected trappings of the centre of Mughal government: halls of public and private audience, domed and arched marble palaces, plush private apartments, a mosque and elaborately designed gardens. Even today, the fort remains an impressive testimony to Mughal grandeur, despite being attacked by the Persian Emperor Nadir Shah in 1739 and by the British soldiers during the war of independence in 1857.
Mughal Emperor Shahjahan started construction of the massive fort in 1638 and work was completed in 1648. The fort contains all the expected trappings of the centre of Mughal government: halls of public and private audience, domed and arched marble palaces, plush private apartments, a mosque and elaborately designed gardens. Even today, the fort remains an impressive testimony to Mughal grandeur, despite being attacked by the Persian Emperor Nadir Shah in 1739 and by the British soldiers during the war of independence in 1857.
Entrance to the fort is through the imposing Lahore Gate, which takes its name from the fact that it faces Lahore, now in Pakistan. This gate has a special significance for India since the first war of independence and important speeches have been made here by freedom fighters and national leaders of India. 
The main entrance opens on to the Chatta Chowk, a covered street flanked with arched cells that used to house Delhi's most talented jewellers, carpet makers, weavers and goldsmiths. This arcade was also known as the Meena Bazaar, the shopping centre for the ladies of the court. Just beyond the Chhata Chowk is the heart of the fort called Naubat Khana or the Drum House. The musicians used to play for the emperor from the Naubat Khana and the arrival of princes and royalty was heralded from here. 

The Fort also houses the Diwan-i-Am or the Hall of Public Audiences where the Emperor would sit and hear complaints of the common folks. His alcove in the wall was marble-paneled and was set with precious stones, many of which were looted after the mutiny of 1857. The Diwan-i-Khas is the hall of private audiences where the Emperor held private meetings. This hall is made of marble and its centre-piece used to be the Peacock Throne, which was carried away to Iran by Nadir Shah in 1739. Today, the Diwan-i-Khas is only a pale shadow of its original glory, yet the famous Persian couplet inscribed on its wall remind us of its former magnificence: "If on Earth be an Eden of bliss, it is this, it is this, none but this." 
The other attractions within this monument are the Royal Baths or hammams, the Shahi Burj, which used to be Shahjahan's private working area and the Moti Masjid or the Pearl Mosque, built by Aurangzeb for his personal use. The Rang Mahal or the "Palace of Colours" housed the Emperor's wives and mistresses. This palace was crowned with gilded turrets, delicately painted and decorated with an intricate mosaic of mirrors, and a ceiling overlaid with gold and silver that was reflected in a central pool in the marble floor. 

Delhi Red Fort

Red Fort Delhi
¤ The Construction

Built during the reign of Shah Jahan, the Lal Qila (or Red Fort) has been a mute witness to innumerable conspiracies, scandals, battles..... Completed in a span of nine years, it cost about ten million rupees , with about half the sum going towards the building of palaces.

The fort is octagonal in shape, like most Islamic buildings in India. The north of the fort is connected to the smaller Salimgarh fort. The Red Fort is an intimidating structure. It measures 900m by 550m, with its rampart walls covering a perimeter of 2.41km. It towers at a height of 33.5m. On the outside, you can still see the moat that was originally connected with the Yamuna River.

¤ The Major Gateways

Besides the Lahori Gate, the entry point is the Hathipol (elephant gate), where the king and his visitors would dismount from their elephants. The other major attractions of the Red Fort are the Mumtaz Mahal, the Rang Mahal, the Khas Mahal, the Diwan-i-Am, the Diwan-i-Khas, the Hamam and the Shah Burj.

Every year, on the 15th of August, the National Flag of India is hoisted at the Red Fort by the Prime Minister , celebrating India's independence..


India Gate

India Gate ¤ All India War Memorial

India Gate is constructed as a memorial and was built in the memory of 90,00 soldiers who laid down their lives during world war I. Located at Rajpath, India Gate is 42 m high and is popular relaxation area during the summer evenings. India Gate also act as popular pinic spot during winter. Also known as the All India War Memorial, India Gate was designed and constructed by Lutyens. He was the who is considered the chief proclaimer in designing the New Delhi plans.

¤ The Architectural Marvel.

A tour of Lutyens’ Delhi just has to kick off with the stately India Gate at the east end of the broad Janpath (earlier Kingsway) that leads to the Rashtrapati Bhawan. Another additional 13,516 names engraved on the arch and foundations form a separate memorial to the British and Indian soldiers killed on the North-West Frontier in the Afghan War of 1919. The foundation stone was laid by HRH the Duke of Connaught in 1921 and 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 had said goodbye to its imperial rulers. It is in the form of a flame that burns day and night under the arch to remind the nation of soldiers who perished 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 cornice, beneath which are inscribed Imperial suns. Above on both sides is inscribed INDIA, flanked by MCM and to the right, XIX. The shallow domed bowl at the top was intended to be filled with burning oil on anniversaries but this is rarely done. 

History of India Gate

History of India Gate

Situated at the eastern end of Rajpath in Central Delhi is the 42 m high stone arch of victory, renowned as the India Gate. Formally known as the All India War Memorial previously, the foundation stone of this magnanimous structure was laid by the Duke of Connaught in 1921 and dedicated to the nation in 1931 by the then Viceroy, Lord Irwin.

Designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens, the India Gate stands on a low base of red Bharatpur stone and rises in stages to a huge cornice. Above on both sides is inscribed INDIA, flanked by MCM and to the right, XIX. The names of the 90,000 soldiers of the Indian Army who lost their lives in World War-I, and an additional 13,516 names who sacrificed their lives in the North-West Frontier in the Afghan War of 1919 are inscribed on the walls of this grand construction.

In order to honor the numerous unknown gallant soldiers who died fighting for the country, an eternal flame or Amar Jawan Jyoti was lit under the arch of India Gate in 1971. Uniformed soldiers stand guard over the flame. As a tribute to these dead soldiers, a shining rifle crowned by a soldier's helmet is placed on a high pedestal near the flame.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Jama Masjid in delhi

e Jama Masjid, the Friday congregational mosque, in Delhi is the largest and glorious mosque in India. It was the last architectural extravaganza of the Mughal Emperor, Shahjahan built in the year 1656 AD with the help of 5,000 craftsmen. It was made across the road from the Red Fort. The mosque is also known as Masjid-I-Jahanuma, which means 'mosque commanding view of the world'. The measurement of the mosque is 65 m X 35 m while the courtyard is forms an area of 100 n square. The mosque has the capacity to hold as many as 25,000 devotees. The Lal Qila or the Red Fort stand towards the east of the mosque.
The Jama Masjid was designed as the main mosque of Shahjahan. It stands on one of the two hills, Bho Jhala in the Mughal capital, Shahjahanabad. The mosque has three gateways, four towers and two minarets. It is constructed with alternate use of vertical strips of red sandstone and white marble. The white marble has been used extensively in the three domes and has been inlaid with stripes of black. The structure was situated on a high platform so that its magnificent facade would be visible from all the neighboring areas. The main prayer hall on the west is decorated by a series of high cusped arches, which stand on 260 pillars. These pillars support 15 marble domes at various elevations. The imposing gateways are approached through a broad flight of steps in the north and the south. The hallmarks of this famous mosque are the wide staircases and arched gateways.
The tower is made up of five distinguished storeys, each pronounced by a protruding balcony. Beautiful calligraphy embellishes its adjacent buildings. The first three storeys of the tower are made of red sandstone, the fourth one, while the fifth is again of sandstone.


The closet in the North gate of the mosque contains a collection of Muhammad's relics - the Quran written on deerskin, a red beard-hair of the prophet, his sandals and his footprint, embedded in a marble slab, all of which are still preserved.
The premises of the south minaret are 1076 sq ft wide where the people assemble for the namaaz. The cost for building the mosque was approximately Rupees 10 crores. It was the replica of the Moti Masjid at Red Fort in Agra. It is said that the walls of the mosque were tilted at a certain angle so that at the time of an earthquake, the walls do not collapse in the courtyard but outwards. The Jama Masjid combines the best of he Hindu and Islamic styles of architecture.
The main entrance on the eastern side was probably used by the emperors. It remains close on the weekdays.