Sunday, March 22, 2009

The Junagadh Fort in Bikaner, Rajasthan

The most prominent attraction in Bikaner is undoubtedly the Junagad Fort. The first place our travel guide took us to was this fort. The Junagad Fort, surrounded by a towering wall and a moat makes for an imposing structure.

The Fort has never been conquered. Raja Rai Singh, a general of the Mughal emperor Akbar, built the fort in 1593 A.D. The fort was built using red sandstone and has elegantly carved windows and balconies.

The fort has two gates -
the east facing main gate called the Karan Pol (gate) and
the Suraj Pol, also known as the “Sun gate”.

Near the main gate you can see the majestic statues of the two guardians of the fort - Jaimal and Patta.

The Junagad fort complex houses a number of palaces within. Each of these palaces have been built successive kings and one can notice the distinct style of each era.

The main palaces are:

The Chandra Mahal (The Moon Palace) with its carved marble panels, mirrors and dazzling paintings is the most beautiful of all.

Phool Mahal – It is a coronation hall decorated with beautifully cut glasses and mirrors.

Karan Mahal - was built to commemorate the Rajput’s victory over Aurangzeb.

Anup Mahal – the multi storied Mahal has walls covered with red and gold lacquer work. It looks so beautiful when the lights are lit. This was used as the governance chambers.

The Badal Mahal (The Cloud Palace) is known for its painted walls that show a painting of Radha-Krishna surrounded by the blue clouds.

Har Mandir is the place used by the royal families for worshipping.

There is also a museum inside fort. On display, here is a magnificent collection of manuscripts, jewellery, arms etc.

There is also a Haviland plane on display here.
Among the many war souvenir that the British Government presented Maharaja Ganga Singh of Bikaner with in recognition of the services rendered by the Bikaner state forces led by him during the First World War, were the shot down parts of two Haviland War planes.

Maharaja Karni Singh with the help of the local artisans got the broken parts of the Haviland plane restored. He then put it on display in the Vikram Vilas Durbar in Junagad Fort.

Save Animals - Boycott Fur Prodcuts


Came across a very gruesome video of animals being tortured in Chinese Fur Farms. Have never seen such cruelty before.
Have a look and spread the word - stop using fur products. Let the animals live.

Video in the link below


Thursday, March 19, 2009

Monday, March 16, 2009

Palitana Jain Pilgrimage Centre in Bhavnagar District of Gujarat

Palitana, a major pilgrimage centre for Jains, is located in the Bhavnagar district of Gujarat.

There are around 1300 Jain temples on the Shatrunjaya hills, which are located around 2000 ft above the Palitana city. Each temple is an exquisitely carved marble wonder. The main temple on top of the hill is dedicated to the first Teerthankar - Lord Adinath.

Apart from the temples on the Shatrunjaya Hills, there are hundreds of other temples in Palitana. The whole city is full of temples each one a marvel in itself. The carvings are intricate and the work never ceases. The temples are constantly being renovated.

The climb up the Shatrunjaya hills takes you through around 4000 steps - a demanding 3.5 km uphill climb. Much of the pathway is sans any shelter or shade and the higher one climbs - the hotter it gets. That is the reason why most of the pilgrims begin the climb very early in the morning (around 4:00am) so that they reach the top by 8 am.

The climb up is tough but because of its sacredness, every pious Jain aspires and does climb to the top of the mountain at least once.

For those who are unable to climb the mountain, sling-chairs are available. Porters are also available to carry little kids. Mules also are available to carry luggage. Be careful as to where you keep your feet while on the mountain path. It might be slippery due to various reasons.

If you are interested in architecture one day is not enough to look and soak in the beauty of these temples.

It took us around three hours to complete the climb. On the way there are shelters built at every few hundred steps distance. Drinking water is available at these places. The view from the top is amazing.

We spent around 4 hours looking at the temples and the architecture. The climb down was also strenuous. Hard on the knees. You should see the Jain Sadhvis climbing and descending the hill. They are so quick. Amazing.

The 108 Samvasaran Jain temple in Palitana has 108 idols and sculptures. A must visit.

The nearest airport is around 51 kms away from Palitana at Bhavnagar – but there may not be connecting flights to major cities from here. Ahmedabad a little farther away has an international airport.

Palitana is connected to Bhavnagar with a railway line.

Frequent buses are available from Bhavnagar and Ahmedabad to Palitana.


There are innumerable Dharmashalas, guesthouses, hotels in Palitana suiting every budget. Most of the Dharmashalas provide masseur services as the climb can be quite taxing for some.

Lots of hotels around serving Punjabi and Gujarati meals. There are lots of Chat Bhandars too.

Dwarkadhish temple in Dwarka - Jamnagar District, Gujarat

Sri Krishna Temple or the Dwarkadhish Temple in Gujarat

Dwarka, located in the Jamnagar district of Gujarat, was the abode of Lord Krishna. It is believed that due to the destruction by the sea, Dwarka was submerged six times and the Dwarka that we see today is the seventh city to come up in the same place.
Dwarka is located close to where the River Gomati merges into the Gulf of Kutch.

The temple has a five-storey structure, which is supposed to be built by Sambha, the grandson of Lord Krishna. The city was designed and built by Vishwakarma, the great architect. The temple is made of limestone and sand.

A huge lovely red flag is hoisted in the temple tower four times each day.

There are two gateways to the temple – the Swarga Dwar, where pilgrims enter, and the Moksha Dwar, from where the pilgrims exit.

There are many Darshan and Sevas for Lord Dwaraknath:
* Mangala
* Shringar
* Gval
* Rajbhoj
* Uthapan
* Bhog
* Sandhya Aarati
* Shayan
* Hindola

The temple is well guarded with Black Cat Commandos positioned around the temple. The security is very much needed if you look at the sheer number of people who visit the temple everyday.

Shree Dwarkadhish Temple Dwarka
Jamnagar District
Gujarat- India

STD CODE +91- 2892
Office : 234080 Res: 234090

Dwarkadhish Mandir Administration Office Hours:
9:00 a.m. to 1.00 p.m.
3.00 p.m. to 6.10 p.m.
On all the working days except Public Holidays

Contact Person

Mr. H. L. Dholaria or Mr. R. A. Shukla

Sunday, March 8, 2009

The Indo Portuguese Museum in Fort Kochi, Kerala

We caught a ferry from Cochin to Fort Kochi. The ferry ride was fun and on reaching Fort Kochi I felt that we had been transported back in time. Everything here had such an old world charm attached to it.

We headed for the Indo Portuguese Museum to look at the rich art and heritage that has been collected and preserved by the Late Dr Joseph Kureethara, Bishop of Cochin. The Bishop was committed to the protection and preservation of this collection for future generations and has succeeded in his mission.

The people of Fort Cochin still maintain a strong cultural kinship wit the Portuguese roots of their Catholic faith.

The Museum is located in the premises of the Bishop’s house and is open on all days except Mondays and public holidays from 9 a.m to 6 p.m.


Bishop’s House
Fort Cochin
Telephone: 91 484 2215400/2215401

Indian Adults – Rs 10
Non-Indian Adults – Rs 25
Children - Rs 5