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Bharatpur

Bharatpur National Park

 

Also known as Keoladeo Bird Sanctuary birds are attracted not only from India but also from places like Europe, Siberia, China and Tibet. Action begins just before the monsoons by the resident birds activity on the babool and kadam trees of the park. The park faced a severe water crisis over the years, which was a problem for the migratory birds. But in 2011 after a lot of hard work, water was lifted from Chambal river, and is put in the sanctuary just before monsoons. A one time home for Siberian Cranes the last pair was seen in 2001, and i (Sharad Vats) was fortunate to see the pair. Siberian Cranes came in hundreds just until couple of decades back, but apparently some cullig of birds was done on the migratory route, which has resulted in not only Bharatpur, but India losing the presence of these beautiful creatures. If you happen to be in this part of the country, then Bharatpur is surely a not to be missed destination between November to Jan even if you are not interested in Birds. The sheer beauty of this park will kindle love for Birds.

Bird, Keoladeo National Park A paradise for the avian world, and the pilgrimage for the bird lovers, it was known as the best duck shooting reserve in the British empire. But was declared a reserve for birds in 1956 and later upgraded to National Park. UNESCO has listed it as a world heritage site. The geographical location is ideal as it is on the main North-South avian route of India. Although small in size, 29 sq km. Only, it boasts to house more than 375 species of beautiful birds, and more than 132 of them breed inside the Keoladeo Ghana National Park and nearly every year new ones are added to the list.


The sanctuary not only attracts birds from India but also from places like Europe, Siberia, China and Tibet Before monsoons resident birds activity starts on the babool and kadam trees of the park. Water coming through the Ajan Bandh starts filling the various ponds and lakes of the Park.

 

When assured of enough food, hundreds of large, medium and little cormorant, darter, purple and grey heron, various species of egret, painted, open-billed, white necked and black necket stork, white ibis, spoonbill, night heron and other birds get busy in courting and mating. The trees are overflooded with nest, one can observe a tree housing nests upto fifties and sixties in number belongign to different species of birds looking after theri loving young onces. The nests on the trees look like pearl necklaces. Gracious Saras cranes, the tallest flight birds nest in exposed and open area, both partners share the duty of hatching, while changing incubating duties, they come together, raise their neck and give out shrill trumpetic calls in unison and at the same time fan their feathers.


The newly born chicks are only 10cm. in size but grows upto one metre in height within a year. As the monsoons arrive birds from every part of the country start pouring into the park. Migratory water-fowls, including the pride of Keoladeo Siberian Cranes form the indispensable part of Park. The water-fowls visit the park in millions during the month of October. Rosy starling marks the beginning of the arrival of migratory birds. The most noticeable water-fowl coming to the park are barheaded and greyleg geese.


 The ducks spotted here are pintail, common teal, ruddy shelduck, mallard, widgeon, shoveler, commong shelduck, red crested pochard, gadwall etc. predatory birds like imperial eagle, steppe and tawny eagee, spotted eagle, marsh harrier and laggar falcon are attracted towards the park completing the avian food chain of the ecosystem. Some of them like short toed eagle, lesser spotted eagle and shikra are the residents of Park.


About 11 sq km Area of the park is covered with water the remaining portion is rich with Kingfisher, Red Vented and white cheeked Bulbuls, Babblers, Quails, Partridges,Sunbirds, Sparrows, Parakeets and orioles which live in bushes and burrows. The year round activity of the winged beauties has made the park a pilgrimage for bird lovers and an ornithologists delight. The animal populace also show their presence although they are thoroughly dominated by feathers, wings and beaks. The animals include the Black Buck, Sambhar - the largest Indian Antelope, Spotted deer, and Nilgais.


Pythons can also be observed at some places bask in the sun. Vehicles are only permitted upto Shanti Kutir inside the park. The Electra Van of forest department can be engaged in the sanctuary, although the best way to explore the park is on foot or bicycles which are available on hire. Cycle rickshaws can also be hired.

About 11 sq km Area of the park is covered with water the remaining portion is rich with Kingfisher, Red Vented and white cheeked Bulbuls, Babblers, Quails, Partridges,Sunbirds, Sparrows, Parakeets and orioles which live in bushes and burrows. The year round activity of the winged beauties has made the park a pilgrimage for bird lovers and an ornithologists delight. The animal populace also show their presence although they are thoroughly dominated by feathers, wings and beaks. The animals include the Black Buck, Sambhar - the largest Indian Antelope, Spotted deer, and Nilgais.


Agra


Agra is famous as being home to one of the seven wonders of the world-the Taj Mahal. The architectural splendor of the mausoleums, the fort and the palaces is a vivid remainder of the mausoleums, the fort and the palaces is a vivid reminder of the capital in the 16th and early 17th centuries.

 

A pleasant town with comparatively slow pace, Agra is known for its superb inlay work on marble and soastone by craftsman who are descendant of those who worked under the Mughals. The city is also famous for its carpets, gold thread embroidery and leather shoes.

 

Agra was once the capital of the Mughal empire and even today it seems to linger in the past . Not surprising , for the Mughal emperors with their passion for building, endowed the city with some of the finest structures in the world . It is very easy to slip away here through the centuries into the grandeur and intrigues of the Mughal court .

 

Agra is an old city and it is said that its name was derived from Agrabana, a forest that finds mention in the epic Mahabharata.

 

Agra continued to retain its importance and Shah Jahan, Akbar's grandson ornamented the city with that masterpiece of Mughal architecture - the Taj Mahal and built several other beautiful buildings within the Agra fort .

 

PLACES TO SEE :

 

Taj Mahal


Agra is famous as being home to one of the seven wonders of the world- the Taj Mahal The architectural splendor of the mausoleums, the fort and the palaces is a vivid remainder of the mausoleums, the fort and the palaces is a vivid reminder of the capital in the 16th and early 17th centuries.

 

Agra Fort


Built by the great Emperor Akbar in 1565 A.D. the fort Is a masterpiece of design and construction. Within the fort are a number of exquisite buildings, including the Moti Masjid, Diwane-E-Am, Diwani-E-Khaas and Musanman Burj, where the Emperor Shah Jahan died in imprisonment beside Jahangir's place, Khaas Mahal and the Sheesh Mahal.

 

Itmad - Ud - Daula


To the north of the fort and across the river yamuna are several fine examples of mughal architecture. The itmad -ud -daula was build by the empress Noor Jehan as a memorial to her father Mirza Ghiyas Beg, is beautifully ornamented with pietra dura inlay and lattice work marble screens.

 

Chini Ka Rauza


The tomb of Afzal khan, the persian poet and minister at Shah Jahan's court gets its name from the brightly coloured glazed tiles that decorate it, lies just 1km beyond itmad-ud-daula.

 

Sikandra Fort


12km the tomb of Akbar, begun by the emperor himself and completed by his son, Jehangir. This richly decorated structure is a quaint mixture of styles.

 

Radhaswamy Satsang, Dayalbagh


This highly ornate memorial to the founder of the Radhaswamy satsang has been in the making for several years and is still being worked upon. It is entirely in marble, upon which every manner of ornamentation has been applied.

 

Mathura

 

Mathura the birthplace of lord Krishna is an important place of pilgrimage and thousands of devotees throng the city throughout the year.

 

It lies at the heart that the young Krishna was nurtured. The little towns and hamlets in this area still alive with the tales of his mischievous pranks, his extraordinary exploits and still seem to echo with the sound of his flute. An ancient habitation, mathura's strategic location ensured its position as a center of trade and a meeting point of cultures, a major city during the time of the Buddha ( 5th century BC) it became the eastern capital of the Kushan emperor Kanishka,. Mathura continued to be a center of power during the enlightened rule of emperor Ashoka (3rd centre BC) and up to the Gupta era (4th century AD) .

 

The arts flourished and at the Mathura museum one can trace the evolution of the Mathura school from the time of the Kushan emperors To the Gupta period.

 

Today, Mathura with its many temples and splendid ghats along the river yamuna is a Bustling pilgrimage town. Lying midway in between Delhi and Agra , Mathura is easy to visit.

 

PLACES TO SEE :

 

Shri Krishna Janmasthan:


The splendid temple Katra Keshav Dev is built over the little prison cell believed to be the birthplace of lord Krishna.

 

Gita Mandir:


A beautiful temple located on the Mathura - Vrindavan road, has a fine image of lord Krishna. The Bhagwadgita is inscribed on the walls.

 

Dwarakadhish Temple:


Mathura's most popular shrine was built in 1815 by Seth Gokuldas Parikh, treasurer or the state of Gwalior.

 

Vishram Ghat:


A long line of picturesque ghats, steps leading to the water's edge , punctuated by arched gateways and temple spires, extend along the right bank of the river Yamuna. There are about 25 ghats of which the Vishram Ghat is the most important.

 

It is here that lord Krishna is supposed to have rested after killing his wicked uncle Kansa, the ruler of Mathura The aarti at this ghat is a splendid sight, for hundreds of little oil lamps float out on the river at dusk as offering.

 

Kans Qila:

 

This ruined fort on the banks of the river Yamuna was built by Raja Mansingh of Jaipur. An observatory was built here at a later sate by that keen astronomer Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh of Amer.

 

Sati Burj:


The 17 m tall, 4 stored, red sandstone tower built in 1570 AD, commemorates the death of the widow of Raja Biharimal of Amer who committed sati.

 

The Government Museum:


Housed in a fine octagonal building at damper park, the museum is a repository of sculpture styles, terracotta and artifacts from the Kushan and Gupta periods. Among its most impressive exhibits are the headless figure of emperor kanishka dressed in central Asian robes and boots and various Buddha images.

 

Closely linked to Lord Krishna's youth and to stories of his playful pranks, Vrindavan is as important a place of pilgrimage as mathura.

 

Today it is a temple town with ghats along the river and numerous shrines.

 

PLACES TO SEE :

 

The imposing Govind Deo Temple built at an enormous cost of one crore rupees by Raja man singh of jaipur in 1590 AD. Constructed in red sandstone in the shape of a greek cross, it was once a magnificent seven storied structure.

 

The Rangaji Temple built in the dravidian style, the Madan Mohan Temple - the oldest in Vrindavan, the popular Banke Bihari Temple, the famous Radha Vallabh Temple and the ornate Shahji Temple built in 1876 by a wealthy jeweller Shah Kundan Lal of Lucknow, are some of its more interesting shrines.

 

The International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) has also built an ornamental marble temple at Vrindavan.

 

Adjoining the temple is the Samadhi of Shri Prabhupada, the founder of this.

 

Deeg

 

Deeg is a small town situated in the north Indian state of Rajasthan, around 152 km away from Delhi. Once the summer resort of the rulers of Bharatpur, it served as the second capital of the region. This interesting town is strewn with massive fortifications, beautiful gardens, magnificent palaces, and a colorful bazaar.

 

Deeg is in the district of Bharatpur. Approaching the town, one can see the battlements of the fort built by Surajmal. This was constructed in the form of a square, measuring about 274 m. The walls are about 20 m high and rise impressively, although the outer coating of plaster has peeled off in many places and shrubs grow from the bottom of the ramparts.

 

The entrance to the fort is from the north. An outer gateway leads to an L-shaped bridge. Inside the fort is a palace (haveli). This is now in ruins, but one can still see what was once its entrance, an ornate red sandstone construction with a pointed arch. The forecourt was added later and for many years served as a prison. One can see a couple of canons on nearby mounts and, at the top of the northwestern battlement, known as Larkha Burj, another canon lies on its side discarded.

 

It is from the top of the western wall of the fort that one may view the palace below, built beyond a pond-the Rup Sagar-and alongside the former Purana Mahal. The entrance is to the north. Known as the Singh Pol, it is ornately but simply carved with a couple of lions above the gateway. This building apparently dates from a later period, but was never finished.

 

Once through it, one is at the edge of the gardens that are built in the char-bagh style, essentially four separate gardens around the same center. The style of both the gardens and buildings are from the Mughal period and yet with a distinctive flavor-a result of the Jats' own aesthetic vision that flourished at a time when the Mughal architecture started to deteriorate. The most striking feature is the fountains numbering about 500. One can see the bases of these sticking up all around the palace, but unless one visits on a Saturday in August, one is unlikely to see the water display operational for it requires a great amount of water. This builds up during the monsoon and is collected in a huge tank at the top of one building that can be seen almost directly opposite the entrance.

 

It is from the tank that, when the sluices are open, the water flows down and out of the many fountainheads below. These can be seen all around the garden area. A full tank takes only a few hours to empty and about a week to fill. This was achieved by means of bullocks that brought up the water in leather buckets through special chutes at the side of the tower.

 

The main building in the complex is the Gopal Bhawan, which was the actual residence of the Raja. Here one can see a spacious hall where the Raja was able to greet and address guests while upstairs were the Royal apartments. These can still be seen as they were when used; in one room, there is a raised elliptical dining table, while at the back there is a dining room in the western style. LOHAGARH FORT OR THE 'IRON FORT'

 

The Lohagarh Fort, true to its name stood solidly in front of many British attacks, and frustrated them to ends. It faced the British onslaught four times and after a long siege they had to withdraw, but Lord Lake, however was successful in capturing it in 1804.

 

It is very different from the other forts in state, there is no flamboyance associated to fort but it generates an aura of strength and magnificence. The fort is surrounded with moat which was previously filled with water to ward off the enemy attacks. The sandy ramparts were strengthened by sandy battlements, thus the enemy guns proved of no avail.

 

Some interesting monuments in the fort are Kishori Mahal, Mahal Khas and Kothi Khas. Moti Mahal and towers like Jawahar Burj and Fateh Burj were erected to commemorate the victory over the Mughals and the British army . The Gateway has paintings of huge elephants.

 

GOVERNMENT MUSEUM

 

The building Kamra Khas within the fort has been converted into a museum, displaying a rich collection of antiquaries, exquisite sculptures and some ancient inscriptions. The sculptures speak volumes about the art of a by gone era and culture typical of this area. The inscriptions are of immense historical vault and helps in tracing back the royal lineage as well as the local life.

 

Timings : 10 AM to 4 PM
Entry Fee : RS. 3/-

(Closed on Friday)

 

THE PALACE

It is a fine blend of Mughal and Rajput architecture, built in various phases by different Maharajas. The magnificent apartments are richly decorated with patterned floor tiles with exquisite intricate designs. The museum occupies the main central wing depicting collections dating back to 2nd century, which reflect the art and skill of the region.

 

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