Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Kolkata-City Of Joy

Kolkata is the city of joy, to make friends, taste roshogulla, leisure on the exotic ghats, travel in a tram, lost in the books and shop till you drop before Durga Puja .Me and my family plan to visit Kolkata from Delhi.We reach there in early morning, actually we went there for first time.We were so exicted.We search for hotel and get a very nice hotel.Once we got out into the city we found green coconut.Coconut water was very sweet.Then we proceed further for sightseening.Firstly,we went for boating, we hired one and went out to float on the river for an hour.The weather was so comfortable.After boating we went for having Bengali food and sweet curd which is very popular.Here are some of the list of places where we enjoy alot.
Victoria Memorial : Built in 1901, Victoria Memorial is the memorial of Queen Victoria also called the Empress of India. It is now turned into the museum and is one of the famous tourists attraction in Kolkata.

Princep Ghat : Princep Ghat is a popular Heritage Building in Kolkata, located near the Vidyasagar Setu and the falls between the Water Gate and the St George's Gate of Fort William next door. The ghat was constructed in the year 1843 named after James Princep, who was the secretary of 'The Asiatic Society' from 1832 -1838. Tourist can enjoy the exotic boat ride from Princep Ghat to Kashipore that allow you to see several other ghats on the way with the backdrop of old factories, bungalows and mansions along with the modern high tech buildings.

Kolkata Sweets : People in Kolkata are fond of eating sweets. Roshogullas, sandesh and mishti doi are among the most famous delicacies of Kolkata.

Kolkata Trams : If you are in Kolkata don't forget to take the pleasure of traveling in trams, as Kolkata is the only city in India to have a tram network.

Mother Teresa Sarani : Park street also known as Mother Teresa Sarani is the most reputed corner of the city of Kolkata. It is flooded with some of the poshest bars, restaurants, discos and book stores.Here You could get Saurav' Ganguly - Food Pavilion.

Dalhousie Square : Located just south of Howrah Bridge, the Dalhousie Square is the most popular tourists attraction in Kolkata. The area consists of many historical buildings, offices, business centers and banks which surround the square.

Birla Planetarium: It is of the largest Planetarium in Asia, it gives a ringside view of the astral play of celestial bodies.You can Choose from Hindi, English and Bengali shows.

Eden Garden : Famous Cricket stadium.

Monday, April 27, 2009

The Heritage Of Nalanda

Nalanda is the name of an ancient university in Bihar, India. Nalanda district is popularly known as Biharsharif. The rivers Phalgu, and Mohane flows through the district of Nalanda.It was a Buddhist center of learning under the Pala Empire. It was founded in the 5th Century A.D. Nalanda is known as the ancient seat of learning. Around 2,000 Teachers and 10,000 Students from all over the Buddhist world lived and studied at Nalanda, the first Residential International University of the World. The university was considered an architectural masterpiece, and was marked by a lofty wall and one gate. Nalanda had eight separate compounds and ten temples, along with many other meditation halls and classrooms. The university had centres for studies in Buddhism, Vedas, Logic, Grammar, Medicine, Meta-Physics, Prose Composition and Rhetoric. The university was involved mainly in research and deep study of intrinsic truth. Lord Buddha and Lord Mahavira have also taught here. The university library had a mammoth collection of 9 million volumes. Hsuan Tsang, the renowned Chinese traveler was also involved with the university foe 12 years. There is a monument built here in his memory. On the grounds were lakes and parks.
Major Tourist Attractions in Nalanda:
Nalanda University Ruins Archaeological Complex : Total excavated area of the complex is about 14 hectares. The university was built in Kushana style of architecture. The monasteries or viharas are to the east and the temple or chaityas to the west of the central alley. There are huge gardens, bronze statues and red-brick edifices all around.
Nalanda Archaeological Museum : The museum is small yet has a valuable collection of Buddhist and Hindu bronzes and a number of intact statues of the Lord Buddha found in the area. The museum has rare manuscripts, copper plates, stone inscriptions, coins, pottery etc.
Nava Nalanda Mahavihara : This new international study centre for Buddhism and Pali literature was set up in 1951. It offers research works on the ancient Pali language and Budhism.
Hieun Tsang Memorial Hall : The memorial hall was bulit in the memory of Hieun Tsang,who was a famous Chinese traveler.

Sacred Bathing Ghats

Varanasi or Kashi is older than traditions. Anyone living in India or anyone who calls himself an Indian is bound to have heard about Banaras. Varanasi presents a unique combination of physical, metaphysical and supernatural elements. It is the Ganga Ghats of Varanasi that complement the concept of divinity. Ghats of Ganga are perhaps the holiest spots of Varanasi. The Ganga Ghats at Varanasi are full of pilgrims who flock to the place to take a dip in the holy Ganges, which is believed to absolve one from all sins. Banaras, one of the sacred cities of Hindus stretches along the crescent of River Ganges, its waterfront dominated by long flights of stone ghats, where thousands of pilgrims come for their daily ritual ablutions. Also known as the City of Lights, Banaras is supposed to be founded by Lord Shiva – Varanasi or Banaras is one of the oldest living cities of World. It is also one of the oldest pilgrims of India. Each year it attracts thousands of devotees, students, pilgrimers who come here and stay for long periods. It is supposed one who dies in Varanasi attains Moksha. The majestic Ghats of Varanasi have a unique appeal in them which not only attracts tourists, but also bounds them to come back again. Some of these ghats are very old, as old as pre-historic times, and some of them are very new ghats. There are over 100 ghats in Varanasi. Some of the important Ghats of Varanasi include Assi, Dasaswamedh, Manikarnika, Tulsi and Panch Ganga among others. Tulsi Ghat is named after the famous 16th century poet Tulsi Das, who spent many years on this Ghat composing the Ram Charit Manas. Another historically important Ghat is Panch-Ganga Ghat. Panch -Ganga Ghat as its name indicates, is where five rivers are supposed to meet.
Assi Ghat :It is a clay-banked Ghat that stands at the southernmost part of Varanasi where river Assi meets Ganges. Pilgrims consider it particularly holy to bathe here prior to worshipping at a huge lingam, under a peepal tree. Assi ghat is also a favorite site for the blooming painters and photographers. Evenings are very special, as there are musical parties and gatherings on the steps of the ghat.
Dashashwamedh Ghat : It is the most visited ghat of Varanasi by religious pilgrims. The name of Dasaswamedh Ghat indicates that Brahma sacrificed 10 horses here.It is one of the busiest ghats. The ghat is close to the famous 'Vishwanath Temple'. The most exciting part is the evening `Fire Puja` performed by the group of priests.
Manikarnika Ghat : is the place where dead bodies of Hindus are burnt. It is said that if a person dies in Varanasi, he/she will be free from the cycle of re-birth. It is also believed that fire on the ghat has not stopped for thousands of years.
Harishchandra Ghat : The Harishchandra ghat is the said to be the same ghat where the owner of Manikarnika bought King Harishchandra as a slave and made him work on the Manikarnika.The ghat is a funeral place for Hindus, though majority of dead bodies are taken to the Manikarnika Ghat.
Tulsi Ghat is another famous ghat, where the famous epic 'Ramacharitmanas' was written by Tulsi das. Other important ghats are Kedar Ghat, Pande Ghat, Shivala Ghat and Chausathi Ghat.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Royal Chitwan National Park

Chitwan National Park has long been one the country's treasures of natural wonders. ‘Chitwan’ means in the heart of the jungle’.This is one of the most popular national parks in Nepal. The park is situated in south central Nepal, covering 932 sq. km. in the subtropical lowlands of the inner Terai. ,lying between two mountain ranges, the Shivalik and the Mahabharat range. This is the flood plain of three rivers, the Rapti, the Reu and the Narayani. The forest is dominated by Sal trees and tall grasses.In the Churia Hills pine trees predominate.The Chitwan National Park is home to at least 43 species of mammals, 450 species of birds, and 45 species of amphibians and reptiles.This is the natural habitat of endangered animals like Bengal tigers, one-horned rhinoceros, gharial crocodile, gaur (the world's largest wild cattle), four species of deer, leopards, wild dogs, fishing cats, leopard cats, python and Gangetic dolphin.The area was known as "Four Mile Forest" and a hunting reserve for big game hunting until 1951. For many years it was the Royal hunting grounds for the Kings and dignitaries of Nepal and therefore was not hunted by the general public. It did however become a favorite spot for big game safari hunters in the late nineteenth and early to mid-twentieth centuries. In 1973 Chitwan became Nepal’s first National Park. UNESCO declared the park a World World Heritage site in 1984. The park has a range of climatic seasons,October through February with an average temperature of 25°C offer an enjoyable climates. From March to June temperatures can reach as high as 43°C. The hot humid days gives way to the monsoon season that typically lasts from late June until September. Rivers become flooded sometime during the season the scenery looks most amazing with unexpected water level. In late January, local villagers are allowed to cut thatch grasses to meet their needs, which offer a better and easy viewing of wildlife to visitors.
Also, between September and November, and February and April, migratory birds and create spectacular bird watching opportunity. While the monsoon rains brings lush vegetation, most trees flower in late winter. The “Palash tree” known as the “flame of the forest” and slick cotton tree have spectacular crimson flowers that can be seen from a distance.The park is now a popular destination for ecotourists and includes canoeing, elephant rides, and guided jungle walks.

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Place of Salvation

Muktinath is located in the heart of the Himalayas in the northern region of Mustang. Sacred to Hindus and Buddhists alike its shrines are perched on a mountain ridge 3700 m and 3980 m above sea level. Muktinath has been one such holy site, where thousands of devotees flock for attaining the much sought after moksha. Hindus call it Muktichhetra (Place of salvation) & salagramam, It is one of the four religious sites. Many Shaligrams found here are considered by Hindu as incarnation of lord Vishnu and worship them. According to Hindu Myth lord Vishnu turned into Shaligram because of Brinda's Curse. Hindu believes that lord Vishnu got salvation from curse of Brinda (wife of Jalandhar) here. Therefore he is worshipped as Muktinath .
The local name of Muktinath is Chuming Gyatsa, which means hundred springs.Its importance in Buddhism increases because of the fact that Chuming Gyatsa is one of the 24 Tantrik places. Muktinath became hallowed ground for Buddhists when Guru Rinpoche, passing through on his journey to Tibet, left a footprint in the rock. The 84 siddhas dropped their wooden staffs, which grew into a poplar grove, a miracle in an otherwise treeless land. The name of Guru Rimpoche Monastery is situated at left from main entrance gate of Muktinath Temple.The place is great for meditation therefore most of the hermits remain here for years. Buddhists believe that all miseries and sorrows are relieved once you visit this temple.
Brahma lit fire upon water and reconciled the contradictory elements thereby. An eternal flame still burns, reputedly sustained by nothing more than water, stone and earth. Muktinath has been a place of pilgrimage for more than 2000 years. The main shrine of Muktinath is a pagoda - shaped temple dedicated to the Lord Vishnu. The murti is of gold and is tall enough to compare with a man. In the walls around it are 108 waterspouts. It has helped to make this area as center of Tourist attraction. The Jwala Mai temple near by has a spring and an eternal flame fed by natural gas. It is believed that one should visit this temple after completing pilgrimage of four special religious sites in India . That is "Chardham Yatra".For the Buddhists, Muktinath is a place of Dakinis, goddess known as sky dancers and Lord Padmasambhava.
The most suitable time to visit Muktinath is from March to June, as the weather conditions would not be safe enough to travel in other months. The journey passes through many archeological sites and temples.This place is opened through out the year but especially in Rishitarpani, Ram Nawami, and Bijay Dashami thousands of pilgrims gather here to celebrate the festival.