World Heritage Sites in India by AbhishekKumar119


									                                               A new world of knowledge

           A ai g Heritage Grand Experiences

World Heritage Sites in India
"Walk with ttiekirig oftfiejungle side by side. Itisa anceina
lifetime opportunity- tfiat you will never forget, you'll spot
wildlife galore at Dudfiwa and also find some of ifie rare&t.
species, ofanimals. located near tfie India-'lVepal border is.
tfie %atarniagRat "WildtifeSanctuary, apart ofthe 'Dudfiwa
Tiger Tigserue, in tfie Terai area. Tei-ai, tfie eca region, is.
fiemetottie endangered Indian K$inacera& (TZPHnaceros
unicornis), as well as elepfiants,, tigers, bears, leopards and
odier mild' animals. 'Mane an la Vidfiyacfial tiiat offers two
wildlife sanctuaries. Cfiandrapradfia and 'Kainwar. Those
yourself in tfie abundant flora. and fauna of tfie tivo
sancturies and enjoy tfie,scenic waterfalls %ydari, 'Deadari
and'MuMa waterfall. Qiiie your spirit a trek and your mind
a dose of nature andyou !l experience lifeanew.
           Dudfiwa - Kftfamiagfiat - Vindtiyactial
                                                                             05      DELHI
                                                                                          Qutab Minar | Red Fort
                                                                                          Humayun's Tomb

                                                                             09      UTTAR PRADESH
                                                                                          Taj Mahal, Agra | Agra Fort |
                                                                                          Fatehpur Sikri

                                                                             13      BIHAR
                                                                                          Mahabodhi Temple, Bodh Gaya

                                                                             14      GOA
                                                                                          Churches and Convents of Goa

                                                                             15      GUJARAT & RAJASTHAN
                                                                                          Champaner Archaeological Park
                                                                                          T h e j a n t a r Mantar, Jaipur

                                                                             16      KARNATAKA
                                                                                          Hampi | Pattadakal

                                                                             18      MADHYA PRADESH
                                                                                          Khajuraho | Sanchi
                                                                                          Rock Shelters of Bhimbetka

                                                                             21      MAHARASHTRA
                                                                                          Ajanta & Ellora | Elephanta Caves
                                                                                          Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, M u m b a i

                                                                             24      ORISSA
                                                                                          Sun Temple, Konarak

                                                                             25 TAMIL NADU
                                                                                          Mahabalipuram | Chola Temples

DESIGN: DEEPIKA CHOUDHURY                                                                                            _ — ,               .
TEXT: RANEE SAHANEY                                                                                      £            I      , Jf            \
ASSOCIATE PUBLISHER: ALOK SRIVASTAVA,                                                                                 |         <            J
BUSINESS : SHISHIR SAXENA, SANTOSH NAIR, ANTHONY JOSEPH, MEGHA MISHRA,                                          *             J'
                                                                                                         A new world of knowledge
Printed and published by Maheshwer Peri on behalf of Outlook Publishing (India) Pvt. Ltd.
Printed at C H Prints Pvt. Ltd,A-2S6 Okhla Industrial Area, Phase-1, New Delhi-20 and published from AB-10, S.J. Enclave, New Delhi-29

CULTURAL SITES                                           ORISSA
DELHI                                                    Sun Temple, Konarak (1984)
Humayun's Tomb, Delhi (1993)                             RAJASTHAN
Qutb Minarand its Monuments, Delhi (1993)                The Jantar Mantar, Jaipur (2010)
Red Fort Complex (2007)                                  TAMIL NADU
BIHAR                                                    Group of Monuments at Mahabalipuram (1984)
Mahabodhi Temple Complex at Bodh Gaya (2002)             Great Living Chola Temples (1987)
GOA                                                      UTTAR PRADESH
Churches and Convents of Goa (1986)                      Taj Mahal, Agra (1983) I Agra Fort (1983)
GUJARAT                                                  Fatehpur Sikri (1986)
Champaner-Pavagadh Archaeological Park (2004)            WEST BENGAL
KARNATAKA                                                Mountain Railways of India (1999)
Group of Monuments at Hampi (1986)
Group of Monuments at Pattadakal (1987)                  NATURAL SITES
MADHYA PRADESH                                           ASSAM
Khajuraho Group of Monuments (1986)                      Kaziranga National Park (1985)
Buddhist Monuments at Sanchi (1989)                      Manas Wildlife Sanctuary (1985)
Rock Shelters of Bhimbetka (2003)                        RAJASTHAN
MAHARASTRA                                               Keoladeo National Park (1985)
Ajanta Caves (1983)                                      UTTARAKHAND
Ellora Caves (1983)                                      Nanda Devi & Valley of Flowers National Parks (1988)
Elephanta Caves (1987)                                   WEST BENGAL
Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, Mumbai(2004)               Sundarbans National Park (1987)

INTRODUCTION: The prestige and monetary aid which comes with the recognition as a World Heritage
Site, accorded by UNESCO's World Heritage Committee to India's Cultural and Natural wonders, goes
a long way in the preservation of its ancient heritage. It also plays a pivotal role as a watch guard in
cautioning us in the event of any danger of its deterioration—natural or manmade. UNESCO's World
Heritage Site list currently includes 911 inscribed properties forming part of the cultural and natural
heritage, which the World Heritage Committee considers as having outstanding universal value. Of these
India has 28, with Jantar Mantar in Jaipur being the latest inscribed addition (2010) to the list.

THE CRITERIA FOR SELECTION: To be included on the World Heritage List, sites must be of outstanding
universal value and meet at least one out often selection criteria. These criteria are explained in the
Operational Guidelines for the Implementation of the World Heritage Convention which, besides the
text of the Convention, is the main working tool on World Heritage. The criteria are regularly revised by
the Committee to reflect the evolution of the World Heritage concept itself. Until the end of 2004, World
Heritage sites were selected on the basis of six cultural and four natural criteria. With the adoption of the
revised Operational Guidelines for the Implementation of the World Heritage Convention, only one set of
ten criteria exists. FOR MORE INFORMATION, LOG ON TO:- I

HUMAYUNSTOMB                                                        Surrounded by a beautiful 3-sided walled garden, set in
Spread out amidst cool lawns studded with several other           the classical Persian-inspired charbagh (4 gardens) design,
antique structures, the ancient stones of Humayun's Tomb          the tomb used to overlook the River Jamuna (which has
have echoed with the soulful Sufi spirituals sung by some         since changed its couree).The charbagh pattern is formed
of the world's most renowned Sufi exponents. Across the           by two bisected water channel edged by walkways - o n e
road, in the historic environs of Nizamuddin, lie the mortals     leading to the a gate pierced into southern wall and the
remains of Delhi's legendary Sufi saint—Khwaja Nizamuddin         other to a smaller gate set in the western wall.
Aulia. For the mystical Mughal Emperor Humayun - who                The tomb itself is centred upon a 7m high plinth. The
spent a lifetime studying the heavens, remained a fugitive        central dome vaults to a height of 140ft from terra firma.
for much of his early years as a custodian of his father,         The dome is a double layered o n e - with the outer layer
Emperor Babur's Mughal empire, and fell to too early a death      acting as a support to the external facade of white marble,
at his palace in the Purana Qila to enjoy his rule - these        while the inner layer provides body to the cavernous space
spiritually inspiring environs seem to be a befitting place for   of the interior. Red sandstone off-set by white marble
that final sleep within the precincts of one of India's most      embellishments clad the rest of the structure. Arches
architecturally perfect mausoleums.                               and openings lend a sense of depth to the structure at

  Commissioned to a Persian architect Mirak Mirza                 each facade and the choice of different coloured stone to

Ghiyath, by the emperor's widow Hamida Bano (Haji Begum)          enhance the ornamentation adds a unique radiance to the

in 1569-70, 14 years after his passing, Humayun's Tomb            surface. The main tomb itself is a marvel of architectural

"is of particular cultural significance as it was the first       complexity   marked    by an astonishingly         harmonious

garden-tomb on the Indian subcontinent". With its several         breathtaking symmetiy. Amongst several other features

important architectural innovations, aesthetics, and scale        in the complex the Hindu chattris surrounding the central

of grandeur, the tomb is said to be a forerunner of the           dome (under which lies the sarcophagus of the emperor)

legendry Taj Mahal a century on, which is represented as          mark the tomb's definitive indication of the Indo-lslamic

a culmination of these exquisite refinements in the Mughal        architectural tradition that was firmly taking root during

garden-tomb concept.                                              the Mughal period.

          This graceful necropolis of the Mughal dynasty is the          the fort complex.

        burial ground of various members of the ruling family              The fortified palace complex (overlooking the massive

        - amongst them Haji Begum and Dara Shikho, the brother           expanse of his new capital Shajehanbad replacing the

        and preferred heir by the Emperor Shahjehan to his               old Mughal bastion of Agra) embraces the Salimgarh Fort

        kingdom. But Dara was literally hounded to death by his          (built by Sher Shah Suri in 1546) which was "inextricably

        brother Aurangzeb, who also hastened his father's death by       linked to the Red Fort in use and later history". Shahjehan's

        imprisoning him at Agra Fort. There are many more graves         fabulous self-contained palace was filled with a cavalcade

        in the c o m p l e x - some of them dating to the times of the   of sumptuous private apartments for the royals interlinked

        British wresting power from the last Mughal Bahadur Shah         by that wondrous cooling waterway- the Nahr-I-Behisht

        Zafar II. The emperor took refuge within its precincts briefly   (Stream of Paradise), private and public audience halls,

        with three princes during the first war of Independence          the hamaam, a vaulted shopping arcade, gardens and

        (1857). Treated with great respect throughout its history        barracks for soldiers. Noteworthy structures         in   this

        Humayun's Tomb has managed to retain its original form           massive regal citadel (started in 1838 and completed in

        and purpose intact.                                              1648), are Emperor Aurangzeb's beautiful Pearl Mosque,

          In close proximity to the tomb lie a scattering of ancient     the Khas Mahal, the opulent Mumtaz Mahal                  (now

        monuments-amongst them are the Barber's Tomb, Nila

        Gumabd, Arab-ki-Sarai and Isa Khan's Tomb

        RED FORT
        A short distance from the banks of the Jamuna (Yamuna)

        River where it stood (till the river changed its course)

        Delhi's iconic and exceptionally well-preserved 17th century

        Red Fort (Lai Quila) is an impressive and breathtaking

        structure even today. The royal red sandstone residential

        marvel of Mughal India's fifth and most dynamic emperor,

        Shahjehan, was the seat of power for one of the most

        exciting and significant periods of Mughal rule on many

        fronts—politically, commercially and culturally. Centuries on

        in 1947, it was from these very ramparts that the Indian flag

        was first raised with the country shaking off the shackles of

        British rule. Ever since, every year on Independence Day the

        flag of India is raised on the ramparts of the Lahori Gate of

converted into a museum), the Rang Mahal, Diwan-i-Khas

(from where the emperor gave private audiences seated

on the legendary gem-encrusted Peacock T h r o n e - spirited

away along with many other treasures, by the Persian

warlord Nadir Shah during the sacking of Shajehanabad in

1739) and the Diwan-i-Am (the hall of public audiences).

A nightly Sound and Light Show now showcases vignettes

of its dynamic history to life.

  Shahjehan was a vigorous and highly conscious proponent

of imperial architectural marvels, (apart for being an avid

collector of beautiful things), which he used to great effect

to project the aura of peerless majesty and unsurpassed

splendour - and to inspire awe amongst his subjects. The

Red Fort originally called the "Qila-i-Mubarak" (the blessed

fort) is considered to represent the pinnacle of Mughal

                                                                creativity at its most refined during Shahjehan's rule.

                                                                Though the palace follows the basic Islamic principles of

                                                                construction, the architectural lines of each Mughal pavilion

                                                                reflect the immaculate fusion of Persian,Timurid and Hindu

                                                                traditions. The "innovative planning and architectural style,

                                                                including the garden design" of the Red Fort were to later

                                                                have a deep and abiding impact on t h e " buildings and
                                                                gardens in Rajasthan, Delhi, Agra and further afield" .The Red

                                                                Fort represents "a culmination of architectural development

                                                                initiated in 1526 AD by the first Mughal Emperor". In the

                                                                complex too are remnants of the phase of British military

                                                                occupation which also saw the introduction of new buildings

                                                                and functions over the earlier Mughal structures. It has also

                                                                played a pivotal role "in the events which have had a critical

                                                                impact on its geo-cultural region" from the Mughal period

        - t o India's independence from foreign rule in 1947.             raider from India's northern passes Muhammad of Ghurwho

          Bahadur Shah Zafar II was the last Mughal to inhabit the        defeated the Rajput Chauhans and captured their territories

        Red Fort. The failed Uprising of 1 8 5 7 against British rule     of Lai Kot and Rai Pithora. The tower, cobbled together from

        saw the emperor's departure from the citadel. He returned         the rubble of demolished Hindu temples around Mehrauli,

        briefly to it as a prisoner of the British, was tried by them     was completed in 1202 by Aibak's son-in-law and successor

        and sent into exile to Burma in 1 8 5 8 where he spent his        Shamsu'd-Din litutmish (1211-36) who added three more

        final days.                                                       tiers to the structure. Subsequent rulers of Delhi have also

                                                                          left their mark with renovations and additions on the red and

        QUTUB MINAR AND ITS MONUMENTS                                     buff sandstone tower embellished with Islamic and Nagari

        Skirting the southern limits of Mehrauli , close to the           inscriptions. Firoz Shah Tughluq added the two top stories

        ancient site of Lai Kot - the first of the seven cities of        but he chose to build these in pristine white marble rather

        Delhi, established in 1060 by the Tomar Rajput ruler, Anang       than the red sandstone used on the other levels. Projected

        Pal, the Qutub Complex embraces a cavalcade of historical         balconies embrace the minar at each level.

        monuments, silent witness to the Eternal City's glorious past.      Northeast of the Qutub lies the Qutb Quwwat-ul-lslam
        Today the site is one of the city's most prestigious World        Mosque constructed in 1192 by Aibak, from the rubble of
        Heritage Sites because it is "an outstanding example of           27 Hindu and Jain temples which he demolished. Dating to
        an architectural ensemble which illustrates (a) significant       the Delhi Sultanate period this is the earliest extant mosque
        stage(s) in human history".                                       in India. Two years later Aibak added a five arched screen,

          The centrepiece of the complex is the             beautifully   marked by calligraphic features from the sacred Islamic texts,

        preserved 5-tiered Qutub Minar, said to be India's highest        to shield the mosque. Aibak's mosque was subsequently

        brick tower at 72.5 m, (and a girth of 14.32 m at its base        expanded by both litutmish and Aliauddin Khilji,

        tapering off to 2.75 m at its peak). The Qutub marks the            The Tomb of lltutmush, built in 1235 is also located

        entry of Islam in India and is the site of the foundation of      in the complex. It is a simple structure but is marked

        first Muslim kingdom in north India. It was raised as a victory   extensively by Quranic inscriptions all around, leaving the

        tower in 1199 by QutubuddinAibak, the slave-general of the        viewer with sense of a delicately ornamental facade. The

                                                                          dome, which was raised at the time, has long collapsed,

                                                                          because local artisans were not familiar with the technology

                                                                          of constructing one over a square room.

                                                                            The southern gateway of the mosque, the red sandstone

                                                                          and intricately carved Alai-Darwaza (commissioned in

                                                                          1 3 1 1 by Alauddin Khalji) is the masterpiece of Indo-

                                                                          Muslim a r t - featuring Islamic prototypes of construction

                                                                          and ornamentation. The local artisans clearly had the

                                                                          building of the dome right this time round.The incomplete

                                                                          Alai Minar (25m) was also the contribution of Allaudin, to

                                                                          this ancient complex. He began the construction of the

                                                                          Alai Minar to rival the Qutub. Khilji died before the work

                                                                          on it progressed more than the first story. Another feature

                                                                          which is a focal point in the Qutub complex is that marvel

                                                                          of ancient meturllurgy, the 7.02m-high Iron Pillar dating

                                                                          to the 4th-5th century Gupta period. The ancient pillar,

                                                                          which was transferred here from some other location,

                                                                          has withstood the onslaught of rain and shine over the

                                                                          centuries and remains free of corrosion to date.

Uttar Pradesh

TAJ MAHAL, AGRA                                                    The sumptuous yet tastefully restrained tomb (bounded

It is the poignant love story, and its dramatic symbolism of     by four isolated minarets) lies atop two levels of platforms

an emperor's deep devotion to a beloved wife which draws         - one of sandstone, and the one above it, a square platform

both kings and commoners to this flawless architectural          paved with a checquer board pattern in black and white

marvel of pristine white marble and gem stones, by the right     marble and a huge blue-veined white marble terrace.

bank of the holy Yamuna at Agra. The Taj Mahal's luminous        Decorative elements were provided on an expansive scale

beauty in the moonlight-and even its steadfast magical           with the use of exquisite Arabic and Persian calligraphy,

splendour under a blazing midday sun, are a magnet for           pietra dura inlay work and relief carving both in the exteriors

visitors from around the globe, making it one of India's most    and the interiors of the mausoleum. The heaven-touching

visited tourist sites.                                           dome with its gold finial, alone is estimated to weigh over

  Set in the most exquisite traditions of the garden-tomb,       12000 tons. Within the main octagonal chamber with its

Emperor Shahjehan's      paean of love, built between 1 6 3 1    high vaulting domed ceiling were two beautifully adorned

and 1648 for his beloved Mumtaz Mahal, is an embodiment,         false sarcophagi set with precious stones and delectable

of the pinnacle of the Indo-lslamic architectural style, first   inlay work. But the real graves of the emperor and his wife lie

seen in the architectural perfection of Humayun's Tomb in        in a sealed chamber below these. Radiating from the tomb,

Delhi. Only the finest architects and the finest materials       in perfect symmetry, is the classic four walled garden set out

were permitted to create Shahjena's fabulous monument            in the traditional char bagh (quadripartite) p l a n - divided

of love which took 20,000 artisans 22 years to complete.         into four squares by two raised cooling waterways, lined by

The flawless white marble was sourced from the quarries          somber cypresses - evocative of the inspirational harmony,

of Makrana in Rajasthan, the precious gemstones (over 40         serenity and loveliness of the classical Persian 'Garden of

different kinds) of great value and rarity came from the         Paradise'-a vision of heaven on earth.

mines of Golconda, Afghanistan, Ceylon, Russia, China,Tibet,     The Taj is the face of India, one of the Seven Wonders Of

Arabia, Burma and Egypt.                                         The World and a UNESCO World Heritage Site because it is

          "the jewel of Muslim art in India and one of the universally     The Agra Fort was at the time India's most important

          admired masterpieces of the world's heritage".                   fortress, playing host to visitors across the empire as well

                                                                           as     many important ambassadors, dignitaries, merchants
          AGRA FORT, AGRA                                                  and travellers from foreign shores, during the reigns of the

          The ancient stones of this handsome imperial fortress,           emperors Jehangir, Akbar, Shahjehan and Aurangzeb.

          restored and renovated in 1565 by Mughal Emperor Akbar,               Within the rugged embrace of Agra's Red Fort, situated

          still ring with the poignant tale of an emperor's tears, as he   close to the gardens of the Taj, lie a confection of many

          lay incarcerated in its confines by his own much loved but       fairy-tale palaces, amongst them the lovely the Jahangir

          perfidious son Aurangzeb. Across the weepingYamuna, stood        Palace and the Khas Mahal built by Shahjehan; audience

          the glorious Taj Mahal, which held the mortal remains of his     halls such as the Diwan-i-Khas and two exquisite mosques,

          beloved wife Mumtaz. All that grandeur and power came to         Shahajehan's Moti Masjid and Auranzeb's Nagina Masjid .

          a sorry end for India's mightiest Mughal ruler Shahjehan,        The Red Fort along with theTaj Mahal bears" an exceptional

          a dispirited prisoner, who ended his years seeking comfort       and complementary testimony to a civilization which has

          from glimpses of the Taj.                                        disappeared, that of the Mogul Emperors". The fortress

            Originally a brick fortification, Badalgarh, it was used by    is also "one of the most obvious symbols of the Mughal

          the Delhi Sulltan Sikander Lodi (1487-1517) as his residence     grandeur which asserted itself best under Akbar, Jahangir

          (in his second capital) and later by his son Ibrahim Lodi        and Shahjehan". Within it many buildings made of marble

          who was slain in the battlefield at Panipat by the Central       and richly carved "showcase the zenith of an Indo-Muslim

          Asian raider Zahir ud-Din Mohammad Babur.The victorious          art strongly marked by influences from Persia which had

          Babur seized the fort and its vast treasures and set about       already manifested itself in Timurid art".

          establishing Mughal rule in India by going on to capture

          Delhi as well. Agra became the base of Mughal power. On          FATEHPUR SIKRI
          Babur's death his son Humayun's was crowned emperor at           FatehpurSikri, the abandoned First City of the third emperor
          Agra's Red Fort in 1530. But for much of the early part of       of the Mughal dynasty in India—Jalaluddin Muhammad
          his reign Humayun remained a fugitive and eventually on          Akbar, may lie in ruins, yet it is one of the most evocative
          his return from exile in Persia set up his capital Din-Panah,    reminders of one of India's most energetic architectural
          in Delhi. It was his son Akbar who made Agra the Mughal          periods under the Mughal. Constructed mainly from red
          stronghold once more. He strengthened and restored the           sandstone, readily available locally, Sikri was the first
          old fortress with red sandstone walls of immense girth           planned city of the Mughal     and the first which featured
          mounted by double ramparts featuring forbidding bastions,        Mughal architecture-a      harmonious blend of      Persian,
          and four gateways, The whole structure was surrounded by         Islamic and Indian influences on an elaborate scale.
          a deep moat. The entire process took 8 years to complete.             Fatehpur Sikri lies about 40km from the old Mughal

                                                                              on the coveted UNESCO World Heritage Site list because

                                                                              it "bears exceptional testimony to the Mughal civilization

                                                                              at the end of the 16th century. It offers a unique example

                                                                              of architectural ensembles of very high quality constructed

                                                                              between 1 5 7 1 and 1585. Its form and layout strongly

                                                                              influenced the evolution of Indian town planning, notably

                                                                              at Shahjehanabad (Old Delhi)", established by his grandson

                                                                              the Mughal Emperor Shahjehan.

                                                                                Within the embrace of this lost city lie a cluster of

                                                                              monuments and temples (all the same architectural style)

                                                                              including one of India's largest mosques, the Jama Masjid

                                                                              featuring the tomb of the Sufi Saint revered by the king.

                                                                              The ornamental pool - Anup Talo is surrounded by several

                                                                              important structures -amongst them the unique Diwan-

                                                                              i-Khas   (where the king gave audiences to his subjects

                                                                              collected on the balcony, attached by four        richly carved

                                                                              bridges to the throne room, held aloft on a central pillar), the

                                                                              kings palace, the five-tiered Panch Mahal. Ankh Michauli

          capital of Agra - ever since      Akbar's   grandfather,     the    and the Astrologer's Seat, in the south-west corner of the

          Muslim warlord     from    Central Asia, Babur      (a     direct   Pachisi Court. Birbal's palace features sloping horizontal

          descendant of both Timur or Tamerlane, the founder of the           chajjas (sunshades) with supporting brackets. Another

          Timurid Empire, as well as Genghis Khan, founder of the             spectacular feature at Sikri is the 53.63m high and 35 meters

          Mongol Empire), established his stamp on Hindustan with             wide Buland Darwaza (composed of red and buff sandstone

          the defeat of Ibrahim Lodi at the legendary battle of Panipat       with embellishments of elaborate carving and black and white

          in the punishing summer of 1526.                                    marble inlay work) was completed in 1575 to commemorate

            Shahanshah Akbar-e-Azam or Akbar the Great (1556-                 Akbar's crashing victory over Gujarat in 1572.

          1605) as the mighty ruler was called,           commissioned          Fatehpur Sikri served as Akbar's capital only from 1571-

          the building of his new capital on the very site where the          15 85, before it was abandoned by the king to fight against

          birth of his son Salim, the future Emperor Jahangir, was            the pestilent Afghan tribes (who were always nipping at

          predicted by the Sufi saint Shaikh Salim Chisti (1480-              the heels of the Mughals) on the northwest borders of his

          1572). The emperor supervised its construction personally           kingdom. He decided to choose a new capital, Lahore, to

          till its completion in 1573.This astonishing ruin, finds itself     keep vigil and repulse any dangerous moves by them.


                                                                                                                                B I H A R
MAHABODHI TEMPLE, BODHGAYA                                       m-high. The primary spots for reflection are the Mahabodhi

Located at Bodhgaya in Bihar's Gaya district the Mahabodhi       Temple with the colossal golden statue of Buddha seated

Temple Complex is     the world's    premier Buddhist site,      in the Bhumisparsa Mudra or the Earth-touching pose; the

attracting devotees from around the globe.         Bodhgaya      Vajrasan throne of polished sandstone , a gift from the

and its legendary temple is one of the four most important       Emperor Ashoka (who was an avid convert to the faith) in

sacred places related to the life of Lord Buddha and his         3BCE; the Sacred Bodhi Tree (under which the Buddha sat

search for and attainment of enlightenment. The temple           in deep meditation before his enlightenment which lies

site marks the place of Gautama Buddha's enlightenment           west of the Mahabodhi Temple). The Animesh Lochana

under the Bodhi tree after meditating under it for 49 days -     Chaitya (north east of the Temple, and the place where

making that leap of faith from being a Bodhisatva (mentor)       the Buddha stood gazing upon the Bodhi tree in the second

to Lord Buddha, the Enlightened One.                             week in meditation); the Ratna Garaha (northwest of the

  It was during the reign of the Gupta kings in the 7th          temple and the place where the Buddha spent the fourth

century that original structure of the Mahabodhi Mahavihara      week in meditation). A ray of six colours was said to have

Temple, established by the Emperor Ashoka, was completed.        emanated from his body at the time and       these colours

The temple fell into disuse in the 13th CE after the conquest    have inspired the Buddhist flag;    the Ajapala Nigrodha

of this region by the Delhi Sultanate. But around the 18th       Tree (a pillar representing the tree which once stood here

century the pilgrim point was subject to several restorations,   under which the Buddha spent the fifth week in meditation

renovations and repairs and in 1883, a very thorough and         after his attainment of Enlightenment and delivered a

scientific renovation of the Temple was initiated under the      discourse on the equality of mankind); the Muchhalinda

supervision of the Raj Archaeologist Sir A. Cunningham and       Lake ( where the Buddha spent the sixth week in deep

J.D.M. Beglar and the Indian archaeologists Dr. Rajendra         meditation after his Enlightenment and was protected by

Lai Mitra. In 1956 the Indian government expanded the            the snake king Muchalinda of the lake, from a fierce storm)

premises of the Mahabodhi Mahavihara.                            and the Rajratna Tree (located south of the temple it is the

  Countless pilgrims, of many faiths pay homage at the           place where the Buddha meditated for a week and here he

ancient brick-lad shrine, spread over 4.8 hectares and 55        acquired the first two lay devotees Tapassu and Bhallika).

      CHURCHES AND CONVENTS OF GOA                                    when his remains were recovered three months later for a

      It was during the 16th and 17th century that the most           more permanent grave the body appeared to be remarkably

      comprehensive group of churches and cathedrals were             unaffected by decay. When the saint was buried in Goa's

      established during Portuguese supremacy in Old (Velha           basilica, a year later, he was miraculously still in the same

      Goa). These structures are an excellent "illustration of the    pristine condition. This led to his canonization, and ever

      evangelization of Asia. These monuments feature influences      since the basilica has been a magnet for Roman Catholics

      of the spreading forms of Manueline, Mannerist and              from home and abroad on the occasion of the feast of St.

      Baroque art in all the countries of Asia where missions were    Francis Xavier on the 3rd of December. The altars, gilded

      established." Seven of these were inscribed as UNESCO World     confections, are crafted on an elaborate scale to off-set the

      Heritage Sites-these include the Church of Bom Jesus, Saint     relative simplicity of the interiors of the church. The tomb

      Catherine's Chapel, Church and Convent of Saint Francis of      of the saint, made of jasper and marble, features a silver

      Assisi.The Cathedral, Saint Gaetan and its seminary, Our Lady   casket in which lies the body of the saint. This was a gift

      of the Rosary, and Saint Augustine Tower.                       from Italy's Medici rulers.

        Chief amongst these is the beautiful and iconic Basilica        Se Cathedral      is probably Asia's largest church. The

      de Bom Jesus. This splendid Baroque structure, built by         Renaissance-inspired cathedral's centerpiece is the riveting

      the Jesuits in 1594, houses the mortal remains of Francis       altar with its 6 huge panels featuring the life of St Catharine

      Xavier considered to be the patron saint of Goa. Located        of Alexandria. This World Heritage Site, which took 8 0 years

      in the atmospheric environs of Old Goa the Basilica was         to be completed was commissioned by Viceroy Redondo

      South Asia's first church to be accorded the status of Minor    with the intent of being "a grandiose church worthy of the

      Basilica in 1946 by Pope Pius XII.The triple layered fagade     wealth, power and fame of the Portuguese who dominate the

      of this spectacular church is a harmonious fusion of Doric,     seas from the Atlantic to the Pacific." Only one of the two

      Corinthian and Ionic architectural features.                    bell towers which used to flank the facade has survived the

        The tomb of the saint, (who was sent off to Goa in 1542 by    passage of time.The Church and Convent of St. Francis of

      the Portuguese ruler Dom Jao III to bring the local populace    Assisi features a carved door front which has been inspired

      into the fold of Christianity) was built over ten years by a    by nautical themes in the Portuguese Manueline style which

      Florentine sculptor Giovanni Foggini. St Francis, who died en   was a popular trend during the reign of King Dom Manuel

      route to China, got a temporary burial on Sancian Island but    who ruled Portugal from 1469 to 1521.

Gujarat & Rajasthan

                                                                                                                                     R A J A S T H A N
                                                                                                                                     G U J A R A T
About   50km    from Vadodra       in Gujarat, the ancient

Kalikamata Temple atop Pavagadh Hill has been a magnet

for pilgrims   particularly during the Nawratri pujas. But if

you are interested in discovering "the only complete and
unchanged Islamic pre-Mughal city", the place to head for

is the Champaner -Pavagadh Archaeological Park spread

out at the foot of the hill . Time stands still at this vast

expanse of antiquity comprising a large scale of practically

"unexcavated archaeological, historic and living cultural

heritage properties cradled in an impressive landscape".           Site, making it India's 28th World Heritage Site. Protected
Amongst the structures populating the Park are a cluster           under the aegis of the archaeological department of the
of prehistoric (chalcolithic) sites, a hill fortress of an early   Rajasthan government, the Jantar Mantar was accorded this
Hindu capital, and the 16th century deserted city of               prestigious recognition because" it is the most significant,
Mahmud Begharha and the living village, Champaner which            most comprehensive and the best preserved of India's
lies within the area of the historic town. Noteworthy of the       historic observatories. It is an expression of the astronomical

site is how its structures "represent a perfect blend of Hindu-    skills and cosmological concepts of the court of a scholarly

Moslem architecture, mainly in the Great Mosque (Jami              prince at the end of the Mughal period." Jantar Mantar

Masjid), which was a model for later mosque architecture             It provides "an outstanding testimony of the ultimate
in India.This special style comes from the significant period      culmination of the scientific and technical conceptions of
of regional sultanates".                                           the great observatory devised in the medieval world." Set up
                                                                   between 1724 and 1734 By Maharaja Jai Singh at his capital

JANTAR MANTAR, JAIPUR                                              Jaipur, the Jantar Mantar's 20 - o d d main fixed instruments

On July 3 1 2010 the early- 18th century the Jantar Mantar         were used to calculate time, track stars' location, predict

of Jaipur was declared an inscribed UNESCO World Heritage          eclipses and determine other celestial movements.

            HAMPI                                                           supremacy with the five Muslim sultans of the Deccan. The

            Silent witnesses to the great glory of one of ancient India's   kingdom's two most illustrious rulers were Krishnaraya Deva

            premier Hindu dynasties (which stood at the helm of the last    (who ruled from 1 5 0 9 - 2 9 ) and Achyuta Raya who followed

            mighty Hindu kingdom of Vijayanagar, embracing most of          him (from 1529 to 1 5 4 2 ) .

            peninsular India at its zenith) Hampi, is now a stark world       The star of the Hampi site is that showy piece of

            of rock and granite boulder sprawling along the banks of        architectural and creative extravagance -           the Vithala

            the Tungabhadra River. Within these atmospheric environs        Temple complex . Begun in 1 5 1 3 the temple, raised to

            lie the ruins of once palatial royal residences and minutely    Lord Vishnu, was still not ready by the time the city was

            carved Dravidian temples-lauded over by awe-struck foreign      abandoned for the new capital of Penukonda in 1 5 6 5

            travellers from Italy, Portugal and Arabia between the 14th     after the defeat of the Hindu king by the Muslim Sultans.

            and 16th centuries.                                             The centerpiece of the complex is the lavishly carved stone

              Located in Karnataka's Bellary district, one of the world's   chariot, reminiscent of Konark's sun temple in Orissa.The 5 6

            most striking ruins reflect the complete devastation and        musical pillars and halls are the other features of interest.

            abandonment of this once great capital by the non-stop            The focal point of the old       Virupaksha Temple, raised

            pillaging for 6 months, by the Deccan Muslim Confederacy        to the goddess Pampa (Parvati) and her consort Lord

            in 1565. The austere majesty of Hampi "bears exceptional        Shiva, is the 1 6 5 f t high gopura. Lord Vishnu in his avatar

            testimony to the vanished civilization of the kingdom of        as half man, half lion has been carved into single rock of

            Vijayanagar", which reached its zenith under the golden         massive proportions.This boulder is known as the Narsimha

            rule of Krishna Deva Raya. H a m p i " offers an outstanding    Monolith, and the work itself dates back to 1528.

            example of a type of structure that illustrates a significant     Other noteworthy landmarks in this         open air museum

            historical situation: t h a t of the kingdoms of South India    are the temples of Ramachandra (1513) and Hazara Rama

            which, menaced by the Muslims, were occasionally allied         ( 1 5 2 0 ) and the fantastic complex of civil, princely or public

            with the Portuguese of Goa".                                    buildings including the elephant stables, Queen's Bath,

              For 2 0 0 years Hampi was the fabulous capital of three       Lotus Mahal, bazaars and markets.

            generation of Hindu kings, who were to lock horns for

                                                                   at Pattadakal is the Temple of Virupaksha, commissioned

                                                                   by Queen Lokamahadevi in c 7 4 0 to c o m m e m o r a t e her

                                                                   husband King Vikramaditya li s victory over the southern

                                                                   kings. Eight of these temples are raised to Lord Shiva. Closer

                                                                   to the village which falls in the area lies another Shaivite

                                                                   Temple - known as the Temple of Papanatha, alongwith a

                                                                   Jain sanctuary. The northern influences (the Nagara or Indo-

                                                                   Aryan style with traditional square-shaped shikharas with

                                                                   curved edges) are best seen in the temples of Galaganatha

                                                                   and of Kashi Vishveshvara, while the pure Dravidian flavour

                                                                   is represented in the Sangameshvara, built between 6 9 6

                                                                   and 733, and Mallikarjuna, built consecutively from 7 3 3 -

                                                                   44. The Virupaksha Temple represents the          harmonious

                                                                   mixture of these styles which provided the inspiration for

                                                                   this masterpiece of Chalukya art.


The astonishing cluster of nine temples discovered at

Pattadakal along the Malaprabha River in Karnataka's

Bijaipur district, reflect the highest order of "an eclectic

art which, in the 7th and 8th centuries under the Chalukya

dynasty, achieved a harmonious blend of architectural

forms from northern and southern India". Pattadakal, along

with the nearby capital cities of Aihole (considered the l a b '

of Chalukya architecture) about 2 2 k m away and Badami

( 1 0 k m ) provided a remarkable concentration of religious

monuments dating from the great dynasty of the Chalukya

(c. 5 4 3 - 7 5 7 ) .

   The most impressive landmark of this rankandfileofshrines

                 Madhya Pradesh

                KHAJURAHO GROUP OF MONUMENTS                                      aspects of life in all its forms including sex, reflecting the

                Renowned the world over for its fabulous ancient temples,         beliefs of the society which supported t h e m . " In accordance

                wrested from the cluster of the jungle, Khajuraho used to         with ancient treaties on architecture, erotic depictions were

                be an important base for the Rajput kings, the Chandelas          reserved for specific parts of the temples only. The rest of

                of central India. The temple building at Khajuraho, by this       the t e m p l e was profusely covered with other aspects of life,

                dynasty, reached its zenith between 9 5 0 and 1050. Of            secular and spiritual".The exquisitely detailed sculptures at

                the original 85 temples sited here, only about 20 temples         Khajuraho celebrate the relationship between a man and

                remain scattered over an expanse of 6km; these "fall into         woman in all its warmth and sensuous frankness, yet            the

                three distinct groups and belong to two different religions       erotic elements are depicted in the most aesthetic form.

                - Hinduism and Jainism. They strike a perfect balance               The distinction       between     Hinduism and Jainism       are

                between architecture and sculpture.TheTemple of Kandariya         represented in various aspects at Khajuraho's              ancient

                is decorated with a profusion of sculptures that are among        temples, but there are certain commonalities in structure

                the greatest masterpieces of Indian art".                         which     bind   them    together    as   hugely   aesthetic   and


                  Made of granite and sandstone, many of them have                astonishing representations of a rich and inspiring era in

                withstood the whims of the elements over the passage of           India's religious architecture. The most important group

                time. Hidden away for centuries in the jungles, till they were    of monuments are clustered in the western z o n e - this is

                discovered by the British during the Raj, the temple complex      where you will find the Kandariya, Varaha, Lakshmana,

                is "a unique artistic creation, as much for its highly original   Matangeshwara, Mahadeva Chitragupta temples amongst

                architecture as for the sculpted decor of a surprising quality    others.    A nightly Sound and Light Show showcases the

                made up of a mythological repertory of numerous scenes of         splendour of the temples and their origins. But the eastern

                amusements of which not the least known are the scenes,           zone is definitely worth a visit for the notable shrines of

                susceptible to various interpretations, sacred or profane".       Adinath, Shantinath and Parshvanath                as well as the

                The influence of theTantric elements is strongly visible in the   Dulhadeo, Chaturbhuja and Ghantai temples.

                richly sculpted temples which offer frank and uninhibited            In the month of March the annual Khajuraho Dance

Festival is a huge draw for the excellent performances by

                                                                                                                                             P R A D E S H
top-flight Indian classical dancers and musicians, against

the backdrop of the temples.

Situated about 4 0 km from Bhopal state capital          Madhya

                                                                                                                                             M A D H Y A
Pradesh, the tiny village of Sanchi was an important Buddhist

hub dating back to the 2and 3rd BCE. Witness t o that

spiritually active era are a cluster of monuments ( a m o n g s t

them   temples    a n d moasteries, monolithic      pillars a n d

palaces) that were pivotal to the activities of the Buddhist

community that resided in and around the region, Sanchi is

"the oldest Buddhist sanctuary In existence and was a major

Buddhist centre in India until the 12th CE. From the time that

the oldest preserved monument on the site (Asoka's column

with its projecting capital of lions inspired by Achaemenid

                                                                    art) was erected, Sanchi's role as intermediary for the spread

                                                                    of cultures and their peripheral arts throughout the Maurya

                                                                    Empire, and later in India of the Sunga, Shatavahana, Kushan

                                                                    and Gupta dynasties, was confirmed".

                                                                       Held in the grip of the dense jungle the site - abandoned

                                                                    for over 6 0 0 years, would surely have been lost to us but for

                                                                    the persistence of Genera! Taylor who discovered it in 1 8 1 8

                                                                    and brought considerable pressure to save it for posterity.

                                                                    As the hill was cleared of the pelt of v e g e t a t i o n " the ruins

                                                                    of about 5 0 monuments were uncovered, revealing one of

                                                                    the most remarkable archaeological complexes in India".

                                                                    Sanchi continues to be one of the most important Buddhist

                                                                    site even in present-day India, as it played a pivotal role as

                                                                    a Buddhist sanctuary to the period from the 3rd BCE tothe

                                                                    1st century AD.

                  King Ashoka's wife came from the neighbouring town            a long interaction between people and the landscape, as

                of Vidhisha near Sanchi and when the emperor set up a           demonstrated in the quantity and quality of its rock art".

                Buddhist sanctuary here it became (in time) a principle           Since the discovery of the five clusters byWakankar more

                centre for Buddhist activities. The principle     monument      than 7 0 0 such shelters have been identified, of which 2 4 3

                here is the Great Stupa commissioned by the emperor.            are in the Bhimbetka group and 178 in the Lakha Juar

                The core of the stupa was a massive mound-like structure        group. The complex of five clusters of rock shelters around

                raised over several relics of Lord Buddha, which came           Bhjimbetka Hill, 5 km south of     Bhopal, in Raisen district

                into   his possession. Sumptuous      porticoes with   stone    (in proximity to the   Bhopal-Hoshangabad highway)        has

                railings surround the edifice. It is accessed by four densely   been inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site because
                                                                                they   " display a profusion, richness and variety of mural
                embellished gateways. Close by is the 12m stone edict
                                                                                subjects and, as a collection, form one of the densest known
                raised by Ashoka. The two other famous stupas date back
                                                                                concentrations of rock art".
                to the Sunga period (2nd century BC).Impressive too are

                Temples 17 and 4 5 and Monastery 51.

                ROCK SHELTERS OF BHIMBETKA                                        The paintings are mostly executed in red and white

                Deep in the heart of Central India in theVindhyan foothills     pigements and sometimes with the inclusion of green and

                lie an astonishing range of five clusters of painterly rock     yellow with animal fat and leaf extract also being added to

                shelters. Sandstone outcrops of humungous dimensions            the paint. The still fresh-looking paintings depict scenes

                and dense jungle conspired to hide this archaeological          from daily life of the tribal communities living around the

                treasure in natural rock shelters discovered by chance in       area.They also depict the various aspects of livelihood of the

                1 9 5 7 by renowned Indian archaeologist Dr. V.S Wakankar.      communities which included hunting and honey collecting

                Mention of these shelters goes back to 1888, when local         in the copious jungles in this terrain. In abundance are

                tribesmen spoke of t h e m as a Buddhist site.                  depictions of animals they were familiar w i t h -      horse,

                  The paintings in the shelters appear to date as far back as   elephant, tigers, bison, wild boar and crocodiles amongst

                the Mesolithic Period right through to the historical period.   them. There are also smatterings of symbols of rituals

                "The cultural traditions of the inhabitants of the twenty-one   and religion. The shelters depict paintings which evolved

                villages adjacent to the site bear a strong resemblance to      over seven different periods-Upper Paleolithic, Mesolithic,

                those represented in the rock paintings. Bhimbetka reflects     Chalcolithic, Early Historic andMedieval

                                                                                                                                M A H A R A S H T R A
CHHATRAPATISHIVAJI TERMINUS, MUMBAI                             your attention on the astonishing stone dome, turrets,

(FORMERLY VICTORIA TERMINUS)                                    pointed arches and eccentric ground plan you'll see a fine

This is no ordinary railway station, where your entire focus    resemblance to traditional Indian palace architecture.This

is on catching that train, or where you wait garland in         meeting of two great cultures forged a new style unique t o

hand t o greet a loved one. Mumbai's Chhatrapati Shivaji        Bombay, present-day Mumbai.

Terminus (earlier Victoria Terminus, or affectionately f o r

Mumbikars - VT) begs you t o stop and take a little time        AJANTA CAVES
to admire her vintage beauty, for she " is an outstanding       About 107 km from the town of Aurangabad and about

example of Victorian Gothic Revival architecture in India,      1 0 0 k m from another famous World Heritage Site - t h e

blended with themes deriving from        Indian   traditional   Ellora Caves, Ajanta is home to a host of important painterly

architecture".   Designed by the British architect F. W.        Buddhist caves dating from t h e 2nd and 1st centuries

Stevens, this beautiful building came to be regarded as the     B.C.Ajanta was t o acquire another cluster of brilliant

symbol of Bombay (now Mumbai) as the 'Gothic City' and          cave paintings during the Gupta period (5th and 6th CE)

the major international mercantile port of India". It took      w h e n " many more richly decorated caves were added t o

10 years t o build the terminal which was commissioned          the original group. The paintings and sculptures of Ajanta,

in 1878. Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus is a "remarkable          considered masterpieces of Buddhist religious art, have had

example of late 19th century railway architecture in t h e      a considerable artistic influence in India and elsewhere,

British Commonwealth, characterized by Victorian Gothic         extending in particular, to Java".

Revival and traditional Indian features, as well as its           The skillful works found in the 3 0 Ajanta Caves, carved

advanced structural and technical solutions". If you focus      out of the volcanic terrain of the forested ravines of the

              Sahayadri Hills, bear       "exceptional testimony to the       ELLORA CAVES

              evolution of Indian art, as well as to the determining role     The Ellora Caves, located about 30 km from Aurangabad city

              of the Buddhist community, intellectual and religious           are an excellent example of the harmonious co-existence

              foyers, schools and reception centres in the India of the       of India's three great religions—Brahmanism, Buddhism and

              Guptas and their immediate successors". The carvings            Jainism. Out of this amazing liberal thinking has emerged

              and sculptures in these caves represent "the beginning of       a fabulous treasure trove of cave art. Not only do the

              classical Indian art".                                          c a v e s " bear witness to three great religions (Buddhism,

                Excavation of the caves (rising above the gorge of the        Brahmanism and Jainism) but they also illustrate the spirit

              Waghora River)    begun in 200 BCE were put on hold till        of tolerance, characteristic of ancient India, which permitted

              they were re-discovered by the British in 1819. Painted         these three religions to establish their sanctuaries and their

              and sculpted figures "of supple form and classic balance"       communities in a single place, which thus served to reinforce

              dominate the canvas of the cave walls.          "The refined    its universal value. The caves, with their uninterrupted

              lightness of the decoration, the balance of the compositions,   sequence from 600 to 1,000 monuments, bring to life again

              the marvellous beauty of the feminine figures place the         the civilization of ancient India".

              paintings of Ajanta among the major achievements of the           The Ellora site is home to 3 4 monasteries and temples,
              Gupta and post-Gupta style and confer on them the ranking       scattered over an expanse of over more than 2 km in the
              of a masterpiece of universal pictorial art".                   volcanic rock face of a high cliff. Ellora showcases some

                                                                              of Medieval India's finest qualities of refined a r t - f o u n d in

                                                                              the delightful reliefs, sculptures and cave architecture you
                                                                              will discover here.

                                                                                The Buddhist caves (featuring several monasteries and
                                                                              a single large temple-Cave 10 ) appear to be the oldest in
                                                                              the complex and go back to the period between c. 600
                                                                              and 800; the Brahmin group of caves (600 to 9 0 0 CE) are
                                                                              notable for Cave 15 (Cavern of the Ten Avatars) and for
                                                                              the largest single monolithic excavation in the world, the
                                                                              massive Kailasha Temple (Cave 16); the Jain group
                                                                              (featuring caves 30-34)       were created by the Digambara
                                                                              sect around 800-1000 CE.


The gaggle of tourist boats heading out of Mumbai into

the waters of the Arabian Sea have a tryst with Lord Shiva
on the Island   of Elephanta about 10 km away. They are

also entering the precincts of a world where a cluster of

extraordinary caves will wing them back "to a civilization

that has disappeared. Here, Indian art has found one of

its most perfect expressions, particularly in the huge high

reliefs in the main cave".

  Elephanta in fact contains an incredible collection of

rock art linked to the cult of Shiva, showcased in seven

cave shrines, each one densely decorated and embellished

with images from the Hindu pantheon and its world

of ancient   myths. The works are said to date anything

between the 6th to the 8th century. Two groups of caves

mark the site - On the eastern front lies Stupa Hill with its

two caves, one of them incomplete. On the western side you

will find five rock-cut Hindu shrines.The principle cave here

                                                                showcases a stunning gallery of carvings dedicated to Lord

                                                                Shiva. Two huge carved panels featuring a rendition (Gupta-

                                                                period style) of Shiva Yogisvara and, Shiva Nataraja greet

                                                                the visitor at the entrance. In the sanctum is a Shivling.

                                                                Great high-reliefs of the Lord fill the canvas of the walls

                                                                of the mandapa. On the southern wall you will meet the

                                                                fabled three-headed bust of the Mahadeva. It is flanked by

                                                                two reliefs-Shiva asArdhanarisvara and Shiva receiving the

                                                                waters of the Ganges (Gangadhara). The 15 great reliefs

                                                                around sanctum of the lingam in the principle Elephanta

                                                                Cave "not only constitute one of the greatest examples of

                                                                Indian art but also one of the most important collections

                                                                for the cult of Shiva".


         SUN TEMPLE, KONARAK                                                 was desecrated during the reign of the Mughal Emperor

         Trading vessels from the Indies plying the waters of the Bay        Jehangir, never really recovered its popularity as a site of

         of Bengal, would use the Black Pagoda (as Orissa's Sun              worship. And though over the passage of time, the elements

         Temple was known to the ancient world) as a beacon to               have wrought havoc upon it, there is still enough grandeur

         reach the shores of India's eastern coast in safety. Made           in its plan to fill the beholder with awe. The majestic sweep

         of black granite and r£d sandstone the 13th century Sun             of the monumental structure is a fusion of an exuberant

         Temple is massive complex, standing astride the sands of            architectural vision and engineering innovation.

         the coastal hamlet of Konarak. Conceived as a gigantic                Steeped in symbolism the Konarak temple is an enticing
         chariot, set upon 2 4 wheels, driven by seven steeds across         window to Orissa's antiquity. The temple is so positioned
         the heavens by the Sun god Surya, the Konarak Temple                as to catch the rays of the first fingers of the rising sun
         is fabulous vision of architectural accomplishment and              and bathe it in eternal glory with that illumination. The
         engineering skills of the ancient world. The building of the        lavishly sculptured two sets of 12 wheels (upon which
         temple is ascribed to King Narasimhadeva I (1236-1264               the monumental chariot sits) denote the 2 4 fortnights
         CE) of the Ganga dynasty around 1250, to celebrate his              of 12 months. The eight spokes in each wheel symbolize
         victory over the Muslims. The temple which " marks the              the 8 segments (Prahar) of a day. The seven stone horses
         apogee of the wave of foundations dedicated to the Sun              symbolize the seven days of the week. The entire fagade of
         God Surya" is an "outstanding testimony to the 13th-century         the plinth of the temple is a profusion of carved splendour
         kingdom of Orissa. It is directly and materially linked to          with human figures as well as floral, animal and geometric
         Brahmin beliefs, and forms the invaluable link in the history       motifs populating every inch of space.
         of the diffusion of the cult of Surya, which originated in            The Konarak Festival, a fabulous banquet of Indian
         Kashmir during the 8th century and finally reached the              classical dance and music, is held annually (December)
         shores of eastern India."                                           against the backdrop of this fantastic temple site, one of

           The temple, which fell into disuse in the 17th century after it   Orissa's most popular tourist attractions.

                                                                                                                                      T A M I L
Tamil Nadu
GROUP OF MONUMENTS AT MAHABALIPURAM                              of the sculptures of Mahabalipuram, characterized by the

The sound of tinkling anklets, the sweep of a beautiful          softness and supple mass of their modelling, spread widely

dance step, the excited       clapping of a      mesmerized      (Cambodia, Annam, Java)".

audience- riveting foil to the eternal crash of the waves        Located in Kanchipuram district (famed for its exquisite
of the Bay of Bengal upon India's south eastern shores.The       silks), 60km south of the Tamil Nadu state capital Chennai,
annual month-long Dance Festival of Mahabalipuram is             the Mahabalipuram Shore Temple Complex is a cavalcade
in full swing and there couldn't be a better backdrop to         of rock-cut and monolithic monuments. It is a reference
showcase some of India's most versatile classical dancers        point for some of the earliest known stages of "Dravidian
and musicians, than the ancient temple of Mahabalipuram,         architecture wherein Buddhist elements of design are
also known as the "Shore Temple".                                prominently visible".

  Mahabalipuram or Mammmallapuram as its also known              Of particular interest here are the "rathas (temples in the

as used to be an important trading hub as far back as the        form of chariots), mandapas (cave sanctuaries), giant open-

5th century. Under Pallava rule (7-8th) this important hub       air reliefs such as the famous 'Descent of the Ganges', and

on India's legendary Coramandel Coast, edging the waters         Arjuna's Penace is a stunning relief sculpture (the world's

of the Bay of Bengal in southeast India, was established         largest measuring 27m X 9m) depicting an important

a sprawl of spiritual sanctuaries that offer visitors an         episode from the Hindu epic The Mahabharata. The Shore

unforgettable experience of some of India's oldest examples      Temple, made of charcolite is believed to be one of seven

of Dravidian structures and sculpted rock panels.                which once stood on the shoreline in the 6 0 0 AD.The temple

  "Mahabalipuram      is pre-eminently testimony to       the    was raised to Lord Shiva.The nearby temple Sthala Shayana

Pallavas civilization of south-east India.The sanctuary, known   Perumal, features uniquely - Lord Vishnu reclining on the

especially for its rathas (temples in the form of chariots),     ground. A kilometer away, the cluster o f t h e P a n c h a Rathas

mandapas (cave sanctuaries), and giant open-air reliefs, is      (unfinished) carved out of a single piece of granite in situ

one of the major centres of the cult of Siva. The influence      features each chariot sculpted in a different style.

                                                                            a n . exceptional testimony to the development of the

                                                                            architecture and the ideology of the Chola Empire and

                                                                            the Tamil civilization in southern India. They represent an

                                                                            outstanding creative achievement in the          architectural

                                                                            conception of the pure form of the Dravida type of temple

                                                                            (characterized by a pyramidal tower)".

                                                                            The Brihadisvara Temple at Thanjavur was the first to

                                                                            showcase the stunning vision and architectural might of the

                                                                            l l - 1 2 t h century Chola Temples.The two other primary Chola

                                                                            temples-one      at Gangaikondacholisvaram,       also   called

                                                                            the Brihadisvara Temple, and the Airavatesvara Temple

                                                                            established at Darasuram, were to reflect a development of

                                                                            this astonishing initiative.

                                                                              Thanjavur's Brihadisvara Temple was built with blocks of

                                                                            granite between 1003 a n d l 0 1 0 by King Rajaraja (985-

                                                                            1014) founder of the Chola Empire. Dedicated to Lord

                                                                            Shiva the "Big Temple" features a cavalcade of halls and

            GREAT LIVING CHOLATEMPLES                                       vestibules approaching the main shrine - crowned with a

            Set upon the stunning expanses of the Cauvery Delta in          13-storey pyramidal tower. This vimana (60.95 m high and

            Tamil Nadu are a cavalcade of beautiful Hindu temples. But      crowned with a bulb-shaped monolith weighing an estimated

            it is atThanjavur, Darasuram and Gangaikondacholapuram          70 tonnes) is considered to be one of the architectural

            that you will find some of the most splendid examples of        masterpieces of India. The outer walls of the temple are

            religious architecture of deep antiquity. Chief amongst these   richly carved and its interiors covered by representations

            are three excellent UNESCO World Heritage monuments.            of the 108 poses of the Bharatanatyam. The astonishing

            The exquisitely crafted temples are the works of the mighty     murals (masterpieces of Chola art) here are witness to the

            Chola kings of Tamil Nadu were one of south India's most        range of the Cholas' aesthetic sensibilities in the art forms.

            powerful and visionary ruling dynasties. Their kingdom          The Temple of Gangaikondacholisvaram, built by Rajendra I,

            stretched over all of south India and the neighbouring          was completed in 1035. Its 53-m curving vimana (sanctum

            islands. Tamil Nadu itself was the home of the ancient          tower) is a contrast to the straight and severe tower at

            Dravidian culture whose influence was so considerable in        Thanjavur. Commissioned by Rajaraja II the Airavatesvara

            the whole of south-east Asia.                                   Temple at Darasuram features a 24-m vimana and a stone

               "The Great Chola Temples of southern           India   are   image of Shiva •
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