Roving through Lucknow

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It was a early morning flight. It just took one hour to Lucknow. After having relaxed till evening we proceeded to see Bara Imambra which is very nearest to our Guest House. When we reached the spot, we felt as if we were transported  to a historic period.

The very sight of Rumi Darwaza was enthralled us. In one side it looked like a necklace. The other side it looked like a palm leaf . The Rumi Darwaza,  is an imposing gateway which was built under the patronage of Nawab Asaf-Ud-daula in 1784.  It is an example of Awadhi architecture.

Being an entrance to the city of Lucknow, Russell, the reporter of  The New York Times who accompanied the victorious British army that entered Lucknow in 1858.

This massive gate is situated between Bara Imambara and Chota Imambara. This place is generally very much busy all day, and during weekends most of the tourists visit here.

After seeing the beautiful gate, we moved to see Bara Imambra.

The complex also includes the large  mosque, the bhul-bhulaiya (the labyrinth). Two imposing gateways lead to the main hall. It is said that there are 1024 ways to reach the terrace but only one to come back. It is an accidental architecture.

Construction of Bara Imambara was started in 1785, a year of a devastating famine, and one of Asaf-ud-Daula’s objectives in embarking on this grandiose project was to provide employment for people in the region for almost a decade while the famine lasted. It is said that ordinary people used to work in the day building up the edifice, while noblemen and other elite worked at night to break down anything that was raised that day.

We stunned to see the beautiful structure and its elegant appearance that etched in our memory for ever. Then we went ahead to see the Chota Imambra.

The building is also known as the Palace of Lights because of its decorations and chandeliers during special festivals, like Muharram. The chandeliers used to decorate the interior of this building were brought from Belligium. Also housed within the building, is the crown of Muhammad Ali Shah. Thousands of labourers worked on the project to gain famine relief.

It has a gilded dome and several turrets and minarets. The tombs of Muhammad Ali Shah and other members of his family are inside the imambara.

This building also architecturally rich and visually pleasing.

After this historic visit, we went to see the other parts of Lucknow. First we went to Ram Manohar Park.  Though it was a big park we not at all  impressed over it as we have seen more better and bigger parks in Delhi.

Then we moved into Ambedkar Park. It was so huge and very beautiful. Inside the park there are lot of statues of elephants and a separate section for Ambedkar statute.

The entire area of the park was covered with glaring mosaic and it gives appearance that the park is filled with water. During evening hours lot of people visit here to spend some lively time with their kith and kin.

Jai Prakas Narain’s International center was informative and entertaining. There was museum inside which depicts Jai prakash Narain’s life stories in a art form. The audio guide was really superb and it throw lot of lights on the important happenings in Jai Prakash Narain’s life.

After lunch we moved to British Residency. It served as the residence for the British Resident General who was a representative in the court of the Nawab. It is located in the heart of the city. Lastly we visited Indra Gandhi Planetarium and got some knowledge about our planet and stars.

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Jodhpur jaunt

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The day of our arrival we could not make any programme due to hot climate. So we decided to out out in the evening. We opted to spend our time to the nearest point from our Guest House i.e. Ghanta Ghar, also known as the clock tower. It was built by Maharaja Sardar Singh (1880-1911) from whom the market takes it name.

In fact, the tower dominates the entire scenario. Though it is small yet it is beautiful.  Beside the tower, there is  Sadar Market that is frequented by tourists on shopping spree. From this market, tourists can purchase the local products of Jodhpur.

Next day morning we visited Umaid Bhawan Palace,  is one of the world’s largest private residences. A part of the palace is managed by Taj Hotel.

Named after Maharaja Umaid Singh  this palace has 347 rooms and serves as the principal residence of the erstwhile Jodhpur royal family.

A part of the palace also houses a museum. The Palace was built to provide employment to thousands of people during the time of famine during 1857.

The entire palace complex built with sandstone and marble . The palace, magnificent in its lavish proportions, consists of a throne chamber, an exclusive private meeting hall, a Durbar Hall to meet the public, a vaulted banquet hall, private dining halls, a ball room, a library, an indoor swimming pool and spa, a billiards room, four tennis courts, two unique marble squash courts, and long passages.

Our next point was Mehrangarh (Mehran Fort),  is one of the largest forts in India. Built around 1460 by Rao Jodha, the fort is situated 410 feet (125 m) above the city and is enclosed by imposing thick walls. Inside its boundaries there are several palaces known for their intricate carvings and expansive courtyards.

There are seven gates, which include Jayapol (meaning ‘victory’), built by Maharaja Man Singh to commemorate his victories over Jaipur, Udaipur and Bikaner armies.

The museum in the Mehrangarh fort is one of the most well-stocked museums. In one section of the fort museum there is a selection of old royal palanquins including the elaborate domed gilt Mahadol palanquin which was won in a battle from the Governor of Gujarat in 1730. The museum exhibits the heritage of the Rathores in arms, costumes, paintings and decorated period

Mehrangarh Fort stands a hundred feet in splendor on a perpendicular cliff, four hundred feet above the sky line. Built with red sand stone, imposing, invincible and yet with a strange haunting beauty that beckons .

We also visited Mandore Garden. Mandore is located about 5 miles north of Jodhpur. It was the former capital of Maharajas of Marwar. Its extensive Mandore garden, with high rock terrace, makes it a popular local attraction.

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