Mandu: A Ruined City in the Heart of Incredible India – Part 1

Baz Bahadur’s Palace in Mandu Fort, Madhya Pradesh, India

Jahaz Mahal in Mandu, Madhya Pradesh, India
Once, it was a thriving city situated on the top of a hill, surrounded by the dense forest, where nature was the protector of the fort. History was born but lost and drowned with the passage of time. A new history was born again but that also remains silent as time grows. Love bloomed, where Islamic faiths melted into the Hindu faiths, become myths and part of folklore. Music was born, which resonated in the vale and the hills. Even conspiracies were hatched, where a sharp dagger killed the faith of a father. Whatever happened, the destiny never encountered permanent sorrow, as joy was in the air of Mandu. Mandu, a story of a city called Shadiabad or “City of Joy“, Anand Nagri.

It was late evening when our car entered in the horizon of Mandu. We were coming from Hanuwantiya after attending the Jal Mahotsav. It was too dark to see, only gazing at the splendid night sky from the window of my car. It was a beautiful clear night sky, haven’t seen for many years. Aided by the light of the moon and light of our car, I could spot at interval, some gray walls of the fort. They evoked eerie feelings. While passing along the huge walls and crossing the huge gates of the fort, as I felt like, I am heading toward an ancient civilization from the present time, though the time has stopped. I stepped into the hotel room and waited for the sunrise. My eagerness to see the place was condensing like anything. I quickly flipped through the pages of a book on Mandu, and I was stuck. I had read the same book earlier but this time it was completely different reading altogether and my imaginations ran wild. Rani Roopmati, Bazbahadur, Raja Bhoja, Shah Jahan, and even Nur Jahan, those characters were started getting to be alive straight from the pages of a history book. If you are like me who love reading an old history book and love to visualize the perspective narrated. Then, I am pretty sure you would certainly feel being in ancient time. Same happened with me and I couldn’t sleep in that night.

Map of Mandu Fort, Madhya Pradesh, India List of Places in Mandu, Madhya Pradesh, India

Download Map

History Of Mandu
The ruined hill fort of Mandavgad or present day Mandu is situated about 35 km away from the Dhar city and 95km from Indore, in the Malwa region of western Madhya Pradesh. The fort is situated on a high plateau nearly 635 m high above the sea level and the road to the fort passes through the dense forest. Sturdy gates were built along the passages for the extra protection. The ramparts of the Mandu fort encompasses approximately 45 sq km and the outer periphery estimated around 75 sq km.

There is a popular saying in central India “Kaha Raja Bhoj aur Kaha Gangu Teli”. Many of us heard of it but never cultivated, who are these people? who were Raja Bhoj and Gangu Teli? This proverb may have originated at Mandu. Was this a comparison between the great king of Telangana Gangaikonda, Rajendra Chola with the very powerful King Bhoja, who was culturally and educationally were very rich. By the end of the 10th century, during the reign of King Bhoja and king Munja, Mandu gained prominence in the history of northern India of that period. But to know the history of Mandu, we need to look back beyond the 10th century. One must understand the historical journey of Mandu. One that began from Madapa-Durga and ended to present day Mandu.

Jahaz Mahal in Mandu, Madhya Pradesh, India Jami Masjid in Mandu - Panorama View

Mandu in earlier days was a very important place for the travelers, pilgrims and for the traders from northern India. Even north Indian traders used this place as a transit point to trade with Europe. Traders used to come here en route Maheshwar, where river Narmada flows the only stream that moves east to west to meet the Arabian Sea. The place therefore gained so much of importance and many powerful kings had their eyes on Mandu. If we minutely watch the Architectures of Mandu, we can understand that how architects and the Kings used this place as an experimental canvas for Architecture. It is said, that Mandu had around 334 palaces, 40 large tanks, 300 mosques and 800 temples, unfortunately, there have no traces many of them. Although, most of the standing monuments were erected in between 1401 AD to 1526 AD, of hardly in 125 years. Islamic rulers like Akbar, Shah Jahan, Jahangir, and even Nur Jahan appreciated the Mandu very much and enjoyed the charm and beauty of its scenery.

List of Important Kings of Malwa

Mandu in 6th Century – An inscription discovered from Talanpur in Dhar district, which is dated 555 AD (612 Vikram Sambat) and it states that a merchant named Chandra Simha installed a statue in a temple, located in “Mandapa Durga”. It’s believed that the origin of the Sanskrit name Mandapa Durga derived from Prakrit (one of the many Middle Indo Aryan Languages ) and its vernacular equivalent is Mandava. Even now, this place is called Mandava by the locals of the region. It’s further believed, that the name Mandu has been derived from the corruption of Mandava. Persian histories of the Medieval period also mention Mandava. According to Persian historian Firishta, the early fort of Mandu was built by Anand Deo Rajput of the tribe of Beis in 6th – 7th Century AD. Unfortunately, no trace of the structure survives.

Mandu in 10th Century & Paramaras – According to another inscription 946 AD (1003 Vikram Sambat) discovered from Pratapgadh, Rajasthan, states that Prince Madhava was then a great governor and his Commander-in-Chief Sri-Sarman was taken care of the state at Mandapika, that is Mandu. It seems a part of the fortification was built during the 10th century. But In between 6th century and 9th Century, we hear nothing about this fort. Paramaras rose to power in Malwa region on the verge of the 10th century and during that period this place raising it to an independent kingdom. They first set up their capital at Ujjain and later at Dhar. Malwas attained its height of power, especially under the Kings Munja and Bhoja. Munja-Talao or tank which is within the Royal enclave was made to commemorate King Munja. During the reign of King Bhoja, Mandu was enriched culturally and educationally. An image of Saraswati or Vagdebi has found in Mandu, which was a favorite deity of King Bhoja.

Lohani Cave in Mandu, Madhya Pradesh, India Lohani Cave in Mandu, Madhya Pradesh, India

Mandu in 11th to 13th Century – An inscription discovered which is dated 1068 AD (1125 Vikram Sambat) refers to Sri-Bhattaraka-Devendra-Deva, a chief under the Paramara King Udayaditya. It’s likely to be that the Lohani caves were excavated and also Saiva temples were built within the proximity of Mandu or other parts of the hill during that time. Another inscription found in the Fort, which states a long hymn of Lord Vishnu composed by Bilhana. He was the Minister of war under the Paramara King Vindhyavarman, who ruled Malwa at the end of 12th century. During the rule of King Arjunavarman (1210-1218 AD) many temples were erected in the fort under the patronage of Sallekhana, who was the chief in the court of King.

Lohani Cave in Mandu, Madhya Pradesh, India Lohani Cave in Mandu, Madhya Pradesh, India

First Muslim ruler to have invaded to Malwa region was Shamsu’d-Din-Iltutmish in 1227 AD and he captured Bhilsa and Ujjain, that time the Paramara King was Devapala. Devapala concluded a treaty and Mandu was left untouched. Paramaras continued to rule Mandu but with as a weakened and shattered power. Jayavarman ruled Mandu from 1256 – 1261 AD. He was succeeded by Jayasimha II who subsequently was defeated and killed in a battle by King Chahamana in 1269 AD. In 1283, Bhoja II came into the power of Malwa and during his time, Jalaluddin Khalji invaded to Malwa in 1293AD and devastated it. Although, Mandu remained under Hindu rulers until 1305 AD.

Mandu in 14th CenturyAlauddin Khilji captured Malwa in 1305 AD and with the help of a spy Ayn al-Mulk Multani, who was later appointed as the Governor of Malwa. He secured the access to the fort through a secret route and killed Mahlak Deo. This was when the Hindu kingdom of Malwa was dissolved and the entire region was captured by the Muslim ruler. This was the start of an era, where Hindu and Jain temples of the 10th to 12th century were converted into Mosques. Mosques were erected with the remains of the temples in the hill.

Mandu in 15th Century -During the rule of Muhammad-Bin-Tughluq, Dilawar Khan Ghuri was the Governor of Malwa. In 1401 AD, Dilwara Khan declared himself as an independent ruler of Malwa and kept Dhar as capital. He died in 1405 AD and his son Alp Khan (Hoshang Shah) ascended the throne. He shifted the capital from Dhar to Mandu and he ruled for 27 years. During his period the fortification of Mandu was improved. He showed great taste in architecture. He erected many monuments, palaces, and mosques during his reign. Hoshang Shah died in 1435 AD and his son Ghazani Khan ascended his father’s throne. Ghazani Khan (Mahmud Shah) was poisoned by his own confidante Mahmud Khan and he died in 1436 AD.

Tomb of Hoshang Shah in Mandu, Madhya Pradesh, India Tomb of Hoshang Shah in Mandu, Madhya Pradesh, India

This was the end of Ghuri dynasty and Mahmud I became the first Khaji ruler of Mandu. His spirit and passion for wars was much like that of Hoshang Shah. He fought against the rulers of Gujarat, Deccan, Juanpur and even against the Sultan of Delhi. He was always engaged in Military expeditions, with such a spirit, the kingdom of Malwa reached its widest territorial limits. He commemorates his victories over the Rana of Mewar, by erecting a seven storeyed tower and also erected some magnificent structures like his own tomb, Ashrafi Mahal etc. He died in 1469 AD and his eldest son Ghiyasuddin became the ruler. He was a peaceful and religious king. He had a huge addiction for women and never showed interest to engage himself in war. He ruled for 31 years and died in 1500 AD at the age of 80. It is said that he has been poisoned by his son Nasiruddin.

Rani Rupmati Pavilion in Mandu, Madhya Pradesh, India Rani Rupmati Pavilion in Mandu, Madhya Pradesh, India

Mandu in 16th CenturyNasiruddin ascended father’s throne in 1501 AD (Not properly referenced, some documents says 1500 AD, some 1501 AD). He was mostly occupied with domestic feuds and unhappily ruled his kingdom for 10 years. After him, his third son Mahmud II ascended the throne. He was also fond of erecting palaces and during his rule, he built a place near Rewa-Kund, which was later known as Baz Bahadur Palace. Important monuments like Gada Shah’s shop, Gada Shah’s Palace and Darya Khan tomb were erected in his reign. Also, engaged with domestic feuds like his father.Bahadur Shah invaded Malwa in 1526 AD and successfully captured the entire region on 28 March 1531. Humayun had two major rivals and one of them was Bahadur Shah of Gujarat. Humayun attacked and conquered Mandu in 1534 AD. As soon as Humayun left Malwa, Mallu Khan assuming the title of Qadir Shah formed the dynasty in 1536 AD.

Gada Shah’s Shop in Mandu, Madhya Pradesh, India IMG_1142

In 1542 AD Shah Jahan conquered Malwa and appointed Sujjat Khan as governor. He ruled Malwa as an independent ruler and he died in 1554 AD. Afer him, his son Malik Bayazid declared himself as a ruler and ascended his father’s throne with his regal name Baz Bahadur. He was fond of Music and his love for Rupmati distracted him from royal responsibilities. In 1561 AD, Adham Khan, general of Akhbar invaded Malwa and Baz Bahadur fled from the battle. They were about to take Rani Rupmati as a prisoner and instead of falling in their hands, she chooses to commit suicide. The love story of Baz Bahadur and Rani Rupmati is a popular theme in the folklore of Malwa and inseparable from this fort. Mandu lost its importance and glory under the Mughals. But, it was under Mughals, till Aurangzeb’s reign, until captured by the Marathas in 1732 AD by Peshwa Baji Rao.

Delhi Gate in Mandu, Madhya Pradesh, India Hathi Pol Gate in Mandu, Madhya Pradesh, India

Rainwater Harvesting System

As I have mentioned earlier, how Architects and the Kings used this place as an experimental canvas for Architecture. Apart from erecting grandeur buildings and monuments, they used the place so technically for rainwater harvesting. The most astonishing fact is, how they made it possible, a few centuries ago. The fort is situated around 635m above the sea level and had no access to ground water. So, they had to be dependent on rainwater. It was a need to develop a system to preserve and proper utilization of rainwater. If we pick up, Jahaz Mahal as an example, we can notice, a beautiful system for storing rainwater. Not only have a provision for harvesting the rainwater but it also provided a cooling system to the entire palace. There are two ponds on the both the sides of the palace named Munj Talao and Kapur Talao. Breeze and evaporation from these two water bodies cooled down the entire building. Basically, the entire fort area had been used scientifically for the storage of rainwater. There are many Baodi, Talao, for the purpose of storing rainwater and there was a system for filtering the rainwater. Almost all the buildings have its own system for preserving rainwater. I think. Mandu is the perfect example of Rainwater Rarvesting.

Interior of Hamam in Mandu, Madhya Pradesh, India

The archaeological sites of Mandu classified into five groups
A) Central Group
B) Royal Group
C) Rewa Kund Group
D) Darya Khan’s Tomb Group
E) Sagar Talao Group

Apart from these major groups, there are other scattered sites all over the Mandu. There are also several gateways leading to the fortified of Mandu.
F) Other sites or Monuments.

List of Monuments according to Group. I will cover individual group including monuments in separate blog posts.

A) Central Group (Group near the Village of Mandu)
1) Asharfi Mahal
2) Jami Masjid
3) Tomb of Hoshang Shah
4) Tomb of Mahmud Khilji
5) Boria Mahal

B) Royal Group
1) Hindola Mahal
2) Jahaj Mahal
3) Munj Talao
4) Kapoor Talao and the Ruins on it’s Bank
5) Jal Mahal
6) Royal Palace and Champa Baodi
7) Taveli Mahal
8) Nahar Jharoka – Tiger Balcony
9) Dilwara Khan’s Mosque
10) Hathi Pol
11) Gada Shah’s Shop and House
12) Adheri Bawdi
13) Ujawala Bawdi

C) Rewa Kund Group
1) Rani Roopmati Pavilion
2) Baz Bahadur’s Palace
3) Rewa Kund

D) Darya Khan’s Tomb Group
1) Darya Khan’s Tomb
a) Darya Khan’s Tomb
b) Lal Sarai
c) Darya Khan’s Mosque
d) Somvati Kund
e) Kharbuja Mahal
2) Hathi Paga Mahal or Elephant’s leg Palace
3) Roja Ka Makbara

E) Sagar Talao Group
1) Dai ka Mahal
2) Dai ki Chhoti Bahin ka Mahal
3) Malik Mughith’s Mosque
4) Caravan Sarai
5) Jali Mahal (situated on the top of a small mound)
6) Unknown Tomb

F) Other sites or Monuments
1) Lohani Caves and Temple Ruins
2) Delhi Gate
3) Chappan Mahal
4) Nil Kanth Palace
5) Chisti Khan’s Palace

Download Map

Mandu is a huge city, so it’s understandable how the monuments are scattered in the large area. So, One can see Mandu in a day or two or it could happen that not get enough of it in a week. To extract the essence, the place demand time. Where you should sit and think and can attain a sense of Inner Peace. A place with so much of magnetism, demands a retrospect of the history of the place itself.
I know, I couldn’t spend enough time due to the limitation of time, but I will surely visit Mandu in future.

Sagar Talao in Mandu, Madhya Pradesh, India Asharfi Mahal in Mandu, Madhya Pradesh, India Hindola Mahal in Mandu, Madhya Pradesh, India Asharfi Mahal in Mandu, Madhya Pradesh, India

When to go: Winter and Rainy season. In winter it will be easy for you to explore the place and in the rainy season, the lush greenery will give you eye-popping visual delight. Summer would be pathetic.

Getting there: The nearest railway station and airport are at Indore. Which is around 95 km from Mandu. You have to hire a car from Indore or get there by direct bus. If you are on tight budget, from Indore there are two direct buses to Mandu, the first from Gangwal Bus Stand and second from Sarawate Bus Stand. The journey would take around 4/5 hours. Also, you can opt for break journey by bus. There are regular bus service from Indore to Dhar and take another bus from Dhar for Mandu.

Where to stay: Malwa Retreat and Malwa Resort, which are run by the MP Tourism Department and MP Tourism had arranged our stay there. You can also opt for dorm bed at these hotels. However, there are a lot of other hotel options available in Mandu to suit different budgets.
Malwa Resort – Tel (07292) – 263235,
Email:- mresortm@mptourism.com
Malwa Retreat – Tel (07292) – 263221,
Email:- mretreatm@mptourism.com

Eat and Drink:
a) Baobab juice – The baobab tree, mainly found in Africa. It’s other species also found in Arabian Peninsula, and Australia. Baobab tree found plenty in Mandu. The juice made from its fruits is really a must try. Locally it’s known as “Mandu ke Imli”. Do not buy Baobab fruit for your home but you can buy baobab powder that made from the flesh of the baobab fruit. It’s comes 25/30 Rupees per glass.
b) Dal-Paniya and Dal-Bafla – These are two most famous delicacies of Malwa region.

Getting around:
1) Guides: Abhijit Dhar of MP Tourism had provided us a guide for our tour. Although, guides are available for whole sightseeing and also available in the major locations, on the spot. But I would suggest, request for a guide from MP Tourism Dept.
2) Walk: Walk, Walk and Walk there is no alternative way to explore the sites of Mandu. Have to be covered by foot.
3) Bicycle: Can be hired to visit on the cost of 400/500 Rupees per day.
4) Car: You can hire a car, that would come around 3000/3500 and this is easiest and quickest way to visit.

Booking
Madhya Pradesh State Tourism Development Corporation (MPSTDC)
“Chitrakoot” Building
230-A, A.J.C.Bose Road
Room No – 67, 6th Floor
Kolkata – 700020
Phone No – 033-22875855/ 033-22833526

For Booking Information
http://www.mptourism.com
http://www.jalmahotsav.com

Note – My trip to Mandu was a part of a FAM or Familiarization tour.

Special Thanks
Abhijit Dhar, Madhya Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation, Kolkata.
Sumit Surai my fellow FAM participant and friend.
Bodhisatwa Chakraborty, Madhya Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation, Kolkata.
Transport and Support Stuff from MPTDC of Indore and Bhopal Circle.
Mr. Amitava Sengupta – For the edits.

References
1) Mandu – ASI
2) Mandu – A research by Dr. Pushpesh Pant
3) Dhar and Mandu – A Sketch for the Site-Seer By C.E.Luard
4) Dhara Theke Mandu – Debabrata Mukhapadhya
5) Dhar and Mandu – Bombay Subaltern
6) Mandu – A City of Joy by G.Yazdani
7) Imperial Gazetteer of India By James Sutherland Cotton, Sir Richard Burn, Sir William Stevenson Meyer


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you can share this post subjects to the conditions that please give due credit to Author Indrajit Das and do not alter before sharing. Request do not Plagiarize.

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Jal Mahotsav : A Cocktail of Adventure and Luxurious Comfort

Jal Mahotsav in Hanuwantiya Tourist Complex in Khandwa, Madhya Pradesh.

Jal Mahotsav“, Carnival of Water an excellent initiative of Madhya Pradesh State Tourism Development Corporation (MPSTDC) to stretching the horizon of tourism in Madhya Pradesh. This festival has been organized in Hanuwantiya, which is situated on the bank of Indira Sagar Dam and this is the second edition of it. Madhya Pradesh Tourism has developed the Hanuwantiya Tourist Complex and other nearby River Islands for preferred Sports Tourism Destination. This 30 days program is still going on in “Hanuwantiya Tourist Complex” in Khandwa District.

The most interesting part of it, the MP tourism designed “Jal Mahotsav” so well, that will attract tourists from any age group because there are loads of activities specially designed for different age group. This mega event can be a paradise for the young couple, honeymoon couple, friends, parents, kids, adventure lovers, and nature lovers. Even this place would be the best for business summits and organizing marriage party. Madhya Pradesh is attracting tourists across the globe with it’s Heritage, Culture, Handicrafts, Wildlife, Leisure and destinations like Bandhavgarh, Pachmarhi, Kanha, Gwalior, Khajuraho, Baghcave, Bhimbhetka, Sanchi, Omkareshwar, Jabalpur extremely popular among other. But Jal Mahotsav providing a different dimension for Water, Land and Air Adventures to Cruise and River Island Tourism in a single Eco-friendly area.

Let’s start the virtual journey.

Jal Mahotsav - Aerial View of Tents in Hanuwantiya, Khandwa, Madhyapradesh, India.

Hanuwantiya Tourist Complex
Hanuwantiya Tourist Complex situated at the bank of Indira Sagar consists of tourist cottages, amusement park, water activity station.

Hanuwantiya Tourist Complex

Hanuwantiya Tourist Complex

Houseboat and Cruising

Jal Mahotsav - Houseboat and Cruising in Hanuwantiya, Khandwa, Madhyapradesh, India.

Jal Mahotsav - Houseboat and Cruising in Hanuwantiya, Khandwa, Madhyapradesh, India.

Entry – INR 10
Booking – Contact MPTDC for booking cottage inside the complex. See the end of this post for booking information.

Luxury Tents
Luxury tents for accommodation are available in the Jal Mahotsav complex. Also contained conference tent and dinning tents.

Jal Mahotsav - Luxurios Tents in Hanuwantiya, Khandwa, Madhyapradesh, India.

Jal Mahotsav - Interiors of Luxurios Tent in Hanuwantiya, Khandwa, Madhyapradesh, India.

Jal Mahotsav - Interiors of Luxurios Tent in Hanuwantiya, Khandwa, Madhyapradesh, India.

Jal Mahotsav - Aerial View of Tents in Hanuwantiya, Khandwa, Madhyapradesh, India.

Jal Mahotsav - Luxurios Tents in Hanuwantiya, Khandwa, Madhyapradesh, India.

Glimpses of Activities

Air Activities

Jal Mahotsav - Para Motors in Hanuwantiya, Khandwa, Madhyapradesh, India.

Jal Mahotsav - Hot Air Baloon in Hanuwantiya, Khandwa, Madhyapradesh, India.

Water Activities

Jal Mahotsav - Jet Ski in Hanuwantiya, Khandwa, Madhyapradesh, India.

Jal Mahotsav - Jet Ski in Hanuwantiya, Khandwa, Madhyapradesh, India.

Jal Mahotsav - Water Boat in Hanuwantiya, Khandwa, Madhyapradesh, India.

Artificial Climbing
Jal Mahotsav - Artificial Climbing in Hanuwantiya, Khandwa, Madhyapradesh, India.

Night Activities – Cultural Programs
Jal Mahotsav - Night Activities Cultural Program in Hanuwantiya, Khandwa, Madhyapradesh, India.

Jal Mahotsav - Night Activities Cultural Program in Hanuwantiya, Khandwa, Madhyapradesh, India.

Jal Mahotsav - Stage for Cultural Program in Hanuwantiya, Khandwa, Madhyapradesh, India.

Facilities
Jal Mahotsav - Cycles in Hanuwantiya, Khandwa, Madhyapradesh, India.

Jal Mahotsav - Golf Cart in Hanuwantiya, Khandwa, Madhyapradesh, India.

Food Park
Jal Mahotsav - Food Park in Hanuwantiya, Khandwa, Madhyapradesh, India.

Jal Mahotsav - Food Park in Hanuwantiya, Khandwa, Madhyapradesh, India.

Jal Mahotsav - Food Park in Hanuwantiya, Khandwa, Madhyapradesh, India.

Jal Mahotsav - Food Park in Hanuwantiya, Khandwa, Madhyapradesh, India.

Jal Mahotsav - Food Park in Hanuwantiya, Khandwa, Madhyapradesh, India.Jal Mahotsav - Food Park in Hanuwantiya, Khandwa, Madhyapradesh, India.

Craft Market
Jal Mahotsav - Craft Market in Hanuwantiya, Khandwa, Madhyapradesh, India.

Jal Mahotsav - Craft Market in Hanuwantiya, Khandwa, Madhyapradesh, India.

Jal Mahotsav - Craft Market in Hanuwantiya, Khandwa, Madhyapradesh, India.

Jal Mahotsav - Craft Market in Hanuwantiya, Khandwa, Madhyapradesh, India.

Jal Mahotsav - Craft Market in Hanuwantiya, Khandwa, Madhyapradesh, India.

Bullock Cart Ride
Jal Mahotsav - Bullock Cart Ride in Hanuwantiya, Khandwa, Madhyapradesh, India.

Spa
Jal Mahotsav - Salon Spa in Hanuwantiya, Khandwa, Madhyapradesh, India.

Jal Mahotsav Date
15 th Dec 2016 to 15th Jan 2017

How to Reach Hanuwantiya
Airport – Nearest Airport is Indore (130KM), Bhopal (330KM)
Rail-head – Nearest Railway station is Khandwa (45KM) and Indore (130KM)
Road – Indore via Mundi to Hanuwantiya is 130KM and Bhopal via Khandwa is 280KM.

Packages and Rent of Tent
Jal Mahotsav - Packages and Rent of Tent in Hanuwantiya, Khandwa, Madhyapradesh, India.

Rate List of Adventure Sports
Jal Mahotsav - Rate List of Adventure activities of Tent in Hanuwantiya, Khandwa, Madhyapradesh, India.

Cashless Mahotsav
Don’t think about paying in cash. Jal Mahotsav can be enjoyed cashless, use “Jal Mahotsav’s” cash card.

Jal Mahotsav - Cash Card for Cashless in Hanuwantiya, Khandwa, Madhyapradesh, India.

Booking
Madhya Pradesh State Tourism Development Corporation (MPSTDC)
“Chitrakoot” Building
230-A, A.J.C.Bose Road
Room No – 67, 6th Floor
Kolkata – 700020
Phone No – 033-22875855/ 033-22833526

For Booking Information
http://www.mptourism.com
http://www.jalmahotsav.com

Note – My trip to Jal Mahotsav was a part of a FAM or Familiarization tour.

Special Thanks
Abhijit Dhar, Madhya Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation, Kolkata.
Sumit Surai my fellow FAM participant and friend.
Bodhisatwa Chakraborty, Madhya Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation, Kolkata.
Transport and Support Stuff from MPTDC of Indore and Bhopal Circle deployed for Jal Mahotsav.

Copyright © BongBlogger
you can share this post subjects to the conditions that please give due credit to Author Indrajit Das and do not alter before sharing. Request do not Plagiarize.

If you found your photographs here and have issues with that please E-mail me with your requests, I will remove your photographs from public domain.

West Bengal Wiki Community’s Participation in Wikipedia Loves Monuments Project

Wikipedia Loves Monuments 2016

Wikipedia Loves Monuments 2016 in West Bengal Community
Wikipedia Loves Monuments” one month long photography contest cum Photo drive has been organized by Wikipedia in the month of September 2016, internationally, to photograph those monuments world wide whose photos are not present in the Wiki repository. Like other countries, Wikipedia India Chapter also took part in this grand project. Wikipedian Santanu Chandra informed us about WLM project in a monthly meeting of Wikipedia WB community and unanimously agreed upon to participate in this grand event.

The main focus of the project was to photographed those monuments, whose photos are not present in the Wikipedia repository and also to encourage for creating new articles from captured photographs. In community meeting it has been decided, Sumit Surai would select the place and as well as prepare the list of monuments of that place to be photographed for WLM. In the process of selection, he would have to consider those monuments whose photos are not present in Wiki’s ‘List of Monuments of National Importance in West Bengal’ and as well in the ‘List of State Protected Monuments in West Bengal’. On the next Wikipedia meeting, he placed his proposal for the monuments of Burdwan and Ambika Kalna along with a detailed itinerary. Initially, we decided to visit there with a large group of Wikipedian photographers but unfortunately due to some internal technical issues we had to postponed the plan. Finally, a small group has been formed consists of five person including me and the date of journey was finalized as on 24th September 2016 for WLM.

Day 1
Just one day before the journey, I informed Sumit about my eye infection and told him that I might not join them. But he insisted and as usual I got convinced. On early morning of 24th I reached Howrah by 6:45am and Sumit joined me after few minutes. Both of us waiting for Santanu Da, Sujay and Kalyan and by that time I started photographing the surrounding areas of Howrah station. They reached Howrah in time and joined us. Although, I, Kalyan, Sumit, Santanu Da and Sujay finally boarded a local train at 8am for Ambika Kalna. We reached there around 10am and according to our plan we went to Raj Bari temple Complex at first. In the afternoon, a new Wikipedian from Burdwan Prithwish Jash joined us. During the day, rain and low light every so often spoiled some of our plans. Although, we managed to take photograph of almost all major temples in Kalna. It was also in our agenda to capture maximum number of Terracotta panels of every individual temple. Finally, we have succeeded to some extent to capture maximum number of Terracotta panels with limited resources and time. Here is the list of temples, we photographed on the first day.

Rameswar Temple
Rameswar Temple - During Wiki Loves Monuments 2016, Kalna, West Bengal India
Lalji Temple
Lalji Temple - During Wiki Loves Monuments 2016, Kalna, West Bengal India
Krishna Chandraji Temple
Krishna Chandraji Temple - During Wiki Loves Monuments 2016, Kalna, West Bengal India
Girigobordhon
Girigobordhon - During Wiki Loves Monuments 2016, Kalna, West Bengal India
Pancharatna Temple
Pancharatna Temple - During Wiki Loves Monuments 2016, Kalna, West Bengal India
Rashmancha
Rashmancha - During Wiki Loves Monuments 2016, Kalna, West Bengal India
Ratneswar Temple
Ratneswar Temple - During Wiki Loves Monuments 2016, Kalna, West Bengal India
Rupeswar Temple
Rupeswar Temple - During Wiki Loves Monuments 2016, Kalna, West Bengal India
Jaleswar Temple
Jaleswar Temple - During Wiki Loves Monuments 2016, Kalna, West Bengal India
Pratapeswar Siva Temple
Pratapeswar Siva Temple - During Wiki Loves Monuments 2016, Kalna, West Bengal India

Stretching Horizon – Wiki Outreach
I and Sumit, always keep in mind to do some offline work for Wikipedia that may not bring instant or immediate result but somehow will help in future. That’s why both of us were in search for information of lesser known heritages of the district Burdwan. Also, in search for new involvement or contributors from local scholars. In between, Sumit collected the phone number of a local Historian Sidheswar Achariyya. At the late evening of that day I called him for fixing up a meeting with him. Initially, he refused to meet us because he was suffering due to old age issues. Fortunately, I managed to convince him and fixed a meeting with him on the next day at 9am at his residence. He is working with the history of Burdwan district especially Kalna over a long period of time and also one of the founder member of Kalna Mahakuma Itihas O Puratattwa Charcha Kendra. He wrote many books on the history of Kalna. It was in my mind that he would be a helpful source for future for developing existing and creating new unique articles for Bengali Wikipedia.

Day 2
All woke by 6am and left the guest house early to photograph Nava-Kailasha Temple. We spend some time there and went to Gopalji Temple. We had fixed a meeting with Sidheswar Achariyya and accordingly went to his place after Gopalji Temple. In between, a small incident happened just after we left Gopalji Temple and on the way to Sidheswar Achariyya’s house. Basically, my presence is enough for …………. and disaster is inevitable. Quite naturally I made a disaster that day. We hired a Toto (Toto is a 3 wheeler battery operated vehicle) and suddenly, a wish was popup in my mind to drive the Toto. Initial 1 or 2 minutes of driving was okay but suddenly I loose control over the vehicle. Even the driver could not control the vehicle as well and we hit the wall of a house. This has broken the front wheel axle of the Toto and also damaged the main water supply pipeline of the house. Although, managed well and I had to pay an amount from my personal account for the sin. This incident made me serious for the time being. Now, I would love to tell, I am not really very sorry or ashamed what I have done that day because this incident made our tour memorable. Even I have named the incident as “Bordhomane Barabari” or “Kalnai Kelo”.

Glimpses of Meeting
WLM Team with Sidheswar Achariyya - During Wiki Loves Monuments 2016, Kalna, West Bengal India
Sidheswar Achariyya
Biswajit Gain - During Wiki Loves Monuments 2016, Kalna, West Bengal India

Nava-Kailasha Temple
Nava-Kailasha Temple - During Wiki Loves Monuments 2016, Kalna, West Bengal India
Gopalji Temple
Gopalji Temple - During Wiki Loves Monuments 2016, Kalna, West Bengal India
Sidheswari Kalibari
Sidheswari Temple - During Wiki Loves Monuments 2016, Kalna, West Bengal India

We reached at his residence in time and he gladly welcomed us. I started the discussion with a introduction of WLM project to him and also discussed about the heritages of the district. We learned some historical facts about Kalna from him that was really new to us. Here would like to mention, everybody attended the meeting except Kalyan. When we came out from his house, discovered Kalyan was taking a nap outside his house. Although, we purchased some of his books from him and he suggested us to meet Biswajit Gain, a local photographer and historian. Achariyya Ji fixed a meeting in between Biswajit Gain and us at the guest house where we stayed. The meeting was fruitful in perspective of outreach. We went back to our guest house to meet Biswajit Gain. Meeting with Biswajit Gain was also came out very fruitful as he showed interest to contribute and interested in workshop at Kalna.

Two Ancient Temples (joined together)
Two ancient temples (joined together) - During Wiki Loves Monuments 2016, Baidyapur, West Bengal India
Panchratna Brick Temple
Panchratna brick temple - During Wiki Loves Monuments 2016, Baidyapur, West Bengal India

After the small break for refreshment we went to Baidyapur to photograph one state and one National protected monuments. Baidyapur which is situated 16 Km away from Kalna. Other than these two there were many ancient temples which were not in our list. Still, covered most of the temples for creating future articles and for documentation purpose. Around 3Pm we closed the chapter of Baidyapur and reached to nearby bus stand to go to Burdwan via Bainchi. There were no frequent bus service for Bainchi and we had to wait there. After waiting for half an hour discovered a overcrowded bus and there were absolutely no place inside the bus. Four of us except Sumit, climb up the roof of the bus and settled ourselves. Sumit forcefully boarded inside the bus and we went to Bainchi. Then we had plan to go to Burdwan from Bainchi and other two places. But it was completely impractical matter to cover all those places in two days. It was drizzling when we reached to Bainchi station and condition of sun light was too poor. So, we took the decision to postponed our Burdwan Plan and end the WLM tour. Boarded a local train from Baichi for Kolkata.

Unforgettable Frames
Indrajit and Sujay - During Wiki Loves Monuments 2016, Kalna, West Bengal India
Group Photo - During Wiki Loves Monuments 2016, Kalna, West Bengal India
WLM Team - During Wiki Loves Monuments 2016, Kalna, West Bengal India
Sumit and Sujay - During Wiki Loves Monuments 2016, Kalna, West Bengal India
Sujay and Santanu Da - During Wiki Loves Monuments 2016, Kalna, West Bengal India
Sujay - During Wiki Loves Monuments 2016, Kalna, West Bengal India

Contribution of Bengali Wikipedians from WB Community for WLM 2016
(Click on the Name to see the individual Contribution)

Indrajit Das
Sumit Surai
Sujay Chandra
Prithwish Jash
Santanu Chandra
Rangan Datta
Biswarup Ganguly
Amitava Sengupta
Arup Chowdhuri

Note – Please carry enough food otherwise it will be difficult for someone to locate a good place for eating. Also keep in mind there are only 3/4 hotels for accommodation.

Special Thanks
Wikipedia West Bengal Community for the trip.
Sumit, Santanu Da, Kalyan, Sujay and Prithwish for tolerate me.
Sidheswar Achariyya and Biswajit Gain.
Shibo Ramokrishna Lodge

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Kashmir Diary: Tomb of the Mother of Akbar of Kashmir, Zain-Ul-Abidin

Tomb of the Mother of Zain-ul-Abidin in Mazar-I-Salateen in Srinagar, Jammu & Kashmir, India

Tomb of the Mother of Zain-ul-Abidin in Mazar-I-Salateen in Srinagar, Jammu & Kashmir, India

I faced so much of issues rather harassed during my Srinagar tour because I visited those places surrounded with so much of controversies. I didn’t face any such issues in this place, the way I harassed in Roza Bal or during the visit to Pathar Masjid and some other places in Kashmir. However, I went there twice. First time, I went there with a separate set of ideas about the place. My thought process and perspective about this place changed after the visit to the Temples of Awantipora. So, I went there one more time to clear some doubts. Soon after the second visit, I understood this place was also a controversial place. But fortunately, I didn’t face any resistance or harassed. Either locals had no idea about the controversy or I was fortunate enough.

I have visited a place called, Mazar-I-Salateen, a graveyard in Srinagar. The tomb of Empress Miran (Jonaraja’s Meradevi), the mother of Budshah Zain-Ul-Abidin is there, known to all as Budshah’s tomb, located in the fussy lanes of Shahr-e-Khaas near Old Zaina Kadal area of Srinagar. I have never seen such a magnificent tomb before and this monument looks more as a mosque instead of a tomb.

Mazar-I-Salateen Islamic Graveyard in Srinagar, Jammu & Kashmir, India Tomb of the Mother of Zain-Ul-Abidin in Mazar-I-Salateen, Srinagar, Jammu & Kashmir, India

Mazaar-I-Salateen
The mausoleum is a bulbous brick masonry structure decorated with blue tiles, built in 15th century (1465 AD) by Zain-Ul-Abidin. The structure is influenced by Persian architecture, which is quite similar to the architecture found in Central Asia. I am no one to comment about the architecture, still, I found it very unusual in South Asian architecture. The main tomb chamber is domed shaped and flanked by four auxiliary domed rooms. There are two entrances for the graveyard, one is little far from this grand tomb and is a normal iron gate. The other one is just next to the tomb and interestingly the architecture is quite similar to the tomb. The boundary wall is also made of stone, similar, I have witnessed in Awantipora temples.

Tomb of the Mother of Zain-Ul-Abidin in Mazar-I-Salateen, Srinagar, Jammu & Kashmir, India Tomb of the Mother of Zain-Ul-Abidin in Mazar-I-Salateen, Srinagar, Jammu & Kashmir, India Tomb of the Mother of Zain-Ul-Abidin in Mazar-I-Salateen, Srinagar, Jammu & Kashmir, India Tomb of the Mother of Zain-Ul-Abidin in Mazar-I-Salateen, Srinagar, Jammu & Kashmir, India

After my visit to Awantipora, couldn’t sleep that night and I spent the whole night with referring books and searching the net extensively. Next day early morning, I went to the cemetery for one more time. I noticed, (may be) the tomb was erected on the basement of an ancient Hindu temple. The layer of bricks and the basement made of stone has followed completely two different architectures. Even, the entrance attached to the tomb and the boundary wall were also a part (My interpretation, Not sure) of the ancient Hindu temple. Although, the temples architecture of Awantipora influenced by Gandhara School of art (The Gandhara School of art developed and patronized during the reign of Emperor Kanishka in the first century AD. This art was primarily Mahayana and influenced by Greco-Roman.) and same I have noticed on the basement of the tomb. The main gate of the tomb was closed during my visit. But on the second time, I peeped through the main door and saw an iron chain hangs in the central dome. What is the significance of the iron chain in an Islamic monument? Seriously, I have no idea. Similarities between the Awantipora temples and the basement of the tomb, boundary wall and the entrance of the cemetery, importantly the chain made me confused. Please don’t think that my intention is to provoke controversy.

Tomb of the Mother of Zain-Ul-Abidin in Mazar-I-Salateen, Srinagar, Jammu & Kashmir, India Mazar-I-Salateen Islamic Graveyard in Srinagar, Jammu & Kashmir, India Tomb of the Mother of Zain-Ul-Abidin in Mazar-I-Salateen, Srinagar, Jammu & Kashmir, India

Here I would like to mention some historical facts. Zain-Ul-Abidin or Ghiyas-ud-Din Zain-ul-Abidin (1418–1419 and 1420–1470) ruled Kashmir for fifty years and before him Sultan Sikandar Bhutshikan (1389 -1413 AD) was the ruler. Zain-Ul-Abidin, the eighth Sultan of Kashmir, was known for his liberal religious policy, promoted learning, interests in art, architecture and he promoted Sanskrit, Persian and Arabic languages in Kashmir. He withdraws all the orders issued by Sultan Sikandar Bhutshikan. He appointed Hindus to high posts and also abolished Jizya. He was the first man who forbade cow slaughter in Kashmir. People of Kashmir still remember him as Akbar of Kashmir. But during the reign of Sultan Sikandar Bhutshikan, stone temples of Hindu in Kashmir suffered destruction, some were modified and some converted into mosques. On the other hand, wooden temples suffered natural decay or were converted into tombs or mosques. It is understandable, what was the situation of Hindus during his rule.

The tomb adjoins a small graveyard, containing royal graves, including Sultan Zain-Ul-Abidin’s grave, and his wives and children. The grave of famous the Tartar invader Mirza Haidar Dughlat, the cousin of Babar is there. Many important persons were buried in this cemetery. But unfortunately, I couldn’t locate those graves as all tombstones were written, either in Persian or in Arabic languages.

Mazar-I-Salateen Islamic Graveyard in Srinagar, Jammu & Kashmir, India

I want to share something with you all. I read books or some articles on the same but suddenly I noticed that nobody mentioned the name of Zain-Ul-Abidin’s mother in their Articles/Books. I thought, I have skipped her name and go through one more time, but no, no nobody mentioned her name. Again I started searching for her name and was completely frustrated. I searched in Wikipedia and found a step ahead information. They referred this tomb as a tomb of Budshah Zain-Ul-Abidin and even they didn’t mention her name. I intimated the same to Wiki with proper references and they rectified it. Searching for over two months, finally, I learned the name from a book written by P. Pal. One more thing, during my visit to this place, I was also in search for a house called “Bamzai” or “Bamjai”, it is said that Rabindranath Tagore stayed in this house during his visit to Kashmir in 1915. I have tried so much to locate the house but couldn’t.

References

  1. “Jammu and Kashmir Guide” by M. Saraf
  2. “Arts of Kashmir” by P. Pal
  3. “Archeological Monuments” by A. Iqbal.
  4. “Temple Architecture of the Kashmir”
  5. “The Shrines and Temples in Kashmir” by K. L Butt
  6. “Hindu-Buddhist Sculpture of Ancient Kashmir”

 

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Kashmir Diary: Story of A Desecrate Mosque – Pathar Masjid

Pathar Masjid in Srinagar, Jammu & Kashmir, India

Pathar Masjid in Srinagar - Jammu & Kashmir, India

After so much of drama at Roza Bal, I was tensed but not scared. Also, I got an overall idea about the place and thereafter planned my trip accordingly. That day I reached the bank of Jhelum and standing on a small bridge on the River. On my left was Khanqah Shahi Hamadan and on the right was Pathar Masjid. I deeply felt as if I am Robert Kincaid but It was an another mistake. Robert went there in a beautiful place called Madison and I was standing in a beautiful but controversial place called Srinagar. A beautiful lady didn’t come out but a group of locals gathered behind me. Before I could understand anything they snatched my camera. My dream to be like Robert was shattered and I came into the reality. This was for the second time I got into trouble. Although, It was a separate episode.

Pathar Masjid in Srinagar, Jammu & Kashmir, India Pathar Masjid in Srinagar, Jammu & Kashmir, India//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Somehow I managed the situation and reached Pathar Masjid. But I couldn’t find the entrance of the mosque. The outer wall of the mosque was surrounded by shops and was closed during that time. The entire locality was also completely empty. I started loosing my confidence and felt lonely. The Old Zaina Kadal police station was just opposite side of the mosque and I went there to know the location of the entrance of the mosque. Basically, I was in search for some mental support. I found an Indian Military outpost in front of the police station. A tall and handsome Military came out from the bunker. We exchanged smiles and after that, I started gaining confidence. I asked him about the entrance and also the reason for the curfew-like situation. Then I learned from him that the situation of the valley is not well and he suggested me not to roam in the remote areas.

The mosque was not very impressive from the outside. But I was eager to see the mosque as because It was built by Mughal Empress Nur Jahan. Few months before the trip, I don’t know what happened to me I was so obsessed about Nur Jahan. By the way, this was not the only reason for the visit.

Pathar Masjid in Srinagar, Jammu & Kashmir, India//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Pathar Masjid – This mosque is locally known as Naev Masjid and built by Mughal Empress Nur Jahan the wife of Emperor Jahangir, in 1623 AD, constructed under the supervision of Mughal historian and architect Malik Hyder Chaudhary. Generally, mosques in the valley were built with wood while this mosque built with stone, as most of the Mughal edifices were built with Marble. Pathar masjid was built with locally available grey limestone and the style is practically the same as edifices found in Delhi and Agra. The grey limestone was generally used in Kashmir for face work and this stone is an excellent material for carving and for moldings. Also, high grade of polish is possible on this stone and same testified in the pavilion of Shalimar Bagh. The facade of Pathar Masjid, “The Stone Mosque” consists of nine arches including a large arched portico in the middle. The arched openings are enclosed in shallow decorative, cusped arches and horizontal construction of these arches is outstanding. If this mosque compared with the other Mughal architectures in India, certainly it is not as grand like other but it is really unique in Kashmir. The plinth of the mosque is very impressive, as lotus leaf coping on it and looks excellent. Also, this mosque does not have the traditional pyramidal roof that visually separates this mosque from other mosques in the valley.

Pathar Masjid in Srinagar, Jammu & Kashmir, India Pathar Masjid in Srinagar, Jammu & Kashmir, India Pathar Masjid in Srinagar, Jammu & Kashmir, India//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

The mosque is unique in many sense, especially for the atmosphere. Although, why this beautiful mosque never used as a place of prayer, there is a very interesting story. Once a Mullah questioned to Empress Nur Jahan regarding the costs of its construction and instead of a proper answer, she pointed to her bejeweled shoe and replied: “As much as that”. The mockery was reported to Mullahs and this remark reached to all highly respected religious leaders of Kashmir. They unanimously decreed by the sacrilegious pointing this mosque was unfit for any religious use. Henceforth, the mosque has never been used. It is a fact, comparison a religious place with a shoe was really unacceptable. I am really astonished, how a woman of seventeen century from Islamic clan passed such comment publicly.

There are other interesting stories behind this Masjid. (It is said), this was actually a site of an ancient Buddha Vihara. During the rule of Fateh Khan (1510-1517), a Sunni mosque was erected on (demolishing) the place of Buddha Vihara. It is said Shia Empress of India Nur Jahan rebuilt it as a Shia mosque. In around 1819, Akali Baba Phula Singh defeated Jabbar Khan and Ranjit Singh captured Kashmir. Phula Singh was the military general of Maharaja Ranjit Singh. During this time Pathar Masjid was taken over by Maharaja Ranjit Singh and used as a storehouse. The military of Maharaja installed a cannon on the roof of Pathar Masjid to blown up Khanaq Shahi Hamadan which is situated across the Jhilam. Pandit Birbal Dhar intervened into the matter and saved the shrine.

Entry – Free
Location – Zaina Kadal

How to reach
Mosque is situated 9Km away from Srinagar. There are several ways to reach the place.

By Road
Pathar Masjid is very well connected to Srinagar main town. You will get Rental Car/Bus from Srinagar. If you opt for rental car, in that case, you have to hire the car for a day trip and will cost you 1500 – 2000 (NonAC) approx. Bus will cost you only Rs 10 for one side or opt for shared car which is available from Dal Gate, cost you Rs 30.

By Air

The nearest airport is Srinagar International airport known as Sheikh Ul Alam International Airport. It is located at Aerodrome Road, Srinagar, approx 12Km from the city, Srinagar.

By Train
Nearest railway station is Srinagar.

 

Reference

  1. “Archeological Monuments” by A. Iqbal.
  2. “Jammu and Kashmir Guide” by M. Saraf
  3. “The Shrines and Temples in Kashmir” by K. L Butt

Copyright © BongBlogger you can share this post subject to the conditions that please give due credit to the Author Indrajit Das and do not alter before sharing. Request do not Plagiarize.

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Your Next Weekend at Lonely Vanishing Beach Chandipur

Chandipur Beach in Balasore, Orrisa, India

It was 3:30 AM, my phone rang. It was a wake-up call for me from Debabrata. Working late night is okay with me but leaving the bed on early morning always a tough job. Never use an alarm, my wife work as an alarm for me. After so much of procrastination, finally, I managed to wake up at 4:30 AM. My breakfast was ready and served. My wife supports all kinds of wild madness of me. Unless she was there with me, instantaneous travel was impossible for me. Although, I had to catch up Dhauli Express from Howrah for Balasore.

I reached Howrah at 5:25 AM and managed to buy a local ticket after standing in a long queue. Almost I missed the train but got on in a running train. Debabrata was kept on checking my status. Around 6:40 AM I got a call from him and asked me to check my laptop. Switched on my laptop and internet as well to check mails. I called up and informed him about the status of my camera. He smiled and told me that he arranged everything for the trip. At 9:45 AM, I reached Balasore and found ever smiling Debu at the station. We sat at the station and finalized the plan of action for the work. We hired an auto from the station compound and reached DRDO (Defence Research and Development Organisation) by 10:30 AM. It was a semi-official tour for me and I finished my job as quickly as possible. I was so eager to see the magical beach.

On the way to Chandipur Sea Beach, Balasore, Odisha India BongBlogger Traveling in Lorry during Chandipur Tour, Balasore, Odisha India

His arrangement of everything was a completely false statement. After walking for a half an hour under the scorching sun, there were no traces of any vehicle. He stopped a lorry and asked for a lift. This was the first time I traveled in a lorry to reach a travel destination. The temperature inside the driver’s cabin was reached to the boiling point. It was pathetic but now I feel it was an experience. The driver dropped us at an unknown place and there was no trace of any sea beach. Crossing some narrow lanes and by lanes, we reached the beach but there were no traces of any sea. I asked a passer-by fisherman about the location of the sea and he said “Vanished”. He suggested us to wait for few more hours.

Chandipur Sea Beach, Balasore, Odisha India Chandipur Sea Beach, Balasore, Odisha India Casuarina jungle alongside Chandipur Sea Beach, Balasore, Odisha India

We started walking on the beach to locate the sea but there was no trace of a single drop of water. I was completely frustrated. Suddenly I noticed red spots on the beach. Oh my God, there were thousands of thousands of red crabs. Earlier, I saw red crabs on Talsari beach but not in huge number. Few minutes of walking we reached the colonies of red crabs. I could wait for the sea to come back but could not resist myself to play with the red crabs. Crabs were smart and faster than us, they were also not camera friendly. So neither I grabbed a single one in my hand nor I captured them in my cam. Debu went there many times and he was quite acquainted with the place. He informed me that Chandipur is also popular for “Horse-Shoe” crabs. Please don’t think that he knows everything about the place. I had some knowledge of historical facts about the place and I showered the same on Debu.

Now it’s the time to shower the same on all of you. Popular Indian freedom fighter Jatin Chandra Mukherjee (Also known as Bagha Jatin) was shot twice by the British Army in Chandipur and he managed to escape from the spot. He swam across the river (Budhabalanga River) and reached to Barabati Village. Where a doctor operated on Bagha Jatin to take out the bullets from his body. There was a place called Chashakhanda village where freedom fighters used as a hideout and to store ammunition. After a while, he managed to reach that village but unable to find the door key of the house. Unfortunately, due to excessive bleeding, he fell unconscious and British Army arrested him from the spot. An episode of thoughts about the freedom fighters engrossed me for some moments.

Chandipur Sea Beach, Balasore, Odisha India Chandipur Sea Beach, Balasore, Odisha India Casuarina jungle alongside Chandipur Sea Beach, Balasore, Odisha India Casuarina jungle alongside Chandipur Sea Beach, Balasore, Odisha India

Let’s get back again to our trip. There were only two living souls on the beach and we felt so lonely. It was 3 PM and we were also hungry. Accordingly, we started searching for a good place for lunch. We had our lunch and went back again to the beach. Suddenly, I noticed waves which were far away from us. As time grows, I saw a full-fledged sea near me. I witnessed the moment, how a completely dried out beach transformed into a sea. Basically, everyday during ebb tide the sea water recedes approx 5 KM from the beach and advances to the shore during high tide. It is truly unique and fascinating sight. If you would be there during and after the tides, you can watch the sea vanishes right in front of your eyes and its return. We enjoyed thoroughly and played with the water. I wished to swim but couldn’t as there were no extra clothes with me. There was a Casuarina jungle alongside of the beach and we stroll there for sometime. Then we went to a nearby village called Balaramgadi and spent some time there. It was 8PM, there was no plan to stay there. I bid goodbye to Chandipur and boarded an overcrowded Howrah-bound train. I reached home around 4AM.

Casuarina jungle alongside Chandipur Sea Beach, Balasore, Odisha India Casuarina jungle alongside Chandipur Sea Beach, Balasore, Odisha India Sonarpur Chowk in Balasore, Odisha India Balasore Station at Night in Balasore, Odisha India

Activities in Chandipur

A) Balaramgadi Village
If you like fishing, must visit Balaramgadi Village. It is located near to the beach merely 2 KM, at the confluence of Budhabalanga River. There is a big fish market in the village and fresh sea fishes are available at cheap price. This place is popular among locals and tourists, especially for fishing and boating. Apart from enjoying fishing and boating, one can enjoy the scenic beauty of the village.

Balaramgadi Village in Chandipur Sea Beach, Balasore, Odisha India Balaramgadi Village in Chandipur Sea Beach, Balasore, Odisha India Balaramgadi Village in Chandipur Sea Beach, Balasore, Odisha India

B) Sonarpur Chowk
Sonarpur Chowk is a marketplace and situated at a distance of 1 KM from Chandipur Beach. If you want to buy local handicrafts or ornaments made of seashells at a cheap price this is the best place.

C) Beach Festival
Beach festival is organized in almost every beaches in Odisha and Chandipur sea beach is not the exception. The festival which showcases the heritages of the area held in an open area.There is no fixed time for this festival.


Places Near to Chandipur

A) Panchalingeswar

Panchalingeshwar temple enshrined five Shiva Lingas and it is situated on the top of a hillock near Nilagiri Hill. It is believed that Shiva Lingas have been enshrined by Sita (Wife of Lord Rama) during their banishment. A stream regularly washes Shiva Lingas as it flows over them. A lake is formed by Devkund waterfall, which is also a major attraction of the place. You can explore the Nilagiri (Not Nilgiri)
Forest on foot.
This place is 30 KM away from Chandipur beach. Autos and private cars are available from Balasore station/Chandipur beach. Cost you Rs/- 150 to 200 for Auto and 500-600 for the car. There are not many options for accommodation. So if you have the plan to stay there booked the hotel in advance.

B) Kuldiha Wildlife Sanctuary

Kuldiha forest is situated in the district of Balasore in the state of Odisha and around 80 KM from the Balasore station. The forests of the region cover the Nato hills and the Sukhupata hills linked with the Similipal National Park. This is one of the major wildlife sanctuaries in Odisha. This forest is the home of wild animals like the elephant, tiger, and bison and also houses of birds. Prior permission is required for the visit.

Hotels in Chandipur
Chandipur is surrounded by Hotels and accommodations are easily available except any special occasions. All kinds of Hotels are available in Chandipur, from Cheap Hotels to Luxury hotels. If you are visiting in normal weekdays, must bargain for the rates.

How to reach

Location
Chandipur is a seaside beach situated on the northern coast of Odisha (Orissa) along the Bay of Bengal. Balasore is the nearest city and also an important city, having historical significance. The place was a part of Kalinga (An early kingdom in central-east India, comprised of maximum part of Odisha, some parts of Andhra Pradesh and Chattisgarh) and was invaded by the Mughals. In British-India it was developed as a port city. Balasore is situated 255 KM from Kolkata and 207 KM away from state capital Bhubaneswar.

By Road
Chandipur is well connected to Kolkata and there is several options are available like Luxury Bus/ Budget Bus/ Car rental service. It takes around 5-6 hours by bus and 4-5 hours by Car to reach Balasore from Kolkata.

By Airport
The nearest airport is Biju Patnaik International Airport located in Bhubaneswar (Capital of Odisha) is about 207 km away from Balasore (also known as Baleshwar).

By Train
The train is the best option for Chandipur and well connected to all major cities of India. Balasore is the nearest railway station, which is just 16 KM away from the Chandipur beach. If you are traveling from Kolkata, try for early morning trains, preferably, “Dhauli Express”.

View the Full Album of Chandipur Tour

IMG_0404

Special Thanks to Debabrata Sen for the trip.


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you can share this post subjects to the conditions that please give due credit to Author Indrajit Das and do not alter before sharing. Request do not Plagiarize.

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Kashmir Diary: Ruins of Ancient Temples of Awantipora

Awantiswami Temple in Awantipura, Jammu and Kashmir, India

Awantiswami Temple in Awantipura, Jammu and Kashmir, India

June this year, I went to Kashmir and this was my second visit. The first time, I went there along with my wife and this time I traveled solo. The experience I gathered altogether from both the trips is wondrous. But whenever I have been there, never felt like that I am touring in India. Maybe the reasons are situations of Kashmir over the few decades, ambience, people, culture and some other reasons can be there. Probably, I could not connect myself with the place, this can be another reason. However, the local people were so nice to me but sometimes the behavior of the Indian Army was disheartening. I discussed the same with my friends. According to them, I preoccupied with the thought that Hindus are a minority over there that can be the reason. Seriously, I could not come to any conclusion. It’s a fact, it is very difficult to travel solo like me in the entire region and as I have faced so many issues.

I went to Awantipora twice and for the first time, I felt connected with the place. On the first look, I was mesmerized watching those marvelous architectures. Still I regret, the situation was not in my favor during both the time of my visit. On my first visit, I went there with my tiny camera and that’s why I could not capture the place as I wished to. Second time, the situation of the place was under threat. The entire place was cordoned by the Army and they suggested me not to go in the surrounding area of the temples.

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Avantiswamin Temple
– This temple was built by King Avanti Varman before he ascended to the throne of Kashmir. The temple is small but more ornate and dedicated to Lord Vishnu. The temple was destroyed by the earthquake and reclaimed after removal of debris. This temple was neglected more than thousand years…………………………

Sculpture in Avantiswamin Temple in Awantipora, Jammu and Kashmir, India Avantiswamin Temple in Awantipora, Jammu and Kashmir, India Sculpture in Avantiswamin Temple in Awantipora, Jammu and Kashmir, India

 

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Kashmir Diary:History of Holy Relic of Prophet Muhammad, Moi-E-Muqqadas

Hazrat Bal (Muhammad, Moi-E-Muqqadas )Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir, India

Hazrat Bal (Muhammad, Moi-E-Muqqadas )Srinagar, Jammu & Kashmir, India

There are many hidden truths with the history of “Moi-E-Muqqadas”. There are mysteries, fantasies, and betrayal, still engrossed with. “Moi-E-Muqqadas” or Beard hair of Holy Prophet Mohammad is also associated with faith and to some extent linked to mysteries. Although, people believe that the holy relic keeps in Hazrat Bal Mosque in Srinagar. How Beard hair of Holy Prophet Mohammad came to India far away from Medina? How it traveled to in Bijapur, near Hyderabad to Kashmir? There is an abundant history behind this. What was there in the place before Hazrat Bal was erected? Where it stands now…………………………

Ziyarat Naqshband Sahab – Ziyarat Naqshband Sahab, also known as Hazrat Khawaja Naqshbandh Sahib or Khanquahi Naqashbandia or Khanqah of Khwaja Moinuddin Naqshbandi is a Muslim Shrine (Ziyarat). It is situated in the center of Srinagar and very significant religious place for the Muslims because the “Moi-E-Muqqadas” was kept…………………………….

Hazrat Bal Mosque – Sadiq Khan was Subedar during the reign of Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan. He built a pleasure house called Ishrat Mahal along with a huge garden in the year of 1623 in Kashmir. Emperor Shah Jahan visited Ishrat Mahal in 1634 and he ordered Sadiq Khan to convert the place into…………………………………………..

 

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Kashmir Diary: Roza Bal – Is It Really the Tomb of Jesus Christ?

Roza Bal - Tomb of Jesus Christ in Srinagar, Jammu & Kashmir

Roza Bal - Tomb of Jesus Christ in Srinagar, Jammu & Kashmir, India

My Visit to Roza Bal

I asked myself, is it fact? Am I really standing at the tomb of Jesus Christ? I don’t know, whether it is the tomb of Jesus Christ or as per recent claim, it is the tomb of Adolf Hitler? I was simply thrilled. Initially, it was a thrilling experience for me but as time grows it becomes little scary.

Recently, after my Amarnath Yatra 2016, to explore the heritages of Srinagar I stayed there for a couple of days and visit the place called Roza Bal or Rauza Bol was on top of my list. Now I don’t understand, where and how do I start to write about this place. Because of the vastness of the subject and also it is an extremely controversial place.

Finally, on 3rd July 2016, I reached Roza Bal, which is located in the middle of Srinagar’s old town, Anzimar in the Khaniyar area, which is around 2Km from Khaniyar crossing and near to Bohri Kadal. It was in my knowledge that visitors are not permitted inside the shrine and also photography is strictly prohibited. I found a board in front of the shrine, clearly mentioned that photography is strictly prohibited but I could not resist my photographer instinct. Hastily, I have started taking photographs and captured three photographs of the shrine from outside. It was also in my knowledge that the controversial tomb of Jesus Christ can be viewed from the window. Without wasting much of the time, I enter my camera lens through the window and captured two photographs of the tomb. Suddenly, a group of (8-10 people) indigenous people cordoned me and literally, snatched my camera and started questioning me. After few minutes, they decided on their own that they would hand over me to J&K Police. Seriously I was scared and for that reason, I repeatedly apologized for my deeds………………………………………….

What Made Me Curious

I read a book named “Proribrajok Swami Abhedananda – Kashmir, Amarnath O Tibbet Bhraman” by Swami Abhedananda during my college days. Swami ji mentioned in his book about Dr. Notovich a Russian traveler, who finds some handwritten documents in the Hemis Monastery in Ladakh, near Leh, which proves that Jesus was traveled to India. A monk showed him the manuscript in the Tibetan language during his visit to the Hemis Monastery in 1922. The monk told him that it was an exact translation of the original documents which could be found in the Marbour Monastery near Lhasa and written in the Pali language. He able to read and translate it, which he discussed in his book. That much of the information was enough to make me curious about Roza Bal, Kashmir, and Jesus in India.

Suzanne Olsson, who claiming to be Jesus Christ’s ‘59th descendant arrived in Srinagar in 2002 and seeking DNA testing of the controversial tomb. What happened after, I don’t have any idea but this incident again made me more curious. ……………………………………………….

Some Information About Roza Bal

Roza Bal or Rauza Bal or Rauza Bol or Raza Bal, which means “Tomb of the Prophet”.

There are two tombs inside the Roza Bal (which is small wooden mausoleum) one tomb is of Ziarati Hazrati Youza Asouph or Yuz Asaph (or Asaf) and another grave is of Syed Nasir-u-Din (Islamic saint, a descendant of Imam Moosa Ali Raza, said to be a great devotee of Jesus, who buried here in 1451).

As per some ancient records, that indicate that the grave of Youza Asouph or Yuz Asaph (or Asaf) is to be as far back as 112 CE.

The Hebrew name of Jesus was Yuza, in Arabic or in the Koran his name was Hazrat Isa or Isa and Issa in Tibetan. Farhang-Asafia, which explains how Jesus healed some leper and then became Asaf (purified or healed) and the word Yuz mean “Leader”. Yuz Asaph or Youza Asouph mean “Leader of the Healed” which pointed to Jesus Christ.

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Disciple of Ramakrishna – Yogin Ma’s House

House of Yogin Ma in Bagbazar, Kolkata, West Bengal, India

Many good sayings are to be found in holy books, but merely reading them will not make one religious.
-Ramakrishna Paramahamsa

Nearly one year back, reading a book on Ramakrishna, I found some information from the book about his disciples. It was obvious that contained some names of his devotees and their contributions. Other than Swami Vivekananda, he had sixteen Direct disciples and they became Monks. Apart from these Sixteen Direct disciples, he had direct Householder Disciples and devotees and one of them was Yogindra Mohini Biswas or Yogin Ma or Yogini Ma or Gonur Ma. Ma Sarada Devi (Wife of Ramakrishna Paramahamsa) described her as one of her two eternal companions (Another one was Golap Ma or Golap Sundari Devi).

Yogin Ma

Yogin Ma – She was born on 16 January 1851 at Bagbazar in North Kolkata to Prasanna Kumar Mitra. Her father was a well-known physician during that period. He was married at a tender age of seven to Ambika Charan Biswas but her marriage was not turned successful. She returned to her parent house with her daughter Gonu. Her life took a turn while she met with Ramakrishna for the first time at Balaram Bose’s house in 1882. After the meeting, Yogin Ma commenced to bring various dishes prepared by herself for Ramakrishna and he ate with relish. She had the spiritual inclination and that has been noticed by Ramakrishna. Yogin Ma had been initiated into a Devi Mantra and by the instruction of Ramakrishna, she kept on repeating it. She soon met with Sarada Ma and they were immediately drawn towards each other. She traveled to Vrindaban with the permission of Ramakrishna and stayed there for many years. She went back to Calcutta (Now Kolkata) and started living to the next to the room (I have talked to the present Maharaj of Udbodhan but he couldn’t confirm the exact room of Yogin Ma) where Sarada Ma had lived (Udbodhan House in Bagbazar, Calcutta, which was built by Swami Saradananda for the use of Ma Sarada Devi). She underwent Purna–Abhisheka (Tantric Rite), on 20 November 1900. She was initiated into Vedic sannyasa by Swami Saradananda in Puri. On 4 June 1924  Yogin-Ma passed away at the age of seventy-three at Udbodhan.

Yogin Ma's House at Bagbazar Street, Kolkata, West Bengal, India

 

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List of Ghats in Varanasi

Ghat in Varanasi, Uttarpradesh, India

Varanasi Ghat, Uttarpradesh, India

Kashi Ke Kankar Mein Shiva Shankar” the literal meaning is Lord Shiva is in every pebble of Kashi. Yes, some extent it is true. But as you walk you will find important Mosques and Sufi Shrines there, these are also significant parts of Varanasi or Benaras ,making it an important Islamic city as well even it is known as a Hindu City. I have been there for only 2/3 days and it was impossible for me to explore the true colours of the city. Although, I have tried so much, at least to touch those important places. Among everything, the most important are Ghats (Embankment of on the riverfront) on the river bank of Varanasi. It is indeed a fascinating and charming city. The city is special for all, but I feel like, especially for Bengalis and there are many reasons for that but among them, one reason is a connection of Satyajit Ray‘s Film “Joi Baba Felunath” and Varanasi. The film had been shot extensively in Varanasi and the impressions are so deep into the minds of Bengalis. When I was there, I was in search of those shooting locations. Happily I found one shooting location of the film over there. One very important sequence of the film “Joi Baba Felunath” was filmed there.

The most of the Ghats of Varanasi are associated with legends or Mythologies and many ghats are also associated with Empires like Marathas, Peshwa, Holkars, Bhonsles and Scindias. Most of the Ghats were Built around 1700 AD , although in 800 BCE, the main city was located near the northern bank of RajGhat, where river Varana flowed into the Ganges. The dock was also important for the trade route from Bengal to northern regions.

List of Ghats in Varanasi, Uttarpradesh, India

Varanasi Ghat, Uttarpradesh, India

1. Darbhanga Ghat – This Ghat is located next to south of Dashashwamedh Ghat next to Rana Mahal Ghat. This ghat is an extension of Munshi Ghat, as it has been purchased by the King of Darbhanga. The extension part became Darbhanga Ghat. Beautiful Darbhanga Palace is Satyajit Ray Film "Jai Baba Felenath" shooting Location - Varanasi Ghat, Uttarpradesh, Indiaover there, an intricate and outstanding structure. It was erected in 1915 by King of Darbhanga, Bihar but it has been sold and now it is converted into a luxury hotel. When I was there, It was under renovation and I have tried so much to enter into the palace but security didn’t allow me. An important sequence of Satyajit Ray’s Film “Joi Baba Felunath” was filmed there, as I am very fond of Ray’s Films, that’s the reason behind this that I have tried many times to convince the security guards to let me allow to sawing the palace but felt heartbroken.

Satyajit Ray Film "Jai Baba Felenath" shooting Location - Varanasi Ghat, Uttarpradesh, India

2. Assi Ghat – This is the city’s most popular and spiritually important Ghat. According to Mythology or if we refer ancient texts, Assi was a rivulet that flowed to the river Ganges. Assi river and Ganges presence made this place auspicious for bathing. There is an another faith of Hindus is associated with Assi Ghat that is, Tulsidas left this place for heavenly abode. There is Shiva Linga and a Hanuman Shrine in the Ghat under a Peepal Tree (Ficus Religiosa) has Puranic significance. Apart from everything this Ghat is very spacious and the huge staircases that’s made it more popular and due to these tourists and even Varanasis like the place very much. It’s views northward to Malviya Bridge and Pontoon Bridge is just superb, especially at dusk. Every day at dusk a festive atmosphere, thousands of people arrive on a daily basis to chat on the steps, also take boat rides.

 

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