Thursday, 19 October 2017

Jagmandir Island Palace- A Dreamy Destination

Udaipur a city which makes you dream. You start dreaming the moment you visit its historical monuments. Standing tall and majestic- Udaipur's forts and palaces simply engulf you. These palaces and forts were built on hills, rockfaces and even islands in lakes!
One such Palace is Jagmandir Island Palace in the middle of lake Pichola. Accessible by a boat, it is owned by the Royal family. Converted into an open banquet facility, it serves as a popular venue for 'destination' weddings. Tastefully lit up at night, it is a dreamy destination.
Where is Udaipur? It is located in south Rajasthan in India. Map below for those not familiar with the region.

Ghumakkad visited Jagmandir island palace in Sep-2017 with friends from the Navy. Twenty four of us in the age group of 62-78 years, were awestruck by its beauty and exclusivity. Do the pictures convey the same impression?

 Here is a short video shot from a noisy boat as we approached the jetty on the island.

What do you say? Is it not a dreamy destination?
Brief History (Postscript courtsey reserach by Trixie Asirvatham):
It is said that Prince Kurram (before he became the emperor Shahjahan) took refuge in Jagmandir palace.  He rebelled against Jahangir but was given safe haven by the Maharana Karan Singh of Mewar  According to Wikipedia this courtesy was extended because Khurram's mother was a Rajput Hindu lady. Khurram  was initially kept in the City Palace along with his wife Mumtaz Mahal and his two sons, Prince Dara and Prince Aurangzeb. Later they were shifted to the Gul Mahal, as a safe refuge, in the midst of the lake (this place since then has also been called Khurram's Palace). Gul Mahal is a domed pavilion that was specially built for Khurram by Maharana Karan Singh. It was later enlarged by his son Jagat Singh into a huge palace and named as the Jag Mandir palace.Khurram remained under Mewar's protection during 1623–1624.
Special thanks to Trixie for the above input.

Another short video clip to give you a 'feel' of the stunning island palace.

 What is FFA- please click to find out?

It was time to wind up our unforgettable dinner-- because the operator of the golf cart to take us from jetty to our hotel winds up his duty at 10.30pm! Else, it's a tough climb of 1km up the hill-- specially for the ladies.

How does the island look during the day?
You can browse Ghumakkad's earlier stories on places near Udaipur. The first one was Ranakpur- Marvel in Marble.
Second story was titled Kumbhalgarh- The pride of Mewar.
What else to see in Udaipur? Ghumakkad will bring the next story soon. Preview picture given below.
Thanks for browsing. Your comments are welcome, as always!

      -  Harsh-the-Ghumakkad/ 20th Oct 2017

#Udaipur, #JagmandirIslandPalace, #LakePichola, #Rajasthan, #IncredibleIndia #IndiaTourism #TravelIndia #GhumakkadHarsh #GhumakkadHB #NatGeoIndia #PlanetIndia #WanderLust

Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Noise-free Diwali

The Supreme Court of India has banned the use of crackers in Delhi during Diwali this year. This will reduce both air and noise pollution.
A similar 'ban' was voluntarily imposed by the citizens of Delhi in 1997 or so. The movement leading to that ban was spearheaded by school children. Ghumakkad wrote about it in an earlier story titled 'Just say No to Crackers'. The story remains as relevant today.

Let us celebrate Diwali which is noise-free and pollution free. Use earthenware diya दिया like the one in the picture below. We performed 'dhan teras' धन तेरस puja today using a diya. 

Together we can make a difference!

Happy Diwali to all,

     -Harsh-the-Ghumakkad/ 17th Oct 2017

#Diwali #NoiseFree #SayNoToCrackers #BrightDiwali #LetThereBeLight #IndiaCelebrates #Ghumakkad #GhumakkadHB #GhumakkadHarsh

Thursday, 12 October 2017

Ranakpur- Marvel in Marble

Ranakpur Temple is a marvel in marble. Built using light coloured marble, it casts different hues during different parts of the day. Pillars, beams, domes, ceilings, walls, elephants, arches-- everything is in marble. A photographer's delight, it is a must for visitors to Udaipur in Rajasthan India.

Fact File
  • Located 90 kms north west of Udaipur, 2 hour drive; regular buses and taxis available
  • Built in 15th century
  • Took 22 years to build
  • Women of neighbouring village donated 90 ounces of gold for construction of the temple
  • Chief donor: Mr Dharma Shah
  • Chief Architect: Mr Deepaka
  • Has 1444 pillars, 80 domes, 360 statues of Gods
  • Each pillar different from the other
  • Also known as 'Chaumukha' temple or four faced temple- one facing each direction East, West, North and South
  • Open for public from 12 noon to 5 pm every day
  • Entry Free for Indian nationals
  • Camera/Cell phone fee: Rs 100
  • No leather wallets, belts, bags allowed inside.
  • Local priests coming down 18 generations, can guide the visitors if requested
  • Audio guide also available
  • Veg lunch in Temple prenises at Rs 50/-
  • Resorts around Ranakpur for those wanting to stay overnight
  • Temple dedicated to Lord Adinath the first Tirthankara

Another tourist attraction nearby is Kumbhalgarh Fort. Ghumakkad's story on Pride of Mewar can be accessed here.
This picture story takes you around Ranakpur Temple as explained by the priest there. Four short video clips are embedded. We were a group of 24 friends from the Navy, called FFA. Click to know 'What is FFA'? 
Enjoy the pictures and videos.

For those readers not familiar with Jainism here is a quick note courtsey Ami Bhat, a travel blogger. Her story 'Five reasons why you should visit Ranakpur' makes interesting reading. In Ami's words, "Jainism is quite similar to Buddhism. It talks of inner peace, non-violence, tolerance and renunciation. The scriptures and teaching of Jainism talk of how the various preachers attained their Nirvana and various stories from their lives. This is what is carved on to the ceilings and sculpted pillars of this Temple."
 Here is what the priest explained about the temple and its history. Short 1:35 minute video for you:

Ranakpur temple had a tunnel as a safe escape route for the idols as well as the woshippers in times of an invasion. Perfect example of a Contingency Plan 600 years ago!The tunnel has since been closed. A short video clip for you.

 The temple has two huge bells which are rung only during the  time of 'Aarti' आरती. Interestingly one bell has been categorised as a male bell and the other female? What basis? Perhaps its size, tone, frequeny emitted etc. Never heard of temple or church bells being classified as male or female! Video clip for you.

The ceiling at the entrance is decorated with akichaka, a bearded man with five bodies representing fire, water, heaven, earth and air. It is an iconic carving of Ranakpur.
The most popular carving in the temple is of the serpent that protected Lord Parshwanath. Legend has it that a snake was trapped under some wooden logs that were piled up for a 'Yagya' यज्ञ by a Sadhu. Taking pity on the snake Parshwanath set him free. Later the same Sadhu wanted to kill the prince (Parshwanath) by drowning him through his powers to usher a storm. The same snake rescued Parshwanath by enveloping him and spreading his protective hood around him. The carving of the story in Ranakpur is so intricate that you cannot find the ends of the snakes. There are 108 heads of snakes in the carving. But no tails! You may try finding the tails in the picture below.

One last bit about Pillars of Ranakpur. There is an unfinished pillar in the temple. Why couldn't it be completed? Because of Rana Kumbha's 'ahankar' अहंकार  meaning uncontrolled ego, arrogance and narcissism combined together. 'Ahankar'  destroys logical reasoning and good governance. Short video clip:

Hope you enjoyed the marvel in marble-- as I prefer to call Ranakpur Temple.

Ghumakkad's next stop is an Island Palace in Pichola Lake. No, not the Lake Palace but another island close by called 'Jagmandir Island Palace'. Owned and managed by the Royal family of Udaipur, it is an exclusive venue for 'destination weddings'. We all spent an evening there. Preview picture for you.
Bye till the next story. Do share your comments/impressions.

Thanks for browsing

     -  Harsh-the-Ghumakkad/ 12th October 2017

#Ranakpur #JainTemple #Mewar #MarvelInMarble #Adinath #Parshwanath #Rajasthan #TravelIndia #NatGeoIndia #LonelyPlanetIndia #WanderTrails #GhumakkadHB #108Snakes #WanderLust #IncredibleIndia