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India, a country with miraculous beauties. A country where stones express the souls, and each monuments has a history behind it. Come and enjoy stories larger then life. Whose glories are still alive.! Story on stones

TAJ MAHAL:

TAJ MAHAL

Introduction :

Introduction The Taj M ahal is widely recognized as “ the jewel of Muslim art in India and one of the universally admired masterpieces of the world heritage .” I t was built by Mughal emperor Shah J ahan in memory of his third wife, Mumtaz M ahal . T he construction began around 1632 a nd was completed around 1653 , employing thousands of artisans and craftsman. In 1983 , the T aj Mahal became a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Origin and Inspiration :

Origin and Inspiration In 1631, Shah Jahan was grief –stricken when his third wife, Mumtaz Mahal died during the birth of their 14 th child Gauhara Begum . Specific inspiration came from successful timurid and Mughal buildings. While earlier Mughal buildings were primarily constructed of red sandstone , Shah Jahan promoted the use of white marble inlaid with semi-precious stones.

Architecture – The Tomb:

Architecture – The Tomb The tomb is the center focus of the entire complex of the Taj Mahal. The tomb stands on a square plinth and consists of a symmetrical building with an iwan (an arch-shaped doorway) topped by a large dome and Finial. The base structure is essentially a large, multi chamber cube with chamfered corner forming an unequal Octagon approximately 55mtrs (180ft) on each of the four long sides. On each of these sides, a huge pishtaq, or vaulted arch way , frames the iwan with two similarly shaped, arched balconies stacked on either side. This motif of stacked pishtaqs is replicated on the chamfered corner areas. Four minarets frame the tomb, one at each corner of the plinth facing the chamfered corners.

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The marble dome that surmounts the tomb is the most spectacular feature. Its height of around 35mtrs (115ft ) i s about the same as the length of the base, an is accentuated as it sits on a cylindrical “drum ” which is roughly 7mtrs ( 23fts ) high. The dome is often called an onion dome or amrud (guava dome). The top is decorated with a lotus design, which also serves to accentuate its height. The shape of the dome is emphasized by four smaller domed chattris (kiosks) placed at its corners, which replicate the onion shape of the main dome. The dome and chattris are topped by a gilded finial, which mixes traditional P ersian and Hindustani elements .

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The main finial was originally made of gold but was replaced by a copy made of glided bronze in the early 19 th century . The finial is topped by a moon, a typical I slamic motif whose horns point heavenward. The horns of the moon and the finial point combine to create a trident shape . The minarets, which are each more than 40mtrs (130 ft) tall , display the designer's penchant for symmetry. Each minaret is effectively divided into three equal parts by two working balconies that ring the tower. At the top of the tower is a finial balcony surmounted by a chattris that mirrors the design of those on the tomb. The chattris all share the same decorative elements of a lotus design topped by a gilded finial. The minarets were constructed slightly outside of the plinth so that, in the event of collapse, the material from the towers would tend to fall away from the tomb.

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1) Base ,Dome and Minaret 2) Finial 3) Main iwan and side pishtaqs

Exterior Decoration and Calligraphy:

Exterior Decoration and Calligraphy The exterior decorations of the Taj Mahal are among the finest in Mughal architecture. The decorative elements were created by applying paint, stucco, stone inlays, or carvings. the decorative elements can be grouped into either calligraphy, abstract forms or vegetative motifs . Throughout the complex, passages from the Qur'an are used as decorative elements. Recent scholarship suggests that the passages were chosen by Amanat Khan . The calligraphy was created by a calligrapher named Abd ul-Haq, in 1609 . Shah Jahan conferred the title of "Amanat Khan" upon him as a reward for his "dazzling virtuosity“.

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Much of the calligraphy is composed of florid thuluth script , made of jasper or black marble inlaid in white marble panels. Higher panels are written in slightly larger script to reduce the skewing effect when viewed from below. The calligraphy found on the marble cenotaphs in the tomb is particularly Abstract forms are used throughout, especially in the plinth, minarets, gateway, mosque, jawab and, to a lesser extent, the Herringbone inlays define the space between many of the adjoining elements. White inlays are used in sandstone buildings , and dark or black inlays on the white marbles. Mortared areas of the marble buildings have been stained or painted in a contrasting colour, creating geometric patterns of considerable complexity. Floors and walkways use contrasting tiles or blocks in tessellation patterns.

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2) Plant motifs 1)Herringbone 4) Calligraphy of Persian poems 3) Calligraphy on large Pishtaqs

Interior Decoration and gemstones:

Interior Decoration and gemstones The interior chamber of the Taj Mahal steps far beyond traditional decorative elements the inlay work is a lapidary of precious and semiprecious gemstones. The inner chamber is an octagon with the design allowing for entry from each face, although only the door facing the garden to the south is used. The interior walls are about 25mtrs(82 ft) high and are topped by a " false" interior dome decorated with a sun motif. The four central upper arches form balconies or viewing areas, and each balcony's exterior window has an intricate screen or jali cut from marble.

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Each chamber wall has been highly decorated with dado bas-relief, intricate lapidary inlay and refined calligraphy panels, reflecting in miniature detail the design elements seen throughout the exterior of the complex. The octagonal marble screen or jali which borders the cenotaphs is made from eight marble panels which have been carved through with intricate pierce work. The remaining surfaces have been inlaid in extremely delicate detail with semi-precious stones forming twining vines, fruits and flowers . The bodies of Mumtaz and Shah Jahan were put in a relatively plain crypt beneath the inner chamber with their faces turned right and towards Mecca . Mumtaz Mahal's cenotaph is placed at the precise center of the inner chamber on a rectangular marble base of 1.5mtrs(4 ft 11 in) by 2.5mtre(8 ft 2 in).

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1) Jali screen surrounding the cenotaphs 3) Tombs of Shah Jahan and Mumtaz Mahal 2) Cenotaphs, interior of Taj Mahal

THE GARDEN:

THE GARDEN The complex is set around a large 300 meter (980 ft) square charbagh or Mughal garden . The garden uses raised pathways that divide each of the four quarters of the garden in to 16 sunken parterres or flowerbeds. A raised marble water tank at the center of the garden, halfway between the tomb and gateway with a reflecting pool on a north-south axis, reflects the image of the mausoleum. The raised marble water tank is called al Hawd al-Kawthar , in reference to the "Tank of Abundance" promised to Muhammad. The charbagh garden, a design inspired by Persian gardens, was introduced to India by the first Mughal emperor, Babur. It symbolises the four flowing rivers of Jannah (Paradise) and reflects the Paradise garden derived from the Persian paridaeza , meaning 'walled garden '.

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1) Front garden 2) Back Garden

Outlying Buildings:

Outlying Buildings The Taj Mahal complex is bounded on three sides by crenellated red sandstone walls , with the river-facing side left open. Outside the walls are several additional mausoleums, including those of Shah Jahan's other wives, and a larger tomb for Mumtaz's favorite servant. The garden-facing inner sides of the wall are fronted by columned arcades , a feature typical of Hindu temples which was later incorporated into Mughal mosques. The mosque's basic design of a long hall surmounted by three domes is similar to others built by Shah Jahan, particularly to his Masjid-Jahan Numa , or Jama Masjid, Delhi .  These outlying buildings were completed in 1643.

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The main gateway ( darwaza ) is a monumental structure built primarily of marble which is reminiscent of Mughal architecture of earlier emperors. Its archways mirror the shape of tomb's archways, and its pishtaq arches incorporate the calligraphy there are two grand red sandstone buildings that are open to the sides of the tomb. Their backs parallel the western and eastern walls , and the two buildings are precise mirror images of each other. The western building is a mosque and the other is the jawab (answer), whose primary purpose was architectural balance , although it may have been used as a guesthouse.

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1) Taj Mahal mosque or Masjid 2) The Great gate (Darwaza-i rauza)—gateway to the Taj Mahal

Construction:

Construction The Taj Mahal was built on a parcel of land to the south of the walled city of Agra. Shah Jahan presented Maharajah Jai Singh with a large palace in the center of Agra in exchange for the land. An area of roughly three acres was excavated, filled with dirt to reduce seepage, and leveled at 50mtrs (160 ft) above riverbank . In the tomb area, wells were dug and filled with stone and rubble to form the footings of the tomb. Instead of lashed bamboo , workmen constructed a colossal brick scaffold that mirrored the tomb. The scaffold was so enormous that foremen estimated it would take years to dismantle. Shah Jahan decreed that anyone could keep the bricks taken from the scaffold, and thus it was dismantled by peasants overnight. A fifteen kilometer (9.3 mi) tamped-earth ramp was built to transport marble and materials to the construction site and teams of twenty or thirty oxen pulled the blocks on specially constructed wagons.

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Water was drawn from the river by a series of purs , an animal-powered rope and bucket mechanism, into a large storage tank and raised to a large distribution tank. The plinth and tomb took roughly 12 years to complete. The remaining parts of the complex took an additional 10 years and were completed in order of minarets, mosque and jawab, and gateway. The total cost has been estimated to be about 32 million Rupees at that time. The Taj Mahal was constructed using materials from all over India and Asia and over 1,000 elephants were used to transport building materials. The translucent white marble was brought from Makrana, Rajasthan, the jasper from Punjab, jade and crystal from China . The turquoise was from Tibet and the Lapis lazuli from Afghanistan, while the sapphire came from Sri Lanka and the carnelian from Arabia . In all, twenty eight types of precious and semi-precious stones were inlaid into the white marble.

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Ground Layout of Taj Mahal

History :

History Shah Jahan was deposed by his son Aurangzeb and put under house arrest at nearby Agra Fort . Upon Shah Jahan's death, Aurangzeb buried him in the mausoleum next to his wife . By the late 19th century , parts of the buildings had fallen badly into disrepair. During the time of the Indian rebellion of 1857 , the Taj Mahal was defaced by British soldiers and government officials, who chiselled out precious stones and lapis lazuli from its walls. At the end of the 19th century, British viceroy Lord Curzon ordered a sweeping restoration project, which was completed in 1908 . He also commissioned the large lamp in the interior chambers.

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Taj Mahal by Samuel Bourne, 1860 .

Tourism:

Tourism The Taj Mahal attracts between 2 million and 4 million visitors annually, including more than 200,000 from overseas. Most tourists visit in the cooler months of October, November and February. Polluting traffic is not allowed near the complex and tourists must either walk from parking lots or catch an electric bus. The Khawasspuras (northern courtyards) are currently being restored for use as a new visitor center. The small town to the south of the Taj, known as Taj Ganji or Mumtazabad , was originally constructed with caravanserais, bazaars and markets to serve the needs of visitors and workmen.

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The Taj Mahal, which also appears in several listings of seven wonders of the modern world, including the recently announced New Seven Wonders of the World, a recent poll with 100 million votes. The grounds are open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays , except for Friday when the complex is open for prayers at the mosque between 12 p.m. and 2 p.m . The complex is open for night viewing on the day of the full moon and two days before and after, excluding Fridays and the month of Ramadan . For security reasons only five items-water in transparent bottles, small video cameras, still cameras, mobile phones and small ladies' purses—are allowed inside the Taj Mahal.

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Tourism of Taj Mahal

MARVELS OF JAIPUR and AGRA:

Amber fort, Jantar Mantar(observatory), Fatehpur Sikri MARVELS OF JAIPUR and AGRA

Fatehpur Sikri:

Fatehpur Sikri Fatehpur Sikri is a city and a municipal board in Agra district in the state of Uttar Pradesh, India. Built near the much older Sikri , the historical city of Fatehabad , as it was first named, was constructed by Mughal emperor Akbar beginning in 1570. It was built in honour of Sufi saint Shaikh Salim Chisti , who lived in a cavern on the ridge at Sikri , and foretold the birth of his son, who was named Prince Salim after the saint. He later succeeded Akbar to the throne of the Mughal Empire, as Emperor Jahangir. Fatehabad later acquired the name Fatehpur , and gave rise to present name Fatehpur Sikri .[1][2] It was the first planned city of the Mughals and also the first one designed in Mughal architecture, an amalgamation of Indian architecture, Persian and Islamic architecture. It served as the Mughal Empire's capital from 1571 until 1585. Though the court took 15 years to build, it was abandoned after only 14 years because the water supply was unable to sustain the growing population[ dubious – discuss ] and unrest in the North-West . Today, the complex of buildings, including the extant royal palaces, courts and the Jama Masjid is a popular tourist attraction, and was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1986 . The site itself is a ghost town, though the city has a population of 28804 as per 2001 census .

Panoramic View:

Panoramic View

Glimpses of Fatehpur Sikri:

Glimpses of Fatehpur Sikri

Fatehpur Sikri (architectural aspect):

Fatehpur Sikri (architectural aspect) Fatehpur Sikri aravind sits on rocky ridge, 3 km. in length and 1 km. wide, and palace city is surrounded by a 11 km wall on three side with the fourth being a lake at the time, Its architect was Tuhir Das and was constructed using Indian principles. The buildings of Fatehpur Sikri show a synthesis of various regional schools of architectural craftsmanship such as Gujarat and Bengal. This was because indigenous craftsmen from various regions were used for the construction of the buildings. Influences from Hindu and Jain architecture are seen hand in hand with Islamic elements. The building material used in all the buildings at Fatehpur Sikri , palace-city complex, is the locally quarried red sandstone , known as ' Sikri sandstone '.It is accessed through gates along the five-mile long fort wall, namely, Delhi Gate, the Lal Gate, the Agra Gate, Birbal's Gate, Chandanpal Gate, The Gwalior Gate, the Tehra Gate, the Chor Gate and the Ajmere Gate .

Glimpses of Fatehpur Sikri:

Glimpses of Fatehpur Sikri

Jantar Mantar Jaipur:

Jantar Mantar Jaipur

Jantar Mantar Jaipur:

Jantar Mantar Jaipur The Jantar Mantar is a collection of architectural astronomical instruments, built by Maharaja (King) Jai Singh II at his then new capital of Jaipur between 1727 and 1734. It is modeled after the one that he had built for him at the Mughal capital of Delhi . He had constructed a total of five such facilities at different locations, including the ones at Delhi and Jaipur. The Jaipur observatory is the largest and best preserved of these. It has been inscribed on the World Heritage List as "an expression of the astronomical skills and cosmological concepts of the court of a scholarly prince at the end of the Mughal period". Early restoration work was undertaken under the supervision of Major Arthur Garrett, a keen amateur astronomer, during his appointment as Assistant State Engineer for the Jaipur District

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The instruments are in most cases huge structures. The scale to which they have been built has been alleged to increase their accuracy. However, the penumbra of the sun can be as wide as 30 mm, making the 1mm increments of the Samrat Yantra sundial devoid of any practical significance. Additionally, the masons constructing the instruments had insufficient experience with construction of this scale, and subsidence of the foundations has subsequently misaligned them. The samrat yantra , for instance, which is a sundial , can be used to tell the time to an accuracy of about two seconds in Jaipur local time .The Giant Sundial, known as the Samrat Yantra (The Supreme Instrument) is the world's largest sundial , standing 27 meters tall. Its shadow moves visibly at 1 mm per second, or roughly a hand's breadth (6 cm) every minute, which can be a profound experience. Today the observatory is a popular tourist attraction. However, local astronomers still use it to predict the weather for farmers, although their authority is becoming increasingly questionable. Students of astronomy and Vedic astrology are required to take some of their lessons at the observatory, and it can be said that the observatory is the single most representative work of Vedic thought that still survives, apart from the texts. Many of the smaller instruments display remarkable innovation in architectural design and its relation to function, for instance - the Ram Yantra. Jantar Mantar Jaipur (architectural aspect

Jai Prakash Yantra :

Jai Prakash Yantra

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The instrument is used for observing the position of the sun, the ascendants and other heavenly bodies and acts as a double check on all the other instruments of the observatory. It has been divided into two identical parts which work every hour alternately. Jai Prakash Yantra

Narvilaya Yantra :

Narvilaya Yantra

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A Nadivalaya consists of two circular plates fixed permanently on a masonry stand of convenient height above the ground level. The plates are oriented parallel to the equatorial plane, and iron styles of appropriate length pointing toward the poles are fixed at their centers. The instrument is an equinoctial sundial built in two halves, indicating the apparent solar time of the place. The Nadivalaya is an effective tool for demonstrating the passage of the sun across the celestial equator. On the vernal equinox and the autumnal equinox the rays of the sun fall parallel to the two opposing faces of the plates and illuminate them both. However, at any other time, only one or the other face remains in the sun. After the sun has crossed the equator around March 21, its rays illuminate the northern face for six months. After September 21, it is the southern face that receives the rays of the sun for the next six months. Narvilaya Yantra

Samrat Yantra :

Samrat Yantra

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Samrat Yantra is another important instrument in the Jaipur observatory, Jantar Mantar . It is called the Samrat Yantra because it is the biggest instrument at Jantar Mantar, Jaipur. It is also famous for its accurate construction. Time can be calculated by observing the solar system. This instrument can calculate local time that is correct upto 2 seconds. The gnomon of this sundial is 90 feet high. There are niches in the wall so that the storm does not affect the instrument. The gnomon of the Samrat Yantra is located on the right-angled wall and the hypotenuse has steps to climb up. This also has a scale, which is helpful in finding the altitude of the sun. The hypotenuse points out towards a pole. This pole has on its either side a masonary quadrant. The sides of the quadrant are marked in hours, minutes and seconds. On the scale 1 minute has been divided into 30 parts. This division helps in measuring the divisions accurately. Samrat Yantra

Chakra Yantra :

Chakra Yantra

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The Chakra Yantra is the pair of upright metal circles in the photo. They stand between a pair of hemispheres (bowl shapes) lowered into the ground in front of and behind the metal circles. The pair of hemispheres is the Kapali Yantra, discussed on the next page. As for the Chakra Yantra, it is an instrument for finding the right ascension and declination of a planet or other celestial body observed at night. To understand these coordinates, it may help if you visualize the earth's lines of longitude and latitude projected up onto the sky, such that the north star corresponds to earth's north pole. Earthly latitude is the angular distance north or south of the equator, and earthly longitude is the angular distance around the polar axis as measured from any arbitrary starting point - in this case, the meridian of Jaipur. Chakra Yantra

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Kapali Yantra

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Kapali Yantra consists of two sunken hemispheres (bowls). A map of the heavens is engraved on each bowl (a different map on each), showing the positions and motions of various heavenly bodies throughout the year. Two wires (not visible in this photo) are arranged to cross above the surface of the bowl. The shadow of their intersection gives the position of the sun, projected onto the celestial map engraved in the bowl. This allows the observer to determine the position of the sun relative to the planets and zodiac at any time of the year, for use in horoscopy and other astronomical calculations.

Ram Yantra :

Ram Yantra

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This instrument measures the altitude of the sun, according to the height of the shadow (center of photo) cast by the gnomon (the dark upright pole to the center right). In this photo, the reflected glare from the sun has washed out the scale grid in the center section. It is more visible on the upright sections to the left and right. As the sun rises and falls in the heavens, the shadow falls and rises correspondingly as it moves around the instrument. The sun is highest in the sky when the shadow is lowest on the scale. Wedges are cut out of the instrument to enable observers to move freely inside. A second instrument (not shown) has the wedges cut out in complementary positions to the first, so that an observation can be taken at any given time on one of the two instruments. Ram Yantra

Rashivalaya Yantras :

Rashivalaya Yantras

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The Rashivalaya instruments were mentioned earlier as examples of sundials. However their orientation is unusual, since they do not point due north. This is a clue to their purpose, which is to calculate sidereal, rather than solar, time. The advantage of using sidereal coordinates is that they depend only on the annual orbit of the earth around the sun, not on the earth's daily rotation. Sidereal time is measured relative to the ecliptic, the path of earth's orbit across the heavens. The ecliptic is divided into 12 parts for convenience, each part named after a constellation that is located there. The 12 constellations are called the "Zodiac". (See Basic Celestial Phenomena for more information about this.) In the Rashivalaya Yantras, each of the 12 instruments is associated with one of the 12 signs of the zodiac. For any given instrument, say "Pisces", the curved scale of that instrument lines up with the (1/12) part of the ecliptic that contains the constellation Pisces. The twelve instruments, acting together, are therefore actually a single instrument that covers the entire ecliptic. To make an observation, first choose the instrument that covers the constellation currently occupied by the sun (the Jai Prakash yantra will tell you which constellation this is). Then, the position of the gnomon's shadow on the scale gives the sidereal time - that is, the celestial longitude of the sun in sidereal coordinates. Rashivalaya Yantras

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Hawa mahal , jaipur

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I t was built in 1799 by Maharaja Sawai Pratap Singh, and designed by Lal Chand Ustad in the form of the crown of Krishna , the Hindu god. Its unique five-storey exterior is also akin to the honeycomb of the beehive with its 953 small windows called jharokhas that are decorated with intricate latticework.

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Though no historical record is available to its exact history, it is conjectured that Royal family ladies , who were under strict observance of purdah (the practice of preventing women from being seen by men) , had to be given opportunity to witness proceedings in the market centre and watch the royal processions and festivities sitting behind the stone carved screens. Hawa Mahal did just that in style, amidst its luxurious comforts and behind strict screened exclusivity, unseen by outsiders.

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Royal family of Jaipur, during their reign, also used the palace as a hot weather retreat , during the suffocating summer season of Jaipur, for several years, since the unusually designed window screens provided the much needed cool breeze and ventilation. The palace is a five-story pyramidal shaped monument that rises to a height of 50 feet (15 m) from its high base. The top three floors of the structure have a dimension of one room width while the first and second floors have patios in front of them, on the rear side of the structure.

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The front elevation, as seen from the street, is like a honeycomb web of a beehive built with small portholes. Each porthole has miniature windows and has carved sandstone grills, finials and domes. It is a veritable mass of semi-octagonal bays, which gives the monument its unique facade . The inner face on the back side of the building consists of need-based chambers built with pillars and corridors with least ornamentation, and reach up to the top floor.

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The interior of the Mahal has been described as “ having rooms of different coloured marbles, relieved by inlaid panels or gilding; while fountains adorn the centre of the courtyard Walls Lal Chand Ustad was the architect of this unique structure who also planned Jaipur city, considered then as one of the best-planned cities in India. Built in red and pink coloured sand stone, in keeping with the décor of the other monuments in the city, its colour is a full testimony to the epithet of “ Pink City” given to Jaipur.

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Its facade depicts 953 niches with intricately carved J harokhas (some are made of wood) is a stark contrast to the plain looking rear side of the structure. Its cultural and architectural heritage is a true reflection of a fusion of Hindu Rajput architecture and the Islamic Mughal architecture; the Rajput style is seen in the form of domed canopies, fluted pillars, lotus and floral patterns.

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Hawa Mahal was also known as the chef-d‘oeuvre of Maharaja Jai Singh as it was his favourite resort because of the elegance and built-in interior of the Mahal . The cooling effect in the chambers, provided by the breeze passing through the small windows of the facade, was enhanced by the fountains provided at the centre of each of the chamber .

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Panoramic view from the roof of the Mahal is stunning. The bazaar (the Seredeori Bazaar or market) on the east resembles avenues of Paris. Green valleys and mountains and the Amer Fort form the scenario to the west and north. The Thar desert’s “interminable line of undulating vapour ” lies to the east and south. All this transformation of the landscape, from a stark and desolate land of the past, occurred because of the concerted efforts of the Maharajas of Jaipur .

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In 2005, restoration and renovation works on the Mahal were undertaken, after a long gap of 50 years , to give a face lift to the monument at an estimated cost of Rs 45lakhs . The corporate sector is also lending a hand to preserve the historical monuments of Jaipur and the Unit Trust of India has adopted Hawa Mahal to maintain it.

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City Palace City Palace

Location and Information:

Location and Information Located in Jaipur Coordinates:26°55′32″N 75°49′25″E / 26.9255°N 75.8236°E / 26.9255; 75.8236 Started in 1729 and completed in 1732 Built by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II Construction material: Red and Pink Sandstone City Palace, Jaipur , is a palace complex in Jaipur city which was the seat of the Maharaja of Jaipur , the head of the Kachwaha Rajput clan

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Doorway of Pitam Chowk

History:

History Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II who ruled from 1699-1744 is credited with initiating construction of the city complex by building the outer wall of the complex spreading over many acres. Following Jai singh's death in 1744 Maharaja Ram Singh sided with the British in the Sepoy Mutiny or Uprising of 1857 and established himself with the Imperial rulers. Man Singh II , the adopted son of Maharaja Madho Singh II, was the last Maharaja of Jaipur to rule from the Chandra Mahal palace, in Jaipur. This palace, however, continued to be a residence of the royal family.

Structures:

Structures Entrance gates Mubarak Mahal Chandra Mahal Pitam Niwas Chowk Diwan-I- Khas Diwan-I-Aam Maharani palace Bhaggi Khana Govind Dev Ji temple

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Peacock Gate

Entrance Gates:

Entrance Gates Virendra Pol, Udai Pol near Jaleb chowk and the Tripolia Gate (triple gate) are the entry gates to the City Palace. The Tripolia gate is reserved for entry into the palace by the royal family. Common people and visitors can enter the place complex only through the Virendra Pol and the Udai Pol or the Atish Pol (Stable Gate). The entry from Virendra Pol leads to the Mubarak Mahal. The gateways are richly decorated.

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Entrance Arch

Mubarak Mahal:

Mubarak Mahal Mubarak Mahal, meaning the 'Auspicious Palace', was built with a fusion of the Islamic , Rajput and European architectural styles in the late 19th century by Maharaja Madho Singh II as reception centre. It is a museum; a fine repository of variety of textiles such as the royal formal costumes, sanganeri block prints, embroidered shawls, Kashmiri pashminas and silk saris as part of the Maharaja Sawai Man Singh II Museum. A noteworthy display here is of the set of voluminous clothes worn by Sawai Madhosingh I, who was 1.2 metres (3.9 ft) wide and weighed 250 kilograms (550 lb) but interestingly had 108 wives.

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Mubarak Mahal

Chandra Mahal:

Chandra Mahal Chandra Mahal or Chandra Niwas is the most commanding building in the City Palace complex, on its west end. It is a seven- storeyed building and each floor has been given a specific name such as the Sukh -Niwas, Ranga-Mandir , Pitam-Niwas, Chabi -Niwas, Shri -Niwas and Mukut-Mandir or Mukut Mahal. It contains many unique paintings, mirror work on walls and floral decorations. At present, most of this palace is the residence of the descendents of the former rulers of Jaipur

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Chandra Mahal

Pitam Niwas Chowk:

Pitam Niwas Chowk It is the inner courtyard, which provides access to the Chandra Mahal. Here, there are four small gates (known as Ridhi Sidhi Pol) that are adorned with themes representing the four seasons. The gates are the Peacock Gate (with motifs of peacocks on the doorway) representing autumn; the Lotus Gate (with continual flower and petal pattern) suggestive of summer season; the Green Gate, also called the Leheriya (meaning: "waves") gate, in green colour suggestive of spring, and lastly, the Rose Gate with repeated flower pattern representing winter season

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Pitam Niwas Chowk

Diwan-e-khas:

Diwan-e- khas Diwan-I- Khas was a private audience hall of the Maharajas, a marble floored chamber. It is located between the armory and the art gallery. There are two huge sterling silver vessels of 1.6 metres (5.2 ft) height and each with capacity of 4000 litres and weighing 340 kilograms (750 lb), on display here. They were made from 14000 melted silver coins without soldering. They are officially recorded by the Guinness Book of World Records as the world's largest sterling silver vessels

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Diwan-e-khas

Diwan-e-aam:

Diwan-e- aam The 'Diwan-E-Aam'(Sabha Niwas) or the 'Hall of Public Audience' is an enchanting chamber, with the ceiling painted in rich red and gold colours, which still looks vibrant. It is a major attraction in the Mubarak Mahal courtyard. This chamber, functioning now as an art gallery, has exhibits of exquisite miniature paintings (of Rajasthani, Mughal and Persian art), ancient texts, embroidered rugs, Kashmir shawls and carpets. The ceiling is richly decorated.

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Sabha Niwas

Maharani’s Palace:

Maharani’s Palace Maharani's Palace was originally the residence of the royal queens. It has been converted into a museum, where weapons used by the royalty during war campaigns are displayed, including those belonging to the 15th century. The ceiling of this chamber has unique frescoes, which are preserved using jewel dust of semiprecious stones. A particular weaponry on display is the scissor-action dagger , which when thrust into an enemy's body is said to disembowel the victim, on its withdrawal. The other artifacts on display include swords with pistols attached to it, the sword presented by Queen Victoria to Maharaja Sawai Ram Singh (1835–80) which is inlaid with rubies and emeralds, guns serving as walking sticks and a small canon which could be mounted on a camel's back and many more.

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Interior of City Palace

Bhaggi Khana:

Bhaggi Khana Bhaggi Khana is a museum in the palace complex where a collection of old carriages, palanquins and European cabs adopted as baggis to Indian situations are on display here. The baggi which attracts attention is the one gifted by Prince of Wales to the Maharaja in 1876, called the Victoria baggi. Also on display here are the mahadol , a palanquin with a single bamboo bar that was used to carry the priests and a Rath (chariot) that was used for carrying the idols of Hindu gods in procession on festive occasions.

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Ganga jali

Govind Dev Ji Temple:

Govind Dev Ji Temple Govind Dev Ji temple , dedicated to the Hindu god Lord Krishna , is part of the City Palace complex. It was built in early 18th century outside the walls set in a garden environment. It has European chandeliers and paintings of Indian art. The ceiling in the temple is ornamented in gold. Its location provided a direct view to the Maharaja from his Chandar Mahal palace. The arathi (prayer offering) for the deity can be seen by devotees only for seven times during the day.

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AMER FORT

Location and Information:

Location and Information Located in Amer a town 11 km from Jaipur , Rajasthan. Coordinates: 26.9859°N 75.8507°E Built in 1592 . Built by Maharaja Jai Singh I with additions by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II . Construction with Red Sandstones and Marble Controlled by the Government of Rajasthan

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Tunnel connecting Amer fort and Jaigarh fort

Geography:

Geography Situated on a forested hill premonitory , above the Maota Lake near Amer. Narrow jeepway leads up to the entrance gate, known as the Suraj Pol or the Sun Gate . Known in the medieval period as Dhundar . The Amer Fort, was built during the reign of Raja Man Singh, Commander in Chief of Akbar’s army and a member of the Emperor's inner circle of nine courtiers. Fully expanded by his descendant, Jai Singh I . Underwent improvements and additions during the time of Sawai Jai Singh II, in 1727

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Maota Lake

Layout:

Layout The fort is divided into four main sections each with its own entry gate and courtyard. First Courtyard Second Courtyard Third Courtyard Fourth Courtyard

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Lush Green Gardens

The First Courtyard:

The First Courtyard Main entry is through the Suraj Pole (Sun Gate) which leads to Jaleb Chowk. The place where armies would hold victory parades with their war bounty on their return from battles. Main entry into the palace. Eastern direction towards the rising Sun and hence the name. Has the way to Sila Devi temple where the Rajput Maharajas offered worship. Ganesh Pol or the Ganesh Gate , is the entry into the private palaces of the Maharajas

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First Courtyard

The Second Courtyard:

The Second Courtyard Up the main stairway of the first level courtyard. Houses the Diwan-e-Aam or the Public Audience Hall. Built with double row of columns , the Diwan-e-Aam is a raised platform with 27 colonnades . The Raja held audience here to hear and receive petitions from the public.

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Carvings on the wall outside Diwan-e- aam or Public Audience Hall

The Third Courtyard:

The Third Courtyard The third courtyard is where the private quarters of the Maharaja . Is entered through the Ganesh Pol or Ganesh Gate, which is embellished with mosaics and sculptures . Has two buildings, one opposite to the other, separated by a garden laid in the fashion of the Mughal Gardens . The building to the left of the entrance gate is called the Jai Mandir also known as Sheesh Mahal , which is exquisitely beautified with glass inlaid panels and multi-mirrored ceilings . The other building seen in the court yard is opposite to the Jai Mandir and is known as the Sukh Niwas or Sukh Mahal (Hall of Pleasure) . This hall is approached through a sandalwood door with marble inlay work with perforations .

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Ganesha Pol at Amer fort

The Fourth Courtyard:

The Fourth Courtyard The fourth courtyard is where the Zenana (Royal family women, including concubines or mistresses) lived . Has many living rooms where the queens resided and who were visited by the king at his choice without being found out as to which queen he was visiting , as all the rooms open into a common corridor. The queen mothers and the Raja’s consorts lived in this part of the palace in Zanani Deorhi , which also housed their female attendants. The queen mothers took deep interest in building temples in Amer town Jas Mandir, a hall of private audience with floral glass inlays and alabaster relief work is also located in this courtyard.

Additional features of various Courtyards:

Additional features of various Courtyards Sheela Devi Temple Magic flower Palace of Man Singh I Lion gate Tripolia gate

Sheela Devi Temple:

Sheela Devi Temple On the right side of the Jaleb Chowk there is a small but an elegant temple called the Sila Devi (an incarnation of Kali or Durga) temple. The entrance to the temple is through silver sheet covered double leaf gate with raised relief. The main deity inside the sanctum is flanked by two lions made in silver. Another practice that is associated with this temple is the religious rites of animal sacrifice during the festival days of Navrathri (Nine days festival celebrated twice in a year)

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Silver gate of Sheela Devi Temple

Magic Flower:

Magic Flower A particular attraction here is the “magic flower” fresco carved in marble at the base of one of the pillars around the mirror palace which is identified by two hovering butterflies depiction ; the flower has seven unique designs of fish tail, a lotus, a hooded cobra, an elephant trunk, a lion’s tail, a cob of corn and a scorpion , each is viewed by a particular way of partial hiding of the panel with hands.

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Magic Flower Fresco

Palace of Man Singh 1:

Palace of Man Singh 1 The oldest part of the palace fort. The palace took 25 years to build. The exit from this palace leads to the Amer village, a heritage town with many temples, palatial houses and mosques.

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Baradhari pavilion at Man Singh I Palace Square.

Lion Gate:

Lion Gate The Lion gate, the premier gate, was once a guarded gate, leads in to the private quarters in the palace premises and is titled 'Lion Gate' indicative of strength. It was built during the reign of Sawai Jai Singh (1699–1743 AD). It is covered with frescoes and its alignment is zigzag, probably made so from security considerations to attack intruders.

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Sheesh Mahal

Tripolia gate:

Tripolia gate Tripolia gate means three gates. It is an access to the palace from the west. It opens in three directions, one to the Jaleb Chowk, another to the Man Singh Palace and the third one to the Zenana Deorhi on the south.

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The End

ABHANERI:

ABHANERI

HISTORY:

HISTORY Abhaneri is a village in Dausa district of Rajasthan state in India . It is situated at a distance of 95 km from Jaipur, on Jaipur-Agra road. The place is popular for the amazing ' Chand Baori ' (step wells) and Harshat Mata Temple.

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The village of Abhaneri is believed to be established by Gurjar pratihar king Samrat Mihir Bhoj .In mythology samrat Mihir Bhoja is presented as King Raja Chand. This village has contributed numerous pieces of sculpture to various museums worldwide. Abhaneri was named as Abha Nagri , which means the city of brightness , but due to mispronunciation of the term, it is changed to the present name.

Chand Baori:

Chand Baori

History of Chand Baori:

History of Chand Baori Chand Baori is a famous stepwell situated in the village of Abhaneri near Jaipur in the Indian state of Rajasthan . This step well is located opposite Harshat Mata Temple, constructed in 800 B.C. and is one of the deepest and largest step wells in In d ia . It was built in the 9th century and has 3500 narrow steps in 13 stories and is 100 feet deep .

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In the present day, this city of brightness is in ruins; still it attracts tourists from across the globe. Abhaneri is prominent for 'Baoris', which are the unique invention of the natives for harvesting rain water . Amongst the other step wells, Chand Baori is the most popular one. This colossal step well is located in front of the Harshat Mata Temple. Chand Baori is one of India's deepest and largest step wells. The huge tank with delicate carvings is certainly delightful to the eyes.

HARSHAT MATA TEMPLE:

HARSHAT MATA TEMPLE Harshat Mata is considered to be the goddess of joy and happiness . The temple is worth visiting for its amazing architecture and that too, which belongs to the medieval India. Harshat Mata Temple, opposite the step well, was another interesting historic site in Abhaneri, Rajasthan, India. The temple looks like reconstructed ruins. According to my Gap trip dossier, this temple was originally dedicated to Vishnu. There are many beautiful and ornate Hindu sculptures around the temple.

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Bhooton ka bhangarh

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Bhangarh is a place between Jaipur and Delhi in Rajasthan state of India known for its ruins. Bhangarh is also a pre-historic site. The most remarkable of its buildings are the temples of Gopinath , Shiva (Someshwar), Mangla Devi, Lavina Devi and Keshava Rai. Other buildings include shops along the main road, several havelis , a mosque, and a palace. The palace was protected by two inner fortifications across the valley. The town is separated from the plain by ramparts with five gates. The town was established in 1573 (VS 1631) during the rule of Bhagwant Das as the residence of his second son Madho Singh, the younger brother of Emperor Akbar ’s general, Man Singh I . Madho Singh participated in many campaigns with his father and brother. The next ruler of Bhangarh was his son Chhatr Singh, [1] after whose death in 1630 [2] Bhangarh slowly declined. When the Mughal Empire became weaker after the death of Aurangzeb , Jai Singh II attached Bhangarh to his state by force in 1720. After this Bhangarh diminished in population, and since the famine of 1783 (VS 1840) the town has remained uninhabited Description

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Legend states that the city of Bhangarh was cursed by the Guru Balu Nath, who sanctioned the establishment of the town with one condition, saying, "The moment the shadows of your palaces touch me, the city shall be no more!" When a descendant raised the palace to a height that cast a shadow on Balu Nath's forbidden retreat, he cursed the town as prophesied. Balu Nath is said to lie buried there to this day in a small samādhi . Another myth is that of the Princess of Bhangarh Ratnavati, said to be the jewel of Rajasthan, who on her eighteenth birthday began to get offers of marriage from other regions. In the area lived a tantrik , a magician well versed in the occult, named Singhia, who was in love with the princess but knew that the match was impossible. legends

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When one day Singhia saw the princess' maid in the market, he used his black magic on the oil she was purchasing so that upon touching it the princess would surrender herself and run to him. The princess, however, seeing the tantrik enchanting the oil, foiled his plan by pouring it on the ground. As the oil struck the ground it turned into a boulder, which crushed Singhia. Dying, the magician cursed the palace with the death of all who dwelt in it. The next year there was a battle between Bhangarh and Ajabgarh in which Princess Ratnavati perished. Though it is not sure if ghosts exist or not, the ASI of Bhangarh has warned people travelling to this place in Rajasthan that they should not go to the place after sunset. You can see signs everywhere not to venture to the haunted city before sunrise and leave it before sunset. The place has many ruins of the middle era .

Ghosts at Bhangarh: The Extent of Fear :

The Government of India was to set a military centre to patrol the place all over the night to solve the puzzle of ghosts but could not dare. None of the military personnel were willing to participate in the operation. Even the ASI office is a kilometer away from the place and has a board that says: “Staying in the Area after Sunset is Strictly Prohibited.” This indicates that something is very wrong, to the extent that even the paramilitary forces are not venturing into the area after dark. Legend has it that due to a curse of Guru Balu Nath, the whole town was vacated overnight. Balu Nath sanctioned the establishment of the town but said: "The moment the shadows of your palaces touch me, the city shall be no more!" Ignorant of such foreboding, one ambitious descendant raised the palace to such a height that its shadow reached Balu Nath's forbidden retreat and the town was devastated. The small samadhi where Balu Nath lies buried is still there. Ghosts at Bhangarh: The Extent of Fear

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Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has put up a signboard at Bhangarh stating (among others): "Entering the borders of Bhangarh before sunrise and after sunset is strictly prohibited." Some people who visit this place say that there is a strange feeling in the atmosphere of Bhangarh, which causes symptoms of anxiety and restlessness. Nevertheless, most of people like Bhangarh, and even those who went there at night didn't notice anything strange. Also the prime minister cursed Bhangarh that no one would settle there in future and whoever dares will die as well. It is said by the local villagers that whenever a house has been built there its roof has collapsed. It seems to be true because inside Bhangarh all the houses are without a roof and even at the closest village where people reside, they still have roofs made of straw but not bricks.

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He was the eldest son of Raja Ankitmal or Bharmal and succeeded him after his death. He was a general of Mughal emperor Akbar , who awarded him a mansab (rank) of 5000 in 1585. [2] and conferred him the title of Amir- ul - Umra [3] . He fought many battles for Akbar including battles in Punjab, Kashmir and Afghanistan, and also remained governor of Kabul . He was first time sent to Punjab on c. December 10, 1578. [4] He married his daughter to Prince Salim , who later assumed throne as emperor Jahangir . He was succeeded by his son by Bhagawati Devi, Raja Man Singh I after his death. His second son Madho Singh became the ruler of Bhangarh . Raja bhagwant das

MAN SINGH 1:

MAN SINGH 1 He was the son of Rani Sa Bhagawati Ji Sahiba at Amber; his father was Raja Bhagwant Das of Amber. He was born on Sunday, December 21, 1550. He was about eight years younger than Mughal Emperor Akbar who was born on November 23, 1542 and about ten years younger than Rana Pratap who was born on May 9, 1540, These three great personalities, of the same generation, had a great impact on sixteenth century India's polity, society, and history. They are remembered with reverence in India, although Rana Pratap fought unrelenting wars with both of them. Raja Bharmal , the first Rajput ruler to marry his daughter to a Mughal, was Man Singh I's grandfather. 3] On August 26, 1605, Man Singh became a mansabdar of 7,000, i.e., a commander of 7,000 cavalry in the Mughal forces, which was the maximum command for anyone other than a son of the Mughal emperor and the guardian of Khusrau , the eldest son of Jahangir. [4] Akbar called him Farzand (son).

Places for Stay In Bhangarh:

Places for Stay In Bhangarh There is nothing that will let you stay inside the place as it is uninhabited. It is suggested that you use the local Rest Houses spread outside the place. The Rest Houses are managed by the ASI and are located within the circle of a km from the place. There is a belief about Bhangarh that the place is haunted and no one dares to go after sunset there.

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