You must have heard about the Azad Hind Fauj of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose. If not, then it is time to take a trip down history lane. The Indian National Army or the Azad Hind Fauj of Netaji is the real reason why India got its independence. The Azad Hind Gram is a museum constructed in New Delhi to commemorate the Azad Hind Fauj.
A unique memorial
The murals in the Azad Hind Gram have been designed by Kolkata based artists, who have depicted Netaji in his variegated moods. The murals have been carved out so beautifully that it feels like they would speak to you right now. The domes made of mosaic that are surrounding the museum are the main attractions of the place. The design of the complex features strong architecturaldesigns from the North Indian cultural heritage. The center of the monument features a large statue of Netaji himself. The complex also includes a unique amphitheatre, a full-service conference area along with food stalls, a memento shop, and a spectacular restaurant.
A legend comes to life
This monument is Tikri Kalan’s own dedication to Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose, who is believed to have given a speech to his soldiers in this place before boarding a fateful plane, which crashed somewhere near Taiwan. A must see place, which is maintained well by the Government of India, the place enjoys emotional attachment of the people of the country.It is sad that the memorial to Netaji Subhash Chandra Boseji was not publicized enough by the Government of India earlier, but now many people from all over the world are taking trips to see this place. The concept of the Azad Hind Gram is the brainchild of the then Chief Minister of Delhi, Sahib Singh Verma. Actually, this is more than just a memorial. It is a legend-come-true – the legend named Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose.
A reminder to the Nation
It is easy to remember the Father of the Nation – Gandhiji, but the contributions of the lesser known heroes such as Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose need to be recognized too. The Azad Hind Gram is one such memorial, which reminds people of this great Nation of the incomparable contribution of Netaji Subhash Chandra Boseji to the country. The ambition of Netaji was quite similar to that of Gandhiji’s ambition –the independence of the nation. The project began in 1998 and reached completion in the year 2000. If you feel inspired by the works of this great leader, then you must make it a point to visit this place. Today, the government is making efforts toward making this place a popular tourist destination so that more people will visit this monument to the great leader of this even greater Nation – Subhash Chandra Boseji.
The complex is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., excepting on National Holidays.
Best time to visit
From October to January
Places to visitThe Garden of Five Senses, Qutub Minar, the Uttara Swami Malai Temple, Iron Pillar, the Air Force Museum, and Ala-i-Minar.
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Built by one of the noted industrialist families of India, the Birla family, the Laxmi Narayan temple is one of the major Hindu places of worship, which allowed the “untouchables” or the Harijans inside. Mahatma Gandhiji was instrumental in making the temple let Harijans worship inside it.
Hinduism comes to life here
Designed by Shri Chandra Chatterjee, this temple has been built in true Orissan style with Mughal arcades. Made of red sandstone, this temple attracts thousands of visitors during the Navratri festival from all over the country. The soaring spire of this temple is what dominates the skyline of Central Delhi. Did you know that the services of a 101 skilled pundit-artisans from Kashi were deployed in the year 1938 to create this magic in stone? It is also said that an open arena in this temple used to be the gymnasium of Bhīma, one of the Pandavas of the Mahabharata fame. The whole temple pulsates with spiritual aroma and sacred hymns during the festivities. The temple enshrines most of the Gods from the Hindu Pantheon, the presiding ones being Narayan (or Vishnu) and his wife, Laxmi, the Goddess of Wealth and Good Fortune. Enjoy a visit to this temple to savor the legends and the spirituality in a different flavor.
Experience the Divinity and beauty in stone
Interspersed with the modern style of architecture is the traditional Nagara style of architecture of this temple. The temple faces the East direction, which is one of the most auspicious directions as per the Hindu culture. The temple has been adorned with the depictions of Hindu Gods and Goddesses of the Hindu mythology. You will be amazed to see the main spire of this temple (the Shikhara) rising above the Inner Sanctum (Garbagriha). Also, remember to visit the Buddha shrine inside this temple, which is dedicated to the Lord’s work and life. Plan your trip during Gokulashtami or the birthday of the Lord Krishna.You will see teeming thousands of people come to this temple to commemorate the birth of the infant Gopala or Krishna. During Diwali, the entire temple is filled with brilliantly colored lights that create a spell in the heart of every person visiting the temple. It is indeed a magnificent vista to watch spiritual hearts crowding in colorful clothes to see the celebrations in the temple. Also, do not forget to see the “Arati” ceremony or the ritual that is performed with lamps, flowers, scents, and other sacred artefacts. Portraying an alluring blend of the two colors, cream and red, the temple affords a curious medley of ancient Indian architecture and Hindu mythological figures.
The temple is open from sunrise to sunset
Best time to visit
From October to January
Places to visit
Qutub Minar, Connaught Place, The Prachin Bhairon Mandir, the Aastha Kunj Park, ISKCON temple, Kalkaji Devi Mandir, Ashokan Edict Rock, the Shrine Empire Art Gallery, the M. F. Hussain Art Gallery, the Jai Bhawani Temple, Jantar Mantar, India Gate,and the Bangla Sahib Gurudwara.
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Whether you are a spiritually inclined person or someone, who loves to visit architectural wonders of the world, then the Akshardham temple is the right place for you. Even though the architecture of the Akshardham temple is modern, the temple itself is rooted deep in the past of India.
Built by a thousand artisans, it is a marvel in sandstone that is surrounded by gardens that have been manicured to perfection.
A Sonnet carved in stone
You will have to leave the world of materialism behind, as you enter this ambrosial, hallowed shrine. In other words, you would have to leave behind your shoes, leather wallets,cellular phones, cameras, and the like with the security before entering the temple as a security measure. Take a walk on the sacredpavement, which reflects the sanctity of this monument. Gaze around to look at the quadrangled Shikhars, carved pillars, domes that have been carved ornately and colossal alcoves that make the beauty of the temple stand out. You can also figure out the consummate carvings of the temple – the Gods, musicians, dancers, the flora, and the fauna – that have been carved from the top to the bottom of the temple. The Inner Sanctum or the Garbagriha is so silent that you can hear your heart beating when you stand in front of it!
Behold the Mandovar, which is the ornately carved external wall of the temple, which is the only one that has been the largest of Mandovars in the past 800 years or so. Moreover, it has been sculpted with effigies of India’s great saints, sadhus, acharyas, devotees, and the other divine incarnations.
A legend in stone
The insides of the temple have variegated shows such as the Sanskruti Vihar (translated as the home of culture), wherein you getto enjoya 15 minute boat ride through ten thousand years of the Indian culture. Just imagine how grand and rich the Indian cultureisto have lasted a 10,000 years.15 minutes is just not enough to sum it up. However, the Akshardham temple has achieved it! The moment you walk out from this building, you get to see the biggest Yagnapurush Kund (the fire altar) in the world. You realize that the temple is surrounded on its three sides by thegleaming lake Narayan Sarovar, when you cross the fire altar. When you head left outside the Mandir (the temple), you can see the 8-petal lotus shaped garden named the Yogihriday Kamal. At night, the legend in stone comes to life when the colorful water fountain echoes the chants of the Vedic hymns in the hearts of the people!
The Temple of Guinness
Being one of the largest temples in the world, this temple has been given two certificates from the Guinness Book of World Records – one for being “one of the largest comprehensive Hindu temples in the world” and second for the “most Hindu temples consecrated by a single individual”. Not only is the Akshardham incomparable in terms of its stateliness, but also in terms of its grandeur. The certificates are really nothing before this ambrosial work of art.
The temple is open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. and is closed on Mondays.
Best time to visit
From October to January
Places to visitPoorva Sanskritik Kendra, Pashupatinath Mandir, Prachin Sanatan Dharam Mandir, Maharaja Surajmal Park, Hanuman Mandir, Sanjay Lake, and Raghunathji Mandir.
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The only temple in India which has architecturally blossomed to resemble the Opera House in Sydney, the Lotus Temple or the Baha’i Temple stands tall to cover the skyline of Kalkaji. The temple has carved itself in the consciousness of the people of the city ever since 1986, when it was constructed.
Could Be God’s Own Work
The architecture of the Lotus Temple has been not only fuelling the curiosity of the people, but also awning their imagination and remodeling their definition of worship. The Baha’i Mashriqu'l-Adhkar Templewas designed by the architectby the name of Fariburz Sabha, who included emerald pools and lush gardens that have been manicured with the temple in the backdrop. The architecture of the temple is enough to soothe every spiritually inclined soul. Every dawning day brings humungous tides of people to the temple, who soak its beauty in while trying to blend in its spiritual atmosphere.
Hail to the Hands That Wove Such Magic
You must be wondering what the lotus shape signifies. The lotus shape denotesthe secularity of all creeds and faiths – the dream of people belonging to every religion. As you walk on the cobbled pathway toward the temple, you will feel drawn to this melting pot of all faiths. Catching a glimpse of the 35 metre high petals made of Korean concrete will make you feel overwhelmed at the grandeur of this edifice. The concrete had to be cooled in reality to bring it to the right temperature so that during the summer, it would be cool inside the building. The aura of silence inside the premises would evoke nothing but feelings of awe and reverence. The edifice seems to be floating atop the 9 pools surrounding it with everyone’s interest in it peaking. The most captivating feature of this temple is, however, the absence ofany deity. It goes to show the all-pervasiveness of the Creator. Several times, the guides, who have been working inside the temple to usher the crowds into discipline, have been perplexed at the questions of the visitors regarding where the object of everyone’s admiration really is.
Splendor and Magnificence
Not only is the temple grand, but it is also magnificent. The temple has, in fact, won a few awards such as a U.K. based award from the Institution of Structural Engineers and a U.S. based award for “Excellence in Art and Architecture.” More people come to this temple than to visit the Eiffel Tower in Paris or even the Taj Mahal in Agra.
During the summer, the temple is open to visit from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. However, during the winter, it is open from 9 a.m. to 5.30 p.m. There are 15 minute services held at 10 a.m., noon, 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. every day.
Best time to visit
From October to January
Places to visit
The Prachin Bhairon Mandir, the Aastha Kunj Park, ISKCON temple, Kalkaji Devi Mandir, Ashokan Edict Rock, the Shrine Empire Art Gallery, the M. F. Hussain Art Gallery, and the Jai Bhawani Temple.
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Old World Charm
The friendly people of Kashmir do not take more than a few minutes to win you over with their courtly hospitality. The Old World Charm of Kashmir will, in fact, draw you like a magnet towards it. With rows of floating markets, Shikaras, and houseboats secured to the banks of the famous Dal Lake, you would find that its quaint charm has not faded away despite its being a centre of activity.
Kashmir is a land that has produced poetsdue to its picture postcard beauty. Poets such as Amir Khusrau have, in fact, been inspired by its eternal beauty enough to write about it, saying “If there is Paradise on earth, this is it, this is it.” Wahab Khar, Shamas Fakir, Soch Kral, Ahad Zargar, and Ghulam Ahmad Manjur are some of the Sufi saints and mystics that made Kashmiri poetry immortal.
Land of great scholars
The Literature of Kashmir dates back to some 5000 yearsago, when Patanjali penned a commentary on Panini’s grammar and Abhinavagupta and Anandavardhana wrote books on esthetics. However, in the medieval times, Shaivism rose in Kashmir and its masters include Abhinavagupta, Utpala, Vasugupta, and Kshemraja. Bhattanayaka and many others were masters in esthetics and the others such as Ravigupta specialized in the Buddhist spirituality.Contemporary literature is being handled by the University of Kashmir.
The Land of Shiva
Kashmir is said to be the land of none other than the three-eyed Lord of the Three Worlds, Shiva himself. It is said that Shiva lived in an ice cave in Kashmir – what is known as the Amarnath Cave Shrine. In fact, there are many temples in Kashmir that are dedicated to Shiva. The Shiv Khori cave temple is one of them, which is said to be in the shape of the Damroo or the small two-headed drum that Shiva holds in his hand. It is also said that there is a secret passage behind the Shiva Lingam in this cave temple is the way to Heaven itself and that the saints who ventured going through this passage never returned. Some say that there is another secret passage from this temple that leads to the Amarnath cave temple. Where the passages actually lead to still remain a mystery to date!Now of course, the additional passages have been sealed to ensure the safety of the public.
The Magical Allure
The alluring beauty of Kashmir makes you want to visit this place time and again. From the Nishat Bagh to the Chashme Shahi gardens that are a sight for sore eyes, Kashmir is a tourist haven. The skies here are a magical azure colour and the ivory clouds look like they have been made of the finest cotton. The magic that the Kashmir Valley weaves is accentuated with the quaint charm of the houseboats of the Dal Lake.
Open from sunrise to sunset.
Best time to visit
October to December
Places to visitShiv Khori, Chashme Shahi, Nishat Bagh, Dal Lake, Adi Shankaracharya Temple, Gulmarg, Sonmarg, Amarnath caves, Siddhivinayak Temple, andLidder Valley (Pehelgam).
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The geometrical patterns of the mausoleum enhance the poise of the whole complex. The moment you enter this edifice, you will fall in love with the play of the artistic patterns and the gracefulness of this manse of love. Here is a condensed effort to describe the grandeur of this edifice in 4 wondrous reasons.
The Myth of the number 7
The Taj Mahal is one of the Seven Wonders of the World. It is also a UNESCO World Heritage site. Of course, the certificate is meagre before the magnificence and the opulence called the Taj Mahal. People, who have visited India, would have to of course answer the inevitable question on whether or not they have visited the Taj Mahal. According to some sources, the mausoleum was originally a Shiva temple called the Tejo Mahalaya. Just like the love story of Mumtaz Mahal and the Emperor Shah Jahan, the love between Shiva and his soul mate Parvati is the most auspicious romances of the Hindu folklore.
It is a grand work of architecture
The task of constructing the Taj Mahal was assigned to the regal architect Ustad Ahmad Lahauri. The design comprises four symmetrically made turrets at each corner of the edifice and a central dome. The beauty of the Taj is not the only thing that is enchanting about it, but also the play of motifs. The Lotus flower, which is the holy symbol of the Indian cultural heritage, also signifies Paradise or the Garden of Eden and this motif recurs throughout the edifice. The dome of the Taj Mahal bears a trident made of metal that would not rust, which is not only one of the top religious symbols of the Islamic culture, but also something that serves as a deflector. Moreover, there is also the symbol of the curved moon, which is one of the holiest of symbols in the Islamic architecture.
It is a symbol of love
The Taj Mahal holds the grave of the Mumtaz Mahal. The emperor Shah Jahan wanted to bestow the grace of the heavens on his late wife and therefore, had this edifice built and also in honour of his wife, who passed away at childbirth. Shah Jahan had also described the monument as the teardrops of the sun and the moon. The pure magic culled by a man who was saddened by the death of his wife and the myth of the pure Shiva-Shakti have rendered the beauty to this monument.
Gift from infinity to mankind
The evergreen beauty of the Taj Mahal is a gift from infinity to mankind. In fact, the Taj Mahal has as many shades as true beauty can have. In the morning, it is pinkish white, in the afternoon, it is of a milky white and at night, it is a precious golden colour. In fact, the Archaeological Survey of India allows some nights every week for seeing this magnificence in stone bathe in the light of the moon.
Open from sunrise to sunset. Remains closed on Fridays. Entry fee for those above 12: Rs. 20.
Best time to visit
October to February
Places to visitAgra Fort, Sikandara, Babur's Ram Bath,Tomb of Sheikh Salim chisti, Itmad-ud-daulah Tomb, Diwan-i-Aam, Musamman Burj,Diwan-i-Khas, Jahangir's Palace, Bharatpur, Jama Masjid, and Chini Ka Ranza.
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