Monthly Archives: May 2013

Kumbhalgarh- A Must Visit Destination

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Standing majestically with the Aravali ranges forming an enchanting backdrop, Kumbhakgarh Fort near Udaipur is considered the second most important citadel in the Mewar region and is a must visit destination on any tour to Rajasthan.

Built in the 15th century, Kumbhalgarh Fort near Udaipur in was named after Rana Kumbha, who got the fort erected. One of the most beautiful Forts and Palaces in Rajasthan India, Kumbhalgarh Fort holds the distinction of remaining unconquered till date.

The Fort stands majestically as a mute witness to the past glory of its kings and princes.

Kumbhalgarh Fort is fortified with 33 km of walls, more than 25 feet thick – in fact, the second longest continuous wall in the world. Thirteen mountain peaks of the Aravali range protect this impgreganal fortress.

Second greatest Wall in the world

Second greatest Wall in the world

Most alluring attraction is the presence of an inner fort within the precinct of the outer wall. There is a magnificient array of temples built by the Mauryas of which the most picturesque place is the Badal Mahal or the Palace of the Clouds.

The access to the fort itself is very much tempting; the crisscross road that goes through the vibrant meadows and woody forests is only the beginning of an enticing charm.

 

Sightseeing- 

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Kumbhalgarh Wildlife SanctuaryKumbhalgarh also has an interesting option for nature and adventure lovers i.e. The Kumbhalgarh Wildlife Sanctuary ranging from 500 to 1300 meters elevation. The sanctuary shelters numerous wild animals and birds, including panthers, sambhars, sloth bears, wild boar and the rare gray jungle fowls.

Light & Sound Show at Kumbalgarh Fort

Light & Sound Show at Kumbalgarh Fort

Kumbhalgarh Fort –Light And Sound Show- Every evening the stunning Kumbhalgarh Fort is illuminated with floodlights and there is special show called Light & Sound Show, which tells the story of the royal past.

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This fort presents an array of other imposing attractions, whose magnificence is to be enjoyed at least once in a lifetime. With its stunning formations and gorgeous edifices, Kumbhalgarh fort stands proudly as a testimony to its past glory.

So, this summer holiday don’t look for another destination, Kumbhalgarh Fort is the place to be!!!

Pic Courtesy: All the pic used in the blog are clicked by Gaurav Hajela and subject to copyright . 

 

 

 

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Khwaja Garib Nawaj Urs Festival in Ajmer Shariff

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The annual celebration at the Dargah or tomb of the Sufi saint Khwaja Muinuddin Chisti, in Ajmer is observed with great fervor in the month of May each year. The Urs (the death anniversary of the saint) is an occasion for a massive pilgrimage, with thousands of devotees flocking to the dargah. The celebrations continue for six days, commencing with the hoisting of a white flag on the tomb by the Sajdanashin.
Annual Urs commences with Flag Hoisting at Buland Darwaza.

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Pilgrims of different religions come from all over to seek the blessings of the great saint. Programs of religious music or quawwalis are held all night long at the Dargah in which renowned singers participate. The intensity of the performance has to be witnessed, to be truly appreciated. Outside the dargah precincts, two massive cauldrons cook sweet rice garnished with dry fruits and condiments to be served as ‘tabarukh’ or sanctified food.

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This is the 801st death anniversary of the Sufi saint and there is a ritual of sandal. On this auspicious day the sandal offered by the devotees in the past one year is cleared and later distributed among the devotees coming from far and nearby places. It is believed that sandal cures various diseases and that is the reason devotees take the sandal, keep it in bottles of water and drink that water throughout the year.

Although it is an Islamic tradition, people of all faiths participate with equal reverence.

Khwaja Garib e Nawaz 

                                                             Qul Day ( Final Day)

Qul ceremony takes place on the last day of Urs which is also the sixth day of the month of Rajab. This is considered to be a very important day. After the morning prayer, people start gathering the Holy Tomb.The activities include recital of Quran, Darood, Shijra-e-Chishtia and other verses. People also tie small turbans on each other’s head and pray for the benefit of the people, for peace, prosperity and happiness.

At the time of the Urs, a busy bazaar springs up at the foot of the dargah. Flowers, embroidered prayer rugs, prayer caps and decorative chadars are among the many things to be found in the bazaar, apart from the usual souvenirs which make their way to fairs such as this.

6 Rajasthan Forts poised to get World Heritage status!

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India has nominated a group of six hill forts in Rajasthan for World Heritage Sites this year. UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee at its meeting in Cambodian capital Phnom Penh next month will decide on conferring the status on them.


The hill forts at Chittorgarh, Kumbhalgarh, Ranthambore, Gagron, Amber, and Jaisalmer are excellent examples of Rajput military architecture, which are found in palaces, temples, memorials and even in villages. Built between 13th and 19th centuries, these forts are unique to this region. The aesthetic ambiance of these marvels of architecture can be seen within their walls on various level layout plan in the opulent palace complexes.

Properties listed in World Heritage List, are recognised by the global community as having special significance which needs to be protected for future generations to enjoy.

Nagaur Fort among 20 finalists for Aga Khan Award 2013!

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The shortlist of nominees for the 2013 cycle of the Aga Khan Award for Architecture was recently announced. The 12th century Nagaur Fort, which has been under the private domain’s largest architectural conservation, has made it to the shortlisted nominee list for US$ 1 million Aga Khan Award for Architecture 2013.

Nagaur Fort

The award is conferred in recognition of architectural excellence in the field of historic preservation, reuse and area conservation, as well as landscape design and improvement of the environment.

The conservation project at Nagaur Fort shortlisted from 800 nominations is among the 20 finalists. Five to six finalists will then be selected and announced at a ceremony to be held in Lisbon in September 2013.

Rehabilitation of Nagaur Fort, Nagaur, Rajasthan, India

At the heart of the ancient city of Nagaur, one of the first Muslim strongholds in northern India is the fort of Ahhichatragarh, built in the early 12th century and repeatedly altered over subsequent centuries. The project for its rehabilitation, involving the training of many artisanal craftsmen, adhered to principles of minimum intervention. Materials and construction methods of an earlier era were rediscovered, paintings and architectural features conserved, and the historic pattern of access through seven successive gates re-created. The finding and restoration of the intricate water system was a highlight: 90 fountains are now running in the gardens and buildings, where none were functional at the project’s outset.

The fort’s buildings and spaces, both external and internal, serve as venue, stage and home to the Sufi Music Festival.

Mt. Abu Rajasthan- Take a break from the smoldering summer blaze!

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The infamous Indian summer is turning up the heat, making it the perfect time of year to head to the hills!

Mount Abu is a beautiful hill station in Rajasthan. The tourists and the native’s alike head here to take a break from the smoldering summer blaze.

Mt. Abu

Mount Abu is probably one of the few places in the state of Rajasthan that endowed with lush foliage and a variety of flora and fauna. Besides being a summer getaway, Mount Abu is also a sacred pilgrimage spot. Revered sacred by the Hindus and the Jains, Mount Abu is associated with a number of shrines and the religious legends attached to this city.

The mystifying and beautiful city is known by many names such as “Hill Of Wisdom”,Saint’s Pinnacle” and “Olympus Of Rajasthan“.

Mt Abu

Places worth visiting in Mount Abu are:

  • Dilwara Jain Temples
  • Nakki Lake
  • Toad Roak
  • Gau Mukh temple
  • Sunset Point
  • Honeymoon Point
  • Government Museum And Art Gallery
  • Om Shanti Bhawan Or Universal Peace Hall
  • Adhar Devi Or Arbuda Devi Temple
  • Mount Abu Sanctuary

Though the place can be visited at any given time of the year but Summer or Winter Festival of Mount Abu has its own fascination.

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Mount Abu, the only hill station in Rajasthan, hosts the annual Summer Festival that lasts for 3 days, commencing from the day of Buddha Poornima. This year it will be held between 23-25th May, 2013

Traditions 

The festival begins with a ceremonial procession, which starts from the RTDC Hotel Shikhar and gather at the Nakki Lake Chowk followed by folk performances of Rajasthan & Gujrat states. The grand finale of the Festival a display of dazzling fire works all three days. This three day colourful festival is organized by the Rajasthan Tourism, Municipal Board, Mt.Abu & District Administration.

The second and third day of the festival is more interesting because of various competitions that take place the whole day. Skating Race, skater’s Show, CRPF Band Show, Boat Race, Horse Race, Tug of War, Panihari Matka Race and Deepdan add to the excitements of the celebration.

How to Reach:

 Udaipur (185km) is the nearest airport while Mount Abu railway station is about 28 km from the city. Regular trains connect Mount Abu with cities such as Ahmadabad and Jaipur. Taxis, jeeps and excellent bus services connect the mountainous town with the rest of the state and cities in Gujarat.

The gorgeous setting of Mt. Abu with its rocky hills and placid lakes forms an apt venue for this exuberant show. In addition to the various performances, tourists can enjoy the natural beauty of this hill station with its pleasant climate.

Rajasthan Roadways hikes passenger fare of Semi Deluxe, Deluxe & Volvo buses!

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If you planning to travel by Rajasthan roadways deluxe buses, then be ready to shell out more as bus fare hike comes into effect from midnight of April 30.  Every passenger has to pay 3 to 5 paisa more per kilometer.

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Rajasthan Roadways has increased passenger fare of  Semi deluxe , Deluxe & Volvo buses plying in the state.
While the fares in semi deluxe buses are being hike by three paise per km and in deluxe and volvo buses five paise per km. The new ticket prices would be effective from May 1. The department has kept the fare of express and normal busses same so that commoners do not suffer with the hike.

The fare between Delhi and Ajmer has been increased by Rs 14, for Kota it has been increased by Rs 12, for Jodhpur it is Rs 18, for Bikaner Rs 17, and for journey till Ahmedabad the fare has been increased by Rs 35.

BAGRU Prints- A Journey through the Mazes of Block Printing!

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“The process of hand block printing includes artisans to soak carved wooden blocks in different colors and then paste them on the fabric thus creating some magical wonder on the piece of cloth. Bagru prints brings you an exquisite collection of floral prints and designs made in vegetable colour, which is the specialty of Rajasthan block printing”
 

Are you in love with that floral and leaves motifs? Do you want to know from where they originated?? So we got to tell you….

 32 kilometers east of Jaipur city is a small village called Bagru, where there is a hum of activity in the field of hand block printing on textiles, using traditionally patterned blocks, and rich natural colours. The main colours of Bagru prints are Red and Black. The printed fabric can be dyed in different colour variations as per requirement.

 Bagru printing process goes through a series of interesting steps before it reaches you.

Initially, fabric, usually, cotton is cut into required size and then pre washed and soaked for at least 24 hours to remove starch and dust out of it. The fabric is then dyed in the ‘Harda’ solution, which allows dye to adhere to the fabric. The yellow died fabric is then dried under ample sunshine so that it develops a yellowish beige color making the fabric ready for the printing. The fabric is finally moved to long padded printing tables and printing is always done from left to right. The printer gently taps the wooden block in the tray of dyed colors and then carefully applied to the fabric ensuring its uniform distribution. The process is repeated again and again with rehk(fine outlines), daata(inside filling) and gadh block (background). After the printing is completed, the fabric is allowed to dry for at least 2-3 days before it can be rinsed. Then the printed fabric is boiled and stirred in a copper pot to get rid of dirt present in the fabric.

printing

The block printing is manual process and blocks impression prints in repeated form expects little different placement of next block, which is the main beauty of Bagru Hand Block Printing that contributes to the natural elegance of the piece.

For the purpose of creating motifs printers use various natural objects like neem leaves, rose petals, chili, and dhaniya ki bel (coriander sprig). These motifs have changed over the time. Traditionally, ‘Bagru Motifs’ are bolder and more geometrical in nature. Bagru prints are used for making kurtas, shirts, quilts, bed sheets etc.

As a matter of fact, ‘Bagru prints are famous for being environment friendly. Even, today artisans use vegetable dyes like pomegranate for red color, turmeric for yellow and so on. Bagru print I s acclaimed all over India.

Hand block printing has seen a major revival over the past two decades. It is craft that has been handed down generations but with the propensity towards industry, traditional printers are fewer in number.

India is today in the fashion forefront in the world. Foreign buyers have been greatly attracted by traditional hand printed textiles, the export trade has been so consistent that traditional printers are kept busy even today and hand block printing has extended itself to non-traditional centres like Delhi, Bombay, Madras and Bangalore.

Now the next time you are visiting Rajasthan, make sure to add Bagru in your itinerary to acknowledge the centuries old tradition of real printing process and also to observe ‘behind the scenes’ of hand block printing.