Kathmandu Top attractions – My trip to the City of Temples

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Kathmandu Top attractions – My trip to the City of Temples

I frankly admit that the impression that I had formed of Kathmandu, until recently, was solely on the basis of the scenes of some of the Hindi movies (such as Hare Rama Hare Krishna, and more recently Baby) and Indiana Jones movies that I had seen. That was before we (husband and me) packed off for a short trip, leaving our cat in the safe custody of my daughter, who has come home on vacation. The destination obviously was Kathmandu – an offbeat place but well suited for a short summer getaway, especially for heritage lovers like me.

Arrival at Kathmandu

Taking a morning flight from Mumbai, we landed in Kathmandu by noon. It had rained in the morning, due to which the temperature had dropped and the weather had turned pleasant.  A huge poster of Deepika Padukone with an Oppo phone greeted us at the Tribhuvan International airport, where I was expecting to see posters of people in their traditional Nepali costumes. Repair work was being carried on at the airport escalators, which made me a little sceptical while using those.

The hotel Annapurna was not very far away and we reached the hotel in half an hour. While entering, we could see the Narayan Hiti Palace Museum, which was at a five minutes walking distance from the hotel gate. We decided to go there after we had rested for some time.

NarayanHitiNepal
Narayan Hiti Palace

However, on reaching the Narayan Hiti Palace Museum, we found that it was closed. So we kept walking towards the Thamel shopping area. I saw that most of the people on the road had covered their nose with a dust mask, which I later found is a common practice all over Kathmandu.

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Forts and Palaces in Rajasthan – Pictures from the 19th century Part1

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By Somali K Chakrabarti

“Sublime wonders lie in store,
I am shown a regal residence;
a mighty kingdom, an empire
with more grandeur than before …”  

– E.A. Bucchianeri, Poetry for the Phantom of the Opera

Forts and palaces never fail to fascinate me. These rare examples of architecture offer a glimpse into the past grandeurs and reveal many a story of kings and their kingdoms, the wars they fought, the courts they held, and the way they lived.

Here are some pictures and photographs from the 19th century that capture the oriental magnificence of the historic forts and palaces of Rajasthan.

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Amber Fort, ca 1860

Amber Fort, ca 1860

Amber Fort, part of Raj Mahal & Maota Lake, watercolours by William Simpson ca.1860

Eleven kilometres to the north of Jaipur is the town of Amber.

The impressive fort and the palace complex, on a hill overlooking the Maota Lake, was built at Amber, in the late 16th century by Akbar’s famous general, Raja Man Singh (ruled 1592- 1614). Alterations and additions to the palace structures continued throughout the 17th century and beyond until the fort was finally abandoned in 1727.

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Delhi in the 19th century – Vintage Pictures

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By Somali K Chakrabarti

I asked my soul: What is Delhi? She replied: The world is the body and Delhi its life. ~ Mirza Ghalib

An excerpt from Delhi : A Novel, by Khushwant Singh.

Delhi, a city with a rapidly changing skyline, has been a part of India’s ancient history.

Indraprastha, the legendary capital of Pandavas, is described in the epic Mahabharat and it is believed to have existed where the present day New Delhi is.

The city that has witnessed the rule of many dynasties over centuries, has been plundered, destroyed and rebuilt several times.

Hindu kings from the dynasties of the Maurya, Kushan, Gupta, Tomar Rajputs and Chauhan Rajputs ruled Delhi till the 12th century. The end of the 12th century saw the onset of the Delhi Sultanate, and marked the beginning of the rule of Islamic rulers including Ghori, rulers from the Mamluk (Slave) dynasty, Khiljis, Tughlaks, Lodi, and later on the Mughals.

Delhi passed into the direct control of British Government in 1857 after the First War of Indian Independence, and became the capital of British India in 1911.

Here is a collection of Vintage Pictures of Delhi from the 19th century. The pictures are mostly of the architectural structures of the British and Mughal period, most of which exist till date.

New Delhi, designed by Edwin Lutyen and some other brilliant architects such as Robert Tor Russell, E. Montague Thomas, Herbert Baker, did not exist in the 19th century and was inaugurated in 1931.

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VIEW OF QUTB – DELHI , ca 1850

Delhi - Qutb 1850

Watercolours, painted on ivory plaques with the views of Qutb, Delhii by unknown artist ca.1850

Qutb Minar, the world’s tallest brick minaret at 72.5 metres, was built in 1193 by Qutb-ud-din-Aibak, the first Muslim ruler of Delhi. Qutab-ud-din Aibak commenced the construction of the Qutab Minar, but could only finish the basement. His successor, Iltutmush, added three more storeys, and in 1368, Firoz Shah Tughlak constructed the fifth and the last storey.

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