Journey along the Ganges

Four cities on the banks of the holy river you should visit

Even if you have never before ventured to go on a trip to the magnificent country of India, the chances of you never having heard about the river Ganges are pretty slim. It is one of the world’s longest rivers and, according to Hindu mythology, is the daughter of the mountain God – the Himalaya. The river is of great cultural and religious significance for the whole Indian peoples. Not only do they believe that bathing in the river’s waters purifies one’s soul and heals the body, but the religious importance of the Ganges is so big that its banks are also used as cremation grounds. Those cremated there and their ashes immersed in the holy waters are believed to be granted instant salvation. All of this makes the Ganges a must for all tourists who wish to encounter all of India’s diverse beauty in terms of both culture and nature. However, this leads to an important question: Which city to visit in order to admire the holy river? Even though there are more than a dozen cities along the banks of the Ganges, following is a suggestion list of four cities that if you feel adventurous, you can even try and visit all.

Indian woman floating lamps in the Ganges
Indian woman floating lamps in the Ganges

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Places to visit in Bangalore

Devanahalli Fort

Bengaluru, which was earlier known as Bangalore is one of the most sought of exotic tourist destinations in South India. Bengaluru is the capital city of Karnataka and is the blend of ultra modern cosmopolitan culture and the traditional extravaganza. It is known to be the silicon city of India and the capital of information technology or the IT world of the country. It is the house for numerous multinational companies and is also recognised as one of the growing economical cities on the world map. It is also known as the ‘Garden City of India.’

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Humayun’s Tomb

Humayun’s Tomb

Located in the Indian capital New Delhi, the Tomb of Humayun is a mausoleum constructed in 1569-1572 for the second Mughal Emperor Humayun. The tomb was the first of its kind, in fact it was the first tomb surrounded by gardens, ever constructed on the Indian Subcontinent by the Mughals. The architect of the tomb was Mirak Mirza Ghiyath and built by Biga Begum (also known as Hamida Banu Begum) after the death of her husband. The Persian architect was specially brought from Herat in Northwest Afghanistan who incidentally died before he could complete the monument and was completed by his son instead in 1572.

This construction marks the beginning of the Mughal architectural style which will reach its zenith in the construction of Taj Mahal. It also marks the first time when red sand stone was used on such a grand scale. UNESCO currently designates the tomb as a World Heritage Site.

Tomb of Humayun
Tomb of Humayun as seen through the gateway. Source: Wikimedia Commons

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A brief travel guide to Goa

Have you finally decided to take that long awaited holiday to India but aren’t sure where to go? If you’re looking for the perfect blend of colonial and modern charm, rich in history, cuisine and extraordinary culture, then look no further — Goa is your dream destination. Whether you’re looking to submerge yourself in vibrant city life or unwind by the seaside, Goa offers something for everyone.

"Goa coastline"
Goa coastline

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Visiting places in Hyderabad

Hyderabad is fondly referred to as the city of Nawabs and sometimes also as the city of Pearls as till the 20th century it probably was the only global center for large diamonds. Hyderabad is also famous as the birthplace of Tollywood besides hosting a thriving IT industry. But probably the most distinctive aspect of this historical city is that it is the only city in South India with a distinctly North Indian culture. This makes Hyderabad a veritable treasure house of amazing buildings and great food – and me like a kid in a candy store.

"Mecca Masjid Hyderabad"
Mecca Masjid, Hyderabad India

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Tourist places in East India

Bodh Gaya Temple in Bihar
Bodh Gaya Temple in Bihar

Typically the states Bihar, Jharkhand, Orissa and West Bengal are referred to as Eastern India; whereas Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura, Manipur, Nagaland, Mizoram, Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh are referred to as North East India. But in a broader sense all these eleven states together form the Eastern part of India. This article will highlight the most popular destinations in East Indian states of Bihar, Orrisa, Jharkhand and West Bengal.

Eastern India demonstrates the cultural riches, historical structures, Buddhist sites of importance, Hindu and Jain temples and the beauties of Indian wild life.

Places to visit in Eastern India:

Bihar

It is well known as the land of Lord Buddha. Ganges, the mother of all rivers in India flows along the state. India’s most powerful empires originated from Bihar such as the Mauryas, the Guptas and the Palas all ruled and built their dynasties in Bihar.

Patna is the capital city of Bihar. This was also the capital of ancient India – Pataliputra. If you are visiting Patna then you must not miss on these attractions – Hanuman Mandir, Khuda Baksh Oriental Library, Patna Museum, Kumhrar, Qila house, Gandhi Setu, Golghar, etc. Read, introduction to Bihar for further information.

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Jantar Mantar observatory

Jantar Mantar is the name of a series of astronomical observatories built by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II during the early 18th century in five cities, which included: Jaipur, Mathura, New Delhi, Ujjain and Varanasi. The most spectacular and largest of them is the Jaipur Jantar Mantar. It’s also the only one to have been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. It’s the best preserved of the four (the one in Mathura no longer exists), in part due to the extensive efforts of a British officer and an amateur astronomer Major Arthur Garrett. Currently the Archaeological Survey of India oversees the preservation of these magnificent instruments. The Jantar Mantars in New Delhi and Jaipur are a major tourist attraction.

"Jantar Mantar Jaipur"
Jantar Mantar in Jaipur

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Ladakh: Visit The Paradise

Ladakh means “Land of high passes” and lies in the extreme far flung corners of north of India. Near the Indus valley lies the historic city of Leh, capital of Ladakh. Leh is the only city in Ladakh which has decent population count and offers you some basic amenities. Ladakh is surrounded by Kunlun Mountains in the north and The Great Himalayas in the south. It’s the one of the most picturesque but uninhabited place in India.

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Lotus Temple – Must see Bahai Temple

"Lotus Temple New Delhi"

In a country of more than a billion people where close to 70% people are Hindus and nearly 28% adhere to Islam, the Bahá’í form only a small community, less than five million. Despite their small numbers, the followers of this one of the newest religions in the world have built one of the largest temples in the world which due to its magnificent architectural design has compelled many to term it as “the Taj [Mahal] of modern India.” Officially known as the Bahai House of Worship, this structure in New Delhi is more famous as the Lotus Temple or the Bahai Temple, because of its partly-opened Lotus shaped praying hall. It’s one of the six major Bahai houses of worship in the world. The other five are in Apia, Western Samoa; Sydney, Australia; Kampala, Uganda; Panama City, Panama; Frankfurt, Germany and Wilmette, USA.

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Places to visit in Delhi

How can anyone describe Delhi, the 5000 year old capital city of the world’s largest democracy? Some call it the city of extremes; extreme weathers, from clean areas to congested ones, to open roads to chocking traffic, posh areas to poverty stricken. Whatever it may be, Delhi is best known as ‘Dillee Dilwalo ki’ which means ‘Delhi belongs to large hearted people’. Delhi, the capital India is the largest metropolis by area in India. It is also the eighth largest metropolis in the world by population. The city is also the one of the most historical capitals in the world and has a rich and numerous tourist sites.

The city can be divided into Old Delhi and New Delhi. Old Delhi represents the history of India with mosques, forts and other monuments. New Delhi is the seat of government and houses the government buildings and embassies.

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The swimming elephant of the Andaman Islands, India

Can elephants swim?

Can elephants swim? Yes they can. They are known to be good swimmers. New evidence suggests that elephants may have evolved from sea creatures. The discovery of “nephrostome” in elephant foetuses similar to what is found in freshwater fish, frogs and egg laying reptiles suggests that they have common ancestry. The ancestors of the modern elephant went through a variety of harsh environments and were able to evolve to environmental changes quite fast. This gave them remarkable physical and mental agility.

"Havelock Beach"
Havelock Beach. Source: Wikimedia Creative Commons

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Best destinations in South India

South India has the best destinations India has to offer. If you visit South India, here are the top destinations you should not miss.

Destination Karnataka

"South India"
Bangalore Palace was built to look like a smaller replica of the Windsor Castle. Source: Wikimedia Commons

Karnataka has the second highest number of protected historical monuments and is ranked as fifth best tourist’s destination in India.

Bangalore (Bengaluru) is the capital city of Karnataka also known as Silicon Valley of India. The tourist attractions list is exhaustive and the major ones include Bangalore Palace, Vidhana Soudha,  ISKON temple, Tipu Sultan’s Summer Palace, Lal-Bagh a botanical garden, Cuban Park, the large Shiva Idol/statue, Visvesvaraya Industrial and Technological Museum, St. Mary’s Basilica and Infant Jesus Church, UB city to hang-out, Wonderla amusement park, huge sophisticated malls and various other temples and more.

Bijapur in South India is famous for Gol-Gumbaz and other historical monuments, Hampi is the ruins of Vijayanagar Empire and is famous for Virupaksha temple, Murudeshwara is famous for the world’s second largest Shiva-statue and has a beautiful beach, in and around Mysore for bird sanctuaries, wild-life sanctuaries and many more temples, Udupi Krishna temple, and Mangalore Malpe beach.

"Gol Gumbaz"
The Gol-Gumbaz of Bijapur in South India

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