While India can unfold many treasures- some natural, some man-made—it is a treasure-trove of cultures, of legends, of elegance, of marvelous palaces, fortified forts, ancient temples, awe-inspiring museums, impregnable forests that are a home to the national bird—the peacock; of beauty crafted in stone and of gems encrusted in jewels. This beautiful country generously opens its arms wide to tourists and travelers from across the globe, and never fails to keep you enthralled with her majestic mountains and golden sand beaches.
The Taj Mahal is one of the most beautiful buildings in the world. Located in the Northern Indian city of Agra in the state of Uttar Pradesh, near the capital New Delhi, the Taj Mahal is the world’s most splendid mausoleum which houses the tombs of Mughal emperor Shah Jahan (1592-1666) and his wife Mumtaz Mahal. Built in the 17th century, the Taj Mahal is an architectural marvel, surrounded by lush green gardens. It also houses a mosque and guest house inside the complex.
Warning: Heavy floods in Uttarakhand on the 13 till 17 June have caused flooding in these areas. Thousands have died and many are still trapped. Please cancel your trip if you have been planning to make the Char Dham pilgrimage.
Dhams are religious places revered by Hindus of India. The word “char” denotes four seats or abodes of shrines of great spiritual significance. The concept of visiting these religious places is to remove all sins from one’s life. The central dogma of the Hindu religion is to attain “moksha” or “nirvana” which is to become free from the recycle of birth. Hindus believe that the ultimate religious goal of an individual is to attain moksha and become closer or part the ultimate being (God). One such way to attain moksha other than doing good deeds is to visit the “Char Dhams” or “four abodes” and become one with God. The pilgrimage to these four important sites not only washes away all the sins but frees one from the recycle of birth.
If you are a student of history then you must visit the excavations at kumhrar (also spelled as Kumrahar) in Patna, the capital of Bihar. The capital of the eastern state of Bihar was once the capital of ancient India. Patna was once known as Patliputra and was the capital of the mighty king ‘Ashoka the Great’ of the Mauryan dynasty. Ashoka was one of India’s most powerful rulers during 269 BC to 232 BC whose empire stretched from the Hindu Kush Mountains in Afghanistan to today’s Bangladesh in the east and from Indian state of Assam to the South of India.
Pangong Tso is a lake of breathtaking beauty in Ladakh, lying just about 160 km from Leh. A nearly 5 hour drive from Leh is a wonderful journey in itself, which first passes through huge monasteries and then a vast expanse of endless mountain range and finally cuts through the Changla Pass- the third highest pass in the world which has access to motor vehicles.
About Pangong Tso Lake
Pagong Tso means long, narrow, enchanted lake in the Tibetan language. It is situated at the height of about 4,350m, and measures nearly 134 km in length, though, at its widest it is just 5 km. Despite the fact that the lake is full of brackish water, it freezes to a depth of several meters in winter season. The lake changes in color during the day, appearing deepest hues of blue when the sun is high, a turquoise shade near the bank and deeper hues in the middle of the lake. It loses its shades and turns dull as the day progresses with the sun moves towards the horizon.
I am happy to talk about my own state of Bihar. The more I learn about this state, the more I fall in love with it. The history of this great state to Bihar is essentially the history of ancient India. Its capital, Patna (ancient Patliputra) built by Ajatashatru in 490 B.C. as a small fort later became the capital of Magadha that stretched from Eastern India to Afghanistan. It was from here that the mighty Indian empires such as the Nandas, Mauryans, Sungas, Guptas and Palas used Patliputra as their capital. During the reign of famous Indian king called “Ashoka the Great”, the city became one of the biggest cities of the world. It was the Afghan king, Sher Shah Suri who made Patliputra the capital of his empire and changed its name to what is called “Patna” today.
Bihar is well known as the land of monasteries, which is well evident from its name itself, which is derivation of the word “Vihara”. The serendipity of the state offers a pleasant escape from the humdrum monotony of city life. The temples, monasteries, mosques, and mausoleums of Bihar boast of a great historic past, which are related to the all major religions of India like Buddhism, Jainism, Hinduism Sikhism and Islam. The holy river Ganga flows wide and deep through the enriched plains of Bihar, and passes through the middle of the state from west to east. The other important rivers of the state are Kosi and Gandak which flow from the north, and river Sone which flows from the south join the Ganga.
The crowning glory of the state is its cherished linkage to the ‘Light of Asia’ Lord Buddha. The state boasts of special tourist attraction known as the Buddhist circuit, which is linked to the trail of the pilgrimage undertaken by Lord Buddha. The special circuit begins at Patna, the capital city, where you can view the exclusive Buddhist sculptures and the terracotta urns that contains ashes of Lord Lord Buddha at Patna museum. The trail then passes through Vaishali, Nalanda, Rajgir, Hills of Gridhrakuta and finally Bodh Gaya. All these places have special connection to the life of Lord Buddha and Lord Mahavira.