A trip to Bijapur: Agra of South

Bijapur now called as Vijaypuri city, is the district headquarters of Bijapur District of Karnataka state. Bijapur city is well known for its historical monuments of architectural importance built during the rule of the Adil Shahi dynasty. It is located 530 km northwest of Bangalore and about 550 km from Mumbai, and 384 km west of the city of Hyderabad.

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In an introduction to an album of Bijapur published in 1866, Philip Meadows Taylor wrote: “Palaces, arches, tombs, cisterns, gateways, minarets, …all carved from the rich basalt rock of the locality, garlanded by creepers, broken and disjointed by peepul trees, each in its turn is a gem of art and the whole a treasury.

We had a big urge for visiting Badami-Aihole-Pattadakal-Dambal temples from a very long time. We plan every time and fail every time. Finally on 14th January 7:00pm, we’ve decided to fulfill our desire of visiting all the Chalukyan dynasty(Badami-Aihole-Pattadakal) temples via Bijapur. So we started to Bijapur which was 380kms away from Hyderabad(Via. Zaheerabad, Humnabad,Jevargi, Sindhagi etc.,) which seems to be better than Kodangal road. We reached around 2:00am and took a room in Navaratna international hotel which was 1100rs/room for 5members which was quite comfortable for 5 of us.

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Tuk Tuk near Malik e Maidan, Bijapur.

Day 2:

After having breakfast, we started exploring Bijapur according to our planned itinerary which includes:

Jami masjid: Largest and oldest mosque in the Deccan

We started our trip from this place since it is quite near to our hotel. It is the largest and oldest mosque in the Deccan. Ali Adil Shah I, after his triumphant victory over Vijayanagara empire built this mosque. The most beautiful feature is the dome of this building which is highly proportionate.  It is a big mosque with huge prayer hall. There is no charge to see this place. We spent a lot of time in this mosque by discussing about the architecture styles of Adilshah with a well knowledged old man. It seems that around 2500 members can pray at a stretch in this mosque. Then we headed to Golgumbaz.

 

Gol gumbaz: An Acoustic wonder

This is the most famous monument in Bijapur. It is the tomb of Mohammed Adil Shah (ruled 1627-1657). It is the largest dome ever built in India, next in size only to St Peter’s Basilica in Rome. A particular attraction in this monument is the central chamber, where every sound is echoed seven times. We’ve never seen such incredible acoustics. Another attraction at the Gol Gumbaz is the Whispering Gallery, where even minute sounds can be heard clearly 37 metres away. The stairs are narrow but the management have been maintaining the place very well with separate steps to go up and down. But we were unable to tolerate the echo sounds inside the dome so we were there only for 10mins. Over all it is the best and most enjoyable touristic attraction in Bijapur.


One more touristic attraction is The Archaeological Museum: It has several curious objects like inscriptions, sculptures, paintings, manuscripts, and weapons etc., displayed.

Ibrahim Rauza: Inspiration for the famous Taj-mahal

This is the tomb of Ibrahim Adil Shah II (ruled 1580-1627), the fifth king of the dynasty.
It is one of the most prominent places to be visited in bijapur, It comprises two buildings, a magnificent tomb and a remarkable mosque enveloped by a garden. Facing each other, these twin buildings have a fountain in between them. This is the most ornate building in Bijapur. Cousins called the building as “The Taj Mahal of the Deccan”.It is said that the design for the Ibrahim Rauza served as an inspiration for that of the famous Taj Mahal.
The symmetry of the monuments was amazing, large well-maintained gardens, classic muslim architecture made my trip to bijapur more interesting than I’d originally thought. The Minarets and tomb are typical Muslim architecture, similar to the Taj Mahal and the Bibi ka Maqbarra. Though we visited this place in a wrong time, I loved clicking pictures of this marvel. Simply speaking it will be a delight to all those Photography enthusiasts, amateur photographers, and Professional photographers

Malik-e-Maidan : Monarch of the Plains” or “Lord of the Battlefield

The largest medieval cannon in the world. It was placed on the Sherza Burj (Lion Gate) on a platform especially built for it. The cannon’s nozzle is fashioned into the shape of a lion’s head with open jaws & between the carved fangs is depicted an elephant being crushed to death. It is said that after igniting the cannon, the gunner would remain underwater in a tank of water on the platform to avoid the deafening explosion. The cannon remains cool even in strong sunlight and if tapped, tinkles like a bell. This relic has been well preserved. One has to climb one of the twin staircases on the fortification wall to reach the canon, now protected by iron railings.

Upli Buruj/Hyder burj:

Built around 1584 by Hyder Khan, is an 80 ft. This is a spherical structure with stone steps winding round the outside. After climbing the circular stairs we’ve reached the top there are two large cannons placed on this tower. And the top of the tower offers a commanding 360 degree view of the Bijapur city.

 

Jod Gumbaz: Identical domes

My friends weren’t impressed by the maintenance of this place so they didn’t get down from the car. I went alone and captured some pictures. You can skip this place if you have a limited time.


Taj bawdi:
It is quite near to Jod Gumbaz. This place lacks absolute maintenance. You can also skip this place.

Barakaman(twelve arches):

A mausoleum of Ali Roza built in 1672. Bara Kaman got its name because it was the 12th monument during his reign. It has now seven arches and the tomb containing the graves of Ali, his queens and eleven other ladies possibly belonging to the Zenana of the queens.

At 12:30Pm, we started to Aihole which was 110kms from Bijapur(via Nh 133/SH66 road. Road till Ameengal was good and the last 10kms stretch to Aihole was not drive friendly.

Tips and Highlights of the trip:

1. Entrance Fee for Golgumbaz was 5rupees, 25 rupees for camera , 30 rupees for parking. Parking fees for Ibrahim Rauza is 30rs.
2. Get ready to take a very narrow stairs around 5 stories to the top of Golgumbaz. Don’t miss this is an acoustic wonder.
3. Golgumbaz and Ibrahim rauza are the main highlights of this trip to Bijapur.
4. I would suggest to add Bijapur to your itinerary if you are planning a trip to Badami-Aihole-Pattadakal.
5. My suggestion for all those Hyderabadies who are planning to go for a heritage tour. Follow this road map HyderabadBijapurAiholePattadakalBadamiMahadevi temple ,Itagi(It will make you the drive bit longer)Hampi then back to Hyderabad.

North Sikkim: An Incredible Journey

On 3rd of April, 2015, after a big party a day before in Gangtok, it was pretty hard for us to wake up the next morning. With great struggle, we finally woke up at around 7AM and got ready for the most exciting trip. We got ready and after having breakfast we headed for the taxi stand, (where the actual trip to North Sikkim starts) taking a taxi from our hotel in MG Marg for INR 150. Mr.Lahiri Ji was waiting for us at the taxi stand. We were supposed to start by 8:00 AM but we reached late. On reaching the stand he guided us to our car. The car driver was furious and started howling at us for being late. We planned to even the score during the journey :P. All were waiting for us. There was a Bengali couple along with us, waiting to start the most incredible journey to North Sikkim.

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That’s Me and GK

We departed at around 9:30 am in a Mahindra Bolero from Gangtok Taxi stand. Lachung is a very small town around 120 kms from Gangtok. It’s at an altitude of 9600ft. We were informed, that we will get to see 3-4 view points during our journey from Gangtok to Lachung, however our driver Kanniah was nice enough to stop wherever we asked him to stop for sightseeing.

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This is my Favorite capture in North Sikkim..

Our first stop of the day was at Seven Sister’s waterfalls. These falls were adjacent to the road with a stream of water flowing down from the mountain top.

We almost skipped many stops. We’ve seen many tourists who are being hurried by their drivers. But our driver was very patient and he never rushed us. So we had an amazing time. Because of his patience he made our journey itself, a destination.

We had a quick stopover at Phodong for lunch. The food we had was delicious, with a backdrop of the beautiful and mighty Himalayas. We were served rice, Chicken, Pickles, Daal, Potato, some kind of beans and a piece of egg. We’ve never seen our friend Prashant eating like that before. He was going on eating,  he was unstoppable.

Restaurant enroute northsikkim

Restaurant with a backdrop of Himalayas enroute Lachung.

After lunch, we headed towards Mangan (district headquarters) a few kms further to Mangan is Singhik viewpoint which offers a panoramic view of Mt.Kanchenjunga and Teestha Valley.

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Sikkim never ceases to amaze you with stunning landscapes..

Due to heavy fog, we didn’t get a view of Kanchenjunga but the view of Teestha was priceless.  Moving ahead and we kept on gaining altitude and the sun rays were getting weaker and weaker, the temperature dipped rapidly.

 

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Roads are not drive friendly..Hope they’ll be get better…

We reached Chungthang around 3:30 P.M. From Chungthang the road for Lachen and Lachung bifurcates. Lachen is approximately 30 kms from Chungthang and Lachung is around 23km. Our next stop was at Lachung for an overnight stay. We reached Lachung at around 4:30 PM, then we checked in at a hotel. It was pretty cold in Lachung village, the temperature was below zero degrees Celsius.

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Sikkim is a Land of Highpasses and stunning Landscapes

We could hear the icy winds roaring across the mountains. We were given a couple of rooms on the first floor of our hotel. Later on we went to capture the beauty of this Magnificent tiny village. We finished exploring the whole village in about an hour. After shooting some footages for our Video, we got back to the hotel.

 

Our driver Kanniah took us to the Army Base. We never knew that going with him will be such a memorable experience. He almost knew every person in the village and even in the army. He took us to the Military Canteen. We bought some snacks and had a chat with the army men at the canteen. Luckily we met a soldier who could speak Telugu, who shared his life experiences and his love towards our nation. Photography is strictly prohibited so we couldn’t click any pictures with him!! Soon after Kanniah was done with his work , we started from there, while returning we had a quick stopover at a small home, there we had local wine and chai !! After a while we got back to our hotel and had dinner. Back to bed!Himalayas (39)

Day 02:

We were supposed to start at 5:00am to see Yumthang valley. Unfortunately there is no geyser or hot water in the hotel. So had to freshen up with cold water. We were amazed to see the snow rugged mountains around our hotel. We didn’t notice anything the day before because of the intense fog around us. It was our first sight of snow rugged mountains in Sikkim. Quite fascinating it was. Now I believe in ‘Love at first sight.”Himalayas (10)

The Yumthang Valley is at an elevation of 3,564 metres and is a grazing pasture surrounded by the Himalayan mountains in the North Sikkim. It is popularly known as ‘Valley of Flowers’. During the spring months(April-September), the area blooms with rhododendrons, primulas, poppies, iris and other flora. Even though we took this trip in April, we hardly found any flowers there. We missed seeing the real beauty of Yumthang. No one in our group was interested in visiting the hot springs in Yumthang. So we skipped it.

 

It was around 7 AM, we thought of extending our trip to Katao border and Zero Point. Generally both Katao border & Zero Point are not covered in the tour, but we negotiated with the driver to take us there. He charged 500 bucks per head and agreed to take us to those places. We reached Katao border at around 8:30 AM. We were warned by the Soldiers about the ferocious dogs. I am always afraid of dogs, so I was very cautious while going there.  On the other side of the gate, Photography is strictly prohibited. Finally, a quick hike on a cliff, we found a good place to capture the beauty of the peaks. Here we had a good conversation with Telugu speaking Aunties whom we met in Gangtok before. After enjoying and playing a lot with Snow, we left for Zeropoint at around 9:30 AM.

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“He who climbs upon the highest mountains laughs at all tragedies, real or imaginary.” (Friedrich Neitszche)

 

We arrived Yumesdeong famously known as zero-point, It wasn’t so cold eventhough we were at an elevation of 13700 feet . And the view from here is breath taking and the joy we had while playing with the snow and making the snowman and snowwoman was priceless. Sunrays cascading on the Snowcapped mountains made it look like, as if it were made of gold. All those beautiful Mountains, lovely Snow, striking Sunlight and clear blue Skies..

Oh God, this is what I am looking for. Going to Mountains is not an adventure, Going to Mountains is finding Happiness. Thank you god for making my life more meaningful by taking me to these mountains. Then we headed back to Lachung. At around 1:00PM, we reached our Hotel in Lachung again, after having lunch and freshening up, we departed to Gangtok at around 2:30 PM and reached back at 8:00pm.

Tips from my perspective:

  • Initially we paid for  3D/2N – Lachen – Gurudongmar Lake & Lachung – Yumthung Valley. But due to heavy rains and landslides the road to Gurdongmar lake was blocked. So we got our money refunded. Then we changed it to a 2D/1N – Lachung with Yumthung Valley.
  • It is mandatory to take a Travel Agency to visit North Sikkim.
  • Permits, Food and accommodation everything will be taken care by the travel agents.
  • If you are planning a trip to Sikkim, Don’t miss North Sikkim..

Checkout our Video Travel diaries of RoRboyz

Monday Macros: Pollination & Pollinators

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Pollination occurs when pollen is moved within flowers or carried from flower to flower by pollinating animals such as birds, bees, bats, butterflies, moths, beetles, or other animals, or by the wind.

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When pollen from a plant’s stamen is transferred to that same plant’s stigma, it is called self-pollination. When pollen from a plant’s stamen is transferred to a different plant’s stigma(of same species), it is called cross-pollination.

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Plants that are pollinated by animals often are brightly colored and have a strong smell to attract the animal pollinators.

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Another way plants are pollinated is by the wind. The wind picks up pollen from one plant and blows it onto another.

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When the flower blooms, the bees come uninvited. –RK

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“The bee is more honored than other animals, not because she labors, but because she labors for others” -St.John

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A harvest of peace grows from seeds of contentment. -Indian saying

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People from a planet without flowers would think we must be mad with joy the whole time to have such things about us. ~Iris Murdoch

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“The happiest people don’t have the best of everything. They just make the best of everything.” Live simply. Love generously. Care deeply. Speak kindly.

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You’re only here for a short visit. Don’t hurry, don’t worry. And be sure to smell the flowers along the way. -Walter Hagen

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Keep love in your heart. A life without it is like a sunless garden when the flowers are dead. ~Oscar Wilde

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“In joy or sadness, flowers are our constant friends.” – Kozuko Okakura.