Travel diaries of RoRboyz: Thailand & Cambodia

Encountering the colorful cultures, great food, Historical temples and superb beaches on a 12-day journey to Cambodia & Thailand. The highlights of our trip includes Bangkok, Phuket, PhiPhi Islands, Ayuttaya, Siem reap, Etc.,

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2017: A year in review

2 0 1 7…. It is becoming difficult for me to remember when it has started and when it ended. At the hour of closure when I sit back and re-collect the best moments of it, then I realized What a year it’s been. Despite the underlying current of what the hell am I doing, I made some incredible memories in 2017… I have then decided to share few of the events and give a glimpse of the happiest things happened to me….

January: A trip to Goa

Highlights of the trip are:

1. Watching the Sunset at Chapora fort

2. Watching the sunset at Dono paulo

3. Saturday night market at Arpora market.

4. Sunrise at Aguada Fort:

February : A trip to Chennai

A 3 day trip to Chennai to attend a conference in SRM medical college. Highlights of the trip.

Highlights:

  1. Marina Beach &

  2. Kapaleeshwarar Temple

Kapaleeshwarar Temple, Mylapore, Chennai is a temple of Shiva located in Mylapore, Chennai in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. The form of Shiva’s consort Parvati worshipped at this temple is called Karpagambal is from Tamil, (“Goddess of the Wish-Yielding Tree”). The temple was built around the 7th century CE in Dravidian architecture.

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Kapaleeshwarar Temple, Mylapore, Chennai

 

May: My Birthday Month

A Weekend get away to Alampur & Kurnool

ALampur navabrahma temple, Mahbubnagar (2)

Alampur Navabrahma temples are located at alampur in Telangana. There are 9 temples & all of them are dedicated to Lord Shiva. These temples date back to 7th century A.D and were built by the Badami Chalukyas rulers who were great patrons of art and architecture. Even after a time span of several hundred years, these grand temples still stand firm reflecting the rich architectural heritage of the country.

Konda Reddy Burz, also known as Kurnool Fort, is a bastion that establishes the historical importance of Kurnool town in Andhra Pradesh. The rulers of the renowned Vijayanagar Empire built a strategic watch tower here. It is a unique monument due to its singular feature of an underground tunnel which connects the fort to Gadwal, a place 52 km away.  The most remarkable feature of this tunnel is that it passes under the River Tungabhadra, a feat unimaginable during the medieval times!

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Konda Reddy Burz is a proof of the architectural acumen and astute military strategies characteristic of the medieval rulers of India. This is one monument you would be truly excited to visit, to learn about its genesis the mystery behind its existence through hundreds of years and its eternal allure..

June: Glimpses of my June road trips…

A Long drive to Indur( Nizamabad) with my family to attend some family event.

A drive in Mahbubnagar:

Amazing 200kms ride with no destination in mind.. Far away from all the daily routine life.. Thats what I need for a weekend.

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A Short drive near Jadcherla:

A short drive near jadcherla which is hardly around 20kms from my college just for fun.

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Spontaneity is the best kind of adventure..

July:

A trip to Mysore to attend Pulmokarn conference in JSS medical college then a road trip to Wayanad. Highlights of the trip are:

Mysore: The city of palaces

Ambavilas Palace, otherwise famous as the Mysore Palace, is a historical palace and a royal residence at Mysore in Karnataka state. It is the official residence of the Wadiyar dynasty and the seat of the Kingdom of Mysore.

Chamundi hills:

The Temple is clean and was very crowded as it was an auspicious day and could not see inside due to crowd. From outside it is very nice looking Temple and am sure it will be same in inside.

Wayand: An exquisite Hill station

Highlights of the trip are:

Banasura Dam & View point:

Considered to be the largest earth dam in India and the second largest in Asia, Banasura Sagar dam is one of the prime attractions in Wayanad. Positioned at a distance of around 21 km away from Kalpetta, this dam is made up of boulders and huge stacks of stones. The dam is quite close to Lake Karalad, another tourist spot in Wayanad.

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There is pleasure in the pathless woods, there is rapture in the lonely shore, there is society where none intrudes, by the deep sea, and music in its roar; I love not Man the less, but Nature more. -Lord Byron

 

Edakkal Caves:

Edakkal is the only known place in india with stone age carvings. These caves are located 1200m above sea level on ambukthi hills, wayanad

 

Lakkidi view point:

Lakkidi Viewpoint is a popular viewpoint which offers dazzling views of the surrounding cliffs and valleys.

August:

Chandragad fort: A hidden jewel in Telangana

A quick weekend getaway to Chandragad fort is best enjoyed when the sky is overcast, which makes the 80km journey from Mahbubnagar delightful. Driving through the countryside, dotted with paddy fields and hillocks.

I always love exploring new places and Chandragad fort stands tall among all the places I’ve been so far in Telangana. It is a Hidden jewel in Telangana, It has a fantabulous views from the top. The fort sits on a prominent position which command the views in all directions. It is a pleasant place to wander. After witnessing the sunset from here..we named this place as “CHAPORA FORT OF TELANGANA”.

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A weekend getaway to Jurala, Jetaprolu , gadval and ranganayaki temple:

Jetaprolu is a small village in Amanaganti Seema and it is a  Land of Temples in Telangana State. This place has a very beautiful sculptures with lots of heritage importance. Tourist attractions of Jetaprolu are mainly two temples which is called as Agasthyeswara Swamy Temple and Madanagopala Swamy Temple. Looking back to the history it states that the temples were built in 10th and 16th century A.D.

September:

My friend and his family conducted a free health camp in Chevella village, Telangana.

October :

I Started my peripheral posting in Hyderabad for 3months. During the postings, First few days are long, the work is grueling, and of course there was a lot for me to learn.

ROR BOYZ TRIP to Thailand and Cambodia:

Every thing in this trip is a highlight for me. Will be posting a video and blogs in detail.

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Kingdom of Cambodia:

November:

A week trip to Kolkata, West Bengal to attend NAPCON, A national conference in science city.

 

Then in 3rd week a trip to Assam & Meghalaya

Kaziranga National Park tucked between Bangladesh and Bhutan, in the Indian state of Assam. It’s not only one of India’s national treasures but a World Heritage Site & is the home to the one horned rhino!!

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December:

A trip to Rajahmundry to attend NATCON(national tuberculosis conference) in Riverbay. Followed by a day trip to Papikondalu

Hope the New Year with it brings
happiness for you and not a single tear drop
Since everyone just loves you
May all your problems, never again bother you
This is my special New Year wish for you

A Timelapse Journey through Angkorwat Temple, Cambodia

A Timelapse Journey through Angkorwat temple ‘world’s largest Hindu temple’, Siem reap, Cambodia. Watch it in HD.

More videos and posts will be updated soon. Stay tuned my dear friends.

Tiger’s Nest Monastery(Paro Taktsang): A trek of a Lifetime

Paro Taktsang (also known as the Taktsang Palphug Monastery and the Tiger’s Nest) is a prominent Himalayan Buddhist sacred site and the temple complex is located in the cliffside of the upper Paro valley in Bhutan.

Why Tigers Nest..?

One of the main reasons for my travel to Bhutan was to trek the Tigernest monastery. It is the most iconic Buddhist temple in Bhutan. It is set on an almost vertical cliff about 900 meters above the Paro Valley with fabulous views.

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A view from the top of the cliff..

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Nature always wears the colors of the spirit. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Change of Plan..

Our initial plan was to visit the monastery first in early hours. I always believe the finest exploration always lies with the individual instincts. That’s why I spend considerable time with locals to understand the dynamics of the places planned and local cuisines. Through them got to know that Chelela pass was quite an amazing place and it is one of the must see places in Bhutan. Most importantly it is a 3 hour journey from Monastery. So we added it to our list just the day before we visited this place. When any last minute inclusions ends up to be the best part of our trip then nothing beats it.

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Prayer Flags are colorful rectangular pieces of clothes inscribed with prayers, mantras and auspicious symbols often hung in high passes, mountain ridges in the Himalayas.

On Saturday…

Our First stop, the famous Paro museum. As the Museum gets closed at 11AM on Saturdays, we had to rush with a quick stop at the viewpoint post Museum tour where Paro airport is visible.

Got ready to head towards Tigers Nest…

It all started this way….

Exploration of Tigers nest started with a trek for about 7 KM’s at 12:30pm. With a hiking stick in hand and a backpack on my back we decided to trek anyway. In my backpack, I had water bottles, a hand towel, Medical kit, a camera with 18-55 lens, 50mm & 55-250lens, Iphone, and other accessories.

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While trekking to the summit of Tigernest..

The “Trek of our Lifetime”

We hiked at our own pace. The hike is 14kms to and fro not including nearly 1400 steps which take you to this wonderful monastery. A big waterfall on the way, serene temples, Buddha statues and wonderful views are unforgettable.

 

As it got steeper breathing became more challenging. The thinness of the air was a challenge. This is the reason why you MUST DO THIS TRIP AT THE END OF YOUR HOLIDAY. Good that we went there after 3 days, we acclimatized during our journey around Bhutan and we managed this better as a result. What’s awesome is seeing the monastery getting larger and larger from being a distant icon to looming up and being within reach. From a distance it is meant to resemble the guru Padmasanghava AKA guru Rinpoche (who brought Buddhism to Bhutan in the 8th century) riding a tigress.

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…Rorboyz…

Waterfalls, Caves and Temples..

On our way we had to pass by the beautiful waterfalls, bridge and then reached the Monastery. There you have to lock up your belongings – no bags or cameras allowed in there. There’s a safe box system. Don’t even think of sneaking a camera in ;). Inside you are directed through this labrynthine building containing various caves and temples and a yak butter candlelight room. There is a tranquil and special atmosphere here.

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Closeup View of Tiger’s Nest Monastery. The rock slopes are very steep (almost vertical) and the monastery buildings are built into the rock face. Though it looks formidable, the monastery complex has access from several directions, such as the northwest path through the forest, from the south along the path used by devotees, and from the north (access over the rocky plateau, which is called the “Hundred Thousand Fairies” known as Bumda.

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View of the Taktsang Lhakhang a.k.a tiger’s monastery

This is most unique experience of our Bhutan trip, although I kept saying that to a lot other places in this lovely country. But the experience of walking up the fairly tough path up the mountain, while seeing a breathtaking view of the mountains, valleys, and the monastery peeping up from the fog is sheer magic.

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Yayie!! We are almost there…!!

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Taktsang lhakhang a.k.a Tiger’s monastery as a backdrop

My descend was quicker than expected; but had to be careful at the muddy slippery stretches, but equally dramatic. You feel calm and relaxed from inside after this spiritual journey.

Click here for our video:Travel diaries of Rorboyz

Tips from my perspective:

  1. Timings: 8 AM to 1 PM and 2-5 PM daily, October – March Until 6 PM, April – September.
  2. Start your trek in the morning
  3. Carry enough water bottles, hiking sticks,medical kit etc.,
  4. There’s a cafeteria, One can have a quick bite.

Happy Friendship day: A journey through my travels I keep recollecting fond memories with friends..

The United States Congress, in 1935, proclaimed first Sunday of August as the National Friendship Day. Since then, celebration of National Friendship Day became an annual event. Every year the first Sunday of August is celebrated as a friendship day. Today I am thankful to have such wonderful friends who made my life more meaningful and continued to do so.. Thanks so much for all the readers who’ve been reading my blogs everyday and appreciating my posts by your valuable feedbacks. Once again I wish all my friends a happy friendship day..

Mahadev Temple: ‘The Emperor of Temples’

The 12th Century Mahadeva Temple at Itagi in Koppal District with splendid sculptures is said to be one of the finest examples in the country with respect to the magnificence and decorative details. The Mahadeva Temple at Itagi was built circa 1112 CE by Mahadeva, a commander (dandanayaka) in the army of the Western Chalukya King Vikramaditya VI.  Itagi is about 22 miles (35 km) east of Gadag and 40 miles (64 km) west of Hampi.

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Western Chalukyan art speaks volumes about the taste of the Chalukyan Artisans.

The well-executed sculptures, finely crafted carvings on walls, pillars and the tower make it a good example of complete Western Chalukyan art which speaks volumes about the taste of the Chalukyan artisans. An inscription dated 1112 CE in the temple calls it “Emperor among Temples” (Devalaya Chakravarti).The temple has a special place on the tourist map of Karnataka. The monument and sculptures that adorn the walls of the temple have a rich architectural value. This temple is dedicated to Hindu God Shiva.

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Aesthetic Sense is found in this beautiful temple..

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An inscription dated 1112 CE in the temple calls it “Emperor among Temples” (Devalaya Chakravarti)

One can have a glimpse of the high-towered Mahadeva Temple and a cluster of small temples around it while travelling on Koppal-Yelburga Road. It takes a few hours to watch the remnants of the temple and the architectural skill that glitter in daylight.

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Towards the north of the Shivalinga, there are five temples, of which two are dedicated to Murthinarayana and Chandraleshwari, parents of Mahadeva. There are 13 temples with Shivalingas around the main temple.

The east-faced main temple comprises a shrine with an antechamber, a closed hall with porches on either side of it towards north and south, and openings on either side with pillared halls. The temple roof is supported by 68 carved pillars. Of them, 26 are on the floor and the rest on the stone bench surrounding the hall and carrying the sloping eaves.

The carved columns are symmetrically arranged. The slabs on the central part of the ceiling have “Makaras” which spring from the jaws of “Kirtimuka” masks.

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Sojourn in time..

The walls of the inner hall are adorned with rich sculptures. The pentagon-shaped sanctum sanctorum and its outer walls have beautiful carvings. The 15-foot high main tower of the temple has carvings and projecting cornices.

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Beautifully carved…

The Mahadeva Temple is also known for its erotic sculptures. The temple has a “puskarani (teertha)” on its front side, which is still used by the villagers.

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Puskarini..

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The pillars in this hall bear similarities to the porch pillars at the Dodda Basappa Temple at Dambal and the lathe-turned pillars (whose rounded sections are lathe-turned) at the Kasivisvesvara Temple at Lakkundi.

The Mahadeva temple is officially protected as a national monument by the Archaeological Survey of India. This Temple has a history that is older than Hampi. The temple and its surroundings have been neglected for the past few centuries. The sculptures around the temple are in shambles. Hope Karnataka government takes proper care in protecting these Chalukyan architectural wonders.

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Art historian Henry Cousens called this monument the “finest in Kannada country after Halebidu”. These Western Chalukya monuments, regional variants of existing dravida (South Indian) temples, defined the Karnata dravida tradition. 

Bhutan Diaries: A day in Paro

After bagging some unforgettable memories & pictures in Chelela Pass.  We made our way to Paro which was a one hour ride from Chelela pass. We were waiting for this day from a long time because of the most exciting place called Tiger’s nest monastery a.k.a Paro Taktsang. Paro is a place of peace and serenity with colorful buildings. This charming town Paro is very small compared to Thimphu. It lies on the banks of the Paro Chhu(river). It seems that the main street was built only 30 years ago, is lined with colourfully Concrete buildings, painted wooden shop fronts and restaurants. A walking tour in Paro will be your best experience to explore Bhutanese Culture. It hardly takes an hour for you to complete the whole walking tour..

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The main street of Paro, is lined with colourfully painted wooden shop fronts and restaurants, decorated with the beautiful flowers and few multistorey buildings.

National Museum of Bhutan: Ta Dzong

Our First stop, Since we visited Paro on Saturday we had to hurry, in order  to visit the famous Paro museum because it gets closed at 11AM on Saturdays. The museum is located beautifully but is also prone to thunders as the original museum was damaged after being hit by a thunder in the year 2013.

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The original museum was damaged after being hit by a thunder in the year 2013.

The museum is now shifted in the newly constructed building adjacent to the old one.  The Paro museum shows you the history and present of Bhutan like any other national museum in the world.

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Paro city overview from a viewpoint in Ta dzong comple

The most interesting part of it was the display of various birds of Bhutan and the history was also captivating enough. After a knowledgeable visit to the national museum.We explored the town as our driver was a locale of Paro so he was introducing us the culture of Paro and was explaining us differences between Paro & Thimphu. We stopped our vehicle at a viewpoint where Paro airport is visible.

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Paro Airport has been described as “the most difficult commercial airport in the world”.

Paro Airport: World’s most challenging airports

It is the sole international airport in Bhutan. The airport is 6 km from Paro in a deep valley on the bank of the river Paro Chhu. With surrounding peaks as high as 5,500 m (18,000 ft), Airplanes on approach pass by 5,500m Himalayan mountain peaks, and the 1,980m runway length presents a double challenge, due to the extremely high density altitude at the site.it is considered one of the world’s most challenging airports.

We had a small stopover at a home cum restaurant for having Brunch.  We had some authentic Bhutanese food which was yummy too.

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Inside of a Bhutanese House cum hotel.We had a Colorful Local lunch.

Kyichu lhakhang: Oldest temple in Bhutan

Then our next stop was in Kyichu lhakhang which is believed to be the oldest temple in Bhutan.This temple is popularly believed to have been built in 659 by King Songtsen Gampo of Tibet, to pin down the left foot of a giant ogress who was thwarting the establishment of Buddhism into Tibet. Only the history enthusiasts Me, Karthik and Lalla had paid our visit to this temple. And of course we wrapped up our visit in 30mins. The temple is extremely sacred for the Buddhist and it does tell you a story of Bhutan history and old architecture as we see lots of prayer wheels encrypted on the walls of the temple.

After paying our visit to this historical temple we started to the most exciting part of our trip ‘Tiger’s nest Monastery’ a.k.a Taktsang Lhakhang. Stay tuned to read more about our trek to the Tiger’s next monastery…

Bhutan Diaries: People

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Selfie maniacs..

Karma

The best part of travelling is meeting new people and making new friends. We may never cross paths with these people again, but they may just change your life forever.

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This cute little girl is holding my Finger. I still wonder how could such a tiny hand created so many emotions within me.. The feelings are just overwhelming, Her cuteness has added joy in me..

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Students attending their Freshers party in Art school

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I know this pic isn’t that good but I loved watching this Little kid drumming on the dustbin..

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Made some amazing Chinese friends. We really had fun while exploring Dordenma Budha statue..

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This little guy was the most energetic and active boy..we came across through in Thimphu.

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Piligrims while circumambulating in National memorial chorten.

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Shot this from the taxi while returning from Buddha statue..

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Little girls praying at Thimphu memorial, Thimphu

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Piligrims at National Memorial Chorten

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Cute little kid was coming towards us while his elder brother is pulling him towards him..

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These guys explained about their art the customs of their school..

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Little angels with a backdrop of Mighty himalayas..captured them enroute Phuentsholling-Thimphu.

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.