The age old city of Pataliputra, now known as Patna is the capital of Bihar. This historically significant city has been ruled by various ruling dynasties like Magadha, Maurya, Gupta, Pala and the Mughal Empire. With a history dating back three thousand years, from its founding as the capital of the great Mauryan and Gupta empires to its recent status under British rule, Bihar has had an imperative position in the administration and expansion of the various empires that ruled over India, be it Mauryan, Mughal or British. Bihar was also the area where Buddhism evolved and finds mention in the Vedas, Puranas and Epics. The first detailed chronicle of Pataliputra including its municipal administration appears at about 300 B.C. from Megasthenese, the famous Greek ambassador staying at the court of Chandragupta Maurya, who mentions it as “Palibothra” in his book named Indica. Kautilya in his book Arthasastra has written a detailed description of the city and its architecture. The ruins of the city have been discovered during a series of excavations at Lohanipur, Bahadurpur, Sandalpur, Bulandibagh, Kumrahar and some other locations in Patna.
Hampi is a town with a glorious past located in the Indian state of Karnataka. In recent years foreign and domestic tourists have flocked to Hampi to explore the magnificent ruins of the capital of the Vijaynagara Empire which are spread over 26 sq kilometers and include approximately 550 individual monuments. The terrain where these ruins are located is characterized by rocky hills as well as the river Tungabadhra which flows through this ancient capital.
Built along the banks of the river Beas, the diminutive town of Mandi is an important religious centre with a few hundred temples in its vicinity. Also called the “Abode of temples” or the “Varanasi of the hills”, Mandi enjoys the title of being one of the holiest hill stations in Himachal Pradesh.
Lofty temples and rock-cut caves set amidst elegantly manicured parks make Bhubaneshwar a city worth visiting. While history aficionados would rejoice in the architectural splendour of the numerous temples (there are nearly 500 at present), the city offers other sights to hold your attention. A stroll through the fascinating cactus garden, shopping for local handicrafts, a sumptuous seafood lunch at a unassuming eatery. Take your pick.
The Andaman and Nicobar islands comprises of over 350 islands but out of these only a few are inhabited. In fact most of them are far removed from modern life and do not even have any modern facilities and amenities, making these places a perfect virgin tropical paradise. The 300,000 inhabitants of these islands are mostly dependent on tourism for their livelihoods.
Knowing Bhopal for what it truly is today, takes crossing a rather steep and tumultuous bridge. It is almost impossible to associate Bhopal with more than the ghastly tragedy of December 1984, when deadly methyl isocyanate leaked out of the Union Carbide factory killing and inflicting horrific damage on thousands. Decades later, the controversy still boils, and every now and then comes a new take on the gruesome saga.
The majestic city of Jodhpur is located at the edge of the shimmering Thar Desert in western Rajasthan. It was built in 1459 A.D by Rao Jodha, chief of the Suryavanshi Rajputs and remained the capital of the kingdom of Marwar for several years. The glory and ambience of the medieval period is well preserved in the magnificent palaces, rugged forts, age old temples and the bustle and color of bazaars. The historic city is full of stories that date back several centuries and speak of battles, court intrigues, brave kings, ferocious warriors, chivalry and romance. While the elegant art deco style Umaid Bhawan Palace, the imperial Mehrangarh fort and the many temples that are scattered throughout the city showcase the rich history and cultural grandeur of the city, it is the stunning handicrafts, melodious folk music and the hospitality of the brightly dressed people that is Jodhpur’s piece de resistance.
Ahmedabad drives home the essence of India - a celebration of life so earthy, so real. Amongst all of Gujarat’s festivals like Dussera and Diwali nothing extols this characteristic more than the Navratri celebration of folk dance and music – men, women and children dressed in fabric so beautiful, onlookers are dazed by their colours and mirrors; the mirth of dandiya ras and garba ras all night for nine nights; and the excesses of an indulged palate in a twist of flavours - tangy, sweet, and subtle. The city’s history is obvious – it was named and built by Ahmed Shah the Sultan who built mosques incorporating Hindu and Muslim features, Jain temples, lavish Mughal architectural adornments and fortifications, and the colonists who rebuilt the city ravaged by infighting and famine.
Coorg or Kodagu, as the people of this stunningly beautiful district in Karnataka call their land is picturesque and green with dense forested valleys, babbling mountain brooks and waterfalls, fragrant coffee bushes resplendent with red berries, endless cardamom fields covered with wild and colorful blossoms, silver oak trees pregnant with abundant hives lace the way as you explore the countryside. Its Incomparable scenic beauty makes it a perfect picture of fairy- tale enchantment.
Located 130 kilometers from Bangalore, India's so called “Silicon Valley”, Mysore is the erstwhile capital of the Wodeyar dynasty of Maharajas who ruled the state of Mysore. The Maharajas have long stopped ruling and the state is now called Karnataka, but Mysore remains the cultural center of the state, due in part to its deep temple and palace culture. Although Mysore lacks the glamour and polish that’s associated with nearby Bangalore, the city has over the years been a favorite with visitors to Southern India who have been offered a fascinating insight into the local culture and royal lifestyles. There’s a grace to the people here, a sanguine calm that makes it a perfect spot for those who want the conveniences of a modern city without much of the chaos involved. The city is one of the few in Southern India which still boasts of a relatively cool climate all year round, making it a perfect vacation destination any time of the year.