It seems like a distant dream, as I sit enclosed in my house during Pandemic, afraid to take public transport. I have been confined to my house since last 8 months, with short trips by car to my sister’s house during week-ends. I love travelling and have been to lot of places, I had plans to explore many more cities during this year, but I digress.
Friday, 20 November 2020
Indore - one of the cleanest city of India, is the last stop of my MP tour. The charm of the city lies in rich cultural heritage preserved over the years.
We visited Kanch ka Mandir, a beautiful Jain temple where I almost lost my balance on the shiny floor. There are intricate glass mosaic everywhere..on the ceiling, on the walls, on doors and even on the ground. I was fortunate to visit the temple during prayers time. My friend (who was with me) is Jain, so she knew all the rituals that are performed during the prayers. The temple is renowned for the several glass paintings and sculptures placed inside the temple. Dating back to the Holkar dynasty, this was built in 1903 by one of India’s industrial pioneers, Seth Hukumchand Jain. The Kanch Mandir is popular for its stunning architecture and grand celebrations held during Jain festivals.
Next we went to see the Lal Bagh Palace, which dates back to Indore’s 19th-century Holkar dynasty. The palace was very tastefully done with Greek paintings on the ceiling and beautiful oil paintings in large spacious rooms. It even had jacuzzi in one of the bathrooms. I envied the women who had lived in these palaces, they must have had a great taste, because there was comfort and style in the interiors of all rooms. The Indian art historian KK Chakravarty wrote that the palace is: 'A blend of Italian villa, French Chateau, traditional motifs and modern conveniences, the Lal Bagh Palace is indeed a statement of riotous Victorian eclecticism not surprising, perhaps, for a ruler who supported the British.'
Our next stop was at Central Museum, The Parmar culture has originated here in Madhya Pradesh and this museum displays lots of statues that are carved out in the style. Most of the statues depicted the Hindu God Lord Shiva and Harihara, Goddess Parvati in many different poses. These belonged to the 11th and the 12th centuries. Then there were art-facts, tools and utensils on display that were used in that era. There was a nice courtyard in the centre of the museum that gave good vibrations with fresh air and sunlight.
Since we were travelling with Kesari tours, the food was totally arranged by them, throughout our journey. They had their own home chefs who would cook food for us. But at Indore, the home chefs were sent off and we were enjoying the big spread of meals at the hotel where we were staying. But I love to try the street food of every place that I visit and I was deprived throughout our trip.(the organisers were afraid that we would fall sick and therefore they discouraged us from eating street food)
So, on last day, we sneak out, on our own, to walk down the city streets and enjoy the local cuisine. The Dal Kachoris and Dahi Wadas were amazing and we even picked up for our train journey.
That brings me to the end of my MP tour. Returned back by train from Indore to Mumbai with bags full of memories to last me for lifetime.
Saturday, 8 August 2020
We have been on road trip for quite some time now, and am beginning to appreciate this part of India. MP is full of rich history and ancient architecture. Most of it has been reduced to ruins or is neglected. There are beautiful palaces and nature is abundant, but hardly any tourist. The roads are bad and infrastructure is also poor.
After a long drive, we enter Mando through four narrow stone wall gates with walled enclosures and bastions. The architectural beauty starts right away, although it is surrounded by yellowed grass and dried pits. I am told that this place comes alive during rainy season when river gets filled up with water and there is greenery everywhere.
We reached our first stop at Jahaz Mahal. Outside the gates, there are much needed nimbu pani, roasted corn and other vendors. I am fascinated with a strange looking fruit. Its Baobab, (I am told) the famous Khusrani Imli (tamarind) of Mandu. There are many Baobab trees found in the whole of village. I buy one and open the hard skin to reveal while colour flesh, sour and tangy core. It tastes good.
We enter the Jahaz Mahal to the splendour of the architecture. It is noted for its romantic beauty. It looks like a large ship between waters of the Munja and Kapur tanks. It is said that 500 young and beautiful Turkish females in men’s clothes and equal number of armed and uniformed Abyssinian females, used to stand as guards to its right and left sides respectively.
At the entrance there is a beautifully carved wooden door.
We enter the stone gates to series of halls separated by corridors, having narrow rooms at the extreme ends. The view is breath-taking, terrace had projecting pavilions on each sides and hollow islet that must have served as pools.Mughal emperor Jahangir wrote in his memoirs about the wonderful assembly organised on the terrace where they hosted lavish parties, hosted by his wife Noor Jahan, at which guests over indulged in drunken revelry.
The garden and the lake surrounding the palace is well maintained (Thank God) on the right side there is Taveli Mahal. Once upon a time, Taveli Mahal was used as a stable and a guard room. Today it houses a small museum of the Archaeological Survey of India exhibiting artefacts dating from 11th century found inside the fort and painting as well.
I, as usual, always tired of walking, so I sat inside the palace and dreamt of those times when this palace must have come alive with lights of hundred lamps, reflecting on the water perhaps, while my friends go about exploring the whole place.
The guide had lots of stories to tell, mainly about Rani Roopmati, who was pretty poetess and an artist. The story of Roopmati’s eternal love for Baz Bahadur and their musical soirees linger over the Rewa Kund group of Monuments. There was a huge flight of steps leading up to the Roopmati’s pavilion, which I did not take so I missed the architectural beauty of this baradari structure that had twelve doors designed to allow free flow of air. Also missed the view from the top.
We next went to visit Baz Bahudur palace that had beautiful manicured garden and a spacious courtyard encircled by halls. They are known for their outstanding acoustic features and for hosting performance by dancers and other artistes.
Jamma masjid was our last stop at Mandu. The interior of the entrance porch has beautiful Jali (stone lattice) screen on the sides above which are fine bands of blue enamel tiles. There is a huge prayer hall with many arches and pillars that support the ceiling of three large domes and fifty eight smaller domes.
Opposite Jamma Masjid was an interesting art shop selling local products.
After lunch we headed back to Indore.
To be continued……
Thursday, 12 March 2020
Monday, 24 February 2020
I have poor memory therefore I tend to forget the good and the bad times easily. What is past is forgotten, each day I try my best that my ...