Resting in Peace

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Reclining Buddha – Ajanta Caves Aurangabad

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Fort of Chittorgarh

One of the largest forts in the country and a world heritage site , this is a fort that has many stories to tell. I spent five hours listening to tales of Rajput valour , sacrifice , battles and romance .  Stories of Mirabai’s devotion to Lord Krishna , of how Alauddin Khilji wished to see Rani Padmini after hearing tales of her incomparable beauty , of Rani Padmini and her companions committing self-immolation to protect their honor….one fort with endless stories.

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A world of stories awaits us

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Ruins being restored 
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More ruins
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Where Mirabai is believed to have lived and survived poisoning

This is where we were told the story of Mirabai and her devotion to Lord Krishna. There is also a temple dedicated to Mirabai in the fort complex.

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Jain temple 
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Nine storied Vijay Stambh which took over ten years to complete

 

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Chittor was also called a water fort due to the many reservoirs within it .This is the Gaumukh reservoir

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Kirti Stambh
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Closer look at the temple 
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Stories inscribed in stone on the temple exteriors – one of the friezes 
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Leaving the fort

Ranakpur Temple: Cosmic import

The turrets of the temple gleaming in the sun looked grand from a distance.  An audio guide took us through the story of it’s construction which began in the 15th century . There are endless exquisite pillars , each one unique in design. The splendid lace-like interiors , the odd figure combining four animal bodies and one human body and the nymphs that adorn the ceiling , these are images I will never forget. DSC_0462

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At the entrance
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Figure symbolizing the five elements
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Lace-like work on the ceiling

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Tirthankar Adinath to whom the temple is dedicated

Kumbalgarh – A World heritage site

When I look back at pictures of this fort , I wonder how I kept going right to the top in the eleventh week of my pregnancy ( I didn’t know then !!!  Seriously !) .  Stories of  the great Mewar warriors and the tale of Maharana Pratap’s birth narrated by the guide regaled me on that unforgiving hot afternoon. The guide was a patient man and let me rest every few minutes while at the same time he kept egging me on to  keep going , promising me a breathtaking view of the great wall of Kumbalgarh , second only to the Great wall of China.

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Jain temple near the entrance of the fort

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Temple top with the fort in the background
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Zooming in
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Mewar Glory
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Of pillars and people
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Nestled in the Aravalli Hills
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The thick outer walls of the fortress
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As we go higher
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And higher
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Finally reaching Badal Mahal , the place where Maharana Pratap was born
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Inside Badal Mahal
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Adorned walls

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As we leave Badal Mahal

Looking back , I feel elated that I managed to go all the way up and grateful that all was well despite the strenuous trek .

Khecheopalri – The Mystic lake of Sikkim

A sacred  lake for Buddhists , Khecheopalri is a beauty surrounded by forests and hills. According to locals , this is a wish-fulfilling lake and has curative properties too. A young lady offering prayers by the lake informed us that the lake is believed to be blessed by Goddess Tara and resembles a giant foot print ( believed to belong to the Goddess) if one manages to look at it from atop one of the surrounding hills.  Of all the places I visited in Pelling , this one was the most peaceful.

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On the way to the lake

 

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From a distance
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A closer look
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Fish in the lake being fed by the locals

 

Rock-cut splendour : Karla Caves

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Elephants carved at the entrance of the caves
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Scultpures outside the main cave

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These are pictures of Buddhist architecture in Karla caves , Lonavala ( Mahrashtra).I last visited the place in June and every time I do , I simply marvel at the beautiful horsehoe arch in the chaityagruha .

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The pillars , inscriptions , vaulted interiors and intricate carvings tell stories from centuries ago .

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Derails on the pillar – People on elephants

 

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Main Stupa

 

 

Buddhist traders in the deccan contributed to this wonder and it is not difficult to imagine the peace that must have once prevailed in these hills .

The chaitya in Karla is supposed to be one of the largest in India and looks magnificent .

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First view of the caves
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A beauty amidst the ruined pillars .

The lion pillar ourside the Chaitya Hall

 

I have had this in my draft for so long , thought I’d post today

 

Udaipur Hues

 

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Travelling in style !

 

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With offerings of love

 

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Outside a home

 

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Brightly adorned

 

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One turban , many colours

 

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…..and another !!

 

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loved the orange costume of this performer

Happy and bright walls , adorned camels and bright turbans – there were colours everywhere in Udaipur . Thought I’d share these 🙂