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Lockdown India

Prime Minister of India, Mr. Modi urged, Indian Citizens to observe self-imposed Curfew (Janata Curfew) on 22nd. March 2020, Sunday from 07am to 09pm in order to slowdown spreading of Corona Virus (Covid19) among citizens. The curfew was for 14 hours only and therefore viruses will remain active even after 14 hours. Therefore, this step was not adequate to combat the spreading but, I think, it was an initiative to read the pulse of the people and take harder steps. In fact, people wanted complete lockdown India for 3 days at least. Anyway, Janata Carfew on 22nd March was successful all over India and gave a clear indication for the Lockdown. School Colleges already closed, exams stopped midway. On the evening of 22nd. March CM of West Bengal Ms. Mamata Banerjee announced complete Lockdown of Kolkata and all District towns in the state from 23rd. 5pm to 27th Mid night with some exceptions like Grocery, medicine shop etc. All offices in the state will remain closed and transports, long distance trains, inter-state bus services, domestic and international flights stopped for this period so that people should forcefully stay home.

This state was free from Corona virus till a student of Oxford returned home and being a son of a bureaucrat mother and Doctor father he did not bother to get himself admitted in the state run ID Hospital. He stayed at home and even visited a mall and mom’s Office (Secretariat called “Nabanna”). His mom is holding a high ranking post – Special Secretary to the State Home Deptt. She must have chaired several meetings on the Corona Virus too. Being such a responsible post how she could be so much ignorant and take her son to “Nabanna” the state Secretariat, CM’s Office. it is reported that she attended a meeting that day with her Boss, Home Secy. She knew that her son’s girl friend got infected in UK through an email from Oxford. College emailed two days back stating that his friend tested positive and advised to keep him isolated and get tested. But reluctantly they visited an hospital after two days and that hospital too advised them to go to ID Hospital Beleghata (Infectious diseases Hospital). But they avoided that day too. She attended a meeting in her office and her boy was accompanied by her in the same car. Next day they visited ID hospital and got tested positive. Mean time, in these 2/3 days, his father, a Doctor attended his office as well as his Chambers. Being a Child specialist, he treated many children during this period. After the boy tested positive, both parents along with their maids, drivers are in a Isolation Centre. This is an example of irresponsibility, negligence of a highly educated family.

Second case also is UK returned student who stayed in his home with his family till he came to know that two of his friends tested positive. Then he visited a doctor and finally landed at ID Hospital. His entire family members are kept in a isolation Centre.

The third case too came from abroad. A girl student from scotland came to city and she went strait to ID Hospital where she tested positive. She did not spread much except her father who went to receive her at airport and the driver only. they are in isolation for 14 days.

While writing this post, a sad news came that the 4th. case, one of our co-citizen aged about 57 years a Railway employee expired today. He attended a marriage in Bilaspur travelled back by train to Kolkata in February. Then he attended his office for 5 days. His wife so long was suspecting this train journey. His son studying in Philadelphia USA and visited India in Feb last. Doctors doubted that they are hiding some thing. Then his wife was thoroughly counselled by the treating Doctor and finally she revealed that his son and his Italian girl friend visited them (Came from Italy) in the month of February last. So this case has a strong Italy connection. But it is not clear about his son’s and his girl friend’s health. That is still to be known and may be published later. At present all of his family members and office collegues are in hospitals. Very sad that today, 23rd. Mar 2020 he expired while in Ventilation. This is the First Corona death in the city as well as in the state of west Bengal. Total death in India goes to 8 till now. What will be tomorrow’s figure we don’t know because people are not serious and irresponsible.

From the above it is clear that all the cases came from UK and Italy. Except one case, they roamed freely in the city, relatives, friends, office and we do not know how many have been infected by them. It takes about 4-5 days, to show the symptoms. And during this time, infected people thinking themselves as healthy, they lead normal life, in turn infecting numerous people. If this goes on this way, then India will enter to third stage soon which no sensible citizens, no Govt. want. This necessitated Lockdown the states. CM announced the Lockdown of Kolkata and all District towns in the state from today, 23rd. 5pm to 27th Mid night . Many states already declared or will follow and hopefully India going to be completely Lockdown soon.

Be a responsible citizen, Break the chain of spreading deadly virus. Stay Home, stay safe.

 
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Posted by on 23/03/2020 in Corona

 

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Transient

1-DSC050301-DSC050361-DSC05041In response of weekly photo challenge : Transient, one set of Sunset photographs taken by me at Mount Abu, India, is shared with you! Hope you will like it.

 
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Posted by on 22/06/2017 in Nature, Uncategorized

 

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Kathakali

During our recent Kerala tour, we made a programm to witness Kathakali. Accordingly the tour operator one evening, took us to a dance performance at Kathakali Centre, Kumily, Thakkady, Kerala.

1-dsc06260Kathakali is one of the major forms of classical Indian dance. It is another “story play” genre of art, but one distinguished by its elaborately colorful make-up, costumes and face masks wearing actor-dancers, who have traditionally been all males. Kathakali primarily developed as a Hindu performance art in the southwestern region of India, Kerala.

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Kathakali originated around the 17th century, but its roots are in temple and folk arts and religious drama of southwestern Indian peninsula. A Kathakali performance, like all classical dance arts of India, includes music, vocal performers, hand and facial gestures to express ideas, and footwork.Kathakali is also different in that the structure and details of its art developed in the courts and theatres of Hindu principalities, unlike other classical Indian dances which primarily developed in Hindu Temples.

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The traditional themes of the Kathakali are folk mythologies, religious legends and spiritual ideas from the Hindu epics and the Puranas. The vocal performance has traditionally been Sanskritised Malayalam. In modern compositions, Indian Kathakali troupes have included women artists. Click here to enjoy the dance video

 
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Posted by on 19/01/2017 in Culture, Uncategorized

 

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Weekly Photo Challenge : Morning

DSC05389In response to this week’s photo challenge theme Morning, this is my submission. This shot was taken somewhere in Rajasthan on the way to Jodhpur in the early morning when the eastern sky was getting ready for the sunrise.DSC05391

 
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Posted by on 08/08/2016 in Nature, Photography, Uncategorized

 

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Bandel Church

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The Basilica of the Holy Rosary commonly known as Bandel Church is one of the oldest Christian Churches in India, situated in a small town “Bandel”, in Hoogly district of West Bengal. Now, Bandel is a suburban town of Calcutta which is well connected by local as well as Express train services from Howrah. It takes about one hour by local train.

This church stands as a memorial to the Portuguese settlement in Bengal. Founded in 1599, it is dedicated to Nossa Senhora do Rosário, Our Lady of the Rosary. It also serves as  a Parish Church,  ( means, in rural areas, the parish church may play a significant role in community activities, often allowing its premises to be used for non-religious community events.)  It is one of the most prominent historical churches in West Bengal as well as in India.

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Prayer Hall

Around the middle of the 16th century, the Portuguese began using Bandel as a port. During or around 1571, they were given permission by Akbar, the Mughal Emperor, to build a town in Hoogly. As they began settling around the area, their Priests began to baptise the natives – and by 1598,  Catholics in Hooghly numbered around five thousand, including natives and mixed races.

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In 1579, the Portuguese built a port on the banks of the River Hoogly, as well as a Fort. The following year, Captain Pedro Tavares obtained the emperor’s full permission to preach the Catholic faith publicly, and erect churches. Thus this Portuguese memorial was constructed in 1599, after a century of Vasco Da Gama landed in India, in 1498.

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This first church was burnt down during the sacking of Hooghly by the Moors in 1632. A newer church, constructed by Gomez de Soto (also spelt John Comes de Soto), was built over the ruin in 1660. The key stone of the older church can still be seen on the eastern gate of the monastery, bearing the date 1599.

On November 25, 1988, Pope John Paul II declared the Bandel Church as a minor Basilica.

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Posted by on 28/07/2016 in Indian History, Uncategorized

 

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Visit to ISKCON Kolkata

ISKCON KolkataIskcon Temple of Kolkata CentreDSC05702
The International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), also known as the Hare Krishna movement  was founded in 1966 in New York City by His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada (Below).DSC05705
DSC05704This movement of mercy has spread to all continents of the world. Iskcon has established centers in most countries and important cities. The objective of this organisation is to make Lord Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s sankirtan movement available to every town and village. Sri Caitanya, whom devotees recognize as a direct incarnation of Krishna, gave a powerful impetus for a massive bhakti (devotional) movement throughout India.
ISKCON KOLKATA

Kolkata Centre is located at 3C, Albert Road, Minto Park, Kolkata 700017

ISKCON follows the teachings of the Vedas and the Vedic scriptures, including Bhagavad-gita and the Bhagavata Purana; it teaches and practices Vaishnavism, or devotion to God in the supreme personal aspect of Radha Krishna.

ISKCON embraces the chanting of the holy name of Krishna as a primary practice and accepts the concepts of transmigration, karma, vegetarianism (ahimsa), worship of the deity (Shri Vigraha), and the preceptor-disciple (guru-shishya) relationship. Initiated members vow to refrain from gambling, illicit sex, intoxicants (including coffee, tea, and cigarettes), and non vegetarian food.

In this way ISKCON faithfully continues the core traditions of the Hindu faith. ISKCON’s teachings are not limited to any particular historical religion. Vaishnavism inculcates the essential and universal principle of all religion. That principle, called sanatana dharma, denotes the natural and eternal activity of all living beings, loving devotional service to the one Supreme Personality of Godhead.

 
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Posted by on 14/07/2016 in ISKCON, Uncategorized

 

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Ganesh

Ganesh

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An wall art image of God Ganesh at Udaipur City Palace, Udaipur, Rajasthan, India (Popular image of God Ganesh is given below)

Ganesh is also goes by the names Ganesha, Ganapati and Vinayaka. He is a popular Hindu God in India. Ganesh is easy to recognize by his elephant head and large tummy. It is believed that Ganesh can bring wealth and prosperity. Ganesh is the God who will help you overcome all road blocks you may encounter and help bring success. Thats why he is known as Siddhidata.

In India Ganesh is worshiped by all, rich and poor. Everyone seems to consider him vitally important. In Thailand Buddhists have equally accepted this god and he has become a part of their rich inheritance.

Business people turn to Ganesh before starting a new enterprise. Ganesh is there to assist in financial matters and make sure the wind of wealth blows in their direction.People moving to new places make sure to have Ganesh with them. Ganesh is the god who helps with new beginnings ensuring success.

The image on the wall of the Palace at Udaipur, Rajasthan is not a surprise because the rulers were all Hindu Kings there. They must be worshiping God Ganesh before heading for fighting their enemies on the warfields or  at peace.wpid-lord-ganesha-picture-hd-wallpapers

Popular image of God Ganesh

 
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Posted by on 17/04/2016 in God, India, Uncategorized

 

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Dilwara Temple, Mount Abu

The DILWARA TEMPLES of  Mount Abu  were built between the 11th and 13th centuries AD and are world famous for their stunning use of marble. The five legendary marble temples of Dilwara are a sacred pilgrimage place of the Jains. Some consider them to be one of the most beautiful Jain pilgrimage sites in the world. The marble temples have an opulent entrance way, the simplicity in architecture reflecting Jain values like honesty and frugality. The temples are in the midst of a range of forested hills. A high wall shrouds the temple complex.

Although the Jains built some beautiful temples at other places in Rajasthan, some believe that none come close to these in terms of architectural perfection. The ornamental detail spreading over the minutely carved ceilings, doorways, pillars and panels is simply marvelous. Please see the pics in full screen.

 
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Posted by on 19/01/2016 in Photography, Uncategorized

 

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Padmini, the queen of Chittor

When you visit Chittorgarh Fort, Rajasthan, among other historical stories, two stories about two women, you will come to know. Local guide will take you to the palace and the self immolation site of Queen Padmini and narrate about her beauty and how she committed Jauhar (self immolation) to protect her honor. Here, I will attempt to tell the tale of Rani Padmini (Queen Padmini) of Chittor. Her life story is an eternal legend in the history of Chittor.
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Rani Padmini (Queen Padmini) was the queen of  Chittor, the wife of King Rawal Ratan Singh and the daughter of the contemporary Sinhala king Gandharvsen. Rani Padmini was renowned across Indian land for her bewitching beauty.

Padmini or Padmavati spent her life in Singhal under the care of her father Gandharvsen and mother Champavati. Her father arranged a swayamvara and invited all the Hindu kings and Rajputs to ask for her hand (request to marry her by showing their eligibility). In that Swayamvara, Rawal Ratan Singh won the Swayamvara and married Padmini. He had another queen, Nagmati. He returned Chittor with his beautiful gorgeous Padmini, the second queen.

In 1206 Sultan Allauddin Khilji took the reins of Delhi throne. He was very ambitious and adopted as his title ‘Sikander Sani’ (Second Alexander).The Sultans made repeated attack on Mewar. Reason being Allauddin Khilji wanted to win Chittor because Chittor never accepted the rule of Islam. Another reason was Rani Padmini, most gorgeous beautiful queen of Chittor. When he came to know about her, he launched an attack on Chittor in order to capture her.

But to his dismay, on reaching Chittor, Alauddin found the fort to be heavily defended. Desperate to have a look at the legendary beauty of Padmini, he sent message to King Rawal Ratan Singh that Khilji could have a glimpse of Queen Padmini’s face he would return Delhi.  In order to maintain peace and avoid loss of life, Rawal Ratan Singh agreed to let Khiljee see Padmini’s reflection in mirror.

Khilji alongwith his bodyguards entered the fort and after looking at her in the mirror,returned. By way of courtesy Ratan Singh, alongwith his warriors went to see him off to the gate of the fort. There the deceptive Khilji signaled his soldiers to arrest the King Ratan Singh and sent a message through his men that in order to gain release of Rawal Ratan Singh, Padmini should agree to accompany Sultan to Delhi.

Everyone was taken aback by this message. Queen Padmini at once arrived at a counter scheme by which could get release of her husband and protect her honor as well. Her reply to the Sultan was that if the Sultan could send seven hundred Dolis or Palkis1 for her seven hundred maids then she could accompany him.

Sultan accepted the proposaland consequently sent her seven hundred Palkis. According to Padmini’s plan a warrior in woman’s disguise was made to sit in each palki which carried arms for six soldiers disguised as footmen of the each Palki. So, these 700 palkis led by Goura (Padmini’s uncle) reached Sultan’s camp and conveyed it to him that Padmini wants to meet her Husband for the last time. Sultan agreed, whereupon Palkis moved towards Rawal’s camp. The warriors freed him from bondage and he was taken back to the fort. The turn of events took the Sultan and his soldiers completely by surprise and before they could take hold the situation the 700 warriors from the Palkis and 4200 footmen turned warriors fell upon the enemy and routed them out of  Chittor.

A frustrated Allauddin though returned to Delhi but he seethed in agony to avenge his insult. In no time did he organize his army and attacked Chittor again. However, hard as they tried the Sultan’s army could not break into the fort. Then Allauddin decided to lay siege to the fort. The siege was a long drawn one and gradually supplies within the fort were depleted. Finally King Ratan Singh gave orders that the Rajputs would open the gates and fight to death with the besieging troops. On hearing of this decision, Padmini decided that with their men-folk going into the unequal struggle with the Sultan’s army in which they were sure to perish, the women of Chittor had either to commit the divine suicide jauhar or face dishonour at the hands of the victorious enemy.

The choice was in favour of suicide through jauhar. A huge pyre was lit and all the women of Chittor jumped into the flames after their queen, thus depriving the enemy waiting outside. After this pyrrhic victory, the Sultan’s troops entered the fort only to be confronted with ashes and burnt bodies.

The Queen Padmini and other women of the palace who performed jauhar perished but their memory has been kept alive till today by bards and songs which glorify their act, which was right in those days and circumstances. A halo of honour is given to their sacrifice.Rani Padmini1

**1-DSC04716Is it that same mirror? Tourist guides say so and demonstrates how Padmini was shown to Khilji in the mirror.1-DSC04715

Padmini Palace Garden.

Palki1 : Covered seat enclosed in curtains on which royal ladies were carried in mediaeval times on poles held parallel to the ground on the shoulders of two or four people.

 

 

 
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Posted by on 31/12/2015 in History, Travel

 

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Jaipur : The Pink City of India

Hi friends, I am back with lot of pictures, memories and stories which I will try to share with you through this Blog and my Photo Blog. Today, lets go to Jaipur, the capital city of Indian state of Rajasthan, which I visited  on 29 & 30Nov_2015. 1-DSC04529HAWA MAHAL (Palace of winds) was built in 1799 by the poet king Sawai Pratap Singh for his Royal ladies to enjoy the possession and day to day activities from the cool confinement of this majestic façade.1-DSC045351-DSC04534Today Hawa Mahal has become the hallmark of the ‘Pink City’ and the most recognizable and photographed monument of Jaipur. It comprises of 953 niches and 152 windows. This fine structure is part of City Palace complex.

1-DSC045301-DSC04533HISTORY OF JAIPUR : Jaipur the capital city of the Indian state Rajasthan was founded in 1727 by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh-II, a Kachwaha Rajput who ruled Jaipur state from 1699 to 1744. Initially his Capital was Amer (Amber) which lies at a distance of 11 Km from Jaipur.

Inside Hawa Mahal

He felt the need of shifting his capital city with the increase in population and growing scarcity of water. Jaipur is the first planned city of India and the King took great interest while designing this city of victory.

After several battles with Marathas, Jai Singh was keen on the security aspect of the city. Due to this reason, he focused on his scientific and cultural interests to make a brilliant city. Being, a lover of mathematics and science, Jai Singh sought advice from Vidyadhar Bhattacharya, a Brahmin scholar of Bengal, to aid him design the city architecture. The construction of the city began in 1727 and took four years to complete. The city was divided into nine blocks, two of which contained the state buildings and palaces, with the remaining seven allotted to the public. In order to ensure the security, huge fortification walls were made along with seven strong gates. 

According to that time, architecture of the town was very advanced and certainly the best in Indian subcontinent. In 1878, when Prince of Wales visited the city, the whole city was painted in Pink color to welcome him and after that Jaipur was titled as “Pink City”. Still, the neat and broadly laid-out avenues, painted in pink provide a magical charm to the city. This gated Pink City is also referred as old Jaipur city today.

When you are in Jaipur, you must visit the following attractions which can be covered by 2 days :

Hawa Mahal (Palace of winds)

Amber Fort & Palace

City Palace & Museum

Jantar Mantar &

Jal Mahal 

AMER FORT & PALACE : The Amer Fort, situated in Amber, a town with an area of 4 square km on a high hill, 11 kilometers from Jaipur, is one of the most famous forts of Rajasthan. Amer, originally, was the capital of the state before Jaipur was built. It is an old fort, built in 1592 by Raja Man Singh. This fort is also very popularly known as the Amer Palace.  Amer also spelled as Amber.  The town of Amer (Or Amber) was originally built by Meenas and later it was ruled by Raja Man Singh. He was a trusted general of the Mughal emperor Akbar, who included him among the Navaratnas, or the nine  gems of the royal court.

Amer Fort & Palace

Amer Palace & facing Jaigarh Fort at distance

Amer Fort is known for its artistic Hindu style elements. With its large ramparts and series of gates and cobbled paths, the fort overlooks Maota Lake. It is the main source of water for the Amer Palace.

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Palace courtyard

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Keshar Garden in the Maota Lake and the Jaigarh Fort

Amber Palace

Amber Palace Ganesh Pol

The palace is constructed with red Sand stone and Marble, and opulent palace is laid out on four levels, each with a courtyard. It consists of the Diwan-e-Aam, or “Hall of Public Audience”, the Diwan-e-Khas, or “Hall of Private Audience”, the Sheesh Mahal (mirror palace), or Jai Mandir, and the Sukh Niwas where a cool climate is artificially created by winds that blow over a water cascade within the palace. Hence, the Amer Fort is also popularly known as the AMER PALACE. The palace was the residence of the Rajput Maharajas and their families.

Sheesh Mahal

Sheesh Mahal (Mirror Palace)

Shish Mahal

Sheesh Mahal or Mirror Palace

At the entrance to the palace near the fort’s Ganesh Gate, there is a temple dedicated to Sila Devi (incarnation of Kali and Durga), a goddess of the Chaitanya cult, which was given to Raja Man Singh when he defeated the Raja of Jessore, Bengal in 1604. ( Jessore is now in Bangladesh).

This palace, along with Jaigarh Fort, is located immediately above on the Cheel ka Teela (Hill of Eagles) of the same Aravalli range of hills. The palace and Jaigarh Fort are considered one complex, as the two are connected by a subterranean passage. This passage was meant as an escape route in times of war to enable the royal family members and others in the Amer Fort to shift to the more redoubtable Jaigarh Fort.

CITY PALACE , JAIPUR : 

It is located in the heart of Jaipur, occupying about one-seventh of old city area. The palace complex was built between 1729 and 1732, by Sawai Jai Singh and various structures were later added to it by his successors. It is popularly referred as the City Palace to differentiate it from the ancient Amber Palace. The complex is surrounded by a high wall and is divided into a series of courtyards, gardens and other buildings. The magnificent Chandra Mahal  occupies the cetre stage and is still the residence of  erstwhile ruling. and Mubarak Mahal palaces and other buildings, is a palace complex in Jaipur. It was the seat of the Maharaja of Jaipur. The Chandra Mahal palace now houses a museum but the greatest part of it is still a royal residence.

Royal Residence and Museum

Royal Residence and Museum

Residence

Royal Residence

City Palace Museum

City Palace Museum

City Palace Jaipur

City Palace Jaipur

The palace was built between 1729 and 1732, initially by Sawai Jai Singh II, the ruler of Amber. He planned and built the outer walls, and later additions were made by successive rulers continuing up to the 20th century. The credit for the urban layout of the city and its structures is attributed to two architects namely, Vidyadhar Bhattacharya, the chief architect in the royal court and Sir Samuel Swinton Jacob, apart from the Sawai himself who was a keen architectural enthusiast. The architects achieved a fusion of the Shilpa shastra of Indian architecture with Rajput,Mughal and European styles of architecture.

JANTAR MANTAR :

Jantar Mantar

Panoramic view of Jantar Mantar monument, Jaipur

JANTAR MANTAR : The Jantar Mantar (literally means ‘calculation instrument’) monument of Jaipur, Rajasthan is a collection of nineteen architectural astronomical instruments, was built by the astronomer king Sawai Jai Singh-II in 1728 and is one of the five open air astronomical  observatories built by him. The original Brass instruments were replaced by masonry instruments for greater accuracy which still hold ggoodfor many astrological calculations. The instruments used for measuring local time, the altitude of stars and constellations, the Sun’s declination, meridian etc etc. It also features the world’s largest stone sundial. The monument was recognized  as one of the World Heritage Sites by UNESCO in 2010.

JAL MAHAL (WATER PALACE) , JAIPUR

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JAL MAHAL (Water Palace)

JAL MAHAL (“Water Palace”) was built by Sawai Pratap Singh in 1799, in the midst of picturesque Man Sagar Lake  and is about 6 kms from Jaipur city on the way to Amber. It was the summer resort of the erstwhile Royal family.

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JAL MAHAL in the evening

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Jal Mahal in the evening

 

 
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Posted by on 15/12/2015 in India, Photography, Travel, Uncategorized

 

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