Monday, 28 May 2012

Bangalore Palace: Windsor Castle in our own backyard

Bangalore Palace

Overview: One of my favourite places. Modelled on Windsor Castle in England, this place is the trademark of Bangalore. The entrance to the palace itself makes us feel like entering a European style Garden. Sometimes reminds me of the Marlinspike Hall in Tintin comic books. The railway line connecting Bangalore City and Bangalore Cantonment railway stations is visible from the entrance gates. The palace was built for the Maharaja of Mysore in the 18th century. Lot of movies have been shot in this palace premises. The creepers around the pillars gives it a classical look. The interiors are equally beautiful with paintings and furniture.
Bangalore Palace
Lined with exquisite paintings and woodwork, this palace has 35 rooms. One striking picture one can see of a lady appearing sad from one angle and happy from the other. Also kept on display are some memoirs made out of animal parts like a table made out of elephant legs, and pictures showcasing the capture of elephant tuskers can be seen. Also there is a huge ballroom which is rented out for parties and functions. The outside garden is perfect for a leisurely stroll and gives a great feeling roaming around the park.
Bangalore Palace Decorated Hall Decorated Hall Decorated Hall Decorated Hall Decorated Hall An old toy Woodwork along the stairs Paintings near the corridoor Paintings Inside one of the rooms Bangalore Palace Beautiful passageway Made out of animal skin Made out of animal skin Old fan Some memoirs Bangalore Palace Decorated ballroom  Bangalore Palace Bangalore Palace Bangalore Palace  Bangalore Palace
Entry: The palace is open for public for a fee of Rs 175 for Indian nationals and Rs 350 for Foreign Nationals. Camera charges are Rs 500 for still and Rs 1000 for video photography. Though the rates can be negotiated if its a big group and tickets are bought in bulk.
Map:

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Sunday, 20 May 2012

365 Days of Blogging..

365 Days of Blogging… 

It has been a wonderful 1 year of blogging and hard to believe that a lazy person like me who hates to spend time typing stories has indeed published 62 blogs to date. Thanks to a little less work in office the same time last year when I decided to start sharing my travel experiences with the world. Choosing a name for my blog was a big challenge for me. After considering several options, I finalized ‘Payana’ which means Journey in Kannada. Also the name of the travel portal in Infosys..:-)

In this process of blogging, I made a lot of friends in the blogging and also made a lot of fans along with myself becoming fans of many bloggers… All are special for me. And of course I have learnt a lot from each blog I have read from every blogger..

My previous post was on the place where I had spent my years of childhood(Chandigarh) and the next post would be on the place which is my hometown and the place I love the most(Bangalore)..

Dedicating this post to all fellow bloggers who follow my blogs and who have commented on my posts and provided their valuable suggestions.

Monday, 14 May 2012

North Indian Sojourn – 3 (Chandigarh & Shimla)

North Indian Sojourn – 3 (Chandigarh & Shimla) 

Day 6: We reached Chandigarh early in the morning at 4:00am. We went to a friend's place where we set as our base for the rest of our trip. I decided to show around the city to my wife as it was my childhood place and she was visiting Chandigarh for the first time. We visited the usual tourist places like the Rose Garden, Rock Garden, Sukhna Lake, Sector 17 Plaza. It was refreshing for me to revisit Chandigarh after 7 years.
My wife particularly liked the Rock Garden built by Nek Chand. It was a big Garden built with waste like ceramic pieces, broken plates, bangles and many other items which are usually thrown away as thrash. It is beautifully presented and some artificial waterfalls added to the beauty. We spent close to 2 hours inside the Rock Garden.
Sukhna Lake, Chandigarh Sukhna Lake, Chandigarh Rock Garden, ChandigarhBird at Rock Garden, Chandigarh Rock Garden, Chandigarh Rock Garden, Chandigarh Rose Garden, Chandigarh
Day 7: Visited a friend’s place in Panchkula and went to Mansa Devi Shrine near Chandigarh. Mansa Devi temple is one of the Shakti temples in North India and tourists throng this place everyday and its even more during Navratra. This is around 20 kms from Chandigarh.
Day 8: Planned a day trip to Shimla, as it is not too far from Chandigarh. Left early in the morning at around 6am, the highway was not crowded as it was a very early winter morning and its too difficult for one to get up and venture out. We had our breakfast on the way and reached Shimla at around 10:30am. We headed directly towards Kufri expecting for some snow. To our disappointment, it was a bright sunny day there. And the way to go up was on a horse. They were charging en exhorbant amount of Rs 400 per horse. Nevertheless, we took that and went to the top of the hill. The way was through forest area and sandy land. The view from the top was breathtaking with view of many Himalayan hill ranges like the Kinner Kailash. It was great to see the snow capped mountains atleast from a distance.
Kufri, ShimlaKufri, Shimla Kufri, Shimla Yaks @ Kufri Kufri, Shimla Kufri, Shimla Kufri, Shimla Kufri, Shimla 

We saw the Himalayan Yak as well and posed with it. After lunch we climbed down the hill and headed back towards Shimla. We roamed around the Mall road and saw many shops and eateries on the way. We had steaming hot momos on the way which was delicious. We then went to the Ridge where we saw the Christ Church which is supposed to be the oldest in North India. And at this place a scene from the movie 'The 3 idiots' was shot. We could also see the ice skating rink beneath.
Christ Church, Shimla   Shimla Skating rink, ShimlaMall Road, Shimla Shimla
After enjoying the atmosphere and the crowd we decided to bid farewell to Shimla and headed back towards Chandigarh. We reached Chandigarh by around 8:30pm.
Day 9: We took a day for relaxation in Chandigarh and also did a quick trip to my school. And all good things have to end as they say, we had to depart for Delhi at night. We had a direct Volvo bus from Chandigarh bus stand to Delhi airport at 11:00pm.We reached Delhi airport at 4am in the morning.
Day 10: Our flight took off from Delhi at 7:00am and we finally reached Bangalore at 9:30am.
Trip schedule: Dec 25: Started from Bangalore on 24th Dec by 12629 Sampark Kranti express at 22:10
Dec 27: Reached Delhi on 26th Dec at 10:30 am
Dec 28: Day Trip to Agra, Mathura, Vrindavan from Delhi
Dec 29: Delhi local sightseeing, departed for Amritsar 8:15 pm by 18237 Chattisgarh express
Dec 30: Reached Amritsar on 29th Dec at 08:30am; Departed from Amritsar to Chandigarh at 11:30pm by Punjab roadways bus
Dec 31: Reached Chandigarh at 04:00am
Jan 01: Chandigarh
Jan 02: Day trip to Shimla
Jan 03: Departed from Chandigarh to Delhi airport at 11:00 pm
Jan 04: Reached Delhi 3:30am, boarded a flight from Delhi at 07:00am, reached Bangalore at 09:30am

Monday, 7 May 2012

North Indian Sojourn – 2 (Amritsar)

North Indian Sojourn – 2 (Amritsar)  

…Continued from North Indian Sojourn - 1
Day 5: We reached Amritsar at 7:00am in the morning. Got fresh and headed straight to Durgiana temple which resembles the Golden temple. Built in the 20th century, it is a serene place having repository of Hindu scriptures.
Durgiana temple, Amritsar Durgiana temple, Amritsar Durgiana temple, Amritsar Durgiana temple, Amritsar
Then after this we left for the Golden temple. The temple looked stunning from a distance with the Amrit Sarovar which surrounds the Golden temple. The upper part was built by Maharaja Ranjit Singh with 400kg of gold leaf. The temple of Harmandir Sahib is bustling with tourists almost throughout the day. The temple was initially built in 1574, and when the Mughal emperor Akbar visited the site, he was impressed that he gave all the villages in the vicinity to the Sikh Guru and the temple was started being constructed in the 16th century by Guru Arjun Dev.
We were approached by people selling Bandanas to cover our heads for Rs 10. We bought it and went inside. The winter morning in Amritsar was very soothing and people were gathering in huge numbers. A number of people could be seen bathing in the Amrit Sarovar. We had to spend around 1 hour in the queue before we could get inside the main temple. Offering our prayers, we came out and found huge fishes in the Sarovar which looked very nice.
We then came out to take the 'Halwa' as the Parshada. The experience at the Golden temple was memorable to be cherished forever.
Golden Temple, Amritsar Golden Temple, Amritsar Varieties of fish in the Holy Pond, Amritsar 
Post lunch we visited the Jallianwala Bagh where the famous massacre had happened in 1919 when General Dyer had ordered began shooting at unarmed innocent civilians which left more than 1000 killed. This park has been developed in memory of the martyrs. Below is the picture of the well into many people jumped to escape from the gunfire and lost their lives.
Bullet marks at Jallianwala Bagh, Amritsar   Jallianwala Bagh, Amritsar  Jallianwala Bagh, Amritsar Jallianwala Bagh, Amritsar
We had to visit the India-Pakistan border at Attari which happens every evening at 4:30pm during winters. We went there in time and were surprised to see a huge crowd and the authorities had a very tough time managing the crowd. We somehow got a place to sit in the stands. Many patriotic songs were being played at our end and some enthusiastic people could be seen dancing to it. Similar scenes could be seen at the other end. The gates opened at 4:30 and the usual parade took place both by the BSF and the Pakistani Rangers.
India-Pakistan border, Amritsar   India-Pakistan border, Amritsar India-Pakistan border, Amritsar India-Pakistan border, Amritsar
We thoroughly enjoyed this and after the ceremony made our way to the Bus stand to leave for Chandigarh. We got a bus at 11:30pm to Chandigarh
Trip schedule: Dec 25: Started from Bangalore on 24th Dec by 12629 Sampark Kranti express at 22:10
Dec 27: Reached Delhi on 26th Dec at 10:30 am
Dec 28: Day Trip to Agra, Mathura, Vrindavan from Delhi
Dec 29: Delhi local sightseeing, departed for Amritsar 8:15 pm by 18237 Chattisgarh express

Dec 30: Reached Amritsar on 29th Dec at 08:30am; Departed from Amritsar to Chandigarh at 11:30pm by Punjab roadways bus
Dec 31: Reached Chandigarh at 04:00am
Jan 01: Chandigarh
Jan 02: Day trip to Shimla
Jan 03: Departed from Chandigarh to Delhi airport at 11:00 pm
Jan 04: Reached Delhi 3:30am, boarded a flight from Delhi at 07:00am, reached Bangalore at 09:30am