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Pune: Exploring the heritage side of the city

Overview: Pune is one of the most modern cities in India, which also has a rich cultural heritage. I decided to explore a few sites in Pune city which defined the city before modernity.
We first went to Pataleshwar Caves, carved out of basalt rock in the 9th century during the Rashtrakutas. The caves can be termed as architectural wonder, as the entire temple has been carved out of a boulder, a miniature version of Kanheri caves in Mumbai. Though this place does not widely feature in the tourist list of many people, the caves are a favourite hangout for students and youngsters.
Our next site was Shaniwarwada, which was the state mansion of the Peshwas, and was the residence of Bajirao I in the 18th century. Though much of the residential structure no more exists, the fort walls can still be seen intact, which is a major attraction for the city visitors. One trip around the old areas of Pune takes one through several of Peshwa Palaces and residential complexes.
Another popular landmark…

Hyderabad Revisited

Overview: Hyderabad, popular for its Nizam influence, has always attracted heritage lovers across the world. I set forward to visit some of the oldest sites in the city. My last visit took me to the ever enchanting Charminar, surrounded by the bangle stores and pearl shops, a treat for shopaholics. One can soak in the beauty and culture of the old city sipping a cup of hot Irani chai near Charminar. Next to Charminar is the Makkah Masjid, where thousands of people offer prayers on Fridays. Few other places visited in my last visit are Taramati Baradari, Adil Shahi tombs, Necklace road and the massive Golconda Fort.
This visit for my friend's wedding took me to some more places which I had missed the last time. We reached Kacheguda Railway station early morning. The railway station is one of the oldest in the country, constructed by the Nizams in 1916.
Post breakfast at my friend’s home, we started off with the beautiful St Joseph's Cathedral, established in 1820 AD, with huge…

Aretippur & Kudlur: Jain Site lost in time in erstwhile Chola land

Overview:  The twin hills of Aretippur in Mandya district is a mix of history and adventure. The village has been recently studied by the archaeologists and several Jain statues have been discovered, and more have been found carved on the rocks of Kanakagiri hills. There is also a small pond in Kanakagiri, which, according to the inscriptions there, is known as Kanakagiri Teertha. The adjoining Savanappana Gudda, is an equally interesting place, with a 10 feet tall Bahubali statue atop the hill. This statue was installed in the late 10th century, and perhaps before the gigantic Gomateshwara statue at Shravanabelagola.
On the way towards Channapatna, one can visit the hill temple of Siddheshwara at Alur Doddi and Chola era temple dedicated to Lord Rama ar Kudlur. This temple at Kudlur was built by the Cholas dating back to the 10th century. The temple has carvings typical of the Cholas and several inscriptions can be seen clearly inside the temple premises.


How to reach: Aretippur is lo…