Showing posts from May, 2017

Visiting the Historic town of Aurangabad

Overview: One of the major tourist hubs in the Marathwada region of Maharashtra is the region of Aurangabad. Founded in 1610 by Malik Ambar and later developed by Aurangzeb in 1653, the city has developed into a major heritage hub. The region has seen several kingdoms with Ajanta caves and Ellora caves located around 100 kms and 30kms from Aurangabad respectively. Coming to the city of Aurangabad, the main tourist attractions in and around are: 1. Bibi-ka-Maqbara: Built in 1660 by Aurangzeb in the memory of his first wife, this structure resembles the Taj Mahal in Agra. Even the outer courtyard and the gardens are designed to match the Taj.   2. Panchakki: Located in the heart of the old city of Aurangabad is Panchakki, a mill which is run by the energy generated by water. The water mill was used to grind grains for the pilgrims during the Nizam's rule in the late 17th century.   3. City gates: These gates can be seen all across the city, which were built during the tim

Tyakal & Markandeya Betta: Nice drive on a lazy Sunday

Overview: On a balmy partly sunny Sunday. we decided to head towards Malur. We had heard of the pretty countryside and some old temples. First we went to Tyakal, also spelled as Tekal. Tyakal is known for the huge boulders and the twin hillocks, which were once forts during the Vijayanagara dynasty. A wonderful place for trekkers, the hills offer odd shaped rocks and some beautiful views of the Shatashringa range of hills. The village Tyakal, historically was popular for Varadaraja temple, which dates back to the Cholas, and is believed to have similar features as that of the temple at Kanchi. The place is referred to as Tekanchi as well.     Around 15kms from Tyakal is the Markandeya Betta, reached via winding curves, offering breathtaking views of the villages below. However, the place can get crowded during festivals and holidays. One can enjoy the serenity of the place early in the morning. The hill gets its name from Markandeshwara temple, also built during the 11th cen

Cheese & Clogs: Holland’s signature

Overview: I was amazed to see tens of different varieties of cheese during my visit to the Netherlands. Each tastes distinctly unique from the other. I had the opportunity to explore the cheese making industry in the Netherlands. The staff explained in brief about the connection of cheese with Dutch culture, then showed us the cow barn from where they get the milk for preparing cheese, followed by the actual manufacturing unit. Another unique Dutch practice is to wear traditional clogs footwear while inside the cheese factory. These clogs are also manufactured in-house, and, they are really uncomfortable, as I found out, maybe because it was made entirely made out of wood. We managed to take one of the pieces as souvenir.    

Theerthamalai, TN: Rock Formations and Heritage temples

Overview: March-April are the months which are the driest in India, and water levels in dams and rivers are at the lowest. But a few places are there where perennial water pours out all through the year. One of those places is Theerthamalai. Blessed with multiple sources of water which flows down through the rocks, these sources of water are named as Ram Teertham, Agasthya Theertham and Hanuman Theertham (this one is located around 20kms from Theerthamalai. Legend says that the water has been pouring down since ages when Lord Rama shot at the rock to get water to perform puja. Hanumanteertham was created when Hanuman threw a pot of water from Theerthamalai. Theerthamalai hilltop can be reached through a flight of steps, which are quite steep ate places, but very safe for climbing. The top of the hill has some unique rock formations, and water pouring out at a few places. At the top is the 7th century Theerthagirishwarar temple, built by the Cholas. Inscriptions in Tamil and Kannada