The Shekhawati region of Rajasthan must be included on your itinerary if you’re an art lover or even someone who’s into architecture and history. This unique region is often referred to as the world’s largest open-air art gallery stretching approximately around 13,784 sq km. The old Havelis (mansions), with walls adorned with intricately painted frescoes, are the main attraction in the Shekhawati region.
It was established in the 18th century along a caravan trade route and ruled by the Shekhawat Rajputs. The region was a prosperous one, with over 100 villages, and 50 forts and palaces. The region prospered because of the Bania (merchant) and Marwari community. As both of these communities belonged to the ethnic trading groups, and due to the low tax rate prevalent here they settled down at this region for trading spices, cotton, and opium. These merchants grew richer and commissioned artists to paint frescoes on their homes as a sign of opulence. Painted Havelis cropped up all over the desert landscape. The art was kept alive for nearly 300 years.
Most of these traditional Havelis had two stories, with an almost similar architectural style that illustrates ornately decorated residences which enclose either one or more open courtyards highlighting fanciful, picture of the countryside. One courtyard was for men and their business dealings, other was for women and some were for cooking and animal stables. Every inch of the mansion had step wells and temples, including the ceiling, that were decorated with colorful murals. The merchants left no stone unturned in adoring the mansions with a distinct and regal look, having ornately carved wooden entrances with pompous mirror work.
Shekhawati region’s appeal and mystique is due to the Fresco artwork (meaning painting done with traditional pigments made out of the vegetables and other minerals on wet or fresh plaster) being found in this tiny towns and villages of Shekhawati that encompass the world’s largest concentration of magnificent frescoes in a single region which are so fascinating and showcases artists creativity combined with traditional subjects, of mythology, religious scenes or images of the family, depicting contemporary concerns, etc. Also, brand-new inventions and accounts of current events, like an airplane, gramophone, ships, hot air balloon, trains etc. painted on the outer walls including, the Belgian glasswork on the doors of a Havelis incorporated with paintings of Lord Krishna and his gopis in shiny gold would surely impress the visitors to a great extent and be a delightful sight, as most of these are what painters rendered straight from their imagination. The painters have used a beautiful combination of shades like copper, blue, maroon, red and yellow to adorn the walls and ceilings.
Shekhawati prospered until the early 20th century where each Haveli symbolized its owner’s success. Some of India’s most prosperous business families like the Oswals, Mittals, Birlas, Goenkas, Singhanias, and Agarwal, have their roots here in this region. But when the merchants shifted to new trading centers like Madras, Calcutta, and Mumbai, these Havelis were abandoned locked up and neglected.
Thankfully, in 1999, the Nand Lal Devra Haveli, which was built in 1802, was acquired by French artist Nadine Le Prince. He restored and preserved the Haveli and now it is named Nadine Le Prince Cultural Centre. Besides this, many other Havelis have been restored and converted into museums. A few of them have been converted into a heritage hotel with the soul aim of conserving and promoting the Shekhawati as a popular tourist destination.
Drive down to Shekhawati, as it is only 258 km from Delhi via Narnaul road. See things at your own pace. The nearest airport here is at Jaipur. Nawalgarh or Mandawa town is the ideal town for stay option here. Book a hotel or Lodge well in advance.
You can also visit some surrounding area like Parasrampura to look at the most beautiful and oldest paintings in the region. Nawalgarh is worth a visit for its Podar Museum. Mandawa has the Mandawa Fort while Churu, Sikar, Bissau, Jhunjhunu and Ramgarh towns offer a lot to see from step wells (baoris), cenotaphs (chhatris), temples to forts and palaces apart from Havelis.
BODH GAYA-THE MAHABODHI VIHAR
Bodh gaya is a religious site and a place of pilgrimage in the state of Bihar. It is famous as it is the place where Lord Gautama Buddha is said to have enlightenment which became known as the Bodhi Tree.
For Buddhist, Bodh Gaya is the most important for the main four pilgrimage sites related to lord Gautama Buddha.
MAHABODH TEMPLE- Mahabodhi Temple is a UNESCO world Heritage , is a Buddhist temple in Bodh Gaya is about 96 km from Patna, Bihar. Mahabodhi Temple is constructed of brick and is one of the oldest brick structures to have survived in eastern India. It is considered to be a a fine example of Indian brick work, and was highly influenced in the development of later architectural traditions.
The Mahabodhi Temple is surrounded on all four sides by stone railings. About two meters high. The railings reveal two distinct types, both in style as well as the material used.
The older railings have scenes such as Lakshmi, the Hindu goddess of wealth, being bathed by elephant and surya, the hindu sun god, riding a chariot drawn by four horses. The newer railings have figure of stupas. Images of lotus flower also appear commonly.
The Bodhi tree at Bodhgaya is directly connected to the life of the historical Buddha, Siddhartha Gautama, who attained enlightenment or perfect insight when he was meditating under it. The temple was built directly to the east of the Bodhi tree, supposedly a direct descendant of the original Bodhi Tree. According to Buddhist mythology, if no Bodhi tree grows at the site, the ground around the Bodhi tree is devoid of all plants for a distance of one royal karisa. Through the ground around the Bodhi tree no being, not even an elephant, can travel.
According to legend, in the case of Gautama Buddha, a Bodhi tree sprang up on the day he was born.
It is said that four weeks after the Buddha began meditating under the Bodhi Tree, the heavens darkened for seven days, and a prodigious rain descended. However, the mighty king of serpents, Mucalinda, came from beneath the earth and protected with his hood the one who is the source of all protection. When the great storm had cleared, the serpent king assumed his human form, bowed before the Buddha, and returned in joy to his palace.
In approximately 250 BCE, about 200 years after the Buddha attained Enlightenment, Buddhist Emperor Asoka visited Bodh Gaya in order to establish a monastery and shrine on the holy site. The new Mahabodhi temple included a diamond throne (called the Vajrasana) to mark the exact spot of the Buddha’s enlightenment. While Asoka is considered the Mahabodhi temple’s founder, the current structure dates from the 5th–6th century.
LOCAL FOOD AND CUISINE OF BODH GAYA
Bodhgaya, being a religious centre does not offer a lot of options when it comes to non-vegetarian food or alcohol. However the town sustains quiet a variety from Tibetan dishes, Italian dishes including pastas and pizzas, Thai cuisine, Korean cuisine to traditional Bihari Cuisine.
Gaya is also famous for its sweets and is the place of origination for a number of the same. The main sweets here are Enursa, Tilkut, Khaja, Lai and Kesariya peda all of which are exclusive to Bihar. Other Bihari dishes like Sattu ka roti, Litti-chokha, Pua, Marua ka roti, Chana Bhuja, Aaloo Kachalu etc. are also easily available here.
79 is the new 69 @ Chull
79 is the new 69 @ Chull
Your favorite food destination Cull Gurugram is providing an array of scrumptious food and list of beverages/ cocktails with a special offer. The range starts from Rs 79 , coz 79 is the new 69. The list of food includes Chilli Chicken, Amritsari Mochi, Fish Fingure, Chicken Wings, Chicken Pizza, Veg Spring Roll, French Fries, Margarita Pizza,Veg Bruschetta to new a few…
So, share your quality time with your friends and family at your favorite food destination making it a memorable one.
Venue -Chull, 5th Floor plot 11, 12 Leisure Valley Rd, Sector 29, Gurugram, Haryana 122007
Date: 20th April 2018 – 30th April 2018
Time – 12 Noon – 7 pm
Get Through the Insights of Salman Khan’s sister Shweta Rohira’s Travel Tales!
Popular artiste and Salman Khan’s sister, Shweta Rohira, who has worked on several interesting art projects, recently took a break from her daily schedule and traveled to Ladakh. She was accompanied by her aunt and uncle, and the trip proved to be quite a memorable one. She revealed that she did an eight-day-long trip to Ladakh. She added that I had gone with my aunt and uncle who was the LT General in 1999 and was posted there for three years. Now that I am back, I can vouch that Ladakh is a place that calls you back!”
She said she had a magical time there.Sharing her experience about traveling to Ladakh she said, It’s a place that has different shades. As a traveler or an artist, she felt like she was in paradise. It was her first time but definitely not the last time, she mentioned with great emphasis.
Talking about her time there, Shweta said, “I have made a lot of memories in Ladakh, especially because I was staying in the army mess and meeting a lot of army people. I kept calling this Leh trip of mine “my Jab Tak Hai Jaan!”.
Shweta had quite an extensive itinerary and she visited several places including Leh, Ladakh, Pangong Tso, Trishul, tangtse and hemis. She informs, “It was very cold there. Some places had snow, some were barren but it was still very chilly.”
On a philosophical note, Shweta said that traveling helps her broaden her horizons and keeps her connected with one’s inner self. She shares, “ I think traveling is very important for an individual as it makes you grow and connect with your inner self when you see different areas that God has created.”
Famous Bollywood shooting locations in India
You know what’s best thing about Bollywood after the high voltage glamour and acting? It’s the location of course. Our Bollywood film makes have the propensity to take us to the enigmatic locations that become iconic overnight. They might be ordinary locations before but Bollywood turns it into tourist spot by creating a stunning imagery. Bollywood songs are often shot at exotic places that one dreamt of visiting once and most of us wonder where they have been shot. It is assumed that all of them are either abroad locations or graphics but that’s a myth. India has more breathtaking locations and you don’t need to travel the world around to see the beauty. So, grab your munchies because here is a list of 10 iconic Indian locations where Bollywood shot their famous films and songs.
In the dimensions of Manali and Rohtang Pass
Do you remember kareena (Geet) dialogue “Mujhe na pahad bohut pasand hain” from Jab we met? Well, this simple love story was shot in the iconic locations of Manali. The mystic hills and valleys, oak trees and gushing river got all the attention of the film makers and viewers too. Previously, Rajesh Khanna’s ‘aap ki kasam’ and Rishi Kapoor’s ‘Heena’ painted manali on the cinematic canvas of Bollywood. Later, ‘Ye Jawani Hai Deewani’ set the trekking goals for all the teens. Such movies gave a break to Manali’s tourism and now Hadimba Temple became a must visit place there. Manali gave us one more beautiful location Rohtang Pass which is located in its periphery. Located 51km away from Manali, this location is all snow covered and movies like Jab we Met, DevD, Highway have been shot. It makes a perfect place for biking enthusiasts. This place will surely make you want to pack the bags immediately.
In the alpines of Ladakh
Do you know the place where last scene of ‘3 idiots’ was shot? The place where Shahrukh Khan jumped into the river to save drowning Anushka Sharma in ‘Jab tak hai Jaan’? both the movies were blockbusters in the history of Bollywood and offered us the locations that anyone would want to be. Ladakh was the place where these scenes were shot. The lake you can see behind is ‘The Pangong Lake’ and it has become one of the favorite location of film makers. You might have a tough time to reach this place due to unfavorable climatic and geographical conditions but the wait and pain is worth a while. This place has got minus temperature and is also known as cold dessert of India. You can have a fantastic road trip to Ladakh with your gang.
Love is in the air of Kerala
Kerala is primarily known for the backwaters and tea plantations but this time Bollywood broke the connotation. Can you recall the song ‘Kashmir main tu kanyakumari’ from ‘Chennai Express’? This song might not have that much of Kanyakumari and Kashmir but it definitely has the iconic shots from Kerala. Have you seen Deepika Padukone dancing in Kanjiwaram Sari with Shahrukh in amidst of picturesque location? Well, that’s too much of introduction about the place. Munnar is the place behind the Chennai Express, Life of Pie and Nishabd. Majority of the scenes were shot in Tea plantations, Dudhsagar Falls, Vattamalai Murugan Temple, Pamban Road and many more places. With this Munnar has become the fast romantic destination in India.
Get lost in the royalty of Jaipur and Udaipur
Jaipur, The pink city of India has always been famous for its mesmerizing architecture and historical monuments. These locations, forts and desserts are so captivating and it’s no big deal that it caught attention of Bollywood directors and producers. Remember the iconic beer drinking scene from Rang De Basanti when Aamir Khan and Sharman Joshi’s free fall from public water tank of the Nahargarh Fort. It is located in the Aravalli Hills at the height of 700feet catering an exquisite view. Movies like Ajay Devgn and Abhishek Bachchan’s Bol Bachchan have been shot there.
Talking about Udaipur, it has to offer a lot with its exuding royalty. Movies like Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani, Ramleela and Khoobsurat were shot in the iconic royal heritage sites of Udaipur. The best place is the Udaipur Palace if you want to have a taste of actual royalty. Whether it is destination wedding or spending a long weekend, we can’t just stop finding new reasons to take a plunge in the royalty of Udaipur. But they are better for indoor than outdoor.
Dilwalo Ki Delhi
The epicenter of India is not only the place of all the culture and heritage but also get the lime light of the Bollywood directors. It is the current muse of Bollywood, from Jannat 2, Dilli 6 to 3 idiots, Rockstar and Rang De Basanti, Delhi is for sure on the hit list. The iconic locations like India Gate, Humayun Tomb, Qutub Minar, Chandni Chowk and many more are on finger locations. Delhi has plethora of monuments, markets, universities and the metropolitan aura. 2 states and Tamasha was shot in Hauz Khas Village.
It is no big deal to say, Goa is the second most captured location in India. The beaches, the churches and breathtaking waterfalls Goa is a replete of all. It is the place where the whole country flocks to for some peace and rave. Movies like Dil Chahta Hai, Josh, Ek Villain, Golmaal 3, Finding Fanny, Singham and Pyar ka Punchnama. The Aguada Fort is majorly shot in Goa. Dhoom and Honeymoon travels made Goa a must visit destination for the tourists. Ironically, it has more tourists than the localites.
Stories from Kashmir
Kashmir is one of the breathtaking destinations in India. How come Bollywood not fell in love? Ever since Shammi Kapoor started, he was known for his dancing routines and romantic affairs in the Kashmir Valleys and meadows. Gulmarg became the top tourist destinations after ample of Bollywood blockbusters filmed in the snowcapped mountains. Dal Lake is where all the love songs in 80’s were shot and now Rockstar, Highway gave their debut too. Shahid Kapoor starred Haider was shot in the captivating snowcapped regions of Kashmir. This place has something that can leave anybody ogle about. In fitoor Katrina sprinted in the snow laden paths which was mere picturesque.
The contours of Kolkata
You love it or hate it but cannot ignore it- that’s what Kolkata is! Bollywood has an unsaid love with this place and we know it. The culture, the people, the location and the Hawda Bridge is what Kolkata makes director’s first choice in Rekki. Be it the Durga Puja in Vicky Donor, narrow galiyaan and Bengali essence in Kahani, tramrides in Barfi, cool businesses in Gunday or Hawda Bridge in Detective Byomkesh Bakshy, Kolkata set the Bengali culture alive in each debut. Bollywood took the time back in 80’s with Parineeta, Lootera and Gunday and still Kolkata was captured in all of its glory, almost effortlessly.
Mumbai hai Meri Jaan
The home of film industry, the place where gate of India located, the location where Khans to kapoors, bachchans to Kumar resides well it’s the city of dreams- Mumbai. Despite numerous movies capturing the local iconic locales of this city, our Bollywood can’t get enough of it. From Dhoom, Wake up Sid, Munna Bhai, Talaash, Saagar, Ek Deewana Tha and Slumdog Millionaire was shot on the Marine Drive of Mumbai.
The divinity of Ludhiana and Amritsar
Punjab is where the mustard fields sing songs of the pride and culture it holds back. This divine and small city of Punjab has contributed a lot to the films. It makes a perfect hidden getaway from the metropolitans and land into the land of harmony and culture. Crucial scenes of Rang De Basanti were shot on the Doraha Fort because of which now it has become a favorite place for people to chill and enjoy with families. Jallianwala Bagh, Khalsa and Golden Temple are the favorite shooting spots there. Movies like Gadar, Bride and Prejudice, Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi, Veer-Zara and The Legends of Bhagat Singh were flicked there.
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