Gujarat is a land of colors, food, and people. As much as we appreciate people getting engage themselves with planning, It is also our responsibility to create an itinerary for their perfect Gujarat weeklong tour.

Gujarat in colors

Gujarat is one of the best states in India to plan a tour in the winter season. The “Run of Kuch” desert festival is a key item in the MoT catalog. Ahmedabad, the capital of the state is home to world-famous Kakaria Lake. Somanath Temple of the state influence a lot of Hindu travelers to visit its premises. Gir National Park in Gujrat is a home to incredible flora and fauna. At the top of this – Garba, regional dance of Gujrat calls a lot of attraction.

This combination is very to be find in a single state. These layers are so vibrant that you can not get enough anytime.

Itinerary for Gujarat Weeklong Tour

Let first reach to Ahmadabad, after reaching here sightseeing the city which have the ample things to do. In Ahemdabad we can visit the Ghandi Ashram, Science City, Ashramdham Temple (specifically the night show which held after the 8.00 clock), Sabharmati Ashram and many more things if have the time like visiting the local market (khan market).

After the city, move to Dwarka Dhish temple which is present at the shore of the Arabian Sea. It’s a place which makes you calmer and sooth the hazard thoughts. After spending the time, next move to Bedh Dwarka which is an island form. Then After this next move to the Somnath Temple which is also on the shore present temple, in addition to we also visit the Gir National Park. 

Then back to Ahmedabad again go back to home. Hope this journey made you more strong then ever you will be.

Some of the best places that we need to travel are hidden under their own folds, likewise, we found Tilgan. Its the kind of location which not even exists on Google Maps, that’s for sure. 

Tilgan is a grassy sloppy piece of land located in the mid of Himalayan region near Manali. It took us 5 Hrs to reach this place from Jagatsukh Village. But when we reached here, we found the peace. Natural Sanctuary of Tilgan is truly something. Covered with timberlands from all directions. Displaying the gigantic mountain views. Crossing paths with a lot of streams. This place is what we need to escape from the world.

The trek to this wonderland was also one of the best we had in a while. Its not like something you go in alone. Trek to Tilgan, ways from villages, local residences, grazing animals in the woods – things that bring colors to the journey.

These are the things that generates some emotions in the way. And with courtesy to our trek guide we had 2 great dogs, that accompanied us while the trek.

After this experience, our company has decided to customize a new trek to “The Tilgan Trek”, which will be a 2 day exploration. The weekend trek, which will be released in the year 2019.” Let’s hope that goes well.

The things which will be promised by the trek will be – Trekking, Camping, Nature Sightseeing, Forest Walk, Bonfire, Food, and Memories. As for now, our team is working to craft this trek more effective to replace the old terrains of Himachal Pradesh. 

Tilgan - Hidden Gem of Himalayas
Tilgan – Hidden Gem of Himalayas

The famous Jama Masjid of Agra is situated near to the Agra Fort at the heart of the city. The place is also known by some other popular names like “Jami Masjid” or “Friday Mosque”.

History
This gigantic structured was ordered to be constructed by Great Mughal Emperor, Shajahan in the year 1648 and for his favourite daughter, Jahanara Begum. During the early age, there is said to be an immense, octagonal Tripolia Chowk, which happened to be in between the mosque and the Delhi gate of the Agra Fort. This structure was demolished by governments to build the modern Railway Station for logistics and transportation of goods and passengers. The chief entrance is towards the eastern part of the masjid. The main section dedicated to Namazis has been built with a front with an iwan in the centre.

The domes have Kamal (lotus) and Kalash on the top and have a lining of white stone with a beautiful course pattern of thick bands of red stone. There are fountains built around these 4 kiosks in its corners at the centre of the courtyard. The design of the west wall has mihrab and pulpit made up of white marble. The Persian inscription created in these white marble with the magnificent black stone, on the archway of the central portal displaying the love and affection of Jahanara and Shah Jehan. Jama Masjid took rigorous 6 years and about five thousand humans to finish.

It is completely made up of beautiful red sandstone and marble.

Structure

The Jama Masjid of Agra is constructed of red sandstone with complex white marble decorations. The walls and ceilings of the mosque are painted with the light blue in colour. It is a huge mosque in the centre of Agra and its vicinity all around situated a great bazaar.

The Mosque itself stands on altitude platform to which ascent is made by a flight of 35 steps. It was designed to entice the eye of the faithful from afar and proclaim the glory of Islam.

It has well-balanced parts and a courtyard surrounded by cloisters on three of its sides and the prayer chamber on its western side. The cloisters have engrailed arches bear on pillars. There is a fountain located with four kiosks in its corners in the centre of the courtyard.

Along the wings of the main prayer wall, panels of beautifully inlaid sandstone similar to those attractive the main gateway of the Taj Mahal, add an appropriately feminine touch. Still in use today, the mosque is one of the city’s chief landmarks and serves as a useful reference point when exploring the crowded bazaars that sprawl from its base. These are laid out in a street plan that’s barely altered since Mughal days. Jami Masjid is beautifully embellished with paintings, inlaid stones, carvings and glazed tiles. The main Lawn of the structure is rather simple and contains a central arch with geometrical designs.

Akbar tomb is the burial place of the Great Mughal emperor, Akbar and a prominent Mughal architectural masterpiece. It was beginning to be constructed in 1604 and get finished in between 1613 and is made upon a gigantic 119 acres of grounds in Sikandra, which is located in Uttar Pradesh, India.

History
The tomb of this great Mughal emperor was ordered to be constructed by his son Prince Salim, who was also known/called as Jahangir. Design of the tomb and a suitable site for it was selected by him. After his death, Akbar’s son Jahangir completed the construction in 1605–1613. During the Islamic ruler Aurangzeb’s time, the rebellious Jats rose against him under the leadership of Raja Ram Jat, they took the control of Agra fort after ruled out the Mughal forces. Mughal prestige undergoes a further blow when Jats ransacked Akbar tomb, plundered and looted all the beautiful gold, jewels, silver and carpets, whilst destroying other things. He even, in order to avenge his father Gokula’s death, looted Akbar’s tomb, looted it, opened Akbar’s grave and dragged Akbar’s bones. Aurangzeb was so furious that he captured Raja ram and got him killed ruthlessly.

This photo of Akbar’s Tomb is courtesy of TripAdvisor

The architecture of Akbar Tomb

The south gate of the tomb is the largest gate of the structure with four white marble stone made chhatri – topped minarets which are similar to those of the Taj Mahal of Agra and is the point of entry to the structure. The Akbar tomb is completely surrounded by a wall, enclosed in 105 m square. The complex is a four-tiered pyramid, surmounted by a marble pavilion containing the false tomb. The true tomb, as in other mausoleums, is located in the basement of the structure. The buildings are built mainly from a deep red sandstone, enriched with features in white marble. Adorned inlaid panels of these materials and a black slate adorn the tomb and the main gatehouse.

Fatehpur Sikri is a town in the Agra District of Uttar Pradesh Agra, India. The city itself was founded as the capital of Mughal Empire in 1571 by Emperor Akbar, serving this role from 1571 to 1585, when Akbar leaves it due to a campaign in Punjab and was later fully abandoned in 1610.

The name of the city taken from the village called Sikri which occupied the spot before. An Archaeological Survey of India(ASI) excavation from 1999-2000 showcase that there was a habitation here before Akbar constructs his capital. It was also a beloved place of Babur who called it Shukri for its lake of water needed for his armies. He used it for relaxation and also conquer Rana Sanga on its outskirts.

The Khanqah of Sheikh Salim existed earlier at this place. Akbar’s son Jahangir was born in the village of Sikri in 1569 and that year Akbar constructed a religious compound to commemorate the Sheikh who had forecast the birth. After Jahangir’s second birthday, he began the construction of a walled city and a huge imperial palace here. The city came in fronts to all and known as Fatehpur Sikri, the “City of Victory”, after Akbar’s victorious Gujarat campaign in 1573.

History

The place was much admired by Babur who called it as Shukri (“Thanks”), for its large lake of water needed by the Mughal armies. Per his memoirs, Babur built here a garden called the “Garden of Victory” after defeating Rana Sangha at its outskirts. Gulbadan Begum’s Humayun-Nama describes that in the garden he construct an octagonal pavilion which he used for lightening himself and writing. In the centre of the nearby lake, he made a large platform. Bold presents at the base of a rock scarp about a kilometre from the Hiran Minar.

Akbar remained heirless until 1569 when his son, who will become known as Jahangir, was born in the village of Sikri in 1569 and Akbar began the construction of a religious compound in honour of the Chisti saint Sheikh Salim who had forecasted the birth of Jahangir. After Jahangir’s second birthday, he began the construction of a walled city and imperial palace might be to test his son’s stamina. By constructing his capital at the khanqah of Sheikh Salim, Akbar linked himself with this popular Sufi order and brought legitimacy to his reign through this affiliation.

The city was founded in 1571 and was named after the village of Sikri which reside the spot before. The Buland Darwaza was made in the honour of his successful campaign in Gujarat when the city came to be known as Fatehpur Sikri – “The City of Victory”. The city was founded in 1571 and was named after the Sikri village which had existed on the spot before. It was left by Akbar in 1585 when he went to fight a campaign in Punjab. It was later completely abandoned in 1610 by Akbar.

According to contemporary historians, Akbar took a great heed in the structure of Fatehpur Sikri and probably also dictated its architectural style. Seeking to rejuvenate the splendors of Persian court ceremony made prominent by his ancestor Timur, Akbar planned the structure on Persian principles. But the impact of his adopted land came through in the typically Indian embellishments. The Imperial Palace complex made of a number of independent pavilions arranged in formal geometry on a piece of level ground, a design derived from Arab and central Asian tent encampments. In its entirety, the monuments at Fatehpur Sikri thus showcase the genius of Akbar in assimilating diverse regional architectural impact within a holistic style that was uniquely his own.

The Imperial complex was leaves in 1585, shortly after its completion, due to the exhaustion of the small, spring-fed lake that provided the city with water, and its vicinity with the Rajputana, with which the Mughal Empire was often at war. Thus the capital was shifted to Lahore so that Akbar could have a base in the less stable part of the empire, before moving back to Agra in 1598, where he had started his reign as he shifted his focus to Deccan. In fact, he never returned to the city except for a short period in 1601. In later Mughal history, it was regained for a small duration while by the Mughal emperor Muhammad Shah (1719 -1748) and his regent, Sayyid Hussain Ali Khan Barha, one of the Syed brother, was murdered here in 1720. The palaces were occupied by the Marathas after their defeat in Delhi, then transferred to the British army, which used the strengthen complex as a headquarters and barracks.

Because the palace area has been in nearly continuous use over the centuries, much of the imperial structure which spread over nearly two miles long and one-mile wide area is largely intact. It is still surrounded by a five-mile-long wall constructed during its original construction on three sides. However, apart from the imperial buildings complex and the impressive mosque which continues in use, little of the city survives.

Architecture

Fatehpur Sikri

Fatehpur Sikri sits on the rocky ridge, 3 kilometers (1.9 mi) in length and 1 km (0.62 mi) wide and palace city is covered by the 6 km (3.7 mi) wall on three sides with the fourth bordered by a lake. Its architects were R Roy and Dhruv Chawla and were built using Indian principles.The buildings of Fatehpur Sikri show a combination of various regional schools of architectural craftsmanship such as Gujarat and Bengal.This was because native craftsmen were used for the construction of the buildings.Major Influence from Hindu and Jain architecture are seen hand in hand with Islamic elements.The building material used in all the buildings at Fatehpur Sikri, palace-city complex, is the locally quarried red sandstone, is popularly known as ‘Sikri sandstone’. It is allowed through gates along the 5 miles (8.0 km) long fort wall, namely, Delhi Gate, the Lal Gate, the Agra Gate and Birbal’s Gate, Chandanpal Gate, The Gwalior Gate, the Tehra Gate, the Chor Gate and the Ajmeri Gate.

Agra Fort is a historical fort located in the city of Agra in India. It was the main residence of the emperors of the Mughal Dynasty till 1638, after which the capital was shifted from Agra to Dehli. The Agra fort is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.It is about 2.5 km northwest of its more prominent sister monument, the Taj Mahal. The fort can be more precisely showcase as a walled city.

History of Agra Fort

After the First Battle of Panipat in 1526, the victorious Babur lived in the fort, in the palace of Ibrahim Lodi. He later constructs a baoli (step well) in it. His successor, Humayun, was crowned in the same fort in 1530.Sher Shah Suri conquered him in the Bilgram in 1540. The fort keeps with the Suris till 1555, when Humayun again recaptured it.Adil Shah Suri’s general, Hemu, recaptured Agra in 1556 and follow its fleeing governor to Delhi where he met the Mughals in the Battle of Tughlaqabad.

Realising the significance of its central situation, Akbar made it his capital and arrived in Agra in 1558. It was in a ruined condition and Akbar had it reconstruct with red sandstone from Barauli area Dhaulpur district, in Rajasthan. Architects laid the foundation and it was constructed with bricks in the inner core with sandstone on external surfaces. Some 4,000 builders worked on it daily for eight years, finish it in 1573.

It was only during the reign of Akbar’s grandson, Shah Jahan, that the site took on its present state. Shah Jahan constructed the beautiful Taj Mahal in the memory of his wife, Mumtaz Mahal. Unlike his grandfather, Shah Jahan intended to have buildings made from white marble.

At the end of his life, Shah Jahan was deposed and restrained by his son, Aurangzeb, in the fort. It is unverified that Shah Jahan died in Muasamman Burj, a tower with a marble balcony with a view of the Taj Mahal.

The fort was conquered and captured by the Maratha Empire in the early 18th century. After their catastrophic loose at Third Battle of Panipat by Ahmad Shah Abdali in 1761, Marathas remained out of the region till the next decade. In the end, Mahadji Shinde took the fort in 1785. It is loose by the Marathas to the British during the Second Anglo – Maratha War, in 1803.

The fort was the site of a battle during the Indian rebellion of 1857, which brought the end of the British East India Company’s rule in India, and led to a century of direct rule of India by Britain.

Layout of Agra Fort

The 380,000-square-metre (94-acre) fort has a semicircular plan, its chord lies parallel to the river and its walls are wide and at a seventy feet high. Double ramparts have huge circular bastions at intervals, with battlements, embrasures, machicolation and string courses. Four gates were given on its four sides, one Khizri gate opening on to the river.Agra Fort

Two of the fort’s gates are significant: the “Delhi Gate” and the “Lahore Gate.” The Lahore Gate is also popularly also known as the “Amar Singh Gate,” as due to the Amar Singh Rathore.

The monumental Delhi Gate, which faces the city on the western side of the fort, is regarded as the grandest of the four gates and a masterpiece of Akbar’s time. It was built circa 1568 both to enhance security and as the king’s formal gate and involves features related to both. It is decorated with inlay work in white marble. A wooden drawbridge was used to cross the moat and reach the gate from the mainland; inside, an inner gateway called Hathi Pol (“Elephant Gate”) – guarded by two life-sized stone elephants with their riders – added one more another layer of security. The drawbridge, slight ascent, and 90-degree turn between the outer and inner gates make the entrance impenetrable. During a siege, attackers would use the elephants to crush a fort’s gates.

The site is very significant in terms of architectural history. Abul Fazal recorded that five hundred complexes in the beautiful designs of Bengal and Gujrat were constructed in the fort. Some of them were destructed by the Shah Jahan to make way for his white marble palaces. Most of the others were demolished by the British between 1803 and 1862 for raising barracks. Merely thirty Mughal buildings have survived on the south-eastern side, facing the river. Of these, the Delhi Gate and Akbar Gate and one palace – “Bengali Mahal” – are the showcase of the Akbari buildings.

The Bengali Mahal is the construct of red sandstone and is now divided into Akbari Mahal and Jahangiri Mahal.

The Taj Mahal (meaning Crown of the Palace) is an ivory-white marble mausoleum situated on the south bank of the Yamuna river in the Indian city of Agra. It was commissioned in 1632 by the Mughal emperor, Shah Jahan (reigned from 1628 to 1658), to house the tomb of his loving wife, Mumtaz Mahal. The tomb is the centerpiece of a 17-hectare (42-acre) complex, which covers a mosque and a guest house, and is set in formal gardens bounded on three sides by a crenelated wall.

Built of the mausoleum was fully completed in 1643 but work continued on other phases of the project for another 10 years. The Taj Mahal complex trusts to have been completed in its entirety in 1653 at a cost approximate around at the time to be around 32 million rupees, which in 2015 would be approximately 52.8 billion rupees (the U.S $827 million). The construction project employed some 20,000 artisans under the enlightenment of a board of architects led by the court architect to the emperor, Ustaad Ahmad Lahauri.

The Taj Mahal was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983 for being “the jewel of Muslim art in India and one of the universally praise masterpieces of the world’s heritage”. It is regarded by many as the best example of Mughal architecture and a symbol of India’s rich history. The Taj Mahal entice 7–8 million visitors a year. In 2007, it was widely known as a winner of the New 7 Wonders of the Wonders (2000–2007) initiative.

Architecture and design

The Taj Mahal includes and expands on design traditions of Persian and earlier Mughal architecture. The specific insight came from successful Timurid and Mughal buildings including the Gur-e-Amir (the tomb of Timur, the progenitor of the Mughal dynasty, in Samarkand), Humayun’s Tomb, Itmad-Ud-Daulah’s Tomb (sometimes called the Baby Taj), and Shah Jahan’s own Jama Masjid in Delhi. While earlier Mughal buildings were primarily built of red sandstone, Shah Jahan advances the use of white marble inlaid with semi-precious stones.

Taj Mahal - Adventure Travel Trip

Tomb

The tomb is the chief focus of the entire complex of the Taj Mahal. It is a large, white marble construction standing on a square plinth and consists of a symmetrical building with an iwan (an arch-shaped doorway) topped by a large dome and finial. 

The base structure is a large multi-chambered cube with chamfered corners forming an unequal eight-sided structure that is estimated to be 55 meters (180 ft) on each of the four long sides. Each side of the iwan is mount with a huge pishtaq or vaulted archway with two similarly shaped arched balconies stacked on either side. This motif of stacked pishtaqs is replicated on the chamfered corner areas, making the design fully symmetrical on all sides of the building. Four minarets mount the tomb, one at each corner of the plinth facing the chamfered corners. The main chamber houses the false sarcophagi of Mumtaz Mahal and Shah Jahan; the actual graves are lies at a lower level.

The most striking feature is the marble dome that surmounts the tomb. The dome is nearly 35 meters (115 ft) high which is close in measurement to the length of the base and accentuated by the cylindrical “drum” it sits on which is approximately 7 meters (23 ft) high. Because of its shape, the dome is often called an onion dome or amrud (guava dome). The top is embraced with a lotus design which also serves to accentuate its height. The shape of the dome is emphasized by four smaller domed chattris (kiosks) placed at its corners, which copy the onion shape of the main dome. Their columned bases open at the roof of the tomb and provide light to the interior. Tall decorative spires (guldastas) enlarge from edges of bare walls and provide visual emphasis to the height of the dome. The lotus design is repeated on both the chattris and guldastas. The dome and chattris are topped by a gilded finial which mixes traditional and cultural Persian along with the Hindustani decorative elements.

The chief finial was originally made of gold but was replaced by a copy made of gilded bronze in the early 19th century. This attribute provides a clear example of the integration of traditional Persian and Hindu decorative elements. The final is topped by a moon, a classic Islamic motif whose horns point heavenward.

The minarets, which are each more than 40 meters (130 ft) tall, show the designer’s penchant for symmetry. They were designed as working minarets—a cultural element of mosques, used by the muezzin to call the Islamic faithful to prayer. Each minaret is desirably divided into three equal parts by two working balconies that ring the tower. At the top of the tower is a final balcony overcome by a chattri that mirrors the design of those on the tomb. The chattris all share the same attractive elements of a lotus design topped by a gilded finial.

Exterior decorations

The exterior decorations of the Taj Mahal are among the one of the finest in Mughal architecture. The attractive elements were created by applying paint, stucco, stone inlays or carvings. In line with the Islamic prohibition against the use of anthropomorphic forms, the attractive elements can be grouped into either calligraphy, abstract forms or vegetative motifs. Throughout the complex are passages from the Quran that comprise some of the attractive elements.

The calligraphy on the Great Gate wrote “O Soul, thou art at rest. Return to the Lord at peace with Him, and He at peace with you.” The calligraphy was produced in 1609 by a calligrapher named Abdul Haq. Shah Jahan gives the title of “Amanat Khan” upon him as a reward for his “dazzling virtuosity”. The calligraphy found on the marble cenotaph in the tomb is greatly intense detailed and delicate.

Abstract forms are used throughout, particularly in the plinth, minarets, gateway, mosque, jawab and, to a lesser extent, on the surfaces of the tomb. The domes and vaults of the sandstone buildings are worked with tracery of incised painting to create complex geometric forms.

On the lower walls of the tomb are white marble dados sculpted with realistic bas relief showcase of flowers and vines. The marble has been skillful to emphasize the exquisite detailing of the carvings. The dado mount and archway spandrels have been decorated with pieta dura inlays of highly stylised, almost geometric vines, flowers, and fruits. The inlay stones are of yellow marble, Jasper, and jade polished and plane to the surface of the walls.

Interior decoration

The interior chamber of the Taj Mahal touches far beyond traditional decorative elements. The inlay work is not pietra dura, but a lapidary of precious and semiprecious gemstones. The inner chamber is an octagon with the design permit for entry from each face, although only the door facing the garden to the south is used. The interior walls are about 25 meters (82 ft) high and are topped by a “false” interior dome decorated with a sun design. Eight pishtaq arches explain the space at ground level and, as with the exterior, each lower pishtaq is crowned by a second pishtaq midway up the wall. The four central upper arches form balconies or viewing areas, and each balcony’s exterior window has a complex screen or jali cut from marble. In addition to the light from the balcony screens, light enters through roof openings mounting by chattris at the corners. The octagonal marble screen or jali bordering the cenotaphs is made from eight marble panels carved through with complex pierce work. The remaining surfaces are inlaid in fine detail with semi-precious stones forming twining vines, fruits, and flowers. Each chamber wall is highly attractive with dado bas-relief, intricate lapidary inlay and refined calligraphy panels which reflect, in miniature detail, the design elements seen throughout the exterior of the complex.

Muslim tradition prohibits wide decoration of graves. Hence, the bodies of Mumtaz and Shah Jahan were kept in a relatively plain crypt beneath the inner chamber with their faces turned right, towards Mecca. Mumtaz Mahal’s cenotaph is placed at the exact center of the inner chamber on a rectangular marble base of 1.5 by 2.5 meters (4 ft 11 in by 8 ft 2 in). Both the base and casket are widely inlaid with precious and semiprecious gems. Calligraphic inscriptions on the casket identify and praise Mumtaz. On the lid of the casket is a raised rectangular lozenge meant to allude a writing tablet. Shah Jahan’s cenotaph is beside Mumtaz’s to the western side and is the only visible asymmetric element in the complete complex. His cenotaph is bigger than his wife’s but reflects the same elements: a larger casket on a slightly taller base exact decorated with lapidary and calligraphy that identifies him.

Outlying building

The Taj Mahal intricate is bordered on three sides by crenelated red sandstone walls; the side facing the river is open. Outside the walls are several additional mausoleums, involves those of Shah Jahan’s other wives, and a larger tomb for Mumtaz’s favorite servant.

The chief gateway (darwaza) is a monumental structure construct primarily of marble, and reminiscent of the Mughal architecture of earlier emperors. Its archways mirror the shape of the tomb’s archways, and its pishtaq arches blend with the calligraphy that decorates the tomb. The vaulted ceilings and walls have wide geometric designs like those found in the other sandstone buildings in the complex.Taj Mahal

At the far end of the complex are two grand red sandstone structure that mirrors each other, and faces the sides of the tomb. The backs side of the buildings parallel the western and eastern walls. The western structure is a mosque and the other is the jawab (answer), thought to have been built for architectural balance although it may have been used as a guesthouse. Distinctions between the two buildings involve the jawab’s lack of a mihrab (a niche in a mosque’s wall facing Mecca) and its floors of geometric d-esign whereas the floor of the mosque is laid with outlines of 569 prayer mat in black marble. The mosque’s basic design of a long hall surmounted by three domes is similar to others constructed by Shah Jahan, particularly the Masjid-i Jahān-Numā, or Jama Majid, Dehli. The Mughal mosques of this period unreleated the sanctuary hall into three areas comprising the main sanctuary and slightly smaller sanctuaries on either side.

Construction

The Taj Mahal is constructed on a parcel of land to the south of the walled city of Agra. Shah Jahan showcases the Maharajah Jai Singh with a large palace in the center of Agra in exchange for the land. An area of around 1.2 hectares (3 acres) was excavated, filled with dirt to reduce seepage, and leveled at 50 meters (160 ft) above riverbank. In the tomb area, wells were dug and completely filled with stone and rubble to form the footings of the tomb. Instead of lashed bamboo, workmen built a colossal brick scaffold that mirrored the tomb. The scaffold was so vast that foremen estimated it would take years to dismantle.

The Taj Mahal was built using materials from all over India and Asia. It is trusted over 1,000 elephants were used to transport building materials. The diaphanous white marble was brought from Makrana, Rajasthan, the jasper from Punjab, jade, and crystal from China. The turquoise brought from the Tibet and the Lapis lazuli from Afghanistan, while the sapphire came from Sri Lanka and the carnelian from Arabia. In all, twenty-eight types of valuable and semi-precious stones were inlaid into the white marble.

According to the legend, Shah Jahan ordered that anyone could keep the bricks taken from the scaffold, and thus it was dismantled by peasants overnight. A 15-kilometer (9.3 mi) tamped-earth ramp was constructed to transport marble and materials to the construction site and teams of twenty or thirty oxen pulled the blocks on specially design wagons. An elaborate post and beam pulley system were used to raise the blocks into specific desired position. Water was drawn from the river by a series of purs, an animal-powered rope, and bucket mechanism, into a large storage tank and pulled to a large distribution tank. It was passed into three subsidiary tanks, from which it was piped to the structure.

The plinth and tomb took roughly 12 years to finish. The remaining parts of the structure took an additional 10 years and were completed in order of minarets, mosque and jawab, and gateway. Since the structure was constructed in stages, discrepancies exist in completion dates due to differing opinions on “completion”. Construction of the mausoleum itself was essentially finished by 1643 while work continued on the outlying buildings. Estimates of the cost of structure vary due to difficulties in estimating costs across time. The total cost at the time has been estimated to be about 32 million Indian rupees, which is around 52.8 billion Indian rupees ($827 million US) based on 2015 values.

Tourism

The Taj Mahal entice a large number of tourists. UNESCO documented more than 2 million visitors in 2001, which had increased a huge about 7–8 million in 2014. A two-tier pricing system is in place, with a significantly lower entrance fee for Indian citizens and a more costly one for foreigners. Most tourists come in the cooler months of October, November, and February. Polluting traffic is not allowed near the structure and tourists must either walk from parking lots or catch an electric bus. The Khawasspuras (northern courtyards) are presently being restored for use as a new visitor center.

The small town to the south of the Taj, known as Taj Ganji or Mumtazabad, was originally built with caravanserais, bazaars, and markets to serve the needs of visitors and workmen. Lists of recommended travel destinations often attribute the Taj Mahal, which also appears in several listings of seven wonders of the modern world, including the recently announced New Seven Wonders of the World, a recent poll with 100 million votes.

The grounds are open from 06:00 to 19:00 weekdays, except for Friday when the intricate complex is open for prayers at the mosque between 12:00 and 14:00. The complex is open for night viewing on the day of the full moon and two days before and after, excluding Fridays and the month of Ramadan. For security reasons only five items—water in transparent bottles, small video cameras, still cameras, mobile phones and small ladies’ purses— are permitted inside the Taj Mahal.

Agra is a city located on the banks of the river Yamuna in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh, India. Agra is one of the most populous cities in Uttar Pradesh, and hold the title of the 24th most populous in India.

Agra is a prominent tourist destination because of its many Mughal-era buildings, most prominent the Taj Mahal, Agra Fort and Fatehpur Sikri, all three of which are UNESCO World Heritage Sites Agra is involved on the Golden Triangle tourist circuit, along with  Dehli and Jaipur; and the Uttar Pradesh Heritage Arc, tourist circuit of UP state, along Lucknow the capital of the state and Varanasi.Taj Mahal - Adventure Travel Trip

The city was first mentioned in the epic Mahabharata when it was called as the Agrevaṇa.

However, the 11th-century Persian poet Mas’ud Sa’d Salman writes of a desperate assault on the military stronghold of the city, then held by the Shahi King Jayapala, by Sultan Mahmud of Ghazni. It was mentioned for the first time in 1080 AD when a Ghaznavide force captured it. Sultan Sikandar Lodi (1488–1517) was the first emperor to move his capital from Dehli to this place in 1506. He administered the country from here and Agra assumed the importance of the second capital. He died in 1517 and his son, Ibrahim Lodi, remained in power there for nine more years and several palaces, wells, and a mosque constructed by him in the fort during his period. Finally losing the Battle of Panipat in 1526. Between 1540 and 1556, Afghans, beginning with Sher Shah Suri ruled the area. It was the capital of the Mughal Empire in the time period from 1556 to 1658.

 

City Palace Jaipur, which includes the Chandra Mahal City Palace Jaipurand Mubarak Mahal palaces and many other buildings, is a palace complex in Jaipur, the capital of the Rajasthan state, India. It was the seat of the Maharaja of Jaipur, the prime of the Kachwaha Rajput clan. The Chandra Mahal palace now houses a museum, but the greatest part of it still belongs to as a royal residence. The palace complex, situated northeast of the center of the grid-patterned Jaipur city, incorporates a magnificent and vast array of courtyards, gardens, and buildings. The palace was constructed between 1729 and 1732, initially by Sawai Jai Singh II, the ruler of Amber. He planned and construct the outer walls, and later additions were made by successive rulers which continuing up to the 20th century. The credit for the urban structure of the city and its design is attributed to two architects namely, Vidyadhar Bhattacharya, the chief architect in the royal court and Sir Samuel Swinton Jacob Sir, apart from the Sawai himself who was a keen architectural enthusiast. The architects achieved an amalgamation of the Shilpa Shastra of Indian architecture with Rajput and Mughal.City Palace Jaipur

Structure
The City Palace Jaipur is in the central-northeast part of the Jaipur city, which is laid in a grid structure with wide avenues. It is a distinctive and arresting complex of several palaces, pavilions, gardens, and temples. The most impressive and most visited structures in the complex are the Chandra Mahal, Mubarak Mahal, Mukut Mahal, Maharani’s Palace, Shri Govind Dev Temple and the City Palace Museum.
  •  Mubarak Mahal: Mubarak Mahal, meaning the ‘Auspicious Palace’, constructed with a blend of the Islamic, Rajput and European architectural styles in the late 19th century by Maharaja Madho Singh II as a reception center. It is a museum; a fine repository of different varieties of textiles such as the royal formal costumes, sanganeri block prints, embroidered shawls, Kashmiri pashminas and silk saris as part of the Maharaja Sawai Man Singh II Museum. A noteworthy showcase here is of the set of voluminous clothes worn by Sawai Madho Singh I, who was 1.2 meters (3.9 ft) wide and weighed 250 kilograms (550 lb) but interestingly had 108 wives.
  • Chandra Mahal: Chandra Mahal or Chandra Niwas is the most commanding structure in the City Palace complex, on its west end. It is consist of seven-storeyed building and each floor has been given a specific name such as the Sukh-Niwas, Ranga-Mandir, Pitam-Niwas, Chabi-Niwas, Shri-Niwas, and Mukut-Mandir or Mukut Mahal. It contains many special paintings, mirror work on walls and floral decorations.Only the ground floor is allowed for visitors where a museum is situated that displays carpets, manuscripts and other items that belonged to the royal family. There is alluring peacock gate at the entry to the Mahal. It has screened balconies and a pavilion at the roof from where a scenic view of the city can be seen. “Sukh Nivas” or the “Hall of Rest” – Sukh Niwas is painted in Wedgewood blue fully adorned with white lining. Sukh Niwas has the well crafty drawing and dining room of the Maharaja which is fully ornamented with Mughal miniatures, silver and glass dining tables. Chandra Mahal is on the 3rd floor is called “Rang Mandir”. In this, there are small and large mirrors which are fixed on the wall, pillars, and ceilings.“Shobha Nivas” – this Nivas is present on the 4th floor of the Chandra Mahal. It is also known as “Hall of Beauty”. The walls of the Shobha Nivas are fully adorned with mirror walls with blue tiles ornamented with mica and gold leaf. It is in present under the control of the Maharaja. “Chhavi Nivas” or Hall of Images – It stays on the 5th floor.Chandra Mahal 6th floor is called “Shri Niwas”. And the 7th floor is called “Mukut mandir”  means the crown temple.Also displays at the top of the Chandra Mahal is the flag of the royal family, which is seen unfurled when the Maharaja is in the palace. It is approximately one and quarter-sized flag. However, when the king is away, the Queen’s flag is hoisted on the building structure.
  • Pritam Niwas Chowk: It is the inner courtyard, which provides allows access to the Chandra Mahal. Here, there are four small gates (known as Ridhi Sidhi Pol) that are embellished with themes depicting the four seasons and Hindu gods. The gates are the Northeast Peacock Gate (with motifs of peacocks on the doorway) representing autumn and devoted to the Lord Vishnu; the Southeast Lotus Gate (with continual flower and petal pattern) suggestive of summer season and devoted to Lord Shiva-Parvati; the Northwest Green Gate, also called the Leheriya (meaning: “waves”) gate, in green colour urging of spring and devoted to Lord Ganesha, and lastly, the Rose Gate with continuous flower pattern displays winter season and dedicated to Goddess Devi.
  • Diwan-i-Aam: Diwan-i-Aam, the Hall of Public Audience, is a marble-floored chamber situated between the armory and the art gallery. There are two huge sterling silver vessels of 1.6 meters (5.2 ft) height and each with a capacity of 4000 liters and weighing 340 kilograms (750 lb), on showcase here. They were made from 14,000 melted silver coins without the use of soldering. They hold the Guinness World Record as the world’s largest sterling silver vessels.These vessels were specially made by Maharaja Sawai Madho Singh II, who was a highly religious Hindu, to carry the water of the Ganges to drink on his trip to England in 1901 (for Edward VII’s coronation) as he was fastidious about committing religious sin by consuming the English water. Henceforth, the vessels are named as Gangajelies (Ganges-water urns).
  • Diwan-E-Khas: The ‘Diwan-E-Khas’ (Sabha Niwas) or the ‘Hall of Private Audience’ is a captivating chamber, with the ceiling painted in rich red and gold colors, which still looks vibrant. It is a main attraction in the Mubarak Mahal courtyard. This chamber, functioning now as an art gallery, has a showcase of exquisite miniature paintings (of Rajasthani, Mughal and Persian art), ancient texts, embroidered rugs, Kashmir shawls, and carpets. The ceiling is richly adorned. At present, it is an art gallery displays enthralling painted ceilings and rare ancient handwritten original manuscripts of Hindu scriptures. Also look in the art gallery is the Royal throne (called as Takth-e-Rawal) that was the seat of the Maharaja during a public audience. It was covered on an elephant or carried by palanquin bearers during the Maharajas visit outside the palace. At the entry gateway to the hall, two large elephants, each made out of single marble rock are on put there for the display.City Palace JaipurMaharani Palace: Maharani’s Palace was initially the residence of the royal queens. It has been converted into a museum, where weapons used by the royalty during war campaigns are a showcase, including those belonging to the 15th century. The ceiling of this chamber has distinctive frescoes, which are preserved using jewel dust of semiprecious stones. The other artifacts on display involve are swords with pistols attached to it, the sword offered by Queen Victoria to Maharaja Sawai Ram Singh (1835–80), guns serving as walking sticks and a small canon.Bagghi Khana: Bagghi Khana is a museum in the palace complex where a collection of old carriages, palanquins, and European cabs acquire as baggies to Indian situations are on display here. The baggie which tempts attention is the one gifted by Prince of Wales to the Maharaja in 1876, called the Victoria baggie. Also on display here are the Mahidol, a palanquin with a single bamboo bar that was used to take the priests and a Ratha (chariot) that was used for carrying the idols of Hindu gods in procession on festive occasions.
  • Govind Dev Ji temple: Govind Dev Ji temple, devoted to the Hindu god Lord Krishna, is part of the City Palace complex. It was constructed in early 18th century outside the walls set in a garden environment. It has presented the European chandeliers and paintings of Indian art. The ceiling in the temple is ornamented with the gold. Its location gives the direct view to the Maharaja from his Chandra Mahal palace. The aarthi (prayer offering) for the deity can be seen by devotees only for seven times during the whole day.

 

Amer Fort is a fort situated in Amer, Rajasthan, India. Amer is a small town with an area of 4 square kilometers (1.5 sq mi) located 11 kilometers (6.8 mi) away from Jaipur, the capital of Rajasthan.It is located at an altitude on a hill, it is the prime tourist attraction in Jaipur. The town of Amer was originally constructed by Meenas, and later it was ruled by Raja Man Singh I (December 21, 1550 – July 6, 1614). Amer Fort is known for its artistic Hindu design elements. With its great ramparts and series of gates and cobbled paths, the fort overlooks to the Maota Lake, which is the main source of water for the Amer Palace.

Amer Fort constructed of red sandstone and marble, the attractive, opulent palace is laid out on four levels, each with a courtyard. It consists of the Diwan-i-Aam, or “Hall of Public Audience”, the Diwan-i-Khas, or “Hall of Private Audience”, the Sheesh Mahal (mirror palace), or Jai Mandir, and the Sukh Niwas where a cool climate is artificially made by winds that blow over a water cascade within the palace. Hence, the Amer Fort is also popularly called as the Amer Palace. The palace was the accommodation of the Rajput Maharajas and their families. At the entrance to the palace near the fort’s Ganesh Gate, there is a temple devoted to Shila Devi, a goddess of the Chaitanya cult, which was given to Raja Man Singh when he wins over the Raja of Jessore, Bengal in 1604. (Jessore is now in Bangladesh).

This palace, along with Jaigarh Fort, is situated 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 intricate, as the two are connected by a subterranean passage. This passage was meant as a secure 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. Annual tourist visitation to the Amer Palace was reported by the Superintendent of the Department of Archaeology and Museums as around to 5000 visitors a day, with approximated 1.4 million visitors during a year. At the 37th session of the World Heritage Committee held in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, in 2013, Amer Fort, along with five more forts of Rajasthan, was considered in UNESCO World Heritage Site as part of the group Hill Forts of Rajasthan.

 

Layout

The Palace is divided into six separate but chief sections each with its own entry gate and courtyard. The main entrance is through the Suraj Pol (Sun Gate) which leads to the first main courtyard. This was the place where armies would hold victory parades with their war bounty on their return from battles, which were also observed by the Royal family’s womenfolk through the latticed windows.This gate was constructed exclusively and was provided with guards as it was the main entry into the palace. It faced direction towards the east towards the rising sun, hence the name “Sun Gate”. Royal cavalcades and dignitaries entered this palace through only this gate.

Jaleb Chowk is an Arabic phrase meaning a place for soldiers to assemble. This is one of the four courtyards of Amer Palace, which was construct during Sawai Jai Singh’s reign (1693–1743 AD). Maharaja’s personal bodyguards held parades here under the instruct of the army commander or Fauj Bakshi. The Maharaja used to examine the guards contingent. Adjacent to the courtyard was the horse stables, with the upper-level rooms inhabit by the guards.

First Courtyard

A magnificent stairway from Jalebi Chowk leads into the main palace grounds. Here, at the entrance to the right of the stairway steps is the Sila Devi temple where the Rajput Maharajas reverence, starting with Maharaja Mansingh in the 16th century until the 1980s, when the animal sacrifice ritual (sacrifice of a buffalo) practiced by the royalty was stopped.

Ganesh Pol, or the Ganesh Gate, named after the Hindu god Lord, who removes all obstacles in life, is the entry into the private palaces of the Maharajas. It is a three-level structure with many frescoes that was also constructed at the orders of the Mirza Raja Jai Singh (1621–1627). Above this gate is the Suhag Mandir where all ladies of the royal family used to see functions held in the Diwan-i-Aam through latticed windows.

Sila Devi Temple

On the right side of the Jalebi Chowk, there is a small but a graceful temple called the Sila Devi temple (Sila Devi was an incarnation of Kali or Durga). The entry in the temple is through a double door covered in silver with a raised relief. The main deity inside the sanctum is haunch by two lions made of silver. The legend ascribes to the installation of this deity is that Maharaja Man Singh sought blessings from Kali for victory in the battle against the Raja of Jessore in Bengal. The goddess command the Raja, in a dream, to retrieve her image from the seabed and install and worship it. The Raja, after he won the battle of Bengal in 1604, retrieved the idol from the sea and safely put it in the temple and called it Sila Devi as it was carved out of one single stone slab. At the entrance to the temple, there is also a carving of Lord Ganesha, which is made out of a one piece of coral.

Another version of the Sila Devi installation is that Raja Man Singh, after defeating the Raja of Jessore, accept a gift of a black stone slab which was said to have a link to the Mahabharata epic story in which Kansa had killed older siblings of Lord Krishna on this stone. In exchange for this gift, Man Singh give back the kingdom he had won to the Raja of Bengal. This stone was then used to carve the image of Durga Mahishasuramardini, who had slain the great demon king Mahishasura, and installed it in the fort’s temple as Sila Devi. The Sila Devi was veneration from then onwards as the lineage deity of the Rajput family of Jaipur. 

Another practice that is related to this temple is the religious rites of animal sacrifice during the festival days of Navrathri (a nine-day festival celebrated twice a year). The practice was to sacrifice a buffalo and also goats on the eighth day of the festival in front of the temple, which would be done in the presence of the royal family, watched by a large gathering of devotees who were present there at that particular point of time. This practice was banned under the law from 1975, after which the sacrifice was held within the palace grounds in Jaipur, strictly as a private event with only the close kin of the royal family seeing the event.

Second courtyard

The second courtyard, up the chief stairway of the first level courtyard, houses the Diwan-i-Aam or the Public Audience Hall. construct with a double row of columns, the Diwan-i-Aam is a raised platform with 27 colonnades, each of which is covered with an elephant-shaped capital, with galleries above it. As the name urge, the Raja(King) held audience here to hear and receive petitions from the public.

The third courtyard

The third courtyard is where the private quarters of the Maharaja, his family and attendants were situated. This courtyard is entered through the Ganesh Pol or Ganesh Gate, which is adorned with mosaics and sculptures. The courtyard has two buildings, one opposite to the other, respective by a garden laid in the fashion of the Mughal Gardens. The building to the left of the entrance gate is called the Jai Mandir, which is exquisitely adorned with glass inlaid panels and multi-mirrored ceilings. The mirrors are of a convex shape and outlined with colored foil and paint which would glitter brightly under candlelight at the time it was in use. Also known as Sheesh Mahal (mirror palace), the mirror mosaics and with different colored glasses were a “glittering jewel box in flickering candlelight”. Sheesh Mahal was built by King Man Singh in the 16th century and completed in 1727. It is also the foundation year of Jaipur state. 

The other building seen in the courtyard is opposite to the Jai Mandir and is called as the Sukh Niwas or Sukh Mahal (Hall of Pleasure). This hall is approached through a  sandalwood come near to door with marble inlay work with perforations. A piped water supply flows through an open channel that runs through this structure keeping the environment cool, as in an air-conditioned environment. The water from this channel directly flows into the garden.

Magic flower

Distinct attraction here is the “magic flower” carved marble panel at the base of one of the pillars around the mirror palace showcase two hovering butterflies; the flower has seven unique designs involves a fishtail, lotus, hooded cobra, elephant trunk, lion’s tail, cob of corn, and scorpion, each one of which is visible by a special way of partially hiding the panel with the hands.

Palace of Man Singh I

South of this courtyard stays in the Palace of Man Singh I, which is the oldest part of the palace fort. The palace took 25 years to construct and was completed in 1599 during the reign of Raja Man Singh I (1589–1614). In the central courtyard of the palace is the pillared baradari or pavilion; frescoes and colored tiles embellish the rooms on the ground and upper floors. This pavilion (which used to be curtained for privacy) was used as the meeting place for the maharanis (queens of the royal family). All sides of this pavilion are properly connected to several small rooms with open balconies. The exit from this palace brings ones to the town of Amer, a heritage town with many temples, palatial houses, and mosques.

Tripolia gate

Tripolia gate stands for the three gates. It allows access to the palace from the west. It opens in three directions, one to the Jaleb Chowk, another to the Man Singh Palace and the third one to the Zenana Deorhi on the south direction.

Lion gate

The Lion gate, the premier gate, was once a guarded gate; it conducts to the private quarters in the palace premises and is titled ‘Lion Gate’ to alludes strength. Construct during the reign of Sawai Jai Singh (1699–1743 AD), it is covered with frescoes; its alignment is zigzag, probably made so from security considerations to attack intruders into the vicinity of the palace.

Fourth courtyard

The fourth courtyard is where the Zenana (Royal family women, including concubines or mistresses) lived together. This courtyard has many living rooms where the queens resided and who were visited by the king at his own choice without being found out as to which queen he was visiting, as all the rooms open into a common corridor.

The queen mothers and the Raja’s consorts lived in this particular part of the palace in Zanani Deorhi, which also housed their female attendants. The queen mothers took a deep interest in building temples in Amer town.

Jas Mandir, a hall of the private audience with floral glass inlays and alabaster comfort work, is also located in this courtyard.