27 February 2012

Sikandra - Akbar's Mousoleum

Akbar's tomb at Sikandra - a suburb of Agra, UP, on Mathura Road NH2 - is an architectural masterpiece worth visiting if you are in Agra to see the Taj.
Commissioned by Akbar himself, it was to be a perfect blend of Hindu, Christian, Islamic, Buddhist and Jain designs and motifs, bespeaking of his religious tolerance and secular views.
Read more about Sikandra in detail here......

The visit here is hassle-free as compared to one at Taj which is the more popular destination for tourists. Lesser crowds, easy to buy tickets and more time to look around - the bonus is you can buy your tickets for the Taj here at Sikandra (but this is possible only if you are driving into Agra from New Delhi/ Mathura). This saves you standing in long queues at the ticket counters at the Taj. 
A must-see before you go on ahead to view the Taj Mahal (read about hot to get there and details of our trip here).....
On the inside......
The cenotaph......as per tradition the true tomb is in the basement.
This monument also houses the tombs of Shakrul Nisha Begum and Aram Bano, the daughters of Akbar.
Have a great trip!!!

26 February 2012

Aldona's giveaway!!!

Aldona's blog is doing a great giveaway that features a beautiful nunofelted scarf in a pretty shade of pink........check it out and enter here if you like.....  :)

15 February 2012

In My Garden These Days

Bougainvillea.....I thought this one had died...gleeeeeee!!!!!

14 February 2012

Crocodile farm, Chennai.

Crocs and more crocs!!!
The Madras Crocodile Bank ....a crocodile breeding centre with different species of crocs and other reptiles.....is a place worth viewing especially if you have children in tow.
Located between Chennai and Mahaballipuram/ Mammalapuram.... about 40kms outside Chennai on the East Coast Road....it is another venture by the famous herpetologist Romulus Whiteker.

It houses the great magger, ghariyal, saltwater crocodile, turtles, cobras and pythons amongst others. I think it is closed on Mondays.
Read more about the farm here..........

ps: In the snakes enclosure the park attendants demonstrate the extraction of venom which is used for the production of anti-venom.
A must-see, if you can...:)
Quench your thirst .....vendors right outside the park...:) 
Have fun!!!!!

12 February 2012

The Taj Mahal

Me and my family visited the Taj last year.....
It is THE most beautiful piece of art I have ever seen.
There are no words to describe this awe-inspiring monument of love.
Nothing, absolutely nothing, prepares you for the breathtaking splendour and grandeur of this place.
I won't even attempt to describe it....but there are a few notes about my trip at the end of this post that might help you too..:)
The first view...
 A closer look......
...verses and passages from the Koran....

...entryway to the main tomb...
To enter the main complex which houses the tombs of Mumtaz Mahal and Shah Jahan you need to remove your shoes/sandals. If visiting in summers be sure to carry a pair of thick socks with you as the marble can get hot while you wait in line for your turn.
...the mosque..
..along the periphery....
If you can, buy your tickets for the Taj at Sikandra (this is possible only if you are driving into Agra from New Delhi/ Mathura).
On reaching the Taj if you find the lines at the entry too long I have a suggestion. Normally you enter from the West gate, but if you start walking to the right of the main gate along the periphery wall and turn along the wall to the left, after about 200 mts or so you come to the south gate...here the crowds are lesser and entry easier...:)

About the journey:
Went from Delhi - Faridabad-Palwal-Mathura-Agra on NH 2 ( national highway 2)
The road was in good condition from Mathura ahead.
Distance : about 200 kms. Took us about four hours - we stopped for a breakfast break - a 30 minute break.
Stopped at an absolutely terrible joint called - Saagar Ratna, Vegetarian's paradise - bad food, dirty, smelly toilets!!!!
I wish someone had told us there were coffee and pizza places - Cafe Coffee day and a Pizza Hut -  just short of Mathura, in a mini-mall kind of place. Do stop there if you can. We did on our way back.

NOTE: If you are travelling from New Delhi to Agra (via Mathura) you will  hit Sikandra on the suburbs of Agra. This is where the tomb of Akbar the Great is housed....will post more about it soon.
Be sure to stop there - it is well worth the effort. No crowds, easier access to entry tickets. The main advantage is that you can buy the tickets for the Taj too from this place which will save a lot of time at the Taj where the lines tend to be longer.
Go visit the Taj once in your lifetime....it is worth it!!!!

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