Excursions from Delhi
monument of love. A symbol of eternal love. Taj Mahal, one of the most fabulous
monuments in the world, history and time. Thronged by visitors year round, Taj
Mahal is 200 km from Delhi. It was built by the fifth Mughal emperor Shahjahan,
in memory of his beloved wife Mumtaz. The monument is a perfect piece of architecture.
It took 22 years, 41 million rupees, 50 kilos of gold and around 20,000 workers
to complete this marvel of marble.
Situated by the river Yamuna, Taj Mahal sits on a high red sandstone terrace,
topped by marble terrace. It is flanked by four minarets. The jewel in-laid
cenotaph of the empress lies within the dome. The entire mausoleum is decorated
with inlaid design of flowers and calligraphy with semi precious stones like
jasper and agate. One can take a train, either the Shatabdi or Taj Express.
: Tajganj, Agra
: 6:00 am to 7:30 pm
: Rs 15/-. Rs 100/- (at sunset or sunrise).
There is no entry fee on Fridays. The monument is closed on Mondays.
on the west bank of the Yamuna river and two km from Taj Mahal, the Agra fort
was started by the Mughal emperor Akbar in 1565. The impressive red sandstone
fort extends for about 2.5 km and is surrounded by a deep moat which was once
filled with water of Yamuna. Though Akbar built it mainly as a military centre,
it was under Shahjahan's rule that the fort became more of a mini city.
Of the many gates, the only one open to public is the Amar Singh gate, which
leads into the fort. Immediately on the right is the Jahangiri Mahal. The other
impressive monuments within the fort are the Diwan-i-Khas, where the emperor
met the dignitaries, the Diwan-i-Aam, Nagina Masjid (built by Shahjahan for
his harem) and the Moti Masjid. Towards the northeast of the fort is the Musamman
Burj, where Shahjahan was imprisoned by his son Aurangzeb.
: 6 am to 6 pm
(146 km southeast of Delhi
is the birthplace of the world's popular deity, Lord Krishna. With a history
that traces itself to the beginnings of world trade, Mathura is one of the most
ancient cities of India. It is situated on the banks of the Yamuna, in Uttar
Pradesh, and is one of the most important pilgrimage centers in India.
Mathura is famous for the Krishnajanmabhumi Mandir, Vishram Ghat and Sati Burj.
It is believed that Lord Krishna rested at Vishram Ghat after killing the tyrant
Kamsa. Evenings at the Vishram Ghat are generally a very beautiful sight with
hundreds of diyas floating on the river. The Ghats offer very picturesque sights
with long flight of stairs leading to the river's edge. You can find many pilgrims
bathing in the river and from a distance you can see the temple spires silhouetted
against the sky.
Sikri was built by the Mughal emperor Akbar in 1571 in honour of the Sufi saint,
Sheikh Salim Chisti. It was the Mughal capital for 14 years after which it was
abandoned, probably due to the lack of water. The capital is amazingly beautiful
with its palaces and it reflects the architectural style Akbar patronised.
Even to this day, the entrance to the fort is through the road that Akbar built.
The road leads to the Buland Darwaza, a huge 54 metres gateway. It later inspired
other lofty gates. Today young daredevils jump from its ruins into the deep
tank to earn money from the tourists. Other inspiring monuments in Fatehpur
Sikri are the Hiran Minar, that Akbar built in memory of his favourite elephant,
Tomb of Sheikh Salim Chishti, Birbal's House and the Diwan-i-Khas.
Ranthambhore National Park
Blake surely wasn't exaggerating when he wrote that poem and one could confirm
it with a visit to the Ranthambhore National park. This famous Tiger Reserve
forest covers a core area of 400 square kilometers and is a home to carnivores
such as the panther, jackal, hyena, and sores of herbivores such as the deer,
sambhar, stag and many migratory birds. The tiger is the most fascinating animal
of the park and also the most elusive one. And the best way to catch a glimpse
of him is to hire a jeep from Project Tiger, office of the Forest Department,
Sawai Madhopur. And all the effort that might have gone into glimpsing the majestic
animal is worth it all, even if the mighty one decided to grace its visitors
with a glimpse of itself.
Best time to visit:
October to June
The Park is closed from July to September.
Keoladeo Ghana National Park (120 km from Delhi)
the only wintering ground of the endangered Siberian Crane in India, the Keoladeo
Ghana National Park is considered as the world's most important bird sanctuaries.
The Park is home to more than 350 species of birds. It covers an area of 29
square kilometers and has a mixed vegetation of deciduous and scrub land. The
park was once the shooting ground of the Bharatpur rulers and the British viceroys
and dignitaries. However today it is a protected area. The park is one of the
most beautiful parks in India, with beautiful migratory birds from all over
the country. A must visit for all bird enthusiasts.