S: India, January 2013
FC: India, January 2013 Photographs by Paul A Gitman
1: The Laxminarayan Temple also known as the Birla Mandir is a Hindu temple dedicated to Vishnu. The temple is said to have been inaugurated by Mahatma Gandhi in 1939. At that time, Mahatma Gandhi made it a condition that the temple would not be restricted to the Hindus and that people from every caste would be allowed inside.
2: Soup kitchen open to all | Gurudwara Bangla Sahib is the most prominent Sikh house of worship. The water of the pond inside its complex, known as the "Sarovar", is considered holy by Sikhs.
4: Entrance to Humayun's tomb which is the tomb of the Mughal Emperor Humayun. The tomb was commissioned by his wife in 1562 AD, and designed by Mirak Mirza Ghiyath, a Persian architect who was the grandfather of the architect of the Taj Mahal. It was the first garden-tomb on the Indian subcontinent.
5: Humayun's Tomb
6: Humayun's Tomb
7: Afsarwala tomb (Officer's tomb), and adjoining Afsarwala mosque, built in 1566 AD. | Temple seen from tomb complex.
9: Lodi Gardens is a park containing architectural works of the 15th century Pashtun dynasty which ruled much of northern India during the 16th century.
10: Sheesh Gumbad Tomb. It was perhaps built during Sikandar Lodi's reign (A.D. 1489-1517).
11: The Bara Gumbad, or "big dome," is a large domed structure attached to the Friday Mosque and a guest house.
12: Lotus Temple, A Bahai House of worship All Bahai Houses of Worship, including the Lotus Temple, share certain architectural elements. An essential architectural character is a nine-sided circular shape. No pictures, statues or images are displayed within the House of Worship and no pulpits or altars. Readers may stand behind simple portable lecture stands.
13: Akshardham is a Hindu temple complex, which attracts approximately 70 percent of all tourists who visit Delhi,was opened November 2005.
14: Raj ghat. A black marble platform marks the spot of Mahatma Gandhi's cremation. | Site of Gandhi's assassination. | Site of cremation of Indira Gandhi who was the third Prime Minister of India She was assassinated. | Rajiv Gandhi's cremation site.
15: Building where Gandhi lived in Delhi.
16: The Qutab Minar is an array of monuments and buildings intended as a Victory Tower, to celebrate the victory of Mohammed Ghori over the Rajput king in 1192 AD. | Qutab Minar and Alai Gate, the entrance to the Quwwat-ul-Islam Mosque. Qutab Minar is the tallest brick minaret in the world. | Quwwat-ul-Islam mosque was the first mosque built in Delhi after the Islamic conquest of India and the oldest surviving example of Ghurids architecture in Indian subcontinent.
17: Inscriptions in the Kufic style of calligraphy, form regular bands throughout the Qutab Minar.
19: The incomplete Alai Minar. | Cloister columns at Quwwat ul-Islam Mosque, Qutab complex.
20: The Red Fort is a fort complex constructed (1638 to 1648) by the Mughal emperor, Shah Jahan. It served as the residence of the Mughal Emperors
21: The India Gate is the national monument of India. The monument was inspired by the Arc de Triomphe located in Paris, which in turn is inspired by the Roman Arch of Titus. It was built in 1931. Originally known as the All India War Memorial, it commemorates the soldiers of the British Indian Army.
25: Old Delhi
27: Jain festival in Old Delhi
28: Fatehpuri Masjid was built in 1650 by Fatehpuri Begum, one of Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan's wives. The the mosque at Taj Mahal is named after her.
29: Hauz Khas Complex contains a water reservoir tank, an Islamic seminary, a mosque, a tomb and pavilions . The water tank was excavated during Alauddin Khilji‘s reign (1296–1316).
30: The Jama Masjid, is the principal mosque of Old Delhi. Commissioned by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan,it was started in 1650 AD and completed in the year 1656 AD, it is the largest and best-known mosque in India.
32: Safdarjung's Tomb, Delhi | The tomb was built for Safdarjung, the powerful prime minister of Muhammad Shah who was the weak Mughal emperor from 1719 to 1748.
33: The Ajanta Caves are about 30 rock-cut Buddhist cave monuments which date from the 2nd Century BC to about 480 or 650 AD. The caves form the largest body of early Indian wall-painting. The carving in many caves is also very rare, and the style of the many figure sculptures is a highly local one, found only at a couple of nearby contemporary sites. The Ajanta tradition can be related to the later Hindu Ellora Caves and other sites.
48: The fort was constructed during the reign of Singhana II (1210-46 AD). The fortification constitutes three concentric lines of defensive walls with a large number of bastions. | Daulabad Fort
49: Old well at the fort | Gate built to withstand an elephant attack
52: Left, the Indra Sabha (Cave 32) is a two story cave with a monolithic shrine in its court. | The Jain caves at Ellora belong to the ninth and tenth centuries.
53: Cave 33 | Cave 31
54: Cave 32
57: Cave 16, also known as the Kailasanatha,is a Hindu cave and was designed to recall Mount Kailash, the home of Lord Shiva. It looks like a freestanding, multi-level temple complex, but it was carved out of one single rock, and covers an area double the size of Parthenon in Athens.
59: Cave 16
60: The Vishwakarma (Cave 10) is the only shrine amongst the Buddhist group of caves. It is locally known as the "carpenter's hut". It follows the pattern of construction of Caves 19 and 26 of Ajanta. The date of construction of this cave is thought to be 700 A.D.
61: Aurangabad Caves In all twelve Buddhist Caves are found here. The caves are from circa 2nd – 3rd century AD to 7th century AD.
62: Aurangabad Caves | Aurangabad City Gate
63: The Bibi-Ka-Maqbara in Aurangabad is a mausoleum of the wife of the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb (1658-1707 A.D.). This mausoleum is believed to been constructed between 1651 and 1661 A.D. by Prince Azam Shah in memory of his mother.
65: Taj Hotel, Mumbai | Gateway of India, Mumbai
66: Washing district in Mumbai
67: Caves on Elephanta Island, Mumbai. The date of the caves is the 6th century to the 8th century. They constitute one of the most striking collections of rock-art in India.
68: Elephanta Caves There are two groups of caves. The larger group consists of five rock-cut Hindu shrines. The main cave is known for its carvings to the glory of Shiva. | Gail being carried up the hill to visit the caves.
69: Crawford Market is one of South Mumbai's most famous markets. It is named after Arthur Crawford, the first Municipal Commissioner of the city. The market houses a wholesale fruit, vegetable and poultry market. One end of the market is a pet store.
70: Mumbai, Hanging Garden. The garden is built on a platform above a reservoir
71: Tower of Silence Zoroastrianism traditionally conceives death as a temporary triumph of evil over good: rushing into the body, the corpse demon contaminates everything it comes in contact with. The flesh of a dead body being so unclean it can pollute everything. As the natural elements of earth, air and water are sacred, the corpses were not to be thrown upon the water or interred. Cremation was also forbidden, as fire is the direct -purest- emanation of the divinity. Hence a complex ritual was developed, in which the corpses would be eventually exposed to birds of prey and thus devoured, in a final act of charity. | City Hall
72: Railway Station | Crawford Market
73: Statue of Gandhi | 26 story private residence
75: Sunset, Mumbai
77: Pontoon bridge crossing the Ganges river, providing access to Fort Ramnager
78: Holy men looking after Monkey Temple outside of Ramnager fort.
79: The Ramnagar Fort was built in 1750. Only a part of the structure is open for public viewing as the rest of it is the residence of Kashi Naresh and his family. The flag on the fort is raised when the Maharaja is in residence in his palace fort.
80: Ramnager Fort. Temple to Shiva and its caretaker.
81: Ghat in Varanasi, bank of the Ganges
82: Varanasi is a city on the banks of the Ganges. It is the holiest of the seven sacred cities in Hinduism and Jainism. Hindus believe that death at Varanasi brings salvation. It is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world and the oldest in India.
83: Milk market, Varanasi | Ganges River | Dung patties drying on wall
84: Carrying the dead | Funeral pyres, day and night
85: Nightly ceremony on the bank of the Ganges, Varanasi
86: Sunrise ceremony, welcoming the new day. Ganges River, Varanasi.
89: Sarnath Temple is the scared place where Lord Buddha delivered his first sermon to his five disciples. It is one of the holiest sites and attracts people from all over the world to pay homage to the great teacher and to attain spiritual perfection. | Sarnath
91: Sarnath, Dhamek Stupa which is 34 meters high stands as a remarkable structure containing the remains of Lord Buddha.
92: Mulgandha Kuti Vihara was built in 1930 and is a Tibetan Buddhist shrine.
93: The Chaukhandi Stupa is thought originally to have been built as a terraced temple during the Gupta period between the 4th to 6th Century to mark the site where Lord Buddha and his first disciples met traveling from Bodh Gaya to Sarnath.
94: Lakshmana (Vishnu) temple | The temples at Khajuraho were built during the Chandella dynasty, which reached its apogee between 950 and 1050. Sculptors of Khajuraho depicted all aspects of life. The society of the time believed in dealing frankly and openly with all aspects of life, including sex. In accordance erotic depictions were reserved for specific parts of the temples only.
104: Khajuraho, Western group, Jain Temple
105: Khajuraho, Southern group
108: Vir Singh Deo built the beautiful Laxmi Narayan Temple around 1622. It is built in a blend of temple and fort architecture. | Orchha
109: The Orchha Fort was built in the 16th Century. It's the only place where Lord Rama is worshiped as a king and not as a god.
113: Multi-Story Royal Tombs Of Orchha (Cenotaphs)
114: The Taj Mahal was built by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his third wife, Mumtaz Mahal. It is regarded by many as the finest example of Mughal architecture, a style that combines elements from Islamic, Persian, Ottoman Turkish and Indian architectural styles. The construction began around 1632 and was completed around 1653.
115: Early morning mist
119: The Tomb of Akbar the Great The third Mughal Emperor Akbar the Great (1555–1605), himself commenced its construction in around 1600, according to Tartary tradition to commence the construction of one's tomb during one's lifetime. After his death, Akbar's son Jahangir completed the construction in 1605-1613. Akbar was one of the greatest emperors of his time.
120: South Gate to Tomb of Akbar the Great
121: Tomb of Akbar the Great
122: Tomb complex of Akbar the Great | Bee's nest
123: Tomb of Itimad-ud-Daulahis. Commissioned in 1622 by the Persian wife of Emperor Jehangir, for her father.
125: Red Fort of Agra The fort can be more accurately be described as a walled city. Akbar had it rebuilt with red sandstone completing it in 1573. It was during the reign Shah Jahan, that the site took on its current state.
126: Emperor Shah Jahan, who built the Taj Mahal, was imprisoned by his son Aurangzeb in Agra Fort, from which he had a view of the building erected for his deceased wife.
129: Fatehpur Sikri (the City of Victory) was built during the second half of the 16th century by the Emperor Akbar. It was the capital of the Mughal Empire for only some 10 years. The complex of monuments and temples, includes one of the largest mosques in India, the Jama Masjid. The complex was abandoned in 1585, shortly after its completion, due to paucity of water. | Entrance into the courtyard of Jama Masjid
130: Courtyard of the Jama Masjid
131: The Tomb of Sheikh Salim Chishti,in the courtyard of the Jama Mastid was built 1580-1581. It is one of the finest examples of Mughal architecture in India. The mausoleum was constructed by Akbar as a mark of his respect for the Sufi saint who foretold the birth of his son who later succeeded Akbar to the throne of the Mughal Empire, as Jahangir. | Intricate Jali, stone latticework window, looking into the courtyard of the Jama Masjid. | Wooden canopy over the inner tomb, with an inlay mosaic of mother-of-pearl
134: Diwan-i-Khas, or Hall of Private Audience, is famous for its central pillar, which has a square base and an octagonal shaft, both carved with bands of geometric and floral designs, further its thirty-six serpentine brackets support a circular platform for Akbar, which is connected to each corner of the building on the first floor, by four stone walkways. It is here that Akbar had representatives of different religions discuss their faiths and gave private audience.
135: Panch Mahal, entirely columnar, consisting of four storys of decreasing size disposed asymmetrically upon a ground floor, which contains 84 columns. | Anup talao (pond). The platform in the middle was used for singing competitions. | The Deer Minaret Hiran Minar was used by hunting parties.
136: Keoladeo Ghana National Park is a man-made and man-managed wetland. | Python in a tree
140: Yellow mustard plants | Sleeping out in the open
141: Leopard foot print | Leopard | Tiger turd As close as we got to a tiger.
145: Peacocks can fly
151: Ranthambore Fort The Ranthambore Fort is believed to have been built in 944 A.D. by a Chauhan ruler. It is strategically located on the border of Rajasthan and erstwhile Malwa The undulating topography of the surrounding forests was used as an outer defense to the advantage of the fort. It was one of the strongest forts of northern India.
152: Temple to lord Ganesh
154: Ranthambore Fort
157: Amber Fort The Amber Fort was built by Man Singh I (1550 – 1614) in the 16th century. Man Singh, was one of the first war chiefs of Emperor Akbar.
160: View from the Fort
161: View from Amber Fort
162: Kanak Bagh Complex, Jaipur
164: Jaipur City Palace Complex. The palace was built between 1729 and 1732.
166: The Jantar Mantar, is an astronomical observation site built in the early 18th Century. It includes a set of some 20 main fixed instruments. Designed for the observation of astronomical positions with the naked eye, they embody several architectural and instrumental innovations. This is the best preserved of India's historic observatories. It is an expression of the astronomical skills and cosmological concepts of the court of a scholarly prince at the end of the Mughal period.
168: The Jal Mahal palace in Jaipur is considered an architectural beauty built in the Rajput and Mughal styles of architecture. The palace, built in red sandstone, is a five storied building out of which four floors remain under water when the lake is full and the top floor is exposed.
169: The intricate and fascinating facade of the Palace of the Winds is probably Jaipur's most recognized building. Constructed in 1799, it has five floors that contain rows of small windows and screens. Wind used to flow through the openings, giving the palace its name. Legend has it that the palace, which overlooks the main street of Jaipur's lively Old City, was built so that the women of the royal household could watch the streets below without being observed.
170: Galtaji (Monkey Temple) is an ancient Hindu pilgrimage site consisting of several temples and sacred kunds (water tanks) in which pilgrims bathe. It is believed that Saint Galav spent his life at Galtaji, practiced meditation, and did penance.
171: Albert Hall, was established as a museum in 1887. It was built in honor of King Edward VII’s visit to Jaipur.
172: Fields of yellow mustard | Lunch at a local restaurant | Trying to squeeze in another
176: Deogarh Mahal is an imposing palace with its gray battlements, domes, turrets, jharokhas, and huge gateways. Originally built in 1670, the palace was constructed as a personal residence and fort after a long history of turmoil and sovereign disorder between aristocratic members of the Mewar region.
177: Our room at the palace
178: Kumbhalgarh is a Mewar fortress built during the course of the 15th century. Kumbhalgarh is also the birthplace of Maharana Pratap, the great king and warrior of Mewar. The frontal walls are fifteen feet thick. There are over 360 temples within the fort, 300 ancient Jain and the rest Hindu.
182: Walls of Kumbhalgarh, similar to the Great Wall of China
183: Large ring in nose was common
184: Ranakpur This is one of the most spectacular temples of the Jain faith. Built in 1439 around measurements based on the number 72, the age at which the founder of Jainism achieved enlightenment, the structure is a maze of hand-carved marble pillars and small shrines.
188: Jain holy men and women
189: Sunset, Palace Complex, Udaipur
190: City Palace Complex, Udaipur
192: Jagdish Temple, old city Udaipur
194: Princess Gardens, Udaipur
195: The Ahar Cenotaphs are a group of royal cenotaphs located in Ahar, about 2 km east of Udaipur.The site contains more than 250 cenotaphs of the maharajas of Mewar that were built over approximately 350 years. There are 19 chhatris that commemorate the 19 maharajas who were cremated here.
196: These platforms are still used for funeral pyres of the royal family
197: Monsoon Palace and view of Udaipur. Our hotel in the middle of the lake on the right
199: Taj Palace Hotel, the summer palace of the royal family, now a hotel.
201: On to another adventure