Life Lessons from Ladakh, India By Donnie Sexton

Leh Palace
Leh, the capital of Ladakh, sees a steady stream of locals on the main shopping street, dressed for colder temperatures in late March. Donnie Sexton photos.

A favorite discussion among passionate travelers is “where to next”?   My answer had always been Ladakh, to which most people would get a puzzled look and ask, “Where is that?”

I’m not sure why I felt the need to see this Buddhist region tucked into the Himalayas of northern India.

Maybe it was the remoteness to see a piece of the world unknown to most people. What I did know was the idea of exploring Ladakh had burned a desire into my mind that wasn’t going away.

Digging In My Heels

I had organized a photo workshop to India in March and decided to investigate the options for extending the trip to see Ladakh.  The ideal time to visit runs from April to October, when most of the high mountain passes are open, and the weather is pleasant.

I found considerable reluctance from most tour operators to help me.   Responses ranged from “it’s the wrong time of year,” “it will be too cold,” and “it’s still winter there, nothing will be open.” Really!

Somehow all the negativity made me dig my heels in deeper, determined to go. Indus Trips, who had made superb arrangements for our photo workshop, took pity on me and said they would help if I was determined to go.

I was leaving nothing to chance, spending hours on the internet researching all options for what I could see and experience in Ladakh.  I would use Leh, the capital city, as my base for three days.  I hoped to hear morning prayers at one of the monasteries, explore the local vibe of Leh, drive the Khardung La Pass, and stop by local sights to photograph.

The author and her guide Tensin take the mandatory selfie, proof they made it safely to the top of Khardung La Pass

I gave my laundry list to Indus Trips of what I hoped to accomplish and asked that they arrange a guide/driver.  I splurged on accommodations and booked my room at the luxurious Grand Dragon Ladakh.

Khardung La Pass, one of the highest motorable roads in the world at an altitude of 17,582 feet, was built in 1976 and opened to the public in 1988.

Getting to Ladakh

Getting to Ladakh involves a one-hour plane ride from Delhi.  Most of my fellow passengers were men, dressed in cold weather clothing and toting scruffy-looking carry-ons.

They bore the look of tired souls.   I learned these men worked on road-building crews and were returning after a holiday break.

With many eyes on me, I felt like a privileged white woman.  If only they knew how much empathy I felt for them, knowing how difficult their lives must be.  I sensed the scales of equality in life were tipped in my favor.

I had the dreaded middle seat and tried in vain to see if the local in the window seat would change.  I knew we would fly over the Himalayas, and I desperately wanted to shoot.  I gestured with my camera pointing to the window, but he wasn’t going to budge.

I thought to myself, “ok buddy, I hope you don’t mind having my elbow in your crotch, cause I’m gonna lean over big time to get my shots.” To clarify, I view myself as a very considerate traveler.  But Ladakh was my dream journey, I was going to make it all about me for once.

First Impressions

The views over the Himalayas were spectacular, with snow-covered peaks for as far as the eye could see. I got my shots, and my seatmate got a good dose of me in his lap.   After we landed and made it through customs, I found Tenzin, my driver and guide (who spoke very limited English) and we were off.

It was a blue-bird sky day, and the air was crisp, unlike the ever-present smog of Delhi.  The crowds, traffic, and constant horn honking that defines so much of India were absent.  A sense of unhurriedness and tranquility came over me.

At the top of the Khardung La Pass, the Border Roads Organization that maintains the road has living quarters, along with a souvenir shop and coffee shack.

Altitude Adjustments

My first order of business was checking into the Grand Dragon.  Leh sits at an altitude of 11,562 feet (a high desert area), so altitude sickness can be an issue.  All I had read about this country was to rest on the day of arrival, drink plenty of water, and avoid alcohol.

Leh Palace is a former royal palace and is currently under restoration. It’s possible to visit the palace, part of which is a museum that holds over 450 artifacts.

The hotel staff was adamant that I stay hunkered down in my room for the remainder of the day to make the altitude adjustment.  “No can do,” I said to myself.  I rested a few hours before Tenzin picked me up, and we were off to explore the capital city.

The Vibe of Leh

Vendors (mostly women) use the sidewalk in Leh for selling vegetables and handmade goods.

It appeared to be market day, and the sidewalks were lined with women sitting on the sidewalk, bundled up in mismatched winter clothing, and selling mostly root vegetables.

A vendor selling dried apricots reached up, and with a sweet smile, placed them in my hand.

When he refused to take any money, I was reminded that the goodness of humans can be found in the most unlikely of places. Older women with weathered faces passed by, some fingering prayer beads and others spinning prayer wheels.

There were several shops selling clothing, medicines, and Buddhist objects used for worship.  The neighboring country of Tibet, its Buddhist culture and ways of life had spilled over into Ladakh.

Morning Prayers in Ladakh

My second day in Ladakh focused on the monasteries (also known as gompas) and the local sites around Leh.

With Tensin at the wheel, we hit the road before sunrise for the drive to Thiksey Monastery, so that I could observe morning prayers.

Thiksey Monastery, the largest in central Ladakh, is home to the Gelug sect of Tibetan Buddhism. Its twelve stories cascade down the mountainside.

Thiksey Gompa is a 12-story complex clinging to a mountainside that resembles the Potala Palace in Lhasa.  As we approached the prayer room, young novice monks were filing in, all wearing the traditional maroon robes.

Visitors are welcome at Thiksey Monastery to hear the morning prayers of the novice monks. After prayers, the boys receive their breakfast of rice and butter tea.

We were welcomed by an older monk who motioned us to some cushions on the perimeter of the room, and soon the chanting of young voices filled the air.

I had read that many Tibetan families in India send at least one child to a monastery to learn about the Buddhist way of life, although it’s a tradition that is dying out.

Full-Fledged Monks

These young boys were novices in training, with some going on to become full-fledged monks.

After the prayers, older kids came around with kettles of butter tea and rice, serving first the young novices, then the elders in the room.

To my surprise, they also offered Tensin and me a cup of butter tea, which we graciously accepted.  I admired the monastery for allowing outsiders to observe the sacred rituals. For me, the experience was very humbling.

We filled the remainder of this day of discovery with countryside drives, including stops at gompas, villages, and monuments for photos.

Khardung La Pass

The third day would be a drive on the Khardung La Pass (17,582 feet), one of the world’s highest motorable roads, and the gateway to the Shyok and Nubra valleys.

The route started as a two-lane dry pavement, but narrowed to a single lane the higher we climbed.

Before long, we were driving on a gnarly, snow-covered, icy path to the top.   We were the only vehicle on the drive up until we reached the summit.
In a few spots, we encountered a handful of locals chipping away at the gigantic snowbanks with shovels.  Was this avalanche patrol?

Perched on a hilltop, the Shanti Stupa was built in 1991 by a Japanese Buddhist monk. It’s a popular stop for visitors due to the sweeping views it affords of the surrounding landscape.

Tensin didn’t have an answer, although he pointed out a section where an avalanche had come through two weeks prior and had killed some people.   I didn’t need to hear that!

Most of the road, devoid of any guardrails, had sheer drop-offs into the valley below.  Should some snow breakaway as we passed by, my life would be over.

Tents to Quonset Huts

The Border Road Organization maintains this highway.  Their military outpost at the summit was a hodgepodge ranging from tents to Quonset huts and a few military vehicles. A handful of soldiers were working on the road.  Strings of colorful prayer flags, hallmarks of the Buddhist culture, fluttered in the wind.

We headed back down after mandatory pictures at the summit, and a stop at a pitiful coffee shack for a cup of lukewarm java.  On the way, Tensin invited me to lunch at his family’s home.   Without hesitation, I said yes.

Breaking Bread With New Friends

Tensin lives with his sister and mother on a small plot of land outside of Leh.  As we pulled up, his mother, sister, and aunt rushed out to meet us and quickly ushered me into their simple dwelling.

Tensin’s mother and auntie stand in the kitchen/main room of their simple dwelling. Like most locals, they wear cold-weather clothing both indoors and outside.

Tensin motioned me to take a seat on the floor in front of a low table, then a cup of tea and some biscuits were offered.

The women stood at a small counter with a portable stovetop, preparing momos and soup, then joined me on the floor for a delicious lunch.

I felt honored to break bread with these strangers who subsist on so little yet willingly share.  The best thing to do with the kindness shown to me was to pay it forward.

Watching Tensin’s mom moved me to tears.  My mom had passed away unexpectedly two weeks earlier, just one day before boarding a plane for my photo workshop in India.

I knew I had to go on with the trip, so I stuffed my sorrow deep into my heart, and now, in this remote land, it was bubbled up.  As I tearfully shared about my mother’s death, Tensin’s mom wrapped her arms around me.

Ladakh’s Life Lessons

Looking back, I can’t say that the three days I spent in Ladakh provided clarity as to my obsession with this country.   Three days had reinforced my belief that our environment and the family we are born into shapes our path in life.

I headed home determined to appreciate those things I take for granted – something as simple as shopping inside a clean, well-lit supermarket.

The random acts of kindness shown to me were stark reminders that it doesn’t take much effort to brighten someone’s day by my thoughtfulness – a good life lesson to follow. I had but a small nibble of this Himalayan country.

The desire to see more, especially in a warmer season when all of this region of northern India is open to exploring, calls for a repeat visit.

If looking to explore Ladakh, I recommend Indus Trips (www.industrips.com) to help with arrangements. 

There is a $10US per person permit fee to visit Ladakh.

To read the original article please visit – https://www.gonomad.com/166354-ladakh-where-donnie-keeps-coming-back-to

Pushkar Rajasthan

Pushkar Lake

Pushkar is a town bordering the Thar Desert, in the northeastern Indian state of Rajasthan. Around 200,000 global travelers visit Pushkar every year.

Pushkar is also known as the “The Lotus flower” and is one of the oldest cities in India.  It’s set on Pushkar Lake, a sacred Hindu site with 52 ghats (stone staircases) where pilgrims bathe. Pushkar is one of the five sacred pilgrimage sites of Hindu devotees.

Pushkar Ghat

Pushkar Lake is a sacred lake of the Hindus. The Hindu scriptures describe it as “Tirtha-Raj” – the king of pilgrimage sites related to a water-body and relate it to the mythology of the creator-god Brahma, whose most prominent temple stands in Pushkar.

Pushkar Lake Video

By all accounts Pushkar is small. Besides the lake and the market around it, it is but a rural settlement. Tourism is the bread and butter for people living here. There are guest houses, hotels and resorts around the lake and in the nearby villages to cater to tourist needs.

Pushkar Market Video

Pushkar is surrounded on three sides by hills. One of the hill is known as Ratnagiri, the highest on the southwest which houses the Goddess Savitri, Wife Of Brahma.

Savitri Mata Temple Pushkar

The town has hundreds of temples, including 14th-century Jagatpita Brahma Mandir, dedicated to the god of creation, which has a distinctive red spire and walls inlaid with pilgrims’ silver coins.

Getting there: The nearest airport to Pushkar is in Jaipur, which is 140 kilometres away.The nearest Railway station is about 15 Kms away at Ajmer. Pushkar is well connected by roads, so travel is not a hassle.

 pushkar fair

Pushkar Cattle Fair: The Pushkar Mela also known as the Pushkar Camel Fair is a unique celebration of the beauty of their coveted “ship of the desert” – the camel. Held each November at the time of the Kartik Purnima full moon, Pushkar Camel Fair is one of India’s most highly-rated travel experiences.

pushkar fair

Most of the activities take place at the fairgrounds, located to the west of town near the intersection of Brahma Temple Road and National Highway 89. This Camel Fair attracts more than 350K visitors. Anyway, this fair is distinguished to be among the planet’s biggest cattle fairs where Men trade their livestock, which includes camels, horses, cows, sheep and goats.

pushkar fair Pushkar-Camel-Festival

Note – Beware of touts in the vicinity of Pushkar Lake. They target tourists with all sorts of rituals, flowers, aarti, etc, only to force donations from them. They often hurl abuses or even turn violent if refused. This is most frequent around ghats and around the sunset point.  If you come across such people, just say NO and keep your peace. Tourist reviews for Sunset Point Pushkar Lake on Google Maps.. https://goo.gl/maps/brFcrNq2tSMzhk9F7

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Udaipur

Udaipur

Udaipur is located in the southern region of Rajasthan, near the Gujarat border. The city lies 403 km (250 mi) southwest of the state capital, Jaipur and 250 km (155 mi) northeast from Ahmedabad. Udaipur with its lakes lies on the south slope of the Aravalli Range in Rajasthan.

According to legends, Maharana Udai Singh II of Mewar dynasty was on his way to hunt when he met a sage who advised him to build his city on this site and blessed him that it would be a safe place for him and his people. That’s how the city of Udaipur, which lies on the slopes of Aravalli Hills, came into being.

Udaipur

Udaipur was founded by Maharana Udai Singh II in 1559. Famous world over as the “Venice of the East” and “City of Lakes”,  Udaipur is is untouched by time and the outside world. No matter where you go, you will find structures from the past that still hold onto their roots.

Places to visit in Udaipur

Lake Pichola, situated in Udaipur city in the Indian state of Rajasthan, is an artificial fresh water lake, created in the year 1362 AD, named after the nearby Picholi village. It is one of the several contiguous lakes, and developed over the last few centuries in and around the famous Udaipur city.

Lake Pichola Udaipur

Lake Palace – Set in an 18th-century marble palace encompassing an island on Lake Pichola, this luxury hotel, which once featured in a James Bond movie, is less than 1 km by boat from the City Palace in Udaipur.

Taj-Palace-Hotel-Udaipur

The City Palace, overlooking Lake Pichola, is a monumental complex of 11 palaces, courtyards and gardens, famed for its intricate peacock mosaics.

City Palace udaipurcity palace udaipurcity palace udaipurcity palace udaipurcity palace udaipur

Jag Mandir is a palace built on an island in the Lake Pichola. It is also called the “Lake Garden Palace”. The palace is located in Udaipur city in the Indian state of Rajasthan. Its construction is credited to three Maharanas of the Sisodia Rajputs of Mewar kingdom.

Jag Mandir

Bagore-ki-Haveli is a haveli in Udaipur in Rajasthan state in India. It is right on the waterfront of Lake Pichola at Gangori Ghat. Amar Chand Badwa, the Prime Minister of Mewar, built it in the eighteenth century. Bagore-ki-Haveli is famous for evening cultural performances and is a must visit while you are in Udaipur.

Bagore-ki-Haveli Bagore-ki-Haveli

Jagdish Temple is a large Hindu temple in the middle of Udaipur in Rajasthan, just outside the royal palace. It has been in continuous worship since 1651. A big tourist attraction, the temple was originally called the temple of Jagannath Rai but is now called Jagdish-ji. It is a major monument in Udaipur.

jagdish temple udaipur Jagdish Chowk Udaipur

Saheliyon-ki-Bari is a major garden and a popular tourist space in Udaipur in Indian state of Rajasthan. It lies in northern part of the city and has fountains and kiosks, a lotus pool and marble elephants. It was built by Rana Sangram Singh. There is also a small museum here.

Saheliyon-ki-Bari

Vintage and Classic Car Museum is a car museum in Udaipur in Rajasthan state in India, having some of the rarest classic and vintage car collection. This museum is owned by Arvind Singh Mewar.

Vintage Car Museum Udaipur Vintage Car Museum Udaipur Vintage Car Museum Udaipur

Other places of interest are:

 

  • Bapu BazarIt is also popular for its street food. Famous for: Bapu Bazar Udaipur is known for authentic handicrafts and Rajasthani souvenirs. The market is also famous for its variety of street food specialties, especially the mouthwatering gol gappas.
  • Bada BazarBada bazar is one area in Udaipur which is noted for its both big branded showrooms to the small shops. There is also a number of exhibitions which keep happening at Bada bazaar. The huge showrooms at Bada bazar deal with all the latest leading brands of the country.
  • Hathipole Hathipole stands among the most popular markets in the city for locals as well as tourists. Craft works, traditional clothing and designer footwear famously known as Mojadis or juttis are the soul of this market. You can also buy beautiful fabrics of Bandhej and Leheriya at reasonable prices here.
  • Chetak CircleChetak Circle is another important place in the city for shopping, particularly for authentic Rajasthani merchandise. It is home to Rajasthali, an emporium selling authentic local craft works.
  • Maldas StreetMaldas Street contains the best clothing stores in Udaipur. You can purchase all kinds of clothes from typical Rajasthani to traditional Indian clothes at an affordable price.
  • Shilpgram – Shilpgram is a rural arts and crafts complex, situated 3 km west of the city of Udaipur, India. The center is spread over an undulating terrain of about 70 acres of land, surrounded by the Aravali mountains. Shilpgram is an ethnographic museum that depicts the lifestyles of the folk and tribal people of the region.

 

Udaipur Picture Gallery

Udaipur Udaipur Udaipur Udaipur Udaipur Udaipur Udaipur Udaipur Udaipur Udaipur

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Taj Mahal

taj mahal

The Taj Mahal is an ivory-white marble mausoleum on the south bank of the Yamuna river in the Indian city of Agra.

Taj Mahal Map

It was commissioned in 1632 by the Mughal emperor, Shah Jahan, to house the tomb of his favorite wife, Mumtaz Mahal who died from postpartum hemorrhage in Burhanpur on 17 June 1631 while giving birth to her fourteenth child, after a prolonged labor of approximately 30 hours. She had been accompanying her husband while he was fighting a campaign in the Deccan Plateau.

Shah Jahan and Mumtaj Mahal
Shah Jahan and Mumtaj Mahal

The 17th century French doctor cum traveler, Francois Bernier, wrote that the Pyramids in Egypt are nothing but mountains of piled up stones, compared with the artistic eminence of the Taj Mahal.

It took more than 20,000 workers  and twenty two years to complete the construction of this monument. The architecture of the Taj Mahal is a combination of Indian, Persian and Islamic styles of architecture.

Taj Mahal Agra

Shah Jahan is said to have had his eyes put out on the Taj’s completion so nothing could ever be built to rival it. The Taj Mahal complex is believed to have been completed in its entirety in 1653 at a cost estimated at the time to be around 32 million rupees, which in 2015 would be approximately 52.8 billion rupees (U.S. $827 million).

Taj Mahal Agra

The French traveler, Jean-Baptiste Tavernier, wrote that Emperor Shah Jahan looked upon his vassals with father-like eyes and was more generous than any other sovereigns, he was forsaken by even his most loyal followers late in his life. He was confined by his successor Aurangzeb (r. 1658-1707) in the Mussamman Burj (Jasmine tower) in the Agra Fort and spent the last period of his life regarding Mumtaz’s mausoleum in the distance that was still under construction.

taj mahal

It has been said that he was planning to erect his own mausoleum identical to his wife’s on the opposite side of the Yamuna River, but of black marble instead of white. However, by then the national treasure had almost run out, and so Emperor Aurangzeb only set his father’s coffin by the side of the queen’s in the underground tomb chamber of the Taj Mahal.

Some pics by our clients

Taj Mahal AgraTaj Mahal Agra Taj Mahal Agra Taj Mahal Agra

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Fatehpur Sikri

Fatehpur literally means the victorious land (Fateh means victory in Urdu). Myriad historical tales and legends are attached with Fatehpur Sikri.

The royal city at Fatehpur Sikri, situated 26 miles west of Agra, Uttar Pradesh was built during the second half of the 16th century by the Emperor Akbar, Fatehpur Sikri (the City of Victory) was the capital of the Mughal Empire. The city that took 15 years to build was inhabited for just 14 years and abandoned due to scarcity of water.

fatehpur sikri

The Mughal Emperor Akbar built his palace-city complex at Fatehpur Sikri on the site of Shaikh Salim’s residence in honor of the saint’s prediction of the birth of Akbar’s heir, Prince Salim, who later became the emperor Jahangir.

Fatehpur Sikri is surrounded by wall on three sides and a lake on the fourth side. The architecture of the buildings was based on Mughal and Indian architecture.

The Tomb of Salim Chishti is famed as one of the finest examples of Mughal architecture in India. Emperor Akbar built the tomb of Sufi Saint Salim Chisti in 1580-81, after the saint died in 1572. The saint Salim Chisti was a successor of Khwaja Moinuddin Chisti of Ajmer, and lived in a cavern on the ridge at Sikri.

The Buland Darwaza was built in honor of his successful campaign in Gujarat, when the city came to be known as Fatehpur Sikri – “The City of Victory”. It was named after the Sikri village which had existed on the spot before.

Best time to visit Fatehpur Sikri: October to March

fatehpur sikri fatehpur sikri fatehpur sikri fatehpur sikri fatehpur sikri fatehpur sikri fatehpur sikri fatehpur sikri fatehpur sikri

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Maral Village Rishikesh Uttarakhand

Maral Village Rishikesh Uttrakhand 2

The break neck speed of fast city life, pollution, stress are the biggest reasons in the favor of a peaceful and rejuvenating break in the abundance of nature. There is no better place than the Himalayas to experience serenity and tranquility.

Maral Village Rishikesh Uttrakhand 1

On my recent vacation, i found myself at Village Maral, which is located just about 7 Kms before Neelkanth Mahadev Temple on Neelkanth Road, Rishikesh in Uttarakhand, India.

This is a quiet hidden Himalayan village which is every photographers delight. I spent 2 days at this village and did this short recording on my mobile.

If you are looking for a weekend destination for nature photography, birding or just to experience the relaxed village life then head over to Maral Village in Uttrakhand.

Maral Village Rishikesh Uttrakhand 1

The locals are friendly hardworking and simple minded people who always greet strangers with a smile. Next time you are around rishikesh and want some rich experiences then visit Maral Village You won’t be disappointed.

Given below are some pics i took there.

Maral VillageVillage Maral Temple View Maral Village Rishikesh Uttrakhand 2

The place has a good variety of birds, insects, butterflies, spiders and it was a great time clicking these shot.

Flower spider web Grasshopper Flower Dragon Fly Dragon Fly Butterfly Butterfly Butterfly Dragon Fly Dragon Fly Dragon Fly Dragon Fly

Best Time to visit Maral Village: October till March ( Winter season)

How to reach Maral Village?

Village Maral is on Neelkanth Road some 20 Kms ahead of Rishikesh.

Till Haridwar you can come by train as it is most convenient. From there, take an auto or bus to Rishikesh. Take a one way shared cab from Neelkanth Taxi Stand behind Ram Jhula, Rishikesh. They charge Rs.100/- per person for one way. You can tell the driver and get off en route. While coming back from Maral, wait by the road side and you will get a shared cab on its way back to Rishikesh.

The best way is to arrive by own vehicle or cab. Park it by road side, explore the village, spend some time and go back to Rishikesh or Haridwar for stay.

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Pragpur Heritage Village Himachal Pradesh

Pragpur Heritage Village Himachal Pradesh

History – The area of Garli – Pragpur came within the Jaswan kingdom whose rulers were the cadets of Katoch of the Kangra lineage. Around the 16th” –17th century, bands of marauders started laying waste the pretty and peaceful foothills of the Kangra Valley. Prag Dei, a princess of the royal house of Jaswan, successfully  organized resistance to these marauding bands. To commemorate this princess, an area was selected using ancient Indian shastras (texts) which, it was believed, received the good astral influences of prayers said for thousands of years at nearby shakti (primordial energy) temples of which three” Brajeshwari (Kangra), Chintpurni and Jwalamukhi are famous.

jwalamukhi temple kangra
jwalamukhi temple kangra

Here, Pragpur was founded and its lay- out carefully planned. Various clans and communities were allotted distinctive living spaces and by and large this continue to date.

Pragpur Map Himachal Pradesh

One of the important communities that settled at Garli-Pragpur and nearby hamlets such as Rakkar, Pir Salui etc. were some of the 52 clans of the hill Soods. Being enterprising, many made their  fortunes at other destinations, especially Shimla.  They, however, did not forget their root. At Pragpur and Garli, they built elegant havelis, mansions and Italianate buildings that are interspersed amongst lovely mud-plastered and slate-roofed houses which lie alongside streets paved with dressed cobbled stone. They also invested in schools, dharamshalas and water systems. In course of time, they settled where their economic interests lay.

Pragpur Haveli
Pragpur Haveli

Their magnificent buildings – some decaying and crumbling -have largely remained unspoiled, giving Garli-Pragpur a medieval ambience. Recognizing that this unspoiled traditional area could contribute to rural heritage tourism, in December 1997 the Government of Himachal Pradesh notified Pragpur as a Heritage Village and followed this up by making Garli – Pragpur Heritage Zone in 2002. This Heritage Zone has now been  brought under a Special Area Development Authority (SADA) and is integrated with the national wetland – Maharana Pratap Sagar (PongDam)Tourism Development Project.  Located at an elevation of 2000 feet above sea level, Heritage Village Pragpur is ideally suited to explore the Kangra Valley.

Pragpur Heritage Zone
Pragpur Heritage Zone

The area has several streams that drain into the river Beas -the mythological river Vipasa meaning release from bondage. Many places of historic, religious and cultural importance are within easy reach. In the distance, the Dhauladhar mountains make a stunning backdrop. With its equitable climate, easy access, safe passage and a rich flora and fauna, Pragpur and its surroundings offer an ideal location for Village Tourism.

Dhauladhar mountains
Dhauladhar mountains

Heritage Zone – The ambience of the Heritage Zone of Garli -Pragpur is zealously protected by the local residents. In their endeavor that Garli – Pragpur retains its unique character, panchayats preserve their heritage buildings and advise on new construction. Several heritage structures are now being restored using original techniques but with modern facilities to facilitate tourism.

Places of Interest in Pragpur village

Pragpur village Taal
Pragpur village Taal

The Taal – Dating before 1868, the Taal or pond forms the core of Pragpur village and serves as a recreational space for young and aged alike. It was constructed by the village brotherhood known as the Nehar Committee, which has records of its meetings since 1864. This body continues to be responsible for the maintenance of this ancient water system.  The Taal is surrounded by many heritage structures -the NEHAR BHAWAN (nearly 250 years old); NAUN (dated around 1864), a drinking water facility by the Nehar Committee; DHUNICHAND BHARDIAL SERAI (village inn) and RADHA KRISHNA MANDIR.

Pragpur Village Himachal Pradesh
Pragpur Village Himachal Pradesh

Butail Niwas – This is a unique building. Over a hundred years old, it was built by Lala Buta Mal, a scion of the Chaujjar Sood clan. It includes six identical apartments built for his six sons. These lie around a sunken courtyard. In warmer weather, this courtyard is flooded with water to provide cooling. The water for this has been brought by the Butails from the nearby Nalsuyah Khad and provides drinking water to several villages along the way.

pragpur village Himachal

Nakki – This is the one of the entrances to Heritage Village Pragpur. Since ancient times, the Rerumal family provided a water point for common use, the overflow of which falls into small tanks where the village people bathed and washed.

the judge's court pragpur
the judge’s court pragpur

The Judge’s Court – Completed in 1918, this is a splendid country manor designed in Indo- European tradition. The visionary behind this bold structure was Justice Sir Jai Lal. It stands in 12 acres of greens, and is just a short walk from the village core and the Taal. It is now run by the owning family as a heritage hotel.  Other places of interest within Heritage Village Pragpur are LALA RERUMAL HAVELI built in 1931 by a Rais of Pragpur which has a Mughal style garden, pleasure terrace and a large water reservoir; BUTAIL MANDIR; CHAUJJAR MANSION; COURTYARDS of the Sood Clans, an ancient SHAKTi MANDIR bearing inscriptions in the largely obsolete Tankry script; and ATIYALAS or public platforms. The area is inhabited by many crafts people -weavers, basket makers, silversmiths, painters, musicians and tailors etc. The residents of Garli -Pragpur are hospitable. There is always a warm welcome for tourists and the area provides a safe passage.

pragpur market

Around Pragpur, River Beas with its unspoiled beaches (6 kms). offers a possibility of boating, swimming and angling during season. SERI and Naleti (4 kms) are epitome of pastoral tranquillity. Natural underground seepage feeds both Garli and Pragpur.

pragpur nature walk
pragpur nature walk

Lovely country walks radiate from Garli and Pragpur. These include meandering country paths through rolling hills and valleys with gurgling brooks  and a meadow where mint grows wild. Rakkar (6 kms) and Pir , Salui (20 kms) are both old Sood settlements. Other places worth visiting are Kalesar ( 16 kms by road / 6 kms by walk) on the banks of river Beas. It is famous for its panchtirthi waters and parasmani (touchstone).

dada siba temple himachal pradesh
dada siba temple himachal pradesh

Dada Siba Temple – (22 kms) has beautiful wall paintings and is reached via CHINOR ( 17 kms) that has a temple and water mills. Dangra (2 kms) has an old temple.

Masroor himachal pradesh
Masroor himachal pradesh

Masroor – (57 kms) is known for its Ellora styled rock-cut temples. PONG DAM (8 kms) is a national wetland and is renowned for its bird life. More than 240 varieties have been identified.

McLeodgunj

Comfortable day excursions are possible to DHARAMSHALA (60 kms), McLEODGAN) (68 kms) – residence of his Holiness Dalai Lama and PALAMPUR (95 kms) with a vista of green tea estates and the artists’ complex of Andretta. HARIPUR GULER (27 kms), the cradle of Kangra school of paintings, is nearby.

kangra fort himachal pradesh
kangra fort himachal pradesh

The indomitable KANGRA FORT is easily achievable. For the spiritually inclined, Pragpur offers the ancient altars of worship of BRIJESHWARI (40kms), JWALAMUKHI (25 kms), CHINTPURNI (25 kms) and BAGULAMUKHI (35 kms).

baijnath temple himachal pradesh
baijnath temple himachal pradesh

The BAIJNATH TEMPLE beyond Palampur is amongst the oldest Shiva shrines. Kangra Valley is served by the beautiful narrow gauge train system that runs from Pathankot to Jogindernagar. GULER and RANITAL stations are nearest to Garli-Pragpur (30 kms).

Activities in Pragpur Village

Birding in Pragpur
Birding in Pragpur

The beautiful landscape of Pragpur region offers ample opportunities for cycling, trekking, nature walks, bird watching, fishing or simple relaxation.

Interested in visiting Pragpur Heritage Village in Himachal Pradesh?

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Rishikesh

Rishikesh Uttrakhand India (1)

Rishikesh Uttrakhand IndiaRishikesh is located at a comfortable travel distance of 258 km from Delhi. With a recent addition of a new bypass, travel by road has become that much easier. You can either hire a car, or take the morning Shatabdi Express train to Haridwar. From there Rishikesh is just 20 kms, and plenty of local cars and jeeps are available to ferry tourists and pilgrims between the two holy places.

Rishikesh Uttrakhand India

Of Vishnu’s 1008 names, one of the most interesting ones is the one that means ‘Lord of the Senses’ – Rishikesh. So if you are looking to rejuvenate your soul and senses, this pretty town in the Himalayan foothills of Uttarakhand is your perfect destination.

Rishikesh Uttrakhand India

Rishikesh and Hardwar (an hour away) are home to a large number of sprawling Ashrams located besides the Ganges. For many decades now, these have been the go-to places for those seeking salvation from the crimes that modern men and women commit on their senses with over-indulgence of all kinds.

Rishikesh Uttrakhand India

If you are looking for a spot to revitalize your mind, body and soul, there are many Yoga and Ayurveda packages available here. We offer Yoga and Meditation Tour which might interest you. Depending on your schedule, you can spend from anywhere from as little as three days to months as you let the wisdom of ancient India work its magic on your senses and soul.

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Neelkanth Mahadev Temple Rishikesh

Neelkanth Mahadev Temple Rishikesh

Neelkanth Mahadev Temple Rishikesh On a recent trip to Rishikesh, we visited the famous Neelkanth Mahadev Temple, which is a Hindu temple dedicated to Nilkanth, an aspect of Shiva. The temple is situated at a height of 1330 meters and is located about 32 km from Rishikesh in the Pauri Garhwal district of Uttarakhand, India.

Neelkanth Mahadev Temple Rishikesh

Mythology states that Neelkanth Mahadev Temple has been built on that sacred point where Lord Shiva had consumed poison at that time of Samudra Manthan, which was churning of the ocean by Devtas (Gods) and Asuras (Demons). The poison was placed in his throat that turned blue to its effect, and thus Lord is also known as Neelkanth. The world Neel means blue and the word Kanth means throat. Devotees of Lord Shiva throng the temple in huge numbers, every year.

Here are some pics by our clients

Neelkanth Mahadev Temple RishikeshNeelkanth Mahadev Temple RishikeshNeelkanth Mahadev Temple Rishikesh Neelkanth Mahadev Temple Rishikesh

Neelkanth Mahadev Temple RishikeshNeelkanth Mahadev Temple Rishikesh Neelkanth Mahadev Temple Rishikesh Neelkanth Mahadev Temple Rishikesh Neelkanth Mahadev Temple Rishikesh Neelkanth Mahadev Temple Rishikesh Neelkanth Mahadev Temple RishikeshNeelkanth Mahadev Temple Rishikesh

If you wish to visit Neelkanth Mahadev Temple, Ashrams and Retreats in Rishikesh and the sacred ghats of Haridwar, then book a tour with All India Tour Packages. We will be glad to plan and manage your holiday plan.

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Bara Imambara Lucknow

Bara Imambara Lucknow

Bara Imambara LucknowBara Imambara, also known as Asafi Imambara. Imambara is a shrine built by Shia Muslims for the purpose of Azadari. The fourth Nawab, Asaf-Ud-Dowhala, commissioned the building during the drought year of 1784 AD to help the poor make a living. However, from the time it was finished, it became a symbol of pride and grandeur of Lucknow.

Bara Imambara Lucknow

The Bara Imambara is among the grandest buildings of Lucknow. A labyrinth of about a thousand passageways leading to its roof has intrigued traveler as well as architects for the last two hundred years. The monument also includes the large Asfi Mosque, the Bhul Bhulaiya (the labyrinth), and Bowli, a step well with running water. According to legends It has secret tunnels which lead to a location near Gomti river,Faizabad, Allahabad and Delhi.

Bara Imambara Lucknow

The main Imambara consists of a large central chamber which is said to be the largest arched hall in the world.The hall which measures 50 meters long and goes upto a height of 15 meters,stands without any beams support. Shahi Baoli, constructed as the source of water, also has a interesting fact about it. One can see the reflection of the visitors standing at the gate,in the water of the well.

Bara Imambara Lucknow

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The Capital city of Uttar Pradesh and often described as the ‘City of Nawabs’, Lucknow is one of the most pristine and multicultural tourist destinations of India. Come, discover the magic of Lucknow with All India Tour Packages. We will be happy to plan and manage your private tour of Lucknow City.