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Saturday, December 13, 2014

Great Wall: A magnificent place for the Tourist in Beiging, China

The Great Wall of China is a series of fortification made of stone, brick, wood, and other materials, generally built along an east-to-west line across the historical northern borders of CHINA in part to protect the Chinese Empire or its prototypical states against intrusions by various nomadic groups or military incursions by various warlike peoples or forces. Several walls were being built as early as the 7th century BC these, later joined together and made bigger and stronger, are now collectively referred to as the Great Wall. Especially famous is the wall built between 220–206 BC by the first Emperor of china Named Quin Shi Hung

A comprehensive archaeological survey, using advanced technologies, has concluded that the Ming walls measure 8,850 kilometer (5,500 mile). This is made up of 6,259 kilometer (3,889 mile) sections of actual wall, 359 km (223 mi) of trenches and 2,232 kilometer (1,387 mile) of natural defensive barriers such as hills and rivers. Another archaeological survey found that the entire wall with all of its branches measure out to be 21,196 kilometer (13,171 mile)
Quin Shi Hung conquered all opposing states and unified China in 221 BC, establishing the Quin Dynasty. Intending to impose centralized rule and prevent the resurgence of feudal lords, he ordered the destruction of the wall sections that divided his empire along the former state borders. To position the empire against the Xingnu people from the north, he ordered the building of new walls to connect the remaining fortifications along the empire's northern frontier. Transporting the large quantity of materials required for construction was difficult, so builders always tried to use local resources. Stones from the mountains were used over mountain ranges, while rammed earth was used for construction in the plains. There are no surviving historical records indicating the exact length and course of the Quin Dynasty walls. Most of the ancient walls have eroded away over the centuries, and very few sections remain today. The human cost of the construction is unknown, but it has been estimated by some authors that hundreds of thousands, if not up to a million, workers died building the Quin wall. The Lio Jin and Yuan dynasties, who ruled Northern China throughout most of the 10th–13th centuries, constructed defensive walls in the 12th century

The Great Wall concept was revived again during the Ming Dinasty in the 14th century, and following the Ming army's defeat by the Oirats in the Battle. The Ming had failed to gain a clear upper hand over the Mongolian tribes after successive battles, and the long-drawn conflict was taking a toll on the empire. The Ming adopted a new strategy to keep the nomadic tribes out by constructing walls along the northern border of China. Acknowledging the Mongol control established in the ordos desert, the wall followed the desert's southern edge instead of incorporating the bend of the yellow river.

Towards the end of the Ming Dynasty, the Great Wall helped defend the empire against the Manchu invasions that began around 1600. Even after the loss of all of Liodong, the Ming army held the heavily fortified Shanhaiguan pass, preventing the Manchus from conquering the Chinese heartland. The Manchus were finally able to cross the Great Wall in 1644, after Beijing had already fallen to Li Zicheng's rebels. Before this time, the Manchus had crossed the Great Wall multiple times to raid, but this time it was for conquest. The gates at Shanhaiguan were opened by the commanding Ming general Wu Sangui on May 25 who formed an alliance with the Manchus, hoping to use the Manchus to expel the rebels from Beijing. The Manchus quickly seized Beijing, and defeated both the rebel-founded Shun Dynasty.
Under Quin rule, China's borders extended beyond the walls and Mongolia was annexed into the empire, so constructions on the Great Wall were discontinued. On the other hand, the so-called Willow Palisade, following a line similar to that of the Ming Liaodong Wall, was constructed by the Quin rulers in Manchuria. Its purpose, however, was not defense but rather migration control.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Humayun's Tomb: A great architecture by Mughals in India

Humayun's Tomb is the tomb of the Mughal Emperor Humayun in Delhi, India. The tomb was commissioned by Humayun's first wife Bega Begum in 1569-70, and designed by Mirak Mirza Ghiyas, a Persian architect chosen by Bega Begum.

It was the first garden-tomb on the Indian Subcontinent and is located in Nizamuddin east in Delhi, India, close to the Dina-panah citadel also known as Old Fort, that Humayun founded in 1533. It was also the first structure to use red sandstone at such a scale. The tomb was declared a World heritage site by UNESCO  in 1993, and since then has undergone extensive restoration work, which is complete. Besides the main tomb enclosure of Humayun, several smaller monuments dot the pathway leading up to it, from the main entrance in the West, including one that even pre-dates the main tomb itself, by twenty years; it is the tomb complex of Afghan noble in sher shah suri's, Isha khan niyazi who fought against the  the Mughals, constructed in 1547 CE.

The complex encompasses the main tomb of the Emperor Humayun, which houses the graves of Bega Begum herself, Hamida Begum, and also Dara Shikoh, great-great-grandson of Humayun and son of the later Emperor Shah Jahan, as well as numerous other subsequent Mughals. It represented a leap in  Mughals architecture and together with its accomplished garden, typical of Persian garden, but never seen before in India, it set a precedent for subsequent Mughal architecture. It is seen as a clear departure from the fairly modest mausoleum of his father, the first Mughal Emperor Babar, called Bagh-e-Babar (Gardens of Babur) in Kabul. Though the latter was the first Emperor to start the tradition of being buried in a paradise Garden. Modeled on Gur E Amir, the tomb of his ancestor and Asia's conqueror Timur in samarkand, it created a precedent for future Mughal architecture of royal mausolea, which reached its zenith with the Taj Mahal, at India.

The site was chosen on the banks of Yamuna river, due to its proximity to Nizamuddin dargah, the mausoleum of the celebrated Sufi saint of Delhi,Nizamuddin Awliah who was much revered by the rulers of Delhi, and whose residence, Chilla Nizamuddin Auliya lies just north-east of the tomb.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Darjeeling: Full of the natural beauty in India

So fancying a trip to Darjeeling? You must be lured by the dazzling snow peaks of Kanchenjunga that overlook the hill town, the beautiful tea gardens on the slopes of rolling hills, the waterfalls, orchids, pines & rhododendrons, the cute Himalayan toy train negotiating its way through the mountains.... and you want to combine all that with great sightseeing tours, food, shopping and other exciting activities. Right? 

Yes, it's all possible in Darjeeling, a gem of a place which is known for its youthful vibe with modern as well as colonial charm. Excited? Well, there are couple of things you should ensure in order to fulfil your expectations. 

Darjeeling is a popular hill-station in the Indian state of West Bengal. Located in the Mahabharata range or lesser Himalayas, Darjeeling offers ethereal views of the majestic Himalayas, especially that of Kanchenjunga, the world’s third highest mountain peak. Darjeeling has been honoured with the title of ‘The Queen of the hills’ and it rightly deserves so for its scenic and pristine environment. Crowned by majestic Himalayas, this beautiful hill-station has been blessed with bountiful nature and salubrious climate.

When not rapt in its scenic splendor, one can explore the colonial mansions, old churches, Buddhist monasteries and Hindu temples. Also, not to miss are the botanical gardens and a zoo where one can get a glimpse of high-altitude animals and birds like snow leopards and red pandas.

Darjeeling is surrounded by vast expanses of lush green tea gardens. Tea plantations not only add to the beauty of this hilly town but have also popularised Darjeeling world-over. Darjeeling tea is world-famous for its unique aromatic flavour. So much so that tea industry, along with timber and tourism industries, forms the backbone of Darjeeling’s economy. What dazzles Darjeeling more on world tourism map, besides its magnificent beauty, is its age-old Toy Train.

Christened as Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, this narrow gauge steam engine train chugs its way uphill, providing an important transport link to the various parts of the Himalayan hills and offering breath-taking views all along. Darjeeling Himalayan Railway is now recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Darjeeling.

And this is not all! Darjeeling is said to be a paradise for trekkers and the adventurous. For those interested in shopping, there is a lot to choose from Tibetan and Sikkimese handicrafts.
Darjeeling is best visited in summers to beat the heat of the plains and revel in the pleasant weather and warm hospitality. 

Backwaters : Most attractive place in kerala, India

Backwaters is one of the major tourism product of Kerala, being unique to the state. Traditionally used as one of the main transportation alleys, today backwaters offer a rejuvenating experience for tourists visiting Kerala. 

The backwaters can be explored by hiring a boat for one or several days. If you go for more than a day, the boat usually comes with a navigator and a cook, which provide you with various facilities when exploring the backwaters.

The most beautiful and accessible part of the back waters is the Astamudi Lake located in district in Kollam. This is one of the largest fresh-water lake in India, with numerous navigable canals and rivers interconnecting almost all regions of south Kerala. The Astamudi is also home of several endangered marine species with rich bio-diversity. This lake is world-renowned for its natural beauty and large expanse of water, sandwiched between towns of Kollam.  This is the most visited tourist area in South India and enthralls visitors all over world. Houseboat tourism, made this backwaters popular, where tourists can stay overnight in luxurious houseboats, enjoying natural beauty and wind off their stress

Next is Vembanad backwater stretch located in districts of Ernakulam, Alapuzha & Kottayam area.The Cochin coast is dotted with numerous islands interconnected by ferries and bridges, adorning the Queen of the Arabian Sea like a necklace of pearls. The islands break the waves from the sea, thus ensuring that the back waters are calm and navigable. Among the islands, Wellingdon Island deserves special mention as it houses the Port of Cochin and the largest Naval presence in India: the Southern Naval Command

Tajmahal : One of the seven wonders of the world

The Taj Mahal more often from parsian and arabic called "crown of palaces", pronounced also "the Taj" is a white marble mausoleum located in Agra, Uttarpradesh, India. It was built by Mughal Emperror ''Shahjahan'' in memory of his wife, ''Mumtaz''. The Tajmahal is widely recognized as "the jewel of Muslim art in India and one of the universally admired masterpieces of the world's heritage"

The Taj Mahal attracts a large number of tourists. UNESCO documented more than 2 million visitors in 2001, including more than 200,000 from overseas.A two tier pricing system is in place, with a significantly lower entrance fee for Indian citizens and a more expensive one for foreigners. Most tourists visit in the cooler months of October, November and February. Polluting traffic is not allowed near the complex and tourists must either walk from parking lots or catch an electric bus. The Khawasspuras (northern courtyards) are currently 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 constructed with caravanserais, bazaars and markets to serve the needs of visitors and workmen. Lists of recommended travel destinations often feature 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 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 allowed inside the Taj Mahal.