Daulatabad Fort

Here we are at the Daulatabad Fort which is a historical fortified citadel located in Aurangabad India. Interestingly Lord Shiva is believed to have stayed on the hills surrounding this region and the fort was called Devagiri, meaning Hills of Gods. 

The surrounding moat used to be filled with crocodiles to deter enemies.

The Chand Minar can be seen through the archway. This means tower of the moon and was erected in 1445 to commemorate the capture of the fort. One of the finest examples of  Indo-Islamic architecture in southern India.

 

Taj Mahal Palace Hotel

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We arrived in Mumbai to stay at the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel. This is a heritage, five-star, luxury hotel built in the Saracenic Revival style in the Colaba region. The Gateway to India is in front of it.

The hotel has 560 rooms and 44 suites with 1600 staff.

This became one of the main sites during the 2008 Mumbai attacks. Ten men associated with the terror group Lashkar-e-Tayyiba stormed the building. After three days, nine of the gunmen were killed during the Indian commando raid. One attacker survived. Mohammed Ajmal Kasab, the lone surviving gunman, was executed in November 2012.

The group apparently wanted to strike a blow against Indian wealth and progress. Security was much tighter when we stayed there.

Security was especially tight in the airports where security have heavily armored placements throughout. I didn’t have enough nerve to take a picture of such a placement since photos were quite forbidden.

 

#mumbai

Leopold Cafe

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We were doing a simple walk about during our first days in Mumbai. This is when we came across this cafe. I was not aware of its notoriety at the time.

We generally knew that the cafe was mentioned extensively in the novel Shantaram and its sequel The Mountain Shadow, which is why we stopped. It was particularly known as a popular hangout for foreign tourists.

The cafe became an early site of gunfire and grenade explosions during the 2008 Mumbai attacks by terrorists on Nov 26, at about 9:30 PM. The terrorists sprayed the restaurant with bullets from inside the restaurant from outside. They killed 10 persons and injured many others. The restaurant was extensively damaged during the attacks.

Afterward, the cafe became popular with many Indians to commemorate the spirit of defiance. The Leopold Cafe has preserved some of the signs of the attack as a memorial.

 

#india #mumbai #leopold

Jantar Mantar

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We toured a collection of nineteen architectural astronomical instruments built by the Kachwaha Rajput king Sawai Jai Singh in 1734. A Unesco World Heritage site,  Jantar Mantar features the world’s largest stone sundial. This photo shows the observation deck of the vrihat samrat yantra (the world’s largest sundial)

With the instruments you can observe astronomical positions with the naked eye. The observatory demonstrates Ptolemaic positional astronomy which was shared by many civilizations.

 

#India

 

 

Bahai Temple

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One of our tours in New Dehli was the Bahai House of Worship, also known as the Lotus Temple. This was completed in 1986 and serves as the Mother Temple. CNN reported it as the most visited building in the world in 2015 with perhaps 4 million visits per year.

There appears to be over 2 million Bahai worshipers in India at this time. We managed to get in just as they were finishing a service. The singing was quite sublime.

I am not sure most would agree with the following statement, but some of the research shows that the growth of the Bahai Faith in India has been greatly assisted by the recognition of Krishna as a Messenger or Manifestation of God, alongside Jesus, Muhammad, Zarathustra and Baha u llah himself.

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#india #bahai

The Lake Palace

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One of the highlights of our India trip was several nights at the Lake Palace. Built in 1743, the Lake Palace was home to the rulers of Udaipur, is now a heritage hotel run by the Taj group of hotels. It stands in the midst of the 696 hectare man-made Lake Pichola. The magic starts with a short boat ride from the mainland to the hotel. The hotel is one of the few buildings in the world completely surrounded by water.

Just as we entered, we were showered with rose petals from someone on the upper level. The staff are exceptional of course. There are 83 spacious rooms and suites. The center courtyard has an enchanting Lily Pond. A sole musician is often playing softly in the courtyard. In the evening, local artists provided the entertainment.

There are a few places to dine in the evening. All of it was tremendous.

 

 

 

 

 

 

New Delhi

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In Langar Hall, Gurdwara Bangla Sahib at Connaught Place in New Delhi, we were able to witness the charitable work that is carried on.
Huge cauldrons are used to provide food for the thousands of people that come through the hall.
No tables or chairs. People sit on the floor. Hundreds more sit outside waiting their turn.
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