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Taj Mahal is a mandatory visit for every India visitor. It is very rare that someone comes to India, especially north India and not visit Agra. For example George Bush II!
He came to Delhi and did not visit the Taj Mahal. In the media, there was the mention that his wife not happy with him due to this omission.
Agra has played an important role in the history of India and this shows in its grand monuments, the Taj Mahal being the jewel.
Ajmer is surrounded by the Aravalli Mountains. It is a popular Muslim pilgrim city for the shrine or Dargah of the Sufi Saint Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti.
However, there is much more to Ajmer available for the tourists. A ramshackle Fort, a Jain temple with glorious goldplated artwork, beautiful man-made lakes, a museum - the location of a historically significant event in the Indian history and a unique mammoth construction supposedly built in mere 2 1/2 days.
Ajmer is situated near Pushkar and both are pilgrimage destinations in India with Ajmer being the prominent one.
Amritsar, founded by Guru Ram Das in 1574 on land bought by him for 700 rupees. Amritsar is dominated by the history of Hindus and Sikhs and many of their sacred shrines are found in and around the city.
Golden Temple is the main attraction of the city and here you shall witness devotees moving around with great reverence.
Jallianwala Bagh in Amritsar is a significant landmark in the Indian freedom struggle from the British. Hundreds were ruthlessly and mercilessly murdered here by the British General. The general never expressed remorse in his life for this deed and was actually felicitated and rewarded £ 26,000 (a huge sum in those days) by the British media including Rudyard Kipling for committing this act. The talk was that India does not deserve freedom as Indians are not enlightened enough. This British callousness saddened many and the Noble laureate Rabindra Nath Tagore surrendered his knighthood in protest.
A few kilometres away is the India Pakistan border, where at the time of flag hoisting and lowering, an elaborate theatrical type act happens.
Bandhavgarh national Park is a destination where history meets nature with a splash of mythology.
As this national Park has the highest population of tigers, including a few white tigers, it is easier to spot the Tiger in the wild.
You can do your Safari, either in an open jeep or on the back of an elephant.
The animals there are quite shy, unlike the ones that you see on an African safari.
Bateshwar is still an unexplored destination, not very far from Agra. Your Taj Mahal trip can be extended to include Bateshwar, a pilgrimage town. Important to both Hindus and Jains, this riverside settlement has a row of not very large temples alongside the banks of river Yamuna. During the auspicious month of October and November, a pilgrimage gathering occurs. A lively cattle/animal fair is a part of this festivity. Bateshwar traces its history to as far as 3000 BC.
Bharatpur national Park is a small park, but packs a lot for its size. It is the richest bird Park in the whole world, and the only known wintering area for the endangered migratory Siberian cranes. Home to a large variety of bird population, it is a world heritage site. From here, short excursions to Agra, Deeg and Fatehpur Sikri are easy to do. Best to visit is after monsoons.
Formerly a princely state, Bikaner was founded in 1486 by Rao Bika. Bikaner. It is the 4th largest city in Rajasthan. Water from 2 canals, the Ganga Canal completed in 1928 and the Indira Gandhi Canal completed in 1987 have allowed the farming of crops such as mustard, cotton, groundnuts, wheat and vegetables.
Bundi, located on the eastern periphery of Rajasthan, is a small, dusty town well known for its murals of Krishna and lovely old step wells. Rudyard Kipling visited Bundi as a cub reporter and filed three pieces. Bundi is a non-descript town and is largely known for its step wells or baolis. The Fort and the Palace and their temples, Havelis and murals all add to the rustic charm of Bundi. There is a Lake in Bundi as well, which adds to the whole atmosphere.
Named after the Hindu goddess Chandi, Chandigarh literally means "The Fort of Chandi". It is the capital of two Indian states - Haryana and Punjab. India's first prime minister Jawahar Lal Nehru had a personal interest in establishement of Chandigarh. Initial master plan was prepared by Albert Mayer - an American architect. He was assisted by the Poland born architect Matthew Nowicki. After Nowicki s death in 1950, Le Corbusier was pulled into the project to design modern India's first planned city.
Set up in 1936 as Hailey National park it became Ramganga National Park till in 1957 it was re-named Corbett national Park after the legendary hunter/conservationist Jim Corbett. Jim Sahib as he was affectionately called by the people of the region, Kumaon, rid the area of men-eating tigers.
A quiet town, Narkanda is just a two hour ride (65km) away from the happening hill town of Simla. Simla (now called Shimla) was once the summer capital of India during British rule and now is the capital of Himachal Pradesh.
Jaipur is the city of colours and is best explored in a leisurely manner. Jaipur city was carefully planned using the principles of Vaastu Shashtra by the Chief architect Vidyadhar Bhattacharya after he was commissioned by the then ruler Sawai Jai Singh 2 to design and create a city which shall function as the seat of government, centre of commerce, residences of the nobles and artisans.
Jaisalmer the charming city located near Pakistan's border is a charming city, drawing its
historical susteanance from the lores of Rajputana.
Established in 1156 AD by Raja Rawal Jaisal, the site was chosen at the behest of a local hermit named Eesaal as he feared that his previous abode at Luderwa (16 km from present Jaisalmer) was vulnerable towards possible enemy assault.
Manali, 6,398 ft, in the Beas River valley, is in Himachal Pradesh, India. It was a small town at the start of an ancient trade route to Ladakh, over the Karakoram Pass on to Yarkand and Khotan in the Tarim Basin.
Manali is said to be the home of the Saptarshi, or Seven Sages.
Mount Abu pronunciation is the highest peak in the Aravalli Range of Rajasthan state in western India. It is referred to as 'an oasis in the desert', as its heights are home to rivers, lakes, waterfalls and evergreen forests. The ancient name of Mount Abu is "Arbudaanchal"
Nawalgarh and around sightseeing. The beautiful Havelis, wall paintings. Soak in them, delight in them. Founded in the 18th Century by Nawal Singh, it has some of the finest frescos in the Shekhawati region. A huge fort with colourful bazaar and numerous havelis with elaborate architecture makes it an interesting destination. Nawalgarh is rightly referred to as the Open Air Gallery.
Pushkar came into existence when Lord Brahma, the Creator, to kill a demon dropped his lotus flower to earth from his hand. 3 blue lakes magically manifested in the middle of desert at the place where the petals had landed. It was here, at the banks of these lakes, Brahma held a congregation of 90,000 celestial beings.
A national park in India located in the Alwar district of the state of Rajasthan. The topography of Sariska supports scrub-thorn arid forests, dry deciduous forests, rocks and grasses. This area was a hunting preserve of the erstwhile Alwar state and it was declared a wildlife reserve in 1955. In 1978, it was given the status of a tiger reserve making it a part of India's Project Tiger scheme.
Declared in 1864 as the summer capital of British Raj in India, this city of hills is now the capital of Himachal Pradesh. The British fondly called it as the "Queen of Hills" and was their refuge from burnig plains of India. British started building in Simla around 1822 after annexing it in 1819, just after Gurkha war.
Varanasi is where life meets death. Established thousands of years ago by Lord Shiva, this city is the mascot for India's religion and culture. Situated on the banks of the mighty Ganges nearly halfway its length, Varanasi is a very strong in your face experience.
Once you have been to Varanasi, no other city in the world shall be able to surprise you.
The Varanasi ghats is an experience and you should budget a lot of time to be spent at the ghats.