Monthly Archives: March 2014

Most Incredible Rock-Cut Temples in India

Most Incredible Rock-Cut Temples in India


India is famous for temples that are 100 of years old. Since historical times India is a place of rich culture and one of the perfect example of this culture is Rock-Cut architecture which is found in most parts of India. Rock- Cut architecture is a practice in which buildings or structures are carved into caves in old ages. But now these caves are converted into incredible Rock-Cut temples in India, which shows early traces of human life and importance of Hindu and Buddhism culture in country’s history. Some of most renowned Rock-Cut temples of India are: –



Ajanta cave temple is located in Aurangabad district of Maharashtra. About 30 Buddhist cave temples are built in Ajanta, some of which are built in 2nd century B.C. Ajanta caves preserve paintings and sculptures which are one of the best masterpiece of Buddhists art in India. The Ajanta caves were carved in U – shaped cliff along with Waghora River. A platform across the river gives an excellent view of Ajanta Caves. Ajanta caves were used by the monks for prayers and for spiritual pursuits.  The Ajanta caves are covered by forests. We can reach their by means of Taxis and Buses.



Ellora cave temple is also located in Aurangabad district of Maharashtra. It is famous throughout the world for prehistoric temples, portraying the rich traditions of India and the excellent work of art. We can reach to the temple by buses or taxis from Maharashtra. The nearest airport is 18 km from the caves. As similar to Ajanta Ellora caves were also built of solid rocks. In total there are 34 temples of Hindus, Buddhists and Jains respectively. Every year Ellora festival is organized by MTDC where classical dance and music highlight the area’s beauty.



Amaranth temple is a Hindu shrine located in Jammu and Kashmir. It is one of the most enchanted temple of lord Shiva. According to Hindu mythology, it is believed that this is where lord Shiva explained the secret and eternity of life to his wife Goddess Parvati. Amaranth temple is about 5000 years old and is visited by thousands of tourists every year from all over the world. Inside the main cave, a huge formation of ice, in the form of LINGAM stands there which is also known as Shiva Linga. We can reach their easily by means of road, rail, and air service.



Elephant cave temple is situated 10 kms away from the Gateway of India at Mumbai on the coast of Arabian Sea. Elephant caves are the flawless exertion of ancient Indian art related to the cult of lord Shiva. Elephant anciently was known as Gharapuri. The entire area of this building is about 60000 sq feet and is made up of natural rock. On entering the cave1 you can see a large hall supported by large pillars. It is the most notable cave and is also known as Maheshamurti cave. It is the rock cut temple supported by a row of 6 columns each. The main thing to notice in this temple is the huge statue of lord Shiva on the west end of the wall. The statue represents Lord Shiva with 3 heads. The head facing right depicts as creator, the head in the centre depicts as protector and the head facing left depicts as destroyer. The work of art done their convoy’s the message of elegance and harmony. The temple consists of main chamber, 2 lateral chamber, courtyards and subsidiary shrines.


Ranigumpha (Cave No 1), Udayagiri.

Udayagiri cave temple of Orissa boons historical masterpiece of India. Udayagiri is a hill situated on the right side of Bhuvneshwar. It consists of 18 caves with a flight of steps. The largest and the most attractive is 1 Cave of Rani Gumpha or Queen’s Cave. Udayagiri is U – shaped plateau next to the River Beas. Udayagiri is famous for rock-cut sanctuaries and enormous statues of lord Vishnu in Varaha Avatar. The place also have a vital inscription of Gupta Dynasty. Udayagiri caves are one of the famous tourist’s fascinations near Bhuvneshwar city.



The Masroor rock-cut temple of Himachal Pradesh, is the only rock-cut temple in Northern part of India. It is situated in the district of Kangra. According to Hindu mythology, it is said that, this temple was made by a super powerful Pandav, Bheem, all by himself. The beautiful temple of Masroor consists of 15 rock-cut temples all build in Indo-Arabian style. This temple is carved out of a single rock. In this temple statutes of Lord Rama, Laxman and Sita are ornamented on the walls. The beautiful pond just in front of the entrance enhances the beauty of this temple. The best time to visit this temple is from mid-May to mid-November.



Varaha cave temple also known as Adivaraha cave temple is one of the superlative example of rock-cut architecture in India. It is situated in Mamallapuram, a small village, south to Chennai in the state of Tamil Nadu. The temple was built in 7th century in the region of Pallava dynasty. The prominent statue found in this temple are of Lord Vishnu in form of Varaha and Bahudevi, the Goddess from the sea. On the main entrance there are 4 pillars standing with carved lions on it. Inside the shrine, there are Dwarpalas or guardian figures build on both side of wall and in the centre there is a passage. The statue of Goddess Laxami seated on lotus and bathed by elephants are also carved on the walls. In the temple the sculpture of Goddess Durga is also made, in which she offers her head to the goddess who needs only blood is carved beautifully inside the temple.

See the Reclining Buddha: Wat Pho Temple, Bangkok

See the Reclining Buddha: Wat Pho Temple, Bangkok

We all have seen many statues and sculptures of Buddha and even today, his sayings are inspiring people all over the world. Most famous statue of Buddha is in the reclining posture and there are a lot of them around the world in temples, parks and other places. One of them and probably, the most popular statue is situated in Wat Pho temple of Bangkok. Wat pho, also known as the Temple of the Reclining Buddha, is located behind the Temple of the Emerald Buddha in Phra Nakhon district and a popular place for visitors in Bangkok. It houses more than 1,000 Buddha images which is more than any other Wat in Thailand.  It is one of the largest temple complexes in the city and famed for its giant reclining Buddha which measures 46 metres long and 15 metres tall, covered in gold leaf. It is so large; it feels like it has been squeezed into the building. Its feet are 5 metres long and inlaid with mother of pearl. The gesture of Seated Buddha, on a three tiered pedestal, is called Phra Pang Smardhi.


Over the statue of the Reclining Buddha, there are 108 bronze bowls in the corridor indicating the 108 auspicious characters of Buddha. You can drop coins in these bowls which is believed to bring good fortune. However, before entering the temple you will have to follow the dress code. As per the code you cannot wear too much revealing clothes like mini skirts and tight clothes.

How to get here?


Wat Pho is located in the old Rattanakosin area on the East Bank of the Chao Phraya River adjoining the Grand Palace on Thanon  Chetuphon. You can get there by metered taxi or by Chao Phraya express river boat. It is very short walk from Tha Tien pier.



There was a temple, Wat Phodharam, on the same site which was restored as Wat Pho temple with work beginning in 1788. It was restored and extended in the reign of King Rama III and restored again in 1982. The traditional Thai Massage got started at Wat Pho for the first time. Even prior to the Temple’s founding, the site was a center of education for traditional Thai medicine and statues were created showing yoga positions. In 1962, a school for traditional medicine and massage was established and it is still running. You can book massage appointments or apply to study at school.

Bangkok, Wat Pho, reclining Buddha

The statue of Reclining Buddha was built in 1832 during the reign of King Rama III. It was made to show the passing of Buddha from his final Nirvana after death. Murals can be found inside the temple which dates scenes from as far as during the rule of King Rama III.

The Wat Pho Tour

Once you enter the temple you have to keep calm and be polite as the temple is a sacred place where religious rites and activities are done. Women are prohibited from all area set aside for monks to perform their rites. The Wat Pho Complex has two walled compounds bisected by Soi Chetuphon running east-west. The northern compound is where the reclining Buddha and Massage school is. The southern walled compound, Tukgawee, is a working Buddhist monastery with monks in residence and a school.

The Statue


The statue is going to hit you with its size just when you enter the room where it is laying. At the foot of the reclining Buddha, you can find over 100 panels which display symbols by which Buddha can be identified like White Elephants, tigers, flowers and many more. The coins gathered in the bowls help the monks to maintain the temple.

Phra Vihara


Phra Vihara is the assembly hall in which Reclining Buddha is situated. It lies on the Northwest within the monastic area of Wat Pho. On its northern wall there is a piece of empty stone in a frame decorated with beautiful designs. It was prepared to record the history of the construction of Phra Vihara. Anyway, it is still blank.


There are some murals located on the interior wall which illustrate the tales of Etadagga in Buddhism relating to most distinguished disciples, 10 Upasaka and Upasika who were male and female devotees. Murals on the doors and windows, tell the story of Mahavong, which was the history of Buddhism and the Singhalese King in Ceylon. The murals, on the secondary beam placed below the main roof tell about the heaven at Tavatimsa and battle between Thevada and Asura. There are many other murals on all the walls of the assembly hall which tell stories and sagas about Buddhism.

The Massage centre and school


The massage school at Wat Pho offers to everybody who is interested in studying the art of Thai therapeutic massage. It is a 200 hours course comprising 32 hours of theoretical study about health, science and traditional medicine, 82 hours of Thai therapeutic massage and advanced Thai ascetic self stretching and 86 hours of professional training. You can get there and increase your awareness about different kind of massages.


If you wish to get a massage, you can choose from Thai Combo Massage, Reflexology, Deep Tissue or Swedish, Traditional Thai Massage, Body Scrub & 1 hour Swedish, Foot Scrub, Body Scrub, Aromatherapy and even get a haircut. A regular massage costs around 250 baht an hours while a herbal hot compress massage costs 350 baht an hour. Thai traditional massage course can be complete in 10 to 15 days for about 4500 baht.

Wat Pho is one of the most visited attractions in Bangkok and the Reclining Buddha is the main attraction here. So, plan a trip and see this giant Reclining Buddha.

The Ultimate Shopping Hub: Central World, Bangkok

The Ultimate Shopping Hub: Central World, Bangkok

From dazzling temples, spectacular palaces and famous museums to floating market or posh hotels, Bangkok has it all. Bangkok started its journey just as a small trading centre and port community on the west bank of the Chao Phraya River some 200 years ago. But today, the city is upto the speed with modern times and each and every place here has its own story to tell. One of these places is Central World, located at the Rajprasong intersection, on the corner of Rajdamri and Rama I roads, right in the heart of Bangkok city. It is like a little shopping world in its own, having all the stores with all the things you need. Central World is the biggest shopping complex in Southeast Asia and Hong Kong and is home to the largest bookstore and sporting goods outlet in Thailand.


The complex covers an area of more than 800,000 square metres in all, in which 550,000 square meters is for retail space. Here, you will find everything from food to clothing and from jewellary to vehicle. It has almost 500 shops, 90 restaurants, 21 ultra modern cinemas, a 32 lane bowling alley, a kid’s zone and learning center and the famous Thailand Knowledge Park. The complex is designed in such a way that you can get around easily without feeling lost. The walkways are quite wide and there are a lot of escalators for smooth flow.

How to get here?


Central World is right in between Central Childlom BTS sky train station and Siam BTS sky train station in downtown Bangkok. From either station, it is less than a five minute walk and all the walking is on the Skybridge. It is also a covered walking area if it rains. If you are driving, then there are no less than 18 separate entrances and the parking lot can accommodate 7,000 cars here.

The Attractions

Till 2006, Central World Plaza used to be quite old fashioned mall and then it was renovated into an ultra modern shopping complex. It is surrounded everywhere by glass windows, steel, chrome and marble and right at the moment you step in the Central World; you feel stylish, hip and cool. Here are some attractions that are the lime lights of this place.



No list can be given as there are so many places to eat in Central World. From Western, Chinese and Thai to Japanese and Indian, everything is readily available here. You can have Kabuki, Nobu Shobu, and MOS Burger mix in Lee Café or fast foods at McDonalds and KFC. There is Café Coffee Day (CCD) where you can have a tasty Cappuccino and Starbucks where Whittard’s of Chelsea, Black Canyon Coffee and Bar Italia are famous.


There is also the Central Food Hall at the 7th floor, known as ‘Heaven on 7’, serving a broad selection of foods at reasonable prices. One of the best delights of the food court is the Motley Mix having a number of dishes from the kitchens of Daikoku, Winner House, Old Malaya and Blue Light by Seefah. It is really a paradise for the foody friends.

Super Sports


Super Sport is the biggest and all round supplier of sport equipments with the longest shoe display in Thailand. It is located on 3rd floor and offers many famous international brands of like Puma, Adidas, Reebok, Nike etc. Super Sports is a particularly great place to buy treadmills, exercise bikes, footballs, skateboards, basketballs, tennis equipments, running equipments and cycling equipments. The quality of all the apparels is superb here and they sell almost everything you might be looking for.

Power Buy

power buy

Power buy is a large electronics store selling electrical appliances ranging from refrigerators to home theatre systems and is located on 4th floor of the Central World Plaza. Power Buy You can buy mobile phones of all brands here.

B2S Centre


It is a branch of the Thailand based bookstore chain and spreads over three floors, from ground floor to 3rd floor. It offers international and local publications, books, stationery, office supplies and various forms of entertainment media. On the ground floor, there is good selection of music CDs, movie DVDs and a True Internet Café. 2nd floor offers the items of stationary. There is a large collection of books about art and design, architecture, fashion, graphic design, traveling and computers on the 3rd floor.

Zen Departmental Store


Zen Departmental Store is branded as Asia’s first lifestyle trend mega store. It was opened in 2010 covering an area of 50,000 square. There are seven levels of different type of lifestyle products in Zen Departmental Store. Level One is entitled as Beauty of Luxury, hosting cosmetic brands for both boys and girls. Second level is called Women’s Elegance and features contemporary fashion and party wears of the most adventurous sort. You will find all kinds of shoes with innovative designs for women.


Third level is the Casual Women’s Zone with ultra chic fitness and aerobic wear with gear, hair and nail bars. Fourth level is the metrosexual man’s destination and fifth one is Funky Edgy Zen, which has the latest designer denim and international sportswear. Sixth level is called Muji with lot of options for children, teens and adults. Seventh floor likes to be called No Better Place than Home and features an array of branded and designer home accessories.

SF World Cinema

sf cinema

It is a cinema complex located on the 7th floor of Central World Plaza. It has total 15 screens which include 800 seats of World Max Screen and luxury first class theatres. It has hosted a number of Thai Cinema Premieres like Bangkok International Film Festival in 2007 and 2008. You will feel like a star yourself, watching movie in SF World Cinema.

Other attractions around Central World include BigC Ratchadamri, the Erawan Shrine, Amarin Plaza, Central Chidlom, Siam Paragon and many more. So, just plan a visit to this Thailand’s biggest shopping complex.

The Roundabout World- Connaught Place, Delhi

The Roundabout World- Connaught Place, Delhi

Often referred to as the largest business, commercial and the financial centers in India, the Connaught Place one of the hottest property in the Middle of New Delhi. Officially known as the Rajiv Chowk, this place is often referred to as CP by Delhiites. Home to headquarter some of the biggest Indian firms, this place is a hotshot property in the hands of Business developers. Officially regarded as the costliest property in India for office space, it is also said that this place ranks an astounding No. 4 for the costliest office space in the entire world. In the year 2013, the Forbes listed the market place in Connaught place in New Delhi as the fifth highest priced market in the world. Known to be a part of the Lutyens’ Delhi, this part of New Delhi was especially developed as the Central Business District.


The history of the place states that the Connaught Place was named after the H.R.H Field Marshal and the 1st Duke of Connaught and Strathearn, thereby getting its name “Connaught”. The construction work for the place started in the year 1929 and it was completed in the year 1933. The place began to attract many companies during the British Raj and thus it started to gain popularity. However, later down the line, Union Minister S.B. Chavan renamed the place from Connaught Place to Rajiv Chowk, which was named after Rajiv Goswami. The outer circle of Connaught was soon renamed to Indira Chowk as well. The area, before it was constructed was covered with kikar trees and the main animals that were found here were the wild pigs and Jackals. However, these animals were got rid of and the villages of Jaisingh, Mashoganj and Raja ka Bazaar were cleared to implement fast construction of the place. However, three structures were spared of demolition in the entire process which included the historical Jantar Mantar, the Hanuman temple in Connaught Place and the Jain temple in Jaisinghpura.

Entertainment in Connaught Place is never a minus point. Ever since the construction, there has been quality entertainment in the Connaught Place. One of the first inception of theatre was done by Regal cinema, /which was then followed by Rivoli and Odeon. These groups went on to put up popular concerts and other ballet dance performances which made these groups pretty famous in the Connaught Place in the late 1930’s. Slowly after the advent of these groups, small time snack facilities started popping up in the area and it became a huge star attraction to the general public. With the advent of the United Coffee House, Kwality and other Mughal and Continental restaurants around the Inner circle of the Connaught Place, the Place started to become the Business center of the town. One of the first shops and the most famous of them all is the Wenger’s confectioners, who supply original Swiss made chocolates and confectioneries to the city of New Delhi.


Soon after the advent of these restaurants in the Connaught Place, richness started to symbolize the standard of living among Delhiites. One of the first luxury hotel that popped up in the city was The Imperial in 1931. This hotel was regarded as the symbol for royalty among people and politicians, who held their meetings there. As a matter of fact, it was here that the discussion about the partition of India took place and both India’s and Pakistan’s leading men including Jawaharlal Nehru, Lord Mountbatten, Muhammad Ali Jinnah and Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi met to discuss the sensitive issue of birth of Pakistan.

Today, Connaught Place is one of the most recognised and crowded place in New Delhi. When viewed from a map, this place stands out to form a circle in the middle of New Delhi and looks like a circle with spokes in it to the human eye. It is recognised by almost everyone when viewed from a distance. The inner circle of the Connaught Place is separated from the outer circle, also known as the Connaught Circus by 8 different roads. The Connaught Place also houses the Palika Bazaar, which is the first underground market in India. In between the Inner Circle and the Outer Circle lies the Central Park of Connaught Place, which is home to some of the famous cultural events in New Delhi. In the year 2005, the Central Park was cleared for the construction of Metro and later the Park was given a revamp and reopened to the public. The station in the Central Park, known as the Rajiv Chowk Station is the interchange for the Delhi Metro which houses the Blue and Yellow lines and it is one of the busiest and the largest stations in the Metro network. Starbucks Coffee opened its first outlet in New Delhi in the Hamilton House in Connaught Place.


The revamp project of the Connaught Place was taken up before then 2010 Commonwealth Games in New Delhi. However due to the cost overruns, it was not completed on time and the renovation works were stopped. Soon after the Commonwealth Games, the renovation works were completed and a global art project by the United Buddy Bears was presented in Connaught Place in 2012.

Where everything is Fishy: Male Fish Market, Maldives

Where everything is Fishy: Male Fish Market, Maldives

Maldives is famous for its natural beauty, and its beaches for its proximity to Ocean and the sea food. Maldives is actually a nation made up of 1200 islands at north of the Equator in the Indian Ocean. It was under the judiciary of United Kingdom till 1965 when it gained its freedom and declared itself an independent republic. Maldives is blessed with beauty as there are Paradise Island Resort, Islamic Centre, Gan, Hithadhoo, National museum and much more to visit for a tourist. One of the major tourist attraction spots is the Male Fish Market which is mostly overcrowded with people. The fist market is located on the northern waterfront of Male’, mere two blocks away from the local market. The main feature of the market is the unavoidable odour of freshly brought fish.


Late afternoons would be the best time to visit the fish market because that’s the time when the fishermen bring the freshly caught fishes. You will see the fish cutters with their practiced blades slicing and dicing the fishes. This is surprisingly hygienic market for a fish market. The area is kept quite clean, washed down each day and disinfected. Off course, one thing in which Maldives is truly rich is fishes.


The place in the market is hub of commercial activities, full of shops and stall holders. It is where traditional fishing boats called Dhonis, come from all corners of the island to unload a great selection of goods. You can find from fresh fruit and vegetables to dried fish, oil, coconuts, nuts and jams.

How to get here?

Commercial fishermen negotiating mooring lines, Male', Maldives.

Male is a very small island and it does not have its own airport. If you are coming to Male by air then there is an island named Hulhule serves as the most convenient point for making an entry into the city. It is also very much reachable by water from the port cities like Sri Lanka and Cochin. After reaching, Male you can get the services of taxis, cars and mini buses to reach the fish market.


Fish Market is obviously a must see. It is a market where the price constantly changes according the predictions about the size of the day’s catch and its time of arrival. You might get a good chance to see every inch of the large ones from tunas to hammerhead sharks. Here are some popular fishes you will find at this amazing market.

Yellowfin Tuna


Yellowfin Tunas are torpedo shaped with dark metallic blue backs, yellow sides and a silver belly. They are found throughout most of the world’s oceans and considered as highly migratory species because they can travel across an entire ocean basin.

male (303)

The fishermen at Maldives have mastered the art of selectively catching the famous yellowfin tuna as they pass through the waters of Maldivian archipelago. A crew of 12 men goes out for 2 to 4 days to fish in the waters outside the atolls of island. It takes the experienced eyes of fishermen to look out for hunting yellowfin tuna, which are often associated with dolphin and birds. The tunas are caught by these methods: Pole and line, handline and longline. The pole and line method is most commonly used and results in almost 90 percent of the total fish catch.

Hammerhead Sharks


It is the only species which does not get confused with any other shark. Hammerhead sharks are of quite weird type as they have a wide, thick head like a hammer with the eyes at the margins. This shark is gray brown above with an off white belly. The average great hammerhead shark is up to 11.5 feet long.

caught hammerhead

If you are lucky, you will see these giant hammerhead sharks lying on the floor of fish market. However, if you want a closer encounter with living hammerhead sharks then Hammerhead point is a place which offers diving with hammerheads. It is quite safe as these sharks are usually harmless. You can witness the impressive sized school of hammerheads cruising through the channel and sometimes with groups of other sharks.

Sword Fish

sword fish

Sword Fish is one of several large species known as bill fish. It is recognized by its sharp, pointed bill which is used by it for protection and hunting prey. This fish is found throughout the world’s oceans. This fish is very fast and can reach speeds of up to 50 mph. The Sword fish are often kept as a trophy fish and are also quite tasty. Longlines are the most common gear for catching sword fish worldwide.

Barracuda Fish


Barracuda is a large species of fish found in the warmer, coastal regions of the world’s oceans. Maldives has the perfect water conditions for these fishes. The Barracuda is a predator and feeds only on other animals in the surrounding water. However, because of its aggressive nature, the barracuda is one of the most dominant predators within its coastal environments. These fishes are gutted, cleaned and sold in pieces and completely at fish market. You can take pictures of the fishes and work of the fisherman, who are obviously willing to accept the pictures.

Male fish market is all about fishes but there are also some restaurants nearby with very delicious seafood. So, plan a trip and experience this smelly but hygienic fish market in Male, Maldives.

The divine intervention: Siddhivinayak Temple, Mumbai

The divine intervention: Siddhivinayak Temple, Mumbai

Shree Siddhivinayak Ganapati Mandir is one of the most visited and richest temples of India. It is a Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Ganesha. It is located on Prabhadevi, Mumbai, Maharashtra. It is one of the iconic structures of the city. People from all around India come to visit the temple. It was originally built by Laxman Vithu and Deubai Patil on November 19, 1801. The temple is about 200 years old. The temple is highly visited by the general public of the city and as well as the important politicians and celebrities. The Mumbai city is the place with many famous temples and religious sites. Most of them have archaeological importance besides being a religious place. The Mumbaikars worship Lord Ganesha with utmost devotion and celebrate the festival of Ganesh Chaturthi in a grand manner and with great enthusiasm. Thus, the temple of Siddhivinayak holds great importance to them. Siddhivinayak is well known as “Navasacha Ganapati” or “Navasala Pavanara Ganapati” among the devotees. The Siddhivinayak Mandir was once a tiny place of worship which later evolved into a grand temple. The Temple had gone a complete makeover in the recent past, from a small place of worship to a grand six storeyed structure which almost touches the sky. At the top of the temple, a golden dome is placed which dazzles beautifully in the sun.


The temple was built under the supervision of Lakshman Vidhu Patil on the orders of Late Mrs.Deubai Patil. Mrs Patil was a very rich lady from an affluent family but she did not have any child of her own. She was a strong devotee of Lord Ganesha. One day, while offering her daily prayers she selflessly asked lord Ganesha that if she can’t have children then let other ladies with same misfortune may get his blessings while praying in this temple and become mothers. It seems that the god answered her humble request and pious thoughts. It is said that all wishes are granted in this temple if genuinely prayed to the Lord Ganesha. Around 125 years ago, Swami Samarth asked Shri Jambhekar, an advert devotee of Lord Ganesha to bring divine idols and bury them in front of the courtyard of his old house where he once resided. Shri Jambhekar was also told to plant two idols in front of the Ganesha idol which he worshiped daily. Shri Jambhekar predicted that after 21 years a Mandaar tree would grow from that place and Lord Ganesh would himself appear from that sacred place. From that day onwards the belief and devotion of the people had increased a hundred times fold. After few years, he told Late Priest Govind Chintaman Phatak to look after and perform regular pooja and religious rituals in the Siddhivinayak Temple.


Siddhivinayak temple features the idol of Lord Ganesh carved out of black stone and is 2’6” high and 2’ wide. The unique feature of this idol which differentiates it from all other idols of Lord Ganesh is that the trunk of the lord is on right hand side. This is rather an unusual appearance of Lord Ganesha. The deity has four hands with a lotus in his upper right hand and an axe in his upper left hand. He also holds a jaomala in his lower right hand and a bowl of Modak in his lower left hand. From the left shoulder to the right side of the belly of the Lord, there appears a snake which looks like the sacred thread worn by men in the Hindu religion. The idol of Lord Ganesha also features an eye on his forehead which appears as the third eye of Lord Shiva, the father of Lord Ganesha. On both sides of the idol of Lord Ganesha are placed the idols of goddesses Riddhi and Siddhi. The goddesses signify wealth and prosperity while Lord Ganesha is worshipped as the god who removes all hurdles and problems of life and gives success. He is worshipped before any other deity and before the start of any good work.


There is also a small Hanuman Temple in the complex of the Siddivinayak temple. It was built in 1952 when an idol of Lord Hanuman was found during the road extension project of Sayani Road near Elphinstone Road. The Hanuman Mandir had been recently renovated and given a new look. The Hanuman temple has its schedule of aarti and pooja. It is most visited by its devotees on Saturdays. The devotees are provided with oil and rui garland at a very cheap cost on Saturdays.


The holy temple is most visited on Tuesdays. In the city of millions of people this is the place where you will feel the absolute presence of Lord Ganesha. The temple is filled with vibrations of spirituality and is known as the temple of miracles. The view of the golden kalash at the top of the temple with an orange flag fluttering in the breeze is itself a lovely sight. There are rows of shops of sweets, modaks, flowers, etc along the perimeter of the temple. The Maharashtrian government also realises the importance of the temple. A police station had been set up outside the temple to ensure law and order in the area. People from all over the world, irrespective of their age, religion and beliefs, bowing their heads come to visit this place throughout the year.


Temple of Heaven, Beijing

Temple of Heaven, Beijing


The Temple of Heaven literal meaning being the Altar of Heaven is located in the south eastern part of the central Beijing in the Dongcheng district. It is a huge complex consisting of religious buildings. It is spread over an area of 2,700,000 square metres. Among all the ancient sacrificial buildings in
China it is one of the most representative and largest. This complex was visited by the Emperors of the Ming and Qing dynasties who conducted prayers to the heaven for good harvest. It is also regarded as a Taoist temple. The temple of Heaven symbolizes the relationship between the earth and the heaven that is the human world and the God’s world. And the grand architectural style of this place gives an insight into the practises of the ancient eastern civilization.


The complex was constructed from 1406 to 1420 in the reign of the Ming Emperor Yongle. He built the altar of Heaven and Earth along with the walls surrounding the garden. The central building was constructed which was a large rectangular shaped sacrificial hall where the sacrifices were offered to heaven and earth and a fasting palace was on the south west. Also pine trees were planted in the complex to emphasize on the relationship between humans and the nature. However, in the 16th century during the reign of Emperor Jiajing the Altar of Heaven was renamed as the Temple to Heaven. He also decided to offer separate sacrifices to the Heaven and the Earth and hence he built towards the south of the main hall the Circular Mound Altar to offer sacrifices to the Heaven. He also built the temples of earth, sun and moon in the north, east and west of the city respectively.


The large sacrificial hall was broken down and it was replaced by the round hall of Daxiang where prayers for abundant harvest were conducted. Later in the year 1749 during the reign of Qing Emperor Qianlong, the Circular Mound Altar was rebuilt and enlarged in size and the original blue-gazed tiles were replaced with white marble. Two years later renovation was done at the Hall of Daxiang and the new name was given to it as the Hall of Prayers for abundant harvests.

Further in the year of 1911 the Government of Republic of China banned all the ceremonies conducted at the Temple of Heaven. Before the ban the Temple of Heaven had witnessed 654 acts of worship to Heaven by almost 22 Emperors of the Qing and Ming dynasties. The government opened this temple as a public park in 1918 and since then it has remained so.


The Temple of Heaven comprises of three main groups of buildings being-

The Hall of Prayer for good harvests

This building is a magnificent big palace having a round roof and three layers of eaves. It is 38 meters tall and built on marble stone as a base. The building is made of wood. Here, the emperor held ceremonies to pray for good abundant harvest and a good weather. The original building was burned down by fire caused by lightning. This is a complex consisting of the Hall of prayer for Good Harvests and the Altar for Grain prayers.

hall of prayers

The Circular Mound Altar

The Circular Mound Altar is situated in the southern part of the Temple of Heaven and is considered as the actual Temple of Heaven in practical sense as the emperors of Qing and Ming dynasties would offer their sacrifices here. The design of this altar is such that the prayer is reflected by the guardrail creating a significant resonance which helped to communicate with the heaven.


The Imperial Vault of Heaven

Towards the north of the Circular Mound is the imperial Vault of Heaven. It is surrounded by smooth circular wall called the Echo wall that helps to transmit the sound over a large distance. This place is mainly famous for the Echo wall, the three echo stones and the dialogue stone.



The Temple of Heaven is situated in the southern Dongcheng district previously a part of the Chongwen district. The park is open every day throughout the year. The timings of the park are from 6 am to 10 pm however the timings for certain scenic spots are different. From March 1 to June 30 it is from 8 am to 5:30 pm, July 1 to October 31 from 8 am to 6 pm and November 1 to February 28 from 8 am to 5 pm. There are four main gates to enter the park and all are accessible by public transport. The four gates being the east, west, north and south gate.


Today, in the Temple of Heaven there are about 60,000 trees. The most popular tree here is the grandfather tree which is 500 years old and it has branches that look like there are nine dragons winding with each other. These trees form a very peaceful environment and many locals come here to do their morning exercise. Also other activities like cycling, running, dancing, etc are carried on here in the park. You can also indulge in these activities when at the park with the locals there. Thus this is one place where you can learn a lot about the history of China.

Tamarind Falls – Mauritius

Tamarind Falls – Mauritius


Also renowned as the ‘7 cascades’, Tamarind fall is situated in the south west part of Mauritius, near the village of Henrietta. It gets this name because of the seven steps that it forms before the water reaches from the top to the basin. Blessed with enchanting surroundings and the diverse species thriving in the vicinity, these waterfalls are the tallest in Mauritius (293m). The falls get their name from the river Tamarin (from where they originate) and are also known as Tamarin Falls. Encompassed in an amazing atmosphere, the falls are popular as a site for bird watching, canyoning, adventure hikes and swimming. Apart from the recreational uses, this fall has also been utilized for the purpose of electricity generation using a hydro-electric power plant. Although a bit difficult to reach, these waterfalls can be visited by hiring a car or by taking a bus and looking for signs saying Henrietta. Do be sure of taking lots of food and drinks along with you as the site of a snacks place is very rare in the surroundings of these falls.  Sounds a bit tedious but the serene falls are worth all the pains you take to reach them.

Tamarind falls

It is recommended to start your journey in the morning as early as possible so that you can enjoy the entire cascade, both the ascent and the descent. A guide being important here, especially when it is your first visit, the falls can be an astounding as well as a safe experience with their proper guidance. Unlike other falls, these falls need to be explored rather than seen and admired from a distance. The obvious musts here are shoes and insect repellents. If you love hiking in places that are located in the heart of greenery, then you should not miss out on these falls. With dense trees around and the rocky descent that takes you to the waterfall, the parts of your hiking become challenging as well as breathtaking. The rocks beneath your feet can be a bit tricky and will need proper attention during your hike. A thrilling experience is on your way when you have decided to hike on these falls. The journey through the trees being awe-inspiring, the scene that you evidence after you reach the falls is further mind boggling.  The steps with their naturally formed basins can be clearly viewed from the topmost part of the falls and is truly a site one cannot afford to miss. Once you are done with basking in the pleasant sites from the top, going down can be pretty jumbling. You can either take the steep roads to climb down to the succeeding plateau or can jump from where you are to a place that is 7-10 m below; of course not without proper guidance and accessories. The sparkling water in the basins is really a great way to relax your mind and body until the next jump.


The next thing that you can do to get an adrenalin rush is canyoning. Draped in everything required from the point of view of safety, it is always an enthralling experience to go down the canyon with the waters falling on you. At the huge height of 293m, it can actually prove to be one of the challenging things that you have done in your life. You can also enjoy swimming in the basins, where the waters are nice and cool taking away all the stress from within.

Tamarind falls 1

Having all the adventure rides in store, this place also provides a spell binding view to the nature lovers. Located amidst thick green bushes and trees, the waters occur to be falling from the clouds when you see the falls from the lowermost point. The blue waters flowing over the cascade become too irresistible, and you cannot help but get inside the waters just for a small dip at least. The entire scene is really hypnotic and calls you further close towards it.

The falls are a paradise for the bird lovers as well. With different colors and species of birds flocking in and nestling in the trees surrounding this fall, there are a very few opportunities like this for people who want to capture these beauties; either with the help of binoculars or cameras. Also a good place for family outings, one can always pack a basket full of snacks and come here for a relaxing outing with their family. With the birds chirping around you and nice greenery everywhere you see, this place gives your eyes a pleasant site to look at. You can just lie down next to the basins in the cool breezes coming from over the waters and have the gala time for yourself in this heavenly place.

The simplicity and elegance of the nature are aptly described using these waterfalls. In these tranquil conditions, in the middle of the soothing foliage and dazzling water you are sure to forget the reality of all your problems and tensions. A perfect location to sit back and distress, and simultaneously get enthralled by the adventures it offers, the Tamarind Falls are surely a definition of complete fun and frolic.


The Glowworm Caves of New Zealand

The Glowworm Caves of New Zealand

Breathtaking and beautiful, Waitomo caves are not like any other caves across the world. What makes them unique is that they glow! In pitch darkness, rowing over the shallow waters, when you look up, it appears as if the stars have homed on the ceiling of the caves. What makes it possible is among the rarest of creatures in world- the mosquito-sized glow worm Arachnocampa luminosa, hence the name glowworm caves.


There are around 300 limestone caves in Waitomo region that have been created over the last 30 million years by immense geological and volcanic activity. These Glowworm Caves were formed when the place was still under the ocean. The limestone that is composed in the cave walls is composed of corals, seashells, fish skeletons and other marine animals fossilized for over millions of years, layered upon each other and compressed into limestone, making it 200 meters thick. The caves have been formed by the dripping water from the ceiling along with the formations by the running water, making unique limestone formations.

These glow worms are closely studied by Scientific Groups and they monitor the air quality, humidity and air temperatures of the caves so as to provide the most suitable conditions for the worms to grow. This determines how many people should enter the cave at one time and when the flow of air should be changed.


The Waitomo Glowworm caves were found by local Maori Chief Tane Tinorau who was accompanied by Fred Mace, an English surveyor. Building their own rafts with candles in hand, the two set out to explore deep within the caves that were known to exist by locals. When they entered the Glowworm Grotto, they were surprised to see the ceiling glowing blow unceasingly. As they went deeper they discovered the limestone formations. The place has been a tourist hotspot since the then discovery in1887.

 Tour Guide

The 2 hours 15 minutes tour departs after every half hour daily from 9 am to 5 pm for 365 days of a year. There are around 14 people under a guide. Around 2000 people visit the cave every day. The price is $8 during off peak times that is before 10:30 and after 2:30 pm and $11 during peak times.


The tour to the caves has three different levels, beginning from top level of the cave and the Catacombs. The second level leads the visitors to the Banquet Chamber. At this level one can stop to have some snacks. The last level leads you down to the Cathedral. It is an enclosed area with rough surfaces and about 18 meters high. The tour reaches its end with a 45 minute boat ride through the Glowworm Grotto. The ride takes you along the Waitomo river into underground where the only light comes from the tiny glowworms that hang from the ceiling, appearing to be surreal.


The Cathedral


The lower level of Waitomo Glowworm is the largest cavern. The place is famous for its acoustics and due to that many famous singers and choirs have performed here. The caves are almost 30 million years old.

The Tomo


It is a 16 meter vertical limestone shaft, which is one of the attractions at the caves. It makes the part of the waterfall which flows during heavy rains. It was the last feature of the cave to be formed and links Waitomo River to the upper level  of the caves.


  • Visitors are advised to come in walking shoes and a warm jacket for the journey.
  • Visitors are told not to touch the formations. They are fragile and take a long time to form. The y get easily discolored if being touched and can even break.
  • Photography is strictly prohibited; this even includes non-flash photography and video.
  • To keep the atmospheric and air temperatures under control, smoking is not allowed inside the caves.
  • It is also advised to keep silent all the time, especially in the boat.



Those who seek adventure can even look for roping down dark tunnels, climbing narrow ledges, river rafting down the rapids and even swimming through the river. The Waitomo Caves are an hour drive from Hamilton and the tours are run regularly. To visit more than one cave, one can purchase the ‘Cave Combo ticket’ from the center for discounts.

Auckland International Airport, New Zealand is nearest airport to Waitomo Caves at a distance of 141 km. Around 40 airlines operate out of the airport at a time and it offers non-stop flights to 53 cities.One can book the accommodation and activities through The Waitomo Education Service. The Marie or the Lodge are clean and tidy. Few of the good lodges are Kaputhi Marie located before Kiwi Cave rafting on the Waitomo Ceves Road whereas Tokikapu Marie is 2 kilometers west of Waitomo Caves Village on Te Anga Rd.

The Caves offer a memorable experience, specially the silent boat ride through pitch darkness, while looking at the stunning glowworms hanging from the ceiling. The echo of once voice across the limestone caves at the Cathedral, stretches far and wide, giving goosebumps to the visitors. An utterly different and breathtaking experience, the Waitomo Caves are a magnet to the tourists from all over the world and a must-visit while in New Zealand

Where the Heaven meets Earth- Himalayan Foothills

Where the Heaven meets Earth- Himalayan Foothills

Have you ever wondered what it’s like to be on the foothills of Himalayas? Well, the answer to the question cane be put up in only a single word- “Heavenly”. The sub-Himalayas or the Himalayan foothills, is also known as the Shivaliks and it is considered to be one of the most beautiful foothills in the entire world. With the nature playing wonders in this foothills, this place has attained tourist attraction in the near past. The tourism department in India has identified the foothills as a possible site for tourism development. The continuous range of hills which ranges from Jammu in the north extends to the Kangra valley which further moves to the east towards the Bhabbar tracts of Garhwal and Kumaon. This Kumaon valley is further divided into the Upper Kumaon and the Lower Kumaon valley. Between the Shivaliks and the greater Himalayas lies the Duns, which is significant as the place Dehradun gets its name because it forms a part of the Duns. The duns span an area of about 25 kilometers in width and 35 kilometers in length.


The Duns in the Himalayan foothills is one of the most important place of tourist attraction. The exquisite resorts that are available in numerous places in Dehradun is a crowd-puller. But it is at a humanitarian cause that one must say that the dense pine and acacia forests that were available in the region in the 19th century are not available now due to human needs. In case you like to have some fun and adventure, then there are ample opportunities knocking your doors in Dehradun. Known for its adventurous sporting facilities, this place is one of the few places in India where you can see some world class facilities to do so.  The sporting facilities include trekking, paragliding, mountain biking, camping and even skiing during the winter seasons. Seasonal skiiers’ also make use of the opportunity and show out some fancy skiing tricks.


There are numerous tours that are arranged by tourism promoters which helps the tourists to have a hassle free insight into the lush green topography of the Himalayan foothills. Starting from the Himachal Pradesh, this tour takes the tourists to the hilly country side, tasting the rural cultural heritage of India. One if the most important and gloomy part of the entire tour is the train ride to Shimla in the toy train. The rich natural beauty is noted in the slow moving train and thus this is supposed to be one of the best scenic rail routes in the entire world.

The history of the Himalayan culture, or Himachal Pradesh’s culture to be more precise, dates back to around 2000BC. It is also said that Himachal, being a part of the famous trade route known as the silk route was a place that was fought for by the conquerors. It is said that the civilisation in the Himachal has been derived from the Indus Valley civilisation. Some of the famous conquerors who have been to the Himachal and the nearby trade routes are Alexander the Great, Tmur and other Mughal warriors and emperors to name a few. The Gurkhas, who were in power in the Central Nepal were the chief occupants of the capital of Himachal Pradesh, Shimla. However, the 18th centuary saw the downfall of the Gurkhas, as they were overpowered by the British Raj in India. History reckons that the forces were defeated in the Kangra Fort, which usually forms a part of the tour for the tourists.


The Himalayan foothills also has some of the best flora and fauna that one can find in the entire country. Birdwatching is a famous part of the tours and it is also regarded as one of the best in the entire Asian continent. The best place to start the search for Indian animals is the Bharatpur Reserve in Rajasthan where there is an opportunity to look at some of the animals such as the Indian Elephant and the Tiger as well. With some primary knowledge about the Indian avifauna, the next best place to hit would definitely be the Jim Corbett National Park, which is located in Nainital. Migratory birds from Siberia visit this place every winter and the sight is an absolute treat to the human eye. With species like the raptors and the waterbirds, the place is a delight for the photographers. Other traditional Indian mammals such as the Spotted Deer, the Sambar etc are also found in the Himalayan foothills.

The foothills of Himalayas has the best water sporting facilities in India. With the water sources emanating from the snow caped mountains, the foothills have some water sources which are best suited for adventure water sports. Kayaking, BASE jumping into the deep waters Etc. are some of the most famous water sporting facilities that are seen here.


The foothills is also a major pilgrimage among Indians. With temples like the Kedarnath, Bathrinath, Uttar Panchim, Rudraprayag Etc., people from all over the country gather here to offer their prayers and also get some inner peace. It is a Hindu tradition which says that a visit to the holy pilgrimages washes off the sins that were committed during a man’s lifetime.