Fujiyama, Japan

Sunday, 23 August 2015

Keoladeo National Park (Bharatpur)

Google Maps: Keoladeo National Park, Rajasthan, India
  • The best time to visit is in October. However from August to November, migratory birds keep flocking the sanctuary.
  • Stay overnight in one of the nearby hotels and start as early as 5.30AM for best experience. By 7 it gets hot and little less pleasent.
  • Bicycles are available on first come first serve from the reception. It the best medium of transport. Battery driven vans are also available but they are so boring.

We reached Bharatpur, the host city to Keoladeo National Park (KNP), late in the evening. We had covered two UNESCO World Heritage Sites, Taj Mahal and Agra Fort, and had just brushed the third, Fatehpur Sikri, before settling at the edge of our fourth that day.

Inside KNP, Bharatpur

Saturday, 22 August 2015

Agra Fort

Google Maps: Agra Fort, Uttar Pradesh, India
  • Visit before Taj Mahal as its bigger and takes time to complete a round. It is closer to the Express Highway as you enter Agra.
  • A weekday trip is recommended given the crowd on weekends. On Monday both Agra Fort and Taj are closed.
  • Guides are good to have given the expanse of Agra Fort although it sometimes get intrusive to have them.

Agra Fort is the automatic next destination to Taj Mahal, both being UNESCO World Heritage Sites and as rare as it is with heritage sites, they are only couple of miles from each other. Spread wide across the banks of Yamuna, the fort boasts of being home to five generation of Mughal Emperors.

Huge motes, Agra Fort

Saturday, 15 August 2015

Bhopal

Google Maps: Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, India
Trip: Bhopal > Sanchi > BhimbetkaBhopal

  • Most of the spots are around the lake, be it the museums, the mosques or the magnificent Van Vihar. So better stay somewhere near the lake.
  • Weekends are crowded specially near the lake and at Sanchi so plan for a hectic Friday and an easy Saturday before leaving on Sunday.
  • Bhopal can be hub for visiting Sanchi, Bhimbetka and Panchgani. Bhimbetka and Panchgani are in same direction but not possible to visit in one day.

We reached Bhopal early morning and quickly settled for breakfast at the Shahnama restaurant of our grand stay - Jehan Numa Palace Hotel. By the time we finished, our plan had been formulated to cover both Sanchi and Bhimbetka the same day.

Upper Lake,  Bhopal

Friday, 14 August 2015

Rock Shelters, Bhimbetka

Google Maps: Bhimbetka rock shelters, Madhya Pradesh, India
Trip: Bhopal > Sanchi > Bhimbetka > Bhopal

  • Nestled in the deep forests, this place is a true jewel. Plan at least a half day excursion through the whole area. It takes time to cover and more time to appreciate.
  • The road is not in a good condition and there are not many road-side restaurants. Visit  after the monsoons if you like greenary. The month of August is ideal.
  • Read about the place before you go. You will appreciate the rich heritage more. It is one of the 32 UNESCO World Heritage Sites in India for a reason.

We reached Bhimbetka at noon from Sanchi. A slight detour on way to Hoshangabad from Bhopal and nestled in the Vindhyas is this ancient home to humankind that most of us are unaware. I guess most of those including me realized the special position this place holds in world history is when it was a declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Domestication of animals, Bhimbetka

Stupas, Sanchi

Google Maps: Sanchi, Madhya Pradesh, India
Trip: Bhopal > Sanchi > Bhimbetka > Bhopal

Sanchi was as calm and serene as we had left it in our Class IX history book. While in Sanchi one realizes why a secluded place built on a hillock suits the purpose of meditation and learning. The place is as picturesque as possible with a panoramic view of the Vindhyas.

Gateway to Stupas, Sanchi