A masterpiece of Hindu art
Today it is time to talk about one of the most beautiful temples all over the island of Java in Indonesia. Located only 17 km northeast of the city of Yogyakarta. Easily accessible through one of the many (too many) travel agencies that dot the backpackers neighborhood in Yogyakarta. A better option is renting a motorbike and visiting Prambanan and other temples in the area by yourself.
The complex was built between the end of the 7th century and the beginning of the 8th century, when Java was ruled by the Buddhist Sailendras in the south and the Hindu Sanjayas in the north. Continue reading
Diwan-I-Khas Fatehpur Sikri
Fatehpur Sikri is just forty km’s west of Agra so you don’t have any excuse to avoid this masterpiece of Mughal architecture desired by and created for the emperor Akbar. It doesn’t matter how tight your schedule is, seeing this delicious mix of Hindu, Jain and Islamic architecture where the best craftsmen worked together is a must. The proximity with the most famous Agra (and Taj Mahal) left this place practically tourist-free after 4pm. A good idea is spending the night in one of the few hotels comfortably located outside the World Heritage site perimeter, where you will also be able to enjoy a visit in the village of Fatehpur Sikri with its lively bazaar. Continue reading
Regardless if you are thinking that there are too many tourists, too much hassle, it’s too hot, it’s too cold, the light is not right, it’s too expensive, or it’s a bit out of your itinerary; the Taj Mahal has to be seen if you are traveling in the north of India.
We collected some information and together with some notes and pictures of the Taj Mahal which, thanks both to its romantic aura and exquisite details, attracts millions of visitors each year.
It is because of this everlasting charm that the Taj can boast of being one of the most popular world heritage monuments on earth. Shah Jahan’s own words in praise of the Taj is found in Badshah Nama: “…..The sight of this mansion creates sorrowing sighs, And makes sun and moon shed tears from their eyes. In this world this edifice has been made, to display thereby the Creator’s glory.” Taj Mahal, the seventh wonder of the world, symbolizes India. Taj Mahal means “Crown Palace” and is without any doubt the most well preserved and architecturally beautiful tomb. Described by the English poet, Sir Edwin Arnold, as “Not a piece of architecture, as other buildings are, but a proud passion of an emperors love wrought in living stones.”
The Taj Mahal was built over a period of 22 years from 1632, as a tribute to a beautiful woman and as a monument for enduring love by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan. Devastated by the death of his wife, the Empress Mumtaz Mahal, Shah Jahan had the Taj constructed to enshrine her mortal remains and be a center of pilgrimage. This shrine of mystique and love was designed by the Iranian architect Ustad Isa. The workmanship on the Taj is said to be purely Indian. Shah Jahan was known to have patronized Indian artisans irrespective of religion and caste. Continue reading