Sunday, January 29, 2017

Jampui hills in North Tripura is the highest hill range in the state

Jampui hills, Tripura
In continuation with my trip report on Tripura....at the end of day one, we set off for Jampui hils from Unakoti.

Jampui hills is around 60 km from Unakoti in North Tripura district. Located at an altitude of 3500 ft, it is the highest hill range in Tripura.

We  stayed at a Government run tourist lodge in Jampui hills. The pleasant weather combined with the sylvan surroundings made for a delightful experience at Jampui hills. This hill station had some very cute looking houses; most of the population in Jampui hills is made up of the Mizo community. The houses were very nicely lit up and decorated since Christmas was just around the corner.We missed the Orange festival by a month, we came to know that the best time to visit Jampui hills is in November. 

At the end of day two, we halted in a small town called Kamalasagar after a 265 km drive westwards. We stayed at a Government run Tourist lodge (Comilla).

Kamalasagar is named after an artificial lake which was built in the 15th century by King Dhanya Manikya. This place receives a lot of tourists mainly because of the 450 year old Kali temple (Kasba Kali bari) near the lake. The temple now looks pretty new after renovation and painting; I wish they have restored it as is.

Kamalasagar is also very close to the Bangladesh border, and it hosts an India-Bangaldesh border haat (market) where villagers from both countries buy and sell local products.Unfortunately we could not attend a haat while we were there.
Pretty cottages in hills
Christmas in the air!
Jampui hills-view from the lodge
Tribals of Jampui
Kamalasagar Lake
Kasba Kali bari, Kamalasagar, Tripura

Kasba Kali


Friday, January 13, 2017

Baul song video at the Baul mela 2017 at Jadavpur, Kolkata


My favourite time of the year is here again. The weather is nice and cool, and there is music in the air. I managed to attend the baul mela, in Shaktigarh at Jadavpur Kolkata, last weekend.This two-day event happens every year in the 2nd weekend of January. I try not to miss it if I am in the city.

I am sharing a beautiful baul performance from the baul mela.






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Saturday, December 31, 2016

Unakoti in Tripura, India, is known for its amazing Rock-cut faces dating back to the 11th century

Unakoti, Rock-cut Shiva head
Tripura is one of the states in India that I have never visited, i have been wanting to visit Tripura for a long time because of some of the gems it houses.

Though not as tourist ready as other states, some of the places that we saw are indeed worth visiting. In our short five day trip, we managed to touch all the districts (we did a total of 930 km by road). The roads are quite well-maintained. If you plan to travel to Tripura, d
on't expect elaborate food menus and great hotels.You will get everything, but without frills. The lodges that we stayed in were basic. My favourite was the Belonia tourist lodge in South Tripura district.

On our
 first day, we headed straight to North Tripura towards Unakoti from the airport. We rented a car through an agent in Agartala who also booked the Government run lodges in the various places we visited.We arrived at Unakoti at 3.30 pm after covering a distance of 145 km. We wanted to see Unakoti in broad daylight, and managed to get an hour of daylight to see this amazing place! Because of the hilly terrain and the number of stairs, it may not be convenient for everyone to access all the sculptures, but you can see the main ones from a distance . 

I am posting some pictures from Unakoti (which means one less than a crore in Bengali) which dates back to the 11 century AD.I have never seen anything like this before!  In fact, these rock-cut faces are considered to be the largest in India. The main Siva head is known as the Unakotiswara Kal Bhairava and is around 30 feet high.

Below is the write up about Unakoti from the ASI :




The combination of these massive rock-cut faces, the greenery, hills, and waterfalls made Unakoti a visual delight. I just loved it!


Entry point to Unakoti
The Central Shiva face 
More amazing faces carved out on the hills
Ganesha

Ganesha and other sculptures
Nandi bulls, Shiva's chariot

More faces
Sculptures on the hills
Interesting face
Is this an animal with a human head?
Dancing figures
Durga on the left side of the main Shiva
The surrounding areas


Three faces (Brahma, Vishnu, and Maheshwara ) enshrined as Linga
The main Shiva head  is about 30 feet high! This is how large the rock-cut sculptures are in Unakoti.

Sunset over Unakoti hills

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Daulatabad Fort-This 12th Century fort was perhaps one of the most fortified forts in India

Daulatabad Fort
Daulatabad Fort is located around 16km from Aurangabad in Maharashtra, India. Daulatabad, known as Devgiri then, was built in the 12th Century AD by Yadava King of Bhillama V.

Devgiri  was taken over by Allauddin Khilji in 1226 AD followed by Sultan. Mohammed Bin-Tughlak who moved his capital from Delhi to Devgiri in In 1327 AD and named Devgiri, Daulatabad, the City of Fortune.

This fort was very well fortified. It had triple rows of walls surrounding it. One could reach the top only through a narrow bridge.

Surrounding the fort was a moat filled with water and crocodiles. On the way to the top, there is a very aptly named cave called Andheri, One can’t see a thing because it is pitch dark; once inside the cave it is rather difficult to make out anything. Thus must have been extremely confusing for the enemy. Even if someone were to stumble out of the cave, they would be easy target, and would get killed or fall from the many openings on the walls into the moat.

Some of these strong defence systems made it very difficult to capture this fort.

Some of the key landmark structures inside the Fort are, the 70 m high Chand Minar, Chini Mahal (it is now merely a dilapidated structure but must have been beautiful then), and  Mendha Tope which is one of the largest pieces of artillery inside the Daulatabad Fort.

Entry to Daulatabad


Canons at Daulatabad


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Fort walls


On the way to the top
A carving on the wall


Interesting way to store and keep water cool
View of Chand Minar


More stairs
An old temple inside the fort


Chand Minar


View from the temple


Inside of a temple
Chini Mahal


View from the top
Mendha Tope


Outside walls



Moat around the fort


Entrance to Andheri
Andheri cave




Bats inside the cave
Ah! some light finally


Steps leading to the top of the fort
Chand Minar


A portion of the minar is getting renovated



An old step well near the entrance of the Fort (it was getting renovated)


Must have been a nice carving
Daulatabad Fort