Thursday December 14, 2017
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State tourism departments and Air India to launch holiday packages

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NewsGram Staff Writer

New Delhi :  National carrier Air India on Saturday said that it is set to launch holiday packages from December 1 under the Incredible India program in collaboration with state tourism departments. Among the states represented were Maharashtra, Karnataka, Sikkim, Gujarat, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Jammu and Kashmir.

“Ashwani Lohani, managing director, Air India and senior officials of state tourism departments met in New Delhi today (on Saturday) to work out the modalities of the Incredible Air India Holiday Packages to be launched from December 1, 2015,” the national carrier said in a release.

Under the packages, tourists will have the option of choosing from three-four packages in each state.

The packages will cover a wide range of interests like wildlife reserves, religious places, adventure sports like skiing in Gulmarg and Srinagar, paragliding in Kangra, forts, museums, festivities & fairs like Pushkar in Rajasthan.

Air India claimed that  the two nights/three-day packages will be attractively priced and will be available for direct purchase from the Air India website.

Lohani also said that the national carrier would be increasing the intra-state connectivity with the ATR-72 aircraft, operated by subsidiary Alliance Air.

Alliance Air is currently operating ATR-72 flights under the Viability Gap Funding (VGF) basis, in the northeastern states, Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Lakshadweep Islands, Karnataka and Puducherry.
(With inputs from IANS)

 

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7 Forts in India you must visit : Glorious Empires of Incredible India

Plan your next trip to these marvellous historic famous forts in India, dip in rich cultural heritage of Incredible India, thank us later

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Famous Forts in India
Amer fort, Jaipur, Rajasthan (Pic Credits : Elene Machaidze)
  • Forts in India represent the magnanimity of the Royal Kingdoms of India, its rich cultural heritage and history. The majestic palaces and forts in India definitely spell binds you in its charm and will leave an indelible mark on you. Incredible India’s deep manifested past can be experienced through these forts in India.

    Incredible India has been embellished with some of the most majestic and beautiful forts in the world. Reflecting a rich cultural heritage, history and a good taste in architecture, these royal forts take one back in the glorious time of Maharajas. One cannot help but fall in love with these amazing pieces of ancient architecture that Incredible India is so proud of. Tourism in India has always been adventurous. Here are 7 famous Forts in India you must visit which will take you on ride to glorious empires of Incredible India :

    1. City Palace, Jaipur, Rajasthan

    City Palace Jaipur clicked by Shaurya Ritwik
    City Palace, Jaipur (Pic Credits: Shaurya Ritwik)

    The famous City Palace of Jaipur was constructed in the 18th century by Sawai Jai Singh II, the ruler of Amber. The palace is a beautiful amalgamation of Rajputana, Mughal and European styles of architecture. City Palace has magnificent collection of armory and weapons through ages, placed within the museum in the palace premises. Among all famous forts in India, City Palace is one the the most visited giving a big boost to tourism in India. If you are in Jaipur you can not miss to visit this amazing magnificent palace. You can also shop various Rajasthani handicrafts, clothes etc in palace premises.

    2. Golconda Fort, Hyderabad, Telangana

    Tourism in india
    Golconda Fort, Hyderabad, Telangana (Wikimedia Commans)

    In Hyderabad you can not miss three things – Hyderabadi biryani, pearls and Golconda Fort, one of the famous forts in India. Golconda fort was the capital of the kingdom of Golconda and was built more than 800 years ago. Golkonda Fort was first built by the Kakatiya dynasty as part of their western defenses along the lines of the Kondapalli Fort. One of the most amazing features of this historic fort in Incredible India is the engineering marvels hidden in the nooks and crannies of the fort. For example, The Fateh Darwaza has an unbelievable acoustic effect. A clap at its entrance, can be heard a kilometer away at the Bala Hisar pavilion. The Golkonda Fort used to have a vault where once the world famous Koh-i-noor diamond and hope diamonds were stored along with other diamonds.

3. Chittorgarh Fort, Chittorgarh, Rajasthan

Famous forts in India
Chittorgarh Fort, Rajasthan (Wikimedia Commons)

The seat of Mewar rulers since 7th century, Chittorgarh Fort is the most spectacular fort among famous forts in India perched on a hill of 591ft of elevation. The unique feature of this fort is that it was self sufficient in water with 84 water bodies in the form of wells, ponds and step wells with the storage capacity of 4 billion litres of water. Chittorgarh Fort is also a UNESCO world heritage site.  The two distinct pillars in the fort, the Kirti Stambh and the Vijay Stambh are extremely preciously carved with the most intricate artwork found in the region. This is the fort which have seen the spirit of Jauhar and Shaka. Chittorgarh fort represents the quintessence of tribute to the nationalism, courage and highest sacrifice exhibited by the Mewar rulers of Sisodia dynasty and their kinsmen and women and children. Chittorgarh is the story of Hindu resistance against Mughals and Islamic empires.

4. Gwalior Fort, Gwalior, Madhya Pradesh

Famous forts in India
Gwalior Fort (Wikimedia Commons)

The Gwalior Fort is one of the most famous forts in India, not only because of its strong, military style architecture, but also because of the aesthetically painted fortress wall, that sports a bright and royal blue color in the carving. It has been inhabited and ruled by almost 110 rulers from different dynasties. The fort has been the witness of historic events like Tatya Tope fighting the British and Rani Laxmi Bai breathing her last. If you are in Gwalior you can not miss this historic beauty.

5. Agra Fort, Agra, Uttar Pradesh 

Famous Forts in India
Agra Fort (Wikimedia Commons)

Agra Fort is one of the most historic fort among famous forts in India, it is also UNESCO world heritage site. This fort in India has a rich history, it was here from here the world famous koh-i-noor diamond was seized by the Mughal ruler Babar. Three of the most aesthetically designed complexes in Agra fort are the Khas Mahal, Shish Mahal, and the octagonal tower of Muhammam Burj. So if you are in Agra to see magnificent Taj Mahal, don’t forget to check out Agra Fort.

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6. Jaigarh Fort, Jaipur, Rajasthan

Famous forts in India
Jaigarh Fort (Wikimedia Commons)

Jaigarh Fort is also known as Victory Fort, it gives an insight into Rajputana majesty and glory. The fort overlooks Amber Fort and Maota lake. The fort was built by Jai Singh II in 1726 to protect the Amber Fort and its palace complex and was named after him. Jaigarh Fort was a centre of artillery production for the Rajputs. The fort has a cannon named “Jaivana”, which was manufactured in the fort precincts and was then the world’s largest cannon on wheels.

Famous Forts in India
Jaivana, world’s largest cannon on wheels (Pic Credit : Shaurya Ritwik)

7. Kumbhalgarh Fort, Rajasthan

Famous forts in india
Kumbhalgarh fort (Wikimedia Commons)

The mighty Kumbhalgarh Fort is an epitome of Rajputana stature and grandeur with boundary wall which extends over 36 km, the second largest wall after Great Wall of China. The sheer massiveness of fort makes it a must visit. Kumbhalgarh Fort was built was Rana Kumbha in 15th century, Rana Kumbha is said to never lost a battle in life. Kumbhalgarh is also the birthplace of Maharana Pratap, the greatest king and warrior of Mewar. One interesting fact is that Kumbhalgarh Fort has never been conquered.

So, what are you waiting for? Plan your next trip to these marvellous historic famous forts in India, dip in rich cultural heritage of Incredible India.

– By Shaurya Ritwik, Shaurya is Sub-Editor at NewsGram and writes on Geo-politcs, Culture, Indology and Business. Twitter Handle – @shauryaritwik

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7 spectacular Hindu Temples to visit in Incredible India

Have you ever considered visiting a temple while you are struggling in life? A temple visit is enough to give you strength, calm you down and help you to reconnect with divine. Go for a temple walk. Here is a list of 7 spectacular Hindu temples in Incredible India

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Hindu Temples
Akshardham Temple, Delhi (www.akshardham.com)
  • Hindus have more sacred sites, festivals and pilgrimages, more yogis, monks and sadhus, an older and vaster literature than any religion – Dr. David Frawley

Temples in Hinduism holds a very important place. Hindu temples are popularly known as mandiram, devaalayam or devastanam, meaning the shrine, abode or place of Ishwar. Hindu temples are at once a collective work of art, the adobe of Ishwar, a symbol of the cosmos and a path leading the worshipper into contact with the God, from the temporal to the eternal. Hindu temples are valued and respected both as a means of enabling worship in the presence of God and as a way to uphold Indian culture and dharma. Here is a list of 7 spectacular Hindu Temples in Incredible India you will love visiting as many times as possible in your lifetime.

1. Somnath Temple, Gujarat

Hinduism
Somnath, Gujarat (Image Credit : Shaurya Ritwik)

The Somnath is believed to be the first among the twelve jyotirlinga shrines of Shiva. Somnath Temple has been looted, destroyed and resurrected 17 times. In AD 1026, Mahmud of Ghazni first looted the temple, and then came Afzal Khan, the commander of Ala-ud-din Khilji and later Aurangzeb. While the barbaric looters are sleeping in their grave, Somnath still stands as a pillar of Hinduism, as a sign of resistance. Somnath is the place where you can connect with history and your source. Best time to visit Somnath : Well, any time of the year.

2. Meenakshi Temple, Madurai, Tamil Nadu

Hindu Temples
Meenakshi Temple, Madurai (Image Source: Wikipedia)

Meenakshi Temple is known for its beautiful architecture. It is dedicated to Meenakshi, a form of Parvati, and her consort, Sundareswar, a form of Shiva. The temple was almost completely destroyed in the year 1310 following the invasion of the Islamic conqueror Malik kafur. Most of the Islamic rulers were noted for their intolerance towards Hindu temples, the invaders destroyed most of the ancient sculptures of the temple. The temple was rebuilt by the Hindu Nayaka dynasty ruler Vishwanatha Nayakar in the 16th and 17th century. According to the Tiruvilaiyatal Puranam, of the list of 68 pilgrimage places in Shaivism, four are most important: Kashi (Varanasi), Chidambaram, Tirukkalatti and Madurai. The sacrality of Madurai is from this temple.

3. Jagannath Temple, Puri, Orissa

Hindu Temples
Jagannath Temple, Orissa (AKL)

Jagannath temple was built in the 12 th century by Raja Anantavarman Chodaganga Deva. It is one of the Char Dhams of Hinduism in Incredible India and is situated on the Nilgiri Hill. The temple is known for its annual Ratha Yatra, which attracts millions of Hindu devotees every year. It is said that the divine mahaprasad of the temple is prepared under the scrutiny of goddess Lakshmi. During Rath Yatra, idol of Jagannath along with Subhadra and Balabhadra are placed in huge chariots and brought out to the street. Thousands of people pull the sacred chariot. The main chariot is around 45 feet high. These rathas are constructed new every year. It has wood-carved horses and charioteers. Rath Yatra is held every year during the month of Asadha as per Hindu calendar.

4. Kailashnath Temple, Ellora, Maharashtra

Hindu Temples
Kailashnath Temple, Ellora (Image Credits: AKL)

The Kailasha Temple or Kailashnath Temple is one of the largest rock cut ancient Hindu temples. A megalith carved out of one single rock, it is considered one of the most remarkable cave temples in India because of its size, architecture and sculptural treatment. It is a prime example of extraordinary ancient Hindu architecture. Visiting this temple will definitely give you a ride to our glorious ancient past.

5. Konark Sun Temple, Orissa

Hindu temples
Konark sun Temple, Orissa (Image Source : Wikimedia Commans)

Konark houses a colossal temple dedicated to the Sun God in Orissa attributed to king Narsimhadeva about 1250 CE. Even in its ruined state it is a magnificient temple reflecting the genius of the architects that envisioned and built it. The ruins of this temple were excavated in late 19th century. The Konark temple is famously known for its architectural grandeur and for the intricacy and profusion of sculptural work. The entire temple has been conceived as a chariot of the sun god with 24 wheels, each about 10 feet in diameter, with a set of spokes and elaborate carvings. Seven horses drag the temple. Two lions guard the entrance, crushing elephants. A flight of steps lead to the main entrance. If you are in Orissa you can not miss one of the most spell binding temple in Incredible India, Konark sun Temple.

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6. Kedarnath Temple, Uttarakhand

Hindu Temples
Kedarnath Temple, Uttarakhand (Image Credit: Shaurya Ritwik)
Hindu Temples
Prime Minister Modi at Kedarnath (Twitter)

Kedarnath is among one of the holiest Hindu temples of Incredible India with Lord Shiva as its residing deity. The temple was built by Pandavas and revived by Adi Shankaracharya himself in the early 8th century. The temple is one of the 12 Jyotirlingas of India and the main temple of Panch Kedar. Due to extreme weather conditions, the temple is open only between the end of April (Akshaya Tritriya) to Kartik Purnima (the autumn full moon, usually November). During the winters, the vigrahas (deities) from Kedarnath temple are brought to Ukhimath and worshipped there for six months. You must visit Kedarnath, one of the most important pilgrimage in hinduism to feel the beauty of nature and divinity.

7. Chennakeshava Temple, Belur, Karnataka

Hindu Temples
Chennakeshava Temple, Karnataka (Image Credit : Wikimedia)

The Chennakeshava Temple, also referred to as Keshava, Kesava or Vijayanarayana Temple of Belur, the erstwhile capital of Hoysala kingdom is a 12th-century Hindu temple in the Hassan district of Karnataka state, Incredible India. This Hindu temple is another testament to the amazing artistry of ancient Incredible India. This place will give you sense of pride regarding what our ancestors left for us.

So, are you ready for a “Walk to Temple”? The wonderful Hindu temples Incredible India has can not be comprehended in a list, there are lakhs of them, visit them to connect with your roots, to get acquainted with Dharma which is eternal.

 

– by SHAURYA RITWIK, Shaurya is Sub-Editor at NewsGram and writes on Geo-politcs, Culture, Indology and Business. Twitter Handle – @shauryaritwik

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Spooky! 5 Unsolved Mysteries From India You Will Not Believe Are True

If you think you can solve any puzzle with your analytical mind, think again because these incredibly baffling mysteries are going to leave you confused.

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unresolved mysteries of India
A Tughlak-era hunting lodge, Malcha Mahal has no windows, doors, electricity or water supply. But the royal descendants of Awadh continue to occupy the now run down house. (representative image) Wikimedia

 

  • India is home to not only a variety of cultures, religions, and traditions but also several unsolved mysteries
  • While some cases can be balanced with scientific rationality, these cases remain largely unresolved 

New Delhi, August 30, 2017: A dilapidated Mahal with no doors, windows, food, water or electricity supply, but home to Royal siblings who have not come out for over 20 years; a beach that appears and disappears all within the same day, a girl who recollected everything from a life she has previously lived; a place where thousands of birds commit suicide; these might sound like instances from an Alfred Hitchcock movie but aren’t. We present to you these unsolved mysteries from India that would leave you puzzled.

Believe it or not, these are real-life occurrences that have been reported and documented.

There is a reason after all, why the world knows our country as incredible‘ India.

India has, for generations, gripped researchers and scientists with tales and mysteries. While some of the claims have been debunked by science and rationality, many others remain mysteries “unsolved mysteries” of the modern world.

ALSO READ: The concept of Reincarnation in Hinduism and Buddhism: Read On!

NewsGram presents to you 5 cases “unsolved mysteries” that have baffled the minds of many, and continue to remain unsolved and unexplained-

  1. The curious case of Shanti Devi who recalled being Lugdi Devi in past life.
In the 1930s, a four-year old Delhi girl brought the whole nation to a standstill. Reason? Only one sentence that said “I have lived here before.”
Born in 1926 in a Delhi-based family, Shanti Devi began reminiscing details of a past life at the age of four. She claimed she was Lugdi Devi from Mathura, who lived with her husband Kedar Nath and had died during childbirth. Her recollections of her life as Ludgi Devi were spotless, and were further proved right when a letter sent to Mathura was received by Kedar Nath at the exact address she had shared. Shanti Devi also recognized Kedar Nath at first glance and recalled details of their life lived together.
This strange case even reached Mahatma Gandhi, who upon meeting young Shanti was visibly surprised (according to eye witness accounts) and also set up an inquiry commission for the case.
The case was picked by multiple Indian and foreign researchers over time, who found her claims to be uncannily accurate.
The story of Shanti Devi’s reincarnation till date remains one of the most well-documented unsolved mysteries of past-life recalling in present time.

2. Siblings of the haunted Malcha Mahal 

Unresolved mysteries from India
One of the gates of Malcha Mahal. Wikimedia
Will you be able to live in a dilapidated house with more bats than humans, in the middle of a dense forest, in the absence of electricity or water; no windows or doors with no such thing as human presence or contact?
What if we tell you there are people who do?
700-year-old Malcha Mahal is home to two siblings from the royal family of Oudh- Prince Riaz and Princess Sakina, who have since 1985 not made any contact with the outside world and strictly stay indoors.
Adjacent to the Earth Station in Delhi, the lodge was a Shikaarghar (hunting ground) built by Feroz Shah Tughlaq and was declared haunted in the 14th century after which all human activity was banned around the area.
The Begum of Oudh and the granddaughter of Nawab Wajid Ali Shah,  Began Wilayat Mahal was given the Malcha Mahal by the Indian government in 1985 as compensation for Wajid Ali Shah’a land that had been seized by the Britishers.
A few years after moving in, the Begun committed suicide by drinking crushed diamonds in 1993, leaving behind the wailing royal siblings. A few successful theft cases left the children aggressive, who ever since have broken all possible human contact with the world.
They remain strictly inside without proper food, water or electricity with reports suggesting that Prince Riaz comes out concealed only to get meat for their dogs.
Till date, they have only given two interviews with no other record of their presence. The spooky lodge stands tall amidst all surrounding mysteries and all you can find there is an eerie silence, zero human presence and a board that reads ‘ENTRY RESTRICTED. CAUTIOUS OF HAUND DOGS. PROCLAMATION : INTRUDERS SHALL BE GUNDOWN’

 

3. The sonic boom of Jodhpur

Unresolved mysteries of India
The city of Jodhpur was one of the many places around the world where the explosion sound was heard. Wikimedia
The world was in the grip of a global rumor claiming that the world was to end on December 21 as predicted by the Mayan calendar. At such disquieting times, the people of Jodhpur city in Rajasthan were startled on December 18 by a deafening boom.
The sound, which resembled a loud explosion, was believed by some to have been the breaking of a sound barrier by an IAF over Jodhpur while others contested that an army ammunition depot situated nearby must have gone up in smoke. However, these claims were immediately turned down by army officials.
When an object travels through air at a speed greater than that of sound, an enormous amount of sound energy is released which sounds similar to the sound of an explosion – the sonic boom.
What was even more intriguing was that this was not a singular event. Similar unexplained sounds or booms were heard at different places spread all over the world including UK and US that month. At some places, the boom was also allegedly accompanied with a green light.
What could have moved in the air at that great a speed? Was that the sound of testing a strange new weapon or could it have been some alien activity. And were these sounds connected? The case continues to remain one of the many daunting mysteries of present times…& its still one of the unsolved mysteries.

4. The hair-raising case of Monkey Man

A mysterious, hairy animal-like creature was rumored to roam the streets of Delhi in the summers of 2001 that would attack people and vanish almost magically. This was the case of Delhi’s Monkey Man.
Eyewitnesses and victims gave varied accounts of this monkey-like man; some claimed he was 4 feet tall and hairy while others asserted it was over 5.5 feet tall, wore a helmet, and had glowing red eyes with long claws and three buttons on its chest. It’s still one of the the unresolved mysteries.
Several of the Monkey Man’s victims were reported to have serious scratches on their bodies and two victims had allegedly fallen off buildings because of panic after coming face to face with the ‘creature’.
Within a year, reports of attacks by a similar creature surfaced from different parts of Delhi and even Kanpur (Uttar Pradesh).
Monkey Man was a menace for a long duration as kids and adults alike feared his sightings. Large groups of people carrying arms at night to fight the beast became a common sight around the time.
Some people dismissed the story as an urban myth, while others claimed the creature to be a reincarnation of Lord Hanuman. Either way, the cases and reports of the Monkey Man’s sightings died down on its own and the case was reduced to one of the many unsolved mysteries of the country.

5. The Hide and Seek beach 

Unresolved mysteries from India
The Chandipur beach in Odisha is also called the Hide and Seek beach. Wikimedia
There is a beach in India that disappears twice a day. Don’t believe us?
The Chandipur beach, also known as the Hide and Seek beach does not exist constantly in any map. Here, visitors can actually witness the sea disappear in front of their eyes.
Located in Orissa, the Chandipur beach witnesses a mysterious natural phenomenon. Visitors may witness water on one visit, but may find only sand dunes and Casuarina trees on the next. The entire beach appears and then disappears in the matter of just one day.
This phenomenon is believed to be unique to Chandipur beach, where the sea recedes by as much as 5 km every day during the ebb time, which is the period between the high tide and the low tide. This phenomenon happens twice every day with the locals even being fairly aware of the timings of the high tide and the low tide.
However, this timing of the magical disappearance and re-appearance of the water changes as per the moon cycle because of which, safety measure have to be taken by the beach visitors at all times. This is one of the unsolved mysteries of India.

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