Agra is famous as the home to one of the Seven Wonders of the world - the Taj Mahal. The architectural splendour of the mausoleums, the fort and the palaces in Agra is a vivid reminder of the opulence of the legendary Mughal empire. Agra was their capital for nearly a hundred years from 1564. A pleasant town , with a comparatively easy pace, Agra is known for its superb inlay work on marble and soapstone by artisans who are hereditary crafts persons. The city is also famous for its carpets, gold thread embroidery and leather shoes.
Ajmer is a true amalgam of two rich cultures, the Hindu and the Islamic. A Sanskrit College , Jain and Hindu Temples of the 7th century have housed the Adai din ki Jompdi one of the first mosques built in India in the 12th century. The great Muslim divine Khwaja Moinuddin Chisti of Persia who lived and died in the 13th century, is buried here and his Dargah is sacred to the followers of Islam. It is considerd a second Mecca/Medina for the Muslims. 11 Kms from Ajmer is the holy city of Pushkar, holy to the Hindus. The sacred lake of Pushkar is believed to be from the beginning of time with a temple to the creator of the Universe - Brahma , on its banks. Pushkar has been a place of pilgrimage through ages . An annual fair is held on the full moon day of Oct/Nov to celebrate the creation of the Universe when thousands of Hindu devotees take a dip in this holy lake.
Amber , the capital of the erstwhile State of Jaipur until 1728 is perched on a hill. The Fort at Amber has halls of Public and Private audience, a Sheesh Mahal (hall of mirrors) various marble and stucco palaces which are marvellous examples of Rajput architecture. The temple of Amba (mother Goddess) is at the entrance to the Fort and is exquisitely carved. The approach to the Fort in early times was on elephant back. Today one can ride an elephant or a jeep to visit the Fort.
The city of Amritsar founded in 1579 means a “Pool of Nectar”. It is constructed at a sacred site gifted by the Mughal Emperor Akbar to Guru Ram Das, in the 16th century. It is the most holy place of worship for the Sikh s all over the world.
The Golden Temple is also known as Hari Mandir Sahib or Darbar Sahib and is in the centre of the pool. It is one of the most interesting temples of the world. The holy book of the Sikhs, the Granth Sahib is venerated in the sancutm sanctorum . The temple has four entrances, one in each direction, symbolising that it is open to all peoples regardless of sex, caste, religion or creed. The walls of the temple are inlaid with semi-precious stones in floral patterns, frescoes and glasswork. Inside the Temple one can see and hear musicians continuously singing the holy songs from the Granth Sahib. The Temple is in constant use, and one can observe people in quiet devotion at any time of the day. It is the desire of every Sikh to visit the Temple at least once in their life.
Set around a lake, Bhopal, the capital of Madhya Pradesh, has surroundings known for their scenic beauty and archaeological wealth.
The Taj-ul-masjid - one of the largest mosques in India consists of an impressive main hall with inter-arched roof, broad facade and wide courtyard. The Bharat Bhawan, the national centre for performing and visual arts was established after India attained Independence in 1947. The Gandhi Bhawan has a collection of photographs of Mahatma Gandhi. A panoramic view of the city with minarets and mosques can be obtained from the Shamla and Idaha Hills.
Bikaner , the royal fortified city, with a timeless appeal in the north state of Rajasthan, retains the medieval splendour that pervades the city’s lifestyle. More popularly called the camel country, the city is renowned for the best riding camels in the world.
Bikaner stands on a slightly raised ground and is circumscribed by a seven km long embattled wall with five gates. The magnificent forts and palaces, in reddish-pink sandstone created with delicacy, bear testimony to its rich historical and architectural legacy. Undulating lanes, colourful bazaars and bright and cheerful folks make the visit Bikaner an interesting experience.