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Posted on Mon, 09/16/2013 - 12:13 by easytours

Mahabalipuram, a village south of Chennai in the state of Tamil Nadu, was a busy port during the 7th and 8th century reign of the Pallava dynasty. The temple town is believed to be over 2,000 years old and has approximately 40 monuments, including the largest open-air bas-relief in the world. The UNESCO World Heritage Site distinction has been bestowed on four categories of monuments at Mahabalipuram ratha temples (temples in the form of chariots), mandapas (cave sanctuaries covered with bas-reliefs), rock reliefs and structural temples.

The Five Rathas, literally chariots, date from the 7th century AD. The sculptures are complemented by enormous stone animals, including a large elephant.

The Varaha Cave Temple, a mandapa, is an example of Indian rock-cut architecture dating from the late 7th century. The Pallava doorkeepers in front of the mandapa are two pillars and two semi-columns with horned lions carved into the bases. Inside the mandapa the walls have four large sculptured panels, fine examples of naturalistic Pallava art. The northern panel depicts Vishnu as Varaha, the boar, holding up Bhūmi, the earth goddess.

Descent of the Ganges at Mahabalipuram is a giant open-air relief carved out of the monolithic rock. The monuments and sanctuaries here were built by the Pallava kings in the 7th and 8th centuries. The legend depicted in the relief tells the story of the descent of the sacred river Ganges to earth. The waters of the Ganges are believed to possess supernatural powers.

Sun Temple, Konarak

Posted on Mon, 09/16/2013 - 12:08 by easytours

Konarak is the site of the 13th-century Sun Temple (also known as the Black Pagoda), built in black granite by King Narasimhadeva-I. The temple takes the form of the chariot of Surya, the sun god, and is heavily decorated with stone carvings. The entire complex was designed in the form of a huge chariot drawn by seven horses on twelve pairs of decorated wheels. The entrance is guarded by two lions, which are each shown crushing a war elephant. Each elephant in turn lies on top of a human body. The temple symbolizes the majestic stride of the sun god. At the entrance of the temple is a Nata Mandir. This is where the temple dancers used to perform dances in homage to the sun god. All around the temple, there are various floral and geometric patterns. There are also human, divine and semi-divine figures in sensuous poses derived from the Kama Sutra. The temple is now partly in ruins, and a collection of its sculptures is housed in the Sun Temple Museum, which is run by the Archaeological Survey of India.

Taj Mahal, Agra

Posted on Mon, 09/16/2013 - 12:02 by easytours

No matter how many pictures you've seen (or glowing descriptions you've read), your first sight of the Taj will leave you speechless. We will not attempt to describe the incredible beauty of the monument, nor the ambiance of its surroundings. Better writers and poets have tried and failed.

As you explore the intricacies of design and construction, and the massive scale at which these intricacies were achieved, you'll wonder how the creators of the Taj Mahal attained a level of skill and talent (and access to materials) that surpasses anything in modern design.

Sunrise and sunset visits are very highly recommended, and one of these is standard on all our tours. The other visit is optional (standard at the Opulent Level). The sunrise and sunset experiences further enhance the incredible harmony that permeates this monument and its surroundings.

Visiting the Taj Mahal is an experience everyone should enjoy. An exploration of the Taj Mahal can be included in any travel plans (Agra is easily accessible from all major cities in India)


Taj Mahal, Agra



Posted on Mon, 09/16/2013 - 12:00 by easytours

Jodhpur boasts the most awe-inspiring fort in a state that has more impressive forts than any nation on earth. The city was the capital of the Marwar dynasty. This dynasty traces it's succession to Lord Ram (and through him to the Sun). However, what can be accounted for is merely the past fifteen hundred years, the last five hundred of which are based in this amazing fortress and city. Although there are a few minor palaces in the city below, the royal palace is located inside the imposing fort, and can only be approached through a succession of gates inside the massive complex.

The site served the Rajputs well, and the fort and city prospered for a few centuries before being subjugated by a succession of invaders. Ancient gates in Meherangarh Fort are still scarred by invader's cannonballs. Besides the Moghul invaders, Jaipur, Udaipur & Jodhpur sometimes fought among themselves. There are many reminders (as in other parts of Rajasthan) of examples of Rajput heroism and sacrifice. Jodhpur retains some of the the atmosphere of a city that was often besieged, even occasionally taken and ransacked.

Choose to stay in, or visit, magnificent Umaid Bhawan Palace. Visit Jaswant Thada on your way back from Meherangarh Fort. Explore the various bazaars (and, yes! Jodhpurs did originate here, though you won't see many of them around now); shop for tie-dye and other fabrics, ethnic jewelry, as well as a great range of Rajasthani puppets.

Janter Manter, Jaipur

Posted on Mon, 09/16/2013 - 11:57 by easytours

The Jantar Mantar is a collection of architectural astronomical instruments, built by Maharaja Jai Singh II at his then new capital of Jaipur between 1727 and 1734. The observatory consists of 14 major geometric devices for measuring time, predicting eclipses, tracking stars' location as the earth orbits around the sun, ascertaining the declinations of planets, and determining the celestial altitudes. An excursion through Jai Singh's Jantar is a unique experience of walking through solid geometry and encountering a collective astronomical system designed to probe the heavens. The giant sundial, known as the samrat yantra (supreme instrument) is the world's largest sundial, standing 27 meters tall.

Jantar Mantar, Jaipur


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