Wednesday, June 13, 2007


This post is an outcome of one of the innumerable chats that I seem to be having these days..Not all are meaningful.But this one bloody sure was.. I am glad I had it.

One of my dear friends was amazed when I told him that even though I have widely covered India and some places in the US now ,Manali was one of the few places which simply blew me off my feet.He told me that I should pen my thoughts even if it is 9 years since that day of unbridled joy,when India looked beautiful to my eye.

I here under describe the places/monuments that are a must see in India,atleast once in one's lifetime.I also furnish the reasons why I feel there is a need to see these places.
They are in no particular order cos I feel each one is so vastly different and hence it wouldnt be fair to keep one of them on a pedestal.Here goes:
1)Venkataramana Temple,Tirupati:
It is ironical that Tirupati is about 5 hours drive from Bangalore and even lesser from Chennai,compared to a 10 hour journey from its very own capital,Hyderabad.
One of the many times I have been there was on a biting cold December day.I was not even into my teens then..
Yet the aura of the place was simply too much to ignore,so me joined the brigade in chants of "Govinda Gooooooooooovinda"..Seeing Lord Balaji in the rush near the sanctum sanctorum,where it is impossible to hear anything apart from "Jaragandi,Jaragandi" from the priests is an enthralling experience and one where you are overtaken by devotion automatically..The power of the place I guess..
I had the previlege of living in Tirumala for sometime too..But I was 3 then and I dont seem to remember much.. :)

2)Birla Mandir,Hyderabad:

The Birla Mandir is a breathtaking sight especially when illuminated.Always seems crowded but is worth going to.It is a turn-off for some of the older folks cos one needs to climb a lot of stairs to reach the actual temple at the top.
Last time I went there 10 years back,there were elevators to aid the elderly,so I am guessing the facilities now have vastly improved and it has become more user friendly.

A day out sightseeing in Hyderabad is worth the time.Salarjung Museum,Golkonda Fort,Charminar et al..Birla Mandir is the best of the lot though.

3)Taj Mahal,Agra:

This one doesnt require any description or introduction.

For many foreigners,India is the land of the beautiful Taj Mahal.
That is the first(and on some unfortunate occasions,the only) thing that strikes them when someone talks about India.Need I say more. :)
Indeed a national treasure.A marvel.The Taj Mahal was dedicated to his wife Mumtaz Mahal by Mughal emperor,Shah Jahan.He has raised the bar..I am sure any other emperor,even at his benevolent best cannot come up with what can be termed as a semblance of a replica of the Taj..

The Taj wil forever continue its hegemony as the best monument in India.

4)Golden Temple,Amritsar:

Situated about 450 kms from Delhi is this small town called Amritsar..Small did I say?? Oh it more than makes up for it cos it features twice on my list.

I was far from impressed by the town per se,but I was bowled over by the monuments,its jewels.
Perhaps the only temple surrounded by water..And yes when you do go there,take the Swarn-Shatabdi from Dilli to enjoy beautiful and picturesque nature.

5)Wagah Border,Amritsar:
This is goosebumps stuff.

When your neighbouring country is ten feet away from you and when the Indian soldiers are in the "zone".

A gamut of emotions engulfs you,cometh the flag hoisting hour.

The soldiers do a march of friendship.But believe you me,each step of the march has the soldier's heart and soul in it,letting his arch-rival know he means business.It moves you.If this is called patriotism,I would love to have some of it.

Switzerland they say is beautiful..Is it Manali-esque I ask..
If yes I would love to see it.
Located 12 hours from Dilli,it is simply the most beautiful place I have seen in Swades.
Rohtang Pass,Hadimba Temple are among the places to visit here.I remember the scenery from my hotel room like yesterday.

It was straight out of a dream sequence in a Hindi movie.

7)Mysore Palace:

Call it partiality or what have you.My birthplace has to feature in the list :)
The land of the Wodeyars is a magnificent place to visit.
Located close to the city's Devraj Urs road and Sayyaji Rao road is the city's palace.

It is a resplendent and simply irresistable setting under lights.The reaction in the crowd when the lights are turned on is a great moment.You are stunned for a minute with its beauty.

The Chamundi betta,Planet-X,Lalitmahal Palace and KRS make up for a perfect weekend plan.

Not to forget the thrill-a-minute Infosys campus located in Hebbal..A must see this one
These are some of the many gems I have seen in India..
Yes there are traffic jams,yes there are small stretches of roads amidst the huge ensemble of potholes and other things of orderly disorder.
But I believe in the phrase,"Give credit where it is due".
These places make up the aura of the land.

Dazzling and Riveting India.