Every year comes with new hopes, new targets and lots of opportunities to fulfill our dreams. In the beginning of each year we make new resolution to achieve our goal and work on that. But some time we realize that there is not any perfect time to chase our dream. Our thoughts, our life style, our health our responsibilities and priorities keep changing with times. The thing, which is most important to us today may not be equally important tomorrow. So, if we want to do something then we have to start it now because we are not going to live forever.
These kind of thoughts gave impulse to my long pending dream. I too had a dream of travelling many places to see different shades of nature, cultures, beliefs and to know the several unknown things. And finally this never ending journey started in April’17 with a invitation of my friend’s marriage function from Indore.
Heritage of Madhya Pradesh
From Delhi I choose to overnight journey by train via Bhopal. A world heritage site ‘Sanchi’ before 40 Km of Bhopal forced me to de-board at Vidisha. There i visited Udaygiri cave, which is 4 km from Vidisha town. It is a cluster of cave temples which are approx 2000 year old related to Buddhism and Jainism. Sculpture of Varaha avtar of Lord Vishnu is main attraction of here.
Then further 10 Km journey lead me to the Great Sanchi Stupa, one of the oldest structure of India. The initial structure of the Stupa was constructed by Mauryan King Ashoka on a hill top. Ashoka who embrace Buddhism in his later life constructed hundreds of Stupa to spread the philosophy of Buddha. This site is a perfect place to get acquainted with great history related to Ashoka and Buddha’s life.
In Indore i visited Rajwada, which was a residence to Holkar Family and now exhibits photo galleries and artifact belongs to them. I was very close to Omkareshwar ( about 70 Km from Indore) which is one of the 12 Jyotirlinga. Though I am not a religious person but still i decided to go there and visit that sacred place located along the bank of Narmada River.
In return from Indore i broke my journey at Bhopal and visited its most important landmark ‘National Museum of Mankind‘ (Indira Gandhi Rashtriya Manav Sangrahalaya) and Bharat Bhavan. Museum of Mankind display in-house and open gallery of different states which makes it a unique museum. There are several exhibition related to science, history and culture of different regions.
This was the first time when i become aware of a traveler in me. I wanted to make this journey more significant, so i decided to visit Khajuraho. Khajuraho is another important World heritage Site of Madhya Pradesh which is famous world wide as temple of erotic sculptures. I had to travel in general coach of train because i didn’t get confirm ticket to Khajuraho. These ancient temple belongs to 9th to 11th century AD with beautifully carved out sculpture. These temple dedicated to various God Goddess like Shiva, Parvati, Vishnu. All of these temple are so magnificent that look impossible to construct by man with so accuracy and precision. Even today’s technology may not be able to make replica of them.
Holy bath at Triveni Sangam
And on the way from Khajuraho to Patna, again I broke my journey to visit Triveni Sangam at Allahabad. It is believed that Triveni sangam is the confluence point of three holy river Ganga, Yamuna and Saraswati. Ganga and Yamuna can be easily identified but third river is a present in virtual form. After every 12 year Kumbha Mela which is world biggest gathering also takes place here. According to Hindu mythology this place is identified as one of those places where drops of nectar (Amrut) fell down after the episode of Churning of Sea (Samudra Manthan).
Eastern Golden Triangle, Odisha
In the month of September i got chance to visit Kolkata so i extended this trip for the visit of Odisha. Bhubaneshwar, Puri and Konark are three place that make Eastern Golden Triangle of India. I reached early morning to Bhubaneshwar around 6 am and visit the famous Lingaraja Temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. Although, Bhubaneshwar known as temple city of India due to presence of more than thousand ancient temples but Lingaraja Temple is most significant among them. Lingaraja Temple is located in a close compound which has around other 80 small and big temples dedicated to different God and Goddess. Religious importance of Lingaraja temple
After visiting Lingaraja Temple I moved to Udaygiri and Khandagiri cave temple, another important landmark of the city. These cave temples are more than 2000 years old belongs to Buddhism and Jainism. These temples are located on the two adjacent hill and only 8 km from the city. Being on the top of hill it offers nice view of the city. Hathi Gumfa, Ganesh Gumfa and Rani Gumfa are most important among all.
After finishing Bhubaneshwar spots my next target was Konark Sun temple. Konark which is a small coastal village does not have good connectivity so i reached there via Puri. Konark sun temple is also one of the main World Heritage Site in India. It was built during 11th century and look inspire from Khajuraho temple. Temple walls have ornamented with big sun dials which have many erotic figure on its spokes but relatively small in comparison to Khajuraho temples. This temple is mostly in ruin state and its inner part filled with big boulders and steel structure for safety reasons. There are various tails about its construction, it was believed that a magnetic road have been used for balancing its huge structure. It is located only 500 meters from Chandrabhaga beach, which is white sandy beach and less crowded. Get details of Konark Sun Temple
In returning I visited Jagannath temple of Puri which is one of big Char Dham and consider most sacred among Hindus. Jagannath Yata is also famous world wide and millions of people gather here for attending this car festival. It is located in big temple complex along with many other small temples. Temple is located near beach that makes Puri a perfect destination for all age group of people.
Land of Buddha, Bihar
Again in October I planned the most awaited Bodhgaya trip. India is the origin of Bodh religion and Bodhgaya is the place where Siddhartha Gautam become Buddha. Gautam Buddha attain enlightenment under the Peepal tree which is now known to the world as Bodhi Tree at Bodhgaya. This place is most important and sacred among Buddhist peoples. Most of the Asian countries have its monastery here at Bodhgaya like Japani Temple, Bhutani Temple, Wat Thai monastery and like that. This place also got honored of World Heritage Site in 2002 due to its religious and heritage importance. The main Bodhi Temple had constructed in 6th century AD at the same place where Great Ashoka have built a monastery. Find your travel guide of Bodhgaya
Around 80 Km from the Bodhgaya, Rajgir is another historical site having great importance in Buddhism and Jainism. Rajgir had been a power center for the centuries of different kingdoms. The great Empire of Magadha also had capital at Rajgir which was shifted to Patliputra( Patna) in later period. Son-Bhandar or treasure of Bimbisara and Bimbisar Jail are the main historical site of Rajgir.
Rajgir also famous for White Peace Pagoda (Vishwa Shanti Stupa) which is located on top of hill and . Gautam Buddha have meditated here for several months here at Gridha-kuta (Vulture) hill while Mahavira, Jain Tirthankara meditated here for several years. Know historical importance of Rajgir (Bihar)
Ruins of Nalanda University Another important site ‘Nalanda’ was waiting just 16 km from Rajgir towards Bihar Sarif. Nalanda is the historical site which have witness the golden period of India. Nalanda University was one of the few ancient university of the world and remain a important learning center from 6th to 13th century. People from across the globe and mainly from Asian countries used to come here for learning many courses. This ancient university cover more than 30 acres and still many parts to be explored. Due to its rich past and heritage this site got designated as World Heritage Site in recent year. Know more about Ancient Nalanda University
First capital of British India, Kolkata
This year ended with the visit of some Kolkata’s important landmarks like Indian Muesum and Victoria Memorial along with Baba Dham Deoghar (Jharkhand).
Indian Museum Kolkata Consider India’s biggest and oldest museum display various explicit gallerias belongs to Skeleton of lost species, marine life, ancient sculptures, fossils and textiles. One of the major attraction of this museum is a mummy from Egypt.
Victoria Memorial is a marble palace with big garden build in the memory of Queen Victoria after her death. It is a museum which display some art gallery and also have life size statue of Queen Victoria, Lord Curzon and other British Officer. Buildings architecture seems to be inspired from Taj Mahal.
Vaidyanath Dham or commonly known Baba Dham is one of the 12 Jyotirlinga, most sacred place for Hindus. According to Hindus mythological scripture this is the place where Lanka King Ravana offer his ten heads to the Lord Shiva. Main Shiva temple share same compound with other 22 temple belong to other God Goddess. It is believed that this place have a healing power and also famous among newly wed couple. Read more about Vaidyanath Dham
After all this was a fairly good start of my travel expedition. I visited One Big Dham, Two Jotirlinga and 6 World Heritage Site this year. I have come across many different feeling, emotion and experiences during these journey. Hope 2018 will bring more opportunity to travel more place and learn more.