pack your bags and head to these 5 water
Now that the summers are almost upon us, we need to make a plan to get away. Here we begin our series on places to visit and discover. You can chart your own routes to these places, and for the young who can travel light, you can make a very flexible plan of exploration if you are looking beyond the usual temple towns, hill stations and national parks.
To begin with, we look at these five obscure but interesting spots scattered across the country. Considering the heat of the plains, it is fitting that these places are connected with water. Indeed, the element is indispensable to the specialness of these places. Of these, the Shahi Bridge of Jaunpur, also known as Akbari Bridge, is the one place that must not be missed. Built in 1569 on Akbar’s orders, designed by an Afghan architect, the Shahi Bridge straddles the Gomti and remains Jaunpur’s pride and joy. And with good reason: the Gomti till recently was not an easy river to span, and Akbar wanted the bridge to last. It shows in the massive supports and reinforced spans of the structure, which till recently took heavy traffic without a murmur. Till the late 19th century, there was an actual, and very popular, public bath at the northern end. Regrettably you can’t use it today. Despite considerable damage over time from such natural disasters as the great earthquake of 1934, the Shahi Bridge is still on its feet. The antiquity of the structure can be judged from the fact that the observation decks on the arches are themselves nearly 200 years old, courtesy the British.
The Shahi Bridge is worth visiting and examining by itself, and not just if you are a structural engineer. Jaunpur also has several late medieval structures including the Shahi Qila, somewhat ill kempt these days and not as robust as the bridge. Also, if you want to multitask, once in the area you could travel further southeast to Varanasi. The Grand Anicut dam is one of the oldest surviving Skechers Boots Sale and best designed dams in the world, having been constructed by King Karikala of the Cholas towards the end of the second century CE, making the dam nearly 2,000 years old. Just around 15 km outside Tiruchirappalli, it straddles the Kaveri and has been irrigating the surrounding delta region very efficiently ever since. There have been additions and alterations ever since, but even modern engineers have dropped in to take a look at the revolutionary design and durable construction of this marvel. The Grand Anicut is so influential that a British built 19th century dam over a Kaveri tributary, at Lower Anicut, was based on this millennia old design. It simply must not be missed.
Tiruchirapalli and its neighbo Skechers Boots Sale urhood are full of intricately built temples, and the monolithic Rock Fort must also be seen. While Udaipur’s Lake Palace has received considerable press, we present Neer Mahal, in the middle of Rudrasagar Lak Skechers Boots Sale e in Tripura. Accessible by road and a little more than an hour’s driving distance from Agartala, the palace is much newer than the other structures on this list, having been built in 1930. Reflecting the royal family’s cultural tastes, half of the palace was built as an open air theatre with space for dance and theatre performances. The architecture is a bit of a fusion between traditional Hindu and early modern Islamic architecture.
Tripura, if you consider it a bit out of the way, also has several other interesting places to visit, including the Ujjayanta Palace at the state capital, and several nature parks. You could combine a Tripura trip with a larger North East journey, but you will need to factor in several days worth of travelling. We know this is a clich, but their design, artwork and function make for a memorable visit. Consider Rani ki Vav (The Queen’s Well) in Patan, Gujarat. Dated to approximately the late 11th century, Rani ki Vav is somewhat longitudinal in shape, with geometrically designed steps leading to the well below. In addition, it has one of the largest collection of sculptures built into the walls of any stepwell in these parts. Patan, being a historical town which saw many events in the last millennium, also has palaces and medieval structures, and is a staging point if you are travelling northwards to Udaipur.
If, on the other hand, you are travelling south from Patan, you can drop in at Adalaj, near Gandhinagar, where the stepwell is less well and more palace, and goes down five beautiful floors to shimmering water. Of these, Jahaz Mahal is arguably the best known in our list here, and not to be confused with the one at Mehrauli, Delhi. Built in the late 15th century, the palace straddles two lakes and has been designed like a ship on the water, a somewhat incongruous idea for a palace in the middle of India. As with the true water palaces mentioned above, Jahaz Mahal reflects in the waters beautifully, and surrounding buildings have much to offer for those interested in medieval Central India. Of course, if you are in this part of the country already, chances are there are several other places on your to be list, because Madhya Pradesh is full of things to do for every taste and age group. But while in Mandu, take your time at this ship anchored on land and marvel at medieval construction techniques.
The Grand Anicut, Tiruchirapalli: Just around 15 km outside Tiruchirappalli, it straddles the Kaveri and has been irrigating the surrounding delta region very efficiently ever since. The Grand Anicut is so influential that a British built 19th century dam over a Kaveri tributary, at Lower Anicut, was based on this millennia old de Skechers Boots Sale sign.