Sunday, May 16, 2010

Gujarat Sojurn Contd.....

The well was built in 1498 A.D. by Queen Rudabai wife of Vaghela chief Virasimha. The step well or Vav, as it is called in Gujarati, is intricately carved and is several stories in depth. The designs on its walls and pillars include, leaves, flowers, birds, fish and other breathtaking ornamental designs. In the past, these step wells were frequented by travellers and caravans as stopovers along trade routes.
The oblong step-well runs from south to north; entry to the Vas is from south through stairs on three sides which descend into a spacious landing with octagonal opening supported on eight pillars. At each of the four corners of landing platform is a small room with oriel window.
From the landing platform the corridor begins with gently descending staircase leading to octagonal well shaft on north. The stepped corridor has a parapet well at ground level.
The octgonal shaft is five storeyed; it's upper four storeyed are enteredthrough spiral starecase on western and eastern side

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Sojurn in Gujarat

Dear Friends,

I had a chance to stay for a short period of two months in the Gujarat, a state of India. Gujarat has a unique distinction in unique in its geological and topographical landscape. It has stone masterpieces of a series of civilized architecture. Diverse geo-physical and eco-climatic features of the maritime state of Gujarat having long coastline, merging of major mountain systems of India viz. The Aravali, Vindhyas, Satpuda and Sahyandri [Western Ghats]. Gujarat has saved many known endangered and threatened species from getting extinct. Asiatic. Lion is one of them in Gir forest. It has got 359 Asiatic lions.

Gujarat is home to several architectural marvels, witnesses of its glorious history and pilgrim centres for many faiths.

This is the photograph of Somnath Temple. Somnath, also known as Prabhas Patan and Deva Patan has great religious and historical significance. The Somnath Temple is one of the 12 Jyotirlingas (Shiva Shrines) and is one of the most important pilgrim centers for Hindus. The temple was ransacked and destroyed seven times by Muslim invaders but rebuilt at the same spot each time. The present temple is a recent reconstruction in the old style. It is situated on the shore of Arabian Sea.

Ahmedpur Mandvi is an absolutely untouched and one of the finest beaches in the country. It is also an excellent centre for water sports, with facilities of water skiing and scooters, speedboats, water toboggans, etc.

Diu Fort: It is an impressive and imposing structure situated on the coast of the island. The Portuguese Governor Nuno-Da-Cunha built it in 1535. As the sea on three sides surrounds it, it commands a magnificent view of the sea. The fourth side has a canal around it.

Fudam Church: The ruins of the Fudam Church still reminds one of its old glory. Fortum dumar "Panikotha" as is called by the locals is a mini Fort in the sea. Panikotha is a ship-like concrete structure constructed on a rock surrounded by sea on all sides. It commands a magnificent view of the fort, the city of Diu Jetty, the new bridge Ghoghala and Ahmadpur Mandvi. At high tide, boat ride to Panikotha is a thrilling adventure in itself.

Gangeshwar: About 5 Km. from Diu city, 5 Shiva lingas known as Gangeshwar can be seen in the midst of rocks on the sea shore. At the entrance there is 25m long carved figure of Nagaraja on the rock. It is a beautiful sight to watch the tidal waves on the lingas.

Ashoka’s Rock Edicts:On the way to Girnar, fourteen Rock Edicts of the Emperor Ashoka can be seen inscribed on a great boulder. The inscriptions are in Brahmi script in Pali language and date back to 250 BC.

Gir forest is the only place in the world, outside Africa, where the Asiatic lion can be seen in its natural habitat. The forest, which has shrunk to 1412 sq. km from it's original spread of about 5,000 sq. Km, was notified a Wildlife Sanctuary in 1969. Six years later, its core area of 140 sq. km was constituted into a National Park, which has since been expanded to cover 258.71 sq. Km Though known the world over mainly for its lions, Gir is one of the few remaining forests comprising different habitats - open scrub country, dry deciduous and tropical thorn forests and an evergreen corridor along the river sides. The forest also harbors a variety of smaller animals and birds. Other predators are the powerful Panther and the ungainly striped hyena. The largest Indian deer, sambar, chital, nilgai, chinkara and the unique chowsingha are found here, along with the bear and the long tailed langur. The peacock, India's national bird with its resplendent plumage, is among the common birds in Gir. Another attraction is a crocodile farm developed in the forest.

The city of Dwarka, renowned in myth and legend, was once the capital of Lord Krishna’s empire. He is believed to have settled here, after leaving Mathura thousands of years ago. The site is undoubtedly ancient but its association with Lord Krishna gives it a sanctity that draws millions of pilgrims even today. It is one of the seven sacred cities or ‘Sapta Puris’ as well as one of the four ‘dhams’ - supreme pilgrim centers for the Hindus.

Bet Dwarka: 5 Km by sea from Okha, it is also called Bet Shankhoddhar and is said to be the place where Lord Krishna lived while he ruled at Dwarka. There are regular ferry services from Okha Port to Bet Dwarka.