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AMAR MAHAL MUSEUM & LIBRARY JAMMU, JAMMU AND KASHMIR

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Hari Singh (September 1895 – 26 April 1961) was the last ruling Maharaja of the princely state of Jammu and Kashmir in India. He was married four times. With his fourth wife, Maharani Tara Devi (1910–1967), he had one son, Yuvraj (Crown Prince) Karan Singh. Following the death of his uncle Pratap Singh in 1925, Hari Singh ascended the throne of Jammu and Kashmir.
Hari Singh signed the Instrument of Accession on 26 October 1947, joining the whole of his princely state (including Jammu, Kashmir, Northern Areas, Ladakh, Trans-Karakoram Tract and Aksai Chin) to the Dominion of India. These events triggered the first Indo-Pakistan War.
Pressure from Nehru and Sardar Patel eventually compelled Hari Singh to appoint his son and heir, Yuvraj (Crown Prince) Karan Singh, as Regent of Jammu and Kashmir in 1949, although he remained titular Maharaja of the state until 1952, when the monarchy was abolished. He was also forced to appoint Sheikh Abdullah as prime minister of Kashmir. He had a contentious relationship with both the Congress Leaders and, at the time, their most favored and popular politician in the area, Sheikh Abdullah. Karan Singh was appointed 'Sadr-e-Riyasat' ('President of the Province') in 1952 and Governor of the State in 1964.

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Amar Mahal is situated on the right bank of the Tawi River in Jammu. Jammu, once a princely city, is also famous for forts, palaces and temples. The Sivalik Hills or ranges to the north of the Mahal, on the left bank of the river, provide a grand view, with the Tawi River flowing in between, draining the valley. It is well located adjoining the heritage hotel known as the Hari Niwas Palace Hotel, in the heart of the city, on the road to Kashmir.

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History

Amar Mahal Palace in Jammu is a 19th century extravagance. This structure was built for Raja Amar Singh who was a Dogra king. The palatial structure differentiates itself from other palaces constructed at Jammu by Dogra kings. It stands amidst lush green patches and meadow lands where a large area has been utilised for external beautification of the palace.
Amar Mahal was the last residence of the Dogra Kings, Suryavanshi Rajputs and later was residence to Maharani Tara Devi, wife of late Raja Hari Singh. You’ll see rows of royal family portraits displayed and distributed here in hierarchy.

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This palace lies on banks of Tawi River. On the other side is a magnificent Shivalik range, which completes a panoramic view in front. Tawi River flows through the valley and sounds of this river keep soothing your ears.

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Eventually, this place was handed over to Hari Tara Charitable Trust. They turned it into a museum that houses Dogra-Pahari paintings.

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Amar Mahal was sketched by a French architect in the year 1862 but it was not executed till 1890’s. After the death of Maharani Tara Devi in 1967, her son Dr. Karan Singh and his wife Mrs. Yasho Rajya Lakshmi converted this palace for use as a museum. The museum was inaugurated on April 13, 1975 by then prime minister of India Mrs Indira Gandhi. The objective of establishing this museum was to preserve some of the rarest forms of art and literature and they collaborated with other fine arts institutions for the promotion of Indian art and culture. They transferred this regal property to a trust and named it as Hari Tara charitable trust in honour of his parents.

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Architecture

The palace built in red sandstone with red bricks is in a picturesque environment on a hillock overlooking the Tawi river valley. Built in the European castle style, the palace has sloping roofs with turrets and tall towers.When built during the reign of Raja Amar Singh, it was the tallest building in Jammu. The imposing building has long passages on three sides, which are covered by sloping corrugated tin roofs. The passages are supported on columns with wooden framework. The first floor of the palace building has French windows with connected balcony. The top floor has a bay window. The windows also depict triangular projections in classical Greek architectural style, which are fitted over ornate false columns.

Museum
In 1975 this building was converted into a museum and library housing the golden throne, the royal portraits of the Dogra rulers, a collection of narrative paintings in the Kangra miniature style of the late 18th century and a substantial number of books and contemporary art from the personal collection of Dr. Karan Singh.
Amar Mahal Museum has art galleries displaying Indian art and work of Indian artists in different fields. One of the grandest attractions is Dogra Kings Gold Sofa weighing 120 kg.

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These galleries have paintings made from renowned artists as well as dwelling amateur artists. The attraction in paintings include fascinating paintings made by M.F hussain, J. Swaminathan, G.R Santosh, Bikash Battacharyagee, Laxmi Pani and may more. Paintings here include Dogra and Pahari, paintings from 18th century in Jammu and miniature paintings of Kangra in Himachal Pradesh. There are different galleries named Nala Damayanti, Dasha Avatar Gallery and Contemporary Art Gallery.

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Nala Damyanti Gallery has a collection of almost 47 paintings from 18th century made Kangra ki Kalam, which narrates the love story of Nala and Damayanti and ends with their wedding Damayanti Swaymavar.
Dashvatar Gallery has illustrations made in oil paintings depicting stories of Lord Vishnu. A pictogram here is the reincarnation of lord Vishnu or Vishnu Puran.
Contemporary Art Gallery has a modern collection of paintings made by prominent contemporary Indian artists.

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There is also an extensive library at Amar Mahal with books on subjects such as literature, science, politics, philosophy and more. Another attraction is the suite of Maharani Tara Devi where her clothes, bedspreads and Victorian style bathroom can be viewed.
This museum now fulfills its objectives by arranging tours, reading sessions, lectures and hobby classes. There are student exchange programs, workshops, and other hobby activities in the museum gallery.

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Posted by anuj1975 09:32 Archived in India Tagged landscapes buildings skylines people sky places india fort palace city summer beautiful tourism royal pradesh kashmir romance vaishno katra trikuta jammu chenab Comments (0)

Udaipur....Venice of East !!

Udaipur is a major city in the Indian state of Rajasthan. It is the historic capital of the kingdom of Mewar in the former Rajputana Agency. Maharana Udai Singh of the Sisodia clan of Rajputs founded the city in 1559 AD and shifted his capital from the city of Chittorgarh to Udaipur.

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The lakes of the city being interconnected form a lake system which supports and sustains the ground water recharge, water availability for drinking, agriculture, industries and is a source of employment through tourism. The lake system has three main lakes in its upper catchment area, six lakes within its municipal boundary and one lake in the downstream. The Udaipur Lake System can be divided into the following categories:
Upper lakes : Lake Badi, Chhota Madar & Bada Madar.
City Lakes : Lake Pichola, Fateh Sagar Lake, SwaroopSagar, RangSagar, Kumharia Talab, GoverdhanSagar.
Downstream Lake : Lake Udai Sagar.
River : River Ahar.
Udaipur, with its picturesque landscape, lakes, and historic palaces and architecture, is a major destination for most tourists, both domestic and foreign nationals visiting the state. With numerous hotels to serve visiting tourists, Udaipur is home to some of the world's most renowned and the country's best luxury hotels and resorts.
Udaipur is well known for handicrafts such as paintings, marble articles, silver arts and terracotta. The Shilpgram is a platform where regional handicraft and hand-loom products is developed. Craft bazaars are organized by the Shilpgram, with an aim to encourage the regional arts and crafts, the handicraft and hand-loom works.

Sahelion ki Bari

Sahelion ki Bari is a major garden and a popular tourist space in the northern part of the city.

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The garden with its fountains and kiosks, a lotus pool and marble elephants, was laid for a group of forty-eight young women attendants who accompanied a princess to Udaipur as part of her dowry.

City Palace

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Standing on the east bank of Lake Pichola is a massive series of palaces built at different times from 1559.

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Its main entrance is through the triple-arched gate - the Tripolia, built in 1725.

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This gate leads to a series of courtyards, overlapping parations, terraces, corridors and gardens.

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The palace now houses a museum with many antique articles, paintings, decorative furniture and utensils from the royal era.

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Lake Palace

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Situated over an island in Lake Pichola, the Lake Palace was constructed to serve as a royal summer palace. Built of white marble, the palace is now a luxury 5 Star hotel, operating under the "Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces" banner.

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Jag Mandir

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Jag Mandir is a palace built on an island in the Lake Pichola. Also known as the "Lake Garden Palace", it was constructed by three Maharanas of the Mewar kingdom. The construction started in 1551, and got completed by 1652. The royal family used the palace as a summer resort and pleasure palace.

Monsoon Palace

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Monsoon Palace, (in the background) also known as Sajjan Garh Palace, was built as an astronomical centre to keep track of the movement of monsoon clouds in the area and also served as the summer resort of the Maharanas.
Built with white marble, it is located on Bansdara peak of the Aravalli hill range at an elevation of 944 m (3100 ft) above mean sea level. The palace offers a panoramic view of the city's lakes, palaces and surrounding countryside.

Lake Fatehsagar

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Lake Fatehsagar is an artificial lake situated in the north-west part of Udaipur. The lake was originally built by Maharana Jai Singh and later reconstructed and extended by Maharana Fateh Singh. It is one of the most popular destinations in the city for tourists and the city residents.

Lake Pichola

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Lake Pichola is an artificial fresh water lake and is one of the several contiguous lakes in the city of Udaipur. The lake’s surroundings and the several islands within the lake have been developed over the centuries, with palaces, marble temples, family mansions, bathing ghats and chabutaras (a raised platform, normally within a courtyard).

Moti Magri or Pearl Hill

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Moti Magri or Pearl Hill, is a memorial of the Rajput hero Maharana Pratap. It is basically a small hilloc, atop of which there is a bronze statue of the Maharana astride his favourite horse "Chetak". It was initiated by Maharana Bhagwat Singh Mewar, and carried over and completed with the help of a public trust.

Posted by anuj1975 04:35 Archived in India Tagged lakes buildings skylines people parties boats places fort palace city beautiful tourism royal udaipur rajasthan Comments (0)

Jaswant Thada...Jodhpur

In the 19th century Jaswant Thada , a royal cenotaph was built in commemoration of Maharaja Jaswant Singh II, the 33rd Rathore ruler of Jodhpur. The son of Maharaja , Maharaja Sardar Singh, in the memory of his father, built the Jaswant Thada.

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It is a white marble memorial, built out of intricately carved sheets of marble. These sheets are extremely thin and polished so that they emit a warm glow when illuminated by the sun.

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View of Umaid Bhavan from Jaswant Thada

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View of Mehrangarh Fort from Jaswant Thada

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Posted by anuj1975 18:57 Archived in India Tagged buildings people places india tourism jodhpur rajasthan Comments (1)

Hemis Monastery..the last post !!

Situated around 45 km south of Leh, the Hemis Monastery is the most important monastery belonging to the Drupka order. The history of the monastery states that it was founded by Stagsang Raspa Nawang Gyatso in 1630.

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Inside
The courtyard is entered from the northeast side. The stone steps in the right of the main courtyard leads upto two huge temples - the Tshogs-khang and the Dukhang The walls are adorned with paintings of Sakyamuni or the Historical Buddha. Paintings of other Buddha figures and Tantric deities like Hevajra and Samvara are also seen on the walls of the Du-khang.

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Festivals
An annual festival to celebrate the victory of Guru Padmasmbhava over the evil forces marks the highlight of the monastery. The festival, known as the Hemis festival, is celebrated on the tenth and eleventh day of fifth Tibetan month as the birthday of Padmasambhava, the founder of Tibetan Buddhism. During the festival, masked dances are performed with themes that invariably show a fight against evil and infidel and consequent win of good and Buddhism.

Once every twelve year, a special attractions draws Buddhist pilgrims to the monastery - the unfurling of the giant thanka which is decorated with pearls and other precious stones.

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Posted by anuj1975 09:05 Archived in India Tagged landscapes lakes art buildings india fort city la buddha monastery hemis ladakh stupa leh budhhism khardungla Comments (0)

The Beautiful Leh..Part X...Thiksey Monastery or Gompa

Thiksay Gompa or Thiksay Monastery is a gompa (monastery) affiliated with the Gelug sect of Tibetan Buddhism. It is located on top of a hill in Thiksey village, approximately 19 kilometres east of Leh in Ladakh, India. It is noted for its resemblance to the Potala Palace in Lhasa, Tibet and is the largest gompa in central Ladakh, notably containing a separate set of buildings for female renunciates that has been the source of significant recent building and reorganisation.

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The monastery is located at an altitude of 3,600 metres (11,800 ft) in the Indus Valley. It is a twelve-story complex and houses many items of Buddhist art such as stupas, statues, thangkas, wall paintings and swords. One of the main points of interest is the MaitreyaTemple installed to commemorate the visit of the 14th Dalai Lama to this monastery in 1970; it contains a 15 metres (49 ft) high statue of Maitreya, the largest such statue in Ladakh, covering two stories of the building.

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Inside
Steps on the right side in the main courtyard leads to the new temple that houses a huge statue of Buddha. The statue was built at the behest of His Highness, the Holy Dalai Lama, when he visited the monastery in 1980. The staue, 15 m tall, is the largest Buddha figure in the Ladakh and took around four years to build. Local craftsmen used clay and gold paint to make this image of Maitreya Buddha or the Future Buddha. Directly above this temple, there is a small room where lamas impart education to local boys. Some of these boys are later chosen to become lama

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Coming back to the main courtyard, the steps directly across the new temple will lead upto a wall with murals of two Tibetan calander with Wheel of Life. To the right of this wall is the main prayer room consisting of many handwritten and painted books. A small room right behind the main prayer room houses a huge image of Shakyamuni (the historical Buddha). Two smaller image of Bodhisattava are placed on its side. To the left side is the eleven headed Avalokitesvara. The Lamokhang temple on the rooftop is the place where only males are allowed to enter. The Thiksey library, a repository of numerous volumes, including Kangyur and Stangyur, is also on the top. Currently, the monastery, home to around 80 monks, is the main monastery for atleast ten other significant monasteries of Ladakh. Prominent amongst these are Diskit, Spituk, Likir, and Stok.

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Festival
The annual festival of Thiksey is celebrated in the 9th month of the Tibetan Buddhist calendar. The festival is marked by the famous as well as sacred mask dance or Chham.

VIEW FROM THE AIR !!

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Posted by anuj1975 07:32 Archived in India Tagged landscapes mountains churches buildings temples places india beautiful hill buddha monastery tourism ladakh leh gompa budhhism thiksey thikshay Comments (0)

The Beautiful Leh..Part XI....CITY !!

Leh city , Leh Palace , Shanti Stupa

Leh , was the capital of the Himalayan kingdom of Ladakh, now the Leh district in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir. Leh district. The town is dominated by the ruined Leh Palace, the former mansion of the royal family of Ladakh, built in the same style and about the same time as the Potala Palace-the chief residence of the Dalai Lama until the 14th Dalai Lama fled to Dharamsala, India, during the 1959 Tibetan uprising. Leh is at an altitude of 3524 metres (11,562 ft), and connects via National Highway 1D to Srinagar in the southwest and to Manali in the south via the Leh-Manali Highway.

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Leh Palace is a former royal palace overlooking the Ladakhi Himalayan town of Leh. Modelled on the Potala Palace in Lhasa, Tibet, the palace was built by King Sengge Namgyal in the 17th century. The palace is open to the public and the roof provides panoramic views of Leh and the surrounding areas. The mountain of Stok Kangri in the Zanskar mountain range is visible across the Indus valley to the south, with the Ladakh mountain range rising behind the palace to the north.The Palace Museum holds a rich collection of jewellery, ornaments, ceremonial dresses and crowns. Chinese thangka or sooth paintings which are more than 450 years old, with intricate designs, retain bright and pleasing colours derived from crushed and powdered gems and stones.

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Shanti Stupa is a Buddhist white-domed stupa on a hilltop in Chanspa, Leh district, Ladakh, in the north Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir. It was built in 1991 by Japanese Buddhist Bhikshu, Gyomyo Nakamura and part of the Peace Pagoda mission. The Shanti Stupa holds the relics of the Buddha at its base, enshrined by the 14th Dalai Lama. The stupa has become a tourist attraction not only due to its religious significance but also due to its location which provides panoramic views of the surrounding landscape.

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Posted by anuj1975 07:28 Archived in India Tagged landscapes sunsets_and_sunrises mountains buildings people children sky night places india fort city summer beautiful hill buddha tourism ladakh stupa leh shanti budhhism Comments (0)

The Beautiful Leh..Part X....Summers....

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Posted by anuj1975 06:49 Archived in India Tagged landscapes mountains buildings skylines people birds sky night places india world summer beautiful hill buddha ladakh leh budhhism Comments (0)

The Beautiful Leh..Part - V...winters with fresh snowfall!

Leh has a cold desert climate with long, harsh winters from October to early March, with minimum temperatures well below freezing for most of the winter. The city gets occasional snowfall during winter. The weather in the remaining months is generally fine and warm during the day. Average annual rainfall is only 102 mm (4.02 inches). The temperature can range from -42 °C (-43.6 °F) in winter to 33 °C (91.4 °F) in summer.

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Posted by anuj1975 10:22 Archived in India Tagged me landscapes mountains buildings trees snow places india beautiful buddha road tourism ladakh leh kargil budhhism Comments (0)

The Beautiful Leh....Part - III....Likir Monastery

The Likir Monastery or gompa is one of the oldest and well maintained monasteries in Ladakh district in Jammu and Kashmir. The monastery is located in Likir village is believed to have been in existence since 11th century.

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Likir Monastery or Likir Gompa (Klud-kyil) is located approximately 52 kilometres (32 mi) west of Leh. It is picturesquely situated on a little hill in the valley near the Indus River and the village of Saspol about 9.5 kilometres (5.9 mi) north of the Srinigar to Leh highway.

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The monastery was enclosed by the bodies of the two great serpent spirits or the naga- rajas, Nanda and Taksako. Because of this, the name of the monastery became Likir or the Naga encircled. Initially, the monastery was associated with the Kadampa sect, however, the year 1470 saw a conversion by a central Tibetan monk Lawang Lotos. This coversion resulted in the monastery being brought under the Gelukspa Order of the great Lama Tsongkhapa.

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Throughout the year certain public processions takes place in the complex. These processions, held on auspicious days usually start behind the main temple in the open court around the Stupa, which often symbolize gateways before start of a journey. The procession path goes around the structures to finally reach the main temple court.

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Festivals
The Likir Monastery celebrates its annual festival from the 27th to 29th of 12th Tibetan month. The festival sees votive offerings known as Dosmochey apart from the performance of the sacred dances. The festival will next be celebrated on February 15-16 2007.

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Posted by anuj1975 08:57 Archived in India Tagged landscapes mountains buildings skylines birds sky snow india beautiful buddha tourism ladakh leh kargil budhhism Comments (0)

The Beautiful Leh....Part - II...Alchi and around...

Alchi is a village and monastery in the Leh district of Ladakh region of Jammu and Kashmir, situated on the bank of Indus River 70 km downstream from the capital in Leh. Unlike the other gompas in Ladakh, Alchi is situated on lowland, not on a hilltop.

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The village is famous for the existence of one of the oldest monasteries in Ladakh (a national heritage) Alchi Monastery, mainly known for its magnificent, and well-preserved 11th- or 12th-century wall paintings, all in an Indo-Himalayan style.

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Alchi is a small village with several tourist homestays, most offering modern conveniences for overnight stays, The best time to visit is from June to September.

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The Nimoo Bazgo power project is a run-of-the-river power project on the Indus River situated at village Alchi,. The project was conceived on July 1, 2001 and approved on June 8, 2005, and construction began on June 9, 2005.

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Posted by anuj1975 00:22 Archived in India Tagged landscapes mountains lakes buildings people sky places fort beautiful buddha road tourism ladakh leh kargil alchi Comments (0)

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