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Daulatabad Fort

Wednesday, April 30, 2014


On my way to Ellora Caves I saw the fortification of this fort. The fortification was in good condition, the tall tower in its premises was just amazing. Standing there just like a Kutub Minar.


Way to Daulatabad Fort

 I have been to a few forts in Maharashtra, but never have I seen a tower in any of them and that to a orangish colored tower.

We returned to see the fort as soon as we were done viewing Ellora Caves. There are many small historical monuments scattered all over the land on the way to Daulatabad. 
Main Entrance to the Fort
As our rickshaw halted at the entrance, our driver told us to see the Bhool Bhulaya and the Cannons in the premises. “Yeh Bhool Bhulaya kya hai” I asked. “Aap khud hi dekh legiye” he told us. Cannons I understood, but what is a Bhool Bhulaya. Let’s check it out I said to myself after not getting any favourable answers to my questions.

We got ourselves a ticket at the counter at a cost of Rs.5 each and headed off to see the fort.
Cannons on display at the Entrance
This fort was built by the Yadava King of Bhillama V in the 12th century AD.  The fort was earlier known as Devgiri. It was rechristened Daulatabad by Sultan Mohammad-bin-Tughlak in 1327 AD.

One thing worth noting about this fort is that it starts as a ground fort and ends as a hill fort. It has many walls built around it making it difficult for the enemy to encroach upon.
Fortification
We were greeted by cannons as soon as we entered the main Darwaza of the fort. The door of the main Darwaza is still intact and it houses a smaller door for humans to pass through. The big door was for elephants and horsemen to ride through. I saw huge iron spiked nails superimposed on the doors; these were put so that when the enemy elephants try to barge in the doors they get hurt. Above the door are placed small windows, I guess these were used as a watchtower for the soldiers to watch the enemy and the people who entered the fort.
Chand Minar
Inside the premises are cannon placed. These were accumulated from the fort and across the land. I saw neatly crafted bronze cannons too. This fort has cannons mounted on wheels which were actually used in war, unlike other forts that have cannon that are found lying all over them.

Cannons of various shapes and sizes are found parked here in the courtyard near the main darwaza. Though the wheels are missing on the big ones but they are placed in stone stands.
Ruins on the fort
We then reached a place called “Mahakot” called the second line of defense management. It consisted of walls, bastions that were either single, double or triple storied so that the soldiers could keep a watch on the enemy. Again the doors were equipped with long iron spiked nails to withhold the enemy elephants. The fortification had pillars that were beautifully carved.

Though some parts of the walls were damaged but there is no graffiti on the walls of the fort. I like that.
Chand Minar
We reached an open water tank. Sadly there was no a single drop of water in it. I guess this place is called the Hathi Tank, majorly based on the size of the tank.

There are plenty of historical structures placed all over the fort but there is no mention of what it actually was. Maybe it was not of major importance hence it was not named.
Hathi Tank
We moved on to see Bharatmata temple. The temple has huge stone clad ground in front of it with pillars in the side followed by the walls of the temple. Each of the pillars was carved. We later headed off to see the temple. It was pillars placed very close to each other and covered by a hood atop it. Saw people offering prayers at the temple.

We then headed off to see the Chand Minar which stands second to the Kutub Minar. I have never seen the Kutub Minar for real but I could locate this tower from a distance. Even as I was travelling to Daulatabad fort and back from Ellora Caves.
BharatMata Temple
Though no entry is permissible in the tower, it was painted dark orangy and had three balconies around it till it reached its top. I guess there is an internal staircase to take you to the top, else why would they build balconies around it.

We then headed off entering another darwaza, now we were climbing up the conical hill. As we were climbing up could see many ruins of houses and walls scattered all over within the fort premises. The history related to this has become history.
Pillars standing within the Bharatmata Temple premises
On the way I located this cannon made of bronze perched on a stone pillar. It was beautifully carved with designs and had the shape of the goat sculptured on the end of it. Atop of it, it had two lions in sitting position carved out of the metal. This is a first of its kind cannon I have seen in all my fort treks and it indeed is beautiful.

We were then greeted by a moat. The water below was algae infested and had plastic bottles in them that appeared like lotus in the lake. How ignorant of people to throw plastic water bottles in there.
Way to the top of the fort
I guess this was the third line of defense management used to enter the palace on top the fort. Wow three levels to cross just to reach the top. The enemy would have had a difficult time just to reach the top. There is a small wooden bridge constructed to reach the top end of the fort. As we walked on it we could hear the creaking sound of the wood. So crossed immediately with the fear of not crashing in the algae infested water.

Alternatively there is a stone road to cross too which we located later. Hehe
Ruins
Now we reached the place called as “Andheri” (Dark Passage) I stay in Andheri and there is no dark passage here in Mumbai.

As we had a torch plus a torch in our phones we decided to climb up via the spiral staircase. The stones here were uneven and to top it, it was pitch dark. We were praying on the stairs that our torches don’t conk off in between. It took us around 25 minutes to reach the light. Scared as we were we held each other’s hand and motivated each other to reach the light. We forgot to take snaps of it :(
Structure within the fort premises
In those days when the enemy would have entered in here to reach the top they would have had a tough time, firstly as it was pitch dark, the stone walls were unevenly cut out and the staircase was spiral in shape, and to top it even for walking for minutes could not see the light. Now that is scary in itself.

Now you can imagine how scarred we were when we were inside it.
Ruins
There is another zig zag staircase with various cutouts in the walls for light to seep in to reach the top. Most people who go up the fort use this way, but this way too has its dark areas but not as dark as the one we came by.

When we reached the common point on top, the people who came by the later way asked us if there is a way up from there to which we replied a yes.
Beautifully carved Cannon
That’s why this place is called a Bhool Bhulaya. One can get lost in here if you travelling alone.

After walking on the reconstructed staircase we reached a palatial kind of room. We knew that I was almost of top, but we were running short on water supply, so were hoping to get some water up here, as we are now on top. But the chances were dicey as we couldn’t locate any water tanks on the way. But we still hoped for the best.
Moat and stone route over the algae infested waters
The Palatial house had many rooms in it and many windows offering amazing view of the land. When we suddenly noticed water. We hurried to fill our bottles with water. The locals fill water in a tank for the needs of the tourists who drench their thirst here. The locals feel that they receive blessings from God, by supplying drinking water to the thirsty. We had both our stomachs and water bottles full of water and headed up the structure to see the world from the highest point on the fort.

Atop the Palace is the Saint Janardan Swami Temple. Which is built in the rock and above it is podium about 20 feet high, which is the highest peak on the fort. It has cannon here. The huge bronze cannon were resting on a small stone stand and was watching the city. This bronze cannon was beautifully carved.  Just wondering how they might have bought this cannon atop the fort. As there were no helicopters then and the passages are so narrow that elephants cannot cross them. Then how can they get these cannons up still remains a mystery.
Moat
Though this fort was ruled by a Mughal it houses many temples in it. It only means that all though they conquered the lands they let the people practice their own religion, hence could locate two temples on its premises.

It took us around three hours to reach the summit. We had the feeling in us as if we were standing atop Mount Everest. Ha-ha. But conquering this fort too was a task in itself but we still managed to reach the top.
View from the top
To this Namrata added its time we camp here. “CAMP and that too here?” “Have you gone mad” “We are not staying on this fort for the night” I said, to this she adamantly replied “Yes, we are”.

We stayed there till it grew a dark and then headed off to exit the fort. Still don’t know what was going in her head and why she changed her mind and decided to leave. I was happy that we were going.
The Palace, the topmost point of the fort
Maybe it’s just the two of us and the fort that scared her or was there something else. We hurried off to the main entrance of the fort.

I didn’t ask her nor did she tell me but we carried on to our hotel.

Lunch at Sernyaa at Andheri West

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

 My good friend Alexander, had informed me that this place serves good Tibetan and Chinese food. I have had Chinese food before but not Tibetan and so was eager to visit this place. 




As I had never been here before. I asked around and Michael decided to join me in my food exploration.

The this is a small place located at Adarsh Nagar on the Oshiwara Link Road.

It was 12:10 on my watch when we entered the premises, we were the first ones here.

As we were not familiar with the dishes here, we took the help of the waiter. We wanted to have rice with a little gravy in it and so he recommended us the Danzine -De. We immediately placed an order for the same. 




In a matter of 20 minutes lunch was served.

The rice was served in an earthern pot. The earthern pot helped keep the food hot in the air conditioned environment. 


We enjoyed the food, it was liquidy mix consisting of rice, cabbage, capsicum , chicken and various herbs tosed in various sauces. The food was tasty.  

I liked the three sauses that accompanied the food, each of them were spicy. Looks like Tibetans like their food hot and spicy.



We had little space left in our stomachs and so we decided to order another dish. Again the waiter helped us reach a decision. We ordered Pork Momos.

The Pork Momos were just awesome. The Pork meat was deeply fried in Pork fat and then was wrapped in the momos. We had ordered the steamed version of it. This dish is also avaialble in Pan Fried and Deep Fried version.




The billing for two dishes came ot Rs. 290. One dish can serve two.

Good food for a good price is all that I have to say.

  

Aurangzeb's tomb in Khuldabad

Monday, April 28, 2014


Our auto rickshaw driver then took us around the narrow lanes of Khuldabad. He suddenly stopped. “That is the Tomb of Auranzeb” he said as he pointed out to the white washed historic structure ahead.
Entrance to the grave of Mughal Emperor Auranzeb
 “This is the place where the Great Mughal Emperor was buried” I said to myself. Eagerly I headed off to see his grave.

The structure looked like a mosque with a tall minaret next to it. This structure was white washed and it shone in the hot afternoon.

Outside the structure were many shops selling articles of worship to be offered inside.

I walked out of the rickshaw and entered the Tomb premises.
Structures sin the Grave Premises
The tomb premises looked beautiful. It was painted white with shades of yellow painted on arches. In the premises is the Alamgir Dargah. Again the Dargah was beautifully made.

A few elderly gentlemen were praying there on the mats.

In the premises lay many a grave. No mention of whose graves were they.

I was ushered to the grave of Aurangzeb by an elderly gentleman. Though Aurangzeb was a rich King his tomb was extremely simple. There was neither d├ęcor nor any marble work done on his tomb. Why for a King so rich a tomb so simple? Was the question that was running in my head.
Graves all around
The caretaker pointed to a marble slate and read out the various names of Aurangzeb. The names were written in Urdu. He also told us that as per Aurangzeb’s will he didn’t want marble to cover his grave. So the entire place is covered with white sheets except the place where he was buried. A few plants, I guess it’s Tulsi is growing on his Grave.

The caretaker told us that Aurangzeb used to stitch caps, and copy verses from Quran and sell them. He told us that he led a very simple life. He told us that Aurangzeb died in Ahmednagar which is located 30 km away from Aurangabad but was buried here in the Dargah of his Guru, saint Sayyid Zain-ud-Din.


Grave of Auranzeb
Aurangazeb’s son is also buried here.

After paying my respects to this Great Mughal Emperor I headed off to see Daulatabad Fort.



Dinner at Konkan Kinara at Behram Baug

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Yesterday Navin and me decided to have some Malvani Food, headed off to Konkan Kinara located at Behram Baug. 

There are no frills about this place.
Konkan Kinara

We stepped in and ordered our food right away. Both of us ordered Bangda Thali. As we were the only ones there we were hoping that our food comes quick as the menu card mentioned at preparation time of 45 minutes.
Bangda Thali
In a matter of 15 minutes dinner was served. The food brought back memories of the kind food that I had in Malvan and Devgad and also in Panjim.

Everything in my Thali was tasty. The Bangda (Mackeral) was fresh and nicely fried. I liked the preparation of it. The orange colored gravy made of coconut was lovely to eat with the chapati and also the rice. Cauliflower vegetable was cooked the way my Mom's cooks it. Solkadi , i just loved it. Though the quantity was small. A special mention about the green chutney, made of coconut it was nice and tangy. 
Mandeli Fry
We had also ordered ourselves a plate of Mandeli (Gold Spotted Capsali) Fry. The fish was deep fried in coconut oil and was nice and crisp. Again the green chutney which accompanied it was amazing.

All this costed us Rs.330. Rs.130 for each of the Bangda Thali and Rs.50 for the Mandeli Fry. The two extra chapatis which we ordered cost us Rs.10 each , which is expensive.

Overall a good place to eat good Malvani Food. 

Directions: It is at the junction of Andheri Link Rd and LInk Rd. Lanmark is Shiv Sena Shakha and Link Palace Apartments. 

Bhadra Hanuman Temple near Ellora Caves

Saturday, April 26, 2014


Sleeping Hanuman. Have you ever heard of it, if no then pay a visit to Bhadra Hanuman Temple situated very close to Ellora Caves.

There are two places in India where you find Hanuman in sleeping position, one is here and the other is in Allahabad, stated our rickshaw driver.

Bhadra Maruti Temple aka Bhadra Hanuman Temple is located in Khuldabad and is thronged by devotees all year round. 
Bhadra Hanuman Temple

Mythology states that on Hanuman return journey from Sri Lanka, to bring a Sanjivani herb for Laxman, rested here, A statue of Hanuman is found in sleeping position here and worshipped.

The temple is remodeled and is beautifully carved with small carvings of Hanuman all over it.

As we were wearing shorts we didn’t visit the temple premises but only saw it from the outside.

This place is a must for all Hanuman Bhakts aka followers.

Sunrise at Sewri Mudflats - Photo fo the Day

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Early morning sunrise at Sewri Mudflats, taken the day I went to see the flamingoes. To read about the Flamingoes http://merwynsrucksack.blogspot.in/2014/04/flamingoes-at-sewri-jetty.html


Ellora Caves

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

As we entered Ellora Caves we took a ticket at Rs.10 per head and Rs.10 for rickshaw parking and then headed off to see the caves.






Our driver called out to us and said to us, Checkout cave no. 1 first and then come here to cave no. 16 to which we readily agreed.

Ellora Caves is also known as Kllooru is located 29 km away from Aurangabad. These caves were built by the Kannadiga Rashtrakuta Dynasty.

There are not only Buddhist Caves here but also Hindu and Jain Caves all of which were built in between the 5th century and 10th century.

When Namrata first told me about Jain Caves, I couldn’t believe it as I had never heard of Jain Caves before and so thought that she was pulling a prank on me.



Caves 1 to 12 are Buddhist Caves.
Caves 13 to 29 are Hindu Caves
Caves 30 to 34 are Jain Caves


The Buddhist Caves were built first followed by the Hindu Caves and later the Jain Caves.




Most of the caves are identical in nature. They had small doors cut out in the rock that I guess served as rooms to stay. Some had carvings at the entrance of the caves. Buddha in various meditation poses.

There were many caves which had huge beautifully carved pillars in them and in the centre there was a rock cut door in which there was a huge carving of Buddha accompanied by other carvings. The walls of these caves were carved with both small and huge life size images of Buddha.

Cave no. 10 features Buddha sitting near a Stupa. There are beautifully carved pillars around the Stupa. The ceiling too is beautifully carved with carvings near it. This is the first stupa I have come across that has a Carving of Buddha near it.



Cave no.11 is like a two storey cave carved in the rocks. The walls of which were carved depicting Buddha in various poses. There were rooms carved on each of the storeys.




The Hindu Caves had carvings on them depicting various Hindu mythological figures.
Cave no. 15 The Dashavatara, is a beautifully carved temple in front of a one storey excavated temple carved in the rock. Again it features carvings of Hindu mythological.




                                                     
Cave no. 16 is the best find of them all. I took me to another world altogether. It’s called the Kaliasanatha. This entire temple is carved out of one single rock. This temple is beautifully carved.




                                                      

You have to pay a visit to this place to admire and capture the beauty of this place on camera.



                                                                              

I just didn’t want to leave the temple premises. Truly a beautiful masterpiece created out of rock.




                                                      
The other caves were more or less similar to the caves I had seen earlier in Ellora.




                                                       

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