Top Beaches and Temples in Chennai

Located in the Coromondol Coast, Chennai is the second-longest beachfront of any municipality on earth. It is a city of heritage, culture and tradition. Formerly known as Madras, Chennai is considered the gateway to South India. With a rich history of 350 years, Chennai is one of the Indian cities that has managed to preserve its ethnic charm. You can call it a modern yet traditional city. People proudly say “Namma Chennai” means Our Chennai. Yeah, once you visit, you will tell the same too.

One of the oldest cities in India, Chennai is beautiful with beaches, sculptures, parks and historic landmarks.

Attractions

Beaches

Marina Beach

With a length of 12 km and a width of 985 ft, Marina Beach is the world’s second-longest urban beach.  It is adorned with flower beds, statues of Tamil heroes and the Samadhi of unforgettable heroes like MGR and Anna. You can have a pleasant evening here, strolling around and having delicacies like murukku and sundal. You can also visit the aquarium here.

Elliot’s Beach

Located in Besant Nagar, this beach is popular as the night hangout place of the youth of the city.  It is much quieter than Marina. However, it can get crowded during the weekends. You will find the Ashtalakshmi Temple and Velankanni Church at the end of the sandy stretch.

Breezy Beach

If you are looking for a calm and peaceful place to unwind, Breezy Beach is the place to be. Located in Valmiki Nagar, this sandy expanse is less popular and less crowded than the other two in Chennai.

It must be noted that the beaches in Chennai are unfit for swimming and bathing, due to its strong undercurrents. There are no lifeguards to be found here. However, ‘Beach Police’ is there to take care of the common people visiting the beaches. Swimwear is not to be worn here.  

Religious Sightseeing

Churches

Basilica of the National Shrine of St. Thomas

Built by the Portuguese during 14th to the 15th century A.D., the church got its name from St. Thomas, the skeptical disciple of Jesus Christ. There is also a museum nearby, the main attraction of which is a 16th century map of South Asia. People belonging to Christian faith attend the Mass in the church.

St. Mary’s Church

This is the first church built by the British in India. It is also the oldest Anglican church of the East.  Given the precarious position of the British in India, the church features thick walls and battlements for defense in case a siege breaks out. The church is adorned with frescoes, glass windows, teak plaques, etc.

Temples

Ashtalakshmi Temple

Located on the shores of Bay of Bengal, the temple is popular not only for its shrine but also for its architecture. Its appearance is different from the other temples in Chennai because it is a much modern structure built only 25 years ago.  The deity of the temple is Goddess Lakshmi.

Marundeeswarar Temple

The deity of this temple is Lord Shiva. During the festival period, the deity is taken out on a procession. Devotees throng at this temple during the time.

Apart from these attractions you can have some more fun by paying a visit to the amusement parks, Dash ‘N Splash and VGP Golden Beach.

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Top Attractions in Bangalore

Now known as Bengaluru, Bangalore is the capital of the state of Karnataka. The city can be defined as a place with a pleasant climate and a conglomeration of people and culture, making it a pulsating city that is full of life. This prominent Indian city has earned itself several titles like the ‘City of Gardens’, ‘Silicon Valley of India’, ‘Air Conditioned City’ and ‘Pub Capital of India’.

Historical attractions

Bangalore Palace

Built in 1887 by Charmaraja Wodeyar, Bangalore Palace depicts Tudor-style. The inspiration behind the construction of this palace is the Windsor Castle in the United Kingdom. Its interior is adorned with wooden carvings and its exterior is fortified with towers, battlements, turrets, etc.

Tipu Sultan’s Palace

Located near the fort, this palace is now converted into a museum. The construction of the palace was begun by Hyder Ali and completed by Tipu Sultan after 10 long years. This 2 storied wooden structure is adorned by curves, columns and balconies. It used to be the summer home of Tipu Sultan.

Vidhan Soudha

 This 46 m high noble building, a testimonial to temple architecture, is built up of granites. It basically showcases an Indian style of architecture, with four domes at four corners. The building has 300 rooms and 22 departments.

Vikasa Soudha

Adjacent to Vidhana Soudha, this building is a modern construction unlike its neighbour. The granite stones with which this 8 storied building is built were chosen especially from the quarries of Koira, Mallasandra, Avalahilli, Hesaraghatta, etc. The outer walls of the building display decorative stone work.

HAL Aerospace Museum

Established in 2001, this is India’s first aerospace museum. It displays model aircrafts, equipments for navigations and communication, etc. Here you can also have a thrilling flight experience in the modern flight simulators. From the ATC tower you can have a panoramic view of the take-off and landing of numerous airplanes.

Nature

Cubbon Park

Built by Lord Cubbon, the viceroy of India in 1864, this park offers you with 300 acres of green serenity. If you are seeking a calm and quite atmosphere, then a visit to the park can provide you with that. Nature lovers, joggers and walkers visit Cubbon Park frequently.  

Lumbini Gardens

Located in the banks of Nagawara Lake, Lumbini Gardens is located on the Outer Ring Road.  This 12, 500 sq ft. wave pool is beautified with an artificial beach. You need not worry about safety, because here you can have a safe form of entertainment. The quality of the water is maintained with the use of a modern filtration plant; lifeguards too are stationed here for your safety.

Wildlife

Bannerghatta National Park

Situated about 22 km from Bengaluru, Bannerghatta National Park is attractive with diverse wildlife.  The major attractions of this park are tigers, lions, crocodiles, pets corner, picnic corner, serpentarium, lion safari, etc.

This place also houses India’s first Butterfly Park, which sprawls across an area of 7.5 acres. This conservatory has a polycarbonate roof, in order to support more than twenty species of butterflies.

Shopping

Commercial Street

This is one of the most prominent shopping complexes in Bangalore. The chaos and humdrum of the place tells you about its popularity and the energy. Here you get to shop for garments, textiles, jewellery, sports goods, etc.

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Must see best places to visit in Hyderabad

Hyderabad, the capital of Andhra Pradesh, is 500 years old. Located in the Deccan Plateau, on the shores of Musi River, Hyderabad has a twin city called Secunderabad. These two cities have grown and developed so that today it has mingled into becoming one huge metropolis.  Its tourist attractions comprise of heritage buildings, parks, lakes, resorts, gardens and museums. Hence, tourists of all kinds of taste can have a good time in this old city, which by the way has a new and modernized face.

The city is divided into old and new; while the former is replete with historical monuments, the latter is full of museums.

Best Places to visit Hyderabad

Old City

Charminar

This is a monument that comes to your mind when you think of Hyderabad. This extraordinary piece of Indo-Islamic architecture is square in shape and stands as a symbol of the glory of Qutub Shahi kings. It has four minarets at its four corners. The view from these balconies of the minarets is absolutely mind blowing. At the top floor of Charminar there is a mosque, where prayers are held on Fridays. You can view the structure at night when it is beautifully illuminated.

Mecca Masjid

This is the biggest and the oldest mosque in the city. Its construction was begun by Muhammed Quli Qutub Shah in the year 1617 and was completed by Aurengzeb in the year 1694. The giant structure is believed to be constructed with bricks that were made with the soil of Mecca. The main hall of the mosque has a capacity of 10,000. Women must carry a dupatta or a shawl while visiting the mosque.

Golconda Fort

This was the capital of the kingdom of Qutub Shahi. The fort is so massive that you are advised to get yourself a guide to understand the structure in detail. It has a perimeter of 11 km and its walls 15 to 18 ft high. It has 8 gates and 70 rampants. The light and sound show that is held at fort is a major draw, telling you about the history of the fort and that of the Qutub Shahi kings.

Falaknuma Palace

Built in 1872 by Nawab Viqar al-Ulma, this unparallel piece of architecture was the most luxurious palaces of the Nizams. Florentine sculptors are believed to have designed its interiors. This palace today has been turned into a hotel that is administered by the Taj group of hotels.

Chowmahalla Palace

Located near Charminar, Chowmahalla Palace was built by the Asif Jahi dynasty. Though its construction was begun in 1750 by Salabat Jung, it was completed in 1869 by the Nizams. The palace is adorned with beautiful palaces, courtyards, durbar hall, gardens and fountains.

New City

AP State Museum

It showcases artifacts belonging to the 1st century to the 20th century. This museum has it all, beginning from the Lotus Medallion of the 1st century to the beautiful Kalankari work used by Nizams to the Jain carvings.

Birla Mandir

Located atop the Naubat Pahad, this squeaky clean marble temple is dedicated to Lord Venkateshwara. Camera and cell phones are not allowed inside the temple.

These are only a few prominent attractions in Hyderabad; visit the city to see each of its monuments and be amazed at the grandeur of the city.

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Know about Taj Mahal

Located in the Indian state of Agra, on the banks of River Yamuna, Taj Mahal is one of the seven wonders of the modern world. It is one of the frequently photographed and instantly recognized buildings on earth. This shining jewel of Islamic art and architecture is a mausoleum that was constructed by the Mughal emperor, Shah Jahan, in reminiscence of his wife, Mumtaz Mahal. It was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in the year 1983. Taj Mahal was constructed between 1632 and 1653, employing several thousands of workers. Its principle architects were Ustad Ahmed Lahauri, Makramat Khan and Abd-ul-Karim.

The Taj Mahal Story

Shah Jahan, one of the greatest rulers of the Mughal dynasty, was grief-stricken after his wife Mumtaz Mahal died while giving birth to their fourteenth baby, Guahara Begum. The inspiration for the structure came from Mughal and Timurid buildings like the tomb of Humayun, Ilmad-Ud-Daulah, Timur and Jama Masjid. However, while the Mughal structures were generally built in red sandstone, Shah Jahan built Taj Mahal with white marble and semi-precious stones, which added to the architectural beauty and uniqueness of the structure.

This white marble structure is regarded as the finest specimen of Mughal architecture, a style that fuses Islamic, Indian, Persian, Turkish and Ottoman styles of architecture. The tomb is only a part of the complex, which comprises of other buildings, pools, gardens and gift shops as well.

The wonderful structure stands on a square platform with the minarets extended beyond the corners of the base. On the southern side of the base there is a lateral flight of staircases that take you to the top of the base. The architecture of Taj Mahal shows a superb balance of composition, with the octagonal chamber right in the middle, embraced by four corner rooms and portal halls.  A replica of the plan is seen in the upper floor.

The tomb is square with chamfered corners.  The double storied chamber of Mumtaz Mahal and Shah Jahan are in perfect octagonal shapes. Superb craftsmanship can be seen in the dainty octagonal lattice screen that surrounds the cenotaphs. The inlay design is also rich and polished. Precious stones adorn the borders and of the frames. The stones have been used to make beautiful motifs.

Inlaid flower plant motifs beautify Mumtaz Mahal’s cenotaph, situated perfectly at the centre of the tomb chamber. The shades and hues of the stones make the flowers appear to be real and full of life. Shah Jahan’s cenotaph that is placed beside that of Mumtaz Mahal, is greater than the former.

There are some interesting apocryphal tales that surround this great structure. Firstly, Shah Jahan wanted to make a replica of the Taj on the other side of Yamuna, but with black marble. This plan was however spoiled by his son Aurungzeb. Secondly, it is believed that Shah Jahan severed the thumbs of all the workers who built the Taj Mahal, so that they cannot produce a second Taj.

The sight of the Taj Mahal becomes doubly charming during a moonlit night, with its reflection on the pool before it.

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Top places to visit in Delhi

Delhi, the capital city of the Indian subcontinent, is replete with historical monuments left behind by the Mughals who once ruled the city. The difference between the straggling Old Delhi and the well-planned New Delhi is great, and it is an absolute pleasure to explore both these sections. So, in this way, Delhi can be said to be a city that offers its visitors a beautiful fusion of history and modernity.

Top must see attractions and places to visit in Delhi

Red Fort

This is a powerful reminder of the grandeur of the Mughal reign in India. It stands in Old Delhi and was constructed by the Mughal emperor, Shah Jahan. A 2 km long wall was built around the fort for the purpose of protecting it from invaders. However, it couldn’t save it from the invasions of the Sikhs and the British. A light and sound show is held here, which tells you about the history of the fort.

Jama Masjid

Located in the old city, this is India’s largest mosque. Its courtyard has a capacity of 25,000 people. Its construction was completed in 1650, taking 13 long years in the process. It was built during the reign of Emperor Shah Jahan. The highlights of the mosque’s architecture are its onion dome, central tank and white marble and red sandstone structure, exemplifying Indo-Islamic style of architecture.

Humayun’s Tomb

The structure resembles the Taj Mahal. This is because it is the structure that inspired the architecture of the latter. Built in 1570, it houses the body of Humayun, the second Mughal Emperor. The tomb is a part of a bigger complex that’s set amidst spectacular gardens.

Qutub Minar

This is the world’s tallest minaret. It was built in the year 1206; its construction was begun by Qutub ud din Aibak and completed by Iltutmish. But the purpose of its construction is unknown. There are five distinct floors, adorned with verses from the holy book of Quran and fine carvings.  Besides the minar itself, there are some other monuments in the site as well.

India Gate

This war memorial is situated right at the heart of the city. It was built as a tribute to the Indian soldiers who died fighting the British army during World War I. The gardens that adorn the boulevard are an ideal place to spend a warm summer evening. At night, the structure stands proud under warm floodlights.

Bahai or Lotus Temple

The temple is called so due to its appearance that resembles a lotus. It looks spectacular at night when it’s beautifully lit. Made up of white marble, it belongs to the Bahai Faith, which believes in the unity of all religions and people. The temple has no deity; hence, people from all faith are welcome here to pray.

Chandni Chowk

Visit Chandni Chowk to feel the very spirit of Old Delhi, which is a sharp contrast to New Delhi’s orderly streets. This is where you can find autos, cycle rickshaws, cars, hand-pulled carts, pedestrians and even animals sharing the same path. So, you can understand how chaotic it is, nonetheless, you cannot deny that it is captivating too. The market there is one of the oldest in India. It sells fabrics, artificial jewellery, electronics, spices etc. Chandni Chowk is also scattered with some famous street food joints, mostly making North Indian food.

A visit to Delhi can give you an essence of whole of India.

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