TGIF! Here’s A Shot!

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The huge fort bastion, Lakha Burj — Deeg Fort, Deeg, Rajasthan

 

The strong fortress of Deeg is in ruins and the sole attraction is the massive cannon placed on Lakha Burj, the largest of the 12 bastion towers of the fort.

Here’s a few more pics of the lone but massive cannon …..

 

 

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HAPPY  TRAVELLING!
Monika Ohson / TravelerInMe

Crumbling heritage : Bundi’s Taragarh Fort

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View of the fort complex from the Rani Mahal’s balcony

Taragarh Fort has a structure like a star (Tara’ means ‘Star’) and was constructed in 1354, by Rao Bar Singh. Unlike most forts (made of sandstone) it is built with serpentine stone (green colored) and is situated vertically on a steep hill side. It is considered to be one of the oldest forts in Rajasthan and has no elements of Mughal or any other architectural influence. It has seen many rulers like the Rajputs, Marathas, Mughals and many battles as well. The fort has another unique feature of many having tunnels built running across the hill. However, these are now inaccessible, one, due to lack of actual map and two, due to the miserable condition the fort is in.

Once we were through the beautiful Chitrashala we embarked on the steep climb to the top of the hill, to the Taragarh Fort. The guards at Chitrashala helped us refill our water bottles* and select solid sticks to keep the monkeys at bay and help in the trek.

The way to the Bundi Fort

Way to the fort: steep up hill climb, dry overgrown vegetation

Being a non trekker and not so fit I decided to take it slow with regular sips of water. The climb was steep** and like walking through a dry jungle with no signage! We met families of monkeys along the way and the sight & sound of stick kept them at bay.

The current inhabitants

The fort once described by Rudyard Kipling as “the work of Goblins than of men”  is now home to several families of apes.

Dry, overgrown wild vegetation is a common sight

There are three massive gateways to the fort, Lakshmi Pol; Phuta Darwaza and Gagudi ki Phatak but sadly they are on their way to be ruins soon. The first one we came across was somehow holding itself together (probably Phuta Darwaza)

The first gate that leads to the fort from Chitrashala.  Maybe Phuta Darwaza

Once inside the compound we wondered which way to go; whether the path we take has a dead end or is connected? Nevertheless we took a route that led us to some unidentified structures and a baori. We also came across some interesting flighty birds. Further up we were lost as it looked like a dead end!

We came back to the point we started and went on another route that led us to another fort entrance. The first solid structure we saw was that of Chota Jiv Rakha.

L-R: Maybe Lakshmi Pol; Gagudi ki Phatak from outside

Gagudi ki Phatak has a massive and very interesting lock. The only way in was through its small pedestrian gate.

Gagudi ki Phatak from inside. Look at the interesting gate lock!

We had heard about the 16th century bastionBhim Burj‘ where once upon a time a large cannon called ‘Garbh Gunjam‘ or ‘Thunder from the Womb‘ was mounted. The place was so isolated and unkempt that we really did not venture around too much or to the bastion.

View of the 16th century bastion ‘Bhim Burj’

The fort has many water reservoirs called baoris/stepwell carved out of the rocks. The water stored in them was used to supply during time of crisis & otherwise.

Taragarh or Dudha Mahal baori

Rani Mahal baori

There are a couple of, or maybe more, mahal (palaces) in the fort and a probable baradari. Had the place been maintained one would have had a better idea. At least a map of the fort with broad layout displayed somewhere or given as a handout combined with signage would be of great help to tourists.

Rani Mahal, is a small palace built for the wives and concubines of the kings.

Gate into Rani Mahal

Chota Jiv Rakha

Inside Chota Jiv Rakha

Taragarh or Dudha Mahal inside the fort which has beautiful fresco paintings. Its sad to see the walls and paintings fading and disfigured with writings and smudging

Fading paintings

This portion of the complex had colorful painting all over

Fresco paintings smudged and fading

One of the Mahals / palaces. Note the carving on the pillars and top skirting of the walls

Unkempt & uncared, Taragarh Fort’s probable baradari

There was a foreigner couple trying to figure out the fort but I guess they got panicky as there was no direction and vegetation growing wild. We helped them step out of the fort from where they were confident they could head back!

A portion of the fort complex

Inside the fort complex — portion of its mahals / palaces

L-R: Rani Mahal’s pretty balcony with arches ; Pillar carvings

The fort being on top of the hill offers fantastic view of the Bundi City; Garh Palace and lakes. We rested for a while enjoying the view from the top before the downhill descent. We were soon joined by a lone traveler who seemed to be enjoying the view and the solace the place offered in plenty!

Fantastic view of the Bundi Palace; blue city of ‘Bundi’ ; Nawal Sagar/Lake from the fort

View of Garh Palace & Chitrashala from further up the hill, enroute Taragarh Fort

Except for Chitrashala, the Garh/Bundi Palace and Taragarh/Bundi Fort are still under the control of the erstwhile Royal family of Bundi. Lack of fund or disinterest seems to be the reason for them being neglected. Garh Palace seems to be somewhat kempt as its the entry to the entire complex; Chitrashala is the most maintained and under ASI; Taragarh Fort is the forgotten, crumbling heritage. I hope the entire Palace & Fort complex is given to a body that works on restoring and maintaining of heritage!


*Please note and carry sufficient water for self when touring the Taragarh Fort & Palace as the place does not have provision
**Be careful when walking down from the fort. The rough , cobbled path is quite slippery and difficult to walk down and it being steep does not help much!

 

Read more about my Bundi Trip…..

The Hidden Jewel of Rajasthan, Blue City Bundi!
Stay @Bundi Haveli –Traditional yet contemporary
Visit to the Bhimlat Prehistoric Rock Painting Site @Bundi

 

….and, if you like what you just read, do ‘like it’ & ‘share it’. Non WordPress users please ‘rate’ it to express your appreciation 🙂 Also do not forget to ‘follow the blog’ to remain updated about newer posts ❤ 

 

HAPPY  TRAVELLING!
Monika Ohson / TravelerInMe

P.S. I had to do a lot of reference work to be able to identify portions of the fort complex. Unfortunately there is nothing concrete so I have used the word ‘probable’ & ‘maybe’ frequently. If anyone for sure knows the fort can help correct wherever erred. Though I hope the photographs will help visualize the fort & its complex!

 

TGIF! Here’s A Shot!

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The Jewish Synagogue @ Kochi, Kerala, India

 

  • Paradesi* Synagogue, nestled in the quaint part of Kochi — The Jew Town. Also referred to as Cochin Jewish Synagogue or the Mattancherry Synagogue
  • It was constructed in 1567
  • The original synagogue was built in the 4th century in Kodungallur and later when the Jews moved to Cochin in the 14th century they built this synagogue
  • It is the oldest ‘active’ synagogue among the Commonwealth nation
  • It is one of seven synagogues of the Malabar Yehudan**
  • It was destroyed by the Portuguese (in 1662) and reconstructed by the Dutch after a couple of years
  • For service to be conducted 10 men are required and due to the dwindling number of Jews in Kochi, it is difficult to complete a minyan***

The Synagogue houses:

  • The 19th century glass chandeliers dangling from the ceiling were imported from Belgium
  • The floor of the synagogue is made of hand painted blue willow patterned floor tiles brought from Canton, China in the 18th century by Ezekiel Rahabi
  • The teak Ark houses four scrolls of Torah (the first five books of Old Testament) encased in silver and gold
  • Two gold crowns presented to the Jewish Community by the Kings of Kochi and Travancore
  • Copper plates belonging to the 4th century with inscriptions in Malayalam describing the privileges granted to the community by the erstwhile Cochin king. It is written in kannadiyezhuthu script or mirror image writing
  • An oriental rug gifted to the Jews by the last Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie
  • A tablet from the 1344 synagogue in Kochangadi, Kochi is installed on the outer wall of the synagogue

 

*Spanish speaking Jews or White Jews (mixture of Jews from Kodungalloor, Middle East and Europe)
**prosperous trading community of Kerala & they had major hold on world wide spice trade
***quorum of ten men over the age of 13 required for traditional Jewish public worship

 

 

….and, if you like what you see, do ‘like it’ & ‘share it’. Non WordPress users please ‘rate’ it to express your appreciation 🙂 Also do not forget to ‘follow the blog’ to remain updated about newer posts ❤ 

 

HAPPY  TRAVELLING!
Monika Ohson / TravelerInMe