Laxmi Vilas Palace, Vadodara

Laxmi Vilas PalaceLaxmi Vilas Palace’s Darbal Hall – Photo By Notnarayan (Own work).

Laxmi Vilas Palace in Vadodara (Baroda), Gujrat, India is the largest dwelling unit in the world built till date. Laxmi Vilas Palace at Vadodara is of four times the size of Buckingham Palace, London. The entire Palace complex initially covered an area of 700 acres or 2.8 square kilometers, which now covers an area of around 500 acres. Laxmi Vilas Palace also has the only golf course in a palace complex in the world.

Laxmi Vilas Palace, Vadodara was constructed by Maharaja Sayajirao Gaekwad III of Gaekwad dynasty of the Marathas in 1890 and is named after the Queen Laxmibai Chimnabai I. Laxmi Vilas Palace, Vadodara is a fine example of Indo-Saracenic architecture. Top Floors of the Vadodara Laxmi Vilas Palace was the home to the Seven members of Royal family of Badora. As per Times of India News reports in 2011, The Baroda Royal family was planning to move out of the Laskshmi Vilas Palace into some other small Palace or Bungalow inside the Palace complex and had plans to convert the Laskshmi Vilas Palace into a Heritage hotel. A portion of the Palace complex can be visited by the general public. The Palace grounds are let out for events like Weddings. There is also a Museum; Maharaja Fateh Singh Museam; in the Palace complex, which has a large collection of paintings from the great artist, Raja Ravi Varma.

There is miniature railway line which connects the Museum to the main Lakshmi Vilas Palace. Maharaja Fateh Singh Museam was constructed initially as a school for the children of the Royal family, which was later converted into a Museum. The train engine is currently kept at the entrance of the Museum.

Notable among other buildings in the complex is the Moti Baug Palace. There is also the remains of a Zoo. Makarpura Palace, another notable building in the complex, which currently houses a defense installation. Pratap Vilas Palace, another main building in the Laxmi Vilas Palace complex, is now home to the National Academy of Indian Railways (formerly known as Railway Staff College of India).

How do I go to Laxmi Vilas Palace, Vadodara (Baroda)?

Laxmi Vilas Palace, Vadodara is well connected by road, rail and air. National Highways and Railway line connecting Mumbai and Delhi, passes through Vadodara. Vadodara Junction is one of the major railway Junctions in India, where railway lines to four different directions namely Ahmedabad, Delhi, Kota and Mumbai meets. More than 150 trains pass though this Railway Junction at Baroda alias Vadodara. There are 5 major railway stations at Vadodara namely Vadodara Junction (BRC), Pratapnagar (PRTN), Makarpura (MPR), Vishwamitri and Bajwa.

Vadodara has the best bus terminus in India named Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Bus Station.

Vadodara alias Baroda Airport’s IATA Code is BDQ. Vadodara is at around 140 km from the Gujarat state capital. Champaner Pavagadh Archaeological Park is at 45 kilo meters from Vadodara.


Bhimbetka Rock Shelters, Rock Paintings

Bhimbetka Rock Shelters

(Bhimbetka Rock Shelters, a UNESCO World Heritage site in Central India. Photo By Tanujdeshmukh (Own work) [CC-BY-3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons. )

Bhimbetka is a UNESCO World Heritage site and the oldest Indian archaeological site dating back to the Paleolithic Era, establishing proof of human habitation in the Indian sub-Continent. Paleolithic Era is the period extending from around 2.6 million years back to Pleistocene Period which is around 10,000 BP (Before Present) years. ‘Present’ is taken as 1 January 1950 , when radiocarbon dating technology was available.

Bhimbetka is situated in Raisen district in Madhya Pradesh state, in central India. Some of the rock shelters in the area were dwellings to ‘Homo erectus’ (extinct species of Hominin) for more than 3 lack years ago. There are many rock paintings among the rock shelters of Bhimbetka, which were painted using vegetable colors, and stood the test of time. 30000 year old rock paintings were found in the Rock Shelters of Bhimbetka. More than 750 rock shelters were discovered in the region. Bhimbetka is home to world’s oldest stone walls and floors.

Bhimbetka is at the southern portion of Vindhya hills and Satpura Range of hills lies south of Bhimbetka Rock Shelters. Mountain ranges of Vindhya and Satpura, the two east-west mountain ranges, divides the Indian sub-continent into North and South India,

How do I go to Bhimbetka?

Bhopal, the capital city of Madhya Pradesh state, is the nearest city to Bhimbetka at around 45 kilo meters south-east of Bhopal on the Bhopal – Hoshangabad road. Raja Bhoj Airport at Bhopal is the nearest airport to Bhimbetka Rock Paintings site.

OBAIDULLA GANJ with station code ODG, a small station where a few trains stops, is the closest railway station at around 7 kilo meters to Bhimbetka Rock Shelters site. (Few trains from Mumbai, Gujarat and from some other central Indian cities stops here.) Nearest major railway station is the one at Bhopal.

Amaravathi, Ancient Historic Temple town

Amaravathi is an ancient temple town in Guntur district of the Andhra Pradesh state in Eastern coastal India. Amaravathi alias Amareswaram is famous for the Shiva temple, Amareswara temple.

AmaravathiImage By PHG at en.wikipedia (Transferred from en.wikipedia) [Public domain], from Wikimedia Commons.

Amaravathi lies on the banks of the famous Krishna river. Amaravati art is considered as one of the three major styles of ancient Indian Buddhist art (Gandhara style and the Mathura style, being the other two styles). Amaravati Gallery (made up of Amaravati Sculptures or Amaravati Marbles alias Elliot Marbles from the Great Stupa at Amaravati), which shows the remains of these art form, can now be found at various museums across the world. The major portion of what remains, can be seen at the Government Museum in Egmore, Chennai, Tamilnadu and at Room 33a, British Museum, London. (British Museum is the world’s largest and most comprehensive museum dedicated to antiquities, human history and culture, etc, with works numbering around 8 million pieces!)

Amaravathi is considered to have very close links to Buddhism. The Buddhist stupa in Amaravati was built during the reign of Buddhist Emperor Ashoka around 200 BCE. There is an Archaeological Museum at Amaravathi, which has a replica of the Buddhist Stupa.The great Chinese traveler Hiuen Tsang alias Xuanzang, visited Amaravathi in 640 CE and stayed there for few days. He wrought gloriously about the place, its Buddhist monasteries (Viharas) that existed there, etc.

The Ancient Amareswara temple is considered as one among the five ‘Pancharama Kshetras’ or the ‘Pancharamas’ in Andhra Pradesh. (The idols of Lord Shiva at these five temples are made from a single Sivalinga).

There is another ancient city with same name Amravati in Maharastra state.

How do I go to Amaravathi, Andhra Pradesh?

Amaravathi is at a distance of around 30 kilo meters northwest of Guntur, connected by Amaravati road from Guntur city. Vijayawada, the capital of the bifurcated Andhra Piadesh state, is at around 46 kilo meters distance from Amaravathi and has the nearest airport. Vijayawada Junction is the nearest major railway station to Amaravathi city. Guntur Junction is also a nearby railway station to the ancient historic city of Amaravathi.

where can I stay while going to the Ancient Historic Temple town of Amaravathi?

It’s convenient to stay at Vijayawada as there are not much options available at Amaravathi.

Amravati, Temple Town

Amravati is a historic temple town in the Vidharbha region of Eastern Maharastra state, India. (There is another ancient town with the same name ‘Amaravathi’, in Guntur district of Andhra Pradesh state, where the ancient and famous Amareswara temple dedicated to Lord Shiva is situated.)

Amravati Ambadevi Temple

Temples dedicated to Ambadevi, Shri Krishna and Shri Venkateshwara are the main historic temples in the Temple Town of Amravati. Ambadevi temple dedicated to Goddess Amba (Goddess of Shakti) is the most famous temple among these, situated at the heart of the city, at Gandhi Square, 1.5 kilometers from the Amravathi Bus station.

It is believed that Lord Krishna ran away with Goddess Rukhamini, a day before her planned marriage with King Shishupal of Ched, from Shri Ekvira Devi Temple which is situated in the vicinity of Amba devi Temple, to a near by holy place Koundinyapur, through an underground tunnel (which still exists ; but closed for visitors).

Navaratri Festival is the main festival which is celebrated with various cultural and religious programs in the temple and the city; Dandiya dance being the most famous among these cultural activities, in which nearby villagers takes part enthusiastically.

Bhakti Dham Temple on Amravati – Badnera road where idols of Lord Krishna and Radha are work-shipped and Sridham Temple at Rallies Plot in the heart of the city where idols of Lord Krishna, Goddess Radha, Lord Ram and Goddess Sita, Lord Ganesh, Lord Shiva and Rani Satiji are kept, are two other famous temple in the Amravati city.

Some of the other famous temples are Sai temple at Sai nagar and an ISKON temple (dedicated to Lord Krishna and his wife Shri Rukhmini devi at Rathi nagar).

How do I Go to the Temple Town of Amravati?

Nagar city, the hub for the Logistics industry in India, is at around 156 kilo meters from Amravati (Nagapur being at the center of India). The Temple city is very close to the passes which connects the state of Maharastra to nearby states. World famous UNESCO World Heritage site of Ajanta caves, belonging to the 2nd century BCE with Buddhist rock-cut cave monuments, are situated at around 300 kilometers distance from this ancient temple city.

Amravati is close to the borders of Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and the newly formed Telungana state. NH 6, Surat – Kolkoata National Highway, passes through the holy city of Amravati.

There are 3 railway stations connecting Amarvathi with the rest of India. Badnera Junction (BD) is the main station which connects the temple city of Amravathi with other cities of India. There are two other railway stations in the city. They are Amravathi (AMI), and New Amravathi (NAVI) stations.

Nagpur is the nearest airport with commercial operations, even though Amravathi has a small airport which is not uses for commercial operations.

Rajat Prapat Falls (Silver Falls)

Rajat Prapat Falls is in Hoshangabad district of Mahya Pradesh state, India.

Rajat Prapat FallsPachmarhi valley where Rajat Prapat Falls is situated. Photo Source : Creative commons Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0. Photo by Abhayashok.

For interested in statistics, Rajat Prapat Falls is the 30th highest falls in India. Rajat Prapat Falls is a horsetail type of fall (single drop fall), with a height of approximately 120 meters from a long cliff across a steep gorge. Rajat Prapat Falls is at an altitude of around 2800 feet above sea level.

Rajat Prapat Falls is also known as “Big Falls” due its its sheer height. This fall is also known as “Silver Falls” , as the color of the fall looks like silver when sunlight falls on it (In Hindi, Rajat means Silver and Prapat means falls).

You can trek to the base of the fall. Those who are adventurous can trek to the top of the Rajat Prapat Falls, from Apsara Vihar, which is close to Apsara Fall, another nearby waterfalls. Once you reach the top of Rajat Prapat Falls, you can take a bath there! You fell like standing on top of world, with a spectacular view of the falls and the serene forests below.

How do I go to Rajat Prapat Falls?

Rajat Prapat Falls is accessible from Pachmarhi hill station, which is part of ‘Satpura Mountain Ranges’. Pachmarhi is known as the “Queen of Satpura”. Pachmarhi is mainly a Cantonment area serving the Indian Army.

Pipariya (known as Pips locally) on the Howrah-Allahabad-Mumbai main line, with station code ‘PPI’, is the nearest railway station to Pachmarhi hill station at around 50 kilo meters distance. Bhopal is the nearest airport to Pachmarhi , at around 200 kilo meters away. The world renowned UNESCO Heritage site Khujuro temples are situated at around 425 kilo meters from Pachmarhi.