Wular Lake, the Largest Fresh Water Lake in India

Wular Lake in Bandipora district of Jammu and Kashmir state is the largest fresh water lake in India. Jhelum River feeds Wular Lake. The size of the lake varies according to seasons; from 30 square kilo meters to 260 square kilo meters (or from 12 sq. miles to 100 sq. miles). Wular Lake was known by name “Mahapadamsar ” in ancient times.

Wular LakeWular Lake in Jammu and Kashmir state, India.

The Jhulam river feeds the Wular lake. The Jhulam river flows into the Wular lake at around 40 kilo meters down from Srinagar city, the summar capital of Jammu and Kashmir state. The Jullam river flows out of Wular lake at the southern part of the lake in Sopur, at around 35 kilo meters North – West of Srinagar. Sopur is at around 16 kilo meters South – West of Baramulla city. National Highway, NH 1, connects Sopur with Srinagar.

Government of India jointly with Jammu & Kashmir State Tourism department and Kerala State Tourism department have recently introduced water ski and water sports along with boating facilities in Wular Lake.

Wular lake is designated as a “Ramsar site” as per the “Ramsar Convention” held at Ramsar (Iran) in 1971, where an international treaty for the conservation and sustainable utilization of wetlands, was signed initially by 21 counties. Currently, 168 countries are signatories to this treaty and around 2000 ‘Ramsar sites’ exists internationally, United Kingdom leads the list with 170 ‘Ramsar sites’. Bolivia has the Largest Area (140,000 square kilometers) in terms of ‘Ramsar sites’.

There was an artificial island in the middle of the lake built in the 14th century. Later on, this island has joined with the lake shores due to slitting and is a picnic spot now.

The Tulbul Project, (work was started in 1984) is a barrage (partly constructed by India) at the mouth of Wular Lake. Tulbul Project was planned to control the flow of water into the the Jhulam river to maintain the required water level, mainly for navigational purpose (boating). The project work was suspended in 1987 due to objection from Pakistan on grounds of violation of the 1960 Indus Waters Treaty.

What is the ideal time to visit Wular Lake, the Largest Fresh Water Lake in India?

Wular lake is known for dangerous winds and waves! Tourism is at its peak during the months of June, July and August and these months are considered as the ideal time to visit the Wular lake.

Bhimbandh Wild Life Sanctuary

Bhimbandh Wild Life Sanctuary is situated in south west part of Munger district, Bihar state, India. Bhimbandh Wild Life Sanctuary is located south of the holy river, Ganges.

Peacock inside the Bhimbandh Wild Life Sanctuary
Photo Source.

Legend is that one of the ‘Pandavas’ constructed a dam (Bandh in Hindi Language) and hence the name Bhimbandh. )

There are many hot springs inside the Bhimbandh Wild Life Sanctuary. Bhimbandh, Rishi Kund, Sita Kund, etc are to name a few hot springs in the Bhimbandh Wild-Life Sanctuary.

Bhimbandh Wild Life Sanctuary is rich in Flora and Fauna. Bear, Tiger, Leopard, Cheetah, Jingle cat, fishing cat, leopard cats, etc, are to name a few of the wild animals inside the Bhimbandh Wild Life Sanctuary. Corcodiles, Phtyon, King Cobra, etc are some of the reptiles of Bhimbandh Wild Life Sanctuary. Bhimbandh Wild Life Sanctuary is home to a large number of birds including Bulbul, Falcon, Kingfisher, Nightjars, Peacock, Quail, Pied Hornbill, Swallow, etc. Many migratory birds comes to Bhimbandh Wild Life Sanctuary during winter.

How do I go to Bhimbandh Wild Life Sanctuary?

Munger town is the nearest town to the wild life sanctuary at Bhimbandh. NH 80 connects Bhimbandh with other parts of the country. Munger-Jamui state highway connects the wildlife sanctuary to NH-80. Munger is at around 55 kilo meters from the Wild Life Sanctuary at Bhimbandh.

“Bhagalpur Junction” railway station on the Jamalpur-Bhagalpur section is the nearest railway station. Another convenient station is Jamui Railway Station, at around 20 kilometers distance. The nearest airport is the one at Patna, at around 200 kilo meters distance.

Is there accommodation available inside the Bhimbandh Wild Life Sanctuary?

There is a Forest Guest House and Tourist Lodge inside the Wild Life Sanctuary at Bhimbandh.

Gommateshvara Statue, Chandragupta Maurya

Gommateshvara Statue at Bahubali in Shravana Belagola near Channarayapatna of Hassan district, Karnataka, is one of the most important pilgrimage destinations for Jains.

Gommateshvara Statue at  ShravanaBelagolaGommateshvara Statue at ShravanaBelagola.

There are two hills at Shravanabelagola, naemly Chandragiri and Vindhyagiri. 58 Feet monolithic statue of Gommateshvara at Vindhyagiri is the main attraction here. Chandragupta Maurya and his spiritual teacher Bhadrabahu were believed to have meditated in these hills. Chandragiri has many memorials to numerous Jain monks.

Gommateshvara Statue (known as Bahubali to Jains) has inscriptions in Kannada and Marathi, which mentions the rise and growth of many dynasties which existed in the region. The inscriptions in Marathi are the oldest existing proof to written Marathi in Devnagari script, dating back from 981 A.D. These inscriptions relate to Western Ganga Dynasty (which ruled from 350 to 1000 A.D.) , the Rashtrakutas dynasty (ruled between 6th and 10th centuries), the Hoysala Empire (ruled from 10th to 14th centuries), the Vijayanagar Empire (ruled from 1336 A.D. to 1646 A.D.) and the Wodeyar dynasty (ruled Kingdom of Mysore from 1399 to 1947).

Mahamastakabhisheka, the main festival, which is a spectacular festival event for the Jains, is held once in twelve years here. The next Mahamastakabhisheka is to be held in 2018.

Architectural and sculptural activity was its peak in and around ShravanaBelagola during the Western Ganga Dynasty of Talakad. Jainism existed for more than 2000 years in Shravana Belagola and nearby areas. The great Maurya Emperor, Chandragupta Maurya, was believed to have died here in 298 B.C.

Chandragupta Maurya was the first emperor to unity most of the small states of the Southern Asia into a Larger Greater India. His empire spanned from Bengal to Afghanistan and Balochistan, to Deccan Plateau in south India. His empire consisted of the most of the current Indian states except Tamilnadu, Kerala and North Eastern states of India. Emperor Chandragupta Maurya and his chief adviser, Chanakya, were known for their strong central administration, characterized by its efficient and well organised bureaucrats. Buddhism along with Jainism became increasingly prominent during the time of Chandragupta Maurya, who was a Jain by faith.

Silver Coin of Seleucos I, likely depicting a posthumous portrait of Alexander the Great.Silver Coin of Seleucos I, likely depicting a posthumous portrait of Alexander the Great.

Chandragupta Maurya is known for defeating the one of the most powerful emperor of these times, Seleucus I Nicator, immediate successor to the Great Emperor Alexander. Chandragupta Maurya subsequently married Seleucus’s daughter and established friendship with the Hellenistic kingdom, which enabled trade relations between India and the Western world.

Chandragupta Maurya’s son, Bindusara , became the King in 298 B.C., on Chandragupta Maurya’s death. Great Emperor Ashoka, was the grandson of Chadragupta Maurya (son of Bindusara).

How do I visit Gommateshvara Statue, near ShravanaBelagola?

ShravanaBelagola is at around 50 kilometers south-east of Hassan’s district capital. Channarayapatna town, the head quarters of Shravanabelagola legislative constituency, is at around 13 kilometers distance from Shravana Belagola on the Bangalore – Mangalore National Highway, NH 48. Bangalore is at around 157 kilometers, Mangalore at 232 kilometers and Mysore at 83 kilometers from Shravanabelagola.

Is there good accommodation facilities available near to Gommateshvara Statue site?

Decent accommodation facilities are available to Jain pilgrims near to the Gommateshvara Statue site at Shravanabelagola by the Jain Mutt at “Vindyananda Yatrinivas”. There are other hotels also, which offers good accommodation at ShravanaBelagola.

Satpura National Park

Satpura National Park
Satpura Hills at Satpura National Park. Photo Source : Creative commons Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.

Satpura National Park is a National park of India with an area of around 524 square kilometers situated at Satpura Mountain Ranges in Hoshangabad district of Madhya Pradesh state.

Satpura National Park is different from other wildlife parks of India in offering various wildlife watch options. Boat safari, Elephant safari, Jeep safari, Walking safari, etc, are some among these options.

Along with the nearby Pachmarhi & Bori Sanctuary, Satpura National Park covers an area of 1427 square kilo meters and forms Satpura Tiger reserve.

Satpura National Park is rich in Flora and Fauna. There are around 1300 plant species inside the National park. Fauna includes Black buck (unique to this area), Indian Giant squirrel (specialty of this park), Indian Bison(Gaur), Leopards, Tigers, Wild boar, Wild dog, Spotted Dear, Sloth bear, Sambhar, Four-Horned Antelopes, Smooth Otter, Porcupine, Pangolin, Marsh crocodiles, Languars, etc.

How do I go to Satpura National Park?

Jabalpur – Hoshangabad road connects the Satpura Wildlife National Park of India with the nearby cities.

Sohagpur (SGP) is the nearest railway station at 18 kilo meters distance on the Howrah-Mumbai Railway line. Other nearby railway stations on the same railway line includes Pipariya (PPI) at 40 kilo meters, Hoshangabad (HBD) at 45 kilo meters and Itarsi Junction (ET) at 65 kilo meters distance.

The nearest airport to Satpura Wild Life National Park is at Bhopal with IATA code BHO; at around 200 kilometers distance from the Wild Life Park. Another nearby airport, Jabalpur Airport with IATA code JLR, is at around 260 kilometers distance from this world famous Wild-Life Park.

Which is the ideal time to visit Satpura National Park?

The Park is closed from 01st July to 16th October, every year. You may visit the National Park from 17th October to 30th June.

Is accommodation available at Satpura National Park?

Forsyth Lodge is one of the best resorts at Bijakhori village. Denwa Backwater Escape Resort is a 12 room, countryside living style themed wildlife cottages, on the banks of Denwa river, spread over an area of around 10 acres, near to Madhai village. There are other resorts also in and around the Satpura National Park.

Omkareshwar Temple

Omkareshwar Temple is one among the 12 most revered Jyotirlinga shrines of Lord Shiva, situated in an ॐ shaped island (a sacred Hindu religious sign), off holy river Narmada. Mandhata island, where the Omkareshwar Mahadev Temple is situated, is in the Khandwa district of Madhya Pradesh state, India.

Omkareshwar TempleOmkareshwar Mahadev Temple. Omkareshwar Mahadev Temple

Close to the Omkareshwar Temple, on the southern banks of holy river Narmada, is the Mamleswar Mandir, dedicated to Amaraeshwar (Lord of the Immortals). This temple is also a very old temple known for its ancient temple architecture with excellent stone work. Rao’s Palace alias Omkareshwar palace is another attraction here in the island.

List of Other 11 Jyotirlinga Shrines

Other 11 revered Jyotirlinga shrines are the Kedarnath Temple in Uttarakhand, Dwaraka temple in Gujarat, Somnath Temple in Gujarat, Kasi Viswanath Temple at Varanasi, Rameswaram temple in Tamilnadu, Sri Mallikarjuna Swamy Temple at Srisailam in Andhra Pradesh, Mahakaleshwar Jyotirlinga at Ujjain in Mahya Pradesh, Bhimashankar Temple near Pune in Maharashtra, Trimbakeshwar Temple in Maharashtra, Baidyanath Jyotirlinga temple at Deoghar in Jharkhand, Grishneshwar Jyotirlinga near Aurangabad close to Ellora Caves.

How do I go to Omkareshwar Temple?

The 4 X 2 kilometers (length X breadth) Mandhata island is connected to the mainland by two brides. There is also regular ferry services connecting the island and mainland.

“Omkareshwar Road” Railway station , with station code “OM”, on the Ratlam-Khandwa section, is the nearest railway station to Shri Omkareshwar Jyotirling. “Indore Junction” railway station, with station code “INDB”, is at around 75 kilo meters distance, which is well-connected to other major stations in India.

Indore is the nearest airport to Omkareshwar Mahadev Temple.

Ujjain, another Jyotirlinga shrine among the 12 such sacred shrines in India, is at 130 kilo meters distance and is well connected by buses. Khandwa Railway station is at around 60 kilometers distance and takes around two and a half hours travel by local buses.