Kanchenjunga National Park and Khangchendzonga National Park – UNESCO World Heritage Site (Mixed site)

Kanchenjunga National Park which was renamed as Khangchendzonga National Park, is situated in Sikkim state, India, bordering Nepal. Its also a Biosphere reserve known by the name Kanchenjunga Biosphere Reserve. It’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the first Mixed Heritage site from India. Mixed Heritage sites are world heritage sites with cultural and natural significance,

Himalayan tahr (Hemitragus jemlahicus) are seen in Kanchenjunga National ParkHimalayan tahr (Hemitragus jemlahicus) are seen in Kanchenjunga National Park.

A rare and genetically distinct wild dog, Dhole, also known by names like Asiatic wild dog, Indian wild dog, red wolf, whistling dog is seen in this park.

Kanchenjunga National Park is home to around 550 birds species. Himalayan Forest Thrush (Zoothera Salimalii), a new bird specie, was found at this park in 2016.

Kanchenjunga National Park offers plenty of trekking opportunities, for those interested in trekking. The main starting point for trekking is Yuksom, at around 145 kilometers from Gangtok. You need to get the trekking permits from ‘The Wildlife Education and Interpretation center’ at Yuksom or from the check post at the entrance to the park.

Kanchenjunga National Park is spread over an area of 849.5 square kilometers and is located on the Kanchenjunga Himalayan Peaks, the third highest peak in the world. Many glaciers are there in the park. Himalayan Tahr, musk deer, snow leopard, Clouded Leopard, etc, are seen in this park.

How Do I Go to Kanchenjunga National Park which is now renamed as Khangchendzonga National Park?

Kanchenjunga National Park which is now renamed as Khangchendzonga National Park, is accessible from NH 31 A (Sevok–Gangtok National highway). The Nearest towns are Yuksom Town and Chungthan town, at around 20 kilometers distance.

Gangtok is the nearest city which is connected by helicopter services. The nearest airport is at Darjeeling district, West Bengal state, at around 220 kilometers distance. New Jalpaiguri Junction railway station (twin city Siliguri) is the nearest railway station at around 220 kilometers away.

Accommodation inside Kanchenjunga National Park

Kanchenjunga National Park has four rest houses, which can house up-to 20 persons. Bookings may be made at the Forest Range Office.

April and May are the ideal time to visit this national park. Monsoon and Winter months should be avoided. Restricted area permits are required for Non-Indian nationals. Indian nationals are required to obtain Inner Line Permits from the State Home Department. Permission from the State Chief Wildlife Warden is also required to visit this park.

Darasuram Airavatesvara Temple; One Among The Threee Great Living Chola Temples

Darasuram is famous for the 12th century Airavatesvara Temple, built by Rajaraja Chola II. Airavatesvara Temple is a UNESCO World Heritage Site along with Thanjavur Brihadeeswara Temple and Gangaikondacholisvaram Temple. These 3 temples are called the Great Living Chola Temples.

Sanctum of Airavateshwarar temple at Darasuram
Sanctum of Airavateshwarar temple at Darasuram

Airavatesvara Temple is Dedicated to Lord Shiva. Deity of Lord Shiva’s consort is the deity at the Periya Nayaki Amman temple, situated on the north of Airavatesvara Temple.

The temple is known for its stone carvings and is a treasure for art and architecture lovers.
Various inscriptions in the temple describes the 63 Saivite saints (Saivite is the section of people worshiping Lord Shiva) and the events associated with them along with their images. Other inscriptions gives details of the renovation work done to the temple by Kulottunga Chola III.

Sculpture at Airavateshwarar temple, Darasuram
Sculpture at Airavateshwarar temple, Darasuram

How Do I Go to Darasuram Airavatesvara Temple?

Airavatesvara Temple at Darasuram is located near to Kumbakonam Town, which is well connected to other parts of the state. There is a railway station at Kumbakonam. Thanjavur airport is the nearest airport at 28 kilometers away.

Red Fort Delhi – Residence of the Mughal Emperors

Red Fort at Delhi was the official Residence of the Mughal Emperors for nearly Two Centuries from mid 16th century to mid 18th century. 1857 Rebellion against the British saw the British winning the rebellion. The British had destroyed two-thirds of the inner structures of the Red fort. Later on, under Lord Curzon, Viceroy of India, repairers to the fort walls, gardens and water channels were made. Heritage buildings, Gardens, Palaces, etc, in the red fort museum complex are now a UNESCO World Heritage site.

On the ramparts of Red Fort, the Prime Mister of India hoists national flag each year on Indian Independence day, i.e. on August 15th.

Red Fort, Delhi
Red Fort, Delhi.

Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan constructed the Red fort as the Mughal capital in 1648 and shifted the capital from Red Fort Agra to Red Fort Delhi. It is made of Red sandstone and hence got its name. The Fort is adjacent to Salimgarh Fort, an older fort built by Islam Shah Suri in 1546. The Palace and other buildings inside the Red fort complex on 254.67 acres of land, are connected by a water channels (called Stream of Paradise), which used to be fed by waters from the the Yamuna river, which was flowing next to the Fort during those days. River Yumuna has changed its course slightly afterwards.

Red Fort was designed by the same designer who designed the Taj Mahal at Agra. The Red fort architecture is considered ultimate Mughal creativity under Shah Jahan. His son and successor, Emperor Aurangzeb, added the Pearl Mosque to the private quarters of the emperor. Persian emperor Nadir Shah has defeated the Mughals in 1739 and looted most of the valuables including the Peacock Throne (which cost twice as much as the cost of construction of Taj Mahal) and world’s most expensive diamond Kohinoor or Koh-i-Noor. Kohinoor Diamond is currently part of Queen Elizabeth II’s Royal Crown.

There is a sound & light show at the fort in the evenings, which describes the Mughal history to the tourists. Most the original structure are damaged now. The extensive water channels with its fragrant waters are dry. Most of its Marble inlaid flowers were looted by invaders. The tea house now houses a restaurant, even though not in original form. Pearl mosque and hamam ( Turkish Bath) are now closed for the public.

Red Fort is one of the must see places to visit in Delhi. Delhi sightseeing would not be complete, without a visit to Red Fort.

Structures Inside the Red Fort Museum or Complex

Major structures inside the UNESCO World Heritage site of Red Fort Museum Complex today are Chawari Bazar, Lahori Gate, Chhatta Chowk, Naubat Khana, Delhi Gate, Water Gate, Diwan-i-Aam,Mumtaz Mahal, Rang Mahal, Nahr-i-Behisht, Khas Mahal, Diwan-i-Khas, Hammam, Moti Masjid (Pearl Mosque), Hira Mahal, Hayat Bakhsh Bagh & Princes’ Quarters.

How Do I Go to Red Fort, Delhi?

Red Fort at Delhi is situated in the heart of the city and is accessible by road. Hazrat Nizamuddin railway station , a major terminal station in New Delhi, is close to red Fort. New Delhi Railway station is another Major railway station which connects the city with the rest of the country. There is an International airport at New Delhi.

What are The Entry Timings at Red Fort Delhi

The Red Fort is open from 9:30 A.M. to 4:30 P.M. on all days, except Mondays.

Sound and Light show timings are  from 6 pm on-wards (in English and Hindi). It is charged separately. It costs Rs. 80 for adults and Rs. 30 for children for this show.

How much is the Entry Fees at Red Fort Delhi

There is an entry fee to enter this UNESCO Heriatge site. Red fort Delhi ticket rate is INR 35 for Indian citizens,

Red fort Delhi ticket charges for foreigners is INR 500. Please confirm the rates mentioned above at your end.

Qutub Minar – World’s Tallest Brick Minaret

Qutub Minar is the World’s Tallest Brick Minaret at old Delhi, India. Qutb Complex which consists of Qutab Minar and surrounding ancient and medieval monuments are a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The minar (tower) is constructed using red sandstone and marble. Qutub Minar is also known as as Qutb Minar, Qutab Minar, Kutub Minar. Kutuminar

Calligraphy on Qutub Minar

Ghorid Dynasty rulers built Qutub Minar for which the work was started in 1200 AD by Qutb al-Din Aibak who founded the Delhi Sultanate. In 1220. his successor, Iltutmish, added 3 more floors to the tower. The top storey was destroyed completed in a lighting in 1368. After that, two floors each were added to the Qutb Minar. In 1803, a major earthquake damaged the Qutab minar seriously. Renovation works were carried out in 1828, by the British Indian Army and they installed a cupola or dome to the top of the tower.

There are verses from the Quran in the Qutub Tower or kutuminar. There are inscriptions in the Qutub tower, which reveals the history of the tower, repair works carried out, etc.

Ancient and Medieval Monuments Inside the Qutub Minar Complex

Quwwat-ul-Islam Mosque on the north side of the tower was built in 1192 and it still exists. Iron pillar of Delhi, a 7 meter or 23 feet rust-resistant Iron column, weighing over 5000 kilograms, is there inside the complex. It is believed to be made in 402 CE and installed at the current site in 1233 CE. Alai Gate and the incomplete Alai Minar are also inside the complex. There is also the Tomb of Iltutmish inside the Qutub complex.

How Do I Go to Qutub Minar?

Qutab minar is situated at the capital of India, Delhi. The nearest Delhi Metro railway station is “Qutb Minar station”, on the Qutab Minar – HUDA City Center Yellow line. Delhi is well connected to all parts of India and also to the rest of the world.

Entry Restrictions at Qutub Minar

In 1981, Fourty Five people were killed due to a stampede, resulting from power failure. Subsequently, Public entry inside the tower was banned. You can still go inside the complex. you can go near to the tower and other historic sites inside the Qutub Minar complex.

Bus Pass in Delhi

Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) issues different type of bus passes like Daily pass, Weekly pass, Fortnightly pass, Monthly pass, etc,. You need to contact any of the 40 offices of DTC, listed under ‘Know about Pass Sections‘.

Daily bus pass in Delhi costs Indian Rupees (INR) 40 per day, for non air-conditioned buses. Air conditioned daily bus passes in Delhi costs INR 50. Weekly bus passes costs rupees 280 and 350, for non-a/c and a/c buses, respectively.

Mhadei Wildlife Sanctuary in Western Ghats

Mhadei Wildlife Sanctuary is part of the UNESCO World Heritage site of Western Ghats, in the state of Goa. The Wildlife sanctuary has an area of 208.5 square kilometers. Mhadei Wildlife Sanctuary is also a ‘Project Tiger reserve’, to save Bengal Tigers.

Mhadei Wildlife Sanctuary
Nilgiri Woodpigeon, a Globally threatened bird species, at the Mhadei Wildlife Sanctuary.

Mhadei Wildlife Sanctuary is rich in flora and fauna and many endangered species of animals, reptiles and amphibians are found here in the Wild Life Sanctuary.

This park is a heaven for those interested in bird watching. There is an International Bird Area inside the wildlife sanctuary. Globally threatened species of birds like Nilgiri wood-pigeon, Malabar grey hornbill, grey-headed bulbul Malabar parakeet, white-bellied blue-flycatcher, rufous babbler and crimson-backed Sunbird are found here in this sanctuary. There are a total of 255 species of birds here, out of which 53 birds are known to breed here.

Mhadei Wildlife Sanctuary has two Forest Department rest houses, one each at Valpoi and Keri.

How Do I Go to Mhadei Wildlife Sanctuary Near Goa?

Mhadei Wildlife Sanctuary is in North Goa district and Valpoi is the nearest town to the sanctuary. This Wildlife Sanctuary is accessible by road. The nearest main railway station is the one at Panaji, Goa. The nearest airport is Dabolim Airport, in the city of Dabolim, Goa.