The restoration and reimagining of Diriyah, a sweeping 18th century adobe city that once served as the capital and stronghold of the first Saudi State, will be officially inaugurated at a special November 19th gathering. This cornerstone-laying event comes as the country continues its pioneering plans to welcome visitors from near and far, and underlines Saudi Arabia’s mission to showcase the cultural icon to the world as one of its great gathering places. The celebration will formally inaugurate the new giga project known as ‘Diriyah Gate’, a cultural and lifestyle tourism destination for Saudi Arabia with a UNESCO World Heritage Site at its heart. Located on the North Western edge of the Saudi capital of Riyadh, Diriyah is first and foremost, a place that is deeply important t...Read More
Yanni has a nick of performing in front of top heritage monuments around the world. Remember the March of 1997, when his concert in backdrop of Taj Mahal right on the banks of Yamuna river became a phenomenon in itself! The master composer has many firsts to his name. Here was he, once again, performing adjacent to Mada’in Saleh, a major UNESCO World Heritage Site in Saudi Arabia, once home to major civilizations including the ancient kingdoms of Dadan/Lihyan and the Nabataeans. Yanni in concert at Al-Ula. Photo credit: Center for International Communication (CIC), Ministry of Media, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Grammy Award-winning composer Yanni dazzled a packed crowd on Friday night with some of his popular pieces in a spectacular show at Al-Ula as part of the extended Winter at Tanto...Read More
Once the leaves have fallen, Bruges puts on its best winter dress. During the day you stroll past wonderfully decorated shop windows and when it grows dark, Christmas lights get you in the festive mood. From 23 November, the historic centre is transformed into one big Christmas market. One can certainly find some great gifts and stocking fillers in the stalls, and there is also ice-skating. Afterwards, you can reward yourself with a lovely hot chocolate or spicy mulled wine. How lovely! Bruges is called Venice of North for its canals During the most festive period of the year, Bruges has much to experience. Delightful Christmas markets, an ice skating rink: from the end of November up to the beginning of January, romantic Bruges will be the most ideal location to en...Read More
A beautiful ‘Assumption’ leading to discontent!
Almost 5,500 kms from Delhi, far down in Indian Ocean just about 600 kms from coast of Tanzania in Africa, an unimaginably beautiful tiny island with an area of just 11.6 sq. km is a source of discontent because of India. It must be something we rarely know about, but despite its small size Assumption Island, which is part of the Aldabra Atoll in Seychelles has a lot to cherish about. Debate is about India’s plan to make a Naval base at the island. Much to the concern of environmentalists and Seychellois, this island has already been leased out to India for 20 years and just 20 days back India and Seychelles signed a military agreement to develop the Naval base. Good things first. Often called the jewel in the crown of Seychelles, Aldabra is the world’s second largest coral at...Read More
After coming out of the Virupaksha temple, we climbed up the Hemakuta hills and after visiting all the cluster of temples and pavilions, we go down the other side. But there are lot more archeological marvels in store in this part of Hampi, one of the most important UNESCO world Heritage site in India. Probably the rocky terrains around Tunghbadra River have given local sculptors abundant opportunities to carve their excellent crafts. Hence, huge statues were carved out of boulders. Also read: Hampi in Monsoon - Virupaksha Temple As we get down from the Hemakuta hills on the other side, right in the front is first of the three great monoliths- Sasivekalu Ganesha. Sasivekalu means mustard (सरसों). This four armed monolithic Ganesha is 2.4 metres high and is enclosed in an open pilRead More
Hampi in Monsoon : Images from Hemakuta Hills
We are in UNESCO World heritage site of Hampi in Karnataka and have already went through the Virupaksha temple which is considered to be the most sacred of Hampi's all temples. Right to the north of Virupaksha temple in Hampi is a big rock face which is known as Hemakuta Hill. It is not a big hill per say, but it is located very strategically. You can have a grand view of the Virupaksha temple and the Hampi Bazar from the top of the hill. There are ruins scattered all around. Also read: Hampi in Monsoon - Virupaksha Temple It is aptly also called as a canvas of rocks. And its actually a very amazing sight of the temple ruins around and the very strange rock formations. This rock hill has small temples, gateways and pavilions scattered all around. There are also remains of a fortiRead More
Hampi is indeed one of the most prominent heritage sites in peninsular India. In our childhood, we all had been deeply associated with stories of Raja Krishna Dev Raya (Krishnadevaraya) and Tenali Raman (Ramkrishna). It is always fascinating to be there where all those immortal stories of Vijayanagara empire would have taken place. Hampi is also a place which can be included in our monsoon travel itineraries. Having there been in monsoon, I can safely say that it is one of he best time to visit Hampi. Summers are indeed a torture here and winter would be fun but it is the monsoon which brings the best out of this historical place in Hemakuta hills of Karnataka. So here are few images from monsoon travel in Hampi, starting with the Virupaksha temple. Few striking ones to begin with- view...Read More
Having talked about Borobudur Temple in Indonesia earlier, Prambanan temple can't be left far behind. We have seen some sunset photos of the Prambanan Temple earlier, its now time to talk in some detail about it. Prambanan temple is in central Java and close to city of Yogyakarta. It is largest hindu temple in Indonesia located in area which is termed as Prambanan plains. It is also one of the biggest in South East Asia. Prambanan temple is dedicated to tridev- Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh (Shiva). There are six main temples- Shiva in the centre, Brahma to his right and Vishnu to his left. And right opposite to temples of these three deities are the three temples of their respective vahanas- Nandi in front of Shiva, Garuda in front of Vishnu and Hamsa (swan) in front of Brahma. All tRead More
Borobudur Buddhist Temple: spectacular & outstanding!
We visited Borobudur temple in the third leg of our Indonesia trip, when we were stationed at Yogyakarta. Yogyakarta is the biggest city close to this UNESCO world heritage site. Borobudur at Magelang in Central Java province of Indonesia is a Mahayana Buddhist Temple built in 8th and 9th centuries. It has been recorded as the largest Buddhist Temple in the world. But not just that... it is not just because of its size. It is considered to be one of the greatest Buddhist monuments in the world and for that matter, among the greatest monuments in the world. Complex is huge and very artistically and geometrically built. It wasn't possible for us to see it from the top, but this aerial image (below) taken from internet gives an idea of what this structure is like. In the image below yo...Read More
The whole of Bruges is a public art gallery
Bruges is one of the most beautiful cities in Belgium and perhaps on the northern coast of Europe. The entire historic centre is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. As with many other cities in Europe, one of the most interesting part about Bruges is its public art. A public art space is reflection of a vibrant, open and inclusive society. It also denotes that how a society respects different ideas and preserves them. Art plays an essential role in formulating new alternatives and it provides starting point for dialog. Art and art installations are there to see all around in Bruges- roadsides, house tops, balconies, city centres and even on public water taps. Well I am not an art critic, but I found the different forms of art in public places very fascinating in Bruges. Bruges has been fa...Read More