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Kunzum Mag - December 2011

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Welcome to Delhi… Or is it Dihli, Daidala, Dilli or Dhila? Whatever its name, and whatever its failings, there is no doubt Delhi is a delightful place. Go explore. The journey will never finish

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Kunzum Mag - December 2011

  1. 1. Issue 06 | December 2011 T R A V E L M A GE x p L o r I n gDELHI
  2. 2. contents Delhi Special: Welcome to 08 QuWWat-ul-iSlam mOSQue: When history changed forever Delhi… Or is it 09 Qutab minar: Still looking for answers 11 the irOn pillar: Go figure its Dihli, Daidala, dimensions 12 razia Sultan: Will the queen rise from Dilli or Dhila? her grave 13 Sultan Garhi: Surreal show in the What is in a name? basement tomb 14 hauz KhaS: Back to School A lot if it is a matter of identity and history. 16 humayan’S tOmb: For husband, with Leading to the toponymy of the city being love full of mythological and historical theories. 19 A Walk Down mehrauli VillaGe 22 JaiSalmer, raJaSthan The city in the Earlier travellers to India including fort, and beyond the two Greek travellers Nearchus and 29 thailanD, The Festival of Lanterns,Megasthenese, Fah Hian and the great Chinese traveler Hiuen Tsiang, who Lights and Floats in Chiang Maivisited India in 5th century A.D., never mentioned a city which may havebeen Delhi, but they did refer to other important ones in north India. Greekgeographer Ptolemy mentions Dilli, which he called Daidala, which may have 41 hOtel reVieWSbeen established around 57 B.C. in the area between the present day Qutab > river tern lodge - Bhadra WildlifeMinar complex and Tughlaqabad Fort by King Delu of Kanauj. But there is Sanctuary, Karnatakaas yet no archaeological or historical evidence of the existence of either this > Shaam-e-Sarhad Village resort,city or the king. - Hodka, GujaratThe pillar at the Qutab is (mythically) believed to pre-date the foundation 46 Stuffof Delhi, and may have been brought from Bihar by the city’s founding king > Kunzum travel pixAnang Pal. According to legend, a Hindu priest advised the king to plant it in > Sketch feature - Jim Corbett Nationalthe ground so that it could rest on the head of the snake king; and as long as Parkthat holds steady, the king’s rule will do so likewise. After putting the pillar in, > book review: Into Thin Airthe king was not sure if it had been done correctly and ordered the pillar to > The Handwritten Traveloguebe uprooted. Finding its base covered with blood from the snake king’s head,Anang Pal had it put back hurriedly lest he invoke any curses. But it couldnever be stable like before. In Hindi, the pillar was said to be dihli meaningloose. This name of the city may thus have been derived from the word dihli. team kunzum CTO (Chief Travelling Officer): ajay JainSome historians believe Delhi was occupied around A.D. 300 before being - He also hogs the driver’s seatabandoned for reasons unknown; what is for sure is that the Tomar kingAnang Pal decided to move here and make it his capital in 1052. CEO (Chief Editorial Officer): anubhuti rana - Prefers being on the passenger seat on the highwaysThe great Arab traveller and adventurer from Tangier, referred to the city asDihli in the 14th century. Some other writings have spelt it Delle. CSO (Chief Social Officer): Shruti Sharma - Found on Facebook, Twitter, Kunzum Travel Café or trekking in the wildWhatever its name, and whatever its failings, there is no doubt Delhi is adelightful place. Go explore. The journey will never finish. CDO (Chief Design Officer): faizan patel - Also Chief Desk Officer, that’s where he is stuck when others travel Samridhi minocha - A big welcome to our new team member*Unless mentioned, all articles and photographs in this issue are by Ajay Jain Subscribe to the for FREE at http://kunzum.com/mag available as PDF & for the iPad & Kindle
  3. 3. kunzum travel mag (Previous Issues) Missed the earlier issues of the Kunzum Travel Mag? No problem. Download the same at http://kunzum.com/mag. This is what we have covered:iSSue 1, July 2011 iSSue 2, auGuSt 2011raJaSthan / ranthambhOre: aSSam:> Looking the tiger in the eye > Manas National Park: The Games Elephants PlaynaGalanD: Misty Mountain Top arunachal praDeSh:The re-discovery of nepal > Hello Ladies…of Arunachal PradeshlaDaKh: At the top of the world himachal praDeShhimachal praDeSh / lahaul Spiti maharaShtra:> Kaza: Paradise is Here > The Matheran Light Railway: Go for a Joyride> Tabo, the Village of Cavemen and Lamas uttaraKhanDDelhi > Kunzum Route K14> Mehrauli Archaeological Park: Bet no one tells you this Delhione > If it’s Ramadan, you must be in Matia Mahal> Hazrat Nizamuddin’s Dargah: Qawwalis, > Walk on the Northern Ridge: History in One SweepFairs, Prayers, Shopping – It all happens here raJaSthan > Kuldhara, Jaisalmer: When the Paliwals Vanished intobOOKS: > 5 books to read about the 1996 Everest disaster the Night > Bera: Welcome to Leopard Country - It is Wild and FreeGuJarat> Rani ki Vav in Patan: A Stepwell or a Work of Art? hOtel reVieWS> The Sun Temple at Modhera > Banjara Retreat, ShojaJOrDan > The Almond Villa, Srinagar> Dead Sea: Try sinking in it, you cannot! > Rann Riders, Dasada, Rann of Kutch > Devra Homestay, UdaipurhOtel reVieWS> Swaswara in Gokarna, Karnataka - Perfect to uplift your Stuffbody, mind and soul > Sketch Feature - Singapore> Banasura Island Retreat, Wayanad Kerala - What a > Photography: Don’t let the Camera go Dead on youperfect setting for a resort > Book Review: Journey to the Center of the Earth> Banjara Camps and Retreat, Sangla, Himachal Pradesh- Cannot Admire it Enough> Gir Birding Lodge, Sasan Gir, Gujarat - They know thejungle!
  4. 4. iSSue 3, September 2011 iSSue 4, OctOber 2011A Journey to KaShmir, on Kunzum Route K11 Postcards from GuJaratDelhi himachal praDeSh> Join the annual Dussehra Procession Thanedar: The birthplace of apples in IndiaSafdarjung’s Tomb raJaSthantamil naDu: The Niligiri Mountain Railway - A Toy Train Mount Abu: A quiet oasis in a desert stateyou must Ride DelhiraJaSthan Chor Minar: Making an example of thievesJodhpur: Food, Bazaars, History - It all Happens Here Khooni Darwaza: The gate with a bloody history Kinari Bazaar: Where colours change with seasonshOtel reVieWS JOrDan> Castle Bera, Bera, Rajasthan Rain Country Resorts Wadi Rum: A vast, echoing and God-like desert> Wayanad, Kerala>The Blackbuck Lodge, Velavadar, Gujarat hOtel reVieWS> Banjara Orchard Retreat, Thanedar, Himachal Pradesh > Wild Grass Lodge, Kaziranga, Assam > Soulitude, Ramgarh, UttarakhandStuff> Travel Bites: Don’t be Jet-Lagged this Holiday Season Stuff> Sketch Feature - Malaysia > The Wanderer’s Palate: Elai Adai> Book Review: River Dog > Travel Bites > Sketch Feature - Kanha National Park > Book Review: Being a Scot > The Handwritten TravelogueiSSue 5, nOVember 2011biKaner, raJaSthan:Enchanting camel fair and lots moreThanedar: The birthplace of apples in IndiaPhoto Feature: Hitting a WallDelhiPurana Qila (Old Fort): Where emperors take fatal tumblesKhair-ul-Manazil Mosque: A gift from the nannyhOtel reVieWS> Iora, The Retreat - Kaziranga, Assam> Fish Tail Lodge - Pokhara, NepalStuff> The Wanderer’s Palate: A chick for every season> Sketch Feature - Switzerland> Book Review: Three Men in a Boat> The Handwritten Travelogue
  5. 5. DelhiQuWWat-ul-iSlam mOSQueWhen history changed forever…T he Delhi we know today had its foundations laid in A.D. In fact, the rear part of the mosque with pillars may have been 1191-92 when Mohammed Ghori of Ghazni in central- a part of an original Hindu temple; this is known as Prithviraj east Afghanistan defeated Prithviraj Chauhan, the last Chauhan’s Chaunsath Khamba or 64-pillared hall. The pillarsHindu monarch to rule Delhi. He entrusted Qutbuddin Aibak, used from Hindu temples had images of humans and animals,his slave general, as administrator of this newly acquired banned in Islam. These were defaced leaving only the rest ofterritory. And the first task he set out to do was building the the bodies still to be seen. The mosque does not even have aQuwwat-ul-Islam, or the Might of Islam, mosque. It stands dome, unlike those made later. It was either never made, ornext to the Qutab Minar. it collapsed.Qutbuddin did not have any designers and architects with Iltutmish, who succeeded Qutbuddin, made expansions tohim, nor did he have enough financial resources to build the mosque by adding six more arches – some of which arethe mosque. He proceeded to demolish 27 Jain and Hindu still existing in their original form. Expert workers from Ghortemples and build the mosque using its materials on the same and Persia had come over by this time, their work distinctlysite. He employed Hindu masons from Lal Kot to carry out standing out from the earlier one. Instead of flowers andthe task at hand. With little knowledge of Islamic styles, these plants, they made geometrical figures like circles and triangles.workers made structures very different from what one sawin the following centuries in India. They built arches without Alauddin Khilji decided to expand the mosque further bykeystones, which collapsed subsequently. Qutbuddin also adding more arches. For over a hundred years, this mosquewanted texts from the Koran in Arabic to be engraved, but the was the Jama Masjid or the main mosque for the royals ofworkers could only manage to carve beautiful plants growing Delhi. Eventually, Firozshah built a new one in the city ofup the arch and put Arabic texts in between the leaves. Firozabad in 1360. Alauddin also added a gateway to the mosque, called the Alai Darwaza, made of sandstone and 8
  6. 6. marble. By this time, the problem of arches and domes had western wall facing Mecca, you cannot but feel a historicalalso been solved. chill run up your spine. In 1192, 27 Jain and Hindu temples were demolished to make a mosque – and the first formalOverall, the construction took place without any proper plans outpost of Islam was established in India. The country wouldin the Qutab complex and went on from the 12th to the 19th never be the same again – socially and politically. Exactlycenturies. After Timur took Delhi in 1398, the mosque fell into 800 years later, in 1992, the right wing Bhartiya Janta Partya state of disrepair till the British took it upon themselves to demolished the Babri Masjid (mosque) in Ayodhya in Northrepair the arches in the mid-19th century. India to make a Hindu temple – and the history of modern India changed forever.When you stand at the mosque and face the Mehrab or theQutab minarStill Looking for AnswersPisa in Italy has its Leaning Tower, Paris its Eiffel Tower andDelhi its Qutab Minar – the branding of these cities are alllinked to their most famous landmarks. But none have asmuch history and intrigue as Delhi’s minaret.For starters, no one knows for sure why this was built. Didthe king seek pleasure at its sight? Was it built to give a callto prayer? From 234 feet high (a climb of 378 steps), thehighest single tower in the world, the mullahs (priests) areunlikely to be audible at the ground level. In all likelihood itmay have been built as a Tower of Victory. Allow a stretchof the imagination, and maybe Qutbuddin Aibak was onlytoo pleased to be elevated from a slave to a king and thiswas his way of celebrating the moment. There is anotherthought going around: it was built in the memory of Sufisaint Qutbuddin Kaki whose mazaar (shrine) is nearby; thename of the minaret is on account of the saint rather thanthe king. If nothing else, it certainly served as a good watchtower for the Khilji and Tughlaq kings, who could monitorthe progress of the wild Mongol hordes on their way toinvade Delhi.Then there are theories about who built the Minar. Hindusbelieve the first storey was actually built by the last Hindu View of the Qutab Minar through the arches ofKing of Delhi, Prithviraj Chauhan. Why? For his wife and Quwwat-ul-Islam mosquedaughter to enjoy views of the river Yamuna in the evenings.Evidently, the river used to flow much closer to this areathan its current position. But no historian or archaeologisthas stuck his neck out yet to support this claim. Fortunately, repairs under Sikander Lodi in 1505. After further damagesneither have any Hindu fundamentalists. Until we know in 1794, British Major Smith decided to replace the cupolaany better, the credit for the first floor clearly rests with at the top with a new one. The Governor General Sir HenryQutbuddin Aibak, and the next two floors by his successor Hardinge did not approve of it and had it removed in 1848.Iltutmish. This structure now stands on the ground in one corner and referred to as ‘Smith’s folly.’The minaret has reportedly been struck by lightening thricein its history, and two earthquakes caused further damages One has grown up listening to theories about the Qutabbesides giving the minaret a slight tilt to one side. Firoz having two more floors that came down when a planeShah had to repair the top two floors and even added a crashed into it. However, an accident of that nature wouldlittle pavilion at the top. These two floors are distinguished have been recorded as it could only have happened in theby their smooth white marble finish. It underwent further modern era. And , in all probability then, not just two, but 9
  7. 7. the whole structure would have collapsed like the Twin structure had gained infamy with its top floor being usedTowers in New York. as a diving board for those wanting to fast forward their move to the next life. A thought here: the Minar was builtAfter a stampede killed many school children in 1981, with sloping roofs to give it a strong foundation – anyonevisitors are no longer allowed to climb the Qutab Minar – a jumping off the top floor is likely to crash against the wallspity really, denying one a 360 degree view of the city. The and not the ground first. Allaudin Khilji’s unfinished tower of victoryalauDDin KhilJi’S fOllieS anD cOntributiOnSAlauddin Khilji did his bit to add to the Qutab Minar priority. Both the expansion work on the mosque and thiscomplex in the early 14th century. He made a madarsa or minaret were left incomplete forever.a place of learning for students to learn Arabic and studythe Koran. According to one report he is buried next to this Where do IltutmIsh and QutbuddIn rest Inmadarsa but one is not sure. peace? Illtutmish had the foresight to plan his own tomb, and madeHis folly was trying to build a Tower of Victory to one of red stone in the Qutab Minar complex. Surprisinglycommemorate his victories in the Deccan region of south it has no dome; it probably had a timber covering whichIndia. He wanted it to be twice the height of the Qutab got worn away with time. The local architects were stillMinar. He died soon after starting work on it. The tower, not knowledgeable about making domes at that stage.called Alai Minar, stands close to the Qutab Minar with It is one of the oldest Muslim tombs in India. The onlyonly the lower floor partially complete. The structure was identifiable one before this is of his eldest son, Nasiruddinfound to be too perpendicular to be stable. And the political Mohammed, who died before him in 1228-9. His tomb,turmoil following Alauddin’s death when five kings came to known at Sultan Garhi, is located in the present day Vasantpower over a decade meant such works could never have Kunj area of south Delhi. 10
  8. 8. the irOn pillarGo figure its dimensionsThe wonders around Qutab Minar (itself a wonder) nevercease. Take the case of the Iron Pillar located in theQuwwat-ul-Islam Mosque compound.Dating back to the 4th century A.D., the pillar bears aninscription whose interpretation says it was erected tohonour Hindu God Vishnu by a certain King Chandra (couldpossibly be King Chandragupta II, A.D. 375 – 413). Thesefacts may not be confirmed, but the pillar’s Supermanfeatures are.It stands 7.3 meters tall, one meter below the ground; itis 48 centimetres wide at the foot, tapering to 29 cms atthe top (you need to figure out how to measure the topyourself!). And, it should weigh about 6.5 tonnes – againlift it to prove us wrong. If these dimensions are not inplace, somebody has tampered with our pillar!And there is more: the pillar is 98 percent wroughtiron and has stood 1,600 years without rusting ordecomposing. Those old guys really knew their stuff! Andwas it thick-skinned. When Nadir Shah attacked Delhi, hisworkers could not uproot it as snakes are believed to havesurrounded the pillar to form a protective barrier. Cannonshots could leave little more than marks on the surface –these might have been fired either by Nadir Shah’s armyor the Marathas. The pillar also survived earthquakes thatdamaged other structures in the complex.There was a time when you were allowed to go right upto the pillar and put your arms around it – a fence keepspeople at bay now. The only known exception in recenttimes was for Bollywood superstar Amitabh Bachchanwhile shooting for the film Cheeni Kum.Watch the flick to know if his arms managed to hug thepillar fully. The Iron Pillar in the Qutab Minar complex Join us on Facebook & TwiTTer www.facebook.com/kunzum @kunzum #wetravel 11
  9. 9. razia SultanWill the Queen rise from her real grave?Only two women have ‘ruled’ India from Delhi. The first What happened to Razia Sultan?was Razia Sultan who ruled from A.D. 1236 – 1240 asthe chosen heir to her father Shamsuddin Iltutmish; Officially, she is buried deep in the bylanes of Bulbuli Khanashe was preferred over her brothers. And the other was in old Delhi. The unpretentious site has two simple graves,democratically elected Indira Gandhi, the prime minister one supposedly of her sister Saziya. No one is sure which isfor multiple terms between the 1960s and the 1980s. whose. But the uncertainty does not end here. Her burial sites are also (unofficially) claimed to be in Siwan nearWhat did they have in common? Both met violent deaths. Kaithal in Haryana, in Tonk in Rajasthan and at the mosqueThe Queen was killed in battlefield when her own nobles next to the Rajon ki Baoli in Mehrauli Archaeological Parkand brother Bahram Shah rebelled against her. Indira in south Delhi.Gandhi too was the victim of an inside job when she wasassassinated on 31 October 1984 by her own bodyguards If you solve the mystery, tell us. Digging graves at midnightat her own residence. Indira Gandhi’s memorial is at her may not be a good idea though.former residence, 1 Safdarjung Road in New Delhi.GettinG there: Take the Metro to Chawri Bazaar. From here, walk till the end of Sitaram Bazaar and ask for Bulbuli Khanastarting alongside a mosque. Enter the lane, and take the first left; at the next fork, turn right and keep walking till the dead end.Alternately, you can walk from Turkman Gate and reach the same place. 12
  10. 10. Sultan Garhi Step Out On an empty StOmach The entrance to the Sultan Garhi. The basement with the graves where the devout come calling on Thursdays at Sultan Garhi (Inset) Surreal ShOW in the baSement tOmb T he Sultan Garhi tomb is known to be the oldest after his father Sultan Iltutmish but met an untimely death surviving resting place for anyone in Delhi. The around 1231 A.D. Nasiru’d-Din was the brother of Razia basement with three graves is usually dark and Sultan, the first and only woman monarch to rule from damp, and you have to watch your step, and head, when Delhi. Tragically, all siblings met with untimely or violent you go in. Little stirs inside except on Thursdays. deaths. It is the day when both Muslims and Hindus converge Thursdays are a day for prayers and feasting. The well- here all day to offer their prayers to Nasiru’d-Din Baba, off serve free meals around mid-day, and a small flea and the underground turns all surreal. Hundreds of lamps market comes up in the surrounding area. People from and candles are lit by devotees, creating a smoky lighted neighbouring areas come in a festive mood. Located wonder within. It is jostling time with scores cramping the in south Delhi’s Vasant Kunj area, it is off the main space at any given time - but it will not disturb your senses. thoroughfare in a forested area. You can see it from the The sight will keep you transfixed, even moving you in a road, but chances are you will ignore it. Don’t. Venture in, way. Faith does have a certain kind of an energy to it. and spend some time with yourself on any day. You will not be able to stop yourself from wondering about the man Surprisingly, the tomb is not dedicated to a holy man but who lies buried since nearly forever, and the times that to a prince who would have been emperor, or sultan. were. Even as airplanes whiz by above you to and from the Nasiru’d-Din Mahmud was the heir-apparent to the throne city’s airport nearby. travel tip: Sultan Garhi is located opposite Sector C, Pocket 9 in south Delhi’s Vasant Kunj. 9
  11. 11. The assembly hall, or Majlis Khanahauz KhaSBack to SchoolA s far as oases go, Hauz Khas is tough to beat. A green The Madrasa served as a university of its time. The teachings lung, away from the noise and dust of the city, with included Arabic, the Koran, Muslim Theology, Philosophy and historical structures to boot and a water body to calm Law. It attracted scholars from as far as Central Asia to studythe soul – all in the heart of south Delhi. and teach. Persian was studied by nobles but usually through private tutors. Citizens pursuing commercial professionalsThe opening credit should go to Alauddin Khilji (1296 – 1316) went to their own schools where they were taught in theirwho built a private reservoir when making the new city of Siri vernacular languages like Hindi and Urdu.in the early 14th century – the name means special (Khas) tank(Hauz), made specifically for royal use. He called this reservoir When you explore the buildings, allow your imagination to goHauz-i-Alai, and it had a capacity of about 800 million litres. back in time and visualize students pursuing academics in theThe following act starred Firoz Shah Tughlaq (1351 – 1388) many chambers of the Madrasa. The buildings were said towho set up a Madrasa (an educational institution) called have been covered with white plaster at the time, and paintedMadrasa-e-Feroz Shahi – and established Delhi as a great seat in bright colours with golden domes. A large hall, a majlisof learning. And the present day authorities deserve a pat on khana, was used as an assembly hall. Firoz Shah decided tothe back for landscaping the area to make for fun outings. build his own tomb at the intersection of the two wings ofMetro: Green Park (a 20-30 minute walk from there or a quick rickshaw ride) 14
  12. 12. The tomb of Feroz Shahthe Madrasa. In the garden outside are chhatris, or domes Be careful, don’t take a tumble from the edge of thesupported by pillars open on the sides. At one time there monuments. It is a steep fall – and don’t think you will gowere unidentifiable graves here, probably of the teachers, but Splaaaash! The water tank is some distance away and you willthese have been flattened – in all likelihood by people who only hear Craaaack!!used these for shelter over the centuries. Chhatris in the gardens 26 9
  13. 13. Humayun’s Tombhumayun’S tOmbFor Husband, With Love!T he fifth Mughal emperor Shahjahan may be a hero Sufi saint Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya. The whole area was thus to every romantic for building the Taj Mahal in the believed to be blessed and, if one is buried here too, it was memory of his wife Mumtaz Mahal, but did you know seen as a shortcut to heaven. It also explains why you see sothe inspiration came from his great grandmother Hamida many tombs in this area including the ones at Lodi Gardens.Banu Begum? The Mughals were much richer than the earlier rulersWife of second Mughal emperor Humayun, she built the of Delhi, and this is reflected in the use of higher qualityHumayun’s Tomb in the loving memory of her late husband. sandstone and marble. A lot of effort and money went in theSome sources also credit the building to Humayun’s senior carved texts and inlay work on marble walls, as also the jaaliwidow, Bega Begum, also known as Haji Begum (because or trellis work in red sandstone. The dome is a full dome; itshe performed the Haj). Persian architect Mirak Mirza is a full semicircle while all previous ones in Delhi were halfGhiyas ensured the final resting place befitted the status of semicircles. The building also stands on a large platform,the deceased. And when Shahjahan started work on the Taj giving it an even more imposing look.Mahal, he came knocking on the doors of Humayun’s Tombfor design ideas. It was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Besides Humayun, his wife and some subsequent MughalSite in 1993. royalty are buried here. All are unmarked, but one of these isIt was built in 1565, nine years after Humayun tumbled of Dara Shikoh, eldest son of Shahjahan, who was murdereddown his library steps and died. The site was selected for its by his brother Aurangzeb to usurp the throne. Although heproximity to the Nizamuddin Dargah, the mausoleum of the now rests in peace (we hope!), Humayun’s reign was marked 16
  14. 14. The mosque and tomb of Isa Khan Niyasiby a lot of strife! He came to power in 1530 after the death of To the right is another archway leading to what is knownhis father Babur but lost his throne to Sher Shah or Sher Khan as the Arab Serai (Serai means Rest House). It was built in(no, not the one from ‘Jungle Book’!) in 1539. After spending 1560-61 by Hamida Banu Begum for either the 300 Arabs15 years in exile, he did get his kingdom back in 1555 but died she brought back with her from Mecca, or Persian artisansa year later! working on the tomb. Travellers on the Grand Trunk Road later used it for night halts. In another version, it was knownMughals loved to build gardens, and they did so wherever as Jahangir Mandi (meaning market place); the recesses werethey went (including the famous Mughal Gardens of Srinagar used as stalls. The enclosure has many unmarked graves too.in Kashmir). It is the case here too. These are interlacedwith water channels to keep the gardens green and fresh. The tomb is a solemn place, but Humayun’s life was far fromRoses had been planted to bloom in the day, while jasmines it. Humayun has been described by some historians as a bit offlowered at night. There were fruit trees like pomegranates a libertine who spent months on end feasting on wine, opiumand flowering ones like Gulmohar and Amaltas. This planning and poetry, or playing dice on the ‘carpet of mirth’ in court.ensured beautiful sights all year round, 24 hours a day. He was known to be extremely superstitious, managing his kingdom’s administration astrologically; he would always stepThe river Yamuna used to form the North-Eastern wall of into a room left foot first.the complex but has since changed course, replaced by amotorable road with a railway line not too far behind. When If you want to follow in his footsteps, place the left foot firstyou enter the complex, you will notice an octagonal enclosure; when you enter the mausoleum. You may also pack a littleit is a mosque and tomb of Isa Khan Niyasi, one of the nobles picnic ‘feast’ but don’t expect to be served by any courtesans.of Sher Shah. It predates the Humayun’s Tomb, built in 1547 Nor will you be allowed to consume any wine in public spaces.during the noble’s lifetime. Until the early 20th century, an A game of dice without gambling is fine, but opium is a no-no.entire village was settled within the enclosure. The sight of the monument is enough to give you a high. 17
  15. 15. the muGhal DynaStyThe Mughals came to power in India when Zahiruddin Muhammad, affectionately known as ‘Babur’, came from CentralAsia in 1526 and defeated Ibrahim Lodi in the first battle of Panipat. Subsequent lineage who ruled the empire went as:Nasiruddin Humayun (1530-1540 and 1555-1556), Jalaluddin Muhammad Akbar --- also known as Akbar the Great --- (1556-16050, Muhammad Salim Jahangir (1605-1627), Muhammad Shahjahan (1628-1658) and Muhammad Aurangzeb BahadurAlamgir (1658-1707). The rule of Aurangzeb is known as the beginning of the end of Mughal rule – all subsequent rulers onlybrought upon further decline till the British took over.reStOrinG the paStBetween 2000 and 2003, The Aga Khan Trust for Culture funded and collaborated with the Archaeological Survey of India(ASI) in implementing a project to revitalize the 30 acre garden surrounding the Humayun’s Tomb. This included repairsof 3-km long water channels, restoring 3.5 km of pathway edging, removing earth in excess of 3,000 truckloads, hand-chiselling 4 km of sandstone, planting 2,500 plants favoured by the Mughals, restoring 25,000 sq metres of pathways andintroducing an exhaustive rainwater harvesting system. Besides this, other minor structures have been restored, historicalwells discovered and desilted and wheelchair access and a site interpretation centre provided.aDDitiOnal factS abOut the tOmb• The mausoleum stands on a platform of 12,000 sq metres and reaches a height of 47 metres.• The tomb within it has over 100 graves earning it the nickname ‘Dormitory of the Mughals.’• Built of rubble masonry, it is the first structure in the country to use such high quantities of red sandstone and marble.• The small canopies on the terrace were initially covered with glazed blue tiles. advertise with ...and reach out to all those who love the idea of travel we have many options for you to choose from - ensuring you always get your customer kunzum.com | Social media - Facebook & twitter kunzum travel Cafe | events Sponsorshops | kunzum travel mag We can propose a media plan to suit your objectives.Ping us 18 mail@kunzum.com at +91.9910044476/+91.9650702777
  16. 16. a WalK DOWn mehrauli VillaGeI n the beginning Delhi was Mehrauli. When new cities like Jahanpanah, Siri and other subsequent ones came up, thisbecame the old city. When Shahjahanabad was built, that Are you confused? A walk in the village takes you back centuries, where residentswas the new Delhi and Mehrauli was not even regarded a live like they would in an urban village – with parts beingpart of Delhi – it was like another town or village that people taken over for some of the finest restaurants and boutiques‘travelled’ to. And when today’s central Delhi and later south in the city. While the latter may be well known, a peek intoDelhi were developed, Shahjahanabad became old Delhi and the lesser known historical remains is highly recommended.Mehrauli again became a part of New Delhi. Adham Khan’s Tomb or BhoolbhulaiyanaaDham Khan’S tOmb Or bhOOlbhulaiyanA dham Khan was a favoured noble of Mughal Emperor Akbar, and son of his foster mother Maham Anaga.Adham Khan committed the folly of murdering another of and cannot be missed opposite the bus terminal. It is also known as Bhoolbhulaiyan because of a maze on its upper corridor along the dome – it is supposedly easy to get lostAkbar’s favourites, Atgah Khan, and was awarded the death in it. Unfortunately, it is now closed to visitors. Accordingpenalty. This tomb was built in Adham Khan’s memory by to the ASI caretaker, there is a tunnel running from here allhis mother. It is by far the largest structure in the village, the way to Agra! 19
  17. 17. GanDhaK Ki baOliT urn left into the narrow lane leading to the bazaars of Mehrauli, and you will come to a step-well calledGandhak ki Baoli. It is said to have been built during thereign of Iltutmish. Five storeys deep, it got its name fromthe strong smell (gandh) of sulphur emanating from it.Sadly enough, it has gone dry now. Gandhak ki Baoli zafar mahal M uch of a ruin, this was originally built by Akbar II who reigned from 1806 to 1837 with major additions by Bahadur Shah Zafar II, the last in the line of Mughal emperors. The three storeyed building is crumbling, and you can go up only because of reinforcements by the ASI. But still be careful – you never know what might give way sending you into nothingness below. A marble enclosure within the complex has the graves of some Mughal emperors like Bahadur Shah I (son of Aurangzeb, who ruled from 1707 – 1712), Shah Alam (ruled from 1759-1806) and Akbar Shah II (1806 – 1837). An empty space between the graves of the first two has been earmarked for Bahadur Shah II, who died in exile in Rangoon and rests in peaceZafar Mahal – the mosque in the background is the there.Shrine of Khwaja Qutubuddin Bakhtiyar Kaki. The royalgraves in the palace are in a marble enclosure –with avacant spot for the grave of Bahadur Shah Zafar IIhiJrOn Ka KhanQahT his is one of the most interesting places in Mehrauli, one many residents themselves are not aware of. It is agraveyard for eunuchs (known as hijras). It is in the middleof the Mehrauli bazaar, and you can easily miss its smallentrance. There are about 50 white graves, all of eunuchs,one standing out from the rest. According to the caretakerNaushad, this one is believed to be of the adopted sister(not a eunuch) of Qutubuddin Bakhtiyar Kaki. Someversions date this graveyard back to the Lodi period of the15th century. No fresh burials are made here anymore. Butit has a western prayer wall, or Mehrab, that is used forprayers on special occasions. The place is maintained byNaushad and another caretaker; they take up odd jobs tosupport themselves and rely on donations for the upkeep.You can go anytime as long as one of the two is around;they live within the compound. Hijron ka Khanqah 20
  18. 18. Jahaz MahalJahaz mahalT his pavilion is built on the banks of the Hauz-i-Shamsi, or water reservoir. One is not sure of the origins, but itmay have been built around the 15th century in the Lodi clothes in it. Across the road, through some slums is another place called the Jharna meaning waterfall. It was built within some Mughal Gardens around 1700, and waterperiod. It could have served as a serai or a rest house for from the reservoir would flow into it. This water would betravellers, or as a retreat for the later Mughal emperors. used to run fountains, and to further channelize it for useIt is also the venue of the annual Phoolwalon ki Sair, the of residents.procession of florists held around October. The reservoiritself may have been built around 1230 A.D. by Iltutmish. Mehrauli village is clearly a case of being a rich place goingUnfortunately, it requires cleaning up and a conservation to seed – but it is still worth the obstacle course created byeffort to restore it to its original pristine state. And a high density living and poor maintenance.commitment by residents not to throw garbage or washShrine Of KhWaJa QutubuDDin baKhtiyar KaKiM any an emperor and other nobles preferred to be buried in the area as it was the khanqah or blessed area of the Sufi saint and mystic, Qutubuddin Bakhtiyar Kaki, who came from Iran and died in 1235 A.D. His shrine adjoins the ZafarMahal, and is one of the more revered destinations for the devout. 21
  19. 19. raJaSthan The Jaisalmer FortJaiSalmerThe city in the fort, and beyondThis is a city that has always lived in a fort -and continues to do so even today. The fort maybe the main attraction, but Jaisalmer has much more to offer on its platter. 22
  20. 20. firSt, the fOrt itSelfIt is tough to distinguish between the historical and thepresent in the fort - time lies intertwined here. Built in1156 by Bhati ruler Rawal Jaisal on the Trikuta Hill, it is alsoknown as Sonar Qila or Golden Fort because of the use ofyellow sandstone which takes on a honey-gold hue in thesetting sun. It has a perimeter of 5 kms (3 miles), rising76 metres above the surrounding countryside and markedby 99 bastions. Jaisalmer fell along an important ancienttrading route, doing business with Persia, Arabia, Egypt andother African countries. With the rise of Bombay duringthe British rule, all trade moved away leaving Jaisalmerisolated. The economy is driven by tourism now. The Gadsisar LakeWithin the milieu / ramparts of the fort are beautifulJain temples, old havelis or mansions, a palace museum,restaurants, hotels and shops. The Jain temples are outside the fort. Women would watch the proceedingsparticularly noteworthy because of their fine carvings, from behind the stone-meshed windows.with each temple boasting its own unique design. A visit to the palace and museum gives you an insight intoAtop the wall along the entrance gates, you will see the times gone by. Most notable are the exhibits of armsrounded stones which were meant to be thrown at and the throne. You get beautiful views of the city andadvancing enemies; this gives a feeling of war-readiness beyond from the upper floors; a sun clock on the terraceeven today. The central courtyard within the fort is called tells you the time if you know how to interpret the same.Dusshera Chowk, and the royalty celebrated the Hindu The chambers used by the kings and queens give you afestival of Dusshera here till 1974 after which it was shifted peek into their personal lifestyles. The fort with a view of the city beyond 21
  21. 21. Palace and museum building within the fort A beautifully sculptured ceiling with the Jain temples 24
  22. 22. beyOnD the fOrtWalk around town and you will see many havelis(mansions), some going back centuries, built by richbusinessmen. Most continue to be inhabited but arewelcoming of visitors. Some of the better known ones areSalimji ki Haveli, Patwon ki Haveli and Nathmalji ki Haveli;these are best accessed by foot or on cycle rickshaws.Two other spots not to be missed are the Vyas Chhatris andthe Gadsisar Lake. The latter was built by Maharaja GadsiSingh in 1367 to serve as a water reservoir for the entirefort. Its banks are dotted with temples and shrines; it alsoattracts migratory birds during the winters. Away from thehustle and bustle of the town, it is a calm oasis where onecan spend hours - on the edge of the water or in a boat.The Vyas Chhatris are the cenotaph of Sage Vyas who The Gadsisar Lakewrote the Hindu epic Mahabharata. This is the place to gofor stunning views of the setting sun, and also to see theJaisalmer fort glow in the evening light. The Vyas ChhatrisThe Jain Temples Sun setting over the Vyas Chhatris 25
  23. 23. KulDharaKuldhara was once a bustling town inhabited by the PaliwalBrahmins, a rich business and agricultural communitysince 1291 A.D. And then suddenly, one night in 1825, allthe residents of Kuldhara and 83 nearby villages vanishedinto the dark. Lock, stock and barrel, leaving their housesbehind - an architectural wonder worth visiting.Read about Kuldhara in the August 2011 issue of theKunzum Travel Mag. Download the same at http://kunzum.com/docs/kunzum-mag-aug11.pdf A view of the village Setting sun over the Sam DunesSam DuneSThese come highly recommended but don’t go with very parking lot, but ends within 10 minutes - the rest of thegreat expectations lest you come back disappointed. The time is to be spent on the dunes enjoying the views of theSam (pronounced ‘some’) Dunes, located 45 kilometers beautiful sunsets and getting yourself entertained by local(28 miles) from Jaisalmer, do not live up to the imagery of artists. You can go for a short visit, or stay at the dozens ofthe Arabian or Saharan deserts, but make for an enjoyable camps along the road to Sam.evening out. A one-hour long camel safari starts at the 26
  24. 24. fOODIf in Rajasthan, food can never be out of the mind. Asusual, I was out looking for traditional cuisine - eventuallygot some authentic stuff at an eatery outside the fort. Afamily run place, they cooked in the kitchen and served inthe modified living room. When I requested to go easy onthe pure oil at its fatty best (baati or flour dumpling eatenas a bread are usually served after soaking them in oil) thegrandfather got upset over the very idea! Sorry grandpa,cannot roam around with an oily belly!The Bhatia Market is so named as most shopkeepers comewith the family name Bhatia. I ordered Indian sweets atDhanaraj Ranmal Bhatia - the proprietor is the seventhgeneration running this business. Wow! They servecommon sweets like petha, kalakand, peda, differentkinds of ladoos including some they claim as their own Samosas for sale at Dhanaraj Ranmal Bhatia eateryrecipes: Ghotua (made from besan, mawa and kesar) andPanchdhari (made from moong daal, mawa, maida, pureoil and sugar). Delicious and fatty!hiGh On bhaanG in raJaSthan,WithOut beinG a nuiSanceWhen in Jaisalmer, do pay a visit to Doctor Bhaang. For adifferent kind of a high.Everyone knows where to find his ‘clinic.’ Prepared fromthe leaves and buds of the female cannabis plant, Bhaangcan be taken in many different ways. It is commonly addedto drinks like Thandai, or snacks like pakoras and Indiansweets and is consumed during festive occasions especiallyon Holi. Addicts take these in the form of a paste rolledinto the shape of a ball.The Government auctions rights to set up vends to sellBhaang. Doctor Bhaang, real name Chander Prakash Vyasbut known popularly as Babu, is the third generation ofa family holding these rights since the early 1970s. Youcan have Bhaang in many forms at his shop: in chocolates,cookies, sweets, buttermilk and juices. The dosage comesin ‘baby’ and strong portions; the former is for those just Doctor Bhang (in front), real name Chander Prakashstarting out. Or for Japanese and Koreans because they Vyas, with his father in the backgroundhave small eyes, and they will not return if they can’thandle it says the ‘doctor.’Does Bhaang have any merits too? Oh yes, says my host.In his own words: “It has full power, no shower, no toiletfor 24 hours. It is best for long journeys, desert tours and 27
  25. 25. camel safaris; instead of bobbing up and down, a camelride will feel like a flying carpet. It elevates moods, evencausing mild euphoria. Itstimulates the appetite, and evenserves as a mild aphrodisiac.” Babu’s doped out grandfatherlooked only middle aged, Bhaang being the secret of his‘youth’ - he has not been to a doctor for 45 years. Bhaangcould put apples out of favour.Babu’s warning: Avoid Bhaang in places like Varanasi andPushkar where it is adulterated with Dhatura, a kind of LSD,and can cause blindness. Babu does not sell raw Bhaang,but Girdhari Lal in Bikaner readily does: 100 grams powderfor Rs. 100 (US$ 2) or as a moist, rolled up ball for Rs. 10.I saw a local popping a few of the latter with water. Don’tsuch people become a public nuisance? No, said GirdhariLal. On the contrary, Bhaang calms the mind and makes itstable. It helps focus, reason why manylawyers and judgesconsume this regularly. It is effective if you want to sit forhours meditating to Lord Shiva. Unlike someone under Girdhari Lal’s mortar stone with itsthe influence of alcohol, a high on Bhaang means you will depression after 50 years of usesit peacefully in one corner and not wake up in a drain.Bhaang is cool to have; after all, it has the ‘blessings’ ofBhole Shankar, or Lord Shiva, as many a ‘high’ sadhus inholy cities will testify. Washing the Bhang down with waterJaislaMer: travel tips• Weather: Mild winters and very hot summers.• Best time to go: October to February.• Best Reached: By road. Or take a flight to Jodhpur and by road from there.• Recommended Stay: At least 2 days.• Combine trip with: Bikaner and Jodhpur 28
  26. 26. thailanD A dragon signifying Thai-Chinese friendship during the Loi Krathong FestivalA Festival of Lanterns, Lights and Floats in Chiang Mai If you are in love , or want to make any wishes for your future life ,head to Chiang Mai a few days before the full moon night of the 12th lunar month - usually falling in November. And participate in one of the most beautiful of festivals of lanterns, lights and floats.The Yi Peng festival is usually a four day affair, starting two or connecting with the Buddha and seeking His blessings.days before the full moon night. With many more days Of course, come morning, and you will see these deflatedof events and festivities. These are days when the whole balloons all over town.town is decorated with lanterns, lights, flowers and otherdecorations. Schedules and events vary every year, but the The festival is also marked by music performances, theatre,first day is usually marked with a lantern and floats contest beauty pageants, fireworks and lantern and balloonparade going through the old city from Thapae Gate to the exhibitions. You will see lantern decorations and giganticPantip Plaza. lit installations all over town.The skies come alive with hundreds and thousands of hot The full moon night is marked by the Loi Krathong festival.air balloons going into the sky. Called khome loy, these On this day, people in Chiang Mai gather along the Pingare usually made of saa paper (hand-made from mulberry river to release Krathongs into the water. A Krathong is atree). Its light texture lends itself to going up easily with small vessel made of a folded banana leaf attached to athe hot air generated from an oil lamp lit at its base. For slice of banana stalk. These are decorated with flowers,the romantic at heart, it is a time to promise a life of candles and joss sticks - releasing these in the water meanshappiness with their loved ones. Others make personal you let your troubles float away. Loi means ‘to drift.’ Thosewishes, see it as their troubles floating away into the skies in love reaffirm their feelings to one another. It can be 29
  27. 27. quite a sight seeing thousands of these bringing the river from the Hindu festival of lights, Diwali. In both cases, thealive in a different way. This festival is also celebrated in linkages to India are strong, where both these religionsother regions of Thailand. originated.These festivals have been celebrated for time immemorial, Head to Chiang Mai anytime, but especially so duringwith different theories about their history. These may have these festivals. Plan in advance - hotels and flights can be aoriginated from Buddhist festivities in the past, or inspired problem with the rush of visitors. Hot air lanters (Khome Loy) being released in Chiang Mai Fire dancer during a parade during the Yi Peng festival
  28. 28. A float during a parade during the Yi Peng festival in Chiang Mai Dancer at a parade during theYi Peng festival A couple in a parade during the Yi Peng festival
  29. 29. Dancers at aparade during the Yi Peng festival Dancers at a parade during the Yi Peng festivalImage from a parade during the Yi Peng festival
  30. 30. Decorations in Chiang Mai during the Loi KrathongFestival . The statue of 4 lions is depicted from the Ashoka Pillars from IndiaA couple in a parade during the Yi Peng festival
  31. 31. Decorations in Chiang Mai during the Loi Krathong festival kunzumMetro: Qutab Minar travel mag We travel. And share our stories with you. Read these anywhere on your Also available for online reading at http://issuu.com/kunzum SUBSCRIBE for FREE @ http://kunzum.com/mag
  32. 32. Feel the wind. Explore. Ride away. On a 500 cc motorbike. There may be no better way to see India. Decide your own route, or take one of our recommendations. Bike rentals | Tour Advisories | Guided Tours. www.royalindiabikes.com | +91.99100 12597 | +91.9871697719 | rajiv@royalindiabikes.comnorth india – rajiv@royalindiabikes.com ; saiba@royalindiabikes.com | south india – malvikaa@gmail.com
  33. 33. Learn to shoot Like pros. Discover your creative seLf.anD proDuce images that onLy you can.the kunzum meDia Lab wiLL show you how. If you want to be a good photographer, you have to appreciate the art behind the imagery. Pick up some technical skills. And then allow your senses to create something only you can. Your photography has to be your own. Your identity has to be stamped on it. But we all need mentors to make it happen. The Kunzum Media Lab can play that role. With our unique approach to teaching you the art of photography. And we don’t stop at just teaching you to be a good photographer. We show you the way how to manage your portfolio, exhibit your work, use social media for marketing and branding, get your content published as books and more. Check the schedule of upcoming workshops and programs at http://kunzum.com/medialab or call +91.9650 702 777
  34. 34. Camp Pinewood Trails is set in the heart of • AccommodAtion And fAcilities:Himachal Pradesh and 30 minutes drive from a We have a Cluster of Fifteen 12’ x 12’ size, sturdysmall town Kandaghat on the Chail Road, Camp tents with ground bedding and sleeping bags,Pinewood Trails is surrounded by lush cedar Bathing/washing and toilet facilities (Western),forests. It offers unlimited options for hikes and an open dining space.along meandering hilly trek routes. A short trekabove the camp is yet another rejuvenating Activities:experience with magnificent views to greet • Adventure Activities: Rappelling, Commandoyou. Softer options are a quiet relaxing stroll Net, Burma Bridge, Flying Fox, Tyroleanaround the campsite and cosy naps under the Traverse, Bridge slithering, Double rope bridge.sun. Whatever you choose its bound to be • Games: Volleyball, Badminton, Carom, andmemorable and invigorating. Chess.Location: Situated in the valley at Sadhupul, 12 • trekkingkms away from Kandaghat on the Kandaghat- • Bird watchingChail road, 17 kms before Chail in Himachal • Bonfire with loads of games, singing andPradesh. Its well laid-out, safe, healthy and interactive fun.easily accessible. Address: 110, Aamrpali Apartments, Plot no-56, I.P. Extension, Patpar Ganj, Delhi -110092 Mobile: 9811213026/9873411989 Email: jeffrey@pinewoodtrails.com, alex@pinewoodtrails.com Website: http://pinewoodtrails.com/contactus.html
  35. 35. A Division of AsiAn ADventuresT: +91-11-44128785, M: +91-9811704651, E: wildindiatours@vsnl.com, W: www.asianadventures.net
  36. 36. We travel. and come back With stories and images.and We put all these great holiday ideas as the travel list 1-25 1-25 1-25 1-25 1-25 trav t r a ve ell lliistt t r aavel l l i istt el l ss t r avv e l is t t r ajayajayin jain ajay ja y in ja ja ajay in ja jain aThe Kunzum Travel List is a compilation of great holiday ideas for you to choosefrom. From all across India, Nepal and the rest of the subcontinent. Holidaysyou will cherish, and remember for a lifetime. Something you will share withothers and evoke envy - prompting friends to ask you more so they too can head out on the same path. All put together in the form of books for you. Want to have a great time travelling? Visit http://kunzum.com/travellist The Kunzum Travel List is currently available as an e-book in PDF format and for the iPad and Kindle. 42
  37. 37. HOTEL REVIEWriVer tern lODGe,Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary, KarnatakaWhen Government owned enterprises set up hotels, they with the time of the year. You can sit in your balcony forusually take up the best spots for themselves. And usually hours, or even days, on end - the setting is no less thango on to make a mess of it. Not Jungle Lodges, with their mesmerizing. This is where you can compose songs, writeproperty River Tern Lodge at the Bhadra Tiger Reserve and books, paint, photograph - your creative juices will flowWildlife Sanctuary in Karnataka. even if you are not an expert. And you will want to reflect upon life, and naturally feel uplifted.The setting first: you will rarely see a better one. Located inthe Chikmagalur district, all coffee country, you are also in The sanctuary is home to elephants, tigers, leopards, wildwild country. The cottages in the lodge are all perched on dogs, palm civet, stripe-necked mongoose, sloth bear,the edges of hills, overlooking the Bhadra reservoir in the sambar, spotted deer and other animals. Jungle and riverriver by the same name. The lodge gets its name from the safaris are a part of the package when you book. Otherthousands of River Tern birds who congregate on an island activities include sailing, kayaking, water cycle, waterin the river during season. Along with many other birds, trampoline and water see-saw. The property has 24they add to the landscape with the water body, forests cottages, all well maintained and furnished. Meals, bothand the Babubudangiri mountain range stretching into the southern and northern Indian cuisines, are served in ahorizon. semi-open rounded gazebo - the chef does a good job on the whole.Other than the crackling of birds, the only sounds to beheard are those of thunder and rain - the intensity varying Check in, and forget the world beyond. 41
  38. 38. 42
  39. 39. cOntactJungle Lodges & Resorts Ltd.,Ground Floor, West Entrance,Khanija Bhavan, Race CourseRoad, Bangalore-560 001Tel: +91.80.40554055Web: http://junglelodges.com 43
  40. 40. HOTEL REVIEWShaam-e-SarhaD VillaGe reSOrt,Hodka, GujaratIf you want to explore the Rann of Kutch region, you are Sit by a bonfire at night, with the sky in full starry glow,best advised to stay in Hodka village. At the Shaam-e- and listen to Kachchhi folk music rendered in reedy voicesSarhad (Sunset at the Border) Village Resort, located in the - and your soul will feel it has been touched by magic. Themiddle of a quiet desert country. hospitality by locals comes from their hearts; the hosts are ever smiling and welcoming. Meals include a KachchhiOwned and managed by the local residents of Hodka, it is buffet dinner of bajara ni roti with ghee and gud, followeda charming place where you can actually get a feel of much by Khichdi-kadhi besides other dishes. Gujarati cuisine isof what is authentically traditional in the region. Designed also served for lunch and dinner. Breakfast in Indian orin local mud architectural style, and exquisitely hand- Continental. Only vegetarian food is served, and Gujaratcrafted with mirror work, textiles and other local crafts, enforces a policy of alcohol prohibition.the resort is the perfect gateway to the rich and diverseheritage of the region. Hodka serves a great base for exploring the villages and windswept lands of northern Kachchh. Local bhomiyasThe experience of staying in Kachchhi mud huts, called (guides) will take you around the Hodka artists village,bhungas, with mud walls, mud floor, a mud bed and a introduce you to residents and acquaint you with theirsloping thatch roof is tough to match. Bhungas are circular way of living, crafts and traditions. Their crafts includein design, with lounge chairs in private open spaces. embroideries, leather works, lacquer work , weavingThere are options of tents too. Rooms are all en-suite, and block printing. You can also sign up for workshops incomfortable, clean and simple. embroidery and leather work. 44
  41. 41. Check out the region’s animals and birds including one time. Take a dip in the Narayan Sarovar, one of theflamingos, pelicans, nilgai, foxes, wild ass (rarely) and the five holiest lakes for Hindus. Just a mile further from hereevasive leopard. You can go for a bird watching excursion is Koteshwar, the western most motorable point of Indiato the wetlands of Chhari Dhandh, or plan a day trip to on the Arabian sea. In the evening, go to Kala Dungar toDholavira, India’s largest archaeological site belonging to witness the daily ritual of offering sweetened rice to foxes.the renowned Indus Valley (Harappan) Civilization. Visitthe impressive Lakhpat fort, an important trading port at And do take time out to do nothing at the resort.travel tIps• Resort is open only from October to March.• Getting there: Nearest railhead and airport is at Bhuj, 65 kms (40 miles) away• Website: http://hodka.in• email: hodka.in@gmail.com• tel: +91.9099908049, +91.2803.296222• tariffs: Rs. 2,800 - 4,800• address: Shaam-e-Sarhad Village Resort, Endogenous Tourism Project, Hodka Village, Banni, Bhuj (Kachchh), Gujarat 370 510• office in Bhuj: Shaam E Sarhad Village Resort, c/o Q A S A B, 173/5-B, “SATYAM SHIVAM SUNDARAM”, Jalaram Society, HospitalRoad, Bhuj (Kachchh), Gujarat, 370 001 45
  42. 42. kunzum Travel Pix We start a new series this month where we post some interesting snapshots from our travels. Enjoy! 1kunzum.com by Ajay Jain Buyers and sellers negotiating at the early morning vegetables and fruits market in the Dal Lake in Srinagar, Kashmir in India. This daily market seems to have been around forever. 2kunzum.com by Ajay Jain The Matheran Toy Train has been in service since March 22, 1907 and runs from Neral in the foothills of the Western Ghats in Maharashtra in India to the popular hill town of Matheran, located at 803.45 metres (2,636 feet).The 20 kms (12.4 miles) journey takes about two hours.
  43. 43. 3kunzum.com by Ajay Jain If you are in Jodhpur in Rajasthan, India , you must have the Mirchi Vadas - big green chilies dipped in gram flour and deep fried. Order at ‘Shahi Samosa’ shop near the Clock Tower; also try their samosas, bread pakoras, badi pyaza ki kachor and mogar ki kachori. 4kunzum.com by Ajay Jain A hidden wonder of India: The Kiramchi temples, 8 kms (5 miles) from Udhampur in the state of Jammu and Kashmir in India. The temples are believed to have been built in the 8th-9th centuries A.D.
  44. 44. 5kunzum.com by Ajay Jain Komic near Kaza in Lahaul Spiti, Himachal Pradesh in India is probably the highest village in the world at 4,587 metres (15,049 feet). And its Buddhist monastery hosts an annual festival around October, and is a not-to-be-missed gem of an event. 6kunzum.com by Ajay Jain A 3-year old Tiger cub cooling off in a water pool in Ranthambhore National Park in Rajasthan, India. His mother and sibling are off to hunt for food; he can’t hunt yet. The best time to go Tiger spotting is during peak summers.
  45. 45. viswaprasad raju is a hyderabad-based advertising professional, and is also a random sketchcrawler, a weekly cartoonist and an occasionaltravel writer. he collects cheap souvenirs like coasters and dreams of expensive holiday breaks to a national park (any state) or anywhere in europe (any country). presently he is working on a screenplay for a feature film. Connect with him at viswaprasadraju@gmail.com or find him at http://facebook.com/viswaprasadraju and http://hyderabadadvtg.blogspot.com.
  46. 46. BOOK REVIEW INTO THIN AIR The book that exposed Mount Everest By Nimish DubeyFor most people, ascending Mount zone where there was nothing one could as a consequence – even Sir EdmundEverest, the tallest mountain on earth, against the fury of nature, in conditions of Hillary’s account of conquering Everestremains the ultimate travel fantasy. For near zero visibility, sub zero temperatures for the first time is a relatively tame read,years, Everest had been most travellers’ and winds that literally blew people off exciting only for the event it covers ratherholy grail, notwithstanding the risks the mountain. By the time things cleared, than the narration. Krakauer, however,involved (many people died in their there were no fewer than eight climbers is a different kettle of fish, being aattempts to conquer the peak). A major dead and one missing. Among the dead thoroughbred journalist in his own right.accident in May 1996 that claimed the were Fischer and Hall – team leaders who And it shows. You actually feel the chilllives of eight climbers did shock many but had paid the ultimate price for putting seep into your veins as he describeswas initially considered part of the hazard conditions on the mountain and I defy youof climbing. Until Jon Krakauer’s Into Thin to stop reading his account of when theAir hit the stands later that year.By far the storm hits the stranded mountaineers,highest selling book on mountaineering, many of whom are shocked at seeingInto Thin Air blew the top off the their all expenses paid trip to Everestmountaineering guide business, showing turn into a funeral march. This is nohow trained mountaineers acted as objective, cold analysis of a tragic event“guides” to take totally inexperienced by a bystander but a full blooded accountpeople on to the top of the world. For a of what happened on one of the saddestmassive fee, of course. days in mountaineering history, by a person who saw it all unfold in front ofThe problem with this arrangement was his horrified eyes.that the guides sometimes actually putmoney before safety in an attempt to The last moments of Fischer and Hall,ensure that more “clients” reached the the valiant attempts of the sherpas topeak. And that is exactly what happened save people, the controversial effortson May 10, 1996, when a number of of Anatoli Boukreev (whom Krakauerclimbing teams were trying to ascend criticised so much that he himself wroteEverest on the same day. Two of these a book on the entire episode – yes, wewere headed by a couple of the most will review that one too), the miraculousexperienced moutaineers in the world, escape of Beck Weathers who hadScott Fischer and Rob Hall. Krakauer actually been left for dead but managedhimself was part of one of those teams, to make it back to safety somehow – allcovering the climb for Outside magazine. form an integral of what I must confess has got to be one of the travel classics ofAs schedules clashed, teams chose to their clients’ interests above safety. our time, right alongside Apsley Cherry-ignore warnings about the weather, Garrard’s The Worst Journey in the World.focussing instead on getting to the peak All this in itself would have been enoughand getting photographed there. Little to make a gripping work, but Krakauer Buy it. Read it. Everest will no longer havedid they know many would not return. A makes it even better with his narrative the same appeal for you again.fierce storm hit Everest even as the teams skills. One of the problems with bookswere on their way down and as most about mountains has been the fact that It may be the highest mountain in theof the climbers were not experienced, they have been written by people who world. It is also the world’s highestpanic set in. Fischer and Hall tried to get are better at wielding ice axes than graveyard.a grip on matters but were helpless in a pens. The prose has inevitably suffered 50
  47. 47. PHEW! Finally a place for travellers to meet. In the real world - not on social media. To simply bum around. Exchange travel stories. Make travel plans.Read up & buy travel books. Post travelogues, images & videos. pick up photographic art. Even write books.Over coffee and cookies. And free Wi-Fi. Only at the Travel Cafe address: T-49, GF, Hauz Khas Village, New Delhi 110 016, India telephone: +91.11.2651 3949 | +91.9650 702 777 | website: http://kunzum.com/travelcafe | mail@kunzum.com 53 Open Tuesday - Sunday, 11:00 a.m. - 7:30 p.m. (Mondays Closed)
  48. 48. Travel Cafe When travellers come calling at the Kunzum Travel Cafe, they often leave a notebehind for us. Here are some from the wall. Come over for coffee, and write one too.
  49. 49. The Handwritten Travelogue We love to hear travel stories from our guests when they visit the Kunzum Travel Cafein New Delhi. Better still, we like them to write the same in our scrapbook for others to read - like what you see here. Do you have one to share too? We are waiting...
  50. 50. The stunning Common Rosefinch (Carpodacus erythrinus) is a breeding visitor to Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh and can be seen on mulberry trees © Rajat Bhargava/WWF-indiaYou don’t like ugly paan stains; neither does natureThe Green Hiker Campaign is a part of WWFs initiative to conserve Himalayan high altitudewetlands. The Ministry of Tourism, Government of India is a partner to the campaign.greenhiker@wwfindia.net www.wwfindia.org/greenhiker
  51. 51. PEEP PEEP DON’T SLEEP a book on funny road signs and advertisements with captions and commentary by ajay JainIf you thought road signs are only meant to guide and inform, think again.The ones on Indian highways are in a zone of their own. They shower you with words of wisdom,keep your mind sharp as you unravel their cryptic messages, tickle your imagination, amuse you andentertain you. In public interest, they lend a hand to Alcoholics Anonymous. Since journeys are meantto be a pleasure, they remind you to ‘Smile Please.’The entertainment for the traveler does not stop at this. There are the limitless public notices, outdooradvertisements and storefront signs with their own idiosyncrasies and eccentricities. Who needs comicstrips in this country?Ajay Jain drove thousands of miles to put together this collection of signs. With a bit of witty commentarythrown in, this book will be a journey unlike any other you may have undertaken. Resulting in youletting out a ‘Peep Peep’ of delight. For more on the book, sample chapters and to order visit www.peeppeepdontsleep.com Available as a Paperback, as a PDF and for the iPad and Kindle 36
  52. 52. Postcards from Ladakh a pictorial travelogue by ajay JainPostcards from Ladakh is a collection of frames - picture postcards, if you will- frozen circa 2009, when the author drove for over 10,000 kms (6,000 miles)across the remote and fascinating region of Ladakh in the Indian Himalayas.Neither guidebook nor encyclopedia, it is intended to give you a flavour of thishigh altitude cold desert.You will also meet a few Ladakhis in these pages. And see the land they live in, thefaith they live by, the hope they live on…Each of them will spontaneously greetyou with a cheerful Julley and invite you to be part of their culture and society.No Ladakhi is a stranger. We just haven’t had the time to meet them all... For more on the book, sample chapters and to order visit www.kunzum.com/postcardsfromladakh Available as a Paperback, as a PDF and for the iPad and Kindle
  53. 53. A picture may be worth a thousand words But the Kunzum PhotoTalkies are a journey in themselves What are Phototalkies? Simply put, these are photo essays - only packing a bigger punch . With more images and supporting text than an essay you would see in a newspaper or a magazine . Current versions have been designed as a PDF - to be viewed onany device supporting this format. But it is best seen on an iPad . And these are all Free! Looks like it is the season of freebies from Kunzum. http://kunzum.com/phototalkies
  54. 54. S i n c e 2007, Kunzum has served as an i m p o r t a n t g u i d e f o r t r a v e l l e r s p l a n n i n g j o u r n e y s i n I n dia and the subcontinent - and so m e i n t e r n a t i o n a l d e s t i n a t i o n s t o o . I N T RODUCTIONS FIRST… K u n zum is a high altitude pass in the L a h a u l S p i t i r e g i o n o f H i m a c h a l P r a d e s h i n I n d i a . A n d the inspiration behind the brand t h a t i s a l l a b o u t m e m o r a b l e t r a v e l e x p e r i e n c e s . O u r journey started in 2007 as a trave l b l o g b y w r i t e r a n d p h o t o g r a p h e r, A j a y J a i n . A n d w e h ave crossed many milestones - li t e r a l l y a n d f i g u r a t i v e l y - s i n c e t h e n . K U N ZUM.COM An independent, objective and one of the most trusted online travel information websites in India. A unique style of writing, peppered with anecdotes and illustrated with high quality photographs and videos, have won the site a fan following of tens of thousands of travellers. More at http://kunzum.com. T H E KUNZUM TRAVEL MAG A u n i q u e p r o d u c t , i t i s a m o n t h l y e - m a g a v a i l a b l e a s a P D F, f o r t h e i P a d a n d Kindle, and for online reading with flipping pages on Issuu.com. Subscription is FREE at http://kunzum.com/mag. P U B LISHING We publish engaging and quality travel books and guides in both traditional formats as well as e-books (for the iPad, Amazon’s Kindle, other mobile readers and all computers). More at http://kunzum.com/books. C U R ATOR OF COLLECTIBLE PHOTO G R A P H I C A R T Available for your walls at home, office or resort and also as stock imagery for publishing and promotional materials. All printed on archival paper to last g e n e r a t i o n s . The prints are also on d i s p l a y a t t h e K u n z u m Tr a v e l C a f é . C h e c k t h e c o l l ection at htt p://kunzumgallery.com . K U N ZUM TRAVEL CAFÉ A nother unique offering from Kunzum - a bricks and mortar place for the travel-minded to come together as a community, a sort of Face-to-Facebook network. Located in Hauz Khas Village in New Delhi, guests can hang around, read travel books, use free Wi-Fi, participate in events, exchange stories, enjoy music, buy photographic art, post travelogues and make travel plans. They can even order tea, coffee and cookies - and pay what they like. More at http://kunzum.com/travelcafe.cOntact u S facebook http://facebook.com/kunzumajay Jain | ajay@ajayjain.com | +91.99100 44476 twitterShruti Sharma | shruti@kunzum.com | +91.98119 84545 http://twitter.com/kunzum yo u t u b elin KS http://youtube.com/kunzumOnline Vimeohttp://kunzum.com http://vimeo.com/kunzum
  55. 55. ab Out a J ay J ain Ajay Jain is a full time writer, journalist and photographer based in New Delhi in India. He is not limited in his medium of expression, equally comfor table writing for newspapers and magazines, as well as his own books and blogs. Star ting his writing career in 2001, he has been covering business, technology and youth affairs before deciding to focus wholly on travel writing. He pursues his passion by being on the road as much as he can. He has written three books, the latest being Postcards from Ladakh (http://www. kunzum.com/postcardsfromladakh), a pictorial travelogue on Ladakh. His first, Let ’s Connect: Using LinkedIn to Get Ahead at Work, is a management book on professional networking using the world’s most popular professional networking site LinkedIn.com. It was published in early 2008. His other book, and his first travel book, Peep Peep Don’t Sleep (http://www. peeppeepdontsleep.com), is a collection of funny road signs and adver tisements. He has worked for and written columns for national publications in India c O n tac t including The Hindustan Times, Mint, Email: ajay@ajayjain.com Fi n a n c i a l E x p r e s s , I n d i a n M a n a g e m e n t M o b i l e : + 91. 9 910 0 4 4 4 76 (Business Standard), Outlook Business, Deccan Herald, Mumbai Mirror ( Times of India), Discover India, Swagat, Asian linKS A g e a n d R e d i f f. c o m . H e h a s a l s o e d i t e d a facebook y o u t h n e w s p a p e r, T h e C a m p u s Pa p e r.http://facebook.com/ajayjain9 Prior to tak ing up writing, he has worked twitter i n t h e I n f o r m a t i o n Te c h n o l o g y a n d S p o r t s h t t p : / / t w i t t e r. c o m / a j a y j a i n Management sectors. He holds degrees Mechanical Engineering (Delhi College linkedin of Engineering, 1992), Management h t t p : / / w w w. l i n ke d i n . c o m / i n / ( Fo r e S c h o o l o f M a n a g e m e n t , 1 9 9 4 ) a n d ajayjain9 J o u r n a l i s m ( C a r d i f f U n i v e r s i t y, U K , 2 0 0 2 ) . H i s s c h o o l i n g w a s a t S t . C o l u m b a’s S c h o o l in New Delhi.

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