On a brief trip, I visited the cities of Jaipur and Udaipur, the lands of forts and palaces. Jaipur is the gateway to India’s largest state, Rajasthan located in the north west of the Indian subcontinent and is an overflowing melting pot of a myriad of colours, palaces that can tell tales from yonder by presenting itself in stories of friendship, of betrayal, of love and wealth steeped in rich history. Udaipur is tucked away a further 400 kms inwards tells us of wars, some of which have changed the course of India’s rich history.
This is a guest post from a dear friend and a travel lover:
Transcending time and space is one of the most magnificent abilities of the human mind which enhances the experience of reading history. The ability to see in lucid details with the mind’s eye what the normal eyes cannot, is a blessing and a curse, for the human mind has this ability to conjure up worlds which might not be as magnificent as we imagine them to be. This ability to bring the past into the present poses a threat: the present itself might be ignored in favour of the past. Nowhere is this warp presented to us as vividly as in Neuschwanstein !
As my Lufthansa plane slowly descended into the Bavarian part of Germany, I realised that what I had been dreaming about for almost three years was finally coming to fruition: A trip through the land of medieval castles and enchanting forests.
After my recent trip to heritage rich Kathmandu, I was reminded of a fascinating destination just 50 kms from where I stay, no less a UNESCO world heritage site, in the city of Kanchipuram – Mahabalipuram. Kanchipuram itself is by far one of the most culturally richest districts in the world and holds high religious significance to the Hindus. In this part of India, temples adorn every town and district and Kanchipuram houses over a hundred ancient temples, many of which still active today.
Travel stories are often replete with chance encounters and unique experiences and part of why I travel is for the same. It is so fascinating to understand the way of life of a person in another country routinely going about his job. It is perfectly normal for him to keep doing his chores day in and day out and yet unique to us as the visitor. My mother often claims that the single most fascinating experience for her as a child was to see how a cow was milked by the local milkman!
I love crossing borders by train. The changing scenery, the rapid shifting of languages, stations with unfamiliar local names; its an experience in itself. Therefore it was obvious that I would get into Switzerland by train from Paris. Alas, I fall asleep and miss the transformation only to wake up in time for catching my connecting train from Basel to Lucerne, where I am to meet a dear friend for an exciting week in the Swiss Alps. A drastic change from the historic and vivacious Paris, I am welcomed into Switzerland amidst nature’s ubiquitous presence.
Most great civilizations and cities have established themselves on the banks of mighty rivers. Take the Danube, for example, the second longest river of Europe – meandering through over ten countries, many a beautiful capital city lie on its banks. Some of the biggest of them, Vienna, Budapest etc have historically been drawing a lot of visitors, eclipsing some of the smaller ones. The petite capital of Slovakia, Bratislava sits alluringly close to Vienna and is still skipped by a lot of visitors; an easy train journey from the capital of one country to another, it is an offer that’s too hard to turn down. On my visit to Vienna, I made time for a visit to the Slovakian capital.