Showing posts with label Travel blogger. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Travel blogger. Show all posts

Thursday, January 30, 2020

Touring Vietnam - The world’s leading heritage destination

Holla readers. Those who have been following my stories know my love for heritage. I don’t leave any opportunity of indulging in history, especially if it is a world heritage site. From the past six months, I had been planning our vacation to Vietnam but not even once the heritage sites had crossed my mind. I had limited ourselves to Golden Bridge (the bridge on those mammoth hands) and Chu chi tunnels (the tunnels in Ho Chi Minh city used during Vietnam war) and Vung Tau. However, when Vietnam recently got recognition as the world’s leading heritage destination, I was compelled to check out all.

Since we land in Ho Chi Minh city, our first stop over would be the Notre Dame Cathedral of Saigon. Initially named as L'eglise de Sa├»gon, the cathedral was established by French colonists between 1863 and 1880. What makes this church unique is its French architecture. Its construction material was imported from France. For instance the red bricks of the exteriors walls retain their bright and vibrant red hue till date. I don’t think I can miss this beauty on my Vietnam tour.
Notre Dam Cathedral

The next day I have a flight to Da Nang that connects to HoiAn, a UNESCO heritage site. The well- preserved ancient town literally translates to a "peaceful meeting place". The covered Japanese bridge, the small wooden houses, the museums showcasing Hoi An’s history and the calm waters against the glittering backdrop are few things to watch out for. This Southeast Asian trading port from the 15th  century, with buildings that display a blend of local and foreign influences are undoubtedly the must sees of Vietnam.

The heritage city of Hoi An

Indians never skip destinations that are connected to India, which is why I am quite eager to visit My Son sanctuary. No, its not a wildlife sanctuary. 20 kms from Hoi An, My Son is a site of partially ruined Shiva Temples. Imagine experiencing your own culture on a foreign land!  The remarkable architectural ensemble developed over a period of ten centuries, presents a vivid picture of spiritual and political life of the history of South-East Asia. Such places have always attracted me and the mere sight of imagining myself over there is something I can’t express in words.

My Son Sanctuary

Vietnam tour is never complete without a visit to Halong Bay. A gathering more than 1,600 limestone islets in the Gulf of Tonkin, Ha Long Bay is an iconic seascape of verticals cliffs and jungle spread across the sea. The scenic beauty has served as a backdrop for several movies. Cruising on the turquoise waters would be magical experience. I have goosebumps while writing this.

In between Halong Bay and Hoi An, there lies the serene town of Hue. Among the popular destinations, the Imperial Cathdral stands out the most. This was the place which the emperors used as their residence and business center. A part of this Citadel was referred as the Forbidden Purple City which much like China's Forbidden City was reserved for the key people in Vietnam. The 7-tiered tower Mu Pagoda is another landmark worth visiting. What’s more exciting is the vibrant landscapes I would cross from Ho Chi Minh to Hue.  That’s the flavor of real Vietnam. I think I will take an open bus to commute. Solo travel never felt so exciting!
Imperial Citadel
I have planned my last few days stay in Ho Chi Minh. The Mekong Delta tour is definitely on my list. I mean who wouldn’t want to experience mangroves on the river expecting the sight of wild animals? And ya, don’t miss the crocodile breeding farm in the delta region which houses tens of thousands of these reptiles. You can feed them and watch them jump in the air to catch their bait. It’s a scary but adventurous experience.
Mekong Delta tour

You must be thinking why does my itinerary has south-north-south visit? Well, that’s because my friend Dianna would be back to Ho Chi Minh and we would catch-up thereafter. Anything for friends you see.
My trip begins on 7th February and I can’t contain my excitement. Once back, I would compare my pictures from the ones above and of course write more. Just keep few things in mind before booking your trip. Vietnam usually experiences a warm climate with dry season running from February to August. Pack your clothes accordingly. If you are making your visa booking, do it through BLS international. It’s a trusted name in the visa industry. Lastly, when I booked flight tickets six months ago, Air Asia had the cheapest rates. Now Indigo operations have started and is offering tickets at more economical rates. Keep an eye on the web-updates to save money.
More when I am back. See you soon guys!

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Heritage Transport Museum- The first of its kind in India

History and heritage have always been of my prime interest since childhood. Delhi gave me loads of opportunities to discover the rich heritage of Indian History through the magnificent monuments and preserved artifacts. This time it was Heritage Transport Museum where I  witnessed the grandeur of mediums of transport that has evolved across centuries. Being one of its kind and the only transport museum of India, you cannot give it a miss. Bring this on your do-do list in NCR and tick it off your bucket list like I did.

A brief history- The brainchild of Mr. Tarun Thakral, Heritage Transport Museum was opened to public in 2013 highlighting how transport changed its course in different era and how it influenced our life. You can read more about the same on its website.

The three acre space has four levels, with each housing an extra ordinary variety of transport mediums, paintings, collectibles and audio-visuals. The audio guided tour throws light on the history and usage of the displayed items. Here is a visual tour of the museum for you in brief.

The Basement has vintage cars, artifacts from roadside shops, fuel and gas station, display of transport used in Bollywood movies and more..

Fiery red beauties

Remember this from Dil To Pagal Hai?

Yesteryear's fuel station- A remake 

A rusty old van found near Ramgarh, picked in as is condition

The ground floor houses  initial history of transport, luxurious train, Horse/camel carts, carriages, tucks, buses, artwork by artists, souvenir shop, small pantry.

Wheels- From where it all started 

                   This terracotta toy, named a bird card was found during the Indus Valley Civilization. This proves that people were                                                  aware of the use of wheels and drew inspiration from the real world.

Set up of railway station from the past

Jodhpur Salon, the predecessor of Palace on Wheels

First Floor
- This houses bikes, scooters, legacy of Hero bikes, cycles, auto and interesting "jugaad" of few states.

Jugaad from Gujarat

"Jugaad" from Haryana

The second floor exhibits a small aircraft, marine transport, a library, the legacy of Maruti, Ambassador, works of artists, childhood nostalgia, toys.

Twinning with Ambassador. Well almost :)

Peek a boo

A smiley tribute to Maruti

The outer premises has traffic signals, truck bonnets and bus from the British time on display.


Timings- 10 am to 7 pm. Closed on Monday.
Entrance fees- Rs 400 adults, Rs 200 for children. Free for kid below 3 years
How to reach- While driving from Gurgaon, cross Kherki Daula toll, stay on the flyover. Take left on Torau Road. Keep moving straight. The museum will be on left.

The entire experience is enhanced by audio guide (The gadgets would be provided to you at the entrance)
Wheelchair friendly- Yes (With slope ramps and elevator)

Pantry- Grab a bite if hungry. Otherwise expensive. (No other restaurant or eating joint nearby). Advisable to carry food with you and keep in your car. 

Souvenir shop-  From stationery and books to mugs, wallets and coasters, the shop has a great variety but is too pricey. (I did not find it worth)

This is great place for history enthusiasts, car and bike lovers, artists, photographers, kids, elders Basically for all age group. No body would be disappointed here. The 400 INR that you spend here are totally worth it.

P.S: My visit to the museum was in September 2018.
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Friday, July 13, 2018

Postcards of magnificence- Mehrangarh Fort, Jodhpur

The towering Mehrangarh Fort

Built around 1460 by Rao Jodha, Mehrangarh fort towers at 410 feet above the city and is enclosed by imposing beautiful thick walls. Spread over a huge expanse, the fort houses large museums on different floors with artifacts from the past. From paintings and weapons to palanquins  and queen's palace, you cannot help but marvel the astonishing pieces of History. The entry to the main complex of the fort is done through seven gates, each symbolic of victory over enemies. Here are glimpses of the majestic Mehrangarh Fort in this post:

The approach road towards Mehrangarh Fort
On the left of the main entrance is the cenotaph of the brave solider Kirat Sing Soda who died on this spot defending Mehrangarh Fort, The chhatri or memorial was made in his honour.

On left of the entrance-  chhatri of Kirat Singh Soda

Royal bygone era- The walled fort

Entertaining guests near main entrance

Jai pol or gate of victory was built by Maharaja Man Singh in 1806 to celebrate his victory in a war with Jaipur and Bikaner. 
Old time charm- Jai Pol 

Traditional welcome

Symbol of sacrifice- Sati queens' handprints

These handprints are on the left of Loha Pol, which is the final gate into the main part of the fort complex. In 1843 the queens had immolated themselves on the funeral pyre of their husband, Maharaja Man Singh.

Peek a boo into the city

One of the entrance passages where several movies have been shot

Part of the fort closed for public
Jharokha for the queens

Mesmerising work of art

Horse chariot seats for king

Paalki for elephant ride

Palace for queens
The baby paalna in the palace of queens

Armours section- Spears

Yesteryear's guns

Desi Indigenous Swords

The smaller ones for close combat

Once in use, Canon on wheels 

A watchful eye on guard
The view of blue city from Mehrangarh Fort

P.S- This trip of mine to Jodhpur was in Jan 2015.

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