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PLACES & MONUMENTS OF INDIA

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Sabrimala: Kerala.  It is renowned for the Sabarimala temple of Lord Ayyappa, which is a famous pilgrim centre in Pathanamthitta district.

 

Salarjung Museum: Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh. This museum displays the private collection of Nawab Salar Jung III. It houses magnificent exhibits of European and Indian paintings, jewellery, armour, precious stones and manuscripts.

 

Sanchi:  Madhya Pradesh.  Sanchi is known for stupas, monasteries, temples and pillars dating from the 3rd century BC to the 12th century AD. The most famous of these monuments, the Sanchi Stupa 1, was originally built by the Mauryan Emperor Ashoka.  The Great Stupas, the Four Gateways, Ashoka Pillar, Buddhist Vihara, the Great Bowl, the Gupta Temple, Udaigiri caves and the Lohangi hill monuments are some of the important places in Sanchi.

 

Sanghol: Punjab. It is an archeological treasure house consisting of relics dating from the Harappan era, the epic Aryan age, red and grey pottery and Indus Valley seals.

 

Sariska : Rajasthan. Sariska, which is famous of its wild-life sanctuary, is also significant historically. The Kankwadi Fort is the place where the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb had imprisoned his elder brother Dara Shikoh.  The famous Neel Kantha Mahadev temple and the Hanuman temple at Pandupole are also famous. There are also remains of 300 odd Hindu and Jain temples constructed between the 8-12th centuries AD.

 

Sarnath: Bihar.  Located about 10 km from Varanasi, Sarnath or Isipatana is the place where Buddha delivered his first sermon (�Dharma-Chakrapravartana�) after attaining enlightenment and set in motion the wheel of law, the Dharmachakra. Also known as 'Rishipatana', the place of the Rishis or sages, or 'Mrigadaya', the deer park, the name is derived from Saranganatha, the lord of the deer. Sarnath remained abandoned until 1834, when the British archaeologists excavated the site in 1836. The Dhamekh Stupa, dating back to 500 AD, is the largest in the region and marks the spot where the Buddha proclaimed his faith.  The Chaukhandi Stupa belongs to the Gupta period and is said to be the site where Buddha was reunited with his five disciples, who had previously deserted him. An octagonal tower built by Emperor Akbar to commemorate his father's visit to the place caps the Stupa. The Dhamarajika stupa was built by Ashoka but is now in ruins. The Ashoka Pillar records the visit of Emperor Ashoka to Sarnath in the 3 BC.  Mulagandha Kuti Vihar is a beautiful vihara built by the Mahabodhi Society in 1931 with Japanese help.

 

Sasaram : Bihar.  It is renowned for the grand mausoleum of Sher Shah Suri, the Pathan emperor of India. Located nearby is the tomb of his father, Hasan Sur Khan built in 1535 AD and that of his son Salim Shah. On the outskirts of the village is the tomb of Alwal Khan, the chief architect of Sher Shah. A few hours drive from Sasaram is Rohtasgarh Fort perched high on the Kaimur Hills.

 

Shantiniketan:  West Bengal.  Shantiniketan, meaning 'abode of peace', is a meditation center which was founded in 1863 by Debendranath Tagore, father of Rabindranath Tagore. Rabindranath Tagore established the Brahmo Vidyalaya and in 1901 another open-air laboratory school at this place. In 1921, it had expanded into a residential university called the Vishwa-Bharati University. It includes separate colleges for fine arts and crafts, dance, music, teachers training, Asian Languages, technology, post-graduate studies and research. "Rabindra-Sadhana" is the university's museum and the center for the study of Tagore.  Another institution for rural reconstruction, health, social welfare and the revival of the folk arts called Sriniketan was founded by Tagore in 1922 close to the Shantiniketan.

 

Shimla:  Himachal Pradesh. Shimla was the summer capital of the British India. Jakhoo Hills, Anna Dale, the Glen Forests, Summer Hill, Chadwick Falls, Mashobra & Craignano, Naldhera and Fagu are important tourist destinations in Shimla. 

 

Shirdi: Maharashtra.  The place is known for the Shri Sai Baba Sansthan of Shirdi, which was established in 1922.

 

Sibsagar:  Assam. Sibsagar was the capital of the mighty Ahoms, who ruled Assam for more than six hundred years, before the advent of the British.  The most remarkable landmark of the town is the 200-year old Sibsagar tank. On its banks are three significant temples - Shivadol, Vishnudol and Devidol.  About 6 km from Sibsagar is an immense seven-storeyed palace known as Talatal Ghar. Sibsagar is also famous for Joysagar, believed to be the largest man-made lake in India, and the Ahom Museum.

 

Sikandra:  Uttar Pradesh.  A place near Agra famous for the Akbar�s Tomb and the Barodi Palace built by Sikander Lodi.

 

Sirhind: Punjab.   It is famous for the Fatehgarh Saheb Gurudwara, which commemorates the martyrdom of Guru Gobind Singh's two young sons, who were entombed alive by Aurangzeb's generals.  The famous marble shrine of Hazrat Mujadid Sirhindi or Alaf Saani and the Khaas Bagh and Sarai (built by Babar) are also located here.

 

Sirmour:  Himachal Pradesh. The three towns of Nahan, Renuka and Paonta Sahib in the Sirmour district are considered as a religious triangle. Nahan is famous for the Suketi Fossil Park. The beautiful Renuka lake, which is shaped is like a sleeping woman, is considered very sacred for Hindus, Sikhs and Buddhists.  The Paonta Sahib is a sacred town dedicated to the memory of Guru Gobind Singh. There are several Gurudwaras in this town such as Tirgarh Sahib, Shergarh Sahib and Bhangini Sahib.

 

Sisgunj Gurudwara: Delhi. Located in Chandini Chowk, the Gurudwara Sisgunj commemorates the site of the ninth Sikh guru, Teg Bahadur's martyrdom, who was beheaded by Aurangzeb in 1675.

 

Sitamarhi:  Bihar. It is a sacred place in Hindu mythology and is believed to be the site where Sita sprang to life out of an earthen pot.

 

Solan:  Himachal Pradesh. Solan is well known as ' the Mushroom City of India'. The Jatoli Shiv temple and the Sholoni Devi temple are the landmarks of Solan, along with several specimens of colonial architecture within the town.  The Bon Monastery is perhaps the oldest monastery in India.

 

Sonepur: Bihar. It is famous for the Sonepur Mela, the biggest cattle fair in Asia and the Harihar Nath temple which is believed to have been built by Lord Rama on his way to the Court of King Janak to win Sita. The temple was repaired by Raja Man Singh. The builder of the present temple was Raja Ram Narayan, a prominent figure during the late Mughal period.

 

Sonipat:  The town finds a mention in early literary texts.  The Dargah Mama Bhanja, housing the graves of Hazrat Imam Nasiruddin and his nephew Ibrahim, Khwaja Khizir Tomb, the Kos Minar at Jawahari and the Satkumba Temple are some interesting places in Sonipat.

 

Sravana Belgola:  Karnataka. It is famous for its 18m high statue of Gomateshwara  (Lord Bahubali) built in 983 AD by Chamundaraya. The statue, which stands atop one of the hills (Indragiri), is considered as the world�s tallest monolithic statue.  The Mahamastakabhisheka festival is held here once every 12 years.

 

Sravasti: Uttar Pradesh.  Located about 195 km from Gorakhpur, Sravasti is the place where Buddha performed a miracle, besides spending 27 rainy seasons, preaching his gospels.  Emperor Ashoka marked his pilgrimage to Sravasti by building two pillars.

 

Sringeri:  Karnataka. Sringeri is famous as the first of the four Mathas established by Sri Sankaracharya for the propagation of Advaita philosophy.  It is famous for Vidyashankara and Sharada Temples.

 

Srinagar: Jammu & Kashmir.   Srinagar, the winter capital of Jammu & Kashmir, was founded by King Pravarsena in 72 AD.  It is famous for the beautiful Mughal Gardens (Chasma Shahi, Nishat, Shalimar and Pari Mahal); historic sites of Harwan and Burzahom; a Chinar tree plantation called Nissim Bagh (laid our by Emperor Akbar); Hazrat Bal mosque; Hari Parbhat; Shrine of Makhdoom Sahib; Shrine of Akhund Mulla Shah; Zaina Kadal (tomb of mother of king Zain-ul-Abadin); the Christian shrine of Rozabel; Patthar Masjid; Jama Masjid at Nowhatta; Shah Hamdan's shrine; Pratap Singh Museum; Shankaracharya Hill and the Dal and Nagin lakes. It is also famous for the Shankaracharya temple constructed in 266 BC.

 

Sriperumpudur: Tamil Nadu. Sriperumpudur is an important pilgrim centre for the Vaishnavites as it is the birthplace of Saint Ramanujar, the Father of Visishtadvaita philosophy of Vaishnavism. It is also the place where the former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated by a Sri Lankan Tamil suicide bomber.

 

Srisailam:  Andhra Pradesh. Located on the banks of river Krishna, the town of Srisailam is famous for the Bhramaramba Mallikarjunaswamy temple. The god of the temple, Sri Mallikarjunaswamy is one of the 12 "Jyotirlingams" in India. The temple is also the abode of Mahakali in the form of Bhramaramba. The place has a pre-vedic importance and its presence is mentioned in the Mahabharata. Other small temples like the "Sahasra Linga", the "Panchapandava" and the "Vata Vriksha" are also well known.

 

St. Paul's Cathedral:  Located in Calcutta, it celebrated its 150th birthday in 1994.  The cathedral is a good example of Indo-Gothic architecture.  The altar designed by London architect, Arthur Bloomfield in 1868, depicts the life of St. Paul from conversion till death.  The Kneeling Statue of Heber, sculptured by the celebrated sculptor Sir Francis Chantely was installed in 1844.

 

Sundarban:  West Bengal. Sundarban is one of the important national parks of India and is home to the magnificent Royal Bengal tiger. It also has abundant Olive Ridley sea turtles, crocodiles and the Gangetic dolphin. The Sajnakhali sanctuary, famous for its rich avian population, is regarded as a part of the Sunderbans National Park.

 

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Tarangambadi:  Tamil Nadu.Tamil Nadu. Once the site of a Danish settlement, Tarangambadi has the remains of the Dansborg fort built by Ore Gedde, the commander of the Royal Dutch Navy in the 17th century.

 

Tawang:  Arunachal Pradesh. It is the site of the 350-years old India�s largest Buddhist monastery which is located at an altitude of 10,000 feet. The Tawang Monastery was established by a Monpa Lama named Loore Gyalso, popularly known as Mera Lama, somewhere between 1643-1647. The spiritual center of the universe for the Monpas is the Tawang Galden Namgyal Lhatse. This divine site is believed to have been chosen by the celestial white horse. Its library is a repository of thousands of block-printed commentaries and treatises on the subject of Mahayana Buddhism.

 

Taxila: Bihar.  It is an ancient university that churned out people like Kautilya, Panani and Charaka.

 

Tezpur:   Assam. Described as Sonitpur in the olden days, Tezpur or the 'city of blood' is famous of the ruins of Agnigarh which is associated with the legendary romance of Usha and Anirudha. It is also renowned for the Da Parbatia temple, which depicts the carvings of the Gupta School of sculpture and represents the finest and oldest specimen of sculptural art in Assam.  The other architectural attractions of Tezpur include the ruins of Bamuni Hills, depicting sculptural remains of the ninth and tenth century AD, the Bhairavi and Mahabhairab temples, the twin tanks of Bar Pukhuri and Padum Pukhuri and the Cole Park and Bhalukpung.

 

Thanesar:  Located near Kurukshetra, Thanesar is a sacred town for Hindus because Lord Shiva in the form of Lingam was first worshipped here. The town is also the birthplace of King Harsha and was visited by the Chinese traveller Huen Tsang.   The Tomb of Sheikh Chilhi Jalal, Chini Masjid and Pathar Masjid are some important monuments of this place.

 

Thanjavur: Tamil Nadu.  Thanjavur (Tanjore) is renowned for the world famous Brihadeeswara temple built by Raja Raja Chola.  The Brihadeshwara Temple has the second largest Nandi in India. The Thanjavur Palace, Sangeetha Mahal, Saraswati Mahal Library, t he Raja Raja Chola Art Gallery, Siva Ganga tank, Sharja Madi and Schwarz Church (built in 1779 by Raja Serfoji in the honour of Revered Schwartz of Denmark) are other important places around Thanjavur. Thiruvaiyaru (place associated with Saint Thyagaraja), Kumbakonam, Mariamman Temple, Thiruvidai Maruthur, Thirunageswaram, Patteswaram, Poondi Madha Shrine, Swamimalai (one of the six abodes or Arupadaiveedu dedicated to Lord Subramanya), Suriyanar Koil, Thingalore and Alangudi are other important religious places outside Thanjavur.

 

Thiruvananthapuram: Kerala. Thiruvananthapuram or Trivandrum is the capital city of Kerala and is an abode of temples, mosques and churches. It is renowned for the Sri Padmanabhaswamy temple, Napier Museum and the Shanmugham Beach. Kovalam Beach, Veli lagoon, Neyyar Dam, Aruvikkara (pilgrim centre with a Bhagavathi temple), Varkala (2000-year old Janardanaswamy Temple and Samadhi of Sri Narayana Guru), Agasthyakoodam (prominent peak in the Sahyadri ranges), Padmanabhapuram Palace and Ponmudi hill station are important tourist centres around Thiruvananthapuram.

 

Tiruchirapalli (Trichy):  Tamil Nadu.   Tiruchirappalli or Trichy is famous for the Lord Ranganatha temple at Srirangam. Rock Fort, Sri Jambukeshwara Temple, Agatheesware Temple, Arunachaleeswarar Temple, Tiruvannaikaval and Srirangam Temple (also known as "Nawab Thottam" in the honour of Nawab Muhammad Wallajah) are other important places in Trichy.

 

Tirunelveli: Tamil Nadu. The town of Tirunelveli was once the capital of the Pandyas and has a history dating back to 2000 years. The main attraction of Tirunelveli is the twin temple of Kanthimathi-Nellaiappar dedicated to Parvati and Shiva respectively. The Krishnapuram temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu, Sankara Narayanan Temple, Courtallam, the Holy Cross Church at Manappad, Kalyanatheertham, Panartheertham, Shiva Temple at Papanasam (site of the Chitrai Vishu and the Adi Ammavasai festivals), Agasthiyar Temple and Falls, Swayambulingasamy (Shiva Temple) at Nadar Ovari and the Roman Catholic Centre at Bharathar Ovari are other important places outside Tirunelveli.

 

Tirupati:  Andhra Pradesh. Popular for its Lord Venkateswara Temple located atop the Tirumala Hills in Chittoor district, which is described as the richest temple in India. It is one of the oldest temples in India, mentioned in Shastras and Puranas. Other important pilgrimage centers in the town include Swami Pushkarini -- the sacred tank adjacent to the temple, Akasa Ganga waterfall, Papavinasanam, Vaikunth Tirtham, Tumburu Tirtham, the Govindaraja temple, the shrine of Padmavati in Tiruchanur, the Kapileswara temple at Kapilatirtham, the Rama temple in Tirupati and the Parasareswara temple at Jogi- Mallavaram near Tiruchanur. Tirupati is also famous for the Chandagiri Fort, which was once a stronghold of the Vijayanagar Empire.

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Udaipur:  Rajasthan. Udaipur or the 'City of Dawn' was the jewel of Mewar kingdom and was ruled by the Sisodia dynasty for 1200 years. Udaipur is built around three lakes -Pichola, Fateh Sagar and Udai Sagar. There were originally eleven gates to the Udaipur City. The Suraj Pol or Sun Gate on the eastern side is the main entrance to the city. The Pichola Lake Palace built by Rana Uday Singh is the most famous of all the lake palaces of Udaipur. There are several places of interest around Udaipur including the majestic Chittaurgarh, the mountain fortress of Kumbhalgarh, the Jain temples of Ranakpur Eklingli and Nathdwara and Mount Abu.

 

Udupi:  Karnataka.  Udupi is mythologically and historically a famous town, being associated with Parasurama and the Sanskrit philosopher Madhvacharya. It is believed that the present-day Udupi is part of the legendary coastal strip of land known as Parasurama Kshetra or Parasurama's land that was reclaimed by Parasurama from the Arabian Sea. The Krishna temple at Udupi is famous for its 'Kanakana Kindi', which is a small window through which Krishna is believed to have given darshan to his ardent devotee, Kanakadasa.  Udupi is also famous for the Sri Krishna Mutt.

 

Ujjain: Madhya Pradesh.   Ujjain (Avanta Nagari), known as the 'City of Victory' and 'City of Sanctity' has several important temples including the Mahakaleshwar temple, which has one of the twelve Jyotirlingas of India; Kal Bhairava temple, which finds a mention in the Skanda Purana, and Mangalnath temple, which is regarded as the birthplace of Mars, according to the Matsya Purana. Ujjain is also famous for the Bhartrihari Caves; 24 Avatars, the cluster of Hindu and Jain temples; Ahilyabai Holkar�s Palace, Kalideh Palace; the Vedha Shala (Jantar Mantar or Observatory), described as the first meridian of Longitude of the Hindu geographers and the Kalidasa Academy. Ujjain is one of the venues for the Kumbh Mela.

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Vaishali:  Bihar. Named after King Visala whose heroic deeds are narrated in the Hindu epic Ramayana, it was the capital of the Lichhavis, and is credited with being the World�s First Republic to have a duly elected assembly of representatives and efficient administration as early as 6th century BC. Vaishali is significant to both Buddhists and Jains. Lord Buddha preached his first sermon and announced his impending Nirvana here. Vaishali is also considered as the birthplace of Lord Mahavira.  Vaishali was the venue of the Second Buddhist council. It was visited by the Chinese travellers Fa-Hien and Hieun Tsang in early 5th and 7th centuries respectively.  Buddha Stupa I has one-eighth of the sacred ashes of the Lord Buddha enshrined here in a stone casket while the Buddha Stupa II, discovered in 1958, has a casket containing the ashes of the Lord Buddha. Kolhua is the site of the 18.3-metre-high Ashokan Pillar erected by Ashoka to commemorate the site of the Buddha's last sermon.  The red sandstone pillar, locally known as Bhimsen-ki-lathi, is one of only two pillars still on its original site. A small tank known as Ramkund is located near to the pillar. Archaeologists have uncovered a huge mound which is associated with the ancient parliament referred to as Raja Vaishala Ka Garh. The Bawan Pokhar temple houses a rich collection of black basalt images dating back to the Gupta and Pala period. The Chaumukhi Mahadeva temple bears a four-headed linga which was discovered when a reservoir was being dug. Behind the Bawan Pokhar temple is a Jain temple famous for its image of the Tirthankar. Coronation Tank, also known as the Abhishekh Pushkarni, was the lotus tank whose water was believed to be sacred in the old days and all of Vaishali�s elected representatives were anointed here before their swearing in. The Vishwa Shanti Stupa, located on the south bank of the Coronation Tank, was built by Buddh Vihar Society. Further north at Lauria Areraj lies one of the Ashokan column with six of his edicts. The column is devoid of its capital. Another Ashokan column along with the lion capital can be seen at Nandangarh, 23 kms from Bettiah. Kundupur is believed to be the birthplace of the Jain Tirthankar, Lord Mahavira who is said to have spent the first 22 years of his life here. Other important places of interest in Vaishali include the Harikatora Temple, Lotus Tank and Miranji-Ki-Dargah.

 

Vaishnodevi: Jammu & Kashmir. It is one of the most important pilgrim centres of India and is renowned for the Vaishnodevi Temple.

 

Varanasi: Uttar Pradesh. Varanasi is the oldest living city in India and one of the world's most ancient. It lies at the confluence of the rivers Varuna and Asi.  It was previously known by names like Kashi and Benares.  It is famous for the Kashi-Vishwanath Temple (constructed by Rani Ahilya Bai Holkar in 1776), Bharat Mata Mandir (a unique temple dedicated to Mother India), Alamgir Mosque (popularly known as Beni Madhav Ka Darera), Gyanvapi mosque (constructed by Emperor Aurangazeb), Durga Temple, Tulsi Manas Mandir, Kaal Bhairav Temple, Maha Mritunjaya Temple (dedicated to the God of Death), Nepali Temple, Ramnagar Fort, Bharat Kala Bhavan and the Benares Hindu University.

 

Victoria Terminus:  Maharashtra. A railway station at Mumbai which was named as Victoria Terminus to mark the occasion of the golden jubilee of the coronation of Queen Victoria.  This 108-year old structure is the best example of Gothic architecture.  It has recently been renamed as Chatrapati Shivaji Terminus.

 

Vijayawada: Andhra Pradesh. It is famous for the Kanaka Durga Temple.  Adi Shankara blessed the city by installing a 'Sri Chakra' at the temple here.  Vijayawada is also renowned for the Orr Hill (renamed as Gandhi Hill) housing the Gandhi Stupa which is a 15.8 m high monument dedicated to Mahatma Gandhi and built in 1968.  Vijayawada also has the Undavalli Caves, three cave temples at Mogalarajapuram and the Narasimha Temple.

 

Vikramashila:    Bihar. Ancient university in Magadha in modern Bihar which was established by the Pala king Dharmapala.  It was a famous seat of Buddhist learning and contributed greatly in the spread of Indian culture in Tibet and Nepal.

 

Vizag:   Vizag or Visakhapatnam was named after the god of Valor-Visakha. It was a part of the Kalinga kingdom, under Ashoka's rule in 260 B.C. It passed on later to the Andhra kings of Vengi. After this the city was ruled by the Pallava, Chola and Ganga dynasties. In the 15th century, Visakhapatnam became a part of the Vijayanagar Empire. The Dolphin's Nose - a rocky promontory in the port, Ramakrishna Mission Beach, the RishiKonda Beach, the Borra Caves, Araku valley and Bhimunipatnam are important places in and near Vishakapatnam. Vizaq is famous for the Araku Valley, Borra Caves, Bheemunipatnam and 15th century Vaishakeshwara Temple constructed by King Kulottunga Chola. 

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Warangal:  Andhra Pradesh. Located at a distance of 175 kms from Hyderabad, the city of Warangal had a glorious past, being the capital of Kakatiya kingdom. It finds a mention in the travel diaries of Marco Polo. It was earlier referred as Orugallu or Ekashila. It is famous for the13th century Warangal  (Kakitya) fort built by the Kakatiya king, Ganapati Deva and his daughter Rudramma.  The Pakhal Lake, located 50 kms away from Warangal was built in 1273 A.D by the Kakatiya kings.  It is also famous for the Ramappa and the Ghanpur temples.

 

Wardha:  Maharashtra.  A town  where Mahatma Gandhi lived for several years.  Jamnalal Bajaj founded the Satyagraha Ashram here in 1921. The famous Sewagram Ashram was also constructed near this place by Gandhiji in 1936.

 

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Yadgirigutta:  Andhra Pradesh. Located about 60 kilometers from Hyderabad, Yadagirigutta is famous for the holy shrine of Sri Lakshmi Narasimha Swami.  The region of Yadgirigutta has been reputed to be a "Rushi Aradhana Kshetram" or the place of worship for sages. Around the temple of the presiding deity are other shrines of the goddess Andal or Goda Devi, Anjaneya, the five Alwars, Ramalingeswara Swamy and the pushkarini.

 

Yanam: Pondicherry.  It is a small area of 8 square miles in extent, situated on the left bank of River Godavari in Andhra Pradesh. The French occupied it in 1723. Yanam has three temples namely Rajarajeswara, Venkateswara and Pillaraya.

 

Yercaud:  This is a quiet little hill station located on the Shevaroy hills of the Eastern Ghats. Important tourist places at Yercaud include Yercaud Lake, Lady's Seat, Killiyur Falls, Pagoda Point, Arthur's Seat, Kaveri Peak and the Shevaroyan temple.

 

Yuksam: Sikkim. It was the first capital of Sikkim established in 1641 with the consecration of the first Chogyal.

 

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