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.
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 B.C. 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. Vizag is famous for the Araku Valley, Borra Caves, Bheemunipatnam and 15th century Vaishakeshwara Temple constructed by King Kulottunga Chola.
Warangal: Telangansa. 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.
Yadgirigutta: Telangana. 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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