Sheer poetry in marble. Majesty and magnificence, unrivalled, the Taj Mahal is the only one of its kind across the world. The monumental labour of love of a great ruler for his beloved queen. The ultimate realisation of Emperor Shahjahan's dream. One of the wonders of the world. From 1631 A.D., it took 22 years in its making.
An estimated 20,000 people worked to complete the enchanting mausoleum, on the banks of the Yamuna. For a breathtaking beautiful view of the Taj Mahal, one has to see it by moonlight.View More
Brhadisvara Temple, Thanjavur
The Brhadisvara Temple, a splendid example of Chola architecture was built by Emperor Rajaraja (985-1012 A.D.). The long series of epigraphs incised in elegant letters on the plinth all round the gigantic edifice reveals the personality of the Emperor.
The Brhadisvara temple is a monument dedicated to Siva, and he named lord as Rajarajesvaram-udayar after himself.View More
Near the gardens of Taj Mahal stands the important 16th-century Mughal monument known as the Red Fort of Agra. This powerful fortress of red sandstone encompasses within its 2.5-km-long enclosure walls, the imperial city of the Mughal rulers. The forbidding exteriors of this fort hide an inner paradise.
Agra Fort, an excellent example of Mughal architecture, is one of the few UNESCO World Heritage Sites in India.View More
Gateway of India
The Gateway of India is synonymous with Mumbai. It is the most famous monument of Mumbai and is the starting point for most tourists who want to explore the city. Gateway of India is a great historical monument built during the British rule in the country. It was built as a triumphal arch to commemorate the visit of King George V and Queen Mary to Mumbai (then, Bombay). Gateway of India was built at Apollo Bunder, a popular meeting place. It was designed by the British architect, George Wittet.View More
Mahabodhi Temple Complex at Bodh Gaya
The Mahabodhi Temple Complex in Bodh Gaya is located in the central part of the state of Bihar, in the northeastern part of India. It is the part of the great Ganges plains. The Mahabodhi Temple is located at the place of Lord Buddha's enlightenment. Bihar is one of the four holy sites related to the life of the Lord Buddha, and particularly to the attainment of Enlightenment.View More
One of the most ancient and celebrated religious buildings of Goa, this magnificent 16th century monument, constructed by the Roman Catholics under the Portuguese rule, is the largest church in Asia. The Cathedral is dedicated to St. Catherine of Alexandria on whose feast day in 1510 Alfonso Albuquerque defeated the Muslim army and took possession of the city of Goa. Hence it is also known as St. Catherine's' Cathedral and is bigger than any of the churches in Portugal itself.View More
Victoria Memorial is one of the famous and beautiful monuments of Kolkata. It was built between 1906 and 1921 to commemorate Queen Victoria's 25-year reign in India.
After the Sepoy Mutiny of 1857, the British government gathered the reins of control of the country directly, and in 1876 the British parliament made Victoria the Empress of India. Her reign ended with her death in 1901.View More
Folk and Tribal Art
Pattachitra style of painting is one of the oldest and most popular art forms of Odisha. The name Pattachitra has evolved from the Sanskrit words patta, meaning canvas, and chitra, meaning picture. Pattachitra is thus a painting done on canvas, and is manifested by rich colourful application, creative motifs and designs, and portrayal of simple themes, mostly mythological in depiction.
Some of the popular themes represented through this art form are Thia Badhia - depiction of the temple of Jagannath; Krishna Lila - enactment of Jagannath as Lord Krishna displaying his powers as a child; Dasabatara Patti - the ten incarnations of Lord Vishnu; Panchamukhi - depiction of Lord Ganesh as a five-headed deity. More than anything, the themes are clearly the essence of the art form, conceptualising the meaning of the paintings. It is no surprise therefore that the process of preparing the paintings engages undeterred concentration and careful craftsmanship, stretching the preparation time of the patta alone to around five days.
Making the patta is the first thing that comes in the agenda, and the painters, also called chitrakars, go about their work in preparing a tamarind paste, which is made by soaking tamarind seeds in water for three days. The seeds are later pounded with a crusher, mixed with water, and heated in an earthen pot to turn it to a paste, which is called niryas kalpa. The paste is then used to hold two pieces of cloth together with it, and coated with a powder of soft clay stone a couple of times till it becomes firm. Soon as the cloth becomes dry, the final touch of polishing it with a rough stone and then a smooth stone or wood is given, until the surface becomes smooth and leathery, and is all ready as a canvas to be painted on.
Preparing the paints is perhaps the most important part of the creation of Pattachitra, engaging the craftsmanship of the chitrakars in using naturally available raw materials to bring about indigenous paints. The gum of the kaitha tree is the chief ingredient, and is used as a base for making different pigments, on which diverse raw materials are mixed for diverse colours. Powdered conch shells, for instance, are used for making a white pigment, while lamp soot is used for a black pigment. The root of the keya plant is usually used for making the common brush, while mouse hair is used on the requirement of finer brushes, to be attached to wooden handles.
The creation of the Pattachitra paintings is a disciplined art form, and the chitrakars maintain rigidity in their use of colours and patterns, restricting the colours to a single tone. Limiting themselves within the boundaries of some rules, the chitrakars come up with such remarkable paintings depicting stark emotional expressions that it is a surprise shading of colours is a taboo. In fact, it is this display of emotions of the figures expressed in the paintings, which is the crème de la crème of the art form, and the chitrakars put in their best to bring out the most through their rich colourful motifs.
With the passage of time, the art of Pattachitra has gone through a commendable transition, and the chitrakars have painted on tussar silk and palm leaves, and even created wall hangings and showpieces. However, this kind of innovativeness has never proved to be a hindrance in their customary depiction of figures and the use of colours, which has remained intact throughout generations. This constancy is the key factor that has maintained the effervescence of Pattachitra, backed with the fact that the setting up of some special centres for the art form in Odisha speaks volumes for its popularity.