Getting off the beaten track
Discover places, cultures while you travel to some unexplored places in the country
Being the seventh largest nation in the world with a rich historic past and a varied geography, our nation hides away many jewels. According to experts, of late Indian travellers are widely opting to travel to unexplored destinations and have been quite experimental with their travelling choices. Besides, the internet has helped create awareness on many hidden places with their their exotic pictures luring travellers. To keep you glued and inspired, this edition is dedicated to map out a few hand picked locations around the country. Apart from these lesser known jewels, we've got you glimpses of waterfalls revelling in monsoon flavours.
A FORT SITUATED ON A HILLTOP
The Madan Mahal Fort situated in Jabalpur pays a rich tribute to the Gond ruler Madan Singh. Dating back to 11th century AD, the fort sits at a height of about five hundred meters, atop a hill of the same name. The scale of the fort isn’t that large yet it is characterised by intrigue of history buffs. Back in the day when the Rajgond Rulersreigned over Jabalpur, Mandla and surrounding regions, Madan Mahal was one such fort built by them. The enchanting fort served as a manned post on vigil for invaders and is associated with Rani Durgavati, the Gond Queen and her son Veer Narayan. Apart from its man-made aesthetics, what sets Madan Mahal apart are the Balancing Rocks, the huge boulders balanced on top of one another, on the way to the fort.
Hoysaleswara Temple, also referred simply as the Halebidu Temple, sits on the banks of a large man-made lake, in Halebidu, an old town in Karnataka. The 12th-century temple dedicated to Shiva, built on a star shaped platform, flaunts immense intricacy. Halebidu was the glorified royal capital of the Hoysala kingdom in 12th Century and the temple is attributed to its king, Vishnuvardhana and queen, Shantala Devi. It is believed that the queen was an epitome of beauty. She was also a great Bharatnatyam dancer and musician. Sculptors were inspired by these qualities and the Shilabalikas, the dancing figures, are models of Queen Shantala Devi and her courtisans. The construction of the temple took about 105 years to complete. The walls of the temple are covered with an endless variety of depictions from Hindu mythology, animals, birds and dancing figures. Each sculpture in the temple is unique and beautifully carved.
A LESSER KNOWN WILDLIFE RESERVE
Located at a distance of 15 kilometres from the historic town of Hampi, Daroji Sloth Bear Sanctuary, is the only sanctuary dedicated to the sloth bears in India. The sanctuary’s open scrub forests, sporting outcrop of rocks, tumbled boulders and caves, make for a perfect hibernating spots for bears. Situated in North Karnataka, its vegetation of fruits, tubers, honey, insects and termites makes up the bears’ diet. It is estimated that about 120 bears walk across the 82.72 sq km of the sanctuary, along with Leopards, Hyena, Jackals, Wild Boars, Porcupine, Pangolins, Star Tortoise, Monitor Lizard, Mongoose, Pea Fowls, Partridges, Painted Spur Hen, Quails etc. About 90 species of birds and 27 species of butterflies call the sanctuary home. During evening hours, make way to the watchtower within the sanctuary, opposite Karadikallu Gudda, that provides a vantage point to view the bears descending from the adjacent hillocks.