Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Hurghada, Egypt

Hurghada, a beautiful resort destination on the Red Sea Coast of Egypt,Once upon a time, Hurghada was known as Ghardada and was a quite fishing village. The pleasant climate, excellent diving venues, sparkling clear water, shipwrecks, and coral reefs, have made Hurghada a popular holiday destination in Egypt.

Holiday in Hurghada
Hurghada is popular holiday destination for tourists of all ages. Elderly European and American tourists enjoy the warm weather and relaxed ambience of Hurghada. There are many excellent resorts at Hurghada, such as the Le Meridien Makadi Bay Resort that offer a complete holiday experience to visitors. Hurghada is also popular with the young party loving crowd. There are many clubs, pubs, bars, restaurants, hotels and discotheques where the fun loving tourist can have a great time.

Water sports and Diving in Hurghada
Tourists can enjoy many water sports in Hurghada. These include swimming, windsurfing, sailing and deep-sea fishing. The most popular water sports here are snorkeling and scuba diving. Hurghada is famous as one of the world's best diving sites. The coral reefs and incredible varieties of fish seen in the warm waters of the Red Sea are truly breathtaking. Tourists can also view these natural wonders through glass-bottomed boats.

Other attractions in Hurghada are the aquarium and museum with extensive collections of marine life.

Tourist Attractions in and around Hurghada

Hurghada has lots of attractions to offer a visitor. Tourists can travel on Red Sea Cruises or take safari tours of the nearby desert and mountains. Both camel safaris and jeep safaris are available.

The stark beauty of the desert with golden sand dunes rolling away into the distance and the craggy mountains near Hurghada are a picturesque sight. There are also many other beautiful beaches and water sports venues along the coast near Hurghada, where tourists can enjoy fishing excursions and sightseeing tours.

Cairo, Egypt

Cairo, popularly known as 'The Jewel of the Orient' is situated on the banks of the River Nile to the south of its delta.

History: Cairo, the Triumphant City and the glorious capital of Egypt as also known as the cradle of civilization. 'The City of the Thousand Minarets', Cairo is the largest city in the Middle-East and Africa. It's the best place where you can see past meeting present with the evidence of 2000 years of Islamic, Jewish and Christian Coptic culture that continue to flourish here. You can know more about the history of Cairo on Cairo Tour.

Tourist Attractions:

The Egyptian Museum of Antiques: This museum houses some of the greatest masterpieces like the statue of Khafre. Royal Mmummy Room and Tutankhamun Gallery are some of its major attractions.

Khan al-Khalili: Khan al-Khalili is considered to be one of the largest markets in the world. On the northern side of the bazaar is the Mosque of Sayyidna al- Hussein, one of the holiest Islamic sites of Egypt.

The Pyramids of Giza: Counted amongst the Seven Wonders of the World, The Pyramids of Giza is the oldest and the largest pyramid and the major attraction of Egypt. Just standing in front of the Great Pyramid, is the Sphinx, known as the Abu al-Hol. Explore all these places on Cairo Tour.


If you are on Cairo Tour, then don't forget to buy Perfume Bottles, from The Golden Palace perfume shop, known for selling the special perfumes of Cairo. You can also buy some beautiful post cards, jewellery, head clothes and replicas of antiques from Street sellers in Cairo. You can't resist buying Camel hair rugs from the Rug Shops. Then there are some Souvenir Shops selling t-shirts, books, silver cartouches with your name inside and many more things.

Legendary Khyber Pass, Pakistan

The legendary Khyber Pass in the North West Frontier is a 53 Kilometer passage through the Hindu Kush mountain range. It is the most famous passageway to the Himalayas. It connects the northern boarder of Pakistan with Afghanistan.
On the north side of the famous Khyber Pass rises the towering, snow-covered mountains to the Hindu Kush. Conquering armies have used the Khyber Pass as a point of entry or their invasions; in fact it has witnessed countless invasions.
British troops defended the Khyber Pass on the British – Indian side. Particularly well known is the battle of January 1842, in which about 16,000 British and Indian troops were killed. One cannot talk of the Khyber Pass without also mentioning the Khyber Rifles, during the British rule the Khyber rifles was one of the eight ‘Frontier Corps” or para-military units recruited from tribesmen of the North West Frontier. The headquarters of the Khyber Rifles was at Landi Koltal and their prime role was to guard the Khyber Pass.

For hundreds of years, great camel trains traveled through the Khyber Pass, bringing goods to trade. These merchants brought luxury silks and fine porcelain objects from China to the Middle East.The Khyber Pass today has two highways one for motor traffic and the other for the traditional caravans. A railway line also travels to the head of the pass. This was built in the 1920s. Whilst we are touring the Khyber Pass we will visit Peshawer and stay at one of the cities excellent hotels. Peshawar is the gateway to Afghanistan, which is situated at the mouth of the Khyber Pass.
Peshawar is the capital of the North-West Frontier Province. The name Peshawar means High Fort in Persian. During its history, the city was one of the main trading routes on the ancient Silk Road. A trip to Peshawar is not complete without visiting The Khan Club , which is a hotel from a by-gone era. The hotel has been fully restored and the result is magnificent. It is located in the oldest and most historic part of Peshawar. Each room has its own ‘jeweled’ theme. Wherever you meet the famous Pathans of the North West Frontier region they will greet you with their overwhelming hospitality.

Himalayan Foothills, Pakistan

Bordering Afghanistan, China and India, Northern Pakistan is a region of both great ethnic diversity and immense natural beauty and remains practically undiscovered by tourism. Setting out from Muree , Pakistan’s favourite hill station, which is only a distance of 50 kilometers from Islamabad and at an altitude of 2286 meters. Murree is famous for its cooler climate and lush green scenery. From then we wind through the tree-clad roads to reach Nathiagali which is possibly the most picturesque hill station in Pakistan. We will take many strolls the pine forests.For the slightly adventurous amongst us there will be a delightful horse trek – each with our own groom to the top of Mukshpuri, which is at 2800 meters.

Islamabad, Pakistan

Tourism in Islamabad offers the traveller a vast array of choices from the many beautiful buildings, Mosques and of course Parliament. Islamabad is the capital of Pakistan; it is relatively young, the capital being moved from the hot, humid city of Karachi in the early sixties. There are wide-open boulevards, tree lined avenues and parks.
It is overlooked by the Margalla Hills and has a most pleasant climate with little or no wind. Animals and Scooter Taxis are not allowed in the capital, which makes for a pleasant environment. Whilst touring Islamabad we will dine in Daman-e-Koh which offers fantastic views of Islamabad whilst dining, where we will also see monkeys roaming the hills.We will also tour Rohtas Fort, which is an easy 2-hour drive from Islamabad, where we will picnic in the open air. Or let us take you on a 2-hour journey west of Islamabad to visit the famous Prince Malik Atta as seen on the Michael Palin show, where the dashing locals will race bulls and ride Stallions tent pegging, only the most fearless will ride. Islamabad has many places of interest that you will wish to visit including many art galleries and museums. Rawalpindi is also within 15 minutes of Islamabad and is a bustling town full of life and bazaars. We offer the most comprehensive Islamabad holidays. You will have the opportunity to buy in Islamabad a stunning variety of goods from Kashmir silver to beautiful carpets. Yet another Pakistan tourist attraction is the famous Air Safari, offering travelers the opportunity to fly around K2 and take wonderful photographs.From Islamabad we will also drive out through colourful scenery to Taxila where we will be guided through the ancient ruins and museum.Islamabad also boasts the largest Mosque in Pakistan named after King Faisal of Saudi Arabia.Its pillar- less domed building can house more than 100,000 in prayer.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Ooty Hill Station - Ooty, India

Ooty - emerald in the Nilgiris: At 7440 ft., Ooty or Udhagamandalam (recent official Tamil name) in the Nilgiris (the Blue Mountains), is a sheer beauty and pride of the South Indian State of Tamil Nadu. Miles and miles of plush tea gardens, plummeting orchards, streets lined with green pine and eucalyptus trees and multi-colored floral diaspora give Ooty its sliced-out-of-paradise vista. The ersthwile Ootacamund (an obscure name for the sylvan beauty, isn't it?), is inhabited by the Toda tribes and the forested areas have a legion of wildlife, including the endangered Nilgiri mountain goat. What the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway (Toy train) is to Darjeeling, the Nilgiri Mountain Railway, another UNESCO World Heritage Site, is to Ooty - indespensable and inherent part of the Blue Mountains.

Nainital Hill Station, India

Nainital - enigma for vision:
At an elevation of 6,350 ft (1938 m), Nainital is one of the loveliest of Kumaoni hill stations in the North Indian state of Uttaranchal. Way back in 1841, it so seduced the Briton, Mr. Baron that he construed a house called the Pilgrim's Cottage and gradually beckoned the world to behold at his quintessential new discovery and the rest is history. This erstwhile summer retreat of the colonial kingpins is now ranked amongst the best of vacationing destinations in India. This 'lake district' was once home to wildlife conservationist and man-eating-tiger hunter Jim Corbett, whose escapades and travelogues are still reiterated with pride. The Corbett National Park and the legion of lakes - Bhim Tal, Sat Tal, Naukuchia Tal and, of course, Naini - are Nainital's jeweled attractions.

Shimla Hill Station India

Shimla - the aging Charmer:The seven picturesque hills of Shimla are in Southern Himachal, 117 km from Chandigarh. This once favorite summer retreat of the erstwhile Britons have so changed over the years that if the souls of its founders are to be come back for a dekko, they would either be saddened or gladdened to see it transform into the poshest of tourist magnets amongst the Himalayan hill-stations. The Mall street is lined with branded showrooms, the city is studded with hep resorts and out of every seven heads, one is a rtourist. Considering the phenomenal tourist hobnob, at times, slicing out your space - so wanting of such laid-back vacations - may be difficult in a place Shimla. This difficulty is promptly attended to with the neighboring getaways, the resorts, the golf at Naldehra and skiing at Kufri and Narkanda, and Shimla continues to charm her visitors.

Golden Temple - Amritsar, India

Sacred beauty: The Golden Temple, popular amongst the adherents of the Sikh religion as Sri Harmandir Sahib or Sri Darbar Sahib, is the sacred seat of Sikhism. On a jewel-studded platform is the Adi Grantha or the sacred scripture of Sikhs wherein are enshrined holy inscriptions by the ten Sikh gurus and various Hindu and Moslem saints.
Golden Temple
The years that went in the making...The origin of this sacred shrine is still debated. The most accepted genesis is that the waters of the present Amrit Sarovar or the lake of Nectar had medicinal properties that could cure various ailments as serious as leprosy. The third Sikh Guru, Amar Das even found a herb on its bank that cured the skin ailment of his predecessor Guru Angad. This place became the obvious choice of Guru Amar Das and his successor Ram Das for building an abode of worship for the propagation of their faith. The construction of the tank and the formation of a quiet hamlet of followers in its vicinity was completed by 1577. The fifth Sikh Guru Arjan Sahib, when he ascended the throne, decided to construct a temple right at the middle of that tank. It is believed that at his behest a muslim saint, Hazrat Mian Mir ji of Lahore, laid the foundation of the temple in December, 1588. Laborious toils of Sikh devotees followed to give to the world one of its most beautiful shrines ever. The tank was christened Amritsar - that became the very name of that place.
Right from big-wigs in the literary world (Mark Twain called the journey his most enjoyable day on earth) and nature enthusiasts to the Bollywood - the toy train so synonymous with Darjeeling - continues to mystify its guests with a journey one of its kind. If you want to have a dekko first, watch the Bollywood flick Pareenita’s song sequence “Kesto majaa” video. Irresistible - it is!

An Architectural Achievement: The Golden temple, unlike the usual Hindu temple architecture, was constructed on the lower level on a 67 ft. square platform, in the center of the tank and had four entrances. The golden gilding and the rich ornamentation with precious stones dates back to the reign of Maharaja Ranjit Singh. The 202 ft bridge that leads to the temple is connected with the circumambulatory path that borders the temple and leads to the ‘Har ki Paure’ or the steps of God. The very structure seems to emanate the secularism that its builders aimed to propagate and is often quoted to stand as the progenitor of the independent Sikh school of Architecture.
The chants of the devotees sanctify the entire area from dawn till dusk and the pilgrims and tourists strolling in its vicinity and around the marbled concourse encircling the pool, experience a spiritual nirvana too powerful to be contained in mere language.

Dal Lake Kashmir - Srinagar India

Some say ‘beauty’, some say ‘Dal’ The Dal Lake is one of those names that makes Kashmir, Kashmir! Indeed, of everything you will see in this, once nick-named “Paradise on Earth”, the Dal Lake with its elongated shikaras or house-boats, couples cozily warming under the Kashmiri sun, myriad flowers and a thousand different wares being bought and sold, is the most beautiful and memorable snapshot of Kashmir.
Dal Lake

Veining the pristine valleys...The Dal is Jammu and Kashmir’s second largest lake, and it flows past the lush Mughal gardens and monuments, plummeted orchards, the University of Kashmir and what not, to meet the river Jhelum . Elegant and elongated Shikaras or the Venician gondola look-a-like float through the lake carrying curious visitors, who at times feel benumbed by the serenity of the locale and perhaps wonder - can this same valley echo the gun-shots? Overlooking the lake are two hillocks that houses the famous temples of Shankaracharya and Hari Parbat.
More than hundreds of house-boats animate these tranquil waters ferrying around tourists, vendors and fishermen. Salesmen paddle from boat to boat, selling every thinkable ware like fresh flowers and fruit from the valley, nuts, Kashmiri handicraft, handmade carpets and many more items that can be either carried back home as souvenirs or spice yourself or your rooms with an enviable Kashmiri flavor.

Qutub Minar - Delhi, India

Qutub Minar, the 239ft sandstone tower situated 15 km south of Connaught Place, Delhi, is distinguished as the tallest stone tower in India. A marvel of the Indo-Islamic style of architecture, construction of the tower was started by Qutub-ud-Din Aibak in AD 1199 and completed by Iltutmish in the year 1230. It was erected as a victory tower proclaiming the triumph of Islam over the last Hindu Kingdom of Delhi. The complex houses a number of other important monuments- the gateway built in 1310, the Alai Darwaza, Quwwat-ul-Islam Mosque; one of the oldest existing mosques in India, the tombs of Altamish, Alauddin Khalji and Imam Zamin. An awesome structure in the Qutub Minar complex is the 2000 year old 7m high Iron Pillar- the Alai Minar. It has not rusted ever since it was built.
The Three Stages of its Construction :
There were three stages involved in the construction of the tower. In the first stage, Qutub-ud-Din completed the first storey. During the second stage, his successor and son-in -law, Illtutmish completed the second, third and the fourth storeys in AD 1230. In AD 1368, the minar was first struck by lightening and the fallen top storey was replaced by two storeys's, the fourth and the fifth in 1370 AD by Feroz Shah Tughlaq. This constituted the third and final stage of the construction.
The Imposing Structure :
The tower has five storeys, each marked by a protruding balcony. It has a diameter of 14.32 m at the base and about 2.75 m at the top. The first three storeys are made of red sandstone and have heavy indentures of different styles of fluting, alternately round and angular on the bottom floor, round on the second and angular on the third. The fourth and fifth floors are made of marble and sandstone. A door on the northern side leads to a spiral stairway inside with 379 steps that winds its way up to the balcony in each floor and culminating in a platform at the top. The balconies are held together by stalactite vaulting technique and are in the pattern of honey combs.
Graffiti :
From the base to its top, the decoration of the Qutub Minar is essentially. Islamic in character. However, the somewhat hybrid style of Firoz Shah's later additions is quite conspicuous. Numerous Arabic and Nagari characters are inscribed as wide encircling bands in the plain fluted masonry of the Minar. The inscriptions reveal the glorious history of the minar from its inception in 1199 to the repairs in between.

Kerala Ayurveda, India

Kerala heals with herbs:-A visit to Kerala is sine qua non with a languid Ayurvedic massage therapy. Be it to cure that old-knee pain that has been troubling you ever since or for simple pleasure, something so invigorating is best tagged "out-of-the-world". Lored to be the hometown of this ancient Indian system of medicine, Kerala has peppered herself with a legion of world's best Spa resorts replete with Ayurvedic doctors, beauticians, shops, training programs and so on.
Kerala Ayurveda

What is Ayurveda?
Indian subcontinents ancient heirloom that created ripples in the international medical map is Ayuveda - a form of alternative medicine that means "Science of Life" when translated. True, to its name, Ayurveda, invovles herbal therapies and healing techniqu
es that networks the body, mind and soul to cure infirmities. Ayurveda believes that the human body is a compund of three fundamental elemants or doshas. Accordingly, it works on your physical, mental, and emotional well-being by rectifying any imbalances in the three doshas: vata (air), pitta (fire), and kapha (water). And to master this science, that is, to become an Ayurvedic Doctor is tedious actually. Some five years or more go into the making of an Ayurvedic physician, who is then authorised to prescribe medicine and herbal therapies. The first three years, however, have the same study of anatomy like western medical science.
Tried and tested for over 3000 years, it is only lately that the T
ourism industry and the Resorts have rediscovered this excellent cache that gets tourists across the globe bee-lining to India. Ayurveda is also one among the few traditional systems of medicine involving surgery.

Hawa Mahal - Jaipur, India

Built in 1799, by Maharaja Sawai Pratap Singh the 'Hawa Mahal', Palace of the Wind, is a classic incidence of Rajput artistry. It is a part of the City Palace, an extension of the Zenana (women's chambers) standing away from the main complex. This awesome five storey building was designed by Lal Chand Ustad and is made of made of red and pink sand stone, intricately outlined with white borders and motif's painted with quick lime. The monument was originally designed to enable the royal ladies to watch the everyday life and royal processions in the city without being seen by others.
The Structure: From the road side, the Hawa Mahal looks more like a screen and less of a palace. This imposing pyramidal structure has tier after tier of 953 small casements, each with tiny lattice worked pink windows, small balconies and arched roofs with immaculate hanging cornices. These small windows circulate cool air even in the hottest summer months. Access to this structure is gained from the City Palace side, through a stately door which opens into a spacious courtyard.
Hawa Mahal
The courtyard has a double story building on three sides. There is a small archaeological museum here. Only the eastern wing has three more stories above. The building stands over a high podium. It is a 50ft high thin shield, not even a foot in thickness, with small intimate chambers, which give the unique frontage to the building. There are no regular stairs to reach the upper floors, but only ramps.

City Palace - Jaipur, India

The City Palace of Jaipur is a fine interplay of traditional Rajasthani and Mughal architecture. The stupendous palace complex occupies one seventh of the walled city of Jaipur. The palace was originally built by Maharaja Jai Singh II of the Kachhwaha clan of Rajputs, and the later additions were made by his successors. The complex has well defined courtyards, flourishing gardens and buildings. It houses several palatial structures like the Chandra Mahal, Mubarak Mahal, Badal Mahal, Shri Govind Dev Temple and the City Palace Museum.

The Palace Premises:-In the first courtyard is the Mubarak Mahal, built by Maharaja Madho Singh II in the late 19th century. It is home to the textile section of the Maharaja Sawai Man Singh II Museum. An awesome gateway with a grand door in brass opens to a stately courtyard, where lies the Diwan-I-Khas or 'Hall of Private Audience'. It is an open hall with a double row of columns with scalloped arches. Here is a display of the two largest silver vessels in the world figured in the Guinness Book of World Records. The Diwan-E-Aam or the 'Hall of Public Audience' lies across the paved square.
City Palace of Jaipur

The grand seven storied Chandra Mahal lies to the north-west. This present day residence of the Maharaja of Jaipur; Bhavani Singh, provides stunning views of the gardens and the city. The palace is adorned with exquisite traditional style paintings, floral decorations, mirror walls and ceilings. The different floors of this splendid structure serve a variety of purposes. While the ground and the first floor form the Maharaja Sawai Man Singh II Museum, the fourth floor serve as the tastefully decorated Shobha Nivas or Hall of Beauty. The fifth floor is the Chhavi Nivas or Hall of Images, the sixth floor with its mirrored ceiling and stucco floor has rows of double columns through which one can have a magnificent view of the rugged hills. The uppermost story is called the Mukut Mahal or the Crown Building. Opposite to this splendid building lies the Badal Mahal. The Govind Devji Temple is between the Chandra Mahal and the Badal Mahal. The awesome Hawa Mahal is another integral part of the City Palace.

Lotus Temple Delhi - Delhi, India

This mesmerizing structure, in the shape of a half-open lotus, is situated in the south of Delhi. The temple, made of marble, cement, dolomite and sand, is often called the Taj of modern India. It is open to all faiths and is an ideal place for meditation and obtaining peace and tranquility. Completed in the year 1986, this architectural fete is the Canadian architect Fariborz Sahba's creation for the Bahai faith - the youngest of the world's independent religions. It is open to all faiths and is an ideal place for meditation and obtaining peace and tranquility.
Structure of the Temple The structure of this magnificent edifice consists of three ranks of nine petals; each springing from a podium elevating the building above the surrounding plain. The first two ranks are in the form of inward curvatures embracing the inner dome; the third layer protrudes outward and form canopies over the nine entrances. The petals are constructed of reinforced white concrete and are bedecked in white marble panels. The main support to the superstructure is provided by nine arches ringing the central hall. Nine reflecting pools, suggesting the leaves of the flower, surround the building on the outer side.
Undertones of the Design:The lotus, the emblem of purity and tenderness, bears connotations to the Manifestation of God. The lotus is universally held in reverence as a sacred flower and its significance is deeply rooted on the minds of the Indians. According to Indian mythology, the Creator Brahma sprung from the lotus that grew out of Lord Vishnu's navel when that deity lay absorbed in meditation. In Buddhist folklore the Boddhisatva Avalokiteswara is represented as born from a lotus, and is usually depicted as standing or sitting on a lotus pedestal and holding a lotus bloom in his hand. Lord Buddha said you have to be like a lotus which grows and lives in dirty water, yet its beauty remains untarnished by the surroundings.

Red Fort Agra - Agra, India

About 2 km from the Taj, on the banks of the river Yamuna, stands the imposing Agra Fort. It was during the reign of Emperor Akbar that the city of Agra reached its pinnacle of glory. During his reign, the main part of the Agra fort was built. The fort, which was first constructed in AD1156 and was finished by Akbar in the year 1605. Most of the buildings inside the fortress were erected by Shahjahan. While most parts of the fort was used as a military bastion, a portion of it was used as a court as by Shahjahan.

Structure of the Fort:
The fort stretches almost 2.5 km alongside the Yamuna river. It is enclosed by a wall built in red sandstone and has several buildings inside. Though the fort has two gates- the Delhi Gate and the Amar Singh Gate- access can be gained only via the Amar Singh Gate. The entire fort is not opened to tourists, for part of it is nowadays used by the Indian Army. But still it has enough to give an insight into the 16th century Mughal lifestyle. It was the very place where Emperor Shahjahan was confined till death by his son Aurangzeb. Shahjahan is said to have died in the Musamman Burj, a tower with a beautiful marble balcony, which provides the most captivating views of the Taj.
Inside the fort there is the Great Courtyard, towards the right of which lies the multi- pillared Diwan-i-Am (Hall of Public Audience), built by Shahjahan in 1628. Next, there are the Royal Pavilions. The fort houses two beautiful mosques- Nagina Masjid & Mina Masjid. There are the splendid palaces- Macchi Bhavan, Khas Mahal, Shish Mahal and Shah Jahani Mahal. Besides, there is also the Zenana Mina Bazaar. Many of the buildings are made of pure marble and embellished exquisite carvings. An interesting feature of the rooms in the marble pavilions is that the walls were hollow and filled with running water to provide a cooling effect. The balconies in the pavilions provide some eyeful views of the Yamuna and the Taj.

Jaama Masjid - Delhi, India

The Jama Masjid has the distinction of being the largest Mosque in the country. It lies opposite the Red Fort and is flanked by a plethora of shops dealing in a variety of goods. This great mosque is the final gift of Shahjahan to the architectural heritage of India. Planned and designed by the great sculptor, Ostaad Khalil, the Masjid is said to be the replica of Moti Masjid in Agra. It is called Masjid-e-Jahanuma. About 5000 artisans were employed to accomplish the task of constructing this Rs. 10 crore architectural marvel.
Structure of the Mosque
The mosque is constructed in a style of alternating vertical stripes of red sandstone and white marble, and measuring 65m by 35m. Of the three imposing gateways- the main eastern entrance, which remains closed on most days of the week, was perhaps used by the Emperors. The north and the south gates, accessed by broad flights of steps, were meant for the common people. The structure was placed on a high platform so that its magnificent facade would be visible from all around. The pulpit, shaped out of a single block of marble, is one of the hallmarks of the mosque. The mosque is also adorned by four towers and two minarets.
Precious Possessions of the Mosque
A cupboard near the North Gate of the Jama Masjid contains some priceless relics of Prophet Mohammed. These include a chapter of his original Koran written on deerskin, a red beard-hair of the prophet, his sandals and his footprint, embedded on a marble slab.

Fatehpur Sikri - Agra, India

About 37 km west of Agra, this royal city was founded as his dream capital by the Mughal Emperor Akbar. There is a legend behind the construction of this splendid city. Akbar was without an heir for a long time. Therefore, he made a pilgrimage to the renowned Sufi saint Sheik Salim Chisti and sought his blessings for a successor. Finally, a son was born to him, who later came to be known as Jehangir. As a mark of his gratitude, Akbar named him after the saint and built the new capital to mark his birth. Work on the extensive project- featuring grand palaces, formal courtyards, pools, harems, tombs and a great mosque- began in 1571. A large number of skilled masons and craftsmen worked to their bones on an area that was over two miles long and a mile wide. The main material used for construction was red sandstone, which is available locally.
But destiny has its own way- just after fifteen years of the completion of work, the fabulous city had to be abandoned due to acute shortage of water.

Fatehpur Sikri: The Cynosure of all Eyes
This magnificent city, today, is recognized as a World Heritage site. Inside the complex there are number of mesmerizing sites. The Panch Mahal, or Palace of Five Storeys, and the Buland Darwaza, a massive gate which provides entrance to the complex, are adored for their unrivaled elegance. The massive chess board signifies the cultural politics inherent in the Mughal era. On this board, as it is believed, human figures were used as chess pieces and moved at the will of the emperor. The Jama Masjid (Imperial Mosque), Salim Chisti tomb, Diwani-Aam, and Jodh Bai's Palace feature among the most impressive structures of the city. The city is notable for its intricate blend of Muslim and Hindu motifs.

Taj Mahal - Agra, India

India's $42 billion travel and tourism industry today has secured itself the fifth rank amongst the 134 most preferred tourist destinations in the world. With over 3 million tourists visiting the the Seventh Wonder of the World - the Taj Mahal - alone every year, the floodlights were focused at Agra, until globetrotters began to look around. They found India studded with delights more than many and gradually the attractions were unraveled, one after the other.
The architectural archipelago that India is, owes its genesis to the various dynasties that ruled different parts of India at different periods. The most significant embossing on the Indian landscape was that of the Mughals and the erstwhile British masters. The Mughals believed in luxuriant living and their palaces were a rich blend of Indo-Islamic and Persian architecture. Their fascination for gardens got a whole legion of them laid at different parts of their territory. The British brought in their Victorian and Gothic elements and built monuments of use (railway stations, educational institutions, museums et al), while the Rajput and the Gupta rulers, keeping in with their jealous territorial stronghold, got some of the most splendid Palaces and Forts built. South India, of the Chandelas and the Pallavas, boasts of some of the most magnificent temples. India's coastline, hill-stations, adventure trails and so on, are recent boosts of the tourism industry and needless to say, they have surpassed the oldies.
We have randomly handpicked the most popular tourist attractions in India so that you know what not-to-miss.

Tokyo T.V Tower - Tokyo Japan

Tokyo Tower is a communications and observation tower located in Shiba Paark, Minato, Tokyo, Japan. At 333 meters (1,091 ft), it is the tallest self-supporting steel structure in the world and the tallest artificial structure in Japan. The structure is an Eiffel Tower-inspired Lattice Tower that is painted white and international orange to comply with air safety regulations.
Built in 1958, the tower's main sources of revenue are tourism and antenna leasing. Over 150 million people have visited the tower since its opening. FootTown, a 4-story building located directly under the tower, houses museums, restaurants and shops. Departing from here, guests can visit two observation decks. The 2-story Main Observatory is located at 150 meters (492 ft), while the smaller Special Observatory reaches a height of 250 meters (820 ft).
The tower acts as a support structure for an antenna. Originally intended for television broadcasting, radio antennas were installed in 1961 and the tower is now used to broadcast both signals for Japanese media outlets such as NHK, TBS and Fuji TV. Japan's planned switch from analog to digital for all television broadcasting by July 2011 is problematic, however. Tokyo Tower's current height is not high enough to adequately support complete terrestrial digital broadcasting to the area. A taller digital broadcasting tower known as Tokyo Sky Tree is currently planned to open in 2011.

B.T. (Post Office)- London, UK

The B.T. (Post Office) Tower was officially opened by Prime Minister Harold Wilson on 8 October 1965. Its purpose was to act as the hub of a nationwide network of microwave relay stations. This network was built to handle the rapidly increasing use of telephone and television in the late 1950s and early 60s. The tower exemplified Wilson’s vision of a new Britain forged from the ‘white heat of technology’. At 189 metres (620 feet), it was the country’s tallest building.

The tower had to be tall, since the microwave signals needed an unobstructed route between each station, clear of the highest buildings and surrounding hills. Its glass windows and horn-shaped reflectors looked stylish and futuristic. Its cylindrical shape reduced wind-resistance and gave the tower stability.

In 1966, observation galleries were opened to the public. Visitors took a fast lift to the top and were greeted by panoramic windows giving breathtaking views over London. In the first year, there were nearly a million visitors. A terrorist bomb led to the closure of the observation galleries in 1971.

The restaurant at the ‘top of the Tower’, run by Butlins, became one of London’s most exciting dining experiences. It was also a ‘moving’ experience as the floor revolved through 360º every 25 minutes. The colour scheme of midnight blue highlighted with red was selected to match the night sky. The restaurant closed in 1980.

The B.T. Tower today is the centre of an important broadcasting and communications network. TV programmes, telephone conversations and computer data are routed through it via satellite and fibre optic cable.

Taller buildings have been constructed, but the B.T. Tower still dominates the West End and remains one of London’s key landmarks. A listed building, it is still used by Londoners and visitors alike to navigate the City.

Galata Tower - Istanbul, Turkey

Galata (in Turkish Galata) is a neighborhood in the district of Beyoğlu, Istanbul, Turkey. It is located on the north shore of Golden Horn, separate from the historical peninsula of ancient Constantinople. There are several bridges across the Golden Horn, including Galata. Galata was a colony of the Republic of Genoa between 1273 and 1453. The famous Galata Tower was built by the Genoese in 1348 in the northern part of the high citadel.

There are various theories about the origin of the name Galata. According to the Italians, the name comes from Calata (meaning 'down'), because it is sloping towards the sea from a hill. The Greeks believed that the name comes from Galaktos (which means' milk '), because the pastors were using the area during the Middle Ages, or the word Galata (which means "Celtic"), because it was believed that the Celtic tribe of Galatians camped here during the Hellenistic period before settling in Galatia in central Anatolia. The inhabitants of Galatia are famous for the Epistle to the Galatians and the statue Gálata moribund.

This tower of 61 m in height that rises above the hill of Galata is seen almost throughout the city, one of the reasons that your visit is essential to its magnificent view of the city, the tower is built over a hill overlooking the Bosphorus, the Sea of Marmara and the Golden Horn. Andalusia lookout tower can be reached by 143 stairs or elevator. From this lookout you can admire a panorama of the city, which is known from the V century in this same place had a tower, but the Galata Tower was built by the Genoese to 1348, as a great bastion of the walled enclosure to be protected of possible attacks by the Byzantines. Genoese called "Tower of Christ," reaches a height of about 140m from sea level and 9 m in diameter on the inside.

The tower, during the Ottoman period, was used as a prison to incarcerate prisoners of war, was also used as an observatory. After the end of the Ottoman period, became the vantage point of monitoring of fires.

CN Tower - Toronto, Canada

The CN Tower is Toronto's tallest and most defining landmark. Photos of Toronto are often defined by the building stretching more than 550 metres into the sky.

The CN Tower was originally built to solve communications problems caused by the skyscrapers dotting Toronto's landscape in the '70s. The new buildings towered over past transmission towers and caused poor reception for televisions and radios in the city. So work began on a tower to stand above all of Toronto's skyscrapers and serve as the centre of telecommunications in this ever growing city. In June of 1976, after 40 months of construction the CN Tower was complete.

Today, aside from serving as a hub for telecommunications across the city the CN Tower has become major tourist destination. Visitors can test their courage by walking across the glass floor 113 stories above the ground. The first of its kind in the world, the glass floor give you that dare to walk on air experience, with only 2 ½ inches of glass holding you 342m in the air. The glass floor is actually stronger than most commercial floors and has the strength to hold 38,556 kg (85,000 lbs) or 14 hippos! Or if you dare, travel higher up the tower to the Sky Pod another 33 storeys above ground.

The tower's revolving 360 Restaurant offers an award winning wine list and spectacular view for any romantic evening. If you're not wild about heights, at the base of the tower, a fully licensed fresh market café that serves an array of international foods and there is plenty to shop for in the 10 000 sq. foot Marketplace.

If the glass floor isn't enough excitement for you, hit the Arcade or HIMALAMAZOM motion theatre ride (must be 107cm (42 inches) tall to ride). The Maple Leaf Cinema also plays a 15 minute film on the construction of the tower 30 years ago.

Petronas Twin Towers - KL, Malaysia

The Petronas Twin Towers were the tallest buildings in the world from April 15th, 1996 until October 17th, 2003 when Taipei 101 (Financial Center) was topped out at 508m (1676ft). Completed in 1997, the Twin Towers are a striking glass-and-steel combination with floor plans based on an eight-pointed star. The Towers were designed to symbolize strength and grace using geometric principles typified in Islamic architecture. The towers are also joined at the 41st and 42nd floors (175m above street level) by a 192ft-long (58.4m) double-decker skybridge - linking the two sky lobbies and facilitating the movement between the two towers. Inside the 6-storey tower retail podium, music lovers will have access to an 864-seat concert hall (the Dewan Filharmonik Petronas) - a venue of architectural and acoustic distinction), an interactive petroleum discovery center (PETROSAINS) will be made ready for science buffs and an art gallery.