The Qutub Minar in New Delhi is a well known landmark. Photo Credit Sakeeb Sabakka/Flickr
The sandstone-colored minaret with intricately carved inscription and reliefs on its façade was erected in the late 12th century by Qutubuddin Aibak, the slave general of Muhammad Ghori, to celebrate Ghori’s victory against the Rajput rulers of Delhi.
It’s believed that Aibak was inspired by his contemporary, the great Ghurid Sultan Ghiyas-od-din, who built a similar victory tower, the Minaret of Jam, in remote Afghanistan just a few years prior.
For the next eight centuries, the Qutub Minar would be the principal attraction in a region that is choke full of monuments and ruins from hundreds of years of Sultanate rule.
Just over a hundred years after the first bricks of Qutub Minar were laid, a very ambitious and ruthless ruler named Alauddin Khilji sieged the throne of Delhi, by disposing off his predecessor—his uncle and father-in-law, Jalaluddin.
A great soldier and general, Alauddin quickly subdued the kings of neighboring kingdoms and extended the reach of the Khilji dynasty from Afghanistan in the north to the Deccan peninsula in the south. Khilji liked to attack Hindu kingdoms because Hindu Rajas were tremendously wealthy.
After the capture of Chittor in 1303, Alauddin ordered the massacre of 30,000 local Hindus. In 1298, between 15,000 and 30,000 people near Delhi, who had recently converted to Islam, were slaughtered in a single day, due to fears of an uprising.
After one particularly huge win in the Deccan, Alauddin decided to build a huge tower similar to the Qutub Minar, to commemorate his victory—only his will be bigger and taller.
He wanted a structure double the height of Qutub Minar so that he would be remembered as the only Sultan who dared to create such a monumental masterpiece that was grander and more spectacular than the one built by Qutubuddin Aibak.
The core of the Alai Minar. This would have been covered and decorated with bricks. Photo credit: PIVISO/Flickr
It has lain abandoned for the best part of 400 years and is said to be the most haunted place in India.
Situated between the cities of Delhi and Jaipur in the state of Rajasthan the true reason for its abandonment has been lost to history, though there are several legends surrounding its fate.
Even today no-one is allowed to enter the ghost city of Bhangarh after twilight – it is said that if they do they will never return.
Image credit Flickr User Saad.Akhtar
Within the grounds there are still majestic temples to major Hindu deities: Shiva, Lavina Devi and Gopinath are represented among others but the throngs of worshipers who clamoured for entrance to the temple are long gone.
The town was first built in the reign of Bhagwant Das, a powerful maharaja, in 1573.
It is said that a local guru was asked for permission to build the city.
Read further via Bhangarh – India’s Haunted City ~ Kuriositas
George Orwell is one of the United Kingdom’s best-known 20th Century authors but he’s also claimed by a town in north-eastern India.
Orwell was born here – and his home is being turned into a museum.
There are farmyard animals everywhere. An iron door lies wide open, as if the rebellious animals have forgotten to bolt it after chasing their human masters away.
Pigs have the run of the place. Two horses, their frames withered with age, stand in one corner, swishing their tails to drive the flies away, and there are many more animals – cows, goats, sheep, hens.
Only the buffaloes would have looked out of place in Animal Farm.
This is where Orwell spent the first year of his life, before he and his mother moved to Henley on Thames.
Close to the bungalow where they lived are the remains of a warehouse which was used to store opium.
By Trisha Gupta, Photographs by Anup Shah & Fiona Rogers
Back when the forest was thicker, it was difficult even to catch a glimpse of a lion-tailed macaque.
Small, shy and quiet (nearly silent by howler standards), the monkeys are so habituated to the shadow-filled canopy that some scientists consider them the only truly arboreal macaques on earth.
And they only live in the Western Ghats, a mountain range along India’s western coast.
Because counting the furtive creatures isn’t easy, the best guess is that only 3,500 or so survive.
Whether that number is greater or fewer than decades ago isn’t certain, but the more scientists know about the monkey, the more they fear that road-building, logging and other human encroachments pose a serious threat to the glossy black primate with the arresting mane and tufted, leonine tail.
A small village in the state of Kerala, in southwestern India, Nelliyampathy is among the best places to see lion-tailed macaques in what looks like a relatively intact habitat.
Many nearby coffee and tea plantations have been abandoned and have begun their slow return to wilderness. My guide, Joseph J. Erinjery, a gangly 27-year-old graduate student at the University of Mysore, spots a group of about 40 animals feasting in jackfruit trees and brings his truck to a halt.
The slapstick scene before us pits one of the world’s smallest macaques, maxing out at some 20 pounds and two feet tall, against the world’s largest tree-borne fruit, which can weigh as much as 100 pounds and reaches three feet.
I watched a monkey balance between two branches, use its forelimbs to immobilize a jackfruit larger than itself and proceed to tear into it with sharp front teeth. I also saw a young male teetering on two legs as he carried one off to eat on his own.
About a three-and-a-half-hour drive southeast of here, in and around Indira Gandhi National Park, in the state of Tamil Nadu, the photographers Anup Shah and Fiona Rogers spent four weeks observing the daily rhythms of another troop of macaques. “Feed, rest, feed, rest, feed, rest, move to another site, feed and rest,” Shah says jokingly of the monkey’s lifestyle.