Thursday, 11 February 2016

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Padam Palace, also known as Rampur Palace, is situated in Rampur, Himachal Pradesh. Built in the year 1917 by Raja Padam Dev Singh, it is one of the main attractions of the area. The white coloured front door of this palace has a Belgium-glasswork, which is one of the most beautiful aspects of the palace.
The construction of this palace uses wood heavily. It is designed to make way for interesting spaces such as porticos and galleries. It has a typically colonial design with conical roof, which looks stunning and meant for snow to fall off. It also sports white painted eaves, which add to the colonial-look of the place.
The interiors of this palace are even more beautiful with great glasswork designed using different colours and incredible woodwork. However, this is the private residence of Shri Virbhadra Singh and one requires permission to visit it. There is also a rich library inside. Portraits of royal family members adorn the walls of this palace.
Situated on the left-bank of Sutlej River, Padam Palace is 125 km away from Shimla. It was once the winter capital of Bushair, when India was a land of princely states. Padam Palace is well maintained and contains a unique blend of Indian impact and European style in its architecture. The ambience of the place is calm and the palace has a big garden with many spaces for gardens, orchards and greenery. Foundation stone of Padam Palace was laid in 1919 but it took 6 years to build it. It was completed in 1925 under the supervision of Bir Chand Shukla, who was also the Chief Engineer responsible for building this palace.
Padam Palace boasts of exemplary craftsmanship and architectural design. It is a double-storied building made of wood, which was brought from Munish and Dhamreda forests. Instead of cement, black gram was used between stone blocks to hold them together. There is a wooden screen adorned with exquisite floral work and figurines, which makes it even more beautiful. While the upper floor is carved with woodwork, the lower floor has stone arches to make it an interesting contrast. The roof of the building is made of tin and has beautiful spiral projections. Royal functions are held in the Hall of the palace. During celebrations, the royals are seated at one end of a sprawling lawn in front of the palace. This place is known as Macchkandi, which is known for its exquisite but intelligent woodwork. It was designed by Gurjit Singh Fishta.Private buses as well as buses of the State Government are available on a daily basis to travel from Shimla to Rampur. One can also travel by taxi or hire private vehicles to save time as it takes nearly 3 hours to travel from Shimla to Rampur by bus.The nearest railway station is Kalka which is 132 km from Shimla.The summer season starts from March and continues till June. Rampur has pleasant summersMonsoons arrive from June middle and continue till the middle of September. There is intermittent rain throughout this time. Weather is usually pleasant but it can also be hazardous because of chances of landslides.Winters are cold with heavy snowfall throughout the season. Roads are frequently blocked due to that from December to March. This makes travelling a big hassle.
Kalka is well connected with cities like Delhi, Kolkata and Chandigarh. Direct trains to Shimla are not available.Jubbarhatti Airport in Shimla is closest to Rampur. Tourists can avail buses or hire cars that will take them to Rampur. Shimla is well connected to many places in India so it is convenient for tourists to get here.The best time to visit Rampur is between March to June and between September to November.
Lavi Fair is held during the second week of November which is a great attraction for tourists. It is one of the biggest fairs in North India and a commercial fair held for three days. This is also a good time to visit Padam Palace.

Thursday, 4 February 2016

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Hidimbi Devi Temple, also known variously as the Hadimba Temple, is located in Manāli, a hill station in the State of Himāchal Pradesh in north India.It is an ancient cave temple dedicated to Hidimbi Devi, sister of Hidimba, a figure in the Indian epicMahābhārata. The temple is surrounded by a cedar forest at the foot of the Himālayas. The sanctuary is built over a huge rock jutting out of the ground which was worshipped as an image of the deity. The structure was built in 1553.The Hidimba Devi temple is built around a cave where Hidimba performed meditation. Hidimba was supposed to have lived there with her brother Hidimb, and not much is known about their parents. Born into a Rakshas family, Hidimba vowed to marry one who would defeat her brother Hidimb, who was supposed to be very brave and fearless. During the Pandava's exile, when they visitedManaliBhima, one of the five Pandavas, killed Hidimb. Thereafter, Hidimba married Bhima and
gave birth to their son 
Ghatotkacha.The Hidimba Devi Temple has intricately carved wooden doors and a 24 meters tall wooden "shikhar" or tower above the sanctuary. The tower consists of three square roofs covered with timber tiles and a fourth brass cone-shaped roof at the top. The earth goddess Durga forms the theme of the main door carvings. The temple base is made out of whitewashed, mud-covered stonework. An enormous rock occupies the inside of the temple, only a 7.5 cm  tall brass image representing goddess Hidimba Devi. A rope hangs down in front of the rock,and according to a legend,in bygone days religious zealots would tie the hands of "sinners" by the rope and then swing them against the rock.
About seventy metres away from the temple, there is a shrine dedicated to Goddess Hidimba's son, Ghatotkacha, who was born after she married Bhima.The Indian epic Mahabharata narrates that the Pāndavas stayed in Himachal during their exile. In Manali, the strongest person there, named Hidimba and brother of Hidimdi, attacked them, and in the ensuing fight Bhima, strongest amongst the Pandavas, killed him. Bhima and Hidimba's sister, Hidimbi, then got married and had a son, Ghatotkacha, . When Bhima and his brothers returned from exile, Hidimbi did not accompany him, but stayed back and did tapasyā  so as to eventually attain the status of a goddess.
The most surprising feature of the temple or what believers could call the most reassuring feature of the temple is the fact that inside the temple the imprint of the feet of the Goddess carved on a block of stone are worshipped and, when zooming into the area where the temple is located via Google Satellite, the imprint of a giant foot spanning across the valley in the area near the temple can be seen.