Ladakh(jammu and kashmir)
Ladakh (“land of high passes”) is a region in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir that currently extends from the Siachen Glacier in the karakoramm range to the main Great Himalayas to the south, inhabited by people of Indo-Aryan and Tibetan descent.It is one of the most sparsely populated regions in Jammu and Kashmir and its culture and history are closely related to that of Tibet. Ladakh is renowned for its remote mountain beauty and culture.
Historically, the region included the Baltistan (Baltiyul) valleys (now mostly in Pakistan), the entire upper Indus Valley, the remote Zanskar, Lahaul and Spiti to the south, much of Ngari including the Rudok region and Guge in the east, Aksai Chin in the northeast (extending to the Kun Lun Mountains), and the Nubra Valley to the north over Khardong La in the Ladakh Range. Contemporary Ladakh borders Tibet to the east, the Lahaul and Spiti regions to the south, the Vale of Kashmir, Jammu and Baltiyul regions to the west, and the southwest corner of Xinjiang across the Karakoram Pass in the far north.
The largest town in Ladakh is Leh, followed by Kargil. The government of Jammu and Kashmir created a separate administrative division from Kashmir division with headquarters at Leh. Tibetan Buddhists (39.7%) and Hindus (12.1%) collectively represent the majority of the population while a plurality of Ladakhis (46.4%) are Muslims (mainly Shia). Other religious groups include Sikhs etc.Some activists from Leh have in recent times called for Ladakh to be constituted as a union territory because of perceived unfair treatment by Kashmir and Ladakh’s cultural differences with predominantly Muslim Kashmir while people of Kargil oppose UT status for Ladakh.
Varanasi (uttar pradesh)
Varanasi is a city in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh dating to the 11th century B.C. Regarded as the spiritual capital of India, the city draws Hindu pilgrims who bathe in the Ganges River’s sacred waters and perform funeral rites. Along the city’s winding streets are some 2,000 temples, including Kashi Vishwanath, the “Golden Temple,” dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva.
Varanasi is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world. Its early history is that of the first Aryan settlement in the middle Ganges valley. By the 2nd millennium BCE, Varanasi was a seat of Aryan religion and philosophy and was also a commercial and industrial center famous for its muslin and silk fabrics, perfumes, ivory works, and sculpture. Varanasi was the capital of the kingdom of Kashi during the time of the Buddha (6th century BCE), who gave his first sermon nearby at Sarnath. The city remained a center of religious, educational, and artistic activities as attested by the celebrated Chinese Buddhist pilgrim Xuanzang, who visited it in about 635 CE and said that the city extended for about 3 miles (5 km) along the western bank of the Ganges.
Varanasi subsequently declined during three centuries of Muslim occupation, beginning in 1194. Many of the city’s Hindu temples were destroyed during the period of Muslim rule, and learned scholars fled to other parts of the country. The Mughal emperor Akbar in the 16th century brought some relief to the city’s religious and cultural activities. There was another setback during the reign of the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb in the late 17th century, but later the Marathas sponsored a new revival. Varanasi became an independent kingdom in the 18th century, and under subsequent British rule, it remained a commercial and religious center.
In 1910 the British made Varanasi a new Indian state, with Ramnagar (on the opposite bank) as headquarters but with no jurisdiction over the city of Varanasi. In 1947, after Indian independence, the Varanasi state became part of the state of Uttar Pradesh.
Mysore (or Mysuru), a city in India’s southwestern Karnataka state, was the capital of the Kingdom of Mysore from 1399 to 1947. In its center is opulent Mysore Palace, seat of the former ruling Wodeyar dynasty. The palace blends Hindu, Islamic, Gothic and Rajput styles. Mysore is also home to the centuries-old Devaraja Market, filled with spices, silk and sandalwood.
The site was mentioned in the epic Mahabharata as Mahishmati (Mahismati). Mysore was known as Purigere in the Mauryan era (3rd century BCE) and later became Mahishapura. It was the administrative capital of the princely state of Mysore from 1799 to 1831 and long was the second most-populous city (after Bengaluru [Bangalore]) of Karnataka state, until being surpassed by Hubballi-Dharwad in the second half of the 20th century. Its urban agglomeration, however, is still the state’s second largest.
Mysuru is an important manufacturing and trading centre, and it has textile (cotton and silk), rice, and oil mills, sandalwood-oil and chemical factories, and tanneries. The suburb of Belagula, to the northwest, produces chrome dyes and chemical fertilizer. The city’s industries are powered by the hydroelectric station near Sivasamudram Island to the east. Mysuru’s cottage industries include cotton weaving, tobacco and coffee processing, and the making of bidis (cigarettes). The area is known for its artwork in ivory, metal, and wood, and the market near the railway station serves as a collection centre for local farm products. The city has an airport, lies at the junction of two northern railway lines, and is a major intersection on India’s principal western road system.
An ancient fort, rebuilt along European lines in the 18th century, stands in the centre of Mysuru. The fort area comprises the Maharaja’s Palace (1897) with its ivory and gold throne, Curzon Park, the Silver Jubilee Clock Tower (1927), Gandhi Square, and two statues of maharajas. To the west, near Gordon Park, are the former British residency (1805), the noted Oriental Library, university buildings, and public offices. Jaganmohan Palace and Lalitha Mahal are other notable buildings. The University of Mysore was founded in 1916; other educational facilities include Maharaja’s College, Maharani’s College for Women, and affiliated colleges of medicine, law, engineering, and teacher training. There are also several institutions for the advancement of Kannada culture.
Amritsar is a city in the northwestern Indian state of Punjab, 28 kilometers from the border with Pakistan. At the center of its walled old town, the gilded Golden Temple (Harmandir Sahib) is the holiest gurdwara (religious complex) of the Sikh religion. It’s at the end of a causeway, surrounded by the sacred Amrit Sarovar tank (lake), where pilgrims bathe.
Amritsar was founded in 1577 by Ram Das, fourth Guru of the Sikhs, on a site granted by the Mughal emperor Akbar. Ram Das ordered the excavation of the sacred tank, or pool, called the Amrita Saras (“Pool of Nectar”), from which the city’s name is derived. A temple was erected on an island in the tank’s centre by Arjan, the fifth Guru of the Sikhs, which was then reached by a marble causeway. During the reign of Maharaja Ranjit Singh (1801–39), the upper part of the temple was decorated with a gold-foil-covered copper dome, and since then the building has been popularly known as the Golden Temple. Amritsar became the centre of the Sikh faith, and, as the focus of growing Sikh power, the city experienced a corresponding increase in trade. It was annexed to British India in 1849.
Amritsar not only is home to hundreds of thousands of Sikhs but also is the chief pilgrimage destination for Sikhs living elsewhere in India and abroad. The principal focus for those pilgrims is the Golden Temple and its complex of several adjacent buildings located around the tank. Situated on the west side, facing the causeway to the temple, is the Akal Takht, the chief centre of authority of Sikhism and the headquarters of the Shiromani Akali Dal (Supreme Akali Party), the main political party of the Sikhs in Punjab. On the north side is the Teja Singh Samundri Hall (Clock Tower), housing the main office of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (Supreme Committee of Temple Management), which oversees the main Sikh gurdwaras (places of worship). To the east of the temple are guest houses for pilgrims, a dining hall that provides thousands of meals daily for pilgrims and other visitors, and, on the southeast corner, the Assembly Hall.
Goa is a state in western India with coastlines stretching along the Arabian Sea. Its long history as a Portuguese colony prior to 1961 is evident in its preserved 17th-century churches and the area’s tropical spice plantations. Goa is also known for its beaches, ranging from popular stretches at Baga and Palolem to those in laid-back fishing villages such as Agonda.
Goa’s beaches cover about 125 kilometers (78 mi) of its coastline. These beaches are divided into North and South Goa. North Goa is more commercial and touristy with an abundance of mostly low and medium budget tourist accommodations; whereas South Goa is where most higher–end hotels and private beaches are located. A notable exception in South Goa is Palolem Beach which features basic accommodation and is one of the most visited beaches in Goa. The further north or south you go, the more isolated the beaches get. Some of the more popular beaches are Colva, Calangute, Baga, and Anjuna. These beaches are lined with shacks that provide fresh seafood and drinks. Some shacks arrange special events to attract more customers.