About BangaloreThe city of Bangalore is India’s third largest city and the state capital of Karnataka, known for being a modern, cosmopolitan metropolis at the helm of the country’s IT-boom. Bangalore is a shopper’s haven overrun with big malls and shopping districts, as well as a food lover’s paradise with one of the highest concentrations of places to eat in the continent. Spotted with parks and natural lakes, Bangalore is alternately known as ‘The Garden City of India.’ Recently voted as the most livable metro in the country, Bangalore is known as‘Pensioner’s Paradise’ on the one hand and as ‘Start-up City,’ on the other, attracting youth from across the world with its trending markets and rapid availability of jobs. With Bangalore’s ever-doubling IT infrastructure, it is often referred to as the Silicon Valley of India.
Another aspect of Bangalore is soaked in the history of bygone, ancient cultures. Bangalore has been peopled for up to 3000 years, bearing megalithic monuments that treasure its rich past. Bangalore, as we know it today, was established in 1537 by KempeGowda I, who constructed a well-planned city within an oval mud fort in the area that is today known as City Market. Gradually, Bangalore grew into a commercial center and a chief part of the silk industry. Over successive centuries the Marathas, Mughals, Wodeyars and the Mysore Sultanate, all did their bit to develop the city further. In 1809 the British set up a cantonment in Bangalore, drawn by its pleasant weather and central location.
The earliest recorded usage of the name Bengaluru is found in today’s ‘Old Bangalore,’ in a 9th century temple. According to legend, King ViraBallala was once lost in the jungles that once overran these parts. He was wandering, tired and hungry, when an old woman revived him with her hospitality and a plate of boiled beans. Out of gratitude the King consequently named the area ‘Benda KaaluUru’ (Town of Boiled Beans). It was only in 1831, when the British seized Mysore from the ruling Wodeyars that the capital was shifted to Bangalore. The anglicization of Bengaluru turned it into Bangalore until it was recently reverted back to its original.
Although Bangalore is not a popular tourist destination, there are many sites worth taking a tour of. The legislative House of Karnataka, VidhanaSoudha, is one of the Chief attractions of Bangalore. It was built during the 1950s using granite in a neo-Dravidian style of architecture. Other places of historical interest include the Bangalore Palace, constructed by the Mysore Maharajahs and Tipu Sultan’s Palace, built around 1790 as Tipu’s summer retreat.
A tour of Bangalore must also include Lalbagh Botanical Gardens- built by Hyder Ali in 1760, and the Bannerghatta National Park- a 25,000-acre zoological park one and a half hours away from Bangalore City. Educational tours of Bangalore may include the Vishweshwaraiah Industrial and Technological Museum, the State Archaeological Museum, the Jawaharlal Nehru Planetarium, the Venkatappa Art Gallery and the Karnataka ChitrakalaParishad. Religious tours of Bangalore cover the Bull Temple in Basavanagudi, the Maha Bodhi Society Temple- a replica of the Bodh Gaya Stupa, the ISCKON temple, the Maruthi Temple, the GaviGangadeshwara Cave Temple as well as many other temples, mosques and churches of historic significance.
Due to an average elevation of 920 meters above the sea level, Bangalore enjoys a cool climate throughout the year. Although summers can get hot with dry heat waves, it seldom exceeds 35 degrees Celsius and hovers around a mean temperature of 24 degrees Celsius.
About MaduraiNational Travels takes to the Madurai is one of the oldest cities of India, with a history dating all the way back to the Sangam period of the pre Christian era. The glory of Madurai returned in a diminished form in the earlier part of this millennium; it later on came under the rule of the Vijayanagar kingdom after its ransack by the ravaging armies of Delhi (Malik Kafur). During the 16th and 18th centuries, Madurai was ruled by the Nayak Emperors, the foremost of whom was Tirumalai Nayakar. The Sangam period poet Nakkeerar is associated with some of the Tiruvilayaadal episodes of Sundareswarar - that are enacted as a part of temple festival traditions even today.
The Sangam age or the Golden age of Tamil literature – produced masterpieces way back in the Pre christian era and in early 1st millennium . Madurai was the seat of the Tamil Sangam or Academy of learning. The entire city of Madurai, is built around the Meenakshi Sundareswarar Temple – the temple par excellence. Concentric rectangular streets surround the temple, symbolizing the structure of the cosmos. National Travels makes possible to visit the place.
As early as the 3rd century BC, Megasthanes visited Madurai. Later many people from Rome and Greece visited Madurai and established trade with the Pandya kings. Madurai flourished till 10th century AD when it was captured by Cholas the arch rivals of the Pandyas.
The Cholas ruled Madurai from 920 AD till the beginning of the 13th century. In 1223 AD Pandyas regained their kingdom and once again become prosperous. Pandian Kings patronised Tamil language in a great way. During their period, many master-pieces were created. "Silapathikaram", the great epic in Tamil was written based on the story of Kannagi who burnt Madurai as a result of the injustice caused to her husband Kovalan. In April 1311, Malik Kafur, the general of Alauddin Khilji who was then the ruler of Delhi, reached Madurai and raided and robbed the city for precious stones, jewels, and other rare treasures. This led to the subsequent raids by other Muslim Sultans. In 1323, the Pandya kingdom including Madurai became a province of the Delhi empire, under the Tughlaks.National Travels can help to make a visit on Madurai.The 1371, the Vijayanagar dynasty of Hampi captured Madurai and it became part of the Vijayanagar empire. Kings of this dynasty were in habit of leaving the captured land to governors called Nayaks. This was done for the efficient management of their empire. The Nayaks paid fixed amount annually to the Vijayanagar empire. After the death of Krishna Deva Raya (King of Vijayanagar empire) in 1530 AD, the Nayaks became independent and ruled the territories under their control. Among Nayaks, Thirumalai Nayak (1623-1659) was very popular, even now he is popular among people, since, it was he who contributed to the creation of many magnificent structures in and around Madurai. The Raja Gopuram of the Meenakshi Amman Temple, The Pudu Mandapam and The Thirumalai Nayakar's Palace are living monuments to his artistic fervor.Madurai started slipping into the hands of the British's East India Company. In 1781, British appointed their representatives to look after Madurai. George Procter was the first collector of Madurai.
Madurai is famous for its temples.The Aappudaiyaar Koyil Tevara Stalam and the Koodalazhagar Divya Desam are the most important temples one should rarely miss to go. In the vicinity of Madurai is Tirupparamkunram, one of the 6 padai veedu shrines of Murugan (glorified in Madurai Sangam Nakeerar’s Tirumurugaatruppadai). Also in the vicinity of Madurai is Alagar Koyil, one of the prominent Divya Desam shrines of the Sri Vaishnavite faith.National Travels takes to this beautiful place.
National Travels are safe to use. There are also specific services available at night. Remember that in India everyone lives by asking each other for directions. The friendly people are often more than happy to help a foreigner find his/her way by giving directions. Most people speak the working national Language "English" , at bus stops don’t form a queue. Choose to wait and travel comfortably. Travel at night is also safe. So relax, forget your travel guide and discover a whole new culture of friendliness.
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