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Sparkling Romance with Norway’s Historic Hotels & Restaurants

De Historiske is a unique membership organization consisting of several of Norway’s most delightful hotels and restaurants.

De Historiske’s new range of short breaks is a huge success and Norway is more popular as a holiday destination than ever before. Their member-hotels offer unique adventures in Norway. Patrons staying at a number of their hotels, dining in their fabulous restaurants and taking wonderful boat trips can all be part of an amazing package. They offer different packages—each with unique theme—but all have one thing in common—patrons will have an experience of a lifetime.

Destination Weddings in Norway

You and Your Loved One Can Really Spoil Yourselves

Two of the most romantic locations for memorable breaks. Enjoy delicious meals in idyllic, peaceful surroundings. This short break starts at Hotell Refsnes Gods, only a stone’s throw from the Oslofjord. The hotel has an excellent reputation for delicious dining and well-stocked wine cellars, in addition to the inspirational art adorning its walls. The good life continues in the magnificent natural surroundings of Engo Gard Hotel & Restaurant, with its English conservatory-style heated swimming pool and Jacuzzi for relaxation and pampering.

Take a break from the daily toil and feel the benefits!

Sparkling Romance with Norway's Historic Hotels & Restaurants

With Nature at the Doorstep, Work Becomes the Furthest Thing

Whether you want time to socialize with your friends or enjoy a romantic weekend, you’ll find the perfect escape at the hotels’ castles, manors, inns and guesthouses. Do you want to enjoy activities while relaxing, or just enjoy the peace? Regardless of the hotel, you can be sure to end up in scenic surroundings, with top restaurants where traditional food meets modern cuisine.

Weddings, Celebrations, Honeymoons, and Festive Occasions in Norway

Weddings, Celebrations & Festive Occasions That Deserve Special Surroundings

If you are looking to hold a birthday party in unique surroundings, spend a romantic honeymoon or celebrate an important occasion with a special culinary experience, De Historiske are your natural choice. The genuine atmosphere is the reason why many people choose to celebrate special occasions at De Historiske. De Historiske’s surroundings are perfect for creating the relaxed atmosphere that is worthy of an important day—whether a birthday or a wedding day. Celebrations can vary from evening parties to grand events lasting from morning to night. They can also recommend family get-togethers, where the generations meet, in many of Norway’s historic picturesque surroundings.

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Beauty and Majesty of Gagan Mahal in Bijapur, Karnataka

Gagan Mahal, Bijapur

Bijapur in the Deccan plateau of south-western India was the capital of a Muslim kingdom, founded by the Yadava dynasty in the 12th century. It fell under the jurisdiction of the Bahmani Muslims in the 14th century. Its era of independent magnificence was from 1489 to 1686 when the Adil Shahi sultans made it their capital and were in charge for Islamic architecture of exceptional quality. In 1686, the Mogul emperor Aurangzeb defeated Bijapur, but was powerless to exercise firm control and the region soon fell under Maratha sway, from which it elapsed into East India Company hands in the early 19th century.

Ali Adil Shah I ascended the throne and aligned his forces with other Muslim kings of Golconda, Ahmednagar and Bidar, and jointly, they brought down the Vijayanagara empire. With the loot gained, he instigated ambitious projects. He built the Gagan Mahal, the Ibrahim Rauza (his own tomb), Chand Bawdi (a large well), and the Jami Masjid.

The Shah was supreme power but in real practice, the Jagirdars, who acted as his counsellors or advisers, regulated his sovereignty. If the ruler possessed personality and keen intelligence, he could maneuver the chiefs by playing off one against the other, but if he was a minor, or did not fully devote himself to the affairs of the state, they dominated him. With the growth of the territories of the state after 1565 and the resultant increase in the Shah’s prestige and powers, he began to conduct the business of the state with the help of ministers who were placed in charge of various departments of the administration. These ministers held office during his pleasure only. However, whenever the Shah’s authority was weak, they assumed larger importance.

Spandrels of the Gagan Mahal arches in Bijapur, decorated with fish-like and other creatures Gagan Mahal, so called because of its tallness almost touching the sky, was built during the Adil Shahi Sultan Ali Adil Shah I who ruled from 1550 AD., to 1580 AD. In keeping with his victories and wealth that he amassed, he planned to make his capital Bijapur a beautiful and imposing city with many elegant buildings. Gagan Mahal is one such building.

Gagan Mahal was built in 1561 AD., at the order of the Sultan Ali Adil Shah as his palace as also for his durbar. Thus, it served the two fold purposes of Sultani residence and royal court hall. The greatness of the building lies in the fact that it is a congruent combination of both these purposes. The private residential area was on the first floor just above the royal assembly hall. Two massive wooden pillars supported its wooden floor. It had wooden projecting balconies from where the family members of the Sultan, particularly the ladies could watch the spectacle in front, be it royal assembly or sports or any other royal event, including watching the Sultan seated on the throne. Staircases were provided on the back wall for going up or coming down. The staircases also led the inmates to the living rooms, bathrooms, kitchen, and other parts of the residence without being watched by outsiders. Thus, it provided safety, refuge, and privacy to the royal family.

The description of a city in Persian language is one of its fascinating characteristics. For poets and writers, the subject matter gives the occasion to admix poetic imagination with historical realities as well as the actual existing features of the buildings, such as, gardens and water bodies. A beautiful description of Devgiri or Daulatabad in the works of Amir Khusrau is illustrative of the point. There are plentiful descriptions of the beautiful city of Hyderabad, Bijapur, and Aurangabad in the south, Kashmir, Lahore, Kangra, Delhi, Agra, Jaipur, Lucknow, Narnol, Hissar and others in the north. Notwithstanding the abundance of material on cities in Persian literature in various libraries and museums, neither the works are well known nor were they used to reconstruct the cityscape.

Beauty and majesty of the Gagan Mahal in Bijapur

The beauty and majesty of the Gagan Mahal structure is the vast central arch, which has a span of over sixty feet. On its both sides were two smaller spanned arches thus giving a rare spectacle of three arches in a row of superhuman magnitudes. This was indispensable because it faced the Durbar hall and the Sultan and his ministers had to have full view of the happenings in front such as sports, wrestling, music etc. Thus, it served a convenient purpose and added majesty to the building. There is a great deal of woodwork in Gagan Mahal. The complete ceiling of the main hall was of wood being supported by heavy beams, wooden window frames and projecting balconies and eaves and pillars. Most of them were painted and gilded to give a royal effect. This palace had its significant periods also. When Mughal emperor Aurangazeb defeated the last Adil Shahi ruler Sikandar, Aurangazeb sat on the throne at this palace and Sikandar was brought before Aurangazeb in silver chains as a captive.

Regrettably, most of the Gagan Mahal is in ruins today except the three main majestic arches symbolizing the strength and glory of the Adil Shahis.

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Lalitha Mahal Palace, Mysore

Lalitha Mahal Palace, Mysore

Lalitha Mahal Palace is one of the most gorgeous and splendid heritage buildings in Mysore, perhaps in Karnataka itself, next only to the Maharaja’s palaces at Mysore and Bangalore.

Mysore being a princely state under the British, many distinguished foreign visitors used to visit Mysore for numerous purposes. They used to stay in Mysore palace itself. But this was not suitable for the stay of foreign dignitaries for obvious reasons. Hence the then ruling king Krishnaraja Wadiyar IV thought of constructing a building wholly for the foreign guests, where they would be more at home. Naturally he thought of a European classical building rather than an Indian palace.

The Maharaja immediately commissioned a famous architect by name E.W Fritchley. He selected a vast site near the foot of the Chamundi Hill, far away from the noise and pollution of the city. The magnificent building was completed in 1931 under the close guidance of the Maharaja Krishnaraja Wadiyar IV at a cost of about thirteen lakhs of rupees.

The building is an imposing two-storied magnificent structure. The projecting square porch at the ground floor and slightly projecting first floor porch with a trefoil pattern at the roof level are very pleasing. Both the floors have twin Ionic columns, eight on either side of the entrance which give a pleasing effect to the edifice. Two tiered domes are placed on all the four sides with one each at the middle. However, the most striking dome is the three tiered one which is just above the circular entrance hall. Actually it is at a great height and dominates the entire area including the elevation. One lakh bulbs were used to illuminate the palace on weekends and explained about the facilities for foreign tourists at the palace.

Magnificent Interiors with woodwork, stone work, or stucco at the Lalitha Mahal Palace Mysore

Though planned by a foreigner, the craftsmen were all local who had attained great mastery in the art of construction—be it woodwork, stone work, or stucco. This is evident from the richly-laid ornamental motifs on walls and ceilings, wall panels, window shutters and door Jambs. The imported tiles and some fixtures add a touch of royalty to the building. The balustrade staircase just facing the entrance branches off to right and left to reach the first floor is a pretty piece of Italian marble. Thus from top to bottom and from one end to another is an epitome of royalty. Even international guests are amazed at this dream-like edifice. Today it is a prestigious hotel of the government of India and attracts discerning tourists from abroad as well as within the country. Even important distinguished persons of the government also stay here, and enjoy the touch of royalty of the bygone ages of Mysore.

Lalitha Mahal Palace Hotel is owned by the State of Karnataka and has been leased out to India Tourism Development Corporation (ITDC.) The Lease Agreement is valid till 2023. There is a particular clause in the agreement which clearly states that “in case of a possible disinvestment, the hotel shall be given back to the State at the book value.” Hence the Management of ITDC have two choices: Manage the property till 2023 and then hand it over to the State Tourism Department or hand it over to the State right away at the book value. In case they feel they can’t run the hotel, the State of Karnataka is free to do whatever they want thereafter.

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Magnificent Architecture of Gol Gumbaz in Bijapur, Karnataka

Muhammad Adil Shah's architectural treasures in the city of Bijapur in northern Karnataka

Celebrated for its Muhammad Adil Shah’s architectural treasures, the city of Bijapur, in northern Karnataka has in recent years gained celebrity, both in the popular domain as a destination for travel and tourism, and in the intellectual domain as an object of academic study.

Even though art-historical studies of Bijapur have tended to focus attention upon the monuments and urban layout developed during the Muhammad Adil Shah’s period, the city was already evidenced by a cosmopolitan population and architectural activity before Muhammad Adil Shah transformed it during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries to function as their capital. Gol Gumbaz and Ibrahim Roza in Bijapur continue to draw hundreds of visitors every day.

There have been no reductions in the number of Indian tourists visiting the two sites, there has been a decrease of between 50 and 100 in the number of arrivals from abroad compared to last year. In order to attract more tourists, the Archaeological Survey of India has taken steps to upgrade Bara Kaman, Gagan Mahal, Chota Gumbaz and the Citadel Wall.

Magnificent Architecture of Gol Gumbaz in Bijapur, Karnataka

Gol Gumbaz, literally meaning round dome is a tomb of Muhammad Adil Shah (1627-57 CE) planned by himself even before his death. Thus, this monument is one of the largest and most outstanding single buildings in the entire country. This mausoleum is one of the finest structural triumphs of the Indian builders because of its astonishing size. It is a square building with each side measuring 205 ft and its height is 200 feet. The building consists of four thick walls topped by a dome, the outside diameter of which is 144 ft. The interior of the hall measures 135 ft across and it is 178 ft high. Thus, it has over eighteen thousand square feet. It is said that this is bigger than the Parthenon of Greece, which is one of the enormous and magnificent structures. Thus by the sheer size of various parts, Gol Gumbaz reigns supreme in the world of architecture.

Architecture is the construct of life and tradition and has to be understood as such. All plastic art forms are symbiotic on each other for their fullest expression, with the performing and literary arts playing supplementary and complementary roles in the overall composition. India, home of an ancient culture, has long been noted for its civilizational forays, which encompassed varied scientific ideas and technical skills. Its geographical position in the ancient world enabled it to become an internationally important center for integrating and transmitting new scientific ideas and techniques.

engineering wonder and Geometric precision of Gol Gumbaz in Bijapur, Karnataka

However, this is not all. Gol Gumbaz is considered an engineering wonder by the skillful composition of its various parts, the harmonious combination of arches, cornices, foliated parapet and ultimately in the interior to support the vast dome. It is so ingeniously planned to convert the square hall into a circular one by making it into eight angles over which the entire load of the dome rests. This dome is the biggest in Asia and the second biggest in the world. The dome itself is a plain plastered vault with six small openings and is 10 ft in thickness. The interior surface of the dome is placed twelve feet from the inner edge of the circle to distribute and transmit its huge weight downwards on to the four walls. The conversion of a square hall while going up into an octagon and then into a circle finally is a great engineering accomplishment. One can climb to the top through the six-sided enclosed staircases with small domes on all the four sides, which add a grace to the structure. Geometric precision was achieved for the various elements of the dome, including the cast joints, the curved tubular sections and the fixings, through meticulous workmanship.

The domed, centrally-planned design adopted to mark the site of Jesus’ death and resurrection was adopted as well for Christian martyria and baptisteries. However, both the architectural form and the symbolical associations of these Christian buildings were themselves obligated to earlier, non-Christian traditions. With regard to construction, both Christians and Muslims shared a common legacy of building materials, techniques, and tools passed on from the Greco-Roman, Persian, and even the earlier Etruscan worlds. The geometric references of both Christian and Islamic sacred buildings were not merely rooted in mystical thought with no scientific basis. Rather, such mystical thought was familiarly bound with pre-modern cosmology.

Corbelled dome is the Gol Gumbaz at Bijapur and Whispering Gallery

The most awe-inspiring example of a corbelled dome is the Gol Gumbaz at Bijapur. It is generally overlooked that the third largest dome in the world is built upon the megalithic principle. The distinct bricks set in the horizontal courses are embedded in so much of mortar that the dome becomes a mass of mortar to which the bricks have been added. It is believed in some quarters, for structural reasons, that the masonry of the Gol Gumbaz does serve only to transmit vertical stresses to the masonry. However, in all probability for the architect here, the traditional experience of mortar in dome was to safeguard stability for such a massive and unique structural heroic of this kind. If the cast dome of the Gol Gumbaz deserves to be called a corbelled because of its horizontally set bricks, most of the vaulting at Bijapur is pure cast forms that are not liable to collapse even when most of the underpinning has been destroyed. Many unique shapes of ceilings were possible because of the pioneering use of mortar, which is very stable.

Another greatness about this tomb is that it is a whispering gallery where even the mild sound is multiplied hundred fold and reverberates. That is the reason why this is famous all over the world as a whispering gallery. Within the center of the building and below the ground level is the real tomb of its creator Muhammad Adil Shah and his relatives. Nevertheless, what are seen on the ground now are the imitation tombs. Thus, Muhammad Adil Shah gave to the world a great and marvelous structure exhibiting the engineering skill of medieval India, which has won admiration even from modem engineers.

The rich culture, heritage, and architecture of the north Karnataka region are something to be cherished. The region is not only known for its rich cultural heritage but also for great talents in arts and literature.

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Daylight Saving Time (DST)

Daylight Saving Time (DST)

A proposal to create more hours of daylight by altering clocks was first introduced by George Vernon Hudson.

English-born New Zealand entomologist and astronomer George Vernon Hudson (1867–1946) began collecting insects at the age of nine. In Wellington, New Zealand, he found employment as a shift worker, which left him just enough daylight hours to continue building his insect collection. There was, however, only one problem: in Hudson’s opinion, there were not quite enough daylight hours available for the proper and measured pursuit of his beloved insects. Something had to be done, so in October 1895 he presented a paper to the Wellington Philosophical Society suggesting that it might be prudent to consider a seasonal adjustment in time.

William Willett wrote in The Waste of Daylight (1907,) “Everyone appreciates the long light evenings [and] laments their shrinkage.”

Hudson proposed changing clocks at the equinox, two hours forward in October, and two hours back in March. Although his idea had already been anticipated by the U.S. inventor Benjamin Franklin (1706-90), who proposed the concept in his essay “An Economical Project for Diminishing the Cost of Light” (1784).

Franklin’s paper was really more a lighthearted satire than any concrete proposal, and it is generally thought that Hudson’s idea represented the first real attempt to make Daylight Saving Time (DST) a reality. Hudson’s paper, unfortunately, was greeted with disdain. “Wholly unscientific and impractical,” said some; “completely out of the question,” said others, to be considering altering a system that had been working perfectly. DST was eventually adopted in Germany during World War I (1914–18) to save fuel expended in the powering of artificial lighting. It is now in use in more than seventy countries throughout the world.

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Lake Powell and its Magnificent Canyon Walls

Lake Powell in Cathedral in the Desert

Lake Powell emerged as an positive aspect of the Glen Canyon Dam on the Colorado River and has emerged as a superlative freshwater kayaking destination. In the 1960s, there was much hostility from environmentalists and anthropologists toward the contentious proposal to dam the Colorado River and flood the Glen Canyon, establishing Lake Powell. This was equivalent to filling the Grand Canyon with water. Yet few could deny that the resulting artificial landscape is a staggering sight.

Named for explorer John Wesley Powell, Lake Powell has more coastline than the west coast of the United States. Lake Powell green-water tentacles stretch from the main 185-mile watercourse into 96 side canyons, where kayakers can propel without tides, waves, currents, and motorboats.

Crystal-clear turquoise waters mirror the soaring rich-red canyon walls that ascend from the water, interspersed by astonishing arches, superb spires, and sandstone buttes, as well as countless inlets, and sandy beaches. The lake stretches for 186 miles across southern Utah and northern Arizona, and encompasses 2,000 miles of coastline and 96 water-filled side canyons, many of which are reachable only by boat.

Rainbow Bridge National Monument, Lake Powell Really, the finest way to appreciate the delights the lake has to offer is by houseboat. Only a houseboat allows a visitor the choice to search out remote corners in which to dock the houseboat. Houseboat rentals are available at Wahweap, Bullfrog, and Antelope Point marinas. Boats range from the deluxe, complete with hot tub, and wet bar for up to fourteen people, to those that include only essential comforts.

At the outset, boat throughout this vast network of canyons, with its astounding contrasts of blue water and sere land. After that, take a hike into the ostensibly endless landscape of stone swoops and mounds that appear in shades of tinted salmon, melon, and maize.

Water sports dictate the baking summer in Lake Powell and fishing enjoyed in the cooler months: April through June and October to November. The most fashionable mooring point is close to the near the amazing Rainbow Bridge National Monument. 290 feet high and 275 feet across, this breathtaking geological formation is a deeply spiritual place and is renowned as the world’s largest natural bridge.

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Discover the Superb Shrines and Temples of Nikko

Beautiful Vermilion Shinkyo Bridge in Nikko

“Build a small shrine in Nikko and enshrine me as the God. I will be the guardian of peacekeeping.”
Shogun Ieyasu Tokugawa, 1542–1616

Packs of chattering monkeys stand between you and the entrance to this distinctive shrine complex in the mountains of northern Japan. Avoiding the creatures as best you can, pick your way through the woodland up the final stairs, and you will find yourself face to face with the remarkable Rinno-ji temple, founded in 766. Its large hall is full of treasures from Edo-period Japan, and there is a beautiful nineteenth century landscaped garden outside.

The stunningly beautiful Nikko Historic Areas, with its well-protected historic buildings, was named fourth best in National Geographic’s 2008 “Places Rated” Destination Stewardship survey.

Venture farther into the shrine complex and you will find that the temples become more and more magnificent, with lines of ornate stone lanterns, tombs, treasure towers, and statues showing antique samurai baring their teeth and ferociously flashing their eyes at visitors. The Taiyuin-byo Shrine, which houses the ashes of shogun Tokugawa lemitsu (1603–1605), is especially superb. It sits at the top of a series of decorative red and golden gates, in grove of Japanese cedars.

Taiyuin-byo Shrine, Nikko, Japan There is something about the geographic isolation of Nikko, a village set high in the mountains, that makes this multiplex feel very different from other shrines and temples you may see anywhere else in Japan. The Shinto belief in Kami, the existence of a spiritual being or genius of a particular place, seems remarkably moving here in the silence of the forests, and the sensation that something enchanting lurks nearby is not easily shaken off.

Close by, the historic, vermillion Shinkyo Bridge and Nikko Botanical Gardens are also very picturesque, as is Ganmna-ga-fuchi, a scenic river that runs a pastel, mineral blue through the old lava flows of nearby Mount Nantai and has a statue-lined footpath. The beautiful vermilion arch of Shinkyo Bridge is the classiest image of Nikko. The current structure of the sacred bridge was built in 1636 and went through major renovation in the early 2000s. Nevertheless, there has been a bridge on the site right through recorded history. Originally, it was only open to the highest levels of aristocracy; but after the restoration, it has been open for the general public to cross. And the five-story pagoda is one of a striking selection to be found in the shrine complex at Nikko.

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The Extraordinary Yungang Cave Shrines and Buddhist monuments

Yungang Cave Shrines and Buddhist monuments

A stretch of rugged sandstone cliffs along the Wuzhou river valley, not far from the present-day city of Datang, is home to one of the world’s most extraordinary Buddhist monuments. Running for more than half a mile along the river, the cliffs were selected in 460 C.E. by the emperor Wencheng of the Northern Wei dynasty for a network of more than 250 exquisitely decorated Buddhist cave shrines. Horrified by the violent anti-Buddhist policies of his precursor, Wencheng employed tens of thousands of artisans to hew the grottoes from the solid rock as a monumental act of faithfulness.

Many of the artists who created the Yungang grottoes came promptly from working on the similar Buddhist caves in the far west of China, at the Silk Road site of Mogao, where they worked in styles derived from Central Asia and India, the homeland of Buddhism. These influences can be seen at Yungang, representing the peak of early Chinese Buddhist art, and the start of a intermediary phase to more purely Chinese styles. Imperial patronage ended in 494 CE when the Northern Wei decamped to Luoyang, hundreds of miles to the south, and the artists and sculptors of Yungang soon left to work on a new cave complex at Longmen, near the new capital. From then on, Yungang was left to the monks, pilgrims and, today, tourists.

Painted Grottoes of Yungang Cave Shrines These intricately sculpted and painted grottoes contain more than 50,000 statues and reliefs, from immense fierce Buddhist guardians to miniature Buddhas seated serenely in gracefully ornamented niches, framed by lotus petals, flames and countless spiritual beings. Some of the niches are carved to bear a resemblance to the elaborate, long-decayed wooden facades that once formed the entrance to the grottoes. Whereas some facades were replaced in later centuries, most of the grottoes are now open to the elements of nature. Despite this, and the present-day threat from sandstorms caused by deforestation, many of the figures retain their brilliant, vibrant colors after 1,500 years.

Buddha statues in the grottoes of Yungang, carved in their thousands in the 5th and 6th centuries CE as a great act of piety. Much of the stone surrounding these statues has weathered away, leaving them exposed.

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Proud Heritage Structure of Vidhana Soudha, Bangalore

Heritage Structure of Vidhana Soudha, Bangalore

Vidhana Soudha which houses the Karnataka state Legislature and Secretariat is the most magnificent and majestic stone building in Bangalore and perhaps in Karnataka itself. It is said that when a Russian delegation felt that Bangalore was full of European buildings and asked the then chief minister Kengal Hanumanthaiah, “Have you no architecture of your own?”

This inspired Hanumanthaiah to plan a building and the result is the Vidhana Soudha, an epitome of Hindu architecture and a synthesis of Dravidian, Hoysala, Chalukya, and Vijayanagara architectural features. Its construction began in 1952 and was completed in 1956 at an estimated cost of 1.75 crores under a team of experts headed by the chief architect B.R. Manikam. More than 5000 laborers and 1500 skilled sculptors worked on this prestigious project.

Main Dome of Vidhana Soudha The entire structure covers an area of 720 x 360 ft. In the center is an open quadrangle measuring 260 x 250 ft. It is an imposing three storied building with a cellar. Though the building can be approached from all the four sides, the eastern entrance is majestic with 40 ft.-tall columns and flight of steps. The western side has a facade of Rajasthan palaces. The four corners have four towers supporting domes topped by glittering metallic kalashas (inverted pitcher pots.) The main dome is very elegant and has the Indian National Emblem of four Asiatic lions standing back to back mounted on a circular base on the kalasha. Though grey granite is used for exterior, green, bluish, pink and black stones have been used for decoration. The interior of the Vidhana Soudha consists of a banquet hall, Legislative Assembly Hall, Legislative Council Hall, and Cabinet meeting hall in addition to many rooms for the ministers and high officers.

Illuminated Vidhana Soudha in Bangalore

The wood work is another great attraction of this building. Particularly noteworthy are the carved doors of the office of the chief minister, cabinet hall and legislature hall. They show the Karnataka School of wood work at its best which is still a living tradition. Thus Vidhana Soudha is a proud heritage building built in the 20th century testifying to the architectural and sculptural tradition of ancient Karnataka. This building is an eloquent testimony to the continuation of ancient architectural and sculptural tradition of Karnataka as practiced by the Chalukyas, Hoysalas and Vijayanagara rulers. Thus this is a modern building in ancient style of Karnataka. That is the uniqueness of this elegant building.

Any visitor to Bangalore cannot afford to miss this magnificent building, a proud heritage structure of Karnataka, particularly when it is illuminated.

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Rustem Pasha Mosque, A Unique Treasure in Istanbul

Rustem Pasha Mosque, A Unique Treasure in Istanbul

Istanbul is celebrated for its mosques, and rightly so. It seems there are inspiring mosques on every corner in this city, contending with each other in their magnificence, the number of minarets they have, the height of their domes, the opulence of their treasures, and their architectural brilliance.

Rustem Pasha Mosque is tucked away in a labyrinth of bustling backstreets by the Spice Bazaar near the Golden Horn that goes about its day-to-day business, quietly unconscious to its beauty. The mosque is small in comparison with the others. The exceptionality of this mosque is that it is filled with gorgeously elaborate Iznik wall tiles.

Rustem Pasha Mosque, in Hasircilar Caddesi, is smothered in brilliant blue and white lznik tiles that make those in the Blue Mosque look faded and tired. It dates back to the mid-sixteenth century, when the famous architect Sinan designed the mosque for Rustem Pasha, the son-in-law and grand vizier of the great Ottoman Emperor Suleyman I, “The Magnificent.”

Blue and White lznik Tiles, Rustem Pasha Mosque The way in to the Rustem Pasha Mosque is a small stairway concealed among shops full of activity and selling everything from household goods to cheap T-shirts. It is easy to fail to notice, as if it has been designed to intentionally dissuade visitors, and it seems to do the trick. There is no steady murmur of visiting voices here, no persistent reminder of visiting crowds, just peace and stillness. Walking up the stone staircase to the mosque’s main patio, you are greeted by a multitude of patterns—every arcade and every wall seems to be festooned with distinctive designs of tiles as if you are walking through an enormous kaleidoscope. This composition is very pleasing and has a unambiguous architectural harmony.

Daylight streams in through the many honeycomb patterned windows surrounding its dome, highlighting the colors and their effervescence. It is a dramatic example of the proverb that small is beautiful, and is the perfect place to dodge the noise and mayhem of the city, if you can find your way to the entrance, that is. In addition, if you’re looking for a break, surrender to the Turkish baths at Cagaloglu Hamam and its barbershop-quality shaves.

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