I have written 199 posts so far.
I was thinking of what to write for 200.
By happy coincidence, it has so happened that number 200 is also going to be the 1st post of 2016.
So, the pressure to choose an apt and good topic was immense.
I thought of writing about Deadpool – but decided I will write that to coincide with the release of the film.
I thought about writing about myself – a short introduction to Fat Uncle Cheapo if you will – but decided to write that for my birthday.
So keep you eyes peeled people, those two are coming up soon.
Also coming up in the next few months are
- A post about the greatest kings of India – kings, not warlords/generals, there is a difference
- A post about the best forts of India – this one is for Shailaja
- A post critiquing the recent Star Wars movie
- A post about UNESCO World Heritage sites
- A post about my experience in coconut country
- A post about my experience in Gujarat
- A post about my experiences in Rajasthan
- A post about my targets for visit now that the Indian UNESCO list is complete
- A post about Royal Rumble
- A post with critical analysis and ranking of the wrestlers in WWE today
- A post about nudism
- A post about tattoos
- A post about tourism in Bong country
- A post about video games
- A post about Feluda
- A post about Sherlock
- A post about the i-League and
- A post about Jyotika – for her birthday
So you lot have all that to look forward to
But for now, I decided to write about India
The most beautiful country in the world!!!
You know Jules Verne.
That man was awesome.
Naturally I mean as an author; I have no idea nor do I care about his humanity or personality.
But as an author he was truly one of the greats, possibly one of the top 10 entertainers (European) of all time (along with our William, Sir Wodehouse, Sir Pratchett, Sir Doyle, Dame Christie, Mr Stevenson, Mr Tolkien, Uderzo and Gosciny…..anyone who mentions the words Thomas Hardy or Charles Dickens or Virginia Wolf or Russian literature and entertaining in the same sentence get s a boot up their arse….the only thing entertaining in any of that is a naked Kate Winslet in the film Jude the Obscure
And one of Monsieur Verne’s greatest works was Around the World in Eighty Days (not least because he could come up with names like (Phileas Fogg and Passepartout).
Let’s face it, unless you are one of those hoity toity, la-di-dahs, you love this book. You loved it the first time you read it, you still love it now when you read it.
Hey, its not for nothing that he is the second most translated author of all time (Agatha Christie is first, our William is 3rd, Lenin is 7th)
The book remains a huge hit…and naturally has spawned many such similar ideas.
And one such idea was televised by the BBC. Dan Cruikshank decided to roam around the world in search of 80 treasures – basically historically or culturally significant places
And that has inspired me to come up with my very own list.
But instead of the world, as I said in the introduction, I will focus on the greatest country in the world – my very own India.
India is a glorious country when it comes to its natural beauty or its history and architectural marvels. The only problem India has is Indians, otherwise its heaven on earth.
However, it was not always like that.
There was a time when Indians were the leaders in art, architecture, sculpture, science, medicine, astronomy, gastronomy etc etc etc (of course then the Indian Anti National Congress came into existence and we became a doomed species).
So, I decided to make a list of 80 must see places in India. These 80 places should be considered as national treasures. They should be unique and worthy of being the marvels of India, the wonders of India, the jewels of India, the treasures of India – natural, or man made.
So I started to make a list of 80 such wonders
And failed spectacularly and gloriously.
There was no way in effing hell I could complete the list with just 80 items – even though Kashmir is not considered since they don’t consider themselves to be Indians and the Taj Mahal is banned because its the effing Taj Mahal and deserves to be banned…https://fatunclecheapo.wordpress.com/2015/10/16/ban-the-taj-mahal/
But when there is a will there is a way.
I decided to make two lists
A shortened list of 80 and a longer list inclusive of all the greats.
The next problem I faced was in how to start the ranking. These places are all beautiful in their own way and who am I to say one is more beautiful than the other?
So I decided to do it geographically.
Imagine if you will good people, the Fat Uncle Cheapo taking a deep breath and going out of his house on an epic journey.
His companions – an insatiable wanderlust, some clothes, a suitcase full of his medicines and pillows, a few guidebooks, a camera and a laptop (and depending on the prevalent situation his crutch and all those orthopedic braces).
I start off from Kolkata, then I travel to South India via Orissa. I travel through the east coast, touch Kanyakumari, then come back up through the west coast. I pass through Jai Telengana land, then go to Maharashtra, Gujarat and then go up north. After covering Rajasthan, Punjab, Ladakh, HP, Uttarakhand, Delhi, UP, MP and Bihar, I come back to West Bangladesh and then I go to the north eastern states.
I come back to West Bangladesh and finish my journey at the greatest institution of India – Mohun Bagan.
And what do I see?
- Victoria Memorial, Kolkata
A gargantuan memorial to Queen Victoria made of white marble with some wonderful maps and pictures of ancient Kolkata inside
The Royal Bengal Tiger, nuff said
3. Jagannath Temple, Puri
Abode of a living god
4. Konarak Temple
A UNESCO World Heritage site – an ancient temple designed like a chariot dedicated to the Sun
5. Rajarani Temple, Bhubaneshwar
The temple which started it all – and influenced Khajuraho
6. Borra Caves, AP
The wonders of stalactites and stalagmites
7. Golconda Fort, Hyderabad
One of the top forts of Asia, never mind India
8. Charminar, Hyderabad
The symbol of Hyderabad
9. Bidar Fort, Bidar
A hidden gem, a remnant of the long lost glory of the Bahmani Sultanate
10. Gol Gumbaaz, Bijapur
Another remnant of the Bahmani Sultanate; an archaeological marvel
Ancient Pallava city, UNESCO World heritage site
Ancient Chola city; UNESCO World heritage site
13. Madurai Meenakshi Temple
A 1500 year old temple about a goddess with 3 boobies
14. Kanya Kumari
Immortalized by Swami Vivekananda
15. My temple, Trivandrum
16. Kovalam beach, Trivandrum
One of the cleanest and nicest beaches of India
17. Paradesi Synagogue, Cochin
The oldest active synagogue in the Commonwealth group of nations
18. Belur and Halebidu
Gems of Hoysala architecture
A thousand year old statue of Gommateshvara Bahubali, a Jain pilgrimage site
A UNESCo World Heritage site; a marvel of Chalukya temple architecture (Badami is within a couple of hours away as a bonus)
21. Vittalaswami Temple, Hampi
The greatest temple of the glorious city of the Vijayanagar kingdom; a temple unique in the world due to its musical abilities – the pillars make music people
22. Basilica and churches, Panaji, Goa
Splendid remnants of Portuguese baroque architecture
23. Elephanta Island
24. Victoria Terminus, Mumbai
27. Rani ki Bhav, Patan
Gargantuan stepwell, UNESCO World Heritage site
28. Sun Temple, Modhera
1000 year old temple of the Solanki dynasty
Jain pilgrimage town with fantastic temples dotting a mountain
30. Gandhi Ashram, Sabarmati
No description necessary
Ancient Harappan city
32. Rann of Kutch
Unique geographical feature, home to wild asses
33. Gir Forest
Home of lions
Ancient Harappan city
35. Champaner Pavagadh
A 500 year old city showcasing pre Mughal architecture, UNESCO World Heritage site
Capital of Mewar, the most famous and tragic Rajput city of Rana Kumbha, Rani Padmavati, Gora, Badal, Jaimal and Putta, UNESCO World Heritage site
Rana Pratap’s – one of India’s greatest sons – birthplace, 2nd largest wall in the world after Great Wall of China, UNESCO World Heritage site
38. Ranakpur Jain Temple
Spectacular Jain temple
39. Dilwara Jain Temple
Stunning marble temples
40. Mehrangarh Fort, Jodhpur
The best fort of India with a fantastic museum
41. Jaisalmer Fort
1000 year old Sonar Kella for lovers of Feluda, UNESCO World heritage site
42. Karni Mata Temple, Bikaner
The temple of rats
43. Jantar Mantar, Jaipur
Ancient astronomical observatory, UNESCO World Heritage site
44. Amber Fort, Jaipur
One of the largest forts of India, UNESCO World Heritage site
45. Golden Temple, Amritsar
Holy site for the Sikhs, world’s largest langar
46. Leh Palace, Leh
500 year old palace built like the Potala palace
47. Hemis monastery and National Park, Ladakh
1000 year old monastery
Natoinal park and home of the Snow leopard
48. Dharamshala, Himachal Pradesh
Home of the Dalai Lama
49. Shimla Railway
Mountail railway with beautiful views, UNESCO World Heritage site
50. Great Himlayan National Park, Kullu, Himachal Pradesh
Home ot more than 375 fauna and numerous flora, UNESCO World Heritage site
51. Nanda Devi and Valley of Flowers, Uttarakhand
Home to numerous flora and fauna, UNESCO World Heritage site
52. Qutb Minar, Delhi
Tallest brick minaret in the world, UNESCO World Heritage site
53. Humayun’s Tomb, Delhi
2nd best Mughal tomb, UNESCO World Heritage site
54. Lotus Temple, Delhi
Bahai temple renowned for its architecture
55. Agra Fort
Historic Mughal fort, UNESCO World Heritage site
56. Tomb of Itimad ud Daulah, Agra
The best Mughal tomb of them all
57. Fatehpur Sikri
Historic Mughal city, UNESCO World Heritage site, dargah of famous Sufi saint
58. Kedarnath Temple, Uttaranchal
The temple with the best scenic beauty, one of the Char Dhams of Hinduism
59. Badrinath, Uttaranchal
One of the Char Dhams of Hinduism
60. Har ki Pauri, Haridwar
One of the holiest sites of Hinduism, famous for spiritual artis (non Hindus and atheists can enjoy the Ganges)
61. Patanjali University, Haridwar
The world’s only ayurveda university and hospital, plus India’s fastest growing company
City of yoga, spirituality, mysticism and water based adventure sports
63. Bhimbetka, Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh
Paleolithic site with ancient rock paintings; UNESCO World Heritage site
64. Sanchi Stupa, Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh
Great Buddhist stupa; UNESCO World Heritage site
65. Marble Rocks, Jabalpur, Madhya Pradesh
Historic city of the Bundelas with marvelous palaces, temples and cenotaphs’ bonus vultures
67. Bhoolbhulaiya, Bara Imambara, Lucknow
One of the grandest and most beautiful buildings in India with a fantastic maze
68. Residency, Lucknow
Steeped in history of the 1857 mutiny, has the power to take you to the bygone days
69. Ghats, Kashi/Varanasi
Living breathing history, one of the holiest sites of Hinduism (bonus – best rabri on the planet)
70. Khajuraho, Madhya Pradesh
Chandela architecture; world famous for the “erotic” art (sadly very few people know of the actual history and symbolism behind it or the fact that the erotic stuff is only 10% of the total art of the area and era); UNESCO World Heritage site
71. Bodh Gaya, Bihar
Holiest site of Buddhism – Gautama attained moksha and became the Buddha here; UNESCO World Heritage site
72. Nalanda, Bihar
2000 year old university
73. Darjeeling Mountain Railways
UNESCO World Heritage site
74. Darjeeling Tea Estates
World’s most famous tea gardens, without them there would be no British empire
75. Kajiranga Wildlife Sanctuary, Assam
Home of the rhinos
76. Tawang Monastery, Arunachal Pradesh
Second largest Buddhist monastery in the world
77. Living Root Bridges, Meghalaya
78. Umngot River, Dwaki
Cleanest river of them all
79. Unokoti, Tripura
Gigantic rock carvings of the Hindu pantheon
80. Bishnupur, West Bengal
And of course, the best of them all
Mohun Bagan Athletic Club, the grandest, glorious and most beautiful man made structure and institution in India.
And just in case you are wondering, I have been to more than 60 of those already. Before I become completely paralyzed, I will go to the others as well.
Of course, in case any of you feel like sponsoring/inviting me over, I have no problems going to the places where I have already been.
Hell, I don’t even mind actually going through this journey at the same stretch. By my calculations, it would take around 2.5 months.
Anyone interested, por favor?