Walls Embedded With Historical & Architectural Relics In Chicago

 

Home to WGN radio and a lot many fragments from famous architectural marvels around the world, Tribune Tower is on the edge of eminent Magnificent Mile of Chicago.

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Initial structure was taken by great Chicago fire in 1871 and then with inspiring Neo-Gothic design by Hood and Howell the current face of Tower finally concluded in 1925.
This tower houses today Chicago Tribune and CNN office along-with WGN radio.

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The exterior of the building is embraced with 149 fragments from historical sites around the world. Some were requested and some were collected by McCormick(owner of Chicago Tribune), while others were came up as gift and political affairs. Latest one is a part of steel from World Trade Center.

Here are few captures out of the bunch, we brought along with us.

Apart from the above fragments, Yellowstone National Park, Cave of the Nativity where Christ was born-Bethlehem, Temple Forbidden City, Pearl Harbor-Hawaii, Princeton University-New Jersey, Sydney Opera House-Australia, White House-Washington DC, The Colosseum-Rome, Great Wall of China, The Great Pyramid, Berlin Wall and many more are glorifying Tribune Tower prominently.

Meanwhile, taking the pictures we got overwhelmed by spotting….

 

 

IMG_3513Among those notable fragments, a marble slab from Taj Mahal is an honorable mention.

We firmly believe Tribune Tower is one of its kind and an idealistic place for architectural lovers.

Hope you liked our post !! Let us know your thoughts.

Cloud Gate a.k.a The Bean

In the midst of the city, Cloud Gate by Anish Kapoor is most fabulous attraction of Chicago. We have been here many times, but still the beauty of this bean attracts you every time in a new way. While standing at Cloud Gate it feels fascinating witnessing the great skyline of Chicago.

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Officially Cloud Gate, better known as The Bean due to its shape, was opened for public in 2006. Covered with stainless steel this seamless surface has got its inspiration from liquid mercury, providing distorted reflections and great elliptical skyline. A 100 tons sculpture expanding to 33 by 66 by 42 Feet, is truly a masterpiece by well renowned artist Anish Kapoor.

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Inside the bean

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Best Time to visit:

Its spectacular in summers and splendid in winters, so anytime year around is great, day or night it gives a spellbound view.

Timings: 6 AM to 11 PM.

Travel tips:

  1. Do not forget your camera & try getting some funny poses around “The Bean”.
  2. Make a visit around sunset or sunrise.
  3. Be an early-bird to click only “The Bean” with no people around.

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Cathedral Basilica Of St Louis

It’s almost two weeks of our St Louis trip and we are still in awe of city, especially the Cathedral Basilica of St Louis. If you missed our post on St Louis then read it here St Louis: What Shouldn’t Be Missed !!

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The church with the largest mosaic collection,spread over 83,000 sq feet is the finest example of architectural excellence. Most striking feature is the use of glass in 7000 different colors instead of paint. The interior started in 1912 and it took 76 years to bring it to the brilliance we see today.

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Mosaic

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Historic Bay
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Transept Mosaics
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All Souls Chapel designed in black marble symbolizing death while white marble eternal life.

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The Umbraculum(umbrella) & Tintinnabulum(bell)  in church symbolize that its basilica, while Cathedra, the chair of bishop signifies church as Cathedral.

The red dome or central dome at the height of 143 feet is truly a masterpiece. Firstly I was astonished by the fact that windows on dome are 30 feet tall, while angels are 25 feet.  Actually, they are !!

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Hope you like the post..!! We would like to hear from you.

 

Meet “Sue- The T.rex”

Yesterday on our visit to Field Museum Chicago, we got the chance to see “Sue” most popular, well preserved fossil of Tyrannosaurus Rex (T.Rex), named after the discoverer, i.e. Susan Hendrickson.

In 1990,it was found mostly complete and the bones were in great condition too, which brought much more attention to “Sue”.

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Sue is 42 feet long, 13 feet high, 5 feet long head with 58 dagger teeth and weighed nearly 7 tons when alive and currently the most striking feature of Field Museum, Chicago.

Tips– If you are visiting Field Museum, Chicago then do not miss T.rex 3D movie .

Pamban Bridge: Solo link between Pamban Island & Mainland India

Lying in the lap of blue sea bed, Pamban bridge is an example of civil marvel and architecture excellence. Connecting the island of Pamban(Rameswaram) with main land of India, this is a duo bridge having rail bridge on one side and a parallel running road bridge on the other.

The most striking feature is double leaf bascule section of Rail Bridge which opens to give a pass way to ships.

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If you are in due course of visiting Rameswaram anytime, it is highly recommended to take a road trip on your way  and covering the return journey via train or visa versa, so as to enjoy the view from both ends.

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While on the road track do stop by for few clicks and enjoy the panoramic view. Well!! while on train the slow moving train, sounds of sea and gushing tides made it our most memorable ride.

 

Junagarh Fort- Grandeur of Bikaner

As 2015 is bidding adieu, reminding us our first road trip of the year in January. Its going to be an year since we visited Junagarh Fort Bikaner, an unplanned detour while we were on our way back to Delhi from Chandigarh after New year celebration with family. We did all bookings on the go and fortunately got a good deal via Makemytrip.

Junagarh Fort means the old fort, so called after the Royal family moved their residence to Lalgarh Palace. The fort standing since 1594, is a significance of Royal culture and marvelous architecture. This fort was originally build by Raja Rai Singh Ji and at that point it was called Chintamani, build between 1589 to 1593. There have been lots of additions over centuries under reign of many kings, which has resulted in many palaces, museums, temples and gardens.IMG_1515

At entrance Sati Handprints can be seen which are of the women who offered themselves to fire after their husbands died saving the fort.IMG_1510

The beautiful doors in the fort are build out of walnut wood from Kashmir with astonishing carvings. Also can be seen the big silver door weighing 65Kg, while entering towards courtyard after Karan Mahal.


KARAN MAHAL (Public Audience Hall) was planned in reign of Maharaja Karani Singhji and constructed under Maharaja Anup Singhji in memory of his father. A finest example of Mughal style architecture and extensive use of white marble.

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PHOOL MAHAL This is the oldest part of the fort constructed under Raja Rai Singhji. The decorations and artwork in this part is mostly inspired by the Jahangirian period.

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ANUP MAHAL (Private Council) Build by Maharaja Anup Singh this hall has a throne in the middle, which was used by Maharaja to meet high officials and foreign visitors. When we look around the throne it has golden work all over with mirrors beautifully engraved, elevated by splendid use of colors like green, violet purple. One look at this place keeps you spellbound for a while. This hall played the same role as Diwan-I-Khas in Mughal Forts.IMG_1552.JPG

BADAL MAHAL As per its name this hall explains importance of rain in this dried arid land. On roof there are blue and white clouds depicting rainy time.

GAJ MANDIR Build by Maharaja Gaj Singhji along with his two favorite queens, this hall has all lavishness, architectural and decorative arts of its time. Looking at the detailing of floral artwork and use of marble, this is more of a fairy world in itself.

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DUNGAR NIWAS Maharaja Dungar Singhji, who is better known as modernizer of Bikaner built this hall. This hall as others has many architectural exquisite and artwork details, but what put this on a different level is the Lift…Yes! In 1886 he imparted electricity to Bikaner city.

DURBAR HALL also known as Ganga Durbar Hall was build by Maharaja Ganga Singh. It has beautiful pink walls and on side displays are weapons and protective clothes of war times. The heirloom (sandalwood throne) seen in Darbar hall is said to be one which was brought to Bikaner by Rao Bikaji, being elder son from Jodhpur (Mehrangarh fort) after his father Rao Jodha ji died.

Vikram Villas The only one not after any dynastical ruler, this is named after King Vikramaditya, known for his justice. This one house mainly war souvenirs, palkis, awards, throne and a plane in middle: WWI De Havilland DH-9 biplane bomber.

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Shiv Temple

We consider this our best trip till date, as we didn’t had a lot in our list, but what we got was the best scenic drives between Chandigarh to Bikaner and then Bikaner to Delhi.

Travel Tips:

  • Junagarh Fort Timings: 10: 00 AM to 4:30 PM .
  • Free public guide to get more familiar with the fort and its history.
  • Must visit Kote Gate, it’s over crowded whole day but very popular for shopping Rajasthani art and craft material.
  • Prefer local transport in main Bikaner city, driving is not advisable for outsiders due to heavy rush.
  • Must try  Kachoris and Ghewar at “Chotu Motu Joshi Sweet Shop”, Station Rd. 
  • Bhujia from “Bhikaram Chandmal Bhujiamal”, Kote Gate, Bikaner, Rajasthan.

Shakyamuni Buddha-An Idol Of Serenity

Buddha Dordenma is famous Shakyamuni Buddha Statue of 169 ft, overlooking  Thimpu Valley. It is made of bronze and covered in gold. Few miles from main city this statue is located in hills of Kuensel Phodrang, offers breathtaking view. One can feel the aura of divinity in the presence of this gigantic statue.

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I had been to this place few years back when the construction was still going on and only the main statue was put in forth.

Spending some time around this place, serenity and calmness bounds you and upon looking down you see the majestic view of forests.

If you are visiting Bhutan, then Buddha Dordenma should be on your “Must See” list.

Agra Fort-An Epitome Of Mughal Architecture

A visit to Agra is incomplete without Agra Fort, another UNESCO World Heritage monument. Situated on the bank of Yamuna river,this fort had confronted many invasions and ruins. Originally, there was a brick fort known as Badalgarh built by Raja Badal Singh at the place of Agra Fort.

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Agra Fort-Entrance

This fort has been known to be home of many famous rulers like Lodi’s, Suri’s and Mughal’s. The marvel we see today is the great work that happened in reign of Akbar who rebuild it from a brick fort to red sandstone one . When Shah Jahan,grandson of Akbar came into power he preferred Marble instead of red sandstone, so the exquisite work of white marble inside the fort shows his sheer love towards it.

Inside the fort there are many buildings one after the other like Diwan-I-am, Diwan-i-Khas, Khas mahal, Sheesh Mahal, Shah Jahani Mahal, Jahangiri Mahal, Anguri Bagh and Musamman Burj depicts glorious Mughal Era.

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Diwan-I-Am

 

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Anguri Bagh

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Musamman Burj was build by Shah Jahan for his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal. He was confined to this place by his son Aurangzeb for 8 years and was taken care by his daughter Jahanara Begum. He spend his last days in this burj over viewing Taj Mahal.

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Musamman Burj- Interior

Most remarkable building inside fort is Jahangiri Mahal, built by Akbar. It was the principal Zenana (palace for Royal women), mainly used by the Rajput wives of Akbar.

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Jahangiri Mahal
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Jahangiri Mahal Courtyard

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Courtyard outside of Jahangiri Mahal
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Jahangir’s Hauz
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Inscription on Jahangir’s Hauz

Agra Fort is a perfect example of a dynasty with glorious past,their succession & love for architecture…!!!!

Interesting Facts about “Taj Mahal”

Agra, a city known for its cultural heritage, Mughal Architecture,food delicacies and one of the seven wonders of the world.

Taj Mahal, a world class monument of love built by ShahJahan for his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal. It was on our list for long to visit this magnificent piece of art.IMG_0338

As a Delhiite,it became more easier for us with Yamuna expressway, a straight 165 km 6 lanes highway to make it happen.
We made our trip in peak of summer that’s why we decided to visit this monument early in the morning around 6 a.m. After reaching at the parking of Southern gate from there onward we had tuktuk ride (you can also opt for horse cart or camel cart). We opted for government approved tourist guide who provided minute details.

Entrance Fee –Indian Rs. 20/-, Foreign tourist Rs.750/-

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Here are some interesting facts we came to know through our guide:

Aayats of Quran

This 17th Century monument depicts the best of Mughal style architecture. The most striking feature of monument is the Arabic inscriptions written in black marble on Royal Gate and main mausoleum entrance. The Aayats of Quran, are so written that they look alike but actually their size increases from bottom to top. IMG_0325

Domes represent years of completion

There are 22 domes (11 on both inner and outer side of Royal Gate), signifying the number of years taken to complete it.IMG_0274

Astonishing Symmetry with one exception

Amazingly, all fountains were placed in symmetry with center line of Taj Mahal, even inside the Mausoleum Mumtaz Mahal’s grave is aligned to it. Only the grave of Shahjahan which is quite big compared to Mumtaz Mahal’s, is asymmetrical(as it was placed later on). I wonder, without any technology and equipment putting everything symmetrical be it gardens, trees, floor-tiles pattern and fountains. IMG_0348

Artistic “Charbagh” enhance the beauty of Taj

Moving on there are 16 gardens 8 on both sides of fountains and each of same size, gives the best panoramic view, even today it could not have been bettered out.IMG_0321

Mosque & Jawab- An Architectural Equilibrium

Firstly, a mosque on the west was built and then an identical building called Jawab on east side of main dome, just not to break the symmetry. IMG_0317

Tilted Pillars

How many of you have noticed that four pillars of Taj are tilted outwards?  Actually, the pillars are not perpendicular to the ground but leaning outwards so that the main dome will not get affected even if they fall due to any natural calamity. What an architectural vision !!!

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Yamuna river flowing back of Taj

We have just presented what we had captured from our visit, as it has been spoken and detailed out a lot everywhere and believe us getting a glimpse of this is more than words could explain.

We would love to know your experience with Taj Mahal in comments.

Milwaukee In A Day !

In September we made a weekend road trip to Milwaukee. We firmly believe that best way to see a city is local transport. I scanned my TripAdvisor for Milwaukee trip and luckily got this Untapped tour with excellent rating and reasonable price of 38$ per person. Booking done,payment done, Milwaukee here we come.

Next morning around 6:30 am(yes seriously)we left for Milwaukee to reach there for 10 am tour. It took us just 2 hours to reach Milwaukee Downtown, as it was early morning most of the restaurants were closed and we were in desperate need of something to fill our hunger pangs. After few minutes of search we found this place Bruegger’s Bagel, which was our savior for the time.

It was 9:30 already and we marched towards city hall, the pickup point of Untapped Tour. There were couple of people already there, whom we later came to know as our group partners in the tour. After few minutes Mike arrived, took a roll call and greeted everyone. Our tour started there only with City Hall of Milwaukee.

City Hall was the tallest building of United States of its time, completed in 1895. The building was magnificent, be it architecture or design everything was remarkable. Then, we proceeded to Bronze Fonz.. a bronze sculpture of Arthur Fonzarelli (Henry Winkler) from Happy Days TV show. 

After photo session, while proceeding towards Milwaukee Art museum, Mike showed us the Wisconsin Gas Building. A tower located in downtown has a flame shaped artwork which shows weather forecast by changing its color. He even told us the rhyme associated with this:

When the flame is red, it’s warm weather ahead!
When the flame is gold, watch out for cold!
When the flame is blue, there’s no change in view!
When there’s a flickering flame, expect snow or rain!”

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Now, it was the time to see one more spectacular creation Milwaukee Art Museum. Located on the shore of Michigan Lake.This architectural marvel has “wings” which remains open in the daytime and gets folded in the night.IMG_2190IMG_2199

We came across famous mansions on Lake shore drive on our way to Northpoint Lighthouse, which is beautifully situated in the midst of Lake park. We spend 15-20 minutes here in the lap of nature, Lake Michigan shoreline was visible. We also came to know that this was moved back from its original place.IMG_2217

We also got chance to see Henry W. Maier Festival Park, where the largest musical festival Summerfest of Milwaukee takes place & Historic Third ward from the bus on our way to Clock Shadow Creamery.  

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Historic Third Ward

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Located in 138 W Bruce St. Clock Shadow Creamery is known for there Quark, Chevre and cheese curds. It was our first cheese tasting experience & we had  Habanero,Spicy cheese, chevre cheese(goat cheese) and some chutney. I just loved Habanero and Chevre but unfortunately both were sold out and I was not able to buy them.

Apart from the famous landmarks, we covered many more places while sitting inside the bus. With Mike we came to know a little bit about everything whether its Miller Brewing Company, Miller Stadium, Tripoli Shrine Center(replica of Taj Mahal) or Pabst Mansion.

And finally Lakefront Brewery, what could be a better way to wrap up the tour. Lakefront Brewery started in 1987 by brothers Russ and Jim Klisch, offers some very famous beer such as Riverwest Stein Beer and East Side Dark and we tried both. The lady associated with our group tour was very informative and provided the history of Lakefront brewery. Also our group got a chance to taste their another very famous cherry beer.IMG_2252IMG_3289

After getting pint glass as a Souvenir, we headed for City hall as it was the end of our Untapped tour. A day spent in Milwaukee exploration was worth with the tour.

We would like to cover all those left out attractions and restaurants in our next visit.