Photo: Mughal Garden & Sheesh Mahal, Amer Fort

 

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Untapped Tours: Get Acquainted With Milwaukee

Home to world famous breweries, Milwaukee is nearly 100 miles from Chicago. To get acquainted with this city brought us to Untapped Tours. We heard about this city tour from TripAdvisor and booked without giving it a second thought.

Why Untapped Tours? 

  • A 3 hours tour is the perfect way to explore Milwaukee with very well informed and engaging tour guide Mike.
  • The tour includes the bus ride through the famous streets, mansions and other landmarks of the city.
  • Except this Cheese tasting and Brewery visit are the highlights of the tour.
  • Take home the Souvenir Pint Glass.

Tickets: City Tour$38 p.p , Ticket Packages-$5o p.p. The Package includes City Tour with the tickets for Harley Davidson Museum(general admission only) by saving $8.

Book it here– Untapped Tours of Milwaukee

Tour Itinerary: 

City Hall- Pabst theater- Bronze Fonz- Wisconsin Gas Light Building-Milwaukee art museum- Mansions along Lake Michigan- North Point Lighthouse- Henry W. Maier Festival Park- Historic Third Ward- Clock Shadow Creamery- Miller Park- Miller Brewery- Tripoli Shrine Centre- Pabst Mansion- Lakefront Brewery.

Facts we came across through this trip:

  1. Milwaukee is home to 4 major breweries, Pabst, Miller, Schlitz &Blatz.
  2. Tripoli Shrine Centre is replica of renowned Taj Mahal.
  3. This city is also home to Harley Davidson.
  4. Summerfest , World’s Largest Music Festival is held every year in Milwaukee.
  5. The Wisconsin Gas Building’s flame is an exceptional way to forecast weather.

Travel Tips:

  • Go for Untapped tour if you want to see the best what Milwaukee has to offer.
  • Or you do not have any idea about Milwaukee and its history.
  • This tour starts from City Hall and one has to reach at least 15 minutes earlier.
  • If you are visiting Milwaukee by car then you can park near City Hall.
  • As this is a 3 hr Bus Tour, so plan accordingly.

Do check out Milwaukee In A Day ! for more information.

Untapped tour turned out as an incredible journey through the iconic landmarks of the city. Have you ever came across such a tour?

 

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.

Photo-Artistic “Flamingo”midst of Windy City


Indian Bloggers

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While walking down the street in Chicago Downtown experience “Flamingo” an abstract sculpture by Alexander Calder.

7 Reasons To Visit Navy Pier In Chicago

Just a few weeks after landing in Chicago, we made our maiden visit to Navy Pier. This 3300 foot long Pier on shoreline of Lake Michigan left us fascinated. A place which attracts all walks of life equally, with uncountable reasons. After our first visit we had a lot many reasons to get back here, to quench our quest and explore it fully. Here are the things, which make Navy Pier so special:

Historical SignificanceLooking at today’s Pier, it really feels surprising how it has evolved from being just a Commercial Pier, to a Naval Training center, then a College Classroom and finally as we see it today a place for entertainment and public gathering. IMG_1816

InfrastructureNavy Pier currently has sections starting from a Park at entrance followed by Children Museum, IMAX theater(Chicago’s largest movie screen)shops and Ball room. In middle there are rides, Miniature Golf Course on upper floor, restaurants at lower level and festival hall at the end.IMG_3526

Rides– Pier Park has most popular rides as Ferris wheel (under renovation to increase its height from 150 to 196 feet), Musical Carousel, Light Tower Ride & Wave Swinger. 

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New Ferris Wheel

 

Ferris WheelVisiting Navy Pier and not opting for Ferris Wheel, one should not dare to do that. It should be on your bucket list while visiting Chicago. Take a 7 minute ride on Ferris for panoramic view of Chicago Skyscrapers & Lake Michigan, in the midst of winds just for $6.

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View from Ferris Wheel

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Water Tours & Cruise Another way to catch the sight of Windy City, opt for Water Taxi from Navy Pier to Shedd Aquarium and Union Station or Architectural Tour to get acquainted with the City of Chicago.

Go for any of the following:

  • Sightseeing cruises – Seadog Cruises, Shoreline Sightseeing and Tall windy ship,
  • Diner cruises – Odyssey, Spirit of Chicago and Mystic Blue.
  • Private yacht.
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Shoreline Sightseeing
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Tall Windy Ship

Live Music After rides, shopping & strolling around the pier, be entertained by the live bands (absolutely free) at Landshark Beer Garden along the shoreline of Lake Michigan. Grab a beer,have a good time dancing with people around you or gazing blue water with the breeze at lake shore. IMG_1812n

Fireworks– Right through the Memorial Day to Labor Day, Navy Pier gets dazzled around every Wednesday and Saturday with fireworks. But the charismatic view comes across on 4th of July and New Year Holiday when the fireworks dance on music tunes. All looks stunning from Pier but the view from boat is out of this world.o (6)

Travel tips 

  1. Plan your visit to Chicago around 4th July, New Year’s Eve to get spellbound by festive fireworks, free of cost.
  2. Get boarded to Shoreline water taxi(Green Route) which cost around $8 to Shedd Aquarium for most striking view of Chicago Skyline.
  3. Full day parking costs $21 on weekdays and $25 over weekend including Friday
  4. On a budget try to eat at Food Court,if not there are many famous restaurants.
  5. Make a visit in summer for the pleasant weather.

 

 

P.S- The pictures in the post are our own except the fireworks one.

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.

 

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.

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.