The Wonder that is India

It was ‘Seven Wonders of the World’ till 070707, and now it’s ‘the wonder that is India’ a ‘Times of India’ initiative.

List of the monuments in ‘the wonder that is India’ includes:
Taj Mahal, Victoria Terminus, Lotus Temple, Hampi, Darjeeling Toy Train, Fatehpur Sikri, Charminar, Bhimbetka, Howrah Birdge, Kumbh Mela, Brihadeswara Temple, Ajanta, Qutab Minar, Konark, Ghats of Benaras, Golden Temple, Khajuraho, Shravanbelagola, Kailash Temple (Ellora), and Nalanda Ruins.

To be frank, I don’t know the intention of this intiative of SMS- based selection or election that has become a common practice these days. However, it becomes a good guide to plan an outing to see something that we inherited from our history ancient as well as modern.

In my opinion, Kumbha Mela would not have been part of it, as all the Kumbha Melas are not similar in variety and size of crowd attending it. It depends on many other factors.

I am to still cover some from the above list that I would love to do at the earliest: Hampi, Darjeeling Toy Train, Bhimbetka, Kumbh Mela, Brihdeswara Temple, Ajanta, Golden Temple, Shravanbelagola, and Kailash Temple (Ellora).

To one of my friends with whom I was discussing this expressed surprise that I had not been able to make it up to even Darjeeling when we are basically a Calcuttan in every respect, spending major part of our lives there.

And that took me to the memory lanes of yester years. However, we always keep on missing the opportunities. We missed the opportunity to ride Shimla Toy Train, when we went to Shimla. As per newspaper report, it is India’s entry for World Heritage this year. We took the trip in my car. Initially, the idea was to leave the car at Kalaka. But we changed the idea when I found Sirohi’s keen interest and preference for driving. I always prefer car, as it provides flexibility.

The 104-year-old Shimla toy train is considered the greatest narrow gauge engineering feat in the country. The train covers its 96-km journey starting from Kalka and runs through 102 tunnels, 20 sleepy hill stations and over 900 bridges before reaching Shimla.

Interestingly, Indian Railways have already contributed three world heritage sites: The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, the Nilgiri Mountain Railway and Mumbai’s VT Station are Unesco’s world heritage sites. As per a railway executive, “Simla toy Train is not just a railway but a cultural corridor. That’s why during his six-day stay in Shimla, Lee will be given a complete feel of KSR – its heritage value, the cultural richness of the communities living along it, the stunning terrain and the immaculate engineering.”
And I feel bad that we had missed the opportunity.

PS. You can click to see the images from the google sites, if you are planning to take a trip to the ones I have not done:
Hampi, Darjeeling Toy Train, Bhimbetka, Brihadeswara Temple, Ajanta, Golden Temple, Shravanbelagola, and Kailash Temple (Ellora).

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