Heritage Marvels In India That Will Fill You With Pride

India has so much to offer an eager traveller, from its varied landscapes to an assortment of cuisines to friendly people. But more than anything else, the breathtaking highlight is India’s culture and heritage. With unique architectural styles and a heritage dating back centuries, the sights through the length and breadth of the country will leave you spellbound. This World Heritage Day, April 18, look beyond the usual suspects such as the Taj Mahal or Hawa Mahal and dive deeper. Here are five offbeat heritage places to add to your bucket list of road trips with your family:

Phuktal Monastery, Ladakh

Emerging dramatically from a mountainside and built along natural caves, a glimpse of the honeycomb structure of the nearly 2500-year-old Phuktal Monastery will leave you in awe. It’s in a remote location, and you can reach it only after a trek. Inside you’ll find a library with sacred manuscripts, prayer rooms, a temple, and monks who call this place their home. From the outside, you can witness 360-degree scenic views of the Lungnak River and surrounding valleys.

When driving through Ladakh, your journey will lead you along steep and rocky roads. But your Ford Endeavour, with its powerful engine and capable (TMS) Terrain Management System, will enable you to take on the challenge easily. All you need to do is set the TMS to the correct mode, and you can be assured of a comfortable and safe drive.

Chand Baori, Rajasthan

Chand Baori, in the village of Abhaneri, is one of the largest and deepest step wells in the world. Raja Chanda of the Nikumbha Dynasty built it in the 9th century for the conservation of water. It has 13 floors, 3500 symmetrical steps, and a depth of nearly 64 feet. You’ll find steps on three sides; the fourth side is a pavilion designed for the royal family. The unique geometric architecture and the play of light and shadow give the place a unique appearance.

Chand Baori is about 95 km from Jaipur. During the drive amidst the harsh weather, set your preferred temperature on Ford Aspire’s Automatic Climate Control and enjoy a comfortable journey.

Yaganti, Andhra Pradesh

Along with other deities like Goddess Parvati and Nandi the bull, the Yaganti temple is primarily dedicated to Lord Shiva. It is believed that the Nandi statue here grows by an inch every 20 years and that water flows out of its mouth to keep the temple pond filled all year round. There’s also a cave in the vicinity of the temple that is named after the sage Agasthya.

Since Yaganti is a small town, you can easily explore it in a day and cover most attractions. Besides visiting Sri Uma Maheswara Temple, a one hour drive will take you to Belum Caves and Sankara Caves. All these sites are steeped in rich heritage and culture that will leave a lasting impression. And with the touchscreen navigation on your Ford Freestyle, you can find the quickest and safest route.

Vaishali, Bihar

Bihar is home to numerous art forms, from Madhubani to Mithila art to the Qalaam style of painting. The state is also home to some marvellous sculptures dating back centuries. One fine example of Mauryan craftsmanship is the Ashoka Pillar in Vaishali, with its inscriptions. You can also visit the Vishwa Shanti Stupa and Abishek Pushakaran (coronation tank).

The drive from Patna to Vaishali is about 35 km, and you can take the route via Gandhi Setu, the third-longest river bridge in India. When driving on the long bridge, continued by the highway stretch, set the Cruise Control on your Ford EcoSport to maintain a steady speed and enjoy a comfortable drive.

Unakoti, Tripura

Unakoti is one of the best-kept secrets of Tripura. Literally, Unakoti translates to ‘one less than a crore.’ Legend has it that one day while Lord Shiva was travelling to Kashi along with one crore gods and goddesses, he took a break at Unakoti. All the gods and goddesses with him were instructed to be up and ready by dawn. When none of them followed his orders, he cursed them and turned them into stone. The place is also famous for its numerous rock sculptures, and there are several myths and legends about them.

Travel When The Time Is Right

The current pandemic situation may have forced you to put your travel plans on hold. But that doesn’t mean you need to forget them altogether. Things will eventually get better, and you will be able to hit the road again. So, instead of complaining about cancelled trips, create a travel bucket list with offbeat places to visit. And to unravel the secrets within India, make sure you visit the above-mentioned heritage sites.