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Haryana

One of the youngest states of the country, Haryana came into being in 1966 by getting carved out from the heart of the Indo-Gangetic plains. Roughly the size of Belgium, Haryana, today, is said to be the cradle of Part of India's ancient civilization.The legendary Mahabharata battle was said to have been fought in this area. It was also here that Lord Krishna is believed to have delivered the timeless sermon contained in the Bhagvad Gita.

Being the home of many early Indian empires, Haryana was also the seat of the great kingdom of Harsha Vardhana. Many famous battles were fought on its soil, which played a major role in shaping the destiny of India. Haryana is 44,212 square kilometers in size and presently has a population of more than 15 million. Four national highways, Delhi - Agra, Delhi - Jaipur, Delhi - Amritsar and Delhi - Fazilka pass through this green land.

Haryana is also a land of hot springs, rich in sulphur with the temperature ranging between 46.10 and 51.70 degrees Celsius. The land is famous for its fauna and is also the home of eloquent mynahs, gorgeous peacocks and the fluttering black partridges. Miles of rich-green countryside are crisscrossed by cart tracks and dotted with colourful clusters of picturesque villages interspersed with modern industrial complexes.

Haryana has well-developed tourist complexes, lakes, motels, restaurants, bars, shopping arcades, swimming pools, sauna bath, golf courses and other recreational facilities. It has good facilities for the angler, the bird watcher or for just relaxing in a garden chair.

Surajkund
Surajkund or `Pool of the Sun' is one of the region's oldest and most interesting sights. It is believed to have been built by Raja Suraj Pal of the Tomar dynasty. It looks like a Roman amphitheatre having circular steps, paved in stone, that cup the blue waters of the serene pool. Close by are the remnants of a Sun temple and the Anangpal fort where one can walk in the shadows of the past.

For two weeks every year (February 1-15), Surajkund is transformed into a bustling, colourful little village for the Surajkund Crafts Mela. For this hundreds of master crafts- people from all over India gather to display and sell their authentic and traditional handmade goods at prices far less than at regular stalls and shops. Apart from enjoying a variety of Indian foods and drinks, typical village performances by acrobats, magicians, singers, musicians, dancers, offer a rare glimpse into the folk art traditions of India.

ACCESS

Surajkund is 16 km from Delhi on the Delhi - Agra national highway.

Sultanpur Bird Sanctuary
The world famous Bird Sanctuary at Sultanpur was discovered by Peter Jackson, the famed ornithologist. This lake-sanctuary, which stretches over an area of about 400 acres, has, at any given time, besides local varieties, more than 100 species of birds from Europe and elsewhere. Birds from as far away as Siberia come to nest here, October through February.

The 150 acre jheel (lake) is filled by thousands of ducksruddy shelduck, mallard, pochard, shoveller, teals of all kinds, gadwall, greylag and bar-headed geese etc. From far-off lands come the flamingoes, pelicans and demoiselle cranes. Flying in from neighbourhood areas are painted storks, spoonbills, white ibises, herons, large cormorants, egrets, red wattled lapwings and plovers.

ACCESS
46 km from Delhi, on the Delhi - Gurgaon - Gaurakhnagar road.

Pinjore Gardens
One of the major attractions in Haryana, Pinjore is the oldest surviving Mughal Garden in India. Yadavindra or Pinjore (as it's more popularly known), was built in the 17th century by Fidai Khan, Emperor Aurangzeb's lieutenant and a reputed architect of his time.

This unique seven-tiered terraced garden has a charm that is unparalleled. Seeing the Pinjore Gardens one can also recall the other Mughal gardens in Kashmir. There are seven descending terraces each flanked by well laid-out lawns and flower beds with tall palms and creepers. Waters cascade down the seven levels and fruit bearing trees line the waterway.

Earlier, Pinjore was essentially a pleasure garden for the maharajas and maharanis. The splendour of days bygone is beautifully preserved in the three pleasure palaces: Rang Mahal, Sheesh Mahal and Jal Mahal.

ACCESS
270 km from Delhi by road.


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