Monday, 20 May 2013

TripAdvisor Celebrates Bollywood Centennial

Visits locations in (North/South/East/West) made famous in Hindi cinema

Given that Indians are avid travellers and ardent moviegoers as well, TripAdvisor brings to you a list of locations in the country captured on the big screen for all times to come. What’s of additional significance is that 2013 marks the 100th year of Bollywood.

From the majestic forts of Rajasthan to the busy streets of Darjeeling, the lure of Goa to the varied locales in the South, TripAdvisor brings you some of the best in ‘cinema tourism’ across the country.

The Northern Kings:

The hotel that featured in the 1973 super-hit movie, Bobby, is located in Gulmarg, Jammu and Kashmir. The memorable ‘Hum tum ek kamrey mein bandh hon…’ song was shot in one of the rooms of the hotel. Shah Rukh Khan stayed in the same room while shooting for Jab Tak Hai Jaan, directed by Yash Chopra and released in 2012. The rooms are well-equipped and heated with bukharis, the traditional space heater in the region. A TripAdvisor traveller describes the hotel to be the “best in Gulmarg”.

The valley is known by the 1983 romantic film in which Sunny Deol and Amrita Singh debuted. Located 7 km from Pahalgam in the heart of Jammu and Kashmir, the valley epitomizes romance. Betab was almost entirely shot at Betaab valley. Even before 1983, the valley featured in films like Kashmir ki Kali, Silsila and Bobby. Later films such as Dil Se, Fanna and Mission Kashmir have made Betaab Valley one of the most famous film locations within Jammu and Kashmir. As a TripAdvisor traveller puts it, “Betaab Valley: A nature’s wonder.”

The castle was built by Raja Sidh Singh of Kullu around 1460 AD and is located 25 km from Kullu Town. The hit song ‘Yeh Ishq’ in the movie Jab We Met was shot at this castle. The place offers breathtaking views of the Himalayas. Almost 10-20 kms from the castle is the magnificent Jana waterfall. The area is an ideal place for the trekkers and adventure seekers. This is what a TripAdvisor traveller has to say -- “Grand Splendour, awesome views. Great Place.”

Located in Shimla in Himachal Pradesh, Woodville is a popular destination for Bollywood film-shoots. From Kudrat by Chetan Anand, Raju Chacha by Ajay Devgun, Badal by Raj Kanwar to Black by Sanjay Leela Bhansali, this palace has played host to TV serials like Millee and Kavyanjali. According to a TripAdvisor traveller Woodville Palace Hotel summarises the “best of Imperial Shimla!”

This palace was built in 1891 and is known for its majestic setting with spectacular views. Located in Chail, Shimla, this location is now a popular heritage hotel and a resort, and is known for the shooting of the movie 3 Idiots, the 2009 blockbuster starring Amir Khan and Kareena Kapoor. Rajesh Khanna’s Daag was the first film to be shot here in 1973. A TripAdvisor traveller says that Chail Palace is “royal experience… must stay”.

Mangal Pandey, Veer Zara, Rang De Basanti, Gandhi My Father and Eat, Pray, Love  were filmed here. Being the home of the famed cricketer and Nawab of Pataudi, Mansur Ali Khan, this palace is a must visit. According to a TripAdvisor traveller, it is s “nice retreat close to Delhi.” 
Eastern splendours

The hills and the charming habitat of the Himalayas has been the USP of the region and cinema has made it a point to utilise the enigmatic locations to shoot some of the best romantic scenes here. Our hot picks are:

Located in Darjeeling, the toy train is as much a draw as the hill station. The toy train, along with the 83-km long section of the Darjeeling Himalayan Railways section, has been the bestowed World Heritage Site status. The railway line from Siliguri to the beautiful hill section of Darjeeling is considered an engineering feat.  The toy train has been an important prop in several Bollywood films, including Dil se (for the song Chhaiya Chhaiya) and Aradhana (for the song Mere sapnon ki rani). In the recent times, Darjeeling featured as the principal location for the Ranbir Kapoor-Priyanka Chopra starrer, Barfi, released last year. Barfi too had a song with its toy train featuring most prominently. In the words of TripAdvisor traveller, a toy-train ride is “a must in Darjeeling”.

Built during British Raj, this palace is one of the oldest recreational spots in Kolkata. This palace is the memorial of James Princep, the 19th Century English scholar, orientalist and antiquary. The site is frequently used for concerts. Post 2005, the palace has also come to be known as the Parineeta place, because of the song ‘Piyu bole’ in the movie by that name. As a TripAdvisor traveller puts it, “Excellent place to spend time.”

The Wonderful West

Heading towards the West, we would find hospitals, churches, beaches – all and sundry that has been captured on celluloid. Mumbai, home to Bollywood, has been a prominent location for obvious reasons. While Gloria Church became the backdrop of youth anthem ‘Sadda Haq’ from the 2011 film, Rockstar, Birla Mandir has in the recent times come to be known as the ‘friendship proposal site’ after the love story Mohabbatein, starring Jimmy Shergill. The Hiranandani Gardens at Powai was where the song ‘Gumshuda…’ in Chalte Chalte was shot; the garden was also the backdrop of the debut scene of Hrithik Roshan on bicycle in the Year 2000 blockbuster, Kaho Na… PyaarHai. The unforgettable climax scene of Dilwale Dulhaniya le Jayenge – the 1995 flick starring Shah Rukh Khan and Kajol -- was shot at Apta Railway station at Panvel.

Mumbai has been the birthplace of Bollywood for 100 years. The first movie Raja Harishchandra released in May 1913 was shot at Mathura Bhawan at Dadar. The city’s heart is bound by the Queen’s Necklace on Marine Drive that has lent its glitz to many a Hindi film.

Here are some other admired and favourite Bollywood locations of lot:

The abode of Akbar the Great was captured on the camera in the classic Mughal-e-Azam. The magnificence of the Mughal architecture was also laid open for the public via many other movies. The 1995 Shah Rukh Khan-starrer Pardes was also shot here.


This is a king’s hunting lodge turned into a heritage hotel. This is best known as the backdrop of the effervescent love blossoming in the heart of ‘Viren’ for elusive ‘Pallavi’ in Lamhe, the 1991 flick starring Anil Kapoor and Sridevi.

At the end of 11 km stretch from Jaipur is the Amber Fort, captured exquisitely as Princess Jodha’s palace in the epic Jodha Akbar. The film was extensively shot in Ajmer, Madhogarh and Dhula on the outskirts of Rajasthan. Sheesh Mahal, the mirror palace within Amber Fort was instrumental in capturing the kaleidoscopic view of the eternal beauty of actor Madhubala in Mughal-e-Azam, the 1960 epic drama.

Other ‘filmy’ locations that need a special mention in the west are: The 300-year-old Chomu Palace located 40 km from Jaipur city and the focal point of all the thrills and speculations in Akshaya Kumar-starrer mystery movie, BhulBhulaiya.

The reservoir inside Nahargarh Fort was the centre of the beer-drinking challenge in Rang De Basanti and Apni toh pathshaala…, the youthful track from the film.

Originally a summer resort, this imposing Rajput architecture of Vijaya Vilas Palace in Gujarat has played central character for blockbusters like Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam with its eternal romantic song ‘Chand chhupa baadal mein…’ and classic raga of ‘Albela sajan ayo re…’ The latter song was also shot in the picturesque  ruins of BadaBagh of Jaisalmer. The Vijaya Vilas Palace also became the British House in Lagaan, blending seamlessly with the plot of the movie of bygone era.

Rajasthan’s other celebrated sites that have featured in prominent movies are Mandir Palace of Jaisalmer which was house of the character, Mirchi Seth, in the widely acclaimed movie, Sarfarosh. The Sariska Palace in Alwar, onetime hunting lodge of Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh, was turned into Amrish Puri’s haveli which reverberated with vengeful widow declaration Mere Karan Arjun ayenge… in the Shah Rukh Khan-Salman Khan-starrer, Karan Arjun. Mehrangarh Fort and JaswantThada in Jodhpur were the backdrop of the movie, Hum Saath Saath Hain, while Hadi Rani ki Baori featured in Paheli where Rani Mukherjee meets a ghost. Lalgarh Palace in Bikaner witnessed Anushka Sharma and Ranveer Singh dancing and singing ‘Dum Dum Dum mast hai…’ in the film, Band Baja Baraat.

The Orchard Palace, a heritage hotel in Gujarat, has been the backdrop of Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam. The palace is still maintained by royal family of Gondal, descendants of the Jadeja kings.

The Central Saga

Madhya Pradesh has been witness to making of many popular films, from Raj Kapoor’s Jis Desh Main Ganga Behti Hai to Kareena Kapoor’s Ashoka. The scenic marble rocks at Bhedaghat, Dhundhaar falls have been the backdrop for the seductive song ‘Raatkanasha…’ and the sturdy Ahilya Fort at Maheshwar, now turned into heritage hotel, was the backdrop of the scene where the Mauryan emperor cut his hair and became a Buddhist in the film, Asoka. Ahilya Fort, incidentally, is also a TripAdvisor Travellers’s Choice 2013 winner.

Down South

A two-hour ride from Hyderabad will take you to Bidar Fort, to unravel the mysticism that Vidya Balan tried to bring out in the song ‘Ishq sufiyaana…’ in her much-acclaimed film, The Dirty Picture.  The sprawling Indo-Persian style architecture of the Bahmani dynasty serves as a fabulous weekend destination.

Karnataka is also home to famous the Gabbar rocks, named after the villain played by Amjad Khan in the all-time favourite multi-starrer, Sholay. Ramanagram, where most of Sholay was filmed, is 50 km from Bengaluru and 90 km from Mysore, and is a haven for adventure enthusiasts. Besides rock climbing, the area is also famous for its silk industry and 1,000 year old temples atop hills.

The white foamy Athirapally waterfalls surrounded by lush green forests enchanted acclaimed director Mani Ratnam and he captured the natural wonder in the song ‘Barso re megha…’ in the critically acclaimed film Guru. A startling example of Indian rock-cut architecture, the Badami Caves, has lent its scenic charm to many the song ‘Ek lo ek muft…’ and was the place where Guru – the role that Abhishek Bachchan played -- agrees to marry his friend’s sister for dowry.

Portions of Raavn, the 2011 sci-fi thriller, were also shot here. A day trip from Bengaluru will land you in RayaGopura, the incomplete temple in Melkote which had been the location for Guru and more recently, for Rowdy Rathore.

The 400-year-old Bekal Fort is spread over 40 acres and is the largest such structure in Kerala. The fort by the shoreline of Arabian Sea offers a mesmerising view both at sunrise and sunset captured in the intensity of the song ‘Tu hi re…’ in Bombay.

Romance has been unique to Ooty as a location for Bollywood. The area has been extensively captured in films like Maine Pyar Kiya and Hum Apke Hain Kaun’. Just 19 km off Ooty is Pykara falls that has captivated moviemakers since Eighties. Right from the popular number like ‘Tera sath hai kitna pyaara’ in Janbaaz, to Nagina, Kaamchor and Gangster – many Hindi movies have been shot under the cascading falls.


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