This week's special edition is on the Castles. I always confuse castles with fort, and keep wondering why India did not have any castles - those fairy tale castles which we used to see in movies, or read in books.
To me castles were always romantic...imagine a beautiful girl inside a castle, and a prince charming probably a Knight just come inside the castle and they both run away..Enough of my imagination...blame it on hollywood or bollywood!
Castles were very much European in its nature, architecture and history. Although they are fortified structures, mostly throughout history, they've remained as private residence built with enormous natural boundary - either on top of mountain / rock / or amidst water, or with vast spread land.
Having built my castles in the air and in beach sand from childhood, I relished every single visit and chance I had to see a castle. Quite opposite, S would make a big sigh and fuss if I take the word castle, but finally ends up accompanying me. So we recently decided that if ever we want to visit any castle, we would just go and see them, but would not spend a single penny towards entering into them! At the end of the day, it's all the same inside. I so accepted it generously, because what beautifies is the external appearance of a castle.
After a long deep visit through my archives, spending time evaluating the beauty of each castle, I finally drilled it down to my top 10 favourite castles I visited (in alphabetical order). Well, these are not necessarily the best and famous castles, but I personally had lovely memories attached to it. Most of these castles have been designated as UNESCO World Heritage sites.
# 1 Cesky Krumlov Castle situated in a small city that bears the same name in south bohemian region of Czech Republic.
# 2 Chillion Castle / Château de Chillon is located in the French speaking part of switzerland few kms away from Montreux. This is the most visited and the most beautiful Castle in Schweiz, often explored by all 'ollywoods' of cinema.
# 3 Durham Castle, located at north east of England in the city of Durham. This castle is in working condition, and is occupied by the local university college.
# 4 Edinburgh Castle is often claimed as the most visited tourist attraction in scotland. Sitting on an extinct volcano, this castle dominates Edinburgh skyline.
# 5 Eilean Donan Castle, said to be the most photographed castle in the world is located on the picturseque Lake Duich in the western highlands of scotland. If you don't recollect, this castle appears in Kuch kuch hota hai and Kandukondein Kandukondein.
# 6 Karlštejn Castle is about 30 kms southwest of Prague, in a lovely village of Karstein.
# 7 Neuschwanstein Castle, is yet another picturesque castle is Bavarian region in Germany. The castle's structure was a major inspiration for Disneyland's Sleeping beauty castle.
# 8 Prague Castle, world's largest castle complex according to Guiness Book of World Records, is situated in the capital city of Prague, along the Vltava river.
# 9 Stirling Castle in the city of Stirling, was once the capital city of Scotland. This castle sits on top of a beautiful hill, with almost similar architecture as Edinburgh castle.
# 10 Windsor Castle, needs not much explanation as it is still a royal residence. This one is definitely worth to visit the rooms and apartments inside.