Thursday, August 25, 2011

Baha'i ( House of Worship)/ Lotus Temple


Delhi has so many places of worship and attractions. Lotus temple can be counted as one. With the metro line passing nearby, anyone can see the Lotus temple while traveling on the Delhi Metro. Traveling to Lotus temple has been quite easier for Tourists as well as Delhites like never before.

Lotus temple attracts lots of foreign tourists as much as Local people. Its a much visit for anyone who's visiting Delhi for the first time.

Bahá'í House of Worship, popularly known as Lotus temple so named because it looked like a flower specifically that of a white Lotus is a piece of aesthetic artwork or an architectural marvel.

Once considered to be most visited even compared to the Eiffel Tower and Taj Mahal, even today Lotus Temple is visited by almost all the tourists who visited Delhi.

The best part of the place of worship is it let everyone in. Silence is maintained inside the structure where everyone can pray without making any noise or disturbances. It's very strictly made to maintain by its volunteers so that everyone can have a peaceful prayer time. People of all religion can worship here.

Though, I used to stay very close to these temple. I never could visit Baha'i or Lotus temple until sometime back recently. I only have visited many, many years back a few times when I first started staying in Delhi and again few years after that. So, when I shifted my accomodation nearby to these places. I was quite thrilled I would get a frequent chance to visit, which never ever happened even once except for few visits at Isckon temple. But, I kept on thinking of visiting Lotus temple quite often. It was visible from the terrace top of the building I used to stay. Watching from the terrace was that all I managed.

With time, I forgot that the Lotus temple existed in Delhi. I shifted to another place in Delhi, have been out of town for some years. And I got the chance, unplanned when everything about it was erased from my mind. Once made the effort, when parents visited us to visit, but it was a monday and so found it closed.

A promise perhaps, so to say, I made to myself that I will visit it with my cousins... as siblings have started telling me that will be a superb idea... I enjoyed thoroughly my visit with my cousin and Nephew when I did it at their recent visit to Delhi. All thanks to Delhi Metro, which saves me from driving all the way there of some 80 Kms (to and fro)... Loved and cherished d moments, laughter and contentment :) Truly Divine :)


Friday, July 29, 2011

Mind Rolling Monastery

I fondly remember my visit to Mind Rolling Monastery. I was in Dehradun and was glad I got to visit the famous Monastery, which was in Clement Town. The roads outside and nearby the Monastery was rough and untidy, to be precise. Inside the premise, it was Mind rolling, signified its namesake, for it was quite, serene and lovely. Just "Bliss" to summarise and cut short.

My friend who has been staying at Dehradun for sometime because of her work told me that the Dumplings and chopsueys were so good and worth a try inside the Monastery.She loved visiting the place. The many shops have souvenirs and Tibeten artefacts, lovely decorative pieces and bangles.(One of my beautiful German colleague was so impressed about the bangle, when she saw me wearing it, in one of our jungle trips together . She kept on harping and sking where I have got it from. She liked it so much and told me that she will ask, one of her students to get it from Dehradun).

Inside the Monastery, there were so many monks doing about their daily rituals and chores. It was so beautiful and well maintained. Indeed,everything about the Mind Roling was clean, clear and peaceful.

In nearby places to the Monastery, I get to see a large Tibetan settlement. It was so nice to get a glimpse of the Stupa, i.e World's Largest Stupa, of the re-established Mindrolling Monastery from Tibet. I came to know it was inaugurated on 28th October 2002 and was surrounded by a 2-acre (8,100 m2) garden. Walking inside the monastery was relaxing. The food was good, though they only serve vegetarian tibetan cuisine. From the Monastery, I also got to see the tree canopies of the Rajaji National Park as they shared the borders with the Monastery.

There was also a high statue of Buddha, 103 feet (31 m)which was dedicated to the Dalai Lama. Inside the monastery, I felt as if I was not in India, but in some place secluded from this world. ( This was testified as all my friends kept on asking me where the location was, when they saw the stupa after I uploaded the pics in one of the social networking sites). And then to thier surprise, it was in India.

The Monastery also have a very prestigious college, Graphic Era Institute of Technology. Founded by Mr. Ghanshala. Many tourists thronged in there as well as Localites as it provided a sanctum to everyone.

I thanked my friend, in my heart of heart for taking me there. We have had a lovely time which remained so good even today, time and again...

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Lodi Gardens...

It's always good to visit Lodi Gardens... be it spring, summer,or winter. It never fails to charm in any season of the year. In a hot place like Delhi, summer can be a respite and cool place in Lodi gardens.

In spring, flowers bloom everywhere inside the garden.

There are a few monuments, tombs which enhance the beauty and charm of the Garden manifold.

It's a picnic spot for people all throughout the year and a jogger's park for some people in all the seasons.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

A South Indian Weekend Gateway… A trip to Mysore

How was Mysore? It was quieter to Bangalore as I started off from Bangalore. Life was going at a lazy, slow pace there. It was a beautiful city. So, the exciting thing about Mysore…

The facts are- it's hardly 3 hours from Majestic Bus stop, Bangalore. Going by the Volvo was easy and comfortable. Kept on watching a movie and the sights/ scenery and it reached us on no time. Mysore can be a good weekend getaway from Bangalore. We had little time.We were looking forward to short hols too. Mysore was the right destination: Cultural capital, City of Palaces of Karnataka.
After reaching Mysore, we hired a Taxi for the whole trip to Mysore Town. That includes Chamundi hills, Zoo (which we skipped, as seen Animals/ Birds all the time in its natural habitats: Sanctuaries, Wild life parks), Mysore palace, and Brindavan Gardens. The driver was a very sweet, friendly old guy.

Visit to Chamundi temple can be an enriching experience. It's nestled high up on the Chamundi hills. It was a steep drive and we really liked it. The temple, named after Chamundeshwari or Durga, the fierce form of Shakti, a tutelary deity held in reverence for centuries by Mysore Maharajas. The temple has a seven story tall 'Gopura' decorated with intricate carvings. The deity of the goddess is said to be made of gold and the temple doors of silver. As a friend had recommended, Chamundi temple was the first place we visited upon reaching Mysore. It has always been so good to visit temples while on holidays. Really, Pilgrim holidays have been so fulfilling. It was an amazing experience.

As it was some hours drive from Bangalore. After visiting Chamundi Temple, we were damn hungry, not at all tired, rather excited and delighted. So, after much introspection and enquiries from friends who have stayed in Mysore. We came to know of few places, about good popular restaurants in Mysore and shopping places for Mysore sarees. RRR was a good option on restaurants as it was at close proximity from the Mysore Palace, which was our next destination. Getting sarees from State Kaveri Emporium was right. The food at RRR was very good, tasty Andhra food. Everything about it was gratifying, though didn't like the rush part. It was so crowded for its good food and popularity. And the price was very affordable for everyone (rich/poor, I guess: Dirt cheap if you happen to be dining in good restaurants in big cities). Mysore palace was our next destination on the day's Agenda. Horses run transport system/ drive on carriage was another option to ply to nearby places from there.

Mysore Palace, the official residence of the Wodeyars - the erstwhile royal family of Mysore, was a beautiful palace with so many rooms which also houses two durbar halls (ceremonial meeting hall of the royal court). The view from the Durbar hall to the gates was a very pleasing view which opens to the outside world. It really catapulted me to have the view to the outside gates from the Palace.

Mysore palace was a tourist site, not only for Indians as I came across many foreign tourists as well. I was all the more thrilled and surprised when I learnt that it was one of the most famous tourist attractions in India after Taj Mahal with more than 2.7 million visitors.

Every autumn, the Palace is the venue for the famous Mysore Dasara festival, which is the most extravagant festival of Mysore. This celebration commemorates the victory of the great Goddess Durga, (Chamundeshwari) after she slew the demon, Mahishasura, symbolizing the triumph of good over evil according to Hindu mythology. During Dasara, news about the festivities to be held at Mysore are flashed everyday. In my short sojourn in Bangalore, it was quite hectic and only could manage to have those glimpses of festivals and catch up from many newspapers. It was also learning about new cultures that of south India.

Inside the large palace, got to see ornately gilded columns, stained glass ceilings, decorative steel grills, and chandeliers with fine floral motifs, mirrored in the pietra dura mosaic floor embellished with semi-precious stones. It was a grand palace with art works in many rooms. I also tried listening to the music which came from a hollow pillar, after tapping it as some of the local tourists asked me to try out. My sis was quite glad and so was I. There were multi-hued stained glass ceiling with peacock motifs arranged in geometrical patterns. Also, the floor of the Mantapa had the peacock theme with a peacock mosaic, designed with tiles from England.
Next trip was Brindavan Gardens. To enter Brindavan gardens, we were suppose to take tickets. The queue was a long one and there were all kinds of people, it was quite crowded. Brindavan gardens doesn’t strike me much though I loved and enjoyed the boat rides. There were so many fountains, that was relaxing and refreshing and flower blooms were not much at that time when we visited. I was expecting quite so much, from Brindavan Gardens as I have seen it to be very beautiful as a kid from cousins Family hols photo collection from their whole south India tours and travels.

Though, I can’t deny I like the designs and large terrace gardens arrangements. There was so much street food for visitors to try out, which was encouraging. While still in Brindavan gardens, it was becoming all dark and night was setting in.
We bid Adios to Mysore with fond memories of sights, fun, smiles, lovely people and beauty of the places visited and that of a short getaway. It was very fulfilling to visit a temple, a palace of grandeur and a beautiful garden with a pleasant boat ride not excluding the ride passing through many beautiful, spectacular sights of Mysore city. Our Taxi guy drove us back to the Volvo stand and guided us. It was a moment of truth that, it ended with a sweet note and a happy smile that it was a lovely day. Goodtimes never failed to fascinate us, my sis ( who came all the way from Delhi (to attend a fren’s South Indian Wedding for 2/ 3 days) and me who ended up meeting her in Bangalore decided to tour Mysore for a day…
Till then, Mysore rocks in its quiet, sweet way, away from the crowded, maddening, hustle and bustle of big city metros.