Monday, September 17, 2012

Ganesh Chaturthi in Maharashtra...

My Ganesh Chaturthi Experience...

I love traveling, no doubt. I love being in festivals too. My love for traveling, festivities and faith took me all the way to Pune, Mumbai once during the time of Ganesh Chaturthi. Having relatives in almost every place, or so to say first cousins helped me in realising whenever I want to land somewhere sometimes. ( Perhaps on Earth. I'm on Earth....) Ganesh Chaturthi is more elaborately and widely celebrated at the southern part of the Country like Maharashtra, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Goa etc. Its also celebrated in Bhopal, MP in the central part of the country. Its also celebrated abroad by Indians in UK, United States, Canada, Mauritius, Singapore, Thailand, Burma, Fiji, Nepal etc.

Pune is the best place to be during the Ganesh Chaturthi. The festival is celebrated in the best way here. Believed to being celebrated as a public event in Pune since the times of Shivaji (1630-1680), the founder of the Maratha Empire.The preparations for the celebrations started out quite early, well before the actual events of the Ganesh chaturthi. I, often have heard my cousins, very excitedly telling me all about the roads lined up with Ganeshji idols, all almost the places of Pune. Even just hearing from them makes me so full of joy. It much be so Amazing.

It was five years back. When I visited, Pune's weather at that time of the year (it was September) was so cool, breezy with some rains. We loved the visits to Laxmi market for, to see the many Ganesh Chatturthi celebrations. Some with themes, story telling, great light works, though too crowded and excitement all around us. We ourselves were so excited. Laxmi bazaar in Pune is famous for the Maharastrian sarees. Amidst the festivities going on, many people were also shopping around like anything. So, we love to bring back some sarees for ourselves. Magarpatta city was in celebration, apart from many other places in Pune with local singers and some celebrities as well.

It was such a nice feeling to be enjoying the festivities. Ganesha is widely worshipped all over India, but more so in Maharashtra, Karnataka, Goa, Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh etc. Ganesha is considered as the God of wisdom, prosperity and good fortune. It is traditionally considered invoked and blessed to take the Ganesha's blessings for the start of any new venture, or at the start of travel.
Ganesh Chaturthi/ Ganeshotsav ("festival of Ganesha") is observed in the Hindu calendar month of Bhaadrapada, starting on the shukla chaturthi (fourth day of the waxing moon period). Ganesha is believed to bestow his presence on earth for all his devotees during this festival. Shiva declared his son Ganesha as superior to all the Gods.

Ganesha is worshiped for 10 days. On the 11th day, visarjan is done by taking the idols through the streets in a procession accompanied with dancing, singing, and fanfare to be immersed in a river or the sea symbolizing a ritual of see-off of the Lord in his journey towards his abode in Kailash while taking away with him the misfortunes of his devotees. Modak is the special sweet during the Ganesh Chaturthi. Devotees made this special sweet during the festival for friends & family. I, once had some tasty modak in Bhopal when one of my Maharastrian friends brought some for all of our friends during the festival. Before that, I was not aware of the Modak ,or the elaborate celebration of Ganeshji with such opulence and fanfare. With that, some years later, I had Chocolate Modak at a family friends house in Mumbai which was offered by her lovely daughter.

Witnessing the Visarjan in Mumbai, standing by the Juhu seaside/ beach was an experience which was memorable, rewarding. It was lovely to see all the smiling faces all around. There was happiness all around with people dancing, doing Puja before the idols were immersed finally in the sea. 

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Roadtrip to Jaipur...

A day trip to Jaipur, Rajasthan.

Jaipur's just a few hours away from Delhi. It's one of the favourite places Delhiites frequently, so lovingly visited on Weekends. Hardly four hours drive from Delhi and it has many places of interest. So, on a day's trip, we managed to visit few places in Jaipur which was very enjoyable. Indeed, a superb and wonderful trip all on a day.

Out of all the  forts and monuments in the pink city- Jaipur, founded by Maharaja Jai Singh, visited  Hawa Mahal, Amber Fort, City Palace, Albert Hall Museum, Chokhi Dhani besides some important shopping places like Johari Bazar (Jeweler's hub), Bapu Market (Mojri footwear) to name, which provided amazing shopping spree for any die hard shopholic.Well, can't missed out on that, apart from the visits to the Palaces, museum and the drive in and around Jaipur.

Jaipur markets are famous for its Bandhani, block printing, zari, gota, Meenakari, Gems, Kundan, Jewellery, Miniature paintings, Blue pottery etc.

Also, in the must visit  List was Chokhi Dhani. Visited Chokhi Dhani, Five star village resort which brings alive the rural lifestyle, fun and frolic of Rajasthan on the outskirts of Jaipur. It provides tourists and locals with Camel, Elephant rides and other entertainment like Rajasthani dances and other games etc which keeps alive the Rajasthani tradition & culture. Its a tribute to the rich heritage and culture of Rajasthan to people who wants to know about India, precisely Rajasthan. The food- Thali ( fit for a King, so to say) there at Chokhi Dhani is another introduction to the vegetarian cuisine of Rajasthan.

Hawa Mahal, Palace of Wind, or Palace of the Breeze  is  located in the heart of Jaipur city which is also the business hub.  It provides a striking view with its  red colour as its built of red and Pink Sandstone.
It also forms a part of the City Palace and extends to the Zenana, women's chambers (the chambers of the harem).

City Palace is a magnificient palace, located in the heart of Jaipur City, very nearby to Hawal Mahal. It consisted of many buildings of  historical significance like the Diwan- I - Khas ( Hall of Private Audience), Diwan- I- Aam, Maharani Palace, Bhaggi Khanna, Chandra Mahal, Mubarak Mahal, Pitam Niwas Chowk etc. There was so much to explore in City Palace.

Visiting Amber fort, or Amer Fort/ Palace was a scintillating experience, surrounded on all sides by rugged hills. In Amber/ Amer Fort... It was stunning and very royal. A visit to Jaipur, Rajathan remained very fulfilling and complete with the visit to Amber/ Amer fort. Quite a huge place in itself to explore and so spectacular. So much of an enchanting view to the visitor that can satiate a Traveller's quest for something extravagant, remarkable and marvelous.

Monday, June 25, 2012

The Golden Temple, Amritsar

Known to be the sacred most place for Sikhs and most popular destination among Non- Residential Indians(NRI) in the whole of India, Golden temple (Harmandir Sahib- The abode of God) is a special and spiritual place especially for the sikhs. Everyone in India consider it a holy place and a must visit to Golden Temple for the Well- being and blessings regardless of their religion, colour, creed, or sex.

Considered holy by Sikhs, the most holy text of Sikhism, the Guru Granth Sahib, is always present inside the Golden Temple. The Gurudwar is a place of worship for men and women from all walks of life and all religions. The Gurudwar accepts everyone and there's a common saying all around Amritsar from almost everyone that nobody goes hungry in the Land of Golden Temple, Amritsar. Hardly any beggars in and around the Temple, or no beggars at all as none was noticed. It's a good place of worship for all.

People were required to leave the shoes and wear a head covering along with washing one's feet before entering the Gurudwar's premises. Its maintained for the purity of the Sacred place.

Hari Mandir (Divine Temple) or Darbar Sahib (Court of the Lord), which is the beautiful golden structure at the center of a large body of water is the the most famous and sacred part of the Golden Temple complex where Devotees pay their respects by touching with their foreheads on the temple floor and walls.

The water that surrounds the Hari Mandir is a sacred pool known as the Amrit Sarovar (Pool of Nectar). The temple is reached by following the Parikrama, which circumscribes the sacred pool in a clockwise direction. Connecting the pathway with the Hari Mandir is a marble causeway called the Guru's Bridge, which symbolizes the journey of the soul after death. Darshani Deorhi,the gateway to the bridge has magnificent silver doors.

The temple's surrounded all around by Sarover or water tank. After coming out of the Gurudwar, Holy water is taken by devotees followed by Prasad.

The people who visited the Gurudwar can also have Langar at the Community Kitchen inside the premise. Food is continously served for the devotees all round the clock. It was a very humble experience to have the Guru-Ka-Langar where devotees made an effort to help run the community kitchen in all possible way. There are Guest rooms/ Quarters to stay inside the Premises.

Amritsar's a Splendid Weekend Getaway from Delhi and nearby places.
There's Shabtabdi train to Amritsar and I find that a very good way to go to Amritsar. Friends also recommended and suggested for a enjoyable roadway trip when I visit next. Until next time... Will keep alive the Goodtime spent in Amritsar.