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Tuesday, February 21, 2017

GOLDEN TEMPLE AMRITSAR: A PHOTOGRAPHIC TEMPLATE




Indian Bloggers



 “Sacred places are physical and geographic anchor points for our psychic and cultural imaginings, the stories we tell about ourselves, the world, and the relations between them.”
Adrian J. Ivakhiv



' Sri Harmandir Sahib (The abode of God) (Punjabi: ਹਰਿਮੰਦਰ ਸਾਹਿਬ), also Sri Darbar Sahib (PUNJABI: ਦਰਬਾਰ ਸਾਹਿਬ,  and informally referred to as the "Golden Temple"is the holiest Gurudwara of SIKHS, located in the city 
 of Amritsar, Punjab, India. Amritsar (literally, the tank of nectar of immortality) was founded in 1577 by the fourth Sikh guru, Guru Ram Das. The fifth Sikh Guru, Guru Arjan, designed the Harmandir Sahib to be built in the centre of this holy tank, and upon its construction, installed the Adi Granth, the holy scripture of Sikhism, inside the Harmandir Sahib The Harmandir Sahib complex is also home to the Akal Takhat (the throne of the timeless one, constituted by the Sixth Guru, Guru Hargobind). While the Harmandir Sahib is regarded as the abode of God's spiritual attribute, the Akal Takht is the seat of God's temporal authority
The construction of Harmandir Sahib was intended to build a place of worship for men and women from all walks of life and all religions to come and worship God equally.' Wikipedia.


'GOLDEN TEMPLE' complex has recently been renovated  with state- of-the -art infrastructure. 500m stretch around the temple has been widened. An elegant corridor around the Gurdwara has been put up. Flooring has been laid with beautiful tiles and the facade of close by establishments have been done with terracotta stone color in tune with the new embellished looks.

Visiting 'GOLDEN TEMPLE' on 17th, Feb., 2017 was an exhilarating experience. Very different and unique. The grandeur is humbling. You become  part of the sea of humanity, losing yourself, blending with the aura of religiosity for a short period. Intoxicated by the religious fervor, the visitors seemed to be in a state of spiritual abandonment. It was like a melting point of rich-poor, high-low of multiple faiths  from all over the world. No body seemed to care who the other was. Everybody appeared to be suffused with an overwhelming feeling of inner devotional passion even amidst the noisy throngs of visitors. Young married couples ( girls wearing their traditional Churas- red ivory bangles) in a joyful togetherness added to the universality of reverence for the holy shrine.




The sanctum sanctorum and the rows of devotees waiting for their turn to pay  obeisance.



Throngs of people doing parikarma ( going around) of the holy sarover (tank).


 Another view of the Darbar Sahib from the right side.

Darshani Deorhi ( entrance to the Sanctum Sanctorum)


The sacred AKAL TAKHAT the symbol of temporal authority.

In the middle of this structure is one of the gates to the complex, adorned with magnificent domes


                                  Hubby and me  in the holy precincts.                       


The authorities have established a corridor around the complex to make  the surroundings look more graceful and representative of Punjabi culture and heritage.


  
Above young girls enjoying KIKLI.   'It is more of a sport than a dance for young girls. Two girls stand face to face, close to each other and hold their hands, crossing arms with their bodies inclined back. In this position their arms are stretched to the maximum and hands interlock firmly. Then they wheel round fast continuously, with their dupattas floating in the air and anklets making tinkling sound. The other ladies encourage them to go faster and faster by singing songs with clapping Sometimes it is done by four girls. The folk song related to the dance has much variety.' Behind them, two girls are doing GIDHA Punjabi folk dance of women.

Friends, I also used to participate in this sport with my bubbling young friends in long past old days.



FIGURINES carved out of black marble showing young men dancing to BHANGRA tunes. Note the mirthful couple clicking selfie.

The drummer to whose beats BHANGRA IS PERFORMED.


High on the pedestal is the statue of great MAHARAJA Ranjit Singh, the last Sikh ruler of Punjab before it was annexed by the British.


Friends,welcome here as always!
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Tuesday, February 14, 2017

TRAVEL TALES AND TREATS






“Every man can transform the world from one of monotony and drabness to one of excitement and adventure.” – Irving Wallace



'BAHRI BEAUTIFUL COUNTRY'

              F is for  ' Future perfect'
Spotlessly clean and wide inner road overlooking the hills.

Traveling is  a treat. It feeds your wanderlust. It enables you to weave tales in your life experiences. It enriches your memory bank. It ennobles your consciousness to see the world as a pulsating entity. You amble about exploring new horizons, taking in surprising experiences. Your creative juices rejuvenate. Amazing ideas fuel your imagination. Excitement and childlike urge to enjoy takes over. Not only this, the natural beauty of the place, you choose to visit mesmerizes your senses. Your inner voice exclaims, “Oh, there is so much of grandeur and heavenly repose here. Is it of this world? Yes, it is here and now, but hidden from the world." Such experiences are the stuff of inspiring tales. For a few days, at least you forget the mundane monotony and rejoice in the bandwagon of delight and freedom.
 

“For my part, I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel’s sake. The great affair is to move.” – Robert Louis Stevenson



Many times, you plan a tour with some specific purpose. Other times you wish to move out of your comfort zone. You welcome a short period of continuous adaptability and challenges in new environs. Unexpected situations, you face in plenty. Sudden encounters replace the status quoits mindset.



Every travel experience carries a reservoir of new terrains. If you are capable of, you can share them with the world and spread joy through your narration.

.......


Another view of the stunning hills.

By the way, my outing this time had both elements. Some purpose and a desire to leave home for some days and come back with renewed energy. My destination after due recce on the net zeroedin on a place called ‘BAHRI BEAUTIFUL COUNTRY’ in TAMIL NADU. It is one of the large states of Southern India. The particular place stands about 95 KM from the temple town Madurai.
 
Here the purpose was to find a retirement community, where the weather is wholesome throughout the year. We desired  a  place of peace and tranquility, far from the maddening bustle of urban life. An escape, from the extreme weather conditions of our home state Punjab.



A landscaped area (the work is only in the initial stages yet.)

My boyfriend/ dearest hubby and I reached this beautiful place late one night. Next morning opened large vistas of beatitude all around us. It came out to be a retirement community with a difference. Marvelous as it is, it also happens to be the only one in India of its kind. Nestled in the foothills, with its vast open spaces, wide roads and breezy climate, it is a paradise of sorts. Panoramic view of the hills on three sides is breathtaking. Coconut and banana plantations charm in their stately presence. It is like a dreamland.

The boulevard like  magnificence of the entry point.


The sun rise looks like a magic so near. Photo capture from the front verandah of our unit.( not visible here.)
Another inner road with cute looking villas on both sides.

My photographs of this place express the splendor, no words can do. Pl. click on the pics to see the larger view.



Friends,welcome here as always!

To be continued:


Linking to:
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 Nature Notes 
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Tuesday, January 24, 2017

COLD AND WINTER ARE SYNONYMOUS







We in North India are in the grip of severe cold. January is the worst month and feels the longest. It meanders. Fogs and mists have become our uninvited friends. They keep clinging to us. We wish them good-bye all the time and eagerly wait for their departure. Sun has acquired the propensity of being elusive. Some days it does not show at all. Those days are the gloomiest. Sometimes all at once, the sun wriggles out of the smog by late morning or by afternoon. A sigh of relief and joy takes over. I dash outside with something to read while basking in the glory of the golden sunshine. I sit at a point where there is no wind and let the sunshine penetrate into my body unhindered. How happy you feel when for a few hours at least you take off your layers of clothes. You bare part of your body to sun's invigorating rays. Such days are heavenly.

Otherwise, on sunless days you keep snuggling in your quilt the whole day. You get up only for cooking, eating or for some unputdownable chores. If you are at the computer as I‘m now you need a room heater near your legs to prevent them from getting stony cold.

For the  poor and daily wage earners winter is tough and brings misery. Authorities in all states of India keep building night shelters for the homeless and the deprived.

Yet winter has its plus points. It is great in many ways. For one there is so much variety in fresh vegetables available in stores. Street vendors ply their carts loaded with veggies and make rounds of the area all the time.

image google
Winter is the time to savor goodies and special dishes, which are only prepared in cold months. Breakfasts are incomplete without radish stuffed paranthas. Sweet carrot dish cooked in cream is always mouthwatering. Bars of sesame seeds and groundnuts prepared with jaggery are everyone’s favorite snacks. Freshly roasted whole groundnuts are available in plenty. Vendors on the roadsides pop corns in your presence making you enjoy the warm crunchiness. Moreover, delicious sweets, in eye-catching arrangements, adorn the counters of sweet shops. Yet who can dare ignore the special winter dish of sag eaten with makki di roti and dollops of fresh butter? Nothing can beat it in nutrition as well as taste.

Such are the joys of winter that small discomforts don’t matter. 

Linking to:
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 Friends,welcome here as always!



Saturday, January 14, 2017

14TH JANUARY, 2001






  “Mother’s love is bliss, is peace, it need not be acquired, it need not be deserved. If it is there, it is like a blessing; if it is not there it is as if all the beauty had gone out of life.” —Erich Fromm



Through this painting, I try to visualize mother spinning cotton yarn in the company of her youthful friends.

MAKAR SANKRANTI 14th January 2017


REMEMBERING  DEAR MOTHER


It was the sacred day of Makar Sankranti - the 14th January 2001. My dear mother chose  this pious day to leave for her permanent abode. Unforgettable day it was. It will stay in my memory for the rest of my life. It was tragic too because I failed to reach on time to see her beautiful face for the last time. Her frail body was consigned to flames on the funeral pyre without me. I had been feeling traumatized since then. Guilt feeling has taken root in my subconscious. Off and on a sudden trigger point brings alive the memories of that day. “Why did nature will this for me?” The question bothers me to no end. Mother was like a lighthouse and loved me so much. Then, why, when she left the world, her daughter was not there to bid her final adieu. The tears meant for her had remained unshed. Got stuck somewhere in spite of the irreparable personal loss.

Mother was a devout soul and a giving person. She was fearless, truthful, full of piety and honest to the core. Her wise counsels were always forthcoming to help anybody tide over tough situations. Whenever I took something for her, her response was always the same. “Why did you bring it? I’ve enough of everything.” I wonder why she was so selfless and undemanding. The word lack was never a part of her mental makeup. Her management skills were such that there was always a feeling of plenty in our household.

She did face many trying circumstances in her life, though. As a young bride, she had to live with her in laws who obstructed her integration into the family. They didn’t allow my army man father to take her along with him. They did everything to prevent my father from being attracted towards her. She bore this and other umpteen unpleasant situations with fortitude and remained steadfast.

Later on in life when my father left the army, he collaborated with a friend, and bought farmland in U.P.  Alone with us children, she looked after us diligently and could manage the household like a pro. I don’t remember her ever complaining.

Throughout her life, she remained a Karm yogi in the real sense of the term. She had been an accomplished woman in many spheres. An excellent cook, she would prepare the most delicious sweets on Diwali and other family occasions. Flax-seed pinnis in winter were our favorite and her expertise in it was inimitable. She would design our dresses when we were young. She had woven designer KHES (thick cotton sheets) and Durries in her parents’ house for her dowry. And the yarn for that she would make after spinning cotton, (which my Nana cultivated in his large farm) on the CHAKHA. During her lifetime, she kept gifting that precious handmade stuff to all her children. These remain my priceless possessions,
cementing a permanent bond with her.  My Nana (maternal grandfather) had installed a loom in his house. He hired a village woman to teach his three daughters weaving skills. My mother was perfect in that too.

She was a great raconteur. She was well versed with the popular tales from the scriptures. She had listened to them through wandering groups of singers in her village when she was young. Often when she had time on her hands she would regale us by narrating those stories and enjoyed the task herself too.

Mother was my staunch well-wisher. She glowed with joy whenever I visited her after my marriage. There was always a sweet dish waiting for us at home. The purity of her unconditional love, which I took for granted, I would ever yearn for. Time’s scythe doesn’t spare anyone.

Her position of an anchor in my life is permanent. In time of need I only have to seek her in my mind and forthwith receive all the answers.

The pain in my heart of her absence is a constant. Yet I know where ever she is, she is in peace and showers her blessings on me.


Her brief illness was the outcome of a fall, which fractured her femur bone and incapacitated her completely. The doctors did not operate upon her because of her fragile bones. Lying down, eating little took its toll. Within two months, she lost her vitality and  resilient spirit. She went away peacefully in the sacred dawn of Maghi.

Whenever I happen to gaze at her picture hung on my bedroom wall, tears trickle down my cheeks. And my heart aches for her.

Friends,welcome here as always! 

Linking to:
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Tuesday, January 3, 2017

VISITING MONUMENTS


       NEW YEAR GREETINGS TO ALL OF YOU DEAR FRIENDS!!!



1.Visiting monuments is always an entirely wondrous new experience.There is always a slice of history associated with them, which makes one nostalgic about the past historical events,which played a crucial role in shaping world history. In the recent past I chanced upon to visit 'INDIA GATE'   at New Delhi and was mesmerized by the 42 meter high  architecturally imposing structure, in the midst of vast open spaces around. 'INDIA GATE' "commemorates the 70000 Indian soldiers martyred fighting for the British army in the first World War."
Another memorial 'AMAR JAWAN JYOTI' was added under its ARCH after independence. It commemorates the  soldiers who laid down their lives in the Indo- Pak war of 1971. It is a befitting tribute to the unknown  soldiers who valiantly fought the enemy to safeguard the territorial integrity of their motherland.
During holidays and weekends large crowds throng here to admire its dignified and amazing monumental presence.





INDIA GATE ABOVE AND BELOW





Leisurely crowds enjoying the beautiful ambiance beyond the Gate.





Open space  around the monument filled with visitors even on a working day.

...........




2.Visiting TAJ MAHAL at AGRA, one of the seven wonders of the world and one amongst the UNESCO world heritage sites, was an unforgettable experience. It required  some zeal and a creative urge to explore and expand your mental horizon. I'd somehow mustered up that before embarking on this short outing.
Taj Mahal symbolizes in a unique way, eternal love of Mogul emperor Shah Jehan for his beloved queen Mumtaj Mahal. It is an ivory white marble mausoleum built on the south bank of 'Yamuna' river. On the other three sides there are artfully structured gates made of red sandstone. The Taj Mahal has been inlaid with precious and semi precious gems depicting natural scenes. Quranic verses are also inscribed on the walls.


This gate (below)  is right in front of the Taj Mahal.


























(Below) Captured the awesomeness of mist wrapped Taj from inside the above gate through the arch.
When for the first time my eyes glimpsed the Taj from this gate, it's like dreaming with open eyes. It is well- nigh impossible to describe the  spell like effect. It doesn't even look real. There seems to be veil of mystery enfolded in the layers of  its very being. It is incomparable in its aesthetics and eerie visual  charm.




The Taj Mahal (below) with its indescribable mystical grace, grandeur and perfect symmetry stands as a masterpiece and 'jewel of  Muslim' architecture  fashioned by the unwavering perseverance and incessant toil of innumerable master craftsmen. Many renowned personalities have commented on the mystical magic of the TAJ MAHAL. The poet laureate Rabindra Nath Tagore remarked, it is a "teardrop on the cheek of time."



Below some snapshots of the visit :

Outside hotel 'Radisson Blue' Agra, smiling tongawalas ready to give a joy ride while ferrying  tourists to the Taj Mahal.This couple and their daughter happily posed for the shot.






A folk artist displaying his handmade crafts in the shopping arcade of the Hotel.

His puppets eagerly waiting for some one to watch their performance in the corridor of the shopping arcade.


The boat shaped sofa in the lobby of the Hotel.


Here is the guitar shaped, type of settee, in the lobby of the Hotel.


Friends,welcome here as always!

Linking to:
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Tuesday, December 6, 2016

NATURE'S INCOMPARABLE WONDERS



Indian Bloggers




 “God will reward you,' he said. 'You must be an angel since you care for flowers.”
Victor Hugo


Flowers symbolize 'VERISIMILITUDE' of: innocence, cheer, joy, beauty, elegance, openness and genuineness....

V is for VERISIMILITUDE


These are hearty smiles!!!


This beauty (chrysanthemum)  stole my heart away. Was sighted at the entrance of a hotel in New Delhi.


Soft lemon colored marigold seems to be a picture of serenity.


Chrysanthemums are blooming in our backyards.


Potted marigold in full splendor.....


Linking to:
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