All posts by bienumv

Love to read, write, travel and talking to self & people!

Dadi Ki Rasoi…Sabke Man Bhaayi!!

It is very rare that I listen to BIG FM 92.7 on a Saturday, and it is equally rare that I don’t listen to BIG FM 92.7 on a Sunday. This Saturday turned out to be truly special in more ways than one, but about rest of the things later…

I heard RJ Richa Anirudh talking about “Dadi-Ki-Rasoi” from Noida in her program Zindagi with Richa. She mentioned that she travelled to NOIDA to bring in a first-hand account of this unique initiative by social activist Mr Anoop Khanna. Her inimitable style of reporting and interaction with Mr Khanna generated my interest in the program, and in a rare move, I left all work and sat near the radio for the program.

Noida based social activist, Anoop Khanna along with a group of like-minded people have started ‘Dadi ki Rasoi’ with an aim to provide a meal at the lowest possible amount, which is priced at Rs. 5 only. He is feeding nearly 400-500 persons from his stall located in Ganga Shopping Complex, Sector – 17, Noida. Getting quality meal cooked with Desi Ghee comprising of Dal cooked with all vegetables and Basmati rice, is really a delicious fare. His aim is to provide home – cooked quality meal. “We wanted to provide quality food, which gives you a homely feel. We could have attempted to provide the food for free as well but the reason for the price is that it gives dignity to a person who is buying the lunch. As far as the quality of food is concerned, I personally supervise over the preparation. Moreover, since the cost is minimal, anyone can enjoy a meal without worrying about the cost,” Khanna says.

He gives full credit to his team of volunteers and philanthropes who provide him dal, rice, ghee and vegetables on highly subsidised rates willingly and regularly and make a contribution to this unique initiative. People of the area have taken this initiative sportingly and celebrate their special occasions like birthdays and marriage anniversaries and joyfully add to the menu like Paneer – Rice/ Rajma Chawal/ fruits/ cakes/ sweets etc. This way people are very happy eating at Dadi – Ki-Rasoi. This gives him immense satisfaction when he sees happy faces of his visitors. His mother encourages him for this initiative and his children advised him to name it “Dadi-Ki-Rasoi” as proposal came from her.

Not only this, he gives a choice of second-hand clothes for a price of Rs. 10/- to whosoever wants it. People from all over bring dry cleaned and neatly packed clothes to his store from where he dispenses subsidised medicines for needy.

Son of a freedom fighter, 57-year-old Khanna has spent more than Rs 30,000 in setting up the kitchen, which is a one-time investment and the raw material for the lunch costs him around Rs. 2500 a day.

Khanna shares that residents’ support has been encouraging as many have come forward to donate for the initiative. On a regular basis, many residents even sponsor a special meal in case there is a celebration in their house.

“One thing I have realised is that there are people who want to support a cause, given if it actually serves a purpose. So whenever there is a birthday celebration or marriage anniversary, residents come and sponsor a special meal that day.” Khanna says.

Khanna now pledges to continue with the initiative for the rest of his life and is now even encouraging more and more residents in various sectors to set up such stalls in their area.

“It is not so difficult. It only takes a will of a person to start something like this. I have started getting requests from the residents to help them start something like this in their locality as well, so I have asked them to spend some time at my outlet just to have an idea about the functioning and challenges we face,” he adds.

Truly a real-life hero! Don’t miss when you are in the area.

watch Richa Anirudh with Mr Khanna at Dadi-ki-Rasoi.

Maharashtra Tourism and Airbnb celebrate one-year milestone of partnership

Shri Jaykumar Rawal, Hon’ble Minister of Tourism Government of Maharashtra:  “Tourism is not only a source of revenue for the state but is also a key source of growth for local communities.” 

He was speaking on the occasion of the celebration of one-year milestone partnership of Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC) with Airbnb and the launch of Tourism Entrepreneurship Accelerator Programme in the state to boost the tourism prospects.

The program aims to drive economic growth in local Maharashtra communities by helping micro-entrepreneurs in hospitality sector grow their business through four key pillars of support- Training, Enabling, Access and Promotion.

The program would be launched first in Elephanta village where MTDC and Airbnb will associate with Gram Panchayat and identify 35 homes and get aligned with Airbnb standards. Hosts of these homes would be the first set of entrepreneurs benefitting from this program.

Shri Jaykumar Rawal, Hon’ble Minister of Tourism Government of Maharashtra, added, “In Airbnb, we have found a global partner whose vision to create skilled micro-entrepreneurs in hospitality and homestay ecosystem to further expand Maharashtra’s tourism potential. We are pleased to expand our partnership with Airbnb with the launch of the Tourism Entrepreneurship Accelerator Programme, which will help mentor and support budding entrepreneurs in in hospitality sector and build a strong homestay network across key destinations. This is the first-of-its-kind tourism initiative in India where the Government has used the revenue shared by a partner to create a program to benefit various underprivileged communities in the State. With new innovative initiatives like this one, together with Airbnb, we aim to attract a larger global audience and exponentially boost tourism in Maharashtra,”

Commenting on the occasion, Shri. V.K. Gautam, Principal Secretary, Department of Tourism and Culture, Government of Maharashtra, said, “Through the Accelerator Programme, Maharashtra Tourism and Airbnb aim to create a homestay ecosystem in Elephanta and create at least one hospitality micro-entrepreneur in every village across Sindhudurg, Ratnagiri and Palghar. In year one, we target to create and nurture 1500 tourism and hospitality entrepreneurs. This will motivate tourism and open up new destinations and unique experiences for travellers.”

“Airbnb’s commitment to create 50,000 hospitality micro-entrepreneurs in India. The launch of the Accelerator Programme is a major step towards realizing our commitment and Maharashtra is our lead partner in creating a progressive, sustainable tourism ecosystem in India,” said Mr Chris Lehane, Global Head of Policy and Communications, Airbnb. Lehane added, “Airbnb has always been committed to building a more inclusive tourism sector across the world and no more so than in emerging markets like India. Enabling and empowering all communities, including those that may have not previously benefited from tourism is integral to inclusive tourism. We are therefore excited about the launch of the Tourism Entrepreneurship Accelerator Program to mentor budding hospitality micro-entrepreneurs in underserved communities.”

Last year, Brian Chesky, CEO and Co-Founder of Airbnb, in his meeting with the Honourable Prime Minister, had shared, “Through our partnership signed last year, Airbnb and Maharashtra Tourism have worked together to train hundreds of micro-entrepreneurs across key tourism districts.” 

Mr. Amanpreet Bajaj, Country Head, Airbnb India, said: “We’re thrilled to today announce the expansion of this partnership through the Tourism Entrepreneurship Accelerator Programme and continue to play a role in supporting healthy, sustainable tourism in Maharashtra.”

Key elements of the Programme include:

○ Training: Airbnb will create a comprehensive training toolkit which will be used by Maharashtra Tourism to identify quality destinations, homes and entrepreneurs, as well as by Airbnb to train selected entrepreneurs on technology, hospitality, financing, regulations and promotion.

Enabling: Airbnb has been sharing a portion of its earnings in Maharashtra with Maharashtra Tourism towards tourism development in the State. Besides, using this fund as the program’s foundation, Maharashtra Tourism will connect trained entrepreneurs with existing government programs for additional funds.

Access: Airbnb and Maharashtra Tourism will connect selected entrepreneurs with local partners to offer them access to technology, address language barriers and provide mentorship support. Airbnb’s co-hosting model has the potential to help village youths or community-based organizations with smartphones and better language skills become partners to micro-entrepreneurs with quality homes.

Promotion: Once entrepreneurs are ready to host travellers, Airbnb will partner with content creators to promote the homes to tourists around the world. Maharashtra Tourism will also use its promotional platforms to support the entrepreneurs.

Maharashtra is one of the most popular tourist destinations in India offering a diverse range of experiences from pristine beaches, wildlife sanctuaries, hill stations, natural caves, waterfalls, to imposing forts, colourful festivals, ancient pilgrimage shrines, museums, and historical monuments. For further details, please visit: http://www.maharashtratourism.gov.in/

Founded in 2008, Airbnb is a global travel community that offers magical end-to-end trips, including where you stay, what you do and the people you meet. Airbnb uniquely leverages technology to economically empower millions of people around the world to unlock and monetize their spaces, passions and talents to become hospitality entrepreneurs.

 

World Environment Day celebrated “Bisleri” Style!

Bisleri Launches a Plastic Recycling initiative “Bottles for Change”

 The initiative aims at educating and changing the behaviour of citizens on efficient disposal and recycling of plastic.

Apart from Bisleri’s mission to ensure access to safe drinking water for every Indian, they also make a conscious effort to keep our environment safe and healthy. It is our endeavour to give back to the environment and the community at large.

This World environment day, Bisleri hosted a press conference to launch “BOTTLES FOR CHANGE”, a Plastic Recycling initiative that focuses on efficient disposal and recycling of plastic. The idea is to create a positive impact on the environment, ensure that it is sustainable and emphasize on the fact that plastic is a versatile material, has an afterlife and can be recycled to make many products like: Furniture (benches, chair), apparels, home decors, accessories and bags etc.

Anjana-Ghosh-Ramesh-Chauhan-Aaditya Thackeray-Ramdas-Kadam

Addressing the audience and media, Mr Aaditya Thackeray, President – Yuva Sena, who has been associated with the cause of #SayNoToPlastic and ban of plastic from our day-today-life, said: There is a need to bring behavioural change in public where we should learn efficient disposal of plastic for the purpose of recycling. Plastic is more harmful to the planet and its people than any other thing, it is important that we pay attention to global warming and reduce the carbon footprint for the green and clean earth. The future needs to be plastic free and in this initiative, Bisleri is playing an instrumental role in bringing up “Bottles for Change”.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Ramdas Kadam, Environment Minister, Govt. of Maharashtra said: Environment is everybody’s responsibility. We need to bring in behavioural change towards treating waste particularly plastic and Bottles for Change by Bisleri is a great initiative by Bisleri.

Mr Ramesh Chauhan, Chairman & MD, Bisleri International Pvt. Ltd., launched the initiative by presenting ‘Bottles for Change Kit’ that includes Plastic collection bags, Bottles for change branded Jackets, Caps, posters and other communication material, to the three partnered NGO’s in the initiative.

For this initiative, Bisleri has partnered with 3 NGOs (Parisar Bhagini Vikas Sangh, Sampurna Earth & Garbage Concern Welfare Society) who are associated with the members of “Bottles for Change”  across Mumbai to work towards changing behaviour of the communities in valuing plastic as an effective resource. Users of plastic have to simply crush, clean and keep the plastic separate. The members of “Bottles for Change”  will pick it up at scheduled days and will take it to their segregation centre. Together with the NGO’s, Bisleri is conducting plastic collection and educational drives for communities, corporates, schools, colleges, and other institutions.

Bottles for Change focus to create a system where the members of “Bottles for Change”  pick up plastic from source, segregate it and sell it to the recyclers. The plastic collected & sold is clean and fetches almost 2x more value leading to the upliftment of the lives of members of “Bottles for Change”  and their children.

Highlights of BOTTLES FOR CHANGE initiative:

  • The program aims to address the plastic issue in a very strategic manner to spread awareness about plastic being a miraculous material that can be recycled multiple times; thereby bringing a behaviour change amongst individuals, ensuring they clean, segregate and dispose plastic effectively which is then recycled and have a sustainable impact on the environment
  • The program helps members of “Bottles for Change” to collect large amounts of clean plastic each time, fetching them with the good income that also helps in leading them to a respectable life and support to educate their children
  • 24 wards of Mumbai and parts of Navi Mumbai and Thane will be covered by the members of “Bottles for Change”, ensuring effective execution
  • Special collection Vehicles, Collection Bins, Toll-free No., Website and a hygiene kit for members of “Bottles for Change” shall be provided by Bisleri Management

Impact of Bottles for Change Programme:

  • 3800 Tonnes of Plastic Recycled
  • 3,00,000 Students Reached
  • 15,00,000 Citizens Reached
  • Lives of 2000+ members of “Bottles for Change” Uplifted
  • 100+ Corporates Engaged

Bisleri is the most trusted choice for mineral water for the past 50 years. Bisleri has witnessed this successful growth under the leadership of the visionary chairman and managing director, Mr. Ramesh Chauhan. Bisleri has always felt responsible towards the society and Mother Earth, and hence various activities are initiated on regular basis to help preserve the environment.

 

Quick getaway places in Maharashtra to beat the heat this summer

Nestled in the tranquil mountains of Sahyadri range and the Western Ghats, Maharashtra is home to several hill stations with pristine natural beauty and peaceful surrounding. These hill stations are quick getaway destinations from the hustle and bustle of the city which allow the travellers to enjoy the fresh air that refreshes mind, body and soul. Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation brings the coolest places for this summer vacation to enjoy the scenic beauty.

Mahabaleshwar

Zigzag roads, gushing cool breeze, vantage points with spectacular valley and buzzing flea market is the reason why one must visit Mahabaleshwar. One of the many highpoints of going to this place is to visit the strawberry ranches in and around the beautiful hill station.

Mahabaleshwar

How to get there

By Air: The nearest airport to Mahabaleshwar is Pune airport. The airport is well-connected to major cities in India.

By Rail: The nearby railway network is Satara, which is around 55 km away while the major railway junction is at Pune, 120 km

By Road: Many state transport buses go to Mahabaleshwar or one can also opt for private transport

Things to do and see:   

  • For the adrenaline rush, one can enjoy horse riding. For first-timers, this might be a bit of a task but it can certainly add a little adventure to their trip
  • Pratapgad Fort is just 22 kilometres from Mahabaleshwar and is positioned 1,080 meters above sea level, overlooking the road between the villages of Par and Kinesvar
  • Elephant’s Head Point is one of the finest points where the overhanging cliffs look like an elephant’s head and trunk
  • Mahabaleshwar Temple, a prominent landmark for tourists, has Lord Shiva as its deity

Where to stay:

MTDC Resorts in Mahabaleshwar offers a comfortable stay overlooking nature’s beauty.

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 Matheran

Extremely popular for its stunning views of the Western Sahyadris, Matheran is a hill station just about 100 km from Mumbai. Its proximity to the city makes it one of the most frequented holiday getaways for Mumbaikars. The climate is always pleasing, allowing a bunch of activities suitable for all age groups. Indeed, one of the best places for a stress-free vacation!

How to get there

By Air: Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport Mumbai which is at a distance of around 100 km from Matheran is the nearest airport

By Rail: Matheran railway station is linked to most major cities and it is also connected with Mumbai and Pune railway junctions. Tourist can step down at Neral to head towards Matheran.

By Road: Mumbai and Pune are connected to Matheran through the Mumbai Pune Expressway

Things to do and see:

  • One can experience a majestic view of the sunrise at the Panorama Point in Matheran
  • Enjoy a remarkable view of the city and the remains of Prabal and Vishalgad Fort
  • Matheran is home to a diverse species of monkeys and langurs
  • Rambagh point is one of the most prominent picnic spots, offering a remarkable view of Karjat and Khandal

Where to stay:

MTDC Resorts in Matheran is located amidst lush green hills and valleys which offers a relaxed stay.

A Selfie a DAY, keeps memories AFLOAT, MOBIISTAR, leads the way!!

I don’t remember how and when I became SELFIE buff, so much so that I want to capture at least 4-5 special moments a week, be it with family, friends, office colleagues, occasion, non-occasion, or just clicking myself sipping morning tea. I have always believed in preserving memories, however mundane they seem now, but believe me few years down the line, they merit becoming special memories. The addiction rather fascination for selfies has been thickened by my colleague Bhagyashree and daughter Tanya. We love to take selfies at the slightest pretext, no excuse needed, unabashedly, we take selfies when we are out when we are dressed up colour coordinated in office, gone out for simple lunch, birthday celebrations, travelling, not travelling, meetings, conferences…office functions, where not! I think they have become an integral part of our lives, they are our mirror image.

All selfies are special for me; some are very special but the one I am going to talk about is truly special.

The selfie was taken by my daughter Tanya’s class group, UPES, Dehradun where she is studying Design. The youngsters represent starry-eyed Designers of India, who want to paint the world with their thoughts, colours, designs and patterns. The smiling faces have dreams in their eyes and ambitions in their heart to make it big in life. All look chilled, relaxed and happy amidst themselves and dressed smartly. The Selfie speaks a million dreams that India is cherishing through the eyes of these youngsters. Today, academics is their life, tomorrow profession will be their lives…making India proud with their designs. India – the country of colours, designs, vibrancy owes a lot to these budding designers who are here to make a difference to India’s canvass of future. 

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The collage of selfies featuring above have been taken over a period of time, capturing various moments during work, after work, outings, conferences, meetings with colleagues Bhagyashree, Reena, Veena, Prabha Madhulika, Charmi, Fatima – part of one big family. We never let go any chance of clicking a selfie or getting clicked in a selfie.

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SUPERFINE SELFIE STAR – MOBIISTAR 

Now, I need a higher version and better phone to enable me to capture selfies, here & there, everywhere. Mobiistar looks like one phone which will remove hiccups from my selfie sprees which have a viewing angle of 120 degrees. It allows you to obtain a broader capture of your photo or video thanks to its sensor of 120 degrees, which makes more people enter a selfie or a group selfie and more elements when you shoot landscapes. It’s like you have a GoPro-type camera, but without that fish-eye effect. Mobiistar has done very well bringing features that, in many high-end phones, have not yet been able to see. The shots will leave good detail and above all black and white photos without equal in the market. Smartphone users expect better and better photographic experiences, especially in their selfies.

The Vietnamese handset brand Mobiistar is set to enter the Indian smartphone market soon and has decided to make India its global headquarters to run operations in other countries. Considering that 4G feature phone happened in India, and 4G is growing fast, this is the market where all the major things in the mobile industry are happening in India.

Flipkart has entered into an online exclusive partnership with brand Mobiistar to bring its devices to India, targeting the mid-segment device market. The Indian online retail giant says it is the right time to push feature phone users to upgrade to low-cost smartphones as the piece of low-cost data and availability of online content is finally fixed.

Henceforth Selfies with #mobiistar.

I am participating in the IndiBlogger  #Enjoymore Contest:  A selfie a day keeps forgetfulness away.

I am ready to order #Mobiistar on #Flipkart.

CTB MUSAFIR – Features 29 Women Travel Bloggers

MUSAFIR – Featuring 29 Travel Bloggers – Women only, brought to us by NIRVANA FOUNDATION – Initiative of Founder – Mr Mangesh Lad.

Tag Line: every mile a memory

29 Bloggers from all over India feature in the Coffee Table Book after a lot of research and screening of the blog posts which could be part of this Coffee Table Book, aimed at foreign tourists to encourage them to visit Indian destinations, known, unknown, unheard of. The objective of the book is to present India through the eyes and pen oops mouse of travel bloggers who have explored these destinations, spent time there and wrote about them, not some fictional account of the places. With this thought process, the book began…

As India endows cultural unity & diversity, histories of places & people, diversity of seasons & vegetation, genetics, cuisine, customs, religions, festivals, social attitudes, language and literature, music and arts, in no other way it could have been possible to feature it all in one book. Nirvana Foundation wanted to come up with a book through which they can present absolute India with the remotest villages, waterfalls, peaks, temples, adventures being detailed beautifully and travelled meticulously.

Speaking about the CTB Musafir, Mr Mangesh Lad expressed, “This book says something which is truly special about India, its unity & diversity, seasons & vegetations, cuisines & customs…

…the book has the same essence that will take you through the distinct and equally evolved, ethnicity and adventure that our country is blessed with.” 

Every blogger is different; every journey is different – bound by the same passion for travelling & writing. The Bloggers feature purely on the merit of their blog posts who are from divergence backgrounds like some are working professionals, writers, homemakers, students and from all walks of Life.

I Bienu Verma Vaghela feature in the book with my travel stories on Rann of Kutch, Sabarmati Ashram, Mandavi Beach, Road trip to Indo-Pak Border and Shakti Sthal in New Delhi. My travel blog is www.travel-knots.com with 500 posts, nearly 70,000 views and 35,000 visits. My interview appeared in American web magazine – Sprangled.com. I have covered many Malaysian destinations on special invitation of Malaysia Tourism, besides many countries and Indian destinations.

Some bloggers prominently featured are: Anjali Sethi Joshi ( www.travelrasoi.com) Bienu Verma Vaghela (www.travel-knots.com), Deepanwita Chakraborty ( www.dipanwita.com), Srilata Suman ( www.cloudninemiles.com) Manjulika Pramod ( www.manjulikapramod.com) Vidya Suri ( www.vidyasuri.com) Shoma Abhyankar ( www.astonishingindia.com) Hitha Nanjappa ( www.thelostlander.wordpress.com) Deena Pinto ( www.skinnygirldierez.com) and the likes.

The 260 Page book is a compilation of Travel Blog Posts from the archives of travel bloggers. The book takes you through destinations across India right from Kashmir to Kanyakumari, many rare destinations from far-flung even near inhabited places.

The book witnessed high – profile launch at Hotel Orchid Mumbai on April 29, 2018 where Mr Mangesh Lad spoke about his latest initiative Ab Ek Goonj, many celebrities and almost all bloggers featured in the CTB attended the launch. An interesting panel discussion was also held amidst travel bloggers during the launch.

Please wait for the new & brilliant initiative of Nirvana Foundation, helmed by Mr Mangesh Lad – Ab Ek Goonj. More power to WOMEN!

 

 

This summer head to ND’s Film World, near Mumbai

ND’s Film World, first of its kind Bollywood theme park in Karjat (64 Kms. from Mumbai), offers visitors a platform to fulfil their filmy dreams and much more. Visitors can explore their favourite film characters and sets of super-hit films like Jodha Akbar, Prem Ratan Dhan Payo, Jail, Indu Sarkar and many more. Everything is larger than life here and India’ first Bollywood theme park very well lives up to the tag line: Jeelo Apni Filmy Khwahishein. Not only that, visitors can also dress like their favourite Bollywood stars and there is a 20 percent discount on the entry fee from Monday to Wednesday.

ND Art World Pvt Limited was started in 2002 by the veteran art director Shri. Nitin Chandrakant Desai to create a foothold in the entertainment industry. Shri. Desai started his career as an art director with Tamas and then moved on to the big screen. He worked on a variety of films winning many national awards for his early works. In 2005, he started ND, a film and television production studio, in Karjat. At ND Studios, he has created a place where there are no restrictions for art to flourish. The studio offers a unique proposition as it provides services for all stages of Film production, from the initial stage of storyboarding to the final stage of VFX.

As Nitin Desai started out as a production designer, he believes in giving attention to every detail of his design, in a similar way he believes that every production-taking place in ND Studios should have minute attention to detail and he wants to guide artists to make the film that they want to make. ND’s Art World has the vision to intersect tourism, media and entertainment industry through India’s first and only entertainment theme park, which is just a few hours’ drive from Mumbai and Pune. This Park is the perfect getaway, which allows visitors to fulfil their filmy wishes and promote Bollywood tourism. You can visit:  http://www.nitindesaiartworld.com

ND’s Film World reservation number – 02192 273354.

When:  Monday to Wednesday (Summer offers), Timings –  10.00 AM to 7.00 PM

Take your children who have a creative streak in them.

Pracheen Hanuman Temple in Nayi Dilli!

We recently visited Pracheen Hanuman Mandir in Connaught Place after a gap of four years. However, I always make sure that I visit this unique temple, whenever I am in Delhi, but it doesn’t always happen. This time, the trip was planned in such a way that Hanuman Mandir visit must happen and it happened. Early morning trip to the temple is really divine experience and I was very happy being there after a gap of so many years.

I always give complete look at the main foyer of the temple which has massive silver plated doors, which are engraved with scenes of the epic Ramayana story. The foyer is ventilated with clerestory windows that are adorned with paintings of Hanuman in the cardinal directions depicting his four aspects. Below each Hanuman painting, the full text of Tulsidas’s Sundar Kand is inscribed on the marble tablets affixed on the walls. It is a great feeling to watch it all…

…I experienced some real nostalgic moments as soon as I entered the temple, which I use to visit many years ago while my stint at BHEL and Mummy use to join me every Tuesday morning to visit the temple. Praying at the temple, made us sail through many challenges in life like the untimely death of my father, and circumstances followed thereon. As everything passes away, so did the tough times but temple visits stayed with us.

It is my favourite religious destination and I miss that most in my life while living in Mumbai besides many other things like evenings in Connaught Place, Shopping in Sarojini Nagar, Dilli Haat, Dilli Chaat, Khadi Gramodyog Bhawan, Lodhi Gardens…my beautiful house in Mayur Vihar.  Life has to move on…though! As a ritual, I applied mehndi from the mandir’s mehndi waali and did some bangle shopping in the bangle bazaar in Mandir campus. The bangles sold there can only match the ones being sold in Jaipur’s manihari bazaar.

For the uninitiated, Hanuman Temple in Connaught Place, New Delhi, is an ancient (pracheen in Sanskrit) Hindu temple and is claimed to be one of the five temples of Mahabharata days in Delhi. The idol in the temple, devotionally worshipped as “Sri Hanuman Ji Maharaj” (Great Lord Hanuman), is that of Bala Hanuman namely, Hanuman as a child. The temple, which has a self-manifest idol of Hanuman, has an unusual feature fixed in the spire (Viman) in the form of a crescent moon (an Islamic symbol) instead of the Hindu symbol of Aum or Sun that is commonly seen in most Hindu temples. This became particularly important during the Mughal period corroborating this extraordinary depiction.

The Sanctum Sanctorum, which houses the Hanuman idol, is on the north wall on the right side of the entry foyer (pictured), with the idol facing the southern direction in a small bass Relief carving (pictured). Images of Radha and Krishna, a central triumvirate of Rama, Lakshmana and Sita are also installed to the right of the Hanuman idol on the same wall. As the idol of Hanuman faces the southern direction, devotees can discern only one eye of the idol. The idol depicts a Gada (mace or club) in the left hand with the right hand crossed across the chest showing veneration to the adjacent idol of Lord Rama, Lakshmana and Sita. A tapering crown adorns the idol, which has a sacred thread on the right shoulder and is clad in a fashioned dhoti. Hanuman. The height of the temple is reported to be 108 ft (32.9 m). The ceiling of the main mandap (hall or pavilion) depicts the epic story of Ramayana artistically painted.

Whenever you are in New Delhi next, don’t miss visiting this great abode of Hanumanji.

Source: Hanumantempledelhi.com

& the Baraat Beckons!

Coming back to where I had left on Arjun’s Wedding!

It was in a long time I was going to be part of a family baraat. The concept of baraat is not that strong in Mumbai as you are invited to the venue – Hall (Read: Hole by Gujaratis),  straight for the reception, hand over Cover ( Read: Shagan) and finally Jaman ( Banquets). Your visit to marriage is over.  But that is not the case in North India, we all love to be part of baraat, welcomed by Ladkiwalas, enjoy some good music, catch up with long lost relatives, have fun with friends, cousins…welcome bride to the mandap and then finally jaimaal.  Of course, baraat procession is to watch out for. You can dance your heart out, or if you can’t dance, you can watch people dancing!

After rocking sangeet, the day came for Baraat, for which all of us were quite excited. After ceremonious sehrabandi, Gurchari and temple visit, the baraat left for the venue in singing and dancing mode. The crowds danced like as if no one is watching to Bhangra beats, hip-hops wat not. Music was loud, but we all loved it. Arjun was looking every inch a Prince in the Chariot and Jijaji, handsome father of Prince ( So you understood who) and Vandana, proud mom of Dulha.

The bride looked resplendent in beautiful designer maroon velvet lehenga, complimenting the outfit of the groom and they made a breathtakingly handsome couple, much in love, they proceeded for the Jaimaal.

In between all this and more, we enjoyed sumptuous cuisine spread laid out by Leela Palace banquets.

Coming to fashion trends, heavily embroidered lehengas are in vogue mostly in pastel shades, teamed with just one heavy neckpiece. Tanvi, Arjun’s sister looked like a princess in her ivory, gold and dabka work lehenga with her doll Omairra in tow, probably in a designer one.

For me, Designer Yashi, suggested Lehenga for me for the first time for baraat, though I was quite apprehensive about her choice. But she convinced me and selected a teal colour raw silk lehenga with pure georgette dupatta, straight cut outfit. She styled, stitched and sent the Triveni Set for me, which I could not even try due to the paucity of time and watch yourself, how beautiful it complimented me.  Never before, I had received so many compliments on the choice.

Please watch the breathtakingly beautiful performances by Egyptian troupe put – up for the Saxena & Sharma family members.

Truly a memorable one!

 

To be or not to be in Arjun’s Marriage?

After a long time, my cousin Vandana broke the news of her son Arjun’s marriage, in the end, January 2018, which we have been keenly waiting. My joy knew no bounds about the news, as it offered meeting my maasis, maasas, maamas, maamis, naana, naanis, nieces, nephews, grand-children Omairra and a whole lot of my nanihaal side brethren, moreover another chance of visiting my hometown New Delhi

As February approached, in office the dates of Real-Estate Golden Pillar Awards were announced and lo and behold the date finalised was April 24. Though I had booked tickets for April 24 to attend Sangeet on April 25 and marriage on 26th April but my hopes really dashed with the awards dates. Still maintaining the eerie silence on the mental dilemma – to be or not to be in Arjun’s marriage took a heavy toll on my thinking. One side was official responsibilities and on other side was family commitment. I announced at home, it looks impossible but let’s hope against hope, some miracle to happen. And it really happened, after a lot of deliberations, dates got shifted to May 5. I took a breather and started preparations for THE marriage in my nanihaal – my nephew!

Before leaving, I tried to complete as much work as possible amidst preparations of marriage. Still, it was looking impossible to leave as a lot of work remained on my plate and I was discouraged no end by some quarters. But I must say that my teammates Bhagyashree, Reena and Fatima took all on them and made sure that I left for Delhi joyfully. The trip is dedicated to them and not to miss the mention of my colleague T.D. Joseph who made sure that I attend this marriage. Amidst all this and more, I left for Delhi in my favourite train Rajdhani Express…for rest you read below:

I would like to make special mention of TriveniEthnics’ Ms Yashi Kavita Das who took the onus of my styling for sangeet and baraat by selecting, designing, stitching and delivering me the appropriate outfits for this special occasion. It took off so much burden from my head. An off-white lehenga teamed with electric blue dupatta with sequins all over was decided for sangeet which turned out to be a big hit amidst ladies’ present. It looked sober and bright at the same time and I was successful in achieving that Chennai Express look. The outfit is so light that it provided me utmost comfort while dancing, even doing some major steps.

Now comes evening full of fun, frolic, music, dance and dining and winning. Vandana and Jijaji made sure that guests had a great time during their son’s sangeet. DJ belted out some great musical medleys, bhangra beats to new songs, old songs and some very old songs. Jijaji dancing for her wife, Vandana, Ae Meri Zohra Jabin…la Amrish Puri style made for quite a performance. Me Jijaji and Meeta Pandey dancing on Kajra re Kajra re tere kare kare naina followed by me and Meeta dancing Kaun Pardesi tera dil le gaya and Arjun taking the cake with his performance, Chandani o meri chandani ( Bride’s name Chandani). Dimpy and Rimpy matching the steps on heavy-duty bhangra beats and Raja with lovely wife putting up some heave duty dancing was a sight to watch out for. Music was great, food was sumptuous and enthusiasm of the family noticeable.

Amidst all this and more, we danced till 1 PM in the night only to prepare for some great fun in baraat following day, accompanied with my husband Mukund.