Tag Archives: New Delhi

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

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. 

 

 

 

 

Vijaydashmi, Dussehra, Dasara…Bhopal, Delhi, Mysore…Wherever!

I remember as a child I always use to go with my father to watch effigy burning at HEL’s Ramlila ground in Bhopal. We never missed the festival, till we lived in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, India. After diligently watching Ramlila for all nine days, not only watching but participating too, the days were truly special. When I visited the place in Bhopal, say after some thirty years…I was moved to tears witnessing the ruins of the place! What time does to people, cultures, places and even festivals? Lovely days of life left behind…

The festival has very special significance for all of us, all over India. The nine-day Navratri festival culminates into Dussehra with an effigy of Ravana burning all over along with Meghnad and Kumbhkaran. Indeed, it is a very special sight, all of us love to watch that…We loved the fire, the fireworks, crowds and finally the feeling…evil met its fate.

After moving to New Delhi, the tradition continued…I and papa started going to Ramlila Ground Dussehra (DCM Compound) and we got real special treatment there as my mausaji use to play Dashrathji in this Ramlila. This Dussehra was really magnanimous, the scale was really huge, effigies…very BIG! The humble Dussehra of Bhopal was nowhere close to this one, and I started loving it even more. But it was not for long…my visits for effigy burning stopped when papa left for higher realms!

When I got married some years later in a Gujarati family, Navratri celebrations took a complete 360-degree spin. It was all about dancing the night away on Garba beats which rekindled my love for dancing! No Ramlila, No Ravan…

Lo & behold…my first brush with Navratri celebrations was none other than today’s Dandiya Queen…Falguni Pathak who in her tom-boyish attire belted out Garba numbers one after another. So many people dressed in beautiful Chaniya Cholis and men in Kediyus (I didn’t even know what this attire was called) danced passionately and I too joined them, without knowing D for Dandiya or G for Garba. Just caught up with the beats and everybody welcomed me and even helped me with some steps.

It was truly some revelation for me as I had never seen any such thing before either in Delhi or in Lucknow. Since then, it became a ritual and my daughter Tanya to this practice to just another level by wearing nine new chaniya cholis for all nine days…dancing the nights away…Ghar nahin jaoingi main…those were the Navratri days…hope they are back again soon!

When I was young, I always use to tell my father, let’s go to Mysore to watch Dussehra as I knew it is celebrated in a very special manner there. But that was not to be…but I will certainly visit one day…to celebrate memories of my dear father.  The city of Mysuru has a long tradition of celebrating the Dasara festival with grandeur and pomp to mark the festival. The Dasara festival in Mysuru completed 400th anniversary in the year 2010, while evidence suggests the festivities were observed in Karnataka state by the Vijayanagara Empire kings in the 15th century.

The main attraction of the ten-day Mysore Dasara  festival is the Mysore Palace which is illuminated daily with nearly 100,000 light bulbs from 7 pm to 10 pm on all days of the festival. Various cultural and religious programs highlighting the dance, music and culture of the State of Karnataka are performed in front of the illuminated Palace.

But the high point of the celebration is the Vijayadashami procession which is held on the tenth day. You will see the idol of the Goddess kept in a golden howdah on top of a decorated elephant. This will be accompanied by the police, their bands, mounted guards all in royal livery, folk artists along with musicians. Starting at the decked-up Mysore Palace, the march continues all the way up to the Banni Mantapa grounds. Later in the evening, there is a torchlight procession and a gorgeous display of fireworks that marks the end of the celebrations.

Mysore…you never cease to fascinate…Dasara or not!

From Delhi to Agra in 100 minutes flat, courtesy: Gatimaan Express

Circa 2016, April 5: Marked a leap for the Indian Railways towards the high speed age, with the launch of the much-touted Gatimaan Express, fastest train in the country.

This news brought me faint memories of my ride in Shatabdi Express from Delhi to Agra some 25 odd years ago. As a youngster, I was super excited to ride Shatabdi Express all alone, on maiden solo journey to city of Taj Mahal. I boarded the train early morning enjoying the meals served by very courteous staff on board. Indeed it was quite a revelation to me after travelling in ancient Indian Railways which halted at every station and moved at their own pace. Owing to the no questions asked policy followed by Indian Railways which made it all the more depressing.  But Shatabdi was very close to boarding a flight, same look & feel, same service & same speed. Those were the times when Indians enjoyed train ride looking outside, and we got the glimpses of our real India, not through the click of Google!

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Times have really changed, when I read that on the maiden run of Gatimaan Express, passengers complained of non availability of Wi-Fi. I think this would have been a blessing in disguise when you enjoy India’s fastest train’s debut journey in all its splendor & glory, rather complain about it. At least I would have done that. But today people can’t survive without Wi-Fi for 100 seconds, what to say of 100 minutes journey. Where have we come and where are we going?

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Coming back to Gatimaan Express, I would love to take this journey of 100 minutes on my next trip to Delhi, but for the uninitiated, Delhi – Agra is very busy route as any Indian/ foreign tourist coming to Delhi has Agra on his iterinery. With Gatimaan provide Gati to this journey makes visit to the city of world famous Taj Mahal makes it even more special. The semi high-speed train, with a 5,400 horse power electric locomotive and top speed of 160 kmph, covers the nearly 200 km distance between Delhi’s Hazrat Nizamuddin railway station and Agra Cantonment station in exactly 100 minutes, as promised. It will operate six days a week, except on Friday. Gatimaan Express has had two successful train tests and is now known as India’s fastest train, surpassing New Delhi Habibganj Shatabdi Express, the former fastest train of India.

The train, painted in blue and grey with a streak of bright yellow in the middle, sputtered to a start but soon picked up speed as it crossed the Okhla railway station and from there on, completed its journey at a tearing speed, even as the 237 passengers on board settled down in their cushy seats of the spanking clean AC Chair Car coaches.

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For the passengers, the high points were the ever smiling train hosts and hostesses, who greeted them with flowers and chocolates. A sore point, however, was unavailability of free Wi-Fi services that railways had promised.

Interesting facts and figures about the Gatimaan Express:

  • Gatimaan Express is equipped with 5,400 HP electric locomotive and 12 modern coaches
  • Each coach costs around 2 to 2.5 crore and there will be two spare coaches besides the 12 regular coaches
  • The train will run at a maximum speed of about 160 km/hr and will cover a distance of around 200 kilometres in 100 minutes
  • The train will be equipped with eight inch LCD TVs, installed at the back of every seat
  • These screens will be powered by satellite and will broadcast live feed
  • The train has been installed with special features  such as sliding doors, automatic fire alarm, advanced passenger information system, emergency breaking system, etc
  • An Executive Class ticket will cost you Rs 1,365 and an AC chair car will cost you Rs 750
  • Train passengers will not only be ushered to their seats by train hostesses and offered roses but will also be given free access to multimedia content such as movies, news and cartoons during their journey to Agra
  • Since the fare will be 25 percent higher than Shatabdi Express, catering services in Gatiman Express will also be better. Passengers will be treated to whole-wheat upma, mini dosa, Kanjeevaram idli, fresh cut fruits, aloo kulcha, swiss roll, roasted dry fruits and chicken roll. Chicken sausages with Spanish egg white omelette and date walnut slice cakes will also be served in Bone China.

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Couldn’t have asked for more from Mr. Prabhu!

 

A DATE with New Delhi, Must read, Must view in all its glory!

Going to Delhi always excites me as it happens to be my home town, my  house at Mayur Vihar, my school at Tagore Garden and my College, Hindu College in Delhi University always bring fond memories of my time spent there.  I always use to tell my husband, Mukund and daughter Tanyaa who are true blue Mumbaikars and did not have the opportunity to visit Delhi with me in last so many years, what Delhi was like.

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I could read the expression of slight disbelief on their faces going by the media reports in the recent past about what Delhi has to offer now then what it was like to be in Delhi in eighties. Now when the opportunity came in the form of marriage of my nephew on April 21, I wasted no time in turning it into Delhi’s sightseeing trip, of course not without our share of enjoyment of marriage in Bhiwadi.

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The excitement was palpable; I was taking my family to my home town (transformed into home town for Metros) for the first time, after nearly 20 years of marriage…Tanyaa was very excited to visit the places where her mother had spent her childhood.

The bookings were done in Rajdhani Express and journey was itself an experience for them.  Train reached almost in time, and without wasting any time, we set out for shopping sojourn to Sarojini Nagar market. My daughter was delighted to see the stuff being sold there (all teenagers love Sarojini Nagar market) and was quite aghast at the fashionable chics there. She lambasted me and my mother for instructing her to dress conservatively while she is in Delhi, so, you can imagine her pain at not been able to match the pace with fashionable Delhiites.  

An evening spent at Dilli Haat

After shopping in Sarojini Nagar to her heart’s content, we moved to Delhi Haat situated opposite INA market which is home to all State Handicrafts interspersed with street plays, mehnediwalis, hairbraiders, food court, coffee cafe’s what not. To top it all, weather was very pleasing, cloudy and windy. After having great time there we moved on to Connaught Place – Rajiv Gandhi Chowk (honour of hosting biggest Indian flag at the centre point of Connaught Place). Tanyaa loved the lighting, the landscaping, the food, the shops…everything about Connaught Place. I did not want to miss the opportunity of visiting the swankiest Khadi Gramodyog  Bhawan which was part of college days shopping, Tanyaa loved the Khadi collection there, though she is a self-confessed fan of Colaba Causeway, Linking road and street –shopping in Bangkok.  I loved the fact that my daughter has great regards for cultural heritage of our country.

A visit to Qutub Minar

The day ended with our visit to famous Hanuman Temple in Connaught place which I use to visit very often as a child, as an adult.

A visit to Bahai temple in New Delhi

It was my long – cherished dream to visit the temple, in particular with my family, the wish was granted what if after long 19 years of wait.    

–         Bienu Verma Vaghela

Jantar Mantar, New Delhi readying for Make Over!

Indeed great news!

Recently came across a news item in Business Standard titled: On Again, Off Again which caught my fancy…Lo & Behold it turned out to be of interest to me. It mentioned about one of my favourite tourist destinations – Jantar Mantar, New Delhi, situated in the heart of India’s foremost shopping and commercial hub – Connaught Place, New Delhi. The news item read: The Archaeological Survey of India has given its nod for renovation of Jantar Mantar in New Delhi. The project which was slated to begin in 2007, will try to restore the fading marking on the astronomical instruments inside the observatory. These have been gradually destroyed with pedestrian movement and tourist activity in the area. It’s great news for all of us!

I could not resist providing my account of my recent visit to Jantar Mantar with my family in April this year. My daughter Tanyaa had special interest in visiting Jantar Mantar as she is the only one in the family to understand the astronomical signs and it evinced great interest in her. My husband Mukund was keener on visiting the place as he wanted to visit the place where AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal did all his dharnas. It was early morning trip to Jantar Mantar when sun was just rising and lawns looked lush green and awesome. We could feel that some of the astronomical signs had faded as compared to Jantar Mantar in Jaipur, surprisingly my daughter mentioned this to me.

 

So to begin with why it is called Jantar Mantar? Jantar means yantra (instruments) and Mantar means formulae. Actually both these words are from Sanskrit language. Jantar Mantar contains 13 architectural astronomy instruments. You would be aware that Maharaj Jai Singh was king of Jaipur and he has built total 5 monuments in India. Jantar Mantar is one of those Monuments of India which was built by Maharaj Jai Singh.

Maharaj Jaisingh noticed that present astronomical instruments are too small for taking accurate measurement. And because of this, he built very large and accurate instruments which are known as Jantar Mantar. In 1724 Jantar Mantar was constructed in stone and marbles. The Ram yantra, The samrat Yantra, Jayprakash yantra and The mishra yantras are the distinct instruments of Jantar Mantar.
There are three instruments within the observatory of Jantar Mantar in New Delhi: the Samrat Yantra, the Jayaprakash, and the Misra Yantra.
Samrat Yantra: The Samrat Yantra, or Supreme Instrument, is a giant triangle that is basically an equal hour sundial. It is 70 feet high, 114 feet long at the base, and 10 feet thick. It has a 128-foot-long (39 m) hypotenuse that is parallel to the Earth’s axis and points toward the North Pole. On either side of the triangle is a quadrant with graduations indicating hours, minutes, and seconds. At the time of the Samrat Yantra’s construction, sundials already existed, but the Samrat Yantra turned the basic sundial into a precision tool for measuring declination and other related coordinates of various heavenly bodies.

Jayaprakash Yantra: The Jayaprakash consists of hollowed out hemispheres with markings on their concave surfaces. Crosswires were stretched between points on their rim. From inside the Ram, an observer could align the position of a star with various markings or a window’s edge.

Misra Yantra: The Misra Yantra was designed as a tool to determine the shortest and longest days of the year. It could also be used to indicate the exact moment of noon in various cities and locations regardless of their distance from Delhi – quite remarkable! The Mishra yantras were able to indicate when it was noon in various cities all over the world and was the only structure in the observatory not invented by Jai Singh II.

This unique observatory was completed in 1724 and remained operational only for seven years. Astronomical observations were regularly made here and these observations were used for drawing up a new set of tables, later compiled as Zij Muhammad Shahi dedicated to the reigning monarch. Jai Singh named his observatory Jantar Mantar (actually Yantra Mantra, yantra for instrument and mantra for formula).

Spurred on by the completion of the first Jantar Mantar and with a view to verifying astronomical observations made at Delhi, Jai Singh built similar, if smaller observatories, at other important Indian cities-Jaipur, Varanasi, Ujjain, and Mathura.

The Jantar Mantar in Delhi is often projected in travel books, brochures, on postage stamps and was the logo of the 1982 Asian Games. The Jantar Mantar shows that the spirit of scientific enquiry was not dead in India and would have yielded rich results if only an opportunity had been given to it to fructify. The Jantar Mantar on the Parliament Street remains one of the most intriguing structures of the capital, one that explodes in a burst of questions in the mind of the inquisitive tourist.

Tourists can reach the Jantar Mantar in many ways. They can either take local buses from various points within the city to reach this monument, which is located in Connaught Place, the heart of the city, or they can hire auto-rickshaws and taxis for the purpose. One can take buses from the bus termini located at Kashmere Gate and Sarai Kale Khan to reach this monument. Local guided tours conducted by Delhi Tourism and private operators covers this important monument.

Must in your interinery, when you are next in Delhi, Now Arvind Kejriwal can rejoice, he can continue his dharnas on a new look Jantar Mantar.

Wedding is destined, Destination is GOA!

The Goa Wedding Show brings together exhibitors, vendors and wedding planners under the same roof

~ The aim is to showcase the potential of Goa as the ideal wedding destination

With a wide range of options right from beaches to quaint churches, picture perfect beaches and majestic forts serving as a backdrop for couples to live their dream wedding, the wedding tourism market in Goa is definitely on an upward swing. Realizing the potential that this market holds and to strengthen the state’s presence in the segment, Goa Tourism has decided to host its first ‘Goa Wedding Show’ on August 16 and 17, 2014 at The Grand Ballroom, Delhi.

This was announced at a press conference in Mumbai. Speaking on the occassion, Shri Dilip Parulekar, Hon. Minister of Tourism, Govt. of Goa, representing the title sponsor Satyug Gold as its chairperson Ms. Shilpa Shetty Kundra, CEO of Satyug Gold Mr. Raj Kundra, celebrated fashion designer Mr. Wendell Rodricks, Mr. Nilesh Cabral, Chairman – Goa Tourism Development Corporation and Mr. Nikhil Desai, Managing Director – Goa Tourism Development Corporation.

The Goa Wedding Show 2014 aims at boosting tourism in Goa by tapping into the emerging destination wedding market in India. Exhibitors will include wedding planners, hotels, event managers, vendors, fashion designers, spas, travel agencies, hotels, photographers/videographers, hair and make-up artists and artist managers. The organizers hope that this experience will help increase trade opportunities for local vendors in Goa.

Goa Tourism - At Goa Wedding Show PC - (l-r) Nikhil Desai,Nilesh Cabral,Dilip Parulekar,Shilpa Shetty, Raj Kundra,Wendell Rodricks 2 Goa Tourism - At Goa Wedding Show PC - (l-r) Nikhil Desai,Nilesh Cabral,Dilip Parulekar,Shilpa Shetty, Raj Kundra,Wendell Rodricks Goa Tourism - At Goa Wedding Show PC - (l-r) Raj Kundra, Nikhil Desai, Shilpa Shetty, Nilesh Cabral, Dilip Parulekar, Wendell Rodricks Goa Tourism - At Goa Wedding Show PC - Shilpa Shetty, Raj Kundra Goa Tourism - At Goa Wedding Show PC - Shilpa Shetty Goa Tourism - At Goa Wedding Show PC - Shilpa Shetty 2

Shri Dilip Parulekar, Hon. Minister of Tourism, Govt. of Goa, said “The Indian wedding market is valued at $38 billion a year and is expected to grow 25-30 percent annually. We hope that this initiative will serve as a platform to bring together the best of Goa and showcase what makes the state such a viable wedding destination. We are optimistic about the success of this event and plan to make it an annual property.”

Ms. Shilpa Shetty Kundra, added, “A wedding is one of the most important moments in a girl’s life and the destination is as important as the occasion itself. Goa is one of my favourite destinations. The best part about this state is that you have everything right from beaches to history and a lot of nature. I have attended several weddings in Goa and each has been different from the other. And every time I have returned with a sense of amazement that redefines my perception of a dream wedding.”

Goan fashion designer Mr. Wendell Rodricks, who has witnessed and been a part of several weddings in Goa, remarked, “Organizing your dream wedding takes a certain amount of time and it is heartening to note that you can get all that you want under one roof in Goa. According to me, this along with the state’s natural beauty and varied landscapes makes it a dream wedding destination.”

From its spectacular architecture to its dreamy beaches, Goa has emerged as one of India’s best wedding destination, providing hundreds of picturesque locations and unique experiences. The Goa Wedding Show 2014 will serve as an optimum marketing tool that will give access to potential clients within a short period of time.

For more details, you can contact Goa Tourism Development Corporation, Panjim, Goa or log onto http://www.goa-tourism.com
Goa Tourism to organize Goa Wedding Show in New Delhi

~ This first of its kind event will be held on August 16 and 17 in New Delhi.

Be there to see it all.

Power centre shifts, India has a MAN as PM Modi

We recently visiting Shakti Sthal, New Delhi which is late PM Mrs. Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi’s memorial located in the heart of New Delhi. The day was April 19, 2014 and I was moved to tears looking at those pictures spread all over the memorial which brought alive memories of Mrs. Gandhi whom I admired as a child and an adult who was symbolic of woman empowerment, who taught Indian girls to dream, achieved remarkable feats, was a global phenomenon, feisty, fiery Indira Gandhi was my role model.

I remembered seeing her when she had come for some function at my father’s office, and it was a most cherish able moment for me. But her weakness for her children, took her to dramatic lows. From what heights to what lows – history will always chronicle this. One of the most powerful woman of the world, use to go weak in front of her children. She was a mother to all Indians, but in hearts of heart she was mother to her children only. From thumping victory to shameful defeat in 1977 elections.

Now India has chosen for change, from dictator Sonia Gandhi, silent Manmohan Singh, uninspiring Rahul Gandhi…it has chosen a man, the Modi. People of India are looking upto him with great hope. This is the might of Indian democracy, millions of Indian reposed their faith in change. Power centre shifts gears, from Royal Gandhis to humble Modi.

While at Shakti Sthal, I thought and hoped that Narendra Modi wins. If he wins, India will remove the shackles of anarchy.

Whatever, it is, if you are in Delhi, don’t miss to visit Sprawling, enchanting, beautiful, reminiscent of glorious Gandhi.

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I present here the view of Shakti Sthal in pictures.

– Bienu Verma Vaghela

Saddi Dilli… You will love DELHI all the way!

I belong to Delhi, typical delhiite in certain respects; never lose any opportunity to visit capital and love everything about Delhi like food, shopping, sight-seeing and it’s vibrancy. Indeed, the issue of safety and law and order situation is on top of my mind when I am planning to visit with my family – husband and daughter who are true blue Bombayiites. Constant media coverage on law and order situation in Delhi, they are quite sceptical whether it will be a fun trip. Daughter is very excited about shopping in Sarojini Nagar, Janpath, Connaught Place, Dilli haat, Hauz Khas village and what not besides visiting Mummy’s school and college.

To make their trip paisa vasool, I looked for options and chanced upon http://www.delhisighseeing.com site which provides guided tours for tourists in air-conditioned coaches. After scanning the site carefully along with reviews, I zeroed in on the site. And made a call to their 24X7 call centre and the person who took the call was very courteous and explained the tour details. I booked the tickets online and checked on their itinery which looked quite impressive, covering almost all tourist spots.

I would like to share with how this sightseeing tour shapes up:

I list here few interesting sight-seeing spots in Delhi which covers New Delhi as well as Old Delhi.

• Jantar Mantar
Jantar Mantar consists of 13 architectural astronomy instruments, built by Maharaja Jai Singh II of Jaipur, from 1724 onwards, and is one of five built by him. The primary purpose of the observatory was to compile astronomical tables and to predict the time and movements of the sun, moon and planets. Anna Hazare made it famous and it is only spot permitted by government to protest any government policy at New Delhi.
• Lakshmi Narayan Birla Temple
This is a relatively modern temple build in 1938 by the industrialist B.D. Birla. The temple was the favourite place of worship of Mahatma Gandhi.
• Embassy Area
New Delhi, the capital city of India, houses foreign embassies of practically all the major nations in the world. There are also a number of consulates and high commissions here.
• Indira Gandhi Memorial (closed on Monday)
Indira Gandhi Memorial Museum was the residence of the former Prime Minister of India, Indira Gandhi. After her assassination, the bungalow was converted into a museum.
• Vijay Chowk
From this place the prestigious 26th January (Republic Day of India) parade arrives at Rajpath.
• President House
Rashtrapati Bhawan was formerly known as ‘Viceroy’s House’ and was occupied by the Governor-General of India, until independence. Also known as President’s House, the building holds a prominent position in New Delhi. It has 340 decorated rooms and a floor area of 200,000 square feet. Designed by the British architect, Sir Edwin Lutyens, this classical building uses colors and details peculiar to Indian architecture. It was completed by 1929 and was officially inaugurated in 1931.
• Parliament House
The Parliament House of India is located in the north-western side of the Vijay Chowk in the vicinity of the secretariat buildings. The parliament house marks governance of the world’s largest democracy. The Parliament House of India has a central hall topped with a domed structure and three semi circular chambers. These chambers were initially assigned to house the council of state, legislative assembly and the chamber of princes.
• India Gate
Situated on Rajpath, in the center of Delhi, this 42-meter high arch, was designed by Edwin Lutyens, in memory of the Indian soldiers who sacrificed their lives during the First World War Their names can be seen inscribed on the arch. The Amar Jawan Jyoti, an eternal flame, burns in memory of the unknown soldier, beneath the shelter of the arch, which is surrounded by green lawns, fountains and water bodies – an evergreen picnic zone in the heart of central Delhi.
• National Gallery of Modern Art
It is located in Delhi is situated inside the Jaipur House, near India Gate. The National Gallery of Modern Art today has undeniably the most significant collection of modern and contemporary art in the country.
• Delhi Cottage Industry
One of the famous markets for foreigners and local Delhites for trendy clothes in budget.

Delhi HaatLodhi_Gardens_Delhidandi_marchHauz khas villageLotus temple 2
• Ferozshah Kotla Fort
Feroz Shah Kotla is built by Emperor Feroz Shah Tughlaq In 1360. It is situated off the Bahadur Shah Zafar Marg of Delhi, near the Feroz Shah Kotla Cricket Stadium.
• Qutab Minar
Built during the reign of Sultan Qutub-ud-din Aibak in 1199 A.D., this 72.5 m high pillar is a symbol of the Delhi Sultanate. Near it can be seen the ruins of Kila Ri Pithora, the fort of Prithviraj Chauhan, and an amazing iron pillar from Gupta times which has not yet rusted.
• Lotus Temple (closed on Monday)
Lotus Temple is one of the most incredible architectures of the Bahai faith. It is situated at Kalkaji, a place close to New Delhi. The temple has been constructed to resemble a lotus flower. The huge lotus flower has been made out of marble, dolomite, cement, and sand. The temple does not impose restrictions on any visitor and has been thrown open to people of all religions.

  • Raj Ghat
    The memorial of the Father of Nation, Raj Ghat is located amidst a lush garden. The last utterance of Gandhi “Hey Ram’’ is inscribed on his cenotaph in golden letters. There are two Gandhi museums in the premises namely Gandhi Memorial Museum and Gandhi Smriti Museum.
    • Gandhi Museum (Closed on Monday)
    Situated opposite to Raj Ghat is the Gandhi Museum. Dedicated to the Father of the Nation, the museum contains some of his personal belongings. There are five pavilions one can go through that comprise of sculpture, photographs and paintings of Gandhiji and the history of the Satyagraha movement as well as the philosophy of ‘ahinsa’ (non-violence).
    • Vijay Ghat
    Vijay Ghat, Delhi is the memorial of India’s second Prime Minister, Lal Bahadur Shastri. He was a great freedom fighter who was associated with the likes of Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru. After the death of Jawaharlal Nehru he was elected as India’s second prime Minister.
    • Shanti Van
    Shanti Van, Delhi is the memorial of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, who died in the year in 1964. the spot is set around lush green lawns and trees to honor the great leader. A great leader who made his presence in the world felt during the Cold War period when advocated the principle of Non Alignment to reduce the ideological tension engulfing the entire world.
    • Shakti Sthal
    Shakti Sthal, Delhi is the memorial of the former Prime Minister of India, Mrs. Indira Gandhi. She was the first and the only lady to be elected the Prime Minister of India and held her office for three terms. Shakti Sthal is located on the banks of the river Yamuna on the Ring Road and between the Old and New Delhi. The memorial is named Shakti Sthal,
    • Hauz Khas
    The Hauz Khas (meaning royal tank) complex was developed during the 13th century. The complex houses a water tank or reservoir, an Islamic seminary, a mosque, a tomb and pavilions built around an urbanized village. Today Hauz Khas is a shopper’s paradise with several designer outlets, restaurants and art galleries.
    • Malls of Saket
    The hub of malls in South Delhi, Saket boasts of some of the finest mall complexes in Delhi. With four major malls in place and two more under construction, Saket provides a unique shopping and leisure environment.
    meaning “the place of strength and courage,” is quite typical of her character
    • Jama Masjid
    Jama Masjid of Delhi is the largest mosque in India. The Jama Masjid is located in the old city. It stands in front of the Red Fort across the road. It projects beautifully into the Old-Delhi skyline. It was built between 1644 and 1658.
    • Red Fort (closed on Monday)
    This grand fort built during the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan’s reign, this majestic building made of red sandstone is the location from where the Prime Minister of India addresses the nation every Independence Day. The Diwan-e-khas, and Diwan-e-am, the weaponry museum and the sound and light show are all worth seeing at the Red Fort.

If Delhi is on your itinery this summer, wait for my post when I return from Delhi. In the meantime don’t forget to visit:            www.delhisightseeing.com.

 
By Bienu Verma Vaghela

Tourism Malaysia Road Show in Mumbai on March 18, 2014

 March 18, the Malaysian delegation led by the Minister of Tourism and Culture, the Honorable Dato’ Seri Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz and other top officials from the Ministry of Tourism is in Mumbai. 

As part of the Visit Malaysia Year 2014 (VMY 2014) celebrations, Tourism Malaysia is  unveiling a host of new marketing initiatives during their annual sales mission in India from March 12 to 20, 2014 in the cities of Kochi, Bengaluru, Mumbai and Delhi.

Minister of Tourism and Culture, the Honorable Dato' Seri Mohamed Nazri Abdul Azi
Minister of Tourism and Culture, the Honorable Dato’ Seri Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz

While the primary objective of the Minister’s visit is to strengthen Malaysia’s standing as a dream travel destination and increase tourist arrivals from India, Dato Nazri is also looking forward to driving strong support from both the Indian travel trade fraternity and media for the ongoing Visit Malaysia Year 2014. Malaysia has launched its 4th VMY2014, with the aim of luring 28 million tourist arrivals and 76 billion RM (over 23 billion USD) in tourism revenue.

During his visit, the Tourism and Culture Minister is scheduled to meet and engage members of the media at a press conference to provide them with first-hand information and updates on Malaysia’s tourism industry.

Besides unveiling new marketing initiatives for the Indian market, the sales mission is also a platform for Malaysia’s tourism industry players to strengthen ties with their Indian counterparts. The mission will see top Malaysian Tourism Officials interact with key tour operators, associates from travel, service & hospitality sector in all cities to discuss and explore areas for collaboration to attract more Indian tourists to Malaysia.

Tourism Malaysia’s Indian Sales Mission is holding road show in Mumbai on March 18, 2014. 

 About Tourism Malaysia India

Malaysia Tourism Promotion Board, popularly known as Tourism Malaysia, was established to promote Malaysia as a top-of-mind tourist destination showcasing Malaysia’s unique wonders, attractions and cultures; develop domestic tourism and enhance Malaysia’s share of the market for meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions (MICE). Tourism Malaysia’s objective is to promote Malaysia as an outstanding tourist destination and make the tourism industry a major contributor to the socio-economic development of the nation. In India, Tourism Malaysia offices are conveniently located in cities like Mumbai, Delhi and Chennai.

This year, Malaysia celebrates its fourth VISIT MALAYSIA YEAR (VMY) with the theme “Celebrating 1Malaysia Truly Asia”. During the celebration of VMY 2014, the country will be abuzz with various colourful parades, carnivals, festivals, shows, events, conventions and celebrations. These will cover a wide range of activities from sports and culture to festivals and arts, reflecting a celebration of the diverse lifestyles and customs of Malaysia. It will contribute to the Government’s target to receive 36 million tourist arrivals and RM 168 billion in receipts by 2020, as outlined in the Malaysia Tourism Transformation Plan (MTTP) 2020.

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– Bienu Verma Vaghela