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The Vaishnodevi Experience 2023

My first trip to Vaishnodevi was unimpressive. Climbing was hard, and it only served to highlight how badly out of shape I was, while my in-laws managed to cope so much better. Further, I hadn’t quite realized that the cave experience wouldn’t be the same as I had imagined, since the original cave was only opened at certain times a year, and that we only entered a newly created tunnel, one far easier to access, and hence more manageable with the crowds that thronged the mountain shrine. The resulting experience at the shrine, for barely a fraction of a second, hardly compared to what I had expected / imagined / heard about. So, for me, Vaishnodevi was like any other temple, nothing to write home about, something that was reflected (though not explicitly mentioned) in the blog post I wrote then.

Fun With Lego in Mumbai!!

Dusshera has come and gone, but I am not done with my Navaratri posts. There are a couple of interesting golus and lots of pics I still have to share with you, but I am interrupting my Navaratri series to tell you all about an event we attended yesterday. It was so exciting and so much fun that I just cant wait any more to write about it! 

Those of you who connect with me on Facebook already know that I was planning to attend the Lego Build a life size Fire Truck Event at High Street Phoenix in association with Hamleys. And all those who have been reading my blog know that Samhith loves Lego. We love to build and are big Lego fans. How could we miss such an interesting event????We set off soon after lunch, and by the time we reached, the Fire truck was almost half done! It was fascinating to see a structure as tall as me built from Lego bricks, and Samhith had to go close and touch it himself before believing that it was indeed built from bricks, and not from cardboard or something else! 

The first things we noticed were the displays of structures built from Lego bricks, strategically placed in the courtyard, as well a larger-than-life fireman! Most of the kids were gathered around, oohing and aahing about the buildings, the planes, the ships........


The kids were at first given a free rein, and encouraged to make any structures that they wanted to. Yes, there were prizes too for the best! Samhith set to work, thrilled by the huge tub of blocks in front of him, asking me if we could get such a tub full of bricks at home too!!!!! 

The whole courtyard of High Street Phoenix was soon filled with kids and adults-turned-into-kids, all of them building all sorts of things.... Neither age nor sex was a factor- everyone enjoyed it!

Samhith finally finished his building, which turned out to be a simpler version of the Gateway of India....and yes, he was rewarded too... with a small lego toy as well as a certificate proclaiming him to be a "Juinior Lego Master builder"!!! Need I say that he was thrilled??

Once the competition was out of the way, it was time for work. The idea was to build a 13 feet high Fire Truck, with around 1,90,000 bricks! How was such a colossal task to take place? By the not-so-simple task of multiplying every unit of the fire truck by 6, making individual units using the basic blocks, and then putting each unit together. Here are some of the bricks to be used for the fire trucks... each of these are made with a number of the regular blocks, and each one of these are the basic building blocks for the fire truck! 

As the enthusiastic participants made these blocks, the  "Lego builders" placed each in its place according to their diagrams, and the fire truck starting taking shape...

Here is a model of the fire truck..... 

Her is another view of the model...

and this was how high the fire truck had grown by evening!

This wasn't all! To encourage the kids further, there was more in store for them. A real fire engine turned up, with real firemen, who spoke to the kids about fire-safety, and more interestingly, allowed them to climb up on their fire engine!!!

Coming back to the Lego event, I was curious about the men who were assembling the fire truck. It turns out that they are Lego builders, enthusiastic about creating wonders with the bricks, here on invitation from Funskool! This was the first time I had even heard of such enthusiasts!! 

Peeping in to see whats inside!!!!

A look inside....

This is what it looks like, inside!

I did speak however, to one among them, an Indian, living in Bangalore, working in a Multinational firm, who builds Lego as a pastime. He was as good as the professionals, and his excitement was contagious! Mr.John Seemon was nice enough to talk to the kids about his hobby, which he says has helped him so much with not just professional skills, but also his social skills! He is a true Lego enthusiast, who owns thousands of Lego sets!! He showed us some of his Lego photos, and Samhith was at once excited by the possibilities. He is planning to start a Lego club, something we are looking forward to, eagerly!!!

It was time to leave, something we did with great reluctance, because the truck wasn't yet complete! The truck will be ready today (friday) and unfortunately, will have to be dismantled tonight itself, because the bricks have to be on their way to South Africa! What a pity that the three day event had to take place on weekdays. The only reason we could attend was because of the Dusshera holiday! We will look forward to seeing  pics of the completed truck in the papers and on the net.... and just hope that such events are held more often in Mumbai!


  1. they look quite colorful..used to be a fan of building blocks as a kid

  2. Oh... I wish such an event was held in Delhi. My son would have gone crazy. He is not at home now. I will show this post to him when he returns.

  3. It was wonderful, Lakshmi! Samhith enjoys it and I realise that I still enjoy it too!!

  4. True Pradeepa! such events should be held all over India, and more often! u shd have seen the kind of creativity the kids showed! It was so wonderful!

  5. wow yaar....i appriciate you for posting such inspiring pictures...
    that v shud feel like go ther.....will defiantely visit...

    i m adding u on my FB

  6. Good! Congrats to the budding architect.

  7. Oops, we completely forgot .Wow it might been great fun visiting such an event. Hope such events take place in Mumbai  frequently. Mishtee

  8. Mishtee, you would have loved it! hope there are many more such events so that we can all go together and enjoy!

  9. hi i am Priyabrat Nayak workiong in funskool as sales promotion Executive i read your post it was nice,thanx for your support.

  10. Thanks Priya... it was a pleasure attending the event... and hope u organise many more such events!

  11. Dear Anu, thanks for sharing this, i wish i new about this event i too wud have taken my kids to this place. Anu, is it possible for you to share about exciting events happening in mumbai, which you plan to visit in advance, so that, we too can take enjoy being there:)

  12. Sure ,PK! I usually do share info about events I am going to attend, but on facebook. dont usually put it up on the blog beforehand because people visit the blog later and are confused about whether the event has already taken place or is going to.... on fb it is easier,esp since the events are mostly posted there anyway and its easier to share.... send me a message on FB and i'll let u know of any such events in the future!

  13. Hi Anu,
    Thanks for this lovely post. My son is 7 and a lego enthusiast. I was wondering if you know any lego workshops that he might join up for in Mumbai?


    1. Thanks Sharmila, but unfortunately, there are no workshops in Mumbai as far as I know..... but where do u live? Maybe we could get together so the kids can play with Lego together....

  14. Hi Anu,

    Thanks for this lovely post. My son who is 7 is a BIG lego enthusaist and I was wondering if you know any workshops that he could attend in Mumbai or just any lego enthusiast group that he can join up in.


  15. Hi..ths is an old post....still...luvd readin son is a crazy lego fan ..all of 7 yrs..unfortunately no lego fanclubs in our country...wonderin if v cud form one....


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