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Showing posts from September, 2012

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2023 - The Year That Was

Places impact you for a variety of reasons. And the same place impacts different people in different ways. This is especially true when it comes to spiritual experiences, where every single person’s experience is unique. And personally, every spiritual experience is unique, the same person can have different deeply spiritual experiences at different places, at different times. This thought has emerged because of my own experiences over the years, but especially so this year, with different and unique experiences at various places I have visited recently. I began this year with a visit to Baroda (Vadodara) with friends. It was meant to be a relaxed trip, a touristy trip, with our sons. We enjoyed ourselves to the hilt, but the highlight of that trip was a visit to the Lakulisha temple at Pavagadh. It was the iconography of the temple that I connected with, and I spent a few hours simply lost in the details of the figures carved around the temple. There was an indefinable connect with

Shitla Devi Temple, Kelwe Beach

One wouldn't really go to a beach t o visit a temple, but in India, it isn't surprising to find temples near beaches. And usually, most visitors to the beach end up visiting the temple too! We have often seen such temples near beaches, but rarely feel enthusiastic enough to visit them. However, the temple at Kelwe beach was interesting, For one thing, it was the auspicious day of Ganesh Chaturthi, and since we were off to a beach for the festival, it seemed strangely appropriate to stop at the temple first!! Secondly, our auto driver kept telling us how old the temple was, which led to me expect a decrepit temple in ruins. Imagine my surprise then, to see this bright and shining structure...

A Tour of Ganesha Pandals.. and some thoughts on the festival

The ten day festival of Ganesh Chaturthi  is coming to a close. Tomorrow, the idols will head to the sea, amidst chants exhorting Him to come back early next year. Meanwhile, come with me, as I take you through some of the Ganesha Pandals I went to, this year... Matunga remains one of my favourite places to visit at this time.. Here are some of the Ganeshas we saw there...

Ganesha with a Message

While I enjoy going to see all the Ganpatis in their various avatars around Mumbai during the ten days of Ganeshotsav, it is those with a message which really touch my heart. Among my favourite ones - one I have been seeing for almost 20 years now, and which is located right outside my college - is the Ruia Naka Ganpati. 

Ganpati Celebrations Big and Small

The ten day Ganesh Chaturthi celebration is one festival celebrated by one and all, at least in Mumbai. Rich or poor, the devout bring the Lord home, and spend the ten days immersed in the festivities - offering prayers, enjoying the offerings, or maybe just taking in the sights and sounds of the festival.

Ganesh Chaturthi at mom's place

Since we are not performing the Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations at home this year, I am sharing images from the celebrations at my mom's place.. All photos have been clicked by my sister, Kanthi.  Celebrations begin with prayers to Gauri, a day before Ganpati arrives. 

A Festive Morning at Kelwe Beach

We usually look forward to Ganesh Chaturthi, and not having the puja this year seemed to bring in a sort of vaccum. Which is why, we decided to make use of the holiday by doing something different - We headed out to Palghar, where my in-laws are, presently. and spent the festival morning at Kelwe Beach. 

Bringing Ganesha Home

Ganesh Chaturthi is here, and all around me yesterday were people bringing their Ganesha home. Usually this is a time when my home is buzzing with activity, but this year I have a break since we can not perform the puja. I am planning to visit a few pandals around our home, though, so will try to post more photos.... P.S. Incidentally, I just realised that this is my 555th post on the blog!!

The Bazaar at Amer

Near the exit of Amer Fort , two huge vats or vessels attract our attention. They look big enough to cook food, and we assume these are a couple of the relics left over from the olden days. However, the guide is quick to correct us. These are props from a film which was shot here - Jodha Akbar. He says they didnt take it back, and there was no place inside the fort for them, so here they are, where they will be noticed, but  not really a part of the fort. 

Snake Charmer

Ever since I started sending postcards, I have been inundated with requests for postcards showing snake charmers. When I did find some, I realised something else. I might not be a great fan of snake charmers, but Samhith hadn't even seen a single one!!! He hoarded all the cards I found, and refused to allow me to send any but duplicates! Moreover, he was now curious. He wanted to see a snake charmer!!! I told him about what they did, how it was cruel to snakes, and that it was illegal, but he was still curious. Now, apart from the fact that I do not like the idea of trapping snakes and using them to amuse people, I couldnt even find a snake charmer to show him... yes, for those of you who are wondering, our area remains immune to snake charmers even on Naga panchami day, and I couldnt remember when I had last seen one!! His wish was eventually fulfilled, of all places, at Amer Fort!!!

Amer Fort - Part 3

Part 1 and Part 2 of Amer Fort have been quite descriptive... probably much longer than needed, but I have had these photos for so long, I just had to use them!!!  From what I heard from a couple of people, the fort was in quite a bad shape till the last decade or so. Of course, not really in ruins as many other forts, but in a dilapidated condition nevertheless. Going over what I saw of the fort, it does look like a lot of work has been done, which is really commendable, considering the state of many such other heritage precincts in our country. It does make us think just how beautiful some of our other palaces, forts and temples would be, if we just took the pains to recreate the magic of those bygone days, and kept them well maintained.

Amer Fort - Part 2

When you think of a fort , you think of huge walls, cannons, turrets... and most of the forts I have seen are in quite a bad shape, having suffered during the wars they were built to brave. Which is why, Amer comes as a surprise. It looks more like a palace than a fort, and is remarkably well preserved, considering that it was built and enlarged from the 16 th to the 18 th centuries. Of course, one reason for this could be that Jaipur was quite a safe place during that period, seeing only minor skirmishes in the area, not full-fledged wars. It would also have helped that the rulers of Jaipur chose to side with the Mughal Emperors and thus earned their protection. Wars fought by the Rajputs of Jaipur were fought, not in Jaipur or Amer, but at other places, not only Rajasthan but all over the Indian Subcontinent. It was first Raja Man Singh, and later, his descendents, who built and beautified Amer. It is their combined efforts that we see today, and, it gives us a glimpse of the li

Amer Fort - Part 1

Our first sight of Amber Fort was from one of the turrets of Jaigarh. Standing so high up, looking down at the Aravalli ranges stretching to the horizon, my first thought was that it blended beautifully with the mountains. The name ‘Amber’ comes, not from the English word for the colour, but is a derivation of the word “Amba” or the goddess. However, it is pronounced as ‘Aamer’. The spelling varies too, with both usages – Amber and Amer – being quite commonly used.

Jal Mahal, Jaipur

Think 'Lake Palace', and you think of Udaipur. However, not many know that Jaipur too has a lake palace - the Jal Mahal. To know more about this simple, yet beautiful palace, click here to read my post on the Club Mahindra Blog A visit to Jal Mahal in Jaipur Tip: To make the most of your visit to Jal Mahal, contact Jal Tarang

Book Review: Death in Mumbai

Reading crime stories i sn’t new to me. In fact, crime and mystery would probably figure right at the top of my reading list any time! However, would I enjoy reading about an actual crime? Should I, in fact, enjoy reading about it? Such were the questions that cropped up in my mind as I considered the book ‘Death in Mumbai’, by Meenal Baghel.

Thoughts on Teachers' Day

When I woke up this morning, I had no idea of the date or the day. That’s not unusual. I frequently forget them, as does my son. I only remembered that it was a Wednesday, when I looked at his timetable to set out his uniform for the day. And that was about all, till I turned on the computer and settled down to read some of my favourite blogs. One of the first I read turned out to be Zephyr, whose thoughtful posts do just that – make me think! And this one did too. It reminded me that today was the fifth of September – Teachers’ Day.