Golden Temple – Amritsar

26 Dec

The place is not just another city with a temple but rather a temple with a city, the fourth Guru of Sikhism, Guru Ram Das had excavated a tank (Amritsar or The Pool of Nectar) giving its name to the city which grew around it. “Harmandir Sahib” is said to have risen from the very centre of the tank and became the centre of Sikhism. The healing powers of the pool dates back to Lord Ram when he supposedly wounded was cured by the nectar.

 

You cross the passageway to look down upon a pool, the right side of the pool has a long white causeway which leads you to the temple itself which floats on the middle of the pool.

 

 

 

 

Religious feelings kept aside the view of the temple complex right in the middle of a pool and bathed in sunshine amidst a clear blue December sky is majestic sight.

 

 

Glowing” is a term that would immediately come to mind, the temple complex is about 3 floors tall with the upper half consisting of the dome covered with gold. Much of the gold and marble work dates back to the 19th century and were done under the patronage of Maharaja Ranjit Singh.

 

 

 

 

Once inside the complex what would also intrigue you are the Khalsa Gaurds with their Kirpan hanging from the waist and weight resting on a wooden spear. You look at him and most would but he stares you down with intense eyes, but then a nod is met with return gesture. All of them follow the 5 mandatory forms of adornment for the guardians of the faith ie the Kesh, Kanga, Kara, Kirpan and the Katcha.

 

 

 

 

It’s a different atmosphere once the sun goes down, pilgrims earlier enjoying the bright sunshine are under heavy blanket cover, the water in the pool without much activity is calm and clearly reflects the lights of the temple compound.

 

 

 

 

If there is anything more fascinating than the “Glow” of the Golden Temple its is the atmosphere at night.

 

 

Bhangra at Wagah

 

 

 

 

 

Every second shop selling food in the city makes Jalebis. The city is after all the land of milk and ghee and how better to confirm the same by beginning the day with a meal of crisp Jalebi’s along with Lassi. The crunch of freshly made Jalebi’s straight from the wok along with the thick creamy Lassi does make a heavenly combination.

Amritsar for many is a spiritual journey, the Golden Temple get on to you with a large does of faith, but once you are out of the temple complex each morsel of food you have in the city too is a journey no less spiritual. Visiting the city forget all the talk of fat-free food for you are in the land of Milk and Ghee. Leave all the restrictions for once as food is “Utterly Delicious and Buttery Too”.

 

 

Jaipur and Ranthambore

25 Dec

Project Tiger launched in 1973 after the first ever all India Tiger census showed the existence of only 1800 of them, since then for each tiger reserves in the country plans were drawn up based on

  • minimizing all forms of human exploitation and disturbance from the core areas
  • repair the damages done to the eco-system by human and other interferences so as to facilitate recovery of the eco-system.

The project since then has gained speed with various government and non government agencies coming forward to preserve the little of what is left of the “Big Cats”. But then as these projects have grown more successful and names such as Bandhavgarh (M.P),  Ranthambore (Rajasthan), Corbett (Uttaranchal) become more popular. Below are my memories from a recent trip to Ranthambore and Jaipur

Palace of the Breeze, Built of red and pink sandstone, the palace is situated on the main thoroughfare in the heart of Jaipur’s business centre. It forms part of the City Palace, and extends to the Zenana or women’s chambers, the chambers of the harem.

 

 

 

Nahagarh Fort stands on the edge of the Aravalli Hills, overlooking city of Jaipur

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nahagarh served as a refuge for Europeans fleeing from the havoc created by mutineers in neighboring states.

 

 

 

 

View from Ranthambore Fort looking at the national park

 

 

It is surrounded within the famous Ranthambore National Park which was formerly the hunting grounds for the Maharajahs of Jaipur before Indian independence.

 

Sunrise at the Park

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sunrise again

 

 

 

 

Sunrise on Day 2, from Ranthambore Fort

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Indian Government started Project Tiger in 1973 with an allotted area of 60 mi2. It was later expanded to become what is now called, the Ranthambore National Park.

 

Saw him from a distance of 10 Feet, not the usual starved one’s we see in the zoo but a 8 feet male in prime condition.

 

 

 

 

 

Sambars are a common sight found around the water lakes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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25 Dec

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