Travelling within India is like viewing a scene through a Kaleidoscope.
The sights and attire change dramatically as you move from Indian State to another.
Shifting from the Freezing Cold of Ladakh to Warm Rajasthan reveals Interesting Views taken from a moving car near Ajmer, Rajasthan.
The featured image captures an elderly Milkman with Beautiful Brass Utensils, pushing his Bicycle on a bridge.
His Splendid headgear called “SAAFA” or “PAGDI” is replicated by two of the Three Wise Men enjoying a cup of Tea . They are seated on a wooden bench besides a busy street. Do not miss the Handmade Leather Shoes called “JOOTIS“.
While the headgear remains Unchanged, the Bicycle has transformed into a Motorcycle alongwith one of the Brass Milk Containers into a lighter and larger Aluminium Container.
The Hand towel over the shoulder is a unique Multipurpose Garment much like a Fouta in Tunisia or Hammam Towel in Turkey.
The picture above was taken through the windshield of a Car and thus slightly milky.
The India Art Fair is annually held in January at the NSIC grounds, Okhla in New Delhi.
It was an amazing opportunity to see some fabulous works of Art brought together under one Roof.
The threads that bind the four works of art selected by me for this blog are:
The Artists of all the paintings are Anonymous.
They are all almost 200 years old dating to the 19th Century.
All of them are expressions of Faith and reveal tales from Hindu Mythology.
The Colourful and detailed featured Image of Maa Durga ending the terror of the Rakshas ( Demon) Mahishasur portrays so many symbols and tales that it would take me years to understand and pen them down.
The large almond shaped eyes are a signature of the artists of Bengal and Maa Durga is portrayed as such to date.
The painting below beautifully illustrates Lord Shiva with his wife Parvati seated on their vehicle the Bull, Nandi. Mount Kailash in the the Himalayas is his fabled abode which is depicted in the picture below.
An unusual potrayal of Goddess Parvati depicted as Mother with her younger son Lord Ganesha.
The crown in the painting seems to be an influence from the Mughal Period and is repeated in all the pictures above as well.
Maa Durga is an incarnation of Goddess Paravati who assumes a Fierce and Powerful form armed with various weapons to end the Evil of the Demon Mahishasura.
Symbolism and Philosophy is deeply entrenched in all the depictions and portrayals in the paintings.
The painting of the Goddess Saraswati below is distinctively different from those above.
The headgear and attire are more in tune with depictions from Southern India. The style was made extremely popular by the famous artist Raja Ravi Verma from Travancore ( now in modern day Kerala).
The attention to detail is simply mind blowing as the Jewellery is visible through the extremely fine and translucent Saree that drapes the Goddess of Wisdom.
The Veena ( musical instrument in her hands) , the string of White Pearls and the Vedas ( Holy Books ) symbolize the Goddess of Fine Arts and Knowledge.
All the paintings show the fascinating minds of the Anonymous Artists who have unfortunately been lost in the Mists of Time.
Treat yourselves to this secretive getaway NAZAR BAGH near Jaipur.
A view of Nature FOR YOUR EYES ONLY.
The write up will be updated in a while. All Good things take time, so hold your breath as I will unveil this treasure in the midst of Rajasthan, India.
Nazarbagh is located in the pristine rural countryside of Rajasthan about 5.5 kms off the Jaipur-Ajmer Highway at Jaisinghpura.
It is strongly recommended to walk the the last mile if you wish to be soaked in the Enchanting countryside that encompasses this discretely located Palace.
The picture below reveals the unique lansdscape of the region with interesting Shrubs and biodiversity unique to the arid lands of Rajasthan.
Luxurious and plush Nazarbagh is unveiled through Trees and the bounty of Nature that surround this Palace.
A lovely Lily ( commonly and incorrectly refered to as Lotus) Pond surrounded by Flower beds ( do see the blog titled ICE DAISY athttp://www.enchantedforests.wordpress.com) and Trees far in the Horizon soothe your eyes.
A view through graceful arches at the Porch
For me Nature leaves signs to show if an area ,home or Palace is conducive to human well being.
If Birds , bees and butterflies inhabit a region it indicates that all is in harmony with Nature. Nazarbagh gets a big approval as it is located in the lap of Nature.
See the picture below which reveals a Bird’s Nest seen from the amazing marbled Verandahs of the Palace.
A Birds Nest
The lovely Rooftops with the typical signature Chatris ( literal translation is an Umbrella) reveal two contrasting countrysides.
As you shift your Glance you will be fascinated by an arid and parched land along with an ancient River Bed which would have been the Original Landscape prior to the Introduction of Water through modern Irrigation methods.
The Flora and Fauna in both both the Green and Brown Lands would be interesting to compare and detail.
I did hear the tell tale bird calls of the Partridges ( English), Teetar ( Hindi) or Grey francolins( Scientific Name) at Nazarbagh.
As we descend from the Rooftops adorned by Chattris and walk around the Sprawling Green Periphery of the Palace am spellbound by the Avenue of Neem ( Scientific Name Azadirachta Indica) trees.
Neem is an endemic tree native to India which works as a natural Bio filter of Air as well besides having numerous Germicide properties.
Nazarbagh Palace was a wonderful date with Nature , away from the crowds that thronged the Jaipur Literature Festival at Jaipur.
The Himalayas are all about experiencing the Joy of Nature. When man adapts and moulds himself to nature the Joy is enhanced manifold.
A perfectly organized trail by the nature loving staff of the JW MARRIOTT Walnut Grove Spa Resort ,Mussoorie to a CORN VILLAGE located in the Himalayas was just that, a memorable experience.
The trip beautifully integrated an experience of the local Gharwali way of life with the thrill of a joyful ride on a motorcycle .
The extremely skilled driver on a Royal Enfield bike enabled me to have an uninterrupted and breathtaking 360 degree view of the enchanting landscape.
Royal Enfields are a great mode of transport in the Hills
It was indeed wonderful to go on a motorcycle as the fresh and cool mountain air rustles up your hair and massages the face as well.
Corn ( or Maize) is the third most important crop after rice and wheat in the hills and forms the staple diet of the village folk as well.
The Gharwalis ( as the locals are called) over the ages have perfected the art of drying the corn within their homes.
September to October is the time for harvesting Corn ( Scientific name: Zea mays) in the Hills of Mussoorie, Uttrakhand and thus the perfect time to visit Bhatoli the CORN Village.
An enchanting view of the stepped farms of the Hills.Can you spot the Corn on the roof?
Homes in the hills have been traditionally made of Wood. The sturdy though now endangered Himalayan White Oak ( Quercus leucotrichophora) covers most of these Hills and has been a source of timber for generations.
This traditional carved wooden door welcomes us to the quaint village of CORN.
A 100-year-old wooden door old beckons
The first stunning view of corn bunched up and hung upside down leaves me gazing in awe.It stunned my camera too which simply stopped working thereafter.
The heritage wooden home in the centre is now gradually being replaced by brick and concrete homes.
As I walk through this Organic and incredibly clean village I realize why it is called the CORN VILLAGE.
Colourful sunbathing Quilts give the Corn company in this house adorned by two dish antennas.
While wooden homes have been replaced by brick and mortar ( pucca homes as they are called in Hindi) , some traditions like drying the corn, thankfully remain.
Do notice the spotless alleys.
Another breathtaking view of a house with corn hung from the roof and the hills in the background.
A far distance from its Mexican Origins , Corn has overrun this house in the scenic village of Bhatoli.
Signing off as I sit down for a typical Gharwali lunch and Chapatis ( Indian Bread) made of Corn flour.
A marvelous trail planned to perfection by Prateek and Vaidehi of JW Marriott Walnut Grove Resort & Spa, Mussoorie. The bike ride was a steal.
A wonderful outreach by the luxurious Hotel to the friendly and hospitable villagers who spread out a welcome feast.
Hope you have read the earlier posts ( THE SECRET TRAP and THE MUSHROOM TRAIL) , all part of the WALNUT TRAIL.
Be not impatient friends, the Walnuts will follow as well. Keep following.
The Gateway of India was completed in 1924 and was conceived to welcome King George V to India in 1911.Located in the extremely fascinating Colaba ( Apollo Bunder) area of Mumbai, it is also the point where you can take a ferry to the historical Elephanta Caves. ( 300 BC)
It was also the year that New Delhi On Raisina Hill became the capital of British India. It is even today the Capital of the Republic of India.
I have read many blogs/ articles of visitors to Mumbai. Most comment about a visit to the Gateway of India, but none mention the lovely buildings that surround it.Many even stay in the Taj Mahal Hotel but do not even take a walk around the hotel premises.
This lovely heritage building goes back to the mid 19th century and was originally the Royal Yachting Club.
It is in all probability the oldest building on the waterfront.
The magnificent Gothic style Yacht Club as viewed today is probably made from the same Basalt stone as the Gateway of India.
It is even today an exclusive, all members Club only.
Alas , my cousin Vivek let his opportunity to be a member go by.
The Gateway of India is squeezed in between the two buildings of the Taj Mahal Hotel. ( do not mix with the seventh wonder of the world TheTaj Mahal in Agra). This was also the site of a terrible terrorist attack on 26th November 2008 which lasted for three days.
The Taj new and old with the Gateway of India in the Centre.
Buildings reveal the history of the land. A walk of 10 minutes around the Gateway of India will take you through hundreds of years of history of Mumbai.
Mumbai is today the financial capital of India and probably the most populated city in the World.
Pictures were taken from my mobile and a Nikon DSLR. Can you guess which picture taken by which device?
Jagdish Temple is the EPICENTRE of historical Udaipur.
All the bye lanes, including the way to the Bada Pol ( gate) entrance of the City palace radiate from here. Even the lanes leading to the lake and the ghats originate from the Jagdish Temple Chowk ( crossing)
You can be witness to the life of the common citizen of Udaipur from here.
For the Royal experience you need to walk for 2 minutes from the temple to the CITY PALACE. The walk is lined with shops , some of which house vast, I repeat vast and gorgeous treasures of ART.
The pictures that follow are a peep into the activity of commoners.
Take time to ponder over this photograph. There is some activity in every corner of this picture.
At the level of the street or the footsteps of the stairs leading to the temple is this elderly lady sewing a garland of flowers.
Do notice the metallic Lota ( an ancient Indian vessel used for storing water) placed on the right of the basket.Have written on the LOTA , please check it out, very intriguing.
Colourful painted guards, peacock feathers and Mobile phones form the second level up the flight of stairs.
The usually white marble steps are coloured pink due to the festival of Holi being played here this morning.
Watch out for the feast for the eyes, THE ROYAL HOLI in the blogs to follow.
The mother and daughter duo soak in the sun after being drenched in the waters of HOLI.
The spire of the 450 year old Jagdish Temple rises over the sanctum sanctorum.
If you are fortunate you could hear Rustic Folk music as villagers sing and dance spontaneously in front of the main deity.
Jagdish is one of several names for LORD VISHNU.
There are many historical incidents, myths and fables about this temple.Stories of politics and intrigue are whispered in hushed tones.
The view of the epicenter, THE JAGDISH TEMPLE and the Havelis ( now lovely hotels) of Udaipur viewed from the lake.
Personally have experienced many emotional moments in the temple.
As you walk around the lanes you may lose your bearings.
The Spire of the temple, which is visible from every direction , will restore your sense of direction. ( there is an intentional philosophical punch in the sentence)
An awful cold never comes alone, it travels with many companions such as headaches and mild fever to name a few.
The common cold can cast its Spell of Doom at anytime. However it is ably assisted during the monsoons by high levels of humidity.
A cold and a cough can ruin your travel experience.It is best to dismiss it forthwith.I share with you a Wizard’s brew you could prepare yourself as well, which does exactly that.
I reveal the secret of an ENCHANTING GOBLET and a miraculous and curative drink.
It was specially concocted and served in a restaurant called Latest Recipe ( Le Meridien Spa & Resort, Mahabaleshwar) .
The staff probably heard me coughing and caught me sniffling whilst dabbing my handkerchief to the ends of my sore nose.
Miraculously a very large Goblet with wisps of smoke emanating from a light yellow brew was placed in front of me. It was called THE TODDY DRINK by the wizard Abhishek.
I gleefully peered into the magical goblet , breathing in the aromatic steam and saw the most amazing combination of spices floating at the top.
The cocktail worked wonders and revealed the medicinal qualities of these ancient spices ( angels for me) used in AYURVEDA. I am giving the Sanskrit names to reveal the importance these spices had even 2500 years ago.
The first angel is the clove and can be seen clearly in the picture below.
Dev Kusum literally translated means Flower of the Gods.
How appropriate as it is considered the Champion of antioxidants.
Having anti microbial, anti fungal, anti viral properties it is an excellent antidote to a common cold.
In China and Iran ( ancient Persia) it is considered an aphrodisiac. The Toddy cocktail was however served in India and am sure the caring staff at the Le Meridian was unaware of any such mythical properties.( those reading could improvise if they so wish) .
The delicious warm brew has lemon and ginger juice which forms a formidable weapon against the common cold.
The second spice which came to my rescue were the little green pods you can spot in the centre of the goblet.