FOR YOUR EYES ONLY

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.

glimpse of nazarbagh
Through the eyes of Sheep and Goats

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 at http://www.enchantedforests.wordpress.com and Trees far in the Horizon soothe your eyes.

view from the porch

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.

trees throught the archways

A Birds Nest

The lovely Rooftops with the typical signature  Chatris ( literal translation is an Umbrella) reveal two contrasting countrysides.

One is Green till as far as the Nazar ( eyes) goes and showcases Golden Fields ( do read the blog at http://www.enchantedforests.worpress.com) and Carpets of White Flowers ( Calendulas)

 

fields on the left
Fields of Flowers and a Solitary Leafless Kejri Tree

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.

a river dried up
An ancient river bed and arid brown lands

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.

neem lined avenues
Neem Lined Avenues

Nazarbagh Palace was a wonderful date with Nature , away  from the crowds that thronged the Jaipur Literature Festival at Jaipur.

MAGNIFICENT MANDOR

 

Nestled in the palm of Rocky mountains is a conglomerate of beautiful Memorials, forts , temples and a Museum  called Mandor.

sleepy mandor
Mandor Station today

A mere 9 kms from Jodhpur, Rajasthan  lies Magnificent Mandor.

This sleepy village-town was once the capital of the powerful Rajputana Kingdom of Marwar before it shifted to Jodhpur in the 15th century.

rocks of the past
Remnants of the Past

The majority of the fabulous buildings are located within the Mandore Gardens. The Lotus waterways dissecting the Gardens were beautiful as the flowers were blooming in various colours of white, pink and blue.

Bees can be seen seeking the sweet nectar of the flowers and waterbirds look for fish which hide under the large plate-like leaves of the lotus.

waterways of lotuses
Waterways adorned with Flowers dissect the Mandore Gardens.

The  spectacular memorials/cenotaphs or Devals ( in the local Language) are a tribute to the brave Rajput Kings who ruled over this once rich and prosperous land.

The typical sloping arches are a signature feature of Rajput architecture.

cenotaph 3
The memorials of a glorious past

This well preserved and magnificent Cenotaph made from Red Sandstone resembles a temple and exhibits a gorgeously decorated  central spire.

towering memorials
Towering Cenotaphs

The interiors and temple like memorial follows the ancient Indian principles of “Vaastu” which keeps in mind the five elements of Nature.

The Winter Sun permeates every niche and corner of the decorated interiors eliminating the need of artificial lights.

 

inside view of the deval
Beautiful Interiors

The glorious past of the region is truly and well represented in Mandor.

The featured image is a stone  sculpture of one of the several Hindu Gods that adorn and protect the Deval of Maharaja Ajit Singh ( do see the previous blog for details)

Fortunately better sense prevailed and we did not give it a miss despite being constrained for time as we rushed to Osian and beyond.

( do read THE ENCHANTING GOATS OF OSIAN at http://www.enchantingforests.wordpress.com)

 

The Flight to Victory

Built about 1000 years ago , the QUTUB MINAR at Delhi is a UNESCO World heritage site.

You can check out on the history and other details on Wikipedia, hence will not repeat.

The pictures that follow track the FLIGHT to THE TOWER OF VICTORY.

approaching

Approaching the magnificent Minar.

If you are flying into Delhi you could be lucky to see the impressive Minar from your window.

moon
The Qutub Minar dwarfs the Moon and the Plane.

The tower was built to celebrate victory over the then ruler Prithviraj Chauhan.

Ruins of the monuments destroyed can still be seen in the Qutub Minar complex even today.Another blog on this aspect will follow.

plane
The Tallest Stone Tower of INDIA.

Delhi has seen many Maharajas, Sultans, Kings and Emperors.

The crown does not rest easy on the head.

Even the crown of the towering  Qutub Minar has  fallen and no longer adorns it’s head.

qutab
The crown as seen today.

The original Crown in Red Stone has today been installed in the furthest corner of the gardens in Oblivion.

Crest fallen
Crest fallen

The plane pulls away from history and gets ready to land at the airport of New Delhi.

landing lights
landing lights on.

Have a marvelous time in Delhi.

AN EXPLOSION OF COLOUR

These colourful sculptures caught my eye outside  the newly launched G cafe at Crown Plaza Hotel In Gurgaon.

Made by artists from Israel, they have been selected by  charming PRAGATI.

These attractive and colourful sculptures surprised me and caught my attention  as I was about to step into  the coffee shop.

As my posts are about joyful  treasures ,I thought this fits the bill.

Do you even need to Guess
                                                         Do you even need to Guess

The charming owner of THE BRUNO  ART GALLERY at Ambawatta One quickly came up to me as I was clicking away at these very interesting sculptures.

Were the Fish in Tango listening ? Fish in Colour                                                      Fish in Colour

I found the explosion of colours bringing a smile to my face as I looked at EVE with the apple.

Was she saying Mirror , Mirror on the Wall…….

Eve?
                                                                       Eve?

Had Charlie Chaplin  already eaten?

What did he Eat?
                                What did he Eat?

I am posting this blog as I recall very  happy moments spent with Pragati.

The colours are a photographers dream and bring immense JOY with them.

I leave the aesthetics and beauty for you to comment upon.

THE WORLD UNDER THE FEET: ANY GUESSES ?

I have noticed many posts stating” World  beneath the feet”.

Thought will add to the fun and add a  query to all who read my blog:

a. Any guess on location ?

Beneath the feet ?
Beneath the feet ?

VISITOR FROM KABUL AND THE POETRY OF WONDER

VISITOR FROM KABUL AND THE POETRY OF WONDER.

wonder in marble

via VISITOR FROM KABUL AND THE POETRY OF WONDER.

VISITOR FROM KABUL AND THE POETRY OF WONDER

Its has been a month since I started writing these posts . Am close to posting  half a century  of blogs and loving every minute of it as I rediscover all the destinations.

The posts are on travels within India and somehow the Taj Mahal  was still missing in my Library of Posts. I had promised to take you on a discovery of India through the lens of nature.I attempt to do so with The Taj Mahal as  well.

My dear friend Kushwant ( on the right)  and the Visitor from Kabul  ( on the left) help in making amends and plugging this vast hole.

the visitor from kabul
The visitor from kabul

People of the world I give you  the Poetry in Marble: THE WONDER OF THE WORLD  THE TAJ MAHAL.

As the Emperor saw it from Agra Fort
As the ageing Emperor Shah Jahan  saw it from Agra Fort

The Taj Mahal is located in city of Agra on the banks of the river Yamuna , about 180 kms from New Delhi. If you leave early morning you can be back in Delhi the same evening.

The ageing Emperor was imprisoned by his youngest  son Aurangzeb in Agra Fort. I imagine his view was just as foggy  on a cold winter morning 500 years ago.

parakeet and the gateway
Parakeet and the gateway

Nature casts its spell in synchronization with the Beauty in marble.Notice the Kite?

the entry
the entry

It is interesting to observe the  harmony of symmetry.spot the birds?

do notice the birds at the tip of minarets
do notice the birds at the tip of minarets

The top of the dome of the Taj peeps over the walls.

we can glimpse the main dome
we can glimpse the main dome

Hold your breath as you get the first glimpse of this Wonder of the World.

through the gateway and lo and behold
through the gateway and lo and behold

The Taj Mahal is the perfect poem in marble by an Emperor who mourns the loss of his beloved Queen.

poetry
What a wonder 

Is it a pigeon undertaking an aerial survey?

the pigeon and the taj
the pigeon and the Taj Mahal

Which each photograph that follows, we draw closer to this Marvelous monument of Love.

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a glimpse through the branches

The detailing  is achieved by a complex inlay of precious stones .

detailed inlay work and poems in arabic
detailed inlay work and poems in arabic script

A garden of precious stones is unvieled.

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inlay work

Each panel of flowers is unique and finds no replica in the Taj. I find it interesting to correlate each flower to one in the sprawling gardens of the Taj Mahal.

flowers in marble
flowers in marble
flowers in the sprawling gardens
flowers in the sprawling gardens

IMMORTALITY , ATONEMENT , THE ORIGIN OF A RIVER and MORE : TRYMBAKESHWAR JYOTIRLING

As mentioned before the Sinhasta Kumbh takes place at two places. We have already been to Ram Kund at Nashik. The second part takes place at the Kushavarta Kund in Trymbakehwar.( 30 kms from Nashik) .

Trymbakeshwar is nestled in the  Sahydiri Hills  on the  Brahmagiri mountain.The names of the hills  and the region are a fountainhead of numerous mythical tales.

Anjaneri hills, birthplace of Lord Hanuman
Anjaneri hills, birthplace of Lord Hanuman

The hills of the Western ghats  are the catchment area for the rivers Krishna and Godavri .

The revered river Godavri ( also called the Ganges of the south) originates from the Brahmgiri hills, trickles into the Kushvarta Kund , goes onto the Ram Kund and then joins the sea in the Bay of bengal.

approaching the epicentre
Approaching Trymbakeshwar

Trymbakeshwar is  one of the twelve Jyotirlings, of which I will write in detail later.Have written on a few Jyotirlings before as well.Have personally been to Eight of the twelve.

first glimpse
first glimpse

It reads JYOTIRLING: SHRI TRYMBAKESHWAR TEMPLE . We had been forewarned of a waiting period extending to several hours before you could enter the main temple.

However the Lord himself had cleared the path and we were inside the sanctum sanctorum within a few minutes. It’s a gorgeous temple with antiquity written on every stone.

the main entrance
the main entrance

A wall painting spotted outside a wall adjoining the temple depicts Lord Shiva.

No beginning no end Lord Shiva
No beginning no end Lord Shiva

Nature is an intrinsic part of Hindu mythology and folklore. Trees and animals are protected by the hand of God.

The location of ancient temples like Trymbakeshwar in catchment areas ensures the survival of rivers as well. Ancient folklore and myth entwined with religion are a guarantee that the environment is protected.

The area has the highest precipitation in the region  and it was pouring on the day we went as well. Do observe the pictures well and you will see the clouds had descended to ground level.

trees
trees
the town
the town
sadhus
sadhus

An intrinsic part of a Kumbh is the process of taking a dip in the holy waters.

You hold your nose and squat  ensuring  the water covers your head. This is the process of Atonement or cleansing the sins of the past.

Kushavarta, Origin of the river Godavri
Kushavarta, Origin of the river Godavri

Lord Shiva is represented in the form of a Shivling. Milk and water is poured on the Shivling in a process called Abhishek or coronation.

abhishek
Rudra Abhishek

The Kushvarta pond is surrounded on three sides by these halls you see in the picture which have the most amazing statues of the Hindu pantheon of Gods.

prayers
Prayers being offered by a couple

The Peshwas , the rulers of the region, had these aesthetically designed temples and halls constructed  600 years ago, which are used to date

a corner
a corner of the halls that surround Kushvarta

It is possible you miss this statue of Lord Vishnu , it is from here where the River Godavri originates.

river godavri
Origin of the river Godavri

I was lucky to witness this amazing sight as well.The cow is licking the statue.Have never seen such a sight in 51 years of my life.

lord krishna and a cow
lord krishna and a cow

The author in traditional attire getting a ‘tilak’ on the forehead.

tikka
” Shiva tilak”

I am aware have used a large number of words and names which make the head of many spin. Relax, email me if you want to know more or simply enjoy the scenic beauty of TRYMBAKESHWAR.

BEDAZZLED WITH FAITH , IMMORTALITY AND ATONEMENT AT THE SINHASTHA KUMBH

It is fabled a drop of Amrit (nectar)  which grants immortality  fell from the kumbh ( urn ) at the RAM KUND, Nashik.

The Urn was carried by  Garuda ( the king of serpent eagles and vehicle of Lord Vishnu) .

This hoarding at Nashik tells the story of the Kumbh
This hoarding at Nashik tells the story of the Kumbh

I am writing with the hope that the article is read by a vast number of people and my travelogue motivates them to go to  the Sinhastha Kumbh. The Kumbh is happening as I write  and  the fair will continue till the end of September 2015.

faith : at the feet of God
faith : at the feet of God

I was not even aware, let alone go to one,  of the significance of the Kumbh Melas till about 3 years ago.Thereafter it has been a never ending educational  journey . The Kumbh is a must visit for people from all walks of life. ( believers or non believers, Hindus and non Hindus)  It is a chance of a lifetime to witness and learn about this massive upsurge of humanity. 

It is a literary congregation/festival  of  scholars , sadhus and priests besides millions of people.

It reads
It reads ” the festival for Humanity is now taking place, welcome to the KUMBH fair  at Nashik”

It is a religious fair held once in 12 years when the Sun and Jupiter enter the constellation of   “Leo”, the Lion. ( Singha is Lion in Hindi) .

A unique fact about the Nashik Kumbh is that it is held simultaneously at two locations, Ram Kund at Nashik and Trymbakeshwar ( 30 kms from Nashik) .

Ram Kund at night
Ram Kund at night

Thus we will go to both , we go first to the Ram Kund which is in the heart of the charming city of Nashik.

ram kund at 0700 hrs
Ram Kund at 0700 hrs

Panchvati, Nashik ( location of the Ram Kund)   is a historic site as it is supposed to be the place where Lakshman cuts the nose of Supranakha, hence the the name NASHIK.

( please read the epic Ramayan)

Lord Ram with his bros including Lakshman
Lord Ram with his brothers including Lakshman

The antique  panel above is located at the base of the Ram Stambh( pillar) located at Panchvati near the Ram Kund. You have to look for it. I was lucky to spot it as a priest was there offering flowers.

Ram Sthamb connects me to Tirupati
Ram Stambh connects me to Tirupati

The U shaped mark is the symbol of Lord Vishnu and can be seen at Tirupathi in particular. The flight of stairs descends to the ghats and Ram Kund where you take the traditional dip to wash away  your sins.

The Stambh or Pillar also marks the centre of Panchvati where Lord Ram lived for two and half years with Sita and Lakshman.

It is interesting that a temple dedicated to Lord Venkateshwar is located a few minutes away from this site.

Small temples are located under trees along the river banks and even in the midst of  the river. Mythology, nature and religion form a beautiful amalgamation.

The city seen from the ram kund
The city seen from the Ram Kund

Millions have come and gone bound in the faith that a dip in these waters will atone all sins of the past. I too took a dip with thousands of others and symbolically  offered the water to the Sun God.

The Goddess Godavri flows from Gaumukhs.
The Goddess Godavri flows from Gaumukhs.

The closest natural event to the Kumbh is the migration in far away Africa.The lady has traveled  1500 kms with her ailing husband to carry the holy waters in her urn ( kumbh)  made of brass.

the urn is revered and cannot be placed on the floor
the urn is revered and cannot be placed on the ground

Do see the kumbh ( urn) in the foreground

the banks of the river Godavri at panchvati
the banks of the river Godavri at panchvati

Trees temples and people all merge. Man and woman exist in all  symbolized by Ardhanareshwar. Only the  two combined can complete the picture .

Lord Shiva as Ardhnareshwar
Lord Shiva as Ardhnareshwar

Trees are revered and you will observe people pray to them too.Even God’s creations are worshiped.

a tree and a sadhu
a tree and a sadhu

There are numerous bridges across the river.The temple is  unique  as the the first rays of the sun touch  the feet of the ruling deity, the Creator  Lord Vishnu on the  21st of  March .

sundarnarayan temple forms the backdrop
Sundarnarayan temple forms the backdrop

The sun has set,  and I sign off with two captivating images of the Kumbh Mela.

Rameshwaram twemple
Rameshwaram temple

Nandiji on the banks of the RAM KUND

om namah shivam
Om Namah Shivaya

We now head to the second half of the Kumbh at Trymbakeshwar.