Vailankanni – Lourdes of the East

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The journey to the coastal town of Karaikal, via Nagapattinam was pretty scenic, with the sea giving us the company. The authentic South Indian breakfast served by the small but neat restaurant of Hotel Krishna was perhaps one of the best meals I ever had.

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Pitti Palace -The Florentine Grandeur

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We thanked the museum staff for the courtesy extended to us. We went to admire the lush green Boboli Gardens, the mid sixteenth century garden style which incorporated longer axial developments, wide gravel avenues, a large amphitheater built of stone and the lavish statuary and fountains.

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Canterbury, the Cathedral Town

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As we had a flight to board the next morning, we left Canterbury at four in the evening, passed through the Dover Castle, saw the port through which the majority of cross-channel traffic passes and reached our friend’s house at Norwood Green, right on time to grab some good liquor and a delicious Punjabi meal.

After a long day’s excursion, soaked in the mystic grandeur of Canterbury, floating in the splendid aroma of the fine French wine served by our hosts, what could be more blissful than to slip into a warm bed with one’s adorable wife.

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Vrindavan – Jai Shri Radhe

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Despite the grandeur of ISKON Temple, the Banke Bihari Temple, built in 1864 is still the most revered and vibrant shrine in Vrindavan. The temple was originally established by Swami Haridas, a great Krishna devotee, known for his soulful devotional bhajans (was also the guru of the famous musician Tansen). He discovered the sacred deity of Banke Bihari (also popularly known as Thakur ji) at Nidhivana, where Banke Bihari was originally worshipped.
The deity was moved to Vrindavan on completion of the temple in 1864. The most interesting thing about this temple is that, unlike most of the other temples, the curtain is not left open. The curtain is put shut every few seconds and drawn back with a great chanting of Thakur ji. This is probably done with a view to shroud the icon for a moment. It is believed that the brilliance of eyes of Thakur ji can make a person unconscious, if seen for too long a stretch. Another notable feature is that the lotus feet of the deity can be seen only once a year, on Akshaya Tritiya, which falls sometimes in April / May.

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