Uttar Pradesh

Sardhana – A piece of Vatican in a dusty UP town

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Move to the right where the front of the building is and you get the imposing view of the church. Magnificent Doric columns adorn the verandah; the Roman domes – large one in the middle over the main altar and the smaller ones over the wings – are similar to the domes of St. Peter’s Basilica, Rome. The massive steeples on both sides pierces the sky; the one on the left holds two bells whereas the other used to have a clock.

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The magic of Kashi Vishwanath, Varanasi

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We were back to Varanasi around 2 PM. Our driver dropped us near Thatheri Bazar as we wanted to explore the area on foot ourselves. Bronze and brass products especially ornaments are sold here. Another purpose for coming to this market to enjoy the “Ram Bhandar” which is quite famous for amazing Poori, Sabzi and kachori.

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Varanasi

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I do not care for the ‘truths’ they have faith in or the ‘lies’ they spread. This is not the first cremation that I am descrying nor shall it be the last, but in this moment, I’ve understood the human endeavor of fighting death with life. The answer to the fears of our faith is in welcoming it with our arms wide open and embracing it like a long lost brother. It’ll be perhaps in this gesture that the faithful shall be granted nirvana.

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Around a 1000 strong crowd has gathered to see what is a daily ritual but is as powerful and enchanting as it must have been a 1000 years ago. The spiritual seekers have loaded the boats – some to get a better view, some for better pictures and some for their beliefs – an adventure of a lifetime. The head priest is crying hoarse asking people to sit down calmly – all the skills of a masterful showman.

So much for the lonely moksha… (sigh)

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अयोध्या नगरी – प्रथम भाग

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शायद उस नन्हे से टीले को वे कोई बड़ा पर्वत ही समझ रहीं थीं और बड़ी खुश हुईं. टीले के ऊपर भी एक मंदिर है, जिसमें सीता-राम का नयनाभिराम विग्रह है. मणि पर्वत के बारे में जनश्रुति है कि हिमालय से संजीवनी बूटी ले कर लंका जाते हुए हनुमान जी ने पर्वत-खंड को रख कर यहाँ विश्राम किया था. अन्य लोकोक्ति यह कहती है कि राम विवाह में राजा जनक जी ने इतने आभूषण इत्यादि दिए थे कि अयोध्या लाने पर उनका एक पर्वत बन गया, जिसे मणि पर्वत कहते हैं. मणि पर्वत से नीचे उतर कर मैंने महसूस किया कि माताजी के मन में पर्वत चढ़ने से थोड़ी थकान छाई हुई है. शायद जिसे मैं नन्हा-सा टीला समझ रहा था, वह उनके लिए किसी पर्वत से कम नहीं था.

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आगरा का मनकामेश्वर मन्दिर

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आगरा में भगवान शिव जहाँ स्वयं आये थे कहते हैं कि आगरा के मनकामेश्वर मन्दिर में स्थित शिवलिंग की स्थापना स्वयं भगवन शिव ने की थी जब भगवान श्री कृष्ण मथुरा में जन्म ले चुके थे. पौराणिक दृष्टि इस मंदिर का इतिहास लगभग साढ़े पांच हजार वर्ष पुराना हमें द्वापर युग की याद दिलाता है, जब भगवान शिव कैलाश पर्वत से इस स्थल पर आये थे.

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A visit to Banaras or Varanasi

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Our next destination Sarnath is about 10 km from Ramnagar. On the way to Sarnath, we saw Sher Shah Suri Makbara. We were at Sarnath around 1 pm and we all were hungry. So, we first ate Dosha and drank Cold Drink in Vaishali restaurant.

We hired a guide there, guide told us that Sarnath has five main point; Ashoka Stupa, Main Temple campus, Japanese Temple, Sachi Stupa and God Budha statue. Ashoka Stupa ruins and Bodhi Tree inside main temple campus are famous and most important place in Sarnath. Main temple is designed in Japanese temple architecture and walls inside the temple have been painted related to God Budha life. We visited all points but we did not explore much due to very hot day.
“भगवान बुद्ध की विशालकाय मूर्ति, मंदिर के दीवारो पर चित्रित उनकी जीवनी, बोधिवृक्ष के नीचे पाँच मित्रों के साथ बनी उनकी मूर्ति उस समय का अनुभव कराती है ।”

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Bura na mano holi hai

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It was my 43rd holi.  You must have guessed my age. But here I am not talking about my age. Here I am going to talk about Holi which I celebrated first time at Vrindavan with my beloved friends and their families and it was a lifetime experience. My childhood friends usually visit somewhere in India at least once a year with family. Which increase our bonding in between family and our child.

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Delhi – Patna road review

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Once you are out of Agra, the road gets a little better and traffic reduces. Press the pedal and hit Firozabad. This is the first city (after Agra) where you would start to feel the Mughal Era. Some of the old buildings could be still seen, the city is known for its bangles and glass work. There are these big tempting bangles showrooms which you need to pass quickly else a female fellow traveler’s urge makes you stop.

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वृन्दावन – राधा कृष्ण की रासलीला स्थली………….

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पागल बाबा मंदिर दर्शन के बाद अब हम पहुंचे श्री कृष्ण प्रणाम परम धाम मंदिर में। यह भी बहुत सुन्दर मंदिर था तथा यहाँ पर सशुल्क यन्त्र चालित झांकियां भी थीं, हमने भी झांकियां देखीं, कृष्ण भगवान के जीवन पर आधारित ये झांकियां बड़ी ही मनमोहक थी, बच्चों को तो यह शो इतना पसंद आया की वे मंदिर से बाहर निकलने को राजी ही नहीं हो रहे थे। अब हम फिर अपने वाहन में सवार हो गए थे, ये दोनों मंदिर तो मथुरा के ही बाहरी इलाके में थे अतः मैं सोच रहा था की अब शायद मथुरा की सीमा समाप्त होगी और फिर कुछ देर के बाद वृन्दावन शुरु होगा, लेकिन मेरा सोचना गलत साबित हुआ, अभी मथुरा समाप्त ही नहीं हुआ था और ड्राईवर ने कहा की वृन्दावन आ गया। मुझे बड़ा आश्चर्य हो रहा था की ऐसे कैसे वृन्दावन आ गया।

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Delhi – Moradabad – Sitapur – Lucknow : Road Review

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Anway, so about two weeks back, I drove till Maigalganj (40 odd KM ahead of Shahjahanpur) on the way to Lakhimpur. I didn’t intend to write this post since I have not really done the complete stretch but I met Aditya the other day and he convinced me that it still makes lot of sense to do a small review. For the remaining stretch, he promised me to get inputs from other people so here it is.

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हस्तिनापुर के राजा परीक्षित का शुक्रताल: मुज़फ्फरनगर, उत्तर प्रदेश

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यहाँ पहुँचने के लिए गूगल मैप्स के भरोसे ना रहें क्यूंकि मैप में शुक्रताल को लोकेट नहीं किया जा सकता. वैसे रास्ता बहुत सरल है और मुज़फ्फरनगर बाई पास से मात्र ३५ मिनट में सुगमतापूर्वक आप शुक्रताल पहुँच सकते हैं.

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Music by the ghats of Varanasi – The Mahindra Kabira Festival

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Mrs. Sucharita Gupta. While Harpreet sang some soulful self-composed pieces on Kabir, Mrs. Gupta worked her magic with thumris, bhajan and you-name-it on Kabir. It is another level of performance when the artist herself feels elated and wants to continue performing bringing out new stuff from the bag. And classical/semi-classical Indian Music works well with our taste and sensibilities. So it was, as they say, magical!

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