Thursday, March 17, 2016

Birla Mandir, New Delhi

Looking for a quiet, offbeat place in Delhi for a peaceful outing? Birla Temple is the place! Built in many cities, Birla Mandir has an unmatched uniqueness and beauty. Devoted to Goddess Lakshmi and Lord Vishnu, the temple in Delhi is a spiritual hub for everyone.
Entrance view from the street


Lakshmi Narayan mandir, also known as Birla Mandir, was built by B.R.Birla and J.K.Birla in 1939. It was inaugurated by Mahatma Gandhi on the condition that the premises would be open to all castes and people from all religions would be allowed inside.
Temple from rear side
Spread over 7.5 ares of land, the three storied temple premises houses many shrines, fountain, garden, assembly hall and many artefacts from History. Located on Mandir Marg, Connaught Place in New Delhi, the beautiful east facing temple is difficult to miss. It draws huge footfall during Diwali and Janamashtmi. Painted in yellow and red, Birla Mandir boasts of beautiful carvings and marble work.

                      
Marble statue 
Dharamshala
The ground floor has marble statues from the entrance of park area, dharamshala, small shops selling religious mementoes, flower shops, and photographers thronging the visitors!

You can only take pictures at ground floor, since mobile phones and cameras are not allowed inside the temple at first floor.
First floor view above cloak room
The first floor has shrines of all Hindu deities, a gigantic bell gifted by Chinese, a beautifully carved pillar structure by Japanese and Buddha shine. The right wing of the first floor has Geeta Bhawan for bhajan and aarti. The gathering is an eternal bliss.

Reconnect with your soul, unwind yourself and feel at peace. A quiet and beautiful place worth visiting at least once. Go, visit the temple this weekend, away from the hustle bustle of life.


Monday, March 7, 2016

Mughal Garden


The mesmerizing Mughal Garden, in the vicinity of President of India’s house, New Delhi, sees a huge footfall each year for two reasons-
  1.  The garden is open to public only for one month in a year during spring time
  2.  Free Entry (hehe)
My plan to see the garden every year never materialized till March 2016 when hubby and I at last got a chance to visit it.
Vehicle parking is literally on the road. Though security personnel are deputed in every nook and corner, yet you park at your own risk. For those commuting via metro, alight at Central Secretariat metro station and hire an auto to Mughal Garden gate number 35.


Cameras are not allowed inside the premises. But hey! mobile phones are. All handbags or carry bags are deposited at cloak rooms, built separately for men and women. Get prepared to walk a long distancefrom the security check to the garden entrance, as well as inside the vicinity. The first eye catchy building is a white building with the words “Pranab Mukherjee Public Library”. Who misses a chance of a selfie with the name?

The sign boards and admin staff guide you the direction to follow. Divided into sections, the garden houses herbal plants, bonsai plants, musical fountain, spiritual garden, main Mughal Garden and vivid colorful flowers of the spring plants.

If only you like to walk and love nature, go to Mughal Gardens, else stay out of it. Sun shines overhead, hence advisable to cover your head and wear sunglasses. Even during the pleasant time of the year, the heat turns to be unbearable during the day.

The herbal plants section does not have many flowers, but surely educates you on the names of the herbs which are widely used in cosmetics or Ayurvedic treatments. So many names and so less time to read all. The following section is an interesting mix of bonsai plants.

                                           

These plants made me think how amazingly humans can modify the growth of plants in a little pot! Descend from this section to an over crowded area named Musical Fountains. The water springs up in different patterns on change of music tracks, usually patriotic songs of India. This surely is the most enjoyable place.

Musical Fountain
Lush green leaves bordering along the walls and railings adds to the charm of the flowers popping out from every inch through the bushes. Climbers and shady trees multiply the joys. The ground has mowed grass which is not allowed to walk over; I hate those who disrespect the rule and curse them under my breath! Just because the security personnel is kind enough not to shoot you down, does not mean you take undue advantage of the same! Several plants and flowers were sabotaged by silly people. Grrr!


The most beautiful part of the premises is the main Mughal Garden, surrounding the main building of the Rashtrapati Bhawan. The beauty is beyond words. You have to look at the pictures.

After the full round of the place, a gallery with hanging pots and a gorgeous fountain surrounded by flowers in the pattern of terrace farming, you move into spiritual garden. This sections holds trees and plants that have been mentioned in the epic books or are related to spirituality; like Ashoka Tree from the Ramayan or the lemon shrub with zesty citrus aroma.

Drinking water counters have been installed at many places. Advisable to keep yourself hydrated every time you cross the water counters. Women and agricultural development societies have their stalls installed outside spiritual garden selling plants and apparels. Do peep in. Plants are available at very low prices!

As you walk out breathing fresh air and treating eyes to the brightest hues, you are tired. Even before you reach the cloak room, you’d be surrounded by hawkers selling papad and chips. Never mind, leave the pace with good memories and happy mind.

Some vital info-
  • Operating time- 10 am to 4pm
  • Open to public- Only from mid Feb to mid March, changes every year. 12thFeb to 19th March was 2016.
  • Water bottles, eatables, camera, hand bags not allowed inside the premises.

Monsoon Palace, Udaipur