My visit to Mathura & Vrindavan City – Banke Bihari, Prem Mandir

Friends,

Went for a long drive to Mathura, the city of Lord Krishna, associated closely to Vrindavan (city of thousands of temples).

I drove approximately 360 kms to and fro and had a wonderful time.

Long Drive to Mathura Vrindavan

The city of Mathura & Vrindavan expresses the history, philosophy of lord Krishna in manifold ways. This is my 2nd time to the city and I am a frequent visitor now.

This is Prem Mandir (Temple of Love)

Prem Mandir Vrindavan

This is on the way Kusum Kund (Flower Pond)

Vrindavan City

Lord Banke Bihari Temple

Banke Bihar Temple

Scenic beauty of Vrindavan

I took many more pictures and videos and I will share them more as soon as I get time.

Take care and have a nice day

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Birla Mandir Temple in New Delhi, India

Friends,

Yesterday I was doing a Guitar recording nearby Central Delhi as such happened to visit Birla Mandir after a long time once again.The temple is one of the famous historical places of Delhi.

Birla Mandir New Delhi Travel

Birla Mandir (Birla Temple) refers to different Hindu temples or Mandirs built by the Birla family, in different cities of India.

Birla Temple Central Delhi India

Birla Temple of Delhi a.k.a Laxminarayan Temple, was constructed in year 1939, is a Hindu temple dedicated to laxminarayan in Delhi, India. Laxminaraya is lord Vishnu, preserver in Trimurti, also known as Narayan, when he is with his consort Lakshmi.

Birla Mandir Temple in Delhi India

All these temples are magnificently built, with beautiful architecture in white marble or in sandstone. Birla temples are located in a prominent locations and cities of India, carefully designed to accommodate a large number of visitors.

Travel Birla Temple New Delhi India

My visit to Lhasa Tibetan Restaurant Dehradun

As you go closer towards Mussoorie through Rajpur, Sahastradhara Road, you will be amazed to see a prosperous Tibetan community, lots of monks, monasteries, libraries, universities and restaurants etc. These Tibetans are well-woven in the fabric of Uttarakhand, Dehradun in India and have further made it more colorful, spiritual and beautiful.

One of the many reasons I am proud of my country India is that my mother nation is capable to adore every culture & community. A famous ancient Hindu quote says “atithi devo bhava” which means that ‘the guest is equivalent to God” and no matter how low would politics go, love and acceptance is inherent in our roots. Tibetans are no longer refugees in India but part of it and practice their religion with freedom and pride.

I got very excited and curious to learn and feel the world of monks and stopped at one of the Tibetan Restaurant named as ‘Lhasa Restaurant’. Lhasa is the administrative capital of Tibet in China and here it is one of the best restaurants for Tibetan Food. I also wrote a lot of other restaurants at my ‘I am a foodie’ category

Here I ate lot of varieties of dishes with my mother as Kothay Momos, Veg and Cheese Momos, Singapuri Chowmein, Pan Cake with Tea. I tried one more specialized Chinese food restaurant chains in Delhi but I found a lot of variety here, which was quite good.

I will be visiting some library and a university in coming few days to explore more of Tibetan community. I took some snaps for sharing them with you. You can stop at here at Lhasa to eat something if you are ever visiting Mussoorie.

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The Radiance of Rajasthan, India

The Radiance of Rajasthan

India, being the seventh-largest country in the world is a highly diversified nation with 29 states and 22 official languages spoken across the homeland and with Jaipur as the capital city. Each state is like a new country as it has its own languages or dialects, specific culture, music, garment ensemble, colorful arts, festivals and many other specialties. It has a multi-ethnic, pluralistic community. A cornucopia of culture and traditions. This diversity has made India more appealing and  famous among tourists.

Rajasthan or “the land of kings,” with its vibrant culture and exquisite heritage is one majestic place to be when you’re in India. I find this place a totally unique world of its own. Despite the crazy fad of the modern era, the people of Rajasthan still don their stylish traditional garbs with much pride and  continue to adapt and maintain their traditional lifeways to thrive in the present times.

The Rajasthani society is an interweave of predominantly Hindus and sizable minorities of Jains and Muslims and yet regardless of their religious differences, Jain, Muslim and Hindu Rajasthanis mingle socially with each other.  The costumes of Rajasthani people are very vibrant and colorful. Men traditionally wear kurta, dotis or chudidar payjama and paggar or safa (kind of turban headgear).  While women wear the kanchli or kurti (top) and the ghagra (long skirt). Their clothing varies as dependent on the weather and climate in the region. They are also big fans of ornaments, gems, golds and silver ornaments are reflection of their status in the society as well.

Rajasthani Music involves the major schools of music in Udaipur, Jaipur and Jodhpur and has high reverence for rare ragas. Jaipur Gharana has complex and buoyant melodic rhythm, which is its most distinguishing feature. Singer Alladiya Khan was one of Rajasthan’s pride during the late 19th and early 20th century.

As to culinary expertise, each state of Rajasthan have their own style of recipes and each Rajput household have their own prized recipes that were passed on by their ancestors from generation to generation and in connection to their geographical location in the region. High protein and low-fat diet usually consists Rajasthani diet except for the Marwari cuisine, which is highly rich in its contents. You can expect a rich cuisine for both vegetarian and nonvegetarian dishes. Distinct aroma and flavor are very evident and is achieved by blending various spices such as tamarind, coriander, garlic, ginger, cloves, cinnamon, pepper, cumin etc.

I was able to try Rajasthan’s famous dish, called “Dal-Baati-Churma”. It is a little bread with lots of clarified butter and roasted over hot coals then served with a dry, flaky sweet made of gram flour,  along with desert fruits and beans for Ker-Songri.

Rajasthan, is on the western side and is India’s largest state by area. The climate here is so unique that at one end there’s a desert and at the other end it could be very chilly. It actually has a tropical desert climate and can be extremely cold from October to February while it can be very hot from March to September, where dust storms and hot winds can occur in the desert tract.

The Radiance of Rajasthan is not just an eye candy but it also offers the rich and magnificent history and culture of India in a fascinating light. It truly deserves to be called, “The Land of Kings.”

A quick detour to Mukteshwar Hill Station Uttarakhand

With two days to spare for a short holiday near Delhi, I opted to head to the Mukteshwar Hill Station in Nainital, Uttarakhand with a few friends. The numerous zigzag roads from Nainitaal to Mukteshwar is  dizzying and can make you nauseous as you go higher the altitude to get to the hill stations. Despite this discomfort, the astounding sceneries will emerge to blur your worries away. As we go higher, we got to appreciate the landscape even more.

The Indian Himalayas , particularly the Nanda Devi, which is India’s second-highest peak was a scene to behold as we peek outside our car window, as we enjoy the fresh and cold breeze of nature. It took us approximately 6.5 hrs to spin around from Noida to Nainitaal and another 2 hrs to the hills of  Mukteshwar.

Mukteshwar is a town and also a popular tourist destination in the Nainitaal district, Uttarakhand. The area derived its name from a three and a half century old Shiva Temple. From  the lord of salvation, Lord Shiv- mokshya in Sanskrit which is also called mukti in local language, thus the name Mukteshwar- who provides mukti (salvation) was coined.

A few meters walk up to the Mukteshwar temple is the old Lord Shiva Temple where Shri Mukteshwar Maharaji ji lived and where his Samadhi was found too.  It was rather a small but sanctified place for those looking for some sacred and solemn meditation moments in the hills. I also played some guitar in the valley of Mukteshwar hills.

The adventurous fellows will surely  seize the day by rock climbing and rappelling the highest point in Mukteshwar, the Chauli ki Jali, a sacred hole said to be blessed by Lord Shiva, which is also  a great spot to observe eagles and other birds scoop down their prey or to simply enjoy the breathtaking landscape of Mukteshwar.

The orchard of the regional station of Central Institutes of Temperate Horticulture has wide deodar forests that are also home to various wildlife such as deers, rhesus monkeys, languor, red billed leothrix, other birds, and occasionally tigers and bears also drops a visit.

The Indian Veterinary Research Institute (IVRI) have hostels or guest houses and laboratories situated in Mukteshwar as well.

Mukteshwar is indeed the ideal place to enjoy walking and being one with nature. Plus it’s close to Delhi, it’s a quick way for a sweet escape from the urban jungle. After two days, I felt energized and ready to go back to the reality, such a busy life. But I bear in mind the tranquillity and space I got when I was able to unwind in the hills of Mukteshwar.

Travel and Musings by Kapil Srivastava

of wanderlust and nostalgia

Kapil Srivastava, also known as the Guitarmonk, has been traversing myriad trails of India. As he captures breath taking sceneries, solemn acts of devotion to Hindu gods as well as the festive atmosphere and mesmerizing culture while immersing and engaging his personhood to cultivate his own dreams and experiences, which  is now about to be shared to the world.

This travelogue is a compilation of Kapil’s more than a decade of  journeys that will guide you through the cities of Delhi, Nainital, Mussourie, Dehradun, SD Road Jollygrant, Mukteshwar, Agra, Puri, Vaishnodevi, Mathura & Vrindavan, Himachal, Kufri & Narkanda, Goa, Khajjar and Auli.  Kapil shares the remarkable nature and beauty of India through his observations, practical knowledge and photographs while he searches every nook and corner of each city  for real estate surveys or to set up a Guitarmonk venues to bring the guitar cheer to our countrymen. Find out more practical facts and discoveries from different destinations through Kapil’s perspective.

Be enthralled as we unravel the mysteries and anthropologies of our nation. Don’t be a stranger in our own land. Explore India and make memories for you to cherish and pass on to the future generations. Be proud of our own Indian heritage. As Henry Miller puts it, “One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.” – Kapil Srivastava

The travel guide series for travelers by Kapil Srivastava was made possible by Abysm Publishing. The series will launch its first issue post Diwali on Mussoorie Hill Station.

Press Release [ABYSM PUBLISHING]

Taj Mahal – India’s monument of love

 

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Taj Mahal India’s monument of love

A trip to Agra will never be complete without paying the famous Taj Mahal a visit. Since childhood, I was in a complete awe with this associated love story of Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan for his beloved wife, Mumtaz Mahal, who passed away after giving birth to their 14th child.This monument is an expensive construction or modification as being such a finished, artistic, massive monument of its times. The King wanted to keep the loving memory of his late wife with time immemorial.

After a four and a half drive from Delhi, I arrived at 8am in Agra, in the state of Uttar Pradesh,  India. Even at such an early time, flocks of tourists have already formed a queue at the entrance. Not wanting to be with bigger crowd later on, I immediately paid for the 20 INR local fee, while tourists have to pay 750 rupees. Also remember to bring only the basics, your wallet, camera, and mobile phone because big bags are not allowed and many items are prohibited inside the Taj Mahal. Taking pictures of the mausoleum is not even allowed.

First to welcome me was the certain grandiosity of the red stone gates. A three-storey red sandstone structure with a central arch and two-storeyed wings on both sides where verses from the Qu’ran in Arabic were inscribed in black calligraphy. Apparently, that was just the start of the majestic visual treat for me. The main monument itself was even more beautiful at a closer look.

Built with perfect symmetrical planning, the Taj Mahal, is adorned with colorful hues of precious stones in intricate designs. Even the horticulture at the ornamental gardens where two marble canals with fountains and lined with cypress trees were well planned. I just stood there as I was too mesmerized by the perfect reflection of the Taj. A real beauty indeed.

Truly, this trip has definitely drew me thinking deeply about love and faith. And I figured out that the real beauty of the Taj Mahal is beyond its  royal facade, it’s the beauty of the heart and the ultimate display of romantic love that made this monument endure fame and glory whilst withstanding the test of time.