These places in Shimla may force you to lose your heart to someone

Some places in Shimla are not just tourist destinations, they are about some profound life experiences. In my case, one of these places is connected with a beautiful girl who stole my heart away more than twenty years back.

The Ridge Area

Yes, if you want to steal someone’s heart then the Ridge area is the place to be in. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, this place has that magical feeling which cannot be explained. The Ridge is one of the places in Shimla which will always be etched in your heart. Won’t you be interested what it did to me in the winter of 1992?

places in Shimla
The Ridge, Shimla. Creds: TopYaps

I was a young man then and was traveling to this magical town but my travel had little to do with fun. This trip was more about learning- I was a trainee geologist. While I and my gang were waiting for a bus in the Ridge market, I saw a most beautiful girl having red cheeks! Those cheeks were like apples and  I swear, I hadn’t seen cheeks like those all my life until then. Cupid struck me and for the remainder of my trip, I was always trying to locate that lass.

Today, the Ridge area is a lot more romantic place. Honeymooners make it a point to visit this landmark in Shimla and make it a part of their memories. If you haven’t visited the Ridge until now, then do it now.

Places in Shimla-read on…

My search for the beautiful lass took me to the Scandal Point. Some smart Alec told me that the best place for finding her was this scandalously named place. Scandal Point, hmm, I said to myself, here I come.

Image result for images of ScandalPoint
Image Creds: TripAdvisor

Alas, I did not find her here, either. But what I did discover was the fantastic history of this place.

Scandal Point is so named because from this place more than a hundred years ago the Maharaja of Patiala had eloped with a British girl! Now, this girl was the daughter of the then British Viceroy and this affair became a major scandal.

But, who was this Maharaja?

I did a little bit of research and discovered that he was nobody else other than Rajinder Singh of Patiala. This man had several wives and was quite evidently, a ladies’man. When this affair was discovered, the king was banished from entering Shimla by the British. Undeterred, Rajinder Singh founded a spankingly new town for himself, Chail, which is located 45 kilometers from Shimla.

My search for the fair lady took me to other places in Shimla too.

Jab We Met at The Mall

places in Shimla
The Mall Road, Shimla; Creds- TopYaps

Every city has a road peculiarly named, The Mall Road. I think that the word, Mall, means a street lined with high-end shops. Is this why this road is named so in Shimla?

Ruskin Bond Uncle says that when the British came to the hills, they made roads that resembled the tree-lined promenades of London. They named these avenues Mall Roads.

Image result for images of shimla mall road

Did you know that several Hindi movies like Jab We Met and Black were shot in the Mall area? Ah, now I can see you planning to visit this pretty area and checking all those sites that you saw in these movies. No?

By the way, there is a lovely property of Treebo Hotels in the Mall area. I found this hotel clean, fresh and warm in hospitality. The staff is polite, friendly and helpful. If you are visiting Shimla on your honeymoon, I would advise you to stay in this property.

Ring a bell at the Jakhu Temple

Monkeys greet you at this ancient Hanuman temple upon your arrival. This is one of the very few places in Shimla that give you an unhindered view of the Shivalik Hills. It is located just a couple of miles from Shimla and can be reached by taking a pony or a horse.

Image result for images of jakhu temple shimla

Do you know the history behind this amazing place? Locals say that when Lord Hanuman was rushing back to Lanka after carrying the sanjivani booti, he decided to spend a few hours in Jakhu to recoup his energy!

Did I pray to the Lord to help him find my beloved? Yes. And after visiting this temple, I was filled with a new found resolve to find her.

Also read-http://www.ahauntedtravel.com/most-haunted-places-in-shimla/

Annandale- Shimla’s own Scotland

If you are married, then you must not visit this pretty place which is located a few miles from Shimla. The woods of Annandale are dark, deep, and unspoiled by construction and human activity. Annadale hadn’t come up when we were in Shimla twenty years back but travelers now swear by this place. The Indian Army has made a museum in this place which is open on all the days except on Mondays.

Image result for images of Annadale Shimla
Image Creds: TripAdvisor

All the coffee lovers rejoice! There is a pretty cafe in Annandale which will nourish your heart, body, and soul.

Annandale is truly a lover’s paradise.

Summer Hill- Reliving the 1960’s Romance

One of the best places in Shimla to rekindle your romance is the Summer Hill. A UNESCO heritage site, Summer Hill is one of the seven hills of Shimla. When the Brits came to this wooded place in the nineteenth century, they decided to make it accessible by laying down a railway line. The toy train from Kalka to Shimla chugs through Summer Hill and the nearby valleys and forests wowing its passengers.

Image result for images of Summer Hill Shimla
Image Creds: MapMyIndia

Did you know that Rajesh Khanna romanced Sharmila in the epic, Aradhna while driving his jeep along this Kalka-Shimla railway line?

Image result for images of Summer Hill Shimla

The surprise of the package- Summer Festival

Are you a music and dance aficionado? In that case, don’t forget to attend the Shimla  Summer Festival. This is the place to go to enjoy local music, culture, dance and make new friends.

And who knows, you may meet your lady love here.

How to reach Shimla

You can reach this beautiful place by taking a bus or train from Chandigarh. Alternatively, you can also book a flight to Shimla from New Delhi.

For booking your train tickets, visit this website- www. irctc.co.in

So, that’s it , boys and girls. Let me know how was your trip to Shimla this June.

 

 

These events in Delhi NCR will refresh you for the next week

These events in Delhi NCR  are all about story telling, history walks and trips to haunted places. Also lined up is an event that takes you to pre-historic site in Delhi

If you are a history fan and want to know more about the 100, 000-year-old past of Delhi, then you have come to the right destination. We promise that after attending these events, you will come back for more such interesting stories.

Over the past few months, India Travel Blog has escorted many travelers from abroad in history walks and various events.Some of them are featured above and sure, they look happy and excited.

If you are planning to travel to India shortly, don’t miss these events in Delhi NCR this week.

Red Fort Stories- of Badshahs and their Concubines

 

One of the events in Delhi NCR  is about the fantastic stories of the Mughal dynasty that ruled Delhi. This event will cover the following sessions:

  1. The Mughal Harem- what was it like. A harem is a place where all the ladies used to live together.
  2. The status of the Mughal women in the Harem; were they sex slaves or normal humans?
  3. Famous Four- Noorjahan, Mumtaz, Jahanara, and Roshanara- their lives, and loves
  4. Father and Son- The Jahangir/ Akbar and Jahangir/ Khurram conflicts
  5. The tragedy of being a mom- Manbai and her times
  6. Did Jodhabai really exist? If yes, what was her real entity?
  7. The tragic story of Khusro, the grandson of Akbar who would never be the Mughal Emperor
  8. Castrated, but powerful enough- The Nazirs of the Mughal Harem. The harem was guarded by eunuchs, did you know that?
  9. The Princess who held her own Litfests in the Red Fort !who was she?
  10. Malls of Lust- The Meena Bazaar Tales
  11. Roll Call- All stand-up! The Dewan-e-Aam Spectacle.

events in Delhi NCR this week

Of course, we shall go around the Red Fort premises and share all the above hauntingly beautiful stories among ourselves.

We will also go to the ancient Salimgarh Fort which was the imperial jail for the Mughals.

Do you know that the spirit of a long dead Mughal princess roams around in this prison?Who is she?

events in Delhi NCR
The Meena Bazaar of Red Fort

Venue- Red Fort Ticket Counter

Dates- July 15,17,19,21,23,25,27, 29, 31

Time- 9 AM-12PM.

Time of Assembly- 8.45 AM

Price- Rs. 1,200 per adult. Kids below 10 years will not be charged. Please note that this price includes snacks (tea/coffee/samosa/ cold drink).

Snacks shall be provided by me.

Kindly buy the ticket to the monument by yourself. 

The Angrez, The Sultan, and The Pigs

 

One of the events in Delhi NCR this week happens in the Mehrauli Archeological Park.

Do you know that this Park has monuments which are thousands of years old?

We cover the following destinations on this trip:

 

Mehrauli Archeological Park
We assure you will go back with happy memories
  1. Visiting the haunted palace of  Sultan Balban and listening to his fantastic story
  2. Balban and his relationship with his masters and subjects.
  3. The concept of Sultanate and its relationship with the Caliph of Baghdad and Turkey
  4. The origin of the Slave dynasty in Delhi
  5. Who were the Tomars and why did they lose to the Turks?
  6. Did Prithviraj Chauhan really rule Delhi?
  7. Yoginipura, Mehrauli, and Delhi- exploring the relationship between these three settlements
  8. The arrival of the East India Company
  9. The colorful character of Mr. Thomas Metcalfe, his lives and times
  10. Fact and Fiction- the ‘haunted’ tomb of Jamali. But who was Kamali?
  11. The ancient water ‘cafes’ of Delhi-why were they made?
  12. Stories of Jealousy- the Adham Khan affair
    events in Delhi NCR this week
    Listen to the hauntingly beautiful stories of Mehrauli

    exciting events in Delhi NCR
    The Mehrauli Archeological Park has started getting  foreign visitors also

And yes, like all the other events in Delhi NCR, this one too will involve a lot of walking, climbing etc so please wear hiking boots or sports shoes.

Excitement guaranteed!

Venue- Mehrauli Archeological Park, Delhi (Near Qutub Minar)

Point of Assembly- Qutub Minar Metro Station

Time of Assembly- 8.45 AM

Duration- 9AM-12PM

Dates-July-2,4,6,8,10,12,14,16,18, 20, 22, 24, 26, 28, 30.

Price- Rs. 1,200 per adult. Kids below 10 years come free. Please note that this price includes snacks (tea/coffee/samosa/ cold drink). Snacks shall be provided by me.

Entry to this monument is free. 

Also, read- 10 Travel Tips for India that no one will tell you!

The Palace of the Dead

 

This event will take you to Humayun Tomb, one of the most beautiful structures in Delhi. The event details are:

  1. The start of the Mughal dynasty in India
  2. Babur and Humayun- a study in contrast
  3. Gulbadan Begum and her times
  4. Humayun and his harem
  5. The Shah of Iran meets Humayun what happens next?
  6. Hamida or Baga- who commissioned Humayun  Tomb?
  7. Is Humayun really buried here? Controversies and more controversies
  8. The mystery behind the Barber’s Tomb
  9. The concept of milk brothers or kokas.
  10. The concept of Badshahat and how different is it from Sultanate
  11. Dara.O Dara!
  12. This King had 700 wives, who was he?Humayun Tomb

Venue- Humayun Tomb Ticket Counter

 events in Delhi NCR
A group of young Taiwanese students has fun inside the Humayun Tomb premises

If you want to read more on Humayun and his times, please click here: http://asi.nic.in/asi_monu_whs_humayuntomb.asp

How to reach Humayun’s Tomb- The nearest Metro Station is that of Lajpat Nagar. From there, take an autorickshaw or Uber.

Time of Assembly 3.45 PM

Duration- 2 hours, 4-6 PM

Dates- July- 2,4,6,8,10, 12, 14, 16, 18, 20

Price Rs. 1,200 per adult. Kids below 10 years come free. Please note that this price includes snacks (tea/coffee/samosa/ cold drink). Snacks shall be provided by me.

Kindly buy the ticket to the monument by yourself. 

2-day trip to Bhangarh Fort

 

If you like visiting haunted destinations, then this event is for you.

We go on a 2-day trip to the haunted fort of Bhangarh in Alwar.

Bhangarh is a medieval era fort and is a very interesting place for people interested in spirits and ghosts. Locals say that there are many spirits which live inside this fort. Would you like to interact with them?

Of course, we will not stay within the fort. Our stay will be at a hotel nearby.

The duration of the trip is just 3 hours from Delhi.

Date of the event- July 29, 2017- July 30, 2017

Start time- 7 am July 29. Finish time- 10 pm, July 30.

Charges per head- Rs. 5,000 per head. This figure includes cost of travel, and hotel stay.

... Fort - World top most Haunted Place | Bhangarh Fort… | Flickr

Important notice for all those attending these events in Delhi NCR

 

Kindly note: You can make payment in cash or through PayPal.

My e-mail id is; swayamt@gmail.com

Ph. -91-9810840763

I would urge you to check out my Facebook Page to know about  my other events and notes:

https://www.facebook.com/swayamt

You may also look up my Twitter profile: www.twitter.com/swayamt

Other events in Delhi NCR

 

Theatre

 

  • Ashadh ka Ek Din, (Hindi Drama) Shri Ram Centre, Safdar Hashmi Marg. Kalidas falls in love with Mallika, a girl who lives in the mountains. What happens next? This play was written several decades ago by Mohan Rakesh. Date- July 28. Time- 4 pm/ 7.30 pm. Tickets- INR 15/250/350/550
  • Chakravyuh, (Hindi Drama), Kamani Auditorium, Copernicus Marg. This is the thirteenth day of the Mahabharat War and Abhimanyu is trapped in a Chakravyuh. Director- Atul Satya Kaushik. Date- July 29. Time- 4pm/7pm. Tickets- Rs. 200
  • Kaali Shalwar, (Hindi Drama), Shri Ram Center, Safdar Hashmi Marg. Directed by Atul Satya Kaushik, this play narrates the tale of Sultana, a prostitute, who is determined to break the stereotypes around her profession. Date- July 30. Time- 4pm/7pm. Tickets- Rs. 200/- 
  • The Cabuliwala ( English drama), Akshara theater, Baba Kharak Singh Marg. This play is an adaptation of Rabindra Nath Tagore’s Kabuliwala which tells the story of the friendship between 5-year old Mini and Rehman, a much older man from Afghanistan.Date- July 29. Time- 7pm.Tickets- Rs. 250/ 150
  • Abducted, ( English drama), Akshara Theatre, Baba Kharak Singh Marg. A young woman is kidnapped by two men and is held hostage in a small room by her abductors. They are demanding ransom of more than a million dollars from her father. If you are a fan of thriller drams, then go watch this one. Director- Jalbala Vaidya. Date- July 30. Time- 6.30 pm. Tickets-Rs. 250

Lapsed events

  • 2 Shades of Life, Alliance Francaise, Lodhi Estate. This Hindi play is about 6 Indians who steal a valuable piece of art in Antigua.By the time when they return to their hideout, the painting is gone. What happened to the painting? Date- July 15. Time- 6. 15 pm. Tickets- Rs. 100/-
  • Love ka Overdose, Hindi Comedy, Sri Ram Centre, Safdar Hashmi Marg. Adam and Eve start their journey, not from Eden but Haryana. What happens next? Date- July 14, Time- 7 pm. Tickets- Rs. 500/200
  • Bali ( Hindi Drama), LTG Auditorium, Copernicus Marg. Written by Girish Karnad, this Hindi play tries to explore te connection between violence and religion. Date- July 16, Time- 4 pm. Tickets- Rs. 500/ 100
  • Baap re Baap ( Hindi comedy), Alliance Francaise. Things get funny when Babu Banarasidas goes missing from his house one fine day. Director- Amar Sah. Date- July 15. Time- 6 pm. Tickets-Rs. 500-200
  • The Cabuliwala ( English drama), Akshara theater, Baba Kharak Singh Marg. This play is an adaptation of Rabindra Nath Tagore’s Kabuliwala which tells the story of the friendship between 5-year old Mini and Rehman, a much older man from Afghanistan.Tickets- Rs. 250/ 150
  • Broadcast at Oddbird  Theater, 100 feet road, Dhan Mill Compound, Chhattarpur. This event will broadcast the happenings around Partition. It will be a spinechiiling event as all these broadcasts actually happened in 1947. Relive the days of the Partition. Date- July 14-16. Time- 10 pm. Tickets- Rs. 500
  1. Hamlet (Hindi), Shri Ram Centre, Safdar Hashmi Marg, Mandi House. This play is a part of the Summer Theater Festival. Director- K. Madavane. Date- June 23. Time- 7 pm.
  2. Deewangee( Hindi thriller), Alliance Francaise, Lodhi Road. A young businessman is introduced to a popular singer, Sargam by a music magnate, Ashwin. The next day, Ashwin is found murdered in his house. Whodunit? Director- SP Singh Sengar. Date- June 25. Time- 7 pm. Tickets- Rs. 300/-
  3. Bharat Mata ki Jai ( Hindi drama), India Habitat Center, Lodhi Road. Who is Bharat Mata- this was one of the top concerns of the noted filmmaker, Khwaja Ahmed Abbas. Watch this drama and get the answer to this question yourself. Director- Lokesh Jain. Date- June 25, Time- 7.30 pm. Tickets- Rs. 500/350/200
  4. Log Baag ( Hindi drama), IHC, Lodi Road. A delightful play comprising 8 stories of Chekov, all woven together, this play is a must watch. Director- Arvind Gaur. Date- June 24. Time- 7.30 pm. Tickets- Rs. 100/-
  5. Hello Darling (Hindi comedy), Mavlankar Auditorium, Sansad Marg. This one is a laugh riot where a couple is trying to outsmart each other with the help of a maid. Director-Yogesh Sanghvi. Date- June 25. Time-7.30 pm. Tickets- Rs. 2500-250/-
  6. Dayashankar Ki Diary ( Hindi drama), Alliance Francaise, Lodhi Estate. Dayashankar, a small town simpleton, tries to carve out a living in Mumbai. Director- Krishna Kant. Date-June 25. Time- 5pm.Tickets- Rs. 300/-
  7. Baap re Baap ( Hindi comedy), Alliance Francaise. Things get funny when Babu Banarasidas goes missing from his house one fine day. Director- Amar Sah. Date- June 24. Time- 6 pm. Tickets-Rs. 300/-
  8. Chhutti (Hindi comedy), The Stein Audi, IHC, Lodhi Road. A story within a story within a story within a story; this play is all about intermingling stories. Director- Ashish Ghosh. Date- June 24, Time- 7.30 pm. Tickets-Rs. 500/200-

Screenings

 

If you are a movie fan, then these events in Delhi NCR are all about movies.

  1. The Darwin Puzzle– IHC, Lodhi Road. Based on the life of Charles Darwin, this play is directed by Radhika Chandrashekhar. Date-June 29. Time- 7 pm.
  2. Plastic Cow- Gulmohar Hall, IHC, Lodhi Road. Even cows are getting affected by plastic and how? Director- Kunal Vohra. Date- June 23. Time- 7 pm.
  3. History of Yoga- Indira Gandhi National Centre for Arts, Janpath. This film explores the 6,000-year old history. It also understands its significance in Harappa Civilization, Vedic age, and the medieval history of India. Directors- Deepika and Ramji. Date- June 23. Time- 5.30 pm.
  4. 23-F (Spanish with English sub-titles), Instituto Cervantes, Hanuman Road, near Connaught Place. This movie is a docu-drama about the failed coup that nearly brought the fledgling Spanish democracy down. Date- June 25. Time- 4.30 pm.

 

I shall update you on more events in Delhi NCR shortly. Hope you enjoy the above-listed ones.

Important links for booking your tickets:

  1. Alliance Francaise- delhi.afindia.org
  2. India Habitat Centre- indiahabitat.org
  3. Shriram Bhartiya Kala Kendra- thekendra.com 
  4. Akshara Theatre, New Delhi- https://www.facebook.com/AksharaTheatreNewDelhi

 

Events in Delhi NCR that have expired 

Screenings
  1. Opera at Habitat Series-Saint Saens’Samson et Dalila ( French with English subtitles), IHC, Lodhi Road. Date- June 12. Time- 7 pm.
  2. Berthe Morisot- (French with English subtitles), ML Bhartia Audi, Alliance Francaise, Lodhi Estate. Date- June 15. Times- 6.30 pm. Director- Caroline Champetier
  3. The Distinguished Citizen (Spanish), IHC, Lodhi Road. Date- June 14. Time- 7 pm. Directors- Gaston Duprat, Mariano Cohn
  4. European Union Film Festival 2017, Siri Fort Auditorium 2, Siri Institutional Area, Asian Games Complex. Date- June 9-15. Entry on First Come First Served Basis.

    Image result for images of Indian Habitat Centre
    India Habitat Centre, Lodhi Road

Theater

1.Chandragupta– Hindi Drama, Shriram Center, Safdar Hashmi Marg

Directed by Varun Sharma, this play takes you through the lives and times of Chandragupta Maurya. If you have youngsters at home, then take them to this historical play and introduce them to India’s glorious past.

Tickets- Rs. 150/300. Date- June, 2. Time- 7 pm.

  1. Big B- Hindi Drama, Shriram Center, Safdar Hashmi Marg

This play is about two English-educated brothers, who speak in Hindi. Kamta Prasad and Samta Prasad have opinions on almost every subject under the sun whether it is politics, cricket, Bollywood or even gulli-danda. Directed by Dr. M. Sayeed Alam and Niti Phool, this play is a laugh riot.

Tickets- Rs. 300-500. Date-June, 3, Time- 7.30 pm.

 

Entry is free. Date- June 3 and 4. Time- 7 pm.

  1. Kauwa Chala Hans Ki Chaal- Hindi DramaMuktadhara Auditorium, Bhai Veer Singh Marg, Gole Market

Jamrood Singh wins Rs. 100 crores in a contest and now wants to become Raja Jamrood Singh Kunwar. He wants to lead a good life and starts copying the other rich people around him. What happens next? This play is directed bu Shyam Kumar and will leave you in splits.

Entry free. Date- June 7, Time- 7 pm.

  1. Yeh Kotheywaliyan- Hindi Drama, Alliance Francaise, Lodhi Road

It is so easy to cast aspersions on ‘women of easy virtue’. This play, directed by Rajesh Tiwari, explores our hypocrisy towards prostitutes and courtesans.

Tickets- Rs. 300-500. Date- June 3, Time- 6.30 pm

Music and Dance

 

1.Dance Recital- IHC, Lodhi Road

Bharatnatyam dance performance by Divya Shiva Sundar. She will perform traditional Margam in Shringara rasa.

Date- June, 8. Time- 7 pm.

  1. Duet Music Performance, IHC, Lodhi Road

Hindustani classical music performance by Dhiman Chowdhury and sarod player, Mohit Pal.

Date- June 6, Time- 7 pm

3. Kuchipudi- Stein Auditorium, IHC

‘Storytelling through Kuchipudi’- a performance by Yamini Reddy

https://youtu.be/QhZ3NX8jJvo
Date- June 9, Time- 7 pm

Please make the payments for the music and dance events at the respective venues, I am not collecting them on their behalf.

Do you have information on any other events in Delhi NCR this week?Please write back to me and I shall surely list your event here.

Thank you, folks, hope to see you one of these days.

 

How much gold does this mysterious Padmanabha Swamy temple hold?

Image result for flickr Padmanabha Swamy temple

Beyond the gates of the Padmanabha Swamy temple  is a secret that nobody knows about! Very few know about this haunted destination and its mysterious past. Some people say that this temple contains an enormous amount of gold and silver. And, do you know that there is a hidden basement in this building which contains millions of dollars worth of jewels, guarded by snakes and cobras?

Won’t you be interested to know more about this interesting place?

You’d be amazed to know that this temple was unknown to millions of Indians until a few years back!. It burst upon the world travel scene one fine day, much like the pyramids of Egypt.

Where is the Padmanabha Swamy temple?

Ever been to Kerala? I am sure you have. If not, then google “Kanyakumari district”. This temple is located in this Kerala district. By the way, Kanyakumari is the southernmost point of India and is also called Cape Comorin .

$22billion and counting

Holy moly! I just discovered that this temple contains  at least $22 billion of gold in its vaults! That is a lot of money! Perhaps this money exceeds the GDP of many small nations in the world like Fiji and Pakistan. All this gold is stored in the eight vaults of this sixteenth-century temple.Perhaps, the Padmanabha Swamy temple is the wealthiest place of worship in the world. And no, we are not talking about the historical value of the jewels. If we started calculating the antique value of all this jewellery, then its value will reach trillions of dollars!

And, who made this temple?

That is a mystery. Nobody knows who made this temple. However, the locals say that the Padmanabhaswamy temple has been in existence since the start of Kalyug.  Now I will have to explain to you what the term, ‘Kalyug ‘means.

You see, in India, we divide time  into four phases depending upon the presence of virtue in the world. There are four phases, Krityug, Satyug, Dwapar Yug, and Kalyug. We define Krityug as   that phase when the world was permeated by virtue and truth. As time passed, the percentage of virtue started decreasing. Lies, deceit, greed grew in the society at the cost of truth and virtue. In Kalyug, lies, untruth and deceit rule supreme. Each phase lasts several thousand years. The current phase of Kalyug has just started ( and it has been several thousand years since the beginning of this phase ).

The temple records say that it was built on the 964th day of the beginning of Kalyug.

Padmanabhswamy temple and Sangam literature

Do you know about the Sangam literature?

No? Again google it.

This literature is very ancient in origin and history. Perhaps, it goes back to more than 2,600 years back. This literature contains records of the social history of South India and is a gold mine of knowledge and information.  You can say that the Sangam literature is a guide to improving our lives. Well, so our Padmanabha Swamy temple is mentioned in this literature several times.

 Padmanabha Swamy temple, creds: Flickr
The ‘gopuram’ or the spire of Padmanabha Swamy temple

Who is the temple is devoted to?

This ancient place of worship is devoted to Lord Vishnu who is the protector of all the virtuous people in the world. He also goes by the name, Padmanabha. This word, ‘Padmanabha’ means one who has a lotus springing from one’s navel. Many images of Lord Vishnu show him reclining on his celestial bed and a lotus flower arising from his navel.

‘Swamy’ means Lord.

 Padmanabha Swamy temple
Lord Padmanabha Swamy. Lord Bramha-creator of this Universe- is sitting atop the lotus, creds- Flickr

The temple and its treasures

Thankfully, we now know how much this temple contains gold, silver and other forms of jewellery. I will try to list some items in the temple’s inventory but list may be incomplete. Here goes:

  1. An 18-foot-long gold chain
  2. A gold sheaf weighing 500 kilograms
  3. A 36 kilo golden veil
  4. There are 1200 gold -coin chains which are encrusted with precious stones
  5. Several sacks filled with gold coins, rubies, sapphires, diamonds, emeralds, necklaces, diadems
  6. Hundreds of gold pots
  7. Crowns made of gold
  8. There is also a  dress for the deity which is made of pure gold
  9. An 800 kilo hoard of gold coins dating back to the 2nd century, B.C. The price of each of these gold coins is Rs. 2 crores , at least.
  10. A golden throne meant for the 18 feet long deity

The current market value of all this wealth is not less than $220 billion.

Now the question arises- where did all this money come from? Well, all this booty came from the tributes paid to the Lord by numerous dynasties like the Cheras, Cholas, Pandyas etc but, many offerings also came from Mesopotamia, Rome and other foreign kingdoms.

Image result for flickr Padmanabha Swamy temple
Treasures!

Much more than the British Crown Jewels

Queen Elizabeth, take a bow! The combined value of all the gems and jewellery of the Padmanabha Swamy temple is much much more than that of your Crown Jewels!

But, did I tell you this- one vault of this temple is still unopened!

The Mysterious vault B

The story of Padmanabha Swamy temple will be incomplete without talking about this mysterious vault. What does it contain? Who guards this vault? Has anyone ever opened this vault?

Image result for flickr Padmanabha Swamy temple
The mysterious Vault B

The devotees believe that this secretive room contains arms and other objects of the presiding deity. The main arm of Lord Vishnu or Padmanabhaswamy is the Chakra or a disc which has several blades. This room also contains several valuables belonging to the Lord. No one can enter this room and the doors are guarded by the images of  snakes and other terrifying animals.

Emily Gilchrist came to India in 1933. She visited Kerala that year and has recorded some details of this famous temple. Gilchrist says that some people tried to enter the Vault B in 1908. However, when they entered the cellar, they found the room infested with snakes and cobras! This event happened in 1908 and since then, entry to this secret basement has been banned.

How to reach Padmanabhaswamy Temple?

This temple is located in Thiruvananthapuram, capital of the Indian state of Kerala. Reaching the city is very easy. You can either book your flight or train to Thiruvananthapuram from any other Indian city.

If you are a train lover, then book your train by accessing this website:

www.irctc.co.in

Did you like this article and would you like to plan a trip to this temple? Please let me know so that I can help  you in this regard.

Please note one thing. If you are a non-Hindu, then you will not be able to enter this temple. However, you can still take snaps of this building from the outside.

 

 

 

 

 

Catch the Kanha National Park tigers before they go on vacation

The Kanha of Kipling

We all have grown up listening, watching or reading stories of Mowgli, isn’t it? Well, you would be surprised to know that the Mowgli stories came right out of the Kanha National Park, India.

I have no doubt that Kipling must have visited this jungle, now called the Kanha National Park. Nestling in the valleys of the Satpura Ranges, this forest is a naturalist’s delight.

Today, this park is one of the finest managed wildlife sanctuaries in Southeast Asia. The tiger conservation efforts in this jungle have really paid off well.

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These are wild dogs and they can bring down a fully grown tiger any day.

But, wait…..have you actually heard about Rudyard Kipling?Or did I assume that you actually have read him?

Joseph Rudyard Kipling was an English journalist, short-story teller and novelist, non pareil.Born in Mumbai in 1865, he wrote several books and short stories for children. Kipling is mainly known for his seminal work,’ Jungle Book’ which explores the tales of Mowgli, Bagheera, Balu and many other animal characters. Many people say  that ‘JungleBook’ was inspired by Kipling’s travels in Central India! He won  the Nobel Prize for English literature in 1907.

Did Kipling write ‘Jungle Book’ while he was in India? No, Sir. He wrote this book during his stay in Vermont, United States. Kipling says that he was inspired to write this book by the stories that he heard from the officials of the Indian Forest Service.

Kanha
The Jungle Book was inspired by the stories of the Royal Bengal Tiger and Mowgli

Kanha National Park – the land of the Gonds

Kanha became a tiger reserve in the  1950s. This forest belt was earlier the habitat of the Gonds, one of the communities which inhabit Central India. Today, the Gonds live a very common life but several hundred years back, they ruled large parts of Central India. The famous Rani Durgawati was married to a Gond ruler from this area.

Kanha
What’s he looking at?

This magnificent tiger reserve is spread in the districts of Mandla and Balaghat of Madhya Pradesh.

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The Gonds at the Kanha National Park rub shoulders with tigers, wild dogs and bisons

 

Real Stories of Kanha National Park

                                                       The story of the gaur and the tiger

 

Did you hear this story of a wounded bison which was attacked by a tiger in this Park? While the bison lay hungry and bleeding, the tiger kept a watch over it, waiting for the gaur to die. But, within minutes, the cries of the gaur attracted its friends which started collecting at that spot. The tiger was forced to flee after a few young bisons attacked the tiger with their horns.

Unfortunately, the wounded bison died a few days later. But for all those days, its friends kept an eye on their fallen colleague. Isn’t this story an amazing example of friendship?

                                                                        He died to save a cheetal

Ravi Singh Thakur was forest guard at the Kanha National Park. He was young, cheerful and deeply committed to his cause. Ravi was a role model to the rest of the Park staff. He would never say no to any duty assigned to him. I am taking about him here because Ravi died saving a cheetal (deer) from drowning in a swamp. How many Ravis can you find today? Very few.

Do you know, that Kanha was notified as a reserve forest in 1878 and was declared a tiger reserve in 1933? A few years later, it was denotified as a wildlife reserve. Taking advantage of the changed conditions, the Raja of Vizianagaram shot dead 33 tigers in 4 years between 1947 and 1951. This led to a national uproar and forced the government to declare this beautiful land as a national park. 

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Can you spot the crocodile?

The Park’s Mascot

Kanha is the only national park in India which has an animal as a mascot. The park authorities have nominated a barasingha. a species of deer as the local mascot. The name of the mascot is Beer Singh. I think this has to do with protecting this species in Kanha National Park from the poachers.

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Beer Singh

Best time to visit Kanha

The best time to visit this amazing tiger reserve is between February and June. After June, the park is shut off to the visitors. The monsoons hit the Indian sub-continent from the end of June, the soil becomes wet and now is the right time to take the census of all the animals in the park. Once the rains are over, and this means September onwards, the Park reopens to its visitors.

So the best place to visit the Kanha National Park is NOW!

Kanha National Park
Tigers come real close to you in Kanha, but here they are resting after a hearty meal.

How to reach Kanha

The closest airport is in Jabalpur, 190 kilometers away. This city is also the nearest railhead to Kanha. From Jabalpur, you will have to take a cab to reach the Park. Be sure to reserve your room in some of the many resorts, hotels located around Kanha. You will also have to book a safari tour before reaching here. Don’t worry, one of my friends runs a safari and he will be happy to host you.

Also, Read- The affairs at the Ranthambore National Park 

If you want to book a government accommodation, click here  http://www.mponline.gov.in/Portal/Services/Forest/FinalForest/foresthome.htm

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The Indian bison can easily kill a full grown tiger. You can see several of them in this jungle.

Since a lot of my readers are from outside India, here is a ready reckoner to reach Kanha:

  1. Take a flight to Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai or Kolkata.
  2. Book a train ticket to Jabalpur using the www.irctc.co.in . You can also book tickets via Cleartrip, Makemytrip or Yatra.
  3. Upon reaching Jabalpur, please contact your registered tour operator.

Ever seen a tiger taking a bath, watch this video,

https://www.facebook.com/saurabh.bhatnagar.581/videos/10213538770970347/

If you do not want to do all this, please contact me and I will arrange your booking. One of my good friends, Saurabh Bhatnagar runs a jungle safari tour company. He can be reached at ceo@junglewala.com

Book your slot by visiting his website www.junglewala.com

That is it, friends, I hope you enjoy your Kanha trip.

 

Pics credit- Saurabh Bhatnagar, CEO, Junglewala Safaris

 

 

 

 

Delhi Events in May 2017-Plays, Workshops, Travel and Much More

Check out this post on the various Delhi Events in May 2017. Find out the most exciting places for eating and entertainment. Unwind yourself by attending art and culture events, dramas and gigs.

Basically, have fun!

Delhi Events in May 2017
Kamani Auditorium

If you want to contribute to this list of Delhi Events in May 2017, write to me at swayamt @gmail.com and we will include in your choice in our next update.

The top Delhi Events in May 2017

Hot Gigs

1.Saturday Anthem with DJ Nyk, Privee

Nyk is a popular DJ in the Bollywood circuit. This Saturday, he brings the house down with his performance at Privee‘. Saturday performances at this club are some of the craziest gigs and sure, you can check this one up with your err..girlfriend.

Time- 10 pm onwards. Date- May 6

2. Kalpnik Bass Live with DJs Kalpnik, Gags, and Japs, Privee

Even as I am writing this, my Grammarly account is auto-correcting me all the time. Anyways, if you have missed your increments this month, dissolve your worries in this Privee event.

Time-10 pm, Date- May 5

Theatre

3. 1500 ka Dost (Hindi drama), Akshara theater, Baba KharakSingh Marg

Rediscover the meaning of friendship in this intense drama by Vayam Performing Arts Society. You know where this theater is, don’t you? It is just next door to the Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital.

Time- 4 pm and 7 pm, Date- May 7. Tickets- Rs. 200/-

4. Alice &Krishna in Wonderland (English drama), Akshara theater

A quirky take on Lord Krishna and  Alice of Alice and Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll. Director Jalabala Vaidya sure has a knack of cooking up weird and quirky dramas.

Time- 6.30 pm, Date-May 6. Tickets- Rs. 250, 150

Delhi Events in May 2017
Gopal Sharman and Jalabala Vaidya of Akshara Theater

5. Toba Tek Singh (Hindi drama), Amphitheater, IHC, Lodi Road

My list of Delhi Events in May 2017 would be incomplete about this Toba Tek Singh do.

Bishan Singh is an inmate of a Lahore asylum and has to be transferred to India following an agreement between India and Pakistan. Toba Tek Singh was written by Saadat Hussain Manto in 1955 as a satire on Indo-Pak relations. This play is directed by Sunil Rawat.

Delhi Events in May 2017
Saadat Hussain Manto

Time- 7.30 pm, Date-May 5.  Tickets-Rs. 200

6. Chidiya aur Chand (Hindi drama), Shri Ram Center, Safdar Hashmi Marg

How is it like to come to terms with one’s life’s reality? Soak in this experience by attending this play directed by Vikas Bahri.

Time- 6 pm, Date- May 6. Tickets- Rs. 500, Rs. 200

7. Kaali Shalwar (Hindi drama), Shri Ram Centre, Safdar Hashmi Marg

Sultana wants to wear a particular dress on Moharram and all hell breaks loose. Why? Sultana is a prostitute. Directed by Atul Satya Kaushik, this play will move to tears.

Time- 6 pm. Date-May 7. Tickets- Rs. 500, Rs. 200.

8. Run for your life (English comedy), Alliance Francaise, Lodhi Estate

Sabby Gill is one hell of a con guy. He manages two wives because of the precise schedule that he follows as a taxi driver. But one day, his luck runs out because of an accident. What happens next?

Director- Rishi Mehta.

Time-6 pm. Date- May 7. Tickets Rs. 500/-

9.Khamosh Adalat Jari Hai (Hindi drama), IHC, Lodhi Road

Directed by Sunil Rawat, this play touches upon various issues like gender divide, hypocrisy, unfulfilled desires etc.

Time- 7.30 pm. Date- May 7. Tickets Rs. 200/-

10. Pakistan aur Alzheimer’s (Alliance Francaise), Lodhi Estate

A 90-year-old buzurg recalls his years in the pre-Partition years in a confused and haphazard way. This gentleman  suffers from Alzheimer’s’, ha ha ha. Director- Saleem Shah

Time- 7 pm. Date- May 7. Tickets- Rs. 500

Adventure

11. Exploring Lalkot, the City of Love, Chivalry, and Betrayal

Take a walk om the ancient walls of Lalkot, the second city of Delhi with me. The walk starts at 7 am and would take you through some of the unknown parts of Delhi. Would you like to take part in this adventure? Write to me and we will plan something fantastic.

Delhi Events in May 2017
The ruins of Lalkot

Music & Dance

This list of Delhi events in May 2017 will have to include these two performances:

12. Summer Ballet Festival 2017, Kamani Auditorium, Copernicus Marg

This Bhartiya Kala Kendra Festival will showcase four dance dramas- Meera, Karna, Durga, and Khajuraho. I shall definitely go there, will you?

Date- May 5, 6, 11, and 12.

To check schedules of these programs, click here > http://www.kamaniauditorium.org/

13. A Tribute to Kishori Amonkar, Nehru Park, Chanakyapuri

Legends Girija Devi, Mithilesh K. Jha, and Pandit Vinay Mishra pay a musical tribute to one of our music goddesses, Kishori Amonkar. This event is brought to you by SPIC-MACAY and IGNCA.

Time- 6.30 pm, Date-May 5.

Please watch this video and appreciate the genius of this Devi!