Temple of the Emerald Buddha - Amazing Thailand

This series is based over my reflections upon visiting Thailand.

Shahjahanabad (Const 1648 CE)- The Legacy of Delhi Series (Vol 8)

'Shahjahanabad' is the eighth post in a series of 9 articles on the former capital cities which were built in the historical region of Delhi. Read on to know more..

Hill Fort of Kumbhalgarh, a UNESCO World Heritage Site

Know more about this incredible World Heritage Site here..

The Immortal Kumbh Mela - Mahakumbha of 2013

Believed to be the largest congregation of mankind in the world, read my series of posts to know how it feels like to be amongst a magnitude of people

Guru Dongmar Lake, one of the highest in the world

Few destinations have the ability to change your life; Sikkim being one of them. Check out the series 'Sikim Soujourn' to find out why ?



Friday, July 29, 2016

Yoga Retreat at Namah Vol. 1 - The Yogic Experience

 On the eve of International Yoga Day (which falls on June 21st) Namah Resorts organised a Yoga Retreat in their property in Jim Corbett National Park. The retreat included Yoga sessions led by Yoga experts from Saptarashmi and performing Yogic Kriya's like Kunjar Kriya, Neti Kriya e.t.c. I was one of the bloggers who was invited for this fitness themed travel trip.

Since almost an year now, I have turned to exercising and weight training in order to stay fit (keeping my health in mind) so I thought this was a nice oppurtunity to try my hand at Yoga, explore the Jim Corbett National Park (in the monsoons) and also explore the Namah Resort. So this travelogue is a part of a series of 3 articles where I would explore these three aspects one by one.

Everyday the retreat would start with us performing the Kunjar (or Vaman) Kriya and the Neti Kriya early morning. Let me explain these kriya's through pictures -

The Jal Neti Kriya is performed by pointing the nozzle of the utensil (used for Neti) and letting the water flow into one nostril and flow out of the other. This helps in clearing the sinuses and is greatly beneficial for people living in a polluted environment and asthmatic's. The two precautions which need to be kept in mind is that the water needs to be lukewarm (not cold) and that you 'have' to breathe through your mouth !

The Kunjal Kriya is performed in two steps. In the first pic here we have to drink as much water (luke warm and mixed with some salt) as possible in a short period of time.

In the second step of Kunjal Kriya you stick your fingers inside your mouth and massage the little tongue located at the base of your tongue so that all the water (which you just drank) rushes out. This kriya helps in clearing out your stomach of all the undigested food present in your stomach (which you had consumed the previous night) and hence prevents indigestion.

After performing these two kriya's early in the morning we would be treated to a Herbal Drink which consisted of honey, ginger, ajwain e.t.c.

The Yoga Gurus from Saptarashmi preparing water for the kriyas !

The retreat conducted by Yoga Instructors from Saptarashmi was a good one and they made us perform all kinds of asana's (pose's) like Pranayam, Matsya (Fish) Asana (Pose), Dhanur (Bow) Asana (Pose), Magar (Crocodile) Asana (Pose) e.t.c. As I was performing these asana's myself I was unable to click pics. So here are two which I could source-

Performing meditation which involves concentrating on one's breathing. (Pic source from FB Page of Namah/Jim Corbett)

 The Nataraja (Lord of Dance) Asana. This asana promotes flexibility in the limbs and core muscles which in turn help in retaining posture/balance. It also strengthens the legs and ankles.

 One of the favourite asanas which I performed was the Dhanur (Bow) asana where we would lie down on our stomach and hold our ankles with our hands. It really helps in promoting flexibility of our back muscles and strengthening our core muscles !

What made performing yoga for us bloggers a wonderful experience was the presence of the Himalayas and the jungles of Jim Corbett looking over us while we exercised !

This video shows the serene and lush green surroundings where we did the kriyas and Yoga (especially on the 3rd day). The chirping of the birds, the presence of the dense forests of Jim Corbett National Park and the Himalayas only add to the grandeur of the location !

 It is my personal opinion that performing yoga at such a serene environment is the next best to performing yoga at the sandy banks of the River Ganges !

(to be continued.....)

Note - Images, unless mentioned, have been clicked by Mr Arvind Passey)

Friday, June 24, 2016

The Himalayas at Jim Corbett National Park

The densely forested Himalayas (pic clicked from Namah Resort, Dhikuli) are an integral part of the Jim Corbett National Park, which surrounds it. It is home to a diverse variety of flora and fauna apart from being home of the tiger ! It is located in the state of Uttarakhand.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Begumpuri Masjid, New Delhi (14th Cent CE)

A close up of the facade in front of the main dome

Located off Sri Aurobindo Marg, in Begumpuri Village; this heavily encroached upon Mosque is a class apart, architecture wise. Constructed on the orders of Jauna Khan Telangani (prime minister of Feroz Shah Tughluq and son of Khan i Jahan Maqbul Telangani) , Begumpuri Masjid (Mosque) of Delhi was one in the series of seven mosques constructed by him with the others being - Jama Masjid (Ferozabad), Khirki Masjid (in Khirki Village, opposite Select Citywalk Mall), Kalu Sarai Masjid, Kalan Masjid (Turkman Gate of Old Delhi), Kalan Masjid (Nizamuddin) and Wakya Masjid (Lahori Gate).

View, upon entering the mosque
The moment you climb up the moderately steep stairs of this mosque, you would find yourselves in a lofty domed gateway which would lead you to the expansive courtyard (surrounded by a 3 aisled corridor whch is interrupted by gateway entrances and the mihrab) where, during its heydays, this ruinous mosque would be full of life and would have grand carpets spread upon its, now stony, floors and great shamiana's (tents) spread overhead so that the faithful could pray at ease.

.The large courtyard, where at one time large tents and carpets would be present to offer the prayers

 Worn out Mihrab on the Qibla (west facing) Wall
If we look at what remains of this architecturally distinct mosque, it is the manner it has been constructed. Jauna Khan Telangani took personal interest in the designing of the seven mosques he had commissioned and tried to incorporate a unique feature in each of them.

 View of the concealed dome
In this mosque the main dome over the Mihrab is screened by a large wall thus giving an initial impression (from a frontal viewpoint) that the dome does not exist. There are narrow (and dark) stairs which can take you to the top of this wall and the giant dome behind it !! The wall also has a slight slant to it , something reminiscent of the Tughluq style of architecture; and has false minars at both its ends, to beautify as well as to strengthen the structure.

Begumpuri Masjid is a 2 aisled mosque

Shot of an aisle
The roof of the aisles, which surround the courtyard have 2 rows of domes which are running parallel to each other. The walls of the mosque have arched gaps at periodic intervals, thus providing a view of the outside.

 Interior of the Main Dome
The Begumpuri Mosque, now over 600 years old, is also a classic example of how neglect, by the concerned authorities, resulted in the mosque being encroached upon by all sides by residential houses and squatters creating permanent residences 'inside' the mosque. It was only after a prolonged legal battle between ASI and those squatters the courts ordered all the squatters to be shunted out, one by one. But, that said even today the mosque can see the presence of anti social elements by seeing broken bottles and litter.

 Another shot of the courtyard, this time facing the entrance
It is recommended to visit the mosque during day time and preferably with someone. If alone take the help of the guard posted at the gate or 'just keep your eyes open'.

Friday, April 8, 2016

Qutub Minar, Mehrauli, New Delhi (Const 1206-36 CE)

The Qutub Minar was commissioned by Qutbuddin Aibak in 1206 CE and completed by Sultan Iltutmish in 1236 CE. This minaret is believed to have been named after Hazrat Qutubuddin Bakhtiyar Kaki, a Sufi saint of Chistiya Silsila. He was revered by Sultan Iltutmish and his shrine/dargah is close to the Qutb Complex.

The Qutb Minar is the tallest brick minaret in the world (at 72 metres). As per various historians this UNESCO World Heritage Site is believed to have been inspired by the Minarets of Jam, Ghazni, Bukhara e.t.c. But Historian Ziyauddin Desai believed that the Qutb Minar is inspired by a minar in Khwaja Siyaposh in Sistan (S-W Afghanistan).

Qutub Minar has a total of 5 stories and it was topped by a chattri (installed by Ferozeshah Tughluq). The lowermost, and the tallest floor has 24 flutings. The architecture of the Qutub Minar is such that from a distance it would appear like a bundle of reeds ! Inscriptions on the minar have been found in Perso-Arabic and Nagari Scripts which shed light on its history and the repair works done over it.

Being so tall in height the Qutub Minar has often been prone to lightning strikes across the ages. It has been damaged and subsequently repaired quite a few times across its 816 years old existence by various sultans like Ferozeshah Tughlaq (14th Cent CE), Sultan Sikandar Lodi (1489 - 1517 CE) and the Britishers (in early 1800's CE).


Sources -
1. Indo-Islamic Architecture by Ziyauddin Desai
2. ASI Sources (Website/Information Board)
2. Wikipedia

Friday, March 25, 2016

Article on Kumbhalgarh - Hill Fortress of Mewar (Rajasthan) (Const 15th Cent CE)

Last year I had written an article over Kumbhalgarh and it was accepted by Ezine to be published on it's site. A very informative article, I would like to share it's link with you. Please got through it and let me know your views !

Just to let you know in brief Kumbhalgarh is a UNESCO world heritage site and has the longest continuous wall in India (36 kms) and the second longest wall in Asia, after the Great Wall of China ! Kumbhalgarh Fort was built by Rana Kumbha (in 15th century CE) and was the birthplace of Maharana Pratap !

Here's the link to the article - http://ezinearticles.com/expert/Rohan_Anirudh_Singh/2056412


Friday, February 5, 2016

Article on The History of New Delhi - Capital of Capitals

Last year I had written an article over The History of New Delhi - Capital of Capitals' and it was accepted by Ezine to be published on it's site. A very informative article, I would like to share it's link with you. Please got through it and let me know your views !

To let you know in brief the article traces the history of the historical region of Delhi and it's rise in significance over a period of time. This article also introduces you to the various capital cities which the historians built in the historical region of Delhi !

Here's the link to the article -