Thursday, May 31, 2012

Bahá'í House of Worship (Lotus Temple)

March 25, 2012

Another must-visit place we headed out to while in Delhi was the Bahá'í House of Worship, or more popularly known as the Lotus Temple.

As the name suggests, the temple is aptly named Lotus Temple because of it's structural design. If it is not that obvious in the photo, it's either I took a really bad shot or you need to have your eyes checked. :)

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Penguin Books' Spring Fair (aka Learning About Contemporary Indian Literature)

March 24, 2012

After coming back from the Akshardham Temple, I decided to make good on my plan to check out Penguin Book's Spring Fair that was happening at the nearby India Habitat Center. This is in line with Penguin Books India's 25-year anniversary celebration.

The night's event was a reading, something like a competition in a way. The winner of the "reading competition" gets the shot at becoming Penguin Books India's next big thing!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Swaminarayan Akshardham in Delhi

March 24, 2012

After eating, we went back near the Red Fort area to find another fort that's supposedly accessible to us. We went round and round till our faces burned (thanks to Kevin's sunscreen for damage control) and finally realised that the fort we were looking for is actually part of the Red Fort and can only be accessed by going through Lal Quila!

Anyway, by the time we realised that, it was already so hot that when I reminded Kevin and Rosie about my plan to go to Akshardham Temple (thanks to Brod Dwight Ronan for telling me about it), we settled to take a tuktuk instead of returning to the Chandni Chowk station and traveling towards Akshardham station (I think two train changes are required).

Akshardham from a distance

Hygienic Restaurant at Old Delhi

March 24, 2012

All that walking and basking (aka burning) in the sun made us hungry. Actually, thirsty at first but later on, hunger kicked in as we saw the menu on this "hygienic" restaurant.

Chinese Thali of some sort: chow mein, manchurian balls,
veg fried rice, and chili paneer

Old Delhi Red Fort - seat of the Mughal Empire

March 24, 2012

There was a time, long long long ago, when Muslims thrived in India. However, hundreds of years later, the Muslim population is now considered as one of the minorities in the contemporary Indian society. Nevertheless, the era of the Mughal Empire has been marked with several monuments (click on the monuments tab) like tombs, mosques and gardens.

Apart from these monuments and places of worship, the Mughal Empire also built the Red Forts to serve as their seats of power. I heard there are many red forts in India. One of the most famous is the Red Fort (Lal Quilla) found in Old Delhi.

Revisiting Old Delhi - Jainism and Shivaism

March 24, 2012

Do you remember the guided tour we had in Old Delhi? Kevin, Rosie and I decided to return to Old Delhi to visit the other monuments and places of interest that we missed. The main destination was the red fort but of course, there's always other things to see in between.

According to Wikipedia (yes, I am quoting Wikipedia!!!), the Sri Digambar Jain Lal Mandir, or the Red Temple, is the oldest and best-known Jain temple in Delhi. The Red Temple is directly across the Red Fort. The Lal Mandir was originally built in 1656. Red sandstone was used to build the temple for its current state, thus earning it the name "Lal Mandir".
Sri Digambar Jain Lal Mandir (Red Temple)

Monday, May 28, 2012

Ugadi Festival - Curtain Call and After Party

March 23, 2012

So, as if the dance performances were not a treat enough for us, we got invited to the after performance dinner too! But before that, photo opp first with Abhinaya, Seetha ji, and Mr. Nagajothy.

Photo opp! Kevin's not in photo since he was the one who took this.
(Abhinaya found my dupatta/scarf pretty. Explained that I wore it for
the occasion. Design had the Apsaras, the traditional dancers of Cambodia)

Ugadi Festival - Brindavani Thillana

March 23, 2012

For the finale, the group performed the famous Brindavani Thillana.

The opening pose. The most dramatic entrance of the night!

Brindavani Thillana explores the technical side of Kuchipudi that involves only the Nritta or pure dance of Kuchipudi.

I wonder what kind of discipline is required to be able to dance like these graceful Nritas!

Ugadi Festival - Adivo

March 23, 2012

This is a kirtanam by Annamayya. Despite the rigorous religious period he lived in, he was the first from his time to oppose superstitions and caste differences in his poetry and he mainly composed songs that were spiritual.

The formations look like the real statues of deities

Ugadi Festival - Shivashtakam

March 23, 2012

Shivashtakam is a set of eight verses written by the greatest Hindu philosopher Adi Sankaracharya. This is a vigorous dance that brings out many karanas or the athletic side of classical dance that has been mentioned in the Natya Sastra.

This is the solo performance of Abhinaya. I could swear, Seetha ji was looking at her very closely
during the performance. hehehe. Oh well. No worries. She was like a celestial dancer!

Ugadi Festival - Gajavadana Beduve

March 23, 2012

Gajavadana Beduve starts with the dancers going in a circular pattern on the stage.

This formation was repeated several times

According to Indian theatrical tradition, the Ashtadikpalakaas, the eight gods of directions, is prayed to in order to calm and pacify them.

Ugadi Festival - Ma Telugu Talli Ki

March 23, 2012

This dance is officially the first actual dance performance, as Vani Ki Vandanam is technically more of a ceremonial dance. :)

Look closely into their eyes--they speak volumes

Ugadi Festival - Vani Ki Vandanam

March 23, 2012

Vani Ki Vandanam is an invocatory dance in which the dancers welcome the audience to watch the Nritya Pradarsanam or dance performance of the evening.

First Pose

Ugadi Festival - Ceremonies and Explanatory Notes

 March 23, 2012

Our Hindi teacher, Seetha ji, also happens to be a dance guru. Actually, that's her real profession. She teaches classical South Indian dance. This is also how, on a fateful Friday night, we got invited to the celebration of Ugadi, Tamil New Year, at Delhi Tamil Sangam.

Lighting the Ceremonial Torch

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