Thursday, 14 January 2010

Delhi (and travel): On the Move

30/05/2008

Travel requires a lot of energy and even more patience. But mainly, it just requires interest. I guess it wasn’t all that bad on the return journey- what with the Gujjar scare and all! But most of what I can remember involved dozing off and waking up to eat lychees and chips and gulp in pulpy orange. Quite uneventful, really!

On reaching Delhi, amma insisted on going to Akshardaam, which is a monumental masterpiece with a philosophical touch to it. It is stunning- mind-blowingly beautiful, with its nine domes surrounding the shrine of Swami Narayanji. Completed in November 2005, it took only five years to construct. You will understand its significance only if you see it.

At the entrance lie the ten gates, referring to the eight principle directions as well as the two gates for ‘up’ and ‘down’. Apart from the main shrine which comprises multifarious carvings of sadhus, disciples, Gods and so on, there is a gate (‘dwaar’) leading to the inner arenas of Akshardaam. There are also two ‘mayur dwaars’ which have only peacocks carved onto the entrances, between which lay the marble carving of Swami Narayanji’s feet along with the eight religious symbols. Another significant mention of this wonder is the outer wall of the ‘mandapam’ which is the ‘Gajendra peet’ or the wall of sculpted elephants. Though they speak of simple stories and moments, the architecture can only be described as amazing.

Also, Akshardaam has three programs- a boat ride (15 minutes), a screening and a ‘Hall of Values’ (each about 45 minutes) that highlights the Indian cultural background and its significance, the life of Swami Narayanji and the values of mankind in general. We only went for the boat ride due to a shortage of time, but that was awe-inspiring in itself.

Akshardaam is a monument that makes you wonder: ‘One day in the distant future, Akshardaam is going to find its place in history’ and men will flock around the pink stone and white marble shrine in revered silence.

After spending two hours in Akshardaam we ate in its canteen and were off to see the Bahai temple and Qutub Minar (even if only from outside). And since we only barely saw the monuments, I can not say much about them, except that they gleamed in the noon sun as we eyed them from our rented car.

Finally we reached the airport and as usual, our flight was delayed: something that apparently cannot not happen! We checked in and I got down to reading ‘Code of the Woosters’ (a Jeeves novel) and finally, finally, after a whole month of being out of Chennai, I was home again.

Phew. What a holiday!

Home Sweet Home

1 comment:

arun kumar pk said...

I do remember going to akshardham..waited at the entrance as the other big gumbhal that we travelled together with, went in and came out. I must however protest that they have a long way to go, in terms of improving their canteen.