Anandway: Blog

Roadmaps to joy!

Mira bai temple in Vrindavan

Meera Bai temple in Vrindavan is just off the crossroad which opens at Nidhivan on one side and faces Shah ji temple. As you face the entrance to the Shah ji temple, look to your left, a narrow lane by the temple's bounday wall marks the path to Mirabai temple. It is a simple structure in Rajasthani style architecture. The saligram shila deity is visible from the entrance of the temple itself. There is a patch of green plants in the aangan facing the Lord. Money plant and other ornamental greens surround a small water fountain that can be seen in operation in summer months here.

This is the place where Mira Bai stayed while she was in Vrindavan.

Meera Bai came to Vrindavana when Jiva Gosvami and Roop Goswami were there. She was born in Marwar, Jodhpur's village of Kudki, Rajasthan. Her father Samanta Ratan Singh gave her in marriage to prince Bhojraj, the eldest son of Maharana Samgram Singh of Chittor (Mewar, Rajasthan). Bhojraj died after four years. Bhojraj's brother Bikramjit Singh became the Rana of Chittor. He tried to stop Mira Bai's worship of Girdhar-Gopala (Krishna) and her dancing in ecstasy for Krishna. It is said that he tried to kill her by sending her a poisonous snake in a box. When Meera Bai opened the box she found a shalagrama-shila inside. This black shaligram shila is in this Mirabai temple in Vrindavan.

Rhododendrons in the himalayas

rhododendrons

An advantage of being in the Himalayas in April is that's when the rhododendrons, the national flower of Nepal, are in full bloom.  The colors - vivid pinks and reds - are magnificent, especially against the green of the forest and the snow-capped mountains. Read more

Exploring India's USP

Yunan-o-Misr-o-Roma Sab Mit Gaye Jahan Se, Ab Tak Magar Hai Baki Naam-o-Nishan Hamara, Kuchh Baat Hai Ke Hasti Mit ti Nahin Hamari, Sadiyon Raha Hai Dushman Daur-e-Zaman Hamara.
~ Muhammad Iqbal

So far as I am able to judge, nothing has been left undone, either by man or nature, to make India the most extraordinary country that the sun visits on his rounds. Nothing seems to have been forgotten, nothing overlooked.
~ Mark Twain More...

Taking a Tea tour in the Himalayas

Makaibari tea estate, Kurseong

Matt Gross finds his way around tea estates in the Himalayas to recommend a visit:

Flying to a remote corner of India and braving the long drive into the Himalayas may seem like an awful lot of effort for a good cup of tea, but Darjeeling tea isn't simply good. It's about the best in the world, fetching record prices at auctions in Calcutta and Shanghai, and kick-starting the salivary glands of tea lovers from London to Manhattan.

In fact, Darjeeling is so synonymous with high-quality black tea that few non-connoisseurs realize it's not one beverage but many: 87 tea estates operate in the Darjeeling district, a region that sprawls across several towns (including its namesake) in a mountainous corner of India that sticks up between Nepal and Bhutan, with Tibet not far to the north.

Each has its own approach to growing tea, and in a nod to increasingly savvy and adventurous consumers, a few have converted bungalows into tourist lodging, while others are accepting day visitors keen to learn the production process, compare styles and improve their palates — a teetotaler's version of a Napa Valley wine tour, but with no crowds.

The men who run the estates are royalty — and they know it. When visiting their domains, you are at their disposal, not the other way around. At times, this can be frustrating; at others, delightfully frustrating.

I had my first such encounter — the latter sort — at Makaibari, an estate just south of the town of Kurseong, around 4,500 feet above sea level. More...

Ayurveda beckons visitors to Kerala

Canoeing in backwaters of Kerala

According to the World Tourism Organization, India had double-digit increases in international tourist arrivals last year, reports Michelle Higgins.

Asia has emerged as one of the fastest growing tourist markets in the world, both for the hard-core adventurer and the upscale vacationer just looking for a nice place to relax.

Exploring Kerala

It is Ayurveda that makes Kerala the new favourite as a travel destination in India.

Kerala, about 400 miles south of Goa along India’s southwestern tip, is emerging as a quiet alternative with its long shorelines, sprawling plantations and soothing spas that specialize in the healing practice of ayurveda, traditional Indian medicine. More...

Living gods of Tamil Nadu

Elephant carved out of a monolithic structure at Mahabalipuram. Built Circa 600 AD

Few things in India express the continuous presence of the gods better than the ancient, massive temple complexes of Tamil Nadu, says Edward Wong.

Walk through any city there and what catches your eye first are the soaring temple entrances known as gopurams, sacred skyscrapers decorated with a phantasmagoria of Hindu statues. Thousands of such statues adorn the Meenakshi-Sundareshwarar temple in Madurai, one of the holiest pilgrimage sites in India.

“Here, we have a proverb: ‘Where there is a temple, people can live,’ ” said Ram Kumar, a guide I had hired in Madurai. “The temple is the center of a person’s living space.” More...

What it is to be in Ladakh

Deepa Suryanarayan has some advice for us, back from a trip to Ladakh:

I will always remember Ladakh for its colours. The mountains, rivers, lakes, gompas (Buddhist monasteries) and even the quaint little houses have distinctive hues.

There’s an oft-quoted Ladakhi saying, or should I say, warning: Anyone whose head is in the sun and feet are in the shade in Ladakh will endure both heatstroke and frostbite at the same time. You’d do well to heed it. More...

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