Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Birla Mandir Delhi

Name: Laxmi Narayan Temple
Creator: Vir Singh Deo
Date built: 1622
Primary deity: Laxmi Narayan (Vishnu with his wife Lakshmi)
Architecture: North Indian, Mandir
Location: New Delhi
Lakshmi Narayan Mandir is situated to the west of Connaught Place in Delhi. Constructed by Raja Baldev Das in the year 1938, it is dedicated to Lord Vishnu and Goddess Lakshmi. Also known by the name of Birla Mandir of New Delhi, this temple has quite an interesting history attached to it. Built over a period of 6 years, the temple was inaugurated by Mahatma Gandhi. But, he kept a condition that he will inaugurate the Delhi Laxmi Narain Temple only if the people from all castes, especially untouchables, would be able to gain entry inside it. The temple constitutes of one of the major draws of the city and is visited by numerous devotees and international tourists every year.

Lakshmi Narayan Mandir is built magnificently, although with a modern touch. Adorning the interiors of the temples are beautiful carvings depicting the scenes from mythology. Numerous Hindu symbols and quotes from the Gita and the Upanishads ornament the temple walls. The highest Shikara (tower) in the temple soars to an altitude of 165 ft, while the ancillary one is about 116 ft. Facing east and standing on an elevated platform, Birla Mandir of Delhi also enshrines the holy Vedas. The main shrine is dedicated to Lord Narayan and Goddess Lakshmi, while the smaller ones are of Lord Shiva, Lord Ganesha and Lord Hanuman and Goddess Durga.

To the north of the New Delhi Laxmi Narain Temple is the Geeta Bhawan, devoted to Lord Krishna. There is also a Buddha temple in this temple complex, adorned with murals describing his life and work. All the statues in the temple are made up of marble and were brought from Jaipur. Miniature rock temples, which dot the temple, hold a special attraction for the children. The splendor of the temple is enhanced by an artificial landscape in the back, with mountains and cascading waterfalls. The festival of Janmashtami, the birth anniversary of Lord Krishna, lends an enhanced significance to the temple.
Birla Mandir Delhi - Lakshmi Narayan Temple New Delhi - Birla Temple, Birla Mandir Delhi - Lakshmi Narayan Temple New Delhi - Birla Temple New Delhi India
    New Delhi India

Akshardham Temple Delhi

The Swaminarayan Akshardham complex in Delhi, India

Name : Akshardham

Creator : BAPS, Pramukh Swami Maharaj

Date built : 6 November 2005 (consecration)

Primary deity : Swaminarayan

Architecture : Vastu Shastra and Pancharatra Shastra

Location : Noida Mor, New Delhi, India

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The Akshardham Temple is one of the most recently built temples in Delhi. Constructed by the Bochasanvasi Aksharpurushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha (BAPS), it is situated on the banks of the River Yamuna. Delhi Akshar Dham Mandir was inaugurated in Novenmber'05 in the presence of President APJ Abdul Kalam. It is spread over an area of 100 acres and took about two years to complete. Akshardhaam Temple of New Delhi is built in an architectural style similar to that of the Akshardham temple of Gandhinagar in Gujarat, India. Its construction is based on the ancient Sthaapatya shastras of India and it is built without steel, entirely out of sandstone and marble.

Approximately 234 ornate pillars, floral motifs, arches, exquisitely carved pavilions, 9 ornate domes, 20 quadrangle shikhars, a spectacular Gajendra Pith (plinth of stone elephants), adorn this architectural wonder. There are 20,000 statues inside Akshar Dham Mandir of Delhi of India's great sadhus, devotees, acharyas and divine personas. Other features of the Akshardham Temple are an IMAX theatre, a Swaminarayan temple, and an elaborate musical fountain. The area around the temple building has been converted into manicured lawns with beautiful water fountains.

The main shrine of the New Delhi Akshardhaam temple houses the statue of Lord Swaminarayan. There is an Akshardham Temple Monument to World Peace inside the temple complex. Along with that, there is also a restaurant modeled on the Ajanta and Ellora caves and an Ayurvedic bazaar. Combining Rajasthani, Orrisan, Gujarati, Mughal and Jain temple architecture, the mandir presents a magnificent sight. This temple is a major tourist attraction and counts amongst the wonders of modern India.

Akshardham Temple Delhi - Akshardham Temple New Delhi - Swaminarayan,Akshardham Temple Delhi - Akshardham Temple New Delhi - Swaminarayan Akshardham Temple Delhi India Akshardham Temple Delhi India

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Lotus Temple Delhi


Lotus Temple
Dedicated to No Particular God
Location Nehru Place, New Delhi

Lotus Temple is situated 12 km to the southeast of Connaught Place. Architecturally one of the most splendid temples of India, Delhi Lotus Temple is called so because it is built in the shape of a Lotus flower. The temple got completed in the year 1986 and rises to a height of more than 40 m. Located on Bahapur Hills, it is the seventh and the latest Baha'i houses of worship in the world. Bahai Temple of New Delhi is a white marble monument designed like a half-opened lotus.
Twenty-seven giant lotus petals of white marble spring out from nine pools and walkways of the temple. These walkways represent the nine unifying spiritual paths of the Baha'i faith. Exquisitely manicured lawns surround the building of the Lotus Temple. Silence is a prerequisite inside the New Delhi Lotus Temple. Also, one needs to take off the shoes while entering inside. Made up of marble, cement, sand and dolomite, this temple is often equated with the Sydney Opera House. Baha'i Temple in Delhi is often compared to the Sydney Opera House.

There is a simple, but outstanding 34.27 m high central hall in the temple where people sit and meditate. Petal alcoves of the temple are inscribed with stimulating quotes of the Baha'i sacred scriptures. Though the temple belongs to the Baha'i sect, it is open to people of each and every faith. The Baha'i religion, an independent one, places great importance on prayer and meditation as instruments for the progress of the human soul. Committed to the oneness of all religions and mankind, it traces its origins to its prophet Baha'u'llah, born in Persia in the 20th century.

Jantar Mantar Delhi

Jantar Mantar
Constructed By Maharaja Jai Singh II Of Jaipur
Year of Construction 1724
Location Near Connaught Place, New Delhi
Highlights An Astronomical Observatory

Jantar Mantar, with Yantra meaning instruments and Mantra meaning formulae, was built in the year 1724. Situated near Connaught Place, New Delhi Jantar Mantar counts amongst the numerous astronomical observatories erected by Maharaja Jai Singh II of Jaipur. The other observatories consist of the ones built in Jaipur, Varanasi, Ujjain and Mathura. It basically comprises of the instruments that were used for keeping track of celestial bodies. Jai Singh, after finding the existing astronomical instruments too small to take correct measurements, built these larger and more accurate instruments.

The instruments at Jantar Mantar of Delhi display promising brilliance. However, there is a little problem, that, these instruments can no longer make accurate observations because of the numerous tall buildings that have been built around the observatory. Delhi Jantar Mantar is also a reminder of the technological achievements that took place under the rule of the Rajput kings. There is an interesting legend associated with the construction of the Jantar Mantar. It is said that Jai Singh, ardent adherer of astronomy, oversaw an argument between Hindu and Muslim over certain planetary positions.

Since it was utmost necessary to solve the argument and know the positions precisely, he offered to rectify the available astronomical tables. The offer was accepted by the Mughal emperor and that led to the construction of Jantar Mantar in Delhi. At first, brass instruments were used in the observatory. However, they were found to have a number of intrinsic flaws. So after much deliberation, Jai Singh adopted the style of Prince Ulugh Beg, builder of the 15th century observatory at Samarkand, Uzbekistan. This is how the Delhi Jantar Mantar became what it is today.

Jama Masjid Delhi

Jama Masjid Delhi
Dedicated to Hazrat Mahmmad
Location Sadar Bazaar, Old Delhi
Constructed By Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan

Jama Masjid is one of the largest mosques in India, also known by the name of "Masjid-i-Jahan Numa" (visible to the world). Situated near the Red Fort in Delhi, it is one of the last monuments built by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan. Designed as Shah Jahan's primary mosque, Jamma Masjid of Delhi is built in red sandstone, with an extensive use of white marble. The interiors of the mosque are inlaid with stripes of black. It took six years to complete this simple yet elegant monument. Delhi Jama Masjid was built on a high platform so as to make it visible from all the neighboring areas.

Ostad Khalil, a great sculptor of his time, designed this mosque. Built as the replica of Moti Masjid in Agra, it has three gateways, four towers and two minarets. However, the most impressive feature of the mosque is its pulpit, carved out of a single block of marble. Gracing the portico of Jama Masjid, the slender minarets, one on each side, are approximately 130 ft high. As you enter inside the mosque, you step into a stadium like courtyard. Wide staircases and arched gateways are the trademark of the Jama Masjid of Delhi. The relic of the Prophet as well as the Holy Koran is shrine in a small shrine inside the mosque

One of the most valued treasures of the Delhi Jama Masjid are a hair of the beard of Hazrat Mahmmad, his used chappal (footwear), the canopy of his tombstone, the foot print of Muhammad on the stone and a chapter of Koran taken from its original holy book. All of these are kept in the northeast corner of the mosque. The main imams of this Jama Masjid have always been the direct descendants of the first Imam appointed by Emperor Shahjahan. Till today, this tradition of appointing his descendants as the main Imam has been carried out without any break. People of other religions are allowed inside the mosque throughout the day, except for between 12:30 pm to 2:00 pm.

Humayun's Tomb


Humayun's Tomb
Constructed By Haji Begum (Humayun's wife)
Year of Construction 1565 AD
Entombs Mughal Emperor Humayun
Location Mathura Road, near its crossing with Lodi Road
Highlights Mughal Architecture
Timings Weekdays (Sunrise to Sunset)
Humayun's Tomb, the mausoleum of Mughal emperor Humayun, is situated on the Mathura Road, near it's crossing with Lodi Road. The first significant model of Mughal architecture in India, the tomb was built by Humayun's wife Haji Begum in the year 1565. High arches and a double dome adorn the tomb that is entered through two towering double-storied gateways, on the south and on the west. The center of the eastern wall of the enclosure houses a baradari (pavilion), while that of the northern wall houses a bath-chamber.

One of the most remarkable features of the Delhi Humayun's Tomb is a square garden inside its complex. The garden stands divided into four large squares, separated by causeways and channels. These four squares are then further divided into smaller squares by typical pathways ('Chaharbagh') of a Mughal Garden. In the center of the entire complex stands the mausoleum. The cenotaph is kept in the central octagonal chamber with arched lobbies on the sides having perforated screens at the openings.

The Garden Tomb Of Humayun in Delhi is constructed mainly of red sandstone, with white and black marble adorning its borders. The second story of the tomb, with 42.5m high double dome and pillared kiosks (chhatris), is built in the same way as the first. Further beautifying the Humayun's Tomb are the carvings, the inlaid work on the marble of the walls and the trelliswork in red sandstone. Built as per the hasht bihisht (Eight Paradise) architectural design, it is a sort of pioneering landmark of the Indo-Islamic architecture.

The vaults below the podium in the mausoleum house the graves of a number of Mughal dynasty rulers. These include the graves of Haji Begam, Hamida Banu Begam, Dara Shikoh - Shah Jahan's son, and the later Mughals, Jalandar Shah, Farrukhsiyar, Rafi'u'd-Darajat, Rafi'u'd-Daula, 'Alamgir II, Shah Jahan's son and Bahadur Shah II, the last Mughal emperor of Delhi. Infact, Delhi Humayun Tomb served as the refuge of Bahadur Shah II, who was later captured here by Lieutenant Hodson during the Revolt of 1857. The sheer number of graves here led to the tomb being called as "The Dormitory of the House of Timur".

HOW TO REACH
Humayun's tomb is located in the eastern part of Delhi near the Nizammudin railway station. Tourists can either take local buses from various points within the city, or, alternatively, they can hire auto-rickshaws and taxis for the purpose. There are regular buses from important bus termini like the Inter-State Bus Terminus at Kashmere Gate and Sarai Kale Khan and Connaught Place to this monument. Local guided tours conducted by Delhi Tourism and private operators cover this important monument.

India Gate

India Gate
Designed By Edwin Lutyens
Year of Construction 1921
Location Near Connaught Place, Delhi
Significance War Memorial of martyred soldiers
Best Time to Visit In the late evening.

India Gate is a war memorial of martyred soldiers, situated in the middle of New Delhi. Standing tall at a height of 42 m, Delhi India Gate, an "Arc-de-Triomphe", seems like a gateway at the heart of a crossroad. His Royal Highness, the Duke of Connaught laid the foundation stone of India Gate in the year 1921. Designed by Edwin Lutyens, the monument was dedicated to the country after 10 years, by the then Viceroy, Lord Irwin. It stands as a tribute to the 70,000 Indian soldiers who lost their lives during World War I, when they fought for the British Army.

More than 13,516 British and Indian soldiers who got killed in the Northwestern Frontier in the Afghan war of 1919 have their names written on the Indian Gate of New Delhi. After India became independent, another memorial, Amar Jawan Jyoti was added to the existing structure. This arched memorial has an eternal flame that burns day and night as a mark of respect to the soldiers who laid down their lives in the India-Pakistan War that took place in December 1971.
Resting on a low foundation of red Bharatpur stone, the arch rises in stages to a huge molding. On both the sides of the arch the word INDIA is inscribed, along with the date, MCMXIV (1914) on the left and MCMXIX (1919) on the right. The best time to see Delhi India Gate is during nightfall, when it is magnificently floodlit. Splendid lawns, with a number of fountains, encircle the monument. These fountains present a breathtaking view at night when they make a lovely display with colored lights.