Sunday, June 27, 2010

Bangladeshi Market,Fahaheel,Q8

Bangladeshi Market at Fahaheel is popular among non-vegetarians, especially for the fish market. The fish comes from Bangladesh and you will get all type of river fish here. During the winter, you get fresh one, which comes on Thursday night and by Friday morning it’s all finish. So you need to go early in the morning to get them. There are lots of big, clean fish markets in Kuwait but they are of sea fish.

Of course, we do buy from there but the sea fish’s smell while cooking it is not at all pleasant so we are not very regular at consuming them except for the prawns which are my favorites. Actually in our floor at our building we are four families. All are vegetarians except us. So we feel little guilty though they have never told or complained about the non-vegetarian smell. I myself find the sea fish smell so very fretted that I don’t want my nice neighbors to feel miserable because of it.

The Bangladeshi market consist of small shops where you will get all types of river fish(frozen), different types of Indian vegetables, spices and groceries that mainly Indians and Bangladeshi’s use. So if you are an Indian or Bangladeshi and need anything special that’s the best place. It’s near Max at Fahaheel. Another such market is there at Kuwait city.

The place is congested and remains over crowded with foodstuff and sometimes people/customers mainly during the weekends. You will not enjoy the pleasure and delight of marketing at a big shopping center or mall here, but this place is worth a visit if you like river fish. So you can give a try.

IRENA chief praises Kuwait

The Interim Director General of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) Helene Pelosse on Thursday lauded the State of Kuwait, saying that it had been in the forefront of those countries which supported the agency's establishment. Speaking at a news conference in Abu Dhabi, Pelosse voiced appreciation of Kuwait's efforts to seek clean energy in the future, saying that the IRENA is now discussing several studies and projects intended to boost the use of renewable and clean energy.

For the detail news item, check the link

Kuwait's musical heritage

There is something about music. It has a kind of magic that can capture an emotion or moment in time. Traditional Kuwaiti music is enchanting in the sense that it can evoke the founding chapter of Kuwait's history and tie the native listener inexorably to his or her past. The magnetic power of Kuwait's traditional music exerts its pull not only on native Kuwaitis, but on anyone who hears it.

Art of the sea song : The sea was once the very life-blood of Kuwaiti society in particular and Gulf society in general. Al-Fan Al-Bahri, or the Art of the Sea Song, is an art in which Kuwait's roots are intertwined with Bahrain. Kuwait was once dependent entirely on the sea for its prosperity, either through trade or pearl diving expeditions, which often lasted months at a time.

On the ocean, music served many purposes that were both psychological and emotional and practical as well. During working hours, the 'nokhetha,' or ship captain, would tell the professional musicians what to play so the men on board would know what to do. This was a more respectful alternative to giving them direct orders.
Al-Fan Al-Bahri is a very specific art. The two main types of Bahri music are work songs and celebratory songs. According to Dr Urkevich, Kuwait is the only country in the Gulf with three bands who are capable of singing the entire repertoire of sea songs: The Bin Hussein band, the Mayouf band, and the Amari band. Bu Saoud, manager of the Bin Hussein band, explains that there are two main categories of sea songs: work songs and celebratory or entertainment songs.

'Sangeen' and 'yamaal' are two types of work songs. They are both beautifully expressive and serve explicit purposes. Bu Saoud described sangeen as the most difficult of sea songs. "Sangeen is sung when the sailors are putting the ship out to sea. The physical effort required and the music of sangeen are both very challenging. Bahrain, Daman, and Qatar are all seafaring societies which share in Kuwait's bahri musical heritage, but sangeen only exists in Kuwait.

Al-Yamaal is a type of work song that also comes in a number of versions. Different kinds of yamaal are sung when the sailors row the vessel, trim the sail, or begin to pull the ship back towards the anchor dropped earlier in the day. Al-Yaamal gives the sailors a unified rhythm to synchronize their efforts, but it also gives them a moment of pause during which the men let out a kind of grunting exhalation which steadies their breathing and gives them a small break from their exhausting exertion. The sound of exhalation during Al-Dawwari, the type of yamaal used to pull a ship back to anchor, seems to travel through the years so that even the modern listener feels the weight of the ship in their muscles. The grunt also resembles that of a camel, tying the men to their desert origins even in the midst of their months-long sea journeys.

Happiness:  Al-Uns, which is the celebratory branch of sea music, comes from the Arabic word meaning 'happiness.' It also has a very revealing structure. Al-Uns takes places when the men arrive home safely from sea. They get together for an evening of singing, playing instruments and dancing to celebrate their successful journey.

Al-Uns begins with music played using desert instruments, then sea instruments and finally urban instruments, Dr Urkevich explained. Although there is a lot of variation and creativity in the music and how many songs are played, you cannot skip between the different categories of music. The simplest example is the oud as an urban instrument. An oud would not survive at sea because the humidity ruins the strings, and it would not survive in the desert because it is fragile and would break if packed on a camel's back for travel. The oud, therefore, is a symbol of city life.

War dance : In the traditional tribal societies throughout the Gulf, music and dancing was also used to exhibit military power and intimidate the enemy before battle. Men dance the 'Ardha, which comes from the Arabic word ''ardh,' which means 'show.' This fits the event perfectly. Different cultures dance various forms of the 'Ardha. Saudi 'Ardha is danced with a sword in hand and sheath hanging from the dancer's belt, which is connected to the criss-crossing ammunition holsters on his chest.

In Kuwaiti 'Ardha, which is more typical of sea faring cultures, the dancer does not wear a belt or ammunition and usually dances with both the sword and sheath in hand, sometimes using the two to mimic a bow and arrow. 'Ardha is sometimes performed to honor an illustrious guest, who joins in on the display at the end.

The rhythm of 'Ardha, like that of other traditional Arabic music, may seem off to listeners who are used to Western music because the beat is asymmetrical while traditional Western music emphasizes the symmetrical. Dr Urkevich, picking up on comments made by bedouins about how traditional music matches the camel's unique gait, strapped a recorder to a camel's saddle and found the animal's rhythm did in fact correspond with the asymmetrical rhythm of Arabic music.

Baddawi, like 'Ardha, is a chance to show off and is very competitive, not only between larger families or tribes but between the individual dancers themselves. Baddawi dancing is an opportunity for a young woman to exhibit her availability and eligibility for marriage. Baddawi is a high energy dance and therefore, it requires health and stamina to perform it well. Furthermore, long lustrous hair is an important accessory in baddawi dancing because it also reflects the health and vitality of the dancer.

The footwork of baddawi is fairly uniform and echoes a graceful Arabian steed, but the hands tell a story of their own. When the hand is raised sideways above the head and moved in a slicing motion, it resembles the swords used in men's 'Ardha, true to the battle tradition. If a young woman's arm is raised and her hand's palm is opening and closing as if to say, "Come here," that is in fact the message. It is a way for a young woman to advertise that she is eligible for marriage. If a young woman seems to be using her raised hand to make a 'shooing' motion, that shows that she is not available for marriage proposals.

Sawt of Kuwait : Sawt, which literally means voice and was traditionally used in the Arab world to mean "song," is the name given to a Kuwaiti music genre developed in the 19th century. Sawt is the classical music of Kuwait and the music of the educated class. Dr Urkevich referred me to Ahmad Al-Salhi, founder of, to learn about the art of sawt. Al-Salhi's site is a treasure trove of all kinds of traditional Arabic music, and even reaches beyond the Gulf and Arab states to include Turkish music.

Sawt music is strophic, meaning the same rhythm is repeated, but different words are sung over it. "Sawt is unique in that it is based on the oud, while traditional Gulf music is generally based on percussion instruments. Sawt is also an individual art as there is only one singer with his oud. Another thing that characterizes sawt is Al-Merwas (a kind of drum) and the rhythm of the music," Al-Salhi elaborated. Sawt is also unique in that it always ends with a 'towsheeha,' a couplet that varies according to the rhythm of the source poem.

Although this may sound like a recipe for monotony, the simple consistency of the music joined with the poetry of the lyrics and the richness of its artists allows sawt to reach the core of human experience. There is something beautifully simple and elemental about this high art.

As much as one reads about music, it must be heard and experienced to be fully understood. Fortunately, the Ministry of Information is launching a 24-hour broadcast of Kuwaiti folklore music on 94.9 FM.Folkloric music is an important part of Kuwait's past. In fact, the music is still enjoyed by young and old Kuwaitis alike and the Ministry want to make sure it is always available to them.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

A Glimpse into Q8's History

The first few things that come to mind when one thinks of Kuwait—or, for that matter, of any country located in the Middle East—are petroleum, deserts and war. This tiny state in the Persian Gulf has a history, however, that moves far beyond these clich├ęd associations; few know that civilizations existed here before the time of Christ, and flourished as centers of trade right up until the 20th century.

Archaeological remnants found in Kuwait have been traced back to the Stone Age. The earliest evidence of settlements found here date back to 4500 BC, and historians hold that trade was carried out between the settlers here and the inhabitants of Mesopotamian cities. Two thousand years later, it was the Dilmun Empire that controlled the Gulf; this was a time when merchants sailed the seas, and trade continued to prosper. Evidence of a settlement on the Island of Failaka including homes, granaries, and a temple, all are rooted in this period in history. Life thus continued in much the same vein in Kuwait for centuries, right up until the 3rd century BC—this was when the Greeks invaded Failaka Island, just off the coast of Kuwait City, renaming it ‘Ikaros'. Ancient Greek temples, pavements, coins and such have been unearthed here; Kuwait was used by the Greeks to conduct trade with India and the Mesopotamian cities. In the meantime, the Arabs who occupied the Arabian Peninsula also gravitated towards the city of Kuwait, using its natural harbor to continue trading with far off lands such as China and India. Thus Kuwait became a commercial hub, where pearls, precious stones, spices and the like were bartered.

The following centuries saw many struggles for power over this tiny state; the Amir of Hormuz, the Umayyads, and various Arabian tribes occupied different parts of the Gulf at different times, and the 1400s saw the arrival of the Portuguese; they transformed Kuwait into a global center for trade, and on their heels came the British and the Dutch. The capital city of Kuwait is believed to have been founded by clans of the ‘Anizah' tribe of Central Arabia, who migrated to Kuwait around 1756. The clans collectively came to be known as Bani Utub after their migration, and their settlement came to be known as Bani Khalid. The pearling industry and trade flourished in the city in their time; the Al-Sabah merchant family formed the upper strata of Bani Utub society, and an individual Sabah ruled as leader (the Al Sabahs continue to rule Kuwait today). To secure their position against the Ottomans, neighboring sheikhdoms and other external threats, Kuwait formed an alliance with the British, who had a vested interest in the flourishing state, in the 1700s, and remained a British protectorate for the next two centuries. The 1930s saw the discovery of oil in this Gulf country, boosting its economy. Kuwait no longer required British aid, and in June 1961 established itself as an independent sheikhdom. A month later, however, Iraq claimed sovereignty over the country, and British forces had to be called in against the Iraqi invaders, relenting only after the intervention of the Arab League. Kuwait went on to become a founding member of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries in 1961 and also provided financial aid to its neighboring nations. By the late 1960s and 1970s oil brought in over 90 per cent of the country's income, and Kuwait was seen as a country with a steady economy.

The 1980s saw the Iranian Revolution, and Kuwait allied itself with Iraq against Iran. In August of 1990, however, Iraq itself invaded Kuwait under Saddam Hussein, the dictator claiming the tiny state to be an Iraqi province, and accusing it of pilfering oil from Iraq's reserves. The United States of America came to the rescue of Kuwait, driving out the Iraqis, but not before the ravages of war had devastated the country. Almost all of the infrastructure of the capital, including basic foundations like roads and bridges were destroyed by explosives. The city was stripped bare of its landmarks, and historic monuments like the Kuwaiti Towers and the National Museum were also targeted. Kuwait was liberated in 1991, but the Iraqi army left only after setting fire to 80 per cent of its oil wells.

Post-war efforts by the government and the Arab and Western forces helped Kuwait City get back on its feet, mainly through its oil exports. The country has spent more than five billion dollars to repair oil infrastructure damaged during the Gulf War. Today, a host of international names in the hotel industry such as the Four Seasons, the Intercontinental, the Radisson SAS, and Sheraton are helping tourism flourish. Other projects like the annual Hala Shopping Festival and the malls, restaurants and different entertainment venues are efforts by the state to modernize the city.
Although people primarily visit Kuwait City for business reasons, the scene is slowly but steadily changing. With modern ideas making a foray into politics, economics and society, the metamorphosis has begun—for the first time in centuries, the tiny sheikhdom can look forward to an independent, prosperous future.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Al Ahmadi, Q8

In one of my earlier post I did talk about Ahmadi area. Jeet’s office is in this area and it takes nearly 20 minutes to reach this locality from our house. I often visit this area, as we normally go to Ahmadi Hospital when anyone of us fall sick; or take Mehr to the mini zoo or organize get-together at the Ahmadi park.

It is one of the six governorates of Kuwait. It is located in the southern part of the country and is famous in Kuwait for its greenery and British architecture. Al Ahmadi forms an important part of Kuwaiti economy as several of Kuwait's oil refineries are located here. Al Ahmadi is the home of several sporting clubs and complexes in Kuwait. The headquarters of Kuwait National Petroleum Company is located here. It is popularly known as the home of KOC (Kuwait Oil Company).

It was also home to several thousand mostly British Expats and their families from 1947 through to 1970, and possibly beyond. The original town layout was from an American pattern. Streets laid out at right angles to each other - 1st Street, 2nd Street and so on. The town was built on a slope facing the sea, which was about 7 miles (11 km) away. The street that ran across the top of the hill is called "main street". It houses the upper eschelons of the KOC. It ran down the hill in order of KOC rank. Within the town is the Hubara Club - a complex of buildings with a swimming pool, meeting rooms, restaurants, squash courts, tennis courts, library etc. Employees of the KOC would use this club every day to meet and chat. Their children and spouses also spent most of their time here. Towards the bottom of the 'hill' is the 'souk' or shopping area; banks; a mini zoo; parks; a cinema, which is now been closed down and a few shops.

Abu Halifa,Q8

Today I will talk about the area Abu Halifa where I stay. This area is the home of many expatriate’s like me. You will find lot of high apartment blocks but very few villas, where Kuwaiti’s stay, here. The area is quite big but is divided into two blocks by the main road. 90% of the residents of Block 1 are Indians where as 75% of the residents of Block 2 are Indians. The other residents are from Pakisthan, Egypt, Syria and few Kuwaiti's.

Both the areas has their own mosque, bakalas, restaurants, barber shop, garage etc. Abu Halifa area is self-sufficient with a government hospital, pharmacy's, doctor's chamber's, police station and petrol pump. Block 1 has a lovely playground for kids with lot of facilities where as Block 2 have a nice walking track. Before Mehr was born it was my daily routine to go for early morning walks with friends after Jeet leaves for office. It’s really refreshing to walk under the shaddy trees in the morning. But now though I plan it every day, it’s not just possible as Mehr keeps sleeping.

We are lucky to have a farm in Block 1 from where we can buy fresh vegetables and leaves. But the co-operative of Abu Halifa is in Block 2. Kuwait Magic Mall is the nearest mall and is hardly 10-12 minutes walking distance from the area.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Top 10 Cities of India

This post is mainly to inform about the top cities of India that are in a tourist list. If you plan to spend your vacation in India, this post might help.

New Delhi
Delhi is the political capital of India is the an important tourist destination as well. In fact most of the tours to India start from here.

Mumbai is called the financial capital of India. Home to some famous beaches like Juhu Beach, Mumbai is a city of revelations for tourists.

Banglore is one of the fastest developing cities of India and is the most conveneint destination to start your tour of South India.

Though it is tough to pin point one most beautiful spot in "Paradise on Earth', Kashmir, but Gulmarg seems to be the most loved city of Jammu Kashmir. Visit Gulmarg for sights of unimaginable beauty.

If you wish to get up close and personal with royal heritage of yesteryears, then could very well turn out to be the destination of your dreams.

Cochin is the most important city center of Kerala after capital city Trivandrum. It is famous for attractions like Fort Kochi, St. Francis Church and Santa Cruz Basilica.

Udiapur is considered to the most romantic city in India. With Lake palace as its main attraction, Udaipur surely scores higher in tourist's books.

There will be hardly any traveler in the world who will not recognize the name Agra. Home to Taj Mahal, one of the seven wonders of the world, Agra has always been the top most destination in the itinerary of tourists to India.

Hyderabad is the patron of one of the unique and most royal culture in India. The Nizam culture has brought a lot of name and fame to Hyderabad, especially the Nizam specialty, Hyderabadi Biryani. However it is the monuments like Charminar and Golconda Fort that make Hyderabad a truly tourist must visit.

Chennai is the most important destination for tourist to South India. Chennai, formerly known as Madras, boasts of attractions like Marina Beach and Fort George.

'Heritage on Wheels' ,India

After ferrying tourists to see the splendours of the Shekhawati region of Rajasthan for two years, the once popular 'Heritage on Wheels' luxury train, currently consigned to the railway yard, may soon be transformed into a restaurant in Jaipur.

"It is rather sad that this beautifully-designed train is parked in a railway shed instead of carrying passengers. We don't want the effort to go waste," said B.K. Sharma, the general manager of the Rajasthan Tourism Development Corp that was running the service. "A high-end restaurant is what we have in mind. With traditionally done interiors, this train-restaurant will be a unique concept in itself. We are confident it will attract both tourists and residents," said Sharma.

The fully air-conditioned luxury train service started operations in January 2006, with 14 lavishly decorated coaches, two restaurants and a well appointed bar-cum-lounge. But last December, it was left to idle away at a shed in Jaipur due to several reasons. "We are exploring various options for a suitable spot where we can park 'Heritage on Wheels' in its new avatar. But what we know for sure is it will be inside the main Jaipur city," said Sharma. "We are giving final touches to the proposal. I feel it will come up for approval soon. Perhaps, after the elections are over, we will have concrete news to share." With the "Palace on Wheels" as a model, "Heritage on Wheels" was demanding a tariff of $300 per person per night for single occupancy, $200 for double occupancy and $150 for triple occupancy. The service covered three nights and four days.

The state's tourism promotion officials said the service was suspended not just because of low occupancy but also because of a change from metre gauge into broad gauge on that sector. The service was running on metre gauge.

Some of the other luxury trains that operate in the country include The Deccan Odyssey, covering Mumbai, Pune, Nashik, Aurangabad, Ajanta and Goa, and The Golden Chariot, covering Bangalore, Mysore and Goa.

With the new plan now for "Heritage on Wheels", officials hope well-heeled tourists will start coming on board to get a taste the country's rich heritage.

Kuchipudi Day in Q8

My friend Jyoti had a dance performance at Carmel School on account of Kuchipudi Day organized by Telegu Kala Samiti on Friday evening. She invited us and so we went to Carmel School to watch her performance. The school is at Khaitan and we had never been to that area. But our friend Dr Rifat and Sharmistha’s children studies in that school and so my husband enquired about the location and road to be followed from them. Rifat da had nicely explained to Jeet the way and so without any difficulty we reached the school. If you want to know details about Carmel School, you can check the official website
Next to Carmel School is another school, New Pakisthan School. The programme was supposed to start at 5.30pm but it got late and started at around 7pm.

The snacks and tea which the Samiti served in between the programme was refreshing. For dinner they gave us coupons but we did not wait for dinner as we had some marketing to do at Lulu Hyper. We enjoyed the programme and had a wonderful evening. Everything was well organized.

A Guinness Book world record was set in Cupertino, California as the largest number of dancers (318) performed Kuchipudi, the ancient Indian classical dance form, here on June 21,2008. The feat was authenticated by Danny Girton of the Guinness Book of world records at the site in DE Anza College in Cupertino, Silicon Valley, California. About 2,000 people attended the conference, Participants included dancers from five continents assembled to set a world record and participate in the three day International Kuchipudi Dance conference on June 20- 22.

SiliconAndhra flew the dancers in from locations around the world. SiliconAndhra is a nonprofit, non-political, non-religious, cultural and community organization based in the Silicon Valley (Bay Area), California. The function of the organization is to serve the community through cultural and charity work. The organization seeks to promote, preserve and spread Telugu culture (“samskriti”), literature (“saahityam”) and traditions (“sampradayam”) of the Andhra Pradesh region of India and strives to instill the value system in the community.

Incorporating complex choreography with assorted facial expressions, the Kuchipudi is a centuries old classical dance form that originated in a small southern Indian village Kuchipudi, in Andhra Pradesh.

Nando's Q8 @ Avenues Mall

I received a gift voucher from IndiansinKuwait for my travelogue “Mesmerizing Dubai” for dinner at Nando’s, a famous restaurant in Kuwait. Here’s the link to the travelogue

So on Thursday night, we decided to go to Nando’s for dinner. Nando's is at Avenues Mall but it’s not inside the Avenues food court area, but outside opposite of IKEA. I loved the place as soon as I entered. It has enough place to cater to at least 35-40 people at a time. They also have outside seating arrangement but since it was humid weather, we got seated inside. Nando's has quite and dignified ambiance, dimly lit, neat and attractive interiors, done in Mediterranean style. The best part, which I have found only in Nando’s till now, is the special area for the kid’s on the right hand side of the entrance. Books, toys, chairs, table etc makes it a perfect place to keep your kids engage when you have your dinner.
Our server presented the menu, and though it had limited varieties, we were impressed with what was on offer. We ordered Soup of the day(.950); Peri Peri Nuts (1.500); Chicken wrap (2.500); Chicken Breast with side green salad(2.750); Perrier(.800)and Soft drinks(.400). All the mains can be flavoured as per your requirements from hot to mild peri peri style to lemon & herb. We opted for mild peri peri style.
The preparation was perfectly done and we enjoyed the food. The service was great, although preparation time was a bit slow. However it was a great dining experience.
You can check their website

Kuwaiti prince shot dead

The news that a Kuwaiti prince was shot dead by his uncle came as a surprise and shock to me. The entire country is in a state of mourning.

No statement was issued by the interior ministry about the death, but reports said Shaikh Basel,52, was allegedly shot several times by by his much younger uncle, Shaikh Faisal Abdullah Al Sabah, 32,Thursday evening at his weekly diwaniya while the two had an argument over cars.

According to one version, the two princes were sitting in the diwaniya together with other people, when the alleged killer told his nephew that he wanted to speak with him in private.The two princes left the main room and, seconds later, the diwaniya guests heard shots.Upon entering the room, they found Shaikh Basil wounded and promptly took him to a hospital where he was declared dead. Medical staff said that the prince had been shot several times from a close range, according to reports. The police took the alleged killer into custody and launched an investigation into the case.

However, another report claimed that the argument was related to the composition of a new board of the quarter mile drag racing club and in which the killer, the former deputy chair, was not re-appointed.The club members had been allegedly invited by the slain prince to his Messilah palace in Kuwait City to have dinner and discuss the club board composition, one Kuwaiti report said.

Shaikh Basel was the spiritual father of car racing in Kuwait and he had been pushing for the construction of a motor racing track for young car enthusiasts in the country.

Despite blatant divergences, all reports emanating from Kuwait City agreed that the shooting was not politically motivated.

Sheikh Basel is the grandson of Kuwait’s 12th Emir, Shaikh Sabah Al Salem Al Sabah who ruled from November 24, 1965 until December 31, 1977, and the eldest son of Shaikh Salem Sabah Al Salim Al Sabah and Shaikha Badriya Abdullah Al Jaber Al Sabah.

His father was Kuwait’s ambassador to the US, Canada and Venezuela from 1970 until 1975. He then held the portfolios of social affairs and labour, the interior, defence and foreign affairs until 2001 when he gave up political work because of his health condition.

Power cut in Q8

For the first time since last week, power consumption on Friday decreased to 9.082 megawatts reported Al Watan. Sources at the Ministry of Electricity and Water said that there were several reasons behind the decrease of power consumption including the decrease of temperature which reached 47 Celsius and high humidity witnessed by the country on Friday, as well as the successful plan developed by the ministry to face the crisis.
However, power cuts hit Jeleeb Al-Shoukh and Hasawy areas.
For the detail news, check the link

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Kuwait launches 'Club 25' to mark World Blood Donor Day

The Kuwait Central Blood Bank (KCBB) on Monday evening marked World Blood Donor Day with the launch of a new youth-oriented campaign, 'Club 25,' as well as honoring those who donated blood more than 100 times and the major firms which help and participate in KCBB events. The focus of the 2010 World Blood Donor Day was on young donors, with the slogan for this year's campaign being 'New Blood for the World.' As the demand for blood for transfusions increases worldwide, young people can make an important and possibly life-saving contribution by donating blood and by recruiting other young people to become donors.

For the detail news, check the link

Saudis unveil local-built car

Saudi Arabia has unveiled its first locally-built car, an all-terrain vehicle called "Ghazal 1", and plans to manufacture 20,000 units a year, its promoters said yesterday. King Abdullah unveiled a carbon fibre prototype of the new car, which was built by the King Saud University (KSU) in Riyadh, on Monday in Jeddah on the Red Sea, project official Abderrahman Al-Ahmari told AFP.

The vehicle is designed for the desert climate of Gulf countries and was produced "in collaboration with several major companies, including Motorola, Mercedes-Benz and Magna Canada," Arab News quoted Said Darwish, an industrial engineering professor at KSU, as saying. Production of 20,000 units a year is planned, Darwish said. Higher Education Minister Khaled Al-Anqary said the vehicle was proof that Saudi youth, given the right resources and opportunities, are "able to realize aspirations and excel".

For the detail news check the link

Ginger Hotel,Delhi,India

The thought of going home brings lot of happiness but along with comes some serious thought and planning for the journey. The problem is,there is no direct flight to our state Assam, India. It’s always a break journey. But before Mehr was born, it was never an issue. But after her birth we need to take lot of things into account as she is too small. We always take the Kuwait-Delhi-Guwahati route. The problem starts with issues like our stay in Delhi. We need a clean, safe and good place. Most of the times, we had stayed at private guest houses which are expensive. But during our last visit, we decided to try Ginger Hotel.

Situated at the heart of Delhi, the Rail Jatri Niwas was changed into Ginger Hotel after Tata group bought it. Ginger is a part of Tata group. The hotel is ideally located close to the New Delhi Railway Station and is opposite the Ajmeri Gate. It is also just 7 km away from Kashmere Gate (for Inter-State Bus services) and a stone’s throw away from Metro Station at Ajmeri Gate. It is also just a few kilometers away from Connaught Place, the central business district of New Delhi and Karol Bagh, a well-known shopping area. Lot of auto-rickshaws and rickshaws are available near the hotel. What more can a visitor/tourist ask for?

As for the hotel, it’s meticulously clean. At Rs1000 per day for a double bedded room, it’s quite cheap at a place like Delhi. All the rooms are equipped with amenities such as Mini-fridge, LCD TV, Self-controlled A/c, Tea and Coffee maker and Telephone. The restaurant at the hotel provideds excellent food. Vending machines for hot and cold beverages can be accessed even when restaurant is closed.  As soon as you enter your room, you need not worry about drinking water, as the hotel provides two bottle of mineral water everyday in the mini-fridge in your room and, when you need a refill, just walk down to the water dispenser on your floor. And if you are a health freak, you need not worry as the hotel have treadmills, exercycles, boxing bags, weights, etc and a swimming pool. There is a book and gift shop, a pharmacy at the hotel premises. You will not be cut off from the rest of the world as you can stay connected with high-speed internet connection at Net Zone.Wi-Fi cards are available at the reception for a nominal rate for those who want to avail of the service.

Booking at this budget hotel is not a problem at all. You can take advantage of the online booking service or book a room over the telephone at your convenience. To know more about the facilities available at the hotel, check the link

You can check out their website

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The Hare Rama Hare Krishna Charm, Delhi,India

An entry to this revered shrine is quiet escape from the bustles of Delhi. The solace, serenity and satisfaction we experience, sitting amongst Lord Krishna and his devotees with Hare Krishna Hare Rama chants going around, is indeed an experience of a lifetime. Whenever we are in Delhi, we make a point to visit this temple.

ISKCON Temple is located at Raja Dhirshain Marg, Sant Nagar near the East of Kailash locality. It is one of the 40 temples in India that belongs to the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, dedicated to Lord Krishna.
A part of the Hare Krishna Movement started by Acharya Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, the devotees and followers of the Hare Rama Hare Krishna cult built this temple in 1998 to disseminate the message of the Bhagwad Gita.

From a restaurant to a museum, a library and a special animatronics show, ISKCON has it all. While looking around if you get hunger pangs, you need not go further than the completely vegetarian restaurant Govinda. It is open 7days a week and the timings are as follows :
Breakfast- 8:00 AM-9:30 AM; Lunch- 12:00 Noon-2:30 PM; Snacks- 4:30 PM- 6:00 PM; Dinner- 7:00 PM-8:00 PM

Temples in Delhi are renowned both for its religious fervor as well as its historic connection. The simply yet beautifully made, the interior walls of this temple in Delhi have been decorated with aesthetic works of Russian artists representing the different phases of life of various deities like Radha-Krishan, and Sita-Ram.
The main attractions of the ISKCON Temple are its central prayer hall and the temple museum. The fine-looking and pleasing idols of Radha-Krishna with other deities are present in the central hall with informative religious lines and shibboleths. The temple museum on the other hand organizes multimedia shows to make the devotees understand the story of the epics Ramayana and Mahabharata. It also gives a brief interpretative understanding of views, philosophy and practice of the Hare Krishna cult. This is an interesting feature of the temple and should not be missed.

During our last visit, we were lucky to be able to attend the morning prayer. The morning prayer starts from (4.30 am, 7.15 am, 7.45 am) and evening prayer time are as follows (12.30 pm, 7.00 pm, 7.45 pm). The main prayer hall closes from 12.00 pm to 4.00 pm. Try to visit the temple on Sunday afternoons, and you will be overwhelmed to be a part of the kirtan, aarti, pravachan and prasadam, that continue till evening.

If interesting legends of mythology and their scientific relevance fascinates you, then remember to visit the ISKCON museum, ensconced on two floors of the temple building. Pinned to a common goal to present Indian history in an interactive manner, the temple authority has taken initiatives to organise a light and sight show garnished with life-like figures of Hindu mythology, that makes a huge impact on the audience. Portraying the the best of science and religion, the exhibition is a must see for every visitor. Stroll in the ground floor and you can see beautiful motifs that brings the forlorn preachings of Bhagwat Gita, back to life. As you will climb higher, the whole backdrop changes to that of Ramayana and Mahabharata stories.

In the Animatronics Centre which is in the temple premises, through three different screens, you get to see how the temple was formed, the idea behind it and the spread of the Hare Krishna clan in many other countries. As the show ends, the main animatronics begin. Created by using hi-end technology, the show is controlled by 3 computers networked together and connected to a remote control. One computer controls the overall show, second one acts as the laser discs controller and third one controls the movements of the robots. All 3 computers are synchronized to time codes written on the laser discs, which are the three 3 hi-tech robots of Krishna, Arjuna and Srila Prabhupada, the founder of ISKCON.

This is one place, which has been successful in combining science and technology with religion. Even the books and other information that have been displayed here are of interest to those who love to wander in the premises.

There are gift and book shops within the temple premises. Every time I visit I always buy the lovely Krishna printed T-shits for gifts which are reasonably priced. They are so very attractive that you cannot stop yourself from buying it. Another specialty is it’s aggarvati’s (incense sticks) which we always buy it for ourselves and our granny’s.

Be very careful about your shoes. Before entering the temple you need to remove your shoes. Keep them in the area managed by the temple authorities "to keep shoe's" and not any place in the temple premises . You are bound to lose them. Jeet lost his new pair of shoes as he was lazy to go the area managed by the temple to hand over his shoes.
Time to Visit: Open on all days

Preferred Timings: Morning Prayer time (4.30 am, 7.15 am, 7.45 am) and evening Prayer time (12.30 pm, 7.00 pm, 7.45 pm).
The main prayer hall closes from 12.00 pm to 4.00 pm.

Admission Fee: Free and open to all.

How to Reach:Tourists can either take local buses from various points within the city to reach the temple or they can hire auto-rickshaws and taxis or take the metro rail.
Nearest Metro Station: Central Secretariat

Nearest Railway Station: Nizamuddin Railway Station

Nearby Places to Eat: The famous Govinda Restaurant in the temple complex offers excellent Satvik meals (without garlic and onions), Hotel Park Royal, Karim's, Supper Factory and Salims in Kailash Colony Market, McDonald's and sophisticated eating joints in Greater Kailash-1's market, many good food joints in Nehru place including the likes of Nathu's, Domino's Pizza, many good restaurants in Kalkaji Market and C. R. Park markets.

For more details, you can visit the official website

Chhatta Chowk/ Meena Bazar, Red Fort,Delhi

Bazaars in 17th century India were normally in the open air. A covered bazaar although of a design common to West Asia, was an innovation in India. Shah Jahan had heard about the arcade in Isfahan, and it seems that the notion of a covered bazaar, stimulated to him by the one he saw in Peshawar in 1646. He instructed Mukarmat Khan who was supervising the construction of the Red Fort, to build a similar covered market there. Shah Jahan was greatly impressed as its design was suitable for the hot climate of Delhi.

Presently known as 'Chhatta Chowk Bazaar' or 'Meena Bazaar' , this bazaar earlier was known as 'Bazaar-i-Musaqqaf' (the market with 'saqaf' means roof) or 'Chhatta-bazaar' (a roofed market). Lahori-Gate entrance of the Red fort leads into the shadows of this ' Covered Market' or 'Vaulted Arcade'. Shah Jahan was perhaps impelled by political reasons to position Chhatta Bazaar at the principal ceremonial entrance to the fort, as an appropriate place to exhibit the Mughal Empire's growing wealth, talents and capabilities.

The linearity of this market has formulated a strong longitudinal link and emphasized the straight axis with the Naubat-Khana & Diwan-i-Am. Walking through the Lahori-Gate one immediately enters this covered two storied arcade, with octagonal court in the middle for sunlight & natural ventilation, known as 'Chhattar Manzil' which divided the market into two sections, eastern and western, which have vaulted roofs supported on series of broad arches given at regular interval. Their edges, supported by stone and the intermediary space ( i.e. a vault) bears stalactite (honey comb motifs) in stucco, which has been universally used in Islamic art, structurally as well as ornamentally. As it appears, the whole of the market, in the interior and on the exterior, was originally stuccoed, painted and gilded to give a gorgeous effect. Bazaar on each side contained 32 arched bays that served as shops, just as they do today. The lower cell consisted of two rooms, the front one was possibly used for the actual display and the one at the back for storage, manufacture or business transaction. The upper cells may perhaps have been used for the official transactions related to the commercial function.

300 yrs ago this bazaar catered to the luxury trade of the imperial household, specialized in exquisite carpets, rugs, jajams and shatranjis; takia-namads and quilts; shahtus and pashmina shawls; costumes; velvet pardahs and chiks; embroideries with zari and brocades; and a wide variety silks, woolens, velvets and taffetas which the Mughals used in their daily life; precious stones, exotic jewelry and indigenous ornaments; gold and silver utensils, fine wood and ivory work; brass and copper wares; fine arms and armaments; coloured ganjifas and indoor games; jafran (saffron), kasturi (musk) and other spices; and innumerous other stuff which could not be had even in the adjoining Chandani Chowk market, and it was privilege of the king that this rare and precious things were available only in the 'Fort market' for their exclusive choice.

The Chhatta Bazaar still bubbles with life, but with fewer jewelry shops and more light-hearted Indian handicrafts shops today. Few of them come under the biggest export houses in India. The prizes here are quite reasonable and affordable. The Chhatta Bazaar is in the process of its revival to get its original glory back after alterations done during the last two centuries.

(For more details and pictures, on Red Fort and Meena Bazar, you can check the link

Red Fort in Delhi-The Symbol of India

Every year, we see our Prime Minister addressing the nation on August 15 i.e. on India’s Independence Day from this very historic monument. I still remember the many visits’ I made with my family as kid. But the most recent was just few months back during my visit to this historic city with my daughter, husband and his brother's family.

Lal Quila also called the Red Fort is one of the most important monuments of India. It stands on the bank of river Yamuna. The whole structure is made of Red stone. The fort was built by Shahjahan - the Mughal King who also built the famous Taj Mahal - in 1648. Shahjahan called it the Uru-Muhalla. Shahjahan shifted his capital from Agra to Delhi and Red Fort was the new capital. Lal Quila stands at the eastern side of Shahjahanabad and the very name of "Lal Quila" comes from the huge wall that encloses the whole structure. The wall is 2.5 km long and the height varies from 16 meters on the river side to 33 meters towards the city.

One of the special attraction of the fort is the huge wall that encompasses the whole structure. The walls have two entrances, one at the Delhi gate and the other at the Lahore gate. Lahore Gate is the main entrance point of the fort, leading to Chatta Chowk. It is a covered bazaar street where merchnats sold their goods to the nobles of the court.

As you move along the passage of Chatta Chowk, you will come across Naqqar Khana, also called drum house. This place was used by the musicians who played thieir bands every day. The place now is used as a war museum. There is another open space along the main entrance path which served as the courtyard of the Diwan-i-Am. An ornate throne balcony can be seen at the eastern wall of the Diwan-i-Am. Nobles used to gather here facing each other depending on their ranks and hierarchy. The emperor used to sit above with royal princes occupying the place next to the throne and the wazirs used to sit on the marble takht below the throne. The architectural design behind the Emperor's throne was done by French artists which was a major attraction in alomost every Mughal architecture. You could also see the rings that were used for curtains possibly to keep the hall off the sunlight. A gateway called Lal Purdah can be seen on the left of the Diwan-i-Am which was the way out of the court. The gate was used by Emperor's important members in the court and were called Lal Purdaris.On the left you will find a royal bath. Close to the royal bath, there is a mosque or private royal chapel. The mosque was built by Auranzeb which was used for offering prayers. Behind the throne, you will find the imperial apartments which consist of a row of pavilions. These pavilions are covered by continuous water channels called the Nahr-i-Behisht. There is a tower called Shah Burj at the north east corner of the fort which acts as a source for water from the river Yamuna to these water channels. The whole design within the palace is based on the theme of "Paradise- as described in the Koran. An inscription within the palace reads "If there be a paradise on earth, it is here, it is here". Hindu influence of Mughal Architecture can be seen in all the pavilions despite the fact that the palace was built with Islamic architectural prototypes.

Palace garden at the Red Fort is one of the main attractions as it gives you a glimpse of the great Mughal garden. The garden is also called the Hayat Baksh garden. Another gardens in the palace is the Moonlight Garden or the Mehtab Bagh. It was called Moonligh Garden because the garden was full of flowers that blossomed during the moonlight.

Another pavilion is Diwan-i-Khas, a lavishly decorated hall that was used for mistrial and court gatherings. It is the best among all the pavilions because of its architecture specialty which includes designs with floral pietra patterns on the columns and the wooden painted ceiling. This hall is made of marble, and its centre-piece used to be the Peacock Throne, which was studded with rubies and gems. Today, although the Diwan-i-Khas is only a pale shadow of its original glory, yet the verse of Amir Khusro " If there is Paradise on the face of earth, it is here, it is here, it is here" reminds us of its former glory. The place was used by the emperor to entertain his friends and people close to him. The balcony on the top, also called the Jharoka, was used by the emperor to address the crowd.

As you move beyond the private apartments, you will notice a palace called the Rang Mahal or the Palace of Colors. The palace belonged to Padshah Begum. Beyond the Rang Mahal, there is a building which has now been converted into a museum. The museum contains reminiscence of the great Mughal era, the costumes and the pictures of the Mughal era.

Visiting Time : Opens daily from Tuesdays to Sundays; between 9.30am to 4.30pm
Entrance Fee:Citizens of India and visitors of SAARC (Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Maldives and Afghanistan) and BIMSTEC Countries (Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Myanmar) - Rs.10 per head.
Rs. 250/- per head (Free entry to children up to 15 years)
Monday Closed

Plan your visit to this most spectacular pieces of Mughal Architecture in such a way that you can attend the evening light shows.

This 17th century Mughal marvel, was given the world heritage site status by UNESCO. For more detail information check the link's.... , and

For more information on this most magnificent monument, you can check the following links.....

Monday, June 14, 2010

National Library,Q8

The Kuwait National Library is an initiative by the Kuwaiti government to invest in projects to keep its culture,tradition and history alive. Situated in Qibla, on Arabian Gulf Street, between Al-Ma'ari Street on the east side and the Sadu House and the National Museum on the west side, it is a massive building which overlooks the Sief Palace Complex.

The working hours of the library is from 8am to 1pm and again from 4pm to 9pm from Sunday to Thursday. So you can plan to visit according.  

KNL is exerting great efforts to develop its works, trying to ensure full collections of Arab and foreign book references which have been missed because of the Iraqi invasion.The Library inventory includes data-bases on CDs and online of books and full articles from international periodicals. However, these collections include the following:

Printed collections:

o The main hall collection, which comprises books and general collections which are available for readers and researchers.

o Private collections, these collections are now kept away of reach, and include the private individual libraries which were presented to the KNL by the heirs of their original owner intellectuals and men of culture; these include:

• Abdulla Al-Noury private library

• Abdul Razzaq al-basir private library

• Ahmad Al-Bishr Ar-rumy private library

• Mulla M. Saleh private library

• Ahmad Al-Jassar private library

• Eng. Ahmad Z. Al-Ansari specialized private library

• Abdu Aziz Hussain private library.

o The General Ma’aref library collections: hosts all the books between 1936 – 1960. They are mostly rare collections of books most of which were printed before 1940; up till now 7500 volums of its materials are counted.

o The Kuwait collections: include books with Kuwaiti authorship, published inside or outside Kuwait or were written about the Kuwait.

o Official Publications (Governmental or semi Governmental): Totaling 4578 titles in 10864 volumes, They were colleted during a period of 15 years, before appearance of the Ministerial Decision of 1985 which made the Central Library as deposition center for all Governmental publications.

o Current and feed-back periodical and papers collections: contain all of the Kuwaiti publications of periodicals and journals, in addition to some more selected Arab and foreign periodicals.
o The United Nations publications: Since 1997 publications of the UN and UNESCO are received regularly and hosted officially at the KNL.

o Audio Library: Audio recordings of the lectures, seminars, meetings and congresses which were held in Kuwait constitute is an important part of the KNL. In addition, the music library also holds the artistic legacy of music in the country.

Kuwait National Library Mission

• To Compile, organize, document and protect the national heritage and various kinds of intellectual output.

• Organization and protection of the intellectual materials about Kuwait, and the Arab and foreign countries as well as all the other compilations, documents and similar materials about the cultural heritage of Arab Gulf, Arab peninsula and the Arabic and Islamic civilization.

• To establish and develop international selected collections of various subjects which are related to Kuwait, Arab and the Islamic world.

• To patron, coordinate and support cooperation activities between libraries and information centers in Kuwait.

• To work as a depository library for all kinds of the national compiled documents.

• To work as a national bibliographyl center.

• To support and fasilitate activities of higher education and scientific research.

For more information, you can check the official website  and

AKSHARDHAM-Temple of Guinness, New Delhi

Lot of development is taking place all around with every passing day. And if you happen to visit a place after a gap of 3years you are bound to see remarkable difference. I experienced this difference during my visit to Delhi recently. Three years back, during my visit to this historic city, we planned to visit Akshardham Temple as we had some free time. That time we stayed at Assam House which is at Kotla Marg, Chanakyapuri. When we decided upon to visit this grand temple, we took a taxi to the temple which cost us nearly Rs500. But during our recent visit to the city, I found cost of visiting this divine delight quite less, due to construction of metro and development of bus services.

As you will move south from ITO, after a kilometre or so, you will find a grand monument rising elegantly to your right, the Akshardham Temple. The complex is spread over swooping 100 acres on the banks of the river Yamuna near Noida in East Delhi. It is one of the finest structures built in the modern India and can be considered as one of the wonders of modern India.
Akshardham means the eternal, divine abode of the supreme God, the haunt of eternal values and virtues of 'Akshar' as defined in the Hindu texts where a heart of devotion, purity and peace forever perches. Portraying an impeccable blend of breathtaking grandeur, beauty, wisdom and bliss, the temple is a desired fruit of 5 years of non-stop, round-the-clock construction and blessings of HDH Pramukh Swami Maharaj of the Bochasanwasi Shri Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha (BAPS), which now manages this pristine architecture. The temple affords a beautiful matrix of marble and red sandstone, with many alluring sculptures that embellish its periphery. The temple brilliantly showcases the essence of India’s ancient architecture,tradition and timeless spirituality.

 Inaugurated on 6 November 2005 by President Dr APJ Abdul Kalam and Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh in the presence of Pramukh Swami Maharaj, Akshardham provides an enlightening experience through India’s glorious art, values, culture, traditions and contributions for the progress, happiness and harmony of mankind. Through its monument, exhibitions, verdant gardens and other exhibitions, Swami Akshardham is one of the rare places in the world where heritage of India has been presented in all its numerous facets, insights and beauty.

Swaminarayan Akshardham is a gigantic success story. A testimony combination of volunteerism, talent and spiritual faith. Built with sandstone and marble the monument is a remarkable architectural feat achieved, with several architectural temple styles.
 The palace-like monument is built of at least 12,000 tons of pink sandstone and white marble brought in from Rajasthan. It is a management feat in terms of acquiring the land in New Delhi to the logistics of construction, for which the stones were quarried in Bansipahadpur(400km away), and carved in Pindvada(600 km), Sikandra(250 km) and 24 other rural workshops in Rajasthan. After being transported to Delhi, each stone was assembled like a giant jigsaw puzzle. 
 Constructed without steel, it consists of 234 intricately carved and ornated pillars. Roofed by 9 ornated domes in all the temple stands well above 129 feet high, 275 feet wide and 315 feet long. The temple consists of 20 Shikhars and a spectacular Gajendra Pith (plinth of stone elephants). The temple houses 20,000 statues of Hindu dieties and motifs.  The stone ceilings of the monument have fascinating designs, some of which are five feet deep.The temple complex has drawn inspiration for its architecture from the historic temples of Badrinath (Uttaranchal), Somnath (Gujarat) and Konark (Orissa). It is the second Akshardham complex in the country after the one at Gandhinagar in Gujarat.

Besides the grand monument the complex has huge exhibition halls meant for visual journey of tourists through India's cultural heritage and Indian moral values. The complex also houses an Imax cinema, a food court "Premvati Upahargruh" which can accommodate a maximum of 5,000 people at one sitting, a research centre for "social harmony" and meditation gardens with fountains and bronze sculptures.

From my experience I feel even a entire day is not enough to enjoy and experience this grand temple. You need not worry as the canteen serves various types of food, pure vegetarian and sweet dishes; north and south Indian favourites, and savoury traditional Gujarati items like Swaminarayan Khichdi and yogurt,khaman,etc which will satisfy your palate. There is an Ayurvedic Bazaar within the temple complex where you can buy ayurvedic products."Akshar Haat", a souvenir and book shop is adjacent to it. The shop has souvenirs, gift items, postcards, audio-video cassettes and CD's on Swaminarayan Akshardham. I purchased a beautiful hand-made mobile case. It’s so beautiful that I didn’t feel like using it and has kept with me(for the last 3years) as a souvenir. We also purchased a book “Swaminarayan Akshardham- Making and Experience”.

For a better experience of the Akshardham temple, attend the Audio Animatronics Show (Sahajanand Darshan) at the Hall of Values, where the life of Bhagwan Swaminarayan is portrayed through robotics, fibre optics, light and sound effects, dialogues and music; transporting the audience to 18th century India. Then enjoy the Neelkanth Darshan(Giant Screen Theatre), where the magic of 18th century India is re-created on a giant screen. The film portrays the exciting and inspiring pilgrimage of the child-yogi Neelkanth Varni in late 18th century India. And don't forget to experience Sanskruti Vihar(Cultural Boat Ride), a 14-minute boat ride experience through 10,000 years of India's glorious heritage. You will witness the world's oldest village and bazaar of Vedic India, sail through Takshashila, the world's first university and marvel at the ancient discoveries and inventions of the great rishi-scientists of India. Come outside only to be greeted by a colourful matrix of bubbling fountains that chill the ambience. Interestingly, it is the Yagnapurush Kund, the world's largest yagna kund, with perfect geometric forms testifying the ancient India's advanced knowledge in mathematics and geometry. At night the center comes to life with a colorful musical water fountain that echoes the Vedic rhymes in everyone's heart.

The main shrine of the New Delhi Akshardhaam temple houses the statue of Lord Swaminarayan.

Some Amazing Facts About The Temple

o It is one of the biggest and most intricate religious places of worship ever constructed.

o The Akshardham monument, built without steel, is entirely composed of sandstone and marble.

o It consists of 234 ornately carved pillars, 9 ornate domes, 20 quadrangled shikhars, a spectacular Gajendra Pith (plinth of stone elephants) and 20,000 murtis and statues of India's great sadhus, devotees, acharyas and divine personalities.

o The monument was built after over 300 million man hours of services rendered by 11,000 volunteers, sadhus and artisans.

o The ornate external wall (Mandovar) is the only and largest, intricately carved structure with dimensions of 611ft x 31ft that is built in the last 800 years.

o The Gajendra Pith stretching for 1,070 ft and weighing 3,000 tons, has 148 full-sized elephants, 42 birds and animals, 125 human sculptures!

o The Akshardham parikrama (circumambulatory path) consists of 1,152 pillars, 145 windows and 154 samvaran shikhars; amounting to a total of 53,956 stones.

Temple of Guinness

Akshardham of recent has come into spotlight as being the largest Hindu temple complex in world, as revealed by the Guinness Record Books. December 26th will be marked as the golden day in the history of India and Delhi, when a senior official of Guinness World Record Main Management Committee, Michael Witty presented two world record certificates to the head of Swaminarayan Sansthan, Pramukh Swami Maharaj. The two title were : Most Hindu temples consecrated by a single person and secondly, the world's largest comprehensive Hindu temple. After inspecting various temple all over the world for around seven months, the committee reached to this conclusion – that makes Akshardham the largest Hindu temple in th world. Come to see the temple that is incomparable, both in terms of – Magnitude and Stateliness.

Open time for public: 9AM - 9PM from Tuesday to Sunday. Closed on Monday
Entry Fee: There is no entry charges except for the special exhibitions and shows organized in the temple.

Before you enter the shrine you need to remove and deposit your shoes, leather purse, belts, cell phones,camera's, radio's,other electronic items,bags and other luggage,food and drinks from outside and other accessories as a security measure with the temple authorities. Photography and Videography are strictly prohibited.

Security is very stringent and I found it impossible to carry my mobile without notice, forget the camera. The pictures in the post are not mine but I found on the net. I am still not able to figure out how people are able to sneak in their camera's or mobile phone's with camera when they have to undergo so many security check-up's.

Things to do:

Murti Darshan: 9 AM to 7 PM

Exhibitions: 9 AM to 6 PM (Fees Apply)

Musical Fountain Show: 6.45 PM (Fees Apply)

Premvati Food Court: 11 AM to 10 PM

For visitors, entry to the complex is free. However, for exhibition halls and theatres an entry fee of Rs.125 is to be paid and for children and senior citizens the charges are Rs.75.

The area around the temple building has been converted into manicured lawns with beautiful water fountains and you will like to spend hours here.

How to go to Akshardham temple?

1. The mandir is about 9-10 kms from the New Delhi Railway station if you exit from platform no. 12 (Ajmeri Gate) and not platform no1. (Paharganj). Auto Rickshaws are easily available.

2. The Akshardham Metro Station is a complement of the mandir located nearby. A metro train to the station can be easily boarded from the New Delhi Metro Station.

3. It is around 4 kms from the Nizamuddin Railway Station. You can take an auto from the prepaid counter at the station.

Akshardham Delhi Contact Information:

• Tel: (011) 2201 6688, 2202 6688

• Fax: (011) 2201 5757

For more information on this unique complex of Indian culture, you can check the following websites.....

For information on metro train, check

Swaminarayan Akshardham reflects the essence and magnitude of India's ancient architecture, traditions and timeless spirituality. It is the one of the wonders of the modern world, and the wonders of modern India. So do not forget to include it in your itinerary during your visit to this historical city.