Street Art – WIP

St+art India Foundation has been working in Delhi for 4 years. To commemorate this occasion they have organised a street art show, called ‘WIP – The Street Art Show’ (an acronym for Work In Progress), in Inland Container Depot, Okhla Phase II.

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Street Art Delhi

The theme for the event is –
“The City of New Delhi is always under construction, always transforming. It is a continuous work in progress. WIP celebrates the essence of an ever changing city by having a space that is constantly evolving.
This is an open lab, a peek into the artists process.”

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The unique open air event aims to convert the largest dry port in Asia – Inland Container Depot in Tughlakabad, New Delhi, into a vibrant art gallery. It features art work of 24 artists from all over the world.

There is a performance corner too in the exhibition where upcoming poets, musicians etc can show case their talent.

A visit to Ghalib’s haveli.

In December 2010, former CM of Delhi Mrs. Sheila Dixit unveiled a statue of the poet Mirza Asadullah Beg Khan “Ghalib”. The statute was commissioned by poet and film lyricist Gulzar as a tribute to the legendary poet and was sculpted by Bhagwan Rampure, a well know artist.

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The new Statue

Mirza Ghalib’s Haveli (home) is located in Ballimaran, Delhi. Though a bit late, it has now been declared a heritage site by Archaeological Survey of India, as parts of the haveli has already been encroached upon.

Plaque outside the Haveli
Plaque outside the Haveli.

Here you get an insight into the life of Ghalib. The walls of the haveli have his poems hung on them. This is now a permanent museum of Ghalib. There are many hand written poems and his books. There is a life size replica, of Ghalib with a hookah in his hand. Portraits of other prominent poets such as Ustaad Zauq, Abu Zafar and Momin are also here.

Notice inside
Notice Inside.
Some of Ghalibs's favourite things
Some of Ghalib’s favourite things.

After coming from Agra, Ghalib spent a lot of time here and wrote his Urdu and Persian ‘diwans’. After his death this haveli was encroached by the neighbours who set up shops here but the Govt have now acquired a portion of the haveli and renovated it bringing back its old world Mughal magnificence & charm.
If you are ever visiting Delhi, it should be on your must see list.

Connecting thru passion

When you talk to young people these days, invariably the conversation steers towards the social media like Facebook or Twitter and to some extent LinkedIn for professional activities.

As a Blogger I am also an avid user of social media. But like they say, to write a blog is only 10 percent of the job done, the balance is how do you get people to read it.

I used to write my Blogs on Google and share them but was not happy with the response I was getting. So I decided to set up my own site but again with limited success.

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Affimity Homepage.

Then I read about our own home grown Affimity in the daily newspaper and wanted to try it.

Now my posts on Affimity, be it photos, blogs or other articles, get good response from people I don’t know.

Unlike Facebook where only your friends see your post in the jungle of posts, Affimity comes with a breath of fresh air. Affimity works on channels like food, parents, working moms, fitness, jokes and fashion which are shared by people having similar interests.

I have now been on Affimity for less than a month and I am getting a lots of encouraging comments on my posts. On some of travel stories people have thanked me about letting them know that off beat places can also be fun. My high came a few days ago when somebody not only liked my picture but added that she liked the way I had framed the shot.

Thank you Affimity.

Street Art is here.

Graffiti is defined as writing or drawings scribbled, scratched, or painted on a wall or other surface, often in a public place. It has existed since Roman Empire and has been used to express social and political messages. India was not big on this art form as most looked down upon till now.

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Hanif Kureshi is a young man in his late twenties and has studied Fine Arts at M.S. University of Baroda. He has worked at Ogilvy & Mather and Wieden+Kennedy. He has won international and national awards for his various projects. He along with Akshat Nauriyal and some other artists formed St+Art India Foundation, a non-profit organisation that works on art projects in public spaces.

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One of their initiatives is St+art Festival and is currently running in New Delhi, in Lodhi Road area. Some of the art put up by them on several walls between Khanna Market and Meherchand Market have turned them into an open air art gallery accessible to everyone.

Story of a Passion -Heritage Transport Museum.

Tarun Thakral, GM Le Meridien, Delhi had a passion about cars which has now turned into a Heritage Transport Museum.

 

It is 90,000 Sq ft of air conditioned space spread over four floors, on a three acre plot, off the NH 8 at Tauru-Gurgaon. It has exhibition galleries, a library and reference centre, conference rooms, a mini auditorium and a museum shop cum cafeteria. It has been set up by a non-profit Heritage Transportation trust registered under the Indian Trust Act (1882).

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Heritage Transport Museum, Tauru, Gurgaon.

Apart from Thakral there is a bunch of other people who have helped him in this dream project showcasing the evolution of transportation in India.

 

Ministry of Culture, Government of India is also involved as they have granted 6 crore Rupees to offset the cost of construction of the museum building. The balance funds came from corporate and individual donations and sponsor ships.
The Museum is divided into sections.

• Automobile Gallery – showcasing the evolution of the Indian car industry plus cars that have been used in India since the advent of motoring.

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Buick 1944
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Buick.
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Chevrolet 1955
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Chevrolet Phaeton 1932.
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Beetle 1963
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Mercury Sedan 1944

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Triumph
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Vespa

• Two-Wheelers Gallery – showcasing the evolution of early two wheelers in India including bicycles, scooters, motorcycles, and mopeds. Some indigenous systems of transport such as phat-phat, chakhda, jugaad, and ganesha are also on display.

• Pre-mechanised Transportation- Beginning with the story of the wheel, palanquins, howdahs, bullock carts, horse carriages, and camel carts are on display.

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• Aviation – Evolution of Indian aviation industry. A restored 1940s Piper J3C Cub aircraft, in chrome yellow is displayed.IMG_0441-4

• Collectible India Toys on Transport.IMG_0410IMG_0443-4

• Contemporary Art Gallery.IMG_0381 IMG_0383

• Heavy Mechanised Transportation showcasing restored buses.
It is an absolutely must see Museum if you are in Delhi NCR or visiting it.

30th Surajkund International Crafts Mela 2016

Surajkund (literal meaning is ‘Lake of the Sun’) is an ancient 10th century reservoir south of Delhi in Faridabad.

Every year for the past 30 years Haryana government holds its annual “Surajkund International Craft Mela” here. Millions of visitors visit this place for shopping, watch cultural performances of Indian folk dancers and to sample foods from various parts of the country. This event showcases the richness and diversity of the handicrafts and handlooms of India.

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Tribal dance Odisha.
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Tribal dance Odisha.
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More of dance from Odisha
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Dancers from Leh with a Yak.
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Dancers from Tamilnadu
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Bhiu from Assam.
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From Arunachal.
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From Punjab.
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From Egypt.

In the current 30thSurajkund International Crafts Mela, the newest state of Telangana is the theme. A large number of renowned national and international folk artistes will perform during the 2 weeks of the festival.

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Chhatisgarh Gate
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Replica of Badrinath Temple.
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Clock made of “morahas”.
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World’s biggest “hookah”.
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Voodo man.

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The cursed Fort – Tughlaqabad Fort.

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Tughlaqabad Fort.
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Pathways inside the fort with thick walls around them.
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Baoli (step well) inside the fort.

On a cold and foggy morning I decided to join a Heritage walk conducted by Delhi Heritage Walks, to Tughlaqabad Fort.
Tughlaqabad is among the 7 cities of Delhi, namely, Mehrawali (Mehrauli), Siri, Jahanpanah, Firozabad, the city around Purana Qila and Shahjahanabad and its ruins are spread over 6 square kms.

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Ruins of the Fort.

It is said that one day while taking a walk in the place, the fort ruins stand now, Ghazi Malik, a feudatory of the ruling Khalijis, suggested to his king, to build a fort. The King jokingly told Ghazi Malik to build it himself when he becomes the king. Little did he know that one day it will happen.

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Ruins of the Fort.
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Ruins of the Fort.

In 1321 AD, Ghazi Malik assumed the title of Ghias-ud-din Tughlaq, started the Tughlaq dynasty after driving away the Khaljis and started building an impregnable city. The Tughlaqabad Fort was completed in a record time of 4 years. The ruins tell us that the fort was a massive strong structure with thick and sky touching walls. According to a legend, in the construction of the fort, skulls of the killed Mongol marauders were used.

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The Delhi Heritage Walks group.
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The arched underground market inside the fort.

Around the time the fort was being built, Sufi saint, Nizamuddin Auliya was also building a Baoli in Nizamuddin area. He was finding it difficult to get labourers as the King had ordered all the workmen and labourers to work day and night to complete the task.

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Opening to the secret underground passage, to be used in an emergency. It opens on the outer wall of the fort.
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Mausoleum of Ghis-ud-din Tughluq as seen from the Bijai Mandal.

This lead a to a major dispute between the Sufi mystic and the king and the Sufi saint cursed the king, “Ya rahey ujjar, ya basey gujjar” .

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Ruins of the fort as seen from Bijai Mandal.
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Ruins of the fort as seen from Bijai Mandal.
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Ruins of the fort as seen from Bijai Mandal.
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Ruins of the fort as seen from Bijai Mandal.

It is said that Ghias-ud-din when he came to know that labourers were working on the Baoli in the night, stopped the supply of oil to them for their lamps. When the masons approached the Sufi saint he poured water from the Baoli into the lamps & lit them and asks the labourers to continue. At that time the King was away from Tughlaqabad. To pacify the labourers, the Sufi saint said “Hunuz Dilli dur ast (Delhi is still far away).Time once again showed how the Saint was right.

 

It is believed that Tughlaq’s son conspired with the workers building a gate in honour of the returning King and the Shamiana (tent) fell on the Emperor, while he was passing under the gate crushing him to death in 1324. The Fort was completed after Ghias-ud-din Tughlaq’s death. Later the city was captured by the Gujjars and till date they have remained there.
The city of Tughluqabad is divided into 3 parts, a wider city area with houses built along a rectangular grid between its gates, the citadel with a tower at its highest point known as Bijai-Mandal and the adjacent palace area containing the royal residences. There is a long secret underground passage below the tower.

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Ghias-ud-din Tughlaq’s masuloum.

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After Tughlaq’s death his mausoleum was constructed. It is a single-domed square tomb with sloping walls crowned by parapets. It is made with red sandstone and inlaid marble panels. There are 3 graves inside, the central one belongs to Ghias-ud-din Tughlaq the other two are believed to be those of his wife and his son and successor Muhammad bin Tughluq. Ghias-ud-din Tughlaq’s grave has been at this site prior to the construction of the mausoleum as desired by him. It was connected by a causeway to the southern outpost of the fort. Sadly in 1960 while laying the Mehrauli Badarpur road this was raised to the ground.
Today most of the city is inaccessible due to dense thorny vegetation. The massive Tughlaqabad Fort, though in an advanced state of ruins, is not only symbolic of the might of the Tughlaq dynasty, but it is a piece of architectural marvel. Sadly the demise of Tughlaqabad was not brought about by any foreign invasion, but due to the curse of a Sufi.

A day in Paradise

We spent our last summer in paradise, Paynesville near Lakes Entrance, Gippsland where Lakes meets the Southern Ocean. Paynesville, also known as the boating and fishing capital of Victoria is approx 320 kms from Melbourne, a non-stop drive of about 3 ½ hours. There are a couple of beautiful stops like Taralgon on the way, where you could stop for coffee or an ice cream.

It is also famous as a seafood capital due to the large number of fishing trawlers.
We reached late on Friday night but early Saturday morning went to Fisherman’s Wharf Pavilion for breakfast. It is right in the heart of the city on the Esplanade, overlooking the bay. Our breakfast of Bacon and Eggs, hot Banana Bread, fresh Orange Juice and coffee was quite good. The ambience was super, though it was a warm morning.

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Almost all house have access to the water, so in the front you have a car and in the rear a boat.
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Fisherman’s Wharf Pavillion.
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The ferry to Raymond Island.

After breakfast we headed straight to the number one attraction in Paynesville town, Raymond Islands, a 2 minutes ferry ride. On the ferry you have to pay for your vehicle but cyclists and pedestrians go free.
As you cross over you can see numerous Koala in their natural habitat. Some people do live on the island but most of it is covered by trees and on the other side a small beach. We were told that there are Kangaroo too but we did not find any.
The koala is an herbivorous marsupial native to Australia found in coastal areas, inhabiting Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia. It is recognized by its stout, tailless body; round, fluffy ears; and large, spoon-shaped nose. It has a body length of 60–85 cm (24–33 in) and weighs 4–15 kg (9–33 lb). Their colour ranges from silver grey to chocolate brown.
They typically inhabit open eucalypt woodlands, and the leaves of these trees make up most of their diet. Because this eucalypt diet has limited nutritional and caloric content, koalas are largely sedentary and sleep for up to 20 hours a day.

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Koala.
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Koala.

On the beach if you look into the sea you can also see a number of jelly fish.
From Raymond Island we went Buchan Caves and on the way stopped for lunch at Bruthen, a small town with a beautiful restaurant, Bullant Brewery, an outlet of the local micro brewery. The restaurant is in a picturesque setting overlooking the Tambo River valley.
We tried their Beer sampler but were blown over by their Mossiface Beer. Our meal of Hot Platter, a Seafood platter and baked Barramundi was delicious. Their staff is simply delightful and helpful offering valuable tips. I would highly recommend this eatery as it is probably the best on the route. Although I am a little unhappy about the chicken on the hot platter and too many fries in the seafood platter.

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Beer sampler.
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Seafood sampler.
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Hot platter.

The Buchan Caves are a group of limestone caves, located in the East Gippsland region of the Australian state of Victoria. They have a total length of between 3 and 4 kms and six entrances. The limestone rock was laid down during the Devonian period about 300 – 400 million years ago. At the time, the sea covered this area of East Gippsland which was alive with shellfish and coral. Their remains were deposited in layers and over the years compacted to form limestone. The caves were formed by solution of the limestone.

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The world below us.
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The world below us.
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More of the world below us.

It is about 1 ½ hour’s drive from Lakes entrance and is an absolute must if you are visiting Lakes entrance. There is a beautiful camping ground with some interesting walks and swimming pool, which is fed by running water. After a long walk a swim in that pool really refreshes you.

There is a small charge for the caves but it is absolutely worth it. We had a young guide who was fantastic and we really enjoyed our tour seeing a beautiful world just 75 m below the rock with some stalactites being over 2 million years old. These caves were formed by underground rivers cutting through limestone rock. The formations are created by rain water seeping through cracks and dissolving some of the limestone. As each droplet comes through the roof it deposits calcite which crystallises in a small ring. In time, stalactites are formed on the roof of the cave, and stalagmites build up from droplets which fall to the floor.

On our way back, we stopped at Lakes entrance and visited the absolutely beautiful 90 miles beach located on Victoria’s south-eastern coastline. It is one of the three longest uninterrupted beaches in the world. When you stand on the beach and watch, the beach disappears into the salty sea in the distance. It is ideal for fishing, swimming, walking, whale and dolphin-spotting or just lazing in the sun. It separates the Gippsland Lakes from Bass Strait. This is also a part of the country of the Gunaikurnai indigenous people. On its edge is the Lakes Entrance where you can watch out for dolphins and whales during their migration season.

From here we headed home and left for Melbourne the next morning.

On our way we stopped at Afghan Charcoal Kebab in Dadenong for lunch. It is a small Afghani eatery on Thomas Street. The food is freshly cooked including the famous afghan breads. We enjoyed the mix kebab platter and Chicken kebabs. The kebabs were prepared without the onions and masala, typical of Indian Kebabs and the roti was soft and very tasty. We really enjoyed
And so our weekend in paradise ended.

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Chicken Kebab platter.
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Mixed Kebab Platter.
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Afghani roti.