Monday 29 April 2019

Ghumakkad in Ahmadabad:The City of Sultan’s and Mahatma.

Ahmadabad is quite an interesting place to visit. The rich history, delicious food, amazingly beautiful handicrafts and lot of places to hangout, this city is not less than a metro city.Ahmadabad may be called city of Jali’s,city of thali’s and above all city of Mahatma Gandhi.

The real charm of Ahmadabad lies in the old city located on the eastern bank of the river Sabarmati. It’s here among the rumpled lanes which reminisce of an era gone by that you’ll discover the city’s true soul. Ahmadabad comes across an erratic combination of the old and new.It is the sixth largest city and seventh largest metropolitan area of India. 

Sabarmati Ashram

Our first stop was Sabarmati Ashram.I don’t remember the age and class ,when first I came to know the importance and role of “Mahatma Gandhi”in India’s struggle of Freedom fighting movement.

I was enveloped in tranquility of Sabarmati Ashram.The time spent  in the ashram and the museum, gave me a complete insight of the history, the struggle of our freedom fighters, the experiments of Gandhi ji and his life,even his experiments with Truth.

Here I found handsome count of visitors; among them were many foreign visitors too.My camera was carving for some beautiful photos of the Ashram.I clicked here some memorable shots.
 An important landmark of the ashram is Gandhi J's Cottage 'Hridaya Kunj', where some of his personal relics are displaced.

The charkha used by Gandhi to spin khadi and the writing table he used for writing letters are also a few of the priceless items kept and looked after here.

Sabarmati Ashram is the place where the father of our nation – Mahatma Gandhi resided from from 1915 to 1930 with his wife and started his Dandi March from here. Since the ashram is located very close to the Sabarmati River, it gives a good view of the river.
Over the years, the Ashram became home to the ideology that set India free. It aided countless other nations and people in their own battles against oppressive forces.
 Today, the Ashram serves as a source of inspiration, guidance, and stands as a monument to Gandhi’s life mission and a testimony to others who have fought a similar struggle.
 There is a beautifully curated museum, an archive of letters written by Gandhi j's , auditorium photo galleries and a library cum bookshop  in the campus.

We spent here one hour and purchased a biography of Mahatma Gandhi. (The Life and Death of Mahatma Gandhi by Robert Payne) in Hindi.

Bhatiyar Gali

Now it was about 1.30 P.M,tired and feeling less energy to roam further on roads of Ahmadabad hired an auto riksha for Bhatiyar Gali. You name it and this Gali will serve you the most authentic and sumptuous preparations.

Famous for its 600-year old tradition of mouth-watering non-vegetarian delicacies, Bhatiyar Gali is a Non-Veg paradise at the heart of the vegetarian city of Ahmadabad. Narrow streets, crowded stalls, roaring surroundings and the rhythmic beatings of Bhatiyar Gali; this pretty much sums up this hottest hubbub of Amdavad. Tava-Biryani, Bheja Masala, Chicken Angara, Kebabs, Kheema Samosas, Chaap Fry, Bhuna Ghost.
We were charged with new energy,after a lunch in Bhatiyar Gali. Close to this Bhatiyar gali is Teen Drwaza.

Teen Darwaza

Teen Darwaza is an architectural marvel, the beauty of which is surely going to leave you awestruck. Consisting of gorgeous arched gates, Teen Darwaza is one of the longest as well as the oldest gateways of the Ahmadabad city. 

It was established in the year 141 A.D. by Sultan Ahmed Shah , who founded the city of Ahmadabad. Teen Darwaza was meant to be a royal archway welcoming the king and other state dignitaries into the fort and consequently to the city of Ahmadabad.  

Teen Darwaza of Ahmadabad, India is truly an epitome of the fine Islamic architecture. The windows of this fabulous monument are semi circular and adorned using mesh work. 

The central window depicts the tree of life. Five palm trees are shown that are covered with snakes. This portrayal also serves as the symbol of the Gujarat Government. This regal citadel is one of the most sought after tourist destinations in Ahmadabad.

Kankaria Lake

Kankaria Lake is one of the most favorite picnic spots of the people of Ahmadabad. It left me completely spellbound. It is place, where you can relive your childhood.Adjacent to the lake, lies a beautiful garden called Nagina Wadi. 

Kankaria Lake was built by Sultan Qutab-ud-Din in the year 1451 A.D. It is basically an artificial lake with thirty four sides. lake has a fascinating island summer palace.

For people seeking peace, there can be no better place than Kankaria Lake. The pleasing view of the lake, the humming and chirping of birds and the greenery bordering the lake will make you fall in love with this place. 

Bhukkad Gali

After two hrs of enjoyment at Kankaria lake,the time was to go back.Where to take dinner?The big question for us.Lunch was Non Veg in Bhaityar Gali. For a vegetarian dinner we decided Bhukkad Gali.

There is no concrete story behind how this street got the name Bhukkad, but this college hub is definitely a paradise for gluttons. Owing to the young crowd that visits here. This Bhukkad gali is relatively newer hub ,bit too expensive than the older food streets, though.

Sidi Saiyyed ki Masjid

This relatively small masjid is located at a busy traffic junction, but on reaching here, I felt  peace that is beyond words.

It was built in the year 1572-73 by an Abyssinian known as Sidi Saeed or Sidi Saiyyed. He came to Gujarat from Yemen and later served Sultan Nasir-ud-Din Mahmud III. 

He was known as the nobleman who helped the poor and had a large collection of books. He built this magnificent monument during the reign of Sultan Muzaffar Shah III, the last ruler of Gujarat.

Gujarat Sultanate can be credited for much of the most amazing Islamic architecture not only in Ahmadabad but also much of Gujarat. The masjids built in that era rival some of the best in the country, and possibly in the world as well.

Siddi Sayyed Majid ki Jaali or “Tree of Life”

Today one of Jali depicting the Tree of Life has become a distinguished symbol of the city of Ahmadabad. The same Jali has also been abstracted for the logo to IIM Ahmadabad.

The main pillar at the entrance of the mosque is rich in carvings of Islamic motifs. Lace on stone is the only way to describe the masterpiece of Siddi Sayyed ki Jaali. On the backside of the mosque are four sets of delicate carvings on the wall.

Jama Masjid, Ahmadabad

This magnificent Jama Masjid (Friday Mosque) stands proudly just in West of Manek Chowk. All around masjid lies the hectic frenzy of the center of the old city. Manek Chowk,one of the most crowded market of Ahmadabad. But inside the mosque, it was an entirely different story.The morning prayers were done, so the mosque was empty.

It was built by Sultan Ahmed Shah in 1423, founder of the Ahmadabad. This jama Masjid was one of the greatest masjid of during that period of India.Itmay be called smaller cousin of Delhi’s Jama Masjid. Yellow sand stones are used in the construction of Jama Masjid of Ahmadabad. Its architecture is a blend of Hindu and Muslim Styling.

The wide open courtyard, floored with white marble, is ringed by a columned arcade painted with giant Arabic calligraphy,a tank for ablutions (wazoo)with a fountain in the center. The masjid and arcades are built of beautiful yellow sandstone,carved with the intricate detail. There are pillars everywhere, 300 of them supporting 15 domes.

The Jhoolta Minar of Ahmadabad

Italy may have the ‘Leaning tower of Pisa’, but Ahmadabad has also something equally splendid – the Jhulta Minar!The world famous Jhulta Minar or the swaying minarets or shaking minarets is a part of Sidi Bashir Mosque in Ahmadabad. Constructed in 1452, this masjid is a beautiful example of the unmatched craftsmanship of that time.

The two minarets of masjid are designed such  that if you apply a little force on its upper arch, the minaret tends to sway. In fact, a minor movement in either of the minaret results in the vibration of the other minaret after a few seconds. Amazingly, the passage between the two minarets remains free from any vibration. The mechanism behind this is still a mystery.

The Step wells of Adalaj

For those having an interest in history, Dada Harir is a good option. Dada Harir is a step well in Asarwa area of Ahmadabad. Apart from a deep history which is displayed through the inscriptions on its walls, it also makes for a good photography point.

This step well was made of sandstone in the style of Solanki architecture over 500 years ago. This place is about five levels deep with an octagonal structure on the top. When you move inside the well, you will find vertical pillars and platforms stacked upon one another, and if you look horizontally, a view of step-well is formed, lending itself to further beautiful perspectives.

It gets darker as you go deeper. We wondered how the artisans would have managed to see their work down there back then.

The well water is now fenced off for protection. But we could sit on the steps and enjoy the cool by the water. Just like the travelers would have centuries ago!

Wednesday 6 March 2019

Kanpuriya of Kanpur: City of Paan Masala, Thaggu ke laddu, Badnam Qulfi

Of course you can never be sure in Kanpur, while walking on road, that a flying ball of red paan spit of Paan Masala will hit you. Kanpuriya is a lingo for people of Kanpur.

Usually Kanpuriya have an image of eating Paan Masala and guthka. Spitting it over the walls but Kanpur isn't as they think about i must say. Some of the interesting things which should come to your mind when you hear word Kanpur are written down which will really amaze you.
A Kanpuriya spitting Paan Masala
People of Kanpur are too good with a helping nature, mostly have a very struggling attitude. They don't fear any challenges and the worse situations. They strive to the best of their capability to lead a good lifestyle.

Make a kanpuriya Friend and you'll forget what is depression.Kanpuriya are soft and emotional but not weak. During their worst times, they may cry, but never get into depression and we'll stand again to fight back with the situation. Having a kanpuriya Friend is must if you love all sorts of siyapa and vellapanti.
Paan Masala of Kanpur
People chew a lot of tobacco and spit it everywhere with impunity. You will hardly find a corner in a public building or the walls and floors near a dustbin that has not been slathered with the unmistakable red coloured tobacco spit. Observe everything, from smiling faces to overflowing mouths (full of paan-masala), narrow roads to highways.
Few years back I was travelling to Kanpur from Hyderabad in a train. I met a Kanpuria co-travellor who was in job in Kerala.We talked about random topics regarding difference in the lifestyles of North India and South India. While talking he opened his briefcase and took out a packet of paan Masala, what surprised me were those approximately 100 packets of Paan Masala in it.
I looked at him, expecting an explanation for that, after a while he understood my gesture and replied that as Paan Masala isn't allowed in Kerala so he take along enough packs which would last for a month.
I asked “why do you even take so much pain to carry all these stuff which would eventually harm you?”

For few seconds I was dumbstruck. Never expected such a uniquely dumb reply. For him, addiction to Paan Masala is an asset to his personality and an easy way to become socially accepted among his friends. That incident actually showed me how the scarcity of education can have such an adverse effect on human intellects and reasoning.
The chewing pan masala culture and spitting everywhere and staining everything that comes in the way thereby, started from this very city, Kanpur in 70s. Reached its peak in 80s and 90s when pan parag, the numero uno king of the pouch revolution hanging in every corner paan shops reigned supreme. Brought by city based kotharis, departed actor ashok kumar lent it an iconic status with his tv promotion of the brand.
Soon competitors arrived like rajnigandha from delhi based ds group,tiranga, kamla pasand,pan pasand and countless others. but kanpur brand reigned supreme for two decades and colored india,particularly painting government offices red. till we woke up recently and understanding its danger,”banned”it. never mind countless people died of oral cancer by then.
This is in short the story of one kind of laal kranti (Paan Masala) in India.

Pretty sure Pierce Brosnan was fooled into endorsing an Ad of Pan Bahar Masala by saying that it was some exotic Himalayan Indian herb.

Thaggu ke Ladoos and Badnaam kulfi” to relish on everytime you visit Kanpur Can't leave Kanpur without eating Laddus Here”
Right next to Baba Foods in Swaroop Nagar is the famous Thaggu ke Laddu. His Badnam Kulfi is fabulous. Unlike most other Kulfis it’s whipped rather than just frozen and so it has a slightly Rabri like texture.
Shop of Thaggu ke laddu and Badnam Kulfi
The ladoos are ideal for taking home because they last a long time and might be the closest thing to Kanpur speciality.
This place has a motto "Aisa koi saga nahi, jisko humne Thaga nahi." Meaning that there is not even a single dear one whom we have not cheated. The reason behind it is that the founder of this restaurant was a firm Gandhian (believer and follower of Gandhi principles). He once met Gandhiji and during his small chat with...
Badnaam Kulfi
For the Vegans there is Aromas also in Swaroop Nagar. He serves pizzas and burgers along with some Chinese food. The best way to visit Swaroop Nagar is for the Non Veg guys to eat at Baba and the others to eat at Aromas. Because both have fast service you get out at the same time. This is Murgi’s favorite place to eat by the way (The very mention of Aroma’s brightens his day). Right next to Aroma’s is a place that has no name mentioned anywhere (Actually there is but you really have to look for it) but it serves good Bhelpuri(as good as can be in Kanpur)
 Swaroop Nagar is also home to Makhan Singh ki Biryani. His rice is nowhere as good as Baba’s so if you want to eat Biryani, it’s wise to stick to Baba. However what he does serve are excellent Kababs. You will also be amazed at the size of Makhan.

It must be the smallest shop in Swaroop Nagar but there are cars lined up all the time ordering food. The owner just stands there shouting orders and keeping track of the money. It ought to be a lesson in management.

They don't have seating arrangements and you will have to eat your food in your car. Their kebabs are also good and their biryani is boneless.
Typical Kanpurias

 In terms of restaurants Antarang in Rave 3 is by far the finest restaurant in Kanpur. Antarang is always consistent and dependable. There is a singer who sings remarkably like Jagjit Singh.

The desserts are great as well. Hot Brownie with Ice Cream, Gulab Jamun with Ice Cream is great. The moong dal halwa used to be great but has been falling flat on recent occasions. Chicken Chettinad is something that we often order. As a bonus the restaurant also has the finest ambience in Kanpur. 
Hucka is a place frequented by most people. The huckas provide variety, but personally I am not a big fan. However if you do decide on going there do try the three pepper potato (starter). Also order pineapple raita and Mirchi Paratha (It’s an awesome combination). Their food used to be good.
For the Vegans, there is Gyan Vaishnav, in Gumti Number 5. Don’t go by the ambience and try the place out. Try to get to the place early because otherwise it is packed. It is act of foolishness to go to Gyan Vaishnav on a Tuesday. Stick to the basics and don’t order anything fancy. Order Roti Dal (Must) and Sabji. Baingan Ka Bharta is recommended. Also order the kheer. Ensure that you order the kheer beforehand because they get over extremely fast.

Last but far far from the least is a little pan shop called Monkey Chaurasia
(Note the monkey is essential, there is a duplicate Chaurasia along the road. The Monkey Chaurasia advertises Mountain Dew). It falls on the side of the medical shops between Gol Chauraha and Swaroop Nagar. Have the Meetha pan. Have more than one in fact. This is the perfect end to a meal.
Honestly the best Kanpur food spots are found on the way just roaming around.

The small shops on the street make up the heart of Kanpur. So instead of going after just named food joints, one should get out and explore. Places like Gumti, Naveen Market, places adjoining Baad Chauraha, kakadeo are brilliant for such strolls. Otherwise the famous ones have already been mentioned..

Kanpuriya language: Unique Common  Words of Kanpurias Daily Life

People of Kanpur have their own unique language. Kanpuriya language is rude but they are always ready to help and have big and good heart. Kanpurias are very straight forward (many times people don't like it) golmol nahi sidha bolte hai.

It is just something that any person with swag would enjoy. Its a mixture of rudeness, straightforwardness, humor and well.Abusive words. The words are just too different from what are spoken in other neighbouring cities of Kanpur that it gives Kanpur an entirely different set of vocabulary.
I will give you one example- The word slap is translated into Kanpuriya language as “Kantaap” instead of the much common terms of other cities as jhaapad, thappad or lappad.So, when you are in Kanpur some day, don’t be shocked to hear someone tell you -

“Saale _________ (beep beep), aukaat mein rahiyo warnaa denge ek kantaap kheench ke kaan ke neeche”: P
·        Zyada bakaiti na pelo
·        Bas karo bey pudina bo rakha hai tumne to
·         Aao zara hum bhi dekhe Kaun kitna bada khalifa hai.
·         Bhai matter ((panga) ho Gaya.
·         Bhokal hai bhai ka tension na lo.
·         Mathadheesi jayegi nahi.
·         Pauwwa (jugaad) hai poora apna iss area me.
·         “Chaped” me na Pado yar, “Lethan” ho jati hai Baad me
·         Ho bilkul Wahi, jisme rehta hai dahi (means kulhad)
·         And last but not the least… “Bhanna ke kantaap padega Bairaaj se Station tak   ki sair ho jayegi.”
·         “Bhann se padega, sann se aawaz aegii”
·         “Akdoge to ghar baithoge”
·         “Ek kantaap me chittra jaoge”
And their favorite word is nikal “lo patli gali se warna nali pe patak denge”

Banarsi Tea Shop
One of the best tea one can have in whole Kanpur very hot and creamy tea one can enjoy in winter and enjoy great cup of tea
Famous tea vendor who sells only tea and there are always flocks of people waiting for tea, especially in the morning, where thousands of people sip tea everyday. (At Motijheel Chauraha crossing).
The milk and cream Chai with a tinge of Cardamom served in a earthen Kullar tasted heavenly. The accompaniments of Samosa with potato masala filling melted away in the stream of piping hot chai and I had to order another chai to satisfy myself.

Written and posted by Engr. Maqbool Akram: With

 help of different materials available on net

Thursday 28 February 2019

Krishna Kumari: The Rajput Princess,Chose Death Pyre To Save Her Dynasty

Here is the story of a true princess Krishna Kumari (1794 –1810), who chose death before a war was ignited.She choose death instead of putting the lives of their people at risk.Reality is harsh and painful. It is not lyrical fiction and it does not have Romeo-and-Juliet kind of endings.
 It was my second day of tour in Udaipur. We were in city palace of Udaipur and standing inside Krishna Vilas.  Krishna Vilas is another chamber inside City Palace, which has rich collection of miniature paintings that portray royal processions, festivals and games of the Maharanas.
However, there is tragic story linked to this wing of the City Palace. In the 19th century, a royal princess was unable to choose from two suitors seeking her hand in marriage, one from the royal family of Jaipur and another from Jodhpur, and hence in a state of dilemma, she poisoned herself to death
Princess Krishna Kumari was a Rajput princess with many suitors. A succession of battles was fought to gain her hand. Unlike Padmini, she was a real figure whose story was detailed in annals and letters composed during her life and immediately after her death. 

The manner of that death was unique and tragic, so shameful that no bard was ever commissioned to glorify it in verse.
Rana Bhim Singh was the ruler of Mewar in the early nineteenth century. The state had lost all its power and was beset by enemies from all sides.
The Marathas from the southwest had overrun parts of it and extorted levies from his subjects, while the states of Jaipur and Marwar were poised to attack him.
Jaipur and Marwar threatened war, not to increase their kingdoms but for another reason. Both the princes, Jagat Singh of Jaipur and the Raja Man of Marwar wanted to marry the Sisodia princess, Krishna Kumari, daughter of Bhim Singh. Bhim Singh dared not refuse either. He knew that whoever lost the hand of his daughter would join his enemies and attack his state.
Krishna Kumari, the young, sixteen-year beauty, was told of her father's predicament. She was determined to maintain the heroic tradition of her race and die rather than plunge her country into war
 Poison made of the Kasumba blossom was prepared for her. When the fatal cup was presented to her she received it with a smile, I fear not to die. Rajkumari Krishna Kumari drank it, and fell into a deep sleep … from which she never woke.

It happened in Krishna Vilas of the Udaipur palace, in a room that is still preserved exactly as it was when the brave Krishna Kumari gave her life to save the state of Mewar from war.
 Her mother, heartbroken at her daughter's fate, died soon after her. And Rana Bhim Singh, too weak to have prevented the sacrifice, consoled himself through the lonely years of his remaining life by turning his daughter's room into shrine of beauty and splendor.
The delicately frescoed Krishna Mahal is now a memorial to the girl (photography not permitted) in Udaipur City Palace, where respect can be paid to a brave little princess who became the victim of political circumstance.The room contains some of Mewar's best miniature paintings.The brave Krishna Kumari gave her life to save the state of Mewar from war.
Written and posted by Engr Maqbool Akram, with help of various materials available on net.