The first place we visited was the Lotus Temple. All I remember is that it's a Baha'i temple and that it's shaped like a Lotus flower, hence the name. Dee dee dee.
Suffice to say that it is my fault for trying to write a blog post about visiting it 14 months after the fact and all I can remember is really liking it. I can't say much more than that. Ah well. Here's what Wikipedia has to say about it.
The Lotus Temple, located in New Delhi, India, is a Bahá'í House of Worship completed in 1986. Notable for its flowerlike shape, it serves as the Mother Temple of the Indian subcontinent and has become a prominent attraction in the city. The Lotus Temple has won numerous architectural awards and been featured in hundreds of newspaper and magazine articles.
Also, here's their website.
|Pools of water on either side of the walkway to the entrance. It's beautiful and a great place for watching people make fools of themselves while taking photos.|
|As already stated.|
|Borrowed from Wikipedia. It's just a gorgeous piece of architecture and everything is more beautiful when it's lit up at night, isn't it? http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/f/fc/LotusDelhi.jpg|
The next stop was India Gate. That might have actually been the first stop seeing as how Sunita lived about 5 minutes away from India Gate, but I'm not about to rewrite the blog to incorporate that one tiny detail. India Gate is great during the day and amazing at night when it's all lit up. The surrounding area is full of government buildings and the streets are wide and tree-lined. Not at all what I was expecting in New Delhi.
As usual, pictures say it best.
|India Gate...at night.|
|The beautiful gates surrounding the presidential palace.|
|Some of those wide streets I mentioned earlier.|
|India Gate...during the day!|
|Me in front of India Gate. I'm beginning to hate these captions.|
Now, what could possibly make me love this place so much despite feeling so angry while I was there? Honestly, all I had to do was look around me at the architecture and design of the temple and it was all washed away. One part of the temple is dedicated to elephants and there are over 148 statues of elephants. As an elephant lover I found it all quite amazing. After awhile I found a quiet area and rested there and it was the most peace I'd felt since arriving in India. I sometimes think back on that time whenever I feel the calm slipping away and I desperately want to hold on to it. Here are some pictures that will hopefully help explain why. The first two are my own that I took from a moving car, hence the not so good quality. Pictures 4, 5 and 6 are from a site I liked the best called Air Piano. They provide 360 degree aerial panorama shots of different sites around there. It's like you're really there! ::gasp:: Make sure to take the aerial tour because it's ridiculously cool and they have wonderful music to accompany it. It's like being in India.
Pictures 7 and 8 must have been taken by someone who smuggled a camera inside because I don't know how they got shots like those. I found it on a random website called Skyscrapercity.com, but they're attributed to a Flickr user. Thanks so much to whoever that is that broke the rules. Normally, I'm not a fan of rule breakers, but in this case I am.
Also, here's their website and what Air Piano has to say about it.
It was opened in 2005. The construction took over 5 years and involved 7000 artisans and 3000 construction workers from all over India. Their combined efforts gave birth to a building 42 meters high, 94 meters wide, and 106 meters long. The structure of Akshardham consists of 234 pillars, 9 shiny domes, 20 four-sided towers, and over 20 thousand figurines depicting themes from Indian mythology. There are over 148 statues of an elephant alone!
|Swaminarayan Akshardam Temple from afar. This is a super zoomed in shot.|
|Curious because the Petronas Towers in Malaysia are also closed on Mondays.|
|At night. Le duh. http://www.mapsofindia.com/my-india/travel/an-epitome-of-grandeur-swaminarayan-akshardham-temple-delhi|
|The reason I loved this place so much. The entire outside of the temple/inside wall around the courtyard has various depictions of elephants in various aspects of their lives. It's so enchanting!|
|Aerial shot of the grounds. They form the shape of a lotus flower.|
|Another outside view of the intricate carvings.|
|Akshardam from a distance, but still within the limits of the gates.|
|The main entrance.|
|Dudes making music.|
I just I should also mention that I sort of visited Qutb Minar, but I didn't want to pay the exorbitant entrance fee, or at least a fee I thought was exorbitant, so we sort of drove past it on our way home and I popped out in the parking lot and took a picture and then hopped back into the car.
Hmmm, I guess I should also mention that the super awesome Tanushi and Tanay took me out to dinner that evening.
|Calamari, my favorite.|
|Don't tell Tanay you're about to take his picture or else...|
|The super cute and spicy Tanushi|
|Super shady alley way we had to walk down to get to our restaurant. I guess you could call it a hole-in-the-wall.|
Coming up: Sunday and the wedding!