By Rama Gaind.
It was right a brief visit to New Delhi, India, but long enough to be able to appreciate again – now that we can travel abroad again – the spirit and meaning of holi – The festival of colors.
It’s usually a time when life is a riot of vibrant shades that impact countless aspects of our daily lives, from how we decorate our homes and what we eat to the clothes we wear.
Everyone was showing off their most lively side because the season was all about celebrating the brightest hues of life with our near and dear ones. For two days in mid-March (although the celebrations were rather subdued this year), the streets were bustling with rejoicing people, dotting each other in colored liquid and exchanging gifts.
Stories abound about the origins of Holi (also called Holika Where phagwalisten)) which is a harvest festival marking the height of spring. It transports India in the beautiful days of summer. The most common belief is that holi marks the day when Lord Vishnu’s devotee, Bakt Prahlad, sitting on the lap of the demoness Holika, was saved from a fire by God.
Bonfires are lit, marking both the end of winter and the death of evil, and the produce of the seasonal harvest – including grain and coconuts – is offered to the flames. The next day, dhuleti involves throwing lots of colored powder, colored water, offering prayers, fasting and feasting. People have fun dancing and playing, but some prefer to avoid the streets to avoid the enthusiastic celebrations and to avoid staining themselves with dye.
Few sweets are intrinsically linked to a holiday like gujiya is with holi. Generations have savored this delicacy during the Spring Festival made from maid (white flour) stuffed with khoya Where mom (dairy products)almonds, raisins and cardamom
As the spirit of celebration presents the changing panorama of life, sights, movement and feelings, the urge to explore cannot be contained. There is a fascinating charm to both Old and New Delhi that you have to dig deep to discover. First impressions may be off-putting, but beneath the chaotic facade lies the inner peace of a city steeped in history, rich in culture, fine architecture and human diversity and a capital that will delight the taste buds of epicureans.
Not much is made of the fact that during the British Raj, Calcutta was the capital of India until 1911. Due to its historical and cultural significance, the capital was moved from Calcutta to Delhi by the Emperor of India at the time, George V.
Overlapping the site of seven ancient cities, New Delhi was laid out south of the Old City which was built by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan – who gave us the legendary Taj Mahal and the Motī Masjid (Pearl Mosque), both in Agra, and the Jāmiʿ Masjid and the Red Fort in Delhi. Hence, the city includes many historical monuments like Jantar Mantar and Lodhi Gardens.
A leader 20and century, British architect Edwin Lutyens planned much of New Delhi.
Lutyens is said to have laid out the central administrative area of the city as a testament to Britain’s imperial claims.
At the heart of the city is the magnificent Rashtrapati Bhawan (then known as Viceroy’s House) which stands atop Raisina Hill. It is the official residence of the President of India at the western end of Rajpath. Also known as the King’s Way, Rajpath stretches from India Gate to Rashtrapati Bhawan. The Secretariat, which houses various ministries of the Government of India, is next to Rashtrapati Bhawan. The Parliament, designed by Herbert Baker, is located at the Sansad Marg, parallel to the Rajpath.
There are eight forts in Delhi that give a glimpse of the city’s glorious past. The Red Fort or Lal Qila is a historic fort in Old Delhi, which served as the main residence of the Mughal emperors. It is a Mughal fortress that surrounds an ancient city. Fort Rouge was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2007 as part of the Fort Rouge complex.
The 42-metre-high India Gate in New Delhi commemorates the 70,000 Indian soldiers who lost their lives fighting for the British Army in World War I.
Originally called the All India War Memorial, it is an Arc de Triomphe shaped arch in the middle of a crossroads that attracts an endless stream of tourists daily.
One of India’s most popular landmarks and one of the first stops on most itineraries, India Gate is famous for its majestic structure, beautiful sandstone-carved fountains and lavish lawns. The gate was built by Lutyens to commemorate the thousands of Indian soldiers who died in World War I and during the war in Afghanistan. The names of each soldier are inscribed on its walls, and an eternal flame has burned beneath the gate since 1971. The perfect time to see it is in the evening, once the structure is bathed in surrounding lights.
The Qutb Minar complex features monuments and buildings from the Delhi Sultanate in Mehrauli. Considered the tallest brick minaret in the world, Qutub Minar is an exciting example of Indo-Islamic architecture. It has five distinct floors, each floor covered with writings from the Koran and intricate carvings.
There are so many things to see and do in the capital. Besides shopping and tasting local cuisine, you should visit India Gate, explore Red Fort, go to Qutub Minar, spend time at Humayun’s Tomb (famous as the most captivating mausoleum and perfectly proportioned Delhi), pay respect at the Raj Ghat (a memorial to Mahatma Gandhi), marvel at Akshardham Temple, relax in the lovely Lodi Gardens (considered one of the Delhi’s most beloved favourites), stroll through Akshardham Temple, which is recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records as the “largest complete Hindu temple” in the world. Considered one of Delhi’s most recognizable landmarks due to its unique architecture, don’t miss seeing the Lotus Temple which is a sanctuary for those seeking peace and quiet.
Whenever you travel, take note of official advice. As countries open their borders, experts advise caution as entry requirements vary, risk categories change and it is advisable to check entry details first before traveling to your destination.
holi reminds us that now is the perfect time to recharge, color, renew love and revitalize our energies – all in harmony with nature. The multicolored hues symbolize the lively and passionate pulse of life which signifies vitality.
Qantas flies direct to New Delhi, India