The Lure of India – Sikh Temple

The Lure of India

 Sikh Temple

On this trip to India, we visited many temples and forts.
One clearly remains uppermost on my mind, that  is of course, the visit to a  Sikh Temple.

 

Throughout India’s history, religion has been an important part of the country’s culture.  The main religions are: Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism.

The most dominant religion is Hinduism.  This  accounts for about 80% of the population.

About 2% of India’s population are Sikhs.

Outside the Sikh Temple - People came to bathe and to wash their feet
Outside the Sikh Temple – People came to bathe and to wash their feet

 

Bathing at the Sikh Temple
Bathing at the Sikh Temple

What I particularly like about Sikhism is that everyone has equal rights.  This is irrespective of caste, creed, colour, race, sex or religion.

They have placed an emphasis on community services and helping the needy.  They work towards universal, selfless love.

Everyone in the community is looked after and receive food daily.

Nobody is asked any questions. Nobody is  judged.

 

 

The creators of Sikhism tried (unsuccessfully) to abolish some of the old Indian customs such as the caste system.

 

Sikhs at rest in the Temple
Sikhs at rest in the Temple

Every Sikh is expected to voluntarily contribute to their community by preparing free meals in the  kitchen.  The common kitchen is called Langar.  In every place of worship, (Gurdwara)  there is a Langar.

 

Sikh temple - waiting patiently
Sikh temple – waiting patiently

 

The meals are served to all and are eaten sitting on the floor.

This is to emphasise the point that all are equal.

Sikh Temple - Food Preparation where sacks of grain are emptied
Sikh Temple – Food Preparation where sacks of grain are emptied

 

Sikh Temple - Food Preparation
Sikh Temple – Food Preparation

 

Sikh Temple - Food Preparation
Sikh Temple – Food Preparation

 

Sikh Temple -stirring the pots filled with dahl, biryani and all sorts!
Sikh Temple -stirring the pots filled with dahl, biryani and all sorts!

 

Sikh Temple - Pitta breads
Sikh Temple – Pitta breads

 

Sikh temple - busy at work
Sikh temple – busy at work where everyone is welcome to help out!

 

Sikh temple - and the work goes on
Sikh temple – and the work goes on

 

Sikh temple - Supervising or maybe just taking a break!
Sikh temple – Supervising or maybe just taking a break!

 

Sikh temple - peeling the veg
Sikh temple – peeling the veg

 

Sikh Temple - Food is nearly ready
Sikh Temple – Food is nearly ready

 

Sikhism does not believe in fasting.  They see the body as God’s gift to the human race.

Therefore, people must foster, maintain and preserve the body in good, sound condition.

 

Sikh Temple - Food at last
Sikh Temple – Food at last

 

I must admit it was a very humbling experience to be a part of this event.  It was also a privilege to be invited to participate in the preparation of the food.

What a wonderful way to treat your people in you community.

I am so glad to have these memories of my trip to India

 

Sikh Turban Creation
We had the joy of watching a Sikh Turban demonstration

The Sikhs are recognised by five signs.  These signs are, uncut hair; comb; sword or dagger; bracelet on the right wrist and shorts.

The religious Sikhs dress,  carry a sword.  Most of the Sikhs, even today, have uncut hair and gather it in a turban.

I hope you enjoyed this visit to the Sikh Temple. 
Please like and Share this post if you did.

 

The Lure of India – Taj Mahal

 The Lure of India and the magical presence of the

Taj Mahal

 We are all so familiar with the iconic Taj Mahal, but did you know that it means,  Crown of the Palace.  It is an ivory-white marble mausoleum and has to be witnessed  in person to be fully appreciated.
The Lure of India and Taj Mahal
The Lure of India and Taj Mahal

It is situated on the south bank of the Yamuna river in the Indian city of Agra.  It is a World Heritage Site and has been declared a winner of the new Seven Wonders of the World (2000 – 2007 initiative)

Taj Mahal and the Yamuna River
Taj Mahal and the Yamuna River

 

It was commissioned in 1632 by the Mughal emperor, Shah Jahan (reigned 1628–1658), to house the tomb of his (favourite wife !) Mumtaz Mahal   a Persian princess.  Her name means “Jewel of the Palace” or “Chosen One of the Palace”.  She  died having given birth to their 14th child.  The princess expressed her wish to be remembered in a formal manner.

The Taj Mahal took approximately 20 years to build and 20,000 workers to complete.  This surely was a true declaration of his undying love for this lady.

The tomb lies in the centre of the  complex,  and is set in formal gardens bounded on three sides by a crenellated wall.

 

The lure of India and Taj Mahal
Taj Mahal

We arrived at 5.00 am to catch the sunrise.

As you approach the Taj Mahal – its breath-taking beauty steals your heart.  We were in awe and a quiet, respectful hush prevailed.

Once you reach the white marble steps, you can no longer take photographs (sorry about that).  Also, you must wear special socks to enter the mausoleum as if you were entering a pharmaceutical plant or operating theatre!  This is where you will witness the tomb of Mumtaz Mahal.

The emperor’s tomb was later added to the mausoleum so that he could be beside his loved one.

Described by Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore as

“the tear-drop on the cheek of time”

 

One of the so-called guest houses at the Taj Mahal
One of the so-called guest houses at the Taj Mahal

The Taj Mahal attracts about 8 million visitors a year.

 

As the morning light began to change, all of a sudden we could see the reflection of the Taj Mahal in full splendour.

It was a special time!

The quiet hush subsided as people became giddy with excitement and cameras clicked and the reality  of selfies were in full flow.

 

Princess Diana  once visited the Taj Mahal and people flocked to get photos taken in the same spot where she had sat.

 

The Taj Mahal in all its splendour
The Taj Mahal in all its splendour

 

Taj Mahal Reflections
Taj Mahal Reflections
Visiting the Taj Mahal has to be one of the main highlights of my visit to India.
Already, my thoughts linger on the Taj Mahal and it will to be the first painting I will do from India.

 

***

In my next post, I will tell you about a very interesting visit to a Sikh Temple – this was no ordinary temple and no doubt, you will enjoy this story!
Thank you for liking and sharing

 

The Lure of India

The Lure of India has always beckoned.  As an artist, the colours, the culture, the costumes,  the diversity attracted me like a magnet!

Our travel company  advised us that we would be:
  • impressed
  • bewildered
  • fascinated
  • depressed
  • thrilled
  • frustrated
  • inspired
  • and amazed.

Never a  truer statement was made!

***

This is just a taste of what we encountered on our visit to India and I hope you will enjoy the visit with me.

 

***

Injections, medications, visas all in order before we set off on our adventure!

After a  seven hour flight from Dublin to Dubai, followed by three and half hours to Delhi, then throw in a time difference of  plus five and a half hours = exhaustion!

We begin our cultural visit to UNESCO World Heritage Sites Qutub Minar, the world’s tallest brick minaret and Humayan’s Tomb dating back to 1193

Qutub Minar, India
Qutub Minar, India

Qutub Minar  made of sandstone and marble elegantly reaches towards the sky.  It dates back to 1192 and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is a 240 ft tower in five stories – How could they possibly have built such a tall and magnificent structure back in those days?

We really had some fun when we took a ride around Delhi in a rickshaw and got a real taste of India and the streets of old Delhi.

The streets of Delhi on a rickshaw ride
The streets of Old Delhi on a rickshaw ride

There were fruit traders, barbers, ear-wax removal, faith healers, people sleeping, people washing – mayhem and chaos.  All life was on those streets – marginalised lives and daily survivors.

Ready for take-off on the streets of Old Delhi
Ready for take-off on the streets of Old Delhi
A nightmare for an electrician in Old Delhi
A nightmare for an electrician in Old Delhi
 The Streets of Delhi.jpg
The Streets of Delhi.jpg
The market place in Delhi - Chandni Chowk
The market place in Delhi -Chandni Chowk

We didn’t dare to enter the market – it was enormous and felt we would definitely get lost in such a chaotic environment but it was great to observe from the bus.  There were shoes and more shoes and even more shoes again!

 

We took a visit to the buriel site of  Mahatma Gandhi    Gandhi led India to independence and inspired movements for civil rights and freedom across the world. Because of Gandhi’s allegiance to Pakistan, some Indians thought Gandhi was too accommodating.  Among them was Nathuram Godse, a Hindu nationalist, who assassinated Gandhi on 30 January 1948 by firing three bullets into his chest.  What a shame!

 

Raj Ghat

Near the Memorial site of Mahatma Gandhi
Near the Memorial site of Mahatma Gandhi
Inscriptions at Memorial site of Mahatma Gandhi
Inscriptions at Memorial site of Mahatma Gandhi
Inscriptions at Memorial site of Mahatma Gandhi
Inscriptions at Memorial site of Mahatma Gandhi
Inscriptions at Memorial site of Mahatma Gandhi
Inscriptions at Memorial site of Mahatma Gandhi

 

Memorial Site Mahatma Gandhi
Memorial Site Mahatma Gandhi

We also visited the Jama Masjid Mosque which dates back to 1644 and it took over 5000 workers to construct.

Jama Masjid Mosque
Jama Masjid Mosque

Did you know that there are 36 (28 cultural, 7 natural and 1 mixed) World Heritage Sites in India that are recognised by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) as of August 2017.

Stay tuned for the next instalment of my trip to India where I will tell you about the visit to the magnificent Taj Mahal.

Thank you for liking and sharing!

 

 

Nepal Fundraiser Raffle – Winner Announced

Following on from the  aftermath of the powerful earthquake in Nepal, I wanted to find some way that I could help this horrible situation, I couldn’t bear to think about the devastation that this earthquake had left behind and I just wanted to do something, anything!

It was not long ago since I had visited this great country – I got to know and love the people – I wept for their poverty and I rejoiced in their good nature, their sensitivity, their gentile ways and sense of hope. 

I decided that I would create a painting of Nyatapola Temple, one of the few buildings that remained intact, I would raffle it and this would help to fundraise for this worthy cause.

Continue reading “Nepal Fundraiser Raffle – Winner Announced”

Nepal Fundraiser Painting Raffle

Painting Raffle for Nepal

Last chance to enter!

Nyatapola Temple, Bhaktapur, Nepal 10 x 20″ Mixed Media

Donate via PayPal address: donnamcgeeart@yahoo.ie and 100% of the proceeds will go to :GOAL logo

Continue reading “Nepal Fundraiser Painting Raffle”

Nepal Emergency Fund

Raffle for Nepal Emergency Fund

Nyatapola Temple, Bhaktapur, Nepal 10 x 20″ Mixed Media
Nyatapola Temple, Bhaktapur, Nepal 10 x 20″ Mixed Media

In light of the recent devastation in Nepal, that has claimed the lives of over 6,000 of its people,  I am asking that you give whatever you can afford. Your name will go into a raffle which will take place on Sunday 10th May and you could own this painting.   I will donate 100% of the proceeds to the Nepal emergency fund.

Continue reading “Nepal Emergency Fund”

Late Rembrandt at Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

Having just returned from Amsterdam and a visit to the  Rijksmuseum  I was so pleased to discover the presentation of the first major retrospective view of the late work of Rembrandt. This is  a once-in-a-lifetime event to see this  collection from the great Master of the Golden Age, Rembrandt van Rijn.

Continue reading “Late Rembrandt at Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam”

Painting the Himalayan Range. Nepal

Painting the Himalayan Range Sarangkot, Nepal

Himalayan Range -Sarangkot 30 x 10" Mixed Media on Nepalese Hand Made Paper
Himalayan Range -Sarangkot 30 x 10″ Mixed Media on Nepalese Hand Made Paper

This is the first painting I have attempted since my return from Nepal. Continue reading “Painting the Himalayan Range. Nepal”

Art + Travel Adventure to Nepal – Chitwan Day 2

We continue our journey through Nepal and find our way around Chitwan – Day Two

We walk to the Rapti river and watch the elephants bathe. I certainly had fun watching the elephants use their trunks to spray water on their riders and  being tossed from the elephants back and hurled into the river, splashing in utter delight.

Terra firma for me!

Continue reading “Art + Travel Adventure to Nepal – Chitwan Day 2”

Art + Travel Adventure to Nepal – Chitwan and the Rhino encounter

Chitwan and the Rhino Encounter

 

Continuing our travel adventures in Nepal, we took a boat ride along the Rapti River, followed by a jeep safari.

Anthills in the jungle
Anthills in the jungle

Driving along, we spot lots of deer (the Bambi type) so sweet!

Monkeys jumped through the trees and I imagined I could hear David Attenborough whispering tales of this meandering secretive and somewhat threatening jungle. Continue reading “Art + Travel Adventure to Nepal – Chitwan and the Rhino encounter”