THROUGH THE SPIRITUAL LAND - INDIA

Spiritual Transitions through Mystic India:

India, an ancient land, the Origin of the Vedas, the chaotic land of contradictions, the land of a million Gods, the largest democracy. Inexplicable, indefinable, Incredible India!

This journey is a unique experience that contains the ethereal imagery and dynamics of changing landscapes both sensory and cosmic, static and accelerating, continuous transitions across a physical world of chaos while remaining singularly unattached and calm.

The journey takes the Traveller from the tranquillity of Sufi Shrines of Fatehpur Sikri and the enchanting ISKON temple at Vrindavan, to witness the chaos and devotion at Kumbh and Varanasi. From the ancient rock-cut caves at Ajanta and Ellora, Stupa at Sanchi, through the Tughlaq architecture of Mandu to the intricate details of Mughal Architecture in Taj Mahal.

AJANTA AND ELLORA

The Sahyadri Range in Aurangabad snuggles with ancient rock cut caves to caves with intricate sculptures.Beginning with the UNESCO World Heritage Sites of Ajanta and Ellora caves, in Maharashtra State, the journey introduces India during the Buddhist period at Ajanta, 30 rock-cut caves, in horse shoe formation, overlooking the valley of a river, excavated in different periods from 2nd century B.C to 6th century A.D. exquisite examples of frescoes, wall paintings and sculptures depicting life in the time of Buddha. The caves were carved out of solid rock and housed the shrines and living quarters of Buddhist monks.

Ellora, represents the epitome of Indian rock-cut architecture built between the 5th century and 10th century as Hindu, Buddhist and Jain shrines and places of learning demonstrating religious harmony in ancient India. There are 34 monolithic structures and caves, some of which were precursors to the monumental temple architecture of India.

MANDU

From Ajanta, the journey, moves to Mandu or Mandava, earlier called ‘Shadiabad’ or the city of joy, now a city in ruins, a virtual treasure house of history and architecture, located in western Madhya Pradesh State, has inscriptions indicating its existence to the 6th century B.C but gained prominence under famous Hindu Kings, in the 10th and 11th century as fortress town, kings who are thought to have been responsible for the creation of the Lohani Caves and unique Shiva temples, most of which were destroyed during the period of Alauddin Khilji of the Sultanate Dynasty. However the Afghan-origin governor Dilawar Khan and his son Hoshang Shah contributed to creating some of the finest Islamic architecture in Mandu. The Hindola Mahal, Ashrafi Mahal, Dilawar Khan’s Mosque, the Jami Masjid, inspired from the great mosque of Damascus and the Hoshang Shah Tomb which is said to be the inspiration for the famous Taj Mahal. Mandu has some of the earliest Hydraulic and Water conservation systems including the Hammam.

KUMBH MELA, UJJAIN

The traveller gets to experience the ‘Simhastha Kumbh Mela’ in Ujjain, a unique combination of divinity and purity. It is a potpourri of ash-dubbed sages, priests, devotees and roaring of elephants and camels. The Kumbh Mela is the largest congregation of Hindu pilgrims, gathering to bathe in a sacred river at an auspicious time fixed by planetary positions, every third year in one of four places by rotation: Haridwar, Allahabad, Nasik and Ujjain, The Maha Kumbh Mela being held every 144 years. The traveller will be able to witness the first holy bath or pramukhsnan. Though there is no way of ascertaining precisely the number of pilgrims attending, approximately over 80 million people were estimated to have attended the last one at Allahabad in 2013. It was one of the most meticulously planned and managed religious ceremonies, studied by researchers from Universities across the world for its uniqueness and religious fervour. Ujjain was also the central point for calculation of Indian time and is also known for its papiermache craft.

SANCHI STUPA, BHOPAL

Sanchi, a UNESCO world Heritage Site, with the Stupa, the monolithic Asokan pillar, temples and monasteries is the earliest specimen of Buddhist Art and Architecture in India. The Stupa is also the oldest standing structure in brick built by Emperor Asoka. The Stupa also witnessed the development in Buddhist Architecture, with the addition of Balustrades and Harmika during the later period. Sanchi is also reminiscent of peaceful co-existence of Hindu and Buddhist communities, with the various monasteries and shrines in the vicinity of the Stupa.

FATEHPUR SIKRI, VRINDAVAN AND TAJ MAHAL

Fatehpur Sikri built by Mughal Emperor Akbar in the 16th century is a stunning imperial complex commemorating his victories and as a tribute to Sufi Saint Salim Chishti. It remains one of the finest examples Mughal architectural splendor.

Vrindavan, witnesses tourists and devotees from all over the world, as it is the place where Lord Krishna performed his leelas, or divine games. It is a joyful town, with approximately 4000 temples, shrines and ‘Sattras’. It is also infamous for the ‘Widows’, who come here to distance themselves from worldly pleasure, and devote their life to Lord Krishna’.

The ethereal and pristine Taj Mahal, built by Shah Jahan, grandson of Emperor Akbar needs no introduction as it is the most identifiable and visited monument of India.

VARANASI

The spiritual capital of India, no spiritual journey could be complete without experiencing the sacred city of the Hindus, also known as Kashi, on the banks of the Holy Ganga believed to have been founded by Lord Shiva.

One of the oldest continually inhabited cities, archeological evidence suggests it existed since 12th century B.C as a seat of learning during Vedic times. The Buddha is also believed to have founded Buddhism here around 528 B.C.

Many mystic poets and reformers made Varanasi their home during the Middle ages.

Emperor Akbar invested in the city and brought about a cultural revival in the 16th century building two major temples dedicated to Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu. The Marathas have also contributed immensely to this city as have the British. Most of the famous bathing Ghats were built by the Marathas while the British helped establish infrastructure and basic amenities.

The architecture of Kashi is a melting pot of cultures, reflecting diversity in construction, patterns and detailing. Old structures falling to ruins, exposed brickwork, narrow congested lanes, soot covered temples and flashy new buildings, is any photographer or artists delight.

Art and Music flourished in Varanasi and is associated with greats like Pandit Bismillah Khan and Pandit Ravi Shanker.


KHAJURAHO:

The finest examples of Hindu and Jain temple architecture, the Khajuraho group of monuments, especially the Kandariya Mahadeva Temple, a UNESCO World Heritage site, were built in stone between the 10th and 12th centuries.The temples have an architectural character which is distinct from that of any other group of temples in India. Each temple stands on a high and solid masonry terrace, instead of being contained within the customary enclosure wall. Though none of the temples are monumental, they are imposing because of their elegant proportions and rich surface sculptures.

The architecture is symbolic, reflecting Hindu beliefs through its form, structure and arrangement of art. Over 90% of the intricate artwork depicts daily life and, mythical lore and values in ancient India, yet it is the 10% of carvings depicting erotic themes and poses that also form part of Hindu philosophy that has catapulted these monuments into fame.

This state which, like a man and woman in close embrace, is a symbol of MOKSHA, final release or reunion of two principles, the essence (Purusha) and the nature (Prakriti)”

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THROUGH THE SPIRITUAL LAND - INDIA
THROUGH THE SPIRITUAL LAND - INDIA
THROUGH THE SPIRITUAL LAND - INDIA
THROUGH THE SPIRITUAL LAND - INDIA
THROUGH THE SPIRITUAL LAND - INDIA
THROUGH THE SPIRITUAL LAND - INDIA
THROUGH THE SPIRITUAL LAND - INDIA
THROUGH THE SPIRITUAL LAND - INDIA
THROUGH THE SPIRITUAL LAND - INDIA
THROUGH THE SPIRITUAL LAND - INDIA
THROUGH THE SPIRITUAL LAND - INDIA