You may recall a post from a few weeks back entitled: Understated Simplicity which spoke of one of my son's trip to India. Upon his return, bearing gifts and photos, I realized how little I knew of that grand, lovely country. Following is a very brief history and pictorial story, on this last Monday of the Month Ode To...India. Enjoy!
Mumbai Harbor, considered the Gateway to India from the Arabian Sea, is the only natural deep water harbor in Western India
Taj Mahal Palace & Tower Hotel, Mumbai,1903, a gracious landmark of Moorish, Oriental & Florentine style at the Gateway to India
The Taj Mahal Palace is considered by Conde Nast Traveller as one of the top 50 hotels in Asia
Red Fort, New Dehli
Agra, Taj Mahal, built entirely of marble,is one of the most perfect buildings in the world, with an almost surreal serenity despite hoards of tourists. It is a spectacular feat of engineering and design encompassing a 186 square foot building, capped by a 70 foot diameter, 120 foot tall dome surrounded by 4 minarets (prayer towers) standing 133 feet tall.
The world's costliest mausoleum, this Shrine of Love sits on the banks of the Yamuna River, with passages from the Quern inscribed into its Islamic architecture. Built from 1636 - 1653 by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his favorite wife, Mumtaz Mahal.
Darjeeling Tea, Masala and Pashmina
India. Just the name evokes intrigue, mysticism, and emotion. It is the Birthplace of Hinduism and Buddhism which both remain influences in the Indian society. Hinduism effected the caste system, or social classes which is still practiced today, albeit illegally. And, Buddhism equates to spiritualism through the practice of meditation and belief in dharma (the moral law which guides ones life; considered the very foundation of life and a necessity to achieve good karma) and karma (the actions undertaken by the body and the mind which determine the state of ones existence in the reincarnated life). Fittingly, the National Flower of India is the Lotus, Nelumbo nucifera, an exotically beautiful aquatic plant symbolizing Hindu gods and goddesses, enlightenment, purity and knowledge. Historically, the entire continent had been conquered and invaded by foreigners throughout its 75,000 year history. It was ruled by the Mauryan dynasty, 321-185 BC, which was one of the worlds largest empires at the time. From the 4th C through the 11th C, Hindu religious and intellectuals resurged and this period of time came to be known as the Golden Age of India as Hinduism and Buddhism spread to much of Asia at that time. From the 10th C through the 15th C Muslim rule influenced art and architecture. Upon the gradual decline of the Mughal Empire in the 18th C, opportunity presented itself for the British East India Company to gain a foothold and it was from that period through the 19th C that India was gradually annexed by the British East India Company. Dissatisfaction led to the Indian Rebellion of 1857 and resulted in sovereign rule by the British Crown. During this time and through the mid 20th C India witnessed rapid infrastructure development with surging population growth encompassing economic decline. Its struggle for independence from England was won and complete in 1947; there exists 7 union territories, 28 states. Both the United States and India are considered the worlds largest democracies, although the Indian President's role is largely ceremonial with national executive power centered in the cabinet led by the Prime Minister. It is recognized as the third largest economy in Asia, behind China and Japan.
India is a country of contrasts: From the serenity of the Himalayans to the astounding beauty of its ancient monuments, with the Taj Mahal as one of the 7 Wonders of the World, to its jammed packed open-air bazaars, India seems otherworldly. As a country one third the size of the United States with almost three times the population (1,155,347,678!), it remains to be experienced in all its glory. Peace Be Upon You!