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Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Champaner Series | KEVADA MASJID | Part 4

After getting chased by the Buffalo at Iteri Masjid (click on this if you want read my earlier adventure).I started to move towards the next monument,which was Kevada Masjid. I had the google map opened on my phone so I knew how far I had to go. However to the credit of the administration they have put up the sign board for direction to Kevada Masjid. 

Signboard of Kevada Masjid 

All alone (as this was my solo trip) with only the silence of the wilderness I walked on and suddenly after few minutes of walk, I felt I saw a fleeting figure cross my path, my heart was in my mouth for a second. I was pretty sure that something has indeed whizzed past in front of me, so holding my breath and clinging to my camera I moved forward gingerly.
The lonely Trail

I could almost hear my heart thumping and I was cursing under my breath at my foolhardiness to venture out solo here. The thing in the bushes moved again and from the corner of my eyes I stole a glance and saw the figure! One look and I heaved a sigh of relief because it was a Peacock ! 

A little more walk and I had my first glimpse of this lovely Kevada Masjid.  

First Glimpse of Kevada Masjid
For me the most interesting thing was to see Mosque and a Cenotaph together in one enclosure.With my limited knowledge I always associated Mosque with Islamic culture and Chatris or Cenotaphs with Indian culture hence this was indeed something new for me.

The Cenotaph

I clicked these pictures from outside of the fenced compound and could see a lone caretaker sitting there. He saw me climbing the fence and was about to shout, but stopped when he realised that I was not jumping over it but only trying to get a good angle for my picture. I waved at him and asked as to where the actual entrance to the compound is. He pointed the direction and I came over to the main entrance.

Signboard at the entrance

As this Masjid comes under Champaner UNESCO world heritage site, I must say its very well maintained by the ASI (Archaeological Survey of India).When I reached the main gate surprisingly the gate was latched,but not locked hence I opened it to enter. I was wondering, that had I not seen the caretaker sitting under the Cenotaph, there was every possibility that I would have checked it out from outside the fence and gone away.

Just as one enters the compound, we see a gigantic Cenotaph but not before climbing few to the steps there is a water tank. But unfortunately it was fully dried up.

Stairs leading to the Cenotaph and the mosque

Kevada Masjid is a rectangular plan masjid with a double storeyed main prayer hall which was built during the reign of Mahmud Begda (1458-1511 AD).

Front of  Kevada Masjid
There are two minarets on either side of the central arched entrance which has intricate cravings where niches are filled with floral and geometrical designs.

Two minarets on either side of the central arched entrance

Imposing Minarets

There are windows on both the sides, next to the Minarets and these windows are provided with a designed brackets.

Windows on both sides of entrance

Intricate Carvings on pillars

Floral Designs

Bracketed balcony on the windows

Some more beautiful designs.

In its original form the mosque had three domes built above the prayer hall.

The largest central dome built above the prayer hall had collapsed.

Collapsed dome

but if you ask me, this collapsed dome was highlight of this Mosque, after all it gives you a fantastic angle to shoot the  photo 😍😍😍😍 . Believe me the photo shown below was one of the reason I was here 😃

In the prayer hall I saw this niche in the wall with floral design around it, Though I was in the mosque but the design had more of hindu culture.

Niche with floral designs
It was time to move out so I bid adieu to the Kevada Masjid but not before clicking few last pictures of the towering Cenotaph.

Towering Cenotaphs

My next destination was Nagina Masjid. Stay tuned for my next blog on that. Thank you for reading my blog 

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Chal Rang De | Palette of colours

A youngster with a dream
400 people
120 houses 
3 days

Yes! Its time to do more now

Result: Explosion of colours which wipe out the drab, doomed,desolate slum into a colourful canvas.

Colourful canvas

I often travel in Mumbai metro from Andheri to Ghatkoper Metro Station and while passing through Asalpha on the way to Ghatkoper, one look outside and you see nondescript slums on a hillock.

Just imagine how this slum would have looked devoid of these colours

 You would have squirmed if someone asked you "Would you like to visit that slum" and naturally the answer would be Pagal Hai Kya.

And believe me someone took this Pagal hai very personally and showed the world what good Pagalpan ( madness) can do. 

Good deeds can bring smiles
# Chal Rang De

Ab hum bhi kam pagal nahi, socha chalo dekh kar aate hai, yeh holi ke alawa kon sa naya riots of colour chal raha hai.

All set to Explore this Riots of Colours

I was looking for an opportunity to go and visit this Asalpha Slum and feel the actual presence of being there.Luckily for me I saw Swapnil  and Parag putting out an event for the photo walk. Without giving it a thought I knew I was in.

Early Metro to Asalpha Metro Station

Imagine, It been last week of March and so much pending work,especially for an accounting guy like me.It was virtually impossible for me to go but as they say where there is a will, there is a way. So I left my house very early by 7.30 am and reached Asalpha metro station.No one from our group had arrived but as the time went by everyone started to trickle in. We all assemble at Gate no 1 and after taking a group pic started to move toward the foothill of this slum.

Group Photo time

We started our climb taking the stairs from near the Dhobhi Ghat and started to explore the different painting made on the walls of the houses of the people residing there.

lovely paintings outside the house walls

One more for photographer's sake

Our exploration took us through the narrow alleys.

Narrow Alleys

 Cramped but steep stairs was order of the day.

Cramped Stairs

 However the explosion of colours all around us made our day. We were all in a frenzy clicking pictures of the houses, people, surrounded buidings and even aeroplanes and what not 😆 

This is what I meant with What not 😆

It was 10 am when we finished our exploration and I quickly dashed to the Asalpha metro station from where I took the metro train and reached my office desk dot on time.

Boss lekin abhi Ramayan katam nahi hui...... Kyo ki the question remains Akhir me iske peeche Haat kiska tha, who painted the town red and why

Kiska Haat tha yeh karne me

Wont you like to know what was this Mission and who were the people behind it. 

Who coloured my walls ?

I am actually very happy that someone had this attitude of madness to think out of the box  and give new lease of life to damp, drub slum walls.

Out of the box thinking , Literally 😍

This constructive madness took a form of a drive, an initiative, which led to coming together of many youngster, corporate houses who changed the meaning of slum.... atleast for Asalpha.

Brought colour in the lives of people of Asalpha

A movement was born,"Chal Range De" with a mission to change the way the people will look at the slums. A brain child of  Dedeepya Reddy, in association  with Snowcem India,Mumbai Metro one, Fruitbowl digital and Co.lab.Oratory.Asia.

Brainchild to change the bland wall into  Colourful canvas

Explaining her motive behind picking up the brush to transform the city, Dedeepya Reddy writes on her official website "Colour the community,colour the hill,colour the entire area.Colour has the power to change. Some would say what difference can a colour make ? I believe it gives them sense of joy, an identity and hope that things are going to be okay.Small changes can make a huge impact.

A happy lot of people

If you ask me my opinion I felt it indeed had made a huge impact.I felt the residents were more receptive, more open and I could feel the happiness in their eyes. 

Colourful monogram of Asalpha

Project Chal Rang de was not all that easy. Imagine an army of youngsters marching toward your citadel armed with cans of paints and brushes in their hand. locals did had their apprehensive moments. Wondering as to why ? Why are they painting our walls, why with no benefits they are doing this and yet all this was overcome by the dedication of the youth brigade and which not only changed the colours of the wall but also changed the DNA of the people. This metamorphosis  brought in new sense of happiness, new sense of self esteem, new sense of belonging, which as I said earlier also, can be seen today in their eyes, in their receptiveness towards the strangers like us who were clicking their houses, their people. Their exuberant smile said all.

Indeed Chal Rang De was mission accomplished

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Gudi Padwa | Festivals of India Series

Gudi Padwa 

Gudi Padwa is one of the most popular festival in Maharashtra because it marks the New year and the harvest season of Maharashtrians and Konkanis. This festival is celebrated on the first day of the month of Chaitra as per Hindu Calendar which usually falls during the month of March -April according to Georgian Calendar.

Gudi means flag, erect flag on the houses as part of celebration in Maharashtra where its mainly celebrated. The word pāḍavā is derived from the Sanskrit word pratipad for the first day of each fortnight in a lunar month i.e. the first day on which the moon appears after the so-called "new moon" day (amāvāsya) and the first day after the full moon. A Gudhi is also hoisted on this occasion giving this festival its name. The term padva or padavo is also associated with balipratipad the third day of Diwali which is another celebration that comes at the end of the harvesting season. (Source Wikipedia) 

Gudi and Shivaji connection

Legends and Beliefs
Chhatrapati Shivaji legend:
It is believed that Chattrapati Shivaji Maharaj after defeating the Moghuls attained freedom for the Kingdom."Gudi" here became the mark of Triumph, victory and prosperity.

Brahma Puran legend.
Brahma puran, a sacred scripture mentions that on this day lord Bhrama created the new world,after the severe flood in which everything got destroyed and time got stopped. According to the text, On Gudi Padwa day lord Brahma restarted the time, Infact a new era began, an era of truth and justice. 

It is commonly believed that if a household puts up a Gudi at his house it helps in warding of evil influences and brings good luck.

How to make Gudi:
To make a Gudi one needs to have a bright colour green or yellow silk cloth laced with zari which is then tied to a long Bamboo stick and on top of this neem leaves, Gathi(a Maharashtrian sweet preparation), a garland of red or yellow flowers and a twig with mango leaves are also tied. This stick with the various ornaments is topped off with an inverted silver or copper pot.  The Gudi is placed either at the gate or outside the window.

Celebrating Gudi Padva:
On the Gudi Padwa day they get up early and bathe in  special oil and aromatics, for the Maharashtrian folks Gudi Padva  is celebrated as new year hence to celebrate it, they clean and decorate their house. Many people put lovely Rangolis in front of their house and around the Gudi. The vibrant colours of Rangolis enhance the splendour of the festival and add the festive colours of life to it.
Traditionally, families are supposed to begin the festivities by eating the bitter leaves of the neem tree. Usually, a paste of neem leaves is prepared and mixed with coriander seeds, jaggery and tamarind. All the members of the family consume this paste, which is believed to purify the blood and strengthen the body’s immune system against diseases. There is also a belief behind this tradition that if you start a new year with a bitter taste, the year ahead brings you happiness and sweet success.
Women in Nauvari Sarees dancing

Women folk of the house are often drapped in a New Nauvari saree (Traditional Maharashtrian way of draping Saree) and are decked with lavish gold ornaments.

Lavish Gold ornaments
Men folks also wear new Kurta Pajama or some traditional wear. In villages we seen people putting on saffron turban. However with the passing time dressing forms have changed a bit but yet we happen to see lots of tradition dressings in today's times too.

Men in traditional attire of turban and Kurta

Special dishes of Food are prepared like Shrikand Puri or Pooran Poris. 
Recent Trends:

Recently we see lots of Shobha yatra or rallies are taken out during the early morning of the Gudi Padwa. This is a new emerging trend whereby Dances are performed, Ladies and Men drive Motorcycles donning traditional dresses.
I am sharing few pictures of the Shobha Yatra so enjoy.

Motorcycle Rallies
women dressed up in tradition attire and gold ornaments.
Even Kids join in the gaiety 
Music on drums is another important essence
Time to flaunt 
The smile says it all
Thank you for reading the blog. Next time when you are in Maharashtra and Mumbai in particular, please join us in the celebration.

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