July 24, 2013

Quote of the Post: "ISKCON NVCC will truely serve as cultural, educational, religious, and spiritual home in Pune and could soon become Pune’s most prominent icon." - Quote about 'ISKCON NVCC Pune' - Sachin Kumar Gupta

I have been to the ISKCON (The International Society for Krishna Consciousness) temples in Vrindavan, Delhi, and Pune many times. Pune is the cultural and spiritual capital of the state of Maharashtra. The old and small ISKCON temple known as "Sri Sri RadhaKunjbihari Temple" started first in camp area Pune.
Address: 4, Tarapore Road, Next to Dastoor Boys School, Camp, Pune, MH - 411001
Space was short to serve the large crowds on festivals, grand satsanga programs, and for holding cultural and educational outreach programs for newcomers. Because of necessity, a bigger temple was proposed that could serve expanding activities of ISKCON Pune.

Address: New Vedic Cultural Center, Katraj-Kondhwa Bypass, Kondhwa Budrukh, Pune, Maharashtra, India.

The temple was inaugurated during February 2013 by the President of India (Sri Pranab Mukherjee). NVCC is in three prominent blocks - 
1. Sri Sri Radha Vrindavanachandra Temple. 
2. ISKCON Balaji Temple
3. Brahmachari Ashram, Gita Bhavan and Community building.
Timings: The temple opens most of the day starting early morning till late eve. [Approx: 4:30 am – 9:00 pm]

I visited this holy place with Tanuj and Meenal while it was drizzling. At the entrance, an eye-soothing green meadow welcomes you with a marvelous white and pink, marble structure. The temple archives a number of carvings and portraits narrating mythological stories of Krishna, Radha and other gods in Hindu religion. The idol of Sri Prabhupada, the founder of the ISKCON movement, is at the entrance of the main temple hall. First level has three main graceful deities within the hall – Sri Sri Radha Vrindavanachandra, Sri Sri Gaur Nitai & Sri Sri Jagannatha Baldev Subhadra.

The eyes dart from one carving to another, anxious to see every tiny detail. As ISKCON culture, you can take part and dance in the central hall on the beats of bhajans and evergreen chantings 'Hare Rama Hare Rama, Hare Krishna Hare Krishna'Many devotees play different instruments and sing bhajans with amazing energy. 

Lord Balajji temple is just adjacent to this temple which is on top of a hill. It is constructed in the traditional South Indian style, using unpolished grey granite. As prasad, khichdi is served throughout the day free of cost. There is a restaurant named 'Govindas' and gift and souvneirs shop 'Matchless' within the campus.

The soothing spiritual ambience and glimpse of state-of-the-art interiors will bring great inner peace, happiness to all visitors in such a way that everybody would like to experience. Lets enjoy & chant at NVCC Pune:
"Hare Rama Hare Rama, Ram Ram Hare Hare, Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna Hare Hare."

July 20, 2013

Quote of the Post: "A historically important and beautiful place having wonderful Italian arches and spacious lawns to relax, have peace and to pay tribute to India's great freedom fighters (heroes)." - Quote about 'Aga Khan Palace' - Sachin Kumar Gupta

The Aga Khan Palace was built by Sultan Muhammed Shah Aga Khan III in Pune. This place does not look like it would have been used as a prison, But it served as a prison for Mahatma Gandhi (Bapu), his wife Kasturba Gandhi (Ba), his secretary Mahadev Desai , Sarojini Naidu, Meera Ben and others during Quit India movement. Prince Karim Aga Khan donated this palace to Gandhi Smarak Samittee (committee) in 1972 and since then organisation is maintaining its parks and gardens. Mahatama Gandhi and Kasturba Gandhi have their memorials located in the same campus.

Location: It is located at about 2 km away from Bund Garden in Yerwada, on Pune-Nagar Road. Aghakhan Palace, Nagar road, beyond Fitzgerald Bridge.
Timings: 9 am to 6 pm (Lunch break: 12.30 pm to 1:30 pm)
Museum Entry fee: INR 5

Aga Khan Palace Map
The exquisite Aga Khan Palace is surrounded by the lavish green gardens, captivates the eye of a spectator with its magnificence and picturesque architecture. Most of the ground floor area is accessible to all visitors, but not the first and second floor.

Tourist Attractions to visit in Aga Khan Palace:

-Picture gallery and museum:The palace archives a number of photos and portraits depicting glimpses from the life of Mahatma Gandhi, the father of the nation of India, and other prominent personalities of the Indian freedom struggle.
-Things like utensils, clothes and his personal stuffs (towel, mala, chappals) used by Mahatma Gandhi, are kept in the palace during his stay.
-A room in which Kasturba Gandhi took her last breath, the dinning table where they used to have their meals.
-A room in which Gandhiji used to give science lessons to his grand daughter, letter written by Gandhiji on the death of his dear secretary.
-Kasturba Gandhi (22nd February 1944) and Mahadev Desai (15th August 1942) passed away during their captivity period in the palace and have their memorials here. 
-Different views of Aga Khan Palace.
-Mahatma Gandhi's memorial and his ashes in a quiet garden to the rear.
-Mahurika nursery school.
-Kasturba Mahila Khadi Gramodyog Vidyala.
-A shop that deals in khaadi and other hand loomed textiles.
-The palace is surrounded by a sprawling garden. 
-Very few people know that, The famous movie 'Gandhi' was shot here.

This palace is also the headquarters of the Gandhi National Memorial Society. Gandhi Memorial society celebrates the following events during the year at the palace:

Martyr's Day – 30th Jan.
Mahashivratri – Kasturbha Gandhi's Death Day Celebrated As Mother's Day.
Independence Day – 15th Aug.
Republic Day – 26th Jan.
Mahatma Gandhi's Birth Anniversary – 2nd Oct.
Other than yearly events, morning prayer sessions are held daily at the samadhi since decades. The prayer draws some crowd everyday, and the number goes up threefold on 2 October as people visit the place to pay tribute to Mahatma Gandhi.

On a quick visit, Two to three hours can be devoted to this place. It is good to relax, have peace and to pay tribute to India's great freedom fighters (heroes).
Raghupati Raghav Rajaram, Patit Pavan Sitaram!

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