Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Gandhi Smriti

My friend, Naomi, and I finally made it to Gandhi Smriti on an oddly cool and rainy day last week. I'm so glad we went. It is an amazing place and I recommend all who come to Delhi to visit. Here is some history of the place, taken directly from the site:

Gandhi Smriti, housed in the Old Birla House on 5, Tees January Marg, New Delhi, is the sacred place where Mahatma Gandhi's epic Life ended on 30 January 1948. Mahatma Gandhi had lived in this house from 9 September 1947 to 30 January 1948. Thus, the hallowed house treasures many memories of the last 144 days of his life. The Old Birla House was acquired by the Government of India in 1971 and was converted into a National Memorial of the Father of the Nation and was opened to the public on August 15, 1973.
The preserves include the room where Mahatma Gandhi lived and the prayer ground where he held a mass congregation every evening. It was here where assassin’s bullets felled Gandhiji. The building and the landscape have been preserved as they were in those days.
The Memorial consists of: (a) Visual Aspects to perpetuate the memory of Mahatma Gandhi and the noble ideals he represented, (b) Educative Aspects to focus concentrated attention on certain values of life that made Gandhi a Mahatma, and (c) Service Aspects to introduce activities in order to subserve certain felt needs.
On display in the Museum are photographs, sculptures, paintings, frescos, inscriptions on rocks and relics pertaining to the years Mahatma Gandhi spent here. The meagre personal effects of Gandhiji too are carefully preserved.
A larger than life statue of Mahatma Gandhi, with a boy and a girl holding a dove in their hands standing on either side, emerging out of the globe, symbolising his universal concern for the poor and the deprived, welcomes the visitor at the main entrance of the Gandhi Smriti. It is the work of the renowned sculptor Sri Ram Sutar. The legend at the base of the sculpture says, "My Life is My Message".
A Martyr's Column stands at the spot where the Father of the Nation was assassinated, commemorating the Martyrdom of Mahatma Gandhi as the embodiment of all the sufferings and sacrifices that characterised the long struggle for India's Freedom.
The above quote is an excellent description of what you'll see when you visit. But, make sure you go upstairs where the exhibits are interactive via touch with lights and sounds...a really great experience and wonderful way to commemorate such an important human being.

Some (a lot of) photos from our visit:

 The front entrance:

Upstairs, so many very cool interactive exhibits. This one you touch and and the wall displays information about Gandhi's work.
 Slide the screen and you follow the timeline of Gandhi's life:
 Touch the hands and the lights appear:
 Gandhi's instrument:
 Photo op with statues of Gandhi and his wife:
 The screen inside this train traces the path he took throughout India:
 Not sure what this one was for, but very cool:
 Open the boxes to see the tiny screens:
 Huge kaleidoscope depicting scenes from his life:
 School kids taking a tour:
 Follow the cement footprints to the backside of the building where Gandhi stood for the last time:

Friday, February 18, 2011

Retail Therapy

Everyone needs a little retail therapy once in a while and I had some recently. I hadn't planned on it and didn't know how much I needed it. One of my good friends and I had planned to go to Gandhi Smriti (where Gandhi lived the last year of his life and was assassinated, more to come on that soon). We had actually been trying to go for two weeks in a row. The first week I wasn't well and then when we did show up one day it was closed (fyi, don't go on Monday). I know, you'd think one of us would have looked it up, but no. So we sat there for a few minutes trying to decide where to go until we had to be back for school pick up. Dilli Haat, that was it. Dilli Haat is an open air market space that rotates its vendors about every two weeks. It's full of handicrafts, shoes, jewelry, clothes, and more scarves than you can imagine. It's the one market I know of here in Delhi that you have to pay (15 rupees about 30 cents) to get in. It's fun to walk around and check out the goods. Both my friend and I didn't have anything specific in mind and we both walked away with some super cute clothes and bangles. It's amazing how a few hours with a good friend and a few purchases can brighten your day.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Train Museum

Like most little boys, my boys love trains. Luckily for us, India is a country with a lots of trains. One of my first outings with the boys when we moved here was to the train museum. Now a year and a half later, we've finally made it back. I don't know why we didn't go sooner. It's a great place to walk around, explore, climb and ride a little train. We went recently with some of our friends and had a fun morning.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

A few hours of art...

A few weeks ago, and after a week of being a single mom while X was away on business, I was able to escape for a few hours during the weekend. Leaving the boys behind, I headed for Pragati Maidan a fair ground of sorts to visit the India Art Summit ( Focusing primarily on contemporary Indian artists, there were over 80 galleries from India and worldwide exhibiting artists that they represent. It was amazing. There was photography, video, painting, sculpture, everyday objects put together in new and different ways along with curatorial talks, panel discussions and gallery tours. Even though it was crowded, it was like a breath of fresh air for me to walk looking at art. And, it was great to see the big turnout. Here are some photos I snapped with my phone.