Saturday, October 14, 2017

Soulie Saturday #26: Bathe in the Light of Love This Diwali (Mother River Gomti, Dwarka.)

Sunrise over Mother River Gomti, Dwarka, Gujarat

There is a light which cannot ever be extinguished.
It is inside of you. It is you.
Let your light so shine upon the world that the world will know
Who You Really Are --
and its people will know why they really are as well,
through the light of your example.
The darkness of our world awaits you --
not to engulf you,
but to be transformed by you.
During this Season of the Light,
be its Source for all those who search for Joy.

Neale Donald Walsch.


The placid waves busted with the joy of light reflected brilliantly under the wind in the shimmering rays of the dawn, bestowing a golden aura all over the Universe. Motionless, I stood in awe, basking in the solitude, nothingness and calm, breathing it all in, soaking every second of the moment, allowing the gift of life and living to deeply penetrate the depths of my core. Silence is golden, I marvelled, as the nascent rays, slowly trickling in one after the other, kissed the river, then my skin, and then my heart too. Soon, I felt the warmth radiating my entire being and my face beaming with the joy of a smile…

There was still some time for daybreak in Dwarka when I had slipped into my flip flops and set out for the ghats along the periphery of the sacred Gomti River. The night was still heavy with the light barely visible, the trees a mere silhouette against the sublime, blue black sky but that was in no way deterrent to the enthusiasm of the devotees. They walked in groups, sometimes alone, young, old, men and women with children in tow, people from diverse backgrounds and beliefs from all over the world to indulge in the various religious activities. After all, this were no ordinary journey – this was a journey to the ‘Land of Kaliyuga’, a journey to the heart of their beloved, a journey of a lifetime and it all began with paying their humble reverences to Mother River Gomti.

By the time I reached the Gomti Ghat, the veil of darkness lifted a little now revealing a band of straight orange red hue splashed across the horizon. The air was cool and ripe with the thought of blooming in a fresh original day. Melody sneaked her charm through, filling the air with a musical silence, clearly audible to the soul but completely missed by the ears.

As I looked around, most of the devouts went about mumbling or whispering their prayers, breaking just occasionally to squat, press their heads and kiss the sacred grounds. A sadhu in his saffron robe, stood on a stone in the middle of the river – eyes half closed, lost in meditative thoughts, a faint smile briefly crossing his face, perhaps transported in to a far-off realm as he remained oblivious to my presence a mere ten feet away. What was he, as all the other devouts, praying for?

I listened to them, I really did. All the prayers, floating as whispers in the air, they tolled in the same language as mine... a language that carried a meaning we all innately understand. Hidden in them were stories of pain, struggles, joy and gratefulness, a search for pure love, peace and the divine.

I removed my slippers, walking barefeet on the ground, feeling the energy of the earth that was preparing to march into a bright new day bringing forth a myriad of emotions. Far across in the expanding horizons above, the lilting sun was slowly waking up from its deep slumber, dancing with golden crimson hues on the infinitely stretching stage of the sky. Blushing and beaming in the surreal radiance of the light of the dawn was the Gomti River below, flowing gently and placidly through the town and past the bathing ghats, making its way over the occasional rock, also over the hundreds of hearts that crossed my line of vision.

I folded my hands in prayer and closed my eyes, breathing in the spectacular gift of light that was drenching every inch of my being in new hopes and vibrant possibilities wiping away any and all the clutter of darkness. Silence glided into my soul while the chatter of the world died down in the ethereal glow of the rising sun. Time came to a staggering halt in the rhythmic melody of the ripples, breaking on the river bank, whispering a murmuring song as a mellifluous and joyful Gomti kept building, going somewhere, sanctifying the shores of the holy land… also the confines of my heart within.

I bathed, not in her waters but in the warmth of My Mother, in a love so intense, a goodness so good that I felt a blessed child – I felt happy.


This soulie inspired by Diwali - one of the biggest festivals in the Hindu calendar, the festival of lights which is barely not even a week away - is my prayer for this festive season - May this Diwali light diyas of joy, peace and understanding into all our hearts as we navigate through the lanes of life banishing all traces of darkness of ignorance and evil from our living. May we be bold enough to invite the light of happiness into our spirits and meet life on an all new level, as an equal, as a child of God, enlightening our own selves as also the world around us with His loving guidance, our divine presence and unique radiance.

Happy Diwali, Everyone!
Don't forget to SHINE ON!


This post is part of an ongoing series called Soulie Saturday on My Yatra Diary..., a spiritual exploration of that which is Unseen and a celebration of that Ultimate sacred space we yearn for - within and without - and the riches we carry in our own hearts. Click on the preceding "Soulie Saturday" link to view all posts in the series, or visit the initial overview post that inspired me to start this series here.

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Soulie Saturday #25: An Old House in Pandharpur... A Door To Life.

Old colorful house in the lanes of Pandharpur, Maharashtra
A rich vibrant colorful gate in the narrow lanes of Pandharpur.

Enter through the narrow gate.
For wide is the gate and broad is the road
that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.
But small is the gate and narrow the road
that leads to life, and only a few find it.
~ Matthew 7:13-14.


Two guards, clad in colourful attire, looked at each other as I readied myself to click a picture. I wondered if they were contemplating whether I could be trusted what with my intruding eyes and the deadly weapon in my hand - the camera! After all they were positioned there, at the door, not only to welcome visitors but also to watch out and keep the trespassers at bay.

I was heading out towards the main market of Pandharpur through one of the narrow lanes, making my way along the uneven stone paved path that meandered though the periphery of the Pandharpur temple - disheartened. Disheartened… as my attempt to place my head on the feet of Vithoba through the Padsparsha darshan entrance in the coveted Vithhal Rakhumai temple had just been foiled owing to the humongous queue of people inside.

This is just SO not done, I ramblingly complained to Him, my heart seething in sadness and pain.

The lane was lined with a series of houses standing close together. As I was tracing my steps back from the coveted Padsparsha to the common Mukhdarshan entrance, this door, half open, half closed had caught my eye.

There was no one near the door. A colourful rangoli pattern resembling the image of a flower decorated the floor of the entrance. Above, an equally colourful traditional string known as toran or bandanwar hung at the entrance to appease the Gods and the guests alike. To the right of the door was painted Suswagatham which means ‘Welcome’ in English.

The door itself wasn’t much, seemed normal enough and nothing out of the regular. No doubt it was old but it looked like the door had recently been painted fresh. The rich creamy tones punctuated in brown strips of wood caused it to stand out with the two durbans or guards staring at each other.

It was richly vivid and hid within itself a sea of stories oblivious to the ordinary human eye. The door drew me; I couldn’t take my eyes off it. I peeped in through the opening, which looked large enough for two children or one large person to pass through. An entire life peeped back through it: an empty chair as if saying - you are invited and a tiny light from the ornately decorated temple altar tried to grab my attention.

There was nothing fancy about the scene, nothing that could be deemed extraordinary and yet it shone as a bright ray of light piercing through the windows in my heart… here was a world replete with simplicity, rich vibrant culture and old ways of life and living. I peeped in again, the chuna coated white washed walls seemed to be peeling substantially but they gleamed and still looked gorgeous in the warmth that radiated in an aura of contentment and joy. My mind wandered to the thoughts of the people living inside...

How was the state of their life?
Were they happy with it?
Had they ever been out of Pandharpur?
Were all their desires and wishes being fulfilled?
Did they whine or complain in resentment?
Or were they simply content with whatever their beloved, Vithoba gave them?
... in His own time and in His own way?

The questions got me curious but I saw no one there except the two guards who still looked at each other. I looked at them, and it was now, in this moment of clarity, that I actually saw them... weren't they sporting a pleasing smile? Yes! they were and before I parted, I decided to borrow them. Soon, I was walking my way again towards the Mukhdarshan entrance but this time, with a renewed spring in my step, a radiant joy flickering in the temple of my heart and an enthusiastic smile rising on my lips.

Vitthala Vitthala!


This post is part of an ongoing series called Soulie Saturday on My Yatra Diary..., a spiritual exploration of that which is Unseen and a celebration of that Ultimate sacred space we yearn for - within and without - and the riches we carry in our own hearts. Click on the preceding "Soulie Saturday" link to view all posts in the series, or visit the initial overview post that inspired me to start this series here.

Friday, October 6, 2017

9 Reasons Why I Fell in Love With Japan!

A couple of days back, JNTO (Japan National Tourism Organisation) came up with an exciting contest on FaceBook that made me sit up and take notice. The contest called How to be Japanese 101 under the campaign #JapanGyan had the following question prompt: How well do you know Japan?

As I tapped the play button and started watching the video, I couldn’t help but find myself slipping by in a pool of memories, all so very beautiful. As you know, Japan, as my first international trip for 6 days in 2012, was a dream-come-true for me.

At that time, I did not know anything about the country except that I was very very excited at the prospect of being the fortunate one to be going there! The country, to its credit, was full of charm too – so that when I came back, my cup of happiness and joy was overflowing in its down-to-earth warmth and delightful wonder.

I loved Japan! Loved it without any expectations, pre conceived notions or inhibitions. Ah, true love or something like that they call it, don’t they? Everything about the country felt so right even though we differed so much in our mannerisms, habits and appearances. The architectural sights, the vegetarian food, the friendly people, the zen full culture — it was a journey travelled on the road of no expectations, only curiosity and wonder!

So what exactly made Japan so exceptional that I fell head over heels for it, and how well do I know Japan, let me count the reasons in My Yatra Diary...:

Peace at the Zen Temples.

Japan is home to numerous beautiful temples and shrines; I loved them all. Steeped in history and antiquity, they resonate peace and tranquillity in their spacious precincts, rock and zen gardens, and the immensely huge torii gates really do lead you unto a different world.

Hi Tech Technology in Vending machines and Toilets.

Japan’s automation and innovativeness left me speechless from the moment I was introduced to it through their technological marvels. Their vending machines serves all kinds of things – from food to drinks, from the mundane to the weird – you can find it all in there for a few bucks and button taps. Another marvel is their high-tech fully automated toilet seats that you perhaps won’t find elsewhere in the world.

Bullet Trains.

It’s almost impossible to not fall in love with bullet train or Shinkansen, the long standing symbol of high-tech Japan. It cuts the travel time by 2 hours and has an impressive record for safety too. Eagerly looking forward and can’t wait to see its Indian version in action, now that the project is rolled on the floor.

Tokyo Subway trains.

After the bullet train, Japan scores another high with its complex efficient network of subway trains. Not only are they cost effective but also a highly preferred mode of transportation by more than half of the local population. Fewer things beat the joy of discovering a new country than travelling the local way and Japan certainly got this figured this well.

Bliss walking through the aesthetic gardens.

The love for all things nature reflects in the aesthetic and well maintained gardens in Japan. The sight of the blooming flowers against the backdrop of high towering skyscrapers in the background is not just a sight but a style statement that reflects the character of the city. And why only gardens, taking a walk by the streets is like soaking my senses in bliss therapy too – what with most of the pavements in Tokyo lined by pretty little flowers and neatly trimmed foliage.

Tea Ceremony.
‘One time, one meeting’

With every sip of my tea that I took in the tea ceremony, these words by my host-friend reverberated deep in my heart – this meeting of ours is unique and it’s not going to recur again in this lifetime. So cherish every sip, every moment of it. And I do, with whole of my heart, cherish every moment of that ceremony, the essence of it, till date!

Vegetable Sushi.

You can’t go to Japan and not have Sushi! Even if you are a hard core vegetarian. After all, Japan and sushi are two things that go hand in hand. And imagine my joy when I found a vegetarian one for myself on the first day itself – thanks to the wonderful staff of Expedia. The rice, the flavours, the visual appeal of the presentation – ah, my sushi experience was truly mouth watering!

Helpfulness and Friendliness.

Sumimasen, can you help me locate this place?

One line was all it took and there it came rushing – always. Help. No matter how trivial our queries might have been but help and kindness was something that we could always trust to be by our side when in Japan. The man who left his own train to help me catch mine, that man who had no idea of what we were searching for but left no stone upturned to help us find our hotel, the officer who left her seat to help us buy a train ticket, all my blogger friends who welcomed me with big wide smiles and open hearts – it’s literally impossible to list down kindness in numbers, that’s the beauty of it and how blessed am I that my Japan yatra was full of it!

Playing with the deers “Messengers of God”.

The deers of Nara are not just any deers but cherished as a national treasure and messengers of God. Feeding the docile playful creatures with deer crackers or shika seinbei, stroking their furry back and spending time with them rekindled the joy of being a child again, the simple innocence of my very being… the very message of God.

With so many reasons to fall for, Japan surely knew how to win my heart. What’s more, Japan saved one of its best reasons for the last. As I filed out of this exotic country bidding it a heartfelt farewell, I was greeted by the sight of majestically towering Mount Fuji from my airplane window. They say it’s a blessing to get a glimpse of this sacred mountain and I couldn’t agree more. The sight stamped my small little Japan story with a seal of love. A story I hope I can continue someday. Till then, sayonara!

And... don't forget to participate in the 'How to be Japanese 101' video contest and put your #JapanGyan to the test:

Visit their FaceBook Page to know more and put your knowledge to test: All the best!

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Soulie Saturday #24: An Eye-Full Encounter (Markets of Khatu Shyamji Temple, Rajasthan)

A girl in the Markets of Khatu Shyamji Temple in Rajasthan

Listen with your eyes for feelings.
~ Stephen Covey


I looked into her eyes and it might have been just for a second, but she looked into mine. Her eyes, so beautiful and almond-round, gleamed, reflecting the warmth of the sun. And soon, I felt my heart illuminated, with a thousand beams of sunlight...

I had just returned after bowing my head in the temple of Khatu Shyamji in Rajasthan and was lazily ambling through the markets of the town towards our car in the parking area. The sun, fast climbing overhead, had directly cut down on the number of people roaming on the streets – the number had thinned considerably owing to the growing hot humidity in the air. Lined with a jamboree of shops that sold everything from religious paraphernalia to churans and pickles, the markets wore a rather colourful outlook to the otherwise dull happenings around.

I caught her standing outside one of these nondescript churan shops; one of her friends had gone inside. It might have been just a few tiny seconds, when her eyes locked with mine, but I could clearly see how hers sparkled in the sunlight, so much emotion hemmed in them.

Dressed in a grey-red sweater worn over a green colored salwar kameez, the little girl was carrying a big pile of twigs on her petite head. I pulled out my camera and pressed the shutter in haste, fearing she would shy away or run. How mistaken was I! She kept staring with such curiosity and wonder, her eyes twinkling with mystery as well as jewelled beauty that I couldn’t help but think – I’d never seen such beautiful graceful eyes with so much life in them for some time.

Not one, not two but the light of a thousand souls jumped out from her gaze, adding another layer of beauty to her slightly demure character. We spoke nothing and yet, I felt everything...

What kind of world lay beneath her veil of precious lovely eyes?
What dreams did they harbour?
Had they been dyed in the sweet play of innocence
or had they been shrouded in the silent shoulder of responsibility?
Were those depths inked in wells of laughter
or were they resonant in pain and sorrow?

So many questions swirled in my heart as I saw her walking, back on her trail, together with her friend. Along with the pile of twigs, she also carried answers to all my questions away with her.


This post is part of an ongoing series called Soulie Saturday on My Yatra Diary..., a spiritual exploration of that which is Unseen and a celebration of that Ultimate sacred space we yearn for - within and without - and the riches we carry in our own hearts. Click on the preceding "Soulie Saturday" link to view all posts in the series, or visit the initial overview post that inspired me to start this series here.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Soulie Saturday #23: Latticed windows at Gateway of India, Mumbai.

Gateway of India, Mumbai.

My heart is so small
it's almost invisible.
How can You place 
such big sorrows in it?

"Look," He answered,

"your eyes are even smaller,
yet they behold the world.”

― Jalaluddin Rumi


This soulie inspired by the arched latticed small windows as I saw them in the Gateway of India in Mumbai - small but not insignificant, enough of passing some big light through it! The Gateway of India as we know is the famous prominent landmark of Mumbai that was built during the 20th century in Bombay, India, erected to commemorate the landing of King George V and Queen Mary at Apollo Bunder on their visit to India in 1911.


This post is part of an ongoing series called Soulie Saturday on My Yatra Diary..., a spiritual exploration of that which is Unseen and a celebration of that Ultimate sacred space we yearn for - within and without - and the riches we carry in our own hearts. Click on the preceding "Soulie Saturday" link to view all posts in the series, or visit the initial overview post that inspired me to start this series here.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Soulie Saturday #22: ... By the Yamuna River in Mathura, Uttar Pradesh.

Sunset by the Yamuna River in Uttar Pradesh

Let's all be
who we really

Says who...?
who's got it all figured out.
~ Mother Nature ~

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Soulie Saturday #21: From Instagram... Sharing our #Soulie Moments!

A post shared by Arti (@artisdiary) on

Don't believe what your eyes are telling you.
All they show is limitation.
Look with your understanding.
Find out what you already know,
And you will see the way to fly.
~ Richard Bach

This quote is from one of my favourite books, Jonathan Livingston Seagull and of course the moment framed is from the monument Gateway of India! 🏠✨ 

*One of my #soulie from Instagram.


I am still reveling in the inspiration that I have just gathered by going through the hashtag soulie on Instagram! And so, it only feels right to sit down, compile, and share all these fabulous creations submitted under the idea since the last soulie sharing chapter in the series. Thank you Everyone! I cannot be more grateful for all these wonderfully creative people who have come out asking for all that my little project #soulie is about, showing an interest and curiosity in the idea, believing in it and sharing their #soulie moments on Instagram.

From a lonesome flower in beautiful bloom to a canopy of hope bobbing on the sea, from reflections of peace in the ocean of Gangasagar to sufi renditions from the heart of Delhi, Qutub Minar - this edition of Soulie Sharing has it all to touch your soul and kiss your spirit. And I couldn't be more excited and thrilled to share all this with you!

I hope you'll hop over to each of these Instagram profiles and cheer their talent along as they go about weaving their magical pictures with a thread of their soul. Here they go, all the posts are in the order in which they were shared, read on!


A post shared by paras tewari (@avipicaso) on

I wonder what it takes to grow alone...
To bloom on its own...
To stand out of the crowd...
To seek the unknown...


The chaos and the cauldron
The angst and the fears
The pangs of loss;

Let them not cloud your vision,
Let them not take away
The love, compassion and hope;
The sweet music divine
From your heart.

Embrace solitude at a remote beach
Reflect, admire, smile
Let the waves lull you to sleep;
Allow Nature to soothe you
And cleanse the burden of your heart.

Let love be your lyrics
Let kindness be your music
Allow your heart to sing forever! 💜🎵🎶


Saumy Nagayach @saumynagayach21

There are days when we search for peace in our lives.
And when we visit religious places like Gangasagar-
the confluence of river Ganga and Bay of Bengal,
the world altogether looks so very different and pleasant.
Even the lifeless objects around such places becomes full of life.
Everything appears at rest and justifies the fact that "Peace still Exists" in real world,
it's only the perspective that how we see it.


خاک @rooh_ani

A post shared by خاک (@rooh_ani) on

Loneliness and solitude are two different things. When you are lonely, it is easy to delude yourself into believing that you are on the right path. Solitude is better for us, as it means being alone without feeling lonely. But eventually it is the best to find a person who will be your mirror. Remember only in another person’s heart can you truly see yourself and the presence of God within you.
~ Shams Tabrizi


Suzie Arcona - Boaz @suzieq7_

A post shared by Suzie Arcona-Boaz (@suzieq7_) on

You are my Sunflower!
You keep me facing the lighted path, warm my Heart,
and have planted the nourishing seeds of Love in my Soul! 💜🌻


خاک @rooh_ani

A post shared by خاک (@rooh_ani) on

Andheron mein aati roshni ka qayal hoon main
Issi umeed se, har mushkil se ladta hoon main

~ KhaaK


A post shared by خاک (@rooh_ani) on

Aye Khuda e paak Aye Rabul Kareem 
Hai Tu hi Malik, Tu hi banda nawaaz
Jaanta hai Tu humare dil ke raaz 
Kya zameen kya aasman, kya subho shaam 
Hain sab hi Tere isharo ke ghulam 
Tu jo chahe zarra bhi ho aaftab
Jisko chahe usko de Tu behisaab ...


A post shared by خاک (@rooh_ani) on

Masroofiyat ki inteha to dekhiye 
Kitne tanha hain bheed mein bhi .. ~ KhaaK


A post shared by خاک (@rooh_ani) on

Your heart and my heart are very, very old friends. ~ Hafez


A post shared by خاک (@rooh_ani) on

In dinon garche dakkan mein hai badi qadr-e-sukhan
Kaun Jaye “Zauq” par Dilli ki galiyan chhod kar


A post shared by خاک (@rooh_ani) on

Udne de inn parindo ko aazad fiza mein ‪Ghalib
Jo tere apne honge wo laut ayenge kisi roz


A post shared by خاک (@rooh_ani) on

Purify your eyes, and see the pure world.
Your life will fill with radiant forms. ~ Rumi


A post shared by خاک (@rooh_ani) on

Be grateful for your life, every detail of it,
and your face will come to shine like a sun,
and everyone who sees it will be made glad and peaceful. ~ Rumi


A post shared by خاک (@rooh_ani) on

But that knowing depends on the time spent looking. ~ Rumi


Many of you have also mentioned in the comments that they have been following Soulie Saturday for a while, and are interested to join - so if you are thinking about taking part, I just wanted to say that I would be thrilled to have you join our little #soulie community! Read this post to get a bit more insight on the idea of the project and come, come - say hi on Instagram @artisdiary.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Shendoor Laal / Jaidev Jaidev / Sukhkarta Dukhharta: Ganesh Mantra with Ganesh Arti.

You may be gone from my sight,
but you are never gone from my heart ❤

~ Winnie the Pooh.

Ganpati Pandal Hopping, Ganesh Chaturthi Festival, Mantra and Aarti

It's the last day of the annual festival of Ganesh Chaturthi... and after 11 days of merry making, praying, Ganpati pandal hopping and modak-laddoo feasting, it's time to bid farewell to our beloved friend. He is off to his hometown leaving all his fans, followers and admirers melancholic, sad and teary eyed. Goodbyes are in the air with euphoric chants like 'Ganpati Gele Gavala, Chain Padena Aamhala' 'Undir Mama Ki Jay' and 'Ganpati Bappa Morya, Pudchya Varshi Lavkarya' creating a carnival like atmosphere. He is being taken on carts, trucks and heads to nearby lakes from where he shall begin His heavenly journey. Soon, he will be out of our ordinary sights... but not without leaving an impression on the canvas of our hearts, not without teaching us all about loving, leaving... about life.

Today, although the heart feels heavy and the house... empty, and although his absence will leave a void in our hearts till He comes back next year; the aura of His child-like smile, cheer and benevolence shall continue to light hundreds of happiness lamps driving all thoughts of melancholy away.

So, on this occasion of Ananth Chaturdashi 2017, in her humble attempt to bid farewell to our friend, Ganpati Bappa, My Yatra Diary... has gathered the various pictures from the pandals visited in the year to sing Him a farewell arti and invites you all to join in as well! I hope by watching the video that sings praises in honour of our beloved, light a lamp of wisdom, learning, peace and courage in all of our hearts so that they remain ever so radiant and incandescent till the time He be back with us once again next year.

|| Ganpati Bappa Morya ||

>> All pictures and video by yours truly, beautiful arti rendered by Shri Amitabh Bachchan.

If you'd like to watch the video on You Tube, please follow this link:

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Soulie Saturday #20: Ganesha's Blessing! (Ganpati Pandal Hopping, Mumbai)

If we could hear Him speak...

Beautiful Ganesha Blessing during Ganesh Chaturthi Festival Mumbai
Ganesh Chaturthi Festival: Ganpati Pandal Hopping, Mumbai

May you trust your highest power
that you are exactly where you are meant to be
at any given moment.
May you not forget the infinite possibilities
that are born of faith.
May you use your special gifts and talents,
and pass on the wisdom and knowledge
that has come through your experiences of life.
May you be content knowing you are a child of God.
Let this presence settle into your bones,
and allow your soul the freedom
to sing, dance, praise
and love without hesitation.
It is there for each and every one of us
to share and partake of without fear.

~ Irish Blessings.


This post is part of an ongoing series called Soulie Saturday on My Yatra Diary..., a spiritual exploration of that which is Unseen and a celebration of that Ultimate sacred space we yearn for - within and without - and the riches we carry in our own hearts. Click on the preceding "Soulie Saturday" link to view all posts in the series, or visit the initial overview post that inspired me to start this series here.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Fortcha Ichchapurti Ganesha, Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav Mandal, Mumbai.

Sometimes, there are moments in life, when we long for someone who would listen to us without judging… someone who would understand our weird, almost crazy, may be even ostensibly wrong notions that swirl in our heads and yet they still accept us and love us for who we are; someone who celebrates our flaws just as they are and appreciates our goodness as well; someone who sees our worth in being a human and not in the baggage of our degress, ranks or positions that we tend to accumulate and carry...

Have you ever longed for someone like that, who would, just be ... by your side and allow you the comfort of just being as well, so then the world looked a little more beautiful and merry?

Then, you have just arrived at the right place! Though Bappa forever shines in our hearts, 24*7, 365 days a year, but it is during the 11 day annual festival of Ganesh Chaturthi celebrated with great pomp and fervour in India, that it becomes a tad bit easier to spend time in His company. All we need to do is just look around, in our societies, localities or homes and there are very bright chances that He might be there, waiting for you – with that twinkle in his eyes and modak (sweet) in his hand smiling with the most charming of smiles you may have ever seen!

Yeah, He is just a step away and there is no better way to actually experience this than visit some colorful and artistic pandals that spring up with the advent of the festival of Ganesh Chaturthi! A friend, a confidante, someone we have been longing to speak and spend our time with, pour our hearts out... let’s meet Fortcha Ichchapurti Ganesha (again after our first visit in 2015) who is in the house, gracing the humble abode of My Yatra Diary… just to hear us all out and converse with our hearts. Let's go!

Mumbai Ganesh Pandal Hopping - A Photo Story: Fortcha Ichchapurti Ganesha (Sarvajanik Vibhag Ganesh Mandal, Fort.)

Let's climb the stairs of the Sarvajanik Ganpati Pandal in Fort,Mumbai
to meet Fortcha Ichchapurti Ganesha or the wish fulfilling Ganesha

Way to palatial Fortcha Icchapurti Ganesha, Fort Vibhag Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav Mandal

The interiors are grand and majestic with artisans
from as far as Rajasthan called over to design His home.
The hall resonates with the devotional hum
and chit chatter of the devouts while Bappa looks on... 

Palace decoration of Fortcha Icchapurti Ganesha, Fort Vibhag Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav Mandal

The intricate detailing of the set including the frescoes
and the marble effect on the columns is eye catching and awe inspiring;
the fact that is made of reusable fibre makes it stand out even more.

Grand Bikaner palace decoration of Fortcha Icchapurti Ganesha, Fort Vibhag Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav Mandal, Mumbai

A big fat incense stick glows in front of the altar all through the day,
it's vapours waft in the air blurring all ideas of past or future,
leaving only the here and now...

Beautiful decoration of Fortcha Icchapurti Ganesha, Fort Vibhag Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav Mandal Mumbai

Here and Now...
With our beloved, Bappa...
seated on the golden throne, decked in his yellow colored robe
and precious jewels and pearls,
 flanked by two peacocks on his side.

Bikaner palace pandal of Fortcha Icchapurti Ganesha, Fort Vibhag Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav Mandal

He is the King,
ruler of hearts
remover of all obstacles,
the ever smiling and benevolent...

Fort Vibhag Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav Mandal Ichchapurti Ganesha, Fort

... Bend down to whisper …
some words unspoken,
a few dreams cherished,
a prayer, conversations of the heart

Fort Vibhag Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav Mandal Circle, Fort

In His eyes,
love is never absent

Grand decoration of Fortcha Icchapurti Ganesha, Fort Vibhag Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav Mandal Mumbai

In His court,
no one is ever alone or forgotten ~

Through the ears, Fort Vibhag Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav Mandal Circle, Fort

A friend listens without judging
A friend does not care about how you look
Or where you come from
A friend allows you to be exactly who you are
And love you as well.

~ Cindy Grundsten.

|| Ganpati Bappa Morya ||

PS: If you would like to check all the posts on the festival of Ganesh Chaturthi 2017, you can follow this link here or you may go through all the previous posts on the festival here

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