Mall of the Emirates

20150704201418

I reached Dubai today for meetings with our software vendors. They’re located in Media City. We went and checked in at Hotel Radisson Blu at Media City. It’s also pretty hot in Dubai. I went down to Icon Bar for some beer. But the bar wasn’t serving alcohol asset’s Ramadan time. They said that alcohol is served during Ramadan after […]

Read More →

Dubai Airport–Terminal 2

Inaugurated on May 1st 1998 to alleviate congestion at Terminal 1, Terminal 2 catered to scheduled, charter and special interest flights during special occasions. A few years ago, when Iraq was served by charter flights of Jupiter Airlines, we used to travel to Baghdad from Terminal 2. It used to be a small airport with lacking facilities in contrast to the Terminal 1. Now, Terminal 2 is home to Dubai’s budget airline flydubai, which launched operations on June 1st, 2009. Undergoing a massive makeover, Terminal 2, hub for flydubai is now completely transformed. This terminal is also used by low-cost airlines, charter flights and airlines coming in from CIS countries and Iran. Today, I was returning to Baghdad after vacation. This time I was traveling by flydubai. I visited Terminal 2 after a long gap of several years. It’s looking much brighter and filled with a number of shops and eateries. It was in the morning, around 6.30 am. I found people queuing to get into the famous restaurant belonging French chain of bakery restaurants – Paul. As I was traveling by Business Class, I headed towards the flydubai Business Class Lounge. The ground floor was a bit crowded but the first floor is more spacious and good for relaxed seating. I preferred to sit at a corner with a power connection to charge my mobile. I also breakfasted there. The staff at the lounge are quite polite and nice. The […]

Read More →

Falcon Gold Lounge, Bahrain

wpid-20150310_204327.jpg

This time while traveling to New Delhi from Baghdad, I took the Gulf Air flight. I normally prefer the UAE based airlines for convenience. Gulf Air doesn’t service Baghdad on Sundays. Etihad and Emirates haven’t yet started the service since the shooting incident. So, the transit point is Bahrain International Airport. Although it’s quite an old airport but other airports […]

Read More →

Ugrasen ki Baoli

My dad has come to Delhi for attestation of some documents by Iraqi embassy. So, mom and I also accompanied him to Delhi from Ranchi. I went with my dad. Mom was resting at the hotel. After depositing the document at Ministry of External Affairs for their attestation before it’s attested by the Iraqi embassy, Dad & I went for a walk from Patiala House towards Connaught Place. We then walked into the historic Ugrasen ki Baoli. Ancient Indians used to build water temples as well as earliest forms of step wells and reservoirs. Ugrasen ki Baoli (a.k.a. Agrasen ki Baoli) is one of such step wells in Delhi. It is designated a protected monument by the Archeological Survey of India (ASI). It’s a 60-meter long and 15-meter wide historical step well on Hailey Road near Connaught Place in New Delhi. Baoli or baori is a Hindi word (from Sanskrit vapi, vapika). Water temples and temple step wells were built in ancient India and the earliest forms of step well and reservoir were also built in India in places like Dholavira as far back as the Indus Valley Civilisation. Although there are no known historical records to prove who built Agrasen ki Baoli, it is believed that it was originally built by the legendary king Agrasen during the Mahabharat epic era and rebuilt in the 14th century by the Agrawal community which traces its origin to Maharaja Agrasen. The Baoli is a unique blend […]

Read More →

India Gate at Night

India Gate is the pride of Delhi. An imposing structure, the gate was built in memory to the of the 90,000 Indian soldiers who laid down their lives during World War I. The India Gate is a war memorial located astride the Rajpath. 13,300 servicemen names, including some soldiers and officers from the UK, are inscribed on the gate. The India Gate, even though a war memorial, evokes the architectural style of the triumphal arch. India Gate at night A photo posted by I.RoyChoudhury (@iroychoudhury) on Oct 8, 2014 at 5:51pm PDT In 1971, following the Bangladesh Liberation war, a small simple structure, consisting of a black marble plinth, with reversed rifle, capped by war helmet, bounded by four eternal flames, was built beneath the soaring Memorial Archway. This structure, called Amar Jawan Jyoti, or the Flame of the Immortal Soldier, since 1971 has served as India’s Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. During the night, India gate is dazzled by floodlit and the fountains nearby are lit up with colored lights. People throng the lawns around the India Gate in the night.We went there yesterday to enjoy the splendor of India Gate. There are many vendors selling tea, ice creams, chanachur, toys etc. We spent sometime there and returned after having dinner at Pindi Restaurant in Pandara Road, New Delhi. We had lovely chicken dishes and then returned to our hotel.

Read More →

Jantar Mantar, Delhi

I have come to Delhi with my mom & dad for a couple of days for getting my dad’s graduation degree attested by Iraqi embassy in New Delhi. We are staying at hotel The Park in New Delhi. It’s just opposite to the iconic architectural masterpiece of 18th century – Jantar Mantar. Mom and dad were remembering this place as mom used to wait with me in the lawns of Jantar Mantar for dad to come from his office and pick us up for shopping etc in Connaught Place area. I was toddler then. :-) Dad and I walked across from our hotel to Jantar Mantar. The Jantar Mantar is an equinoctial sundial, consisting of a gigantic triangular gnomon with the hypotenuse parallel to the Earth’s axis. On either side of the gnomon is a quadrant of a circle, parallel to the plane of the equator. The instrument is intended to measure the time of day, correct to half a second and declination of the Sun and the other heavenly bodies. The jantars have evocative names like, Samrat Yantra, Jai Prakash Yantra, and Mishra Yantra; each of which are used to for various astronomical calculations. The primary purpose of the observatory was to compile astronomical tables, and to predict the times and movements of the sun, moon and planets. Designed for the observation of astronomical positions with the naked eye, they embody several architectural and instrumental innovations. This is the most significant, most comprehensive, and the best […]

Read More →

Returned to Baghdad

I went to India on a two-week vacation on June 6 to attend to some family events. In the meanwhile, the security situations in Iraq deteriorated suddenly as ISIS overran large swathes of the north and west of the country and seized over half a dozen cities, including Mosul. 40 Indian nationals were abducted from a construction site in Mosul. 46 Indian nurses are also stranded in Tikrit hospital. These caused a great concern not only in India but around the world. The Indian media is giving wide coverage of the happenings in Iraq. I was in communication with my colleagues in the bank. They informed me that the situation in Baghdad is okay and there’s no new development in Baghdad that might be a cause for worry. My friends and relatives in India were apprehensive of my returning to Baghdad. Some advised me against it. However, returning to Baghdad is my call of duty. As always, my wife and my son stood by me. With their good wishes, prayers and blessings of my elders I began my journey from Ranchi yesterday. The immigration official at the passport control desk refused me when I replied to him that I was going to Baghdad. I talked to him that I am working in Baghdad and was in India on vacation etc. He was acting on the travel advisory issued by the government of India on June 15 2014, wherein Indian nationals were […]

Read More →

Tathagata Tsal

The Buddha Park of Ravangla, also known as Tathagata Tsal, is situated near Rabong (Ravangla) in South Sikkim district, Sikkim, India. Tathagata is Sanskrit and Pali word. It’s used to refer to Lord Buddha. The term is often thought to mean either “one who has thus gone” (tathā-gata) or “one who has thus come” (tathā-āgata). This is interpreted as signifying that the Tathagata is beyond all coming and going – beyond all transitory phenomena. Lord Buddha is quoted on numerous occasions in the Pali Canon as referring to himself as the Tathagata instead of using the pronouns me, I or myself. This may be meant to emphasize by implication that the teaching is uttered by one who has transcended the human condition, one beyond the otherwise endless cycle of rebirth and death, i.e. beyond suffering. This place was constructed in 2006-13 and features a 128-foot high statue of the Buddha as its centerpiece. The site was chosen within the larger religious complex of the Rabong Gompa (Monastery), itself a centuries-old place of pilgrimage. Also nearby is Ralang Monastery, a key monastery in Tibetan Buddhism. His Holiness the Dalai Lama consecrated the colossal 128 foot hammered copper statue of the Buddha, which he had earlier named Tathagata Tsal, at Ravangla. The statue of the Buddha marks the occasion of the 2550th birth anniversary of Gautama Buddha. There’s huge gate with murals depicting Jataka tales – on the previous lives of Gautam Buddha. […]

Read More →

Char Dham [Siddhesvara Dham]

DSC02879

Char Dham or Siddhesvara Dham is a unique pilgrimage tourism venture of the Sikkim Government developed as “ Pilgrim cum Cultural Centre” having a 108 ft statue of Lord Shiva and replicas of four Dhams of the country at one place at Solophok hilltop in Namchi. Namchi is the headquarters of the South Sikkim district. Namchi means Sky (Nam) High (Chi) in […]

Read More →

Samdruptse: Wish Fulfilling Hill

On our way to Char Dham, we went to Samdruptse, near Namchi.  Samdruptse is situated at around 75 km from Gangtok. Samdruptse literally means ‘wish fulfilling hill’ in the Bhutia language. Painted in shimmering copper, pink and bronze, the awe-inspiring and gigantic 45m-high statue of Guru Padmasambhava, aka Guru Rinpoche, lords over the forested Samdruptse ridge and is visible for miles around. The views are spectacular across and the statue can be seen from across many places in Sikkim and Darjeeling. Padmasambhava was born into a Brahmin family of Northwest India. According to tradition, Padmasambhava was incarnated as an eight-year-old child appearing in a lotus blossom floating in Lake Dhanakosha, in the kingdom of Oḍḍiyāna in the present Swat Valley of Pakistan. His special nature was recognized by the childless local king of Oḍḍiyāna and was chosen to take over the kingdom, but he left Oḍḍiyāna for northern parts of India. It is the highest statue of Guru Padamasambhava in the world. His Holiness the Dalai Lama laid the foundation stone of the statue in October 1997. It was completed in February 2004. Within the complex, there’s a permanent photo exhibition of archival images documenting Sikkim’s cultural, natural and artistic history. The land of Sikkim, at the border of India and Tibet, was consecrated as a hidden sanctuary for the Buddha’s teachings by the great master Padmasambhava, who blessed it with the vajra wisdom of his body, speech, and mind. He is considered […]

Read More →