India can be a full on assault on the senses with all its colour, noise and frenetic activitiy. The Baha'i Temple in new Dehli is a startling and wonderful contrast. Shaped like a huge lotus flower its milk white marble petals opening to the sun it is an awe inspiring sight as you approach it through immaculate gardens. Inside it is simple and beautiful with vaulted walls lit by shafts of light streaming through the star shaped window high above. And it so peaceful, inviting you to sit and rest, think, perhaps pray or just marvel. At night it's just as beautiful, lit by thousands of lights and reflected in the pools surrounding it.
In 1948 'Bapu' was murdered at the Old Birla House. The beautiful building and gardens are now a museum and memorial to Gandhi. His spartan furniture is neatly displayed in his light-filled room. On the wall is a cabinet of his “worldly goods”, among them his specs and a spoon.
Following the concrete footsteps which trace the Mahatma's last walk is a moving experience. Before he reached his daily place of prayer he was shot, and today an unassuming memorial to the great man marks the exact spot.
Inside the house, his last days are documented by text and photography displayed on wall panels, including images from the great Henri Cartier-Bresson, one of the last people to meet Gandhi before his death.
There is a multimedia museum on site, with plenty of exhibits to keep the children interested.
+91 11 2301 2843
Hours: Tues.-Sun., and 2nd Sat. of every month, 10-5
Google map: bit.ly/S9hxiK
During autumn, the weather in Delhi is perfect: the monsoon rains have passed and the temperature is in the high 20s. There are some lively festivals at this time of year, including Navaratri (October 16th-23rd), during which there are ten days of street festivals, dancing, Ramlila plays and finally the burning of giant effergies of the God Ravana. The largest celebration during autumn is Diwali (November 3rd this year.) To celebrate the Hindu New Year and the triumph of good over evil, the city is filled with glittering lights - tiny clay lamps flicker from every window - and fireworks fill the skies. Delicious sweets such as the milky burfi are sold on every street corner and the roads are strewn with marigold and rose petals or colourful Rangoli patterns made from coloured sand or chalk. It's a good time to visit as hotels offer deep discounts on rooms and shops have sale bonanzas of up to 40%. I would recommend the recently built Radisson Blu hotel in Paschim Vihar, where there is a tourist concierge who will arrange independent travel by car to all the local sights as well as the Golden Triangle. We were there last Diwali as practically the only guests -Indian families prefer to stay with relatives during this special period, so we were thoroughly spoiled with cakes, fruit and sweets and the undivided attention of dozens of hotel staff.
It's a nice temple. Here you will find nice work on the wall of temple that will recall the art of Indian History. There are museums you will love to see.
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