150 Years of Swami Vivekananda


MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA           JULY 31 , 2012           11.40 P.M.

Русский: Свами Вивекананда Свами Вивекананда в...

Swami Vivekanand (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As I have stated in my earlier blog about Charles Dickens , I was introduced to the world of books and knowledge by my grandfather . Later on , I was encouraged by my father , who used to buy books for me and saw to it that I should read them . My Maa , who too was a voracious reader , also encouraged me to read good books and magazines and thus a life – long passion started very early in my life .

English: Swami Vivekanand

A Young Swami Vivekanand (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My father introduced me to the world of Swami Vivekanand . One day he came with a book titled ” UTTISHTHATA JAGRATA ” . I was a book of the lectures of Swami Vivekananda , compiled and edited by Shri Eknath Ranade , a Hindu ideologue and RSS Pracharak .

It was my first brush with the renowned sanyasi of India . I started reading the book and was mesmerized by the sheer beauty of the poetic language and powerful thoughts . His speech in the Parliament of the World’s Religion in Chicago is epitome of lucidity in language . It is something which I have not imagined . It is something which will never be obfuscated from my memory . The words uttered by Swami Vivekananda in his Chicago sermon still keep on ringing in my ears , though I read it many years ago .

English: Higher detail image of Swami_Vivekana...

Higher detail image of Swami_Vivekananda.jpg Swami Vivekananda, September, 1893, Chicaco, signed (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

After I finished reading ” UTTISHTHATA JAGRATA ” , I bought many books about Swami ji and read them . ” UTTISHTHATA JAGRATA ” and all the other books still adorn my library in my ancestral house at Deoria . I became admirer , follower and a virtual disciple of Swami Vivekananda .

Swami Vivekananda ;  (12 January 1863–4 July 1902), born Narendra Nath Datta  , was a key figure in the introduction of Indian philosophies of Vedanta and Yoga to the western world , and was credited with raising interfaith awareness , bringing Hinduism to the status of a major world religion in the late 19th century . He was a major force in the revival of Hinduism in India , and contributed to the notion of nationalism in colonial India . He was the chief disciple of the 19th century saint Ramakrishna and the founder of the Ramakrishna Math and the Ramakrishna Mission .He will always be known for his inspiring speech beginning with “Sisters and Brothers of America,” through which he introduced Hinduism at the Parliament of the World’s Religions in Chicago in 1893.

Parliament of the World’s Religions opened on 11 September 1893 at the Art Institute of Chicago as part of the World’s Columbian Exposition . On this day Vivekananda gave his first brief address . He represented India and Hinduism , and began his speech with, “Sisters and brothers of America !” .To these words he got a standing ovation from a crowd of seven thousand, which lasted for two minutes . When silence was restored he began his address . He greeted the youngest of the nations in the name of  “the most ancient order of monks in the world , the Vedic order of sannyasins , a religion which has taught the world both tolerance and universal acceptance .” And he quoted two illustrative passages in this relation , from the Bhagavad Gita“As the different streams having their sources in different places all mingle their water in the sea , so , O Lord , the different paths which men take , through different tendencies , various though they appear , crooked or straight , all lead to Thee !” and “Whosoever comes to Me, through whatsoever form , I reach him ; all men are struggling through paths that in the end lead to Me .” Despite being a short speech , it voiced the spirit of the Parliament and its sense of universality.

Dr. Barrows, the president of the Parliament said, “India, the Mother of religions was represented by Swami Vivekananda , the Orange-monk who exercised the most wonderful influence over his auditors .”  He attracted widespread attention in the press , which dubbed him as the “Cyclonic monk from India”. The New York Critique wrote, “He is an orator by divine right, and his strong, intelligent face in its picturesque setting of yellow and orange was hardly less interesting than those earnest words, and the rich, rhythmical utterance he gave them.”  The New York Herald wrote, “Vivekananda is undoubtedly the greatest figure in the Parliament of Religions. After hearing him we feel how foolish it is to send missionaries to this learned nation.” The American newspapers reported Swami Vivekananda as “the greatest figure in the parliament of religions” and “the most popular and influential man in the parliament”. The Boston Evening Transcript, reported on 30 September 1893 that Vivekananda was “a great favourite at the parliament…if he merely crosses the platform, he is applauded”. He spoke several more times at the Parliament on topics related to Hinduism and Buddhism and harmony of religions . The parliament ended on 27 September 1893 . All his speeches at the Parliament had one common theme of universality , and emphasised religious tolerance .

Whenever I read above mentioned facts about him or try to visualize his presence in Chicago congregation , a sense of pride engulfs me completely . Adoration for him , which started very early in my life , refuses to subside even today.

I wish to visit his birth place and the place where he was cremated and the Rock memorial at Kanyakumari , which incidentally was spearheaded by Shri Eknath Ranade , whose book ” UTTISHTHATA JAGRATA ” hooked me to Swami ji .

English: Birth place of Narendranath Dutta (Sw...

Birth place of Narendranath Dutta (Swami Vivekananda), now it is maintained by the Ramakrishna Mission. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: Swami Vivekananda temple at Belur Mat...

Swami Vivekananda temple at Belur Math, at the place where he was cremated. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: Memorial for Swami Vivekananda, offsh...

Memorial for Swami Vivekananda, offshore, Kanyakumari, India. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I feel myself lucky to be born in the same country , where Swami ji was born . I feel myself fortunate to follow the tenets of same Hinduism , to which he also subscribed . I am blessed that by writing this blog on his 150th Anniversary , I could claim that I am also a part of the celebration , though insignificant , though just a spec in the scheme of things , but still I am a part of it .

Swami Vivekananda at Chicago in 1893.

Swami Vivekananda at Chicago in 1893. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Goosebumps and a strange kind of sensation overpowering me at this time , as I am completing this blog .

[ I have taken some facts and some quotes from Wikipedia . I express my gratitude . ]

VIDUR

MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA

www.vidur.co.in

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Hotel – 1 : Udaipur [ Hotel Akshay Niwas ]


MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA           JULY 10 , 2012           11.15 P.M.

I have always admired two journalists cum columnists cum TV show anchors of my country . They are Ms. Anupama Chopra and Mr. Vir Sanghvi .

Ms. Anupama Chopra is a film journalist , who writes her movie review columns in Hindustan Times and India Today . She also writes for international papers like ; The New York Times , The Los Angeles Times , Variety and Sight & Sound and she also writes and anchors her well – known TV shows ” Picture This “ on NDTV 24 x 7  and ” The Front Row “ on Star World channel .

Mr. Vir Sanghvi is a political journalist , writes his column about Food & Culinary and Hotel & Hospitality in Sunday Brunch of Hindustan Times and also presents his famous shows ” A Matter of Taste “ on Discovery channel and ” Custom Made for Vir Sanghvi “ on NDTV Good Times . His other two successful TV shows are ” Foodistan “ for NDTV Good Times and ” Achievers Club “ on Star World .

Wow , what a life man ! They both have authored several books also . And they are globe – trotting celebrities . It’s a life worth living when you are get paid to live in 5 / 7 star hotels . You are offered best of cuisines on platter and instead of you paying the bill , you are offered money in lieu of tasting that exotic food . You interview mightiest of stars in swanky hotels and demand and get remuneration for it . God , this is the life I fancy !!

I always wanted to be like them . I wanted to do what they have done and would love to write on several subjects as they do .

Therefore I started writing , though tentatively , my travel diaries . Then slowly I wrote few blogs on Food & Culinary also . This is my first blog on Hotel & Hospitality . I have clubbed these three topics in a category called Vidur’s Random Musings on my blog space . I know these blogs are very amateurish , but as I have stated earlier , I am simply trying to emulate the above mentioned two journalists cum columnists cum TV show anchors .

I am a wanderer . Initially when I started travelling , I used to stay in ordinary , cheap hotels . So there is nothing to write about them . I can say without hesitation that my first stay in a decent hotel was when I visited Udaipur on October 04 , 2010 .

I was called to train Dev Patel for The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel and was put in Akshay Niwas Hotel by the production team .

Stars of ” The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel “ were staying in Udaivilas Palace Hotel and the director and his team members were staying at Hotel Trident . I have posted photos of Udaivilas Palace Hotel and Hotel Trident in my blog ” Vidur’s Travel Diary : Udaipur ” .

I was put in Akshay Niwas Hotel , which is very close to these iconic hotels of Udaipur . Its exterior is like typical havelis of Rajasthan . If you don’t know that this is a hotel then you might confuse it with a residence of a wealthy Rajasthani family .

Reception area and the lobby of this 4 storied Akshay Niwas Hotel are also very spacious , airy and sunlit .

The Lobby

The Lobby

Dinning Table in The Lobby

Dinning Table in The Lobby

When I entered my room on the 3rd floor , I found it exceptionally spacious . Some hotel rooms are so claustrophobic that you feel suffocated in them . But not here . Spacious room , huge windows , equally huge bathroom and a room to keep my bags and baggage , wow , I felt nice .

My Room in Akshay Niwas Hotel

My Room in Akshay Niwas Hotel

My Room in Akshay Niwas Hotel

My Room in Akshay Niwas Hotel

My Room in Akshay Niwas Hotel

My Room in Akshay Niwas Hotel

My Room in Akshay Niwas Hotel

My Room in Akshay Niwas Hotel

My Room in Akshay Niwas Hotel

My Room in Akshay Niwas Hotel

While going through the above posted photos , you can feel that the sun-kissed room is airy and full of light .

The bathroom is adorned with anti – skid tiles and is more spacious than the hall of some of the flats of Mumbai .

Wash Basin in The Bath Room

Wash Basin in The Bath Room

One plus point which I would like to mention is that the room has many plug sockets , so that you can charge your multiple mobile phones and can also work on your laptop simultaneously . Some hotel rooms don’t have enough sockets and you have to struggle to recharge your mobiles and laptops , specially when you don’t have enough time . But not here . They have taken extra care .

If you open the windows , you can feel the aroma of fresh and pure wind coming from Aravali Hills . If you decide to switch of the air conditioner and just open the windows , fresh wind and enough sunlight will force you to think that you are in another world .

It is a feeling which is unimaginable in Mumbai .

View From My Room's Window

View From My Room’s Window

View From My Room's Window

View From My Room’s Window

View from My Hotel Room

View from My Hotel Room

View of Udaipur from My Room's Window

View of Udaipur from My Room’s Window

Maintenance of the hotel is praiseworthy . Room service is prompt and quick and food is delicious .

Staff is courteous and well – behaved .

If you are not going for star hotels and looking for budget hotel in Udaipur , this Akshay Niwas Hotel is highly recommended by me .

I would love to give it 4 star out of 5 .

VIDUR

MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA

www.vidur.co.in

www.vidurfilms.com

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