Dwangwa Lake in Central Malawi by Mzondi Lungu

Thirty miles north of Nkhotakota is the settlement of Dwangwa which is split in two by the M5 road. This is very much a company town greatly influenced and determined by its giant sugar estate but, by the lakeshore, is a fishing community.
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A few miles north of Dwangwa is Ngala Beach Lodge – a real gem that has recently been completely re-furbished and now provides stunning accommodation and facilities.

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Lotus Temple in India By Mzondi Lungu

Designed by Fariborz Sahba the Lotus Temple is one of the greatest pieces of architecture in New Delhi. Located at Mandir Marg of South Delhi the Lotus Temple is one of the major tourist attractions of New Delhi. Built in the shape of a half opened lotus flower the temple serves as a Mother Temple in India. This temple is also popularly known as Bahai Temple as it is a place of worship meant for the Bahai’s.

 

Lotus Temple can be easily reached by metro. Riding on a Nehru Place- Kalkaji Mandir metro it is visible as a white oval structure. Than, from Kalkaji Mandir it is just a 5 minutes walking distance. This white marble structure has altogether 27 lotus petals arranged in a symmetrical pattern. View of Lotus Temple from the air looks astounding. It was made to look like a lotus floating on blue water. Nine small pools surround the building. To make it a perfect structure there are nine inner petals and nine doors open in different directions.

The Lotus Temple at New Delhi is visited by people from all religious faiths. The tranquility of the place is ideal for meditation. The temple embraces an independent religion called Bahai faith. The architecture represents a blend of both traditional and modern engineering expertise. The brainchild behind the architecture of this temple is a Canadian architect named Fariborz Sahba. He took 10 long years in planning the design and implementing it. The temple is surrounded by sparkling pools. It has been constructed by using cement, marble, sand and dolomite.

Completed in 1986 the Lotus Temple has 27 giant white marble petals and nine pools. The temple has got double curved surfaces. The steel used for making the shells of the petals were galvanized to protect it from rust. These shells have got a thickness of about 6 to 8 centimeters. There are six other Bahai temples in the world. Though some concepts are same, but each of them differs in their cultural identity.

The Lotus Temple in New Delhi was inaugurated in 1986. It is open to the general mass from 9:00 am to 7:00 pm in the summer months and 9:30 am to 5:30 pm during the winter months. The temple remains closed on Mondays. This temple is a must visit place of New Delhi.

Jantar Mantar of Delhi by Mzondi Lungu

Jantar Mantar was built in 1724 by Raja Jai Singh II of Jaipur in Delhi. Jantar Mantar of Delhi, is an astronomical observatory with masonry instruments. Jantar Mantar in Delhi is a remarkable and curious creation of Raja Jai Singh II, the mathematician and astronomer king. Jantar Mantar has instruments that can graph the path of the astronomical universe.

The name of this noteworthy astronomical observatory, Jantar Mantar means ‘instrument for calculation.’ There is a colossal Samrat Yantra at the periphery of Jantar Mantar. To the south of Samrat Yantra there is an amazing instrument called Jai Prakash. The Jai Prakash of Jantar Mantar in Delhi has two concave hemispherical structures and used for determining the position of the sun and celestial bodies. Jantar Mantar is built of brick rubble that is plastered in lime. You can see the following instruments inside the Jantar Mantar of Delhi.

  • Samrat Yantra
  • Jai Prakash
  • Ram Yantra
  • Niyati Chakra
  • Misra Yantra

All these instruments can be used for various astronomical calculations. Today the historical structure is encircled by new office buildings. Jantar Mantar of Delhi is even used by modern day scholars to ascertain the location of the heavenly bodies in our universe.

The Delhi Jantar Mantar is open to public from 10 am to 6 pm. The entry to this amazing astronomical observatory is free. As it is located at the city center adjacent to the well know Connaught Place, you can easily reach Delhi Jantar Mantar without much hassle. If you visit the capital city of New Delhi, do not forget to have a glimpse of Jantar Mantar-a beautiful creation of the Jaipur King.

Bangla Sahib Gurdwara in Delhi by Mzondi Lungu

Gurudwara Bangla Sahib

Bangla Sahib Gurdwara is located near the main Connaught Place in Delhi. It has developed into a center of pilgrimage for thousands of people everyday. People from various religions, castes and places visit this holy place .

A bungalow in Delhi owned by Raja Jai Singh of Amber (Jaipur) is now the Gurdwara Bangla Sahib. The 8th Guru Sri Harkishan had been here as a guest of Raja Jai Singh. He left for his heavenly abode on October 6, 1661 AD.

Gurdwara Bangla Sahib speaks the story of Baba Ram Rai, the elder brother of Guruji who tried in vain to influence the Sikhs of Delhi and Punjab. Later he went to Emperor Aurangzeb to secure the Gurugadi. Aurangzeb decided to summon Guru Harkrishan. The Rajput chief Raja Jai Singh took over the responsibility.

While in Delhi, the Guru served the humble and the people affected by cholera and smallpox . He gave medicines, food and clothes to the needy.

A small tank was built by Raja Jai Singh in the Gurdwara Bangla Sahib. This water is taken to cure ailments. The Delhi Sikh Gurudwara Management Committee has established a hospital in the basement of the Gurdwara Bangla Sahib. The Khalsa Girls School is there in the adjacent building. A pond of 225 x 235 feet has been built solely with donations from the devotees.

The Art Gallery present in the basement of the Gurdwara Bangla Sahib is worth seeing. They exhibit the paintings depicting historical events related with the Sikh history. The gallery is named after the Sikh General Sardar Bhagel Singh .

Jama Masjid is the largest mosque in India by Mzondi Lungu

Jama Masjid is the largest mosque in India. The Jama or Jami Masjid was constructed between 1644 and 1658 during the rule of Shah Jahan. Initially Jama Masjid was known as the Masjid-i-Jahanuma, meaning World Reflecting Mosque in Persian.

Situated in Chandni Chowk this mosque is spread over acres of lands. It can easily accommodate about 25,000 worshippers. Commissioned by Shah Jahan the brain behind the Taj Mahal the Jama Masjid also holds immense architectural significance. Constructed by 5000 workers over a period of six years this mosque is a major attraction in the city. Jama Masjid is built out of sandstone and white marble. The Masjid possesses 3 gateways, two 40m high minarets and 4 towers.

With the Red fort on the east, the Jama Masjid can be viewed as a shining bright structure from a distance. One has to go to the imposing gateways of this beautifully glorified mosque along the wide stairs. The main eastern gate was strictly meant for the entry of the members of the Royal family.

This entrance is generally closed on most of the days of the week. The principal prayer hall is situated on the western side. It is decorated with many elevated arches with cusps. The hall is utilized by the devotees on almost all the days except on Fridays and other Muslim holidays. On these special days of celebrations the courtyard remains packed up with the devotees offering their prayers.

There is no entrance fee here but it is one of the most expensive places for photography. The authorities charge you 200 Rs for Photography inside the Masjid. I thought they were kidding but when they showed me the ticket I knew it was real. One can leave the footwear outside for a sum of “give whatever you want” but the tricky part is when you give them some coins they want a Rs.100 note. It helps to be cautious.
How to get there: The nearest metro station is Chandni Chowk station. From here it is a 25 Rs paddle Rickshaw ride. Or you can just walk.

Red Fort or the Lal Quila in India by Mzondi Lungu

Red fort – Delhi

The Red Fort or the Lal Quila as it is traditionally called is situated in old Delhi, the capital of India. The Red Fort was built by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan in the 17th century that took around 9 years to complete this magnificent structure and around 10 million rupees to build the fort. The Red Fort is a masterpiece of architecture and is one of the most visited spot in old Delhi. Tourists from India and abroad never miss the opportunity to visit this huge structure.

Tourists can easily take a taxi or other mode of transport to reach the place. If you are new to the city, the city map can be of great help. You can also find the right road to reach the place and check out the nearby places as well. Red Fort is situated on the banks of the river Yamuna and is still a significant monument that provides a glimpse of the grandeur of the past. Apart from the magnificent fort, one can also find various beautiful structures inside the fort like the halls of public, marble palaces, mosque, gardens, and plush apartments all in their rich architecture that shows you the prosperous past of the Emperor. The fort even today continues to mesmerize visitors with its impressive red sandstone wall, huge bastions, and some of the finest and intricate work done on the walls that are not to be seen anywhere in other structures.

Red Fort Video

While you stroll in the fort, you can have a peek in the life of the emperor and also imagine the workings of the Emperor that was carried out and the hugeness of all the things that would take place inside the fort. The fort includes the most famous Diwan-i-Am, which is the hall for public, where the emperor used to listen to the complaints of the people and find solutions to their problems. There is also a Diwan-i-Khas that was for the private people only, where the Emperor discusses plans, strategies and secret meetings. There used to be a peacock throne for the Emperor, which had all types of precious stones build in it. It was made of gold and was quite huge. It was however, carried away by Nadir Shah to Iran in 1739.

Red fort is an enjoyable excursion and you will love to see the various attractions that the fort has. The royal baths or Hammams as it was rightly called was the place where the royals took bath in all their pleasure. The Shahi burj was the working place of Shahjahan that has some wonderful work done inside. The Moti Masjid is another structure that is worth seeing, but was built by Aurangzeb, son of Shahjahan. A special place for the ladies of the fort is also built called the Ran Mahal. This place is a real treat to the eyes and you can see delicately painted walls, intricate worked mirrors, gilded turrets, ceiling complete with gold and silver designs reflects its beauty in the central pool inside the palace on the marble floor.

Visitors can visit the place any time during 9.30 am to 4.30 pm from Tuesdays to Sundays. One can get entry by paying fees and is free on Fridays. The place can be reached easily from anywhere and has a good network of roads. One can also take a look at the other places of interest by taking a look at the map. The map includes several other attractions that you will enjoy visiting.

Some important places include the Hammam and the Moti Masjid which are located side by side. Hammam or the public bath house is an important culture of the Mughals. The history of hammam can be traced back in the 16th century, at Purana Qila. On the North, the large spacious park stands guard. It is also called the life bestowing garden. A red sand stone pavilion known as Zafar Mahal stood in the centre. It is also a large water tank to store rain water to water the garden.

Rashtrapati Bhawan historical place by Mzondi Lungu

The Rashtrapati Bhawan is an eminent monument of British Empire which is said to be the palace of the Viceroy of India. Rashtrapati Bhawan of Delhi is considered to be the best known monument of India next to glorious Taj Mahal and Qutb Minar.

Rashtrapati Bhawan is the house of the President of India. It is a real masterpiece that was built in the British period. It is the focal point of New Delhi and situated in the Raisina Hills. The total cost of constructing the Rashtrapati Bhawan crossed £1,253,000 in British India.

Edwin Lutyens designed the building and construction work began in 1911. It was supposed to be completed in 4 years but war intervened and it took 19 years to complete it. Lord Edwin, the then Viceroy and Governor General of India was the first to live here in 1931.

India Gate is visible from the entrance of Rashtrapati Bhawan through the heat mirages. It looks close but it is at least 3km away from there. This little elevation of the Raisina Hill gives you a new perspective. The alignment of the buildings can’t be more perfect. Even the black road with a yellow line in the middle surrounded by red earth on either side of the road now looks more meaningful than ever.

There is a Durbar Hall inside the Rashtrapati Bhawan in Delhi and the dome of the hall measures 22.8 meters in diameter. The hall is marked by the beautiful colored marbles. You can see the Viceroy’s throne in this hall. Today, the Durbar Hall is the major venue of all official ceremonies of the Indian Government such as the oath taking ceremony by the Prime Minister, the Cabinet and the Members of Parliament. The Arjuna Awards for Excellence is also presented in this hall of the Rashtrapati Bhawan.

The Rashtrapati Bhawan comprises of the following:

  • The State Drawing Room
  • The State Ballroom
  • The State Library
  • The State Dining Room
  • The Private Apartments

To the west of the Rashtrapati Bhawan, there is a wonderful Mughal garden which is open to the public every spring. The parliament street adjacent to the Delhi Rashtrapati Bhawan prohibits the bus service but you can reach the Rashtrapati Bhawan by hired taxi or auto rickshaws.

Tours are available to the Rashtrapati Bhawan and Mughal Gardens with a registration fee of Rs.25. The fee is charged to maintain and improve services for the public in the Rashtrapati Bhawan. The registration charges will not be charged when the Mughal Gardens are open to public in months of February/March every year. The charges are for those who book themselves online for tours of Rashtrapati Bhawan and Mughal Gardens. It also applies to walk-in visitors on Friday, Saturday and Sunday when the Bhawan is open to public. Groups of 30 or more can get discounted rates and children below the age of 12 will be excused from registration charges.