Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Shades of Saffron

Our feet had barely touched Indian soil before garlands of fresh marigolds were placed around our necks, this was to set a welcoming pattern throughout our travels in northern India. Gifted garlands are offered as a sign of honour and respect.
Marigolds, orange and yellow, are the traditional flowers at Hindu weddings. Lord Vishnu and his wife Goddess Lakshmi are worshipped with marigolds.
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Marigolds symbolise brightness and positive energy.  Orange rarely enters the spectrum of colours I choose, but it is greatly loved in India where it represents peace and purity. 
It is, therefore, no surprise that orange is a part of the Indian flag

it is the colour of the Crocus sativus stamens grown in Kashmir for their prized saffron
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a colour often chosen by Sikhs for their turbans 
 and the Saffron coloured robes worn by Buddhist monks
A black marble platform marks the spot where Mahjatma Gandhi's cremation took place on the 31st January 1948, one day after his assassination. An eternal flame burns and the marble platform is always wreathed in garlands of fresh marigolds. 
I am discovering that I now appreciate and like orange more!
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Jama Masjid Mosque
Jama Masjid Mosque, Delhi was built by the fifth Mughal Emperor of India, Shahjahan, who laid its foundation stone in October 1650. It took six years to construct using six thousand skilled labourers assisted by the best chiselers, sculptors, engineers, calligraphers and eminent artisans 
Emperor Humayun
Humayun's Tomb was built in 1565 nine years after the Emperors death by his senior widow Bega Begam.  Built within a walled enclosure it features garden squares, pathways, water channels, and at its centre is his dome topped mausoleum. There are several other tombs of Mughal rulers within the walled enclosure, but the tomb of Emperor Humayun is considered an architectural achievement of the highest order having a World Heritage listing. 
One of the entrance gates
This gateway served as the southern entrance to the Arab Sarai - a complex built to accommodate the Persian craftsmen involved in the building of Humayun's garden tomb
The serene and peaceful garden squares laid out with pools and water rills
Humayun's mausoleum was to pave the way to the building of the Taj Mahal 
Humayun's sarcophagus lies alone in the main octagonal chamber, however, his body actually lies in the basement below. Mecca is to the West and his body is aligned north to south with his face turned to the right looking in the direction of Mecca 

52 comments:

  1. Wow! You saw a lot during your trip. So colourful and different from our culture.

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    1. You are right, we did see a huge amount Satu, and so far I have only reached day 3.

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  2. Beautiful photos of your India tour. Orange is our national colour too but for quite a different reason which has nothing to do with flowers.It is just the name of our Royal Family.

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    1. I should have realised that your flag was in honour of William of Orange but didn't - thank you for that information.

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  3. The marigolds are beautiful and they do have a distinctive odour. What lovely sharp photos you have taken....

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    1. Thank you Margaret - the buildings etc are wonderful to photograph in India.

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  4. What beautiful architecture in the mosque and the mausoleum, Rosemary, and they are places I have never heard of before. I also never knew about the significance of orange and the saffron colour in India. The marigolds so brilliantly convey their message of peace. Your photos are wonderful.

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    1. These were new to me too Patricia - I suppose that we all know about the famous iconic monuments in India, but there are so many more that are unfamiliar to us, but equally wonderful to see and admire.

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  5. Hello Rosemary, The Indians do have a special gift for building monuments with lots of ornament that still does not get in the way of the overall elegance and tranquility of the design. My favorite photo here is the one of the Southern gateway, which has such an air of antiquity about it, and seems to show the monument edging off into a natural setting.
    --Jim

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    1. I also loved that gateway Jim, it reminds me of old paintings that I have seen of India. I also liked their use of red sandstone and white marble together too.

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  6. These are fantastic photographs Rosemary. They are coffee table book worthy. All that is needed is the perfume of saffron to be transported to this exotic land.

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    1. You are very kind with your comments Gina - when I see the cameras others use I feel rather embarrassed at my little point and shoot. However, I have promised myself a better camera for my birthday later in the year. It will still be a small camera as they are so convenient but will hopefully have a better zoom lens so that I can take birds and more successful distance shots.

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  7. What absolutely stunning architecture!

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  8. Hello Rosemary,

    The colours of India are so remarkable. Your photographs are a wonderful testament to this.

    How utterly delightful to have been greeted with a garland of flowers. Such a charming introduction to this country of great beauty and mystery. The Mausoleum is a remarkable building. The craftsmanship and artistic detail are fabulous and the sheer scale of the place must have been incredible when viewed at close quarters.

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    1. Dear Jane & Lance - we are so pleased that we made this journey to India, it was a voyage of discovery for us as so many of the wonderful monuments seen were completely unknown to us before hand. The colours of India have left a lasting impression on us both.

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  9. Wonderful photos of the architecture, the southern gateway to the Arab Sarai and I love the orange colour of marigolds and what to think of that smiling Sikhs with his orange turban, he caught my eye already on your last post, so pretty.

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    1. The smiling Sikh was our driver, a very courteous and dignified man who drove us with great care and attention.

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  10. Dear Rosemary,

    Your images have transported me to India and the colours, unlike in any other country, have a density that dazzles the eye.
    Jama Masjid Mosque must have intrigued your architect husband and I am sure he saw and pointed our information that regular viewers would not recognize. You are fortunate to have an architect accompany you to such places. You are a great combination and I thank you for this post. Brava
    Helen xx

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    1. Dear Helen - isn't it strange how each country has its own colour-way. When I think of India these are the colours I see, when I imagine Ireland I see luscious greens, heathers and blue for Scotland, greys and creams for Scandinavia.
      I am so pleased that you enjoyed seeing the architecture which is just wonderful to try and capture with the camera, but sadly I must correct you regarding my husband who is not an architect - perhaps you have me mixed up with someone else.
      Thank you for your lovely comment ♡

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  11. wow, what a beautiful reportage ! well done,really.. nice trip wasn'it ?
    however, I love orange.. it's a sunny color !
    have a great week !

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    1. I am loving orange more than I did Massimo - it is a colour which seems to suit a country with lots of bright sunshine and shadows.

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  12. A most beautiful post Rosemary,
    I love to learn and read about the history of India.
    I grew up with Indians in Durban. They are lovely people .. The marigolds bring back magic moments of life in Africa, attending weddings.
    I do hope you bought some saffron. I treasure mine
    I was very much in love with orange, when I was younger. I once had an orange carpet.
    Your photos are stunning
    I only know south India, Mumbai and sri lanka.
    I would love to visit the north.
    The Muguls architecture is a wonder- the main one for me being the Taj Mahal.. would love to see it.thank you for showing These are wonderful photos..you have taken.
    It looks so peaceful there.
    val ..

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    1. Yes, I did bring some Kashmir saffron back with me Val, it was less than half the price here, and 100% genuine.
      Glad you enjoyed the photos, there will be a post on the Taj Mahal eventually - it was a memorable visit.

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  13. The garlands of marigolds immediately reminded me of my daughters trip to Nepal! Didn't your grandson go there a few years ago too? The architecture you have shared with us is wonderful and those gardens look so beautiful and tranquil. Sarah x

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    1. I am reliving the trip again through the photos - our little cameras are so good these days at giving us treasured memories.
      It was Kenya and Tanzania that my grandson went to but I am sure that he would love to visit Nepal too one day.

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  14. Stunning photos, Rosemary. The ones of the interior of the Jama Masjid Mosque look like paintings. Such artistry in the detail of the architecture! I was interested to see the simple black marble memorial platform where Majatma Ghandi was cremated, It must have been a moving experience to be in that place.

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    1. I thought exactly the same thing Linda - it is that soft weathered red sandstone that we associate and are familiar with seeing in paintings done during the 19th century.
      I had no idea that we would see the spot where Mahjatma Gandhi was cremated, those little extras proved to be a bonus on the trip.

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  15. Beautiful places seen in a completely different culture from ours. It was as admiring the like and orange flowers. Regards.

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    1. The marigolds made into garlands look very attractive. You can see men sitting on street corners making them. I think that a garland of fresh flowers costs only 50p.

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  16. Goodness, what an amazing place. Lovely photos! I can almost feel the heat...

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    1. The heat wasn't too much, rather like a lovely English summers day. I think that the beginning of April seems to be a perfect time to visit India.

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  17. An exciting posting, Rosemary, for you've introduced me to sites with which I'm not familiar. I'm curious to know — in the fourth image of Jama Masjid Mosque, I'm guessing that those are prayer rugs — are they actual rugs, or a suggestion of rugs in mosaics?

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    1. They are prayer rugs, but I do not know how they remain so flat - I assume that they must have some kind of grip underneath them.
      All of these places were new to be too.

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  18. What a wonderful and energetic welcome with the marigolds, I love the color though I don't use it very much . A lovely tour into some of India's innumeral treasures , thank you.

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    1. Pleased that you enjoyed seeing the tour Jane

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  19. Dear Rosemary, I enjoyed reading your post about your travel to India! The architecture that you are showing is completely amazing. I have been traveling to South India once and also noticed the love of orange in this country. Like with you I don't wear orange clothes, and didn't like the color at all, but my visit to India has changed how I perceive it, when I come across it now.
    Warm regards,
    Christina

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    1. It must have been lovely in southern India - I wonder if you were somewhere near Kerala? There are so many other places that I would enjoy visiting in India.

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  20. Ahh, lovely pictures, thanks for posting!

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    1. Happy that you enjoyed seen them Marica.

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  21. Amazing images, capturing the beauty of the place so well.

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    1. India is such an easy place to photograph - I really had to restrain myself or else I would have used up all my camera space before the trip was over.

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  22. This is so exciting. Having never been to India it's great to see it through your posts. The buildings are fabulous.

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    1. Thanks Jessica - it was a joy to see these fabulous buildings which are so photogenic too.

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  23. A wonderful post, Rosemary. I loved the little meditation about orange (not my favourite colour either) but it was your architectural images which took my breath away. The mosque is impressively beautiful, but it is the exquisitely complex, yet somehow simple, symmetry of the mausoleum which really speaks to me. The photo looking up into the interior of the dome is remarkable.

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    1. Thank you Perpetua for your very kind comment. It is really interesting learning which parts of a post people are most struck by. I personally am enjoying the process of sorting out my photos and reliving this wonderful adventure.

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  24. I personally love marigolds such cheerful and uplifting flowers that the hot sunshine of India make even more brilliant. There is so much more to the country than you normally see on tv I find it fascinating and exciting - so different from dear old Blighty.

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    1. It is different Elaine, but curiously, once we acclimatised to it all, we felt very much at home and happy to be there.

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  25. I have new respect for marigolds. I always learn so much from your blogs. Never knew saffron came from a cocus!
    It all looks very exotic!

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    1. It is not the usual garden crocus Janey, but a special one which only grows under certain conditions. The best saffron comes from Iran and Kashmir. The stamens are picked very early in the morning before sunrise, just the deep red ones, and 150 flowers yields only 1 gram of saffron.

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  26. So lovely photos. You really had a interesting trip.
    Hugs

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    1. Pleased that you enjoyed seeing them♡

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