Pritam Rohila Travels

Reports of my travels along with some pictures

Apr 20, 2014

ROHILAS IN INDIA 2014: 1 Mumbai Airport

February 18, 2014

Tired and sleepy, we reached our home in Keizer, Oregon, around 6 p.m., on February 19, about 36 hours after leaving our cousin's home in Mumbai. We look forward to a few days of rest and relaxation at our home, while we empty our suit cases, and catch-up with mail received and things left undone, during our 5-week travels in India.

In Mumbai, we used the recently completed Terminal 2 of the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport. The terminal is connected by a six-lane elevated road to the Western Express Highway.

The Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport, Mumbai

There is an expansive Arrival Hall.

Interiors are colorful.

Mumbai Airport Interiors

The 18-foot high walls of its corridors and some stand-alone areas display the world's largest public art program - 6,000 pieces of Indian art from the 8th to the 19th century.

Its ceilings are covered with lotus-shaped chandeliers. Also there is a curtain with ten-thousand diyas (earthen lamps).

Lotus-shaped chandeliers, Mumbai Airport

Designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merr ill (SOM), and built by Larsen & Toubro, the new T2 covers 210,000 square meters (51.9 acres). Its 42 meter (137.8 ft) high roof employs over 20,000 metric tons (22046.2 tons) of fabricated steel, and covers 30  acres. It is equipped with 188 check-in counters, 136 immigration counters, 10 baggage carousels, 73 elevators, and 47 escalators.

We were at Departure Gate 73 for our Cathay Pacific flight.

Departure Gate 73, Mumbai Airport

Here are some views of the area around the Departure Gate 73.

Around Departure Gate 73, Mumbai Airport

Around Departure Gate 73, Mumbai Airport

By the way, there were outlets for laptops and cell phones (behind Kundan). But none of them had power!

You can view some videos about the new terminal at

I will write more about our travels in India, in the subsequent posts. 

Apr 19, 2014

ROHILAS IN INDIA 2014: 2 The Wedding in Mumbai

January 16 - 22, 2014

Kundan and I left our home, on January 14, for a 5-week trip to India. We reached Mumbai early on the morning of January 16, and proceeded directly to the Jolly Gymkhana in Ghatkopar, where we stayed for seven nights.

Somewhat like country clubs in the United States, gymkhanas have been functioning in India, since the British Raj, as exclusive, membership-based, social and sporting clubs.

Jolly Gymkhana started in 1950, as a cricket club. Since then it has blossomed into a full-fledged social and sporting club, with 5,700 members.

The gymkhana has a health club, a gymnasium, a swimming pool, badminton courts, tennis courts, squash courts, a billiard room, a skating rink, a card room, a children's park, a bar, a restaurant, banquet halls, a members' lounge with a reading room, and seven hotel-style rooms.

We were in Mumbai for the wedding of Prapti, the elder daughter of Kundan's cousin, Kuldip.


The wedding was a multi-function event held at various locations in Mumbai, over four days. It all started with Vivah Khel (God's wedding), organized by the groom's family, on January 17. It consisted of prayers, live music and some dancing.

God's wedding (Vivah Khel)

On January 19, was Mehndi (Henna). Hired artists arrived in the morning at the bride's home to draw intricate designs with Mehndi on the hands and arms of the bride and her female relatives and friends.

Henna Painting

Henna painting

It was followed by live music, and a feast, both held under a colorful shamiana (tent).

Live music at the bride's place

Live music at the bride's place

In the evening the bride and other youngsters had been invited by the groom's family to a dance club for an evening of dancing.

Next morning (January 20) started with Mandap Puja at the bride's home. Assisted by a priest, the bride and her family invoked God's blessing for the wedding.  Then the bride's female  relatives applied a scented paste on the bride's body and blessed her.

Mandap puja at the bride's home

Female relatives bless the bride

The evening program started with live music.

Live music

Then the bride and the groom exchanged  rings for their engagement.

The groom &the bride exchange rings

A few rituals were followed by dinner and several dance number performed by the bride, the groom and members of their parties. 

The bride and the groom dancing

A group dance

The wedding was held on January 21. Led by a live musical band, and the groom, the barat (groom's party) arrived at the venue. They were welcomed by the bride and her relatives. 

The bride welcomes the groom

After initial rituals, bride was brought to the mandap in a doli carried by her male cousins on their shoulders.

The bride being carried by her mail cousins to the wedding mandap

With chanting of mantras by two priests, various rituals were performed by the bride and the groom. The most important ritual consisted of seven rounds by them around the holy fire, and exchanging of the wedding vows.

Wedding rituals

After a few more rituals the wedding was over, and the bride and the groom departed with the groom's party.

The bride & the groom departing to get ready for the reception

A couple of hours later was the reception, the final event of wedding. Also an elaborate stage had been set up for the purpose. Family members and friends took turns to go up the stage to greet the new couple and their parents, while eight hundred guests enjoyed a multi-course meal.

Doshis of Anand with the new couple, and their parents

Post-wedding rituals were performed at the bride's home on January 22, and the next day we left for Anand, Gujarat.

Apr 17, 2014

ROHILAS IN INDIA 2014: 3 Gujarat

January 23-30, 2014

We left for Anand in Gujarat State, by the Double Decker train, from the Mumbai Central Station, at 2:20 p.m., on January 23. The 265 mile- (427 Kilometer-), 6-hour journey was quite comfortable. Kundan's cousin, Jaydeep and his wife, Neha welcomed us at the Anand train station.

Most of our time in Anand was spent in the company of Kundan's six cousins and their families, who live there. We enjoyed visiting with and being entertained them.

One day, I had the opportunity to talk to Ramakaki, one of Kundan's aunts, about her little garden. She explained to me how she uses bonsai.

Ramakaki & Bonsai

On January 26, in company of Induben, Kundan's elder sister, along with Vikram, Kundan's cousin, and Nina, his wife, we left for a two-day pilgrimage to some Hindu and Jain holy sites.

Vikram, Nina & Kundan

Mahudi was the first on our list.

Mahudi Jain Temple, Gujarat

Established by a Jain monk, in 1917, it has two shrines. The main shrine has a 22-inch idol of Padmaprabhu Swami. The other shrine is dedicated to the protector deity Ghantakarna Mahavir.

Ghantakarna Mahavir

Devotees buy sukhadi, a flour-sugar-ghee (clarified butter) dish prepared at the temple complex, to offer to the deities. Most of it is returned to the devotee. It cannot be carried off the site, and must be consumed by the devotee and the devotee's party or given away to others present there.

Next we stopped at the Kamakshi Devi Temple Complex. All 51 Shakti Peeth temples have been reconstructed here.

Kamakshi Devi Temple, Gujarat

Kamakshi Devi Temple, Gujarat

Then we proceeded to the famous Ambaji Temple, which is visited by millions of devotees every year.

Situated 114 Miles (185 Kilometers) from Ahmedabad, Ambaji is a major Shakti Peeths of India.

Ambaji Temple Gateway, Gujarat

Ambaji Temple, Gujarat

Located 1.8 Miles (3 Kilometers) from Ambaji, the 11th Kumbhariya group of Jain temples was our next destination. These marble temples are dedicated to the five Tirathankaras of the Jain religion namely Mahavira, Parshvanath, Neminath, Shantinath, and Smbhavanath.

Kumbhariya Temple, Gujarat

Like the Dilwara temple, these temples have beautifully carved domes, walls, and pillars.

Kumbhariya Temple Interior, Gujarat

Then we proceeded to the Taranga Temple. Built of sandstone, this 12th century temple is revered by the Digamber as well as the Shvetamber Jain sects. Rishabha's 9-feet (2.75 meter) statue is the main idol there.
It has seven domes.

Taranga Temple, Gujarat

There are several bands of magnificently carved sculptures on the temple's exterior.

Taranga Temple, Gujarat

The last temple on our day's itinerary was the Shankheshwar Jain Temple. Rebuilt in the 18th century, the temple has 52 idols.

Shankheshwar Temple, Gujarat

Its presiding deity is the 23rd Tirathankara Parshvanath. His six-feet high idol shows him in the lotus position.

Shankheshwar Temple, Gujarat

Now we were ready to return to Anand. On the way we enjoyed the sunset.


On January 31, we left by car  for Ahmedabad to board a Jet Airways flight to Delhi.

Apr 16, 2014

ROHILAS IN INDIA 2014: 4 Delhi & Haryana

Delhi and Haryana: January 31-February 2, 2014

We reached Delhi at 4:10 p.m. My sister Kamlesh, her husband Mahavir Singh, son Rakesh, and granddaughter Anisha, welcomed us at the airport. It took us about two hours to cover the distance of 50 Miles (81 Kilometers) through crowded roads, to their home in Rohtak, Haryana.

We enjoyed their gracious hospitality for the next two days. Rakesh's wife Jyoti prepared delicious dishes for us.

We decided to use the occasion also to experience Delhi Metro. Operated by Delhi Metro Rail Corporation, Delhi Metro is reputed to be a world-class public transportation system of its kind.

Integrated with other modes of public transportation, Delhi Metro is equipped with state-of-art technological features and automatic fare collection system.

A Delhi Metro ticketing booth

A Delhi Metro platform

Comprised of seven lines and 141 stations, the system covers 118 Miles ( 190 Kilometers). It covers the entire National Capital Region including Delhi, Gurgaon, Noida and Ghaziabad. In 2,700 trips, it carries two million passengers every day.

Delhi Metro map

We boarded the Airport Express Metro at Delhi airport.

Delhi Metro's Airport station

A Delhi Metro train

The station was decorated with sculptures and murals.

Sculptures at Delhi Metro's Airport Station

A mural at Delhi Metro's Airport Station

We used escalators to go down a couple of levels to reach the platform. 

Escalators at the Delhi Metro's Airport station

If not better, the train was comparable to the ones we have seen in other countries. Each car displayed stations on the line. In addition to the audio announcements, the next station was highlighted on the display board.

Interior of a Delhi Metro car

Display board in a Delhi Metro car

We exited the system at the Dhaula Kuan Station.

Exiting Dhaula Kuan Metro Station

Watch a 2012 video about Delhi Metro at

On the morning of February 2, we left by car for Karnal. It is believed that Karnal was founded by Karna, a Mahabharat hero. It is 68 Miles (110 Kilometers) from Rohtak.

After lunch with my nephew, Surjit and his wife, Asha, we left for Kurukshetra, 21 Miles (33 Kilometers) away from Karnal.

Kurukshetra is known for its 360 places of Hindu pilgrimage, which are related to the

Mahabharata is the epic, 18-day battle that was bitterly fought, between two sets of cousins, Pandavas and Kauravas, and their supporters, around 1000 BCE. Before the start of the battle, it was here that Lord Krishna addressed the Pandava prince, Arjuna regarding his hesitation about battling with his relatives and elders. The address has come to be known as the Bhagavad Gita, often called "the essence of Hinduism.

Lord Krishna addressing Arjuna during the epic battle of Mahabharata

At Kurukshetra we went directly to Krishna Museum. 

Krishna Museum, Kurukshetra, Haryana

The Museum displays manuscripts,idols, paintings, and frescoes related to Lord Krishna.

Bhishma Pitamah on deathbed of arrows
& surrounded by the Pandavas
(Akbar's RAzmnama, a Persian translation
of Mahabharata)

Krishna as Arjuna's Charioteer in the epic battle of Mahabharata
(A 18th/19th century painting)

Nearby at the center of the cylindrical hall are the 34-feet high paintings of episodes from the Mahabharat.

Nearby is the Brahma Sarovar. Dedicated to Brahma, it is a vast water body, which is 1,500 x 1,500 feet on its eastern side and 1,800 x 1500 feet on the western side. Around the wide platform that surrounds it are a number of meditation chambers for the visiting devotees.

Brahma Sarovar, Kurukshetra, Haryana

Brahma Sarovar, Kurukshetra, Haryana

Sarveshwar Mahadev Temple, Kurukshetra

Connected to the surrounding platform with a bridge, the Sarveshwar Mahadev stands in the water body.

It was getting dark. Therefore, we headed back to Karnal to stay there for the night with Surjit & Asha.

Next morning we left, by car for Jalandhar in Punjab.