Saturday, November 22, 2008

London as seen from atop a bus - 1

A great way to see and explore London is the tourist double decker open top buses that criss-cross through the city. These offer an entertaining, enjoyable and educative view of London and are accompanied by a running live or recorded commentary with stopovers at all important locations. One can hop on and off as you like. Also a great opportunity to photograph the city from the open top deck.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Nottingham to meet Puja

150 Miles north of London is the city of Nottingham - famous for the semi mythical Robin Hood and his band of Merry Men. Nottingham has a sizable student population and is home to 2 universities - The University of Nottingham and the Trent Nottingham University. This would also account for the large over 20,000 student population in Nottingham. We travelled down to the city to meet Puja who is doing her PHD at the university.

At the heart of the city, is the Old Market Square which is an open town square of over 22,000 sq mtrs and is the largest such surviving in England. The front of the square is dominated by the Council House which serves as the City Hall.

The Old Market Square is built with three shades of granite. The central open space is a light coloured granite, with white, beige and dark grey granite used for the fountains, terraces and flowerbeds. A new water feature dominates the west side of the Square, with jet fountains and waterfalls. These water features can be turned off if required, allowing a amphitheatre-like seating area to be created for shows and concerts

Top Facade of the Council Hall

Puja, Anita and Utsav at the square

Anita and Utsav enjoying the comfortable train ride back to London

Sunday, November 9, 2008

London Theatre on Anita's 50th Birthday

It was Anita's 50th birthday and a special treat was called for - 'Phantom of the Opera' and dinner at the Mint Leaf after the play seemed appropriate.
London has a vibrant theatre scene attracting theatre enthusiasts from all over the world. The main theatre district is situated in the heart of the West End of London City. Even more than New York, London is the capital of the theatre world. Catching a West End theatre production is a very popular tourist activity. One of the important theatres in the West End is Her Majesty's Theatre. A theatre has been on this site in a street called the Hay market since 1705. The current building was opened in 1896
One of the best mega musicals is THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA which has been running for the last 2 decades. All the great songs - and they truly are great songs are chilling in their emotional power. The Music of the Night is of course exceptional.

Scenes from the play

After an absolutely fantastic performance of the play, we headed for dinner to The Mint Leaf situated just opposite Her Majesty's theatre. This is a stylish restaurant with a sense of elegance. The food is excellent and wine list exhaustive.

The Birthday Cake

Sanjiv, Ranjila and Shaan with us the restaurant

Night scene at the nearby Leister Square

Anita with Sanjiv and Shaan

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Diwali - The Festival of Lights

Diwali - the festival of lights is a major Hindu Festival and is celebrated in India by lighting lights and lamps . These lights and lamps signifies victory of Good over Evil.
In Hinduism, it is the homecoming of Lord Rama after 14years of Exile in a forest and after his victory over the Demon Ravana.

Diwali also signifies the end of the harvest season in most of India. Traditionally, it also marks the end of financial year of a businesses and closure of books of accounts. Prayers are offered to the Goddess of Wealth - Laxmi for prosperity and wealth through the coming year. Doors of houses are left open on Diwali so that the Laxmi can enter the house and bring wealth with her.

Entrances to houses are decorated with flowers and intricate designsCandles lit outside a house in Gurgaon
Crackers, rockets and other fireworks are a Major attraction on Diwali. The evening can be extremely noisy with crackers being burst all around. The night is totally lit up with fireworks.Night View of houses lit up at Diwali