Category Archives: {Travel}

Holi 2015 {India}

In 2015 while I was traveling in India with my group of friends and with my Guru Dr. Kathy Kangarloo, we celebrated Holi with the entire country.  We were staying at the famous Hotel Ganga Kinare. Tarun Gulati the owner of the hotel delighted us with a private Holi celebration just for us to take part in. Tarun brought in professional dancers, singers and drummers. With my Sony DSLR Camera wrapped in plastic wrap, I took these photo. These photo will last a lifetime of memories.

Holi is celebrated all over India since ancient times, Holi’s precise form and purpose display great variety. Originally, Holi was an agricultural festival celebrating the arrival of spring.
This aspect still plays a significant part in the festival in the form of the colored powders: Holi is a time when man and nature alike throw off the gloom of winter and rejoice in the colors and liveliness of spring.

Holi also commemorates various events in Hindu mythology, but for most Hindus it provides a temporary opportunity for Hindus to disregard social norms, indulge in merrymaking and generally “let loose.” The legend commemorated by the festival of Holi involves an evil king named Hiranyakashipu. He forbade his son Prahlad from worshiping Vishnu, but Radhu continued to do offer prayers to the god. Getting angry with his son, Hiranyakashipu challenged Prahlad to sit on a pyre with his wicked aunt Holika who was believed to be immune to fire. (In an alternate version, Holika put herself and Prahlad on the fire on orders from her brother.) Prahlad accepted the challenge and prayed to Vishnu to keep him safe. When the fire started, everyone watched in amazement as Holika was burnt to death, while Prahlad survived without a scar to show for it. The burning of Holika is celebrated as Holi. According to some accounts, Holika begged Prahlad for forgiveness before her demise, and he decreed that she would be remembered every year at Holi.

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Gurudwara Bangla Sahib {India}

Gurdwara Bangla Sahib is the most prominent Sikh gurdwara, or Sikh house of worship, in Delhi, known for its association with the eighth Sikh Guru, Guru Har Krishan, and the pool inside its complex, known as the “Sarovar.” It was first built as a small temple by Sikh General, Sardar Bhagel Singh in 1783, who supervised the construction of nine Sikh shrines in Delhi in the same year, during the reign of Mughal Emperor, Shah Alam II.anthonylujan-GurudwaraBanglaSahib-anthonylujanphotography-1anthonylujan-GurudwaraBanglaSahib-anthonylujanphotography-2

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That’s me wearing a bandana as we had to have our heads covered as we entered the temple. So I purchased it right over my left shoulder.

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The dinning hall where everyone eats their meals on the floor.

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Inside the kitchen

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My friend Kathy volunteering her time.

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My friend Shrin

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My friend Judy

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Saw a beautiful flower and had to capture it

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Amazing sunset. Had to take several photos of it!

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My friends from the trip.

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I loved this reflection.

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I was not the only person checking out the sunset.

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This is a true Sikh! Love the details in his eyes…if I only had a translator with me to hear his stories.

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My friend Judy

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My friend Chuck

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Our tour guide

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Pilgrams

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This is a family we helped by donating food to them. The lady in purple was fully deformed and seemed really appreciative.anthonylujan-GurudwaraBanglaSahib-anthonylujanphotography-45

It is situated near Connaught Place, New Delhi and is instantly recognizable by its stunning golden dome and tall flagpole, Nishan Sahib.

Gurdwara Bangla Sahib was originally a bungalow belonging to Raja Jai Singh, an Indian ruler in the seventeenth century, and was known as Jaisinghpura Palace, in Jaisingh Pura, an historic neighbourhood demolished to make way for the Connaught Place, shopping district.

The eighth Sikh Guru, Guru Har Krishan resided here during his stay in Delhi in 1664. During that time, there was a smallpox and cholera epidemic, and Guru Har Krishan helped the suffering by giving aid and fresh water from the well at this house. Soon he too contracted the illness and eventually died on March 30, 1664. A small tank was later constructed by Raja Jai Singh over the well, its water is now revered as having healing properties and is taken by Sikhs throughout the world back to their homes.

The Gurdwara and its Sarovar are now a place of great reverence for Sikhs, and a place for special congregation on birth anniversary of Guru Har Krishan.

The grounds include the temple, a kitchen, a large (holy) pond, a school and an art gallery. As with all Sikh Gurdwaras, the concept of langar is practiced, and all people, regardless of race or religion may eat in the Gurdwara kitchen (langar hall). The Langar (food) is prepared by gursikhs who work there and also by volunteers who like to help out. At the Gurdwara, visitors are requested to cover their hair and not to wear shoes. Assistance to foreigners and visitors with Guides, head scarves, and shoe-minding service can be found inside the compound and are available free of charge. Anyone can volunteer to help keep the shoes in the shoe-minding room, and cleaning the precincts of the Gurudwara.

The complex also houses a higher secondary school, Baba Baghel Singh Museum, a library and a hospital. Air Conditioning has been done inside the Gurudwara and also for the Langar Hall. A new “Yatri Niwas”, and multilevel parking space have been constructed. A toilet complex is also constructed. The space around the back entrance to the Gurudwara is also being spruced up, so as to give a better view from the roadside.

The Bangla Sahib Gurudwara complex has appeared in several literary works.

India Gate 2015 {India}

At the center of New Delhi stands the 42 m high India Gate, an “Arc-de-Triomphe” like archway in the middle of a crossroad.

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Almost similar to its French counterpart, it commemorates the 70,000 Indian soldiers who lost their lives fighting for the British Army during the World War I. The memorial bears the names of more than 13,516 British and Indian soldiers killed in the Northwestern Frontier in the Afghan war of 1919.

Gandhi Memorial Museum

While in India, I visited the Gandhi Memorial Museum in New Delhi. It’s where Gandhi spent the last 144 days of his life. It was such an incredible experience.

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While I was taking a selfie, I noticed a hawk flying over my head.

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After a few times circling overhead, it landed on the building and stared at me. It was one of those amazing awe inspiring moments when nature notices you and stops and looks back.

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A little information about the memorial site:

Gandhi Smriti formerly known as Birla House or Birla Bhavan, is a museum dedicated to Mahatma Gandhi, situated on Tees January Road, formerly Albuquerque Road, in New Delhi, India. It is the location where Mahatma Gandhi spent the last 144 days of his life and was assassinated on January 30, 1948. It was originally the house of the Indian business tycoons, the Birla family. It is now also home to the Eternal Gandhi Multimedia Museum,which was established in 2005.

The Birla House was purchased from KK Birla, in 1966, by the Government of India, after protracted and tough negotiations, in which, according to some reports, he even included the cost of fruit trees in the sale price. Eventually KK Birla, sold the property to the Government for Rs 5.4 million ( Rs 54 Lakhs) in cash and seven acres prime urban land in exchange, which was considered a very profitable deal. Birla House opened for the public on August 15, 1973, renamed the Gandhi Smriti (or Gandhi Remembrance). The museum in the building houses a number of articles associated with Gandhi’s life and death. Visitors can tour the building and grounds, viewing the preserved room where Gandhi lived and the place on the grounds where he was shot while holding his nightly public walk.

The Martyr’s Column now marks the place where Gandhi, the “Father of the Nation” was assassinated.

The Gandhi Smriti or Birla House is located at 5 Tees January Marg, a couple of kilometres from the Connaught Place, one of the Central Business District’s of New Delhi.

Outside the house stands a pillar that contains a swastika symbol. The prominence of the pillar means that it has been used as a visual example of the way the ethical meaning of the swastika symbol has changed in the West in the 20th century. The same pillar also contains the Sanskrit symbol for the meditation sound, Om.

The Bahá’í House known as the Lotus Temple in New Delhi, India

Once we landed and got a full nights rest in India. We were off to The Bahá’í House of Worship also called The Lotus Temple in New Delhi, India.

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Since its inauguration to public worship and visits in December 1986, the Bahá’í House of Worship in New Delhi, India has drawn to its portals more than 70 million visitors, making it one of the most visited edifices in the world. On an average, 8,000 to 10,000 people visit the Bahá’í House of Worship each day. These visitors have admired its universal design in the form of a lotus and have been fascinated by the Teachings of the Bahá’í Faith, especially its tenets of the Oneness of God, the Oneness of Religions, and the Oneness of Mankind.

The Architect Fariborz Sahba, a Canadian citizen, was born in 1948 in Iran. He received a master’s degree in architecture in 1972 from the Faculty of Fine Arts at Tehran University.

In 1976, the international governing body of the Bahá’í community selected Mr. Sahba to design the Bahá’í House of Worship for the Indian subcontinent in New Delhi, India. This project, on which he worked for 10 years as the architect and project manager, was described by Canadian architect Arthur Erickson as “one of the most remarkable achievements of our time, proving that the drive and vision of spirit can achieve miracles.” With over 3.5 million visitors a year, this building, commonly known as the “Lotus of Bahapur,” is one of the most visited sites in the world.

In 1987, Mr. Sahba was assigned by the Bahá’í World Centre the task of designing 18 terraces as a majestic approach to the Shrine of the Báb, the martyred Herald of the Bahá’í Faith, one of the most holy places of the Bahá’í Faith. He was also appointed project manager to execute the Bahá’í World Centre building projects on Mount Carmel. The Terraces of the Shrine of the Báb received the 1998 Ephraim Lifshitz Award from the Municipality of Haifa and the 1999 Magshim Award from the Council for a Beautiful Israel.

Mr. Sahba has received many international awards, among them the First Honor Award in 1987 for “Excellence in Architecture” from the Interfaith Forum on Religion, Art, and Architecture, an affiliate of the American Institute of Architects. Articles about his work have been published in almost 400 magazines and newspapers throughout the world.

Below are some photos of me shooting from the window of our bus.

No matter where….if you must go…..you must go!

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Street gambling

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Delivery man

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Marketing signs

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The Salton Sea

On 10/25/2014 I ventured 2 hours south to the Salton Sea. I’ve never been before and I was in search of the Borrow Owls. Never found, but none the less, I found a lot more. Take a peek.

The Salton Sea is a shallow, saline, endorheic rift lake located directly on the San Andreas Fault, predominantly in California’s Imperial and Coachella valleys.

The lake occupies the lowest elevations of the Salton Sink in the Colorado Desert of Imperial and Riverside counties in Southern California. Like Death Valley, it is below sea level. Currently, its surface is 234.0 ft (71.3 m) below sea level. The deepest point of the sea is 5 ft (1.5 m) higher than the lowest point of Death Valley. The sea is fed by the New, Whitewater, and Alamo Rivers, as well as agricultural runoff, drainage systems, and creeks.

The modern sea was accidentally created by the engineers of the California Development company in 1905. In an effort to increase waterflow into the area for farming, irrigation canals were dug from the Colorado River into the valley. Due to fears of silt buildup, a cut was made in the bank of Colorado River to further increase the water flow. The resulting outflow overwhelmed the engineered canal, and the river flowed into the Salton Basin for two years, filling the historic dry lake bed and creating the modern sea, before repairs were completed. While it varies in dimensions and area with fluctuations in agricultural runoff and rainfall, the Salton Sea averages 15 mi (24 km) by 35 mi (56 km). With an estimated surface area of 343 square miles (890 km2) or 350 square miles (910 km2), the Salton Sea is the largest lake in California. The average annual inflow is less than 1,200,000 acre·ft (1,500,000 dam3), which is enough to maintain a maximum depth of 44 ft (13 m) and a total volume of about 6,000,000 acre·ft (7,400,000 dam3). However, due to changes in water apportionments hammered out for the Colorado River under the Quantification Settlement Agreement, the overall water level of the Sea is expected to decrease significantly between 2013 and 2021.

The lake’s salinity, about 54 g/l, is greater than that of the waters of the Pacific Ocean (35 g/l), but less than that of the Great Salt Lake (which ranges from 50 to 270 g/l). The concentration increases by about 1% annually.
Surface elevation: -226′ (-69 m)
Area: 376.1 sq miles (974 km²)
Length: 34.8 miles (56 km)

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I hope you have enjoyed the photographs.

Links:
Sonny Bono Salton Sea National Wildlife Refuge
Salton Sea State Recreation Area
Salton Sea History Museum

Bolsa Chica Wetlands

Late this morning I grab my camera bag and dashed out of the house. I wanted to get out and photograph this amazing, beautiful, sunny California day.

The road took me to the Bolsa Chica Wetlands.

A few short moments into my nature walk a group of people started to photograph a bird. It’s my first photo. I can’t recall what they called it but they were totally happy to see it.

My journey continued and I saw a Great Egret followed by a Great Blue Heron and then Brown Juvenile Pelican sitting and adult Brown Pelican flying across the waters.

Something happened not totally unusual for me, a Turkey Vulture flew closely past, circled and then landed to take a closer look at me. Amazing about being out in nature looking at it, when it looks back!

After that touch of nature, I continued my walk. I saw birds bathing, more pelican’s overhead one specific bird playing peekaboo with me and then enjoying the beautiful scenic landscape of the wetlands.

While enjoying the sights, I heard crow calls and saw them lunging at something. It was a Cooper Hawk. I snuck up on him and starting photographing him. I even followed him around as he was flying away from the crows. At one point he

perched on a branch in plan sight and allowed me to photograph him. It was amazing!!

After that excitement, I moved on the trail and came across a Squirrel, a Woodpecker and anther Great Blue Heron.

I ended my journey watching a pelican diving into the water for fish. It was amazing! You can see more at https://sleeklens.com/product-category/lightroom-presets/

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I hope you have enjoyed me walking you through my journey and hope you also enjoyed the photographs.

I would suggest the Bolsa Chica Wetlands for anyone who loves nature walks. It’s great for all ages.

Interpretive Center
3842 Warner Avenue
Huntington Beach, CA 92649

BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir

BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir is an experience of India’s glorious tradition and faith. A legacy that has evolved, endured, and enriched humanity through the millennia.

Located in Chino Hills, California, the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir is a traditional Hindu place of worship. Derived from the Sanskrit word Mandira, Mandir is a house of prayer that inspires faith in God and guides an individual towards spirituality. A Mandir instills basic virtues of humanity such as forgiveness, honesty, unity, friendship, humility, tolerance, patience, sacrifice, and charity. For countless generations, Mandirs have served society through spiritual and humanitarian activities.

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BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir & Cultural Center
15100 Fairfield Ranch Road,
Chino Hills, CA 91709
Tel: (909) 614-5000
http://www.bapschinohills.org

Southern California Newport Beach Landing Whale Watching

Finally after 40 years of living in Southern California I went whale watching. Despite the fact we didn’t see any whales, we saw over 1,000 common dolphins! And of course we saw seals. Take a peek!

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I even took a selfy!

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I took a couple panorama photographs as the weather was beautiful.

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Newport Landing provides multiple whale watching trips daily departing from Newport Beach. Newport Landing offers whale watching tours year around. December through April is the prime Grey Whale migration period. Newport Landing is ideally positioned to take advantage of the annual Grey whale migration, which brings hundreds of Grey Whales along the Laguna Beach coastline and within minutes of Newport Harbor. May through November brings warmer waters and the opportunity to view blue whales to 80 feet, finback whales, huge pods of dolphin that number in the thousands, seals, killer whales, sharks, and many other marine creatures.

I hoped you enjoy seeing my photographs….if you ever get a chance….go on one yourself. It’s really enjoyable.