July 15, 2017

मुस्लिम देश में है दुनिया का सबसे बड़ा हिन्दू मंदिर



 मुख्य मंदिर  

दुनिया का सबसे बड़ा हिन्दू मंदिर मुस्लिम देश कम्बोडिया में स्थित है. यह केवल सबसे बड़ा मंदिर ही नहीं है, बल्कि विश्व का सबसे बड़ा धार्मिक स्मारक भी है. 

यह कम्बोडिया के अति प्राचीन शहर अंगकोर में स्थित है और अंगकोर वाट के नाम से जाना जाता है. वाट कम्बोडियाई भाषा में मंदिर को कहते हैं. वास्तव में यह एक विष्णु को समर्पित मंदिरों का एक बहुत बड़ा समूह है जो जो सैकड़ों वर्ग किलोमीटर के क्षेत्र में फैला है. अंगकोर पुराने समय में कम्बोडिया की राजधानी हुआ करता था और उस समय इसे यशोधरपुर कहा जाता था. अब यह शहर ना के बराबर है. अब यहाँ से छः किलोमीटर दूर सियेमरीप नामक शहर है और मंदिर देखने जाने के लिए सियेम रीप जाना पड़ता है. सियेम रीप छोटा, पर सभी सुविधा संपन्न शहर है. यहाँ सारी दुनिया से पर्यटक आते हैं. असल में पर्यटन ही इस शहर का मुख्य व्यवसाय है.

मैं और मंडी के मेरे मित्र रामेश्वर शर्मा 

एक बहुत अच्छी बात जो मैंने यहाँ देखी वो यह थी कि यहाँ दुनिया के अन्य टूरिस्ट शहरों वाली लूट खसोट नहीं है. लोग बहुत भले हैं और यह जगह भारत से भी सस्ती है.


इस मंदिर का निर्माण सूर्य वर्मा द्वितीय (1049 – 66) ने शुरू कराया था.

यह मंदिर वास्तु कला का एक आश्चर्य है. इसके चारों ओर एक गहरी खाई है जिसकी लंबाई ढाई मील और चौड़ाई 650 फुट है। खाई पर पश्चिम की ओर एक पत्थर का पुल है। मंदिर के पश्चिमी द्वार के समीप से पहली वीथि तक बना हुआ मार्ग 1560 फुट लंबा है और भूमितल से सात फुट ऊंचा है। पहली वीथि पूर्व से पश्चिम 800 फुट और उत्तर से दक्षिण 675 फुट लंबी है। मंदिर के मध्यवर्ती शिखर की ऊंचाई भूमितल से 210 फुट से भी अधिक है। अंकोरवाट की भव्यता तो उल्लेखनीय है ही, इसके शिल्प की सूक्ष्म विदग्धता, नक्शे की सममिति, यथार्थ अनुपात तथा सुंदर अलंकृत मूर्तिकारी भी उत्कृष्ट कला की दृष्टि से कम प्रशंसनीय नहीं है।


परिसर का एक और मंदिर
हालांकि बहुत से मंदिर अब खंडहरों में बदल गए हैं पर फिर ये भी बहुत ही शानदार हैं. एक मंदिर के जीर्णोद्धार का काम भारतीय पुरातत्त्व विभाग की सहायता से हो रहा था.

एक मंदिर में बना विशालकाय मानव सिर - ऐसे मानव सिर इन मंदिरों की विशेषता है.

यह सचमुच ही बहुत दर्शनीय स्थान है और मेरी राय में अगर हो सके तो इसे अवश्य देखना चाहिए.

अर्कियोलोजिकल सर्वे ऑफ़ इंडिया द्वारा लगाया साइन बोर्ड
इस मंदिर का जीर्णोद्धार भारत के सहयोग से 
 किया जा रहा था.

June 22, 2017

WHEN DR. M.S. RANDHAWA BLESSED ME AND WISHED FOR MY SUCCESS



Dr. M.S. Randhawa was a person who always encouraged juniors and helped them.  I met him at Solan in 1979.  He had come there for convocation of the College of Agriculture, where I was Assistant Professor of Horticulture.  Dr. Randhawa had arrived about two hours before the function and was sitting with the Dean.  My office happened to be next to the Dean’s office.



Dr. M.S. Randhawa


            Incidentally, this was one of the leanest periods of my career.  I was not getting positive response for my efforts.  I had started research on wild growing fruits of Himachal Pradesh.  Work on these fruits had not been undertaken by any fruit researcher until then.  I wanted to bring out a book on these fruits which were very little known to outside world. The manuscript was ready.  But no publisher was ready to bet his money on a book written by a young assistant professor.  My senior colleagues also thought that my dreams were too lofty.  So I used to feel quite discouraged during those days.  
            One of my senior colleagues, Dr. R.S. Minhas, who happened to know Dr. Randhawa personally, was also sitting with him in the Dean’s office. Dr. Minhas organized my audience with Dr. Randhawa and said, “Sir, he is Dr. Parmar and he has written a book on wild fruits of Himachal Pradesh”.  Dr. Randhawa   gave me a piercing look and told me in his rustic toned Punjabi, “Kithe hai, lya - कित्थे है, ल्या (where is it, go bring it)”.  I brought the typed manuscript and gave it him.   Dr. Randhawa opened it and to my great surprise started reading it.  Then he took out a pen and started making corrections.  He was quite absorbed in it.
            There were also few other professors sitting with the Dean, waiting for their turn to talk to Dr. Randhawa.  Naturally, they were not feeling happy over my intrusion.
            After a few minutes Dr. Randhawa looked up and said again in his typical rustic Punjabi that the work was good and worth publishing but had many mistakes.  He advised me to take the manuscript to Dr. Kishan Singh Bedi at Chandigarh for corrections.  He further said that once it was vetted by Dr. Bedi, he would recommend it to the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) for its publication.  He also told me that Dr. Bedi, charged a fee for correcting manuscripts.  But after noticing signs of worry on my face about payment, he offered to do the corrections free of cost.  However, he asked me to book a room for him at PWD Rest House, Barog and also bring some good stenographer. I found the first option easier and preferred to go to Dr. Bedi who also happened to be our Principal at Government Agricultural College, Ludhiana. 
            Luckily the manuscript did not have to go ICAR for publication.  Before that a good publisher of agriculture books from Ludhiana agreed to publish it.  So finally it was released in 1982 under the title, “Wild Fruits of the Sub-Himalayan Region”.  Dr. Randhawa was also kind enough to write its foreword.
            It was a very pleasant surprise to find Dr. Randhawa at Chandigarh airport en route Delhi in May, 1982.  I was on my way to Monrovia, West Africa.  I had been selected for a teaching assignment at the University of Liberia.  He was happy to see me and was even happier to know that I would be teaching in West Africa.  He wished me all the best and asked about my future plans.  I told him that a book on lesser known fruits of the world was next on my wish list.  I bade him adieu by touching his feet at Palam Airport. He placed his hand on my head and said in Punjabi, “Paramatma tainun kaamyaabee deve - परमात्मा तैनू कामयाबी देवे  (may the Lord give you success)”
            I think that Fruitipedia, my popular online encyclopedia of the edible fruits of the world, which is over nine years old now and has been viewed by over three million people, is the result of that blessing I had got from Dr. Randhawa .

June 16, 2017

A CEMETERY LIKE THIS ONE IN BUENOS AIRES – LET US ALSO HAVE AT DELHI AND SAVE HUNDREDS OF ACRES OF VALUABLE PRIME LAND



In India, a trend has set in for building SAMADHI type memorials.  It started with Mahatma Gandhi’s Samadhi at Rajghat, Delhi.  This was followed by Nehru’s Shantivan, Indira Gandhi’s Shakti Sthal and then a few other ex prime ministers in the same area.  Not only prime ministers, but there is also a samadhi of non-prime minister Sanjay Gandhi in the same area.  A demand was made by Shiv sainiks for building a samadhi of Shiv Sena supremo Bal Thakeray at Shivaji Park, Bombay.  Voices, though feeble, have often been raised by persons from various walks of life against the wastage of prime Delhi land for these samadhis. 
         There are always few important and popular persons in every country whose samadhis or mausoleums exist there.  The relatives and successors of every VIP want to perpetuate the memory of their mentors by building some sort of memorials.  Though some such monuments meet the fate of Stalin’s mausoleum at Red Square, Moscow.
         This problem has been very cleverly solved in Argentina.  They have built samadhis of all Argentinean VIPs of varying hues by creating a VIP cemetery.  This cemetery is located at Recoleta, a suburb of Buenos Aires city.  With the expansion of Buenos Aires, Recoleta has now almost merged with Buenos Aires.  It has also become an important tourist destination of Buenos Aires and attracts thousands of visitors daily.



A street in the cemetery
         The cemetery is located in a 15 acre and has over 4500 graves some of which are of very important and famous persons in various walks of life.  There are also graves of some past presidents and important politicians of Argentina.


 Me at the Cemetery

         You don't have to be a president or prime minister to be laid there for final rest.  If you have means, you could buy a plot there for burial.  However, it must be costing a fortune and have your grave or a family grave at that spot.  But the place is not exclusives earmarked for politicians like Rajghat area.  Such graves are like vaults and coffins of different family members are kept there.  Some these are very well kept and some seem to have become unattended and are therefore declining.

 Another street at the Cemetery
         How about having Recoleta type of Cemetery in Delhi or even other Indian cities and to consolidate the samadhis and save hundreds of acres of prime land for some other useful purposes.  

 Coffins of some family kept at one of the the graves

 Visiting tourists at the Cemetery with an official guide telling the vistors about this place.