Hindu Temple Chicago

Picture Hindu Temple Chicago Rama Temple Lemont

For a friend’s wedding I recently traveled to Chicago. Since that’s where I did my doctoral work, we have many friends there and love the city. I have previously posted on the architectural wonders of Chicago, the Balaji Temple and have run the Chicago Marathon!

On this visit, I additionally got darshan at the exquisitely maintained Hindu Temple of Greater Chicago! Was surprised at their calendar of activities including Yoga, Meditation, Gita Recitation, Discourses and Sunday School. And importantly a cafeteria serving dosas, idli sambar, yogurt rice and else. Reason enough to go!
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Marina: Inspired by the East

Marina visited us over the last two days. She recently returned from a five month stay in India – most of it volunteering among the kids in Ladakh. As a solo girl criss-crossing the country, she experienced a unique slice of India with travels through Tamil-Nadu, Kerala and Mumbai. During the day we saw a few sights, talked a bit of philosophy, but mostly about people late into the night.

She was kind enough to share her sketch book – and through it she narrated her rich and varied experiences. Yes! she is a talented artist and will start studies on a scholarship at the Art Institute of Chicago. I would love to have some of her art work in my living room. Did I mention she is only 19, beautiful and has an infectious giggle? I would have been surprised if M was not slightly jealous. I was. My life before age 23 appears hazy with nothing memorable to reminisce about. As she is, so was I drawn to the light.

Chicago: An architectural wonderland

Last week saw me on a short trip to Chicago. The city never ceases to amaze me! As a student, we lived in Chicago for three years. Even though we were always broke, we had some of our best memories there. So I take every opportunity to visit Chicago. The architecture on the lake front is spectacular. Puts Boston to shame. The hotel I stayed in was on Michigan Ave, smack in the middle of the Magnificent Mile – the creme de la creme of shopping. Of course, I did not spend a single penny. Though, treated myself to a nice architectural boat tour on the Chicago river. Well worth it! I shot this pic on the Michigan Ave bridge, looking towards downtown. Below, flows the Chicago River.

It's also a great city for running. Bright and early, I'd run south on Michigan Ave, past the Millennium Park, Art Institute of Chicago (Google maps Hotel to Art Institute) Grant Park, turn on Roosevelt (scroll down on the map) and cut over to the lake front. In the google map, you can just see the empty marina. There must have been a 1000 sail boats bobbing at their slips. What a magnificent sight! I continued north along Lake Shore Drive (yeah, running on LSD!), turn left on Chicago Ave back to Michigan Ave, and back to the Hotel. Perfect! Then I would be ready to pig out!

Early morning view of the same Michigan Ave from my hotel room. The roads are deserted and the buildings bask in the light of the rising sun.

Erawan: Thai Cuisine in Chicago

In Chicago, my friends took me to Erawan, a posh Thai restaurant in Downtown Chicago (729 N Clarke St).

The decor was very nice, the service excellent and all the dishes were outstanding. The fried red snapper was perfectly crisp and moist. After bottles of Spanish Rioja and a California Cabernet we were rightly satiated and settled on jack-fruit ice-cream and coffee. The scoops were the tiniest I had seen and could fit on a tea-spoon. Compare to the sugar cubes in the pic. Delicious nonetheless!

Bon Appetit!
and have a great weekend!

Balaji Temple in Chicago

While recently in Chicago, I visited the Balaji Temple . Truly a magnificent temple. And you feel the 'presence' of the Supreme Being very strongly. The services are performed in traditional Tirupati style and despite the crowds, the priests take their time chanting the mantras clearly. There are no short cuts here. Inside the temple all my worries seemed to disappear and I felt very relaxed. I even wondered if they would let me spend the night there. I understood what it would be like 'to surrender.'

They have a very nice canteen as well, which serves idlis, medhu vadas, dosas, upma, tamarind rice, curd rice, sambar rice and of course the delicately compacted rich soft boondhi ladoos. Guess what I got?

It is in the midst of a major expansion and thus these odd angle pictures. I was trying not to get the scaffolding and the unfinished parts. Even for this expansion they have brought in the “shilpis” from south india who are well versed in the art.

Visit it and know what it would be like 'to surrender.'

See visit to the Hindu Temple of Greater Chicago, IL.

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