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With the first week of the year 2017 drawing to a close, I think most of us are still reeling under the load of work, whilst recovering from the hangover of the last weekend, as we bid farewell to the year gone by.

Nonetheless, I’m thankful for the short but wonderful break we all had, to wash away the blues and turbo-charge our minds and bodies that should last at least for a while. This year too, as every other year, we were off to see one set of parents who reside in Ahmedabad.

Since it was an evening flight, the time was perfect for a special skywatch shot, that I had been planning to take. I was ready to grab a shot of the sky from up there. What I wasn’t prepared for at all was the breathtaking view of the sky at 33,000 feet. The colour gradient across the horizon, almost looked an artist’s palette ready to be splashed upon a canvas. Right outside the aircraft window, a beautiful evening transformed itself into twilight and then, merged into the dark night.

This was the sky at 33,000 feet above the ground!

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Over the week, we not only got to spend quality time as a family, but we also met up with a few close friends, filling each other in with our everyday stories and events of our lives. We savored the winter sun, did the customary zoo trip with our Young Man by the famous Kankaria Lake in the heart of the city and also attended a wedding reception.

Now, looking back, I’d say, the highlights of the trip would undoubtedly be the three heritage tours we took later in the week. First in line was the exquisitely carved and extremely well-preserved 11th century Sun Temple at Modhera, on the outskirts of the city of Ahmedabad.

The next day, we visited the magnificently opulent Laxmi Vilas Palace, the royal residence of the Maharaja of Baroda, two hours’ drive away.

But the biggest surprise of all was Sarkhej Roza, one of the most elegant and unique architectural complexes of Ahmedabad, built in a true amalgamation of Hindu, Jain and Islamic styles. This place is associated with a venerated Sufi saint, Shaikh Ahmed Khattu Ganj Baksh, endowed with miraculous powers, in whose honour the mausoleum and the mosque was built, sometime during the 15th century. It was my first ever visit inside a mosque complex and yet, I felt so much at peace once inside this monument.

The last two shots of the ‘jali’ or the perforated windows, reflects stunning geometric patterns on the walls, as the evening rays sunlight filtered through them.

The last shot was taken through a hole in one of those perforated windows, to capture the view of the other end of the monument. Everyone seemed to walk around the mausoleum, admiring the beautiful windows, taking quick shots, but in perfect silence. It was a quiet afternoon well spent in a place of repose and meditation for all.

And, with that visit, our vacation came to an end. As you can see, in the short span of seven days, we had packed in a bit of everything! In spite of all the short trips in and around the city, we found plenty of time to relax and recharge ourselves, before we returned to our usual routines, ready to usher in the New Year.

So, tell me, how was your Christmas/New Year break? Vacation or staycation? Either way, I’m sure you had a great time, taking it easy and unwinding with family and friends before ringing in the New Year.

Wishing you everything wonderful in 2017. My cherished wish for 2017 is all about living fully and I hope you do so too.

As always, it would be wonderful if you left a little note to say something about this post or the pics in the comments below. In turn, I promise to visit your blog or website and leave a note too.

Until next time! Have a great weekend ahead. 🙂

(Linking this with #Skywatch Friday, where sky watchers post beautiful sky shots from different parts of the world.)

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