We are lazy and mismanaged people during the weekend. So it took us a total of three visits to the Nehru planetarium before we could actually catch the last show at 4 pm.
Also for some reason I had imagined that it would be a room full of peaceful people staring at stars and galaxies while the planetarium people entertained us with Pink Floyd. Don’t know why I had that in mind but reality (specially in India) hits you quite hard.
Nehru Planetarium is in Teen Murti Bhawan along with the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library. The place is named after the three-statue figure crafted by the British sculpture, Leonard Jennings. You will see this figure at the entrance, enclosed in green circular garden area.
Teen Murti Bhawan served as Jawaharlal Nehru’s residence after Independence till his demise in 1964 and the luxury the place offered to him is something you can still see and envy today in the well maintained residence-turned-museum.
Yes, definitely the whole of Central Delhi reeks of a regality which can be felt around a place that has been part of history. I can’t even imagine the prestige associated with a place which housed the first Prime Minister of India. And it was not like Teen Murti Bhawan was built over night for Nehru. It was built some 17 years prior to Independence as part of the new imperial capital of India and acted as the residence of the Commander-in-Chief of the British Indian Army.
Well enough data. I just thought it will give you an idea of the grandeur you feel when you enter Teen Murti Bhawan. But I doubt words can give you a sense of the calm that prevails in the area I’m talking about.
Now to get back to where I actually started.
Teen Murti Bhawan is highly anachronistic with the 21st century crowd that troops in every weekend. Me facing a harsh reality in Nehru planetarium had a lot to do with the number of noisy children consuming ice-cream on a Sunday afternoon when we stood in the queue to buy our tickets to the planetarium show. Of course they went in with us to watch the stars. And yeah a lot of them cried. Loudly. And their parents shooshed them. Even More Loudly. No matter how hard I tried thinking that I was actually in space, I was constantly brought back by the shifty crowd and the ever squeaking chairs which promised to break my back if I dared to be comfortable.
Eventually after some 15 minutes of striving to gather concentration, the show had me hooked. It told me how to locate the pole star, the Saptarshi Mandal (Ursa Major), The Taurus constellation, The Orion and a lot more which I remember in figure but not in name and even more which I have forgotten altogether.
The first time I was in the planetarium, my school had taken me and I hardly remember anything from that time besides the sense of awe I felt by being in a place which was associated with space. That way it’s kind of sucky to be grown up. You know too much to enjoy simple things. Nehru planetarium might be quite humble compared to other planetariums around the world but it truly is very Indian in essence. Great with the material they have to offer but horrible with service.