Navroz Mubarak from Calgary, Alberta, a City That is Home to Beautiful Ismaili Jamatkhanas and Lies in the Foothills of the Majestic Canadian Rockies
My enthusiasm for taking photos of three projects in Toronto — the Ismaili Centre, the Aga Khan Museum and the Aga Khan Park — that Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan, built for the enjoyment of his community as well as all Canadians and visitors to Canada is well known to readers of this blog. There were even occasions when I would spend hours at night taking photographs of the full and new moon. Toronto also offered parks, gardens and forests where I ventured to take photos, and the bluffs in Scarborough over Lake Ontario offered incredible photo opportunities. At about this time last year, a few days before Navroz, an informative display of colourful panels on the celebration of spring in world traditions and significance of Navroz were mounted throughout the Aga Khan Park.
When I landed in Alberta at the start of 2022, I was met with temperatures close to –30°C for the first week. Dressing up well is vital, and let me say that winters in Ottawa where I spent almost 30 years, before I moved to Toronto, can be much harsher than Calgary! After that initial cold winter snap, I think spring has been in the air in Calgary for quite sometime. There has been some snow, and a few days of cold temperatures but nothing out of the ordinary.
The week of March 14th has been absolutely splendid. As such, I wanted to get a head start for the celebration of Navroz on March 21st, and nothing can be as energizing than stepping out and feeling fresh air on a sunny spring-like day. I also wanted to view the Rockies and I selected one specific location — Nose Hill Park — and its surrounding area to do exactly that.
But first, I decided that I would stop by and take exterior photos of two beautiful Jamatkhanas in Calgary — Westwinds and Headquarters. Little did I realize that at Headquarters Jamatkhana, I would be able to take photos of Calgary’s downtown buildings as well as the mountains in the distance — I am told they are more than 150 kms away.
After visits to the two Jamatkhanas — and I will be visiting the remaining three in the coming weeks — I proceeded to Nose Hill Park, and I was amazed by what it offered. There are 5 or 6 parking areas from which one can venture across the park in all directions. Walking, yesterday, proved to be challenging as it involved a lot of hill climbing. I simply took some time to enjoy the scenery of the plains and I realized that Calgary is not only at the foothills of the Rockies to the west but lies in the midst of the great Canadian Prairies to the east. At Nose Hill, I also viewed the take-offs and landings of jets at Calgary’s international airport.
From what I experienced in Calgary in a few short hours, the city will offer much more in the weeks and months ahead. I hope to bring readers photos of the Aga Khan Gardens in Edmonton during spring, summer and autumn. I am truly excited to be in this province once again! It was my first home in Canada before I relocated to Ontario.
Through this personal celebration of my first post of two Jamatkhanas in Calgary, I would like to wish readers around the world Navroz Mubarak. May the New Year bring all of us as well as our families and friends immense happiness, peace and success.
WESTWINDS ISMAILI JAMATKHANA
HEADQUARTERS ISMAILI JAMATKHANA
Date posted: March 18, 2022.
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