My client isn't in a hurry| La Sagrada Familia
Opting for a cable car ride to the top of Montjuïc hill in Barcelona, I could see a giant melting sandcastle on the horizon. Up close, it was nothing but Basílica i Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Família. [That is actually the entire name!]
Stepping in, I felt: grateful, calm, live, serene, optimistic, inspired & in awe! Evidently, La Sagrada Familia is a hub of exultation.
Its perplexing for me to think, of how a single human's passion drove him, to pay homage through his work, in such a glorious manner, in Gothic and curvilinear Art Nouveau forms.
Work on Sagrada Família started off way back in 1882 with architect Francisco de Paula del Villar. Villar resigned in a year, paving the way for Gaudí, who made radical changes.Gaudí continued to funnel nature and religion into La Sagrada Familia. A project that would affect millions of people and span several centuries, earning him the nickname 'God's Architect'.
The present design is based on reconstructed versions of the plans that were burned in a fire as well as on modern adaptations.
It was impossible for me, to pinpoint an exact emotion at a given moment. After a certain interval, rather than click pictures to cover every detail, I gave in, to soak in the experience.
I've worked with architects before, yet I cannot perceive, the depth of thought, put into conceiving La Sagrada Familia, as I touched the motifs at the entrance. The comprehensive nativity scenes, depicted on the Nativity façade are a sheer contrast, to the eerie, chilly ones on the Passion façade.
I call myself a 'festive' Christian. Pray when I want to and attend Church on Xmas and Easter. It didn't matter to my mother that I was wandering inside a Church, that would be the tallest in the world, once complete. She was relieved that I'd entered and prayed!
Yes, its touristy and noisy as well at times, but if you're looking for solitude, there's a small cove to the left, as you face the sanctuary. You would need a stole/scarf to cover your head though.
The queues outside indicated that many were still unfamiliar, that its quick if you book the ticket online. I ensured I pre-booked in a slot to view one of the tower's as well.
Which tower, out of the two? The Nativity one offers stunning views of the city, so that's what I opted for. Once at the top, I realized, that its not about motifs, only where the eyes can see, but rather on every nook and cranny. A chance to view the pillars and statues up close makes spending a few extra quid worth it.
What I wasn't aware, is once I was done 'ah-ing', the only way to get down was to take the spiral staircase, which could make one claustrophobic. Clicking pictures every step downwards, taking in deep breaths of the Spanish air, I finally reached the floor.
Gaudí's faith that people would keep donating for the completion of La Sagrada Familia still lingers. The money from sale of tickets is used for the same.
Every so often, I have moments that make me realize the value of passion and faith [not being only religious]. And these moments make me rearrange those stray thoughts and look at the world with a new profound perspective.
Although the Catalan people are unsure of its completion in 2026, I know I'll be here back again, to see this magnum opus in its all-encompassing glory.
La Sagrada Familia
- Once you’ve decided on a day and time to visit La Sagrada, ensure you book tickets in advance, at-least a week before, from here. This is the site that the official La Sagrada website directs to, for ticket purchase.
- Dedicate a minimum of 3 hours for your visit. Ensure you're located near the lifts, that take you to the façades, 15 mins in advance.
- It would be good to opt for the Navity tower, in case of confusion :)
Any religious marvels that took your breath away? I'd love to hear! Tell me in the comments below :)
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