Sunday, January 16, 2011

Hampi Part 1 - A short visit to Daroji Bear Sanctuary

“Amma, there’s a frog on the toilet seat!!” That was Samhith, shouting loud enough for all the birds in the region to fly away in alarm. The cause of the ruckus turned out to be a tiny fellow sitting calmly on the toilet bowl, seemingly unaware of all the chaos he was causing. Much as I love wildlife, I was not in the mood to pick him up, so I suggested flushing him down, a suggestion which was received with severe disdain “Amma, how can you even think of murdering an animal? And you tell me that we should protect wildlife!”

Friday, January 14, 2011

Sky Watch Friday... Sunrise amidst the Mist

'Writer's block' is probably the only excuse I can give for not posting for so long! There is so much I want to write, but somehow, the words elude me... which is why I have decided to begin with posting some pics..... and being Friday, its time for SkyWatch Friday.....

This is how the sun greeted us, on the first day of our vacation. Our train was speeding towards Guntakal Station, and the sun had just risen...... mist and fog were everywhere, and when I opened the window for a better look, I got some strange glances from my fellow passengers, who shook their heads and pulled their blankets tighter around themselves! But even the chill, numbing wind couldn't make me take my eyes off the spectacular sight in front of me... Here are a couple of shots I managed...




I liked the first pic more than the second, but neither really capture the feeling we had, of rushing through the mist, trees appearing and disappearing.... endless fields just a  blur against the horizon! As to the sun itself, here's another pic taken at the same time... Doesn't it look like an eclipse?


So, what do you think? For more skies around the world, go to Sky Watch Friday!



Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Hanuman Jayanti - the First Festival in the New Year

We hurried back from our vacation to be in time for Samhith's school, and found ourselves back on the day of the first festival of the year - Hanuman Jayanti, celebrating the birth of the monkey God Hanuman. Before some of you rise up and inform me that the festival is months away yet, here is a piece of information - this is one festival which is celebrated in different parts of the country on different days, the reason being the uncertainty of the day the monkey god was born! 

Visiting the temple to collect the prasad (offerings) of a puja we had arranged for, I found myself on time for the Lord to take his tour around the area. The temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu in his many forms, and He was just ready to start his tour, mounted on the shoulders of his greatest devotee, Hanuman. Here are a few pics, which aren't too clear, since I took them from my mobile camera, but you can get an idea of what its like!




Interestingly, the trip I just returned from turned out to be closely connected to Hanuman too. On our visit to Hampi, we also visited Anegundi, on the opposite bank of the river, which is believed to be the Kishkinda of Ramayana fame. I shall write in detail about Anegundi later, but here are just a few glimpses of the places related to Hanuman....

Anjanadri is believed to be the hillock on which the monkey god was born, and today, a temple dedicated to him stands over the hill. It is a relatively easy climb, with about 550 steps leading to the temple etched over the rock.




Incidentally, the entire region is covered by huge rocks of all shapes and sizes, which are believed to have been thrown by the childish Hanuman, or Anjaneya (son of Anjana) as He was then known. 



Hanuman is also seen in an interesting posture in this place. At many ancient temples, he is depicted in a sitting posture, holding in his hands palm leaf manuscrips representing the Vedas. This idol symbolises the mature phase of Hanuman, which he spent gaining knowledge by meditating on Lord Shiva, and then being educated by Surya, the Sun God. This is the only place which shows him thus. Here is one such idol from the Navabrindavanam at Anegundi, a place where nine great sages have their samadhis....


Thats all I am going to write right now......I hope I managed to get you interested enough to come back when I finally get to writing more in detail about Anegundi....
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Tuesday, January 4, 2011

A New Year - and new beginnings.....

A new year is here, and I am back with a new series.....Theres  a bit of history, a bit of temples, a bit of sculptures, a bit of wildlife, and of course, a lot of photographs!!!!

Yes I am back from my year end vacation !!! We had a wonderful holiday for ten whole days, starting with three days at the Jungle Lodges' Sloth Bear Resort at Hampi, where we divided our time between appreciating the beauty of nature and the creativity of artisans of a bygone era... Of course, for the spiritual part of me, there were some fascinating ancient temples too...... This was followed by a couple of days at Badami, Aihole and Pattadakal, where we found ourselves deeply interested in history, and wished we had paid more attention to it while at school! 


Meanwhile, Samhith discovered the joys of travelling in a passenger train, surprised that it turned out to be the best part of the entire train journey that took us across Maharashtra, Karnataka and Andhra! We brought in the new year as usual at Sri Sathya Sai Prasanthi Nilayam, where we had enough time to relax and get rejuvenated for the new year! And now it is time for me to sit down and begin to write down all I gained on this trip, but there is so much to say, that it will surely take me some time to pen my thoughts down.... Meanwhile, you can click on the collage to see my Picasa Album, or you can click on the photos  below.....There are just too many photos to post this time!!!

Hampi-Badami trip Part 1

Hampi Badami Trip Part 2


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