Monday, July 30, 2012

Varalakshmi Vratham 2012 - a memorable festival!

What a week it has been!! I was just recuperating from a bout of the flu, and looking forward to catching up with all my writing, and all that I had missed.... The festival season was just about to begin, and I was looking forward to writing about all the festivals we will be celebrating this month..... And then, while I was busy preparing for the most elaborate celebration of the month, my left hand middle finger suddenly showed a slight swelling. Assuming it to be nothing important, I went on with the work, and managed to perform the Varalakshmi puja without too many problems. But by Friday night, the swelling was too big and painful to ignore, and a visit to the doc told me that the finger was infected, and filled with pus! So, here I am, today, with the finger bandaged, and managing to type with one hand after a long time.... Obviously I cant write much, so I shall just leave you with photos of Varalakshmi puja at home.... Incidentally, this is the first time I performed the puja all by myself, since my mother in law is out of town... my finger couldnt have chosen a better time to get infected, could it? 

The Varalakshmi puja is, as the name suggests, a prayer to the Goddess Lakshmi, the deity who looks after our well being.. This puja is performed in the southern states of India, and is considered among the most important festivals of the year.. The house is cleaned and decorated, and the goddess is invoked in a kalash (metal pot) with a coconut placed on it. Come, let me show you how I performed the puja...

Welcome to our house.. a kolam at the entrance...



Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Dreaming of Antarctica with Mridula

Have you ever watched the National Geographic channel or any other travel programme for that matter, and wished you could go to all those wonderful places? I certainly have. I might be an avid traveller, but I have yet to set foot out of the country.... There are few places I have actually visited... I am no good at walking long distances or climbing even the smallest mountains. The only ones I do climb are those which have steps or a proper road, and even then I have a hard time... Yet, it doesnt stop me dreaming about all the wonderful places on earth, and wishing I could be one of those who actually go there! 

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Nahargarh Fort, Jaipur

The Nahargarh Fort was built in 1734 by Maharaja Sawai Jaisingh II. As with the Jaigarh Fort, it was intended to provide additional protection for the Amber fort.



Saturday, July 21, 2012

Jaigarh Fort, Jaipur

Jaipur is a city of forts. Amber (pronounced as Amer ) Fort is among the oldest, followed by the Jaigarh and Nahargarh Forts. Jaigarh was built by Sawai Jai Singh III in 1726 to protect the Amber fort. It is named after Sawai Jai Singh II, who is most well known as the king who built the beautiful yet practical astronomical observatories we know as the Jantar Mantars. 


Friday, July 20, 2012

Vaishnodevi

A week has gone by and I have not been able to write anything. A weekend looms ahead, and at the moment, I have nothing interesting to look forward to. Going over my photographs, wondering what to post, these were the photos that leaped out..... making me wish I was back there, right now! 

The mountains....


Thursday, July 12, 2012

Indian Robin

I am recuperating from the flu, and while I slowly get back to writing long, detailed posts, I shall be posting images from my latest trips.... considering the dearth of birds on my blog lately, here is one I see quite often, but havent managed many photos of... the Indian Robin



I clicked this one at Jaipur, where I had a lot of time to simply sit and look at birds... and photograph them, of course!!


Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Book Review: I, Rama



I don’t quite remember which was the first Ramayana I read. I am sure that I had heard many versions of the story long before I read it myself... My mom was (and is) an ardent storyteller, and most of her stories revolve around mythology... and Rama, the obedient, dutiful son who never does anything wrong, is probably the favourite character of most Indian parents. “Look at Rama. Did he ever back answer to his parents? Did he even question his father or step mother when he was told to go into exile? Thats what an ideal child should be like.” I am sure most of you would have heard this dialogue sometime in your life.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Bulbuls

Its been a while since I posted any bird photos on the blog...So here are some photos of Bulbuls....

I see Bulbuls every day....... These Red Whiskered Bulbuls come home to eat the food we put out for the birds....


Review of The Four Fountains Spa, Powai, Mumbai

Travel can get quite hectic, and life even more so, when we get back from our travels. For the past few months, I have been travelling so much and have so many things to write about, but I am just about managing to cope with all the pending work I have... With school on, taking a break of any kind is not possible, and being alone at home, the days have been even more tiring than usual. Hence, when I received an invitation to try out and review the Four Fountains Spa, I jumped at the chance! 


Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Book Review - The Elephant's Journey



“There is the elephant. Although he is smaller than his african relatives, one can still see, beneath the layer of dirt covering him, the fine figure nature had in mind when she created him. Why is the animal so dirty, asked the king........I want this animal washed right now.......

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