Tuesday, October 30, 2012

An unforgettable journey

In October 2011, we visited Sringeri, Udupi and Kollur. It was a memorable trip with tightropeartists and rainbows giving us a respite from the temple visits. We were really looking forward to the last leg of our trip, which took us to Shimoga and then to the River Tern Lodge. However, we still had much to experience before we reached Shimoga!

We had decided to use public transport as much as possible during the trip, so we stuck to KSRTC and private buses which ran on the hills. We had no problem finding convenient buses, and to my surprise, almost always managed to find seats too. The people were helpful, and with a mixture of Tamil and Hindi, we managed to travel from one place to another with the least amount of trouble. The people at the bus stands, as well as the driver and conductor were polite and helpful, and nowhere was it more apparent than on the last part of our journey, from Sringeri to Shimoga.


Monday, October 29, 2012

Surprises at Udupi


In October 2011, we spent the Diwali vacation in and around Sringeri. Refreshed and rejuventated by the peaceful and serene environs of the Sringeri Sharada Peetham, we visited a number of temples around Sringeri, and then headed off for a quick visit to Kollur and Udupi. Continuing with the story............

It had been drizzling while we were in the temple, but the rain seemed to take a break as we emerged. As we hurried to the bus stand before the rain started again, our attention was caught by these huge mannequins at the entrance to the temple hall. A faded poster informed us that they had stood welcome for a Yakshagana performance a few weeks earlier...


Sunday, October 28, 2012

Udupi Sri Krishna Temple


This is the third part of my series on our trip to Karnataka in October 2011. You can read my account of our visit to Sringeri here and the temples around Sringeri here

Once our work at Sringeri was done, we headed out to Kollur..to visit the Mookambika Temple... To read my post on the temple, click here.

Heading back, we missed the last direct bus to Sringeri, and set out for Udupi instead. Going to Udupi and not visiting the Krishna temple there seemed like sacrilege, so off we went for a quick darshan at the temple.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Temples in and around Sringeri


Sringeri is a small village with the Ashram dominating it. However, the area is steeped in ancient history and mythology. Sringeri gets its name from the sage Rishyasringa, who resided in these forests. In fact, the roots of this holy place go back even further, to the sage’s father, the sage Vibhandaka, who meditated here.

Spire of the Sringeswara Temple

Friday, October 26, 2012

Remembering Sringeri



This time, last year, we were at Sringeri. The Diwali vacations were on, and we were there for a purpose – arranging Samhith’s Upanayanam or Thread ceremony. It seems odd to think that a year has flown by, and I would much rather be there again at this time of the year!!

Skywatch Friday - Yearning to be somewhere else!

The hectic days of the Navaratri festival are over, but the chaos in our house continues, with repair work going on. I find myself under a virtual house arrest, which, for itchy feet like mine feels like the harshest of punishments. Stuck inside the house, I yearn for the hills and open spaces.... and feel like getting away somewhere, even if just for a short while... This tiny village tucked in amidst the western ghats, surrounded by mountains, clicked somewhere near Mahabaleshwar, is just the kind of place I would love to escape to, at the moment!


Meanwhile, my post on Wai, near Mahabaleshwar, has been featured on the Club Mahindra Blog!!!

For more beautiful skies from around the world, go to Skywatch Friday!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

An Incredibly Detailed Golu


One of the Golus we look forward to seeing every year is the one at an uncle's place in Garodia Nagar, Ghatkopar. A retired engineer, we admire him for his patience and attention for detail which make his golu among the best we have ever seen.


Friday, October 19, 2012

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Madurai Meenakshi Temple



This is the second day of Navaratri. It is said that the first three days are dedicated to Parvati, the next three to Lakshmi, and the final three to Saraswati. Yesterday, I posted about the Kollur MookambikaTemple in Karnataka. For today’s post, I have chosen a temple I have visited often, but never written about. It is a temple I once got lost in, but love visiting again and again. The temple is so huge that I don’t think I can ever see all of it. Each time I visit, I get to see something I have missed on my earlier visits. It’s not just the architecture of this temple, which is brilliant, but the deity herself draws me repeatedly. The first time I visited the temple, I remembering standing outside her shrine, staring at her, and being so caught in the moment, that I didn’t even remember to pray. I vividly remember my mother nudging me, reminding me that this was a temple! Since then, I have visited the temple at least half a dozen times, but the same thing happens to me each and every time! Of course, these days, the crowd has increased so much that I am no longer allowed to simply stand and stare! The temple I am talking about is the Meenakshi Temple at Madurai.


Mookambika Temple, Kollur


The festival of Navaratri has begun. The nine days and nights celebrating the victory of good over evil are usually filled with events and this is one of the busiest periods for us. Since the last few years, you have seen photos of the Navaratri Bommai Kolu we place in our house. This year, due to bereavement in our family, we cannot perform the festival. Instead, I have decided to post about some of the Devi temples we have visited across the temple. I begin this series with the Kollur Mookambika Temple in Karnataka.

The temple of Mookambika at Kollur is one I have visited a number of times. Set amidst the picturesque Kodachadri hills of the Western Ghats, on the banks of the Sauparnika River, Kollur is today a bustling town, which has grown by leaps and bounds around the temple.

Monday, October 15, 2012

My Photos in Print...

It has been a while since I saw my name in print.. which is why it is such a pleasure to see it once again... not at the bottom of an article this time, but on a photograph! A few of my photographs were recently published in YouthInc Magazine, and I just got my copy. The photos are of the Joshi Museum of Miniature Railways at Pune, and though the photos are small, considering that they were clicked with a non professional camera, it is incredibly satisfying nevertheless!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

The Elephant of Elephanta

The first time I visited the Elephanta caves, I remember being told that the caves were so named because the island on which they stood resembled an elephant. It was only much later that I learnt that the name came, not from the imagined shape of the island, but from the sculpture of an elephant which once stood at the jetty welcoming visitors to the island.


Friday, October 12, 2012

Wooden Toys

I can't go to Nashik without thinking of toys. This was where we bought the first wooden toy for Samhith - a train - and today, we have a huge collection of these wooden toys. mostly vehicles.



Thursday, October 11, 2012

Book Review: Maps for Lost Lovers by Nadeem Aslam


Imagine a town called ‘Dasht-e-Tanhai’ (Desert of loneliness), a town with Pakistani, Indian and Bangladeshi immigrants... A town whose residents struggle to hold on to their customs, beliefs and traditions in the face of changing times and circumstances... and you can be sure that the story will be one that is familiar... it doesn't matter that the town is in England.. Far from the roots of the immigrants who have rushed there to escape their fate in their homeland, and yet struggle to grasp the frail threads that tie them to their origins. Yes, the story is familiar. We have heard, or at least read in the papers, about the young lovers who are killed for going against the wishes of their elders.....we are so aware of the fear parents have, that their children will fly the coop someday... find their wings and live their own life.. their own way... Today, as I opened the newspaper, the first article I set eyes on, was one of a minister suggesting that the best way to avoid girls being raped was to get them married at an early age! Yes, we are familiar with such stories, however shocking they may be. It is such stories which make up the book, ‘Maps for Lost Lovers’, by Nadeem Aslam. What sets the book apart, from the ‘familiarity’ of the stories, is Aslam’s beautiful prose and the way he handles the characters, who stay with us long after the book is over and done with!


Sunday, October 7, 2012

Wai - An image of Kashi in the heart of Maharashtra


Our first visit to Wai was by chance. We were on the way to Satara, to attend a festival at the temple there. I was then pregnant, and my tendency to throw up on the road was higher than normal, which led to frequent stops on the highway. One such unscheduled stop found us near a board that said, ‘Wai – 10Km’. My father-in-law suddenly remembered a visit he had made to the area almost half a century ago, on his first job in the PWD. “There is a river there, and lots of temples” he said, and we decided to take the turn and see if they were still there. The river turned out to be almost completely dry... and what was left of it, extremely dirty... but the promise of temples was true. The whole riverbank was dotted with temples of all shapes and sizes, and there were also tiny shrines on the bed of the now-dried-up river, which obviously would disappear when the river filled up in the monsoons. I made a second trip to Wai some years later, but the river was just the same. The temples had more visitors, but what I remember about that visit was a delicious Maharashtrian Thali we had in a small make-shift hotel off the main road. It took me my third visit to see the river at Wai – the Krishna.

A view of the river Krishna at Wai

Friday, October 5, 2012

Skywatch Friday - Birds From My Window

If it's Friday, it's time for Skywatch! Wondering what I was going to post today, going through my photos, I realised that when I looked out of my window, at the sky, more often than not, I saw birds! So, here are some birds that I see quite often. These are just common birds, but each of them is a joy to watch...

The Red Vented Bulbuls are the most frequent visitors, and I have loads and loads of photos I have clicked of them. This one happens to be my favourite, because of the odd expression he seems to have on!



Thursday, October 4, 2012

A New Visitor to my Backyard - Long Tailed Shrike

I have been getting a bit bored of the bird photos I have been posting.... I have loads of them, but they are of the birds I see every day.. and I am losing my enthusiasm for them. I was just sitting at my desk looking at my bird photos and wondering which one to post today, when I heard a sound. Now, I have often run to the window at the slightest sound, wondering if it was a bird, but I have often been wrong, or just got a glimpse of a bird as it flew away before I could identify it. I was therefore not too excited or hopeful. However, there it was, perched on a tree on the other side of the jogging park. I could barely get a glimpse of the bird, but it seemed busy calling out, so I took out my camera and got clicking. This is what I saw...

Monday, October 1, 2012

The Meeting of the Rose Ringed Parakeets

I just realised that I have not posted any bird images on my blog for quite a long time. One of the reasons for this is that the tree opposite our house has been pruned, which has led to fewer bird arrivals. The ones which do come, don't wait long enough for me to get my camera. However, I have managed to capture a few here and there.... Here are a group of Rose Ringed Parakeets which seem to be having a meeting...

At first there were just two on the lamp post...

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