Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Merry Christmas

Wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!


Sunday, November 22, 2009

A morning in Ulsoor Someshwara Temple, Bangalore

I always prefer to visit the temples in the morning. Someshwara Temple in Ulsoor, Bangalore is one of the temples I visit as and when possible. It is not close to my house, but still I like to visit this ancient temple whenever possible. I had already planned something else for the day, but when my daughter wanted to visit this temple, I kept away all my other engagements and decided to accompany her.

Someshwara Temple was built in Chola dynasty and is a splendid architecture of southern India.





As you enter inside you can see the flower vendors ready with various types of flowers and bhelva leaves, (Lord Shiva's favorite), and Basil leaves. After purchasing the pooja flowers and leaving your footsteps outside in the footstep stand for a token, you can enter inside through the huge rajagopuram.

Just before we reached there, a wedding ceremony was conducted in the temple, and the scattered rice grains and the newly wedded couple pausing for photos were our evidence. The bride was feeling shy, appeared to be a traditional bharatheeya madhumakalu, and covering her face with one hand, yet peeping through the left out space watching what is going on, to escape from the teasing friends.

A man sitting at the temple platform issues the tickets for archana and other pujas, and people enter inside with their tickets, after touching and taking the blessings of the huge idol of Nandi in front of it.

Once their prayer is over they come out with the prasadams and do the pradhakshina. Most of the devotees sit for a while. We too sat there enjoying around.

On Mahashivaratri Festival day, the crowd will be too much to get a glimpse of darshan.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

An evening in Cochin Marine Drive

I had been to Cochin recently, to visit a relative's house. During my short stay there, we were able to make a visit to the beautiful Marine Drive, and spend a wonderful evening there watching the mesmerizing beauty. Get more details here.



Sunday, October 11, 2009

Deepavali (Diwali) Festival

Deepavali is round the corner. Everywhere in the market side you can see diyas and special Diwali sale items for sale. People are busy shopping to make their Deepavali the best. Get more details about this Festival of Lights here. Wish you all a Happy Diwali.


Sunday, September 27, 2009

Happy Dasara!

Wish you all a very Happy Navratri, Durga Puja and Dasara!

In some areas it is called Ayudha Pooja today. People do puja on this day to the tools and equipment used in our daily life with flowers, banana trunks, and other puja items as a mark of honor and respect. Sweets form an another important part of this festival. Tomorrow is Vijayadashami and the children are initiated to writing on this auspicious day.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

A visit to our family temple in Kerala


The big banyan tree in the temple compound.


Kunnath Kavu, a temple in Mundakkottukurissi village in Shoranur, Palakkad Dist, Kerala. This is our "kudumba kshetram" (family temple). I clicked these shots during my recent visit to my native place, where we had our large family meet, to which people came from all parts of the country.

Get more Palakkad Attractions here.



Our family members are lighting the lamps.




The temple pool.
The main festival here is called Vela which takes place in March every year. It is a chariot festival. Chariots will be coming from the neighboring villages also during this festival. We shared our nostalgic memories of the festival, going around the temple.






The entrance to the temple.






Our family members are lighting the lamps around the temple, called Chuttu vilakku, after having a get together of our extended family.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Onam celebration

This year I had a wonderful Onam in our ancestral home. I really enjoyed being with my family members who had come from different places to celebrate the great festival.





(The ancestral home welcomes us all)


(Vegetables are kept ready for chopping)


(The dishes are being served one by one on the banana leaf, before the rice is served).

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Onam - Kerala's biggest festival

The colorful festival Onam is the biggest festival of Kerala, South India. Onam marks the homecoming of mythical King Mahabali. People of all communities of Kerala celebrate this harvest festival with great joy and enthusiasm. This year, the main Onam Thiruvonam falls on 2nd September. Learn more about it here.

During Onam time, the rich heritage of Kerala comes out in its best form. Colorful Pookalam (floral carpet), Snake Boat Race (Vallamkali, Onasadhya (a grand vegetarian meal served on banana leaf) and Onakkodi (new traditional clothes bought for the occasion) are the main attractions of this festival.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Happy Vinayaka Chaturthi



India is celebrating Vinayaka Chaturthi Festival today. To know more details about this festival click here.



Monday, August 10, 2009

Lalbagh Flower Show 2009

This year (August 2009) children will have more fun at Lalbagh Flower Show in Bangalore (Bengaluru), South India. Some of the pictures during my visit. More pictures and info are available here.



Wednesday, July 29, 2009

A glimpse of Coimbatore

Coimbatore is an industrial city in Tamil Nadu, South India, located at the foot hills of the Nilgiri Hills. Read more about Coimbatore here.



Saturday, July 11, 2009

Bijapur visit

We reached the historical Bijapur city in Karnataka State, South India early in the morning and we had enough time to go around.



The main attractions here are the Gol Gumbaz or Gola Gummata, which is the tomb of Mohammed Adil Shah. It is also the second largest tomb in the world. Other main attractions are Jumma Masjid and the Ibrahim Roza. Learn more about Bijapur here.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Flights to India

There are several flights to India, from different parts of the world. To know more about this please check here. They often have great deals. See the fantastic deal of yatra.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Udupi Krishna Temple

It was a great day for me to have a darshan of Lord Krishna at Udupi, in Karnataka State. Udupi is just 60 kms away from Mangalore in the coastal region of Western Ghats.





According to legends, Sri Madhvacharya, the great Sanskrit Philosopher and saint, installed the idol of Lord Krishna and sanctified the place in 13th century. The temple is built in Dravidian architecture. Learn more about Udupi Krishna temple here.









After our darshan we decided to spend some time in the nearby beach - Malpe Beach. This beautiful beach is just 6 kms away.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

At the feet of Lord Murudeshwara

Recently I had a visit to the famous Murudeshwara Temple of Karnataka. The huge idol of Lord Shiva and the tall rajagopura are amazing.







Murudeshwara beach is another great tourist attraction there. This picturesque place is a marvelous tourist destination.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

A cool morning in the cave temple

We reached Narasimha Jhara Cave temple Bidar (Karnataka) as early as 7.00 a.m. and waited there to open until 8 a.m.


The shrine inside the temple (immediately after you get in)





Inside the cave


The cave is electrified and air-conditioned. We had to walk through water (above waist length) for about 300 meters, to have a darshan of the Lord at the end of the cave, which is believed to be swayamboo. It was really a thrilling experience. Lots of bats were flyling on the roof top of the cave. We were told that they do no harm to the devotees.



Outside the temple - People waiting to have a holy bath in the spring which comes out through the Nandi's mouth.




Entrance to the temple


If proper maintenance is done this unique place can be developed into a great tourist spot and more people can have the thrilling experience of walking through the water, in the cave.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Inside the Pattadakkal temple complex

As our shadows lengthened we reached our next destination - Pattadakkal, a World Heritage Centre. All were with full excitement to be there.

Pattadakkal, the second capital of the Chalukyan kings, is located 29 kms from Badami, along the bank of the river Malaprabha.


Built in 7th and 8th centuries, Pattadakkal was served as the royal coronation site.
Pattadakkal is a World Heritage Center today. The temple complex is dotted with 10 major temples representing both north and south Indian architecture.









Pattadakkal is also famous for its Music and Dance Festival organized annually by the Government of Karnataka, held in in the month of January. Many renowned and upcoming dancers take part in this festival. The dances are inspired by the different inscription and images carved on the temple walls. During the festival, a craft mela is also organized.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Shivayoga Mandira

Our next destination was Shivayoga Mandira at Badami, which is 11 kms away from Pattadakkal.



Located in a serene place, Shivayoga Mandir is a great place to visit.



Thursday, April 23, 2009

Mahakuta (Mahakoota) Kshetra

Another great place we visited was Mahakuta (Mahakoota) Kshetra, an ancient temple built by Chalukyas.




Mahakuta is a small town surrounded by hills and cool atmosphere, located 14 kms away from Badami, in Bagalkot District. Mahakuta is renowned for the Mahakuteshwara Temple dedicated to Lord Shiva, built in Dravidian style. In the courtyard, there are 15 small temples with intricate sculptures. The temples, built by Chalukyan dynasty, are dated to the 6th or 7th century. Mahakuta was once a great center of shaiva cult. Now only in one temple poojas are performed.






Another beautiful attraction is a natural pond called Vishnu Pushkarni. There is a small shrine in the centre of the Vishnu Pushkarni tank and in it is a Shiva linga (universal symbol of Lord Shiva) called Panchamukha linga ("five faced linga"), one face for each direction and one on top. This pond is now used as a relaxing joint by the visitors.





This place is often called Dakshina Kasi because of its religious importance.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Badami Cave Temples

Our next trip was to the world famousBadami Cave temples, built in 578 AD. Badami was the capital of early Chalukyas until eight century, lying in between mountains and lakes.

There was a small amount of entrance fee to be paid to see the temples. Our group leader paid the fee for us and hence I don't know how much it was.




I was wonder stuck at the view of the mighty cave temples, the marvels of the
Chalukyan style of architecture. Though I had read about these temples in several places, experiencing it by being there and exploring these ancient temples was something which words can't explain enough. Even in the scorching sun, the gigantic deep reddish sandstone cave temples looked marvelous. I was imagining how they would have looked in the early morning or in the evening in the pleasant mood of the Sun God!

There were many stone steps one has to climb to reach each temple.






There were four caves on the rock - two were devoted to Lord Vishnu, one to Lord Shiva and the last one was a Jain temple. In the first cave temple,
(Lord Siva temple), there is an 18 armed Nataraja, in 81 dancing poses.


(The guide is explaining about Lord Nataraja and the dancing poses)


In the second cave temple Lord Vishnu is the holy deity of this cave manifested as a dwarf or Trivikrama. Lord is in the position of conquering the Earth by his one foot and rules the sky with his other foot.

In the third temple, Vishnu is manifested in many forms - Vishnu with a serpent, Vishnu as Man-Lion, Shiva Vishnu and Vishnu as Trivikrama are the other attractions of the cave.




The main attraction of the 4th cave (Jain temple) is the sculpture of Lord Mahavira decking the shrine besides the images of Padmavathi and other Thirthankaras. The 24th Tirthankara- Mahavira, is seated in a uniquely comfortable pose here, against a cushion in the inner sanctum. The shrine of Nagamma, the local serpent goddess, within a massive tamarind tree is another example of the architecture.


Another great surprise was the huge lake, called Agasthyamuni Lake (Agasthyathirtha Lake), with rocky hills surrounding it on three sides and sandstone temples at the feet of these hills. You can get a magnificient view of the lake from the third and fourth caves. It is said that this lake has no source of water.





It is believed that this water had ayurvedic properties in the old ages as ayurvedic plants were cultivated in the surrounding high areas of the lake.Standing before the second cave temple, I spent sometime getting a bird's eye view of the entire Badami town.

Monkeys were the permanent inhabitants there. We were looking for some drinking water around, and saw one or two shops down the hill. My sister bought a juice bottle there, which within minutes a monkey appeared there and ran away snatching it from her hand!