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Showing posts from November, 2010

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Ladakh - Planning The Trip

Over 2000 Km by road, in around 10 days. Stunning landscapes, wonderful people. That sums up our Ladakh trip. But how did it actually work? How did we make it happen? Read on to find out!  Leh, the capital of Ladakh , is accessible by air and road. Flying into Leh is the easiest, and time-saving option, while the road is the time consuming one, but with the added advantage of driving past some of the most beautiful landscapes in our country. Each option has much to recommend it, and we chose the road for just one reason – altitude sickness. Altitude sickness was one of my biggest concerns, since I suffer from motion-sickness. Yes, I do travel a lot, but that is despite my condition, and, over the years, have learnt how to handle it. I struggled with it when we visited Nathu-La in Sikkim, and wondered if I would be able to manage a week at the even higher altitudes that we would encounter in Ladakh. This was the reason we stuck to a basic plan, of only 9 days in Ladakh, though we

Perfect Picture books by Post - To the Zoo by Eric Carle

Its always fun to get a book as a gift, and it becomes a lot more fun when you get a book from someone you don't know! When I signed up for the' Perfect Picture Books by Post ' swap on Playing by the Book , both Samhith and I were excited about the whole process, and we sent off our book, waiting eagerly to see which book we would receive! We got our book yesterday , and I waited eagerly for Samhith to return home from school before opening it. Here is what we received.... We both love reading Eric Carle , and have a couple of his books, but thankfully, this one we dont have! Samhith opened the book and went through them eagerly, seeing the pictures more closely than the numbers themselves. We both loved the mouse seen in every pic, but he was intrigued by the sketches of the train and its coaches, especially those on each page. As to the book itself, he decided that counting from 1 to 10 was too tame for him, so he decided to first count all the animals, and then

Tirupati Part 2 - The Main Temple Circuit

A visit to Tirupati these days is usually a hurried one, people rushing to the main temple, making their way through the never ending queues just for a glimpse of the Lord, and then rushing back again to their normal lives. This time, when I decided to make a leisurely trip, one of the things I had in mind was to visit all the temples there in the order in which they were to be visited. Yes, there are more temples around, and each one is traditionally visited in a particular order. To understand the reason for this apparent hierarchy in the temples, it is necessary to first understand the story of this temple. For those of who have the patience, you can read the entire story which I have posted earlier on this blog. Here is the link to the first part. Each post is linked to the next part in the series, and is a complete and detailed account of the story. For those of you who either don’t have the pa

Karthikai at home - all lit up!

Karthikai or Karthik Poornima, the full moon day in the Tamil month of Karthikai (mid Nov- mid Dec) is the south Indian equivalent of Diwali, where we light up our homes with lamps. Having missed Diwali this year, I was all the more eager to celebrate Karhikai, and did so enthusiastically with Samhith helping me out! He helped me unpack all the wonderful Diyas from their storing place, and looked on patiently while I prepared them for lighting, putting in wicks and pouring oil in them. He was curious about the shapes, and so eager to help, that he wanted to light them too! It was difficult to convince him, but finally we agreed on a deal - I would light them and place them, but he could choose where to place each Diya! So, here is what Karthikai was like, at our place..... and the placing is totally Samhith's idea :) The big diya is a new one this year..... a gift. Normally, I avoid such decorated diyas since we cant really light them properly, and what use is a diya which cant

Clowning Around - The International Clown Fest, Mumbai

Every morning I wake up to realise how many things are overdue, and top on the list is this blog. I have been meaning to post everyday, and believe me, I have loads to write about. But some problem or the other comes up, the latest of which is that my Picasa account is full! There is no more space to upload photos, and I have had to create yet another account just to load my pics! All you photographers out there, how do you manage to save so many Yes, the keyword here is 'free'. Other than upgrading my account, or getting a pro Flickr account, any other ideas??????? Meanwhile , here's one long overdue post about a wonderful event we attended in Mumbai. We had just returned from Tirupati, and I found this email about this event which was to end in just a couple of days. I hurriedly booked tickets and rushed off, thanking my stars that I wasn't too late! The event in question was the International Clown Fest held from the 5th to the 14th of Novembe

Tirupati Part 1 - Climbing the Seven Hills

The Tirumala hills or Sheshachalam, as they are known, when viewed from the air, appear to be coiled like a serpent, with seven prominent peaks. This is what has probably led to the name – Sheshachala – the mountain of Shesha. Shesha or Adishesha is the divine serpent with seven hoods, the couch of Lord Vishnu. From time immemorial, the hills have been regarded as sacred, as being the abode of Lord Vishnu in this age. The seven peaks are named Sheshadri , Vedadri , Garudadri , Anjanadri , Vrishabadri , Narayanadri and Venkatadri . It is on the last one that the temple of Lord Venkateswara is located.  The ancient scriptures talk about these hills as the border between the Tamil speaking region on the south and the Kannada and Telugu speaking region in the north, Tirumala being the prominent outpost on this border.  The puranas further compare these hills, the central range of the Eastern Ghats, to a huge recumbent serpent, and locate the Mallikarjuna temple of Srisailam on its tail, th