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Showing posts from 2012

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2023 - The Year That Was

Places impact you for a variety of reasons. And the same place impacts different people in different ways. This is especially true when it comes to spiritual experiences, where every single person’s experience is unique. And personally, every spiritual experience is unique, the same person can have different deeply spiritual experiences at different places, at different times. This thought has emerged because of my own experiences over the years, but especially so this year, with different and unique experiences at various places I have visited recently. I began this year with a visit to Baroda (Vadodara) with friends. It was meant to be a relaxed trip, a touristy trip, with our sons. We enjoyed ourselves to the hilt, but the highlight of that trip was a visit to the Lakulisha temple at Pavagadh. It was the iconography of the temple that I connected with, and I spent a few hours simply lost in the details of the figures carved around the temple. There was an indefinable connect with

Memories of 2012 - Nanded to Lonar

November brought us the Diwali vacation, and the most memorable trip so far this year. We set out for Nanded, starting with a visit to Aundha Nagnath and Parali Vaidyanath, two Jyotirling Shrines in the vicinity....

Memories of 2012 - Mumbai

October and November saw us exploring places in Mumbai we had been planning to visit for a long time..... First on the list was the Bhau Daji Lad Museum... Our next destination was the newly opened Snow World at Phoenix Market City, Kurla West. Related Posts: The Elephant of Elephanta Snow World Mumbai

Memories of 2012 - Kelwe Beach

September brought with it, festivals. But we couldn't celebrate them due to a death in the extended family. Meanwhile, my in-laws were at Palghar for a while, and we decided to make use of our holidays and visit them.

Memories of 2012 - Nashik and around

August brought us more opportunity for travel, and we were off to Nashik, by the ST bus this time.

Memories of 2012 - Mahabaleshwar and around

July was a quiet month, but August saw us going off to Mahabaleshwar for a short visit... We stopped at Wai on the way to visit the temples there....

Memories of 2012 - A Date with Italian Cuisine

June saw school opening, and we got busy with work. However, there was something in store for us. I was invited for a book reading by Kiran Manral for those of us bloggers who had been to Lavasa together. The book reading was to be followed by lunch at the Italian restaurant, Botticino, at the Trident, BKC, and I took Samhith along...

Memories of 2012 - Miniature Railway Museum

Returning back to Mumbai, I found an opportunity to visit a place I had been planning to, for a long time.... the Joshi Museum of Miniature Railways in Pune...

Memories of 2012 - Amritsar

I had been to Amritsar as a kid, when I was even younger than Samhith. While returning from Jammu, we stopped at Amritsar, to visit the Golden Temple....

Memories of 2012 - Kashmir

Kashmir had been on my wishlist for years and years, but it was this year that the wish came true. Yes, we had less time than I would have liked, but simply setting foot in the state was enough for this trip, especially since Shankar wasn't able to join us. So it was just me, Samhith, my in-laws and my sister-in law. The 12 hour journey from Jammu to Srinagar was tiring, to say the least, but the views more than made up for it!

Memories of 2012 - Jammu and Vaishnodevi

From Jaipu r, we headed out to Vaishnodevi...

Memories of 2012 - Jaipur

May brought us the most awaited summer vacation. And off we headed to the most anticipated trip of all. We began our long trip at Jaipur, my first visit to the pink city...We spent just one full day at Jaipur, but I have returned with so many wonderful memories.... Albert Hall museum... with thousands of pigeons flying all over it...

Memories of 2012 - Sewri, Mumbai

April also saw us make a visit to Sewri to see the flamingoes....

Memories of 2012 - Alibag

April brought my cousin to Mumbai, and with him, an unexpected trip to Alibag....

Memories of 2012 - Gir and Junagadh

The Gir Wildlife sanctuary is most well known for its Asiatic Lion. We did see them, but more memorable were the other birds and animals we saw... such as this peacock..

Memories of 2012 - Somnath

March brought us a bonus week of travel. And it also brought me a new camera!! Of course, I went click happy on the trip, and came back with loads and loads of photos. This one happens to be one of my favourites...

Memories of 2012 - Sringeri

The year is almost gone , and its time to look back and remember all the wonderful things that made this year so special. The year was an especially good one for travel, though not as much for writing! I managed to travel almost every month, and, as a result, have a huge backlog of places and stories to write about!!! Leaving that aside for the monent, I will be posting a photo a day from one of my (many) trips this year.... in the order in which I took them. I begin with my first trip of the year.. in January, to one of my favourite destinations... Sringeri.

Book Review : Cain by Jose Saramago

José Saramago opens the story of Cain with the lines...

On the Ramayana Trail at Nashik

It is a city which is so deeply rooted in legends that it is impossible to separate the city from its stories – and the temples related to the stories. The minute we step into the city, we are besieged by it. We haven’t even found a hotel to stay in, but our auto driver wants to know if we want him to take us to the temples. “We have been here before” we tell him, and he answers, “But still, you will want to visit the temples. Why else would you come here again?” Our status as tourists and temple visitors seems to be obvious to him, so eventually we relent, telling him that yes, we do want to visit the temples, but we want to freshen up first. We take the mobile number proffered and heave a sigh of relief when he leaves. We are at Nashik, one of the holiest cities in Maharashtra, and also among the oldest.

Bay Backed Shrike

I have seen this bird before, but had never been able to capture it on camera. On my recent visit to Nanded and around, we saw these birds in plenty. However, it was only when we were in an auto, visiting the temples around Shegaon, that I could stop and photograph it.

Skywatch Friday - Lonar Crater Lake

For Skywatch Friday today is a place I havent been able to get out of my mind since I returned from my Diwali trip... the Lonar Crater....

Indian Roller

The Indian Roller is a bird which is quite common all over India, especially Southern India. It is the State bird of Karnataka, and we saw it quite often on our visit to Hampi , Aihole , and Badami .


The name Vasudev reminds us of Vasudeva - the father of Krishna. But Krishna himself was known as Vaasudeva - the son of Vasudeva. And that is what this man is known as too...

Bangle Sellers

In a country as vast and diverse as India, ornaments vary from region to region just as much as language and customs do. However, one ornament that is used widely all over India is the bangle – whether made of gold or glass, bangles are an inevitable part of a woman’s jewellery, especially during her wedding.

Flying High

We know little of Flags except our National Flag. However, there was a time when India was made up of tiny kingdoms, and each one of them had their own flag! Can you imagine how many varieties of flags there must have been? I have never really been interested in flags, and honestly, can't say that I recognize many, but my interest in flags was aroused when I noticed the one atop Jaigarh Fort. 


We see all kinds of animals on our roads ... There are dogs all over the place, cows and buffaloes are seen now and then, goats and sheep are a regular feature as Id approaches, pigs are a common sight, and we even see the odd elephant at times. The only animal we see rarely is the donkey...

And I am back!

I am back from my Diwali trip.. . and what a trip it has been, memorable for more reasons than I can count!  We kept to our aim of sticking to public transport, so buses it was, all the way... Well, almost, except for the times we splurged on auto rides J . This was the trip when Samhith finally learnt not just to cope with, but also enjoy, travelling by local buses... He learnt to wriggle in amidst the crowd waiting to get in, find, and reserve us seats! He was impressed when a woman called him to share her seat when he didn’t find one, and when he did find one, he made me proud by giving it up to an old man who was standing in the aisle.

Giant Wood Spider

We were at Sringeri, visiting the Kala Bhairava Temple at one end of the village. We finished our prayers and came out, and as usual, I was trying to get a decent shot of the temple, when a movement on a tree nearby caught my eye. At first, it was difficult to see anything but a huge spider web.. But then, with the camera zoom, I managed to spot the creature that had created that web - a Giant Wood Spider ..


The Mimosa or touch-me-not is one of the few plants I know the botanical name of. There is something fascinating about how the leaves close at the slightest touch!

Happy Deepavali

It's that time of the year when lamps are lit outside every house and the skies resonate with the colours and sounds of firecrackers. Its Diwali once again... or, to give it its right name - Deepavali - the festival of lights. 

Gajanur Dam

Having had our fill of the Bhadra Reservoir , it was time to see the Tunga River in all her glory.

Yellow Flower and Ant

At first glance, its just a flower....

Shivappa Nayaka Palace, Shimoga

As Diwali approaches, I have been re-living our trip last Diwali to Karnataka. We started on a devotional note, visiting  Sringeri ,  Udupi  and  Kollur . But that did not stop us having  unexpected surprises  which had nothing to do with temples, as well as  adventures that we had not planned for . We eventually reached our final destination -  River Tern Lodge  at the Bhadra Reservoir, and after two wonderful days there, headed back home to Mumbai. However, before we called an end to our travels, we still had something to see.... The bus stand at Shimoga was clean, well organised, and had huge posters of all the places you could visit around the city. There were quite a few interesting possibilities, but time was a luxury we did not have. We were due to board a bus back to Mumbai in a few hours, and in that short time, wanted to explore Shimoga. I remembered reading about the Shivappa Nayaka Palace on a couple of friends’ blogs , and decided to head out there. 

Off again, on another trip!

The biggest festival of the year – Diwali – approaches, and, more than anything, we look forward to the vacation that comes in its stead. We usually celebrate the festival at home, lighting lamps and bursting crackers, but this year, as you know already, we can’t celebrate the festival, and are free to travel.

Snow World, Mumbai

Living in a city where the winter is nonexistent, and snow is something that can only be seen in movies, the prospect of seeing and playing in snow can be a real temptation. The new Snow World at Phoenix Market City at Kurla had been tempting us ever since it opened, especially since it is barely half an hour away from our house. However, actually going there was another matter, and it seemed we needed some extra impetus to drive us there. 

River Tern Lodge, Bhadra

As Diwali approaches, I have been re-living our trip last Diwali to Karnataka. We started on a devotional note, visiting  Sringeri ,  Udupi  and  Kollur . But that did not stop us having  unexpected surprises  which had nothing to do with temples, as well as  adventures that we had not planned for . We eventually reached our final destination - River Tern Lodge at the Bhadra Reservoir, and now, continuing with the story... River  Tern Bhadra. ... the resort is named for the two things which make the place so special – the Bhadra Reservoir, where it is located; and the River Terns, birds which come here every winter, to breed and nest. Most visitors come here to observe the sight of hundreds and hundreds of these birds nesting in the islands from Feb to June each year. We visited in October, and saw a completely different sight – the sight of the reservoir filled almost to the brim, due to the heavy rains, the islands completely submerged. No wonder Samhith thought it was the se

River Tern Lodge, Bhadra - Getting There

As Diwali approaches, I have been re-living our trip last Diwali to Karnataka. We started on a devotional note, visiting Sringeri , Udupi and Kollur . But that did not stop us having unexpected surprises which had nothing to do with temples, as well as adventures that we had not planned for . Continuing with the story, here is how we eventually reached our final destination - River Tern Lodge at the Bhadra Reservoir..... “How much longer?” is a constant refrain that we hear from Samhith, no matter where we go. However, this time, it wasn’t Samhith asking the question... it was our auto driver! We were on our way to the River Tern Lodge at the Bhadra Reservoir, from Shimoga, and having missed one bus, and unwilling to wait any longer, had decided to take an auto. 

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.

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...

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.

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

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!

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.

The First Golu for this year...

After two posts of temples of the Goddess, it is time for some Bommai Kolus. The first one this year is from my mom's place in Thane....

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 a

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.

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!