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Showing posts from September, 2013

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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

Lollipop Plant!!!

Yes, that's one of the names this plant is known by. The other common name for it is 'Golden Shrimp Plant' and its quite obvious where it gets its names from.

Faces in the Crowd - Women carrying firewood

She is a common sigh t across the country, cutting and carrying firewood home...

Book Review: Arjuna by Anuja Chandramouli

Arjuna, in the Mahabharata, is described as the Nara to Krishna’s Narayana. In the entire epic, if Krishna is the one who wields the strings, albeit behind the scenes, it is Arjuna who is in the forefront of the story. It is he who is the most loved among the Pandavas, and it is his story Anuja Chandramouli seeks to relate, in her book by the same name.

Skywatch Friday - Bird on a Beach

We saw plenty of Brahminy Kites over Om Beach, fighting over the fish brought in by the fishermen, early in the morning....

Hotel Review: Mauve Orchid, Mysore

Mysore had been on my wish list for a long, long time. I planned trips to the city thrice, but something turned up all three times, and the trips had to be cancelled. It was during one such trip planning that a friend recommended Mauve Orchid as a good place to stay. I called them up and fixed up all the details, only to call them again to cancel everything. The years passed by, and Mysore still didn’t beckon…… till May this year, when I finally decided to leave my husband behind and head over with just Samhith.

Beaches of Gokarna

I stood behind a small shrine , atop a hillock. Ahead of me, as far as I could see, was the sea. Below, the waves lapped at the rocks, sending a stray spray up to where I stood. On one side, I could see the rows of palms which designated the end of the beach. Beyond were rooftops, the only evidence of the town. Somewhere amidst those roofs was an ancient temple, the one I had come to visit. For once, it wasn’t just the temple, but the beaches which beckoned. For, I was at Gokarna, a town known just as much for its holy temple as its magnificent beaches.

Wayanad post on Thomas Cook Blog

In April this year , as I was making the last minute arrangements for my Bangalore-Mysore trip, I received an offer from Thomas Cook, to try out one of their planned trips at a concessional rate. The offer was just too good to refuse, and as I wrote about it earlier , I took up their offer of exploring Wayanad. Since I returned, you have been treated to my long series on Wayanad, and now, finally, my post is up on their blog too.... Click here to read the post. 

Red Flowers

Looking back , collating the images from my summer trip, I realized that we had seen many flowers, and most of them were red!! Here, take a look - Red Passion Flower - can you see a bee buzzing in there?

Summer Evenings with Birds at Kukkarahalli Kere, Mysore

The first time we headed to Kukkarahalli Ker e, all I intended was to spend some time relaxing out in the open, preferably reading my book, while Samhith played around by himself. But with sights like these, that was not to be!

Book Review: Journey to Ithaca by Anita Desai

Ithaca , in Homer’s Odyssey, is the home of Odysseus. In the modern world, Ithaca is an island located in the Ionian Sea, in Greece. Ithaca is also the title of a poem written in 1911 by Constantine P. Cavafy in Greek, , inspired by the Homeric return journey of Odysseus to  his home island, as depicted in the Odyssey. The poem is a long one, but here are some excerpts…..

Skywatch Friday - Sunset at Kukkarahalli Kere, Mysore

Kukkarahalli Kere , or Lake is located in the heart of Mysore, in the Mysore University Campus. This was our favourite spot to relax almost every  evening that we spent in the city... and you can see why!

Vendors at Chamundi Hills

Every temple has vendors outside, selling flowers and coconuts....

Changeable Hawk - Eagle

The drive from Wayanad to Mysore took us along the Kabini river, and through the Nagarhole National Park. On our way to Wayanad, we had surprised a Gaur and an elephant on the road, apart from numerous deer. The return journey saw the animals well out of the way, and it would have been a boring drive, except for the number of birds we happened to notice. While most were fleeting glimpses, barely enough for proper identification, this one made out day.....

Faces in the Crowd - Children at Work

We saw these boys on the way to Wayanad, but this scene could have been anywhere in India. Two boys, hard at work , cleaning a pump, outside a garage. Its always sad to see young children in rags, working, at an age when they should be at school, or playing. Its worse when they are right outside a college, to which, in all possibility, people pay lakhs to get their kids into, and then the said kids waste away their time learning little if nothing, throwing away their parents' hard earned money in frivolous pursuits. Could there be a higher contrast?

Gokarna Mahaganapathi Temple

It looks like a small temple  in the middle of the road… a common sight across India. However, this is no ordinary temple, but has a history going back centuries. This is the Mahaganapathy Temple at Gokarna.

Book Review: Boomtown by Aditya Mukherjee

‘ Boomtown’ is the first novel of Aditya Mukherjee. Its cover, illustrated by Jezreel Nathan, is the perfect foil to the story – of an idea born in the bylanes of Old Delhi, taking its root from recipes zealously guarded and faithfully adhered to for years, and the journey which leads to its fruition in the towering high rises which make up Gurgaon.

Ganpati Bappa Morya

It's that time of the year when the Lord turns up, at almost every house in the vicinity - small and big alike. He may be tiny or huge, pot bellied or traditional, or in a modern avatar, but his presence is visible at every corner. Since the past few years, we have made our own clay idol of Lord Ganesha at home , a task I really missed this year. However, my mother gave me the opportunity today, and here is the idol I made for her.... He is a tiny chap, small and cute (I think!!), and he would have been a simple Lord, had it not been for my aunt, who brought out these tiny little pieces of jewelry, which we then used to decorate Him. Tonight, he sits peacefully on a betel leaf, waiting for the prayers to begin tomorrow. He is the Lord of new beginnings, the remover of obstacles. Technically, we aren't supposed to celebrate any festivals in a house of mourning, but it is in times like these that we need Him the most. I pray to Him to bestow His grace upon us all.....

Spotted Munias

We spotted these Spotted Munias , also called Scaly-breasted Munias , at the Mysore Palace. We were wandering around the gardens, reveling in the peace there, away from the crowd which seemed to have taken over the museum, when we saw a Grey Hornbill fly past. We went off in search of the bird, which proved too elusive for us. Instead, as we gave up our search and relaxed once more, we spotted these birds perched on a fence. The fence was covered with them, and even as I clicked, many flew off, leaving just these for me to capture.  It was small things like these that made our Mysore trip memorable.

Book Review: The Snowman, by Jo Nesbo

“Soon, the first snow will come. And then he will appear again. And when the snow has gone… …he will have taken someone else.” So goes the blurb of “The Snowman” by Jo Nesbo….chilling enough to evoke interest in an author I hadn’t even heard of before, and so well suited to the title that I wondered if that was the reason the cover didn’t have a snowman at all.

Shveta Varahaswamy Temple, Mysore Palace

There are 12 temples inside the Mysore Palace complex. Some of these are ancient ones, which stood long before the palace was built, while others are relatively recent, having been built by the royal family in different periods. Among these, it is the Shveta Varahaswamy Temple which is the most prominent, since it is located right next to the present entrance to the palace. Varaha over the main doorway

The Mysore Palace

Sometime in the 14 th century, two princes, travelling across a strange land, took refuge in a temple, where they were warmly received by the priest and offered food and shelter. The next morning, as they collected water from a nearby well, they heard of the troubles of the small kingdom from the women doing their chores. The king was dead, and the queen and princess were helpless against the cruel neighbouring ruler. Hearing this tale of woe, the princes decided that the best way to thank the people for their hospitality was by ridding them of the tyrant. Mobilising a small army from among the locals, the two went to war to aid the queen and princess and triumphed. The princess eventually married the older prince, and together they sowed the seeds for a reign which would transform the small town into a beautiful city which would, in time, come to be known for its monuments, especially its palace.

Book Review: A Matter of Rats - A short biography of Patna, by Amitava Kumar

“Rats have burrowed under the railway tracks in Patna. As citizens of a literal underworld, I imagine the rats inhabiting a spreading web of small safe houses and getaway streets. We could choose to call it a city under the city, or if that is too sophisticated a description for one of the two entities, then let’s just call it a dense warren of subterranean burrows.”

White Browed Wagtails

It was at Tirunelli Temple in Wayanad that we saw the White Browed Wagtail, strutting about on the temple roof. Waiting for the temple to open, I had plenty of time to click photos....

Back from a monsoon break!

There is no better time to explore the Western Ghats than the monsoon, but we rarely get to go anywhere in the rains, thanks to the school schedule. This year, however, we struck lucky, with the school changing its term breaks, and giving us some bonus holidays in August! Which is why, you haven’t seen me online the last couple of weeks. Where did I go? Can you guess from this pic?