Skip to main content

Featured Post

The Vaishnodevi Experience 2023

My first trip to Vaishnodevi was unimpressive. Climbing was hard, and it only served to highlight how badly out of shape I was, while my in-laws managed to cope so much better. Further, I hadn’t quite realized that the cave experience wouldn’t be the same as I had imagined, since the original cave was only opened at certain times a year, and that we only entered a newly created tunnel, one far easier to access, and hence more manageable with the crowds that thronged the mountain shrine. The resulting experience at the shrine, for barely a fraction of a second, hardly compared to what I had expected / imagined / heard about. So, for me, Vaishnodevi was like any other temple, nothing to write home about, something that was reflected (though not explicitly mentioned) in the blog post I wrote then.

Sannimitam - Art for a noble cause

It isn’t often that I write about events on the blog, and even rarer that I announce events that are yet to take place. But this is a special one. Most of you who read my blog, have, at some time, heard me rave about my sister, Kanthi, who is an accomplished dancer. She is proficient in both, Bharatanatyam and Kathak, which speaks volumes of her talent, and those of you who follow my Facebook page would certainly have seen her photos at some point or the other. It is because so many of you have asked me about her forthcoming performances that I am writing this post. That, and the fact that this is a special performance.

The Sanskriti Academy of Fine Arts, Thane, is where Kanthi has honed her skills. She has been a part of Sanskriti ever since its inception, and the fact that she has evolved from a student to a teacher there is something we are all proud of. We have enormous respect for the founder, Smt. Asha Sunilkumar, who herself is an amazing woman, who has succeeded in passing on, not just her proficiency in dance, but also her passion, to her students.

This is the 15th year of the Academy, which makes it a special one. However, what makes it even more special is that the Academy has, this year, conducted its 25th Arangetram, and 50 of their students have so far performed their Arangetrams over these 15 years. All the more reason to celebrate, isnt it?

The event is meant to be a celebration of all that they have achieved, but they have chosen to take the celebration a step forward. They choose to call it ‘Sannimitam’ – Art ‘For a noble and worthy cause’, in an attempt to give back to society for all the blessings that have been showered on them. This is thus a charity event, with all the proceeds going to Prem Daan, a non-profit charity in Navi Mumbai, that works relentlessly to give a home to the homeless, health to the sick, and love to the unloved.

Dedicated to Mother Teresa and her Missionaries of Charity, Prem Daan is a home for the destitute, sick and terminally ill.  The Sisters of Prem Daan are specially trained to take care of those women with mental illnesses. They ensure that the women feel safe, secure and stable within the premises of Prem Daan, before administering medicines and restoring them to health.

The programme itself has been conceived with these ideas in mind, and, along with a repertoire of traditional Bharatanatyam performances, it also includes a dance ballet which depicts the resurgence of the inherent power of women. I had the pleasure of having a brief glimpse of this ballet, and I can assure you it is impressive. I can’t wait to see the performance in its entirety!

I will be attending the event, and will post photos later. Posting videos might be more difficult, so I would suggest you please try and attend the event and see it for yourselves, especially if you live anywhere near.


Sannimitam will be presented at Gadkari Rangayatan, Thane West, on Saturday, 7th December, at 11 AM.

Passes are available for the event, though they are fast running out. Rs. 50 for Balcony, and Rs. 100 for ground floor. You can contact Kanthi on 9820851925 for passes.

You can also write to Sanskriti at for any further information, or query regarding donations. They are accepting donations in cash as well as kind. Kanthi can also give you details if you are interested.


Popular posts from this blog

Gokarna Part II – The Five Lingams

We continued our Gokarna trip by visiting four other Shiva temples in the vicinity, all connected to the same story of Gokarna. The story of Gokarna mentions the Mahabaleshwara Lingam as the one brought from Kailas by Ravana, and kept at this place on the ground by Ganesha. (See my earlier post- Gokarna – Pilgrimage and Pleasure). However, the story does not end here. It is believed that, in his anger, Ravana flung aside the materials which covered the lingam- the casket, its lid, the string around the lingam, and the cloth covering it. All these items became lingams as soon as they touched the ground. These four lingams, along with the main Mahabaleshwara lingam are collectively called the ‘ Panchalingams’ . These are: Mahabaleshwara – the main lingam Sajjeshwar – the casket carrying the lingam. This temple is about 35 Kms from Karwar, and is a 2 hour drive from Gokarna. Dhareshwar – the string covering the lingam. This temple is on NH17, about 45 Kms south of Gokarna. Gunavanteshw

The Havelis of Bikaner - A Photo Post

The lanes are narrow , twisting and turning amidst buildings old and new. Crumbling old structures with intricate workmanship stand side by side with art deco buildings, and more modern constructions, which follow no particular style. Autos, bicycles, motorcycles and vans rush past, blowing their horns as loudly as possible, while cows saunter past peacefully, completely unaffected by the noise. In the midst of all this chaos, children play by the side, and women go about their chores, as we explore these by-lanes of Bikaner, and its beautiful Havelis. Facade of one of the Rampuria Havelis

The Power of 8 - The Ashta Dikpalas and Ashta Vasus at Khajuraho

The four cardinal directions form the axis on which a temple is built, and are thus the basis of temple architecture. Leading from them are the eight directions, which are believed to be guarded by the eight guardians, or Ashta Dikpalas . In the temples of Khajuraho, great care has been taken by the sculptors to carve the Ashta Dikpalas on the walls, both inside and outside. They not only guard the temple, but also look over us as we circumambulate the shrine, protecting us by their presence. They are augmented by the Ashta Vasus , celestial beings which represent natural phenomena. Together, they enhance the idea of the temple as cosmos, enfolding within it, all the aspects of nature, both, on earth, as well in space.