Saturday, December 31, 2016

God bless you to experience more adventures that can evolve you as a better person. Happy 2017

Wherever you go, go with all your heart 
- Confucius



Mysore - Palace, Chamundi Hills and Zoological Garden



Whenever I visit a palace or any historical place, I used to feel that I was walking through history. I had the same expectations when I went to visit the Palace of Mysore which belonged to the Wodeyar dynasty of yesteryear. Sadly, I couldn’t connect to the history, this time.


It took me around 2 hours to see the entire Padmanabhapuram palace in Kerala which I visited it, last year. But the Mysore Palace is much bigger than the Padmanabhapuram palace and still the visit took only half an hour. Because, only a small section of the palace was open to the public. Besides, the place is too over crowded which was a big turn off when it comes to explore the other extended activities going in the premises of the palace. For instance Camel riding. 

The palace hardly reminded me of the prosperity of yesteryear but extravaganza.

Cameras are not allowed in the palace.
If you really want to enjoy the view of Palace, you can go in the evening, especially on Friday, Saturday and Sunday at 7 pm when the palace will be illuminated for about 15 minutes.


Chamundeswari-Hills



Mysore palace will always be the first choice of anyone who wants to visit Mysore but not mine. I was deeply happy when I went atop the Chamundi Hills. You can see entire Mysore from the top of this hill. Besides, the famous Chamundeswari Temple is situated on the top of the Chamundi Hill.

Chamundeshwari Temple


Little bit of history

The history of this temple can be traced back to 1000 years. The temple started gaining importance when the Maharajas of Wodeyar dynasty assumed power. They were ardent devotees of Chamundeswari devi ( Durga).

On the way to the temple







Zoologial Garden, Mysore
Though I had to walk a lot, I enjoyed it. Some pics from the zoological garden in  Mysore.










All pictures are copyrighted

Monday, August 22, 2016

A day well spent at Ibrahim Sahib Street, Bangalore (Commercial street )

"If you are new to Bangalore and want to explore the city, start with commercial street,"my friend suggested.
But I was a bit taken aback when I saw the street lined up with branded shops and restaurants - there was nothing to feel the pulse of the place. But the feeling was short lived when I took a left turn and reached the " Ibrahim Sahib Street"

Though I asked many " How it got the name?" no one seemed to know.



Here, nothing could mar the sheer joy of real experience. My decision to go in the afternoon proved right as the street has just started waking up and I really got my space to explore the street. It had everything.

On my way, I met them and they were happy to pose for the camera.



If you love junk jewellery and want to try different attires for a low price, Ibrahim Sahib street is the right place for you.

Street food is yet another attraction. But if you think you could different types, then it’s a ‘No’. The usual chat, corn etc are enough to water your mouth.



Though he seemed a bit grave, he was all ready to pose for me.




And then I wandered for a while....






Then came across this church....

The adjacent Jewel street was a bit deserted when compared to Ibrahim Sahib street. But it still caught my attention.




 PS : All photos are Copyrighted








Thursday, April 7, 2016

Kanyakumari - A travelogue - Part 3

Visit to Kanyakumari was an accidental decision. The initial plan was to visit Udayagiri Fort and Peer Mohammed Dargah which were very near to Padmanabhapuram Palace. Say, for about 3km. But, we dropped the plan as Kanyakumari beckoned us.

We did go to Udayagiri fort which consisted of a large botanical garden. But after spending a lot of hours in the palace, we are completely drained out and the idea of a troll in the vast acres of land seemed less appealing. But both Udayagiri Fort and Peer Mohammed Dargah dedicated to Peer Mohammed, a Sufi saint and a Tamil poet  will not be missed, next time.  

 Though we knew that neither could we able to watch the sun set nor could we make it to the Vivekananda rock, we set off to Kanyakumari.

On the way, we saw some women putting ' Kolam' in front of their houses. Since, you wanted to write a travelogue, this would be a photogrpah, you would like to have.We stopped in front of a house where a young woman was engaged in putting ' Kolam. But she shied away saying the Kolam was not good. We persisted with our demand and then her  mother smilingly said
 " Here, I am and you click it. "  And this is it.





 Along the NH, the travel was a smooth one with shady trees on either sides of the road. The journey was uneventful until we reached here. 



There were many small cradles tied down to many branches of a banyan tree. Inside one of them, we saw a small doll placed inside many red glass bangles. Behind the tree, there was a small temple. 




To our luck, two women came there to whom we inquired about it. From the cradles we could already make out that it has some connection with child- bearing. They said the Kovil was called ' Isakkaiamman kovil'. But we could n't ask more as they were in a hurry to visit the temple. Hence, I decided to google.


This is the information, I got from the wiki.


Isakki or Isakkai is a Hindu Goddess of South India. She is considered as one of the village Goddesses, like Māri, the goddess of epidemics. 
The worship of this Goddess is common in the Kanyakumari, Tirunelveli and Salem districts of Tamil Nadu.

Isakki temples  usually have a banyan or bo tree close to the shrine. Small wooden cribs and pieces of women's saris are tied to the branches and aerial roots of the spreading tree. These are vows made by village women who desire to have offspring.

Hence, I again went through my photographs to see if I have captured any pics of sarees being tied to the tree. Yes, there is......


Just near to it, there is a small way-side shop. And, they were preparing something. I was curious to know what it is. They called it ' Rasakkolai '.  I don't know whether it is the correct pronunciation. It somewhat tasted like ' Yellow jalebi' and was absolutely delicious. 

And they make it in this big pan.



I believe, it was the bike trip which helped us come across such beautiful things all along the way which would have otherwise missed, had we taken any other mode of transportation.

After travelling a few kilometers, we reached ' Kanyakumari'. The sight of sea from a farther distance was all alluring and inviting. It took 32 kms from Thuckalay to reach Kanyakumari.


We are dead tired and  just wanted to sit quietly and absorb all the tranquillity from the place. We sat here facing the Vivekananda rock. I was all calm. It was strange that I didn't regret that I couldn't see the Vivekananda rock. Because, I know that I would come back.

The premise was abuzz with activities and I was all pleased to capture them.

 I loved Chana Masala and corn

 I bought this pearl from a shop vendor. He really lured me saying the pearls would not even catch fire. He burned it in front of me and it was true ( below pic )



It was getting dark and was time to return. 
With a heavy heart and a promise that I would be back soon, I bade good bye to Kanyakumari. 


And my belief that travel could really retain my sanity, strengthened.

Concluded.


Padmanabhapuram Palace at Thuckalay- ­The old palace of the kings of erstwhile Travancore( 1550 to 1750 AD) A travelogue - Part 2

NB: All the pictures are taken by me. Please bear with the mistakes as I am taking pictures for the first time.

From Thiruvananthapuram, it took 58 kms to reach Padmanabhapuram Palace at Thuckalay.

The PALACE

Every moment inside the Kottaram ( the palace ) seemed like a conversation with history. It was a real royal splendour. If you are a keen lover of art and architecture you could not afford to miss this magnificent wooden palace sprawling over 6.5 acres of land inside the Padmanabhapuram Fort with 108 huge distinctly made rooms.

History

The palace was constructed around 1601 AD by Ravipillai Ravivarma Kulasekhara Perumal who ruled Travancore  between 1592 AD and 1609 AD.

The Travancore dynasty was formerly called ' Venad state' and the historians say, the capital of ' Venad Rajavamsam' was at Kollam. Later it was transferred to Kalkkulam in Kanyakumari district. The strongest administrator among the Travancore rulers was King Marthanda Varma who ruled from 1729 to 1758. He gained the name - 'Padmanabha Dasan' - the servant of Padmanabha by handing over his Kingdom to God Ananthapadmanabha. And thus Kalkkulam then came to be called Padmanabhapuram.



A curious lamp at the portico of 'the Palace'. It has a mechanism which enables it to rotate 360 degree. You just have to rotate it to that direction which you want to illuminate.




It is through these narrow stairs we entered the 'Kottaram' - the palace.



This is where the Kings used to convene their royal courts. 

 And they met their subjects here ( below picture)


The women in the harem watched activities such as ' Theroottam' here.


 The views from inside the Palace..



 This is called Sapramancham ( below)- the cot used by the Kings was made with more than 68 ayurveda herbs ( herbs with medicinal properties)


Navarathri Mandapam and Kannadithara - Every Malayalees would remember it. This is the place where 'Ganga' transformed into Nagavalli and danced. Yes, I am referring to the Malayalam film ' Manichitrathazhu' . The film was shot in this Palace.

King Marthandavarma built Navarathri Mandapam in 1744 AD. The dance floor was polished to such a perfection that it looked like a mirror and is known as ' Kannadithara or Mirror floor'. 
Various cultural programmes were organised here. Separate rooms with a ' Kilivathil' - small windows were built on its wall. So that the royal train would watch it without being seen by the public.

 Oottupura - In this massive dining hall around 1000 people were served a day.

The food used to be stored here.

( Swing ) Oonjal and the Mirror - The back of the mirror was coated with silver hence, the reflection would appear the same wherever you stand. There is another mirror on the opposite side.
Many roofs have Chinese carvings and the roof of Thaikkottaram has 90 floral designs. The black floor was made with a combination of egg white, jaggery, lime, burnt coconut, charcoal and river sand.

The small and the big kitchen



 The deity inside the temple -Saraswathy. 




Chitravadhakoodu

The reign of Travancore rulers meted out severe punishments to the accused. It is worse if anybody had killed a brahmin or had committed treason. They were forced to Chithravadham or gradual death. The accused would be put in this cage and it will be put in an open place like  junctions, market places or such other crowded places. Not only rain and sun,they have to endure but they would be attacked by crows or vultures and finally they would resign to their fate. He would not be given food/water through these entire terrible ordeal.
 
The cage would be erected 10 to 12 feet high from the ground level. This type of punishments were practiced in Travancore and Cochin state till British took over.

This is a pond near the palace. Unfortunately, it has not been properly taken care of...



Finally, see what this is...


We were dead when we finished our visit. Drank coconut water from here. ( below pic )


Now,  off to Kanyakumari



Nearest railway station: Eraniel, which is approximately 5 km from Thuckalay Nearest airport: Trivandrum International Airport, 52 km away.



to be continued...