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Showing posts from April, 2016

View from End Point, Manipal

Manipalis a town in coastal Karnataka (NOT in Sikkim!), about 60-odd kilometres from Mangalore (and 7 kms from Udupi). Being famous for having one of the best private universities in the country, this place has fast evolved from being a sleepy town with old-world charm, to becoming a 'happening, cool' place, with high rises dotting the skyline. However, the place also abounds in natural beauty, and it requires a drive of just a few kilometres out of the main town square to reach pretty villages, streams & backwaters, or even thick forests a little farther.
The End Point, as the name suggests, is simply the edge of the town. The view from the hill is very pretty; the sun rays glistening on the sea surface at the edge of the horizon looks beautiful. Catching the sunset from this point can be exhilarating. Also, the serpentine Swarna river, flowing to join her final destination, looks very nice as well. Sharing a set of three pictures, from an evening spent at End Point.

Masks!

Masks for sale, in the bazaar at the Lal Qila (Red Fort), Delhi. The collection was quite a colourful and vibrant one with vivid expressions, and looked really pretty against the white background.

Chennakeshava Temple: the Flamboyant Walls!

Part 5 If the stone work inside the temple is beautiful, the outside is mesmerising. Walls and walls of carvings- scenes of war, scenes of courts & courtesans, scenes of song and dance, scenes of elephants and horses and other mythical beings.

Son of the Soil

This picture was shot while driving through a quaint village in Hassan district. Sights like these are pretty common in the belt. The region is blessed with rich fertile soil, making it one of the main regions feeding the state. Thanks to many farmers like him, we have food on our plate. Grateful!

Yakshagana: a Snapshot

Yakshagana, translates to song of the yakshas, which are spoken of in mythology, including our great epics. This is a traditional folk art, a form of theatre, that runs all night long. There are many troupes, that travel through villages, set up camp, and hold a performance. The costumes are colourful, and the entire act is very animated. This is a snapshot from an abridged version, held at the temple in my village, on the occasion of Shivratri. In the coming weeks, I shall present the story of the Syamantaka Jewel, narrated through a colourful, vibrant, Yakshagana performance. 

(Syamantaka jewel- some believe it is nothing but the Koh-i-noor, that has passed down the pages of history, leaving a long bloody trail. Reminds me of the Deathly Hallows, especially the Elder Wand!)

Read more on customs inherent to this region:Coastal Customs

Western Gate, Taj Mahal

Today is World Heritage Day, to celebrate the many wonderful monuments across the globe, and to bring about an awareness to conserve these monuments. On this occasion, here is a photograph of the main gate to reach the Taj- the Western Gate. This structure has a charm of its own, but usually people just walk past and through, in the rush to get to the famed mausoleum. The little white domes are very pretty; there are 22 of them, as a mark of the number of years taken to build this great white structure, that over the years has earned world recognition. On your next visit to the Taj, I suggest you spend some time, admiring the structures around Taj Mahal too!

Palms!

One of the many pictures I have, of the sky at dusk (part of Skywatch). This was again at my village. The thing I like the most about the skyline is the silhouette of various palms. The prickly edges of the Ice-apple palm stand out against the background. On that particular evening, we had been to the village for a Spirit Worship ritual, and the colour that the sky had changed into, looked like a perfect setting for the evening. The colours changed so often that evening, and of all the various hues, this was my favourite!

See also:Those HandsSun & FlowersSunset over the fieldsCanine CompanyShadow Art

Haridwar: a Snapshot

This was a shot taken early in the day, as we were waiting for our train to Dehradun, which was delayed by an hour. The scene looked typical. Sadhus waiting with their jholas, people beginning their day's work, and yet others who hung about with a cup of kadak chai! 
Read also:Ganges, a Water Marvel!

Inside the Chennakeshava Temple, Belur

Part 4 Michelangelo once said every block of stone has a statue inside it, and it is the task of the sculptor to discover it. This is a beautiful quote I'm always reminded of, when I visit monuments with stone/marble work. And so I was this time too, as I went about looking at the walls, pillars, ceiling- every inch of the temple complex in Belur. The description would seem superfluous, but is every bit deserving. Of course, it depends on what you're looking for, as to someone not interested much in history, it would all look repetitive.

My Favourite Story-tellers!

Writing this post is very very special, because this deals with something I love the most- reading. What began as an act to get even with my cousin as a three-year old who did not even know how to read, eventually turned into a habit for life. It would be extremely difficult to pick just one author as my favourite- for me, favourites change with every book I read. Often, I get so enthralled in a book and the characters, I almost tend to forget the hand that penned the script and brought the character to life!
So, after much thought, these are the authors that make my top five. 

House by the Beach

A small bright house right by the sea, at Mukka village, Mangalore. Most of the people living in the area are fisher-folk. During the monsoons, when the sea is rough, it gets quite scary, they say. We had just gone on a weekend drive, and we happened to park the car there. The residents of this house were curious to know why we had driven all the way up there, when we have enough beaches closer home. And the little girl of the house was very excited to show me her puppy, which seemed to be even more excited (what with me being scared of dogs), and jumped all over me!

See also:Birds: Black & White

Nostalgia: The Jungle Book

(Picture sourced from here)
I watched The Jungle Book this week. Why is this movie special? Because the TV series on The Jungle Book was one of the things that made growing up special. I still remember how every Sunday we'd religiously sit in front of the TV (wearing the same attire as Mowgli), and sing along Jungle Jungle baat chali hai pata chala hai? Arey chaddi pahan ke phool khila hai khila hai! 
(Sadly, this song never appeared in the movie. And it was the very reason I went for the Hindi version! Looks like it was made just for promotional reasons, to get all of us to go to watch the movie!)

Jew Town, Kochi

A visit to Kochi is incomplete without a trip to Jew Town, Mattancherry. There are plenty of buses plying from Kochi city, hence getting there is quite easy. Taking a walk in Jew Town is like slipping back in time. History drips all over the place. Of course, it may not be overtly visible, which is why a bit of background reading is suggested before you visit. This colony was established when spice trade began, way back in the 16th century. They were welcomed by the Rajah of Kochi, and were granted this part of town, where their colony was established, and then flourished. 

Goan Countryside

One of the things I love about Goa is the vast charming countryside. This picture was shot in Calangute village. Houses like these are so pretty- vibrant, colourful, and located amidst lush surroundings. One can also see such houses in Goa's Latin quarters, Fountainhas. Sharing a set of three photographs here.

Read also:Three Kings Church

The Curtains Come Down (Part 11 of 11)

Final Moments of the Kola
Disclaimer: This post includes descriptions of Possession, wherein the Spirit occupies the man acting as the medium (The Oracle) temporarily. It is left to an individual to believe this or to differ with the idea. For me personally, it's more a form of local art than anything else. This is why I put up such articles and photographs on my blog. These indigenous traditions, unless preserved, could slowly disappear, till we'd end up only reading about such customs and practices. I claim no authority on the subject; whatever I've put up here is what I've been told by my folks, or what I've read on the topic! The Kola ritual has been accepted, and everyone is happy. The artists come back to the Mantap area, and sit side by side. The atmosphere is light and cheerful. It is past 3:30 AM now, and yet no one is sleepy. It is actually quite early for such a ritual to get over, but as I've said earlier, there aren't feuds in our family to solve…

Tendulkar Spotted!

With the IPL season 9 starting today, here's a throwback picture. This was during IPL 2012, taken outside the Oberoi Trident, Mumbai, just as the Mumbai Indians were leaving for practice. My cousin and I were aimlessly lurking around the place, when we saw many people just hanging around. Plus there was a fervent excited buzz in the air. We asked and were told that, abhi Tendulkar aayega!
We were curious; my cousin is a big Tendulkar fan, whereas I never was one.  We too joined the crowd. And then suddenly the Team bus emerged, and we clicked madly, without bothering to see who was by the window in the bus. It was later when we zoomed-in into our camera screens that we realised, who we had shot! And no one believed us when we called home, until we showed them the picture. Didn't we feel like accomplished paparazzi that day! The crazy running behind the team bus had been worth! 

See also:Nana Chudasamas PearlsDhansak DiariesThe Gateway Stands TallSunset at Marine Drive, Bom…

Chennakeshava Temple, Belur

Part 3
After much confusion & deliberation, I've decided to first outline our short trip, followed by individual details of these temples.
Our first stop is Chennakeshava Temple, Belur. The drive to Belur takes us through vast farmland. On the way, we also spot a few wind-mills. The road is excellent, and makes for a smooth drive, but the driving culture is scary. We rename the State-owned buses as KK - Killer KSRTC! At times, we are literally bullied by a few buses on the way- unreasonable overtaking, abrupt braking, etc. We also see a lot of tractors, bullock carts, etc., something not very common in Mangalore.

Picking Ice Apple

Borassus flabellifer/Ice apple, often referred to as simply 'palm fruit', is a well-loved fruit. The season of this fruit varies across regions; in this part of the coast it usually lasts from December to March. We have quite a few palm trees bearing this fruit in our fields in the village. However, over the years, the menace of people stealing the fruit to sell in cities is on the rise. During the day, the men go to work, and the women-folk of the house generally avoid confrontation even when they know it's being stolen. Also, people living there don't associate much value with such foods; on the contrary, people pay exorbitant prices for such 'exotic' foods in the city.

By the Beas

Driving through the hills is an exhilarating experience. Enroute Manali, looking at the serpentine Beas river weaving through deep gorges amidst the hills gives a natural high. The turquoise of the river is so rich, one can go on staring continuously without feeling bored. Sharing a set of five photographs from the drive to Manali.

The Dialogue & Acceptance (Part 10 of 11)

Final Moments of the Kola

Disclaimer: This post includes descriptions of Possession, wherein the Spirit occupies the man acting as the medium (The Oracle) temporarily. It is left to an individual to believe this or to differ with the idea. For me personally, it's more a form of local art than anything else. This is why I put up such articles and photographs on my blog. These indigenous traditions, unless preserved, could slowly disappear, till we'd end up only reading about such customs and practices. I claim no authority on the subject; whatever I've put up here is what I've been told by my folks, or what I've read on the topic! Once all rounds of dance are over, it is now time for the most important part of the ritual- to ask, converse with the Spirits and seek guidance. Usually there is a long line of people waiting to ask and seek advice. In some cases this part of the ritual goes on quite late, well into the next morning! One particular relative is even known to…

Holy Cow! Strike a Pose

The temple Cow, at the Shringeri Mutt, Sringeri Sharada Peetha. The temple complex is spacious, clean and spread out. We spotted this 'beauty' in the morning, and everyone around thronged to touch her. And she stood quietly without a word, er Moo, and let everyone to do so. Pictured in the background is the Vidyashankara temple.

The Barber Poses

This was during a week-long stay for an academic workshop in Chandigarh, sometime ago. As Spring had just set in, the weather was quite pleasant, and perfect for morning walks. On one such day, I spotted this man doing his job by the pavement. This sight is pretty common across the country, but I've never seen this in my hometown, which is why it was fun to wait and watch him. He later obliged for a photograph with the words, which paper will you publish this on? :)

Read also:Chandigarh in Pictures