Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Madurai Meenakshi

Madurai, city of temples, is one of the ancient and prestigeous city of Southern India with rich cultural and heritage background. Madurai Meenakshi temple is one of the greatest cultural and architectural landmarks, built during early A.D and restored in 14th century.

For one of my colleague's marriage, we, 8 guys,  went to Madurai on May 28th, 2009. The marriage was around 80km from Madurai at a place called "Rajapalya". The hotel for us was booked there. After around 10 hrs journey by Airavata, we got down at Madurai to find a vehicle waiting for us to take to wedding place. We got in and we met with a minor accident on the way. It was over 11 o'clock when we reached our hotel. We got ready quickly (more than an hour!) and went to choultry. It was 12 30 or so and wedding functions were finished and even reception was getting over. We managed to wish and could give a pose (which we won't miss always).

It was time for lunch and having skipped breakfast, we were very hungry so had heavy lunch, without bothering what the items were actually. While coming out, we saw two people sitting on different tables taking something and noting it down. When we enquired, we came to know they were gifts. I didn't know till then that in Tamil Nadu (or could be in some communities in TN) you have to give gifts and have to make an entry as to for whom you are giving the gift.

Our way back to Madurai was pleasant after heavy meals and we arrived near Madurai Meenakshi temple around 5PM. While entering we came to know we had to come out of the temple by 6 PM. (I don't remember the reason now, but it was not our constraint, instead temple administration's). Madurai temple is very huge and one can actually see it's gopuras from quite a long distance (1-2 km) on top of Madurai's buildings. (Gopura is ornate monumental tower, at the entries of Hindu temples - a prominent feature of Hindu architecture) Inside there was huge crowd to see the temple and Meenakshi idol. We roamed all along the temple wherever there were less people and came out after around an hour.

I am not writing much about the temple. It is best seen than said. Instead of posting the pictures, I am posting a link where you can virtually walk inside the temple. Click here to step inside.

You can see other Tamil Nadu temples here.

PS : It needs Adobe flash player and takes a while to load.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

೧ ಜ್ಯೋತಿರ್ವರ್ಷವೆಂದರೆ ...

ಮೃತ್ಯು ರವರ ಅಕ್ಷೋಹಿಣಿ ಮತ್ತು ಕಪಿಸೇನೆ ಬ್ಲಾಗ್ ಓದುತ್ತಿದ್ದಂತೆ ಖಗೋಳ ಶಾಸ್ತ್ರದಲ್ಲಿ ಉಪಯೋಗಿಸುವ ಜ್ಯೋತಿರ್ವರ್ಷವನ್ನು ನಮ್ಮ ದಿನನಿತ್ಯದ ಬಳಕೆಯ ಕಿ.ಮೀ. ಗಳಲ್ಲಿ ವ್ಯಕ್ತಪಡಿಸುವ ಯೋಚನೆ ಬಂತು. ಸರಿ ನೋಡೇಬಿಡೋಣ ಅಂತ ಕುಳಿತೆ.

ಜ್ಯೋತಿರ್ವರ್ಷ ದೂರದ ಮಾಪನ. ಬೆಳಕು ಒಂದು ವರ್ಷಕ್ಕೆ ಎಷ್ಟು ದೂರ ಚಲಿಸುತ್ತದೋ ಅಷ್ಟು ದೂರವೇ ಒಂದು ಜ್ಯೋತಿರ್ವರ್ಷ.

ಬೆಳಕಿನ ವೇಗ ೧ ಕ್ಷಣಕ್ಕೆ ೩,೦೦,೦೦೦ ಕಿ.ಮೀ.
೧ ನಿಮಿಷ = ೬೦ ಕ್ಷಣ = ೬೦ x ೩೦೦೦೦೦ = ೧,೮೦,೦೦,೦೦೦ ಕಿ.ಮೀ.
೧ ಘಂಟೆ = ೬೦ ನಿಮಿಷ = ೬೦ x ೧೮೦೦೦೦೦೦ = ೧೦೮,೦೦,೦೦,೦೦೦ ಕಿ.ಮೀ.
೧ ದಿನ = ೨೪ ಘಂಟೆ = ೨೪ x ೧೦೮೦೦೦೦೦೦೦ = ೨,೫೯೨,೦೦,೦೦,೦೦೦ ಕಿ.ಮೀ.
೧ ವರ್ಷ = ೩೬೫ ದಿನ = ೩೬೫ x ೨೫೯೨೦೦೦೦೦೦೦ = ೯,೪೬,೦೮೦,೦೦,೦೦,೦೦೦ ಕಿ.ಮೀ.

ಹಾಗಾಗಿ ೧ ಜ್ಯೋತಿರ್ವರ್ಷವೆಂದರೆ ೯ ಲಕ್ಷದ ೪೬ ಸಾವಿರದ ೮೦ ಕೋಟಿ ಕಿ.ಮೀ. ಗಳು!

Saturday, October 2, 2010


Of major South Indian tourist places, Kodaikanal and Munnar were the places I had not yet visited but wanted to visit. So, after marriage, me and my wife decided to go to Kodaikanal on March 4th, 2010.

Kodaikanal is one of the most beautiful hill stations in India, situated on Palani Hills - Western Ghats Mountain Range. Similar to Ooty, Kodaikanal was developed by British for summer homes. Wherever one goes, he would only see mountains, valleys and pine forests.

As both of us didn't have any idea, we had booked a package tour through Travellers' Inn, with a delux cab for site seeing.

We arrived in Kodaikanl and put up at a cottage in Kodai Resort. After refresh, we started and La Salette church was the first place we visited. It's a centuries old church. We were not much interested in it, so quickly came out. Next place to visit was Bear Shola waterfall. It's, actually, a series of waterfalls amid hillock. Beyond third fall, there is a cave and people say there used to be a lion before 150 years! There was a pit-stop on our journey to next place to peek a tree beyond a metal fence, roughly 500 years old. It looks large enough for such an old tree. We went to Mountain Beauty after. We liked the foot-path to reach this place as much as the place itself. This place has a very beautiful view of the mountain range. From there we just trekked to Dolphin Nose. It's a shape formed by rock at the cliff's edge.

By the time we were back to hotel it was over 3 pm and we were starving. Day ended strolling in Kodaikanal. Except breakfast on the day of arrival, we had food all other times till leaving Kodaikanal in a veg hotel near Kodaikanal main bus stand. I don't remember the name but it's just opp to bus stand and 10 min walk from our hotel Kodai Resort. All along we used to see carrots sold on roads. These carrots were very fresh and sweet.

Day two started with Upper lake view. Here we were told the center lake of Kodaikanal - Kodai lake - was not natural but man-made lake. We then went to see pine forest. This is one of the most sought place for movie shooting. I thought I had seen the place many times in different movies! Moir's point was our next place of visit. It's a monument in respect of Sir Thomas Moir. I don't know much about him apart from "turned the first sod" which was carved in granite on the monument. We then went to Shanti Valley View. While coming to this point, we were thinking of places other than mountain views. But in Kodaikanal most of the tourist places are mountain views and one can't ask for something entirely different. This valley is also called suicide point and there is no doubt one who wants to commit suicide, dies. It is very steep. Further, we went to Guna Cave. I still do not know why it is called a cave as there was no cave of any sort. This was, again, a valley view but you need to trek a little in hillocks. Pillar Rocks was the next place of visit. Now this was quite different in the sense that the cliff is formed two rocky pillars.

We moved to Green Valley View after pillar rocks. This was very crowded and there were many shops selling locally crafted items and dry fruits along with various oils. There was a botanical park. My wife purchased some seeds for our gardening. Not many plants grew from it though! There were too many monkeys in Green Valley.

We did visit two temples - Jain Temple and Kurinji Andavar Temple. In Kurinji Andavar temple, one guy was selling flowers. He forced me to buy 6 small garlands, telling only Rs 10/-. He couldn't understand English or Hindi and I didn't know Tamil. I told him only 10 by showing my fingers for all the flowers. We went inside and the priest worshiped in our name and even before we started turning back, the priest took those flowers and gave to somebody. We thought same flowers might come outside to that seller again! When we came out, the seller started asking me 60/- as each costs 10/- I got angry and gave only 10/- and left the place. Everywhere in India, sellers cheat not only foreign nationals, but our countrymen also. Nothing wrong in Aamir Khan advertisement or Slumdog Millionaire.

After temple visits, we went to a botanical park called Chettiyar Park. We were told March was not the season. There were two many plants forming canopy and they were cut in various designs. Only lacking were flowers in large number. Next was Coaker's walk, which runs along the edge of a hillock facing Kodai Lake. Finally we went to Kodai lake and looking at the colour of the water, we decided against boating! I did a horse ride and it was awesome! There is a govt run botanical park near lake Bryant park. That was good to spend evening time.

We packed up and left Kodaikanal around 7pm.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Ooty - Queen of Hill Stations!

Its been a year since I went to Ooty and so, I may not be able to do justice to Ooty's beauty through my blog. Anyway, an effort to describe the place, which was promoted by British as an ideal summer retreat.

On 21st March 2009 morning, around 6 am, I woke up to see outside landscape and I found only mountains and tea plantations. The mini bus which I was traveling was climbing up slowly (seems like never ending) and I concluded - Yes. We are nearing Ooty!

After breakfast, we went to Doddabetta - the name derived from Kannada, meaning Big Hillock/Mountain. Doddabetta provides a fantastic view. It is said that on a clear day one can see upto Chamundi hills of Mysore! (I don't know whether such clear days exist!). There is a telescope there if one wants to have a better view than what can be seen through naked eyes.

We came across a volunteer guide and he got into the vehicle telling he would show all the places in the vicinity. That guy was already drunk (at noon) and he could speak only Tamil and he drilled, without stop, one of our colleagues who happened to be from Tamil Nadu. We could do nothing other than laughing.

We went to a tea factory after Doddabetta. It was good to see the various processes and stages of tea powder production from tea leaves. Then we bought home-made chocos and continued our travel to Conoor. On the way to Conoor, we stopped by some places, some view-points.

The guide knew only Roja film and Chaiyya Chaiyya song from Dil Se. He was showing us pine tree forests and some mountains all the way to Conoor and telling Roja film was shot there and not in Kashmir as people thought and Chaiyya Chaiyya song was also shot there. We don't know whether he was telling true.

In Conoor, we sent our vehicle back to Ooty and caught the train. We came to know at 11th hour and ran to railway station and got the tickets to Ooty. The train from Conoor to Ooty is like a bus. The journey was wonderful and we were continuously taking snaps. Its a must do if one goes to Ooty.

We went to Govt. run botanical garden and were there till late evening after we got down the train in Ooty. The garden is good for evening time pass and worth visiting.

Next day, we visited a pine tree forest (do not remember the exact spot name) and back water (again, name forgotten). There was horse riding as well and some of us had fun riding it. Next place was again some view point. (I guess it is 8th Mile or 50th Mile or some 'Mile'). It was beautiful.

Our next destination was Pykara waterfall. Now this was something funny. We were climbing down the steps in search of waterfall and we could see none! Then a localite told us that the place we were standing itself was the waterfall. There was only stream flowing. I lost my bracelet there :-( Our last visiting place was Pykara boating lake. It was nice.

It was sunday 7 pm when we reached Mysore and the palace was lit beautifully. We spent sometime there before heading to Bangalore.

Click here for more pics.