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Malhar...
Tag :Moods
  June 9, 2013, 12:41 pm
“If you could count the stars, then you could count all the ways the coconut tree serves us.”- Philippine proverb While  roaming about in Rattan Bazaar, Chennai, I came across broken Coconuts being sold on the pavement. There is nothing strange about it but they had reached the sprouting stage. There was a white sponge like ball protruding and I was told that this growth is edible. It is tasty as also  has great nutritional value. I was unaware of any such thing. We never considered that part as edible and never also attempted to have a taste of it. We just used to remove it and throw it out.  Therefore I was a little bit surprised. However, now I learn that if that white porti...
Malhar...
Tag :Coconut
  May 14, 2013, 1:07 pm
when you get down at the Chennai Central Station and proceed towards the car parking , it would be difficult to escape a grand old building staring at you at a distance.  This building happened to be an inviting  curiosity for me even when I was a child. The need to catch a taxi to reach home quickly was so overbearing that I could never find time to go nearer to the imposing structure, except while passing by, seated in the car. Now that I have been in Chennai for a couple of months , I ventured to visit the building a couple of times with a view to gain an entry. However all my attempts were thwarted due to the Chennai Metro Rail Project. They are constructing  the underground ...
Malhar...
Tag :Madras
  April 30, 2013, 11:20 am
After having taken our lunch, we had two options in hand, either to go for a Siesta or for a long ride. My younger brother with whom I am staying had no problems either as it way a Sunday. However the cloudy weather was dissuading me from venturing out, for the camera could not be put to use. Nevertheless the call of my brother to move out before it really starts pouring made me get ready. When we drove out it was drizzling. We headed towards the Marine Drive of Kochi yet the destination remained undecided.  Moving further we crossed over to Bolgatty island. Here we thought of visiting the Palace now converted into a Hotel, Unfortunately we could not gain entry due to some big gun ...
Malhar...
Tag :Pallipuram Fort
  March 1, 2013, 11:01 am
A guest post by:P.N. Sampath Kumar,Cochin Ship Yard, Kochi (India)Not very long ago, in our villages, when farming used to be our main vocation, there lived a kind of livestock, Buffalo.This lazy looking cattle, unlike its cousins, a cow or a deer, doesn’t converse with you with its eyes and erected ears. It has a skin that matches much with the muddy waters where it always desired to be in. The set of hones conveyed that it is always on an ‘attack’ mode.No wonder, Yama, the god of death, chose him to be his vehicle. Devi Durga (Mahishasura Mardhini) is portrayed as the killer of “Mashisha Asura” (A devil in the guise of a Buffalo). In Kerala, Lord Ayyappa is said to have ...
Malhar...
Tag :Buffalo
  November 16, 2012, 6:57 pm
During our childhood we used to run after butterflies. Occasionally we used to succeed catching them (without the net). At that time we learnt that the patterns/colours in their wings would get transferred on to our finger tips instantly when caught. However their sheen would also vanish. Since we were too young, we were not into collecting them and it was simply for fun. After some time our attention was drawn towards a different kind of flying creature which was equally beautiful. They were dragonflies/damselflies and  were easier to catch. When caught we used to have a weight lifting competition. Each one of us would make one’s dragonfly sit on a small pebble. When lifted up, ...
Malhar...
Tag :Bio-diversity
  November 6, 2012, 9:43 am
A guest post by:P.N. Sampath Kumar,Cochin Ship Yard, Kochi (India)What is the most favoured Tiffin across the world? I wrote my answer in one of the questionnaires supplied to me through some magazine as ‘Dosa’.This circular magical recipe made of fermented batter prepared with rice, split black gram and fenugreek seeds in some proportion, made on a flat iron pan, has been the lifeline of people south of the Vindhyas. No mother in this region could be said to have not perfected the art of making dosas. No child in these regions could be said to have not had it as part of their regular menu. No wonder the moon like Dosa found its role in many a lullabies and stories. Its first cou...
Malhar...
Tag :Masala Dosa
  October 23, 2012, 1:50 pm
Fortunately I was at my village home in Kerala during this Onam. Incessant rains were downing my spirits. Later the rains went on a casual leave and there was bright sunshine for a day or two. Finally rains departed. The climate was soothing. I could see wild growth of vegetation everywhere. Tubers, bulbs and seeds of various plants which were in hibernation,  under the soil, ran havoc. There were plenty of flowers everywhere and they come handy during this festival season for decorating the courtyards with beautiful patterns using the petals of flowers. Boys and girls start collecting flowers in the wee hours well before Sun Rise. My village happens to be at the North Western end ...
Malhar...
Tag :Kerala
  October 15, 2012, 3:10 pm
We were actually heading to Pahalgam but as we had instructed, our driver stopped the vehicle in front of the Avantipur temple ruins which were on the way. In one of my earlier posts, I had mentioned about a visit to this place which is around 30 kilometres South East of Srinagar and the attraction being the ruins of a 9th century temple. My friends were intrigued for they had known about one Avanti in central India, sometimes misunderstood as being the ancient name of Ujjain. On the lines of the Greek city states, India during its classical age had 16 republics known as Mahajanapadas known to us through ancient literature and religious texts. Avanti or Avantika was one such region....
Malhar...
Tag :Avanteeswara
  October 8, 2012, 4:21 pm
11th June 2012We got shifted to a new hotel closer to the main market early in the morning. Soon thereafter there was a call from the reception asking us to proceed to the dining hall for the complimentary breakfast. We had our fill and asked our driver to call for two local taxies to take us around.  Strangely you are not allowed to take the taxies brought from Srinagar. The rates to various packages are predetermined and are prominently displayed at the Taxi Stand. The taxies need to line up at the stand after getting a token/number. Any body desirous of a taxi shall go to the booth for booking. The person manning the booth will in turn summon the waitlisted drivers in order of seniority....
Malhar...
Tag :Aru Valley
  September 15, 2012, 7:00 am
On our return from Gulmarg, we were lodged in a House Boat with all amenities. The location was away from the madding crowd at a serene Nageen (Nagin) lake. The house boat itself was named “Peace of Mind”. It was not very difficult to get a House Boat in the Dal Lake which is the general choice. Then it seemed that the Dal Lake is too much crowded and  you are saddled with the problem of so many vendors calling on you in their boats. After settling down, we enjoyed some late evening views of the lake and then went for our dinner. Dinner was arranged in another floating restaurant nearby. In fact Nageen lake is also a part of the famous Dal Lake separated by a bund. Our house b...
Malhar...
Tag :Kashmir
  August 25, 2012, 7:00 am
This morning I was checking my blog to find out as to how my previous post is faring in terms of “comments” received. There were no new additions to make me feel happy about. However, an uncharitable invite was peeping out to join the bandwagon of competitors for  Capture the color contest. Though it was not something unfathomable to identify photographs with the 5 colours but it was the thought of roping in 5 more gullible bloggers that was agonising. I also strongly feel the way Nisha has indicated while writing on the subject. Its has now become incumbent on my part to make a quick search and produce whatever I have. I shall, however, desist from explaining the attributes, s...
Malhar...
Tag :Colours
  August 18, 2012, 7:00 am
10th June 2012:It was an unique experience to be able to meet the family of our Shikara operator at their residence and be able to have a glimpse of the traditional houses in the secluded quarters. We were bidding good bye to  Srinagar and were proceeding to Pahalgam where we intend to stay for two days. Our vehicles were being loaded with our luggage. Looking back, we had regrets for not having been able to visit many other places of interest and importance in or around Srinagar. The Shankaracharya Temple (Takht-e-Sulaiman), Tulip Gardens, Shalimar Gardens (Our group is to be blamed), Pari Mahal, A boat cruise in Jhelum cutting through Srinagar, The fort on the top of Hari Parbat...
Malhar...
Tag :Kashmir
  August 10, 2012, 8:58 am
Literally the term Gulmarg refers to a place with abundance of flowers. Situated at a distance of 56 kilometres South West of Srinagar, Gulmarg attracts the largest number of tourists among all hill resorts in Kashmir. It has one of the longest and highest (12000 feet) ski slopes in Asia. This apart, the World’s highest (8700 feet) Golf Course is also located here.  Many of the foreigners who come here are  skiing enthusiasts, though there were very few of them when we visited. We were told that they arrive in large numbers during winter when the competitions are organized. Gulmarg was known as Gourimarg centuries back but in the 16th century Sultan Yusuf Chak excitedly called i...
Malhar...
Tag :Kashmir
  August 1, 2012, 6:00 am
Memories of Sonmarg bring shivers into my spines. I am just recapitulating the enthusiasm we had while proceeding to this place which withered away eventually. That could have been one of the most enjoyable trips but we underwent extreme suffering due to our own faults and lack of proper guidance. Sonmarg which means 'Meadow of Gold' lies some 87 kilometres North East of Srinagar on the highway leading to Leh in Laddakh (topmost area of India). If one continues the journey on that highway for another  9 kilometres, one would reach Joji La (Pass) which is a vital link between Srinagar and Leh. Since we were not heading towards Leh, we stopped at Sonmarg. An important glacier known ...
Malhar...
Tag :Machoi
  July 23, 2012, 8:01 am
After having visited Hazratbal, we thought of going to the Jamia Masjid (Mosque) at Srinagar. However, our driver had some reservations. He informed that the Mosque is at the centre of the old part of the city and is a disturbed area. Cannot be considered to be very safe. Then he remembered that it was a Thursday and not a Friday. Fridays are special  when the area is fully crowded for the prayers at the Mosque. (Before I could make out a post, there was a news that a 300 year old “Dastagir Sahib”a holy shrine of the Sufi order, went into flames under mysterious circumstances. To contain the violence that followed, curfew has been clamped through out Kashmir. Even people have b...
Malhar...
Tag :Kashmir
  July 12, 2012, 3:11 pm
Very close to the Nishat Baug at Srinagar there is a very famous place known as Hazratbal. Once it was a village which now is a suburban locality of Srinagar. “Bal” literally means  a place and it is some times misconstrued as “Baal” meaning “hair”. Hazratbal if literally translated could mean a holy place. Interestingly it does have an association with the  “hair” of the Prophet Mohammed, the precursor of Islam. It is believed by the muslim community of Kashmir that a strand of hair from Prophets beard is preserved at a shrine thereat which is also referred to as Hazratbal. A gang of terrorists even occupied the shrine with an intent to take away the holy relic an...
Malhar...
Tag :Hazratbal
  July 12, 2012, 3:04 pm
After having spent about 2 hours at Chashme Shahi we had to return taking the same road via the Governor’s residence (Raj Bhawan). The second largest  Mughal garden known as Nishat Bagh was again located on the main road on the  Eastern bank of Dal Lake with the same Zabarwan mountain ranges as its backdrop. The waters flowing out of the garden has been made to slide down from about 15 feet high into a rectangular pool by the side of the road.Once upon a time the waters straight away  fell into the lake but now there is the road in between. Nishat Bagh literally means a garden of joy or merriment which was got created by Asif Khan the brother of Noor Jehan (Mughal Empress) in t...
Malhar...
Tag :Kashmir
  July 5, 2012, 12:23 pm
Until the recent past, we had all wooden bridges over rivers, rivulets and canals which got dismantled and replaced with concrete ones. The highway to Jammu is getting widened and a railway line is fast coming up. We shall see a direct train service from Srinagar within 2 years. The number of tourists visiting Kashmir this year is  phenomenal and all past records got broken. We do not have beggary as such but there are few who, to remain lazy, avoid working and solicit alms. This was what our driver had to share with us enthusiastically. He was taking us for a local tour of Srinagar. We were passing through the narrow strip of the extensive Dal Lake, a little early in the morning. O...
Malhar...
Tag :Kashmir
  June 29, 2012, 7:59 pm
We have been looking forward for an opportunity to visit the northern part of India called Jammu & Kashmir. However, militant activities thereat prevented us from risking ourselves for decades. Now that peace seems to have been restored a suggestion from a friend encouraged us. We decided to go in a group of 10. We had to decide upon the mode of conveyance. There are regular flights from New Delhi to Srinagar but the fares seemed to be prohibitive. Therefore we ended up booking ourselves with a reliable tour operator at Srinagar and surrendered to him for the week long itinerary. Our actual journey began by train from Bhopal to Jammu Tawi on the 5th June morning. After over 24 ...
Malhar...
Tag :Kashmir
  June 23, 2012, 11:11 am
We had a stop over at Chennai while returning from our Kerala trip. One day my younger brother wanted to visit Mahabalipuram and I was happy to join him for it was many years ago that I visited the place. Incidentally I ought to tell that Mahabalipuram is around 60 kilometres South of Chennai on the way to Pudussery (Pondicherry). It was a bright sunlit day and quite warm under the Sun. In less than 2 hours we could reach Mahabalipuram which was earlier known as Mamallapuram.We headed straight to the famous Shore Temple, known so, for it faces the Arabian Sea and is just on the Shore. It is supposed to be one of the oldest structural temples of South India. I believe  a little bi...
Malhar...
Tag :Inscription
  May 15, 2012, 9:03 pm
In one of my previous posts I covered the Asia’s largest Perishable Commodities Market at Koyambedu (Chennai) and now here comes the largest Bus Station in South Asia. Incidentally this is also there at Koyambdu and that too very close to where I was residing. It so happened that we were proceeding to visit the market and en-route I could catch a glimpse of a huge structure. It appeared as if a very large boat has been put upside down over a building. Needless to say that I enquired. I was told that it is the Bus Terminus. The driver seemed to be more enthusiastic. He said Sir, it is as big as an Air Port. Since we had driven quite far from it, I decided to have a see some time la...
Malhar...
Tag :CMBT
  April 20, 2012, 8:32 am
A Guest Post by PN Sampath Kumar,       Cochin Shipyard, Kochi.When life in our two bed room small apartment started becoming boring without much activity other than his studies and routine TV programs, prompted by some TV program, Achu, my son, started pestering me to buy a pet for him.A pet, in the form of a Dog, as appeared in a TV commercial, a pug, was the imminent option that occurred to him. The life in an apartment has got its own limitations and he was well aware that keeping a dog with us had its own problems. Then came the idea of  getting a parrot. A bird that talked, answering you and engaging in dialogue with you would be an excellent option. More over it is not ve...
Malhar...
Tag :Turtle
  April 10, 2012, 12:49 pm
With a population of around 4 million, Armenia is a small Country in central Asia which once was a mighty empire. It gained independence and became a Republic after the dissolution of the former Soviet Union in 1991. India’s Armenian connection could be several centuries old for one Thomas of Cana is said to have visited South West India sometime in the 8/9th century  CE. He is said to have been an Armenian and was accompanied by several families. Though not much is known about him, he is some times referred to as a merchant and sometimes as a Bishop. A group of Catholics in Kerala also claim to be his descendents.  Incidentally Armenia happens to be the first country in the ...
Malhar...
Tag :Madras
  April 1, 2012, 10:19 am
While going to or coming from deep South, I make it a point to make a prolonged halt at Chennai to corner some comforts at my younger brother’s place.  Apart from my rendezvous within and around the city with a chauffer driven vehicle, I enjoyed going to the market with my sister-in-law and my niece as well on few occasions. I am not talking about the Super Bazaars or Malls but the real Indian market selling vegetables, fruits and flowers. Did I mention that my brother stays in the SAF Games Village in Koyambedu (an upcoming suburb), perhaps I forgot in my anxiety to let you know the kind of treatment I had.  So there I was and very close to the largest Market in Asia.Koyambedu i...
Malhar...
Tag :Chennai
  March 17, 2012, 10:27 pm
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