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About me

Am a contradiction of sorts. i love going out and having a good time with friends, and i can also stay home chill out over a book or a movie..

Am very passionate about writing, so give me a topic and watch me float away into wonderland... Love reading books- sometimes i read 3books simultaneously, crazy about music- need it all around me, all the time and ofcourse, i totally am ga ga goo goo over my 7yr old naughty brat- Floppy!! errr, Prince Floppy!! :)

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Bags are packed... off I go...

Its time to pack my bags and head off to explore a new destination...
Couldn't have come at a more perfect time, especially considering how hot it is here and the fact that am on a full on nostalgic USA trip mode.. :-) 


Got myself a rucksack, about time I owned one, considering the amount of travel I do and my love for backpacks.. And this is the watch I wear when i travel.. Love it!! 





Headed to a state I haven't been to before
It is raining and cold there...
The scenes and sights around here are known to be breathtaking. 
I might get to ride or drink milk off this animal... [ will be yet another 1st time experience]

So, go on, put on your caps and guess. The first 5 who guess right, will get something from the destination!! :) 

See you all on the other side.... 


Clue- it is popular for its hot water springs...... 

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Kedar Gauri Temple, Bhubaneshwar










Bhubhaneshwar, my trip in a nutshell - a jist of all that I did while in Odisha

One friend said Bhubaneshwar is a "City of Temples" and I thought to myself, "Oh my, not another one!!" Years ago when I visited Kumbakonam, I walked around the small town and visited 4 temples, only to be told there were few more... Realised in our country before you can say "hello, how are you" you will have passed not one but two places of worship... 

It is therefore not surprising that Bhubaneshwar was one.. The old town part is filled with many beautiful temples which are reminiscent of a glorious past.

After exploring the Parasurameshwar temple as I walked towards Mukteshwar temple, I noticed one more on the right side. These are all within few yards from each other. The temple was white with red structures and I walked into the gates ... Said to have been built in the 9th Century by King Lalatendu Kesari to commemorate the ill fated lovers who eloped against the wishes of their communities- Kedar and Gouri. Apparently Kedar is said to have killed by a tiger when he went hunting for food, while Gouri committed suicide in the pond when she heard news of his death [the pond today is inside the temple campus].. This has evolved to a point where today lovers/couples come here to pray for marital bliss..This is also one of the eight Astasambhu temples... 

The main deity is Lord Shiva "Kedareswar" and his consort Goddess Gouri. The highlight of this temple is the 8 feet tall statue of Hanuman and Goddess Durga standing proudly on a lion. The temple has a Panch-Rath sanctum and is quite tall at 13+ feet in height.

After spending about 45mins around the temple, I walked towards the gate to head over to the next one. There were quite a few families in the temple, and a couple with a man who claimed he was a guide. They were from Kolkatta and carried a ready reckoner book of sorts that spoke about the temple, the architecture and some stories around it. It was amusing to watch them walk around the temple with the book in hand, comparing notes to the actual sculptures and architecture. Chit chatted with them a while and then we made our way towards Mukteswar temple, which is literally hop skip away. 


Thursday, May 3, 2018

Ethel M Chocolates' Botanical Cactus Garden, Nevada

On the way back from Vegas towards Los Angeles, the bus was to make few stops, one of which was Ethel M Chocolates' that included a visit to the Botanical Cactus Garden within their campus.. And this was supposed to be Nevada's largest and one of the world's largest collections of its kind.  So, the excitement levels were quite high. I am not a big fan of Chocolate, but always curious to know how it is made etc and so the walk through the factory was interesting, but nothing I hadn't seen before. After spending a few minutes exploring the store attached to the chocolate making unit, I walked outside towards the gardens.  

Spread across four acres, the Botanical Cactus Garden shows off the drought-tolerant ornamental, cacti, and other succulents. Apparently, the place contains over 300 species of plants, not sure how many I saw in the 45mins I wandered around. Many of the cacti and succulents are native to South West America while some are from South Western regions of USA, and from Australia and South America as well. They are all well suited for the weather here in Nevada and some cacti had pretty flowers on them as well... 











For more info, visit here

Monday, April 30, 2018

Walking around Konark.. Orissa

Psst.. long post ahead!! :-)









 




Bhubhaneshwar, my trip in a nutshell - a jist of all that I did while in Odisha

After spending the afternoon exploring Bhubaneshwar, I decided to head out and explore Konark and Puri.. Over the years, and through my travels I have come to understand that every ancient temple and structure hides within the walls tonnes of stories and legends, apart from the fascinating architecture.  

A part of the Golden Triangle, along with Bhubaneshwar and Puri, Konark has been on my mind for a while now. The temple hosts a dance festival every year, apart from welcoming the huge number of people that come to visit this magnificient place day after day.

Built in the 13th Century by King Narasimhadeva I of the Eastern Ganga Dynasty, the temple is said to resemble a gigantic chariot flanked by 24 chariot wheels and 7 horses, dedicated to the Sun/Surya God, hence the name "Sun Temple". It took 12 years and 1200 artisans for this most famous masterpiece of traditional Odisha Architecture. 


As I walked through the gates after picking up entry tickets at the booth near the main entrance, through the walkway filled with shops selling local art and craft pieces, it was the front view of the temple that had my attention, the dance hall and the main temple behind it. The only other temple that had me this amazed was the Gangaikonda Chozhapuram temple in the South. 

What remains of the temple complex  is a 100-foot (30 m) high chariot with the beautiful crafted wheels and horses, all of which have been carved from stone. What was once 200 feet high, today most of it is in ruins, the main tower included. Even though most of the structure has withstood test of time, there is enough to show us how much effort went into putting it all together. The wheels, the horses, the staircases, the tower, the deities and well, the list is endless. Among the scultpures around the main structure are quite a few different themes- animals, people using home appliances and there are a few surprises in the form of erotic kama and mithuna scenes as well.

The temple was actually built very close to the sea shore, but over the years the shoreline has receded by about 3-5kms. The first thing you spot is the Natya Mandir (dance hall), where dancers would pay homage to the Sun God with their performances, the structure is surrounded by mini sculptures of about 120+ different forms of dance found in the country. the Hall has no roof, and stands bare.. . Moving on towards the main temple, near the foot of the steps, you will see the gigantic structure of a lion standing on top of an elephant beneath whom lies a man.. According to the Hindu mythology, the lions resemble pride, elephants = wealth and both of them crush the human. What is fascinating is that the entire structure is made out of a single piece of stone.

I also learnt that the upper levels and terrace area of the temple featured bigger and much more  significant art-works than the lower level [which were no less fascinating]. Some of the images on these were that of artisans, musicians, labourers and mythological creatives and stories apart from a few Hindu deities as well. 

As you walk around the main temple complex, three tall structures still stand- not sure if these are Vishnu, Brahma and Shiva but they are majestic and some are Green in colour, maybe made of Jade? 

The Wheels
  • There are 24 Wheels in all [12 pairs].. 
  • Each wheel has 8 spokes [which denotes 24hours divided into eight sections of three hours each]
  • Within the wheel, at the bottom are round beads which denote 3 minutes for each. 
  • The art work on each of the wheel is different.. Some have life cycle of a woman through the day, some just have interesting sculptures..
  • You can tell the exact time by watching where the sun rays fall on the wheel.. down to the very minute!
  • There is one theory that these 12 pairs of wheels could be to represent the 12 zodiac signs. 





    [Image Source: http://www.thekonark.in/konarkwheel.html]

    The Horses
    • There are seven horses around the temple, they are known to pull the temple eastwards towards the dawn.
    • Each horse represented a day of the week..
    It took a while for the entire information and beauty of it all to sink in, and then I began wandering around the temple, to explore the various other elements in the complex. There are so many stories attached to this temple, it is mind boggling. Some that I came across are, 
    • The temple was never used as a place of prayer, because the main deity was removed/stolen/taken away... 
    • The town which was once a major port lost all business and succumbed to several pirate attacks.
    • It is said that the huge ball - lodestone that was mounted right on top was used as a navigational aid by ships. But then the magnetic powers also led to shipwrecks and some of the European ships losing their way.  Therefore the British are known to have removed this stone.
    • The temple then got a name "Black Pagoda" because it looked black and was towering like a pagoda from afar.  
    • Was declared as a UNESCO world heritage site back in 1984
    • The main sanctum is empty today, it must have housed the Sun God and his consort back in the day, but nobody really knows what happened.. 
    • Some say the temple was never completed, while others beg to differ with various stories of attacks and assaults.
    Along the gardens surrounding the temple, you will see few other shrines in ruins, and sculptures that have broken off from the main temple and kept for display, like the war elephants or the horses. There was scaffolding on almost all sides of the temple, showing us how much of damage it had withstood over time...

    As the sun beat down, so did my energy levels and I knew it was time to seek shade and cool off before exploring some more... Off i went in search of water/something to cool off, while my mind continued to wander amidst the temple complex, curious about the stories and puzzles.