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!! :)

Monday, December 27, 2010

Where the Lord Rests-Thirumalpadi

It was 10.30am and the priest told us he'll come open the temple only after the funeral procession had gone by, which would be around 12.30 or so... Arvind then suggested we drive over to another temple, and come back here, but as we got on the road, we called the priest to reconfirm the time when he suggested we visit the Ranganatha swamy temple close by where the Lord was lying down almost like sleeping.

That is how we ended up at  Thirumalpadi , very close to Seeyamangalam, Vandavasi in Tiruvannamalai district. We drove by a small lane, and stopped near what looked like a priest's house. I got out of the car, went over and enquired if the priest was in. The woman who said she was the priest's wife said he'll come to the temple in a few minutes and asked us to go wait there... 

Parked the car at the foothills of the nealty laid out steps, we waited patiently.... This was a Ranganatha swamy temple that had been built during the Chola times. We were the only ones there and so got the privilege of going right inside and getting a good look at Lord Ranganatha Swamy resting... 

As we made our way around the main sanctum, it was visible that the temple has gone through many renovations. The most recent one had almost buried its antiquity, the inscriptions and sculptures aroudn the wall. 

The floor level around this beautiful temple had been raised and the floor cemented, all this burying a few rows of inscriptions. The other remaining inscriptions around the current level had been painted over.  

The Hanuman idol in this temple is facing the east, which is a rarity,said the priest. Similarly, one of the pillars inside the main sanctum had a Lakshmi Narasimha on it. He then took us around to show us the various other shrines that were in near ruin stages, home to a few bats and cobwebs. The temple had its own water resource, tucked between two small hillocks.

The view from the top  was breathtaking... All we saw were greenery, and a few small hills yonder. The day was quite hot, and so we quietly bid adieu to the priest and made our way back to Seeyamangalam wondering what other rich heritage sites were hidden away like this temple..

Wednesday, December 22, 2010


Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.

Everytime i see an image or a piece like this of Buddha, it catches my eye,stays in my mind and makes me smile!! There is something calming about Buddha.... I long to bring home a Buddha statue, just yet to find the ONE!! 

This Buddha idol i saw at Odyssey bookstore in Express Avenue when i had gone with a friend on Sunday.... Quite liked the play of colours, but dint understand why there was a strange earring with fake white stones on it... Click Click on my Blackberry i did :)

Friday, December 17, 2010

[Skywatch] History and Heritage comes alive

The Structure that is home to the Monolithic Kadalekalu Ganesha, near Virupaksha temple in Hampi... Shot this from outside the fence.


The Mahanavami Dibba in the Royal Enclosures - a platform used by the Royal family for various occasions and ceremonies... 

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Monday, December 13, 2010

One legged

You never know what you might see when you are out. Recently when waiting for the train at Bangalore station, i spotted this guy.. I was generally taking shots of various buildings, people, etc when i saw the crow, turned and looked back to see if my eyes were playing tricks on me or if it was for real.

This one legged crow was happily hopping from one track to the other looking for food.. dint seem to be bothered about his handicap... After a few minutes, i saw a train approaching, and kept staring at this guy to make sure he hopped away and dint get hurt... Dint realize i was holding my breathe till i saw his hop onto the next track and keep at his search.... :-) 

Friday, December 10, 2010

[Skywatch Friday] Reflections

During my recent holiday , we drove down from Allepey to the Krishnapuram Palace in Kayamkulam. This palace is said to be a replica of the Padmanabapuram palace, Trivandrum.. The palace pond had me captive.. Crystal clear waters and a lone turtle happily swimming about ... 

The Palace is a grand reflection of the Kerala style of architecture - complete with gabled roofs, narrow corridors and dormer windows. 

for more beautiful skies, visit Skywatch Friday

Saturday, December 4, 2010

The Dargah ...

"Are you journalists?" 
"In which paper do you write"
'You are both travelling alone?"
were some questions that sparked off conversations, helping us kill time, making the bus journey enjoyable. 

We were back on the bus and on the road after a brief stop in Chidambaram for about an hour, just enough time to check into the hotel near the bus stand and grab a quick lunch. 

'How much further to Nagore?" i asked the man in the seat ahead of ours.
 "Another 10 mins maximum.. you are going to the Dargah?" he replied.
"Yes, sir." we replied in unison. 

Though Nagore and the Dargah had not been in our initial plan, since we were heading down that road, we decided to make a quick stop here. This was the 2nd time S and i were doing one of our up and go weekend backpacking trips... 

Destination - unknown [ we had zeroed in on Chidambaram to be our base and thought we shall wander around there... maybe as far as Veilankanni church...]

Duration of trip - 2 short days  
Agenda- None :) 
Travellers- 2 absolutely excited souls... me and S 
I was telling S -"My grandparents have been here... apparently people from all religions are welcome here and they visit here- not just for a prayer, but consider the Dargah to have special powers"  when the bus drew to a sudden halt.  Bidding good bye to our fellow passengers we spotted the colorful walls of the Dargah ahead of us just as we stepped of the bus.

A small elephant stood near the entrance blessing visitors. it had a crescent and a star on the forehead and looked no bigger than a baby.

As we walked into the  long corridor leading to the Dargah, rows of brightly lit shops caught our eye on either side of the walk way. filled with little knick knacks, toys, garlands, souvenir from the Dargah. it was quite a sight. 

Nagore One of the popular pilgrimage centres for Muslims in Tamil Nadu is the Dargah at Nagore. The tomb is more than 500 years old. It has a golden dome, flanked by five minarets. It also has a tank called Peer Kulam, which is believed to have waters with curative properties. The Kandhoori festival of the Saint, during the Islamic month of Jumad Thani (Jumad Akhir) is an important festival celebrated by people of all religions.
Situated 4 kms north of Nagapattinam, Nagore is home to the famous Dargah of Sufi Saint Hazrath Syed Shahul Hameed Quadir Wali 

Entering the Dargah, a man came towards us, and asked us to leave our bags near the door and follow him inside. Noticing the apprehension in our faces, he showed us an ID card saying he was an authorized personnel from the Dargah. guided us to a room just outside the main prayer room, and offered us a few packets and asked us to make a donation, minimum of Rs100... We were taken aback, and realized here was another way of making us part with our money... Managed to convince him we were students and offered a smaller sum and rushed to head out of the place... 

Looking for a place to pick up some water from, we looked forward to other adventures that awaited us that day.. 

1st one taken on my N95 8GB phone
others on my canon camera[film camera :)]

Sunday, November 28, 2010

History on the streets of Kerala

Listening to the incessant rains outside our room, the three of us lazed about, wondering if the Sun ever shone in this part of the country, and what our day was going to be like. It was the last day of our holiday, and we were in Kovalam, The Swagath Hotel.. 

After a bit of dilly dallying, we managed to get our act together, get dressed and head out towards the Padmanabaswamy Temple in Trivandrum. 

Located in the heart of Thiruvananthapuram (Trivandrum) half a km from the railway station is the 5000 year old Anantha Padmanabhaswamy Divya Desam, where the gigantic Lord Anantha Padmanabhan is seen in a Bhujanga Sayana Kolam.

As the van pulled into a lane near the temple, i noticed this water hydrant on the side walk. I had never seen one of these before in our country, and it had me curious. I asked our cab driver what it was, and what the purpose was, alas, he had no clues what it was. 
Fascinating the things you see when you are travelling.... 

Looked like it has survived quite a bit of time, the year on this thing said 1950. I wish there was someone who knew what it was and the story behind it... 

Friday, November 26, 2010

As the crow fllies

During our 2nd day at the resort, we were walking along a slushy path towards the coir village, to watch a few women and maybe the learn the trick of making coir threads from coconut fiber. A few steps ahead, my friend M was walking, her camera ready to capture anything interesting. i was trailing behind her when suddenly she drew to a halt and motioned me towards her with a finger on her lips. 

M: Aarti, look there it is again. the common crow... They seem to be romancing ... :)
Me: oh yes, how pretty... 

Ani who was walking ahead with her son exclaimed.. 'hello, we see the common crow all over back home, what is wrong with you both"[giggles]

Me: Ahem, Ani, this is not a crow... this is a butterfly di.. 
A: Oops.. my bad, was wondering why you girls are gushing over the boring crow... :)
The beautiful butterfly called 'Common Indian crow" we saw quite a bit through our stay at the Coir Village Resort in Kerala.

The Common Crow is a glossy black butterfly with brown underside and little white marks along the outer margins of the wing. The wingspan is about 8-9 cm and the body also has prominent white spots that you cant miss.

Wiki: It is found everywhere in India, right up into the mountains till 8000 feet. Occasionally it swarms in the low, wet jungles of South India due to the abundance of its food plants which are spread over three orders of plants.
We saw quite a few of these beauties over the next few days in  Kerala, apart from few other varieties...

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Thursday, November 18, 2010

[Skywatch Friday] The show is on

 "The Tsunami point, that is where you can watch the sunset" guided our driver.... No sooner did we put one foot out and the skies began their act...

What drama.. What emotions.... Amazing sight!!

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Thursday, November 11, 2010

[Skywatch friday] Heaven indeed

As the sun sets, the clouds dance to the colours in the sky....

The Puri Jagannath Tempe in Chennai on ECR had us all captivated with its beauty, pristine marble, and silence that enveloped us..... 

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Time to sail away....

All planning done
Everything has been sorted out [almost]
Only thing that remains is we pack our bags and scoot...

This is yet another 1st of sorts..A vacation with high school girl pals, one that we have been looking forward to for years now. Dont care much for the places, facilities, but we know we are going to have a blast!! After much deliberation, a destination was finalised, tickets booked and the train is ready to take us away in a day's time!! 

Till about an hour ago, i was happily going about the day thinking the train journey was set for Sat-13th Nov Night, and a phone call from V broke that spell... We are off tomorrow night...

Well, that is going to remain a mystery, atleast for those who dont know.... Here is a sneak peek to where....

4 days
3 destinations....
4 girls... and 1 little [nearly 2yrs old] bunny boy in tow !! :D
Off we go....

See y'all on 18th!

Monday, November 8, 2010

The Gardens beckon

It had been 10years since my last visit to Ooty,and memories came flooding as the bus reached Ooty. While waiting for a ride to take me to the YWCA[charring cross], my mind began wandering listening to the conversations floating in the air from the group standing next to me. They spoke about going boating, to a thread garden and then to Coonoor.

It was the month of May, Chennai was crazy hot and Ooty was so cool and windy... I knew i was going to love the 5days there...  The room i stayed in was within walking distance from the gardens and so that was where i headed the 1st day... Grabbing a sandwich and coffee at Cafe Coffee Day, armed with my camera and wallet i made my way to the Botanical garden

This Botanical Garden was laid out in 1847 by the Marquis of Tweedale and is spread over 55 acres. Lush green well maintained lawns, rare tree species (like the cork tree which is probably the only such tree in India, the paper bark tree and the monkey puzzle tree - monkeys cannot climb this tree), a 20 million year old fossilized tree, an Italian-style garden bordering a clear pool, a vast variety of flowering bushes and plants in myriad hues (exotic and ornamental), fern house with a vast range of ferns and orchids, are some of the many highlights of this garden

The beautiful horse cart that stood at the entrance of the garden....

The infamous India Map....

I walked for nearly 2hours and i knew i had seen not more than 30% of the park, that is how vast this garden was..... There were people everywhere, some were wandering about, while others had plonked to rest their feet or grab some lunch. It resembled a picnic spot of sorts... Ofcourse not to forget the zillions who wanted their picture taken near every tree, pond and the various canopies... Was quite amusing....

 The Tree stump that was over 300 yrs old...

These flowers reminded me of  Master Shifu, the red panda from Kung Fu panda... 

 Hidden within was this quaint little building...

 A pretty flower in the Glass house situated right in the center
 The Three headed cactus as i call it..

As i was walking around the garden, a lady called me over asking if i would take a "picture" of her and her husband near a plant.. I obliged and did the same... She then went on to tell me how they were newly married and in Ooty for their honeymoon... A few minutes later, she stared at me as if waiting for a similar story from my end... 

"I am actually here on work, and had a free day, so came to visit the gardens"i replied.. The husband was stumped- i literally saw his mouth gape open... "You have come alone? How.. Why.... "... Managed to wiggle out of there after muttering a few sentences, which i could see had them puzzled... Luckily, the phone rang and i escaped the eyes of the newlyweds!! :D  

People and their opinions
Places and their beauty........

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Last year this time...Goa..

To awaken quite alone in a strange town is one of the pleasantest sensations in the world.” – Freya Stark
Oct 30th came bringing with it memories of the trip i had taken last year. Goa.. The accomodation was a gift from a dear friend, and the experience will remain with me lifelong!! It was quite a memorable trip, one that almost dint happen cos the friend who was to come along dropped out last minute.. But i went ahead, and had a whale of a time!! 
Lot of people gape when i tell them i went to Goa alone, and spent 5 fun days at the paradise.Infact, was talking about the trip to a friend on sunday, and this is how the conversation went..

Me:[Sipping on tea, staring into nowhere]

N[my friend]: where you lost madam?

M: Was thinking about my Goa trip, last year this time, rather today i was there

N: Cool, so you went with friends! [wasnt a question, he assumed :)]
Me: Nope, went alone

N: [Gaped.... Gasped... Gaped] Oh wow, how come alone, and that too to Goa? 

Me: Well, i had planned it with a friend, but last minute she dropped out due to work commitments, and i was in a dilemma on whether to go ahead or not. But finally, thanks to a little nudge from A, i did go ahead

N: How many days?

Me: 5 full fun days.

N: Wow, you are amazing.. never cease to amaze me 
[Calls his wife and narrates the whole- she went to Goa alone shocker :D] 

Me: I love travelling solo, and Goa has so much to offer
Does not matter if you have company or not, you can go around and enjoy the place
I saw so many beaches, temples, and the famous Fort Aguada
Also went on  a Dolphin Cruise, and did the water scooter thingy... Wanted to do parasailing, but was too crowded.... 

N & his wife: ooh, super.. We're yet to go to Goa as a couple...Have gone with friends..

N: Did you go to Titos? Tried Port wine ?

Me: I saw the place, but dint spend too much time there, it was an hour from the resort i stayed at. 

Oh,yes!! Not just Port wine ;o) ... and brought back some too... 

Did manage to spend quite some time at Curlys,a loungy place in Anjuna Beach... Also did some shopping at the flea market there 

And ofcourse the visit to Caliz,a memorable one!!

N: Cool, so when we plan, i think we will take pointers from you on where all to go :)

Since my trip, have given inputs, suggestions to so many friends!!! 
Hope to do more trips to Goa...Love the place!! 

Saturday, October 30, 2010

The Queen bath in Hampi

During my last day at Hampi, i wanted to visit the infamous "Royal Enclosures". As i stepped out of the car, all i saw a towering structure and scaffolding everywhere. Climbed on the small outer wall, and made my way into the campus. The sight that greeted me was overwhelming. 

It was the size of a football ground where the whole world could fit in. There were structures scattered through, some in good condition, while many were in ruins.Watching the scores of tourists rush in, make their way towards a structure towards the end , i too joined them and walked along, taking it all in.

 The stone gate structure that lay outside the Royal Enclosure

Crossing the Mahanavmi Dibba, (a 8-tiered platform where state functions and festivities were held) i came upon a long stone structure that was part of the irrigation system in Hampi.

This elevated channel  is meant for feeding water to the tank and is made of stone pieces 8 to 10 feet each joined by vertical props, also made of stone.. Curiosity got the better of me, and i went to the other side to the "Pushkarni"... 

Also called the Stepped Bath, or the Queen's bath, this is a stepped well designed for bathing. The water flows in through the stone channel into this tank.

Although i had seen a similar structure near the Vittala temple in Hampi and in Dwarasamudra- The Hulikere, this Pushkarni was just as fascinating. Giving us a glimpse of how Royal the lives of the Kings and Queens were, and the creativity and craftsmanship of the artisans, the temple tank still stands tall drowning us in its beauty....

One of the architecture marvels, the neatly arranged row of steps added to the beauty of the well.. We sat there for a while, till the Sun beat down on us forcing us to get back to the car and turn on the AC....

Thursday, October 28, 2010

[Skywatch Friday] Gotcha!

I call it "the loop in the sky"
A loop created by the Jasmine flower creeper  
A loop that seemed to catch the sky

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Monday, October 18, 2010

Tales unfold

As we rode  along lush greenery in Anegundi, our guide Virupaksha suddenly brought the autorickshaw to a halt, pointed to the left and told us "lets go explore some cave paintings".. Lakshmi and i looked at each other sceptically as we did not see any mountains or caves, and the sun was beating down with a vengeance. The auto driver and Virupaksha understood our apprehension and said "its just here, not far"

Virupaksha said -You see the fields, we walk through them, and then you see the tree there, just take a left and voila, you are there at the caves... 

It was only after we crossed the fields and came to the tree did we realise their idea of "its just here, not far" was a mini trek.. Stumbling upon boulders, we made our way to the top to see a vast open space filled with wild shrubs and bushes. Virupaksha and Lakshmi went ahead, and i followed them few paces behind till they finally stopped at a large boulder with a cavity in it. 

There were quite a few sketches on the rock, some looked like bulls, others resembling stick figures we doodle.

 On the neighboring rock, we saw a circle with multiple little circles, a ladder, waves, petals and strokes all around. 

Virupaksha gave us his interpretation of these, while recently Lakshmi discovered it was something entirely different while doing research for her article- Stories that rock art tell.

Here is a post by Lakshmi as well..

Looks like there is so much more than meets the eye when it comes to paintings and sculptures from our past...

Thursday, October 14, 2010

[Skywatch Friday] Blazing glory

Like fire
lighting up the sky
the clouds
scattered about

Like fire
adding a bit of spark
the clouds
liven up the skies

Like fire
blazing glory
the clouds
they add life and spice!! 

These were shot on my Blackberry few days ago from a moving car in Chennai, hence the blurred effect! :)

Thursday, October 7, 2010

[Skywatch Friday] The Sailor rests

Everytime i visit the Elliots beach, Besant Nagar, am drawn to the Karl Schmidt Memorial that stands alone near the ocean... The memorial seems to tell a different story at different times of the day... Curiosity got the better of me and i started digging, asking people on what this memorial was.... 

Discovered that the Schmidt Memorial at Elliots Beach is a memorial for Karl Schmidt, a Dutch Sailor who lost his life while rescuing a drowning swimmer.... 

Beautiful and majestic
Alone and forlorn
The memorial stands strong....
A shelter for many
A hideout for some
Perfect spot to watch the sunrise
Get a glimpse of the sunset
From across miles, 
The memorial catches my eye...

For more beautiful skies, visit Skywatch Friday

Have a lovely weekend all!! :-)