Sunday, May 01, 2016

Delhi Metro, Chandni Chowk and Birla Temple

We wanted to experience the Delhi Metro while exploring the city. So, boarded the metro train from Kalkaji to Chandi Chowk, one of the busiest business places in the national capital. We strolled down the road to spot Gowri Shankar Temple. At the end of the road, we could see the Red Fort, for which the entry was closed for the day. It was already late in the evening and we had to jot down the plan to visit other tourist attraction before our flight to Bengaluru in the afternoon.
Kalkaji Metro Station. Delhi
Kalkaji Metro Station. Delhi
We hired a taxi from there, who would drop us to the hotel and would drive us through Sri Lakshi Narayan Temple(Birla Mandir) and India Gate.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Qutub Minar and Iron Pillar of Delhi

While coming back from Varanasi to Bengaluru, we flew to Delhi and covered prominent landmarks of the national capital. The trip was jam packed as we had a day's time before we our departure to Bengaluru the next day.
Qutub Minar, Delhi
Qutub Minar, Delhi
Qutub Minar : Our first stop was at Qutub Minar. 75.1 meter high monument was visible from a great distance. Even before we entered the Qutub complex, we had a glimpse of it from the bus we were travelling. It was dusk when we reached the place. Nicely paved path amidst green lawns, lead us to the UNESCO world heritage site.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

New Kashi Vishwanath Temple at Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi

Next day morning, we made a plan to visit Banaras Hindu University(BHU). It was exciting to visit BHU as we had read about it in history textbooks. Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya and Dr. Annie Besant were behind the establishment of one of the top residential universities in India.
Entrance of Banaras Hindu University or Kashi Hindu Vishwavidyalay. Varanasi
Entrance of Banaras Hindu University or Kashi Hindu Vishwavidyalay. Varanasi

Saturday, April 09, 2016

Ganga Aarti - A Visual Spectacle at Varanasi

The Worship of Rivers : In Temples in India, Aarti is offered to the presiding deity. Aarti, a ritual rooted in Vedic culture is a pooja(worship) to the image/statue of the deities. But have you ever observed the worshiping of a river? In Karnataka, I have seen the river Kaveri being worshiped in Talakaveri. It is worshiped there in a small shrine. Thus, worshiping of natural forces is one of the central aspects of Sanatana Dharma.

Ganga, The Eternal River : Ganga, the 2,525 km long river is worshiped throughout its course, especially at important pilgrimage centers in northern part of India. I had witnessed Ganga Aarti for the first time couple of days ago in Prayag. Ganga Aarti, a visual spectacle, is not to be missed if you are travelling along the course of river Ganga. Waving of light emanating from the multi wick brass lamps with rhythmic ringing of bells and chants forms one of the spectacular shows on earth!
Ganga Aarti at Dashashwamedh Ghat, Varanasi
Ganga Aarti at Dashashwamedh Ghat, Varanasi
Aarti at Dashashwamedh Ghat : Ganga Aarti is performed at two sites in Dashshwamedh Ghat simultaneously. Soon after Ganga Snan, we were near one of the sites of performance. Usually Aarti is performed at the ghat near the steps leading to the river Ganga. As the river had flooded the shores, alternate arrangements were made.

Monday, April 04, 2016

Ganga Snan - Taking A Dip In The River Ganga

Back in Varanasi : We came back to Varanasi after visiting Sarnath on that day. River Ganga (or Ganges) had flooded the ghats(shores), with some temples submerged in Dashashwamedh Ghat. Locals told us that no one would be allowed to take a dip in the holy river. We came to know the seriousness of what they said only when we arrived at the shore near the Dashashwamedh Ghat. Boats made the barricade for anyone venturing the act and there was more to it – the Jal Police! Jal Police or water police – I was hearing it for the first time in my life. Jal police from UP Government was keeping an eye on the adventurers. On the other hand, three among us were keen to take a dip. I was hesitant after reading about the polluted water in the river. You can also see the Clean Ganga posters all over Varanasi!

Saturday, April 02, 2016

Sri Digambar Jain Temple, Simhapuri, Sarnath

Sri Digambar Jain Temple at Sarnath is of historical significance. It is at this place, which is also called Simhapuri, 11th Tirthankara of Jainism, Shreyansnath was born in the Ikshvaku dynasty. Yes, Lord Ram of Ramayana was also born in Ikshvaku dynasty.
Sri Digambar Jain Temple, Simhapuri, Sarnath
Sri Digambar Jain Temple, Simhapuri, Sarnath
Till we reached Saranth, I was assuming it to be a Buddhist site. But after seeing the Jain Temple, I thought it must be a Jain pilgrimage center too. But the temple was constructed in the 19th century in 1824. Jain Temples are always abode of peace, symbolic of the non-violent religion. In fact, Thousand Pillar Jain temple in Moodabidri near Mangalore is one of my favorite places to unwind. Just sitting in the temple corridor relaxes the mind!

Monday, March 28, 2016

Trip to serene Sarnath, A Buddhist Site

I believe not many are aware that Sarnath, the place where Gautama Buddha gave his first sermon is very close to Varanasi. Neither we were aware of this, when we visited Varanasi in August 2013. We came to know that Sarnath is just 13 km away, when we were returning back to our hotel after visiting Kashi Vishwanath Temple in the morning. Ganga Aarti, a must watch spectacle in Varanasi was later in the evening. So, we made a quick decision to visit Sarnath, with a resolve to come back before Ganga Aarti at Dashashwamedh Ghat at 6 pm!

Tranquility : We hired the same auto rickshaw to drop us to Sarnath. First impression of Sarnath was of a serene place, quite a contrast to chaotic Varanasi! Only thing which was preventing us from enjoying the tranquility of the place was the scorching heat! Giant statue of standing Buddha caught our attention immediately. It was the statue of Buddha at the Thai Temple in Sarnath.
Archaeological Museum(ASI Museum), Sarnath
Archaeological Museum(ASI Museum), Sarnath

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Visiting Kashi Vishwanath Temple, Varanasi

'No leather items inside the temple including belt and wallet. Of course, no cameras and cell phones' - hotel staff had instructed us before visiting the Kashi Vishwanath Temple in Varanasi(also called Banaras or Benares). So, I don’t have any photos of the temple, clicked by me. Just outside the hotel we stayed, we enquired a taxi guy to drop us to the Kashi temple. But the rent he said would charge was too high – Rs.400 for a journey of 5 kms and the year was 2013. We walked ahead to catch an auto rickshaw. The driver agreed to take us to the temple and drop us back to the hotel for Rs.200.

Getting Inside The Temple :- I was expecting a spectacular entrance to one of the most visited Hindu temples in the world. But when the auto guy dropped us in front of a petty shop, I was totally taken aback. He instructed us to go through the narrow alley passing through the row of shops and told to get hold of any Pandit(priest), who will get the Darshan(glimpse of the sanctum of the temple) done quickly! We followed his instructions to reach the entrance, which looked like of a small shrine. We removed our footwear and kept inside a shop nearby. Shop keeper asked us whether we wanted prashad(or prasada/prasadam in south India) to offer and milk for abhishek(or abhishekam) to Lord Vishwanath. We were surprised as in most south Indian temples, devotees are offered prasadam from the temple after darshan. Also, if we pay for the seva, prasadam will be provided at the temple itself. But it was different here, explained the shop keeper. We bought the prashad and milk for abhishek. After the security check, we were let inside the temple.

Kiragoorina Gayyaligalu Movie Review

Tejaswi - When I started reading Poornachandra Tejaswi's works few years ago, first culture shock to me was the use of cuss words. I felt like blasphemy of the holy literary space! I was about to stop reading. But then I thought something greater must be in store because Tejaswi has a big fan following! To this day, I have not regretted my decision and I remain one of staunch fans of Kuvempu's son! In the movie, cuss words have been reduced drastically not because they have been used sparingly. The censor board has already heard them and muted them for general public. This certainly has impacted the rhythm of the movie! Ironically, you can hear worst(or best!!) of cuss words in your neighborhood in Bengaluru during fights involving owner and tenant or even during minor accidents on road!

What is it about? Kiragoorina Gayyaligalu is a novella by Tejaswi, which brilliantly depicts the life of people of Malnad region with high dose of humor! Rustic women of Kiragooru have to deal with a lot of issues due to drunkard husbands and village politics and sometimes, they quarrel among themselves! In spite of these problems, they are united. They continue to strive and manage the household.  How these women get rid of their life's problems form the crux of the story. Caste politics in Kiragooru mimics the politics in Vidhana Soudha, where fortunes are made or broken solely because of caste equations. Tejaswi had written the story more than two decades ago. So, I also felt that the film adaption could have made few changes in the story to depict the latest scenario.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Simple Aag Innondh Love Story Review

Crisp dialogues, double entendre and parodies of popular ads/movie scenes continue to be the key ingredients in Suni's latest offering Simple Aag Innondh Love Story too! Praveen and Meghana Gaonkar's chemistry recreates the magic Rakshit Shetty and Shwetha Srivatsav did three years ago in Simple Aag Ondh Love Story. More importantly, the movie makes us laugh our heart out just like its prequel!

What's the film about : It is a road movie, where the lead characters fall in love through the journey! Never mind the story, because one should never look for it either Suni's Simple Love Story series or Yogaraj Bhat's recent films. Because they are for the Whatsapp generation - i.e You should be able to message the story in a single line. But for the dialogues, it is like a Whatsapp group conversation - pouring non-stop from everyone and if you miss one, you cannot follow the conversation!

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