Archive for the ‘Trip’ Category

ஆங்கிலேய மண்ணில் கால்பதித்தேன் – Stepped into the English land.

Flying to United Kingdom through Dubai was an unique experience in the Airbus A380.  The Buckingham Palace at London was my first visit in this trip.

The Buckingham Palace

The Buckingham Palace

Shot this about 7:30 AM, was lucky enough to get the wild angle shot before the place is crowded with tourist. The sculpture in front of the palace is “Victoria Memorial” dedicated to Queen Victoria.

Missed the change of guard show, hopefully will get a chance to see it before I leave. 

 

 

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I stepped at Kasi…..

Stepped at Kasi

Varanasi – Kasi – Banaras – Anandhavanam, These four names refers to the same oldest living city, where it is assumed our sins are washed away by river ganges (Ganga). I got an invite from Umanath and for sure I didn’t want to miss this life time opportunity.

I stepped at Kasi, with so much of excitement and with my own imagination about the holy place as seen on Television, but all of wasn’t true. Never believe all you see on TV shows 🙂

A Scene from Ganga aarthi

Kasi, wherever you go, hawkers and brokers surround like swam of bees. Though you act smart, somehow you tend to be cheated. Beggars don’t accept coins, priest don’t give you prasad, if you don’t pay them.

So many duplicate babas roaming around, whom you can’t click without paying them. This good soul didn’t demand any money for clicking him

Saint at the Ghat

The famous small narrow streets of Varanasi was full of life, colors, at times bit scarey. Where ever you step you will see these two for sure. temple & garbage. They have built tiny tot temples where ever possible and in our country where ever you want you can throw garbage.

Streets of Kasi

It is a beggar's pride that he is not a thief

Kasi as seen from Ganga

My imagination about this place was there will dead bodies burning everywhere in kasi, but that wasn’t true. It is only at Harichandra ghat and Manikarnika ghat where they do these rituals.

A Scene from Harichandra ghat:

The END

The end or a new begining

A Scene from Manikarnika ghat:

Manikarnika Ghat

Busy streets round the clock

A scene from ganga arthi

Early morning at the river bank

These are the regular activities one can see on the banks of river Ganga. People take a dip in the river and fill there small vessel with the holy water for Lord Vishvanath and the localities getting ready for business with the make-up. There will be so many people around you dress liked saints. Its really hard to spot if they real of just roaming around for money.

One of our friend said he spotted an aghori, who hid his face with his hand when my friend wanted to click him. He said “give me money”, when my friend gave 5 rs, he replied what will I do with this 5 bucks.  He gave a 10 rupee note after which he was allowed to click but not more than two. he said “enough enough, how many you will click” 🙂 🙂

I was surprised on hearing this as these aghories will not be seen in common places during day time.

Morning routine

The next we saw the same so called aghori busy with his make-up session sitting next to this old man.

There are many misconceptions about Kasi, Hinduism & India. He is one good example for that. I was sitting on the banks of Ganga watching this guys, within minutes his appearance changed. He was given a mala and blessed by a brahmin sitting in the ghats.

Mark Antony (a) Mari Muthu

Below is another common scene from the holy place.

Faith! Hope!

Food was initially a problem for us, but after a lunch at Iyer’s Cafe. We became a regular visitors for all the days we stayed there.  For people who love to try new food and snacks, Kasi will be a great place 🙂 Round the clock you get yummy variety.

Hot!

My advice to any South Indian going to Kasi will be,  Lodging at Jaipuriya Bhavan, hotel where stayed, very close to the ganga, kasi vishwanathar temple and food at Iyer’s Cafe where you get the feel of home food at very minimal cost.

Streets active throughout the day

to be continued….

Kambala is an annual Buffalo Race held traditionally  in coastal regions of Karnataka, India. This season usually starts in November and lasts until March. About 45 races are being held anually every year. This started as a source of entertainment for ther farmers during off season which is still being continued every year as pride.

Welcome to Kambala

Kambala is traditionally a simple sport. The ‘track’ used for Kambala is a paddy field filled with slush. The contest generally takes place between two pairs of buffaloes, controlled by a whip-lashing farmer. In olden days, the winning pair of buffaloes was rewarded with coconuts and a bunch of plantains. However, Kambala today has become an organised,professional sport. People place massive bets on the buffaloes to win and one can witness more than 20,000 spectators in a well-organised Kambala.

An old Shiv temple in Puttur, Karnataka

We had a chance to be a part of the puttur kambla. Puttur is about 1 hour drive from Mangalore. We stayed in Managlore city and hire a cab to reach Puttur. I shouldn’t forget to quote this about manglore “Well organised city in India. I have seen till now”.

We went to Puttur a bit earlier to the start of the race. There were so many people from near by village coming in trucks with their buffloes to take part in that race.

Crowd entertainers

!!

The practise session started, the owners comes with their buffaloes for registration. An old man cheked the teeths of bulls, by which they catogrise them into senior or junior. Each team is allowed for 2-3 practise run.

Kambala committee member

Beware

Ready for our turn

Entering the race track

Just started

Practise session in progress

The owners hires a jockey for their bulls, the jockeys can run for different team. Howver some of the owners restrist them to their team alone.

Kambala rider refreshes after a practise session

Nothing but muscles

Taller and sharper

A junior team in practise session

Oh my god

I win - You lose

Bulls out of control while entering the race track

The main event started in the afternoon, where 2 team will compete at a time. Who ever finishes the 200 m track willed with water wins the race. This goes on for the entire night till the monday evening when the finals take place. people was buzzing like bees, It was like village festival crowed with 1000s of people.

Bulls went out of control and broke the median

The owner trying to bring them under control

Prasanna with the turban

The Kamabala committe members were happy to see us coming all the way from chennai just for this race. They presented us the red turban as a symbol of respect. Also gave us coupons for tea, snacks and lunch.

Red turban as a symbol of respect

Speed

Lunch and tea tokens for us

Getting ready to start

Waiting for the start

At the starting point

We fly

The urge to win

Thsi old man checks the bulls before they enter the race

Teeth being checked

Registration in process

Proud owner entering the race

Entry pass

Owners being gifted a shawl

Go go go

175 mts

Faster Faster

Their speed breaks the silence

Crowed at the finish point

Lost the race

Lolly

மதுரை – Maduari – `The Athens of the East`:

 

Madurai was always in my list of must visit places. Unfortunately this was very short trip to the Pandian dynasty couple of weeks back. Few clicks which I clicked on my visit.

 

The Athens of the East

Madurai, one among the ancient cities in India is situated in the banks of river Vaigai in Tamil Nadu. Madurai city, the capital of Pandya rulers is an important commercial and religious center till today and the history of Madurai dates back to 6th century BC.

The Guard

Madurai means sweetness. There is a puranic story of how the name was derived. Dhananjayan, a merchant found a Sivalinga in the forest of Kadamba Trees. He mentioned this to king Kula Sekhara Pandya. The king destroyed the forest, built a temple and established a city around it. As nector was found to drip near the Sivalinga its sweetness was taken as the basis for the derivation of the term Madura(m)

Madurai is one of the important cities in South India. The seventh largest city in Tamil Nadu, it is situated in the banks of river Vaigai. Endowed with a rich cultural heritage and glorious tradition, Madurai is grouped among the antique cities of the India.

The history of Madurai dates back to 6th century B.C. During that period, the city was the much-acclaimed capital of the Pandya kings. Then, it functioned as an important commercial center of South India. It held sway over many small towns in the South.

Temples, monuments and ancient cultural wonders abound in Madurai. It is even called `The Athens of the East`. Madurai`s Meenakshi Sundareswarar Temple is one of the greatest architectural marvels of India. Built by Pandya King `Kulasekara` and reconstructed later by Ruler Thirumalai Nayak, the temple has patronized literature, art, music and dance ever since its inception. The entire city is built around the Meenakshi Amman temple. Madurai Meenakshi temple attracts six thousand visitors a day.

ஆயிரம் கால் மண்டபம் –  Thousand Pillar Hall :

The “Aayiram Kaal Mandapam” or Thousand Pillar Hall actually contains only 985 carved pillars. The hall was built by Ariyanatha Mudaliar in 1569 and it is a structure where the engineering skill and artistic vision are blended.[21] Ariyanatha Mudaliar was the prime minister and general of Viswanatha Nayak. Each pillar in the hall is a carved monument of the Dravidian sculpture. There is a Temple Art Museum in the hall where icons, photographs, drawings, and other exhibits of the 1200 years old history of the temple is displayed.

Sculptures in the pillars of Thousand Pillar Hall:

Madurai is also known as “Thunganagaram”, city which doesnt sleeps. The entire road of wholesale onion market is open round the clock. Its said only at Madurai, one can get hot Idli sambar even at 1 am at mid-night.

I will not do justice to this post, if I don’t mention about Jigarthanda, the Indian Milkshake. wowwww best of the best I have had before and Briyani we had at Amsavalli Bhavan, Melpet. They are mouth watering…….. Thanks a tonne to my friend to guided me to Amsavalli Bhavan  🙂

Never miss these two If you haapen to be at the Pandias.

Few of my works from Madurai:

Hope

Door

Textured

Faith

Nayakar Mahal

Hills of Gingee – a Pano
Krishnagiri
Throne on the Krishnagiri , Gingee

We had a plan to conquer the Gingee Fort for a long time and it happened today. We friends started from Chennai around 06:30 am by car. The drive was very much comfortable as most of it was on the NH45, Trichy Highway until tindivanam. After crossing tindivanam we stoped at a road side dhaba, where we had a worst breakfast. Lesson 1, never stop for food, where the public buses halt for break. Find other less crowded place where they serve yummy south Indian food.

Walk way from the parking

We reached there around 8:30am, parked our car. The entry fee was 5 rupees and the person took 5 more for our each camera (for which he didn’t give us any receipt). This parking and entry ticket can be used in all the places of Gingee. Here we did a big mistake unknowingly which disappointed us on the return. We parked our car by the Rani Fort and started clicking as we climbed the small hill. Its was almost 02:00 pm while we reached the base. Its wasn’t maintained and everything ever there were damaged. Then we proceeded towards Raja Fort which is about a Kilometer away, to my surprise this was maintained very neat and clean with all sorts of sign boards around. Unfortunately it was almost 02:30 pm and one of our friend had to be at Chennai by 5 pm for his official work. So we decided not to climb the second fort. Clicked few portraits of ourself, played with lights in the dark granaries at the base of Raja Fort and returned half heart.

Rajagiri – Raja Fort, a view form base of Rani Fort

Lesson 2: First make a visit to Raja Fort if you happen to be at Gingee later if you have time, think about the Rani Fort.

About the place:
Gingee Fort, a must visit tourist spot also known as Chenji or Jinji in Tamil Nadu, It lies in Villupuram District about 160 kilometres, Chennai and close Pondicherry.  Chhatrapati Shivaji ranked it as the “most impregnable fortress in India” and it was also called as “Troy of the East” by the British. At present this is being maintained by Archaeological Survey of India.

Gingee Fort

The actual name of Gingee is ‘Sengiri’ meaning perhaps the “Red Hill” in Tamil that has got corrupted into Gingee. The Fort complex is on three hillocks. In fact all the three hills together constitute a fort complex, yet each hill contains a separate and self-contained fort. The first hill, where the main fort is, is called Rajagiri or the Raja fort and the others were called “Krishnagiri” or the Rani fort and  “chettikulam”. 

Stairs of Krishnagiri
Guard Room on the way.
Troy of the East

Watch room

 
These hills were connected by walls enclosing an area of 7 square kilometres. It was built at a height of 800 feet (240 m), and protected by a 80 feet (24 m) wide moat.
Walls of the Fort

There exist two main gates on the North and East of the fort namely, The Arcot or Delhi gate and the Pondicherry gate respectively.

Structures on Krishnagiri

As seen from top of Krishnagiri

The rajagiri (rajafort) citadel is the highest of all three, which is about 800 feet and Krishnagiri is the smaller hill. The Rajagiri has an eight-storeyed Kalyana Mahal (marriage hall), granaries, Magazine, prison cells, a military gymnasium and a temple dedicated to its presiding Hindu goddess called Chenjiamman. The fortifications contain a sacred pond known as Aanaikulam.

Krishnagiri and Kalyana Mahal

Kalyana Mahal

Behind the Kalyana Mahal is the series of cells which served as a Barracks and Stables.

Stables at the base

History says, the original fort was founded by the Kone Chief of Gingee and the Rajagiri was fortified by Ananda kone in A.D 1200 and Krishnagiri by Krishna Kone in A.D 1240, another ruler of Gingee. Rest of the structures and walls were erected by successive dynasties who ruled later – Vijayanagar, Naiks, Marathas, Moghuls, Nawabs followed by the French and the English.

Mandapam

Present condition of Gingee:

The Raja Fort has been maintained very neat and clean, but for some reason the Rani Fort or the Krishnagiri isn’t maintained at all which is very disappointing. 

Getting there:
It’s about 2-3 hours drive from Chennai, It’s on the way to famous temple spot – Thiruvannamalai, where Arunachaleswarar Temple is situated.  So frequency of buses from Chennai CMBT is more. every 30 mins or so a bus would start and all buses which goes to Thiruvannamalai, will halt at Gingee.

Place of Visit near:

Arunachaleswarar Temple, Thiruvannamalai

Play with lights, thanks to Udhayan

Love!

Hope we will visit this place again and complete my blog with clicks and facts I have missed out now.

This offer came to me all of a sudden, There was last minute drop out in my friend’s outing plan and I made use of the chance. Chennai to my friend’s home at Tutucorin and visiting places in and around.

Chennai to kovilpatti by Guruvayur Express, I always hate this so-called express. It can be renamed as passenger. Took a bus from kovil patti to tutucorin and it was almost 10PM when we reached home.

Started to Papanasam next day morning. It’s almost 4 hrs drive. Breakfast on the way and reached around noon. We were in the neighbouring district – Thirunelveli.

It’s about 2000+ m from sea level on a hilly region, Our first stop was at Agasthiyar falls. Pathaneer to start off with, the sort of juice extracted from the palm tree in summer.

Pathaneer on a hot summer day

Agasthiar Falls

This falls wasn’t a very big one, it had small branches on the other sides, which we managed to reach climbing small boulders. Lots of school children and localites spending their week end. One best thing about this place is vendors there have been banned to use plastic carry bags, but still people who visit pollute the place.

Branches near to the main falls

What a pleasure when you stand under the down pouring water.

These local terrorist grab eatables from the visitor, You can never escape from them.

Local terrorist

Our next stop was at the Kariyar Dam, which is about 30-45 minutes drive up the hill. This is a reserve forest, spread across a massive area marked as a reserve for tiger rehabilitation programme. At the check post you need to pay Rs 15/per individual, car and camera.

This official peeped into our car for inspection 🙂

At the checkpost

Vehicles aren’t allowed after a point, got to walk about 1.5 km, which was bit steep. It was almost 4 pm, all of us were hungry without lunch, so thought of taking some snacks with us. Forest officer seeing this shouted at us… “If you take this up, our people with collect it from you”. I thought eatables aren’t allowed inside like the ZOO in Chennai. Then he added up saying with a smile, if you harm them you will pay a fine of 25000.

Then realised he is talking about the local terrorist. so decided to leave the bag in our car. By the time my friend’s mom could reach the car, she lost 2 chips packets.

Walk for 15 min from car parking - Kariyar Dam

This dam is being used for generating hydro-electric power and then using for irrigating and other purposes. This spot is being maintained by Tamil Nadu Electricity Board and not Tamil Nadu Tourism.

The main office of TNEB, hydro power station. Photo prohibited, people shouted when i pointed my camera against this building. I somehow managed to get one 🙂

TNEB hydro power station

Couldn’t figure our why it mentioned as Thambraparni Dam 1938-1943, Probably it was the old name. The river which starts from here is still being called as “Thamaraparani”.

Talking to a guard, I came to know this was constructed during british period and not maintained by TNEB.

You got a take a motor boat which cost Rs 20/head, need to wait until the boat is filled with it capacity of 15 or you can hire it completely for Rs. 300.

Need to get down about 50-100 meters down as the water level as decreased.

I have been boating very frequently past few months, but this one was something very different. This boat will take you to the other side of dam to Vanateertham Falls and it’s not possible to go by walk.

Boating and water outlet at the dam

Getting down at the other side of dam, again need to climb a bit steep rocks. These Rocks aren’t usually visible and will be covered full with water ever the place from where I shot this.

Other side of Dam

 

Walking about 15-20 mins from the boat, a big falls called vanateertham falls.

Vanateertham Falls

Totally exhausted after a bath at falls, back to boat and entry of dam. Luckily we got a share auto from the Dam till car parking avoiding 15 mins walk.

Back to tutucorin, on the way back, Yummy yummy egg parota and jigarthanda. If you havent tasted “jigarthanda” please do when you get a chance. In Chennai you get it in all outlet of Murugan Idli Shop.
Probably it can be termed as “Indian Falluda”

Macroons:
I knew tutucorin is famous for its harbour, it adds a huge income in overseas trade. It’s also well known for “Dry Fish” its cheap and good.

Apart from these, Tutucorin is also famous for “Macroons”, wow wow wow.. it just melts in mouth. the one we get in our super markets sucks. My friend said it’s quite costly, but didn’t knew it was costlier than home-made chocolates, Yes, it cost Rs 500 per kilo. But trust me.. worth it 🙂

It needs to be stored in an air tight container, if not it becomes like cotton candy. Never miss a tutucorin dry fish and macroons if you get a chance.

Getting to Papanasam from Chennai:
Board a train from Chennai Egmore to Thirunelveli, you get frequent buses from there to Amba Samudram, from Amba Samudram hiring a car will be fine to go up the hill and visit places near by, as there are only 2 buses which run in this route.

Few of my work from this trip:

Little Lady drying her hair

Success doesnt come without hurdles, its your choice to move ahead or stay back

Faithful Friends

Good Or Bad, each journey has a reason!

Its Summerrr

This happened to be my first photo trip with Photologic after joining Logica.  Wow this happened to be an unforgettable trip I have been so far. This write-up is for people who thought of joining us but couldn’t make it up.

Our stylish Chevy beat starting from Guindy, early morning on Saturday, escaping city traffic and before the sun could shed its love on us.  It was a pleasant and smooth drive through the East Coast Road. Stopped in Pondy for breakfast @ Royal Restaurant, OMG one masala dosa was costlier than a large vodka J. We started again and reached the City of Dance – Chidambaram.

Though it was difficult to get a room, we managed to get a pretty decent  one at last. After refreshing and lunch, the actually adventure begins

Pichavaram is home to the second largest Mangrove forest in the world, I never knew this before J it was more than what I expected. We hired a boat, Sampath, the rower, who accompanied us was very much familiar with the botanical name of different species there, which was all greek and Latin for us. Hiring a motor boat is on not great excitement, as it doesn’t go deep inside the forest. So it’s always better to take a normal hand rowing one.  We came to know lot many movies were shot in this palce including the opening song of “Dasavatharam”. For us it was like a crocodile hunting mission which we usually see in animal planet J.  Fully covered with trees on either sides, hardly sunlight peeps inside and a small way through which only one small ferry could make it.

(Sampath, man who accompanied us and Prasanna)Friend Umanath in Action

We were back to the shore around 5 PM. We also shot few people weeding and villagers passing by. Hot bajies  and tea at a road side shop.  Very much yummy indeed 🙂

 Now back to Chidambaram, Nataraja (Shiva) temple. The uniqueness of this one is  it depicts the Lord Shiva as the Lord of the dance Bharatanatyam and is one of the few temples where Shiva is represented by an anthropomorphic murthi rather than the classic, anionic lingam. After darshan, though we were tired we took few night shot at the temple. Back to room after a simple veggie dinner near the temple.

As per plan we are leave pondy next day morning, a sudden change in  plan, thanks a tonne to google maps and Prasanna, he found there is a place nearby called “PORTO NOVO” port of Portuguese once.  We departed to Porto Novo, where a big surprise awaiting for us.

all set for the water ride

 We clicked few shots of sun rise and people around the fishing harbor. Umanath checked if we could take a ferry and go to the nearby island. Though I stopped him initially I did node my head and didn’t want to miss the adventure of riding in a boat into the sea J. Millions of thanks, Uma. U rock J. Couple of fisher man took us in their ferry, it was awesome and bit scary too. They took us bit away from the shore where few bigger fishing boats were anchored, then to a small island nearby. It was awesome. The feel was like a desert surrounded by water everywhere around.

At the island, Porto Novo

Prasanna in Action

Back to the shore after almost one and half hours, the place which was totally deserted was fully crowded by the time we came back to the shore, it was a local wholesale fish market, similar to the one at kasimedu @ Chennai. Everyone was very much hungry and all we need was only food. Stopped for an heavy breakfast in a dhaba along Chidambaram-Pondicherry highway.  We all ate so much probably our’s might have been the highest bill for him the whole day 🙂

Selvam & his friend, who drove us to the island

We still had some more energy left over for the saraku city (Pondy). Drove straight to Auroville a silent peaceful place with citizens of the world all around. Spending few hours there started our trip back to Chennai. We were much more excited on seeing a petrol pump reading petrol @ 56rs/ lit. We didn’t wana miss this bumper offer.

 Again an awesome lunch in ECR dabha, with yummy yummy fish. Stopped at muttukadu for a water scooter ride, the saddest part was we aren’t allowed to ride the scooter. Played with Umanath’s 70-300 lens while they were enjoying the scooter ride. The light was too harsh so could manage only to get a average picture of them.

@ Muttukadu

Finally our wk end came to an end at tiruvanmiyur. Overall it was an amazing extraordinary trip with team PhotoLogic.  Thank you so much team.

Only 2 in action, spot it!!

 Few of my works from the trip:

What does the world got for you!


You can't row a boat in two directions at the same time

From the pirates deck

A man's children and his garden both reflect the amount of weeding done during the growing season ~ Author Unknown

 

மிட்டாய் மிட்டாய் பஞ்சுமிட்டாய்

Seems like you choose your own path, but its already fixed by someone up there - Own Composition