Sunday, December 25, 2011

Video of the Vitthala temple complex at Hampi, Karnataka

I am sharing the video that I captured at the Vitthala temple complex at Hampi, Karnataka, India. It is really quite an amateurish video but kind of gives you an idea about the temple comlplex. And again this does not do justice to the amazing beauty of this temple.


video

Vitthala Temple, Hampi, Karnataka

In continuation with my earlier post on Hampi, here is another beautiful temple structure.
Vitthala temple, Hampi Aerial view of the main
temple complex
Vitthala temple is one of the most beautiful structures in Hampi. I have tried to capture a video of the temple complex.I will upload the Vitthala temple complex video too. The main temple is dedicated to Vishnu and therefore the name Vitthala. The stone chariot is amazing. I am sharing some pictures of the Vitthala temple.


Main temple, Vitthala, Hampi
Stone Chariot, Vitthala temple, Hampi


Carvings on the walls of the temple

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Hampi; the ancient capital city of Vijayanagra Empire, the City of Victory

An ariel view of the Virupaksha temple,
Hampi
I just got back from a trip to Hampi. It is a visual treat and leaves you awestruck. A must do if you like medieval Indian architecture.

We hired a car from Bangalore; It took us around 7 hours to reach Hospet. Hampi is another 12 kms from Hospet. We stayed in hotel Malligi in Hospet.It is around 335 kms from Bangalore.There are KSTDC overnight bus services to Hospet and overnight trains as well.If your hotel is in Hospet, you can hire an autorikshaw or taxi from Hospet to Hampi.You can also choose to stay in Hampi.If you can ride a bike, you have to option of renting one as well.

Rock cut images at Hampi
Hampi is said to be the mythical Kishkindha-Kshetra from Ramayana.Rama took shelter in Malyavanta hill when Hanuman went in search of Sita. This is where Sugriva and Hanuman lived. It is believed that the Anjanadri Hill temple is the birth place of Hanuman.


Spread across an area of 26 sq kms; Hampi was the capital of Vijayanagara empire.It is said that the kings of Vijayanagara found Hampi very suitable as a kingdom because of the natural advantages like fertile soil, river Tungabhadra, and hills and massive boulders on either side offering natural protection to the kingdom. The Vijayanagara empire flourished for two centuries.This region's history dates back to third century BC, Emperor Ashoka's rock Edicts found in this region suggests that this area was under the Mauryan dynasty.

If you wish to do Hampi, you could consider visiting during Hampi festival that happens sometime in January end. That's when you can see the monuments at night as well. It must be glorious. There are over 40 monuments that you can see at Hampi. There are monuments that are religious, for the general public, and for military purposes as well. I recommend staying in Hampi if you wish to cover all. There is a travelers lodge in Hampi which provides decent accommodation.

In my next few posts, I will share the pictures of the various monument in Hampi. The pictures do not do justice to these precious, awe inspiring monuments. I really-really wonder how people could create such beautiful structures.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Black Friday for Kolkata

Kolkata woke up to a news that was so horrifying, so depressing that we wished something would take away the ugly truth from us.

What happens when the place that you take refuge in, turns out to be the cause of your death? So many people lost their lives today at AMRI hospital, Dhakuri. Not one, not two...the count is eightly so far...
Can we offer any solace to the relatives and near and dear ones of the patients and the staff who lost their lives today?

I guess we will talk about it for a day or two, maybe a week and then get on with our lives as usual. I hope not.

I hope this wake up call, for the officials of Kolkata city, works as a catalyst to ensure that hospitals remain a safe place for people to be. Officials should ensure that Hospitals comply to safety norms; after all hospitals are suppossed to be the curing zone and not the harbinger of death.

For more on this incident: http://in.news.yahoo.com/fire-safety-alert-amri-did-not-bother-215631786.html

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Snake park, Kolkata

Some time back we visited the Calcutta Snake Park. I am not so fond of snakes but they do fascinate me; so when my husband and cousin (both of them love snakes) suggested that they wanted to check out the snake park, I was hesitant but I gave in.

It is round 10 kms away from the airport. It took us over an hour to reach our destination; we were travelling from South Kolkata. This place is easily accessible by bus and train as well. There is an entry ticket for the park.

I did not think I would have such a great time there, but I did. Not only does the park have snakes, it has species of lizards, crocodiles, and birds too. It area in and around the snake park is green and peaceful.

Some of the snakes we saw were-
Cobras, Kraits, Vipers, Rat snakes, Common water snakes, Green vine snake, Water python, and many more species of snakes. It was quite a zoology refresher course for me. Time just flew. I am happy I made that trip. It has somehow made me less afraid of snakes :)

You can find more details about the snake park at Madhyamgram, kolkata at the below mentioned site- http://www.dipakmitra.net/cnp_prkanmlsactvts.htm

Sharing some snaps from the trip-





Snake park, Kolkata

Sunday, November 27, 2011

My Ipod and Me

It started the day when I wanted to buy a mp3 player that would have all the music I need. I was looking for device or player that will contain a lot and lots of music so that I can listen to any kind of music whenever I want. I was researching various options on high end mp3 players. One of my colleagues convinced me about getting an Ipod instead of a mp3 player. I was not convinced why I needed to pay so much more, after all it would serve the same purpose, right?

Of course the Ipod model that he convinced me about was for a model with a lot of storage space... but it took me ages to get convinced. He convinced me to a great extent, I changed some of my opinions...I realized that you can do so much more with an Ipod;  a whole lot of stuff makes it quite the unique player.

That was then almost two years back...Now I am an Ipod addict. I recently bought an ipod dock, and believe me that really makes listening to my favourite songs a treat. My Ipod has now become one of my prized possessions.

The only thorn in this relationship has been: When I wish to add to my collection.Something just does not work out. Each time I have had to format my ipod, get an updated version of itunes downloaded, in order for the itunes to recognize the Ipod!

My Ipod was almost hospitalized, it went into coma and it looked like i had lost my Ipod for good. I consulted online doctors, offline doctors, and then finally, the ipod responded to one of the formatting treatments. Looking back, I think I experimented too much with my Ipod. The first time I uploaded songs on to my Ipod was from another laptop. Things were fine; till I tried to sync it with my laptop...all hell broke loose then!

I think I know where I went wrong; I tried to sync it with other laptops and each time perhaps because of a different version of itunes there was some trouble getting the files onboard. God only knows, how many times, I have lost all songs, had to format my ipod and so on and so for. And all this time my Ipod was trying to tell me...hey can't you get it, I am your Ipod why don't you just keep me with you, stop this syncing with others! You are hurting me!

Hmm... I have learnt it the hard way...after all because of the kind of features that Ipod comes with,it is not the easiest of devises to handle. Or let’s just say I am still learning to be in "sync" with my ipod.I guess I will get there sooner or later. I am still learning. But I do know that I have to protect me and my Ipod from any more heartbreak. We have had to go through a lot in this short time together...can't carry on this way.

Today I am all set to add lots more music to my Ipod. Let’s hope this time things will go smoothly. Our relationship has gone through highs and lows, and I now I wish to focus on a steady relationship, once and for all. Come on Ipod let’s make music together that lasts forever. We have to get it right this time.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Sunderbans, West Bengal, India

I am posting some random pictures from my trip to Sunderbans last year. This was one excellent trip. This was my first visit to Sunderbans and I spotted a tiger!

Kingfisher at Sunderbans




Pugmarks

My first glimpse of the tiger at Sunderbans national park



I like this picture

Cute! eyeing my snacks
 
Here is a link to the Sunderban tiger video that we captured. Hope you like it.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Big Piano, FAO Schwarz, New York City

During my visit to New York city earlier this year, I went into the "FAO Schwarz" toy store. This toy store, among other things, has on display the "Big Piano" or the walking piano.

I have never seen anything like this before. I saw some performances on the big Piano by professionals and was hugely impressed.

Here is a short video clip of one such performance. Hope you enjoy it too!

Check out more about the Big Piano.


video

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Bad hair days always make me cry

I have always wished for beautiful, thick, long, soft and silky hair.
I envy people who have lovely hair.My hair is dry, rough, and has a mind of its own. It is so not manageable! And to top it all I do not have the time to go through elaborate treatments in beauty parlours.

I have tried wearing my hair short, long, I have tried different shampoos, conditioners etc...but it has always remained as obstinate as ever! So much so that whenever I go for a haircut, the hairdresser starts commenting on how dry my hair is, how lifeless (as if I need a reminder!)... That I need a hair masque treatment...etc...

Going out for a formal get together is a nightmare 'cause I do not know what to do with my crowning glory :( I have to tie it, if i leave it open it makes a nuisance of itself and I end up looking like a joker.

Sometime back I saw an ad from dove about a free package of shampoo + other stuff on Indiblogger. Well, I registered for a free package, I did not have anything to lose i thought to myself, except perhaps a few more strands of hair :(

I received the package within 10 days! Nicely packed, there were four for containers in it. A shampoo, a conditioner, a leave on conditioner, a hair masque (wow! i said to myself, i can try out the masque part myself now)

I have been using Dove shampoo and conditioners for the last two weeks and something has changed. There is certainly a big difference in how my hair feels. It feels soft, and more manageable. I usually do not believe in most advertisements ‘cause they are all a bit hyped, but this was something really!

I know for sure because when I went to the parlour to get my hair trimmed, the lady who usually complains about my hair...said...your hair feels nice and soft, did you get that masque done?

Wow! That was my final test. Thanks Dove.

The change has not happened overnight; within the first week of using it, I noticed that my hair felt a bit diffrent. Now that I have been using it for a couple of weeks; I can tell the difference, it is softer and very manageable. I leave my hair open more often now 'cause it kind of listens to me. Lets just say dove has helped me tame it.

And what's more I have started loving my hair; I hope this love lasts forever! I guess I have to shower it with a lot of love and dove everyday! (Pun intended)

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Durga Idols in Golf Green and Jadavpur, Kolkata 2011

Madhubani Durga Image
at Golf Green, Kolkata
I know...this can be a bit boring...but really, I can't stop obsessing over these beautiful creations.

Every pandal is unique and i happen to visit only a fraction of Durga puja pandals this year (2011). I know for sure that north Kolkata also came up with a lot of beautiful, creative Durga idols and pandals.

It keeps getting better and better every year. Every time I visit these puja pandals, I wonder what will they think of next year. Can they better this? And sure enough, the organizers and the artists think of and come up with unique concepts the next year too.Amazing! Durga puja is not only a popular bengali festival it also happens to be Kolkata's creative best period. You should try visitng Kolkata during this time. Yes, it is crowded and hot too but this is a one time experience.This kind of art is rare and is a treat to the eyes.

Durga pandal based
on Madhubani
art in Golf Green
Courtyard of the
pandal


Madhubani paintings
on the walls
of the pandal
Inside the Madhubani
Durga pandal


A Birbhum Terracotta
style pandal
temple


Goddess Durga
idol



An ethnic Durga
pandal
in Jadavpur
Intricate work
on the walls

Close up of
the work

Goddess Durga



Durga puja pandal
in Jadavpur

Durga idol

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Where are you winter?

Usually October brings with it a slight nip in the air...it is such a welcome change after the ever so long, never ending summers.

But what is this?

Forget about the nip in the air it feels like we are going back to beginning of summers...it is as hot and humid as May! I have been praying to weather God to have mercy on us. I think weather God heard me, yesterday was a welcome change ...it rained. Yes!

We are all hoping this means that finally winter will set in.

Can't wait for winter...in Kolkata winter is over even before they start. Seriously, the pleasant weather lasts barely for two months. These precious two months therefore have to utilized optimally. We pack these two months with long drives, picnics, get-togethers, and whatever can be fitted in.

In Kolkata almost all important fairs happen during these two months. It is a lot of fun to move from one stall to another, shop around, sipping hot tea accompanied with freshly fried samosas from the numerous food stalls. I usually end up eating more than buying. Can't help it 'cause winter does something to my appetite, especially when I see crisp jalebis being fried, just can't stop myself. Ooh! can't wait for winter.

I can't wait to try out my new winter jacket. It just makes me happy to think about the good days ahead. No more sweating. I mean that literally!

Come on winter; don't make me wait any longer.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Durga puja 2001 Babubagan Dhakuria,Kolkata

Durga idol Kolkata 2011
These are pictures from an outstanding pandal, Babubagan,  in Dhakuria, Kolkata.

This pandal impressed me so much that I decided to devote a post to this pandal. I have posted a video of this
Durga puja
in YouTube as well.


Entrance to the
pandal in
Babubagan

A statue at the
entrance


Entry door of
the pandal at
Babubagan, Dhakuria
Inside the pandal


Goddess Durga

Paintings on the walls

Paintings on the walls
of the puja pandal
Paintings on the walls

Paintings on the walls
Paintings on the walls


A portion of
the pandal
Artifacts


Artifacts in
the Durga puja
pandal

The Babubagan
pandal from
outside




Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Durga puja 2011 pandals at Bhawanipur, Kolkata, India

Here are some more pictures of Durga Puja 2001, Kolkata.These Durga images and pandals are from Bhawanipur. Like I said last time, I am so completely in love with the pandal themes.

I still have a lot of pictures to share. Do come back for more.







Durga Puja at a over 100 years
old beautiful residence
in Bhawanipur
Durga Idol



A pandal with all sorts
of mechanical
accessories
Inside the Puja
pandal


Goddess Durga
Mahishasur made
out of scrap
metal




Entrance to
a lovely ethnic
Durga Pandal

Goddess Durga Image
Bhawanipur
Kolkata




Work on
the walls of the
pandal
Beautiful Ceiling
in the pandal



Innovative pandal
A different kind
of Durga Idol



Pandal with
bamboo
decorations


A motif
on the wall of
the pandal



A very different
Durga idol


Durga pandal
from outside


Durga idol
in a
residence in
Bhawanipur


A beautiful residence
in Bhawanipur
celebrating
Durga puja 2011