Thursday, December 9, 2010

A visit to Ramoji Film City

Hawa mahal
I had a wonderful trip to Ramoji Film City in Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh, India.  I had to meet an old friend of mine after a lapse of 5 years.  She had come on leave from Malaysia and she requested me to spend a holiday with her.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Chottanikkara Temple, Ernakulam

Chottanikkara Bhagavathi Temple is one of the most famous temples of Kerala. Located in Chottanikkara, 17 kms from Ernakulam, and 8 km away from Tripunithura, in a hilly region surrounded on all sides by undulating beauty, with rich greenery, Sri Bhagavati  provides a deep spritiual solace to the large number of devotees who throng here every day. A visit to the temple brings relief to them from the overburdening anguish and agonies they face in their life and return with a peaceful mind.  The 'Devi' in the temple is known for the healing powers, particularly relating to mental illness and disorders. In the main temple, the golden hued idol of Bhagavathy 4 to 5 ft. high, with four hands, is bedecked with flowers,  garlands, jewels and bathed in myriad of lights splendidly.

 The Divine Mother known as Rajarajeswari (Adiparasakthi) is worshipped here in three forms-  Saraswathy in the morning ( draped in white), Lakshmi at noon (draped in crimson red) and Durga in the evening (draped in a bright blue dress). The original idol of Bhagavathy, three or four feet high which faces east, is of laterite and is believed to be self-born (swayambhoo).

Adjacent to the image of Bhagavathy, to her right, there is an image of Mahavishnu in granite on the same pedestal.  Hence, the Deity is called Ammenarayana, Devinarayana, Lakshminarayana and Bhadrenarayana also. Other deities like Brahma, Siva, Ganapathi, Subramanya, and Sastha are also there.
 The temple complex also houses Kizhukkavu Bhagavathy temple,  Nagas and other Upa-Devas. 

The temple opens at 4 a.m. with a blowing of the conch and playing of the temple musical instruments.

The main festival here is Makom Thozhal  held in Malayalam month Kumbham (Feb-March).

The Mental Illness of People are said to be cured by worshipping the deity here.

Marriages are also conducted here. Recently I had a chance to attend a wedding here. (See the kalyana mandapa below where the couple are surrounded by the relatives. )

Facilities like good hotels with marriage halls are also available there.

Ceremonies like Chorunnu, (the first time rice feeding ceremony to babies) and Vidhyarambham (the first time introducing a child to learning) are also conducted here.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Happy Dasara!

Wish you all a Happy Dasara. If you would like to read an article on Dasara, please click here.

This year, Mysore Dasara is celebrating its 400th year. In the year, 1610, Raja Wadiyar ascended the historic golden throne of Vijayanagar Kingdom and started the ten-day festival at Srirangapatna. Vijayadasami, the 10th day of Dasara, is celebrated on the 17th October 2010.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Top places to see in Ooty

Ooty is a great place to visit. A couple of years ago we had visited Ooty and had a wonderful time there.
Read more about it here. and see what are the interesting places there.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Onam Festival of Kerala

Kerala is getting ready to celebrate and rejoice the State Festival Onam in the month of Chingam (Bhadrapada), which falls usually at the end of August or beginning of September.This year Onam is celebrated on the 23rd of August 2010.

The ten-day harvest festival Onam is starting with “Atham” and it is the greatest festival of Kerala. After a bounteous harvest, Onam is the time for the farmers to celebrate the bounties of nature and make merry. A unique feature of this festival is that it is celebrated unitedly by all Keralites without caste or religious differences. Every Malayali wherever he or she may be in the world celebrates Onam.

According to legends, Lord Mahavishnu visited King Mahabali, the benevolent ruler of Kerala, in disguise as Vamana, a dwarf Brahmin, requesting for three feet of space to live. Without realising his intention, the king agreed to his request. Suddenly Vamana began to grow and he covered the whole earth by one foot and covered the sky with other foot. When Vamana asked for the third foot, Mahabali had no other go, but to show his head. Vamana kept his third foot on the King’s head and the King was pushed down under the earth. Realising the true form of Vamana, Mahabali requested the lord to permit him to visit his people once a year. His request was granted and Onam is the yearly celebration of welcoming the benevolent ruler.

As a symbolic gesture to welcome ‘King Mahabali’ attractive pookalam (a floral decoration) with a clay mount in the centre, is laid in front of every home starting on Atham day, which will continue till Thiruvonam day. The pookalam is usually circular in shape and multi-coloured. Making a Pookalam is a colourful and joyous event for the young girls.

Onam Sadhya

A sumptuous meal on plantain leaf is served in every house. The main items for the sadhya include sambar, kalan, olan, pachadi, aviyal, elassery, thoran, puliyenji, naranga curry, papad, banana chips, sweet banana chips, and steamed Kerala banana pieces and the traditional payasam.

In the evenings, girls, traditionally dressed sing onapaattu, perform traditional folk dances like Thiruvathirakkali, Kaikottikali and Thumbithullal, dancing around the traditional brass lamps called Nilavilakku. Men do the Pulikkali. They paint their bodies with leopards spots and dance in front of another group of men dressed like hunters. The children play overwhelmed at the new swing tied between trees in addition to many traditional games during this festival. Boat races and carnivals enrich the festival. At Trichur (Thrissur), caparisoned elephants take part in a spectacular procession.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Caernarfon Castle of North Wales

During my stay in London, I had the opportunity to visit many places in and around. One of the most interesting places was Wales. North Wales is a highly beautiful place which is blessed with abundant natural beauty.

Apart from this, North Wales is also famous for the beautiful castles scattered all over. Most of these castles were built by Edward I following his conquest of Gwynedd in 1283. Caernarfon Castle is highly magnificent and is located on the banks of the River Seiont at the southern end of the Menai Strait between north Wales and Anglesey, 8 miles south west of Bangor.

It was built not only as a military stronghold but also as a seat of government and a royal palace. The majestic walls and battlements of the Castle tower above the walled town, also built by Edward I.  The walls are said to have been modelled on those of Constantinople.   His son, the first English Prince of Wales, (later King Edward II of England). was born here in 1284.

It was also the scene of the coronation of the Prince of Wales in 1969, and with this the Castle gained worldwide fame. ,

With its historic rankings, Caernarfon Castle is recognized as a World Heritage Site.

You can also read more about it here. 

Friday, June 4, 2010

Home coming

I returned to my home land with lots of beautiful memories and wonderful experiences of London - UK life.

Had a quick trip to Kerala .

Friday, May 14, 2010

Day out for the family in London

Last week we had many guests at home and we wanted to take them out to have a glimpse of London. The guests were not actually guests, they belonged to our family, and had come from different parts -(from Boston USA), Manchester and Southport (UK). It was great fun for the entire family.

We headed towards the tube station and soon we were at Piccadily Circus in the central London. Though I had been there earlier on an evening, now it was looking better in the day time.

After having our lunch at Pizza Hut we walked down to Trafalgar Square.

As planned earlier one more family joined there. The kids enjoyed there thoroughly and then clicking some photographs we moved forward. We passed through Buckingham Palace, Changing guards, Parliament house, Big Ben, London Eye, Victoria Tower, Westminster, Waterloo station and River Thames.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Visit to Hampton Court Palace

On a Sunday forenoon we decided to drive to the famous historical Hampton Court Palace, located at Richmond upon Thames, a quaint little British river village.

The Palace was very impressive with the incredible architecture throughout. Also known for Tudor King Henry VIII, who had married six times, and dispensed his wives. Hampton Court was the home of King Henry VIII and other British monarchs until the 18th century.

People dressed in period costumes posed with the tourists, providing them the feeling of the King's period.

The gardens are also very beautiful.

Please read this for more information. Hampton Court Palace.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Spring in London

I was always fascinated by London, one of the most historical and cultural cities in the world, and looked forward for a visit. Finally when I reached here in winter I was not that fascinated because of the weather. It was bitter cold outside, and on some days snowing heavily, which took about 4-5 days to clear off. When I looked through the window I used to see the whole landscape carpeted with snow. I always stayed indoors, and seldom went out. But still I enjoyed watching the snow flakes falling down through the window.

After the bitter winter days in London, the beautiful spring has arrived like a blessing. Some empty trees are becoming greener and other trees are turning into beautiful colors filled with new flowers. If you take a stroll or travel on the road you can see the colorful flowers staring out enthusiastically from every garden, as if they are greeting you with a warm smile.

We started visiting interesting places on weekends. The city is bursting with rich heritage and diverse cultures. Millions of visitors come to this vibrant city. More next time......

Sunday, February 21, 2010

More London photos

Located near the Trafalgar Square, National Art Gallery in the heart of London, houses one of the world's richest collections of paintings. We spent sometime here admiring the great paintings.

Children's amusement

Heading towards China Town.

Monday, January 18, 2010

London visit

My visit to London. It is one of the most visited tourist destinations in the world. Filled with palaces, historic sites, museums, art galleries, parks, aquarium, zoo etc, London has a lot to offer in sightseeing to the visitors.

Some pictures.

Some more info