Thursday, December 31, 2009

From Cambridgeshire

While I wandered all alone in Cambridge...

Here is the last post for the year, wishing you all very Happy New Year.....

Tuesday, December 29, 2009


Of the numerous Churches, Cathedrals and Chapels I have visited in this part of the world, this prayer request in particular caught my attention.

In one of the Chapels in Cambridgeshire........

Poor kid, how much he/she would have hated those lessons.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow!

While all the Houses, Restaturants and shops are busy playing Let it snow for 2 days now, here are those first set of snaps.

Prettier and merrier....

Enjoyed those fresh days.....

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Weekend Travel

Some quick set of snaps from the weekend traveling.

Reading riverside walk.....

Wellington Street, London

British Museum, London

Greenwich, London

Monday, November 16, 2009


This year was really low on travel compared to any of the previous ones. Innumerable travel plans got washed away with the torrent. The only one that materialized was a visit to Lepakshi.

But still a few months ago, I remember publishing a post, 'London walking Tours - wish list'.

And the Travel goddess seems to have granted my wish, after going through my Blog Post.
I am at London and would be here for a longer part of Winter. A quick set of snaps goes here. More posts and photos soon....

This time it was via Frankfurt ................

A view of London City...

I was trying to spot landmarks while the Plane was descending at Heathrow. River Thames, London Eye and Tower Bridge visible here.

All these photos from my iPhone... I never knew Photo quality was this good.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Lepakshi - II

Continued from -- > Lepakshi - I

Lepakshi is a small village, which lies 15-km east of Hindupur in Anantapur District of Andhra Pradesh. This place is also known for the best murals of the Vijayanagar times, apart from the huge Shivalinga, Ganesha and Nandi .

Lepakshi consists of three shrines, dedicated to Shiva, Vishnu and Veerabhadra.
It is believed that noted sculptor Vishwakarma Amarashilpi Jakkanachari took part in planning the architecture of these temples.

Entrance to the temple at Lepakshi

The Veerabhadra temple is said to have developed into the present exquisite shrine by Virupanna - the treasurer of the Vijayanagar Kings. He is said to have conceived this idea while he found the idol of Veerabhadra.

The temple is divided into three parts - the 'Mukha Mantapa', also called 'Nitya Mantapa' or 'Ranga Mantapa', the 'Artha Mantapa' and 'Garbha Griha', and the 'Kalyana Mantapa', with 38 carved monolithic pillars in Grey sandstone which was left unfinished. These three form a triangle with a common Mantapa.

As per local legend Lord Shiva and Parvati were married on the spot where the Kalyana Mandapa stands. The temple is surrounded on all sides by an outer enclosure. A second inner enclosure contains the main portion of the temple. Its finest parts are the 'Natya' and 'Ardha' Mandapas.

Shiva-Parvati Vivaaha

The Kalyana Mandapam, a standing monument to the exuberance of Vijayanagar art which is left unfinished.

Murals at Lepakshi

I had heard a lot about the murals here, and was eagerly waiting to see them. The best specimens of the Vijayanagar style of sculpture and paintings are found in the Natya and Kalyana Mandapams. These sculptures depict stories of Ananthasayana, Dattatreya, Chaturmukha Bramha, Tumburu, Narada and Rambha, apart from Shiva and Vishnu.

Virupanna is said to have executed the planning and construction of this Temple in the absence of the king. When the construction was almost completed and was being supervised, the king returned only to find the treasury empty. The king is said to have ordered a punishment to Virupanna, tha he should be blinded.

Even today one can see two dark stains upon the wall near the 'Kalyana Mandapa', which are said to be the marks made by his eyes, which he himself plucked and threw against the wall. The village thus got its name "Lepa-akshi Lepakshi", i.e., a village of the blinded eye.

While we went around the temple, I was anxious to not have found the huge Shivalinga, Ganapathia and Nandi. Google and Wiki had educated me enough and I already had a clear picture of Lepakshi. When inquired with the priest, he did say that the Linga is behind the temple and that Nandi was a km away from the temple.

Some other rarities which I had never seen elsewhere............

The Ganesha carved in a single stone

Sapthamatrika at Lepakshi

Bedara Kannappa

A 3 headed bull

A quick exit and a 2 min driver took us to Nandi, which is a km away but in direct line of sight and facing the Shivalinga on the hill.

Pooja at Nandi

It was long and tiring driver back home. But truly the dry land there was a contrast to the greenery seen on the way to Mysore.

At dusk on the drive back @ Lepakshi ...

Melukote temple on the top of the hill as seen from across the lake

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Lepakshi - I

After we driving to Badami, Aihole, Pattadakal & Hampi last season, we were planning Lepakshi for  sometime now. We had the following 2 choice.

Mysore - Bangalore - Kolar - Gauribidanur - Lepakshi
Mysore - Tumkur - Madhugiri - Gauribidanur - Lepakshi

Gauribidanur and Lepakshi are bordering towns of Karnataka and Andra Pradesh respectively. The first one was dropped for obvious reasons (read - aversion towards living & driving in Bangalore, while away from work).

View Larger Map

The drive to Tumkur is very unlike driving through the Mysore - Bangalore, SH17. Good roads surrounded by crops, Temples, Villages, Lakes & Rivers - a real pleasure in itself.

Sunset at a lake near Adichunchanagiri

Soon we were driving to Gauribidanur via Madhugiri.

Madhugiri Hill and Fort

Some festival celebrations were in progress at the temple there. Hundreds of people had gathered there with offerings. The offerings were unusual - Hen, Lamb, Sheep and Goat is what we saw. Gosh! such scary sight it was. Within minutes there a huge pile of heads of assorted animals and not to mention a puddle of blood. Such a bloody sight it was. While i type this, I think why I didn't dare to click pictures?!? But, I could really never dare then.

Gopura of the Temple at Madhugiri

Offerings being made (above) and people preparing for the cart festival (below)

Trishula on a Tortoise - at some Lakshmi temple en-route

Gauribidanur is the last town in Karnataka, we'll have to converse through this before entering the neighboring state of Andra Pradesh to reach Lepakshi.

`Vidurashwatha` is a small village located in the Gauribidanur taluk of Kolar district in the state of Karnataka. The name Vidurashwatha is derived from that of a big Ashwatha(Ficus religiosa) tree located in this village. According to a legend of the times of Mahabharata, this tree was planted by Vidura. This place has a very famous temple dedicated to the Naga Devatha (Snake God). Hundreds and Thousands of people have performed prathishtapana of the Naga stone in an attempt of fulfilling the wishes.

A lady worshiping at the Ant Hill

This place is know for Monkey menace, which are always harping at people in an attempt to get something to eat.

Not sure why, but I found it very unusual to find such hoardings everywhere in the place. It reads, 'Child marriage is prohibited'. 'Dowry is an evil practice'.

While I publish this, something quickly flashes. Are these practices because of the this Town's vicinity to Andra Pradesh??

The typical Bangle sellers found throughout the Town

A leap from here and you are inside Andra Pradesh.....

PS : We were equipped with hardly any food as we were living at a friends farm house; except for some light snacks. We had reached Kolar a few mins after Breakfast and so, food was never given a thought. Except for some KaDale Puri (puffed rice) at Vidurashwatha, we did not find anything to eat at all. Its even worse once you cross the Karnataka border. The merciless Sun and lack of food. All water bottles were empty by evening. Finally, we managed to find a haunted house which housed a Telephone booth and sold Maaza (warm drink, with exorbitant prices!). Kolar - 'The politically active town' was active that day too as always. Most businesses were closed. None the open Hotels/Darshini's seemed fit, for a visit. So, managed to find a decent Bakery. Only to drive home with the worst Traveler's Diarrhea of a life time!

Next --> Lepakshi - II

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