10 September 2010

The festive furore!!

A walk on the main markets of Bangalore takes you back in time!

A sea of stalls selling flowers of all colours, adjoining stalls selling fruits of multiple variety. Prices shooting up, but the spirit ecstatic!

Some ad-hoc shops, make shift ones as well, selling bangles of different colours and sizes eat up the walk way on those streets, people seldom have complaints about them!

People walk on all the available lanes, bargaining high for a rupee or two to make the shopping contented.

Villagers stocking up banana leaves, banana plant-trunks, mango leaves, garike straws and variety leaves which are specifically used in the festival coming a day-next.

Traffic on those roads - a choc-o-bloc and no body cares, of course!!

And the main attraction of the market would definitely be the illuminated make-shift stalls with lines of colourful Ganesha and Gowri idols. Truly a sight not to be missed, and a feel not to be unfelt!

Thats a traditional Indian festival-eve, for you!

Yes, you are experiencing the great Indian festive furore! The middle class of this country comes alive in all those traditional market lanes on such days. Great sights and great preperations.

Wishes for a great Gowri-Ganesha festive season.

25 August 2010

Anthoo Inthooo....

Hallakke bidda.........





Namma Prashantha (Payaniga)

Yavaga?? Yelli? Yenu??

Yeah! Last Sunday he fell into wedlock with Madame A.
Here's wishing the lovely couple a great married life!

06 August 2010

Mathe Mungaru

I agree. I am at fault – for not coming back to my blog. But you know, it needs a push, a reminder or some event to change the sides and to be back in business.

The title suggests – Monsoon, again! Monsoon is a synonym to good times. And yes. I am back to the good old days, means blogging too!

A change in the personal ‘status’, a little too much work and work and family related travelling has all added up to my inability to put some stories here. I am overcoming all of them, to be back to (another) eternity.

Well… Life has been good all these days. Marriage is a definite eye opener of sorts for a youngster. And very much – IT IS A GREAT FEELING TO BE MARRIED. I really mean it.

Monsoon, again – Mathe Mungaru is incidentally a movie in Kannada which is hitting the screens today. The promos and the story looks to be intriguing, intense, and the songs are awesome, to say the least. I hope the production house, which lead every Kannada speaking creature in getting drenched in that eternal Mungaru Male, is successful in recreating that feel of monsoon, again.

Let me review this album for you.

The music is composed by some Paul Raj. I am sure he will attain the new heights with this album, which has been made with lots of innovative techniques, and melodious tunes.

The singers – the Likes of Asha Bhosle, Hariharan, Chitra, Karthik, Vijay Prakash and Shreya Ghosal have lent their voices to this beautiful album.

The album opens with a tragic solo by Karthik, “KangaLu Kanalive” – This sets the tone for this whole album. Background music for this song is exceptional at places. Though slow paced, the song gets straight in to the soul of the listener. However, the same feel is not kept thru the song, it dilutes in the middle, and catches up again. The song, however, gets its due and succeeds to connect to the listener. Karthik does superb in this song.

The duet ‘Chita pata chita’- by Karthik and Shreya Ghosal is fantastic. The melody, pace, the orchestra, the lyrics and the heavenly vocals of Shreya all are in perfect harmony through out the song. A must listen for any Kannada music enthusiast.

"Summaniruva ee manasali" by Ranjith is smooth and passes off. It is just another seasonal song added now a days by default to a Kannada album. Ranjith is high with energy throught this song. a peppy one.

There is a patriotic song ‘Mera Bharat Mahan’, which is sung by the ‘Jai Ho’ star Vijay Prakash for the most part and though he does well – the music and the lyrics are off synch. It fails to pull any patriotic feeling in the listener. Chitra’s vocals towards the end bring the much needed lift to this song.

“Belagayitu” is a theme song sung by Hariharan. Hariharan’s magical voice is tailor-made for this sort of a song. He performs wonderfully in this song. I felt the lyrics are heavy, though. I am not sure if that had anything do with the actual intensity of the movie. Wonderful folkish music accompanies Hariharan here.

The crown of this wonderful album is “Helade karana” rendered in an emotional tone by the veteran melody queen Asha Bhosle. Beautiful lyrics clubbed with an apt musical blend lift this song to the voice of Asha Bhosle. I appreciate her for having taken this song, and making this a complete album!

In all, this is a complete album, with a perfect mix of singers from north and south – Kannada and otherwise too. Karthik is a revelation in this album. Lyrics are by the director Dwarki Raghava and V Nagendra Prasad.

I give my best rating to this album. I will try and see this movie as well this weekend. Let me see.

Here is a related story that appeared on Rediff today. This movie, as the article states, is based on the true story of some Narayana from coastal Karnataka's life's roller coaster ride.

BTW – Here is a picture taken by me, which has been picked by Rediff to showcase in their monsoon pictures series. Let me know if that was worth it!

08 April 2010

The Cherry Blossom!!


Wednesday .............


Friday .........

Thats SPRING at its best in the Washington D C

15 March 2010

The Valley of Flowers - a few visuals

Here are a few snaps from this excitingly beautiful valley. Thanks to my co-traveler Ram for capturing some of these.

A sneak into the valley. Nanda Devi peak in the background
A view from inside the valley, The peak covered with clouds.
River Pushpavati beginning its envious journey.

A lush green clad mountain, from within.

A pathway leading to the paradise, inside the valley of Flowers

A sample of flora grown specifically in this valley

Oher few varieties of flowers carpetting the valley
This breathtaking valley inspires one to make love with peace and simplicity. Hope you enjoyed the journey all along.

11 March 2010

The Valley of Flowers - Facts

Some tidbits -
Place - "The Valley of Flowers"
Located in - The Byundar valley of Uttarakhand state of India
Good time to visit - Right from mid-August to October - as variety of flowers bud post monsoon.
Commuting there - One has to trek to undertake this expedition, no other means is there at all!
Food - No food or accomodation available in this land of God, as this is a part of the protected Nanda Devi National Park.

Where exactly is this place?
Inside the Nanda Devi Natioanl Park, nestled high in the West Himalayan range. This is geographically located in the Uttarakhand state of India;
At exactly 276 KMs from the pilgrimage haunt Rishikesh, and is located in the Chamoli district of Gharval region of the state.

So, How do we get to feel the air of here?
1. Reach Haridwar/Rishikesh by train Or Dehradun by flight

2. Take a bus to Joshimath, a 10 hour drive from Haridwar.

3. Stay overnight there. It is a good town and comfortable accomodation and food options are available here.

4. Start early morning to Govindghat - enroute Badrinath Dham. It takes about an hour to reach Govindghat from Joshimath. Govindghat is the closest to the Valley one can reach by road.
5. Start trekking to Govind Dham/Ghangriya, which is at a 13Kms distance from Govindghat.
- A very strenuous trek, which is uphill mostly, would take anywhere between 6 hrs to 9 hrs - depending on the individual strength and capabilities.
- No night trek possible since the forest region this, is a leopard ground!
- Food/refreshments - are available throught the trek route.
- Human traffic can be expected - mostly the Sikh pilgrims doing the Hemkunt Sahib visit.
- Alternatively, ponies or dolkis are available for those who can not walk.

6. Stay at Govind Dham/Ghangriya - hotels are available that provide comfortable accomodation, sometimes food too.
- A Gurudwara gives good food and accomodation to all the pilgrims, free of cost.
- Everything is costly in this part of the world, because of the accessibility issues.
- Electricity is available for only 2 hours a day, for an hour early in the morning and another hour soon after the night fall.
- Telephone networks are a strict no-no, and a few satellite phones available operate on the ration basis, and at a hefty charge. No other option at all!

7. Next morning, leisurely start walking towards "The Valley of Flowers" -
- A leisure trek of 3 KMs amidst a wonderful landscape along the bank of river Pushpavati would land you at the gates of the Valley of Flowers
- The Valley of Flowers is spread over a huge area of 87.5kms.
- Altitude of this valley is roughly 4000 meters above the sea level.
- A well-maintained natural park is this. A decent road way made of stones is laid along the walking path.
- There are huge boulders at regular intervals for one to take a break from walking.
- To experience the paradise - one has to walk at least 4.5KMs inside the valley.
- There are quiet a few water bodies that crosses ones' path, for people to fill their water bottles.
- The whole environment is mostly clean, and there are dust bins provided at some places for the litter dump.
- Unlike the Ghangriya, the Valley is less crowded.
- There is no way a porter or a pony is allowed to carry you inside the park, it is just for the trekkers alone.
- Some venomous shrubs are also existing in the valley, so, the visitors are adviced not to go near the plants nor to pluck the flowers from here.
- Flowers here - There are about 80 different varieties of flowers that enrich the visitors' experience.
- Note: For people from Bangalore/ South India, these flowers might not appall as extravagant, as it might sound at the thought of the Valley of Flowers.
(I mean we get much more colorful and pleasing variety of flowers here. But when you see those wild flowers, spread as carpet - thats something special, and a unique feature of this National Park).
- Pack your lunch form Govinddham/Ghangriya itself, and have it leisurely inside the valley.
- Do not forget to carry back the plastic and other unorganic waste.

8. Walk back to the hotels at Ghangriya well before the sunset. Yes, Sun sets pretty fast here - by 5 PM. So, be home quick.
- Take a good rest - there would be no disturbance here except that of the hooters and the pony rackets.
- No mobile phones can be a blessing in such places!

9. It is best adviced that you continue to trek next day to the Hemkunt Saheb Gurudwara.
- At Hemkunt, which can be reached after a tougher trek of 6kms from Ghangriya, there is a modern building having the Gurudwara shrine where Sikhs worship the Guru Grantha Sahib.
- It is also believed that Lord Lakshman, Lord Sri Ram's younger brother, meditated at this spot when he was Vasuki, in his prior life. There is a temple dedicated to Lakshman besides the Gurudwara.
- Main attraction of this place is the lake named Hemkunt popularly or Lakshman Ganga historically.
- Nonetheless, it is revered by both Hindus and Sikhs.
- A dip in the chilling waters of this lake is said to cure all the illnesses, and wash away the sins of 100 lives of a person.
- Temperature here would mostly be around 09 degrees at 10AM on a given summer day. And it would go down to sub zero any point in time. So, no one is allowed to stay here after 2PM.
- Yummy Kichdis - both sweet and spicy variants are provided as prasad to all the pilgrims on behalf of the Gurdwara. A hot tea follows up the kichdi treat as well. One will feel stunningly fresh after this refreshment.
- The seven hills surrounding the lake gives a mystic appearance to the environment. The priest at Lakshman temple puts them as saptha rishis (Seven original eternal monks)
- This whole area closes every winter, after Deepavali. Opens only after April in the next year.
- This is due to the heavy snow fall in the region during winters.

10. If you start from Ghangriya uphill to Hemkunt at 4:30 AM, you would complete the 6kms trek by 8:30AM. If you start back by 10:15 AM, after the prayers and brunch, another three hours would take you back to your hotel in Ghanghriya.

11. From Ghangriya, back to Govindghat is again a strenuous trek of 13 kms down hill. Would take 4-5 hours, by when night would have come!
So, It is advisible to stay back for another night at Ghanghriya. Since this is a boring place for you to spend so much time, you can actually try the pony option which would take around 3-3.5hrs to reach down hill. That would give you enough time to reach Badrinath Dham or Joshimath by road.

12. From Govindghat, Badrinath dham takes an hour by road. You can also go back to Joshimath which is again at an hour's distance from here.

In all, it is a total three day hardship, at the least, which gives you an unlimited joy of experiencing the Valley of Flowers.

Wait for the pictures of this wonderful valley.

19 February 2010

A piece of a Heaven - I thought

Just Imagine...

I am walking to the edge of a valley.
On the Left side I see a huge mountain
Which I can't even try thinking of exploring
Because of its magnitude in size
And green carpet like appearance.

High raised cliffs peaking out of
Beds of the clouds made a panormic disguise!
Down at my instant right is a steep valley
Of brittle sand and a shrubby little vegetation.

Down there flows a crystal clear canal of water
That runs in my direction, from heavens up there!
It- making me jealous of its heavenly living.

Beyond the river starts another mountain,
Green on the surface, Red in its strength!
Blue at its top, white in the middle!

From the mountain top on my left, I see a
Milk-thread that grew in size as I turn my eyes down!
As I reach this thread, I hear a hurled voice
Of a growing anxiety from there,
A waterfall of such an authentic style!

Now I move my eyes around the horizon -
I see multiples of such waterfalls from
Every nook and corner of the mountain!
And I see such mountains in huge numbers to my left!!

Similar sights to my right, beyond the river down there...
Hundreds of mountain peaks, arranged in an interesting manenr,
Each peak hosting a few waterfalls in them!!
All these waterfalls culminated in
The river down at the centre.
Both sides of me - all the mountains are
Clad in pure green, with no space left on the plains!

These were plants bearing flowers!
Flowers of all colours - red, white, blue!
Orange, cream, pink - et al.

There was not a single tree down there,
But some only up the mountain.
So, the sight was complete with water,
green bed on plains with added colourful grandeur!

The starlit green bed dally dangled
And a fresh aroma hit my nose!
I close my eyes to feel the air in
My nerves - even the last one,
Breathe - Sigh!

I go down the valley at a suitable joint -
I get to touch the waters, feel the chillness!
I cross a small bead of it at some place and go
Acros to the bed of flowers!

A gay feel crosses and ignites my mind.
I joyfully run my eyes on all the sides
Expecting to gulp in the offer of nature -
As much as I can, in that
One single moment!

I stand there destitute - before these structures of God!
I stand surrendered before the almighty
Who was evident in every piece of that vision!

Now -
Right across my eyes, I see the clouds vanishing!
The sky is clearing up!
The veil of clouds opening up -
A huge mountain, With snow covered peak!
Reminiscent of a recent landslide, huge trees fallen,
Ice formed on the canal of water, and a glacier beneath!

Spectacle of my life time,
I bow my head to the Mother Nature!
She suddenly caresses me with another gush of wind!

A piece of a Heaven - I thought.
Am I not dreaming? Am I feeling it - really?
Am I the lonely explorer of this space?
Am I the Only One?
Am I the Chosen One? Or
Am I the Only Blessed One?
Yes, I am - all of these -
And More!!

Don't believe it to be true - ain't you?
Now look at this picture -
Believe it or not - such a place exists on the face of this earth. And I bet that there are hundreds of such extravagant sites for us to cherish.

Alas! The place I have quoted here is unique in its own style, for its floral bed is not manmade, its totally the Almighty's garden - "The Valley of Flowers".

In the heart of the Himalayan might, Under the Nanda Devi Peak, inside the Nanda Devi National Park, as a UNESCO World Heritage site, on the banks of the river Pushpavati, this scene exists!

With its multitude varety of fauna, the valley stands personified to the benevolence of the creator!

This space finds its place in Indian Mythology too -

As the home of Sanjeevini Parvat (Life giving mountain) containing the Sanjeevini herbs that Hanuman carried to Lanka to rescue Lakshman from a debacle in the great war of Ramayan!
Boy! You can readily believe in the theory of Sanjeevini Parvat here!

A must visit for all those who enjoy the raw beauty of nature.

NOTE: Await the details of reaching there.