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A Walk to Canada

Proximity of a country at walking distance rarely arrives when you are stationed in a big country like USA. The closeness to the international border was not thought to be as close. I never had a chance to cross an international border by foot. It would have been a big tragedy, remembering the partition of India and people crossing by foot the newly created international border at that time.

The understanding between countries help the people in the border and is great boon to random tourists like me who is in Buffalo for some other reason, studying, rather than tourism.

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The chill factor of summer lets the mind go random and for me it was the desire to cross the country by walk. Being an international student on F1 Visa in the USA I applied for Canada visa. Duly received it. Like a good new generation guy, showed it to friends, updated in facebook, planned my international travel and executed it.

I put it on Google Maps, took a print out, in case the phone becomes unresponsive.

I had to be double careful to have all documents in hand so that I can have my journey with no issues at the two entry points, viz Canada and USA. I got to downtown Buffalo as one of my friends were heading to Buffalo General Hospital. I started walk from Buffalo General to Mather Park, Fort Erie, Ontario.

I had to be sure that I am not going the wrong way. Since , google shows the shortest route for walking, it is better and energy-conserving to follow the path. I had to refer to the printed page of map in between just to make sure that I am going in the right direction.

On the way i was happy to see the Allentown arts festival. Allentown has its own history in Buffalo. Though it cannot boast of hundreds and thousands years of heritage as we do back in India, it still has something in it. There was some Latin American music on the street with the traditional drums and their unique beats. There were shops the completely took over the roads. Traffic was blocked for these two days. June 11 and 12, 2016. My plan was to have a short stay at the Mather Park , Ontario and return before night. The distances mentioned in miles in the maps can be misleading to the unfamiliar eyes and legs. 3.2 miles shown in the map is 5.1 km. This is not a normal casual walk. Luckily , there are many parks on the way where i could sit and relax. My first stop was at Symphony Circle. I had been there, have walked till there to attend the Kick off meeting of the pre-seed workshop. Unlike India, where you can walk anywhere and piss anywhere, here, the possibility of public urination is zero, a public offense. So, I was told that all shops have restroom and I could ask permission and have the job done, in case it was needed.  After a 10 minutes rest at the symphony circle for the unacquainted legs, I continued. From symphony circle I continued walking, the temperature was perfect for a walk. Not too hot, not too cold, the Goldilocks standards of sorts .

After the prospect park , before the front park I take a right and it goes all the way under the bridge, this is the path for pedestrians and bikes (cycles). I see the peace bridge from under the bridge and take a turn to approach the turnstile date to the peace bridge.

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I was wondering if they would be checking my documents at the R.F Willson Administrative Building. I waited and an officer told me I could go and on returning press the button at the door of the building to get the documents checked.  So I had the walk. The walk to Canada was under construction. I saw that some nice infrastructure is coming up. But the entry point to Canada at the current condition for pedestrians is not so welcoming. There was a big queue of vehicles which wanted to pass through the inspection. I was on the fastest mode, since I was the only pedestrian there.

 

The officers at Canada border were very helpful. Though I was this strange lone guy walking to another country. They were very pleasant and approachable. They told me how to walk to Mather Park with a cool walk along the river side. The Waterfront trail had lot of seagulls and kingfisher birds busy getting their lunch and hanging out. Another strange and old friends that I found there were the mosquitoes. I was like a magnet attracting almost all the mosquitoes on my pant. I had a busy time shooing and beating them to death. International Crime under the Peace Bridge! These were some very hungry mosquitoes with very less momentum and energy. They should go to Kochi and learn the tricks of their trade. I had a few clicks of the Peace Bridge from the Waterfront Trail, Canada. And kept walking to the Mather Park.

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I was the only person at the Mather Park on Sunday evening. I found company with a spider who had the whole park bench for itself. If the spider was on airbnb I would paid generously. For it was a very satisfying, heart-filling feel of having accomplished something. Looking from the spider’s kingdom at Mather Park, the peace bridge, so near and was so busy but did not affect me. Peace was mine!

I stayed there for some time. Enjoyed singing my songs. Had the light breeze and the fresh air on me. After some time , with enough rest, I started back. As the officer had suggested there was an approach to bridge from the Mather Park. The stop sign read in English and French. Reminded me of the railway level crossing at Vepagunta. And then the international peace bridge.  more pictures to swank were taken. I said ‘Hi’ to the construction worker who adjusted the traffic cones for the change of signals over the bridge. Canada, entered the international boundary line and entered USA all within 30 seconds. The bridge was again full of trucks, the smell of diesel was bad enough to spoil the mood. The vastness of river , the seagulls and the swimming ducks tried to compensate for it. The wind tried hard to take away the unpleasant smell. The bridge rattled as the vehicles passed through, with the power of wind there is an illusions that you are swaying and moving, a nice experience.

I officially entered the USA after the inspection at the Administrative building. There was this biker who had come biking from the beach. An inspiration to go biking to Canada next time. I walked to Allen Station NFTA Metro , and took metro to my home. The total expense, other than the visa, of the international trip was due to this $2 USD.

 

 

 
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Posted by on June 17, 2016 in travel

 

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Snow

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The boy once asked for a land full of sugar

The God asked “fine or coarse grain, dear ?”

The boy said “finest fine is fine for me”.

And it was granted in cold white fine dust.

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The boy was mesmerized by chilly bus rides

Through the clouds on road which winded up the ghats

He asked for days of travel through the clouds

On the land, and there was cloud on the roads.

Inner Clock Tower Commons UB

The girl would shout with childish clamour

Excited when the container of rice flour

Fell on the floor, for she could walk and slide,

As if on snow; the roads were spread with white.

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The baby elephant who once tasted salt,in infant fantasy,

Wanted a world covered in the white powder,so tasty,

All over the surface, where it could roll, happily

Have a little or all whenever, it was the snow.

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The child in the grown-up wanted to fall

And never break a bone whatever the fall

And the coincidence happened near the fall

Niagara and the lake effect made it fall.

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The teen who got a sniff was addicted to the drug

And wanted the dreams through the stuff come true

In a sense of a joyous life full still on the brew

And sleep and walk on the white dust of the crew.

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Taking upon the task to complete the task all at once

How much was needed was beyond the measurement in tons

So, it was made simple, to let the cloud pass over the road

Make it feel chilly, cold, dusty and out of the world.

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The snow was made, not without much thought.

Based on the wishes as dreamy colourless white,

Shapeless, flaky, powdery, featureless sight,

Restless, slippery, forgery, seamless light.

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PS: Walk on the snow, Courtesy – Lake effect Advisory at Buffalo.

 
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Posted by on January 12, 2016 in creativity, poem

 

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As the Bird left the nest, once again

So I flew. I flew over the mountains and the seas. I flew leaving my country, my family, my comfort. My comfort is what I make of it, my friends are what I make of people. Family is what I make my friends to be. And my country is what I make of my surroundings. I would be exposed to International environment. Everything International starts in the United States of America (USA). The land of plenty. The land of ahimsa (non violence) did not care much about its own status. Similar is the case with the land of opportunities, land of rising sun, land of setting sun, land which has no sun and so on. It is this alternate beginning, a thread or branch that would be elaborated here. This is just experience and if there is any spicing up, then that is to be taken lightly at your own convenience.

I started from Kochi, my destination is Buffalo. I am once again moving out of job to school. I got admission to State University of New York at Buffalo (UB). Something which I could be proud of. And we; me and institution will be mutually sharing our names. Affiliation may be for the low minded. But that is the rule of life. We always stand on shoulders of giants. The steps to success is shortened by education, even more by affiliation, and yet more by personal effort and commitment to one’s motives and ambitions.

How I got admission is a separate story on its own. In short, I applied , got admission and got visa, got ticket and flew. I did not repeat my mistake of not using facebook this time. I got my future roommates through this. My apartment was awaiting my arrival. And my future roommates were  bang on time to pick me up from Greyhound station in Buffalo. And I have settled well with time and resources. So what next. The sharing of the story, of course.

I had my journey from my workplace, Chennai, the city which had fed me, helped me travel and see a lot of places, friendly people and the unforgiving summer. I will never forget the summer in Chennai even if it freezes in Buffalo, shivers me in the Rainy Miss Buffalo Cruise on Erie Canal, Buffalo or drains me in the Maid of Mist in Niagara. And no one would ever believe that Chennai was the place were I saw hail storm for first time in my life (this video was taken and loaded on youtube by someone at that time).  So, I had this trip , in my favourite, my second home, the divine Chennai Express (yes! the train)  from Chennai. The travel left a lump in my throat. I always wanted all my Chennai Express trips to be my last trip. I had not hated the summer of Chennai ( which is throughout the year 24 x 7) any lesser, in any day. There are lot of facilities that the city gives, most importantly the job, the music , the marina beach and the USA consulate general. But I like the MTC buses too. And one month into my stay in USA I had Chennai as my second home. And super excited to meet a Tamil guy eventhough they are loud and noisy sometimes but almost always friendly and pleasant. From that last trip by MTC bus to and fro the USA Consulate General I had an empty mind. The future is always uncertain. The way the University of Calicut has trained its students, any uncertainty could be overcome. So there I was looking outside the windows at the greeneries which wouldn’t see me for a long time. I am going for a Master’s in Electrical Engineering at the UB. What would the grass know? Or do I know? Does it even matter the grass!

I had to leave the country being sent off by my parents. And so I had a long holiday at home. Jobless and happy as it could be. The flights were booked, bags were getting filled up. Mostly the clothes . Most importantly underwears. Because the laundry cycle depends on it. The airways company was contacted for baggage information. Learned that I could carry 3 baggages each 23 kgs, a shoulder bag and violin. So it was.

Boarding at Kochi was like walking to a bus stop. I had flown all over the country so this was yet another trip. Boarding Jet airways , getting clearance and all was real fast. I chilled out at the airport. And ate whatever I had , some snacks made by mother and just watching people and waiting. Then the plane came picked me up. All luggages in tact, 3 in check in , a shoulder bag and violin with me as cabin bag. The jacket on me with important documents, ticket, passport and few toffees,mobile and that is it. The trip was eventless. Food was good and then we landed at Abu Dhabi. It is important to note this because Abu Dhabi has US pre clearance facility. This was un-planned but anyway good things happen. I could find a person in coat shouting out to people where which flight was, I heard the word Nagoya in between.

I had to get a new ticket for the onward flight. Got it promptly. I did not receive any tag for the bags. I was told that my check in bag will be taken care of, Etihad from Abu Dhabi was a code share partner of Jet Airways. This left me with my cabin  baggages, which was , as expected pretty heavy. Then I roamed the place. Found it as interesting as any other airport. I got a coffee for some dirhams. Yes! Coffee! and could not bother the conversion rate at that timeless hour.

The biological clock worked excellently within me. The call of nature was duly attended at the spacious restroom in the airport. One could actually live inside that, it was big and clean and pleasant. Then I had this queue for US pre clearance. I stood in the queue.Queue was big, I was sleepy and there was silence which aided the standing sleep. I got some slip to write my details and was led to a place where people fill up the form and go to counters of US pre-clearance. I had mine filled up in the sleep-standing queue. So I located an officer in the counter who nodded at me to approach him. I had my shoe belt and all stuff put on a basket. For this purpose it is important as my father said to keep the shoe in a plastic bag, and have an hand-sanitizer handy. I asked the office some questions regarding the declarations. I could see my three bags photographed and displayed on the screen. I was happy to see them. And then I had the admit stamp on Passport. I was out the place while most of the people were still inside. When I came out I had this dreamy feel. So I asked the security if I had been sent after check really fast, or did I miss something, or is there any other procedure to do, for I did not see any people come out other than me. Then there was this endless wait. I could not suppress my sleep. I laid on the floor. The carpet was good and I could sleep peacefully. The light inside was as bright as daylight but I couldn’t care about it. I set an alarm and had a long sleep. Later I asked the security guard again about the flight arrival. He was very happy guy and replied nicely. I waited for some more time and then I could enter the gate.

The Etihad airways onward had some fancy looking clothing for their associates. There was a bus which would take me to the plane. I felt the humidity of night air for another time. And then very soon I was inside the plane. This plane was big. Seat was big. Headset was big. Once the flight started the number of choices to watch onboard was also big. However, I did not get a neck pillow while most of the others had. Blanket was good and the headset did a good job of cutting out the cold. There were a lot of drinks in juices and others offered in flight. Food was good. And again the restrooms were better than local airlines. This was a long leg for most of the people. The person next to me was from Thailand . And that was reflected by her continuous sleep. I felt that my journey is so short in comparison. I also slept for most part with peace. Food was served at good intervals. I would switch between movies, food and sleep and repeat. There was this eye mask which read “do not disturb” on one side and “wake me up for food” on another. As you guessed correctly I had the latter facing outward. 16 hours or so later, I heard about USA and tracking of flight. People still in sleep state were somewhat alert. After some more food and juice it was landing time. Just like any other landing. And then I had arrived at the domestic terminal in John F Kennedy (JFK) Airport , New York. I could not find anyone to put seal on my F1 Visa. I waited for my luggage quite a long time. There were non standard luggage sizes, mattresses and what not that travelled on the conveyor. The trolley was charged at $6. There was a man who gave change as the machine ate the right amount that he fed in. This releases the trolley that I could take. I waited a long time. Airtel Mobile had range. I called up relatives. They were already there and had a trolley for me. I should have called them earlier at $2 to save the trolley money.

Rest of the story is like anyone who goes to their relatives place. Jet lag followed me for a few days. It would hit me hard on right time, my critical periods of sleep, back home. The feel was awesome. And as my relatives said I had to hold on for the first few days without sleeping much in the evening, which was the night time in India. So I tried, and after a week emerged an adjusted American Biological Clock. Greyhound from New Jersey would later take me to Buffalo.

On the way there was rain, I saw some major places like Binghamton, Ithaca,Syracuse, Rochester and finally Buffalo.And then as I have already told you my friends picked me up to my new accommodation.

If this amounts to be readable or a reference then it is good. I do not believe that I had a unique or obliquely different experience than most of the people. . This is because I tend to believe that I am you and you are me. Somewhat spiritualistic statement touching upon religion and emotions but still works perfectly fine. I know many of my friends would like to know my journey details If I had missed something, please feel free to e-mail me.

I thank the many instances of motivating fuel for putting this up, from family and friends alike.

 
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Posted by on October 19, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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Discovery of Panamaram Jain Temple

On the auspicious day of 18th April, 2015 our trip leader discovered the Panamaram Jain Temple, Wayanad, Kerala. This is  how it happened.

At the Pazhassi tomb, Mananthavady, Wayanad, Kerala, we had learned about the Jain temples. Some of which were very close to the place. Hence we embarked on the journey to visit the place. There were sign boards to Panamaram. And then nothing, absolute blank. This Jain Temple was listed, it was not one out of the world, mythological or folklore. But there were no directions given. We searched, asked, got frustrated and then cursed ourselves, but later determined our path with the spirit of travel. We were at Panamaram. That much was clear. But no one knew were the Jain Temple was. We asked lorry drivers, residents. We went in wrong routes 3 times. Then were around the temple for a long time, but could not find a road to it. We could smell it. And then after asking a shopkeeper at Punchavayal.

We were here at Punchavayal. We had returned to the shopkeeper who had told us the way. This time his face was unhappy and disappointed that we could not find the temple. We roamed the road that the shopkeeper pointed to. He also said first left. There was some tarring roadwork happening. We found no clue of the Jain Temple. Then as the road-roller moved, we found the un-tarred road. We thought let this be our last try. And , truly, we had discovered the Ancient Jain Temple at Panamaram after very very short drive into the “road”.

See more photos of Panamaram Jain Temple at

https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10153771435920299.1073741864.672120298&type=1&l=9530179a97

 
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Posted by on April 20, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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A visit to Cholamandalam Arts Village

As a connoisseur of many arts I as a human being have to dabble with events and places that are up to my understanding. This is how a hm…, west of India, land may perceive. India is a land of variety in all fields. Somehow we do not have enough marketing or publicizing of the abundance of this land. Earlier in my Hyderabad hiatus I’d mentioned the exhibition of artist from Bengal, Asit Kumar Haldar . There was more to the this land of art was shown to me in this place . The Cholamandalam Arts Village. The place hidden away in the city of Chennai and far from the chaos of it. MTC bus 588 goes this way. It is situated at a long walk ,for the unused legs,from ,VGP bus stop. There I saw the board of entrance. A tea stall decorates its view from the road.

The actual entrance is from an inside road. There was a fancy big house with trees and garden. That was the house of arts village. There was a ticket for entrance. Some ten rupees. And inside is collection o paintings drawings and modern art and sculpture. There are some creative stone art surrounding the building. After musing over the paintings and art in its form, from a student’s view ,then a common man’s view, then a philosophical critic’s view and finally a moral and ethical view one gets tired. Tired of standing a lot. Tired of standing in the bus, standing and looking at the art. The thought process , the necessity of a change for relaxation was the one which I wanted to satiate by visiting the place.

Now I needed rest in rest, rest for the rest. Fixing on this I sat on the chairs that were arranged for some meeting to be held. This was the inauguration of art exhibition in the exhibition hall. After relaxing a bit my eyes were looking around,while my legs were bitten by mosquitoes which wanted its evening blood. The hands swayed and hit some of those but missing most of them The money plant on the tree in the front looked artistically wild. Then view shifted upon a piece of black rock smoothened and kept in an odd place and looked out of place. On a closer watch it turned out to be an art from a German artist. And then I noticed that there were many more things kept outside the building, there was a path to go around the building. This led to many simple and complicated sculpture .The simplest was a log at a corner near a on room building. I had to search out the information plate to identify it as art. Like life of an artist, each art is a journey and to each art there is a journey. There is art for the busy, the calm, the quiet, the wild, the peaceful, the divine and the chaotic.

 
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Posted by on February 6, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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Hyderabad Hiatus

There was no irregular ornate reason for a hiatus from regular work. It was plain as useful, the life of a degree-holder, a call for test at IIT Hyderabad.

How a three-letter acronym can cause a flummoxed discernment about persona and attitude was depicted here.

Coming back to more recent visit I see that those were the exact reasons for the trip. There could be no other reason, except the three letters. The mystic magnetism of the letters are inexplicable, beyond materialistic achievement. I had applied to CCRAN project place because of a colleague, for whom the institute is nearby. This was a dream for him, OK a demi-semi dream. As you may expect the journey was not without the thrills of any other Indian travel.

I had read the interview/test call very late, this had come via email. The complete application was through email. Then I had with me two wait listed tickets, forward and return, both of which got confirmed before chart preparation. Waking up in the morning was no big deal. It was only then I realised, that India is united in a culture, a common culture, of procrastination and delay. The train suppossed  to reach Secunderabad in the wee hours in the morning was 40 minutes late. Some people crawled back to their berths. Some mused over the consequences of the situation, more complacent listened to music, had coffee, tea and chatted.

At Secunderabad, the train went to Platform 1, a blessing for the regular travellers. Even though, first time in the place, I was assured about the lingua-franca of the place, Hindi. I could with some enquiry get the direction to Patancheru. The bus route no. 219 starts there just left after the HP petrol pump. From there I boarded the shattering bus. What I noticed is most buses had their headline as “RTC” to the right. What was “APSRTC” got reduced to “RTC”. Some new small buses had “TSRTC” as their heading. There were some APSTC also plying. On the way I could see JNTU Kukatpally, MSME tool room and some shops and places. The air was dusty but cool. Road was not great but usable. Patancheru was INR 17 from Secunderabad. I got down there.

From here, I took a bus route No. 502 via Shankarpally. This was a nice trip, it went through some villages and farmlands, Industrial units and Ordnance Defence Factory. The road was wide enough for a single bus. The ride was rattling and very uneven. There were some smallf factories here and there. In between some houses poked their faced from out of nowhere, the road continued. A lot of school students boarded the bus at on village (Pasamailaram) they all got down at ODF. Further, the bus moved to an unassuming junction with a small building. There were a few yellow school buses, only the buses read IIT Hyderabad. The building was the temporary campus on IIT-H.

After getting down, I followed some guys who, apparently, were hungry. They were in search of canteen, found answer from security and boarded one of those yellow buses, just about to reverse and start off towards hostel, later I learned. The next stop at a complex, there was food corner, with Rs 20 for 3 Idlis. We got the bus back to IITH, and then there was the wait. Signing at the gate, waiting in a room, drinking water, visiting restroom, getting sleep, chatting and chatting.

Then there was exam for CS and EC- Communication stream question papers were ready. For EC- microelectronics and VLSI track the question papers came later. Again wait. Exam started at noon ended after noon. Hungry, I visited the IIT H hostel, of course on recommendation from exam conductor, for lunch. There was only a snacks and tea shop in the temporary site. The yellow bus took me to hostel for lunch. It was not a typical IIT hostel mess. My experience at IIT B and IIT M were grossly more satisfying and sumptuous food. Compared to those, this was just the normal dal, chawal ( rice), roti, dry fried oily vegetable, pappad, pickle and curd. This cost INR 45.

I went back to IITH roamed all the corridors, drank a lot of water, got to sit at the ground, steps and in the testing classroom for longtime, then the eventual sleep. By 1700 they announced result for microelectronics and VLSI stream, 5 got shortlisted. In Communication stream also same number but since their exam started early the result came early too. CS was MCQ based test which announced the shortlist of 3 candidates just after 1400 hours. Since I was out of the game and having no way to escape, and as planned, had to stay to get a proper train the next day. I stayed. Thanks to my friend who extended grand hospitality.

The day passed trying to figure out how to see most of hyderabad at least time. Must see places were Charminar and Mecca masjid, Chowmahallah Palace and Salar Jung museum. Chilkur Balaji came as a last-minute plan while Birla Mandir was very hopeful. I started very early morning. Got an auto-rickshaw to cover distance of tens of kilometer from Shankarpally to Langar house. Langar house was the first point were I could get a bus to Chilkuru Balaji temple. The autorickshaw which ran in shared basis had at max 6 people at one point. Through out I saw the land divided by road. On sides of the road men and women cycling and running, jogging and walking. A few waited for the auto and the elusive bus. Though I did see one bus coming opposite.

There is a better faster way to reach . The path being Shankarpally – > Yenikapally -> Chilkuru , all by auto. But there was no auto running in this route. A bus was sleeping at Chevella route from Shankarpally.

Way to Chilkuru Balaji Temple

From Langar house I crossed the road and immediately got 288D to Chilkuru Balaji Temple

It took 45 minutes from Langar house to Chilkuru Balaji Temple at INR 19 in JNNURM bus. The road was very good. At the last stop at Temple there was a small moving crowd. There were vendors and shops all trying to make business. Starting with coconut, flowers, shoe stand, curios and transgenders who begged.

Shoe stand at the corner had water taps to clean feet after depositing footwear at INR 3. Inside the temple there is a cloak room, to keep luggage and mobile at INR 5. Fill up the bill receipt and then pay deposit the belongings and then I entered. There was check by the police department. Inside the temple there is restroom facility at INR 3. There was a circumambulation by crowd, praying and chanting. Some were sitting. The crowd was smooth without hitting each other. The priest was extremely good telling people what to chant and the meaning of it. He spoke English too. The chants were in Telugu. After darshan there is thirtham and kalkandam(sweetmeat) given plus some telugu devotional literature, which I did not take. The temple is known for the Visa balaji who helps with visa troubles of the devotees. There was no facility to donate money there, no hundi (bhandaram). I had know such problems but a visit to the Visa god was good. I had breakfast after darshan. I waited for Mehdipatnam bus and got seat in it as soon as one started.

Charminar

288D took me to Mehdipatnam. From the same stop I could get 65/66 series to charminar. There was 65M small bus direct to Charminar Bus stand. In the bus I saw charminar at a distance and completed a 180 degree around, all the while seeing the Charminar, and ended very near to it. I had to ask the conductor where to get down to move to Charminar. She replied that I had to go for the last stop. There is a functional urinal at bus stand.

I walked to Charminar. Some guys were selling sunglasses at cheap price. There was a moving queue at the entrance. The entry fee by ASI was INR 5. The security cleared the ticket and all entered at one pillar. The steps were not too easy nor too steep. Only climb upto half the height was allowed. The later half was blocked for visiting. I had a good look around. The old calling bell and carvings and the central area’s view from the half-top view. Small closed rooms where all closed, some served as storage for the present Charminar cleaner’s paraphernalia. I could ask the security about Mecca masjid, the view of which from Charminar is good. Only inside the mosque non-muslims had not entry.

Everybody exited from the diagonal pillar down. There was a small fountain at central area with potted plants. Around there were places to sit at the steps and there were benches. Some huge potted plants that reminded of Roman-movie like setting were also seen. The area of Charminar was fenced away from the road on for sides.

Mecca masjid

Then I walked to Mecca masjid. Here, there was facility to keep the luggage, in cloak room, after checking, at INR 10. There was a pool were people brushed and cleaned. Many pigeons flocked at the entrance. The footwear removed,  I entered the tomb area. An uninvited guide tried to guide me around, telling me all the muslim names and hierarchy of the buried. One thing I remember is, the tomb with green cloth on was of a King who became a Sufi saint. All tombs with projected are that of men, the flat ones are of women. Then outside there was lot of pigeon shit. Through this we walked to the Masjid front. He told about the chandeliers which used to have candles burned for light, now covered with cloth. He gave a number on how many could sit and pray there. I had not seen a mosque open and so near. There was a boy sitting inside and reading. The guide said in a few hours it will be prayer time. On the Charminar side there were to big benches. One was granite from Persia , the black one, the other of white marble was from Rajasthan. The guide said if you sit on Black one there is chance to visit Hyderabad again. He told that the middle arch above which red bricks with lines were used was build with stoned from Mecca. On either side there is a copy which is of local origin. I paid the guide away. Or rather he was busy to finish and catch another poor fellow.

Chowmahallah palace

I continued to Chowmahallah palace. From Mecca masjid, cam out, walked opposite to Charminar, took first right, walked straight till dead end, and turned left and walked on to meet Chowmahallah Palace entrance. The entrance looks very small and expectations about the palace was proven wrong later. Entry fee was INR 40. There was space to deposit luggage, metal detector checking, restroom and snacks and tea area. Inside there was a pool with fountain. Some birds enjoyed the water. There was a small building whose entrance faced the pool. There were 2 entrances to this place. The building housed many articles. On the walls there was neatly arranged history of the Nizams, hyderabad rulers. Photographs. Swords. Palanquins. Various weapons, collectibles, crockery, more photos and it went on. There was a lady-sweeper who held the brromstick like sword , resting after a long-sweep, near the King’s seat. V. Unfortunate I ‘d only my eyes as capturing device. Visitors were not allowed near the seat. There were many rooms filled and neatly arranged with royal dresses, books, Quran copies, textiles, Kalamkari art, and very many things. I thought that was all. But that only the beginning. There was a second courtyard, with more buildings more things, furniture et al. I thought that was all, but then there was one more area where Vintage cars were displayed. The total palace premise were kept neat, with enough restrooms, drinking water facility and other amenities. On the way back there was a photographer near to the office, who provided photos with royal costumes and backgrounds.

Out of the palace I headed to Afzal jung by SETWIN bus. They do not give ticket. The conductor takes the money and crowds the bus. I got down at afzal jung, walked over the bridge, took a left turn, walked straight, on the right after the museum exit gate came the entry gate. Here, again, there was luggage room, to deposit luggage for free, ticket was INR 10. I knew the museum visit would take minimum 2 and half hours. I headed to the food court, which required asking the way around. The lunch (meal) was 111 INR. By the look of the setup I understood that it is typical money-squeeze format of food court. There was place to sit outside in the garden. I could notice that the bill had INR 14 as tax. I took enough time to roam around. There was place to sit,rest to eat and to roam about.

As a security told me that Birla Mandir opens at 1600 and takes minimum 45 minutes from Afzal Jung stop, and my train departure being at 1650 at Hyderabad station, I dropped that idea. I dedicated the time for the museum.

Attractions at Salar Jung Musuem

Veiled Rebecca – intricate intriguing work with marble that makes the veil look very real, like cloth

The Clock – There is a clock in display in ground floor, make sure to check at each hour where the drummer comes. In chowmahllah palace there is more elaborate clock with King looking left and right with his court members and chiming 4 times. The French gallery in Western block had a large collection of clocks.

Elephants Everywhere – There is elephant in clock collection, ivory works, walking sticks and wooden carvings. No other animal had these many variety of base medium for representation

It was nice to know that even king’s used pencil-case.

In the western block, western countries’ collection is displayed.

Chinese colours, belgium bluem red and green coloured utensils are very interesting.
Bohemian art was also interesting.

Jaded Art gallery had diamond studded swords and weapons, the beauty of which drowns at the thought of their maleficent usage. Except possible one item the Noorjahan’s fruit knife. This was purely for the most peaceful act of eating.

Chinese fruit tray with fish picture was confusing, why any fruit lover would eat from a plate with fish picture on it. If the person wanted fish he could use it as fish plate. I don’t know about Chinese but definitely am curious ask one about this idea of fruit plate.

Some Chandeliers on display had lights which looked like upside down glasses. There were many variety of glass works, with different hues and colours. A chemistry enthusiast may enjoy it more to guess and find out only a few colours were prominent, what metals and compounds made up the colour and so on.

LED lights fixed under some glass work which gave it a surreal look.

Venetian gold and enamel works were nice.

Porcelain toys of the west, Chinese toys, Japanese dolls in the eastern section, Indian toys from Kondapally village, German porcelain soldiers all were a treat to the eyes.

Textile works of Kalamkari style, The embroidery of polar bear on silk and Dogs in the forest were excellent.

In addition to all this collection the exhibition area hosted Asit Kumar Haldar Exhibition of painting in Bengali school of art.This reminded me of my trip to Cholamandalam Arts Village, Injambakkam. That is another story in itself.

To Nampally (a.k.a Hyderabad station)

Finally, I started to Hyderabad station from Afzal Jung stop. But no one would agree on a single name for the station. Everyone whom I asked said “There are many stations in Hyderabad- Secundarabad, Nampally and so on, which one you want to go ?”. I was dumbfounded when I ultimately reached the station. The Nampally – Hyderabad station, which was 15 minutes from museum by bus , was hidden and there was no direction indicators. At Chowmahallah palace there is a photo of King inaugurating the Secunderabad railway station. That King opened the main station (having 11 + platforms) and people do not identify the smaller namesake Hyderabad station! It is Nampally station. Then why not name it so?

To my luck my train was at 4th platform which is the platform to which one enters from the road. There is bag check, scanning and security. All made safe. From Hyderabad station to Secunderabad I saw many beautifully built local train stations. At Necklace road station I could have a nice long view of the hussain sagar lake. By the time it reached the James street the sewage entering the lake is more clear with smell. As the darkness crept in my sight seeing of Hyderabad ended. The time was good for rest with a berth for sleep and mind replayed the journey in a relaxed state.

 
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Posted by on September 26, 2014 in travel

 

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Chennai – Alleppey The original Chennai Express

For a little history please refer wikipedia_page.

Chennai Alleppey is home to people who frequently travel to mid – Kerala till Alleppey (Alappuyha). Please click on the train numbers for their schedules.

16041 Chennai to Alleppey/16042 Alleppey to Chennai. These were the train numbers of its glorious past. As an express train it was perfect for a worker in Ernakulam to catch the train at South (Ernakulam Jn) railway station at 1720 and arrive at Chennai Central (MAS) at 0600. (Actual arrival time should be read as arrival at basin bridge.)

For the uninitiated, Basin Bridge Junction (BBQ, we call it Barbeque- in future) is a major junction for all trains to and fro MAS. The halt for most trains at BBQ is unannounced and random. This is because of signalling to and fro the Central station. Beyond BBQ towards MAS there is a bridge, hence the name basin bridge. The speed is limited for all trains passing over this bridge. Subject to availability of vacant platforms and speed limited trains coming out the arrival time at Central is almost always more than what is on paper.

Now it has been rechristened / re enrolled / renumbered (train number coding system) as superfast at 22639/22640. The halts for express and superfast are same. The time on paper differ at most by -10 minutes at MAS. But due to BBQ the home-train ( newly coined term ) will follow its routine. Thus by a simple paper work of renumbering, renaming and very minor time schedule change, the Indian Railways is able to charge the (same) passengers the fee for superfast instead of (previous) express.

Charges for The Superfast 22640 ERS-MAS : 400 (Since July)
Charges for The Express 16042 ERS-MAS : 355 (Before July)

Getting INR 50 per head for the same train, same time, same person is one way to increase the railways income. This is example of one train. What about others?

Decoding the train number using IRFCA

For 16041/16042

1 = long distance

6 = SR

0 = Chennai (60 for chennai division)

4 = ? / train id (sub divisions – internal)

1/2 = train id up/dn

For 22639/22640

2 = 2 is also for long-distance trains; it is to be used when train numbers starting with 1 are exhausted in any series.
2 = superfast

6 = SR

3 = Thiruvananthapuram division / 4 = unknown?

9/0 = train id up/dn

From the numbers 1 thing to be understood is The new superfasts are home to Thiruvananthapuram division which will take care of it. Compare this with 16041/2 maintained by Chennai division.

 
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Posted by on August 7, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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Tada Trekking Time.

An additional day of cool off time, paved way for the day to think on an expedition. With many blogs and websites that help to see the unseen we decided on a trip to Ubbalamadugu waterfalls. The nearest waterfall that one can get to from Chennai. It needs some patience to climb the rocky paths to reach it. And the falls, itself looks like a slightly huge shower,under which you can stand and not get washed away.  You can experience, feel and drink from the falls, due to its moderate force and small size.

We were a bunch of lazy guys trying to cool off on a rather unassuming day. So we got on a 0730 train from Chennai Central Suburban station (MMC) towards Sullurpeta (SPE). Tada railway station was almost 2 hours away. We could sleep, talk, and listen to music, and look around in the typical bachelor style of operations and movements.

Tada marks the border of Andhra Pradesh (2014) and Tamil Nadu state borders. But it has no grand welcome or exit messages. on reaching Tada, we had our breakfast and then went to the mayhem outside, that was the least welcoming for a tourist, in the form of share autos and other autos. The auto drivers were all enthusiastic, full of energy and ready to bargain. We started asking about the charges for to and fro the waterfalls (Forest Gate). Their estimates were all a solid INR 800 plus. Some drivers asked whether we wanted to go to toddy shop. We had a good laugh over it. And found a better way to proceed. We decided to go to the nearby bus stop and get ourselves as far as the public buses would go. We got to Tada bus stop,near Tada market, from there we took bus to Varadiah Palem. At Varadiah Palem, it was learned that there was no us to the place we wanted to go. So we have to resort to some auto. Without expertise of Telugu speakers in the group of 5,  we do not know how we would have bargained. But the bargain was not as expected. The auto driver was contumacious, and we had to stick to what price he had put, at INR 450 for to and fro. So we proceeded, the auto-driver suggested to buy and eat or store whatever required from Varadiah Palem, nothing would be available at the forest, the canteen which was there is also closed.

At the Forest gate, there was a shed under which some guards in khaki uniform rested. On seeing the auto , they came up. Some officials, were noticed, to be sitting with some papers under the shed. The guards who came up asked us about the bags, and requested to open it up. They check whether we are hiding liquor. Camera charges are to be paid at INR 50 per camera. Our auto driver paid for our entry and for the auto-rickshaw parking, after a shaky rocky ride. Then we moved on to the parking spot. From where, we have start on our foot. We saved the auto-drivers phone number and the auto number. We told him our estimate of return. He had put up his time to return as 1400. We had reached there after 1100.

We met some steps built over a stream. We crossed it and started with photo sessions. The water in the stream was cool. And then the feet that are unused to walking have to start walking, over the stream, rocky trail. And the trail become more rocky. Some nice view of mountain tops. And then we moved on, it was the end of winter on March 2. The climate was pleasant and cool. It was not dusty and we could listen to some birds singing out.  Then we met another stream, where flow was more. We had emptied our bottles into sweat, bottles were filled at the running portion of the small river. Then we noticed that there were some empty discarded plastic bottles and some socks in the water. The rocks in the stream were like large pebbles, there were still some small ones that one could pick up as a souvenir.

We moved on, there was nothing to do about the waste in the forest, for we are also new here, but determined not to spoil it any further than it already is. Moving on, we started seeing some dogs and then a Siva temple. Beyond which we met another stream, a much small one, with two steps we could cross it. Near the stream some guys were having liquor, the smell was on the air. It was uninviting.

There were rocks to be trodden yonder, we were totally immersed in rocks and boulders. The size started increases, jumping over some and watching over the rocks all the time, since some which were easily step-able  were shit on by some organism of the wild, but our better guess were the dogs. Some guys were happily returning, we asked them about the onward journey for us, how far to the waterfalls. All of them of our age range were totally happy and energetic about tellings the routes and how the rocks got bigger. Some guys had picked up sticks to help themselves to climb over. We noticed that all the people had turned out in gangs, so that help was always around, there were also girls who went on trek, though a minority by number. The rocks mixed with streams. Sometimes, it was easy to walk on the stream below and get wet up to knees than to climb up a difficult stone.

The rocks became bigger, it was sometimes hard to find the easiest path, and then I relied on some extended hands of friends who could pull me up, tell me where to place the foot and climb and tread on. I met the read on white background solid lines on a big rock, that read danger area. Of course, the footwear were proving to be a head-ache, it helped over soil were we could make out there were shards of glasses. But then placing the foot on stone to climb up was easier with the leverage of foot-fingers than a plain surface provided by the footwear. Often, I had to take the footwear in hand to win over a challenging stone. I wanted to discard the footwear, while a friend also felt the same. We wanted to put out the danger in “Danger area” and we declared the place as “Chappal(footwear) area”.  The danger area, we assumed were going to be even tougher, as mentioned by returning trekkers. There was two huge massive stones and in between there were a few stones. From top of the landing stone, we had to step on the small area were the stones were actually stuck by the gap between the two large boulders. The small stepping stones were stuck there due to sheer size of the boulders on the sides. And to add thrill to all this we had to have a small jump from landing rock to the stepping zone. With abyss at the bottom giving some kind of creepy  feeling, with the smaller pieces of stones giving way to our weight on them and falling onto this depth, it was really giving a dangerous outlook on the purview. Two odd sticks could possibly lead us to the path above the danger area. This had to be done with extreme care. Especially with my weight to be pulled up, I had help with friends holding the sticks at the bottom and friends above who told me exactly where to put my step on, besides I had my hand ready to be pulled up just in case.

We met some monkeys, some humans filled with liquor, a danger pool area and a path further up. The slopes were steep. I would view only the immediately available rocks and tree trunks to hold on to. I would not look down, or look up. When some loose pieces of rocks were on the way,I pushed one away in frustration and irritation and the enthusiasm to move on. Little did I realise that it could have hit people coming up from bottom and the slope was steep enough to make them loose their holds and get injured by yet unforeseen loose piece of stone coming in their direction. I regretted for having pushed the stone down, while I heard a group of 3-4 guys trekking up. I assumed patience to be my best comrade and moved upwards.

Getting lost in the forest was easy when two of us were slow to catch up with the fit guys of the team of five. We lost way and ended up at a dead end, where there was some resting place like that of a cave. The cave had a small way inward, very small, not good enough for a human to crawl into. We decided that they had not gone this way. Later realising that there was another path to the left of the route. We resumed trekking and then went left. Further, we could easily walk on a comparatively flat and one man’s walking way. The track gradually slopped down and then there was no gradient. There were easy steps on the rocks to walk down instead of sitting and crawling down. This had made the trousers very ugly and the effort seem worth displaying with all the dirt on the clothes. The trek could have been easier without the backpack with water and foods that I was carrying, but it could have turned out terrible afterwards, with no bottle to quench the thirst. I rested myself on the rocks and could see people taking the waterfall for a shower. People took turns to stand under the falls and take pictures. We took lot of photos and with help of many co-trekking group we could get some frames with all of us in it. Our bottles were once again filled with natural water. This water was tasting better, in some opinion. Nevertheless, it was water that was urgently needed.

After great deal of getting wet, taking photos, shouting and so on, we decided to visit the danger pool, way back. The climb down was faster and easier, with sliding down and small jumps we could easily get down. The loose pieces of stones were treaded on with some empathy towards the trekkers in oppostite direction. We precariously moved on such stuff that could slide and cause problem to other climbers. After crossing the Chappal area we turned right to reach the danger pool. It was a brilliant view with the green pool, reddish cliffs above and huge rocks. The crystal like pebbles in the pool were very attractive. Some guys stayed at the rocks and drank, some ate, some smoked. Some monkey gangs came up to collect leftover and spilled food items. Some guys were in the pool, enjoying the cool water. Some stayed at the halfway mark that demarcated the depth difference, beyond which the depth was more than neck-deep, say 6 ft(182 cm). Proficient swimmers went beyond the mark and met a small waterfall at the end of it. Some newbies to swimming learned swimming in the first half, for the first time in the natural setting. Some were diving from the plank at the half mark and enjoy the freshness of the whole place. After a considerable duration of fish-life, there was drying up , further photo sessions and then return journey.

During return at about 1530, we noticed more people were hanging out and moving around. We were not feeling hungry, we do not know why. We also found an alternate path midway and entered the Siva temple side without crossing the small stream. This path was very easy to walk on except for lot of shit. Many dogs were present this time and some ladies were cleaning up and burning up the litter. We walked on with somebody sharing some story and keep up the momentum. Beyond the other stream, the only noise that followed us was the song of some bird. One of us easily caught up with the bird and whistled in a mocking manner.

We got to the parking area and reached Varadiah Palem , without any events. Mostly, we were silent and happy at having done something different and enjoyable, natural and so mentally freeing expedition. At Varadiah Palem we paid the driver INR 500. Then, he suddenly extended help to catch a sullurpeta bus that was leaving the stand. We successfully caught the bus at next stop and got on. We saw the Kalki oneness temple on the way and then to Tada Bus stop. There the Tada Market was active, and we helped ourselves with tender coconut water and some bajjis (fried snack). We had a train from Tada R.S after 1800, the ticket seller was not willing to sell it too early, we waited for him to turn to his capricious side that was favourable which not coming up. We were hanging out and then went for eating our lunch. After giving the ticket seller enough time to contemplate on his contumacious non-officious habits, we were back in queue, got our tickets and waited in platform 2. Some more photo-sessions happened. And the train (MRTS) came. We were more than happy to stay silent and chew on the memories of the trek that was.

(PS: The reader is requested to keep in mind that the terms moderate, small, huge, clean, good, bad, heavy. difficult are all subjective to individuals physiques and emotions.)

 
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Posted by on March 21, 2014 in travel

 

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Happy rain, travel woes and the useless buffalo

People should be taken out of the road. The road is for those who pay road tax and apparently obey traffic rules. The traffic policemen, the security at the gate of office all give due respect to the motorists. Salutes are crisp and clear for those who travel by car. Anyone with an SUV or luxury car can expect a free hand wave to get it through the traffic. They must be the rich, the elite, the powerful, they cannot be stopped.

I had this odd incident , I had a 12 hour journey in train. I had learned enough football to give shoulder pushes on the people around. To push them from blocking my way. My way is right and my way is always free. No one can stop me. I am invincible. I could happily push through the people and get out of the unreserved compartment. I could push all on my way from the platform to the road. I could push people around in the bus and make space to stand. It is my right and my way, that is always right. I get down at the destination. The moment I get down it rains. A gentle reminder that there is someone above, who can always play with the tap with ceaseless source of water. It flowed heavily , swept the dirty roads, cleaned the sideroads and whatever was left of footpath.

There was water everywhere, I was not thirsty. So, I left it where it is, that is, on the road. It started filling the roads. I was happy to get wet in the rain, since anyway I had not taken bath. I had the head dry, that was the most important aspect. Head was safe with a plastic cover. And then Whoosh! Splash! I was drenched in that dirty muddy water, it was done by Some Qualis with Taxi permit. May be he is busy, may be he did not see me. May be he is in an emergency. With lot of effort I tried to place him in a position to receive my forgiveness. But the ego of a man is not thwarted that easily. I was searching for some stone to throw at his window. But he was lucky , there was not even a small piece in vicinity. I dropped the plan and got myself on the middle of the road. This time no one should splash muddy water at me without hitting me. And then the motorists seem to understand my feelings. Sometimes, there were a few unmindful, who honked at the nuisance created by me. I was all the more happy. I am getting a natural bath that will will clean up the dirt.

I reached the room, threw my clothes for washing and showered myself to cent percent cleanliness. I was sensing the neatness about me. I was feeling slightly spiritual. Cleanliness is next to godliness. I decided to visit the temple nearby. And then proceed to my office. I started again onto the road and forward. I had the end of my pants folded up so that no water can directly make me wet. I had discarded shoes for normal footwear. I was prepared with a cap and an umbrella. I could see bikes struggling through the potholes of the road. I was happy that I was not being inconvenienced by being in possession of bike and facing the hardship of driving through the rain. I did not have to buy an expensive raincoat, and I could help myself with a low cost umbrella. I could be happy with so much less. I could enjoy the wet wind on my face and slight dampness of the surroundings. I thoroughly enjoy this, while a raincoat would have marred this entertainment.

I waded through the clean waters this time. And faced the most ugliest portion of the path. It was a 100 metres of dirty flood. A forgotten footpath were the garden plants and trees shook with pleasure at the sudden rain. The gates of a few compounds opened to the footpath blocking it. I pushed it back and try to regain the invasion of the householders on the footpath. I could manage with what was left of footpath, a clear 1 feet width was only occasionally touched by the waves of the muddy pool. I worked through the pre-determined path. I could foresee a vehicle in opposite direction and went behind a parked car to safeguard myself. I stayed on and a vehicle went past me. I walked peacefully thinking about the waves of sea. The rain that I had experience near the seashore. With the tides hitting violently at the rocks that block the high tides. The waves in the muddy pool on the road were mere minor reflections of the same from a different angle. And a Toyota Innova went past me splashing all the dirt on me. I was soaked. Drenched. Inundated!.

On a normal day I would expect such rowdy behaviour from a Ford car owner but never a Toyota. That too an Innova. That too when I was feeling happy and lost. So much for the reality. I decided to protest with my misfortune. I did not return back to change clothes. I went to the bus. Pushed the conductor and people around. I felt slightly happy that an otherwise silent self was joyfully pushing against others. This was revenge for the forces that had pushed me into this situation.

no footpath, no respect for fellow beings. This is a merciless, pitiless world for real.

To take a pro-active, progressive and positive steps with forgiveness may prove fatal.

To be an useless buffalo which accepts anything that come the way, be a block , unmindful of the consequences, was more easily done and said.

PS:

Congratulations! You have read 2 pages, totalling 969 words.

 
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Posted by on October 22, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Kanchipuram Trip

From Guindy RS. There is a TMLP, Tirumalpur train that goes to Kanchipuram. The train arrives at Guindy at 0730 and we reached by 1000. We got down at Kanchipuram station not to be confused with Kanchipuram East railway station which comes before the Kanchipuram station.

1.Kanchi Kamaakshi Amman Temple – Sakthi peeda with the eyes of the goddess. Big temple. Timings : 0500 – 1200 and 1600 – 1800. Lot of shops around. Good traffic for the road of the size available there. Elephant at the gate will bless. Queue was moving smoothly, quick entry can be at INR 100 with the watchman. The tample announces that no payment is required for the entry inside. We followed queue, which had fans hanging from sides to let out the heat. Kumkumam is given. There is lot of scope to take photos outside the main deity, inside the huge temple premises. People beg for various reasons. Toilet facility available outside the premise.

www.kanchikamakshi.com/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kamakshi_Amman_Temple

2.Ulaga Alanda Perumal Temple – Very close to Kamaakshi Amman, Ulaga Alanda Perumal is a smaller temple. The sculpture is huge, showing the Ulaga(world) Alanda (measured) god. This was possibly the first instance of measurement in the workd of mythology, hence the God of measurement and Instrumentation in my eyes. Very cute premises with considerate priests.

3.Vilakoli Perumal Temple – Somewhat at a distance from the previous temple. Journey made by Auto, took us fast. The Temple had some portions being renovated. Some neglected areas. Anyways wonderful small temple.

4.Ashtabujaswami with pushpavalli Temple : Pretty good temple, with not much crowd and friendly priest.

http://www.hindu.com/fr/2003/11/21/stories/2003112101380600.htm

http://antaryami.net/darpanam/2013/04/02/ashtabuyakaram-sri-aadhikesava-perumal-temple/

5.Yatoktakari Perumal Temple : Huge perumal in lying posture made of the same black elements of art that is used in Vilakoli perumal temple and Ulaga Alanda Perumal temple.He lies with head on the right facing us and feet on the left. There is a story behind this.

6.Varadaraja Perumal Temple with the Lizard: Varadaraja Perumal tested our patients with us standing in queue for a long time. We had entered at sharp closing time 1200. So this was expected. People who had contacts with security could take an easier route. Others should engage themselves in conversation, devotion or muse over the scribbling in tamil , telugu and kannada on the stones and steps. Lot of steps had to be climbed to see the tall Perumal. Then another long queue and ticket of INR 2 per head to touch the lizard on the ceiling, and get rid of sins. There is a golden big lizard, silver small lizard and sun and moon in round golden plate like things attached to the celing, proper stairs are provided so that we can easily touch the figures on the ceilings. Coming out, we met the Prasadam stall, very inviting for our hunger, Puliyogarai and laddu we tasted, there were other options too. Annadanam stall was closed. There was a small structure which listed price for camera and video but man at the door did not let us in.

We took tonnes of photo near the pond and other stone structures. There was lot of interesting locations to act as background.

7.Kanchi Kamakoti Peedam :Run by the Kanchi Mutt of which Sree Sankara was part of. Had maps of temples at Kanchi and information on Mutt activities. There was big halls were we could rest. One of the hall was inside were there were photos of the prominent Mutt activists. Mutt related books and articles could be purchased in the inside hall. There was a small Ganesa sitting happily at on corner when we took a round around. It is INR 2 per footwear safeguarding.

www.kamakoti.org/

8.Ekambaranathar Temple: Seeing the HP Petrol Pump we take a right turn to see Ekambaranathar Temple. Has a double entrance. We walk opposite to the Kanchi Kamakoti Peedam and see huge temple gateway. Again moving inside we see some shops and an entry were Camera has to get its tickets. A lone Nandi sits outside. Inside we have a huge temple to visit. RO water is available just before this entrance. The temple depicts an illustration of Parvathi devi hugging on to Sivalinga under a mango tree. This is the inspiration for some Kolu sculptures and paintings. There is a glass casing showing the bark of a 3500 year old Mango tree. We went inside to see a Mango tree which was of much less size than this bark. Telugu version of announcement says that Parvathi devi got married here. While the Tamil version says that Siva presented himself before Devi here. This temple has many carvings and idols. On a raised platform there are the Navagrahas, On farther end there is Venkateswara and family in full regalia. 108 Sivalingams in addition to many idols. Lot of stone art to be seen on the temple carvings. Scope of lot of photography, flash is a must for photography inside, due to limited light.

9.Pandava Perumal Temple: We go opposite to the Ekambaranathar temple entrance and take second right. Thanks to the administrators all streets are named after the temple it leads to, making the search process very easy. Pandava perumal temple has a huge statue of perumal in sitting posture. Not very crowded and the premises are under renovation. There is a small temple pond. The roof and structures around are hangouts for variety of birds, parrots, doves in –white spots, brown and white and grey and pure white. Chakrathalwar has his presence next to perumal. We walked straight opposite to the entry point to enter the raja veedhi and took a right and crossed the road for meeting Kandasamy temples colourful tower. On the distance in the same direction we see a creamy coloured tower of Kachapeswarar temple.

10.Kumarakottam Kandasamy Subrahmanya Temple : This temple is easy reach and on the raja veedhi. Kandasamy a.k.a Subrahmanya swamy had many cocks outside resting on benches. Temple seemed newly constructed compared to others. Some designs resembled that of previous temples, but there seemed to be a kind of machine finishing or polishing of some kind. We had entered the temple by some puja time, we had to wait for the darsan. Took a round around to meet Navagraha, Saraswathy devi and other deities.

11.Kachapeswarar temple: It had a giant doorway, closed parking area for temple chariot inside, a huge temple pond full of water and lot of free space to move about. Kachapeswarar was as busy as Kandasamy and we waited. The Nagaswaram and temple bugle sounded with the temple bells and that signaled the opening for darsan. This was a huge temple with many Sivalingams installed. We saw many bats which were disturbed by the sounds made. Just after exiting on the left there are a few deities. A rare sight was noted by a friend. It was Sivalinga with a face on it, and rudraksha beads arranged in a manner above the Sivalingam giving it a very divine and antique look.We got sweet mix of some assorted cut fruits.

12. Kailasanathar temple: After exiting from Kachapeswarar we enquired for Kailasanathar temple. We were told that it was 1 km from there and we took a left and walked straight. There were a few shops, Kanchi Kudil (Kanchi hut) and a junction where buses stopped and took people. All Chennai buses went this way. Chennai was 78km from there. Kailasanathar temple was straight. We walked some distance without seeing a glimpse of temple. Another junction passed and there was a small temple on the left a small lake on the right and a tower of temple all lighted up in full glory was visible. We walked straight with the street lights flooding the road. We reached the ASI maintained Kailasanthar Temple. People and families were having a happy time playing and joking on the premises. There was a huge Nandi on stone there. This temple is supposed to have resemblance to the shore temple of Mahabalipuram. It was found to be true. Many carving were found restored and smoothed out, may be with plaster of paris and cement. The cariving were sophisticated and intricate. The light was not good inside. We were told that it was closing time, Yes! It was near 2000 hours. The deity could not be seen , the door was closed and time , we were told was 0900-1230 and 1600-1800 hours. We got permission to roam around for a few minutes and we roamed. Fascinating art work was visible even in the dim light of outside flood and street lights. We marked it on the list of must visit back on daylight. Happily we backed the way we came. Met with the tower of kachapeswarar.

Shopping :

Yes we did some shopping at some saree shop. Got to know difference between silk sarees and prices.

Eat: Restaurants charged the same high price as in Chennai.

Some Foreigners were seen in many places. Carrying camera and taking picture of anything on the way.

Walked straight again to see Kamrajar statue, many restaurants, familiar brands of HSB and A2B were there in addition to many other restaurants. We crossed the road to get to bus stand. Bus stand was also marked with sign board showing us the way. 576 to T Nagar, 576C and Poonamallee buses were in abundance. When inquired the 576 Volvo conductor said this was not the last bus to T Nagar.

 
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Posted by on September 30, 2013 in travel

 

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