Archive for the ‘Bengaluru’ Category

Srirangapatna picture post – Part 1

November 18, 2009

It was a few days before Diwali of 2009.

Had a day in Bengaluru… Decided to take a cab and go down to Srirangapatna… Visit the bird sanctuary… Check out the sangama of rivers… There were five of us… So we took an Innova and rode in comfort…

In Srirangapatna, we checked into one of the resort hotels which was just off the highway… The Amblee Holiday resort…

It was quite an idyllic place…

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Checked into the room.

And then walked across to the river…. The hotel has been built right on the banks of river Kaveri…

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Just coulndt resist taking a dip in the river. It felt real good…

Noticed a rock in the river that looked quite like a crocodile…

Here it is, the croc rock…

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The ambiance is real nice… Birds, farm animals…

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Signing off this post with a  special show… Turkey displays its plumes…

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Lunch done…

Off to the bird sanctuary now…

*** To be continued.

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Another day’s outing from Bangalore – 4

June 20, 2008

The Kesava temple has three shrines in the sanctum. The main one is Kesava Perumal. The other two are Venu Gopala (Krishna) and Janardana.

Here are a few pictures of the outer wall carvings…

Somnathapura Temple

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Somnatha[ura

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Somnathapura

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Somnathapura

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The one below looks like a carving of Hanuman, carrying a Siva Linga. But I am not sure, for the icon also has hands carrying Shankha and Chakra…

Somnathapura

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The temple reminded me of the Kailasanatha Temple at Kancheepuram. That temple too has a fabulous architecture and sublime carvings. Like that temple, this one too has an open corridor along the outer path, which is said to have housed some sixty four idols – once upon a time…

Somnathapura

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Have a look at this picture of the pillars in near the entrance. Just look at the smooth finish – looks like it has been carved on a lathe….

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So that was Somnathapura. Driving back to Bengaluru, we stopped at Maddur. Maddur was earlier known as Arjunapura, named after the Pandava hero Arjuna, who is said to have come here. The town is famous for ‘vadai’ and and for the Ugra Narsimha temple, also of Hoysala period, that we came to visit. Time was around 7 pm, and the sanctum sanctorum had been curtained for some ritual. The priest asked us to visit the Varadaraja Perumal temple nearby and come back. And what a temple that turned out to be. A massive idol of Varadaraja Perumal. Some devotee had organized a big Abhisheka ceremony that day… And then we came to Narsimha temple…Curtains  were off… A large black stone idol of Ugra Narsimha… After Darshan, we had some divine “curd-rice” prasadam from the temple…

And then we were off to Bengaluru.

Before I log off from this post on Somnathapura, I would like to leave you with a picture of the outer garden of the Somnathapura temple.

Somnathapura garden

So that was the day trip. Started from Bengaluru around 11 am… Stopped at Ramohalli Banyan tree..then Bidadi banyan tree… then off to Somnathapura… Maddur on the way back. Back to Bengaluru by 10 pm or so….

A nice day indeed!

Another day’s outing from Bangalore – 3

June 18, 2008

On the Mysore highway, we stopped at a nice “cafe coffee day” restaurant. After a decent refreshment, we started for Somnathapura. We had to take a left before Sri Ranga Pattina… Soon we had left the urbanity of the highway behind, and eased into bad roads and good fields… Here’s a picture of the landscape that we drove through.

Lanscape on way to Somnathapua 

 

The Somnathapura temple is not a formal place of worship now. It is a monument maintained by ASI (Archeological Survey of India). That being so, I was anxious that we reach the place before 5 pm, as the premises might be closed at the end of office hours. The approach road to Somnathapura wasn’t very good, and we had to struggle along. We managed to reach the village by 4:30 pm or so.

After purchasing entry tickets (just a few rupees each), we entered the neatly maintained temple garden…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Walking through the portal of the temple, I had my first glimpse of the Kesava temple inside. And I must say it was an awesome sight….A masterpiece of Hoysala architecture…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Below, is a side-view of the temple…

 

Somnathapura Kesava Temple 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And as I walked around the temple, I told myself, ‘If there was ever poetry on stone, it is here, it is here, it is here….’

 

Somnathapura Temple  

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here is a close-up of the carvings at the bottom…

 

Somnathapura Temple Outer Wall

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                                               … To be contd…. 

Another day’s outing from Bangalore – 2

June 12, 2008

We leave the Ramohalli Banyan tree, and get back to the Mysore highway.

Driving down the highway, we come to Bidadi, and go past the turn that leads ‘Dhayanpeetham’, Swami Nityananda’s Ashram. A little further in the highway, I notice a sign that points to another Banyan tree. We drive past, and after a few kms, decide to trun back to visit this Banyan tree as well.

The Banyan tree signboard pointed to a kutchcha road, that went under a bridge…and there was some road repair going on as well. So we gingerly made our way across…On the other side, the road was no better. It had its ups and downs, and rain water troughs. Some real estate development work was going as well…Some years down the line, you could expect to see lots of apartments out here, I think. Well…well…

Right out there was the Banyan tree.

Here’s a picture.

Bidadi Banyan tree

I then realized that the Banyan tree was a part of the Dhyanapeetham Ashram that I had visited a few months ago. The tree is at the back of the Anandeshwara temple.

The tree was beautiful. Beneath the tree, on one side, was a large idol of Dakshinamurthy – Lord Siva as the Silent Preceptor.

Bidadi Banyan - Dakshinamurthi shrine

The tree was something else. There were all sorts of birds out there. So many types of birds. Perhaps it was the fruiting season for that tree. The ecosystem was magic out there. Right in the base of the tree trunk was an opening that led to a hollow. An ideal sort of meditation cave, The Ashram priest mentioned that the hollow was the Samadhi spot of some sage of yore. And that a Siva Linga had been in existence there. That Siva Linga has since been shifted to the Anandeshwara temple adjacent to the tree, and has been consecrated there.

Here is a picture of that tree cave.

The Banyan tree cave

It’s a real nice tree. And if you are driving down the Mysore highway, it is barely a couple of minutes off the main road. It is worth stopping here, and just sitting in peace for a while…Enjoy the shade…Watch the birds…Savor the sounds and silence of nature….

…. To be contd…

Another day’s outing from Bangalore – 1

June 9, 2008

We started at around 11 a.m or so.

The idea was to head to Somnathapura, near Mysore, to see the Kesava temple, considered to be one of the masterpieces of Hoysala architecture… A part of the Hoysala triad of temples Belur-Halebid-Somnathapura, it is not as well known as the other two, but is considered to be ‘right up there’ along with them…

So here we were, in a Hyundai Santro, proceeding in a ‘snooze’ sort of way, that comes so naturally once one leaves the crush of metro (which takes an hour or so) and eases into the timelessness of old Mysore…

It was sometime past noon, when we noticed a sign tha said “Big Banyan tree” and pointed to the right… We drove past that… And some five minutes later, after a tete-a-tete, we decided to U-turn and go see that tree. So we drove back, and turned into the road leading to Ramohalli, where lives that tree.

On the way, we crossed “Shubham Karoti”, a residential school for girls… The medium of conversation in that school is Sanskrit. Interesting place.

We imagined that the tree would be somewhere nearby. But that wasnt so…Some twenty minutes of driving brought us to the “Tree”.

It was a beautiful, large, Banyan tree. It sure did appear to be as large, if not larger, than the Adyar Banyan tree of Chennai. (The Adyar Banyan tree is in the campus of Theosophical Society at Adyar. A ‘notice board’ near that tree says that the tree is one of the largest in the world. It measures 238ft from north to south and 250ft from east to west. The total area exceeds 59,500 sq ft’.).

I dont know if the Ramohalli tree is just one tree (like the Adyar tree) or is more. But that Banyan cluster that one sees there, sure is huge….I read somewhere that it is spread over 4 acres…

Here are a few pictures in and around the tree. 

Ramohalli Banyan Tree

 

The picture below gives some idea of the depth. The person at the far end is hardly noticeable.

Ramohalli banyan tree

 

The open areas in that cluster were awash with bright sunlight…Made a nice picture of sun and shadows.

Ramohalli Banyan tree

We had picked up some ‘bhutta’ (Corn) and ‘mungfali’ (peanuts) from the vendors around there. But we had to be wary of other beings who were keen to disposess us…Like this one who is poised on top of the pillar. 

Ramohalli banyan tree

There were quite a few of his pack around. No one was bothered. There is place for all beings under the Big Banyan tree. 

So folks! Ramohalli banyan tree is a good place to drive out to for a family outing from Bangalore. Its like logging off from time for a while… Had this tree been in Singapore, they would have packaged a complete tourist package around this tree. And you would have had to shell out top dollars to enter its shade. But this is India.. The tree is for free…

 And a good snooze is priceless… 

Ramohalli Banyan tree
                 … To be contd…

A Pilots take on the New Bengaluru Airport

May 30, 2008

Ranga, a very senior pilot, happened to write a comment on my post.. Since many people dont tend to read the comments, I decided to cut-paste his comment and add it as a seperate post…

So here it is….

***BEGIN COMMENT BY CAPT RANGA

I agree with Pavan….never travel on the first day whether as a passenger or a pilot.  Chaos galore! A Pilot’s Point of View…..

1. After landing the lead out taxy ways or exit ways were not painted from runway side but were painted from lounge side which fulfilled the political requirement of readiness…not operational! I can pity the pilot landing at night!

2. There was utter confusion regarding allocation of parking bay for us to park after landing…first allotted bay I would have telescoped into a closely parked Jet Airways..which was not supposed to be there..second attempt at giving us bay..found a King fisher ATR this time..finally I had to tell them a vacant bay that was free to allocate it myself…10 minutes

3.  After switching off the mechanised step ladder could not be seen to disembark the pax…..it arrived after 5 minutes…to set it up along the aircraft it took yet another 4 minutes….

4. There was no fuelling bowser to be seen for nearly 30 minutes after landing…Ultimately…I hijacked one which heading aimlessly..to fuel up.

5. There were no cabin cleaners..even though there were atleast 50 odd guys from Globe Ground which is the handling agency for aircraft…not one seemed to be doing anything useful…after a lot of looking around we found a disgruntled lot of cleaners who were already complaing about the days wage which did not reach them..got the cabin to some shape!

6. Pax came on board after one hour…

7.Phew!… and finally we departed after an hour and a half later..

Green or no green… aesthetics or not…but the BIAL is not ready for use. The Govt probably foresaw what would happen in the election…they launched it…so that the credit for launch goes to no one else…????

No offences to Bangaluriens…! Shamsabad Airport(New Hyderabad) is way ahead in all respect right from day one…our GM Rao has done a wonderful job…Long live Rao Garu..!

***End comment

 

The New Bengaluru Airport

May 26, 2008

Happenstanced to Bengaluru International Airport on Sunday – the second day of its functioning. The first day of cut-over to the new airport would surely have had its challenges – as indeed the papers reported. But second day was not bad.

I guess that the drive upto Mekhri circle has its challenges, but then the drive from Hebbal flyover down the Bellary Road (NH 7) was a beauty. Except for six or seven traffic signals that halt the drive every once in a while, the drive itself is pretty cool. We did have to carefully maneuver past a few “crackers fields” – as enthusiastic election winners had taken  over parts of the highway, and had laid long rows of “10000 Waalaas” and such crackers…

A red Volvo bus overtook the little Maruti that I was in…thats the Airport shuttle service, and it looks good, inviting. Shuttles, every 20 or 30 minutes or so, ply to and fro from the new airport to nine different points of the city.

From the Hebbal flyover point to the airport, without being in a tearing hurry, took us around half an hour, including the signal-stops. Thats not bad at all. Its not as if the airport is on the other side of the earth, as was rumored.

The exit from the highway to the airport is another beauty. You take off to the left of the hghway, drive up an overpass that swerves right and zooms down to level and you ease into a nice drive of a few kms to the new airport. And then you see the ‘airport in progress’. Here is a picture of the first sight of the beginning of the new airport complex.

 ATC Tower

First impressions: It is not aesthetically designed…but looks functional…

As you approach the terminal, there are some four or five security lanes – where all cars are stopped…A guide at each point, gave a quick intro about the regulations, handed us a brochure, and waved us in…Cool…Corporatization of Airport services…

Valet parking, tiered parking areas, fixed price porter services, shuttle and taxis…for a few dollars more…

Heres a picture of the front terminal of the airport.

Terminal front

This being just the second day, couldnt find trolleys easily. Somehow managed to find one and walked in. The entrance was the usual jostle that one sees in most Indian metro aiports.

Inside the terminal, the hall was abuzz.

The good thing was that there was no need to go for x-ray of checkin baggages first. You just walk to your airlines counter and checkin. And Checkin hasnt improved though. Perhaps the number of counters is not enough. Long queues could be seen in almost all counters…

Business lounges etc are yet to be done. There were two little eateries which you can go to, after the security check point.

So, what then were the little pain points that one faced…

– The exit lane from NH7 that takes you to the airport has a security-check stop. That creates a bottleneck as this is a single lane, one car at a time, inspection point.

– The drop off lanes near the terminal are not broad enough. Creates a choke of cars.

– The approach from the drop off point to the terminal entrance can be improved.

– There dont seem to be enough security-check counters…also, the designers havent thought through the finer points…the bags that come out of the security-check x-ray unit, remain out of reach of the passengers who wait for it on the other side. It needs the security men to pick it up and hand over, and that is not their job….

– Wash rooms…Numbers, quality…

– The departure counters are also choke points. The design of the hall is such that there is no easy way to queue up to the counters, as rows of chairs have been fixed right upto the counters….Wonder who thinks these up…

– All done, when one got into the plane…it was “hot”….thats nothing to do with the airport…thats the Airlines, and in this case it was ‘Jet Airways’…for some reason, they didnt step up the Air-conditioning till the flight took off…and considering the wait-time on ground before take off, it was a ‘stew time’ (Now I know why they are called ‘Flight Stewards’ 🙂 ).

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The view after take off was nice. Lots of land belongs to the aiport complex. One could see that they have planted a lot of green….One reads that Bangalore International Airport Limited has been given 4000 acres of land there – which they plan to develop as “hot” real estate….Goodbye green!

All in all: Thums up…but there is way to go…