Thursday, August 17, 2017

August to March: Best season to visit Kerala for holidays


Kerala is famous for its natural beauty like coastline, ecotourism, spice plantations, backwater, temples and cultural festivals. Monsoon from June-August is the best time to go for Ayurveda treatments. Visiting Kerala after monsoon help you to explore the greenery and sightseeing places around Fort Kochi, backwaters in Alleppey/Kumarakom and beaches like  Kovalam, Varkala and Calicut.

August 17, 2017 is Chingam Onnu (Chingam 1), the begining of Malayalam New Year in Kerala and Onam Festival falls during this Malayalam month of Chingam that is on September 3rd to 6th.

Kerala is spread from its capital city Thiruvananthapuram to Kasaragod that offers a numerous tourist attractions like Padmanabhaswamy Temple in Thiruvananthapuram, sight seeing places in and around Mattancherry and Fort Cochin, Munnar Hill Station, House boats in Vembanad Lake in Kumarakom/Alleppey, Athirapally Falls, Guruvayor Sri Krishna Temple, calicut tourism places and other tourist attractions in Kerala.

Asia's largest, and the world's third-largest, Naval Academy-Ezhimala Naval Academy-at Kannur is in Kerala. Idukki arch dam, the world's second arch dam, and Asia's first, is in Kerala. The major beaches are at Kovalam, Varkala, Fort Kochi, Cherai, Payyambalam, Kappad, Muzhappilangad (South India's only drive-in beach) and Bekal. Popular hill stations are at Munnar, Wayanad, Wagamon, Peermade, Paithalmala, Nelliampathi and Ponmudi. 

Ecotourism destinations include wildlife sanctuaries and national parks like Periyar Tiger Reserve, Parambikulam Wildlife Sanctuary, Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary, Thattekad Bird Sanctuary, Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary, Muthanga Wildlife Sanctuary, Aralam Wildlife Sanctuary, Eravikulam National Park, and Silent Valley National Park are the most popular among them. Kerala is known for its ecotourism initiatives which include mountaineering, trekking and bird-watching programmes in the Western Ghats. Elephants have been an integral part of the culture of the state. 

Kerala cuisine and Folk Arts

Kerala cuisine has a multitude of both vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes prepared using fish, poultry, and meat. Kerala is home to a number of performance arts. Folk arts of Kerala can be broadly classified as ritualistic and non-ritualistic.

Transport

Kerala state is having 3 operational International airports: Cochin International Airport (COK), Calicut International Airport (CCJ) and Trivandrum International Airport (TRV). Kerala is well connected through national and state highways and one can commute via Kerala state buses and private buses, auto rickshaw and taxi car and jeeps. Indian Railways conveniently connect Kerala to nighboring states.

Malayalam New Year Chingam 1 and Onam 2017


Chingam 1 known as Chingam Onnu, is the new year for Keralites. 'Chinga Masam' means 'Chingam month' which is the first month of Malayalam calender year. Chingam 1 or Chingam Onnu, starts on August 17, 2017 and the malayalam year known as Kolla Varsham. The Kolla varsham of 2017 is 1193. Onam is one of the biggest festivals of Kerala which is observed in the month of Chingam month.

No Moon Day known as Karthuvavu or Amavasi falls on August 21 and Full Moon day which is known as Veluthuvavu or Purnami day falls on September 6th. 

Onam Festival

Onam carnival continues for ten days from Atham day which falls on August 25, 2017 and September 3rd Uthradam is observed as Onnam Onam (First Onam day),  Thiru Onam (Second Onam day), Munnam Onam (Third Onam day) Avittam and Nallaam Onam (fourth Onam day) known as Chathayam. Onam is also a harvest festival.People of all religions, castes and communities celebrate the festival with equal joy and verve. 

Onam is about the mythological King Mahabali also known as Maveli the great great grandson of sage Kashyapa, great grandson of Hiranyakshipu, the grand son of Prahlada and son of Virochana. Mahabali after his exploits and conquest of the universe sponsors a sacrifice and gift giving ceremony to consolidate his power. Vishnu appears at this ceremony as a dwarf mendicant Brahmin called Vamana. 
Maha Bali offers whatever riches and material wealth Vamana would like. Vamana refuses everything and states he would just like three steps worth of land. Bali finds the dwarf's request amusingly small and irrevocably grants it.Vamana then grows into a giant the size of cosmos. In the first step, he covers the earth. In second, he takes the heavens. The boy asked where should he keep the third step, Mahabali realized that Brahmin boy Vamana is none other than his god Vishnu and as he promised, for the third step, Bali offers his head on which Vamana steps sending the demon king to the Patala (netherworld).

Mahabali was a beloved king and very kind to his subjects in the state of Kerala. Mahabali's request to visit his people once in a year was granted by God. This annual visit of King Mahabali is celebrated as Onam in Kerala.

There are a lot of cultural activities like Pulikali, Kummattikali, Talappanthukali, Kutukutu and combats like Kayyankali, Onatalu and Attakalam. Floral decoration or colourful arrangement of flowers laid on the floor caled Pookalam, sports and games as a part of Onam celebrations. Onasadhya or Onam feast or grand meal comprises of different varieties of Kerala cusines and curries served on a Banana leaf.

Source/Reference:
http://www.onamfestival.org/onam-in-kerala.html
http://hindumythologyforgennext.blogspot.in/2012/02/mahabali-and-goddess-lakshmi.html
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vamana
http://hindupad.com/chingam-1-in-2011-chingam-month-1-or-malayalam-new-year-2011-2012/
http://www.hindu-blog.com/2010/08/chinga-masam-2010-chingam-month-in.html
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mahabali

Saturday, May 27, 2017

The Longest Bridge of India connecting Assam and Arunachal Pradesh

Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated India's longest bridge that connects Dhola of Arunachal with Sadiya of Assam, reducing the travel time by four hours. The ‘Bhupen Hazarika Bridge’ is named after singer Bhupen Hazarika, who hailed from Sadia. The 9.15 km s-shaped bridge, built over rivers Lohit, Kundil and Dhola to link Sadiya with the rest of Assam.



The 950 crore project began in 2011 and scheduled to become operational from December 2015. According to reports, the project cost around 10 billion rupees and has taken about six years to complete. It will promote tourism in the region. The bridge project will enhance the entire transport system of North Assam which was being carried out through water across the Brahmaputra River.

The bridge will certainly give the army access to an extremely remote part of the Chinese border, along the Anjaw and Dibang valley of Arunachal, allowing them to move tanks over it. The bridge has been designed to accommodate the movement of battle tanks for the quick movement of troops and artillery to the bordering state of Arunachal. The bridge will be one of the vital links in this region which will not only give a relief to the existing transport network but also invite various developmental activities.

“Besides improving the life of the people of Sadiya, this bridge will change the economy of many remote parts of Arunachal. Already, tourists lodges are being built in places like Mayodiya in that state,” said Sangmai.

“Yes, the bridge will not only greatly shorten the travel time of people living in that state’s Lohit, Upper Dibang and Lower Dibang districts but will also develop tourism in that belt, particularly in places like Mayodiya, Dong, Bismaknagar,” added Dibrugarh-based journalist Rajib Dutta.

Source:
https://thewire.in/137083/dhola-sadiya-bridge-assam/
http://www.business-standard.com/article/current-affairs/pm-modi-inaugurates-india-s-longest-bridge-in-assam-as-his-govt-turns-3-117052600301_1.html
http://www.rediff.com/news/report/pix-indias-longest-bridge-opened-in-assam/20170526.htm

Image Source: 
http://im.rediff.com/news/2017/may/26bridge05.jpg

Best places to visit in and around Bangalore

Bangalore, officially known as Bengaluru, the capital of Karnataka is located in South India. The city is one of the tourist places in India that lets you experience soothing nature, food delights, branded shopping and amazing nightlife. The city offers you the experience of Metropolitan city life with concrete jungle like IT companies and shopping malls, Bangalore traffic. But it also offers you the experience traditional monuments and temples, beautiful gardens and lakes, wildlife like Bannerghatta National Park etc. Due to this, the city is also known as the "Garden City of India", "The Silicon Valley of India,", "IT hub of India", "Pub city of India".

Bangalore is served by Kempegowda International Airport located at Devanahalli, Bangalore. The major railway stations in the city are Krantiveer Sangoli Rayanna (KSR) Railway Station (SBC), Bangalore Cantonment railway station, Yeshwantapur junction and Krishnarajapuram Railway station. A rapid transit system called the Namma Metro is serving the city of Bangalore.

It is true that you cannot visit all the part of City in one day. But, if you plan your day and know what to see in and around Bangalore, you can visit almost all the Bangalore sightseeing places. There are many places to see in Bangalore and each promising a unique enriching experience.



Sunday Markets in Bangalore

Chikpet and Balepet
Commercial Street
Jayanagar 4th Block
KR Market
Malleswaram
Sivaji Nagar

Entertainment hubs

Commercial Street
Crazy Waters
Innovative Film City
Karnataka Silk Emporium
Lumbini Gardens
Malleswaram 8th Cross
MG Road and Brigade Road
Play Arena
Snow City & Fun World
Wonder La Amusement Park

Famous Shopping Malls

Forum Value Mall Whitefield
Mantri Mall Malleswaram
Orion Mall Yeswantpur
PVR Forum Koramangala
Royal Meenakshi Mall Bannerghatta
Total Mall Madiwala
Total Mall Sarjapur Road
UB City

Food Delights and Restaurants

Church Street Social
MTR - Mavalli Tiffin Rooms
Nandini Paradise
Rasta Cafe
Street Foods at Malleswaram
UB City Skyye Lounge

Temples and Religious Place

Banashankari Temple
Bull Temple and Dodda Ganapati Temple
Doddaballapur Gati Subramanya Temple
Gavi Gangadhareshwara Temple
ISCKON Temple & Mahalakshmi Temple

Kemp Fort Shiva Temple
Meenakshi Temple/Meenakshi Sundareshwara Temple
Prasanna Ganapati Temple
Ragigudda temple
Raja Rajeshwari Temple

Art of Living International Center
Bridavan or Sai Ashram Whitefield
St. Mary's Basilica
St. Mark's Cathedral
Masjid-E-Khadria
Other important churches in Bangalore
Other temples in Bangalore

Bangalore Famous Gardens & Lakes

Bannerghatta National Park
Cubbon Park
Lalbagh Botanical Garden
Madiwala Lake
Sankey Tank Malleshwaram
The Coles Park
Ulsoor Lake

Other Sightseeing Places

Bangalore Palace
Devanahalli Fort
Freedom Park
Government Museum
HAL Aerospace Museum
High Court
Indira Gandhi Musical Fountain
Jawaharlal Nehru Planetarium
Karnataka ChitraKala Parishat
Nrityagram
Shri M.Vishweshwarayya Museum
Tipu Sultan Fort
Tipu Sultan's Summer Palace
Venkatappa Art Gallery
Vidhana Soudha and Vikasa Soudha

Bangalore Weekend Getaways

Chikmagalur
Coorg
Goa
Hampi
Hassan
Hogenakkal
Kabini
Kanchipuram
Madikeri
Mangalore
Murdeswara
Mysore
Nandi Hills
Ooty
Sakleshpur
Shivagange
Sravanbelagola
Sringeri
Srisailam
Tirupati
Wayanad

Most polluted areas and Lakes in Bangalore

If possible avoid these areas or lakes which are most polluted areas or lakes in city.

Bellandur Lake
Varthur Lake
Hebbagodi Lake near Electronic City
Yamere Lake in Sarjapur

Sunday, September 4, 2016

My one day trip in Bangalore

We visited Iskcon Sri Radha Krishna Temple and Sri Prasanna Veeranjaneya Swamy Temple in Mahalakshmi Layout Bangalore. I may not be a good story teller or travel writer, but I tried to narrate my feelings or experience here.

Bangalore is not a new place for me. But, I know we cannot explore or cover whole Bangalore in one day as each part of the Bangalore has its own attraction. Here I would like to share my one day experience or one day trip in Bangalore. Bangalore is one of the famous cities located in India. It offers a unique travel experience to people of all age groups.

Iskcon Sri Radha Krishna Temple Bangalore


As my trip was with family, I chose to go any famous temple in Bangalore. International Society for Krishna Consciousness (Iskcon) temple is one of the best place in bangalore to go with family and friends. Iskcon Sri Radha Krishna Temple (Hare Krishna Hill) in Bangalore is located in Mahalakshmi layout in north-west Bengaluru, near Rajajinagar Bangalore. What I like in this temple is the ambiance of devotion and what I dislike most is people who are trying to sell puja items or coupon for special entrance.

How we reached?

You can reach the temple by auto, cab or BMTC buses (starts from Majestic). We caught bus from my home near Silkboard around 8.30 Am and reached Majestic around 9 or 9.30 Am. We asked BMTC conductor for the bus route to Iskcon temple, he said there are a number of buses available from Majestic. While getting down in Majestic Bus Stand, conductor directed us to the bus towards Iskcon temple. In bus towards Iskcon temple, conductor told us to get down near a signal called Mahalakshmi Layout. From there it is a walkable distance of around 5 minutes. It was around 10 or 10.30 Am when we reached there.

Iskcon temple Entrance and View

When we reached Iskcon temple, we can see Iskcon temple's beautiful view from the road side. While entering the main gate, there are securities like in shopping mall who does a body check and lets you to go inside. After entering the temple gate, the path leads to the temple. Here, there was a stall like setup, where they told us some advantage of offering special aarati and special darshan facilities. But, we ignored them like we ignore salesman in shopping malls. Next we saw that there is coupon facilities for footwear and belongings like Camera. We got a sack to put footwears of me and our family members. As we go ahead, there is again another security people to check whether we have camera or something which is not allowed further. Once you clear this point, you are free to go inside temple, take photos with your mobile. But, only in place allowed to take the photos. We reached a gate or door which we used to see from the roadside.

One thing I liked here is 108 small steps, where we get an opportunity to chant 108 times Hare Krishna maha mantra called "Harinam Mantapa". If We had chosen any special dharshan, we won't be going through this mantap, but will directly reach to the deity of Lord Prahlada Narasimha.

When we go further, there was a small temple or single hall type temple dedicated to Prahlada Narasimha, next again similar temple dedicated to Lord Sreenivasa Govinda. Here you can see a idol of hanuman and garuda at both side of the doors while coming out of the temple.

Entry to main deity in Sri Radha Krishna Temple


Next, a door welcomes you to real experience of Iskcon Sri Radha Krishna Temple. Here you can feel the ambiance of temple with Special Pujas, Bhajan & Kirtans etc. But, what I like here is the Music and Bhajan are live and not heavy sounds like other temples. I feel the Bhajan is like we humming Hare Krishna Maha Mantra “Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama Hare Hare”. Here you can see twp pairs of three deities Sri Krishna & Balarama, Sri Radha Krishnachandra and Sri Nitai Gauranga. You can also see a statue of Srila Prabhupada, founder-acharya of ISKCON, in a corner.

Srila Prabhupada, founder-acharya of ISKCON


Shopping Zone or area

Once you finish darshan of Sri Radha Krishna Temple then starts shopping zone or exhibition type sales. Here you can buy what ever you want like Iskcon Sri Radha Krishna Prasad like Ladoo,Sweets, food & snacks, kids dresses, showcase collection items etc. Everything here is paid prasad and what I always miss is there is no Meals or restaurant for lunch. While going towards exit, you will get a prasad which may be a puliyogre served in leaf petal like we get in pani puri place.

I think we entered in morning around 10 or 10.30 Am and while we finished darshan, shopping etc it is around 2 Pm. Then we decide to go one more temple near by.

Videos
ISKCON Bangalore|Travel INDIA

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dgzdRYomL2Y

Sri Prasanna Veeranjaneya Swamy Temple Mahalakshmi Layout

Many times I used to go Iskcon temple, but we used to miss this temple as we didn’t know about this temple. One day my mom told that this temple was shown in one kannada televison and we inquired about this temple. Many people who used to come Iskcon temple has no clue. So, we asked autorickshaw driver and they told it is walkable distance from Iskcon temple.

The temple is dedicated to Maha Lakshmi and Sri Prasanna Veeranjaneya (Lord Hanuman). May be this reason the area is known as Mahalakshmi Layout. The temple is houses  a 20 feet Mahalakshmi idol and few small marble idols like Lord Ganesha, Lord Rama, Lakshmana, Sita and Hanuman. The speciality or special attraction of this temple is Lord Hanuman carved on single monolith stone of 22 feet height, 16 feet wide and 4 feet thick.

It was around 3.30 while we finished our temple darshan. From this temple, it is 5 min walking distance to Mahalakshmi Layout Bus stop and bmtc buses from here goes to Majestic. So we got majestic bus and from there we caught bus towards our home.

Guide for Devotees & Visitors

Iskcon Bangalore Timing
  • Everyday Morning 4:15 am to 5:00 am
  • Monday to Friday: 7:15 am to 1:00 pm & 4:15 pm to 8:15 pm
  • Saturdays, Sundays & Public Holidays: 7:15 am to 8:15 pm
Nearest Bus Stop & Metro Station: Mahalakshmi Layout
Walkable distance from Orion Mall & Big Bazaar Yeswantpur
Temples in Mahalakshmi Layout: Iskcon Sri Radha Krishna Temple Bangalore, Sri Prasanna Veeranjaneya Swamy Temple Mahalakshmi Layout Bangalore.
Railway Staions: Yeswantpur Railway Station
Airport: Kempegowda International Airport Bangalore 

NB: We are not associated with Iskcon Sri Radha Krishna Temple Bangalore and Likes or Dislikes I shared here are only my personal views or opinion.

For more info about Iskcon Bangalore, you can visit their website https://www.iskconbangalore.org

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Popular Shopping Malls in Mangalore

Mangalore may not be so popular like Bangalore city in shopping malls. There may not be many shopping malls in the city. But, it doesn't mean you cannot get things that every shopaholics expect from a shopping mall. Mangalore too has a few shopping malls for fun, entertainment, retail shopping, movies like PVR, CInepolis and a food court that can give your tummy a yummy food and beverages. Let us check some important shopping malls you can visit when you visit this city.

The Forum Fiza Mall: It is located in Pandeshwar and one of the famous mall that offers you a good shopping experience. It has everything that gives you a feel of Malls in Bangalore. PVR cinemas attracts all youngster and family to enjoy their weekends here.

City Center Mall: It is located at KS Road in Hampankatta Mangalore. The mall has ample space and offers you good shopping experience. Cinepolis movie theater chain is available in this mall. It is one of the popular mall in Mangalore.

Bharath Mall: It is located opposite Mangalore KSRTC bus stand. This is mall offers you good movie experience with BIG Cinemas.

There are number of small super markets and Shopping malls with branded apparels and accessories. Ideal Ice cream in Mangalore and Pabbas Ice Cream are the two famous ice cream parlours you must never miss when you visit this city.

Useful Links
http://www.mangaluruonline.in/city-guide/shopping-in-mangalore