A beautiful day: Exploring Perambikulam Tiger reserve, Aliyardam & Masanamman temple

Day 1: We started from Coimbatore at around 8:00 AM in the morning then we had a stopover at Pollachi for Breakfast at the popular vegetarian Gowri krishna restaurant. The tiffins here were delicious. Then we started to Anamalai Masani Amman temple which is located at Annamalai Hills, in Coimbatore district, enroute Topslip.

Masani Amman Temple: “Goddess of Justice”

This temple is believed to answer the prayers of the devotees in 3 weeks! Masani Amman Temple, also known as Annamalai Masani Amman Temple is located around 25 kms from Pollachi in Tamil Nadu.

Masanamman Temple, Tamilnadu (4)

The temple is dedicated to Goddess Arulmigu Masani Amman who is believed to be a ‘Goddess of Justice’.

Interesting Stories behind the temple:

According to an interesting legend, during the Sangam Era, Annamalai was ruled by a chief called Nannan. He had a big mango grove and was so possessive of it that he appointed check post officials to guard the trespassers. It so happened that one day a woman was bathing in the Aliyar River and a mango came floating to her in the waters. Unable to resist tasting it, she bit it. This was reported to the ruler and the innocent woman was produced before him. She pleaded that she did not steal the mango. Nonetheless, she was executed. Angered by the unjustifiable ruler, her kins killed him in a battle. People then started worshiping her to honor her martyrdom and soon a temple was built for the same. Since the lady was killed, the deity was called as Shmasani, which in Sanskrit means ‘graveyard’. Later, the deity came to be called as Masani.

Masanamman Temple, Tamilnadu (5)

Furthermore the temple is said to bless barren women with children and pregnant women with good health..

The Deity of Masani Amman Temple, is one who grants justice to her strong believers. The 15ft long idol is in lying position with four hands, each holding snake, trident, skull and drum respectively. The Neethi Kal, or the Stone of Justice, is a stone that is present in the temple that is believed to have unique powers. Devotees who lost their belongings or were cheated in business by their enemies etc. come here seeking justice. They grind red chillies with the stone and pray. This is believed to free them from all kinds of evil in life.

Then we headed to Topslip, which is at a distance of 30 kms from Pollachi & 76kms from Coimbatore,.Perambikulam (12)

Topslip is the Tiger Reserve Forest in small part of Annamalai Tiger Reserve, which is separated from the Nilgiri Hills by Palghat Gap in north. It got its name during British era, as lots of its timber slipped down to the plains below. It is famous for the elephant camp, wildlife safaris, pleasant weather and beautiful views of Annamalai Hills.Perambikulam (15)

Forest Department organizes elephant safaris and jeep rides into the sanctuary. A four hours trek around the forest along with a guide is also available here. Unfortunately due to some issues, forest department  had temporarily closed elephant safari & jeep safari.

Perambikulam (27)

Beautiful view 

Parambikulam: Well maintained Tiger reserve

So we drove to Parambikulam which is just 4 Kms from Topslip. Parambikulam Tiger Reserve is a well protected ecological portion in the Nelliampathy – Anamalai landscape of the Southern Western Ghats in India. It is located in the Palakkad District of Kerala.

Considering its biological richness, abundance of wildlife and landcape beauty makes Parambikulam Tiger Reserve  one of the most attractive places in the entire stretch of Western Ghats.

Perambikulam (7)

Journey itself was a destination..

Since we went on a day trip we took Van safari which was Rs. 200 per head. They wont start the trip until they’ve minimum of 20 passengers. So we had to wait for around 30 mins for the other passengers to gather.

What did we spot?

Parambikulam- Aliyar Project: Top ranked Embankment dam

It is an embankment dam on the Parambikulam River in Parambikulam tiger reserve. It ranks number one in India as well as in the top ten embankment dams in the world in volume in the year 2000.

Perambikulam (25)

Parambikulam Reservoir view

Kanimara Teak Tree: India’s oldest tree

The bus safari took us to Kanimara Teak tree  which was 450 years old. And it is believed to be one of the oldest tree in India.

Perambikulam (8)

Enroute Kanimara Teak tree

Perambikulam (10)

Captured by Gopro hero5. This is Kanimara Teak tree, India’s oldest tree..

Sunset at Aliyar dam:

Aliyar Dam Reservoir Park is located on the way to Valparai from Pollachi. Placed at the foothills of Valparai. The dam has a park, garden & play area for kids. The dam offers a relaxing environment as the surrounding is beautiful with mountains and greenery all around. A nominal entrance fee is charged for entry into the dam premises..

We managed to explore a historical temple, An adventurous tiger safari & a soothing sunset at Aliyar dam all in a day. Then we headed to Valparai. Overnight stay at Valparai. ..

Info from my perspective:

  1. Parambikulam Park entry fee  is Rs. 23/head for Indian citizens and Rs.300 for foreigners. Vehicle entry fee for  is Rs.70 for car, Rs.50 for a still camera and 200 for a video camera.
  2. Jungle Safari per head Rs.250. Safari duration 3 to 3.5 hours. Timings 7:00 am to 3:00 pm.
  3. Aliyar dam entry fee Rs.5/head. Timings: 9:00 AM to 6:30 PM.
  4. You can enjoy your trip leisurely by staying in Tree house & going on a night safari.

Stay tuned to see Valparai through my eyes

Advertisements

Happy Ugadi: “Vilambi Nama Samvatsaram”

Welcome the New Year with complete anticipation, hope and eagerness. Look forward to a bountiful year of prosperity, satisfaction and peace. Have a very happy Ugadi!

2018 Ugadi (3)
Ugadi Pachadi is a Ceremonial dish. It is made of new Jaggery, raw mango pieces and Neem flowers and new tamarind which truly reflect life – a combination of six different tastes sweet, sour, spice, salt, tanginess and bitter tastes symbolizing happiness, disgust, anger, fear, surprise and sadness.  

To know more about Ugadi check out my old post..

Fantastic Friday: Sunset before Super Blue Moon

A beautiful Evening on Blood moon day at Mahbubnagar (3)

Every sunset brings promise to the new Dawn..

A beautiful Evening on Blood moon day at Mahbubnagar (11)

My joy is the golden sunset giving thanks for another day. Gratitude itself is a source of joy.
– Jonathan Lockwood Huie

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Monday Macros: Cactus Garden

The Kaziranga Orchid and Biodiversity Park (14)

Echinocactus grusonii, popularly known as the golden barrel cactus, golden ball or, amusingly, mother-in-law’s cushion, is a well known species of cactus, and is endemic to east-central Mexico.

The Kaziranga Orchid and Biodiversity Park (9)

Cereus repandus (syn. Cereus peruvianus), the Peruvian apple cactus, is a large, erect, thorny columnar cactus found in South America

The Kaziranga Orchid and Biodiversity Park (12)

Cactus Echinopsis tarijensis

The Kaziranga Orchid and Biodiversity Park (17)

Mammillaria hahniana (Old Lady Cactus) is a sun-loving cactus that forms large groups. It grows up to 10 inches (25 cm) tall and up to 20 inches (50 cm) broad.

The Kaziranga Orchid and Biodiversity Park (2)

Parodia leninghausii’ Parodia leninghausii is a species of South American cactus commonly found as a houseplant. 

The Kaziranga Orchid and Biodiversity Park (1)

Echinopsis is a large genus of cacti native to South America, sometimes known as hedgehog cactus, sea-urchin cactus or Easter lily cactus

The Kaziranga Orchid and Biodiversity Park (4)

Ephalocereus senilis is a tall, columnar species with clusters of stem. The individual stems are usually unbranched, being unable to withstand the weight of a side branches adequately. Cephalocereus senilis is not expected to flower until 10-20 years old.

The Kaziranga Orchid and Biodiversity Park (11)

Mammillaria bombycina (Silken Pincushion) Golden Eastern Lily Cactus Echinopsis aurea ‘Leucomalla’

The Kaziranga Orchid and Biodiversity Park (16)

Euphorbia ritchiei is a perennial succulent plant up to 2 feet (60 cm) tall. It forms short, thick, succulent stems, up to 1.2 inches wide, with small spines, and it offsets freely and produces large, beautifully green leaves.

The Kaziranga Orchid and Biodiversity Park (15)

Echeveria macdougallii is an indoor succulent plant belongs to the genus Crassulaceae family
 

P.S: Correct me if I am wrong 🙂 Have a nice day!!

Mystic Meghalaya: Faces

Dude why are you clicking me?

I told you not to click me, now go away!!

 you’ll get this for clicking me..

Click me again.. I’m posing already..;)

I don’t know how to pose,  let’s try this angle..

I don’t know why this fellow is behind us.. Anyways let’s just ignore . 😉 

I like getting clicked in different poses..

While the kids had so many different expressions.. Their mother was busy with the routine chores.

Happy Sankranthi

As the sun starts northward journey. He makes all the happiness of throughout this year. I wish you and your family a very Happy Makar Sankranti.

IMG_7751

The festival is incomplete without the customary offering of sesame and jaggery that is to be made in a traditional copper vessel which symbolizes a prosperous future. 

via Makara Sankranthi

Badami Cave temples: ‘A fine balance of versatility and restrain’

After visiting Aihole and Bijapur, we started our journey towards Pattadakal, which was just 10 kms from Aihole. Ever since I read ‘Temples of South India’ book I was very curious and excited about these UNESCO World Heritage Sites and added it to my bucket list. Since we are travelling on our own it was quite easy for us to cover Bijapur-Aihole-Pattadakal-Badami stretch.

Badami (26)

Boothnath temple on the green waters of the Agastya lake…

Badami (16)

Temples build by Western Chalukyas invoke a sense of peace and tranquility by their systematic and symmetrical approach..

Bagalkot District of Karnataka is blessed with some amazing historical sites of Ancient Indian like Badami, Pattadakal. These places were the most important centers of Chalukyan Empire. These three places are located in the close vicinity of each other and with a bit of planning can be covered in a single day.

Places to Visit in Badami:

Badami can be best experienced simply, by a walk through the ruins. All the major attractions of Badami are located around the Agasthya Lake and sandwiched between two high mountain cliffs on its North and South. It is about 1km walk from the bus stand.

Badami (15)

The fort on the Northern hill-top is visible from the main road itself.

Archaeological Museum of Badami:

There is a stone statue of Nandi, Lord Shiva’s bull, at the entrance of the museum. The museum mainly comprises of pre-historic stone implements and sculptures, inscriptions etc. datable from 6th to 16th century AD.

Walking further, we reached to a beautiful lake called Agasthya Lake. This lake is surrounded by the Badami Caves, Red sandstone hills, Bhootnath Temple, small houses of Badami and the beautiful flight of steps (the ghats). The water in this lake is believed to have some healing power too. The sandstone steps (ghats) from three side of the lake make it more beautiful.

Badami (25)

There we are…posing for a pic

Badami in Hindu Mythology:

Legend says that there were two demon siblings in the ancient times, one is Vatapi and another one is Ilvala. The older brother Ilvala converted Vatapi in red meat and offered that to the poor souls living in the area. Unaware of the tricks, people ate that meat happily. Then, Ilvala re-converted that meat back into Vatapi who then emerges by tearing through the person’s body causing death. One day they did the same trick to the great saint Agasthya. But, the saint was able to digest the meat, thus causing death of Vatapi. This put an end to the misery of local people. These two hills in Badami to its north and south are supposed to represent the demons Ilvala and Vatapi.

Badami (31)

The lake between these hills was named as Agasthya Lake or Agasthya Tirtha in honour of the great saint.

Bhootnath Temple :

This temple is located at the Eastern side of the lake and is believed to be built in 5th century. These temples are dedicated to Lord Shiva. Inside the temple, there are lot of carvings on the wall.

Badami Fort and Adjacent Area: Again walking along the Agasthya Tank, we moved towards the northern hill through an access road adjacent to the museum. This hill has an amazing package to unfold for its visitors. Top of the hills are almost flat, full of shrubs and thorns, many walkable trails and houses, small water reservoir, some small temples with excellent carvings and Badami Fort. After visiting the Northern Side of the lake, we moved towards the Southern Hill, that houses the famous cave temples.As one walks along the lake,the road leads to an 18th century mosque.

Badami Caves:

Badami is famous for its four cave temples  all cut out of a monolithic (single) rock of sand stone on the precipice of a hill. First three of these temples are dedicated to Hindu gods and goddesses and the last one is basically dedicated to JainTirthankars.

Badami (3)

monolithic (single) rock of sand stone on the precipice of a hill.

Badami (1)

The four cave temples represent the secular nature of the rulers then.

Badami (4)

Cave Temple 1 : Moving inside, a long flight of steps took us to the first cave. This cave is dedicated to Lord Shiva. This cave temple dates back to the 5th century CE and was built by Chalukyan King Pulkesin-I. There is a carving of the cosmic dance of Nataraja depicted with eighteen arms. With these 18 arms, Lord Shiva can make 81 dance poses or mudra of Natya Shastra.

 

Cave Temple 2 : The second cave temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu and his avatars (incarnations).

Badami cave temples, karnataka (3)

The best carving in this cave is the image of Lord Vishnu in his Varaha avatar (Varaha the pig-faced, human-bodied Lord, half human-half animal). In this avatar, he rescued the Goddess Bhudevi (The Earth) from the demon Hiranyaksha.

Cave Temple 3 :  The third cave is dedicated to Vishnu, and is the best and the biggest, and it has splendid giant figures of Paravasudeva, Bhuvaraha, Harihara and Narasimha.  An inscription found here records the creation of the shrine by Mangalesha in 578AD. There are some paintings on the ceiling and the style indicates maturity but has lost its original dazzling colour.

Badami cave temples, karnataka (2)

Lord Vishnu statue.. All the statues in this cave are engraved in a vigorous style.

Cave Temple 4 : The fourth cave is Jaina which lies a little east of cave III. The sanctum is adorned by the image of Mahavira.

Tips from my perspective:

  • It is approx. 420 kms away from Hyderabad and 500 kms away from Bengaluru.
  • Timings: Daily except Fridays through the year from 10:00 Hrs to 17:00 hrs.
  • Ticket Price: INR 5 for Indians and INR 100 for foreigners.

Happy Ganesh Chaturthi

Ganesh Chaturthi is an auspicious festival of Hindus. The Festival is observed as the birthday of Lord Ganesha. He is the elder son of Shiva and Parvathi.  A ten-day festival, it starts on the fourth day of Hindu luni-solar calendar month Bhadrapada, which typically falls in Gregorian months of August or September. The festival is marked with installation of Ganesha clay idols privately in homes, or publicly on elaborate pandals (temporary stage). People most pray him for the lord of art, wisdom, studies, and sciences. His devotees called him Ganapati or Vinayaka.

IMG-20170825-WA0046

Eco-friendly Ganesh Idol at my home

Vinayak Chaturthi History & Significance:

The reason behind Ganesha’s birth is that Goddess Parvati created Ganesh with the dirt of her body while bathing. After that, she told him to guard near the door and said not to allow anyone inside. So at that time, Shiva returned home without knowingly Ganesha stopped him. So Shiva got angry and served Ganesh head. Later Parvati was enraged and Shiva promise Ganesh will live again.

Shiva order Devas to search for north facing the head of a dead person but they would find nothing. At that day Devas suggest to fix elephants head, and Shiva fixed Elephants head to Lord Ganesh and brought his life back. So this year it is celebrated on August 25, which is the fourth day of Shukla Chaturthi and end on the 14th day of waxing moon period.

On that day people celebrate with a lot of joy and do the festival with a huge budget. It is the main festival for all Hindus. They are many things you can learn from Lord Ganesh on this Vinayaka Chaturthi.

Lord Ganesha is our mentor and protector. May He enrich your life by always giving you great beginnings and removing obstacles from your life! Wishing you lots of happiness and get Lord Ganesha’s blessings on the auspicious occasion of Ganesh Chaturthi. Enjoy the festival.

Sasivekalu and Kadalekalu Ganesa, Hampi

 

 

 

 

Silent Sunday: Mannemkonda-‘The Palamoor Tirupati’

Mannemkonda 1 (19)

Go forth under the open sky, and list To Nature’s teachings. -William C. Bryant

Mannemkonda 1 (18)

Joy in looking and comprehending is nature’s most beautiful gift. Albert Einstein 

Mannemkonda 1 (11)

It is easier to go down a hill than up, but the view is from the top. -Arnold Bennett

Mannemkonda 1 (23)

In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks. -John Muir

Slideshow:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

To know more check out 

Dono Paulo: A Pristine beach with a Tragic Love story

The bay of Dona Paula in Goa lies at the meeting point of the Arabian Sea and the Goan rivers Mandovi and Zuari. Dona Paula is located in the suburbs of the capital Panjim. Originally a fishing village, Dona Paula attracts its fair share of visitors and tourists who come to marvel at its pristine beach, its natural beauty and the romantic legend associated with it.

The Dona Paula Beach is a pristine beach with a tragic love story to its name. It was named after the Portuguese Viceroy’s daughter Dona Paula de Menezes. This young, innocent girl fell in love with a local Goan fisherman. Of course, this match was unacceptable to the Viceroy who forbade his daughter Dona Paula to ever see her young lover again.DONO PAULO (1)

Distraught with love and sorrow, Dona Paula could not bear a life without her lover and threw herself off a cliff into the unforgiving Arabian Sea. Left with nothing but his daughter’s memory, the Portuguese Viceroy named the area Dona Paula, as an eternal tribute to his stubbornness and forbidden romance & love.

Today, there is a black stone statue of the young Dona Paula and her Goan lover on a rocky promontory jutting into the sea with a sweeping view of the Marmagoa Port in the background.

 

When you are in Dona Paula, you must visit the ruins of the Cabo Fort, erected in 1540. The Cabo Raj Niwas is one of the most elegant governor’s residences in the whole of Goa.There is also a 180 year old English cemetery, open to the public along with a chapel, which has a memorial tomb of Dona Paula de Menezes with her history engraved on the tombstone.

DONO PAULO (2)

According to a local myth, Dona Paula is entombed in the Cabo Chapel, the residence of the Governor of Goa and is supposed to be seen during a full moon emerging from the moonlit waves wearing only a pearl necklace.

In Dona Paula, you also have the National Oceanography Institute which was opened in 1960 to study the local Goan marine life alongwith the Marine Biology Museum. A little further (around 9 kms from Dona Paula) is the famous Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary, in the island of Choro by the side of the Mandovi river and named after the famous Indian ornithologist. The Bird Sanctuary is spread over an area of 2 sq km and is a delight for bird lovers.

DONO PAULO (3)

The Dona Paula beach itself is one of Goa’s best beaches for water sports such as windsurfing, water skiing, para sailing, motor boat rides etc. There are also several organised water sports facilities on offer in Dona Paula. 

Source: Google