Devoted Devotee

86-year old regular at Sonna Vannam Seidha Perumal
Born and brought up in Kanchi this 86 – year old is a regular at Yadothkari Perumal Temple

This man was born and brought up in  Kanchipuram. He spent his entire life in this temple town. Now at 86, he still prays at the Yadothkari Perumal Temple, also known as Thiruvekka temple or Sonna Vannam Seidha Perumal.

This temple is one of the 108 Divya Desams. It was built in the 8th Century CE by the Pallavas. It is one of the three oldest temples in this region; the temples of Pandava Doothar Perumal and Ulagalantha Perumal being the other two. There are later contributions from the Cholas and the Vijayanagar kings.

The deity is unique in that Perumal is lying with his left hand supporting his head instead of the right hand as in most other places, including Srirangam.

Advertisements

Royal Feast

Dining are of resort cum restaurant between Aurangabad and Khuldabad
Dining area of resort cum restaurant between Aurangabad and Khuldabad

Khuldabad is where the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb was buried in a modest tomb. Khuldabad is also famous for the Bhadra Maruti temple. It also houses the tombs of the first three Nizams and a handful of Muslim saints. The town is only a few kilometers from Ellora and can be covered in the same trip from Aurangabad.

On the way back to Aurangabad, we stopped over at a resort with a Rajasthani theme for lunch.

Temple on Film

Pachaimalai temple
Pachaimalai temple

The Mahayuga Kali hilltop temple on Pachaimalai, a hillock near Tambaram Sanatorium. One has to climb 150 steps to reach this shrine.  The view is worth the effort. The temple had just received the first coat of white paint and it presented an ethereal sight against the morning sky.

Shot in Nikon D7000 Tamron lens 18-200 at 56 mm 1/320 sec f/5.0

Lightroom Old School Film B&W preset.

 

Chand Minar, Daulatabad

Chand Minar 15 C.C.E Daulatabad
Chand Minar 15 C.C.E Daulatabad

Daulatabad or Devagiri was established in the 12th Century CE by the Yadavas. The present fort was built in 13-14 C.CE. It is 16 Km from the present day Aurangabad in Maharashtra.

The Chand Minar stands tall inside the Daulatabad Fort. It is 210 feet high and is about 70′ in diameter at the base. It was built in 1445 by Alauddin Bahmani to commemorate his conquest of the fort. Originally it was covered with Blue Persian tiles.

 

Pachisi- the Game Emperors Play

Do you want to feel like royalty, playing an ancient Indian Game?

A game for which emperor Akbar built a huge courtyard in his palace at Fatehpur Sikri to depict the squares of the board. Akbar is believed to have used women from his harem as game pieces.

Pachisi Courtyard at Fatehpur Sikri
Pachisi Courtyard at Fatehpur Sikri
Chaupad squares at Fatehpur Sikri
Chaupad squares at Fatehpur Sikri
Chaupad squares at Fatehpur Sikri in front of Panch mahal
Chaupad squares at Fatehpur Sikri

I have also seen the board carved on granite floors of ancient temples and monuments.

Yes, I am referring to Pachisi. The game that is also known as Dayakattam, Chokkattam, Chaupad, Chaupar etc. The Western versions of this game, go by many names like Parchisi, Ludo, The Game of India etc.

Now you can buy an authentic version of this game online at Amazon and Flipkart. The game board is made of hand embroidered cotton and comes with cowrie shells, wooden pieces, cotton pouch, instructions etc.

For Amazon click here.

For Flipkart click here.

Ludo made out of recycled elephant dung is available at www.golisodastore.com

Pachisi Indian Board game
Pachisi authentic Hand embroidered game board

Cow & Gate

Cow & Gate at Mathura temple
Cow & Gate at Mathura Dwarakadish temple

Cow & Gate was a popular Milk food available in India till the 1960’s probably imported from the UK. Now the product is not seen on the Indian shelves, though some online stores seem to offer it.

I distinctly remember the logo of the product. -a cow (a Jersey?) standing beside a picket fence and a wooden gate. Wikipedia describes the logo thus: “A cow looking uncomfortably through a somewhat untypical four-barred gate, rather as if its neck had got stuck between the bars”.

The name and the logo are also connected with one of the founders – a surrey grocer named Charles Gates. ( Perhaps an ancestor of Bill Gates!)

The above scene reminded me of the Baby food tin from my younger days. Those were the days of recycling of such packing materials especially used tins of Ovaltine and Britannia biscuits and Horlicks bottles.

The scene is from the famous Dwarakadish temple, Mathura. The temple had just closed when we reached there. The cows, like us, were peering disappointedly at the temple door.

There was also an Indian Ghee brand called Cow & Krishna.

You can view more street scenes from Mathura here: https://photos.app.goo.gl/21kiPT3admQIoIsf2

Taj – an optical illusion

View of Taj from Agra Fort
View of Taj from Agra Fort

This is the view of Diwan-e-Khas and the Taj Mahal from the Meena bazaar side in Agra Fort. To me somehow the Taj appeared to be bigger than what it looked from the Diwane Khas. Our guide confirmed that it is an illusion created by the clever architecture of the Taj.

I had the same feeling when I viewed the Taj from Mehtab Bagh across the Yamuna.

View of Taj from Mehtab Bagh
Northern View of Taj from Mehtab Bagh across the Yamuna.

Badami

On the way to Shivalaya temple, Badami
On the way to Shivalaya Temple, Badami

On the way to the Shivalaya group of temples Badami, Karnataka.

Badami, formerly known as Vatapi, is a town in  Karnataka, India. It was the capital of the Badami Chalukyas from 540 to 757 AD. It is famous for its rock rock-cut structural temples. See wikipedia for more….