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.

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Cap Malheureux – Cape of Bad Luck

Cap Malheureux - Cape of Bad Luck
Cap Malheureux – Cape of Bad Luck

You have heard about Cape of Good Hope. What about Cape of Bad Luck? I hadn’t heard about it till I visited Mauritius.

Cap Malheureux or Cape of Bad Luck is the Northernmost point in the Indian Ocean island country of Mauritius.

It is a very picturesque waterfront and definitely worth a visit. There is also a quaint little red-tiled church of Notre Dame.

In a battle in 1815, the French lost the battle and the island to the British. Hence the name.

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Notre-Dame Auxiliatrice de Cap Malheureux

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.

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

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….

Amma Veedu

Amma veedu seen form another amma veedu

Amma veedu seen from another amma veedu

Amma veedus are the palatial houses where the minor queens or the consorts of the Travancore king used to stay. There are still a few  amma veedus in the West Fort area of Trivandrum. One of these has been tastefully converted into a fine dining restaurant.

The house in the image is opposite that restaurant, taken from its second-floor window.