Thursday, April 20, 2006
20- 25 വര്ഷം ലോകത്തിന്റെ ഒരു കോണില് താമസിച്ചിട്ടു എഴ് കടലും താണ്ടി ലോകത്തിന്റെ മറു കോണില് വന്നപ്പോള് ജീവിതത്തില് ഇത്രയും മാറ്റങ്ങള് വരുമെന്നു വിചാരിച്ചില്ല. മണിക്കൂര് സൂചി പിന്നിലേക്ക് തള്ളപ്പെട്ടപ്പോഴും മണ്ണീനും മണലിനും പകരം മഞ്ഞു കണ്ടപ്പോഴും തീരെ പ്രതീക്ഷിചില്ല. ജീവിതം മാറി, ജീവിതരീതികള് മാറി, സമയം മാറി...ഇനി എന്തെല്ലാം മാറാന് കിടക്കുന്നു...
Wednesday, April 19, 2006
<One of my old travelogues>
Even though this is more of a religious trip, I hope you guys’ll enjoy.
It was indeed a gr8 weekend, relieved from all the dirt of the busy professional life, spending time with god and nature, that too alone.
I reached Mookambika (Kollur) around Saturday. I have already been to Mookambika several times, yet every visit to the mother is a fresh experience. She was alone there, may be due to the heavy rain. So could meet her fresh without rush and could tell her my grievances and thanks. After the afternoon pooja, I had my food there itself. I can tell, you’ll really long for the Anna dana at Mookambika, if you had one earlier. It’s a delicious meal. But we won’t ask for more. It’s like that only.
If you happen to go to Mookambika, visit Souparnika and Kudajadri too. I have been there earlier. Souparnika is a sacred river comprising all the medical elements and it’s believed that a bath will relieve u of any diseases. You have to take a jeep to go to Kudajadri and there is a
Kudajadri is a peak, at the top of which Adishankara established a temple. Brahmin boys will b taking their Upanayana in that temple always.
Around , I was on the way to Sringeri, dignified by the presence of Adishankara. And the journey was awesome, through the beautiful forests. Ariyathe chodichu poyi – “Ee forest muzhuvan kadanallo ennu”. The journey was excellent through the mist filled forests, full of hair pin curves (almost 20) and occasional waterfalls. The journey was mainly through local transport providers.
I reached Sringeri around 6pm. I took a room and went to the centuries-old Sharada peetham, established by Adishankara on the bank of Thungabhadra. It’s believed that he lived in the 6th century AD (there’re many controversies regarding this). And he came to this world to renovate the Sanathana and Advaitha dharma, which were deteriorating due to the negativities of Buddhism. Such a peaceful atmosphere, you’ll love to stay there for days.
Adishankara is the reincarnation of Lord Shiva and he did the prathishta of Saraswathy Devi here. Sharada Devi (Saraswathy) is being worshiped there and also Lord Shiva. Dhyana mandira is depicted with the story of Adishankara. Now it’s the 36th Jagadguru of Sringeri, Bharathitheertha and he stays on the other bank of the river in Narasimhavana. After the prayers, I had the food there in the temple itself.
Next day morning, after the morning prayers, I was on my way through the Kudremukh national park. The famous Karkala is also near. Nice forest and dazzling sceneries!!! I went past the Netravathi river, which also is considered sacred.
Around 11.30, I reached Dharmasthala. People come there mainly for the mundhan. After 2 hrs of queue, I had my darshan, the main idol being the
Two days theerthadana thus came to an end. Though the whole journey was covered with rain, I felt it as nature’s happiness!!!
After reading this, if you felt like going, then I’m blessed!!!
Monday, April 17, 2006
Not all dreams transform to reality. It’s even sad when a lot of hard work and expectations were put into. At times we come across experiences which we never thought off, which we never expected or desired. Then it’ll be a pleasant surprise, won’t it be? Have you ever felt like that? I did!
That’s how I felt when a cold breeze cuddled my face as I was watching the entire city standing in the 86th floor of one of the world’s tallest buildings
That’s how I felt when I walked against the heavy wind on a bridge that was constructed 100 odd years before
That’s how it felt, when a sandbar shark and I was separated by nothing but a glass window
-A city that never sleeps-
Nothing was planned when I suddenly got a 4 day weekend i.e. weekend plus Monday holiday for President’s day (can you believe, it’s celebrated hereJ) plus a day off for my hard work on a holidayJ. It was just about a month me and my wife came to US and almost got settled. Also winter was looking dangerous with frequent snowfalls and nasty winds. Sunny Uncle, my father’s friend was there in NY and has called us once to visit their home. Also we had no other choice of places too. The idea struck and we passed the billJ. Finalizing travel plan was confusing. Interstate transportation is not that efficient in
α. Kickoff - Friday 17th
Kaushik picked us from our home at and dropped us at
β. Expedition -Saturday 18th
We took 10’o’clock ferry and then the subway to
You want to know how the zoo started. It started when people began to drop unwanted animals in the arsenal ranging from swans to bear cub. Quite funny isn’t it? Near the entrance, there’s so called “Retirement Tank” in the central garden with California Sea Lions. We rushed here to take a quick snap, but in vain. These guys will keep on somersaulting in the tank and keep us waiting. We can see them going down through the glass windows of the elevated tank. But is a fun the way they are playing in the tank like kids. Usually found on the West coast of US, they use their long flippers to move in land and water. We then moved on after tireless attempts to take a good photo.
We entered the Polar zone to see Gentoo penguins brought from
While we were moving to the next region, we saw something on a huge glass window. When we went near, some creature was licking the foggy window. It was a Cotton-topped Tamarin. They are small monkeys resembling a squirrel and have a long thick tail and white hairs surrounding the head. These funny creatures hail from Central and
Tropical region was the next to see. The conditions of a rain forest are replicated perfectly with a riverbank, cave, towering tree trunks, and a 20-foot roaring waterfall. We saw Mouse deer found mainly in
Enough of wildlife, we got out of the
We then ate from a Chinese restaurant nearby the park. Quite a good number of limousines were seen plying. After lunch, we proceeded to
We then went to Grand Central Terminal. It’s a monumental gateway built in 1900s. It is the largest train station in the world by the number of platforms – 44 with 67 tracks, situated on 2 underground levels. The main attractions are Vanderbilt hall, a magnificent central hall and Omega watch board.
Our next destination was the Crossroads of the World –
We then headed to
Though not satisfied completely, we left as it was getting late. We took the subway and ferry later on to reach the house.
γ. Follow up - Sunday 19th
Instead of taking the usual path to
New York aquarium was nearby beach which was opened in 1839. My desire since childhood to see sea animals underwater came true here. A large water tank was recreated to show the oceanic conditions. Beautiful coral reefs and color fishes were attractive but the real star was a Sting Ray which reminded me of Stealth Aircraft. It kept on moving in the water and there were 3 or 4 of those. Belize barrier reef, extinct species of Lake Victoria and species of Lake Malawi were the next exhibits. Anemones, Star fishes, Jelly fishes also followed. Piranhas from Amazon and other South American rivers which can eat anything from cattle to parts of human and reduce them to skeleton in minutes was yet another attraction. They don’t kill their prey; they just start eating the victim alive. They venture out in schools and when they are in a feeding frenzy the water appears to boil and churn red with blood.
Then we saw Pacific walrus, a large semi-aquatic mammal from Arctic regions. It was a treat to watch those biggies playing in water, spraying out water and making sounds occasionally. These younger ones didn’t develop their characteristic tusks. But they had a superb moustacheJ. Then there was
We then moved to an underground area called Sea cliffs. We could see Striped Bass and Leopard shark. But the best part was watching walruses, sea lions, sea otter and seals underwater. What a fun it was to watch them playing. Walruses resemble hippos, that big they are. We saw Seahorses. They are specialJ. While linked in the mating embrace, the female forces the eggs into a pouch on the underside of the male, where they are fertilized and where they remain until they are expelled as miniature versions of the adult. Unlucky guys! Different varieties of them are present like pipe fishes. We also saw Octopuses and Lobsters.
Sharks, Turtles and Giant sting rays formed the next section. It was truly amazing to see the sandbar sharks moving like a rocket close to us. Last section was Alien Stingers which comprised of Moon jelly fishes. They are translucent and beautiful as they were kept in blue light illuminated water. Also there were Elephant nose fishes and Electric Eel.
It was almost 12.30 when we finished the aquarium part. We then took subway to
Our next destination was American Museum of Natural History situated on
We headed towards
δ. Curtains - Monday 20th
We slept for long hours. We started from Staten Island at 11am and got the bus from Port Authority terminal. We took the Peterpan bus via Hartford and Worcester. 3 connecting buses were there in total and we reached Nashua at 7.30 pm. We got the city bus luckily and reached home fast.
Thus a journey which will linger in our mind for ever came to an end. Now I knew why New York is one of the world’s preferred tourist spots. A well planned and superbly connected with subways and buses, this is certainly worth one more visit.
An early morning in the June first week of 2005!
…Woods are lovely dark n deep
And Miles to go before I sleep…
Yeah, Cool Guys are going out for a tour of 3 days. Read on, a sequel to our Ooty Trip.
…Things changed much after the Ooty trip. Ranjith moved to
And there came an inner call that we have to go for yet another outing for 3 days. It was with everyone and Ranjith keeps on asking when we will go.
Finally we decided that we’ll try to go on June 1st week. It’s not that easy as we have to arrange our leaves and after June 1st week, it wont work out this month as Bastian will be having a training program. So I asked for leave and it was on hold as I didn’t get it easily. I have to wait. On May 23rd, my leave was confirmed. Bastian and Gijoy had no problem with the leave. And here comes the turning point of the tour. We have one more man – The one and only Sreeram, called affectionately as Pattar. He was no there with the Ooty tour due to some reasons and he was so sad about that. So we decided we’ll take him at any cost. We played around him and threatened not to take for tour. It’s prank anyways.
Bastian and Ranjith came early morning. He bought the package of the tour – Chivas Regal. Can you believe it? Ranjith got us the Sony handy cam from Gijoy’s brother, but he forgot to bring the cassette. Pattar came with his luggage in the evening. Then Bastian and Gijoy went out to take car. Pattar, Ranjith and I went to forum to buy camera’s battery and cassette for handy cam. We got the battery, but the cassette bought was inappropriate. So we all went out again on our car to Forum. We were arguing and literally begging to take the cassette back and the shop owner was not yielding. Finally we decided to buy the proper cassette. Then we saw pattar asking the details of the digicams. We thought it was his usual “killing”. To our surprise, he was serious and finally ended up in buying an
I woke up at 2 and began to wake up everyone. Pattar made black tea for all and we were ready to go at 3.30. Bastian took the driver’s seat and took the Kanakapura route to go to
We reached Palani by and had our lunch including the Cassata slice and Sweet pan. We stopped for a minute in front of Palani temple entrance and then started climbing the hill. It was getting really hot and we were really confused about the Kodai’s climate. We even thought of leaving the place and going to Ooty. But weather became milder as we were reaching the spot. We reached our destination– Kodaikanal translating to “Shade in summer” – The favorite honeymoon spot of
We woke up much earlier and Ranjith even went to buy milk along with Aziz Bhai in car. We started at and went to Hilltop woodlands for our breakfast. We then headed to Coakers Walk. It is a narrow pedestrian path, constructed by Lt. Coaker in 1872, a one kilometer mountain road which runs along the edge of steep slopes on the southern side of Kodai road. We had some radishes and then came out fast and then entered Bryant’s Park. It looks good, but nothing compared to the Botanical Garden in Ooty. After that we went to the
Thus a fun-tour came to an end, mainly filled with Pattar’s bashing.
When Pattar woke up at 6, Ranjith was not there in bed. Later we found that he has gone for a walk. Only god knows his purpose. He made some important findings after this walk that no two storied buildings are allowed in Kodai and Aziz bhai is a rich bhai. We got ready by 9.30 and then one folk at the cottage told us the sightseeing places. We want to visit