May 24th, 2007

It is the last school day for the year> My Montessori school commitment was over for the year. Packed clothes, put together things to be given to Arvind at Claremont. Packed extra set of saris for the wedding of Sundar’s IIt friend Ramakrishnan’s son on the 27th.

May 26th

We left home by 9 am. We drove to Claremont and reached there by 4 pm. We stayed at Marriott for the night.

May 27th

We left for the wedding by 3 pm. Myself and Ashwin were dropped off at the sirport by 9 Pm.

May 28th

Malaysian airlines sets were narrower. Food was ok. It took 13 hrs flight time to Taipei.From there, it took 4 hrs. to Kuala Lumpur. We were guided to a hotel concierge where we booked a 3 1/s hrs package tour to go to Batu caves and some local places. It cost $90 per person. The taxi driver was a Tamilian. It took about an hour to reach Batu Caves. Enroute, the scenery was pretty with short palm trees and wide roads, almost no traffic. We reached Batu caves and started the climb. There were 272 steps and took almost 30 to 45 minutes. We saw a few monkeys. At the entrance, there is a 500 ft. Murugan statue made of gold. The driver explained that it was a recent addition and that it was built by sculptors from India. There was a huge iguana perched on a table, looking almost lifeless. There was a huge opening at the top of the caves. We spent almost an hour, a little longer than we should have. As we got down the steps, I saw a Shive temple. Being pradosham, I had a quick darshan.

Next, we went to Petronas towers. By then, it had gotten really late and we literally ran to the gate to check in.

June 2nd, 2007

We left early @7 am by car from Bangalore.We visited a Devi temple en route. Reached Kukke Subrahmanya temple by 11 am. We had to walk a little bit along the walkway. There was a long line, but they let us in quick in the seniors’ line because of amma. We had a darshan of Subrahmanya and the snake mound.

We had lunch at a restaurant and proceeded to Anandashram. By the time we reached, it was quite dark maybe 9 or 10 pm. We stayed and participated in the activities at the ashram till June 6th.

June 6th

We left in the morning after breakfast to proceed to Udupi. En route we stopped at Malpo beach. Reached Udupi by 4 or 5 pm. There was a chariot festival. Due to that, there was a lot of gathering. We had darshan and ate a restaurant. We stayed at a modest hotel, one suggested by a priest at our local temple. It was not convenient. We had another darshan of the temple. Also saw Gita Mandir. It was very beautiful. Left Udupi to go to Horanad. On the way, saw a Birla Mandir. Reached Horanad by 8 pm. The driver found a lodge and we had dinner there at the Mahalakshmi temple. There was beautiful scenery on the way.

June 7th

We had darshan in the morning. Gave a sari for the Amman pooja. We reached Sringeri from there. Reached there by noon. Had darshan and ate free lunch at the temple. The hall was very huge. The music mandapam was beautiful. Did the thoranam Ganapathi pooja. From there, left for Kollur Mookambika temple. When we reached there, it was @7 pm and raining hard. The driver found a hotel. We took some umbrellas and reached the temple. Ha darshan. There was a procession at the temple praharam. We were waiting for the Kashayam prasad. It was getting very late and raining. So we left to the hotel without getting the kashayam.While we were having dinner, the people at the next table gave us a little bit of the Kashayam. Mom was happy. We had another darshan in the morning. We saw Cashew trees. From there, we left to Mrudeshwar temple. There is a giant Shiva statue on the seashore. From there went to Jog falls by afternoon.There was no water in the falls. On the way back to Bangalore, the driver stopped at Shimoga animal sanctuary. We ate dinner at a place close to Bangalore. It was not good. Reached Bangalore by 12 30am.

June 13th and 14th

Samayapuram, Sri Rangam, Vaideeswaran koil and Tanjavur.

From Bangalore, we took Tanjavur express, an overnight train. It leaves Bangalore by 730 pm and reached Trichy by 430 am. Took a private taxi to Samayapuram, a 1 hr drive from Trichy. We stayed at Vijaya Manni’s house overnight. We offered flower garlands, silver body parts, lemon garland. sari/blouse. From there, we went to Tiruanaikaval temple and then to Srirangam. From Trichy, Lalgudi station is only 45 minutes. Edayathumangalam is another 45 minutes.We can also take a bus from Trichy to Tanjavur.

At Trichy, we visited a few shops. We passed climbing the Uchi Pillayar temple. We had darshan of Ganesha at the base.

We took a train from Trichy at 830 pm and reached Bangalore at 430 am. reached Sugavanam’s home by 530 am.

June 16th

Amma, Ashwin and I left for Mysore. We stopped at Kadu Mane drive-in restaurant. Good dosas. We drove to Melkote temple.It is a beautiful village. We had to climb 252 steps to see the Yoga Nrusimhar statue. Amma did not climb.We came down and saw Thiru Narayanar and Thayar sannadhis.

Next, we went to Nimishamba temple. if one prays to this Devi, prayers will be answered in 1 minute. Next, we visited Ranganathaswamy temple at 1 50 pm. temple was closed. We ate lunch and proceeded to see the Palace. It is a beautiful Palace. And off to see Brindavan gardens. The lighting started at 7 pm. It started drizzling and we had to walk a bit to see the lighting. Hence decided to return. We stayed at Hotel Rroopashree, which was on par to Marriott.

In the morning, we left by 8 am and proceeded to Chamundi Hills and saw the giant Bull. it started drizzling again. We visited a Handicraft shop, sari shop etc. Went to Kushal Nagar and went to the ElephantParkk. There were a lot of bamboo trees.

Next to the elephant camp is a lake. People take a boat ride to see the elephants. We didn’t take it as it will take at least an hour.So proceeded to Madikeri ( Coorg). The route to Coorg is mountainous.We saw a lot of Coffee and pepper plants in Madikeri. We stopped at a railroad park called Raja’s seat. The scenery is beautiful with a lot of trails.

We visited Omkareshwar temple that was built in 1820.We had to go looking around for lodging. The driver took us to a bed and breakfast place. It turned out to be a good experience. The host, Anita fed us well. She gave us good akki rotis, vazhai thandu curry, rotis. She is a lawyer.

In the morning, we drove up to Talaicauvery. The route eas winding and mountainous for 48 kms. it was foggy and raining. We visited Taliacauvery origin and the Agastya temple. We could not do kumkum archana as it rained.

We came home and changed. The host gave us 2 pkts of Cardamom, 2 pkts of black pepper, 2 bottles of honey for Rs 500 only. She gave 1 kg of coffee powder and cut vazhai thandu for free. her family owned 6 acres of coffee estates.

We skipped going to Abe falls. We went to the Tibetan Golden temple. It was beautiful but had lots of flies. We bought two Shawls fro Rs 600 in the Tibetan store.On the way to Bangalore, we visiteGanapathihi Satchidananda swami ashram. It is a beautiful campus.

We returned to Bangalore by 9 pm.

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

South karnataka tour

May 24th, 2007

It is the last school day for the year> My Montessori school commitment was over for the year. Packed clothes, put together things to be given to Arvind at Claremont. Packed extra set of saris for the wedding of Sundar’s IIt friend Ramakrishnan’s son on the 27th.

May 26th

We left home by 9 am. We drove to Claremont and reached there by 4 pm. We stayed at Marriott for the night.

May 27th

We left for the wedding by 3 pm. Myself and Ashwin were dropped off at the sirport by 9 Pm.

May 28th

Malaysian airlines sets were narrower. Food was ok. It took 13 hrs flight time to Taipei.From there, it took 4 hrs. to Kuala Lumpur. We were guided to a hotel concierge where we booked a 3 1/s hrs package tour to go to Batu caves and some local places. It cost $90 per person. The taxi driver was a Tamilian. It took about an hour to reach Batu Caves. Enroute, the scenery was pretty with short palm trees and wide roads, almost no traffic. We reached Batu caves and started the climb. There were 272 steps and took almost 30 to 45 minutes. We saw a few monkeys. At the entrance, there is a 500 ft. Murugan statue made of gold. The driver explained that it was a recent addition and that it was built by sculptors from India. There was a huge iguana perched on a table, looking almost lifeless. There was a huge opening at the top of the caves. We spent almost an hour, a little longer than we should have. As we got down the steps, I saw a Shive temple. Being pradosham, I had a quick darshan.

Next, we went to Petronas towers. By then, it had gotten really late and we literally ran to the gate to check in.

June 2nd, 2007

We left early @7 am by car from Bangalore.We visited a Devi temple en route. Reached Kukke Subrahmanya temple by 11 am. We had to walk a little bit along the walkway. There was a long line, but they let us in quick in the seniors’ line because of amma. We had a darshan of Subrahmanya and the snake mound.

We had lunch at a restaurant and proceeded to Anandashram. By the time we reached, it was quite dark maybe 9 or 10 pm. We stayed and participated in the activities at the ashram till June 6th.

June 6th

We left in the morning after breakfast to proceed to Udupi. En route we stopped at Malpo beach. Reached Udupi by 4 or 5 pm. There was a chariot festival. Due to that, there was a lot of gathering. We had darshan and ate a restaurant. We stayed at a modest hotel, one suggested by a priest at our local temple. It was not convenient. We had another darshan of the temple. Also saw Gita Mandir. It was very beautiful. Left Udupi to go to Horanad. On the way, saw a Birla Mandir. Reached Horanad by 8 pm. The driver found a lodge and we had dinner there at the Mahalakshmi temple. There was beautiful scenery on the way.

June 7th

We had darshan in the morning. Gave a sari for the Amman pooja. We reached Sringeri from there. Reached there by noon. Had darshan and ate free lunch at the temple. The hall was very huge. The music mandapam was beautiful. Did the thoranam Ganapathi pooja. From there, left for Kollur Mookambika temple. When we reached there, it was @7 pm and raining hard. The driver found a hotel. We took some umbrellas and reached the temple. Ha darshan. There was a procession at the temple praharam. We were waiting for the Kashayam prasad. It was getting very late and raining. So we left to the hotel without getting the kashayam.While we were having dinner, the people at the next table gave us a little bit of the Kashayam. Mom was happy. We had another darshan in the morning. We saw Cashew trees. From there, we left to Mrudeshwar temple. There is a giant Shiva statue on the seashore. From there went to Jog falls by afternoon.There was no water in the falls. On the way back to Bangalore, the driver stopped at Shimoga animal sanctuary. We ate dinner at a place close to Bangalore. It was not good. Reached Bangalore by 12 30am.

June 13th and 14th

Samayapuram, Sri Rangam, Vaideeswaran koil and Tanjavur.

From Bangalore, we took Tanjavur express, an overnight train. It leaves Bangalore by 730 pm and reached Trichy by 430 am. Took a private taxi to Samayapuram, a 1 hr drive from Trichy. We stayed at Vijaya Manni’s house overnight. We offered flower garlands, silver body parts, lemon garland. sari/blouse. From there, we went to Tiruanaikaval temple and then to Srirangam. From Trichy, Lalgudi station is only 45 minutes. Edayathumangalam is another 45 minutes.We can also take a bus from Trichy to Tanjavur.

At Trichy, we visited a few shops. We passed climbing the Uchi Pillayar temple. We had darshan of Ganesha at the base.

We took a train from Trichy at 830 pm and reached Bangalore at 430 am. reached Sugavanam’s home by 530 am.

June 16th

Amma, Ashwin and I left for Mysore. We stopped at Kadu Mane drive-in restaurant. Good dosas. We drove to Melkote temple.It is a beautiful village. We had to climb 252 steps to see the Yoga Nrusimhar statue. Amma did not climb.We came down and saw Thiru Narayanar and Thayar sannadhis.

Next, we went to Nimishamba temple. if one prays to this Devi, prayers will be answered in 1 minute. Next, we visited Ranganathaswamy temple at 1 50 pm. temple was closed. We ate lunch and proceeded to see the Palace. It is a beautiful Palace. And off to see Brindavan gardens. The lighting started at 7 pm. It started drizzling and we had to walk a bit to see the lighting. Hence decided to return. We stayed at Hotel Rroopashree, which was on par to Marriott.

In the morning, we left by 8 am and proceeded to Chamundi Hills and saw the giant Bull. it started drizzling again. We visited a Handicraft shop, sari shop etc. Went to Kushal Nagar and went to the ElephantParkk. There were a lot of bamboo trees.

Next to the elephant camp is a lake. People take a boat ride to see the elephants. We didn’t take it as it will take at least an hour.So proceeded to Madikeri ( Coorg). The route to Coorg is mountainous.We saw a lot of Coffee and pepper plants in Madikeri. We stopped at a railroad park called Raja’s seat. The scenery is beautiful with a lot of trails.

We visited Omkareshwar temple that was built in 1820.We had to go looking around for lodging. The driver took us to a bed and breakfast place. It turned out to be a good experience. The host, Anita fed us well. She gave us good akki rotis, vazhai thandu curry, rotis. She is a lawyer.

In the morning, we drove up to Talaicauvery. The route eas winding and mountainous for 48 kms. it was foggy and raining. We visited Taliacauvery origin and the Agastya temple. We could not do kumkum archana as it rained.

We came home and changed. The host gave us 2 pkts of Cardamom, 2 pkts of black pepper, 2 bottles of honey for Rs 500 only. She gave 1 kg of coffee powder and cut vazhai thandu for free. her family owned 6 acres of coffee estates.

We skipped going to Abe falls. We went to the Tibetan Golden temple. It was beautiful but had lots of flies. We bought two Shawls fro Rs 600 in the Tibetan store.On the way to Bangalore, we visiteGanapathihi Satchidananda swami ashram. It is a beautiful campus.

We returned to Bangalore by 9 pm.

 

 

 

 

Australia/New Zealand March 2017

March 22 2017

We boarded our flight at 4 40 pm and reached Los Angeles by 6 pm. There was a 4 hr wait at Tom Bradley airport to catch Virgin Australia flight at 11 pm. It was a nonstop 16 hrs. flight and we reached Brisbane @ 5 30 am local time. Brisbane airport was similar to any airport in India except being less crowded. The weather was muggy and humid. People looked very healthy. We took a shuttle bus to the local terminal and boarded the stairway to a smaller Virgin Australia plane to Melbourne. Local time was 7 55 am on March 24th, 2017. We landed at Melbourne airport, checked out our baggage, exchanged some US dollars to Australian dollars and arrived at Budget car rental. The first car that they gave us did not have USB, so we waited and got another car with one. Driving here is on the opposite side. There was no place to practice driving on the wrong side, so we headed straight to the highway.

After a little disorientation due to the roundabouts and also due to streets being much narrower than in the US, we entered the countryside road towards Merrijig.

It was very cool and pleasant. The driving got better as there was not much traffic at all. Right off of the Melbourne airport, we stopped at Little India grocery store and bought frozen rotis, frozen subjis, MTR poha, upma and a few snacks. There was an Indian restaurant in the same strip mall, but it was closed. The grocery store itself was much larger than the ones found in the US. We also picked up linseed bread, ginger marmalade, yogurt, milk, fruits on the way and a fruit called tamarillo which tasted like a cross between tomato and guava.

We reached Sabel Pinnacle Valley resort and checked into our room by 1 30 pm. The resort atmosphere is beautiful and very quiet. We could see King Parrots, Cockatoos outside our balcony. In the evening, we took a walk around the resort to see Kangaroos which came in herds to a clear opening near the resort.

March 25th 2017

I woke up with a light cold and headache, which got better soon.We had breakfast of Soy and linseed bread toast with ginger marmalade. We took a video of the kangaroos near the resort and I posted on whatsapp to Arvind and Ashwin. It has been a bit cloudy with light rains today. Few big white birds sat on the tree outside our balcony. They were most likely cockatoos. Wifi was available only in the lobby downstairs. And today and tomorrow, as there was a wedding conducted in the lobby, we could not use wifi.

We took a map from the office and took a drive to Lake Eilden. It was nearly a 60km ride to a small town called Jamieson. We visited a tiny museum which had tractor memorabilia from the turn of the century in the backside of the museum. There were two sweet ladies in the museum who filled us on the names of some of the birds in the area. The loud screechy white cockatoos, black cockatoos ( that had yellow markings also known as yellow toed cockatoos), magpies ( the black and white birds that looked like crows), King Parrots ( that had red bodies with green wings) and their females that were green with slight red markings. We could capture some of the birds in the parking lot.

These ladies also sold vegetables that they grew in their yard. I bought two listadia eggplants for $2 Aus dollars. The occupation of most of the people in this town is agriculture, and most people were retirees. There are buses from here to Melbourne.

The lady suggested we visit the Mansfield zoo on the way back. On the way back, we saw a sign saying Lake Eilden and we turned there.We went around the curvy road for ten minutes before we realized it was too steep and windy. We quickly turned back and on the way stopped at Mansfield Zoo. At the Zoo, they allow us to feed the animals with the animal food sold there. We fed the camels, kangaroos, deer, llamas, cockatoos, peacocks, turkeys, Kiwis, Wallabies and two lions. it was so funny when one of the Kangaroos nodded his head “no” when asked if he wanted food. We spent a little over two hours at the Zoo.

A family owned the Zoo and the dad took care of the lions. It reminded me of the story of “Life of Pi”. They were very friendly and we chatted with them for some time. and took photos with them. They were curious about what we thought about Trump.The Zoo was  in a very relaxed environment, unpolluted and clean except for the mess created by the animals. We met an Indian family who had driven from Melbourne to visit the Zoo.

On the way back, we parked and strolled around in the tiny downtown of Merrijig. Found an Indian restaurant. We had tea there and bought two rotis and naans to take back to the room. Had the rotis with dal and vegetables.

We found out about a few places nearby that we could go tomorrow.

March 26th 2017 Sunday

Rameswaram trip

Feb 25th 2016 After a two days halt at Pondichery, we planned a road trip to Rameswaram with driver Sabhari. We were advised to go to Kumbakonam on account of the Mahamaham festival and were advised to do prokshanam and not bather as the river might be dirty due to many people bathing in it. […]

Feb 25th 2016

After a two days halt at Pondichery, we planned a road trip to Rameswaram with driver Sabhari. We were advised to go to Kumbakonam on account of the Mahamaham festival and were advised to do prokshanam and not bather as the river might be dirty due to many people bathing in it. First we went to Cauvery and took a dip. It was fairly clean. Then with dripping clothes, we went to the mahamaham tank. It was very dirty and smelling bad. Next we went to the third spot where water was flowing like falls. There we washed us completely due to the disgust of bathing in the mahamaham tank. Finally we changed our clothes in a paid bathroom. We visited Kumbeswarar koil. As I am reading the life story of Ramanujan, the Mathematics scholar who lived and studies in Kumbakonam, I wish I could have seen his home and school while in Kumbakonam.

We were supposed to proceed to Vaidheeswaran koil but decided to go to Kanyakumari instead. We booked a room while on the way. Reached Kanyakumari a little after sunset at 8 pm. The hotel was very good and so was the room. We had dinner at a nearby restaurant. We decided to wake up for the sunrise early in the morning. There were many north Indian visitors.

Feb 26th 2016

We woke up very early and walked up to the sea to see sunrise. We could see it only partially as the view was obstructed by the huge Thiruvalluvar statue. We took a dip in the Triveni sangam. I bumped my toe on a rock and it started to bleed. We took an auto and returned to our room. We hung our clothes to dry and went out to eat breakfast. We went shopping, bought shells, Panam kalkandu, kurinjikikkai ( it looks like a large tamarind seed) upon breaking which there is a powder inside. When this powder is mixed with coconut oil and applied, it heals the cracks in feet. We went to Bhagavathi koil. Her diamond nose ring is so large and beautiful. It is said that the light from it distracted the ships into thinking it as the harbor.

We returned to room to have lunch. Around 1 pm, we went to the pier to board a large boat to Vivekananda rock. It was a rocky ride. The boat was made of steel. We had to wear seatbelts/ We went around Vivekananda rock. We donated Rs 500 to a trust for annadanam.We left for Suchindram and reached there by 3 pm. The roads were beautiful, almost like Kerala like landscape. On the way, we bought nungu ( palm fruits), and aved a few for Pondichery. After viewing the hugh Hanuman statue at Suchindram, musical pillars etc, we drove to Tiruchendur. It is a very clean temple. Not too much crowd like other temples. The sea was clean and beautiful. We did not take bath. We stood in line to see Murugan. Sundar brought panchamritham.

We had lunch at Mani Iyer hotel ( which was fairly good)in Thiruchendoor. We started drive to Rameswaram and reached by 11 pm. We had to circle around a bit due to non parking availability in front of the hotel. And walk a while to get to the hotel. At least the hotel was walking distance to the temple. The hotel was run by a Bengali guy. We rested for the night.

Feb 27th 2016

We woke up, showered and went for the Spatika lingam abhishekam. There was entry fee to do the abhishekam. The spatika lingam was in front of a screen. It was a a beautiful sight to watch. After the darshanam, we went to the sea to check if we could take bath. It was very cold, so did sprinkling on the head.

We went back to the hotel, took bath and took the Ganges water in the pot from Kashi to offer to the Siva lingam. We were lucky to find a priest, actually he found us who did sankalpam and did the pooja for Rs 500. The ganga water was poured on the lingam and he gave us the special abhisheka theertham.

After that, we had breakfast. There was not enough time to visit Dhanushkoti. We left here by 10 30 am and started driving towards Vaidheeswaran koil. We reached there by 4 30 pm. On the way, we ate at some town.

In Vaidheeswaran koil, I purchased archana plates for all sannidhis for Rs 500. Sundar was upset thinking it would take a long time to finish the archanas. Fortunately, the priest did a good job and took us quickly to all the sannidhis.I I got silver body parts and put it in hundi. We donated Rs 5000 for daily deepam in Swami sannidhi. One elderly gentleman at the office gave us a receipt for it.  I bought some arisi appalams at “Rama vilas”.