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Sunday 31 May 2020

Le Jardin Botanique - French Connection And More

Walking amid the quiet solitude of the Le Jardin botanique, I wondered why is that a Botanical garden was developed in Pondicherry and for what purpose? Also,  I don't how many of you are aware that the famous Hollywood production "Life of Pi" was shot in this very garden but there is no tangible evidence of the movie' shooting here.

Saturday 23 May 2020

Le Jardin Botanique

A Mesmerising Walk Amid Ancient Trees Of The French Era

It was not a planned visit but roaming around the quaint colonial city of Pondicherry.  I thought of taking a peek into a garden that had literally no tourists or visitors. Now imagine my surprise of a scenario where a landmark natural heritage saw just a few local people drop in the evenings to take rest or chat with their friends without realizing the worth of the botanical garden.

Saturday 16 May 2020

Amrutheswara Temple - Stories Of Krishna And More

Welcome to the last part of the stories from the Amrutheswara temple. Last of this series and last from me for now. All these parts put together however do not even begin to scratch the surface of everything that this temple has to offer. The secrets left to be understood and uncovered and the tiny little signature hints in each carving left to be interpreted still await the curious eyes of its visitors.  I wonder if even a 30 part series can do justice to the magnitude of elegance that has been cramped into one temple, tucked away in Southern India.

As the warm February sun was busy tanning my skin multiple times over, I ignored the sweat pouring down my back while tales of Lord Krishna's childhood kept me captivated. Starting from the very beginning...

Frame 1 -

As each child was born to Devaki and Vasudeva , a donkey positioned outside the cell would act as the   harbinger of childbirth.  The donkey was said to be sensitive enough to detect the mother in labor. Its not so subtle heralding was a signal to Kamsa, Devaki's brother,  to rush to the cell and kill the baby. This was in a bid to escape the prophecy that Devaki's eighth child would be responsible for Kamsa's death.  Better safe than sorry, Kamsa made it a point to kill every child born to his sister rather than target just the eighth one. Just as the eighth child, Krishna was born, Vasudeva prostrates before the donkey requesting it not to alert the evil king about the birth. Though I had never heard of anyone else assisting Devaki or Vasudeva with the birth, this panel seemed to be pretty packed with a whole lot of characters. Baby Krishna is next to his mother on the cot, three ladies attending to Devaki, two guards and of course  Vasudeva and the donkey. There is also a comfortable mattress that shows slight indentation under the mother and baby. That is a lot of details in a single panel.

Thursday 14 May 2020

Conservation Of The Sea Turtles

A Citizen's Yeomen Effort To Protect Sea Turtles From Poachers

By Meera

In our efforts to take a close peek at a sea turtle conservation centre, we managed a fleeting glimpse of the memorial to the 2004 tsunami victims. It is the nation's tribute to 50,000 people who perished in this country and it has been etched in copper and brass plates. However, we travelled along the blue coastal waters for more than 10 km, to spend a few hours at the Kosagoda turtle hatchery.

Tsunami victims memorial
Memorial wall for Tsunami victims 

Saving Sea Turtles In A Unique Way

There are some unique experiences that we cannot forget at least in our life time. My thoughts forays back frequently to a special place in my travel to the island nation that is shaped like a teardrop. This sojourn and its recollections brings me immense happiness.

For me, it was an unbelievable experience to see long trail of turtles ambling on their tiny legs to lay eggs in the nests, spread out on the beach side of Kosgoda, a village on the southernmost tip of Sri Lanka. We were staying in Hikkaduwa to see the local sights as also absorb the unique marine life.  Most of our time was spent on the beach where the water was crystal clear and people were vying with one another to see the marine world including its coral gardens by hiring glass bottomed boats or go for scuba diving or snorkeling.

Saturday 9 May 2020

Amrutheswara Temple - Stories From Ramayana -II

Rama in vanavasa and more

It was an era without any modern technology or was it? Whatever they had was modern enough for them to come up with the most amazing story telling method. With so many nuances included into every frame of story telling, we can be teleported into their world with ease. It is not that these artisans lived during the times of Ramayana and Mahabharata. But they got their ideas and inspirations from somewhere and poured it all out on the stone so impressively.

Frame 1 -

Rama, Sita and Lakshmana are sitting in their modest accommodation in the forest. Their seat is just made up of small rocks piled together and Sita is pointing out to the golden deer, pleading with Rama and Lakshmana to get it for her. The deer of course is the demon Mareecha who has shape shifted. Yes, the same one Rama had defeated earlier. Mareecha is seen jumping teasingly and enticingly over the simple wall of their hut.

Thursday 7 May 2020

Pacchisi - A Centuries Old Historical Game

The National Game Of India Still Lives On

Image Credits: Manjunath Nayak

My memories of playing homemade games is still so fresh that I feel as if I am still tucked away in the loving folds of my grandmother and sitting on her lap - playing the Chowkka-baara as we used to call it during my childhood days spent in Delhi. I am sure many one of us would have played such traditional games in our childhood which was taught to us by our grandparents.

Pacchisi mat and coins
Pacchisi mat and coins