Showing posts from April, 2017

Ajanta Caves: Where rocks come to life

Overview: One of the great architectural marvels of Indian history is the Ajanta caves. Located around 100kms from Aurangabad, these caves date back to the 2nd century BC. There are a total of 26 Buddhist caves carved out of a semi-circular rock hill. All the caves are located next to one another, with each cave depicting the ways of living a life, the Buddha's journey, a king's lifestyle and several other stories from ancient India. A few caves have wall and ceiling paintings on them which have survived several centuries of wear and tear. These paintings are made out of vegetable extracts, similar to the painitngs which can be seen at Hampi and Badami. A few caves are designed as a huge hall, with the interiors resembling some of the massive churches of the renaissance, but entirely carved out of stone. Really remarkable work by the generation of people who commissioned these caves, which were built by ordinary tools and chisels (as believed).         \   How to reac

Exploring Dutch countryside

Overview: They say the best way to explore the Dutch countryside is by a bike (bicycle). We found out how true this is by going on a bicycle tour around Volendam. We went to a nearby fishing village at Edam and from there, visited the picturesque little town of Volendam. It is a nice traditional town, with more orthodox population, and beautiful market area by the harbour. The beauty of this place inspired great artists like Picasso and Renoir, who spent time here. One unpredictable phenomenon here is the rainfall, which can happen at any given time without a warning. The Dutch countryside is also known for Tulips and windmills. We could not make it during the Tulip season, but we could spot a few traditional windmills.      

Ancient temples of Chikkamagaluru District

Overview: Chikkamagalur district, known for its pristine hills and roaring waterfalls, is home to several ancient temples, a few popular pilgrimage destinations, and the other few are unknown or in ruins. Sringeri, Hariharapura, Kigga and Horanadu are quite well known and are visited by several pilgrims all the year round. More details on the temples are available in the following link: Yoga Narasimha temple, Baggavalli: Around 20kms from Tarikere is the 12th century Hoysala temple dedicated to Yoga Narasimha swamy. This temple is maintained by the ASI. Kodandarama temple, Hiremagaluru: This temple is located in Chikkamagaluru's suburb Hiremagaluru. The temple dates back to the 14th century, and was developed by several kings of different eras. The inner structure is typical of the Hoysalas, while the idol highlights the Chalukyan craftwork.   Marle Twin temples: Around 15 kms from Ch

Driving along the Western coast of India from Karwar to Bhatkal

Overview: I had always liked driving across coastal highways. This one was not exactly driving along the coast, but yes, it took me to some exciting places along India's west coast, particularly in North Canara region. Starting from Karwar, I covered several places all the way to Bhatkal. I have covered Karwar, Ankola and Aversa in one of my earlier posts. According to legend, Ravana had won the Atmalinga from Lord Shiva after performing severe penance. On his way back to Lanka, while performing evening prayers, he requested a young Brahmin (Lord Ganesha in disguise) to hold the Atmalinga till he completes his prayers. But he was tricked and the Atmalinga was placed on the ground. Furious with this, Ravana tried to remove the Atmalinga from the found and threw it in all directions. It got established as 5 Atmalingas in this region- at Shejjeshwar, Dhareshwara, Gokarna, Gunavanteshwara and Murudeshwara.             Along this route are few of the prettiest beaches like Gok