Saturday, October 08, 2005

Kanchi Kudil

A traditional house in kanchipuram, it has architecture of times, spread out courtyards, a food court, traditional crafts to see and buy, soft string instruments in the backdrop…One of the most popular historical tourist places in Kanchipuram, Kanchi Kudil was born of a desire to turn ancestral property into a place of tourist interest. Once here, tourists may get a feel of the life as lived in a historic place as Kanchipuram. While temples and monuments index the cultural life of a city, the real soul of a place is to be found in its people and their homes. Revisit a world of old-fashioned hospitality.

The House
This is a 90-year-old house, authentic in old-style architecture and functionality. It affords a glimpse of the life of an agricultural family in a small town - the master's room, room for the women and children, room for the gods, open-to-sky courtyards, verandahs, the backyard with agricultural implements. Added features are descriptions on the history of Kanchipuram and its temples, traditional music as backdrop and a stock of exquisite handicrafts for the tourist to buy.

Kanchi Kudil charges a small entrance fee of Rs.20 (US$ 0.5) to the tourist. It is conveniently located on the road leading to the Kailasanather Temple.

Kanchi Kudil is located at: 53A, Sangeetha Vidwan Nainar Pillai Street(Old Putheri Street) Kanchipuram TamilnaduPhone: +91 4112 27680

Thursday, October 06, 2005


Here are some of the photos from the magnificent ruins of Hampi the seat of the Vijayanagara Empire. These photos don't do justice to the place since Hampi is a place "to be experienced" and not to be just seen. I reached Hampi early in the morning and when I went into the ruins, I was transferred into a kingdom in the past. Your imagination just runs amok looking at these ruins and wondering what a splendor Hampi would have been at its peak. The stories and legends about the wealth of Hampi add to the aura. Photos of Hampi.

The Shiva temple at Hampi The Lotus Temple at Hampi The Shiva lingam at hampi

Find above the Hampi photo gallery, photos that were taken by me during my visit to Hampi. More Hampi Phots here.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Kailashnath Temple

The Kailashnath temple situated at Putleri Street 1.5 km from Kanchipuram. is an ancient temple fine specimen of the Pallava architecture. The Pallava king Rajasimha started the temple in the 7th century AD and was completed by his son Mahendra. It is the oldest structure in Kanchipuram and the finest example of Pallava architecture in South India. The foundation of the temple is made of granite while the superstructure is carved out of sandstone.

The circumambulatory path around the sanctum is made in such a manner that it requires visitors to climb the up and down a flight of seven stairs and to crawl through narrow ways.

The temple is adorned with the sculptures of the Lord Shiva in 64 poses, which presents a picture of different aspects of mythology. The fresco paintings embellish the inner walls of the shrine. The temple is unique in its architecture and is viewed more as an architectural wonder than as a holy place.

It is not a major pilgrimage center. Pujas are offered regularly here to the Lord Shiva-Kailashanatha. The festival of Shivaratri is held here once every year.

Comments by one of the readers(anonymous)

The Kailasnatha Temple (or Rajasimhesvara Temple) is the largest and the most important of the temples built by Rajasimha Pallava. He built this sandstone temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva, in the late 7th century. It is the oldest temple and one of the most beautiful temples in Kanchipuram. This temple has sub-shrines around the main shrine. There are about 53 sub-shrines, which are a double walled structure, with niches whose interiors are decorated with remarkable paintings in vegetables dyes . Since vegetable dyes were used they got faded but some of them retain their splendor. Though we have lost a large scale of painting, the left ones speak the story of the excellence and technical skill in their making. The damage of paintings is considered to be due to the neglect and unawareness, as the paintings were found to be covered with thick layer of lime wash and even plaster. The existence of these paintings under lime plaster was first noted by Prof. Jouveau Dubreil. These paintings were made in fresco style and the ground for the painting has been prepared by a rough sand lime plaster which has been laid on the coarse-grained fine plaster to receive the paint . Yellow and red ochre’s, terrevete, ultramarine, lamp black and lime have been found in the pigments. Since the pigments used in these paintings are mainly earth and mineral colours they have retained their tonal intensities . The unawareness about the treatment carried out on the paintings like the coating of lime wash resulted in their loss which could have been averted. But now, with the development of material conservation we should not only try to conserve them for posterity but also restore it to regain the losses.

Temple photos

We are have a zillion hits on this site trying to find out more information about Kailashnath temple. If you have any additional information, please add it to the comment section. I will make sure I add it to the main article. 

Tuesday, August 23, 2005


The Vijayanagar Empire caused a number of monuments to be built and patronized in the State of Andhra Pradesh. The ornate Lepakshi temples being one of the popular temples of that era. Lepakshi is a small village, which lies nine miles east of Hindupur in Anantapur District of Andhra and is famous for its temple of Veerabhadra, and is also a renowned place where the best specimens of the mural paintings of the Vijayanagar kingas are available.

The flat stuccoed granite ceilings of the Vijayanagar Empire provided a suitable background for frescoes as seen at Lepakshi. This temple is a notable example of the Vijayanagar style of architecture, and is built on a low rocky hill, which is called Kurmasaila so called because the bill is like a tortoise, in shape. An inscription on the exit of the outer wall of the temple records that one Virupanna constructed it in the 16th century.

The beautiful sculptures on the prakaram attract the pilgrims' attention. These include 14 forms of Siva, like Dakshinamurthi, Ardhanareeswara, Tripurantaka etc. The hall of creepers is another excellent work of art, which has provided perennial inspiration to textile designers over the years. About 500m, North-East of the temple stands India's largest monolithic Nandhi, measuring about 8.25m long and 4,60m high.

LEPAKSHI is a small village, which lies nine miles east of Hindupur in Anantapur District of Andhra.

Lepakshi is famous for its temple of Veerabhadra, and is also a renowned place where the best specimens of the mural paintings of the Vijayanagar kings are available.

This temple is a notable example of the Vijayanagar style of architecture, and is built on a low rocky hill, which is called Kurmasaila so called because the bill is like a tortoise, in shape. An inscription on the exit of the outer wall of the temple records that one Virupanna constructed it in the 16th century.

Leepakshi is also very famous for Leepakshi print Sari's. The designs on the temple pillars can be found in various sari borders and are called "leepakshi border" saris.


Sunday, June 19, 2005

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Yedakumari Railway Trek. Sakleshpura railway trek.

Gundiya to Sakleshpura railway trek

How it all began

This has been one of the best treks that I have ever done, which had an element of surprise, spooky villagers, risky bridges, really eerie tunnels full of Bats :O, forest fire and not to forget the best of jungles, waterfall and streams. Seen em all in a matter of 1 ½ days, wow what an experience.

It all started when me, Biju, Vishu and Sanju went on a four days ride cutting across Karanataka. On the way back, we did the Ghat sections from Mangalore to Sakleshpur and I knew I am gonna to come back to this place, to trek and see the nature at its best.

So when I saw the idea of a trekking group to be formed at my company, I jumped at this opportunity. One of the first posts was the dream trek that I wanted to do, one of the MUST Do’s that I had in mind. So the core team got together to work on this really difficult trek.

The planning was immaculate, regular meetings, status updates, and delegation of responsibilities WOW, never done such professional work even for projects. We actually had used collabsuite and conferencing facilities so people from all the different places could join for the trek planning. It was really crazy and credit should go to Pradeep for taking the initiative in putting all the people together.

On the last ride to Coorg with the 60KPH gang, I happened to mention about going for this trek. Freya and Vikas said were immediately interested with Vikas dropping out on hearing the group size of 35.

Night before the trek
March 11th, 2005. 10:00PM

Friday night, everybody assembled at OTP to begin with. Camping gear, backpacks, sleeping mats, food everything organized by the core team, got everything together and loaded the bus at 10:30PM. By 11:30PM we had finished our loading and getting people to settle in the bus and started for Gundiya. Thirty Trek enthu people all raring to go, a few of them experienced and a lot of first timers.

I couldn’t sleep all night cos was very un-comfortable in the bus. Buses ain’t fun any longer once you are addicted to riding.

Morning 6:30 we reached Gundiya, the spot where were going to start our trek. Gundiya is some 30 Kms from Sakleshpura towards Mangalore. The entire team loaded their respective tents and sleeping bags onto their backpacks.

The Spooky Surprise (Start of the railway trek)
March 12th, 2005 7:30 AM

There was a surprise waiting for us at the very first corner that set the trend for the entire trek. There was some village function, most probably animal sacrifice happening in one of the farms, with all villagers lined up and one of the guys all dressed up in traditional tribal costume with a HUGE sword. We kept a safe distance because the entire scene appeared very gory and did not want to really upset or disturb the locals.

I did my best to get a good photo of the guy with the sword, but really did not fancy being chased around by a guy carrying a huge sword with me carrying heavy trekking gear. So had to be content viewing the spectacle from the distance.

After a trek of around 500 mtrs we hit the dirt track, and dirty it was, as bad as a beach. The dirt was making the trek very difficult and we hardly managed any speed. My new pair of Reeboks gone for a toss in a matter of few meters, man !! Riding definitely is better.

Just when I thought it wouldn’t get any bad, the incline started getting worse and we were panting. Still another 5 KMs to go on this track and we had hardly covered 1 KM. I was cursing myself; I am better off with bikes I told myself.

The dirt tracks , getting worse.
Supposed to be one of the trek leaders and I was myself lacking in motivation, but then I put up a brave face. Seeing rest of the gang speeding the way up, I got some motivation and pushed myself up. We climbed steadily with a couple of breaks for breakfast and all to hit the railway track. By then the group had split into two groups, one that was heading ahead and our group that was at the back. We kept communication between the two groups using my walkie-talkie and they were really a great help.

At around 11:30AM we hit the track, so we had taken roughly 4 hours to cross this dirt track with 30 min for breakfast.

Again another curious site was awaiting us on the track, we saw trucks running on the railway track!! Yes trucks with modified wheels that ran on railway tracks. They were being used for moving the construction items along the railway track.

A walk of some 100 mtrs leads us to the first tunnel, and I had heard sordid stories about tunnels being infested with bats. I thought discretion is the better part of valor so started acting like a sweep insisting that the group cross the tunnel and that I will be the last one J. So I was the last one after Freya to enter the tunnel. The strategy seemed to work and by the time I entered the tunnel the bats were pretty much used to the new guest and were actually very receptive LOL.

This was the first tunnel that we came across, tunnel number 27 and length was less than 150 Mtrs. Around ten more to go, the longest being more than 500 mtrs and pitch dark

Once we crossed the tunnel we hit the first bridge and it was really an awe-inspiring sight. With the gorges at the bottom, a gap of a foot and half between the pliers, it definitely was risky to cross.

Each one of us walked gingerly across the first bridge, while people at both sides of the bridge clicked snaps of each one of us crossing the bridge. But this was only the first one and there were about 20 more bridges to cross :).

The trek along the railway tracks
12th March, 2005 11:30 AM

So finally the railway trek had well and truly begun. But the tracks were nowhere as desolate as we had been told to believe, it was full of workers from all over India working on relaying tracks. The people around were all waiving at us and insisting that we take a picture or two of them and we happily obliged. There were kids running around us posing for snaps and demanding biscuits.

The best part for me was to see workers standing on cliffs, with their machines breaking rocks and at the same time waving to us.

Reminded me of a scene from Kaala Phattar.

Workers posing for photos.

The terrain was like this for a few kilometers till we entered some of the more lush green part, with trees and waterfalls all around us. After a couple of hours of trek our legs were really tiring and needed to break for lunch. This is when my two-way radio came in for the rescue, I was able to touch base with the gang at the front and ask them choose a good place for lunch. And they could not have chosen a better place for lunch than the a soothing waterfalls. By the time we reached the waterfalls, we could see half of the gang enjoying a bath in the cool waters.

Had lunch around 2:00 PM. What a place to have Lunch!!! After getting fully recharged we head along the tracks for the final journey to Yedakumeri station. On the way I could see Freya looking back at one of the hills consistently and later we could see smoke coming out of the hills. The hills were on fire and the forest fire was spreading!! We were really far away from the hills to be in harms way, but we were definitely in a spot of bother.

Forest Fire.

The Fall

All along we had encountered some 20 bridges and some 10 tunnels. I was feeling really good that the trek had gone without any incidents. There was this final bridge that we had to cross over before reaching Yedakumari, with the station in sight and half the group already there the people at the back hit the pace. I was at the end, a sweep you might say, just then I saw one of the buddies (Kaushik) ahead of me put a wrong step and fall in between the pliers!! It was his backpack that saved him from falling down, the backpack stopped the fall and he was left hanging between the pliers. Quickly I ran over the bridge to his rescue. Funnily enough nobody was really upset or scared rather everybody ended up cracking jokes after making sure Kaushik was okay.

Camping Site
12th March 2005, 5:00 PM

Finally all of us reached the camping site, which is yedakumari or Edakumeri station at 5:00, well ahead of darkness. Had been warned that it is IMPOSSIBLE to trek in the night and that we have to make it to the station before the dark. This issue had been playing on my mind all throughout the planning and in course of the trek. We were really glad that we hit the station in good time with enough light.

The station was getting a face-lift with workers families staying close by. We met up with couple of another trekking groups from Bangalore, who were also doing the same route, albeit in opposite direction. The workers at the station helped us a lot with boiling water and also some sambar rice for dinner. The day long trek and hunger made this, one of the best dinners I had in a long time, with ready to eat MTR mixed veg curries and home made rotis courtesy Freya’s mom. After we finished our dinner and we were admiring the sky and we could see the hills were on fire at a distance. We could see the flames jumping out from behind one of the hills and what a sight to behold in the dead of the night.

The trek back to 250 KM Milestone
March 13th, 11:00 AM

We had a relatively relaxed morning next day with roughly 2 hours of climb down the hills to hit the highway. We had asked our bus driver to wait at a spot, which was 250KM milestone from Bangalore. We started the trek back from the station at around 11:00 AM. It was again a treacherous climb down the hill towards the highway. On the way we hit a couple of very beautiful streams.

So it was a beautiful ending to an excellent trek(Green route trek). Had lunch in Sakleshpura and reached Bangalore by 9:30 PM.

Total distance covered around 18 Kms.

Bus route : Bangalore --> Hasan --> Saklespura --> Gundiya (Our trek started here)

Trek Route: Gundiya --> Yedakumeri station --> 250 KM Bangalore Milestone Route Back: Sakleshpura --> Hasan --> Bangalore
More photos at
Some more reading

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Thursday, March 10, 2005

Elephants at Wayanad, santuary