Aug 29, 2012

Kempegowda Towers - the earliest boundaries of Bengaluru!

Kempe Gowda I is a name very synonymous to Bengaluru and the people alike. Well, he is the founder of the city who planned the city in the 16th century. He was a chieftain of the Vijayanagara kingdom. His vision of a pete (town) on the lines of Hampi was bought to life and thus created were the present day Avenue road, Nagarthpet and Chikpet and many forts, temples, tanks and lakes, fascinating isn’t it! Thus came into existence the Bengaluru pete that is now our Bengaluru city.

His grandson Kempe Gowda II built the four towers predicting the limits for the growth of the pete in the future. The towers are said to be built in four corners of the city keeping the Dharmarayaswamy temple as the focal point. I was stunned when I read the fact that the 4 towers geometrically intersect the temple gopuram in an ‘X’ shaped fashion (see the map below), brilliant planning skills! Historians believe there were many such towers in the city and I would be more than happy to know about it!

The locations of the Kempe Gowda Gopuras (Towers) are as below:
(In order of how I traversed and I covered all of them in half a day)

1. Lalbagh Tower (South East Tower)
It’s a prominent landmark and you won’t miss it in Lalbagh. It’s on top of a hillock believed to be centuries old. Enter via the main entrance (double road junction) and the tower is visible right from the entrance. The best maintained of the lot with all granite pillars and flooring.

2. Gavipura Tower (South West Tower)
I will reveal the easy location of this. Ask for Bandi Mahakali temple on the banks of the now dry Kempabudhi Lake; go behind the temple and to your left you would see the gopuram amidst rocks and trees. You need to climb up a few steps to see the tower in full view. A park has been constructed with walkway and play area and a deer park is adjacent to this lake. I roamed nook and corner of the lake and finally decided on giving up on a hot afternoon; plain curiosity led me near to the temple and the tower finally :)

(I will get a better picture next time)
3. Mekhri Circle Tower (North West Tower)
It’s located in a park adjacent to Ramana Maharishi park (you can see the tower from here too albeit from a distance). While moving on Bellary road coming from Windsor Manor bridge, as you near Mekhri circle underpass, get on to the ramp on the left and just before the Bajaj showroom is the park on the left alley. One can see broken statues on the pillar in the picture above, quite different build from the other towers.

4. Ulsoor Tower(North East Tower)
It’s in the Madras Sappers campus and permission to visit is difficult, try your luck with them. You can see the tower from the main road or from the other end of the Ulsoor Lake (from a far distance). As you ride along the opposite bank of Madras Sappers, this tower is clearly visible.

All the four towers are renovated and looked in good shape. I would never know how they looked earlier but seeing all of them painted yellow or white was not a happy sight for me, I just could not connect to the history with them!

Another prominent feature of these towers is that they are all located close to lakes or tanks. Lalbagh Tower near the Lalbagh Lake, Gavipura Tower on the bank of Kempabudhi Lake; Ulsoor Tower on the bank of Ulsoor Lake and the Mekhri Tower close to Sankey Tank. (It would be definite that at that point of time, these towers were exactly on the banks of the lakes that have shrunk drastically in size over the years)

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Love after marriage or marriage after love!

Love after marriage or marriage after love!

Scene1: Shyla woke up in a jolt all tensed and sweating profusely. Anxiety was clear on her face and she had all reasons to be so, her marriage was just a couple of days away. She was getting married to Anush, a person she knew nothing about, a person with whom she would be spending her entire life with!
Was Anush a right match for Shyla? Will she be happy? Will her marriage life be all bliss?

Scene2: Krish is busy shopping for a wedding suit along with Piya with whom he is getting married to in a few days time. He knows Piya for more than a couple of years and yes they fell in love and have now decided to enter wedlock. Both look happy at the moment and everything seems rosy!
Are they a perfect match for each other? How long will the happiness last? Will his life after marriage be the same?

Well, this debate can go on and on and there is no end to it… let me pen my thoughts:

All love does not end in marriage and any marriage without love will not survive.
You marry the person you love in a love marriage and you love the person you marry in an arranged marriage – What’s your preference?

i) You get to know a person, start to understand him/her, share with him/her and by the time you get over this phase, a strong bond would have developed between the couple (or you can say love would have blossomed) that acts as a foundation for the rest of your wedded life. This takes time and is a slow process.
In a love marriage, you know the person very well, so there is nothing new to know after marriage, you have to put up to all those positive /negative things that you are well aware of. The understanding levels are high and you are aware of what to expect from your partner.

ii) You marry an individual in a love marriage with / without anybody’s consent. Just the 2 individuals matter here.
An arranged marriage is a bond between two families not only the individuals. 2 Families are under the scanner here, the family background, reputation, living, affordability etc.

iii) Parents may support / may not support love marriages, it’s more of an individual choice and decision for the couple, you chart out your own path more or less.
Parents are the key in arranged marriages – right from the hunt to horoscope matching to discussions to marriage – the path is laid, you just walk on it.

iv) Individual expect more from their partner as they are already know each other and make very few compromises after marriage – expectation levels are very high and ‘may’ lead to altercations.
Knowing nothing about each other, compromises and adjustments are an integral part of an arranged marriage and the compromises / adjustments extend the longevity of the arranged marriages.

v) Parental guidance or family support is absent in the case of a love marriage held without their consent. You are on your own in times of crisis (domestic / financial / nuptial / family) that could lead to more ego clashes and altercations.
Parental guidance / family support are always omnipresent in arranged marriages and they aid the couple in times of any type of crisis.

vi) A small change in behavior can lead to explosive situations in an love marriage (the most common statement being – You weren’t like this before marriage).
Compromises are integral for an arranged marriage to survive.

Scene3: Anush and Shyla are married for more than 8 months now. The initial discords and uncomfortable factor has now vanished and slowly they are seeing the positives and negatives of each other, love is surely blossoming!

Scene4: 8 months into their love wedding, slowly but surely the bliss has reduced and the realities of life are staring them in the face. What seemed to be all good and sundry before marriage is slowly turning out to be irritation!

The above two scenario’s are not the case in every marriage as it can just be the opposite too. A wrong match from the family and the couple suffer to the extreme and supportive parents can bless a love marriage too albeit at a later stage in life.

Wiki says most of the marriages in India are arranged marriages and the divorce rate is just 1.1% compared to the rest of the world.

We often hear the below statements:

You were so caring before marriage, what happened now? (In a love marriage)
You had an affair with another woman? (In an arranged marriage)
You don’t love me as much as you did before our marriage! (In a love marriage)
Your Parents find fault with everything I do! (In an arranged marriage)

I’m hugely in favor of an arranged marriage but of late, changing lifestyles, changing trends, globalization, slow and steady increase in divorce rates and a lot of factors are making me think otherwise. Still, for the present I do nod in favor albeit slightly towards an arranged marriage or a self-arranged marriage!

What’s your pick?

Everything expressed above is my individual opinion and every individual have their own in this regard – the debate rages on in the new show on Sony entertainment television – Love marriage ya Arranged marriage, follow their Facebook page at

This unusual post is written be me as a part of a entry for the contest on Indiblogger seen here...

Aug 24, 2012

Bannerghatta National Park

The wilderness closer to Bengaluru, the crowded place on weekends and holidays, the place the kids need to be taken, the place to picnic for the families, yet everybody undermines the importance of this place and snubs it as a “zoo” only.

(A new day, a new hope...)

The Bannerghatta Biological Park where most of the visitors visit is part of the larger Bannerghatta National Park ­that hosts a lot of wildlife in it and is also an important elephant corridor in the region.
We (I) generally visit the park area avoiding the zoo and the safari rides and roam around the other places rich in birdlife and usually devoid of crowds. I’m happy to have visited the right places with the right people like Deepa, Amit, Kannan’s, Sanjeev, Vaibhav and many others where every time I got to learn and see something new.

I’m copying below what Deepa had to mention about the spots around BBP for interesting things and in particular the birdlife, but before a few things of what to do and what not to…
  1. Enjoy what you see, and observe first. There is a lot to be learnt rather than photographic documentation only. Do not rush to take photographs.
  2. For documentation purpose, do make a list of what you’ve seen with the dates and add notes and sketches if possible.
  3. Try not to disturb the animals or creatures or as little as possible in case of insects or smaller beings. Wear dull colored clothes and avoid drastic or sudden movements.
  4. Avoid litter in any form. If you can, please volunteer to clean the place.
  5. If the forest department or JLR staff warn you about wild elephants in the area, heed to their warning; often wild elephants try to mingle with the camp elephants.

And now listed are some areas where you find bountiful of life forms, be it birds, insects, mammals, butterflies and many more…

1. Come out of the Bannerghatta bus terminus, facing the windmill and Hill View restaurant, come down the stairs, and go left, take the path to the immediate left of the terminus wall. This will take you to the public parking lot (where you will always see a Rufous-tailed Lark couple!). Go into the area behind the car park (to the east) and you will find a large quarry pond, a citrus orchard, and further, a large banyan tree. A lot of birds will reward your efforts!

2. Go down from the main gate of the Zoo towards the Herbivore Safari Park gate. The Zoo wall will be on your right. This avenue is named ‘Flycatcher Avenue’ by Deepa Mohan and rightly so as you see lot of flycatchers in this lane (Tickells’ blue, Asian Paradise, Brown breasted, Fantail, Asian Brown, etc…)

3. Further ahead is the pond named as Kingfisher pond by Deepa Mohan. Rightly so, you get to see the White breasted, Common blue and the Pied Kingfishers here. Walk around the pond and look across the fence area too, you may sight some herbivores too.

4. The quarry pond next to the butterfly park (go up the bund) and you may see some Pied Kingfishers and Waders. Beyond this is a No entry area – Don’t trespass.

5. The butterfly park is a host to many colorful wonderful butterflies.

6. Outside of the park area, the road towards Ragihalli, Shivanahalli are also good.

Please do not venture into the forests thinking you are the bravest around and risk your life as it happened recently! It's an important elephant corridor area and they don't like intruders in their domain.

Be Safe and let them live Safe!

Deepa Mohan blogs at,

Aug 18, 2012

Dreaming Reality!

I stopped gasping for breath, turned around to see if the goons were behind me! Yuck! Yes, they were still after me… I ran, ran (inspired by Paan Singh Tomar movie) and ran till I could not run further… I just collapsed…!!!

The melodious song of the Malabar Whistling Thrush woke me up and I was sweating heavily and with moist eyes I looked around to find the goons but, but what I was seeing was something different - I was somewhere in the middle of a jungle and a few paces away lay my bag and a couple more just beside them! Slowly I stood up, scratching my head looking around pinching myself hard once to see if it is for real or a dream. I heard familiar voices and then appeared my friends from out of nowhere. On further enquiry I realized we were in a remote village deep in the Western Ghats in Karnataka. Slowly and steadily, we climbed on to the raft and pulling the rope ourselves, we reached the other bank crossing the mighty Kali River. In this age of modern yuga, it was quite surprising to see such an arrangement but no sooner I realized we were to witness harsher realities of life!

I heard a roaring sound and looked in that direction to see a young chap riding a bike coming out of the woods. Anil, a young man in his twenties, born in a village and living in the city types greeted us and asked us to follow him to Shivapura village where Gopal bhat resided. The nearest town with all facilities is Yellapura, about 30kms away from the main road.
(the board in the picture reads - Shivapura - Tourist place)

The village is a sort of a mini island as the main road to the village got submerged in the backwaters of the dam constructed on the river Kali. Anil kept on talking about various things while guiding us and the tender coconuts that he gave us was so refreshing and tastier than the ones found elsewhere. Soon, we reached the house of Gopal bhat, our host for a couple of days. He was eagerly waiting our arrival and welcomed us along with his wife and mother with a warm smile. Gopal bhat is an agriculturist by profession and has some ancestral property in this remote village, he’s aged about 40 but very active and works a lot in the fields. A hot cup of coffee served by his wife Savitri, who treated us with dollops of care and warmth made us forgive the rigors of the travel undertaken. She was a very sweet lady and the food she cooked was all the more delicious that we soon realized.
(one of the numerous beautiful streams)

As its cut off from the rest of the world, nature beckons in its best form at Shivapura and you have the privilege to breathe pure air and your eyes get to savor greenery all around were the words from Gopal’s mom, Sharadamma. Another sweet lady who works defying her age putting us to shame and we loved the dishes cooked by her and the warmth with which she took care of us was unforgettable. After relishing a breakfast of hot idli’s and dosa served with coconut and red chilli chutney, we went around the village and the fields with Gopal bhat. People are far and few here and all that you get to see is nature in pristine form. Those small streams at every nook and corner that are lit up with the rays of the rising sun, those numerous birds who sing all day long, the incredibly beautiful vine snake that we got to see up close, those blood sucking leeches who climb and suck your blood every time you step out, the vivid colorful orchids and the flowering trees that adorn the land here, those elusive mammals and the mighty elephants who are frequently seen and the lesser homo sapiens whom you encounter once a while – a perfectly balanced ecosystem.
(the house where we stayed)

Soon, while walking with Gopal in the fields, we came across a group of people who were looking worried and were in a hurry. On enquiry, we realized that a villager, Chandranna was severely ill and had to be taken to the nearest hospital, some 30kms away crossing the river and walking for the 10 kms to reach the nearest road. Yes! That was the nearest and the only way the villagers had to go by. I stood in disbelief thinking about the fate of Chandranna and hope seemed to slither away from me. Chandranna did not survive for long and he passed away while crossing the river on the raft. Sad, but true and that is how the villagers of Shivapura are accustomed to live. They daily walk 10kms from the main road crossing the river to reach their homes and this frequency increased when in need and god save them in times of emergency; many lives have been lost in transit but they still live with a hope that they would see better facilities sometime soon.

I trudged along slowly with the others with a heavy heart back to the home where Gopal’s 10 year old son, Nanda was playing and in a matter of minutes all of us were being chased around by Nanda being forced to play with him. Nanda is a bundle of energy and he can’t sit at any place for more than a few seconds, he is very inquisitive and literally poked into my brains asking about a hundred questions firing at will. He vanished as soon as a chocolate came from me to play with his small group of friends. Sharadamma gave some burnt ashes to apply on the leech bites to stop the blood flow and followed it with a hot cup of tea and some snacks. Tired after walking for the entire day, we rested chatting with Gopal and interesting were his narrations of his childhood and his experiences in the same place. We were soon joined by Savitri and Sharadamma and listening to the tales from Sharadamma, we never realized how time flew.
(An unknown waterfall - an unknown jewel)

Early next morning, we were woken up by an unfamiliar face, Shivaraj. Shivaraj had come to take us to a nearby waterfall and finding us still sleeping had come to wake us up. Shivaraj and his family works in the fields of Gopal bhat, he is a school dropout and loves roaming in the jungle and talks very less. Soon, we were on our way guided by Shivaraj. Overnight rains had dampened the soil and it was as if the entire place was painted with a fresh coat of green. All along the way, Shivaraj kept on narrating real incidents from his life, especially his encounters in the wild with the wild boards or elephants and how he had escaped them. We walked through streams, valleys, and forests and finally reached the waterfalls. We could hear no sounds except for the calling of the birds or the blowing wind or a distant alarm call of a deer; the water was cold and inviting enough and sooner than latter we were playing in the water, diving and jumping in joy! You get to see a different world when it rains. Frogs, Toads, Snakes are all over the place and you get to see various forms of life like butterflies, moths, damsel and dragonflies and wherever you look, you get to see something interesting and special. The first rains are always special as the entire landscape turns from dull brown to bright green and the pleasant smell of wet earth is so refreshing to say the least. As we had plenty of time on hand, we opted to visit the Sathodi falls nearby and after a long tiring trek through the jungle, we reached the falls. The only shop cum home in the near vicinity was closed and there were no people other than us to watch one of the finest jewels that nature has on offer. Sathodi falls is truly breathtaking and mind blowing. See the video below to experience it live!
Back at Gopal’s place all of us had lunch together and we were served various delicacies prepared by Savitri and Sharadamma and we spoke about our experiences of staying there and our hearts were filling up with the thought of leaving the place. All good things and good visits in life come to an end and we left thanking them on a long way back home :)

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Aug 6, 2012

Bangalore bloggers will SoakNoMore

Bangalore Indiblogger meet - #SoakNoMore

Anyone on Indiblogger eagerly waits for an Indimeet at their location. Such is the craze that people travel from different places just to take part and meet up with fellow bloggers and it was no exception this time. There were a few bloggers coming in from Chennai / Hyderabad exclusively for this meet :)

Leo, The Fool, Sibi, Gyanban, Harsha, Tina were all there and also met Pooja, Naba, Thousef, Ghanchakkar, Farida, Suresh and others. This was my first Indimeet and I had no inkling of what to expect, I only expected to meet lot of people! Venue was the Capitol hotel on Rajbhavan Road, Bengaluru. Date and Time - 1:30-5pm on 4th August 2012.

(Master of Ceremonies - Zombie (Anoop))
Anoop (or Zombie) was the MC for the evening supported by Renie, Vineet, Nandita, Karthik, and the many others and he had a list of events planned for the afternoon. Indiblogger meet and no prizes, it can’t be that way – believe me! DVD players, bean bags, gift hampers were the surprise gifts in store for the afternoon.
(the elusive Renie Ravin on Indiblogger)
Introductory sessions with some questions (winners got the goodie’s) of all the bloggers took off very well with interesting lines and comments from different people and some heart felt emotions too. The Indiblogger team had some wonderful games up their sleeves for the evening like lagori, ball in the basket, anagrams and the luckiest winners were the anagram winners with all the participants of Team Orange winning a DVD player! Lots of people got to carry home Bean bags and 6 months supply of Surf Excel and gift hampers too that had conditioners, deodorants and similar stuff.
After an entertaining and energy sapping phase, high tea was served with lots of cakes, sandwiches, and rolls topped up with tea / coffee. After the energizing break was the time for promotion of their Surf Excel (with vibrating molecules) brand by their brand manager who put up a presentation and questions and gave away goodies too.
A final note of thanks by Zombie and the end of the event and an Indiblogger Purple T-shirt and a gift hamper from Surf Excel to bring curtains down on an entertaining afternoon. Zillion thanks to the entire Indiblogger team and Surf Excel for putting up a splendid event and hope the next meet is round the corner :)

All Photo credits to Harsha Chitta who blogs at Curious Dino Photography here