Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Wordless Wednesday!

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5.57 am on Sunday, the 10th Sept.'17...Sunrise at Elliots beach, Chennai, Tamilnadu, India
 
6.01 am on the same day!
 
6.03 am on the same day!
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Monday, July 31, 2017

You Never Get Bored If You Know To Enjoy Your Surroundings!

It was 2 AM.  Jhansi railway station.  We were changing trains on our way to Khajuraho.  Came here straight from Chennai.  Had to wait at the station to catch the train to Khajuraho.  It was drizzling quite heavily.  Cold.  We didn't get  any place to even sit down.  All the seats around columns were full:) At 2 in the morning, tea biscuit shop was making brisk business.  And this small restaurant was open.  Customers were trickling....But we were interested in watching the dogs at its doorsteps.  Very understanding dogs.  They never disturbed anyone.  They just slept on a doormat peacefully.  As soon as a customer went inside the hotel, they got alerted.  Immediately they will get up and wait near the entrance! Once the customer filled his stomach and left, the waiter cleaned the plate of crumbs near the doorstep! These two dogs rushed to eat them.  Again, waiting.  Sometimes they were getting a bit more food.  They never allowed any 'beggars' near the door of the hotel! Otherwise harmless!






Some more pictures from the station!



This one was roaming here and there all the time.  I saw one man catching its urine too! Holy water!
Gau moothra (cow's urine) was holier in the olden days because they grazed on grass and herbs.  Nowadays, they have to live on plastic and fast foods.  Hmmm...

The chaaiwaala was doing good business...coffee, gharam gharam chaai, biscuits, samosa, kachoris! Interesting!

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Monday, July 10, 2017

U Turn ... A Thriller Movie in Kannada To Remember For A Long Time, Which Is Unusual!

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A well-made Kannada movie, U Turn!
I like the way the letters are shown here! This is the story of people who try to use short cut by moving the divider slabs on a highway bridge and leave them outside the line, which might lead to accidents!

The movie starts with the leading lady, Rachana (played by newcomer Shraddha Srinath) who is an intern journalist with a daily, The Indian Express noticing a two wheeler driver removing the divider slab on the double road bridge (the story takes place in Bangalore), to take a short cut U-turn and save few mts. more of driving down, leaving the slabs haphazardly in the middle of the road.  She replaces them back and notices that an old man jotting down the vehicle number in a piece of paper.  She comes to know that he had the habit of jotting down numbers who disobeyed the rules. She collects all the numbers he had and returns to her office and discusses this issue with her colleague and asks him if any accidents had happened on the bridge at the spot where the slabs were moved from the divider line.  He promises her to check.  She thinks that this will make a good article for the newspaper. 

The director shows an incident in the beginning, how independent Rachana is and how she is eager to do something good in her career.  It was fun moment to watch the scene!

Through right contacts, she gets the address of the motorist via the license plate number.  She visits his place and rings the bell but nobody opens the door.  When she was entering her apartment complex later, a police man comes and inquires about her name and asks her if she went to the address (the motorist's) before coming home.  She says yes and was taken  to the police station.  The inspector starts questioning her rudely since the motorist Rachana visited had committed suicide on the same day she visited him. She explains her side of the story but the senior police officer rejects it but the sub-inspector who was there, believes her story.  He explains to the senior officer who states that so many murders were taking place and notices that all the numbers in her list were the numbers of the people who committed suicide on the same day they did the u-turn on the bridge....the story develops from here.

I and my husband watched this movie 3 days back and are still discussing about it and am compelled to review it now so that people who want to watch good movies can watch this! Well, very few question marks crop up after the end of the movie but still, the way the movie was made is interesting!

And this is a 'no song' movie! No love triangle too! Just a bit of attraction between Rachana and her colleague, that too, it was shown very decently and the police also are shown decently, which is rare!

The same director of this movie, Pawan Kumar, had directed the well acclaimed movie, 'Lucia' (his first movie!).  Both the movies, Lucia and U-turn were crowd funded and both were well received!

Now, to the trailer of the movie:





I came across an interview with the director of this movie.  Some of my questions which arose in my mind after watching the movie, are answered by him here!

Shraddha Srinath, who acted as Rachana, has acted very well here.  She is a lawyer, theatre artiste and now an actor! She got 'The Best Actress' Filmfare award for acting in this movie!

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Wednesday, June 21, 2017

A Tribute To Our Yoga Teachers On The International Yoga Day!

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We met our Guruji for the first time, the lady with the white dupatta! We admire her a lot!

I had been doing yoga for many years now! But only for the past 4 years, I do it very regularly, thanks to the teachers from the above yogashram.

The International Yoga Day was celebrated last Sunday itself by our centre, since this day, 21st June, is falling on a working day, Wednesday.   They had been celebrating for many years now.  But we, 6 of us who learn yoga at our complex itself (the teacher comes and takes 4 classes a week for 9 of us ladies on our terrace!) joined this celebration for the first time.  Our class is for an hour.  We usually do one set of Suryanamaskara, i.e. 12 nos., on 2 week days' evenings and 2 sets mostly on 2 days' (week ends) mornings since the weather will be cool in the mornings. When the teacher coaxed us to join the celebration and pushed us to do more sets, i.e. 4-5 sets for the past 10 days, we found it very difficult to do....or so we thought! Still we never dreamt of doing 108 suryanamaskaras and 208 aasanaas, AT A STRETCH! But we did! She, the teacher, had assured us that it would not be difficult since we do it with so many people around us!

Nearly 300 odd people, mostly women and some men, joined at the venue (Rani Meyyammai Higher Secondary School, Adyar) at 5.30 on the morning of 18th June, '17.  I noticed that more than 20% of them were above 50 years of age, myself included! More than 50% of us opted for doing both Suryanamaskara and aasanaas and the rest joined for doing just the aasanaas.  We were given token nos. and asked to sit at the allotted places on two floors of the school auditorium.  Though we were given juices and water bottles, we were asked to sip only water till the programme was over.

The programme started with our usual prayer.  On the way to the venue we were discussing about how much we might do and it didn't cross 6-7 sets! Our teacher Rathi Madam started the mantras and all of us started bending stretching, rhythmically...in a bit  slower pace than we usually do at our classes.  A 70 year old lady was doing easily in front of me! Some small children also were there...they were too fast and were waiting for us to finish! And all of us ladies from our complex, finished without taking any break! After shanthi aasanaa for 2 mts., we started doing aasanaas.  Till, nearly 100 aasanas we were fast and did without feeling tired.  Then we started looking at each other discussing if we should stop at 108! But we somehow finished 208 aasanaas!

Our ages were 64 (me!), 61, 56 and so on...we could do it at our age was because of the good teachers we had.  They never pushed us but coaxed us to do difficult aasanaas slowly.  If they taught tough aasanas one day, next class was with easy aasanas like spine relaxation, extra breathing exercise etc.  The 208 aasanaas we did after the main suryanamaskaara, have helped us to recover from the body pain fast later on.  All of us had thigh and back pain for a day or two.  We are back to normal on the third day and attended our usual class.

My friend saw a maami wearing brahmin type of sari and doing the namaskaaras.  She was very comfortable, it seems.

We hope to continue as long as we can!  I had written a post earlier too about yoga here!

Now, to some pictures from the Yoga celebrations:

Getting ready!

They gave us a prize too for being regulars in the class! We got medals for doing Suryanamaskara and asanaas, separately....altogether 2 medals each and a cup! We will display it in our complex and lure more ladies to join our class! IT IS GOOD!

Our namaskaarams to all our teachers!
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Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Wordless Wednesday!

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Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Overwhelming Taj, Beautiful Baby Taj And The Majestic Bibi Ka Maqbara...Tombs Of The Mughal Era - II

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View from the Mehtab Garden which is behind the Taj! All 4 sides of the Taj are identical!
This monument is such a huge one, famous one and everybody knows everything about it! So whatever I write will be a repeat! So, I will stick to only some which fascinated me very much. You can read and comment in the I part here!

The guide, Mr. Rizwan who did his graduation in History and was undergoing training to become a full-fledged guide, told us many interesting things.  One was that all the surrounding structures like minarets were built a bit slanting outward from the Taj so that if earthquake or some disaster came, they will not fall on the main structure!

One more interesting anecdote was...actually I noticed when I went there early in the morning...small small rings on the main dome.  Then asked the guide later when I visited again, who said that they were locking slabs with the rings.  So the dome will never fall down on the whole at the same time.  It will be easier to repair too if they come off in parts.  I had seen this system at the Pattadha Kallu temples in Karnataka, 7th/8th century, in a bit different way though...saw iron rings joining the stones.  The Taj is from 17th century.  The architect was from Iran! Fascinating! Have a look at the rings on the dome of the Taj:

Notice the small small rings connecting the slabs! The dome is 240 ft. high! We can see the beautiful design here too, lotus on the top and coloured designs at the bottom! False roofing is there inside the dome with beautiful designs on top and the sides!
As I told you in my earlier post about the Taj here, this structure is full of precious gems brought from all over the world. This link has more details. Many precious gems were stolen in the later years, British?.  Now, they are replaced with semi precious gems. The guide showed us how to check the really precious gems inside the mausoleum.  It was dark and cool inside but the crowd was too much.  Still, the man showed it like this. Non precious gems didn't glow! This is the reason the structure glows during the full moon day. The gems when light is shone, glitters brightly.



Mosque on the side of the Taj Mahal...Similar building on the other side of the Taj is Mehmaankhana(guest house)
The guide said that the Mehmaankhana was built first like a model for the main building.  Then it was decorated...looks beautiful.  Later on the masons/labourers stayed here while building the main structure.  These people needed a mosque to pray.  So, the other building was built in the similar fashion.  The colour red on both sides of the white Taj, accentuates the beauty of the Taj. 

Cleaning the walls of the Taj work was going on when we went there.  The guide said that what our Indian women use for facial is used here too, i.e. multaani mitti and herbs.  Multaani mitti (mud) is got from Multan, Rajasthan.  This link says:
The sticky brown mixture is smeared on the smut-stained marble surfaces of the 17th- century Mogul tomb and washed off with warm water after 24 hours.
The formula - based on a method discovered in a 16th- century Mogul journal, Ain-I-Akbary - has proved to have such restorative qualities that it is now being exported to Italy to clean grimy monuments there.
Archaeologists at India's most popular tourist site found to their astonishment that the substance, known as multani mitti, drew black and yellow impurities from the Taj Mahal's marble and left its surface gleaming white for the first time in decades.
K. K. Muhammed, the head of the Agra branch of the Archaeological Survey of India, who is in charge of combating the effects of pollution on the Taj Mahal, said tests had shown that the substance restored the marble to its former sheen.

Cleaning work is going on!
Cleaned area...









                                        
Click on the picture and look at the beautiful designs!
More designs can be seen in the wiki link!

We were here on 18th March '17.  We came here from Bharatpur bird sanctuary.  A bomb blast was there at the Agra station.  So, checking was stricter than usual.  The crowd was too much. Ticket cost was Rs.40 for us and Rs.1,000 for foreigners! People were asked to remove their shoes too for checking.  School children struggled! My tablet pouch with eye drops and alpenliebe chocolates were thrown into a drum! It was not there when we came back, but at least the security officer apologized:) We stood in the queue at about 5.30 and went inside around 6.45.  Taj view during sunrise was gone! We were made to walk barefoot from the platform of the Taj.  Feet were burning because it was a very hot day! Touts were roaming asking people to engage them as guides promising that they would take us to the grave area (which is open only for a particular period in an year!).  We gave our guide Rizwan, Rs.300.  He was quite good, but was asking us to buy sarees and other handicrafts in a particular store.  He told us frankly that he would get 5% commission! Well, it was a hectic but interesting day and next day I lost my mobile with many many pictures of the designs on the walls of the Taj and the Baby Taj! Lost the main gate photo also but an even better darwaaza photo of the Baby Taj is here:

Picture courtesy: Daniel Villafruela.
This was a memorable trip! If my readers know more interesting anecdotes of the Taj can post in the comment section...I would be very happy!

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Friday, May 26, 2017

Fotos(s) Friday!

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Nandi Statue at Pattadha Kallu, Karnataka (8th century.)!




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Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Overwhelming Taj, Beautiful Baby Taj And The Majestic Bibi Ka Maqbara...Tombs Of The Mughal Era - I

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The Taj Mahal! Overwhelmingly beautiful! Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan built this as a memorial for his wife, Mumtaz in 1653.
At last it happened on 18th March, '17! I had been dreaming of visiting the Taj Mahal for so many years now and it was like a dream come true! I was just standing on the platform and gaping, really gaping at it for many minutes! I was expecting it to be an old/ancient monument now, hearing so many stories about it becoming dull because of pollution etc.  Though the monument is given mud pack etc. for cleaning it, part by part, it looked good for me even now.  Work is still going on, you can notice from the minaret being covered with scaffolding.  Detailed story with more photographs will come later, in another post!

A close up shot of the Taj! People look so tiny beside the structure!
We visited this place twice that day, once in the morning and again in the evening. Visited the Baby Taj in the afternoon. The entrance to the Baby Taj was beautiful and seeing the main building,  I was stunned by its beauty.  I felt it was the most beautiful building I have ever seen! Lot of intricate art work could be seen on the walls ...Hmmm...I had taken many many pictures of the  beautiful designs in my Mi5 mobile, but it was stolen that evening at the Taj Mahotsav festival there near the Taj:( The camera was very good in that mobile...

 'Mausoleum of Itmad-ud-Daulah' Agra....the most beautiful building! Every inch is with beautiful designs carved and studded with coloured gemstones. This was built by another Mughal Emperor Jahangir's wife, Nur Jahan for her father around 1628.

A close-up shot of the tomb! This is called the 'Jewel Box', 'Baby Taj' and also as the 'Taj of Deccan'!

This is also described as a draft of the Taj Mahal.  The walls are made up from white marble brought from Rajasthan encrusted with semi-precious stone decorations like cornelian, jasper, lapis lazuli, onyx and topaz formed into images of cypress trees and wine bottles or more elaborate decorations like cut fruit or vases containing bouquets. Light penetrates to the interior through delicate jaali  screens of intricately carved white marble. The interior decoration is considered by many to have inspired that of the Taj Mahal, which was built by her stepson, Mughal emperor Shah Jahan. More details are available here!

Every inch is colourfully decorated!

Bibi ka Maqbara (Tomb of the Lady), Aurangabad, built for Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb's wife by her son Azam Shah around 1661. The majestic building was built without much stone/gem work but looks simple and elegant.  Our guide said that this was built by Aurangzeb who was against spending his subjects' money unnecessarily!
The above structure resembles the Taj but in a simple way.  The architect of the tomb, Atah Ullah was the son of Ustad Ahmad Lahauri, the principal designer of the Taj Mahal. More interesting details can be read here!

My son took this panoramic shot....the place looks so beautiful!
I tried to club all the three mausoleums in this post! More pictures and details of the Taj will be written in the next post!

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P.S.: Part II is here!

Thursday, May 4, 2017

The Movie That Made Me Emotional Today - McFarland USA!


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I watched this movie, 'McFaland USA', which was recorded from TV, just now! Felt emotional and wanted to write about it immediately!  As my readers know by now, I am a sucker for 'based on true story' movies! Have written a few posts on them too! This one also goes into that list!

I first watched Kevin Constner, long back, in 'Tin Cup' which was based on another sport, golf:) I liked him a lot then and used to call him 'Tin cup' actor, since I was not watching too many English movies then and was not familiar with the actors' names!

In this movie, Kevin Costner (as Jim White), plays as a football coach in an American school.  He loses his job because of his short temper and pushed to take a job in a small town High school, McFarland, California.  The Principal of the school also knew his background but needed a football coach very badly, offered the job to him.  The town was very backward, full of immigrant population,  so the school was getting second grade teachers who were reluctant to stay in the town and teach in the school.  Jim White's wife and their two grown up daughters were very reluctant to shift to an old small house.  They faced some goondas also when they tried to have lunch at a local restaurant on their first day of shifting.  They settled down reluctantly.

The children in the school were mostly Spanish immigrant children.  Insecurity made them rude to people/teachers.  They helped their parents who were mostly pickers (fruit & vegetable pickers in the fields) and the children helped them in the morning and evening.  The parents were of the opinion that the children can finish school and join them in their job full time. One father tells his son that too much reading will spoil eyesight! Jim White notices a boy, Thomas, running in full speed to school in the morning and run back home/fields in the evening. He was running like an athlete.  He talks to him but he is rude.  Jim White meets the Principal and asks him to give permission to coach children for the upcoming Inter-school cross country race.  The Principal says that they had never participated in those sports before.  Jim assures him that the children are good in running than any other, so they will win the race.  Jim thinks that the Spanish food which is full of carbohydrates and their hard physical work in the field plus running, will help them win the race.  The Principal agrees reluctantly.

Some parents are not happy to send their children for coaching classes since the time they spend in the field will come down.  Jim himself one day joins in cabbage plucking and experiences the difficulty in bending down and doing the work.  He is convinced once again that these children are very healthy and mentally strong too.  Then the team forms with 4 brothers from one family and others.  Jim buys them the first set of shoes, shirts and shorts, though he is not well off.  The white man and immigrant gap comes down because of Jim's friendliness with the children and their parents.  Slowly Jim shows them by blending with the locals that he was not like others who want to leave the town as early as possible.  He tells them that he will train the children to win the race and many more in the future. The locals are very innocent people and take Jim's family into their fold.  He forgets to get a cake on his daughter's birthday, but later on, the locals celebrate her 15th birthday grandly.

I loved the way Jim gave the children the reasons to join the team and participate in the race.  This will get them scholarships for joining colleges too (and they did join colleges in real life later!). I liked the way the locals raised funds to help the children buy shoes, dress etc. to participate in the race.  The whole town was celebrating the participation of their children in the race.  It was interesting.

They win this race (naturally!) and 9 more races later on. Jim was the coach for all the races. The story never got bored till the end.  Well, we have seen some sports oriented movies earlier too, but this one was very realistic.

Have a look at the trailer.  Watch it when it comes again in TV!





Believe in yourselves, team work will win the race, were the slogan for the game!
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Tuesday, April 25, 2017

A First & Hopefully, A Last Experience!

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Hot ice cream
My mobile was stolen when I was watching this person making 'Hot ice cream' and eating hot jalebi!

Even now, I am not able to believe how I was careless to lose my 2 month old Mi 5 mobile!

We were in Agra a few weeks back.  After visiting Agra twice in daytime, we were eager to attend the 'Taj Mahotsav', a 10 day festival of Arts & Crafts organised by the U.P. Govt.

It was nearly a very well organised festival.  Many police personnel and volunteers were seen arranging traffic and monitoring the crowd.  Many stalls were inside, from furniture to clothes to food court.  Announcements were going on to be careful about our belongings again and again. Still, my mobile which was in my hand, was stolen and I came to know about it while eating the hot icecream:) I always keep it in my handbag and hold it tight, fearing someone might steal it:) I had got a call from my son earlier and after speaking to him, was still holding it in my hand without keeping it inside, which was a big mistake.  Well...I lost it!

I searched in the shops I had gone earlier, though, I knew I won't find it there...then went and complained at the police chowki which was inside the festival area.  The inspector asked many questions and then asked us to go to the Agra police station and place an FIR.  Since it was late night, we decided to go in the morning.  Anyway, we knew and the inspector also hinted that once we lose our mobile, it is very difficult to get it back.

The police station was situated at just one Km. away from our hotel, which was on the same road of the festival area.  We, I and my son, reached the station by about 9 am.  I could not believe that a police station of the prominent Taj Mahal area looked so bad.  Have a look:

It looked decent from the opposite side!
One sentry was standing behind me, which was the door, with a rifle and spitting paan all the time.
The green grill door is the entrance to a dargah  (Dargah sharif...the name is there if you zoom it!). This dargah is inside the station!  The blue door seen on the right side, is the entrance to the Inspector's room. I felt very sad looking at it.  It was like an old store room with so many stacks of papers.  I think the floor was a mud floor.  It was full of dust and the Inspector was sitting there with a walkie-talkie on which he was getting messages continuously.  He had an assistant with him.

He asked us to give in writing about what happened the previous day.  The writer or someone, had not yet come.  He asked us to note down the mobile no. and then the mobile tracker IMEI number too.  (I had it in my husband's email, so, we noted them down.  Emailed airtel and the mobile company too).  I wrote down my husband's number for contacting me later.  He told us that the thieves just dismantle and sell them off or start using them after a couple of months! Since we had to leave Agra on that day itself, we needed some reference number.  He stamped our FIR paper and wrote down his mobile number, asking us to take down the reference number later.  I called him after a few days and took it.

Well....no sign yet, of the mobile (no, I am not a dreamer to dream of getting it back as it was!) but still, called him a couple of times.  This is the story of my lost mobile.  Now, to the situation at the dilapidated station:

I was sitting on the chair to write my FIR and then had to wait for sometime to meet the inspector.  Son had gone inside.  I was uncomfortable sitting and watching the thieves or somebody inside the grilled room on the right side which was the 'lock-up'. What we had seen in the movies were quite different!
I noticed many condemned motorbikes inside the compound.  Some young policemen were going here and there.  They looked neat though.  But the police station is not liveable.  This is such a prominent area...'The Taj' is in this area.  Many tourists visit this place.  What kind of protection can these people give? Even now I feel sorry for the people in the station.

I had blocked my number and got it back and it is in my old phone now! A new experience for me!

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Saturday, April 15, 2017

Dharamshala...Temples, Dalai Lama & More!

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I am writing about Dharamshala again here! But about other things, not cricket!  As I told you in my previous post, we had stayed in a hotel in the market place and visited other sights.  2 mts. walk and taxi stand was there.  They take us to the destination for a fixed price.  All drivers, whoever took us, were good, soft spoken and friendly.  Walk the other side and the Buddhist temple/monastery  is there where Dalai Lama stays and he was there when we went there! Though he doesn't give 'darshan' everyday (our friend at the hotel told us so!), I think I was lucky to see him interacting with press persons and others inside the temple/monastery.  The temple looks very simple.  We were not allowed to take cameras/even mobile phones inside the temple.  I have seen Buddhist temples in Singapore, Malaysia also and they were beautiful, colourful.  This was very simple.  But the Buddha statue which was inside was huge in gold colour with lots of intricate designs. 

Got this image from here, thank you!
I have heard that the Dalai Lama is a practical person, very well educated too.  I was not able to hear his speech properly.  The crowd was laughing and he too was in a happy mood.  Know more about him here! 
 
The temple/monastery

This place looks simple from the outside and it is simple inside also, except for the Buddha statue.  Dalai Lama also was speaking like an ordinary person.  No air at all.  Nice.
A colourful Buddhist temple near our hotel at McLeod Ganj! It was on the busy market road.


The lower part of the temple.  The street was too narrow to take a full picture! You can see many drums with designs and people walk around the temple, just touching and rolling/turning them.  Whatever we want we can ask for while rolling them, it seems.  People keep on rolling while going across to the parallel road through this temple!
This was the bus we went to the cricket stadium.  Medium sized only for them to drive through the narrow curves/bends. It is always crowded, esp. more during matches, it seems! Share jeeps are also available. 
This was our favourite hotel.  We had our breakfast and sometimes dinner too, here.  Vegetarian restaurant. The owner is a Tibetan lady. Good food. Had momos too! You can see a Tibetan lady with her display.  These are Tibetan refugees and we can see them in all the narrow market roads, selling clothes, trinkets, brass sculptures of gods, Tibetan things etc.
We kept on coming across many Buddhist monks and some were having breakfast when we were having it in this restaurant.  Noticed an American Monk too! The roads were full of monks...saw many child monks inside the monastery.  All of them looked happy.  Giggling among themselves!

A restaurant named 'Bodhi Tree' also was good.  And another, Nick's Italian restaurant was good.  Had ravioli there! All these restaurants were in walking distances from our hotel. 

A view of Dharamshala among the trees!
You can go on a trek too, here!
Looks so beautiful!
My son went on a 22 Km. trek, one early morning.  He enjoyed.  The above 3 pictures were taken by him during the trek. The next one too!

A road at Dharamshala!
Well, we enjoyed our visit to this place.  We will remember the scenery while watching cricket match always.  Visited Kangra Fort,
which was just OK.  Sunset was beautiful.  I have posted it here!
Nothing else is there for us to stay for more than 3-4 days.  Cricket match is the catchy event here, I think.  The market area is stinking with dirty water on both sides of the road.  Still we see many foreigners on the road.  They can be seen even during 'no cricket match' days too, it seems.  Noticed many furry dogs and lots of sparrows and small birds which was good.  A taxi driver was saying that Modi's Swachh Bharath mission is quite active there.  So the place will improve and attract more visitors, in the future, he said. They speak Hindi with some accent! Slight Punjabi?!

Farming is done in the surrounding villages.  Otherwise only tourists' income is the main income for the place, it seems.  Well, still, this trip is a memorable trip.  One more beautiful picture of the place taken while watching the cricket match, for concluding this post!


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Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Dharamshala...Snow Clad Mountains, Clouds AND Cricket!

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This is the right picture for the caption!
We had been on a three week trip to Northern India.  The main purpose was to watch the March 25th Test match between Australia and India.  Though I have noticed the beautiful Dharamshala stadium in the TV before, I never expected it to be so overwhelmingly beautiful.  And it was a test match, not a one day or T20 match! And some of my readers might remember about my earlier post about our visit to a cricket match here and one more post about cricket here. 
Well...my husband and son are cricket crazy people.  So, whether I liked it or not, I am familiar with the matches.  Sometimes I too sit with them and watch when it is too interesting to resist, esp. when India is poised to win!

We had stayed in a decent hotel in the market area ('M' Hotel, Temple road, McLeod Ganj, Dharamshala). So, we had a choice of restaurants to visit and it was the main shopping area.  Though a bit crowded, we enjoyed the place.  First, we thought of hiring a taxi to reach the stadium, it was tooo expensive (10 Km. Rs.400).  So, like many other visitors, we too went by share jeep and then local bus! It was a good experience since it is a long time since we went by share jeep and crowded buses in our place:) The roads were very narrow, with ups and downs, as is common in hilly areas.  Hairpin bends were many.  This is a typical tourist place.  The buses were not long like our city buses.  They were quite small ones.  One more thing we noticed is, the people are unbelievably too friendly.  With all the traffic chaos, nobody got angry, the driver or the passengers.  Oh, let me write about these things in another post! Now, to cricket!

We reached the stadium at about 9.15 am, I think.  The match was to start at 9.30 am.  We were checked thoroughly as usual nowadays...we got delayed because my son had taken a binocular with him! Their net link didn't mention about it but we are not supposed to take it, it seems.  He had to meet some 4 top officials to get clearance! Some small changes and an eye drop bottle was confiscated from me! They were put in a small pouch and thrown in a basket with others' things! We were asked to pick them up when we returned! We did!

Then we entered the venue!!! What a scenery! I just stood in the first step and gasped! Then pulled myself down the steps and sat just below the pavilion, which was the best place to view the match and the hot midday sun didn't roast us here much! Yes, it was cold in the morning and evening but hot in day time! The match had already started.  In the beginning, I was not watching the match but just enjoying the snow clad mountains, clouds all around! We were not allowed to take even water bottle...everything should be bought there! One plastic cup of water priced Rs.10! Pop corn Rs.50, Ice cream Rs.50.  But while going up to get water, I saw Sunil Gavaskar, Kapil Dev and Ravi Shastri...so, forget about the cost of water!

As soon as the first wicket fell down, the crowd started involving...chanting 'India, India'...'Bharath Maatha ki Jai' etc.  Smith scored 111 and that was the highlight of the Australian team.  The afternoon session was the best...Umesh Yadav and Kuldeep Yadav (test debut!) started stealing the show.  Wickets started falling one by one...the crowd chanted 'Kul deep, Kul deep' continuously.  Kohli had some injury and Rahane was the captain.  Whenever Kohli came out during drinks, the whole crowd chanted his name.  Some friends of mine said that since Kohli won't be playing, the match won't be interesting.  But, NO, it was very very interesting...it was like a one day match.  The Australians were all out for 300 runs, thanks to our bowlers. We played an over also at the end of the day.

We didn't see much crowd on that day, i.e. the first day.  On the left side, the area was full of school children in uniform...free entry for them it seems.  

School children in uniform on the left side!
We went back to the room by a through bus to McLeod ganj! The bus was full but stopped midway because of some repair.  The driver put on some gloves, opened the gear compartment, did some repair work! The passengers were just watching.  No one grumbled! It must have taken around 15-20 mts. He was chatting with people all along asking them to 'havaa leejiye baahar' (to get some fresh air outside)!  Hmmm...our Chennai means, a big hungama would have been there!

The next day, we took a taxi...the adventure mood was not there on the second day! Son had left the binocular in the room itself and I left the change also in the room.  So, we sat in our seats before the match started.  The match was a bit slow.  We started enjoying other things than the match! Many Australian fans had come.  A huge kangaroo doll also was there, sitting among us.  They were very friendly people.  All were chatting, in a friendly way.  One old man was selling ice cream, some 'lotus' brand... he was cutting jokes about the old players and humouring people.  More crowd was there on the second day.  Not very eventful, though.  Jadeja played well on that day.

Unfortunately, we had to leave for Chennai on 27th.  My husband and son enjoyed the match and I, the scenery, esp.cloud movements on the snow clad mountain peaks and people.  My picasa album is full of snow peaks and cloud pictures which can be watched always.

Now, to some pictures, for you to enjoy!

2nd day afternoon.  You can see the spider cam with the cloud background!



Australian fans with a Kangaroo doll...notice the Indian flag on its cheek. Very friendly people!

The Australian fan with the green cap was standing up and dancing for 4's, 6's or when any player scored 50 or 100 or got out! Australia or India didn't matter for him! True fan! The whole crowd around him were HIS fans! Us, included!
On our way out of the stadium in the evening.  Felt a bit sad.  Cricket match is played everywhere, but Dharamshala match experience is unique.
You can see the score board here! We won the match by 8 wickets! Jadeja and KL Rahul were the top scorers! Jadeja was the 'Man of the match' and 'Player of the series'! This test match was a memorable match for us/for me! I never expected the first innings of the Australians to be over within a day! That was the highlight of the match.

Click on the pictures to view the scenery better!

.

P.S.: Sunset shots at Dharamshala
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