December 28, 2018

Let the Road be your Home!


May the year 2019 be full of adventure, fun and travels laced with enchanting views and wonderful memories. 
Happy New Year!


The above frame was shot between Basar and Mechuka in Arunachal Pradesh. November 2018.

December 26, 2018

Siko Dido Waterfall


The bumpy ride from Basar to Mechuka in Arunachal Pradesh was laced with numerous small waterfalls, views of the distant mountains and the meandering Siyom river, a tributary of Brahmaputra. While all these looked enchanting, what made us stop the vehicle to capture a frame was Siko Dido waterfalls in Irgo village, a few kilometers before Mechuka. Falling from a height of approximately 200 feet, the falls has a plunge pool at its base. Located by the road that leads to Mechuka, the falls has gorgeous green mountains surrounding it and is difficult to miss out while on this stretch.

December 20, 2018

A ferry ride across Brahmaputra river



I alighted from my car at Bogibeel and gazed at the calm Brahmaputra in oblivion. The calmness was something that I could not relate with this river. Always known for its floods, Brahmaputra, the only male river in India showed a different face with absolute tranquility. I was on my way for the Basar Confluence in Basar, Arunachal Pradesh and had to cross the mighty river to reach Likabali, the border town in Assam.

A couple of large rickety boats were moored along the banks and as I got atop one of them, more people walked in and so did four large cars. That was quite a cargo to go across to the other bank. With the help of wooden planks, the cars crossed over, but it seemed like they were on a tight rope walk as they boarded the boat one by one. Though the drivers were quite confident about their skills and machines, it seemed quite an adventurous act.




Ours was the last ferry of the day (3:30 PM) and as the day ends much earlier in eastern India, what was on offer throughout the ride was a palette of hues that splashed over the sky as the sun set. From pink to orange to red to mauve, the splendid colours and the placid waters made the ferry ride a memorable one.  All that I did was gaze at the spellbinding beauty of nature as we were ferried across. The ride is an absolute treat for sunset lovers.




It took us an hour to cross the river at a languorous pace. However, the 4.9 Kms long Bogibeel bridge that is due for inauguration in a few days time is surely going to make the travel down to a few minutes. The road and rail bridge would also help connect Dibrugarh with Dhemaji, and also make the commute further to Arunachal much faster. While the ferry ride is definitely a must experience, we were probably among the last few lucky ones who had a chance to take it. Once the bridge becomes functional, the number of people taking the ferry would dwindle and that may also lead to the ferry being discontinued forever.



Location: Located in Assam, Bogibeel bridge is 29 Kms from Dibrugarh and 27 Kms from Likabali.

December 12, 2018

Popular Temples of Kumbakonam


An hour’s drive away from Thanjavur lies the temple town of Kumbakonam, believed to be where the pot (Kumbham) containing nectar of life was spilled by Shiva. Kumbakonam is one of the prominent temple towns in the Cauvery region and also houses the holy tank of Mahamaham where the nectar pot fell.  The town is lined with colourful gopurams of numerous temples and is also a prominent place for religious studies. From Cholas to Pandyas to Marathas to British, the town was under various rulers over the years.

Though there are more than 80 temples spread across the town of Kumbakonam, here is a list of the popular ones which are a must visit.

Adi Kumbeswarar Temple:

Believed to have been built before the 7th century by the Chola rulers, Adi Kumbeswarar is one of the most important and popular temples in Kumbakonam. Rebuilt and renovated over centuries, the temple has beautiful sculptures from mythology adorning its pillars and walls. The hall that leads to the main sanctum has numerous pillars and its carved ceilings are coloured with vegetable dyes. The temple is dedicated to Kumbeswarar (Shiva) and the main shrine houses a lingam. The premise also has a temple pond, Kandha Kumbha Theertham.






Ramaswamy Temple:

Built in 17th century by the Nayaks, the temple is dedicated to Vishnu. The hall outside the inner sanctum is lined with numerous sculpted pillars which has characters from mythology and related designs. The ceilings too have carved designs and are colourful. The hall also has frescoes of the ten avatars of Vishnu. The inner walls are adorned with paintings depicting scenes from Ramayana.






Sarangapani Temple:

A prominent Vaishnavite temple in India, Sarangapani temple dedicated to Vishnu is the biggest one in Kumbakonam and is built in typical Dravidian style architecture.  The colourful and striking eleven storeyed gopuram is a major attraction of this temple apart from the chariot shaped main sanctum which has numerous carved pillars. The main shrine is of Sarngapani, an incarnation of Vishnu. There is also a shrine dedicated to Komalavalli, the consort of Sarngapani. The temple also houses quite a few other colourful entrance gates.





Nageswarar Temple:

The 9th century temple built during the time of Cholas has Nageswarar as its main deity, a serpentine form of Shiva. While the colourful entrance gate is quite an eye catcher, the inner entrance gate has gorgeous art work on its ceiling. The inner sanctum is in the form a chariot and has sculptures of horses pulling it.




Chakrapani Temple:

Dedicated to Vishnu, the presiding deity is Chakrapani (a form of Vishnu) who is worshipped as Sudarshana. The deity has a third eye on his forehead and eight stretched out arms. Apart from a colourfully sculpted entrance gate, the temple also houses carved pillars and an entrance foyer with art work on the ceiling.





Mahamaham Tank:

Located to the north of Kasi Vishwanathar temple, Mahamaham tank is where the Mahamaham festival (similar to Kumbh mela) is held every 12 years. It is believed that the waters of this tank can get rid of all the sins and is more sacred than river Cauvery. There are many lingams along the banks of the tank and it also houses  numerous wells. 



Navigator:

Kumbakonam is 40 Kms from Thanjavur and 282 Kms from Chennai. There are buses and trains that connect Kumbakonam with major cities across south India. The closest airport is at Tiruchirappalli, 95 Kms away.

Food and Accommodation:

Most of the hotels in Kumbakonam offer vegetarian fare.  The town is also known for its ‘Degree Coffee’ which is served in brass tumblers. The coffee is prepared with thick milk, is boiled to a certain temperature and gets its name due to this. One can either stay in Thanjavur and make a day trip to Kumbakonam or stay in Kumbakonam to visit its temples. There are numerous hotels in both Thanjavur and Kumbakonam catering various budgets.

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