Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Best Sellers — Mythological Fiction

Mythological stories provide the perfect fodder for imagination and curiosity. Tales of mythological beasts, mysteries, secret brotherhoods, religion, old manuscripts etc captures a reader’s/listener’s interest. 
The latest trend in the Indian literature is mythological fiction. Authors research myths and facts to spin fictional stories around them. 

The excitement of many clues leading to unlocking a well kept secret, definitely heightens the reading momentum and piquing the curiosity levels. Also, varied versions/point of view of a epic legend makes for a nice read.

Some of the Indian bestsellers which have well sketched characters and narratives are listed in this article. Pick this up at your nearest book seller or simply buy it online, without regret.


Palace of Illusions — Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni  




Mahabharat is the epic saga of revenge and dynasty politics. It is one of the exhaustive tales to be written in the entire world. 
The Pandavas and Kauravas are pitted against each other right from their childhood over their rightful inheritance of the throne of Hastinapur. Pandavas are led by Yudhistir, follower of dharma and Kauravas are led by Duryodhan, short tempered and egoistic.

The ultimate battle between the warring groups was the Kurukshetra war, fought for revenging the disrespect meted out to Panchaali, also known as Draupadi, wife of the Pandavas.

This battle tested their loyalties, cunningness,strengths, sportsmanship and strategic abilities.. 

However, this brilliantly written book shows us the entire saga with a different viewpoint. The protagonist is Draupadi, who shares her feelings and viewpoints right from the time she is born from the ceremonial fire, married off to 5 husbands, being the queen of Indraprastha till being manhandled and disrobed in the court of the hastinapur after being wagered in a bet. 

Her vow of revenge sets the wheels in motion for a blood thirsty war. Also mentioned is her special friendship with Lord Krishna and her secret crush on Karna. 

This is a good read since its Mahabharata retold with a twist.


 Chanakya’s Chant — Ashwin Sanghi 














Chanakya was a kingmaker who is credited to have installed King Chandragupta on the Mauryan throne , written “Arthashastra” the political treatise, being a great orator and possessing a brilliant mind. His style of retribution from his foes made him a fearful adversary. He was at the pinnacle of power aided by his crafty and strategist mind. 

This novel is a beautifully ode to the master. The storyline spans two era, separated by 2000 years. Older era narrates the story of Chanakya, from his humble beginnings till his ascent to power. Similarly, in the present time, Gangasagar mishra is a clever kingmaker who is determined to install a small town girl, Chandini in the Prime Minister’s role. 

Delve into the world of political intrigue with this fast paced novel. Absolute Must read!


The Pregnant King — Devdutt Patnaik  













Doesn't the title seem quirky? oxymoron-ic? unbelievable? 

Author Devdutt Patnaik, a mythologist, revisits the epic Mahabharata and extracts a lost-in-the time story of King Yuvanasha. 

Yuvanasha is the son of Shilavati, an ambitious woman, who is unable to rule the kingdom because she is a woman. Guided by her diktats, Yuvanasha is the puppet head.

The King is, as the title suggests, pregnant after drinking a magical potion which was meant for his wives! What made him gulp the potion? How did he deliver the baby boy? What were his associated feelings? will the kid call him dad or mom? 

All these questions along with by-stories of interesting characters, make this novel a bestseller! 

The Krishna Key —Ashwin Sanghi  













It has been prophesied that in the kaliyuga -the dark age, a new avatar of God shall manifest on earth to purge it of all sins. 

What if some psycho thought he was the aforementioned avatar and chose to unleash terror? Committing sins in the name of God? 

A hidden prized possession of Lord Krishna, the enigmatic saviour of the masses is at stake!

A historian leads the path in finding out the real legacy and secret behind the Krishna key. A trail of evidences which helps to discover the hidden truth and put a stop to the serial killings. 

Book your seat in a fast paced roller coaster ride from east to west, north to south of India. 


The Mahabharata Secret — Christopher C Doyle 









2300 years ago, Emperor Ashoka formed a secret brotherhood of 9 men, entrusted with the books of immense knowledge. After stumbling across a deadly secret,which had the potential to destroy the world, within the pages of the epic Mahabharata, it was decided to bury the secret in a such a way that it should be forgotten with the winds of time. However, time took a different course.
In present times, a cold blooded murder of an imminent scientist is discovered. His nephew receives cryptic e-mails and clues from him at the time of his death. He vows to solve the mystery and shoulder the responsibility entrusted to him, unaware of a powerful dark organisation who are also keen on the same. 

Will he and his accomplices be able to unearth and safeguard the mystery? or will they just watch the world perish? 


Find out more, when you read it. 


Hope i have sowed the seeds of curiosity in you to read any one or all of the above..

Thank you for reading my post.

love,

Anu

Sunday, June 25, 2017

The Child God - Shrinathji !

Clockwork precision is needed while rearing a child. Right from waking him up, bathing him, feeding food till he retires to bed at night. Handling the naughtiness and being mesmerised by the crazy antics is part of the routine.

Did you know, in India, we have a beautiful temple dedicated to the child avatar of Lord Krishna, worshipped exactly how a kid is taken care of.

Intrigued? 

Read on if yes.... 

50 Kms away from the beautiful city of Udaipur,Rajasthan lies the temple town of Nathdwara. Small lanes and their by lanes all lead to the holy gates of the temple which is popularji known as Haveli.

Shrinathji, the residing deity of the place, is the child avatar of Lord Krishna, who lifted the govardan parbat/mountain on his little finger. With mesmerising eyes and a beautiful diamond studded chin, the Lord blesses all its devotees with their wishes. 



Ardently worshipped and referred as Thakurji, many households follow the daily ritual of worshipping the image of laddu gopal, termed as seva



Vallabh Sampradaya is a religious sect whose followers are known as vaishnavs. This sect was founded by Vallabhcharya, loyally followed by the inhabitants of Gujarat and Rajasthan states. Their main/family deity is Shrinathji. 

Rituals: 

The darshans are open for specific timings as per the Lord's schedule for the day. 

The most interesting part of this temple is that there are no lines which lead for the darshan. Yes, no lines or extra payment line. The area of viewing is divided into men and female section. It is said that "waves" are present in the darshan, basically meaning, that you have to push and pull people to get your heartful view of the beautiful Lord! It actually resembles waves of the sea.

Just like a kid is woken up from sleep, the Lord gives darshan in the "mangala" at early hours of the day. The best part of this viewing is that you are allowed in your night suits. Yes, no need to bathe and get ready. Just give company to the Lord in your night wear.. 

Shringar -- The God is now bathed, dressed and ready for venturing out with his friends to play. 

Gval - The mid- morning snack darshan.

Rajbhog- It is the Lunch time! A spread of sumptuous bhog is offered to the beautifully dressed Lord. 

Utthanpan -- The afternoon siesta is over :) 

Sandhya -- The twilight time wherein the Lord returns home after his sojourn with friends and cattle. He shall now bathe and get ready for the night.

Shayan -- The last public darshan of the day. The Lord is now done with his dinner and retires to his bed for the night. 


Accommodation, Food and Shopping:

Hotel Vallabh Darshan is the popular hotel (most like a functional guest house if you ask me) with average pricing and closest in proximity to the temple. Trip advisor can help you with more hotels in the vicinity. 

Food is lip and finger smacking yummy.. ! The main market area has innumerable stalls which sells pav bhaji, tawa pulav, sabudana vada, south indian and north indian stuff.. Must try is the thandai, freshly grounded and prepared.  
Lassi lovers will have a blast with its malai enriched lassis!
You will find amazing pudina tea in mud cups (called khullars) and steaming hot poha after the mangala/early morning darshan. 

Shopping includes apparel for laddu gopal idols with its paraphernalia, paintings and pichwais, superb silver jewellery and costume jewellery sets. Buying papads,pickles, khattas are also a good option. 


Inspired Art :

Shrinathji followers have significant influence on Hindu art in the form of the Pichhwais, which are intricate and colourful paintings on cloth, paper, walls and temple hangings which portray Shrinathji. These are devotional textiles that centre on the image of Shrinathji. 


Associated legends : 

The Govardhan Parbat episode is an important one in the Lord Krishna story. The inhabitants of Vrindavan, his native place, performed a long yagna/ fire prayer to appease the Lord of Rains, Indra for the well being of their land in form of good rainfall.  Little Krishna questioned his father and other elders about wasting their time in futile prayers for a natural phenomenon, but instead channelise their energies in doing their work in a diligent manner which is their dharma.

Convinced by his arguments, the people abandoned the puja ritual and got along with their work. This angered the king of gods, Indra. He felt insulted and humiliated. Egged by his ego, he unleashed torrent rains and lightning on the people which continued for a considerable amount of time. 

Frightened people appealed to Lord Krishna to save them from this fury. He calmly lifted the goverdhan mountain, which is massive in width and huge in size, on his little finger. The villagers were amazed by this magical phenomenon and sought refuge below the mountain which now resembled a gigantic umbrella. 

The entire village was sheltered beneath it comfortably, after some time, Lord Indra's fury abated and he seeked the forgiveness of Krishna for his actions. The benevolent Lord forgave him after teaching him a lesson of humility and restored the mountain back. 


Thank you for reading my post. Let me know your suggestions, if any, for any more topics. Wish you explore this temple town on your own.. 

A big thanks to wikipedia!


Love, 

Anu 



Sunday, May 28, 2017

Australia...! your personal guidebook for exploring Down Under!

Another trip done. Another place explored. Time for another blog post.

My aim is to provide maximum tips/information which i term it as "vishesh tippani" :) 

So, fasten your seat belts.. keep tripadvisor/makemytrip tabs open..  apathkalin dwar/emergency exit from this blog can be found in the X symbol on the tab bar..

This is your captain, ANU, from the flight deck.
The journey till Australia - the continent-country with huge land mass & potpourri of various ethnicities- shall take us 4+8 hours, excluding airport wait time! We shall be touring the cities of Sydney, Gold Coast and Melbourne... Lets discover Down under :)


Passport... check!
Bags packed.... check!
Flights and hotels bookings... check!
Daydreams about a new experience... check!
Tripadvisor devoured.. check!

Visa... OMG! uncheck!



 Our dreams were swinging like a pendulum, owing to the "your visa application is under process at the Australian High Commission, New Delhi"!

It was 5 hours for our flight to take off from hyderabad, when we received the most anticipated e-mail in our inboxes. Visa has been granted! This was thanks to the immense pressure from the Maruti Suzuki officials who ensured all dealers made it to the Sydney Conference!

I want to advise everyone applying for an Australian Visa, "please read the offer document carefully before applying"...! The processing time seems to be highest in this consulate. Make sure you have read all about the documents ( example: IT returns, bank statements, itinery copy etc) needed and the category which you are entitled for.  Apply for it with ample time in hand. 

Imagine losing your money, time and excitement!

Planning your itinery will be a huge task.. There is so much data available online, making you feel everything is a must to do thing. Prioritise the things which appeals to your vacation goals. Example: Yarra valley wine tours will be sounding exotic but if you are not a wine lover, then its futile.
Inter city domestic flights are reasonably priced and Virgin Australia flights are super comfortable.

Currency requirements are to be considered while budgeting. Australian Dollars (AUD) are easily available in India. Rs. 48.90-50 is the best rate which we got, i.e. 1 AUD = 48.90 INR. Safety blanket overseas are US dollars and credit/debit cards. Its better to have sufficient back up, just in case.

Australia is pretty expensive if you convert into INRs. Beer is cheaper than bottled water. Public transport is cheaper than taxis. Shopping @ direct factory malls are cheaper than Indian prices.




Walking shoes and weather appropriate clothing are a must while planning this trip. There is lot of walking involved due to the fact that transportation is expensive and maximum places require you to walk! Jackets, sweaters and thermals will be your best friends in april-june time..!

Restaurants close by 10-30 - 11 pm and few bars are open till 12-1 am ! Indian restaurants are available everywhere. Vegetarians may have difficulty on the whole. So, carry haldiram bhujia, thepla and knick knacks like i did.. jaan bach gayi! Tap water is drinkable in the country, keep a bottle handy for refilling!

Every australian will greet you with "how'ya doing mate / hows your day", the positivity and friendliness will make you feel super good.

Sydney


After a super tiring journey, we landed on the soil of the vibrant metropolis!
inching our way towards the city centre, many skyscrapers greeted us.. You shall have a fleeting thought, whats so special? all cities like hong kong, dubai, bangkok will look the same. True, yet different.

Its convenient to stay near to the main transportation hubs like Central railway station and Circular Quay. Recommended hotels are four seasons, shangri la, mercure, hyatt etc.

The ferries and light rail (trams) are unique mode of transportation here. It is advisable to buy OPAL travel cards and keep recharging it. They are required to be "tapped on and off" while boarding and alighting from your desired transportation. The cost of travel is almost 1 dollar less as compared to paper tickets.  Ask around or google for the routes and use them. Its fun,quicker and cheaper!

We took a Ferry from circular quay till Manly Beach. Ferries are spacious, very clean, time punctual, convenient and cool.

Manly Beach is a beautiful place just outside Sydney, 30 min by ferry. Stroll around the souvenir stores, walk on the beautiful sandy beach or just savour the freshly brewed beer.  Perfect for half day outing.

Circular Quay provides the perfect glimpse of the Harbour Bridge and the Opera House. Recommended highly is a ferry ride for watching these iconic landmarks glide past.

Darling Harbour is the most beautiful spot to just chill.. cute birds fly around, many bars/cafes to satiate your gastronomy cravings, checking out majestic yachts docked by the side, feeling the nip in the air, indulge in people watching.

If you are a chocolate lover, then the Lindt Cafe is the temple you need to worship in. Lip smacking pastries and coffee!

Madame Tussaads wax museum is located here along with the Sea life aquarium and Wildlife zoo.
Advisable to buy tickets which grants access to all three. Saves money!
Indians represented at the wax museum are Gandhiji and Sachin Tendulkar. Australian celebrities have more prominence in the museum. A short visit of half hour is recommended.

The Sea Life Aquarium enthrals you by its variety of exhibits. Expect lot of walking in this area. Overhead aquarium is the coolest thing i have experienced.. you can watch stingrays and sharks along with beautiful fishes swim above you! Penguins are also exhibited here, waddling around in their area. they are simply cute.

The Wildlife zoo is kinda okayish. Koalas, Kangaroo and a huge alligator are star attractions. A quick walk is suggested through.

Maritime Museum is a free exhibit. A real navy ship is anchored, making your curiosity happier!

Chanced upon a 18th century ship, towards one end of darling harbour, entry to this exhibit was AUD 5 per head. Amazement floods your senses when you stand on the deck and crane your neck while viewing the high mast sails.. hollywood movie scenes flash in front of your eyes and you are transported back in history. The quality of timber used is phenomenal.. this is highly recommended!

Opera Bar is the best sit out for a quiet drink with your travel companions. Situated just below the opera house overlooking the harbour bridge. Loved the atmosphere!

Sydney Cricket Ground has a capacity of 46,000 seats. Its magnificent! Take a guided tour through its grounds and memorabilia, if you are a cricket fan.


Gold Coast

1 hour and 10 min is the flight duration from Sydney to Gold Coast. I thought it was australia's goa :)
Surfers Paradise is the most happening area, with affordable accommodation.

The public transport is yet again very good here. Buses run on time and at frequent intervals till the amusements parks.

The beach is alluring with its waves and glistening sand. Summer is the best time to see surfers display their skills,riding mighty on the waves. Flea Market functions on alternate days, showcasing very interesting souvenirs, cakes, talents etc.

Cavill avenue is the perfect area for bar hopping. Sin City is the famous club with opens at 10 pm and closes at 5 am!! If you aint a bar bird, then just stroll down the lane soaking the vibrancy in the air. Indulge your taste buds in a variety of cuisines and ice creams.

A host of amusements parks provide various kinds of entertainment here. Would highly suggest to buy a 3 in 1 park pass. saves lot of money on the whole.

Movie world is a warner bros promoted park featuring live parade, roller coasters, carnival games and much more. perfect for a half day outing. If you are a batman fan, then this place will delight you to no end!

Dream world is supposed to be the biggest amusement park in the southern hemisphere, or so it claims. I felt it was kind of anti climax, since i had more fun and fantasy type feeling in movie world.
Mind boggling roller coasters are for the adrenaline junkies. One ride featured travelling straight up on a 20 storied tower and then plunging down at a high speed.. gave me creeper jeepers!
This park consists of animal park section, kids section and the roller coasters of various intensities spread around. The Tiger Island show is MUST do!

Sea World's dolphin show is the cutest thing you can ever see... 4 dolphins show you amazing circus type tricks! The roller coaster here is amazing!! Buy souvenirs/merchandise from sea world since they are cheaper in comparison with movie and dream world !


Melbourne

Trams, bicycles and cars/buses co exist peacefully in their dedicated lanes on the narrow roads of Melbourne. A free tram zone runs along the popular stops for sight seeing. Its convenient to hop on and hop off trams. This city is a true potpourri of various ethnicities. Indian community holds a major chunk of population,followed by chinese. 

Sight seeing in melbourne can be done easily by booking a half day city tour package. The tours pick you from your hotel/pickup point specified, and cover the entire city with 4 hours. They show you the Shrine of Remembrance ( a war memorial dedicated to the first world war martyrs, styled in the form of inca temples), the various sports stadiums, Captain cook cottage, fitzroy gardens and so on. 
The buses are clean with informative drivers-cum-guide. Only hitch being, the pick up  will be at 7am!

Whether you are a gambler or not, visiting crown casino is a must! Just spend some time here, watching people play, their emotions, the electric atmosphere and indulge in some hide and seek with your luck. Many interesting versions of popular games are available along with thousands of slot machines! The dealers are helpful in making you understand the game. It is a massive casino, spread over 2-3 levels and floor size is equivalent to perhaps 4 football fields. Only water is complimentary. unlike other casinos where beverages and some snacks are on the house, crown features many restaurants and bars inside to order and pay !

The Great Ocean Road drive will feature at topmost position in your memories. Driving alongside blue turquoise coloured waters, stopping for snacks/tea in the tiny villages enroute, clicking 10000000 of awesome pictures and feel the breeze tantalise your senses. 
Many people prefer to rent a car for the drive. You can also sign up for tours in a small vehicle. 20-24 people in a mini bus with a guide-cum-driver. Go west tours are highly professional.

12 apostles landmark falls along this route. Its truly a natural wonder. try the helicopter ride for a super time!


 




Phew!!! my 14 day journey is summarised in this blog post. Hopefully it will be helpful in planning your trip. 

Love,
Anu 











Sunday, April 16, 2017

North Eastern Gems..

An uncommon path always holds the intrigue and possibility of a great adventure. The idea of exploring new cuisines, topography, culture, language gives the required adrenaline rush!

How about venturing into a land steeped with culture, nature's bounty and pilgrimage?

This is my humble attempt in chronicling my travel to the North Eastern states, hoping it would entice you to experience these on your own.


North Eastern states comprises of the 7 sisters -- Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Mizoram, Nagaland -- and the himalayan state of Sikkim. Nature has bestowed its best blessings on these sisters.

Lush greenery greets you right from the moment you step out of the airport and follows you like vodafone, wherever you go.

The topography of the place makes you dizzy and elated at the same time.. The curvy roads definitely calls for a bout of motion sickness but the feeling of breathing in pure air and the weather conditions makes it tolerable.

Gateway to this land of natural beauty is Guwahati, one of the largest growing cities. The connectivity to the airport is excellent. Many flights are direct from New Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata or connected via Kolkata.

Guwahati 

Guwahati is home to the Kamakhya Temple, which is a shakti peeth revered by the Hindu customs.




The female reproductive organ is the main deity here. The temple closes for 3 days in a year when the goddess is supposed to be menstruating. The deity is actually in the form of a vagina, which is usually decked up in flowers when you visit. One has to walk down in a crypt, below the main dome, for the darshan.

Normal queue for darshan takes minimum 3-5 hours whereas Rs.500 ticket facilitates the same in 1.5-2 hours.

The legend of the temple traces back to the time where Goddess Sati sacrificed herself in the yagna fire, conducted by her father- Daksha Prajapati. She was appalled by the disrespect shown to her husband by her father , which made her step into the auspicious fire.

Lord Shiva retrieved her body from the flames, after his massive forces destroyed everyone present. He then held her body and danced the Tandav- Destruction dance. Lord Vishnu who was mighty concerned, disambulated her body by the help of his Sudarshan Chakra.

Various bodily parts scattered all over the Earth. Her vagina fell here and thus has been revered in the form of a shakti peeth (strong and powerful place of worship)


Shillong 

Termed as the "Scotland of the East" due to its topographical similarity to Scotland. 
The rolling hills, The flora and fauna spouting out of everywhere,  the enriched tribal culture etc makes it an interesting getaway,

Its a 3 hour drive from Guwahati which has curvaceous roads and hills. You can shop for local cane products and taste the local khasi cuisine. The temperature is simply cool and pleasant.. The massive traffic jams are the only hitch in this place. 

Its like Venice but on hills.. super curvaceous city. Amazement at the construction on difficult terrain is sure. 

There are many picturesque spots to be visited. Elephant falls is one of the gems found after a 20 min drive from the city centre. Elders can slowly and comfortably walk till the waterfall area. 


Elephant Falls


Umiam lake should be the next stop for clicking pictures,savouring hot tea and gorge on freshly roasted corn on cobs. 


Umiam Lake


Khasi woman selling corn on cob!
The Don Bosco cultural centre is a 7 storied museum which provides in-depth knowledge about the 7 sister states. Each floor is dedicated to various aspects of the people living here. Worth spending 1 hour here. Also, the terrace features a Sky walk which gives the bird's eye view of Shillong city. 


Shillong boasts of quirky cafes and restaurants, making your taste buds very vey happy.

One such place is City Hut Dhaba, situated in police bazar. Quirky Decor -- Usage of huge cutleries as wall decor, keeping food grains in small sacks as counter deco, ducks in its waterfalls etc.-- and Dal Makhani to die for. The waiting time for tables will be worth it. 

Dylan's Cafe is the coolest place to hang out in town. Its dedicated to the legendary singer. Record discs welcomes you and encourages you to leave your mark by the form of ceiling art. Yes, you can show your creativity on the armstrong tiles. The food is lip smacking good!

Dylan's Cafe

Shillong cafe is the perfect watering hole. You can indulge in a round of pool/billiards and take the bottoms' up! 


Ri Kynjai is the upscale resort situated on the umiam lake. The name means "serenity by the lake" in the local Khasi language, and trust me, it is true! 

Beautifully made out of wood and cane products, the resort is the perfect getaway with family to bond and chill while soaking the nature's beauty. 
A small pathway makes the trek till the lake easy. The rooms are massive (base category) for the pricing. However, the food is kinda below average.
The Spa is a must do! 

Cherrapunjee

Dubbed as the "wettest place on the planet". 
Had only read about this place in my geography text book in school and now, standing on the place was a great adrenaline kick. You actually feel on top of the world. 

Clouds play hide and seek and the weather tends to be unpredictable.. It is advisable to carry an umbrella.

The 7 sisters waterfall is a delight to behold! The monsoon time brings out the beauty in its full glory. 

The Mawsmai caves feature stalactites and stalagmites ( icicle- shaped formation that hangs front he ceiling of a cave and protrude from the floor of the cave. It is produced by precipitating minerals from water dripping through the cave's ceiling). 

Mawsmai Cave


Venturing inside is strictly not for elders and claustrophobic people. However just viewing the entrance is good enough to admire mother nature's charm.

Its a 2 hour drive from shillong. You will be amazed at the condition of the roads, so smooth. 

Seven Sisters Waterfall

Guess, i have provided sufficient information and motivation for you to head east. Additional bonuses include, hogging piping hot hill station wali maggi, innumerable photo opportunities and to try something new. 

Thanks for reading, 

Lotsa love, 

Seeking a new adventure now....

Anu 










Thursday, March 23, 2017

Devotion by the sea...

Admiring the sunset's hues with clear sand beneath your feet and intense happiness and peace within yourself! Doesn't it sound amazing and stress free?? Break out of reverie, grab those back packs and keys to your car along with wallet and drive away on a scenic road which leads you to spirituality and peace....

A vivid memory streaked past when my parents mentioned the pilgrimage trip to Idagunji, Gokarna and Murdeshwara. I was nostalgic with the prior trips taken with family and relatives. The adrenaline of driving through lush greenery and curvaceous ghat section was overwhelming. Immediately, i confirmed the plan and went along... Presenting you, the Gems of Coastal Karnataka..
















Idagunji

A huge Kaman (entrance) on the left side of the state highway, proudly proclaims the tiny hamlet of idagunji with its resident deity, Lord Ganesha.




The legend of this temple is a simple story of the fulfilment of devotee's prayers by the generous lord. 

 On the onset of kali yuga , sages feared the unknown evils which would be associated with the era and hence performed severe austerities in order to negate it. However, many obstacles besieged this quest, rendering it incomplete. 

Celestial sage Narada, tried to reinstate  this penance by convincing mother Parvati to send her son, Lord Ganesha to the designated spot and give his blessings. But, was refuted by mother parvati owing to the dangerous nature of the place (it had many elephants and other wild animals). 

Narada then set out to lure the lord himself by making him eat a special kind of laddu made by 5 elements, specific to that region, named as PANCHAKHADYA.

Lord Ganesha loved it so much that he requested for more. Narada being very crafty, mentioned that only if he stood over the puja site and blessed it for eternity, he would get more of them. 

Thus, the Lord consented to reside over there provided the laddu being offered as prasadam everyday!!  The chief priest of the temple chuckled and recited this story to us and proudly showed us the magical prasadam which will be offered everyday till eternity!

The diety is a swayambhu (self generated/self made) which dates back to almost 4th century BC and is in the standing position with 2 hands. This sets it apart in legend and in devotion. Also, it is a form of bal ganesh/ child ganesh. The charm of the deity instantly makes your heart fill with awe, devotion and positivity.

Every wish made surely gets fulfilled here.

How to reach there and accommodation:

The nearest big railway station is Hubli. It is a 4 hour drive from there. Idagunji falls in honnavar district and is just 17 kms away from the sea side town of murdeshwara.
Accommodation is available at honnavar ( 14 kms ) or at murdeshwara (17 kms) away.


Gokarna

4 beautiful and serene beaches along with a centuries old shiva temple (which is supposedly the atmalinga of the Lord) is what makes gokarna a auspicious place and a getaway spot. Gokarna means the cow's ear and has a interesting legend associated. 

This is the current hippie/foreigner destination in karnataka. You will find lots of foreign tourists on a bliss holiday.  The market place has interesting knickknacks,such as- leather bags, trinkets, beach wear, junk jewellery etc, for purchase. 

The lore recounts a tale featuring Ravana, King of Lanka and Lord Ganesha. 

Ravana was a staunch devotee of Lord Shiva and once, was granted a atmalinga (self statue)  by the god himself. The only condition was that he wasn't supposed to place it on any ground before he reached Lanka and installed it on the designated spot. 

Other Gods panicked and approached Ganesha to prevent it from reaching Lanka. They feared the might of Ravana might increase even further. 
Lord Ganesha appeared in front of Ravana as a cowherd and magically transformed the sky,from noon to dusk. 

Ravana always worshipped Shiva at sunset and thus was perplexed what to do now?. He spotted the cowherd and requested him to hold the atmalinga  till he returns back after a bath in the river.  He strongly cautioned him not to keep in on the ground under any situation. 

The cowherd promised him, he will yell ravana's name once before keeping it down. Cunningly, he gave a soft call and kept it down. When Ravana found out what transpired, he was mighty furious and tried to move the atmalinga by using his full force. 

Few fragments of it, dislodged and flew away to a place wherein a temple dedicated to the fragments still stands. It is called Murdeshwara. 


How to reach and accommodation : 

Gokarna is almost 3 hours drive from hubli. this is the nearest airport as well. 

Konkan railways runs a train from mumbai to gokarna station. for other places, kindly google. It's advisable to drive through the beautiful countryside. The accommodation ranges from top notch 5 star resort of swaswara, medium ranged resorts like sanskruthi and modestly priced namaste cafe and home stay. 

Would highly recommend visiting namaste cafe. Perfect place to enjoy a cup of coffee/ beer while viewing the sunset. BLISS! 

Murdeshwara





















The presiding deity, Lord Shiva, makes his presence felt from afar. His gigantic sculpture looms over the small temple town of murdeshwara. 

On the shore of the Arabian Sea, you will find families enjoying in the waves on the beach after offering their prayers in the temple. The temple's legend has been mentioned above. The temple has a huge courtyard featuring other gods as well. 

Gopuram, the traditional south indian temple door, is a massive 18 floor structure, which lends supreme aura and character to the temple. You can travel to the 18th floor by paying the lift charges of Rs.10/-
The beautiful view of the sea and the shiva idol arrests your attention and makes you lunge for your cameras and mobile phones.

There is a museum of statues beneath the shiva sculpture which tells a mythological story. 

How to reach and accommodation: 

RNS residency is the best option here. Rooms are decently priced and the view from them are phenomenal. One night stay is highly recommended here.. Soak in the moonlight sprayed across the sea and gaze at the beautiful stars! 

Hope you liked my post about my sojourn. Do write to me about what you liked, disliked and suggestions. Also, advise if i should keep writing more on travel topic.. 

Love, 
Anu