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Saturday, 29 December 2012

Pune Trip Part 3: Raja Dinkar Kelkar Museum

My trip to Pune earlier this year would have been incomplete without a visit to the Raja Dinkar Kelkar Museum located at Shukrawarpet area at the center of Pune city. The museum is home to a lot of artifacts depicting India's rich cultural heritage over the last many centuries, and tells the stories of sacrifices of Dr. Kelkar and his family. The museum contains pieces of architecture and sculptures ranging from 10th century to 19th century, ornaments, weapons, vessels, and most importantly, amazing and rare musical instruments from across the country. Here are some photographs, and if you are visiting Pune, don't forget to visit this place, a treasure built purely by the passion of one man, Dinkar Kelkar.

It was great to see a 11th century Hoysala sculpture from Halebidu, Karnataka in Pune...

Panchamukhi Maruti statue:

A Ganesha idol made of utensils of daily use :)

Intricate window design, and impressive lock and key design:

Some amazing musical instruments:

Puppets depicting Yakshagana characters:

Saturday, 22 December 2012

A Trek to Tadiyandamol and Chomakunda Hills

Going on a multi-day trek was something I could not have even imagined a month ago. Yet, I could join a group of colleagues (and an ex-colleague who wanted to be featured on my blog ) who came up with a quick plan to visit Tadiyandamol, the second tallest peak in Karnataka, situated near Virajpet in Kodagu district.

Vallary, who had taken up the initiative after a casual coffee break discussion at office, ensured that the trek dates and the plans were finalized quickly enough, under the able guidance of trekking veteran Guru. With everything ready, we started off on the night of 7th December 2012, boarding the Rajahamsa bus of KSRTC towards Virajpet.

It was around 4:30 in the morning of 8th when we reached Virajpet, and after freshening up in the bus stand there, we could only get a bus towards Kakkabe at 6:45 am, the private run Ganga Travels. We got down two kilometers before Kakkabe, near the road that takes us to the Nalknad Palace, the historical monument from the times of king Dodda Veera Rajendra. In fact the original name of Virajpet is "Veera Rajendra Pete", named after the much loved king.

Our path to Tadiyandamol peak was through the Yavakapadi village that is home to Nalknad Palace. We began the trek and reached there around 8:45 am, had our breakfast on the veranda of the school and watched on as the children of the school cleaned the premises and got the class rooms ready for the day with great dedication.

After confirming the trek route and the precautions we need to take while camping near the peak from the teacher of the school, we went and explored the palace, which was maintained in good shape, and had great floral designs on the inside of some of the roofs, had secret escape chambers and dark rooms, along with other usual amenities. The forethought and design that has gone into the little palace is impressive, considering that it was built before 1800.

After exploring the ancient royal monument, we paid respect to the state and national anthems sung beautifully by the school children, and continued on our way, treading the terrain that was getting steeper and ragged. We took turns in leading the group, stopped regularly to replenish the lost fluids in our bodies, and marched on till we found a nice view point around 11:30 in the morning. The sun was blazing down, but we took some pictures and continued on.

As the peak came to the visibility further, the terrains changed regularly, and it made for both a challenging trek and a great viewing around us.

We approached a big rock around 1:30 pm, a potential camping site for the evening when we come back down. This was one option, the other being camping on the top of the hill itself. This place was advantageous in the sense that it had a plane surface, the rock made sure that the breeze is controlled, and there was a stream nearby. We spent some time near the stream even as Vallary got fascinated by all the butterflies around, and then carried on further.

With multiple stops nearing the peak as the trek got trickier, we managed to reach the top of Tadiyandamol hill by 3:30 pm. No words can explain the scenic beauty you get to see all around once you are on top. Surely, even for half a second, everyone would get a feeling of how insignificant one is in front of the creations of nature.

At the peak, though, for me, this was as much exploring the nature's beauty, as it was recovering from the severe cramps that crept in due to heavy loss of fluids from the body through sweating. A couple of intakes of Electral and a few stretches brought me back to normal, and we could easily notice that the peak was not an ideal camping site. At 4:30 itself, it was very chilly. We decided to head back to the rock below to spend the night and Anurag came forward to swap his lighter bag with my heavier one, while on our descent. With the sunset imminent, the descent was in a cooler setting and we got to witness more of nature's magic with the sun playing hide and seek behind the clouds, golden yellow streaks of light just before the sunset and much more. We stopped, took a few pictures and carried on to reach the rock base by 6:45 in the evening.

Once there though, our efforts to set up tent was proving futile, and we remembered the school teacher telling us about some tribal festival happening on the hilltop on the day. We had also seen indications of elephant trail near the stream in the morning and saw another group of people roaming around near the rock base. We decided it might not be advisable to stay there overnight and started a night trek back to the Yavakapadi school with our torches on, in groups of two and three.

We could reach the village around 8:30 in the night, and went to some nearby house along the way and asked their help to heat our ready made food. We had our dinner there, asked the house owner Babu if he could help in taking us around a few other places the day after, to which he agreed. He said he would bring his jeep by 7:30 in the morning, and our plan to visit Chelavara Falls and Chomakunda hill was finalized. We reached the school by 9:30 and retired for the day in the sleeping bags, although terribly chilly night ensured that none of us got proper sleep.

Day 2, and we began the journey in Babu's jeep towards the village of Cheyyendane, where the falls and the hill are located. All through the journey, Ravi, Anurag and Udit kept themselves entertained by "singing" (if I can call it that) some songs, with Vallary, Shilpa and Guru providing company once in a while. Climbing Chomakunda was a much simpler affair, but the view from the top was no less breathtaking. After spending an hour taking in the beauty of the surroundings, we came down to the Chelavara falls that drove away the fatigue of the last day and a half.

A brief visit to the historical St. Annes church, a longish lunch at Virajpet and a series of dumb charades in the Virajpet bus stand followed, and we were off back to Bangalore that night, reaching on the morning of 10th December. A nice and challenging weekend's effort coming to an end...

Monday, 3 December 2012

Tweets, Photos and Screen Grabs from Shatavadhana

Here are my tweets, photos and screen grabs from the greatly successful Shatavadhana that happened over the weekend. Wishing Dr. R Ganesh a very happy 50th birthday tomorrow, and wishing him a great life ahead with a lot more invincible achievements...

Attending  from today by Dr. R. Ganesh. The first ever all kannada shatavadhana. Excited!

Shatavadhana at nmkrv college, jayanagar begins at 5 pm today, and runs over next two days  

Know more about 

A blog post on a previous  I had attended:  

Know more about the  at the official site of :  , 

 Wikipedia article on Shatavadhani Ganesh:

 My previous blog posts on Dr. R. Ganesh's performances: 

Great start to  today with multiple dattapadis, samasyapooranas and kavyavachanas. They would be completed over next two days 

Dattapadi eg: Ganesha stuti with (star, peg, kasab, nityananda); Draupadi's stuti of Krishna with (hawk, eagle, kite, goshawk)  

Dattapadi eg: Manmatha stuti with (kroora, vaira, neera, shoora); Hanuma stuti with (gundu, tundu, kuja, dosha)  

 The book "Brahmapuriya Bhikshuka" a wonderful insight into life and times of  - by Dr. R. Ganesh. Bought y'day at 

Watching Day 2 of  via live webcast  

 looking way livelier today, with Sudheer Krishnaswamy and Prof. Kannan chipping in 

Youngest prucchaka, he wasn't even speaking when  did his first  :) and gives a stunning samasyapoorana

Very good  question: What would onlookers feel when Jesus is being crucified using (Bye, Avajo, Adieu, Alvida)  

Chandrashekhara Kedilaya sings KS Narasimhaswamy's Rutugeetha from Navapallava. What a great voice!  

Dr. Ganesh comes to second round, starts reminding audience of y'day's questions, and starts continuing them. Amazing! 

Prof. G. Venkatasubbaiah  watching  conducted by Dr. R. Ganesh , who is half his age :)

ka-Ta-pa-yAdi sootra used to make bIDi greater than sigarETu (4 > 2) for the samasyapoorana  

Session 3 of  on, with Ranjini Nagaraj singing...

Dr. Ganesh completing samasyapoorana and giving explanation starting with Prabhakar and Shankaranarayana Upadhyaya's questions 

Day 2 of  ends, highlight towards the end being mathematical solution to the samasyapoorana involving BeeDi and Cigarette 

Prucchakas bringing out  and Ganesh's birthday wishes through  itself.  celebrates 50th birthday in two days

962nd  drawing to a close, with  about to complete the last 4 dattapadis  

 today: what can fly do in gold shop? with prices so high, if it sits on one side of balance, shopper or owner is at loss! 

Moral of the fly in gold shop quip: do not underestimate anything or anyone.  

 final round ends with 5 mins of standing ovation, raining flowers on  and Kedilaya singing praises in the background

Chandrashekhara Kedilaya's singing takes you to a different world! 

 webcast was absolutely outstanding with no hiccups - I attended 2.5 sessions live and the rest 2.5 through webcast :)