Monday, November 10, 2008
Thursday, November 6, 2008
During a little more than a century and a half everyone participated in the great enterprise, in an immense demonstration of faith.
Guilds of masons, carpenters, glass makers and sculptors united their efforts under the direction of the architects, Jean de Chelles and Pierre de Montreuil.
Thursday, October 30, 2008
Indian Space Research Organisation's (ISRO) home-grown rocket PSLV-C11 lifted off at 6.22 a.m. from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre taking the spacecraft beyond the thick dark cloud cover over this coastal town.
After 18.2 minutes, ISRO's warhorse rocket had injected Chandrayaan-I, its maiden moon mission, in the earth orbit.
With the launch, India joined the elite club of moon faring nations -- the US , Russia , European Space Agency , China and Japan .
"The launch was perfect and precise. The satellite has been placed in the earth orbit.
"With this, we have completed the first leg of the mission and it will take 15 days to reach the lunar orbit," ISRO Chairman G Madhavan Nair said.
President Pratibha Patil, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Leader of the Opposition L K Advani congratulated space scientists on the successful launch.
Chandrayaan-I is carrying an Indian flag which will be placed on the lunar surface when the Moon Impactor Probe lands on the moon during the course of the two-year mission.
"Our baby is on the way to the moon," Chandrayaan-I spacecraft director Mylswamy Annadurai said after the satellite was injected in the Transfer Orbit with a perigee of about 250 km and apogee of about 23,000 km, about 19 minutes.
About 18 minutes after liftoff, Chandrayaan-I separated from the rocket and began circling the earth in an elliptical orbit powered by its own engines.
At opportune moments, space scientists tracking the mission will fire the spacecraft's Liquid Apogee Motors (LAM) repeatedly to take it into more elliptical orbits.
Subsequently, the LAM would be again fired to take the spacecraft till it reaches 387,000 km from earth which is called the Lunar Transfer Orbit (LTO).
After Chandrayaan-1 reaches the LTO, its LAM would be fired again so as to slow down the spacecraft sufficiently to enable the gravity of the moon to capture it into an elliptical orbit.
The next step would be to reduce the height of the spacecraft orbit around the moon in various steps.
After some more procedures, Chandrayaan-1's orbit would be finally lowered to its intended 100 km height from the lunar surface, which is expected to take place around November 8.
Later, the Moon Impact Probe would be ejected from Chandrayaan-1 in a chosen area following which the cameras and other payloads would be turned on and thoroughly tested, marking the operational phase of the mission.
The MIP will not survive the fall but demonstrate technologies for a future soft-landing mission. During its crash on the lunar surface, the MIP will send high resolution images of the moon and also analyse terrain.
Of the 11 instruments carried by the satellite, five are Indian, three are from the European Space Agency, two from the US -- including a radar that can search for ice under lunar poles -- and one from Bulgaria .
Beyond 3-D mapping the moon and scanning for mineral deposits, the mission will test systems for a future moon landing
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
Thursday, August 7, 2008
Sunday, August 3, 2008
Sunday, July 27, 2008
It was built by Rev. Garrett in 1884, it was bought by the Maharaja of Mysore, Chamaraja Wodeyar.Now owned by the current scion of the Mysore royal family, Srikanta Datta Narsimharaja Wadiyar. The palace was built in Tudor style architecture with fortified towers, battlements and turrets.
The ground floor consists of an open courtyard containing granite seats covered with fluorescent blue ceramic tiles.
The first floor containing an elaborate hall called as the Durbar Hall can be reached by climbing a decorated staircase. This is the hall where the king used to address the assembly. The walls along the Durbar Hall are adorned with paintings and the staircase has a massive elephant head mounted on its wall. After climbing the stairs we find the photograph of the king on his golden throne in the Mysore palace, which is taken out only during the Dassera festivities.
After that we enter the elegant Durbar hall with its magneficient chandlers, and beautifully ornamented mirrors. One side of the Durbar hall contains stained glass windows in Gothic style. The colour yellow is used profusely and the walls and the sofa set in the hall are in yellow. A screen on one end separates the area where the ladies used to sit and watch the assembly proceedings in relative privacy.
The interior walls of the palace are also adorned by old paintings belonging to the mid-19th century, including some Greek and Dutch paintings.Some paintings of Raja Ravi Verma are also present here.
Some of the other attractions include a dining table belonging to the Diwan of Mysore, Sir Mirza Ismail. This table contained a mother-of-pearl inlay with Chinese lacquer work.Also the numerous photos of the royal family, depicting the various generations of royality and splendor.
The interiors were decorated with elegant wood carvings, floral motifs, cornices and relief paintings on the ceiling. The furniture, which was neo-classical, Victorian and Edwardian in style, was bought from John Roberts and Lazarus. A total of 35 rooms were built in the palace with most of them being bed rooms, which demand our special attention.
The palace is open to the public who can visit it after paying a nominal fee. There are also plans to rent out the ballroom for private parties and also to sell silk scarves, photographs and other articles used by the royal family to the tourists. Illumination of the palace and renovating the gardens using Mexican grass is also being planned.
Another story of how the place got its name is attributed to a story centuries later to the builder of the temple which stands today.Veerabhadra temple is a notable example of the Vijayanagar style of architecture. A reference is made in the 'Skandapurana' to Lepakshi as one of the hundred and eight important 'Shaiva Kshetras' (shrines). Though the temple of Veerabhadra is claimed to have been constructed by Saint 'Agastya' himself, it was developed into the present exquisite shrine by 'Virupanna', the treasurer of the Vijayanagar Kings.He conceived the idea as he found the image of Veerabhadra.He executed the plan in the absence of the king and used the treasure when he was away at Vijayanagar. When the construction was almost finished and it was being supervised the king returned and found the treasure empty. The king ordered, as a punishment to this heinous crime, that he should be blinded. The treasurer being a loyal person carried out the punishment spot with his own bands. Even today one can see two dark stains upon the wall near the 'Kalyana Mandapa', which are said to be the marks made by his eyes, which he himself dashed against the wall. The builder did not survive for a long time and the village is called "Lepa-akshi Lepakshi", i.e., a village of the blinded eye.
Yet another story goes that in ancient times, the village was used for the preparation of “Akshi Lepam” i.e. eye make-up, hence the name. For those who are content with any version, it is the treasures of Lepakshi that allure one to its sites.
A visit to Lepakshi
Thursday, July 24, 2008
From there we got a bus to Lepakshi, just a 15 min ride in a crowded bus is not that bad. We reached the temple and to our shock we realised that the batteries in our camera were not charged. Since we took 3 sets of batteries with us I tried all combinations and one of them worked so I was not able to get as many pictures as I wished I had. We hired a guide who basically told us the story of how and why the temple was built. Want to read the story? I think you would like it better when a professional told it, and the place also would add to the mystic. but if you are still interested read my next blog, because this one is for my visit only. Now where was I, yes we hired a guide, took the tour. And had some great pictures.
The Temple is built on a turtle shaped hill called 'Kurma Saila' . There are 5 'Lingas' in this place and each one has its own history. One of which was placed by Lord Rama when he found 'Jatayuvu'(A bird which tried to Save Sita). Another was placed there By Lord Hanuma and so on...All these small temples were noted and a huge temple was rebuilt in its place by 'Virupanna' a treasurer of Vijayanagara Kings, when he had a vision from his deity 'Veerabhadra' asking Virupana to build a temple for him.
Story relating to Lepakshi
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
Saturday, July 19, 2008
Coorg was one of the coolest vacation we had since or marriage. The place had such a reputation that we simply HAD to go and we did to celebrate the birthday of my dear hubby.
We started in Banglore at about half past ten by bus in Kempagowda bus stand. Though we searched the net and got a lot of good hotels and homestay reviews we decided we go there and then decide where to stay, so we did not make any reservations.
We reached Madikeri at 5:30 in the morning, but did not know where to go as the sun did not rise yet and it was still cool and foggy, so we stayed in the busstand until there was a little bit of sunlight. There we found that the auto drivers are trying to sell us the idea of a homestay which is consired to be a pretty nice way of staying in coorg, but since its just the two of us in a strange place, we decided we would rather stay somewhere we would feel secure, the ever reliable KSTDC Mayura hotel.
KSTDC Mayura Valley View Hotel: cost us 1200/- per day and the check-in counts from 12 in the afternoon no matter when you arrive.
View of the valley below from our room
view of the small town of Madikeri from our hotel with its charming little cottages
Raja's seat is a small, square 'mantapa' with a commanding view of the valleys and cliffs to the west is an attractive spot for lovers of nature. here we can sit and enjoy the glorious scene of sunrise and sunset as the raja and his consorts did in the past.
There is a beautiful Omkareshwara temple in Madikeri just a 10 min. walk from the Raja's seat.
Abbi Abbi falls
Then we took a local autorickshaw to see the famous Abbi falls. The Madikeri stream, also called Muttaramuttu, falls 21.3m to the huge boulders to a deep rocky valley to form this picturesque waterfalls called (Abbi Falls (abbi means waterfall in kodavatak-a tribal local language). The British called it the Jessey Waterfall in memory of Jessey, the daughter of Madikeri's first chaplain.
A scene of the valley below while returning from Abbi falls
NisargadhamaCauveryEntrance of Kaveri Nisargadham
Road to Tala-Kaveri
The birth place of river Kaveri, is an astoundingly beautiful place which is surrounded by mountains. Talakaveri (head of Cauvery) in the Brahmagiri hills, at about 4,500 ft above sea level. This place is marked by a tirtha kundike or Brahma kundike (small spring/pond) from where the river emerges as a small perennial spring, but flows underground again to emerge a short distance away. It is about 48 kms from Madikeri. There is a shrine near the kundike and a big tank in front of it where devotees baths before offering prayers. There are 2 temples, a Shiva temple and with a rare and ancient Shiva Linga, and another temple dedicated to Lord Ganesha. This temple has a holy Ashwantha tree where, according to legend, the Trimurtis - Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh gave darshan to sage Agastya.
Legends also has it that every year on Tulasankramana day (approximately on 17 October) Goddess Parvati appears in the Kundike as the sacred teerthodbhava. This occasion is marked by the sudden unsurge of water in the kundike and is considered very auspicious
From Talakaveri, steps lead up to the nearby Brahmagri peak, where the 7 great sages called the Sapta Maharishis had performed a special yagna. From the peak, as well as on the drive to Talakaveri, tourists can enjoy a good view of the misty blue Brahmagiri hills.