June 05, 2008
Weekend Adventure: Mounica
May 23rd till June 5, 2008
Finally, I have internet access again! It feels so good. For the past few weeks, Jane and I have been working at the Karantaka State Pollution Control Board and we haven’t be able to get access to internet except for 15 to 30 minutes in the SVARAJ office before we head off to work. And to make matters worse, Jane and I have to share one internet connection for that 15 to 30 minutes which usually gives me barely enough time to write a few hurried responses to some of my urgent emails.
A lot has happened in the past two weeks. We got an opportunity to go on weekend adventures, explore Bangalore in the evenings and go out to eat for dinner. But first I’ll start talking about Tirupathi.
We went to Triupathi two weekends ago. We took an air conditioned chartered bus at 1:30 and arrived in Tirupathi at 8:30. It was imperative that the bus was air conditioned, I think I would have suffocated from the heat had it not been. It took us about one hour just to get through the congested city traffic of Bangalore but after that all I saw was wide open plains dotted with palm trees and rolling hills in the distant horizon. Jane fell asleep a few moments after the bus started rolling and was sleeping for most of the trip (b/c of her motion sickness) so my only diversion was to watch the scenery outside. As we moved from the state of Karnataka into Andhra Pradesh, the flat landscape turned into a hilly, rocky terrain. Also, I started being able to read the signs on the side of the road as we transitioned from Kannada to Telugu.
When we finally arrived at Tirupathi, we could see that the temple and the walkway up the mountain to the temple was lit up with bright white, blue and yellow fluorescent lights.
It was muggy and humid, weather that we have yet to encounter here in the more temperate Bangalore. My cousin picked us up from the airport at the foot of the mountain and we drove up to the top through a winding, stomach churning, narrow road. The driver had to honk his horn every time we made one of the sharp, blind turns to ensure that we wouldn’t interfere with oncoming traffic. By the time we reached the top, met up with my aunts and found a restaurant to eat dinner at, it was past 10. I ordered a dosa for dinner. A dosa is like a paper thin, savory and crispy crepe that is served with spicy chutneys and a lentil soup. My dosa was wrapped up like an upside down ice cream cone and it looked very whimsical. After dinner, my cousin, Jane and I explored some of the shops in the area and got home a little past midnight.
We woke up at about four in the morning so that we could make our “darshan” time in the temple. We arrived at the temple at around 5:30 or 6 and were able to get through the queue very quickly. For the walk from our hotel to the temple we weren’t allowed to wear any shoes because we were on sacred ground. All my relatives went barefoot but Jane and I were too squeamish so we wore socks. Our wait in the line to get into the temple was extremely short, we had to wait less than an hour to get into the temple, but there was so much jostling and pushing. Even at 5 in the morning, the temple was overflowing with people waiting in line for a darshan.
The central chamber, which houses the statue of Lord Venkateshwara, is entirely made of gold that is intricately decorated with floral and abstract designs. It was so beautiful but I couldn’t take a picture of it because cameras and cell phones are strictly prohibited on temple premises.
After going to the temple, we visited another holy site that is uphill from the temple itself. It is called “ Sri Vari Padalu” and it is where Lord Venkateshwara was supposed to have set foot on Earth. The site is marked by two stone carved feet decorated with yellow turmeric and bright red kumum. The carving is protected by a stone pavilion while looks out onto a beautiful view of the seven rolling hills that surround Tirupathi. This was my favorite part of the Tirupathi visit, especially because this site wasn’t very crowded or overflowing with people.
As soon as it began, our Tirupathi trip was over, we had to get on a bus to head back home at about 11:30 in the morning. We arrived back in Bangalore at 5:30/6 and started unpacking.
After coming back, we had to collect our second set of water samples from Veerapura Lake, the Industrial area and the village and begin our analysis. The analysis of the second set went surprisingly fast. Jane and I worked very quickly and with the help and guidance of our supervisor at the PCB we were able to finish the analysis within approximately four days. This also gave us some free time to go explore Bangalore on the weekend. This past weekend we went to Lal Bagh gardens. Lal Bagh mean “Red Gardens”, nothing about the gardens was very red but one has to assume that when they were originally commissioned by the Mughal ruler Hyder ali, the gardens were red. Some of the attractions of Lal Bagh include the green lotus ponds, the giant clock, the glass house, etc. I was most excited to see the lotus ponds, lotuses are my favorite flower. I wanted to pick a lotus from the pond but I was stopped by the knee deep mud that I would have to wade through. Luckily, as we walked through the garden I found a lotus that had been thrown away near the foot path. We also saw banyan trees, eucalyptus trees, palms, a rose garden, bamboo, etc.
PS: Happy World Environment Day!
You can look at pictures of Lal Bagh and Tirupathi at :
Posted by mounicav at June 5, 2008 03:03 AM
Wearing socks seems like it might actually be worse in some ways (wet socks are worse than wet feet as far as I'm concerned).
I remember getting a dosa folded into that same shape once.. but I can't remember if it was in Tirupathi. However, I do remember the view from Sri Vari Padalu.
Oh yeah, your "Monkey on the roof top" picture caption is just asking for trouble, but I'll be nice hehe.
Posted by: rajeswar at June 7, 2008 07:07 PMLogin to leave a comment. Create a new account.