Tag Archives: Weekly Image of Life

Weekly Photo Challenge: Thankful

“Be Thankful for what you have, you’ll end up having more…”- Oprah Winfrey

A recent Diwali party organised by the American Chamber of Commerce had the usual cultural events of song and dance .

Usual? Not quite!  The group of dancers ( performing Bharatnatyam- a South Indian classical form) were disabled  – some deaf and some blind.

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I was surprised at first, then impressed and later thankful.

Thankful for what I have –  a lovely family and a healthy normal life to be able to do the things that I love to do – time with friends and family, travel, read and blog!

Visit the Daily Post for other interpretations of ‘Thankful’. Happy Thanksgiving weekend!


Weekly Image of Life: I am Thankful for..

Elephant Procession

The streets are decorated with colorful lights, women have adorned the houses with flowers and festive ornaments and children are enjoying the start of the 2-week school break. Today is the first day of the ten day Dasara festival in India. (you can find a detailed post about the festival  here)

Mysore, one of the popular tourist destinations in the Southern India, is also famous for the Dasara festivities. The Mysore Dasara, a 400 year old tradition, attracts large numbers of tourists, including foreigners . The major attraction is the  Grand procession that takes place on Vijayadashami, the 10th day. Horses, camels, colorful tableaux carrying music and dance groups and decorated elephants form a part of the procession.

Image from bangalorebeats.com

The elephants, usually 12 in all, play a vital role in this procession. The lead elephant carries the 750 kg ‘golden Howdah’, a wide 2-seater carrier made of gold, which originally  carried the King and Queen of Mysore. Since the abolishment of royalty, the idol of the goddess Chamundeshwari is carried on the Howdah.

The elephants are brought to the city of Mysore from their home base, Nagarhole national park, about a month and a half before the festival. A run through of the 5 km route is performed daily and 4 elephants are trained to carry sandbags weighing 750 kg, the weight of the howdah. At their home base, their staple diet is a mixture of ragi (finger millet) and horse gram. But when they reach Mysore, they are fed a calorie-rich diet of wheat, boiled rice, vegetables, and lentils laced with butter twice a day, apart from coconut, jaggery, and sugarcane for snack!!

This year, there is some speculation as to which elephant will lead the procession. The local favourite and celebrity , 54 year old Balarama, who has been carrying the Howdah since 1999, has got people worried about his fitness as he has lost weight(down to 4,500kg  from 4900 kg last year!) and slowed down considerably. The next in line could be Arjuna, a 54 year old elephant, who was the original choice for the lead elephant, but side lined in favour of Balarama after he trampled a mahout (caretaker) in 1997. He is supposed to be calmer now and is in the reckoning as he is stronger and heavier- by 1000kg- than Balarama!!

On 24th October, Vijayadashami day, all eyes will be on Balarama- will he continue in his customary role or will he have to take a backseat? We have to wait and watch as the final decision can be taken even hours before the event starts.


Weekly Image of Life: October Magic

Official website of Mysore Dasara

Balarama, the Elephant(Wikipedia)

Discovery of a temple’s history

Last week, I travelled to a temple, about 3 hrs from the city, with my mom’s family. I’m not much of a temple person; the only reason to go is if the temple has a unique history or beautiful architecture. This temple, I discovered had an abundance of both.

It is located amidst  scenic rural countryside, where one could breathe fresh unpolluted air.

Like every major temple in South India, there is a water-tank known as ‘Kalyani’. This Kalyani  is a large picturesque one, which I discovered is a popular location for filming regional movies. That very day, there were artists dressed up in costume, waiting for the filming of a TV serial to begin!

The temple is situated on a hillock with 400 easily mountable stone steps winding their way up to the crest. One of the unique features of the temple is that it offers a ritual wherein one breaks coconuts on every single step leading to the summit, as a form of thanksgiving.As the youngest cousin in the family had just been married, the family had undertaken this special ritual.

Halfway up, we acquired an audience of monkeys and goats, and I discovered that while they didn’t like the pulp of the coconut, they relished the coconut water flowing down the steps.

I discovered that the temple has an interesting legend. According to this, the temple was installed by a famous character in Hindu Mythology, which would make it a few hundred thousand years old! Unbelievable, but interesting!

Documented texts though show that the temple is around 900 years old and built by one of the most revered spiritual leaders of South Indian Hindu philosophy.

The summit proffered us panoramic views of the town, with lush green fields and shadows of hills in the distance.

The entire temple is built in stone and has beautifully carved figures all around. In all, it was a trip filled with aesthetic and spiritual discoveries!

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Weekly Image of life: Discovery

Exciting Escape: Camping at a high altitude lake!

The word ‘Camping’ brings to mind images of a warm crackling campfire, roasting marshmallows and scary stories. But there was none of this at our camp, ‘Pangong Serai’ at the Pangong   Lake, situated in the Himalayas at an altitude of 14,000 ft.

Our journey to this exquisite lake, a 6 hour drive from Leh, was a difficult, yet memorable one. The dramatic and treacherous roads, wedged between walls of snow traverse the Changla Pass, which at 5200 m or 17,000 feet is one of three highest motorable roads in the world. Braving altitude sickness; we stopped here to have a mandatory snack of hot Maggi noodles, a perfect antidote to the icy wind that was blowing. Though it was supposed to be summer, we were freezing in our shoes. We were advised to stop here for not more than 20 mins, and so moved on quickly.

From then on, the road dropped steadily, with hair-pin bends and tricky curves   through wide valleys. Some of us were sick with nausea, some with headaches and others were tottering somewhere in between! After what seemed like an endless drive, the Pangong Lake bestowed on us, a glimpse of its turquoise blue waters.

Tired and hungry, we headed to the camp site first. Comfortable beds, attached toilet and great food (only the meat-eaters were disappointed as the inclement weather was not conducive to raising cattle or poultry).We were the very first guests at the Pangong
Serai, so the camp operators didn’t leave any stone unturned in their hospitality! The few who had survived the journey went to explore the place while the rest of us decided to nurse our headaches and migraines.

By sunset, strong winds were blowing! All attempts to get a campfire going went in vain as no firewood could be found and the gusty winds weren’t favourable for a campfire too! According to the weather forecast, the temperature would drop below zero for the night. So to insulate us from the cold, we were given 2 quilts that weighed a ton and a hot water bag. The roaring winds shook our tents like waving flags and threatened to blow away our beds.

When we asked one of the workers if the tents ever blew away, he replied, “Yes, ma’m, occasionally a tent or 2 does get blown away”.  I couldn’t tell if he was joking and I spent the next few hours lying awake in bed trying to come up with strategies in the event of our tent or worse the cots flew away. But I was soon lulled to sleep by the rhythmic rocking of the cots and woke up to a calm and placid morning.

The sparkling waters surrounded by striking black-brown mountains created a magical feel, dispelling our travel woes. It was an enchanting sight with the waters changing colour with the changing position of the sun and the stark mountains that looked like a painting in the backdrop. After an extended photo-shoot of the heavenly view of the cerulean waters and mystical mountains, we set out, with heavy hearts, to return to our hotel in Leh.

This is one camping trip, I would love to return to, even though there were no marshmallows or campfire or scary stories!


Weekly Image of Life: Exciting Escape

Musical Passions!

Nothing great in the world has ever been accomplished without passion.
Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel

It is said that no man has lived if he hasn’t had a passion. It is what keeps us going, day after day, during difficult times or dreary days.

Most of us are passionate about our families, treasuring the precious moments spent with our children, parents and even extended families. These moments gain more significance as we see the canopies of our family tree thinning with time.

There are many who are also passionate about their work or hobby such as gardening or writing. Travelling and exploring a new place is another passion most of us enjoy.

But there’s another thing that I consider as a passion, which I don’t actively participate in, but has been a constant force in my life.


I was inculcated into this wonderful world at a young age by my parents. Though my attempts to learn Indian classical singing were shaky and I later regretted not pursuing it seriously, it gave me the ear to appreciate good music, no matter what language or country it came from.

I turn to music for inspiration when I’m at my wit’s end, for refuge when I ‘m down and for strength when I’m troubled.

It is also another bond that ties our family together. I was pleasantly surprised to find that my husband and I had similar taste in music. We  listen and hum to the same tunes as we drive, cook or go about our daily chores.

And I ‘m thrilled to see my kids share this passion too! Our house is filled with several musical instruments that they are learning to play and as I see their joy after they’ve perfected a tune, I know that it will also be an important part of their lives .

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