Mylapore – ‘Land of the peacock scream’

Mylapore is a locality in the southern Chennai. It is famous for many reasons and one among them is Kapaleeshwarar temple. The temple was built in the 7th century by the Pallavas. But there is huge debate about who built this temple and about the actual location of the temple. Visit Wikipedia to know more about Mylapore.

I had gone for a photo-walk with my colleagues, I would rather say, friends. We walked in and around the temple and the market nearby to click some good photographs.

Above is the tallest Gopuram (Rajagopuram) of the temple.You can see a lot of faces in the Gopuram. The Gopuram consists of thousands of small  structures of Gods and Goddesses. It is a wonder that these were built in the 7th century where there was no special technology.

The temple has been renovated recently and vibrant colors give a magnificent look to the Gopuras. Young people in the right age to wed are brought here by their parents and are allowed to talk to their would-be wife/husband to share their thoughts before their wedding. Once they are happy with each other, they proceed with the wedding preparations. This is an ongoing custom for so many years now.

Temple being the place of worship for Hindus, people light small oil lamps praying their wishes to the God. They believe this brings light into their life and ultimately prosperity and happiness.

Kodimaram (Flag Post) are seen in temples here mainly in South India. These flag posts are made up of wood and covered with brass coated with gold. The height of the flag post nearly matches the tallest gopuram (Rajagopuram) in the temple. These flag posts are used to hoist flags during the festivals.

There is a temple pond adjacent to the temple. This water body is regularly cleaned and maintained and is an important good water resource in the locality.

We also walked around the local market and spent some good time together. Thanks to my friends for being with me that evening. One more picture of the market to share with you all.


Flowers – Faces of Nature!

“Earth laughs in flowers” said Ralph Waldo Emerson. Flowers are the faces of the Nature. It appears like nature smiles/laughs through each flower. Each flower uniquely expresses a feeling. Some flowers look like they are smiling at you and give you a hearty joy and some are even poisonous. Flowers are widely used for various purposes. Be it a wedding or a funeral, you shall find so many flowers. They add peace to the surrounding.

The above flower belongs to the Asteraceae family which also consists of daisies and sunflowers. This flower plant has a long thin stem with a widely spread yellow flower. There are also white and red shades of these flowers.

Hibiscus is a very commonly found flower in India. It is grown on most of the households and and is mostly used as offerings to Hindu Gods. These flowers are also used to make oil which is believed to aid growth of your hair. There are also white and white-red mixed shades of these flowers.

Allamanda is tropical shrub also knows as Golden Trumpet or Yellow Bell. They are native to Central and South America. However, these flowers are available in India as well as my house.

The City of Canóvanas in the Caribbean Island of Puerto Rico, has named the Allamanda Carthica (Yellow Bell) it’s official flower/plant due to the vast amount of these through the entire city and it’s rivers. It’s also in their seal and downtown plaza.

One more picture of an unknown flower to share with you all.

Dakshinchitra – A Cultural & Traditional Potpourri!

Dakshinchitra is a center of all south Indian cultures, traditions, arts, craft and architecture. It is a project by Madras Craft Foundation. This is located in the outskirts of Chennai along the East Coast road (well-known as ECR). You will have to take a 30-minute drive to the place from the center of Chennai.

You can visit their website, Dakshinchitra, to know about the events, location and timings. You can also download application forms to enroll into their performing arts programs. Sharing some pictures of the place.

The above picture shows the Chettinadu house. Houses on this style are very common in Tanjore, Karaikudi and surrounding southern districts of Tamil Nadu, India.

The pillars are made of teak wood and sport minute details carved out of single piece of wood.

The Kerala house (shown above) resembles the exact architectural style from the South Indian state “Kerala”, known as God’s own country.

Lamps are an important and integral part of the Hindu traditions. Kerala has an exquisite collection of lamps.

The place also has the interesting architecture of Karnataka and Hindus from Tamil Nadu. The Hindu house is ventilated with numerous windows, leaving an air-conditioner unnecessary, aiding to high amount of air circulation.

Some pictures of the Karnataka house and other houses from Tamil Nadu.

Pottery and Glass blowing are also demonstrated here. Activities are available for children where they are indulged in creating small pots and building card-board replicas of houses. You can also get a close look at how glass articles are created.

There is a temple of Ayyanar, a Hindu God who is believed to guard villages and towns. The temple is built-in such a way that it strictly resembles the temples from southern states of Tamil Nadu.

Mahabalipuram, a 7th century port city

Mahabalipuram (Mamallapuram) is a port city near Chennai, TN, India. Mahabalipuram was a 7th century port city of the South Indian dynasty of the Pallavas around 60 km south from the city of Chennai in Tamil Nadu. The name Mamallapuram is believed to have been given after the Pallava king Narasimhavarman I, who took on the epithet Maha-malla (great wrestler), as the favourite sport of the Pallavas was wrestling. It has various historic monuments built largely between the 7th and the 9th centuries, and has been classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. For more information about the place, please visit the Wikipedia page

Courtesy: Wikipedia

Mahabalipuram was my first one-day tour with my DSLR. The 60-kilometer drive by motorcycle was a nice experience in the early morning. After reaching, my friends and I walked straight to the shore temple.

The clouds were beautiful that day and the cool breeze from the sea was very soothing and pleasant. I tried out some uncommon angles and got some cool pictures.

The below picture shows the “Butter Ball” at Mahabalipuram. Wikitravel quotes “Krishna’s Butterball is a giant natural rock perched on a hillside, seemingly in defiance of all laws of physics—it’s a common sight to see visitors placing hands under the stone posing for pics, which looks as though they are holding it! The rock provides welcome shade if you dare to sit underneath it, and local kids have discovered that the slippery nearby hillside also makes a great natural slide.”

It is told that British rulers, when they had occupied and ruled Mahabalipuram, tried to move the Butter Ball using huge ships and failed to move it by an inch. This amazing natural rock simply leaves us all in awe.

Some more pictures to share with you all!

The below picture shows the Pancha Rathas (Five Raths), a monolith rock-cut temple from the late 7th century. The five monolithic temples are named after the Pandavas (Arjuna, Bhima, Yudhishtra, Nakula and Sahadeva) and Draupadi known from the Mahabharata, an ancient Sanskrit epic of India. It is not possible to cover all the five raths in a single frame.

Below picture is one of the Pancha Rathas.

A Beginning!

“Well begun is half well done” is a very common saying. The very first picture taken with my DSLR is the one below. I touched my camera very eager and desperate to click the first photograph. I happened to take my first picture at the Pallavaram fly-over in Chennai. The simple time-variant shot gave me a perfectly exposed picture for a novice. I still cherish the beautiful red and yellow lines drawn all over this picture. Thanks to Jaggy who was with me guiding.