Sunday, January 29, 2006

A Date with Cholas

If Kalki can inspire three guys to go in search of Chola history even fifty years after the completion of his work, "Ponniyin Selvan", then he is truly the man who defied death('Amarar').

The three guys were none other than myself, Srivathsan and Prabhakar. Over the long weekend we had been to the South to witness the magnitude of the Chola constructions.

There's enough information about the Brihadeeswara temple in the world wide web. The beauty of the temple is that, it is not as dilapidated as some of the other Chola constructions. Barring a few, most of the sculptures on the walls and the inscriptions are clear. Hats off to the Archealogical Survey of India for doing a great job in preserving the heritage.

Our primary aim was to find the name of the "Ponniyin Selvan" hero Vanthiyathevan's name in the inscriptions. Seems like his name has been inscribed on the South side walls. Srivathsan had done some homework about the fonts of those centuries and with the help of that we were able to identify the letters from the walls which initally appeared to be the notebook of a Pre-KG kid. But our efforts were in vain.

We went here only out of my curiosity to see Swami Thyagaraja's samadhi. The samadhi is located in a beautiful place alongside the river Kaveri. The ambience(if one ignores the faint stink) brings an unexplainable feeling of divinty which is just apt to recite Carnatic music.

There is a huge temple dedicated to Lord Shiva here. We couldn't much trace the history of this temple. But it is second to none in its enormity. It is said that Lord Shiva appeared in front of "Appar perumaan", one of the famous Naayanmaars in this temple when the latter was taking his holy dip in the temple tank.

We went there after having heard that the moolavar at Rajagopala Swamy temple is very beautiful. From what we could observed we guessed that this temple as we see today was not built by a single king. The pillars were dissimilar with each other and at some places the original walls were plastered and white washed.

The Thyagaraja Swamy temple here also had a few inscriptions on the inner compound walls, and by this time we were able to identify most of the letters. Although we identified several words, we couldn't form meaningful sentences or phrases with them.

This place is very close to Kumbakonam and so far this remains the best temple we had ever seen. This temple was built by King Raja Raja II who ruled from 1150 AD. Not a single stone resembles the style of his forefathers' temples.

If Raja Raja I and Rajendra had built temples with sculptures packed on the walls, Raja Raja II had gone a step further and even decorated the windows and roofs with sculptures. The Nayakkar kings of the 17th century had filled the temple with sand upto three feet and painted the sculptures in the main Vimanam. Once again ASI had done a great job in reclaiming the temple and restoring its originality.

Gangai Konda Cholapuram:
This was my second visit here. This is the most eroded and damaged of the three Chola temples. Most of the original walls are not be seen and what we see today are made of mere stone blocks. ASI is doing some renovation here.

Still the main vimanam is very majestic. The sculptures here look very very handsome.

We missed out on another Chola temple built by Kulothunga III at Thiribhuvanam. Decoding the inscriptions and the sculptures is very interesting. Srivathsan has captured the inscriptions of the entire wall on the Southern side and we hope to identify "Vanthiyathevan" very soon.

Prabhakar has taken pictures that could amount to GBs. Will upload the best among them later.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

I wonder why - 3


Person 1: Why are you so dull?
Person 2: I am not feeling well
Person 1: I think you should quit smoking
Person 2: Yeah. How long am I going to smoke? I will give up once I get married.

I wonder why people confuse between a relationship and a habit. What has smoking got to do with getting married?

If he smokes because he likes it, why should he give up for a woman. Or in case he wants to quit smoking at some point of time, then why continue till marriage. Does that girl have no other work other than changing his habits?

Chinna puLLa thanamaa illa irukku???? Statutory warning padichi thirundha maattaanga, aana kalyanam aachunna thirundhidu vaangaLa???? Enna kodumai da idhu.

Saturday, January 21, 2006


Ladies Foot rest for my bike - Price Rs.70/-
And the ride that I missed
b'cos my bike didn't have one - Priceless

There are certain things that this bike is not destined to....
For everything else there is...........Fiero F2

Wednesday, January 18, 2006



Majbooth ka jod,tootega nahin

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

I wonder why - 2

Has anyone listened what the holy person talks in the TV on Deepavali, Pongal, Vinayakar Chathurthi mornings. For nearly a decade now I have noticed the same person appear on all these days and I seriously doubt if the same program has been re-telecast over the years.

In a similar vein, has anyone listened to atleast a word of what the national leaders say in their greeting message on the eve of festivals and occasions. I wonder why the news channels waste their time in conveying these messages as though the entire nation is dying to hear them.


Friday, January 13, 2006

Festivals and Films

The distant sounds of the small drums used on Bogi Pongal instantly brought memories of a famous film. On a second thought, I felt that most of the festivals or occasions remind me of some song or a movie. Here's the list

New Year:
'ILamai Idho Idho' - Sagalakalaa Vallavan.
Who can forget that bike stunt and Raja's superb music. One of my college seniors used to sing it just like the original

Bogi Pongal:
Thalapathi......Need I say anything more

'Pongudhu pongudhu paalum pongudhu' - Mahanadhi

Maattu Pongal:
Murattu KaaLai - the jalli kattu and following song 'Podhuvaaga en manasu thangam'...ippa paathalum whistle adikkanum pola irukkum

Valentine's day:
Vivek's comedy - where we wears a green shirt to signify that he is available. I think the movie is "Kannedhire Thondrinaal"

'Andhi Mazhai Megam' - Naayagan

Vinaayagar Chathurthi:
'Vinaayagane vinay theerpavaney' song sung by Seergazhi Govindarajan. Margazhi maasam mattrum Vinayaga Chathurthi appo ellam enga oorula indha paattu thaan loud speaker-la poduvaanga

Aadi Maasam:
'108 amman' song from Purusha Latchanam. For those who cannot recollect its the song where Kushboo prays for Jayaram

Ayudha Pooja:
'Naan auto kaaran' - Basha

'Raghavane ramana raghu raja' - ILamai KaalangaL.
Although 'Paada vandhadho gaanam' is my favourite in this movie, this song reminds me of navarathri golu.

'Unnai kandu naan aada' - Kalyaana Parisu

Kaarthigai Deepam:
'DeebangaL ettrum idhu karthigai maasam' - Devadhai (Vineeth and Keerthi Reddy). Its a beautiful song by Raja.

'Devanin Kovililey yaavarum deepangaLey' - Vellai Roja.
DD has telecast that song from time immemorial for Christmas, that the song now reminds me of Christmas.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

What to do????

What to do with those managers, who take their subordinates' time for granted and those senior managers, who have a misconception that people staying late are hard workers.

When are these people going to get professional???

Monday, January 09, 2006

Dakshin Chitra

Dakshin Chitra is a heritage centre next to MGM Dizee World along the ECR.

Here one can find the traditional South Indian houses of different styles. These houses have been aesthetically recreated using the original materials. It is said that the parts of the original houses were dismantled from their places and re-constructed here.The people of Dakshin Chitra also conduct cultural events pertaining to Southern states, organise craft workshops.

The entire place is divided into 4 different sections, one for each state. Tamil Nadu and Kerala style houses account for about 80% of the houses with the rest 20% being shared by the other 2 South Indian states.

wall_painting aiyyanaar

Wall painting found in one of the houses and Aiyyanaar temple

Something that impressed me during my last week's visit was the puppet show. The puppet show is performed on all weekends, once every hour starting from 11am. It is only of 10 minutes duration but the puppeteer who performs behind the screen is immensely talented. He handles upto 3 puppets, modulates his voice differently for each character and at the same time plays the drum for background music. Sometimes he throws one of the puppets on the air and catches them without the puppets moving away from the screen.

puppet_show show_man
Puppet Show and Puppeteer

The lady who applies mehndi seemed to interest one of my colleagues. I heard from another 65 year old visitor that palm reader here is spot on with her predictions. (why risk it??). Apart from all these they also sell tasteful handicrafts from the southern states.

cart chariot
Bullock cart and a chariot

Dakshin Chitra took us through a small journey to various country sides of the south and by the time I saw the watch, I had spent half a day of otherwise boring saturday.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Ladies Special

Myself and Lokesh had been to a fashion jewellery shop last week, to get some gifts for his sister. My god!!!!how many accessories and varieties do they have???? It took us a long time to choose a pair of earrings and a pendant.

I feel that it is not totally fair to blame the women for their indecisiveness and long shopping hours. With so many tempting choices around, I think they are bound to get greedy.

At the same time, I wonder how my mother has managed without much of these stuff.

Monday, January 02, 2006



My new Sony Ericsson W550. Its look and feel is awesome.

For those who are wondering what the title has to do with the post, it is 550-2100 (my old phone)

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Weekend Darshan - 7

For the new year, I wanted to go as far away from the crowds in the temples of Chennai and Nanganallur in particular. So we headed towards Tiruneermalai and from there on went to Manimangalam.

Tiruneermalai is near Pallavaram. This place is one among 108 divya desams. There are two temples, one on top of a small hill and the other at the foot of it. One special aspect of this temple is that the Lord can be seen in four different positions vis Nindra, Irundha, Kidandha and Nadantha Tirukkolams. More info abt the temple here

Neervannar2 aerial_view
Neervanna Perumal temple and its aerial view from the hill

From there we went to Manimangalam. It is about 10kms from Tambaram. To reach here take the right from NH 45 near Vandalur. After travelling for some 4-5kms there is a right which takes to Manimangalam.

This place has got lots of historic importance. The temples here depict Pallava and Chola architecture. More about Manimangalam's history here.

We could find three temples here which date back to 950AD. One is dedicated to Lord Shiva. Narayanan sir once told me that there is a secret underground passage in this temple that goes to Somangalam, a nearby place. Not sure about that.

Manimangalam rgswamy_temple2
Rajagopala Swamy temple (main and side view)

There is a Vaikunta Perumal Temple which is in a dilapidated state. The pick of the three is the Raja Gopala Perumal temple, which is supposed to be built by Mamalla after his victory over Chalukyan monarch, Pulikesin II.

Mandapam for Urchavam

Notable feature in this temple is that the Chakra is held by the Lord at a perpendicular angle to symbolise the war. There are a few miniature staues along the side walls of the temple, which are beautifully and expressively carved. They are hardly 10-15cms high.

Dakshinamurthy Narasimhar
A beautiful small statue on the walls. Observe the Chakra being perpendicular in this Narasimhar sculpture

There is a beautiful garden around the temple blooming with roses. Altogether it was great to spend time in a serence ambience.

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