Archive for the ‘tvm’ Category
It was with a sad heart that I wrote a couple of years ago about the fate awaiting Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple. Over the last couple of days, things have taken a decisive turn with the Honourable High Court of Kerala directing the State Government to take immediate steps to form a trust or similar entity to take over control of the temple.
After reading about the judgement, I understood that the current Maharaja or any of the future Maharajas are not supposed to be in charge of running the show in the temple, and in fact, the Royal Family of Travancore cannot even lay claim to the temple. Though this might be true, one cannot escape but feeling sad at the turn of events, and realizing that the soul of the temple might be undergoing metamorphosis in way that may or may not turn out to be for the good — and that may not be case would be a travesty!
This temple is special (to me and many others) and one of the reasons why it is special has everything to do with the notion that the temple belongs to the Travancore Royal Family. This family has a proud and longstanding tradition of being the custodians of the temple and of course, for taking fantastic care of the temple, barring any allegations of misconduct that might have cropped up in recent years.
It is one of those rare temples that I have been to where you actually feel bhakthi, and where, going to the temple is as a joyful process in itself (as you have to wear a mundu [veshti] and neriyal [uthareeyam/shawl], as opposed to zipping in and out of the temple in either the corporate attire or Jeans and T-shirt or God forbid, shorts, on the way to work or cinema or shopping or whatever). Of course, admittedly even this has got diluted over the last 10 years as you can now get a mundu for darshan if you pay a small charge, not to mention the always crowded hallways and long queues for darshan that I get to see most of the time in recent years.
If you grew up in modern — and dare I say, mostly — commercialized big city environments, you might miss out on the gist of what I am driving at here, and I can even see many having this to say about the whole post: “that is just being nostalgic, and sentiments have no place in business or law or whatever, stupid!”.
At this moment, I can’t help but feel a tad angry — how the minorities are allowed to run their religious institutions as per their culture or heritage or manner (and I have nothing against it) but when it comes to Hindus, the Government has to take care of the temples — directly or indirectly. Of course, there must have been some logic behind the idea when it was formed, and though I can understand how it can be useful for many temples that can’t sustain without that aid and care, I fail to see how and why for a temple like Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple, which has a long history of being well maintained and provided for by the Royal Family, this would be necessary.
May be what we need is some mechanism to have checks and balances – as one of the issues at hand is that there are allegations that the Maharaja is perhaps not doing his best. But I am not sure how this can be reliably implemented.
The most regrettable part of this whole series is how this whole saga might have been kicked off because of petty personal ego clashes – there were a set of people who had [or is it have?] the privilege of having the darshan before the ordinary guys (like me) could go in, and may be some of them were offended by some act of another group or of temple employees. The rest, as they say, is turning out to be history! I don’t know how many people noticed that though it has been almost two decades since the last Maharaja passed away, it is only in the last 4-5 years this issue of who is in charge of the temple or whether the Government should take over the temple has become important.
May Papps (as me and my friends refer to Him fondly) continue to bless us all and ensure better sense prevails, and let us pray that He allows all the great minds involved in this story to come together to find a solution in a way that leaves the soul of the temple untouched. And, if there has been some bad practices — like crap commercialization –introduced in the temple during the last 10-15 years, it can and should be rolled back.
PS: I left my native Trivandrum for my graduation studies in 1995, after spending my first 17 years there and so I am speaking more from my heart than head. Though I visit Trivandrum for a few days every year, I understand it isn’t the same as staying in a place to talk with any authority about the events unfolding.
PS2: I am writing this post after about 18 months, and it took such an extraordinary judgement to wake me out of the slumber. Though I am sad that I neglected this blog for so long, I have been having some interesting learnings and conversations over on Twitter. I hope I get to write more posts more frequently going forward.
We had been to Bangalore over the weekend to meet Harish and his as-yet-unnamed baby. Ramesh had the honour of vising Harish’s a week back, and it was our turn now — me, Preethi, Mahesh and Subru.
We had a great time in Bangalore, though Mahesh (Jakku) could join us only by Saturday night, thanks to Saturday being a working day for him. We met Harish’s baby twice over the two days, on the first day with Subru, and on the second with Jakku.
On Saturday, we had been to the Metro (some real great discounted shopping at the expense of 4 hours and leg pain induced by walking across the sprawling complex), the Iskcon Temple, and of course our good old Adda (to savour yummy Butter Naan and Kaju Masala). This was the first time Preethi was eating their, and she too loved Jakkamma’s Kaju Masala.
On Sunday, we managed to get up really late, leave home late, spend some quality time with the baby again, and meet the good old owner Mami at our ex-Cambridge Layout rented house. After eating an awesome late lunch, we went to the Brand Factory — a nice concept shop where you get branded items at good discounted price throughout the year (Chennai can do with a few of these).
The only regret has been the inability to meet Beeba, Syam and their kid, plus their new home. If you are reading this Beeba, am sorry for not turning up at your place.
Summing up, it was a great trip, and being back in Bangalore with the gang of friends after a gap of an year (longest break in the last 7 years) made it doubly special. To Ramesh and Apple, we did miss you more than once. Hopefully, we would meet again soon for Jakku’s wedding in April.
Lots of pix from the trip here, thanks to SE Cybershot k550i. Low resolution videos from the trip to be posted soon.
We had been to Mysore over a weekend, two weeks back, to attend a wedding. From there we traveled to Kannur to visit Periappa and Periammai. Nothing much to write about the trip — Mysore was simply great and cool. Here are some pix from the trip.
In my previous post on the Lakshadeepam trip to Trivandrum, I had mentioned that there “have been a few controversies surrounding the temple over the last few months”. I didn’t touch upon it since I thought most of the readers would know about what was going on. However, Apple had asked for the details of the controversy, and that sparked this post :).
Well, it is pretty simple, buddy. It all started with a local court delivering a landmark judgement — the Travancore Royal Family cannot lay claim on the temple; the State Government should take a decision on who should administer the temple. On the same day, came the allegation that the State Government is following a hidden agenda against the Hindu places of worship, especially considering the wealth inside the temple.
Then came the news that the State Government is not intending to take over the temple, but would take a decision in consultation with the royal family. The last controversy I heard of involved the Executive Officer — that he is a Christian.
I am sure the temple has seen far better days than this, and I would pray for the future of the temple, since these days humans decide the fate of Gods (sometimes rightly so, though I am not sure about this particular instance!).
If, God forbid, the temple is taken away from the purview of the royal family (who had taken care of this great temple for more than two and a half centuries with utter dedication and devotion, and without reverting to crass commercialization seen in most other big temples), the next best thing to happen would be to have a separate Devaswam or Trust in the mode of Guruvayoor Devaswam.
This would be far better than leaving the administration of the temple to the State run Devaswam Board, especially since it is virtually assured that for five years out of ten, the Government will be run by Atheists. Frankly, I don’t have anything against either the Theists or the Atheists, but it is just not right if one group were to “administer” the activities of the other!
Just in case you are wondering what this fuss about the royal family is all about, read this article in The Hindu to get an insight about why this royal family is different and simple. Travancore is just plain lucky to have had such intelligent and talented rulers taking care of the state.
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We had been to Trivandrum to witness the Lakshadeepam ceremony at the Sree PadmanabhaSwamy Temple on the first day of the Malayalam month of Makaram (Jan 14th, 2008). Lakshadeepam is celebrated once every six years, and I have been pretty lucky not to have missed any one so far except the one in 1978 that took place when I was just a day old! The last two Lakshadeepams (2002 and 2008) were sheer fun and time for reunion with friends and family, especially friends since we had drifted ways after spending quite a long time at the Chottupura Street together as kids.
Day 1 (12-Jan-2008): Arrival at Trivandrum
To begin at the beginning, we (Preethi and me) left Chennai on Fri, 11-Jan-08 to reach Trivandrum by noon of Sat, 12-Jan-08. As is the norm these days, we landed at Reghu’s place where Periamma and Periappa were eagerly awaiting us. While we were having lunch, Rema (my cousin) and Thylu Mami came to Periamma’s place, and we spent some time catching up with them. Later in the afternoon, Rajesh (Rema’s husband) came with their daughter, Aparna. Thus, we met the whole Rema family at Periamma’s place itself.
We had already planned to visit Sarath, Rema and Ananthan that evening, and luckily Harish came along with his car to take us around. He wanted to go to Palayam Hanumar Kovil, and thanks to me, managed to go everywhere else except Palayam.
Sarath and Manju were blessed with a baby girl, Veda, on 14th of December last year, and we decided to go there first. Veda had just been bathed and was in a sleepy mood while we arrived. She was crying as Manju’s (Sarath’s wife) mother handed her to Preethi, but the moment Preethi held her, she stopped crying. After spending a couple of more minutes there, we bid adieu to them, taking the blessings of Sarath’s grandma, who had come visiting him. Harith was looking forward to start the next phase of his career with TATA AIG.
Next stop was Shangumugam beach! We spent some quality time there witnessing the sunset and putting the camera in the SE k550i to good use. Harish had his powerful Konica handy, and he too snapped away, showing us how powerful the zoom in his camera was. Once the sun was set, we decided to not travel to Palayam and decided to go to the Shangumugam Devi temple, just across the road.
Once out of the temple, I told Harish that I wanted to go to Thaliyal where my cousins Rema and Ananthan have moved into their newly constructed homes. I asked Harish to drop me at Ramesh’s place so that I can take his father’s Honda Activa and go to Thaliyal. We had barely reached Ramesh’s place and I was opening the gate that the power went off (it was the last day of load shedding in Trivandrum). Harish then offered to take us to Thaliyal, since he too had to visit his relatives in Karamanai gramam, which is about a km away from Thaliyal.
He dropped us at Thaliyal Junction with a promise to pick us up after 20 minutes. We visited Ananthan’s place first and then went to Rema’s place. This was the first time we were visiting Rema’s newly constructed house. From there, Harish dropped us back at Sir’s place where Mami prepared hot, crispy dosas for us. We spent the rest of the night chatting with Periappa and Periammai till we decided it was time to hit bed. Thus, ended Day 1.
Day 2: My Birthday (13-Jan-2008): Trip to Kanyakumari district
A couple of days before we were to leave for Trivandrum, Harish had floated the idea of visiting the Thiruvattaar Adikesava Perumal Temple during the Lakshadeepam trip to Trivandrum. For the uninitiated, Thiruvattar is a place in the Kanyakumari district, and this temple is very similar to Sree Padmanabha Swamy Temple in Trivandrum, but is centuries older than the latter. Kanyakumari district was part of the erstwhile state of Travancore till the Central Government decided to divide the states on linguistic basis in the 1950s. The Thiruvattar temple was also taken care of by the Travancore Royal Family and even today the festivals in the two temples happen at the same time.
I thought it was a nice way to spend a day, and since there were a few other places in the vicinity — including the Padmanabhapuram Palace and the Waterfalls at Thripparappu that Preethi had never been to — I was more than enthusiasitc about the idea. We discussed the idea with Mahesh and Ramesh, who readily agreed, and so the trip was on, and scheduled for the Sunday (13-Jan-08) which also happened to be my birthday.
However, to complicate things a bit, Mahesh and Ramesh were to arrive in Trivandrum only that morning from Coimbatore and Chennai respectively, and so we had to leave a bit late to ensure that they could also join. Thus, we left by 1000 hrs knowing pretty well that it would be late by the time we would reach back Trivandrum. But, what better way to spend your birthday than with your best buddies (who don’t remember it is your birthday ;) ) on a trip to places you last visited more than 10 years back. This was sure to be a trip worth my while!
On the way, Apple called to wish me on my birthday and while I was answering the call, the gang got to know about the occasion. Talks started about how I should be giving a treat that day and I decided to sponsor the lunch in some five star hotel ;).
We decided to go to Nagercoil first to visit my Chithappa and Chithi. Harish, Mahesh and Ramesh managed to play cricket for a few minutes with the kids on the banks of the Krishnankovil pond. After spending sometime at Chithappa’s place we proceeded to Hotel GauriShankar to eat meals. Luckily, they had only meals and my birthday treat for the six of us (including the driver) plus mineral water cost me a whopping 182 bucks! ;).
From there, we thought it would be wise to visit Padmanabhapuram Palace (PP) first. We reached PP by 1345 hrs and the Palace was closed for lunch break (1300-1400 hrs). PP would be familiar to those who have watched His Highness Abdullah, the great Malayalam movie of the 80s (how time flies!). To properly visit and understand the grandeur of the palace, it would take a whole day, or at least half a day. We compressed the trip to just about 2 hours and were out of the Palace by 4pm, thanks to the rumor that the entrance to the Thripparappu Falls would be closed by 1630 hrs. There is a lot to understand about the architecture and the paintings in the Palace but, we just couldn’t spend enough time there.
By the time we were out of PP, we were tired and thirsty, thanks to the whirlwind tour of the vast palace. If at all you happen to be in this part of the world, there is a wonder drink called “Narnari Sarbath” which would cost you about Rs. 2 per glass. We drank a few glasses each, while Preethi also had a Nungu. From there, we rushed to Thripparappu only to find that the falls would be open till about 1830 hrs.
We swiftly purchased the towels and shorts and climbed down the steps that leads to the Falls. What followed was sheer fun. The whole gang stood under the falls for what seemed like eternity, while poor Preethi became the watch, mobile, specs and wallet bearer ;) (thanks dear). I had never bathed for so long in my life, especially at a waterfall (remember, I visit Courtallam every year). It was a quarter to six by the time we decided to call it a day at the falls. On the way up to the parking lot, we had tea and snacks. Snacks included Milagu Bhajji and Ulli Vada, and I was eating the latter after more than 10 years. Aah! The little pleasures of life!
It was time to move to Thiruvattar, and we reached the Adikesava Perumal Temple by a quarter past six. We rushed inside, had the darshan before they closed the sanctum sanctorum for the evening Deeparadhana. In Kerala, this break can last up to 30 minutes, and we didn’t had the time to wait so long. Ramesh and Mahesh had urgent stuff to do at Trivandrum that evening. So, we had the darshan of the main deity, and also visited the Thiruvambadi (which is being renovated) Krishnan. From there it was back to Trivandrum, and on the way there was a small detour to collect Lakshadeepam entrance pass for Mahesh from some onam kera moola (remote area) of Trivandrum district ;).
We had dinner at Harish’s place (nice, hot Chapathis with Mixed Vegetables curry) that day and from there reached Sir’s place by 2230 hrs to seek his blessings on my birthday. Finally, we reached Reghu’s place by 2300 hrs. Thus, ended a fantastic day — a day all of us would remember for a long, long time to come. We did miss Apple a lot and he later said he missed being there as well, and would have definitely made it to Trivandrum, had he known about our little trip.
Day 3 (14-Jan-2008): Lakshadeepam Day
This was the day for which we had come all the way from Chennai — the day of the Sixth Lakshadeepam (since I was born). I had some work in the morning outside and so rushed out to finish that with Ramesh. Ramesh’s mom had invited the gang (we two, Harish and Mahesh) to have lunch at their place. Before going there we visited Gomathy Mami’s place and my home (to meet the tenants) and then proceeded to Ramesh’s place. Here, we managed to offload the 300 odd pix taken so far in that trip into our pen drive, and free up the space in the phone.
We had a fantastic lunch session there, chatting all the way through lunch. Ramesh’s mom was feeling giddy by the end of it and I would assume she would never make the mistake of inviting all of us together :).
I had some work at the Post Office post lunch, and Mahesh took the group in his car to the North Gate of Sree PadmanabhaSwamy Temple where the Fort P.O. is located. As I was doing my work inside the P.O., Mahesh so graciously got us all cheap cone ice-creams :). So, though we couldn’t make it to Archies this time (despite discussing the possibility each day), we did had ice-cream. We parted ways after deciding to meet at Ramesh’s place at 1730 hrs to go watch the Lakshadeepam Seeveli that night.
We returned back to Ramesh’s place around 1700 hrs and since I had some time, went out to take some snaps of the West Nada of the Sree Padmanabha Swamy Temple and also took some snaps of Sir at his favorite temple — the Kailaseswaram Arasumoodu Ganapathi Temple. I still remember the shabby state that temple was in till Sir decided to take it upon himself to renovate the temple with the help of the Devaswom Board and well wishers.
By 1745 hrs, everyone had gathered at Ramesh’s place and we decided to leave early so that we can watch the Seeveli from our favorite spot — near Thiruvambadi, but facing the West Nada, and just in front of the huge lamp post in the Northern side. We managed to reach inside early enough to find that spot not being taken yet. We sat there for two and half hours, chatting and discussing the events in each other’s lives. We also watched a huge bull (easily 8 feet long) and a horse being ushered into the temple for the Seeveli.
At 2030 hrs, the Seeveli (circumambulation) started in all its traditional gaiety and splendor. We were really lucky to have been there on that day and watch the procession. There have been a few controversies surrounding the temple over the last few months, and for once, everyone forgot all that and immersed themselves in the beauty and sanctity of the Seeveli. The Hindu has a good report of the event. The function was attended by more than 20,000 people.
Aswathi Thirunal Gouri Lakshmi Bayi, of the Travancore Royal family sums it up the best: “It is uncommon to come across a temple which is able to adhere to long established tradition braving the winds of change without compromising on the performance of rites and rituals which are considerable here..This is the only temple in known history which has been fortunate enough to conduct the Laksha Deepam without break from the time of inception of the festival in January 1750 AD“
I must also add that this was one of most well organized Lakshadeepam’s in my memory (which spans the last 4 Lakshadeepams — 2008, 2002, 1996 and 1990). In 1990 I was living in Trivandrum, by 1996 I was at Palghat doing my Engineering, in 2002 I was in Bangalore, and now I am in Chennai. Where will I be in January of 2014? I don’t know! But I would love to be back in Trivandrum for the Lakshadeepam for sure. I was attending a Seeveli after a gap of more than four years and hence it was doubly sweet. This was also the first Seeveli that Preethi was attending (in the temple), and she too liked it a lot. Sunil couldn’t get inside the temple; though he witnessed the event and the fireworks from the Eastern Gate of the temple.
That night we had dinner at Mahesh’s place (good old Sevai and Pulissery with lots of Pappadam) and since we had Ramesh’s bike on loan, we didn’t have trouble moving from Ramesh’s place to Mahesh’s and then from there to Periamma’s house to spend the night.
Day 4 (15-Jan-2008): Pongal Day
This was the day we were to return back to Chennai, and hence I tried my level best to spend as much time at Periamma’s place as I could. However, Ananthan had asked me to have lunch with them on this day, and he promptly called at 0800 hrs to remind me about the same. He had just returned from Guruvayoor after conducting Thulabaram for his three year old son, Bharath. We spent the morning visiting Lakshmi Chithi and going out to buy Banana Chips to take with us to Chennai. I strongly recommend the Chips shop opposite Chennan Potti kadai. It tastes damn good and is fresh too. In fact the last two times, we waited there for 15 minutes to ensure that we get chips fresh out of the oil.
We reached Ananthan’s place for lunch and they had prepared a grand feast. It was unfortunate that we couldn’t eat much since we had to travel that evening. Bharath was just waking up from his sleep once we finished lunch, and after spending a few more minutes there, we left Thaliyal and reached back Periamma’s place. In between we dropped in at Gomathi Mami’s place to collect our dinner for the train :). So, in case you are wondering, I would hardly starve for food in Trivandrum.
We left Trivandrum by Ananthapuri Express that evening, and for the first time in about 10 years I felt a pain while leaving Trivandrum. Is it the nostalgia associated with the place you grew up in? Is it due to the handful of boyhood friends who continue to be one’s dearest even after 20 years? Is it the age that makes me weak and think along these emotional lines? I wouldn’t know, but the fact remains that today, after a week, I miss the place. This has not happened in the last 10 years. I did feel a lot while leaving Trivandrum the first time, way back in 1995, but has never felt like this since. In fact while at the temple, Harish brought the idea of coming back to Trivandrum for good, and we all thought it is a worth-while dream to cherish and look forward to.
Thanks for reading this pretty long post. Take care and be well.
Update1: We didn’t make use of the rather poor video recording in the k550i, but Preethi managed to capture a minute of the action at Thripparappu. You can’t see me, because I was seriously in love with the water (for a change) and you can see Harish rushing towards me at the very end.
As we bid adieu to 2007 and look forward to a what should hopefully be a wonderful 2008, I thought I would break my silence and post an update. So, here is a not so quick wrap up of 2007.
The first three quarters
The biggest event of the first quarter was Harish marrying Vidya on 9th Feb. We (me and Preethi) had a nice time attending his wedding at Bangalore, and it also was an occasion for the Rice Bowl Avenue kids to catch up with each other. We last met during my wedding, but Apple couldn’t make it then, though Raghu was around. This time Apple was around, though Raghu couldn’t make it since he was chilling it out at the Swiss Alpine valley.
The second quarter was full of work, work and more work. I set some awful records as a workaholic during this period. I managed to work for 10 weeks straight without taking even a single day off — most of the time working for 12+ hours per day. This was for creating an Offline version of my product that would talk to Interbase instead of SQL Server. The best part of the design was that we managed to do this with minimal code change to the “data access layer” (that sits inside the UI layer) to talk to Interbase instead of SQL Server, though the existing data access components won’t/can’t talk to Interbase. Once again, the years spend honing up the OOAD skills payed off.
March-April was also the time of the Cricket World Cup, and luckily Indians put up such a pathetic show that I was free to concentrate on work rather than worrying about whether Indians would march into the Semis or the Finals.
The work was tight during the third quarter too, though mercifully not as tight as the second quarter. In May (or early June) Gazoo paid us a visit at home (on the day Shruthi, Subru’s niece turned 1). July saw Ram(kumar) becoming father and we all were happy for Uji and Ram.
August saw us taking a break from work and packing and traveling to Bombay to spend the Independence Day week. We managed to visit Reghu at Pune too during this time. August also saw Ramesh relocating to Chennai, and as a result, we had had some great moments during the rest of the year. None was more joyful than hosting Apple and watching Yuvi hitting six sixes in an over with both of them. This period also saw Indians becoming T20 champions, and that was some consolation, really, after the World Cup debacle.
The Last Quarter
The last quarter was made memorable thanks to another big event — Mahesh getting engaged to Vidya at Trivandrum on 6th Dec. This meant that we now have two Vidyas around and need to devise a way to distinguish the two when both are around :).
Harish and Vidya paid us a visit during Oct end and we had a great time at my place, though it was raining incessantly that day. Another good news during this period was Sarath becoming a father, when Manju gave birth to their daughter Veda on Dec 13th.
We traveled a bit during this period — there were multiple trips to Kerala — a pilgrimage trip to Palghat, Guruvayoor and Kadampuzha during October, and then the trip to attend Mahesh’s engagement three weeks ago. This was my first trip to Trivandrum since attending Harish’s engagement last year, and this marked the longest break between two trips to Trivandum in my life. We had a great time at Trivandrum. We stayed at Reghu’s place (as usual) and managed to pull off quite a few things that we normally couldn’t do earlier.
We managed to pay Papps a proper visit, catch up with all the relatives, roam around a bit with Sir and Mami going to places like Valiyathura Kadalpaalam (a pier; the first time I am going there), watching the sunset at Shankumugam beach and spending the late evening at the Musuem lawns. We had dinner out that night at the Aryaas, and then I manged to take Preethi out at 2100 hrs to The Archies (the best ice-cream parlor bar none in the world known to me and many others). Needless to say, we enjoyed every moment of our stay there ;).
We were privileged to see the return trip from Trivandrum getting screwed thanks to the strike by the Train Drivers in Kerala (haven’t heard about Train Drivers striking before, thought it might have happened before), and that was quite an experience. Luckily we got seats in a dubba Air bus and so managed to reach Chennai on Monday morning and avoid taking any extra leaves.
This time there was no Jiju (who is in US doing his course to become a pilot) in Trivandrum, and that made it a bit different from the normal trips. We managed to meet Sunil for a few minutes as he was in the City for some work.
Through out the year my good old Nokia 3200’s battery was giving lots of trouble (the original piece from circa 2003) and when we went enquiring for a new battery, we came to know that Nokia has stopped producing the battery model that was in 3200. The new ones don’t quite fit, and so the only option was to go in for a duplicate. So, I decided to exchange it for a new one, and finally exchanged it for a brand new Sony Ericsson k550i Cybershot. It comes with cool set of features at a good price — a good 2MP outdoor camera and an awesome audio player — for 8k.
Subru was in Chennai for about 10 days during the last two weeks, and we had a nice time roaming around in R.A.Puram and generally catching up with the events in each other’s lives. We also took some nice snaps during this period.
Yesterday we visited Ramesh’s place in Thiruvanmiyur and went to the Thiruvanmiyur beach too, and there are some snaps of his house in there, and Preethi just loved the oonjal. It is a pretty decent house situated amidst lots of greenery, and that is good thing to have in a hot place like Chennai.
Thanks for reading thus far, and have a fantastic 2008 ahead, and please start using Mozilla Firefox and Google Reader, if you haven’t yet. It will change the way you think of and approach the web for sure.
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As promised in the post in which I shared the marriage photos (or whatever is available as of now), it is time I shared the honeymoon photos [slideshow]. Wait! don’t click that previous link. A better way to watch them would be to read through the post, clicking the links provided below which are about specific places. That would be more convenient. I have provided links for opening the slideshow alongside.
To begin at the begining, we came back to Chennai (after marriage) on 09/11 by AirDeccan. Then on 09/14, we took the AirDeccan flight to Trivandrum where we stayed in a hotel [slideshow] for that night. On 09/15 we started our honeymoon trip by travelling to Alappey [slideshow] in a cab that stayed with us till the end of the trip. We boarded the houseboat arranged for us for about 22 hours. Needless to say, we had a splendid time [slideshow] in the boat roaming around the backwaters. It was absolute bliss!
On 09/16 we got out of the boat and travelled to Thekkady [slideshow], where we spend a couple of days/nights. We had a great time at Thekkady [slideshow]. We had a nice trip in the boat ride through the Periyar, though we were distinctly unlucky to miss meeting any elephant herds up close.
On 09/18 we left Thekkady and travelled to Munnar [slideshow], where we spend about 4 days/nights. Munnar was superb [slideshow] on days one and two. But on the third day it started raining and since we found Munnar (itself) to be very cold and since both of us kinda fell sick at Munnar, we decided to drop the Kodaikanal leg that was there in the actual plan). So we couldn’t watch the Kurinji flowers blooming on the way to Kodai.
Instead we extended the stay in Munnar by one more day and returned to Trivandrum [slideshow] on 09/22 where we spend the next two days receiving first my parents (on 09/23) and Preethi’s parents (on 09/24). We also used these two days to visit Papps temple, Saraswathi Amman and the Shangumugam beach [slideshow], not to mention catching up with friends and relatives [slideshow].
The two sets of parents reached Trivandrum so that we could carry out the second leg of our three week non-stop travel break — a pilgrimage to various temples in Kerala and Tamilnadu. More on that trip with pix tomorrow.
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