Friday, 26 June 2015

Beautiful Lily In My Garden

Gardening gives me a divine pleasure and satisfaction. I enjoy cultivating different plants in the garden. In Bangalore, at my home I have a small balcony garden but at my native place there is a quite big garden infront of the home. My mother has taken good care of all plants.
Every year during summer my garden shines with beautiful Lily flowers.

I have Orange colored Lily which blooms in April - May. That is also called twin Lilies because they always bloom in pair. Its leaves are long and narrow somewhat similar to pineapple leaves. This plant does not grow tall but produces long stem. From tip of the stem flower blooms. These Lily flowers remain fresh for three to four days. 

Monday, 22 June 2015

Mysuru : Chamundi Hills

Mysuru : Brindavan Gardens
Chamarajendra Zoological Gardens/Mysore Zoo
Mysore Palace/Ambavilasa Palace

ಐಗಿರಿ ನಂದಿನಿ  ನಂದಿತ ಮೇದಿನಿ ವಿಶ್ವ ವಿನೋದಿನಿ ನಂದಿನುತೆ
ಜಯ ಜಯ ಹೇ ಮಹಿಷಾಸುರ ಮರ್ಧಿನಿ ರಮ್ಯ ಕಪರ್ಧಿನಿ ಶೈಲಸುತೆ
I have grown up listening to the above stotram which describes the power of Goddess Chamundeshwari (Mahishasura Mardhini). Whenever I listen to the above stotram my desire of visiting Chamundi Hills to see the Goddess used to come alive. The day had finally come. The last day of our Mysuru trip was to Chamundi Hills. Goddess Chamundeshwari sits atop Chamundi Hills which is 13 KM form Mysore City and located 1000 meters above sea level. One more attraction of Chamundi hills is a big statue of bull Nandi. We started climbing the hill morning at 9 AM by our car and reached the temple around 10 AM, hoping there will be less crowd in the morning and can see the temple peacefully. But there was a long queue of people wanted to see the Goddess. There were two lines of queue - One for special Darshana and one for Normal Darshana. Normal Darshana was free and special Darhana was 100Rs per head.

Chamundi Temple Shrine
We paid 200Rs and stood in the special Drashana queue thinking that we can see the Goddess earlier than those standing in the normal Darshana Queue. We stood in the queue for an hour under the burning sun before entering the prakara of temple. This is a point where two lines of queue joins. People were pushing each other. Everyone was eager to see the Goddess. An elderly lady fell down. I feared of stampede. Thank God nothing happened. There were 4-5 priests inside shouting at people to move further. Some priests were demanding money. Somehow we had a glimpse of Goddess and with great difficulty we managed to come out. I was very sad because we could not see the Goddess properly and we were very disappointed with the way priests behaved with us.
After coming out I purchased a photo of Goddess Chamundeshwari from a seller, saw the Goddess till my eyes tired and decided to keep the photo in my Pooja room.
One more attraction of the temple is a tall statue of Mahishasura which is outside of the temple. In this tall statue Mahishasura is holding a sword in his right hand and a cobra in his left hand. According to a legend once the Asura Mahishasura was ruling Mysuru. He was killed by Goddess Chamundeshwari after ten days of fierce battle. So the Goddess was also called Mahishasura Mardhini. So Dasara is also celebrated for ten days. Dasara Celebrations begins after  offering a grand pooja to Goddess Chamundeshwari. Mysoru wodeyars are also devotees of this Goddess. 
Statue of Mahishasura
It was time to see a big statue of bull Nandi, which was just one or two Kms away from Chamundi temple. Nandi is around 5 meters talland carved out of a single piece of black granite. We relaxed here for sometime. Monkeys were wandering all around giving trouble to tourists. 
Statue Of Bull Nandi
While returning, just a few meters away from Nandi statue we stopped our car near a view point. Here we can have a panoramic view of Mysuru city. In the middle of the city we saw beautiful St.Philomina Church. It is one of the oldest churches in Karnataka. Due to the shortage of time we could not visit the church. 
St.Philomina Church
We could not see all attractions of Mysuru as it was just two days visit. We need atleast a week to see all attractions of Mysuru. Some of the important places we missed in Mysuru are - 
Lalitha Mahal Palace
Jaganmohan Palace (Now it is an Art gallery)
Many Museums and beautiful lakes.
We decided to come again to see all those spots. Hope time will come soon. 

Saturday, 13 June 2015

Mysuru : Ambavilasa Palace (Mysuru Palace)

Mysuru : Brindavan Gardens

Mysore Zoo/Chamarajendra Zoological Gardens

After zoo our next visit was to magnificent Mysore Palace also called Ambavilasa Palace. It is one of the seven wonders of India. We reached the palace around 2 PM. Parked the car in the parking place provided. Stood in the queue for entry tickets. Looking at the queue we could guess that Palace is too crowded. After collecting the ticket we left the footwear in the place provided because footwear is not allowed inside the palace also clicking photos inside the palace is prohibited.

This palace was built by the King Krishnarajendra Wodeyar IV. It was the former seat of Mysuru Maharajas (Wodeyar's). The palace complex incorporates beautiful courtyard, gardens and sixteen temples. We could not visit these temples because of the crowd.

Entry to the palace is through Gombe Thotti (Doll's Pavilion). Here we can see traditional dolls from 19th and early 20th centuries. Apart from dolls Gombe Thotti also has golden Howdah (Ambaari) which is a special attraction during Dasara. During Dasara procession idol of Goddess Chamundeshwari will be kept inside this golden Howdah and this Howdah will be carried by a decorated elephant. Gombe Thotti also houses collections of Indian and European sculptures. I was thrilled to see golden Howdah in real but couldnt enjoy its beauty for some more time as security guards were shouting at the crowd to move further.
The architectural style of the palace is described as Indo - Saracinic and it is the mixture of Hindu, Muslim, Rajput and and Gothic architectural style. Entire palace is five - storey building.
Golden Howdah
As we moved further the beauty and elegance of the Royal palace started unveiling. There are many beautiful arches supported with tall pillars. Above all arches there are beautifully carved sculptures of Gods and Goddesses.
There are many rooms in the palace. All doors of the rooms are elegantly carved in rosewood or sandalwood. Some doors are made of silver and are inlaid with ivory. Palace has many big halls and precious paintings. There is an unique room called Ambavilasa which was used by the king as a hall for its audiences. This hall has beautiful glass ceiling, chandeliers with floral motifs, beautiful mirrors, mosaic floor embellished with semi precious stones.
Beautifully Crafted Door in Silver
Golden Door

We entered Kalyana Mantapa (Marriage Hall). It is a grand octagonal shaped with multicolored glass ceiling. Peacock motifs are arranged in geometrical patterns. The floor also displays a beautiful mosaic. On the walls of Kalyana Mantapa many oil paintings are displayed which illustrate the royal procession and Dasara celebrations.
After this we entered an armory which contains arms used by the members of the royal family. it has lances, cutlasses, pistols and other 14th century weapons.
Though the photography inside the palace is prohibited, many people were clicking photos with their  mobile. Security guards were shouting at them and demanding fine for clicking photos. But I somehow managed to click some photos with my mobile. Still a week was remaining for Dasara but palace was over crowded. Just imagine the situation during Dasara.
Marriage Hall

There are many other rooms and attractions inside the palace. But visitors are not allowed everywhere. We came outside the palace, enjoyed in the courtyard. There were few elephants practicing for Dasara celebrations with their guards. Security is very tight inside the palace. I was just imagining the royal life of Wodeyars who ruled the state of Mysore from 1350 to 1950 and stayed in the royal palace.

But currently a major portion of the palace is under the control of Govt of Karnataka. Only a small portion of the palace is under the possession of princess Pramoda Devi Wodeyar wife of late Prince Srikantadatta Narasimharaja Wodeyar who demised on the 10th December 2013. Infact High Court of Karnataka had passed judgement in favor of Wodeyars. However Govt of Karnataka moved Supreme Court after its defeat in the High Court. The case is still pending in the Supreme Court.

Saturday, 6 June 2015

Mysuru : Chamarajendra Zoological Gardens/Mysore Zoo

Mysuru : Brindavan Gardens

Mysuru was preparing for its annual festival Dasara. In the morning city looked fresh and clean. Wearing a new look Mysuru was shining like a new bride. It was all prepared to welcome visitors from all over the world.
Our next destination was Mysuru Zoo also called Chamarajendra Zoological Gardens.It is one of the oldest and most popular zoos in India. This zoo was originally created in 1892 by Sri Chamarajendra Wodeyar. It already completed 123 yrs. The zoo was opened to the public in 1902. Now it is spread over 157 acres of land and has more than 150 species.We entered the zoo around 10.30 AM by paying entry fees and camera fees.
Mysuru zoo is well maintained and clean. There are many exotic animals and birds. Many animals are brought from countries like Africa, America, Australia etc and also from here animals are sent to other countries under Animal Exchange Program.
In the zoo we can see animals like African and Asian elephants, white tigers, Bengal Tigers, Rhinos, Hippos, Reptiles, Anaconda and other snakes, white deer, Giraffes, Exotic birds like Macau, Emu and others.

Whenever I visit any zoo I feel sorry for the animals. The way they are kept in cage without proper food makes every one feel sad. But here in Mysuru zoo animals are well taken care of. They are given good food.We feel that animals are in their natural habitat. African elephants and Asian elephants are kept separately.

One more specialty of the zoo is its Adoption scheme. One can adopt animals and has to give expenses of adopted animal till its death. Many celebrities, politicians, Industrialists, Cricketers, and even some corporates have adopted animals. Name plates, displaying names of those persons who have adopted animals have been kept infront of respective animals area. There are also information boards infront of animals area from which we can have all information related to that animal.

Here I must mention about one Gorilla that attracted the attention of  the crowd. From the information board we understood that his name is Polo and he was India's only Gorilla and listed as one of the critically endangered species in the world.  He was very aged. Sitting on a tall tree he was waiving hands to tourists. People were clicking his photos and he was happily posing to the camera. There was a wooden swing and playing with it was his favorite time pass. Everyone was cheering for him. We enjoyed his actions for a while.
Polo Gorilla

Last year I heard the sad news of Gorilla Polo's demise. He was suffering from old age related ailments. He was an apple of zoo workers eye and was tourists favorite too. I also heard that during his last days he stopped taking food and entertaining people. Rest In Peace Polo. You will be in our memories forever.

There are some other facilities in the zoo. For elderly people, for physically disabled and for those who dont want to sweat there are battery operated small cars which take a round of the zoo. But if you really want to enjoy the wild life then better to see the entire zoo by walk (on foot) which covers almost 4 km distance.
Inside the zoo there is a museum where things related to the wildlife are kept and a library which has many books related to the wildlife. Zoo also has a food centre where we had our lunch.
Mysuru Zoo is an excellent zoo I have seen so far. It is engaged in research on wildlife, conserving wildlife, breeding of animals and educating people about wildlife. Kids really enjoy a visit to the zoo because they can get entertainment as well as knowledge about wildlife.