Wednesday, 30 September 2015

The Beautiful World Of Garden Crotons - From My Mother's Garden

I have craze for beautiful and colorful Garden Croton plants. There are more than 50 varieties of Crotons in and around my native place. As they grow easily in warm climate, every household in my native place has atleast one type of Croton plants. At my home, my mother has cultivated nine varieties of Crotons in her Garden. These plants are evergreen with shining leaves. Crotons require very minimal care and maintainance if they are grown outside. 
Here are some Croton plants from my other's garden : 
1. Croton which has oval shape leaves. Young leaves are green with yellow spots and leaves turn completely yellow as they get matured.  
2. Croton with long and narrow pattern leaves. Leaves are dark green when they are young and later they turn yellow. Leaves have yellow veins and margins.

3. Croton with long, ribbon shaped, purple color leaves.  Sometimes leaves grow upto 25cm long.

4. Croton with long green leaves and yellow veins in the middle. Leaves are twisted at the end.

5. Crotons with thick, broad, oval shaped leaves and have purple color thick veins in the middle. 

6. Croton with plain, oval shaped, light green and purple color leaves. 

7. Croton with long, thick, arrow shaped, purple colored leaves. 

8. Croton with long, thick, arrow shaped, green colored leaves. Leaves have white spots on them. 

9. Crotons with long, linea,r narrow leaves. Leaves have yellow spots on them. 

These bushy plants increase the beauty of the garden. They attract everyone with their different colored foliage. I tried to keep crotons in pots at my home balcony in Bengaluru. But because of lack of sunlight plants died. 

Tuesday, 15 September 2015

Ghati - The Holy Place of Lord Subramanya, Narasimha and Snake Gods

On a Sunday morning around 8 AM we left to Ghati with my brother and sister in law. Ghati is a place on the outskirts of Bengaluru, near Doddaballapura where Lord Subramanya temple is situated. It is identifiably called as Ghati Subramanya temple. It is a popular pilgrimage centre located at a distance of 60 Kms from Bengaluru. It is one of the ancient temples and more than 600 years old. We reached the temple around 10.30 AM. Drive was smooth. We enjoyed the nature and the scenic valleys on the way to the temple. There is a big parking place surrounded by many shops which sell pooja items, flowers, coconuts etc.
Temple entrance has a big Rajagopura which attracts everyone. As it was Sunday temple was crowded. We had to stand in the queue for almost one and half hour for Darshan. This is the painful part of temple visits. A family of monkeys on the roof gave us company during this time. Baby monkeys kept us entertained with their naughty fun plays for one and half hour. Otherwise it was really difficult to kill the time standing in the queue. Finally we had a glimpse of of Lord Subramanya and Narasimha just for a second.

While we were standing in the queue, these monkeys gave us company
Here in this temple Lord Subramanya is accompanied by Lord Narasimha. The distinctive feature of the temple is Lord Subramanya is facing East and Lord Narasimha is exactly at his back facing the west. We can see Lord Narasimha through a mirror which has been placed in the shrine. These two idols are said to be Swayambhu which means they are self originated. They are not man made or sculpted by anyone.
Where there is Lord Subramanya there should be Snake Gods. In Ghati too we can see images of Snake Gods like Adishesha and Vasuki. People who have Naga Dosha, Kala Sarpa Dosha come here and offer pooja, Homa, Havana etc to seek solution for those doshas. Childless couple often visit the temple to seek the blessings and boon of a child from Lord Subramanya.

Behind the temple there is a big Naga Bana where many Nagara Kallu (Snake carved out of the stone) have been installed under a big peepal tree. There are more than hundred snake idols installed by devotees whose wish has come true. We can see women offering kumkum, haldi and pouring milk on those snake idols.

Champa Shashti (Skanda Shashti), Lord Subramanya Jayanthi, Narasimha Jayanthi, Naga Panchami are the big festivals in this temple. Thousands of devotees flock in this temple on all special days. Even devotees from Tamil Nadu come here to offer pooja to their favorite God Murugan (Lord Subramanya).
Temple offers free lunch (Prasad Bhojana) to devotees everyday. As we had already brought our lunch packed from home we had it on the way back to Bengaluru, sitting on the lush green field roadside.

Thursday, 10 September 2015

Beautiful, Offbeat, Roadside Flowers of Monsoon

Last week I was at my home town for a family function. Monsoon had instilled my native place with greenery. As coastal area receives highest rainfall, my place was celebrating the season soaking in the rain. I was out for an evening walk and enjoying the fresh, green picturesque landscape. Sitting on the nature's lap I was recalling my childhood days - playing in water, soaking in the rain drops, placing paper boats in small streams and enjoy its sailing, plucking those beautiful wild flowers...Ohhh!!! joyful memories of childhood.
As I walked further, my eyes were searching for those beautiful, offbeat, roadside flowers which bloom during Monsoon, adding their own colors against the dominant green background. I found many. Clicked some pictures of those fresh, wet flowers. These flowers can be seen in Coastal and Malnaad region of Karnataka. I tried to identify and get the scientific names of those flowers. I could get the names of only few flowers. Here are some beautiful flowers of Monsoon which can bee seen around my home town.
Gloriosa Superba :
This flower is also called as flame Lily, fire Lily becos it looks like the flame of fire. I first saw this flower at my hubby's place as it grows mainly in Malnaad region. They call it as Gouri Hoovu (ಗೌರಿ ಹೂವು). In my hubby's place they worship this flower during Ganesha Chaturthi frstival. They keep this flower with its creep along with Ganesha Idol as a symbol of Gouri. This fire Lily creep will be immersed with Ganesha idol on the day of Ganesha immersion. These flame Lilies are common during Monsoon in Malnaad.
Theru Hoovu / Aarati Chandu Hoovu (ತೇರು ಹೂವು /ಆರತಿ ಚಂಡು ಹೂವು)
I am not able to find its scientific name. In coastal region it is known as Aarati Chandu hoovu and in Malnaad, they call it as Theru Hoovu. These big, red color flowers are eye catchy and favorites of butterflies too. These flowers bloom in a group and it is a common sight along the roadside during Monsoon.
Sesame Flowers (Bell Flowers)
In Kannada language these beautiful sesame flowers are called as Ghante Hoovu /ಘಂಟೆ ಹೂವು (Bell Flower) becos of its bell shape. These purple flowers can be seen during Monsoon across coastal region.
Klugia Flowers
Dark blue colored Klugia flowers are one of the attractions of Monsoon. They can be seen near hill side. Though they are small flowers, they easily attract one's attention.
Acacia Flower :
Acacia trees can be seen everywhere in the coastal region. During Monsoon these trees are full of long, bright yellow colored flowers. In a single tree more than hundred flowers bloom. It looks like tree has been painted with yellow color. Acacia flowers have unpleasant and irritating smell. When these flowers bloom, I cant stand near the tree for more than a minute. Many people are allergic to its pollen grains.
Calotropis Gigantea :
In my place this plant is famous as Ekkada Gida/Ekke Gida(ಎಕ್ಕೆ ಗಿಡ). It is a medicinal plant used in Ayurveda, Homeopathy etc. Along the country side they are plenty. During Monsoon it shines with lavender color flowers. These flowers are small and usually go unnoticed. 
Here are some other beautiful and charming flowers that fill the nature with different colors during Monsoon. I could not find their scientific names as well as local names. 

These particular Monsoon plants dont need any special care or maintenance. They grow themselves and some of those flowering plants disappear after Monsoon ends. When the rain drops of next Monsoon hits the earth, they come alive again. This is truly a magic of the nature. 

Friday, 4 September 2015

Manchanabele Dam - A Beautiful Dam On The Outskirts of Bengaluru

Almost three years ago, one fine Sunday afternoon we had been to Manchanabele Dam which is on the outskirt of Bengaluru. It is located around 50 kms from Bengaluru in the village called Manchanabele also known as Manchinabele. It is a small reservoir built for the irrigation purpose across the river Arkavathi. This place is near to Big Banyan Tree - a popular picnic spot in Bengaluru. This dam is located just 11 kms from Big Banyan Tree. I had seen this dam in many Kannada cinemas earlier but didn't collect much information before going to this place.
We took the route Mysore Road-->Kumbalagod Industrial Area-->Ramohalli-->Big Banyan Tree-->Manchanabele to reach the place. View of the countryside was beautiful and refreshing throughout the journey. 
View Of Countryside near Manchanabele

As we were nearing the village the view from clear blue water from far made us more curious to explore the dam. But there was a police security guard at the entrance of the dam and he was not allowing visitors to enter the dam. Sending all visitors back security guard told us that entry into the dam is restricted. But we didn't come back. Standing there we were enjoying the backwaters of Arkavathi. On the backgrounds of the dam we can see Savanadurga hill which is a popular trekking place. We sighted many birds too. Surroundings of Manachanabele dam is a good place for bird watching and nature photography.
View of the dam from distance
It was 5 PM and the security guard again told us to go back. There were no other visitors. We requested him to give permission to enter the dam and we assured him that we wont be there at the dam for more than 30 minutes. He said 'NO'. We kept on requesting him till 5.30 and finally the guard gave a phone call to someone and gave permission to enter the dam. He demanded 100 Rs from us.

As we started exploring the dam we felt we are very close to the nature. Plenty of birds gave company to us. View of the green surroundings give a picturesque look to the dam. Cows, sheep from surrounding villages were grazing near the dam. Dam area is very silent. It was 6 PM and we wanted to watch beautiful sunset from the dam. But as we had promised the security guard, we came out of the dam and thanked him for allowing us to enter the dam. Without any expressions he murmured that if his seniors come to know then he will be in trouble. We felt really sorry for forcing him to open the gate. 

Note : Entry into the dam is strictly prohibited now. There are 2-3 security guards near the dam and they stop visitors from a kilometers distance. You can just have a view of the dam from far. However it is advisable to visit the place in a group as the area is known for miscreants.