September 16th, 2016 by admin

Mayapur is located at the confluence of river Ganga (Hoogly locally known as Ganga) and Jalangi near Nabadwip in Indian state of West Bengal. It is the headquarters of ISKCON temples. Also, it is said to be the birthplace of sri Chaitanya mahaprabhu. Though some people debate it. To reach there one typically comes to Nabadwip which is around 130 KM from Kolkata. Here they typically do Mahaprabhu darshan and visit temple at Poramatala. From Nabadwip the shortest route to reach Mayapur is by a boat ride. Buy a ticket at the ghat entrance and then board the next available boat. The boat typically leaves after passenger fills. On the other side you can either walk a distance of around 1 km or take a rickshaw to reach ISKCON temple.

Timings:

7 AM to 12.30 PM
4 PM to 8 PM

There is no entry fee to the temple. A lot of people visit here. During weekend and festivals, the crowd flow is even more. A board in the temple complex says no entry to the temple with camera, mobile, laptop, i-pod and other electronics goods, luggage. There is also a dress code as the temple forbids anyone entering the temple wearing half pant, bermuda, shorts, night dress, three quarter, lungi, unsocial dress ( not sure what is their definition of antisocial dress). Any form of intoxication is not allowed.

On one side of the temple there is field where one can see monks chanting hymns. There are shops side by where one can buy local stuffs. If you walk further than you can go to cowshed and the paddy field side. The complex has also lodging option for visitors. There is a separate quarter for monks or residents of the temple. One can also have prasad by paying a nominal fees.

The main temple requires one to climb some steps. This leads to a big hall with view of Radha Madhav, Krishna, Radha, Lalita and Vaishakhi. There is also idols of Pancha Tattva. There is also idol of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu ( an incarnation of Lord Krishna). Typically during everyday evening, dance and song procession Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is taken out in the temple complex.

They are building another grand temple called the Temple of Vedic Planetarium. It is still under construction.

Temple of Vedic Planetarium,mayapur

This is how the temple would look once completed. Image provided by TOVP website.

September 13th, 2016 by admin

This was my first visit to Hyderabad and when the time for booking tickets came, we zeroed on train as my mom was also traveling with me. While looking for train found a Rajdhani is available between Bangalore and Delhi which goes via Secunderabad. This was my first travel on a Rajdhani train. Read the thrilling journey from our home to Majestic railway station in Bangalore to board the train in a separate post.

For a Rajdhani train, it runs very slow. Indiarailinfo.com says it runs on an average of only 62 km/hr. Bed kit was good but food was not upto the mark. We reached Secunderabad at 7.35 AM right on time. Alighted on platform #1 and took the left way to come of the station. Little further was the taxi and auto stand. I booked a MERU cab for Rs 900 to Gowlidody (near Gachibowli).
Hyderabad is still a well breathing city and better on traffic compared to Bangalore. On the first day went to Karvy as I had little work there. It is located in the Financial District, Nanakramguda, Gachibowli. This area is like Electronic city / Whitefield of Bangalore. Big beautiful campuses of the likes of Microsoft, Infosys, Wipro, ICICI bank etc. Nice tree lined roads with footpaths makes this area a good workspace.

Golkonda fort

Golkonda fort

I kept the second day for sightseeing. In the morning, we went to Golkonda fort. I wanted to have biryani in Paradise but was unable to locate one after leaving Golkonda fort. After going round and round for a long time we settled for shahi Dastarkhwan. This is a nice restaurant in the Lakdikapul area of Hyderabad. We went for biryani and some chicken starters. The starters included Irani Jhoole Kebab and Chicken Malai Kebab. The taste of biryani was good but such biryani could be found even in Bangalore. The most unique and tasty item in the lunch was Irani Jhoole Kebab. It was just awesome – melting in the mouth. After lunch, on the opposite side of the restaurant found a paan shop. I am not a regular paan eater but an occasional sweet paan after a pomp lunch makes it good. Well, the sweet paan do not come cheap at Rs 20 a piece. Then we went to Charminar. Finally ending our day tour at Hussain sagar in the evening.

Makkah Masjid

Makkah masjid as seen from Charminar

The third day we were to attend a birthday. In the afternoon I went to Telecom nagar to buy a gift for him. In the evening went to playstreat in the Telecom Nagar area of Gachibowli for the birthday party. It is a nice children’s cafe with lots of games. They charge on hourly basis.

charminar

Charminar

The fourth day was marked for our return to Bangalore. So spent the morning of the final day in leisure. In the evening we had to board the train Duronto AC express from the Secunderabad railway station at 9.30 PM. I was planning to leave Gowlidody at 7.30 PM on Ola. But got late as I went to the nearby market to finish some chores. By the time we boarded the Ola cab it was 8 PM. Given Hyderabad’s low traffic I said to myself, we should be able to reach. Asked the cab driver, he also said it should take around an hour. But after we crossed Hussain Sagar, we were caught in a traffic jam. The pace of the can kept going down due to slow moving vehicles and was coming to a standstill often. After sometime, I could see the railway station but there were bumper to bumper traffic before us. At that moment it veered in my mind that if I am going to miss the train. Landed at the front of the station couple minutes before 9.30 PM. Took our luggages and ran towards the platform. On inquiry found that Duranto to Bangalore is going to leave from platform # 3. At platform #1, there was a escalator which was of great help to my mom. Hurriedly we went towards platform # 3 but I could see no train at platform # 3 from the overbridge. Oh did I just missed the train! On getting down to platform # 3, we found that the train has not arrived yet. What a relief it was! The train chugged in 10 minutes later. We boarded our compartment. Our bogie was low on passenger. My mother and my berths were on different compartments in the same bogie. However, during ticket checking TTE provided berth in the same compartment. The Duronto AC express runs very well and takes less time than the Rajdhani express on the same route. Next morning the train reached Yeshwantpur station on time. After getting off the train, booked an Ola cab and reached home.

Sitting at the leisure of home I still sometime think about the nerve wrecking moments to catch the train both while going to Hyderabad and leaving from there!

September 9th, 2016 by admin

When it comes to air connectivity North East India is probably the most under served market in India. Only the state capitals and a few prominent cities have air connectivity there.

So I was glad to hear hear that Spicejet will be launching service from Aizawl to Kolkata and Guwahati and from Silchar to Kolkata and Guwahati. The service will be launched on 4th October, 2016.

Spicejet Aizawl Fare

The fare from Aizawl – Kolkata is very competitively priced at Rs 1699. However, Kolkata – Aizawl has been priced at Rs 2127. This pricing variation may be due to West Bengal’s and Mizoram’s taxation rates. Looks like they will be flying two flights daily. You can check the Aizawl – Guwahati fare in the above table.

The pricing for the Silchar – Kolkata and Silchar – Guwahati route has surprised me. The lowest fare from Silchar to Kolkata on 4th October, 2016 is Rs 5084 and from Kolkata to Silchar on the same date is Rs 7416. Multiple search showed the price is varying by few rupees to Rs 100. The fare on 4th October, 2016 from Silchar – Guwahati is Rs 4088 and from Guwahati – Silchar is Rs 4332.

spicejet

Spicejet

I am trying hard to understand by what logic they have decided on the Silchar – Kolkata and Silchar – Guwahati route. Around that price international flights are available and they are gearing to charge that price to their customers. I know that Mizoram may have low tax rates but is it so low that it results in such discrepancy. Aizawl is even located further from Silchar at a distance of 179 KM. Apart from emergency, joy ride or once in a while flight, I doubt many will be using it at that price.

September 4th, 2016 by admin

Bangalore Metro Phase One

Traffic situation is famous in Bangalore and we all know. What I want to show today is, how to get around it. Let me share with you about my recent trip to Hyderabad, where I needed to board the Rajdhani express from Majestic railway station at 8 PM. But I had only about an hour in hand to reach there from Indiranagar.  I was thrilled as I had never traveled on a Rajdhani train. But this time cramp made me worried thinking if I will be even able to board the train. The complete route of this train is from Bangalore to Delhi (Hazrat Nizamuddin station). The train showed 11h 35m to complete the journey for a distance of 707 KM. This made me to think, is this Rajdhani little slow! However, I was looking forward to journey. I was planning to board the train from Cantonment station of Bangalore. However at around 6 PM I noticed that there is no stoppage at Cantonment station and I will have to board at Majestic railway station. It was a Friday and the evening rush hour make it impossible for me to board the train within that time. Then the thought of Metro train came to mind. At that moment, Metro train was only real option of boarding the train. We left house and boarded an Auto for Indiranagar Metro station. Rushed through the checking and proceed to the platform. At 7.25 PM we boarded a Metro train and in flat 20 minutes reached Majestic station. While leaving the station, my mother’s Metro card was on low currency and had to be topped up. This ate few minutes. Now starts the run!!

After coming out of the Majestic Metro station, we had to walk little bit and take the subway to the railway station. The subway had quite a few steps on both ways and the rush was not easy for her. But she did an amazing run for her age and knee pain she has. when we reached the station building, there were only 6 minutes left. I quickly found that the Rajdhani express leaves from platform number 8 which is on the other end and makes my run longer. We quickly got on the overbridge from platform #1 and kept moving. Platform #8 was in sight and the red train, typical of a Rajdhani train was still there. However, after bending back my mother was not in sight. I waited a minute but still no sight of her. I started moving back to look for her. At that moment the only thing reigned on my mind was are we going to miss the train after reaching here. At that time hardly 1 minute left. Suddenly, I saw she was climbing the stairs for platform # 6. She called for me and I asked quickly come over, ours is the next platform. I showed her the way and rushed towards the platform. Now, I am right in front of the train and the a gate two to three meters away. Mom quickly climbed down the stairs. I quickly helped her to board the first compartment we saw and then I boarded with the luggage. We boarded a 2 tier AC compartment, where as our ticket was for a 3 tier compartment. We had to walk almost 10 compartments to reach our seats. We boarded this way as we can walk through the train to reach our seat. We took a sigh of relief after sitting on a seats. It was a bit of negligence on my part and I thoroughly apologize to my mother. Also, I thank god for taking care of this.

Metro train as mass rapid transport system for Bangalore is certainly a big boon. As of now the east – west corridor is complete and small section from Mantri Mall to Peenya is running. It is already making a difference by enabling people to reach destination quickly. Once  the entire project is completed, it will be a huge enabler for citizens of Bangalore.

Bangalore Metro Phase One

Bangalore Metro Phase One

Note: This pics were taken on an earlier ride on metro.

August 31st, 2016 by admin

Charminar is probably the most distinguished icon in the city of Hyderabad. The word Charminar is derived from two words char (four in Urdu) and minar (tower in Urdu).  Charminar basically means four towers.

charminar

Location: Near Telephone Exchange, Pathergatti Road, Hyderabad

Timings: 9.30 AM to 5.30 PM, Open all days

Entry fee: Rs 15 for Indians, Rs 200 for foreigners. Free below 15 years.

Camera fee: Rs 25

It situated in the middle of a present road and the way leading to it for very busy. Both sides of the road are packed with shops and even the footpath are packed with vendors or hawkers doing business. There is a police station besides Charminar. One word of caution, do not be tempted to park your vehicle there. I saw policemen and women shouting to remove the vehicles or they will be fined. One can do shopping for ethnic Indian items like bangles etc.

I was there in the late afternoon. After getting my entry ticket, climbed few steps to reach the elevated plain on which Charminar is situated. The large doors are nicely designed in persian style. The dome located at the middle of the four towers has windows to view from top. At the center below the dome is a fountain. Then I climbed through one of the towers to reach the top. From here one can get a bird’s eye view of the area. From here I could see one of the four doorways of Char Kaman clearly. Char Kaman is a structure of wall and four majestic gateways besides Charminar. We went through one of the gateways to reach the Charminar. From the other side I could see the famed Makkah masjid or Jama masjid. It is the first royal mosque built by the then ruler Muhammad Quli Qutub Shah in 1598.  I suggest to visit Charminar in the evening to enjoy the view in another hue altogether.

Charminar was built by Muhammad Quli Qutub Shah in 1591. It is said the sultan’s capital city was ravaged by plague. He prayed to god, that his city be cured of plague and he will build a mosque exactly where he prayed.

charminar

charminar

charminar

charminar

IMG_3068

IMG_3066

 

August 27th, 2016 by admin

Hussain Sagar is a large lake in Hyderabad, capital of the state of Telengana. It was built by Ibrahim Quli Qutub Shah, the then ruler of Golkonda in 1563. It was named Hussain Sagar after Hussain Shah Wali who designed it. The lake is fed by canals from river Musi. Again river Musi is tributary of river Krishna. It is a source of drinking water for large parts of Hyderabad. Hussain sagar lake separates Hyderabad and its twin city Secunderabad.

hussain sagar

The banks of Hussain sagar has many parks and tourist attractions: Sanjeevaiah Park, Lumbini park, NTR gardens, Tomb of Saidani Maa Sahebaa. There is also the beautiful white marble Birla temple on a small hill besides the lake. At night the temple looks like glowing white from a distance. After spending time in the park and strolling around the lake if you feel like watching a movie, there is Prasad’s IMAX. Yes, a movie with IMAX experience. The NTR garden has the memorial of NT Rama Rao, the former chief minister of of undivided Andhra Pradesh and a famous Telugu movie actor. You can also see a Pakistani Patton tank from the Indo-Pak war of 1971. One of the most prominent addition to the lake was the statue of lord Buddha in the middle of the lake by creating a concrete island. This was an initiative of former chief minister NT Rama Rao. You can go for boating on Hussain sagar on various kind of boats run by the Telangana government.

Hussain sagar is the largest heart shaped mark in the world and was recognized by UNWTO as “Heart of the World” on 27th September of 2012, on the occasion of World Tourism Day.

We visited the lake just after sunset. On the other side of the road one can park their vehicles. Besides the parking space there is a small fair where children can take rides. On the sides of footpath, one can taste street food.

The night skyline gave an amazing view of the glowing Buddha statue. Also, on the other hand was the Indian flag flying amazingly from another small island formation. It was amazing to walk around the lake due to cool breeze blowing continuously. I suggest you taking a walk on Necklace road and Trunk Bund road.

Hussain Sagar

birla mandir

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