Everything Else

All things that cannot be neatly categorized belong to Everything else. The author would hate to call it uncategorized!

Kuthira Malika

Little is known of the palace of the kings of the kingdom of Travancore , the Kuthira Malika. It remains shadowed by the fame and fortune of its own creation, the Padmanabhaswany Temple.

 

Kuthira Mailka gets it name from the 120 wooden horses carved buttress. For every room opened to the public another 10 remained locked, slowly succumbing to the abandonment.

 

The wooden horses that hold the roof

The wooden horses that hold the roof

The exterior architecture is the traditional Kerala style with intricate carvings. However the interiors have been influenced by different elements. There is a discussion room which took 80 artisans from Tanjore close to a year to finish. The end results is a ceiling adorned with woodwork beyond compare.

On display are gifts the Kings received from counterparts from different parts of the world. An ivory throne made from the tusks of 25 elephants, ivory cradles and shields from rhinocerous skin boasts of a time of plenty.

 

Traditional Kerala architecture

Traditional Kerala architecture

 

Carvings

Carvings

 

Parots

Parots

 

Sigh

Sigh

 

The symbol of the Travancore kings

The symbol of the Travancore kings

The Padmanabhaswamy temple was built next to the palace for the royal family to worship. The patron is Lord Vishnu. The sanctum sanctorum has an idol of Lord Vishnu reclining on a snake. The present city gets its name from this manifestation of Vishnu. Thiru – meaning Holy, Anantha – one who sleeps on the snake , Puram- Place. It translates to the place where he recline on the snake or Thiruvanthapuram. Along came the British and we have today’s shorter version of that – Trivandrum.

A couple of years back vast amounts of gold were discovered in  the temple vaults.  It is thought to be the offering the Travancore Kings made to the temple patron. The exact amount of gold has not been determined. Nevertheless if the rumors are to be believed there is emough gold in there to pay off the world’s debt.

Sri Padmanabhaswamy temple

Sri Padmanabhaswamy temple

 

Young devotees at the temple

Young devotees at the temple

 

Faces from paintings peeping out of the windows

Faces from paintings peeping out of the windows

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Never a time better than NOW

Today  I came across this quote

” It makes sense to travel now than saving travel for a future that is in no way guaranteed”.

 

I know it has been a while since I last posted. Trust me I have a lot of stories waiting to be told!  This quote is in weirdly appropriate for me. You see I never save travel for a later time but all other things( read writing and updating this blog) I always keep for a tomorrow that never seems to come.

 

So get off your cosy comfortable chair today. Go see the world!  In case circumstances do not allow you to do so, then drop by for a visit weekly and see the world through my eyes. And remember …

Never a better time than Now!

 

 

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Sunrise, Sunset.

In a few days  the blog sphere  is going to be filled with blogs reviewing people’s 2013. I thought I’d get a head start on mine.

I think the past is past and so lets leave 2013 be.  But 2014 has so much potential. It has 12 whole unused months, oh the possibilities it holds are endless.  We still have a few sunsets   more before we get to it.

Talking of sunsets and year ends tends to make me philosophical.  I feel we should treat every sunset as a year-end. When we see the setting sun we should  make resolutions to break bad habits and  form new ones. With every sunrise we should try to grow a little better, learn something new, try something different , go out and explore.  

So in the coming year may you face every sunrise as though it is the BEST day yet and may every sunset leave you a little healthier, wiser and braver!

And with that I leave you with some of my favorite sunset moments in 2013.

 

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Sunet

Sunset

 

Happy new year all. A brand new sunrise to you all!

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The Communist World Map

 

 

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This is a picture of an  actual map taken from the textbook of a fourth grader during the time of Communist Hungary.

Every time I look at this photo it just cracks me up. Communist Russia sure had a way of handling its enemies : – convince the world that they do not exist.

Mother Russia is at the center of the world. She dominates the entire world. Poor Australia is squeezed into the right bottom corner almost as an after thought. Maybe the fact that our first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru had a socialistic outlook helped in India’s size and position in the  map.

Europe I suppose had to be there owing to the proximity. I mean you could not simply ignore that large land mass next door. Or wait  maybe its because some of the Eastern European countries were communist. Yes that must have been their saving grace.

Poor Africa has been cut in the middle. At least she gets a place ( half) in the map.

Oh dear!  where is South America? I mean understand why North America is not part of this map, but what in the world did the unfortunate continent do other than perhaps have an ‘America’ to it’s name?

 

 

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A little of Harry’s magic powder please!

It is ridiculous to have to change  the gear, press down on the clutch, steer the wheel,  nearly miss hitting a cow and drive all at the same time! It’s high time someone comes up with a smarter option of getting from place A to B without having to

a) Use public transport

b) Rely on someone else to drive you around.

What about that powder that gets Harry Potter and his troupe around? Why can’t we use some of that. Could do without the endless traffic signals, jams and honking.

I do not speak for all of womankind but I am not a great driver and have no illusions of being one and nor do I see the possibility becoming one  in the near future.

I pride myself in being self reliant.  So when it came to having to do exotic groceries ( for everything else there is Big basket) relying on autos to get from our home which is a little out of the way turned out to be devastating to my peace of mind and to my wallet. I had to reluctantly grab our car keys adjust the seat till the steering wheel almost became a natural extension of me and  I could use my nose to honk and still have to stretch my legs to brake and accelerate. Oh the woes of short legs!

I have driven extensively in the US, collected a couple of speeding tickets and been pulled over but when it comes to driving in India I feel I have a long way to go before I can change the gear before I hear the engine knocking ( I wonder if I got the terminology right.)   It may be years  before I can think of parking without palpitating and change the gear to reverse without breaking out into a sweat.

Being one with an affinity for trouble does not help my case one bit. There was this one time,  my second venture out into the chaotic jungle all by self when I was proud of parking almost parallel to the road without hitting anything within a 100 ft.  I got out of the car,locked it and rummaged through my bag to call my husband and update him with the achievement of the hour. I never did locate my phone because I soon found myself on the ground having tripped over an invisible boulder and my keys, Oh dear my car keys before my very eyes flew out of my hand and down the only tiny hole that was in the concrete footpath and into the drain below. My spare car  keys were at home and the only set of house keys were safely locked in car.

Without thinking I started grabbing at the concrete  with all my force trying to lift the sturdy block so that I could retrieve my keys from the drain below. There is no need to state the obvious but I tried in vain. Fortunately for me there are some good people still left on this planet. Out of nowhere a bare chested man approached, motioned me to step aside and walked away and then all of a sudden disappeared under a block of cement on the road about 50 mts away.

He came to the surface a rather dirty man but a heroic dirty man for in his hands he held my car keys. He left before I could finish thanking him.

Ever since I reserve the details of my achievements of the hours for dinner conversation when the car key is safely in the key basket at home.

It is great to drive your own car, a liberating experience up until the moment you have to park it somewhere. Worse, park it between two cars or parallel park.   I have found a way around this, I go temporarily illiterate when I see the No Parking sign. I can’t be held responsible of an offence if I am unaware of it, right? I am sure you agree.

Fair warning though that this does not work all the time. I got caught the last time I ‘became’ illiterate. I had to run across the road to run some errands and the only space to park was next to the NO Parking sign.  A cop with a well endowed belly comes up and casually points to the sign.

Teek hai my tickets karidega,” I reply.

Ye lottery jaise ticket nahi hai, karredne ke liye!” he retorts.

What I intended to say was I would pay for the ticket but my Hindi being what it is I said that I would buy the ticket off him at which he took offence and retorted that it was not a lottery ticket which was for sale rather a penalty I should  not be  proud of.

I have not had another chance to test my illiteracy theory after that.

Our car has survived a few small scratches, a couple of long very visible scratches  and dings. Not all of them by me. But our cleaner when he comes to pick up the car keys from J every week smiles slyly and says

” I saw the latest scratches. Madam is fine right?”  One of these days I am going to have to point out J’s share of the handiwork to him.

Oh and by the way the magic powder Harry used is called floo powder. Waiting for it to hit the market!

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