Monday, May 30, 2011


A history was created at the iconic bangalore palace grounds @ 7.30 pm by the Mozart of  Madras with his troupe singing away to cheer the crowd.  For the first time in India a 3 D concert was bought into India with UFO being the sponsorer.

One one occasion Shivmani came running into the camera causing a flutter, the 3 D effect made it look as if he is going to crash into you anytime.  Another occasion A R Rehman was floating literally in mid air playing his guitar.  The pyrotechnics unleashed with a combination of fire, laser beams, hydraulics, audio-visual, and 3000 watts of raw musical beats was stupendous.  The family crowd was literally floored with the Razzmattazz unleashed in front of their eyeballs.

The stage and atmosphere was ablaze with the chorus of  Jai Ho, oscar winning song by Rehman.  The song which was initially written off  became a superhit because it received the international accolade.  One guy was moving his legs as if he is Prabhu deva of Bangalore.  The rocky rendition of  Chiku chikbukku chikkubukku raile was the ultimate remix and was pulled off in aplomb, some group of young ladies formed the wagon gravy train to the amusement of the fans.  In Khwaja mere khwaja song the stage converted into a mosque with Rehman as a temporary ulema as it were praising the lord.

3 D specs was distributed so that the standing crowd in the Rs 500/ and Rs 1000 enclosures had the privilege of witnessing the razzmatazz unfolding in front of their eyeballs.  I wish such shows are beamed live on the 3 D screens on live television screens.  Maybe it is the first time experiment around to gauge the reactions of the crowd and check out the technical feasibility of the same.

Remo Fernadez came in and logged with his numbers and started praising Rehman as Mozart of Madras, and wizard Rehman from India to the world.  Where are the stars in the heaven along with the L A singers too a good renedition.  ARR managed to pull off a visual merger of  Lata Mangeshkar on big screen with Luka Chupi song from Guru.

What began as an innocent participation in a sms contest to win the ticket turned out to be a digital bonanza and being part of  history for being present along with my wife at the live 3D concert in India.  The courtsey being TOI, where we had to physically fetch the ticket after 2 hours standing in the Q and revealing the winning message on our cellphones.  It was worth its waiting and standing.  I hope some of you like me who witnessed the show would have enjoyed and shaken a leg or two to the musical beats of the wizard himself.

In end when we walked out i was pleasantly surprised to see KURL ON was one of the sponsorers of the show, it was really good to note that the company can provide entertainment value in putting its customers to Pure sleep and so went and hit our sack with musical notes of  ARR ringing as lullabies

acknowledgement :  original video uploaded by 63symmo on youtube

Friday, May 20, 2011

Marina widest beach in the world

On 19th April we Msians were fortunate to revisit the world famous Marina Beach in Chennai. Even I had a misconception that Marina was the longest beach in the world, but nevertheless it is credited for being the widest beach in the world with 437 meters.  The Miramar beach is one of the longest beaches in the world spreading almost 27 kms on either side.

The beach stretches from Fort St. George in the north upto Besant Nagar, Adyar South a distance of nearly 12 kms. The entire stretch of nearly four kms is well maintained with pedestrian footpath and two way traffic. There are two memorials for DMK founder C.N. Annadurai and AIDMK founder and legendary actor M.G.Ramachandran. Apart from these monumental structures, there are number of statues installed on the pavement such as M.K Gandhi,

Thiruvalluvar, Actor Shivaji, and Symbolic statue of Labour. The promenade along the beach area is known as Kamarajar Salai.

Marina beach precincts have been used by political parties to conduct meetings to address vast assemblage of crowd in the past. The beach can easily accommodate more than a lakh comfortably. Generally the meetings were held during the night in floodlights. . There was a permanent stage known as Seerani Arangam which was demolished by govt. Ms Jayalalitha, ex CM of T.N. inorder to maintain the beach environs. The crowd would assemble to enjoy their outings more so because of the eateries dished out by foodstalls on the beach. My favourite dish was sundal ( made out of boiled kabuli channa with mango slices ) in olden days. Tenga Manga Patani Sundal...screamed the vendors.

Nowerdays one can relish very economical fried fish and prawns with local masala added to taste. The oil content may not be healthy in lieu of re-used oil. But nevertheless a small quantity is quite tasty because of the freshness of the fish. There is a vendor who sells fresh water dug out of the beach sand. The water surprisingly is potable and not very salty. He charges Rs 5 a bottle, once again, one may feel slightly perturbed drinking the water but it is perfectly safe. None of us fell sick after drinking this water proves the fact that water is consumable.

One finds plenty of youngsters use Marina surroundings to play tennis ball cricket in the mornings. If one wants to have a drinks break, the vendors are ready to serve tea, coffee, cold drinks, mineral water, lime soda etc to quench the thirst. There are plenty of food stalls who carry out brisk business from evening till 8 pm in the night.

Jogging and morning walkers hit the beach pavement regularly. The idyllic setting with plenty of parking facility lures young and old to Marina beach. In terms of privacy Marina beach offers plenty of space, newly married couple and lovers throng Marina beach. Very few people venture into the water for swimming since the currents are strong and it can be risky, and unfortunately there are no bay watchers too for rescue act. However our bravehearts Mazhar and Azam literally splashed themselves in the waters for sake of photography session. They even requested Santosh and myself not to post some of their bare chested photos. Lol

There are merry- go- around and other make shift play themes for children on Marina. In fact these fabricated play themes can be a good shoot ops. We clicked plenty of photos with their background. One greedy guy wanted to fleece us and he shouted at us. Luckily I intervened and checked with him, he wanted Rs 5/- for using his equipment for taking photos, I obliged and he was happy.

Artificial Waterfall : In Sept 2005 a 34 feet tall artificial waterfall was inaugurated as a part of the Chennai forever initiative. The project was commissioned with a budgeted expense of 15 lakhs

Aquarium : A small aquarium is located near the memorial which displays different species of fishes. An entry ticket is charged for tourist.

On DEC 26, 2004 Tsunami battered the Marina beach leaving 206 people dead, but spared majority of the tourist since it stuck early morning at 8.30 am. But we found that the traces of fear had almost vanished among the visitors. Marina is really a symbol of the Chennaites spirit of survival amidst adversity. If one is lucky, one can have a view of sand castles and artistic structures and figurine of religious gods neatly etched on marina sand.

Epilogue : Many a love stories have been witnessed by MARINA BEACH and the sands of time will witness many more to come. Maybe the seeds are sown for many more reviews on this lovely destination.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Padmanabapuram Palace

An elegant palace built with brick and mortar, along with liberal use of teak wood and brick tiles for roofing has been constructed by Marthanda Varma in 1744 AD after demolishing the mud Kaikulam Palace. The Kaikulam Fort and Palace was renamed Padmanabapuram palace as a dedication to Lord Padmanabha.

The Travancore Royal family followed matrilineal system of succession. The kings were succeeded by their sisters son. The old Princely state of Travancore was developed from the ancient
kingdom of Venad which occupied western portion of Indian Peninsula. This kingdom formed as descendants of the ancient Chera Kings, whose celeberated capital is now known as Kodungalloor.


The entrance to the main edifice is controlled by another ornamental gateway with retainers for watch and ward. The gabled entrance has wooden ceiling profusely ornamented with lotus medallions. The most striking feature of the entrance is the clock-tower which is one of the oldest in
India erected in 1832 A.D. and still continues to be in working order. The clocks chiming is heard around the surroundings as far 3 km in the night time.

The first floor the Poomuham has a council chamber or Mantrasala which is meant for holding discussions with ministers and prominent citizens. The floor off this hall, which is polished with the admixture of coconut shell ashes, eggs fermented in molasses and lime reflects the figure like a mirror. Next to the Mantrasala is the Dancing Hall which was used exclusively for the members of the royal family.

Adjacent to the Council Chamber and to the south of dancing hall is the dinning hall called “Uttupura”, with two floors (the ground and the first) each measuring roughly 78 by 6 metres and it would accommodate about 2000 people at a time. Feeding of about 2000 poor persons, it is said, was done here every day and so thekingwascalled”Dharmaraja”.

The most attractive building in the whole palace is the ‘Uppirika Malika’ which consists of three storied. ‘Uppirika’ is the abbreviated term of ‘Muppirika’ which means the residence of the eldest member of the family. A wooden cot is erected on the top most floor in the belief that “Lord Vishnu” the chief deity. The first floor contains a wooden cot made of 64 medicinal plants, on which Maharaja used to sleep. The medicinal cot was presented to Maharaja “Marthanda Varma” by the Dutch East India Company in 1750, as a mark of friendship. Entry to the second and third floor is not allowed due to structural weakness. Certain artifacts are alleged to have been stored here. All the staircases are wooden.

To the west of the Zuppirika Mandapa is the Navarathri Mandapa which is a spacious hall of exquisitely beautiful granite pillars with drooping pendants reminiscent of the Nayakar style of architecture. In the Navarathri Mandapa, performances of Bharatha Natya and musical recitals took place in the royal presence.

Famous Kings of Travancore ( Venad )

1. Ayyanatikal Thiruvatikal 840 – 860 AD 

Ravi Varma Kulasekharan 1282 – 1314AD 

3. Udaya Marthanda Varma 1578 – 1592AD 

4. Marthanda Varma 1729 – 1758AD 

5. Raja Ravi Varma ( painter ) 1848 – 1906AD

Currently the Palace is maintained and managed jointly by the Government of Kerala and TN under the administrative control of Govt of Kerala, being located in TN. Padmanabapuram palace is both beautiful and function designed to suit the humid weather conditions prevailing with high roofs. The building is always cool and quiet from inside. Most of the material used were domestic such as Laterite 
stones, Teak wood, burnt bricks, granite and Lime. The shiny black polish on the floor was created from a combo of charcoal produced from coconut shell, lime, white from egg and various other vegetable extracts. In order to preserve the polish visitors are not allowed to wear shoe or slippers inside the palace.

The rooms on the ground level was mainly used for storage. On the first floor the main dwelling for the kings were prevalent. The bathrooms had sewage connection passing through concealed channels. Lighting of the palace during the night was provided by Lamps.

There are temples in the court yard of the palace, they are Ramaswamy temple, Subramanya and Sarasvathy temple. Ancient painting, Wooden cots and chars, along with visitors durbar, etc are beautifully erected. The ventilation is of high class.

A museum is also constructed by the ASI in keeping with the splendour architecture of the palace housing various artifacts.
Entry Fee Rs 25 for Adult & Rs.10 for Children.
Fees for Foreigners : Adult Rs 200 & Children Rs 50
Video and Camera Fee are Rs 1500 & Rs 25 Respectively

Separate fee for Car parking

Closed : Mondays

LOCATION : Padmanabapuram palace is actually in Tamil Nadu but all its heritage and roots are of kerala. It is almost bordering kerala in Kanyakumari district of Tamil Nadu. One can reach Padmanaburam from Kanyakumari which around 40 kms and from Trivandurm which is approximately 60 km. Otherwise a round taxi trip can cover various other destinations from Kanyakumari.

ack :  Guide Book sold @ the Palace

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Ikkeri predecessor to I Pill genX

Prologue :

In 1623 Pietro Dalla Valla an Italian traveller visited Ikkeri during the Dusherra season. He was invited to witness the pompous celebration coinciding with the inaugration of Aghoreshwara temple at Ikkeri.  He saw the king ( Hiriya Venkatappa Nayak ( 1586 - 1629 ) and his group of ministers enjoying the processions unfolding on the streets of Ikkeri along with a retinue of consorts and royalty.    The group of young girls well  dressed were dancing away to glory, decked with yellow and white flowers on their heads.  The houses were well lit up with oil lamps, and there was fireworks, fancy dress procession from various epics of the land.  Musical instrument played to keep the crowd entertained and in the end there was a huge cache of firework and burning  of evildoer....The celebration terminated with a group song which ended with a word Cole, Cole, Cole.....maybe a prayer to the goddess  Korle Korle Korle.....( vernacular language Tulu ) grant us the wish oh Lord Aghoreshwara.

What he witnessed on the facade of the temples of Ikkeri and Hosgunda must have been an icing on the cake along with the Dusherra celeberations.  He discovered the bold erotic sculptures elegantly etched into the panels of temple, which can be noticed while circumbulating the temple premise as such.  These impressions he carried forth to his native vatican city for spreading the message to his sponsorers

When the region is blessed with bountiful rainfall, forest produce, variety of spices, plenty of sea food, fruits in the form of banana, papaya and pineapple and lot of hermits and sages, the temptation for the royalty is to have a huge bank of consorts. Follow the leader, and we find the nobles, ministers and merchants following the king. In such a liberal environs, sex is debated and immortalized. Erotica on the temples facades reflect the perception of the royalty. Ikkeri and; Hosagunda are classic example of the erotic sculptures under the patronage of the kings.

In order to satisfy the lust of the kings probably sex gurus were busy culling out more in depth knowledge and arriving at some conclusion. Kallaynamalla’s Malla’s produced the love manual in the form of Anana Ranga in 1172 A.D. Maybe this was based on the fabled Kamasutra by Vatsayana. The Freudian sexual urge empowered the royalty to seek more knowledge. The artisans too wanted to be recognized by public, as one who could execute without flinching or embarrassment what takes place in privacy of bedroom to pavilions of temple. The sculptures are scuttle and elegant when compared to Khajuraho. The panels displaying erotica is hardly one square feet in size. The canvas for erotica has been deliberately kept to miniscule proportion when compared to other characters. 

The Aghoreswara temple at Ikkeri demystifies erotica along with the Linga placed in the sanctum. The Nandi acts as a consort to the Lord in the mantap located in front of the main temple. The huge pillared hall is decorated with various geometric designs indicating jewelry worn by women folk and dancing postures of devadasis of the times.

The elephants statue stationed  at the enterance of the temple symbolises the  royal way of welcoming the visitors to the Aghoreshwara temple.  The main statue was destroyed in the raids of the Bahamani Sultans who plundered the wealth of the temple in the bargain.

Various theories justifying the erotica on the temple façade is put forward by the so called experts. Firstly it was an attempt to surpass their peers and ancestors at Aihole. Secondly it was mild form of sex education for the future generations, Thirdly it conveyed the pulse of the common man at olden times, Fourthly it was used a spirit to ward off evil and fury of nature in form of lightening and floods and Finally it was a perfect treatise on Kamasutra for future generations.

The Uma Maheswara temple at Hosgunda is located before Sagar, just 1.5 km deviation into the forest. Currently the temple is under massive renovation. There is a mutt which is coming up adjescent to this monument. The road to this temple is quite rugged with full of pebbles. There is an organic farm enroute to the temple. One will be wonderstuck at the erotica displayed in 12 panels of the temple. It was just an eye opener, that the Keladi kings were passionate patroniser for erotic sculptures.

From Ikkeri to I pill we have come a long way in enjoying sex in a natural way. Maybe the days of condoms are numbered. Westerners are definitely J considering the fact that Indian society was more liberal in olden days. Just imagine some of them dismissed erotica on temple walls as aberration, heretic, vulgar and sign of immoral society. 

LOCATION : Hosagunda is located just before  ( 3 Kms ) Sagar a deviation towards left on the muddy road enroute to Sagar from Shimoga.  A small signboard is displayed which will be easily missed if one is zooming across. It is just 1.5 km minor deviation from B.H. highway . Ikkeri is a deviation from the Sagar town itself towards thirthahalli. It is also just 3 km away from Sagar Town.

Thanks to an unknown blogger who was staying nearby to Hosganda who gave a clue to this wonderful temple.

India Backpacker

Nagarhole, royalty hunting forest

In the middle of  January the temperature started heating up in Blore which is surprising, maybe signs of changing climatic condition.  We friends decided to take a break to Mysore, Brindavan, Nagarhole and return to blore for a three days trip.  One day stay at Byalapkuppa was aborted due to the exigency.  We drove quickly to Srirangapatanam, enroute we had a good lunch at Kamat Lokruchi at Ramnagaram.

We reached Srirangapatanam and quickly browsed through Dariyadaulat bagh, Tipu's summer palace.  My friends were not keen on visiting the place since they had already seen this monument, only for his son's sake we took a break.  We quickly went into the Srirangapatnam fort and visited the Bailey's Dungeon, which is historical.  A guide explained the historical importance on this monument on payment of a small fee.  The landscaping of the Tipu's death spot and Dungeon is done up superbly.  We skipped visiting the Rangnathswamy temple since my friends were not keen.

We headed towards Brindavan gardens, where we had booked our accomodation vide KSDTC.  The full moon added to the glorious evirons.  After having a cat nap, we went around snapping the brindavan gardens.  During the night we went and witnessed the musical fountain show in the gardens.  We returned to our room and had a nice dinner.  Next day we woke up and had a quick round of the brindavan gardens.

Nagarhavu movie was a superhit movie of  Vishnuvardhan which was shot in the forest of Nagarhole in 1972..  The Wildlife sanctuary was converted in a national park in 1988.  The National park is closed on Tuesday better to avoid visiting on this day.  The entry to the forest is closed at 6 pm till 6 am.  This is to ensure safety of the wild animals against being run over.  There is a proposal to build an alternative route to bypass Nagarhole forest, which when complete may give access to the other side of the forest leading to Kerala.

The forest is filled with Flora and Fauna, the commonly found trees are Teak, Rosewood, Sandalwood and Silver Oak.  Some of the wildlife found are Tiger, Bison, Elephant, Mongoose, Wild pig, Peacock, Deer, Sambhar, etc.  Some of the reptiles are Rat snake, Russel Viper, Python, Krait, etc

We checked in at around 6 pm at the forest guest house, and the darkness started enveloping us.  Luckily for us the Full moon came to our rescue, it served literally as a flood light.  The forest guards warned us not to venture out into the darkness, because of the fear of wild animals moving around. 

There was no TV in the room, and cellphone network too was down, since only Airtel was operational for emergency purpose.  I was surprised even the govt run BSNL was given less priority, which is a downer.  Nevertheless I was happy that I possess the shares of Airtel.  Maybe the efficiency of private network was the key issue in case of emergency.

We found lot of deers sitting just a few meters away from our cottage.  We trained our battery light, their eyes twinkled in midst where they were seated.  We ordered our food with the guest house keeper.  We opened the door and found to our surprise a wild pig just standing outside our door.  The guest keeper was used to their presence.  He advised us to keep the door closed.  Maybe they smelt the non veg food we were carrying.  The wild boar refused to move away… was keeping us entertained. 

After a nice dinner we hit the sack.  Next day early morning we had the jungle safari which is charged at Rs 100 per pax.  The mini bus is fully protected so as to avoid wild animal attacks.  The total 8 km trip in the muddy jungle track, was virtually eventless.  We were able to spot elephants, peacocks, deer, bison and sambhar.  Tiger is a rare phenomenon.  Once i had a chat with a forest official whom i was giving a drop, he explained that tigers and other wild animals are mostly seen roaming about only during extreme summer, otherwise they hide from the human habitat.

There are frequent occurances of forest fires during summer, which are either the handiwork of  poachers or smugglers of teak and sandlewood.  Many a times forest officials give shoot at sight orders to chase out the miscreants who set the forest ablaze.  Many a wild animals are killed by speeding traffic, in lieu of it an alternate road too is being planned by passing the Nagarhole forest.  

Nagarhole is home to Jeenu Kuruba tribe who are specialised in tapping honey from the trees.  Slowly this tribe too is vanishing because of commercial activity yielding better income.  Some of the tribal populace have been offered alternative accomodation inorder to help them migrate.  

The procedure for booking forest guest is very cumbersome and long drawn process.  One has to send a letter by ordinary post to Mysore forest office, than the clerk concerned with contact the individual after checking out the vacancy.  Many a times we have to follow up, than a DD has to be obtained in the name of Forest Dept and sent across, only than the booking is confirmed.  Whereas the next best alternative is to go for Jungle Lodges and Resorts wherein immediately vacancies are confirmed.

Nagarhole forest is spread around 643 sq kms.  It is located 100 kms away from Mysore, and can be reached via Hunsur.

Ack : photos from DH

India Backpacker

Dansborg Fortress

Many a tourist get confused between Dutch and Danish and my impression that Dansborg fortress was Dutch was proved wrong as soon as I visited the Tranquebar beach. The Ozone rich beach of Tranquebar was a pleasant way to spend our spare time where the hindu monuments are closed between 1 to 4 pm invariably. This place boasts of the second rich place on earth which contains a rich content of O3 ( signifying heavy oxygen ) after Swiss.

The ozone rich Tranquebar prevents the harmful ultraviolet from penetrating the atmosphere, which has a rejuvenating effect on the health of an individual breathing the air, which was a real surprise to me. No wonder the trip to Tranquebar and Velankanni did not make us sick due to constant drenching we had on fourth November 2009.


On 5th May 1620 a treaty was signed by Tanjore king Vijaya Raghunatha Nayak and King Christian IV to set up a trading centre at Tranquebar. Based on the agreement a sum of Rs 3111/- per month rent would be paid to the Nayak King as royalty for lease of land to Danish authorities. The document was signed with gold insignia and signed by the king in Telugu ( which is actually Kannada since Vijaynagar emperors belong to Karnataka ) This document is preserved in the museum at Copenhagen.

Fort Dansborg was built by Danish Navy commander Ove Gjedde, as a residence for the governor and other officials for about 225 years. Around the same time Roland Crappe ( first governor ) too bought some land and constructed other bunglows surrounding the Fort.

FORT  Descrpition

The fort stands tall on the Tranquebar golden beach. The ramparts of the Fort which spreads to the sea has been consumed by sea erosion. The crumbling fortress wall is being pounded by sea waves. The govt. of TN. Erected granite blocks preventing further sea erosion near the Masillamani temple in 2007. The area surrounding the Fort is left open and the beach around the Fort is a nice and clean landscape. It may be matter of time before the sea consumes the beach. 

Dansborg fort housed a number of governors ( 35 in all ) starting from Roland Crape (1624 -1636 ) upto Peter Hansen ( 1841 – 1845 ) till the area was sold to the price of 12.5 lakhs.

A number of Danish ships visited the Tranquebar Port from Cophenhagen. They used to smuggle Tea from India and sell it in Britian at a huge profit. Since the decline of trading opportunities and Napoleonic wars saw the decline of Danish empire in India.

This fort is built with brick and mortar in a typical Danish architecture. The boundary walls of the Fort is almost 8 feet thick which stretched into the beach. The surrounding boundary wall of the fort is as thick as upto 15 feet with plaster of paris adorning the walls. The finish in yellowish tinge gives it a heritage look. The Fort area which is almost 100 feet x 80 feet width is having a built up area of one fourth its boundary. The inner ramparts were used to store merchandise and house the prisoners of war.

The governors residence was secured with watch towers and security men on all four sides of the fort. This building currently houses the ASI museum. The artifacts on display covers the entire gamut of Porcelain items and memorabilia from different parts of the world.

There are number of Hindu sculptures too which have been salvaged from the crumbling edifice of the shore temple. The history of the Danish has been well displayed with framed notices. The replica of the treaty signed between the Nayak and the Denmark king too is displayed.

Enterance to the Fort is from the south, which probably was one of the reason for the place not prospering according to the Vastu tradition. In fact there are instances of frequent break out of Cholera, dysentary and other diseases which consumed lot of Danish citizens.


A holy shrine of Zion was built in 1701 by the Danish administration. The 300th anniversary was recently celeberated.
The first Protestant missionaries set foot in India were two Lutherans from Germany. Bartholomas Ziegenbalg and Heinrich Pluetschau started spreading their missionary beliefs from the time they landed in 1706.
Ziegenbalg was the first person in the history to preach Christianity in Tamil in the new Jerusalem Church. He had built this church in 1718 AD.

Bartholomas Ziegenbalg is credited to have set up the first printing press in India during 1712 AD. They even produced the first printing paper along with printing in vernacular Tamil. They translated the bible and published the New Testament in 1715 AD. This was a historic development for the people of Tamil Nadu and Ziegenbalg propagated the development of Tamil language. He died on 23.2.1719. He was buried in the church which he built.

Bartholomas arrived on the Tranquebar coast on 9.7.1706 under the order of the King Frederick IV of Denmark. He was under instruction to propagate the spread of Luther branch of Protestant. They built the new Jerusalem Church in 1718 AD.
He spent two years to master the tamil language and its meaning. He than started collecting rare manuscripts of Tamil written in Palm leaves. One such palm leaf literature was placed in the exhibition at London.

He translated a tamil book Ulaga Needhi ( universal justice ) into Germany too. It is now displayed at a library in Copenhagen. In this book he acknowledges the help rendered by tamil scholars and Brahmins in translating the book into Germany.
Another book published by him in 1718 AD is titled as An account of Malabarians which is available at London library.


During its hey days Danish Company imported more tea than the British company and sold it at huge profit in Britian itself. But the company fell into losses as the British tightened their checking procedures and imports into the country. A short blossoming unofficial trade was quickly dissolved and the company was closed in 1729. In 1730 AD a new company was established Asiatic company with a royal license conferred by the King.

The primary reason for the decline of the Danish Empire seems to be absence of revenue to sustain a colonial empire. The salaries paid to the soldiers and governors were miniscule, when compared to the British counterparts.
Records at the Museum state that It was impossible for the Governor to live a decent life on his 600 rix dollars a year salary. Even the Vicar found his salary of 176 rix dollars a year grossly insufficient to meet his ends.
All the officials were compelled to trade with local Indian traders by smuggling goods to Denmark which was profitable but fraught with risk. Young Lt. Passow was enterprising enough, who was a pauper when he landed in 1754, but after four years of trading activity he managed to build a bank balance of 9000 rix dollars. His official salary was only 150 rix dollars.

Unofficial trading even though forbidden went unpunished due the sheer fact that it was impossible to punish the majority of the citizens of the Danish colony. On occasions there was an uneasy truce between the inhabitants and management at Copenhagen. The company was mired with mountains of paperwork with complaints, suggestions, intrigues and sedition of sorts.
Audits meant harassment of the officials posted at Dansborg. The management had no understanding of the cost of living and compulsions of the officials stationed at Tranquebar. The management wanted better profit realization from the official trading.

Governor Peter Anker ( 1786 – 1807 ) who hailed from a well off Norwegian family was posted as a last resort to streamline the administration and trading in Tranquebar territory. He took his own time to study the lacuna for 2 years and started tightening the reigns of revenue leakage.
He had to tackle a powerful lobby of brokers or dubashes headed by Walter-Supperemania. He abolished tenancy rights for dubashes. This move deprived the officials of commission on rice harvesting and trading activities.

Peter Anker became a target of intrigues and sedition, including his own lieutant Franz von Lichtenstein was part of the conspiracy. Peter Anker was discredited in the eyes of Crown prince Frederick. But the king ignored the barrage of complaints against Peter and honoured him as Knight of order of Dansborg, which was the highest decoration of the times. After successfully completing his tenure of 21 years he was recalled. The debts accumulated during the tenure of Governorship by Peter Anker were so much that he had to bailed out of his debt trap and he approached some wealthy ladies to rescue him. However the king intervened and settled the debts.

Thus the sleeping beauty Fort Dansborg symbolizes traces of the Danish presence on the Coramandel Coast.

1. Printing press established by Ziegenbalg
2. Ziegenbalg’s house
3. Varadaraj Perumal Temple
4. Basava Mahal
5. Gateway of Tranquebar
6. Pillars House
7. New Jerusalem Church
8. Danish governors bunglow
9. Collectors Bunglow
10. Church of Swedish Mission

 Tranquebar or Tharangalpadi is located 296 km from Chennai after Poompuhar. It is enroute to Velankanni on the ECR road. It can be reached from Maylatdurai and Nagpatinam railway head too. The nearest airport is Trichy. We took the route from Chidambaram on the ECR road with a Pondi permit taxi towards Velankanni.  We covered this destination vide hiring a taxi from Mylatdurai, a round trip on hurricane type of climatic condition.

Caution :Ashtma patients are required to avoid this destination which can cause allergic reaction in OZONE rich environs. It is good antidote for heart disease.

ACK : Fortress guide, and Dutch History.

India Backpacker

Rameswara Temple, Keladi


Keladi Nayaks were originally feudatory of the Vijaynagar empire. Choudappa Nayak was the original founder of the dynasty 1499 – 1540 who was basically a commander under the emperor Krishnadevaraya, who suggested he should take over as Governor of the territory to protect the interest Vijaynagar Empire.

History of Keladi Nayaks origin :

There is an interesting story on the founders of the Keladi dynasty. The two brothers Chavuda Cauda and Bhadra Cauda were originally residents of Hale-bayal in the Chadragutti pargana. They utilized two slaves Murari and Yadav to cultivate their field along with cows. One day their cow was shedding her milk over an ant hill. The slaves reported the miraculous events to their master immediately. Cauda brothers ordered the slaves to excavate the site. They discovered a small Linga, and the brothers decided that it was auspicious sign and they decided to build a temple on the very spot. After some days while ploughing their fields they came across an old sword which was buried in the field. The brothers kept it safely on the roof top so that they will smelt it, to make a scythe. Later they observed that crows were falling dead on the roof top. Than they realized that the sword had some miraculous power to vanquish enemies. Chavuda took possession of the sword and got it cleaned and polished. This sword was named Nagamuri. When the slaves were ploughing the field after a few days they stuck a cauldron which was filled with gold ornaments and coins. The brothers immediately buried the treasure inorder to secure them away from jealous neighbours. One night Chavuda had a dream that inorder to take possession of the treasures they should undertake human sacrifice. On hearing the dream the slaves volunteered to become volunteers for human sacrifice under the condition that their families will be protected and their names will be immortalized. In the dawn the slaves were beheaded and offered to the goddess as appeasement. The brothers now took possession of the treasure and raised a small army in surrounding villages. Thus the Keladi dynasty was formed. Even today at the enterance the human sacrifical mound is present, which is known as Katte.


The greatest ruler of the Keladi dynasty was Shivappa Naik ( 1645 – 1665 ) who is credited to have built the famous Bekal fort and many other forts in the surrounding districts. After his demise there was a vaccum of leadership, later Somshekar Nayak ( 1665- 1677 ) ruled the entire territory. In the initial years he was busy fighting wars to consolidate the territory. He married Chennamma in 1667 and enjoyed a good family life. But he fell prey to vice of a courtesan Kalvathi. He ignored his wife Chenammajji. He started ignoring the administration of an empire. The king moved over to courtesans residence to further his vice of drinking and sexual escapades. Her foster father Bramha Mauta was an expert in Black magic, he took over the mind of the king who now became a puppet in his hands. Somshekar turned mad and started committing atrocities against women. One account states that he had murdered a pregnant women with his own hands. He started lusting at every opportunity and tried to rape women. This behaviour compelled a brahmin Sommayya to murder the king and forever get rid of the monstor. He was however given death sentence by Shiv Bhaktas, who claimed that he had bought disrepute to their creed.

The Bahamani kings were waiting and watching to take advantage of the situation arising out of the king being weak and totally surrendered to vices. They decided to check out the preparedness of the Keladis. Rani Chenammaji became alert because of the spy network. She wore the mantle of a commander and successfully warded off the enemy attack. 

In 1679 she took over the mantle from her husband.and started amidst conspiracy in the kingdom for overthrowing a weak women ruler. But she outsmarted all her enemies and hung some of the traitors for treason to teach others a lesson. In fact her commander wanted his son to named as a heir to the kingdom. But she refused and jailed the commander for treason against the Queen.

Meanwhile the war clouds were looming on the border with Aurangazebs son in hot pursuit of Shivaji’s son Rajaram. Against all advice she protected the son of the great Shivaji Maharaj, listened to the tales of horror. She than safely packed off Rajaram to Gingee where he survived till he was recalled by Maharaj. Thus Keladi Chenamma became a firm ruler calling the shots against adversary. She was happy that she was able to set an example to traitors.

She adopted Basappa Nayak who was trained to become the future king. He was trained in warfare, administration and leading the army against enemies. At the age of 16 Basappa Nayak was crowed as the king of Keladi kingdom. Thus Chenamma 1679 - 1697 after a reign of nearly 18 years handed over the strong empire.

Rameswara temple : At the outset as one enters the temple it looks like a residence with an ordinary tiled roof building looming out of the middle of the road. It looks like any other traditional house in most coastal Karnataka with mangalore tiles adorning the roof.

One inside the complex one finds transformation into a ancient structure. The three temple complex houses the Rameswara diety ( Linga and Nandi ), Veerabhadra and Ganesh. The pillars are beautifully decorated with mythical gods and animals. On the ceiling one finds the mythical bird two headed Garudabande.

Inside the temple complex one can find various statues the famous one is of Lord Ganesh and Veerabhadra. If one observes closely statue of Rani Chenamma is also installed riding a horse. Below Lord Ganesh Rani Chenamma is paying respect along with her consorts. On the reverse of the temple complex which is almost facing the enterance a vastu diagram is sketched on full wall panel. There is a huge manasthamba on the back yard of the temple. It seems temple has been altered subsequently according to vastu traditions.

Many a blogs point out that Chenamma ruled for 25 years which may be wrong according to evidence collected from Shimoga Library. Nevertheless it does not belittle one of greatest women rulers of ancient India.

Museum : There is a Museum located outside the Keladi Rameswara temple which is run by the state government. Many a times it is closed on holidays too. 10 to 5 pm is the official timings on the weekdays.

Location : Keladi is just 8 kms from Sagar town on the Sorab road.  Other nearby spots are Jog falls, Ikkeri, Hosgunda, Chandraguti within driving distance.

India Backpacker

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Krishnapuram Palace

One can sail to Krishnapuram from Allepey on the ferry starting at 5.45 am, 6 am and 8 am organized by DTPC. Krishnapuram palace is alleged to be summer vacation palace of the yester Travancore kings. It must obviously have been a palace of pleasure with courtesans around. The water from the pond seeps into the palace creating an aura of pleasure for the kings to bathe after a good massage. It is a unique architectural marvel created for the nobility of the times. Krishnapuram palace can be perfectly designated as a pleasure palace of the Travancore kings for a period of 250 years.

We trekked along the highway route by visiting the Gajendra Moksha temple adjescent to the highway. The palace is just half a kilometer from the temple premise with full of greenery, which must have been a part of the palace, now filled with dwellers. An open maidan is situated outside the palace which must have been hoisting cultural events for the royalty during Onam obviously. The Palace and the temple are closed during the noon between 1 to 2 pm and closed on a week day. The visit is ticketed @ Rs 10 per head and 2 $ for foreigners. Camera fees is levied at Rs 25. One can get books related to Kerala heritage too near the entry gate. There is a guide available to explain the historical importance of the Palace. He is happy to receive whatever tip the visitor gives, one need not haggle. The interest with which he explains the tradition, architectural features, etc are quite amazing which is rare from a guide. A unique doorway built without modern hinges is beautifully demonstrated but it makes a jarring noise which might wake up a jumbo.

The proof that foreigners were entertained in the palace is provided by the pan Indian toilets specially constructed for the Dutch and the Portuguese visitors along with a durbar hall. Later the British enjoyed the hospitality of the Travancore kings. Currently the museum is converted into a full fledged museum by ASI with a well landscaped garden housing the ancient Buddha statue of the 9th century. Thus lending the right place for the ancient Buddhist statue which would have been otherwise been vandalized or smuggled abroad.

The collection of antiques from various parts of Kerala by ASI is quite substantial. Some of the artifacts of bronze statues, granite image of Vishnu, Shiva, Bramha, Goddess etc have been displayed neatly on a pedestal. Ancient Mankinds burial remains in the form of DOLMEN, Urn, Menhirs, have been displayed beautifully in the corridors of the palace.

Largest Mural painting in Kerala with eco friendly colours is sketched on the inner façade of the Krishnapuram palace. The mural depicts goddess durga devi in a somber mood surrounded by elephants and all the attendants surrounding and praying to the goddess. It is as if devotees and angels are invoking the goddess to destroy the evil demon troubling the land. The painting is known as Gajendra Moksham a mythical tradition of Kerala.

Krishnapuram palace was built during the reign of Marthanda Varma ( 1729-1758 ) Mathanda Varma demolished the crumbling palace of the Kayamkulam king ( Odanadu king ). Initially it was a small Palace which was constructed under the supervision of Ramayyan Dalava. It was extended and modified to suit the royalties prestige by Ayyappan Marthanda Pillai. Krishnapuram Palace was fashioned on the basis of Padmanabapuram Palace. Its peculiar architectural style is known as Pathinnakettu.

Heritage students and scholars would relish visiting this palace to witness the wide varieties of numismatics of various periods, Bronze statues, ancient measures, mohenjdaro models, Sanskrit bible, palanquins, massage bench, etc.

Many a eyebrows would be raised if one enquires for Krishnapuram palace, so it is better to ask for Kottaram, which means palace in Malayalam. Autorikshaws are available at Railway station to take one to the palace which is 6 kms away from Kayakulam railway junction. The palace is exactly located on the outskirts of Kayakulam town on the NH 47. A visit to the palace will take us back to the memory lane of the kerala heritage in general.

India Backpacker

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Mirjan Fort Tribute to Pepper Queen

An aroma fills the air with expectation of a bygone era in search of the pepper queen, which symbolized the zenith of trading links with Europeans, Arabs, Persians, Chinese, etc.. The konkan coastal belt served as an export base, with Mirjan serving as one of the micro ports, for all the spices produced in the during the Vijayanagar Era. The vijayanagar empires principal exports were pepper, ginger, cinnamon, cardamom, tamarind, turmeric, musk, aloe and precious stones such as diamonds and pearls.

Mirjan Fort was in all probability built originally by Queen Chennabhairadevi ( 1552 - 1606 AD ), who belonged to the Tuluva-Salva clan under the tutlege of Vijaynagar kings. Rani Chennabhairavdevi was also known as the Pepper Queen or Raina da Pimenta. Her reign was in conformity with the doctrine of succession “ Aliyasantana “ or Matriarchal , a tradition followed in coastal belt of konkan and Kerala. Her reign was the longest in the history of female domination in the annals of Indian history, from 1552 – 1606. The strong hold of her territory was centered around North and South kanara districts and south Goa. The main harbours were Malpe, Baindoor, Mirjan, Honnavar, Ankola and Karwar.

After the battle of Talikota in 1565, the Pepper queen was constantly fighting battle for survival. During this period she shifted her base from Mirjan Fort to somewhat safe haven in Basadi an isle in the middle of river Sharavathi. Being a jain she was responsible for construction of many basadis in and around barkur and moodbidri area.

The pepper queen protected her territory fiercely which prompted the Portguese recorded in 1591 " We must deal with her with utmost caution and diplomacy, We must be polite,courteous and win her trust......( obviously to get favour in trading the spices from her territory ) Gerosappa was the capital of her territory. Spices grew abundantly in the rain fed virgin forest land of North Karnataka and Goa.   Spices from her territory was mainly traded from three harbour towns Bhatkal, Honnavar and Mirjan.  They were exported vide barter to Arabian countries, in exchange of horses, perfumes, silk, precious stones and dry fruits. 

Finally after a protracted battle she was defeated by the Keladi king Hiriya Venkatappa in 1606 ( 1586-1629) under alliance with Belgi chiefs through maritial arrangements.  She was believed to have been imprisoned in Gerosappa Kanoor fort, which was incomplete monument. I only hope she gets her due recognition in the annals of history for her long reign against odds.  

Mirjan fort is currently under renovation by the ASI to bring back the original glory to this exquisite fort. The fort was maintained by yearly grant till independence by the British empire. The Fort has been built in an area encompassing of 10 acres. A circular moat except near the enterance surrounds the Fort. In ancient times obviously this was filled with crocs to protect them from attack by the enemies. The water way seemed to have served as transportation of merchandise to the nearest harbour. The presence of the Jain pillar gives a clue to the architect of the Fort, even though all traces of the original builder seem to have been erased by raiding Bahamani sultans. This Fort was conquered by Sharief-ul-mulk the governor of Goa. He seems to have renovated the Fort to symbolize moghul architecture.
The fort is constructed with Laterite stones, which is available in plenty in the area.  There are watch towers all round the fort.  The circular moat seems to have been linked originally to the nearby river, which is a tributary of Sharavathi river.  There are two wells constructed inside the fort to preserve water, and escape routes were designed for a quick getway in case of enemy attack.  A temple seems to have crumbled.  The fort can be considered to be as one of the elegant strategic monument.
The Mirjan fort is located just 1 km off the NH 17 on the left turn by the side of the fish market @ Mirjan town, which is located 8 kms away from Kumta town enroute to Ankola orGoa. This destination can be reached from Mlore, on the NH 17 highway towards Goa or even Gokarna for that matter. Approximately 10 kms  just away from Kumta town towards Gorkarna. One can take a convinient train from Mlore and reach Kumta town and take a bus towards Gokarna and get down at Mirjan. From Goa one can get down at Ankola, Gokarna or even Kumta and travel by bus. Bus connectivity from Gokarna is not very frequent

acknowledgement :

Sringeri Shankracharya's Legacy


Who built the Vidyashankar temple of Sringeri ? is subject of great speculation. Many a historians credit the godfather of Vijaynagar empire Vidyaranya to have commissioned and completed the temple in 1356 AD. However the typical Hoysala star styled pedestal indicates that the temple was commissioned much earlier. My surmise is that Hoysala king Veera Ballal III commissioned the temple in 1325 AD but was unable to complete, due to constant war clouds, the edifice which was later modified and completed during the Vijaynagar emperors reign in 1356 AD. 

The temple is located on the banks of the river Tunga which flows with a crystal clear purity from the Agumbe ghat. The temple is dedicated to Vidyashshankara ( 1228- 13 AD ) the 11th pontiff of the Adi Shankaracharya lineage. After serving as the head of the Mutt for more than 100 years he attained Samadhi in an underground cellar. Being a yoga proponent he attained it through Lumbika Yoga almost akin to Sallekhana tradition of the Jains. He had forcasted that his body would be transformed into a full blown Shiv Linga which can be exhumed after 12 years. But his devotees hurried opened his Samadhi to find only a small Linga in formative stage. 


We began our trip from Karnad by car to Moodbidri and from there to karkala and entered the picturesque Kudremukh forest and first visited the Hornadu Annapoorneswari temple. After a detour to Horanadu we had to return to the main road to Sringeri via the forest and Kudremukh Iron ore plant route which was closed due ecological concerns, enroute we came across the Hanumangundi water falls which is run by the forest department, with a steep climb downwards in midst of a forest. After visiting the falls we quickly moved towards Sringeri and visited the Vidyashankar temple and Sringeri Mutt. We saw the safari too enroute from where the trekking trips are conducted. Enroute we witnessed the beautiful evergreen malnad hill ranges of chickmanglur and than proceeded towards Belur and returned to Bangalore.

Legacy : Adi Shankaracharya was impressed by an unusual sight of a cobra giving shelter to pregnant frog giving birth with its raised hood. This incident made him to realize that the place is sanctified and blessed with good vibrations where enemies to help each other in times of need. The surrounding hill ranges of western ghat with river tunga provided the ideal setting to establish the first mutt of advaita philosophy or followers of sanathana dharma. Adi Shankaracharya ( 788 –823 AD) stayed put for almost 12 years in the Sringeri Mutt. Adi Shankara later founded four mutts located at Badrinath, Dwarka and Puri across the four corners of the country. 

Mythical : Srigeri name is derived from sage Rishisrinhga who seemed to have bought rain to the drought stricken area during the Ramayan times. The nearby hills seems to have contained the hermit of the sage where he lived and meditated. 

Vidyashankar temple has 3 enterances on the east, south and north. There is idol of Brahma with saraswathi on the south, Lakshminarayana on the west, and Uma Maheswara towards the North. The façade of the temple is finely sculpted with images representing the 10 incarnations of Lord Vishnu. There are various forms of Shiva and Shakti too embedded on the outer wall of the temple. A miniature Gommateswara can also be witnessed on the wall. There are stone rings hanging from one corner of the temple. The Linga in the sanctum is named as Vidyashankara Linga dedicated to great pontiff of the Mutt. 

The gopuram or tower is three storyed finely sculpted to take on the vagaries of nature in terms of heavy rainfall and wind during monsoon. The peak of the tower contains the Khalasa which is made of copper which to an extent must be insulating the edifice from lightening. 


The Sringeri Mutt was a hub of activity during the reign of Vijaynagar empire. Hindu temples were vandalized by the raids of Malik Kafur. Vidyaranya ( 1268 – 1365 AD) quickly garnered the support of like minded people to revive the Hindu empire in establishing the Vijayanagar empire with the help of Harihara and Bucca brothers by breaking away from the Bahamani sultans in 1336 AD who were re-converted back to Hindusism from Islam by Vidyaranya. This heroic act of Vidyaranya can be compared to the Chankya type of reign. He wanted Hampi to be built like a capital and Srigeri to be lauded as a religious root for the empire.

The secular nature of the temple is highlighted by the patronage of Tipu Sultan. The temple was sponsored by intolerant bigot testifies only to the secular credential of the Mutt. In fact the temple has in its possession 23 letters written by Tipu Sultan who wished to visit the temple in 1795 AD but Anglo Mysore war kept him busy. Once he had written a letter to the Swamiji on occasion of loot of temple wealth by raiding Maratha army chief in 1791 AD. He had written to Shankaracharya stating thus “ 

People who do evil knowingly with a smile on their lips, will shed tears as a consequence by weeping. Those who sin against holy places and saints are certainly destined to suffer the consequences, their wealth and family will be ruined “


Sringeri can be reached videHassan, Belur, and Srigeri. The next route is from Mangalore, Mulki, Karkala, and Sringeri. Another route is from Tumkur, Tiptur, Arsikere, Birur and Sringeri

India Backpacker


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Bangalore, Karnataka, India
Basically i am down to earth, take friendship to its logical end. It is my endeavour to create a wealth of co-operative ventures. Basically being a marketing man i have the acumen to spot winners. I am privileged to travel the length and breadth of the country, courtsey my father, who was with Indianoil, my employers such as Nutrine, Kurl-on, Hindustan Pencils, Prestige, Crystal, Bell Ceramics, Pentel, Sezal, Commander. Currently i am involved in Tourism, Booking Air Tickets, Agent for Jungle Lodges and Resorts Limited and Taj Group of Hotels and a numerous hotels across India. Depending on the needs of a traveller i would recommend the destination and accommodation best suited to their budget. Humour takes me on. Let us have a win win situation for all. I love travelling for sake of adventure, photography and discovering the heritage. Life is a journey and let us enjoy our drive. Come share your travel experience on indiabackpacker.