Archive for ‘tamilnadu’

June 7, 2020

By the Temple Pond

It is a tough time indeed – for everyone of us with COVID19, Amphan, Nisarga etc. and we have not even crossed the first half of 2020. At least one good thing with the lock-down – mother nature seems to be healing. I can now hear more of birds chirping even in the middle of Marathalli, Bangalore :) For the many lucky folks who are not stranded away from home – the lock-down had brought in a much needed break to reflect and introspect. I had seen people try to pick up new skills, do work out, indulge in cooking etc. As for me – being in IT – my work days had just become longer :( (thanks to remote work). One of the reasons why no updates around here for the past 2 months. But I did get to refine and complete on something that I had been toying around for years – Artography.

This week post is from Kovilur – yeah the same place with the lovely thirukulam (pond). Taking a walk around the thirukulam (திருக்குளம்) is soothing anytime of the day. An evening stroll, cool breeze, sitting by the pond and enjoying as the sun as it was setting behind – it was all an work of art.

If you are curious on how this particular art was made, check out the article – Artography – Photo to Painting. And do share how you like the same in comments …

Watercolor on Textured Paper

By The Pond (பொற்குளம் அருகில்)
Kovilur, TamilNadu, India

March 16, 2020

Simple Life

With all the things going around in the world right now, in context of COVID19 – borders being closed, people staying home as much as possible. It is tough times. But nature always has its way of getting things balanced out.

Distance socially, but not from yourself. Slow down, breath, find your zen. Enjoy small things in life. Go for a walk, enjoy the sunset, spend some lone time & rejuvenate. Learn something new. Use the opportunity to connect – with people and nature.

Stay healthy and stay safe.

This scene is from a village in south of India. Just a regular day, a regular guy, spending his morning time in the early morning twilight. Life is simple, the moment we stop making it complex :)

Canon 7D : Canon 10-22 mm : ISO 500: 12 mm : f3.5 : 0.5 sec

Simple Life
Some Village, Tamilnadu, India

February 3, 2020

Chettinad Natukottai

The Chettinad region around Sivaganga district is well known for its 19th-century mansions, whose wide courtyards and spacious rooms are embellished with marble and teak – imported from around the world like Italy and Burma. Along with the exotic imports, local legend has it that even things like egg whites were used to get the smooth texture on the walls.

Chettiars were a mercantile community involved with commerce, banking and money lending from as early as Chola and Pandiya kingdom. Much of their profits went into building these grand residences, which used to be called natukottai or regional fort.

Some of the Chettinad homes are so big that their entrance and exits are on parallel streets. The distant door on this shot opens up to the cooking area and the inner courtyards. Can you imagine – what you see below is just one of the several courtyards that spawn up the Natukottai.

Canon 7D : Canon 10-22 mm : ISO 100 : 10 mm : f4.5 : 1.5 sec

The Bangala
Karaikudi, TamilNadu, India

November 18, 2019

Sunrise by Choleswaran Kovil

It would have been great if some clouds were there to make the sunrise more dramatic. But am not complaining – since just few hours before this – I got to witness the grandeur of the night, with Milky Way hanging just over the Kopuram

Lesson to self : Always make the most of what is around, than complaining for what could have been better :)

Canon 7D : Canon 10-22 mm : ISO 100 : 10 mm : f4.0 : 1/10 sec

Vijayalaya Choleswaran Temple
Pudukottai, TamilNadu, India

August 18, 2019

Magic of Kodai

If Ooty is the “Queen of the hills”, Kodaikanal goes with “Princess of the hills”. Folks also refer to kodaikanal as “Switzerland of the East”, “Set of Southern Emeralds”, “Chilled paradise among the Hills”, “Summer Heaven”.

In Tamil – Kodaikanal has several meanings depending on how you break it up – “A place to see in Summer (kodai kanal)”, “The End of the forest (kO Di kanal)”, “The forest of the Creepers (kodi kanal)”, ” The Gift of the Forest (kOdai kanal)” – (oh the beauty of Tamil)

But what is there in the name … Irrespective of how you call, it is beautiful. The view points, lake and everything else is well developed but the beauty is still kept, atleast in pockets. The floating mist as it sails thru the valley, adds magic to the already beautiful place :)

Canon 7D : Tamron 18-270 mm : ISO 125 : 35 mm : f5.6 : 1/60 sec

Magical Mist
Kodaikanal, Tamilnadu, India

June 5, 2019

The Prakaram of Nemam Temple

Nemam Temple near Karikudi is one among the 9 temples connected with the Nagarathar community. The nine temples connected with the Nagarathar or Natukottai chettiyar include: Ilayathakudi, Iluppaikkudi, Iraniyur, Mathur, Nemam, Pillayarpatti, Soorakudi, Vairavan, and Velangudi. Some of these like Pillayarpatti are more prominent than others.

But the intricate work at Nemam temple makes it stand out. Sculptures in the temple are so artistic, minute and sharp. The prakaram around the inner sanctum was definitely an architectural splendor. One could sense how accurate these were laid out. The windows on the top brings in the right amount of sun to light up the prakaram and the beauty of the sculptures.


Canon 7D : Canon 10-22 mm : ISO 100 : 10 mm : f3.5 : 8.0 sec

Nemam
Karaikudi, TamilNadu, India

June 2, 2019

Soul of Ooty

It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.

As the summer temperatures were soaring up pretty much everywhere, we decided to head to Ooty – Queen of the Hills – for a short break. Being a impromptu travel, there was not much time for planning or scouting locations.

Being our first trip to Ooty, we made the mistake of booking the last of the rooms by Ooty downtown. Thought it would be good to enjoy a walk by the lake or get to the shops. But, oh boy the traffic was similar to that of Bangalore SilkBoard, if not worse :)

The serene drive to Emerald & Avalanche Lake, next day, balanced it all out. Some spots were indeed blocked or restricted, since it is owned by Electric Board and used for electricity generation. These spots need prior planning and securing permits beforehand. Still the drive is very picturesque and worth even if you were not able to secure the permits.

This weeks shot is a view is from a quick curve by the road side, as we were driving back from Emerald lake to Ooty.

I love this shot – it distills the essence of all that Ooty has to offer – Queen of hills, land of lakes, rolling coffee plantations, distant fog and a bit of human settlement. The sunset colors were a pleasant addition and the afternoon thunderstorms accentuated it. Ooty being cloudy / foggy most of the time, we did not expect this scene. But we gladly enjoyed as it unfolded in all its glory !

Surprises like these and more are what make the impromptu travel so additive :)

Soul of Ooty
Ooty, TamilNadu, India

May 16, 2019

Perspective

Sometime all we need is a new perspective.

Perspective – it changes everything.

One of the amazing things in life – just when we think we have everything figured out & then you stumble upon something new or suddenly see the same things in a different perspective & everything shifts again :)

Today’s shot is that of a top perspective of Vandiyur Mariamman Teppakulam temple – something that most would never have witnessed, lest be captured in the golden twilight.

Perspective – it changes everything :)

Vandiyur Mariamman Teppakulam
Madurai, TamilNadu, India

April 12, 2019

Cosmic Unison

Some dreaming, some planning and a lot of waiting was involved for this shot. When I first got to visit this spot, I went crazy with ideas like a kid with cotton candy. Of those, capturing this beauty under the cosmic stars was on top. This past weekend everything came together to make this possible …

The temple was just couple feet away while the milky way was 25,000 light years away. The temple was constructed around 1000 years back while the milky way is from a couple million years back. Separated vastly by space and time, yet in in cosmic unison – it was one beautiful sight to behold !

Being no moon, it was quiet dark. Hence decided to play with light painting to make the temple pop. To make it even sweeter, I had a lovely assistant who diligently worked with me thru the process. Having to accompany my son on his first night out and shooting stars was even a greater experience :)

 

Canon 7D : Canon 10-22 mm : ISO 2500 : 10 mm : f3.5 : 20 sec

    Vijayalaya Choleswaran Temple
Pudukottai, TamilNadu, India
March 19, 2019

Merku Gopuram of Meenakshi Temple

This shot is just part of the base 2 tiers of the 9 tier Merku Gopuram (west tower) of Meenakshi Amman Temple, Madurai. The temple complex spanning 14 acers – has 4 nine-storey gopurams (outer, raja), 1 seven-storey gopuram (Chittirai), 5 five-storey gopurams, 2 three-storey, and 2 one-storey gold-gilded sanctum towers. Each one compete and excel at being more intricate and detailed as the other.

Though there are references to Meenakshi Amman temple in literature going back to 6th century, these were restored back to its pristine glory in the 16th century, when King Thirumalai Naicker came back to power in Madurai. What awe-inspiring structures, with-standing the test of time. With such intricate work, would you believe this was conceived and constructed centuries ago ?!!!

Canon 7D : Tamron 18-270 mm : ISO 100 : 76 mm : f8.0 : 1/125 sec

    Merku Gopuram, Meenakshi Amman Temple 
Madurai, TamilNadu, India
March 3, 2019

Kotravaleeswarar Temple of Koviloor

The Koviloor temple of "Sri Kotravaleeswarar" was initially built by the Pandiya King "Veerasekara Pandiyan" – approximately thousand years ago. Legend says that once when King Veerasekaran was on his hunting at this place, he lost his sword and later recovered it. The temple was raised for the lord who helped recover the same. And hence the name Kotrai vaal eeswaran Temple !

The temple tank right in front of the temple called Madhu Puskarani, is one magnificent structure. The pretty mandapam backed by the row of coconut trees, reflected in the sparkling waters is a sight to behold, especially during sunset.

 

Canon 7D : Canon 10-22mm : ISO 100 : 10 mm : f3.5 : 1/4 sec

    Madhu Puskarani, Kotravaleeswarar Temple
Koviloor, TamilNadu, India
February 18, 2019

Divine Island

Vandiyur Mariamman Teppakulam (வண்டியூர் மாரியம்மன் தெப்பக்குளம்) is a temple tank located near to Vandiyur Mariamman Temple and situated at a distance of about 4 km from the Meenakshi Amman Temple in Madurai. Teppakulam, literally translates to temple pond and is mainly used for devotional festivals. The tank is connected to Vaigai River through an ingenious system of underground channels. This was constructed by the King Thirumalai Nayak. One of the largest Ganesha, the Mukkuruni Vinayagar in Meenakshi Amman Temple is said to be found when this tank is dug in 1645.

As a kid, I had seen this pond often used as cricket playing field. But when filled with water, the artificial tank makes the temple within – an island and is a sight to behold. An walk around this would take 30 minutes and would be awesome during early morning or evening times. The place is filled up with lot of road side shops to eat and walk with. If the tank is filled with water and the climate is breezy, you definitely would enjoy this spot !

DJI Mavic Pro : ISO 172 : 4.73 mm : f2.2 : 1/50 sec

    Vandiyur Mariamman Teppakulam
Madurai, TamilNadu, India
December 23, 2018

Iraniyur

Just a short drive from Karaikudi is lraniyur, which hosts this lovely Aatkondanathar Swami temple. As the first rays of the sun hit, birds chirped all around, accompanied by the cool and pristine breeze – one is just teleported to a different world and time !

The history goes that Lord Narasimha incurred a dosha for killing demon Hiranya. He worshipped Lord Shiva for relief. Lord Shiv granted darshan to Lord Narashima and cleansed him of His dosha.

DJI Mavic Pro : ISO 100 : 5 mm : f2.2 : 1/190 sec

    Iraniyur
Karaikudi, TamilNadu, India
December 11, 2018

Vivekananda Rock by twilight

In a conflict between the heart and the head, follow your heart. – Swami Vivekananda

 

Eight years back, when I visited Kanyakumari, I did not get to actually visit the Vivekananda Rock. Back then, I had to settle for the view from ashore. It brought back memories from my childhood visit – the grandeur mandap, the towering pillars, the roaring waves, the serene & the cool rock – were all etched in my memory.

So this time around, when the chance presented itself, I was more than eager to get out there. But, I was a bit taken aback, on how things had taken a turn. From the confusing ticketing queues (one for the ferry and one for the entry at the rock, makes one wonder why someone would take a ferry and avoid entering the rock) to the huge crowds this place draws, the experience is no longer pristine. It was really sad that sitting in silence or meditation was no longer allowed on the grand hall and the so called meditation hall, set up down below makes one claustrophobic.

Don’t get me wrong, the rock and the mandap is still an awe inspiring structure.  Actually the design of the mandapa incorporates different styles of temple architecture from all over India. You definitely should visit if you are around in Kanyakumari. But at the same time, the experience is no longer as serene as it used to be. For now. given a choice, I’ll settle for the view from ashore and hold on to my memories :)

 

Canon 7D : Tamron 18-270 mm : ISO 125 : 76 mm : f6.7 : 30 sec

    Vivekananda Rock
Kanyakumari, TamilNadu, India
September 23, 2018

Sunrise @ South Tip, India

Kanyakumari , the southern most tip of Incredible India, is well known for a handful of things – The Vivekananda Rock, Thiruvaluvar statue, the small fishing colony, Devi Kanyakumari Amman Temple on one end and Our lady Church on the other. But it all comes together during sunrise, when everyone gathers by the coast to witness the dynamic colors :)

Canon 7D : Canon 10-22 mm : ISO 100 : 10 mm : f4.5 : 0.3 sec

  Sunrise @ South Tip
Kanyakumari, TamilNadu, India
September 19, 2010

Temple guarded by Lions @ Kanchipuram

Kanchipuram (???????????) is rightly called the “City of 1000 temples”. Though we might not find 1000s of temples currently, there are atleast few hundreds. And a handful of them still active with rituals and pujas being performed on a daily basis. The below is from Kailashnath Temple. Accounting to Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations at home (yeah yeah my laziness too added to the delay :))  ended up at this place just after noon- after an hour and half drive from Chennai. Though the sun was harsh, the shot came out really good as I was able to sneak and set the tripod in the extreme corner for an HDR shot.

Buy Print Flickr Page Kailashnath Temple, Kanchipuram
Chennai, India
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