Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Madurai Trip: Meenakshi Amman Temple

Date: 18 - 19th Sep 2015

Visitors: Arun, Shilpi, Harsh, Muthusamy, Vijayalakshmi and Selvi

Fee: Rs 50 for mobile camera. You are allowed to click pics everywhere except inside main sanctum. One can also get special tickets for Rs 20 or Rs 100.

Timing: 5 AM to 12:30 PM and 4 PM to 9:30 PM.

Make sure you do not go during festival season. The average foot fall in this temple is 15K per day  and during festivals it will get crazily crowded.

The Famous Meenakshi amman temple is the main attraction in Madurai. Meenakshi is the main deity in the temple. The temple also house Lord shiva, called as sundareshwar here. The important aspect of this temple is the12 majestic gopurams. The south tower is the tallest measuring 160 feet and 9 inches. This tower alone has 1511 sculptures. There are 2 golden vimanas which can be viewed from particular point. These points are well marked. Non Hindus are not allowed inside the main sanctum. No vehicles are allowed on the four roads around the temple. Leave your footware at the cloak room which is free. Make sure to note from which tower you enter and come back from same tower else you will have to walk around completely bare foot. Do not forget to savor yummy puliogare (tamarind rice) in the temple.

The famous South tower.

The potramarai Kulam (pond with golden lotus).

Golden Lotus.

Small Ganesha at the entrance from south side.

Some of the sculptures on the pillars of the temple.

Flagstaff surrounded by ornate pillars.

The roofs are all decorated with many paintings. The below one is one such. The specialty is its a rotating Linga, from which ever side you look from the water outlet will be facing you.

The sculptures on the entrance of the temple.

One really need half a day to fully explore the temple, admire the sculptures and painting. So plan to visit the temple at leisure.

Madurai Trip: What to eat, Where to eat.

Date: 18 - 19th Sep 2015

Foodies: Arun, Shilpi, Harsh, Muthusamy, Vijayalakshmi and Selvi

Apart from the temples Madurai is also famous for its food. Second thing that comes to mind after Meenakshi Amman temple is the Madurai malligai Idly. Here are the few items to eat. Sorry Non-Vegetarians.. :). I read there are few places which are a must try for NV. Google should be able to help with that.

Murugan Idly shop started as a small outlet selling snacks and coffee is now spread is various locations. Idly stands out as their signature dish.

The soft idly served with 5 types of sides. Sambar and different type of chutney were outstanding. The idly as rightly said as maligai poo (Jasmine flower) idly is soft and just slides down inside :)

Other specialty is the mouth watering ghee podi dosa. The dosa is thin and crispy with nice spread of red podi.

Other item to try in Madurai is the Jil jigarthanda. There are plenty of shops where you can get this but one of the place to try out is famous jigarthanda near the meenakshi amman temple.

The next place to eat is the Modern restaurant. Established some 60+ years ago is this famous restaurant near south tower of Meenakshi amman temple. Idly and dosa were all ok but not something great. Only one item that stand out is the kesari.

Harsh certified Kersari. Harsh doesn't like sweets much (yes except for chocolates) but after taking one bite he certified that its too good and finished the cup :). So this is one of the muct try item in Madurai.

There are few more places to eat like janakiraman, chappathi park, konar kadai etc... One must try all south indian food types in these restaurants if there is time.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Madurai Trip: Alagar Kovil

Date: 18 - 19th Sep 2015

Visitors: Arun, Shilpi, Harsh, Muthusamy, Vijayalakshmi and Selvi

 Alagar kovil is at the base of the Alagar hills. The temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu.

After visiting Palamudhircholai we visited Alagar Kovil.

Chithirai festival in this temple is very famous. During the festival Lord Vishnu goes to Madurai and then gets into the Vaigai river in horse. The festival happens for 10 days and it is a wonderful series of events. The main deity looks so beautiful and since the name Alagar (meaning beautiful). Its believed that one of the disciple of Ramanujam got his eye sight back after singing songs on the lord here. The main entrance with 18 steps is closed  and is opened for a fee of Rs 50 for 5 people.

Entrance to Alagar temple.

Full view of the temple

Beautiful gopuram.

There were few monkeys in the temple complex and harsh was scared. Told him open your palm and show them that you don't have anything to give so the whole time he was like this :)

It is one of the 108 divya desams and a must visit places in Madurai.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

In Maps We Trust

For all our trips we use maps at high level to see the names of major town/willage. We depend on people mostly. We stop often and ask for direction if there are no boards. This time we decided to go by the route given by google maps. It was showing 3 routes first one the shortest, second fastest and last one not sure why would some one take that route ;). During our previous Madurai trip we took the shortest and this time we decided to go by google words. Trust me google knew the route much better than we did.

Route between chengapalli and Vellakoil had 2 sections. First SH81 which had light traffic and the second part was NH67. NH67 was almost of same size as SH. Ride on these 2 roads was smooth.

Last section before we hit NH7 was again the state highway. SH84A and SH84C. I guess suffix A and C means these are much smaller roads than the SH. The road got narrower than SH81 but very well maintained. There was almost no traffic on that 80Km section. The ride was too good through those narrow village roads. The road was just enough for a lorry and a car to pass by so no need to worry about any on coming traffic.

Keep calm and fly on NH7.

NH7 surely is one of the most beautiful highway to drive on. Enjoyed the drive till we hit AH43 the last leg of the trip.

Last 8 Km on the AH43 was bit of a pain to drive. The road got narrower and traffic was very heavy. Took almost 45 min to cover that 8 km. Till we reached Madurai we did not stop to ask for direction. Maps worked perfectly fine.

But all was not well with google maps after entering Madurai. Maps got confused with some one ways inside the city. At the end we had to stop and ask people for direction to TTDC. When we reached, Hotel Tamilnadu was on our right but the maps said your destination is on the left. 

Friday, September 25, 2015

Skywatch Friday: Dusk

My post for Skywatch Friday

Thoughts, comments and suggestions?. Please share it if you like.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Madurai Trip: Pazhamudircholai

Date: 18 - 19th Sep 2015

Visitors: Arun, Shilpi, Harsh, Muthusamy, Vijayalakshmi and Selvi

Pazhamudircholai is the last of six abodes of lord Murugan. Situated 19Kms from the Madurai town is the small temple in middle of a dense forest. There are three temples in this complex. First at the bottom of the hill is Azhakar kovil then half way up the hill is Lord Murugan temple and on top is Rakai kovil.

This was not crowded or big like the other 5 temples. We reached at 4PM and they stopped the darshan for evening pooja. We thought of waiting outside but the person at ticket counter asked us to go inside and see the pooja. We had a nice darshan. With this we have visited all 6 important temples of Lord Murugan. For those who don't know who is Lord Murugan - Karthikeyan, Lord Ganesha's younger brother who fought for the mango :)

Arch at the beginning of hills.

The temple gopuram

Flagstaff inside the temple.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Bengaluru Eataries: 6. Gramina Thindi

Date: 12th Sep 2015

Foodies: Arun, Shilpi and Harsh

Cost for 2: 160 Approx

Timing: 7 AM - 9:30 PM

Location: 4th Block, Jayanagar

Wait time: None

Specialty: Benne (Butter) Dosa

Another place to eat delicious Dosa's. Its a small place with self service only. There are benches on the sides to sit but it will be occupied most of the time. The pricing of the items is very reasonable.

Must try item here is the Benne Dosa. The coconut chutney and the dosa was awesome. Like me sure one cant stop with one dosa :). There is aloo masala inside and one can get without that too.

Another item we tried in kali dosa and was not so impressive after eating benne dosa. May be i should have taken benne kali dosa.

Another specialty is paddu. Crispy and yummy. The coriander chutney did not go well with this so go for coconut one. They are generous so do not hesitate to ask more chutney.

Finish the light dinner ;) with another traditional filter coffee.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Skywatch Friday: The Address

New Address that has come up on Outer Ring Road, Bengaluru

My post for Skywatch Friday

Thoughts, comments and suggestions?. Please share it if you like.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Bengaluru Eataries: 5. Hotel Mysore Mylari

Date: 6th Sep 2015

Foodies: Arun, Shilpi and Harsh

Cost for 2: 180 Approx

Timing: Wednesday Holiday. Others 7 AM - 12 Noon and 4 PM - 9 PM

Location: Bugle Rock Rd, Basavanagudi

Wait time: 10-15 min aprox

Specialty: Dosa

Blessed are those who live in old Bengaluru. Plenty of  places to eat great breakfast. Mysore Mylari hotel is one among them. Like in Mysore here too the place was too small. Not sure if they choose these narrow building on purpose. The menu is limited to Idly, vada, Dosa, karabath. kesari bath and coffee. We reached there around 9 and had to wait for 5-10 min. By the time we finished breakfast small crowd gathered and the wait time was around 15 min.

Also see other eateries review

We ordered Dosa which is the specialty here. They have plain and masala one. While waiting for dosa we ordered Vada. The sambar was completly different from the regular Sagar red sweet sambar. This was yellow in color and was not sweet. The sambar was amazingly tasty. Vada was too good along with sambar. One of the must try items here. Yes they had onion in sambar :) At least 2 small onions in each cup.

Then came the mouthwatering dosa. The dosa was crispy on the inside and slightly soft on outside.  Spread the butter on the dosa and enjoy it with delicious coconut chutney. It was worth driving 10Km to eat such awesome dosa.Surely going back again someday.

Shilpi had kara bath which was average in taste. Not so great and can be skipped.

Kesaribath was nice too but again just cant beat the dosa and sambar here.

Finish your breakfast with traditional south Indian filter coffee. The coffee was exactly to my liking, strong and less sweet.

Only thing the hotel missed is keeping soap solution to wash hand. No way you can wash the butter and ghee off your hand with plain water :)

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Yeah, I got Liebster Award

Its been a dull couple of weeks for my blog activity. Did not explore much in last month and did not have much to update. The notifications from Indiblogger has dried up. Today suddenly i saw a notification that i have an Indimail. When opened I was taken by surprise seeing that i was nominated for Liebster award. Thank you Ami Bhat @ thrillingtravel for nominating me for Liebster Award. This means a lot to me.

Its a online Award for newbie bloggers. Rules for this award are simple.
  • Thank the blogger who nominated you for the award.
  • Answer the questions posted by the nominator. 
  • Nominate 5+ new bloggers.
  • Post questions for the bloggers you nominated.

So my answers to questions from Ami

1) What is the best part of traveling?

     Food. Love to taste local food.

2) Is there something about traveling that you dislike?

    Night driving. Blinding high beam grrrr.

3) Beaches or Hill stations?

    Hill Stations. Its an amazing feeling seeing the world from top.

4) What is that one place that you did not have enough of and why?

    Sri Lanka. It was our first foreign trip together and did not want to take risk. Planning done on our own will always be much better than the one planned by an agent. But lesson learned.

5) Share your one crazy moment / embarrassing moment when traveling

    When our car head light failed in middle of the forest. Had to drive few kilometers only with the hazard light on.

6) What are the key things that you keep in mind when picking a destination?

    None particular. Pick the destination based on number of days i got.

7) Your best travel companion? Why?

    Milestones. Reducing number on the board increases the excitement of exploring a new place.

8) Any movie/ book that inspires your travel?

    Not any movie or books but blogs from the fellow travel bloggers.

9) Tell us your one travel as a kid that has still stayed with you.

    Traveling in Nilgiri mountain train. Even as an adult we can still enjoy traveling through those dark tunnels.

10) Which is your next destination and why? 

      Long pending dream of conquering golden quadrilateral.

Now i nominate

Kaustav Sen @ SenkPhotograhy
Kiran Kashyap @ Kiranvrb
Tirtha Tanay @ tirthatanay
Chinmay Sahu @ chinmaysahuphotography
Ram and Reshma @ screamingpiston
Gowthama Rajavelu @ snap-o-meter

My questions to the nominees

  1. Dream travel destination? 
  2. Preferred mode of transport?
  3. Facepalm moment in any trips? 
  4. Most beautiful place that you visited?
  5. Has traveling changed you? In what way? 
  6. Solo Trips or Friends group or Family trips? Why?
  7. Have you ever thought of quitting job for travel? Will you do it?
  8. Have you Ever forgotten to carry a camera to a trip? What was your reaction?
  9. What is your reaction when you see people posting every minute of their life on SM?
  10. Have you cancelled any travel plan last minute because something came up at work?  Reaction?

Now its your turn :) Have fun.

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