Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Visit to Jackfruit & Pineapple plantations.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007


The Aranmula Boat Race takes place at Aranmula, near a temple dedicated to Lord Krishna and Arjuna. The two day Aranmula Boat Race is more a water fiesta than a competition, conducted during Onam.

We visted the place in June and though the boat race is still months away the boats are getting ready for action. We met local villagers to know more about this famous boat festival in the Pathanamthitta district in Kerela.

An old man did tell us the story behind the festival as he was taking a dip in the river Pamba. . The event is are-enacting of the legend involving a devout Brahmin who made a votive offering of feeding one pilgrim a day. One day Sree Krishna himself appeared to him and the overjoyed Brahmin vowed to offer 51 measures of rice and all the provision for the thiruvona sadya (the sumptuous Onam feast) at the Aranmula Parthasarathy*Temple. Once,the thiruvonachilavu thoni (the boat carrying the offerings) was intercepted by rivals from another village, but the Brahmin's own villagers came to the rescue on snake boats. From then on the offering was carried by a fleet of palliyodam - about 48 of them representing the nearby backwater villages. (A palliyodam is a large, luxurious snake boat used by gods and royalty.)
These days, only 26 snake boats participate in the event which is marked by a colorful water carnival - an imposing effigy of Sree Krishna is taken out in procession on the lake with children dressed as nymphs and princesses.

On the second day, the snake boats or "chundan vallams" are decorated with silken parasol, carrying helmsmen, oarsmen and singers assemble near the temple early in the morning and then move away in pairs, creating a magnificent pageant. The oarsmen sing traditional boat songs and wear white dhotis and turbans. The golden lace at the head of the boat, the flag and the ornamental umbrella at the center make it a show of pageantry too.
Each snake boat belongs to a village along the banks of the river Pampa. Every year the boats are oiled mainly with fish oil, coconut shell, and carbon, mixed with eggs to keep the wood strong and the boat slippery in the water. The village carpenter carries out annual repairs and people take pride in their boat, which is named after and represents their village.
The boat race proper is held in the afternoon.
Thousands of people gather on the banks of the river Pampa to watch the snake boat races.

Our visit in the off season period to the place was just majestic. The scenic beauty surrounding the river cannot be comprehended in words. The stands were empty and though creepers grew on them, villagers are confident -come Onam the place will be alive, clean and worth sitting and enjoying the boat race.
Our guide helped us see some snake boats parked in the huge mansion homes belonging to villagers. We managed to get a ride on the small boat from one end of Pamba river to another and back and though the boat ride was short, it helped us enjoy the visit and we forgot all our worries of driving back home.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007


Kerela God's own country was our vacation site not out of choice but out of compulsion. A marriage in the family forced us to shift our holiday plans to the south of India. I decided to take my wife in a train as that will help her to enjoy the wonderful sites as we enter Kerela.

However, my joys compounded into problems as my wife did not enjoy the dinner (meals) served in the train. What followed was a troublesome journey were at every stop i rushed to find some fruits and bread for her to pass the journey. We managed to meet interesting people during our course in the train but food was a major problem. We had two students studying law in Delhi going home. One was crippled and needed support to walk. His energy and his positive approach to life forced us to make a mention about him in our blog. He was the first to jump out at every stop the train made.

A lady with two children going to meet her parents in Vijaywada. The two children were mischeivous but the lady was strict and used to keep the two sould under check. On day 2, on the train, our fellow passanger's veg lunch had some non-veg delicicies . There was a dead cockroach in the lunch and that left me petrified. we stopped all meals in the train and decided to survive on some eatables available at the platforms. Neelu did face many problems and we were helped by a friend we made in the train from the air-force. He was taking his parents on a vacation to the south. He offered us some bread and butter and we survived another day. Over the next few days, i will post extensively on our trip to Kerela and our outings. do enjoy ...

What a sore site !

It might resemble a giant pot of bouillabaisse, but this is one fish stew that will probably make you sick to your stomach.
Fish suffocated by the hundreds this week at a fishery near Wuhan, China, after an outbreak of blue-green algae used up too much of the oxygen in the water.
Authorities believe the algae bloom was sparked by dirty rainwater released by a pumping station upriver.
On May 22 a similar pollution-driven algae outbreak in Lake Tai in China's Jiangsu Province forced local authorities to shut off drinking water routed to the lakeside city of Wuxi.
"It came out bluish-green and smelled awful," Shi Qing, a tourist boat operator at Wuxi's lakeside Turtlehead Peninsula, told "The lake was covered in algae and we had to send boats out to clear it."


Hundreds gather in a canal to cool themselves as temperature in the Pakistani city soar to 109.4 degrees Fahrenheit (43 degrees Celsius).
Lahore is Pakistan's second largest city and the capital of the Punjab Province, which is characterized by a spring monsoon followed by a very hot summer.
On June 6 thousands of activists braved the heat to gather outside the city's provincial assembly to urge Pakistan's President General Pervez Musharraf to resign.
And at least for the weather, things aren't likely to cool down anytime soon. Forecasts predict temperatures in Lahore to rise as high as 115 degrees Fahrenheit (46 degrees Celsius) by the week's end.

OWL causes timeout in soccer

A crucial soccer game in Finland came to what you might call a screeching halt when a wild owl flew onto the field.
Nineteen minutes into the Euro 2008 qualifier match, a northern eagle owl swooped in and roosted on one of the goals at the end of the pitch. After a minute or two, it flew to the opposing team's goal, where it continued to suspend play for another five minutes.
Fans cheered as the owl refused to budge, and officials conferred on how to unseat the winged predator.
In time, the owl took off again, flew a couple of laps around the stadium, and perched on a railing at the end of the field while Finland bested Belgium, 2-0.

Vacas das Cordas" celebrations

Ponte de Lima, Portugal. A villager gets thrown by a stampeding bull in the center of the historic riverside town of Ponte de Lima.
As part of the annual "Vacas das Cordas" celebrations, which stretch back 350 years, town residents chain a bull to the church, pour wine on it, and then release it into the streets

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Walk Above the Clouds

A hillock 70 kilometres from Bangalore in Karnataka is where these pictures are taken. Getting up to the tp of th ehiccok is a tiresome effort but it is worth the pain as one sees himself walking above the clouds. Who says such a walk is not possible. A spot that was tracked purely by mistake but is surely a place to visit in India in the southern state of Karnataka.

Friday, June 15, 2007



Sorry folks, as the pictures posted were on mail and since i was on vacation , failed to put the pictures on the blog.
I am sorry and extend my condolences to the families effected.
Let us hope that such a calamity does not hit us again.