Oct 31, 2012

Yatra- Maihar, A Shaktipeetha

Maihar is small town popular for the Devi Sharada temple on the Trikuta hill. The temple is one of the 51 shaktipeethas, Mother Sati's necklace fell on this hilltop where the temple is built. Mai means Mother and Har is necklace, so the name! The temple is around 5KM from the city. I was at Bandhavgarh National Park and thought of visiting Maihar on the way to Chitrakoot. I took a bus to Umaria (29KM) at 9:00AM, then a train to Katni (57KM), then a train to Maihar (63KM). Reached at 3:45PM! Soon took a hotel room and left for the temple. People were curious to know why was I there in the first place. Some were happy to tell me about the temple. A lodge suspiciously looked at me and said he didn't have vacancy. After going back and forth between the few hotels available the autorikshaw driver somehow got me into a hotel which wasn't good for the money I paid.

Oct 29, 2012

Call of the Wild- Daroji Sloth Bear Sanctuary



Daroji Sloth Bear Wildlife Sanctuary is less known gem of wild Karnataka even though it is near to much visited and world popular Hampi ruins. The sanctuary is part of Bilikal Reserve Forest which is abundant in  birdlife. A major water canal passes through this area habitating large number of aquatic birds.  Daroji Sloth Bear Sanctuary is 15KM from Hampi. 

Oct 26, 2012

Photo Friday: Change of Season

Well, end of October is peak time for feasting on Fall Colors in Eastern Sierras. I was in Tahoe Basin to witness such change of season ... changing colors of aspen, maple and others ... it was wonderful sight!
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Oct 24, 2012

Lakes- Tahoe, Part II

As I have mentioned in Tahoe- Part I, Tahoe Basin is home for several recreational activities and hikers paradise. Numerous trails for all types- days hikes or multiday backpacking. Trails to the summits and trails to the alpine lakes. These lakes are beautiful up in the high elevation surrounded by high standing mountains. The clear blue waters mesmerize the hikers. I have hiked a few and have camped in beautiful state parks here. I will post info about some of the them.

Oct 23, 2012

Love happens!!- My entry for the Get Published contest



Okay! The post title is a bit unlikely to appear on my blog :) But, yes! I am attempting to write a story which I have seen happening around me. I thought of bringing my wish to reality by writing a story on the real incidents in the journey of finding love! All this came to my mind when I saw it on Indiblogger- Real love in New India.

I am attempting to write a short story about Krishna who was my roommate for a long time. She was a romantic soul and believed in those very romantic love stories. She dreamed about a man who would come in her life and they would then live happily ever after. But, life is different. This story is about how she met the right guy- Surendra and her journey to him through the New India's matrimonial sites, meet-up groups, set-ups arranged by family and friends, attending social events and so on. As an onlooker I found it very funny in the beginning and then I saw it happening. Love exists!

This is my entry for the HarperCollins–IndiBlogger Get Published contest, which is run with inputs fromYashodhara Lal and HarperCollins India.

Oct 22, 2012

Lakes- Tahoe

Lake Tahoe, is one of the gems of USA. Tahoe is a large fresh water lake located on the border of California and Nevada. With clear blue water the beautiful lake is second deepest lake in North America.  Popular as year around destination offers activities for all types of visitors. In summer people enjoy water sports like speed boats, motor skiing, kayaking and simply swimming. The beaches here are wonderful for picnics with family and friends. The heavy snowfall in the winter months makes it a very popular skiing destination. Being in high altitude the color of aspen and maple trees make it look like heaven during fall.

Oct 19, 2012

Photo Friday: Vibrant Weed!


Lantana Camara is commonly known as Spanish Flag or sometimes called as Red Sage though it is not a sage at all. It is a flowering plant from Verbena family native to American Tropics. It seems it is indigenous to Rio Grande Valley of Texas, USA. It was introduced to rest of the world later. Well, in India it is considered to be an invasive weed because- it grows and spreads quickly, and is resistant to fire which makes it impossible to eradicate. It causes indigestion making animals and birds ill after consumption. But, the flowers are very pretty with vibrant colors!

I took this picture in its native, Big Island, Hawaii near Hilo airport. I was waiting for my travel-buddy who was flying-in in the next flight. These looked very pretty road-side there.
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Oct 17, 2012

National Parks- Sequoia, A walk in the Land of Giants


Sequoia National Park in California is a place to see the ancient giant sequoia trees. As I had mentioned in the previous post Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks are adjacent to each other. And one can see these magnificent trees in both parks. In Sequoia, one finds the world's largest tree and in Kings Canyon- world's second largest tree :)

Oct 15, 2012

Yatra- Amarkantak, the birth place of holy River Narmada

I am nostalgic about Madhya Pradesh again! Yeah, thought of posting one more destination from MP- a pilgrim center. Well, the very holy place Amarkantak. Located at the point where Vindhya and Satpura ranges meet Amarkantak is one of the lesser known pilgrim centers in India though it is the birth place of River Narmada and also river Sone.

Oct 12, 2012

Photo Friday- Riding a Dolphin

On my recent visit to USA I took my sister and her family to Sea World, San Diego. Even though it was my second trip I was so amazed to see these sea creatures perform flawlessly. Just admire human's expertise to tame the giants with the power of intelligence and love!
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Oct 10, 2012

National Parks- Kings Canyon, The rugged beauty of nature

Located in Southern Sierra Nevada range, California, Kings Canyon National Park is known for its rugged scenery, high mountains and deep canyons. Beautiful waterfalls and mysterious caverns add to the beauty of it. This national park is adjacent to the Sequoia National Park which is popular for its ancient and giant sequoia trees. Springtime wildflowers make this place a heaven.

Oct 8, 2012

National Parks- Crater Lake, The immeasurable beauty!




Crater Lake is one of the places I would visit any number of times! There is no other place like it on this Earth. Well, I started my long journey of 470 miles from sunny Sunnyvale, CA with my sister, niece and brother-in-law. We passed signals, freeways, highways, cities, towns, barren lands and lakes. Stopped for fuel, restroom breaks and some fast food. Still the GPS showed many more miles to drive! Well, no worries ... I always feel the need, the need for speed! At last we reached the campsite (Mazama Village) by evening.

Oct 7, 2012

Shaktipeethas

Shaktipeetha

Per Hindu mythology, Sati- the daughter of King Daksha Prajapati, married Shiva against her father's will. Angered by this Daksha doesn't invite Sati and Shiva for a grand Vedic sacrifice (Daksh Yajna) which insults Sati and she threws herself into the fire. With the loss of his beloved young wife Shiva is raged and begins Tandava Nritya (dance of cosmic destruction) with Sati's burnt corpse on his shoulder. He wanders around the world as he danced. Devastated by this all the gods ask Lord Vishnu to stop Shiva from destroying the world. Vishnu cuts the corpse into 51 pieces with his Sudarshana Chakra  (discus) and these pieces fall on different spots on earth, ie, across Indian subcontinent. And these 51 spots became places of worship called shaktipeethas representing various forms of Goddess Sati.

4 Adi Shaktipeethas
 
Bimala in Puri, Odisha (Pada khanda)
Tara Tarini in Berhampur, Odisha (Sthana Khanda)
Kamakhya in Guwahati, Assam (Yoni Khanda)
Dakshina Kalika in Kolkotta, West Bengal (Mukha Khanda)


51 Shaktipeethas

1. Mahamaya in Amarnath, Jammu & Kashmir (Throat)
2. Phullara in Attahas, West Bengal (Lips)
3. Bahula in Bahula, West Bengal (Left arm)
4. Mahishmardhini in Bakreshwar, West Bengal (Portion between the eyebrows)
5. Avanti in Ujjain, Madhya Pradesh (Elbow)
6. Arpana in Bhabanipur, Bangladeah (Left anklet)
7. Chinnamastika in Chinnamastika, Himacha Pradesh (Feet)
8. Gandaki Chandi in Gandaki, Nepal (Temple)
9. Bhramari in Nasik Maharashtra (Chin)
10. Kottari in Hinglaj, Pakistan (Bramharandra- part of the head)
 11. Jayanti in Nartiang Village, Meghalaya (Left thigh)
12. Jashoreshwari in Ishwaripur, Bangladesh (palms and feet)
13.Jwalaji in Kagra, Himachal Pradesh (Tongue)
14. Kalika in Kolkotta, West Bengal (Right toe)
15. Kali in Amarkantak, Madhya Pradesh (Left buttock)
16. Kamakhya in Guwahati, Assam (Genitals)
17. Devgarbha in Kankalitala, West Bengal (Bones)
18. Sarvani in Kanyakumari, Tamil Nadu (Back)
19. Jayadurga (Brajeshwari) in Kangra, HImachal Pradesh (Both ears)
20. Vimla in Kireekona, West Bengal (Crown)
21. Kumari (Anandamayee) in Ratnavali,West Bengal (Right shoulder)
22. Bhramari in Jalpaiguri, West Bengal (Left leg)
23. Dakshayini in Kailash Manasarovar, Tibet (Right hand)
24. Gayatri in Pushkar, Rajasthan (two bracelets)
25. Uma in Mithila, Nepal (Left shoulder)
26. Indrakshi in MAnipallavam, Sri Lanka (Anklets)
27. Mahashira in Khatmandu, Nepal (Both knees)
28. Bhavani in Citakunda, Bangladesh (right arm)
29. Varahi in Panchsagar, Uttarakhand (Lower teeth)
30. Chandrabhaga in Prabhas (Somanath), Gujarat (Stomach)
31. Lalita in Prayag, Uttar Pradesh (Finger)
32. Savitri/Bhadrakali in Kurukshetra, Haryana (Ankle bone)
33. Shivani in Chitrakuta, Uttarpradesh (Right breast)
34. Nandini in Sainthia, West Bengal (Necklace)
35. Rakini/Vishweshwari in Sarvashail, Andra Pradesh (Cheeks)
36. Mahishmardhani in Naina Devi, Himachal Pradesh (Eyes)
37. Narmada in Amarkantak, Madhya Pradesh (Right buttock)
38. Srisundari in Srishailam, Andhra Pradesh (Right anklet)
39. Mahalakshmi in Shri Shail, Bangladesh (Neck)
40. Narayani in Suchindram, Tamil Nadu (Upper teeth)
41. Sugandha in Shirpur, Bangladesh (Nose)
42. Tripurasundari in Udaypur, Tripura (Right leg)
43. Magal Chandika, Ujaani, West Bengal (Right wrist)
44. Vishalakshi in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh (Earing)
45. Kapalini/Bhimarupa in Vibhash, West Bengal (Left ankle)
46. Ambika in Virat, Rajastha (Left Toe)
47. Uma in Vrindavan, Uttar Pradesh (Ringlets of hair)
48. Tripuramalini in Jalandhar, Punjab (left breast)
49. Jayadurga in Baijyanath, Jarkhand (Heart)
50. Paropit in Paro, Bhutan
51.

Oct 5, 2012

Random Thoughts- Contemplation


I am back from my a short one month family vacation. Visited west-coast-USA and got myself tons of tan. This particular photo-moment was at Lassen Volcanic National Park, CA. It was early morning at Lake Helen. I was having a stroll around enjoying the morning sun and the cool breeze. I saw my niece watching the ripples in the cool-blue water. The whole scene was so serene.
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Oct 1, 2012

A short trip to USA




Almost one-and-a-half years ago I returned to India from USA and I ask myself Do I miss my life in USA? I really don't know. I ask myself Do I love living in India? I really don't know! I find myself at home in both the countries. Last month I took a flight to San Francisco, California. I was eager to meet my US-friends. Eager to visit places around. And I did. Well, I went touring around American west-coast, south-west and a bit of north-west for about a month with my sister and her family. Drove about 5000+ miles (8000+ KM) in a month. I love driving! I didn't see or do anything new on this trip but, definitely my old memories refreshed. Family vacations are always special! Today I am heading back. Sitting in Los Angeles airport and typing ...