Sep 5, 2015

Faces of India - 229

This picture was taken during the recently held Independence Day celebrations. The two ladies are about to perform for a dance program, one of them is helping the other by adjusting the flowers on her head.

Faces of India, a series through which I intend to portray the various characters of my country whom I met during my travels. See more here


Sep 4, 2015

Merida, Spain


One of the best preserved Roman site in Spain is Merida! It dates back to 25 BC and was one of the most important Roman cities of that era. In 713AD it was conquered by Muslim army. Most of the old buildings were reused; they made very few alterations and additions to the existing city. The city came under Christian rule in 1290. During 19th century under napoleon invasion the city was ruthlessly defaced. Many monuments came crumbling down. After this came the period of industrialization and the city almost lost its old charm. Today one can see many parts are just crumbling off. Amphitheater and Roman Theater both are must see for all Roman history lovers.


To think that once upon a time the gladiators fought in this same arena was exciting. This was built in 8BC with a seating capacity of 15,000 spectators. It has been restored well to give a near real look, only the action is missing. Plenty of signs and display of information all around the site that made it easy for us without a guide. The walk through the semi dark tunnels was like time travel.

Roman Theater 

Adjacent to the Amphitheatre is the Roman theatre which is used for summer festival. The Roman Theatre is much more beautiful than the Amphitheatre particularly because of the tall white marble pillars still standing strong. This was constructed in 8BC and had much lesser seating arrangement of 6000 spectators. The seating arrangement was like: three sectors, caveas summa, media, and ima. Caveas ima was for the people belonging to higher strata of society. Great view indeed from there! This is much older than Amphitheater and had slipped into a state of ruin. It was excavated in 1910, where only top few steps were visible. These days the theater is used to host International Festival of the Classical Theatre in Merida.

The statue over the main door was found in February 1911. It represents Livia, the wife of Emperor Augustus. She is represented as the goddess Ceres, goddess of agriculture. The sculpture is just a copy; the original is kept in National Museum of Roman Art. On both sides there are several statues. They are representation of Serapls, Greek Egyptian God of healing, Pluto, god of underworld according to Roman mythology.


How to reach: 

From Seville 192km 2h approx by car. (4h45 by train, 3h by bus.)


Adults - 12euros, Students – 6euros, Children below 12 – free

Theaters are open daily.

 SkyWatch Friday

Sep 1, 2015

Wordless - 345

Inviting your captions and titles on my wordless moments. 

 (Shot taken in Lisbon, Portugal.)

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Thank you very much dear friends for all your lovely comments in my previous post. Few of your comments here:

1. Talk about getting behind on one's paperwork! by Roger Owen Green
2. Now you see me, now you don't. by Rajesh Asarpota 
3. Speed demon by Sue
4. Marching against odds by P.N. Subramanian 
5. One moment I was dancing, and the next, I was frozen! by Sreesha Divakaran 

Wordless Wednesday, Outdoor Wednesday,   ABC Wednesday (H for Hook), Saturday Snapshot , Weekly Topshot , Silent Sunday, Wednesday Around the World


Souvenirs from Cordoba, Spain

So what did I get as reminder of my great experience in Cordoba?

What to buy: 

Souvenirs are plenty and it was not easy choosing just a couple of items to bring back home. Key rings and postcards, you will find them in plenty, Cordoba souvenir shops are stuffed with ‘flamenco dance’ associated stuffs. Clothes, hats, fans are available in different sizes, colors and prices. Locally made guitars are a big sought after item by music lovers and guitarists. Then there are plenty of stuffs and accessories made of leather, stuffs like wall ornaments, bracelets and more.

But what impressed me most were their art on local glazed pottery and their silver jewelry. The ceramic stuffs had such amazing designs and colors. Many of them had the red and white arches of Mezquita made on them.

Silver jewelry through glass pane. Sorry for the reflections.
A hair pin, many centuries old, this was a display piece i n a Jewish museum there.

I picked up these.

Our World Tuesday 

Aug 30, 2015

5 Must See Places in Cordoba, Spain

Cordoba was an important Roman city in the middle ages and it still has the reputation of being important in the map for tourists of Spain. Cordoba is an amazing compact place with major sightseeing sites within walking distance of each other. You can easily plan to spend just a day here and yet cover the major sites. We did exactly that. We were there on a day’s trip from Seville. The 5 must see places of interests are marked in the map and a short description on each follows the map.

1. Mezquita (Great Mosque)

Without any doubt this is the outstanding monument of Cordoba. It has the unique distinction of being the only religious place which houses the temple of another religion. The double arched painted in stripes of white and red, some 800 of them makes a mesmerizing sight. Before being Mosque (VIII, IX and X centuries), it was a Visigoth temple and prior to that a Roman Temple. The place became Christianized 1236, during El-Rey Fernando III Kingdom. Most probably was also a Mozarabic and Jewish place to be. The tower (in the picture) was renovated in XVI and XVIII century, during Carlos V’s reign. This monument and the area including it included were declared a World Heritage site by UNESCO in 1994. The Cathedral inside the mosque is equally fascinating.
Tour time: 2hrs
Tickets are available at counter at site and not online.
Adults – 8euros, Children 10 to 14 4euros, children below 10 free.

2. Jewish Quarters and Synagogue

People actually stay here. This Jewish Quarters is an exciting mesh of narrow streets, far less commercialized than the area outside it. The most striking factor is the flower decked patios of this area. In the month of May, competitions are held as to who can put up the most beautiful patio laden with flowers. There are 2 important must see sights here: the 15th-century Mudéjar-style synagogue at the center of the quarter and the Casa de Sefarad (House of Spanish Jews) museum; both sights are on the Calle Judíos street.
 Time to tour: If you can tour the place without getting confused or lost in the narrow lanes you can complete this tour in one hour, for a relaxed tour with a halt for coffee to sit back and soak in the beauty of patios 2hours would be ideal.
Opening times: From Tuesday to Saturday 09:00 to 19:30
Closing days: Monday Weekend from 09:00 to 15:30 Closed: 1 May.
Ticket Prices General: €0.30
EU members: Admission free

3. Alcázar de los Reyes Cristianos (Castle of the Christian Monarchs)

This is the castle of Christian Monarchs built in 1328 by Alfonso XI. This served as the headquarters of Spanish Inquisition for almost 300 years. Worth seeing inside are the 3 towers: Tower of Lions, Tower of River, and Tower of Allegiance. There are ‘not to miss’ intricate and beautifully restored Roman mosaics. It was declared a Historical The Arabian style gardens here have wide variety of plants, palm trees, cypresses, orange and lemon, trees to be seen which overlook stone fountains and large ponds. A good combination of history and beauty!
Opening Times:
May and June- 10.00h -14.00h  17.30-18.30h
July and August- 08.30h -14.30h
September to 14th October- 10.00h – 14.00h 17.30h -18.30h
15th Oct to 30th April: 10.00h – 14.00h and 16.30-18.30h
Mondays Closed
Entrance: €1.87
Fridays Free

4. Puente Romano (Roman Bridge)

This Moorish bridge was built on the foundations of the Roman Bridge which existed since 1st century BC. It is made over the River Guadalquivir. The most striking factor are the arches, two of them are believed to be original ones. The length is around 250m; you can walk across to Tower of La Calahorra.
Time. Take a leisurely walk across the wide bridge.

5. Tower of La Calahorra

Cross the Roman Bridge over to south of Cordoba to visit the Tower of La Calahorra. This gate was originally built by the Moors and extensively restored by adding a third cylindrical shaped tower connecting the outer two by King Enrique II of Castile in 1369. This was done to defend the city from attack by his brother Pedro I the Cruel from the South. Later the monument was used a prison and then surprisingly as a girl’s school in 19th century. Noteworthy here is the fascinating museum which is educational with audio visual presentations which vividly depict how life was in Cordoba around the 10th Century AD when three cultures lived side by side Christianity, Muslim and Judaism. The Roman Bridge and the surrounding area in 2007 were awarded the EU prize for cultural heritage "Europa Nostra" in 2014.
Opening Times
Summer (May to September) 10.00 to 14.00 and 16.30 to 20.30
Winter (October to March) 10.00 to 18.00
Entrance: 4.50 euro, reduced 3.00 euro