Oct 20, 2014

Chettinad Festival

During my visit to Chettinad I witnessed their ‘Sevvai Perum Tiruvizha (Tuesday big fair)’ festival. How different it was! Big sized terracotta models of horses and cows, freshly painted and decorated with flowers were lined up and worshiped.

Cows are worshiped, that is understandable because they are considered holy! But I witnessed horses being worshiped for the first time.

There is an interesting story to that: The horses are believed to belong to two Gods Ponnan and Karuppar. These two Gods belonged to a village 25 km from Moolangudi, village in the Pudukottai district near Ponnamaravathi. Once a girl of Moolangudi got married to a boy of that village. When Moolangudi people went to that village after the marriage, they slept in the temple of Ponnan. That night Ponnan came in their dream and asked them to take Him along with them. The villagers told him that taking a God from the boy’s place would lead to trouble. But when both Gods assured that they would make Moolangudi prosperous they agreed.

Karuppar and Ponnan kept their promise and Moolangudi became a very prosperous village. Two of their horses (statues) are always kept in readiness so that they can start to do any job at any time. People believe that daily night they go to their native village riding on these horses.

A big fair was on in the temple grounds with lots of lighting and decorations. Lot of stuffs was on sale, I found these handmade idols and statues interesting.


You can read the story here: Poy cholla meyyar Bhadra kali of Moolangudi

Our World Tuesday

Oct 19, 2014

Diwali - A Time For Family

Diwali – the word is synonymous with lights, sweets and crackers! Most part of my childhood and teens’ diwali festival was celebrated at home with a good combination and overdose of all these ingredients. It was a bonus when cousins too dropped in. Couple of times I had burnt my fingers, totally ignorant of safety factors and also too enthusiastic about the whole thing. There was no concept of ‘go green’ Diwali or ‘quiet’ Diwali or ‘pollution effects’ of Diwali. Our innocence extended to damages Diwali celebrations was causing to nature.

Adulthood saw us siblings settled in different parts of the country, assigned with responsible roles in our respective offices. Who gets leave for one whole week to go home and celebrate? Officially leaves were declared for just 1 or 2 days. One has to add more leaves to get a comfortable holiday stay at home, which most often wasn’t sanctioned. Anyways life kept us busy and most often Diwali was celebrated with friends at work place. We would pool in money to buy some crackers which we would burst half heartedly and then may be have a small party.

Today I have my own family, and I am busy keeping the festive spirits high. What a contrast I see in my children! They want home made sweets, less of sound and air pollution, meaning fewer crackers. Past few years had been quiet Diwalis compared to what I had in my childhood years. This year since my 18 year old is away we are driving all the way to Goa to celebrate Diwali with her. That would mean locking up my own house. Some home made sweets packed for her; I am looking forward to some moments of togetherness of my family there. She still misses home and I don’t want her to be left alone this year.

Yet once in a while I am reminded of my siblings, how they would be enjoying the festival. We are scattered here and there around the world, not just one country. Mind sometimes, races back to past. The memory of one particular Diwali resurfaces in my mind these days very frequently. That was the time when my Niece was just 10 months old. My sis, bro and self somehow managed to get home to celebrate the festival together.  

My niece cuddled up to me frightened of all the crackers bursting with loud booms and bangs. This was her first Diwali and silly we were so excited for her. What would a 10 month old understand of crackers and sweets! She was the first third generation member of our family then. She was special to us and we were naturally excited. Each of us cuddled her in our arms to comfort her and celebrate with her till she was very tired and fell asleep. That is the most memorable Diwali I spent at home. 

Happy Diwali to all my friends and readers! https://www.gharwalidiwali.com/


Oct 18, 2014

Faces of India - 183

She is a student doing tourism and travel management course. I met her in Bishnupur, when she came seeking answers for a questionnaire she had prepared. This was a part of her curriculum where she had to report based on the survey questions she had for the tourists visiting Bishnupur, West Bengal. I struck a deal with her to pose for my FOI series in return for the answers. She happily agreed. I wished her luck for her degree as we parted.

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.

Oct 17, 2014

Jayamahal Durga Puja, Bangalore

Can you guess where this picture was clicked without scrolling down? 

This was taken in my own Bangalore city!

The pandals that come up during Durga puja in different parts of the city are usually very sober and traditional types. This year Jayamahal Puja pandal was different. It took up ‘Egypt’ as theme. The entrance was through a model of sphinx, the pandal top was like that of an Egyptian pyramid. I have not seen the real one in Egypt, so this was exciting and like me, many others too found it interesting.

The committee members of this pandal had brought a group of talented and experienced artisans and craftsmen from Kolkata to recreate the replica of the famed Sphinx and Pyramid of Egypt in the Durga Puja premises. The artisans were here in Bangalore for more than a month creating the magic.

A walk through the dark tunnels, lit here and there was like a discovery trek, with Egyptian models, paintings and a mummy too. Most of them were made of delicate thermocol and given a good stone like finish with paints. This committee was celebrating its 60th Puja in Bangalore, hence a grand a scale of celebrations!

Goddess Durga and her four children too looked like Egyptians and these were amazing creations by the artisans.


The first two pics are for SkyWatch Friday!

Oct 16, 2014

Habanero Koramangala, Bangalore

Habanero is out with its new TexMex menu. Habanero does this quite often and it is good both for the restaurant functioning and also for the customers who come looking for authentic flavors in different preparations. I have been to two of their outlets in Bangalore and I must say that no matter where the outlet, the recipes don’t vary, the ingredients don’t change. The menu doesn’t include ‘fusion’ dishes that confuse the big appetite out of customers and the spice levels stay the same. 

Here, in this post I present a series of goodies I had, but first the man, the chef behind the show: Dan Durkin. Chef Dan Durkin, a native of Colarado, US, spent a significant amount of his youth in the Yucatan peninsula of Mexico, which inspired his interest in and love for Mexican cuisine. A certified chef with more than twelve years of experience under his belt, Dan has consulted with several prominent food and beverage brands in Asian countries such as Singapore, Malaysia Hong Kong, Jakarta and Thailand.

The d├ęcor at Habanero is mind blowing. A little piece of Mexico, right within Bangalore, with brightly painted interiors that lend a cheerful and cozy ambience, it’s an ideal place for people to have loads of fun over drinks and authentic Tex-Mex food.

Habanero’s signature appetizers include Macho Nachos, consisting of layers of corn chips, topped with melted cheese, beans, tomatoes, olives, jalapeno peppers, guacamole and sour cream and guacamole and chips which is a perfect creamy combination of avocados, garlic and cilantro made fresh at the table, upon request and served with warm homemade chips.

This menu is experimental and bold, full of rich, spicy flavors that characterize Tex-Mex cuisine. The dishes are inspired by various parts of Mexico and the bordering American region.


Stuffed Roasted Red Pepper – sweet red capsicum stuffed with paneer and rice served straight from the oven.
Fish Veracruz - steamed basa atop vegetables, doused with a tangy, spicy Veracruz gravy - a Mexican coastal specialty. 

Classic Tex-Mex dishes on the menu include a choice of six fillings served as tacos, burritos, enchiladas, burrito bowls or chimichangas. 

How can one forget the desserts! Signature desserts include the molten Mexican Chocolate Cake with a decadently gooey fudge center with a hint of chili powder, the milk-soaked Tres Leches Cake. 

Food Friday