Category Archives: Incredible India

Stone Chariot, Hampi

Once upon a time, chariots were an everyday occurrence in the city of Hampi. They sped along the street, leaving the passersby awestruck with their splendor. Now, at the end of the city stands the solitary stone chariot in an empty temple campus.

Lifeless, yet elegant.

Hampi stone chariot

Inside the Vitthala Temple complex stands the magnificent stone sculpture in the shape of a chariot. The stone chariot is one of the most featured attractions of Hampi. It was built in the sixteenth century under the reign of Emperor Krishnadevraya, when Vijaynagar was at the height of its glory.

The chariot is not a monolithic structure, but made of connecting slabs of stones, the connection cleverly embedded in the artistic designs. Though now empty, the Stone Chariot was once a Garuda shrine.

Stone Chariot Hampi and me

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The changing walls of Thane


The dull walls of Thane have become vibrant, and lively. The new TMC initiative “Paint walls, beautify city” has brought together artists to paint murals depicting nature, history, and culture on the walls of the city. The beautiful murals around the city walls have added a much-needed artistic touch to the bland concrete jungle. Continue reading The changing walls of Thane

Diwali forts

In Maharashtra, Diwali is accompanied with a unique tradition—Diwali forts—small, clay forts which the kids make outside their house in the front yard or in their building compound. These little forts sometimes replicate the original Maratha forts found in the state. At times, the kids design their own fort.

Forts replica
Rajgad fort replica, Belgaum.

Continue reading Diwali forts

Day, and night at Dona Paula

Day Vs Night
Dona Paula

Every place has its own character, but time adds essence to the place. For instance, take day and night, and how it affects Dona Paula.

The day starts with a cheery note, and brings along with it the warmth & radiance of the sun. A curious smell—a stinky odor mixed with the fragrance of exotic flowers and fruits straight from the bottle—soon overlaps the fresh smell of dawn. The street is lined with various colours, shops selling clothes, and trinkets. The mass of humanity is as huge as the expanse of the sea. The patter of footsteps, the clatter of human voices, and the rattling motorboats drown the sound of roaring waves. The crowd bestows a feeling of gaiety, and the lonely soul imbibes the joy trying to blend. Continue reading Day, and night at Dona Paula

Sahasralinga, Karnataka

When you go on a family trip, there’s always a conflict of interests among the younger, and older members as to which places to skip, and which we shouldn’t. To my surprise, all my relatives had a consensus about Sahasralinga—a must see place. It had a direct effect of piquing my curiosity.

The moment we arrived, I rushed over to the river Shalmala. One glance at the waters left me entranced. Scattered among the clear gushing stream stood hundreds of lingas*, and accompanying Nandi** each carved out of the rocks on the river bed.

Sahasralinga, Sirsi
Sahasralinga: carved lingas in the Shalmala river bed.

The name Sahasralinga means a thousand lingas. As per History, Sadashivraya the King of Sirsi built the Shivlingas in the 17th century (Info courtesy: Wikipedia)

Sahasralinga: small lingam
Unlike other Shivlingas, this lingam had a temple-like structure around it.

The Legend:

The Sirsi King had no children. He approached the Sadhus for advice. They suggested the worship of Shiva, and constructing 1001 Shivlingas to obtain His blessing.

Accordingly, the King ordered the construction of Shivlingas in Shalmala river bed to appease the deity.

Sahasralinga, Karnataka
Due to low water level at the time, we got a good view of the stone lingas.


Sahasralinga is located on the way to Sirsi from Yellapur, and is around 17 km from Sirsi Taluka.

Best time to visit:

Since, I visited in January and had a pleasant time, it is the definitely the best time to visit Sahasralinga. According to Dreamroutes, winters and early summers are the best times to visit the place.

*Lingas is the plural form of Lingam. Lingam is the representation of Shiva. Though you might find idols, and pictures of Shiva in his human form, lingam is the form in which Shiva is universally worshiped.

** Nandi—the bull is considered as the mount of Shiva.

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Vibrant lights

“Where glowing embers through the room Teach light to counterfeit a gloom”

-John Milton

Okay, so these aren’t actually glowing ambers, but these did add to the cheer. We reached Udupi right during the festivities at Shri Krishna Math. A big tent was built to hold the cultural activities, and the roof was decorated with the above string of lights. These lovely lights  delighted me as much as the rest of the celebration.

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Deepstambh (Tower of lights)

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Shri Mulkeshwar temple

Mulkeshwar santuary

Shri Mulkeshwar temple is a small sanctuary located behind the Mangeshi temple, Goa.

The legend of Shri Mulkeshwar:

The Mangeshi temple was earlier in Cortalim. After Portuguese invasion, the  Shivalinga was shifted from Cortalim to a province under a Hindu prince to avoid desecration.

In this area, a boy worked as a cowherd. During those few days, one of his cows stopped giving milk , and disappeared every evening. The young cowherd followed the cow to find its destination. To his surprise, the cow poured all its milk on a stone. The stone was dug, and the present Shivalinga was discovered.

Hence, the Mulkeshwar  temple was built with Mulki or Mukto as the founder. His statue with his cow  lies behind the shrine. He was a Bidi smoker. Therefore, devotees offer Bidis to grant their wishes.The temple authorities have appointed a person to light these Bidis.

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Birla Temple, Shahad

Entry gate Shahad is a small town, next to Kalyan. It is home to a very beautiful Vishnu temple, also known as Birla temple(as it is built by the Birla family). It is located near the Century Rayon Company, on a small hill surrounded by lush green trees.

You have to climb a few flight of stairs to reach the temple. The primary diety is Vithoba, a form of Shri Vishnu. The temple has various carvings on the wall, a common feature of all the Birla temples.

Birla temple, Shahad

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Ganesh temple

Upvan lake

Upvan lake is an eco-friendly lake surrounded by Yeoor hills, in Thane city. Besides the lake is a beautiful Ganesh temple. Earlier, it was a small temple which was renovated some ten years back with corporate grandeur. Now, the temple is back to its negligent state.

When I visited the temple, the priest had laid some buckets to collect rain water dripping through the corner of the roof.. It is sad to see the state of disrepair, the temple has fallen again after the regional leaders boasting about the renovation and fighting for credit. It is funny how people remember God during dire needs like elections, and forget His existence afterwards.

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