Nrityagram: A Visual Delight

My visit to Bengaluru’s Nrityagram took me to  a different world altogether. Here, the noise of the traffic ceased, and everything seemed so far away. What was most admirable was the dedication of the Indian classical dancers. They continued to rehearse in a dance hall that was designed to bring out the creative juices. While I was unable to watch a professional performance as the troupe was on a tour, some of the disciples continued to practice in the absence of a Guru.

The entire property is very well-maintained and on similar lines to Taj Kuteeram next door. The silence soothes the senses and the moment you step in here, you will understand why dancers prefer to come to this little village to connect better with their art.

Nrityagram includes an amphitheater that is sadly covered with overgrown weeds. The rooms of the Guru’s are labelled neatly in a rustic way. The pathways are pretty and make you want to explore even more.  Life here seems simple yet offering a better quality in the way one lives.

A visit to this place will cost a mere Rs. 50 per person. 

Instead of going on and on about the beauty of Nrityagram, I leave you to look at the photos instead! Please do leave your comments below.

Kindly do not use photos without prior consent.

 

Wah Taj Kuteeram!

Mention the name ‘Taj Hotels’, and luxury it means! However, Taj Kuteeram is a welcome break from the perfect world of luxury hotels. It’s imperfection and nature’s abundance transports you to your roots, away from the hustle and bustle of the city life.

Taj Kuteeram rooftop

Taj Kuteeram rooftop

Located near Hesaraghatta, Bengaluru, Taj Kuteeram is a breath of fresh air for those longing to get away from the urban jungle. After traveling miles, you finally reach a road that takes you through green fields (which only means you are coming closer to Kuteeram). A word of warning – you won’t find well-dressed staff to welcome you with a garland of flowers (in case that’s what you are expecting). There’s a humble security staff to greet and assist upon your arrival. The road ends in a circular parking area flanked with Kuteeram on one side and Nrityagram on the other. The beautiful stone walls and the architecture transport you back into the past.

After a short walk on the pretty pathways dotted with greens on both sides, you reach a small pond that is beautiful in its own way. Here lies the restaurant which looks splendid set in the rustic architecture by  Da Cunha from Goa. The property houses independent cottages and the size varies for each. A walk through Taj Kuteeram is a must in the evening hours as this provides an ideal backdrop to click photographs in the setting sun. Nighttime is beautiful with only the silence that continues till the morning hours.

The gardens are designed to soothe the senses.  You may be startled by the harsh honking of the Geese once in a while as they walk around. These pretty birds roam around the lawns freely – either to take a walk or for a dip in the pond. I simply loved the way they defined their day including lots of fresh air, soaking up the sun, bathtime and of course, green grass to satiate their taste buds. Simple, and uncomplicated, isn’t it?

The cottages of Taj Kuteeram are set in stone and have rustic interiors. Indian Warli-style painting dots the window frames and the walls. The backside of the AC cottage opens up to a personal space with an attached swing.  The food on offer is quite basic. Kuteeram has a fixed buffet menu but they are willing to whip up dishes upon request. Their cook was definitely not the standard you would expect from Taj hotels, but hey! I can forgive them for the lack of expertise as the environment was marvellous. (What I cannot forgive was a leaky faucet in the bathroom.) Mr. Ramesh was quick to attend to the minor problems though. The staff is helpful and friendly.

Plan your trip to Taj Kuteeram with nature in your mind but do leave your worries behind!

 

 

Cooling my Heels!

What have I been upto? Well, just exploring some of the nature’s wonders in our urban jungle wearing ankle-high boots from BLAK. I must say, these boots are super comfy and come with a soft inner lining inside. More updates coming soon!

 

Chamundeshwari Temple at Mysore

DSCN1188

Chamundeshwari Temple

Mysore in Karnataka, India, famous for its palaces of rich history also boasts of temples that have great historic significance. The Chamundeshwari Temple at Mysore sits atop the Chamundi hill overlooking Mysore city in all its splendour. The temple is located 13 kms away from the city of Mysore in Karnataka. It is accessible by local buses.

The temple is rumoured to have been built in the 12th century and is named after Chamundeshwari, a divine form of Goddess Durga. The Maharajas of Mysore worshipped the deity which is a fierce form of Ma Durga. This Goddess is revered for having killed the demon Mahishasura. A tall standing figure of Mahishasura can be seen on the approach road to the temple. (It is also a popular figure for photographs by tourists.) Pilgrims and devotees have faith that the Goddess helps them fulfil their wishes and gives them power and strength.

The Chamundeshwari temple is most frequented during Dassara, an auspicious Hindu festival. During this period, the temple is adorned with lights and can be seen from far and beyond around the city. The entire hillside appears as if sparkling jewels of lights have been placed by the Gods.

Best Time to Visit and Puja Timings:

On a busy day, devotees can pay a sum of Rs. 30 that gives direct access to the temple inside. Devotees can also use a normal queue to enter the main area for prayers. The time taken would depend upon the number of people. There are many shops that offer flowers quite near the temple base.

Special puja’s are conducted on Tuesdays and Fridays. A grand aarti begins at 7:30 am every day. Special aartis can also be conducted. There is also a facility for the Archana puja from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm and 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm. During the Dassara festival, devotees can attend special pujas.

The Rathotsava is another important feature held during this period. For this reason, a large number of devotees throng to the holy site at this time of the year. During the Dassara festival, special prayers are chanted with Vedas. Devotees can also witness traditional Indian music festivals. The Dassara festival also signifies the victory of the Goddess over the demon, thus, the victory of good over evil. After the Ratha festival, a Theppotsava is conducted throughout the night.

About the Temple:

DSCN1189

The temple is an important place of worship for the Goddess of Shakti. This temple is considered to be one of the 18 Maha Shakti Peethas. Our legends mention that the Shakti Peethas are the holy seat of Shakti. When Lord Shiva carried the corpse of Sati Devi, the hair had fallen here. This is referred to as Chamundeshwari Goddess.

Legend has it that the demon, Mahishasura harassed the people in this region. Goddess Parvati, took the form of Chamundeshwari in order to slay the demon. After his destruction on the hill, it is said she continued to live there.

Architecture:

The temple has a high gopuram. The intricate carvings are very attractive and are most photographed. The temple has beautiful silver doors. Built in the Dravidian style architecture by the Hoysalas from Mysore, the shape is quadrangular. After going through the main doorway, one would notice a Ganesh statue.  The main area of the sanctum sanctorum is well looked after by the priests. You will also notice a tall statue of Maharaja Krishnaraja Wodeyar III in traditional attire. A Simha Vahana, which is a wooden chariot, is displayed during the rathotsava. The deity of the Goddess is made of gold.

How to reach Chamundeshwari Temple:

You can hire a cab or take a comfortable AC bus from the Mysore bus stand. It takes barely 30 minutes (Rs. 25 one way) and there are plenty of buses to take you back to the city. Alternatively, you can also climb a flight of 1000 stairs. These will take you to the summit of the hill. A beautiful granite Nandi statue is a major attraction which you will encounter on the 800th step. This statue rests before a Shiva temple. This route is picturesque and is more fulfilling for devotees. Besides, it offers a breath-taking view of Mysore city!

Prasad in the form of laddoos are available at the entrance. (Rs. 40 onwards.)

Temple Timing:

7:30 am to 2:00 pm. 3:30 pm to 6:00 pm. 7:30 pm to 9:00 pm.

Entrance free.

If you wish for a historic experience combined with a feeling of great devotion, a visit to the Chamundeshwari temple should definitely be on your list!