Monday, January 05, 2015

Happy New Year 2015

Hi Folks,

Wish you all a very Happy New Year 2015. Hope you have a wonderful year ahead.

How did you guys celebrate the arrival of the New Year? Do share your experiences.

People all over the world bring in the New Year in their own way and style. 

Here's a look at New Year's celebrations around the world

Here are some New Year traditions across different countries.

Oshogatsu (Japan)

The new year is the most important holiday in Japan, and is a symbol of renewal. In December, various Bonenkai or "forget-the-year parties" are held to bid farewell to the problems and concerns of the past year and prepare for a new beginning. Misunderstandings and grudges are forgiven and houses are scrubbed. At midnight on Dec. 31, Buddhist temples strike their gongs 108 times, in a effort to expel 108 types of human weakness. New Year's day itself is a day of joy and no work is to be done. Children receive otoshidamas, small gifts with money inside. Sending New Year's cards is a popular tradition—if postmarked by a certain date, the Japanese post office guarantees delivery of all New Year's cards on Jan. 1.


The Spanish ritual on New Year's eve is to eat twelve grapes at midnight. The tradition is meant to secure twelve happy months in the coming year.

The Netherlands

The Dutch burn bonfires of Christmas trees on the street and launch fireworks. The fires are meant to purge the old and welcome the new.


In Greece, New Year's day is also the Festival of St. Basil, one of the founders of the Greek Orthodox Church. One of the traditional foods served is Vassilopitta, or St Basil's cake. A silver or gold coin is baked inside the cake. Whoever finds the coin in their piece of cake will be especially lucky during the coming year.

United States

Probably the most famous tradition in the United States is the dropping of the New Year ball in Times Square, New York City, at 11:59 P.M. Thousands gather to watch the ball make its one-minute descent, arriving exactly at midnight. The tradition first began in 1907. The original ball was made of iron and wood; the current ball is made of Waterford Crystal, weighs 1,070 pounds, and is six feet in diameter.
A traditional southern New Year's dish is Hoppin' John—black eyed peas and ham hocks. An old saying goes, "Eat peas on New Year's day to have plenty of everything the rest of the year."
Another American tradition is the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California. The Tournament of Roses parade that precedes the football game on New Year's day is made up of elaborate and inventive floats. The first parade was held in 1886.

Widely Observed New Year Symbols and Traditions

Resolutions: It is believed that the Babylonians were the first to make New Year's resolutions, and people all over the world have been breaking them ever since. The early Christians believed the first day of the new year should be spent reflecting on past mistakes and resolving to improve oneself in the new year.
Fireworks: Noisemaking and fireworks on New Year's eve is believed to have originated in ancient times, when noise and fire were thought to dispel evil spirits and bring good luck. The Chinese are credited with inventing fireworks and use them to spectacular effect in their New Year's celebrations.
Awaiting to hear how each one of you celebrated the arrival of the New Year.

Saturday, September 08, 2012

Amit Gupta's Blog: Humne bhi kuch likha

Amit Gupta's Blog: Humne bhi kuch likha

Humne bhi kuch likha

kisi ne kaha ki shayri kya hai
kisi ne kaha ki shayri kya hai
kya ye kisi marz ki dawa to nahin
humne kaha ki dawa na sahi
kisi ke dil ki dua to hai
aapki shayri ko padh ke
ye ehsaas sa dil se nikla
ki kaash hum bhi shayar hote
aur aapke dil ki dua ban jaate

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Missing OLD Times.....

The clock talked loud. I threw it away, it scared me what it talked.

Yes, time ticks away. How you wish it didn’t!

When we look back, we always remember times which we never wanna let go of. We wanna cling to them as hard as we can, lest somebody takes them away. The inertia hardest to overcome is that of perfectly good seconds.

How you wish those days in college come back. How you wish you wake up and you have only a lecture to bunk and not an angry boss waiting for you.

I had ventured out from the confines and comforts of my house for the first time when I joined my graduation. My resolve was firm; I would settle for nothing less than a place at least a day away from my house where I stayed with my parents. After all, I should get enough time to run away lest they planned to visit me.

My wish was fulfilled and the wonder years started. Although, the first year of college was more about remembering the ragging protocols instead of the theory subjects. It somehow passed with some mental and physical damage done to my frame. The very fact that I came out alive strengthened my belief that I am made for better things.

College was a wonderful roller-coaster ride of enduring boring theory classes to huddling up in a room with ten people to do mass-studies during examinations. This was intertwined with rounds of the Hostel of the fairer sex hoping that you get a glimpse of them, the rare species. Didn’t they tell you that girls you would want to catch a glimpse of were rare species in our college? (College stands for most of the engineering colleges in our country). My apologies to the not so rare species – no offence intended.

I miss those endless discussions over tea in the small makeshift tea stall in our sprawling campus which went on till 3 in the night. Sometimes, music and guitar added to the din, albeit in a beautiful way.

I miss those interesting classes on Communication. Well, there was a reason behind the interest. Any guesses?

College is the place to be if you love sports. I miss those football practice sessions where we used to get exhausted even while training was in progress only to know that we were not done yet.

I could go on and on till eternity. Memories there are, so many of them. Memories sometimes behave in a crazy way. They leave you alone when you are in a crowd and when you are alone they stand along with you like a crowd.

Time is the most undefinable yet paradoxical of things; the past is gone, the future has not come, and the present becomes the past even while we attempt to define it, and, like the flash of lightning, at once exists and expires.

In my dreams one night, I touched the stars in my flight.
Deep into the dark night, you showed me the enlightening light.

Do not pinch me, my dream is unfinished yet, my memories still by my side.

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Trip to Kemmanagundi

Having been in Bangalore for over one and a half years, the best way to spend a good weekend is to shy away from Bangalore and retreat to some off-beat destination away from the confines of the hustle and bustle of Bangalore city.

But staying in the luxury of hotels and resorts and merely going sight seeing had become quite mundane I must say. So we decided to usher in a different experience this time.

Being the weekend after Christmas, the idea of going to a much-acclaimed and sought after destination did not sound too appealing. So we decided to head for a serene and idyllic place in the midst of Mother Nature.

After much pondering, we decided to head towards Kemmanagundi.

Kemmanagundi is a hill station in Tarikere taluk of Chikkamagaluru district in the state of Karnataka, India. It is located at a height of 1434m above sea level. This was the summer retreat of Krishnaraja Wodeyar IV and as a mark of respect to the king, it is also known as Sri Krishnarajendra Hill Station. Ringed by the Baba Budan Giri Range and blessed with silver cascades, mountain streams, and lush vegetation, Kemmangundi’s beautifully laid-out ornamental gardens and enchanting mountains and valleys views are a treat to the eye. The spectacular sunset view from the Raj Bhavan is a photographer’s delight. For the adventurous at heart, Kemmanagundi offers many peaks to scale and intricate jungle paths to explore.

Place: Kemmanagundi
Distance: ~ 280 kms from Bangalore
Route: Bangalore > Nelamangala > Hassan > Belur > Chikkamagalur > Kemmanagundi
Travel Time: 6 hours.

Now this trip to Kemmanagundi was not like the other trips we had made. We decided to go with an Adventure Trip organizer by the name “Nature Admire”. This group is run by a person by the name Dev Balaji. The entire trip logistics were taken care of by this group which included transportation in a tempo traveler, food, camping (tents and sleeping bags), one instructor by the name Venkatesh and rooms in the Horticulture department lodge on both Saturday and Sunday for changing and getting fresh.

We were a group of 12 people and the package costed us Rs.2000 per person all inclusive.

We started from Bangalore on Friday, 26th December 2008 at around 11:45 PM in a group of 12. We reached Kemmanagundi around 6:30 am the next day. The road from Chikkamagaluru to Kemmanagundi is mostly through the forest area and there are only dirt tracks instead of proper roads. Be prepared for a bumpy ride for around 30 odd kms.

As soon as we reached Kemmanagundi, we were met by the sights of forests, valleys and hills all around. It was a captivating sight to say the least. Kemmanagundi is very sparsely populated, so we couldn’t see too many people around us except for other travelers like us.

We halted at the Horticulture Department guest house as our first stop for the trip. We got into 2 rooms arranged for us and started contemplating about the prospects of taking bath in the cold weather. The prospects looked bleak I must admit but just as David took on the might of Goliath, we had a friend who decided to take the bull by its horns and accomplished the feat of taking bath in the cold water. This spurred the others on and slowly we had more people taking a dip.

After getting ready, we had breakfast in a small canteen in the guest house whose hoarding proudly displays “Vegitarian Canteen”. The only stuff we could get there was bread omlette, dosas and chow chow bhaath…. We prepared ourselves for the ominous task of savoring only these delicacies (if only) for the days to come as that canteen didn’t have other options.

After breakfast, we proceeded towards our first destination for the day – Hebbe Falls. We were dropped off at a point by our tempo traveler from where we proceeded to trek the distance of around 8 kms which would take us to the falls. The way slowly become narrower and was interspersed with 3 narrow water bodies enroute to the falls. After a drudgery of over 2 hours, we finally caught a glimpse of the magnificent falls dropping down in its entire splendor (the source for the falls is the River Bhadra). These waterfalls are inside a coffee estate and surrounded by dense forests and coffee plantations. Hebbe Falls gushes down from a height of 551 ft in two stages to form Dodda Hebbe (Big Falls) and Chikka Hebbe (Small Falls.) Don’t miss a refreshing dip in this herb-infused water.

On the way back from Hebbe Falls, we trekked for some distance before we decided to take the services of a rickety Mahindra jeep. The jeep ride was a once in a life time experience with the driver looking straight out of an F1 racing track. The wheels of the jeep pounded the bouncy and uneven dirt tracks with such force and rigour that made me resolve to replace the tyres in my car with those. A roller coaster ride in any amusement park would be half as exciting as this jeep ride which when finally ended found most of us with our clothes having taken the colour of the red sand enroute.

We finally reached the Horticulture department lodge and had our lunch at around 4 PM after which we decided to rest for a while and then proceed to Raj Bhawan to catch a glimpse of the setting sun. Raj Bhawan has well laid-out gardens and is a good place to spend a quite evening with the setting sun and hills around you for company.

After returning back from Raj Bhawan we proceeded towards the most exciting part of the trip. We reached an open area which was like a field. It had on its edge a drop which lead to the valley below and was surrounded by hills all around. We decided to pitch tents there for the night.

The gutsy wind made it difficult for the tents to stay in their position. We took the help of some big stones to help the tents maintain their position. After finishing with pitching the tents, we started the bonfire and sat around it in a circle.

Then started rounds of gushing beer and vodka mixed with voices singing away to Bollywood tunes. After finishing our dinner we retreated to the confines of the sleeping bags inside the tents with some of us still contemplating whether sleeping in the tempo traveler would be a better idea. Tired after the day’s activities and the alcohol acting as a good sleep-inducer, we were fast asleep in minutes and woke up the next morning amidst the serene and calm Mother Nature for company. It was an exhilarating experience and one which not many of us would easily forget. It earmarked our trip from the ones we had before and left us with a different experience to share and cherish.

We reached the Horticulture department lodge to get fresh and have our breakfast and then proceeded towards the trek to Z-point, an enchanting precious point, a vantage spot. Z-point offers a nice ariel view of the distant Shola grasslands in the undulated Western Ghats. Enroute to Z-point one can also see Shanti falls. Shanti fall proved to be less of a waterfall and more of a stream trickling down the hill. The trek to Z-point was a fabulous experience with the path being extremely narrow and a steep drop to the valley on one side. The view from the top when we finally reached Z-point was breathtaking.

After returning from Z-point, we proceeded back to Bangalore. We halted at Chikkamagaluru for lunch after which we went to see the famous Chennakesava temple in Belur.

Belur was the early capital of the Hoysala Empire. Belur is located in Hassan district. According to inscriptions discovered here, it was also referred to as Velapuri. The main attraction in Belur is the Chennakesava temple complex which contains the Chennakesava Temple (dedicated to Lord Chennakeshava, meaning handsome Vishnu) as the centre piece, surrounded by the Kappe Chennigraya temple built by Shantaladevi, queen of king Vishnuvardhana. There are two more shrines here that are still in use by devotees and there is a Pushkarni or stepped well to the right side of the main entrance. The Dravida style rayagopuram at the entrance which was a later addition by the Vijayanagar kings, who considered this deity as one of their Kuladevata or family god.

The temple is one of the finest examples of
Hoysala architecture. It was built by king Vishnuvardhana in commemoration of his victory over the Cholas at Talakad in 1117 CE. Legend has it that it took 103 years to complete and Vishnuvardhana's grandson Veera Ballala II completed the task. The facade of the temple is filled with intricate sculptures and friezes with no portion left blank. The intricate workmanship includes elephants, lions, horses, episodes from the Indian mythological epics, and sensuous dancers (Shilabalikas). Inside the temple are a number of ornate pillars. Darpana Sundari (Lady with the mirror) carved on walls of Belur Temple is one of major attraction in complex.
This temple along with
Hoysaleswara temple in Halebidu and the Jaina monuments at Shravanabelagola are being proposed as UNESCO world heritage sites. (Source: Wikipedia).

After this, we resumed on our way back to Bangalore and reached Bangalore pretty late in the night around 1 am majorly because the driver of our tempo traveler believed in the old age theory of “Slow and steady wins the race”. We finally reached the familiar surroundings of our respective neighborhoods and threw our tired bodies to the beds.

Finally to conclude I would say that it was a wonderful trip with experiences to remember for our life times and ones which make us crave for more. Happy traveling.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Rendezvous with Coorg - The Scotland of India (the journey) (Continuation from the post below)

Cauvery Nisaradhama and Golden Temple, Namdroling (above)

The journey started with Dinesh at the wheel and holy hymns chanting from the car's stereo. It acted as a lullaby putting everybody to sleep with Dinesh maintaining that these hymns would go on until daybreak repeatedly ignoring Deepa's pleas....

People finally woke up and cries of "breakfast" "breakfast" started ranting in the air....We managed with the packaged stuff we had got and stopped for breakfast pretty late....

Enroute to Coorg our first stop was at Namdroling monastery and the famous golden temple. This place is in Bylakuppe, a Tibetan settlement camp near Kushalnagar. It is supposed to be one of the largest Tibetan establishments in the country. We spend the next few hours inside the complex and the monastery... It was so serene and peaceful that we just sat inside the monastery relaxing for a while and clicking pictures. While coming out of the complex I bumped into a college friend and exchanged pleasantries....

The next stop was Cauvery Nisargadhama. It is a breathtakingly beautiful riverine island carved by the Cauvery river in the plains, 2km from Kushalnagar. It can be accessed by travelling over a hanging bridge. Nisargadhama teems with lush foliage, thick bamboo groves, teak, and rosewood. The sprawling 64-acre nature resort has a deer park , orchidarium, and elephant and boat rides. One can also picnic on the sandy beds of the river bank. We also took turns in getting our pictures clicked on a bent tree trunk in one corner of the river.. A nice watery experience it was.. We also had rides on the swings in the park and had some local ice-cream...

Moving on we finally reached Coorg, our eventual destination.. We reached the homestay which we had booked and called up the owner who promised to reach there with the keys in 5 minutes. Return he did only to go back saying he would come soon (never knew soon was 1.5 hours). Thanks to the small kid we spotted with a cricket bat and a ball in hand, we didnt mind..... He came as an angel and pronto - we started a game of cricket.... Deepa was fast asleep in the meantime only to wake up when the ball banged the car exteriors..... Finally the owner did return only to give that house to some other group who had come after us and told us there is a confusion in the bookings. We had paid advance booking money to the travel agency for that place and here we were seeing someone else occupying that house in front of our eyes. We even got into a tiff with the owner but it being alien land, couldnt do much.. He then took us to a few other homestays till we finally decided to settle in one in an isolated place with the valley in the backdrop.....The folks were a local couple and were very hospitable. It was a different experience staying in somebody else's house with the owners also staying in the same place....

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Rendezvous with Coorg - The Scotland of India (planning the journey)

252 kms from Bangalore and 1525 m above sea level lies Madikeri, the district headquarters of Kodagu. Coorg or Kodagu(originally called Kodaimalenadu) means 'dense forest on steep hill'. Dubbed as the Scotland of India, this town has a lot to offer to the tourist. Misty hills, lush forest, acres and acres of tea and coffee plantation, orange groves, undulating streets and breathtaking views are what make Madikeri an unforgettable holiday destination.

Coorg is on the Western Ghats. Set amidst verdant valleys, imposing mountains and teak wood forests, this is one of the most beautiful hill stations you can visit. It lies on Karnataka's southwestern end, covering an area of 4,102 sq km. (info source

Bangalore had become boring.. Well did I ever say it was interesting.........Bangalore remained boring, with similar stuff to do on weekends.. No prizes for guessing....

A lot of our weekend plans met with ill-fate, sometimes at the nth hour.... This didnt undermine our spirits and our determination though....

And my buying a car certainly helped - a black Maruti Esteem....

We swung between Pondicherry and Coorg to finally decide on Coorg with the roads to Pondi tilting the balance in favour of Coorg.. Although with hindsight I wouldnt quite say that should be the deciding point as the road to Coorg wasnt great too....

Come Saturday and 4 of us set out for the maiden journey in my car at 5 am when most of Bangalore was either wide awake or in deep slumber...