Friday, June 26, 2009

Manas Jain Mandir

Two years ago , on my return journey from an overnight stay for a seminar at Manas Resort Igatpuri , one of my doctor friends , Dr. Mohan Ahuja talked about this mandir . He was insisting on having a look as it was still under construction , though we were all keen on returning home . We took a detour off the highway on the right about a km in .

What a sight it was to see the beautiful Mandir on a small hillock , there was greenery all around, skies were overcast and a there was a drizzle to welcome us. We planned to come again and see in detail as we were not keen to spend more time there.

It was after two years that we made this trip on 13th June during Rahul and Jean's visit.Before we left , I checked up the exact location on Google maps as I was vaguely but wrongly remembering that the turn was immediately after coming down the Kasara Ghats . It was good that I checked up the location as the mandir is just before Shahapur , when going towards Nasik , near Asangaon station and the Kasara ghat is about 20 kms beyond. It is about an hours ride from Thane --50 kms .
[ The Main Entrance -- front view ]

[ The rear view of the Mandir ]

Lot of changes were noticed since my last visit. Work is still on but it seemed the major structures are done . I had read that it is the second largest Jain mandir in India .

[ The Kshetrapal of the Mandir ]

View of the Dharmashalas [ hostels ] for devotees

A sunset view of the Mauli Mountains --a favorite spot for trekkers -- in the background of the temple complex .

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Vaillankanni and Puducherri

This is from Rahul and Jean 's visit to the holy shrine of Vaillankanni in the last week of May .

What a lovely shrine as seen in the photo . I have a great wish to visit it , to pray and see the marvelous architecture.

I am adding a few photos of Pondicherri , where they had stayed for a few days before going further south to Vailankanni .

I have been a big critic the way people dirty the city out of habit or a national duty and wherever I have been , there seems to have been no exception .

I have now opened my mind after seeing the beautiful photos of Pondicherri from Rahul and Jeans trip.

I was very appreciative of the clean streets -- a rare site and wonder why it cannot be implemented all over India , especially the Metros or internationally famous cities like Bangalore , Pune to start with . It requires commitment from the politicians to lead first---not like Lallu spitting in his 'peek-dani '-- . People will also follow and obey if legislation is made , awareness comes from seeing leaders and celebrities -- film or sports . Yes it is a Tall Dream and too much to expect but I have not lost hope.

Dream T20 World Team

We have just read that none of the Indian players figure in the Dream T20 World Team . How to react --- oh no-- what happened ---how come--or some protest on the streets or media . Nothing of that sort has happened . No one has reacted nor has any one of the players have anything to say.

If we look at the Indian cricket scene , it is sheer wonder economics and a lesson to be learnt at IIMs---filling the coffers -- the Boards and individual . The hell with nationalism !! After a loss in the super 8 to one team , next day the papers carried an interview with the vice captain Yuvi on the lack of net practice after a loss .He was quoted as curtly replying that we dont need any practice---All the players are well motivated and a good performance will come out in the next match --- I dont have the exact text to quote but it was something very arrogant and curt . The reporter had further compared the serious net practise during the IPL.

The tired and unfit team was allowed to participate in the T20 world cup . Why ?? Did we not have talent to replace them ? Some other team would have put in a better performance . If Mr. Modi wants to hold the IPL twice a year ,we should have at least 30 to 40 potential players lined up so that the best 11 can be picked up for a tournament other than the IPL , and not stick to a standard players who hide their injuries and dont allow another talented player to replace him --- Sehwag for example .

Special mention and Congrats to the Pakistani team .They were the fittest , having missed out on the IPL --so no money bags to carry on their heads --they played with a purpose with a clear mind and for a beligured nation and a national pride . We felt proud seeing them and dedicating the win to the nation and the people who reacted by talking about this win to change the peoples mindset and a will to end terrorism .

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Annual ' Date With Kolhapur '

This year too we could manage a trip to Kolhapur . Last year it was a trek at Panhala . At this time of the year I get nostalgic about Kolhapur when as a kid till the age of 8 , I used to spend the entire summer vacation with my grandparents , uncles , cousins Nandutai and Rajeev .

The unique aroma of mud getting soaked in the first showers , and the call of ' Kurmure-eh-eh-eh ' of the vender selling kurmura and roasted peanuts and channa , is still fresh in my mind.

I go to Kolhapur round about May end to get the first showers but have been disappointed for the last couple of years. This year we went in the first week of June and got the most awaited welcome showers and the freshness of nature . Papa was with us also and he was pleased to see his school and college where he had studied for a few years before shifting to Bombay to complete his graduation and post graduation .

We visited the Temblai temple near the Opal Hotel where we usually stay .

As a child I used to walk -- about 2 kms from our house --along with my grandma to this temple. Next day we visited Mr Ajit Dunung , a very successful businessman and a very close friend of Papa and especially of my uncle Sudheerkaka .

At this age of 72, he is still very active ,playing badminton and going on his bike all the way to Belgaum -- 250 kms to and fro -- for business work . He then took us to his club ,where I could park my car and went by rikshaws to the Mahalaxmi Temple --parking problems.

To avoid the long queue at the temple , I had taken the help of Manjit , the son of a security guard whose relatives are my patients here , to get us 'darshan' .Manjit took us the wrong way through the exit , brushing against devotees who had finished darshan and were on the way out . With folded hands I prayed to the Goddess Ambabai and asked forgiveness for taking a ' special darshan ' . I was thankful for this arrangement as Papa would have found it impossible to stand for so long in the queue.

In the evening instead of the usual visit to Panhala we went to Rankala lake after many years . I remember the last time we had been there was in the mid 90s . There is a lot of development surrounding the lake . a good play area for kids and a good walkway for visitors . Seen below is the lake with the Shalini Palace in the background as well as the nicely laid out walkway.

The only sore point is the approach to the gate of the lake .There are a lot of stalls selling eatables in the most unhygienic surroundings .There is a typical stench of ' unwashed kitchen towels ',water flowing everywhere and gives the visitor a doubt whether to enter the lake area or not. The authorities should organize the stalls with proper drainage and hygiene.

Sunset at Temblai through the welcome dark clouds

The moon through the tree at Temblai