Monday, October 02, 2006

Durga Puja Wind Tunnel Road

This puja is, as usual, refreshingly simple and homely. And that means no stalls, no lights, pomp or grandeur. I am not sure about cultural programs. If any, these won't be big by any means. Interesting to note that this puja aspires to be unique by a significant claim:

Durga Puja Koramangala Bethany School

This was pretty much opposite the Kalyana Mantapa. Along 5th Main off 100 feet road. The food stalls were in a ground opposite the pandal, and they were almost empty. The pandal itself was in a choultry on the left corner as one enters 5th Main from 100 ft road. This was a hall on the first floor accessed by narrow stairs. On one end the pratima was set up and there was a cultural program in progress at the other end. This is the original Koramangala I am told. The cultural program witnessed very high attendance and seemed to be only limited by the capacity of the hall.

Durga Puja Koramangala Kalyana Mantapa

This puja was in the Kalyana Mantapa at Koramangala. I am told it is by the breakaway group and not the original one. As we entered the premises, we were surprised to see that the actual hall was witnessing a marriage ceremony. Then we realized that the puja pandal was in an adjacent shamiana. As usual, this was hugely crowded. The cultural program was happening in the same enclosure. Made it very very packed indeed.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

At the Cambridge Layout puja, it is the usual choultry. However, this year they have covered up the rather dirty walls with white cotton sheets. From wall to wall. It makes the hall particularly warm. Considering it was empty when we visited, it should be very uncomfortable when the evening arati happens. Another interesting thing that catches the eye is the rather unusual expression presiding over the visage of Lakshmi's owl (look at the right of her feet, below). Almost reminded me of PV Narasimha Rao's pout, almost.

Durga Puja Command Hospital

The Command Hospital has to be entered by a different entrance this time (Palm Grove Sainik Guest Rooms). This is farther along the Command Hospital road towards Indiranagar. This puja is as usual small. A pretty warm, lively pratima here. And also a Free Fat Measurement Camp. I did queue up, but couldn't make much sense of the results. Another interesting element was the spouse of Ganesh. See the close-up below. Under the veil, she's all of a plantain plant.

Durga Puja at Jayamahal

The Jayamahal Puja has an interesting asur. The hair is all funky and streaked. The cultural programs are very good this year, I'm told. There are lesser stalls here than last year. Stall owners must have figured out that other pujas offer more crowds to sell the overpriced grub to. The road to approach this puja also has become a one-way making it a tad difficult to reach.

Durga Puja at Brookefields, Whitefield

The Brookefields puja at the VSR Convention Hall is indeed imposing. The hall itself is very large and not too many people frequent this, making it an ideal location for offering pushpanjali. A few good vendors have set up stalls here - Manju of HAL Market, Golkonda Chimney and a phuchkawala. Also some other stalls - IFB, sarees etc. Not doing very well at all.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Durga Puja 2006 Locations in Bangalore

I am writing up an itinerary of Durga Pujas in Bangalore this year with an intent to witness all of them. Please comment below if you know of additional pujas in Bangalore.

Airport Road - Wind Tunnel Road

Air Force puja - after you enter Wind Tunnel Road from Airport Road, halfway on Wind Tunnel Road, there is a driveway that takes you into an Air Force Campus. This is probably opposite Rifco apartment. The sureshot way to not miss it is to realize that the Airforce campus wall stretches from Airport Road halfway into Wind Tunnel Road.
This is typicall a small puja. But it is done in a pretty homely way. Kind of like chotto para pujas in the Bengali heartland. For those who know me, Habul was the singer (evening entertainer on one of the puja evenings) here last year. This is also a good location for the sindoor stuff on Dashami, for those who stay on Airport Road.

Bellary Road-Mekhri Circle

If you travel along Bellary Road from city centre (Windsor Manor or Cauvery Theatre) towards Hebbal. As you cross the Mekhri Circle underpass, you will see an entrance to an Air Force Campus on the left side. The puja is almost just inside the gate. This is not a very large puja. But there are cultural programs in the evening. This is a multicultural puja with probably more of Hindi songs and programs than anything else.

Cambridge Layout - Indiranagar

The typical route is after exiting the Command Hospital puja and moving towards Indiranagar. In the Cambridge Layout area, after crossing the Sai mandir etc, there is a lane to the left just before reaching a small bridge over a drain. This is on the way to ESI hospital and finally the SONY service centre on 100 feet road. Once you enter this lane, it winds for a few hundred metres and brings you to a municipal choultry adjacent to a temple. This is the location of the Puja. Definitely one of the bigger pujas with grand cultural programs.

Command Hospital -Indiranagar\Airport Road\Cambridge Layout

If you go from MG Road towards the Airport, you will notice a left turn just before Command Hospital pops up on your left. Entering this left turn you'll find yourself deep inside defence property. Few hundred metres in, there is a circle where you have to enter the hospital gate on the right. Inside you wind along towards the commotion and presently you'll find yourself at a large playground where the puja is. Not a big puja, but hosts hindi song evenings. Being a defence puja it is markedly multicultural.

CV Raman Nagar\DRDO

I guess there's one there too. Probably in the community centre. I'll have to find out details though.


One of the bigger pujas. Well documented too... Read up.



I am not sure if there's one, though I'd guess there is.

JP Nagar

Usually at the junction of Bannerghatta Road and Outer Ring Road in JP Nagar. A medium sized puja.


This puja is a few years old and was located at Kalyana Mantapa near Ganesha Temple for last couple of years. Apparently this year they banished a subgroup for unknown reasons. This subgroup started a brand new puja. Interestingly, this new group managed to book the Kalyana Mantapa before the Real McCoys. So you'll see this new puja at the old place this year.
The traditional group can be visited few hundred meters away, somewhere near the Police Station.
Excellent turn of luck for Koramangalaians in terms of being able to see two pujas in one shot!

Mahalakshmi Layout

I am sure there is a puja, though I'll need to figure out the route - STAY TUNED!

Malleshwaram - Canara Union

This was pointed out to be a simple middle class puja. I remember having visited last year. Shouldn't have forgotten to include. Definitely gives a homely sense.


This one was pointed out on Navami day. It is reached by taking a right turn from the top of Marathahalli railway overbridge while headed towards Whitefield (alongside the Aisshwarya apartments). It is the second year of this puja.


Bengalee Association, Assaye Road. But the puja is located large open fields in the vicinity. This is the definitive uber puja. Oldest, biggest etc etc. NOT TO BE MISSED.

Whitefield - Brookefields

Located at Brookefields opposite HLL in the big marriage hall. Rapidly growing puja - and walkable from my home! From Airport, proceed towards Marattahalli, cross it and proceed towards Varthur over the railway overbridge at Marattahalli. This is one straight road.
After crossing the railway overbridge, about half a kilometre later the Kundalahalli traffic junction is reached. Take a left there towards ITPL. About half a kilometre ahead, the marriage hall on the left hosts this puja (landmarks on the right - opposite side of road - Lakme Beauty Salon, andhra spice restaurant, sobha IT park, Hindustan Lever's Brookefield office etc etc).

Whitefield - Village

Located at Inner Circle of Whitefield Village (Close to Nilgiris in Whitefield). Smaller. Multicultural with a twist - when we visited children were dancing to Tamil hits.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Configuring a Netgear 614 router

I'd thought a wireless router bought of SP Road should work as soon as plugged in. And it had for the D-Link that I'd bought a month ago. However, the Netgear 614 was a tougher nut. After buying it last Sunday afternoon, I'd spent many a late hour trying to get it working. NADA. Finally, I called the shop, who gave me Netgear's Toll Free number 1800 425 4327. As this is not reachable from my cellphone, I called the other number 044 42087477. Deepak answered and helped me get it working. It was a conflict with the IP Airtel DSL modem uses.
1) Disconnected the DSL modem from Wireless Router.
2) Pressed the reset (small hole at back of router) for 30 seconds.
3) Unplugged router power and powered it back on.
4) Fired up cmd and ipconfig'd. The IP should be and gateway should be
5) Fire up IE and connected to
6) In the page that comes up, just click the Apply button at the bottom.
7) This brings up a login prompt after 5 seconds. userid: admin passwd: password.
8) On the left click on Wireless setup and choose Asia, 11, b and g. Apply.
8) On the left click on LAP IP and choose change the to, change to THIS IS KEY STEP. Apply.
9) The IE should disconnect. That's ok.
10) Power off the router (unplug) and connect modem cable and power on (replug power).
11) Redo ipconfig
12) Try accessing internet.
13) Go to the computer with wireless access, and try to scan for this router.
14) Connect and access internet.
15) Thank Mr Deepak (or Mr Naveen) and heave a sigh of relief.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Partial Lunar Eclipse in India

Dark side of the moon.

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Saturday, April 01, 2006

How Ned Devine became Malamaal

Is not known to me. In fact, I chanced upon Ned Devine by accident Ned Devine. But I did enjoy Priyadarshan's Malamaal Weekly. I guess my expectations were very low indeed, and the village scenes were done pretty well. It was refreshing to hear Paresh Rawal's earthy liners: "Arey chamgadar sidha latkenge toh mor nahin ban jayenge"; "Tere muh mein chata ghuserke khol doonga" and so on. I am not sure whether the original Waking Ned Devine also had such gems. Need to check whether that's available for rent in Bangalore.

Friday, March 31, 2006

Innovative Multiplex tele booking number

This is something I couldn't Google on the internet yet. So when the paper visiting card reached my hands, I thought I'd put it up at least for my own quick reference.
The first two numbers are almost always available, unlike the last number, which is always busy. By the way, the last number is also the one that Google throws up.
If the image is slow to load:
25225944 Posted by Picasa

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Jungle of life

After leaving Riga behind, we had our first cup of tea, and another, and then another at the nearby shop in the Madras Regimental Center area. We then asked directions to Sims Park. We saw more people at the gate of Sims Park than we had seen till then and we were a bit bothered that it would be crowded. But our fears were unfounded as there weren't that many people and the park was H.U.G.E! This photo shows how little we felt in comparison. Posted by Picasa

To that individual who wrote that Riga was a bungalow. If so, then I must be the Queen Elizabeth! Posted by Picasa

Hotel Wellington Riga

Riga Residency signboard suddenly came upon us as we turned a bend, a good 2 kilometres after we first saw the signs of Wellington and Coonoor.
Earlier the day when I had called up the hotel number, a Mr Clifford had introduced himself as the General Manager. In a very suave tone he informed me that they'd be delighted to have me at their esteemed hotel for a daily consideration of Rs 1200 plus taxes. This experience with a little bit of Googling had led me believe that this was a restored bungalow turned into a hotel. I expected superlative Raj-era hospitality.
Cut to the present, almost 1AM at night. The person manning the front desk acknowledged our booking and alloted a room 209 to us. The hotel was dark as a number of lights were turned off. The lift wasn't working. The room we had taken was a suite. It was benumbingly cold. I immediately asked for extra blankets and a room heater. What came was a small white box that could barely keep itself warm, leave alone keeping the room warm. It was a Philips room heater and blower made in England. I wondered whether it was left behind when the British left India. The bed was so cold that it felt like lying on hard ice. The windows weren't that good and cold seeped in. The whole room was so depressing with mold forming over the walls. It felt a total rip-off having to pay that much for such a sorry apology of a hotel. The water in the taps was cold like a knife. Water dripped in the bathroom and made it even worse. Somehow I fell asleep. Next morning looked even more desolate as there was no sign of sunshine where our room was. After tea was served in a chipped cup, we decided to beat it.
Back at the reception Mr Clifford was present. His beaming face darkened when I pointed out the inadequacies of his establishment and demanded to know why he ran it so poorly. He acknowledged that he had taken over under new management two months ago and things were likely to get better. I saw then that he was running the hotel hoping to earn enough to improve it. But with experiences such as mine, people were only going to give that a bad name. Hopefully, he'll spend some money to make it livable and then invite tourists. Posted by Picasa

When the music's over turn off the lights

Mysore came in after 8 PM. We didn't know the roads well and it took quite a few u-turns and reversals before we hit the road towards Nanjangud (It wouldn't make sense to ask for Ooty, we were told). On the way we saw such a wonderful spectacle that we were rendered speechless. The Mysore Palace is indeed very beautiful. It makes sense to maintain our heritage buildings just for the sheer pleasure of appreciating beauty. We made a note to visit Mysore sometime and see the palace in detail. As we entered the road towards Chamundi Hill a road forked to the right for Nanjangud. At the fork a Kamat Hotel stood beckoningly. At 8:30PM food sounded a great idea. Mini meals with jowar roti tasted just too good. After a leisurely eat topped with paan (or beeda as it is called there) we climbed back into the car for the drive to Ooty.
The last time I had traveled on this route was in 2000 with Jags, Sanju and Avi. I didn't have a good recollection of that trip and there was some trepidation in our minds. Fuel was running low and we were looking for a place to refuel. I was scared as I had a faint remembrance of a mountain road and I feared that there would be no petrol bunks there. The first few petrol bunks that we met were unable to dispense fuel as there was a power cut and the pumps couldn't run. We finally found one and the car drank it's full happily, not the least because fuel there was cheaper.
We sped away in the early night along an incredibly good road that compared only with the road to Mangalore. In an hour's time we reached Gundlupet after crossing Nanjangud in a blur. Sleepy towns all. Soon we entered the environs of the Bandipur forest. Such a pretty sight with dozens of deer walking around. At 10:30 it wasn't a very odd time for deer to venture out for a post prandial walk. At some point we also came out of that and entered into Tamilnadu (Mudumalai said the signboards). There was a fork in the road - the right went via Gudalur and the left via the Mudumalai forests. The Gudalur route said it was longer by quite a bit and so we took the other one. Couple of kilometres drive along spellboundingly beautiful forests with rabbits and bisons lazing around, we reached a gate across the road. A majestically mustachioed forest guard let us know that the road was open only from 6AM to 8PM. As it was around 11PM we weren't allowed to use that route. We were dejected to have to drive back upto the fork and then take the route via Gudalur. However, another wizened old man sidled up to us and informed that for a consideration of Rs 20 they would open the gate for us. It immediately became obvious to us that it was allowed to take this route after all. The rule was only to allow the guards to make a quick buck. Unfortunately I hadn't cared to have change with me and I had to act generous doling out Rs 50 for the gates to open. However, the drive beyond the gate was immensely beautiful. Moonlit jungle roads with animals standing lazily at their positions on the roadsides was an unforgettable sight. We drove slowly, careful not to scare or hurt any of them. And it would be bad manners to have camera flashes disturb the nocturnal frolic of the owners of that forest, so we could take no pictures. But boy, was it pretty!
The climb to Ooty had 36 hairpin bends and it was such a lovely climb. The fact that there were almost no vehicles on that road made it even more fairytale. Imagine climbing up to heaven on a moonlight night. The lands below unfolded in delicate layers with a cluster of dimly twinkling lights here and there wherever there was a town or village.
After a thrilling drive we reached another gate. Here there wasn't a guard and except for a scooter in front of a temple there wasn't any sign of human habitation. We honked awhile and then resigned ourselves to the fact that we were stuck there at around midnight. For a moment, we thought that we could open the gate ourselves but decided against that. This was a jungle after all and it was not wise to rile the guards at midnight. Veerappan used to roam around exactly in these jungles. It wasn't possible to bring ourselves to drive ourselves all the way down the 36 hairpins. We settled down for a wait till something happens. Soon another jeep came from the other side and also waited. The driver got doen and went somewhere behind the temple. In a couple of minutes he got the guard along with him. The guard unlocked the gate and we sneaked past.
Soon we entered Ooty town and a call came from home enquiring whether we were snug in bed. I had an idea that Wellington was halfway from Ooty to Coonoor. But as we took directions and drove along we found that it was almost at Coonoor. Driving through Ooty at midnight, we found that it was almost deserted except for a Coffee Day joint where we asked for directions. Finally, finally, at about 12:45 PM --- almost 10 hours after we left home --- we entered the Riga Wellington HotelPosted by Picasa

Hands upon the wheel

30-December-2005 was a holiday and a niggling thought at the back of our mind said that we should make the most of the 3-day weekend over the New Year. However, lazy bones move slow and it was after 3 PM that we could finally start off. We chose Wellington as our duestination and Hotel Riga as the roost for the night ahead. In my wisdom, I decided to go via the outer ring road till Mysore Road. On the way, we stopped for a wee bit at Family Mart, Kanakapura Road. I wanted to buy a case for the new camera but there weren't any at Family Mart. The collection there wasn't very impressive overall and I had a suspicion about the quality from a quick, first look. And a cool badam milk set me back by Rs 56 on the mini food court there. I don't think I would go there again. Back to the road, it took us all of 2 hours to reach Mysore Road and it was a relief to feel the free flow of traffic on it. However, construction of the 4-lane highway is still on and it is a pain having to switch over to the wrong lane every now and then. Somewhere enroute the setting sun made for a pretty shot. Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Mithun Chakraborty ka hotel

On the top of the hill, a brisk two minute walk from the Willow Hill, stands what Outlook Traveller has termed as the biggest hotel in Ooty - the Howard Johnson Monarch hotel. The view from it's grounds are great. As we walked into the hotel, the central heating provided welcome respite from the biting December cold. At the reception counter a prospective customer was receiving the news that no rooms were available. Not one to give up easily, the clearly purebreed bhodrolok wanted to know about the availability of Mithun babu. Monarch had a New Year's eve program for Rs 2000/- per couple. However a quick look at the preparations underway provided a picture of things to come - unappetising at best. Overall, it looked a good place to stay in and definitely worth an enquiry next time we go to Ooty. Posted by Picasa