Tuesday, July 9, 2024


 Somwarpet is a key town in Kodagu also called Coorg some forty kilometers from Madikeri towards the fringes of the Western Ghats.Not many people know about this small but significant town in Kodagu.It is closer to Kushalnagar than Madikeri  and many aspiring specifically to reach Somwarpet from Bangalore can do so through Kushal Nagar without touching Madikeri.

There is a Muthappan temple in Somwarpet frequented by many and all the austerities conducted in the main temple in Prassinikadavu is also conducted here.Some twenty kilometers trek through the Western Ghat mountains and forest range could take one to Parassinikadavu.In ancient times people took the forest route through the ghats to reach Kodagu which explains the similarities seen between Kodagu and Malabar.

Places like Sakaleshpur and Chickamangalur is accessed from Kodagu through this town and has a simple and elegant KSRTC bus station.



Sunday, June 23, 2024



Friday, June 21, 2024


The township of Mantralayam also called Mantralaya is 400km from the city of Bangalore through Anantpur, Gutti and Adoni in the Kurnool district of Andhra Pradesh. Mantralaya is on the banks of the Tungabhadra river and is thronged by devotees perennially to the Shrine dedicated to saint Raghavendra.

This is a historic township with centuries of heritage. Thomas Munroe  the Governor General of Madras Presidency they say was a devotee and  was on collision course with his administration regarding the preservation and up-keep of this place. Thomas Munroe died at a place called Gutti also termed Gooty which is close to Mantralaya and is likely he visited Mantralaya during his ultimate days.

The word Mantralaya translates to "an abode of vedic chanting" and true to this doctrine vedic chanting is done here on a running basis to the general public through speakers.It is likely this place was a vedic school started by the Namboodiri brahmins of Kerala on the banks of the Tunga Badra river which gradually evolved with time.Mantralaya must have had key patronage and support of the Vijayanagara kings and the Shringeri Math. The Tunga Badhra river here looks in posture the same as seen in Hospet with multiple rocky formations and the city of Hospet not far from here.

Present day Mantralaya has a modest bus stand half the size of the present Mysore bus stand, has a relatively cool weather because of its proximity to the river and has a resplendent shrine of  RAGHAVENDRA  which is imposing in many ways and very close to the bus stand.This place could be in the Guiness book of World records for the number of lodges around the temple a combined capacity of upto twenty thousand. 

Thursday, May 30, 2024


 Prema Jayakumar a professional banker who lives in Ernakulam is a descendant of Kalpully Karunakara Menon who worked closely  with Thomas Hervey  Baber to finally track and annihilate the Pazhassi Rajah. She was introduced to me by Nicholas Balmer an Englishman who is grand nephew of Thomas Hervey Baber the sub-collector at Telicherry during these times. I caught up with this madam for few moments in her palatial estate in Ernakulam and also came to know her daughter-in-law is from our family connections. She is adept at translating many Malayalam works into English language.Kalpully Karunakara Menon hails from Ramanatukkara near Kozhikode.

Nicholas Balmer

On my tryst here  I took a short trip on the Ernakulam Metro from Maharaja station to  Cochin University. The Ernakulam metro system works on 750 volt DC like the Bangalore Metro but has only three coaches and the platform is half the size of any Bangalore Metro platform. It is efficient and clean and I was told must be having some 25 stations over a 40km length. The novel system here is they give paper tickets which is very easy to operate and handle. The metro makes a deafening noise like a house vacuum cleaner when it arrives into the platform and is not silent like the Bangalore Metro

Tuesday, April 16, 2024


 There is a village called KOTTAYAM in Telicherry which had a bazar in older times called Kottayam Bazar which was a nerve centre of the prosperous pepper trade that was carried out here few centuries ago.Today Kottayam bazar does not exist for all practical purposes but the mosque whose foundations were laid during these times still has its place.

The township of Kottayam was a crucial one because it had the residential palace of the king of Kolatunad as the larger expanse of this place was called and in the modern day called as the Pazhassi Rajah.The Mysore Sultans who had a sway over this place had to face resistance from the Pazhassi Rajah many times.The fort of Telicherry which housed the offices of the East India Company is just few kilometers from Kottayam.

Events of these times led to a power struggle between the East India Company and the Pazhassi Rajah  forcing the Rajah out of his palace in Kottayam into the jungles from where the organized Guerilla attacks on the Company over a vast territory comprising Cannanore and Wayanad.

The interesting aspect of Kottayam today is that there are many houses built many hundreds of years ago inter-woven with the modern ones.In these old houses that are seen here lived the various relatives of the Pazhassi Rajah.With the exit of the Rajah into the jungles his relatives sold these houses to islamic traders and settled within the confines of the Kingdom of Chirakkal ...like the house-hold of Kottayam Kadangot seen in Cherukunnu.

The unique aspect of Kottayam as of today is the palace of the Pazhassi Rajah..the large pond in front of his house...a descendant of the Rajah Gopalakrishnan who lives in the house  and most significantly  a large Shaivite temple on a territory as big as one foot ball field.

The village of Kottayam is few kilometers ahead of Kuthuparanbu and the exact name of the stop is KOTTAYAM_POYIL  and the temple and palace is some six kilometers from the mainstay.


Monday, April 8, 2024


 When me and my brother were children there was a less fortunate incident that plagued us and could have had bad consequences  but some how came to a logical end much earlier than expected.

Every year there used to be Onam celebrations within the ITI complex and on the said year even our family made our prescience. My mother made a mistake...she wore all her ornaments for the show. What we did not realize on our way back there was a thief Krishnan on our trail eager to understand the exact location of our house.

The next few days Krishnan has kept our house under surveillance and observed my mother used to take food for her children at school at around 12:30 and return by around 1:30.One of these days he decided to strike.

He did strike with clinical accuracy. A short and heavy metal rod that we used to use came handy for him. He broke open the door lock with the metal rod and scrambled within the house and found  the trunk under the cot and even broke open the lock and de-camped with the jewellery.

As providence would have it for some unknown reason my father left his work place and came home and was the first to see the mishap. My father was certain our house has been burgled. I don't know what went in his mind. He decided to inform my mother  who was on her way back home from School.

Me and my brother were too young to understand what was going around us.My father kept his calm and went to the house  of our relative O K Nambiar who used to live in Wilson Garden around this time.The son-in-law of O K Nambiar ,M Sankaranarayanan was an IAS officer and Nambiar had exquisite links with senior police officials of this time..more precisely Shri Biran Moideen who was DGP  and Shri. Nizamuddin IPS. My father met  Shri Biran Moideen in his house and he told my father not to be upset ...WE WILL CATCH THE THEIF.

I remember police official's would come to our house often  seeing if they could collect some evidence. My mother gave the drawings of her lost jewellery to the police and this was flashed among all stations.

Few months later Krishnan tried to sell the ornaments within Shoolay police station limits to a  pawn broker.The pawn Broker suspected the jewellery to be  of stolen nature and he informed Shoolay police station and the police matched the jewellery with the drawings given by my mother and the police knew the game is over for Krishnan.

The following day police in civilian dress kept vigil for Krishnan at the pawn brokers shop and Krishnan appeared and was apprehended and on interrogation handed over the entire bunch of jewels stolen.

1st of April 1973 was most possibly a Sunday  and was another Sunday for all of us. I was looking out of the window and suddenly saw two police jeeps stop at  our door and I  called my father who opened the door. The police had brought Krishnan with him in hand cuff and he sat  on the floor. The police  people told us this is the thief and the loquacious person that Iam went into long conversation with the police staff.

Later we went to the Shoolay police station where the inspector showed us the entire bunch of jewels but could only be handed over to us through court procedures.

Well that did not take too long. On the 14th of May 1973 the jewels were back at our house. My sister was born on 15th of May 1973.

.........Why I took the pains of recording this incident ..for several reasons. Had it not been for the industry of my Father  things may not have the propitious end we had.. secondly  had it not been for the support of O K NAMBIAR  we would have been no-where...  thirdly I want to thank the police staff who went about  the matter assiduously... and finally warn women not to make the mistake my mother did of wearing jewellery to casual celebrations and inviting mis fortune and wrath and putting families in peril.

Friday, March 22, 2024


Not many know of a hill-station relatively close to Bangalore which has the trappings of Ooty and Kodaikanal.The hill-station called Yercaud thirty five kilometers from Salem.Salem is five hours journey from Bangalore through the towns of Hosur,Dharmapuri and Krishnagiri.

Ooty and Kodaikanal  are on the Western Ghat mountains while Yercaud is on the Eastern Ghat mountain ranges and Salem as a city is in the midst of the Eastern Ghat mountain ranges.Yercaud is thirty five kilometers from the city of Salem ;five kilometers to the foot of the Yercaud hill and thirty kilometers of climb through twenty hair-pin bends.

Yercaud is some three hundred square kilometers and with certain villages around it added could be around nine hundred square kilometers they say. This place is some five degrees less cooler than Ooty during Summer and five degrees warmer than Ooty during Winter..

The key aspect of Yercaud is the Yercaud lake which forms the heart of the place with parks around it and the bus stand is slightly in an isolated corner from the main township.

The city of Salem is basically a Colonial town created and developed by the British.East India company officials evinced a keen interest in Yercaud and developed it on the lines of Ooty and Kodaikanal.Yercaud translates into Yeri and Kaad.Yeri means pond and Kaad  means forest.In some aspects Yearcaud is a temple town of yore which must have been a piligrimage site as some temples are seen at some junctures which transformed into a Hill-station with time.

Any one wishing to visit this place must take care because this isolated hamlet shuts down all economic activity by  8pm if not earlier.It is preferable not to be here in the night if you are a first time traveller as the place is desolate and forlorn.Preferably stay in Salem itself.Make detailed enquiries of warm wear needed before proceeding to this place.

Saturday, March 9, 2024





From within the Vidhana Soudha relating to some information technology matter  I was directed to meet Shri.Pranab Mohanty of the IPS currently the ADGP. later I came to know his office is in the complex opposite to Lokayukta ..and I set out to meet him.His office is in the  seventh floor  of the building.In the lift was a smart dressed professional person with whom  I started a conversation and later he told he was SP of police Shri. Lakshman Nimbargi but dressed in civilian attire. However I had a brief chat with him and he told me ADGP sir is on leave. I thought I must make a record of this meeting.

Tuesday, March 5, 2024


 Recently I met Shri. Munish Moudgil  IAS in his offfice.I had gone to the office complex to meet some one else but landed up in his office and had a chat with him  and we were talking about Punjab his home state for some time and he told me he is from Jallandhar. He was kind enough to give me his visiting card.

I found him to be very sharp minded and a methodical approach to work and happened to talk to him few times on the phone thereafter.

Tuesday, January 30, 2024


 Madurai , Rameshwaram  and   Kanyakumari  are three key temple towns of Tamil Nadu and relatively far off from the city of Bangalore.The temples built in these cities are similar to the other ones seen in the Deccan Plateau with stone structures and similar in design and construction. 

Madurai is a city some 500 kilometres from the city of Bangalore in the plains of  Tamil Nadu and houses the Madurai Meenakshi temple.The temples are designed with towers facing the four directions and have a large inner space with a central sanctum sanctorum and are largely stone structures.


Away from the city of Madurai is the city of Rameshwaram towards the coast of the Bay of Bengal. This is a Shiva temple and very huge and mammoth in size possibly the largest temple of its kind with one of the gates opening into the Bay of Bengal. Ramanathapuram is a town in between Madurai and Rameshwaram.

The tip of the Indian sub-continent is Kanya Kumari and the land mass tapers into a vertex of a cone here leading to the Indian Ocean. There are  many ancient temples in and around this place. Nagerkoil is a township some twenty kilometers from Kanya Kumari. Basically the ocean here houses two hillocks one of which has a large statue of Thiruvalluvar.

The weather at these places is for practical purposes arid and good for a visit for a couple of days.

Recently in the wee hours I was at the beach at Kanya Kumari taking a stroll down my hotel room into the ocean and happened to chat with some fishermen there. In the back-drop was a large church and sipped tea at an outlet operated by Jerald. I was told by the fishermen that they set out into the sea at 3pm and return the next morning at 7am.They spend the entire night at sea. Fishing is an arduous business ..the first activity is hooking the bait on to hooks and then carefully fitting it on the nets and then spreading it into the seas..and it is a long wait for a big catch.I noted one of the fishermen lost one of his eyes due to some smaller variety of fish jumping into his eye and hurting it with irreparable consequences. I was told the bait is available readily in the market. Most of the fishing vehicles here operate on petrol. I did have lunch at one of the hotels here being served with rice and fish curry which was tasty and the fish was some separate kind which I had not tasted before.

Some automation could be considered in this process of fishing. The bait could be hooked to the hook and presented directly to the fishermen so that time is not wasted by the fishermen at hooking them...and even the process of fixing them and removing them from the nets could be automated.Some engineering people could consider developing such tools and machines.

Saturday, January 6, 2024


 In the 1970's there were three popular magazines..The Illustrated Weekly, Mirror and  Caravan. Each of these magazines had a good circulation and covered current news and related affairs.The Illustrated Weekly was of larger dimensions with few pages and smaller fonts..the Mirror resembled a small book ..and the Caravan of a typical magazine size.

My father used to bring these books home ..sometimes all of them at one go as he was a member of a magazine club within his department in ITI(Indian Telephone Industries). I  remember  the Ilustrated Weekly  had carried a major article about Amitabh Bachchan much before he became a popular star. My father had a skill of pulling the right kind of chords for his children when it came to educational support. He used to support us with the right kind of inputs.He has bought for us a dictionary called the  "KINGSWAY MODERN DICTIONARY" A illustrated dictionary small in size but very informative.

I remember these three magazines for their own reasons. The Illustrated  weekly for its news, Caravan for its cartoons  and the Mirror for  its pen pals section..there used to be an ocean of addresses in the Mirror magazine  of  Pen pals.

During this era I had a pen pal by name TARIQ NOMANI FROM KANPUR. Iam not able to forget him. In spite of many decades I still remember his name. I found him on FaceBook  but for some reason he did not respond to my friend request....I even had some message interaction with his son on FB.

For some reason these three magazines stopped circulation ..may be with the advent of  TV they became redundant.