Friday, July 31, 2015

This picture symbolizes a dangerous discussion between…

This picture symbolizes a dangerous discussion between…
…a ‘self proclaimed intelligent’ dirty PIG and a ‘so called representative of the intelligentsia’ - a mad DOG, fiercely grunting and barking, dishonoring interests and laws of the land, disturbing peace and corrupting the minds of the innocent and law abiding…
What do we do…What do I do?
Just change the TV Channel or switch off the TV until the mad beasts shut up for the day.   

Thursday, July 30, 2015

His spirit lives on: Most admired and adored Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam is laid to rest.

India’s greatest scientist and our former President suddenly passed away at the age of 83 on 27th July at about 6:30 pm, at Indian Institute of Management - Shillong while interacting with his beloved people, the students and teaching staff.  He is laid to rest today, 30th July at 12 Noon with full military honors at Rameswaram, his home town, as the entire Nation is observing seven days of mourning and paying rich tributes to him.
He is one man known and respected by the entire Nation. His scientific contributions in the development of Satellite launches, Missiles and Nuclear Technology and other related works have won him our Nation’s greatest awards - Padma Bhushan, Padma Vibhushan, Bharat Ratna and the highest post in our county that of the President and Supreme Commander of our Armed Forces. He has received Honorary Doctorates from 40 Universities around the world and because of his dedicated interaction with students in schools and colleges for their development; the United Nations Organization has declared his birthday - 15th October as “World Students Day”. His activities as President were highly appreciated and he was known all over the world as India’s People’s President.
The news of his death reached almost the entire Nation within hours through media and very concerned people by word of mouth.  Immediately people remembered him fondly, talked about his life – a very modest and difficult beginnings to such a great personality with extraordinary achievements. Discussions about his life and his contributions can be heard everywhere these days, just not in the media but at homes, offices, any workplace and everywhere. His life and achievements are a great inspiration to the youth. He will certainly be remembered in India forever and ever.
May his soul rest in peace and may his life story inspire and produce many great men in our country.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Sri Jham Singh Balaji Venkateshwara Swamy Devasthanam, Gudimalkapur, Hyderabad.

Two hundred and five years old Sri Jham Singh Balaji Venkateshwara Swamy Temple is at Gudimalkapur, near Mehdipatnam in Hyderabad. The antiquity of the Temple and the affix of Sri Jham Singh to the name of the Temple make it one of the most interesting Temples in Hyderabad. This Temple is not known to many people, however we heard of it and its history long back but we could visit the Temple only yesterday. While visiting distant places from our city we make it a point to see all the tourist attractions there but in our own city we get busy with our routine works, routine entertainment, routine leisure and tend to postpone sightseeing of lesser known places. And finally when we find time to visit such interesting and historic places in our neighborhood, the experience is quite thrilling and makes us happy.
The Temple is called Sri Jham Singh Temple because it was constructed by him. Jham Singh is a Rajput who migrated to Hyderabad from Uttar Pradesh in late 1700’s. He was a Cavalier in the Army of Nawab Sikander Jah Nizam III, the ruler of Hyderabad State from 1803-1829 A.D. According to the Temple lore, Jham Singh with a sharp equine knowledge was tasked with purchasing horses for the Nizam. With a good amount of money at his disposal for purchasing horses, he used part of the money to build this Temple for Balaji – Venkateshwara Swamy around 1810. Another legend states that Jham Singh while traveling to purchase horses in a distant land got a divine message in his sleep to construct a Temple, so he returned to Hyderabad without purchasing any horses and with that money and other resources he constructed this Temple for Sri Venkateshwara Swamy and the adjoining Temples of Lord Shiva, Lord Krishna and Nava Grahalu. The Nizam was very angry when he came to know about the construction of the Temple and he initiated penal action against Jham Singh. But fortunately Raja Chandu Lal the (Hindu) Prime Minister intervened and sought mercy for Jham Singh. The Nizam relented on the condition that a Mosque is built by Jham Singh close to the Temple. It was a happy and an extraordinary way of showing mercy by the Nizam. Jham Singh then built a Mosque opposite to the Temple on the other side of the road, which can be seen in the attached photographs. These details are very similar to an earlier occurrence in the province, the construction of Sri Seetha Ramachandra Swamy Temple at Bhadrachalam by Kancherla Gopanna / Bhakta Ramadasu (1620-1680) the local Tehsildar, during the reign of Abul Hasan Tana Shah by using State money, for which he was punished and then with divine intervention released and reinstated.
The presiding deity of Lord Venkateshwara Swamy with those of his consorts sculpted in black granite are in the main Temple. It is said that the idol of Lord Venkateshwara Swamy has a hint of moustache like that of a Rajput warrior and a dagger tucked at his side! which can be seen at the time of Abhishekam, but are not visible to us from the entrance. In front of this Temple, facing the main deity are the smaller idols of Hanuman and Garuda. And as mentioned earlier, next to the main sanctum sanctorum, are two smaller Temples with beautiful Gopurams, of Lord Shiva and Lord Krishna. There are very imposing three Dhwajasthambalu. The main entrance of the Temple is colorful and very beautiful and in front of this is the Naqqar Khana (place meant for playing Temple drums) now in ruins. You can see all these in the attached pictures. The Temple land is quite huge and I understand that some parts are under encroachment by typical land grabbers of Hyderabad and hence under litigation. The management and administration of the affairs of the Temple are now under the direct control of the State Endowments Department. Daily rituals, bhajans, kirtanas and all divine celebrations and annual festivals are conducted in accordance with ancient traditions.
We had darshan of all deities; we performed Archana, and went about looking around the Temple and stayed back for a long time witnessing Sri Venkateshwara Swamy Kalyanotsavam and returned home after having prasadams equivalent to a meal! And carried home some!

Friday, July 24, 2015

Our Pilgrimage to Godavari Maha Pushkaram.

Finally we have been able to make the pilgrimage today to the holy River Godavari - Maha Pushkaram, which occurs once in 144 years! Today is the penultimate day of the twelve day Pushkaralu. We waited so long hoping that the unprecedented crowds thronging the bathing Ghats all along River Godavari, creating delays and chaos on roads and at river banks would ease off. Amidst continued reports of such rush we came to know of few Pushkar Ghats near Sriram Sagar Project (Pochampadu Project) where the rush of pilgrims was comparatively less and the water level of the River good for bathing. And we choose a bathing Ghat at a place called Savel in Nizamabad District. This is along the downstream of Sriram Sagar Dam, on the right bank of River Godavari and it is 208 Kms. from our house. We started from our house today, at 6:00 AM and reached Savel by 9:30 AM and we are back at home by 5:30 PM. All along the route during our to and fro journeys there was heavy traffic but without any holdups and we were able to park our huge 12-Seater Tempo Traveller that you can see in the attached pictures close to the bathing Ghat. I am making a special mention of this convenience because at many Ghats Vehicles are being stopped several kilometers away and pilgrims are made to walk all the way to the Ghats.
On reaching the Savel Ghat at 9:30 AM, I and my brother-in-law, took bath in the River and carried out the ritual of Pushkara Pithru Karma/Pinda Pradhanam – a ceremony for all our departed elders and family members, to express our gratitude to them and seek their blessings.  And after this ceremony we both and the rest of our eight family members took holy bath in the river which is called Pushkara Darshanam – worshipping the River and Pushkara Snanam – holy bath to purify us. This was followed by Pushkara Dhanam – Dakshina in the form of clothing and money to the Brahmins by individual family members. And then we went to the Temple close to the River bank and  had darshan of Sri Anjaneya Swamy.
Please click on the link below to read my exhaustive article on Pushkaralu wherein I have explained the facts behind this festival and about all the above rituals…Pushkara Snanam, Pinda Pradhanam and Pushkara Dhaanam:
CLICK HERE to know all about PUSHKARALU
We are all very happy that we could accomplish this important pilgrimage. We are feeling very blessed. And we are also happy as the journey went off very well. We carried a variety of food for our breakfast, lunch and snacks. We had our breakfast in our moving vehicle and lunch at my friend’s Mango grove and Rice Mill near Masaipet.
Tomorrow is the last day of Godavari Maha Pushkaralu. Those of you, who are still in two minds of going on this pilgrimage, please do make up your mind in favour of making it, it will certainly add to your peace and well-being.

P.S. Thanks to Telangana State Government, especially the State Police and the Government Servants engaged in Pushkar duties  for the amazing arrangements they have made along the roads leading to Pushkar Ghats, for orderly vehicle parking supervision and most importantly for very thoughtful and extraordinary conveniences at the bathing Ghats.  

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Happy 10th Anniversary “Google Earth”.

At the outset, Happy 10th Anniversary Google Earth. Google Earth was launched on 28th June 2005 and it has just completed 10 years.
I got the news of Google Earth completing 10 years of yeoman and awesome free service to countless users, about three weeks late. This happened today morning as I was searching through Google Earth; the entire course of River Godavari for a convenient and suitable Pushkar Ghat, for a holy bath. It helped me in choosing Soan Pushkar Ghat, the closest to Sriram Sagar Project/Dam (Pochampad Dam), where River Godavari is clean and in full stream. And we are going there next Friday. As users of Google Earth we are familiar with the messages, “Thank you for downloading Google Earth” and “Thank you for using Google Earth”. So in return it is an apt occasion for me to say – “Thank you Google Earth for providing the entire and minutest visuals and information of our planet right in front of my eyes every time I approached you”. Apart from the vast information I have gained from Google Earth, I have used Google Earth images of various places in my blog to present a better understanding of my articles to my readers. And then without any hurdles I can view amazing images of the streets and houses where my son and nephew live in distant Birmingham –U.K. and New Zealand.
Below this article you may see a few instances of how I have used Google Earth images in my blog.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Our visit to Rashtrapati Nilayam, Bolarum, Secunderabad.

Though it is five years since Rashtrapati Nilayam is open to public for a week, immediately after the sojourn of the President, we could go there only today, Saturday, 18th July 2015. We heard and read about it many times before and today we could witness it in its entire splendor and enjoyed our trip as you can see in the above video.
The President normally visits this residence in winter and conducts official business from here. But this year he has come in July. This is his Southern sojourn, a 98 acre estate, with well furnished rooms and buildings, beautiful landscaping, ornamental lawns, floral gardens, fountains, plenty of wild and fruit bearing trees, a herbal garden and now a Nakshatra Vatika. In the main single storeyed President’s Wing, where the President resides there is a grand  Darbar Hall, Morning room, Cinema Hall, Dining room, Dining Hall and another seven living rooms/suites, all connected by a grand corridor which you can see in the above video. The adjacent buildings are the Family Wing and the ADC Wing. The dining hall in the President’s wing is connected to a distantly located Kitchen through an underground tunnel!
These buildings and the estate was constructed by Nizam Nazir-ud-Dowla, the ruler of Hyderabad in 1860 for his recreation. It was later, on the request of the British Army handed over to the British Resident and began to be called as Residency House. After the annexation of Hyderabad State in 1948 by the Indian Government, this estate was bought by the Central Government and it began to serve as the President’s annual retreat in the South.

It is definitely a place to see, more as a lovely, huge and interesting garden and of course as it is a residence of our President. Tomorrow is the last day for visiting, if you cannot make it this time, watch out and don’t miss the next time it is open.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Godavari Pushkaralu – 2015.

River Godavari Pushkaralu, a great river festival started on 14th July 2015 and will end after 12 days on 25th July. This celebration which occurs once every 12 years is of greater significance this time as it happens to be Maha Pushkaralu or Maha Kumbhamela of Godavari which occurs only once in 144 years. During Pushkaralu countless people will be taking holy dips and bathing in River Godavari, worship the River, offer rituals to their departed family members to express gratitude and seek their blessings. This 12 days event is being organized by the Telangana State Government in an elaborate and grand scale all along the course of River Godavari in the State, especially along the banks of Temple towns like Basara, Dharmapuri, Kaleshwaram and Bhadrachalam. Though there is a strong desire in me to attend Pushkaralu at Bhadrachalam, I am yet to firm up my travel plans.
Now for those of you who do not know of this age old tradition and celebration of Pushkaralu, here are the details:
Pushkara means Lotus, Sanctified water, Swan, Sword and Sky. In Sri Vishnu Sahasranamam we find a reference to the word Pushkara where Lord Maha Vishnu is referred to as Pushkaraakshah meaning the one who has Lotus like eyes, the one who provides nourishment to the entire Universe and the one who is always present in sacred Theerthas – Holy Rivers. The name Pushkara is related to Rivers. In Sanskrit Pushti means nourishment and Kara means one who does it and hence Pushkara means the energy that nourishes. And with reference to the sacred Rivers, Pushkara means the one who energizes the Rivers and provides spiritual purification. The water ponds/tanks at Temples are called Pushkarini.
The legend behind Pushkaralu is based on Pushkara the son of Lord Varuna - the Rain God and presiding deity of all the Rivers. It is said that Pushkara prayed Lord Brahma and asked him for a boon to reside in the sacred waters of his Kamandalam (an oblong water pot with handle)…in the sanctified water in it, that has emerged out from the foot of Lord Sri Maha Vishnu, and the boon was granted and he began to live there. And then Pushkara performed penance to Lord Shiva and acquired the boon of Jala Tattva Siddhi. And by virtue of these two boons from Lord Brahma and Lord Shiva, Pushkara became the King of all Theerathas – Holy Rivers and was regarded as Theerthapalaka.
Pushkara also indicates the 12 years time factor in Vedic terms. Pushkara or Pushkaram is a festival of a particular River celebrated once in twelve years based on the transit of Jupiter (Brihaspathi) in the Zodiac. At the time when Pushkara acquired the boons, Brihaspathi the Devaguru also performed penance and pleased Lord Brahma. Looking at the perpetual sacredness of Pushkara, Brihaspathi wanted Lord Brahma to spare Pushkara to be with him permanently. But Pushkara was not prepared to go along with Brihaspathi. Then Lord Brahma resolved the situation by asking Pushkara to be associated with Brihaspathi for 12 days in the beginning and 12 days at the end of his sojourn in a particular Raasi (house) in the Zodiac, the transit of which generally happens once in a year. Accordingly, Twelve Sacred Rivers have been identified in which Pushkara enters each River once in twelve years coinciding with the transit period of Jupiter in twelve Zodiac signs.
Astrologically Brihaspathi the Devaguru is the most benevolent planet symbolizing wealth, fortune, learning, knowledge, divinity, progeny, domestic peace, auspiciousness and above all the reason (Karaka) for the occurrence of Pushkaram. Entry of Pushkara into a particular River signifies the Pushkara festival when all the Brahmaadhi Devatas, all the Sages, all the Pitru Devathas, all the Theerthas in this Bhoomandala (our planet) including Ganga enters into that particular River along with Brihaspathi and Pushkara. This period of their entry into a particular River is considered as highly sacred and celestial that has the power to diminish the ghastly and dreadful sins committed by people. Having Darshanam, taking bath, touching Pushkara waters, drinking the sacred waters of Pushkara is considered to be highly meritorious and soul cleansing. It is considered to be the most sacred time to perform rites to departed parents and forefathers on the banks of Pushkara River that will help them to attain salvation.
Pushkara schedule starts with River Ganga when Brihaspathi enters into Mesha Raasi which is the first sign in the Zodiac. Pushkara schedule for a particular river will be for one year, however the first twelve days known as Aadhi Pushkara and the last twelve days known as Anthya Pushkara are held to be highly sacred. At the top of this article you can see the list of the 12 Holy Rivers and the order in which their Pushkaralu are observed.
Our ancient seers have prescribed certain rituals to be observed during Pushkaralu, known as Pushkara Vidhi. Most important of these rituals are Pushkara Snanam (Taking bath in the River), Pushkara Vaasa (staying by the river), Pushkara Darshanam (worshipping the River), Siro Mundana (tonsure), Pushkara Pithru Karma – a ritual to be performed on the banks of the River for the departed parents, forefathers and other family members. This is to express our gratitude to them and seek their blessings. And finally Pushakara Dhaanam, that is offering of food, money and charity in any form, to Brahmins and the poor.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Travel in comfort…live the life that people write novels about.

Official traveling however comfortable the journey and the stay may be are rather stressful due to the demands of work and desired end results. But traveling with the family on a relaxation or sightseeing vacation or a pilgrimage is an opportunity to be with the family all the time and enjoy, and to be disconnected from our regular job oriented life. We get to forget our routine chores, jobs and problems for the entire period of the vacation. When we come back, we feel invigorated and we are happy to be back in our day to day routine.
New knowledge and new experiences by visiting beautiful places and historical sites and tasting local and exotic foods would be exciting. With proper planning, the entire vacation can be made very comfortable, enjoyable and memorable, as beautiful as descriptions in travel stories and novels. Our vacation photos and videos would assist us even after several years in reliving those happy moments and sharing our happy experiences with family and friends. And for me as a blogger I reach out to my dear ones, my followers and the interested world audience with my travel related posts. In this context I present here a video on peaceful and comfortable train travel: 

Friday, July 3, 2015

I Wish ‘Telanganaku Harithahaaram Program’ All Success.

Today – 3/July/2015, our Telangana State launched a massive program to plant 230 Crore saplings, statewide over the next three years. The program was launched by the State Chief Minister at the Temple Town of Chilukuru, close to Hyderabad, at 3 pm today. The goal is to plant 40 thousand saplings in every village and 40 Lakh saplings in every assembly constituency per year. This is to increase the Tree Cover in the State from 24 percent to 33 percent of its geographical area.
The Government shall supply saplings and seeds to farmers and individuals to grow trees along their farms and houses. And through various departments of the Government it would monitor and plant saplings and rejuvenate forests, grow trees in wastelands and along roads, ponds and so on. It is also taking every measure to nurture and protect these plantations.
This program is called ‘Telanganaku Harithahaaram’ which means ‘Green Garland to Telangana’. I wish this ongoing program will be a big success and bring about all the benefits that the marvelous trees are capable of.
Some of the many slogans the Government is bringing forward to educate the common men about this program are as follows:
Come…Let’s plant and protect trees. Let us make our Telangana a beautiful Green State.
Let’s participate in the Green Movement.
From the day of birth to the final departure, the only link that is inseparable is the bond with trees and nature.
Growing trees is imperative for preserving our environment and to maintain ecological balance.
Let us plant trees in our surroundings and wherever there is open space.
More Forests – More Rainfall.
Telangana State Harithahaaram Program Complete Details - as per Government Info:
National Forest Policy envisages having a minimum of 33% of the total geographical area under forest / tree cover to maintain environmental stability and ecological balance which are vital for sustenance of all life-forms, human, animal and plants.
In Telangana State, forest area is 24 percent of the total geographical area.
The State Government has initiated a flagship program, “Telanganaku Harithahaaram” for taking massive afforestation activities to increase the green cover of the state to the desired level of 33% of the total geographical area.
The goal of 33% tree cover is sought to be achieved by protecting and rejuvenating the existing forests, taking massive plantation programs outside forest areas under Social Forestry and Peoples’ Movement
initiatives in Forest Areas.
The major thrust in forest areas will be given to:
Forest Protection – against smuggling, fire, encroachment, grazing, poaching etc.
Afforestation – Raising plantation in blank and open forests.
Rejuvenating degraded forests by coppicing, singling and other silviculture interventions.
Taking large scale Soil and Moisture Conservation works.
Encouraging plantation activities in RoFR areas (Recognition of Forest Rights areas).
Initiatives Outside Forest Areas.
The major thrust outside forest areas will be for raising:
Avenue plantation – Preferably in multiple rows – along the National and State Highways apart from Rural roads.
Institutional plantations – All government and private institutions to be covered.
Barren Hill afforestation.
Tank foreshore plantations.
River bank and rivulets plantations.
Homestead & Industrial areas.
Agro forestry – farmers should be encouraged to adopt various models of agro forestry for increased income levels and economic security.
Creation of Smrithi vanams.
Planting in Urban Residential colonies.
Action Plan:
For three years (Rs. 800 Crs/yr)
Target : 230 Crore plants
Forest Areas : 100 Crore Plants
Non Forest Areas: 120 Crore Plants
HMDA : 10 Crore Plants
(40 lakh Seedlings per Assembly Consitutency)
A detailed exercise for identification of nurseries and the sites available for raising plantations have been undertaken.
3300 number of nurseries for raising 41.00 Crore (approx.) seedlings for 2015 planting has been identified in the state.
Nurseries will be raised by various agencies involved, Forest Department, DWMA, Agriculture, Horticulture, Tribal Welfare etc.
Further, action is being taken by the implementing agencies for procurement of polythene bags and seeds for grounding the nurseries.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Concerned about the celebrations in Hyderabad, as Cash-for-Vote accused are released on bail.

Great News from Hyderabad!
Efforts in full-swing to end corruption and punish criminals!
Three cheers for our Wisest Systems!
And what should I say to those bursting crackers and dancing on this issue?
Thanks to our Wisest Systems!
Some wise men of Hyderabad!
Are dancing with banners in hands!
As criminally charged are released!
Though temporarily; How Great!
Truly, will all this make our Country Great!!

Incredible Coincidence!

784533 - This is a number known to our family since 1980. It is a number we all had to remember then and even today, with of cou...