• Restaurant Review

    Tasty vada in Chennai-Bengaluru Highway

    Today evening, while driving to Bengaluru (Bangalore) from Chennai by Chennai-Bangalore Highway (National Highway 48, new number) after about two hours when I had covered about 90 km I was craving a snack and coffee. From my previous trips, I like the Hotel Aryaas which was another 60 km (comes after Vellore and before Ambur when travelling from Madras), but today I will be missing it as I was planning to take the Chittor-Kolar road to Bengaluru instead of continuing on NH48. I spotted a Murugan Idli restaurant in Kaveripakkam and tried their Vadai (வடை in Tamil) and a coffee – the Vada (a fried snack made from black gram…

  • Travel Review

    Statue of Equality – Sri Ramanuja big statue

    Sri Ramanuja was a great proponent of equality of all in front of the almighty. It felt great to see this gigantic statue of the Vaishnavaite saint, called Statue of Equality installed a few kilometres from Hyderabad Airport. Reminded me of the Big Buddha (Mount of Tian Tan) in Hong Kong. Statue of equality has this giant Sri Ramanuja image, a smaller golden replica of the large statue for prayers and recreation of all the 108 Vaishnavaite Divya Desams (Holy temples) of Lord Vishnu. Recreating these many garbhagriha (sanctum sanctorums) with individual Moolavar (main deity) and Utsavar (festival deity) idols is not easy, though they were not close to the divinity…

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    A fast-growing district in India – Gachibowli, Hyderabad

    Over the last 15 years, when Gachibowli (the hi-tech township near Hyderabad) was getting developed, I had visited a few times, but the pace of development activity I saw happening when I visited last week felt unprecedented. Every housing community seemed to have 1000s of apartments, each building was having over 20 to 30 floors. The basement parking in one of the apartment complexes I visited was ten times bigger than the largest I had seen in Chennai (which would be the Phoenix Mall, Velachery). The roads were wide and well-laid. It was mostly American and German cars on the roads. Logos of every well-known American, European and a few…

  • Venkatarangan Thirumalai visiting the Salar Jung museum on the 3rd of April 2022
    Travel Review

    Salar Jung Museum, Hyderabad

    Salar Jung Museum in Hyderabad exceeded my expectations with the variety and the nature of its collections. Everyone visiting the city should spend a minimum of half-a-day here. While the other two important museums in India I had visited earlier, the National Museum in Janpath, New Delhi and the Indian Museum, Kolkata (Imperial Museum at Calcutta) were established or benefitted with the collections of Indian Government (and earlier by British India), the Salar Jung museum owes its founding and breathtaking artefacts to a private (aristocratic) family, mainly the Prime Minister of Hyderabad during the Nizam’s rule, Mr Mir Yousuf Ali Khan aka Salar Jung III (1889–1949). The present-day building was…

  • Travel Review

    The Charminar, Hyderabad

    The Charminar is always a beauty. Seeing it in real, it was more impressive than I had imagined. On an evening during the Ramadan festival, it gets more colourful and buzzing with activity. When I visited a few days ago (Sunday, 3rd April 2022) the area was heavily crowded, which reminded me of Ranganathan Street, Chennai. There were hawkers selling everything imaginable. From Bangles, Necklaces, Ladies’ wear, Kidswear, Footwear, Handbags, Suitcases, Household items and more. The Charminar (‘four minarets’) constructed in 1591, is the landmark of Hyderabad, Telangana, India.