• 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.

  • Travel Review

    Visit to Golconda Fort, Hyderabad

    As I walked down from the top of the fort, half-way-down, a young man in his late twenties, wearing a smart jean and sports t-shirt who was climbing up, approached me. Drenched in sweat and gasping, he asked “Excuse me sir, do you have water?”. Luckily, I had half-a-bottle of water left with me, which I gladly gave, grabbing it, he drank it at once, thanked me profoundly and continued his climb. I stood there for a few minutes trying to understand what had just happened! The above incident happened last week, during my visit to the Golconda fort. 💎The present fort was built by the Qutb Shahi dynasty (c.…

  • Chennai

    Tamil Nadu Police Museum, Egmore, Chennai

    Last month, one weekday afternoon, I went to see the recently opened Police Museum in Egmore, Chennai. Tamil Nadu Police Museum is situated in the erstwhile Madras Police Commissioner’s Office in the city. The british-era building, an Indo-Saracenic structure, was built in the 1842 and following the City Policer Act of 1856, the 14 acre property with its bungalow became the first Police Commissioner’s office. It continued to function there till the second millenium, for over hundred-and-fifty years. Following an extensive conservation and renovation activities undertaken by the state government it was opened to public as Tamil Nadu Police Museum by (then) Chief Minister Thiru Edappadi K Palaniswami on the 26th…

  • Flashback,  Lounge,  Rostrum

    Remembering my days with NCC

    What you see above is me dressed in NCC uniform in 1988 as the Troop Sergeant Major (TSM) of my unit. When I was studying in middle school, in 1988 and 1989, I had joined the unit of the National Cadet Corps (NCC) that was in my school. The two years I attended the NCC programs and camps had given me many memorable moments and had a role in shaping me. About NCC NCC was set up in 1948 just after Indian independence by the constituent assembly. The aim of NCC is to develop character and comradeship amongst the young citizens of India. Students at registered schools and colleges in…

  • Chennai

    The three-hour traffic jam when coming into Chennai city

    Yesterday I had a good (or should I say bad) life experience – Google Maps is NOT perfect – and when it comes to driving in India it is better to have prior knowledge of the route and to heed to advice. Sunday (20th Feb 2022) evening, I was returning to Chennai from Tiruchirappalli by Grand Southern Trunk (GST). For a week now, I been reading in news and from posts in Facebook from friends that the river bridge in Palar River near Chengelpet is under repair. Traffic is allowed from Chennai outwards in the second bridge, but the traffic coming into the city using the first (older) bridge under…