We went to Nandi hills on the first Sunday along with three others. We did not hire a car as the idea was to roam around and feel the travel. So, we took a bus ride till Chikballapur and from there we went straight to Nandi Hills. The travel was not so good, as you may guess, but what we saw after being there was awesome – simply. The place is a hilltop with a temple of Nandi, one of the two bahana (vehicles) and servant oxen of Lord Shiva; the other one being Bhringi. The scenery from the top of the hill was too picturesque and magnificent. The rocks where we were standing were having ditches of high altitude going straight down to the foothills, from where we boarded the bus. People come here either with their partners and newlyweds or to commit suicide. Well, this is the information I got about that place.
We had a tiresome journey and both of us fell ill and the next two days were spent at home – which meant a boon in disguise as per plan. The following days were also spent at home coming out only to buy supplies. On the Christmas night, we went to the nearby Forum Mall which was decorated like hell this time. There were many irrelevant decorations, which I did not like. Maitri enjoyed it, as this was her first Christmas in Bangalore. Last time, we were in Wayanad, Kerela on our yearly tour.
The next day was again a rest day. On Saturday, we went to Old Airport Road, where there is a Shiva Mandir (temple). Well, I have heard about it many a times and have seen lot of pictures but never could manage to visit the place. My wife has gone there before and she was all enthusiastic to have me visit the same. The idol of Lord Shiva in there is something one should see. Once you look at the magnificent 65 feet high formation of Lord Shiva sitting in Padmasana (Lotus position), you will just fell in love with the place. The journey through the tunnel with replica of 12 Shivalingas situated in different parts of India was also informative and interesting. The day was saved with our visit to this place.
On the last Sunday, we decided to execute our plan of visiting the ISKCON temple here in Bangalore. The temple is huge and is well known to people all over India. Many national and international devotees visit this place of worship every day. We planned to be there many times, but could not do so due to several misfortunes. It was decided that the co-travelers of last Sunday would also join us, but they had to cancel at the last moment. We two accompanied each other (holding hands) and went to the temple. It is another spectacular place to be. After toddling through a long swarming queue which went through some 734,246,290,127 (lol) turns and barricades, we reached the main temple where we saw the bravura – the idols of Lord Krishna and Radha, the idols of Lord Jagannatha and Balarama and the idols of Lord Nitai and Gouranga along with the interiors of their surroundings were all covered in pure Gold! Nice it was – not so peaceful though, because of those ISKCON missionaries who actually work there as salesmen and marketing personnel. Maitri noticed and mentioned one thing which was so true. When we were in the queue or in front of the Lord, standing there to utter our prayers and take His blessings, there were people (who named themselves sevaks) shouting at us to move ahead. There were so many people to check if anyone is standing in the queue or if they are spending more time in front of the idols. However, when we went downstairs where the missionaries were ‘selling’ food and books and other materials just like shops in Forum Mall, there was not a single person asking anyone to move forward. The place was a chaos and a literal marketplace. Interestingly, they managed to have a queue all through until the point you get out of the temple premises. They also offered free Khichudi (food made of Rice and Pulses boiled together), but that was almost at the end of the queue – after passing through the shops selling food. By the time you reach the food stalls, you would be so hungry that you have to buy and eat something and once you are fed and happy and move ahead towards the exit, you will see the free Khichudi. They do not allow you to carry a camera inside – we took it, however. A lady searched in Maitri’s bag but did not see it. But, respecting the security concerns of the temple and the country as a whole, we did not take out the camera inside the temple.
During the time we were held inside our home, we managed to watch quite a few movies. We saw Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi, Sorry Bhai and Yuvaraaj (Hindi), Eagle Eye (English), Sreeman Prithviraj and Utsab (Bengali). Nice good movies. The best one of course was Sreeman Prithviraj – a very nicely depicted life of a teenager who gets thrown out of school and gets married. Then he falls in love with his wife and rescued her back from his in laws. There was also a touch of patriotism where he punched a British Officer and threw a few bombs to help an escaping Freedom Fighter. Overall, it was a good movie on a story of before independence time. Even Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi was good. I liked it. Eagle eye was a true portrayal of technology and its (probable) bad effects on us. Yuvaraaj was a disappointment. Utsab was a serious story. Sorry Bhai was shockingly a good film. By and large this was a nice mini movie festival for us.
That was the week. It was a good time we passed together. The last few days in this year 2008 were spent in jolly mood. Hope we spend the next year in a similar fashion. Amen!