Saturday, 8 November 2014

In Search of Gyan: A Trip in Train, Auto and Boat

In Search of Gyan: A Trip in Train, Auto and Boat 

1. Source: Secunderabad
2. Destination: Basara
3. Distance: 205 km from Secunderabad
4. Journey duration: Total 12 hrs. (To and fro)
5. On date 30thAugust 2014

Summary: - 
It is believed in Hindu Mythology that Saraswati is the Goddess of Knowledge. Recently learnt that there are very few temples which are dedicated to Maa Saraswati in India and one of them is pretty close to Hyderabad. Don’t want to miss the opportunity to visit this temple while I am in Hyderabad. 


According to some myth, Maharishi Vyas and his disciples and sage Viswamitra decided to settle down in a cool and serene atmosphere after the Kurukshetra War. In the quest for a peaceful abode, he came to Dandaka forest and, pleased with serenity of the region, selected this place. Since Maharishi Vyasa spent considerable time in prayers, the place was then called "Vasara" and turned into Basara due to the influence of the Marathi language in the region.

A quick summary: 

Basara is having good connectivity in terms of Road and Train. A railway station is in Basara, nearest city is Nizamabad and frequent buses are played from Hyderabad (200 Km) as well as from Nizamabad (35 Km) every 30 Min to 1 Hr.

We opted for the train option for comfort; did the bookings and started on Saturday 30th Aug Morning. It was cloudy again while we started and I was expecting some rains on the way. Train was @ 9.30 Am, however it was delayed by 30 Min and finally we boarded the train @ 10 AM. Due to monsoon and rains all the fields were lush green, wherever you see all the places were looking like someone had just washed them and painted with the soothing green colour. We were soaked in to beauty of the Mother Nature. Rain water was accumulated in small pits and was giving a look of small ponds all over the places. 

I recommend anyone who wants to travel to Basara opt for Train as one can enjoy nature and view of hills. And…then it started raining heavily ..I thought this trip is gone as water was all over the places. However Train reached to Basara station around 1.00 PM. It was raining outside, we waited for some time and then we hired one auto for temple. Please take a note there are a lot of Autos available outside of Train station. They operate on shared basis as well on private. Rate is fixed @ 10 Rs / Head if shared, else 30 Rs or so if individual. Temple is approx. 3 km from railway station. In next 10 Min we were in the temple. Please take a note temple is closed between 1 to 2 PM. 

Campus of temple is huge and being maintained by trust. There is one restaurant also available in temple campus and a lot of other shops in and around of temple which are selling different puja items such as coconut, flowers, stationaries (As this is maa saraswati temple, goddess of knowledge devotees offer the stationary and books as prasadam and distribute them to poor children’s). 

There is a shoe deposit counter, electronic item deposit and cloak room counter also being operated by Temple trust on nominal charges. There is a continuous announcement made that Mobile and cameras are not allowed in side of temple but no one was bothered to check if you are carrying those items inside.
In any case we waited for the temple to open @ 2 PM and started for darshan, there was a small que in temple. There were families who were carrying their small children’s for their first letter writing practice. Children are brought to the temple for the learning ceremony called as Akshara abhyasam. 
Priest of temple make the child to sit in his lap, hold the hand and assist the child in writing one letter on slate while chanting Vedic mantra. 

The temple is basically dedicated to Goddess saraswati, however Maa Lakshmi and Mahakali temples are also in the same premises. Lakshmi stands beside the Goddess Saraswati in the sanctum sanctorum and the temple also has a Mahakali idol situated on the 1st floor very near to the main temple. Devotees often go to the nearby mountain which has an Idol of Goddess Saraswati on the top of the rock. Due to the presence of Saraswati, Lakshmi and Kali, Basara is considered as the abode of the divine trinity.

Maa saraswati who sits on the peacock and holding veena (a musical instrument) due to this reason goddess also called by another name i.e. maa saraswati veenavadini. 

After the darshan of divine trinity we headed for Vyas cave. This cave is situated on a hillock near to temple and if believed it is said that Maharishi Vyas stayed in this cave while doing the aaradhana of Maa Saraswati. He used to walk till the Godavari River (Another 3 Km from temple place) and after taking a dip in return brought the clay and made the Goddess statue. This cave is having a very narrow opening and one has to crawl to go inside of the cave. In side of cave a small place with goddess saraswati statue is available. This place is very scenic; one can see the panoramic view of Basara and lush green fields from the hillock. 
After darshan we came back to Temple and proceeded towards Prasadam Counter. Pulihora and laddoos are available in Prasad counter on a nominal token price of INR 5 & 10 respectively. After having the prasadam, we came out of the temple and headed for Godavari River for boating.

Note: Basara Bus station is very near to temple and walk able from temple.

There are shared autos outside of temple which will take you to Godavri Ghat for INR 10 per person. We reached to Godavari by 4 PM. The river was on its peak lot of water in Godavari even though it was muddy due to rains. Godavari is having a big delta here approx. 100 Meters (A rough guess). 
There is one saraswati statue near the Godavari ghat. A lot of boats (Approx. 50 Numbers) were lined up on ghat by the boatwala’s. The moment we reached there, people started approaching use for the boating, boating is priced reasonably Rs 20 per head to mid of river and return. There were devotees who came for Ganesh Idol nimmerjan in Godavari and after doing the puja at ghat they took the boat and went in mid of Godavari and completed the ritual. All of them were chanting “Ganapati Bappa Moriya, Agle Baras tu jaldi Aa”.

After boating and capturing the beauty of Godavari we started back for Railway station, we took the auto which had dropped us @ Railway station. Railway platform one side is open to open fields and gives a feel of hill station, some hills are visible at a distance (Not to mention it was all cloudy and drizzling for entire day). We sat some time on platform and enjoyed the view with Irani Tea and then the return train arrived. We boarded the train with a wonderful experience and reached to Secunderabad @ 9 PM.

This was one of the good spot for a weekend outing includes nature, river, boating and temples to cover.

Happy Reading !!

Some Pics !

Some Pictures of Trip !!

Basara Temple

Lush Green fields

enroute Railway station

Nature soaked in water

Nature Shot

Basara Temple Garden

Maa Saraswati Idol on Godavari Ghat

Boats in Godavari


Boat Man: Sahil

Godavari Bridge

Hope you will enjoy the trip !

Walk-a-mile with me Travel log for Char-Minar, Salarjung Museum & Chowmahalla Palace

Some time back some where I read a story about "Nitya Teen Minute Tahaliye (Walk every day for three minutes)" & It's benefits however due to my laziness and courtesy to to all the in-house treadmills i hardly implemented this thought.

On one fine day over a coffee, some of my colleagues & me were having conversation about the key highlights of Hyderabad and then the idea stroked to visit old city monuments. 

Some of the googling and reading I found the few things quite exciting: zeroed in on exploring Salar jung Museum, Char Minar and chowmahalla Palace to enjoy, learn and appreciate the history of our Hyderabad.

On Saturday the 6th Sep, it was a fantastic morning, clouds were all over in the sky with a bit of drizzling and looked like a good day for the walk-a-mile. Quickly got ready and after grabbing a quick cup of Tea started for the long day at 9:30 AM. Reached to Afzulgunj while on the way enjoyed the cool breeze and scenic view of Hussain Sagar (Tank Bund). From the Afzalgunj started walking on Nayapul (New Bridge) for Salarjung Museum. 
[Note: Nayapul: This bridge was built during Nizam's time on river Musi and called as Naya Pul as there was already a Puranapul (Old Bridge)].

If you are coming from Afzulgunj at the end of Nayapul one has to take the left turn to reach Salarjung Museum (Approx 300 Meter walk from the turning and approx 650 Meter from Afzulgunj Stop). 

After a brisk walk, reached to Salarjug Museum by 10.25 AM.

Salar Jung Museum (Open 10:00 AM to 17:00 PM except on Friday):

An astonishing big white and tall building facing river musi and carefully stored art, history and amazing facts. This is the third largest Museum in India housing the biggest one-man collection of antiques in the world. This is having collections belonging to different civilizations dating back to 1st Century. It took nearly 35 Years of the life of Nawab Mir Yusuf Ali Khan Salar Jung III (1889-1949), Prime Minister of the 7th Nizam of Hyderabad and a substantial amount of money for this priceless collection. The museum was inaugurated by Jawaharlal Nehru in Year 1951. 

Quick Facts:
Entry is via Ticket (Indian Citizen: 10 INR, Children below 12: 5 INR, foreign visitors: 150 INR, special discounts for students). 
Photography / Video Camera is allowed inside with a 50 INR Ticket. However Flash use is not allowed inside while taking photo / Video.
Free cloak room is available to deposit luggage.
APTDC food court is also available inside.
Smoke items, Gutakha pouch, tobbaco and match boxes are not allowed inside. 
Building Layout: 
Three buildings: Central Block, Eastern Block (Mir Laiq Ali Bhavan) and Western Block (Mir Turab Ali Khan Bhavan) 
Two Floors
38 Galleries (Central Block 27 gallery: 15 Ground floor + 12 on first floor)
Things to look out: All of the galleries are worth watching and includes the antiques from all parts of life but to name a few
Musical Clock : gong man comes out every hour to beat the drums
Clock Gallery : Variety of watches
Ivory Gallery : Specially a man walking with camel having a ivory chain in hand and ivory mat
Arms and Armor: swards with Dashavtar print, draggers known as Quma, swords of Tipu sultan and Aurangazeb.
Painting galleries: Indian, European and Miniature (Replica of Monalisa is also available)
Arabic, Persian Manuscript gallery
Galleries with Chinese, Japanese, Egypt and European culture
Veiled Rebecca gallery: Must appreciate the details and technique used for converting marble into looking like cloth etc.

Note: This is not a touch and go kind of museum, one has to spend some considerable amount of time and at a minimum it requires more than 6-7 Hrs just to cover the galleries. [38 Galleries X 10 Minutes each = 380 Min. Or 6 Hr 20 Min.]

There are notes displayed all over the galleries to help with the history and key things to see in individual gallery. Audio guides are also available on a nominal charge of 60 INR. There are Museum employees available in each gallery which will also guide you for key attraction in respective gallery (If asked).

Okay, this is quite more than what I planned to write so let's move on but still if the research guys (Read Google Ph. D. Scholars) want more here you go (

So after around 3:00 PM I covered most of the galleries and was feeling to eat something again (Not to mention I grabbed my quick lunch during walk in galleries in APTDC restaurant, food was okay~average) and came out from museum, collected my belongings from cloak room and started walking for Charminar (Approx 1.5 KM from Salar Jung Museum) on the way had hot Kachories and Jalebis (Could not resist with Hot Jalebis!).

Note: from Salar Jung Museum one has to again come till Nayapul Bridge and take a left turn (Straight on Nayapul road if coming from Afzulgunj)

And then the moment of started heavily raining when i was near Madina (A big shopping complex on char minar road), i took shelter in a nearby shop and waited for rain to stop (I was cursing myself for not bringing the umbrella!). Char minar road was having a lot of traffic, people all over the place, roads were occupied by the vendors / sellers of tea, samosa, cloths,, bangles and so on... But there was something in the air, the life is having a liveliness, people are courteous, helpful and enjoying the moments. I had tea (Irani Tea) with shop keeper where i took shelter and then rain stopped. I greeted him and made the promises to meet again soon and started walking to see the Global icon of Hyderabad " Charminar".

Char Minar (Four Towers) (Approx. Height 160 ft) was constructed in Year 1591-1592 at center of city as Muhammad Quli Qutb Shah to commemorate the eradication of plague that was ravaging his city and vowed to build a mosque at the very place where he prayed. At each corner there is a minaret (Approx height 184 ft).
There are four streets/ lanes on all four side of Char minar and each lane has a big gate also built on it near char minar.

Currently The Char minar is being taken care by ASI (Archaeological Survey of India). There is an entrance ticket INR 5 for Indian Citizen; Children below 11 Years are free, Foreigners INR 100, Video / Mobile Camera INR 25. This is Open on all days 9 AM to 5 PM (Closed on Friday 1 to 2 PM for prayers).
There is mosque in the char minar on upper stories with 45 prayer spaces and there is a Vazu (water cistem) in middle of ground floor with a fountain. From top of charminar one can see a panoramic view of Hyderabad (Including Mecca Masjid, Laad Bajar etc.)

After finishing entrance, climbing up, panoramic view and photos, came down to ground floor sat for some time there and started for the next destination at 4:00 PM i.e. Chowmahalla Palace. Inquired with one of the guy about the place; who was trying to sell me cheap sun glasses by showing them from Ray-ban or something similar and then started walking towards it (Approx. 300 Meter) through Laad bazar (A paradise for bangle lovers).

Chowmahalla Palace (four palaces): is a palace of the Nizams of Hyderabad state. It was the seat of the Asaf Jahi dynasty and was the official residence of the Nizams of Hyderabad while they ruled their state. This palace is said to be modeled on*Shah of Iran's palace in*Tehran. This palace is said to be of 18th Century (Around 1850-60). This palace consist four palaces namely Afzal Mahal, Mahtab Mahal, Tahniyat Mahal and Aftab Mahal.
Entrance to palace is with Ticket INR 40 (for Indians) INR. 150 (for foreigners), still camera permit INR 50 / video camera INR 100 (Tripod not allowed). Closed on Friday and national holidays. 

Palace is very well maintained and displaying the royal elegance. There is a big lawn and fountain in middle of palace. Palace also displays different artifacts of Nizam’s such as Portraits of All the Nizam’s of Hyderabad, Gallery displaying metal and utensils, wooden carving artifacts, Personal photographs of Nizam’s and their family, collection of ceramics and porcelain utensils, Armor collection, Cars and jeeps, Rolls-royce, display of costumes, clothes of Nizam’s and The clock above the main gate to Chowmahalla Palace is affectionately called as Khilwat Clock. It has been ticking away for around 100 years. 
Note: Entrance ticket issuance is closed by 4:15 PM only.

So after having a quick walk in the palace and few clicks thought of calling it a day. Came out from palace and headed for a sugarcane juice (Ganne Ka Ras) shop, had a glass and chapter is closed for the day. Back to base camp by 7:00 PM !!

This was one of the most fulfilling day, burned few calories by walk, explored the Hyderabad, learned the history and facts / life of Hyderabad and last but not the least had the Hot Jalebbis too !!

Happy Reading !

Some Pics !

Thursday, 23 August 2012


TITLE                      : -            A HOLY JOURNEY TO TIRUPATI
Source                  :-             BANGALORE
Destination        :-             TIRUPATI
Distance              :-             248 Km
Journey duration: -         2 days
From date 14 August 2012 to 15 August 2012
In the rainy season while the clouds of tri colour spread over the incredible India, we had planned a long awaited holy trip to TIRUPATI BALAJI DARSHAN on Independence Day.
Travel details:-
On The long awaited trip on the day of dream comes true Pre-evening of Independence Day, we planned well in advance. There are so many tour being operated from Bangalore to Tirupati Balaji Darshan, we had googled most of them and shortlisted one out of the list based on the availability of seats, budget and comfort journey aspects. We got booking from for Varsha Travel Ac Volvo bus Tirupati package tour. On 14th Aug we packed our small ready to travel kit and we are all set to go. We (Me and Hubby) started from home at 8:00 PM to our pickup point i.e. Tin factory flyover. We reached there after a crowded BMTC bus journey for 1 and half hour. The departure time on our tickets was mentioned as 10 PM & we were just in Time with respect to that i.e. 9: 50 PM. But lots more surprises to come…10 to 10.15, then 10.30………..10.45….and finally after an hour delay finally the Volvo arrived. The pickup point was crowded pretty much around a thousand passengers / devotees were standing over there to get in to their respective buses & this was giving us a feel of crowd in Tirupati for Tommarrow’s Darshan que. However final we settled in the bus  and  with regular stops morning 4.30 AM we reached tirumala, Being a packaged Tour-guide taken us to Hotel for freshen up (Hotel Srinath), Each group / family were allotted with One room to rest and fresh-up. After an Hour and so we had catch up with some rest and bath. Then turn of morning breakfast, all the devotees were gathered in common room where the breakfast served with self-service. In the breakfast special idly-Sāmbhar and nariyal chutney and one piece of aloo bonda with TeaJ were served. In mean time when co-passengers were finishing their breakfast we went for small morning walk near to Hotel, and noticed this hotel is just opposite to Auto Nagar Tirupati. Finall after breakfast our guide told us about the further itinerary. Bus started from Hotel at around 7:30 AM for Tirumala bus stand. In Tirupati only Ghat certified buses are allowed to go on top of hill, private buses are not allowed over there, hence we changed our bus and settled in to another govt. bus. After half an hour Journey we reached to foothill of Tirupati where this bus was stopped for security checking [woman section is different side and men’s section is different side]. After checking all passengers again settled in the bus.  Now we were going to upside hill (Main temple is on hill). The route to Temple is very scenic with lots of Zig-Zag bends. We were enjoying natural beauty and mountains. This journey due to so many turns on road with lots of nature blessing gave me a remarkable adventurer’s experience. Now finally bus reached to uphill (Ram Bageecha Bus Stand) at 8:30 AM. Main Temple is walkable from here. Our guide guided us to one shopping complex kind of thing i.e. HD COMPLEX to submit our shoes and mobiles / electronic gadgets because it is strictly not allowed inside the temple. After this our guide asked for the persons who want to Tonsure their head [This is a tradition in Tirupati to donate hairs], some of our co-passengers shown their interest in head tonsuring. Now the group was divided in two parts i.e. One for head tonsuring and other one for Temple darshan. We joined second group and went for darshan que. In tirupati there are some different arrangement for darshan named as Free darshan, Sudarshan (50 Rs) and Sheeghra Darshan (Entry fee 300 Rs). We joined sheegra darshan que as suggested by Tour Guide. There were so many devotees were standing in que with Tonsured head. Darshan que was very crowded as expected. Devotiees were chanting in que “Govinda-Govinda”. After a devotion of 6 and half hour we reached to main Temple. We had a great darshan of God, after darshan our soul felt very peaceful. Then we had taken Prasadam “Curd-Rice” near to temple followed by collection of LADDOOS from Laddoo Counter. Now we went back to shop where we had submitted our belongings [shoes and mobiles], collected our belongings and waited for rest of co-passengers to come. At around 6.30 PM we headed back to Bangalore. In the way be stopped for dinner and finally reached Bangalore around 12.30 AM on 16th August.
It’s a life time experience we had during journey. I highly recommend to everyone, at least once in life time one should Visit the TIRUPATI BALAJI.
Govinda-Govinda !
A Pic of Tirupati :

Note: Inside Temple camera and cell phone are not allowed.