Friday, December 31, 2010

Season's Greetings and a Happy New Year!

Have a wonder-filled new year! Happy good times :)

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Ettina Bhuja

Perhaps! It is too risky for me to call it the last trek of the year having 3 full days left :) But more or less, I would say, its the last trek of the year. Now that Suz is back for sometime on his official trip to India, we had no other better job than visiting our beloved Western Ghats. And that's how we ended up going to Ettina Bhuja for the Christmas weekend. More than the trek, we were waiting to have our favorite food at Gopu Gokhle's place. As expected (how can they forget those faces who ate all the food?), they welcomed us saying we are the 'familiar' faces. Since we chose not to go on a weekend, we planned to trek up to the hill on Friday and come back on Saturday. 

Ettina Bhuja (in Kannada) is a hill which is shaped like the back of an ox (ettu=ox , bhuja=shoulder). This is in Charmadi Ghats, accessible from a town called Shishila near the famous pilgrim place - Dharmasthala. It is a moderate trek starts at an altitude of 220m from a small village called HoleGundi and reaches the peak at 1180m.
Ettina Bhuja seen from the Holegundi village
We were happy to choose the beautiful day and what we experienced for two days was heavenly! As always, first thing that one encounters in the forest is the flora and fauna. I got to see some surprisingly attractive flora and fauna. Even though I did not know how good the floral population in this particular season, I was sure of sighting at least a few. 

Dark Evening Brown

It looked like a jewel
And some ferns!

After a few steps of walk, we could see the serene lake flowing beautifully cutting through the valleys. One needs to cross this lake to climb up the hill. Crossing the lake gave us a thrilling experience although we wanted not-to-leave-the-lake. Once we crossed the lake, we were threatened by the tough looks of the peak itself. 

Ettina Bhuja peak seen from the base
We reached the camp site very early and we had nothing to do but to laze out the afternoon. After our delicious lunch (packed), we patiently waited for the sunset. by 5.30pm  we started climbing the peak and reached a place from where sunset looked heavenly. It was more like a painting with the backdrop of Amedikallu and the Ettina Bhuja peak!

Sunset at Ettina Bhuja 

Ettina Bhuja peak during sunset
Sunset Panorama
I was absolutely happy during the sunset and could get some real good shots. I loved photographing the evening and expected the same for the sunrise as well. As it turned out, Sunrise was equally beautiful and made our trip worthy beyond words. We reached the top at 6 am and waited for the shine on our faces.

Sunrise seen from Ettina Bhuja
Shadow of Ettina Bhuja on Amedikallu range

During Sunrise
Just after the sunrise, it was the photographers delight. The sky turned out completely blue leaving our shutterbugs not to stop. 
Ettina Bhuja in clear blue color

Amedikallu, Moon and Ettina Bhuja

Having ecstatically satisfied with our last trek of the year, with loads of fun, we returned back on Saturday. While returning, we were welcomed to the new year by little new lives in those lively thick forests of Charmadi. 

Happy New Year 2011
Srik, Suz, Srivathsa, Sandy

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Belavadi Veera Narayana Temple

It was since a very long time I wanted to visit this temple. Apparently I had watched the Kannada movie directed by M S Sathyu, Ijjodu and I fell in love with this architectural beauty. Since we wanted to celebrate 5 year of inspiring partnership with our NGO folks, we decided to visit this place for a day. And thats how we happened to land at this place. 

As we drove past the Halebidu and through the beautiful serene lake, I could remember some of the scenes from that movie. 
Beautiful lake on the way to Belavadi
Belavadi is located 29 km southeast of Chikmagalur town on the Chikmagalur-Javagal highway and 10 km north of Halebidu. It is a very small neighborhood welcoming us into its natural set up of a lake at the entrance of the village. As we walked towards the temple, we were overwhelmingly attracted by its beauty. Fortunately, there were no people other than us at the temple.

Belavadi Veera Narayana Temple
It is said that, this ornate trikuta (three towers) temple was built in 1200 CE by Hoysala Veera Ballala II. And each of the shrines has a complete superstructure (tower on top of shrine) and is one of the largest examples of Hoysala architecture. While the famous temples at Belur and Halebidu are known for their intricate sculptures, this temple is known for its architecture. 

Panoramic view of the temple
We were all stunned by its remarkable architecture and wondered how good the sculptors thought process would be while building this temple. One striking sight that remains in ones memory after seeing this temple is the beauty of the pillars and its colors.

Pillar at the temple
Pillars and Mantapa inside the temple
And those carvings on the outer walls were stunning. It was a kind of aesthetic overload to our eyes after seeing those highly skilled work on the walls of the temple. Wonder who would've trained those sculptors on those required skills. 

Carvings on the walls of the temple
And the best part of the visit was the place was not crowded in spite of being a Sunday. Good that some good places are left out unspoiled. To the extent that there are no food joints or restaurants in Belavadi and no place near the temple to sit and do a picnic either. 

Vimana Gopura
Well, after having craved so much to visit this place, witnessing this magnificent piece of architecture made me ecstatically happy. 


Monday, December 13, 2010


ಕತ್ತಲೆಯು ಕರೆದಿಹುದು
ಬೆಳಕಿನಾ ಅರ್ಥಕೊಡಲು
ನಾ ಹಿಡಿದ ದಾರಿಯು
ತಿರುಗದೇ ನಿನ್ನೆಡೆಗೆ

ನೀ ಬರುವ ಹಾದಿಯಲಿ
ಹನಿಯೊಡೆದು ಮುತ್ತಾಗಿ
ನಾ ನಂಬಿದ ಮನವು
ಕಾಣದೇ ದೃಶ್ಯವಾಗಿ

ನನ್ನ ದನಿಯ ನಿಶ್ಯಬ್ಧ
ನಿನ್ನ ಗೆಜ್ಜೆಯ ಮೌನ
ಕೈಹಿಡಿದು ಕವಲೊಡೆದ
ನೆನಪೇ ಆಸೆಯಾಗಿ

ಕೇಳದಿರುವ ಸಾಲಿನ
ಕ್ಲಿಷ್ಟ ಒಗಟಿನ ಜೊತೆಗೆ
ಮನವು ತುಂಬಿಹೋದ
ಕ್ಷಣವೇ ಸಿಹಿಯಾಗಿ

Wednesday, December 1, 2010


Excerpts from the book flow by mihaly csikszentmihalyi

Describing the Indian tribes of British Columbia: 

The Shushwap region was and is considered by the Indian people to be a rich place: rich in salmon and game, rich in below-ground food resources such as tubers and roots - a plentiful land. In this region, the people would live in permanent village sites and exploit the environs for needed resources. They had elaborate technologies for very effectively using the resources of the environment, and perceived their lives as being good and rich. Yet, the elders said, at times the world became too predictable and the challenge began to go out of life. Without challenge, life had no meaning. 
So the elders, in their wisdom, would decide that the entire village should move, those moves occurring every 25 to 30 years. The entire population would move to a different part of the Shushwap land and there, they found challenge. There were new streams to figure out, new game trails to learn, new areas where the balsamroot would be plentiful. Now life would regain its meaning and be worth living. Everyone would feel rejuvenated and healthy. Incidentally, it also allowed exploited resources in one area to recover after years of harvesting...

Well, I was thrilled reading this piece in the book flow. We always think about culture which has a major role to play in our lives to lead it meaningfully. It is so good to see the culture giving such an enrichment to the lives of the people. For them, without challenge, life has no meaning. And taking challenges often keeps us happy in whatever we do. 

Similarly there are so many cultures to quote; and the one I had experienced was the culture of the Tribes (called Soligas) of Chamarajanagar district. They plant a tree for every occasion; irrespective of whether it is good or bad. Their culture gives a complete meaning to what they contribute to the place they live in and they respect it. By doing so, they would reach the optimal experience in their lives. 

Such cultures have attained a good fit between the psychological needs of their people and the options available for their lives.


Tuesday, November 30, 2010

a long wait

at times, the time just flies
unknowingly, unnoticed 
looks like gone are those days
and now, it is too long to wait
but, the wait is on, and on

to endure and hold my breath
for what I have been waiting for
to think out of the mediocre 
by making it special and worthy
and to reach out to the destiny

not expecting defeat after all, 
with a winning sword to play my bit
and when how the 'other' views, matters,
all I do is to anticipate and not react
but for how long, is a mystery

hope, gives me hope, spirit-fully
that it happens to be a good
that again, makes me listen
to the song far away from me
and I wait, humming all the way


Friday, November 19, 2010

a self

Excerpts from the book flow by mihaly csikszentmihalyi

"A self that is only differentiated - not integrated - may attain great individual accomplishments, but risks being mired in self-centered egotism. By the same token, a person whose self is based exclusively on integration will be connected and secure, but lack autonomous individuality. Only when a person invests equal amounts of psychic energy (attention) in these two processes and avoids both selfishness and conformity is the self likely to reflect complexity." - mihaly

a climber says "[there's] no place that more draws the best from human beings...[than] a mountaineering situation. No body hassles you to put your mind and body under tremendous stress to get to the top... Your comrades are there, but you all feel the same way anyway, you're all in it together. Who can you trust more in the twentieth century than these people? People after the same self-discipline as yourself, following the deeper commitment...A bond like that with other people is in itself is an ecstasy."

as much as I agree to what the climber says, I can also feel the completeness in the self. It is the same  whenever I take risks in whatever I do. It is the equal amount of attention that I give to the differentiated self as 'me' and integrating with 'others' to stay connected. So there will be complete control over my consciousness which is unaltered by the external forces. 

and once I am out of this experience, of flow, 'I' feel more 'together' than before.


experiencing the flow

Excerpts from the book flow by mihaly csikszentmihalyi

"Its exhilarating to come closer and closer to self-discipline. You make your body go and everything hurts; then you look back in awe at the self, at what you've done, it just blows your mind. It leads to ecstasy, to self-fulfillment. If you win these battles enough, that battle against yourself, at least for a moment, it becomes easier to win the battles in the world."

- a well known West Coast rock climber

here, the battle is not really against the self, but against the entropy that brings disorder to my consciousness. As much as I establish control over my attention, so much I can experience the flow. It provides a deep enjoyment that requires equal degree of my disciplined concentration. I experience it many times - when I reach the top of a mountain, I ecstatically say, Is that all? and prepare for the next. 

I go with that flow!


Friday, November 12, 2010

optimal experience

Excerpts from the book 'flow' by mihaly csikszentmihalyi

or happiness!

Our perceptions about our lives are the outcome of many forces that shape experience, each having an impact on whether we feel good or bad. Most of these forces are outside our control. There is not much we can do about our looks, our temperament, or our constitution. We cannot decide - at least so far - how tall will we grow, how smart we will get. We can choose neither parents nor time of birth, and it is not in your power or mine to decide whether there will be a war or a depression. The instructions contained in our genes, the pull of gravity, the pollen in the air, the historical period into which we are born - these and innumerable other conditions determine what we see, how we feel, what we do. It is not surprising that we should believe that our fate is primarily ordained by outside agencies.

Yet we have all experienced times when, instead of being buffeted by anonymous forces, we do feel in control of our actions, masters of our own fate. On the rare occasions that it happens, we feel a sense of exhilaration, a deep sense of enjoyment that is long cherished and that becomes a landmark in the memory for what life should be like. 

I absolutely agree! 

It is that feel when I am in the woods, touching the mist, listening to the birds, and wondering at the silence of a flowing river.

It is that feel when I feel what I wanted to feel.

It is that, what I can make it happen!

and, that is happiness!


Saturday, November 6, 2010

Kotebetta Panorama

Lighting seen from the peak. Looking North-West

A lonely tree. Looking North-West

Lonely tree and the Kotebetta peak. Looking North

Complete panorama 

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Book of Five Rings by Miyamoto Musashi

I was very curious to read this book since the time one of my friend suggested this book. It said it’s the book on the art of strategy and confrontation. At first, I was like, I have read enough books like this during my MBA times drawing comparison from every story or the every other profession including a Tom and Jerry cartoon movie. But, when I saw this book at the strand book stall, I glanced through it and noticed that the whole book was based on the martial arts. And I picked it up without any second thought.

Miyamoto Musashi was one of the master swordsman and an undefeated samurai during the 17th century in Japan. He was orphaned by the age of seven and, in order to earn his way in the world, became a swordsman, killing his first man at the age of 13.  Eventually he fought some 60 duels without ever being defeated.  By the end of his career, he had become so expert and dominant that he would fight his opponents with nothing but a stick.  Then in 1643, he retired to a contemplative seclusion in a cave, where, just before his death, he wrote this book. I read the copy which is commendably translated by Thomas Cleary.

Musashi’s advices are wise, very penetrating and his observations are applicable not only to martial arts, but for the leaders in all professions. He analyses the process of struggle and mastery over conflict that underlies every level of human interaction. While reading the book, each and every strategy, I could relate it to every activity I do and could easily think of application of these strategies on them. This book makes us prepared like a warrior to address all the challenges of life. Even though he wrote this book in 1643, his philosophies are very real and applicable even now.

His scientifically aggressive, thoroughly ruthless approach to military science, while not universal among Japanese martialists, represents a highly concentrated characterization of one particular type of samurai warrior. He introduces us to the two essential elements of ancient martial and strategic tradition - first of these basic principles is keeping inwardly calm and clear even in the midst of violent chaos; the second is not forgetting about the possibility of disorder in times of order.

One of my favorite paragraph in the book, He says, "in the science of martial arts, the state of mind should remain the same as normal. In ordinary circumstances as well as when practicing martial arts, let there be no change at all - with the mind open and direct, neither tense or lax, centering the mind so that there is no imbalance, calmly relax your mind, and savor this moment of ease thoroughly so that the relaxation does not stop its relaxation for even an instant. Even when still, your mind is not still; even when hurried, your mind is not hurried. The mind is not dragged by the body, the body is not dragged by the mind. Pay attention to the mind, not the body. Let there be neither insufficiency nor excess in your mind. Even if superficially weakhearted, be inwardly stronghearted, and do not let others see in your mind."

The book is composed with the help of five different courses. He calls it as scrolls, entitled Earth, Water, Fire, Wind and Emptiness. The earth scroll is the science of martial arts and the analysis of his own school. How can one attain the true science and what knowledge one should posses and how to reach there is what he explains in the Earth scroll.  The second is the Water Scroll. Taking water as the basic point of reference, one makes the mind fluid. Water conforms to the shape of anything and it has the color of deep aquamarine. He talks about the purity of the water and hence the purity of knowledge in the Water Scroll.

The third scroll is the Fire scroll. In this has written about the battle. This is my most favorite chapter in this book. Fire may be large or small, and it may have the sense of violence as well. And he describes on all the matters of battle. Fourth is the Wind Scroll, and he talks about the competition and the various schools of martial arts in the world. One will get to know the different styles of this art and how is it being practiced in many other schools and whether they are good or bad. He says “Unless you really understand others, you can hardly attain your own self-understanding”.  The last scroll is the Emptiness. It talks about the reaching the depth and spontaneous entry into the true way.

And finally the book gives us some clear rules for learning the art. I have listed down all the points as under:

1. Think of what is right and true.
2. Practice and cultivate the science.
3. Become acquainted with the arts.
4. Know the principle of the crafts.
5. Understand the harm and benefit in everything.
6. Learn to see everything accurately.
7. Become aware of what is not obvious.
8. Be careful even in small matters.
9. Do not do anything useless.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading the book and it makes a very good and a very essential read for all kinds of professionals in this world. And, now I am beginning to observe my strategies in my everyday activities. I must say, I need a sword now!



"We each exist for but a short time, and in that time explore but a small part of the whole universe. But humans are curious species. We wonder, we seek answers. Living in this vast world that is by turns kind and cruel, and gazing at the immense heavens above, people have always asked a multitude of questions: How can we understand the world in which we find ourselves?"

This is an excerpt from the book - The Grand Design by Stephen Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow

Sigh! I do try to think, analyse and even try dreaming about it asking myself on the existence of myself in this world. The whole me is just another 'thing' in the world or the nature that got created by an unknown source to me. But why did that happen is still a mystery! and the ultimate question to me was, Was there nothing before something at all?


Saturday, October 30, 2010

Flora and Fauna - Sagarmatha National Park

It was a dream that took me to this wonderland. I was fortunate enough to have my eyes to witness the beauty of the place and experience its feel. The amount of aesthetic overload on my eyes was so overwhelming to me that, I could not stop myself capturing it through my lens and get them back to rejoice over it until I perish. As I write this I am getting nostalgic about those days spent in this dreamland.

Looked like valley of flowers!

Sagarmatha National Park was created in 1976 and has also been listed under the Unesco World Heritage Site, reflecting its importance as a preserve for rare Himalayan flora and Fauna. Flora and Fauna in this park is very dense and the bio-diversity is beyond ones imagination. Especially the floral variety. As I sailed into the park I started seeing many varieties of species beyond my expectations. I did expect to see a lot of rare variety of flora and it surprised me beyond my expectations. I am posting here some of the pictures that I captured through my lens during those days of wonderment in nature.

Satyrium nepalense - Ground Orchid

Although I could not spot much of the epiphytic orchids, I did spot many varieties of ground orchids. And at the lower altitudes, till up to Dole, the national park was full of trees mostly of Rhododendron and the Fir. They were so beautiful and welcoming that I felt as I was walking in the heaven. 

As I pierced in to the wonderland further, so far away from home, other than three of us, it was only the trees, those little colorful flowers, chirping birds flying around as if our presence was unnoticed and the constant hum of the Dudh kosi river, were good enough a company to me that I forgot myself completely for a few days. 


Himalayan Crows
Once we gained the altitude, far away from where we started, deep into the mountains, closer to the Mt Everest, I could not believe myself on the variety of wildflowers on the grass slopes of the mountains. They were just an amazement and a curiosity for me. 

There were a lot of birds and I hardly could identify them. And because I was too tired while walking, I even missed clicking pictures of a few birds. But while coming back from the Everest base camp, I spent a good lot of time walking slowly and observing birds for most of the time. I saw a bird couple mating together, lost in their own world,without noticing my presence, allowing me to wonder for a while which made my day worthy enough. I even saw some of the nests and eggs and waited for some time wondering if I can see anything more. Like this, my journey continued in its own wonderment. 

Even though we did not spot many wild animals, TS spotted a Red Panda and I missed to see it by a few seconds. But while coming back, we were lucky to spot the Himalayan Thars.

Himalayan Thars

And like this, during our journey on those mountains, whatever I witnessed through my eyes, were just looking wonderful. I was spellbound by the beauty of the flora and fauna in the region. It is a place that can be called the 'true heaven'. I am glad, I was there. 

Even the grass looked utterly beautiful!

For more pictures, visit: