Thursday, March 28, 2013

geckos and moths

Excerpt from the book Butterflies on the Roof of the World by Peter Smetacek

Having nothing urgent to do is one of the prerequisites for observing nature. If one wants to observe the lives of geckos, one needs lots of time, for they spend up to half an hour stalking each moth. A casual glance will show a few geckos adorning the wall around the lamp. Greater familiarity with their lifestyle will reveal that each position has been hard fought for and won. When the first moth appears and circles the lamp, each wing beat is carefully observed by the waiting gecko. As soon as it settles, the stalking begins. To the observer, it might not appear to have begun, for the gecko does not move at all. This seems to be the period when the gecko allows the moth to settle down and feel secure. Then, slowly, very slowly, one leg is lifted and moved forward. After a few minutes, the next leg follows. The course is not directly towards the moth. Instead, it is directed so that the gecko approaches from behind its intended victim. A step a minute marks a rapid advance. When it feels it is close enough, the final distance is covered in an all or nothing dash and bite. Often, the moth flies off. In such cases, the gecko retreats to a safe distance and begins its vigil all over again.


Well, the first line says it all. And there is so much learning in just observing whats around us in nature. All it requires is a careful eye with abundant patience.


Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Channa Rayana Durga - A Panorama

Channa Rayana Durga (Fort) is a beautiful backdrop of a village near Madhugiri in Tumkur district. It is at a distance of 85 kms from Bangalore. As per the history, this fort belong to the Maratha rulers and then got transitioned back and forth to the Mysore Wodeyars. Most of the fort is in ruins without anybody to take care of the same. There are some old structures, huge pond and some temples that are worth seeing. The hillock is a monolith and it is a nice place for a small trek. There are not many tourists who visit the place and hence the place is free of litter and looks neat. Blue sky as a backdrop for these lovely rocks is a treat to watch. Here are some of the panoramic shots from the fort. 

(Click on the photographs to enlarge them)

Older structures that are in ruins all along the way (Looking South)

Backdrop of the mountain ranges around Madhugiri. This one among the nine forts.

Beautiful blue sky as a backdrop for these lovely rock mountains are a treat for sure (Looking South)

Dried yellow grass and many cactus plants on the way to the fort (Looking East)

Lovely rock formations (Looking West)
The fort stands on this huge monolith. (Looking East)

The fort atop the hill, watch tower to the right (Looking West)

The huge (or small) pond which never dries up even in summer. (Looking North)

Watch towers and the older structures are stronger to this day. (Looking NE)

Entry door to the fort. And there are many such doors in the fort.

Many such mantaps decorate the fort landscape. And they are the best places to rest. 

Looks like very old dried up well/tank. Wonder why they had built this.

The best view of the rocks and the fort from here. 

Channa Rayana Durga village at the base with the backdrop of lovely ranges of rocky mountains

2013 (C) Srikanth Parthasarathy

Monday, March 18, 2013

Good and Evil

Excerpt from Ideas and Opinions by Albert Einstein

It is right in principle that those should be the best loved who have contributed most of the elevation of the human race and human life. But if one goes on to ask who they are, one finds oneself in no inconsiderable difficulties. In the case of political, and even of religious, leaders it is often very doubtful whether they have done more good or harm. Hence I most seriously believe that one does people the best service by giving them some elevating work to do and thus indirectly elevating them. This applies most of all to the great artist, but also in a lesser degree to the scientist. To be sure, it is not the fruits of scientific research that elevate a man and enrich his nature, but the urge to understand, the intellectual work, creative or receptive. Thus, it would surely be inappropriate to judge the value of the Talmud by its intellectual fruits. 

Albert Einstein | Ideas and Opinions | Amsterdam | 1934
I wonder how many would think this way today. That most people focus on results, targets, numbers, who cares about the approach?


Monday, March 11, 2013


Excerpt from the book To Sell is Human by Daniel Pink

Upserving means doing more for the other person than he expects or you initially intended, taking the extra steps that transform a mundane interaction into a memorable experience. This simple move - from upselling to upserving - has the obvious advantage of being the right thing to do. But it also carries the hidden advantage of being extraordinarily effective. 

Anytime you're tempted to upsell someone else, stop what you're doing and upserve instead. Don't try to increase what they can do for you. Elevate what you can do for them.


Sounds absolutely interesting.
(Something similar to Gandhian principle I guess)


Sunday, March 10, 2013

Lakshmi Devi Temple, Doddagaddavalli

Since almost 4 years I have been trying to visit all the Hoysala architecture temples, trying to photograph and document as much as possible. I have developed a great affection towards Hoysala architecture and I find every temple absolutely interesting and remarkably great. Here is one more from my recent visit with my family to this wonderful Hoysala masterpiece. 

Lakshmidevi temple, Doddagaddavalli, constructed in 1114 CE
Doddagaddavalli is about 20 km from Hassan.  The Lakshmidevi-temple found here is a small and modest monument, placed in the centre of a walled courtyard that forms a perfect unity with the temple. Embedded in the walls, four small shrines are placed at the corners of the courtyard. It especially is the fine ensemble that makes the temple very rewarding for a tourist visit. The monument dates from 1113 AD and is situated in rural surroundings on the shore of a tank. This is one of the earliest known temples built in the Hoysala style. The building material is Chloritic schist, more commonly known as soapstone. The temple does not stand on a jagati (platform), a feature which became popular in later Hoysala temples. The temple was commissioned by a merchant called Kullahana Rahuta and his wife Sahaja Devi.

Mantapa at the entrance of the temple. Looking west.

Entry to Lakshmidevi temple through this beautiful mantapa.
The plan of this temple is very unique, because it has four shrines placed around a common centre. Three of them share a small open hall, and at the fourth side of the hall there is an oblong extension providing two lateral entrances to the temple and connecting it with shrine number four. All shrines have a nose and, inside, a corresponding vestibule, but the fourth shrine only has a a small one with thin walls. The latter is exceptional, for it is rare in Hoysala architecture that temple parts are only half-present. Also the hall is exceptional here, for it is open and nevertheless has a square ground-plan: because all four of its sides have temple parts attached to them, no staggering side remains. 

Entry door to the temple. Looking west

One of the four shrines connecting the other three to the same hall. Unique 4 garbha-gudis connected to the hall.

4 shrines that are interconnected and the independent 5th shrine. Looking East.

Kadamba shikara to the left with kalasa on top. 

Simple structure of one of the shrines seen from the rear side. 

The shrine looking South.

Only a few meters from the main temple there is a fifth shrine; together with its vestibule it stands free and faces of south. Though coarse in execution it belongs to the original design of the ensemble. It is dedicated to Bhairava, a terrifying form of Siva. Not seldomly a separate simple Bhairava shrine like this one is added to a temple; mostly it is so simple as to have a superstructure at all, but here it has a tower and a nose, both of them complete with kalasa and Hoysala crest. 

Smaller shrines at one of the 4 corners. 

Small shrine in one of the corner of the temple with a nose and Hoysala crest

Lateral entrance, Lakshmidevi temple
Finally there are still four more shrines, small ones situated in the corners of the courtyard, with two of their sides embedded in the compound wall. Also these four shrines each have a superstructure complete with kalasa and Hoysala crest. The plan of the ensemble is completed by two entrances across surrounding walls; in the eastern wall there is a large one, which is a complete building similar to an open hall, and in the western wall, there is a small one being framed opening only. The overall character of the ensemble described now is very fine, the more so because the pavement of the courtyard is of the same kind of stone as all the elevated parts. Hence altogether the ensemble shows nine towers, all of them with nose, and all of them with kalasa and Hoysala crest. 

Pillar inside the temple illuminated with the light from outside.

Mantapa inside the temple that connects the three shrines. 

Demonic living corpse (betalas)

Kali on the roof inside the temple

Panoramic view of the temple from the south-western end

Wide-angle shot of the corner shrine and the mantapa at the entrance.

At the rear side of the temple and a dried up lake 
(C) 2013, Srikanth Parthasarathy

(Source for the text)
A Complete Guide to Hoysala Temples by Gerard Foekema

Friday, March 8, 2013


Excerpt from the book To Sell is Human by Daniel Pink

Nowadays, everyone-whether we're the head of an organization or its freshest hire-faces a torrent of information. The McKinsey Global Institute estimates that the typical American hears or reads more than one hundred thousands words every day. If we leave our desk for a few minutes to grab a cup of coffee, greeting us upon our return will be new e-mails, texts, and tweets - not to mention all the blog posts we haven't read, videos we haven't watched, and, if we're over forty, phone calls we haven't returned. 


I cannot agree more on the above.


Monday, March 4, 2013

Hoysala Temple of Doddagaddavalli

The Lakshmi Devi Temple is one of the earliest known temples built in the Hoysala style. The Lakshimi Devi temple is located in Doddagaddavalli, a village in Hassan District of Karnataka state, India. It is located 16 km from the district capital Hassan and lies on the Hassan city - Belur highway. The town's main attraction, the Lakshmi Devi temple, was built by the Hoysala Empire King Vishnuvardhana in 1114 C.E.

Here are some of the panoramic pictures of the temple. Click on the pictures to enlarge them.

 a unique chatuskuta construction (four shrines and towers). Looking East

Entry to the temple. Looking East

The 4 shrine complex looking South East.

Kadamba Shikara with Kalasa on top. Looking West.

Mantap and the gopuras looking North East

Closeup of the shikaras

The compound wall and the shikaras looking North. 
Rear view from the western bank of the Doddagaddavalli kere. 

The temple is on the western bank of this lake and this lake has dried up for the first time. 
2013 (C) Srikanth Parthasarathy