Photo Story on Russel Market

The story of my close to a weird obsession with Russel Market. Read the complete blog on Russel Market here.

Russell Market, is one of Bangalore’s oldest markets and also the most comprehensive place to shop for everything fresh — vegetables, meat, flowers and fruit. It was started by the British in the early 1900s as the central grocery spot and hasn’t lost its color one bit, since then.
Russel (37 of 82)Russel (38 of 82) - CopyRussel (55 of 82)Russel (51 of 82)Russel (46 of 82)Russel (44 of 82)Russel (17 of 82)Russel (75 of 82)Russel (72 of 82)Russel (60 of 82)Russel (59 of 82)

Trailing the “Silk Route” with Bengaluru-by-Foot.

It’s been long that I had set my foot beyond the city limits and that didn’t quite go well with my itchy feet. I was desperately looking for some weekend treks on eventshigh.com and that’s when I found out about Nagarathpete Pettah Walk hosted by Bengaluru-by-foot. It wasn’t the first time I heard or read about them as I am constantly hunting for ways to explore more of this city. So with no second thought, I hit on ‘book’ option.

And hence the Saturday morning began on a happy note, all thanks to Mansoor Ali, the man who has been helping people like me to make some sense out of their weekends. An architect by profession and historian by choice, Mansoor holds heritage walks in Bengaluru every weekend. Mansoor was inspired by similar Heritage walks that he used to attend in Delhi. The agenda of this was to take a deeper look into the crumbling settlement of the silk dyers. Nagarathpete is predominantly occupied by the weaver, dyers, whole sellers, and testers of silk yarn.

This tiny hamlet in Bengaluru, majorly famous for the Karaga festival and the Dharamaraya Temple, bears more history to it than your eyes see, and I would have still been oblivious to if it wasn’t Mansoor.

He narrated the legends of the beheading of Sayed Muhib Shah and the tombless dargah, the tales of the martyrdom of thousands of Mysorain soldiers and of course the rise and fall of these tiny settlements who have survived the wrath of time.

We began our walk from the Baba Sharfuddin Dargah which took me by awe with its astoundingly intricate mirror work. Thanks to my habit of sleeping late, I missed out on the briefing of the history. Before this, I had never set for inside any Islamic religious place.

Baba Sharfuddin Dargah,
Mansoor briefing us on the history of Sufism and Islam.

As we blindly followed Mansoor into the narrow rustic lanes of Nagarathpete, I got into some small talks with my fellow visitor who also was an artist and played with organic colours to dye fabric. Even small talks can reveal so much about the way one thinks. We finally reached what was supposed to be the focal point of the walk, the unit of the silk yarn dyers.

A tiny room tucked in a corner of one of the many narrow lanes there, this was a typical two roomed house with around ten odd men working at different stages of the tiresome process of reeling and dying the silk yarn. The entrance was used for drying and sorting the coloured yarn, but the adjoining room was where the real work happened. The room wore a blanket of dense fumes that rose from the steaming hot baths where the yarn was dipped for dyeing. The sight was as spectacular as it was straining. Spending just five minutes in that room left me sweating and burning. Needless to mention the hardships these craftsmen are subjected to. Going forward we had a chance to visit the weavers who constantly work amidst the noisy mechanical looms.

We visited the famous Dharamaraya Swami Temple and a few more dargahs which have some really interesting legends attached to them.  And finally, the walk ended with a hearty meal and some catching up of facts from the past which I had missed at the beginning of the walk.

I am not a huge fan of the pub culture in Bangalore but these stories preserved in the bylanes of such hamlets are what give some solace to the explorer in me.

Hoping to explore more and share my stories with you soon.

Till then keep wandering 🙂

Auroville is the La-La-Land to your Hippie Soul (Pondicherry-2)

The second day of our trip dawned upon us, we thought Paradise beach would be the best way to welcome it. I am not an early morning person at all but amazingly I transform into one when I am travelling ( That’s why they say “Do what makes you wanna wake up in the morning”). Paradise Beach was one such time I was up before the crack of the dawn and it surely paid off well. The sun wore the shrouds of heavy clouds and we had the wide beach all to ourselves except a few fishermen who were still preparing for the day. Paradise beach lives up to its name as it is believed to be the cleanest and most peaceful beach in Pondicherry.


We grabbed a quick breakfast at the very talked-about Indian Coffee House on Mission street. Do try the Idli Vada there. Since we were too early dosas weren’t ready by then but they sure must have been as good as everything else they served. Let me tell you, Mission street is one of the most important streets in the main city of Pondicherry. You will also find the roots of the very famous Hidesign here. The factory outlet supposedly sells the products at fractions of the showroom prices. So make it a point to not miss this one


Next on the agenda was exploring Auroville and spend the evening at the Serenity Beach. Although the plan went haywire, we still managed to unearth a lot about Auroville that I was so curious about. Thanks to Radhika who has been living there as an Aurovillian for two years now. Meeting Radhika was a chapter in itself. When one of my friends said we would be meeting her, barely had I known I was about to meet one huge inspiration who chose a tough life just out of passion. Radhika is an architect and works in Auroville among all other foreign nationals who have come together to make that place what it is today.

Auroville and everything you must know about it.

 

The vision of Mirra Alfassa – The Mother

Auroville that we see today is what Mirra Alfassa, also regarded as ‘The Mother’ by the world had envisioned back in the 1930s. She dreamt of a place which ran on the philosophy of “Vasudeva Kutumbakam”. The world which no country could claim as its own and citizens would freely live as world citizens, work towards the common goals of a sustainable growth. A land where art is the only weapon people would use. Where a person’s worth would be much more precious than money, power or any religion. In the very words of the Aurovillians, “Auroville is a universal town where men and women of all countries are able to live in peace and progressive harmony above all creeds, all politics and all nationalities”. The purpose of Auroville is to realise human unity above any religion. In the words of The Mother herself:

“Humanity is not the last rung of the terrestrial creation.
Evolution continues and man will be surpassed.
It is for each individual to know whether he wants to participate in the advent of this new species.
For those who are satisfied with the world as it is, Auroville obviously has no reason to exist.”
— The Mother, 1966

Life in Auroville

People in Auroville live in a world where money isn’t the end all be all. Although the ground reality remains that there is no sustenance without money but you can manage to feed yourself by merely volunteering in the bakeries and shops. On the surface to me, living in Auroville was like going back to the times when people had a minimalistic approach to happiness, were self-sufficient and self-reliant. The work you do is meaningful and paid with as much as you would need to survive in the town which is every moment striving to be a moneyless economy. Life wouldn’t be as fancy as it appeared to me on a one-day visit but surely worth it if you are looking for an inner connection and striving to master your ego. You can go through the entire procedure of being an Ayurovillian at http://bit.ly/2msuDAH


Things to do in and around Auroville:

Volunteer:

If you are here for a while say a week or more, you can choose to volunteer with the Auroville farm group. A number of farms in Auroville accept volunteers. Hours and possibilities for accommodation depend greatly upon which time of year you are planning your stay . Guesthouses and homestays tend to get full and busy during the guests season—December to March—and it’s always wise to grab your bookings well ahead of time if you are wanting to volunteer. Some bakeries in Auroville also accept volunteers, you can get your hands dirty in the ground level baking activities. You can also choose to intern with the International House, a living space built with sustainable and environmental architectural ideals.

Workshops and Therapies:

You can learn Permaculture to Tango, different forms of Yoga, Cooking to Tai chi, Tree-climbing to Clay classes, Sound therapy, Creative arts, in short, there is no end to learning in Auroville. Pick any workshop of your choice from their events list at their website.

Shop:

Auroville is famous for its indigenous essential oils, perfumes, incense sticks, candles and clay items. I bumped across Auro kind store right opposite to the visitors centre run by an old woman along with her son. The quaint little shot exhibited beautifully decorates scented candles, and lame and other clay and ceramic ware everything very reasonably priced.

Auroville Handmade Paper Factory:

Save a day (not Sunday) to visit the handmade paper factory in Auroville. Bespoke, delicate, and individually handcrafted stationery products from Auroville are definitely worth your money. You can watch the makers adding their creative touches to the papers which are purely made from cotton rag pulp.

Eateries:

There are over twenty eateries in Auroville my favourite being the Auroville bakery. The chocolate croissants are to die for and you literally don’t them you earn them because they are available early in the morning and are the first to go off the rack. For a lazy ass like me, it’s definitely a great deal of hard work. Right opposite there is Farm Fresh Cafe which serves serving freshly made dosa, burgers, pasta and pizzas. also, do visit Tanto’s pizza for your pizza cravings which is on the way to the visitors centre from the Pondicherry town. Options are many all you need is a lot of time to do proper justice to the “City of Dawn”.

I was overwhelmed listening to stories o Randika and looking at the ways people lived in this quaint little village in the corner of Puducherry. It got me nostalgic as I was thrown back to the memories of visiting my grandma’s back in Orissa. Everything looked pretty much similar except that there were a lot of foreign nationals here. If quitting my comfortable city life to settle in the countryside of Auroville and work for a more holistic aim is too much, I’ll at least try adopting a the minimalistic lifestyle and spread some of the goodness her in my city. This was my awakening in the land of spiritually.
Hope you find your’s soon too

Tipu Sultans Summer Palace: Abode of Happiness and Envy of Heaven

Harking back to the 1700 A.D stands in the heart of the city Bangalore, The Summer Palace of Tipu Sultan. Withstanding the wrath of time this bitsy palace of the king which he used to hold his affairs of state, enthralls you with its aesthetical architecture.

With an utterly humble built up (mostly of wood, mortar, stone and plaster) this palace appears to be a huge pavilion. However on the inside, its a complete two-storied building with an ample ventilation from all the sides. A fan of arches and Indo-Islamic architecture I instantly fell for the high rising pillars and the wooden deck. On the central base is an enclosed area which is now a museum that preserves the paintings of the palace and gives a few insights into Sultans life.

It is not hard to imagine the palace back when it was freshly built in the 1790s when the intricately crafted motifs were untouched and charmed the palace walls with their vibrancy.
But 200 years down the lane from then, you have really got to have an eye for details to be able to find them and-and be astounded that they are everywhere.

With only a meager amount of Rs. 15 and no extra charges for photos, it makes a perfect spot for a pre-wedding/portfolio shoot or an insta-meet . The worn down rustic look is a huge attraction for a photographer of an offbeat taste. Make sure you pick  a weekday to avoid fellow visitors in your frame. Same goes for the ones looking a spot for a pre wedding shoot in Bangalore.