Sunday, 27 August 2017

Beauty of Darkness

Who lives in a cave?
Childhood memories tell us-- it is the king of the jungle.
Or, sadhus and hermits doing penance up in the Himalayas.
Or, mountaineers and trekkers seeking shelter from rain or snow.
Or, the Taliban terrorists hiding in Afghanistan!

So, caves mean different things to different people. There are many caves in India. But Borra Caves in Eastern Ghats are one of the deepest. Located 90 kms north of Vizag, it is a big tourist attraction.
See the map and official sign board below.
The caves are situated 2300 ft above mean sea level. The caves go down 260 feet deep into the mountain. Visitors get a chance to walk upto 700 feet inside the cave. With limited natural light, the caves have been illumniated with soft LED lights. With changing colours, it creates a surreal effect on surrounding rocks and ceiling.

A separate ticket for camera is required. Flash photography is not permitted as in Ajanta-Ellora caves near Aurangabad. Therefore, it is a tough call to keep the camera steady for long exposure. Ghumakkad did some experimentation with his monopod. Tripod would come in the way of teeming tourists, hence ruled out.

Pictures of Borra caves for you.

Am reminded of what Mahatma Gandhi said about darkness. Here is a picturesque quote- PQ- for you.

While negotiating a dark pathway around a tall stalagmite pillar, I took this picture. Here it is as a PQ with Hellen Keller's quote on darkness.

At the end of the cave, the lighting cast its shadow on the walls. Take a look with Adrienne Rich's famous line.

The next story will take you to Chaparai Waterflow near Araku to get a thrill of cascading and gushing river water.
Other caves in India are:
Elephanta caves near Mumbai
Borivli caves in Borivli National Park, Mumbai
Bellum Caves in AP
Narsing Cave Temple near Bidar
Caves near Sahasradhara, Dehradun
Ajanta-Ellora near Aurangabad
Bali cave near Chintamani temple, Hampi

Do share your pictures and experiences of visiting a cave.

Thanks for browsing

     - Harsh-the-Ghumakkad/ 27th Aug 2017

"Somehow despite the dramatic effects in some corners of the cave, where rock formations are particularly unique, in my opinion the bright colors of  the LED lights all through the cave length make the natural wonder appear a bit artificial, like stage lighting, I think.  Makes you wonder what the natural rock formation really is like/ or the true colors of rocks in nature are like."-- Am with you on this observation Trixie.
"Stalactites and stalagmites are considered natural heritage objects and are protected by law in most countries, and their collection, mining, and selling is prohibited." (both observations by Trixie Asirvatham, 30th Aug 2017).
Thanks much Trixie. Although there were no warning boards as such, but the fact that visitors are not allowed to carry any handbags, cellphones etc, is an indicator of similar restrictions in India.

#Darkness, #Araku, #Borra Caves, #Stalactite, #Stalagmite, #Wanderlust, #Ghumakkad, #LonelyPlanetIndia, #IndiaTourism, #WanderTrails, #EasternGhats, #PicturesqueQuotes, 

Friday, 25 August 2017

Ganapati comes home

When Ganapati comes home! 
Yes, Anuva our grand daughter dressed up as Ganesha गणेश or Ganapati गणपति this year. For all of us in the family this was God's real blessing-- like what happens during Janmasthami when young ones are dressed up as Lord Krishna. Thank you Prabs for this wonderful gift and candid picture.

Lord Ganesha is the God of all beginnings. All rituals, poojas, weddings and even the invitation cards begin with Shri Ganeshaya Namah श्री गणेशाय नमः meaning "Lord Ganesha, I pray to you" seeking His blessings. Ganesha is truly a multi-disciplinary expert. He is worshipped for multiple 'demands' from devotees such as:
Good luck
Problem solver
Remover of obstacles in life/business and so on.

Today, on the occasion of Ganesh Chaturthi, we invoke the blessings of Lord Ganesha for peace and prosperity of all.

Two years ago, Ghumakkad gave a message of hope through a wildflower on Ganesh Chaturthi.

Thanks for browsing.

    -  Harsh-the-Ghumakkad/ 25th Aug 2017

#GaneshChaturthi, #Ganesh, #Ganapati, #Ghumakkad, #IndiaTravels, 

Tuesday, 1 August 2017

World of Science loses a Crusader

With the passing away of Dr Pushpa Mitra Bhargava (22 Feb 1928 - 1 Aug 2017), the world of science has lost its courageous crusader. A man who would call a spade a spade, was admired by generations of scientists, researchers, art lovers, classical dancers, film personalities, writers, painters and people from all walks of life.

He was not only a world renowned scientist, but also a writer, thinker, institution builder and administrator.  Founder Director of Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB), Hyderabad, he was widely regarded as the architect of modern biology and biotechnology in India.

He promoted scientific temper through his writings and speeches. He would question the lack of any scientific basis or analysis of 'fish prasadam' given by a family in Hyderabad in June every year. People with irrational thinking and blind faith in the prasadam would attack his residence and burn his effigy. But he pressed on with his questioning. Year after year.
Author of hundreds of research papers as well as number of books, he was the most sought after key-note speaker in India and overseas. He had delivered an unbelievable 2500 invited talks in India!

Few years ago he gave a key-note address to heads of Business Schools in Hyderabad on a provocative theme 'Management Education- Rethink or Perish'. The seminar was organised by Ghumakkad and team. Amongst the points made by Dr Bhargava were:

  • University stands for universality
  • Quality is your best weapon to win the clients
  • Be modest-let others judge you
  • Have a social objective

On a personal front, it was a privilege to know him as my mother's younger cousin. They both had highest regards for each other having excelled in academics at their young age. Both had same first names. My mother's name was Pushpa whereas Dr Bhargava was Pushpa Mitra. In the family circles he was fondly addressed as 'Pucchi bhaiya'. Alas, they will renew their family bonds in heaven.

Few weeks ago Neeta and I had visited him at home. He was on dialysis with all the equipment and medical attention round the clock. A room had been converted into a mini hospital for him. He preferred to meet us during the dialysis which would last few hours. It gave him ample time to meet us and talk, We chatted and enquired about family members. He made sure that we were served butter milk since neither of us has tea or coffee. That was the last we saw him.
Although his health was failing, yet the news of his demise has created a vacuum. 

Who will question the God men being invited to Science Congress?
Who will raise a voice for freedom of speech?
Who will explain science to school children the way you did?
Who will bring science and art together and derive meaning from it?

We will miss you Pucchi mama.May your soul rest in peace.

    -Harsh-the-Ghumakkad with Neeta Bhargava/ 1st August 2017