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Attending a Santhe- Chitra Santhe 2017

I see a swarm of people down the road and I am dismayed. I am at Chitra Santhe-the annual art fest at Karnataka Chitrakala Parishat(KCP) and looking at the rush I am having second thoughts. I am no art lover nor an art collector and curiosity has brought me here just to check out this once-a-year fest that boasts of more than a 1000 artists gathered at one place.

I plunge right in and to my relief I could walk ahead-the crowd was not so jam packed as it looked. All roads in front of KCP,adjacent to KCP(Gandhi Bhavan, Crescent Road) are flooded with artists and their paintings. Art work is hanging everywhere on the trees, roads and pavements.


I move on. ” One piece @ 100, two for 150 and three for 300″, “Last one hour discount of 50%”, “Take any one picture for 500”- these labels sounded eerily familiar. I have seen such discounts at malls and the Big Bazaars. Art has to pay the bills, I know. But labels like these in midst of majestic artwork, think -the graceful Bengal Tiger, serene Buddha, Worli art was something surreal to experience and difficult to digest.

chitrasanthe paintings

I walk on. Some art scenes catch my attention;the expecting mother in midst of toys dreaming about her baby, a dancer dancing abandonedly  on the seashore, a serene Buddha feeding a deer, a girl joyfully eating a water melon etc. There were other works too like sand art, art on pencil nibs,on bottles etc. Caricatures, tattoos,face paintings jostled for space along with 3D artwork, graphics and murals. Ice-cream vans, sweet corn and ground nut sellers,candies not to mention Butter Gulkand carts took full advantage of Santhe. Their carts went breezing inside amidst the burgeoning crowd.

chitrasanthe paintings

As I enter KCP, Saxophone music floated right across. There was a show going on and the seats in front of the podium were full. The chairs were a lifeline for people walking more than one and half kilometer to gaze at the paintings. The cafe inside KCP was doing brisk business and there was not an inch of space to get in and order. The gallery inside had the work of senior artists displayed.

As I exited the KCP I realized what a small world this was. I bumped in to one of my college peers. He was in the software profession but his hobby was water color painting.He had one of his stalls here and had been coming to the Santhe for more than 5 years now. As I walked out I met another counselor friend of mine whom I had not see for 4 years. We hugged and chattered nineteen to a dozen until the area grew dark and we were forced to move away from the area.

As I realized later I was one among the four lakh people who had come to look at the work of 1400 artists and nearly 80,000 paintings. Not a small world:-)

Tips to visit the Chitra Santhe if it is your first time:

  • The santhe can take more than half a day but is worth visiting.
  • If you get your vehicle be intelligent enough to figure out parking space. Check the google map and come prepared.
  • The traffic too is diverted during this day on both sides of Kumar Krupa Road.
  • Most of the paintings here are inexpensive. And they can make the perfect gift for house warming ceremony or for your new home.
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Posted by on January 16, 2017 in Uncategorized


Kolar- The golden city of India


Kolar is fascinating with its gold mill dumps, century old temples, trekking spots and beautiful forts. Visiting this town takes you back to the British era and also tales of sacrifices and wishes from bygone era. The detailed post on what to see, how to get to Kolar, pit stops etc are published at Citizen Matters article on Kolar.




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Posted by on June 3, 2013 in Uncategorized


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Shivagange- A land of tranquil temples and underground springs

Shivagange 60 kilomtres from Bangalore is a beautiful spot to spend half a day. The trek to the hill, temples enroute makes it a pleasant getaway. The article is published heredsc_2207


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Posted by on September 30, 2012 in Karnataka, Shivagange, Uncategorized


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Sakleshpur-The land of coffee

If your idea of weekend getaways is being one with nature then Sakleshpur nestled among Western Ghats on Bangalore-Mysore Highway is the idyllic location for a getaway. Just 225 kilometers from Bangalore, Sakleshpur is a mere 5 hour drive from Bangalore on the NH-48 highway. With dense coffee and spice plantations you are guaranteed to savor the tranquil  life of the country side at every step.

coffee plantations of Sakleshpur

Coffee plantations of Sakleshpur

More about Sakleshpur:

Sakleshpur located in the Hassan district of South Karnataka is famous for its coffee, cardamon, pepper, ginger and other spices. The word Sakleshpur in kannada language means the place, which is bestowed with all kinds of wealth(namely water, fertile green land filled with coffee and spices etc) And with its temperate climate it is perfect for a getaway all through the year.

What to do in Sakleshpur?

Misty mornings,breathtaking walks in green plantations, bird watching, hiking the rolling hillsides and a chance to be alone amidst the mountains is what you can do in Sakleshpur.

Apart from these you can also visit ancient temples. This list comprises of temples like Bettada Byreshwara temple, Vasantha parameshwari temple,Adi subramanya temple etc .

Bettada Byreshwara temple
This is a 600 year old temple located at few distance from  Hanbal. This temple is a Shiva temple and is made completely of black stone. It was built by Kadamba King, Mayura Varma. The temple has been reconstructed by numbering the original stones. Nearby there is a beautiful pond with plenty of fishes. As dense trees and creepers cover this place it is an ideal location to simply relax,feed the fishes and simple” be”. In other words it is sheer paradise. Behind the temple there is a small hill which you can trek.  It is a good idea to hike this place as you get a panoramic view of the surrounding hills, the scenic pond and the old stone temple.

Bettada Byreshwara temple

Bettada Byreshwara temple

Vasantha parameshwari temple:

This is a must visit as this temple and the village in which it is located namely Angadi, was the birthplace of Hoysala dynasty. Here there is a popular temple of goddess Durga known as Vasantha parameshwari. The temple is 1200 years old . Legend has it that Sala the first King of Hoysala dynasty, single handedly fought with a tiger and killed it with one blow. His Guru pleased with his courage ordered him to establish the Hoysala kingdom. The temple features prominently in all these legends.

The temple has the beautiful idol of goddess Vasantha parameshwari and looking at her serene face, you feel your journey to Sakleshpur was worth it.

Adi subramanya temple:
This is a beautiful temple of Lord Subramanya on the banks of river Hemavathi. This temple at Mudigere has the idol of Lord Subramanya in snake form with seven heads. It is said that Lord Subramanya took the form of the snake to kill a ferocious demon .

Another surprising fact;Every year an eagle is spotted on the day of car festival of Lord subramanya. The eagle keeps circulating the car of Lord Subramanya.

River Hemavathi near Adi Subramanya temple

River Hemavathi near Adi Subramanya temple

The temple was established by Hakka Bukka who found the snake idol in the river Hemavathi. The blissful idol, the clear waters of river Hemavathi coupled with the distant hills will make this destination a must see spot.

Bheemeshwari temple:

Though this temple is not an ancient temple, this temple of Shiva is a must visit. The beautiful Shiv Linga(Idol of Shiva) is situated down a valley. When you visit the shrine you can hear the gurgle of stream cascading down the hills. The chugging train to Mangalore above the hills further adds to the beauty. The place can inspire spirituality even in those who seem to lack the spiritual spirit in them.

Bheemeshwari temple

Behind Bheemeshwari temple

Manjarabad fort:
This is a star shaped fort constructed by Tipu Sultan to detect the approach of British army to Sakleshpur. It is an architectural marvel with majestic arched entrance, hollow chambers to house horses, ammunition etc. The fort in the earlier days also doubled up as kitchen,bathroom etc for the numerous soldiers staying there.


There are plenty of hills suitable for trekking like Jenukallu Gudda,Ettina Bhuja etc. If you wish for few easy climbs then try hills behind the Bettada Byreshwara temple and Gavi siddheshwara temple located in Karundi hill. The hills behind the temple is easy to surmount and you are guaranteed a panoramic view once you reach the top.

Jenukallu Hill

Jenukal Hill

Sakleshpur Bird watching:
For all the bird lovers out there Sakleshpur is touted as home to around 1200 species of birds. You can definitely spot King fishers, Brahminy Kite,Drongo,Sun birds,Parakeet etc and get some beautiful memories captured in your lens.
Group of white winged birds

Group of white winged birds

Water falls:
If you visit the place during rainy seasons then you can glimpse few amazing water falls as well. Few water falls worth mentioning are Mookanamane falls and Magajari falls. The rocks are slippery here. So one has to be extremely cautious while venturing near the falls.
Magajari falls

Magajari falls

And that’s not all. A walk in coffee plantations and a look at coffee beans and entwined spice creepers and plants will bring you closer to nature. And a talk with the planters will give you a glimpse of coffee and its rearing.
Coffee Planters

Coffee Planters;Akku and her sister

So where to stay?
One of the best options in Sakleshpur is the home stays. Most of them are located in serene surroundings and offer local yummy dishes like aki rotti accompanied with chili chutney, Kadabu etc(Check out Malenadu cuisine Wikipedia for more details).
Here are few home stays which you can go for:

How to get there?
From Bangalore head towards Nelamangala on Tumkur road, at Nelamangala take left towards Hassan. Soon after crossing Hassan, you reach Sakleshpur.


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Brighton and Beachy Head

Beachy Head:

Beachy Head brings back memories of Enid Blyton days with its sparkling blue waters, chalk headlands and its old light house. Good old smuggler stories and cave adventures pass through me as I view the sea located serenely beneath the high cliffs.

Beachy Head,South Coast of Britain

Beachy Head

It has an alluring beauty with its high chalk cliffs and undulating downs which makes it a sheer joy for a nature walker.
Beachy Head is located in south coast of England near the town Eastbourne. It is one of the highest chalk cliffs in Britain. The story behind the formation of the cliffs is an interesting one. It is said that the Beachy Head area was under the sea some 65 million years ago. As Ice Age ended the level of sea water rose forming these cliffs.
Even today these cliffs are constantly getting eroded by high winds and sea waves which target the lower parts of the cliff.
It is amazing to see the limestone of the hills, touch and observe the chalk layers.

Chalk cliffs, Beachy Head

Chalk cliffs, Beachy Head

And it is sheer joy to trapeze the downs of the hills.
Many noted films have used Beachy head as reference. Notable among them is”The Living Daylights ” a James Bond film.


Cold winds, drizzle of rain greeted us when we reached Brighton. What a deary way to start the day or so I thought.
The rain was a bit troublesome but was definitely not a hampering element as it showcased the Brighton beach splendidly .In fact the heavy winds, the dashing rain added to the beauty of Brighton sea as it came crashing towards the coast.
Brighton is located in the south coast of England and has emerged as a popular sea bathing destination right from the 18th century.Today it is famous for its vibrant night life.

What can you view in Brighton? Plenty if the report of is anything to go by.

But we had time just to visit the Royal Pavilion and take a walk through the narrow Brighton lanes. The Royal Pavilion was a sea side palace of prince Regent. The palace is famous for its oriental style. With domes, towers and imported Chinese oriental pieces the palace is a symbol of luxury and opulence. You will be mesmerized by its interior decorations, gardens and springs.

The lanes are a wonderful way to explore Brighton as it is a twisted maze featuring quaint shops, antique stores, jewelery etc. The Bohemian north lanes of Brighton showcases some funky shops like African drums, Kites,Kitsches to ethnic pottery, handicrafts, tribal textiles etc.

A walk on the Brighton piers is also worth it as there are plenty of shops and fun games vying for your attention.Ghost rides, Merry go rounds( for the kids:-), Hurricane experience are some of the experiences which you must try out. And don’t forget to savor the Banana crepe and the hot doughnuts.

All in all a mind blowing experience;what with the bustling shops, sweet savories and the light drizzle coupled with the misty wind from the sea.




Posted by on November 20, 2011 in UK, Uncategorized


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The aromatic Eucalyptus oil

Having a blocked nose? Then inhale drops of eucalyptus oil in steaming water and lo your sinuses are bound to open giving you instant relief. Such is the power of eucalyptus oil that it is widely used as analgesic, an antiseptic and anti-inflammatory agent..

Eucalyptus tree

Eucalyptus tree

So when I saw rows of eucalyptus trees lined en-route Kolar I could not resist picking up few leaves myself.  I broke the leaf in to two and lo I could smell the oil. This led me to wonder how to get the potent oil. And when I researched this is what I found.

You can make eucalyptus oil at home just by crushing the leaves and storing them in an airtight jar. Pour almond oil over the leaves so as to totally cover the leaves. Then prick two vitamin E capsules and put it in the jar. This acts as a preservative for the leaves. Now leave the jar near the window for a fortnight and then stain the mixture. Store the oil in a colored bottle to make the oil last for longer duration.

What can you use this oil for? Eucalyptus oil is antiseptic, antibacterial, anti inflammatory and analgesic agent. So you can inhale the oil in steaming water to clear cold, coughs, headaches etc. But keep in mind that high doses can be harmful and children are more susceptible to such types of poisoning.

You can use eucalyptus oil in other ways too.

  • You can use it as a car freshener. Just don’t throw the freshener after it is empty. Fill it with few drops of this oil and see the fragrance filling your car.
  • For blocked noses, congestion in throat and headache put few 3-4 drops of oil in steaming water and inhale.
  • Putting a few drops of oil in a small bowl in your living room drives the mosquitoes away.
  • The oil can also be used for removing grease stains from clothes.

So the next time you see a eucalyptus tree don’t forget to smell this fragrant oil. Such things make travel more interesting and educational.


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