Sunday, 26 March 2017

Dastkar 2017 ---Where colours galore

  I chanced to visit Dastkar 2017 this Saturday morning. Stalls lined up beautifully in harmony to the place under the shade of trees was a scene to behold..Being a home decor lover, Dastkar gave me a whale of a time,I could get every thing under the same roof !There was almost everything one could want for domestic,household purposes.Without wasting any further time I shall today let the pics speak for themselves.

Carved furniture


Wood and fibre crafts

Decorative products, 

Bengal Handloom Sarees, Kantha work, Tussar & Cotton Weaving

Gems & silver Jewellery from Rajasthan

Chanderi Weaving & Maheshwari Weaving from Madhya Pradesh.


Metal Craft

Applique & Patchwork 

There were more which were not clicked

Bengal Handloom Sarees, Leather footwear ,Madhubani Paintings & Sujini Embroidery & Tussar Handloom Textiles  from Bihar,  Pattachitra from Orissa,
Jari Kota Doria sarees and Sanganer Block prints from Rajasthan,Chikan work from Lucknow,ethnic mekhla chadar and sarees in muga silk from Assam to name a few.

Hand-woven textiles

Wooden Furniture from Uttar Pradesh.

Ceramics & Pottery from West India: 

    The place was not crowded as you can see in the pictures.So we could take our time to see the items minutely.I found most of the displayed objects to be reasonably priced except for the sarees which I felt were a little overpriced.

About Dastkar:
Dastkar is a private not-for-profit NGO established in 1981, working to support traditional Indian craftspeople .It has nearly 20 Indian states registered under its name,many of them women and village based.In India the cottage industries or the craft sector forms a huge sector,and Dastkar helps in reviving and sustaining the crafts and the craftspeople by helping them join the economic mainstream.  Dastkar sees the small scale industries or the cottage industries as a means of generating employment in rural India and hence an effective way to curb rapid urbanisation.

 As a bonus we peeped into the Karnataka Chitrakala Parisath building for the ongoing art exhibition.A quick rundown........


 For visiting Dastkar
Note-There are no entry fees.
       -An exhaustive visit will take approximately three hours,so you should have time in hand.
       -Parking was not an issue as it was allowed inside the Karnataka Chitrakala Parisath
        -There were no stalls for food or any eateries in the campus , so plan accordingly
Children do enjoy the visit as the place is in the open ,with lots of space to move around,there were a few stalls selling puzzles and games for the kids.
The exhibition cum sale by Dastkar is an annual event ,if you have missed it this year then look out  for it next year!

Friday, 3 March 2017

Mayura River View Hotel, Srirangapatnam.......the beautiful lung space near Bangalore

   A flock of geese scurried away as I opened the door of the car..I walked into a place under the shade of tall trees.A  river flowing very close grabbed my attention and did not notice the turkey and the rooster ambling very close to my feet .If by now you have visualised me in a remote village somewhere in Karnataka,you are under the wrong impression.I was at the Mayura River View resort merely a 100 m off the Bangalore Mysore highway.


The Mayura River View resort is located in Srirangapatnam,about few kilometers from Mysore.We had visited the cursed town of Talakadu  and the intricately carved Hoysalan templeThe temple at Somnathapura .On our way back we decided to spend the rest of the day and one night here before we returned to Bangalore the next morning.
        Though the temple of Somnathpura was a masterpiece in itself,it could not get the kids interested as always. They were exhausted after the long drive and with the sun blazing over us all the morning.this resort came as a welcome retreat in more ways than one.

We had booked a river facing cottage with an awesome view of the branch of the Cauvery flowing by. Since we had about half of the day to ourselves we did not confine ourselves to the room.The most exciting amusement was obvious,a coracle ride on the river.The boatman who took us for the ride stopped at one of the rocks in the middle of the water.The view from there was something I shall not forget for a long time.

We sat there with our feet dipped in water watching the birds busy fishing.
As a matter of fact we were completely overwhelmed by the silence of the place,more so as it came at the least expected place,only a kilometre away from the busy highway.

The picture below shows the open dining area where we did not miss an opportunity to have lunch and breakfast ,with the beautiful river flowing by. I personally liked the taste of the food,which ranged from typically south Indian to Indo Chinese and service was prompt.My only complain was to the people who had very irresponsibly thrown liquor bottles at places on the  river bank.

The picture below shows the dining area where we had dinner.It is a semi circular place partially hanging over the water.

We could spend hours there simply sitting and lazing on the steps to the water,and of course clicking more than we had clicked since morning at the two historical places.

The finest part of this stay was that the kids never complained through the entire stay. They were too busy chasing geese ,watching turkeys and most interestingly ,feeding rabbits in the open. And for once we did not complain about them digging in to mobile phones..At times I find myself pushed to a corner as I wonder whether our kids are to blame or we are falling short of options for them.

The dining space

The open dining area by the riverside

So in a nutshell it was a day well spent amidst raw nature,a sense of fulfillment which no malls, swimming pools,  amusement parks or multiplexes can outdo.We were back on the highway after a quick visit to the nearby Colonel Bailey's Dungeon.Read here

Srirangapatnam was once Tipu Sultan's capital city.  So a lot of monuments pertaining to his life and activities are strewn all over the place.Like  -       Tipu's Summer Palace,
                                                                              Ranganathittu Bird Santuary ,
                                                                             Dariya Daulat Bagh,
                                                                            Scott's Bungalow,
                                                                          Tipu's death place,
                                                                            Ruins of Tipu's Palace ,
                                                                             Sangam and many more.

 Moreover this place being at a short distance (15 kms )from Mysore can be used for a good night stay when visiting Mysore, if one wishes to avoid the crowd at Mysore.There is good parking space for cars and booking can be done online here Hotel Mayura River View.

Sunday, 26 February 2017

Theyyam by the river Valapattanam

    If I was waiting to visit Kannur, it was to experience Theyyam. I had  heard so much about it from our homestay owners who  recommended it highly .I had also  read a lot about it ,which mentioned that Kannur was the Land of Theyyams. .The rest of it ,the beaches ,the  forts ,the beautiful walkways and the sunsets came as a bonus .
You might also like reading-The Chera Beach

Image courtesy

So what is Theyyam ?
     Its a ritual art form of north Kerala (not to be confused with the kathakali dance of the state ),which is held in the  months of December to April .It is held in almost all places of northern Kerala
  except the Parassini Kadavu temple in Kannur ,where it is held everyday .The thyyam is held in        front of the village shrines , with devotees surrounding the performers . It is performed in many ways in praise of various gods ,by the lower caste people of this region.for the well being of family and society. This has been a ritual for this area for several thousands of years .

The road to the Parassini Kadavu  Temple is a long winding one  with lush greenery and beautiful mansions all around .Just before reaching the temple we crossed a bridge over a river and the road culminated to a surprisingly crowded place .The place was lined with shops selling all possible things required for the visit to the temple and souvenirs to take back home ,leaving no doubt in our minds that we were at right place.
                                            Inside the temple complex we were amazed to see a voluminous river flowing alongside .The river was the Valapattanam.The Theyyam was yet to start since it does not start before sunset .So a boat ride on the river Valapattanam at sunset was the next evident option  . 

 It was a day of many amazement and surprises I guess, as nature put up a beautiful show for us.We were the only ones on the river that evening when the sun bathed the sky and the river with its last rays for the day.The golden hues of sunset lent an ambiance of  serenity with the Parassini Kadavu Temple gleaming at the edge of the river at a distance.
Peace and simplicity had a close relation,I wondered.

   The Parassini Kadavu Temple is also known as the Muthappan Temple,named after lord Muthappan. Legend has a very interesting tale about how Muthappan emerged as the Lord of the region but that is a different story .

    For the time being I can only think of our bewilderment as we entered the temple complex. The place had an unusual number of dogs roaming everywhere.It did not take us long to notice that there were two large bronze statues of dogs at the entrance of the temple and many more smaller ones near the shrine.It was palpable that our canine cohabitants had a very vital role in this temple.We later learnt that they were the bodyguards of Lord Mutthappan, and it is so believed that once when the temple authorities removed them the theyyam performers were unable to put up a performance.

the Parassini Kadavu temple from the boat

   With the setting sun the crowd which was till now dispersed all over the temple complex slowly gathered to the shrine.All lights were switched off in the hall which houses the shrine .Many oil lamps were lit up at the shrine in the dark hall, providing an enchanting atmosphere.

   All eyes were now fixed at it ,so as to not to miss a moment of what would come up next.What came up next did not disappoint us , the attire with the headgear, the drummers and other folk musical instruments being played ,together lent an atmosphere of awe. The ensuing performance was the story of Lord Muthappan,through folk dance and music.The performers are believed to take the form of the Lord during the performance  .The devotees touched their feet to seek blessings after the performance.

        The temple was unique in its own way.The devotees offered fish and liquor to the lord here and prasad is first served to the dogs here and then to the people.

   Be it the Muthappaan Temple or Theyyam at the village shrines,this age old form of art had its lasting  impact on me.I visualised how astounding it would be to watch the brightly coloured dressed Theyyam performers perform in a warm winter afternoon,in a picturesque Malabar village.
Image courtesy
       As the car crossed the dimly lit bridge once again as I returned to Kannur,I reflected at the strange relation man shares with nature. I wondered if it is the Maker who draws faith ,or merely faith which makes a man the Master. These and many more such thoughts jostled for space in my perplexed mind while the car drove past the now dark scenery of palm lined roads and glimmering mansions.
         The Parassinikadavu Temple is located at Anthoor,16 kms from Kannur city .If you are driving from is best to start in the afternoon and reach there by sunset,to witness theyyam .The temple has provision of serving tea and refreshments to all devotees .There are many shops outside the temple where snacks are available for the visitors.