Saturday, December 9, 2023


This painting is called Navagunjara. This art originate in Orissa called Pattachithra. I  am learning this art .This story is very less known trope from the Mahabharata. Once, when Pandavas were in vanaprastha (in exile to forest). Arjuna encountered a strange composite being which is a combination of nine different animals. It is a part rooster, part lion, part snake, part peacock, part elephant, part bull, part deer, part horse and part human. It was a Navagunjara.  

  • Arjuna was mesmerised but felt equally frightened and unsettling to look at this complicated being. He raised his bow deciding to shoot at it. That is when he hears a voice, an Ashareeri (an anonymous voice) telling “What cannot exist in the human imagination, can exist in the imagination of the Universe. So lower you bow, submit to it”. As Arjuna is hearing, he sees the creature is picking up a lotus, holding in its hand and turning towards him, asking “Don’t you recognise me?”. Arjuna suddenly realises that he knows this form, it is Krishna. Arjuna drops down his weapon, bows before the Navagunjara, realising it in the form of Mahavishnu.Arjuna bowing to Navagunjara. 
    This story can be found in the Odia Mahabharata written by Saaraladas in the 15th century. It is also associated with Puri Jagannath temple and can be seen in its temple art. It is interesting how a form or being that is a composition of nine different species is considered to be divine but not a monster .Navagunjara:Nava = 9 , Gun = Quality , Jara = Old / PraisSo probably the creature depicts 9 qualities – and it could be used as a praise, you are awesome as the Navagunjara 🙂

#navakunjara #pattachitraart #blackandwhite #Brushart

Saturday, June 3, 2023

Bhagamandala and Talacauvery-Mysore and Coorg Trip Day-4


Next day morning Our journey took us on another spiritual quest as our next destination was Bhagamandala, One of the most popular hill stations in the country, Coorg is not all about nature but also of equally popular religious sites as well. This breathtakingly beautiful hill station in the western ghats of Karnataka state, boasts of being a popular destination among devotees as well. Sri Bhagandeshwara temple is one such shrine which attracts hordes of devotees to Coorg.


Sri Bhagandeshwara temple is situated at an elevation of 898 meters, at the Bhagamandala village in Coorg, which is also famous for the Triveni Sangama, a popular sightseeing place in a Coorg tour.

In Skanda Purana, Bhagamandala was known in ancient times as Bhaganda Kshetra. Long ago one great sage namely Sri Bhaganda Maharshi was living here in his ashrama with his disciples. Therefore, the place was named after the great rishi Sri Bhaganda as Bhagamandala. Sri Bhaganda Maharshi did severe penance to invoke the special blessings of Lord Subramanya and Lord Shiva. Lord Subramanya blessed the Maharshi and the place. Lord Subramanya named the place Skanda Kshetra and manifested it in the form of a stone image. Lord Shiva blessed Sri Bhaganda Maharshi and assured him of his divine presence in the place. Sri Bhaganda Maharshi installed a Shiva Linga and invoked in it the divine presence of Lord Shiva and worshipped it. Since the holy Shiva Linga was installed by Sri Bhaganda Maharshi it became popular and known as Sri Bhagandeshwara. It is traditionally believed that a very special manifestation of divinity is present in Sri Bhagandeshwara Linga at Bhagamandala.


A holy bath in Triveni Sangama in Bhagamandala is not only enchanting but spiritually uplifting. Which is sacred as there is the confluence or sangama of the three rivers The Triveni Sangama is formed out of the confluence of three rivers namely Sri Cauvery, Sri Kanika, and Sri Sujyothi. Sujyothi of course, like the river Saraswati at Ganga Triveni Sangama at Allahabad, is ‘Antarvahini’-subterranean-not visible to our physical eyes. . Interestingly Sujyoti is largely mythical as it’s meant to be flowing underground and joining the main river as she spreads herself and flows along.


Architecture of Bhagandeshwara Temple

The architecture of Bhagandeshwara Temple is striking and rich. Architecture has a special place in my heart, as they speak of timelessness. Bhagamandala has a fusion of two architectural styles from Kerala and Nepal ? The main templeis constructed in a large stone courtyard, with multi-layered roofs of reddish hue and pagodas and shows beautiful carvings on the wood ceiling, the granite walls are covered with floral motifs and murals are made from vegetable dyes. The entire art and architecture is in its best form inside the temple.


The exact date of the construction and dedication of Sri Bhagandeshwara and other temples in Bhagamandala is not known, because no historical records are available in that regard. But it is believed that the origin of the temples belongs to the puranic age. According to the available historical records, it is known that Maharaja Veera Rajendra Wadeyar, the King of Kodagu, renovated the temple in 1790 AD. Sitting by the Sangama, I could see the religious importance here; pilgrims throng the Sangama to take a dip in the waters and to perform rituals to their ancestors. Tula Sankramana festival (in October) attracts huge amount of people.

I saw another aspect overlooking Bhagamandala that could have been an inspiration too ?the twin peaks of Mt. Thavoor and Mt. Koppatti. This region has a big potential to inspire adventure lovers or anyone who wishes to savour the mesmerizing beauty of the Shola forest ranges. Well, me stood and relished a moment myself.

After Darshan of Sri Bhagandeshwara We move on to the Brahmagiri hills to Talacauvery where the river originates and flows down 800 kms down to Poompuhar in Tamil Nadu. 


Story of Talakaveri

It is said that when Shiva and Parvati were getting married at Kailash Parvat, everyone went there to witness the wedding. As a result, the earth started tilting there. So, Agastya Rishi was sent to the South to maintain the balance of the earth. He was reluctant, and said, where he will get Holy Tirtha or Holy water for his daily rituals. Shiva filled the holy water in his Kamandal and said – here take it with you and go. So, Agastya Muni came down south. He sat on the Brahmgiri hill to meditate with his Kamandal carrying the holy tirtha.


In the parallel universe, Indra had to hide in a lotus stalk and needed some Holy Tirtha to get back his form and kingdom. The closest Tirtha was in Agastya Muni’s Kamandal. When Indra prayed to Ganesha for help, Ganesha took the form of a crow and sat on Agastya’s Kamandal. When he tried to shoo away the crow, Kamandal tripped and the water flowed. Agastya chased the crow till it took the form of a small boy and the Ganesha. In another story from Skanda Puran, Kaveri is the river incarnation of Lopamudra, the foster daughter of Rishi Kaver. She was married to Agastya Rishi.

At the entrance is a big arch leading to steps that lead to the Talakaveri tank. If you stand at the valley end of the arch, you see the vast green valley with layers of hills in different shades of green. It is a beautiful landscape of lush green Western Ghats. I only wish I had visited in the early morning or late evening. In the mid-noon sun, it was impossible to stand there, even with the soothing green in front.

Temple Tank

When we reached the temple tank it was a lovely sight. An enclosure around the spring called Gundige is connected to a small pond. A small Kaveriamman temple is on one edge of the pond. In the temple has the same image of Kaveri in a standing position emptying the pot in front of her


 A priest was performing Puja at the temple. From the small pond  river which flows underground and emerges after about a kilometer down the hill. There are shrines above the spring and temples dedicated to Agasthyeshwara and Ganesha. It is believed that the Saptha Rishis had performed a penance here to get immortality. The priest inform us that the Agni Kundas can be seen there.


You can go inside and take a dip, but not touch it with your feet. It is the holiest of places in the Coorg region and it must be respected. After saying a silent prayer, we headed to the temples that are still further up from the tank.

Agastheeswara & Ganesha Temples

There are small but very beautiful temples. One of them is called Agastheeswara and was built by Agastya Muni. The other one is dedicated to Ganesha to commemorate his role in bringing Kaveri here. We spent some time there and felt a sense of peace that comes from places that have been worshipped for a long time.


The beautiful range of Brahmagiri Hills, as seen from the TalaKaveri view point..!!Brahmagiri hill ranges, one of the biggest and the beautiful hill ranges of Karnataka. It houses numerous trek spots for adventure junkies and also the home for invariable species of flora and fauna. A sublime atmosphere which automatically transports you into a spiritual trance. Tala Cauvery a must visit place.

Our tour completed in four days on the way we visited Aprmeya Temple and back to Mumbai.


Thursday, June 1, 2023

The way to Coffee-Exploring Coffee Plantations Coorg

The way to Coffee-Exploring Coffee Plantations Coorg

Many people love coffee, and I am a coffee Lover.The first sip in the morning is a heavenly experience tantalizing the taste buds in a whirl of decadent flavours, rolling through their tongue, and introducing new sensations to their senses of smell and taste. Good coffee soothes your stomach, the host of the majority of your arteries and delivers an excitable feeling to the rest of your body

It first starts with infatuation, but as you get to know it more and more, you begin to love the drink, the smell, the taste, the way it is made, the way it looks, where to drink it, how it all started –To know more we visited Coffee Plantations.


Exploring Coffee Plantations while our visit to Coorg was not on the list. But as suggested by our driver, we headed towards one of the private properties that he was aware of. He introduced our group to the guide of the property in Madikeri. Madikeri is known for its resplendent coffee plantations and green meadows sprawling over acres of land. The area is popular for its premium class coffee beans. One of the best activities to do in Madikeri is to take a walk through these gorgeous coffee plantations.

Evergreen forest in Coorg sustaining the Life of Coffee

We always heard that Coorg is famous for its coffee and spices. But rarely did we have any idea and insights about it. The host seemed to be kind and generous about the work and efforts they are putting into creating these coffee plants. We started following him as he introduced us to the quiet piece of heaven in the midst of hilly regions.


Coorg is most popularly nick- named as the 'Coffee Cup of India'. The mountainous area of Coorg is strongly reminiscent with the blend of the aroma of fine Arabica and Robusta and they are supposed to be the world's best coffee.

History of Coffee in India

The history of coffee in India is nearly four hundred years old and it belongs to the 17th century. History tells it that in 1670, a Muslim pilgrim named Baba Budan snuck seven coffee beans in his beard aboard a ship to India. Upon arrival, he planted these beans in the Chikmagalur region near Coorg in Karnataka. At this time, it was illegal to transport green coffee beans outside of Yemen, and the ports were strictly monitored in an effort to maintain a monopoly on local coffee production and trade.

 Baba Budan was not only successful at sneaking them out of Yemen but also successfully planted them in Chandragiri Hills. Legend has it that the Baba had his friends carry the beans with them and plant them wherever they went, mostly in gardens and backyards. Coffee production prospered in Chandragiri Hills over the next century. However, the bean didn’t spread throughout other parts of India until the 19th century, when coffee started being exported for trade. Coffee now flourishes in Karnataka, where the slopes of the Western Ghats are brought to life with the fresh aromas of arabica and robusta plants.

The first thing he showed us were the two main varieties of coffee. Varieties of Coffee:

They separate both the species with a road in between so as to differentiate between them properly. There is a major difference between their size, taste, and type of growth.

1. Arabica:

Arabica has a softer, sweeter taste and it grows at a height of 7-8 feet. The berries grow randomly on its small stems with soft branches. The maintenance cost of Arabica is greater than the other variety as the insects affect it more due to its small and soft stem.



2. Robusta:


Robusta contains higher caffeine resulting in a bitter taste. It stands more than 10 feet with harder branches and big stems. The berries of Robusta grow in clusters.

Growth of the Coffee Plantations in Coorg:

Arabica is superior to robusta in the markets which creates more demand for Arabica. It counts for 70% of the production while Robusta counts only 30%. Both species yield 2 crops per year. The lifespan of a coffee plant is 30-35 years. When it starts from a bean, it takes 3-4 years for the first yield and then every year ahead.

Coffee Plantations

The first flower buds start growing in the branches in February and March. There is a term for the first rain that falls on these coffee buds, called the “Coffee rain”.

Coffee Flowers

Can you smell the flowers? Doesn’t it smell like jasmine?”, my guide asks me. He is right. I notice a discernible scent of jasmine permeating the air as we walk through rows of blossoming coffee trees. “When the coffee trees are ripe, they have small, white flowers that smell like jasmine.” The rows of arabica and robusta trees hang heavy with burgundy-colored fruit and delicate white flowers. Interspersed among the blossoming coffee trees are ladders of pepper vines climbing into the sky.


He explained when the coffee rain starts pouring, the flowers start blooming from the buds. These white-colored coffee flowers depict jasmine flowers in their appearance and smell. They are visible only 2 days in a single year. After the flowers bloom, the next day itself they will dry and fruit buds start opening from them.


The fruit buds start growing bigger. First, there will be green color berries which further turn yellowish. After a few days, they turn into crimson red color berries. These crimson red berries are the perfect ones to harvest.


After harvesting the crimson red berries, inside there will be two beans. They use these beans for coffee and the outer cover called musk as a compost. The beans are then dried, roasted and finally red Crimson Red Coffee Berries.


They plant trees that grow huge after some years and form a dense forest to provide shed for the coffee plants. Coffee plants need 40% of the shed to grow rich. for serving into a cup.

Kopi Luwak – the world’s most expensive coffee is also found here.

This is a Civet Cat that consumes the selected coffee berries and it removes the outer cover. The beans along with mucilages pass into its digestive system. It mixes with all the enzymes and nutrients which ferment the beans and they will defecate it. The defecated material along with other fecal matter is collected and sold as Kopi Luwak coffee.


A cat’s poop serving as a coffee. Strange, isn’t it? Evolve Back hosts a coffee tasting for its guests to try different roasts and ways to brew coffee, from cappuccino to Vietnamese, and including India’s very own coffee, known as Kaapi. Amid the thick green coffee plantations and the stirrings of the surrounding jungle, the barista carefully pours steaming cups of Kaapi.

Spices in the Coffee Plantations of Coorg:

The mainland of Indian coffee is distinguished for its featured monsoon-fed coffee which is mostly grown in the shades of huge Rose Wood, Wild Fig and Jack Fruit trees. The place is not only ideal for coffee but also promotes distinct eco-system for it is the home for great birds and animals like the Great Indian Pied Hornbill and the Giant Malabar Squirrel which are attracted by the fruit laden trees with rare flavors and aroma.


Coorg coffee encourages other cultivations like pepper, cardamom, vanilla, orange and banana.. It also promotes intercropping like Pepper, (You can see different types of pepper such as white, green and black pepper). Cloves, Cardamom, Kokum (Garcinia cambogia) and Cinchona paving way for a spice country. 


Coorg cultivates all of its coffee under a well-defined two-tier mixed shade canopy, comprising evergreen leguminous trees.


The displays extended by the coffee plantations are just beyond one’s imagination and one must not date to miss out on a chance to tour them. Though the robusta beans are tall and can be spotted from anywhere, the arabica is short shrubs. If you are looking for a soulful retreat then this is one of the most scenic places where you can tour the coffee plantations and also stay amidst them. 


I spent hours to meandering through thick growth of native trees, vanilla, turmeric, cinnamon, ginger, and black pepper crops; and coffee trees heavy with ripened arabica and robusta beans. 


The growth of the rainforest canopy is left natural, allowing for the fungi, spiders and insects native to the ecosystem to their important role in the ecological coffee and spice farming in this region. There are two different climates in Coorg—rainforest and dry, temperate forests—both of which are friendly for coffee growing conditions.


With a tour to the lush green trails of coffee plantations of Coorg, you can learn about the robusta & arabica beans that are grown in the region. Right from the process of selecting the riped coffee beans to the process of harvesting them, here, you can know about everything at once. The experience of touring the coffee estate is one of its kind as the breath-taking views along with the soothing vibe are just the right dose for the visitors!


While returning they gave a cup of coffee I couldn’t resist tasting the smooth, flavourful specialty. I savoured the few sips my taste buds were spinning. I was experiencing flavours I allowed myself to indulge in, when the coffee cooled the flavors transformed into something completely different

Bylakuppe Tibetan Golden Temple

The Tiny Tibetan colony in Coorg is an ideal escape from the hustle and bustle of city life. The enclosed calm and the spiritual ambiance of the place welcomes all the visitors. The Namdroling Monastery, popularly referred to as ‘The Golden Temple’ is one of the largest Tibetan settlements in India. Located in Bylakuppe, about 5 kms from Kushalanagara in Kodagu district.This Place is one of the largest Tibetan settlements in India. The Golden Temple complex is home to about 16000 refugees and 600 monks .  This Tibetan settlement at Bail Koppa or Bylakuppe is the second largest Tibetan settlement outside Tibet.


Namdroling Nyingmapa Monastery, popularly known as the Golden Temple is a Tibetan Monastery in India. It is the largest teaching centre of Nyingma lineage (One of the four schools of Tibetan Bhuddhism). The actual name of the temple is Padmasambhava Bhuddist Vihara, an exquisite Golden Temple, constructed as per Tibetan tradition and architecture. Namdroling Monastery’s main entrance is an attractive four story tower with a wheel portraying symbols of Buddhism  and One of the must visit places in Mysuru.


The Golden Temple’s Architecture in Coorg

Walked through this ground and entered the campus of the Temple. Words cannot simply express what we saw in our front. Just watch what we saw from a distance.


A large archway leads to a lovely garden with groomed grass on either side, which approaches the temple’s entrance. The Monastery’s entryway has a giant picture of the founder, Norbu Pema Rinpoche. The entry is a glittering golden and vivid blue construction with an enormous arch and little figurines. These sculptures are said to be Buddha’s messengers. A massive ornate bell with carved lettering is there just before the gate.


The road leads to the temple’s entryway and a fountain. Three ornately carved & decorated entrances surround the temple’s entryway. A spacious corridor with columns leads to the altar, which houses three golden sculptures. The walls are entirely decorated with bright traditional Tibetan murals. The Monastery & temple are constructed in traditional Tibetan architecture and are stunning examples of Tibetan craftsmanship.



The color, the complexity of the design, the symmetry, the beautiful lawns on both sides, the superb pathway leading to the temple and even the fencing was looking beautiful. We walked ahead without talking our eye out of this marvellous work.

The Golden Temple’s Three Statues

The Golden Shrine comes from three gigantic gold-plated sculptures inside the vast temple. The sculpture in the center represents the founder of Buddhism, 


In the main prayer hall three golden tinted statues of saints Three sculptures of Lord Buddha, namely, Padma Sambhav, Buddha Sakyamuni & Buddha Amitayus, have been housed at this Monastery; these sculptures are 40 feet tall. The exterior walls surrounding the Golden Temple Coorg’s entryway are covered with massive multicolour paintings. 

The doors are painted crimson and feature enormous gold knockers The Sacrosanctum is adorned with flowers, candles and incense sticks. It is a beautiful sight to see. Although you may not be allowed to enter this area.. The Monastery’s walls are entirely constructed in Tibetan style.


Having darshan of these statues, venerating, circumambulations and making offerings to them generates faith, peace, wisdom, loving kindness and compassion in our minds and cleanses unwholesome thoughts and actions.


The Three Jewels temple ambiance, silence, and the wonderful music brings inner peace to the mind of the devotees. People are free to practice their religion and worship as per their religion in silence without distraction to others around. As we sit for meditation, an inner silence sets in, uplifting our spirit with bounty of overwhelming joyous moments.


The serene atmosphere of the place takes you to another world. There are so many shopping centres in and around the monastery where you will get traditional Tibetan items

Golden Temple visiting time: The Temple is open for visitors from 9 AM till 6 PM

Distance (From Coorg): 34 Kms

Trip Duration (Including Travel): 2-3 Hours

Place Location: Near Kushalnagar

Transportation Options: Bus / Cab

Travel Tips: Cauvery Nisargadhama is about 7 Kms from Golden Temple and can be visited together