Postcards from Netherlands!

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Welcome to the Kingdom of Netherlands!

Bike & Boat: Two wheeling is a way of life here. It’s how Amsterdammers commute to work, go to the shop and meet a date for dinner. With all the bike rental shops around, it’s easy to gear up and take a spin. If locals aren’t on a bike, they may well be in a boat. With its canals and massive harbour, this city reclaimed from the sea offers countless opportunities to drift. Hop in a canal boat (preferably an open-air one) or one of the free ferries behind Centraal Station for a wind-in-your-hair ride.

Wander into the Past: Amsterdam is ripe for rambling, its compact core laced by atmospheric lanes and quarters. You never know what you’ll find: a hidden garden, a shop selling velvet ribbon, a jenever (Dutch gin) distillery, an old monastery-turned-classical-music-venue. Wherever you end up, it’s probably by a canal. And a café.

Admire Art: You can’t walk a kilometre without bumping into a masterpiece in the city. The Van Gogh Museum hangs the world’s largest collection by tortured native son Vincent. A few blocks away, Vermeers, Rembrandts and other Golden Age treasures fill the gloriously restored Rijksmuseum.

If one had but a single glance to give the world, one should gaze on Istanbul !

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Istanbul! Colorful, historic, chaotic, mesmerizing city torn between Asia & Europe…The strategic position gave its strength as a hub of trade in the past…Many who transit through Istanbul are confused…what to do in Istanbul?

If you have a short transit, just do Blue Mosque, Aya Sofiya, Grand Bazaar, Topkapi Palace & of course a visit to the Spice Bazaar!

An unexpected rain during winter forced me into this amazing bazaar…and I was lost wandering inside its long yet crowded corridors. Built in 1664 to help pay for the construction of the Yeni Camii, or the New Mosque, the Egyptian Spice Bazaar has for centuries been a marketplace for food products. It’s name comes from the spices that came through Egypt via the renowned Silk Road out of central & southern Asia. Nowadays, vendors still sell such items here – fresh spices, fruits, nuts, meats, & candy, as well as other…

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Rio!

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City of contrasts, Favelas (slums with fancy names) next to dense rain forest, tranquil Bossa Nova to heady Samba beats, friendly hangover waves on the beaches, but noisy beach restaurants…and much more!

Rio is the capital city of the State of Rio de Janeiro, the second largest city of Brazil, and the third largest metropolitan area and agglomeration in South America. Rio de Janeiro is the most visited city in southern hemisphere and is known for its natural settings, carnival celebrations, samba, Bossa Nova, and balneario beaches such as Barra da Tijuca, Copacabana, Ipanema, and Leblon.

Landmarks in addition to the beaches include the giant statue of Christ the Redeemer = Cristo Redentor atop Corcovado mountain, named one of the New Seven Wonders of the World; Sugarloaf mountain  = Pão de Açúcar with its cable car; the Sambódromo, a permanent grandstand-lined parade avenue which is used during Carnival; and Maracanã…

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A tribute to my Guru : GSShenoy

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A friend of my father Dr VSA, G S Shenoy was way ahead of his times in many aspects. Brought up in the conservative temple town of Udupi, he was the first to get the formal training in JJ School of Arts, Mumbai. Though he ran a photo studio (Shrungar), his primary focus was art, art promotion, experimenting with various media (yes, way back in 1980`s, he was playing with aluminium sheets, ceramic tiles, fevicol & sea sand!). He pioneered the concept of art gallery in Udupi. He was instrumental in speeding up the construction of Venkatappa Art Gallery at Bangalore. He brought celebrities in the field of art & music to Udupi, to share their wealth.

He was never content with these activities alone. As children we would never forget the lively Children`s Day painting competition held every year, with music, great prizes and the Payasam from Ambalpadi Temple! He was the backbone of SKAC (South Canara Art Council), which brought together talents like U Ramesh Rao, U Bhaskar Rao, UJ Devadigar, Mr Sherigar, PN Achar, Milind…

He was a great organizer of art events with attention to detail. He knew not just the art, he also knew the art of mounting, framing…most of his paintings were framed by himself! Gurudas (son of GSS) and myself used to enjoy the excursions with GSS for “spot painting”, Evenings at his home in Laxmindranangar with live Hindustani music concerts…

In spite of his busy schedule with the photo studio (he used to work in the dark room as well), various art shows in metro cities, hosting big names in the art scene…he still found time to teach us at “KalaBharathi” art foundation.

Orthopaedic surgery is not only a science, but an art. I am sure, the formal art training in my childhood has helped me in my academics (scoring better marks than one deserves- due to neat diagrams; many of my college record books have been kept on display at departments!), and at my work related to Orthopaedics & Arthroscopy.

Know more about G S Shenoy…@ http://www.gsshenoy.com

Varanga

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kereVaranga is a small village located at a distance of 26 Km from Karkala in Udupi district. This village is found on the way from Karkala to Agumbe. Varanga is a popular pilgrim center especially for Jains. This beautiful village houses most ancient and wonderful Basadis (Jain Temples). The main attractions of Varanga are Neminatha Basadi, Chandranatha Basadi and Kere Basadi. Neminatha Basadi: The history of Neminatha Basadi dates back to 1200 years. This basadi was constructed during the reign of Varanga Raya. The Neminatha Basadi is popularly called as Here Basadi which means Big Temple. The Basadi houses 24 Tirthanakaras in Kayotsarg posture (21 of these have gone missing/ stolen from the past few years). The main attraction of this basadi is 5 feet black statue of Lord Neminatha, the 22nd Tirthankara in Padmasana position seating on ‘Kamala Peeta’ (lotus seat). Neminatha is also considered as God of the Village (Gramadevaru). Kushmandini Devi, the Yakshi dedicated to Lord Neminath also called as Ambika Devi and idol of Yakshi Padmavati Devi is also present. A small shrine dedicated to Kshetrapala is situated outside the temple. A tall Manasthamba of 45 feet can be found outside the temple and 4 Thirthankaras are erected on the top of the pillar. Kere Basadi: The uniqueness of Kere Basadi is that it is situated in the midst of a gentle green lake in Varanga. It seems like a lotus in a pond. This basadi is also called as Jalamandir. Tranquil lake contrasts well with the sharp quadrilateral architecture of the basadi and gentle swaying hills at the distance. It is believed that this Basadi has the history of 850 years. The Kere Basadi is dedicated to Lord Parshwanath, the 23rd Tirthankara. The basadi is a chaturmukha which has four entrances in four directions. The Kere Basadi houses the idols of Lord Parshwanatha, Lord Shanthinatha, Lord Ananthanatha and Lord Neminatha in Kayotsarga posture facing four different directions. The idol of Goddess Padmavathi, Yakshi of the deity is installed in front of the Parshwanatha idol. This Basadi remains closed most of the time and devotees can request the priest of the Basadi to take them to the Basadi. The only way to reach this Basadi in Varanga is in a small wooden boat. People believe that offering prayers and worshipping Lord Parshwanath in this Basadi brings prosperity and fulfill the wishes of the devotees. Chandranatha Basadi: Chandranath Basadi is another important Basadi of Varanga. This basadi is also called as Matada Basadi because it houses the Jain Matha. It is believed that this Basadi has the history of 1000 years. The main deity worshipped here is Chandraprabha, 8th Tirthankara. The uniqueness and main attraction of this Basadi is the idol of the deity is made of Chandrashila and one could see the light across the idol.

Distance from Varanga: Bangalore: 396 Km Mysore: 299 Km Mangalore: 76 Km Shimoga: 118 Km Chikmagalur: 142 Km (via Balehonnur, Sringeri, Agumbe and Hebri) Karkala: 26 Km Udupi: 39 Km Kundpura: 63 Km Hebri: 9 Km Agumbe: 28 Km Sringeri: 56 Km

Nearby attractions: Someshwar reserve forest, White water rafting, Agumbe, Karkala

Boat charge per head: Rs 10, paid at Chandranatha Basadi, footwear to be left behind at the Boat Jetty

Accessories: Rain gear during monsoon, Binocular for spotting migratory birds in Varanga Lake, Camera, Water & Refreshment, Mosquito repellant

Varanga Mana sthambhafirst drops of rain varanga magical agumbe susnset agumbe, someshwar reserve forest time stands still