Thursday, 26 April 2018

A night walk for knowledge

Essentially, this is a post about a walk that I went to on the 22nd of April, 2018.

The walk was held by Hyderabad Trails -an organization that holds walks like across monuments or places of historical significance in Hyderabad. 

There were about 13 of us that evening. We visited the Mahboob Chowk clock tower, the Khursheed Jah Devdi, the Yahiya Pasha Dargah and the Dargah Syed Shah Raju Qattal.

1. The Mahboob Chowk Clock tower:

The Mahboob Chowk clock tower is also known as the Jame Masjid clock tower as it is next to the famous mosque Jama Masjid. The concept of clock towers was introduced by the first Nizam of Hyderabad. A clock tower is a long, rectangular tower with a pointed, prismatic top with clocks fixed on all four sides. 

Clocks like these were usually established in chowks (an open market area in a city at the junction of two roads) where people could look at the time as many people couldn't afford watches due to the fact that back then, watches were considered a luxury and could not be afforded by many families. 

The clock tower is exquisitely placed in a green garden surrounded by trees and well-maintained bushes. However, since the park around it is open 24/7, many homeless people have made it their abode. The tower itself is a beauty. 

The Mahboob Chowk clock tower is a five-storeyed architectural structure that was built in the year 1892 by the prime minister of Hyderabad, that is Nawab Asman Jah

The first storey (the base) has humongous wooden doors fitted in so that people could go INTO the tower to wind the clock or set the time (now the doors are sealed off). 

The second and the fourth storeys have intricately carved Persian/Islamic work on them. The work is done on blocks of stone and mortar coated with an earthy brown coloured cement. 

The fifth storey has large old clocks fitted on all four sides. The clocks are circular and white with black hands.

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Pondicherry

Once upon a time...

Nah, just kidding! It felt like just yesterday I was enjoying the salty sea breeze blowing in my face as I stood by the beach, played with the water and built castles in the air about studying there. 

And today, I am back in Hyderabad, sitting at the computer suffering from writers block holding a steaming cup of elixir(my coffee)...Yeah right! Neither do I have coffee nor am I suffering from writers block. 😀 

Essentially, Pondicherry is a place of absolute peace and nature. Sure there is the town but it is never as hectic as major cities like Mumbai or Delhi. Pondicherry has everything from street vendors to high class shops, from small inns to huge 5-star hotels, from chicken to fish, from cabbage to zucchini, from...Halt! Too many 'froms'!  What I mean is that Pondicherry has everything you can ask for. It even has this bakery called Baker's Street (Sherlock Holmes reference). It is a french bakery which has the best ginger cookies. They are just très impressionnant! 

The part I loved the most is either the beaches or the streets. They were pretty clean and neat. A night in the city or by the beach is amazing. 

A note for the fashion lovers out there-this is a place that you've GOT to go to...it has a two storey Vera Moda outlet and a HUGE Hidesign outlet. I bought two limited edition Christmas dress that wasn't so expensive and honestly I never regretted buying those dresses. 

Pondicherry is called the "Ville des Rythmes"...

Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Madikeri, Coorg...

Madikeri is a hill station town in Karnataka state, India. Also known as Mercara,
it is the headquarters of the district of Kodagu. It is a popular tourist destination.


I stayed at Madikeri for two weeks this summer. It was an exciting trip. It brought
back many childhood memories. I had gone to Madikeri before with my parents
when I was 6 or 7. Only this time I went alone.

I flew to Banglore and I was picked up at the Banglore airport by a family who have
known me since I was just a baby. Their names are Nitin, Neha, Rahi and Sufi. Rahi
has been my friend since he was born and I was two. Sufi was just a baby when I went
before.

Sufi to the left, Rahi in the middle and Me at the right

We went to Coorg via Mysore from Banglore. We had stayed that night at Mysore.
People run 'home stays' in many parts of Kodagu(Coorg), Mysore and Banglore. Home
stays are where people stay at a house for a few days and pay the rent to the
owner/caretaker. It is like renting a house but only for a few days. This is done so that
the owner can earn money for the maintenance of the house/mansion. All the house
there, are ancestral except a few buildings and most of the shops. Most of
the common people in Coorg have/work in estates. These estates grow only coffee,
spices, cocoa beans, etc. Madikeri is situated in the western ghats.

Neha and Nitin have a huge ancestral house with a few small houses and trees in the
front yard and back yard. There is a huge tree in their front yard which has a swing tied
to it. It was tied during my last visit, when me and Rahi were still babies. But we both
remember that time very clearly. Both Rahi amd I were insisting on throwing the ropes
to the men on the tree while Nitin kept denying our pleas because red and were biting
the men who had climbed the tree to tie the ropes around the branches...

Neha and Nitin have many trees like butter fruit trees, mulberry trees, cherry trees, etc.
(the fruits taste delicious!). They also have two hunting dogs named Tom and Jerry.
Tom is the Alpha male of the litter and Jerry is the youngest pup. Tom is  majestic with
black shiny fur and golden eyes while Jerry has a rich shade of gold for his fur and
warm, cute brown eyes. They both are quite strong.

I made lots of friends there. All the neighbours were my friends. Rahi, Nikil, Monica
(Nikil's sister and my best friend), Sufi, Teja (Monica's and my best friend) and I spent
a lot of time roaming around town with  no particular destination in our minds. We did
loads of shopping.
We visited fairs, We sat in public places and played truth or dare. We ran around.
We bonded so closely people would think we were sibling or at least cousins. We look
almost the same except Rahi and Sufi are smaller than all of us. We had a lot of fun.
Since almost the whole town knew us
they would just say 'hi' and pass by. They didn't say anything to us. We did whatever we
wanted but we did not cross the limits. I love them all so much. I love everyone and
every part of Madikeri. Later that week, Neha took Rahi, Sufi, Nikil, and me to get cool
haircuts at Kushalnagar.
I got side bangs, Sufi got a chinese style cut, Rahi and Nikil got military cuts.We looked
great. Later that day we played 21 questions and found out we had a lot in common.
Such as our tastes in music, movies, cars, sports, etc...I came to know more about the
Kodavas that day. Neha told me everything about them. Their eating habits, clothing
style, occupations...

The traditional dresses of men and women of the Kodava tribe are very interesting.
The men wear dhotis with a turban and kurtas with short decorative but deadly daggers
hanging from their belts. Women wear sarees with the pleats in the back.



The Kodava language has no separate script of its own. So, it is written in Kannada.
But it is spoken differently. The Kodavas are hunters and planters. They eat all types of
meats.Their food and traditions are a little similar to Gauls as they drink wine and eat
pork at almost all festivities. If you ever go to Madikeri, I suggest you just take a day off
and roam around with no destination in mind. But the toy train, the raja's seat, and the
raja's fort are a must see. If the problem is packing, carry at least one sweater and be sure
to carry a lot of socks, jeans and t-shirts. One or two dresses are okay...Also, be sure to
carry sneakers, trekking shoes or any types of sports shoes and rain boots because rains
in Madikeri lead to mudslides, slushy roads and huge puddles(which are fun to jump in!)

I went to one of my friends estate and it was simply awesome. He had a huge estate with
3 keres( Kere written “ಕೆರೆ” meaning 'pond' or 'lake' in Kannada) connected with a stream.
It had puddles, trenches, huge trees, and was very green...it was exquisite.

Naachi(the friend/owner guy) has 4 dogs named Drupak, Lola, Sheba and Lucy.
I had loads of fun. Rahi, Nikil and I swam in the keres and caught tadpoles. Then we had
a water fight. After that, we watched the movie-Mad Max: Fury Road for some time.
It didn’t matter to us that our clothes were wet from swimming in  the keres because we
were having a LOT of fun tormenting poor Naachi (he has an amazing collection of
instruments!)

Anyway, I REALLY, really hope you guys experience the true beauty of Madikeri and if
you do, be sure to contact me on my email ID: tholakari.refis@gmail.com (you can also
contact me on my other ID: chinuku.medida@gmail.com or on my Instagram ID: tholakari_medida) and share your experiences and suggestions to fellow travellers with me.

Thank you for staying put and au revoir!