Chennai’s best known and beloved Kapaleeshwarar Temple is the chief identity of Mylapore, the cultural hub of the metropolis. Sri Parthasarathy Temple in Triplicane is credited to be the oldest in Chennai and you can behold Vishnu in a unique avatar as Partha’s (Arjuna’s) ‘sarathy’(charioteer).
Address: East Mada Veedhi, Mylapore
Timings: 5am–noon & 4–9.30pm; open on all days
Prasadam: Vibhuti and kumkum
Special Occasion: Arupathimoovar Festival (March)
Special Offering: Coconuts and flowers
The name of the locality, Mylapore, means ‘the abode of the peacocks’ and derives from the legend associated with the temple. A visit to the Kapaleeshwarar Temple brings history, legends and myths together, giving an extraordinary religious experience.
The present temple is said to be only 300 years old and its architecture reflects the Vijayanagar style. Shrines to Narthana Vinayagar or dancing Ganesha, Singaravelar or Murugan are also located in the temple premises.
The temperatures are soaring high and the sweltering sun is ready to bring your energy down. So the time is probably right to ditch the heat and plan a vacation at cooler places. Here is a list of our top picks this month.
Lonavla is a raucous resort town about 106km southeast of Mumbai. Its main drag consists almost exclusively of garishly lit shops flogging chikki, the rock-hard, brittle sweet made in the area, and you get fun-for-the-whole-family kind of stuff like wax museums, go-carts and India’s largest water park. But there are some pleasant side streets, serene residential areas and destination yoga places along with the pastoral surrounding countryside that means you can choose your own path here. One of the main reasons you’d want to come here is to visit the nearby Karla and Bhaja Caves which, after those at Ellora and Ajanta, are the best in Maharashtra.
Mercury levels soar high with each passing minute, making days hotter and unbearable. Let the heat not tire you down this summer. These exotic and refreshing drinks can be easily made at home for the family to enjoy a good time together.
Goa is veritably a shopper’s paradise. Tear yourself away from the beach, and you will be amazed by the vast array of items you can take home – from glass hookahs, feni, colonial furniture, clothes and trinkets to beachware and elf shoes. Here are some tips for the shoppers.
Where to Shop
Anjuna Flea Market: This flea market is the biggest of its kind in the country. The majority of shops sell casual wear and fake pashmina, and there are stalls selling everything from jumpsuits to fancy tube tops and bikinis. The flea market is also a great place to pick up Goan Trance music CDs and trinkets. Put your bargaining skills to test – you might be able to pick up stuff for half the quoted price.
Saturday Night Markets: Mackie’s and Arpora are the two major Saturday night markets in Goa. Pick up clothes, trinkets, sculptures, slippers, woodcarvings, musical instruments, and many other interesting things.
Mapusa Market: If you are looking for a good place to buy Goan sausages make your way to Mapusa market that comes up every Friday. In addition to the regular stuff, you will also find a variety of antique homeware on sale. Hunt for bottles and jars since you may find some Goans selling their ancestral pottery here at throwaway prices.
Beach roads: The roads leading to popular beaches in the north and south are lined with stalls selling clothes, beachware, trinkets, bags and hats.
Cities: Both Panjim and Margao have shops selling handicrafts, clothes, souvenirs and much more. Panjim’s Caculo Mall is quite popular.
There is a variety of shopping available in Goa. To imbibe the local atmosphere, buy off the streets instead of showrooms.
Clothes: Most street stalls sell clothes that are suited to tropical climate. They may not last more than two seasons, but the price at which you are getting them justifies the purchase. For more upscale clothes, try boutiques of Indian designers like Wendell Rodricks and Malini Ramani. Stores like Sosa’s and The Private Collection are also great for designer clothes.
Art & Antiques: Small stores near Baga Creek and along the beach roads are good places to pick up antiques. The Gallery Gitanjali and Sunaparanta are great for contemporary art. The Mario Miranda Gallery is for those who want to buy the Goan master’s work.
Souvenirs: Pick up fridge magnets and items made from seashells from the shops on 18th June Road in Panjim.
Gifts to take home
Antiques: A huge number of shops sell antiques, old baubles and furniture. Colonial furniture is also available and can be delivered at home.
Blue China pottery: The Portuguese introduced Chinese blue-and-white pottery in Goa and many shops still sell them.
Azulejo name tiles: These hand-painted tiles can be used as name plates, to write house addresses or even as coasters.
Feni and port wine: The indigenous country liquor, feni is a popular gift. Feni bottles come in different shapes and sizes, often with a little sculpture to depict a Goan aspect. Another must-buy is the local Goan port wine.
Top Tip: Bargaining
You can bargain at most places, apart from permanent stores in Panjim and the beach belt. It is best to begin from half the quoted price and then negotiate for a lower deal.
India’s most loved ‘king of fruits’, Mango, is the best thing to happen in the hot summer seasons. Apart from relishing the fruit raw, there are many ways of savouring it to tickle the taste buds. Mango, which has already made its way to the household refrigerators, can be enjoyed in various ways.
Filled with oodles of charm, colour and chaos at the same time, this city on the banks of the river Gomti has something to offer every kind of traveller. Lucknow attained the peak of its glory during the time of the Nawabs, who ruled for just over 75 years from 1775 and left imprints of their famed culture in the form of the tehzeeb (refinement and grace) that everyone in the city emulates with pride. Today, sandstone monuments from the splendid era of the Nawabs stand cheek by jowl with more modern relics from the brief British rule in the region. Bustling markets sell exquisite chikan embroidery from local workshops, while street stalls serve up endless plates of tundey kabab and mattar chaat to discerning locals and visitors alike.
Here’s our quick guide on how to best experience Lucknow.
What to see
Lucknow’s highlight is undoubtedly the Bara Imambara with its intriguing mix of Indian and Persian architectural elements. The monument, meant as a religious meeting place, is said to have been built towards the end of the 18th century by the benevolent Nawab Asaf ud Daula as a means to provide employment to his citizens during a time of acute famine.
If the secrets of Chambal at Mitawali and Padavali had you captivated, wait till your eyes feast on the symphony in sandstone – Bateshwar. And, it is not a lone beauty from the past that enchants you but a cluster of around 200 artworks in stone that seem like a magical setting.
Sitting pretty in a small valley surrounded by the hills near Padavali, hardly a few kms from Garhi Padavali, the Bateshwar temples, spread over 25 acres offer a magnificent journey through time. Constructed between eight and 10th century, these temples are dedicated to Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu. As the morning sun plays with their shadows and the nearby jungles resonate with the chirping of birds, you feel as if you are watching the rebirth of an era.
Around the concrete city life of Kolkata there are many impressive rustic getaways but nothing is as appealing and charming as the tiny village of Bawali.
The name can be traced back to its first settlers, forest dwellers called Baule. Through generations it has adapted different accents to become ‘Bawali’. This town is a short 30-km drive from the Bengali capital but its lifestyle and rustic charm remains as it was.
Take the trail
Chunky stone pathways connect Bawali across the numerous ponds that dot this village. Walk away on this trail to discover an incredible mix of history and topography.
Boasting of its rich heritage and embracing society, Oman offers a rare chance to engage with the Arab world without the distorting lens of excessive wealth. With an abundance of natural beauty, from spectacular mountains, wind-blown deserts and a pristine coastline, Oman is the obvious choice for those seeking out the modern face of Arabia while wanting still to sense its ancient soul. We take you past some of its varied delights through this photo feature.
The Grand Mosque
Towering over the Muscat skyline with its beautiful dome and five towers that, incidentally, represent the five pillars of Islam, the Grand Mosque has an Indian connection too. Besides the sandstone that was transported all the way from India for its construction, some of its design elements, we are told, have been inspired by the Taj Mahal.
Mountain paths flanked by lofty Deodars, quaint churches, colonial bungalows and charming bazaars, beautiful boulevards and spectacular views – Mussoorie is all about pleasing sights and peaceful leisure. But underneath its picturesque beauty and old world charms are hidden numerous tales of sinister entities that come to life once darkness descends on the hills. When in Mussoorie, here’re a few places you should perhaps avoid after sunset, unless you are looking for an unearthly encounter.
LAMBI DEHAR MINES
Purportedly one of the most haunted places in the country, the now abandoned Lambi Dehar mines have witnessed mysterious deaths, murders, fatal accidents and inhuman suffering of miners forced to work under insufferable conditions. Reports of disembodied cries and groans, unexplained phenomena, spectres and apparitions galore, the locals refuse to venture close to the mines, especially post sunset. The most chilling legend associated with the mines is that of the witch of Lambi Dehar. Allegedly responsible for numerous unexplained deaths and disappearances in the area, her blood-curdling shrieks can still be heard piercing through the deathly silence of the night.
Mullingar, Mussoorie’s oldest building built circa 1825, is still haunted by the spirit of the man who built it. The flamboyant Raj-era mansion was constructed by an Irishman, Captain Young, the commander of the first Sirmoor Battalion of the British Indian Army. Captain Young went back to Ireland upon retiring from his services, but it seems like he never really left, at least not his spirit. According to local lore, on moon drenched nights, a phantom rider is seen roaming the large compound of the Mullingar mansion. It’s believed that it is none but Captain Young revisiting the place he once called home.
PARI TIBBA (HILL OF THE FAIRIES)
If you are a Ruskin Bond fan you have probably heard about the infamous Pari Tibba, a densely wooded hill south of Mussoorie’s legendary Woodstock School, allegedly a paranormal hotspot. Incidentally, Pari Tibba is unusually prone to lightning strikes, and locals attribute this uncanny anomaly to supernatural forces. Numerous burnt, warped carcasses of lightning-struck trees, strewn around the hunched hill, are the only witnesses to Pari Tibba’s mysterious secrets.
There are numerous legends attached to this hill, including those surrounding the resident fairies of the hill. The hill is also said to be haunted by the anguished souls of two star-crossed lovers who died in these woods, struck by lightning. Their charred bodies were recovered days later, but their distraught spirits continue to wander in these woods. Not the ideal place to loiter around after dark, eh?
The Savoy is by far the most famous haunted location in Mussoorie and guards many a sinister secrets within its century-old walls. And down its old corridors lurks the phantom of Lady Garnet Orme, a British spiritualist known to dabble in the occult, who was murdered in the hotel in 1911, poisoned with the deadly strychnine.
The mystery became all the more puzzling when, a few years later, her doctor too was found dead, poisoned with strychnine. The case remained unsolved and that perhaps explains the haunting. Lady Orme is said to wander through the hotel looking for her murderer, albeit in vain. Guests at the hotel have reported disembodied whispers, doors opening and closing on their own, and even face-to-face encounters with Lady Orme’s apparition only to see it vanish into thin air.
Sister’s Bazaar, a charming albeit secluded, forested area is popular for its beautiful walking trail, stunning views and a haunted house. The crumbling skeleton of a long-forsaken colonial bungalow in the locality has earned quite the reputation as the haunt for ghostly beings. Popular with ghost hunters, trekkers and even picnic parties, the hike up the narrow path, flanked by lofty Deodar trees, to the Haunted House, is worth your while if only for the spectacular views of the surrounding hills it offers.
The author’s views are her own and do not reflect those of Lonely Planet India.
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