Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The anti corruption movement heats up in Pune - Photos from Pune

The people have taken to the streets in Pune and all over India to support the anti corruption movement led by Anna Hazare

The Tricolor flies with new found vigor in the Anti Corruption rallies across India. The Youth are rediscovering the meaning of freedom, patriotism & democracy..

The people sitting for fasting in the night batch 8 pm in the night to 8 am in the morning..

Everyone sports "Anna Caps" & Fight corruption TShirts. People from all walks of life join hands to fight corruption which threatens the country.

Its all about Patriotism here as the crowd joins in singing Patriotic songs.

Ghoshna ani Jai Jai kar.. Its the first time for many as India experiences its first Revolution since freedom.

The crowd joins in to Sing Vande Mataram at the Balgandharva Chowk in Pune

Monday, August 15, 2011

Dharmapuri Gadhi & Kedareshwar temple- Beed region

Continuing on our journey, we started for Dharmapuri at about 3 30 after getting a smacking lunch at Krushnai lunch home in Ambejogai. We reached the place at about 5.

Dharmapuri is more of a 'Gadhi' than a fort, located about 30 kms from Ambejogai on the road to Ahmadpur. The peculiar feature of the fort is that a lot of temple remenants have been used in the construction. Practically every wall of the fort addorns beautiful carvings from some temple structure. The outer walls are pretty much in good shape and even the doorway is in decent condition but inside hardly any structures remain. On one side you can see the remnants of walls of some rooms and a room with a almost complete roof. Opposite to that on a bastion there is the grave of a 'Pir'.  On one of the walls a temple panel showing the fight between Sugreeva and Vali with Ram shooting an arrow at Vali is seen. To the right of this a flight of stairs leads down to the bottom a large ashtakoni(octagonal) well.  Just near the water a Kirtimukha can be seen on the wall on the left.

Almost next to the actual well opening there is a large underground chamber,the entrance of which you can easily miss because of the shrubs that have taken over.

After completing our tour of the Gadhi we went on to the nearby temple of Kedareshwar which is very old. three of the outer walls of the temple are adorned with beutiful sculptures of Vishnu in his various avatars,  Shiva Parvati etc. A sculpture of Narsimha shown killing Hiranyakashyapu is most striking. A rare sculpture of Bramha can also be seen. Other panels show Sursundaris and Vishkanya. Another notable sculpture is one of the Mrutyudevata. A huge sculpture of the Vyal is seen near the entrance.

Inside, there is a Shivling. The carvings on the inner side aren't as striking as the ones outside.Kirtimukhas adorn a lot of the inner walls.

This temple is in a pretty sorry state and one can find a few panels from one of the destroyed walls near temple.

After seeing the temple we went on to Latur where we planned to stay at my Uncle's place and then go on to Udaigiri at Udgir and Awsa forts on the 14th.

Awsa fort, Latur

Awsa is located just 19 odd kms from Latur. We started from Latur at about 3 30 after having a awesome lunch at my uncles's place. The fort closes at 5 and we managed to get there just in time.There is an old doorway at one point which seems to be part of the old walls surrounding the village below the fort. The wooden doors here are still standing and have iron spikes on them to deter an assault using elephants.

There is a person from the dept. Of archeology present here and you need to do an in & out entry in a log book present with him. Also Note that you need to take permission from the archeology offices in Pune if you want to do any serious photography here. Since we didn't know about this earlier, we were reduced to taking a few odd snaps on my phone. This in my opinion is an idiotic rule made by the archeology department since none of the remnants will be affected by flashes. If there any other reasons, they are not apparent.

It seems a lot of efforts have been taken by the dept. at some point to develop the fort and a garden inside it but at present its in a pretty bad condition. Overgrown would be very much be an understatement. The big plus is that there are are quite a large number of peacocks in the fort and the surrounding area and they are pretty tame too.

Just after entering the fort there is a large courtyard and a number of cannons are placed here.  Further ahead there is a large courtyard under which is a underground chamber supposedly used for secret meetings.Going on further ahead there is a well called as katori which means bowl in hindi. This well can be accessed by stairs on two levels.

There are 5 cannons on the various bastions on the fort. One of them is a Pancha dhatu one (alloy of 5 metals) and one is pretty long. Another nice feature is the 'chandrakoni wihir' - a well in the shape of the crescent moon.

Just above the coutyard there is a tower which has a nice view of the fort. There a peculiar feature here which I saw for the first time were round pillars made of brick.

Udaigiri fort - Udgir , Latur

We started from Latur for Udgir at 8 30 in the morning. Udaigiri fort lies in the town of Udgir - 65 kms from Latur.

The fort is surrounded by a large moat and we have to cross a bridge to enter the fort. From here going to the right there is the Samadhi of Udgir Maharaj after whom the town is named. There is a large water tank in which there is a cave on one side inside which there is a Shivling. To get to this cave one has to walk through knee deep water.

Now on to the fort. Walking from the entrance through a series of doors we enter a courtyard.

There are quite a few buildings inside the fort in decent condition but almost all walls having old lime plaster have been spoiled by miscreants writing their names on them. In fact its hard to find a place without them. The upper floor of the building on the right has some beautiful artwork.

At the top of this building on the bastion there is the 'Surya' tof (canon). In the courtyard there is a tank in the shape of a flower. On one side there is a building which seems to be the highest point and has a good view. In general there are a lot of ruins of old mahals in pretty good condition. These are all pretty similar in design. At some placess you can also find some underground chambers.

We took about 2 hours to see the entire fort and were back in Latur by 2 30.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Dharur fort - Beed region

We had been travelling for a long time-almost 4 hours when we reached Jamkhed. Our destination the fort of Dharur was still a long way off so we decided to take some rest in a temple in a village half way between Jamkhed and Patoda.

Feeling refreshed, we started off at about 8am from there and stopped at Manjarsumba to get some breakfast. We have now just started on our way again. The next mile stone is Kej where we shall take the turn towards Dharur. I will continue my naration now once we have seen the Dharur fort.

Dharur is a mix of a hill and land fort. Its defences are strenthened by valleys on 3 sides and a moat on the 4th side. Initially built by Rashtrakut kings, this fort was later under the Nizam and later the Moghuls. Netaji Palkar was  captured by Aurangzeb.

The road that takes one to the fort through the Dharur village brought back memories of Chakan in Pune. A narrow road snakes through the densely crowded houses towards the fort. A lot of the houses are pretty old and have beautiful old doors.

The entrance to the fort is strategically flanked by 2 huge bastions such that the actual doorway is hidden from view. The fort is protected by 30 bastions and a lot of the fortifications are intact. Inside the fort one can see a temple, some dry tanks which seem like old swimming tanks ! Interestingly the moat seems to have been by building two walls on 2 sides of the fort and damming a stream that might have flowed down the valleys. Both the walls are huge and have formed spectacular pools which are part of the moat. One can see ducks frolicking around in the water. There is also a mosque on which you can see a inscription in Parsi. Interestingly there are a couple of recent graves in the courtyard dating 2010.

There are 2 bastions inside the fort that seem to be lookout points. One of them is in a diapiladated state with no way left to reach the top.

We reached Dharur fort at about 11 and completd our tour by 1 30. According to some locals that we talked to the covered tanks in the middle of the fort are 'tupachya wihiri' which means wells of ghee. In those times old ghee was used to treat wounds.

We started off from Dharur at 1 30. Next we plan to stop for lunch at Ambejogai and then go on to Dharmapuri where there is a 'gadhi' and a very old Kedareshwar temple with beautiful

Friday, August 12, 2011

Beed osmanabad latur forts trek - day one blogging on the go

Its the 12th of August and the 6 of us ar waiting for the hired Tavera to pick us up. This year 15th August - India's independance day has come on a Monday giving us a nice to day long weekend owing to which we have planned to visit the forts in the Beed,Osmanabad & Latur regions. Its been a bit of a hard decision planning this effective 'tour' of mostly land forts so far away from our favourite Sahyadris but then getting this much time in such an apt season for this region would have been harder.

There are 6 of us on this trip - Ashwin,Manali, Darshan, Pranav, Himangi & myself. The plan for day 1 is to travel towards Ambejogai via Nagar road and our first stop will be Dharur fort which is enroute.  Next we shall be going on to Ambejogai and visit the Gadhi of Dharmapuri and if time permits go on to visit the fort of Udgir.

We entered the Beed district at about 4 am in the morning and just a little outside the town of Jamkhed, we saw groups of boys jogging at pretty regular intervals which was pretty puzzling. More updates will follow in upcoming posts !

Monday, August 8, 2011

Blogging from my new Samsung Galaxy Pro

So finally after squeezing all the juices out of my old Nokia 3110c I have got my self a smartphone.

Though I was able to just about get things I needed most done using the 3110c, of late the gmail app on it had become unbearably slow and the phone itself had got some physical damange on my trip to Periyar in Feb.

When Pinakin got himself a Galaxy, I got a chance to really properly use android and be sure that it would work for me. I was definitely sure I wanted a phone with a QWERTY keypad since I mainly wanted it for email on the go. So a touch and type was the best choice. This narrowed down the phones available greatly making my decision way easier. Next the thing to look at while buying an android is the processor speed. The galaxy pro was the only phone at that point with a 800 mhz processor which was much faster than most phones in my budget and the qwerty factor. I jumped on to the internet & found that I could get this 10k priced phone for just 8500 on flipcart. A couple of days after I got the phone my wife announced that this was her aniversary gift and that she had already transfered the money to my bank ! How awesome is that :-)

The phone is pretty awesome for the cost it comes at.

- Nice large screen with android running in landscape mode
- Awesome keypad. Very easy to type with
- Android 2.2
- Decent battery life 

- Screen resolution is pretty low
- No multi touch so so pinch zoom
- not found any custom roms for this phone yet 
- haven't been able to get auto complete to work with the hardware keypad.