Friday, November 07, 2014

Eating the Fun Way!!!!



Few days back Prakruti didn’t want to eat… and I came up with this story…..

Gods don’t eat by themselves, when we eat, each piece is for one God and when everyone eats Gods get their tummy full….

The first piece is always for Hathi jeje (Elephant God or Ganesha). Once Ganesha ate, he said my brother is also hungry eat one piece for him also.. So the next piece is for Muruga jeje. After eating his share he said, all my strength is from my mom so eat for her also.. And the next one is for Parvathi jeje.. Parvathi jeje said this after she ate: “You ate for me… please eat for my friends Saraswati jeje and Lakshmi jeje as well. Once Saraswati jeje ate her share she said… “please eat for my husband also…” Lakshmi jeje wants you to eat for Vishnu jeje…. Brahma jeje says, “ eat for my son Narada… please” Brahma and Vishnu want you to eat for their very good friend… Shiva jeje….

With this her pappu mammam (dal rice) was over… I will probably add valli deivanai and other Gods if she has to eat some more…

For perugannam (curd rice)

The different avatars of Vishnu were hungry and they ate… J


When she was chewing the food, I also added small stories regarding each jeje… 

She loves this story and wants me to tell this for each meal... If I can't tell it, she tells the story by herself and eats... The best part is she finishes her lunch/dinner very fast




Sunday, March 30, 2014

Yelagiri - Zeenath Taj Gardens - Drive from Bangalore to Yelagiri - March 2014

We were looking for relaxing trip a short drive from Bangalore for a day or 2. Considered Yelagiri/Yercaud. We were worried that Yelagiri might be hotter than Bangalore, and may not be worth the trip. But it was good! 




The drive was very nice (mostly) - Slow traffic in Bangalore city (took us 1 hour to reach E-city flyover from Banaswadi) on a Saturday morning - and again really horrible traffic in Hosur (because of ongoing flyover constructions). 

The resort - We had really low expectations of resorts/hotels in Yelagiri (based on friends' feedbacks). However, we were pleasantly surprised with what we saw at Zeenath Taj Gardens! The place is beautiful, trees, and cottages, lots of place to loiter, and basically wonderful to relax! Staff were excellent - amazingly courteous - special thanks to Mr Ayas (i hope that is the correct spelling) who seemed to have the whole place in control single-handedly! Vegetarian food was also pretty comfortable. 

The grounds are maintained very well, but the rooms can be given a bit more attention. Understand that the resort is next to the forest - lots of trees around - there are lots of insects - spiders, ants, etc. who shared the room with us. I was not completely happy with this, but, I think they can't do too much about this... 

Children's play area is terrible - not maintained at all - broken equipment... this was a disappointment because our 4-year old didn't have much to do, other than laze around with us. However, they provide badminton racquets and shuttlecocks, a decent table tennis board, carrom, chess for slightly bigger kids & adults, which is good. 

I don't think there is too much about location in Yelagiri, it is a small town, everything (the 2-3 things there) is easily accessible. This resort has no views to talk about - the only one being garden view (which is nice, but you can't really enjoy people looking into your room from the garden). 

Overall, I enjoyed the experience - served my purpose= short drive + relaxing stay... However, I feel the charges are a bit steep - ~2500 per room (minimum) + ~550 per head for food (breakfast + lunch + dinner) + extra for tea/coffee/milk. I am not sure it is value for money. Nothing major to complain about, but at a slightly lower price would have been good!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Drive to Trichy from Bangalore

Road trip on our Suzuki Ritz 2013 Vxi Petrol - Bangalore - Tiruchengode - Trichy (Vayalur - Tiruvanaikovil - Samayapuram - Srirangam - Rockfort) - Namakkal - Bangalore - 850 kms - 3 days/2 nights 

After our road trip to Chennai last month, I really wanted to go on another long drive, and was looking to drive all the way to Kanyakumari on the NH7. But, with the limited budget, we decided to restrict to Trichy which is around 380 kms.

We started with an elaborate plan to cover a lot of places in and around Trichy with a 4-day halt at Trichy - mainly a temple tour with a few picnic spots here and there. However, the actual trip spanned only 3 days - we started on 6th October at 5AM and returned on 8th October by 4 PM - purely a temple tour.

The Trip...

Bangalore-Krishnagiri-Salem (200 kms - 3 hours)
We started from Horamavu, Bangalore (north-east corner of Bangalore) on Sunday, 6th October 2013 0500, and drove through the inner ring road to reach Hosur Road. Took the Electronic City Elevated Road, drove on the superb NH7 all the way to Salem. The 6-lane highway starts from Hosur till Krishnagiri. Since parts of this road are still under construction, there are a lot of diversions and jams. But it is not very bad though, and could drive mostly around 80-100kmph.

The Krishnagiri-Salem section was superb. Though it was a 4-lane highway, I could drive at speeds of 120-130 kmph consistently and also managed to touch 150 kmph twice. We reached Salem (200kms) at 0800 (3 hours). After Salem, we took the exit towards Erode.

Salem-Tiruchengode (40 kms - 40 minutes)
To go to Tiruchengode, we took the exit at Salem towards Erode/Coimbatore. The Salem-Erode road was also a good 4-lane highway, but we had to take the diversion towards Tiruchengode, and the great roads ended.

View Larger Map
The Tiruchengode road was still good - 2 lanes, traffic was not bad, and we covered around 40 kms in 40 minutes. We stopped in the Tiruchengode town for breakfast at a small restaurant "Mani's Cafe" near the bus stand (place was bad. food was ok). We then started on the hill road to the temple. This road is cut out of the rock, and the view was very good!
The Ardhanareeswarar temple was nice, not crowded at all. Spent about an hour there and started the drive to Trichy.

Tiruchengode - Trichy (122 kms - 3 hours)
The Tiruchengode - Trichy road is a 2-lane highway through Namakkal. We took the route through Musiri, Srirangam - Trichy which goes beside the Cauvery river. The road was generally fine, but lots of sand trucks and intercity buses.

So, a total of ~360 kms in ~6 hours of driving, and ~2 hours of breaks...

At Trichy, we stayed at the TTDC Tamil Nadu hotel. The hotel was basic, but for the rate of Rs. 1900 for the family room (for 5), it was comfortable. We also got a 20% senior citizen discount using my father-in-law's ID.

View Larger Map

Food at Trichy
Vegetarian food at Trichy was not as good as we expected, maybe we didn't go to the right places. We tried different restaurants, but only once or twice was our experience good.
- Kurinji restaurant (Hotel Guru) - we had lunch in the a/c restaurant - food was decent, but lighting could be better
- Vasantha Bhavan (opp Central bus stand) - Food was really bad here - Didn't try again
- Sree Krishna - This was good - we had food here multiple times in our stay
- Geethanjali (Hotel Mayas) - Best food in Trichy - on our way back to Bangalore.

Temples in and around Trichy
We visited the following temples in and near Trichy -
1. Vayalur Subrahmanya temple - https://plus.google.com/106697368794501106180/about?rfmt=s&hl=en
2. Tiruvanaikovil - https://plus.google.com/103107691687123241906/about?rfmt=s&hl=en
3. Samayapuram - https://plus.google.com/108573827951372385483/about?rfmt=s&hl=en - was very crowded / looked very commercialised to me
3. Srirangam - https://plus.google.com/101940441140740283186/about?rfmt=s&hl=en - We went here at 5.30PM. The temple was closed between 5.30 and 7 PM. We didn't wait and went on to the Rockfort temple
4. Rockfort hill temple - https://plus.google.com/114985212812461048726/about?rfmt=s&hl=en - This was a nice temple on a hill, however the entry and exit roads for the hill were very narrow and without any directions.

At Namakkal
On the 3rd day, we started our return drive to Bangalore at around 8AM after breakfast at Geethanjali. We used the same road on the return as we used while arriving (through Musiri). However, the road beside the river was pretty bad on this side because of the fully laden sand lorries freshly excavated from the Cauvery. It was a slow drive following the slow lorries and intercity buses from Trichy to Namakkal and Salem.

At Namakkal, we stopped for 2 temples -
Anjaneya Temple - https://plus.google.com/115018699249979912547/about
Narasimha Temple - https://plus.google.com/106719507413812979903/about - This is a nice temple, with the idols formed within the cave of the hill.

Return to Bangalore
We continued back to Bangalore on the NH7 - which was pretty good and comfortable. We had a quick lunch at Adyar Ananda Bhavan just before Dharmapuri. The major highlight of this road was the number of butterflies flying across the NH7 and getting smashed by each vehicle.

Overally a very good trip! The Ritz handled very well and I enjoyed the complete drive!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Trip to Tirupati-Tirumala in March 2012 - Vishesha Seva

We had planned a sudden trip to Tirupati-Tirumala in late March 2012. Our plan was to drive to Tirumala on 25th March, Sunday, visit the temple the same day, stay there overnight and drive back early on 26th March, Monday. However, we had heard that (23rd March being Ugadi), the weekend will be very crowded. We had also not planned/booked accommodation there in advance. In spite of this, this trip turned out to be a really good one! 


We took the normal route -> Bangalore Old Madras Road (NH5) - Hoskote -> Kolar -> Mulbagal -> Palamaner -> Chittoor bye pass -> Puttalapattu -> Tirupati -> Tirumala. 

Sunday, 25th March 2012
We started early Sunday morning, 5.30AM. We had decided to stop only once for breakfast. So around 8AM (when our daughter woke up), we stopped somewhere beyond Palamaner, at a place called Priyadarshini (or something like that). We had some decent breakfast - idly, pongal and coffee and then proceeded towards Tirupati. We reached Tirupati around 10.30 AM. 

Just before the Security checkpoint at Tirupati (before we start the uphill drive), a TTD staff asked us for a lift, since he had just missed his shuttle. Just to ensure that he was really a TTD staff, we asked him to show an ID,which he did. He got us quickly through the security check, helping us load our luggage onto the scanner and then putting it back into our car.

While we were driving up, we got our first shock. The TTD person told us that the crowd was really too much and it was taking people 7-8 hours of waiting in the queue. Also, the normal accommodation was going to be impossible to get. However, he called up somebody and found that we could get tickets to a Special Seva (Vishesha Seva) Monday morning. Also, he suggested that we go to the "Padmavathy Enquiry Office" to book our accommodation (these start at Rs. 1000 per night), rather than the normal ones. This advice turned out good for us.

Once at Tirumala, we drove to the Vijaya Bank counter, where we purchased Vishesha Seva tickets (Rs 600/head) for Monday morning. We discovered that, to enter the temple using the Seva tickets, we had to were traditional dresses - Male: Veshti + Angavastram, Female: Saree. So we purchased these from the local market. After a bit of searching for accomodation at the different Mutts in Tirumala (all of them were full), we went to the Padmavathi Enquiry office and booked a room (Rs 1000 per night+Rs. 1000 Refundable deposit) at the Sripadadam Guest House. After lunch and some rest, we roamed around the town and the garden.

Monday, 26th March 2012
We woke up early, since the time mentioned was 6.30AM and the staff had asked us to arrive at the Vaikuntam Q Complex - 2 by 6 AM. We entered through the "Supatham" entry. This is also the same entry for parents with infants. After the initial checking and scanning, we were made to wait at (what I call) "the cage" till about 7.15 AM. We were then taken to the place where the "Seva" happens. This is adjacent to the main temple itself. This is a nice big hall where we were asked to sit, leaving some space in the middle. At around 7.30 AM, with the accompaniment of music, the "Utsava Vigraham" is brought and placed in the hall. There is an elaborate puja performed here. All these are visible without any difficulty. Here's a description of the Seva on the official site

After the Seva is completed, we are taken directly in the Central temple area. The usual confusion happens here, there is a free-for-all entry here, and the usual "Jaragandi-Jaragandi" and pushing-pulling by the staff. But overall, a very good "Darshan". We were out of the temple complex after collecting the "Prasadam", by 9.30AM. 


We packed up our stuff from the room, picked up the refund of Rs.1000, had some heavy breakfast and started for Bangalore, by 11.30AM. The downhill drive was slow, since traffic was allowed two-way. Drove back non-stop except for a coffee and we were home by 5 PM. A great trip all-in-all! 

Monday, April 16, 2012

Kids' Stories - Learning ABCD the fun way

ABCD story for kids!

This is one of P-'s favorite stories.She enjoys it totally, and listens attentively till the end! This is how it goes...

A-for-Apple and B-for-Ball were going for a walk. There they met C-for-Cat and D-for-Dog. A-for-Apple asked C-for-Cat where they were going. C-for-Cat said they were going for an all-animals' meeting and asked if they would also come and witness it. All four started walking.

In some distance, near a river they saw E-for-Elephant. D-for-Dog asked E-for-Elephant if he was coming for the meeting. E-for-Elephant said he was waiting for F-for-Fish.

G-for-Goat was walking in the other direction, and on his head was a H-for-Hat. F-for-Fish asked G-for-Goat where he was going. G-for-Goat said he was going to the shop to get some I-for-Ice Cream and asked if they would accompany him. C-for-Cat said he did not want I-for-Ice Cream, but will instead drink J-for-Juice. As they were eating I-for-Ice cream and drinking J-for-Juice, they saw a K-for-Kite flying high above. At that time, L-for-Lion came there and asked why everybody was looking up. They said they were looking at K-for-Kite.

While they were looking up, they saw M-for-Monkey jumping from one tree to another and they were all wondering  why. When E-for-Elephant asked M-for-Monkey why he was jumping, M-for-Monkey said he saw an N-for-Nest and wanted to know whose it was. O-for-Owl came that way and said that it was her N-for-Nest.

Meanwhile, P-for-Parrot started shouting, "Q-for-Queen has come, Q-for-Queen has come". But it had started to R-for-Rain. So, everyone started hurrying into the S-for-Ship which was waiting there. At the same time, T-for-Train also arrived there. Since R-for-Rain was very heavy, they all opened their U-for-Umbrella and ran into the S-for-Ship and T-for-Train. Q-for-Queen looked at her W-for-Watch and got into her V-for-Van. Since she had a pain in her back, she got in to the V-for-Van to go to the hospital for an X-for-X-ray. In the V-for-Van, while she waited, she ate some Y-for-Yogurt..

Soon, the S-for-Ship and T-for-Train started moving. Just then, they saw an animal running and shouting "stop stop, wait for me!". What was this animal? It was Z-for-Zebra!




Other Kids stories in this blog

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Ramya's Recipe Series: Palak Methi Balls


Palak Methi Balls

Another nice snack from Ramya's Recipe book!


Ingredients
  1. Palak – 2 cups
  2. Methi – 1 cup
  3. Gram flour – 2 tea spoons
  4. Rava – 2 teaspoons
  5. Atta – 4 teaspoons
  6. Chilli paste – ½ teaspoon
  7. Lemon juice – 1 teaspoon
  8. Sugar – ½ tea spoon
  9. Salt – To taste
  10. Oil – 2 teaspoons


For Seasoning
  1. Mustard – ½ teaspoon
  2. Jeera – ½ teaspoon
  3. Till – ½ teaspoon
  4. Hing – ½ teaspoon
  5. Oil – 1 teaspoon

Procedure

  • Mix all ingredients 1 to 10
  • Make 5 – 6 portions and roll it in your hands



  • Steam it for 10 minutes
  • Allow it to cool and cut it into discs

  • Add oil in a kadai and add mustard, after it splutters add jeera, till and hing
  • Toss the discs in the seasoning and serve

Note
  1. Ginger paste and coriander can also be added
  2. Increase or decrease the amount of chilli paste as per your taste
  3. This can be prepared without adding sugar also

Friday, April 06, 2012

Ramya's Recipe Series - Thavala Adai


Thavala Adai - A type of Rice Cutlet

This is a very tasty evening snack item. 




Ingredients
  • Idly rava – 1 cup
  • Water – 2 cups
  • For seasoning:
  • Dry chillies – 3-4
  • Mustard – ½ spoon
  • Split Urad dal – ½ spoon
  • Gram dal – ½ spoon
  • Grated Coconut- 2- 3 spoons
  • Salt- To taste
  • Asafoetida – A pinch
  • Oil


Procedure
  • In a kadai heat oil and add mustard and red chillies (broken into 2 or 3)
  • After the mustard splutters add split urad dal and gram dal
  • After the dals turn red add Asafoetida, water and salt
  • When the water is boiling add the grated coconut and idly rava
  • Keep mixing till it is 3/4ths cooked
  • Remove it and after it cools make it into lemon size balls
  • Flatten these balls
  • Heat another kadai and place these flattened balls in it and add oil
  • Heat it till it becomes golden brown on both the sides
  • Serve it hot with sauce or tomato chutney or any chutney


Note
If idly rava is not available, grind rice or par-boiled rice to rava consistency and use it.


More posts from Ramya's Recipe Series