Saturday, May 30, 2009

Old Churches – The architectural marvels of Bangalore.

Bangalore is home to a number of historic and extremely impressive cathedrals, basilicas, chapels and churches which are important architectural symbols and landmarks of the city. These churches belong to diverse Christian communities, such as the Roman Catholic Church, the ancient Syrian Church of Kerala and its reformed counterpart, the Mar Thoma Church, Protestants from the Church of South India (which includes Anglicans, Lutherans and other older denominations) and newer evangelical groups with links to the United States. I visited a few of the old churches around central Bangalore with my friend Jonathan. Thanks to my Sony Camera and Picassa for the lovely pictures. (Click on the pictures to view full sized images.)

1. All Saints Church, Brigade Road, Bangalore
The foundation stone for the structure was laid 27th November, 1869 and the church was consecrated 17th October, 1870.

2. East Parade Church, M G Road, Bangalore
This CSI church was completed in February 1886.

3. Hudson Memorial Church, Hudson Circle, Bangalore
Hudson Memorial Church was built in memory of Rev. Josiah Hudson. This stone building was built in 1904 in a mixture of Gothic and classic styles.

4. Infant Jesus Shrine, Viveknagar, Bangalore
Infant Jesus Church at Vivek Nagar is one of the biggest churches in Karnataka and a popular pilgrimage centre. The foundation was laid in April 1970 by Rev.Dr.Lourduswamy, the then Archbishop of Bangalore and the church was completed in the year 1979.

5. Sacred Heart Church, Ashok Nagar, Bangalore
This church built in 1867, is a rare combination of Gothic and French style of architecture consisting of solid granite rock-blocks, marble interiors, beautifully sculptured statutes and pillars decorated with Corinthian style carvings. The church features typical Roman style side altars, two parallel column towers and a mighty bell from Italy.

6. St Andrew's Church, Cubbon Road, Bangalore

St. Andrew's Kirk, is a Scottish church built in the 1860s and features a particularly grand pipe organ, together with detailed stained-glass windows depicting scenes from the bible.

7. St Francis Xavier Cathedral, St John Road, Bangalore
St. Francis Xavier's Cathedral was opened on 26th May 1932. The blue and while domes atop the stone towers really catch the eye.

8. St John’s Church, St John Road, Bangalore
This Anglican Church dating back to 1853 is a beautiful structure with a tall spire that can be seen from a distance.

9. St Joseph's Church, Mysore Road, Bangalore

This church was built in memory of Fr Briand in 1867 It is the only church in Bangalore with a crypt St. Joseph's Church.

10. St Luke's Church, K R Market, Bangalore

This church was built in 1830.

11. St Mark's Cathedral, M G Road, Bangalore
St. Mark's Cathedral dates back as far as 1808 and is known for its beautiful colonial facade, large dome, external bells, elaborate carvings, woodwork and monuments. It was originally built in 1808 and enlarged in 1901.

12. St Mary's Basilica, Shivajinagar, Bangalore
St. Mary's Basilica was originally built as a small chapel in 1818 and was transformed into the present grand Gothic-style church some 60 years later. The stately arches of the church are supported by stained glass windows and multiple columns built in a rich Corinthian style.

13. St Patrick's Church, Brigade Road, Bangalore
The second oldest Catholic Church (after St Mary's) is the 150-year-old St. Patrick's Church. The foundation was laid in July 1841 and the building was completed in 1844. It has a beautiful arched entrance flanked by twin columns. The interior of the church has twelve graceful pillars which symbolise the twelve apostles. The twin spires of the Church are a landmark in the city cantonment.

14. Trinity Church, M G Road, Bangalore
It is built in the English Renaissance style. The foundation stone was laid on February 16, 1848, and the church was opened to public on July 25, 1852.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Keywords: Key, hole.

We have locks everywhere. We lock doors, gates, bikes and even our cell phone keypads. Besides hard work being the key to success, all other keys are small metal pieces with jagged edges. Now keys have an infuriating tendency of following Murphy’s Law and get lost at all the wrong times. Okay I know there is never a ‘right’ time for something to get lost, but I hope you are getting the point. My bicycle lock also needs a key to open it. I am actually thinking of installing a remote controlled central locking system for my bicycle. Wouldn’t that be cool? Anyways, I do not have a keychain for my bicycle key as key chains make an annoying rattling sound against the mud guard while in motion.

So there was this one time when I parked the bicycle on the footpath locked it and was about to put the key in pocket. Just then the key slipped from my fingers and, believe it or not, fell right into the drain through a small crack between two slabs. I shouted ‘Noooo’ as I agonisingly watched it fall in slow motion into the drain. I had to go home and get the spare and that involved walking for about 1km to borrow a bicycle and then cycling 3km one way to my home and back. Anyways all’s well that ends well and the incident was forgotten.

A couple of weeks later I went to a cyber cafe with my bicycle. I locked it and put the key in my pocket. After surfing I walked back to my bicycle but just couldn’t find the key. I checked my pocket thoroughly and realised that it had a small hole. Damn! The key must have slipped through it. I frantically traced my steps back to the booth I was sitting in but to no avail. Now I was in a fix as I didn’t even have a spare! There’s Murphy’s Law for you. It takes ages to lose the first key but just a few days to lose the spare key when you haven’t yet made a duplicate.

Hmm, what do I do now? I could go and fetch a mechanic and get him to remove the lock. But that would involve keeping my bicycle unattended and given that the key was certainly picked up by someone, that wasn’t a safe option. So I decided to wheel my cycle home by lifting the rear wheel. I realised that wasn’t a good option as it was quite difficult and my home was about a km away. I would also have to pass through the market place and my actions would certainly evoke some suspicion. Bicycles don’t even have RC books! How the hell am I supposed to prove my ownership if someone questioned me?? I decided not to risk it as I didn’t even know the local language in case I had to explain myself.

So I was back to square one. I decided to risk it and go to the mechanic. I began walking dejectedly with my hands in the pocket cursing fate and myself for not making another spare key and for not being careful about checking for holes in the pocket. Suddenly I felt the cloth lining through the hole in my pocket. The pocket was in between the outer fabric and the inner lining. So the key must still be inside. Not in the pocket but in the pants! I quickly bent down and felt all around the lower hem. And voila! There it was. I gave a cry of joy! People around me looked at me curiously. So I started walking slowly thinking how I could get the key from there. I bent down again and tried to force it back up. But I felt it wasn’t a pretty sight in public as I probably looked like I was scratching a bad itch. What if someone gave me Itch Guard?

After a little brainstorming I realised I had to go home and do the retrieval. I hurried back home, removed the key and rushed back to my bicycle, lest someone around there thought it had been abandoned and decided to take it. Luckily my bicycle was still there. I made sure there were no holes in the drain covers this time in case history repeated itself.

Key of the story, keys should be kept away from all holes except for keyholes!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The 50th

And it’s a fifty! A fine effort by Danny in posting 50 articles on his blog! [:D] And it has come in precisely 365 days. Not exactly a break neck speed, but a steady rate of about 1 post a week! Okay enough of the stats. When I started by blog exactly a year ago, I didn’t expect to get this far. I took up blogging mainly because everyone else seemed to be present in the blogosphere. But the constant encouragement of my fans and followers has kept that flame of enthusiasm burning.

First of all I thank Google for hosting my blog and for making blogging so easy. I am not very good with this computer stuff, but Google has managed to make blogging a ‘left handed child’s play’. I also thank Facebook, Orkut and Gtalk for the free advertising space for my blog URL. Officially I have 15 fans. You can check their profiles under ‘faithful fans’. I am sure there are many more readers besides those elite 15. I thank each one of them for taking time out from their not so busy schedules to read my blog. I also have international readers as evident from the hits I get from around the world. Check the world map for details. Nations that haven’t yet read my blog are doomed as they don’t get the benefits from my enlightening thoughts meant for the betterment of mankind. I think the HRD ministry should make this blog a part of the school curriculum. [:D]

I do not blog for money as evident from the fact I have made just over $2 over the past year. I do not blog for fame as I am already quite famous! As I have said I blog for the betterment of mankind. Few of the readers ask questions and clarify their doubts through the comments section or through private chat. The rest follow my teachings without question. Understandable as Plato and Socrates were rarely questioned in their days. There are some people who feel my thoughts are pretty useless. All I can say is that many great thinkers and philosophers were ignored or condemned in their time. Anyways creative writing is supposedly good for your health! My writings cover a wide genre ranging from environment, travelogues, general and spiritual musings, etc. You can go to the section of your choice through the various labels.

So then folks happy reading! I hope to post some juicy articles during my stay in Goa and the USA. Its goodbye then, till the next milestone.

Breaking News: Danny the author of famous blog The Reflection of Perfection is meeting with his fans at Forum Mall on Sunday. Be there to grab some exclusive autographed reflection of perfection t-shirts.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

And it is a six!

And it is a six! Short ball put away over square leg! And everyone is on their feet cheering and clapping loudly. You might think this is a scene at a cricket stadium during an IPL match. Wrong. This is the scene in a hostel common room at IISc during an IPL match. I remembered the days when we watched cricket matches on the common room TV at BITS. It is always fun to watch cricket on TV with some enthusiastic fans.

The room is jam packed. The match is a nail biter. All eyes are on the screen from no matter where. Some guys even stand behind the TV and peep from the side. It’s much more fun when India is playing because all guys are supporting one team. So when you have an umpire’s decision that goes against India, the people start swearing and abusing the umpire even if he was correct. Everyone gets really pumped up. But there are some guys who act cool as though they don’t really care who wins. Then there are some like me, who cheer the other team just to irritate the diehard fans. And also your lone voice is heard when you cheer loudly when everyone else is quiet. It is a treat to see all the dirty looks by the diehard fans!

Then we have the commentators and anchors who are supposed to enhance the match viewing experience. The less said about the non cricketing commentators the better. They are there for the soap opera effect which attracts the economically active population of India. Yes, you guessed right, the ladies. Once that has been achieved, then its time to bombard the audience with unlimited number of ads. Actually the IPL has proved that all the BCCI and Set Max want is money. From the senseless cheer girls to the obscene number of advertisements that pop up all the time to having some jokers discussing the flaws in Sachin’s batting technique, everything is directed towards making the gentleman’s game into a money spinning carnival. Cricket is almost incidental.

Talking about commentators, it is really amusing to listen to some of their comments. For example when the ball takes the outside edge and goes for a boundary, the commentator says ‘he will take it’. How idiotic! Does he have a choice? Imagine the batsman going up the umpire and saying "Ump, I don't want that 4 as I did not play a proper shot and it flew off the edge, so deduct it from my and the team's total." Or when a run out occurs they say “ x team didn’t need a run out at this stage”. At what stage does a batting team ‘need’ a run out? Another stupid comment I hear often is ‘the ball is not coming on to the bat’. Now if the bowler bowls towards the bat, the ball will go on to the bat. If he swings or spins the ball away from the batsman, how will the ‘ball come on to the bat’? But our old hindi commentators on DD1 take the cake. They used to get excited and go ultrasonic whenever the ball crossed the 30 yard circle. Something like this. “Aur yeh agli gain, fultoss aur gumma dia mid wicket ke uppar (high pitch!), gain boundary ki taraf ja rahi hai, (by now he is ultrasonic! But then suddenly the pitch falls..) lakin fielder maujooth, ek hi run milega..” But all that said, the commentators do add another dimension to the viewing experience even if they use a lot of asinine clich├ęs.

So then it is time to head to the nearest TV and cheer at the top of your voice for your team and the cheerleaders shaking their booty. Who said cricket is all about bat v/s ball?

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Makalidurga by night.

The night was dark and cold. We were speeding along the dark highway. Suddenly the bus left the road and took a detour along a bumpy mud road. The babble in the bus stopped and all of us grew silent. Where was the driver taking us? All we could see was a short length of the path ahead of us lit by the headlights of the bus. The bus slowly came to a halt in the middle of nowhere. It was pitch dark all around. It seemed like we were living a horror story. Our guides told us it was time to start the trek! Huh? Where?

We got off the bus and looked around nervously. It was past midnight. The calm of the night was broken by a train speeding by, just a few yards in front of us. And then it was dark and quiet again. We assigned numbers to ourselves so that we could check if any new members like bears or aliens might have joined the group during the trek. Neither did we want any unexpected layoffs from our group despite the recession. The guides cautioned us against getting too far ahead or lagging too far behind and told us to walk in a single file.

We could see the silhouette of a huge hill looming in front of us against the night sky. That monster was Makalidurga. One guide led the way and the other brought up the rear. I have no idea how the guides could keep on the path in the pitch darkness. We trudged along with our torches lighting our way forward. I thought this must be the way smugglers operate travelling on unmarked routes in the dark at night. But I guess we wouldn’t have made good smugglers cause of the constant chatter in the group. Our guide then told us to keep our voices low as loud sounds would disturb the wild animals in the area. Now we were already a sizeable group and didn’t want any uninvited company.

After a while our guide told us to stop and wait while he went ahead and checked the path. He came back saying we were on the wrong path. Oh dear! I hoped we were not lost so early in the trek and that we wouldn’t have to spend the whole night sitting uncomfortably on some rocks. He told us to wait while he scouted around for the right path. We waited and waited. After a few anxious minutes of shouting and calling out, he came back and said he had found the right path. We were back on track.

Slippery rocks and gravel, steep climbs, thorny bushes and creepers added spice to the adventure. Finally we decided to take some rest on a rocky clearance. We all lay on our backs exhausted. Spread out in front of us like black velvet with shiny diamonds was the night sky in all its glory. It was truly a breathtaking sight. You could see countless stars. A few lucky guys spotted shooting stars. I wonder when was the last time we took time to appreciate what a marvel God created in a night sky. After trekking a few more minutes we reached the summit. We settled on the grassy ground. Our guide started a small campfire to keep the cold and darkness away. We played dumb charades to while away the time left to dawn. Some of us tended to the fire. It was hard work feeding the fire continuously for hours! Luckily for the amateur lumberjacks, there was lot of dry shrub available around.

A few hours later the eastern sky began taking a slight bluish colour. Finally it was day break. We put out the fire and explored the area. It was an old fort. The plains far below looked quite scenic with the houses and trees looking like small toys. A train went by. By then the sun had appeared. We had a quick breakfast of parathas and bananas. It was time to trek down. The path was quite different by day, obviously now that we could see the path and the surroundings. We soaked in the scenic surroundings of rocks, grass and shrubs. The air was cool and damp. It was very relaxing. We reached the base and boarded the bus. It had taken us three hours to climb the hill and an hour to climb back down. All of us were tired but pleased with the awesome experience.

I thank Bangalore Mountaineering Club for giving us the contacts of the guides and transport service and all my fellow trekkers for making the trip so awesome!