Posts Tagged ‘tourism’

Sometimes the attractions are closed…

June 11, 2013

I wanted to do the Miniature Museum, but here’s one review that I found very unsettling:

and the website of the Museum is also not working, so it may no longer be operational. Do check it out!

I just visited the downtown area and the Schnucks there last Saturday, with my family, and enjoyed myself very much. So (especially in view of needing someone to work from home if I am going for the walk) I think I’ll pass on that, too. The Schnucks “eatery” is great! DnA had taken the children to Circus Flora. Since I will be volunteering there this Saturday, I spent the time wandering around the area, and it was very interesting indeed! There are some lovely new and old buildings there.

I put up some photos on my FB album:

I also went, on Sunday, to attend a program where some artistes explained the science behind some of the circus acts. This took place in the Centene Center, which is in the same area. I took the bus there and back 🙂

St.Louis has plenty to offer the “tourist-minded” wanderers.

Visit to Chicago, 26, 27, 280513

May 30, 2013

DS’ mother, LS, asked, “So how was the great Chicago trip?” and the answer is….

Well…the attractions were nice. We managed to do quite a bit…the “Ferrist” Wheel, the Carousel, and a really lovely night architecture cruise. The decision to have Italian food at Capi’s

was a good one..the food was excellent

next day, breakfast became a very protracted lunch, thanks to a dreadfully long wait for a table, and an equally long wait for (good) food at Yolk:

by the time we got out of there (we actually gave our names and went and tried our luck at Waffles, which was just as bad, so we came back!) the Aquarium was also getting crowded. As Derek puts it, we admired the incredible length of the queue, and we came back to the hotel, and drove over to Evanston in the afternoon, and though we didn’t see the House Where Lynn Lived, (or the House Where Al Capone lived!) we did visit the Bahai’i Temple, and then went to the Indian area, and I met up with an FB friend of mine, Manini Rao, and her son Hrittik and we had excellent south Indian food at the Udupi Palace

My friend’s son had a dosai with us, and she had a coffee. Hrittik, who’s a very sweet 6, and Boodi got along famously! DnA did their Indian grocery shopping while I took care of the kids…here, too, the crowd and noise factor was immense, and it was raining, and cold. The groceries, supposed to be half the price of St.Louis, turned out to be the same prices…PLUS very crowded shopping conditions!

On Sunday morning, we made it in reasonable time to the Shedd Aquarium. . Boodi didn’t get very interested in this place, though Anjana and she did see the Dora the Explorer show, and the exhibits were good. The crowd and noise level got more and more stressful, and we were very, very happy to be out. We were done by about 1pm or so. We had so many leftovers from our other meals that we just came back to the hotel, picked up our bags, and drove back. The little one did not seem happy in the car after a couple of hours, and we had to make multiple stops to try and pacify him…we got home around 8.30pm, I think.

MOTS (Moral Of The Story)….do not visit touristy attractions on a long weekend! However, we still managed to have quite a good time, and certainly Boodi and Bobby (don’t ask me why, but Mohan calls him that and it seems SUCH an apt name for him, much more than Kalyan…it reminds me very much of Big Bob!) bore up very well to the trip. Here he is, praying that we get home soon…

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Boodi Ma is sitting next to me trying to ruin my phone, and she said “hi to Nanna” in a tiny voice when I told her I am emailing you. I’ve got a pic of her latest tee, and you’re guaranteed to like it!

I’ve been posting albums on FB, you can go through them…I’ve not posted the Aquarium photos yet. Will get to it soon….Bobby-Booda has been rather fidgety the last couple of days, and it’s been difficult to get time on the laptop.

STL is warm and humid…and I’m hoping that we have a mild time of it….! I do hate the warm weather. DnA spent almost the entire night de-bugging the garage 😦 I spent the night awake fighting off mosquitoes…we’d left the front door open while we all went over to talk to Sandy and Michael next door (tomorrow they complete 42 years of marriage!)


Art of Lust/Rust/Dust:

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Q was the letter we learnt to fear in Chicago!

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When we came back to the hotel, from our 11th floor room we saw an Indian wedding (baaraat) in progress at the Chicago Hilton next door:

indn wding navy pier, chicago, 260513 photo DSC08359_zps859d7f7c.jpg

The Museum had this creature who is slightly older than I am:

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Architecture was beautiful everywhere:

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The gulls were bold and beautiful:

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Sculptures dotted the Millenium Park:

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Just like Forest Park, Millenium Park had a lot of Segways:

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Scraping the sky…

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The Memorial Day weekend fireworks from the Architecture Night Cruise were lovely to watch:

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Imagine, some designer busts his gut to design these buildings, only to have them dubbed the Corn on the Cob!

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Here’s the Sears Tower:

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More beautiful, illumintated buildings:

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What are tourist attractions without junk items?

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the famous Ferris Wheel on the Navy Pier:

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The dancing fountains:

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Tiramisu and cappucino, a great combination at Capi’s:

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Carousing on the Carousel:

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Exchanged looks,and vows, at a wedding in the Crystal Building:

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the Carousel and the Wave Slinger,from the Ferris Wheel:

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Two lines in Lake Michigan:

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Let me end with this picture of happiness at the prospect of the “Ferrist Wheel ride!”

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For more photos of the first day, see my FB albums,





Haven’t got around to the second and third days yet!

No access to the forest: immediate implications for children

August 3, 2012

Two incidents have cut us off from the forests of Karnataka.

The first one, which has resulted in a ban on permission to trek/walk in the Bannerghatta Forest area, happened because of the death of a young man, Satwik Sharma, who, with his two friends, walked into the forest one weekend, and who was killed by an elephant.

The second incident was the Government of India banning safaris in all the tiger reserves, because of the critical nature of the State of the Tiger in India. All safaris, whether in the core or buffer zones, have been stopped.

doe and fawn bndpr 040212

Chital Doe and Fawn, Bandipur, 040212

As a naturalist, I can see the merits of restricting entry into the forests, but I am afraid that a blanket ban like this may result in several unwanted occurrences. Regarding the access the poachers will have, and the freedom they will have to indulge in nefarious activities, when ordinary tourists cannot enter, I will not say much. Much wiser and experienced people have expressed, and will continue to express, their views on this matter.

I will talk only about children.

For some time now, I have been steadily involved in introducing children to the wonders of Nature. I have been very lucky in having Bannerghatta forest practically at my doorstep, and have taken several children to the forest. I’ve done my level best to show them the amazing things that can be observed and listened to, and I’ve also done my level best to teach them the do’s and dont’s of entering the forests.

lngr and baby rnning bndpr 040212

Hanuman Langur and baby, Bandipur, 040212

However, the ban now means that children can longer enter the forests…they can no longer see the creatures of the wild in their actual setting…never get a sense of the holistic picture…how the various flora and fauna interact to produce an ecology.

As a volunteer, I have suddenly run out of options on venues to take the children to. I am now restricted to places like Madivala Lake, Puttenahalli Lake, Valley School, and the Arikere Reserve Forest..all of which are urban venues, and in no sense of the term can I call them forests.

Even in the Zoo area, I could show the children an occasional mongoose, and give them the feel of a real forest….now, all that is at an end. If they want to see mammmals, they have to visit the Zoo.

If we are to take away (for whatever reason) the children’s right to see the world of Nature, how do we expect to generate in them, the enthusiasm to protect the jungles and their denizens? The sense of disconnect that I am already finding abundant in many children, will only become worse. We will be rearing a generation of people who have no love, no feeling, no enthusiasm for the forests, and who will not be doing anything to preserve the last bits of pristine forests that we have, or the wild creatures that we have left. Apathy is even more dangerous than wrong knowledge….and I am really afraid that the wilderness in our already overpopulated country will fall a victim to poaching and encroachment on one hand, and a don’t-care attitude from the urban public on the other.

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Elephant and calf, Bandipur, 040212

A blanket ban on anything has as many minuses and pluses, and I hope the Government of India soon makes it possible for naturalists and children to visit their own heritage, appreciate it, and come back with the determination to preserve it. Restrictions with conditions, rather than a blanket ban, would be much more practical, in terms of re-starting the revenue from wildlife tourism, while yet ensuring that our forests and wildlife do not get plundered to extinction.

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Long-billed Vulture Nestling, Ramnagara, 030212.

I’ve included the photos of several children….those of our fellow-creatures in the forests, which I would like our own children to see, love, and appreciate.

Uttara Kannada trip: Vinutha’s home stay, Gudavi, 130811

August 16, 2011

The trip to the land of the

Kadambas (kathambA)

organized by Poornima Dasarathi and Geetanjali Dhar

opened a window to a part of Karnataka I had not experienced before….

banavasi trst home window 130811

Here we are, after travelling through the night from Bangalore to reach Banavasi at 2.30am..and having had a nap and shower to refresh ourselves, ready to leave for the morning’s outing…some of us are not very keen to be photographed!

banavasi trst home 130811 banavasi

We first went to Belligavi, where we had a superb breakfast at the home of Savitamma; my photos of it all are on Facebook,


However, I’d like to write about the wonderful time we had at Vinutha’s estate in Gudavi, the Kanthapalli Home Stay (they have no website!)…here’s our beautiful hostess, who serves lunch to those who call ahead and order a meal, at Rs.100 per person.

vinutha 2 130811 gudavi

This lady has a beauty that does not owe anything to cosmetics; she’s going to look as beautiful when she’s 80, I think, as she does now.

vinutha 130811 gudavi

She and her husband moved a few years ago to Gudavi from Bangalore to manage the estate and the farm, and its clear she means it when she says she’s very happy here. Her husband (whose name I never got through the afternoon!) has a leather garments export business which takes him to Bangalore regularly; but though all her relatives live in Bangalore, she says she hardly ever goes there. Their daughter, Punyashree, goes to the local school, and she says she is very happy with the education she receives there. This contentment and happiness show, I feel, in her face.

She showed me the mark of a wedded woman, the silver “kangaN”, that women traditionally wear on both wrists, but she wears only on one. It was a lovely piece of jewellery:

bangles and kangaN 130811 gudavi

She knows a lot about herbs, and showed me this leaf of a plant, called “madhu nAshini” (sugar destroyer), which she asked us to chew. It had a mildly bitter taste…


She then offered us a spoonful of sugar:

sugar bowl...130811 gudavi

..and I assure you, the sugar had no sweetness at tasted like sand!

Her husband also showed Ganesh this extremely bitter leaf, called “The Queen of Bitterness” (kattuka rANi):

kattuka rANi leaf 130811

We teased Ganesh about his first girlfriend being such a bitter queen!

Vinutha also showed us the vanilla plants, the pods of which the competent businsesswoman exports:

vanilla plant 130811 gudavi

I photographed her ear ornaments, too:

vinutha ears 130811 gudavi

She and her husband were discussing various things around the farm, as we wandered around:

vinutha and husband discuss 130811 gudavi

The farm is beautiful, too. here’s a decorated window:

decrtd window 130811 gudavi

The pathway has tiles whose sides are glowing with moss:

pathway 130811

Vinutha’s home is lovely, too. Here’s the puja room…

puja rm without flsh 130811 gudavi

I then used the flash:

pja rm flash 130811 gudavi

Her kitchen is very modern, though!

modern kitchen 130811 gudavi

The vegetables were piled up for the next meal:

veg under strs 130811 gudavi

The room next to the entrance:

inside room 130811 gudavi

The room had brass and bronze vessels over the window:

brs vsls 130811 gudavi

At the public dining building, several century-old kitchen implements were displayed on the wall:

old kitchen implelmnts 130811 gudavi

Lunch consisted of rice, sambar, chips, pAppad, chitrAnna, various “pudi”s, sAmbAr, muLLangi soppu pAlya (radish greens), and mango chutney….with majjige (buttermilk) to wash it all down with, and fruits and hoLigE (a sweet made with lentil flour, coconuts and jaggery) as dessert:

lunch 130811 gudavi

They have a lovely swing that visitors can relax on:

130811 swing 130811 gudavi

The genuine warmth of her hospitality, and her very competent management, impressed me greatly, and it was with reluctance that all of us gathered together to wish her and her busband goodbye:

all of us at Vinutha'shomestay 130811

It’s a pleasure visiting home stays like this, which are well-managed and yet maintain the personal, homely touch. I hope there are very many more Vinuthas in our countryside, welcoming visitors who wish to learn more about their own culture and heritage!

If you want to see my photographs of the various temples we visited, go to my Facebook albums,


for the Kedareswara temple


for the other temples we visited.

What would be the “right” thing to do?

April 9, 2009

Recently, in Kaziranga, a charging tusker killed a Dutch tourist, though the tourist group was with an armed guard.

What should the guard have done? Should he have shot and killed the elephant, assuming that it was possible?

I got an email from a wildlife egroup that I am a part of

In my opinion I would have chosen to kill the animal to save a human life….. Its harsh, but a human’s life is more precious and can give back by serving wild life conservation.

I find this argument does not hold water because…

1.The tourists were, after all, the ones intruding in the forest, the home of the elephants. 2.Elephants are known to be unpredictable in their behaviour.
3. Who is to decided that “a human’s life is more precious” than an animal’s, morover, an animal that is not doing anything morally or behaviourally “wrong”?
4. How does the writer so confidently state that that the human who has been saved will “give back by wild life conservation”?

I find it truly ironical that the step considered by this conservationist, is to kill wildlife, and then say that the humans thus saved are going to serve the cause of wildlife conservation!

There are no easy answers to the animal/human conflicts that take place more and more often in our jungles…and at their peripheries.

And the old question…how far should tourism go?

The Morning News

February 24, 2008

I got a lot of interesting images and experiences from my trip on the Golden Chariot, but here’s one that I got out of the dining car window….

the morning news mysore station 220208

Good morning to a new week! The newspaper is so much a part of life in India…


March 30, 2007

Hmm…first of all, I got to spend some time on the Net yesterday and had posted about my visiting our fair rajdhani, Delhi…I had to use the “date out of order” option….oh, the entries had got mixed and I had to rectify them…

And here’s what I posted today:

Karnataka State Tourism Discouragement Corporation…

Oh well….

I have been taking some pictures but finally, KM has ALSO decided to post to INW methinks…with the result that the camera was set to CR2 (the raw format for Canon) and the CF card, of course, got quickly full! Will download the pictures, and post a few of the decent ones (birding trips to both Okhla Bird Park and Sultanpur Bird Sanctuary)…and the campus where we stayed, the Anand Farm in Gudgaon, was a beautiful place with a wealth of birds. KM has taken the CF card today…tomorrow will be my turn!

Attended a Delhi wedding which, luckily, was not as glitzy as some weddings in that city can be…

Still wondering if the trip to Delhi was worth it…until I visited the home of someone I know, and found that their 13-year-old daughter writes beautifully. I tried opening a Live Journal account for her but the broadband connection in her home was down. She does nice anime sketching, too…a very creative child, I hope to introduce her in my LJ, at least, soon…..