Dec 31, 2018

Happy New year !

The last post of this year...I look back at a memorable 2018 with gratitude to God for all the blessings received....expecting an equally blessed and eventful 2019!
Wishing you all a blessed New Year !

Dec 22, 2018

Bandra station...

The beautiful heritage station at Bandra, Mumbai....clicked on the way.

Oct 14, 2018

Napoleon and me ...!

One of my memorable trips last month was a drive to the The Manora Fort ... A desolate early 19th century monument on the shores of the Bay of Bengal, near Thanjavur. The 8 storied hexagonal  23m high structure has a peculiar pagoda like architecture quite alien to South India.

The history of this structure throws light on some interesting political scenario in the 19th century Tamil region.
The structure was commissioned by the Maratha ruler of Thanjavur , Serfoji II ,in the year 1814-15 . The Stone inscriptions (in Tamil, Urdu, Telugu, Marathi and English) proclaim the Maratha ruler as a friendly ally of the British and that the 'column' was erected to "commemorate the triumphs of the British and the downfall of (Napoleon) Bonaparte"(in the battle at Waterloo).

The Tamil inscription stone
The structure has a moat all around and seems to have been used as a sea side retreat for the ruler while  also serving as a light house . There is also a belief about a secret underground tunnel exit from the base of the building  for the royal family to escape in case of any eventualities. But there is no visible evidence for the same. 

The dried up moat around the fort 

There is a mangrove adjacent to the monument which is unapproachable for visitors. The beach is smelly and not of any significance for visitors. Visitors are restricted to climb beyond the 2nd level. 

view from the beach

Now to the interesting question..." What is the connection between Napoleon and me?"
Well, you know by now the connection between the Manora Fort and Napoleon. But the interesting part is that, my great great grandfather was the Minister of Serfoji II , under who's supervision the Manora (including many other buildings during Serfoji's reign) was built. He was one of the early Christian converts in my ancestry, edified by the legendary missionary Father Christian Schwartz who was also the teacher of the then young prince Serfoji II. 
The photo here is his grandson Arogyam Vanathirayar (born 1867) who is my great grandfather.
My ancestral place Anaikkadu lies 20kms north of Manora. 

Arogyam Vanathirayar, photo 1910

Oct 2, 2018

Mumbai delights

paav baaji

Dhahi Puri

egg burji paav
Some amazing chaats available at the food court of Mumbai airport...