The Full Nostalgia Post

This one is a very personal post from the memories. Nostalgia always has some special space in our world, and a few things have more special place. There are a few things which comes to my mind when talking about nostalgia. These have had special spots in my mind for a very long time. I would like to start this post with my first laptop, an Acer which is still the costliest laptop which I ever had. Three laptops came after this one, from Lenovo, Asus and Dell, but this one continues to be the first image to come to mind when someone talks about laptop.

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Nostalgia has its place among pets too, and there is one cat at my aunty’s house who is a cause of nostalgia. Now, even the age of this cat’s son has passed, but this one is my favourite among all cats before Simona. She was the official cool cat of that time, and she was almost everywhere. We couldn’t keep a cat at home during those times as it was a flat where we lived, but this one helped. Cats were needed and here was one.

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This floral carpet, the pookkalam made for Onam is another special one. We had these at our flat every year, and this was the one which looked special. It was all about flower designs in different shapes until then, but this one was the big Kathakali face, and so I remember this one a lot. Every year, I looked to see if the face came back, but this was the only time.

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I have had a unicorn loving childhood, and so buying a Honda Unicorn was a necessity for me. I tried hard to sell the existing TVS Centra and buy this one. So, Honda Unicorn made it to our home on a special day, and that began a large number of journeys and the exploration of the town as well as the city of Cochin like never before. It became a connection between us friends, and this became our official youth transportation, mostly for having food 😀

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Then there is the old church – it has been part of my long stay at one town. I was a regular visitor to this church for years, and even now I see the structure when I go through the particular town. But the truth remains that this is the church which I visited less despite it being my parish. It seems that I have a certain liking for all churches other than my parish church. So, I have visited the church less, and so I started missing this church very early 😀

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The great TATA Indica has been the car which I had driven the most, a record which is now broken by the current Chevrolet Beat. This car has gone to a lot of places, as we traveled to many corners of the central Kerala and a little bit to the South. Beat has covered almost the whole of Kerala, but this Indica used to be a big travel inspiration. It didn’t even have the stereo; dad hated music and I had to use the mobile music 😀

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Then there is the most beautiful thing among them all, the desktop computer – it is something which can’t be seen at any of my friends’ home these days and I miss this thing. There was the joystick, the webcam, the speakers, the landline, the UPS, the headphone, the modem, the caller id and even that old Nokia 6600 – also see the number of wires. This was taken after I bought an extra special graphics card for being the great gamer – those days were so grand; there were those games which kept the happiness factor high 😀

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***All the images used in this blog post were taken by me only on my cameras and mobiles of those times. ***We go through more bikes, cars, laptops and many other things which are more modern, but something from the past stays 🙂

TeNy

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Dome: A Special Thing

Whether it is of Taj Mahal, Victoria Memorial or Humayun’s Tomb, I have always loved the domes. Most of the pictures which I took at these places were of those domes. Whenever I passed in front of a building with a dome, I had to take a clear look at it, because I have always considered them the most beautiful element as part of a building – other than those Gothic elements. Simply speaking, we would consider the dome was the half of a sphere. But such an architecture always gives an even more special feeling.

I wish to visit many buildings in the world with the domes, including the Pantheon, Santa Maria del Fiore, Saint Peter’s Basilica, Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque, Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, Saint Gereon’s Basilica, Dome of the Rock, The Marble Church, Saint Basil’s Cathedral, and along with them all, Hagia Sofia, and the large number of buildings which was inspired by this Eastern Roman or Byzantine structure. The list is rather endless. Also among the buildings in India, I want to have a few names which are to be in a must visit list.

There are a few churches which I have noticed around here with those domes. None of them are that big in scope; these are the simpler ones. I believe that the largest dome I have seen until now is of St. Paul’s Cathedral, London. But the cutest dome which I have seen should be of the church on the way to Angamaly from Aluva – Saint Martin de Porres Church. It has been there for a long time, I can remember it back to those times when I first traveled on the NH 47. I first noticed it due to the dome, and it is good to have such a simple spiritual building on the side of a road which is a lot traveled.

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Saint Joseph’s Church on the side of the NH 47 at Karayamparambu should be one of those churches which can catch anybody’s attention. Situated on the way from Angamaly to Chalakudi, closer to the former, it can be seen if you are travelling from Kochi or from the Cochin Airport to Trichur or Northern Kerala. There are figures of the Apostles around the statue of Jesus Christ right in front of the dome. Inside the dome, light gets through the cupola on the sides of the wings of the Holy Spirit in the form of dove, which is a nice arrangement. It is surrounded by photos of the saints.

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Saint George Basilica at Angamaly stays as the symbol of a rich history of the town. It is one of the largest churches in South India, and has a nice cupola on the top too. There are images of the Apostles on the glasses of the dome, and if you look from the inside, you can see that the light also comes through the glasses with the pictues of Apostles painted on the glasses. You can also see the smaller domes at the front. The use of painted glasses can be seen throughout this church, and the light makes some wonderful reflections!

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Saint Joseph’s Cathedral can be seen at Muvattupuzha just before reaching the town while coming from Perumbavoor/Angamaly or returning. You can see the domes from some distance. The Malankara Catholic Cathedral has a total of five domes of which three are visible from a distance – the number five should be representing Jesus Christ and the Four Evangelists. This big onion domes are rather rare in the case of churches here – it is good because I won’t have to travel to Russia or parts of Eastern Europe to see them.

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Saint Thomas Church at Karumalloor on the way from Aluva to Paravoor, has a newer style of domes. It was rebuilt in the last few years, and even though it is not special in its architecture, the domes and the altar are worth having a look at. Having three domes in the front and the rest extending like a hall, there is some modern variety here, for there are domes, but none which reminds one of the antiquity. We do keep looking for some variety everywhere, don’t we? Well, here is one.

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***The images used in this blog post were taken by me on my Sony Cybershot Camera.

TeNy

Spirituality: Special Ones

***About a few special churches from Kerala and Tamil Nadu, from the City of Kochi to Kanyakumari. The photos were taken on my Sony Cybershot.

St. John’s Cathedral, Tiruvalla, Kerala
Have you travelled around Tiruvalla at some time? Then you might not have missed this one because it is such a beauty on the side of the road. We came across the church while going for Niranam Church, and this happened to be a big find because nobody really told us about this one – may be people at that side might find it too usual a thing and don’t want to make it a big deal, but this is not the kind of church you will see anywhere else. It is a special structure which you need to visit.

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Kappal Matha Church, Uvari, Tamil Nadu
The simple structure might resemble many things including a ship and an airplane, but surely not a church if you look from a distance. The scene of a ship carrying the plane might rather seem strange, but it is another special place to be – I found this one while searching for places around Kanyakumari, and added it to the list of destinations to visit while traveling to the southern most point of the Indian peninsula, and the journey towards this place is also an interesting one. There won’t be many visitors around here.

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St. Mary’s Church, Kuravilangad, Kerala
A very famous Marian pilgrimage destination and with a history which goes back to a time when Christianity hadn’t spread through Europe, and was not yet the grand official religion of the Roman Empire as proclaimed by Emperor Theodosius; this one actually goes even before Constantine the Great had declared the religion legal for the first time. It is also believed that the first Marian Apparition was here, and the church remains a much visited pilgrim centre and a beautiful structure.

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Basilica of Our Lady of Ransom, Vallarpadam, Kerala
This is a major pilgrim centre about which you might know enough already. Nowadays, it is even easier to visit with the better road links, and this church with is locally known to be dedicated to Vallarapadath Amma (Local name for Mother Mary), this was one of the first few churches to be dedicated as basilicas in this part of the world, and as you climb to the top of those towers of the renovated church, the view is just spectacular. This one also has a long history which goes back through Kochi’s past.

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St. George Church, Edathua, Kerala
The Edathua Church is a very well known pilgrimage centre with devotees flocking from all around Kerala as this structure remains a place of peace on the banks of the river Pamba. The feast at Edathua is very famous, and people pray for the saint’s intercession all the time to save them from ailments. Whenever I watch the Malayalam movie – the beautiful romantic satire of visual and musical beauty, which was Amen, this is the church which comes to my mind (movie is to be remade in Bollywood with Ranbir Kapoor playing the lead role).

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Our Lady of Ransom Church, Kanyakumari, Tamil Nadu
There are many things to catch one’s attention at Kanyakumari, and the list is like an endless one with more and more places added to it. But what caught my attention after the Thiruvalluvar Statue and Vivekananda Rock Memorial was this church which catches the attention from a distance with its tall tower, and also has a special look with the blue sky and the clouds around. This one was actually not part of the places to visit, but just appeared out of nowhere and caught our attention.

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St. Mary’s Church, Thiruvithamcode, Tamil Nadu
This small structure is part of the seven and half churches which are believed to have been established by Saint Thomas the Apostle. We had read about the same, and so had gone searching for this one which was not really easy to find. This is also believed to be the first church in Tamil Nadu (formerly part of the Kingdom of Travancore), established in 63 AD. Located between Thiruvananthapuram and Kanyakumari, this church is a place of serenity, and remains the only church established by the Apostle in Tamil Nadu.

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TeNy

A Man of our Times

There have been so many movies in Malayalam with the feel-good factor provided throughout them intending to target the family audience. But among them, one flick stands apart due to being not only a feel-good movie, but also a satirical comedy which ends up being more thought-provoking than most of the other movies which have been brought to the audience of Kerala. I know that this might not that have been one of those Malayalam movies which did manage to have a place outside Kerala like Amen, Drishyam, Memories and a number of others, and so lets speak something about this movie which I can watch so many times.

As one of the movies which I watched on the first day itself standing in the queue for about one and half hours, Ranjith’s Pranchiyettan and the Saint was a movie which was worth every single moment of the wait. The Malayalam movie industry wasn’t going through good times then, and a number of mindless superstar movies were threatening to take over. But then, there was this movie all prepared to stand strong between all the superstar nonsense which were making its way to the audience, along with another good movie Elsamma Enna Aankutty.

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Some of those blind superstar fans didn’t like this movie, but this was far above their intellect. There is no stunt or overreaching romance here, as this movie tells the story of a man who is just like anybody else and also thinks like a regular person. He is a simple rich man who is troubled with one thought only; that is – what others think about him and how he can be a better person in the eyes of the others, as even with so much money that he has earned through business, he remains with very less education and even after getting so old, remains unmarried.

He has had a certain number of failures, with the school as well as his first love, and he also has that title of being a rice merchant even as he is in gold business now. What he is in urgent need of, is to have a popular face in the society. He demands that people see him as more than just an uneducated man who took over the rice business of his father and grandfather. He is ready to do anything for the same, and has got a number of advisors who keep helping him in achieving his aim of being the big name in the town, hoping that they would also be rewarded for the same.

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For the same, he attempts to run for the post of president of a club and losses, as he completely losses his focus due to a silly talk from his rival who is married to his former romantic interest. He tries sponsoring the felicitation for an Oscar award-winner, but that also fails. Then he tries to be honoured with a Padmashree, but a corrupt politician who gives him the offer for the recognition cheats him and steals his money. He is also unable to express his love towards the girl whom he admires, and believes that he is too old and has lost too much.

As our protagonist has a conversation about all this and his latest attempt to adopt a boy to Saint Francis of Assisi at the local church (fictional conversations come quite naturally to him), the saint shows the man three visuals which makes him realize that what one thinks is a loss might not be a bad thing, and that good things come to those who wait. He acknowledges that we see as success might not always be that, and a certain amount of failure doesn’t decide future lives. Whatever impression we make in the eyes of the society doesn’t define us as an individual.

Pranchiyettan and the Saint is a movie to watch for each and everyone who think that being rich and famous is everything, and also to those who are depressed that they have been a failure throughout their lives. The movie is highly inspirational and with creating the fictional conversation between the protagonist and Saint Francis of Assisi, there is the divinity and a certain amount of innovation which works in favour of the movie, and nicely brings the climax to the next level. The movie is also a lot fun! Everybody needs to watch this one! [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pranchiyettan_%26_the_Saint]

***The images used in this blog post are taken from http://www.impawards.com/

TeNy

FPFS3: Rise on this Day

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Vampire Bat: Why are we looking down from the top of this church tower? Did the teleportation procedure fail miserably?

Vampire Owl: Actually, we are not at the top just yet. This is the tallest church in India, and also the largest. I can sense a number of human necks with lots of blood! Why didn’t we bring the special telescope?

Uncle Dracula: I have brought both of you here to talk about something. I was bringing Vampire Crocodile too, but he was too heavy and only his tail could reach here. I have sent it back to him anyway. Well, what I want to talk about is, do you know what is the specialty of this day?

Vampire Bat: Yes, a lovely Sunday, and a holiday! Even little Mavis won’t have to go the Grand Vampire Nursery, right?

Vampire Owl: Is it the birthday of the Vampire Crow, or was it the Vampire Raven? It is surely not of Vampire Hamster – he can’t remember that to tell us about it.

Uncle Dracula: Such confused vampire brethren! You have almost no sense of days, right? Today is Easter and I am going to give you the Easter message.

Vampire Owl: Vampires don’t give Easter messages. They give Halloween messages. Even the Lich Queen only give Valentine’s Day messages for the undead.

Vampire Bat: Did you just say massage? Like in Ayurveda? I need one for my neck.

Vampire Owl: Not at all! It is about the message. It doesn’t happen on Easter for the vampires. There is no such history.

Uncle Dracula: I am here to change that. We are here to let the history take a u-turn. It is time that we adapt. The world needs us, and it is a group of good and fair vampires that the human society needs to compensate the evil that they do.

Vampire Bat: Okay, so where do you start? What do you want to say?

Uncle Dracula: I am not going to do a speech here, but I ask you to forgive your enemies.

Vampire Owl: But I want to abuse them on Facebook.

Uncle Dracula: It doesn’t matter what you want to do! I am asking you to forgive them. Today is Easter. Why is it so difficult to understand?

Vampire Owl: Okay, I forget all one thousand two hundred and fifty seven of them.

Vampire Bat: I forgive my enemies too. What? Wait! How many? There are not that many people in the vampire, werewolf and zombie lands combined.

Vampire Owl: I randomly hate people. I don’t even know why. I have been reading a few Facebook posts and there is so much hatred out there, and it makes me want to join. I mean, nobody wants to spread love – it is like the eternal hate fest.

Uncle Dracula: What makes you think that the Facebook posts reflect what happens in the outside world? And what makes you believe that people actually mean what they say? They are rather ignorant or brainwashed people trying to be the anonymous bad guys on Facebook so that they can feel good. It is the advantage that they have with social networking. Some people are even worse in real life, but the reflection of the true life is never the same. But the real question is that why do you choose to believe everything that you see on Facebook just because it is there?

Vampire Bat: It is a shame that, in this modern age, people can be brainwashed into doing such things. Such a bloody abuse fest. People are not getting any better.

Vampire Owl: I still forgive them today.

Uncle Dracula: See, that is the point of Easter.

Vampire Bat: I see that the portal has opened. Lets go back to the castle.

Vampire Owl: Yes, lets go right now! I can’t wait to tell the great epic story of forgiving vampires to little Mavis as a morality tale.

I have been tagged by Maniparna to take part in the Five Photos Five Stories (FPFS) challenge. This challenge works like: You post pictures for five consecutive days (with possible discounts like sometimes changing to alternate days :D) and attach posts to it, fiction, poem or short write-up. It can be anything that suits your taste. I am also tagging my wonderful blogger friend, Moon on Day Three, as part of the challenge, and I will tag a new person on Day Four. 

***The image used in this blog post was taken by me on my Sony Cybershot DSC-W310 camera.

TeNy

A Little More Divinity

Here is another flashback of my spiritual journeys that go back a few years to a season of Honda Unicorn. I have my doubts if churches can be called “cute”, but here are a few of them if they can really be called so. All of them are from Kerala, and have left a permanent mark despite their small sizes and in spite of not being that famous. This is the season of Lent, and I would consider a few more of the abodes of God can only do good. After all, I am one of those very few unlucky people who always have their birthdays during the time of Lent.

Christ Church, Munnar: Belonging to Church of South India and having a history of over one hundred years, this one goes back to the people of the tea who had arrived here in relation with the tea plantations of Munnar from Britain. The stone laid in on 11th March, 1910, this church is really well-maintained and you can have a very good view of the hilly town from here, which is beautiful, only to be challenged by the beauty of the church itself. You can see India’s colonial past and understand that this one has a lot of stories to tell.

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Church of Our Lady of Hope, Vypin: Located at the island of Vypin, which forms a part and is connected to the city of Kochi by the group of Goshree bridges, this is a small church which has the lake directly in front of it, and makes a very beautiful view if you are looking from the other side of the water body. There is a lawn, a cross and a grotto in front of this white church building, and also a number of Chinese nets and some huge trees which give enough to shades to have some spiritual rest.

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St. Sebastian’s Church, Thoppumpady: The new bridge which was built at Thoppumpady made sure that you can only travel to Fort Cochin and Mattanchery through the road which goes on the side of this church. This is a protected monument by the archeology department and the renovation works were delayed as it couldn’t be done without permission – it has been renovated now, and the photo that I have is from before that. Its antiquity is its beauty, and there is also the lake on the back-side with a nice view of the historical Harbour Bridge.

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Holy Cross Church, Mattanchery: More of a shrine than a church, this is a pilgrimage centre with historical significance. There is the presence of a small church-like area inside it though. It tells the tale of the historic oath which was made by the members of the Saint Thomas Christian community of Kerala that they would not submit to the rising Portuguese dominance which have been trying to forcibily Latinize the local Christian community that had existed with the Indianized version even before Christianity spread through Europe.

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St. Mary’s Church, Njarakkal: A part and a major centre of Vypin that I had earlier mentioned, this church at Njarakkal is not that different from Church of Our Lady of Hope in its architecture, but can still claim an identity of its own. It has more space inside the structure and also has very beautiful and traditional altar. The style is just like a number of older churches built at that time and having the feeling of being very old, but the renovations have made sure that it stays beautiful and worth the admiration.

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***I wish to leave the total statistics related to the number of the churches I have visited since 2009. The first one is the district-wise division, second on the list outside Kerala and third on the churches visited outside India. The only two districts missing are Kasargode and Malappuram. The districts might not be exact as I have my doubt about the borders, but the numbers are exact. *The photos used in this blog post are those taken by me on my Sony Cybershot DSC W-310 only.
(Ernakulam-174, Kottayam-69, Thrissur-39, Alappuzha-29, Pathanamthitta-17, Kollam-9, Kozhikode-7, Idukki-13, Kannur-4, Trivandrum-4, Wayanad-4, Palakkad-3)
(Tamil Nadu-59, Pondicherry-11, West Bengal-11, Karnataka-8)
(England-41, Scotland-9, Sri Lanka-8)

TeNy

The Spiritual Variety

As I have been thinking about variety, there are a number of churches which come to mind – those which would seem like small structures, but manages to catch our attention with a certain amount of difference with their looks, as they are combined with beauty and spirituality in the right manner. Here are a few of those smaller, but beautiful structures which I wish to share here – all of them from Kerala, and to be more exact – from the Ernakulam district except for the first one in the special mention.

1. St. Joseph’s Cathedral, Muvattupuzha: On the way to Muvattupuzha from Perumbavoor, the dome of this beautiful structure catches our attention from a distance. The photo was taken before the church work for the rebuilding was complete and so it looks even better now. Unlike the other churches around here with a dome, this one has onion domes of different sizes. It reminds me of Saint Basil’s Cathedral in Moscow, and whenever I dream of traveling to Russia with all the churches with similar domes, I look at this cathedral and be happy, telling myself that I shall see more of it 😀

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2. St. Joseph Church, Karayamparambu (Angamaly): I have waited very long for this church to complete its renovation or rather rebuilding. After the process, this surely looks like a structure that you can’t miss while traveling from Cochin to Trichur on the National Highway 47 connecting Salem and Kanyakumari, just after Angamaly, on the way to Chalakudi. It has a very beautiful altar and you have to look under that beautiful dome right after you enter. There is a lot of nice imagery surrounding the dove as the Holy Spirit. A small structure here, but still so Herculean in its beauty.

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3. St. Xavier’s Church, Aluva: This rebuilt church at Alwaye has been my favourite church to attend a Holy Mass for quite a long time. They have the English Mass too, and what catches one’s attention more than anything else are those glass paintings which are around the altar and beyond. The saints are there, and so is the representation of the scriptures. The crucifix image is also different and catching our attention – there is a lot of spiritual feeling with the evening programs as the lights enter through the glasses. It is the major reason why I go for the evening mass too.

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4. St. Thomas Church, Chowara (Aluva): Unlike what people think, Aluva surely has some of the most beautiful churches, scattered around the town and its outskirts, mostly Syro-Malabar and Latin in rite. It has a mixed design, and inside, part of the old altar is preserved. The floor has wood as well as tiles, and the option of AC is also there. The imagery is nice and so are the surroundings. You can see the top of the church building from quite a distance and is located just before the town when coming from Aluva on the route to Sreemoolanagaram/Kanjoor.

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5. St. Thomas Church, Karumalloor (Paravur): With all the lights inside switched on at night and shining in the darkness around, I have found this one a very special structure. You can easily notice the beauty if you have travelled through the route at night. With some very effective lighting, the church has some simpler and yet effective imagery inside. The lighting as well as the borders and colour combinations make the images more beautiful. There are also some nice work on the glasses, even as they are lesser in number. This is on the right side while you travel from Aluva to Paravur.

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Older churches: Special Mention:
St. Thomas Church, Palayur: This church founded by Saint Thomas the Apostle in 52 AD is believed to be the first Church and thus the oldest standing Christian worship place in India. Connected to many ancient trading centres through rivers and lakes, and with the existence of ancient Jewish settlements, this had become a perfect place to find the church, and this structure maintains the ancient Kerala architecture even with a lot of additions being made to it. It has a Saint Thomas Monument and a museum too.

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St. Francis Church, Fort Kochi: Here is the oldest European church in India, and its antiquity is actually easily visible from a distance. Vasco da Gama died in Kochi in the year 1524 and was buried in this church before his remains were moved to Lisbon, Portugal. The structure has a great historical significance, as it was a witness to the colonial battles for supremacy and a long lasting symbol of India’s colonial past. There are a few things of interest inside the church, but as photography is not allowed inside, I have no pictures.

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***All the images used in this blog post are from my camera (Sony Cybershot DSC W-310).

TeNy

Angamaly’s Spiritual Abode

Angamaly is one of the three closest towns to the Cochin (Nedumbassery) International Airport, and among the three, it is also the easiest to get to – the other two being Aluva (Alwaye) and Perumbavoor. There is the railway station and the ease to go to the airport that has powered this town more along with the presence of the National Highway running through its heart. The connection from Kanyakumari to Salem thus goes through here. The town is also known to have been a big centre of Christianity long before the foreigners arrived in India.

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There is no shortage of religious places in Angamaly. It is also close enough to other four towns, Kalady (the birthplace of Adi Shankaracharya), Malayattoor (where Saint Thomas the Apostle had prayed), North Paravur (where the same Apostle had established one of the seven and half churches) and Chalakudi (known for its closeness to the most popular waterfalls in the state, Athirappilly along with Vazhachal and its close relative, Ezhaattumugham). Kodungallur, the place where Christianity began in India, and where the oldest mosque in India is situated, is not that far away either; you can also check out for Kodungallur Bhagavathy Temple there.

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My usual visit to this town is to watch movies at Carnival Cinemas as it is the easiest to reach considering all multiplexes, but lets shift the focus to another place which I have been visiting very often – St. George Catholic Basilica, one of the biggest church buildings in India, renovated from the old church which was established in A.D 450. It is a structure that becomes a symbol and reiterates the memory of an ancient civilization that thrived here under the local rulers who have been supporting, there was that mutually beneficial relationship with respect and honour, unlike what we have these days with mutual conversions.

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The Basilica is an extremely beautiful structure, whichever way you look at it. The place is reached by taking a left while travelling from Aluva to Angamaly, just before reaching the town. It is only of walking distance from the National Highway and bus stop. If you come by car, there is a lot of parking space on the front side of the church. Take some time to look around, especially at the dome and the two towers and enjoy the beauty. There is a traditional lamp with a cross in the front and the nicely designed front doors made of wood, or in case it is not a busy time, through one of the side doors which are always open during the day.

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Along with realizing that there is a lot of space in the church building and spending some time looking at the big chandelier, your eyes will surely get caught on the glass paintings on both sides which reflects on the floor when the sunlight flashes through – one of the reasons why it is the best to visit the church when sun is working nicely at full power. It is like another world coming to life inside the building (like history comes alive in Night at the Museum, spirituality awakens in here), with the beauty of the glasses creating a kaleidoscopic image on the church floor, making the colours combine.

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The images include the creation of world, the fall of mankind, the tale of Cain and Abel, Abraham’s big sacrifice, the arc of Noah, the dream of Jacob, Joseph being sold by his brothers, the burning bush, the receiving of Ten Commandments, Daniel saved from the lion, David’s victory over Goliath, birth of Jesus Christ, baptism by Saint John, return of the prodigal son, transfiguration of Christ, the calming of the sea, the crucifixion of our Lord, The risen Son of God, the Coming of Holy Spirit and many other things that come between them, along with the other things of spiritual significance, like the Lamb of God.

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The thirteen stations of the Cross come between them, hung on the wall. There are small pillars around, and once you reach the front, you have to look at the beautiful altar which is nicely organized and arranged. It is different, and you can see that from the photo itself. The old church which was made the Perpetual Adoration Centre is also open at all times for worship on the side, and it is also a nicely decorated structure inside. If you visit Kerala, especially the Central area of the state, do have a look at this beautiful church. I am wondering how awesome it would be to get married in this church 😀

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*All photos used in this blog post were taken by me on my Sony Cybershot DSC-W310 and Nokia N95. The last photo is from the inside of Perpetutal Adoration Centre. Here is a link to the church website: http://www.angamalybasilica.com/

TeNy

The Conquest of Fear

Watch the ad that shows Arya’s journey from fear to victory with Mountain Dew.

There are not many things stronger than fear. Some people will say that there is faith, others will believe in hope, but the strength of fear is, at most of the times bigger than any of these other things. People do things or hesitate to do things just because of fear, and it is not something new – it is a fact that we can see through centuries; history proves the same during its passage through ages. There is the need to conquer this fear if we have to progress in life. Don’t we all need to #RiseAboveFear?

I have had my fears, and even as I have never really made a list about the same, I am certain that one of the bigger fears were my fear of the heights. Yes, I have rarely dared to go to the heights and take a look below. Even when I did, I have mostly been holding on to something and chanting prayers. But that had to change with a journey, and it was that day on which we decided to go to Malayattoor.

The beautiful altar serves as a blessing to our journey.

The beautiful altar serves as a blessing as well as a confidence booster to the journey.

For those who don’t know about this place, it is a pilgrimage centre about fifty kilometres from Cochin, with a church located at the top of the hill, where Saint Thomas the Apostle is supposed to have prayed there. It is believed that, after arriving at Kodungalloor in AD 52, he stopped at Malayattoor on the way to Mylapore. This is one of the most visited Christian pilgrimage centres in Kerala and should be the top holy destination in the whole of India which is not dedicated to the Virgin Mary.

So, when my friend told me that this time he is visiting the place alone as his father was not well and won’t be able to climb the hill, I decided to give him company. This was to be my first successful climbing of a hill, as I have been afraid until then. I have tried to go up this hill, but never even reached near even quarter of the distance, as I got worried and came back every time – a total of three times until then.

The rocks are nothing just the path to our final destination

The rocks are nothing but just the path to our final destination at the top of the hill.

It was easier for him, as he has already been to the top many times. I was still worried about the slippery rocks which stood on the way, and my inability to maintain balance due to fear was evident. He was faster and had to stop regularly to wait for me. The sights of older people and devotees climbing while holding different types of big crosses on their shoulders were more of the inspiration for me.

The church at top of the hill awaits us reaching there.

The church at the top of the hill awaits us to reach there, surrounded by nature.

I wondered why I was thinking about myself as so weak, and was being too afraid. The fact that it was a pilgrimage strengthened me. I felt that this was the moment to get rid of the fear, and something like this will only strengthen me for future. If I can’t climb to the top now, my fear was never going to end, and I would never have any confidence about myself.

The old altar also awaits us believers on the top of the hill.

The old altar with its own antiquity also awaits us believers on the top of the hill.

So, I stopped at the beginning stages of the journey and had a Mountain Dew, one of my favourite soft drinks. It has been what I always preferred to have, along with Mirinda and 7Up. So I continued that journey upwards, and I decided to make it as fast as possible. There were so many people around, and as people of all ages were doing the same thing with confidence, it helped me a lot in gaining the confidence.

One of the views before reaching the top - fair enough to inspire.

One of the views before reaching the top – quite strong enough to inspire anybody.

It took me much less time for me to reach the top as I decided not to stop at anything, not for my fear of looking down and neither for my doubts about reaching the top, and I have never been happier when I was at the top. I considered it my greatest achievement against the fear, and I was not afraid anymore. We wandered around there, prayed and had another bottle of Mountain Dew along with clicking a few photos.

 And then I was at the top; I couldn't be any happier.

And then I was at the top; tired and of lesser strength, but I couldn’t be any happier.

After giving Saint Thomas his due and spending our time in prayers, we slowly came down, and I had no fear in coming down, as I had conquered what I thought I couldn’t. I was sure that this was only the beginning of my big journeys to the heights. It was the end of a journey and the beginning of the confidence which had me not that worried about the heights any more. On the way back, we stopped at the Indian Coffee House at Kalady and had tea to plan another journey, after this victory.

And then it was the time to take a look towards the beauty of nature.

And then it was the time to take a look at the beauty of nature, along with having some rest.

*All photos used in this blog are from my journeys to Malayattoor at different times, taken on my Sony Cybershot DSC-W310. This blog post was written as part of Mountain Dew‘s “Rise Above Fear” Happy Hours campaign in association with Indiblogger. Have a wonderful weekend and Sunday, and do spare some time to check the official Mountain Dew Page on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mountaindewindia.

TeNy