Bali: Land of Temples

Our last journey was to Thailand, focusing on Bangkok and Pattaya, the two cities where almost everyone from Kerala goes these days. Pattaya has been the one place where every Malayali wanted to go, as shown in the movie, Amar Akbar Anthony itself. With Thailand done and Singapore and Malaysia already done in the South East, the next option had to be Indonesia in the South East. There were no direct packages to the other interesting South East Asian nations like Philippines, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam and Burma – there were none for the Himalayan nations of Bhutan and Nepal either, which made Indonesia the right choice, and the packages were all for Bali. Still, the journey was to be done with a stop at Kuala Lumpur Airport, Malaysia – Air Asia, Air Asia X and Malindo Air were the options – the last one had free check-in luggage, in-flight entertainment and food, which made it a fine option while returning, as the luggage would be more on the return flight.

Indonesia feels cheaper than Thailand without doubt, and is simpler, less crowded and closer to nature as far as Bali island is concerned. The spiritual side stays very strong too, with the temples like these. Most of the Indian presence here were from the North, and we rarely saw any Keralite presence here unlike in Pattaya which had Keralites on tour at almost every corner. The temple design here is incredibly beautiful, even though rooted in simplicity. There is the same feeling being reflected with the people here too, ever happy and helpful. Have a look at a few shots of temple which I took using my Samsung Galaxy J4+ which replaced the Asus Zenfone Max which I used for taking photos in Bangkok and Pattaya. There are also the pictures of Bali’s natural beauty, agriculture, beaches, mountains, lakes and volcanoes, but that will be another story.

Tanah Lot – With a temple on the rock, going further into the sea.

These gates of heaven are common entrances to Balinese temples.

Ulun Danu Beratan Temple is also known as the Lake Temple in short.

Tanah Lot is more than just a rock formation and a temple with its view.

Bali has the charm in its Monkey Temple, forest and sanctuary.

Let the gateway to heaven take you to the same in the beautiful island.

There is no shortage of beautiful temples in the Island of Bali.

You always feel the great need to take a walk towards eternity.

The temples of Bali might be smaller, but the level of beauty goes further.

Most temples seem to lie close to water & well-maintained for sure.

*Please read my review on Avengers: Endgame, the biggest movie of the year. Also read my review on Lucifer, the biggest Malayalam movie release of the year.

TeNy

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

Religion and Love

There might be a lot of people who have achieved more, and a good number of them got the potential to reach the summit of greatness like nobody else – it is the quality of the list of people related to #WillOfSteel by JSW that makes us feel proud of our fellow countrymen at the first look. But then there is the realization about what we really want. Above all, what comes to the mind is more about what the nation needs than anything else. It is not people who make a lot of money or those who become famous for being good at a random thing – it is more.

Each and everyday that we spend on Facebook or the internet as a whole has become more of a curse, and it continues like there is no end. There are more hate messages than there is the true essence of any religion. Everyone has their own idea of bringing hatred, and they go on with the same. People hate all who spread the message of love just because they are of another religion, and we know how the venom spreads when some people opens their mouth.

Therefore, Krishnadas becomes the man whom the nation really needs and should inspire a lot more with the message “Follow your religion, love everybody”. He has spread the message for years as he stands at the centre of the busy street holding the placard having the message; also leaving something for the people who visit the beach. With a few declarations which have been made in the recent days, I would expect the intolerance to rise to a new level and people are going to be doubtful about the other religions. Some worship centres are going to be closed to others due to fear of mob violence, and some devotees are going to avoid certain places of worship due to fear of the same. This is where people like him can do wonders.

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When we wander through the dark realms of the internet, we see those high achievers and those men with lots of money, education and fame that make ridiculous speeches spreading hatred against other religions. Then we have this man who spreads love in the name of all religions to everyone alike. If your religion is not love and kindness, but hatred for other religions, you need to rethink in the name of any God which you follow – is this what your God has taught you? If hatred comes free with some people, you have to wonder what kind of devotees they are.

Some people bring the past to hate other religions, but if you do repeat what has been happening in the past in present modern age, it only gets worse in your case. It doesn’t get any better, and extremism in the modern world of globalization is plain stupid, no matter how much you can fool people. The world has changed, and it is time for people to stop going through the Dark Ages again. Yes, some people need to be reminded of love very often and may be we can have this written everywhere! This is actually with a potential for the end of religious terrorism that we have here!

What we need are people like him, not politicians who divide us in the name of religion, caste and many other things. We need educated people who understand the true meaning of religions, and spread the message of love. We don’t need the religious leaders who spend their time talking about how bad the other religions are, and we don’t need those who care about others only after looking at what has been filled in the “religion” column. Yes, love people regardless of their religion – why is it so difficult these days?

Well, all we see on the road these days are religious processions and political protesters on the roads, but it is so difficult to spread love. May this man’s #WillOfSteel be inspiration to many, and work as a device for not hating other religions just because some of those so called “leaders” say so. If anyone comes close to being a true sage these days, it is him. We need someone like him everywhere as we always see the loss of respect towards other cultures and religions. People need to know that being Indian is beyond religions. This man is more than just a sign, because his sign is the new hope. He has #WillOfSteel.

I’m voting for Krishnadas’ #WillOfSteel and blogging on BlogAdda to help him get felicitated and eventually enabled by JSW.

***The image used in this blog post is from the BlogAdda page related to the same.

TeNy

Conversion or Transformation?

Dark Eldar: No, you can’t take care of our dying. It is not fair. As the leader of all eldar kind, I prohibit the same. I have even prepared a long list of the things that I don’t allow and published it as a book. You can buy it from the book shop for three hundred and ninety nine gold coins.

Vampire Bat: What? Why? We have come all the way to the other world after going through twenty four portals of hell just to take care of these people, especially of your uncle and your grandfather.

Dark Eldar: We are the eldars, the oldest group of people in the world. We have doubts that our people will be converted from our worship of coffee to your religion of tea, which is unacceptable. May be you are terrorists too, how can we be sure as you worship something else?

Vampire Bat: You are accusing us of conversion and terrorism just because we belong to another religion?

Dark Eldar: Yes, we eldars are very much an elder race. We are so old and awesome that it amazes me.

Vampire Owl: I think he is dead.

Dark Eldar: No, don’t touch him; wait, yes you can touch him and try healing without converting. No vampire conversions here.

Vampire Bat: It is a vampire transformation. Not conversion. It is also done by biting. What is wrong with you people?

Vampire Owl: Yes, he is dead. Congratulations.

[A team of people armed with claws and swords comes in, and the eldars get their wand-guns and knives ready].

Vampire Crocodile: Is that a werewolf?

Eldars have advanced weaponry, but still your hostile neighborhood extremists.

Eldars have advanced weaponry, but they are still your hostile neighborhood extremists.

Werewolf Anger: I am the leader of Werewolf South Squadron 47. You can call me Anger.

Vampire Owl: I could have easily guessed that name. You look very angry. But are the werewolves always very angry? So I wouldn’t consider that a nice name for a werewolf standing among many werewolves. I can call you all with the name Anger.

Werewolf Anger: Forget my name. You can call me Master Tintu instead. I am here for the dead grandfather. Any questions?

Vampire Crocodile: What do they call you when you are not angry? It is unfair to call you angry when you are slightly less angry because when compared to the standard werewolf anger, that should be too less to be officially called anger.

Werewolf Anger: What? I hate these religious fundamentalists who are not of my religion. We, the worshippers of lime juice are offended by the tea and coffee drinkers. Now, any questions which are not related to my name or any type of anger?

Dark Eldar: I am not going to ask any questions. See, my dear fellow eldars; he is too stupid, like an eldar without his magic wand. He doesn’t even know that this is our dead body.

Werewolf Anger: How can you say that? No, this is our dead body.

Dark Eldar: Shut up. This is our dead body. Ours, ours, ours.

Vampire Bat: One question. Isn’t this actually the dead person’s dead body?

Vampire Crocodile: Wow! What a question. This is why I have joined the vampire team.

Dark Eldar: He is our great grandfather. How can his dead body be not ours? He is a martyr for our Great Eldar Religion.

Werewolf Anger: No, he was bitten by a werewolf last night. He was going to convert into a hybrid werewolf tonight. So, he is our dead body, and the martyr of the Legendary Werewolf Religion.

Vampire Bat: Why do you people keep using the word conversion? People transform into vampires, werewolves and even eldars.

Dark Eldar: Dude, it is the new trend. If we say conversion, things sound pretty cool.

Werewolf Anger: Your grandfather was going for a homecoming, Mr. Eldar. Accept it. He has a bloodline of werewolves through his mother’s side.

Dark Eldar: Forced conversion! He had already returned home with the “home return programme”. You bit him and tried to convert him, you religious fundamentalists of lime juice.

Werewolf Anger: He came to us and asked to convert him. This is voluntary conversion. It is you who do forcible conversions.

Dark Eldar: No, we take only those people who were always ours; its a re-conversion.

Werewolf Anger: Nonsense. We have copyright for all re-conversions in all known dimensions of the Southern Realm.

Dark Eldar: Do you remember what happened at Satyrisya?

Werewolves are always ready to pounce on others, just waiting for the right opportunity.

Werewolves are always ready to pounce on others, just waiting for the right opportunity.

Werewolf Anger: Don’t you dare to say even one word about Satyrisya.

Dark Eldar: Why? Did you receive Satyrisya as a reward for forcibly converting all the poor satyrs of the Ting-tong forests?

Vampire Bat: People with brains have the tendency to explore other religions. Intellectual people can’t stay at a point and blindly follow the ideas of just one religion and surely can’t stand its extremists who come up with hate speech. Conversion is one’s personal decision. Why are you so much bothered about it when it happens between almost all big enough religions?

Werewolf Anger: I am Anger.

Vampire Crododile: Everybody knows that already.

Werewolf Anger: I am just saying that to remind myself about it as I was brainwashed by religious fundamentalists and got some major memory problems. I am just left with one doubt – is it eating potato chips that we have banned or was it about tapioca chips? I am actually kind of hungry angry.

[A group of zombies enter through the window].

Lich Queen: Am I late? My zombie minions wanted to have ice cream on the way. I am looking for a dead grandfather.

Vampire Bat: Meet Miss Lichie, the Great Queen of the zombie underworld. They believe in ice cream and its greatness.

Vampire Owl: I have just received the text message that a group of mutants are heading this way, lead by a Professor XYZ. They are holding flags with beer cans printed on them.

Vampire Crocodile: Damn. Here we go again.

*A few parts of some dialogues were inspired by the Malayalam movie Sandhesam, the best political satire ever produced in India and the flick is also part of IBN Live’s list of greatest Indian films of all time. ***Please don’t consider this as anti-religion, but as anti-extremist concerning the haters. This is exactly how you sound like when you fight over religion – please don’t discriminate by religion and pray to God that you may be granted the wisdom to know about the same and love your fellow human beings! *The images used in this blog post are from http://hdwallpapersfactory.com/

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 Vision of a Lost Bat

Dracula was lead to that new world which was set on the newly baptized Planet Vampiris by the Vampire Bat. It was just recently discovered after the Vampire Bat teleported himself through a worm hole which had opened near Pluto during a superhuman vampiric abilities test conducted under the supervision of Doctor Frankenstein. It was considered a failed experiment until the Vampire Bat managed to contact Dracula through the intergalactic telepathy procedure which worked during its test experiment itself.

Dracula was lead through the first city of the newly civilized planet. The humanoids who selected the Vampire Bat as the leader were present everywhere. It was the “City of Righteous Spirituality” to be visited first. There were people worshipping different religions, and they were living in mutual respect and harmony. Those people who had nothing to believe in, and were fighting each other, had been transformed. There were non-believers among them who tried to make these believers of different deities fight each other, but that was solved by the ultimate realization that the God is indeed one, no matter by what name he is called.

There are always difficulties in creating new worlds, but nothing like the inherent evil

There are always difficulties in creating new worlds, but nothing like the inherent evil

Then there was the “City of Eternal Wisdom” which took care of all needs of knowledge. There was the ultimate realization that only by knowledge and wisdom that the world can be changed for the better. Always acquiring knowledge and helping other cities with their needs, this city is the brain of the new world, like the former was the heart. The best people were trained here in various categories without inequality, as each and every subject as well as job was equal. Nobody was forced to be an engineer or doctor, and the profession in demand was that of a helper, a class which was present everywhere, selfless and caring.

As Dracula wished to have a drink, they started with a restaurant at the “City of Striving Legends”, which had people working hard to make things better for the other cities. It was the city of industries, and people earned according to how much they worked, and everyone who wanted a job was sure to get one here. There was no unemployment as this city was there to provide support. This restaurant itself was started for the industrial workers, and the basic food was always available free here, and they also made sure that there was no poverty by sending food to all the other cities.

There is no lack of grandeur within the cities, but the soul remains simple

There is no lack of grandeur within the cities, but the soul remains simple as it can be

They passed through one of the cities where they didn’t stop. It was the “City of Unlimited Compassion”, where the people with diseases were taken care of by healers. The medical care was free here, as half of the earnings of almost every person belonging to this civilization went here. Nobody needed to buy a Ferrari’s equivalent or a bloody supercomputer or mobile. Everybody wanted to help, and this was a place where Dracula only wanted to visit after he had come up with a certain amount for donation. There were no evil people in this world, but those who had chosen to be bad were sent here to help.

They stopped at the “City of Ultimate Courage” then. There were the best trained people of the whole civilization who always dared to rise above fear. The big wall on one side of the city was meant to be used for training and it was also the city which was close to a possible natural disaster which lurked on the other side of the wall. But the ones here were dauntless and were ready to stop any lesser disasters and save their people from any problem. They also acted as part-time law enforcers, as law was obeyed most of the time.

“What about the reservation?” asked Dracula. The Vampire Bat replied that there is none, as everyone is equal, and stealing education and jobs is not the style here. “We are not a society that is based on divisions and selfishness, but we live for the other” added the Vampire Bat. Dracula had a deep thought about it. As he wondered about this new world and its possibilities, there was that moment when I turned around and told Dracula: “I am the Vampire Bat, and here’s the world which I remade, away from the known universe!”

I am participating in the #TheWorldRemade activity at BlogAdda in association with India Today #Conclave15

***The images used in this blog post are from the Official Facebook Page of the video game, Mass Effect.

TeNy