Diving in Temple reef, Pondicherry aka Puducherry


Every since i dived for the first time in netrani islands, i am in love with the deep oceans. This pongal day i decided to dive in the east coast of india. I got to know of the agency which is organising the trip- temple adventures.  Temple adventures is located very near to the pondicherry railway station and the government guest house.

Day one:

We started from chennai early in the morning by bus and reached pondicherry by around 11:00 am in the morning. We roamed around and could not get a decent room. We settled for a mediocre room just near the bus stand with the help of an auto driver. We put our luggae there and reached ‘Temple adventure’. They asked us to go and have lunch nearby. We had our lunch and joined them again for the pool sessions.

Pool sessions

On reaching the spot, we were given forms to fill in for our next day dive and shown some videos of dive site. Then we were taken inside a tank for our trial sessions, where we were trained for basic skills like breathing under water, removing water from scuba mask, equalising, hand signals etc., All of us did it with ease except the last batch who were doing at 4:00 pm in the evening. By the time water has become so cold, all of them started shivering including the trainer.

Dinner at hotel  ‘Le club’

After pool sessions are over we returned to the room and then located this hotel using ‘Tripadvisor’ app. soon we were there. I ate to my satisfaction on saturday night at Hotel ‘Le club’. The hotel is situated near rock beach. You can either have your dinner and then go for a walk or vive versa. But the plus side of doing the former is you get yours seats early otherwise you will be sent back. There are lot of places nearby but thus one is a must if you are in pondicherry. Indian, continental, french cuisines are available here and they serve really fast. With the wine and spirits, and the wild breeze of the rock beach, make your mood light.

Relaxing at ‘Rock beach’

As the name indicates, the sea was stopped by placing rocks along the coast. The beach is very clean and long and it is really nice time, be it with family or friends. It can be easily reached from the bus stand as well as the railway station.

Day two:

On the day of the diving, we got up ealry in the morning and reached the office at 6:30 am in the morning. Breakfast was arranged by them, but we had lightly. It rained early in the morning and The weather was little rough. We had difficulty in plunging into the ocean. Once inside the ocean, It was very calm, even at a depth of 1 metre.

Temple reef is an artificial site, created by this team for discover scuba divers. There are twenty other dive sites in this area.

The artificial reef is made up of cocunut tree leaves, palm tree leaves, and many other recyclable materials only. Lot of fishes swarm the area and for begineers it is an aweful sight. For an experienced like me, it was not so awful. We should try for other real dive sites nearby. sine i went along with two little cousins, i choose to go for this site, which is really safe for freshers.

The open water course was conducted for a batch of students at this site.

I tried to take my camera(olympus TG-3), but felt uncomfortable with having  camera in one hand and leaving the control to my diver. Several times my instinct took over and i paddled with my fins and created discomfort for my co-diver. 

After the dive i felt that i should not have gone for DSD. I should complete my open water course soon and go independently. I was very comforable inside water and the only discomfort had was somebody handling me. I need my freedom. I have decided to do the open water course, but still not decided where should i do the course.

Lion fish- during my dive at temple reef.

Credit for all photos goes to the temple adventures team.

Lunch at ‘Hotel Bon Sejour’

As soon as we finished our diving, we felt very hungry and reached this hotel. The hotel is 1/2 a kilometre from the bus stand. As we stayed very near to the hotel in a cheap guest house, we launched into it. Food is served in both Buffet system or by order. We saw the variety and choose the buffet. Traditional tamilnadu food in full splendour. Salad, soup, biriyani, fish fry, payasam ended our trip.

So now i have dived in the east and west coast of india. Next in line is the andaman islands situated in bay of bengal.


An unexpected journey to patnitop


Many in India doesn’t know about this hill station called patnitop. If you had asked me six years ago where is patnitop, I would have blinked. At that time I have never been in a plane. Me and my friend planned for a trip to Jammu and Amritsar. We have planned a hectic trip and yet we have completed the itinerary in less than 3 days. We had one evening and one night left, so we enquired with the driver. The driver was an enthusiastic person, who likes travel like us, and offered to take us to this place. We gladly agreed without knowing anything about the place.
Patnitop is a lesser known hill station in the state of Jammu and Kashmir in India. Need I tell more about the beauty of a place which is adjoining the famous Kashmir. We were traveling in the national highway number one. The road was not that good and not bad except for he few landslides taking place and getting cleared right in front of our eyes.

landslide in NH-1
landslide in NH-1
landslide in NH-1

Our driver assured us that landslides have become part of their life and at times it takes whole day or two to pass through the highway to reach the capital of Jammu. Fortunately for us patnitop is only four hours drive from Katra. There were numerous monkeys on the way and birds singing, indicating that humans have not spoilt the area much. The weather was warm, or so we thought during the journey. We started the journey around 4:00 in the evening and reached 9:00 in the night.

Our distant relative

Local people were rearing their cattle freely. The cattle too seemed happy for plenty of green grass to graze.

cow grazing atop the hill
early sun rays

We stayed right on the hilltop area and found a suitable hotel to stay for the night. The temperature was so cold outside and as well as inside that could be felt even when an electric heater is on. We are to depart the very next day in the morning at 7:00 am. Will we be able to see anything at all? We woke up at 4:00 in the morning and got ready to go outside. It wasn’t dark and the first sun rise hit the hotel around 4:45 am. We could see pine trees all around, green grass, and some horses loitering there. These are used for transportation by local people and for tourism.

The flowers were very vibrant and colourful and i decided to capture them in my lens.

flowers of patnitop
flowers of patnitop
flowers of patnitop
flowers of patnitop
flowers of patnitop
flowers of patnitop
white leaved tree
horses in patnitop
Array of pine trees
early sun rays

We spent until 7:00 am as planned and then departed for our return journey. Even during the return we were busy taking photos at many spots. We just went, slept and came back- this is not what is to be told. All those precious moments there mattered to us. It was a terrific getaway from our daily routine corporate job. We needed those moments. I cherish those moments. I thank from the bottom of my heart to the driver who has introduced me to such a place. He was a Kashmiri guy. I have felt the hospitality of people of Kashmir. They are warm and nice people. Hope terrorism dies sooner than later. I am still dreaming of living in such moments although I have had many such.

It is those journeys that make me repeat always “sometimes journey is more beautiful than the destination”

Hampi -A documentation work in stone-I


The name “HAMPI” will be written in golden words in every backpacker’s diary. If you want to go to 14th or 15th centuries go to Hampi, in india. Hampi is a historically amous city rules by the the vijaya nagara kings. The ruins of this great city spread over 46 kilometres is still there as a witness to the glorious past of the vijaya nagara empire. Hampi is budget travellers paradise.

Decorated pillar – undeciphered story
stone chariot, Hampi,India

The chariot made of stone is one of the beautiful masterpieces of the sculptures of the vijayanagara empire in the 15th centuries. It is a just a small version of the famous sun temple of konark.

The ugra narasimha statue is half broken when the vijayanagar kingdom fell in the hands of its invaders. Yet still the angry expression is quite visible from the sculpture. Life is short but art is long.

Lotus Mahal, Hampi

It is a small building made of stone, shaped beautifully.


Decorated pillar – undeciphered story- Ancient aliens?

This decorated pillar describes something which we are not able to understand. This work was done in the 15th century. It shows two angels or apsara’s floating in the sky and watching something. Clearly all three adults are watching some thing inside the pillar or rocket or somebody(may be their leader) inside the rocket pillar. The artist has sculpted something like gas leaking from the bottom. It cannot be an imagination beacuse, such a thing is not required in a temple or a place of worship.

another series – undeciphered information

This is yet another way of providing information through sculptures. The information provided is however yet to be undeciphered. Documentation was done through stones, however message was not understood.

Ancient alien

Another simple sculpture but the face seems to be alien. The sculpture is partially damaged but conveys the shape clearly. Did our ancestors have seen the aliens or a differnet kind of species lived along with us?

There are many stories abound in india, but lack of documentation is a big drawback. documentation done through stone is a great way of conveying information to the future generations as they are going to long last and sufficient time will be available to studying, infering, understanding  these stone documents.

Simple sculpture – but complicated facial features

In the three figurines in the centre, one of the faces is not human. Just like we are cross breeding plants, ancient alines must have experimented with humans. This is a depiction of the same.

Man fighting or taming a War horse

The man has something in his hand with which he is fighting or taming the horse. The ratio of height of the man and horse in the present ere is same as that of 500 years ago.

A man taming a small elephant calf and others watching this from another animal

It is clearly not an horse on which the other people are sitting and watching the event.

Musical instruments or weapons?


A distant view of the erstwhile city of Hampi. A stone watch tower, Large temple complexes, hill top complexes made of stone are all history now. Even  500 years after it was destroyed, the city still serves the people not only as a remniscient of a glorious past but as a backpacker’s paradise at present. Hampi is the place where most new backpackers prefer in India.

half done stone work – elephant

A stone work which could not be completed on time. An elephant was sculpted from a stone and how the rest of the waste pieces are removed from the stone is not known. Present method method of sculpting says, remove unused material first, whereas this 15th century artifact says quite opposite.

There are many such things in Hampi, which needs time to study. a person has to stay long and spend enough time to decipher these stone documents. There are musical stones, complicated Pin hole cameras made of stone etc.,

Hampi is not only a documentation in stone but a backpackers paradise, An archaeologist treasure trove. A common man, an archaeologist, a historian, an architecture enthusiast, a sight-seer, tourist and a traveller – all of them can be happy at a single place and that is Hampi.

Yaganti cave temple

 There are many caves in this temple and the nearby areas. Some of the caves are closed for public – reasons not known.
The temple main entrance
The shankara cave- No one knows what is inside the cave. Not even why it is named shankara cave. From the stone carved steps you can understand it is a man made cave. Since the cave is adjacent to temple, there may be treasures inside or deities or any rare manuscripts. The purpose for which the cave is built is forgotten and the caves are not even in tourist map.
The agasthya cave- This cave is even more narrow than the shankara cave. The fate of the cave is same a s the shankara cave. No information. Long forgotten from tourist map.
Nandi – discharging water  (Piping systems made of stone- no answer how it is done) The rain water from the hill top is collected and a passage is made within rocks and exits at the mouth of the statue. This has been attempted in so many temples so that water should fall perpetually over the god’s statue(Another similar feature attempted in a mass scale at hampi)


The big nandi facing santum


The brass pillar


 Some sculpting works in pillars. Usually the pattern gives some details about technical information. What information the sculptor tries to present is not understandable to me. For information to readers – Similar such sculpting is found in all over the south indian states of  Tamilnadu, Andhra pradesh and Karnataka. Whenever there is a mistake in sculpting such patterns, the whole of the temple is abandoned which clearly explains these are for educational and informative purpose. Such high importance  given for these works but not understandable to the present generation – like hieroglyphs of pyramid.
See you until next post.