Saturday, May 26, 2018

Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, Pondicherry.

Visiting holy places, heritage sites, touring historical towns and cities, visiting hill stations, forests, beautiful beaches and for that matter any vacation makes us very happy. Readers of my blog know this for sure!
Here is another beautiful, holy and peaceful place we have visited recently…The Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, Pondicherry. It is not very ancient but over a century old, it is very popular where countless people have prayed and continue to pray and feel blessed and happy. And we too are happy to have visited the Basilica.
The blessing of this Church and the first mass was held at the western wing of the present Church by Mgr. Gandy on 17th December 1907 and the new parish surrounding this church has been established on 27th January 1908. It is situated on the south boulevard of Pondicherry. It is an oriental specimen of Gothic architecture. It contains rare stained glass panels depicting events from the life of Christ and Saints of the Catholic Church. In recent years it has become one of the famous pilgrimage spots for Christians.
The year 2008-2009 was celebrated as Centenary Year of founding of the parish. A special Postal Stamp and Postal Envelope were released to mark the Valedictory function of the Centenary celebrations.
At the end of the Centenary celebrations in June 2009, a request was placed through Telesphore Toppo, President of CBCI, to the Holy See for the elevation of this Church to a Basilica. The Holy See granted the status of Minor Basilica to the Church, with a papal brief dated Friday, 24th June 2011. This arrived on Friday 29th July 2011 at Archbishop’s house. This was officially announced by Mgr. Antony Anandarayar, Archbishop of Pondicherry and Cuddalore on 29th July 2011. The Papal Nuncio to India, Salvatore Pennacchio (Titular Archbishop of Montemarano) visited the Basilica on 22nd September 2011 and officially declared the Church as a Basilica in the name of the Holy See. At present the Basilica is headed by Rector Rev.Fr. S. Maria Joseph.
This over 100 year old historical Church is 50 m long, 48 m wide and 18 m high built in Gothic style. 24 main columns hold the structure. The biblical verse from 2 Chronicles 7:16 is written above the entrance door in Latin "sanctificavi locum istum, ut sit nomen meum ibi" which means "I have consecrated this house that my name may be there forever. My eyes and my heart will be there forever". Inside the church there are glass pictures of 28 Saints who were related to the devotion of Sacred Heart of Jesus.
This 100-year-old Church has been led by twenty parish priests. The Grotto for Our Lady of Lourdes, Parish Hall, Adoration chapel and the new parish community hall were some of the developments of this church since the 1960s. After the arrival of parish priest Thomas in 2005 the Church was fully renovated inside and out.
Statues of the four evangelists were erected, beneath which there are four lamp posts describing their lives and the inviting Jesus and the twelve apostles on the front facade. The Grotto for Sacred Heart of Jesus facing the City Railway Station were added and the Church illuminated inside and out with chandeliers, focus and flood lights.
This is a must visit place in Pondicherry, And for that matter Pondicherry itself is a must visit place in our country as it has so much to offer to a visitor.

Monday, May 21, 2018

May the Nation learn from this Comic Story…

Today; a loser,
A rejected leader,
Who has lost miserably,
Joins hands with another party,
Which is also a loser,
Headed by a joker,
To become a Ruler!
I pity you Voter,
You appear destined to suffer,
Under such a Government,
Of incompetent,
And vile men,
And it is mostly your fault Voter,
For a verdict that led to this disaster.
May the Nation learn from this Comic Story,
To vote for merit, wisely,
And not for anything flimsy,
Like caste considerations,
Loan waivers,
Tall promises,
Alcoholic drinks,
Currency notes,
And vile politicians’ all evil means,
To make all of us,
And our Country prosperous.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

VahRehVah! Indian Democracy!

VahRehVah! Indian politicians!
VahRehVah! Indian politics!
VahRehVah! Caste politics!
VahRehVah! Reservation politics!
VahRehVah! Appeasement politics!
VahRehVah! Money politics!
VahRehVah! Liquor politics!
VahRehVah! Freebie politics!
VahRehVah! False promises politics!
VahRehVah! Criminals in politics!
VahRehVah! Dynastic rule in politics!
VahRehVah! Indian Democracy!
VahRehVah! Indian Voter!

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Caught on our CCTV Cameras, a Car accident on our street.

Caught on CCTV Cameras, a car accident due to high speed and being on mobile phone:
This accident took place on 12th May at 8:17 am at Secunderabad, on Prenderghast Road. A lady driver according to witnesses was using a mobile phone… and driving her car at breakneck speed as you can see in this video recorded on our CCTV Cameras and hit the road divider to her right and then the wall to her left and then hit a motorcyclist and then hit the road divider once again, all collisions with full force, until the car finally stopped. Thank God! The lucky motorcyclist and the dangerous and violent lady driver have not lost their limbs or lives.
I am posting this video to caution people against such careless and irresponsible driving.

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Quiet Timeless Silhouettes!

Well intended photos,
Turned into interesting silhouettes!
Quiet timeless silhouettes!!
Of some facebook friends of ours,
And our family members!
Enjoying the ritual!
Of holy dips and bathing,
In the sacred Godavari River,
At a town very popular,
For the Temple of Lord Rama.
Can you guess the Place?
And at least one friend’s Name!
The place is:

And the facebook friends are!:
Dr. N. Sudhir,
Dr. N. Uday Bhasker,
N. Srikanth,
N. Srinath,
N. Lalitha Raghu.

Friday, May 11, 2018

Experiencing; Western Ghats, Agumbe Ghat Road, Sunset View Point and Cherrapunji of south India!

On 4th April 2018 I got a chance again after many years, to pass through Agumbe Rain Forest, view the Western Ghats, crossover the Agumbe Ghat Road to reach Sringeri and back along the same route to Manipal.  I must say here that I have a long association with this section of Western Ghats. I was at Manipal which is sandwiched between the Arabian Sea on the West and the Western Ghats on the East, studying Electrical Engineering Course for 5 years from 1970 to 1975. You can see this detail in the attached map…third picture from the top.
Manipal is on a hillock with our Engineering College (MIT) and all our Hostel buildings on the eastern end of the hillock directly overlooking the Western Ghats. From majority of the hostel rooms facing the Ghats the view was wonderful with a green valley between us and not so distant Western Ghats. The sunrise was amazing with the clouds emanating different colors and patterns each day as the Sun rose majestically. With each changing season, the rising mist, the clarity of the mountains during bright sun and the incessant monsoon rains added to the scenery of the Ghats. All rooms facing the Ghats were much in demand among the students and similarly a few top floor rooms on the western side overlooking the Arabian Sea were very popular, for witnessing a picturesque sunset over the Arabian Sea. 
In 1972 during the Jai Andhra movement after the High Court and Supreme Court upheld the Mulki rules existing in Telangana region, reaching Hyderabad via Udupi, Mangalore, Bangalore, Hindupur, Ananthapur and Kurnool turned risky due to attacks on buses and trains to Hyderabad, in Andhra areas. So after exams and for the vacation in that year I reached Hyderabad along with some friends in a Taxi traveling via Agumbe Ghats, Shimoga, Bellary and Raichur. That was the first time I traveled over Agumbe Ghats. Now after so many years I got the chance to travel in this beautiful rain forest area and over the mighty Western Ghats twice, in our journey to Sringeri Sharadamba Peetham and back to Manipal.  
More about Agumbe and the magnificent Western Ghats:
Agumbe is a small hill village in the Western Ghats. The elevation of Agumbe is 643 m. It is 47 km from Manipal via a serpentine Ghat Road that you can see in the fifth and sixth pictures above. Our to and fro journey from Manipal to Sringeri was through and along these beautiful thick forests, lots of greenery and the huge range of mountains. The population of Agumbe is approximately 500 and the village covers an area of 3 square kilometres. It is sometimes called "The Cherrapunji of the South" because of its very high annual average rainfall of 7625 mm that is 300 inches!
Someshwara Wildlife Sanctuary and the Kudremukh National Park are close to Agumbe. The Sunset View Point that you can see in the attached pictures is close to Agumbe and it rests on one of the highest peaks of the Western Ghats. On a fine evening the sunset can be seen over the Arabian Sea.
Now about Western Ghats, it is in the prestigious list of UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites. This happened on 1st July 2012. Western Ghats is also known as Sahyadri Mountains meaning Benevolent Mountains. Its rich biodiversity and natural splendor has made it one of the eight most remarkable spots on earth; that needs utmost care and protection. The UNESCO recognition is because of many wonderful aspects of the Western Ghats. The 1600 Km long Western Ghats Mountain Range that you can see in the attached pictures has rain forests older than the Himalayan Mountains. They are home to a very wide range of plant and animal life. It is said that there are over 45,000 plant species, over 650 tree species, a number of popular mammals like Asian Elephant, Gaur, Tiger, Lion-tailed Macaque, Nilgiri Tahr, Nilgiri Langur and amphibians up to 179 species, reptiles-157 species, fishes-219 species; some of them are globally threatened species. The thick rain forests around Agumbe and the forests below the Agumbe Ghats are home to the King Cobras, the longest venomous snakes in the world which grow up to a length close to 6m (19 ft).  And most importantly the Western Ghats influence the monsoon weather pattern of our country.
ALL THIS NEEDS TO BE PROTECTED, in its very natural form.
And this is one area which one must visit and enjoy the beautiful nature, if he is at any of the many Hindu pilgrimage places in this area.
The attached photographs and the video I am sure would be of interest to the readers.

Western Ghats, Rain Forest, Agumbe Ghat Road and Sunset View Point

Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, Pondicherry.

Visiting holy places, heritage sites, touring historical towns and cities, visiting hill stations, forests,...