Month: December 2019

Somanathapura Temple – A Sculptural Marvel

Chennakesava Temple Somanathapura
Chennakesava Temple Somanathapura

The Chennakesava temple at Somnathpur was built by rulers of the Hoysala dynasty in the 13th Century. It is located on the banks of the river Kaveri, about 20 kilometres to the South East of Mysore. Along with the more famous temples at Belur and Halebid, this temple forms part of the magnificent Hoysala temples of Karnataka.

I recently revisited this temple (more a monument as active worship does not take place here anymore) while on a visit to Annamalai Tiger Reserve. The intricacy and profusion of carvings is simply stupendous. I know it’s a cliche, but words really cannot do justice to the beauty of this monument.

Somanathapura Temple Compound
Somanathapura Temple Compound neatly maintained by the Archaeological Survey of India
External walls of the Chennakesava Temple
External walls of the Chennakesava Temple
Profusion of carvings
Profusion of carvings covering literally every inch!
A finely carved chariot
A finely carved chariot
Intricately carved ceiling
Intricately carved ceiling
Smoothly Carved Pillars
Smoothly Carved Pillars inside the temple

Monday Reads – 30/12

apple blank business computer
Photo by on

As we near the end of 2019, and look forward to what 2020 holds, here are some websites / newsletters that I found particularly helpful and insightful over the past 12 months and that I will continue to reflect on in the next year as well:

The Minimalists – I am sure that, by now, minimalism is a fairly well-understood concept / philosophy thanks, in no small means, due to the popularity of Marie Kondo. I came across this website by Joshua Fields Millburn & Ryan Nicodemus while reading more about minimalism and have subscribed to their newsletter. While I admit that it’s not easy to adopt completely, I try to keep the mantras of ‘less is more’ and ‘throw away what you do not need’ front and centre while going about my daily life.

Farnam Street – The aim of this blog by Shane Parrish is very simple – ‘Understand how the world works’. And his weekly newsletter is possibly one of the most useful ones I receive.

Nutrition Science – I have written a few articles on healthy eating. I attended a workshop conducted by Dr. Achyuthan Easwar in 2018 and have been consciously trying to apply the principles to my diet. I believe it has helped me tremendously.

Occam’s Razor by Avinash Kaushik – I have been following Avinash’s blog for a while now and it continues to be one of the most insightful Digital Analytics blog out there. A must read for any Digital Marketer.

Happy 2020!

Discovering Bengaluru

Discovering Bengaluru

It’s not often that I write about a book before I have completed it and absorbed it. But in the case of ‘Discovering Bengalure‘ by Meera Iyer, I am making an exception.

The book, as it’s sub-title point out is about Bengaluru’s History. However, forget any preconceived notions of what a history book might read like. This is a history book with a difference. By focusing on specific neighbourhoods of Bengaluru, the book immediately makes history accessible and personal. No longer is it an abstract concept of people and events long gone by, but it makes us aware of and appreciate the history all around the city. This is done primarily by grounding the narrative around important heritage structures around Bengaluru.

The book also describes interesting walks in each of these neighbourhoods by which anyone can get out, explore and become more familiar with the history of that area. This technique immediately gets the book out of a library or home and into the streets, in the hands of ‘explorers’. Indeed, a logical extension of the book could be a mobile site or app that can serve as a reliable and handy guide for people interested in the history and heritage of a place.

Meera Iyer is Convenor of the Bengaluru chapter of INTACH and her familiarity and passion for the heritage of the city comes through in this book. Do get your hand on a copy and go out and explore Bengaluru!

Monday Reads – 23/12

ball ball shaped color earth
Photo by Pixabay on

As we head into the holidays, this week’s selection of articles are focused on Travel in 2020.

Top 100 City Destinations – Euromonitor has come with a detailed analysis of the Top City Destinations in 2019 based on International Arrivals. Asia dominates the list, largely due to the impact of outbound travelers from China. Indian cities, led by Delhi, have seen some of the highest growth rates in 2019. In fact, it is likely that in a few months time, Delhi will break into the Top 10 at Number 8. Mumbai is also likely to be in the Top 15. This is a stunning growth in just a few years time. I hope that these (and other Indian) cities are well placed in terms of infrastructure to handle this influx.

The Travel Trends to Know in 2020 – Conde Nast Traveller’s 15 Trends for 2020 covers a wide range of trends from Vegan Hotels to Spartan Holidays. I am not sure that all of these might see traction next year, but it is a good list of all the key topics that will influence the way we travel in 2020 and beyond.

Best in Travel 2020 – Ready to make your travel plans for the first year of the new decade? Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2020 might prove to be a great place to start. The Top 10 Countries list is especially fascinating as it throws up some small countries that might not feature of many people’s list.

Happy Travels!

The most influential band ever?

Ask Western pop music fans this question, and the chances are that the majority would reply with ‘The Beatles’. There is no doubt that the four mop-topped boys from Liverpool revolutionised the world of pop music and continue to be one of the, if not the most, popular bands ever.

But there is increasingly a view that, as popular as The Beatles are, there is another band that is arguably the most influential band ever. Listen to their music today, and you cannot but be amazed at how prescient their music was, when it was first released more than 40 years ago.

The band is Kraftwerk, founded by Ralf Hütter and Florian Schneider in Dusseldorf, Germany in 1970. Their early albums were only modestly successful, but in the period from 1974 to 1982, they released a series of albums that marked them out as the pioneers of what we now call electronic or synth-pop and which influenced a legion of musicians since.

I cannot put it any better than Jude Rogers writing in The Guardian – “The sounds they invented have been sampled by hundreds of artists, from Madonna to R.E.M, from Missy Elliott to Fergie. Coldplay and Jay-Z have had hits with their elegant melodies and their image has influenced David Bowie, Daft Punk and Kanye West. We also now live in the kind of world their future-obsessed lyrics predicted: we find Computer Love online, models smile from time to time and Europe Endless exists.

Writing in The Conversation, Uwe Schütte says, “Kraftwerk … established an entirely new way to think about how popular music should sound to make it a dominant art form for the 21st century.”

I must admit, that while I had heard of Kraftwerk before, I only first heard them seriously in the summer of 2015. I was on a long-haul flight to India, and the in-seat entertainment unit of the airplane had Kraftwerk’s album, ‘The Man-Machine‘ in their library. As soon as the first notes from ‘The Robot’ hit my eardrums, I was hooked. And by the end of the total playing time of a little over 36 minutes, I was left to pick up my jaw from the floor. The music had lifted me up, churned me around and left me so dazed, it was as if I was listening to my first ever music album.

A few months after that, I viewed a documentary about their series of performances at The Tate Modern in London and that gave me a greater appreciation of the role they have played in creating a genre and the influence they still exert on popular music and culture.

An influence that, according to many, is unsurpassed in the history of popular music.


Further readings: