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Bali – 5 reasons why you should visit!

Bali is known as the ‘Heaven on earth’. Bali islands is a beautiful group of islands in the Indonesian coast. A trip to Bali is a must for any traveler who loves mountains and beaches. I recently got a chance to visit there. I loved the country and I think everyone should visit it once.

Here are the 5 reason why you should visit Bali:

All-year mild weather:

As it is located in the tropical climate, Bali enjoys warm weather throughout the year.
It gets rainy but there is no freezing winter. We can expect it to be humid and warm for most part of the year. I went in July when the weather was around 29’c.

Low-cost exotic location:

Bali is part of Indonesia, an Asian country. Here the cost of living, food and travel are comparatively lesser than the exotic western destinations you could list. Bali offers the same delight like any beach destination at a lesser price. You get beautiful rental accommodations that are villas with pools at the price of an ordinary 3 start hotel room in the western world. If you are a budget traveler, you can still book decent hotels at very good rates.

Hire a scooter and travel anywhere. Bali has option to rent scooters if you know how to ride them. You need not pay huge money for rental cars but enjoy the location like a local by riding on a two wheeler. A lot of travelers I saw were riding on two-wheelers.

Awesome Indian, Indonesian, Continental food cuisines are available across the hotels in Bali. So food is not a problem. I never missed Indian food for dinner on my stay!

Beautiful coasts and beaches:

Bali has a lot of crystal blue, green beaches that you can stay all day. Check out the beaches in legian, uluwatu temple.

The awesome landscape of rice fields:

Ubud is a region that is full of rice fields and orchards. The people of Bali have a special style of rice fields cultivation that reminds of a cascaded land steps which is a treasure to watch.

Fun for every one:
Bali has a great night life too in Kuta region. It is too busy with all restaurants, shopping areas and night clubs. People who are not nature lovers will still like Bali due to this.

A word of caution:
Despite all the positives, there is one point to be considered to ascertain the right time of travel to Bali.
Bali is located on the oceanic plate of Indonesian sea, which means it is prone to earthquakes and storms. It also has an active volcano, which recently erupted (july 2018) Hence please always check the weather conditions before visiting. Hope you have a great Bali holiday!

Thinking of starting your blog?


Are you thinking of starting your blog?

disclaimer: this post contains affiliate links.

I know how exciting is to write and publish your own words. Especially with the online reach, you have the potential to reach millions of people with minimum efforts. We can voice our thoughts and opinions without depending on the print media and be heard by individuals.

How do you start a blog?
Here is an explanation in simple words:
A blog is a location in the internet with an unique identity where your thoughts live. The unique identity, that identifies your blog is called the website domain name. You also need to have a storage location where you can place all your writings with this identity. This storage area is called a webhost or host. Now with a web host and domain name, you are ready to start writing your blog using softwares. The host provides you all the infrastructure needed to design your blog and publish.

Hence purchasing a domain name and a web host are essential steps when you want to start your blog.

Now there are a lot of companies available which provide domain name and Web hosting.There are a lot of domain name providers. No matter whom you choose, it is essential that you get a ‘Who is’ privacy when buying your domain name. Otherwise your name and contact information will not be held private by the domain name companies.

Next comes web hosting. I suggest you to buy web hosting considering these factors:

The support
The downtime average
Hosting features

Siteground: A great Web hosting you can rely upon!

I have done a lot of research on the web hosting. I found Siteground to be more reliable and efficient with their packages and plans. Their customer support is top class. Firstly in the past year, I have to reach out to them only once or twice and their response is in lightening speed!. My site newithr had an issue of being down so far (touch wood) and I have heard from many bloggers and Website owners that they love Siteground. I will look no further if I have to start another site.

Here is my affiliate link: SitegroundHosting

We both will get a discount when you use this link for purchasing a hosting plan with them.

Remember, I am not recommending because I am an affiliate, I recommend them because they are the best.

You can search online for them before buying your hosting plan!

Another hosting provider that gives you great pricing options is bluehost.

Not just pricing they also have many additional features as part of their hosting plans.

Here is the link to visit them.

Well, dear readers, I gave you the two important primary steps about blogging. There are many more to consider.
Do you have any other queries related to blogging? Feel free to ask in the comments!

Can we buy love?

Can we buy love?

So far in the market anything and everything is sold. Can we buy love too?

Well, some of us are doing that. They do that unconsciously; with an urge to be loved and love. They don’t know what lies behind that purchase! Are they really spreading the love by buying it?

You might be wondering what I am talking about. Do I make any sense? You might have come to the conclusion that I’m probably a confused blogger, whose site you wrongly hopped into!

Let me clear the air 🙂

The pet shop industry

I am going to tell you about the four-legged world of canines; the pet shops that sell puppies!

We buy puppies, a bundle of joy and a playmate for us to love and be loved.

But is it the right way to buy love??

Recently, I happened to attend a not-for-profit meeting that talked about the life of pet dogs. The presenter gave an insight into how the pet breeding or the puppy mills work. It was disheartening to know what all these voiceless creatures go through.

Pet shops/puppy mills – how healthy is the pups?

Pet shop owners/ breeders keep an array of dogs of high end breeds and make them breed as many times as they can. Here breeding is forced and it’s not natural. The mums and dads reproduce litters as much their health could support. After their health detoriate, they are left untended. Probably dumped on the streets or let to die.

Not just that, they are mostly kept in a very unhealthy, filthy environment and zero care. The presenter showed videos of few unhealthy pet shops. We also saw a video of a female bull dog who was left uncared for, after she was found no use for reproduction!

The bull dog though was treated by the blue-cross, died within few days due to poor health. It was a painful sight to watch the video!.

The dog could have lived well had she been elsewhere-in a home that gives love!

In a pet shop, we get to see the bright and shiny puppies of various breeds. What we don’t see is what their mom and dad went through to bring them to the earth. And remember all that litter that was produced in a low-quality environment from malnourished parents are definitely not going to be 100% healthy! She explained that these puppies are born with defects in heart or skin conditions or eye problems.

Don’t buy love -for that is expensive and inappropriate for our 4 legged friends

She also explained how animal shelters care for the orphaned dogs and about few good souls who goes beyond their limits to feed the homeless dogs. The presenter and few others have been rescuing and providing shelters for homeless dogs. They go out of their way to treat them, feed them and try to get a home for them.

I was simply amazed to know such good hearts exists in this selfish world- where we only care for ourselves and our family.  I am not a dog person, I love puppies but I am not sure I can handle a dog. However I can certainly advise against anyone going to a pet shop.

NEVER buy pets from a pet shop please. Buying from a pet shop is equivalent to allowing an animal to die for no fault of its own. You are supporting a terrible practice unknowingly, that puts the man’s best friend in a pathetic situation.

Don’t buy love –adopt love :). If you are up for it, adopt a pup from a shelter than a shop. One day I might get a pup…who knows  :)..



A visit to Srirangam temple

A visit to Srirangam temple had been on my mind for quite some time. There has been a special reason why I wanted to visit this temple. Before going there, let me tell you where Srirangam is. Srirangam is a small town situated next to Trichirappalli in Tamil Nadu. It gets its popularity for being the home to the world famous Ranganatha Temple. It is a small town that sits between the Cauveri and Kollidam rivers, making it as an island.

The temple is marvellous and vast. I didnt get to visit all the places that day. I went with family on a weekend. So the temple was fully crowded. We had to endure a 2 hour-wait to see the lord Ranganatha only for a few mins. Even that was a hurried up visit due to the large crowd.

The temple has a beautiful front tower with rich architectural carvings. This tower is huge and serves as one of the entrances for the town. The tower is a bit away from the temple and in the path that leads to the temple are shops on either side. The market area is located on the way.

We crossed the market and went near the entrance. We had to leave our shoes in the shoes counter and collect the tokens. It was mid day, the sun was shining high but there was lot of crowd. There was a queue in every shrine inside the temple. One by one we worhsipped all gods. On the way to Ranganatha’s shrine, there was a beautiful big lamp holder statue almost as tall as 4ft. It was simply gorgeous, I haven’t seen one so closer till now. It is called as ‘paavai vilakku’ in our language, meaning lady with a lamp. Here it is:

After coming out of the Ranganathar shrine, I saw a beautiful temple tower that was painted all white.

Next to that tower was the 1000 pillars hall, where there was a display of Navrathri idols. As it was mid day- the hall was locked so couldnt go inside. A sneak peak from the outside told me that there are more excellent carvings to be seen inside.

As it crossed mid day, we couldn’t visit the Goddesses Lakshmi and Andal’s shrines. So we had to wait inside the temple. We were hungry and looked around for food and water. Inside the temple they have arranged many food stalls and water pipes. I felt that they are a bit too many inside a holy place. We took food from one of the stalls and rested there until 4 pm, the time the shrines will re-open.

Meanwhile during the rest hour, we visited the little passages along the way to the Goddesses’ shrines. Needless to say they are beautiful! They provided great cooling shelter in that scorching heat. I was amazed with the brilliance of construction.

Time went so fast while admiring them and it was 4.15 pm when we realized that its time to complete the visit. We visited Goddesses Lakshmi and Andal’s shrines and returned back with a peaceful heart.

It took us nearly more than an hour to complete the visit -discarding the wait time in the queue. But it was worth the wait. The temple is so huge that we can easily spend a day in admiring it.

Visit it during late Sep – March if you want to avoid the hot weather.

Now – you might be thinking why I wanted to go to srirangam. Back in my school days I opted for a day trip that covered Trichy and Srirangam. A day before the trip I was down with fever. I couldn’t go. I missed the fun! I felt very bad. After that incident, there was never a reason to go to Srirangam though we lived nearby within a 3 hour travel. I got that chance only after nearly 20+ years. I had to make the choice to visit it.

Whenever you get chance to visit a place, don’t miss it. We will never know when the next chance would be!

Tamil New year

Happy Tamil New year!

Today is the start of new calendar for the Tamils across the world. The Tamil calendar has 60 years and they keep rotating. The new year always starts in the mid of April- 14th mostly.

People celebrate their 60th birthdays when they come across the same tamil year they were born.60th birthday is considered to be a milestone year and celebrated in a grand manner.

Tamil is one of the oldest langugages in the world and a classical language. I take pride in being able to speak read and write Tamil being a native. My highest scores in school exams always came from Tamil subject 🙂 Needless to say I enjoyed reading Tamil. I always strive to write it beautfully in the exams, as beautiful, neat handwriting fetches few extra marks!

Learning tamil could be a great experience for everyone. Its a great tongue twister. But once you learn it, you will never forget it.

In Tamil culture, every festival has some meaning attached to it. On the new year day, a special raw mango dessert is made to indicate various flavor of experiences that could come across in one’s life. We have to taste it first before eating the rest of the food served as lunch.The dessert is made of jaggery, raw mango, neem flowers and little spice to indicate that life is not always sweet(jaggery) you will get sometimes sour (raw mango) and bitterness (neem flowers). Its all part of the life so you should prepare yourself to face all of them.

I like the way how our elders have taught a great concept via a simple food.Here are some links to the recipe for the dessert, if any of you are interested.

PS: The copyright and contents of the recipe belongs to the owners and I am in no way involved with them.

– Raji

Mango pachadi

Mangai pachadi

The remaining story – Rajasthan trip


Sorry that I have taken a while to continue with the remaining story about my Rajasthan trip. I got involved in the festival celebrations of Diwali / Deepavali at home and then I had my birthday coming up. I also did another trip to Mysore-about which you can read it here<insert link>

In my last post, I talked about how humble and well mannered the people of Rajasthan were.

Well. its not just the ordinary people, I had a humbled experience with the members of the Royal family too. We were visiting the Mehrangarh fort in Jodhpur. we were awestruck by the large fort and the various rooms inside the palace. We were totally immersed into it. It was about to sunset so we were hurried by the palace guards to finish the tour and move out. I captured some beautiful sunset photos on my return and was walking towards the exit.

We were suddenly stopped and held near the exit by two security guards. I also saw a police woman doing patrol in the surrounding area. I was wondering why they halted us. My rest of the tour group has crossed the exit and waiting on the outside!. I asked the guard why he stopped us.

He said ‘Maharaj aa raha hain. Side pe ho jao’.

He is saying that ‘the king is coming, move to the side, dont stand in the way’. I was like -‘well there is no more King rule in the country, anyhow lets wait and see’. Then I saw a man aged 60+ years, dressed up like ordinary people walking down the entrance. Few steps before him was another lady of same age, walking swiftly with two foreigners. The lady and the foreigners were saluted by the Guards. I was observing the lady and the guard told that she is the queen. To be honest, she was dressed nothing like a royal. She was wearing a Saree that is probably made of cotton but of high quality cotton. No rich jewellery or accessories. They walked past us and went towards the temple in the campus. There was a foreigner couple standing next to me who were also looking at them with excitement. Then came the man near to us. I then thought ‘this must be the king whose photo we saw in the museum today. The current king of Jodhpur, ofcourse technically not the ruler now’. He also wore a turban like other Rajasthani men, and wore simple white clothing. He looked at us and did a ‘Namaste’ guesture with his hands.

I was too awestruck! I didnt expect this from a Royal family member. Usually it will be the other way- people bend and say namaste to Royals. The foreigner couple standing next to me did a perfect ‘namaste’. I was too dumbstruck that I didnt respond back with the ‘namaste’ (I feel sorry for that now). But at that moment I was surprised by his guesture! Truly, a great experience which I never expected from the member of Royal Family. I was so happy that he was humble and respected the people at the sametime ashamed that I didnt return back the respect!

So folks, that was really a great experience. What do you think?

Madurai – a must visit Indian city

Madurai Meenakshi wedding photo

Whilst India has a lot of places to be seen and appreciated, Madurai gets into the top list of places in every world traveller’s list. Madurai is located in South India, TamilNadu. It is one of the cities in the state with fame for many things.Madurai is quite popular by being the home to the World Famous Meenakshi temple. It is a wonder not to be missed!

I have lived in Madurai for few years (I take utmost pride in saying that) and have gotten the opportunity to enjoy the grand and architecturally beautiful temple many times as a child and as an adult. I haven’t seen any other beautiful temple like this! I always pay a visit to the Goddess Meenakshi whenever I visit Madurai. The visit always gives a sense of happiness. Beyond religious reasons, this temple is very attractive due to the beautiful stone carvings.

Situated in the center of the city, it looks giant with its high raised Towers on all the four directions – East, West, South and North. As you step inside, you get to admire the charming sculptures that decor the towers. You are greeted by a very long open corridor that runs along the four sides.

Crossing the corridor leads you to the inner corridor where you can see a big pond with steps on all 4 sides. Not only that, the inner corridor again hosts a ton of beautiful paintings on the ceilings, with pillars carved with eye-catching sculptures.

Then there is the Lords shrines and further inner corridors with similar style of architecture. It takes about two hours to complete the dharshan of the lords, but if you are interested in the architecture, you need a couple of hours to walk around the temple and see all places. Go there on a quiet day-avoiding weekends and Fridays, as the temple gets busier during these times and you will not be able to enjoy it as much as you like to. Check with the temple administration to see whether they allow photography inside the inner corridor.Check their sitehere

These are some pictures I took when visiting recently:



The marriage of goddess Meenakshi:


Madurai Meenakshi temple corridor

Meenakshi temple corridor



Lord Nataraja




Another Sculpture marvel

Madurai is also popular with the variety of food cuisines it offers. In restaurants you can get food in the banana leaf, which is a rarity in the capital city Chennai. The people of Madurai are also warm and welcoming.
If you visit the city during summer season, you will get to see the notorius jasmine flowers tied beautifully and sold. The aroma of the flower sold there is very special and I am yet to see a place where it is better than Madurai.

Madurai is a city not to be missed, you get plenty of train services from Chennai as well as flights. Do mark this city in your list without fail!

My Year 2017

2017 has been a special year for me. It has helped me realize my potential beyond my regular work.
I discovered my joy in writing: writing for self and for others. I got an excellent thought this year  -to set a stage to share my views with the world-a blog.
I launched my own blog this year in July. Writing for my blog has been very refreshing and rewarding personally. I learnt a lot about setting up a blog, promoting a blog and more importantly, keeping it  focused around  what I wanted to share rather than restricting myself under a specific niche.
I totally enjoyed writing about my thoughts and travel experiences. My blog will continue to focus on what I would like to talk about. It will be updated periodically and with purposeful content , as and when my writing well is getting filled with ideas.
In addition to that, I have also discovered my interests in other areas: like taking pictures more better, my aspiration to work remotely, a list of new subjects I learnt that would help me in a better way, to move towards a totally different career path from what I  currently do. That realization was encouraging and interesting to follow along.
I also have met new people online and in person this year who have encouraged me in their own ways. I am thankful for all those experiences and learning. Thank you 2017 and those I have met in online and in person. You were amazing and have made this year better!. This year has been a good one in terms of self development and progress. Feeling blessed.
Happy New Year all, wish you all a great year ahead 🙂
– Raji

Thoughts on a rainy night…

Thoughts on a rainy night, rains are a blessing but for whom?
Rainy season

It has been raining heavily here in Chennai for the past few days. The days are getting shorter with  longer evenings. We always have dark clouds up above in the sky, willing to pour rain anytime.  Gloomy dull days have adorned the city for the past week. Roads getting flooded, traffic at its worst in busy areas, the city attains its ‘glorious rainy days’ in Nov-Dec. I had some deep thoughts on a rainy night, which I want to share .

Read More…

What I loved about Rajasthan? – Part 2


So what I loved about Rajasthan?

Having read my earlier post on What I loved about Rajasthan -Part 1, you might be thinking like “well the joy of visiting any tourist place is always understandable. What would have had the author fall in love with Rajasthan?”

Well dear readers, whilest I loved all those beautiful places and the sightseeing was a real pleasure, there are more reasons to love Rajasthan. Here they are for you:

The people of Rajasthan and their cultured behaviour
 The people of Rajasthan

I noted with immense respect how humble and respectful these Rajasthani people are!. Few incidents which touched my heart for you:

Read More…

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