05 July 2023

Exploring the magnificent Brihadeshwara Temple at Thanjavur

This is a throw back post which has been in draft for ages. During my visit to Tamil Nadu in 2014, for my friend's Narayanan's wedding, I had the opportunity to explore the awe-inspiring Brihadeswara Temple in Tanjore. Also known as the Peruvudaiyar Kovil, this ancient temple is a testament to the grandeur of the Chola dynasty and is considered one of the finest examples of Dravidian architecture. 

As I stepped foot into the temple premises, I was immediately captivated by its sheer size, intricate carvings, and spiritual ambience. Built in the 11th century by the great Chola king, Raja Raja Chola I, the Brihadeswara Temple holds immense historical and cultural importance. This UNESCO World Heritage Site stands as a symbol of the Chola dynasty's architectural prowess and their patronage of the arts. The temple was dedicated to Lord Shiva and served as a center for religious and cultural activities during the Chola reign.

As I approached the temple's entrance, I was immediately struck by the towering vimana (temple tower) that rose majestically into the sky. Standing at around 66 meters tall, the vimana is adorned with intricate carvings of gods, goddesses, and celestial beings. The sheer scale of the structure left me in awe of the architectural expertise of the Chola artisans.

Stepping inside, I marveled at the spacious and well-maintained courtyard, known as the prakaram. The prakaram houses several smaller shrines dedicated to various deities. The highlight, of course, is the main shrine, where the massive Shiva lingam stands as the principal deity. The inner walls of the temple are adorned with vibrant frescoes depicting scenes from Hindu mythology, showcasing the artistic mastery of the Chola dynasty.

The Nandi Mandapam, situated in front of the main shrine, houses a gigantic monolithic Nandi statue, the sacred bull and vehicle of Lord Shiva. The attention to detail in the sculpture is remarkable, with each muscle and fold of skin intricately carved.

The Brihadeswara Temple continues to be an active place of worship, drawing devotees from far and wide. The temple complex reverberates with the sounds of religious chants, devotional music, and the fragrance of incense. I was fortunate to witness a puja (ritual worship) being performed, which added a spiritual aura to the entire experience. Visitors have the opportunity to offer prayers, light oil lamps, and seek the blessings of Lord Shiva. The temple also hosts various festivals throughout the year, with the most significant being the Maha Shivaratri festival when devotees throng to the temple in large numbers to seek divine blessings. 

My visit to the Brihadeswara Temple in Tanjore was an unforgettable experience, one that left me marveling at the rich heritage and architectural brilliance of the Chola dynasty. The intricate carvings, towering vimana, and spiritual atmosphere make it a must-visit destination for history enthusiasts, art lovers, and photography enthusiasts like us (Neelima, Adit, Murali, Mithun & myself). Standing as a testament to India's glorious past, this temple is a treasure trove of culture, history, and devotion. If you ever find yourself in Tamil Nadu, a visit to the Brihadeswara Temple should be at the top of your itinerary.

01 January 2023

Looking Back at 2022

2022 was a big leap for me with respect to video creation. The turning point was when I took Vistadome train journey from Udupi to Bangalore in January. During the journey, I met Vir Kotian, a multimedia professional from Mumbai. Within a span of a few hours, he inspired me to take a plunge for being a serious video creator.

Here's the quick edit which composed from best video shots from 2022 

My Resources:

The major change has been my primary shooting device - DJI Osmo Pocket 2, which I feel is most under rated device in current era. The brilliantly engineered device which is handy for family man like me as most of the time while traveling I end up shooting in only one hand while holding my younger one in another :)

Long time Back:

I have been on Youtube since 2006-07,  in fact my very first video posted in 2007 during my South Korea still get comments from people from 20 year old age group saying this video was uploaded when I was 2, 5 year old !!!. 

Feather in the cap:

The most viewed video on my channel has been Deepika Padukone's intro scene in Om Shanti Om. I had shot that using Canon S2 IS point-n-shot camera in a single screen theatre and had reluctantly uploaded in Youtube. In my dream's I would have never thought people would be appreciative about this video 15 years down the line. Infact, as per comments of people it seems Deepika Padukone herself had shared this on her twitter timeline.


It's always glad to see people giving you motivating comments like I was way ahead of time ! :)

Looking forward for exciting 2022:
And other major stepping stone in 2022 was launch of Gaalipata Youtube channel with my blogging buddy Raveesh. We have been making attempt at unique content through this venture and looking forward to create more interesting videos in 2023 !

01 December 2022

Analysis Kantara Phenomenon

In our latest episode in Gaalipata channel, we do a deep dive into the following aspects that made the film Kantara, a global phenomenon.
  • Connect with Belief System
  • Relatable Story
  • Marketing Acumen
  • Cinematic Framework
  • Sustaining Momentum


17 August 2022

Taking plunge into Vlog/Podcast

I finally managed to take a serious plunge youtubing by launching a youtube channel "Gaalipata" with my blogging buddy Raveesh Kumar on Indian independence day - August 15, 2022. A kite flying in limitless sky symbolises freedom of expression. Conversations in Kannada about numerous subtle experiences of life is the central theme of "Gaalipata" (means kite in Kannada language) YouTube channel. 

In our very first episode, we discuss about our celebrations related to 75 years of India's independence and later in detail review the latest Kannada movie Gaalipata-2. We also flash back to 14 years to discuss our excitement when our blog post on review of Gaalipata-1 was featured in a Kannada ezine in 2008.

02 January 2021

Shande's experience on HOMP

Highway on my podcast (HOMP) was one of the by-product of COVID-19 lockdown in 2020, an initiative by pioneers of travel show - Rocky and Mayur along with show's director Abhinandan and cameraman Prashant. The podcast was go to channel for me during lockdown period. One of the interesting aspect of the podcast was encouraging listeners to share their personal experiences over email and which were read out in various episodes. 

Below is the email which I had shared with the team and which was read out in Diu/Daman episode.

Hi Abhinandan, Rocky, Mayur & Prashant,

This is Sandeep (nickname Shande). Basically a Kannadiga, born in Uttar Pradesh and now very much in Bengaluru !

Thanks a ton for the lovely stories and also behind the scene anecdotes. You have been my friends during this tough lockdown period esp. while doing mundane household chores and lonely strolls around my home.

I used to miss most of your HOMP episodes when it was aired around 2010  - mainly due to 2 hours one-way commute from office and on weekends, I used to be busy with activities related to my photography club (Bangalore Photowalk). 

I have been an avid traveler for the last 15 years. Apart from covering many places in my home state Karnataka, I have traveled across other states - Ladakh, Himachal, Sikkim, Orissa, Rajasthan, Uttrakhand, Maharashtra, M.P., Punjab etc. and most recent was one to Gujarat with my family in Dec 2019. Your podcast has helped me to cherish all my personal moments and many things which I have missed out. Farali Kachori at Jamnagar looks to be a big miss for me ! wish I had your guidebooks/podcasts handy during my Gujarat trip :)

I am a vegetarian and not a very serious foodie. However, I would like to recall following moments
  • Pav Bhaji at Supreme Corner, JM Road, Pune - it was during the demonetisation period and I had 3 hundred rupee notes in my pocket. One of which was utilized at this hotel :)
  • Kotte Kadabu at Cafe Mysore, Mathunga, Mumbai
  • Karela Pyaz + Butter Chapathi at Bhagat Tarachand, Vashi, Navi Mumbai
  • Aloo Paratha+Chai at a roadside restaurant at Orchha.
  • Veg Thukpa at a canteen next to Rumtek Monastery, Sikkim
  • Gujarati Thali with Bajra roti at low-brow restaurant at Bachou (on the way to Bhuj, photograph below)
  • A cup of cardamom tea at Singhik - North Sikkim with a magnificent view of Teestha River Valley
  • Kachori - Chai at a tela in central Jaipur during early morning winters
  • Jigarthanda at Besantnagar beach Chennai
  • Gudbud at Diana Hotel, Udupi
  • and Hot Idly, Dosas with chutney at any darshani in Bengaluru :) 
Gujarati Thali at Bachau, Gujarat

I have listed down multiple places mentioned during your podcast and wish I cover these places once the lock down period is over.
  • Sadarji's hotel near Assembly house, Lucknow
  • Sharma Dhabha, Jaipur
  • Rajma Chawal at Pahalgam  
  • Radha Paratha House, Porbandar
  • Seva Cafe, Ahmedabad
  • Lee's Kitchen, Uttarakhand
  • Durga Mantap, Bhuvaneshwar
  • Sharma Vaishno Dhaba - near Chel, Himachal 
  • <many more>
And please let me know the coordinates of the Ghee Dosa place which you mentioned in the Karnataka podcast :) 

More than food, photography has been the primary motivation for me and below are a few photographs I would like to share with you all. You can see more at my blog (www.naanushande.com). I have not been active for the last 2 years. But your podcasts have given me a lot of kick to get back to writing. 

And finally thanks for adding me to your mailing list. I have been receiving updates from Episode 12 and not sure  how to access the previous ones ? Is it archived somewhere ? Also, similarly please see if there's a way to archive the lovely emails from fellow HOMPers which you read out during your episodes.

I am very much excited to see you guys back on the road and would be happy to contribute to HOMP initiatives in whatever possible way from my side.

Please buzz me when you are here in Bengaluru, I stay < 1 km from Vidyarthi Bhavan  :)


A few photographs from my trips across India

Nubra Valley, Ladakh

Mt. Kanchenjunga as seen from Pelling, West Sikkim

Valley of Flowers, Uttarakhand

Cenotaphs at Orchha, MP

Adinath Temple, Khajaraho, MP

Khuri Sand Dunes, Jaisalmer

Puri Beach, Orissa

Gokarna Beach, Karnataka

Ibrahim Rouza, Bijapur, Karnataka

Landscape at Chikmagalur, Karnataka