Friday, October 24, 2008

San Agustin Church and Museum

The San Agustin Church and Museum which is a private museum under the supervision of the Augustinian Friars is housed inside the Old Monastery of the church. The collections include 26 huge oil paintings of saints, the Don Luis Araneta Collection of Antiques, the crypt where Philippine Notables are buried, leads to the refractory with its fine collection of colonial religious art, the Capitulation room where the Spanish surrendered to the Americans in 1898, the Sacristy which house antique carrosas, richly embroidered vestments, a wonderful Saint Michael and famous choir hand carved from Molave wood that dates back to 1614.

Friday, October 17, 2008


The most colourful temple festival of Kerala, Thrissur Pooram, attracts large masses of devotees and spectators form all parts of the State and even outside.

Celebrated in Medom (April-May) it consists of processions of richly caparisoned elephants from various neigbouring temples to the Vadakunnatha temple, Thrissur. The most impressions are those from the Krishna temple at Thiruvambadi and the Devi temple at Paramekkavu, both situated in the town itself. This festival was introduced by Sakthan Thampuran, the Maharaja of erstwhile Kochi state. The Pooram festival is also well-known for the magnificent display of fireworks. It is celebrated by two rival groups representing the two divisions of Thrissur Paramekkavu and Thiruvambadi vying with each other in making the display of fireworks grander and more colourful. Each group is allowed to display a maximum of fifteen elephants and all efforts are made by each party to secure the best elephants in South India and the most artistic parasols, several kind which are raised on the elephants during the display. The commissioning of elephants and parasols is done in the utmost secrecy by each party to excel the other. Commencing in the early hours of the morning, the celebrations last till the break of dawn, the next day.

Of the rival groups participating in the Pooram, the most important ones are those from Pramekkavu and Thiruvambadi. At the close of the Pooram both these groups enter the temple through the western gate and come out through the southern gate to array themselves, face to face, one from the round and other form the Municipal Office road. This spectacle is highly enchanting. Although this grand festival is known as Thrissur Pooram, it is in fact the conclusion of the eight -day Utsavam of nine temples.

Friday, October 10, 2008


Sprawling on the banks of the river Yamuna, Delhi, Bahai Temple the capital of India, typifies the soul of the country. In time the city conceals within its bosom annals of civilisations that flourished for more than three thousand years. Indraprastha, according to legends, the city founded by the Pandavas in the times of the epic Mahabharata (circa 1500 B.C.), was located near the Old Fort that stands on a large mound overlooking the river.

Qutab Minar Since those early days many dynasties and rulers flourished on its regal soil. The legacy of that past survives in the many monuments left behind by the regents, each a chronicle of the glory of its time and an imprint of the character of the ruler. Today, the city is a curious blend of the modern and traditional, skyscrapers, beautiful gardens and wide tree-lined avenues perpetuate the Mughal passion of landscaping and architectural excellence. More important, however, Delhi blends within its folds the great cultural variety of India; an unceasing range of activity, a million ways of saying 'You are Welcome'.