The Chhatrapati Shivaji (Victoria) Terminus Building, Mumbai

The iconic heritage building housing the Chhatrapati Shivaji Railway Terminus in Mumbai. The building is a world-famous landmark and houses the head offices of the Central Railway (CR) zone of Indian Railways. CST, as it is known, is the terminal point for all of CR’s Central suburban line services and also for many of India’s oldest long distance train services originating from Mumbai. The building originally called Victoria Terminus (VT) was built in 1887 to commemorate Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee and to subsequently house the offices of the Great Indian Peninsular Railway (GIPR) company which would after independence become Central Railway. The building is a UNESCO World Heritage site for its unique Victorian-Gothic-Mughal architecture and is a landmark and icon of the city of Mumbai.

Periyaare, Periyaare, Parvathanirayude Panineere…

The Periyar river flows around an island at Kalady in south-central Kerala. The rain is falling on the river and all around as the darkened skies clear the decks for another of the epic Kerala rains. It seems to be late in the evening even though it is only 1.45 pm. The photo was taken from the creaking Sree Sankaracharya bridge which carries the MC Road across the Periyar, looking east towards the far-away mountains where the river originates, in the remote reaches of the mountainous Idukki district of Kerala which lies across the Western Ghats. The white structure to the left of the picture is Sree Sankaracharya’s birth place.

The Periyar is the second longest river in Kerala after the Bharathapuzha and historically probably the single-most important entity in the history of the state. The Periyar formed and shaped the culture of South-Central Kerala. It created the ancient port of Muziris which attracted traders from Arabia to Rome to the shores of Kerala, and then destroyed it by flooding it in 1581. The result was Kochi. She held off Tipu’s armies from conquering Travancore and formed the boundary between the Kochi and Travancore states. The Idukki Hydroelectric project which supplies power to all of Kerala is located on the Periyar, as is the notorious Mullaperiyar dam.

The Periyar was once a powerful force of nature has been tamed to an extent and is today only a shadow of her former self. But she is only sleeping, and her fury as the port and city-destroyer will be unmatched if she decided to wake up.

Car Procession at St.Mary’s Basilica Shivajinagar

Crowds mill around the procession car on display during the feast at St.Mary’s Basilica, Shivajinagar in Bangalore. The car contains the “idol” of Virgin Mary and the Infant Jesus. The procession is part of St.Mary’s feast held once every year. St.Mary’s Basilica is the oldest existing church in Bangalore and Karnataka, with a rich history. The church was founded in 1803 after Tipu Sultan’s reign ended and the British took over the Mysore Kingdom. Shivajinagar was known as “Blackpally” back then. Thousands of people from all faiths visit the church during the feast.

The Historic Higginbothams on MG Road Bangalore

The historic Higginbothams Ltd bookstore on MG Road, Bangalore. Perhaps the oldest bookstore in Bangalore, it has been around since the days of the British Raj. HBL is housed in a building that has been around since way back in 1897, when Bangalore was a small Cantonment under the British and the road was called South Parade. The building today is one of the few reminders left of Bangalore’s glorious heritage. It stands next to an ugly concrete monstrosity and opposite the Mahatma Gandhi Road Metro Station.

16041/42 Chennai – Alappuzha Express!

The 16041/16042 Chennai – Alappuzha (Alleppy) – Chennai Express at Thrissur Railway Station, hauled by Erode’s WAP 4 #22232.  The first coach (SLR) with the name board. The Board says Alappuzhaaa Express in Tamil and Malayalam, and Alempi Express in Hindi. Hahaha. The 16041/16042 is the Second Express train ever in Kerala and the very FIRST Express that started running in South Kerala and survives to this date. The history of the train goes back as far as 1944 when it started running as some slip coaches to be attached to the then 12/13 MAQ – MAS Malabar Express. Later it became a separate train and for a time was named the 41/42 Madras – Cochin “Kerala” Express, the most prestigious and premium train in Kerala! Later it was downgraded and now stops everywhere, and even goes to Coimbatore lately!