Sunday, September 13, 2009

Malgudi Days

Malgudi Days is a collection of short stories by R.K. Narayan that focused on the trial and tribulations of a small Indian town of Malgudi. R. K. Narayan (October 10, 1906 - May 13, 2001), was one of India's greatest English language novelists, known for his works based in the fictional town of Malgudi. According to R.K. Narayan, Malgudi is a town "habited by timeless characters who could be living anywhere in the world" and is located on the banks of river Sarayu and surrounded by the Mempi Hills.


TV series

Created by

R. K. Narayan

Directed by

Shankar Nag

Country of origin




No. of seasons


No. of episodes


Running time

approx. 22 minutes

Original channel

DD National
Sony TV
TV Asia


The series "Malgudi Days" was directed by the late Kannada actor and director, Shankar Nag in 1987, and was shot entirely near Agumbe in Shimoga District, Karnataka. The music was rendered by L. Vaidyanathan and was produced by T.S. Narasimhan of the Padam Rag Films. It included many of Narayan's short stories and novels such as Swami and Friends and The Vendor of Sweets.

“Malgudi – the fictional semi-urban town” was one of Narayan's greatest achievements. R.K. Narayan also got award for this. He created the town in September 1930, on Vijayadashami, an auspicious day to start new efforts and thus chosen for him by his grandmother.  He first saw a railway station, and slowly the name Malgudi came to him. The town of Mysore where R.K. Narayan lived has influenced him a lot to write this stories as we can see the flavour of the city in each story. The town was created with an impeccable historical record, dating to the Ramayana days when it was noted that Lord Rama passed through the town; it was also said that the Buddha visited. While Narayan never created strict physical constraints for the town, he allowed it to form shape with events in the various stories, becoming a reference point for the future. 


Vendor Of Sweets narrated the story of a sweet vendor, Jagan, his business and confrontation with his son who had returned from abroad. The title role was played by Kannada actor, Anant Nag.

Swami and Friends revolves around ten-year old Swaminathan, or Swami as he is known by other characters. Swami portrays the growing pangs of a boy who despises school, as he makes excuses and roams around Malgudi with his friends. Swami's father works in a government office and his mother is a housewife. At home, Swami shares his adventures with his aged granny, who lovingly addresses him as "Chamy." Swami also has two close friends; Mani and the son of the Police Chief Superintendent, Rajam. Swami's character was enacted By Manjunath, a regular feature in many of Shankar Nag directed movies.

The sketches for the serial were done by Narayan's brother and acclaimed cartoonist, R.K. Laxman. Thirty-nine episodes of "Malgudi Days" were telecast on Doordarshan . Subsequently, it was re-telecast on Doordarshan and later on Sony Entertainment Television, and Maa Television in Telugu.

In 2004, the project was revived with film-maker Kavitha Lankesh replacing the late Shankar Nag as director. The new series was telecast from April 26, 2006 on Doordarshan.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Buland Darwaza - Highest Gateway in the World

Buland Darwaza meaning 'high' or 'great' gate in Persian, is the largest of gateways in the world. It is located in Fatehpur Sikri which is located 43 km away from Agra, India. It is also known as the "Gate of Magnificence". The gigantic gateway Buland Darwaza or the Lofty Gate looms over the courtyard of the mosque. It was built by Akbar following his victory in battle in 1573 - when Gujarat fell to him. The walled city of Fatehpur Sikri is dominated by this stupendous structure.

Buland Darwaza erected in 1602 AD as Akbar won over Deccan. The gateway is approached by 42 steps. The Buland Darwaza is 53.63m high and 35 meters wide. Buland Darwaza is the highest gateway in the world and an astounding example of the Mughal architecture. It is built of red sandstone and inlaying of white marble. It is semi octagonal in plan and two smaller triple-storeyed wings on either side. The Buland Darwaza towers above the courtyard of the mosque. There are thirteen smaller domed kiosks on the roof, stylized battlement and small turrets and inlay work of white and black marble. On the outside a long flight of steps sweeps down the hill giving the gateway additional height.

Calligraphic inscriptions from the Quran on its front and pillars and chattris at the top makes the Buland Darwaza a truly impressive sight. Another interesting feature of this magnificent gateway is the inscription etched on it, "The World is but a bridge, pass over but build no houses on it." Attributed to Jesus Christ, this inscription speaks volumes of Emperor Akbar's famed religious tolerance.

This exquisite architectural wonder is really an eye catching view for travelers and tourists, which is visible even from a long distance.

Read More: World's Highest Helipad, World's Highest Battle field, Chail - World's Highest Cricket Ground, Khardung La - World's Highest Motorable Road

Saturday, September 5, 2009

City Palace, Udaipur

City Palace can rightly claim to be the pride of Udaipur. Towering over the magical, Lake Pichola, the beauty of City Palace is one that inspires the spectator. With a part of the palace complex serving as a museum and another part converted into a heritage hotel, the erstwhile royal palace now gladly welcomes more common visitors.

Place: Udaipur, Rajasthan
Significance: Largest place complex in Rajasthan
Best Season: October to March
Timing: Open 9.30 to 16.30 hrs.

About City Palace

The City Palace of Udaipur is one of the most remarkable constructions of the Rajput rulers of Rajasthan. Located in the heart of the city of Udaipur and towering over the Lake Pichola, the City Palace unfailingly infuses a sense of awe in the hearts of its onlookers. It is the standing testimony of Rajput passion for art and architecture despite the fact that the exterior is not as elegant as the interiors.The original construction of the palace was pioneered by Maharana Udai Singh of the Sisodia clan soon after he founded the city of Udaipur. Subsequent Maharanas added their own structures within the palace complex later, but interestingly there is no sign of any inconsistency in the overall appearance. Infact, the entire City Palace complex exudes a beautiful harmony and uniformity in its construction work. 

The old part of the palace complex today serves as a museum that stores the legacy of the Rajput rulers for the visitors. Two of the newer portion of the palace have been converted into hotels.

Inside the City Palace

The City Palace architecture reflects a wonderful blend of the European and Chinese archtecture. The palaces, courtyards and gardens inside the palace have all a distinctive charm of their own, though together they create even grander scene for the visitors. 

Built of granite and marble, the City Palace is entered through the Hati Polor the Elephant Gate. The Bada Pol and the Tripoli Gate follow soon. The Tripolia Gate is the same place where the the kings weighed themselves in gold and silver which was later distributed amongst the common people. This was a very popular customs in those days. 

Crossing the Tripolia Gate, a courtyard is entered where in earlier days elephant fights were staged. Within the palace complex there is
 Suraj Gokhada from where the king addressed a large number of his people, primarily during crisis. A beautiful palace, Moti Mahal, is breathtakingly beautiful with its exquisite mirror work. The name of the palace itself is an indication of the beauty that lies in store for the visitors. 

The main part of the palace complex today serves as the museum. Very close to the main entrance is a section where the armouries including the deadly two pronged sword is on display. The Mor Chowk has beautiful glass mosaics of peacocks set in wall highlighting three different seasons : summer, winter and monsoon. The Krishna Vilas has an amazing assemblage of paintings that showcases the varying events & moods of the life of Maharanas like during a royal procession, festivals and games. The Manak Mahal is yet another fantastic part of the City Palace complex where crystal and porcelain figures mesmerise the visitors. 

Bhim Vilas Palace has beautiful paintings of Radha and Krishna adorning its walls while the Zenana Mahal has beautiful frescoes as well as wall paintings to make it appear attractive. There is also the Dilkhush Mahal with similar charming interiors. 

The Chini Chitrashala exudes a classic beauty with its Chinese and Dutch ornamental tiles while the Sheesh Mahal beams with thousands of sparkling pieces of mirrors. The Laxmi Vilas Chowk is an art gallery showcasing a marvellous collection of Mewar paintings. 

The Amar Vilas is definitely not to be missed as it has beautiful hanging gardens with fountains, towers and terraces. From here, views of the Lake Pichola and the city of Udaipur itself is hugely magnificent. 

The Shiv Niwas Palace and the Fateh Prakash Palace have ben converted into luxury hotels. The Crystal Gallery at the Fateh Prakash Palace Hotel is a delight for everyone since it houses a rare collection of Oslers crystal items. Maharaja Sajjan Singh ordered these items from England, however, unfortunately he never lived to see his dream of possesing these exquisite pieces of work becoming true. After, his death, the crystal items, for long, remained in a store till the time they were finally brought out and displayed in the Fateh Prakash Crystal Gallery.

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