Monthly Archives: February 2014

One from the Archives

I haven’t been out and about as much as I’d like of late – dentists, Tamil lessons (and probably laziness…) all to blame. Not to worry, it gives me a chance to post about a trip I took all the way back in November shortly after arriving.


Padmanabhapuram Palace

Padmanabhapuram Palace was on my way to the southern-most tip of India and is just outside the town of Thuckalay. Although located in modern-day Tamil Nadu, it was actually the palace for the historic rulers of what’s now Southern Kerala – the Travancores.

Its a very impressive palace though and given the climate and a couple of hundred years of history, one that remains in very good shape

The Travancores by the way, are known as one of the Indian kingdoms that while ‘under the protection’ of the British, kept a good degree of independence during their rule in India. So much so, that on Indian Independence, an attempt was made for the Kingdom to remain independent of the rest of India – it wasn’t to be of course.

Rooftop View


From Wikipedia Maps

Dental Distractions

Sorry all – falling behind on posts – I’ve been having some dental distractions… all you’ll probably want to know is that if you’re the sort of person who finds learning a new language about as much fun as having a root canal, well, I’ll shortly be able to offer an opinion…

So, before the laughing gas hits, some pictures from Hogenakkal Falls – which I managed to visit on my way back to Madurai from my Bangalore music festival.

India’s Niagra


Sometimes referred to as “India’s Niagra” – the Hogenakkal Falls are probably not at their best in the middle of a dry season following on from a couple of years of failed monsoons. Although, even without water there’s still an impressive moonscape that was probably the trip.

Reasons for Learning Tamil #53

Spotted this sign in a bus station on my way from the waterfalls – go figure…


Stormin’ Away

Its festival-season in India – or rather music festival season – so you’ll forgive me for falling a bit behind on posting. You see, even in India, music festivals take some recovering from…



Camping festivals like you find all over Europe are still a rarity here and there’s a good chance that Storm Festival is probably the only one in the whole of India. In previous years it was held off in the mountains to the west, but for Storm 2104 it was decided to move it to just outside Bangalore city. And with it being the depths of Winter here – temperatures barely hitting 30C – could there be a better time for a festival?

Open the gates!

Open the gates!

Event and location security is taken quiet seriously here in India though – so while locals didn’t blink an eye, I found myself steering well clear of Bo-Bo the attack dog (below). Who needs an army of bouncers when Bo-Bo can sever arteries in seconds?

And then there was the airport-style security on the way in – with proper searches, frisking, sniffer dogs – the lot. I heard from others who had everything from teaspoons to duct-tape confiscated – there was even one guy I hear, who got busted for having Tamil homework with him. I mean, who brings their Tamil homework to a music festival??

That’s not to say it wasn’t a relaxed, easy-going festival – on the contrary, it was, and I will say Storm was probably one of the friendliest festivals I’ve yet been to.

The Music

Two and half stages (and a campfire) – one for dance and the others for indie music. The dance stage was much as you might expect with a mix of local and international DJs with a variety of genres.


Harder to pin down bands on the other stages though. With a mix of Indian instruments and styles, in Europe many of the bands would end up on ‘world music’ stages. The common factor for local fans though was their being indie bands i.e. non-corporate, non-Bollywood.

You see, it seems a good deal of Indian rock and roll is what is locally called ‘corporate’ – basically company sponsored staff bands or bands that depend on corporate sponsorship to keep going. So Storm is known for going out of their way to support bands earning their own keep.

And the band of the festival? How about two bands – if you get a chance, check out either Anthony Dassan yen Party – a barn-storming Tamil trad band , or Swarathma – local Bangalore folk-rockers – and remember where you heard of them first!

And that’s it – I’m off to check out India’s oldest floral clock – well, seeing as I’ve come this far…