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Bhadrakali worship can transform your life

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Bhadrakali worship and its benefits: Having grown up in Kerala, Bhadra Kali worship has always been a part of my childhood. The ringing of temple bells and the scent of jasmine flowers are memories I hold close. As a third generation devotee of Goddess Bhadra Kali, the traditions related to the worship of the Divine Mother are an integral part of my daily sadhana. [READ: Sri Venkateswara Temple in Sydney] Why is Bhadrakali worshipped? In Kerala, Bhadrakali is worshipped as the daughter of Lord Shiva, with her origin being traced to the third eye of Lord Mahadev. Bhadrakali worship is mostly prevalent among Hindu famillies that follow the matriarchal system. My grandfather is known to have been such an ardent devotee of 'Azhakiyakavu Bhagawathy' that his Bhakti is believed to have paved the way for his final merging with his Ishta Devata's form. I grew up hearing so many stories about how Bhakti wins the instant grace of Bhadrakali. [READ: Gayatri Mantra - Why Chant It] Is

Happy 2023! At Sri Venkateswara temple in Sydney

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  Happy 2023 greetings, dear ones! How are y'all enjoying 2023? Let me tell you that I had a fabulous start to the New Year. [Subscribe to my newsletter here] Here's a snapshot of the Sri Venkateswara temple in Sydney. Watch this video to view this magnificent temple. Interesting Facts about Sri Venkateswara temple This is the first Hindu temple in Australia. It is designated as a heritage site by the NSW Office of Environment Heritage. Hindus and non-Hindus are welcome to offer prayers at this temple. Financial support and encouragement of the famed Tirupati Tirumala Devasthanam helped the construction of this temple. The Sri Venkateswara temple is one of the major tourist destinations in Sydney and it is a stunning model that showcases Hindu architecture. How to Reach Sri Venkateswara temple, Helensburgh Facilities available at Sri Venkateswara temple, Helensburgh Peaceful ambience to enjoy from entry to exit Free car parking inside and outside the temple A vegetarian cante

Orange mitayis in my tiffin box

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This year, I feel as though I abandoned my blog. [Subcribe to Svara's Newsletter] Is it ever possible for us to abandon what we love? Like these Orange mitayis? This space is my comfort zone.  Sometimes this is where I snuggle in for comfort. Where my feelings are raw and they come alive, like a child's. It's not just a blog, you see.  It's where I can simply be myself. This space, like the bright orange flavoured sweets in the steel tiffin box, is my haven. I miss being here more often.

Cobra Movie Review: An Action Thriller I Couldn't Bear To Watch

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Cobra Movie Review: Vikram starrer 'Cobra' is the first film ever that my family and I walked out of. We love watching Vikram's early films and this one was a huge disappointment. Simply put, bad direction let him down.   Cobra Movie Review: Script, screenplay, direction weak areas The first half of the film attempted too many things - unbelievable assasinations across the world that defies logic but justifies it using 'Maths' as the hook. Scenes and dialogues were poorly timed, and there was a rush to cover half the globe before interval. A song abruptly interrupts a somewhat comical drunken scene without a smooth transition. What's sad is that Vikram gives this character 'Mathi' a very sad, forlorn portrayal that lacks energy. Romantic scenes seem forced and superficial, as are the songs composed by A.R. Rahman, which fail to draw any emotions. Cobra Movie Review: Irfan Pathan and Roshan Matthews While Irfan Pathan plays the dashing Interpol agent and

Onam festival and my craving for Appams

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The festive season is a wonderful time to bask in the diversity of India's culinary traditions. If you are a foodie, don't miss tasting Kerala appams! [ READ Svara's Newsletter: Leadership Lessons from Lord Ganesha ] Just look at these piping hot beauties with lacy fringes. These are simply mouthwatering delicious! The flavours of freshly made Kerala appams, soft as a cloud, melts in your mouth even as you soak up the flavours of a delcious coconut milk based stew. I enjoy plugging into conversations about food. As a Malayali, Kerala food always remain a favourite. How can one not love the Onasadya! [READ: Best ever Thiruonam in my Life] Or gearing up for few festive selfies with a golden Kerala Kasavu saree? [READ: What is Kerala Kasavu Saree and Where to Buy It in Kochi ] As Onam festivities are in the air, my mind soaks up a nostalgic vibe and a sudden craving for crisp, piping hot appams with stew made me write this. What are your Onam festival preparations right now?

Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2 Movie Review: Tabu is the showstopper in this Kartik Aaryan-Kiara starrer

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Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2 Movie Review:   Directed by Anees Bazmee,  ' Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2' is a 'complete entertainment package' that will entertain you from start to finish. Starring Kartik Aaryan and Kiara Advani, this is a funny horror movie with brilliant cinematography that you will enjoy.  But first, throw logic out of the window!                                                                  [Source: Kartik Aaryan on Twitter] Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2 Movie Review: Story of Two Strangers   Starting with two strangers (Kartik Aaryan and Kiara Advani) who are travelling to a picturesque location, the story of  Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2 is completely different from its previous avatar - the one starring Akshay Kumar and Vidya Balan. Frankly, I didn't like their film  as it seemed like a poor copy of the original Malayalam film - Manichithrathaazhu starring Mohanlal, Suresh Gopi and Shobhana in the lead roles. As I knew  Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2 has Tabu in the lead role, I wanted to watch it

A selfie with Rajkummar Rao

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Rajkummar Rao movies are much loved and anticipated in my family, just as Fahadh Faasil movies are eagerly awaited. My teenager was totally star struck when he saw the actor at Lucknow Airport last week and voila, here's the selfie!  In India, we often see actors show an 'attitude' in public spaces. So, it came as a shock to see Rajkummar Rao keep a very low profile, almost disguise himself with a mask and totally keep to himself in a way that he attracted no attention as he stood with other passengers. So, how did we figure out that this is the actor? Few airport personnel at the security gate requested him for selfies and the actor obliged in a very humble way. And that's when we saw him and understood his identity. In many airports, actors and celebrities are rushed through with 'VIP' status. For my teenager, it came as a precious lesson to see the humility and simplicity of one of India's finest actors. When an airport official tried to stop my son from

What is Kerala Kasavu saree? All about Kerala's traditional dress

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'What is Kerala Kasavu saree' is a question I hear every time I wear it for a special function or an auspicious occasion. With Vishu around the corner, I decided to talk about what Kerala kasavu is. This year, the festival of Vishu is on April 15th, which gives me one more reason to talk about Kerala Kasavu sarees. Sharing one of my favourite photos when my mother and son dressed in traditional Kerala style! [READ: Where to Eat in Kochi,    Best of Kochi in 3 days , Heading to Kumarakom? ] Do you see the happiness that festivals like Vishu and Onam bring into our homes? Also, read about the Saddest Vishu of my Life and Weekend trip to Kochi. What is special about Kerala Kasavu saree? 'Kasavu', in Malayalam, refers to the gold thread, the zari, that is used to adorn the Kerala saree which is in a cream colour throughout the body and the border is in gold - the border part of the saree - is called Kasavu. The cream and gold combination in a Kerala Kasavu saree is its key

Happy New Year! Welcoming 2022 with gratitude and temple prasadam

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Wish you a wonderful, blessed and joyous Happy New Year 2022!                                [Image: Pazhavangadi Temple prasadam] Starting the year with a temple trail feels super sacred and joyous for me. It felt like a beautiful way to grasp with gratitude the precious moments of 2021. Taking inspiration from  the words of John O'Donohue: "We bless this year for all we learned, for all we loved and lost." A visit to Thiruvananthapuram, capital city of Kerala, is how I wrapped up the tumultous year of 2021. Paying respects to my favourite temple in the capital city - yes, Pazhavangadi Ganapati kshetram - and then a first time evening darshan at Sreekanteshwaram temple concluded our visit as we got ready to welcome the New Year. On New Year's Day, which is today, I had an amazing time meeting loved ones, especially spending time with family members, uncles and aunts and cousins. Such fun-filled moments we had together and I feel more confident about 2022 already! For

Malayalam film Sara 's on Amazon Prime is a bold take on a woman's right to abortion

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Sara's Malayalam movie review: Malayalam cinema is known for breaking stereotypes even when its male audience may find it clearly unpalatable. One of the recent Malayalam films this year that I really found thought provoking is 'Sara's' on Amazon Prime despite the fact that it has many sketchy areas in its narrative and I do not support Sara's personal choices. [READ: Prithviraj starrer Mumbai Police breaks stereotypes!] Sara's Malayalam Movie Review: To have a child or not should be a woman's decision 'Sara's' is a film that urges Malayalis to give a 'woman' more independence about deciding whether she is ready to marry, and if she is, if she wants to have a child and if that choice comes under scrutiny, the final choice should be hers alone - it is her body, her life - not the guy's. This is something I personally believe in - a woman should never be forced to do anything against her will by anyone. No matter how you view it, a man