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Gourmet India


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About gianni66

  • Rank
    Advanced Member
  • Birthday 05/17/1966

Profile Information

  • Gender
  • Location
    Rome, Italy
  • Interests
    Cycling, diving, photography, travelling, oriental cooking

Previous Fields

  • My favourite food is..
    Everything very very spicy!
  1. gianni66


    Hi all. I'm still here, lurking most of the time but still browing the Tree every now and then... but I've seen today that the site is closing? When will it happen? And, above all, WHY? It's trange that this site was born to replace Indiamike when it was shutted down, and now it seems that the same is happening here! I think that this site should remain in parallel with IM, they are different and both are useful and friendly, there's no reason to merge both, I find myself herein more "in family" while IM is a bigger place full of different people. Please keep me informed!
  2. gianni66

    The Great Circular Indian Railway Challenge

    We ALL here have met somewhere else before (and we'll meet somewhere else after too...!) It's the proof that we have too many things to say about India travelling that just one common forum it's not sufficient!
  3. gianni66

    My Second August Trip To Ladakh

    Ciao Serena, have a nice return to the Grand Ma'! I've skipped my turn this year, I'm waiting for a guest (coming in two months!! )... and I'm already preparing my plans to bring him in India soon! Namaste! Gianni
  4. gianni66

    My Travel Blog

    I think I've seen you somewhere else recently... BTW, I will link your blog too!
  5. gianni66

    My Travel Blog

    Hi all! After some time, I have finally opened a blog dedicated to my travel experiences in India: :tongueout: Immaginindia (www.immaginindia.blogspot.com) It will be mainly a photographic blog, with also some description related to the pictures. It will not be a mere story of my trips, rather I will try to take some topic and try to illustrate it through images and words. The blog is only in Italian for the moment, but I am thinking to add an English version too. You are welcome to visit me! Gianni
  6. gianni66

    Tamil Names (for A Sf Novel)

    Well, I am always reluctant to use the term Sci Fi about my story, because it has nothing to do with aliens, space battles, UFOs, green monsters invading the planet, and so on. It's much more a travel novel, but going on with the story it becomes a sort of mathematical enigma related to the "end of the time" (according to the Induist mythology) and hidden in some ancient scripts found around Indian temples, which leads to a final revelation of a "parallel universe", and something else... :tongueout: Actually, the main body of the story tells about a journey across India of the main characters (two Italian guys), in which I have reported most of my travel experiences, in particular Indian trains and food have a big role. The difficult thing has been to include concepts as the Kali Yuga, the cycles of the Kalpa, and everything concerning the Induist concept of Time. I'm not at all sure that everything is 100% coherent and without mistakes, but it's a novel... and, above all, everything happens in a parallel universe, as it's discovered at the very end. But I don't want to say more, for the millions of readers that I will have when the book will be translated in 25 languages all over the world!
  7. gianni66

    Tamil Names (for A Sf Novel)

    There is one, Jyoti... there is one! :tongueout:
  8. gianni66

    Tamil Names (for A Sf Novel)

    Hi all "old friends"! :tongueout: Back here after a long time... actually I have never stopped looking and lurking in the forum, although I have no travel plan for this year... but I'm already thinking for the next year! But I'm still dealing with something related to India. Yes, I'm finishing to write a novel, a sort of Science Fiction set in India, around temples and archeological sites, and I need to assign names to a couple of characters who are priests in a Tamil temple. Which names can you suggest? I have done a brief research on Google about Tamil names, and currently the names that I like more are Chadaiyan and Sanjeevan, but I don't know if these names are good for this particular role and caste. Thanks for your support! Gianni P.S.: I'm not at all a professional writer, I'm just a "wannabe"!
  9. gianni66

    A Great Experience In Tirumala

    Here are two pics of Tirumala, taken right in front of the main temple.
  10. gianni66

    A Great Experience In Tirumala

    Yes Jorge, I remember well your comment with your impressions about Tirumala when I asked information about it; I'm a fan of your travel experiences and I trust a lot in your suggestions, especially about the "off-the-beaten-track" destinations! I also had a bad feedback from Steven Ber on IM. But I decided to go and try in any case, and I've not been disilluded by the place. Yes, it's a little commercial and very, very crowded, and from an "artistic" point of view has nothing to do with most Tamil Nadu destinations, Hampi and other more famous places. But the deep contact with one of the most important Indian religious sites, maybe the most important after Varanasi (which is instead much more tourist-oriented) is well worth the trouble. Tirumala (and Tirupati as well) has a lot to give to the travellers who want to understand something about India (task for which a life is not enough). Less appealing than Taj Mahal or Jaipur, but it's the beating heart of India. At least, one of the beating hearts! I understand your bad experience, in the middle of a cyclone. Though I also found a hard storm (totally unexpected, in April!) for half a day when I arrived in another town, the best place I've been in India, which will be soon subject of a dedicate post. It's been raining hardly, but really hardly, for all the morning, the temple I was in was almost completely flooded, the sky was black and the roads covered with mud. All this in the dry season! But this has not ruined at all my two-days visit in the most fashinating, and, in my opinion, most under-rated place in India (and I hope it will be still under-rated in the tourist guides, to keep off the crowds of package tourists!). It's called Rameswaram. A life would be not sufficient for me to describe all my impressions there! (TO BE CONTINUED)
  11. gianni66

    A Great Experience In Tirumala

    No, I didn't have the Darshan in Tirumala Temple. I tried to enter from the VIP entrance, though I had no ticket and no invitation, but I was the ONLY "white man" around and also the temple guardians were curious about me, and one of them offered a "free" VIP access to the temple; but it was still two hours line inside, and I preferred to go around the site to watch the activity and take pictures. I felt too scared when I saw the queue from the outside! But, again, I had a very great time in Tirumala. It was hot, but dry and quite windy, not too hard for me. I had instead Darshan in Tirupati, in the Govinda temple. A terrific experience, very intense and strong, very different and much stronger than the Pujas attended in other temples in Tamil Nadu; yes, I saw several Pujas in Tiruvannamalai and Rameswaram in the days before Tirumala, but the one experienced in Tirupati was something special... I cannot explain why, but I felt really in a different dimension, maybe for the different atmosphere - much more full of "electricity" - than the one of TN temples. Great, though! And the ladoos... I'm sorry to say this, but I have just one strict rule when I travel in India (especially when I travel alone): eat only in the restaurants, avoiding every kind of street food or similar. I had a very bad experience two years ago in Tamil Nadu for a stupid small piece of pastry eaten from a street seller, and it has been a sufficient lesson! But maybe my precautions are too much... I know I've lost something unique! It will be next time, I hope! (because there will be a next time...)
  12. gianni66

    A Great Experience In Tirumala

    Any? I've hundreds of pictures, I'll upload them on my account on flickr in the next days. (oh my god, I've reprised to think to India now! )
  13. gianni66

    It's Been A Great Trip!

    Now you can read something about my experience in Tirumala and Tirupati, though I have much more to say. But I hope to write a report of my last trip in a more sistematic way, now that my "black-out period" is over! Bye! Gianni
  14. Hi all! Back from my quick trip to South India (actually, I was back on end of April, but I had my usual period of "black-out" after returning from India...), I can report my direct experience of Tirumala, at last! Yes, Tirumala (and it's counterpart downhill, Tirupati) is definitively worth a visit! It's a vibrant place, full of life and activities everywhere and everytime. I never felt bored or had the impression to be in the wrong place... just sometimes I felt worried to be THE ONLY western around (well, it's not completely true, I saw a couple of blonde-haired-blue-eyed guys on my second day, and a Japanise in my hotel!). OK, entering in the temple in Tirumala is almost impossible, but the spectacle is all around: one of the most amazing places I've seen in India, a joy for my camera. I loved especially the upstairs "balcony" in front of the main temple where all the cerimonies with candles, incenses and coconuts take place. But also the entrance into the queues is a place to stay and watch the scene of life all around. Commercial, surely. But as many other religious sites in India, and not only in India. With the great advantage that there is no "western tourists" scene like in other places; surprisingly, I have been totally ignored by touts (if any), while I have been constantly approached by people really interested in knowing more about me. It's been two days of "Gianni - Italy - yes Sonia Ghandi - no children" repeated one thousand times... but funny! (By the way: apart the usual questions, in one case I have been submitted to a real third degree, including "what's your's father's name", "how much is your salary", and an incredible "what is your wife doing right now", after I said that I was travelling alone!). A guardian of the temple entrance also invited me to enter from the VIP entrance... but I gave up when I was told that, once in, you have to queue for at least two hours in any case! One word about Tirupati: surely it's the most suitable place where to stay; good accomodations and meals available everywhere, I stayed in Bliss Hotel, great food and drink, but there are many other. And Tirupati is also a very interesting place: don't miss the ISKON temple and the Govinda temple, with the great and crazy bazaar full of religious articles and the worst examples of "kitch" sold to piligrims (but not too different from what you can see in Rome), like neon-flashing statues of the God and every kind of religious souvenirs. There are no architectural masterpieces in Tirumala/Tirupati, but it's a great place to watch India and Indian religious life at its peak. And a great place to test your speed in taking pictures. Don't miss a walk in the rail station: it can be scary for the crowds, but it's another experience! Finally: the road up to the hill. A nice mountain (better, hill) road, nice views and several stops on the way with small shrines and gopurams. But I really didn't understand the warnings about it: maybe who has written in the travel guides that it is a "dangerous" road has NEVER seen a REAL mountain road! The road to Tirumala is wide, safe, comfortable and never too steep. And there are two separate roads for the two directions. Dangerous??? The road where I live is much more dangerous, surely! I hope to add something more (and some pics) in the next days. Again, if you are planning a trip to South India, don't miss Tirumala! (next stop: my Hampi experience)
  15. gianni66

    It's Been A Great Trip!

    Next trip has already been planned. It's in a big archeological site, maybe much bigger than Hampi. And also in a big piligrimage centre, very similar to Tirumala in size and also very rich of interesting artistical masterpieces. I have already the ticket! And I'm going to leave very, very soon! Maybe this afternoon, but for a longer trip I would wait for saturday. Then, it will be the time, and I finally will take the metro from my home and in 20 minutes arrive to the centre of Rome...