The National Opal Collection, Sydney

The National Opal Collection, an Opal museum, located at Pitt St, Sydney, situated at the first floor. The museum is open from 9 AM until 6 PM, 7 days a week and the entry is FREE!

Entrance of the Opal Museum, Pitt St - Sydney
As I entered, my attention was caught the Evolution of Opals, huge dinasaurs, bones of various shapes. It has been a well known fact, that opals were extracted from stones however I was never of this interesting fact that the Opals were also extracted from dinasaur bones.

The Haul posts

I must say, I am now addicted to writing the "Haul" posts as my shopping bucket is growing day by day. I step out of the house with "NO" intentions of buying and repeat the mantra on my mind- "No shopping this month, already have a high expenditure." But heart has a different mantra - "Just this one time, c'mmon baby!" I have decided to come up with the "Haul" posts to make a note of my Shopping Cart and believe me, you're not going to get bored reading these posts. Hope you enjoy reading these posts as much as I enjoy writing them.

What's your shopping mantra? Have your ever faced the same mind and heart mantra? Do share in your comments.


Color Run

My first Color Run in Sydney was memorable and delightful. Having seen so many banners and videos of color runners, I registered online for color run on a Sunday. It was a bright and sunny day and I was ready for the crazy color splash. It was a huge crowd at the venue and there wasn't a timing nor it a race. Some ran, some walked, while some danced. Colors are made using non-toxic, corn starch, friendly colors. The colors are soft and non-allergitic, when you wash clothes, colors go off at a single wash.
Before the start of event

Srikalahasti Temple

Srikalahasti Temple is one the most renowned Hindu temple with the main deity Lord Shiva and Goddess Prasoonambika. It is approximately 6 hours on train from Bangalore. Srikalahasti has been well connected by buses and trains. If you don't find a direct train, then hop off at Tirupati and board a bus to Srikalahasti.

The place has an interesting tale on how it got its name. The spider (Sri), snake (Kala) and elephant (hasti) worshipped Lord Shiva, with selfless devotion and offerings. The spider protected the Shiva Ling from the wind and it sacrificed its life during the fire. The snake prayed offering various gemstones to the Lord. Whilst the elephant would shower the Lord with the water it carried in its truck and place the leaves pushing the gemstones aside. This continued everyday which made the snake angry.

the duo died quarreling with each other whilst.

Another story is about the great devotee, Kannappa, who was a hunter. He offered the water from his mouth and also the flesh that he hunt. When the temple roof collapsed on the idol, the Lord's eyes were hurt and bleed. Kannappa removes one eye and places on the Lord's eye,

The tea staller narrated the story of Bedara Kanappa and how

One would come across the street sellers and shop owners narrating these stories.

The temple is vast and the devotees have to be in queues for a long time.

Place is well connected

Next station after Tirupati - can visit both the places

Lunch is free -

You can buy prasadam after the darshan at a nominal price - laddu

Accomodation
The temple provides the room to the devotees at a nominal price for 24 hours ONLY. In case you wish to stay for two days, then you have to request the receptionist for the extension on a daily basis. You cannot book the room for one week at once. Please note there is no reservation and you would get a room on first come first serve basis only.

Autos - several but remember to bargain

Leave your phones at the room or you can park your phone for Rs 5 at the store. Photography and videography are prohibited at the temple.



The picture frame of the Lord Shiva and Goddess Prasoonambika on the wall at the hotel room

Snake, Spider and Elephant who worshipped the Lord everyday

The great devotee Bedara Kanappa who offered both the eyes to the Lord.


Temple Entrance

Free Dormitory in front of the temple premise


Guest House





Books for sale in front of the shop



Tiffin Center and Canteen

Devotees offering prayer


Train timings on display


Train timings on display

Srikalahasti temple is well known for the Rahu-Ketu Pooja which is performed by the devotees to get rid of the ill effects of the planets. The couple wanting a child or those who wish to marry or some who are facing financial problems etc.. perform the Pooja. 

xoxo
~manasa~


Hello from Perth, Good Bye Sydney

Dear Sydney,

Thank you for all the love and affection you showered upon me. It's time to move on and yes, I would surely miss all the good times I had in the lovely city and amicable people, commuting on trains and ferries, visiting myriad restaurants and coffee shops, film festivals, westfield for shopping!

Hasta la vista with a heavy heart, the same feeling I had while leaving Melbourne. But I'm sure Perth would treat me great!

XOXO
~manasa~

Follow your own star

At times, it is difficult to make a decision. Talk to friends and here, you have umpteen suggestion leading to further complications. So when in dilemma, just Follow your own star.

Sometimes, you win.
Sometimes, you learn.
This is my bracelet charm for self motivation amidst difficult times. :)

XOXO
~manasa~

Ichiban Boshi :: Japanese Restaurant

Being a vegetarian, it is difficult to find the vegetarian food without egg and meat at Japanese restaurants. While placing an order, I ensure that the food does not contain any egg or meat. Ichiban Boshi, the Japanese takeaway outlet at Town Hall station had two displays of vegetarian food with rice and vegetable curry. Initially, I was skeptical what to order during my first visit to this place along with bunch of colleagues who highly recommended this place but they always preferred fish or chicken here.

The place is always crowded as it is situated within the station and the mall but still you would find a place to sit and enjoy your lunch. One may find many other take away outlets around. Though crowded, Ichiban's service is quick and the food tastes good without compromising the quality.

There are two options that a vegetarian could order and I ordered the vegetable curry with rice that costs $ 10. This is what it looks like. I love the pickle on the right top of beans, that they provide with the meals.


XOXO
~manasa~

Ceylon Tea from Sri Lanka

Bandaranaike International Airport is a huge airport at Sri Lankan Capital City, Colombo. I was here in March 2016 during a transit for 3 hours. The statue of Lord Buddha reminds of peace and calmness. The board in yellow is for everyone to show respect to the Lord by not showing their back and posing for the photograph with Buddha behind them.



Flying with SriLankan Airlines


My first flying experience with Sri Lanka Airlines in March 2016 was good. It was a company provided Economy class flight ticket and I was skeptical how comfortable the seat would be and more important was the food as its the long way from Bangalore => Colombo => Kuala Lumpur (KL) => Sydney with a 24 hour transit. From KL, Lankan airways have an alliance with Malaysian Airlines.

PappaRich Malaysian Restaurant

PappaRich is a Malaysian Restaurant that has franchise restaurants all over Australia. The closest one for me is at Westfield Parramatta. The speciality about PappaRich dishes is they serve vegetarian food that appears like meat but made with soya! Confused? .. so you're eating soya that looks like meat. Malaysian restaurants here do not serve wine or alcohol.

Here is what I ordered.

Main course: Biryani Rice vegetarian mutton curry made with soya.

ITR made easy with H&R Block

The end of financial year and the accountants are busy working hard day and night, with the financial figures. As April arrives, we, the salaried class, receive the Form 16 from the employer reminding us to pay our tax religiously by 30th June. But most of them have a lot of confusion or misinterpretation on the savings in each category say 80D, 80DD, bank interests, other sources of income such as rent, or any kind of loans for rebate. When the Form 16 is issued, we must ensure that all the savings made during the financial year are being reflected or if anything has been missed it should be entered while filing ITR returns. 

Most of the folks, be it salaried or business, do not realise the importance of filing the tax returns and ignore whilst it is our duty to duly file before the last date. It is not just about filing for tax withheld, filing on time helps us in applying bank loans of all kinds not just the housing loan. Also, tax filing on time has been much appreciated by other countries. When we apply for work visas, it indicates a positive note on the visa application and most information is shared amongst all the countries. 

While filing for Income Tax Return, we are solely responsible for the accuracy of the information we provide to the IT Department. Any false information or unknowing incorrect information would land us in trouble. IT Dept had launched the website few years ago providing all the useful FAQs and online lodgement of returns is much easier now. If you still don't understand the flow of filing the tax, the best way is to approach a trustworthy tax consultant such as H&R Block who provide online service and would do it on your behalf hassle free. It would save your time commuting to tax office or consultant.

"A fine is a tax for doing something wrong. A tax is a fine for doing something right." ~Author Unknown


I’m taking the #TaxPledge to file IT returns with the easy Income Tax efiling option from H&R Block at BlogAdda.

Wherever you go, go with all your heart

"Wherever you go, go with all your heart." ~ Confucius. 

In my mother tongue, Kannada, there is a popular proverb - "Desha noDu, kosha oodu (Read the book and see the world)". Most of us travel based on where work takes us and many travel for the love of it and are born wanderers. Travel broadens the mind and provides us an opportunity to explore new places within the home country or a different one or even an entirely different continent. Meet local folks with the different cultural background, try new food or even learn a new language. Traveling is not so easy as we think seeing so many updates on Facebook or twitter. It does require a lot of planning and looking up on the internet, reading reviews and so on.

I wish to visit Goa over and again for its beautiful sun kissed beaches and for the love of beaches. I would first book my to and fro tickets by flight and there is a huge list of Airlines to Goa. I would first book a flight and hotel based on my budget covering both North and South Goa. Subsequently, I would also start packing clothes for beaches and adventures, sunscreen, shoes and slippers, camera with lenses, book to read while on flight and loads of cash and less jewellery as much as possible. I would try to keep my baggage as light as possible. On the travel day, I would board an AC Volvo bus to airport that reaches in a hour.

I have made a list of beaches to visit and the huge list of activities that should not be missed at any cost!
Beaches:
North Goa: I would cover the beaches as much as possible. Calangute beach, one of the most popular beaches in Goa, Baga beach, Anjuna beach, Vagator beach and Aguada beach for its fort. And not to forget the famous Arambol beach.
South Goa: Palolem beach and Agonda beach.
Se Cathedral, Ruins of the Church of St. Augustine, Church of Mae de Deus (Saligao) to name a few.

Water sports:
Goa is a land of adventures or rather say home for adventures. If you visit any beach, you would find a plenty of water sports which anyone should never miss. If you could swim or not, does not matter, but you always always give a try. I would definitely go for scuba diving, my all time favourite, river rafting, water scooter and parasailing. I would float on the sea after a good swim for relaxation.

Walks:
I love long walks or rather say photowalk, capturing the life of the city with my DSLR camera and iPhone. I would definitely walk through the streets of Panjim or any city for that matter. Walking is better than driving a moped. During my walks, I get to explore the city better by talking to the locals, than what google maps offers.

Shopping:
How could a woman not shop wherever she goes? I would definitely go out for window shopping if not spending at Mapusa and at Anjuna and get home some souvenirs and good wine.

Casinos:
Last but not the least, what's the purpose of visiting Goa without trying your luck at a Casino and hoping to win handsome money. Visit a Casino, win and lose but be happy. :) Also, did I forget to mention the bars and restaurant, you would find a plenty of them round.

So that's my hassle free well planned trip and hope to be back with loads of travel stories!



Avocado addiction

I confess, I am addicted to the avocados. I eat at least one avocado a day by smashing it and sprinkling sugar or honey to add to taste. The avocados are as smooth as butter and commonly called Butter fruit in India. A butter fruit shake is sold at juice centre for INR 20 or 25 but avocados are a seasonal fruit in India.

Ever since I arrived to Sydney, my breakfast comprises a healthy diet, avocado, pear, plum or banana and corn flakes with milk and honey. After learning the properties of this fruit, I ensure I eat it daily. The supermarkets, Coles, Woolworths or Country Growers sell them at 2 for 4 or 5 AUD. 

Smashed avocado with honey and Strawberry milkshake
My Sunday breakfast comprising smashed avocado with honey and strawberry milk shake. That's a perfect diet, isn't it?