Saturday, February 18, 2006

Varadaraja Perumal Temple

Back to Kanchipuram. (See related pics posted in January of the Varadaraja Perumal Temple at Kanchipuram.) Quite a few of the large temples in Tamil Nadu have the 100-pillar halls referred to as `Nootru Kaal Mandapam' (100-legged halls), and the pillars are profusely carved. The Varadaraja Perumal Temple too has one such hall. Here are a few details from there. Posted by Picasa
The sculptured pillars in the 100-pillar hall at the Varadaraja Perumal Temple, Kanchipuram. Posted by Picasa
A sculpture at the 100-pillar hall at the Varadaraja Perumal Temple, Kanchipuram. Posted by Picasa

Monday, February 13, 2006

Valentine's Day

Have a great Valentine's Day. A couple of Surya Kirans, part of Indian Air Force's nine-member aerobatic team, make the sign above Chennai's skies. Hope you can see them at the base of the heart. A third acts out the role of Cupid's arrow. February 14, according to information on the Internet, among other things, marks the official start of the mating season for birds. So I've included more high fliers below. Posted by Picasa
Painted Storks mating. Pic taken a few year back at Vedanthangal. But it was not on a February 14. Posted by Picasa
butterflies Posted by Picasa
Grasshoppers... Posted by Picasa
More butterflies... Posted by Picasa

Saturday, February 11, 2006

The Evolution of the One Paisa (and extinction)

This is inspired by a recent post by Satish (see blogroll) and another by Ramki (blogroll). Satish gave a link to an interesting post, an epitaph to the one paisa copper coin, and Ramki spoke about being shortchanged in shops in a post about the service sector in India - a problem possibly aggravated by the non availability of small denomination coins.
I have used this opportunity to present the evolution of the one paisa coin.
Starting from the pre-decimal system days of pice and annas when they were ornate and cast in copper to its final form as a drab aluminium coin after rising costs cut it to size before sending it into oblivion.
Maybe the cost of minting of low denomination coins alone should not be used to decide whether to continue with them or not. Isn't there a value when they help to pay the exact cost of a product. Do we not devalue money when we don't bother to pick up the 5 paisa, 10 paisa, 25 paisa or sometimes the Re 1 change. Many countries still do have their versions of the paisa - the cent and penny for example.
The aluminium one paisa. As it looked before it went out of circulation in the late 1960s or early 1970s. A very simple looking coin compared to its more ornate predecessors - see below. The square coin with rounded sides was about the size of a thumb nail. I can remember when we could buy two sweets `muttais' for one paisa. Posted by Picasa
The `Ek Paisa' (one paisa). Till 1963 these were called the naya paisa to distinguish the shift to the decimal system of coinage in 1957. The two images are from the same coin - my mistake in scanning them in different sizes. These were a little over a centimetre in size. Posted by Picasa
The Naya Paisa. `Naya' meaning new to mark the shift to the decimal system so people will not confuse it with the earlier pice. The coins were a little larger than a shirt button, about the size of a thumbnail. Posted by Picasa
A First Day Cover brought out by the Department of Posts to commemorate the introduction of the decimal system in Indian coinage. Posted by Picasa
The One Anna. 16 of these made up Re. 1. Tis was in the days before the decimal system came into being. Posted by Picasa
Here is the popular `Ottai Kalana,' the one pice coin. This was before the days of the decimal system and was lesser in value than the 1 paisa of the decimal system. This coin is about 2 cm in diameter. Posted by Picasa
The one pice coin. Four of these make one Anna. (They are two sides of the same coin, but I slipped up in scanning them so sorry about the different sizes.) Posted by Picasa
At about the start of the previous century the lowest denomination was the 1/12th of an Anna, the `thambdi' or the 1 pies. Posted by Picasa

Saturday, February 04, 2006


Stamps of Chennai - 2: It should actually be stamps of places near Chennai, about 50 km to the east. The Department of Posts released a commemorative stamp on Commonwealth Day. This is a stylised image of the shore temple, maybe as it appeared years ago before the wall of boulders was raised between it and the sea to protect the structure. I've included below a photograph of the shore temples. Posted by Picasa
The Department of Posts also released a postcard with the images of the shore temple.  Posted by Picasa
Repeating shore temple post for Stamps of Chennai Series. I had always wanted to take this pic of the shore temple with the waves in the foreground, a duplication of the stylised version of the shore temples that we see in many drawings and in the stamp above. But the sea and waves were simply too far away from the temple and separated by a wall of boulders. Finally, when this image happened I had no reason to be happy. This picture was taken on December 27, 2004, the day after the tsunami. Posted by Picasa