Birla Mandir , Birla Science Museum
B.M.Birla science Museum - Located on the hill rock Naubat Pahad , near the Birla Temple is this interesting Science Museum and Planetarium. This museum houses exhibits that show various scientific principles. It has been long since I have visited this place, so my son and I have set off to this wonderful museum one Sunday. This place is well connected to different parts of the city. Lakdi-ka-phool, Telephone Bhavan, Ravindra Bharathi are few places nearby. We can get down at any of these places and walk down to the museum or the Birla temple. We can also take an auto rickshaw. They will charge you a minimum of Rs.30. We took an auto rickshaw and got down at the Birla Science Museum. There was hardly any crowd as it was quarter to four in the evening. When we went to the booking counter we saw that there was a 'Mangalyan to mars' show in English, in the Planetarium. We immediately bought two tickets for that show and ran towards Planetarium. The receptionist told us that the show would be starting in about ten minutes .It was a steep climb to the planetarium and there were a few staircases to climb, but the weather was wonderful so the climb was enjoyable. We reached the place a little before the show began. We took our seats and waited for the show to begin. We had to switch off our mobile phones and remove the batteries from our camera. The show started in about 5 mins. It was mainly about the planet Mars, why the planet Mars interests us much more than any other planet , whether there were any possibilities of life on Mars, Mangalyan to Mars, whether the planet had any life sustaining materials, the conditions on Mars. It also talked about the night sky and space travel. It was a good and enjoyable forty-five minutes show. After the show we walked down to Dinosaurium to see fossil of dinosaurs. This is a part of the science museum that is dedicated to the display of artefacts related to Natural History. As you enter the main hall you will be see a huge fossil of the KOTASAURUS. This belongs to the lower Jurassic age that goes back to around 160 million years ago. It is similar to ‘REXX’ in the movie ‘Night at the Museum’. This fossil was found at Yamanpalli in Adilabad district which is now in the state of Telangana. Apart from this there are many other fossils like the Thigh bone of dinosaurs, eggs of dinosaurs, fossils of shrubs belonging to that particular era. After that we walked to the second level. Here we saw a few exhibits on India’s space Programme. Towards one side there is a small room with miniature version of the submerged city of Dwaraka. The name Dwaraka brought back to my mind the stories of Lord Krishna, the Pandavas and the great epic, Mahabhrath. In the room there were a few broken mud pieces that were brought from the excavation site. Besides this there is miniature version of Antarctica. There are a lot of models of penguins. There was also a model of the Indian station in Antarctica. Then we came back to ground level. This level has a lot of models that works on various scientific principles like the principle of curved lines, straight lines, mirror magic, the human eye’s perception and other interesting things. Here we can actually test the models and understand the various principles behind these models. There is a board beside these models which help us to understand these models in more depth and detail. This is a efficient and fun way to introduce physics and its different concepts to both beginners and advanced students of physics. We were a little tired after exploring these various models and concepts. After taking some rest we walked towards the Birla Mandir which was walking distance from the science museum. Birla Mandir - This is one of the major tourist attractions in Hyderabad. This beautiful marble sculptural marvel is located on Kala pahad, the twin hill rock of Naubat pahad. This was built in 1976 by the famous Birla industrial Family. The main deity of this temple is Lord Venkateshwara and his concerts Padmavathi and Sri Andal. Apart from the main temple there are a few small temples dedicated to Lord Ganesha, Lord Shiva, and Lord Hanuman nearby. The temple is built from white marble bought from Rajasthan. The temple architecture is a mixture of both Dravidian and Orissa style’s. The main entrance, the Rajagopuram is in Dravidian style, while the temple itself is in Orissa style. There was not much crowd as it was only five in the evening. We climbed up a steep hill and reached the foot stand. Here we had to deposit our cameras, mobiles and slippers at the respective counter. After the security check we walked towards Shiva temple. This is a very small temple with Linga inside the temple. We then went to the Hanuman temple and then walked towards the main temple. There is an elevator to reach the main temple for senior citizens and physically challenged people. As we climbed up the stairs, we got a view of the beautiful city of Hyderabad. The Secretariat, Lumbini gardens, Necklace road and the Buddha statue in the manmade lake of Hussain sagar, looked beautiful from the height . As we climbed up looking at the beautiful city below we reached the Rajagopuram. We were greeted by the beautifully curved mural of Krishna. This mural captured Krishna explaining the Bhagavath Gita (the holy text) to Arjuna. As we move on upwards, we can see various murals from the Dasavatar (the ten incarnations of Lord Vishnu) and Ramayan carved into the white marble wall. After climbing few more steps, we came close to the main temple. We could see the beautiful Western sky turning orange in colour. The sun was looking like a huge red ball of fire far off in the sky. Heavenly bodies always fascinated me. We walked further and had the darshan (view or to get the blessings of) of Goddesses Padmavathi. Later we saw the huge dwaja sthamba (flag staff). It is plated with gold and revives the glories of the ever merciful God. As we walked further into the temple, we reach the main entrance. The main entrance is decorated with the thoranam(garlands of flowers) carved into marble. It is difficult to imagine that such an intricate motifs can CARVED from marble stone. We can see the petals and leaves clearly carved in the garland. Then as we moved towards the main Santorum, we saw the Sagara madhanam (the churning of the ocean) scene. The Devas (angels) and the Asuras(demons) churning the milk ocean using Vasuki (the king of snakes) as the rope. When we looked up we can saw beautiful carvings on the ceiling. In front of us there was a statue of Venkateshwara the Lord of seven hills. The inner shrine is replica of the Temple of Lord Venkateshwara in Tirupati. On either side of the main door there are Jaya and Vijaya guarding the entrance to the shrine.. Inside the main sanctum, the granite image of the presiding deity is about 11ft tall and a carved lotus forms an umbrella for this statue. On the either side of the walls there are images of Lord Shiva(the destroyer) and Lord Brahma(the creator). The ceiling is also has beautiful carvings of flowers and motifs. After the darshan we came out and prayed to Garuda (the lord’s vehicle, an eagle) located near the Dwaja stambha. Then we prayed to Sri Andal Amma. From here we can see Hussain Sagar towards the right and and Assembly building in front of us. When we moved a little closer we can see the state museum, Lal Bahadur Shastri Stadium, Golkonda fort and if observed carefully the Paigha tombs. We walked down from here and visited a small Sai baba temple. We sat here and meditated and got immersed in the chanting of mantras, when paid close attention to, get the jist of. Due to the white marble the place is very cool and there is always a gentle breeze blowing which calms and soothes our body and soul. After spending some time here we started to walk back. We can see Vidhya Mandir school, Lumbini Park and other important buildings. After spending memorable evening we came back home with the good memories of the Lord and the Planetarium.