Trojaborg, find your inner peace

Adults and children moving purposefully between boulders. This was the scene outside the Viking Museum at Roskilde, Denmark. On close observation, the boulders mark out a Trojaborg labyrinth, similar to those from the Bronze Age.

Trojaborg at Roskilde
Trojaborg labyrinth at Roskilde, Denmark (Apr 2018)

The labyrinth and the movement through its paths are often used today as a form of meditation which gives focus and inner peace. Continue reading

Birds seen in Europe (Part 4)

Read Part 1 here and Part 2 here and Part 3 here.

Eurasian Magpie

While in Bergen, Norway, we decided to make a quick visit to the closest Stave Church in the area, located in Fantoft. As we walked up the hill from the tram station, we saw a colourful bird fly and seat itself on a signpost. It was surely a Magpie, but much larger than what I’d seen in India. It’s blue and green feathers against the dominant black and white looked beautiful. It sat sufficiently long, that I got a good picture.

Eurasian Magpie - Stave Church Fantoft near Bergen Norway
Eurasian Magpie at Fantoft, Norway

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Birds seen in Europe (Part 3)

Read Part 1 here and Part 2 here.

The most seen bird in Bangalore during our childhood was easily the sparrow.  They’d be all over the backyard, bathing in the open tank, picking at the sun-dried grain and nesting right in our house in-between the roof tiles. It seems that sparrows have vanished from our homes in Bangalore, so whenever I see them in other places, I always stop to watch (though I still have the pleasure of seeing them in Mumbai where I now live).

House Sparrow

The sparrows we saw in Denmark and Norway were much fluffier than the ones we have in India, overweight by our sparrow standards, and better equipped to tackle the low temperatures they encounter.

Sparrow female Tivoli
House Sparrow female, Tivoli Gardens, Copenhagen, Denmark

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Copenhagen Metro Construction Site

The Copenhagen Metro is a quick and efficient way of getting around the city and neighbouring municipalities. Having started operations in 2002, this driverless system complements the local trains, buses and water buses that together form one of the world’s best public transport networks that operates 24/7. And it is being improved with the construction of two new metro lines to add to the existing two lines.

metro underpass
Underpass to one of the metro stations

Copenhagen’s public transport is also expensive. In fact, it was declared to be the most expensive with the average price of a single journey ticket costing the equivalent of about $4.30 (Source:, Aug 2017).

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Birds spotted in Europe (Part 2)

Read Part 1 here.

The King’s Garden is the oldest park in Copenhagen, established in the 17th century, abutting the Rosenborg Castle of King Christian IV. On our first morning in Copenhagen, we spent some time walking through this 12-hectare park, taking in the sights and smells of the Danish spring.

walk through Kings Garden
King’s Garden, Copenhagen

Hooded Crow

Here and there, strutting around on the green grass of the King’s Garden with authority were these birds that behaved like our Indian House Crows, but they looked different – dominant light grey plumage with glossy black restricted to head, throat, wings and tail. They were bigger but with the same boldness, not hesitating to walk close to humans. We didn’t see many crows during the rest of our trip. Continue reading

Birds spotted in Europe (Part 1)

Where there is food and water, there will be animal life. This is particularly true for birds for whom there are no boundaries… the sky is their limit!

On our recent 15-day trip to Europe, specifically The Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden and Norway, we spotted many birds, a few that we see in our backyards and neighbourhoods in India, but many that I hadn’t seen before. Whenever possible, I tried to capture them on my camera.

Our first stop was the tulip gardens of Keukenhof, The Netherlands. With the millions of flowers, I guess our attention was on them and not on the birds that were possibly around. At one point many were looking way up high to check out a distinctive knocking sound. It was a woodpecker hammering away, scarcely visible among the trees. Before I could focus, it had flown away. We didn’t see a woodpecker again on our trip. Continue reading

The First Ziegenbalg Monument

Here by the grace of God
landed on the 9th of July 1706
the first Ev Lutheran missionaries to India
Bartholomaus Ziegenbalg
Heinrich Plutschau.

Writing at Ziegenbalg's landing site

Erected by the grateful congregations
of the Leipzig Ev Luth Mission
in the Jubilee Year 1906.

So reads the inscription at the Ziegenbalg Monument erected at his landing site on the shores of Tranquebar in 1906, two hundred years after his arrival. Continue reading

Tranquebar: the history missing in our history books

We have all heard about the Europeans in India, right from the ancient times of Alexander The Great in 326 BC, to the modern times of the British monarch.

Looking through the history text books I used in school (DN Kundra, Part I & II, 1983 edition), a full section can be found devoted to the modern Europeans. Titled “The British Period”, it starts with Vasco-da-Gama who arrived in Calicut in 1498 from Portugal, and continues with the Dutch, British and French, and their East India Companies. So when anyone talks about the Danes in India, it would be a surprise, to even those who think they are well-read. The Danish travelers find no mention at all in our history books, and if you have heard about them, it is most likely by conversational chance! (Unless, of course, you are from Tranquebar.) Continue reading