Travel Diaries

Birla Modern Art Gallery & Science Museum

Museums and art galleries are not everyone’s cup of tea.

Even if I did know this fact, it became painfully clear while I was at the Birla Modern Art Gallery, Hyderabad. People were just walking by the paintings like they were walking in the park. Not bothering to look at the finer details of the paintings, the artist name or the title of the paintings.

While I don’t claim to know art all that well, I made an attempt to understand what the artists were trying to convey through their paintings. It was most disappointing thing to see how this place was under appreciated and 75% of the time these halls were empty.

My personal favorite pieces from this collection are 1. Painting of three beautiful Nizam women and 2. A life size bronze sculpture of a serving girl. Beautiful thing about this sculpture is her eyes follow you around in the room. At that point in time, I was the only one in that hall and I was scared beyond my wits! With goosebumps adding to the eerie effect. But to create a bronze sculpture with effects like these back in 18th century was a marvel! Beautiful in a scary way!

Some of the excavated idols were displayed in the lawns of the property and along the way to science museum.

Birla Science Museum

This museum has four levels:

Ground level of the museum is scattered with a bunch of science projects/experiments. Pre-teens, teens and science geeks will be attracted to these projects. This level also has the oldest camera taking up an entire room on display, they also have first three generation computers on display. It was fascinating to watch big machines taking up so much space as computers versus the laptops we are using these days. Some optical experiments including concave and convex mirrors were fun. I was getting dizzy after watching few experiments, so skipped the rest.

Basement level is dedicated to the archaeological art. Some of the sculptures are too old and their forms were harder to decipher. The entrance to section was literally like a cave! I refused to enter it alone at first when the security guard showed me the entrance ๐Ÿ˜‚. Then he helped me see the halls just beyond the entrance and the people walking about. This level had some more excavated idols on display – some in impeccable condition and others in unrecognizable condition.

The white marble art collection was like feast to the eye! The intricate designs of idols and the fine details on each piece was beautiful! And the black granite gopuram and dwaram – the precision with which they were sculpted. I have no words to describe how beautiful it was to watch them!

This level also has a collection of rare Chinese vases – huge vases!, Plaster of Paris sculptures, collection of perfume bottles in all shapes and sizes from 18th century, Thala Patralu in Sankrit transcripts, Porcelain figures collection from England. This last part is literally a doll collection and not everybody’s cup of tea. I have seen a bunch of young men running out of this section like their hair was on fire ๐Ÿ˜‚. I suppose it wont hurt to appreciate art in the form of tiny doll figurines. They were beautiful set of dolls – calling to the little girl inside me๐Ÿ˜„. The museum had a strict no photographs policy. Otherwise, I would have taken thousands of pictures of these beautiful art!

The second level had a re-created model of submerged Dwaraka and model of Antarctica with tiny penguins! The rarest collection of pashmina carpets with the beautiful designs were a sight!

And the last floor is dedicated to Dinosaurium. They have skeleton of a dinosaurs on display along with other fossils and remains of dinosaurs. By the time I reached this floor (3 hours later) I had very little energy and patience to read the history and other material on display. I became the park walker by this time I was complaining about at the beginning of this article๐Ÿ˜…. Since other people were taking pictures with the skeleton – I thought I would need one too. ๐Ÿ˜„

It had been an educational tour for me. If only I had carried snacks to keep up my energy, I would have done justice to the last floor with Dinosaurs.

Like I mentioned in the beginning of this article, Art galleries and Museums are not for everyone. But if you do want to brave them – go prepared to spare at least few seconds per painting and art to appreciate them.


Roof Garden – January 2023

Quick update on my previous post of Roof Garden (link here: – I had a very successful season of Fenugreek leaves. And seeds at the end of the season. Below are seeds from early in the season.

It was a good season for kitchen garden because of the rains. Especially, coriander!

My new batch of green chili did not survive after the rains๐Ÿ™

Art Festivals

Sankranti Muggulu 2023

Here are my this year’s Sankranti Muggulu. I have tried new ratham muggulu this year. One I am very happy with! The other, I am still deciding how I am feeling about it. On the bright side, it does look like a miniature ratham. So I am taking that as a win.

Home Cooking

Katte Pongali

I used to make katte pongali most Fridays back in 2015 for Santoshi mata pooja. This dish met the specific requirement of Santoshi Mata pooja of not having tangy ingredients in it.

I recently came across an Instagram video of Katte Pongali, bringing back old memories of relishing this dish. I don’t remember why I stopped making this dish, so I made it twice in the last couple of weeks. While I was eating it a fresh this time, it reminded me of Tirupati prasadam after Sri vari kalyanam!

Sharing the recipe here before Sankranti. Many south Indians prepare this dish along with chekkera pongali (recipe here:


Rice – 1 Cup

Moong Dal – 3/4 Cup

Butter/Ghee – 2 tbsp

Black pepper – 1 tbsp (freshly crushed)

Cumin – 1 tsp

Ginger – 1 inch (grated)

Green Chili – 2

Cashew nuts – 10

Dried red chili – 3

Curry Leaves – 1 strand

Asafetida (hing) – 1/4 tsp

Salt – to taste


  1. Take a dish that fits into the pressure cooker. Take rice, moong dal in the dish. Wash it thoroughly and add water in 1:2 ratio. For the measurements mentioned here, we need 3 1/2 cups of waters. Add sat and set this dish aside.
  2. Crush black pepper. If we use uncrushed pepper, they will still be hard to chew after the dish is cooked. And we need freshly crushed pepper to get the right taste.
  3. Slit the green chilies, peel the ginger and grate it.
  4. Now take a tadka pan, add butter, green chilies, ginger, pepper, cashews, cumin seeds, curry leaves, dried red chilies. Let it cook till the seeds pop. Add hing and turn off the stove.
  5. Add the tadka to rice and moong dal mixture. Mix it well and place it in the pressure cooker. Cook for 3 whistles on medium flame and 10 minutes on low flame, then turn off heat.
  6. Katte Pongali is ready! And those of you who had the opportunity to taste Tirupati Katte Pongali Prasadam will relate. Do try the dish and let me know in the comments section how it turned out.

Art Festivals

Dhanurmasam Muggulu Special Part 3

Here is my final post on Dhanurmasam Special series. I will continue to post more muggulu closer to Diwali 2023.