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Day 3 - Rishikesh

The weather looked gloomy with an overcast sky as we woke up. We had breakfast at the hotel and decided to visit Rishikesh today. Again we headed back the way we came yesterday and after crossing Rajaji National Park the road divides and one goes towards to Dehradun and one to Rishikesh. The drive was pleasant, as we opted Laxman  Jhula as our destination google map smartly took us via highway bypassing the main city.But at the end the roads started to get narrower lucky for us we found a parking lot packed yet as we early risers ;)
The weather was little cold compared to the planes of Dehradun with lots of breeze coming from Ganga. We walked to Laxman Jhula to cross it. Oh boy! We have no idea what local authority allows two-wheelers, cycle to cross the hanging bridge which is meant for a pedestrian. And top of it you even have some cows standing in the middle.
I am sure the people coming all the from abroad to Rishikesh for peace, meditation and self-purity do get a complete shock wi…

Madikeri and around


(....Continued...) Next day we woke up leisurely had a wonderful breakfast . Our host meticulously wrote down all the attractions near Madikeri. The list included Tala-Cauvery – birth place of river Kaveri, Raja seat, Abby Falls, Omkareshwara Temple, Cauvery- Nisargadhama. We decided for all except the last one as we wanted to take it easy and not rushing between attractions.
As soon as we started driving to Madikeri (district headquarters of Coorg) the real beauty of Coorg started to unveil itself. The air was clean - fresh but was bit chilled. The lush green hills with teak trees and coffee plantation rejuvenated our eyes and mind. Coorg is in on the western ghat of India and above 1500 m. This makes this place cooler through out the year. Local call Madikeri the Scotland of the east (in North East Shillong is refereed as the Scotland of India).
There are numerous coffee plantation sizes various from few acres to hundreds. With coffee there are other plantation like orange, pepper and nutmeg in between.  Almost every plantation has one or more streams for water - all these streams joins Cauvery. as they descent. But currently the biggest challenges are labor as traditional labors are migrating to urban areas for a better paying job and lifestyle.

Heading towards Tala-Cauveri passed Madikeri, it reassembled like small hill town of North East with houses painted in bright colors perched on hill. This  route leads to  Mangalore. Being a weekday there were not many cars towards Tala-Cauvery. Tala Cauvery is around 40 KM from Madikeri. On the way we took few stops to shoot pictures with clear blue sky. Only few days back, there was a Marathon(44KM) and road was marked with distances from the finish line. Last part of the road was straight uphill climbs from Bhagamandala.  Bhagamandala is supposed to be sangam of three rivers; Cauvery and the Kanika are the real one, while third one is invisible (mythical). There is a temple but we did not stopped and continued to final destination through winding roads.
There is a pond which signify the origin of Cauvery. Its situated on slops of Brahmagiri hills. Every year during Makar Sankranti the pond over flows with water and devotees collect them as holy  water. There are steps which takes you to the peak and gives a bird eye view of the temple and pond from there. I took Aarush in Kangaroo-sling and he co-operated. It was very windy at the top which forced us to come down quickly.
On the way back, we had lunch at East End Hotel on the highway towards Mysore next to petrol station. We ordered some rice and chicken curry(kodava style). The ambiance is ordinary but crowded which means it is a popular destination and safe place for dining.

After lunch we headed for Raja seat but somehow missed first time and had to make an U-turn to comeback.  Former kings watched the sunsets with their loved one from this place. The  curved road to Mangalore under the valley adds magnificantly with  hills, green valleys, studded with paddy fields in the background. There is a toy train which was not running at that hour for kids and family.

From there we went to Omkareshwara Temple;  this is within  Madikeri town.  It was built by the Lingarajendra II in 1820 in the combination of Catholic, Keralite, Gothic and Islamic styles of Architecture. We could not enter the temple as it was closed during the afternoon.

After that  we rushed to Abbey Falls this is going back towards Mysore road and taking a left from the highway. In local language Abbey itself means falls so a literal translation will be falls falls. This road is winding and narrow and we need to keep on driving as Sun was dipping quickly. This  falls is located within a private property but open to public. Aarush too a quick short nap in this part. Soon roaring  water woke him up. It was a delight to find plenty of water during dry months of December. During the monsoon season from July to October it must be flowing like a torrent. The view from the  hanging bridge is quite enjoyable. The cascading water descends to the river Cauvery.
Headed back to home-stay before it was complete dark. Next day morning we were not sure what to do (as Nagarhole and Dubare will not be enjoyable for Aarush) and ultimately decided to head back to Bangalore. We came back to Mysore spent a good amount around the main market area and Ramkrishna Mission. Around dusk we left Mysore so that we can reach Bangalore bit late avoiding evening's rush traffic.
Bottom line is you can visit Coorg all year around if you love rain or aviod  monsoon as it rains a lot in the western ghats. Getting out of Bangalore is really difficult but leaving a place like this is very painful after a nice trip.
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