During April and May Aarush and Pamela went to Swimming pool almost daily for a few weeks. Every day around 10:30 or so he would make his best effort to get his swimming gear and would ask us to put it for him. But after few weeks we had to stop as we realized his cough was not getting cured and he got lots of sun tan. And now after the operation he is out of scope for any water sports for next one year.
Really do not recollect how I came first time to Team-BHP web site, specifically their forum. And from then on is kind of hooked though not a car freak myself with limited understanding for these electro-mechanical wonders. What fascinates me is travelogue section of this forum. It is great to find so many passionate soul sharing their trips and tricks. Last November got an unexpected mail about a meet-up @ Yelagiri for Bangalore team-bhpean; was not sure to join or not. Too much of work at office made it very difficult to commit.
On that special day somehow we started early @ 6:30 from home. Little -A was sleeping when we started and there was thick fog when we reached Dakshin Honda on Hosur Road. We saw many cars with BHP bumper sticker waiting on the side of the road. Soon we crossed Karnataka border and reached the town of Hosur. The road condition changed. Suddenly all pot-holes were gone and driving become really cool. Definitely politicians and bureaucrats of Karnataka need to learn something from their neighbor.
We stopped at A2B for breakfast, around 70 KM from Silk Board Junction with Petrol Pump next to it which you can't miss it. There was lots of crowd; it took us a while to get a decent place to sit and much longer to get our idli-sambar. We left for Yelagiri Hills and soon left NH7 for NH46 after first toll booth. There are signs for Chennai which you need to follow ; continuing on NH7 will take you to Salem. So after driving another 50 KM we crossed another toll booth from where we left NH46 for Yelagiri. This state road was not that great but OK. The last 14 KM is on the hilly section with hairpin turns. As we were quite early; not much traffic before or behind us. Plenty of monkeys along the road, they target cars for easy food if you are not careful.
We reached Yelagiri lake around 10-ish. Took a full round of the lake. With Aarush we had no plan for hiking and boating so decided for lunch. It was around 11:30 when we reached Hotel Hills. The hotel was not ready for lunch yet and Aarush had his lunch at reception while watching some Tamil songs at big screen. He was too sleepy to finish his lunch; we decided it might be a better idea to start for Bangalore while he sleeps skipping our lunch.
According to Outlook 52 weekend from Bangalore a typical weekend at Yelagiri would be --
Good breakfast, a gentle walk, lots of rest followed by lunch more rest another stroll in the evening then Dinner -- lots more rest, A blissful weekend.
On the way back we stopped again at A2B for a very late lunch. After crossing Hosur, entry to Bangalore was painful. There is a huge construction site around Electronic city for the mega fly-over on NH-7. We visited one of my college mate in HSR layout on the way back as we reached Bangalore well before Sunset.
View Bangalore to Yelagiri Hills in a larger map
(17th June - 16th July)
After rice ceremony at Siliguri we finally came to Bangalore. This time he was fine both in train and plane. We stayed in service apartment for 3 nights till our things moved to our rented apartment.
Too many changes of weather, locations and little less care Aarush got high fever for the first time and we had to rush him to Manipal. When it settled we started to strolled within our apartment complex to know our neighborhood more. Soon realized it was difficult for me to take him out carrying him in my arms. We bought stroller one weekend and he started to enjoy a lot while going out. I used to even make him sit at times at home on the stroller when I have to do household chores and stuff. Definately those time he didn't liked much sitting strapped at one place. While on other hand I knew he was safe, secure and watching me.
After a long time we were of our own I mean it was only three of us now. Everything I do for and with Aarush gives me an excitement and satisfaction on successfully accomplishing it. It might sound weird but that is true. Like yippee... I did it. We had our first baby bath together, without anyone around. It was my first time ever to give our baby a bath alone. Usually, me and my maid use to do it together. I use to prepare the bathroom, get warm water in his tub prepare the make up room, his clothes. Then during bath time, my maid use to be in charge with soaping and pat drying. Now, since we are of our own I didn't want to have maid for Aarush till I am not going for job. So there were many first attempts.
On his eating habits once he mastered fruits I introduced him to cerlac and other new foods. As a first taste of solid food – puree of khichdi. At first he didn't liked much but slowly he started liking. Mashed potatoes, carrots, beet, papaya and peas were given along with khichdi to him. This month we tried new recipe- ragi porridge as breakfast which he liked ...not in first attempt ofcourse. Santanu sometimes use to feed him before going to office.
It was quite harassing - and very tiring - to cope with the little 'night owl'. He use to sleep right after dinner for hour or so and use to woke up as fresh as a daisy and be awake till 1AM in morning completely draining our energy. We visited doc and he suggested to keep the lights subdued so that the baby's sense of time is not disturbed and asked to follow a regular pattern. I use to massage him twice daily as massaging might relax and it may be good as prelude to sleep through the night. After massaging I use to feed him his dinner and then rock him to sleep with lights off. It worked that way. Certain days Santanu also use to put him to sleep which was a big help.
I was asking for a mattress from quite a long so that I can put Aarush there and can do household chores tension free. But it never happened unless on one fine day he fall from bed while rolling. I told my hubby I knew, oh I certainly did knew all about this but...Learnt a hard lesson this month- never ever leave child unattended when once they are mobile. Immediately, got mattress that evening.
(....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.