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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…

Hampi - history carved in granite

Day – 1, As planned we left Bangalore quite late in our standard after a big breakfast at home around 11, the traffic on a Saturday as usual was very heavy and it continued that way till we crossed Nelamangala. After that the traffic got better but there were too many diversions as there was work going on to build flyovers and road widening on NH-4. We filled fuel somewhere after Nelamangala, and noticed there were not many decent stops like CCD or others. We did make a quick stop after one of those toll-plaza before Chitradurga to have lunch inside the car with the home cooked paratha (stuffed bread).
At Chitradurga we need to take an diversion and left NH-4 and continued on NH-13 (Solapur Highway). This is a undivided 2 lane road. There are not many small vehicles but lots of big rigs. We found lots of Sunflower field and stopped in one of them for a quick photo-shoot. The road is full of pot holes and unmarked speed breakers. But it was not that bad and I got used to it after a whi…

Road trip - October 2012

Visiting the northern part of Karnataka for its historic and artistic monuments were long due. We thought of doing it two years back during 15th August long weekend but postponed the same due to late rain and high water level at Tungabhadra Rivers. This year we started to plan early and consulted two avid travelers and their guidance in setting up the itinerary. It was planned that we would use the 2 weeks school vacation for this trip, but then I personally felt it would be a great miss Durga pooja twice in a row. So we modified our itinerary again and split the same in two with 5/6 days of stay in Bangalore to celebrate Durga Pooja.

On the negative side it resulted in longer drive for me and dropping few destinations from Northern sea-side destinations. Now we have to do that another time as it would require another sojourn of a week to complete. Here is both the list for a easy reference.


Days Start Activity Distance StayDay-1BangaloreHospet - a simple a laure drive365 KMHotel Mal…

Coonoor - Acre Wild

We followed road suggested by Mr. Vijay to reach Coonoor, which was quite deserted except few local people we were the only one on that road. This road goes via tea gardens and gives a treat to your eyes. Once we reached Coonoor we parked next to the bus stand and had a quick thali lunch in nearby busy restaurant. After that we headed towards our Farmstay - Wild Acre. The direction given by Mr. Mansoor is very accurate and we reached without any trouble. The location is just back of Coonoor bus stand and very well marked.

After putting our stuffs and a small introduction of the cheese and farm and its produce from Deepak we went out to explore Coonoor. We went to the botanical garden which has trees from all over the world. We must admire those British for bringing tree or plant from faraway places and making themselves feel at home far away from their motherland. Be it Shillong (summer capital of Assam in British days) or Coonoor, they have similarities with parks, lakes well planne…

A magical gateway called - RedHill

The drive to Ooty was thrilling with those 36 hairpin turns. We reached the outskirt of the city and asked for direction to Emerald/Avalanche and reached bypassing central Ooty town. We passed Ooty lake on Lake Road and crossed Good Shepherd School, Fern Hill Road and at last drove on Avalanche Road. The place ‘Avalanche’ gets its name as there was a massive land slide in early 1800. From Emerald (after the bridge) we took a left and the road condition continued to degrade as we crossed Avalanche Lake. We called the Mr. Vijay few times just to ensure we are on the right track, road is full of small stones and pebbles. It is easy to start doubting oneself and its direction, as there no one to ask for directions from. It is treat we enjoyed the pristine beauty of the surroundings while ensuring not scraping bottom of my car.
When we started in the morning it was clear sky but the sky was getting darker every hours. We were the only guest during lunch time, the food was Indian freshly m…

Masinagudi

The long waited Summer Vacation of 2012 ; earlier we used to escape the peak season madness now we are in the madness since both Aarush and Pamela are now part of active school. And we are going to be like this for years to come with no other choice. With that said, still wanted to avoid the crowded destinations. We wanted to visit ‘ Nilgiris’ the number uno summer destination of South India and picked Mudumalai, Ooty(Red Hills) and Connoor. We booked Red Hills Nature resort first, Wild Acres in Connoor second and at last Jungle Lodge at Masinagudi. All these booking were done with at least month in advance keeping in mind pick season.
We started from Bangalore on Sunday 15th April. The plan was to start very early morning but the alarm in BlackBerry was only for weekdays and it did not buzzed as it was Sunday (alarm only on weekday). We started from our home around 6:30 AM the traffic in Bangalore-Mysore was as usual crazy. Reached Mysore around 9 AM and stopped at Kamat near Mysore…

South Trip

Our trip to South  was one for which we hardly planned meticulously. Moreover, my son got fractured elbow but then also our spirit was on high although bit dampened that whether we will enjoy or not; kind of excitement mixed with anxiety, hope and happiness. I still remember the moment we sat in the car and started for the trip which was going to be one of the longest drive with Aarush.We  left Bangalore on 11th December 2010. As nothing much planned we packed some fruits and snacks which could be of help in desperate times and of course a camera to capture the moments.Our route-Bangalore -> Madurai(via Salem) -> Rameshwaram -> Kanyakumari -> Kovalam –> Kumarakom -> Malampuzha (via Palghat) -> Bangalore.

View Road Trip December 2010 in a larger map
Although the principle best followed in the case of accommodation is – ‘To each to his own’. In this trip no prior booking was done as we didn’t knew which night where we will be. It was on-spot which Santanu liked most.…

Malampuzzha

After being guest of GK Homestay for 2 nights at 7.00 we hit the road towards Malampuzha. It is about 8 km from the Palakkad town; Palkad is known as gateway between Tamilnadu and Kerala as it is a valley between hills. It is major rice growing area and home of many Tamil Brahmins who are living in Kerala for centuries.
Malampuzha Garden is build next to reservoir on river with same name. It has a mini hydro-electric project. The garden in that has a scenic setting with the forested hills of Western Ghats forming the backdrop. Just like Brindhvan garden of Mysore is build next to a reservoir on River Cauvery.
The garden consists of a unique ropeway that allows visitors to move around the whole area. The park includes flowerbeds, pools, snake garden, Japanese garden pedal boats, aquarium & etc. The whole park was under renovation and only spent some time in children area where Aarush like the Helicopter a lot. Within the Malampuzha Gardens is a large cement sculpture named Yakshi

Backwater:Kumarakom

Around 10 we started for our next destination to Kottayam which was around 140K M away. From Varkala we started following the road signs for Kochi but once we almost approached Kottayam/ Kumarakom we got little bit lost but soon found our way towards Kottayam. Roads were good except last part near GK Riverview home stay (Rough Guide recommendation). The owner of the homestay tried his best to discourage from coming with a small kid which infact made us more determined to stay with him. We were to stay here for 2 nights.


It is situated on the bank of river Meenachil in Aymanam. Right in front of house had backwater canal where you can take ride on country boats and watch people. They have only 4 rooms and facing the paddy field with hammocks and swing. Worth staying here if you don’t like TV in room and want to be close to nature and far from all noise of urban life. We spotted many birds there.
When we reached here, it was almost 3.30-4 00pm and were hungry. They offered us with some…

Kovalam and Varkala beach

Drive from Kanyankumari was smooth, Aarush took a small nap. The road was undivided two lanes so the speed was limited but the lush green from paddy field , coconut grove and plantation leaves was pleasant for eyes. We reached Kovalam as per our plan, saw sunset which was magnificient. It was great to watch perfect sunrise and sunset on a same day. Public Beach was next to Taj and Leela hotels where large part belongs to them for their private beach. Now we started to search for hotel and ended up with Blue Sea. Did not find anything special but food was definitely good and the property looks like going down the hill as two brother split on the same.


Next morning we went geared up towards light house beach which we found to be much more serene compared to earlier one. It has long stretch to take a stroll. Had our breakfast at one of the sea facing restaurant; there were some reasonable price hotels with a view need to explore sometime later. Aarush and Santanu went inside the water …

Kanyakumari : Where the Seas Meet

Continuing from Madurai (2010-December); we setup the alarm clock to ensure we do not miss the sunrise. But to our surprise we were awaken early by anxiety and whispers from the corridors. We went to see if the Sun was rising soon but the horizon was dark and there was faint rays of light. We let Aarush sleep and went to the rooftop where we saw every hotel rooftop is full of people as all are waiting for the Sun-rise. After some wait the magnificent sunrise did happen but it was quite late around 6.30am but worth watching. This is a small video of the same. After a very ordinary breakfast in one of the small stall we went to see Vivekananda Rock Memorial and Thiruvalluvar Statue, a Indian version of the Statue of Liberty . It was 8:30 in the morning in December but the Sun was really hot, it was quite along queue for ferry ride to that spot but worth going. When we reached Rock Memorial the Sun was on full blast it became tough to move around with bear foot.
Thiruvalluvar is ancient …

Yercaud - March'12

Yercaud is mentioned as poor man's Ooty in 52 weekends gateway but the article also mention it is a smart choice compared to Ooty. We were supposed to visit Yercaud in 2011 September but after wonderful vacation of Munnar and just before Gujarat we cancelled the booking as it was becoming too much travelling in short span.  I strongly believe in the words of Tagorethat good things in life needs to scared or they will become mediocre :-)
Now after a short break around Anandhama we pushed for Yercaud as it gave us a perfect destination of little bit driving and get away from Bangalore heat. We did not booked any hotel as we kept everything for last minute.  So on the D’day we left basement parking around 5AM to avoid Bangalore traffic.And we did hate to navigate rush escaping traffics from Bangalore. We stopped for a quick stop after crossing Tamilnadu border to fill the tank and realized somehow fuel tank release was not working. After playing with screwdrivers it finally opened wh…

Anandhadam

Prologue, On 2nd of Feb received an open invitation from  our MD to be a part of her team to walk 100KM within 48hours. The walk was organized by OXFAM to raise funds and awareness of their work among poor section of society. I immediately hit reply as my earlier discussion with another friend on the same walk did not materialized. In the late afternoon I received confirmation that I am in and need to walk on 10 & 11th Feb.  But around seven in the evening I received another mail telling me the team composition changed to make it gender balanced. I did not act on that immediately and left it for Monday. On Sunday morning received another mail asking if I am still willing to be part of the first team and I replied YES again.  In the afternoon meet-up in person in one part of Bangalore where most who-who of Bangalore stay.  Somehow luck was not with me and Aarush was sick from Friday(2nd) evening whom I had to take care for the next few days week at home. It was a viral attack with…

Rameshwaram

After complete rest and rainy night we woke up to find a perfect morning in Madurai. Breakfast at the hotel was quite elaborate and we did a good one before starting for Rameshwaram. The hotel guys were kind enough to give us elaborate maps which really helped us to exit Madurai without asking for any direction. One thing we noticed in Tamil-Nadu the direction boards are mostly in Tamil and less of English compared to Karnataka. The distance between Madurai and Rameshwaram is around 170 KM. The road is mostly undivided 2 lane Indian highway. There are few patch of the road which has pot holes otherwise the road is in good condition. The general scenery was very green and the key factor Vaigai river flows along the highway NH49.While going we did not stopped and directly reached Ramanathaswamy Temple. We crossed the unique Pamban Bridge and left photo shot for our return. We had to pay around 30 INR as entry fee for Rameshraam. As soon as we entered the temple we were approached by a …