Showing posts with label Karnataka. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Karnataka. Show all posts


Half early update

It is June. And honesty this year looks like going on faster speed then the previous ones. January was fun when we celebrated Aarush birthday with Misra Families. It was really great but that ended too soon. February and March was superfast with schools, exams and work. April We traveled to Durg, Pamela and Aarush sent 4 weeks there and here we are in end of May.

So just before school reopens we had out of Bangalore for 2 nights. We opted for something closer to home Coorg but on the southern side. We opted for this side as we been to more popular side near Madikeri in 2008 when Aarush was around 9 month old. Time do really fly.

We started at 8:30 from home, very late compared to our slandered but that day had Bangalore TCS 10K. We stopped for a break around 10:30 near Madur. We bypassed Mysore via Brindhavan Garden road and continued till Hunsur. Google Map was helpful and we took a bypass before Hunsur town and soon reached the gate of Nagarhole National Park. We need to make an entry in the logbook and were reminded no food, no music, no stopping and speed up to 30KMPH while crossing the park. We saw lots of spotted deer and few monkeys. But soon it started to rain heavily. The rain continued till our destination Kutta a small town. We stopped for a late lunch a placed called ‘Café Robusta’. Other than the name nothing was fancy and would suggest you might want to miss it but there are not many choices over there.

We easily found our homestay asking person on the road and following the sign to Irpu falls. After settled in in we went out for a stroll to nearby temple. The owner of the home stay has an excellent taste in maintaining her garden. Just to mention there were hundreds of flower pots of different times.

Next day we went to Irpu falls, only Aarush had a great time showering over there. After that we tried to stroll little mode but the weather was too hot. So we headed back to guest house and after shower had a big lunch and too a long nap. Evening we went out in search of ATM to nearby T.Shettigeri.

Next day after breakfast we headed out for Bangalore via Shrimangala & Gonikoppal . The road condition was great. We stopped at Mysore palace as Aarush said he wanted to see it. It was very crowded, And we did not enjoyed it so much. After lunch at Mysore we started back from there and experienced heavy storm and rain as we were about to reach home. Thankfully that rain just started and we were not stuck for long anywhere else it would been a different story at the end.

Now with school being open not sure when we will go out anywhere soon.



As mentioned we split  the travel in October with a week in between at Bangalore  Durga Pooja.  The destination for part two had to have sea and beach to cleansing the body and soul. Personally more of sea person if I have to choose between hills & sea.  We settled for Mangalore.  We booked for one hotel in the city which had maximum discount for 3 nights. We tried SumerSands the number-Uno destination for Managlore on travel. Now a resort with private beach was actually made for Expats community.

We started from Bangalore at 5 AM Sharp this time after loading the car with bags and baggage previous night. We were running low with cash but opted to find an ATM along the road and left Bangalore in hurry. This time road to Nilmangala  via Yashwantpur was more pleasant compared to last week and soon we were on NH 48. Till Kunigal  the road is now a proper 4 Lanes with tool. We paid toll twice on this part of the road but I was not complaining as I was doing constant 110/120 Km/Hr. The road from Hassan was old  undivided two lanes. But as we left early we did not face any traffic and we were soon near Sakleshpur. It was only 7:45 and I could not believe myself  that we crossed 223 KM in 2:30 hours in Indian road.

We stopped for ATM and got the dough, but missed the petrol pump next door. After breakfast, we wanted to fill fuel as the fuel needle was touching “E”. but to our surprise we crossed the small town of Sakleshpur and was already  started  the famous  Shiradi Ghat section. Soon we realized our mobile phones are out of network,  panicked little bit as there was no way to find out how far is the next petrol station. Switched off the  AC to gain one/two Kilometers of extra millage. The road condition detoriated as the pot holes got bigger and bigger.  The fuel needle was touching “E” but luckily the LED did not glow constantly. It became ON once or twice. We asked few groups of truck drivers  and their answer were very promising.  The milestones were not that comforting as they did not tell us how far we are from Gas Station.

Soon we crossed a forest check post, and we asked how far is the petrol station and got the best news the next one only couple of KM away. And just like that the Ghat section ended we filled full tank and headed for Mangalore. There was long queue for paying 5 Rupees Toll just outside Mangalore but with that we still managed to reach Managalore city by 11:30.  Nokia’s GPS was very accurate and we reached the major landmark (Hampankatta Circle) near our  Saffron Boutique Hotel  but from there it took another 10-15 minutes to reach there.

The hotel was great , newly renovated and we had a simple veg. lunch there. But the temperature and humidity was a killer and we decided for a nap.

After nap we drove towards Ullal ( 10KM south ) from Mangalore for Summer Sands. We reached soon and it was very hot at 16:00.  They charged us 100 INR per person at the gate and gave us some snacks voucher. Aarush was very impatient to get into the water. But after spending some time in the shade eating the snacks me and Aarush changed and got into the water. The beach being private was clean but it is  very rough where no one ventured to go inside deep water,  as back wave was really dangerous. I needed to keep an constant eye on Aaursh, as few times he got drifted from his seating place with the wave. He  really  played a lot;  was not happy to get out.

But now when he got out we were worried what to give for dinner as it was only 19:00.  Dinner was not  ready before 19:30 but with request the resort was able to serve us food little early and we   had a quick dinner for ourselves. On the way back, I had to stop in front of a shop which had street light to check my rear bumper which was making little sound. The shop owner was  true “Good Samaritan” fixed the bumper for free using his indigenous skills and technique which really lasted long.

Next morning, after breakfast we left for North direction  driving past Managalore port, Chemical factory and major refinery. We drove to  Panambur beach first, the beach was OK OK nothing great. There is one light house with little shacks. After that we crossed  Surathkal (KREC, Alma matter of my younger brother) according to guidebook Surathkal beach is one of the clean and hidden gem of Mangalore but we skipped it for Udupi. Udupi is famous for it Krishna Temple and during noon you get Prasad as whole meal. Udupi and its cuisine can be found across India famous for vegetarian  dishes.  The direction to temple was clear but as we approached, the road got narrower and parking became difficult. After parking the car in a designated parking lot we walked  to reach the temple. The Sun was a real killer. There was some queue in the temple but not very long. After paying our homage to Lord Krisha we were waiting for the special Prasad and after 40 minutes or so understood there was no Prasad that day as it was ‘Ekadashi (eleventh day of moon calendar).

We came out of the temple and walked back to car and not sure what to do next. We were hungry but the Sun and heat suggested stay inside only. So after deliberation  headed for Malpe beach. We missed the sign for beach and took a detour around Maple jetty oh! boy there was the smell of fish.  There was one nice big resort called Paradise. We stopped there had a long lunch intentionally and ordered desert and cold drinks in steps just to kill time we almost sat there for 3 hours. At last around 4 headed for the beach.

The beach was crowded but soon we realized this has one of the best ‘white –sand’ we have been to.  The waves were more gentle compared to its southern cousin and there were many adventure activities going on. You can go up in the parachute ride, the banana ride and water jet. Me and Aarush enjoyed a long stay in the warm water.  Once it started to get dark we left the beach and headed towards the car. We could not even leave Malpe when the thunderstorm hit us. It was heavy  rain with lighting. It caused havoc on the road. We continued driving and probably the worst rain driving for me. Ultimately,  stopped and pull over as it was little scary to drive behind red lights of other car with no visibility of the general road.  But any way we could not stop for ever - so after 10/15 minutes started and continued driving.  We reached a rain soaked Mangalore quite late.

Took an Auto from Hotel after getting fresh and headed  for a small fast food place called “Hot Bitez” Oppsite  Canara College on Jail Road. We picked this place from a blog with a catchy title .  Well, the food was OK OK  with fries and burger you can be never be wrong with Aarush, On our way back we enjoyed the festival of “Dusherra rally” where children to adult dress up like tiger and they are accompanied by drums and music. It is like a carnival. They start from the city center and go around. The party starts around midnight and last till wee hours of the morning. We were tired to enjoy this for long. But it was a shame of not having DSLR with us to capture the color and expression at that time.

Next day, after a breakfast we drove down south again and this time we drove for 70 KM south and visit the famous Bekal fort in Kerala. The fort was built around 1650 over 40 acres of land. In recent time it got prominent when famous director Mani Ratnam shoot his mega film Bombay in early nineties.  A very beautiful fort with many watch towers, with  breath taking view of Arabian sea as we walked along the parameters.

It was a holiday on the occasion of Id,  complete Kerala was closed. We made a big fool of ourselves by not having food at Bekal Fort before leaving from there. We reached  Summersand again and had a late lunch there. After spending time on beach we opted to leave early and have a proper dinner in Mangalore city. We asked our hotel reception to suggest a Mangalorian restaurant and they suggested one. We went by auto and the place was nice, crowded with families waiting for their turn. We were really hungry and ordered  lots of food. The food came after some time but it was so spicy that Pamela who normally handles hot and spicy food well could not handle too. It was a disaster in simple words, Aarush was very sleepy and we could not force him much.

Next day, was our last day in Mangalore and we started slow. We visited the famous ‘St. Aloysius Chapel” which is inside a educational campus. There are beautiful stained glass and the floor is simply awesome with mosaic. We went by auto and after spending sometime went to picture butterfly in near by Tagore park. After that we just walked back towards our hotel . We stopped at the famous Ideal Ice Cream Parlor and tried  their famous “Gadbad”. Aaursh really liked it as it was his breakfast and soon we ordered the Dilkush,  after the big ice-creams we headed back to our room, packed our things, payed the bill and started for Bangalore.

This time our tank was full when we cross Ghat section but as we crossed it around mid-day there were traffic and driving uphill had its own fun on those curves. Just after crossing Chikmanglur town we stopped for lunch. It was very crowded. Post lunch we drove straight to Bangalore without any stop.



Day-5, Woke up at 4:30 in the morning as I could barely sleep whole night. Had mu bath and got little bit packing down to ensure we leave Bijapur at the earliest. Woke Pamela & Aarush around 5:30 and we started to walk to Gol Gumbaz. Unfortunately the lady who manages the ticket counter did not show up till 6:30. We were the first one to enter. After the local guard gving us little more history lesson asked us to climb the steps quickly before anyone. We climbed the seven story building using medieval steps which gets steeper as you climb. Aarsush did a great job of climbing all by himself. We were the only one at thw whispering gallery and able to whisper between ourselves across the hall. It is a amazing feeling of hearing the slightest of sound across football field. But after 10 minutes of so we got lousy intruders and we called it a go. Climbing down was more difficult at times.

Reaching hotel we had breakfast and Aarush and Pamela took shower and by 9 headed out for Bangalore. The drive was again on newly constructed NH-13 and by 11 we reached Hospect. We did not stopped and continued driving and by 13:30 reached Chitradurga. We first tried Hotel Aishwarya Fort which was just a dignified bar bar and bar. We left it as me and Aarush even could not use their rest room. We came to Naveen Regency which was a pleasant surprise. The hotel was clean and there was no drinking in the restaurant which made it more comfortable.

After a nice lunch we headed for ‘Chitradurga Fort’ – Chitra(picture) durga(fort). This fort was built between 10-18th centuries by different rulers and at last post independence it was part of Mysore dynasty before handing over to Archaeological Survey of India (ASI). As it was weekday there were hardly any tourist there. Once we entered the fort one guide approached us and after little bargain he agreed to be our guide.

As the fort was built over many centuries it was like a mini town within the fort itself. There are many layers of walls to cross to reach the fort entry. To minimize any attack there are sharp turns, narrow but strong doors which can withstand attack from charging elephants. We kept on climbing as we explored the beauty and history. After a climb of 40/45 minutes we reached a plateau where there are the main temple and swing area.

From there we again climbed down to go to the back side of the fort. The back side of the fort is not that fortified. But it has natural boundaries. And most attack on th fort has been on the front as the accessibility is very poor. The attraction is “Onake Obavva”, where one lady managed to kill many soldiers of Hyder Ali as they tried to enter from the back. You can read it all here.(

Now after many steps and ups and downs Aarush was tired and so are we. A day of climbing steps with history which started in morning in Bijapur. We started around 5 PM for Bangalore and did not make any stop as we missed one decent Kamat near Tumkur L . The traffic was horrible as usual and it got only worse as we approached home. We stopped at McDonald just in-front of our home as Aaursh was not happy with this trip at all .. all the temples .. daemons and mythological figures. Any way it was a long drive on the last day but very much doable.

Badami and Bijapur

Day-4, Morning we woke up early and headed towards to Bansankari Temple to start our day. Bansankari has lady idol with eight hands which is worshiped meticulously around. We saw one lady rolling herself around the whole temple periphery with wet cloth which signifies she just took a bath in the nearby holy-pond. We got a good darshan of the devi idol as there was not much crowd in the morning.

We came to hotel and waited for our breakfast which was bit late as we woke up early. After breakfast we headed for the Badami caves. Badami has 4 caves inspired by Ellora. There are lots of monkeys in the base and cave-1 (dedicated to lord Shiva). You must not carry any food or water bottle, we got ourself a guide who has been in this business for last 20 years and he explained in details each cave and allowed us enough time to take plenty of pictures. Though the objects are same as we have seen in Hampi, Aihole and Patadkal but as they curved them out of the rock and created temple in cave formed these objected remained in better shape as at least they are saved from direct rain.

Once we completed all the caves we took our car through the busy market, I just stopped at times for few minutes before moving another inch as there was no space on both ends. Somehow we reached the Bhutanatha temple again Aarush opted for staying in car and we quickly went around the temple.

We came to hotel to checkout and hotel guys suggested we should go to Mahakuta temple before headed in towards Bijapur. This is a Shiva Temple and there is a pond which is considered quite holy to take a dip. After spending a short time there we headed towards to Bijapur directly skipping lunch.

The afternoon sun was hot like last two days and we continued nonstop to Bijapur( 120 KM). Personally was not very favorable about this choice as thought of having a lunch at Badami before heading towards the highway.
Anyway reached Bijapur and we opted for Hotel Pearl on Station road. The hotel is a very basic one and does not carry any recommendation, some websites and friends mentioned about Hotel Madhuvan were we did enquire from Bangalore. Any way after a quick checkin we headed towards the attractions of Bijapur.

We started with Jod Gumbaz (twin tomb) and from there we went to Ibrahim Rauza. As we were shooting photograph one guide appeared to offer his service. We agreed for a town wide tour with whatever can be covered in the remaining sun light. It was good to have him in the car as we did not have to ask for any direction every non and then and moved from one attraction to another. We covered Malik-e-Maidan(the great canon), Barakaman, Jami Masjid , Taj Bawdi, Mehtar Mahal, Asar Mahal. The only key attraction that was left was Gol Gumaz and guide told us the history and asked us to get up early in the morning to get good experience of the same.

He left us around 6 PM next to the Barakaman in one restaurant where we three tired and hungry person waited for their service to start at 7. Aaursh did his best had some food and we also quickly finished our food and headed to hotel. There was no hot water anymore and we were told it will start again in the morning 4. Really hated the whole thing.


Aihole and Patadkal

Day-3, post breakfast we hit the road, this time we followed the GPS voice of Pamela’s Lumia more attentively and with ease we head out of Hospet and join the highway. The highway NH-13 between Hospet and Bijapur is recently widen to 4 lane. It was a pleasure driving, the road was not at all crowded and surprisingly the trucks maintained the left lane. Was driving around 110/120 KMph without any trouble and soon reached Hungund. From there we took left turn towards Aihole.

There are plenty of sign for Aihole but when we reached we were greeted with a rustic village. There was no guides or local man asking us and by mistake we crossed the village and started with Jain Temple which is located on the isolated back side of the hill.

From there we came to village and visited – Hucchappayya Math Complex, Mallikarjuna Complex, Ravana Pahdi & Hucchimalli temple complex. Aarush had little snack while the car was under a tree shade. But the sun again was too hot and scotching hot. All these places we were the only visitor most of the times.

From there we went to Durga temple complex – the key attraction of Aihole. This time we found guide and after little bargain we hired one. After 90  minutes of tour we called it a day in Aihole.

The construction & sculpture at Aihole is considered the basic or primary for Karnataka. This is the very place where people inspired by Ellora started their love affair with stone.

From there we took the road towards Patadkal. The roads is a typical village road and the sun was very hard on us.  We reached there around 15:00; we did not had any proper lunch as there was no suitable place along the road to stop. We waited in the car had little more snacks & fruits that we had with us. We got in to the UNESCO Heritage site around 15:30 when the shadow got little longer. We hired a guide and without him the true beauty and history of this place would have remained unknown to us. There are seven temples dedicated mostly to Lord Shiva. Other than one remaining six is not functional as either the idol is broken or missing. The key of Patadakal is unique mix of South and North Indian temples. After 2 hours of trip down the memory lane we called it a day and left for Badami. As soon as we came out of the main temple complex we found the lone Jain temple on our right hand side and we did a quick stop there.

The road to Badami with orange sunlight with the backdrop of hills was very beautiful. The rocks were glowing with soft sunlight. We reached Badami before sunset and ordered some coffee and snacks as we reached our hotel Badami Court.

Dinner was a simple one, and after a long day we hit the bed early.


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.







Day-1BangaloreHospet - a simple a laure drive365 KMHotel Malligey
Day-2HospetHampi - Day Trip in Stone Age15 KMHotel Malligey
Day-3HospetAihole + Patadkal , night stay in Badami158 KMBadami court
Day-4BadamiBanashankari tempi and badami cave followed by Mahakuta Temple and drive to Bijapur and covered as many place we could142 KMHotel Pearl, nothing great checkout others
Day-5BijapurEarly morning Gol Gumaz - we were the first and sole visitor of the wispering gallery. Head out to Bangalore by 9. lunch at Chitradurga and visit the fort and drive back home527 KMSweet Home



After finishing Belur-Halebid by 3.00PM we moved towards Chikmaglur as we wanted to reach our Apna-Sapna homestay before dusk. For God knows what reason here all homestay are highly priced based on per person per night. The Mountain section from Chikmaglur to Attigundi (village) was excellent and fun to drive on the twist and turn. The last part was a dirt road where we took diversion for our homestay a downhill road. Almost reaching there we saw three gates to enter three different coffee estates. Bit confused initially but then figured out by guessing. Best part here you don’t get any signal on your mobile other than BSNL (state owned provider).
On reaching there we were given welcome drink and then showed our room by friendly staffs. It was not yet dusk and we freshened and sat in their dinning deck area to watch sunset. Mean while Aarush became friend with their in-house puppy. Although we were bit scared but he was fine with him. Valley in front of dining deck gave great view of sunset and sunrise.
There was another couple other than us who came to celebrate their birthday. They were friendly we enjoyed their company that night. Aarush dozed off early evening unusual then other days as he had lots of activity for one afternoon. Next morning we woke up bit late and missed the sun rise but enjoyed morning serenity. Only thing we encountered here was butterflies and flock of birds chattering merrily. Around 10 we all got ready for their estate trip to go down in their 4X4 jeep.
The first part of the estate trip was an introduction to different type’s coffee and their processing. We saw how it is dried under sun and tested the sweet coffee berries. We went to a roaring water fall within the Estate, Aarush and Santanu had nice time under fall. There after we waited for a while for our lunch. In meanwhile we came to know that all estate managers who kept us in good company with small talks and jokes. With chitchat we all became so friendly that hardly we felt that few min. Before we were all strangers and how time went by…didn’t have any track of time. They even arranged a rifle shooting for other guest to celebrate his B’day.

Late evening we were dropped to our rooms back then after relaxing we went for evening walk. We walked through other estate where we could hear the music of the cascades that dot this scenic landscape. And then finally found small stream of water gushing through their estates.Next morning around 10 we started for our return journey to Bangalore leisurely. On way back we paid 200 INR extra to traffic police for taking one way route at Chikmaglur town.
This resort is more of a tone down motel rather than homestay as it is managed by people rather than owner directly. The food was average and cooked by a North Indian chef and nothing extra ordinary it taste just like any other common restaurant. That way a touch of local cuisine or a real host was missing. Standard of room were very basic. Only thing that was positive for us was since all estate owners were there (it was coffee picking season) we had nice time. And jeep trip and lunch at the bottom of their estate was free for us as we asked for it.

View Larger Map


Halebid-Belur:living with past

It has been a long time that we ventured on NH-48; last time we visited Shravanabelagola in 2009. From then on it was always in discussion to visit Belur-Halebid known for its hoysala architecture. This time we covered both Belur-Halebid along with Chigmanglur on 3 day trip.  We started at 7.10AM from our parking lot and reached Halebid by 12 with two breaks - breakfast at Hotel Mayura and at Hassan for ATM.
Compared to 2009 road was far far better and journey was smooth. Still there are many parts where road work is going on and it is not yet divided 4 lane highway and around Kunigal there are some bad pot holes. On reaching Halebid we hired a guide for 200 INR which was in-fact must to know the details and history. The whole architecture is made of soap stone. He carried small mirror to reflect the sunlight in order to explain intricate details of temple.
Halebid’s patron God is Shiva and the temple was built by the minister in honour of the King and the Queen. This is an incomplete construction where 3 generations of workers have worked but in many places you will notice ‘works in progress. It has suffered most damages amongst the three Somnathpura, Halebid and Belur. Today Helebedu in Kanada literally means ‘an old town’ to reflect its neglected past.   It is unique with its two gigantic figures of Nandi (sacred bull) - One of them houses Vishnuvardhana Hoysaleshwara (King) and the other Shanthaleshwara (Queen). The bulls are decorated in distinct male and female ornaments to reflect whom they belong. The temple walls are covered with figures of men in battles, dancing women, Hindu deities, birds and animals. A stone platform is there at the centre of the hall where queen used to dance for the Lord Chennakeshava. Temple stands in the middle of a peaceful park by the side of a lake.
Our guide enlightened us with an interesting tale that many sculptures were stolen and taken away by the British when they left India and those idols are now gracing homes in England and elsewhere. It takes at least two hours to take a round of the temple exteriors. There is so much to see in just one temple that we completely lost track of time here.
Jain basadi is very near to Hoysaleswara temple which are equally rich in sculptural detail they are famous for its pillars, which are highly polished almost resembling mirrors. First is Parshwanatha basadi- this complex consists of three temples. Famous is the Parswanathaswamy Temple, which has a 14 ft high figure made of black stone. A seven-headed serpent has been imprinted on the head of this figure. Adinathaswamy (central mandir) and Shanthinathaswamy are the other two temples here.
At road end there is Kedareshwara temple but there was no one except us visiting the temple.  Though it shares same architectural elements with its neighbour it is a miniature of the former.
From here we went to Belur at just 16 km apart it is a living town. Entrance to both the Hoysaleshwara temple and the Chennakeshava temple is free. The Chennakeshava Temple in Belur is dedicated to the Hindu god Vishnu and active worship still goes on in this temple while Halebid temple, though open to the public, is no longer in use for devotional purposes. Like the Hoysaleshwara Temple, the Chennakeshavatemple is star-shaped and stands on a platform. Elephants, episodes from the epics, sensuous dancers nothing was left without being carved. Forty-six pillars support the extensive hall, each of a different design. The Narasimha pillar is worth watching.
The sculpted inner & outer walls of the temple tell a tale of dedication and sheer hard work by the craftsmen. Each figure is carved to perfection and straining to come to life any moment. The celestial beauties depict the lifestyles of that time showing dancers, shringar, feeding the pets etc. The walls of the star-shaped temple are literally covered with sculptures in stone that depict the various events in the epics of Ramayana and Mahabharata. The star design starts from the platform and goes all the way up the walls and up to the top of the shikhara.
We skipped lunch in order to cover this area and can reach Chikmaglur before dusk. A day is enough to explore both sites if you think you are not too bored with sculptures. In Belur we didn’t hired guide which we regret later.
P.S.  As mentioned by Mr.Bhat the worship continues in Halebid temple.


With elephants @ Dubare

This year we didn't celebrate Aarush B'day as we moved to our own apartment. Being new to complex we hardly knew anyone to invite.So decided to celebrate his B'day at school which he of-course didn't like much as he didn't receive any gifts and top of it he has to give return gifts to his school mates….which he did so with heavy heart.
We decided to  take him to Dubare elephant camp. We booked for jungle lodges...although bit pricey but worth every penny of it.  Everything is done on time and there are naturalist for every activities as mentioned on their web site. No doubt, Jungle Lodge rocks as they pamper with their services and hospitality.  It was unexpectedly cold in the night for which we were not that well equipped but rest all was too good. Aarush enjoyed and made frienship with Mehul ; he had good time there.  We did spotted some deers and small wild animals and the documentary on Indian Tiger on th evening was too good.
One thing I would like to add is that as said that visitor can give bath to elephants ; its definatley something to experience but elephants do potty as they get into water so it was bit unygenic feeling which didn’t allow me to give them bath with same enthu.


Shravanabelagola - 18th October 2009

Me and Aarush just returned a day before Santanu’s birthday from Durg and he wanted an excuse from strenuous week at IIM-B and we ended up planning to visit Shravanabelagola right after Diwali day. Unlike his earlier trip he just had a casual look at the route map to Shravanabelagola, it is a religious spot, a Jain pilgrimage centre. The place is famous for 58ft. high monolithic stone statue of the Lord Gommateshwara.
Yeshvantapur -> Neelamangala -> Kunigal -> Shravanabelagola
Morning 6.30AM we started; roads were full of potholes from Yeshvantapur with flyover construction still going on till Neelamangala where we lost route after taking 2 U- turns ended up asking locals then got into right road(NH-48) but that was again full of pot holes.We had breakfast at Hotel Mayura on the way, it was almost 11; Aaursh enjoyed their play area.
Then we headed straight towards our destination and reached Shravanabelagola without much problem as roads were marked properly. The two stony hills called Chandragiri and Indragiri on either side with lake in between makes famous Jain pilgrimage center. Just within gate you will find a paid toilet and shoe stand where you have to leave your shoes and climb up this hill by foot. Flight of about 660 steps to the top, cutout in the rock, people of all ages climb these steps. For elderly or handicapped people there is a palanquin transport service available to avoid the strenuous hike. These rough rock cut steps are steep at places; we had socks on our feet as the rock gets hotter as with days. We began the climb and stopped in-between to get our breath back and took some pictures. It took  around 30 - 40 minutes to reach the top. On the way up, we found breathtaking views of the Chandragiri temple and the lake in-between.The huge statue of Bahubali and the view around is stunning. It is carved beautifully from a single block of rock with accurate sense of proportion and expression. All the 42 Tirthankaras carved figures are there in the corridor around the quadrangle. The Downhill was more enjoyable, as you had to court gravity and slope.It is equally steep so better be careful !!!

Took about 30 mins to reach the base of Vindhyagiri.There are numerous homely Marwari / Jain food available in the nearby lane on left side while you enter from the gate I strongly suggest you plan your lunch either here in one of these since its a different experience OR best is to have free lunch at Official  bhojanalay. Small by-lane next to gate on inner side along the office goes straight to Dharamshala with a big gate where after giving donation you can have lunch which is served to you in rows umpteen times.

After having lunch here, we went to the place where Chandragupta breathed his last named Chandragiri (Chikkabetta) hill. It is a small hill is located just opposite to the Vindhyagiri hill. It has memorials to numerous monks and shravakas who have meditated there. Steps have been cut out in this hill and the ascent is not different from Vindhyagiri. After spending there till 4.00pm we started our journey back home via Mandya. Aarush went to sleep as soon as car started to roll. The road via Mandya was better as there was not much traffic and not those potholes even. Aarush woke up next day around 9AM a record which we still recollect.
TIP: Carry pair of socks to avoid buying there so that if needed one can use it as with sun's brightness rocks tend to become hot making it almost impossible to climb bare feet.


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.
Some links


Little Tibet

(....Continued) Soon after leaving Brindhavan garden and on touching the highway (SH88) road condition improved which looked like recently renovated. Aarush was fast asleep after having his lunch which always translates in smooth driving and I was able to drive at 80-90 KM. Along the road crossed Bilikere, Husur & Piriyapatna before reaching Bylakuppe. It is an odd name which houses one of the largest Tibetan settlement in India. We had to take a left turn from SH88 to go to the monasteries. As soon as we took left turn we almost felt like driving in North-East where you are greeted with Mongolian faces. There were bright prayer flags along the road which symbolizes hope where as white ones are for death.

This is really a bit of surreal - you are at middle of Karnataka, only few hundred kilometers away from Bangalore and surrounded by thousands of Buddhists monks and families. These people have left their home land almost 40 years ago and new generation are born here only. Still they keep their faith and tradition alive for generation to come. Like all Tibetan settlements in India here also one requires special permit for "Non Indian(foreigner)" to visit.
We went to Kagyu monastery first. This one sits on a hill top from where you can see “Nalanda Institute” and other monasteries. The largest of these 4 monasteries is Namdroling or commonly known as “Golden Temple”. That day sky was in perfect blue and shrine with bright colors were looking magnificent. Unfortunately, we ran out of battery(camera) inside Namdroling. Aarush was bit startled with humming sound and to see monks playing big drums.

For facts lovers the original name of Namdroling was "Thegchog Namdrol Shedrub Dargyeling" luckily his Holiness Dalai Lama shorten the name during his visit. Around 5000 monks are today studying there.

There is a big shopping area with lots of souvenir shops, ATM and restaurant. Lots of magnificent stone show pieces were available which were expensive for my budget. After having a very late lunch - momo (it was not that great we get better momos at Siliguri - my home town) we started for our homestay which was still hours away.
After Kushalnagar the road condition was not that good as lots of work is going on to widen the road. Only mobile network which really works on mountain road is of BSNL; both of our phones with private networks put us on thought how to locate our home-stay. We entered an estate as soon as we saw name “Sandal” on it. After driving 1-2 km through coffee estate we realized we are in wrong place, luckily we found a good Samaritan who lent his mobile (BSNL) to call our home-stay for more specific direction. It turned out our home-stay is another 6 KM ahead on that highway. With more information on route direction we were able to find our home-stay. This being a first time at home-stay we were bit shy as we reached at our host’s door. (To be Continued....)

Some useful links if your are interested in visiting this part of


Road trip to Mysore

Applied for a whole week off in December as I had 25+ days off to take for year 2008 - this gave us 9 days off with two weekends. I preferred a week before Christmas to avoid traffic and tourist. Initial plan was to leave Bangalore on Sunday for Mysore and move from there depending on Aarush's comfort. Stepping out of the home with him means a disrupted routine and adapting to a new environment for all us. Somehow, I was super lazy on Sunday and postponed the travel for next day. Even while dining on Sunday we were discussing just to be in Bangalore for whole next week or not. Then I concluded the discussion by saying- "we will start tomorrow(Monday) very early morning."

Next morning we could not start early either because of apathy; we started with normal daily practice and by the time we left home it was 11:20 on the clock. Aarush dozed off as we crossed Bangalore city limit and car picked some speed. He woke up when we reached almost outskirts of Mysore. I was driving with comfort as it was 3rd time on the same expressway in a short period of time. Followed sign for the Mysore palace and reached south gate entrance.

We had our packed lunch in the car before entering the palace compound. Bargained & hired a guide to show us the nooks and corner of the palace. Cameras are strictly forbidden inside the palace and we also had to leave our shoes outside as we enter the palace. Without going into details the palace is awesome; well maintained in Indian standard but not up to the mark like those of "Châteaux de Loire". The work and craftsmanship inside is too good which highlights how rich Maharajas of Mysore were. They had natural resources at their disposal like Kolar gold mine, Ivory and varieties of expensive woods to fulfill their hearts wish. The campus also has 27 temples almost at every corners of the compound.
It was dark when we left palace car parking and headed for a hotel. Initial choice was Ginger (new no frill hotel from Tata) as I did not stopped on the way to note the phone number we opted for Hotel Paradise. We were lost in dark while finding the hotel though we were certain we are in the same neighborhood and then a lady Samaritan guided us to the same on her scooter. The room was nice and clean; it cost us about 2000 (san air conditioning) rupees. A old fashioned beautiful hotel with nice view to whole city. The structure is old but elegant. We discovered the well kept and manicured Hotel garden next day morning.
After whole days of activity Aarush went to sleep very early skipping his normal dinner. Around 4 AM he woke up with full energy and started banging phone and other objects on which he could lay his hands. After one and half hours of playing he dozed off as the east sky was bright.
We woke up late; I called a friend at work who had been to Coorgweek before for details. After getting the contact called the same home-stay letting them know - we are coming today itself. This caught the owner off guard as he was not prepared for any visitor during the week but he said he will go to the market and dinner will be ready for us tonight.

After breakfast we picked some necessary things before hitting the road for Brindavan garden; it was already 11 AM. Brindhavan garden is only 15 KM from Mysore but the condition of the road started to deteriorate as we reached closer to the dam. It is just horrible with big pot holes; big trucks carrying river stones are the culprit for the road condition.
Being Tuesday, there was hardly any tourist in the garden. This garden is brain child of Sir Mirza Ismail influenced by Mughal design. The dam was built in 1927-32 by Wodeyar rulers of Mysore on river Cauvery. In recent time, there have been renovation work going on to beautify the garden and its surroundings. Old guest house have converted to Royal Orchid Hotel; kept wondering who goes there to stay on business or leisure. Only thing I could think off was to have corporate off-site meeting there.
After Brindhavan garden we headed towards Coorg via SH88.

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...