Showing posts with label road trip. Show all posts
Showing posts with label road trip. Show all posts


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 with this madness. Once crossed the bridge we spent a good amount time seating on a ghat and enjoying the beauty of Ganga. There were many rafting boats and other boats with tourists For lunch we decided to try our luck with Ramana’s Organic Cafe as suggested by Tripadvisor.  We walked the Ganges to reach and only to realize we are at the back of Raman’s Cafe. The final part of the backroad was absolutely no road so it involved little tricky.

The place is quite interesting. They have on floor seating arrangement. As there were many kittens I was not comfortable to sit there. So we opted for the floor above with chair and tables. All the vegetables they produce at their farm. They are an NGO with a school for village kids where they are giving education not only with books but with sports and working small work here and there.there are many expats who are living for a couple of months all together to help this community and managing the hospitality part of the center.

As we settled for lunch with our food came rain drizzle came and forced us inside. Oh God, it was tough on me I HATE cats and have fear cats I do not like them. I suffer from Ailurophobia. But the truth is the food was delicious which took away a lot of pressure for me to enjoy the situation.

While exiting the property we thought we will proper path this time. So we exited from the front gate but after many twist and turns ended up again on the back side from we entered.

Walking back Laxman Jhula we thought of taking a tuk-tuk and visit another ghat where Ganga Aarti happens. But At The end, we opted to take our car. The journey was through narrow lanes but being the second day we are getting used to the same.

Reaching Triveni Ghat we were not so impressed and it looked like we had to kill another 3 to hours. So after a lot of deliberation, we decided to rush to Haridwar. So we get back to our car and headed to Haridwar. Google map tried to be funny again and put us through narrow lanes. But as we had enough time today we did not panic As soon as we parked our car at the hotel we rushed for Har Ki Pauri. We got a premium location today but which also means we were facing Sun for a longer time. After 2 hours of waiting the Aarti started and we got an undisturbed view. Of course, there was some mean last-minute entry who tries every kind of tricks to squeeze in. So we had to accept that :(

After Arti I decided to take a dip in Ganga after all. It was an experience with chilled water and you really need to hold onto the chains for your own safety. After that, we visited temples nearby.

We opted to have dinner at Big Ben just opposite Railway station. While we were waiting we found our rickshaw-puller at the window. I was not sure why he was there but soon I realized he was there to return the lens cover of my lens. Sometimes this kind of big acts by our daily hero puts a smile that no money can buy. But out of my joy, I forgot to take a selfie with him. 

The delight of yummy food in a comfortable seating with Aircondition was really worth the value. The place is little expensive in Haridwar standard but would recommend it any day.


Day - 2 Dehradun & Haridwar

We work up fresh after a good sleep. But soon we realized we are in a place which we are very not fond off. May be the Mussoorie did not blink with us. After taking shower and getting ready for the day we went up to the restaurant for breakfast. But looked like we were an early riser as there were no one else and the place was not cleaned up for the day. So we out for a stroll.

The breakfast was quick and we cleared our dues and packed our bags. Now getting the car out was another struggle but with daylight, it was little it was little easy but still lots of maneuvering.

We decided to give Mussorie a complete pass and started for Dehradun. The downhill journey was quite quick. We thought to cover Indian Forest Research Institute first. Somehow we could not follow Google Map’s initial direction so had to go through the city. We saw Ram Krishna Ashram along the main road itself.

Forest Research Institute is almost 100+ years old Institute set up by the British to study and preserve diverse forests of India. It is a must visit for anyone. From Wikipedia

FRI Dehradun is one of the oldest institutions of its kind and acclaimed the world over. The institute’s history is virtually synonymous with the evolution and development of scientific forestry, not only in India but over the entire sub-continent. Built on a lush green estate spread over 450 hectares, with the outer Himalaya forming its back drop, the institute’s main building is an impressive edifice, marrying Greco-Roman and Colonial styles of architecture, with a plinth area of 2.5 hectares. The building was listed for a time, in the Guinness Book of Records, as the largest purely brick structure in the world.

We spent a good amount of time to explore the museum and its different section. It is really vast if you are not a museum person you might get bored too quickly with so many exhibits and history.

After exploring FRI to our heart's content we left for Robber’s cave or Guchhupani. The road from FRI to Robber’s cave goes via military area. As we took a wrong turn out of FRI we crossed the main gate of Rashtriya Indian Military College another imperial legacy. It was on our list but we could not stop due to high security to take any decent picture of the building from outside.

Once parked at Robber’s cave we changed our shoes for Crocs ;). This is a river cave which has a waterfall (a small one) at the end; almost half a kilometer long with a narrow passage. The water was low so it was a pleasant walk in summer but at times crowded.

After covering these two attractions we decided to leave Dehradun for Haridwar post lunch.
We had lunch at a kebab place on the Haridwar road.

Rest of the drive to Haridwar was OK. Most roadways was an undivided road which means we have to be extra careful. We crossed the lone airport of Uttarakhand which is halfway between Haridwar and Dehradun. As we approached Haridwar the traffic increased and one or two places it was snail pace. The last few KM was to our hotel was tricky as we cross the Ganges and drive through narrow lanes.

At one point we made a left turn before and we could see Sadhus wearing saffron on Royal Enfield bullets coming. We immediately stopped on the side and could see a big procession coming towards to us and an elephant leading the gathering. Immediately with a fraction of seconds had turned the car and headed back from we came. It was one of those escapes you remember after month while trying to pen down the diary. Soon we were next to the bus stand and railway station. And our stay was next door. The hotel was again from GMVN with a huge parking.

This time the hotel was much more cleaner compared to last night.  Our room was big and OK. We freshened up and headed towards famous Ganga Aarti on a Rickshaw. The journey was like crawling at the end with any rooms with so many people and narrow lane.

Even though it was just 5 in the evening we were already late for Ganga Aarti. All the available place to view the same were taken and we had to squeeze ourselves. We had to stand separately as I was with camera and Pamela with Aarush. Lucky for Aarush he found some place to stand to peep through the crowd.  The crowd and the atmosphere are altogether a different experience and I do not possess the writing skill or the photography skill to narrate the same. It is a must watch if you are traveling to this part of India. The Aarti (evening prayer) is about 40 mins or so long with many small activities in between.

Post Aarti we stopped for dinner into a restaurant in the very corner. The food was OK the service was crazy as it was very crowded. We decided to walk back to our hotel. It was around 2 KM of walking and we opted to walk using bylanes full of shops rather than the main road which is always full of honking from bikes.


Driving October 2015


Gujarat 2011 - Map

Need to write the 4 years old road trip before my memory fades away. The pictures are there to help but need lots of coffee to complete the writing.

Our itinerary to khushbu Gujarat ki

  • Day -1 By flight Bangalore- Bombay. We took a morning flight for Mumbai and reached around afternoon. Same day boarded train to Baroda from Mumbai Central. Reached Baroda by night around 9. It was a chair car train. 
  • Day-2: Went to see Champaner, Evening met with old friends of Pamela from school 
  • Day-3: Drive from Baroda to Ahmadabad, Went to Adalaj Stepwell, Sabarmati Ashram, 
  • Day-4: Early exit form Ahmadabad to avoid traffic to Modhera, Afternoon stop at Patan & Lothal on the way to  Palitana 
  • Day-5: Visit to Palitana hills and left for Diu
  • Day 6: Wanted to explore Gir (Asiatic Lion) but it was still closed and we wen to Junagadh via Somnath.
  • Day 7: Junagadh ; climbed Girinar hills. 
  • Day 8: Left Junagadh very early one to  Porbander (being 2nd Oct  could not do much) went to Dwarka and Bet – Dwarka and left for Bhuj. A long long day on road.
  • Day 9: Great Rann of kutch
  • Day 10: explore Bhuj and left for  little Rann of Kutch
  • Day 11: via Ahmadabad back to Mumbai by bus.


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.


Goa ... beach and x-mas

In 2013 we had very little family vacation time. I personally travelled here and there for single nights few times due to running and other personal work. The worst was to spend a week in Calcutta just after Durga Pooja and not able to accomplish anything there. So when December vacation time was only few days away I booked for Goa for 4 nights without much thinking. Personally felt quite happy with the booking as got a decent price for Goa just before X-mas.

We left Bangalore on Saturday morning at around 04:30 morning; the road condition was great and for the first time I was maintaining 100/110 KPMH. The road widening on NH4 between Chitradurga and Neelmangla was completed and now we have 3 lanes on each side. We stopped at Kamat before Haveri and soon reached Hubli around 10ish. From there we left the toll road but the road condition did not deteriorate at all. Thanks to Supreme Courts’ verdict on Illegal mining : ) there was no over-sized dumper carrying Iron ores. We reached Karwar by 12 and did not felt like stopping  for lunch that time. On entering Goa border we had to pay whooping 250 INR as entrance fees which was little surprising for us as never had to pay such fees with Private self-driven car in India.

We reached our hotel Colva kinara around 14:00, so first we had lunch and then checked in later. While checking-in got a shock of life time. There was mention of “Mandatory Gala Dinner on 24th Dec 2012(X-Mas Eve)” but the price of the same was never mentioned while booking and personally did not open the hotel coupon to read the fine prints. Now Hotel guys were asking rs.3000 per person for the same so in total 7500 for our family of 2 and half . Called up MakeMyTrip and told them they should have made this clear prior booking as it was too extravagant amount being asked by the hotel but looks like there was no option other than paying. It was a bad start .

Visited family and friends twice on the northern side in the evening ; it was OK drive but quite long. 

The 4 nights stay at the hotel was event-less but the hotel was not a great for the money we spent. These 4 days we really not did do much other than drinking, eating, walking to beach, take a swim at sea and repeat the same.  As got robbed on the day one due to that great dinner thought of extending the stay and even out the damage. Checked for a property in Agonda beach (further south close to Karwar) and decided to go there. The plan was if they provide us with decent room we stay or else we go back. The property was right on the beach and it was beach hut called Dersy's beach hut with minimum bare amenities. For example there was no running hot water but all we were looking for was beach, sand and tranquility.

The next 3 days were more or less similar we had breakfast at ‘On the wayGerman bakery, lunch somewhere and dinner at “La Dolice Vita”. Both the place were excellent in terms of quality of food and price. Last day, we went  to Palolem beach at "Cozy nook huts" right on the beach and enjoyed our lunch there.We really liked them. Afternoon were pretty hot even in December- mostly left with no option other then power nap. Two evenings I did barefoot running along the beach in the evening. But ended up getting body ache and eventually fever. 

The drive back on Saturday was hard on me being sick and Aarush too was down with fever. We skipped lunch as didn't feel like eating that afternoon. I had to take a power nap (after lots of request from Pamela) for 40 minutes. But the sad part is no CCD(cafe coffee day) around or decent break area along this NH4 while returning. There is one CCD only near Tumkur and that too on the other side for which I was not at all keen to take 2 U-turns on the Highway. Thinking back, the drive back west when the sun is in-front of you its not at all easy to drive and ended up with severe headache accompanied with fever.

So after a wonderful week of vacation, I was completely down with Viral fever for almost a week and had to visit a Doctor and take antibiotic medication to recover. So going to Goa in the peak of season may not be a great idea as hotel price is just sky rocket at that time. 


Visit to North kerala- Wayanad

From the time Santanu having classes and top of it exams this month; its really a grueling month for both of us. For this I too was not getting some time off from “Our little one”. There was absolute need of one break. Santanu suddenly said two days before last exam that he is having leave and if interested then we can go somewhere near by. Then he only started reading on net and ended up saying we would go to WAYANAD- Northern region of Kerala. Word of mouth were the major sources of procuring information for undertaking the trip. Being at Bangalore, Wayanad was a good option since it was only about a 275 KM drive away. Earlier he said he will go via Nagarhole forest and return via Bandipur forest. My major concern was about our stay. As with Aarush if we don't look for proper place then journey is not peaceful.
We looked for two homestays one near Nagarhole and other near Sultan Bethary. Looking does not means that we will stay there but then also we sincerely jotted them in MS- word with phone no. and all. I wanted to be sure where I am spending night otherwise I am not going anywhere. At that time he said we will do night stay at Mysore and then early morning we will leave for Wayanad. So took down hotel contact details and address of frill-free Ginger hotel of Mysore.
Since that weekend was long weekend and Saturday was Santanu's exam I was not sure when exactly he wanted to leave from home. Because by the time he will reach home after exam it would be late afternoon. Then also on Friday late evening we packed our things with 'just in case thought.' On Saturday he called me up around noon saying to call those home-stays if there is any availability or not and to be ready otherwise to leave immediately within 1 hr. after he returns home. When I called those home-stays only one was available. Gave a call directly to her for availability otherwise pricing will vary then. Thereafter I remembered its not home-stays we are supposed to stay that night but frill free hotel of Mysore. Later after his exams I called him to clarify those doubts and that time he said no we are going straight to one which is available at Wayanad. I was bit stupefied on hearing that - Was really not sure whether he would be able to drive that evening or not but he sounded quite confirmed in his answer. Oh man! he is so adamant not to make any proper itinerary before any trip.

Finally, route was Bangalore - Mysore - Nanjangud - Gundalpet - Sultan Bathery – Wayanad. We set off on Saturday at 4.10 PM from home and touched Mysore by 7.15PM since it was already dark we missed the signal of Ooty and ended up going to Mysore palace. Luckily, from far we saw whole palace being lighted up. So we made a halt to take photographs. Some open air music function was going on at eve of Ugadi. Around 7.50PM we happened to ask one police-officer the route to Ooty and he was startled seeing me and Aarush saying its too late to go there. Will take around 9-10 hrs to reach and road is not that excellent. And suggested to stay at some hotel at Mysore only. Then we said we actually want to go to Wayanad. Hearing that he seemed to be quite relieved and said road is very good and gave direction to the same. By 8.05 we were in car and in no time were at route leading to Nanjangud. Our excitement was in the air.

The route to Wayanad had to be traversed through the hilly terrain highway. We could not speed up much although Aarush was sleeping but dazzling lights from opposite direction vehicles were very disturbing. We made few more stop - overs to confirm the route and then take-away dinner on route. Crossed dense jungle of Bandipur at night. We had to be very vigilant through out. As this was our first night drive. There are lots of check posts and in one check post Santanu had to get down to give driving license and car registration details.
Lady of home-stay – 'Ente vedu' told me once you reach Sultan Bathry give call for further directions. Route to our home-stay was another 45 min. more from S.Bethary. We had to leave NH 212 and drive on a connecting road towards Mananthavady this road was complete dark and up-down roads with lot of winding we were not able to accelerate more. As it crosses villages there were no car or person on the road. Still we found some night owl to confirm we are on the right direction or not. Her guide "Nash Jose" directed us although we were feeling quite uncomfortable for disturbing them that late. Guidance was with location, buildings on the road sides and also with distance from where we were calling. Later from one point we were not able to figure out which route to take then he came himself to that point to guide us. Really nice of him. This home-stay is located in Panamaram, Wayanad.
In spite of reaching the homestay pretty late (past midnight) he showed us room and other facilities and bid goodnight. That night we were given one big room (kind of dormitory where many can stay together with bathroom but toilet was outside. Thank God we did not need to share with anybody. As all other rooms were booked we got this one and we were told by morning we can change to room of our choice.

View Bangalore - Wayanad(Panaram) in a larger map


Drive to heritage site - Lepakshi

My 1st term is coming to an end and we are given the upcoming test as well project submission dates. On reaching home from class on Saturday I was desperate to go out of Bangalore to get charged to combat the upcoming gruelling weeks at work and personal front with study. I had no clue where to go for a day and started to check my faithful websites and zeroed on Lepakshi from Anita’s site. While she made a detour and visted two other places on the way we just opted for Lepakshi via NH-7 as was not in mood for too much of adventure.

After a sound sleep we woke-up at 8.15 AM; left home late around 10.10 AM, had breakfast in a south indian fast-food corner before hitting the road. City traffic was not that bad on Sunday and further away it was thinner. After leaving behind the international airport there was not much of traffic at all and we really left the concrete jungle behind.

Soon we crossed Devanhalli (new destination of real-estate agents) and road towards Nandi-hills. The road from Devanhalli to Chikballapur is underconstruction which means sometime you get a proper highway or else DIVERSIONS with lots of big HUMPS. Those humps are actually meant for big vehicles like trucks and buses while I punished my little Indica with one or two whom I failed to recognize at right time.

Chikballapur looked like is small town as we passed by without stopping. From there the condition of the road improves except few patches where it is undergoing big construction.

Soon we were greeted by a big sign board which read “Eenadu Pradesh welcomes you”.

Just after crossing the border we found RAXA Academy and AP Tourism Restaurant on our left. Right there we took narrow left turn and drove for another 15 KM for Lepakshi. It is a state road that goes to Hindupur via Lepaskhi. The road is narrow as well its condition is not very great. And as there is not much traffic we were able to drive in comfortable speed as long as one is alert. There are few patches where we found lush green paddy fields which soothes ones eye in scorching heat. We stopped by to take some pictures with sun-flower plantation; it looked like an end of season for them.

Soon we were able to see the back of big monolithic bull (Nandi). We reached temple in this heat around 1.40PM; and was relieved to be in shade. The temple is built by sandstone in Vijayanagar (Hampi)style of architecture. This is Veerabhadra temple where there is a big Monolithic Shiva-Linga. According to Hindu mythology, this seated Nandi (bull) outside is gate keeper of Siva and Parvati generally faces the main shrine. Here, it looks at this Linga (due to human settlements now the line of sight is obstructed). We went into detail tour of the temple as well courtyard. We almost burnt our feet while taking tour of outer enclosure.

The temple is divided into three parts - the Nritya (Ranga-Dance) Mandapa, the Ardha (Worship) Mandapa and the Kalyana Mandapa with 38 carved unfinished monolithic pillars.The temple as a whole is built from sandstone and there are signs of severe erosion. I wish the whole place was more maintained and preserved for generation to come.

Well, while going Aarush had a good nap but on the way back he was very active and naughty - as a whole he was a good kid.

Odometer Reading 0KM – Home 10KM – MG Road 23KM – Hebbal 52KM – Diversion for Nandi Hill 70KM – Chikballapur120KM – (Bagepalli) AP Tourism Restaurant / RAXA Academy Take Left122KM – Big Cement Crane135KM – Lepakshi

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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...