Tag: karnataka

Dandeli-Travelogue_Pic-Syntheri-rock

Travelogue: The Dandeli Chapter

It had been a while since I opted for a train for one of my trips. I was excited at the prospect of it and lucky enough to get tickets booked on time.

Destination: Dandeli.

Dandeli is a town in North Karnataka. It has the Second largest Wildlife Sanctuary in Karnataka which was designated as a tiger reserve in 2007. It is one of the few places for White River rafting in India.

Of course, there aren’t any direct trains running/crossing from Bangalore to Dandeli. Hence, I booked tickets till Londa Junction. (Yes, that’s how it is spelled). My friends, travelingDandeli-Travelogue_Pic-Bike-on-the-roads on their Motorcycles, were to join me there at the station, the very next morning. The prospect of a bike-trip was again exciting. I wasn’t driving and hence it was still exciting (and not scary) for my other friends.

After a breakfast of Puri-Sabji, with fluffy puris and mashed potato fried lightly, at one of the few roadside joints, dimly lit, we started off towards the town of Dandeli, on tarmac roads with greenery all around us. The fresh morning breeze racing past us as the town neared us. After roaming around, finding our own way towards the Kali River, we decided to take the resort package. It comprised of a night’s stay (Tent or a room), lunch and a breakfast. Along with it, the package included Zorbing, Boating, Swimming, Forest Treks, Cycling, Jacuzzi, Shooting and a Bon-fire to end the night.

The fresh morning breeze racing past us as the town neared us. After roaming around, finding our own way towards the Kali River, we decided to take the resort package. It comprised of a night’s stay (Tent or a room), lunch and a breakfast. Along with it, the package included Zorbing, Boating, Swimming, Forest Treks, Cycling, Jacuzzi, Shooting and a Bon-fire to end the night.

We were also given a map of the town and various sight-seeing places, which included:

  • Syntheri Rock
  • Ulavi Temple
  • Nagoda Backwater
  • Supa Dam

We headed towards Syntheri Rock and instead of off-roading the last 2 km stretch, walked along the route amidst trees and chirping of the birds.

Dandeli-Travelogue_Pic-Syntheri-rock

 

Dandeli-Travelogue_Pic-Syntheri-rock-view

Dandeli-Travelogue_Pic-Syntheri-rock-view

The giant rock with a stream of water from the Kalindi River flowing past it is a sight. The pleasant evening weather proved just the right fit for us to lose our shoes and let our feet dangle in the flowing water. One can sit by the stream and do nothing. I’m assuming there will always be a crowd here but pretty sure without them one can enjoy the view and sound of water, undisturbed.

Syntheri Rocks is a giant monolithic Rock located in the dense Dandeli Wildlife Sanctuary.

As you head down towards the water, the view of this one rock fills up your eyesight.

 

 

 

As we headed back, the weather decided to literally spread water over our plans for further sight-seeing.

Instead, we headed to the town for a much-needed food break. A small restaurant called, Al- Kohinoor’s non-veg laden menu piqued our interests. Apart from having our lunch on the first day, we even followed it up for the second day. The food was good. Our orders included Beef Biriyanis (Plural, yes), Kebabs, Chaps, Liver and Fish Fry.

We had to drive down in the rain as it decided not to stop on our way to the Resort. The resort was pretty close by, but the route was blocked and hence we were forced to take a longer route.

It was already night by the time we reached and apart from dinner, dancing around the bon-fire and a late-night conversation under one of the many shacks, there wasn’t much to do. And I guess, that was the purpose of it all?

Dandeli-Travelogue-River-Edge-homestay

Dandeli-Travelogue-riverside-resort

The night was about getting some much-needed rest by tucking ourselves in the tent. The tent part was my first experience and although this was in a resort, still it was fun to be in one.

Dandeli-Travelogue-River-Edge-homestay-Tent

Ideally, Dandeli is a place known for River Rafting. The reason for coming over to Dandeli was that! However, since it was raining and due to government restrictions, it was closed.

There was a trek through the woods for the large part of the crowd who were up at that time. The trek culminated into a scenic area with a stream of water at the end of it.

Dandeli-Travelogue-River-Edge-homestay-Trek

Post this, we took a boat ride along the stream along with a very animated guide for company, who shared a few spooky Crocodile tales from around the area while we were in the middle of the water. Timing.

Dandeli-Travelogue-Water-boating

Dandeli-Travelogue-Breakfat-Poha-riverside

Dandeli-Travelogue-Book-reading-riverside

While my friends zorbed in the river out there. I decided to carry on reading the book.

Post the activities, we decided to head off to Dushsagar Falls. There was a lot of discussions and after much deliberation, we headed towards the next destination. First stop was, ‘Castle Rock’ from where we either had to trek up to Dudhsagar or hop onto a goods train. Alas! A surprise awaited us.

Dandeli-Travelogue-Castle-Rock-Station

Apparently, they’ve closed the trek option due to multiple accidents in the area and the last train which crosses Dudhsagar which we hoped to get onto, left a few minutes back. The quaint little station even had messages warning about the same.

Dandeli-Travelogue-Castle-Rock-Station-Warning

But we had our tent with us, and decided to park ourselves for the night. And this part, right here at Castle Rock, was a good decision. This area was like a mystery and I’d probably need a separate post to talk about that.

Dandeli-Travelogue-Castle-Rock-Tent

The town is out of a B-grade horror movie for the gloomy and foggy weather. Deserted as we walked in and made us wonder, do people even live here?

Answer : They do.

Dandeli-Travelogue-Castle-Rock-Pics-Station

Dandeli-Travelogue-Castle-Rock-Pics-Station-near-doodhsagar

Anyways, long story short, we put up our tent in the verandah of one of the guest houses and even ate a decent meal. The joy of doing this is irreplaceable. One of us was of the opinion to put a tent right here on the grass itself. Picturesque? Yes. But thanks to our skepticism, the rain at night would have troubled us if we had done the same.

Dandeli-Travelogue-Castle-Rock

Dandeli-Travelogue-Castle-Rock-Pics

As we headed out early morning enjoying the amazing view, once again, and wondering how come everywhere you go in Karnataka, the roads are amazing. But as soon as you’re back in Bangalore, the scene just changes!

I had a few hours to kill before my train arrived and ended up penning down my musings at Londa Junction, here!

Musings at Londa Junction

To Summarise my Dandeli Travelogue, it was more of a road trip where we made multiple and elongated pit stops. There were many things to explore in Dandeli and of course, the River rafting, but the roads are amazing and I’d suggest to take a car or a bike when you plan to head over to the place.

Hampi-Travelogue-towards-town

Travelogue: The Hampi Chapter

There are places which emanate a characteristic vibe as their name pops up. Hampi, for me, is one of them. Hampi has been that unchecked item on my ever-expanding ‘places to visit in this part of the country’ list. But finally, it is ticked off that list.

Hampi- traditionally known as Pampa-kshetra, where Pampa was the old name of Tungabhadra river, around which Hampi is located.

A 2-day weekend road-trip, the ‘city of ruins; was visited. And even though, the rain did play spoilsport in keeping us inside our car or chilling around our cottage, the trip will be remembered.

We started off early in the morning, 7 of us, from Bangalore. The view on the road is supremely amazing! Like, one can sit by the window (which I make sure of) and take it all in. This, right here, is the best part of a road trip. Not to sound too cliched, but the best part of any trip is the journey towards that place.

Hampi-Travelogue-road

You see, what I’m talking about. The untouched beauty. The blues and the greens. And the road in-between breezing past it. And this isn’t all. You have the sunflower fields to do your own photoshoots. Full Filmy!

Hampi-Travelogue-sunflower-fields

Looks like those cheap photoshops where they add you in between flowers, eh? Well…!

When you’re on the road and the weather appears to be in a good mood, the scenery just keeps extending itself from one page to the other, forming a scrapbook on its own. Everything looks just not-ordinary. The purpose of traveling gets answers in return.

Chitradurga falls in route to Hampi and we took a very small diversion to the fort. Thankfully, it wasn’t raining and since it was really early morning (around 8 AM), not much of a crowd was present. We weren’t looking to spend time at the fort to ensure we reach Hampi at the earliest. Hence, instead of scaling up the top of the fort, we were content with stopping at one of the many peaks.

Hampi-Travelogue-Chitradurga-Fort-Nameplate

The majestic fort is a sight!

Hampi-Travelogue-Chitradurga-fort-view

‘Chitra Durga’ means ‘Picture Fort’. The fort is pretty well maintained and even though we selectively strolled around the fort without a guide, it was quite amazing. It is a series of several small hills, each overlooking the place. The view is a bliss. It was cloudy and that made it all an extra bit of drama for the eyes to behold.

Hampi-Travelogue-Chitradurga-fort-viewpoint

Hampi-Travelogue-chitradurga-fort

The fort was built over several years by the Rashtrakutas, Chalukyas and Hoysalas as well as the Nayakas of Chitradurga, feudal lords in the Vijayanagar Empire. There are 18 temples in the vicinity of the fort.

We continued on our journey towards Hampi with more photo-worthy moments for the hungry camera.

Hampi-Travelogue-towards-town

Hampi-Travelogue-hampi-town

Hampi-Travelogue-hampi-greenery

The route, as you enter Hampi, welcomes you with big boulders spread like arches like those ancient Greek kingdoms you see in period movies. In a way, this introduces you to Hampi.

We stayed on the other side at a cottage which overlooked paddy fields, a small stream, pebbles spread around. I so wish, we had more time to just chill here at the cottage itself. What more does one crave for? A book with a view? You have it here!

Hampi-Travelogue-places-to-stay-mowgli-cottage-view

Hampi-Travelogue-places-to-stay-mowgli-cottage

This is the dining area for the restaurant. Lots of board games to play while you enjoy the view along with decent food.

We did venture out on the first day in-between the start-stop rain and came across a small stream, trekked a little to just watch the sunset. This is what Hampi is mostly about, finding spots like these and absorbing the view.

Hampi-Travelogue-capturing-pictures

Hampi-Travelogue-capturing-pictures-camera

Hampi-Travelogue-sunsets

Hampi-Travelogue-sunset-points

Hampi-Travelogue-sunset-point-rocks

Hampi-Travelogue-rocks-evening

 

The night was more about getting some good sleep to make sure we explore the ruins, for which Hampi is famous for, the next day. However, we started off pretty late and with the rain pouring down, we had to hurry and squeeze in as much as we could.

However, in the morning we took a little stroll around the backyard of Mowgli Cottage. You can see the Virupakshi temple from across the stream. This area is great for a late-night campfire. But, of course, we missed that.

Mowgli-cotage-hampi Mowgli-cotage-hampi-stream

Here’s a list of places we covered on our second day. First up was, the Queen’s Bath which is outside the royal enclosure (which we visited next). The Queen’s Bath was created for the royal women but in most probability served as the private royal meeting place.

Hampi-Travelogue-Queen's-bath

Hampi-Travelogue-Queen's-bath-inside

Next to the Queen’s Batch, is the Royal Enclosure housing the Lotus Mahal, stepped tanks, Royal Elephant chamber and a number of other relics from the Vijayanagara empire.

Hampi-Travelogue-Lotus-Mahal-treeview

Hampi-Travelogue-Lotus-Mahal

The architectural style resembles a mixture of Vijayanagara and Mughal influence. The enclosure serves as a historical open museum depicting the era gone by with the ruins it houses. The adjoining gardens along the buildings, with trees around, serves as a viewing pod for tourists to sit and enjoy. It was raining and we were on the clock and hence roamed around to cover most of it.

Hampi-Travelogue-royal-enclosure

Hampi-Travelogue-royal-enclosure-view

 

This Royal Elephant chamber is one structure that seemed better preserved to this date among the ruins in Hampi. The dome-like structure for elephants displays an Indo-Islamic architecture style and was built during the Vijayanagara Empire.

Hampi-Travelogue-royal-elephant-enclosure

Hampi-Travelogue-royal-elephant-enclosure-bull

Hampi-Travelogue-royal-enclosure-museum Hampi-Travelogue-royal-enclosure-view

Next up were the Virupaksha Temple and the nearby ruins housing other temples, with boulders spread around the hills. The Virupaksha Temple and the adjoining areas are one of the main tourist attractions of Hampi. There was some renovation work underway at the temple and it started to rain when we reached there.

Hampi-Travelogue-virupaksha-temple

Hampi-Travelogue-virupaksha-temple-view

The only restaurant, other than our Mowgli Cottage, we went to was the most-talked-about Mango Tree restaurant. The ambiance is quite hippie and the food has variety, although pretty hyped. But with very few restaurants around this area, this was the default choice.

Hampi-Travelogue-lemon-tree

We saw ‘Lemon mint nana’ on the menu and ordered it, after having had a really good one during the Gokarna Trip. However, it wasn’t the same. Apart from this, their special Pizza, Pasta, and a few other things were ordered. Food was good but nothing unique to write about. Although, I would suggest to still visit this place.

It was time to head back to Bangalore. It had already started raining and after a few GPS-hassles, we were finally back on track.

Hampi was a great experience. There are so many things to do around and if you have even the slightest interest in architecture and history, you’ll get to see so many stories unfold in front of you. It gave me the feeling of ‘wish-there-was-more-time’ while returning. And that is what every place should make you feel. Don’t you think? Inviting and welcoming!

 

Have you visited Hampi? Share your experiences or travelogues in the comments, below!

Mangalore_Travelogue_malpe_beach_Boat

Travelogue: The Mangalore Chapter

Mangalore Travelogue 1: October, 2015

There’s no better way to experience an Indian state than a Road Trip.  This travelogue is about places explored in Mangalore as well as the nearby towns.

Usually I prefer travelling via train. First because, its cheaper and second, I hate travelling in buses. This time we opted for a convenient option of hiring a Car for us. Expensive, yes, but convenient.

Our anchor point for this trip was Mangalore and that’s where we had booked our stay. A late-night start which allowed us to enjoy the view of the Ghats during dusk.

Breakfast comprised of sandwiches, omelette, Scrambled eggs and Coffee at Diesel Cafe.

 

We visited to the church of St. Aloysius, which is around 130 years old. Carved with intricate pictures explaining the life of Jesus Christ and other saints.

Mangalore_Travelogue_St. Aloysius

It was indeed a wonderful experience. The church complex comprised of  a college and nursing home.The chapel is an architectural marvel in itself, built by Italian Antonio Moscheni. We weren’t allowed to click photos inside the church and hence…

It was almost time for lunch, but the place we had bookmarked for our lunch was closed. Reason being “Dry day” (2nd Oct) and since the restaurant comes along with a Bar. Instead we ended up having our “lunch” in an ice-cream parlour, called Pabbba’s Ice cream, with only Ice-creams.

If you ever visit Mangalore, this is a not-to-miss place.

Evening was reserved for a trip down to the beach and enjoy ourselves.

The Day-2 of the trip involved a lot of travelling as we moved from Mangalore to Udupi, after finishing our breakfast. We opted for the nearby Diesel Cafe (again) but instead of the English breakfast, we delved for a little taste of Mangalorean food (Sort of). It was Neer dosa and rice rotis.

We also made a stop at the 1000 pillar temple.

Mangalore_Travelogue_Thousand_Pillar_Temple

as well as the nearby Neminath Basadi Temple in Karkala, overlooking the Gomateshwara statue. Post  and finally climbing the stairs to see the Huge statue.

 

The best part of the trip was yet to come, and like every trip you take, there remains that one place which stands out. Malpe beach was that place for me. I’ve never been on a beach with rain for company, but with this visit even that has been accomplished.

There were cocnuts lying around the beach, and one of my friend even broke it up for us to eat.

Dead fishes were thrown across with the incoming waves and so was garbage.

But we enjoyed the fishes. No, not those of course, but these. I always prefer the river ones over the Salt water fishes, but these were damn yummy.

While the fish was being fried, we indulged in some Gola and bhutta eating.

Although we went to Malpe beach with the hope of going over to St. Mary’s island, but thanks to timing, we just missed the ferry that takes people to the island. Sad part is, we had to watch the ferry leave in front of our eyes.

 

Consoled ourselves with the view of the dockyard and the crazy smell of fishes all over the place.

Finally it was time to head back to Mangalore and finish of the trip.

For me, the trip ended here at the beach with the taste of the fish still amalgamated in my mouth.

Must say, although I love travelling alone, this one with friends was very relaxing. Agreed that I missed out on lots of places to visit, authentic food to be tried, getting to know the locals or travelling in public transport while interacting with them. But this had a certain charm in itself.

 

Here is the youtube video of the Mangalore trip:

 

Also, if you are planning a trip to ChikmagalurKochi, Varkala, Allepey, Mumbai, Pondicherry, Chennai, Kodaikanal you can read my Travelogues by simply clicking on these.

A Reply….

It’s all Very calm and quiet.(so, unlike my mind for the last 2-3 days).  Most of them in the floor are already asleep. From room no.24, I am writing another blog. (Don’t be scared, no controversies this time.) this is not just a blog, but an Apology.  Yes, I need to apologize to the people who got hurt by my previous post

Specifically speaking, my intention was not to hurt people but to get a message across to all and start a healthy discussion on this issue, which many feel but don’t talk openly. After that blog got posted, many came to me and said:”Dude, good job”, some openly supported me when people were criticizing me. Others chose to be on the safe side, by saying that without getting into anyone’s attention. Nevertheless, I didn’t felt great when they did that, but yeah each criticism (even the harshest ones) and each support equally meant something to me. Thanks for both.

In the process of writing, my idiotic mind generated some kind of language that appeared to be offensive. Also, it ended up targeting people from just one particular community or to say a particular part of a country which is linguistically and culturally different from where I come from.

The reasons why I ended up writing that blog were—-

  1. Start a discussion on a very important issue of how language barriers are actually hampering many of the communication processes.
  2. Get things out for everyone to see as to what I think about an issue, instead of keeping it close to my chest.
  3. That left out feeling you get when people start talking in a particular language, which you don’t understand, culminating into weird mood sequences.
  4. Getting the feeling that people don’t want you to be part of their conversation because of some differences.
  5. Trying to make people understand, how a little empathy can go a long way in solving it out very easily.

Lesson learnt it’s not just about the message; it’s how well you convey the same.

What the blog actually ended up doing was

1.  It got directed to particular communities because of direct use of names. Instead, I could have generalized as this, as it isn’t limited to one. Like one community may be at the receiving end of this barrier, but may also be the one doing that as well. Sometimes, even Hindi speaking people may do that with the non-Hindi ones.

2. It created a feeling that there is a certain sense of hatred in me regarding a certain community. Well, I can sense that many might have started feeling like this.(instead of smiles, I get that “WTF-were-you- thinking-when-you-wrote-that-look). I never intended to justify, but to keep things in clear perspective, I should say.

Some of the very good friends, including my two roomies, which I have made after coming here, are the ones who are from down south.  All my grief, homesickness, sad stories(which are way too sad :P, sadder than this)are only subjected to their ears only. Since I’m on a convincing spree to show-off  my south-connect, I would also like to “brag” that my grandfather was actually a south Indian, quite fluent in at least two Dravidian languages. For some strange reasons, people who have some connection with south India and live in the Hindi-heartland tend to be known as “madraasis” (a little crazy, I understand) mainly because of the food preferences and ingredients that they use (like tamarind). (I am bragging too much. Right? 🙂 )

3. Someone mentioned stereotyping. Was I?? Don’t many do that while talking here in groups?? But yes, I only took into account the people from the college whom I saw and included the whole south Indian community all into it.

4. Posting a sensitive content on the web. With a place like India, with diverse cultures and rich heritage, people have their sentiments attached with everything from language to religion and region. Maybe, the way it was all written appeared to be accusing that attachment they had and also raising the sensitivity of the people. The web is becoming a place where one should be careful enough as to what they speak. I wasn’t   Maybe something that would hurt me might get the same amount of criticism that I received or even more than that.

I don’t know whether you people will even read this blog, going by the fact that blogging and my name would be negatively subconscious-ed into your mind based on my last post. But, if you are reading then I would like to just say, when I talked about south Indians starting to being more empathetic, I forgot the fact that I wasn’t actually being one.

As someone mentioned to me that maybe because I didn’t tried enough to be someone important, for whom anyone can “switch” to any language that I understand. May be some introvert-ness, some “opening-up” that is still necessary. Or instead, I should try actually learning any of the languages 🙂  I should be the one making the change, if I want to make something happen and not complain to others about not doing that. So, cheers. Let’s kick this controversy out, podaaa :). (Oops, i Did it Again 🙂 )

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén