Hognekkal, A Summer Feast

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Best time to visit: Oct to Mar

Things to Carry: Clothes, Water bottles

A beautiful cloud free day, the entire meadow was glowing under its morning warmth. Three bikes, five members and this was the second trip with the crew. It was decided to start by 5:00 from electronic city and like the saying goes planned timings are only in the words. It was Shankar call which was alarm for me and rest of the guys. Due to our (me, Raghu and Swamy) strict punctuality Shankar needed to wait not more than an hour in front of a closed restaurant before we start. Krishna was to join along from Attibele.

Sharp by 06:00 no more no less, spotted Shankar, had morning coffee and started towards Attibele to pick up Krishna. The morning ride was pleasant and friendly, free from heavy vehicles and traffic. 06:45 Reached where Krishna asked us to wait for, and Krishna was all geared up for the ride waiting for our arrival. On reaching the first question was why so late, we turned to each other face and nodded with laughter. 07:00 A short chat, filled up petrol for the 200+ journey and started towards Denkanikottai.

The Crew

08:30 The drive to Denkanikottai was freshening and peaceful one, stopped by a hotel for the breakfast as suggested and demanded by Krishna. He is the best when it comes to selection of hotels. And the food was relay good than we had expected, had ordered each that were available. If it was a normal day for the breakfast taken, we would have slept until the next meal.

10:30 Reached Anchetty from which Hognekkal was 45 KM away. The drive from anchetty to pennagaram was highly challenging with steeps and slopes cruising through the curves and we took our time to stop at the pull offs as there were some amazing photo opps that doesn’t want to be missed.

We took stops where ever we wanted to and most importantly please note guys a must wanted lesson for everyone those who are going through the wilderness, a lesson taught by Krishna of how to face an elephant in a no man’s land.

11:15 With just 5 KM away from the destination, we had to take a stop and walk into the wilderness to take a break. It was the course of the river, but this time it was almost dry with the entire stretch filled up with huge rocks burning hot in the midday. Swamy moved forward and reached the river flow and waved to move towards him to witness the beauty of the river. The whole place was peaceful and filled with fizzling of the cascading water. There was no sight of people around except us, if it’s not for the hot and unforgiving sun it turns out to be the perfect place for camping.

Spent nearly an hour splashing ourselves in the water and later decided to move forward. 12:30 Reached Hognekkal.

The place had a good parking space, the moment when we entered the parking lot group of people surrounded us and started asking for coracle ride, food to be prepared. They didn’t give us time to breathe, we asked them to stop, told them we will let them know if we are in need. Somehow managed to avoid them and on our way to the falls we decided to hire a cook (a localite who belonged to the same village) for preparing food while we go for the sail through the backwaters.

There was the government built structure from where the water used to flow from and the other is to go through the river in a coracle, there is a restriction of 4 person per coracle or maximum of 300 KG per coracle and it costs around 800. Ticket was purchased for 4 person and we got in the coracle, and the other person was supposed to join us just few meters away.

We had to walk for few meters where the person use to carry the coracle over his shoulders and then drop it back into the waters for the ride. He took us to the first water fall, he went close to the fall such that the natural water showered on us which was a feast in the hot summer, I also suggested for a 360 rotation of the coracle which most of them used to hate it and I used to love it. For my sake everyone agreed for couple of 360.

Moved on in between the rocks, the coracle person was explaining about the history and fame of Hognekkal, as it has 22 falls and all have merciless water flow during the rainy season and the water level will be three time higher than it is now, movie Ravanan (Tamil) Raavan (Hindi), Roja (Tamil) was shot in Hognekkal and there was a time when they fished out 20 – 30 ft fish (which is still astonishing) and during heavy rains the water flow will be very high such that the rocks will be scrambled out .

There were lots of cave kind of hollow space in the rocks, managed to climb on to one of the cave and snap few photos too, which were obviously funny.

The coracle person took us to the shores which they call as an island, he rested the coracle on the shore and told us you can spend your time here in the water and he will take us back when we give him the green signal. We were lucky enough to have visited on a day when there was no crowd, there were barely people to be spotted, and this made the water source to be in a clear condition. Me, Raghu and Krishna didn’t carry any secondary clothes not even a towel, while Shankar and Swamy were well prepared. We three didn’t mind of anything took off our shirts and jumped into the river flow. In the group Krishna, Shankar and Swamy knew swimming and they started to swim under the water, above the water, butterfly stroke bla bla bla, while me and Raghu were walking. But Raghu learnt swimming a bit when we came out, me still 0. We spent nearly an hour and a half playing in the water, had stone skipping and long throw of stone competition (even the coracle person joined), Raghu being the winner.

15:30 We were starving, asked the person to take us back to the staring place. On reaching the shores we went on the small hut kind of place where the lady asked us to come for the lunch. The savory aroma when the fish fry pan was opened, divine feel. Our mouth started watering, and were starving for the fry to reach our plates. We had fish fry, fish curry and rasam, started with the crispy fish fry, we were able to sense the freshness on our first bite and end with the pleasing rasam. In the course while eating the fun didn’t stop when Krishna was fighting with a goat who wanted to share his food.

         

17:00 Started from Hognekkal, decided to take the same route. It quite risky to ride in the dark until reaching anchetty. If started after 18:00 it’s better to take the Dharmapuri route, that would add up an extra 60+ KM but it is safe during the night hours rather than going through unhabituated area. By 19:00 we reached denkanikottai, stopped by the same hotel for coffee while we checked for the photos on each devices.

20:30 Reached Bangalore, on greeting and wishing for future rides, segregated to our homes.

Lepakshi, Gem of an edifice from Vijayanagara Empire

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12 Feb 2017.

4:00 “I think saw you youuuuuuuuu…” alarm whiling. Refreshed myself, checked on the power bank that I had left charging, the previous night. Got the wires and power bank packed at my bag pack and needed few fresh songs to be copied to my mobile, and started for the ride by 5:30.

Needed to take NH7 that is airport road and then take the route to AP. The weather was mild and moderate until I reached NH7. Weather changed drastically then. The temperature started to drop, I began to love it. I never expected such a climate in the mid of Feb before I started.

7:30 Reached Chikballapur, stopped by a shop for morning coffee, its 7:30 and still the temperature was cold, checked on the accuweather app for the current location temperature and it showed as 11 degree, and had travelled half distance of the journey through it. It was by 8:30 a change in the sky was seen on the misty covered roads becoming brighter, a mixture of yellow and orange rays began to evaporate with the light of sun covering the clouds. With 72KM to march forward, drove within 60s enjoying the beauty of nature, song adding spice to the ride. A journey after a long time, much needed and a relaxed one.

10:00 reached lepakshi, Wow simply beautiful. Being the first archaeological visit, never ever did before, with the shrines of lord Shiva, Vishnu and Veerabhadra outspread all over the place. Rested for a while watching the serene surrounding and enjoying the monkeys playing on the branches.

The aura of this place would impress a person to learn more about Lepakshi, entered in, observed the stone carvings, fabulous architecture of Vijayanagar Empire.

And there is a hanging pillar too which is the balancing one for rest of the 69 pillars on the mandap. The pillar was short of height and when tried to remove it other pillars has started to crack, so it was left it as such and it remains the balancing pillar for the entire structure, to really check it out, people put in their thin clothes and take it on the other side.

On moving further the majestic Shiva statue around 12ft with seven headed snake covering around and the entire structure was built on a single rock. To the right side there was a lord Ganesha statue carved and saints performing Pooja to Shivalinga carvings and the left side of the rock had been left untouched. On one of the statue there was a bull carving, the reason for mentioning is that it had three heads with one body, it depicts a bull and a cow in one carving, one head raised high above depicting the raging bull, the other head out down depicting grazing and the other head pointing to fore udder and the teat depicting a cow.

To the back there was an unfinished kalyana mantapa, it had a centre stage surrounded by 6 lords, it was believed for the marriage couples to be blessed by the lords.

The pillars on the mantapa had carvings those designs were used in today’s sarees which we call it as dharmavaram saree collections.

Moved further and I came across feet impression, learnt that it was where lord Sita stood and round the clock the whole year water will not get dry. It is believed that water come from the sides of the rock where the Sita Padam is impressed.

Moving further there was a big circle surrounded by small ones, and there were three such. It was the place where food was supposed to be served. Those were the dining plates, if food is served for people like us 5 of them can fill their tummy. Amazing architecture, mind blowing.

There were small mantaps across the temple, leading to the entrance.

Moved out and there was a garden, rested for a while before staring back to Bangalore. Went on to explore the streets, there were lots of shops especially sweets shop and I guarantee it would be a treat for sweet lovers, sellers use to home prepare the sweets and sell it themselves. Managed to pack few of those to accompany on the return journey.

17:00 Started from Lepakshi, as usual as it is, return journey will never be the same as that of the onward journey. Stopped by on regular intervals for snacks that was packed back at Lepakshi, 20:30 reached home after the 300KM journey.

Aug 2018

TBD

Trail Less Travellers

Coorg, Scotland of India

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Trek Distance: Approximately 4 KM

Difficulty: Challenging

Best Time to Visit: Monsoon

Things to Carry: Pair of Trekking shoes, Water bottles, Snacks, Match sticks

Oct 15,

A trip filled with mixed feelings, in fact the first long trip with this crew. Had all the things needed for the ride geared up including the customized shirts. Three bikes, five member and the plan was to start for the journey by 04:30 and get together with the team at Kanakapura nice road toll at 05:00. Krishna travelling from Hosur, Ravi and Raghu from electronic city, me and Anji from JP nagar.

The entire stretch was shrouded in fog, looking mysterious. Weather was cold enough that it was easy for us to drive, we raged through the cold winds at par 90’s, we had almost crossed 70 KM in 30 minutes, then by 6:30 we stopped by a tea shop for refreshing, we ordered 5 cups of tea. Unpacked the biscuits, it’s always a charm to have hot tea with biscuits in the cold weather.

The Crew

9:00 Reached Mysuru, had our breakfast before visiting the palace. There used to be three entrance and on that day the original entrance was changed making it a havoc to reach, each people going on their own direction, making us to go round and round and round the palace thrice before getting together.

It was historic inside, ancient sculptures, we were all mesmerized by the paintings on the wall, the battle ground, majestic king thrown, and while ascending to the top where Raja used to stand and greet people there was the statue of Mysuru raja, it was so real that we mistook it for a real person dressed alike. Unfortunately phots were not allowed inside the palace.

Next on our list was Nisargadhama reservoir which was 70 odd KM away from Mysuru. 13:30 We stopped for lunch in the highways hotel. Me, Raghu and Krishna ordered parotta and egg curry while Anji and Ravi ordered veg meals. Photos snapped and in the gallery.

15:30 Reached Nisargadhama reservoir, Initially we thought is it worth the visit, this doesn’t seem to be entertaining. There were few people returning, enquired and mentioned it is worth visiting. We got our selves the ticket and the entrance itself turned us on with the walk on the hanging bridge. The reservoir had all the entertainment needed for a gang of people, tree house, abandoned path where Krishna, Ravi and Anji denied to come, it was quite creepy and mysterious such that Raghu missed his brand new coolers. While we both were rushing out of the abandoned area, the rest three were feeding the deer.

After few meters of walk, we were able to hear the sound of the water flow, Me and Raghu rushed on, I said am going in, who are besides me, Raghu instantly acknowledged, Krishna instantly acknowledged with a no, so do Anji and Ravi. I went in, Raghu followed me, within seconds, Ravi came in the waters, suddenly Krishna went off sight, and we were looking around for him. He came out behind the tree securing his shoes and in to the water, then after few minutes Anji too came in. Just imagine after a long drive and you see the nature’s most valuable resource spread around and welcoming you.

17:30 We started from nisargadhama reservoir, making sure we had all our belongings. 45 KM away from madikeri, out of which 30 KM was drive through the ghat section, curves and turns for every few meters, we all were battling against the wind and it was like me and Raghu were in a drag race for nearly 15 minutes. And out of nowhere Krishna would come passing us, keeping me and Raghu wondering. The temperature was cold that made me and Raghu talk while driving to come here again by late night (only in words)

     

19:00 We reached the Misty home stay, and gave a call to the owner. The owner sent a person and he guided us to our stay and we were satisfied with the 3 BHK, infact it exceeded our expectation.

We all refreshed and by 20:30 went for supper.

Rest for the saying ____________________

Oct 16,

04:30 Off went my alarm. We all got ready as soon as possible, and by the time every one were ready it was almost 5:45, we planned to leave room by 5. 6:00 It was icy chill outside, we were able to see fumes of fog staged over the sky in front of us. Amazing view it was, and we all were eager for the ride. In the meantime Krishna yelling, don’t forget to pack the snacks in order to lessen the weight of the bag.

Sharp by 6 we started to tadiandamol peak. We needed to take mangalore road for a while in order to reach the peak. The ride was simply superb, early morning, icy chill weather, hands dead, and the mesmerizing beauty of nature. We were descending, and we found a perfect spot for photoshoot, a group photo, crazy stills, took as many photos as we could. We again lost 30 min on that stop.

Slowly started to follow the rhythm of the mist and nature. The drive was cutting through the fog and repeatedly we wanted to clear the helmet visors regularly that was covered up with fog. It was almost ghat section and the Mangalore road was crystal clear such that I forgot the person who had the navigation on and went almost 12 KM ahead in a wrong route, and Krishna following me. The worst thing was on realizing we were on the wrong route and when to contact Raghu, none of our cell phone had network leaving us to wait until Raghu reach us. Learnt that other than BSNL no network would work here. 10 min of wait until Raghu and Ravi reaches, a good long conversation on the do not’s before marching towards Tadiandamol peak.

7:30 We reached the base of Tadiandamol peak. The sign board showed 7 KM more. On the start the road seemed to be easy and flat, but just after 750 meters, the steepy road started, and going on even the roads were not good, it was tough to drive, we came to a point where our engines would give up, had to park our vehicles in a villagers home on paying.

First trek for all of us and we were thrilled. Krishna showed us where he was waiting for us with his apache. We all were surprised, how did his Apache cross the steep. We spent the time over the reserve forest to the maximum, there was a canal passing by, we all got down, took photos.

4 KM trek with last 2 KM being the weariest, huge rocks to trek through. The entire stretch of our trek was spectacular, the view of entire city, the fresh air, breath of virgin oxygen, flora and fauna, feel of our muscles getting stretched out and the pleasure of conquering the second largest peak in Karnataka 1780 mts. Better advised to go on with a good trekking shoes.

11:15 Our trek was done, a weary one. Food was ready had our breakfast before starting to Chellavara falls.

The road leading to the falls is not that good, but worth the drive on reaching the falls. It was restricted to enter the waters, but rules are only on the sign boards. Krishna being the first to enter the water until the security came to push people out of the water.

14:30 Started from Chellavara falls, had our lunch and a power nap at homestay before leaving coorg.

17:30 Had the coffee that the room keeper served as the coorg special coffee. Started from Coorg, had the plan to stop by nisargadhama for purchase of homemade chocolates, with Krishna in place, he got us a good bargain on each and every purchase we had.

16:45 Had a short talk, known for sure of the night journey, the plan was to drive safe, stay within the limits and most importantly stay within the sights since the night journey is not too good with bike riders. As expected night ride was challenging, we came across drag racers, merciless truck and car drivers had no sympathy for vehicles. 20:30 reached Mysuru, with 150 KM more left.

Clock striking 00:30 we all reached mysuru to Bangalore nice road toll from where we needed to split. Thanked each other and wished for future rides, finally at 1:00 everyone acknowledging on reaching home. A selfie on leaving.

Siruvani, Mother of Nature

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Trek Distance: Approximately 3 KM

Difficulty: Moderate

It was a festive day, in fact the second day of Diwali, with all the fun getting to a halt, we decided to go on for a ride. This time in my home town with my childhood buddy Biju, after long years travelling and it was the ride that got us together.

Initially when we started the destination was Silent Valley wildlife national park, but the moment on reaching the national park we understood this is not going to work out, people were crowded for the safari ride. The first slot that had went hasn’t returned yet and the booking was closed for the day. With the disappointment on our face discussing on the first ride getting flopped out and it was mid noon, so we decided to take the opposite route which was longest one just to kill time and enjoy the returning ride.

But the day had other plans for us, just after 40 KM, we saw the sign board reading take left for Siruvani Dam, we had lots of time for the day, without any hesitation took the left. It was like riding through an abandoned area. There were no vehicles going or coming on the route, but the journey through lush green serene land.

Reached the check post, enquired about the entry and the official said the entry is restricted for two wheelers. Another disappointment struck, with that said we returned to our bike and decided to spend few minutes before returning as the place was peaceful and adoring.

But to our astonishment a jeep approached us, five of them got down, they were from kerala. They went on to get the passes, we jumped in and asked whether we can join with them for the ride. They discussed and acknowledged with okay and we need to pay. We acknowledged immediately, all we needed is a ride. The jeep seemed too old with the paint scrubbed off, seats were barely screwed, doors were tied to each other which acted as door locks, we both wondered is this a good idea will the engine be good enough until the course of time. But all we wanted was a ride, to be honest the mechanical parts of the jeep were at its best, the engine had the power to drive through steepy roads.

We were lucky enough to spot elephants too while we were crossing a bridge, when one of them cried out loud elephant elephant stop the vehicle. We all got down and enjoyed the herd of elephants crossing the river bed, have seen those only on TV’s, this was the first time seeing live. It was so astonishing to see the elephants crossing the river one after the other following their leader. B-E-A-Utiful it was.

Moved further, the course was a narrow one and it was only our vehicle passing through, we reached the siruvani dam, stopped by, and the water level was too low, saw the huge structure of steel separating Kerala and Tamilnadu.

The drive was mesmerising, travelling through the forest, we spotted pigs, dragon lizard crossing and forest squirrels jumping on the trees. Reached the border where the road was blocked and further trekking to be done. The other side was Tamilnadu and it was blocked for tress passers. Started for the trek.

It was simply amazing, weather suddenly changing sides, within seconds dark clouds started to appear and making the entire place shower with the beauty, the reason why it is called the mother of nature.

Reached back to the checkpost, realized that we agreed for the pay, we both were discussing as they are gonna charge us high, but we were surprised when they asked 100 per head, even if we had to pay for the official we would have paid extra. Kudos for them. Thanked them for the ride and wished a good luck for the rest of their journey. Returned back home with full of satisfaction, a moment when we thought nothing can be explored to the moment driving through the Mother Nature, day is full of surprises.

BR Hills, Indigenous Community of Flora and Fauna

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A Photo blog, photo speaks louder than words.

      

      

Barachukki Falls

Charmadi, For the Love of Roads

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First Destination: Shravanabelogola

30 Jul

Bahubali Temple

Shravanabelagola to Hassan, drive through the rain. Nothing can match the pleasure of driving in the rain, but that didn’t last for long. There was a downpour,  0% visibility, stopped until the visibility is good enough for the drive.

31 Jul

Ride to charmadi, Hassan -> Belur ->Mudigere -> Charmadi on a total 120 KM. On reaching the check post of Charmadi, fog covering up the whole stretch, need to descend for 15 KM to reach charmadi. There were vehicles coming on the opposite direction and things got worsen on going down the stretch, visibility decreasing, fog covered the whole stretch, filling up the visor from the outside and the weather making it so cold that even the slightest breath coming from nostrils forming a layer on the visor from inside. It was really hard and challenging to drive battling that situation and taking sharp curves and chicane for every few meter. Every rider would love to drive through.

And that’s Charmadi for the Love of Roads.

Hessarghatta, Archaic Levee

The levee that has lost its identity over the ages. Photos will explain the rest.

Kotagiri, Inselberg of Tea Estates