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Coorg-Gaalibeedu Tour

I would firstly like to apologize to everyone for posting this post so late :).

Though I had been to coorg either on trips or treks , the place always seems to invite me again and again. This time I went with my friend as he hadnt seen golden temple and we were keen on visiting some less visited places in coorg. After  some research my friend came up with a place called gaalibeedu. This place was near to the talathmane circuit which was used by YHAI for their coorg national treks.

With the usual bookings done we left for madikeri for a 1 day visit on 5th sept. The rainy season was not yet over and it was still raining intermitently. We reached coorg at 6 in the morning, only to find ourselves caught in the rain. We hired a auto to a nearby lodge where we could freshen up before heading out.

Our first stop was the golden temple. The rain had just stopped and left to kushalnagar by bus. After reaching kushalnagar we hired a auto to reach the golden temple.

Golden Temple Complex

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This place has one of the largest buddhist temples in south india and also home for large number of tibetian refugees. The temple contains status of buddha along with his disciples. Once we entered the complex we found the people sitting for prayer. After clicking a few snaps and spending time there, we went back to madikeri.

Buddha N Disciples

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Post lunch we headed to gaalibeedu. A small village with pristine scenary. We got down there and took a stroll in the streets. There was a heritage resorts which we payed a visit. Upon inquiring the rates we found they charge 8000 per couple. Though the resort is well maintained , we left the rates were too high.

Greenary in Gaalibeedu

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We continued our walk through the greenary. After sometime we decided to head back to the city. Hiring an auto we reached our lodge. Evening was spent strolling in the streets of coorg before heading back to bangalore

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A drive without destination

After completing my solo trip to mysore I was hoping to continue to do some more of these trips the following week. Thus I began to discuss with my friend the possibilities of a 2 day outing. With karnataka gripped in floods choosing a destination was becoming increasingly difficult. Initially we had thought of doing agumbe-sringeri route however that had to be abandoned due to heavy rains. I was keeping an eye on the weather reports as i taking the car out in rain would be impossible. The deliberations continued as we touched upon waynad, ooty masinagudi etc. With all my friends dropping out, me and my friend were in a fix as to what has to be done. As covering waynad would be a costly affair for 2 ppl.Luckly one of my other friend said he would join at the last moment. With 3 ppl , we had tentatively decided to go to chitradurga to see the fort. This was not meant to happen as the place was flooded. With dad not allowing me to take the car for an overnight trip , i was left to plan for a 1 day drive.

Both my friends hadnt seen bluff so we decided to go there finally. We left bangalore at 7 in the morning and we halted in kengeri for a small cuppa where the other guy joined us. With less trafiic on mysore road and with speeds of 70-80kms we reached maddur by 9 and we took a deviation to mallavalli. Another 45 min later we reached gaganchucki falls. A small photosession was conducted there, after spending some time there we headed to bharchucki falls. Since there were less ppl there as we reached there at 11 we managed to get a good view of the falls.

With both the fallls completed by 11.30 we were wondering what to do next. I wasnt in a mood to go home so early. Since mysore was nearby we decided to go there for lunch and then decide what has to be done next. With a newly laid bannur road, we were crusing and we reached mysore at 1 in the afternoon. Lunch was a dasprakash hotel. With out tummies full and with enough time to spare, we were debating on whether to drive up to chamundi hill or spend some time in gosai ghat in srirangapatna.

The next 2 hrs as spent at srirangapatna seeing tippu’s summer palace and lazing at gosai ghat.

Leaving srirangpatna at 4 we reached kengeri at 6.30. After battling the traffic reached home by 8.30

We managed to cover 400kms in 1 day

There was no snaps taken as i wanted to this trip without my cam 🙂

Lepakshi – A weekend outing

This was my first trip in our new car. After a lot of begging and pleading finally got the go ahead from my dad to take the car for the trip. My initial plan was to go to belur and halebid, however that wasnt meant to happen as the distance was a little long and i wasnt allowed to drive at night .

This prompted a chance in plans and after a few calls to my friend i decided to go to Lepakshi.

We left bangalore around 7 in the morning and quickly reached the new airport. I was maintaining a steady speed of 80-100kms and was really enjoying the drive. After a while we stopped to munch a few biscuits and we proceeded again. The scenary was quite good.

Scenary enroute to Lepakshi

The road got better as we drove long until we reach chikballapur.Negotiating the traffic we proceeded further until we reached bagepalli. Going further we found a toll booth which was about to be opened. After driving for a while we reached lepakshi. We entered the temple. The temple carvings reminded me of belur.

Carvings

Carvings

After clicking snaps and spending some time in the temple we headed back. While entering lepaskhi there is a stone carving on nandi which happens to be the largest in india. We stopped by to see that before heading back.

Nandi

Nandi from a different angle

Since we left early i wasnt in i a mood to go back early to bangalore which resulted in me ambling along the highway at speeds around 50 km/hr. We reached bangalore around 2. After a quick bite in a ice cream parlour, reaached home around 3.30

How to get to lepakshi

Route 1: Bangalore->Devanahalli->Chikballapur->Bagepalli->Lepakshi

Route 2: Bangalore->Doddaballapur->Gauribidnur->Hindupur->Lepakshi

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The weekend that was almost ruined

With a 3 day long weekend , I was in no mood to stay at home. I had completed lepakshi on saturday and was happy with the performance of the swift.Got back thinking of the long drive for the next 2 days. Smsed by friend asking him to be ready by 7 the next day so that i could pick him up and dozed off for an hour.

Things began to take a turn for the worse when i got up. I had recieved a sms from my friend saying he wont be able to come as he was going for the mullayanagiri-bababundangiri ridge walk. Just what I did not want as dad would not allow me to solo drive in the car.

With one guy stuck in office and a few others not interested to come I decided to go alone.

Things took a turn for the worse later on when dad forced me to stay in the house to attend an important function which i wasnt keen on attending. I was planning on leaving bangalore at 6 or 6.30 in the morning as I had planned to cover bluff, talkad,somanthpur and srirangaptna before heading to mysore. The next day being vijayadashmi and with most of the people in mysore for the procession and festivities, I was thinking of driving down to pandavapura-> KRPET->Kikkeri and govindhalli to see a few hoysala temples which was built in the helebid style.

This plan was defanitely not going to work and I was thinking of an alternate one. My bro further gave me a scare by saying the clutch on his pulsar was not functioning properly. I decided to take a risk as driving on my splendor was out of the question.

Sunday arrived and I was still in the house rather than being on the road. After finishing the function I was it was already 2.30. Finally tanking up the pulsar fully I left bangalore at 3 in the afternoon.

My first pit stop was at kanva dam. Saw a few people playing in the river. Took a few snaps of the backwaters and zipped off towards mysore.

Kanva Dam Backwaters

View from kanva Dam

Took a small break at maddur cofee day. Reached mysore at 7 at night. I was amazed to see the rush as vijayadashami was the next day. I managed to drive down to my grandma’s house.

After a quick cuppa i headed out to the mysore palace which was lit up like a christmas tree :). A gaint pandal was erected and they were broadcasting yedurappa’s speech. Took a few shots of the palace in all its glory from a few different angles before heading back home.

Palace

Side view of palace

Next day  left home early as i had to cover a few places. Had a smooth ride till bannur. After bannur there are no roads except in patches until u reach bluff. My long ardeous ride had just began. Reached somanthpur and 8.

I found that they open the temple only at 9. With nothing to do , i got chatting with a retired wing commander who had come there with his family as incidentally was on the same route as mine. He was boastful about his bicycle rides and treks which he used to do.

The authorities opened the temple around 8.50. After a photoshoot i left for talkad around 9.30. My back and the bike’s suspension were getting a real work out driving on those roads :).

Somanthpur Temple

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Carvings in somanthpur temple

Carvings

There was a lake just a few meters from somanthpur temple which provided a good scenic location.  I left the places taking a few snaps of the lake

Lake near somanthpur temple

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Driving another 30 kms, i reached talkad around 11. Hired a guide to show me around. Explored talkad for an hour and after taking photos, left the place at 12 in the afternoon.

Talkad Temple

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My final destination was gangan chuki and bharachuki falls popularly called as bluff. It was another bone rattling 40 kms drive till I reached bypass road from maddur which goes through malavalli to MM Hills and chamarajnagar . Reached gaganchuki falls around 1.30. After spending some time and taking snaps , I left for bharachuki falls after munching a few snacks as i hadnt eaten anything since my morning breakfast.

Gaganchukki Falls

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Bharchukki Falls

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The 13 kms drive was through good roads and i was made the most of it by clocking speeds of 90 kms. After a photo session , left for bangalore. It was already 2.30 by the time i left. Dark grey clouds began to appear on the horizon and i didnt want to get drenched. The rain started to fall heavily as I was driving towards malavalli. Had a take shelter at a bus stand. The rain dance continued for another hour , as i had to stop quite a few times so that i dont get drenched too much in rain. Contiuning on this road I reached the mysore-bangalore highway at 4. I was suprised to see it had not rained in this part of town. The road was absolutely dry.

With less traffic I reached ramangaram and had my “lunch”. Proceeding further I reached home at 7 thus ending an interesting trip.Hoping to cover srirangapatna and pandavapura route some other day

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Green Route — A farewell trek

Just before embarking on my kodachadri trek my friend send me a mail regarding a trek in sakleshpur. Upon enquiry i came to know it was the famed green route trek. I immediately said i am in as I wanted to do this stretch ever since it was opened last year.

With my manager asking me later in the week to go onsite to malaysia for a month , i thought what a better way to say adieous to india for a month than to do a trek with some of my good friends.

Everything was set and 6 of us gathered at majestic bus stand on fri(22nd) night @ 9.30. After distributing food rations we got into the bus which left for kukke at 10.30. We had told the conductor to inform us when donigal arrived as we were suppposed to get down there, which he promptly did.

It was 4 in the morning when we got down in donigal. After having a cuppa at the roadside stall, we headed to the railway station which was 5 kms away. After waking for 2 hrs we reached the railway station.

Note: Take the small mud road which goes up when walking from the tea stall. Take right once u go up the mud path to reach the dongial railway station.

The railway station was covered in mist and since it was only 6 in the morning, i decided to  sleep for some time as we werent going to start trekking immediately. Slept for two hours and woke up to find the mist still hadnt cleared. Since the sun hadnt come out the weather will chilly and I was shivering.

Early morning in donigal

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Once our morning duties were completed we settled down to have breakfast. Another round of cuppa was followed after the breakfast. By this time the sun had come out and we started our journey along the track to edukumeri which was 18 kms away. We had decided to halt in edukumeri that day before proceeding to sribaligu and then to kukke the following day

The track was filled with jelly stones and the spacing of the bars on the track were not even. We took a little while to get used to this and we were making good progress while enjoying the natural beauty present around us.

We had just finished crossing the first bridge which was one of the several that we would encounter in the next 2 days, we ran into the first goods train. We all made away for the train which was chugging along merrily.

Train

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Our journey continued and as we went further the scenary began to improve. No wonder why this stretch is called as “Green Route”. We could see only greenary everywhere.My camera was paritcularly happy being in this surrounding as I was clicking quite a few pics.

Enroute to edukumeri we met the first tunnel. This was one of the 30 odd tunnels which we would be walking under. Torches came out instantly and we crossed the tunnel. It was 1 in the afternoon when we broke for lunch at a lone station. We were walking slowly until then enjoying the scenic beauty until then. After lunch we decided to pick up the pace as we had to reach edukumeri by sundown.

Pristine Scenary

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Just as we were about to enter one of the tunnels we got a scare when a goods train arrived out of no where and 3 of my friends who were at on the bridge had to run for their lives. In the meele one guy lost his torch :(. This incident made us more careful and we decided to pay more attention to our surroundings

One of the 30 odd tunnels

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Walking continously on the jelly stones was taking a toll , as our feet were starting to pain. We pushed along, coz if we slowed down the pain would increse. Edukumeri beconed us at 5 in the evening. The moment i entered the station I took off the shoes to relieve the pain.

Soon i was fast asleep to relieve myself of the tiredness that I had felt walking the whole day. I slept for an hour and woke up to find the pain had not still subsided. We then got down to preparing dinner,using the ready to eat packets which we had bought.

With dinner out of the way we hit our sleeping bags as we had a to get up early as we had cover a lot of distance.

Morning arrived and we got up early at 6 and left edukumeri at 6.30. Within 2 hrs me and 2 others were at an abandoned station waiting for others to join. While we were at the station we decided to make the most of the time by looking around to see what the station  had so that we could start the fire to boil water for the noodles we had bought.

Early morning in edukumeri

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The others joined us 2 hrs late. Once everyone were at the station we set about boiling the water and finished breakfast. Since we were already running late we decided not to waste any more time and immediately headed to sribaligu station

Things were going smoothly when my friend who was a walking a little slowly told us that he had heard a sound of an elephant. This was confirmed by a track repairman who confirmed that elephants inhabit these parts. We neverthless kept moving at a brisk pace.

Sribaligu station welcomed us at 1 in the afternoon. Since others were quite far behind, me and 2 others who arrived early decided to take a well deserved nap. Just when I was dozing peacefully I heard some commotion. My friend and the night duty guard were having a heated argument. Things were really heating up, when both the warring parties decided to back off at the last moment.Upon enquiring with my friend we got to know that the gaurd hadnt slept and he seemed to be annoyed as we happened to be talking loudly

With others joining us, another hour was spent in the station before starting the downhill trek to anila village.

We reached the village at 5 in the evening. The bus to kukke arrived at 5.30. After spending some time in kukke we boarded the 8.45 bus which we had booked back to bangalore. Reached home at 5 in the morning

Thus concluded a wonderful trek

Route:
After getting down either at Donigal (near to Manzarabad fort) or near to the railway track, look for the milestone marked 234. There is a tea shop and opposite to it is a mud path going up. Take that and you will see a bridge and a mud path going to the right. Take the right which leads to Donigal railway station. The marking on the milestone at the Donigal railway station is 49/400. After that:
Km 52 – bridge (50 mts) –> Km 55 – bridge –> Km 58 – Tunnel No. 5 (254 mts) –> Km 60 – Tunnel No. 6 (383 mts) –> Km 61 – bridge (200 mts), immediately after Tunnel (575 mts) –> Km 62 bridge (150 mts) –> Km 64 – Tunnel (410 mts) –> Km 67 – Yedakumeri station –> Km 72 – Tunnel (366 mts) –> Km 75 – Arebetta station –> Tunnel 25 (553 mts) –> Km 80 – Tunnel (488 mts) –> Just before Km 85 – long bridge –> Just after Km 85 – Shiribagilu station –> Cross the tunnel just after the station, look for a mud path to the right just before the point where the railway tracks diverge –> this path (about 5-6 kms) through the forest leads to Anila village à Buses to Kukke Subramanya (15 Kms) can be boarded here.

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(Subbu+Quacks)* On the Rocks==Kodachadri +bountiful wilderness

After last weekend’s drive to bluff and mekedatu , me and my friend after a short discussion finalized on kodachadri and arshinagundi falls trek for the 3 day diwali weeeknd. Since we had monday off we thought of either covering jog or head to udupi and cover a few places before heading back to bangalore.

When I went to book the tickets to shimoga , i got a rude shock when the guy at the ticket counter told me there was no return tickets back to bangalore on monday night as everything was booked. This prompted a change in plans as I didnt want to get stuck in sagar/udupi.

Since only me and my friend were goin for the trek we decided to first climb kodachadri and then decide later on what has to be done. With this in mind I booked the last available bus to shimoga.

I reached majestic bus stand at 10.30 after walking from corporation as the bus had broke down at corporation signal Smiling. I was amazed the line of buses and chaos that was present there and I decided to walk as it would have been a better option rather than getting stuck at in the bus. Managed to reached the bus stand and by the time me and my friend could search our bus it took us another 15 min as all buses in majestic seemed to be heading towards shimoga Smiling. By the time we left bangalore it was 11.30.

Further misery was in store for us as we were caught in yet another traffic jam near jallahalli cross. By the time we were out of all this traffic it was around 1.30 in the morning. From there on it was smooth sailing till shimoga.

We reached shimoga at 7.30 and after finishing our morning duties we headed to the private bus stand to catch a bus to kollur. The bus was however packed to the brim and with our heavy luggage we decided not to take it. The conductor of another bus told us to take the bus to samipgekatte which would arrive in a few min. Since we were already late we decided to do what the conductor said. The bus soon arrived and we headed out to samipgekatte

The drive which we thought would be a short one turned out to be a 3 hour drive and by the time we reached samipgekatte it was 12.30. After redistributing the food items which consisted of buns we started the trek.

We happened to see some magnificent scenary just as we started the trek, and we knew we would get better ones as we ascended the peak

Scenary enroute to kodachadri

scenary

With scenic views unfolding at every corner which were captured duly, we made good progress as we didnt want to miss the sunset. With the sun beating down mercilessly the progress was slow considering the fact that i hadnt done any treks since ettinabuja in june.

With small breaks in between we reached the peak at 5.30. The views got better as we gained altitiude and frequent stops were made to capture the scenic beauty.

Lush green forests

forests

We reached the IB around 6 and we were just in time for the sunset and immediately rushed to sunset point to capture the sunset in all its glory. With the clouds playing hide n seek we were treated with a surreal sunset. After a photoshoot we headed back to the IB.

Sunset @ Kodachadri

set

Sky after sunset

sunset

The next morning we woke up at 5 and rushed to sanjeevai peetha to see the sunrise. With the sun coming out from behind the clouds was simply amazing. An hour or so was spent taking snaps.

Sunrise

sunrise

Now that plan of scaling kodachadri was done. We were wondering what to do next. Since there were no guides available we werent intent on doing arshinagundi falls by ourselves as the route is quite risky without a guy. We decided to head down via karikatte route and catch a bus to kollur and then to udupi.

Descent was swift and we were at the santosh malliu hotel by 10.30. A quick stop there for a couple of lime soda’s we headed to karikatte gate. The bus to kollur arrived at 11.30. After reaching kollur we took a connecting bus to kundapur and hopped to another bus to reach udupi by 2 in the afternoon.

Evening was spent in kapu beach photographing the sunset. Lazing around for some more time and having ice creams in diana’s ice cream parlour we caught the 10pm bus to bangalore which we had booked upon arriving in udupi.

Kapu Sunset

kapu

The journey was spent hanging on to ur lives as the driver drove like a man possesed on the crater ridden roads in the charmadi ghats. We spent the night being thrown out of our seats as we had booked the last row Smiling.

Reached home at 8.30 on monday morning

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Mahabalipuram

This was a trip which i was supposed to happen last month, but due to few health scares it got postponed to Sept. My dad had booked the maamalla beach reasort for last month, since we couldnt go , the reservation was carried forward for this month. Finally on 19th Sept me, mom , dad and my dad’s friend with his family left for mahabalipuram. After a drive through the morning rush hour traffic on hosur road , we stopped for saravana bhavan for breakfast.

After completing breakfast we proceeded towards our destination. I was really impressed by the condition of the roads. We were zipping at 100-120 kms/hr and i was really enjoying the ride. I am thinking of doing the same when i go to pondicherry shortly. Another small pit stop was taken for cofee.

View of the NH

After finishing some rest we proceeded further. I had noticed a total of 5 toll booths in the entire stretch until we reached mahabalipuram which collect toll for the road maintainence. Since it was the first time we were travelling on this road we were not sure of the directions. We had to ask for the route everytime we stopped at a toll booth. We were informed that we can reach mahabalipuram by going through kancheepuram as was a shorter distance than goin to chennai.

We took the first option and we reached kancheepuram by lunch time. The moment we entered the town we were almost swarmed by people who were intent on making us by some thing or the other , most probably silk sarees which kanchi is famous for. Strangely my mom resisted all that Smiling as we were already running late. After a quick bite we left kanchi and headed directly for our destination. We reached mahabalipuram @ 3 in the afternoon.

The resort is located on the main road just a few mts after the IO petrol bunk. The sea is just behind the resort. The resort also contains a swimming pool 35 A/C rooms and a well furnished dinning area.

After checking into our rooms i headed to the pool to take a dip and to relax for while. I was expecting to see a good sunset , however i was disappointed to find out that I can only catch the sunrise as mahabalipuram lies towards the east.  It began to rain heavily while i was still in the pool. I ddint mind getting drenched as i was in the pool anyways Smiling

Saturday was spent lazing in the pool and in the room in the of the Tv.

Sunday i got up early morning lest i should miss the sunrise. Took the cam and ran to the beach. It was around 5.45 and the sunrise had just began.Managed to take quite a lot of snaps and needless to say it was a really nice to see the sun rise in all it glory.

Sunrise at Mahabalipuram

Another sunrise shot

After a couple of cuppa’s and freshing up we headed for sightseeing.

There are a couple of important things to see in mahabalipuram.

  • Arjuna’s Penance – A monolothic rock with sculptures depecting arjuna’s penance in favour of lord shiva

Arjuna’s Penance

Temple Complex

Krishna’s Bowl

  • Shore Temple – Temples built for shiva and vishnu

Shore Temple

 

  • Five Rathas – Temples for pandavas

Five Rathas

Ratha1

Ratha

Ratha

  • Tiger Cave – An open air theater where the king n queen used to enjoy the dances

Tiger Cave

 

  • Crocodile Bank

After seeing Arjuna’s penance , shore temple and five rathas we headed back to the resort for lunch. Another quick dip in the pool ensured that the heat would stay away for a while.

Evening was spent at tiger cave , crocodile park and we enjoyed a short boat ride at the river which was at a short distance from the resort. After finishing the boat ride , I saw a partial sunset which I took a few snaps

Sunset

We returned back to the resort, and spent the rest of the evening in front of the TV. Had dinner and dozed off.

Monday being the final day , got up early again to catch the sunrise.

Sunrise

We bid adieu to mahabalipuram as we left the resort @ 9.30. Reached bangalore at 8 in the night, thanks to the famous traffic jam near hosur

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