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Dabbagauli

Nestled in the fringes of karnataka-tamil nadu border is a relatively unspoilt place called dabbagauli. Bangalore Mirror had posted an article on the same a year back and going through it made me plan for a drive there. The drive was still in planning phases for close to a year and finally after getting some free time I decided to head to this place.

There are two routes to dabbagauli. One needs to go to kanakapura and take a deviation

Route 1 : Bangalore->Kanakapura->Kodihalli->Hunsanhalli ->Take Left and Hunsanhalli ->Oorgaum->Right at Oorgaum to reach Dabbagali

Route 2: Bangalore->Kanakapura->Kodihalli->Hunsanhalli -> Right at Hunsanhalli -> Belapatti-> Dabbagali

I decided to take the second route as it would allow me to do some off roading. It was an early morning start and i reached kankapura in a hour or so. A short stop for breakfast and I was cruising along to Kodi Halli.  A couple of photos of the river and I was zooming along the well tarred road to hunsanhalli.

River on the way to Kodi halli

IMG_4894_resizeThere was intermittent construction work goin on and parts of the road was getting relaid. One has to be careful when driving on these jelly stones. Negotiating couple of stretches of these and I reached hunsanhalli where I asked for directions to Belapatti.

The road passes through some amazing scenary and I took my time taking photos of the landscape before moving ahead

Scenary near Dabbagauli

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The tar road continued for some more time and I soon found a mud road with the directions given to dabbagauli. The luxury of tar road ends here and one needs to do some off roading to reach belappati.

Directions and Road to Dabbagauli

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The road goes uphill and becomes more dangerous as we go ahead. One needs to be careful when driving here. Luckily retarring work is going on and parts of the road have been relaid till belapatti.

Negotiating the steep curves I reached belapatti and again asked for directions. Driving some distance I found the sign board and took right and continued. From here on its entirely downhill and the loose gravel makes the ride tricky. The descents are fairly steep and driving very carefully i reached the banks of river cauvery. I was expecting to be alone there however I found some people who had come there ahead of me.

The Hosur Wildlife forest division has a put up a list of Do’s and Dont’s and one needs to abide by them to ensure we keep the place clean.

As the rainy season has just began, there was not enough water in the river, however the river was flowing with all its might. Its dangeroys to get in the river as the water might be full of currents.

Cauvery

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There are couple of temples there which one can visit. Since elephants and other wild animals roam in these parts care should be taken when visiting these areas. Spending some time there and clicking snaps I headed back to home heading via the same way.

A stop in hunsanhalli for refreshments and a chat with the shop keeper revealed that one can camp in the temples at dabbagauli. Locals at hunsanhalli and nearby villages visit the temples and people from bangalore also visit this place. I was also told there is a dam off hunsanhalli where elephants come to drink water in the evenings and one can have a good chance of spotting an elephant if one goes there in the evening.

Thanking the shop keeper for the info i headed back home, thinking of another visit to this place to cover the dam. Anchetti which is a short distance from hunsanhalli can also be covered via this route.

Snaps can be found here

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Masingudi

Nestled in the pristine jungles of  mudumalai tiger reserve is masinagudi a off beat weekend getaway. Hectic workload in office made me long for a good break and finally decided to head to masinagudi for a short trip to break the monotony. Accommodation was booked at Casa deep woods masinagudi and i left on Fri morning.

A uneventful journey through mysore with couple of breaks took me to bandipur tiger reserve and I was hoping for some sightings of animals or birds. A leisure drive through bandipur and madhumalai took me to Theppakadu where the road bifurcates. Left goes to masingudi and to ooty via kalhatty ghat and the right takes us to gudalur and to ooty which is a longer distance. We soon reached the resort and were shown our roooms. A well deserved break and it was time to head for the safari.

There are number of organizers at theppakadu asking people if they would like to go for safari’s. We managed to strike a deal with one guy and informed him we were interested in going for evening and morning safari. The forest department also runs safari’s within the reserve, however one would have to go in a bus with lots of other people for an hour. The chances of sighting wildlife would depend on one’s luck whether you would go  in a bus or in a jeep.

As per our agreement we went to masinagudi village and called up the operator who arrived promptly. We set out for the first safari for the day. The route would be via the river bed which according to the operator is a popular place for tiger and other wildlife sightings

Langurs at the start of safari

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The ride continued slowly and we could see plenty of peacocks and deers along the route but no tigers !!. Clicking photos of the wildlife available we continued towards the drive towards the dam. As the ride continued we spotted an eagle sitting on a tree. An hour of driving and we reached a hillock where we could see elephants and bisons at a distance.

Deers and Peacocks

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Jungle @karnataka side

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We spent some time at the hillock before heading to the dam which was very close. Even though the temperatures were soaring there was enough water. Spending sometime there we headed back.

The sun was setting and I could get some good photos of the sunset.

Sunset @ mudumalai forest

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Evening was spent playing games in the resort followed by dinner.

It was an early start to the next day as we had a morning safari to get to. We were hoping for some good wildlife sightings, however as luck would have had it, we could again see only deers, peacocks.

Sunrise

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The two hour ride gave us nothing except the same we say yesterday. The misty morning allowed to me take some nice photos of the roads inside the sanctuary .

Roads within Mudumalai

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With nothing much to do, we came back and headed back to the resort for some rest as the sun was climbing up and the temperature was increasing. Spending couple of hours in the resort we headed to  pykara lake on the way to ooty. The less water level made the place uninteresting. Spending sometime there we headed to botanical garden in ooty. Again the dry temperature made the place not uninteresting. Spending some more time in ooty roaming around, we headed back to the resort.

The resort had organized games in the evening along with bon fire and the evening was spent mingling with the guests and playing tambola.

Bon Fire

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A late dinner and it was time to hit the sack as we had a long drive back to bangalore.

Snaps can be found here

Coastal Karnataka

Planning for a trip during long weekends is always a problem.Treks were ruled out due to summer and  i was searching for other places to go.  With hill stations such as kodaikanal  charging twice the normal rate, owing to the holiday season, I was running out of places go visit. Finally after a lot of  searching , i zeroed in on the beaches of uttara karnataka even though the weather would be hot and humid.

Srikanth as usual decided to join and I managed to convince kiran to tag along. Kiran said he would bring his friend along. I had asked him to book the tickets to sirsi and return tickets from udupi, so that we could cover a few beaches along the coast.

Day 1

With the booking done, we boarded the bus to sirsi on thursday @ 10.30 pm.After a long journey, we reached sirsi at 8 in the morning. We took a room which was run by the marikamba temple trust to freshen up. Upon finding the tap in the room wasnt working, we had to use the public toilet to finsh our morning abulations. Once everyone were ready, we checked out and headed to the bus stand to catch a bus to yana.

We were informed that there werent any buses to yana, and we had to look for local transport. After a lot of negotiations, we took a local car to yana, which would be the first place we would visit. With the sun climbing up, we began our journey to yana and we reached there at 11.30.

Yana is a important piligrimage center. The two monolithic rock formations called bhiravashikara and mohinishikara which is of 200 ft and 120ft  are the main tourist attractions in yana. Other popular activities including trekking, bird watching  and rock climbing.

Bhiravashikara

After visiting the temple, we went inside the cave to have a look. Steps are being built to the cave and a passage way is made inside the cave, which allows people to explore the cave.

Inside Bhiravashikara

One can exit the cave from the back or through the same route. Walking on the hot gravel can be tricky if we exit the cave from behind as we have to remove our slippers before entering the cave.  coming out of the cave, we could see mohinishikara at a distance and we decided to head towards it

Mohinishikara

Having spent some time taking photos and exploring the surroundings, we headed back to the vehicle and to gokarana.

We took a short break at a view point in devimane ghat before continuing our journey.

View from devimane ghat

Having reached gokarna at 3 we headed to a hotel for lunch and then to om beach.

Gokarana is a small temple town which is famous for its beaches. Go-karna, means ‘cow’s ears’ in Sanskrit. According to legends, Lord Shiva emerged from a cow’s ear and so the name. It is located at the meeting point of the two rivers Gangavali and Agnashini, which is shaped like an ear.

Om Beach Gokarana

Lush green surroundings enroute to om beach

With the heat becoming unbearable, me, kiran and his friend headed to the sea for a dip. The driver had asked us to come back at 5.30 so that we could go to paradise beach which is located behind the gokarna temple.

We spent some time lazing in the water, before heading to paradise beach. Kiran and srikanth went to the temple, while i took a stroll on the beach, looking for an ideal spot to shoot the sunset.

With the sun already setting, we had a small photo session, with everyone giving their best poses for the camera.

Sunset at Paradise Beach

With the sun set, we asked the driver to drop us to gokarana bus stand, so that we could catch a bus to kumta.  We paid the driver the agreed amount. The bus to kumta soon arrived and we reached kumta at 9.30 at night. After checking into the hotel we headed for dinner and we hit the bed, thus concluding the first day of sight seeing

Day 2

While having dinner, we had asked the hotel guy to tell us places which we can see in kumta. He told us bada beach is the closest, which we could visit. The next morning, we headed to bada beach which was located around 10kms from the hotel. The beach was pretty desolated as it was already 8 in the morning, and the humidity was increasing.

Bada Beach

We took a stroll on the beach, and spent some time taking photos, before heading back to the bus stand. After a short wait, we got the bus and went back to hotel. After a quick shower, we checked out and headed to honnavar and then to murudeshwara.

I had read about an ancient chennakeshava temple built during the hoysala reign located in honnavar and i was interested in seeing it, however upon reaching the bus stand, the auto driver told us we had to get down before the bus stand at a place called harki. He offered us to drop us till there. When he inquired as to why we wanted to go to harki, we told him the purpose of our visit. He told us there is no such temple and instead told to go to murudeshwara.

The following link shows the location of the temple in honnavar.

As we werent sure of the location, we asked the auto guy to drop us to the bus stand, where we took the bus to murudeshwara, which we soon reached after half an hour.

Murudeshwara located close to honnavar is a famous piligrimage and tourist location. The 70ft statue of lord shiva is the main attraction here. Apart from visiting the temple one can also play in the sea which is located next to the temple and indulge in some water sports such as jetskiing which we did.

Shiva Statue in Murudeshwara

Murudeshwara Beach

After finishing the water sports, we had lunch before heading to marvante. We reached marvante by sundown and we waited for the sun to set, so that we could start another sunset shoot.

Sunset at marvante beach

The sun soon set, and kiran told me he would show me the place where we can see the sea on one side and the river on the other.

Marvante

Marvante river on the opp side of the beach

We headed back to the bus stand, and took a bus to kundapur. After checking into the hotel, we headed to the hotel for dinner and then it was nap time.

Day3

This would be the last day of our trip, and we were wondering where to go. Initially we thought of covering st mary’s island and a few less frequented  beaches around udupi, but since we were visiting beaches for the past two days,  we thought of going to some place else. Srikanth however insisted, we sleep till evening, in the hotel and catch a bus to udupi, before heading back to bangalore

After much haggling, we decided to go to karkala and moodabidri, which has important places of worship for jains. Moodabidri has a 1000 pillar temple, which none of us had seen.

With the plan set , we checked out and took a bus to udupi. After reaching udupi,  kiran suddenly said, he wanted to go to st mary’s island, as he had visited it a long time back and wanted to visit again. With the destination changed at the last moment, we had to agree to go  to st mary’s island.

We took a bus to malpe beach and bought tickets to the ferry which takes people to the island.

St mary’s island is an uninhabited island situated near malpe. The island is famous for the basalt rock formations which occurs in various forms.

St mary’s island

While srikanth and kiran’s friend were relaxing and trying to take snaps of an eagle floating above, me and kiran went around exploring the island. The island’s rock formations allows one to climb over the rocks thus giving a panaromic view of the island.  Jumping across rocks we went round the island.

A few snaps of st mary’s island

Having explored the island, we headed back to the ferry and back to dry land. We spent the remaining time roaming around udupi, and we paid a visit to the krishna temple in the evening. After having dinner at woodland’s resturant, we boarded the bus to bangalore.

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Snaps can be found here

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