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Deoriatal – Chandrashila Peak Trek Day 5: The climb to Bhujgali

The climb to bhujgali starts immediately from Rohini bugyal and then descends steeply all the way to the river from where we need to climb all the way up to the grasslands.

After the inital climb, it was a smooth descent to the river where we took an extended break to enjoy the cold waters. We spend some time indulging in photo sessions. Spending about an hour at the river, we packed our bags and started the climb towards bhujgali.

Photo Sessions @ river

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Climbing for couple of hours we reached a stone settlement with fantastic views of the mountains. The flat grassland also had a small stream flowing which served as a good point to pit for lunch. A short seista and we again began the final climb to the campsite which was an hour away.

Lunch point

_MG_0927_resize_MG_0929_resizeTents were already up and we settled into the tents. We were lucky to get a clear sky and after a couple of group photo sessions and some sunset photos, Rushish called us for another briefing where we were shown the use of gaitors and ice tractions for the ascent to chandrashila peak.

Sunset @ Bhujgali

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Group snaps

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Dinner was served early and we retired to our tents as we had a very early start the next day. The ascent to chandrashila peak due the next day and every one was excited

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Malenadu Road Trip Day 2: Dams, Kundadri and Ambutheertha

With the main attractions already covered on the first day, our discussions continued about the places to be covered on the second day. We initally planned on covering Mandgadde bird sanctuary, sakrebyle elephant camp and Gajanur dam as all are in the same line towards shimoga.

While searching for other places to visit, I came across two neglected dams Chakra and Savehaklu which are enroute to hosnagara. These dams however where in the opposite direction to the places we had planned. During breakfast we inquired about the possibility of covering these dams in addition to these. As we had ample time we decided to first head towards hosanagara after getting directions.

The road from thirthhalli to hosanagara consists of some amazing twisty which was pure fun to drive on. The road for most part is excellent expect for couple of stretches which are pothole ridden. We enjoyed driving on those narrow twisty roads and soon we were at an intersection. Asking for directions we headed towards chakra dam.

Chakra and Savehaklu dams were initially constructed before the constructions of linganamakki dam. Both these dams are constructed on the river chakra.

Chakra Dam

IMG_8031_resizeSavehaklu Dam

IMG_8052_resizeThe purpose of the dam’s were not fulfilled and these dams were abandoned. We were the only people present there and we made good use of it , by doing some photography. Chakra and Savehaklu dams are equidistant at 6 kms from each other. One can see the shola forests from savehaklu dam. However the road in chakra dam makes a loop and comes back.

Road in Chakra Dam

IMG_8028_resizeIMG_8029_resizeShola Forest view from Savehaklu Dam

IMG_8058_resizeWe initially went to chakra dam and then headed to savehaklu before heading back. With both the dam’s complete we still had enough time on our hands and we then decided to head to gajanur dam as well. It was given on the net that photography was prohibited however we decided to take a chance. Another hour or so or driving took us to gajanur.

When we asked the parking attendant we were surprised to hear that photography could be done in the dam. Paying the parking fee we went inside. One can only see the dam from outside as entry beyond the gates is not permtted.

Gajanur Dam

IMG_8073_resizeIMG_8077_resizeWith all dam’s that we planned covered, and with still time left to go for sunset, we headed back to thirthhalli while thinking of other places to visit before visiting kundadri for the sunset. We then came across ambutheetha which is supposed to be the birth place of sharavathi river. With nothing else to do, we turned towards sagara and headed to ambutheetha,

The intial part of the journey is via the same route towards chakra and savehaklu dam, however we need to go straight rather than taking a deviation. Following the markers we soon reached the place.

The origin of the sharavathi river is like a big pond and a temple is built in the lines of bhagmandala in coorg from where the river cauvery originates.

Ambutheetha

IMG_8085_resizeIMG_8087_resizeWe found the place to be uninteresting and with nothing else around to see or do, it was time to head back thirthhalli.

A short stop at the hotel to freshen up and after a cuppa we were of to kundadri which is a famous place for jains.

The drive to kundadri is quite as it took us a while to get to the top. Already we could see a lot of people present there. Kundadri is famous for its Jain temple at the top and for the specatcular views it provides. As we still had time for the sun to set, we did some phtotography of the landscape and the temple.

Jain Temple

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Western Ghats

IMG_8093_resizeIMG_8105_resizeIn a short while we could see the sun going down. We spent some time at the top doing sunset photography and decided to head down soon as we knew there would most likely be a jam on the way back with so many people heading back together.

Sunset@Kundadri

IMG_8106_resize IMG_8115_resizeAfter descending for 30-40 min we were back on level ground and headed back to thirthalli. An early dinner and we retired thus calling it a day after covering more places we had hoped for.

We headed back to Bangalore the next day with a short stopover in Sringeri for some yummy breakfast.

Snaps can be found here

Malenadu Road Trip Day 1: Kuppali and Agumbe

Kuppali the birth place of poet laureate Kuvempu was on the bucket list for almost 5 years ever since I heard about Kavi Shyla the place where kuvempu used to his spend his time thinking of the poems which he used to come up, while soaking in the beauty of malenadu. The stonehenge like structure made me visit it even more, but due various this trip was yet to materialize. Kuppali and Agumbe which is famous for its sunsets was chosen as the must visit coupled with mandgadde bird sanctuary and other nearby surrounding places.

Srikanth and myself headed out on Sat morning for a 3 day long drive to western ghats.

It was a breezy drive to hassan with a short stop for breakfast. As shiradi ghat is closed for repairs, we headed towards belur and then to mudigere. From here a deviation towards sringeri took us via aldur and balenhonnur and driving on the twisty roads made me recollect my solo road trip I had done in 2010 on the same route with a stop in sringeri. We headed towards koppa instead of sringeri and soon reached the outskirts on Kuppali with couple of breaks in between.

Shortly we were at kuppali and headed to the new gallery which is constructed.

Kuvempu and Tesjavi Gallery

IMG_7941_resizeThe gallery houses photos of Kuvempu and his son Tejaswi along with some of the poems from the man himself.

Kuvempu Poems and Portrait of the legend

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The 110th birth anniversary of kuvempu was recently celebrated and there was a huge cutout indicating the same and there was decorations inside, indicating the celebrations were recently concluded.

110th birthday of Kuvempu

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The place also has a dormitory to stay along with clean bathrooms and toilets which are well maintained. Upon inquiring about stay we were told to do the booking in advance. Spending sometime roaming the place looking at the photos, we headed to the main attraction KaviShyla

Entrance to Kavishyla

IMG_7963_resizeKavishyla was the place where kuvempu and few other poets would come and spend time in nature’s midst to get inspiration to write their poems. The place is famous as it has a mini stonehenge like structure at the entrance and a bigger one inside. The guide who was present there told us this was placed here only recently.

Stonehenge @ Kavishyla

IMG_7965_resizeIMG_7991_resizeThe place is also the burial place of kuvempu and contains a rock which has the signature of kuvempu along with other poets from era. One can also get a bird’s eye view of western ghats from here.

Burial site of Kuvempu and his signature

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IMG_7994_resizeWestern Ghats

IMG_7992_resizeCouple of photo ops at the place and we headed to the final place ‘KaviMane’ the house where Kuvempu was born. The house is converted into a museum and objects used by Kuvempu and his family are on display. The place also contains various books he has written and the recognitions he has received along with various photos

KaviMane

IMG_8013_resizePhotography however is prohibited inside. We bid the place goodbye thus ending a long pending desire to visit the place.

With kuppali finally ticked, our next destination was Agumbe which is famous for sunsets. One can stay at dodda mane which is the only place available for staying. However one needs to call up in advance and book the accomodation.

We reached agumbe just in time for the sun to go down. There is a vantage point built where one can view the sunset. We were however not surprised to see a huge crowd there as the place is famous for sunsets.

Sunset @ Agumbe

IMG_8021_resizeIMG_8023_resizeIMG_8027_resizeEnjoying the sunset for few more minutes we headed back to thirthhalli in search of accomodation and finally ended an eventful day after checking into a lodge.

Matheran

100kms from mumbai lies a beautiful and unspoilt hillstation called matheran.  This is a popular hill station with the localities and many people visit it. With my work getting extended for another week, I could get one sunday, which i decided to make use of by going to matheran.

Matheran is a hillstation which contains a series of view points offering a panaromic view of the sahyadris. Matheran can be reached by train or by road. There are numerous trains plying between mumbai to neral which is the last stop for matheran.

I reached neral by 9.30 after switching trains at dadar. One can travel to matheran from neral on a toy train which takes about 2 hrs to reach the top. Since there was a huge rush for the toy train,

Early Morning at Matheran

I took a shared cab, to the top

Winding roads

The ride took me about half hour and I was at the gates of matheran. After buying the tickets I went ahead to explore the place.

Walking along the tracks, I could see some amazing scenary along the way.

Scenary @ Matheran

There were quite a few viewpoints which I could cover till evening. There are boards with directions along with the name of the viewpoint.

One of the first viewpoint I visited was called Kandala Point, which offered me a good view of the sahyadri range

Kandala Point

Spending some time there I moved ahead to see the other view points. The view of the sahyadris got better from each view point

Views from other view points

My next point of attraction was a huge lake called chorlette lake , which was also a popular attraction. There were a couple of shops there where i satisfy my hunger pangs, before moving ahead. The lake sees a huge crowds as it is the only water body present in the hillstation

Chorlette Lake

Taking some snaps i went to another viewpoint from where we could get a clear view of the valley . I had a small nap there

Valley view

Evening was spent at sunset point before making my way back to neral to take the return train back to the hotel

Sunset @ matheran

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Snaps can be found here

Nandi Hills – Random Shots

Having nothing to do on sunday afternoon, I headed to nandi hills located 70 kms from bangalore for a sunset shoot. I thought of also testing  the new polarizing filter I had purchased the previous day.

As usual the weather turning bad towards evening, I decided to head back, as the sun was covered by clouds, thus ending the sunset. With thunder and lightning starting, I headed back, after taking a few shots as I didnt want to get caught in the rain

The snaps are shown below

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Manchinbele Dam

Manchinbele Dam is a dam built on the river arkavati. This place is ideal for a day outing, though not much can be done here except play in the river , however the view of the dam from the top is really mesmerizing. This place is full of birds and is an ideal spot for bird watching along with TG halli reservoir which is a few kms away from manchinbele

While chatting with my friend in office , he suggested we go for a sunset photoshoot in manchinbele on sunday. Since I had nothing to do on sunday I immediately agreed as I wanted to visit this place , after reading so many blogs , however the visit could not materialize due to some reason or the other. Now that the plan was finalized , I was determined to go there.

I left for manchinbele at 3 in the afternoon along with two of my friends. We reached Rajarajeshwari medical college and took the right next to the college. We were crusing along and we reached Big Banyan Tree in an hour or so. After a small break and we proceeded to the dam. After negotiating a bad stretch of road we could see the backwaters of the dam. We had a small photo session from the top, as the view was fabulous.

Manchinbele Dam

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The sun had hid itself behind the clouds , and a lonely tree near the banks of the dam , provided an ideal view to experiment with different compositions. We tried various composition techniques and moved on.

Lonely Tree

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We could see a lot of people near the bank , while some were playing in the water others were drinking , others were cooking food, and as usual they were littering the place.

Cloud Patterns

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The sun was playing hide and seek with the clouds , and the patterns in the clouds along with the cloud cover provided us with a good view of the sunset. We took quite a few snaps in various angles before heading back.

Celestial Sunset

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A Fiery Sunset

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We found a good view point when coming back , which was utilized well by taking a few shots of the backwaters and the evening sky. We headed back to bangalore after having a cuppa in one of the hotels near Big Banyan Tree.

Twilight at Manchinebele

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View of manchinbele just after sunset

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Snaps can be found here

(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

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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

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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

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Sky after sunset

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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

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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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Snaps can be found here

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