Friday, December 08, 2006

Kodachadri II

Manju wanted to go to Kodachadri again along with his cousin. He had planned it on Nov 4th weekend. I had assignment due on 6th so I dropped out. But he could not get tickets for that weekend, so it was postponed to 11th weekend.
So I too joined the group along with Kiran. This time 2 new people(Kiran, my manager/colleague and Manju's Cousin) joined our trio group.

This time we had booked bus via Shimoga route since Mangalore route is so hopeless. Though a bridge had collapsed on this road recently, there was a makeshift road through villages. The bus left Bangalore at 8:30PM sharp. Conductor was a chatter box he was talking non-stop throughout the journey(a good thing to keep our driver awake!!!). He was very co-operative, he enquired others if the place we were alighting was correct.
Jeep Trail
Morning sunrays

Where is the path?!?!

Jungle Trail

Since the bus goes through Kaari Katte, no need to go to Kollur. We were at Kaari katte at around 7:45AM. Weather was perfect, not too hot nor too chilly. Absolutely no fog, so one could see Kodachadri peak clearly. During my previous trip we never saw the peak because of the fog. Reached Hotel Santosh(Kaaka hotel!!) by 9:00AM. After finishing morning routines and breakfast, we started our climb at 9:30. We were at the government guest house(temple) by 12:30PM.
View of Mountain Range - on the way

Into clearing

Rentry into woods

We ordered for lunch at the guest house itself(Bhatta's cook was not feeling well) and headed to take bath. Last time there was a small stream that jumps over a small rock forms a mini-waterfalls. This time the jungle path was covered by thick green plants and there was no sign of water at all. This is when Saravana knocked down a pipeline while trying to get down along a dangerous slope. It was a metal pipe and fell down towards the valley and we couldn't pull it. We got back to guest house to find that the pipeline was indeed connected to our guest house only!!! We lied to the guest house guy that the pipeline is damaged. Well, it was not a lie, it was half truth!!!

After the pipeline was repaired, it leads to a man-made-waterfall behind the guest house building(water falls from the pipe from about 15 feet). It was refreshing bath, with free hydro-massaging. After lunch majority of the group wanted to take a nap. I started to look at the beautyful nature through my camera...
Overview - from top of Kodachadri

We headed for the peak. There are many changes from last time. There is a pujari at the shankaracharya mantapa at the peak and a store that sells biscuits and chakkuli. It was very cloudy evening and sunset view was not possible. But we could get glimpse of Arabian sea for few minutes. That sight was amazing.
Linganamakki backwaters

Shankaracharya mantapa at the peak(one can see our shadow on the otherside)

Reflection of arabian sea - a rare sight!!!

Only camera can see this!!!

Another glimpse of sea!!!!

Everything in red tinge - sunset

It became very dark in a very short time. We had not taken torch. So it was a bit tough for Kiran to walk in darkness. Somehow we managed to get back safely.

Stargazing : It was amazing to see millions of stars in the sky. In Bangalore we hardly see any stars. Kiran was identifying different clusters as usual. I also saw galactic dust...
Dinner was arranged at the hotel, where we had dinner last time too. They gave curd rice and chapati.

Next morning, I woke up to the familar sound and as a habbit I stopped the sound and went to sound sleep. It was at 5:45AM I realized that I had switched off my mobile phone alarm. We all hurried to the sun-rise point. Sun was just coming out from the eastern sky. It was a good sun-rise view(better than last time). Sun was coloring the vast backwaters of linganamakki reservoir.

Everything in Red tinge - sunrise

Till this point we were in a known territory. After breakfast we headed for the unknown. The Hidlumane falls. The jeep driver dropped us to a trail that is supposed to take us to the hidlumane falls. Shortly after following the trail, we were deceived by the usual network of trails. At a Y junction, we took the one(right) that seemed more used and fresh. But at the end it took us to the peak and dead end. In fact it turned out that it was a path taken bisons.
Hide n seek path!!!

Finally on right track....

Later we followed that other one at Y junction that was taking us downhill. It seemed to be correct one and we were heading towards the sound of water. At the bottom, we were again given choice. Towards our left was a trail less frequently used going around the peak uphill. To the Right was a more prominent trail going around the same peak. It was decided to take the left one since it was going towards the sound of waterfall. After walking for some distance, another trail joined ours. I think it was probably the right side one, which was coming around the peak. After a while we entered into woods, where those ravenous, ever hungry creatures were waiting for us. After a while the sound of water falls was fading off. We could definitely not go back because we had descended enough, that would take off all our energy to go back. We kept on descending discussing our options. Suddenly we could see some paddy fields and thought at least we were heading to some civilization. Woods became thick and wet leaves on ground. It was a heaven for leeches. Though it was long after rainy season, still ground was wet and there were leeches(Not so many as in my last adventrue). In the woods there was again a Y junction. We took that right one, since it was taking us to our paddy fields. By the way there was no more sight of the paddy fields after we entered thick wooks. We reached the bottom of the valley and decided to walk to our left side. After a few minutes of walking, we saw the tiled roof of a house. Incidentally, it happened to be the house of Mr Gururaj, whose family is called Hidlumane and hence the falls at there backyard(abt 1 km) Hidlumane falls. At Gururaj's house all of us quenched our thirst. Falls is about 1 km from here and the bare foot walk through paddy fields was wonderful.

It consists of 7 waterfalls, last one being the best one. One just has to walk along the falls to go to the last and final one. To reach 3rd falls, was tricky. The rocks are very steem and one can not walk up the rocks. We had to climb up the steep, slippery muddy path, holding the roots of trees and other small plants. Remember, I was bare foot and this was leeche's territory. Anyway, I was helpless. I couldn't worry about leeches anymore as I had to used both hands and legs to maintain balance. Kiran was ahead of me and dropped a rock while he struggled to balance. And it fell on my both legs before going down. After climbing up we had to come down a bit to reach 3rd falls. Finally, we made it. I was worried about going back the same way!!! I stayed back with Kiran here and rest of the gang went up to the last falls. I don't know why I stayed back(definitely fear is not the reason). After taking bath here it was pretty relaxing.
Waterfall No 2

Waterfall No 4

Gururaj's paddy fields

End of unforgettable adventure...

Here ends our adventure and the rest of the story is boring. So I will make it short. We could reach main road in just less than 1.5 hours. As soon as we reached Nittur, we got the bus to Kollur. Had lunch, visited temple and we were ready to head back to our concrete jungle, Bangalore. Bus journey was smooth and we were in Bangalore at around 7:00AM.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Going Goa

We had been thinking of this trip from a long time and finally made it. It is our regular gang of Manju, Saravana and I. Since Aug 15 was holiday, we took 14th off. Total of 4 days.

Friday, August 12: 8:30PM, Rajahamsa to Mangalore. Reached Mangalore at 6AM(The road is very bad and reached abt 1 hour late).

Saturday, one of the best part of trip : We had booked Madgaon passenger train to Madgaon. Total distance is 437km and train covers in just abt 7 hrs and fare is Rs.57 + reservation!!! No need to mention how beautyful is Konkan railway is. The train passes through more than 20 tunnels, longest one being more than 3km. On the way there were numerous water falls along the way and at some places water used to fall over the train. Weather was wonderful, it was drizzling intermittently. I did not realize the time, within no time we were in Madgaon.

We checked into a room at Kolva beach. We got a pretty cheap deal(Rs 350 per day). Hired 2 bikes(250 each, lil costly), and went zooming around. Visited Benaulem beach and Leela beach. More than beach, the ride on the Unicorn was groovy!!!
Benaulam beach ---->

Leela beach ------>

Sunday, August 13: Realized that there is nothing much in south Goa. So headed to Panaji which is the real Goa to see. It is about 2 hour journey in non stop Kadamba transport. A guy approached in bus stop in Panaji and told he can get room for cheap(Rs 350) per day near a beach. He also agreed to arrange bikes for us. He took us to a lodge near meeramar beach, which was OK~OK. He arranged two splendours too.
Got ready and left at around 11:30AM on splendour. It is splendour only for name sake... That was my first 100cc bike ride.
Our next srop was Aguada fort, where few scenes of DCH are shot. The road to Aguada is picturesque.
Aguada Fort ------>

Calangute beach: One of the unique beaches where water was showing its power and ferocity. Just two days later, we learnt few people were washed away by waves... Though the beaches of north Goa are not that clean.
Calangute beach ----->

Vagator Fort(Best part of the day): There is sunday market every week and sea shell items are very cheap on sundays. Beach is not that clean but less violent than at Calangute. There is a fort near the beach, which is extremely green. We went and sat at the cliff. None of us realized that we spent almost 1 hour there, each os us were lost in thoughts. That was a great moment. Given a chance I would sit there forever facing sea.
Backwater merging sea, Vagator---->

Vagator Fort ----->

We returned after a wonderful day in the paradise. Evening, went on a cruise on Santa Monica, which was just OK. Nothing great. They have a dance floor, and some Konkani folk dance on a big boat.

Monday, August 14:

We headed towards old Goa, where there are beautyful churches built by Portuguese during 16th century. Old Goa is a small town which is just like in fairy tales. Small curvy road passes through old Goa. There is a hill along the river Mondovi. These houses are built on the foothills, and the narrow(but well paved) road passes between these houses and the river. Oh I can't explain this in words. One has to be there to feel it. Since we were on bikes, we could stop at any place to enjoy it. On the other side of Mondovi river is the Diwar island, and one has to take a ferry at Ribandar to get there. More about Diwar island later...

One very important in these churches to notice is the architecture. The roofing of all churches is amazing.....

Bassilica of Bom Jesus ----->

body of St. Francis Xavier ---->

SE Cathedral, view from outside ---->

SE Cathedral, view from inside ---->

St Augustine Church ruins. This is where Gumnam song was shot ---->

St Cajetan's Church, From outside ---->

Inside view and roofing ---->

Our next destination was Shantadurga temple. Supposedly the richest temple in Goa. It is some 10km after old Goa towards Belgaum. Its a different story that we were caught by cops for not wearing helmet and bribed him to escape...
Shantadurga Temple ---->

On the way back, we visited Diwar Island. One needs to take a ferry to reach there. There are 4 ferry points from Ribandar to Diwar island. Ferry's are avaialble very frequently and it is free!!! I drove my bike into the ferry!!! man it is hell of an experience. The whole island is another fairy place. Both sides of the paved road are swamps and reminded me of Lord Of The Rings part 2!!!
It started to rain and we took shelter under a tree. Met some kannadiga people there and came to know that a bit further there is a bonda-bajji shop. There is no match to hot bonda/bhajji and rain combination... All houses in Diwar island are so beautyful, if god had granted me a single wish, I would have asked a big bunglow on that island!!! Since it was raining all the way, I could not click any photo there.
Diwar Island ---->

Tuesday, August 15: There ends our bike adventure. There was time till evening. We had to rely on public transportation. It was raining heavily. We haeded to Dona Paula(I think this was the only place left out). It is a posh residential locality on shoreline, where fierce waves slam on rocks as if punishing the rocks. They have constructed some view points. Occationally wave gets so angry that water sweeps over this view point drenching people before they realize and run for cover. It was kind of fun, when new comers lean forward to on the railings and waves drench them completely...
Dona Paula ---->

Since there was a lot of time left we decided to go back to our favourite place, the fairy old Goa. This time we got down at Ribandar and ventured into old Goa on foot. I just wanted walk there forever. I didn't even take photos there, I was lost in the fairy land.

Well, that is the end of a wonderful trip.
Return was very boring, two tyres of our bus got punctured at the same time. There was problem at the checkpost since it was an extra coach and so on. After about 20 hours reached namma Bangaluru.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Jogada GunDi

Its been long pending. Better late than never.....

One fine day, in the 3rd week of July we decided to see Jog. It was all planned by Manju. My job was to buy tickets. Plan was to reserve one day for Jog and another to some other place(Sat & Sun). It was all dependent on ticket availability. We decided to spend one day in Sirsi. Since only onward tickets available to Sirsi, I booked return tickets from Shimoga.

on 21st, Friday night bus left Majestic at 9:15PM and reached Sirsi at around 8:00AM. This portion of Karnataka called MalenaDu, alaways amazed me. I always wanted to live in such places. Rain does not stop life here. People are just used to it, what can they do if it rains almost everyday during rainy season. We too did not care. We got drenched everytime it drizzled/rained. Within no time our clothes were dry. It is so amazing.

Anyway, coming back to reality, easily got hotel in Sirsi. It has got good hotels. After getting ready at around 11AM, we headed to Yallapur(Around 2 hours journey). It was raining heavily at Yellapur. We made a deal with a Maruti Omni driver to take us to MagoDu Falls, Jenu kallu guDDa and KavaDi kere. I had heard of Falls but had no idae of what the other places were. All that for Rs 550. The driver, Ravi, seemed to know everyone and every road in the area. He had amazing control over the car. magoDu falls is about 1 hour from Yallapur(20 km). A portion of the road is unpaved, but Maruti Omni's tyres rolled on bouldered road. Finally we reached a dead end, and I could hear roaring of water falls nearby, but could not see anything. It was dense fog around the trees.

We walked further and for few moments falls was visible. Suddenly fog raised from bottom. It was frequently drizzling too. It was tough to protect camera and still click some shots. It is just amazing, mud color water jumping from lush green background, with fog playing hide n seek. I could manage to click some good photos.

Our next stop was Jenukallu GuDDa. As I have already told, I didn't have a hint of what this place is. This is a view point which is just amazing. It brings memories of great river Amazon that we have seen on NGC or Discovery channels. It is a scaled down version of it. mud color water cutting across luch greenery, splitting and merging. I don't have words to explain this view. I just stood there watching the river lost somewhere. By the time I came back to reality, fog started to play its part and I could capture only this photo.

Next spot was kavaDi kere. It history dates back to Dwapara yuga. When pandava came here, Droupadi was thirsty and asked Bheema to get water. Bheema brought water from river Ganga and formed the lake here. Localites say that the lake never dried since then. Our driver, Ravi, also told nobody has ever challenged and conquered the perimeter of the lake.

With all this wonderful memories we headed back to Sirsi. Tried our chance to watch a movie(Manju wanted to watch Fanaa!!!), but they don't have a concept of second show in Sirsi!! Found out a place where we get bisi bisi bajjis. It started raining too. It is wonderful to eat hot bhajjis when it is raining....
Then visited maariKamba temple, it is a very big temple and quite famous too.

Day 2 :

From Sirsi one has to catch a bus to Sagar and get down at. Alternately reach Siddapur(frequent buses available) and from here there are many maxi cabs to Jog. I hadn't got a faintest idea of how Jog looks, except some pictures. River Sharavathi jumps from a height of ~950 feet to make this world famous Jog falls. There wasn't much water during that time.

We trekked down in less than 30 minutes. The sound was deafening there. It was too crowded there, so we decided to sit on a secluded rock. I almost lost my camera there.... a monkey opened the zip of the bag and threw everything out in search of food. My camera was just hanging on the rock by the strip. A slight touch was enough for it to fall into the water below. Oh boy, I was so lucky to get my camera in one piece.

Amazingly I could climb up within one hour. One good thing to see when water is less in Jog is the view from Raja point. There are few rocks just before sharavathi jumps, beyond which is the precipice. One canlie down on the rock and look down. Oh, this is an unfrgettable sight. I was imagining of falling into the ravine along with the rock!!! I tried to capture it in my camera, but it is no way near to what I saw...

Came to Sagar and visited a place called Hikkeri(About 3km from Sagar). There is very big temple of Shiva. As usual, enjoyed hot bhajji's once again in rain. Reached Shimoga in time to catch out bus to Bangalore...

So I put a tick mark on my list of "To see" things while humming Mugur Mallappa's "Manavanaagi huTTida mele enen kanDi..."