Friday, December 2, 2011

St Mary's Island

Second day was so lazy that i feel lazy to even write about it. I fought to sleep for some more time. Few were already in the udupi Sri Krishna temple. Around 9 the lazy bunch lined up for the darshan in the temple. There wasn't much of crowd. I like this temple. It's as  beautiful as the very god for which it stands for. Its even more treatful to watch it once the evening lamps are lite around the temple. Blissful to embrace & experience such atmosphere. We had breakfast in one of the hotels inside the temple complex. We packed chapathi for lunch. Back in room, others were ready for the next place but we the lazy bunch of 6 were still enjoy the nap. Some got their head massaged while others proved good massagers.  We soon realised that we need to hurry. Postponed the rest of the massaging plans  to later point of time we started to St Mary 's island. 

 My second visit to this beautiful piece of land. A perfect mixture of colors like sea blue, green , golden sand and clear blue sky. Sea pleases you by her various colors. Pillar like rocks are spread throughout the island. Mostly rocks are shaped hexagonal giving a feeling of being attended. UnLike all other beaches i cdnt stop myself from getting into water here. As always tried playing safe without going deep. But thanks to frens for they gave me confidence to put my ears inside the water and tred their best to make me float. Drank enough of sea salt... Yak !!! Comes like a shock when you gallop salt water at once. Your eyes burn. After several rounds of trying to balance my body floating i finally could do it. We all tried going inside the water holding breath and see the life inside water. The silence you hear inside water forced me update my gtalk status as "listen to the sound of silence". I read couple of interesting comments on it too... Loosing your self  for this new world where there was endless calm and cuddling waves.... No fool who love to grow up and head back to reality of noise. I was the last person to get out of water. This experience helped me make my decision to learn swimming more stronger. Yes this summer!!! We went around the island for the rest of the time we had before catching the last ferry back to main land. Pics taken here are great. Few among us were just physically back. All eyes gazed at the horizon, drenched in the colors of setting sun. One has to blessed to watch a sight like this while sailing. Sailing for days in an endless sea, dive to explore the jewels underwater... When when???? Now that i licked to like its taste, when will i fill my hunger for adventure. 

Sun set at malpe beach which was crowded like a hell . Fish served hot and icecreams to titiliate your taste buds. Drove back to hotel, checked out from our rooms. Delicious Dinner in karavali. We got back to our seats n slept. Cramping bodies in the morning had to be forced to get back in action at majestic. I reached home by 6:30... After a hot water bath and lil massaging, mind started recollecting thoughts of office & work.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Bekal Fort and Valiyaparamba Island

Every time I watched Tu hi re song from movie Bombay, I was tempted to visit this beautiful fort in north kerala, an overnight journey from Bangalore. This time we decided to hire a vehicle to accommodate 12 people.

Friday night we gathered in Suhas’s house in srinagar. Count reached 10 and the clock ticked 9, but the momentum of the group was slow. May be because it was still difficult to leave behind Manu and Bavana who were not joining us to the trip this time. Finally after tempting manu as much as possible to join us on Sunday, we said bye to both of them. Dinner on the way to mysore. Somewhere in the mid night Shiv boarded the bus in mysore. None had a sound sleep except for Suhas, the sound told us all hmmm (sukha purusha kano neenu). When Vehicle had stopped moving I was still dreaming that the vehicle had broken down due to some problem and the rest of the people in the bus were trying hard to push the complaining vehicle. Well fortunately nothing like that happened & I was surprised to realize that we were already in front of the fort by 6:30AM.
We freshened up in the resort close to fort. Stretched for a while and settled for Breakfast. He took his sweet time to serve us variety of dosas, tea and coffee. The group had nothing less to chit chat. It dint look like stopping. Kushal joined us here from mangalore. Few among us reminded the reason of visit was not to relax in a hotel but in the beach. We then lazily moved towards the fort. Visited the temple inside the fort. Read the long history about the fort informing about those who ruled this place starting from Ikkeri keladi kings, Tippu Sultan and then by British. Sun was at his peak shining, the view was never ending and the beach was calling!!! Crowd was not much in the beginning. It was all yours. The herd rushed to enjoy the waves throwing themselves into the gushing water. Few were happy walking on the shore, exploring the fort. It was a perfect day to get tanned.

 We watched fishing boats heading to their work, waving at us. Few had to attend calls from office. Perfect Holiday! Office calls in swim suit… happening??? We sipped in lime soda, pineapple to quench the thirst. The fort has that perfect setting for the men with camera. Nothing could stop them, nor the people who were getting clicked.

We left to Valiyaparmba Island, 40kms from bekal fort towards South. A 10 min ride on a ferry takes you to this remote island. We were perplexed as to why we wanted to come here, or what was there here which brought us here. After a little interaction with local people, we caught hold of Shabaz who took us to the beach behind this Island. The herd was once again glad to be treated by a beautiful beach. None on the shore again. Plenty of star fishes lay thrown the shores, we spotted a jelly fish too. Joe touched it and after few seconds screamed… WOW!!! Quick reaction!!! May be she imagined it to become alive.

This beach had strangely very uneven depths. Somewhere inside the water the sand was higher than in certain places towards the shore. The color of the sand also changed drastically.

The Sunset was amazing!!!

The last ferry back to the main land was at 5:30PM, So we hurried back missing the lovely sunset behind us. Meanwhile we had to catch up for the movie ROCKSTAR by 10PM in mangalore. Just on time, we grabbed the tickets and took a seat in front of the huge screen. Flaunting music, it was a musical spa for three long hours. I enjoyed the movie for its music & Ranbir. 12:30AM walking on the empty roads of manglore. It was 2:30AM when we explored for Kalpana residency in udupi for the rest of the night stay. After settling down, five of us reveled playing UNO. Well Suma was an easy target this time. By 4AM, few rolled on the floor sleeping. Others managed on a sofa and the lucky ones got a bed.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Zoom into the History of Bagalkote

We started our day 2 driving towards Kudalasangama. 49kms from where we stayed. It was a sunny day. Kudalasangama is the place where Basavana preached and more information is here  Rivers Krishna, Ghataprabha & Malaprabha merge at this place. Hotel Kamat for breakfast where Suhas became busy reading out the Vachana’s of Basavanna.

More exciting places waiting for us.. Here is the rough map we followed

Starting with School of Carvings – Aihole. Place which boasts for having 125 different variety of Chalukyan temples. There are stories behind each one of these temples. After the kings rule, each of those 125 temples were occupied by the 125 different families due to which each temple is named after those who stayed there. 

Patadakallu was our next destination. I remember taking guides in every place visited this day as it otherwise would have been just the same red rocks brought down into caves n temples or a creative structure built up to delight ones eyes. Beauty of each carving can be enjoyed only by understanding the story behind it. I personally liked every single structure which stood in this region of north karnataka. The fort built surrounding the city, those uniqueness in each temple and the wonderful story behind it. Worth travelling all the way to explore our rich culture n heritage.

 On the other hand, we were busy playing UNO in the back seat of the vehicle. Sometimes wondered if the trip was to badami or to play UNO . Again there were really melodious songs playing all time. I was forced to stay in the vehicle till the songs got over even after reaching the places.  After Pattadakallu we visited Mahakoota temple which has a small kalyani. There was a small stream running through this temple where people enjoyed a dip. The roads here were a lil bad making life at the back seat difficult, never the less uno made way. Then came my favorite place for which I was long waiting.... Badami supposed to be the college for architecture in chalukyan empire. The very sight of this huge rock both below &on top is like wow. Very picturesque. Red rocks, greyish blue water catchment  and those far hills covered with greenery is a perfect pic. Endless number of photo shoots and very good guide to explain the beauty of those four caves lining up, we dint want to move from this place. I love all all the pics taken here... 

One particular carvings in one of these caves was the one with a beautiful lady on one side of ShivaParvathi & a skeleton on the other side giving out a message needless to be told. Similarly there was this Swasthik carving on the sealing which is superb. The last cave has the Jain god Mahaveera statue.

It was almost close to dusk and we were left with our last place to visit. The Banashankari temple. Beautiful temple i felt nice inside this temple. Reason for this could be the AC inside... By this time we were relishing a cup of hot tea n naturally the thought for the next jaunt had to pop up. Hmmm .... We have a place in mind for November. Infact two places.. Jyothi was smart as she knew that these lazy souls would not gear up quickly especially after visiting place like badami... She dint do the mistake of giving us sweet time to recover from the hangover n pulled us to start our return journey to gadag. Took us an hour to reach her relative Pooja's place. After a quick freshing up we made a small visit to Panchakshari Matt. Where gavai guru stayed. I had lil knowledge about this place. He was a great saint. We must thank Jo for this opportunity. Back in Jo's place. Sat for a dinner ....yet Again there was a plethora of dishes waiting to reach our tummy...

The special attraction was the spicy green chilly.... I tired them for the first time in life.... What should i say... Spicy yummy ... Obviously .... We said bye to her family in a hurry to catch the bus. Boarded the sleeper bus. Then started the stories again. It was Suhas again sharing a very much awaited story. Sindhu was new to our group well not anymore.... She had lots to share about each of us n herself.... Sleep acquired us.... Loud suprabatha which people thought my s2 was singing woke all of us up. Manu hinted me stop that, promptly I switched off my alarm but subhalakshmi madam went on.... Surprisingly the bus reached on time to anand rao  circle. Dispersed in majestic.... The aftermath were not too much but yes the hangover was.... We again met on Tuesday ... After rottikallu this one too hooked me in its memories for a long time....

Zoom into the History of Bijapur

After a long time … yet another trip which gave me a hangover. Lost myself at the sight of Badami Caves, Gol Gumbaz and several other places around Bagalokot & Bijapur.
The idea of visiting Badami Caves & Golgumbaz had come to my mind when we were studying about these historical places back in our school.
Bijapur Express tickets till Badami got booked for 12 people. Only 10 of us finally boarded the train almost at the nth moment on Friday evening. Sindhu, our new member in the team had just made it to the train.  Train journeys are always fun. The team made noise even after being warned by a co-passenger. We were unstoppable. UNO, jalebi and a couple of small small stories from Suhas. Pooja joined our team in Gadag. She is this cute lil Jo’s cousin who became our fav by the end of the trip.
Trains as expected reached Bagalkot half an hour late.  We all sipped a nice cup of tea in Jo’s relative’s place. Reached our hotel Durga which was 12kms away from the city towards Hubli. After a quick round of changing, team was ready for a 70kms drive to Bijapur.
The first place we visited was Ibrahim Rosa. Very fantastic architecture adding to its beauty is the well maintained garden. The namaz read on of the tombs is very clearly audible on the other tomb. (Wow just when I am writing this… I can hear the Namaz. Yeah its 6PM & I am in my office …I love listening to it!!!) Rains dint spare us. Few enjoyed it.
Our next stop was in Barah Kaman. I was not convinced by the story behind stopping the construction of this monument. I was told that this monument after constructed would have been taller than Gol Gumbaz & hence its shadow might fall on Gumbaz. I wonder how can shadow of one building however huge can fall on another monument which are kms apart. When I tried googling around this reason… I found this
Back in my school, reading about thousands of kings who ruled our nation & their best gifts they have left behind for us… Monuments!!! Gol Gumbaz is one among those monuments which flaunts for being a structural triumph. Even after centuries, this monument mesmerises by its unique acoustics. The Whispering Gallery takes you aback when you hear the person on the oppsoite corner so clear. Suhas & Manoj  shared a nice converstion. I also heard manu telling “Hey what to speak I have no words!!!” Imagine the level of excitement… Of course there are these endless shouting crowd which made me feel like coming out of it as soon as possible. Adi was tired sticking the coin onto the wall… It just dint stick while all others cd do it at the same place… Adi….If you are wondering why, I am with you…
Hmmm… Lunch time.. This time it was not just tiny rats running in our stomach… Probably there were gaint dragons too.. Coz it was already 3:30. As soon as we reached Abhi’s sister’s place for lunch, all I remember we did was to load our plates with those endless items. Nobody waited for any introduction or any formality. Me & Suhas were the last ones to leave our plates down. Once in a while each one said WAH…Hmmmm..awesome…What a lunch!!!!!  Abhi, I am coming again. I am sure others will definitely join. Well Abhi Thanks is too small, you took care of the menu I wanted. BIG THANKS TO YOUR SISTER!!! Not just for the hospitality but also for the support she has given you through…
Our dear Radhika was ill by this time. She seemed very amused by the idea of taking an injection and getting well soon. I feel like running away from the very thought of tablets.. far is taking an injection. Hmm… Reaching back to Bagalkot by 7:15PM to watch the light show in Almati dam. I wish we could have gone during day, it had a really good garden as Suhas suggested. Atleast for few good snaps.
Dinner back in our hotel Durga. UNO was a YES!!! This was the best part of the trip. Now If I think about our Badami trip.. first thought that comes to my mind is this UNO night. And the hero of the night was ADI… +4 +4 and one more +4s…. This happened not once …. He was rich throughout. No Place no vastu helped him… LOL!!!! Lovely kannada songs kept playing on Manu’s HTC… Sometimes me & suma managed to clear the interview or even a direct job in a China Company… ROFL!!! Guys I can’t stop laughing at this one!!!!  We finally said good morning and went to catch bed. How can I forget this, Thanks for the room freshner Adi, I don’t think we could have slept with that sugar cane smell otherwise.  My next post writes the day 2...

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Heading North

             A 5 day Long holiday on my september calendar poked me every time to plan for a long tour. And the first place than I think of was to Delhi. I wanted to visit this place when my sis Shilpa was in delhi but things dint fall into place. I dint pool many people as it was during Ganesh festival so it was only me & my bro Sumanth. Boarded early morning flight on Aug 31st morning to reach delhi around 9:45AM. We were shocked by the weather which showed 33 degree when we landed. We took a taxi to one of my dad’s frens place in gurgaon with a plan to fresh up and start our local visit in delhi. But the heavy baggae & the hot sun dint help us gather the strength to step out till 4PM.
                By around 5 we were in front of India Gate. My attention naturally went to Amar jyothi and the script written on the walls of the gate. The names of those soldiers who lost their life in the world war II were carved on it. I used to see this place on Doordarshan every year on Republic day parade. I wish to see this place live during the parade. Lets see!!!
                Boarded Metro to reach New Delhi railway station to start our journey to JAMMU!!! Vaishnav devi temple in Katra was our next destination. Rajdhani express reached Jammu tawi at 5:45AM where Balakrishna Khandhari Sir(BK) was waiting for us. He helped us board the bus to katra which is almost 2 hour journey. On reaching, we took our darshan tickets which is free of cost, room in Keshav Ashram was suggested by BK sir. After freshing up & filling our stomach we started trekking the beautiful shrines of Vaishnav devi at 11:15AM. It was hot weather so not many pilgrims during the day. By 3:30 we lined up in the queue for pindi darshan. The temples in north india are much different from those here in south. This one too was different, there are no idols of god but the pindis or rock structured which are worshipped as god. Shops are lined up almost till the top selling every needs, of best need is water bottles. People can reach on top in several ways – walk, ponis, Horseback, battery car, Helicopter. We somehow preferred walking both the sides. Helicopters have to be booked online, it is mostly difficult to get a ferry without prior booking also depends on the weather conditions. Rooms during off season are easily available for Rs 200 to 250. You can check in n check out at any time. We reached back room at 9:30PM. After a lil pampering to our dead legs we dozed off. As alwys I had bed bugs all over which dint let me get sleep till mid night.
                Next day we dint force ourselves to get up early as we were tired. Around 10AM we set our journey back to jammu. We got down in Nazrota few kms before Jammu city. BK sir was waiting for us near Hari Mahal, which is a museum displaying the paintings of all the kings who ruled jammu in the past. There was one section of modern art of all the 9 avatars of Vishnu which I liked me very much. We visited few local temples in jammu after this. Shiv temple, Bagh-E-Bahu fort which has a beautiful garden streched several kms and a large fish aquarium , Ranbireshwar temple, Raghunath temple which is a very temple which thousands of lingas and periphery of this temple has the idols of 9 avathars of Vishnu. The idols in north indian unlike here are white in color and they are beautifully dressed. We purchased few strolls in one of the shopping complex behind this temple. By 3PM we boarded a bus to Amritsar. The bus showed us the local punjab. It was almost jusk when the bus was passing between the green wheat fields of punjab. The green strech vanished as we reached the busy city of amritsar. A rickshaw for Rs20 takes you to golden temple also called Harmandir. Be careful about your luggage when you hung it behind your cycle. Might get vanished or fall off because of the bad roads. Getting a room in Golden temple is no easy task as people there would say that there are no rooms available only after making you run around 2-3times from one nivas to other. We can dump our luggage in lockers which are easyily available for Rs20 and can easily spend night in the temple premises. Many people sleep here. As we were tired and wanted a good night sleep, preffered a room just outside the temple for Rs450 on the third floor. Langars are open 24x7 which serves the best prashad. As there was hardly any crowd we strolled around the temple and finished our darshan within no time. We drank Amrit here. The beauty & the history of this temple cannot to be bound in words. Hundreds of sikhs perform seva everyday in this temple. This was the best part which I never have seen here. Service to god our temples is more through money seva than anyother form.
                Morning we visited the temple again. Jalianwallah Bagh is walkable distance from golden temple. There is no entry fee to this memorial. Needless to mention about the tragic history of this place. We kinda did a revision of our social syllabus reading about Udam Singh & general Dyer, few other incidents collageged on the walls of this memorial. The well where hundreds threw themselves during the firing is well barricaded with grills. The gun shots are marked on the wall. A monument stands in the middle of the garden which remarks those who lost their lives in this place. We visited durgiyana mandir, 20mins from this place. This mandir also resembles golden temple with a lake around the gold-plated sanctum. Rickshaws are the best mode of transport as you can enjoy the crowded city more closely. By 2:45PM we had reached the place to which I was eagerly waiting since years. WAGAH BORDER or attiri border is 29kms from the city. Taxis, auto are available. Best way to reach this place is to board the temple bus which leaves from temple at 3PM to reach border by 4PM and charges Rs80 per head. Only concern is the traffic jam while returning back as the city traffic is bad during weekends & late evenings. We had to board a train the same night to delhi so we took a rickshaw paying him Rs450(very expensive I know) to drop us n our luggage till railway station. No bags are allowed inside the border. Only Camera, wallets, mobiles are allowed.
                WAGAH BORDER - come to this place and you ll automatically feel the indian inside you waking up. The crowd is too huge during weekends. The gates will open anytime between 4:30 to 5PM. Ladies and gents are made to sit in separate lot. The early to go & sit in the front or even better is to fetch a VIP pass and sit closer to the border gates. I wonder how to get one for my next visit ;) The treat was to start at 6PM as sun sets in the west. The moment I entered I heard a lovely track being played from the other side of the border. Allah Allah .... huu Allah... I still hum this tune. I managed to get the front seat. Within no time the whole stadium was thronged with cheering crowd with tri-color flags and bands. Soldeirs constantly cheered the crowed shouting slogan like VANDE MATHARAM, HINDUSTHAN ZINDABAD and BHARATH MATHA KI JAI!!!! The crowd was no stopping. Both the sides tried to out do the other. Crowd cheered the indian fans running with the indian flags. Girls and school children queued up to bear the flag with proud. I patriotic songs played on both the countries kept the spirits high. MERE DESH DHARTHI, BHARATH DESH HAI MERA, SUNO GAUR SE DHUNIYA WALON, YEH DESH HAI VEER JAWANO KA and many other  tracks lined up to keep pace with the dancing girls on the parade path. It was a celebration. The country was celebrating. Hence it rightly called BEATING RETREAT. The parade is eligent with several rounds of commands shouted on both the sides. The crowd unknowingly rose to their toes when the gate between the two countries were opened. Soldeirs face each other, exchange certain excercises and the flags of both the countries are brought down. The parade goes for 45mins. My dream was fulfilled. We were overjoyed. Hangover still persisiting....we picked up the luggage from the golden temple clock room we boarded the Golden temple express to reach Nizzamuddin station the next day morning by 7:05AM.
                With little difficulty we manage to book a room in Karnataka Bhavan Sharavthi which is in Chanakyapuri. I can say the heart of Delhi. With numerous circles and plenty of marghs named after every possible netha of our counrty. Few were named after international figures like Mother teresa cresent, Leo tolstoy Road. This part of Delhi where Rashtrapathi Bhavan, Indian gate and other prominent monuments are present is very beautiful proving to be the capital of the nation. Sharavathi where we stayed arranged us a local delhi tour for the day for Rs200 per head. We were not there to waste any chance to hang out. More over the weather was very pleasant with light showers unlike the first day of our trip. We visited Birla temple, India gate (again worth it!), Rashtrapathi Bahvan, Indira Gandhi's museum, Qutub Minar, Lotus temple, Raj Ghat. Reaching back in our rooms we had yummy dinner served in Sharavathi. I was tempted to see the pics captured in my camera which I never do. I dint know that this would be the last time that I ll have it with me. Dozed off after booking a cab for next day early morning at 4AM to catch 6:45AM flight back to bangalore.
                With Sleepy eyes we checked in our luggage and hogged on burger in Mc D. As always I could not stop myself from picking up few books on travel(to feed my new interset in reading books on travel) in the airport. We again dozed off in the flight only to wake up when it was flying over Hyderabad. The temperature showed 23 when we landed here. I reached my office by 10:30AM without any break till 9:00PM. On reaching home at 10PM I was shocked to realise that I had lost all the memories my camera had beautifully captured. I could not figure where I lost it. I was my mistake to check in my buggage without locking it. Hmmm!!!! Dont ask me for the pics. I can only say, there were few amazing stills. Rest I have it with me for my lifetime!!!!

Must say - It was more learning than fun. Lot of risk factors. New place, language, people n many such factors against only the two of us. Great Experience with amazing sights of Vaishnav devi shrine, heart warming stories of jallianwallah bagh, great action of our knights at the border, amar jothi and ecstasic beauty of the golden temple.


Thursday, September 8, 2011

Davangere – Chithradurga – Harihara - Sagara during mid Aug

It was long time demand that I should visit Suma’s hometown D’gere. The demand was mine, hers or her families I have no idea. But finally I made it to their place this August. I could’nt make my presence felt at their home as I was more on wheels than at home.
                Me  & Suma reached D’gere in the early morning. I fought for a sleep but it was soon disturbed to start to C’durga. Started around 7AM towards durga, masala dosa left its aroma on our hands on the way. Durga has lots of history – I wanted a guide to help but the crowd I guess dint bother much about it as they had heard of its stories from their parents or elders. So I heard their versions narrated for me. The story mostly linked not with the history but with the NagaraHaavu movie. Durga is believed to be more famous because of this super hit kannada movie. I am scared of heights. I realized it better here while climbing those almost erect rocks with no proper steps. All of us easily crawled through Obavana Kindi.
                We drove next to Vani Vilas Or Mari Kanive dam near by. This is constructed on the sharavathi water by one of the Mysore Rajas. From here we visited Chandravalli Caves where Ankali swami stayed long ago. This has a beautiful history you get to hear from a guide who charged Rs 20 per person to take us inside & take us back in history.
                By evening we decided to visit harihara temple. The temple is small & beautiful with pillars carved round in shape. These pillars are so prominently visible adding to the beauty of the temple. The temple is covered with houses facing the temple. You get to see children playing in the ground outside this temple. Close by this temple is the Harihara lake which has a bridge constructed across for the vehicular movement. People lay around fishing, washing clothes & others like us embracing the nature around.
                Reached home back at 7:30. A delicious dinner served by aunty forcing me to have a good sleep. The next day we had plans to visit Shimoga. The place which is so close to my heart for several reasons like its nature, food, people & for being my birth place.
                I must mention that for the first time ever of all my travels, I loved the journey more than the destination. The route D’gere - Honnali – Shikaripura – Sagara is amazingly beautiful. A fast drive of 2:30 hours took us to Sagar. After Breakfast, we left to Sigandur. This is back waters of Sharavathi with a Sigandeshwari temple on the other side of the river. Being a weekend there was huge crowd not letting us enjoy the launch ride to the other side of the river. By afternoon we reached Varadahalli sridhara mutt. I had been to this temple twice in the past. Things had changed after all this visit was after 9 long years. Prashad offered is excellent.
                Our next destination was jog falls. Around 30kms from sagara. Releashing few pineapples on the way, we reached the falls close to dusk and clouds played games hiding the falls from view. The last time I came here there was hardly any water so I never knew its splendor by myself. I had be happy listening to others explaining its grandeur when there are rains. This time it was a treat to see the falls.
                We had to force ourselves to turn around and walk back to our vehicle. Reached back by 10:15PM to catch train back to mysore at 11:15PM after yet another yummy dinner by aunty. Regret for not having D’gere benne dosa in this trip I promised for another visit just for it & to spend time with suma’s family.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

OBL @ WindFlower , Mysore

4th August 2011
Day 1 : The morning smile on everybody’s face indicated that the day was special. The team was going on OBL. Clock quickly ticked 12:30PM & the team hogged on a early lunch to jump on the bus. Started late by almost an hour to reach mysore without a break by 5pm. The bus journey was fun filled, new joinees introduced themselves in different formats mentioned by other team members. Followed by Jumb Cherads!!! This is where the team introduced the OBL punch line – “HIIIISSSSSSS!!!”
We dumped our luggage in our respective rooms & quickly assembled for that day’s activities. The surprise each activity had, started off from the very white dots that were painted on our face. The surprise was very well kept up till the last activity. We also earned Rs1000 from the children bank. On winning every activity we earned money. Saved all for the last day!
Guess what, the dots on our faces indicated the togetherness of the team. Message was clearly “WE ARE A TEAM, CL!!!!”
Day 2 :
          Endless choices for Breakfast lined up for us @ 7:30AM. Trainers from Shristi were to conduct the activities for this day. Balaji & his team of four took over @ 9AM.
 A chain of activities followed one another. For every activity, 2 or 3 small teams were made & made sure that team members were shuffled to get a chance to work with every other in the team.
Untangling from a loop : The team criss-crossed itself holding hands & the task was to untangle to form a circle. Couple of strategies were tried, with few clues from the trainers, our team managed to celebrate its first success!!!

Spider Web : A web tied to the trunk of two trees with different size of holes. Task was to send to the other end every person in the team through any one of the web hole in which he/she fits in without disturbing the web. Doing so, the team restarts the whole task. Our team could easily send couple of us to the other end, while we struggled with few. Other team rejoiced to complete the task & sip over a cup of tea/coffee & snack. The task was analyzed later by both the teams to be as simple as identifying which one you managed to tunnel through & the rest of the team will help you in executing the same.
The next activity was to hold the rope in circle & all of us bend outwards & still manage to keep your balance & the rope intact circle.
Followed this was to put an object as far as you can from a boundary line. One person would bend down with the object to be dropped, the rest will help him balance while he is bent. A fair trial of 3 rounds to each of the three teams to break the record by the other team.
Time for lunch!! Followed this was an amazing game on OBSERVATION! The whole team struggled to observe their 3D “sign” language could be coz of the heavy lunch that settled in the stomach.  This is my personal fav J The activities post lunch only conveyed “TO THINK OUT OF BOX”
Next was two balance some 14nails on a single nail mounted on the wooden board. You can say it’s a great learning doing this. We did with a record best. Coach congratulated us for this.
Mine Bomber came next, simple one to check your memory to remember the right path to reach India from Pakistan without stepping on the Hidden Mine.
A mat on which all the team is standing has to be flipped with all the team still on it. Again strategies flew around to finally achieve it. The person standing in one corner wonder what is happening on the other end. The whole team juggled holding on to each other tightly to get the task done.
Time for Sheep to grace. Blindfolded sheeps follow the shepherd’s instruction to reach the destination. Teams of two, one being sheep the other shepherd, both were allowed to prepare their signals for every movement. All shepherds gathered together to call out for his/her scattered sheep. “kur-kur-sha-thra-pra,bha,ma,ku,kyuu,meow,bow…. All varitites were here”. Sheeps managed to reach its destination after efforts to locate its master’s signals or peeping through the blind fold or even remove it & walk back. But the learning was – not all had prepared signals for all possible movements & signals to stop were missing in most cases. Fun apart, this was a very good learning!
Last one for the day was little fun. One member from the team is given a role to play. When he is enacting, the rest in the team will understand the situation & fit themselves into the scene within 15sec. We enacted roles like a dead body, bar-dancer, god, ramp walk, house-keeping etc. The rest of the team should later explain what roles they played in the scene.
After bidding bye to the trainers, the group played a 6 over cricket match. People who still managed to keep their energy levels played basket ball & swimming.
Dinner used to filled with lots of chit-chat. We dispersed for the day to assemble the next day morning by 7:30AM. Yet another day for the organizers to keep our spirits high by their activities.
The activity to waken up those who were lazing was the table tapping with your hands locked with your partner’s hand. Single tap counties in the same direction, double tap changes the route. Prompting is out. This brought back all energy for the day.
We played one of the funniest game. Every member is given a chit with a animal name on it. “DOG”, “CAT”, “GOAT” & “HEN” were in the list. Blind folded players will have to make sounds of the animal & join their herd. It was funny when people inspite of being blind were doing actions along with sounds. Ha ha!!!!
Time to bring out the child in you. “HEAD GEAR” to crown youself.  Pretty queens & kings ruled with their crowns On for sometime to disperse for check out from our rooms.
Souvenirs collected were auctioned with the plastic money we were given with. Few investment companies poped up to help people like me ;) At the end we all carried a memory with us. Quick & early lunch the team started their journey back to Bangalore. Me & Bhavya as always were happy to go home for rest of the weekend.
Great lot of fun, lots of learning & explored team mates – the purpose of OBL complete served its purpose giving each of us fresh & sweet memories spent with the team!!!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Night Trek to Skandagiri

 A quick plan to Skandagiri last weekend. Four of us in suhas’s car & rest four in Pavan’s. The fun filed journey covered lots of stories in bits & pieces. 8 of us reached Suhas house in chikkaballapur . We packed our stomach with “ghar ka kaana” & slept to wake up early by 2:30AM. As always I was the last one to get ready. We reached the place around 4AM. We had 3 torches, others had to manage with their mobile light. Guys had been there in the past with bitter experiences of parking & guides. We decided not to take any guides.

This was my first ever night trek. To add to the darkness, it was a new moon day. Walking amidst the tall plants and slippery rocks were thrilling. Trek was not a difficult one but it charmed me for being a night expedition. Missing the right track twice, managed to reach on top by 5:50AM with very few pit stops to catch the view of fog & thick clouds. On top, it was extremely cold & windy. All of us except Pavan shivered to continuous blow of wind. Hands numbed, ears were blocked. No hopes of the fog clearing to let us have a glimpse of the Sun 

Somewhere while busy climbing down the hill, I saw the beautiful view from Skandagiri.

 My idea of CLEAN KARNATAKA was already put into action initiated by ROHIT. We collected few plastic bottle & glasses thrown around, 4 gunny bags got easily filled by the time we covered just 20% of the hill. Few instances here made us realize why is our country is so dirty esp when it comes to tourist spots. Few guys from the other group did their bit by picking up few plastic bags thrown in their way. Others expressed their happiness for our good work & few other were surprised as to why we were doing anything like rack picking. Now that’s what I call a DIVERSITY in thinking ;) so naturally there has to be UNITY in DIVERSITY!!!!        They throw we collect… but till when 

                Few people who saw us taking the waste in our vehicle said, throw it somewhere here, why would you carry it all the way back to some place. Now Rohit was pissed out. Naturally! Now the challenge we had was to dispose this waste collected. This topic can be debated for years – WASTE DISPOSAL!!! We finally ended up dumping them in a Muncipality dustbin near the chikkabalpur market.

By 10, we were relishing a spicy breakfast along with my fav JAMOON!!!! Big Thanks to Suhas’s family, I have no words for their hospitality. It was just so homely.  We started back to blore around 12 noon. I took a tight nap in the car. Reached home by 3PM.

Fun Part :
 I will always find one such companion whereever I go. So nicely it PARKED itself next to us. 

     @Abhi : The dailogue is again, not from Delhi Belly... Ha Ha!!!!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Ethinabhuja - Count on your body

Summer made me think twice before organizing another travel. The same was’nt true with Suhas, he was right on his toes to make things happen. This time he does it again with a strenuous yet fantabulous trek to ethinabuja. WOW!! What a weekend plan. Right from the journey blore to kokkada, kokkada to shishila, homestay, guide, jeep rides, trail to the top, hill-top camping, descend to base, relaxing in the stream, huge-serving meals, mangoes, shishila fish temple, DHARMASTALA darshan & finally the never-realised return journey back to blore….. everything was on the right tick.

 The bus stopped for us in kokkada at 3:30AM. Few of us unzipped our sleeping bags & shiv managed to arrange a jeep to reach Gopu Gokale’s house by 5. Having ample time to start the day, all of us threw ourselves on the sleeping mats. The homestay owner came in calling for Suhas so melodiously that if he was awake to hear that, he would have melted for it along with the hot tea she brought along. A light BF, loaded our heavy bags onto the jeep. A nice thing I noticed during the jeep ride, the driver din’t miss a single house on the way to greet & they waved back in response. I felt the civilization if still persist, is only in western ghats J.  

The ascent started at around 9:45AM, very soon got into groups with different paces. Our grp managed to make out the right path amidst the forest as Rohit had trekked the same path couple of weeks before, as expected encountered a small snake which sent few tremors & forced us to wait for the guide to lead. The sun was right above us by the time the first batch greeted the peak. Rohit was already on the tip of the rock n by this time guide chennappa also knew how mad this guy is about nature. ADI could not wait…so tents started taking their place, we got suma calling for losing the track in the forest. Couple of phone calls din’t help ‘em find the right one & more over we din’t want ‘em to further get into trouble so the guide went down to bring them back. Last batch kept us waiting till 3:45, and I myself galloped 5 chapathis leaving some more space.

Dark clouds covered the sky, which meant no SUNSET L Very disappointing. Equally worrying were the rains that could make the night stay difficult. Few of us climbed up the rock. For all those of you wondering what me, Su & Sulakshana were doing atop for such long time, we guys were singing “RAIN RAIN GO AWAY” & it worked. :D …. JK. Well this was the best part listening to some w’ful songs atop & to get lost with the changing moods of nature every second. No Soul can escape from the magic the Nature does on you to dissolve in it & U surrender telling I’m nothing in front of Mother Nature!!!!

Maggi deserves all the credit, I was so YUUuuMMy!!!! Two rounds of serving got over like flash of a light & chapathi s came next with mango thokku, peanut butter & chatni pudddi as toppings ;) ADI got the best shot with all these topping together forcing him to open a jam bottle. Water was’nt a problem having a small stream running close by. But yes  it was a kingdom of leeches!!!

Descend was like cool!! Easy one. J Guide showed us the path to a small falls. Nice one to play after a strenuous climb. Got down by 11:30 to reach the homestay & stuffed our empty stomach with butter milk. A stream ran behind the place where we stayed & was strangely lil dirty. But it din’t stop the guys to take a  dip & flaunt their swimming skills. Back home we waited in queue for hot water bath. When it comes to delicious food, coastal cuisines are my fav. We batted several rounds with sambhar, rasam & Buttermilk. The homestay lady sang a bhakthi geethe for us on our request, followed by another nightingale of our grp Bhawana sung one of my fav songs “Yedhe thumbi hadidenu andu naanu….” Naturally surrender to a nap till evening. UNO…. Our trip is never complete without this. My sleep was disturbed by these champs throwing  +4 +2 cards targeting the poor lad sitting next.

Around 5:30, we took pics with the family & bid bye to them. Visited Shishila temple famous for its fish lake. Jeep started towards dharmastala, with punches from harsha, Rohit & Suhas targeting eachother. The discussions are interesting when it comes to Rohit. This man can think of only Cycling, Lakshadweep, HMI, …. Only & only adventure. Hats Off siraa… Harsha brings all the smiles in every situation. Adi is ready for any help, managed to sit at the back to accommodate me comfortably. Reaching Dharmastala we parked our luggage in a shop at the bus stand. With Su’s relative we drifted for direct entry to the temple(well Rohit I completely agree with your view point as to it is wrong to use influence atleast when it comes to god, but …. U know it’s ok ;) I said sorry to god ;) I have no other justification to give. It’s wrong I know) & stood for the prasada Q which just does’nt stop moving how much ever long.

Don’t ask me about the night journey. I only know that I took a seat & my eyes opened only in Majestic next day morning around 5:30AM.

Well a trek to be more joyfully, lively & happening… “Manoj” was missing. I missed the count how many times the grp took ur name. Clearly WE MISSED YOU MAGA!!!!   Language !!!!

Suhas – My regards for you have gone much higher.
Shiv - J You are a sweet heart. Never complained for carrying the tent all the way while climbing.
Harsha – Get the credits for keeping the spirits light & cooool J J
Bhawana – Guys how many GBs did your camera captured???
Supriya – You got along this time… Did anyone question the scratches on ur hand ;)
Suma – Ri Sumne iriri.. baarre jagala madtheera.
Sulakshana – Don dare writing an application … Murder!!!
Adi – Tents could not look better than these… And every time while having a delicious lunch, I’ll definitely miss you!!!! 
Rohit – Man you are Amazing!!!! Unstoppable!! 

Guys Sorry for missing this....

En madam….
Good write up as usual….

But lemme remind u of one thing that u have skipped to add in ur write up…

The circus that Rohit and Harsha had made along with our guide Chennappa.. to get a match stick to light up the campfire…

They stretched themselves for another 4 more Kms…. Down.. in the dark.. with a battery… and all awesome sounds of Rohit.. that had made the guide and Harsha get still more scared.. along with the wild sounds in the deep, dark forest…J

Mr. Harsha had reminded u of this thing explicitly…

Suma - Thanks for this!!!! 
More on this ....

Shiv had a match box .... ;)

Hey Harsha gifts us complete story around the " MATCHBOX "

I would like to patch it up with the story missing. Around 6.30 we came to know that there is no match box to put camp-fire. We asked few people who were lost in the scenic beauty in peaks by calling that do they have match box, luckily answer was "NO". So Rohith and I decided to get match box by a near by house (2 k.m.) away on the other side of the peak.

While going back guide was so fast that we had to litrrally run behind him to catch up the pace and it was still dawn and not pitch black. On the way we discussed about wild animals like Elephants, Bear, Leopards, Tigers and Lions and also about snakes.

By the time we reached the house from where we had to collect match box it was dark and Rohit had to attend an important call (Nature call actually). So I gave him a little support (By holding torch! Suhas please stop thinking in a very broader sense :-D).

After collecting match box we started back, by that time Rohti and I were sweating due to pace we kept with Chenappa. While coming back it was an ascent and to still Chanappa was in the same pace as he was while getting down. Here starts the best part. Rohit noticed that the darkness had surrounded and his METER WAS OFF by that time, for every hustle he used to get panic and if I say anything to calm him down reply would be "MAGANE NINGEN GOTTU... NAMGE ELLA EXPERIENCE AGIDE..." :-D. And he wanted to rest in the middle as he was exhausted, at that time instead of saying "CAN WE STOP" he used to make discreete sounds like a bear or wild boar or even exhale inhale like a huge snake "hisssssssss, pissssssssss....". Once actually Chanappa got panic for his sounds... Chanappa was leading, me in the middle and Rohit in the end, Rohit once made a very odd sound and even Chanappa got scared :-) and Rohti used to ask "RI NEEVU KATTI READY ITKONDIDEERA TAANE...".

And the deadliest comedy was Rhoith was having a torch which was having a greater focus and the torch I had was having less, So I said "Kal nan magane illen bidteeay alli doorak bidu..." for that the response was not from Rohit but from Chenappa "AA.. YENU????!!!!". Chenappa taught that I was saying it to him as he too had a small torch. Then I said explicitly to Rohit for which Rohit was bursting out of laughter and while on the way back again some leech got on for free ride. But got kicked off...

Happy to know that you guys enjoyed another short trek in the dark for a tinu lil box
Thanks for the story Harsha.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

.... Did you ever stop to notice?

A Poem penned by a fren of mine.

Definitely not on me...

          .... Did you ever stop to notice?....
                There were days
                when we talked for hours..
                Sitting in our usual place,
                or over the call,
                or through messages..

                But things have changed over the time,
                finding it difficult to spend time together like before..

                Even now tears fill my eyes..
                when I come across the place where we used to meet and talk..
                Did you ever stop to notice?

                Even now tears fill my eyes..
                when I find no new messages from you in my inbox..
                Did you ever stop to reply?

                Even now tears fill my eyes..
                When I find no calls from you in my call log..
                Did you ever stop to call back?

                Even now tears fill my eyes..
                when I hear some news about you from others..
                Did you ever stop to share it?

                Even now tears fill my eyes..
                when I wait patiently for you and you never turn up..
                Did you ever stop to remember my waiting?

                Even now tears fill my eyes..
                when I see you near, yet so far from me..
                Did you ever stop to come back?

                Come back to me and make sure that
                never again tears fill my eyes,
                never again I feel lonely and lost..

                Will we get a chance ever to be the way we were before?
                Will you ever stop to read these lines???

Thanks & Regards, 
Suma S

Suma, Thanks is too small for understanding so well :)
I cannot stop reading those lines...

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Adventure trip to Dandeli

Just like a hit movie very soon re-hits with a sequel, our rottikallu plan success compeled our director Suhas to organize a quick sequel to a place which is a treasure of adventures and fun.
                “Dandeli” trip as planned( this time with no postponing at all) for 2nd weekend of 2k11 started from majestic by 8:45PM on Friday. Reaching Rani Chennamma circle , Dandeli by 7:15 AM we located Sandeep, local guide and did payments for our first activity “Fresh Water Rafting”. Suhas tripped around the city with Sandeep to finally locate a home stay Ramya to fresh up. And by 10’ o clock the group of 14 was ready speeding towards the Rafting spot.
Activity 1 – “Rafting”

Tophaan unloaded all of us on the bank of river Kali where there were many other groups like ours. Naushad, rafting guide gave a briefing on his team and the activity. The crowd rushed to pick up life jackets, helmets and paddles of their size and choose on colors as well.  Crowd were asked to make small grps  with one guide for each n we soon started off with the actual fun.  Our guide Naushad explained few the moments of paddles required. To practice the art getting onto the raft in case u fall off, I got into the water to realize that I am damn scared of water and inspite of having on a life jacket I was freaked to the core and without anybody’s notice I tightly clunged to the raft till Radhika pulled me back. We went through 8 rapids with each one weirdly named (I remember very few “Snikket”, “Leopard hole”  hee Radhika experienced this….. ;) ) n each one having its own kinda fun n thrill to relish. Amidst this high energy n equally risky ride the group never forgot to pose to the photographer who waited for us near the first rapid. We screemed on top of voice to express the merriment we were going thru and in no time finished the 9km ride. Of course the other grp had fun rafting several rounds against the course of water and took their sweet time to complete the joy ride.
                With a lil change in the plan we cancelled out Closed jeep Safari (coz it was “closed” jeep) and decide to reach Kulgi nature camp and relax for the day. We reached by evening and freshed up and loafed around the jungle and strolled to reach the Valley View point a kilometer away from camp. The view was amazing with Sun setting towards ur right throwing lovely shades on the trees and mountains around. We walked few meters into the forest and to my realization its so damn easy to get lost in a jungle like this inspite of keeping ourselves so close to the road.       Back in camp, the group played few games n then started its fav game ‘UNO’ followed by a yummy dinner and  again few controlled their fagging body to play yet another round of UNO. 

                Next day morning 5am I heard a voice outside my tent calling for director Suhas, it was manoj trying to look for Suhas’s room to inform that there was no water back in any of the tents. Hence instead of 5:30 the venture to Cawla caves got delayed by an hour. Two open jeeps drove into the forest leaving behind clouds of dust. Animals were no-where to be seen except for a deer and few birds. We started trekking towards the cave, along the path made in the forest, few steps to get down and you reach the cave with lot of history n mesmerizing creations n forms of rocks. Scrolling in the dark path you are invited by bats and other nocturnal creatures. Very humid, quiet, calm, ecstasic is the atmosphere there. This was my personal fav.
                Back in the camp, loaded our hungry stomach with puri-bhajji-chuttney. Round of fresh up and geared up for next activities.
Activity 2 – “Rappeling”
                We followed our next venture to climb up a manganese mine. The mud left dark prints on our hands which trying to reach the place from where we actually did the rope walk. They asked its 90feet which could be finished in a single or two jumps easily. I came down walking thinking of spending more time with the rope but was later told the jumping was more fun!! Few of us carried back small scratches and marks. Over all a OK activity.
Activity 3 – “Kayaking”
                I was back near water with an idea to do something which can get the fear of water out of me. Well Kayaking is a lazy man’s cup of coffee unless you forcefully throw yourself in to water n try getting back onto your kayak. Still we had lil fun splashing water at each other with our paddles and tried different postures in which you can row the kayak. @ EOD is still carried the fear of water, which I badly wanna get rid off L Coz it’s a big dream of mine to scuba dive/snorkel and the very water scares me.
After all the changing n packing, we hurried towards Dharwad to catch our bus to Blore. I had all reasons not to sleep the whole night in the bus L BED BUGS!!! Reached office late, hoping for a relaxed day but contrastingly had a hectic schedule which delayed my lunch as well…
                To Summarise, a great trip by director Suhas and the whole casting group inclding Manoj, Sulakshana, Radhika, ShivaPrasad, Pavan, Pranava, Sanjay, Adarsh, Supriya, Rohit, Jyothi n myself. Great pics, pat ur shoulder for activities well done and cherish the sweet memories.
Currently the director & the cast is busy thinking about the next Sequel.