Monday, April 21, 2014

Road trip – Theerthalli

Mar 31, 2014

We dint want to leave Agumbe so soon, such was the hospitality we received in this wonderful place. I would love to come here again.

The road from Agumbe which goes towards Shimoga takes you towards Kundadri. A right deviation on this road starts climbing the Kundadri hill. An ancient jain basadi is on top of this hill. The road gets extremely curvy and steep as we climb up. The car dint complain too much for the heavy workout early in the morning.    


The temple atmosphere is quiet with just the morning breeze & the sounds of the leaves fluttering. There were none, other than the three of us. The priest hinted us to quickly visit the temple just before he could close it after the morning pooja. As we stood praying in front of the deity, the priest, who unlike most of the priests in cities who does the job for money, found time to share the history of the temple. He explained how Jainism established and flourished under several thirthankaras. We listened to him, though with a little hesitation of thinking that he might later demand for money. He dint. We happily offered our prayers and took prasad he later offered.


The breeze on the hill was pleasant and the view of far off villages and farms was brilliant. Summer had just started, with the green patch of land still sustaining all around. The pond next to the temple looks dead and good for nothing. With the notice hung around saying not to swim, I assume the pond is deep enough to drown. Ride down the hill was quick though we took some wrong turns couple of times and then we had to turn back to finally reach Theerthalli road. From here it is easy to reach KuppaLi.


We reached kavimane around 12pm. Took tickets and the guide accompanied us on his own, we dint resist as he seemed to a nice fellow. Even though this was my second visit to this place, I dint mind having some one help us with more details about this place. The place, I feel is more than just a house. And Kuvempu is a gift for mankind. He has gifted us every single verse he has written. He writes in one of those several lines inscribed on one of the walls, which means, "I don't want people in London to read my work, but kannadigas (or Indians) to do kuvempu3_smallso". How many of us even have read a single book he has written, I'm sure not many. I cannot forget to mention here, about a wonderful poem O Nanna Chethana!, which is one of my favourites and every time I hear this song, I am in trance. It is so soothing and meaningful. Every word weighs heavier than any epic, and is so beautifully lyricked.

  Now, not just the man himself but every thing in this house is a remnant for today's generation. Of those several things, I don't think we even have seen them, forget using them in our lives. Like those huge wooden racks to store rice, utensils made of mud, attics in house. We were told that, Kuvemup's relatives stayed in this house, who also have preserved these antiques till date. When he passed away, they were shifted to a nearby accommodation to convert this as his museum.


Just like his writings, the story behind the name of this place KuppaLi is equally interesting. KuppaLisu in Kannada means "Hoping". A frog hops from one place to the other since this place is a set of some hills, people reach here hoping several such hills(not literally), which thus took name as KuppaLi, while most of us stress the L at the end, which is wrong but to be spelt just like we spell the L in "KuppaLisu".


After having seen the house in such great detail, we sat outside the house facing the arecanut farm adjacent to the building. We had lunch in the canteen outside and next visited Chibballagudde, famous for fishes. Behind the ganapathi temple is this calm water spot to relax. It is a common practice to feed the fishes in the pond with puffed rice. We sat watching a father-son duo feed them. Fishes are mammothic in size. They dived one above the other to grab the rice. It was perfect relaxation just before we could start our journey back to Mysore via Shimoga. During my previous visit to Shimoga, we had benne dosa in Shimoga city which was so yummy. We dint want to miss that this time too. We googled for the place and followed our navigator. That was a delicious dosa.


Throughout this trip I must mention that we drove on the best roads. Few of the places it was just laid. It was an easy drive to reach Mysore around 9:30pm.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Doddamane, Agumbe

An old structure which flaunts its rustic looks. The architecture of the house is what we call in local dialect as "Thotti mane" with large central square area which is open to the sky bordering it is a corridor covered with sloped tiled roof. The huge black pillars at the corners have been now supported with metal railing as the structure is very old. There are I don't know how many rooms, every corner we ventured opened into a huge  room. A typical wooden ladder to climb up the attic. It typically looks like your granny's place which you visited during your holidays.


We weren't too tired so after a quick round of fresh up, we sat in the portico enjoying the evening breeze watching people walk home. It was dark by now and we were hungry. Not because the stomachs were empty but because the glimpse of the afternoon menu what they served, invariably forced us to serve a early dinner. An endless number of items filled the banyan leaf. Starting from the pickle till the masala butter milk, every thing served was so so so delicious. For the first time in my life I left nothing except the leaf. We obviously ate more that necessary. With a heavy stomach, least we wanted to rest. The marooned roads of the Agumbe invited us take a stroll. The dark roads and the blank sky without a single star, made the surrounding look completely dark except for the lights of the vehicles passing by once in a while. We sat on the road relaxing.

We returned home to occupy our rooms and saw the preparations for the next day's festivals were on. Freshly prepared Hollige (a sweet prepared in South India) were kept in a wide plate with a thin cloth filmed over. Raja could not resist and Sumanth too showed interest. Before they could chalk out a plan to grab one, I had to shoo them away. The windows of our rooms next to the bed had a clear view of the table on which the sweet was kept and Raja kept a eye on that for a long time. The hollige must have haunted him the whole night.

bobbattu m Photo courtesy : Google images

Because of the Hollige, our next day plan got delayed. We were supposed to visit Kundadri hills for sunrise but we were happy watching it right from the windows of Doddamane. We enjoyed a hot bath from a authentic firewood heater (hanDe snana in local dialect). I took my sweet time watching the smoke from the firewood escape through the gaps in the tiled roof. It was a beautiful sight. We generously served several rounds of Avallakki prepared for breakfast. We dint want to miss a chance to eat Hollige but it seemed they would not offer it till the pooja was over. So we were a lil disappointed. We were done with avallakki and was about to get back to rooms, just then ajji came in and told us to have Hollige. Raja and Sumanth had no other option but to celebrate silently with a wide smile. We happily relished Hollige and our Ugadi was done. This is the best we could have on a festival away from home.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Road trip – Agumbe

Mar 30, 2014

This place surprisingly never entered my list but I remember having read about it during school days. This place claims to receive highest rainfall in the whole of Karnataka, I can still recollect my social teacher Ms Suma, teaching this. And I would, even then, dream of going to see this place. As a child, I had imagined watching the sunset standing on a bridge. I reached there to see the place to be more stunning than what I had imagined it to be.


We reached Agumbe around 9:30am. Having least idea what to do, we came across a sign board to Barkana and Jogi gundi falls. We had all time to explore them. The car entered the dark green forest on a narrow road. To our surprise the roads were good enough inside the forest too. It is very easy to miss the deviations to these falls, but with few locals helping us we first drove towards Barkana falls. As we went deeper into the forest the roads got narrower and there were several deviations. We stopped for some help near the first one, no human seem to come that way, so we blindly followed our instinct and took a right. Followed by all right deviations further. Finally at one point the road sloped down and again the road split. I got down from the car to check if there seemed to be any road ahead, on the right a log had fallen and we had no option but to take left. I notice few plastic covers scattered around, so we assumed to be on the right path. With serious doubts on whether to continue on this adventure any longer, we kept recollecting the deviations we took so that we could at least return back without getting lost.. We had no clue if we were on the right way. At one point we thought to turn back but somehow refused to do so. We waited to see if the road ended somewhere and so at least we would realise we are on the wrong path. After some distance ahead, we saw a slight steep after a natural right and noticed the railing. There it was, the view point to Barkana falls.


The view of the valley from here is stupendous though the volume of the water in the waterfall is very disappointing. We enjoyed the cool breeze in this place. Tried counting the range of valleys as far as the eyes could perceive them. After clicking few shots here we got back to the car and drove towards Jogi Gundi falls. It's easier to find this place. A huge tree trunk fallen on the pIMG_5346ath forced us to get on the feet to reach the falls. Proper railing and stone steps are in place till almost the falls. The water gushes between the hallow rocks carved out due to the force of the water currents. And a small pool forms beside it with tiny fishes swimming around your legs. They send tickles while they feed on the dead skin on your feet. It was a refreshing dip for few here while I choose to sit on the rocks.

It was lunch time and we enquired for a hotel after reaching the main road. Hotel Kamat served hot meals. It was peak sun and we were sweating like pigs while we hog the food. We checked with a local for a stay and he suggested to go to Doddamane. Suppose to be the biggest house in the town, as the name suggests. It was here, the famous TV serial Malgudi days was shot. In fact while we were on our way to this hotel we noticed doddamane and were amazed by its authentic structure.


We decided to walk to Onakke Abbi falls before we look for our stay. A small garden entrance which enters the forests. We weren't expecting a long walk now but this turned out to be one. The path inside the forest is clear so we dint feel lost but since we weren't prepared for walking this long we were skeptical on reaching the falls. It was mostly a climb but almost at the end there are steps to get down. We walked for more than 45 minutes. For the second time on the same day we were having similar thoughts of having to continue or not. But most of the time we do not give up. After reaching the bottom of the steps and we heard the water gushing below but falls is not to be seen. Searching for the falls we bend down to see the beautiful sight of water falling right below for several hundred feet. The water falls in two stages each of it must be more than a hundred feet. And the air blew in the opposite direction carrying water droplets. We were fooled into thinking it as rain. The water was extremely cold and as it dropped from the height, the tiny drops resembled diamond gems as they glittered in the sunlight. Fresh air blew across you face as we stood with our arm stretched facing the valley deep below. Every single step to reach here was so much worth. It was one of most beautiful sights I have ever seen in my life.


From here, we reached the sunset point, for which Agumbe is most famous. Clouds spoilt the fun and we couldn't enjoy the best view one gets to see during the sunset. But sun dint want to disappoint us completely so he made way between the clouds and wished us bye for the day. Back in our home stay Doddamane, an interesting episode :p

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Road trip – Sringeri

29 Mar 2014

Me and my cousin waited for my friend, sipping tender coconut in the hot summer afternoon. It was a long weekend and we had decided to drive to Theerthalli just the day before. We dint know anything beyond this. We drove towards chikkamagalur. Roads are great though a little curvy after Hassan. We took a pit stop here in Hassan. We tried hot pav bhaji and surprisingly it was yummy. We dint stop till we reach chikkamaglur next. The sun was gone by now & it was my turn to drive after the dusk. The roads got extremely curvy from here on. I enjoyed every turn and every curve on the Chikkamaglur-Sringeri road. We dint want to miss the prasada at sringeri, so the last few kilometres the car simply flew. We reached there around 9:30pm and found that the prasada is closed by 8:30pm. We checked for hotels near by and a passer-by took us to a veg hotel which served authentic food. Unlike in places like dharmastala, it was easy to fetch a room here for the night. It was very economical too.




IMG_5062 modified

We woke up early and found that the hotel supplied hot water for a cost of Rs 10/- per bucket. I was more than just happy for the luxury. IMG_5086 modifiedThe temple, I heard from friend, is never crowded. I stayed outside the temple clicking pictures while others went in. I did go in later to offer my prayers too. But quickly resumed to click more pictures. The temple structure is a visual delight. It reminds me of all those monuments in Bellur-Hallebidu. After clicking enough I parked myself opposite to the sharada temple skimming through the pictures. A family from Belgaum passing by noticed a fair skinned visitor sitting next to me and opened a conversation with this foreigner. They were excited to see a man from France travelling alone in India and likes India more than his place. They asked him why he came to India? Was he alone? What does he do back in France? While the foreigner enthusiastically answered to their queries, it seemed to me that he was used to this sort of attentionIMG_5184 modified he gets where ever he goes. After the family walked past, we began speaking to each other. He asked me the same questions what they asked him :). I was surprised to know that he was 70 year old and first visited India back in 1978. I wasn't even born he said giggling at me. He explained how beautiful Manali was then, in late 70s. He has travelled across this huge country and finally found a second home in Sringeri. He goes back to France only to get his visa extended to stay in India for another 6 months.

Back in my hotel while I was standing outside, waiting for the others to show up, I see Philip walking back to his apartment down the city. He closes his hands to do a namasthe to a beggar on the street. They all seemed to know him.

After having breakfast in a hotel nearby, we checked out from our room and hit the road again, towards Agumbe.