Belur Halebidu Trip

Not sure how many times the trip was planned and cancelled in the past. It was on the list for a long time, and interest accrued everytime i stumbled upon some photos in the web. Everytime a plan was made, there was a reason to cancel it as well. This time we planned it on Friday evening and started on friday night. Plan was simple, catch the last bus to Belur in the night, spend time in the temples the next day and reach bangalore before 9PM. Surprisingly we were able to execute it without hiccups. Boarded the 11.30PM bus to chickmagalur and reached Belur by 4.30AM with very little sleep. Ambled through the streets searching for a lodge, found most of them closed. After a while checked into a not so good room utilized the 1hour we had for a nap.

Went early to the ChennaKeshava temple and were able to attended the first pooja that was happening there. After that we had the whole day to soak ourselves in the aesthetic beauty of the two masterpieces of the hoysala architecture. The temples are built using soapstones. The outer and inner walls of these star shaped temples were filled with numerous intricate carvings, notable ones a.k.a the ones that we recongnised, include Lord Narasimha tearing Hiranyakashipu, Gajasurasamhara, Vishnu’s varaha avatar, Arjun in his suyamvaram etc. With careful and patient observation one might be able to discover a lot of details in the sculptures. No wonder it took more than a century to build it. Might have been more appealing if they were not destroyed during invasions. The outer walls also houses 38 madhanikas statues or women statues. Each of the madhanikas strike a different pose. There are around 644 elephants on the outer walls and it is said each one is distinct. There is also a huge pillar that is not fixed to the ground but stands on its weight for centuries. There are three more temples in the same complex – Kappe Channigraya temple, Sowmyanayaki temple and an Andal temple. Spent few hours filling the camera’s memory card and then started to Halebidu, to visit the Hoysaleshwara and  Kedareshwara temple.

They live upto the expectations that you have set from seeing the chennakeshava temples. The base of the temple walls consist of moldings with friezes that consist of elephants, lions, scrolls, horses, scrolls, puranic scenes, mythical beasts (makara) and swans. You can see some sculptures that were in chennakeshava temple as well, but that would not act as a deterrent to explore the other sculptures. A slight drizzle did disturb a bit, but it did set expectations if we are to attempt a trek in mullayanagiri or kemmanagundi. After few hours in the temple, started the journey back and reached as planned. Overall a nice trip that went fine with little planning.

Photos @ Picasa

Mullayanagiri Trek

After two year, around the same time, we were there again with the same goal, to complete the Mullayanagiri – Bababudangiri – Kemmangundi trek. Started the planning with 6 people and the count suddenly soar to 17 in the middle with Eric anna and his old HCL team pitching in, finally we were 15. Tickets booked, tents arranged from BMC, foods stuffed in backpacks we were ready on friday night. Weather report said, 30% chance of storm on friday, saturday and Sunday, we decided to try our luck on the remaining 70% –  optimism 🙂 Few stuffs like Western ghats, south west monsoon, windward side, lee ward side which i had learnt in geography lingered in my mind for a while, but the trip was on.

Reached chickmagalur @ 4.45AM, checked into a small hotel (selection lodge), paid 850 for two rooms and we were ready for the trek at around 7.30AM. Booked a jeep for 700Rs to drop us @ Sarpadhari, the starting point of the trek. Additional Info: there is also private bus available next to chickmagalur bus stand, and it starts at 8.00AM.

Start of the trek: After around an hour journey reached Sarpadhari and around 8.30AM. As we had expected, he was waiting for us. The moment we stepped out of the jeep, it rained 🙂 Undetterred we started the Mullayanagiri ascent from Sarpadhari (sarpa – snake, dhari – path). The rain was brief but enough to make the path slippery. The ascent turned out to be pretty tough and drained a lot of energy. Remember the sleeping bags, tents and food items which added to the weight. Thanks to the rain, We were soon engulfed in mist. Beautiful green grass, misty white backgroun, cool breeze and soft drizzle. What else do you need. It was fantastic. Better felt, than explained.

Anyway the trek to the Mullayanagiri peak sucked a lot of time. Fortunate we didn’t have leeches to suck blood too. Atleast we didn’t care about them. At around 11.45 to 12.00AM we reached the peak. Explored the two caves a bit, recharged with a bit of snacks and started the next part. The walk to BSNL tower.

The Confusion: From mullayanagir, finding the path that would lead to BB Hills became a tough task. Tried my phone GPS, explored a few paths it didn’t help. Map reader, Sai tried with his compass and map, but we were stuck for a while. Discussions started, should we continue was the question ? It just reminded me about the last trip to Kemmangundi, where we climbed a peak, and when the discussion started and the trek was aborted. Thanks to Mani(HCL), he found a path and started exploring. I ran behind him. We explored for a while, and walked a few KMs and found there does exist a neat and clean path. Met a few BMC guys, who were stuck too. Told them about the path and came back to our gang. And the trek started again.

The Trek Continues: So we started the trek again at around 12.55PM. We started walking towards Attigundi. The path was neat and clean, and the trek was not at all difficult, when compared to the Mullayanagiri ascent from Sarpadhari. Enchanting views through out the path. The path continued to play hide and seek with the help of mist, but it was not tough to stay on the path. Around 1.30PM we were reminded about the Sun, and that gave us the opportunity to see the beautiful ridge in the front. The ridge is the next part to be covered to reach BB Hills. After around 30 minutes we reached the police checkpost, ending the first part of trek and the ridge in the front to be covered after lunch. Time was around 2.20PM

The Interruption: We were having lunch, when a forest officer met us with a smile. We had met him at Mullayanagiri peak, where he had given us some suggestions. Interacting we came to know that, we still have around 4hrs to cover (if we walked fast). And if it rains we would be stranded in the ridge, where we cannot camp too. So he suggested going to BB hills and camping there or booking a room there. With that he left, and rain arrived. So we decided to try our luck at BB hills. With the help of few forest gaurds, booked a jeep to BB hills. The forest gaurds were very very helpful. The jeep journey was fun, as i got an opportunity to travel, standing on the jeep steps and hanging to the back of the jeep. A wise decision, as the torrential rain would have wrecked havoc, if we had continued with the trek.

End of Trek: When we reached BB Hills, it was raining cats and dogs. The option of camping out, was ruled out. After some heavy lunch at a local hotel, looked for a room. Rooms were horrible. So decided to get back to chickmagalur to decide. Going back to Kemmangundi again next day, didn’t sound like a good option, so booked KSRTC tickets to bangalore. It was at chickmagalur i discovered a leech has managed to suck good amount of my blood. Can only wonder at the way they manage to suck blood without pain.

Though the trek ended, it was satisfactory when compared to the previous one. But still the place continues to amaze me. Should plan for the next trek to this place soon after the monsoon ends.

Photos @ https://picasaweb.google.com/sskganesan/MullayanagiriTrek#

Thirumayam Trip

During the diwali holidays, had been to Thirumayam. Thanks to the effort of the organizers, as a result of which i was ready early on Sunday morning for the trip for the trip to Thirumayam. The trip was different, and first of its kind since it was not a fun trip but rather a trip to learn something about the history. If we had gone alone it would have ended with discussion about film history or heroine history. But this time we were accompanied by Dr. Venkataraman, archaelogist & retired history professor from Madurai Kamaraj University and Prabhu anna’s father. At the age of above 70, Dr. V as he is called, remained active and energetic. Rich in the subject, his beautiful explanations left us awestruck. The temple was absolutely free, giving us a lot of time and space to explore. Then we visited Kundrakudi rock cut shiva temple, to look a number of beautiful statues left to ruin. Looks like the original temple was built by Pandiyas for shiva, the Murugan temple was built later on the hill.

Thanks to Prabhu anna for coming up with a full list of what we discussed that day. I have a copy of mail to read, and dont want to replicate the same here in blog. You can check Prabhu anna’s post and also my pictures for which i had tried adding a lot of comments so that it explains something. Pics at Picasa.

Hope to have few more in the future.

Trip to Jaladhama

After a long time, a trip once again. This time it was a different one and first of its kind. Weekend visit to a resort. After some discussion, the place was fixed as jaladhama, the resort near Talekad. We started from bangalore at around 7.30, basically to avoid all the traffic and reach the mysore road witout trouble. The drive through Mysore road was cool. First pit stop was at Bidadi, idly shop. It is just a road side shop, but the crowd there ascertained that it is going to be good. It lived upto the expectations and idly superb. Next at shivalli MTR shop, where we had bisibele bath, which was also superb.

The road was good upto Malavalli, after which the tough times started. Every 50 meters of good road was interrrupted with 500 meters of worn out, demolished, road that contained just stones. So had to go slowly. Finally reached the resort at around 1.00 PM. Have to cross the river in motor boat to reach the resort. People there welcomed us with a welcome drink. The room was neat and clean and had all the amenities. The resort has two basketball, volleyball, badminton court and a cricket and football field. So we had 24 hours to spend with all these. After a nice lunch, started playing with badminton, followed by basketball and then with volleyball. After that went for a rowing in the river for around an hour. The most interesting part was the swimming that followed. It was great to swim after around 6 or 7 years.

Next morning, once again started with early morning swimming where we tried some underwater swimming. Then a heavy breakfast and then some badminton once again. After that we headed towards Shivasamudra. This is the third visit to the falls. This time our friend took us to a different view point, near Dargah where i had not gone during my previous two visits. The view of Gaganachukki falls from there was awesome. This is the first i am seeing so much of water there when compared to previous visits. Bharachukki also it was the same, the place where we had taken bath during was nowhere to be seen. After that we started the trip back to our Bangalore. Thus ended yet another good trip.

Malpe, St.Mary’s Island and Udupi Trip

After a lot of confusions, and lengthy discussions, and around 300 mail discussions we decided upon Malpe, St. Mary’s and udupi. Started from Bangalore on friday night for the first time with a group of 12. After a sleepless journey, reached kudremukh early in the morning when sleep was about to conquer us. The scenary brought us back to our senses but soon we lost ourself in the virgin beauty of mother nature. We could see green tea plantation on one side and a pool of cloud on the other side. The whole journey through kudremukh was like that but we missed a bit of it because of the tablet that was taken to get rid of the vomitting sensation managed to successfully put us into sleep. Could not avoid taking the tablet, since the sleepless night journey combined with sharp turns in the ghats did a lot of damage.

Finally woke up at Udupi where we booked a room in a decent hotel. First visit was to St. Mary’s Island near Malpe beach which is famous for basalt rock deposits which look like hexagonal cylinders. From Malpe the isle can be reached by ferry. The island is small and secluded and the serenity is disturbed only by the noisy tourists like us. We had a good bath there in the sea waterddddd. The waves seems to love visitors and When the waves recede they try to take you away with them. After a long time i had opportunity to take bath in sea like that. After spending one hour there we returned back to malpe and went to have lunch. We tried fish there but it did not meet our expectations.

Next halt was at Maravanthe beach to see the sunset. Once again there was little human activity in the beach, which meant it was time for some football action. Next one hour was devoted to football. As usual it turned out to be interesting. End result: Arsenal beat Manu 5-3. Funny, anyway thats how we named the teams. I contributed two goals to the winning side 🙂 One hour of football was too much for people like who rarely involve in physical activities. After the sunset, we went back to hotel after having dinner at Udupi.

Next day i.e sunday, we went to the world famous Udupi Krishnan temple. The architecture looked different. It has a history associated with it which i am not aware of. Anyway after visiting the temple, started to Kaup beach. Kaup was not an exception, and there was not much human inhabitation except for tourists and couples who donot want to be disturbed. It remained comparatively clean. We could not visit the Kaup lighthouse since it is opened only between 4 to 7 in the evening. Around six of our people started playing volleyball, we resorted to cricket with plastic bat and ball. One good thing about cricket is that you can convert any available wood to stumps and bat. Only thing you need is a ball, but we have also played cricket with something that looks like a ball 🙂 This time, we had a plastic bat and a plastic ball, and water battle served as the stump with cap serving as bails. Still it was good.

We decided to go to kodachadri after that, but decided against while on the way to kodachadri. Thoughts about office next days always disturbs and the same thoughts managed to reconsider our decision. Soon we decided against since we might not have enough time to go to kodachadri and return back. So we restricted ourselves to a visit to River Tunga at Teerthahalli and came back to Bangalore. Once again it turned out to be a fun filled trip as it is always. Digi cams gave us the liberty of clicking everything that we thought would be good. People looked a lot generous while taking pictures, and here are the links,

http://picasaweb.google.com/sens2003/MalpeTrip#
http://picasaweb.google.com/kpraveen85/Malpe#
http://picasaweb.google.com/rajesh.kalaivanan/MalpeStMarysIslandMaravanthae#

Yelagiri Trekking

This trip deserves a special mention as it exposed me to some hardcore trekking for the first time. I was totally out of energy yesterday to post it, and gathered some today to post about it. Saturday morning, 3.30 AM we were awake and successfully disturbed those sleeping in our friend’s home. At 4.50AM we were out and on the way to Majestic. Luckily we got a bus to Majestic. Thats where our luck ends. Reached Majestic at 5.30 or so to see a three loooong queue for taking tickets. Waiting to get the tickets meant, we will have to travel to Jolarpettai standing for two hours. Since we travelled together as a group, the trouble was esily overshadowed in the fun we had during the journey.

After finishing the breakfast at Jolarpettai, we were on the way to Yelargiri. One unique feature of the route to Yelagiri is that the hair pin bends are named after tamil poets like “Pavendar valaivu”, “kabilar Valaivu” etc. Yelagiri seems to be a small town, left undisturbed till now and Yelagiri people seem to live closely with the nature. First stop was at Poonganur lake, a small artificial lake which looked ok and did not attract us very much. After that we started our trek to Jalagampaarai falls. We trode along examining the reasonably developed Yelagiri, with hotels lining both sides of the road. We had a different opinion about Yelagiri before we went there.

The trek to Jalagampaarai was a lot tiresome as we started at around 11.00 AM when Sun was ready to suck the full energy. On the way we found Mr.Raman, who from then acted as our guide. Good that we met him, it could have been really difficult to find the way. Mr. Raman, who could be easily around 55 to 60, astonished us with the stamina and strength he possessed. He rarely stopped in the 10KM trek. We were left with no other option than to run behind him 🙂 Anyway we covered around 10KM trek in around 4 hours with very few stops except for the a long stop for lunch. It was sad to sight few plastic papers even in those untrodden hills.

We were lucky, since there was some water was tickling in the falls, hence we were able to take bath and derive some satisfaction. The most important part of the trek is that we stayed in tent. This is the first time i had stayed in tent. We started back to Bangalore the next day after having “Kaara Panniyaaram”. Together we managed to eat 50 panniyaarams. To our surprise it costed us just Rs. 50.Yet another sign, Yelagiri is yet to be spoiled. We made sure that we don’t disturb Yelagiri by throwing the plastic covers, and carried dozens back to bangalore to be disposed safely. The only disappointing fact about the trip is that there are not much scenic spots that would gather the attention.

Before i end, people in the trip include Muthukumar Anna, Deivapalan, Rajaguru, Sai, Nachiappan, Praveen and myself. Check out my picasa and stay in touch with the same, as there are more snaps to follow,

http://picasaweb.google.com/sens2003/YelagiriTrekking#

So there ends yet another memorable trip.

The Trichy Trip

Had gone to trichy two weeks back to attend see Senthil reluctantly putting an end to his Bachelor life but willingly stepping into the role of a family man. Finally found time today to blog about it. As usual, the preparations for the trip started a long time back, even the marriage preparations might not have happened at that time. And as usual after lot of discussions we decided on starting on saturday morning to Trichy. After a long time i enjoyed a bumpy ride in our normal TNSTC bus with attention oscillating between the “Sivagamiyin Sabatham” and the movies that were played in the bus. Conductor made sure that nobody slept in the bus and played the movie in full volume.

Reached Salem at 3.15 and from there started to Trichy. After a bit of reading, a little of discussion the tiring bus journey came to an end and we were at Trichy. From then started that eating spree. The marriage was grand, and food was just great. For two days every inch of space in the stomach remained occupied.

We did not have enough time to visit the temples around Trichy. When the initial plan was made, we had the plans of visiting all temples but once we started the trip we knew . Fortunately with help of Praveen we were able to visit kallanai and thiruverumbur temple. The recent rains have helped cauvery to cause enough damage to the nearby villages and we could see that on the way to kallanai or Grand anaicut, the dam built by Karikaala Chozhan before 2000 years. Due to the recent floods, water was diverted to Kollidam. The water gushing out of the opened shutters with great force creating a pattern and giving a illusion of standing in a ship was a wonderful sight. After visit to Thiruverumbur, we returned back to Bangalore pledging to return back to Trichy to visit the places we had missed this time. After reading Kalki’s book the curiosity to visit the temples has increased a lot. Lets see how the plans go.

Stories from a three days Goan

Atlast found some time to chip in something for the blog. Last weekend i was at Goa, a welcoming break from the boring job. Started to Goa on April 4 Friday night by train, setting aside two escalations that were pestering me for sometime. Once the trip was on it was only fun. You could see signs of Goa in the train itself. Most of them were tourists going to train and most of them were already in excited state with the help of drinks. The train was travelling through the western ghats giving some opportunity to explore the scenic beauty of the mountains.

Reached Goa by 1.30 on Saturday. From the journey to the hotel we could confirm what we have heard about Goa. Yeah Goa is famous for drinks  because of low tax, and is visible from the numerous wine shops in the  roads. Most of shop that serve soft drinks also contained atleast some  cans of beer. But one thing that is not known about Goa is that, it is  difficult to move around in Goa, unless you have a lot of cash to burn.  We had booked room near Colva beach and were soon at colva beach having  a really good time in the beach. Though the sun was scorching the skins, the sea water helped in with standing the heat. Evening we were at
Majorda beach, playing football after around 4 years.

On sunday we hired five vehicles, and started the trip to the northern beaches. We started the expedition with a visit to Dona Paula. Then  we were at Coco beach for a boat ride to see the dolphins. We were  lucky the back of few dolphins. Be careful about the rates for the  boat ride, it ranges from 100 to 400 depending on persons. While we  went for 100 per person, we had two people in the same boat paying  Rs.400. Then we visited the Aguada fort and few other beaches like calangute, Bagga. But did not spend much time there.

On monday morning the plan was to visit paulolem. But since time was running out, visited cavelossim and Benaulim beaches near Colva. After that we were off to Panaji or Panjim to catch the evening bus. While on the way stopped at the Basillica of BOM jesus church, a 400 year old chuch that still contains the body of St.Francis Xavier who died  few hundred years ago. After some shopping in Panaji market for a while  we boarded Sharma travels for a 20 hour trip back to work. Heard that KSRTC is better when compared to private transports.

One last point about Goa, Goa does not follow the Indian rules and the policemen there have their own rule and gazette. If the fine for driving without “Pollution check” is 100 in other cities, in goa it is 500. Before you  rent a vehicle make sure you check for all the docs and make sure you have the DL.

Kollimalai – Serene and Splendid

Visited kollimalai last week along with seniors, and it turned out to be a great one. Kollimalai was not a well known hill station in Tamilnadu. Not much visited by tourists i guess. Located at around two hours from salem, kollimalai remains undisturbed from tourists harassment . Serenity lends beauty to the place. No traffic, not many people around to disturb you. You are alone with your friends to enjoy the beauty of the hill station. You also have an opportunity to capture the untouched nature in your digicam. The most interesting spot in there is the “Athisaya Aruvi”, the waterfalls. To enjoy the the waterfalls you have to climb down around 500 steep steps. The cool water drops falling from the steep rocks looks marvellous and so is the feeling when it falls down and splashes on your body. Few other places include

Arapalliswarar temple
vasalurpatti which has a small lake with boats
Semmedu where there is a small statue of Valvil Ori statue.
A small lake, i forgot the name.

There were few more temples and spots. The most interesting part of the stay in kollimalai is the early morning trekking which we had. Roamed around the gardens and hills there in kollimalai enjoying the early morning chillness. On the return trip went to Hoganekkal, the ride in the calm waters of the cauvery water was great. This happened to be the first trip with super super super seniors. The showed a lot of maturity in organizing the trip, and the trip ended with out any problems.

Snaps at http://picasaweb.google.co.uk/sens2003/KollimalaiTrip

Trip to Shivasamudra, Bandipur and Mysore

Atlast found some time to blog about few notable things that happened few weeks back.  Should be the second trip where we ventured out of bangalore with a reasonably good crowd we decided to spend the weekend with a short trip to Shivasamudra, Bandhipur and Mysore. Started at 6, and after a swift journey through the smooth Mysore highway, reached Gangana Chukki at around 10. Not much water so the view was not so pleasing there. Next it was time to drench our bodies in the cool waters of Cauvery at Bharachukki. This was the second visit to Bharachukki, this time there was very little water and we used the opportunity to take a nice bath in the cool waters. After the bath and after a little struggle through the rough roads without brakes for the back wheels, managed to reached Bandipur Sanctuary near Tamilnadu border. The forest looked treacherous and trepidation was increasing as the Van moved deeper and deeper  into the forest. But once the safari started in the morning one thing was obvious, only animal that we could sight is spotted deer. During the return journey we stopped at Mysore to explore the architectural beauty of the Mysore palace and at Tipu’s museum to revise a bit of history. Few names in history like Haidar Ali and Mysore War lingered for a while during the short visit.

Check out these links for few shots from seniors.

http://picasaweb.google.co.uk/sens2003/BandipurTrip
http://flickr.com/photos/saponniah