A Travel Blog from India


This Page

has moved to a new address:


Sorry for the inconvenience…

Redirection provided by Blogger to WordPress Migration Service

This Page

has moved to a new address:


Sorry for the inconvenience…

Redirection provided by Blogger to WordPress Migration Service
A Travel Blog from India: July 2013

Tuesday, 30 July 2013

India Travel Stories from Others - Trekking tales of Kotresh

If you love to be amidst nature, the you have to trek to mountains. 

Alone, being on the summit is something of an experience to cherish which every trekker will vouch for. 

The "wow" moment when you reach the destination is something one can experience himself. 

Kotresh is an avid trekker. He has done many treks in South India.

More importantly he is someone who documents these treks nicely to help others to experience what he has done and dusted. Here is one of his trek log for the "Kumara Parvatha" trek, the big daddy of all treks in Karnataka's Western ghats.

To know more about trek to Kumara Parvatha or KP as it is known, please click here.

Kumara Parvatha Trek

Where you trekking next?


Friday, 26 July 2013

Skywatch Friday - Lighthouse @ Kapu or Kaup beach

India is blessed with some lovely beaches along its long coastline. While the beaches in Goa is well known and popular, there are many hidden gems yet to be explored.

Kapu or Kaup beach on the west coast of India in the southern State of Karnataka is one such unexplored gem. A lovely beach with a small hillock in the corner with a lighthouse atop. Built by British in early nineteenth century, it is still a functional light house. This picture was clicked just before sunset when we were there few months ago.

There are no places to stay on the beach and the best stay options are at Udupi which is 10 KMs away.

If you want more details on exploring the West coast in Karnataka or Karavali as it is known in Kannada language, you may click this post in this blog.

Karavali Vistas II - Udupi, Mangalore and Bekal

Labels: ,

Thursday, 25 July 2013

Goa in Monsoon - Any one?

Goa is known for Sun, surf and sand.....and of course fish, fenny and nightlife. That is in season.

What about Goa in monsoon?

Having served in Goa as part of my Army career, it is the best time to be there. No crowds. Empty beaches. Green landscape. Rain and Rain. And of course, Dudhsagar falls in all glory.

If you are looking for an offbeat Goa, head there during Monsoon. 

We happened to see this lovely article in Outlook Traveller for anyone who loves rain drenched and green Goa during this season. Read on here.

Monsoon Magic in Goa

Don't blame us if you get drenched and had fun in the rain!


Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Chhattisgarh Chronicles VIII - Bhoramdeo, Khajuraho of Chhattisgarh

We always believe that the most exciting part of any travel experience starts with planning. The excitement increases as you Google for details, talk to friends to know their experiences, find out small nuances of the place etc., Especially so when you are going to an offbeat place like Chhattisgarh. When we started this process, some places became must sees – Chitrakote falls, Tribals, Chiukhadan palace and to that list was added Bhoramdeo – The Khajuraho of Chattisgarh.

A good breakfast in Chiukhadan made us ready for the long drive. The road from Chiukhadan to Bhoramdeo via Kanwardha is excellent. Driving in central India between March and May is a colourful experience. No doubt it will be hot, but you will see the colourful “Flame of the Forest” trees blooming in abundance. To our bad luck, we did not come any of them in Bastar. But here in Kanwardha, our wishes came true and there were many. Interspersed in the fields, they made the landscape look beautiful. 

Excitement mounted as we crossed the welcome arch of Bhoramdeo temple complex. The tourism department and Archaeological survey of India have joined together to maintain this place neatly. There are good restaurants and Chattisgarh Tourism has Bhoramdeo Jungle resort inside the complex. We had to wait for couple of minutes as the circuitous road led us to Bhoramdeo temple. The temple is not imposing like the ones in South India. It is small. But the location of the temple in middle of the forest next to a pristine lake gives it a tranquil setting.

The temple is a little gem. It reminded of the Jain temple at Ranakpur near Udaipur in Rajasthan which is also in the middle of forests. The temple architecture is similar to the ones in Khajuraho. If I am not wrong, the same group of rulers’ were responsible for building this. I wonder as to what made them to build the temple in the middle of jungle! 

The walls of the temple are embellished with erotic figures of men and women in different poses of making love. The carvings are intricate and capture the mood of the lovers very well. I don't want to deliberate much on this. Like they say, “seeing is believing” and here are the pictures.

The sanctum sanctorum of the temple has Shiva linga. It is located few steps below the ground. The entrance to the sanctum sanctorum has some beautiful figurines as well. 

Our next stop was “Madwa Mahal” situated a kilometre away from Bhoramdeo. ‘Madwa’ is a word from the local dialect synonymous to marriage pandal. Madwa Mahal was originally a Shiva temple but due its shape, like a marriage shamiyana, it came to be known as “Madwa Mahal”. This is a small temple dedicated to Shiva. The erogenous idols of this temple are also extremely beautiful. On the outer walls there are as many as 54 erotic sculptures in different poses. These asanas from the “Kamasutra”, are truly an epitome of eternal love and beauty. The Nagwanshi Kings were believed to be practitioners of ‘Tantra’ as their contemporaries in Khajuraho.

It was the end of the Chhattisgarh leg. We could only see half of the beautiful state in this trip. We then travelled to Kanha National Park.

We will be posting details about the trip from planning perspective in the next post.

We encourage you to read other posts in Chhattisgarh Chronicles series which will help you explore this beautiful state. Please click here for more details.

Chhattisgarh Chronicles

If you need any help in planning a trip to Chattsiagarh, you may send an email to poorna62@gmail.com

Happy to help.

Labels: ,

Monday, 22 July 2013

Monsoon Magic II - Alekan falls

We happened to drive around Charmadi Ghat - the road which connects Mangalore to Chikmagalur - over the last weekend.

It was lovely drive with mist, waterfalls and excellent road. In fact we found the outstanding Alekan waterfalls as the mist cleared for a few minutes. We had missed this out last time.

This is a stream in full flow. You encounter it early. It is just before you start climbing. It is approximately four KMs from Kottigehara. This stream forms a lovely waterfalls on the other side of the road. The Alekan falls may not be visible if it is misty. If you are lucky like us, you will be rewarded with a fabulous sight.

Then you have green walls like these below.......

.........and smaller falls to give you company.....

........in green and misty surroundings....

You can enjoy the panoramic views of Malnad in monsoon.....bit of mist, water bodies, all shades of green.....

..........While driving on surprisingly good roads....

Drive around in Malnad this monsoon and come back rejuvenated!

Labels: ,

Friday, 19 July 2013

Skywatch Friday - Morning sky from Kunjapuri temple, Rishikesh

On our way back from Valley of Flowers we stayed for a day in Ananda in the Himalayas. There is a small Shakti temple close to the resort which has some fabulous views of the mountains. On a clear day, one can see the peaks of Nilkanth and Trishul from here. Unfortunately it was cloudy and we could see a glimpse of the snow capped mountains through Binoculars.

Nevertheless, the view from the peak of surrounding valley was beautiful  The low hanging clouds, winding hill roads and the greenery all around made this a lovely picture.


Ten Waterfalls in Karnataka you should not miss this monsoon

Monsoon rains bring alive numerous waterfalls in the hills of Karnataka. This monsoon season, don't miss to see these water falls in full glory. 

Let me provide a list.

1. Jog Falls

Our eternal favourite. Sharavathi river dropping gorgeously over a the gorge of Gerusoppa splitting into four streams named as Raja, Ranai, Rocket and Rover. Among the tallest waterfalls in the country, this is the best time to visit  as Lingamanakki dam built upstream ensures that the falls is only a trickle once the rains are over.

2 Barkana Falls

Agumbe is known as Cherrapunjee of South India. Known for its beautiful sunset in winter, Agumbe and surrounding places in Tirthahalli taluq are at their best in monsoon. It is a riot of green all around. Barkana falls is one of the tallest water falls in India. It is not easily accessible and have to be trekked. If you don't mind few leeches sticking you, you are in with a beautiful sight of the falls. The Barkana falls are formed by the Sita river

3 Kunchikal falls

The second tallest water falls in the country. One need permission to go closer to the falls. But one can see the beauty of it by treking to Metkal gudda ( Please see this nice post by Rakesh Holla in his blog here Metkal in Monsoon) .

Kunchikal falls are formed by Varahi river cascading down hundreds of rocks near Hulikal ghat.

4 Iruppu falls

The Iruppu Falls are located in the Brahmagiri Range in the Kodagu (Coorg) district of Karnataka. The Falls are also known as the Lakshmana Tirtha Falls derived from the name of the tributary of Cauvery which starts from these falls.

5. Gaganachukki and Bharachukki falls

Twin falls on river Cauvery very close to Bangalore. The beauty of the falls can only be savoured during monsoon. This is a segmented waterfall. Segmented waterfalls occur where the water flow is broken into two or more channels before dropping over a cliff, resulting in multiple side by side waterfalls. It has an average width of 305 meters, a height of 98 m, and an average volume of 934 cubic meters / sec. 

6. Unchalli or Lushington falls

Lushington Falls, also called Unchalli Falls, is a waterfall created by a 116 metres (381 ft) drop in the Aghanashini river. The fall is located in Siddapura, Uttara Kannada District of Karnataka. The falls are named for J. D. Lushington, a District Collector for the British Government, who discovered it in 1845.
Heggarne, a hamlet in Uttara Kannada district, is 35 km from Siddapur. The falls are reached by a 5 kilometres (3.1 mi) trek from Heggarne through thick forest. Here the river makes a cavalcade of water falls and eventually leaps into a steep valley to form a spectacular, picturesque waterfall. The falls are sometimes called Keppa Joga because of the deafening sound they make.

7 Mallalli falls

Not very well known but nevertheless a lovely falls formed by Kumaradhara river. Mallalli falls is situated in the foothills of pushpagiri, around 25 km from Somwarpet

8 Magod falls

Magod Falls is a group of waterfalls in Karnataka, India, where the river Bedti falls from a height of nearly 200m in two steps.

9 Gokak falls

The Gokak Falls is formed when the Ghataprabha river takes a leap of 52 metres (171 ft) over the sand-stone cliff amidst a picturesque gorge of the rugged valley, resembling Niagara Falls on a smaller scale. The waterfall is horse shoe shaped at the crest, with a flood breadth of 177 metres (581 ft). There is a hanging bridge across the river, measuring about 201 metres (659 ft). Its height above the rock bed is 14 metres (46 ft). 

10 Hebbe falls

Hebbe Falls are situated at  about 10 km away from the famous hill station Kemmangundi in Karnataka, India. This waterfalls are inside a coffee estate and can be reached by walk. Hebbe Falls gushes down from a height of 551 ft in two stages to form Dodda Hebbe (Big Falls) and Chikka Hebbe (Small Falls.)

Travel Information

a) Jog, Barkana and Kunchikal falls - Make Tirthahalli as the base which has many stay options. For more details on Tirthahalli please click on this post in this blog.

b) Magod falls - Make Yellapur as the base. For more details on Yellapur please click on the following post in this blog.

c) Iruppu falls - Make Madikeri as the base. For more details on Madikeri, please visit the following post on this blog.

d) Mallalli falls - Make Sakleshpur as the base which has many stay options. For more details on Sakleshpur, please click on this post in this blog.

e) Gokak falls - Belgaum is the best place to stay to visit Gokak falls. Belgaum is well connected to different parts of the country by Air, train and road. 

f) Gaganachukki and Bharachukki falls can be visited either from Bangalore or Mysore. 

g) Hebbe falls can be visited as part of day trip to Kemmanagundi making Chikmagalur as base. For mored details on Chikmagalur please visit the following post on this blog.

h) Unchalli falls - Make Sirsi as the base. For more details on Sirsi please visit the following post in the blog.

We invite you to read the following interesting posts on this blog

Dudhsagar Falls - A Monsoon Trek on Railway track!

Triund Trek - A Heavenly Hike in Himalayas!

Photo Courtesy

Jog Falls - Basavaraj Yadawad (http://www.flickr.com/photos/30760784@N05/)

Mallalli Falls - Aditya Hemmige

Kunchikal Falls - Rakesh Holla (http://rakeshholla.blogspot.in/)

Magod Falls - Srikanth P (http://www.wonderjourney.org/)

Unchalli Falls - Vivek Kunchinadka (http://www.flickr.com/photos/vivek_kunchinadka/)

If you need more information on visiting any of the falls listed above, you may write to me at poorna62@gmail.com

Happy to help. 


Thursday, 18 July 2013

Monsoon Train Journeys

Who doesn't love train journeys? We waited for a chance to travel by train when we were kids. The journeys by train has its own charm. It is a mini world in itself when you meet people from different places and the passengers become long lasting friends. 

Indian Railways has one of the largest networks in the world and is the largest civilian employer in the world. The variety of trains and the way the network has been built from mid nineteenth century a fascinating reading.

Journey by train during monsoon is always a memorable experience  There are some lovely journeys we always cherish. One such journey is from Londa - a small town on Karnataka - Goa border - to Madgaon in Goa. The journey through Braganza ghat during monsoon is unbelievably wonderful. Tunnels, cascading streams, dripping side walls, mist covered tracks, continuos drizzle, green expanse all along makes this journey magical. 

If you are a Indian Railway aficionado like us, you should visit the website of Indian Railway Fans Club. It is quintessential railway fans website. A last word on rail fanning!

I bumped into the website by accident and was pleasantly surprised to see lovely trip reports and other information on Indian railways. I chanced upon this lovely trip report of travel from Londa to Madgaon in Monsoon. 

I won't say anything. Just sit back and enjoy the journey. Click on this link here.


Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Food Safari - In search of "Dharwad Pedha"

Have you heard of Dharwad Pedha?

If you haven't, then you are missing something.

If you had heard about it but not eaten, then it is a crime!

If you have sweet tooth like us, it is sinful not to have travelled to Dharwad in search of this delicacy.

While we were on one the numerous road trips, we took a detour from the highway to enter the lovely town of Dharwad in search of this mouth watering delicacy  It was around 9.30 in the morning and the "Thakur's Pedha" on Line Bazar was yet to be opened. There was already a queue in front of the shop and we were tenth in the line. When our turn came, we picked few packets of fresh "Dharwad Pedha". 

Read all about famous Dharwad Pedha of Line Bazar here in this article published in Hindu.

In search of Dharwad Peda

When you happen to drive past Dharwad next time, take a detour to relish your sweet tooth. But be an early bird, lest you will miss the "Pedha".


Friday, 12 July 2013

Skywatch Friday - Great Stupa @ Sanchi, India

We visited the World heritage Site @ Sanchi in Central India during our Grand road trip to Central India. 

This is a very serene and tranquil place on a small hillock near Bhopal, the capital of the State of Madhya Pradesh in Central India. Sanchi is famous for its famous stupas and ruins of Buddhist monasteries built around 3rd century BC by Mauryan kings. 

It was around mid day when we went there. The fall sky was clear but dotted by few clouds. The light red colour of the stupa was nice complement to the blue sky in the background.

If you want to know more about Sanchi, you may click this Wiki Page here

Wiki on Sanchi


Thursday, 11 July 2013

Road trip Vignettes - Amid "Agave Land"!

Plusses of a road trip is the freedom it gives to enjoy the journey at your own pace. Many times we have noticed that journeys are more interesting than the actual destination itself. When these vignettes are captured on the lens, they remain cherished memories forever. We will share some of these in our blog and hope you like it.

We had been to Mango Range Estate for a weekend sojourn. (Please this post for details :- Monsoon Experience at Mango Range Estate, Nilgiris). The monsoon was in full swing and we took our regular route via Kanakapura. On the way back, as soon as we crossed Gundlupet in South India, we saw a strange landscape. 

It looked like a scene from Avatar or Star Wars!

I went near to see what exactly they were. To my surprise, it was the "Katthale" or "Bhutale" (in Kannada) bush - a variety of Agave - whose leaves were cut by the farmers leaving only the cone behind. This bush being thorny is used by farmers as a hedge in many parts of Karnataka. The leaves are dried and fibre is used for household use. 

A bit of research on Agave ( Wiki on Agave) gave me the information that it is an useful plant with many parts edible and plant having medicinal properties as well. Not sure whether it is used as an edible plant in Karnataka. 

Will check that out with framers next time around!

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Chhattisgarh Chronicles VII - Painted rooms of Chhiukhadan Palace

The drive from Kanker to Chhiukhadan was very good except for few KMs in Rajnandgaon town. 

Chhiukhadan – many including us would not have heard of this small town in Chhattisgarh. When we were browsing Outlook Traveller, we stumbled upon this palace and its painted rooms. We had made up our mind that we should stay here some day. We were excited that that will happen today.

Giriraj, the Yuvaraj of Chhiukhadan - a young man in late twenties - met us as we arrived at his palace. This is not a huge palace like the ones you see in Rajasthan or elsewhere. It looks more like a large Haveli. We were disappointed when Shivraj told us the painted rooms were under renovation and offered us different rooms. 

Chhiukhadan palace is built over 10 acres of land by Giriraj’s grandfather. With abolition of privy purses, the family moved to Raipur and the palace had gone to ruins. Jai, the Kanker yuvaraja during one of the visits to the palace happened to see these beautiful paintings in the rooms and that was when he and Giriraj - they are cousins - thought of restoration of the palace into a heritage hotel. They have started the restoration and lot of work is needed to bring back the place to acceptable standards. Once done, I have no doubt that this will be sought after place in Chhattisgarh. 

We went around the painted rooms and were zapped to see beautiful paintings on all sides of the room. No one knows who and when these were painted. There are scenes from Ramayana, Mahabharata, Ras leela and surprisingly there are scenes of British dancing, dining etc! The rooms somehow look surreal and once done up should provide a different expertise for guests.

The evening was exciting. Giriraj offered us a night picnic to a nearby reservoir in the middle of jungle. He is the Chairman of Town municipal council and has huge clout. But the guy looked simple. We drove up a small hill overlooking a reservoir under clear night skies. The whole place was pitch dark and quiet. He had got his team to cook and serve hot dinner. 

It was an experience we had not bargained for but came as a sweet bonus! 


Monday, 8 July 2013

Badami in Monsoon!

Badami in Karnataka, South India is mesmerising. More so when it rains.

We never went to Badami in Monsoon. 

Ever since we saw the picture of waterfalls as back drop to Bhootha Natha Temple hung in Hotel Badami Court where we stayed in, we always wanted to be there when it rains.

I happened to see this wonderful picture by Arun Bhat - could not resist sharing this - shot during monsoon last year. A quintessential traveller and outstanding photographer, he conducts photography workshops and workshop in Badami has just got completed. We should see some lovely pictures from him soon on his blog.

Nevertheless, if you are a photography buff, this is the best time to there. This picture below tells it all.

You can still join his Rainforest Photography tour of Agumbe. For more details click here


If you need more information on travelling to Badami, you may visit this post in this blog.

Badami, Aihole, Pattadakal - The Chalukyan heritage


Friday, 5 July 2013

Skywatch Friday - Mehrangarh Fort, Jodhpur

The Indian Desert State of Rajasthan is dotted with numerous Forts and palaces. Jodhpur is one of the important destinations in Rajasthan.

It is a small town - known as "Blue city" - with a wonderful hillock fort - palace. 

It takes at least two hours to complete the tour of the fort. The fort-palace is managed by Jodhpur royal family and they have done an excellent job in maintenance of the fort-palace and display of the royal artefacts. There are options of audio guide as well as human guides. It is recommended  to opt for either of the two which will help to understand the details of architectural heritage and stories behind the artefacts displayed in the fort-palace.

We were in Jodhpur during our long trip to Rajasthan in 2009.

Labels: ,

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Chhattisgarh Chronicles VI - Kanker Palace

We never knew that Chhattisgarh boasted palaces before we started planning this road trip. When we started doing some research on stay options, i stumbled upon some real gems – Kanker, Kanwardha and Chiukadan palaces. We decided to stay at least in one of the palaces and Chiukadan was the chosen one. Thanks to Outlook traveller, we were able to get some information about this place and planned our routes to make sure we spend a night in this palace. But we did not want to miss visiting others either. So I called up Jai, the Yuvaraja of Kanker – who also runs Bastar jungle resort where we stayed in Jagdalpur - to tell him that we will have lunch in his palace on the way to Chiukadan.

We left Jagdalpur after breakfast and reached Kanker comfortably by 1 PM. The road was excellent and had a row of trees on either side. It was virtually like going through a green tunnel. It was nice to see that majority of them were mango tress which had just bloomed. We kept our windows open to savour the aroma of these flowers. The road took us through beautiful views of Kanker ghat as well.

Kanker Ghat
Kanker town is the headquarters of Kanker district. It is a small quaint town. This must have been a small principality during British days. The Kanker palace is a huge British Bungalow built for British resident commissioner. It had all trademarks of a good old British bungalows – long corridors, large living room spanked by large bed rooms on either side. The high ceiling kept the interiors cool. 

Ravi standing next to tiger and yours truly on the sofa
Notice the hunting trophies on the wall
As per Jai, the Yuvaraja of Kanker, the original palace which was bigger was donated by his grand father to government and is now the Government office. The living room was decorated with hunting trophies of bison’s horns, tiger heads, stuffed tiger, old crystals, weaponry etc. Jai said that the forests of Kanker had many tigers and his grandfather was a good hunter. We could now fathom the reason for dwindling tiger population in these forests!

The rooms were big and elegant. The rooms sported the charming “Pankha” or “Fan” which was being pulled by servants to generate air in the room in good old days. 

The lunch was good and the "mutter paneer" was god sent. The “Pankha” in the dining hall gave  the room a subdued elegance.

As we left Kanker, we were bidding good bye to Bastar and entering the western Chattisgarh area of Rajnandgaon. Just outside the palace on the highway we saw this small lake with Shiva statue in the middle which was glowing in afternoon sun.

We were now heading to the interesting palace at Chiukadan and looking forward for our stay there.

Labels: ,