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A Travel Blog from India: November 2013

Saturday, 30 November 2013

Skywatch Friday - Road to Pangong Lake, Ladakh

Some pictures always makes you take a relook and bring back the lovely memories of a trip. It is well known that Pangong Lake in Ladakh is an amazing place. What we liked more was the lovely journey to the lake from Leh through myriad hues of Ladakh landscape. 

Like the adage goes "It is the journey which matters, not the destination", it applies to any drives in Ladakh. More so to Pangong.


For more stories on Ladakh and details on visiting the place, please click this link in this blog.

Ladakh Diaries

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Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Bandipur - Jungle is Alive!

We never get tired of visiting Bandipur.

There is always an aura of excitement when you plan a trip to a national park like Bandipur. Especially when you are visiting a park famous for its tigers. Anyone who has been to forests will agree that spotting big cats is anything but a chance. One has to be lucky. It is the excitement of looking for the elusive cat in its natural habitat which brings us back to Bandipur.

We were there last year and again in the month of may this year. The sightings were very good during this year's summer. Our plan to go during summer got delayed and mango showers had already arrived making sightings difficult. Nevertheless, the forest was alive with so many animals which made our day. We missed seeing the tiger. But we were treated with rare sighting of Leopard.

A picture is worth a thousand words!

This is a pictologue of us getting bewitched in the jungles of Bandipur. 

We get into our jeep for Safari as the sun comes up in the east 
I will also join you on the Safari!
Looking for my breakfast - Indian Grey Mongoose 
Motherly care!
Am i doing good? Peacock walk! 
Who's there? - Monitor lizard 
Click me now! Golden Tailed Mongoose
In Pensive mood - Langur
Barking deer 
Samba Deer
This was only the beginning. We were to get an experience of our lifetime - seeing Leopard in all glory and almost geting chased by a tusker!

We will share it in next Part. Stay tuned.

The Second part of our experience in Bandipur can be read by clicking the link below.

Bandipur 2 - Tale of a Big Cat!

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Sunday, 24 November 2013

Road Trip Vignettes - Lovely landscape around Mysore!

We could not wait to post this picture.

We were driving back from Mysore to Bangalore in the morning today. It had rained heavily on the previous night. The fields looked fresh as if they had taken a good shower!

We found this lovely landscape on the way to Bannur. This region is considered as "Rice bowl" of Karnataka. The paddy crop is ripening and getting ready for harvesting. When it is time for harvesting, the paddy fields turn golden yellow. The fields provide a beautiful contrast to the green colour of trees, grey flowers of Sugarcane and blue sky above. 


You will find such lovely landscape if you are driving during this time of the year in and around Mysore, Coorg and in Malnad region. Look out and enjoy these lovely colours.

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Friday, 22 November 2013

Skywatch Friday - Gangaikonda Cholapuram

We have been to Brihadeshwara temple in Thanjavur many times. But every time, we have been to Thanjavur, somehow we used to miss another great temple at Gangaikonda Cholapuram. This time we did not want to miss this. 

On the way back from Thanjavur, we stopped over at this great temple. It was around noon and the sky was clear with few clouds. The mighty tower seemed to be reaching the sky. 


A detailed post on Thanjavur will follow. Till then, if you are interested to know more about Chola temples you may click on this link.

Gangaikonda Cholapuram in Wiki

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Sunday, 17 November 2013

Skywatch Friday - Rejuvenation in Bandipur!

We were in Bandipur National Park in May this year. 

This year's summer was very severe in the forests of Bandipur and Mudumalai.  The forest department had to hire water tankers to fill the water holes. It was also the best time for spotting the big cats. Our aim was also doing just that. But when we decided to finally make it to the forests, couple of good mango showers had ensured there was enough water in the forest. This meant there was glim chance of seeing big cats. (However we were lucky to spot a leopard twice. We will write about it in detail later) But the forests had been rejuvenated. The leaves had sprouted on the dry trees and the forest was looking fresh and green.

When we were going on safari, we noticed this tree - not sure about the name - which was looking lovely with a clear sky for the background. The new leaves had sprouted and covered the complete tree. They looked like flowers from the distance. The tender leaves were crimson in colour which made the tree look beautiful. 


These are the small charms of wandering in the forests. If you are unlucky to miss seeing big cats, these little things help you go back with fond memories and luring you to return!

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Thursday, 14 November 2013

Road trip Vignettes - Refreshing Tender Coconuts on Ooty road!

Being roadtrippers, one thing we always relish during our drives is the "tender coconut". It is very refreshing and healthy. This is especially so when you drive anywhere in Karnataka when you will always come across a small roadside outlet selling tender coconuts. There is nothing beautiful about these places. 

But if you have travelled to Ooty from Mysore, you would have noticed the fascinating array of coconuts on the road. They are arranged like a pillar which is visible from a long distance enticing curiosity. When you come near, you realise that they are beautifully arranged tender coconuts. Having travelled many times on this stretch, we always stop at one of these places to savour it and refresh ourselves. 



Few months back, we did stop at this place near Nanjanagud. The coconuts were arranged beautifully and they looked aesthetically brilliant. We asked, Siddappa, the owner of the outlet what made him do this when many of his peers elsewhere just kept them. The answer was insightful. 

"We wanted to do something different from others and thought of this. Also it looks nice. Isn't it?"

 "Yes, it is. Has your business increased once you installed the "coco pillar"? 

"Yes, it has. people stop to check it out of curiosity and then ask for tender coconuts."

Any innovative idea, is always welcomed and so is Siddappa's others of his ilk on this road. Sure, it also helps him to earn few extra bucks as well!

Now you know where to stop when you drive to Ooty from Mysore. Stop at any othese places and and get refreshed!

Want to read more vignettes from our road trips? Please click here.

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Monday, 11 November 2013

India Travel Stories from others - Hema Ramprasad on "Mysore and Yoga"

Mysore, the cultural capital of Karnataka in South India is well known for its beautiful palace. Not many know that Mysore is also famous for its Yoga teachers and Yoga tradition. The famous Yoga Guru Sri B K S Iyengar is from Mysore. The city has a grand old tradition of imparting Yoga to discerning students.

We thought of sharing this excellent article by Ms Hema Ramprasad which is published in the latest issue of Indian publication of National Geographic Traveller. She has given lot of details which is very helpful for anyone looking for a "Yoga holiday" in Mysore. This is the best season to be in Mysore when the rains have come to an end and there is a nip in the air. The city still retains its laid back charm which is apt for a yoga holiday!



Read all about "Mysore and Yoga" by clicking this link. 


For other related posts on Mysore, please click this link


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Friday, 8 November 2013

Skywatch Friday - Kandariya Mahadeo Temple, Khajuraho

The small town of Khajuraho in central India is known for its erotic temples. Unfortunately, so. The temples are much more than that. In fact, there are very few erotic sculptures on the walls. But it is the beauty of the sculptures which is mesmerising. You can see similar refinement in the temples of Belur and Halebidu in Karnataka. The chiseled features of various gods and goddesses and maidens on the walls of Kandariya Mahadev temple - the largest in Khajuraho - is seen to be believed. We were there in October, 2011.


This picture was shot late in the afternoon. Few clouds were hanging in the sky. The best time to click pictures in Khajuraho is early in the morning. Go there when the temple complex open at 6.30 AM. Not many people will around and you can see the place in peace and click some lovely pictures too.

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Thursday, 7 November 2013

Five lovely Treks in Karnataka!

The rains have stopped and mountains are green. The waterfalls are still lovely. This is the time to walk up the mountains. To Walk in the woods. To breathe fresh air and be on top of the world!

The state of Karnataka is blessed with spectacular mountain ranges. Western Ghats - a UNESCO Heritage site and Biodiversity hotspot - with its rolling mountains and virgin forests provide ample trekking opportunities to adventure freaks.The following is the list of our favourites in the state. Go there now when the landscape is still green and leeches have gone home!

These are the five lovely treks you should do before the next monsoon. Why not also hear first hand account form some trekking freaks as well. Read on.


Kumara Parvatha

KP as its is popularly known, it has been ages since we did this trek. The big daddy of all treks in the state. It is a sheer climb. You will be greeted by outstanding views of Pushpagiri ranges from the summit. 

Beautiful view from KP (Photo courtesy - Mars Adventurers)
Bare Facts
  • Distance from Bangalore - 280 Kms
  • Difficulty - Moderate to Difficult
  • Distance - 13 Kms (One side)
  • Height - 1712 Mts
  • Time to trek - 8 - 10 hours (One side)
  • Camping site - Near Kallu Mantapa, The forest after Shesha Parvatha, Kumara Parvatha peak
  • Best time to trek - Oct to Feb
  • Permission - Required, should be taken at forest office
  • Trekking fees - Trekking fee - Rs 75, Camera fee - Rs 100, Guide fee - Rs 100
  • Beware of - Snakes and Leeches in post monsoon
  • Contact Number - Battaramane - 9448647947 (For food and Accommodation)
A detailed first hand account of the trek by Shuva in his blog here.

How to Trek Kumara Parvatha

Kodachadri

Known for its lovely sunrise and sun sets, this trek is a sheer joy. Not as tough as KP, Kodachadri nevertheless is a trek you will come back with fond memories. If you want to see the sun rise and sun sets - which you should - then you need to camp for the night. You will not regret getting up early to watch the beautiful skies.

Sunrise @ Kodachadri (Photo Courtesy - Madhav Jois)
Bare facts 
  • Distance from Bengaluru (Bangalore) - 394KMS 
  • Difficulty - Moderate
  • Height - 1343 mts
  • Distance - 4 KMS(Approx)
  • Time to trek - 4-5 hours(1 day trek)
  • Camping site - PWD Guest House
  • Best time to trek - Oct to Feb
  • Permission - Not required
  • Beware of  - Leeches in post monsoon
Let us know more as Sandeep treks Kodachadri......

Trek to Kodachadri

Mullayanagiri
You would have possibly driven up to the highest point in Karnataka. How about walking up now? It is a day trek. Ideally, it should be good to camp on the summit overnight if you want to see spectacular sunrise and sunsets from this place. 

On cloud 9 @ Mullayanagiri! (Photo courtesy - Mahabala Sitalabhavi)
Bare facts
  • Distance from Bangalore - 267 Kms
  • Trek starting point - Sarpadaari. Sarpadhari is kannada word which means path like a snake, 'sarpa' stands for snake and 'daari' for way. rom Chikmagalur proceed towards Bababudangiri, near Kaimara you have to take left turn (8 kms from Chikmagalur). You will hit Y intersection, Your left side road goes to mullayanagiri peak(direct road till peak ). If you want to trek then just move straight further 500 mts. You will find small arch towards your left. That is called Sarpadhari. This will be your starting point. 
  • Difficulty - Easy
  • Distance - 9 Kms (One side)
  • Peak Height - 1,930 meters (6,330 ft) from sea level.
  • Time to trek - 4-5hours (one side)
  • Camping site - Not allowed
  • Best time to trek - Oct to Feb
  • Permission - Required, should be taken forest office
  • Trekking fees - Nil
Read on trekking to Mullayanagiri from Kotresh, a passionate trekker.

Kotresh treks to Mullayanagiri

Tadiandamol

The small district of Coorg is known as "Scotland of the east" for its rolling hills. The enchanting valleys and waterfall are all there to see when one treks to Tadiandamol, the tallest peak in Coorg.

Lovely vistas @ Tadiandamol (Photo Courtesy - Vineeth YS)
Bare Facts
  • Distance from Bengaluru (Bangalore) - 260 KMs 
  • Difficulty - Moderate
  • Peak height - 1740 mts
  • Trek distance - 4 KMS (one side)
  • Time to trek - 6 - 8 hours(1 day trek)
  • Camping site - At the foothills of the peak ( a huge rock )
  • Best time to trek - Oct to Feb
  • Beware of - High Wind at peak
Trekking tale from Santosh.....

Santosh treks Tadiandamol!

Kudremukh

Ever Since mining was banned in Kudremukh ranges, it has become a trekkers paradise. The lush green forests and lovely meadows beackon you. Once you reach the summit it is a sheer joy to savour the vistas of sahyadris.
Awesome Kudremukh (Photo Courtesy - Premnath Thirumalaisamy)
Bare facts
  • Distance from Bangalore - 332 Kms
  • Trek starting point - Mullodi 6 kms uphill from Balegal(Balegallu), on Kalasa to Kuduremukh Road
  • Difficulty - Moderate
  • Distance - 9 Kms (One side)
  • Peak height - 1892 mts
  • Time to trek - 4-5hours (one side)
  • Camping site - Not allowed
  • Best time to trek - Oct to Feb
  • Permission - Required, should be taken forest office
  • Trekking fees - Rs 275 per person
Let us hear trekking experience to Kudremukh in the words of Manjunath.....

Trek to Kudremukh

Five peaks to climb this winter. 

Put on your hiking shoes and walk up. 

You will come back refreshed!

You may also be interested in reading the other trekking stories in this blog.

Triund Trek - A heavenly hike in Himalayas!

Dudhsagar Falls - A monsoon trek on Railway track!

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Sunday, 3 November 2013

Diwali in Amritsar

We are still in the middle of Diwali celebrations. 

I am writing this post as crackers burst and rockets zoom to sky. The sky looks beautiful with spectacular lights and the street is lit by flowerpots. It is a day of rejoicing and praying. Day when sweets are distributed and gifts are exchanged.

One of spectacular Diwali to witness is in Amritsar. Diwali is holy for Sikhs and Amritsar is the place to be when the Golden temple and surroundings are dazzling. Fireworks add to the grand finale of the festivities in this holy place. 

Here are few pictures which should allure you to plan your next trip to Amritsar during Diwali.








Here is a Youtube link on fireworks in Amritsar during Diwali.


Photo courtesy - Except of the first picture from the top, all other photos are shot by Gurpreet Singh Dubb. The first picture is by Gurmeet Singh. 

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Friday, 1 November 2013

Skywatch Friday - Fireworks over Tunga in Tirthahalli

Deepavali/Diwali is round the corner. We wish you all a very happy and prosperous Deepavali/Diwali. 

When we talk about Deepavali/Diwali or Festival of lights, it is the lovely fireworks that cross our mind. Colourful and bright, they lit up the night sky making it look lovely.

We happened to see this lovely picture. It is shot at dusk over River Tunga in Tirthahalli in the Malnad region of South Indian state of Karnataka. Tunga in winter is a gentle river and forms lovely sand banks on its course in and around Tirthahalli. The 80 year old bridge over the river is an architect's delight.


In the month of December, "Teppotsava" a week long festival of Lord Rameshwara bring scores of people to this small town. Fireworks on the banks of the river in the evening is part of the festivities and the whole area looks spectacular. 

For more information on Tirthahalli, you may look at the following posts in this blog.


Photo Courtesy - http://shimoganext.com/

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