December 22, 2009

A Drive Along The Coromandel Coast

Nearly after 6 months down the lane when we had been to Kodaikanal we decided to have another such family outing. The destination was pretty much decided to be Pondicherry and the surrounding places if time permits.

[Hosur Road-Nice Road Junction]

We had decided to leave early in the morning. We were ready to leave at around 6.15 am. Drove through the Outer Ring Road upto Bannerghatta Road and then took a right to reach the Nice Ring Road(Diversions are a bit confusing though) in order to join the Hosur Road(NH-7).

After joining Hosur road the drive was smooth 4 lane road. But we were directly driving towards the rising sun which made the matter a wee bit uncomfortable. Drive to Krishnagiri was smooth with a slight traffic jam experienced at Hosur.

After the Krishnagiri toll booth there is a huge board directing the people to Chennai and Pondicherry's direction. Took a left at this point. And just after taking the turn within a couple of Kilometers there is diversion to the right to travel towards Pondicherry on NH-66(One more 6 and it would have been a ride to hell :P). Anyway the road was smooth apart from a few hiccups here and there in the form of deep and deadly potholes. In short, smooth roads encourages people speed up and these sudden potholes results in screeched braking.

Anyway the route was good apart from the already mentioned potholes. The major headaches along the route the totally congested Tamil Nadu towns we encountered in between. These were a nigthmare to navigate through(read Tiruvanamalai). Encountered the beautiful Gingee fort just of the highway.

[Gingee Fort]
Since the climb to the fort seemed pretty steep and travelling with the family we chose the laid back approach and decided to just admire the fort from the distance. One thing to mention is that there is no decent eateries along the entire path until Pondicherry.

Just as we approached the Pondicherry border the scene drastically changed from the dirty, drainage overflowing 2 lane roads of Tamil Nadu to landscaped 4 lane beautiful road of Pondicherry. These things can only happen in India :P.

[Pondicherry Entrance]

Thus we entered the "French Riviera of the East". One of the cleanest cities in southern India. Driving through the calm streets of Pondi we were able to experience leisure driving within city limits long forgotten in the streets of Bangalore. Time was around an hour past noon taking a total of 7 hrs for the drive from Bangalore in our humble Maruthi 800. Started looking for some rooms to stay, and found the Hotel Continental just around 400 m from the Pondicherry beach. Pretty decent one and within our budget. From there started the search for a decent veg hotel and got one. Food was nothing spectacular so don't remember the name :(.

[Pondicherry Beach]
After lunch we went in search of Pondicherry museum. The museum building was a restored residence of the viceroy of Pondicherry. Nothing spectacular in the museum, but some time can be spent here nevertheless.

[Governor's Residence]

[Pondicherry Bay Area]

[Mahatma Ghandhi Statue]

Towards the evening we moved towards the famous Auro beach via the drive along the East Coast road towards chennai. This beautiful beach is around around 8 kms from the city, and the traffic was pretty heavy too :(. Anyway we chilled in the beach , playing in water etc.

[Auro Beach]

Returned back to the city by nightfall and started to explore the city by foot and also to find some good restaurant to have our dinner and found a place called "Bilva"on MG road. Food, ambiance and service was very good. A must visit for vegetarians coming to Pondi.

Overall a point to remember for those planning on a vacation to pondi is that there are not many places to visit (beaches, ashram, museum). Its best for those who want to just chill and relax in this laid back city and do nothing :P and this was perfect for us on a family vacation.

[Sun Rise-Pondicherry]


Woke up before dawn in order to catch the sunrise from the Bay of Bengal. Was a bit cloudy on the horizon, even then when the sun rose from behind the clouds was a very pretty sight to watch.

Our next destination for the day was Mahabalipuram. A town famous for archeological excavations having structures built by the pallava kings dating back to 7th-9th century . Moved along the East coast road, a 2 lane highway connecting Chennai. Paid the required toll tax and whizzed along this smooth highway with the Bay Of Bengal giving constant companion along the right side of the road.

[East Coast Road]

Reached Mahabalipuram in an hour and half. Saw a board giving direcctions to the Five chariots(five monolithic pyramidal structures named after the Pandavas). These chariots had very detailed and beautiful carving on them. Also this is a good place to do some memorabilia shopping.

[Five Chariots-Mahabalipuram]

[Modern Lion Posing with the ancient one :P]

With our tummies rumbling sans no breakfast we went to a hotel "Mahabalipuram Tiffins" and had our breakfast. Mahabalipuram is in fact a very small town with the major revenue earner being tourism. There are 3 sites for visit. First is the Five chariots, and if we move along the same road within 500 m or so we get the second site which contains a huge number of excavations including the Mahishashuramardhini Temple,Krishna's butter ball, Varaha Devi Temple, Arjuna's Penance etc. In short there are nearly 10-12 structures in the second site and they are placed at some considerable distances taking nearly 2-3 hrs to explore all of them in a relaxed manner. Even then some depictions like Arjuna's Penance didnt make any sense to me :P.

[Light House -Mahabalipuram]

[Mahisasuramardhini Temple]

[Inner View Depicting the Goddess]

[Mantap Hall]

[Krishna's Butter Ball]

[A Family Pic]

[Arjuna's Penance]

The final site to visit is the Shore temple around couple of kms from the second. I have never heard anything like "Shore Temple"("Shore" as in sea shore) before this. This sea facing temple has taken the brunt of the seas with considerable erosions of all the carvings.

Also a mention to the Archeological Survey Of India which has done a good job of maintaining all these structures and increasing their aesthetic value by maintaining beautiful lawns, flowering gardens around these centuries old structures.

[Shore Temple-Mahabalipuram]
Went to the beautiful blue watered Mahabalipuram beach, next door to the Shore temple and we can get a glimpse of Kalpakkam Nuclear Power station at a considerable distance to the south(or i thought it was :D)

[Mahabalipuram Beach]

Then we moved towards Kanchepuram via the SH-58. Here too they collected toll for highway usage. But the initial stretch of the highway was horrible considering that we paid toll for this bloody road. Guess Tamil Nadu Govt has privatized all the highways under its jurisdiction and these private companies are misusing it. Anyway as we approach Kanchipuram the roads become good.

Went to have darshan at the temple, but to our bad luck it was closed for another 90 mins or so. So considering that we have to reach Bangalore we left Kanchepuram and joined the Chennai-Bangalore Super Highway :P. Ride along this route was smooth with our Maruthi 800 doing 130-135 kmph at some stretches. Reached Bangalore at around 7.30 pm and again took the NICE road to reach our home bringing down the curtains on this laidback vacation.

[Route Map]

December 19, 2009

Avatar : An Experience and Review

Nearly 5 months since I took a voluntary "sanyas" from movie watching in theaters because of obvious reasons (For people who are a bit of tubelights like me ....... think H1 * cough* N1 *cough* :P) something compelled me to break that and come again and watch movies in theaters. That reason was none other than the movie "Avatar" in 3-D, the most awaited movie of 2009.

This is the first movie I have watched in 3-D and boy it was spectacular, a visual extravaganza. So got an opportunity to watch this movie from one of my favorite directors, James Cameron. Got tickets booked for saturday noon show at INOX theatre, Garuda Mall at a steep charge of 375/- per ticket(phewww!!!!!).

The movie starts with the "20th Century Fox" logo displayed in 3-D giving an idea of what to expect from the entire movie. I had wrong perception that this was displayed in true 3-D here in India, but i was wrong. The screen gives only the sense of depth and objects doesnt seem to be floating out of the screen as I had expected. Even then it was a treat to the eyes. Giving an extra dimension in the screen is a totally different experience. :).

Coming back to the storyline of the movie, it was not completely original. Going through the various stages of the movie you cannot resist remembering movies with the similar storyline like The Last Samurai and the more recent The Surrogates (If u were one of those unlucky bas****s who watched this :P). Movie starts with Jake Sullyman (Sam Worthington) signing up for project in background of his brothers death. Due to the similiar DNA as his brother, he is brought on board on a mission in a distant earth like heavenly body named Pandora. This moon Pandora has a native humanoid race,named Na'vi, 10 foot tall with blue colored skin. The job of Jake is to take control of a Na'vi body(similar to Surrogates) and infiltrate the indigenous population for Intel, so that the human bosses can retrieve the huge deposits of a highly expensive mineral right under the Na'vi tribes settlement. So this movie deals basically how Jakes enters the tribe and learns various customs, tradition and how he falls in love with the princess of the tribe and finally turning against the humans.

Overall apart from the visual extravaganza the movie has heart (unlike CGI filled movies Michael Bay churns out Transformers 2).Nearly 80% of the movie is pure CGI, even then you feel the visuals are authentic, with the attention given to very minute details. The actions scenes are spectacular(due to 3-D effect ????? !!!!! :P) keeping action buffs like me interested and on the edge of the seats. Even the total run time of nealy 2 hrs 45 mins will give you the impression that it is a really long movie, but believe me you wont even know how the time fly's by. At no moment of the entire movie was I bored or uninterested, totally glued to the screen :). Rating wise I would give it a 4.25 out of 5.

And in comparison to other of Cameron's movies(in decreasing order)

2.Terminator 2
5.The Abyss
6. Terminator
7. True Lies

So don't miss this movie and insist on watching it in 3-D theaters, bcoz 3-D television sets are a good 2 years from coming into India. Finally I am back to continuing my "sanyas" with a slight glitch in between :).

Statutory Warning: Prolonged viewing of 3-D visuals using the special glasses might lead to mild headaches :).

November 22, 2009

Manchanabele Revisited

Nearly a year later when we were legally mugged by a group of cops (Supposed to be curfew after 6pm, so got detained and got relieved of all our Ghandhi potraits :( ), I again got an oppurtunity to visit this godforsaken place in my cycle.

During the weekday Raghav proposed that we go the Big Banyan Tree off the Mysore Road. I too agreed. After the initial confusion the date was decided to be 22 Nov 2009 and we planned to leave early in the morning at around 6.30 am.

Raghav arrived a bit late we met at the rendezvous point near my house. Hence we moved along the Uttarahalli Road to join the Mysore Road at Kengeri. This morning ride was very good. Be it cycling or biking the morning is the best time (The midnight comes a close second).

We joined the Mysore road and moved along it. Then around 7-8 kms from Kengeri we took a right at the Rajarajeshwari dental college into a two lane road. The condition of the road was very good till we reached the Big Banyan tree.This has nothing but as the name suggests a very big Banyan tree. The time was just 7.45 am or so. Met another group of cyclists who were going towards Savandurga. After an exchange of pleasentaries they recommended us to go to Manchanabele reservoir supposedly to be around 10-15 kms from that place.

After the Big Banyan tree we took a left at a junction and proceeded in it. The roads were pretty damaged..... more or less it was a dirt trail. But having a mountain bike makes matter much easier in these kind of situation, even though I moved slowly(having a relatively new bike) raghav on the other hand went through this as it was any other road.

As we move on this road, we got the first up-close view of the reservoir. It was as if from a scene from a cheap horror movie........ jumping on you :P........

Went by the water, spent some 10 mins or so clicking pics and then left that place. Just after the reservoir while moving towards Mysore road there is huge incline and throughout the entire ride so far this was the toughest one.

Anyway in short the return journey is dotted with pretty steep inclines and add to that the sun out of its hiding place and shining in its full glory resulting in us starting to experience some fatigue.

So pedaled at whatever pace that was possible and somehow reached Uttarahalli road via Kengeri and by this time Raghav had ridden far ahead and was completely out of sight. Now nearly 5 km from home I started to get slight dizziness. Thankfully Raghav was by the road side sipping flavoured milk. Within no time I too stopped and ordered a bottle and after drinking somewhat came to my senses. Anyway after that pedaled towards my home and reached at around 10.40 am, taking a total of 3hrs 50 mins.

More or less it was an eventless ride, with high points being chased by 2-3 dogs :P.

Total Distance Cycled- 70km
Time Taken - 3hrs 50 mins

P.S.- after getting attacked by a dog once while cycling(still one shot left out of the total 5 shots :( )have now developed a fool proof plan to avoid such situations. The trick is to just shout at the dogs in a very commanding manner and they whimper and stop. Success rate 100% so far :)

November 1, 2009

Cyclothon: Back To Basics Experience.......And the After"shocks"

"Cyclothon - Participate in the Corporate Team Ride" screamed the broadcast mail sent by our companies cycling club. "Hmmm" I thought and went through the mail since I nothing better to do at that moment. The first thing that caught my eyes was the distance of 25km that had to be pedaled, with just the thigh power and nothing else. "You must be joking!!!!".........Having pedaled a max of 20km in a day, that too when in "prime cycling form" in high school I thought it cant be done. Atleast without any training. I removed that subject from my head and had forgotten about that completely.

In a few days a couple of my friends got registered for this event. This again made me start thinking......."well what do i loose in trying.......lets give it a shot". Hence shot a mail and got registered paying 170 bucks for the event participation. The event was to be held in NICE ring road, entry via the Tumkur Road. Also since I didnt have a cycle I preferred to rent one from the organizers.

The organizers had organized an expo in Koramangala indoor stadium where we were supposed to get the BIB number and the more important goody bag :P. It was nothing of an expo as I had expected when we went there, couple of stalls and that's it. Got the bib number and collected the goody bag(got a helmet, cycling backpack, and lots of free stuff related to the event like electrolyte etc...and totally unrelated stuffs like tea bags,soup packets :D).

Then came the race day on 11th October 2009. Had a tough time getting up at around 7am.......4hrs earlier than usual on a lazy sunday morning :P. Got ready and all set to enjoy a good bike(motorized...not to be confused with its more simpler cousin :) ) ride on Tumkur road. But that was not to be the case. The entire road was clogged with some or the other construction work going on along the entire stretch. Moved with snails pace. Was surprised to see some of the participants for the race arriving in the their cycle's just zooming in and out traffic as if a water seeping through sand. I was made sense to ride a bicycle in the chaotic Bangalore traffic than riding huge bikes and cars. What you need is 1 foot gap, and considering that the expensive car owners leave about the same or more amount of gap in order to avoid any damage or scratches on their beloved babies and voila you are guaranteed that amount of space for unhindered travel. Even if that amount of space is not available then you can just jump into the footpaths......atleast then someone will be using it , having seen most of the pedestrians walking on the roads instead of footpaths. Also the health factor also comes into play. So what you get is a win-win situation.

[Rows of Cycles for rent]

Anyway reached the destination(BIEC) at around 8.40 am. Corporate race was supposed to start at around 9 and most of our company mates had already assembled in the hanger. Now I was supposed to hire a bicycle for the race. Went to another hanger and saw a huge rush to get the bicycles. Everyone was in a hurry to get a bicycle for rent , with tempers rising it sometimes led to scuffles with the organizers. Anyway got the receipt for the cycle rent after paying 100 bucks. When I went to collect the cycle I noticed that my BIB number had been exchanged in all that hulla-bulla at the hiring counter. Reassured myself that it wont matter(Since I was pretty damn sure I was not going to be among the top finishers of the day :) ) and collected the bike.

The bike was a BSA Mach without gears. Nothing flashy but appropriate for the task of completing the race. And then I mounted the cycle after nearly 7 years. "Woaaw"....felt as if something was missing between my legs ;), after riding a motorbike for all these years. Even though I have a solid balance, had a tough time balancing the cycle. Anyway after a couple of minutes got control of the bike and was pedaling flawlessly. but by this the time was nearly 9.20 and all my company mates had already started the race(participants were left in batches). So all alone I assembled at the start point searching for a familiar face in the sea of strangers. Found none...........

Anyway off we started the race.......started to pedal with full steam.......atleast wanted to be captured by the press photographers to be splashed across the newspapers. :P. After a couple of hundred meters started the first steep gradient in form of the flyover ramp in order to connect to the NICE ring road. Now the extra fat(or/and muscles) I had gained in all these 7 years started to flash before my eyes . Slowly I pedaled through the gradient. Once again on the level ground I started to gain speed. "Pretty decent!!!!!" i thought I still have the ability to power a bicycle (even though I do some medium distant running in order to keep fit).

[Thats me in the Right Hand Corner- Found this snap by chance]

There were a lot of army participants in the race. In the initial part of the race they pedaled with full josh overtaking everyone. But as time progressed I gradually started to gain on them. There can either be 2 explanation for this since both of us were riding the same bicycles........either those army dudes were newbies or that I am tougher than them :D......."keep dreaming" :P...... Anyway after the initial fatigue which I got for mounting the bike after 7 years , the going was pretty manageable. I kept pedaling at a decent pace....on one hand never taking rest or on the other hand never pedaling like a maniac.......just constant pace......

The road was very smooth and straight..........Encountered a lot of cheering (or jeering....couldnt make it out :) )crowd on top of overhanging bridges. Atlast reached the half way point where we had to take a "U" turn. Aha 12.5 kms completed......12.5 km yet to go,............

The second stage was more fun.........I started to enjoy the surrounding as my legs were automatically pedaling without my interference. People from all age group were seen cycling......right from students, army cadets, software professionals,retired people,kids, babes :) was as if a giant cauldron stirring people from different walks of life.....Anyway after much pedaling reached back to BIEC at around 10.35 .......The total time taken according to my stop-watch was 69 mins for the 25kms...(22km/hr)......pretty decent I should say for a person who came out of cycling retirement after 7 years :D.

Anyway after the race came back to my home ...exhausted..... The bike racing had literally been a pain in the ass for the next 2 days.....Anyway after the race the cycling concept took a backseat again and I didnt think about it at all....

Then suddenly nearly 18 days after the race I suddenly had the urge to buy a bicycle......catalyst of which is still unknown to me.......Called Raghav for some gyaan on which cycle to buy........He initially suggested to go for some Trek cycle.......and I was insistence on buying a local one(read Hercules,hero) since I was not sure for how long this madness(in a good way :) ) was gonna last. Anyway much later he suggested Rockrider 5.1. Did some were favorable and the price acceptable. One quote is "One of the best mountain bikes for beginners"......beginner ????...well thats me...

On the first available opportunity went to RR cycle shop in madivala to check out some of the bikes over there...... Had no intention of buying one that day........ Checked out the Rockrider 5.1......looked pretty decent to decided on instinct to buy it on the same day......Paid around 10.8K for the cycle+accessories(bell,stand,mud-guard,front and tail LED lights, reflectors, chain lock,bottle holder). Rode the bicycle back to my house(around 11 kms from there) and first time experienced the effects of riding the bicycle in bangalore traffic. No gap was too small for the cycle. Initial experience was awesome apart from the problems I had with changing the gears.

Reached home and after refreshing myself and getting into comfortable clothing suitable for biking went for a ride in the almost desolate Uttarahalli road. This ride was pretty spectacular, as good as riding a motorbike in long endless highways....wind breezing through my ears. Pedaled around 18km in that road amounting to around 28km pedaled in a single day. I am pushing the limits of my body at much greater intervals than Usain Bolt is breaking his own records :D.

Coming to the bike, it is smooth. Seats seemed a bit stiff in the beginning , but now my ass has adapted to it.Brakes are very responsive. Gear shifts are a bit rough though.......Apart from that its a very good bike.

Anyway nowadays after getting back from work I just head for a ride for an hour or so. Still not sure whether I should head towards my office direction (total round trip will amount to 42km :( ). Think someday I will, atleast once ..thats for sure :P.

(Update 15/11/09)- Did my first half century(55km) on a solo round trip to Bidadi in 2hrs 40 mins :)

(Update 20/11/09)-Encouraged by the half century ride went to office in my bike...covering nearly 45kms(longer but smoother route via inner ring road)

(update 01/08/10)- Repeated the bidadi ride and completed in 2 hrs 20 mins inspite of afternoon sun and side winds... a 20 mins improvement in 9 months :)

October 5, 2009

Conquest Of The Enchanting Kodachadri

Just 2 weeks down after a major trip to Wayanad and suddenly Prasanna started proposing to go for another trip(Since he had skipped the Wayanad trip and was now repenting :P). I was a bit apprehensive in the beginning, so prasanna decided to take all the responsibility regarding the trip and me just playing the supporting role. Initial plan was to go for a single day trip to Kodachadri and spending 2 days in Honnemaradu. But because of the weekend rush we could not find any slots available in there. Also because of the same reason we could not find any bus tickets on Thursday night(1st Oct, since 2nd Oct is a national holiday). This resulted in drastic change of plans and resulted in 2 days plan to kodachadri. Booked the tickets for friday night to Kollur even though there was a lot of confusion resulting in booking and cancelling done every other minute. Also called the Bhatta’s mane in kodachadri and booked the accommodation for the night, since the Govt PWD guest house was undergoing some renovation work. Anyway in the end 6 people were confirmed for the trip (manju,prasanna,shantu,umesh,chandan and myself)

Day 0(2-Oct-2009)

The trip was officially thrown open when all of us assembled at the KSRTC bus stand in Majestic area. We graced the last row seats making us feel at home (have been gracing these seats throughout my schooling and college years :P). The Rajahamsa bus was pretty decent apart from the occasional "touch the sky" moments gifted to us. After so much of "jhataks and mataks"all we could manage was a few hours of sleep (3.5 hrs in my case).

Day 1(3-Oct-2009)

During the wee hours of the day the bus broke down just around 70-80kms from kollur. Now the group was divided into two, one wanted to directly start the trek without going to Kollur and other which wanted to go to kollur and get freshened up and then attempt the trek. Anyhow after debating, the later was decided since everyone dont have the same storage capacity :P....

We reached kollur quite late at around 8 in the morning against the expected time of 6. Booked a room for a couple of hours and got freshened up. Had one of the worst breakfasts in my memorable life-time at Hotel Mayura having idlis and rasam(ya strange combination). So barely able to eat those couple of idlis we decided its better to leave the place for good than filling up our tummies with junk.

Moved towards the Kollur main bus stand (just around 200m from the temple) in order to board a bus to our trekking start point. Initially we had decided that we start the trek from the Marakuttaka point which was much difficult and via the Hindlumane falls. But as soon we boarded the locals told that climbing via the Marakuttaka point at this point of the rainy season was a very bad idea and its better to climb via the Karakatte point. So taking the locals advice we decided to climb via the later. The ricketty bus was filled to the brime and we moved from the Bus stand.(and to the bad luck of some we again got the back seats :P )

Got down at the Karakatte point and a milestone gave the distance to Kodchadri as 10km. We were joined by another group from Bangalore. No soon as we got down the bus we started applying all sort of anti-leech agents(tobacco, calcium carbonate, lime juice, eucalyptus oil) on our legs,shoes and what not ;). The other group which came with no such preparation were staring at us in some sort of ridicule. And off we started on this route at around 11.30 a.m..

The initial part of the trek was a jeep track leading to some place other than Kodchadri.

This path was flat with very decent gradients and passing through dense forested area. It was a very good experience passing through the rain soaked dense jungle. But we had a bigger surprise in store for us. Within 5 mins of the trek we had a first sighting of the dreaded leech. The first one had got stuck to prasanna’s shoes. As we stopped to clear that we could find a lot more of its buddies crawling towards us. Hence started the race against time. We walked continuously without taking a break, never stopping, never sitting, never giving the leeches the opportunity, or so we thought.

We caught up with the other group. Now they were freaked out like hell, having been attacked by the leeches mercilessly. The leeches have a tendency of climbing on the souls of the shoes and then working their way to the top……to achieve their ultimate goal…..human blood….. For every step we kept we would find a couple of leeches sticking to our shoes, with a lot more, less fit leeches trying to climb :P….

Anyway because of all the preparation we had done we had very few bites so far….So far only Chandan got one bite. Anyway after the initial leech scare we gradually started to shift the spotlight from them towards the natural surroundings which we were supposed to enjoy in the first place. The trek was very good, greenery everywhere, lawns of grass…..sunlight hardly penetrating through the army of trees at some points. After not so exhausting walk we reached the opening where a school and the famous Santosh Hotel was situated. This opening was completely surrounded by the mist covered mountains. Was a very pretty sight.

Entered the hotel to have some rest for the first time in the trip. There was another group which were descending from the peak and they told that the entire path is infested with leeches more so as we move further. Anyway by this time we hardly bothered about the leeches. Got some sort of salt-sunna solution which we applied on our feet. After having a really strong drink(it was passed to us as lime-soda…….but I really doubt it :P ) and resting for a couple of minutes we started to move further. Now there was the cross-road, the jeep track which veered to the left and a path to the right . Confused as which one to take we went back to the hotel and asked for the clarifications and finally taking the path to the right.

Now the actual trek experience started. We started the accent of the kodachadri peak.But as always it suddenly started to rain very heavily(count is 5 :D). We started to experience a phenomenon we had not experienced earlier. The rain water which was collected in the top of the mountain would rush towards the base following the laws of gravity…….in form of small, strong rivulets. Now we were not traversing along the jungle path but along the jungle streams flowing with such a might that they would even make their bigger cousins proud J. It was an awesome experience. Anyway the ascent was slow thanks to our backpacks weighing nearly 15kgs each and on top of that the around 1-2kgs of sleeping bags. This entire weight was nothing more than dead weight which we were to discover much later.

After the rain we were completed attacked by almost all the elements of nature (fire was the only thing missing………but thinking about it , its better to leave that for good :P ). The initial path was pretty steep and we moved at snails pace, but not resting at any place (you will be knowing the reason for that by now J ). Reached a small opening after traversing through the dense jungle. Here the view which we were able to see was beyond description. Saw a group of trekkers coming down saying the path further up was blocked by a water stream and path was not at all visible.

Now the other group which was following us reached this spot and hearing this statement from the descenders made them nervous. So they decided to return back along with the other group. Anyway the majority of us were in favour of going up and finishing the trip,but there was some murmer within the group to reconsider the ground realities……. By this time Shantu was pretty much exhausted and he was pretty much sitting everywhere possible….following the statement given by a fellow trekker at Hotel Santosh …….”f**k the leeches” :P…..

Anyway after debating for a couple of minutes and making a few calls to the Bhattra Mane(Ya u get Vodafone signal up here and no airtel …strange :P …same it is in kollur)we decided to press on towards the peak. Now we got one opening…….now the scenary here was the baap of all the sceneries we had encountered earlier. We could see rows and rows of mountains covered with virgin forests and a few water falls we were able to sight. These mountains were covered with a hint of mist, not too heavy so as to block our sight….just perfect. After spending a couple of minutes at this point we moved further. The path now was passing through high risk-high excitement-high adrenaline region………….on one side was the beautiful mountains and on the other were the sure death drops. So moving slowly we moved to a point where started to sight the Kodchadri village at some distance even though in different mountain shoulder.

Exhausted, we moved slowly again we entered a dense jungle. By the time we came to another clearing we were able to hear jeeps sounds. So sensing the trek (at least the difficult part) was about to end we pressed on after having snack break (first and the last one.....ate apples….felt like hadn’t eaten in the thousand years :P ). Finally we reached Kodchadri at around 4.30 p.m. a good 5 hr trek.

After posing for a few victory snaps we went directly to the Bhatta’s mane. Now this guy gave a good shock. Even though he had accepted that he would provide accommodation and food for the night he was now backtracking saying it was not possible since the roof of the house was leaking. Anyway since jeep service was available and we having no other option ,we booked one for 7.30 pm to get us back to Kollur and dumping our luggage(at this point it was clear that the carrying of our luggage on the entire path was of no use L ) at bhatta’s house and proceeded towards the peak. Now this path was infested with tourists instead of the leeches since they had taken a jeep directly to this point.

We had hoped to catch the sunset on top of the peak but the entire peak was covered with mist giving the visibility to more than a few meters. As we were climbing we saw a sign board saying the directions to another spot Ganesh Guha with some 20-30 meters detour. This spot had a Ganesh idol inside an overhanging rock. Hence the name Ganesh Guha. Anyway we moved towards the peak. There was a mantap on the peak believed to be the place where Adi Shankaracharya had meditated. View wise there was nothing visible because of all the mist. By this time Manju and Shantu discovered that they too had been bitten by a leech long back in the medieval period :P.

When we started to descent towards the Bhatta’s house it was getting dark and we had to use torches to reach down. Time was around 6.45 p.m. So happy that we had to wait only for 45 minutes we started to kill time in the open. Slowly time moved to 7.45 and there was no sign of the jeep. We called the owner and he informed us that he has already dispatched the jeep. So we waited and waited…in the cold…..wind…..mist …freezing…..and to our bad luck it started raining again……Anyway after waiting for nearly 3 hrs in this inhospitable conditions the jeep finally arrived.

The driver told that the jeep had got stuck at one point while climbing up and they had taken all this time to cross it. Anyway as soon as the jeep arrived dumped all our heavy luggage into the jeep and jumped into it. I was sitting in the end of the back seat.

Although I consider my stomach to pretty tough having undergone through rigorous testing in all the rides of wonderla, essel world etc with flying(or non-flying :D) results, here while riding in the back of jeep driven a near maniac in a close to nothing road, my stomach started to give me weird signals. I had thought the roads to my maternal grandparents house to be worst of all…….. but this Kodchadri route made the former to be considered a minnow.

Anyway after clenching my stomach not to throw up we reached at around 12 in the night. We were put up in an expensive lodge with hopeless facilties since we had turned up so late in the night and we didn’t have any patience to search for some other cheaper and better hotels.

Had a dinner of Lays,Kurkure,Biscuits etc……..hence completing the entire day without proper food L. Had a refreshing cold water bath before going to sleep.

Day 2(4-Oct-2009)

After an exhausting and tiring previous day this day was pretty much chilled out. Got up late in the morning at around 9.30 , had a bath and went directly to the temple. Had one round of darshan and Shantu made us to go for another round of darshan, testing some peoples patience :P. Anyway by the time the second darshan was over the time was around 12 and there was no point in having a breakfast. So off we went to have the prasadam lunch served by the temple. Had a proper meal/food after nearly 39hrs……the lunch served in the temple was good.

Anyway after having our lunch we returned back to the hotel room and chilled out a bit……doing time pass enacting a drama and so on. In the evening we went and lazed by the banks of the river Soorpanaka. Visited another Guha temple nearby.

Came back and packed our luggage in order to catch the 7 O’Clock bus to Blore. But now there was some confusion regarding where does the Bus actually stop. I expected that it would stop at the Bus stand(simple logical reasoning :P) but it was not so. It was waiting in front of the temple………..Anyway Shantu became very happy(atleast he was from inside) when he got a female co-passenger……..maybe he had prayed for the same when he went for the second round :D.

Reached at around 5.30 am the next day bringing to end the Kodachadri adventure.

This was a one of the more memorable trips which had tested our nerves in extreme conditions. Be it rain, wind, leeches and what not. As Chandan had rightly put it.......It was more like a boot camp for some army commandos, carrying nearly 17kg of dead weight and traversing through a highly inhospitable jungle terrain. The results of the boot camp???????.......well we passed it with flying colours.....I am sure about that :P.

Total Trek Distance-> ~14km

Total Cost Per Person(including bus travel,food,lodging)-> 1.7k

Bhatta's Number-> Rajendra Bhat -> 9242892299

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...