Monday, June 16, 2014

The big Europe tour -Amsterdam

After a lot of planning two families decided to go ahead with the trip.It was Sreekanth ,his wife and their son along with me and my wife who went on this trip.The first stop of the trip was Amsterdam.We took a 10 am flight from Belfast landing in Amsterdam Schipol airport by around 12:30 pm.It was a good flight.We were about five of us ,planned to hire the car and take it across Europe.


We hired the car after some initial hiccups with some of the formalities ,we were finally on our way across the city albeit a bit nervous ,keeping track of which was the right side of the road.The only big change is that its a left hand drive and driving rules are exactly opposite of what rules exist in UK.Here you keep to the right side of the road whereas in UK you need to keep left.My friend drove across the entire trip since i wasnt too sure if i would be confident of driving with this big change right away.

We headed to the hotel,after checking in and after freshening up a bit decided to head out to check out the place.

Soon we found out ,people of Amsterdam just love their cycles,you can spot a heavy influx of cycles.To go with that there are dedicated cycle stands across the city and parking slots.The biggest parking lot can be found near the railway station.We took the trams which criss-cross the city and are an interesting way to discover the city.We reached the city center to get on to a cruise across the various waterways of Amsterdam.


The cruise is approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes and gives a good idea of different parts of Amsterdam.We did see some big cruise ships docked near the docks


There are some interesting old world bridges which have still been maintained.One thing you have to remember in Amsterdam is that cyclist has the right of way no matter what you are driving a car,a bus,a tram or even walking.Cyclists dont wait for anybody.Amsterdam is a relatively busy city and it was bustling when we visited this time.

Amsterdam is also known for its red light area.Its historically well known and a lot of people come down to visit these places and other ancillary shows.Most people visit this place to get a feel of how things are and to know about the place.However this place was vetoed many times over and we had to give it a miss this time around.

We ended the day by heading to a delicious Indian restuarant ,thanks to the diligence of my wife who had found the address and the way to get there after we finished our river cruise

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Chicago

After a hiatus ,i hope to keep this blog more frequent ,seen here are some snaps on my recent visit to Chicago

Chicago is known as the windy city,due to the very high skyscrapers which creates a tunneling effect for the wind.Thankfully i was able to catch up with some decent weather when i was there.Do hope you like the snaps.









Thursday, July 22, 2010

Kurinjal gudda and Gangatikal gudda-Part 1

After planning for many treks ,we finally zeroed in on Kudremukha range.I had good memories of my trek to the Kudremukha peak a few years ago with my good friend Gopalakrishna

So the two of us finally decided to embark on this trek.We took the Rajahamsa bus got down at Kalasa and from there we hitchhiked a tea lorry to take us towards Kudremukha.The distance between kalasa and kudremukha is 20 kms.As we enjoyed the early morning ,the lorry stopped with a glitch.


Above : The tent at the Bhagavati nature camp

The lorry driver took about 10minutes to restart the lorry ,we soon stopped at a tea garden-a new ganesha devasthana was built there and the lorry driver wanted to check it out.Soon we were on our way towards Kudremukha.We thanked the lorry driver for dropping us at Kudremukha.

We saw employees of KIOCL some of them rushing,some walking towards their office.We went to the forest office .There was a person who told us that the concerned person would come only at 8:45am.The procedure was to obtain the trek permission and they would assign us a guide for the same.

After having a quick breakfast,we could still spot employees getting into the campus ,a good one hour after the siren had rang.Finally we headed towards Bhagavati Guest house.One has to walk a good one kilometer from the gate to the place where the actual tents is there.


Above: The walk from the entrance to the nature camp

After freshening up ,we relaxed a bit as i dozed of a bit in the room.I was woken up by Gopal who had finished his bath and breakfast and was ready to leave.I quickly gobbled up the delicious Chitranna and we headed for the day 1 trek to Kurinjal Gudda


Above: Stream beside the Bhagavati Nature camp

Our guide for the day was Raghavendra ,who was quite friendly.It hadnt rained for 2 days -a very strange thing since it was peak monsoon season.We took a bus -the start point for the trek is about 4 kms off the highway.As we boarded the bus ,it was simply a treat to watch the green coloured mountains on either side of the highway.

Soon the bus stopped at a small temple of the highway,the bus conductor offered some fresh flowers to the Lord Ganesha.The interesting thing was that he picked up vermillon on the way back gave it to all the bus commuters ,this is something very unique that i have seen.We soon got down at the starting point of the trek just of the highway.

As you walk along the grassland one soon hits the bhadra river flowing,there is a old bridge here ,we spent some time filling our water bottles since there is no other water source on this route.


Above: Bhadra river

The route to Kurinjal peak is actually a jeep track which has been abandoned for more than 5 years and hence there is pretty much no route visible.As we walked along ,we did come across some amazing grassland views.


Above :Sambhar -rapt attention

We soon came across a bunch of sambhars,it was indeed a delight to watch the sambhars-they gave a loud grunt before they scurried into the thick shola forest cover nearby.As we moved on from the grasslands ,we hit the leach terriotory -thick giant tress raising in excess of 400 feet ,dense jungles with only the abandoned jeep track to walk.

Since the jeep track has been abandoned ,the forest has started taking over the jeep track :).There are fallen trees all over the place and plants growing all over - a good sign that the forest is wresting its full might post the human onslaught.After a 2 hour leach soaked trek we finally hit a grassland patch.From here on can view the amazing thick forests and grasslands till far of places.We rested for a while getting rid of the leaches at this point.



Above: Kurinjal Peak

From here it is about 10 minutes walk to the abandoned station of the erstwhile KIOCL.It is very slippery from here on and one has to be really careful .Finally we made it ,we decided not to climb on the boulders from the station since it was really slippery and it had started raining steadily by now.We rested for a while at the station and then started back ,the return was uneventful,peppered with some very heavy rain.We walked back from the road to the bhagavathi nature camp.I decided to take a bath and relax.We had a early dinner which consisted of yummy rasam,chapathi,beans palya and hit the bed by 7:45pm.

To be continued.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Moorkannu Gudda





After reaching Vikram's place ,we quickly got ready to start our journey.It was raining heavily by now.

Basavaraj and Mallesh accompanied us to the Gudda.We walked along some pretty densly leach infested area ,making slowly progress.The journey was uneventful.Enroute we spotted the wild goat.





landscape is quite mesmerizing with rain adding fizz to the amazing hills and mountains.The clouds and the mist just clear for a moment ,just enough for us to catch a glimpse of the mountains.One has to be careful while treading in this area since there are small gorges and landslides.The climb was a bit challenging with the rain lashing all through.

As we approached Moorkannugudda ,we were in for some surprise .Very heavy winds and rain made our ascent to the peak slightly tough.Finally we made it in one piece.The peak was covered fully with mist .Me and Manju clicked away some snaps and relaxed a bit.We decided to get back through the slopes behind the Gudda ,which was really tricky.Thick grass ,very slippery terrain.

For a while we were lost.One has to be careful in these ranges since with rain and fog there is very little you can make out in terms of direction and routes.It is better to take a local guide however good you are ,since even local people with years of experience are known to get lost in these ranges.









some careful rework of the strategy ,Basavaraj figured out the route but that meant we had to pass through 3 thick shola forests.This journey was very challenging with slippery terrain.I was vary of snakes since it was virgin forests,almost no route ,we literally made the route.

Each shola forest was full of thorns and plants ,we had to cut through the thick undergrowth.On the penulimate shola forest ,we encountered a small falls -its almost the birth of river is what i heard-we rested for a while tasting the sweet water here.In these ranges ,about 4 rivers take birth.







We came out of the 3rd and the final shola forest ,the weather cleared a bit,giving us a good glimpse of the landscapes.We slowed down a bit after the rapid progress we made in the last hour.

We reached a small check dam and took a few snaps before it started raining very heavily,we made back in one piece to Vikrams place.

Moorkannu gudda can be reached by Kadumane estate

Some of the photos belong to my friend Manju

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Moorkannu Gudda-the journey part 1

After booking ourselves on the 22:47 Kukke Volvo ,we reached the busstand about 22:00 hours.After waiting endlessly ,the volvo arrived -looked like brand new.

As i queued up to enter the bus ,a brief glance by the driver and the door opened.As i walked past ,it was a strange feeling indeed.I could smell the fresh paint.It was great to see the fresh linen.

I quickly got down to meet the driver and wanted to confirm the news ,he did confirm with glee that it was indeed brand new and was going to Kukke for Pooje and this driver is one of the lucky few to inagurate 4 brand new vehicles in the past fortnight.

There is something about brand new stuff that attracts me ,i was indeed fortunate to be the first passenger on board the brand new airavata.The ride was very comfortable to say the least.We reached Sakleshpura at around 3:30 am to be promptly woken up by the conductor.After thanking the conductor ,me and manju headed for a place to sit ,it was drizzling slightly .Manju grabbed some sleep .A quick check and we were told that the bus to hanbal leaves only at 6:30 am.After a quick chat ,we decided to take an auto towards Hanbal and beyond.

As we sat in the auto ,he started driving like a F1 driver and the road towards Hanbal is full of curves.I was really scared since he was driving fast and breaking abruptly ,to add to the fizz there was lots of mud on the road ,thankfully we landed in one piece

To be continued

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Pyramid Society

On a normal saturday i got a call from my uncle to visit the Pyramid situated on Kanakapura road.

It was a lovely ride all the way to the pyramid with some rains as well.The trees situated on either side of the road soothes the eye for a urban animal like me.

We spent close to an hour.One has to be quiet since the place inside the pyramid is strictly for meditation ,no one is allowed to talk.Below are some snaps taken from my mobile



















The Pyramid is located Kanakapura road ,about 40kms from Bangalore,and about 18 kms from the Art of living at a place called Kebbedodddi village

More information can be found at : -
http://www.pyramidvalley.org/pyramid/Home/contactus.htm

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Mahimapura and Heggunda

This post has been on the blog queue for a while ,since i havent been keeping too well.

On a lazy summer morning i decided to check out some places around Bangalore,a quick breakfast on the way and i landed at Mahimapura -the abode of Lord Venkateshwara.It was rocky mountain ,very quiet and peaceful-around 300 steps takes you to the summit.One can spot Shivaganga ,the direct line of sight from here.




Since i reached the summit pretty early i decided to head to my second desination Heggunda nearby and visit this temple on my return journey.As i was getting down the stairs i was stopped on the way by the Brahminy Kite. :)


The next destination for the day was Heggunda abode of Lord Rama.This place was a real surprise for me as i bumped into one of the rare birds -The egyptian vulture.As it sat patiently for more than 20 minutes i was able to capture it on my camera ,i was delighted-little did i know that more surprises awaited me for the day.



As i went up the hill i was stopped by Lord hanuman,as the path branched i took the wrong one only to end up on a dead end with some amazing plains greeting me.The path i had taken was wrong and i ended up at a place where the temple was on the other hill ,seperating me was a deep ravine.After i retraced my path ,i was climbing uphill ,the sun was shining brightly by now.After climbing about 50 steep steps i was on top of the rocky mountain.

A bolt from the blue i was taken by surprise by the egyptian vulture.It was the same vulture that i had seen below.It gave me a brilliant display of acrobatics.This was something that i have never experienced and i was simply overjoyed seeing this .All the while it was surveying the intruder into its rocky hill keeping a close eye on me all through its flight.Heggunda has had lot of political activity in its hay days ,more information can be found in this link

http://www.hindu.com/mp/2006/06/10/stories/2006061002590100.htm

After 10 minutes it made a safe landing on the plains nearby.As i spent my next 30minutes relaxing i decided to head down the hill.I was stopped by the priest who was making his way to the top.A breif pooja and i headed down along the priest.It was quite sunny by now and i headed straight back to Mahimapura.

Climbing the 300 steps i was greeted by a lot of people on top.A brief pooja ,i headed back to bangalore.Another day ,another rocky mountain,another day of silence and peace.

Idu Bhavya Suvarna Karnataka,ondu punyabhumi