Category Archives: Daycations

Day trips from Bangalore to plan your weekend outings..

Hogeynakal Falls- LOC between KA and TN

I was sitting at home for 1 long week with lots of anticipation every morning waiting for a call for joining from my employer.. My brother had to finish his comp off.. It was a sudden plan.. My brother came up with the idea of going for a long drive. I teamed up with him and his friend (who has been working on night shifts).. and we left straight to Hogeynakal falls (sounds like a Kannada translation of “Rocks of smoke”- that exists in Tamil Nadu)..

We took the route through “Dinkinakottai” after Hosur.. A village road that is far away from comparison to any highway back home in Karnataka(read it- Awesome roads) lead us to the waterfalls at the end of a long stretch of forest cover.. The place was pretty crowded on a weekday too..

Streets that were lined by stalls selling fish fry, dosa, parota etc welcomed us straight to a platform that has a number of coracles arranged one on top of the other. Suddenly my brother felt some men slipping their hands around him holding some yellow bottles.. They were offering body massages.. And suddenly there were women out of nowhere who came behind me offering private rooms for ladies for a body massage.. We somehow managed to walk past these people… Then there were these boat men.. Each one offered a ride for a different rate.. Finally after a good bargain of Rs.200 discount, we were in there…. In the waters of Hogeynakal..

The entry to the LOC
The entry to the LOC

Little further on the ride, we had some eatables/snacks being sold on a coracle.. There were little guys who dived down into the deep river from high up the rocks, came up to our coracle and ask for alms.. And there were also some boatmen / fishermen sitting on these rocks and fishing with hooks..

The floating stall
The floating stall

As we went past each spot where our boat-man had to take us.. he had a story to tell.. “MGR” stone, “Rajkumar” falls.. The location where “Roja” was shot.. Aishwarya Rai posed in “Raavan”.. He continued to show us all that irrespective of whether we were interested or not..

The breathtaking view of the falls from the watch tower
The breathtaking view of the falls from the watch tower

As we proceeded further, we were told that to our right was Karnataka and the rocks to our left was Tamil Nadu.. The river flows exactly in between dividing the 2 states (Literally- the divide between the 2 states is for the water). And this valley opens up to a beach- the sand which throws a warm welcome with its pristine waters.. Err.. did I say pristine?? I beg your pardon- The water is severely littered with plastic bottles and bags and sent out a dirty stench as if to warn us to stay away from getting into the waters..

The entry to the beach- KA to the right & TN to the left
The entry to the beach- KA to the right & TN to the left

We ate some yummy fresh fish fried with red chilli marination..!!! burrp…. JAnd boarded the coracle for a ride back.. We spotted a few localites who crossed the border (Line Of Control between Karnataka & Tamil Nadu).. The coracle ride seemed like a convenient mode of transport for people in TN who would like to go for a pilgrimage to “Male-Mahadeshwara Betta” in KA..

It being July (Monsoon) and there being “NO” rains.. The river having so much waste which did not flow easily.. The trip was not very exciting.. 😥

A Green University Campus in the City – GKVK

This is quite an old story… nevertheless, worth writing about…

GKVK: Gandhi Krishi Vignana Kendra a.k.a. University of Agricultural Sciences(UAS)

My cousin who was studying there at that time had informed us about the “Agri-Mela” happening in her campus sometime in November. I was back early from college that day.. And so, dad and I went for a ride with an idea of getting some fresh air and some agri-info..

The whole campus is lit with bright colours – with various fruits and flowers which are in full bloom in the month of November. We had lots and lots of gyan on agriculture, horticulture, farming, etc..

@ The Cattle farming stall
@ The Cattle farming stall
@ The Hog farming stall
@ The Hog farming stall
A man who drew my attention outside the "Rice cultivation" stall
A man who drew my attention outside the “Rice cultivation” stall

Once we finished checking out the stalls put up there, we thought of just walking around the 1000 odd acres of farm… This is an excellent place for bird watching too..

The red gulmohars in full bloom
The red Gulmohars in full bloom

The number of plants on the cultivation list goes on and on.. So, I prefer to keep it short: 

Any experiment with plants = it is there at UAS
The best stretch in the city- The Gulmohur Avenue
The best stretch in the city- The Gulmohur Avenue

All in all- An afternoon well spent J

One can go here for a drive if one wants some fresh air without going too far from the city on a lazy evening…This is on the way to Yelahanka from Hebbal- just before Jakkur aerodrome.

The Great Indian Western Ghats- To Save or to Not Save ??

There is much ado about the Western Ghats getting tagged as a World heritage site by the UNESCO.

So, like everyone around me here, I too am excited about sharing my views on it.

Firstly the stronger points for consideration:

  1. The western Ghats is home to very rare species of flora & fauna- many snakes, frogs, birds etc. are critically endangered and also unique only to these Ghats.
  2. These ghats stop the wind from the east and bring rainfall to the south.
  3. The major rivers of the South are rain fed and originate here.
  4. I being an ardent nature lover would definitely support to save the ever lush green ghats.

Now, the points not to consider:

  1. There are a no. of tribes living in these Ghats like the Soligas, Kurubas, Maleya-kudiyas etc who will all be forced to vacate the forests and will be disturbed from their natural habitat though the government may promise them of providing alternate homes.
  2. The Coorgs (Kodavas)- by themselves are a very small community fighting hard against the “Jamma Bane” issue and now have yet another blow. Many localites holding lands in the identified areas will be forced to vacate and this will inturn force them out of Coorg.
  3. Myself being a hardcore Kodavathi, I would never be able to take this by my stride.

And now, the strongest of them all:

  1. The Ghats are a rich source for mining, timber and a major hub for tourism leading to severe deforestation in the name of building resorts, nature sports and the likes.
  2. It is important to consider that our beloved elected representatives are frequently in the limelight for the mining scams. The major share of resorts in this region are owned by big names and are tucked away deep in the core area of the jungles which compete for providing the best tiger spotting, elephant spotting, wild hunting, etc. etc, activities for their guests. So there is a valid point for these scamsters to fight against the prestigious tag.
  3. The heritage tag limits the human entry to most regions. Let alone restrictions on activities like trekking, hiking etc. just walking around this place without knowledge would lead to high penalty.

But, what if this has an impact on a Coorg’s lifestyle: the tag has come as a much needed  respite for a nature lover like me. We are Coorgs at the end of the day. We have lived our way through thick jungles, heavy downpours, deep dark nights, wild animals in our porticos. And that’s the way we enjoy our life at it’s best. So we can definitely live strong with thick jungles. We want our Green cover to be saved…!!

I am frustrated of being helpless and just a mute spectator watching the depletion of green cover in the name of development. I can hardly see any development in my area other than the fact that big names (let me say powerful people) are buying properties by offering good money and settling down in Coorg, becoming stake-holders in resorts etc and turning all their black money white.

I used to eagerly wait for the rainy season to start so that I would get my monsoon holidays while I was in school. And now, I am even more anxious that this rainy season may pass by without even seeing a “rainfall”. Yes, only conservation of these ghats can bring us the rains that we need.

I am frustrated with the fact that the place where is grew up catching little fishes and crabs with my cousins as a little girl beneath big boulders is now nothing but a fully concrete platform for the tourists to rest on.

What I once knew as a beautiful waterfall and a place where my grandpa gave me my swimming lessons is now nothing but a pool of sewage flowing from the town littered by ruthless tourists. The stench of this mess gets tears streaming down my eyes everytime I stand on the very same concrete platform and try to recollect the good old greener and cleaner grandpa days…

The Bramhagiri hills
The Bramhagiri hills

And here I sum up…:

Give me some sunshine… give me some more rain….
Give me another chance… I wanna grow up once again…
I want more rains….. I want to re-live my grandpa times…
PLEASE SAVE THE WESTERN GHATS..!!!

Haniyur – A village with simplicity

It was a visit due for a couple of years now.. After repeated invitation from Subbanna uncle, the long pending plan had finally materialized. Mom woke up early that morning and prepared sufficient food for the two families. The idea was that the two families- Subbanna uncle’s and our’s, ate lunch together. Around noon, we headed straight to Haniyur- a small village 10kms away from Rajanukunte on Doddaballapur road. That’s where the Subbanna family lives, a little away from their farm.

As we entered the village, we were welcomed by fragile houses with mud smeared walls, dry- unpaved roads which had never seen Asphalt, dusty animals, open drainage running up to their brim infront of the houses on both sides of the road. Finally, when we arrived at his house, the door was locked and the neighbors informed us that the family was off to their farm. So, we decided to meet them in their farm itself rather than troubling them to walk back home in the hot sun.

A thirsty bird infront of Subbanna Uncle's house
A thirsty bird infront of Subbanna Uncle’s house
A warm welcome laid by the Asters' garden

A warm welcome laid by the Asters’ garden
Uncle was busy with the labourers in his Asters’ garden, while aunty was in the grape vineyard. The youngest member of the family: Uncle’s grandson- Munish was busy too.. playing with the water pipes which were laid for drip irrigation. The family was excited on seeing us in their farm and some welcome drink (Tender coconut water) was sanctioned immediately. We told them that we would be having lunch with them in the farm itself and opened all the packages we had to. For salad, we had fresh tender cucumbers from the garden. Main course was Coorgi food and some nice Haniyur-Ragi-Mudde. Yummy lunch ended with fresh chikkus, guavas and plantains- all from his farm. No restaurant could make up for the cool, fresh and pleasant ambience under the grape vinv, though the scorching sun behaved ruthless outside.
Grapes awaiting some rain
Grapes awaiting some rain
Later, we explored the village and enjoyed the rusty country side as much as we could take in. Soon it was time to bid good bye to this wonderful family.
The gerkins farm
The gerkins farm
Abstract flowers from the garden
Abstract flowers from the garden
Some kind of a place for worship of the Local deity
Some kind of a place for worship of the Local deity
Around 4.p.m, we started from there. We decided to visit a temple around 4kms from there before we took the deviation towards the city. I’m not a temple kinda person, but for my parents’ sake, we went to the “Madurai- Shaneeshwara temple”. We were done with the darshan in 15mins or so.. and headed back to the grind.
There was no set agenda, just catching up for lunch with some old friends in the shades of a simple village and farm. The simplicity of the people who live there and the simple, yet  tastiest food from their kitchen, with fresh and chemical free vegetables from their own garden… It’s a different feeling. We the city souls will never understand, what money can’t buy. ‘Keeping it simple’ is the way of life!

A Date with the Metal bird

<Date: 13-Feb-2009>

It is lunch break. My gang headed towards “The Lake”- the usual hang out of the NMIT-ians. But, today was an unusual day because we were going to the lake not just to hang out, but to check out the metal birds- that have all landed on the other side of the lake. Occasion: AERO INDIA-2009.

F-16- Super viper, F-18, EuroFighter Typhoon, Su-30, Tejas, MIGs, Suryakirans, Sarangs are just a few to name. They have all been flying over our classrooms all the while. We had hardly listened to any lecture in class over the past week except for the sonic boom of these metal monsters…No arguments, This definitely is the best part of studying in NMIT. Along with the engineering lessons taught in the classroom, we all tend to develop an inquisitive approach to aeroplanes. We learn to identify the planes by their sounds and their shape while they fly past our heads all day for over a month during their rehearsals.

As we walked from college to the lake- my memories flashed back to what my eyes had witnessed that morning. My college route bus: R-13 is the only bus that flies across(literally..!!) Harohalli, “The Flying Village” route. And this route has the best country-side view enroute to college. So.. read further to know what I saw this morning..

After passing Haro-halli (literally translates to “The Flying Village” in Kannada), a little ahead- the road is lined by eucalyptus grove on one side and a high rise wall on the other. It is the Yelahanka- Airforce property beyond the wall. It took 2 minutes for my bus to reach the end of the grove. And where the grove ended, was a sight to behold. “The Lake”. It had an unusual level of water as compared to the previous years and it has small islets (or so we called them). Some migratory birds perched on the branches of the trees in those islets which enhanced the scene. Thick mist covered the water for a height of about 2 feet and then a pale layer of mist rose above in the rest of the atmosphere. On the other side of the lake, where I thought was the hedge, a Su-30: Sukhoi stood on its runway facing away from us at an angle of about 45deg. The early morning rays of the sun fell obliquely on the jet and the metal reflected it back. It looked as if the spotlight was on the protagonist on a stage.

Truly an unbelievable sight and it definitely cannot be explained by words.. But, before I could take enough of it, my bus had passed the spot and had reached the college bus-bay 😥

Picture 177
The Su30 at the Yelahanka airforce station: A view from Harohalli village
A view of the Su-30 on the otherside of the Lake. But this is sometime during the lunch break
A view of the Su-30 on the otherside of the Lake. But this is sometime during the lunch break

It’s really not required for a NMIT-ian to buy passes to see the aerobatics on the other side of the wall. We watch them always and dearly.. Seldom, these birds fly so closely over our heads that we even wave a ‘Bye’ to these pilots .. and every girl there will be drooling… 😛 There is usually a mela kind of an atmosphere around the lake with public flocking to see these peculiar birds year on year…

Tomorrow is Valentine’s day and I can’t wait for my date with the metal birds..

It’s a pleasure to be able to feel all the action at such close quarters. These are truly wonderful days of college for every NMIT-ian. Period!

A lazy weekend @ Gollahalli

A lazy weekend is here once again.. And my quest for some exploration too…

Where to go? I had absolutely nooo idea….

Dad, bro and I planned to board a train to some unknown place (not too far away from the city though..!!)
So there we goo…

At Yeshwantapur railway station, at around 2.00.p.m, we boarded the train going towards tumkur. After a good 20min or so, we decided to get off at a small station called “Gollahalli”. Now, for those of you who are wondering which gollahalli? Since every corner of Bangalore has one Gollahalli; this one is called “Railway Gollahalli”. Dunno why though.. maybe because it is the only gollahalli connected by trains or so..

From there we decided to board our usual mode of transport- “leg motor service”. Aimlessly we started walking from the railway station. We walked and walked…. Miles together.. thorough village exploration..! Neither of scientific or architectural recognition, Nor of historical or mythological importance.

But we spotted a good deal of blunders with English which could give one a hearty laugh. And ofcourse, the fresh village atmosphere, the migratory birds, lush green farms, the innocent villagers- All which definitely turns you on if you’re frustrated with the hustle & bustle of the metro.

mutton stall
Mutton stall- Matan steel- ಮೇಕೆ ಮಾಂಸ shop
gollahalli
Gollahalli- A good place for bird spotting
parakeet
A parakeet on one of the temple walls

We were our own guides here. We did not want to ask for directions from any localite as we ourselves did not know where we were headed to.. We continued to walk.. reached some main road.. we further followed the main road… we reached Nelamangala BMTC bus stand. This was where our exploration ended and we boarded a bus back to the city.

Be not a Columbus or an Amerigo, but one must definitely explore a new place, try out a new dish, make a new friend. It feels AWESOME 🙂

The Hesarghatta de-tour

My wants are vague… This weekend I wanted to drive… drive through country side…

I had read about this place and the livestock farms there in one of the files from my mom’s office.. and a little help from google.. My Mom, Dad and I headed straight to Hesarghatta on a warm Sunday morning..

We started from home at around 8.00.a.m and a 45kms drive.. we reached the poultry farm. Here, they have varieties of poultry breeds(or whatever they refer to in biological terms) They also have a pair of Ostriches meant for experimental purposes. Emu’s are being reared on a large scale whose meat is of high demand. The duck farm also houses many breeds like white geese, grey geese, swans etc. The Turkey unit is also in the same compound.

With permission from the concerned authorities, we could also visit the Indo-Danish cattle farm. I was awestruck with their massive size- comparable with elephants (referring them as “BABY” elephants wouldn’t do justice considering their massive size). I may sound a little dumb quoting this- but, the milking machines were something new to me.

There is also rabbit farm, pig farm etc. which we thought of giving a miss since we could not figure out the way. Hesarghatta is also a centre for Horticulture-research.

Further ahead, as we passed through a narrow pot-holed road, we reached the once famous Hesarghatta lake which fed water to most parts of Bangalore. This is now just a stretch of barren land open for cattle grazing and a playground for some village boys who go there to play a game of cricket. From there, I followed the direction boards to reach “Nrityagram”. This is a Gurukul dedicated to “Learning Dance”. Unfortunately, it is not maintained well after the founder- Pratima Bedi passed away. Sadly, we could not attend any Dance classes. But the dance halls, temple and other stone constructions is worth a visit. This place is open to public only from 10.00.a.m to 2.00.p.m.

Nrityagram
Nrityagram

Then it was lunch time for us. We headed to “Taj Kuteeram”. This was a part of “Nrityagram” which is now taken over by the Taj group and converted into a 5-Star resort. We had a table booked already where a nice 4-course meal was served based on our prior booking over phone. We walked around the area and spent some quality time amidst the chirping birds and the splendid nature till evening.

Taj Kuteeram
Taj Kuteeram
Taj Kuteeram at sunset
Taj Kuteeram at sunset

It was sunset time. We thought of heading back home and so we started.

Half a kilometer from The Taj, we saw many vehicles going to a place to our left- The place looked more secluded but I definitely wanted to check out what was in there. And so we did.. It was a vast-neverending-wide-barren-uncultivated-open stretch of land.

All those vehicles were actually ferrying some film crew. So that means, we also got to be on the sets of a movie shoot. A stage was set, some other make shift pillars were put up etc. We learnt that, many many movies and ads are shot here almost everyday. This Barren land is converted to anything from a helipad to a swimming pool, a crowded village to a concert hall depending on what the requirement is.

We also had a good view of the sunset from the open area. It was getting dark by then.. so we drove back home.. back to hustling and bustling city—away from the calm and rusty countryside.. It is hard to believe that such a calmness prevails in our very own Bengalooru.. I will surely go back there soon.. Very soon… It was a total get away from the maddening city life.