Category Archives: Daycations

Day trips from Bangalore to plan your weekend outings..

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 invites from Subbanna uncle, the long pending plan finally materialized. Mom woke up early in the morning and prepared some food enough for the 2 families and around 12 noon, we headed straight to Haniyur- a small village 10kms away from Rajanukunte on Doddaballapur road.

As we entered the village, we were welcomed by fragile houses with mud smeared walls, dry- unpaved roads which have never seen Asphalt, dusty animals, open drainage running up to their brim infront of the houses on both sides of the road. Finally we reached Subbanna uncle’s house where the neighbors informed us that the family was off to their farm. So, we decided to meet them there rather than troubling them 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 pipes which were laid for drip irrigation. They were excited on seeing us in his 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 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 vine 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 went to the “Madurai- Shaneeshwara temple”. We were done with the darshan in 15mins or so..

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 😥

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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 🙂

Up, close and personal with wildlife… @ Bannerghatta

This is a snippet from one of the most memorable outings I’ve had as a college goer… A Night out @ Bannerghatta..!!

This is just a re-presentation of what I had penned in my scrapbook way back on 11-June-2007. I was just back home after the 3 days long stay at Bannerghatta National Park and sat back and wrote all the occurances of the past 3 days. No sense of grammar, tenses, spellings… just a free flow of thoughts..  so just read it and understand deeply 😉

Date: June 09-10-11/ 2007

Finally..!! A much awaited holiday finally happened… Nis (the host, Nid, Tanu, HP, Patti & I.. all set to leave for BBP. We were all pissed by the time we made our way through the sucking traffic jams.. and once we got in there.. it was worth the wait..!!

We had our lunch at the Jungle resorts which was already waiting for us.. Then, it was time for the Safari.. the herbivores safari, tiger safari, lion safari, bear safari… This was a nice experience even though I’ve been there many times before.. In the evening, Nis took me behind a huge rock right behind her house ( read it her Dad’s official residence within the zoo premises).  And wonder what happened behind that huge boulder… Nis showed me a spectacular view of the lake with sunset at the backdrop.. We sat there chatting away to glory till it was dark.. and then we headed back home for some “Girly Gossip”.. after a fine dine.. We all got ready for the real adventure.. “ The Night Safari”.. deep into the jungle.. in an open jeep.. all of us shouting and screaming and taking in the sensuousness of mother nature as much as possible.. and thennn…… TADANNN>……. There comes a LEOPARD..!!!  totally untamed and a WILD leopard.. right infront of us…!!! I thought it was some sort of a wild cat but yelled out “LEOPARD.. LEOPARD..”  Then noticing the weird glances I received and the silence of others, I realized I had to shut up before getting jacked.. as it was all impossible. Obviously the Forest guards would take us somewhere- where not many “WILD” animals would roam around.. But.. “Impossible is nothing” right.??

The jeep halted, Nis yelled out.. “ don’t stop, don’t stop.. Move move..” But the driver reversed the jeep closer to the Cat which had now walked past our jeep and come to the rear side. Just at a distance of 10mts or so..  It could have pounced on us.. OOPs.. on “ME” cuz I was the one at the outer end of the jeep… But.. It actually ran away even before we realized that WE had to run.. PHEWWW… still feels like I just woke up from a dream..!! The guards told us that the leopard had littered cubs somewhere in the vicinity and ran away to protect them because it was frightened about a threat to its babies..

The Safari continued.. We spotted bisons, antelopes, spotted deers, neelghais, wild cat, black bucks, mongoose, rabbits, so on and so forth… It was a NIGHT TO REMEMBER..!!

Next morning we all woke up before sunrise and headed towards the jungle with a hope of spotting a few wild elephants.. We travelled deep, deeper and deepest into the forest on the same open jeep.. We had to bear the bumpy, rocky ride (rather painful ride) only to be saddened by the fact that we could only see fresh dung everywhere.. not a single elephant 😥 But the other little scenes that we witnessed made up for the disappointment- Hundreds of butterflies-all at once flying out of a bush right through us; the glittering clear waters of the lakes lost in the deep jungle.. WOW…

Deep inside the jungle
Deep inside the jungle
A small dam built across a stream in the midst of the forest which feeds water to the wild animals
A small dam built across a stream in the midst of the forest which feeds water to the wild animals
The Barber's Stone- Place where Dr. Rajkumar is seen on horse back in the title song from :Gandhada Gudi
The Barber’s Stone- Place where Dr. Rajkumar is seen on horse back in the title song from :Gandhada Gudi

Once, we reached the house, we all immediately headed to the lake behind the house.. it was bathing time for the zoo elephants.. 2 MAJESTIC sweethearts walked by: Vanaraja, Darshan & Baby Nisarga.. We got wet in the water playing with little NISARGA..

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Then it was zoo time.. We woke up the 1 month old calf- Geetha from her slumber and spent some time playing around with the playful little one., While we were running around the tree- and were being playfully chased by her, we were welcomed warmly by the VET to the backyard of the Vet-hospital. There, we played around with guinea pigs, rabbits, civet cat etc. But I hated that ALLIGATOR(read it- I hate reptiles.!!) – it was so fierce- too much attitude for its size(about 1 foot)- and even if it was hurt soo bloody badly..!!

A guinnea pig getting treated at the zoo hospital
A guinnea pig getting treated at the zoo hospital

Later in the afternoon, we were taken to the SOS centre where wounded lions, tigers, bears etc rescued from circuses, bear charmers etc. are taken care of before letting them to the actual zoo area. This is a public prohibited zone. The handsome Siberian tigers were my favourite..

At the SOS centre
At the SOS centre

Next was the drive uphill- to Udige bande. We got a nice view of the BNP reserve from here. This is a place where the local tribes used to once cremate the dead. Nothing: just place the dead body on the ground and place a granite slab at an elevation just as a roof. The bodies would then be eaten by the wild animals around or left to rott. We were soo excited about taking pictures holding the skulls and other bones of some tribal ancestors..

Day 3- we were taken to the tiger and lion breeding area. These pictures are something I’m going to flaunt around for a while in college. Not all get a chance to touch and play around with tiger cubs 😉

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The butterfly park was the last part of all the long weekend.

And then.. The trip came to an end.. It was evening.. and we had to leave back to Bangalore (sadly…)

Thanks a lot Missy (NIS) for this wonderful-exciting-wowsome-awesome trip J

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.

The lone Ostrich
The lone Ostrich
A young Emu in the enclosure
A young Emu in the enclosure
The Indian country side - Rooster
The Indian country side – Rooster

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.

Further ahead, 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.

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The Hesaraghatta grasslands
The Hesaraghatta grasslands

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 here.

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On the sets of a film shoot
On the sets of a film shoot

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.