Category Archives: Karnataka

Travelling around my home state

A day out… at Kaiwara

Wake up….!! Wednesday morninggg…. A weekend when the rest of the world is working their asses off half way through their week.. n I sat wondering how I was going to kill the rest of the day amidst the four walls of my house, all jobless….

Some old place I was told about, by my friend who had done her internship at- popped in my mind- “Kaiwara”. I jumped out of my bed and began to google for it.. With lot of information available online, I was able to jort down the list of places to see in and around Kaiwara along with a rough route map.. n that’s it.. I dragged my mum along, pulled the car out of the garage n zooommm we went…….

We started from Bangalore at around 9.a.m and reached Devanahalli in a while. From there we took the Vijayapura bypass road. A good 45min drive from the airport at an average 60kmph speed is what it took us to reach Kaiwara.

I ain’t a good photographer, but definitely these photos might be of interest for those of you planning for a weekend exploration.

As soon as one enters the Kaiwara town, a small lane on the left leads you to the Narayanapa Mutt. This is a mutt managed by M.S.Ramaiah trust. This is where Saint Narayanappa attained “Eternal Bliss or jeeva Samadhi”.

The Narayanappa Mutt
The Narayanappa Mutt

Half a kilometer away from the Mutt is the “Bheemeshwara temple”. This is where the mythology has it that Bheema killed Bakasura during the exile period of the Pandavas. There is a group of small temples there, each named after the Pandava brothers within the same premises.

Bheemeshwara temple
Bheemeshwara temple

Overlooking the Mutt, is the Bheema baana Betta or Kaiwara Betta. We thought of giving it a miss considering the number of steps we had to climb up and the time we were left with, to cover other places around. Or rather, my mum thought it would be impossible for her to scale it up 😛

The Kaivara betta
The Kaivara betta

One kilometer further ahead, we reached “Tapovana”, the place where the saint used to meditate back in the days. There is a small garden around there, which can be given a miss. Few yards uphill from there, we reached the “Vaikunta Betta”. At the base of the hill is the “Amaranareyana Temple” dedicated to Lord Vishnu built by the Hoysala king Vishnuvardhana. Climb upstairs (which more looks ignored by vistors)- we reached the “Yoganarasimha Temple”, the cave temple, believed to be the place where the Lord appeared infront of Narayanappa. The temple terrace gives an excellent view of the entire town. A word of caution though: Too many monkeys around there.. it was no monkey business.!!

Entrance to Vaikunta betta
Entrance to Vaikunta betta
A view from The Vaikunta temple
A view from The Vaikunta temple

Then started the best stretch of the drive. 5kms uphill…. It surely made us wonder how beautiful Mount Kailash(in the Himalayas) could be if the lesser known “MahaKailasaGiri Betta” is so beautiful. Atop the hill is a set of newly chiseled man made caves, home to 3 temples.

Enroute to Kailasa
Enroute to Kailasa
Another view of the Kailasa giri
Another view of the Kailasa giri

Food is provided unlimited to every pilgrim/visitor at KailasaGiri temple and the Mutt between 12.30.p.m and 3.00.p.m. So we decided to hog some yummy temple food at Kailasa giri itself.

By this time, we had covered all the places I had googled to visit in Kaiwara. But it was still 2.30.p.m and we had a lot of time left. While coming downhill, we decided to follow a signboard which indicated the way to “ChenaKeshava Cave Temple” but once we reached it, it was quite a disappointment.

Enroute to Channakeshava guhantara temple
Enroute to Channakeshava guhantara temple

Someone had mentioned about “Venkateshwara Temple” in Alambagiri- about 10kms from Kaiwara. This place is supposedly famous for Paper made handicrafts. So we decided to explore this place too. But, some renovation work in this ancient temple was in progress and there were absolutely no shops in that place (forget handicrafts stores) left us saddened.

Alambagiri Venkateshwara temple (1)
Alambagiri Venkateshwara temple

Oh and by the way.. Kaiwara is famous for silk rearing & weaving. May be you should try to pick up some silk stuffs while you are there.

Google told me that “Ambaji Durga Cave temple” was 7kms away from Kaiwara, but nobody seemed to have heard of it. So we thought it was time we returned back to where we belong to- Bengaluru. It was still 4.00.p.m but done with the day’s outing.. Though it was a small trip, totally unplanned- it was worth the visit..!

Devanahalli- The town within a Fort

On a casual weekday off, dad and I decided to take a train trip to some place nearby.. So, We bought 2 tickets of Rs.4 each for Ypr-Devanahalli Passenger and headed to the platform. We boarded the train with 5 bogies with 5 passengers for a round trip. That makes it 1 passenger per bogie 😛

We passed through more of a green route- considering that the train still plies well within Bangalore. And soon after arriving at Devanahalli Rlwy Stn, it was time for some exploration…

Devanahalli railway station
Devanahalli railway station

As we started walking towards the main town area, we were welcomed by a large pond(we could say that there once existed an old temple) which was all dried up now… And here onwards- we came across numerous temples along our way.

An Old temple pond
An Old temple pond

Next we arrived at a small mantap- This is the Birth place of Tippu Sultan. Not a very exciting architectural monument considering the fact that Tippu was born by the road side (or so it seemed).

Tippu's Birth place
Tippu’s Birth place

And then… we enter— Fort Devanahalli..!!

At the first glance, it seems like a neglected piece of history with rain water stagnating by the side, excavation waste from the city dumped at the entrance, unpaved dusty roads…

Entrance of Fort Devanahalli
Entrance of Fort Devanahalli

As we passed through the super narrow entrance of the fort- We decided to walk along the fort walls for the rest of our exploration..

A view of NH7 from a view point along the fort wall
A view of NH7 from a view point along the fort wall

We soon realized that it is one whole town that actually exists within the walls of the fort. But apart from the walls, there was nothing much that spoke about Tippu’s valour that is often spoken about in history books..

Remains of the old town
Remains of the old town

We walked till evening and were able to cover one half of the Fort- and we had already exited from the other end of the town. From there we boarded a BMTC bus back to the city.

Gold Market to Gold Fields in a Railbus

One Saturday off in a month and the crunch for exploration was at its peak… Dad and I decided to board the train to sit in a bus that runs on rails.. I mean.. We wanted to travel in the “RailBus”. There are only 2 railbuses still running in the country, one runs on narrow guage and the other runs on broad gauge. While the former is a part of the Kalka-Shimla mountain railways, the latter is operated by the South western railways. And we were interested in the one closer to home i.e. in South India. It plies between Bangarpet (literally translates to Gold Market in Kannada) and KGF a.k.a. Kolar Gold Fields.

Bangalore Cantonment Railway Station
Bangalore Cantonment Railway Station

It leaves Bangarpet at 9.00.a.m and returns by noon. Again leaves Bangarpet by 5.30.p.m and returns before its dark. So, technically we wanted to reach Bangarpet before 9.00.a.m. But the laziness that had set in because of a hectic work week, we woke up late and boarded the Bangarpet-Bangalore express at 9.45.a.m from Cantonment railway station. So the entire idea of railbus travel flopped even before it happened. Jeez..!!!

Once at Bangarpet, we walked from the railway junction to the dusty town and boarded a private bus that took us to KGF which had passengers 2.5XFOS (2.5 times the Factor of Safety) the bus was designed for..!! And our arrival at the destination was rather fast considering the time we had before we died of suffocation due to the availability of very little air to breathe(forget Oxygen) in the completely choked up bus 😛 (I seriously don’t know how to put our plight in words..!!)

The Cyanide Dumps
The Cyanide Dumps

KGF.. The road welcomes you with a continuous stretch of this really awesome looking hill on one side and an old dusty town on the other side. It is dusty because it is a mining hub and it has a hill because of the same reason.. These hills are called cyanide dumps- the slurry left over after gold extraction from the mines using Cyanide based alkalis are dumped here and this has hardened over time making it look like a hill. It reminded me of the formations in the Grand Canyon for some reason.

Kotilingeshwara Temple
Kotilingeshwara Temple

From here, we again boarded a bus to reach the “Kotilingeshwara temple”. This place is said to have more than 1 crore Shivalingas, all donated by people. Though I’m not a very religious person, I wanted to visit the place for the history it unfolded. It was soon pack-up time for us as the scorching sun had sucked out most of our energy. But, most importantly, we had to return to Bangarpet before we could miss a glance of the sole reason of our trip..!! And.. We were back at BWT junction as per schedule.

The loner was resting in the shade of a tree. And the loco pilot obliged to open the door and let us have a look inside of the train. It felt nice to see the last one left in the country but the trip ended soon. Ofcourse, it was with a heavy heart that we could not travel in it 😥

The RailBus
The RailBus

Railbus- Driver's cabin

Have you been in a bus that travels on railway lines???? Do share your experiences below. I’d love to hear them!

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!

My First job at the Hospital

<14-Sept-11>

I’m on the mezanine floor…. 

A cap whose colour is forgotten behind the thick layer of oil & grease, a pair of knitted white gloves which now look like dark leather ones with the dirt, black heavy leather shoes with metal cover for the toes, newly introduced punk looking helmets which make me look like a cyclist, arm covers, wrist guards, goggles- the deep sea diving types…. These are my safety gears at work… and I’m all set for some action..!!!

I’m told that there’s some problem with the shoulder joints(the front door hinges) and he needs a physio- so I ripped both the hands(the front doors) apart..  His eyes (headlamps) were flickering.. And I checked for some electric signals that the brain sent across.. The MIL was glowing.. So I removed the eyes out of the skull. Even then, the MIL was on. Now it was time to pull out the nose and dig deep into the nostrils (the hood and everything under). Then, the spine (the steering column) came out. Now it was time to shave the head off (the IP panel covers) and I directly pulled out all the nerves (wiring harness) I could catch in a grab. The signals continued… I removed the medulla (immobilizer ECU), cerebrum (theft warning ECU), cerebellum (injector drivers) and the current still continued to flow.. I have removed out every possible source of these signals and now I know the source is “the Master Control- The engine ECU”. It’s in my hand now. Yes the blinking has stopped.

My job doesn’t end there. Infact, it starts only now..  So there I am.. Investigating which Nephron (circuit on the PCB) lead to this current outburst.. I broke open a few capacitors, relays, resistors were already ripped apart.. and finally found the culprit… unbelievable but true- a tiny ant had pee-d on one of the soldered circuits which lead to rust which in turn lead to malfunction of the brain. Hmm…

But my work continues… I will now send the part to the supplier(literally..!!) and follow up with him to identify the root cause and take countermeasure on priority..!!!

OKAY…!!! So I’m Dr. Neurologist here… I work with the brain(ECU) and nerves(all electrical and body parts)

But there is a cardiologist too.. My colleague-friend: He treats all heart related ailments (Engines).

And there’s an orthopaedician too- he treats the limbs (the chassis, suspension systems etc.)

We are the soldiers guarding the Siachen border- We have complete freedom to rip a person apart- part by part and win accolades for it.. Destruction gives us all a complete sense of accomplishment.

We are rarely idle- but when we think we are, we put back everything and go for a long drive.

And then, we are back for yet another postmortem..!!

Fortuner-3_0
One of my patients- during the regular check up on the test track

Ofcourse, I have MUCH better pictures of my patients going through even worse treatments.. But, I had to rely on this internet photo for confidential policies 🙂 Picture courtesy: Google images