WEEKEND TRIP TO YELAGIRI


  1. Destination: Yelagiri, Tamil Nadu, India
  2. Visited on: May 21st 2016 – May 22nd 2016
  3. Peak Season: November to January
  4. How To Reach:
  • By Train – Many trains ply from Majestic station of Bangalore to Jollarpettai. 

About: Yelagiri is a hill station in Vellore district of Tamil Nadu, India, situated off the Vaniyambadi-Tirupattur road.

Our Journey Starts:

I and Anindita decided to go for a weekend trip to a hill station,Yelagiri. We boarded train Lalbagh express at 7:00 AM from K.R. Puram station and reached Jollarpettai station at 9:00 AM. From the station, we took a local bus to reach Yelagiri. It took 90 minutes in bus to reach Yelagiri. One can hire a cab also to reach there. The bus was over-crowded. The winding roads in the hills was fascinating.

We reached Yelagiri lake. From there, took a walk and reached hotel “Hotel Landmark” in 10 minutes. The hotel was near to the Sterling hotel. The room was good and in a serene location. After completing lunch, we went out to Yelagiri lake. One can opt for a boat ride there. The lake was huge. We walked around the lake. There is observatory point up on a tree. I climbed through the stairs to reach the observatory point. Anindita was too scared to climb so high. The view-point was quite high and the scene from there was beautiful.dsc_5953

After that, we went to a park located opposite to the lake. Took a stroll there and came back to the hotel. While coming back, found lot of vendors selling Jack-fruit. There is nothing much to see in Yelagiri. People generally visit in a weekend to relax. We spent time with a bottle of beer and soft-drinks in the hotel balcony.dsc_5924

Next day, woke up early and started to walk aimlessly following the road to see the life of villagers. Found, people busy ploughing fields. The road was not busy that time. Birds chirping all around. A walk with nature all around gave a lovely feeling. We went very far. While returning, came by an auto. Our weekend trip was almost over. I took a dip in the hotel swimming pool. We checked out at noon after completing lunch in hotel. Walked for 10 mins upto Sterling resort bus stop. From there, took a local bus and reached Jollarpettai station. This time, the bus was not crowded.

We reached quite early in the station. Also, the train we have booked, i.e. “Sanghamitra Express” was delayed by 90 mins. Finally we boarded the train around 7PM. And reached K.R. Puram station around 9PM. Reached home by taking a cab. We got very exhausted waiting at the station. Yet, every moment in Yelagiri was refreshing.

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COORG


 

  1. Destination: Coorg, Karnataka, India
  2. Visited on: February 13th 2016 – February 15th 2016
  3. Peak Season: November to January
  4. How To Reach:
  • By Bus – KSRTC Volvo buses are available from Bangalore to Madikeri and Kushalnagar. 

About: Coorg is known for its beautiful scenery. Tourists get fascinated by colourful scenery. Coorg is ideal for trekking.

Our Journey Starts:

I and Anindita decided to go to Madikeri area of Coorg in the first day and Kushalnagar area of Coorg in the second day.  We boarded the KSRTC Volvo bus (Airavat) from Majestic Bus station which departed at 11.15 PM. The journey was very comfortable. We reached Madikeri next morning around 7:00 AM. We checked in hotel “Coorg shell”. The room was good with basic facilities. We left our bag in the room and went out for sight-seeing. At first, we hired an auto which will take us to Abbey falls, Raja’s seat/tomb, Madikeri fort and Omkareshwar temple.

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Abbey falls

 

All the sight seeing places are very nearby.  At first we went to Abbey falls. Had to climb down some stairs to reach Abbey fall. While climbing down, witnessed, plenty of coffee plants on both sides. The fall had very less water that time. Then we boarded the auto and move to the next sight, Raja’s tomb. It is a monument. Then we moved to Madikeri fort. Nice place to walk around. We walked through the wide fort-wall pavement for quite some-time. Spent a good time there seeing the town from the high fort walls. Then we moved to Omkareshwar temple, which was closed at that time. Finally back to hotel. In the evening, we spent some time in shopping Coorg special coffee. I also tried “Coorgi Pork” (Coorg cuisine) which was delicious.

On the second day, we woke up early and booked a cab from the taxi stand to reach Dubare elephant camp from Madikeri, which is located at a distance of 17 Km. KSRTC buses do not go there. So, we chose to take a cab. We reached Dubare elephant camp in 1 hr, early in the morning at 7AM. The nature is at its best early in the morning. Not had the same feeling later in the day. River Kaveri flowing at a slow pace. We reached Dubare elephant camp through a boat which starts operating around 8:30AM. Reached Dubare elephant camp in 15 mins through boat. Once we reached there, found so many elephants around us. We took a walk around the elephant camp. One can opt to stay there also.

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Dubare Elephant Camp

 

The best part of Dubare elephant camp is, one can bath an elephant in the water of river Kaveri. We bought tickets for that. Elephants were taking a bath with supervision of trained personnel. We splashed water on the elephants and posed with them too. Baby elephants stole the show by running around and taking a deep splash in the river and playing with each other. After spending quite a time there, we took a boat and came back to the other side. Had some food and boarded the hired cab to reach Nisargadham. Dubare elephant camp is also good for people having interest in rafting. However, rafting is like just a boat ride on steady water flow.We reached Nisargadham from Dubare elephant camp in 30 mins. We had to cross a small channel of river Kaveri thorugh a hanging bridge. Many people were busy there taking a pedal-boat ride. Found lots of fishes too in the river. Nisargadham is kind of a forest . We did a zip-line activity there. There are some tree-houses to spend some time. Spend some time in river Kaveri also which is flowing through a rocky bed.

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Nisargadham

 

 

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Another temple inside Namdroling Monastery

After that, we boarded the hired cab again and reached Namdroling monastery in 15 mins. It is a beautiful monastery. The ambiance inside is beautiful . It has a huge statue of Lord Buddha. The paintings on the wall are attractive. From there, we moved to a home-stay “4 seasons home stay” which was booked in advance. After taking rest that evening, we boarded KSRTC bus early morning next day. We boarded KSRTC Volvo bus at 8:00 Am and reached Bangalore around 1PM.

 

Note:

  • Buy Coorg coffee
  • Try to visit Dubare elephant camp if visiting Coorg.
  • Kindly follow no trace policy and save mother earth.

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MYSORE (MYSURU)


  1. Destination: Mysore (Mysuru), Karnataka, India
  2. Visited on: January 30th 2016 – February 1st 2016
  3. Peak Season: Can be visited anytime
  4. How To Reach:
  • By Train – There are number of trains going to Mysore from Bangalore. From there, one needs to hire an auto rickshaw to reach hotel. Also may book an Uber or Ola cab
  • By Bus – Number of buses are available from Bangalore which goes directly to Mysore.

About: Mysore, officially renamed as Mysuru, located at the base of the Chamundi Hills about 146 km southwest of the state capital Bangalore.

Our Journey Starts:

My parents visited Bangalore where I stay currently for work. I planned to take them to Mysore this time. Mysore is very close to Bangalore and takes around 3 hours. We booked train tickets in advance. There are many trains and buses going to Mysore from Bangalore every day. We reached early in the morning in the Majestic station and boarded a train. On reaching Mysore station after a journey of 3 hours, we had to bargain with an auto driver to take us to the hotel MB International. The bargain settled at Rs. 120 approximately.

On reaching hotel, we freshened up a bit and finished our breakfast. After that, we took a short walk to reach St. Philomena’s Cathedral. This is a beautiful yet a very old church maintained properly. The photo of this church is also inscribed on the walls of Mysore palace. From there, I booked an Uber cab to visit Chamundeshwari temple. The cab came and the driver informed, the cab doesn’t go through the hills to Chamundeshwari temple. He asked me to take a Volvo. However, I paid him extra and requested him to take us there. He agreed and we reached Chamundeshwari temple. One can take an auto or a Volvo AC bus from Mysore to reach Chamundeshwari temple. Taking a Volvo bus would be the best option.

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Chamundeshwari Temple

On reaching the temple, we had to buy tickets for approximately Rs. 10 per head to enter into the temple. It is a beautiful temple. Need to be in a queue to enter inside. After visiting the temple, we decided to visit Mysore Zoo. We boarded Volvo bus from the stand next to the temple and reached Mysore zoo. The zoo is located very close to the Mysore palace. This zoo is one of the most popular attraction in Mysore and one can witness mighty African elephant there.

This zoo is huge and takes a long time to visit every corner. One can witness mighty African elephant, Indian elephant, Tiger, Lion, Zebra, Giraffe, Rhinoceros, Turtle, Snakes, etc. For us, it took around 3 hours to visit the zoo. Then we booked another Uber cab and reached Mysore palace. We entered the palace premises after buying tickets. The palace premises is huge and one need to be in a queue to enter the actual palace. The architectural style of domes of the palace is commonly described as Indo-Saracenic and blends Hindu, Muslim, Rajput, and Gothic styles. The palace has three entrances: the East Gate (the front gate, opened only during the Dasarah and for VIPs), the South Entrance (for public), and the West Entrance (usually opened only during the Dasarah). The sculpture inside the palace is immaculate. The queue moves slowly inside the palace. While moving, one can witness beautiful paintings and sculpture.img_4798-3

The entire palace lit up with lights at night. Witnessed that and came back to hotel. Next day, we planned to visit Brindavan Gardens. I booked a cab for the next day. We woke up early in the morning and went out for Brindavan gardens. On the way, we stopped at Srirangapatna. There is a summer palace of Tipu Sultan. After that, we have seen Colonel Bailey’s Dungeon and Tippu’s death place. Then the hired cab dropped us at Brindavan Gardens around 2 PM.

The Brindavan Gardens is a garden located in the Mandya District of the state of Karnataka, India. It lies adjoining the Krishnarajasagara dam which is built across the river Kaveri. The garden is maintained by the Cauvery Niravari Nigama (Cauvery Irrigation Department), a Government of Karnataka enterprise. It is spread across an area of 60 acres (240,000 m2). Adjoining it is also a fruit orchard spread across 75 acres (300,000 m2) and 2 horticultural farms, Nagavana (30 acres) and Chandravana (5 acres). The garden is laid out in 3 terraces which contain water fountains, Ficus trees, foliage plants such as Duranta plumaria and Euphorbia and flowering plants like Celosia, Marigold and bougainvillea.The garden is open to the public and an entry-fee is charged. We spent around 3 hours there sitting in the lawn and roaming around. There are also accommodation available, if anyone opt to stay inside Brindavan Gardens. But that would be an expensive stay.In Brindavan garden, we took a boat ride also. It’s a speed boat ride for 10 mins

In the evening, “light and sound” show is organized. After watching that show we boarded the hired cab and returned to our hotel. We had an early train next morning. Completed dinner early. In the morning, booked an Ola cab around 5 AM through Ola app. Boarded the train and reached Bangalore around 9AM.

Note:

  • No need to hire cab for sight-seeing in Mysore. Book cab while visiting Brindavan Gardens via Srirangapatna
  • Go inside the Mysore palace during day time and also see the palace when the light is lit in the evening
  • Mysore can be visited any time of the year. But, summer can be hot
  • Bargain while booking cabs
  • Kindly follow no trace policy and save mother earth.

CLICK HERE TO SEE ALL PICS OF MYSORE

SOUTH GOA


  1. Destination: South Goa (Colva and Palolem), India
  2. Visited on: February 14th 2017 – February 16th 2017
  3. Peak Season: November to January
  4. How To Reach:
  • By Train – There are trains going till Margao. From there, one needs to hire a cab or auto rickshaw to reach South Goa
  • By Bus – KSRTC Volvo buses are available from Bangalore, Mumbai and Pune which goes directly to Margao and Panaji.

About: Goa is a state in India within the coastal region known as the Konkan in western India. Bounded by Maharashtra to the north and Karnataka to the east and south. The Arabian Sea forms its western coast.

Clarifying confusion between North and South Goa: Goa is a quite a big place and segmented into North and South Goa. People often get confused between North and South Goa .

As per my experience, South Goa has some piscine beaches and not at all crowded. South Goa is visited mostly by foreigners. South Goa famous beaches includes – Colva, Palolem and Agonda beaches, Colva is pretty crowded though. But Colva is the hub of all water activities in South Goa.

Whereas, North Goa beaches are very crowded and hub of all party freaks and visited mostly by Indians. North Goa famous beaches includes – Calangute, Baga, Candolim, Anjuna. Calangute and Baga beaches are heavily crowded. Candolim beach is again secluded.  Calangute beach exhibits strong sea waves. In North Goa, Calangute is the hub of all water activities.   

Check My Journey To North Goa

Our Journey Starts:

This was probably my last trip from Bangalore as I have got a new job in my home-town Kolkata and would be moving back to Kolkata from Bangalore in about a week. Before that, we planned for a vacation in South Goa.  I and Anindita boarded the KSRTC double-axle Volvo bus (Airavat) from Majestic Bus station which departed at 8.30PM. The journey was very comfortable, though we had to change a bus on the way because the bus we boarded started malfunctioning. KSRTC replaced the bus within 15 minutes. Reached Margao next day morning on 14th February 2017 around 9.00 AM. We had a hotel booked for Colva. The cab was very expensive. So we boarded a bus from Margao bus stand and reached Colva beach after a journey of 1 hour. Cab takes around 15 minutes to reach there. We booked hotel Colva Residency in Colva. It is a Goa govt. hotel. Cheap and value for money. The bus stopped right next to the hotel.dsc_2437

Once we checked in to the hotel, the view from the balcony was beautiful. Freshened up a bit and moved out to the beach which is just a minute away from the hotel .We got into a shack on the beach. I took a Kingfisher beer with king fish masala fry. Anindita took a mocktail. We completed our lunch there. While sitting in the shack (Restaurant on beach), we spotted all the various water sports being conducted there. We decided to go for “Wench-parasailing” (Only parasailing is just a 1 minute activity, conducted over the beach and a complete waste of money) by paying Rs 700/head. We got into a boat which took inside the sea and got transferred into a bigger boat. I was the first person to do the wench-parasailing. I was hooked up with a parachute and released. In a moment, I started floating in the sky and panorama view from the top was magnificent. I asked them to dip me in water in advance, which was charged extra at Rs. 300/head. I took a dip in the water (Not a head dip) while the parachute was on and again went up into the sky when the speed of the boat was increased. Anindita was too scared to try that. In the end, she did it perfectly fine.

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Wench-parasailing

We came back from the adventure sport and changed our dresses as it got wet during the water dip in the wench parasailing. After a quick change, we rushed to the beach and observed a beautiful sun-set. Colva is the only place in south goa where one can witness a perfect sunset, i.e. the sun dipping into the sea. After watching the beautiful sunset, we took a walk on the beach. Later, took a seat in a shack. In the evening, the dining arrangement was outside, i.e. on the beach. We completed our candle-lit dinner. Also tried Hookah (Shisha) there. Went back to the hotel and was all set to wake up early next morning for a morning walk on the beach.

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Sun-set in Colva

In the morning, we went to the beach around 7 AM. Walked through the long–stretched beach and collected sea-shells. Our sumptuous breakfast was part of the hotel tariff. Witnessed, Colva has equal number of Indians and foreigners. We planned to stay in Colva for 1 night only. So we packed our bags and hired a shared taxi and reached Palolem in 90 minutes. A local couple helped us in getting a shared taxi.

We planned 2 nights for Palolem. Once we reached there, One can go the left or right in search of hotel. Left side has most hotels and because of that more tourists. Whereas, the right side has less hotels (In compare to the left side) and less tourists also. Without knowing this fact, we started walking on the right side through the beach in search of an accommodation. There are many hotels right on the beach offering breath-taking view of the endless sea from room. After checking few hotels, we checked-in “Hotel Brendon”. The AC cottages on the first floor was compact and nice. Most importantly, the view was magnificent.

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Beautiful Palolem Beach

Palolem beach is not at all crowded and visited mostly by foreigners. We finished our lunch in a shack and took a bath in the sea. In between, took a refreshing sip of Kingfisher beer. In the evening, we went to the further right of the beach and found it was very peaceful. Food was tasty both in Colva and Palolem. Next morning, 16th February 2017, we explored the right side of the beach thoroughly and found so many yoga classes being conducted on the beach. I bought a bottle of Royal Stag (Good Indian whisky in a budget) from a nearby liquor shop and spent the afternoon in my balcony seeing the end-less sea. Found few people practicing juggling and few taking a kayaking ride.

In the evening, we though of exploring the left side of the beach. After walking for some time, we were about to witness the sunset. I realized, I forgot my camera tripod and it’s almost time for sunset. As I wanted to shoot a time-lapse video, I rushed to my room, grabbed my tripod and reached the destination on time .Left side of Palolem beach offers better view of sunset, though nothing like sunset in Colva. After taking pictures, we spent the evening walking on the beach. Completed our dinner in the shack where we were staying.

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Sun-set in Palolem

Next morning, 17th February 2017, after taking a jog on the beach, we decided to go for a sight-seeing tour of Dolphin. After quite a bargain, the boat-men agreed for a rate of Rs. 300 per head. The entire sight-seeing trip took 90 minuites. We boarded the speed-boat and the navigator took us to a place where we can easily spot dolphins. Spotted dolphins playing in the water (Don’t expect it to jump over your head). The spot is located between Palolem beach and Agonda beach. So, the dolphin sighting is also conducted from Agonda beach.

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Dolphin sighting

On the way back, we stopped by Honeymoon beach. It is a very small secluded beach. Still found some tourists taking sea-bath there (Mostly foreigners). After a halt of 15 mins, we boarded the boat again, and boat-men took us to the Butterfly beach. It is again a small secluded beach between two hills. This time, there was no halt. Just spotted it on the go. Once we reached to the shore, the dolphin sighting and also the boat-ride was very refreshing.

Our trip almost came to an end. Instead of hiring an expensive taxi, we boarded a local bus and reached Margao bus stop in 90 minutes. From there, we boarded KSRTC Volvo bus around 7PM and reached Bangalore next morning with lots of happy memories and clear mind.

Note:

  • Smoking is not allowed in public in Colva
  • Go for “wench-parasailing” and not just “parasailing”. Both costs same
  • Margao will be the suitable stop instead of Panjim if visiting South Goa
  • Cabs will be very expensive. Always do bargain. May opt for local bus if available
  • Hotel prices during season may get double.
  • One may hire a bike to roam around Goa. South Goa has some beautiful churches
  • Kindly follow no trace policy and save mother earth.

CLICK HERE TO SEE ALL PIC OF SOUTH GOA

KODAIKANAL


  1. Destination: Kodaikanal, Tamil Nadu, India
  2. Visited on: December 3rd – 6th 2015
  3. Peak Season: During holidays and on any weekends
  4. How To Reach:
  • By Train – There are trains going till Kodai Road. From there, one needs to hire a cab and reach Kodaikanal after a journey of 90 minutes (approx.)
  • By Bus – Sleeper buses and Volvo buses are available from Bangalore which goes directly to Kodaikanal via Kodai Road.

About: Kodaikanal is a town in the hills of the Dindigul district of Tamil Nadu, India. It’s name in the Tamil language means “The gift of the forest”. Kodaikanal is referred as the “Princess of Hill stations”.

Our Journey Starts:

I and Anindita boarded the KSRTC sleeper bus from Shantinagar Bus station which departed around 10PM. The journey was very comfortable. Reached Kodaikanal bus stop around 8AM next day on December 4th 2015. Plan was to stay in Kodaikanal for 2 nights and 3 days. Hotels were pre-booked. We booked 2 different hotels for each day. We reached hotel Richwin after a 10 minutes’ walk from the bus stop. Hotel people was courteous and allotted a room in the first floor (Room No. 201) which has all the basic amenities like sofa, electric kettle, tooth brush, tooth paste, etc. The deluxe room comes with a balcony too. The hotel is located just next to magnificent “Coaker’s walk” and Bryant Park.

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Vattakanal Falls

On the way to the hotel from the bus stop, there are many tour operators offered sight-seeing at good price. We hired one guy named Lakshmanan who offered the best price. After a quick freshen up, we boarded the booked Tata Indica and out for sight-seeing. The sight-seeing activity doesn’t take too long, so we clubbed few sight-seeing together. Here is the list of sight-seeing given below.

Tour –I ( Kodai Local sight-seeing)

  • Coaker’s walk
  • Green Valley view
  • Golf course
  • Pillar’s Rock
  • Devil’s Kitchen (Guna cave)
  • Pine forest
  • Moier point
  • Kodaikanal Lake

Tour – II (Picnic Tour)

  • 500 years old tree
  • Vattakanal falls
  • Pambar falls (Liril falls)
  • Echo Rock
  • Dolphin’s Nose
  • Mountain Beauty
  • Lion Cave
  • Neptune falls
  • Bryant Park
  • Kodaikanal lake

Tour – III (Forest Tour)

  • Silent valley
  • Fire Tower
  • Caps Fly Valley
  • Berijam Lake
  • Medicine Forest

We clubbed Tour I and Tour II in day 1 for Rs. 1400. Else, each tour cost Rs. 800. We kept Coaker’s walk for the next day as it was very close from our hotel. At first, we went to Vattakanal falls. The waterfall is gorgeous with gusty water flowing from top. Then we started to trek to reach other waterfalls. The trek was scary as we had to walk through the flowing water of the fall. Tour I is not for older people. All other people must keep their shoes in their car and walk bare footed. From Vattakanal falls we moved to Pambar falls, also known as Liril fall as the shooting for the Liril soap advertisement took place there. Then comes the Echo Rock, Dolphin’s nose and Lion cave. All places are located in a very short distance. Then we moved back to the car after a scary, yet fun filled trek of 90 minutes. We skipped Bryant Park too, as it was very close to our hotel.

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Pambar (Liril) Fall

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Pine Forest

Then the guide took us to tree which is 500 years old. Then on the way we witnessed, Green valley view and Pine forest. Pine forest is a serene place and good for photography. We witnessed lot of mushrooms around. Just after Pine forest, comes Devils’ kitchen (Guna cave). This is a lovely place and a must visit. The tree roots are creeping like snakes and the foggy weather added a charm to the atmosphere. The actual cave is now closed after a tragic death of 12 people.

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Devil’s Kitchen (Guna Cave)

Then we went to Pillar’s rock. This is another magnificent creation of the God. It is formation of four rocks and each rock looks like Mayan faces or faces of Indian gods and goddesses. We couldn’t see this formation due to fog. We visited again the next day to see the Pillar Rock early in the morning to catch a breath-taking view. After visiting almost all places except Kodai Lake, Coaker’s walk and Bryant Park, we came back to the hotel. We covered Tour I and Tour II in 4 hours. After a quick freshen-up, we moved out to see the Kodaikanal town. Later in the day, came back to the hotel and relaxed.

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Pillar’s Rock

On day 2, we woke up early and went to Coaker’s walk which opens at 6.30 AM. Entry fee to Coaker’s walk is Rs. 10 per head and Camera costs Rs. 20. Coaker’s walk offers the most majestic view of the hills from Kodaikanal. It is a stretch of 1 Km which offers a peaceful walk with a view of the hills. One can try the powerful telescope to see the Kodai town closely. Then we planned to go to Pillar’s rock again as we couldn’t take a view the previous day due to fog. We took the same car and went to pillar’s rock. There were no tourist at 8AM in the morning and enjoyed the serenity of the place.

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View from “Coaker’s Walk”

As we booked a different hotel for the 2nd day, we took our bags and moved to the other hotel which was close-by. This hotel “The Villa Retreat” is a renowned one in Kodaikanal. However, I didn’t like it in compare to Richwin hotel, though rooms were comfortable.

Then we came back to the Kodaikanal town and had breakfast and again moved towards Kodaikanal Lake by walk. Reached Kodai Lake after a walk of 10 minutes. It is huge star shaped lake. We hired two bi-cycles and took a ride around the lake which took almost an hour. We took a boat ride too. Boat ride is quite expensive there, yet not that great. One can enjoy horse ride too around the Kodai Lake. It is a commercialized lake and don’t expect peace.

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Kodaikanal Lake

From there we went to a Tibetan restaurant for lunch. The restaurant “The Royal Tibetan” is quite famous and ranked high in Tripadvisor. Food in Kodaikanal is not great. However, food in this Tibetan restaurant is awesome and really a value for money. I highly recommend this place. This restaurant is just a 3 minutes’ walk from the 7 cross petrol bunk and 10 minutes from KSRTC bus stand. One must try “Momos” there.

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Floral Formations in Pine Forest

After a filling lunch, we again headed towards Coaker’s walk to take a view of the hills in the evening light. It was great. However, I believe, the view was better early in the morning as there was no fog then and also there were very less people around which offers a calm atmosphere. We tried sweet corn there and it was best corn I ever had in my life. On each bite on the corn, the juices are splashing on my face. Kodaikanal is also famous for home-made chocolates. The shop named “The chocolate factory” is a renowned one in Kodaikanal which offers some beautiful home-made chocolates. We bought some chocolates from there. We also tried “Hot-chocolate” there which was thick and yummy. Kodaikanal is also famous for natural oils. I bought “Citriodora oil” meant for hairs. This oil is tried and tested and giving positive results.

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Way to Berijam Lake

For the last set of sight-seeing, that is Tour III (Forest tour) we booked a shared bus. Costs are Rs. 250 per head. The tour operators are required to take permission from the forest department for this trip, which is not a challenge at all. Next day we checked out at 9AM and kept our bags with the hotel owners and went out for sight-seeing. The bus picked us at 9.30AM and picked many others on the way until it is full. This trip was fun with the people in the bus.

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Berijam Lake View from distance

First, we went to Silent Valley which offers a view of nomad’s village surrounded beautifully with hills. Then the Fire tower. It is just a watch tower to see whether the forest is in fire or not. Next is a very funny place named “Caps fly valley”. If one throws leaves/hankies/caps down, it will fly back to him due to difference in atmospheric pressure. View of medicine forest is just a view of a dense forest from top. Berijam Lake is a beautiful lake located in a leach infested region. Avoid walking on the grass. The way to Berijam Lake is wonderful. All trees are covering the road from both sides. This place is also a photographer’s paradise.

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Fire Tower Covered With Fog

Later, our guide took us little inside to show some animals, where all were attacked by leach. However, I was lucky enough and the leaches only climbed my shoe and didn’t get a chance to taste my blood. Then we were taken to a shop for shopping. Bought some chocolates there too. On the way back, it started to rain heavily and the entire place turned into fog magnet with a poor visibility. But we enjoyed that atmosphere too. Once we are dropped in the hotel, we changed and freshen-up in the hotel’s common change room and went for lunch at “The Royal Tibetan Restaurant”. After a filling lunch again, we moved to the KSRTC bus stop with our backpacks.

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Cycling Around Kodaikanal Lake

There is a renowned Pastry and Ice-cream shop near to the bus stand named “Pastry Corner”. One need to reach there before 5PM to try pastries, else it gets over. We tried natural ice-creams there which were very tasty. Vegetarians can try “Hotel Astoria” which is one of the best in Kodaikanal offering veg-dishes.

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Early-Morning View Of Kodaikanal sky

We boarded the KSRTC sleeper bus which departed around 7PM and reached Bangalore Shantinagar Bus stop around 3 AM. From there, we booked a cab to reach home. Being to Kodaikanal is a lovely experience and felt it is better in many ways in compare to Ooty.

Suggestions:

  • Eat at least once at “The Royal Tibetan Restaurant”
  • Pastry and ice-cream lovers can try “Pastry Corner”
  • Kodaikanal is paradise for chocolate lovers. Try home-made chocolates.
  • Don’t walk on the grass while in Berijam lake
  • Tour I and Tour II can be combined in 1 day
  • Tour I is not for older people as it is a trek through the flowing water of the waterfall. Chances of skid are high.
  • Kindly follow no trace policy and save mother earth.

CLICK HERE TO SEE ALL PICS OF KODAIKANAL

RANGANATHITTU BIRD SANCTUARY & KRS BACKWATER


  1. Destination: Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary & KRS Backwater, Karnataka, India
  2. Visited on: December 13th 2015
  3. Peak Season: Winter (December – February)
  4. How To Reach:
  • Car/bike – One can reach this sanctuary by own car/bike or by any hired vehicle

About: Ranganathittu bird sanctuary is in Mandya district of Karnataka, India. It is the largest bird sanctuary of Karnataka. It is located 3 Km away from historic town Srirangapatna and 16 Km north of Mysore.

Our Journey Starts:

Visiting Ranganathittu bird sanctuary in winter was in my plan for quite a long time. This time, Bangalore Adventurers organized an event to visit this sanctuary. Without wasting any time, I and Anindita registered for the event. We met with the group in front of Decathlon at Mysore road at 6.30AM. We were a group of 9 people including I, Anindita, Narendra, Kushagra, Sandeep, Vijay, Raju and the organizer Sachin. After a short introduction, we started our journey in Sachin and Narendra’s car.After half an hour, we made a halt for breakfast. The place is renowned for Thatte Idli. Food was amazing there. After a heavy breakfast, we boarded the cabs and started our uninterrupted journey towards the sanctuary.DSC_4307

We crossed historical town Srirangapatna on the way and reached Mandya. After a journey of total 3 hours, we reached sanctuary. The sanctuary is being monitored by the forest department. After paying an entry charge of Rs. 60 per head, we went inside and parked our car. Quickly, we went to a bird watching view-point where we observed birds like Storks, Pelican etc are breeding and enjoying the hot winter climate. We all captured the flying moments of this birds.DSC_4588

Then we decided to go for a boat ride which costs Rs. 60 per head or one can hire the entire boat for Rs. 1000 which accommodates around 15 people. The boat ride was the best part of this trip. We took a closer view of all the birds that migrate all the way and reach here. The water is also infested with crocodiles. Never been so close to live crocodiles. Seen crocodiles taking a sun-bath (lol) from a distance of 2 feet. We were provoking Kushagra to put hand in the water and feel the cold water. It is one of the best places to see all sorts of colorful birds including Kingfisher. We also got a breath-taking view of Storks and Pelicans catching fish from Kaveri Lake in the flight.

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Photo of Crocodile taken from boat ride

After a successful boat ride, we walked around inside the sanctuary. Total activity took around 2 hours. Then we moved out and headed towards Balmuri waterfall. It is situated at a distance of 30 minutes from the sanctuary. It is called a waterfall, but it is actually a stream with a drop of only 2 feet. Vijay, who was very interested in seeing a waterfall actually got syked seeing that. Narendra and Kushagra took a bath there.

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Balmuri Fall

From there, we headed back to the Mysore road and stopped our car in a nice restaurant for lunch. After having good lunch, we started our journey towards KRS backwater. We reached there after a journey of 30 minutes. It is located very close to Brindavan gardens. KRS backwater is being enclosed by the KRS dam. Huge Venugopala swamy temple just next to the backwater added charm to the place. The temple is still undergoing construction. After taking many pictures around the backwater, we went inside the temple. The temple is enormous and sculptured beautifully. One can witness sunset there if staying till evening. Raju, Narendra, Kushagraha and Sachin again took bath there.

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Venugopala Swamy Temple at KRS Backwater

By this time, all were tired of the scorching sun and wanted to head back home. We boarded cabs and came to a halt near the sanctuary again as it was on the way back. We calculated all expenses and shared equally. Later, we gathered around and shared our positive feedback as there was no negative feedback to share after such a wonderful trip.

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Hunting Fish

We boarded the cab again and headed back home. On the way, we stopped for 15 minutes for tea break. I moved from Sachin’s car to Narendra’s car so that he can drop us at Silk board crossing which will be on their way. Similarly, Vijay, who was in Narendra’s car moved to Sachin’s car. After saying ‘Adieu” to all, we headed towards Silk board. Narendra had some great collection of music and played in the car. On the way, we again met Sachin and his co passengers near Banashankari which was quite a coincidence. As we all do not know the way to reach Silk board, we started to follow Google map. Due to some wrong turning or whatsoever, the map is always showing the way through “Niece: road which we didn’t want to follow. After a lot of confusion and with the help of Anindita and Kushagra’s navigation skills, we reached Silk board. Narendra and Kushagra headed towards a Dhaba in search of “Naan”. I and Anindita headed back home from Silk board.DSC_4585

It was a wonderful trip. I personally enjoyed the sanctuary and the backwater a lot. Will definitely look forward for any such events organized by Sachin or Raju or by the Bangalore Adventurers team.

Suggestions:

  • Try “Thatte idli” on the way
  • Carry spare clothes for taking bath in Balmuri falls and KRS backwater
  • Kindly follow no trace policy and save mother earth.

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WEEKEND TRIP TO GOKARNA


  1. Destination: Gokarna, Karnataka, India
  2. Visited on: August 8th – 9th 2015
  3. Peak Season: November – January
  4. Suggestion: Try to carry a backpack and not a suitcase as route to beach/hotel has stairs or stones.
  5. How To Reach:
  • By Train – Only one train from Bangalore, i.e. Karwar express
  • By Bus – KSRTC operates daily bus to Gokarna from Bangalore.

About: Gokarna is a small temple town located on the western coast of India in the Uttara Kannada district of the Indian state of Karnataka. Main temple and deity is Lord Shiva, who is also known as Mahabhaleshwar. Gokarna is also renowned for beaches and it is quite close to Goa.

Our Journey Starts:

Gokarna was in my plan for a long time. Suddenly my friend Niloy asked to join him for a trip to Gokarna during monsoon and I couldn’t say no. Me, Anindita, Niloy and his wife Saheli are all set for a trip to Gokarna. This is my first trip with Niloy after his marriage last year in November. The main purpose of this trip is to celebrate Niloy’s birthday which is on 8th August.

I and Anindita booked a Volvo which departs Bangalore on Friday night so that we can reach early in the morning next day. Whereas, Niloy and Saheli booked bus from VRL on the same day as they didn’t manage to get a seat in the bus we booked. Our Volvo departed Majestic at 9.30 PM. After a smooth journey reached Gokarna next day at 8.30AM. The distance from the bus stop and Gokarna beach is only 1KM. So decided to walk to the beach with backpacks, instead of taking an auto as they were charging a lot seeing a tourist.Fishing Boat in Om Beach

On the way to Gokarna beach, we found the famous Mahabaleshwar temple. We entered to offer prayers. Men need to enter the temple in bare body. They have nice facilities to keep luggage. One can see the Gokarna beach from the temple entrance. After puja, we walked till Gokarna beach. Our plan was to trek the hill to reach the next beach, which is Kudle beach. One can take an auto to reach Kudle beach also. But do bargain. Gokarna beach was lovely; however the entrance to the beach was quite dirty. We started to trek through the beach and reached a hill. We climbed the hill through stairs and walked straight for 5 minutes to reach the entrance of Kudle beach. Followed the easy trail and reached Kudle beach.Gokarna Beach

Found Kudle beach to be more beautiful than Gokarna beach. As we went during monsoon, most of the shacks and hotels were closed. Our accommodation was not pre-booked. Walked along the coast and found hotel Gokarna International right on Kudle beach. This is the only hotel which was open in Kudle beach along with pathetic “German bakery”. Among rush, we managed to get a room for Rs. 1800 where four of us will stay together. Room was fair but not great. My friend Niloy and his wife Saheli joined soon. Without wasting any time, I and Niloy got prepared to take bath in the sea. Be very careful while taking bath there. Don’t go too deep. I have seen two people fell in the whirlpool and the good local fishermen had to rescue them. Had a refreshing bath. In between had beer too on beach. After bath, we freshened up and order fish and rice for lunch. Spotted two surfers surfing in the sea. For the first time seeing surfing in the sea with my bare eyes. The only shack adjacent to the hotel which offers food is pathetic. But, we finished the food quickly as we had other plans.Gokarna Beach

Later in the day, we planned to visit Om beach, next to Kudle beach. To reach there, one needs to climb the hill for around 10 minutes and then take an auto. The auto driver charged Rs. 150 after bargaining for four of us. Again, we walked down through stairs to reach Om beach. Om beach is quite a rocky beach but it has a beauty of its own. The beach is in the shape of “Om”. One can see the lonely coconut tree standing on the top of a cliff and taking a view of the sea. “Parvati Rocks” has it’s beauty of its own. We had a plan to take a boat ride to reach Half-moon beach and Paradise beach. But, the boat service was closed and remain closed the entire monsoon. The only place to stay in Om beach during monsoon is “Namaste Café” as everything else remains closed. “Namaste café” is very good for accommodation and relaxing in the shacks. The room rate in “Namaste Café” is from Rs. 800- Rs. 2000. Rooms were good but the staffs were arrogant and they give more preference to foreigners. Always advisable to pre-book these rooms before visiting Gokarna during peak season or in weekends.Om Beach

We walked along the long stretch of the beach. Took many photographs. Took photos of fishing boat out for fishing in the middle of the sea. Came back to “Namaste Café’ had beer. Food was quite good. Time flies like anything. Once we realized it was quite late. It was around 9PM. Climbed up the hill, took an auto and reached Kudle. To reach the actual beach, had to walk among the forest trail. While walking, it started to rain. After quite a bit of struggle, we reached hotel in Kudle beach. Once we reached hotel, we decided to celebrate Niloy’s birthday. We were carrying fruit cake from Bangalore. All people staying in that hotel sang the famous happy birthday song and wished him. I made him a beer bath. It was fun.Sunset in Gokarna

We woke up next day morning at 6AM to see sunrise. But one has to be very lucky to see sun-rise during monsoon. It was raining heavily. We finished our breakfast. Hot tea and coffee added flavor to the atmosphere. After breakfast, we decided to take a walk on Kudle beach wearing a rain-coat. It was fun too. Later, I again took a bath in the sea. Then we decided to move to Om beach and stay in “Namaste Café”. On 9th, we moved there and took a room. Niloy extended his plan with his wife for another day. However, I and Anindita were scheduled to return to Bangalore on 9th taking a KSRTC Volvo which departs from Gokarna at 7.30PM. They got a room and we kept our luggage there. We four spent the entire day in the shacks eating food and drinking beer. I booked a cab from Namaste café to reach bus stop. It is highly suggested to book a cab from there as the auto drivers charges like anything. The cab only charged Rs. 200. We left Om beach saying “Adieu” to the sea. Niloy and his wife came with us to see us off. On the way we stopped at a point over the hill from where the entire Gokarna beach can be seen. We enjoyed the splendid sunset from there.

We reached Majestic in Bangalore next day at 6.30AM. Niloy and his wife left next day on 10th and reached Bangalore by train.

The trip to Gokarna was memorable. It’s always fun with friends.

Suggestions:

  • Book accommodation in advance just by a phone call if going in peak season or on weekends
  • Try to carry a backpack and not a suitcase as you need to climb up and down to reach auto stand
  • Kindly follow no trace policy and save mother earth.

Accommodation:

  • Namaste Café (Om beach) – Ph: +91 9886466565
  • Namaste Sanjeevini (Kudle Beach) – Ph: +91 9483122233
  • Gokarna International (Kudle beach) – Ph: +91 9739629390 , (08286) 256622/256848

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