LONAVALA & KHANDALA


  1. Destination: Lonavala & Khandala, Maharashtra, India
  2. Visited on: July 2nd 2016 – July 4th 2016
  3. Season to visit: June to September (Monsoon) & December to February (Winter)
  4. How To Reach:
  • By Train – Many trains are available from Pune and Mumbai to Lonvala.
  • By Car – One can easily drive to Lonavala from Mumbai and Pune

About: Lonavla & Khandala are towns and a hill station in Pune district in the Indian State of Maharashtra. It is about 64 kilometers (40 mi) from the city of Pune and 96 kilometers (60 mi) from the city of Mumbai. Khandala is just 3 Kms from Lonavala. 

Our Journey Starts:

It’s been quite a sometime that Niloy has moved to Pune from Bangalore with his wife. I and Anindita planned to meet them. So, we all decided to meet at Pune and then go to Lonavala and Khandala. I prefer to pre-book everything. I and Anindita boarded flight Indigo from Bangalore airport which departed at 05:45AM. As it was monsoon, the weather was worse in Pune. The flight made an attempt to land and at the last moment decided to pull up due to lack of visibility. The flight landed at 7:45 AM. We both boarded an Uber cab and reached Pune station. Met Niloy and his wife Saheli there, and we are all set for our trip to Lonavala.

We boarded a train from Pune station and reached Lonavala station within 1 Hr. The Hotel Metropole, which we have pre-booked is in a walking distance from the station and also in a prime location. When we reached Lonavala, it was raining lightly. The room in the hotel was nice. We freshened up quickly and hired a cab for sight-seeing. It started to rain heavily that time. People visit Lonavala during monsoon and enjoy roaming around drenched in rain, without taking a rain-coat or an umbrella. We took precaution with rain-coat though. On the way, we found, approximately 20 small water-falls flowing through different parts of the hill. People are partying with beer and loud music near the waterfall.

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Misty Hills With Water-Fall

At first, we reached “Bhusi dam”. It was raining and also misty. The driver parked the cab in a parking area and we started walking towards the dam in a misty weather. The walk in the mist was fun. Bhusi dam has stairs in it. And when the dam overflows, the water flows through those stairs and people enjoy taking a bath sitting on those stairs. As it was early monsoon, yet to experience the water flow through the stairs. Food stalls are all around the place. After seeing the Bhusi dam, we stopped in a local shop asking what else are there around the dam. As per their suggestion, we started walking towards a point where three rivers confluence. After walking for 30 mins. through a jungle like ambiance, we reached the point. It was beautiful and obviously better than Bhusi dam. We came back and boarded the cab for the next stop. I must say, the entire journey is happening under full fledged rain.

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Gusty Water Flowing Through The Stairs of Karla Cave

The we reached Lion point . It was misty all around and too windy also. In normal weather, one can witness beautiful stretch of hills all around. But we witnessed only mist. Yet it was a beautiful atmosphere all around. There are food counters everywhere. We had instant noodle “Maggi” and pakoras there with hot coffee. Hot food in cold and wet weather was awesome. After spending some time there, we boarded the cab and reached hotel. After freshening up, I and Niloy went out and got some Vada-pao (Indian version of burger) from a famous shop naming “Golden Vadapav”. We bought liquor too. At night, we are all set together in a room with drinks and food and shared all sorts of stories, including, personal experiences with ghosts. We also calculated the daily expenses.

Next morning, we hired the same cab to visit Ekvira Devi temple, Karla cave and Bhaja cave. We started early today because, as the day progresses, traffic also increases. After a half an hour ride, we reached the base of Ekvira Devi Temple and Karla cave. We had Vada pav from a restaurant and started walking through easy stairs. It took around 30 mins to reach Karla cave. While moving up, gusty water was flowing through the stairs, coming from a nearby river. Walking was quite challenging, yet fun.  

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Inside Karla Cave

The Karla Cave is an ancient Indian Buddhist rock-cut cave. The cave was magnificent. Water flowing through the outer walls of the cave, resulted in a water-fall. We walked around the cave. There are also stairs to go upstairs. We then had to buy tickets to go inside the cave. The sculptures inside was magnificent. Carvings on walls represents history and telling a story of the past. After spending quite a time there, we moved to Ekvira Devi Temple located just next to Karla cave. Niloy and Saheli decided not to go inside the temple. So, I and Anindita went inside. At times, it remains very crowded. But we didn’t had to face any crowd that time. Then, we came back to the parking lot taking the stairs. On the way, we bought some tasty sweets named as “Kalakand” and “Peda”.

We boarded the cab to move to next spot “Bhaja cave”. By that time, too many cars moving to and fro through a narrow road and got stuck in a heavy traffic. Rain didn’t stop yet which started in Day 1, or even before. After spending quite a time in heavy traffic, we reached Bhaja cave. We had to take lot of stairs to reach Bhaja caves. View from the hill was beautiful. It was lush green all around. On the way, we had to buy tickets to visit Bhaja cave. Bhaja cave is a shorter version of Karla cave. We walked around the cave. There are many water-falls there also. I took bath wearing a rain-coat and keeping my phone and camera in my pocket. After that, both my phone and camera got damaged. Luckily, no harm to the camera memory card.  After seeing Bhaja cave, we came back and boarded the cab. The driver took us to a Dhaba (Restaurant) situated on Mumbai-Pune highway. The food was yummy. I liked Rice and Desi chicken a lot. The main-course was complemented by a dessert “Lassi”. After a filling lunch, the driver took us to a spot where we can take bath. I took bath in the water-fall, rest decided to have corn and watch me taking a bath. After that, we came back to hotel. By the time we reached hotel, sun was down

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Way To Bhusi Dam

Again, we chat till late night. Next day, we left the hotel, boarded a train and reached Pune station from Lonavala. From Pune station, we hired an Uber cab to reach Niloy’s place. We were welcomed at their place with warm heart. We decided to cook food of our own. I and Niloy went out to get some mutton. After buying mutton, I marinated that with spices. Everybody put their effort to make the afternoon a memorable one. Saheli cooked rice and arranged all required utensils. Niloy grinded the whole-pepper, Anindita motivated us with her speech and I cooked mutton. After completing lunch, we took some rest. Woke up in the evening, I and Anindita boarded a cab and reached Pune airport. We boarded Flight “Indigo” which departed at 11:45 PM and reached Bangalore airport at 01:15 AM. From Bangalore, we booked a cab again to reach home.

Lonava & Khandala is a beautiful place to hang-around with friends. This is for the first time in my life, witnessed, continuous rain for more than 48 hours. Seeing old friends after quite some-time is also something. Warm welcome from Niloy and Saheli made the trip more special.

Note:

  • Eat food in Dhaba, available in Mumbai-Pune highway
  • Carry rain-coat / umbrella if visiting during monsoon. But tourists prefer to get drenched there
  • Kindly follow no trace policy and save mother earth.

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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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THEKKADY (KERALA)


  1. Destination: Thekkady, Kerala, India
  2. Visited on: December 24th 2015 – December 28th 2015
  3. Peak Season: November to February
  4. How To Reach:
  • By Car – Reaching Thekkady from Munnar is easy by car and takes around 4 Hours

About: Thekkady (Idukki district) is the location of the Periyar National Park. This place consists of spices and coffee plantations.

CLICK HERE TO SEE INFORMATION ON TRIP TO MUNNAR

CLICK HERE TO SEE INFORMATION ON TRIP TO ALLEPPEY

Our Journey Starts:

I and Anindita, left Munnar quite early and reached Thekkady after a journey of about 4 Hrs. The route to Thekkady from Munnar is scenic and through the tea-gardens. There are no tea-gardens when it reaches Thekkady town though. Thekkady is renowned for spices and Periyar National Park. Found so many farms with shops selling spices, on the way. The driver stopped at  one of the farm. We went inside and took a spice-plantation tour. Saw some spice plants and rare trees. The tour of 30 mins was good but nothing extra-ordinary. We bougth some spices from the shop. The spices were indeed of very good quality and also quite cheap. Buying spices is highly advisable.

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Coffee plant

If anyone is interested, can bath an elephant in a closed enclosure. We didn’t did that activity as we had the plan of bathing an elephant in an open area. So we visited Dubare elephant camp (Not in Kerala) later. One can also watch Kerala folk dance in evening. Tickets for both the events are sold from the same location, i.e. 10 mins. distance  from Periyar National park.

We reached our home stay in Thekkady naming “Kerala House”. This home-stay is located at the heart of the town and very near to the Periyar National Park, which is the only attraction of Thekkady. We checked-in and rushed to the Periyar National Park. There will be a long queue of cars to get inside. Our driver tried to divert us saying car doesn’t go inside. However, on forcing, the car went inside until the parking lot. Had to pay a parking fee at the entrance.

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Cocoa Tree

There are many activities conducted in this national park. It is highly advisable to book tickets online well in advance from  www.periyarfoundation.online  . Activities conducted are as follows –

  • Nature walk/Green walk – A walk through the forest. Both the activities are almost similar, but different routes are followed in the jungle
  • Jungle scout – A walking in the jungle at night with an armed-guard
  • Bamboo rafting – This is one of the best of the lot. A ride in a raft.
  • Boat ride – A ride in a huge boat propelled by diesel
  • Jungle camp – Camping in jungle.

We opted for nature walk and bamboo rafting. In nature walk, we crossed the water body by standing on a raft. The guid took us inside the jungle and showed marks of tiger paw. It was quite a dense jungle and full of leaches. We had to  cover our feet with short sacks. Leeches attacked us but couldn’t do any harm as we have taken the precaution. All precautionary measures were followed by the administration. After that, we took a stroll around the park. In the evening, we did, what we do every-time when we visit a new place. We walked around. And found there are many message centers (Spa).

The bamboo rafting was planned for next day morning. This happens from a different location (Near to Periyar National park). We had to walk through the jungle for quite some time with the guard to reach the point. There, we realized, we could have skipped the activity of “Nature walk” as most of the path we covered this time were identically same with the previous activity. Finally we reached the point and found two bamboo rafts waiting for us. This was the best part. There were chairs made of bamboo on the raft. We all took our seats and the boat-person was rowing the boat. Spotted some uncommon birds. Spotted a bright kingfisher. It gave a halt in an island and provided snacks. After a short break, boarded the raft again and returned, followed by a long walk through the forest.

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Bamboo Rafting

We met a German lady there who came for a trip. She was out of cash and want to reach Allepey.  We tried to take her in our cab, but the driver denied saying, it is against the policy in a packaged tour. No result even after calling the driver’s manager. We felt very bad. Luckily, somehow, we met her friends in Allepey. Anindita figured that out by overhearing their conversation as she knows German. They confirmed, she managed to come to Allepey by taking a bus. That gave us quite a satisfaction.

We left for Alleppey (Alappuzha), after completing the bamboo raft activity. Rafting in Thekkady was a nice experience.

Note:

  • Visit Periyar National Park
  • If on a tight schedule, go only for bamboo rafting
  • Buy spices
  • Kindly follow no trace policy and save mother earth.

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MUNNAR (KERALA)


  1. Destination: Munnar, Kerala, India
  2. Visited on: December 24th 2015 – December 28th 2015
  3. Peak Season: November to February
  4. How To Reach:
  • By Train – The nearest railway station from Munnar is at Aluva, which is at a distance of 110 kilometers from Munnar. The Ernakulam Railway Station is 130 kilometers away while the Madurai Railway Station is at a distance of 135 kilometers. From these points, you can either hire a cab or board the state transport or private buses wherever available.
  • By Bus- State-run or private buses, plying from various towns in Kerala and Tamil Nadu, are the best way to get to Munnar by road. Kerala State Road Transport Corporation provides bus services to Munnar from all major cities in Kerala.
  • By Flight – The nearest airport is the Cochin International Airport, which is 110 kilometers away by road. From Cochin, one can hire a cab to get to Munnar.

About: Munnar is a town and hill station located in the Idukki district of the southwestern Indian state of Kerala. Munnar is situated at around 1,600 metres (5,200 ft) above sea level, in the Western Ghats range of mountains.

CLICK HERE TO SEE INFORMATION ON TRIP TO THEKKADY

CLICK HERE TO SEE INFORMATION ON TRIP TO ALLEPPEY

Our Journey Starts:

I and Anindita planned our Kerala trip well in advance through Makemytrip.com. Almost everything was organized by Makemytrip except the last day hotel stay in Allepey and the return flight. By referring this post, one can plan their trip of their own. When it comes to package tour, our experience with Makemytrip.com was not good.

We boarded Air-Asia flight from Bangalore airport at 08:55 AM and reached Cochin at 09:55AM. The driver from Makemytrip.com (Actually from a third party) was waiting for us. We boarded the cab and started towards Athirapally waterfall. We planned to visit Munnar after visiting this waterfall. It took 2 hours to reach the water-fall. Shooting for a movie “Bahubali” was done. It was a gusty waterfall. We had to climb down few stairs to reach the top of the waterfall. The view was nice from there. One can also take a view from the bottom, i.e., where the waterfall is actually hitting the surface after a huge fall. Had to go down through a curvy un-paved road. Once reached there, the view was majestic. Water splashes with the help of wind is all around us. Going down was easy. While coming up, it took quite an energy. Anindita got bit sick due to warm weather and lot of exertion. We took few breaks for rest, on the way up.

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Athirapally Water-fall

We boarded the cab and on our way to Munnar. It took more than 5 hours to reach our hotel “Wild elephant-Eco friendly resort”. It was already dark and our hotel was located in an off-beat location of Munnar where Google map stopped working. Reached hotel, with the help of a local person in a bike, who showed us the way. It was around 8PM. The driver was quite agitated with hotel location and denied next day’s sight-seeing tour to the tea factory.

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Tea-garden in Munnar

Took rest that evening, we woke up early next morning. The hotel is located in a serene location. The hotel is surrounded by hills. Only sound that we were getting are birds chirping all around. On asking the hotel manager, we figured out, there is a timid water-fall near the hotel. We started walking towards that. Birds chirping all around and we are walking through tea-gardens. It was a pleasing experience. After 15 minutes, we reached the water-fall. We took photos from all possible angle. Spent quite a bit of time there. Found, few tourists from nearby hotels taking bath there. We were not prepared to take bath, so played with water splashes. While returning, Anindita slipped and fell on the slippery rocks without hurting herself. On the way back, we have done some macro photography of many beautiful flowers. Spent the whole day relaxing. Later, took bath in the hotel swimming-pool.

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Nearby Water-fall

Again woke up early next day, and it’s Christmas. We again walked around the tea-gardens. Spent most of the time relaxing in the hammock and watching birds. In the evening, the hotel arranged a special Christmas buffet with a bon-fire. Met new people there. We spent a long time discussing our journey with a Swiss person and a sweet Indian honeymoon couple.

Next day, we left hotel early and started our journey towards Thekkady. Munnar was heavenly for us and it is rightly called as “God’s own country”

Note:

  • Visit tea-gardens
  • Try to stay in a off-beat location in Munnar to enjoy the nature at it’s best
  • 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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TREK TO RAYAKOTTAI FORT


  1. Trek Destination: Rayakottai
  2. Visited on: 24th August 2014
  3. Difficulty: Easy
  4. Trek Distance/Time Taken: 90 minutes (One way)
  5. Time to Visit: The cooler months of September to February are the best time to trek in Rayakottai as it can get very hot in summer days, and should be avoided. This trek can be done during monsoon also.
  6. How To Reach: The best way to reach Rayakottai from Bangalore is by train from Bangalore City Junction (Majestic).
  7. Other Options: There is a temple on the hill which could be a point for having packet-lunch and to take rest in shade.
  8. About: The fort of Tipu Sultan and Hyder Ali ruled in the 18th Century is situated within the town of Rayakottai which is one of the ancient fortress in the Krishnagiri district. It is now one of the protected monument by the Archeological Survey of India
  9. Estimated Cost: Rs. 100 – Rs. 200 Per Head
  10. Packed Bag with –
  • 2 litres of water (Mandatory)
  • Raincoat/Poncho (During monsoon)
  • Cap/Hat
  • High energy-giving food & drinks  like Snickers, glucose etc. (Mandatory)
  • Camera (optional)
  • Shoe
  • Sunscreen Lotion (Optional)
  • Tissue papers (Avoid carrying plastic)

The Journey Starts:

My second trek with BTC. This time with 15 members. We met at Bangalore City Junction (Majestic) at 6.45AM. That time, I only found Deepthy and Ashwin ( Organizing trek for the first time) standing. Gradually all people started to come. We all boarded a non-reservation train “Bangalore-Karaikal Passenger” which was scheduled to leave at 7.15AM. All of them arrived except Nisha, and the train has just started moving from the station. Suddenly saw “Nisha” running all the way to board the train. It reminded me of the movie “DDLJ”, though there was no “Shahrukh Khan” here. She managed to board the train of her own. Brave girl. The journey was fun discussing on almost every possible topic on earth.

4After quite a long journey, reached Rayakottai station at 9.45AM (Train was late by 30 minutes). We then switched platform, had a small introduction session and then started our journey towards Rayakottai town. Once we reached there after a walk of 10 minutes taking right from the station main road, we had a nice breakfast with Poha, Plain Dosa and Tea in a moderate hotel. After having a good breakfast, we started to move towards the trek-base. It was a hot and sunny day in the month of August. Some bought extra bottles of water and cucumber on the way.

We reached the base after a walk of 10 minutes from the town. We started to climb. It has stairs made out of stones in the

SHIVA TEMPLE

SHIVA TEMPLE

beginning. Then the actual trail starts. Deepthy was leading from the front and Ashwin was Sweeping from the back. After climbing some distance, we found an intersection, one way going to the left and another one to the right. We took the left trail first and reached a temple. The place is cool and shady. It is a departed Shiva temple. After capturing some breath-taking photos, we then again came back at the point of intersection. This time, we took the path going to the right. Being an easy trek, you will move to the top without much struggle. Once at the top, explore the ruins of Tipu Sultan and Hyder Ali’s fort. From there you can still climb further till the top-most point of the hill. View is lovely from this spot. I took a video in 360 degree view. It was not quite windy though at such a height.

In the mean time, all were quite tired and hungry. We had packed lunch of “Lemon Rice” taken earlier from the hotel where we had 1lunch. Now we climbed down and went back to the same old temple. We relaxed a bit there and had a good lunch. After lunch, some took a quick nap. I am very jealous about this, as I cannot sleep easily anywhere and anytime. I was all awake and spent the time doing macro photography.

We started to climb down to the base at 2.30PM and reached base by 3.00PM. It should not take more than an hour to reach base from the top-most point. We were very thirsty after a trek in the scorching sun. All finished their bottled water and started fantasizing lemonade and other cooling stuffs. We finally went to a small lemonade shop and quenched our thirsts.

Then we reached Rayakottai station to take train for Bangalore. At the 3station entrance, lots of vendors were selling vegetables in a low price. Some of our smart people got busy in buying vegetables. We were about to board “Karaikal-Bangalore Passenger” for Bangalore which was scheduled at 4.07PM. But again the train was late by approximately 30 minutes. While waiting for the train at the station, it started to rain heavily. Gourav took out a Poncho for himself, which he accurately didn’t knew what exactly was that as it was huge plastic coat which can be worn by two people together. Ankit put a bag-cover to protect his bag from the rain, however he himself was dancing in the rain without a rain-coat or an umbrella, and enjoyed the most in the rain.

Finally the train came around 4.40PM. We rushed in once the train stopped and was expected, didn’t find any available seats to seat. Got seats after half an hour though. Deepthy and Ankit did well to cut Guava and distribute among us in the crowded compartment.

Finally we reached majestic (Bangalore) at 7.10PM . It was a lovely trekking experience.

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TREK AT SHIVAGANGE


  • Trek Destination: Shivagange
  • Difficulty: Easy to Moderate
  • Trek Distance/Time Taken: 4 Km / 90 minutes
  • Time to Visit: Any time except monsoon. Avoid rainy months as it makes the granite rocks very slippery and dangerous. Every year on Sankranti, a Jatre is organized and the place is swarming with people. If you are planning to indulge in adventure activity like trekking, it is better to avoid Shivgange during this time also.
  • How To Reach: Shivagange is about 55 km from Bangalore near Dobbaspet Village. Bangalore – Tumkur Road – Nelamangala – Right to Hassan Road – Solur – Right turn to Shivagange.

There are two routes to reach the base of this destination from Bangalore. One is Bangalore-Hassan route, which is known to be less crowded. The alternate route is via Dabbaspet. Shivagange is 8 km from Dobbaspet on the way to Tumkur. Board any bus from Bangalore that is going towards Dobbaspet. Reaching Dobbaspet, take an auto or you can take a local bus that regularly plies between Dobbaspet and Shivagange. One can also go by train from Bangalore City Station till Dobbaspet. The train departs from Bangalore City Station in the morning at 7.15AM

  • Other Options: Pay & Use toilet available at the foot of the hill.
  •  About: Shivagange is also known as “Dakshina Kashi”, located just 60 km from Bangalore. Shivagange has religious significance and it is also known for adventure. Atop the hill and on the trekking route there are numerous shrines of Shiva, Parvathi, and Ganga, including Gangadhareshwara temple and Honnadevi temple.According to myths, the water is from sacred Ganges, thus it has been named Shivagange. From the west, Shivagange looks like the shape of a Shiva Linga. While from east, it looks like the shape of a bull, a cobra from the North, and from East, a Ganesha.At the peak, there is a beautifully carved monolith of Nandi, Lord Shiva’s Bull, perched on a huge rock.
  • Suggestion: Be careful of monkeys. Don’t feed them.
  • Pack Bag with –
  1. 2 litres of water (Mandatory)
  2. Raincoat/Poncho (During monsoon)
  3. Cap/Hat
  4. High energy-giving food & drinks  like Snickers, glucose etc. (Mandatory)
  5. Camera (optional)
  6. Shoe with good grip (Mandatory)
  7. Sunscreen Lotion (Optional)
  8. Tissue papers (Avoid carrying plastic)
  • Our Journey Starts: I started at 6:00 AM from my home on Saturday morning and reached Bangalore City railway station by 7:00AM.

There I met with all BTC members. Then, we hopped into a train to Dobbaspet. The train stopped on every station on the way to Dobbaspet which is only 45KM away from Bangalore. It took around 90 minutes to reach Dobbaspet. While in train, we involved ourselves with some fun activity. Finally, we reached Dobbaspet at around 9:15am. We all were getting down from one exit only as a result it was taking time. The Station Master was waiting patiently for us to get down. Once we all got down safely, he signaled the train to move once again. The station was a very small one. We had a short introduction round there. Then moved out of the station for auto. 20 of us got into 2 autos. Once we reached the foot of the hill, we gathered at a small shop for breakfast. Food was nice there. Once breakfast is done, we started our trek. While climbing, don’t keep any food/anything outside as monkey might snatch it away. In the beginning, we climbed few stairs; it was same as any other Hindu temple. But once we ???????????????????????????????came out in the open, we saw steep rocks. So, rather than taking the usual path we started ascending from the rocks. But later, we moved to the usual path as the direction as the rocks started getting steeper. We started climbing and the monkeys started coming on our way. Near to the top, the rocks become very steep and one can find very narrow steps engraved on the rock. Many a times, one has to hold the railing to move forward. While climbing, you will find few shops selling soft-drinks, chips, sweet-corn etc. You may take ???????????????????????????????breather seating in the shades along with a Coke. We reached the peak by 12:00pm. It took exactly one and half hour of quite exhausting trek due to the heat of the sun to reach the top. The view from top is really worth watching and “Nandi” at the top its attraction. It is also called as “Shantala” – believed to be the suicide point of Hoysala King Vishnuvardhana’s wife Shantala. The view was magnificent from top. The gusty wind will take away all your pain which IMG_0665 you have faced while climbing all the way. The view, the wind, will embark desire in your mind to go for a trek once again. Finally, we started to climb down at 1.30PM . We reached base within 1 hour. From there we boarded a local bus. We reached the town had some lunch there and again took an auto to go to the Dobbaspet Station. Once we reached the station, it started raining heavily. Some of us still giving pose in the rain for photo shoot. Finally the train arrived at 4.15 and we boarded the train to reach Bangalore. There was no vacant seat at the beginning. Later we ???????????????????????????????got seat. We reached the Bangalore City Station. We all decided to take bus from Majestic. So we all are moving in a herd. Once we came out of the station, we decided to drink a cup of coffee. After having a nice filtered coffee, we boarded bus to reach our own destination, i.e. Home Sweet Home. Overall it’s a nice trekking experience. And for the first time, I joined a group like BTC. It was a fun and adventurous Saturday which is hard to forget…

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