Monday, 23 December 2013

BR Hills, outing with friends

So far, all our trips were solo, myself, Ankur and our Sparky. This trip was little different, and hence special.

  We were accompanied by 6 friends, so it was a big gang of 8 wanderlust Bongs. We hit the roads at 5:30 in the morning. It was cold in Bangalore; but to escape the city traffic we had no other choice but to leave the comfort of the quilts and head for an early start.

  We took the Bangalore-->Mysore Road-->Maddur-->NH209-->Yelandur-->BR Hills route. The road was good except for a small patch from Maddur till NH209.

On the way to BR Hills.

On the way to BR Hills

On the way to BR Hills
  Before I forget and get into other things let me tell you about a very sad incident that we came to know once we reached our homestay in BR Hills. When we had about 15 km left to reach BR hills, we crossed a pond. There were about a hundred people who had gathered. We passed the place thinking that there must be some religious festival going on. We reached our homestay, had some tea and went out for a stroll. When we came back the owner of the homestay told us there has been an unfortunate incident. A baby elephant that had come with its mother to drink water has fallen into a pond and has died. Then we realised why so many villagers had gathered near the pond while we were coming.

  We called our friends who were coming in another car, for they still had not reached. They told us that the road had been blocked by some male tuskers who had come out from the wild after the mother elephant sent out trumpets for help. They were forced to take another much longer route.

  Okay, now back to our trip report. We stayed at Rajathadri hill villa. Rooms are good but food is pathetic. Since none of our friends had arrived before us,  we decided to take a quick drive till the forest safari office(at K. Gudi) just to enquire about the safari timing. There is a 15 km of forest stretch between our homestay and the safari office. We drove really slow in case some unexpected inhabitant of the forest would greet us.

Spotted Deer
  For a long long time we saw nothing, but many varieties of birds. We saw oriental white eye, kingfisher, babbler, minivet, munia, dove, barbet, bulbul, painted stork and ibis. Then all of a sudden, I noticed something moving very slowly by the road in the bushes. It was a big mongoose. We stopped our car to take a picture; but then alas. A car zoomed past from behind and the mongoose quickly disappeared into the bushes.

Spotted Deer
  Some metres further we saw some spotted deer grazing peacefully. Next we said hello to a lone elephant. Once we reached the safari office, we were informed that there are safaris twice a day - one from morning 6:30 and
the other from evening 3:30. Safari charge is Rs 400 per person. Each safari is of one hour duration and they take you inside the forest in jeeps. We saw some wild boars and a big magnificent beehive within the safari office premises.

Wild Boar

  While coming back there was nothing much, except spotted deer. When we came back to our home stay, one group of friends had already arrived. We decided to have lunch as we were all very hungry. The last remaining group of friends informed us that they would be reaching late; because they were chased by wild elephants and were forced to take a different route.

  The evening was well spent. It started with the adventurous tale of our last group of friends being chased by wild elephants. Then followed a camp fire, which was accompanied by ghost stories(an attempt to create an eerie atmosphere), that each of us had heard from our fathers, uncle's or grandfathers.

The gang of eight bongs

  We decided to take the next day early morning safari.

  Dinner was pathetic. Food was tasteless and on top that, some of us found hair in the food. When reported, the owner did not provide us with any other alternate food saying that he did not have any other arrangements.We had to survive on a half stomach. Biscuits, cakes and chips, that we had as backup, helped us for the night.

  The next day, we started early as we had planned to take the 6:30 AM morning safari. The jungle check post gate opens at 6 am. We were 5 minutes early so had to wait. By 6:20 we were already standing in the safari booking queue. Though we were the first in the queue but some local bus drivers who had brought tourists, got their tickets before us. These things happen.....

  Our group got one jeep at last. The jeep was small but everyone accommodated with a happy face. We were not much lucky with the trip either, all that we saw were spotted deer and a few sambar. We saw some birds, wrangled tail drongoes, common drongo, a beautiful flame back woodpecker, blue jars.


Young Sambar

Oriental white eye

Bee eater

Painted Stork



  Back to homestay and after a quick shower and breakfast, we headed back for our home sweet home Bangalore, with a small de-tour to the famous
waterfall Shivana Samudra. Finally one more sentence before I finish - Although we did not see much of wild life and our high anticipations
were hurt, it was one of THE most enjoyable trips, all because of the lovely gang of 8 Bongs :)


Time of visit: 14th Dec, 2013
Onward route: Bangalore->Mysore rd->Maddur->NH-209->BR Hills
Return route: BR Hills->NH-209->Kanakpura road->Bangalore

tags:- br hills, shivanasamudra, k gudi, safari, jungle, camp fire

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Nandi Hills Revisited

  We were thinking of going out for an outing on Friday night. This was the criteria: the place should be near to Bangalore and must have a nice weather. We thought of Nandi Hills, Bheemeshwari, Madikeri and even Nagarhole. We ruled out BR Hills as anyway we will be going there in another two weeks.

 However none of us (in case you're not our regular, us refers to me and Ankur) could zero in to any of the places. Then I had an idea. Lets go to sleep.... the very first name that would come to our mind the next day... we will be going there.

  The next day was Saturday (obviously as the previous day was Friday) and Ankur woke before me. So going by the rules, he was the one who would be thinking of a place... and voila... the first name that he thought of was Nandi Hills.

  So there was nothing to pack; Nandi hills is just 60 Km from Whitefield. I am not going to repeat about
the route and all. You can find all those in my first (very nostalgic) blog post here:

  Time really flies. It has already been a little more than two years since we went there first. Here are some of the pictures from the trip for you.




Dhutra Flower


A Tree

View From Top

Hotel and Viewpoint

Time of travel: Dec, 2013

The Konkan Trail

  It's been really a while since I last wrote a blog. Most of the previous blogs were written by Soma. So now that I'm writing this one, I better make it short!

  As far as I can recall, about a year back, we chanced upon a blog on St. Mary's Island. Soon after, this place found its place in our famous list of "1 trillion places to see before we die". 

  So, according to our research, we chalked out a circuit, and along with St. Mary's, we included Jog Falls and Murudeshwar. Luckily the whole circuit falls almost under the famous Konkan Coast.

  On 11th October, 2013, the great explorers, Soma, me and our good old Sparky, set out for the Konkan Trail. We followed it in this order: Jog Falls->Murudeshwar->St.Mary's Island (Udupi). I'm listing down the individual blogs here and you can follow those to get the detailed info regarding that place.

St. Mary's Island:

And here are some of the shots for you to enjoy.

Hotel at Jog Falls
Jog Falls


St. Mary's Island

tags: st. mary's island, murudeshwar, travel, jog falls, konkan, coast

Friday, 8 November 2013

Jog falls, beauty at its best

Our first destination was Jog falls. I still remember that years ago I had read about Jog falls in my class 8 geography book. There was a B&W picture of the falls in the book and I used to glance at the picture every time I used to read the book (read studying for exams).

Jog Falls
  At last, the day came and after travelling around 400 kms from Bangalore we reached Jog. There is a bridge that needs to be crossed. The river Sharavathi flows below the bridge and forms the famous Jog falls a little farther once it falls from the heights.

  Once inside the gates of the Jog fall complex we parked our car, Sparky. We started walking towards the view point when both me and Ankur spotted dainty KSTDC hotels located strategically near by. Previously we had no plans of staying at Jog Falls but on seeing the beautiful place and the dainty hotels we could not resist. We decided to check first if rooms were available.

Guest house near the hotel

KSTDC hotel
  We decided that if we get rooms we will unpack our luggage, get refreshed and then set off for the falls. In case we don't get, then we'd see the falls and then head for Murudeshwar.

  Luckily there was only one room left, maybe that was for US :)

  The rooms are done tastefully. It has a large french window from where we could see the falls at a distance. It was so was more like the view outside your window changed each time you glanced out....sometimes its the clear blue skies, sometimes there was no falls, it disappeared behind the clouds.

View from inside hotel room
  After refreshment, both of us headed towards the railing from where the falls looks prominent. And we were floored by what we saw......there were rainbows that had formed on each of the falls. We were mesmerized and were left amazed by the sight.

River downstream

Jog falls
  Since the monsoon was good this year there was plenty of water and there were several legs of the falls.

Jog falls
  There were so many butterflies and wild flowers that has bloomed. There is a staircase which goes till the base of the falls. Around 1600 stairs needs to be traversed to get to the bottom. We started getting down but had to abandon midway as it was getting dark. That was all for the day.

Moth at Jog falls

Butterfly at Jog falls

Butterfly at Jog falls

Giant wood spider at Jog falls

Jog falls as seen while going down the steps
  The next day we got out from our hotel at around 8:30. It was drizzling in the morning and the falls was fully covered with clouds. By the time we went out, the falls was playing hide and seek with us. One moment it was visible. The next moment, when we positioned our camera to take a photo, it had gone hiding behind the clouds.

Walkway near the falls

Jog falls during early morning
  Around 10 AM, the Sun came out. Thanks the skies had cleared. Now we had to leave the hotel, as our next destination was Murudeshwar, which was around 90 Kms from there. We looked at the mighty Jog one more time and hit the roads for our next destination.

  Info about trip:
  Time of travel: Oct, 2013

  Some more photographs:

Giant wood spider at Jog falls

Giant wood spider at Jog falls

The foot bridge near Jog falls

The park near Jog falls

A nice viewpoint at Jog falls

We at Jog falls

Monday, 28 October 2013

Murudeshwar, bless us Lord Shiva

The next day from Jog Falls we headed towards Murudeshwara, the coastal town that is towered by Lord Shiva. The distance from Jog Falls to Murudeswara is approximately 87 Kms and since the road is also very good it didn't take long for us to reach Murudeshwar.

Lord Shiva (Murudeshwar)
  The good thing about the temple of Lord Shiva is that once you are near the temple you do not need to ask anybody about the direction. And that is because, from quite a distance, one can see the huge towering figure of Lord Shiva to guide them towards the temple.

Lord Shiva (Murudeshwar)
  Once we were at the feet of Lord Shiva we were awestruck. We have never seen such a huge statue of Shiva anywhere before. This is the 2nd highest statue of Lord Shiva in the world and the sitting pose of Shiva is 123 feet tall.
There was also a huge 20 storied Gopura near the temple. You can take the lift here which will take you to the top of the Gopura, from where you can enjoy a 360 degree panoramic view of the place.


  We climbed up a series of steps to reach the temple situated at the foot of the Shiva statue. The temple is in the design of a cave.

  After seeking blessing from Lord Shiva we looked around the place from the temple complex. Since the temple is at a good elevation we could see the surroundings clearly. The temple is surrounded by the sea on all sides except the one that connects to the mainland.

  The scene is mesmerising.

Sea line from top of the temple

Chariot of the Sun God
The Murudeshwar beach is just opposite to the temple. Tourists are advised not to go to the sea as the sea is dangerous. So once we got down from the temple we did not go to any beach, instead headed straight to one of the numerous restaurants all of which serve vegetarian dishes.

Hand of Murudeshwar statue

Murudeshwar Statue

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