Sunday 24 June 2012

Mesmerizing Kotagiri



Nestled amidst the beautiful canopy of Nilgiri hills, away from the hustle bustle of the city and the commercialization of nearby tourist spots, lies a simple, serene, beautiful hill station which goes by the name - Kotagiri. As the oldest hill station of India, this place is full of lush green tea estates and breath taking viewpoints which can only be complimented by the peace and quiet that surround this place.
The calmness is broken occasionally by the chirping of the birds or the humming of the bees.
As an added flavor there are cottages available which are over a hundred years old and which can be easily booked online.  So if you are looking for a place to relax and reboot this may be just the perfect option. 

Our Experience:
After searching for a calm place to escape from the scorching sun in the month of may, myself and some of my teammates zeroed in on Kotagiri.  We booked one “Ridgeway cottage” which is a 125 year old British style Bungalow and offers a very unique experience by retaining the original settings by providing some basic amenities.

We hired an innova and set course towards Kotagiri via Mysore and Ooty.  The en-route Bandipur forest range closes around 6 P.M is the evening and opens at 6 A.M in the morning. So the travel must be planned accordingly.

The journey was pretty uneventful except but we spotted a herd of elephants (which included 3 baby elephants), monkeys, deers and a number of peacocks in Bandipur and Mudumalai.  From Mudhumalai, there are 36 hairpin bends on the road to Ooty via Kalhatti ghat, which is nothing short of a visual treat. There is also an alternate route available which the buses normal take.

Once you reach Ooty there are 2 routes which can be taken to reach Kotagiri. While going we went via Coonoor, but later discovered that there is a shorter route from Ooty via Doddabetta.  We took this route while coming back.
It took us around 7.5 hours to reach Kotagiri from Bangalore.

We lazed around this place for a day roaming around the tea estates, discovering the surroundings or just relaxing in the cottage.  We also visited kodanad view point which provided an excellent view of the Mysore plateau. The road to kodanad view point which was very well maintained, surrounded by greenery on either side.

The cottage provides a cook and a caretaker who can cook food if we provide groceries from the nearby local market. 

All in all this was a very different experience in an old British style cottage with some delicious home cooked food. 
  
About the cottage:
 Ridgeway cottage is around 125 years old and has 2 suites each with an attached bathroom, a dining hall, living room and a kitchen. This cottage makes a comfortable stay for 6-8 people and is in the middle of tea estates.  
More information about this cottage is available in the following link:

Nearby tourist attractions:
The roads in and around kotagiri are very well maintained.
There are quite a few places to see in and around Kotagiri.
1.       Kodanad View Point: Gives a splendid view of the Mysore Plateau. We can also get a sneak peak of      St   Catherine falls and the Rangaswamy Pillar from here.
2.       St Catherine falls: Around 8km away from the city, offers a good view point with its cascading falls.
3.       Rangaswamy Pillar: unique rock formation

While there don’t miss the toy train from Ooty to Coonoor.  This is the train where the Chaiya Chaiya song was shot and supposed to be very scenic all along.

Saturday 2 April 2011

Good luck Team India


The stage is set for today.
Everyone is in a state of frenzy. The cricket fever has raised the mercurial levels to shocking, unknown degrees.
1.2 billion People are in anticipation of one time, 2.30 PM, when finally the first ball will be bowled.
If there is anything more fascinating than the match today in this cricket crazy nation, it can only be the journey so far.

India – Australia
I was journeying, literally, during the India – Aus cricket match. The 50 odd men, women and children in the bus could think of only one thing ‘the score’. It was really amazing to see how much people get emotionally involved in the game and the number of innovative ways they find to keep track of the match. Nearly everyone in the bus was busy messaging, calling friends and family or using the mobile internet to check the score. When a co-passenger called his friend to check the score nearly everyone waited with bated breath. I could hear the man assuring excitedly (and loudly) over the phone that ‘Raina’ was a good batsmen and India definitely is in a comfortable position to win. Everyone heard and everyone nodded. Offcourse we all wanted to believe that ‘Raina’ is really, really good.

As the passengers called, surfed and eavesdropped to keep track of the all important cricket match, something exciting happened. The ‘laptop guy’ entered the bus. The laptop guy made himself at home in the bus and smartly started streaming the cricket match. Instantaneously there was no other fascinating object left on earth for the travelers. Everyone including the conductor was shamelessly fidgeting to sneak peek into his laptop.
By this time the match had reached the final stages, the last 5 overs and nobody could contain their enthusiasm.
One of my friends even started doing a Ravi Shastry by giving live commentary for the benefit of others who couldn’t see comfortably intothe guys laptop. It didn’t matter that she said the bowler is walking not running, everyone was listening.
Offcourse the slow streaming did not make any difference as the ‘smart guy’ had the cricinfo opened too.

India had 11 runs to win from 20 odd balls. Everyone was on their toes when the internet connection went down. There was a spontaneous scramble while the crowd resorted to their old reliable ways to get the score. Some others stared into the guy’s laptop as he tried to repair the connection. When he succeeded India had 4 runs to win and got home comfortably. The strangers in the bus all clapped together and celebrated. They had all the reason in the world to cheer. The next match was India v/s Pakistan.


India – Pakistan
Emotions, one could almost drink them. There is no need to say that India Pakistan matches have always been special. Many of them bunked office, or colleges or school on the auspicious day. My company rose magnificently to the occasion by arranging a projector in the cafeteria. This was the next best thing to watching the match in the stadium. Every run was cheered. Every four was welcomed with a dance. The unforgettable moment was undoubtedly sachin’s lbw. The crowed sighed, whopped, cheered and even cursed the umpire in unison. All six lives of tendulkar were celebrated with pomp and glory equivalent to an ‘avatar’. It was total fun, total celebration and total craziness.

India’s joy new no bounds when we won. My next door neighbors’ showed off their feelings by taking their bikes out and touring the whole area chanting ‘India India’. The crowd celebrated by bursting crackers. There was a festive atmosphere all around.
I don’t know if it was my imagination but the next day everyone seemed to greet everyone with a wide smile. Everyone was discussing with everyone about cricket. People responded by posting some very innovative facebook updates. All in all celebration was in air. India has reached the world cup finals.

India- Srilanka.
Let India win and if it does it is a tribute to Sachin Tecndulkar, the god of cricket.
India should win and Sachin should hit a century.
There is nothing more satisfying than getting the world cup home in the batting maestro’s own backyard.
Common Sachin, the whole world is with you (except for Lanka:P)

Cricket!. It has united us all today.
Nearly everyone is busy making plans for this day. Pizza and coke market is going to boom as calls are being made between family and friends discussing the options to watch the match together. Apartment complexes are becoming one by hosting cricket parties. All the television showrooms will be busy entertaining people coming to have a glance at the match. Shops will be closed, roads will be empty and the world will come to a standstill.

The stage is set. Let the game begin,
Until then BLEED BLUE!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Friday 24 September 2010

ಅಂಧಕಾರ


ಹರಿಯುವ ನೀರು ಸ್ವಚ್ಛಂಧ,
ಹಾರುವ ಅಲೆಗೆ, ಹೀರುವ ಸುಳಿಗೆ
ಎಲ್ಲಿದೆ ಕಡಲ ನಿರ್ಭಂಧ?

ಒಂದು ಬಿಂದು ಹೋಗಿ ಸುತ್ತಲು,
ಬಿತ್ತು ಕೆಳಗೆ, ಕಪ್ಪೆಚಿಪ್ಪಿನೊಳಗೆ
ಸುತ್ತ ಏಕೆ ಕಪ್ಪು ಕತ್ತಲು?

ಇರುವುದೆ ಅಲ್ಲೆ? ಸಿಗುವುದೆ ಕಾಲದ ಸೆರೆಗೆ?
ಬರಿ ಕರಿ ಛಾಯೆ; ಅಂಧಕಾರದಲ್ಲಿದೆಯೆ ಮಾಯೆ?
ಮುತ್ತಾಗಿರುವುದೆ ಬಂದಾಗ ಕಡಲ ಹೊರಗೆ?

English Translation:

Water is carefree
a jumping wave,
dancing whirlpool,
have no restrictions at sea.

There was one such tiny
drop of water,
which fell into an oyster shell
and was lost in darkness forever.

Is it just darkness?
Or is darkness an illusion?
Is it lost forever?
Or will it be found,
transformed into a pearl?

Tuesday 27 April 2010

Beauty

sheer passion for beauty
instills misty nature to gift
dewy accessories

Sunday 11 April 2010

ಮಂಜಿನ ಹನಿ

ಹಸಿರೆಲೆಯ ಅಂಚಿನಲಿ ಜಿನುಗುತಿದೆ, ಒಂದು ಮಂಜಿನ ಹನಿ,
ದೊಡ್ಡ ಪ್ರಪಂಚದಲ್ಲಿ ಸಿಕ್ಕ ಚಿಕ್ಕ ಮುಂಜಾವಿನ ಇಬ್ಬನಿ.
ಕ್ಷಣ ಮಾತ್ರದ ಬದುಕು, ಆದರೂ ಮಿನುಗುವ ಉತ್ಕರ್ಷ,
ಕಾಯುತಿದೆ, ಬೇಕಿದೆ ಒಂದು ಹೊಂಗಿರಣದ ಸ್ಪರ್ಷ.
ಬಂದು ತಾಗಲಿ ಸೂರ್ಯನ ಕಿರಣ, ಬರಲಿ ಹರ್ಷದ ಗಳಿಗೆ,
ಒಮ್ಮೆ ಮಿನುಗಲಿ ಈ ಹನಿ ಕೆಳಗೆ ಬೀಳುವುದರೊಳಗೆ.




English Translation:
Sometimes the world seems so big and you feel so insignificant and small,
Yet somewhere deep within the heart lies a great desire to shine,
Shine once in a short life before it can completely fade away......
Just like this single dew drop, swinging on the edge of a green leaf
It can fall down anytime, it has such a short life.
Yet it yearns for the touch of a single ray of sunlight
One small ray that can brighten its life.
It is waiting for this one golden moment
to shine just once before it finally falls down.............

Sunday 4 April 2010

Yeh dil maange more!

It was over, the refreshment joint was closed and we were heading back to Bangalore. On the way back all of us were quiet, too tired to do anything else anyways.

But undoubtedly this one was a great adventurous outing and will remain in our hearts for a very long time.

Thank you - Saurabh, Shashi, Prithvi, Chetan and Deepti for making this trip such a memorable one.

The above picture depicts a lot of my feelings, towards you guys and all my other friends :-)


Life is an endless stretch of struggles spotted by tiny moments of joy. Struggles come and struggles go, but it is these moments that make life worth living and it is for them this this heart will scream "Yeh dil maange more".

Like all wonderful moments this moment too has come to an end and until the next one

C ya folks......


Some important information about these two places

Maravanthe(beach):
Nearest town: kundapur
Home-stay: Sagar kinara beach resort (Srinivas -9448724861)
Places of interest nearby
Udupi - 50 kms( Malpe beach and Saint Maries island)
Agumbe- 45 kms ( Famous sunset spot)

Kodachadri: (famous trekking spot)
Nearest town: Shimoga ( 15 kms)
Stay: There is accommodation available in IB and also the Bhattara mane, will not recommend this one for girls though.
Trek: Can go by walk or by jeep
Places of interest nearby
Kollur (45 kms)
Nagara(15kms, there is a fort here)

Sunday 28 March 2010

kodachadri

Early morning start:
We decided to start very early on sunday morning.Going to kodachadri meant trekking for more than 10 kms and we wanted to complete the trek before Mr sun become too torchy.
So at 4.15 A.M or so, all of us were ready and set to go. The home-stay owner seemed surprised to see the party leaving at the pre-designated time. But he bid us adieu by taking a group photo of all of us and party took off.

kollur to nittur:
Off we went towards kollur. kollur is around 45 kms from Maravanthe and is famous for the Mookambika temple. We almost immediately entered the ghat section and i swear that i also saw a very confused deer in the middle of the road which ran helter-scelter on seeing the head lights of our car. After a brief visit to the temple we started towards "sagara" a small town in shimoga. Our destination was Nittur which fell somewhere along the way between kollur and sagara. We didnt know then but Nittur is a further 45 kms from kollur. The distance and the ghat section slowed us down a bit.


So it was almost 6'0 clock in the morning by the time we reached the foot of kodachadri hills. That's when the merciful sun decided to give us the first view of the hills. Kodachadri is deemed as the most beautiful place and trekking spot in coastal karnataka and now i clearly saw why. Though very enthusiastic from the start i was also a bit skeptical about visiting this place, as i has heard and read that the trek was a bit difficult. But looking at it now, there were absolutely no doubts left, easy or difficult i wanted to trek and go all the way to the top.


Foot-hills:

We went a further of 6 kms, as far as the qualis could go. We breakfasted here at one of the local home-stays and again here too food was home made and exceptionally good. It was a misty dewy morning and there were dews everywhere.

Its amazing how much difference a few drops of dew can make to the flowers and leaves,

i suppose a dew drop is to flowers as jewelery is to women :) . I could not let my camera miss some of these beauties so i also spent some time capturing them as the hot "upma" and hot filter coffee was prepared.

We started our trek from the home stay. We were told that the trek was around 9 kms and we started our journey excitedly. There are also jeeps that you can take to go till the Inspection bungalow. So the jeeps have left a wide track which is easy to follow. You can also take the short cuts as they are just adjacent to the jeep tracks.
Which ever way you take this trek was a lot of fun....


Kodachadri trek: 11 kms in 11 steps


Step1
:
Bhattara mane Garden, misty morning dew drops


Step2:
The jeep track, Our journey starts, can you hear singing, teasing and chattering?



Step 3:
We are soo tired? how far yet? not even halfway?

Step 4;
We are alomost half way. I remember asking the passing jeeps how far? but the answer was always the same.."3 kms". It was good for us in a way, kept us motivated

Step 5:
We are half way through....

Step 6:
Pity we went in summer...all the lush green grass has dried up...
Step 7:
Can you spot the Inspection Bungalow? That is our destination
Step 8:
Hurray, we reached!!!!!!!!! or did we?
Finally after a non stop trek of 3 hours we reached the Inspection bungalow and what did we find there? That we have another 2 km to trek to reach the top :(.
We are exhausted...but can we stop? naaahhhhhhhhh

Step 9:
Phew! we cannot do it,
wait a minute, did u see the view?
we can do it off course ....

Step 10:
Just a little bit further....

Step 11:
Finally reached...sweaty , dirty and exhausted...


Shankara peeta and the cucumber seller:
Given above is the picture of shankara peeta, a small temple dedicated to Shankaracharya, who the legend says meditated on top of this hills.

I expected to feel euphoric on reaching the top, but right now it felt like my brain was dead. There was a guy selling cucumbers and nimbu sharbat next to the small temple. It also had a thatched roof kind of shelter, the only refuge from the sun which was now burning hot. I remember slumping in the corner of the shelter and gulping atleast 6 glasses of nimboo sharbhat. My glucose-deprived body suddenly seemed to get out of its waking slumber and the first thought that my brain registered was "wow, this must be how' amruta'- the celestial nectar must taste like.

I have no idea how much money this guy collects, but i am pretty sure he collects a lot of 'punya' and if there is a heaven anywhere, he will definitely be welcomed as a 'priced candidate'.

So after drinking 'amrutha' and taking some rest the feeling of 'mission accomplished' started to sink in which was celebrated by taking group photos of the troupe. I know we did not conquer Mt everest, but that did not make our sense of accomplishment any lesser, especially after seeing that we were above the clouds.

There is a perfect song for every mood and occasion it is said and i did find a perfect one too.

The hindi song' aaj mein uuper, aasma neeche' kept running involuntarily on my lips ;).

we returned back to the IB and had a hearty meal at bhattara mane next to the IB. We were in dilemma whether to take the jeep or walk the way back and it was solved by the sudden appearance of the clouds in the sky. So off we went chasing clouds until our feet cracked and creaked.


Clouds forming in the sky, you could see them moving in front of you. Now i can proudly say i have touched a clouds :D