Tuesday 28 July 2015

Series : There is an experience apart from an opinion - 1

An experience and an opinion about the place and the people are the 2 things which I always gain in each trip. When I turn back and see my blog posts, all I see is I have shared my opinion about the place, the route, the best time to visit etc. But what I have missed is recording my experiences. If not for anyone else, for me these experiences mean a lot and I wish I do not forget any of those. But, life keeps on adding more to the stack that we tend to forget, a few simple yet important ones. But, those special ones can be recorded somewhere and when you read them again, all those scenes flash in front of your eyes as though you are reliving the moments. 
During college days, me and a couple of my friends sitting in last bench used to discuss about going for a trip and I still remember when one of our lecturer just told the word Egypt, we started saying ourselves "Namo Egypt poyiyaa" in tulu meaning "Let's go to Egypt man". But, it was more of a fun for the moment and not really a serious one. But today if I think of any place and decide to go, I start longing for that day every minute. A lot of places are in my bucket and these haunt me everyday. The only major trips we covered during college days were overnight decided Mandalpatti bike ride and Kumaraparvatha Trek. Rest were class trips etc.
A job changed my life and that too when I got posted in Bangalore and most of my friends got in Mangalore, things changed. I used to travel every Saturday and Sunday as if it will be my last weekend of life. Hundreds of reasons joined together to make me get addicted to travelling. I would make a couple of calls to a few friends in Bangalore, and if none were free on that weekend or if they felt lazy to join for the trek on a row, it was me and my backpack travelling to the next place in the bucket list. 
A lot of treks, a lot of places of Bangalore were covered and by then it had become my habit to pick the bag and move somewhere every week. 
In this course, I have met a lot of people in different places whom I may never meet again in life. But those people have given quite a few good memories to me. Some annoying ones, some making me feel uncomfortable, some funny, some making me feel great about them and some people just not making me feel anything but were present for a couple of minutes in life. A couple of next posts dedicated to my experience as a traveler in different places with different people.
When I simply turn back and try listing such people, the first one who comes to my mind is the drunken guide we went with in elephant prone Raagalli Betta and the next is the dad who climbed Madhugiri with his 2 kids aged 9 and 4 with kids wearing no shoes or chappal! A lot of interaction with such people and cant simply stop the list with just 2 people in it. More about these people and more of them in coming posts.
The guide (The One in blue shirt :P ) who 'guided us' in elephant prone Raagalli Betta
And this is how he looks when he is drunk. :P But he was in his senses :) 

Tuesday 21 July 2015

Turahalli - A weekend evening getaway point

Turahalli/Karishma Hills - A good weekend evening getaway near Bangalore.

There are hundreds of places near us but we fail to identify those. Turahalli probably is one such. May be because its very close to the city or because it does not provide much of the scope for hiking or trekking etc and its just a view point, we simply ignore such places. But, turahalli is pretty decent getaway if you have a group of friends and you do not want a mall to be your getaway spot or to chit chat. (I remember going to Yercaud where some of the view points were kind of similar ones but a lot of people travel there to see the places just for the name it has got.)

Turahalli is famous as per a couple of blogs for rock climbing etc. But its only when some organizations arrange some activity like that there will be such adventure sports here. It's a view point amidst of a forest area almost within the city off Kanakapura road. You get to feel good breeze, you get some good place to sit and chit chat for sometime relaxing on a rock.

I am not sure of Birding options here but I read in a couple of posts that Turahalli is one of the good birding spot near Bangalore. We had been in the evening and did not find much.

Note - The place does not look safe for couple or girls only gang etc. Its better to go with a group. Probably its not a safe place late evening as its hard to find anyone and also its covered by forest and no help can be expected.

How to reach?
Turahalli is around 20Kms from Bangalore and lies in Kanakapura Road. It is better you follow google maps or ask localites to guide you to the place.
(Just after the Holiday Resort Cross road in Kanakapura, take a right turn and it leads to Turahalli forest area. Go little further and you see a mud road towards your right dividing the forest. Take this road and nearly after a kilometer, there are a couple of view points. Select any rock, sit, chit chat, enjoy the breeze and have a safe ride back home!)

Thanks to my friend Abhilash for the click!

A view of the near by city. I fear when this forest is going to disappear!

The rock on the other side is one more view point. A small temple lies near by that.

Wednesday 15 July 2015

Yercaud - Just for that good ride

It was long time since I had given some good ride for myself and my bike. So, decided to go to some or the other place on the weekend of 11-07-2015. Slept late the previous night and hence could not wake up early in the morning. Probably if I had woke up early, my plan would have been a ride to Waynad. But since it was already late, did not want to ruin the chance of seeing Waynad completely and hence opted for Yercaud ride. The whole intention was to have a good ride. Had already checked with many friends but everyone were busy on that weekend. Anyways, this was not the first time I decided to go alone so it was pretty normal for me to go alone. :) 
It's a brilliant bike ride experience when you ride to Yercaud since you get to enjoy riding both in wide National highways as well as scenic Ghat sections with curves and ascent. The ride from Bangalore to Salem is in NH4 (Bangalore-Chennai) and its up to you to decide your speed limit here. Some area of this highway is scenic as well since you cross a couple of reserve forests before you reach Salem. Once you reach Salem, its the start of next best part of the ride - i.e. riding in the ghat section. The ghat section is around 20 Kms in distance and is very scenic. The hairpin curves, the  ride in a road that divides coffee estates once you are about to reach the peak everything adds to the pleasure of riding. 

What's special in Yercaud?
If you ask me - Nothing! Because, if its for something special you go here, then there are better places which have similar but better scenes and places. Its yet another hill station with lot of hotels, lodges and Resorts. Beauty of Yercaud would have been better had it rained during proper time this year. At least the falls would have been better when I visited.
The only place that I liked in Yercaud is Annamalaiyar Temple area. Probably most people do not go there thinking its some Shrine. Even though the list of major attraction in Yercaud lists this place, I hardly found 10-15 people there. It's not just a Shrine but a view point too. In fact, the best view point of Yercaud. You get to see the Yercaud village, the mountains, and the cold breeze, and also a good ride uphill. So, if you are going to Yercaud, do not miss this place. The second best is the Ladies Seat view point. You can see the hairpin curves clearly and it provides a good view. 
Boat house, Deer Park etc are pretty average. If you are going for a single day ride, then you better skip all these. 
The water falls probably would have been better if it had at least a bit of water. If July is not the right season then I do not know which month is! To reach the water falls, you have to travel 8 Kms from Yercaud Lake and go down some 200-250 Steps. Climbing up is little tough when you feel bad for going down for nothing. (I was warned by a couple of people not to go down since there is nothing to see. And one fellow almost stopped me from going saying "We did not have anyone to warn before going, for you we are there" He was funny when he said that taking fast breath ! ) But, the falls is amidst of forest and if there is water, it will definitely be magnificent.

How to reach?
Reaching Yercaud is very simple. Take Bangalore Chennai Highway and go for ~200 Kms and you reach Salem. Take Yercaud route from Salem. 
Within Yercaud, its not hard to visit any place since the whole town is not too big all the places lie near by. 
Final word - If not for a good ride, do not visit Yercaud. (Unless you are bored visiting places like Coorg, Chikmangalore, Kodachadri, Kudremukha etc. again and again and you just want to see one more new place)

313 - Almost my identity these days.
View from Annamalaiyar Temple area

NH 4

Ladies Seat View

Pagoda Point View 

Panaromic View from Annamalaiyar temple area