Friday, January 23, 2009


27 December 2008

Avalanche is a place 26 km from Ooty famous for the dam by the same name and tribal settlements. It was not in our Ooty trip itinerary but strange circumstances on that day made us to visit that place!!

The drive to Avalanche is full of curves passing through several hills and villages. I had driven on this road 3 years ago. The road was hopeless at that time. But the condition of the road has improved a lot now.

Sankara who was ahead of me was driving in full josh and I was promptly following him. The curves were too much for my daughter and she puked whatever she had for breakfast!! It took quite some effort to clean the car and I was then careful while pressing on the gas!!!!

18 km from Ooty is Emerald village. Here there is a deviation to Emerald dam and Red hills. The road towards Avalanche after Emerald passes through the forest area. The back waters of Avalanche dam can be viewed at many places on this stretch.

Some places to see in Avalanche:

Trout fishery:
There is a 100 year old fisheries department here famous for cultivating trout fishes. The staff would show the entire process of cultivating the fishes from egg to the adulthood. Situated amidst dense forest, it is a nice place to understand about trout fishes.

This is a 30 km tunnel connecting Avalanche with Upper Bhavani dam. It is just the opening of the tunnel that we can see.

Avalanche Dam and powerhouse:
Not open to general public though people are free to go to the backwaters of the dam.

Avalanche forms as one of the entrance for Mukurthi National forest. But again, without the permission from forest department, entry inside the forest is denied. One can only go till the forest check post.

Friday, January 16, 2009


11 January 2009

This was my first trip to Andra Pradesh in recent years!! My earlier trip to Andra Pradesh before was to Tirupathi 20 years ago. I feel that Andra Pradesh has a general impression of being a hot and dry state. And there is no Western Ghats in Andra Pradesh!!

Lepakshi is about 120kms from Bengaluru. The route is through Devanahalli and Chikkaballapur on NH 7. After crossing into Andra Pradesh state is Kodikonda village. Take a left turn near the RTO check post here and travel for another 14 km to reach Lepakshi.

It is a 6 lane road from Hebbal to Devanahalli. The much hyped “international” standard road to the new airport did not look so. What I saw was series of traffic signals and road humps!! No doubt, the road is wide but definitely not a well planned one.

Lepakshi is famous for Veerabhadra Temple built during Vijayanagara period by Verupanna, a local chieftain under Vijayanagar kings. Achyuta Raya was ruling Vijayanagar at that time.

As we entered the Temple, we found a guide who volunteered to explain about the Temple in Kannada. The similarity of the Temple to the ones in Hampi is striking.

The main highlight of this Temple is the painting on the roof. Few of the paintings are still in good shape.

The Natya shala of the Temple consists of many pillars decorated with the sculptures of musicians and dancers.

There is a Shivalinga with seven headed cobra which is also quite unique.

A pillar at Natya Shala is in an unbalanced state. Surprising part is that has not collapsed for more than century.

The “Kalyana Mantapa” which consists of several carved pillars is unfinished.

The pillars here look similar to music pillars at Hampi. But these pillars do not produce any music!!

The huge Nandi statue at the entrance of the village is said to be the biggest in India.

Food is a problem in Lepakshi. There are no decent hotels there. We had our lunch at APTDC hotel in Kodikonda. It was OK. The other options are the hotels in Chikkaballapur.

More photos of Lepakshi can be seen here.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Pykara Lake, Ooty

26 December 2008

The options for this Chirstmas vacation were limited. Though I and my wife wanted to go for a long trip and far off place in India, it would put lot of strain on my one year old daughter. The travel plan cannot be tightly scheduled with kids on board. Kids need a lot of break so that they are happy during travel. The conducted tours were hence not ruled out. It has to be a self drive where we are ourselves without disturbing others or getting disturbed by others. My friend Sankara suggested going together with our families to Ooty and we happily agreed. I had been to Ooty couple of times earlier. There is nothing great in Ooty town but once out of the town and enter into Nilgiris, it is another world. Ooty will be very cold during December and we made necessary arrangements for my daughter to feel herself comfortable.

One of the happening places in Ooty is the lake. But it has lost its original beauty long ago. These days it is the Pykara Lake that is attracting lot of tourists.

Pykara Lake is 25 kms from Ooty on Ooty-Gudalur road. Since this is the main road towards Karnataka, lots of people visit this place.

We decided to visit it on the day we landed in Ooty. The drive through the curvy roads was fun. On the way, we saw lot of vehicles parked on the road side. We got to know that it was for Pykara falls and we decided to go for it. It was half km walk. It is not strictly a falls but series of cascade that make a nice spectacle to watch.

Pykara Lake is 2 km drive from the falls. The blue colored water of the lake was encouraging. Since the lake is huge and surrounded by forests, it is really a great place to be in. Lot of boat riding options is available here. We took a motorboat ride which took us deep into the lake and provided with some stunning views.

When we went for boating, one of the car windows was opened and monkeys stole all the food items that were inside the car!! Since they were monkeys they did not care about the other valuables!!!!

Looking at the huge number of people who visit the lake, it is doubtful whether the Lake retains its serenity. Only time can tell that.

More pictures of Ooty trip can be seen here.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Manchanabele Dam

21 December 2008

It is a small dam near Bengaluru. I liked the first view of the Dam while driving from Big Banyan Tree.

There is a road that goes along the backwaters of the dam. Contrary to my belief, the backwater is surrounded by villages.

How to reach Manchanabele dam:

Take right on Mysore road near RajaRajeshwari Medical College towards Big Banyan tree. 7 kms from this deviation is the Big Banyan tree. Continue further for another 10 kms where the backwaters of the dam can be seen. A small road to the right will take to the backwaters of the Dam.

More photos of Manchanabele Dam can be seen here.