Friday, December 24, 2010

Mallalli falls

The first time I heard about this falls was during my trek to Kumara Parvatha six years ago. Since reaching our destination on top of that mountain was on our mind, we gave a miss to this falls. The place seemed so remote at that time.

I missed the falls again when I trekked to Kumara Parvatha for the second time on the same route. It was summer and the falls would not hold any water at that time. Lot of changes had already taken place in the area!!

Years passed by. Lot of blogs mentioning about this falls started popping up indicating the popularity of the place. My several attempts to see this falls could not succeed.

Finally, I was able to visit the falls this year. I had only a day to spare and hence planned a day trip to this place. With my friends Sankara, Yasin and Manu went for a visit to this place.

The falls is easy to locate thanks to a board on the main road. A home stay is just next to the road. We requested them to prepare lunch and proceeded further. From the home stay, a small road leads to the falls. One km from the main road is a small “check post” where villagers collect money from the people who visit the falls. The asphalted road turns into a Jeep track and after couple of km is the parking place for the vehicles.

It is just 5 minute walk from the walking place to the falls. The first view of the falls is simply exciting. It is very rare that we see a falls from a very high point. It is in a deep valley at the backdrop of mighty Kumara Parvatha. From a huge rock, the complete view of the valley and falls can be seen.

Nice steps are constructed to the base of the falls. Nonstop walk for 10 minutes lead us to the base of the falls. Being a weekend, I was expecting a big crowd but surprisingly there was not a soul at the bottom. The entire place was for us!!

It looked extremely simple task to get into water but reality was different. The water was quite deep and with some struggle we found a spot to get into water. After a very long time, I had a nice bath in the falls.

I also “felt” the power of a swirl when I accidently put my leg into it. What a force it was!! Nothing untoward incident happened as I was holding a rock.

We had a nice lunch back at the home stay and said good bye to the smiling hosts.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Aralaguppe Temples

30th October 2010

The first view of Kalleshwara Temple at Aralaguppe was disappointing. It looked like a normal Temple. The lake next to the Temple also did not inspire me much.

This was the Temple built by Nolambas, a dynasty that ruled the area before Hoysalas.

The only great aspect of the Temple is the carvings on the ceiling. That is something different that is not commonly seen.

The Channakeshava Temple is typical of any Hoysala Temple. The Ekakuta Temple is well maintained and preserved. While the exterior of the Temple has extensive carving, the interiors are comparatively simple.

Kanchiraya Swamy Temple on a nearby hill provides some panoramic view of the surrounding area. A steep road takes to the top of the hill which on normal days would be peaceful. As mentioned by the villagers, the views from the top were simply great.

How to reach Aralaguppe:

Kibbanalli cross is 130 km from Bengaluru on Bengaluru-Honnavar highway. Take left turn here and drive for 6km to reach a small village Banasandra. Take a left turn and proceed for 5km to reach Aralaguppe.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Mandharagiri (Basadi Betta)

10th October 2010

This is a small hillock with a Jain Temple on Bengaluru-Tumkur road. It can be easily spotted from the highway if one is watchful. The name “Mandharagiri” is written on the hill!! But this place is more popularly known as Basadi Betta among locals.

It was surprising to see that the place of void of any visitors when we reached the base of the hill. It is good in way as we were left to ourselves!!

The steps are constructed all the way to the top. It is a simple climb that takes maximum of 30 minutes. My daughter was so happy with the surroundings that she climbed herself. The cloudy day also helped us.

A Jain Temple on the top is the attraction here. From the other side of the Temple, Maidala Lake and lot of hills are visible.

Recently, a statue of Theerthankara was installed at the base of the hill.

It is a nice spot to spend half a day from the maddening crowd of Bengaluru.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Daroji Sloth bear sanctuary

23rd - 24th October 2010

Jungle lodges have opened their new resort near Hampi. As an inaugural offer, they were giving 35% discount for stay. Visiting Daroji was always in my “wish list” and so I decided to utilize this offer. Also, it had been a long time since I stepped into North Karnataka region. Booking was done in a jiffy as Jungle Lodges had online booking facility.
A bad decision was to take my car to reach Hampi. The roads were terribly bad between Chitradurga and Hampi (Check the link here). While it just took 2 hours 10 minutes to cover 210 km from my Home to Chitradurga, 4 hours was needed to cover the next 150 km.

The resort is near Kamalapura village. Unlike its other facilities, the resort here is situated amidst dry vegetation. But this is a nice place for bird watchers as several species of birds can be seen here.

The resort takes care of all permission for the sanctuary and provides Jeeps.

The visit to the sanctuary was eventful. The road from the resort to Sanctuary was the side of the canal teeming with birdlife. Daroji is different from other wildlife sanctuaries. The only attraction here is the bears that are numerous in numbers. And the best part is that there is a 100% chance of spotting them.

Every afternoon, the bears come out of the caves in search of food. From a view point on the top, they can be easily viewed.

I realized that the zoom of my lens was insufficient for the bears here. There is no chance to go near them and can be seen only from the view point.

While returning back, our driver spotted a sand boe on the road and quickly applied brake. An Innova behind us could not stop immediately and hit the Jeep. Nothing happened to the Jeep but Innova took a hit. It was a forest zone and Innova person was driving very fast. The driver of the Innova realized his mistake. But the lady in the vehicle found it hard to digest the fact that driver applied brakes “just for a snake”.

Even though the resort is named as Daroji wildlife, most of its program is concentrated over Hampi. Rightly so, as Hampi ruins are just nearby and visit to Daroji can be completed in couple of hours.

From the view point of Daroji wildlife santuary

We visited Archeological museum at Kamalapur which was missed in our last Hampi trip.

If you are looking for sloth bear, Daroji does not disappoint you.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

NH 212: Mysore – Nanjanagud

20th November 2010

This is one of the “deadliest” roads in Karnataka. The stretch of 26km is one of the busiest roads in the state. And sadly, a badly maintained one.

I have been seeing this road for the past 14 years. The traffic has increased by several folds but the road has never been upgraded. The airport and many industries have all helped to increase the stress on the road. This is the road that needs to be widened to four lanes.

This is the road that connects popular tourist spots like Ooty, Wayanad and Bandipur.

In last couple of years, there have been several accidents on this road. The most recent disasto was in last week when a mini bus fell into a lake (link here) drowning 31 people on board.

It took me about 45 minutes to cover this stretch during my last travel. A series of speed brakers welcomed as when we entered Nanjanagud. The state officials are always very prompt in putting up road humps everywhere!!

Karnataka never boasted of good roads. But the situation these days is extremely bad. The state of the roads gives an indication to the “quality” of people ruling people.

Be careful on this roadl!!

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

AM waterfalls

The information we had indicated that the falls was just 2km from the main road. Following the directions from the locals, we set out on the village road. The winding road led us down into a valley. We did not have to wait long for the first glimpse of the falls. Our reaction was just “wow”. Majestically, it was falling from the hill opposite to us. There is very little mention about his falls in internet and we were expecting a small cascade. And all of us were pleasantly surprised to see a big falls!!

The falls disappeared from our view as we got down the valley. We were amidst paddy fields. Wondering how to proceed near the falls, enquired few villagers. They were bit were surprised when we asked for the directions for the falls!! “There is no falls here!!” was their reaction. And we had seen one just a moment ago. Surprise!!

But anyway, we got the directions from other people and our car was moving up the valley again. We parked the vehicle and started walking. Passed through a dilapidated building to hit a stream. Within few minutes, we were at the top of the falls. Our efforts of getting down the falls were futile as the rocks were slippery.

A small Temple next drew our attention. It was a very old Temple and surroundings looked bit scary!! We also found a path to get to the base of the falls. As we were moving down, Sankara who was at the front spotted a snake. That was not good news as we were all scared of snakes. It was dark inside and was not safe. Added to that, I had seen a snake skin near the Temple and in fact snake idols were worshipped there.

The top of the falls provided the panoramic view of the valley. We also found out that a path from the road we came leads to the base of the falls. We followed it to get the front view of the falls.

The place offered us much more than expected. In spite of being in the middle of civilization and also its close proximity to a nearby town, the falls still remains unknown to the larger world. The cleanliness of the place also explains the same!!

Friday, December 03, 2010

"Rail bus", Nanjanagud

26 November 2010

If one travels from Mysore to Nanjanagud, it is hard to miss this “rail bus” after the Kapila river bridge. This “rail bus” was running between Mysore and Nanjanagud in the days of meter gauge.

The meter gauge is now converted into broad gauge and the railways have kept this “rail bus” as a show piece!!

The paintings on the train are attractive and represent the culture of Mysore. The train must have been popular in its prime days even though the journey was quite slow.

Meter gauges are becoming history and so are the trains running on them. There was one between Shimoga and Talguppa few years ago. It was running on losses and finally suspended due to gauge conversion.