Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Saavira Kambada Basadi, Moodabidri

1st October 2012

Saavira Kambada Basadi, translated as Thousand pillars Temple is a Jain Temple situated at Moodabidri town in South Kanara district. I made a point to visit this place during my pilgrimage trip to South Kanara.

It was the first time I was using “Sygic” maps on my Phone for navigation. It worked well and when it announced “you have reached your destination”, the Basadi was in front of us.

The entrance of the Temple stand at the end of a small road.

After the entrance is a second gate which leads to the main Temple. In front of the main Temple is a mahastamba some 60 feet tall.

Photography was not allowed inside the Temple. When asked for permission, the person in charge asked to donate money to the Temple. I was then allowed to take photographs!

Entrance to the Temple is marked by two Elephant statues.

We did a quick check and felt that the number of pillars must be lesser than thousand!! But Temple people said that there are pillars on the first floor where the entry is restricted.

The Basadi was built in 1430 AD where Chandranath, 8th Thirthankara is worshipped.

The main door of the Temple.

If you are going through Moodabidri, do not forget to visit this Temple. There are many Jain Basadi in the town but “Saavira Kambada Basadi” stands tall among all of them.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Weekend at Sakleshpur hiils

12- 13 December 2012

Few years ago, we had been to Jenukallu. It was a memorable experience and we (I, Krishna, Girish) decided to do something similar. We had seen a ppt of Rottikallu which I must say was very impressive. So, we decided to head towards Rottikallu. I also roped in my colleague Vageesh for this trip.

Hill that was "un climbable" according to guide

And on Saturday afternoon we were at Rottikallu. Evening we headed towards “Dal Dudhi”, a hillock in front of the camp. It was climbed in little less than 15 minutes. We were also joined by other group who had come to the resort but they took their own sweet time to appear on the top. While they were tired but jubilant on reaching the top, we were perplexed. Our body was just ‘warming up’ to the climb and we had reached the top!

We had not driven for 4 hours just to climb for 15 minutes. The hill range on the opposite side looked promising. When asked the guide to take us there, he simply said that it was “Not climbable”.  He must be thinking that we were just city rookies coming for time pass!! That was bad. I told that it would be a shame if we take more than 30 minutes to climb that range. Guide reluctantly allowed us to proceed. In 25 minutes we were on top of “Saalu gudda”, an impossible hill!!

We had a nice time there and after sunset we decided to head back to resort. Evening was spent in front of the camp fire where we tried to photograph the fire.

Next day morning, we headed to Halu Holla, a hill range where we could get the views of Jenukallu that we climbed few years ago. The trek was easy and we did it in about an hour. The pleasant sun, green valley filled with followers boosted our spirits to climb quicker.

Once we climbed the hill, as expected we saw Jenukallu in front of us!

The valley opposite to the hill was covered with thick Kabbinale forests that run all through Gundya.

Back to resort and we had our breakfast. Then we were all set to return back. But we had one last place to cover. That was a waterfall the name which I do not remember now!!

It was a small but a beautiful waterfall. We had planned to spend about 10 minutes there but ended up enjoying the waterfall for more than an hour. A butterfly also kept s busy for a long time. 

It was a weekend well spent with beautiful hills and waterfall but we felt that Rottikallu resort was hype. The price we paid was too much when compared to the facilities available. It is suited for large gangs of people who just come for fun. I had seen better places for lesser price. But I must also say that the staffs running the resort were very hospitable. Their service was simply superb.

Kabbinale forest

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Kolli hills

17-18 November 2012

Kolli hills is a mountain range in Eastern ghat. Located in Namakkal district of Tamil Nadu, it is about 280 km from Bengaluru. Compared to other hill stations, this is relatively known and less visited by tourists. Best time to visit this place is during the months of November and December when North East monsoon bring much awaited respite from hot weather.

View from one of the hairpin bends
Our travel, highways and 70 hairpin bends
The road from Bengaluru to Namkkal was superb thanks to four lane highway. The only painful part is Hosur Krishnagiri stretch which is being widened to six lanes. More painful is that we need to pay toll for the road in construction.

We took diversion just before Namakkal to Senthamangalam. The climb to Kolli hills start at a place Karavalli. The best part of the trip is the drive to Kolli hills. There are about 70 hairpin bends and it is a sheer fun for the person driving on this stretch.

Our stay was at “Nallathambi resort”, a decent place for a good price.

Masila falls
This is located about 15km from the hotel. Reaching this place was bit difficult as there were numerous diversions with no sign boards. One practical difficulty for outsiders is that every board is in Tamil. Even tourism department boards do not provide information in English. Thankfully, locals help a lot and that practically solves the problem!

Masila falls is a there stage falls. Tourists are allowed till second stage where they can get into water. Steps are being created to enter into the falls. We were there in the evening and the last tourist batch had left. That allowed us to enjoy the falls in solitude. My daughter loved this place as she could get into water and also enjoy in a kids playground area nearby.

A small lake created for tourists. Nothing great but kids like it. It would have an uneventful but for the pedal boat which we took broke down in the middle of the ride!! It was only I, my wife and daughter. My daughter looked scared but there was nothing to worry as we had worn life jackets. It took quite an effort for us to bring back the boat to the starting point. We were offered a free ride but my daughter was not ready for another round in water.

Sekuparai view point
Panoramic views of the plains and hills can be seen from this view point.

Arapaleshwar Temple and falls
This is a religious important Temple. Akash Ganga falls is also nearby but one need to walk a km or more to see this falls. We could not visit this falls due to circumstances where we had to return to Bengaluru. For people who do not want to walk can spend some time in a mini falls next to the Temple.

Note: Forest department closes the gate to Akash Ganga falls at 3PM. It is necessary that you reach before that.

Overall, Kolli hills is a nice place to spend a weekend. The 70 hairpin bends and waterfalls do not disappoint you!! 

Monday, January 14, 2013

Malmo, Sweden

28th October 2012

It was two years ago when I was in Paris, I saw a Eurolines bus to Oslo, Norway. I was surprised as the distance between the two cities over land was nearly 5,000 km!! North Sea and Baltic Sea separates the countries of Sweden, Norway and Finland. Going by land means crossing over to Russia, move northwards in Finland and finally go down to Oslo. It was too much of a journey for people travelling on bus. Later I did little bit of browsing to find out that a bridge connects between Europe and Scandinavia reducing the distance by thousands of kilometres.

When I decided to visit Copenhagen, I was surprised to find that the bridge was in Copenhagen. Known as Oresund Bridge (├śresund), it is a combination of 8km bridge and a 4 km tunnel connecting the cities of Copenhagen in Denmark to Malmo in Sweden.

Train from Copenhagen takes just 20 minutes to cover this distance. We would have preferred a bus as it gives better views but unfortunately the public bus does not run on Sundays. So we settled for train journey.

Malmo is a small town but what impressed us was the cleanliness of the place. I had been to several places but Sweden seems to be the neatest country (My observation only).

Malmo castle is one of the attractions of the town.

Near the castle is a windmill.

Turning Torso, the highest Skyscraper is Sweden is another attraction. This is the view from the harbor area.

The green area next to the sea.

The sea itself is very clear in harbor area.

Oresund Bridge seen from Harbour area.

Look at the railway station at Malmo. It looks traditional from outside (Like our Mysore railway station) but completely modern inside. That is typical of European countries.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Copenhagen, Denmark

27-28th October 2012

My visit to Copenhagen was unexpected. It was never in the list of places “to be seen”.  But unexpected events do happen in life and few of them are for good. One such event was my visit to Copenhagen. I and Prashanjith were looking at the places to visit during weekend. The places that we had in mind did not fit into our scheme of things. Either the travel was too expensive or flights/trains were not available at convenient times.  Copenhagen fitted the bill perfectly.

There was no direct flight from Eindhoven, the town we were staying in Netherlands. So we had to travel to Amsterdam by train and catch a flight. When we entered Schipol airport, the status of our flight was set to “boarding”!! The terminal was far away. We ran and ran… had to cross security which took its sweet time. But finally, we were able to successfully board the Norwegian flight to Copenhagen.

Tivoli gardens entrance at Copenhagen
Copenhagen was completely different from Budapest, the town I visited previous weekend. The “wealthy touch” was easily felt. Everything was expensive in Copenhagen. The train pass was so expensive that we had to only travel in train for entire day to recover its cost!! We ended up buying individual tickets.

At Copenhagen castle

It took five minutes to reach the station Tarnby. We were in for a mild shock when we got down from the train. It was very cold but that was expected. There is no soul to be seen anywhere!! People were not seen even on the road. It took some time for us to realize the feel of the Scandinavian city. Finding our hotel “Copenhagen Go” was not difficult as it was just opposite to the metro station. But what was difficult was to accept the size of the room. I had paid half the price for a room double the size in Budapest. Ah!! I will stop comparing prices of Eastern Europe and rich Scandinavia. Denmark is expensive. Full stop.

In front of Christiansborg castle
A small surprise awaited us next morning. We went to the metro station and looked for the ticket counter. We went up and down several times looking for ticket counter in vain. Then we realized that the only option to buy ticket was to use automatic ticket vending machines. I feel that cost of keeping human beings to sell ticket must be too huge in human resource starved country. There were very few stations that had manned ticket counters.

At Castle
One of the first things we saw in Copenhagen was Copenhagen Town hall. In front of it was a large square surrounded by several nice looking buildings.

We then went to Christansborg Palace. It is the seat of Danish Parliament, houses Prime Minister’s Office and Supreme Court. Few parts are still used by monarchy.

Hence it is more of Palace complex than a single building. Public are allowed at some places and guided tours are also available.

From Christansborg Palace, we could see a canal. The place was also starting point for canal boating tours. We decided to try for the same. It was good as we got to know lot of details about Copenhagen.

The opera seen from the boat. Looks like newly constructed building.

The canal opens to sea where Danish Navy has its base. Lot of naval ships can be seen from the boat.

The warehouses.

The boats docked on the canal at Christiansvahan. The king wanted to create a city with canals very similar to Amsterdam and hence he asked the people to settle down in this island.

We got down from the boat at “Our Saviours Church”. The spire on top of the church is an attraction. 

People are also allowed to go to the top. The steps are all made of wood. It is also very narrow and steep. One has to give way for the people coming from opposite direction.

The view from top of the Church is worth the climb.

By then it was lunch time and we were hungry. As we could not find any hotels we decided to go back to Town hall where we had seen a “Burger King”. What I liked was they were advertizing “Vegeterian burger”. My food was taken care in Copenhagen!!

We took the boat again as we wanted to go to Little Mermaid at the far end of the city. There was a goof up as the boat went very near to the place but did not stop!! After one hour of boat ride, we came back to the same point. We then decided to walk to Little Mermaid.

On the way to Little Mermaid we visited Amalienborg Palace, the home of Danish royal family.

It is a group of four buildings around the square. At the center of the square is the equestrian statue of King Frederick V.

The royal guards.

Near the Palace is Frederick’s church.

Finally we reached Little Mermaid at the harbour!!

True to its name, it was a very small statue on a rock.

Near Little Mermaid was castle area. Beautiful place!!

It’s autumn time!!

As it darkened, we walked back to Town hall to have some food at “Burger King”. Then we just strolled on the streets of Copenhagen.

Day 2:
The clock had turned back by 1 hour. That meant we had an extra hour which we spent in sleeping!! We expected chaos due to the change in time but business was as usual in the city. No confusions at all. I think people are used to the change in timing that happens during autumn and spring.

Rosenborg castle was the place we visited that day.

The castle is surrounded by nice garden.

Line of trees!!

Near the castle was botanical garden.

A beautiful lake in the garden.

The glass house in Botanical garden.

By now we had seen everything we had in mind. Few more hours were left for our return flight. Our trip was not yet over. We decided to visit Sweden before that!!