Saturday, October 22, 2011

Trip to Coorg

It was the best trip I ever had so had to write few lines about it with some pic. Though I am not a blogger but tried to write few lines about it. This essay does not even provide 1% of the fun, enjoyment & blast we had in this trip but is a mere a details of the trip.

Its 21-Oct-2011 at 10:15 PM, Nikhil, Runai and Me are waiting in Kengeri Mysore Road Satellite Bus Station, Bangalore for other Done Family members to come. At 11:00 PM there come Pieee Pieeee Akshata Pie (Prime Mister of DONE Family). At 11:30 PM final members, Megha and Ram come into the picture and we board the bus to head towards Madikeri Bus Stand a.k.a COORG.
Oh I did not speak of our family right? We are dones of done family and everybody is related to each others, but it such a complicated relation that I am confused. Recently we have created an organization known as Kunti Armory.
Frankly speaking road is a bit bumpy and we reached Madikeri Bus stand at 6:30 AM. Near the bus stand we had hot coffee along with steaming kasseri bath and Nikhil got a bottle of Maaza. After that we asked for the direction and headed towards our home stay MISTY HIGHTS
Misty Heights

(The best home stay I have ever stayed. Ok will talk about it later though it’s very important topic because it also adds up to make this trip my best trip ever).
We walked all the way in Coorg and finally could locate Misty Heights from far. It was an awesome place. We could see a single house on top of a hill and no other houses around. It was a quiet place and lush greenery. There was a steep road from main road to get in the house. As we were climbing we were greeted by a very very friendly dog. Initially we didn’t know his name so kept the name as “Brownie”. Later we followed him and reached the house. It was such a wonderful place. It was very beautiful place. We roamed around the house for some time and after half an hour the owner came to the place. We have taken a dormitory in the attic of the building with 8 beds. We quickly called the cab driver to come here at 10:00 AM and in the mean time we freshened up. She made coffee for us and then served idli, vada, sambar and chutney in coorgy style and taste.
We got in the car and headed towards Triveni Sangam
Triveni Sangam

which is around 35 KM at 10:30 AM. On the way, we stopped and had a coffee. After 2 hours we reached here and it was a very nice please. It’s a junction of 3 rivers Cauveri, Kannike and mythical river Sujyoti. We went near the ghat and spent some time sinking our bare feet in the cold water. It is told that a dip in this holy Sangam completes the Hindu Shraddha rites for the deprived soul. Later we went to the Bhagandeshwara temple
Bhagandeshwara temple

which is just opposite to the ghat. According to the Skandapurana the Bhagandeshwara Temple is named after Bhaganda Muni who installed the Shivalinga here. It attracted the devotion of many royal dynasties of Karnataka. Raja Doddaveerarajendra, who renovated the temple after it was damaged in a battle in A.D. 1790. AMO it was a unique style temple because the temple is in Karnataka but the architecture is like Kerala.
We got in the car and in the same road we headed further 10 KM to reach Talacauvery.

It’s the birth place of Cauveri river which flows for 500 KM. It amazing to see how a small pond like place can turn up to such a big river. Devotes walk over the water and remove their sins and then heads toward the temple. From there we climbed 600 steps to go to the top of the hill to get the glimpse of the valley. Its again wonderful view. After climbing we literally became like a dog toung outside. We were dead tired. While climbing down it was misty and again it was great feeling. We could not see each other who are just 10 feet away from us due to the mist. We got in the car at 2:30 PM and in the mid way got in a KSRTC restaurant. We ordered for some normal veg. food. It was ok, nothing to complain. On the way there was a police checking and then came back at our lovely home stay at around 4:30 PM. In the town we got some snacks for evening while returning back home. The cab driver dropped Akshata again back to town who wanted to meet few of her relatives who stays in Coorg.
We ordered for you dinner to the owner lady for a kg of chicken masala and World Famous in Coorg, The Pandi Curry a.k.a Pork Masala with Aki Roti. We went for a chit chat at 7:30 PM till late night. In middle Akshata also came up and joined us. You won’t believe it was awesome dish that she prepared for us. At night we even ended up asking her how she prepared those dishes.
Next day I was the first to get up from bed at 6:30 AM and we quickly settled ourselves for the trip. This time we had a different car which is a jeep because where we are heading today does not have a good road and is very steep. We had a very tipical breakfast in one of the restaurant in town. Its pathaal (puri made out of rice powder)  and veg / chicken gravy and coffee. We headed toward Pushpagiri Wildlife Sanctuary
Pushpagiri Wildlife Sanctuary

which is approximately 20 KM but takes nearly 2 hours to reach there. One of the most challenging road I have ever seen more because monsoon season is just over. On the way we ordered for lunch to one of the 3 huts available. We fixed our self we roti, rice and chicken curry.
We reached the sanctuary around 12:00 PM. Just before reaching the parking lot, we got down and started walking. It was a very peaceful place with hardly anybody seen around and awesome landscape beauty. We walked everywhere wherever we could get a good picture of our self and background of the beautiful landscape. After sometime we could hear some running water stream so walked toward that. Finally after couple of meters, we saw the stream and walked towards the stream. We also tasted the water and won’t belive it was so sweet. We wanted to go a little further, but suddenly we saw something crawling in our shoe and it is not one or two, rather many of them. Looking at them, I just realized that they are none but letches. We ran away from the stream and climbed up toward the road instantly. May be we have taken 10 min to go down toward the stream but we just took a min to come up to the road. We opened our shoe and socks and started checking ever places in our leg. Finally after getting rid of letches, we started walking toward the sanctuary counter and then started climbing on top of the hill to get the view of entire surrounding. Local people was telling us that the parking area is actually resting place for all grazing animals and normally every month couple of them misses  because tiger eats them up if by dark they don’t return to this place.
On our way back, we stopped to the hut where we ordered for our lunch at 2:30 PM. It was a awesome restaurant with awesome ambience and services. There was a vast empty flat land on a hill top and a small hut. Every side of the ground had a steep fall except the road side. In between there were 4 wooden poles and a plastic sheet on top under which a medium size table with 6 chairs. We were provided with plates, serving pools, 6 plastic cups, chicken gravy, rasam, tomato gravy, roti, rice and unlimited cool breeze from all around.
We started at 3:00 PM towards Abby Falls
Abby Falls

which is in the same road down which is 10 KM from here. Once we reached Abby falls, we had coffee and majega a.k.a butter milk. The Madikeri stream also called Mutharmuttu Falls 21.3 m between huge boulders to a deep rocky valley to from this picturesque waterfall called Abbi Fall. Then we went walking towards the fall and we have to see the falls standing in the hanging bridge. We are not suppose to go to the streams. We have taken our group instant photo for all of us. We started from there and reached our home at 4:00 PM.
Ram had to leave because he had to catch a train. We went to town along with him and he boarded a bus and we went to Omkareshwara Temple
Omkareshwara Temple

where we have spent an hour. The architecture of the temple was really unique.
Then we went to Raja seat where we can see a amazing view of the valley. Basically what I guess is that Raja of Madikeri used to seat and watched the beauty of the hills. It’s a small amusement park with a toy train and every evening there is a musical fountain.
Musical Fountain in Raja Seat

It’s a good one just like Mysore one. We have spent some time before Musical fountain starts. It started raining quite heavily when we were waiting the show, so all started running out the park and we too did. It was already dark, so wanted to get our dinner packed for us. We went to one of the restaurant recommended by the lady, but they were off on Sunday. On the way we also got in a shopping complex where we found a really nice bakery. We got our selfs some eatables. When we came out it was raining heavily, so got in a auto and headed toward another recommended restaurant. They too disappointed us by saying that they prepare food only for their guests and not outsiders. So we called up Anu B.T.W she is the owner for the Home Stay where we are staying. We told her that we are not able to manage Pandi Curry and Aki Roti anywhere, she helped us. She told that she will make Pandi Curry and we have to manage roti by our self and which is very easy to do and we agreed. We headed back and on our way, we got freshly baked breads and got in an auto. We reached home at 7:30 PM and she sent us the dinner at 8:30 PM. We had the delicious dinner and found out that outside it is raining heavily. We told Anu that our bus is at 11:00 PM and will be any possibility to get two autos at 10:00 PM. She told that it is difficult to get, so her husband will drop us to the bus station. We reached the bus station and our bus left Madikeri Bus Station at 11:15 PM when it is still raining and I had a sound sleep. Next day I got up at 5:30 AM and I am in Kengeri Mysore Road Satellite Bus Station.
I stayed in Misty Heights Home Stay for last 2 days and it was awesome experience. What I liked here are below points.
1.    Location – It’s on top of the hill where there are nobody else except you and your group.
2.    Huge area for each thing like dining area, bon fire, hammock and all are well maintained.
3.    A very very friendly dog (Jimmy) but we can call him with any name (Like Brownie, Jack) and he will always be with you.
4.    Food – OMG! Its another awesome thing she gets it done at home for you. Whether its chicken, pork or any veg food. We have literally licked all the casserole clean.
5.    Last but not the least – Very reasonably priced and very very helpful person.

Other places to visit in Coorg are
1.    Irppu Falls – 90 KM
2.    Nagarahole – 95 KM
3.    Dubare – 32 KM
4.    Thadiyandamol Hills – 47 KM
5.    Igguthappa Temple – 33 KM
6.    Golden Temple – 33 KM
7.    Gaddigey – 0 KM
8.    Nisargadhama – 26 KM
9.    Nalknad Palace -53 KM
10.    Harangi – 32 KM
11.    Fort – 0 KM


View from our window

Bon Fire

Dining Room

First day Breakfast

Evening View from Misty Stay

Cauvery River in Triveni Sangam


Misty view in Talacauvery

Talacauvery after climbing 600 stairs

Pushpagiri Wildlife Sanctuary

Pushpagiri Wildlife Sanctuary

Roads towards Pushpagiri Wildlife Sanctuary

We know what it is :-)

View Larger Map

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Trip to Kochi

Its 05-Oct-2011, Runai and I thought to go somewhere for our long weekend. As usual we packed our bags and went to bus station. We got in Salem bus and we reached there at night 12:30 AM. As usual was wondering where to go where we did not visit yet. We wanted to go to Rameshwaram but somehow it did not work and then the next thought was our old Otty. So got in a Coimbatore bus and reached Coimbatore a.k.a Kovai around morning 4:30 AM. Had coffee and went to searched for hotel. I am aware of every hotel in Gandhipuram area since my college days. Promptly I headed toward a hotel and got a room. Freshened up and went for breakfast in Annarnapurna Gowrisankar and then got in a auto to go to Coimbatore Cantonment station to get a return mountain train from Mettupalayam to Ooty. Since it was a holiday session, we did not get a reserved ticket. So we have cancelled that train idea and thought of going in bus.

Next we got in a local bus from Gandhipuram to Mettupalayam which is arround 40 KM and takes an hour to reach. We reached Mettupalayam bus stand and got in a share taxi who dropped us in Ooty a.k.a Udhagamandalam in 3 hours which is around 30 KM.
Chocolate and Oil shop
Near Otty Railway station
Way to Otty lake
Way to Otty lake
Near Otty bus stand
Ooty is always famous for home made chocolate and some natural oils. There is a very good shop just opposite to Lake entrance gate. The road from Ooty railway station to lake is really beautiful and one should walk that streach to enjoy the natural beauty. Also one should take a mountain train ride from Mettupalayam to Otty. It takes approximately 6 hours on up hill which starts at 7:00 AM and down hill takes approximately 4 hours which starts at 2:00 PM. We did lot of walking and photograph sessions from Runai. At arround 4:00 PM we disturbed our old Friend Vidhya Prakash a.k.a Vidhu over phone and asked him whether he is free for the weekend and he promptly he replied that he is free. The next we knew was that he are in Ooty bus stand to come back to Coimbatore to meet him and make some plan for the weekend. We got in a direct bus to Coimbatore and reached around 7:30 PM. Vidhu came to our room at 8:30 PM and he told us that he already inquired one of the best resort in Cherai which is near to Kochi. But it was a bit costly for us who was demanding 7K per night. Later we searched for few other resorts but nothing was wining our vote. So later we booked Cherai Beach Resort for a night and decided to stay another night in some other resort. In any case Vidhu got a new VW Polo
Vishu's car parked in Cherai Beach Resort
and we have to go somewhere that night. So we got in his car and went to a restaurant near stadium which is world famous in Coimbatore. Got really yummy food parceled and enjoyed the food in our room. Vidhu left us at around 12:00 AM and we went to sleep.

Next morning we checked out hotel at 5:00 AM and headed towards Cherai in Vidhu's car. It was still dark when we started
Early morning just started from our hotel at 5:00 AM
and around 6:30 AM we had our first pit stop to repair us by sipping tea and next we started again. At around we 9:00 AM we stopped near a restaurant which is a Tamil restaurant in Kerala Land. Basically that was the best restaurant we could find in that entire stretch. In NH47, I won't say road was bad,
NH 47 On the way to Cherai / Kochi from Coimbatore
but for 1 hour stretch, we have to find road in pot holes. It was a pathetic road for that 1 hour. The funniest thing is that we find some road sign which reads like "speed limit is 10 KM/H" and frankly speaking even if you want to speed more than that, you cannot due to the condition of road. Anyway with all fun and thanks to HTC maps, we could reach Cherai Beach at 10:00 AM. On our way we had real fun when Vidhu was imitating everything in Mallu accent.

We have spent sometime in Cherai Beach which is a very pleasant place for hang out.
Cherai Beach
At around 12:00 PM, we went to Cherai Beach Resort and went to our cottage.
Cherai Beach Resort entrance gate
Parking place in Cherai Beach resort
One of the cottage in Cherai Beach Resort
Another cottage in Cherai Beach Resort
Back side of Cherai Beach Resort surrounded by Back Water
Shadow in Back Water
Front side of Cherai Beach Resort with evening view of Arabian Sea
Arabian Sea in front of Cherai Beach Resort
It was a beautiful place and really worth staying for a night. It was in a small strip of land where one side is covered with back water and other side is surrounded by Arabian Sea. It has its own private beach, so we can enjoy anytime we feel like. By afternoon we were ready to explorer the place. Most of the cottage is in the middle of water body like pond with lush greenery around it. That day we had lots all fun and went to sleep at 4:00AM.

Next day we planned to get up by 10:00 AM to get the breakfast but sadly got up at 12:00 to check out the room. I had fallen sick, so had to get to a doctor. After that we drove down to a Kochi which is 20 KM from there. On our way we booked one of the hotel and checked in that hotel at arround 2:00 PM. We 3 happily slept for entire day and recharged our body. At night Vidhu and I went for dinner in some nearby place and got some juice. Night was again recharge session, so we slept and got up next day sharply at 7:00 AM. Went inside the restaurant and I had breakfast as if I did not have anything for last one week. I think other 2 creatures also had same way like me. You see I did not have time to check what they are eating because I was busy with mine.

We checked out that hotel and headed towards Fort Koch which is about 25 KM from here. Driving condition is good and it is a beautiful place. With our online map, we did not have much trouble and promptly went to Mattanchery Palace which was originally built by the Portuguese, and modified by the Dutch afterwards. We are not allowed to take pictures of this palace. Opposite to the palace, there is a jetty where people travel daily. I have seen Amet Cruises
Amet Cruise
in that jetty which I think is the oldest cruise in India. We had traveled through bazar road and one could see the old essence of Kerala. By afternoon we started to return back to Coimbatore and on our way we had light lunch and reached Coimbatore at 7:00 PM.

We got in a bus to Salem and then back to Bangalore next day at 6:00 AM.

View Larger Map