Saturday, February 25, 2012

Bangalore Food Street

We are in Meggy's house in Ejipura, Bangalore on 25-Feb-2012. Meggy has given us a very well documented map to reach her house from Sony World Junction, Koramangala. We (i.e. Meggy, Ram, Runai, Akshi and I) were at her home. After some chit&chat and TV, we started discussing where should we go tonight. It was Meggy's idea that we will go to Food Street in VV Puram / Sajjan Rao Circle in Bangalore. Then the discussion went in how to go? Whether it will be in Akshi's car or 2 two-wheelers and a auto. Later it was decided that it is just going to be double and triple in 2 two-wheelers. Ram and I were in my bike and Meggy, Runai and Akshi in Meggy's Activa.
We started around 7 PM and the first traffic signal was in Neelasandra junction. Ram and I suddenly saw that Akshi got down from bike and started running. Oh yes, Akshi is good in running and she participate in Bangalore Marathon race. We had no idea why she was doing that. Later we found that trippels are not allowed in bike. So she is going to get down in every traffic signal and start running and then wait for us crossing the signal. Sometimes it happened that the signal was so long that she crossed 2 signal at a time and waited for us. I don't know how she did it but she did it for nearly 12 KM. Anyway after asking here and there, we have reached the place and parked our bike at 8:00 PM.
It was a very busy road and people were all around. It is approximately 1 km streach and it has nearly 50 food shop with more than 5k people. There was no place to stand, it was that crazy crowded. Its a pure veg street. The food store will provide food in plate and you have to make your own place somewhere and stand and eat. It was nice fun there. You can get idli, dosa, akki rotti, bele obbattu, corn, puliyogere, bonda , bajji, benne gulkan, beLe masala, masala pepsi, masala soda, vada pow, pow bhaji, paneer roll, romali roti, gobi manchurian, paneer masala, chat ... u name it they have it. All at a very reasonable price ...
We started with masala corn with mango. It was something different which we never tasted before. After that we promptly went to south indian store where it was very busy. With lots of struggle in the cash counter, we paid for 2 different types of dhosa and akki roti. It was very tasty and nice hot food. Good thing this is that they use nandini ghee and quality is good and they make everything as and when ordered. Then we went chat store and ordered for sev puri, dahi puri, gelabi and rasa malai. Meggy went to get bele obbattu. Every plate was very tasty. Later we again went for another plate of bele gelabi. Next was gulkan store. It was really really nice. There was this rose chutney type with lots of fruits and ice cream.Then we got a bottel of water and end of our dinner. For 5 people, the total bill was around Rs. 320.
Ram and I
Runai, Akshi and Meggy
Then we wanted to take tea but since it was 9:30 PM, we did not get tea anywhere there. Then we found a guy selling masks. That was the next fun we had and then we started to come back home and Akshi did the same hoping in every signal. Somewhere in middle police stopped us for breath analyzer and from nowhere Akshi was running in front of him at that late night. The police would have thought that one thief is escaping :-) Anyway with everything we reached Meggy's house arround 11 and with all chit chat we slept at 3:30 AM next Sunday.

Runai and I
Ram and Meggy

View Larger Map

Thursday, February 09, 2012

Trip to Coimbatore in car

It is the best trip ever from Chennai to Coimbatore on 09th-Feb-2012 in Vidhu's Car.
It happened this way. 9th-Feb was Praveen's Marriage and I left from Bangalore on 8th-Feb requesting for a leave from office for Thursday.
I reached Chennai on 9th-Feb at 8:00 AM and called Vidhu. After that I got a pre paid auto from Tamburam Bus Stand till Egmore Hotel Ashoka where his marriage is going to be held at 9:00 AM. After reaching the hotel, I freshened up quickly and went for breakfast along with Vidhya Prakash, Madhan and Ganeshan. Later we went for the ceremony and had nice time there. Later after quick lunch we planned to leave Chennai and on the way Vidhu will drop me in Krishnagiri from where I will catch a bus for Bangalore and they will go to Coimbatore.
After everything was over and meeting bride, bridegroom and uncle and aunty, we (Vidhu, Madhan, ganeshan and me) started our journey at 2:30 PM on 9th-Feb. Remember we went in same VW Polo in Kochi too. Anyway we crossed all hustle bustle in busy Chennai road and headed towards Vellore. We reached Vellore around 4 PM and then I had in mind that reaching Krishnagiri will not be before 8:00 PM and it will be difficult to reach home late at night in Bangalore. So I was discussing with my friends on board and Vidhu instantly told me to come with them till Coimbatore and get a bus for Bangalore on Friday night, so that I can reach Bangalore on Saturday morning. I thought for couple of minutes about the plan. There were 2 thoughts that were running in my mind. 1. I did not plan for this and Runai is not aware of it and 2. Office is not aware of my leave for Friday as well. Anyway after some thought I planned to go to Coimbatore with them.
The total journey was around 550 KM and we took 12 and Half hours to cover the distance. It was that we drove very slow. It is because we stopped every half and hour to 45 min for snacks and whenever we drove it is not below 100 KMPH.
Once it 6 PM, we started to feel hungry and planned for road side hotel and not some posh hotel. We were searching for a perfect hotel and the criteria was 1. Road Side hotel. 2. Should have parota, dhosa and should be prepared in open place. 3. Should have chicken and egg. 4. Should have open space and dinner should be under open sky. I think our criteria was too much and it was not satisfying our need. Once it was 10 PM and we know it is too late now, we got a hotel which does not satisfy just one criteria i.e. 4. Should have open space for dinner. It was after we crossed Salem, we got into this hotel and had lot of tasty food and total bill was Rs. 350.
In Salem, we stopped in one place and Madhan got down and it was smelling good Chicken fry. He got 2 plates parceled. Later while we started eating when Vidhu was driving, we found that it was beef fry and not chicken. Hurray! Thats what Vidhu and I was thinking because Madhan and Ganeshan does not take beef and both plate is for both of us.
Anyway we reached Avinashi and road from here to Coimbatore is really pathetic which is around 60 KM. It was more pathetic because last 500 KM we were driving in 6 lane road though the toll tax is high and nearly Rs. 700 was spend for it. Vidhu took another route and we reached Coimbatore around 2:00 AM on 10th-Feb-2012. Vidhu dropped Madhan at his home and then Ganeshan was dropped in his office where is bike is parked. From that office, Vidhu's house was very near. We two came home around 2:00 AM and went to sleep around 3:30 PM. Next day we did not do anything just sit and chit chat and I booked for bus ticket for night. Later part of the day, we went to a new mall in Coimbatore and Vidhu bought some electrical items for his car and cell phone and inquired for laptop.
Later at night, Vidhu dropped me in the KSRTC bus stand and we had a nice biriyani and I boarded the bus at 9:30 PM and Vidhu left for his house.
I reached Bangalore on 11th-Feb-2012 4:30 AM and I was back at home around 7:00 AM.

View Larger Map

Friday, February 03, 2012

Trip to Coonoor

Its 3rd-Feb-2012 6:30 PM, Runai and me are waiting for our bus in Mysore Kengeri Satellite bus stand. At 7:15 PM, the bus started and headed toward Mysore and then went to Coimbatore via Sathyamangalam. We reached Coimbatore at CBE SETC bus stand next day at 4:30 AM. We waited there and boarded another bus at 5:45 AM to reach Coonoor via Mettupalayam.
We reached Coonoor at 8:00 AM 4th-Feb-2012. We got down near Coonoor Railway Station and found a good old hotel. We freshened up and went for breakfast just below the hotel. We enquired about the sight seeing to the person who was serving us and he told that he will arrange a auto-wala. As prompted, he got a descent auto-wala after we finished breakfast at 10:00 AM and made a deal with him to show The Dolphin's Nose Viewpoint, Lamb's Rock and Tea Factory in Rs. 350. We went back to our room and packed our travel back with lens and other stuffs to start.

Trip to Coonoor Slideshow: Sumit’s trip from Bangalore, Karnataka, India to Coonoor was created by TripAdvisor. See another Coonoor slideshow. Take your travel photos and make a slideshow for free.
The Dolphin's Nose Viewpoint is 12 km from Coonoor, is an important place to visit. It not only provides a panoramic view of the vast expanse of the Nilgiri hills but also of the famous Catherine Falls. Lady Canning's seat is another notable viewpoint on the way. Lot of hindi Bollywood movie were shot here. I can right now remember just one i.e. Sajan. (Remember that old Sanjay Dutt movie).
The Dolphin's Nose Viewpoint
It was a very cloudy day. (Particularly the time when we reached there, it was very cloudy and every corner was misty and without any visibility). We missed the scene of Catherine Fall which is just opposite to the viewpoint. Could only hear roaring sound of the fall. There are few shops. These guys will tempt you to taste their masala tea and soup, obviously by paying them. There were one or two photo shops. This guys will give you an option of instant photo keeping Catherine Fall as a background for Rs. 50 or take you to nearby tea garden and dress you like a tea plucking lady with a tokri (i.e. after plucking tea leaves it is kept in tea basket placed on their back) for Rs. 100. This is particularly for ladies. But I guess if you guys want to dress like that please go ahead.
Lamb's Rock
Lamb's Rock was on the way back. From Coonoor bus stand it is 8 km. Here too we faced same problem. Nothing was visible due to mist. It commands a grand view of the Coimbatore Plains. It is a favorite place for tourists. Horse ride is also available here.
On the way back we went to Brookfield Tea Factory.
Brooklands Tea Factory
For the first time we saw how tea is made starting from raw tea leaves till packing. AMO, its very simple process but was really nice to see how it is made. The process of making tea follows like this. Dry raw leaves by placing it on top of net and high speed air is blown underneath -> Place them in 3 separate grinder one after another to make small pieces of it -> Place them 3 different drier one after another to make it turn into brown color from green color -> Purification and Dusting -> Final process for tea -> Packaging. This all process automatically and is transferred from one place to another by conveyor belt. We take tea everyday and now I know how it is made. Outside the tea factory, we have a splendid view of tea garden and awesome landscape.
We returned back to our hotel and planned to go Sim's Park walking which is approx 4-5 Km.
Sim's Park
It is in Upper Coonoor i.e. near Bredford junction. We did not take the usual route which is very busy but has taken a longer behind the town route where nobody or very few people can be seen. The park is situated in a deep ravine on the Northern side of Coonoor Railway Station at an elevation of 1768 to 1798 m. The park can be divided into eight major sections. The natural shola with winding footpaths all over the higher slopes of the park is the most distinctive and picturesque feature of this park. This apart, a number of individual tree specimens planted in a scattered fashion all over the place, lend a special charm to the park, specially when they bloom in different seasons throughout the year.
There are all century old tress. I could not find any tree which is planted after 1900 except small plants. It is in a shape of cone and in the tip of the cone is a lake where they have 2 paddle boats in service for tourist. There are lot of fishes who are waiting for people to give them food and you will see each of them will be jumping on top of each other to grab whatever food we throw for them.
Sim's Park - Lake
We came out of Sim's park at 3:30 PM and felt hungry and thirsty. The time was odd, so we ordered for egg fried rice and chicken cutlet and asked him to give us warm water. We walked down in town from the busy route. One the way we went to one of the oldest church and then returned back to our hotel crossing the busy market in Coonoor at 6:00 PM.
I quickly freshened myself and went to get dinner from a good restaurant. They really packed nice parota with egg masala and chicken tikka. Mind you Nilgiri is a plastic free zone. So they have parceled the food in paper bags. We finished our dinner at 8:00 PM, watched my super favorite TV serial Adaalat. But before it could finish I was fallen asleep. We were very tired and I had a nice sleep.
Next day 5-Feb-2012, we got up, freshened up and straight went for breakfast. Then we checkout our room and went to bus stand. We boarded a bus to go towards Wellington and we got down in Gymkana.
Wellington - Victoria Bridge
I think it is around 10-15 km. Its a wonderful landscape and is meant for golf. Its a military area and very well maintained. Many people were playing golf and we started walking upward on the same route we came in bus. Lot of picture session and collected few nice grown unbroken pine. We went to the junction point and got another bus for the town.
After reaching town, we immediately got in another bus to go to Sim's park again. We have really enjoyed the time spend over here. Later at 12 noon, we went to near by Kwality hotel which has a descent veg buffet. Later we walked down and setteled ourself in Coonoor railway station where we are going to board Hill Train at 3:30 PM to reach Mettupalayam. I was really excited to travel in this train since I have heard lot about it over net.
Coonoor Railway Station
Sharp at 3:00 PM, train reached Coonoor railway station from Ooty. There were some shunting processes and finally steam engine was fitted. There are 3 classes in this train. First Class (4 people per row), Second Class (5 people per row) and General class. First and Second class are same. It is well maintained and feels like that old classy look with lots of woody work and brass metal curving. We meet some good funny people and journey was full of fun. We also meet two lady Diana Graham and Annie Sparkes from Bristol - England who after their retirement came to visit India. There were nearly 7 tunnels through which train passes and each last for 10 sec each. There is a culture among locals. Whenever train passes through the tunnel, people inside the train shouts and whistles. Lights will be on in each compartment a min before train is about to enter a tunnel. On the way we can see Laws Fall. We reached Mettupalayam Railway Station  around 5:20 PM. We got in a auto to drop us in Mettupalayam Bus Stand for Rs. 40 and after reaching the bus stop, we found that it is not even half a kilometer from Rail Station. Anyway we got in a bus which was headed toward Chennai. We got down in Coimbatore - Gandhipuram at 7:00 PM. We made Diana and Annie to get in a town bus which will drop them in Ukkadam bus stand which is hardly 2 KM away. After that we went for dinner and got in our Bangalore bus at 9:30 PM. On the way we were stopped for half an hour around 12 o'clock night in Satyamangalam because group of Elephants were crossing the road. I have never seen this and was excited. Anyway we reached Bangalore next day morning and back to work.

Price list approximate (single person)
Bangalore to Coimbatore - 350
Coimbatore to Coonoor - 70
Hotel double bed room - 475
Food each time - 150 veg and 350 non veg
Side scene Auto charge - 350
Sims park (1 person and camera) - 15 + 30
Parking fee on all side scene - 10
Visiting Tea Factory (1 person and camera) - 20 + 40
Hill train 2nd Class Coonoor to Mettupalayam - 50
Mettupalayam to Coimbatore - 30

Inside Tea factory

Inside Tunnel