Saturday, May 26, 2012

Trip to Kodaikanal

Its 25-May-2012, we were waiting in Shanti Nagar Bus Stand, Bangalore for our 9:10 PM KSRTC bus. We boarded our bus and the journey is going to be 12 hours. Anyway the bus left at 9:30 PM and after crossing all traffic jam in Bangalore, I went to sleep. I got up multiple times and either the bus was standing in toll gate or some town.
Anyway we reached Kodaikanal, Tamil Nadu around 9:30 AM on 26-May-2012.
On the way we could see there are lots of car going up the hill and I expected that its going to be crowded. Also it is a peak season and summer holidays for school. Once we reached the bus stop, we saw that people are moving all over the places and instantly I figured out that getting a hotel is going to be difficult. We started with nearby hotels and they told us they don't have any vacancy. We checked another one and they told us that they can accommodate only on Sunday and room fare is Rs. 1500. So we left there and went to another one, they told us they have vacancy and when I inquired about the fare, they told me that I have 2 choice. One is Rs. 4500 and another one Rs. 6000 and extra person is additional Rs 1000. I had to kick myself out of the place and the hotel did not look like more than Rs. 800 is normal time. Now I know why this hotel is empty. So we went to another one, they told me they too have room and fare is Rs. 2500 plus additional Rs 500 for extra person plus tax of Rs. 400. I said no way and I was about to come out and he told me how much I want to pay. I told them I don't want anything more than Rs. 1500. They inquired few other hotels which they know in behalf of me and after 15 min told me that non are empty. So we started down hill towards the lake. I knew that I will hotel over there more because I came to this place before and most tourist will try to get hotel near bus stand. Luckily just beside BSNL office, we got a hotel J. K. Cottage. They were cleaning the place and I asked them if they have any room available. They told me yes and the fare is Rs. 1500. I am OK and they told us to wait for half an hour, so that they can clean and give it to us. Later we found that their check-out time is 12 noon.
We freshened up and went up hill for our lunch in Spencer Co. Ltd. It was a 3 plate of fried rice and a plate of chicken fry and a plate of egg. They have provided a super quick service. We came out of the place around 12 o'clock. We headed start back to toward the lake and we saw sign board for Bear Shola Fall 2 KM. We started walking and it did not look that far. There were very few people. The way was lush greenery and narrow path. Once we went to the fall, we saw that there was no water. I won't blame the fall rather we went in Summer time, so no rain and no fall. It was a nice place and we returned back from there back to the lake. It took just 1 and half hour.
Bear Shola Fall
Bear Shola Falls Path
Then we saw a sign board for Observatory for 3 KM. Again as usual we started to walk. Frankly speaking its a long way and did not seems 3 KM. I think it was 5 KM. Anyway we reached there. It a space observatory center. There is a timing for entrance. I don't remember much. But approximately 10-12 and 3-5 PM. But people told me that we should visit the place in second half of the day for a good view. At the entrance, you have to enter your details. No camera and cell phone allowed inside. Its a huge area and you have to walk another 1 KM to enter the museum. After what we saw inside, it really worth visiting the place. We entered the place and no visitor was there except few museum people. There were lots of pictures about sun and other planets. But as we entered, few people ran out of the place and one guy was fixing something. We did not understand what just happened. After couple of minutes, the person asked us to look in the white board. There you go. We can see sun spots in the white board and also visualize the earth speed revolving the sun and the sunlight spectrum. The setup is something like this. There is a huge mirror outside the museum. Which they focus inside a small lens inside the building. Then that light passes through few other powerful lens and falls in the white board in football size and we see the sun spots as dark patches in bright light. Also we get to see the light moving, which is the revolution speed of earth. On the opposite side, a small needle like beam is passed through a prism and you get to see that 7 different beautiful color. Then we went to other rooms and there were lots of magnificent pictures.
Color Houses
We started to return back from that place around 4 PM and on the way there was a small temple, which we visited. It was a down slope, so walking down was very easy. Same way mind you walking up hill is that pathetic. Anyway we started to feel hungry. On the way we saw a restaurant and went inside, we asked if they have anything to eat at this off hour and they told us that french fries and onion pkoda is there but have to wait, because they need to cook it. We were ok more because we will get to eat fresh hot stuff. We ordered for 2 plates of french fries and coffee. Fries was really good one. The bill was around Rs. 160.
By the time we came back to lake it was 6 PM. We came across Kodai Cheese factory outlet. We went in and inquired about various products and told them that we will come back next Monday. We wanted to go to Bryant Park which is suppose to be near to the lake. We asked a person for direction and started walking. Surrounding the lake, there is straight smooth road. It is good to stroll around. The park closes at 6 PM and we were late. Frankly speaking it was very very crowded more because it was peak season and thousands and lakhs of people were in that road surrounding the lake. We thought to go around the lake walking. We were walking and walking and walking. We did not anticipated the distance. By the time we reached the junction, it was night 8:30 PM. Anyway we got to get some night picture of the lake. We were dead tired and hungry. We went straight to a restaurant and ordered something like parota type of dish. Later we were discussing about this dinner and it was one of the worst food for the trip. We went to our room and went falt "Good Night".
Night View
27-May-2012, we got up at 8 AM, freshed up and came out of the hotel around 10 PM. We paid the hotel for next day stay and went to get a place for breakfast. We saw a bakery Hilltop Cafe - Bake Restaurant. There were various items on the rack and whatever we ask, they will keep it in a tray, heat it and serve us. I have to say, it is the best bakery I ever found. Remember, I found another one in Kanyakumari. But till date it is the best. The price is very competative and food is of good quality and yummyyyy. Whether it is chicken or sausage or egg or veg, price was approx Rs. 30. We ate there as if we were hungry for 1 week. Anyway after breakfast, we came down to the lake and from nowhere a person came to us and asked us whether we want a cab for sight seeing. Yes we wanted and inquired about the place and rate. He promptly gave us a card which has the rate and places to visit. Basically it is like a package trip. There were 4 packages and the rate was approx Rs. 700, 1000, 1500 and 1500. Then he told us that this rate is as per the department, but he will reduce it. We choose for 3rd 1500 trip and told him that we don't want to go to Bear Shola falls and Observatory.
We started around 11:30 AM. We went straight to Chettiar Park. Its a place of various colorful and beautiful flowers. We spent half hour taking pictures.
Chettiar Park
Chettiar Park Flower
Then we went to Arulmigu Kurinji Andavar Temple. Raj who is our cab driver started to be our tour guide. He told us about the temple and what to see. On left we can see Palani and on right we see Kodai town and inside the temple there is a special tree. Also not to buy anything from nearby shops because they may cheat us.
Arulmigu Kurinji Andavar Temple
Then we went to Upper Lake View. Its an awesome view of Kodai Lake from top.
Upper Lake View
Upper Lake View
Then we crossed Observatory and there we are. Heavy traffic. I can't imagine that. Anyway to cross even a KM, it took 1 hour. Raj then told us that it is going to be like this for rest of the way. So instead we can go for Village View Trip and later we will come back to this same place and he will reduce the price for both this package. The traffic was due to the peak season. So guys never ever go to Kodai in May. We agreed and he diverted. There were nobody in this route because all are fighting to go in usual tourist places.
The first place was a pine forest. He told us that we get down from car and start walking down the slope inside pine forest and he will wait for us down the hill. It was a nice experience. It feels like walking in carpet and clean. Now Raj has turned into photographer. He is now our cab driver + tour guide + photographer. Later we found that he was a photographer previously and since he is born and brought up in Kodai, he knows about all the places.
Pine Forest
Pine Forest
Then we went to a water stream, we have taken lot of pictures.
Next we went to another water stream with pine forest. We got some awesome pictures. Later while returning, I felt something was scratching in my leg.There I saw a big healthy awful looking leach on my leg. Later I found another one climbing my socks. I got some salt from nearby tea stall and applied all over my leg. So guys be careful about leaches over here specially in rainy season. These two water stream has name, but I forgot it and its very nearby to each other.
Next we went to ship deck. The place is so named because the hill slope looks like that. Awesome view. Raj asked us to get down from the car and walk uphill and he will wait for us on top with the car.
Ship Deck
Silent Road
From there we went to further and came across a steep hill, rocky in nature. We started climbing and below Raj has taken some pictures of us like monkeys.
Then Raj told me that there is only one shop for lunch on the way. We got down there. It was around 2:30 PM and they had just 4 packets of rice like lemon rice, curd rice. Just right for us. We also got omelet for each of us. Outside the shop a person was selling plump. I have never tasted such a good plump. Next to the shop, on top of hill a temple was half constructed. We went there too. Then we started our journey.
We went to the Village View. It was such a picturesque place. It looks like the village was made for tourist to take picture.
Village View
From there we started to return back to the same route we came from. By the time, we reached that traffic jam zone, from here we have taken diversion, we see that the road is empty. By the time we traveled 1 KM and taken some twist and turn in hill road, we see that again we are back of traffic.
Traffic Jam
On the we got down from car and started walking. We were faster than the speed of the car in that traffic jam. Raj told us to go to Guna cave walking if we like and he will wait for us in the entrance.
We went to the Guna cave and got us 3 ticket for Rs. 6 and we went in. The gate was about to be closed at 5 PM. This is the place where kamal Hassan has made his moview Guna.
Guna Cave
Guna Cave Other View
Next we went to Pillar Rock. These are huge masses of stone of 500 feet high - Between and Below them, there are several caves - These Rocks are formed due to the pressure excerted from 5 to 10 kilo bar and also due to the temperature for 700 degree centigrade to 1100 degree centigrade.
Pillar Rock
Next we went to another place with some memorial. Frankly speaking I forgot the place name more because there is nothing to see. But we have taken an instance photo from a stall over there.
Next we went to the suicide point. My god it was crowded like anything over there.
Next we went to Liril Fall were that famous Liril ad were taken place.
Liril Fall
By the time we finished all these it was 6:30 PM. On the way, we saw a banyan tree whose age is min 500 years.
It is dark by now and we stood in the middle of the road covered with tree like roof and Raj has taken some nice pictures.
Next we went to Coaker's Walk. The path way is beautiful and there is a telescope through which we can view Saleem. I have no idea on that because, by the time we reached there, the person has closed the room for telescope because it was too dark to see anything through it.
Coakers Walk
That was the last for the day and Raj dropped us in our hotel and around 7:30 PM. We paid Rs 3000 and went to the room. The trip was very memorable and Raj was a very nice person. I have contact with him and do call him sometimes till now.
Around 8:00 PM we came out of our room and went to a place nearby morning Bakery shop and had dhosa with various items. Basically it did not satisfy my hunger, so came out and went straight to the Bakery again. We had lot of stuffs there and returned back to hotel.
28-May-2012, we got up around 8:00 AM. Packed our luggage and checkout the hotel. We requested the hotel and they told us that we can keep our baggage till evening in their reception. We were very grateful because we have our return bus at 6:30 PM that day.
We went straight to a road side hotel to have bread omelet. Then we went to that same bakery for our breakfast.
Later we came to the lake and inquired for cycle. We wanted for double seated cycle and one single one. We inquired for rate to the first person we meet. He told that double seated cycle is Rs 80 and single seated cycle is Rs 50 per hour. We went to one store near the lake where they were issuing tickets for boats. It looked like a government counter. There the rate was Rs. 80 and Rs. 40 for half an hour. Anyway we took that though the deal was bad, but we wanted to check how it feels. We went a round the lake which takes half an hour but those cycles were poorly maintained. After returning those cycle, we went to first person and there we found that those cycles were new.
Kodaikanal Lake
We went were ever we felt like and also made Runai to learn how to cycle. Though she did not learn, but there was surly a tsunami in her thigh muscle. We returned the cycle after 2 hours around 2 PM.
Then we went to the cheese shop and purchased lots of fresh cheese of various kinds.
Then we went to a local gift shop, where items were made by local village women in small cottage industry. We got some Kodai souvenir and by the time we left the shop it was 4 PM.
We went back to our hotel. Settled our luggage and left the place. We walked back to the bus stop. Had quick food dhosa, fried rice, noodles and peeper mushroom two plates.
It was already 6 PM, so we boarded our bus which was already standing there.
29-May-2012, 4:30 AM, we were in silkboard stop in Bangalore and back to home.

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  5. can you give me the contact of this Raj guy, I am going in April and it would be great to have a guy like Raj taking me all over the place :) thanks

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