Thursday, October 29, 2009

Day 2 - Of 12 days of North India Trip

Day 2:

This is a part of trip report of my North India Tour from Sep 22nd to Oct 4th. This is Day 2 of the trip.

23rd morning at around 8 am we started to Hawamahal. Before entering the fort we had to search for a hotel for breakfast. One thing a Bangalorean misses terribly when he moves out of the city is the lack of restaurants or hotels. In Bangalore, you will hardly find yourself hungry for a long time, since at every corner you have “Some Corner” or “Some Darshini”. After a km of walk we could find a 3 start hotel; Samosas and Kachoris were available for breakfast along with very costly Idli. :) May be it is just the regional difference that makes me feel how anyone could eat Samosa or Kachori for breakfast? Chittra was interested to try something interesting and she ordered something she had never heard of before. Girish's eyes were really sharp. He had been observing (and later we all) a tall lady in the hotel reception during our breakfast. Though someone directed him to the washroom, his steps continued towards reception.

After the costly breakfast, we came back to Hawamahal; we hired a guide and started exploring the place. One thing about the Kings of Rajasthan is that they had several wives (some king had as many as 23 wives) and countless keeps (same king had 373 keeps). Isn’t that surprising (or interesting? :)). There used to be a very sarcastic smile on the guides’ face when they used to talk about this.

Hawamahal also called as Wind Fort is famous for its unique architecture. It has as many as 950 windows in total around a small fort, 350 of them being on one wall!! The interiors of the fort are really well made. Hats off to the designer of this master piece. I wish we had something similar to Hawamahal (No AC) as our IT office. :-) Guide charged us nominal price for his lecture and he tried to influence us to take him to the next location, Jantar Mantar, as guide. By that time, I guess all of us were bugged with the history lecture. We decided to go on our own.

“Just 2 minutes walk” said Larry and started walking towards Jantar Matar, and it ended up becoming 15 minutes walk under the burning Sun. By the time we reached Jantar Mantar, there was no energy left in me to bear the heat. We had just started to get acclimatized and it was becoming unbearable. I just could not walk around or stand in this place; I wanted to find some shady place and just lie down; I didn’t want to take photos too. Finally I could find one such place under a tree near the compound and that’s it. Meanwhile, Larry and Sangeetha were exploring the place. Shashi (Aunty :-)) covered her face with a stole to save herself from tanning and as she walked in, she looked like a terrorist :-) No offence! Girish wore his bluish sun glasses and was sitting in another corner. Chittra was grinning again and again looking at our goggles as if she looked like a princess of Egypt in her sun glasses. Wine color Sun glasses.. LOL. Sangeetha has fun time taking "Gandhiji ke Theen Bandar" sort of picture of myself, Girish and Larry.

Jantar Matar

It was just around 12 in the noon and we decided to call up the driver and go to Udaipur. Aunty and Chittra did shopping whenever they got any opportunity. Surely their trip expenses would have exceeded anybody else’s.

After the terrible lunch at the hotel we packed out bags again and dumped them in the Innova and headed towards Udaipur which is around 410 kms from Jaipur and it is a close to 6 hours journey on a highway. We decided not to drop by Ajmer since there is only a Darga to be visited. However we decided (rather “I”) to go to Pushkar, to see the World Creator’s temple. Lord Brahma’s temple can be found only at this place in India. I am too lazy to type the history behind Brahma, Pushkar and his mistakes which lead him not to be worshipped anywhere on the earth. Googling will surely help. Following are few of the pictures taken around this place.

The drive to Pushkar after it took deviation from the highway, was interesting; It crossed several Rajasthani villages and colorful temples; I listened to Hotel California Live Acoustics n number of times, courtesy Sangeetha's iPod. When I was bugged I tried reading "God Father", courtesy, again Sangeetha. By the time I could figure who this "God Father" is I was bugged with the book too! and we reached the Brahma Temple. There was nothing much to do there apart from visiting the temple and roaming around a bit.

Pushkar Streets

Hoping that we would reach Udaipur by dinner time, we left from Pushkar. Our dear driver took a different route to avoid the toll tax on highway and few extra kms, which lead us to a terrible journey. It turned out to be more than 6 hours of journey from Pushkar to Udaipur. The journey never seemed to end. The traffic was more and the high intensity beams from the Lorries did not allow anyone to sleep either. I tried to entertain my friends with few real stories that I have come across. Everyone carefully listened to me and had a time pass but no one admitted that it was really entertaining. The stories were like typical Indian movies with sad ending. ;-) We stopped on the way for dinner. By this time, we were slowly hesitating to eat the Rotis and curries but still there was no option. I had spoken to a person in Udipur to keep our rooms booked for a day; we woke him up in the midnight when we reached Udaipur and collected the keys.

That ended our tiring Day 2.

Monday, October 19, 2009

"Dream Destinations" - A Tour of 12 days in North India

18th September 2009 was the day for which I had been waiting eagerly. It is not that I had a date with some beautiful girl or something, but it was the day since when my 16 days of vacation was starting.

During the time I waited for this day, there were plenty of plans crossed my minds as well as my friends’ who also got so many days off. Lawrence and Sangeetha had got 7 days off; Sriram had got only 3 days off giving him 9 days of vacation. Later on I tried to influence Girish to pull him for this trip and he too agreed; and then Chittra and Shashi joined who also had 7 days off.

First of all the plan was to go to Manali-Leh. It was ruled out since Sriram could not have made it because of the lack of so many days to cover it. Then our plan shifted to “Valley of Flowers Trekking” in Uttaranchal. But then it was again a flop show since Uttaranchal Tourism folk informed us that it is the end of the season and the roads are already closed. Then there was Lawrence’s master plan with Gangotri-Gomukh plan. There was a problem with this plan too; that we could not get the permission for trekking to Gomukh from Gangotri from the Uttaranchal Forest Dept for the dates we wanted.

Finally, we decided to go ahead with “No Plan” – which, in the end, worked out much better. We booked tickets to Jaipur for 22nd Sep and fro tickets from Delhi for 4th Oct. Between 22nd and 4th there were no cabs, hotels, or anything booked in any of the places that we planned to visit. From this point onwards till the flight took off, every hour was counted, lot of shopping was done (adding to the trip expenses), and gmail status message was changed several times. In the end "No plan" turned out to be "Gangothri-Gomukh" plan, all lead by Mr Lawrence Mesquita. :)

Today I am just trying to fetch or recall those moments of happiness, abundant beauty of the places we visited, joy of being with friends for such a long time, beautiful journey which seemed eternal, the best jokes which made us ROFL, the frustration out of hunger which made us yell at each other, the groans of the tiredness while trekking and so on.. Though all those moments are still stamped in my mind as fresh as they were then, I don’t trust my memory and want to put down everything here. This is for my reference when I want to look back on these 12 days. If there are readers to this page, you may read it at your own risk or just skim through the photographs. :)

Here it goes from Day 1 to Day 12.

Day 1:

On Sep 22nd Tue, I did not require an alarm to wake me up early in the morning since I was eagerly waiting for that moment. More than me my mother had so much of excitement that she prepared lot of eatables for us, spending a lot of time in preparing them a day before. I fought with her since she was making me carry some more weight (didn’t realize the importance of it basically). I yelled at her and said I will dump it in the airport only and board the flight.

At around 9 am when I reached airport I could see Girish, Chittra and Shashi waiting near the entrance. Sangeetha too joined in. Lawrence was supposed to travel from Goa to Jaipur. Sriram was supposed to start after 3 days to join us in Delhi.

First thing which I noticed on the airport was Shashi’s huge travel bag, and the next moment I was convinced since I knew she would be doing a lot of shopping for her boutiques that she has set up in Bangalore. Sangeetha’s Wild craft bag looked taller and heavier than her. To exaggerate this further it looked like Sangeetha's poster on a wild craft bag :-) lol. Chittra looked dreaming about feeling the snow in Himalaya and stepping on a desert land in Rajasthan. Girish looked, as usual, very cool and calm (the only time I found him unusual was in Delhi.. Read on..) We had few sandwiches before we boarded the flight.

At around 10.15 am the flight took off from Bangalore after a nice ;-) air hostess gave the travel instructions. I and Sangeetha had seats next to each others'; also Chittra and Shashi. Unfortunately Girish had to sit between two old gentlemen and it was fun to see his face. I thought the oldies would have bugged poor Girish; at the end it turned out to be the other way.

As the flight took off to cross the sea of clouds and reach the sky, our enthu also had reached the heights. It is such an amazing feeling to be so high up in the sky and look down to find the roads and rivers look like paintings. The top view of Sahyadri Mountains as we were approaching Mumbai was breathtaking! As the flight moved closer to Mumbai, the beautiful view was replaced with never ending Slums. I thought “Slumdog Millionaire” was an exaggeration but then the real view was even worse! The slums looked hooked into the hills, apart from several kms of stretch on the ground level. Slums start just an inch after the airport boundary. Anyways.. There was a half an hour break in Mumbai. After that the flight took off to Jaipur.

Just before the landing in Jaipur, we got a message that there is a turbulent wind and we may experience a bit of it before landing. It was one of the scariest landings. We got out of the flight after the landing to experience even worse. Hot blow of wind in the Jaipur airport was threatening. It was nearly 40 degrees Cel of temperature. People grinned at me looking at the jacket I was wearing. Next moment I took my jacket off and boarded the bus to the terminal. After collecting the bags, none of us wanted to leave the shade and get under the Sun to search for a taxi. We managed to hire a prepaid taxi, Innova, from Airport asking him to take us Hawamahal Road.

We did not know even a single hotel in Jaipur, because of our so called "No Plan" plan. Driver too came to know and he said he would guide us. He took as to few hotels all of which were 3 stars. I don’t know what made him think we are so rich. He was finally making fun of us saying that we will have to be on footpath for cheaper accommodation. After a lot of roaming around we got to a place called Sugandh Retreat, close to the bus stand and a complex called Amber Tower. The accommodation was good and reasonably priced. By this time I could hear the empty stomachs crying out of hunger. Only then I realized the importance of the Chapathis that my mother had packed for all of us. The Chapathi and typical North Karnataka Chatni Powder and paste of red Chilly is kind of trademark of my mom's cooking skills; it tasted heavenly to be honest.

I negotiated with the same driver for our drive to Udaipur and Pushkar for the next day and places within Jaipur. It worked out cheap and best for us. We paid him 9000rs for taking us to Chokhi Dhani on the first day evening and then to Udaipur on the second day. In the evening, after a brief walk nearby we headed towards Hawamahal Road from where I had asked the driver to pick us up. We headed towards a famous village resort called Chokhi Dhani..

Chokhi Dani is a unique village resort where one gets to experience typical Rajasthan Colors. Chokhi Dani means a “fine hamlet”. The interiors look really grand and like a Rajasthani Village itself. There are lot of folks dancers who perform, few Rajasthani Emporiums, Camel rides, Cart rides, puppet show and Rajasthani dinner service inside the resort. They charge 350rs for your time spent in Chokhi Dhani which includes a dinner.

Good Earning for Choki Dhani Owners

It was a good start for my camera too but there was no proper lighting to assist me. It was quite dark with the only light
coming from the lamps. I tried few slow shutter shots and was quite happy with the results. :)
Dancers Performing in Chokhi Dhani
Puppet Show
Dinner at Chokhi Dhani
It is a big place and we got to roam around for quite some time. We got to see every unique thing about Rajasthan from Cultural activities to Food. The Rajasthani folk dance was good to see - We, joining the folks with few steps was fun – Camel Ride was kiddish, the Kulfi tasted very sweet. Finally the dinner with Typical Rajasthani Servings was new experience for us.
Funny thing happened when we were waiting to wash our hands before dinner. Lawrence does not like waiting and to irritate him there was a girl who was taking a lot of time to make way for others. Lawrence said slowly "Haath do rahe ho ya phir naha rahe ho" and apparently her boyfriend or husband overheard it. Good that he took it lightly. Otherwise I could imagine Lawrence getting hurt with injuries on his face :) The servings were quite new to us but Dal Bhati tasted very nice and small Jelebies were tastier. The peaceful dinner pretty much ended our day 1.

We headed back to the hotel having planned for the next day.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Purple Drop

Purple Drop
I still have a trip report to upload from Alleppey trip.. Till then posting this new picture here.. which got good response from my friends.. It is a smallest droplet on a small flower petal.. Thanks to the macro technique worked out cheaper with The Reverse Lens Technique....

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Nehru Trophy - Snake Boat Race - Allapuzha

Nehru Trophy - Snake Boat Race - Allapuzha
I had been to Allapuzha or Alleppey, Kerala on 8th and 9th Aug to witness this year's, 2009, Nehru Trophy (Snake Boat Race). It was a real fun. More detailed report and pictures coming soon on the same page.. Background: Nehru Trophy Boat Race is a popular Snake Boat race held in the Punnamada Lake near Alappuzha, Kerala, India. Worth reading more details about How this race started

Tuesday, July 14, 2009


Lalbag HDR, originally uploaded by kulliprashant.
On last Sunday, I went to Lalbag, Bangalore with a group called "Bangalore Photo Walk" in flickr. It was a good photo walk and we had enough evidences to scream that Bangalore Rocks!

The huge rock seen in the picture is supposedly very very old and one of the attraction for morning joggers around Lalbag..

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Nandi Hills

Place: Nandi Hills
Distance: Approximately 60-70kms
Route: Hebbal -> KodigehaLLi gate -> Bellary Road -> Devanahalli -> Sulthanpet -> Nandi Hills
Best time to visit: All year around, if you are going early in the morning or evening
Now that I have provided some information above, I will write my personal experience of this trip.
It all started with a simple mail again, asking friends "what's the plan for weekend?" and then a suggestion "To Nandi hills?, Night Bike ride?" Everybody was cautious and said driving in night would not be really safe, and they agreed for early morning drive. So we had set 4 am as the starting time from Vijayanangar. Though a person who never misses an opportunity to prove that he will never be punctual (me of course) was up and ready at 4 am, others were busy waiting for each other. Now I realize how terrible it feels to wait :). Finally the group assembled at main bus stop by 4.40am. It was too late to start :( Nevertheless we started with all excitement. I think this was our first such trip such early morning and on bike.
The West of Cord road looked beautiful with fresh air and breeze and inspired us to rip through. It did not take much time to reach Mekhri circle where one of our main planner or organizer joined us coming from old air port road. No wonder everybody was hungry, after getting up so early in the morning. But for our bad luck there were no shops opened so early. Concerned about whether we reach before sun rise, we drove faster; this concern did not bother us while we had a cup of tea on the way though.
While we crossed Yelahanka it had started drizzling but still we decided to move on. Thanks to the recent elections, the road was repaired and looked new rather. And apart from few kms, the road was beautiful till the peak to Nandi hills. This was the first time I also drove bike in a ghat section. It was really an amazing feeling. With such beautiful road, not many vehicles around, clouds touching the distant hills as if to decorate the tip of the hill, and the sweet air; turned out to be so soothing for the traffic jam and smoke affected s/w engineers.
The following photo essay would conclude the Nandi Hills trip. Hope readers enjoy this.

Hari, Sriram and Lawrence (3 Bikes) already reached Vijayanagar and waiting for Manasvi and Kumar
Road to Nandi Hills looked amazing and very new; Thanks to the recent elections.
                           I was sitting behind Lawrence having my heart in my mouth
Place where we could not resist stopping and clicking this beauty

Highly enthusiastic group; game for a trip any time but making sure utmost care is taken

Towards the hill there were lot of monkeys on the way, when I stopped by and opened a biscuit packet, there were lot of them climbed down and came very close.

We were really hungry early in the morning but there was nothing available in shops other than these. I really wonder if someone takes cold drinks that early.

Early morning mist had resulted in chill cold weather; monkeys gave a warm hug to their babies..
Garden at Nandi Hills has a lot of beautiful flowers; which cannot go unnoticed..
When we reached the hill point, the view was exquisite and Lawrence did not leave a chance to hang his feet down the edge to relieve himself of his stress..
A couple seemed to have been having one of very beautiful days and enjoyed each other's company
A monkey too seemed to be enjoying the view; more than that it looked as if he is the king and ruling the world below

We sat there till the Sun really came up and cleared the fog; Soon after that we were ready to leave
After having a wonderful time on another wonderful trip, we headed back and on the way back I was just thinking "Where to? Next week..?"

Sunday, May 3, 2009

NagarahoLe and Irpu falls

Place: Nagarahole, Irpu falls
Distance: From Bangalore 280kms, Irpu falls is 20kms further.
Route: Bangalore --> Mysore Road --> Srirangapattana --> Right deviation towards Ranganatittu --> Join the Hunsur Road --> At Hunsur left (ask tea walas) drive 50 kms there after.

NagarahoLe is a national park situated at 94kms from Mysore and around 240kms from Bangalore. This is also called as a "Rajiv Gandhi National Park", which was supposed to be a hunting place for the former rulers of "Mysuru Saamrajya".

After I bought my new DSLR, I automatically got an attention towards wildlife.. and I always had a dream to explore wildlife with a nice camera in hands. Now that I have everything I don't miss out on any such opportunities. NagarahoLe plan just came as a random thought, and I asked my mom (who works in a govt sector) whether she can somehow arrange for our stay at NagarahoLe. She was able to help me out. Next thing was to call up friends and check who was available that weekend. 3 of my friends got ready, and my brother which made 5 of us.

At Midnight we started from Bangalore, and the plan was to reach early morning. The drive to the place was fun. At Hunsur, when we asked for a way to the forest a person warned us of the wild animals' danger during the night.. He meant Elephants.. It was pumping excitement rather than fear in all of us. Next, on the way we took a wrong deviation and traveled extra 10kms till we hit "sort of" dead end. It was around 4 am when we were doing all this circus.

We searched for the right track driving back. We reached a place called "Murkal" from where actually the forest region start off. There is a gate and policemen who won't allow you till it is 6 am in the morning. Several cars including ours waited near the gate till the clock ticked 6 am. It was turning out to be a beautiful morning. The fog had covered the roads and trees. Everything looked soothing in dim light of early morning.

Soon after, the gate was open and we were instructed not to stop anywhere till we reach the main office and govt guest houses. It was truly a superb drive just the way we imagined it to be.

The road was completely covered with fog. The driver had tough time. I and Sriram were setting up our DSLRs. "Which mode?" "What is the ISO?" "What is the shutter speed?" - etc etc - finally we had our camera's set. A herd of male gaurs just along the road surprised and scared us. It was a stealing moment. The way the gaurs were standing, that scene was beautiful. Unfortunately we missed to click any snap since in hurry we had crossed the herd.

!A deer giving a perfect pose for my camera!
Jinke Mari

Also we felt, anyways there was safari and we could spot the same again ( which never happened during safari). On the way we could spot many deers of all sorts like Chital, Spotted deer etc and adding to our excitement there were 2 elephants crossing the roads which we could see from a distance, also there were beautiful Malbar squirrels found on the trees with an amazing reddish color and long tail. Overall it was the dream ride of 25kms within the NagarahoLe forest.

We reached NagarahoLe forest office at around 6.40am and got the tickets for Safari as well as key for our dormitory. The safari inside the jungle was boring. Thanks to very rude and uninterested driver. However we could get the feel of wild forest with many water bodies around , wooden logs evferywhere , the bamboo trees shattered by the Elephants, mist melting down and decorating the grash and leaves of trees - total Jungle feeling.
Only few lucky people spotted a tiger which was on a hunt and chasing a deer. I could only see the deer :-(

On the way back from Safari my eyes were closing and I really took a nap..

An elephant trying to beat the summer and it's thirst

Beautiful birds around the place

Later on we entered our dorm and had nice sleep since the whole night we had not slept.. The next action item on our plate was to visit Irpu falls in the afternoon. It was really hot and humid out there in Rajiv Gandhi National park when we drove towards Irpu falls. We placed an order for the food at the foot hill, and headed towards the water fall. We just had walk for a km and climbed some stairs. The initial view of the water fall did not give so much of satisfaction since the more than water we could see the rocks. Obviously summer season had affected it. However we decided to go below the water fall and thanks to the people there who made arrangements to reach down to the fall. They have actually made a way with bamboo and other wooden logs, to reach below the water fall. As soon as we got the punch from the water it just took away all the pain and heat from the body! It was really really cold and relief to take bath there; to beat the summer.

Irpu falls in B&W
Irpu falls

We came back from Irpu to NagarahoLe just before Sun said bye to this part of the world; remember after 6 pm in the evening no vehicle will be allowed inside the national park. We had a peaceful dinner at the guest house and watched zillions of stars in the sky which you will never get to see in Bangalore even in the midst of night. It was so pitch dark; We sat outside our dorm for sometime. Here and there we could hear somebody's crunchy foot steps. They might have been deers or elephants but it was surely exciting.

We hit the bed at around 10pm, which was so unusual. We had a real good sleep of 7-8 hours that night.

The next day's plan was to drive within the forest for about 20kms up and down; and get the glimpse of the same morning which we experienced on Saturday. We really got to see those things again; however there was no fog and mist. Deers gave perfect poses for our cameras. Gaurs crossed the roads in herd while we clicked from a distance. An elephant was in deep thinking standing near the shores of lake with big bamboo trees. Malbar squirrels were busy running around the tree. We were busy capturing all these scenes.

Overall it turned out to be an experience that we expected and imagined. Sunday afernoon, after having lunch we said bye to the cook and started back to Bangalore. On the way we stopped at a place where there were few elephants which were pet, and there was a lake where the herd of wild elephants and other animals come to drink water in the evening, it seems. It was getting darker and when I looked up towards the sky it looked like some rocket was launched from the earth just a while ago. It was getting darker and that's it we packed our camera and ran toward the car; soon after it started raining, giving a perfect soothing end to our exciting trip to NagarahoLe.

Overall the visit to this place is worth and if you are planning to go there, forget about Safari and you drive yourself early in the morning on the main road for 20-30 kms up and down; you will have so much of fun. You will get to see all the animals! What else you want?

I would like to visit the same place again when I get bigger telephoto zoon lens.
[saving money.. but takes years :( :( ]

PS: I am feeling little lazy writing blog nowadays; want to get that rythm back :0) and update the blog with my weekend trips. Hope I get that back and continue writing more interesting things :0)


Friday, May 1, 2009

Mullayyanagiri - Chikkamagaluru

Something my friend wrote after he saw this pic. Thanks Ravi!! The poem written by Ravi TS ~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~ i am caged i am blinded i am saddened i am unlighted oh! I want to touch u but u hold me away oh! i am so near u but u seek me away oh! u never understand love is our road to destiny and... i am ur light i am the sun... i am the sun in the shadow! ~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Flow of the Clouds

Flow of the Clouds, originally uploaded by kulliprashant.

I had been to Mullayyanagiri, the highest peak of Karantaka last weekend and it was for the 3rd time. This time around I could get to see the heaven in the early morning. I have already explained about this place and an experience of my trekking in one of my blogs. So just posting this picture here..

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Bulbul atop the hils

Bulbul atop the hils, originally uploaded by kulliprashant.

During my last trip to Coorg Dist, we stayed at a homestay near Virajpet, which was in the middle of abundant greenery. Early morning I went out for a walk, and found that the place was dominated by lot of Red Whiskered Bulbul's.

My 300mm telephoto lens wasn't enough to get this bird in full frame; however I liked the background and the way the bird was sitting calmly watching below it, a huge green field.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Deer Panning

Deer Panning, originally uploaded by kulliprashant.

My last trip to NagarahoLe national park, Karnataka was an amazing experience in the midst of Mother Nature :-)

I did not get great shots, but I thoroughly enjoyed spotting herd of deers, wild elephants, Gaurs, Malabar Squirrels and beautiful birds.

I guess this panning deer is Chital.

More on this trip will be posted soon! Stay tuned (if there are any visitors to this blog ;-) )

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Drop Showing the Landscape - Picture Rotated to show the landscape through the drop

Shot of the trip! This is n'th time I visited the bird sanctuary called RanganathiTTu. Beautiful place. I won't get bugged seeing this place again and again. Beautiful landscape can be seen through this drop of water. This picture is actually rotated upside down. Hope visitors to this blog like this.

Saturday, March 14, 2009


Celebration!, originally uploaded by kulliprashant.

We just need a reason to celebrate.. and this is exactly what we do when we celebrate :-)


This is a test post from flickr, a fancy photo sharing thing.