As I Travel…

"to travel is to take a journey into yourself"-Danny kaye


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Blue City – Jodhpur

It was 4.00 in the morning and we were at , Blue city –Jodhpur. Jodhpur is comparatively a small city and this place was HOT . We had our breakfast, hired a local auto guy for 600 rs and set out to explore the Blue city.

Our first stop was Umaid Bhavan palace, this palace is in sharp contrast to Udaipur palace, one can see an European influence on the structure and the design of this palace. Umaid Bhavan palace is also called as “Chittar Palace” ,Chittar is the name of the locally available stone which  is used in the construction of this palace. This palace is one of the largest privately owned residences in the world.

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Umaid Bhavan Palace

Out next destination was  Mehrangarh fort, this fortress is perched at a height of 400  feet above the city, with walls as high as 119 ft. The ramparts of this fort gave us a beautiful view of the much coveted blue city. Intricate carvings on the inside walls of the courtyard and parts of the fort, is a delight to see and lives to tell the quality of the craftsmanship of the bye-gone era.This Fort has seven gates(called pol).This fort has survived many attacks, imprints of cannon ball from one of the attacks can still be seen on the second gate.

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Mehrangarh Fort

Jaswanth Thada was our next destination ,it was built as a cremation ground for the kings of the royal family.It is completely built-in White marble has a beautifully maintained garden in front of the complex.We spotted an old man playing an ancient instrument called Ravan Hattah,which is a string instrument which is quite popular all around Rajasthan

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Jaswanth Thada

It was 4.00 PM by the time we had finished with  almost all the “must see” places at Jodhpur. We had planned a two days stay in Jodhpur and we had covered the entire Jodhpur in just a day’s time ,trouble trouble,we were thinking on what to do the next day ,just then my Mommy came  up with the idea of going to world-famous Ajmeri Dargha & Pushkar ,that made sense so we set out on a search to find a travel agent who could take us to Ajmer next day. Luckily we found one right at the place where we were having lunch ,after all the bargaining we struck a  deal with the agent, I was totally impressed by my Dad’s bargaining skills.

We had our bags packed the previous night,as we had decided to leave Jodhpur at 6.00AM next day.As expected the taxi guy was late by an hour,which gave us sometime to snack on our breakfast. It was a long drive to Ajmer and we finally reached  Ajmer at 11.00AM.

Ajmer is a really popular tourist  place and a place of pilgrimage for Muslims. We had to walk some distance ,before we could reach the Dargah, all along the path there were small shops selling everything from food to different kinds of offerings which can be made at the Dargha.

Long Narrow roads,soothing fragrances of the lotus petals, fogging up of the incense sticks  and aroma of chai(Tea) greeted us to the world-famous Dargha. We payed our respects to the great kshthi saab and bought some give away for our Muslim friends back home.

Our last destination on our this visit was the holy town of  Pushkar. Pushkar is a small town which house the famous temple of .My parents were very keen on having a holy dip in the sarovar, so while they did that I went around the streets of pushkar to indulge in some shopping.  After  offering our prayers and finishing our lunch we headed back to Jodhpur.

We left the blue city, without any blues and enjoyed every bit of our touring around the city.

Suggestion

  • If you are the adventure kind, there is a Zip line near Mehrangarh Fort and this needs prior booking.
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Dabbe Falls and Bheemeshwara Falls (Monsoon Trek)

“If you want something truly you’ll get it” this saying was proved again on this trek of mine.

Choked roads, Thunderstorms, and almost missing the bus was the way we started this trek.

At  5.30 in the morning ,we were at Shimogha bus stand, exchanging Happy Independence Day.We finished our daily chores, and headed towards Sagara, from where we were to take a bus to Hosagadde – Start point of the trek .

OK, so the “initial ” plan was to reach Hosagadde,  trek to Dabbe falls camp at doctors house for the night and do the Kanoor Kote second day.

On reaching Sagara we realized that we need to have forest department permissions to do the trek,as this particular area falls under the Wildlife protected area !! Now that was quite a surprise for us and,we had no idea how we could get permissions at that time.

It was impossible to get the permissions, and the fact that it was Independence Day made it worse.

With half a day wasted, and no mode to go on a “trip” instead of “trek”, all of us sat right outside the forest office mocking at ourselves.

After a serious discussion of an hour, we decided to do the Bhemeshwara falls trek, and enjoy water sports next day at  Honnemaradu.

Finally!! At 1.00PM on Day 1 we stated trekking towards Bhemeshwara falls.

Bheemeshwara falls is one among the lesser know falls of Karnataka,tucked in the Western ghats.The trek upto the falls is around 4 km from the main road.

The falls in full glory ,fog around, lush green Western Ghats, an old temple and a soft drizzle of the rains was just magical and lifted our spirits in seconds.

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Magnificent Bhemeshwara Falls

 As luck would have it, we stumbled upon a group of people who were going to Dabbe falls ,in a legitimate way !!

We were now a little envious, we tried our luck  and checked if we could tag along, Mahesh their guide  agreed instantly, but that was only half the problem solved, we had to convince the people of the group to let us tag along.

Thanks to my friend, and his people skills. It was a yes from all of them !!Wow!!!  Now We actually were to do the Dabbe falls trek according to the initial plan.

We quickly finished our lunch, got introduced to the other group, and started our trek.

The terrain was through thick forests, with countless hungry leeches.It was indeed a leechy day with 15 of us feeding ourselves to them:(

Initial Part of the trek was an up climb , through thick forest, with thousands  of leeches all around.Later the terrain gradually changed to paddy fields ,where we walked over the bunds(it is a knack to walk over them without faling off) and then it opened up to green vast lands.

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Walking over Bunds

It was 5.00PM and getting dark fast, the fact that it was monsoon didn’t seem to help much, we had to increase our pace.Finally it was time to get our torches out and walk together.

Night trek in the woods was really amazing, and the best  moment was we got to spot a little fella ( blind snake) on the way.

We crossed over a countless bamboo/tree bark bridges, streams before we reached our destination for the night.

Without wasting any time we got down to pitching our tent, and cooking dinner.Piping hot soup and ready to eat stuff was a welcome to the cold wet weather we were in.

Thanks to Mahesh and the owners of the house, most of us were  accommodated inside the house.

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House where we stayed 🙂

It was an early morning for all of us the next day. The house we stayed at the previous night looked completely different in the morning. It was a typical Malnad house with thatched roof and a huge porch ,perched atop a hillhock with paddy fields on 2 sides and forest on the  other .

Having spent around an hour exploring the surroundings of the house, and considerable amount of time on photo-shoot we finally  packed off to start our Day 2 trek.

A good 4 hr’s walk took us to Gowdru mane which is the start place of the actually trek to Dabbe falls.

As instructed by Mahesh, we dropped our bags at Gowdru’s house and were all set to take on Dabbe 😀

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Dangerous down climb

We had to cross a small paddy field before we started the down climb to the falls.The Down climb  is almost a 90 degree drop, and the mud is extremely slippery, roots of  plants were the only grip we could bank on .We had to use all 4 limbs to do the down climb, and enjoyed our share of Tarzany moments.

 

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Mighty Dabbe

Dabbe falls is a magnificent falls with a drop of around 300 ft. .In Monsoon’s it is impossible to get to the base of the falls,maximum one can reach is the view point ,which is nothing more than a stone pedestal,with just enough space for around 5 people.

We were a group of 16, so we  had to head back ,to make place for rest of them.Up climb was slightly tricky, as all the support we cold get was from the roots of trees.

In half an hour time we were back at Gowdru mane, and quickly started on with our lunch preparations.

Stomach full, bags packed we were waiting for Mahesh and all the others to return ,to say bye bye’s.

Our next plan was to reach Hosagadde and take the last bus from there to Sagara at 6PM. Mahesh sent along one of his aide to guide us .He accompanied us till a point, from there on his instructions accompanied us!!At this point we decided that people who could walk fast will keep walking and try to stop the bus for us.

We walked at our own pace and the clock was ticking fast, at one point when we were about 3 km from the main road we met a few villagers who said the last bus to Sagara has left, as a reassurance some of us also heard the bus pass by 😦

There was no point hurrying after this, so we walked at a steady pace and finally reached ” Hosagadde”

We had finally successfully finished the Dabbe falls trek after a lot of twists and turn!!

From cancelled plans, to bumping into Mahesh, to Hosagadde we had one hell of roller coaster trek

Useful pointers 🙂

  • Take forest dept permissions
  • Take a guide along , Mahesh is a really nice person and a great guide .
  • Lots of leaches around this place in monsoon’s ,so good u carry salt or smear some oil over exposed areas

Expect the unexpected.!!!


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“Venice of the east ” – Udaipur

It has been a long awaited  or I must say a dream which I had to visit the state of Rajasthan, which finally came true in  the month of OCT 2013!! Finallly me and my family were to embark on our Fun family vacation to Royal Rajsthan ,but this time not on wheels 😉

Our First destination was City of Lakes Udaipur.

We reached Udaipur at  7.00 in the morning , we were greeted by cool breeze and pleasant weather ,which we definitely were not expecting .Our first stop in Udaipur was Chittorgarh Fort which is around 130 Km from the city of udaipur and the largest fort in India spanning 690aceres!!. Two hour’s drive from Udaipur took us to Chittorgarh  fort   (must say the road’s in Rajasthan are all well maintained).We were greeted there by  Hot and Sunny weather . Thanks to our cap’s and umbrella’s we were saved of the heat stroke.

Chittorgarh Fort  is a beautiful fort  which lives to tell the tales of the grandeur and royalty which  was once witnessed by the country and on the contrast, struggle and bloodshed of the Mewar(Rajput) clan. Our firs stop inside the fort was a beautiful temple built for the Goddess Kali ,aping which the Konark temple at Orissa was built.

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Chittorgarh Fort

Next  stop was the Vijaya Stambh  or Victory  Tower which stands tall at 37 m ,with 9 Floors  and each floor signifying different planets .This tower was built by  Rana Mahakumbh to commemorate his victory over joined forces of king of Mewar and Mohammudin Khilji .

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37m high Vijaya Stambh

After a nice walk  in the sunny fort we headed towards a cool  fresh water pool which was the bathing place for  the female folks of  the royal family, our last spot inside the fort was palace built for epitome of beauty Rani padmini, The  Padmini palace .With this we winded our first day at Udaipur .

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Padmini Palace

We had an  early morning the next day ,we were up and ready in the morning by 7 ,my mom was all exited about our  trip to Mt Abu . After a  4  hours drive  we finally reached Mt Abu ,our first stop here was the Adishwar Temple which is perched on a small hillhock ,the carvings and the paintings on the wall are worth a watch and makes you feel that ,the climb was worth the effort.

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Adishwar Temple -Mt Abu

The famous  Dilwara temples of Mt Abu was our second stopover .Dilwara temple is a group of 5 temples built by the Chalukya’s between 11-13 Centuary AD .These stunning temples are famous for their intricate marble carvings. We spent around 2 hours appreciating and spending around two hr’s appreciating and basking in all the beauty of the temples ,it was time for lunch.  We headed to  Hotel Kanak  which serves “Sudh Shaka hari” like my dad likes to call it to get some calories.After a sumptuous food it was time we burned a few calories as well, so we headed to Nakki lake for a Boat ride,where me and my Dad were the trusted peddlers for my family’s very own Rani Padmini ,my mommy !!With that our second day at Udaipur came to the end.

 

It was morning of the 19 and our last day at Udaipur, after a heavy brake fast  we decided to walk up to the City palace Udaipur which was around 20 min walk from our hotel,passing through narrow  curvy  streets lined with zillion handicraft shops ,and  eating joints. We reached the palce at around 10.AM,after much discussion  as to what all parts of the  palace we should see ,we decided that we would buy tickets only to the Museum Area(Other area were crystal gallery, darbar hall, boating ),and hired a guide as well.

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City Palace -Udaipur

Udaipur  palace was  built by Maharana Uday Singh is the second biggest palace in India,1 being Mysore Palace(karnataka),  and also the only palace to remain  undefeated, and still owned by the kings family. After spending a good 2.5 hour’s inside the palace, we were tired and  decided to take a merry Rope Way ride .The rope way gives one a bird’s eye view of the city palace, lake palace and the beautiful Aravalli ranges.

Next we headed  to the Saheliyon ki Bari , bari in Marwari means a garden; this garden  is claimed to be the retreat place for the Maharani(Queen) and her Sakhi’s.

No trip is complete without some shopping,so we decided to end our trip by indulging a bit  by shopping at Hathi Pol(Local Market).We left Udaipur with a bag full of souvenirs and a heart full of memories 🙂


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Trek to Koosali Falls

Confusion, commotion, sense of urgency filled the air at Bangalore railway station.. It was 9.00PM. All excited I was rushing towards platform no 9, under bridge, to meet fellow BASC members to embark on our two day trek to Koosali Falls.

A few familiar faces & lot many faces yet to be familiarized, it was to be a really exciting trek. As the Customary “HI, hello, what’s your name “were exchanged we waited for the train to arrive .We had a loooonnnngggg train journey to make (11 hr’s)!!!

Somehow the 11 hrs.’ journey didn’t seem as bad as it sounded the previous night, all thanks to the BASC community, it’s never a dull moment in this high-spirited group 🙂

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Mookambika Road – Station

It was 11 AM the next day and the train came to halt at Mookambika station, the place where we were supposed to get off the train. This was the time when we actually got to see the entire group.

Whilst Mudassar made arrangements for us to get to the start point of the trek, rest of us were busy going click click on our cams. After much prodding we got into our cabs, and started our journey towards the start point of the trek, Mr. James Joseph’s house.

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After a 30 min bumpy, dusty ride, on muddy roads we were at our start point. Now there were two ways to reach our destination ‘First – The easy path through the forest, Second – a slightly difficult one i.e. along the river bed: we took the second one since it was to be more interesting and a more “trekking trekking” sort of path: D’

                                                        

The  Group

The Group

With customary group pics clicked, formal introductions done and vessels borrowed from Mr. Joseph (for the dinner and the breakfast plan) it was time to start the trek. As we trekked along  the scorching heat of the sun, and  the size of the rock’s, steadily increased.

Through the trail

Through the trail

2.5 hr’s into the trek, we all had small rats or in some cases bigger ones running around in our stomachs!! It was clearly time for lunch. All of us settled at a nice shady place to feast on our packed lunch. This shady respite of ours had a soothing effect on us, so much so that I was in no mood to go on with the trek!! But then, I did not really have a choice there: D

As we inched closer to our destination, the terrain got tougher. Morning’s breakfast was having its effects on me by now. Scorching heat of the sun, a nagging headache and strong nauseous feeling made the not so trying trek seem difficult.

Finally!!! We saw it, we were at Koosali falls.

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The Falls !!

By the time we reached the falls , the faster paced people had already made their way to right under the falls. Without wasting much time all of us started enjoying the natural Spa (standing below the waterfall), which was truly natural amidst the western Ghats, with the company of birds and a few leeches!!

All the pain and the fatigue of the trek vanished within seconds of getting into the water. It was getting dark and time to get down to business that is cooking our dinner.

IMG_4013It was amazing to see how the whole group worked as a team, to churn out luscious dinner for 30 hungry adults. “Special thanks to Srikanth sir, for making plans to cook and carrying most of the necessary stuff”. Delicious two course dinner was coming together slowly. The whole experience of dining in the wild under the star studded sky, on a full moon day was just amazing, and was a perfect end to a tiring day.

It was an early morning next day, most of us were up and ready by 6.30 AM, and decided to trek to the next level of the four leveled waterfall. I must say the effort was totally worth it.

At this level the waterfall was a far cry from what we had seen the previous evening. Water cascaded from a greater height, and created a beautiful pool of water.

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                          Level 3 View                                        

It was around 7.00 AM and time to start off with the preparations for breakfast. A simple breakfast turned out to be a lavish breakfast buffet with soup, Upma, Delicious Peda’s and Maggie. Thirty satisfied souls started down climb towards our base point. This time we decided to take the easier route through the jungles to reach Mr. James Joseph house.

After an hour into the descent we reached the base point, and vehicles were ready to ferry us to our next destination Someshwara beach.

Enjoying at the beach

Enjoying at the beach

It was around 12 in the noon, sun right over the head and we were at the beach!!!! Before we realized all of us were experiencing the waves of joy, but there was one annoying factor the crab which constantly crawled below my legs giving me a creepy feeling :/

Our train back to Bangalore from Mookambika station was at 4.50 PM, the clock said 3.30 and so it was time we headed back to the station. En-route we stopped at the bus stand for a quick sumptuous lunch and hurried towards the railway station.

Train was on time and all of hopped into our designated coaches.

Thanks to Mafia !!(the game) time flew, we didn’t realize when evening turned to night, and it was dinner time.

At half past 11 all of us finally decided to hit the bed after a few rounds of dumb charades and some chitchatting.

8.30 AM on Day 3 we were back at the same place where we started off the trek. We were back at Bangalore railway station, and the end of our two day trek. Exchanging the final goodbye’s and the keep in touch, we all parted ways to get back into our routine mundane lives.

 PC- Shivaumar Gowda, Ashutosh Patel