Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Pedalathon successfully completed!!!!

I(we) successfully completed the Pedalathon(cycling from Bangalore to Chennai on the Old Madras Road).

We were 9 in total. Kiruba, Satish, Shyam, Shree, Sandeep, Ajay,KK, Myself(left to right in the photo). And of course, How can I forget Abhinav(guy taking the photo). He was the most useful guy.. to tow the tired.

It was a great experience and a bucket full of surprises. Surprise no. 1:- No nth minute drop outs(as it usually happens for all trips/treks), but nth minute inclusions!!!! And the Inclusion was Shree!!! (will tell about him later).

Day 1:
Surprise no.2- All of us(9 people) meeting exactly at 3:45 near Sony World, Koramangala and starting off at 4am.
Initially all were full of enthu and we were cycling pretty fast. As we covered about 20kms, our Sandy started falling behind. He was pretty apprehensive about his stamina from the beginning ... and it was I who had pushed him to join Pedalathon. So, it was my turn to worry now, seeing him mentally & physically down within the first 35-40 kms. There was still a long way to go. I tried hard to be along with him and to encourage him.

Just about 15 kms behind Kolar, a car driven by an old man was punctured. To add to the troubles, the passenger in the car was older than him and they were struggling to change the tyres. It was here that our team got into action. Also, myself and Sandy got some time to catch up with the rest of our team. The tyre was changed (Ofcourse, team work) and the car was ready. I realised the greatness of our work when the old man joined both his hands in gratitude. I was dumbfounded...

With a feather in our caps, and with the Kamat Upachar only a few metres away, it was time for breakfast(9 am). Had a hearty breakfast of idlies, kesaribath, vada, dosa.....Again started at 10am. Slowly the front tyre of KK started giving troubles. The air was very low, and we suspected a flat tyre. The nearest puncture shop was at Narasapur(about 10kms). With no other way, we deviated from the highway to Narasapur. On the way, we saw our Surprise no.3: Hundreds of bats, as big as eagles clinging on to the trees en-route. We could see them only on 3-4 trees(100s in number), but none on other trees nearby. Don't know why....

With KK's tyre problem fixed, we had already lost a lot of time, it was time to push ourselves now. Thankfully, Sandy recovered after being fuelled.

Stopped to have our lunch near Nangli at a road side dhaba at around 1pm. After a nice lunch, our bodies wanted some rest. while some took a nap on the rope cots, some went to attend nature calls. It was again a big break of more than an hour. All were ready, and Sandy went missing. Thinking that he has gone to attend nature call, we waited for some more time, but no sight of Sandy. Then, someone saw his cap behind a lugguage auto. He was cooly sleeping and we were waiting.

Had a long way to go now(about 80kms) before dusk... The sun was shining bright and the heat kept on increasing as we neared Andhra. We had to take more frequent breaks. My Butt.. was already paining like hell. The heat was taking it's toll on Satish and he had to be towed by Abhinav. After some time, Abhinav shifted on to Satish's cycle and Satish on to Abhi's bike.

Had our snacks near Palamaner at 5:30pm. The road after Palamaner was awesome. We were crossing the Eastern Ghats through the Rayala Elephant Sanctuary. The sudden downward slope gave us ample rest and improved our avg speed a lot.

After the ghats, it was dark now and nearly 30 more kms to Chittoor(our destination for the 1st day). Guys with headlamps on their cycles lead the way and we reached chittoor at 9pm. A hearty dinner and a good night's sleep in an a/c room, gave a boost to our energy.

1st day stats - 185kms covered, max speed 35+kms(near the ghats), moving average 17+kms/hr.

2nd day: Surprise no.4: Though tired like hell, we started at 5am.
Satish also had some problems with his cycles, so he decided to board a chennai bus from Chottoor. So, now 7+1. With a tough deadline to meet, we actually did better the second day.
Breaked for breakfast about 10kms before Ranipet.
After Walajapet, we joined the Golden Quadrilateral. From here, no trees on the roadside. The road is very good for motor vehicles, but not for cycles. It was like cycling inside an oven. We were drenched fully. We, also took regular water breaks to prevent dehydration.

For lunch, we again preferred a dhaba(so that we can rest for sometime on the rope cots) near Kanchipuram.

Again had a long break. Now it was about 65kms more to Chennai.
The journey afternoon was worse. Humid climate was killing us(but not our spirits).
By now, myself, Ajay and Shree were far ahead of the rest of the team. When we reached Sriperambudur, we met Jacob(another case-study in himself). He had ran till Sriperambudur(42kms from Chennai) to meet us, so that he can again run back along with us. Oops.. what a guy!!!

Jacob started along with us, but since Shree had a bus at 8:30, we had to hurry up.

And.. atlast we reached Poonamallee(Chennai outskirts) at 6:00pm. While we were waiting for the rest of the team, we met Satish.
Surprise no.5: All in good (atleast not sooo bad) shape, no mishaps (I was expecting a few casualties atleast :-) )

2nd day stats: 150+kms covered, average speed 18+kms/hr.

Now... travelling inside the city...it was the most difficult part. Somehow we reached the Koyembedu bus-stand by 8:00pm.
Rk met me there at 8:30pm. We were too tired to move around. Shree's bus was at 10 and our's was at 11. So, we were just sitting and chatting on the chairs. At 9:30 Kribs came along with Sandy in his car. He took me to his home. I had a nice bath there and a glass of buttermilk(thanks a lot to Krib's mother. It soothed my upset stomach).
As soon as I got into the bus, I was into deep sleep. Woke up only when we were in Koramangala, where Sandy and Ajay got down.
It was fun to see the group of autodrivers coming behind us and return back dissappointed when we alighted our bicycles.
So allz well that endz well.

Now a brief intro about our cyclists:
Kiruba:- dad of 2, In his 30s, Rowing champion, trekker, marathon runner, legendary blogger, cycles everyday to office etc.. etc.. and who knows what all he has in stock.
Shyam and Satish :- Marathon runners, regular cyclists. I must say.. Shyam is an energizer battery.'Never say die'.
Shree :- Long distance cyclist. Has done Bangalore to Mangalore, Mangalore to Ahmedabad, Mysore to Chennai, Chennai to Calcutta..etc..etc. by cycle. Keeps pedalling on and on... singing some song to the pitch of his voice. This guy can easily do long distance cycling with an average of 25kms+ an hour for sure. It was really really tough to keep up with him.
KK:- Cricketer, trekker and practising for marathon. KK, your speedo was very useful.
Ajay :- runs from Electronics city to Koramangala irregularly, cyclist, tough guy.
Sandeep :- Ran half marathons with me, trekker, cyclist, can be used as a donkey during treks.
Abhinav:- The most useful guy in this expedition. Tough guy and a good cyclist too (maybe even he didn't knew about it before).
And finally me :- I'VE COMPLETED THE PEDALATHON. Can anyone believe it!!!!

OOps... each one is a case study.

Needless to say.. Even with the application of lots of sunscreen, I'm roasted. And my Butt... it's difficult to sit. Some body pains, but the gains surpass the pains.

Rest of the Photos, click here.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006


I still have not got the answer... Why do some people(including me) do such crazy things??

Cycling from Bangalore to Chennai.. is not a joke.

I can't justify why I'm doing this.. I don't know why I've opted to torture(3rd degree) myself.
And... I don't know why I'm eagerly looking for it.

And the best part is... I'm not alone. There are many more crazy guys in this (crazy)world.

Now.. our intention is to try to generate some charity from this. Falling short of ideas.
Can anyone help???

Monday, April 17, 2006


It was my friend Pramod’s wedding on Sunday; we (Madhu and I) were traveling in the Gandhidham express and ….
Madhu: “When we seldom attend our classmates’ weddings in Bangalore, why are we going so far to attend Pramod’s wedding?”
Me:Yes… I knew him from my KGs, but after school, I can count the number of times we’ve met.
Madhu: But, I’ve not at all met him after school …
Me: I had a kodaikanal trip from office, my grandmother had organized a ‘Yakshagaana’ in her field and had called me to attend, had so much works. But still don’t know why I’m going to Belgaum…
Madhu: May be something is waiting for us. I mean… some setup(laugh).
Me: Maybe we are destined to see the state of opening batsman(1st among guys of our batch to get married) among our friends. Let’s see..

Zzzzz…. Over night sleep, grumbling for the train-delay (1 hr) brought us to the Belgaum railway station. Luckily, we could meet Pramod’s cousin in the same train. So, it was very easy for us to locate the car which was waiting for us. We straight away moved to a lodge, freshened up and reached the wedding hall by 11:30. All through my way, I was just wondering… am I in Karnataka?
I could see Shop boards and banners written both in Marathi and Kannada, or only in Marathi. Some who didn’t want to invite trouble had banners written only in English.

Pramod’s uncle took us in a cab to the wedding hall. There we also met some of our school friends. The pressure on openers was easily visible on Pramod's face.

A hearty lunch, some gossip… by 3:30 everything was over. We were free till 9:45pm. So, we decided to check out if we can change to an earlier bus. We took a city bus to reach the VRL office.
The bus was only for namesake K.S.R.T.C. the conductor inside was yelling “Maghe chala” (get inside).
Every stranger starts his conversation in Marathi.

At the office, we got to know that since all the buses were full, there was no chance to change the bus.
So, we set out for sight seeing. One localite suggested us to see the Belgaum fort. The fort which is in the heart of the city has a very big circumference (about 6-7 kms I guess).
On our way, we enquired an old man about the places in and around the fort. Initially he too started off in Marathi. Later when he came to know that we didn’t know marathi, he continued in kannada. He told us that there were a couple of temples, jain basadis and Ramakrishna Mutt inside the fort. A large part of the fort was in defense control.

The cool looking old man, suddenly became furious as soon as he came to know that we were from Bangalore.
Old man: ನಿಮ್ ಬೆಂಗ್ಳೂರ್ ಏನೂ ಸುಖ ಇಲ್ಲ್ರೀ. ನಾನ್ ಬೆಂಗ್ಳುರ್ನಾ ನೋಡೀನ್ರೀ. ಎಲ್ಲೋ ತಮಿಳ್ನಾಡಾಗಿರೋ ಹಾಗೈತಲ್ಲ್ರೀ. ಕನ್ನಡಿಗ್ರಿಗೇನೂ ಉಪಯೋಗಕ್ಕಿಲ್ಲ. ರಾಜ್ಧಾನೀನ ದಾವಣಗೆರೆಯಾಗ್ ಮಾಡೋಕ್ ಏನಾಗಿತ್ತ್ರೀ ಇವರಿಗೆ?? ಇಡೀ ಕರ್ನಾಟಕದ್ ಮೂಲೆ-ಮೂಲೆನೂ ೨೦೦ ಕಿ.ಮೀ ಒಳಗೇ ಬರೋಲ್ವೇನ್ರೀ??
ಈಗ ನೋಡ್ರೀ.. ಸಣ್ಣ್ ಸಣ್ಣ್ ಕೆಲ್ಸಕ್ಕೂ ಬೆಂಗ್ಳೂರ್ ಮಟ್ಟ ಹೋಗ್ಬೇಕು. ನಮ್ಮ ಮಕ್ಕ್ಳಿಗೆ ಇಲ್ಲಿ ಕೆಲ್ಸ ಸಿಗೋಲ್ಲ. ಎಲ್ಲರೂ ಬೆಂಗ್ಳೂರ್ಗೇ ಬರ್ಬೇಕಾ??
ಏನಂದ್ರೂ ಕೆಲ್ಸಕ್ಕೆ ಸೈಕಲ್ ನಾಗೆ ಹೋಗೋಹಾಗಿರ್ಬೇಕು. ಈ ಕಲೆಕ್ಟರ್ ಗಳು ಮಾಡೋದಾದ್ರೂ ಏನು? ಸೈನ್ ಮಾಡೋಕೆ ೫ನೇ ಕ್ಲಾಸ್ ಸಾಲದೇ?
ಈ ಮಂತ್ರಿಗಳೆಲ್ಲಾ ಬರೇ ದುಡ್ಡು ತಿನ್ನೋದೇ ಆಯ್ತು. ಅವರಲ್ಲದೇ.. ಎಲ್ಲಾ ಯೋಜ್ನೆನಾಗೂ ಆ ಮಂತ್ರೀ ಮಕ್ಳೇ. ಅವರ್ ಮಕ್ಳೂ ದುಡ್ ತಿನ್ತಾವ್..
ಈ ನಕ್ಸಲ್ ವಾದನೇ ಕರೆಕ್ಟ್ ರೀ.. ಈ ಮಂತ್ರೀ ಮಕ್ಳನ್ನ ಗುಂಡಿಕ್ಕಿ ಕೊಲ್ಲತಾ ಇರಬೇಕು. ಕೊನೇಗೆ ನೋಡ್ರೀ ... ಖರೇ ಹೇಳ್ತೀನಿ...ನಾನು ನಕ್ಸಲ್ ನೇ ಆಗೋದು (I'm wondering how many more years he has in stock).
ಆ ಸುವರ್ಣ ಚತುರ್ಭುಜನೇ ತಗೊಳ್ಳಿ... ಒಂದು ಕಿ.ಮೀ ಗೆ ಸರ್ಕಾರ ೫ ಕೋಟಿ ಅಂತ ಇಟ್ಟೈತಿ, ಈ ಮಂತ್ರೀ ಮಕ್ಳು ೨ ಕೋಟಿ ಖರ್ಚು ಮಾಡ್ತಾರೆ, ಉಳಿದದ್ದು.. ತಿನ್ತಾರೆ..
ಈಗ ೬ಸಾವಿರ ಕಿ.ಮೀ ರಸ್ತೆಗೆ... ೧೮ ಸಾವಿರ ಕೋಟಿ ಮಂತ್ರೀ ಮಕ್ಕಳು ಹೊಡೀತಾರ್ರೀ...
(we are dumb.. on hearing his exact statistics).
ಇಷ್ಟು ವರ್ಷದಲ್ಲಿ ದೇಶ ಏನಾದ್ರೂ ಉದ್ಧಾರ ಆಯ್ತಾ?? ಪಾಕಿಸ್ತಾನದ್ ಜೊತಿ ಮಾತು-ಕತೆ ಅಂತ ಏನೋ ಮಾಡ್ತಾರೆ, ಅದೇ.. ನಮ್ಮ ಕಾಶ್ಮೀರಾನ್ ಚೀನ ಹೋಡ್ದೈತಲ್ಲಾ... ಏನಾದ್ರೂ ಬಾಲ ಬಿಚ್ತಾರಾ??
ಅವರ ಹತ್ರ ೧.೫ ಕೋಟಿ ಸೈನ್ಯ ಇದೆ... ನಮ್ಮ ಹತ್ರ ೬೦ ಲಕ್ಷ ಅಷ್ಟೇ.. ಅದಕ್ಕೇ, ಬಾಲಾನ್ ಮುಕ್ಳಿ ಒಳಗ್ ಇಟ್ ಕುಂತಾರ..
so on... went his comments. It had lot more, and that too with exact statistics.
Finally some how(maybe by seeing our exhausted faces), he decided to stop and bid farewell to us. Madhu had only one sentence to say.. "Simple living and high thinking". That old man was easily above 75yrs, but still he had all the current affairs in his finger tips.

One thing we learnt was, the rural Karnataka is really really furious about the (undue)importance being given to Bangalore. He also taught us, what makes the innocent people turn terrorists/naxalites.

Silently, we roamed around the fort(that old man had dumbfolded us).
The fort had 2 beautiful jain basadis. The sculptures were very beautiful. There was also some restoration activity being carried out by the Archeological Department.

I don't understand one thing, when the archeological dep. can put boards citing the schedule/rule under which the monument is protected and the punishment for spoiling the monuments, why can't they put boards about the history of that place??

Next place we went was the Ramakrishna Mission. The mission building is built in place of a house, where Swami Vivekananda had stayed for 10 days.
In Bangalore, I'd never sat for the full bhajan session. Only here, I got a taste of Satsang. I didn't know when it was 8.

Aftwer that, we had our dinner and alighted the bus to Bangalore.

What I'll savour for life was the bhajans at Ramakrishna Mission. I think I had been to Belgaum just to enjoy those 2 hrs... only me and God.... no one else.

ಕನ್ನಡಿಗರ ಅಣ್ಣ ಇನ್ನಿಲ್ಲ...

ಡಾ.ರಾಜ್ ಅವರ ಸಾಧನೆಗಳು ಅಸಂಖ್ಯ. ಸಮಾಜದ ಮೇಲೆ ಅವರ ಚಿತ್ರಗಳ ಪ್ರಭಾವ ಎಷ್ಟರ ಮಟ್ಟಿಗಿತ್ತೆಂದರೆ… ಅವರ ಭಕ್ತ ಕನಕದಾಸ, ಮಂತ್ರಾಲಯ ಮಹಾತ್ಮೆ, ಭಕ್ತ ಕುಂಬಾರ, ಶ್ರೀನಿವಾಸ ಕಲ್ಯಾಣ, ಸಂತ ತುಕಾರಾಮ ಮುಂತಾದ ಭಕ್ತಿ ಪ್ರಧಾನ ಚಿತ್ರಗಳನ್ನು ನೋಡಿದ ಮೇಲೆ ಉಡುಪಿ, ಮಂತ್ರಾಲಯ, ಪಂಢರಾಪುರ, ತಿರುಪತಿಗಳಿಗೆ ಹೋಗುವ ಭಕ್ತರ(ಕನ್ನಡಿಗ) ಸಂಖ್ಯೆ ದ್ವಿಗುಣವಾಯಿತು ಎಂದರೆ ಅತಿಶಯೋಕ್ತಿ ಆಗಲಾರದು. ಮುಂಚೆ ಮೇಲ್ವರ್ಗದವರೇ ಹೆಚ್ಚಾಗಿ ಸಂದರ್ಶಿಸುತ್ತಿದ್ದ ಉಡುಪಿ, ಮಂತ್ರಾಲಯ ಮುಂತಾದ ಜಾಗಗಳನ್ನು ಜನಸಾಮಾನ್ಯರಿಗೆ ಪರಿಚಯಿಸಿದ ಶ್ರೇಯ ಅವರದ್ದು.
ಮನಸ್ಸಿನಲ್ಲಿ ಸ್ವಲ್ಪ ಭಕ್ತಿ ಇದ್ದವ, ಕನ್ನಡದ ಮೇಲೆ ಸ್ವಲ್ಪ ಅಭಿಮಾನ ಇದ್ದವ ಅವರ ಚಿತ್ರಗಳನ್ನು ನೋಡಿ ಕಣ್ಣೀರಿಡದೇ(ಭಾವಪರವಶರಾಗದೇ) ಇರಲು ಸಾಧ್ಯವೇ ಇಲ್ಲ.
ಅವರು ತಮ್ಮ ಚಿತ್ರಗಳಲ್ಲಿ ಆದಷ್ಟು ಕರ್ನಾಟಕದ ಪ್ರಕೃತಿ ಸೌಂದರ್ಯವನ್ನೇ ತೋರಿಸಿದರು. ನಮ್ಮ ನಾಡು ಯಾವ ಕಾಶ್ಮೀರ, ಸ್ವಿಟ್ಜರ್ ಲ್ಯಾಂಡ್ ಗಳಿಗೆ ಕಮ್ಮಿ ಇಲ್ಲ ಎಂದು ಸಾಬೀತುಪಡಿಸಿದರು.
ನಮ್ಮೂರಾದ ಆಗುಂಬೆಯನ್ನು ಜನಪ್ರಿಯಗೊಳಿಸಿದ್ದಕ್ಕೆ ನಾನು ಸದಾ ಅವರಿಗೆ ಚಿರ ಋಣಿ.
ಇಂದಿನ ತಗಡು…, … ನನ್ ಮಗನೆ… ಮುಂತಾದ ಸಂಭಾಷಣೆಯ ಚಿತ್ರಗಳನ್ನು ನೋಡಿದರೆ ಬಹಳ ಬೇಜಾರಾಗುತ್ತದೆ. ಸ್ಫುಟವಾದ, ಇಂಪಾದ ಕನ್ನಡದ ಸಂಭಾಷಣೆಗಳಿಂದ ಕೂಡಿದ, ಪರಿವಾರದ ಎಲ್ಲರೂ ಕುಳಿತು ನೋಡುವಂತಹ ಚಿತ್ರಗಳ ಯುಗ ರಾಜ್ ಅವರ ಜೊತೆಯೇ ಅಂತ್ಯವಾಯಿತೇನೋ….

Thursday, March 16, 2006


Damodar had come to bangalore (for some personal work), and Pradeep had come back from Korea. Whatelse can be a bigger reason to celebrate? But we were bored of the usual way... it was enough of forum/garuda or 4th block. So we decided to go to Ramanagar. Damu also didn't have a taste of mountaineering/Rock-climbing.
Sunday morning myself, damu, Pradeep, Vasant and Sandy set out on a Pulsar, Fiero and a Yamaha 135. Recently the Mysore Road has been converted to 4 lanes and the road is in good shape.
It didn't take us more than an hour(including the 20 mins at Kadu mane restaurant) to reach the railway crossing near Handigondi(not a surprise.. as the bikes never went below 100kmph). At such a speed, the pineal riders were literally crying and covering their ears from the deafening wind(myself and damu).
Just before Ramanagar, near Handigondi village, there is a huge monolith. It attacted us. We decided to climb it. It is the same monolith on which there was a proposal to carve 1050 ft Buddha statue.
The ride upto the hill base was very bumpy and a challenge to our bikes(beasts). The last stretch was kind of mountain biking.
We scaled the mountain from the side which is fairly challenging to climb. Scrambling through shrubs... and crawling through rocks...the climb didn't take us more than an hour(with rests inbetween). The view from top was superb. The mountain top was covered by fairly dense shrub forest and grass.
We spent some time below a huge overhanging rock chatting and eating. The pictureperfect views of rocky mountains made us dumbfolded. Every mountain seemed to be provoking us to scale it!!

We didn't want to go back so early, but since Damu had a lot of appointments... he had to reach Bangalore by 2pm.
Our backward journey started by 1pm. The path down seemed to be well treaded and it didn't take us more than half an hour to reach our bikes.
We refreshed ourselves at a stream near the village and set out to bangalore... with tears in our eyes!!!

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Tirupati (5/6-03-2006)

Tirupati... What is there in this place? why do thousands of people throng this place? Why do people pour their money like water here? Why do people get their heads shaved off here? I'm astonished to see even women; who consider hairs as their most valuable asset, without even slight hesitation, get their heads shaved. Why?
Lots of unexplained, unanswered questions remain.. but He keeps attracting people like a magnet. No one can escape from his magnetic force( this is the reason for his name, Krishna... one who attracts).
Being attracted by that force, I went to Tirupati on 5-06-2006 along with my school buddy Satish Nandihalli. Since we left by the 7:30pm bus from Bangalore, we reached Tirupati by 1:30 am. I thought, since we'll be reaching in odd time, we can get the darshan by afternoon. But... there is no odd time in Tirupati. We got the darshana time on 6th 11am. So, we had more than one full day with us to roam around!!!.
We had decided earlier to climb the Tirumala mountain by foot from the Alipiri gate. But, there was no bus to Alipiri. So we had to start our trek from Tirupati bustand itself at 3am. By the time we reached the top, it was around 7.
On the first day, we visited SrIkALahasti and tiruchanoor.
It is believed that the incident of BeDara kaNNappa happened at SrIkALahasti. The temple complex over here is very huge and ancient.
By evening we visited the Padmavati temple at tiruchanoor and returned back to Tirumala. Strolled around for a while and had a hearty sleep at the Tourist Amenities Complex.
Next day morning, we visited the SrI veMkaTeSwara museum. The museum is well maintained and informative. I came to know many new facts about Tirupati.
The mountains of Tirupati had born because of the movement of tectonic plates. The area had risen from the sea due to the motion of Indian plate. The proof of which, stands the stone arch which is said to be formed due to erosion by waves. And this incident is attributed(by geologists) to Lord Varahaswamy lifting the earth from under the sea.
Surprisingly, the mountain range is in the shape of a serpent whose hood appears to be at the Seshadri(Tirumala).
After seeing the museum, we joined the queue for darshan at 10am. After 2 and a half hour(only), Lord gave darshan to us.
Rest of the day, we spent roaming around the nearby places.. Papavinasanam, Akashganga, Hathiram baba muth..etc. But, due to lack of time, we couldn't see the stone arch.
By evening, we were in Tirupati. There we strolled around for some time and by 10pm, we sat inside our bus. Thats all we knew. When we opened our eyes, we were in Kempegowda Bus Station, Bangalore at 3:45am.

And again with the same set of unanswered questions, my countdown for the next visit has started...

Saturday, March 04, 2006


I'm lucky to have seen some of the most beautiful places on this earth(Ofcourse... in karnataka). I feel highly privileged for that. As already mentioned in my previous posts, western ghats have been my favourites.
As my natives(both paternal and maternal) are in the Malenad region (heart of the Western Ghats), I also got a chance to know it closely. I've watched it change rapidly in the past 20 years. My heart has jumped with joy on seeing its grandeur... and also weeped with sorrow on seeing it's pitiable state.
As the name of my website says... The Nomad, I'm always in search of new places for hiking/trekking/cycling. This has led me to some nice places within handsreach from Bangalore.
My friends suggested me to record all my experiences, and the result is this site. I'm not a literature guy. I feel it really boring to write(...due to laziness). But, I also don't want to forget all the sweet experiences. Hence... my site is poorly updated. I apologize from my heart for it. As and when I find time, I'll try to update my site with my experiences in the past 2-3 years during my trek/hikes. Apologies again....to all my friends who had come along with me to those heavens and are waiting for my writeups to be posted.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Cycling to Makalidurga (13-08-2005)

Cycling has always been a passion to me. I own an 18 geared Hero Swing. I had bought this one, after selling my old Hercules MTB.
Gautam(my fellow Infoscion) had also bought a new bicycle and wanted to test it(or rather....test himself). Since I had been to Ramanagar by cycle recently, he asked me to organize a cycle trip to a nice place nearby. Even Manoj(my PESIT batchmate) showed interest. So, we decided to cycle to Makalidurga( about 65 kms from Bangalore) on 13-08-2005.

Manoj and I started on that saturday at about 5:30am. We met Gautam near IISc(at around 6:15am), had our breakfast at Yelahanka and cycled on the Bellary Road towards Doddaballapur. The journey was bumpy, but pleasant. Our only fear factors were the speeding buses and lorries. They always made sure to get us off the road whenever they approached. Bullies on the road!!!
All along the road, we could see the green farms and fields(thanks to the recent rainfall).
When we reached Doddaballapur, it was around 9:30. In order to make sure that we were on the right route, Manoj(popularly known as topi Manoja, as he is always seen with a cap) enquired a passerby, the route to Gowribidanur.

Manoj: Gowribidanurge ide daari naa?
Passerby: Howdu... hege hogtiraa?
Manoj: Cycle nalli.
Passerby : Saar... swalpa topi tegedu yochane maadi... cycle nalli hogokke aagattaaa?
Manoj: Saar... naavu bengaloorinda cycle nalle bandiddivi....

The passerby went away without uttering a single word.
The last 10kms of our journey was through winding roads. By this time, all the soft materials in our bags(spare T-shirt, towels), were on our seats... to soothe our aching base.
At the 17km, we took a left(mud road) which goes to the Makalidurga railway station. The railway station is very small, but very beautiful and clean(without any human remains). Beside the railway station is a small hanuman temple. We parked our vehicles near the temple and set out to ascend. As usual, we decided not to follow the regular path.. and make our own path. We started climbing straight. Within few minutes, we were in front of indomitable(seemingly) rocks. Myself and Gautam, decided not to step back. But, Manoj found it difficult to climb the rock(... wall). So, he promised to reach the top by the regular way and meet us there.
With great difficulty, we climbed a certain portion only to find that we are trapped. Now, we couldn't climb up, nor descend. Somehow clinging to the roots of a tree(which ran down all through the rock), we crossed the rocky(most difficult) part. In this fight, my sandals were dropped. The rest of my trek was with a single chappal to my left leg. The hill was rocky and my foot got good accupuncture treatment.
Surprisingly, lemon grass and turmeric plants were found in abundance all over the hill.
Scrambling through the rocky slopes, when we reached the fort, the view was amazing. Shimmering Gundammanakere on one side and the majestic railway track on the other. Cool breeze to add. It was a feast for the eyes. Green clad Nandi hills on the distant edge, added to the charm.
The fort on top was completely in ruins. Only the Shiva temple in the heart of the fort was somewhat in shape. But, it was closed. We learnt that it would be open only on Mondays.
We took a nap near the temple, only to be waken up by a herd of goats. We also had a chat with the shepherd boys. No sight of Manoj yet. We waited for some time, later guessed that he must have stayed back at the temple as he was very much tired. The shepherd boys showed us every nook and corner of the fort. Since it was not a popular tourist spot, majorly there were no inscriptions on the fort walls, except for the act of some students of Dr.AIT college, about which I had mentioned in my previous post. The fort is spread over a large area. It has a lot of water points inside. After roaming around the fort, we reached the temple below at about 2:30. On our way down, we tried to search my slipper... but couldn't find it. As we expected, Manoj was waiting for us at the temple. At the temple, a lady offered us Ginnu. Ginnu is a sweet prepared from fresh milk just after the cow gives birth to a calf. The lady also said that, it is a custom in the nearby villages to offer this sweet to the temple whenever a calf is born.
We left the place at around 3:15 pm. Fully tired, our return journey seemed to be very tough. And moreover, I was barefoot. So, I bought a pair of Hawai slippers on the way. Adding to the troubles, my tyre also got punctured. Nowadays, it is easier to get your bike repaired, but if there is any problem with your bicycle, may GOD help you. This is the case even in villages. The FACE OF CHANGING INDIA.
With all this, by the time we reached yelahanka, it was about 7pm. Gautam had gone ahead of us. Myself and Manoj decided to take some light refreshments at a hotel nearby. Our condition was so bad that the hotel owner taking pity on us, offered a stay in his hotel for the night.
With aching legs and bums, by the time we reached home, it was 8:30pm.

A nice cycle expedition ended, but our limits were extended. Our body was aching, but our mind was thinking.... where to go next???

Click here for more photos.

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Yettinabhuja (11/12-06-2005)

Yettinabhuja ('Bull's shoulder) is a peak near Shishila(20 km from Dharmasthala). We had a trek to this place on 11th and 12th June 2005.
This time I decided to write in Kannada. After finishing the writeup I realised how difficult it was to post in Kannada. I've published the writeup in sampada. To read the kannada writeup, click here.

For Photos, click here.


The mastakabhisheka of Bahubali in Shravanabelagola happens once in 12 years. I had a great desire to see it this time(6th to 19th Feb). Thanks to Raghu, we got plenty of information about the abhisheka timings also. But, somehow we couldn't go until the 19th Feb, Sunday.
Myself, Raghu, Raghuveer(my cousin) and Vasant set out in Vasant's car(ofcourse driven by Vasant) at 5 a.m. All along our way we could see groups of kaavi clad people walking. Some organization had organised paadayatra to Dharmasthala. The turnout was pretty good. The road was good(as per Indian standards) and we reached Shravanabelagola by 8a.m only to know that the mastakabhisheka was not open for general public. And, we didn't have the required pass. So, NO ENTRY!!!!
The place was crowded with Jain munis and pilgrims. We could also see a good number of Jain Digambara munis.
Since we couldn't get the pass, we had to satisfy ourselves only with the glimpse of Bahubali's head (which is visible from far) and the Jain basadis of Chikkabetta.
I had heard about a place called Are-tippur which is supposed to be near Shravanabelagola. It has a prototype idol of Bahubali and the place resembles Shravanabelagola in all respects(w.r.t to chikkabetta and doddabetta). It is believed that Chavundaraya, being inspired by the statue of Bahubali in Are tippur built Bahubali statue in Shravanabelagola. The statue in Are-tippur is the first Gomateshwara of Karnataka(obviously India also). But, we didn't get proper guidance about that place in Shravanabelagola. The place doesn't seem to be a popular tourist spot. We could get some info about that place only at the Tourism Dept. May I help You desk. Since the road to that place was not that good, we decided to go to Melukote.
After enquiring the locals, we got to know a short cut to Melukote. They said that the route is good enough for cars to go. I had heard that Indians are highly self contented people. The good road (as per the locals) gave an example of that.
We reached Melukote by 1 p.m and had the darshana of Cheluvaraya swamy(as known as Cheluva Narayana swamy). The deity was true to His name(very handsome). Had a nice lunch of Puliyogare and Mosaranna(Melukote is known for its Puliyogare). Then we climbed the hill(Yadavagiri) on which there is a temple of Yoganarasimha swamy. The temple is very well architectured. There seems to be no open space left on the hill, the temple fully covers the hill top. Highly optimised construction!!!.
Then we roamed around the Kalyani and started off to Bangalore. Only regret we had was, we couldn't find a nice place(beneath rocks or in some farm) for a mid-day nap. We took the Mysore road on our way back, stopped over at the Coffee Day near Ramanagar, had refreshments and returned Bangalore by 5 pm. It was a nice trip, but for the Mahamastakabhisheka. Now we'll have to wait for 12 more years to see it again.

Click here for some more photos.