Big Banyan Tree

BigB3On a certain Saturday, the Arien got particularly bugged with staying at home and catching romcoms (Romantic Comedies). While I was trying to analyze the various places to visit and how loong we have to drive, I realized that the Arien was ready. He had decided to revisit Dodda Aladha mara (Dodda (big) Aladha (Banyan) and mara (Tree)). Having visited the place loong looong ago, I could not recollect much of the place. I did recall that it was a loooong drive past Kengeri on the Mysore road and also that we must carry our own food stuff. It was when we were ready to leave that I remembered that there was a Country Club pretty close to that location where we had had lunch. I also recalled tht the Arien had enjoyed the food. Well, thts def two birds with one stone 😀

It was a looong drive on a saturday when almost all roads lead to Mysore. However, we were starting pretty late n so we hoped there won’t b an onslaught of vehicles travelling in the same direction. There were quite a few vehicles travelling in the same direction and the Arien insisted on driving like he was part of a F1 race on an obstacle course. It was after we turned right past the Raja Rajeshwari Dental College (I think), he slowed down with a naughty grin saying “Wow!! It has been sooo long since I drove like tht.” I did not-rather-cud not say a word. The entire drive had terrified me. I was wondering if it was age sneaking up on me or if it was the reckless driving on the Arien’s part tht had terrified me. 

BB8The Arien drove to the Country Club and we were pretty surprised to see tht the place had changed quite a bit. The place was crowded with 20somethings – mostly boys – it was workshop day ‘cos they were all dressed in their conductor outfit (brown shirt – brown trousers) and they were making quite a racket. We left shortly after having a late lunch and I was largely calmed down, towards the Dodda Aladha Mara. The road towards the Big Banyan Tree was dotted with nurseries on both sides. This was def a new development. Each nursery was trying to outshine the others with their presentation of flowers and we were tempted to buy sm plants for our home. However, we did not yield to the temptation 🙂  

We reached BBT shortly afterward and walked in. It looked awesome with the sun’s rays coming through BigB1the various banyan branches which almost look like individual trees. The Arien informed me tht the Banyan Tree was 400 years old and the entire tree was supposed to cover 3 acres of land.  I reminded him tht this was a revisit n he had told me this the last time we came 😀 Cheap Thrills. 

We walked arnd – 3 acres did not seem much – maybe they had trimmed the tree a bit – or maybe on a revisit things don’t seem as big or as awesome. Hmmmm… After walking along the path created and disturbing lotsa couples who were on their rendezvous, we had had enuf of it. We walked out and tried to fend off the hawkers who were keen on selling us their mangoes n beggars who were keen on collecting sm money. It was a warm day and the Arien was tempted to have cucumbers and so we went ahead against my better judgement.  It was indeed nice. We were ready to return home when the Arien told me tht there was a dam further on and lets go there. Of course, he was not asking me – he was telling me 🙂 I had no issues b’cos I suddenly felt tht the BBT was not as gr8 as I thot it wud be.  

BB4We also see the ISRO Moon Mission Control room. The Satellite looks pretty impressive and can be seen frm far. In fact, we attempted taking many shots until we realized that we had to pass the ISRO Moon Mission Control Room to reach the Dam. I was actually pretty surprised to see it as I was completely unaware of it but looks like most ppl in B’lore are totally aware of it. I really must read a newspaper other than TOI. SERIOUSLY!! BB7

The road is pretty bad after this.  In fact, I actually thought we had lost our way. If it were not for the villagers who told us that we were on the right track – I wud have convinced the Arien to go bk by telling him tht the car was hurting 😛  It was while we kept going forward that I saw an amazing field full of yellow flowers and was reminded of the sunflower field we saw on our way to Maidenahalli. I insisted that we have a pic of this as well and so we did.

BB5The first view of the Manchinabelai dam was almost breathtaking. I was not even aware of such a place – I recall having cm till here in my earlier visit but we were told tht the dam was closed n we headed bk. This time we went on a different route. The Arien was busy shooting birds. I was observing the surrounding area – no other person in sight – the late afternoon sun’s rays on the water produced a calming effect and the dam seemed far far away. As we moved closer to the dam, we noticed tht a drunkard was lying nearby.  Seeing him reminded me of the zillion warning signs: “Beware of thieves – Do not go to lonely places – Travel in a group etc. etc.” I worried tht he wud suddenly wake up and….. I cud not complete the sentence in my head so I urged the Arien to leave as soon as poss. The Arien agreed and we left after he shot sm more snaps of birds that were flying away. After we moved away from the dam, I felt a lot calmer and teased the Arien ’bout his pics 🙂 Not surprisingly, most of the snaps were good.

As we were moving towards Bengaluru, we passed a sugarcane vendor, near the BB6aforementioned Dental college. The Arien instantly stopped n insisted on having his fill. I get absolutely worried ’bout consuming anything frm roadside stalls where the water is suspect – the Arien has no such qualms and so there we were standing on the side of the road while the Arien had his fill. I think I was more concerned ’bout who wud see us here and report it bk to my family. I wud recieve lectures for years on end. I was looking arnd – hoping no one whom we knew wud drive past – it was way off but still I was nervous. The Arien asks me to try it – he smhw manages to convince me and soon I am having a cup – of course I am still looking all arnd. I still remember how wen a friend convinced me to have Paani Puri from a roadside vendor in Mumbai, I did and fell so badly sick that I cud get to work only after 4 whole days. Knowing my history, I shd not have had this drink – but I did.  And for once, I did not fall sick after this episode 😀 We hit peak hour traffic on our return and it was pretty late when we reached home. However, it was a fun half-day we had after a loooong time.

How do I get to Maidenahalli?

Finally, the directions to Maidenahalli. You may recall my mentioning that the Arien found Maidenahalli for us. He was pretty impressed by the Birds and Bees blog that gave us detailed directions. I cannot share the directions without first acknowledging that writer’s effort. Thanks to her efforts, we had a great day. However, we got lost inspite of it 😦 I decided that when I was sharing directions, I will add snaps which may make identifying the actual left or the board or the temple easier. Well, I hope it is useful 😀 Here goes:

First of all, you must get to the Tumkur Highway (NH4). Jes before you reach Tumkur, take the diversion into NH4. Do not enter Tumkur as you may unncessarily lose a lot of time.  [We managed this part successfully]

Continue on this road  till you hit an under construction over bridge. This comes up almost immediately.  [We completely missed the over bridge – drove 15 kms off track and then did an about turn. The Arien was so cheesed off b’cos the direction stated 10 kms and we kept driving until it was 10 n then there was no over bridge 😦 We kinda follow directions to the T resulting in a lot of all this stuff.]

Here, take a right turn and continue on this road for about 45 kms till you reach Madhugiri. Keep going until you hit Hindupura Road. [This is a looong stretch and you will kinda wanna go “Are we there yet? …. Are we there yet”  every 5 minutes like the Donkey in Shrek and it is tempting.  Thankfully, I did not drive the Arien up the wall – he managed to make me mad by asking me if I had read the directions correctly – I did fling the printout at him in jest :D]

DSCF2124You will reach a Y junction after about 5 kms. ( This is the confusing place – Go left here.) Continue till you reach Puravara Village. [This is the place where the Arien refused to trust me and went right. We asked sm villagers and they directed us bk here and we kept going straight n then took an immediate left and kept going – hunting for the elusive temple – more in the next step.]DSCF2122

From here, continue on the main road for around 8 kms till you reach a temple on your left. [Again, there are no temples in sight for a looooong time, and then suddenly you think every temple you see is the temple mentioned in the directions. Surprisingly, some of the villagers happily tell u tht there are no temples arnd or point you to their temple which def is not the temple you are looking for. This part was really tough on the person driving.  The Arien was getting irriatated with me and I threw the directions at him, this time in absolute anger.  I stared out of the window so we both had time to calm down :D]

DSCF2119Slow down, go about a kilometer further. You will see a tar road bifurcating to the left (There is a completely rusted board in Kannada there – contents are unknown). You must take this left and continue till reach another Y junction, take the right arm.  [At tht time, there was an old man who was sleeping on tht bench. I was not too sure how to take the snap without including him when he woke up and decided to pose for the snap. I gave up. Then he started walking towards me. I think he wanted money but he terrified me so much, I gave the camera to the Arien and got into the car. The Arien managed to take this snap without the old man and we managed to leave before he reached us!!]

Continue on this for 1 km (you will pass a village, stay on the tarred road)You will observe a wide path. The tarred road bends left here. [This part was totally clear – the directions are precise and it feels like you have reached a dead-end but thts where the road turns left and all you gotta do is follow the road – which we did!]wineyard

Get on to the un-tarred road (its hard to miss) and you will see vineyards. [ We stopped here n took snaps – they looked so unbelievable – as if they jes sprung up suddenly. The Arien actually stood on a milestone to take this picture – the locals stared at us – I was totally embarrassed! The snap shows the entire stretch of the vineyard. If I had taken the pic – you wud have a picture of a barbed wire and the vineyards at a distance and u wud have wondered : Is tht the vineyard? It sure looks weird. So am I glad, I did not go with my pic? U bet I am. I am glad I waited for the Arien to take this one and tho’ I was totally averse to the Arien climbing on the milestone – the pic was good n so ob. I did not comment.]

DSCF2094About 300 mts further,  you will see this white board that indicates that smbdy helped restore the black buck reserve and the money involved. Everything is written entirely in Kannada. [It took me quite a while to understand wht was written. I lost interest after a while especially since a child of 7 was staring at me –  I had the sun in my eye and so was squinting n reading in faltering manner but loud n getting the letters all wrong. The Arien walks up and reads it all in one go – n walks away to ask a lady who is working hard if this was the way to the Black Buck Reserve. She asks us to go on straight on the mud road.]

Follow the mud road till you reach the observation tower. After you reach the Observation tower, take any mud road which your car can afford and pray. [The zillion stones on an untarred road makes such a loud noise tht a deaf buck wud probably b able to hear you 😀 The Arien was worried ’bout us having a puncture in the middle of nowhere. For once, I was least worried n urged him to take sm unsafe paths.  Ppl told us to walk up to the buck – if you had read my earlier post – U wud know tht the bucks have very sound hearing n so it was jes pure luck tht we saw sm bucks.]

Hope that helped… beeg drawbk is tht there are no restroom facilities or drinking water/food available. I am sure most of you are going to go  “Whoooaaaa??”  Yes – folks – the entire place is undeveloped (untarred rds, no directions, rusted boards, etc.) and so don’t go there assuming anything. The experience is once in a lifetime tho’ n I do not mean the missing restroom 😀 Chk it out sm weekend n let me know if the directions helped.