Tag Archives: Tourist Friendly Boards

Avalanche (Avalanchi) — Part 2

Temple in BW - Different Angle
Temple in BW – Different Angle

The temple took up some time but suddenly we were eager to see what was beyond. I wondered if we would just drive in a circle and be back where we started. They call it a reserve but we hardly saw any animals. Maybe there was really nothing much to see. Well, We didn’t have to wait long to find out.

A Beautiful Waterfall
A Beautiful Waterfall

The final sight-seeing spot which seemed so lonely that I feared for our lives – but it was a cute little waterfall seen from a distance – it was beautiful. As usual, we all took snaps but we really wondered if we were any nearer to the end of the drive or if this was there was to the drive. I doubt we asked the driver and the guide this question which would have been easy enough but I guess we did not want to spoil the surprise or get disappointed. My Capri cousin was deep in conversation with the guide and finally replied that we were not far from “THE” spot.

View shot taken from an angle
View shot taken from an angle

When we reached the spot, the Sumo drove off – making us all feel a bit vulnerable but I guess he just wanted to park away from the crowd. We turned away from the Sumo to take in “THE” spot and it literally took our breath away. It was so beautiful that for a few minutes none of us spoke. And then we saw a photographer. We immediately decided to have at least 1 snap with all of us in the frame. After he showed us the snap, we ordered for another. Both were quite good and we all looked windswept and awed ūüôā

The View
The View

And then, back to the most amazing view. The Arien was busy shooting the view and so was the capri cousin. The rest of us were walking, talking, and shivering because though it was sunny, it continued to be windy. It was totally worth the crazy wait and the irritation caused by the chaos.

We all took a number of snaps from different directions. From the snap on the right, you cannot really the depth of the waterfall. Well, just for that, I asked the Arien to take another snap that might give me a better idea of the view from the snap.

The View
The View

The snap on the left, shows a number of folks who are walking on a narrow ledge to actually be as close to the waterfall as possible. So, its actually quite far off and the water fall is actually quite huge. Its not a trickle of water as one may have imagined.

Some of the guides and drivers were yelling at the folks, who were walking towards the waterfall, that that was not allowed and were trying to signal to them but the ‘rahuls’ were having none of that. We commented on the foolishness of ‘rahuls’ in general and discussed specific ‘rahuls’ and then proceeded to take several snaps from various flattering angles and some unflattering angles.

1 number Tourist Board
1 number Tourist Board

We really didn’t want to leave but it was cold and it was a nature spot with no amenities and we had had no lunch. We should have packed a picnic lunch and had it here. It was so beautiful.¬† Anyway, since we hadn’t done that and everyone very badly wanted to use the amenities, the return journey was a blur. On the right, is the single tourist friendly board that I mentioned in my last post. And, a whole bunch of happy tourists smiling away at our camera. Hmmmm..

My Ooty Dream House
My Ooty Dream House

After we reached the hatchery, we decided to go to our hotel as it was nearer. So, we drove ahead and that is when I saw this amazing house which I decided was my Ooty dream house. Of course, its not really my dream house but I liked the look of it so much, I took various shots of the place. The snap I have included is the one I like best. The Arien said it was OK but I needn’t go bonkers over it. So mean!

The trip ended with all of us eating well after 4 pm but having enjoyed the day very well. The next day we were leaving and I wanted to visit the Pykara lake as we have never been there. So, the plan was to visit the lake and proceed towards Bangalore on a slightly different route. The Arien was bound to get antsy on the day of travel so I hope all ends well.


Visit to the Aurobindo Ashram

I cannot recall when I first visited the Aurobindo Ashram.¬†I was aware¬†that both my parents were staunch believers of the Mother and¬†I vaguely recall¬†having visited the Ashram to learn eye exercises.¬†We used to visit Pondicherry at least once every year for a really loong time.¬†This was my first trip where the objective was not to only visit the Ashram. The Ashram is quite close to the beach road but it took us forever to find the place. When we managed to find the place, I found that it had not changed much and suddenly I had tears in my eyes. It was weird. I was probably¬†feeling overwhelmed ’bout visiting one of the places of my childhood memories. Everything seemed exactly the same. The Ashram has the samadhis of The Mother and Sri Aurobindo. Cameras are not allowed inside the Ashram and so this is the only picture we could take of the Ashram. I did not want to spend too much time inside and so we left.

As I mentioned earlier, all the streets¬†have French names that are¬†very difficult to pronounce. While there are¬†sign boards all over the place, they are not really tourist-friendly. Of course, it is a small place and after doing multiple chakkars, you will be back right where you started. Also, remember ask¬†natives of Pondicherry ’bout the place you want to visit because almost every third person you see on the road is a tourist. Of course, if you can speak Tamil, half your battle is already won.

What a hectic day. We were very tired and headed back to the resort. We thought it may be a good idea to visit the beach attached to the resort. We changed and went out to the beach and spent exactly 5 minutes when the security guard told us to get back. According to him, some bad elements usually come out to the beach after 7 pm and they did not want any folks who stay at the resort to be embarrassed. Though shocked, we returned to our room. What an end to a nice day!

Hampi Sight Seeing ‚ÄstLast¬†Day

Day 3

The original plan was to get up early and drive up to Anegondi and visit the Hanuman temple that was atop a hill. When we woke up, the ever-enthued Arien was not at all enthued. I woke up¬†feeling slightly depressed. I think Hampi kinda has tht effect on you. To see¬†the ruins and imagine her glorious past without feeling depressed is a must wen you explore Hampi.¬†I ob. did not have tht trait and neither did the Arien.¬†So, when the Arien said “Lets not go to Anegondi”, I agreed instantly.¬†We decided instead to leave early so we cud reach home¬†sooner than planned. We spent the morning relaxing and taking snaps of the resort we were staying at. I wanted to¬†visit some¬†of the places that we had been to yesterday, one last time.¬†The Arien agreed grudgingly. We found it surprisingly easy. In fact, I realized tht we had hastily decided to opt for the Auto guy when we could easily have driven around in our own car – at least, to all the places that he had shown us to. Hmmm.. What a way to learn tht. Anyway, we decided to look at the positives instead.

One of the best things ’bout Hampi, essentially b’cos it is a World Heritage Site, is that we have a lot of tourist friendly boards all over the place. The Hampi tourism office also shares with you a map of the entire place.¬†It is a great place to explore with a bunch of frends who enjoy this sorta stuff. Otherwise, there is very lil to do at Hampi. As we were getting back, the Arien commented “Uff – I think we visited a lot of temples¬†“. But, this was¬†actually¬†untrue¬†b’cos we did not enter the Virupaksha temple – the main¬†temple at Hampi. All the other religious places were in ruins. Naturally, I did not let the Arien off so easily. The argument continued till we reached the next place.¬†We usually behave like this towards the beginning¬†of our holiday – this is a first.

As usual, we stopped when we both realized how foolish we sounded and the Arien focussed on reaching¬†home sweet home sometime before nightfall or peak traffic. We stopped for Lunch at Hassan and the Arien as usual drove like one possessed. Seeing the empty highway, I was tempted to¬†test my driving skills – it has been a while.¬† So, I took over around 5:00. But, it started to become dark quickly and the Arien was tense at the prospect of my driving the car on unsuspecting old villagers!¬†He insisted that he take on the wheels. I was¬†actually glad and angry at the same time when he insisted. I¬†gave up¬†the wheels because my legs were trembling¬†from the whole clutch-brake-accelerator effort :O¬†¬†This¬†was not one of our usual holidays and somehow both of us were rather subdued at the end of the holiday – which¬†surprised me. I mean it was almost a¬†washout ūüė¶ As we entered Bangalore,¬†we received various calls from the Arien’s family members.¬†¬†Something was up….

Hampi Sight-Seeing

Day 2

The day started, for us at least, @ 6 am. (I know I know — totally shocking). There was no hot water available and the Arien was ready to throw one of his tantrums¬†but I prevented it by opting to get ready first. By the time I was ready, we had hot water (Phew!!). The water was not cold but the Arien has this¬†thing with hot water and¬†we end up creating scenes wherever we go¬†– This time I was determined to not let that happen. We finally left at¬†7:40 am. Thats the cute lil cottage we were staying at, at the resort. The exterior looks nice but the interiors left a lot to be desired. Anyway, after we went past the¬†bridge and reached the river-side – we spent half an hour cooling our heels because the boatman refused to¬†leave until a few more ppl joined us. Grrr.. On the other side, the auto man was waving at us.¬†I opted to have hot Chai and just wen we got the hot cuppa in my hand – the boatman was ready to leave – a group of 10 ppl had suddenly come and¬†I had to stand with a cup of brimming with chai on one hand,¬†the camera and bags in the other. Ufffo!! The Arien took everything so that I did not end up falling on my face ūüėÄ

The Auto driver¬†gave us gyan ’bout our being late as he rapidly wove through¬†traffic to take us to the first of our many sight-seeing spots of the day. The first spot of the day was the Sasive Kalu Ganesha and this was followed by the¬†Kadale Kalu Ganesha.¬†They are both monoliths – carved from a single stone. According to the Auto driver, they resemble¬†mustard seed and gram seed respectively and thus the name.¬† The Auto driver¬†parked his Auto in the shade and had breakfast while we walked around the place shooting pictures. You have a fundoo view from the place and because¬†it was not yet sunny, it was awesome.

While we stood there, a bunch of school kids arrived and they started yelling — their teacher was very patient but whenever he showed them a statue, they yelled¬†“Haalu Hampi” meaning Hampi in¬†ruins.¬† The kids¬†kept running around like this was their day of freedom while the master walked along showing them stuff and never losing his cool. I felt very depressed as I saw how the kingdom had totally fallen into ruins. We got back into the Auto and proceeded to the next stop.¬† As we bump-bumped along, the Arien mentioned that maybe we could have taken the car instead of taking this auto.¬†I was of the same opinion¬†because firstly there were so many tourist friendly boards all over the place. Secondly,¬†the place was crowded, we could have followed a group¬†of tourists and checked out the entire place.

The next place we were visiting was the Lotus Mahal and the Elephant Stables. I have used a simple shot of the stables as the banner for my web-site. It was so difficult to get a shot of the stable with nobody around it. After sitting on the grass, which was not really comfortable, we finally managed to take that shot. Just as the Arien¬†took the picture, two women walked out of the stables —¬†the Arien has this Uff!! expression. The whole place was hugeee and it was a warm day – we had¬†spent a lot of time walking, bumping into an astonishing number of tourists, school kids, and taking photographs.¬†

On the right is the picture of the Lotus Mahal – taken as one group of tourists leave and a bunch of students arrive. Oh yes — it was really tough trying to get a good shot that also did not have too many people in it — but we managed. The building was so good-looking with its archways and domes. It is supposed to be called as the Lotus Mahal because of the architecture of the domes – which resemble a lotus bud.

There was also this amazing watch tower at the end of the broken wall enclosure and the Arien really wanted to take a shot from inside the watch tower but you cannot really climb the watch tower. So, he settled for this long-distance shot. You can also see the hose used for watering the plants and maintaining the lawn in ship-shape. The height of the watch tower was impressive. It was getting quite warm – it was after 11 am. We really wanted to take a break plus we had not had breakfast and so the Arien was likely to get cranky in a few minutes and I really wanted to avoid that at all costs!

After another drive, we reached a place where the Automan was determined to have lunch — it was not really suitable for us. A lady had these steel plates and she was serving rice, sambhar etc. The Arien was actually very hungry but even he was not sure if he wanted to try that. So, we had bananas, chips, and Maaza or Slice and proceeded. The Automan wanted to be done with the trip by now and his impatience was pretty obvious — I was worried tht the Arien would get really wild – thnx to his hunger which was not assuaged by bananas et al – and I decided to get the Arien away from the Automan asap.¬† It was at that time that the camera’s battery died – Phut!! – There I was worrying ’bout the Arien losing his temper – I lost mine pretty badly. The fact that restroom facilities were far and in between and I was unsure ’bout the cleanliness and hygiene added to¬†the pressure, I guess. Anyway, we managed to get new batteries and there were some restroom facilities and we were able to get going sooner than I thought… More in Part 2.