Tag Archives: Weekend Getaway

Mysore during Dasara – Day 2

Day 2 dawned bright and sunny only I did not witness it ‘cos I woke up at 10:00 am!!! I really wanted to get back to sleep but the Arien was as usual fully charged and ready to begin Day 2. Waanhh 😦 We planned to visit Chamundi Hills. Last nite, during the palace visit I had seen a “Welcome” sign which seemed to be hanging in mid-air. The wise arien informed me that the lights were actually placed on the way to Chamundi Hills and that we would be seeing it the next day. So we were off after a hot cuppa chai and a cud-have-been-better breakfast πŸ™‚

We started Day2 with a visit to the St. Philomena’s Church which was a gigantic gothic structure that is entirely made of stone. It was an imposing structure and we looked like ants when we posed with the Church in the background. I gave up trying to get the entire structure in a single snap. We spent some time inside the church and walked along a corridor that had all the patron’s names etched on it. It was a hot sunny day and after admiring the structure once more, we decided to move on. I have heard that it was the Wodeyars who were involved in the construction of this new church i.e they were the sponsors not the masons πŸ™‚ It is considered a secular monument. Hmmmm….

I wanted to visit the Silk Factory and the Sandalwood factory that I believed was located at Mysore. I found, to my chagrin, that the sandalwood factory was actually at Bangalore. Of course, the Arien disagreed. It was a sunday and I was sure it would not be open and so I cancelled that plan.

On the way, we saw the railway museum. It was tooo cute. It looked like a photo op and we surprisingly, took a keen interest in not only photographing all the engines, but also pretending to drive them. The dustbin was also shaped like an engine and so we took quite a few pics. They even had a modified Austin, which was to run on the railway track. Naturally, we were not allowed to sit inside or drive it but it was fun anyways. Inside, we also had a look at the Maharani’s saloon carriage, which was one of the exhibits. An old old man started describing what we could clearly see and so we decided it was time to kiskofy πŸ˜€

Oh! Before I forget they had on exhibit, one of those black telephones, which we had during the early eighties, where one had to dial and not press keys – remember?? It made me nostalgic… I remembered how I would come home from school and talk to my friends, separated for barely 10 minutes, for hours and get royally shouted at by mom. She could not understand what I had to say that couldn’t either be said tomorrow or could have been discussed 10 mts ago πŸ™‚ My classic excuse was homework which did the trick most times.

Back to here and now. We had lunch at DasaPrakash. It was nice, simple, and reasonable. It took us quite a while to find it though. It almost looked as if it was Mysore’s best-kept secret πŸ™‚ Anyways, did you know that Mysore is actually a short form of Mahishasuranaooru?? Mysore was actually home to the daemon, Mahishasuran, who was killed by the goddess Chamundeshwari. Atop the Chamundi hills is the temple of the goddess and a scary statue of the daemon as well. It is a lovely ride up the hill and the place was surprisingly crowded. We got off the car and saw the huge statue of the daemon and realized that it was not too huge πŸ™‚ Ok… I am exaggerating… its just that after seeing the Cathedral, I was kinda expecting a really huge statue. The statue was broad, defintely taller that an average male and so I guess it was huge.

We also went to the temple inside. It reminded me a lot of the visit to Tirupati. We were pushed and pulled in all directions as we moved closer to the diety and then we were allowed a brief 2 seconds to figure out what the goddess looked like before we were pushed out of the way by some self-appointed queue mover. I was totally cheesed off. On our return, we walked via a chuntu market where they sold so many things that I was almost dizzy. I got myself a lovely Ramar Pattabhishekam picture, a chamundeshwari statue, and a Ganesha statue for my home. Was unable to get a picture of Aanchaneyer but was otherwise thrilled as we walked back to our car. I was getting cranky and tired and so wise arien decided to break for coconut water, and cucumber slices. I forbade myself from worrying ’bout health aspects and hogged on the cucumber slices. πŸ™‚

On our return from the hill, we came across the beautiful black Nandi, which was really huge and magnificent to look at. Arien opted for sugarcane juice while I went up to admire the Nandi from close quarters. As I walked down, Arien was busy purchasing cucumber slices yet again. A foreigner was attempting to purchase some pineapple slices. I felt it was extremely adventurous of her. Then came the best part of the incident, the fruit seller tried to sell his pineapple slices at a higher price to the foreigner but the foreigner had picked up some of the local language, Kannada, and told him that she will not pay him Rs. 5 more than the others. As we left, we could hear the fruit seller muttering that it would never do, if these ppl learn our language πŸ™‚

We returned to Bangalore around 9 pm, dead tired, bone weary, and xtremely sleepy. We had stopped at Kamat’s for dinner and so we had no complaints. Tomorrow is a working day…. Groan….. I want my weekend back 😦

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Mysore during Dasara

Day1:
It was yet another unplanned trip to Mysore. Rather, it was a trip that had been planned for the next weekend but enthued Arien decided that he was too bored to stay at home this weekend and so we were going to Mysore tomorrow. I was totally tempted to say NO. If you are wondering why?? Well.. that is because I am a lazy piscean who prefers to relax (code-word for laze) at home after a tough week of writing highly technical stuff which no one reads and he is an Arien who lowes to travel, work hard, keep busy, etc etc etc. So did we go? Of course, we did. Lazy piscean had promised that she would try to be enthusiastic about sudden trips and so she could not really say No, could she?? Grrr… As usual, Arien decides the time when we would leave for Mysore which is between 4 am and 5 am. Egzactly!!! Well.. we finally leave at 6 am πŸ™‚ No trip to Mysore is complete without a stopover at Kamat and we did that.

We decided to visit Krishnaraja Sagar Dam. They have a cute little aquarium inside, where the star attraction was a fish that cost forty thousand rupees.
Hordes of locals and the two of us spent
more than an hour gaping at all the fishes and the celebrity fish in particular. I have never spent so much time in an Aquarium before and I was informed by the wise Arien that the Bangalore one was a lot better. The celebrity fish looked like a villain in a hindi movie. It had an eye that looked akin to a glass eye and stared you down.
There were lotsa other fishes too. We, now have appr. zillion snaps of fishes, most of whom I
cannot recognize or name 😦
Anyways, we started walking towards Brindavan Gardens. It was a looong walk… and it was noon and surprisingly the weather was humid. I felt like I was in Chennai and that surprised me quite a bit. I had not been to the gardens in a really looong time. The garden was renowned for being the location where most film songs, romantic scenes were picturised not so long ago. It looked lovely from outside but on closer inspection we found that it was xtremely dirty 😦
The flowers were in full bloom and looked very pretty and the waterfalls looked nice too. I recalled that they had the musical fountain at 7 pm. We were roaming around the place at 1 pm and soon it just got too hot and I got too cranky. Also, around the same time, we figured out that all hotels at Mysore and Srirangapatna were fully booked and that we may not have a place to stay the night. Yuppp… However, that did not deter us from taking quite a few snaps of the place that was. We also realized that everybody comes to enjoy the water fountain later in the evening and you cannot see the dirt at that time πŸ™‚ Well… not sure if that was nice to know or not… hehehehehe πŸ™‚

It must cost a lot to maintain the Brindavan Gardens the way it is – I mean the flowers looked so lovely and colourful… I am just wondering about the number of people who have to work to make the Brindavan Garden look good… and while there is always scope for improvement… it is a great effort in itself. Anyways, I soon lost interest in the Gardens and wanted to know where we were going to stay, if we planned to stay on. A sudden cancellation by some person was a lucky break for us. We decided to check-in, have lunch and then plan our next outing. After a not-so-bad lunch, we were tempted to take a nap but did not do so. Instead we decided to check out the amusement park, GRS. There was some half-day offer kinda thing and so we decided that it may be worth the look. I was totally tired and did not want to go on the thrilling water rides and opted for the slow water rides. Managed to get completely drenched in the wave pool. As if that was not enuf, it suddenly started raining and did not abate for almost half an hour 😦 If it weren’t for the fact that I was totally drenched, I would have found it funny πŸ˜› Anyways, we decided enough was enough and headed back to the hotel. A quick shower and a hot cuppa chai later, we were ready to check out the Mysore palace. The time was almost 8:15 pm and the whole place was lit up and it looked so lovely. All roads that lead to the palace were lit up and so we followed them to see the palace. There was a Carnatic concert going on at the same time which is that small corner which is lit up slightly differently. I have heard that for the entire navarathri, various artists would come and perform for each day. I was pretty impressed though I was unable to recognise the singer. The crowd was not unruly and we were able to move around without worrying if we would lose each other. We were late and we did not have too much time as they planned to close the place to visitors in less than 30 mts and so we walked around as if we were going to miss the bus – we did not have time to gape, stare in awe, or comment on the beauty as we were worried…. However, we did the entire round and left before they started closing the place for visitors. It took a while to sink in. We stared in awe as we moved out. Security was at an all-time high and for the first time I worried about bombs. I mean bombs are usually placed at places where there are huge crowds… Time to stop worrying ’bout stuff like that and concentrate on something else… Dinner?? Yeah!!
We decided to have dinner at a popular place, Parkland Hotel. It was the worst experience ever. We waited till we almost dropped off and when the dishes finally reached our table, it was stone cold. I am not exaggerating. We managed to gulp down the food as we were not really sure how long he would take to bring it back and we were totally sleepy. I was trying very hard to keep my eyes open. The theme at Parkland was good and drinks were being served at an amazingly fast pace and since we had not ordered any drinks.. I guess they forgot about us. Well, never mind.. we were ready to go back. We quickly paid and left for the hotel. When we reached the hotel, we realized it was almost 11 pm. That was end of Day1. Zzzzzzz… Arien starts snoring … Hehehehe πŸ˜€

Coorg – Weekend Getaway – Day 2

After a visit to the famous Raja’s seat, known for the commanding and amazing mist filled (err.. was it fog filled??… Hmmm.. does it matter??) view of the city, a ride in the cute toy train in the rain, a totally amazing Day1 came to an end.
We realized that we were yet to reach the HomeStay. I was totally thrilled that we had managed to pack so many sights in a single day. We reached the Homestay and were welcomed by the very hospitable home owner and her talkative daughter. We did not want to appear like ravenous gluttons and I am glad that inspite of hogging on sumptious roti – subji dinner – they did not think so. In fact, they felt that we were eating very less (hehehehehe πŸ™‚ for once!!). After a refreshing sleep at the Homestay inspite of there being no power all night, either we were too tired or too sleepy, we were all set to go white water rafting in the not-so-white waters on Day2. The plan was to wake up at 6 and be at Dubare by 8 am.

Day2:
We woke up at 8 and had an amazingly heavy breakfast of a Coorg delicacy known as Paapittu.

We drove all day and had a delicious dinner, why were we still hungry?? Anyways…the Paapittu was served with a tomato onion gravy which was simply too delicious. I barely managed to resist licking my fingers ;P
We left finally towards Dubare. I was wearing my peach salwar and suddenly wondered if they would let me go rafting in my salwar 😦 Well, I needn’t have worried, it was oookay and we did not go rafting till 11:30 am. We sat around waiting, listening to the instructor telling us “You should have come at 8 am” and whiling away our time, hoping we would be next and finally the moment arrived. We were given smelly life jackets and helmets which we were helped into and given instructions that lasted for arnd the same time. We were then asked to get on the raft with our paddles. 3 ppl joined us who were from Orange County. An old man with lotsa attitude, his wife, and their daughter. So we set sail with two instructors giving us instructions, explaining some rules, and generally bugging us. After I came to know that the water was more than 23 feet deep, I decided to pay more attention to what the intructor was telling us.

The first rapid was nice, not too scary but we were totally drenched. I totally lowed it – not surprising considering I am a water sign πŸ™‚ Anyways the other rapids were scarier and it was one helluva experience. Our trip went way off the budget b’cos of the rafting but we lowed it so much that I was real glad that we did it. We rafted or is it rowed 8 kms -I got badly tanned as a side effect. We were treated to nice hot tea at a road-side stall after we landed and we were then transported back to Dubare. We happily drove back to the Homestay, had a refresing bath, ate lunch and left Coorg.

The drive back seemed looong – we tried a different scenic route and got lost πŸ™‚ I was very tempted to move to the back seat and fall asleep but the dazed zombie look in his eyes made that thought disappear almost instantly. Plus, he was making these bizarre remarks ’bout wanting to place match sticks in his eyes to ensure that they do not automatically swing shut while we were driving :O Lack of sleep sure does tell πŸ™‚

It was one helluva vacation and we totally lowed every bit of it including the scary ride at the end.

Coorg – Weekend Getaway – Day1

A weekend trip … a Surprise… Yeaaahh… no nice clothes … Have to get up early… 4 am.. is he kidding?.. Grrr… were the thoughts that I had when I came to know that we were going to Coorg over the weekend. This was Friday nite, 9 pm. We left at 6 am on Saturday. We had our fight shortly thereafter which almost led to the cancellation of the trip πŸ™‚ I say almost because we turned back n drove towards home for 10 mts – both of us totally angry – and burst out laughing at the ridiculousness of the whole fight somewhere after 5 mts. Ya.. we are like that.. Anyways we reached Kamat Lokaruchi arnd 8. This inspite of the parking disaster we had when we left, and our short fight – I felt we had made good time.
A heavy breakfast later, that consisted of the famous conical shaped idlies, maddur vada, regular vada, dosa, and two amazingly hot cuppas of tea and coffee – I would say we were in a wonderful mood :). It has always been the case that after moving so far away from Bangalore, you always end up meeting ppl whom you would not have met while they were right next to your cubicle. When we were returning from Bandipur, our last trip, we met Subash and Nisha. This time we met Ranga (Sriranga Nadiger) and his wife. This time the service at Kamat was slow and we did not get a table for a very loong time and then after finishing our breakfast, they took a loong time to get the bill and so I felt that we may have lost the good time that we made. Anyways we continued on our way to RanganaThittu, where we were to change routes. The drive was good and not as boring as I thought it would be. We were listening to songs from the movie Kaakha Kaakha , which is one of my favorites and happily singing (er.. braying)along. As we neared the destination, we decided to visit all the spots before we reached the Home Stay.
The first place we visited was the Tibetan Monastry near Kushalnagar. On the left is a picture of the arch taken from a distance. The whole place was serene, strangely beautiful, and begged to be photographed. The weather was simply lovely, it would rain for sometime, stop abruptly, drizzle again and the whole place looked so green and lovely. This snap was taken when it stopped raining for a bit. I wanted to shop for gifts for kids but did not get gifts for his nephew and so abandoned the gift giving plan. You always get gifts for gals, a pair of ear-rings, a brooch, knick-knacks, anything. For guys… you just don’t get anything. Sad fact of life.
Inside the monastry there are three huge statues which are gold plated and you are instantly rendered speechless in awe. The statue in the middle is the Buddha, the statue on the left is Guru Rinpoche (I think..) and the statue on the right is Budda Amitayus. The low benches placed in front are used by the monks for prayer and we are asked not to touch them. Not that we were planning to. The walls are all painted in bright red and green colours and it is very difficult to understand the story that they are depicting. I did wish we had a guide. There are huge bells that are tolled when all the monks are summoned for prayer… or maybe lunch… πŸ™‚ Time for lunch… we decided to have a bite at a local restuarant and keep going. I had been to Coorg before but I had not visited the Tibetan Monastry or the Golden temple. We had been to Irruppu falls and seen some tea estates. This was a very different trip and I was totally enjoying it.
Our next stop was at Nisarga Dhaama. It almost reminded me of RanganaThittu. There was a lovely hanging bridge near the entrance, as you can see from the picture. It was raining again and I ran to get the umbrella. The rain had made the cauvery swell up and it was a sight to see. There were tree houses and cute benches that were now wet because of the rain. There were quite a few swings. There was really nothing much to see and the path was wet and it was steadily drizzling and so we decided to get going.
The next plan was to go to the Elephant Camp to Dubare. It was now pouring and we decided to go for a boat ride to the camp. As soon as we reached the other side, we realized that we were not sure if we have locked the car or not… we worried and worried and worried… and it was the most gruelling 1 hour of our life. We were soaking wet too.. to add to our miseries.. Finally, when we reached the car, we found out that we had locked it after all. Grrr… Walked into the Dubare Hotel which only offered Tea, Omlette, and Fried Rice. Had bitter, totally burnt chai, and an omlette which had uncooked, small onion chunks. We come in contact with a nondescript lean man who is having fried rice πŸ™‚ and come to know that there is water rafting at Dubare. In fact, in the exact same place where we had the boat ride. The hitch was that we were supposed to arrive at 8 am – I laughed out loud. We were yet to reach Madikeri and he had been driving the entire day.. but the look in his eyes stopped me from voicing my thoughts… and so we went on to the Home Stay – totally relishing the experince of Day 1 of our short vacation.

Bandipur

Dreaming ’bout a fundoo holiday was a fav pastime of mine. Whether it was during the holidays when one had a lot of time to dream, or when I was supposed to be preparing for my exams, or when I was supposed to be working – I was forever dreaming of this wonderful vacation that I wud b taking. I believe now that it probably was some deep rooted escapism that I indulged in – ‘cos whtever I was doing right then was too boring to hold onto my attention. Anyways, one of my favorite dream vacation trips was this Jungle Lodges thingie for 2 nights n 3 days. I spent a lot of time nagging, cajoling, begging, and even threatening family folks to plan a trip. Of course, I did my best booking for it and came away disappointed as it was also one of those always booked holidays… Grrr!
Finally, this year, after behaving like an unruly, pampered kid, I got my way – we were finally going to Bandipur and staying at Jungle Lodges. The trip was a last minute plan and we were on a shoe string budget but I was jes happy tht we were going. We set out in the morning from Bangalore… we were supposed to start at 6 but yours truly was finally ready only by 7.

The plan was to bike to Bandipur and I did not want to share this piece of info with my folks as they can immediately make my plan into a safe, unadventurous, blaah trip… sorry guys.. you are sweet and nice… but I like doing things my way too, at times. I am sure they are shaking their heads thinking: “Uff.. this gal never listens – Stubborn – All pisceans are stubborn – When has she not got things going her way – I want to know??” Anyways, So I did not tell them. We drove like the wind – I was in the pillion seat and I indulged in quite a bit of back seat driving – I do that a lot especially after my accident – but we made excellent time. We reached Kamat Lokaruchi arnd 9. I was totally zapped!!
We had a lazy and filling breaker and decided not to lose the amazing time we made by lingering at Kamat and started with a bang towards Mysore. I was tempted to buy some of their cute handicrafts but decided not to. We reached Mysore arnd 10:45 and purchased sm essentials and we were totally sore by then – a bike ride is only romantic for that long – after that all you really want to do is: get off – stretch ur legs – and choose another means of transport. We had to check in at the Jungle Lodges at 12 and so we really had to get going but I indulged in a chuntu crib fest.
And then to our surprise, we see coconuts stacked one on top of the other – forming rather looong lines to the sky and we stop. The creative nature of these coconut vendors which they exhibited by arranging their fruits in interestingly different ways was a sight for sore eyes – in our case – a break for our sore limbs. Man ko bhaa gaya. I lapse frequently into Hindi in an attempt to improve my faltering Hindi and also b’cos there are some things best expressed in a regional – ok.. in this case, national language πŸ™‚ I feel seeing those coconuts eased the crabbiness that we felt b’cos of the loong bike ride πŸ˜›
Finally, we reached the Jungle Lodges resort, not-so-sore, glad at having finally found the place. We were escorted to our cute cottage called “Cheetah”. Wondering why all the cottages were names after animals, we walked into a room that had a lovely mural of a cheetah on a branch. The Cheetah looked fantastically real and totally impressive. We were told that lunch would be ready shortly and tea would be served at 4 after which we will go for a safari. I think they were not used to enthusiatic nods as answers and we finally stopped and said Yes – we’ll b ready!
The Safari was enjoyable though we did not really catch sight of the exotic animals. Did I hope to catch sight of a real cheetah, or tiger? Actually, No. I have not been to a Safari in a very loong time – probably since we went to the Banergatta National Park to view the lions and the tigers -so looooong ago – not even I know how long ago πŸ˜€
After the Safari, a film clip which was created on Wild Life in India was shown – we were distracted by: the projector being archaic – too many mosquitos – the mouth-watering snacks-a naughty kid who was eating mud to irritate his mom – and the bonfire that was being built. The film as such was lengthy and we all got the message – I think πŸ™‚
There was an option to go for a nature walk early in the morning but we opted for a second round of safari – in the vain belief that we may actually see some of the exotic animals. We saw the pug marks of a tiger which we cud not spot, we saw a lot of spotted deer, sambhar deer, elephants, and wild boars. We also saw several cute peacocks and peahens. We also went on an elephant ride and to a museum nearby.
Of course, the guide had to bug me with his “Kabini is fantastic – but you cannot get booking – you must go there” Grrrr…. Is there some law in the Universe that was created especially for me that goes something like this: When you think she is settling into happiness hit her with a statement that will make her go Grrrrr…oowwwwlll?? Anyways for the first time, I did not let it bother me as much.. and came away smiling πŸ˜›