Thursday, December 24, 2009

Season's Greetings

Wish all my readers a Merry Christmas and  Happy and Prosperous New Year 2010 !!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Trip to Mekedatu (from Bangalore)


Hi again,
      This is about the recent trip that me and two of my friends made on a fine weekend. A one day trip to Mekedatu.
         Mekedatu (goats leap), a small ravine where the river Cauvery flows through a narrow gorge. The rock formation on both side of the river are so close that a goat can cross it by a jump and hence the name Meke datu - Goat's leap.
           Located around 90 Kms from the city of Bangalore, it's well connected by roads. Kanakpura is the major town near Mekedatu. Frequency of buses to Mekedatu from Kanakpura is very less so beware, you might get struck at Mekedatu if you plan to leave late evening and would endup draining your purse for a silly cart ride !!
        This time again it was out two-wheelers. Since it was just three of us it's not a wise option to hire a cab, missing all the fun. We started at around 11:00 Am from Lalbagh Garden, our meeting point. Traced Jayanagar --> Banshankari --> Kanakpura --> Chunchi falls --> Sangama --> Mekedatu. Untill Banashankari (Metro) we were annoyed by the buzzing Bangalore traffic. Having crossed Sri RaviShakar ashram, travelling was a breeze.

           This time again, the Sun was mercy enough that we were hardly able to feel him through out the trip. The road after city limits was nearly deserted, that we pushed our engines to its max, only to make a 90. Further more - "Sorry" was the reply from the 100 cc engine :(

         Clocking about 60 Kms, we reached Kanakpura ,where we halted for a break. From Kanakpura, take the road which goes at the left, that leads to the destination. Chances are that you may miss this left turn and proceed on the road that leads nowhere  (as far as I know) !! So keep vigil at Kanakpura. The ambience of the entire stretch was amazing and I bet you'll have tough times sticking your eyes to the road.
 Sathanur Village.

      After crossing Sathanur, a small Village you should be able to spot a sign board that reads Chunchi Falls to the left in 6 Kms. This is a good but narrow road, that leads to the Chunchi Falls via a Village. We were expecting gushing waters to flow from a hill, but we were deceived by the name. It's a place where the river Cauvery branches out into Akravathi river and flows through the rocky passes.

       We were seeing nothing but rocks, with very little water oozing beneath it. However, the rock formation was quite impressive, that we took some snaps. We were able to spot only few travellers here, coming in two wheelers like us and few in cars. Having spent some time here and with high hopes of Mekedatu and Sangama we started again.

         Mekedata was another 25 Kms from this place.  The route to Mekedatu from Santhanur descends down the hills. The road was pretty bad at this stretch. I read from few blogs that a restaurant "Coconut Groove" in Sangama serves good food, but to our misfortune it was closed that day. It's right on the lap of Sangama, a prime location.  Sangama is the nearst motorable place to Mekedatu. Cauvery flows in a plain land at this spot, a good location to hang out in the evenings. Mekedatu is at the oppsite shore and you gotta hire a coracle (Parisal in tamil) to cross this stretch of 300 mts approx. If the water level is low you can manage to cross it by mere walk, though you would end up drenching before you cross. There are instances where some SUV get stranded in the middle while attempting to cross the river !!! Never do that. Better hire a coracle. We did it and it costed 20 rupess perhead, to and fro.

A sign board was displayed there however, conveying the sad story of Ram G Kishore !! (hey,  not me ).


      The coracle trip was funny, with water still entering the coracle. We better had made it walking. The coracle was making some funky moves and we loved it. Mekedatu from the other shore was another 4 kms. Few people would like trekking this length. However, you got an option. A Volvo B7R. They charge Rs20 per head up and down. We chose this one as we were already exhaused by the travel.

    A weird bus, should not have taken the fitness test for atleast 20 years. But still, the ticket was printed by KSTDC and I wonder how they manage to keep this kind of a bus in their fleet. On our way up, the driver made successful attempts in scaring the trekkers saying that anytime wild elephants may show up, only to earn a few more passengers to this God damn bus. We reached Mekedatu in 15-20 minutes. Since it was already late evening, the driver insisted in returning back soon as that was the last bus that would take us down that day.

          Mekedatu, a place full of rocks with Cauvery river bisecting it. Watch you step while you admire the river, a slight miss and you are in heaven !! It is said that alligators are common in these places. Also the rocks are too slippery, practise caution.


        Remember to pack your own food, as food in Mekedatu is not worth it (with Coconut Groove shut at times). Also make a point to leave this place early evening, as the road back to Sathanur is badly lit during night and is full of potholes. Sudden showers joined us while returning. It was manageable though. Despite the trip being avarage as a whole, it's definitely a trip to be remembered.

Even more interesting travelogues to come.
Watch Out !!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Trip to Mahabalipuram

March 02, 2008.

Hello again,
      This travelogue is about a day long trip, that we made to Mahabalipuram about 60 Kms from Chennai. I was put up in Chennai then, for almost 20 months since August 07. Had most of my college fellas there in Chennai and it was always fun to hang around with. Spencers plaza, Besant Nagar and Thiruvanmiyur were our frequent weekend destinations.

             Mahabalipuram or Mamallapuram, is one of the historic tourist spot, attracting tourists from all over the world throughout the year.
             "The beauty of the place is not only due to these architecture but the vast casuarinas trees, the silvery sandy beach the classical hand male crafts around have made them all to form what is a collective splendor. Any visitor who visits mahabalipuram will remain startled and intoxicated with the grandeur. They feel hand hearted and more out from this historical and fascinating tourist spot. "
              It's next to impossible to accomodate all the historic information of Mahabalipuram in this blog. More information about this place can be fetched at

              I'd be citing excerpts from the net throughout this travelogue rather scripting on my own, as this one being a world heritage site, loads of information are available on the net and it would make more sense this way.

         A trip to Mahabalipuram was on our back burner until that Sunday, when we finally implemented it. The crowd, this time being pretty big around eleven, we had hired a van for the trip. We started from Medavakkam around 10:30 AM. The primary route to Mahabalipuram is the scenic East Coast Road (ECR). This is an express highway built along the coast of Bay of Bengal. The roar of the sea can be well heard throughout the entire leg of the journey. Muttukadu, Crocodile park and MGM are other major attractions enroute to Mahabalipuram on the ECR.

       We reached Mahabalipuram at around 11:30 AM. Foreign tourists flock this place in large numbers owning to its rich heritage and importance. We were able to spot tourists taking notes with the help of local guides. Being a major tourist spot, it's well connected with buses from Chennai and there are a lot of shops around ranging from eateries to fancy shops selling ornaments made out of shells.

          Chennai, a damn hot place that it used to be, particularly in summer, be sure to carry adequate water that you may topple due to the overwhelming heat. The intense of heat is more pronounced by the reflection from the polished rocks, so beware ! Hire a aircon coach, it's worth the extra bucks spent.

           Sculptures and mandapas made of stones are the centre of attraction in Mahabalipuram. Each stone work, depicts some real life stories in history.

Lord Krishna's Butter Rock

This one was clicked amongst the stone works

One of the mandapas caved out of rocks


Worried as how your future is gonna be ? Relax, you can get a gist of it ! Let the parrot say it to you...


Panch Rathas or The Five Rathas
                "These fine rock temples are located in a sandy compound. These five Rathas are the perfect examples of the evolution of Dravidian style architecture. There are built in the shaper of pagodas and they look similar to that of the Buddhist shrines and monasteries. Rathas in English means chariots."  -Excerpt from the net.

The  Indian Ox sculpted in Rock

It is said the this elephant is carved out of a single piece of rock.

After having all the fun beneath the rocks, we made it to the Shore Temple. "The temple, standing as it is on the coast for over a thousand years with most of its sculptures having been eroded, due to saline action but leaving vestiges here and there, mere outlines, shines in its pristine glory".

                 "This temple is the most complex group of all the temples of south India, having two shrines placed one behind the other, one facing east and the other west. These two shrines are separated by a rectangular shrine sandwiched in between and having its entrance from the side. This shrine is dedicated to Vishnu, who is represented as lying on his serpent couch and known as Talasayana Perumal. The other two shrines are dedicated to Siva. There is a large open court at the western end."
- Excerpts

View from the front.

We had loads of fun there. Never forget to had a game of Fifa Street on the shore. It was an enthralling experience overall, except for the Sun who was ferocious on us envying our enthusiasm. If you travelling to Chennai by any chance, Mahabalipuram is a must visit place atleast once in your trip.

More travelogues to come,
Watch Out !!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Trip to Kannyakumari.

Hello again,
           After a long delay, finally made up my mind to finish this post. This is about my frequent trips to Kannyakumari, also called as the Cape Comorin. This place has got much importance, that it used to be the frequently asked location to be pointed on map during high school exams :) Kannyakumari, is the southern most part of the Indian Peninsula and it's one of the must-visit tourist places in India and is renowned for the Sun Rise and Sun Set view. Its flanked by foreign tourists almost throught the year.

       From my hometown, Tirunelveli Kannyakumari is approximately 90 Kms and is well connected by roads. NH-7 is the primary route to reach Kannyakumari from Tirunelveli. This is also one of our favourite and preferred location to hangout with friends, bunking classes. This travelogue would contain a mix of all the trips that I made here. Though we've made a couple of trips with my college dudes on our two-wheelers , I'd be emphasizing the trip that I made with my family. Don't get misled by the pictures because they are taken during different trips and I don't want a new travelogue to be opened for each trip that I make to the same place. It was soon after Pongal- the festival of harvest in India, that we decided to hit the spot with my family and relatives. We took two cars this time, our I10 and my Uncle's Ambassador and we were 10 in head count. I was not yet used to long drive in four wheeler already and my dad wanted me to take charge to teach me some skills.

      We started around 4 PM evening and managed to reach Kannyakumari by around 5:30 Pm. If you've read my previous post "Trip to Thirparappu", the major part of the route is the same except for a left turn after"Kaaval Kinaru" leading to Kannyakumari.  (remember we took the right to Nagercoil for heading towards Thirparappu) . This area is known for the wind mills and is planted with a numbers of wind turbines along the high way.

Reaching Kannayakumari after a brief break at Valliyur at about half the distance, it seemed that eve was perfectly set for our visit, with clear skies.

       The major attraction here in Kannyakumari is the "Kumari Amman" temple, the Vivekananda Rock, Tiruvalluvar Statue and Gandhi Mandapam.You gotta take a ferry from the shore to reach the Vivekananda rock. The tourist dept. has arranged motorised boats to ferry people to and fro from the rock. However, it's the sole discretion of the management to stop service, if they feel the sea water is too rough to tug. Also, it's banned after evening and no service will be available to the rock post evening. There is a memorial for Swami Vivekananda and it has got a meditation hall in it and some testimonials of Vivekananda. There is also a gigantic statue of the Tamil Poet Tiruvalluvar, that reaches to a height of 133 feet reflecting his works of 133 chapters in Thirukkural. I almost need a new website to describe about this saint, but you still can find lots of information about him and his works in the internet.

The above picture is a long shot view of the statue and I swear, you cannot capture the statue in a single frame no matter what your camera is capable of. The toenail of the statue would be bigger than your palm !! People taking bath and playing in the seashore is a common sight here. Also importantly, this place is the point where the three major water bodies The Indian Ocean, The Bay of Bengal and The Arabian Sea merger together. It is also said that, the sea when viewed from the view point here, one can spot the three different colors of the ocean representing each, should be beautiful sight.

Near the shore, one can find vendors selling eatables, fancy items made of shells and corals and are relatively cheap that you can fill your bags with stuffs by shelling out few bucks, however you gotta bargain at the best.

The Gandhi Mandapam is another important place of interest here. It is where the ashes of Mahatma Gandhi was kept for public view, also houses some rare pictures and historical information. The design of this mandapam is quite unique that during October 2'nd (Gandhi's B'day), the sunbeam falls on the place where his ashes were kept.

Back to our journey now, it was around 6PM that the crowd gathered towards one direction to get a glimpse of the Sun set. I had been there a number of times previously, but I never ever had a chance to see such a spectacular sun set as this day. Thanks to the clear skies and little crowd !!.

We all stood there awestruck for almost 15 minutes after which the Sun drowned under the seas. We has a good time there and was lucky enough with the skies to get a crystal clear Sunset that day. I don't have any adjectives left and leaving the rest for the pictures to speak !

 Finally with a satisfied mind and a burdened heart, we packed up, had some refreshments at the restaurants lining the shore, worshiped the goddess "Kumari Amman" and huddled inside our cars to hit the roads back home.

As a whole, no matter which part of the world you dwell, if you visit India Kannyakumari should be at the top in your priority and I assure you, it's worth the time spent here.

More travelogues yet to come, Watch Out !!

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- Ram Kishore K