In the lap of Mullayangiri…

11.09.2016

Some of our friends told us that the sunrise at Mullayangiri would be too good and we decided not to miss it. But our driver is so reluctant to drive us there so early in the morning. As we didn’t understand why he was so reluctant, I called up Mr. Mahesh to convince the driver. But at the very mention of sunrise, he was like as far as he knows there won’t happen any sunrise in Mullayangiri at that point of time and that he won’t recommend a drive to the hill during the dawn. So, we have dropped our plan of starting at 5.30 and we decided to start at 6.00 AM instead.

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We woke up at 5.30 and were downstairs by 6.00 AM just to see our driver still sleeping in the car. It was only by 6.30 we started our journey to Mullayangiri which is located at a distance of 16 km from Chikmaglore. The drive is an amazing experience as the expanse of greenery on the road sides seems endless, the lofty hills surrounding the way and the coffee blossoms filling our noses. We decided to trek for a short distance rather than reaching the hill-top in our car.

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We stopped at Seethalayyanagiri which is 4 kms down from Mullayangiri to start our trek. It was too foggy and cold and alas we forgot our jackets 😀 . After a few steps we saw a stair case leading to the Mallikarjuna Math. The math is most frequented by the members of the Lingayat community. Also found here is a temple dedicated to Seethala and Mallikarjuna and it is believed that the water level here neither decreases nor increases.

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We started ascending the hill and the environment around us was quite lively as the Amber Valley School children were also on their cross-country trip on the same day. While a few children were running to reach first, few others were walking as if they are totally out of the competition and were there to relish the moments. We also started running along with them and stopped when we found a trail through the woods beside our road. Though we were not sure whether the trail leads us to the hill-top, we thought of giving a try.

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There wasn’t any clear trail of footsteps, but yes we found footmarks might be of some cows, or of goats perhaps, am not sure J The rocks were slippery due to the mist and as it was quite open the speed of wind was more, but it’s one good superb view. The misty mountains, green bushes and soothing breeze, we cherished the moments. After 150 mt or so, the climb turned out to be difficult and we didn’t find any clear trail leading to the hill-top and we decided to climb down and take the road itself 😦 . Though the hike was short, it was quite adventurous and memorable 🙂 🙂

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Mullayyanagiri, the highest peak in the Bababudangiri Range, at a height of 1,930 mt, is a trekker’s paradise. It has to be climbed up to savour the real beauty of nature. The best part when once we reached the top is getting Mirchi Bajji 🙂 😉 The chilling wind, a foggy view, a walk around the hill with a bestie and few hot Mirchi Bajji in hands, isn’t this life? 🙂 🙂 . There is a small temple on top of the hill and it is believed that Arabian Sea is visible from the topmost point of this hill on days that boast of clear skies. I doubt whether there can be any such days 😀

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After clicking few snaps here, we started descending the hill and it took us very less time to reach Seethalayangiri. We decided to go to another place called Kavikalagandi which is some 6 kms away from Seethalayangiri. We have to ascend few steps in order to see what Kavikalagandi has to offer us. The panoramic view from the top of this view-point is breathtaking. After relishing the calmness of the place, we returned back to our car and headed to Chikmaglur.

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On our way back, we stopped at the restaurant “Siri Coffee” and I would definitely recommend this to everyone as one can get fresh breakfast and a tasty brew of coffee. The restaurant is quite happening place and well-maintained. Quick breakfast and we headed to the M.G.Park in chikmaglur, which is not a big one but hosts a toy train :-D. And we didn’t miss it. I won’t say that it’s a must place, but if you have time, you can definitely try..

 Pack up.. :-p

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My Life… Easy or Difficult?

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I was thinking about my life today. My life? Thought that it is very easy to explain; but came to know lately that it isn’t that easy to explain. Don’t know how it started! And how, I wonder, will it end? 😉 🙂 I am sure that I am nothing special, might not be special to anyone out there too. Yet, I am special. Special for myself! I am a common person with common thoughts and leading a common life. Yet, I might make some difference for someone out there. Why can’t I? If I can, how?

Probably I inherited the traits like being bold, staying calm and travelling from my dad while qualities like compassion, empathy and integrity from my mom! I love dragging my feet behind my mom telling her whatever things that comes on to my mind, equally loves talking to my dad about movies and legends. So cheesy huh! Books became my life. I enjoy Cricket, badminton and chess as much as solitaire and Mahajong Titans though :-p .

 I walk, I run, I climb, I slide. I cook, I eat, I camp, I sleep. What not I do everything that interests me.. I call my life a love story as am romancing it. Sometimes I turn out to be a cynic and feel that it is a tragedy 😦 Sometimes a little bit of both. However, nothing matters as I will be the only one who will be leading it at the end :-p . Camping and exploring became my passion, spending time in forests and along the mountains soothe my soul. The isolation in the nature, far from people and things man-made is always good for my soul.

Thinking about money usually bores me. Started learning to enjoy simple things and will always have a hard time understanding people who feel otherwise. A trait from my dad perhaps! Even the smallest things like sound of the nature or the rustling leaves arouse my emotion than things like bikes and cars. The smell from the pages of the old books always mesmerizes me; the things which are inseparable from me :).

The caste system, family names and accomplishments were not in consideration for me. While few of my friends for life have never changed and will never change, few others changed and will keep on changing! I don’t accept science in totality. I am a firm believer in God and the power of prayer. Time unfortunately, doesn’t make it easy to stay on course.

I always choose a right path and people say the straight-trees will be the first ones to be fell. Sometimes, I try listening to them and try to follow a different path, not a wrong one though. But I end up failing miserably 😀 But I have no complaints! I always wish I could get what I was looking for, but I too don’t know what it is! Some call me crazy, some stupid while some say am the least complicated one whereas some say am unique. I don’t strive to dominate, try to control the world, for that matter nothing of it :p

The quest is going on 🙂 🙂

Gangtok – India’s cleanest City

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Gangtok – Not only the cleanest but also the prettiest Indian city. I travelled to Gangtok from Bagdogra airport by a local cab, the driver who is quite experienced in driving along those tricky hill tracks. It was a 5 hour drive from Bagdogra as the condition of the road was not that good. But didn’t get bored as the curvy roads and the beautiful Teesta river kept on drawing my attention. The welcome board at Rangpo and the check post welcomes us to this small land-locked state, which shares it’s border with three countries. The green woods, bluish waters of the river Teesta and the mighty mountains add to the state’s charm.

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Gangtok is the capital city of Sikkim and the largest town in the state. It is also known as the land of monasteries with the highest number in a small area in the whole world. The city became a Buddhist centre after the Enchey monastery first built in 1840s. Gangtok has been modernized without compromising the bounty that Nature has showered on this beautiful city.

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The narrow roads with buzzing cars, and decorated with colorful flowers on their pathway, busy markets, lots of liquor shops without any long standing queues, good confectioneries, bars and castles, multi-cuisine restaurants, beautiful monasteries and the amazing views of Kanchendzonga and many more..

Stay tuned to see what am gonna reveal about this b’ful city!!

NANDI HILLS – HILL OF HAPPINESS

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Nandi Hills or Nandidurg or Nandi Betta is an ancient hill fortress situated at a distance of about 65 kms from Bangalore, Karnataka. These lie at an average elevation of about 4850 ft above the sea level. A popular weekend destination and it can be easily reached as it is well connected by roads with Bangalore as well as Chikkaballapur. The route from Bangalore to Nandi hills is so scenic and interesting, as it gives us a chance of seeing some good temples, old forts, grape vineyards and mustard fields.

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And the curvy roads leading to the top of hills are best to trek or cycle. One can go for a road trek or a wild trek on the backside of the hill. Plenty of opportunities 🙂  If you own a bicycle, well fine and good otherwise there are lots of bicycling clubs which organizes weekend cycling trips. Can try one!

 The main attraction is the statue of the Nandi Bull which is located on top of the hill. And the belief is that the hills resemble a sleeping Nandi Bull, and hence the name Nandi Hills. There is also an ancient temple of Yoga Nandeeswara atop the hill. There are also temples dedicated to Sri Ugra Narasimha and Yoga Narasimha.

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The hill is the Sultan Tipu’s Summer Residence and there is a palace which is not open for public 😦 . Interesting place is the Tipu’s Drop, a 600 metre high cliff face, where prisoners and convicts during Tipu’s reign used to be pushed off this cliff. There is also a children’s park, for a while we too can be children swinging on the cradles. Lol!

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Nandi hills is a haven for nature lovers with magnificent views and enticing scenic spots, if we are lucky enough we can spot some wildlife too. One should not miss the sunrise here. The wind, fog and the clouds that blow towards us when we are in the midst of the tall trees on top of the hill before the sunrise is just amazing and a life-time experience. One won’t regret waking up at 4 in the morning after enjoying the sunrise here!

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Why can’t be this weekend itself? 🙂

Gavi – A Eco-Tourist spot

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Gavi is an eco-tourist spot in Kerala which has widely become popular after ‘Alistar International’, the world acclaimed tourism major listed it among the leading eco-tourism centers and one of the must-see places in India. Spread across the beauty of Periyar Tiger Reserve, Gavi is a quiet, beautiful and pristine forest haven.  Located 250 kms away from Thiruvananthapuram, the capital city of Kerala, Gavi of Pathanamthitta district offers its visitors activities like trekking, wildlife watching, outdoor camping. So why late? Lemme share my travel tale of Gavi 🙂

The road leading to Gavi is blanketed by tea plantations and pine plantation (which is a rare sight in South India, and is a refreshing experience. We took the route of Trivandrum-Patthanamthitta-Ranney-Mundakayyam-Vandiperiyar-Gavi. The Gavi check post which is located 18 kms away from Vandiperiyar is the gateway to the lap of Mother Nature.

One should be keen in observing the surroundings as this is the only way of spotting wildlife in Gavi. The place is rich in flora and fauna. The commonly sighted animals here are the Indian Giant Squirrel, Lion-tailed macaque, Nilgiri Tahr, Bisons, Wild Pigs, elephants and birds like kingfishers and woodpeckers. I was lucky enough to spot almost all of these animals except the elephants. But did get a chance of seeing their footsteps and fecals.. Lol 😀

Places of Interest:

#Pine Plantation: This came as a surprise to me as I didn’t expect such a beautiful place on this route. The windy climate and the mighty pines.. Ground covered with their leaves and seeds.. Sunlight peeping through the gapes and the surroundings adding to the Serenity.. The best place for our body and mind to rejuvenate. And a perfect place to meditate too 😛

# Safari: One can enjoy the sight of the wildlife in their natural habitat through Vehicle safaris to take a glimpse of the endangered species.

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# Boat Ride: Row boating is available at Gavi, on the Gavi dam’s reservoir. The panoramic view from the boat in middle of the waters’ of the reservoir is truly enticing! There is a small waterfall on the other side of the reservoir, which can be reached on this boat and it is some 15 minutes hike. A must visit place see the undisturbed beauty of the Mother Nature.

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# Sabarimala View Point: Gavi gives an amazing view of the Sabarimala amongst the lush green surroundings. This is a 20 min hike from the Gavi Dam and the view of the mountain ranges and the sunset in the evening over these ranges covered with evergreen trees and a blanket of golden color grass is breath-taking!

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# Cardamom Plantation: Gavi is a fertile land and the local’s mastery over the land has blessed the land with vegetation. A leisure visit to the nearby cardamom plantations is a sight to behold. We can see the wilderness of the wild elephants damaging these plantations.

Best part of the trip:

For the most adventurous ones who would love to spend a night in the deep forest can stay here in a small tent. This is the most unique feature of  Gavi, camping in the forests. As the dusk stretches into the silence of the night, one can feel the presence of wildlife in the middle of nowhere, an experience that cannot be explained in worlds, but needs to be just experienced.

The KFDC provides good vegetarian food and snacks with the local flavors and one should definitely try this food.

How to reach?

200 kms from Kochi International Airport, 250 kms from Trivandrum International Airport and 195 kms from the Madurai Airport. The nearest railway station is Kottayam (120 kms). Regular buses are available to Vandiperiyar from Kochi & Thiruvananthapuram. There are also buses available from Vandiperiyar to Gavi. But make sure that you reach the Gavi Checkpost before 5 pm.

Pack your backpacks now… 😉