Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Family Trip to Coorg - Part 6

Family Trip to Coorg - Part 5

Our last stop was at Golden Temple (also known as Tibetan Monastery). It is located 6 kms from Kushal Nagar, at Bylkuppe.  Established in 1961, it is home to more than 7000 monks and students and is still very calm and peaceful. 







 

        


The main attraction of this place are the 40 ft tall golden Buddha statues. The temple has three resplendent golden statues of Buddha Shakyamuni, Padmasambhava and the Buddha Amitayus.The walls of the temples and the institution are decorated with colourful paintings depicting gods and demons of Tibetan Buddhist mythology.  Tibetan festivals are celebrated with great gusto at the monastery.  

It is a beautiful place with well laid out gardens  There are shops for the purchase of various Tibetan items.  They are a little overpriced, but good items are available.  

As you enter this place, it  gives you an overall different and weird experience as though you are in a country outside India.  



Friday, October 7, 2016

Navarathri 2016

Navarathri is an important festival of Indians.  This year Navarathri is celebrated from 1st October to 10th October 2016.  This 9-day festival is dedicated to Goddess Durga.

In Sanskrit, the word 'nava' means nine and the word 'rathri' means night.  Hence this festival  is called Navarathri.





The 10th day is Vijayadashami or Dasara. As per the legends, the Divine Mother Durga had destroyed the evil forces of demon Mahishasura during this time.  





Vijayadashami is celebrated as victory of Lord Rama over Demon Ravana. This festival is also celebrated as victory of Goddess Durga over Demon Mahishasura. In Karnataka, it is celebrated as Dussehra (Dasara), and in West Bengal as Durga Pooja.  


Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Happy Onam 2016

Wish you a Very Happy Onam.

To know more about this popular festival, check this link.


(Onam Pookkalam)


        (Onam Sadhya)


If you are interested to read a short story about Onam please check this link 

A Family Trip to Coorg - Part 5

Back to Part 4

Cauvery Nisargadhama is another important spot to visit during your visit to Coorg.  It is a  breathtaking and beautiful island off the state highway, Just 2 km from Kushalnagar town and around 30 kms from Madikeri. It is a 64 acre island with Cauvery water flowing by. Nisargadhama is filled with lush foliage and thick bamboo groves and is a paradise for nature lovers.  To access the island, one has to walk through a suspension bridge. There is boat ride, and elephant ride and also a deer park.  We didn't go here for a boat ride or elephant ride, but visited the deer park and enjoyed feeding the deer. 
For enjoyment, there are treetop watchtowers with ladders, bamboo pergolas, and swings.










For adventure-seeking people, there is a zip line, through which one can go to the other end and reach down in about a minute. Kids and adults alike would love this adventure sport.









There are cottages for the people to stay.

35 kms from Madikere
95 kms from Mysore
235 kms from Bangalore

Raja's Seat

From there we proceeded to Raja's seat, our next destination.  We reached there after a short drive and it was worth the visit.




Raja's seat is a famous sunset point; the kings of the place used to come and sit here for a lovely evening, watching the glorious sunset.  Raja's Seat is a small pavilion made of brick and mortar, with surrounding four pillars, which are bridged by arches. Because of the amazing view of the mountains from the top and the splendid ambience, the kings of Kodagu (Coorg) used to come and spend their evening with their queens. There are many steps below, further away from the pavilion.  Sitting there and watching the golden rays of setting sun is a wonderful experience.



For children's added attraction, there is also a toy train which takes both children and adults.

The best time to visit Raja’s Seat is during the early morning, for the splendid view of the sun rising behind the misty mountains,  and in the evening hours for watching the golden rays of the setting sun . 



Wednesday, August 24, 2016

A family Trip to Coorg - Part 4


Back to Part 3

Dubare


Dubare Elephant Camp

After lunch, we proceeded towards Dubare to see the Elephant Camp, located on the banks of River Cauvery, in Kushalnagar. 

To reach there, we had to go on a  boat ride through the clean water, which was really cheap (Rs.30/- per head).  It was a small ride and hardly 5 minutes only.  As soon as we reached there, the boat people approached us and we had to wait for some more people to board it. They have a requirement of 20 people to take the ride.   Sometimes it may take more than an hour to get a boat in crowded time. When we reached it was not so crowded and within minutes, more people joined there, (some of them we had already met in other tourist places there) and it was a fun ride, to reach across the elephant camp in Dubare Forest.



We saw a number of elephants there including small ones.  The elephants  were well tamed and friendly. The tourists enjoyed feeding them, watching them having their bath, and the elephants played with us, by splashing water. There were other facilities like elephant ride, jungle lodges and river rafting.









            




                                                Some juice and snacks were available here. 



Distance from Mysore - 88 kms
Distance from Bangalore - 250 kms
Distance from Kushalnagar centre - 10 kms


After spending some time in the elephant camp, we waited for the boat for our return trip. Within minutes a boat came and took us back to the spot where we had boarded the boat. 

Soon we were back in the taxi, and the driver drove us to Nisargadhama, which is a small island about 3 kms away from Kushalnagar.  I will write about it in another blog. 




Saturday, August 20, 2016

A Family Trip to Coorg - Part 3

Back to Part 2



Abby Falls

After parking the car on the road, we walked about 800 meters through a narrow path of the private plantation of coffee bushes, wild vines and creepers.  Though the path was a little slippery, both young and old alike, walked through the narrow passage with excitement to see the fall.. It was worth the visit. 





 After a few minutes walk, we could hear the sounds of the falls which became louder as we approached the spot, after passing through a lush and dense greenery. The waterfall was magnificent and flowing in full force. Any one who loves nature should not miss this marvelous and gushing water flow.  


One must walk through the hanging bridge to get a good view of the fall, which is a sight to remember. The water fall comes down from a height of 70 feet The waters join River Cauvery.  The cascading crystal clear water in the midst of emerald flora is a delight to the eyes.  





Our driver, who was a frequent visitor to this place, had warned us to watch out for leeches, and not to be in close proximity of the fence. 

Earlier it was called as Jessi Falls by the British, in the memory of the daughter of Medikere's first British Captain.

Best time to visit - July to October.
Distance from Medikere - 8 kms.
Distance from Mysore - 122 kms
Distance from Bangalore - 270 kms

There was one more fall named Iruppu Falls, which is supposed to be bigger than this, and further away, but we had no time to visit there, and we were content with Abbey Falls.


Thursday, August 18, 2016

A Family Trip to Coorg, India - Part 2

A Family Trip to Coorg, India - Part 1

Talacauvery

Talacauvery, the source of River Cauvery, is located about 4187 feet above sea level, situated on the Brahmagiri hill slopes. Passing through the zigzag roads on either sides, enjoying the natural beauty of coffee plantations, interspersed with pepper vines, and banana and cardamom crops, when we reached the spot mild shower welcomed us, but soon it cleared off, and became foggy. After a while the fog too disappeared.   






According to legend, saint Kavera meditated at Sahyadri hills to please God to bless him with a child.  Lord Brahma was pleased and blessed him with an adopted daughter Cauvery. The saint brought up the adopted daughter with much love and care.  Saint Agasthya, who was a frequent visitor to Kavera's ashram, fell in love with her and married her.  After some time, the saint fell in love with Kannike, whom he met secretly. Cauvery came to know about it and she went down angrily flowing taking Kannike along with her. When she came down, the force of the water was such that it pushed the pleats of the sarees of the Coorgi women who were waiting for her, from the front to the rear. It is said that since then the Coorgi women drape the sari in that way, the pleats are tucked in at the waist at the back rather than in front, as commonly seen in most part of India. (Sorry, I didn't take a photo of a Kodava woman). 





Cauvery River originates as a spring feeding the tank and the water is said to flow underground to emerge as a river. 



On the day of Thulasankramana (the first day of Tula month which usually falls on 17th or 18th of October) the water gushes up from the spring at a predetermined moment, and people throng this place to witness this wonderful phenomenon. 









There are a series of steps (about 370) leading to the top of Brahmahiri Hill, and from there one can see 360 degree view of the surrounding area. 



Distance from Bangalore to Talacauvery - 297 kms via NH 275

Distance from Mysore to Talacauvery - 160 kms.  


From there, after having a delicious Coorgi lunch in a hotel on the way, we headed to see Abby Waterfalls, which was about 48 kms away.  




Monday, August 15, 2016

A Family Trip to Coorg, India - Part 1

Nestled in the Western Ghats, amidst verdant valleys, imposing mountains and dense forests, Coorg is a great place to visit for a rejuvenating holiday.  

Recently, we had planned an outstation trip for the family.  We hired a taxi from Bangalore and headed towards Coorg, one of the best hill stations of South India.  Coorg is also called as Kodagu, and nicknamed as ‘Kashmir of South’ , ‘Switzerland of India’ and ‘Scotland of India’.  

River Cauvery (Kaveri River) is the life line of Karnataka State and Talacauvery is the birth place of this river, which is located in Coorg.  Talacauvery is  a famous pilgrimage centre for Hindus, located at the feet of Brahmagiri Hills. The main crops of Coorg are Coffee, Pepper and Cardamom.  You can also get the tastiest honey in the world in this picturesque place.


We had already booked our accommodation in a Home Stay named Chili Pili in Hoskeri village at Medikere.  After a drive of about 240 kms  we reached the Chili Pili estate, owned by  Mr. and Mrs. Dilip Ganapathy.  Fortunately, the weather was very favourable;  it was not raining during our trip and thus we had a pleasant drive. When we arrived at the Homestay, they were waiting for us with their delicious dinner.   We had booked two rooms for our family, and soon retired to the cozy rooms.   (More about the Homestay will be posted later. )


After a wonderful breakfast  in the morning in the Homestay,  we set off for our sight-seeing trip, with the directions provided by Mr. Ganapathy.   


Our first visit was to Sri Bhagadeshwara  Temple at Bhagamandala, dedicated to Lord Shiva.  The other deities in the temple are Mahavishnu, Ganapathy and  Subramanya.

The view from there was stunning. Bhagamandala is a popular tourist destination and it is the confluence of three rivers, Sujyothi, Kanike and Cauvery. The temple is named after Sage Bhaganda, who installed Shivlinga at this holy place. 









Then we headed towards  Talacauvery, the origin of River Cauvery.  It was about 5 kms from here. More about it in the next posting.




Thursday, August 4, 2016

8 Tips for Book Reading

Recently I happened to read a couple of books during my long stay in London.  Some book reading quotes are given here. 


1. If you only read the books that everyone else is reading, you can only think what everyone else is thinking.  
–Haruki Murakami
2. Any book that helps a child to form a habit of reading, to make reading one of his deep and continuing needs, is good for him.
–Maya Angelou
3. A book is a version of the world. If you do not like it, ignore it or offer your own version in return.
–Salman Rushdie
4. A book is the only place in which you can examine a fragile thought without breaking it.
–Edward P. Morgan
5. The only important thing in a book is the meaning that it has for you.
–W. Somerset Maugham
6. A great book should leave you with many experiences, and slightly exhausted at the end. You live several lives while reading.
–William Styron
7. You know you’ve read a good book when you turn the last page and feel a little as if you have lost a friend.
–Paul Sweeney
8. Whenever you read a good book, somewhere in the world a door opens to allow in more light.
  –Vera Nazarian

Friday, July 8, 2016

Trip to Barcelona, Spain

Recently I travelled to Barcelona with my family. Barcelona, the beautiful capital city of Spain, had been one of my must visit places in the list. We travelled from London to Barcelona by flight and we had already booked an accommodation in advance.

Barcelona is packed with historical buildings, parks, museums, beaches and shopping centres. Like many others, we too used a hop on hop off bus for sight seeing.


Sagrada Familia is one of the top attractions of Barcelona. It is one of Antonio Gaudi's famous works in Barcelona.  The construction of this giant Basilica was started in 1882 and still it is not completed.  Since there was a long queue for the entry to the church we didn't spend our time to see inside.
 



                                                                           


La Rambla - One of the most popular places in Barcelona which is always crowded with tourists. It is also famous for Human statues,  markets, restaurants, cafes, pigeons, various shows and other entertainments. It is also a place for starting the bus tours for sight seeing.  
                                                                       


A Cathedral - It was built in 13th century.


                                                                           


We spent sometime in the beach sitting and enjoying the palm trees, activities around, and the azure waters.

















La Pedrera is another great work of Gaudi. After visiting the place we did a bit of shopping too there.

Another place we visited was one of the sea ports.  We also enjoyed the famous Spanish food Paelle and Tapas.