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Grey Matter

Date: 2008-08-01 18:38
Subject: Gopalaswamy Betta
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Tags:2008, gopalaswamy betta, gopalaswamy_betta_jul08, july, photo
Not withstanding the fact that this is my fourth trip to the Goapalswamy betta and this being the latest one, it has always been an enjoyable trip.

Starting off early enough from Bangalore, we reached Mysore and went on a search for a hotel which was recommended by both Chandan and Sandeep for its delicious badam halwa. Chandan knew the name of the hotel while Sandeep knew the vicinity where it was located. What ensued was hunt for the hotel with us criss-crossing pretty much every road on either side of the road leading from the Mysore Railway Station towards Ooty. With neither of them unable to pin-point the road where the hotel was located we gave up and headed out towards another hotel for some breakfast. Though the name of the hotel sounded inviting ("Nalapaka") the masala dosa was bad while the coffee was very poor. From here we headed on towards the betta.

Nestled in the Bandipur forest, it is a trip which you can make in a day from Bangalore and return back home. About an hour and a half beyond Mysore en-route to Bandipur with a deviation and a forest check-post thrown-in, we encountered the hill, which gets steeper and steeper as we reached the summit. The ride up the hill was pretty scenic with a view of the plains below and a spread of lot of sun-flower fields on either side of the hills.

Atop the hill there was a constant cool breeze which was very relaxing. With KSRTC providing a bus service to the temple the rush of devotees visiting the temple remained unabated throughout the duration of our stay. A serpentine queue welcomed us into the courtyard of the temple. A lenghty wait and we were allowed inside the temple followed by another wait inside. We were ushered inside the sanctum sanctorium of the temple in batches to enable the pujari to perform puja and provide "individual attention". The pujari appeared in a trance with him repeating the "sthala mahaatme" (history of the place) to every batch that made its way for the darshan. A noticable difference was the speed and the attention the pujari paid to the devotees. This being my fourth visit, I saw a marked difference in the way the whole puja is done.
Followed by the darshan, we walked around the various paths visible on the hill all around the temple. A long walk we took was punctuated with stops to enjoy the beauty of the views we encountered. One section of the hill is barred for visitors due to a known problem with elephant encounters. Unable to contact Chandan we headed back up the hill to the temple.

Path Beyond
View of the path barred for visitors to the temple.

We headed back down the hill and found a suitable place to have our "lunch". Along with the various chats we had, I prepared some bhel puri for lunch, almost ready to eat ones that is, and we rounded it off with some tender coconut.

We headed back to Mysore and decided to search for the hotel again. It is called Ramya Drive-In and we decided to search for it on the one road we had not searched for in the morning and behold, the hotel was right there. We went in and had ordered the famous badam halwa. Everybody downed one each except for me. I had to have a second one. It looked mouth-wateriing and the taste was fantastic. We ended up placing a bulk order for the same.

Temple Idol View from the Top

Breeze Temple atop the Hill
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Date: 2007-03-02 17:47
Subject: Kabini
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Tags:jlr, kabini, photos, road_trip
Finally an outing after nearly 4 months at home. A trip to kabini with deepsan and bchandan was most refreshing. A chance to enjoy the hot sun in the eyes. Couple of safari rides, a bit of post-lunch nap, good food and a bit of catching up and who would forget the camera!

A few photos from the trip. More to be posted in the coming days.



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Date: 2006-08-21 14:19
Subject: 130
Security: Public
Tags:car_drive, harihar
Maximum speed I was able to take my fathers Alto to. A gentle down gradient, a newly laid flat bumpless NH - 4 and relatively no traffic aided a bit. Even at the speed there were no stability problems a very smooth effortless drive. Held on at this speed for about 7 secs and then realised that it is not my car...... yet, backed off to about a 100k.

A trip on the 16th from Bangalore to Harihar (~280kms one way) and back started at 10:45AM and by the time we reached back home it was 10:15PM, with a lengthy one and half hour break at Harihar. Of course NH - 4 is awesome, no potholes, very wide double roads and very little traffic during the daytime although at nights it is very difficult to figure out the trucks what with many having neither tail lamps nor reflectors and some times both.

Before you ask, the trip was more of a requirement than a pleasant vacation drive.
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Date: 2006-07-12 19:03
Subject: Wayanad
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Tags:june, mahe, photos, road_trip, wayanad
Sundeep was in town in June for his mid-year month long vacation. deepsan came up with the idea of taking off to Lakkidi. We started off on friday 3-June and came back on Monday 5-June. We travelled around 900kms through the whole trip. We hit Kalpetta, Calicut, Mahe, Thalassery, Muzhappilangad and Mananthavady. You can find a more detailed entry here.

You can find some of the photos below.

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Date: 2006-05-02 21:06
Subject: Yelagiri
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Tags:photos, road_trip, yelagiri
Trekking in summer can get tiring if the route you take is open to the sun for long stretches. However summer is also the only time when you can get away from leeches when trekking. Last weekend was not for trekking. It was time for another road trip and this time it was bchandan turn to get the car.

The drive was to Yelagiri, a hill station in Tamil Nadu. It is located off the Bangalore-Chennai road. The roads are pretty good and ashokd enjoyed driving the car.
We headed off to Yelagiri from deepsan's place and this time ashokd was the last to arrive. The traffic in Karnataka on Hosur road was very thick which reduced dramatically as soon as we crossed into Tamil Nadu. With construction work in progress enroute, we got lost before we were directed back to the correct route by one of the localites. The climb up to the peak was laden with tight hair-pins which deepsan managed comfortably. We stopped midway at the viewpoint to enjoy the scenary although there appeared to be a haze.

Once at the top, it was disappointing to find nothing but a lake (artificial) and an accompanying childrens playgound. The weather did not feel as though we were in a hill-station. With nothing much to do, we had some lunch, spent a lot of time at the lake and in the parking lot chatting. Ashok put us through the paces of how a project is to be executed while each of us chipped in with inputs on how he should go about what he was doing. On the way back, we found a small trail and followed. This path led us to a place with boulders. This proved to be a much better viewpoint. All of us slept on these boulders till late in the evening. This was the most enjoyable part of this whole trip. We then headed back to the place where the car was parked and started back to Bangalore. On the way back ashokd narrated an incident about the follies of using only the car brakes when climbing down the hill although I did not see any need for him to keep moving through the gears all the time. Feeling a bit drowsy after waking up in the middle of the good sleep, I managed to have some sleep on the way back.

Back in Bangalore, pizza's at Dominos marked the end of a nice trip.

Behind the fence Blue Bud1 Viewpoint Bud2
Flower2 Horizon Afar Full bloom Fresh and old Growth ...
Light and Shade Trees Colours Rice Fields Bed of Flowers
Lone Ranger Road Curve Rice Field2 Young and Old Rice stalks
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Date: 2006-02-20 18:41
Subject: Taj Mahal
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Looked beautiful and serene among the throngs of visitors.
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Date: 2006-02-19 07:56
Subject: In and out of Jaipur
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Having arrived at Jaipur at 11AM, had a harrowing time getting the train ticket from Agra to Delhi booked. It ate up over 2 hours. I have a bus now to Agra at 10PM (one of those which reaches at an unearthly 3AM).

My legs are still aching from the trek to Triund but what a trek it was. The views from the snowline were absolutely fabulous. I was not going on this trek but for a last minute change of heart and I am happy that I went on it. More pics and stories later.
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Date: 2006-01-25 14:37
Subject: Books in 2005
Security: Public
Tags:2005, books
Blink, To Kill a Mocking Bird, Catch-22, The Broker, Artemis Fowl, Arctic Incident, Eternity Code, The Opal Deception, The Last Don, GodFather, Bourne Identity, Curious incident of the dog in the night time, Da Vinci Code, The Rule of Four are some of the books I read in 2005. I dont remember few others, but this set of books come to my mind.

I do have another list of unfinished books which I stopped reading for various reasons. Ultimate Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy (never looked like going anywhere in Life, the Universe, and Everything), The Impressionist (slowest book I have ever read).

List of books in progress include Snow and Collected Short stories from Roald Dahl. Both are gripping and are nearing completion. Havng lost a bit of interest in Snow midway I had to force myself to read through that part. In the meantime started off with the short stories which are twisted to say the least.
Compiled especially for Shamit.
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Date: 2006-01-03 16:52
Subject: New Year
Security: Public
Tags:photos, tadiyendamol, trek
Wishing everyone a very happy new year.

Spending the last moments of the 2005 and the first few moments of 2006 atop a peak was fantastic.
Watching the last sunset of 2005 and the first sunrise of 2006 was overwhelming.
Experiencing bitter cold in the morning and searing heat in the afternoon on the first day of 2006 was amazing.

First sunrise.
First Sunrise

More pictures coming up later.
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Date: 2005-11-30 14:32
Subject: Back on
Security: Public
The name given to this entry does not exactly apply, as I had not wilfully stopped blogging. It has got more to do with me taking some time out of my work to blog. This has not come about easily. I had to face a lot of admonishments from deepsan, bchandan and of course ashokd ;-)
I also have a huge backlog of photos to put up and I made a start yesterday with 5 of them. I will from now on regularly put a few up. Hopefully I should be done with all of them as quickly as possible. So lets see.
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my journal
August 2008