Posts Tagged With: Bangalore

Shivasamudram Chronicle

Bangalore is a great place in terms of one day and weekends trips. There are so many places one can go to take a mini break from routine and city life. One of such places is the Shivasamudram Falls. Shivasamudram Falls are located at around 136 km from Bangalore by car if you take the Bangalore-Kanakapura-Malavalli-Shivasamudram route. One can go via Bangalore-Maddur-Malavalli-Shivanasamudra route too. The Kanakapura road is a state highway road. It is not in that great condition but it gets better after you cross Kanakapura. Also unlike Mysore road, there are no good restaurants or stopovers on Kanakpura road. So carry your snacks etc.

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DSC06870Shivasamudram Falls  are situated on the banks of the river Cauvery. One of the first hydro-electric power stations in Asia was set up in the year 1902 at this location. The plant is still functional. Shivasamudram falls are of the segmented steep cascade waterfalls type. Segmented waterfalls occur where the water flow is broken into two or more channels before dropping over a cliff, resulting in multiple side by side waterfalls.

DSC07365According to World Waterfall Database, Shivasamudram falls has an average width of 305 meters, a height of 98 m, and an average volume of 934 cubic meters / sec. The maximum recorded volume is 18,887 cubic meters / sec.  Apparently it is a perennial waterfall but the water flow varies a lot. The first and second time we visited the place was in November and March. The water flow was very low. The third time we visited was in August after the onset of monsoon and the falls were just spectacular!! So I guess the time of visit is the monsoon season of July to October. The surrounding greenery is also season dependent so for lush scenic views, the best time to visit is during monsoon season.

Waterfall in lean season
Waterfall in lean season

Shivasamudram Falls consists of two falls – the Gaganachukki and the Bharachukki. Cauvery river divides around the island type land formation of Shivasamudram and two separate waterfalls are formed. While Gaganachukki is a large horsetail type waterfall, Bharachukki  is a jagged crashing cascade. Barchukki is wider but Gaganachukki is taller, deeper and faster.

After taking a left turn at Malavalli, one should continue on the road till a left turn comes which leads to Gaganchukki. If you don’t take that turn and continue straight, cross a bridge on the mighty Cauvery; you can go to Bharachukki. Bharachukki is better developed than Gaganchukki from tourism point of view. But there is a Karnataka tourism hotel at Gaganchukki where you can have good and tasty lunch. Otherwise there are no restaurants at the place. One can find tender coconut sellers and other such vendors selling small food items.

There is a parking fee collection point on the road leading to Gaganchukki falls which appears to be totally illegal. The ticket they give is in local language. During one of our visit, they gave ticket and we paid money but while returning they stopped our car and started arguing that we left without paying. We also argued and shouted back and they let us go reluctantly. Since then we have started photos whenever we pay the money.

DSC09116There are lots of steps leading down to the view point at Gaganchukki falls. But the view point is very small compared to the crowd that throngs the place during full flow of river. When the waterfalls are in full volume, the water spray comes to the steps and the view point. The roar of the falls is deafening in a pleasant way and the force of nature expressed through the rushing water is amazing and humbling.

Steps leading down to the view point

Steps leading down to the view point

Waterfall in the "mean" season!

Waterfall in the “mean” season!

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Lilliputian humans in front of Giant waterfall

Hotel Mayura,owned by Karnataka State Tourism Development Corporation, has a good restaurant and children play area. It has 1 Suite Room, 5 A/C double rooms and 5 double bed rooms in case one wishes to stay the night. It is only place where you can freshen up after the drive to Shivasamudram. During one of our visits, there were lots of ducks in the lawn area. Didn’t find them the next time.

DSC06903DSC07371After a decent lunch (the hotel serves both vegetarian and non vegetarian food), we went to Bharachukki. As we crossed the bridge over Cauvery, the sight of the river in full spate was breathtaking and scary. As it was monsoon season, dark clouds made the atmosphere ominous. Such weather is nice otherwise it gets very hot at Shivasamudram in non monsoon seasons.

DSC09141DSC09150There are lot of steps leading down to the Bharachukki waterfall too like in Gaganchukki. One can go boating in the famous round coracles till the point just beneath the waterfall. But the steps are closed off during the full flow of the waterfall to prevent any accidents. One can sit in nice seating area around the place and enjoy the view. Beware of the monkeys!!! Too many of them around and they literally chase you if you have any eatable or even beverage in your hand. DSC09166

DSC09183The gates close at around 6 pm so one must plan the itinerary accordingly. One can also include Talakad in the itinerary since it is just 35 kms from Shivasamudram.

Categories: Karnataka, Nature, Road Trips | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Krishnagiri Chronicle

When we bought our car Ford Figo, we knew we will definitely go on road trips because both of us like traveling and D loves driving [only to such places not to market or malls :D] So our first road trip was to Krishnagiri. After that we visited the place once more recently with my in-laws. Here is an account of the place and our experiences.

Krishnagiri is a small town and district headquarters in Tamilnadu, the 30th district to be precise. It is around 90 km from Bangalore. So it is not a long drive especially from south Bangalore where we live. Apparently Krishnagiri is famous for its mango production and it owes its name to the many black granite hillocks that are a part of the landscape. It is also the birthplace of Dr. C. Rajagopalachari, the first Governor General of India. The National Highway 7 makes the drive to Krishnagiri a pleasant one but only after one crosses Hosur. The condition of highway in Hosur is bad. Also the traffic can be a problem sometimes mainly due to trucks in Hosur. There are two tollways till Krishnagiri. After Hosur, there are many fuel stations and restaurants (even a McDonald’s) at Shoolagiri. The hills in the Hosur – Krishnagiri region give an impressive view with the famous 2000 year old Sri Varadaraja Perumal Temple located atop the Shoolagiri hill. We did not visit the temple so I have no information about that place.

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National Highway 7

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Hills along the highway

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Approaching Shoolagiri

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McDonald’s!!

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Tollway before Krishnagiri

Further along the road, there is a lake called “Avathanapatti Lake” which has a boathouse and a children park. Though we intended to visit that, we could not due to shortage of time.

The first time when we visited Krishnagiri it was during the monsoon season of 2012. The lush green paddy fields, the countryside, the highway, the weather – all were mesmerizing. We could actually see the drizzle happening at a distance!! When we visited next time in August 2013, it was not raining that much and that beautiful look was missing.

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Dark Monsoon Clouds

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Green Paddy Fields

Krishnagiri doesn’t have too many tourist attractions. The most popular tourist attraction is the Krishnagiri reservoir project (KRP) Dam. Then there is a fortress built on the top of Syed Basha hills (also known as Krishnadevarayar Mountain) which belonged to the famous ruler, Tipu Sultan.

# Krishnagiri Fort – The Krishnagiri district website lists “Rayakottah” as a fort in its tourist places but I am confused whether it is the same fort as the one we visited. Though the fort was a protected monument according to a blue notice by ASI, there was no monument name anywhere to be seen. The fort is clearly visible from the main road but finding the entrance is a tricky thing. The entrance or rather the starting steps to the fort are visible after passing through some gullies and crossing someone’s front yard!! The area around the fort has become a human settlement and reeks of negligence of a so-called protected monument. On the positive side, the steps leading to the top of the hill and thereby the fortress are good. But it is a long hike and not for aged or unfit persons. My in-laws decided to wait at the village. D and I started climbing. There were many goats at the starting of the steps and it was amazing to see them standing on the sloping faces of the hills defying gravity!! We humans wont be able to do that!!

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Krishnagiri Fort on the top of Syed Basha Hill

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Area around the Entrance Steps

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The Starting Steps of A Long Climb

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Goats standing on the hills

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D leading the hike to the fort

As we climbed, the aerial view of the town became visible. There were so many different types of shrubs, even cactus in the hills. We also came upon monkeys, ant hills, salamanders, odd rock formations etc.

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View of Krishnagiri from top

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Slopes of the hill

We climbed 220 steps (I counted on our way down!!) after which I gave up.  From the point where I gave up, the fort was still not in sight. God knows how many more steps were there to the fort! I did not want to take sick leave the next day at work 😀 So even if D wanted to complete the hike, I was adamant and we came back. Apparently there is a museum inside the fort. Maybe next time!!

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The Point where I gave up

    # KRP Dam – The fort is on the left side of the highway and the road leading to the KRP dam is on the right side when one is coming from the direction of Hosur. So you have to take a U-turn on the highway and go on the service road till you reach an arch now on your left. There is an entrance fee which one has to pay before entering the dam area. The dam is built across the Thenpennai river. The dam is working since 1958 and was inaugurated by the then Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu K. Kamaraj.

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Entrance Fees to KRP Dam

First time when we went the road leading upto the dam was open but the second time it was closed. At the front of the dam some sculptures are there. A sculpture depicts a king sort of person giving alms to some ascetic looking person. But there was no sign board explaining the significance of the sculpture or the tale behind it. Then there was a huge sculpture of a demon looking king type of person. Again no story!! 😦 Would love to know the tales if any of my blog readers knows it.

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Front of the KRP Dam

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A fisherman fishing with monsoon clouds looming

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The sculpture at the dam

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Another sculpture at the dam

The narrow road leading to the forebay area of the dam is always open.There is not much place there to sit and relax but if one wants to take a dip in the water, then it is good. We parked the car and relaxed for sometime taking in the view of the water and trying to bounce pebbles off the surface of water 😀 The first time when we had gone we could not stay for long as it was drizzling but the second time it was sunny so we enjoyed the view a lot. Inside the village there is a small outlet which we had seen on our first visit, which sells fried fish fresh from the river. Would have loved to try some!

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The forebay of the dam

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My in-laws and D taking in the view

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Fried fish outlet

Again we returned back to the dam and parked in front of a park near the dam. There is a beautiful well maintained garden which was closed when we had gone for the first time but was open the second time around.  The garden spread over 50 acres serves as a picnic spot for tourists. There are steps leading from the garden to the top of the dam. The view of the embankment is mesmerizing from the top. There are swings and other play stuff for children. There is a round fountain area which was not that well maintained, with a Lord Krishna statue in the middle surrounded by “gopiyas” among which one was wearing a salwar kameez!! 😀

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KRP Park

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Garden

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Krishna surrounded by Gopiyas

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Steps leading upto the dam

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View of the garden from the dam top

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View of water from top of dam

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View of the water

After spending time in the park, we started on our way back to Bangalore. Reached home by 6 pm with enough time to relax, have dinner and sleep for the next day was Monday. Krishnagiri is a good place to go for a short one day outing with family, just to get out of the city and to take a break.

Categories: Cities, Road Trips, Tamil Nadu | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Bangalore Chronicle

Its been 6 months since we moved to Bangalore. Visits from in-laws and parents resulted in a lot of sight-seeing in and around Bangalore. It is impossible to cover all the places in one day in Bangalore due to traffic and distance. This post is about all the places we have visited in Bangalore and an attempt to act as a sight-seeing/ tourism guide for any visitor. There are still lot of places yet to be seen. 🙂

1. Bull Temple – It is situated in Basavanagudi ( Basava means bull in Kannada). It is the oldest temple built in the Dravidian style by Kempe Gowda, founder of Bangalore and has a monolithic Nandi, the bull (vahana or vehicle of Lord Shiva). Karnataka Tourism website tells me the imposing sculpture of Nandi measures 4.57 meters in height in height and 6.10 meters in length. There is a legend associated with the temple. You can also see the famous Dodda Ganesh temple next to the Bull temple. Apparently there is a huge monolithic statue of Lord Ganapathi about 18 ft in height and 16 ft in width, coated with kilos of butter. We didn’t have time to visit that temple so no photos. Timings of Bull Temple : 6 am to 8 pm.

2. Lalbagh – Well, anyone who wants to travel to Bangalore or knows people who live here, know about Lalbagh 🙂 So I will just quote introduction from their official website. Timings: 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM, open all days. No charge for camera.

The Lalbagh Botanical Garden, Bangalore is of royal origin and was started initially as a private garden in an area of 40 acres by Hyder Ali and later developed by Tippu Sultan. Lalbagh was given the status of a Government Botanical Garden in 1856, and since then, it has been an internationally renowned centre for scientific study of plants and botanical artwork and conservation of plants. Today, the garden is a lush green paradise with an area of 240 acres in the heart of the city. The main gate is at the North facing towards Subbaiah circle, the West gate is towards Basavanagudi, the South gate is towards Jayanagar and the East gate is towards the Double Road. Today, nearly 673 genera and 1,854 species of plants are found in Lalbagh.

There are tour vehicles available at the North Gate which give you a tour of the 18 notable places of the huge garden. The charge is Rs 100 person but it is good for the elderly and disabled and for those who are on a sightseeing tour of the city. Of the 18 tourist places, here is a description of few of them.

Above is the Glass House constructed in the year 1890 on the model of Crystal Palace of London. It is the most famous structure in Lalbagh.  The glass house is the venue for holding the famous biannual flower shows of Lalbagh.

The lake is the main reason for the establishment of the garden. This 30 acre lake serves as a source of water for watering the garden plants. Below is a tower known as Kempegowda Tower that stands on a wide stretch of rock called peninsular gneiss, constructed in 1597 AD. The tower offers a partial view of the Bangalore city.

3. Kote Venkataramana Temple – It is located at the junction of Albert Victor Road and K R Road at Chamrajpet. It was constructed in 1695 during the time of Chikka Devaraja Wodeyar, one of the Mysore rulers. This famous Vishnu temple has a huge “gopuram” built in typical Dravidian style. Parking can be a problem as it is at a very busy traffic junction. Timings: 08:00 am – 12:00 pm 06:00 pm – 08:30 pm, all days.

4. Tippu Sultan’s Summer Palace – It is located next to the Kote Venkataramana temple. The palace’s construction was started by Hyder Ali and completed by Tipu Sultan in 1791. This was one of Tipu Sultan’s summer retreats hence the name. It is a two storied palace built of teak wood completely and has ornate pillars, arches and balconies. There are floral motifs painted on the walls and ceilings of the palace. There is a huge well-maintained garden leading from the entrance to the palace. Again, parking can be a problem as it is a very busy market area. Timings: 9:30am to 5:30pm, Sunday closed. There is a nominal entrance fee.

5. Government Museum – This is situated on Kasturba road. The museum, constructed in 1876, is one of the oldest in India and has a beautiful well maintained building with two exhibition floors. The museum has a wonderful collection of coins, weaponry, sculptures, inscriptions, old paintings and excavated items including those from Mohenjodaro! Timing : 10 am to 5 pm. Wednesdays closed. Entry fees : Rs 5. Photography prohibited.

6. Venkatappa Art Gallery – The Venkatappa Art Gallery is located next to the Museum and is named after Late K Venkatappa (1887–1962), court painter to the Wodeyars. There is no separate ticket for this gallery..the one to museum is valid for both places. The gallery showcases a selection of Venkatappa’s famous paintings, plaster of paris works and wooden sculptures. Also on view are works of various contemporary artists. Timing: 10 am – 5 pm. Wednesdays closed.

7. Visvesvaraya Industrial and Technological Museum –  It is situated on Kasturba Road on the other side of the Government Musuem. It was established in 1962 and is one of the units of National Council of Science Museums. The wonderful and impressive musuem is a tribute to the eminent engineer and scholar Sir M. Visvesvaraya. The museum has seven permanent exhibition halls (Engine Hall, Electrotechnic, Fun Science, Space, Biotechnological Revolution, BEL-Hall of Electronics and Science for Children and two special exhibits(Dinosaur Corner and Wright brothers aeroplan). The place is a must visit for all the people interested in science and engineering. Also a number of shows are held for the visitors – Taramandal Show, Science Demonstration Show and 3D film show. Timings: 10 am – 6pm. Open on all days except for Ganesh Chaturthi and Deepawali.

8. Government Aquarium –  It is located right at the entrance of Cubbon Park from KG road side. It is the second largest aquarium in India and has a diamond shaped building comprising of three floors. The ground floor has the office and the laboratory. First floor has 14 big tanks of cultivable fish. Second floor has both large and small fishes kept in separate tanks exhibiting their habitat. Timings : 10 am to 5 pm. Closed on Thursdays. Entry fees : Rs 5.

9. Jawaharlal Nehru Planetarium – It is situated at T. Chowdiah Road but no one seems to recognize the road’s name so it is better to tell Raj Bhavan road. Also it is better to take auto from Kasturba Gandhi road / Cubbon park area as they know the place. Others don’t know “planetarium” and hard to make them understand if you don’t know Kannada. The planetarium was founded in 1989 and has a dome with 15 m diameter upon which the show is projected. There are exhibition halls which offer more information on astronomy. There is a weighing scale which shows one’s weight on all the planets and gives a print-out. Also there is a Science Park outside the Planetarium. Though the show was good, the crowd spoiled it by doing flash photography; even though cameras were prohibited. The show timings are : 12.30, 3:00, 4.30 and 5.15 pm for English shows. Monday closed.

10. Indira Gandhi Musical Fountain and Park – It is situated right opposite to the Planetarium. The landscaped park, maintained by the Department of Horticulture, is spread over 17 hectares of land and includes a play area for children. At the entrance to the park, there is a railway engine placed in honor of the then Central Railway Minister, C K Jaffer Sharief, who presented the musical fountain in 1995. The musical show consists of synchronized rhythmic dancing of the fountains based on multimedia technology along with both Hindi and Kannada songs and lights which makes it a visual and audio delight. Timings: Two shows are held daily at 7 pm and 8 pm. Mondays and second Tuesdays of the month are holidays.

11. Shiva Temple – It is located behind Total Mall on Old Airport Road. Although it is a must visit for religious people, it makes a good tourist place for non-believers too. The concept of the place is worth seeing. One has to buy tickets at some places and there is extra charge for camera. Upholding the tradition of worshipping Lord Ganesh before all endeavors, there is a 32-feet-tall Vignaharan Ganesh statue at the start of the tour.

Along the tour you will come across 108 Om Namah Shivaya Yatra  (where you can drop coins one by one in the 108 bowls chanting Om Namah Shivaya – beware each coins cost rs 10), Pahadi Shiv Dham Yatra (where you can experience the illusion of being at the pilgrimages of Haridwar, Rishikesh, Badrinath, Kedarnath, and Amarnath – complete with an exact replica of the famous frozen shrine!!), Barah Jyotir Ling Yatra (where you can see exact replicas of the 12 sacred lingams along with animatronics!), a replica of Mansarovar Lake, Pratyaksh Ling, Healing Stone and Navagraha Temple.

The temple is abode to the 65-feet-tall Shiva statue seated in a Yogic (Lotus) posture with the scenic backdrop of Mount Kailash, Himalayas and the Ganges flowing from the Lord’s matted locks. Timings: Open 24 hours, all days

12. Ulsoor Lake – It is located near M.G.Road. Though there are timings to visit the lake, a tip of rs 10 will get you inside during off timings. The lake is one of the biggest lakes of the city and is dotted with islands. There is a boat club at the lake (whose gate is on the other side) where you can hire a boat to go boating around the beautiful lake. Boating club timings : 9 am to 6 pm with holiday on Wednesday. Apparently, there is also a gurdwara near the Ulsoor lake, considered to be the largest Sikh shrine in the Bangalore city of India but we didn’t visit that.

13. Bangalore Palace – It is situated in the Palace Gardens, near Jayamahal. The beautiful palace was built by a Wodeyar King in 1887 on the 400 acre space. It is built in the Tudor style, complete with Gothic windows, foiled windows, battlements and turrets; apparently inspired by the Windsor castle in London. The palace is constructed largely of wood and is famous for its carvings, paintings, historical photos, furniture, trophies from hunts and traditional dresses. There are audio tour guides available for tourists which are quite useful to understand and enjoy the palace. Also the audio guide is available in English, Kannada, Hindi, French, Spanish, German, Italian and the tour lasts about an hour. But the entrance fees is very costly. For Indians it is Rs 200 (inclusive of audio guide) and camera charge is Rs 600!!! The grounds are now used for hosting various events. We visited the palace on 31st Dec so there were lot of preparations going on for some New Year bash. So we didn’t get to capture any nice photos of the impressive palace. Timings : 10 am to 6 pm (Sunday Holiday)

14. ISKCON Temple – The International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) temple in Bangalore city is situated near Chord Road on a hillock called “Hare Krishna Hill”. The huge cultural complex is quite wonderful and has all the facilities. But one has to give all belongings (except purses) including camera. But people still take snaps using mobiles! Anyway so there are some direct darshan passes ( don’t know the cost) available to bypass the “buffer” system; which is quite tedious to be frank and especially when you fall behind someone who traverses the path actually stepping on stone tiles one at a time while chanting the mantra. And after all that one gets to see the idols and pray for just two seconds and is forced to move along!! But that will make a separate blog post in itself, so moving on..there are three temples mainly, one higher than the earlier. The construction of the place, the interiors, the gold-plated dwajastambha (flag post) at 17m high and the gold plated kalash shikara at 8.5m high are pretty impressive. On the return path, there are all sort of shops selling various mementos, dress materials, stationery items, idols and even tasty food items and sweets. One does get hungry after all that walking! There is free distribution of prasadam too. The place can get very very crowded during evening so beware! Timings for darshana: 4.15 am to 5 am, 7.15 am to 12.50 pm and 4 pm to 8.20 pm everyday.

There are still so many places left to visit – Bannerghatta National Park, HAL Aerospace Museum, Cubbon Park [by the time we visited all the places on KG road it was closing time for the park somehow every time 😦 ], St. Marks Cathedral etc. So there will be a second part of this post! Hence to be continued……

Categories: Cities, Karnataka | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 24 Comments
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