Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Madikeri :: encounter with nature's beauty

Another weekend was fast approaching. Vinay had just come back from UK after a long time. I hadn't been along with him for almost 6 months & moreover he was sad that he missed Ahobilam by only a week.. I had no plans for this weekend but the next 3 were jammed. So, on Friday, we started scouting our options. Surprisingly, my parents sat out of the trip. Abhi backed out of the trip due to his spouses exams. Pammi backed out as usual :) but he had some office work over the weekend too. Since he is getting hooked later this year, this might not go on for a long time, so we let him enjoy with official work :)

With only 2 day's to spare, our options were limited. Chikkamangalur was our favourite option, but couldn't afford to miss the guys during this awesome plan. so we postponed it. We were left out with Ooty or Madikeri. I had some friends in Madikeri who could help with last minute accommodation plan, hence the balance tilted towards Madikeri.

Plans set, Ford wheels were in motion again. We started off at 5 AM in the morning to avoid the Mysore road traffic. Amazing weather to drive, I zipped around to Mysore within no time. Since we got up so early, we were hungry pretty fast. we stopped at Prashanth hotel just on the border of Hunsur. Look at the size of Masala Dosa.Vini ate one and a half of these :)

Buddhist Monastery: Golden Temple
 Around 5km before Kushalnagar, we got to take a left deviation. you can't miss the arch. Drive around 4km inside & you would find the Golden Temple. on the way, you feel that you are somewhere up north-east with amount of people from Tibet & their settlements. They are self-sufficient & they have everything for their daily needs within this settlement.

Golden Temple does not boast of any great Stupas but the richness lies in the simplicity & grandeur lies in silence. its obvious that the idols do signify something, but till yesterday, i had never seen the clear difference in the expressions of the 3 idols. read the attached snap to understand who the 3 people are. Temple also has some nice architectural value to it with lots of colours. For me & my wife, it was almost like a total recall from a year ago. Same old monks with their sutra's & music in Sikkim.

Dubare Elephant Camp:
 Undoubtedly, highlight of our trip. It also helps that I do have a love for Elephants. Its just the royal elegance of the regal creature which fascinates me every time when we see them either in person or on TV.  I had missed to include this spot in my plan last time around. So, there was no way in hell that we would give a miss this time around.

 Its a 12km deviation on the left on SH88. Ride is good for 10.4km but the last 1.6km is not ideal for a car with low ground clearance. Where there is a will, there is a way; no matter how bad it is :) Somehow, we managed to the camp. There is a small channel of Kaveri river which needs to be crossed before we reach the other shore for the camp.

The camp has 19 elephants in total at various ages. It stands tall at 10ft & we were bang on time when they were feeding them. So we at least had the pleasure of spending time with young calves as well. the big ones eat almost 10 huge Ragi balls for the lunch & few pieces of Jaggery. The little ones, even though they are fed, keep hogging their small trunks in front of every attempt to feed the bigger lot. Kind of cute to see a minor trying to snatch the food from the caretaker.

 We also had a chance to ride upon top of one of them. Ride is just Rs.100/person which is not a big deal when you see the effort which goes behind in maintaining the camp. Unfortunately, the camp doesn't benefit from any multi-nationals or advertisers. I have done my bit of advertising now. While you are reading this, i hope you have already made up your mind to visit once.

" People can make money out of anything & everything "
  I had heard this sometime ago, but I saw the practical scenario in the camp. Water level in the river was not even till knee high & the flow was very moderate. But, i couldn't believe my ears when a guy came up to me & asked " Sir, do you want to do rafting? " My immediate reaction was "you hardly have any water flowing, where are we going to get the rapids for rafting? " that's when he pointed out people drenched in water walking out to shore.

          A slight pan of my head, I witnessed the best comic moment of our trip. The water flow was so slow that 15 people were stuffed on a rubber boat & they were bone dry after the so called rafting ride (more of a Kayaking exp, if i may say so). But at the end, the guide gets off the boat, starts to splash the water on all tourists. Silly people, i pity on them as they were being fooled on the rafting experience. Go to Dandeli or the camp of Sita river for a real experience of Class 3 rapids.

  After all the deviations, we finally arrived at the destination at 12:30 pm. We were greeted with the monsoon rain drizzling down at us. Our Home-stay caretaker came to the nearest landmark & guided along the Brahmins valley to the house.
A home away from home - That's the best way we can put that place in words. Surrounded by thick tress, a quiet home built few decades ago. We found everything which a middle class family would require to suffice their holiday requirements. 2 double-bedrooms & 1 single bedroom both with attached bathrooms, Kitchen, Dining hall, Refrigerator, washing machine, nice covered parking spot, cable TV... u name it, u got it.
Devaraj, our caretaker, takes care of any grocery needs which you might have during the stay. Details of the home stay at the in annexure.

 We were pretty hungry, so we ordered the food from a nearby Vegetarian hotel. If you are an non-vegetarian, your options were plenty, but for Vegans, you will have to chose carefully. I even had a an small incident while ordering food. I honestly order 2 Veg fried rice, 1 Veg Noodles & 1 Mixed Fried rice. Now, i didn't know Mixed meant a wide variety of dead animals with the rice. Anu literally ran out of the room. Funny thing was that she & Vini opened the parcel boxes.

 After lunch, it was still raining pretty heavy. Since there was no other options, we decided to take a rest till evening. But the evening weather didn't turn out any great. But we still went out wearing our jackets in the mild drizzle. We went to the nearby market, scouting for the local spices in the thick fog.

A lesson for all newly married people (experienced fellows are already aware of this ). Never take your spouses to a spices shop & let them free to shop. Anu called my mom & they went on & on & on like a tele-shopping. we went in to buy a small pack of coffee powder but we ended up buying almost a piece of everything in the shop. even after all the talking which we did, we only ended up reducing Rs.100 as it was a wholesale dealer.

Then a few blocks away, we had the best natural fruit juice till date. There wasn't any sugar or preservatives in the juice but still the taste was so brilliant than all these advertised drinks. he charged us 35 for each of them but that was enough for the night. We walked back to the car & drove back in the fog. we spent some time playing cards in the night but we did sleep early.

Day 2

Raja seat:

Early risers went to Raja Seat. A local hotspot to view the grandeur of the nature. normally famous for capturing sunrise/sunset, but due to monsoon, we could only see clouds moving from hill to hill. Still a good sight. much better were the beautiful colours of the flowers in the garden maintained by the team over there.


Just drive up the SH88 through ghats for 38km to reach Triveni Sangama.. nice to see the Kaveri merging with other water sources... quiet place but with heavy rain... have to appreciate the fact that even in that rain, a guy was performing last rites for his loved one. Temple is great, too bad that i couldn't take my camera out.. The style of temple architecture is different from other corner of our states. Due to incessant rains, the design to ensure that they drain out as much water as possible. But the best part of design is even with that heavy rain, you don't hear the water thumping on roofs.


 8km later, we find Talacauvery. we had to literally sit in the car for more than 30min as it was still pouring down. I slept for sometime, Anu was drawing on the windows, Ramya was listening to songs and Vini was eating something :).... when we stepped out finally, we took plastic sheets from nearby shops so that we can see the places. that was worth the money we paid as we had lots of fun walking around with it & also gave me an oppurtunity to take my camera along with me..

I have been to this place multiple times, but this time it was different. It was foggy, temple was empty, no one to hurry us, we had ample time to see the water source, priest was patient enough to explain us about the phenomenon. He even asked us to come by on October 17th wherein we can actually see the water level rise with bubbles 3 times...

Out of the temple, we hit straight to a Coffee shop.. Bisi Bisi coffee/tea with Bajji's. Typical but enjoyed to the core with the cold wind gushing through our sheets... even though we spent very little, we were content with the smiles & food which was quite apt to the situation. We miss this with our extravagant parties lately wherein we pay thousands to eat so less... hmm.. something to think about.
 We had our lunch in Talacauvery in the a nice restaurant just off the entry gates. then we started our trip back to Madikeri.


Packed our bags, paid for the homestay, goodbyes done; we were off to Mysore. It was a pretty good drive back to Mysore within 1hr and 40min. We were way too early for the evening Palace lights. So we decided to climb up the mountain again to get a glimpse of had been more than 6yrs that i had last visited the temple. so i was more eager than anyone around.Blessed that we were, we finished our darshan within 30min. Rains had followed us from coorg all the way to Mysore. We had to rush back to our car & drive down the mountain to Nandi. couple of snaps, & off we go to Anu's friends place.

Here we met her kid which as cute as any. he was just 3 months old but he used to cry only when you stop playing with him. You walk, move from corridor to corridor, juggle his cradle, he keeps smiling back at you.

We started off to Palace. bang on time to see the lighted Mysore palace. I got to know that they spend a whopping Rs1,50,000 per 30 min to keep the lights glowing. But the sight is worth the money once a week.

Things to Mind:

  • Mysore road is always busy. so leave early morning to avoid traffic.
  • Food : not a problem. you have options, but chose it carefully. 
  • Fuel : Fuel stations are in plenty
  • Accommodation: Book yours before traveling
  • Best time: September to February. don't travel during monsoon.
Best Route:
 To avoid Tolls : - Bengaluru South - Kengeri - SH17 Mysore - Bylakoppa - Kushalnagar - Dubare SH88 - Madikeri

Valley Fair Home Stay

Brahmin's Valley Madikeri Karnataka, Madikeri 571201, India
Contact Person : Devaraj : 94815 29398

We started off to Bengaluru at 7:45. Reached home safely at 10:20 pm. took a little longer as it was Sunday traffic returning back to home in our town.

But, we got back to our nests with a dream of flying again soon...



rohitr said...

everyone: you can comment your thoughts about the same.

for any corrections, please do le me know..

Raghavendra VH said...

nice tour report.. needed more jumbo pictures..

Nishitha KM said...

hii..nice post.Thanks for sharing with us.I liked the way you put up the information.I visited br hills resort and also bandipur resorts last weekend with my family. really enjoyed a lot.Do visit once its really awesome..