Thursday, July 22, 2010

Kurinjal gudda and Gangatikal gudda-Part 1

After planning for many treks ,we finally zeroed in on Kudremukha range.I had good memories of my trek to the Kudremukha peak a few years ago with my good friend Gopalakrishna

So the two of us finally decided to embark on this trek.We took the Rajahamsa bus got down at Kalasa and from there we hitchhiked a tea lorry to take us towards Kudremukha.The distance between kalasa and kudremukha is 20 kms.As we enjoyed the early morning ,the lorry stopped with a glitch.

Above : The tent at the Bhagavati nature camp

The lorry driver took about 10minutes to restart the lorry ,we soon stopped at a tea garden-a new ganesha devasthana was built there and the lorry driver wanted to check it out.Soon we were on our way towards Kudremukha.We thanked the lorry driver for dropping us at Kudremukha.

We saw employees of KIOCL some of them rushing,some walking towards their office.We went to the forest office .There was a person who told us that the concerned person would come only at 8:45am.The procedure was to obtain the trek permission and they would assign us a guide for the same.

After having a quick breakfast,we could still spot employees getting into the campus ,a good one hour after the siren had rang.Finally we headed towards Bhagavati Guest house.One has to walk a good one kilometer from the gate to the place where the actual tents is there.

Above: The walk from the entrance to the nature camp

After freshening up ,we relaxed a bit as i dozed of a bit in the room.I was woken up by Gopal who had finished his bath and breakfast and was ready to leave.I quickly gobbled up the delicious Chitranna and we headed for the day 1 trek to Kurinjal Gudda

Above: Stream beside the Bhagavati Nature camp

Our guide for the day was Raghavendra ,who was quite friendly.It hadnt rained for 2 days -a very strange thing since it was peak monsoon season.We took a bus -the start point for the trek is about 4 kms off the highway.As we boarded the bus ,it was simply a treat to watch the green coloured mountains on either side of the highway.

Soon the bus stopped at a small temple of the highway,the bus conductor offered some fresh flowers to the Lord Ganesha.The interesting thing was that he picked up vermillon on the way back gave it to all the bus commuters ,this is something very unique that i have seen.We soon got down at the starting point of the trek just of the highway.

As you walk along the grassland one soon hits the bhadra river flowing,there is a old bridge here ,we spent some time filling our water bottles since there is no other water source on this route.

Above: Bhadra river

The route to Kurinjal peak is actually a jeep track which has been abandoned for more than 5 years and hence there is pretty much no route visible.As we walked along ,we did come across some amazing grassland views.

Above :Sambhar -rapt attention

We soon came across a bunch of sambhars,it was indeed a delight to watch the sambhars-they gave a loud grunt before they scurried into the thick shola forest cover nearby.As we moved on from the grasslands ,we hit the leach terriotory -thick giant tress raising in excess of 400 feet ,dense jungles with only the abandoned jeep track to walk.

Since the jeep track has been abandoned ,the forest has started taking over the jeep track :).There are fallen trees all over the place and plants growing all over - a good sign that the forest is wresting its full might post the human onslaught.After a 2 hour leach soaked trek we finally hit a grassland patch.From here on can view the amazing thick forests and grasslands till far of places.We rested for a while getting rid of the leaches at this point.

Above: Kurinjal Peak

From here it is about 10 minutes walk to the abandoned station of the erstwhile KIOCL.It is very slippery from here on and one has to be really careful .Finally we made it ,we decided not to climb on the boulders from the station since it was really slippery and it had started raining steadily by now.We rested for a while at the station and then started back ,the return was uneventful,peppered with some very heavy rain.We walked back from the road to the bhagavathi nature camp.I decided to take a bath and relax.We had a early dinner which consisted of yummy rasam,chapathi,beans palya and hit the bed by 7:45pm.

To be continued.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Moorkannu Gudda

After reaching Vikram's place ,we quickly got ready to start our journey.It was raining heavily by now.

Basavaraj and Mallesh accompanied us to the Gudda.We walked along some pretty densly leach infested area ,making slowly progress.The journey was uneventful.Enroute we spotted the wild goat.

landscape is quite mesmerizing with rain adding fizz to the amazing hills and mountains.The clouds and the mist just clear for a moment ,just enough for us to catch a glimpse of the mountains.One has to be careful while treading in this area since there are small gorges and landslides.The climb was a bit challenging with the rain lashing all through.

As we approached Moorkannugudda ,we were in for some surprise .Very heavy winds and rain made our ascent to the peak slightly tough.Finally we made it in one piece.The peak was covered fully with mist .Me and Manju clicked away some snaps and relaxed a bit.We decided to get back through the slopes behind the Gudda ,which was really tricky.Thick grass ,very slippery terrain.

For a while we were lost.One has to be careful in these ranges since with rain and fog there is very little you can make out in terms of direction and routes.It is better to take a local guide however good you are ,since even local people with years of experience are known to get lost in these ranges.

some careful rework of the strategy ,Basavaraj figured out the route but that meant we had to pass through 3 thick shola forests.This journey was very challenging with slippery terrain.I was vary of snakes since it was virgin forests,almost no route ,we literally made the route.

Each shola forest was full of thorns and plants ,we had to cut through the thick undergrowth.On the penulimate shola forest ,we encountered a small falls -its almost the birth of river is what i heard-we rested for a while tasting the sweet water here.In these ranges ,about 4 rivers take birth.

We came out of the 3rd and the final shola forest ,the weather cleared a bit,giving us a good glimpse of the landscapes.We slowed down a bit after the rapid progress we made in the last hour.

We reached a small check dam and took a few snaps before it started raining very heavily,we made back in one piece to Vikrams place.

Moorkannu gudda can be reached by Kadumane estate

Some of the photos belong to my friend Manju

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Moorkannu Gudda-the journey part 1

After booking ourselves on the 22:47 Kukke Volvo ,we reached the busstand about 22:00 hours.After waiting endlessly ,the volvo arrived -looked like brand new.

As i queued up to enter the bus ,a brief glance by the driver and the door opened.As i walked past ,it was a strange feeling indeed.I could smell the fresh paint.It was great to see the fresh linen.

I quickly got down to meet the driver and wanted to confirm the news ,he did confirm with glee that it was indeed brand new and was going to Kukke for Pooje and this driver is one of the lucky few to inagurate 4 brand new vehicles in the past fortnight.

There is something about brand new stuff that attracts me ,i was indeed fortunate to be the first passenger on board the brand new airavata.The ride was very comfortable to say the least.We reached Sakleshpura at around 3:30 am to be promptly woken up by the conductor.After thanking the conductor ,me and manju headed for a place to sit ,it was drizzling slightly .Manju grabbed some sleep .A quick check and we were told that the bus to hanbal leaves only at 6:30 am.After a quick chat ,we decided to take an auto towards Hanbal and beyond.

As we sat in the auto ,he started driving like a F1 driver and the road towards Hanbal is full of curves.I was really scared since he was driving fast and breaking abruptly ,to add to the fizz there was lots of mud on the road ,thankfully we landed in one piece

To be continued

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Pyramid Society

On a normal saturday i got a call from my uncle to visit the Pyramid situated on Kanakapura road.

It was a lovely ride all the way to the pyramid with some rains as well.The trees situated on either side of the road soothes the eye for a urban animal like me.

We spent close to an hour.One has to be quiet since the place inside the pyramid is strictly for meditation ,no one is allowed to talk.Below are some snaps taken from my mobile

The Pyramid is located Kanakapura road ,about 40kms from Bangalore,and about 18 kms from the Art of living at a place called Kebbedodddi village

More information can be found at : -

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Mahimapura and Heggunda

This post has been on the blog queue for a while ,since i havent been keeping too well.

On a lazy summer morning i decided to check out some places around Bangalore,a quick breakfast on the way and i landed at Mahimapura -the abode of Lord Venkateshwara.It was rocky mountain ,very quiet and peaceful-around 300 steps takes you to the summit.One can spot Shivaganga ,the direct line of sight from here.

Since i reached the summit pretty early i decided to head to my second desination Heggunda nearby and visit this temple on my return journey.As i was getting down the stairs i was stopped on the way by the Brahminy Kite. :)

The next destination for the day was Heggunda abode of Lord Rama.This place was a real surprise for me as i bumped into one of the rare birds -The egyptian vulture.As it sat patiently for more than 20 minutes i was able to capture it on my camera ,i was delighted-little did i know that more surprises awaited me for the day.

As i went up the hill i was stopped by Lord hanuman,as the path branched i took the wrong one only to end up on a dead end with some amazing plains greeting me.The path i had taken was wrong and i ended up at a place where the temple was on the other hill ,seperating me was a deep ravine.After i retraced my path ,i was climbing uphill ,the sun was shining brightly by now.After climbing about 50 steep steps i was on top of the rocky mountain.

A bolt from the blue i was taken by surprise by the egyptian vulture.It was the same vulture that i had seen below.It gave me a brilliant display of acrobatics.This was something that i have never experienced and i was simply overjoyed seeing this .All the while it was surveying the intruder into its rocky hill keeping a close eye on me all through its flight.Heggunda has had lot of political activity in its hay days ,more information can be found in this link

After 10 minutes it made a safe landing on the plains nearby.As i spent my next 30minutes relaxing i decided to head down the hill.I was stopped by the priest who was making his way to the top.A breif pooja and i headed down along the priest.It was quite sunny by now and i headed straight back to Mahimapura.

Climbing the 300 steps i was greeted by a lot of people on top.A brief pooja ,i headed back to bangalore.Another day ,another rocky mountain,another day of silence and peace.

Idu Bhavya Suvarna Karnataka,ondu punyabhumi

Sunday, May 16, 2010


This was supposed to be a trek which later had to be abandoned due to some poor planning.Started of late from bangalare in a TT.Had breakfast at kanakpura and headed towards muthathi.This trek was organized by Yhai-bangalore.

The intial trek was towards a viewpoint,the views from here are worth watching.The Cauvery river which is the lifeline of our state ,flows along.The forests here are shrub jungles.This stretch of forests is contagious ,and further runs along the anchetty and rasimanal forests that i had recently been to.

Post viewpoint we treaded downhill to have a dip.After spending sometime clicking away snaps we headed towards our trek point.It was a disaster in making with the sun peaking around noon,the progress was very poor .Finally around 2:30pm we had to abandon the trek.

We headed back towards the cauvery river to have a dip.I had not taken to the water in the morning and was just waiting to hit the water.It was really soothing to have a bath in the river.After spending about 2 hours we decided to head back to bangalore.

Note : If one heads towards the river near muthathi -it is really very dirty with hoards of tourists from bangalore and local people having dirtied the place to the hilt.Also in case you are travelling alone ,it is suggested to leave early from this place since a lot of people come here only to booze.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Narayanswamy betta

With very little information i set out to explore this little known destination.Set out early in the morning around 6 am on a saturday morning.Soon i was zipping past on the mysore highway.There is something which really eggs me on in a car,although it is only a maruti 800 :)

Soon i reached bidadi ,had thatte idli for breakfast.After making a few enquiries i headed towards Chikkakuntanahalli.I was stopped abruptly my Lord Hanuman at this point!!!.

After a few enquiries about Naraynaswamy betta i was directed towards the place.The countryside is very nice to view.One can see the village is buzzing with activity.The oxes are getting ready,the women are busy with rangoli infront of the house.The small kids look in awe as a car passes through the village waving at me.Rich fields soothes my eyes on both sides of the road

An enquiry about the temple is met with a detailed reply about the place.It gives me great pleasure to travel in my state.Finally as i came near to the place,the road turned into a mud road,finally reaching the base of the temple.

After praying to Lord Venkateshwara,i decided to explore the rocky hill.Spent my time exploring the place.Relaxed on top of a boulder overlooking the valley from where one can see plain lands far away.There is a huge jackfruit tree ,the surprising thing i found is it is very cool below this tree than under any other tree in the vicinity.

Relaxing in this serene place with some amazing breeze and silence is a moment i will cherish for a long time to come.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Anchetty-Rasimanal Biodiversity survey

Above : The forest guesthouse at Anchetty

I was a member of KANS for a while but somehow due to one reason or the other couldnt make it to any of their past surveys.

This was one of the final surveys mainly aimed at finding out what kind of flora and fauna existed in the areas of Anchetty and Rasimanal.Getting here was a bit of a adventure since i havent been to these areas before.Anchetty can be reached via Hosur-mathigiri-denkanikotta-anchetty.It is about 140 kms from bangalore.

Thanks to Mahesh i got a drop from Denkanikotta to Anchetty,reached the forest guest house by 10pm.Sanjeev from KANS briefed me about the program.

Day 1 : Anchetty to Doddahalla trek to look for flora /fauna ,scat and pug marks on the way
Day 2 : Brief survey at Rasimanal on the banks of the river cauvery

Above : On the way to Anchetty forests
Woke up early and after a quick ,hot,yummy breakfast we headed towards our start point.As we started along the shrub jungle ,slowly one group consiting of Laxmeesha,karthik,aparna and me got lost along the way.The forest watcher venkatappa gave a mouthful for straying away from the team ,we was concerned since it was elephant area.

Above : An interesting velvet bug on the way

We were divided to 2 teams of 5 each going into two seperate trek routes.Our trek route turned out to be slightly longer but worth the effort.We trekked along the river bed of one of the tributaires of doddahalla which later joins cauvery.Much of it was dry,but gave us some interesting leads into some new shrub jungles for me.We spotted wild dogs,leopards ,wild boarspug marks along the way .Therer was a bit of confusion with venkatappa not able to correctly judge the distance for todays trek ,which lead us to being on the move always.
We briefly took a break .Everybody in the team -Mani,mahesh,karthik,george and me took a break to quench our thirst.It was a stagnant pool,but good enough to consume Venkatappa declared.We all had good gulps and rested for a whle before.

As we moved along from this place venkatappa sensed that there was a elephant and its cub in the vicinity,this was confirmed by the pug marks and the rich odour of the elephants that i could pick up.Elephants are always dangerous not matter what time of the day it is ,more so if it is with a little one ,always better to be on guard.We finally ended day 1 by hitting the road at around 12pm ,a good four hour trek.It was a nice experience in another kind of forest which
was an eye opener for me.

Above: On the banks of cauvery

We later headed for lunch where in a surprise waited for us ,curds :).We quickly headed towards Rasimanal to be joined by Thillai who had driven all the way from krishnagiri for this.There was some confusion in terms of the keys of the forest APC,we decied to give it a skip.It rained heavily towards late evening and these were welcome showers .The darker side of it was it meant about 14 people had to cram inside the watch tower .For veggies it was only idli+sauce -for others it was fish curry,fish fry and idlis.

Since there was space only for few ,some of decided to sleep inside the cars.The next day morning after finishing the morning ablutions ,we decided to head towards the place where the camera trap was set.Another interesting thing about these calm waters is that it is home to some fresh water crocodiles,hence i was always wary of going near the water.Couple of them even spotted them on the opposite banks.Also spotted were the rare river otters.

What is a camera trap :
A camera trap is motion sensor camera which is installed generally at a place frequented by animals,this time it was on the banks of the cauvery river.Unfortunately we didnt have any didnt have any animals sighted in the camera trap.Nevertheless it was a nice experience in knowing some techniques of tracking animals scientifically.

Above : A camera trap

After checking out some birds we decided to head back.A quick breakfast consisted of noodles thanks to guru and aparna ,post breakfast we decided to head back to bangalore.We decided to have a quick lunch,again it was simply delicious lunch.After a quick round of byes we decided to head back to bangalore

A good writeup by Aparna on how KANS plans to make Melagiris as a sanctuary,this would be an ideal soak up area to the present forests on the cauvery banks

Wednesday, April 28, 2010


My father spent his initial years at this place and he wanted to see the place very badly.We planned to visit -Malakonda-the abode of Lord Narasimha.The route to reach Malakonda is via Singarayakonda,kandukur,malakonda.

Above : View from below the temple

Above: On the way to the temple

Above: Govardhanagiri -near the kalyani

Above : Another view from the top of the temple

Again since it was summer ,that was something which always keeps me on my toes.We booked a garuda on the bangalore ongole route.As we woke up early morning we were surprised to see the highway was covered with dense fog with very low visibilty.After a tense 2 hour drive manovering heavy lorries on the way ,we finally managed to get down at Singarayakonda.From here we took a bus to Kandukur where we got a room.After a quick breakfast ,we headed towards the busstand to catch a bus toward Malakonda.

Above : View from the top of the hill

Above : Mica deposits in Malakonda

Malakonda is about an hour journey from Kandukur -about 30 kms.We reached around 9:30 am and took an shared auto to climb the hill.The temple is open only on saturdays.We then had darshan of the lord.After that we visited the laxmi-narasimha devasthana had darshan.After the Archana we were given the prasadam which we had and decided to climb down hill.It was really hot day and the sun was out in full blast touching close to 40 degrees.Another interesing feature of Malakonda is that it is situated in a shrub jungle .The vegetation here is very unique -the flora variety here is not found in any of the neighbouring areas apart from malakonda which makes it interesting.Even the rocks found here have many unique minerals not found elsewhere in the nearby areas.

We came back to Kandukur ,had lunch and slept like a log till 5pm.Evening was much cooler,we decided to check out the local market.

Above:Interesting display of food!!

Above : Chillies at the market

Above : The tobacco crop in the fields

Kandukur is the largest producer of Tobacco in the world,there is also a central tobacco research institute in the city.It is a matter with matter of pride that i can say that my grandfather ran one of the most successful hotels for about 18 years in this town,before returning back to our native in Karkala.To this day no other hotel has come anywhere near to breaking this record.As we moved along the market there was an old man -dad recognized him,so did the man -it was a break from the past.

Above : Old man selling tobacco leaves at the market

Above :Downtown Kandukur

Above : An old well dotted with many sculptures in its walls

Above : A temple in the town

We later visited an old temple where one of dad's friend is a priest and offered pooja to lord hanuman.We visited another old friend -spent about an hour .

A day well spent with dad enjoying his childhood memories brought back.We headed back to take the volvo back from
Singarayakonda to Bangalore.