Coorgi Tales-Goodbye Coorg!!


17th April 2010: Karnataka Hinterland, India
On this day, we checked out of Club Mahindra Kodagu Valley and proceeded to our next destination, Mysore. We would miss the ‘Scotland of the East’. When you really see the diversity in landscape and foliage and wildlife here and in Scotland, you’d never want to see Scotland. Sure they have the lochs(=lakes) but apart from that, its nothing spectacular. There was never the chirp of insects, the smell of flowers, the hustle of people that you find here. Rather we should be saying that Scotland is the ‘Coorg of the West’.
After checking out and stuffing all our luggage in the car (believe me, it wasn’t an easy task) we proceeded. Now that we’d been in the market often, i could distinguish the roads. After filling up the Civi with petrol, we drove on. Like i’d mentioned earlier, the road to Mysore was under construction so we had to go via Dubare. We passed the Tata Coffee estate and a small village on the way. The most fascinating thing about this road trip is that people from all the villages know where the road leads to and how to reach different villages, towns and cities. The depth of their knowledge is amazing.

Destination 1: Namdroling Golden Temple.

This is a Buddhist Monastry, College and Hostel where the idols of the gurus are in gold. Its a beautiful and peaceful place. A must visit. The approach road to the Monastry was lined with different flags and there are adequate signs showing directions to the place. I think our culture has only stood to gain from helping out the tibetans. Of course they are a fiercely independent group but a very peaceful one at the same time. After parking our car, we made our way inside the Monastry. I think the tibetans are tremendously grateful to Indians and i’ve never heard of any conflict between the Indians and Tibetans.
When we entered, there were some old tibetan ladies sitting wearing colourful quilts. I always find old people very cute but i find tibetan ladies cuter coz of their wrinkles!! The temples that we saw when we entered were amazing. They are so intricately carved and so well painted. The picture below shows the first temple we saw when we entered. there were geese in the gardens that were playing with water when we came. It was very sunny that day and it was extremely hot. But it was fun to see the temples. Most of the temples have 2 demons painted outside. One which welcomes luck,laughter and all positive energies and the other fierce devil which keeps out all the bad and negative energies. Tibetan script looks a lot like bengali. Plus there are big bells outside every temple with intricate carvings on it too. The main temple had a huge and heavy door with a very thick mesh of ribbons tied to the knocker.

This main temple had 3 idols, which were made of gold. Actually legend goes that they are made of clay and have ancient scripts and treasures inside and the gold is a way to protect that. Each idol sits in a meditative pose and in an intricately done frame. The wall behind the idol is painted exquisitely with angels on clouds and other heavenly bodies. The pillars are adorned with dragons for in their culture as in chinese beliefs, the dragon keeps the bad out and lets prosperity in.

There were also intricate wall paintings, which indicate the 25 disciples of Guru Padmasanbhava, one of the biggest gurus. The 3 idols were Guru Rinpoche,Guru Padmasambhava and Guru Amitayus.
There were boards with written material regarding the idols and the wall paintings. It was a fascinating insight into their culture. The temple was so peaceful. There were positive vibrations everywhere. Also there were a lot of sparrows flying everywhere. I’ve noticed that in peaceful places like temples, there are a lot of sparrows flying around. We sat around for a little while and meditated. After that we explored the temple area. It was nice to see that the landscaping had been done so well. There were plants from Malaysia and other exotic work like fountains done up.

After that we went to another small temple. we had to be careful and jump about a lot because the temple complex had heated up quite a lot. The second temple had the ancient scripts which the monks read from when they prayed. In the third temple there was a small monk who was praying with a rosary, it was so cute. Everyone was taking pictures of him. In this 3rd temple there were 6 idols who all had their eyes closed and were meditating. This temple was the one which we saw when we first entered into the Monastry.
After the Monastry, we decided to have lunch at one of the tibetan restaurants. Before that, we got some jackfruits from the local vendors and then made our way to the tibetan market. These are tibetan co-operative stores so they all sell their wares at the same price. Even though we may not believe in charms and stuff, these tibetan things made us belive in them. We got some nice key chains, some good luck charms for cars and a bell called the ‘Om bell’ if you run a wooden stick around its circumference then the vibrations grow louder and sound like ‘Om’. It says it spreads positive energy around.
After that, we had lunch at ‘Hotel Shanthi’. We had thupka(=tibetan soup), Momos(=dumplings) and also some curd rice for my granny and the every tasty gobhi manchurian(=karnataka’s find)
And then we set off for mysore. The road from here on was smooth. We were no longer on the hills but had come down to the plains and it was evident from the difference in landscape and vegetation.

Mysore is a small city and not difficult to navigate. And the roads to mysore are really very well done with adequate signs so we had no trouble finding our hotel

Stay:Hotel Siddhartha
Location: Near the Mysore Palace. Prime Location
Rooms:Comfortable

After being allotted our rooms, we had some refreshments and then chilled out.

Coming Up next:: Vrindavan Gardens, Exploring Mysore, A nice Meeting. Stay Tuned and post in your comments

we stayed here!!Scotland is the ‘Coorg of the West’!!The Monastry

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Mangalore Tales-Whew, wait is that travel fatigue??


11th April 2010: Karnataka Hinterland, India
Driving down to Mangalore was not filled with excitement as the other places as the scenery was much like as if we were driving in and around Mumbai, filled with industries. Mangalore is a busy port city of Karnatak so there were a lot of factories and facilities for unloading goods. Mangalore’s port handles 75% of India’s coffee exports and the bulk of the nation’s cashew exports. Sinche Mangalore was just a halt, we didnt explore around much.

Discovery: Karnataka is dotted with bakeries called ‘Iyengar Bakeries’ which have a different letter to the start like’L.V Iyengar Bakery’ or ‘Madhu Iyengar Bakeries’. you get a lot of snacks here as well as sweets but not many confectionery items so its not a usual bakery.

Hotel: Kumar’s International
Location: Close to the market but can be difficult to find unless you know your way around.

After resting for a while and a steaming cup of tea, we left to explore the market. We had an option of taking a rickshaw or an innova so we opted for 2 rickshaws. our first destination was Mangalore Math.

We had to look out for the Math and that took a while but we eventually found it. Its in such a cosy spot, it doesn’t look like a Math. But we found out later, that we had entered through the back gate which is why it didn’t look like a Math. Here also we had a pooja and we prayed at the Samadhi of one of our Swamijis. We found out that the bhatmam here was the elder brother of hemant bhatmam.
The idol of Lord Krishna at the Math is beautiful!!

After the Math, we decided to explore the market. we went to see shops but it being a sunday and Mangalore being a sleepy city, shops were closed on sunday. Most of the stuff was the stuff that you find in Mumbai so we gave all of that a miss. Originally we planned on seeing a few saree shops but all of them were closed. finally we went to a jewellery store called ‘Alukkas’ and looked at the jewellery there. most of it was so fancy and heavy that we were put off. Finally we settled for a pair of bangles ‘which look thin when seen from one angle and thick from the other angle.

After our purchase (we got a bag, 2 complimentary purses, shopping bags etc) we left to have dinner at ‘Taj Mahal’ which Sanjay Mam had recommended to us. There we waited for a while because there was a queue for seats and then had south indian thalis. Thalis are so wholesome, and just right so you can taste everything. The tomato soup we got along with the thali was excellent.

After dinner, we took 2 rickshaws to our hotel. The rickshaw took us from a different winding route which was nice because the weather was pleasant at night. After watching a bit of IPL, we slept

Coming UP Next Vitthal and the journey to Coorg