Journey to Bangalore-Fast Forward Now!!!


19th April 2010: Karnataka Hinterland, India
So here i continue from where i left off. The journey was totally uninteresting because the road was straight stretched ahead of you and this made it boring to look out. In contrast to the fantastic views when we were driving across coastal Karnataka, the central part was flat and didn’t have much for us to see. There were also many signs so that made navigation a piece of cake. We kept driving in and out of small towns and villages which we could see as dots in the Map we had.
 
We were out to find out the place where Satya Sai Baba would reincarnate somewhere in Srirangapatnam which is a few kms off Bangalore. But while going, we saw a board which said Sri Satya Sai Baba orphanage so we decided to stop there. It was a small serene place. There were some slides and swings in a corner and close to the swings sat 2 calves. There were a few people who were sitting near the entrance. We approached them and went inside. There were a lot of pictures of Baba and even Guruji(=H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar ) out there. The second room was like a prayer room. It was filled with hundreds of pictures of Baba when he was young and recent pictures. The room exuded serenity and peace. we sat and meditated for a while. The place had symbols denoting all religions showing neutrality towards one and all.
While we prayed, a lady came and gave us some honey and some vibhuti. There was a picture of Baba which was filled with Vibhuti and this honey i’m sure must have also fallen on its own from the pictures. Such amazing grace!!! And the honey was so delicious, it wasn’t like any other honey i’ve ever tasted.
After that, we went to the courtyard where there were some boys playing with a ball. There was also an idol of Baba’s feet. If you rubbed your hand or handkerchief there, it would smell of incense. We also went up and saw their meditation hall. All in all this was a refreshing break for us because the road journeys were really wearisome.
We made our way towards Bangalore. We were supposed to stop at Kamath’s for lunch but we were so hungry and we couldn’t find it so we stopped at a Mc Donalds on the way. Burgers were good to eat after a long time. We got some sweets and water from a nearby general store. There, they were also selling wooden toys. There is a village which makes wooden toys, Channapatna which we passed through.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
There was a huge golden ganpati that we drove past. Also there was a huge arch with an upper road which led to the Satellite Town and the lower road leading to Bangalore. So we took the upper road by mistake and had to turn back. Apart from this, we reached Bangalore without a hitch. After going through Ring roads and various other roads, we made our way to my Dad’s office. We were staying in a service apartment which was fully furnished with a cooking range etc etc so that we could cook whenever we want. This booking was done through my Dad’s office. So we got going there and then checked into our room and then rested.For dinner we were going to my aunt’s place which was at the other extreme end of town. We had
specially told her to prepare simply ‘Aamchi’ food because we missed it so much. The food was amazing and delicious(=song and daali always does the trick). We also had a fun time chatting with Sankalp and Vishal who came late from work. There was also a Mumbai Indians Match that day which kept everyone entertained. For dessert,we had ‘Chocolate sheera’ yummy!!!!
I also got some Korean currency for our coin collection!!!

After this super amazing end to a tiring day, we slept, waiting to explore Bangalore!!
Some Rocky Terrain on the wayBaba’s photos.Baba’s feet

the Golden Ganpati
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Goodbye Mysore-But we’ve only just arrived!!!!


19th April 2010, Mysore, Karnataka India.
The day dawned bright and clear when we were to leave from Mysore and proceed towards Bangalore. I guess there was a transition when we started out with villages and then made our way to towns and to cities and finally landed to Mumbai. Well we started our day with some Saree shopping. Mysore is famous for its sarees. Since we were to leave early when we went to search for the shops, none of them were open. I guess Mumbaiites are so used to the fast paced life, that w expect shops open as early as 8 and open till 11 at night or even later.So consequently any small city is a slow and sleepy place for us. But it feels very nice not having to rush against the crowd to catch that 9:36 Ladies Special or run for that irregular bus. Finally we found one shop which was open. So we went inside and asked the shopkeeper for something ‘different’ which was not very loud and audacious. After lots of sarees and rejections later we settled for a few and then bargained our way to get a good deal. The shopkeeper had a lot of currency notes which he had framed near the entrance. I really felt like negotiating and taking some of the notes. After that we made our way to the Government silk factory. Here you could also go into the factory and see how the sarees were made. There was also a shop where you could buy sarees. But the sarees here were extremely pricey (=silk sarees authentic and govt recognised=sky high prices) i’m sure the sarees must have been nice but since we(=me,mum n my sister) don’t have many occasions to wear sarees, spending so much was out of question.

Next we decided to pick up some sweets. Mysore is also famous for its sweets. We knew this from prior knowledge. There was this shop we’d seen in the show ‘Highway on My Plate’ hosted by ‘Rocky and Mayur’. I absolutely love watching that show i mean whenever i’m watching it i’m envying their job. Eating and only Eating!!! But the best part is that they give very honest opinions about the food and the ‘Must Haves’ plus they look like foodies not like those half starved models that come and pretend to eat and take minuscule bites.
A word of caution, there are as many as 3-4 Bombay Tiffany’s in the boulevard where these shops are located. But finally we found one which Rocky n Mayur visited. We also asked them about this and they said they had just opened shop when they came along camera et al. Without any prior warning!!! So we left with a lot of Mysore Paa which is besan and sugar mixed in Pure Ghee. You can make the difference when you eat, pure ghee has a satiety no other substitute has, We also picked up a mithai that tasted like chocolate fudge. During that time, my dad was busy solving the rubix that we picked up when we went to the Chamundeshwari temple. He got one side right. After that we left for Bnagalore. We’d heard that the next roop of Satya Sai Baba was going to be born somewhere in Srirangapatnam a few kms off Bangalore. So we decided to stop there.
There was one place where they had put up a sign with Baba’s picture on it but it turned out that it was only a school managed by the trust.

Although we spent less time in Mysore, the city made an everlasting impact on our minds. The canopy of trees on every road, the ease of travel, the many palaces so very well maintained, definitely made us want to come again!!!!

Coming Up Next: Srirangapatnam and Sights on the Way
Where we were staying in Mysore.Wodeyar Circle..that dome is made of real gold.The perfect Rubix

Exploring Mysore-A trip in the colonial times.


18th April 2010, Mysore, Karnataka, India
Today we decided to explore Mysore. Our first stop was breakfast at the hotel where we were staying. Like always the breakfast menu was the same (=Sada dose, Set dosa, Masala dosa and the like). After that,we went off to the Chamundeshwari temple which was on top of a hill. We had to navigate a bit and ask people for directions but we ultimately made it alright there.There was a welcome gate like all other dwars we had seen all along our journey. There were signs at corners which told us to enjoy the views of Mysore seen from above the hill.

When we did reaCH the temple, we had another obstacle at hand, How to park the car. This parking lot was the most chaotic and disorganised lot i have ever seen. Cars and buses parked in any direction with little or no place for others to park, some which are parked so treacherously that the blocked the main approach road. It was a mess!!! Finally we did manage to find a decent parking space and we left for the temple. Also we noticed a large demon holding a snake and a large knife at the entrance, There were also a lot of stalls selling wooden items.( I must have forgotten but there were shops selling wooden items in the temple complex. I remember some of my playthings being from here when we had visited long time back.)
There were also a lot of monkeys on the trees with some mothers holding their babies. Although i find adult monkeys repulsive, the babies are rather cute and pink.
The Chamundeshwari temple was beautifully carved and had intricate work done. There were different levels with different idols of gods and goddesses. But much to our chagrin, there was a huge huge line encircling the temple. We certainly had picked a wrong day to come here, a Sunday. But have no fear, the temple authorities are here. There is a provision for people who want to see the temple quickly, of course you have to cough up money for that, 100 bucks a person. That goes to the temple for its upkeep(i hope) and the impatient devotees can see the temple fast. We did just that. As luck would have it, we were just in time for the Aarti. We got a quick darshan of the devi and then went to another small idol where the bhatmam handed us the most fragrant and sweet smelling kumkum i’ve ever smelt. Then after a round of the temple complex, we headed out. At the time we got the darshan, another bhatmam handed us a garland (=just our luck!!). Since we couldn’t keep it anywhere, we fed the leaves and flowers to one of the calves sitting outside. Its cute, when you hold it near their nose, they smell it, come close to you and then eat it. they might even lick you!! Its very sweet.
After having some tender coconut water and buying a beautiful picture of the goddess and a rubix cube (= we need something to do on the journey, mobile games are just not enough!!)

Then we made our way to Nandi hill. This is approachable if you take a separate turning while going to the Chamundeshwari temple. The Nandi hill has a huge Nandi who according to Hindu Mythology is Lord Shiva’s Escort. There was also a temple up the hill but it was a long way off. So we decided to skip that. There was a person selling small idols and we got 8 idols of Lord Ganesh which were very tiny and cute!!(=i guess God would faint if the word got out that i found idols cute!! lol)

Then we decided to head out to the Lalita Mahal Palace. The Lalita Mahal is the second largest palace in Mysore and is situated near the Chamundi hills (=wikipedia’d this bit). We decided to check the place out. And then we found out that we could explore the inside of the palace too but we had to buy entry tickets (=Rs 250 per head). This was a summer palace for the Queen and is now a hotel. Its a really good thing that most palaces are converted into hotels. Not only does it attract foreign tourists, but it also preserves the palace. The Lalita Mahal Palace is the only palace i know to be built entirely of WOOD. yes hard to believe but its true!! Its built of wood and done and preserved very well. Once we got the tickets, the guard at the palace led us into a corridor and served us tea.(=i had tea everyone else had coffee!!It was elaichi tea yummy!!) We spoke with one of the men who took care of the souvenir shop and he said that the current CM of Karnataka was doing a very good job. Every year it seems a sum of 1 crore (=yeah i know) was allocated to every village for the development and for celebration of festivals (=smart since festivals will spur the domestic economy and stimulate demand in the village for a lot of commodities). Also the BJP had a super big majority.
Anyway, we saw some people from the Orient coming(=either they are chinese o japanese i can’t appear prejudiced i just didnt know which country they came from).

Discovery:The lift at the Lalita Mahal Palace is one of the 2 oldest lifts in India and also its very well maintained. It looks very quaint. There is also a huge wooden elephant opposite the reception table. There is also a quaint horse carriage much like the victorian times.Once we went inside the first things we noticed or rather we were told to notice were the Raja Ravi Verma Paintings. The paintings are almost lifelike and these paintings seriously compete with the art in countries like Italy and France where Medieval Renaissance took the medium of Art and Paint. The ring and other accessories painted looked life like. There was also a banquet hall which had an air of the old times. You could actually imagine the old times when the queen held balls there and people were dancing on the floor.(=dreaming dreaming).
Also much to our delight, there was one person cleaning one of the rooms. We really wanted to see the rooms and how it would be to see a super deluxe suite. And we did get our wish. The beds looked so beautiful and the bathroom was so grand. I would really like to stay one night here in the room and play the role of a queen. We had to quickly see the room and leave else the worker would get into trouble. Near the staircase, there were 2 stuffed animals, one of a tiger and one of a lion. There was also a long grandfather clock. Imagine the old times when the queen must have roamed with her servants!!!When we were coming out, we were told that there was an ex-minister of Karnataka state who was coming and we saw him getting a ride in the Victorian Carriage. Luck man, be a minister and get to sit in carriages and rest on fancy beds!!

This was followed by lunch and a trip to the Mysore Palace. Which continues in the next note.

Next Episode: Mysore Palace, Cyberworld Meets Real World!!!

one of the carvings

the temple.Nandi HillLalita Mahal Palace.the Victorian Carriage

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

Coorgi Tales-Tranquil in the hills


Madikeri, the small town in the hills is our next destination.

13th April 2010: Karnataka Hinterland, india

Our day begun with a lot of movement because we wanted to change the room we were allotted. The problem was that there was some construction work going on and there were a lot of hammering noises. we reckoned that we get all of these noises in bombay and didnt want the same here. So the morning went in changing rooms from the apartment ‘Masual’ to ‘Carandas’ this one was away from the noise and was tranquil.
After breakfast at ‘Arabica’ we explored the property. Club Mahindra Coorg, is 32 acres and that asks for a lot of walking. we checked out their ayurvedic centre which was very well done up with a nice pond with stones on it to reach the reception. Most of the property is filled with coffee plants of the ‘Robusta’ varietso we could see a lot fo the coffee pods. Also there are lot of trees which makes the property look very lush. There are also a lot of birds in the trees so the air is littered with cries of one or the other bird and as you walk you can catch the fragrance of a flower or two. There were also a few pineapple plants and small creepers with dark green leaves. these leaves had pink spots on it. although it sounds repulsive, the leaves were actually very cute!!

Lunch was also at ‘Arabica’, we had taken the package for 3 meals. Club mahindra spoils you simply with the variety fo their dishes, Here also like at other Club mahindras was a live counter where they made rotis for you. the dessert counter was also amazing!! So many different types!! An indian sweet, some mousse, a pastry. There was also a kids counter where they had a curry, rice and some desserts. did that mean that we couldn’t pick something from there?? Didnt deter us from trying that section out. After all, we’re our parents kids too!! 😉

The afternoon was a quiet affair. we walked around the property and checked out the other apartments and just chilled out. This Club mahindra has different adventure activities which made good entertainment but we decided to do it another day.

In the evening, the holiday activities was having a bonfire and we decided to go there.. i wore a short skirt for the first time and then we made our way to the holiday activities space. There were bonfire games and we had a fun time playing. we got fully involved in the games and as a result made many new friends…Our team eventually won. Here we met Medha who became our fun partner for the rest of our staY IN Coorg and her parents, Jayant and Mira.
After we made our way for dinner, we found out that one small girl was missing so i helped to find her for a while. It would be scary losing your 3 yr old child in a 32 acre property at 9 pm. Eventually they found her in another room with video games. The dinner was tasty as it always is.
I got compliments for the skirt 🙂
We retired soon and slept like logs.

Next Episode: First Adventure Activiy and the Spice Plantation tourthe road ahead…driving thru the forestthe restaurants