Showing posts with label Hill station. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Hill station. Show all posts

Road Trippers Club Expedition to Neelakurinji Blooming at Kodaikanal

Neelakurinji Blooming 2018
Neelakurinji Bloom
August 2018 was the much awaited month for witnessing the rare Neelakurinji mass blooming that occurs once in 12 years in most of the areas of Kerala.  Last year we visited the Hills of Sandur to witness the rare Neelakurinji bloom, though in a small scale. This year around, we were sure it was going to be on a grand scale as we were planning to visit Munnar which is home to the largest mass  blooming of Neelakurinji. However, I received a message on whats-app one evening about a road-trip being planned to Munnar during the long weekend for witnessing this rarity and decided to tag along. But as the blossoming season was hit by the unexpected spell of rains across the state of Kerala, Munnar was distressed and as days passed by, the situation only deteriorated due to the continuing heavy rains leading to the floods all across the state. Also the news coming in from Kerala was not very encouraging to continue our drive to Munnar, and hence the team at RTC relocated the destination to Kodaikanal.
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As the D-Day arrived, the members of the team began their journeys mostly from Mumbai, while a few started their drives from Hyderabad and Bangalore. We reached Kodaikanal on the 16th evening as per the plan after visiting a few beautiful temples in Tamil Nadu, built during the Chola period.  After a good night's rest at Kodai, we were all ready the next morning  to go in search of the bloom. We all drove down to Vattakanal and much to my shock, this place was already crowded. After all the hustle and bustle of parking our vehicles, we were all set to start our trek. However, we were still unsure of the occurrence of Neelakurinji blooming on the hills there. Though the feedback after an initial inquiry about the bloom was not much encouraging, yet we all decided to continue our trek down and see what lies ahead.

Kodaikanal
View of Kodaikanal from Vattakanal

Mountains and More Mountains
Towering Heights
Eagerly Walking Down
We reached the first view point named the mountain view, from where the sight of Kodaikanal was breathtaking. While I inquired with a local regarding the Neelakurinji bloom, he replied in the affirmative directing us to the next view point. With much enthusiasm, we continued to descend and proceeded further to reach the Dolphin's nose view point (named so due to the shape of this rock) and lo! There it was! Blooms of the beautiful Neelakurinji!. This light purple colored flowers bloom once in 12 years and grow only at an altitude between 1300 meters to 2400 meters above MSL. The patches of Neelakurinji blooms here seemed much stressed and disturbed owing to the crowd movement and irresponsible plucking of the flowers by flocking crowds. We stopped by the echo rock point and rested for a while. As we continued our walk further down, we could spot more pockets of the Neelakurinji bloom. When we inquired about where the path would lead us to, we were informed that this route would end in Munnar in about 16 km. At this point we decided to halt our descent and head back.
Dolphin Nose Kodaikanal
Dolphin Nose
Cyanotis tuberosa
Neelakurinji Mass blooming At Dolphin Nose
We Trekked Till the Last

 The climb up was a bit tiring and uneventful. We regrouped at the start point of the trek,while a few  headed to the parking lot to bring up their vehicles. One of our vehicles halted up slope and due to the terrain and the narrow space available for driving, it was tricky to either go back down to the parking or come up. However, a good Samaritan came to our rescue and with the combined efforts of RTC, the vehicle was driven up slope and we moved ahead. The evening was enjoyable and to top it up, the wild Gaurs visited the resort and spent quite sometime alongside. The entire experience was a wonderful one! It was great meeting like minded road trippers from various parts of India. Kudos to the entire team for having completed this expedition successfully! Read more about the drive here. If you wish to join us on such drives, kindly visit the website of Road Trippers Club for more information and  be a part of many such fabulous drives across India. We are very thankful to Vineet and the RTC team for tagging us along for this drive and ensuring that we witness the rare phenomenon of Neelakurinji blooms.
Experience and Curiosity
Young Explorer
Clouds Kissing the Mountains
Wild Gaur with Cow

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A Trek to Posadigumpe Hill of Dharmathadka, Kasaragod


'Posadigumpe Hill' is one of the many offbeat places around the district of Kasaragod in Kerala. Posadigumpe is popular among the locals for its picturesque and panoramic 360 degree views of its surroundings. The highest point of the hillock is about 490 m above sea level. Over a general discussion, a cousin of ours came up with an idea of trekking to the Posadigumpe hill to see the mist engulfing the hill. On the next day which was the first day of  year 2018, I along with two of my cousins headed towards Posadigumpe early in the morning. We took the longer route via Kumbla as I had traveled through this route a few years back.
Sunrise at Posadigumpe Hill
Sun Playing Hide and Seek
Trek to Posadigumpe, Kasaragod, Kerala
Sunrise over the Posadigumpe Hill
Panoramic view from the Peak of Posadigumpe Hill, Kasaragod, Kerala
A Panoramic View from the Peak of Posadigumpe Hill 
We reached the hill and found that there was no mist, but we decided to trek the hill to catch the sunrise. We climbed a few steps and got a good view of the surrounding hills and realized that except the main hill, almost all the other  surrounding hills were engulfed in mist/fog. What a sight it was! and What a perfect way to begin our new year! It was a short and easy trek. We reached the hill top and waited for the sun to rise. The beautiful red sun was lazy to come out of the clouds and finally showed us his face. It was a sight to behold! We spent sometime at the peak and tried experimenting on a few interesting photo ops. Thus spending the first morning of 2018 in an eventful manner.
Sunrise at Posadigumpe hill, Kasaragod, Kerala
Have This Perfectly Shaped Ladoo...  
Trek to Posadigumpe hill, Kasargod, Kerala
That's a Goal!
Posadigumpe, a nice place to visit around Mangalore
In...It Goes!



How to reach Posadigumpe from Kasaragod: There are many routes from Kasaragod - the shorter and the best one being  via Maipady, Seethangoli, Permude to Posadigumpe. It is about 26 km from Kasaragod.
How to reach Posadigumpe from Mangalore: The best route from Mangalore is via NH 66. Take a right turn at Mangalapady, Permude to Posadigumpe. It is about 50 km from Mangalore.
Places to Visit Around Posadigumpe: Permude/Posadigumpe Waterfalls, Bekal Fort, Ananthapura Lake Temple, Kumbla Fort, Pooval Fort, Neelikunnu Beach, Kapila Beach, Madhur Sri Ganesha Temple, Kanva Thirtha Beach, Manjeshwara and many such.

The Rat Tail Falls - Kodaikanal

Rat Tail falls
Rat Tail Falls 

 The Rat tail falls or Thalaiyar falls  is the 9th highest waterfall in India and the highest in the state of Tamil Nadu. 

Malnad Monsoon Magic IX Mullayanagiri, Bababudangiri


Karnataka's Highest Peak Mullayanagiri
Mullayanagiri Peak (Karnataka Highest Peak)
Narrow Ridge 
Bababudangiri Range 
Bababudangiri Range
Panoramic View 
Bababudangiri Peak
A Water Pond
  Enticed by the lush green hills and valleys of Mullayanagiri, a desire arose to explore Karnataka's highest peak by foot. The call seemed hard to resist. What was initially planned to be a road trip turned out to be one that was completely off the road! A two hour trek lead us to the misty and mighty Mullayanagiri, which seemed to show off once in a while, most of the time being hidden from view amidst the mist. On realizing there was a 15 km trek route further leading to Bababudanagiri, a holy place of worship, we were doubly excited. The mountain ranges and the picturesque landscapes were magical.  They seemed to possess some kind of magnetic charm that lured us into trekking further towards Bababudangiri. Without wasting any time, we started our second part of the trek, this time a much longer one with a higher level of difficulty.   
  Thus, we were in for a surprise 12 hr trek from Sarpadhari Arch to Bababudangiri (split into two treks-short trek-2 hr followed by a long trek-10 hr, after a night's halt atop Mullayanagiri). What was more exciting was that the trek was totally unplanned for, with least preparation.  

Malnad Monsoon and Magic - IV



   Malnad (Malenadu) more commonly known as the Western-Ghats or the Sahyadris is the air, water and food of South India, including Maharashtra. The Western Ghats cover an area of about 160000 sqkm, spreading across the five states viz, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Goa, Tamil Nadu and Kerala.  Malnad forms the right lung of India and is one amongst the last few remaining pristine tropical rain forests in the world. The Western Ghats is recognized as one of the top ten hottest biodiversity hotspots in the world and was recently recognized by the UNESCO as a world heritage site. A few areas spread across the Western Ghats have been given the world heritage site tag, which include mostly national parks and wildlife sanctuaries. The region of Malnad receives the highest rainfall in the country, second only to North-Eastern India.  The Ghats are richly forested having a rich and wide variety of flora and fauna. The place has a lot to offer to a traveler, being a treasure trove of wildlife sanctuaries, national parks, cascading waterfalls, unexplored forests, hidden forts, historic temples, winding roads, chilly hill stations, pilgrim centers, cultural centers and a never to forget tasty cuisine and ever hospitable people.  The warmth and generosity of the people of Malnad is truly unmatched and so is its beauty, magical and magnificent. Malnad surely possesses a mysterious power that makes it so magical especially during the monsoons.

Leaf Diamonds
Satellite Image
Birth of a River
Can you Spot Me ?
Twirled
High-bicsus
Pyramids of Nature
Misty Noon
Colorful Nature Bands


The Prefect Road Trip - " Team G Square"


   On the evening of December 05 2008, I was in a hurry to end my day’s work as I had to join my friends for a road trip. Little did I know that this would turn out to be a life changing road trip. My friends and brother waited eagerly at home so that we could kick start our journey.  As usual we borrowed our sister’s Indica (car) for our trip and with the entire luggage packed and stuffed into the car, headed towards Goa. We drove on the NH-4 up to Tumkur and then took a turn towards Shimoga. It was time for dinner and so we stopped by at a Dhaba (highway eat-out) for a sumptuous meal. Heading on, we kept driving until midnight and decided to halt when we were about 15 km ahead of Shimoga (towards Honnavar). We had a good night’s sleep in the car and the next morning we woke up and found a nice spot to finish our morning ablutions and continued driving towards Goa. We had Jog falls for breakfast and Karwar for lunch. Then cruising along the west coast we reached Madgoan/Margoa, headed towards our family temple where we had booked our stay for the next two days. The following morning kept everyone busy but me, in marriage preparations. I had the privilege of resting as I was the lucky (read it as not-so-lucky) bride-groom. I spent the day’s end by the riverside dreaming about married life. The D-day arrived atlast! The marriage was a very simple affair and went on smoothly. We finished our lunch at the temple and headed towards Margoa railway station. Thanking them for being there, we bid adieu to our friends and family who boarded trains to return to their homes leaving the car to us. This was only the beginning of our new journey. Me and my wife headed towards Colva beach and spent a good amount of time enjoying the cool breeze. We later drove towards Panjim where we booked a room at a lodge that had a riverside view and spent the night calmly just like the river there. The next morning, we explored various forts and beaches around and did some parasailing over sea and spotted some dolphins far away in the sea. After the water sport, we rested for a while and moved on. On our way, we sighted a board directing towards Arvalem caves and falls. Feeling very excited, we inquired a few people and reached the caves and falls. The evening was spent enjoying the falls and late evening we headed towards Karwar. At Karwar, we halted at a fairly good lodge to spend the night.
Go Goa

      Making inquiries the next morning at the lodge reception about places of interest nearby, we got to know of great places such as Yana, Mirjan fort, Gokarna and so on. We headed toward Gokarna and offered our prayers and moved on to the beach. Without wasting much time we decided to explore Yana since we had heard a lot about this place before. We walked by foot to enjoy the bliss of the Western Ghats during winter. With no breakfast our 12km trek to Yana was wonderful and an unforgettable one.  We reached a village on Sirsi-Kumta highway and stopped by at a small shop and ate everything they offered us. So hungry we were! From here, we decided to head towards Unchalli waterfalls near Sirsi. We reached the crossing where we had to deviate towards the waterfall at around 5pm and had to travel 20km more to reach the waterfall. We were now in a dilemma whether to proceed or not as it would turn dark by the time we reached. We decided to head towards the falls and were greeted by a swiftly moving deer which in no time vanished into the woods, thus giving us a signal of the wildlife activity here. Finally, we reached the point from where the trek to the falls began. The Sun had already set and darkness gradually started to engulf the area. With a lot of courage, we walked towards the falls. After walking for about half a kilometer, we realized it was too dark to proceed as nothing was visible. We safely returned to our vehicle and headed to our friend’s house near Honnavar, where we had our night’s meal and crashed onto our beds.
     After a sumptuous breakfast the next morning, we were at the jetty point waiting for the jetty to take us to an interesting place revealed by our friend, the Mavina Kurve Island. Mavina Kurve is a small and serene Island nestled in the River Sharvathi. The jetty ride was quite pleasant and rewarding. Hereon we moved towards Mirjan fort, which was under restoration by the ASI (Archeological Survey of India) during our visit. We had no idea about its history at that time. The guard there told us not to take photos using a camera though he allowed mobiles to do the same. After a good stroll inside the fort, we   drove towards Karikana Parameshwari temple located atop a hill close by to Honnavar from where we had a good view of the Arabian Sea, Sharvathi River and the surrounding hills. Now it was time to head towards the Mighty Jog, considered to be the highest plunge waterfalls of India. On the way we stopped at a view point to get a wonderful view of the Sharvathi River. We reached Jog, and as the water trickled down the rocky hills, we only wondered about how wonderful it would be during the monsoons. We were curious to we see the spot where a scene for the movie “Mungaru Male” was shot.   Later, while driving towards Sagar, a board directing towards Ikkeri caught our attention and in no time we were in front of a huge and magnificent temple built by the Keladi kings during the 17th Century.  We were quite surprised as we were not aware of such a temple. It was late evening and we reached Heggodu, a village that houses a famous cultural organization called NINASAM, started by K V Subbanna (a famous Kannada artiste). We were quite hungry as we had forgotten to have our lunch and went in search of the canteen here. The hot Idlis with chutney served here were the best we have had till date.  We inquired about the route towards Mangalore and were directed to reach Thirtahalli first. Driving on the winding roads in the dark was a pleasure. People at Thirtahalli recommended us to head on to Sringeri for halt, where we crashed for the night.
     We woke up little late in the morning and moved towards the temple of Sringeri. At South Kanara border, we turned towards Kudremukh and reached the Kudremukh Nature camp. Unfortunately we were not let into the camp as we failed to get a prior permit. He suggested we visit the Lakkya dam and Hanumangundi waterfalls. On reaching the Dam site, we realized the visiting hours were in the evening. Not wasting much time we reached Hanumangundi falls. After paying the required fee, we had to walk down to view the falls. The falls looked majestic and seemed like it awaited for its first visitor of the day. We spent a lot of time here enjoying and exploring the surroundings until a noisy crowd walked down.  Our ascent was tiring. We decided to end our exploration here and reached home for lunch.
A Wonder Called Karnataka
    Personally, this was the perfect road trip I had ever been on. To have started this road trip as a bachelor with friends and ended the trip with my friend for life (my wife), having traveled in a borrowed car through unfamiliar routes, without much preparation or planning was an adventure by itself and a once in a life time experience. It was undoubtedly an amazing road trip, but most importantly it opened a new avenue in our lives.  “Team G Square” was born with a desire to explore and discover every inch of Karnataka and beyond. We only wish that this journey never ends…..