Blog by Poorna & Brinda. We both are avid travellers & share our experiences through our blog. Our goal is to be an Inspiration for your journeys no matter how big or small. Also to share tales and tips from our travel hoping that it will encourage you to travel more
Learn from your travel experiences.. through this blog.
Have you heard of these places? You would not have unless you are a hard-core biker! These two places are lovely getaways if you love driving in the countryside and through some lovely forests. We will tell you why……..
This series of one day trips from Bangalore provide you an opportunity to spend a day visiting places near Bangalore. We encourage you to explore the rich landscape, heritage and beautiful spots surrounding Bangalore through this series.
“One Day trip from Bangalore 20 ” is the twentieth in this series. If you are looking for places to visit from Bangalore within 150 kilometres or if you are looking for a comfortable one day trip from Bangalore, please take a look at this post on this blog.
Bettamugilalam – Place where hill and clouds meet – is a quiet hamlet at 3000 feet above sea level near Hosur. Amidst forest and part of North Cauvery wild life sanctuary, the woods are lovely. Lovely water holes and curvy roads make this place a good outing. If lucky, you may see elephants and other wildlife in these water holes. Then you have a quiet reservoir at Panchapalli. The hills and backwaters make his quiet and serene place. Lovely roads make this a good one day trip from Bangalore!
7 AM – Depart from Bangalore. Hit Bangalore – Salem road or NH 7. If you are near NICE road, enter NICE road and exit at Hosur road. If not, reach Silk Board junction and take the elevated highway and continue on Hosur road.
8 AM – You can either have breakfast in Hosur or drive to Denkanikottai – another 45 minutes drive – and have breakfast at Saravana Bhavan there.
8.45 AM – Leave for Denkanikottai after finishing breakfast at Hosur. A nice drive of 45 minutes will take you to the town.
9.30 AM – Leave Denkanikottai to Bettamugilalam. The drive from Denkanikottai to Bettamugilalam is a charming drive through the forests. On the way you will also see marigold fields during season.
The drive through Bamboo trees…..(Please click on the pictures to see them in larger size)
10 AM – At Aiyur forest check post, enter details and drive for another 3 KMs to “Semieri” lake which is on the roadside.. This is a lovely lake covered by bamboo forests on all sides. A major water hole for elephants and other wild life, you may be lucky to spot them if you go early. Spend 30 minutes here and enjoy the serene surroundings.
The serene Semieri lake………
If you are lucky you may see these scenes!!! (Courtesy – Durai Murugan)
10.45 AM – Leave for Bettamugilalam. The drive is through the forest. Enjoy the ride on a curvy road and climb to the cool environs of Bettamugilalam. A small hamlet surrounded by forest, it is a refreshing place. You can feel the cool breeze because of its height. There is nothing much to see in this tribal village. Just spend sometime and then head to Panchapalli dam.
11.45 AM – Depart for Panchapalli dam. A drive for 30 minutes will take you to the lovely dam. Built amidst small hills, it looks very pretty. Unfortunately there is no boating. Just walk around the backwaters and spend sometime in the serene place. Very close to the dam is Panchapalli falls which is worth visiting only during or immediately after monsoon.
A panoramic view of the reservoir from a height…..
Fishermen at their job! Notice the high hills in the background!
1 PM – Depart for Denkanikottai. A drive for 30 minutes will bring you back to the town. On the way don’t miss to see a curious temple for village diety of with cops as divine guards!
1.30 PM – Head straight to Saravana Bhavan, the only decent place in town for lunch. If you want better choice then drive to Hosur and have lunch there.
2.30 PM – If you are religious or heritage buff, you can visit Betrayaswamy temple built by Hoysalas and the cave temple of Gavi Lakshminarasimhaswamy which is in close vicinity. Don’t miss lovely dargah of Yarab Saab who is worshipped by all faiths.
Betrayaswamy temple with holy pond in the foreground.
The Yarab Saab Dargah. Notice the lovely islamic architecture!
4 PM – Depart for Bangalore.
For returning to Bangalore you have many options
If you are driving via Hosur retracing the route you took to come, you can break for a cup of coffee at Adyar Anand Bhavan at Hosur.
If you are staying in South Bangalore, it will be good to go via Thalli – Anekal – Bannerghatta – Bangalore. One can visit the lovely temple of Lord Venugopalaswamy at Thali on the way. You can have evening snacks in MTR near Art of Living Ashram on Bannerghatta road.
Avalabetta is a lovely hill and Dandiganahalli is a serene water body. When you club both of them, you have a nice one day trip from Bangalore!
This series of one day trips from Bangalore provide you an opportunity to spend a day visiting places near Bangalore. We encourage you to explore the rich landscape, heritage and beautiful spots surrounding Bangalore. These are easy to do trips and a good outing for families.
“One Day trip from Bangalore 19” is the nineteenth in this series helping you to explore Avalabetta and Dandiganahalli dam. If you are looking for places to visit from Bangalore within 150 kilometres or if you are looking for a comfortable one day trip from Bangalore, please take a look at this post on this blog.
7 AM – Depart from home. Those who are in North and East Bangalore, it is easy to hit Airport road. For those of us staying in South Bangalore you have to either wade through the city or go via NICE road and exit at Tumkur road. Take the first available U Turn and then turn left at Peenya junction and continue on Outer Ring Road till you reach Airport road.
8 AM – Have breakfast at either India Paratha Company or Nandi Upachar at Devanahalli cross. Pack your lunch here as you will not get anything in Avalabetta or Dandiganahalli dam.
9 AM – Depart for Avalabetta. Drive on the super Bangalore – Hyderabad highway till Peresandra and then go through the village to reach the foothills of the Avalabetta.
10.30 AM – Arrive at foothills. You need to park the vehicle at the entrance gate and walk up the hill.
You have a choice of either walking on the cement road or walk up on the stairs. Going up stairs is shorter but slightly tougher.
The winding road going up the hill. Do you notice cars parked at the foot hills?
The concrete road up the hill…..
The stairs and pebble path……
Walk up steps to the temple. Explore the hill to see the icon of Avalabetta – The Beak Rock! You will see this picture if you google for Avalabetta! It is a lovely place. It is used to be favourite with selfie taking folks. Thankfully now it is barricaded and banned from entering and taking pictures as it dangerous.
Interesting stone formations on the hill….
The Lakshmi Narasimha temple on the hill
The famous beak rock! It is now barricaded and people are not allowed to go near it.
The views from the top of the hill is spectacular……
Spend some time exploring the hill and the temple. The view from the top of the hill is spectacular.
1 PM – Depart Avalabetta. Drive to Dandiganahalli dam via Minakanagurki. Stop for few minutes at Minakanagurki which has a small temple dedicated to Goddess Maheshwari on a small hill. If you are hungry, you can have lunch in the park here.
2 PM – Depart Minakanagurki. If you haven’t had lunch, if you find a nice tree on the way, stop the car/bike and have a picnic lunch.
2.30 PM – Arrive at Dandiganahalli dam. Explore the dam and lovely waters. No swimming or boating here please.
Kabini is a wonderful wilderness. It has everything a wild life enthusiast aspire for. Lovely forests. Amazing wild life from common langurs to the big cats. Huge population of birds. Beautiful backwaters of Kabini reservoir. Enthusiastic naturalists who knows the jungle at the back of their thumbs! Excellent choices for stay. All these things make Kabini as on of the sought after destination in the country.
We have been to Kabini many times. Every time, we have come back with surprises. The recent visit was in June last year before the start of the monsoon. The rains had started but was not in full swing.
We will take you through Kabini wildlife experience through the eyes of a curious wild life buffs. Through the eyes of our camera. Then we will tell you in detail about Kabini – step by step.
If you stay away from Kabini river lodge – the safari start point – the drive to it throws up some fantastic sights. Like this one. Of the glorious backwaters. The dam wasn’t full when we went in June and there wasn’t much water.
Please click on the pictures to see them in larger size.
The panoramic view of the backwaters on the way to Kabini river Lodge run by Jungle Lodges and Resorts of Government of Karnataka.
We signed up for three safaris. Two in the mornings and one in the afternoon.
Morning safari No 1 @ Kabini (Also known as Nagarahole National Park or Rajiv Gandhi National Park)
We reach the Kabini river lodge. Our safari is to start around 7 AM. Kabini river lodge managed by Jungle lodges and resorts was the hunting lodge of erstwhile Mysore Royal Family. The heritage structures with chimneys look elegant amidst greenery.
We are ushered into a canter. Incidentally on all the trips we have been to Kabini, we have never stayed in Kabini River Lodge. Canter which is a larger vehicle is the mode of transport if you are staying in any other place other than Kabini River lodge. If you are staying in Kabini river lodge, then you will be taken in smaller Jeeps.
We start and it is a quiet road flanked by forests as we reach the main gate of the park. From here we enter the park through forest roads.
We drive straight to the backwaters through the forest road. There is not much of water which helps. The driver takes the vehicle on the dry tracks to the edge of the water body. Kabini backwaters is a treasure trove of wild life. You don’t have to move from here anywhere and still see all wild animals!
The backwaters with broken trunks of trees look surreal.
Add to that the shadow play by the sun!…..
Our first sighting is huge herd of deer. There are hundreds. Scattered all over. It is a sight indeed!
Before we start, we wish you all a very happy and peaceful 2018. May you have loads of fun and travel more in 2018!
1 Bicycle Safari in Thar Desert, Rajasthan
A batch mate of Poorna did it last year and he is still raving about it. We are sure it must be fun. Conducted during winter in and around Jaislamer, the bike safari is a week’s engagement. Conducted by Youth Hostel Association – we are sure there are some private agencies doing this as well – this is “all included” safari for 7 days. Everyday you cycle around 50 plus kilometres through the desert and then stay in tents in the desert.You will get a chance to meet nomads and their habitat. Isn’t this lovely?
2 Moonlight cruise in Bhedaghat, Madhya Pradesh
We say Bhedaghat is beautiful any time of the day. The marble canyon carved by Narmada river near Jabalpur is one of its kind in the world. But the beauty of the canyon is enhanced when the moonlight falls over the shining marble rocks! A cruise in the canyon is an out of the world experience. Want to know more about Bhedaghat? Please click the link below
If it is a cruise in Moonlight on Narmada, we are now talking about doing some Kayaking on a full moon day. On Zuari river in Goa. Yes, it is fun. The Zuari river is one of the largest in Goa and kayaking over its calm waters is a pleasurable experience indeed.
Prakash and his team in Goa Kayaking ensures that you have a memorable experience. Check their website here for details – http://www.goakayaking.com/
4 Para Gliding in Bir Billing, Himachal Pradesh
Anyone who is into adventure sports know about Bir Billing. This lovely place near Dharamshala is the foremost destination for hard-core para gliding. It is a great place even for novices to experience the joys of Para Gliding. When you go up in the sky and watch the lovely landscape around, you will forget where you are!
6 Hot air ballooning in Arakku valley, Andhra Pradesh
We had not heard of this till we saw a lovely photo feature in Hindu the other day. November is the time to go to Arakku valley the lovely hills near Vishakhapatnam in the eastern Ghats. It is the time for Niger flowers and the landscape here is yellow. When you go up in the air and see down below, you will be amazed to see the undulating valley with yellow patches all around. It is just too good to miss.
7 Stay in a home stay in Spiti Valley, Himachal Pradesh
We did this in 2015. It was a fantastic experience. To travel to Spiti is an experience of life time. You will be driving on the most treacherous road in the world. Viewing some spectacular Himalayan landscape. When you travel to Spiti it is best to stay in a home stay and live a life of a local . At least for few days! These are the most friendliest people you can ever come across. Spiti Ecospehere, An NGO working in Spiti Valley have been pioneers in this concept.
River road trip? What is it? This is the new phrase we coined. A road trip along the course of a river. They are fantastic. One of our most memorable drive along the river was in Ladakh when we drove along Indus marvelling at the colours of landscape, culture, the river itself as it flowed from India to Pakistan. Other road trips we loved was along Ganga in Uattarakhand while going to Badrinath and along Beas on the way to Manali from Chandigarh. Check out this list of 15 River Road Trips you can do in India.
Hope you liked reading this post on things to do in 2018 in India. Do you want to add to this list? You are welcome to share your thoughts. Please share the post among your friends and inspire them to travel more in 2018!
Christmas is round the corner. The Yuletide spirit is already in the air. Christmas in India is celebrated with lot of fervour. Here are our picks for experiencing the Yuletide spirit.
A lovely installation on the way to Colva beach, Goa
Our first pick to experience Christmas in India is obviously Goa. Having been there during Christmas, we say Christmas in Goa is fun. The festivities start well in advance and it continues till the dawn of the new year, You will find installations of Santa Claus at every junction. You will find lovely installations from life of Jesus at many places. Houses are decorated and churches look lovely. The joyous spirit is there everywhere. Of course, there is Feni, Xacuti, Sun and Sand too.
The basilica decorated for Christmas.
One of the India’s largest churches in the country and a revered place for christians as well as Hindus. The basilica of our lady of health is thronged by thousands during Christmas to seek blessings. For one week, it is festivities galore in Velankanni. Being there is to feel the real spirit of Christmas in India.
A street decorated for Christmas in Aizawl.
Aizawl is a cute little town in the state of Mizoram in north-eastern part of india. Almost everyone in Aizawl are Christians and hence the whole town will be in festive mood in Christmas week.
Christmas is a three-day celebration in Mizoram. The celebration starts on 24th December. Every household gets ready for the “big-day”. Churches across the state have mass prayers. Celebrations are held through-out the month of December. Feasts are conducted in almost all the churches and the hospitality of the Mizo people is best experienced during Christmas. Enjoy carol singing, Mizo cuisine and just relax. On par with Goa, Mizoram is one of the best states to experience Christmas in India.
Police Bazar in Shillong
If Aizawl is little sophisticated, Shillong is raw! Look for local bands performing through the chilly night in central Police bazar. One of the least visited places during winter, Shillong in North Eastern India can offer a Christmas experience like no other.
A sizeable amount of Christian population here ensures pompous celebrations. The streets, houses and churches are beautifully decorated with colourful lights. Try staying with a local family in a homestay and have meals with them if you are looking to experience the traditional cuisine prepared during this time.
A Tree decorated for Christmas in Kochi
Fort Kochi is the place to be if you want to experience Christmas in Kerala. The region of Travancore is hub of Christianity in Kerala but Fort Kochi is the place. Apart from the usual festivities what distinguishes Kochi from others is Cochin Celebration and Carnival. This is a merry-making feast observed to welcome New year during the last week of December every year at Fort Kochi.The entire Fort Kochi is decked in white festooned like a bride.There are many art forms along the carnival route which starts from the Veli Ground and concludes at the Parade Ground.
The origin is traced to Portuguese New Year revelry here during the colonial days. The highlight of the carnival is the massive procession on the New Year’s Day. There are the sounds of Panchavadyam and music throughout the city. Embellished elephants lead the procession. Musicians, folk dancers and various artists gather here from across the country for the music, dance concerts and plays.
Cochin Carnival is a visual delight not to be missed.
These are our picks. Of course, we always have bigger cities like Mumbai, Bangalore, Kolkata and Chennai where Christmas is celebrated with pomp. Make sure you join the festivities wherever you are to experience the Yuletide spirit!
Wish you all a Merry Christmas!
We would like to hear from you
Hope you liked this post on Christmas in India. What has been your experience? Which are the best places where you have experienced Christmas in India? We would love to hear from you. We also have a small ask from you. Do you mind sharing this among your friends and let them know about these lovely places in India? Thanks.
This is the second in the series of self guided Bangalore walking tours. Walking tour of a city is always fun and interesting. It helps you understand a city and its neighbourhoods better. Walking along and exploring a city brings you close to the people, heritage and culture of the place.
We always love to explore a city and its neighbourhood on foot whenever we travel. We normally take a walking tour with a guide for lack of information for a self guided walking tour. A self-guided walking tour also allows you to spend your time leisurely and absorb the essence of the place.
We were mulling on this idea of a series of “Self-guided Bangalore walking tours” which would help anyone interested to explore Bangalore on foot. These self-guided walking tours are easy to do. We have made sure the walking tour covers around 5 KMs and can be done in 4-5 hours. With adequate breaks, it helps explore neighbourhoods by walking around leisurely.
In this second part of the series on Bangalore Walking tours, we encourage you to explore marvellous Malleshwaram! We invite you to explore its wide and tree canopied streets. Lovely parks. Iconic eating places. And of course it has some well-known temples as well.
All this make Malleshwaram a great place for a walking tour. This is nothing but Bangalore of the yore! Incidentally, Malleshwaram is the second planned suburb of Bangalore along with Basavanagudi.
So what are you waiting for? Put on your walking shoes and let’s go……
Circuit – Sankey Tank (lake) – Kadu Mallikarjuna Temple – Venu Gopalaswamy Temple – CTR/Villa Pottipatti – Wood Museum – Sankey tank (lake)
7 AM – Arrive at Sankey tank. Park your car/two-wheeler near Bhashyam circle. Go for a walk on the walking trail along the lake. The 2 KMs walking track will be buzzing with morning walkers and joggers. Enjoy the lovely vistas of mist filled lake. If you are lucky, you will find few water birds. After finishing the walk, go for a boat ride in the lake.
Lovely Sankey Tank or Sankey Lake
Ducks in the lake……
8.15 AM – Exit the lake on the opposite side near the 18th cross. Walk down the Sampige road to Kadu Mallikarjuna or Kadu Malleshwara temple. One of the oldest temple in Bangalore is dedicated to the Hindu God Shiva. The temple was built in the 17th century A.D. by Venkoji, the brother of the Maratha King Shivaji in Dravidian style of architecture. Shiva is worshipped here as Mallikarjuna or Malleshwara. Spend 45 minutes experiencing the serenity of this old temple complex. The complex also includes a temple dedicated to Nandi. The name Malleshwaram comes from this temple.
Steps leading to the temple
The main entrance….
Naga devatas in the temple
9.15 AM – Walk down to 10th cross to visit another gem of a temple – Venu Gopalaswamy temple. Built in 15th century, the temple has a very beautiful idol of Lord Krishna with Flute (Venu in Sanskrit) – that’s why the name Venu Gopalaswamy!
The rajagopuram of the temple
The vast temple premises
10 AM – Breakfast time. You are spoilt for choices. But our recommendation for you is to either choose crispy butter masala dosa at iconic Srisagar – locally known by the old name CTR (Circle Tiffin Room) – or leisurely Villa Pottipatti, the restored 19th century mansion hotel by Neemrana group. Both are close to each other. You may have to wait minimum of 20 mins to get seated in CTR. For Villa Pottipatti, ensure you have made advance reservation of the table.
CTR or Srisagar – The iconic restaurant
The Yummy Butter Masala Dosa – Speciality of CTR!
The garden cafe @ Villa Pottipatti
11.15 AM – We will not make you walk now after breakfast unless you want to walk along the tree canopied Margosa road – one of the few roads still left with road side trees in Bangalore. We recommend taking an auto rickshaw to the interesting
It is always nice to start a day with good breakfast. We Indians love our food. If you are in the lovely city of Bhopal, your breakfast has to be Poha Jalebi!
India is a Gourmet’s paradise. The tastes, cuisines change every few KMs in this country. Exciting part of traveling in India is also becoming adventurous in experimenting different cuisines.
When we went to Bhopal few years back, we did not want to eat in the hotel we stayed. Noor-us-Sabha is the best hotel in Bhopal. But we wanted something authentic, something very “Bhopali”.
We take an auto-rickshaw and head to the small by-lanes which are famous for the breakfast of “Poha Jalebi”. After checking with locals on the best place for breakfast, we are guided to go to “Sharmaji’. A motley group pf locals were already gathering in front of Sharmaji’s joint which is famous for tangy Poha and hot, crispy Jalebis.
Poorna in front of Sharmaji’s joint. People are already queuing up even as Sharmaji is setting up his shop!
Poha is spicy and tangy puffed rice – yellow in colour in the picture because of turmeric use – which is soaked and lightly fried with a garnishing of chillies, coriander leaves etc…..and Jalebi – orange in colour – is the sweet which is made of lentil batter which is deep-fried and then soaked in sugar syrup. The combination of these taste makes up the yummy Poha Jalebi!
Bholu posing with Poha Jalebi! Crispy, juicy Jalebis and tangy spicy Poha!
Poha is a typically a Maharashtrian and Karnataka – we call it as Avalakki – dish. Poha must have reached Madhya Pradesh when Holkars, the Maratha rulers of Madhya Pradesh were ruling in Madhya Pradesh. Jalebi is the most loved sweet across the north India. Jalebi must be the national sweet of India!!
The combination was heavenly. No doubt, we helped ourselves to generous helpings!! Sharmaji – seen below in the picture – would not allow us to leave without a good fill!
Sharmaji personally ensuring that everyone has a good breakfast!
Good breakfast to start a what was to be a long day for us. We enjoyed every bit of Poha Jalebi!
If you are foodie like us, you would love to see our other culinary adventures here! Please click the link below
Hope you liked this post on “Breakfast in Bhopal and Poha Jalebi”. What has been your gourmet experience while on travel? We would love to hear from you. Please don’t forget to share this post among your friends and inspire them to travel more!
National Parks in South India offer wide variety of wild life experience for not only a wildlife enthusiast but also for a curious traveller. One will be surprised to know that South India has some lovely national parks in India. Many of them being some of the best tiger reserves in India.
Though summers may be the good time to sight the wild animals, winter is the best time for overall jungle experience. Forests are green. Waterbodies are full. You will always have a chance to sight some animals.
We present you 12 lovely national parks in South India which you can plan a trip in this winter. Please Check it out.
1 Kabini/Nagarahole National Park
We were fortunate to spot this guy getting up from his slumber during our visit to Kabini in May 2017
Lovely backwaters. Dense green forests. Throbbing wild Life. If you are lucky, you will see big cats including black panther! The boat safari in Kabini is an exhilarating experience.
Reaching there – Nagarahole National park has two access points. One at Kabini and the other at Nagarahole near Kutta. The nearest airport is Mysore. The nearest railway station is Nanjangud for Kabini and Hunsur for Nagarahole.
Stay Options – There are many stay options in Kabini starting with ultra luxury Evolve Back (Formerly known as Orange County) to the comfortable Kabini River Lodge by Jungle Lodges. Some of the resorts are abetting the backwaters and some are away from them. We would recommend the resorts next to Backwaters. We also personally liked Kaav Safari Lodge which is away from the backwaters but is compensated by excellent rooms, outstanding food and very friendly staff. Staying in Jungle lodges comes with a free Jungle Safari and Boat safari. For others you have to pay extra.
Stay options at Nagarahole is limited. It will be a good option to stay in one of the home stays in and around Kutta and explore Nagarahole.
Tips – Make sure that the resort you are going to stay has a licence for jeep safari. Jungle Lodges allots seats to private resorts in their Jeeps. If the resort does not have the licence not worth going there. Then you should be satisfied with only the one hour safari in a bus which is no fun.
2 Bandipur Tiger Reserve
Check out the story behind these pictures in the link below.
Originally the hunting area of Mysore Maharajas, Bandipur Tiger Reserve is known for its tiger sightings. This is the largest national park in Karnataka. Lovely lakes and wildlife makes this a sought after destination among national parks in south india.
Reaching there – Bandipur is on Mysore – Ooty highway. The nearest railway station is Gundlupet. Nearest airport is Mysore.
Stay Options – There are many stay options in Bandipur starting with luxury options like Serai to the comfortable Bandipur Safari Lodge by Jungle Lodges. We personally liked Dhole’s den which is has excellent rooms, outstanding food and very friendly staff. Staying in Jungle lodges comes with a free Jungle Safari. For others you have to pay extra.
Tips – Make sure that the resort you are going to stay has a licence for jeep safari. Jungle Lodges allots seats to private resorts in their jeeps. If the resort does not have the licence not worth going there. Then you should be satisfied with only the one hour safari in a bus which is no fun.
Fairly unknown to touristy crowd – which is actually good – Bhadra Tiger reserve is pristine. One of the unexplored tiger reserves in India. The backwaters of Bhadra reservoir makes this place more special. Throbbing bird life and varied fauna makes this place a must visit. The boat safari is a joy for wild life lovers. In season, one can see thousands of river terns on the backwaters.
Reaching There – The tiger reserve is well-connected by road. The nearest railway station is Tarikere. The nearest airport is Mangalore.
Stay options – The only stay option in Bhadra is River Tern lodge run by Jungle Lodges. Lovely log huts overlooking the backwaters of Bhadra reservoir are value for money! The only other option is to stay in Forest Guest houses which are difficult to book and are unpredictable due to last-minute cancellations to accommodate any VIPs.
Uttara Kannada district has some of the dense jungles in the country. River Kali flows through it. This is hornbills country! August is the season for watching the hornbills. The jungle safari is lovely. Dandeli is a bird watchers paradise.
Reaching there – Dandeli is well-connected by road. The nearest convenient railway station is Londa which is well-connected to other parts of the country. The nearest airport is Belgaum.
Mandu mesmerises you. It is magical. Especially if you are there after monsoon. Like we were.
We visited Mandu during our 15 days long road trip in central India in 2010. We stayed in lovely Jhira Bagh palace in Dhar. The palace being on the highway and on the outskirts of Dhar helped. We did not have to go through the town.
The road from palace to Mandu fort is surprisingly good as this is the route taken by tourists coming from Indore. After fifteen KMs we see a sort of picnic spot with some local boys hanging around. We could see a huge gorge. We ask a boy about the place and he says it is called “SUSIDE POINT”!!
We get down to see what it is all about. To our surprise, we see fantastic valley and a nice waterfall. Brinda gets out of the car and get her Nikon. The valley looks beautiful and the gorge really deep. There isn’t much of water in the falls – must be a beautiful sight when it rains – but still look charming. We can now understand why the locals call this SUSIDE POINT!!
Please click on the pictures to see them in larger size.
Valley view @ Suside point!
Mandu or MANDAVA as it was known in medieval times was the largest fortified city in the country. Mandu is a huge, crumbling collection of old buildings from the 15th and 16th centuries. It is situated on the top of a large, flat Malwa plateau, surrounded on all sides by steep slopes.
Poorna had gone there after rains in 1986 while being posted in MHOW in Madhya Pradesh. Mandu is fairy-tale like after rains. Greenery is soothing and with broken fort walls, gates and palaces thrown in between, it gives a magical look.
Without giving too much of history – which one can get from Wiki – the place today is well preserved by Archaeological survey of India. In fact, ASI has published an excellent monograph on the place. One can comfortably spend a day exploring the various monuments. The place still retains its rustic rural charm and is not crowded unlike many of our monuments.
We take a guide as soon as we reach the fort. Though the fort is well signed, we always feel it is good to have a guide with you so that we don’t have to struggle for directions. Also important is to set the expectation clear to guides on how much time you can spare to see the place. Guides are garrulous and we need to keep a check on them!
Our first stop is at the Echo point. There are two buildings opposite to each other very far from the road at the edge of the hill. Echo Point is named so because, echo can be heard in the second building!
The mausoleum @ the Echo point
You stand on the road at a designated point and shout. It gets echoed in the building on the right!! We shout and it works….like the way it does in Golgumbaz in Bijapur. More than the echo part, we loved the setting of these mausoleums in the middle of greenery.
We drive along the road watching many ruins at a distance. Then we see the vast expanse of water set amidst greenery – Sagar Talab. The good monsoon has filled the tank to the brim. It looks lovely. We could see some honeymooning couples paddling away in the waters!!
Serene waters of Sagar Talab or Sagar Lake
Rani Roopmati mahal look imposing from a distance. Built on the highest point in Mandu, with “Open to sky cupolas” it has excellent views of the valley in all directions. Rani Roopmati, the consort of Baz Bahadur lived here and balladeers of Malwa have many stories of romance between them. It is a simple construction with cupolas in the corners.
Rani Roopmati mahal from a distance
The cupolas of the mahal
The eastern cupola
Passage ways inside the pavilion
Water tank. It is interesting to see the way water storage systems were designed in Mandu.
The view from the mahal
The palace of Baz Bahadur as seen from Rani Roopmati Mahal
We get down and drive to Baz Bahadur palace. The palace in its heydays must be grand but what remains now looks simple and nice. There is a..
Another Weekend getaway from Bangalore with detailed itinerary! This time we will help you explore BR Hills National Park & Shivanasamudra Falls plus the sandy beach at Talakadu.
This is the Seventh in the Weekend getaways from Bangalore series. These are trips to tourist places near Bangalore within 300 KMs. These can also be considered as a 2 day trip near Bangalore. These trips are excellent weekend getaways for family.
They provide much-needed break from the routine. Bangalore is blessed with numerous options for weekend trips to revitalise oneself.
These weekend getaways from Bangalore cover Saturday and Sunday. They can be comfortably done by car/bike. A detailed itinerary given here will help you plan the trip.
So why wait? Plan this trip on one of the weekends.
7 AM – Depart from Bangalore. Enter Kanakapura road. You are lucky if you are near NICE road where you can exit at Kanakapura Road and join the road.
8 AM – Breakfast at MTR after you cross Art of Living ashram. Look out for the MTR signage. It is slightly deceptive and you may miss out if you are not alert.
8.45 AM – Depart MTR and drive straight to Kanakapura. Cross Kanakapura town and drive towards Malavalli. Cross Malavalli on the bye pass road. After 10 KMs you will find a signage for Gaganachukki falls. Turn left and drive for few minutes to reach the water falls.
10.30 AM – Arrive at Gaganachukki falls. Park your car and walk to the view-point. Enjoy the beauty of the cascade. Spend 30 minutes here.
11 AM – Depart from Gaganachukki falls and drive to Barachukki falls which is at a distance of 15 KMs. When you reach the highway, turn left. On the way stop for five minutes to enjoy the lovely view of Cauvery backwaters. After driving for few KMs, you will find a prominent junction with signage for Barachukki falls.
11.20 AM – Arrive at Barachukki falls. Park your car and walk to the view-point. Spend 30 minutes savouring the beauty of the waterfalls.
Lovely backwaters on Cauvery Barrage.
11.50 AM – Depart from Barachukki falls and head straight to B R Hills.
1.45 PM – Arrive at BR Hills National Park. Check into the hotel, have lunch and relax for some time.
3.30 PM – Check with the hotel staff if there is an afternoon safari. If yes, go ahead and join it. If not, go for a drive on the road towards Chamarajanagar and return back from the last forest check post which has a welcome arch. You may be lucky to spot elephants and other animals.
5 PM – On the way back – if not going to Safari – drive up to the Biligiri Ranganatha Temple which is at the highest point in the area. It has lovely views of the forest and plains below. If going on Safari, go to the temple after Safari. The temple is under renovation.
6.30 PM – Return back to your hotel. Relax for the day.
6.00 AM – Get up to the calls of Hill Myna. After a cup of coffee, get ready for another round of Jungle safari.
6.30 AM – Go for Jungle safari. You will get a chance to see many animals like the ones below.
8.30 AM – Return back from Jungle safari.
9 AM – Breakfast time at hotel.
10.30 AM – Depart from your hotel.
12.30 PM – Arrive at Talakad. Enjoy the Sandy beach on the banks of Kaveri. Visit the lovely Chola temples. Check out more on Talakad here.
The best options for stay in BR Hills National Park are
K Gudi Wilderness Camp – Managed by Jungle Lodges and resorts, this was the first one to be established in BR Hills national park. Decent cottages, excellent naturalists and Good food makes it a good option. Don’t expect luxury here.
Gorukana – Managed Vivekananda Tribal welfare Trust is fairly new property having been established four years back. Designed by award-winning architect Namit Varma of GNA Architects, it has charming cottages and tree houses next to an artificial lake. Local tribal boys have been employed as naturalists and they are excellent. Food is decent too.
Timings are indicative for travelling in Car/bike.
Once you enter the forest check post of BR Hills National Park, keep a watch for wild animals. Especially near the water bodies. You may be lucky to spot Elephants, Wild Boar or Indian Guar. If you are super lucky you may spot big cats – Tiger and Leopard!
Drive slow once you enter the forest. Open the car windows and enjoy fresh air.
Carry good Binoculars and a torch.
Carry a good hat and sunscreen lotion. It is required if you drive to Talakad on the way back.
Get up early and hit the road at dawn if there is no safari. Chances of seeing wild animals will be bright at this time
Don’t worry if you can not see a tiger or leopard. There are other wild animals to be seen.
BR Hills is a bird watchers paradise.
The naturalists at Jungle Lodges and Gorukana are knowledgeable about flora and fauna. Do not hesitate to ask questions.
Trekking inside forest is not allowed at times. Check out with you hotel for latest information.
VGKK, The NGO has a retail outlet from where you can buy organically produced items. Look out for the furniture made out of Lantana shrub. Looks very good and cheap.
The national park looks beautiful after rains.
Check with your hotel for Safari. Sometimes Safari will be banned due to forest fires.
The other places to visit in BR Hills National Park are – Ranganathaswamy temple, VGKK Shop. Please note that the temple is closed till Oct 2018 for renovation.
The place is lovely for cycling. Take your bicycles along and enjoy the ride in the morning. The forest roads should be avoided after dusk due to movement of wild elephants.
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