Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Kabini : Nagarhole National Park

Visitied in : Dec 2008
Distance from Bangalore : 210 km in the SW
Best way to reach there : By road - 5 to 6 hrs, By train - to Mysore (3 1/2 hrs) + 1/2 hrs by road
Good place to stay at : We stayed in one of the cottages at Kabini River Lodge (Jungle Resorts). There are some tented cottages and colonial style twin rooms too in the resort.
(Other options to stay are : Cicada Kabini and Water woods)
Kabini - also known as the Elephant Country or the home of Pachyderms, invites many pachyderm lovers from around the world throughout the year. The natural surroundings and the huge herds of elephants present a beautiful spectacle. This is one of the best places to see the big tuskers in their natural habitat with their raw magnetism.

During the Jeep safari inside the Nagarhole National Park, you get to spot many varieties of birds and wild animals like sambhar, deer, chital, gaur and even the majestic tiger (if you are that lucky). There are two Jeep Safaris - one early in the morning and one in the evening.

Before leaving the resort you can enjoy a refreshing boat ride in the Kabini river too.

A movie on wildlife was shown in the resort at night, which beautifully presented the nature's food cycle. No wildlife discussion can become complete without the mention of the unhumanly treatment of animals by us humans. Very true but very sad.

The beautiful cottages on the Kabini river bank with hammocks, complete the perfect picture of serenity and tranquility.

Image Courtesy :

The food is simple and delicious as in other Jungle Resorts.

Another beautiful getaway in the lap of nature for rejuvenation of spirits.

Important Tips:

1. Carry some woolens and jackets especially for the early morning Jeep Safari. It is usually very cold at that time.

2. Reach there on time so that there is sufficient time for lunch and a little relaxed time before the Safari begins at 4:30 pm

3. Allocate some extra time for the bad roads just before reaching the destination.

Friday, August 27, 2010



Visitied in : Dec 2008
Distance from Bangalore : 330 Km (East of Bangalore)
Best way to reach there : By road (7-8 hrs), By train (6 hrs to Chennai + 1 1/2 hrs by road), By air (45 min to Chennai + 1 1/2 hrs by road)
Good place to stay at : We stayed in a hotel in Chennai and spent a full day in Mahabalipuram. But there are many good beach resorts just before you enter Mahabalipuram.

We were in Chennai and had one day to spare so thought of doing a day trip to Mahabalipuram. The drive from Chennai to Mahabalipuram was very picturesque with the Bay of Bengal on one side, lined with tall coconut trees all along the road.

There are many historical events associated with Mahabalipuram (originally called Mammallapuram) and how this place got its name.

This town is World Heritage site now and the beautiful artistic carvings make it rightly so. Most of the sculptures here are monolithic - carved from single rocks.
There are around 40 such carved monuments here and among the most significant ones are:

1. Shore Temple : It is located right on the sea shore and showcases excellent architecture of the Pallava Dynasty during seventh and eighth century. There are two shrines of Lord Shiva and one of Lord Vishnu in the center. The Lord Visnhu's Sleeping idol (which is a very uncommon pose of Vishnu)can be viewed in parts through various doors.
The temple has the breathtaking background of azure ocean and sky.

2. Arjuna's penance : This is the largest open air bas-relief in the world, built by King Narsimha I. It is a beautiful piece of art and must be seen to appreciate the artwork. The great Arjuna, from Mahabharata is carved here doing penance to obtain weapons for the historical battle between Kauravas and Pandavas. There are almost innumerable carvings of animals, other creatures and devataas on the rock.

3. Five Rathas : This is a set of monolithic rock temples. The rathas (chariots) are : Yudhishthir's Ratha, Bhima Ratha, Arjuna's Ratha, Nakul-Sekhdev's Ratha and Draupdi's Ratha. There are sculptures of different Gods and Goddesses in these rathas. An exquisite art work.

4. Lord Krishna's Butter Ball : Near the Ganesh Ratha there is a huge boulder on a hill slope. The placement of such a boulder is worth seeing. This is called Krishna's butter ball.

Other than these significant monuments, there are many more constructions erected by Pallava kings and they all are in close proximity to each other.

After having spent the whole day in this town, it felt like everybody here is associated with some stage of sculpturing in one way or the other and I guess this is the only occupation most of native people are engaged in. It was a great experience to watch people at work. If you get such opportunity, don't miss it.

You can buy some beautiful sculptures here made of granite stones and also some other handicraft material.

Important tips :
1. Carry loads of drinking water and some energy snack bars while you appreciate the art work.
2. Excellent place to buy souvenirs from but beware of men selling them in hand just outside these sites. The quality and price of a particular piece may vary from Rs. 20 to Rs. 200.
3. Do not miss 'Crocodile Bank' on the way from Chennai to Mahabalipuram. It’s a one of its kind park, created by Romulus Whitekar - the famous conservationist . It’s a unique experience to watch these lazy creatures enjoying the relaxed time.


Visited in - Dec 2007

Distance from Bangalore : 120 Km (South of Bangalore via Kanakapura)
Good place to stay at : Georgia Sunshine Village
Best way to reach there : By Car
Activities to do : Visit to the twin falls - Barachukki and Gaganchuki
Rooms : Cottages, each having two rooms individually rented out
Meals : All meals are cooked under the supervision of host couple

Cauvery splitting into two streams at Gaganchukki and Barachukki is a beautiful sight. It was a short drive from the Georgia Sunshine Village to the falls. You can actually go down to the base of the waterfalls and do some boating in the river there. It was a steep walk down and very refreshing in the river.

Besides these falls there is not much to do. Within the resort, you can go for fun fishing activity. We did manage to catch a very small fish after having patiently waited for almost an hour and then released it back in the water. Early in the morning, you can go for a nature walk, which was through the small trails in the wilderness. Since we had two little children with us, we did an hour long trek only. But guided trips for longer duration are available too depending on the capacity of the guests.

The host couple was very cordial and warm. The rooms were comfortable and the food was delicious but there was not much variety in the food. In the evening there was just light tea/coffee with a packet of Marie biscuits. Dinner was served very late so there was a long gap between the lunch and dinner with almost nothing in between. We were starving by the time the dinner was served. Also, did not see the bonfire part happening in the resort which was mentioned.

But, overall a decent break if you are looking for a one 2-days 1-night trip to some place close by.

Important tips :

1. The last stretch of road is dirt road and will take more time to cover than you would expect.
2. Reaching the resort was also a little tricky business, its not on the main road and actually you can easily miss this place. We kept calling the hosts over the phone for the directions once we were off the main road.
3. While going to the falls, the markings were not very clear, be extremely careful for all kinds of boards and markings on the road so that you don't miss the directions as we did.
4. There are some cottages with open to sky bathrooms so just check if you are not comfortable with that kind of setting.
5. We made the booking through their Bangalore contact, somewhere in Ulsoor.
6. Better to carry light jackets as it got a little colder at night in the resort.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Bheemeshwari - Cauvery Fishing Camp

State : Karnataka

A very serene place away from the maddening noise of the city and not too far from Bangalore either. Need no extensive planning, just decide which weekend you want to take off and head towards Bheemeshwari. One night stay at this place is just enough to rejuvenate the mind and body to take the everyday challenges once again.

Distance from Bangalore : 100 km (South of Bangalore via Kanakpura)
Good place to stay at : Jungle Lodges
Best way to reach there : By car
Activities to do : Coricle Ride, Nature walk
Rooms : Log huts or Tented cottages (for more closer to nature experience)
Meals : Meals and evening snacks is part of the whole package ( liked the barbecue before dinner)

What I liked the most about this place was the tranquil environment and in total natural surroundings. The cottages(log huts) face the Cauvery river. With each log hut, a hammock is provided. It is a wonderful experience to just relax on the hammock with a light-read book and transition between sleeping and awake states. After being so accustomed to staying indoors and in artificial lights always, getting such abundant light and fresh air feels really amazing and it does a world of good to the spirits.

Important tips :

  1. Reach there by the checkin time, to have the complete relaxed time in the natural surroundings.
  2. It will take 3+ hrs to reach the resort from Bangalore.
  3. The last stretch of approach road was not very good when we went in 2006. So it took a little longer to cover that last 50 odd kms.
  4. It is better to carry some light jackets if you want to enjoy the outdoors at dusk and for early morning nature walk.

Images Courtesy : Jungle Lodges