looking for climbing partners near Bangalore

October 14th, 2008

hi,

I’m in Bangalore for a couple of days and would like to know if anybody fancy doing some climbing or can advise of some people organising climbing trips.

I’m French and all my gear is back home, so if somebody know a place to rent?

You can get me on my indian number on 09873104691

Cheers

Ludo

One tree

August 23rd, 2008

One tree in the middle of a grassland.

On a vast expanse of greenary, grasslands showing off traces of a long gone glory which is only memory and a fort in ruins, one can see the true beauty of the Western Ghats. Another important feature of the landscape is its sholas, typical to this part of Western Ghats. On top of one such hills in Ballala Rayana Durga in South Kanara, is a tree perhaps with handful number of leaves here and there, seemingly counting its last days in the Sun.

Tree in a grassland
Whats remarkable about this tree is the fact that this tree is host to a number of Orchids. The orchids seems to be of the Aerides, Oberonia and few other genera.

Being the lone tree in the middle of a grass land on top of a hill, for these epiphytes this tree is the only support they have. Quite remarkable! The tree and Orchids stand there as reminder to us of the rareness of the habitat. Could this have been only tree of the species left? Could these epiphytes are the only of their species remaining?

Orchids on the tree
Perhaps this this sounds bit too hyped if not an exaggeration. Truth is that if one looks at the bigger picture, this tree stands as tall symbol for many of regions, pockets of forests, sholas, mangroves, etc supporting lives of various species, including humans And it can’t symbolise the whole of Western Ghats any better.

The Lone Ride

October 12th, 2007

OK, relax(to myself)…. I can do it….

This is my ‘First Blog’ and I thought I would start with one about my “Lone Bike Ride” to my native place.

Let me tell you that first of all I am not a good narrator. So here goes…..

It all started somewhere in the second week of December. It was a long time since I went for a trip, and my mind had started complaining about it. I had taken two days off immediately after Christmas so that I get a long weekend. Ok,now that I had the 5 days that I wanted, I had to choose a destination .I had been to some places around Western Ghats and had promised that I�ll be back during the winter. Also, it was kind of my wish since a long time ( I mean really long time � substitute �as a kid�) to go to my native place by driving/riding myself from Bangalore. So I knew the destination � it was my native place � Sooral in Udupi District and places around it.

The travel destinations had started to slowly come into perspective, now I had to gather a gang for it. I say �gang� becoz that�s what usually my trip/travel group is. As usual I called my friend Satish � he is the first point of contact for �The Gang�. Big disappointment � Satish backed out!!!. Ok plan B � contact the other probable people from the gang. Bad luck again. Suddenly everyone is busy or uninterested. �What the hell happened to the never say no gang!!!!!!??????�

Now I wasn�t going to give up that easy. I contacted my other group � the �Decent Group*� (* not a registered group, but I identify them like this). They are exactly what the group name say � decent. No nonsense , no risks people. I had braced myself for the negative response, but WTH, they agreed. Well, my joy was short lived as they were not too keen to travel by own transport � let alone bikes.

�AAARGH, now that�s it. I dont need any body to travel with me. I can and will do it alone!!!!!!!!!!� � that�s what I said to myself and got ready with all the details for the ride. Got information on the routes, road conditions etc. To my surprise, my cubicle mate � a Senior Technical Architect turned out to be a bike freak too. And the best part was that he has traveled about 95% of the route I had to travel on bike. I collected as much information from him, and the best parts of the travel also. His description of the route were the perfect match for what I had craved for � good Highways, the adrenalin pumping � mouth watering (err � I guess you get the point) curves and loads of them. Boy was I jumping with joy � all alone on my bike on those roads � � I�m lovin it!!!!!�. But wait!!!, my bike is in no good condition( I am getting a bit technical here , please skip to next para if you want�. Bad breaking, bad mileage, and the worst of all � bad power ( & the front tire was rubbing against the front fork support!!!). So I got it fixed just for the trip, and told myself that nothings gonna stop me!!!.

The day of the ride started at 6 AM, got up � got ready , left home at about 6:30 AM � I had started late!!!. I had to reach my native by 4:30 in the evening , that is 420 kms in about 10 hrs. I had to fill up the tank for the ride and did the most stupid thing in the ride. Filled up at a fuel station where I saw only trucks � guess nobody fills petrol from here. The stupid part you ask � well a spanking new Shell petrol bunk was just 100 feet from it. As if being a dumber wasn�t enough, the result of being stupid started halfway into the ride � the exhaust was smelling like fuel!!! � one of the mechanics told it was becoz of adulterated fuel. What a start to a long ride!!….

After filling petrol, all that I had was the highway, my bike and���. Wait a minute , I cant feel my hands. My fingers were exposed to the cold winter air of Bangalore, and at 80 kms/hr the fingers wont move. Had to learn the hard way not to ride a bike without wearing protective gloves. Anyway reached the Toll gate after Nelamangala, two kids were stopping two wheelers and asking for a donation to some event which I don�t remember now. They asked me where I was heading to, when I said Udupi, they gave each other a kind of a look ( something that kind of meant I was crazy) and let me go without asking for money.

After this, the ride was uneventful till I reached Bhadravathi � where I met my friend Avi. That was about 11:15 AM. I had covered a lot of ground in the first leg of my ride. Nothing spectacular, but a nice relaxing ride. Stayed at Avi�s home for about 1 hr , had lunch there. Then Avi accompanied me till Shimoga � just 15 kms away. I changed the spark plug of my bike in a Bajaj Showroom ( this is where I came to know about the adulterated petrol part). After saying Goodbye to Avi at Shimoga, I entered the second leg of the ride � supposed to be THE best biking routes.

The best part of the trip,�.. didn�t actually start immediately after Shimoga. Roads were ok until ManDaGadde. Nothing spectacular, me still cruising � calculating approx time when I might reach my destination. I also knew that the roads are going to get a lot better in a few kms. After mandagadde, roads started to slowly curve around. Initially the long curves that you barely notice on a bike, but slowly as you get introduced to the curves and the banking, they start getting twistier. By now(if you are riding alone) you would have started shifting your butt while taking the turns. Gradually the mind gets used to the constant butt-shifting and the foot peg scrapping, and you start craving for more of this. Everytime there was a curve, the throttle would automatically open and the curve conquered at the max possible speed(only after making sure not to go out of the lane). It�s a different feeling. The bike becomes a part of you. This is what I wanted. Perfect balance of speed and handling (atleast for a 150cc bike) and I was satisfied.

After riding like I owned the roads, riding like gods, I had reached theerthahalli. A small town that comes between shimoga and Agumbe. The roads continue to twist through the town and all throughout till Agumbe. By now the bike was gulping down fuel (thks to the adulterated petrol). I later came to know of one more way the fuel can leave the bike � the overflow from the carburetor. Actually when carbureted bikes are bent so much that the foot peg touches the ground, fuel will flow out of the carburetor through the overflow tube. I guess a lot of fuel would have gone this way because of the ghat roads. But I was enjoying the ride a lot to even think about the fuel efficiency.

After the exhilarating ride till Aagumbe, the roads were not much exciting. I had got so much used to the bike, I could actually *feel* what the bike was doing(atleast I felt like that). The roads after descending Agumbe ghat section were normal village roads. So cruised on to my village asking for directions all along the way. Finally I reached my destination at about 4.30-5 pm in the evening.

Although I had traveled about 430kms in 10 hrs, I didn�t actually feel the strain. It was more like a stress buster. I had achieved my dream of a � Lone Bike Ride� and there was no regrets.

Sometimes we like to do some things that might appear crazy, stupid or even pointless to others. Well, it is what they feel. Let them. You are the one to decide, it�s your dream, your life. Do it and find out why you want it so much. Take the extra step to see what you have really got. Challenge yourself!!!!!!

Check out the pics I managed to click during the trip :

The Lone ride!!

map

September 1st, 2006

Hi all,

I am basically from sirsi, working in blore.

I have created a map of some famous tourist spots around sirsi (reffering to wikimapia),will share it with u all.

another test post

August 25th, 2006

Weekend trip to beach trek from Dhareshwar to Gokarna. See the bb for more details

Test

June 9th, 2006

Vertical

KR

posting aadi…

April 29th, 2006

here is a small pic of the route aadi at ramanagar…
aadi at ramanagar

LalBagh!

April 13th, 2006

Just as we are trying to setup dreamroutes blog, I am trying to see how photograps look.
so here a pic for the day!

Location: LabBagh, an excellent place for some superb shots. pleasent and energizing

A Trip to Waynad

March 17th, 2006

Probably more than the beauty of the place we were going to visit ( Waynad ) what seemed to be more attractive was the place of stay Chandru had arranged. It was supposed to be an estate house in the midst of a huge estate though we all had our own apprehensions about how good it might be. The very idea of staying in the midst of greenery gave rise to excitement. By the time we picked up everyone and hit the Mysore road it was ten in the night. We were traveling in a Gypsy ( a fantastic one that too ) and the plan was to stop at my place in Mysore to take my Alto too as it would be a comfortable ride for eight people in two vehicles. Reached Mysore around 2 in the night and after having some tea, snacks and filling the vehicles with Petrol we started towards Waynad in the Nanjangud-Gundlupet-Sultan Battery route ( NH 212 ). ( Info – There are two 24 hrs petrol pumps in Mysore – one opposite Metropole Hotel in JLB road and one near Prabha talkies )

Four were seated in Gypsy and four others in Alto with the idea that people sitting at the back of these vehicles can get some sleep. The road till Nanjangud was not so good but we could easily do a 70 KM/hr drive as vehicle traffic was not that much. As we crossed Nanjangud towards Gundlupet the road got much better. I was driving the Alto at a constant speed and Sripathy was promptly following the car. As we neared the forest area I drove through a pocket of fog for about 20 meters. It was so thick that I could hardly watch the road and had to drive through it blindly. Immediately I asked Sripathy to lead the way as he is an experienced driver and also can use the fog lights and I can easily follow him. May be Sripathy was waiting for such an opportunity and within no time Gypsy was racing at 100-120 KM/ph and I had no choice but to accelerate to catch the hazard lights of Gypsy. It was pretty foggy and following him was the easiest thing I could do.
We stopped in between to get some tea and Chandru ,who slept for an hour till then, took the steering in Gypsy giving some rest to Sripathy who had driven right from Bangalore.

The road was extremely good and for me it was as if I had put Alto on Cruise control. We crossed Sultan Battery and reached Kalpetta around 5:30 in the morning. This was where we had to meet Francis who was to take us to the estate house. We actually had to drive back 10 KM towards Sultan Battery as Francis had asked us to meet in Kalpetta since it was easy for him to wait for us in there. The estate was around 10 KM from the NH and road was pretty good. We reached the estate around 7 in the morning after traveling around 150 Km from Mysore.

The house looked so beautiful! It is in middle of a 27 acre Coffee/cardamom/Coconut/Areca plantations. It is a big three bedroom ( with attached bath) estate house with a large portico and a huge front yard. The house keeper cooks for the guests for a nominal fee. By the time we washed and looked through the house breakfast was ready! What else will make you happy than a idly/chutney/Bread/Butter/Jam/Tea breakfast!! People only proved that they live to eat. We Caught up the badly needed sleep for couple of hours and started towards Edakkal caves around 11 am telling the house keeper that we will be back for dinner. The house keeper could only speak Malayalam but the helper family are from Karnataka it seems and they doubled up as translators.

Day 1

We set out towards Edakkal caves in Gypsy leaving behind Alto in the estate itself. It is very near to the estate. As we cant take the vehicle to the base of the caves, we park it and climb up the 1.5 Km jeep route ( One can also take a jeep for a fee of Rs. 5 per head ). The entrance fee to the caves is Rs.10 and one is not supposed to take any plastic covers inside ( Wish they do this in lots of places in Karnataka too ) Lot of time is spent climbing up towards the caves, watching the prehistoric carving, doing a bit of rock climbing and viewing the beautiful surroundings from a higher altitude. We climb down after couple of hours and have some fine cucumber, annanas,juice at the base before starting towards Soochipara falls.

It was almost four in the evening when we reached the falls. We had to climb down few hundred steps before we can actually see the falls. There is lot of greenery around and neatly constructed steps to lead to the falls. Its not much difficult to walk towards and this very much reminds me of Hunamana Gundi falls in Kudremukha range. It would have been even more if there we had to trek towards the falls instead of walking on well laid steps but then government has to cater towards a larger majority of travelers instead of a minority group of trekkers. Somehow nobody wanted to wet their feet in the water and were contended to watch the falls in silence sitting on the rocks! Have seen water making it like that to many people! They would either make a lot of noise by playing it or simply watch it from a distance in silence. As it was getting dark we climbed back towards the Gypsy and started towards the estate.

Reached estate around 8 in the evening to see a well lit camp fire in the front yard! How thoughtful of the keepers ! Sat around the fire with tea cups and some chakkali/sweets/oranges. Dinner was ready and again it was a wonderful meal! Chappati/curry/chutney/rice/banana. Hit the bed pretty soon with the satisfaction that we dont have to get very early next day. No wonder it was a dreamless sleep.

Day 2

Got up late and had a heavy breakfast of Dose/chutney/sambar/bread. After bidding farewell to house workers and thanking them for the wonderful hospitality ( and ofcourse paying the bill ) we started towards Kuruva dweep which is a set of islets in the Kabini river. While driving towards Mananthavady you can follow the directions to Kuruva Dweep. Alternatively From Mananthavady on the way to Mysore, just a km after Karthikulam, look for the Kuruvadweep sign post and take right. From this deviation the place is 5 km.
It was impossible to drive the Alto in the last 3 km towards Kuruva dweep. We parked it beside the road the travelled in Gypsy in that bouncy muddy road getting a real feel of Gypsy drive! Crossed over the river towards the island and spent quite some time in the water! It was shallow and could talk bath easily! Wish we had taken some lunch too as we had to get out of water to satisfy the hungry stomach. Started our last leg of the journey towards Mysore through Nagerhole forests after having lunch at a udipi restaurant in Mananthavady. We could not travel through Nagerhole as it gets closed from 6pm to 6am. We traveled back a bit to take the H D Kote-Mysore road. It was fruitful journey as we could see a majestic wild tusker few meters from the road. After clicking a couple of photos we started the drive back. Just after crossing Kerala you hit the worst patch of the road. There is practically no road for 24KM and it is very bumpy on that road filled with stones and pot holes. After that you suddenly get into one the best roads you can dream of! For a minute we wondered whether we are in Karnataka or some where else by mistake! The road from there to Mysore ( around 70 KM ) is extremely good except for few unfinished patches. We were back at Mysore by 9pm. The group started towards Bangalore around 11pm after having a heavy dinner at Kamat restaurant on Nanjangud road and reached Blore at 2 am!
Though this was not a trek per se it was really a fun trip! Two days of traveling, climbing, walking, sleeping with greenery around has its own charms. Wish we could spend some more time together! Next time for sure! Saw one more place, made some more friends !

new post for own photo host

February 5th, 2006

been trying …
letssee how this things goes…

vajra falls
and some ideas …