Archive for March, 2008
Posted in Bangalore, bike, devanahalli, Great Escapes, IFMR, india, international airport, jawa, nandeeshwara, Nandi hills, South India, tipu drop, Travel in South India on March 12, 2008| 3 Comments »
Had been quite a while since I had planned an offbeat trip, last i remember having been to Jodhpur around the time of the infamous Gujarat earthquake in 2001. This time around it was a day trip to Chennai to satisfy the desire of visiting aquaculture farms, experiencing firsthand the journey of those lovely colourful pets that add life to the décor of our living rooms, offices etc… the whole trip was planned on short notice.
Beginning the day at 5 in the morning on a Saturday, (come to think of it I generally end up waking early on weekends, nothing shakes me out of bed till 8.30am on week days…) got ready and hit the road to catch the Shatabdi at the Cantonment Station. My first stop was to get an auto-rickshaw & was surprised to find a kind rickshaw driver who spent time exercising before he could get his first customer for the day. We broke into a conversation & I figured Shivprasad doubled up into a chef during the day for a leading chain of hotels in the city called Shanti Sagar and rendered his services as a auto driver during his breaks to make an additional buck. Life in Bangalore has changed so much with the high cost of living that one has to do double jobs to make a decent living.
I was dropped at the Cant. Station and after a 10 min wait and the train chugged into the station. 10 mins of travel and a voice spoke over the speaker system. At first I was irked as it stopped a Hindi classic to give the message; the passengers were welcomed onto the train and wished a pleasant journey in 3 languages by the train superintendent Mr. Arul Richard in a lovely voice, the classics continued once he was done.
I spoke to Arul later to compliment him on the collection he was playing, he told me that earlier he used to play old tapes and the quality was bad. A frequent traveler gifted him with a CD system and a set of CD’s for the benefit of passengers thus the lovely quality of music. This was something I would have never thought of doing. The staff in the train were very courteous & kept the snacks & beverage flowing making you feel at home. I got down few stop before Chennai at Prerembur thanking the train staff for making my journey comfortable.
Here began my mission for the day, first I packed some food at a good restaurant then moved on to hire a rickshaw to look around the place, not really knowing where to head to find these farms I first visited many of the shops dealing with live fish & related products, most of them were not comfortable to direct me to their farms, my broken Tamil didn’t help my cause either. I managed to talk to one of the dealers to take me to his farm and to show me around, it was a wonderful experience to see how those huge tanks are maintained, fish at its many stages before they hit the store, the different kinds of feed. Surprisingly the time taken for these little ones to grow into a marketable size is much lesser when compared if it were to be done here in Bangalore, no wonder we don’t have any farms here and most stuff to the Bangalore market comes from Chennai.
I got to photograph a whole lot of varieties of both sweet water and marine fishes, got to see that the banned corals were openly traded. Just about a month ago most dealers of live corals in Bangalore were raided and sent behind bars – does Tamil Nadu have different wildlife rules (let me not kick the dust). It was a pleasant outing thanks to the sun god who was merciful to make my trip comfortable. Time just flew in the activity and I headed back to the railway station en-route packed some special food for the train superintendent to encourage him to keep up the good service.
I was totally refreshed and ready to take on the hectic week that was ahead but not before completing the bike ride that was planned for the following day got back home and hit the sack waiting for day break to hit the road…
After a gap of over 16 yrs, this train has started functioning again. Thousands of travelers were put thru hardship when the meter gauge of this amazing route went for conversion into broad gauge and travelers had to solely depend on roads and buses. Everytime there was an accident or landslide on this route, traffic would get disrupted.
Having crossed a lot of road blocks or rather rail blocks 🙂 (politics, bus mafia etc) the Bangalore – Mangalore train service finally commenced in Feb’08. People have been rushing to get a berth on this train to be a part of this nostalgic journey which passes right thru western ghats and some 150 odd tunnels.
The train starts from Yeshwantpur station and passes thru Bangalore city central by 9pm. From here it is routed to Mysore before reaching Hassan. To catch glimpses of the amazing western ghats, one has to wake up at 6am and wait for the sun to come up. This is when the double engined train slowly passes thru the wild terrain and the numerous tunnels to reach Subramanya Station which is famous for its temple and rava uppama. A lot of trekkers also alight here to visit Kumarparvatha, the highest peak in karnataka.
The train arrives at Mangalore station by around 9.30am and do not expect it to reach early cos it won’t. Be careful while taking an auto at the station cos they usually tend to charge more or do not use their meter. Hope u get to travel on this dream route sometime soon before the charm is lost.