Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for September, 2009

For years we have seen them in all colors and shapes moving around the city ferrying people from point A to point B emitting loads of smoke. Today these autos or rikshaws are an essential part of most Indian cities and provide that much needed gap in our transportation network. The only advantage these autos provide is service to your doorstep and at a price which is half that of a cab / taxi.

Yellow Color Bangalore Autos

Yellow Color Bangalore Autos

Cities like Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad and even parts of Mumbai are primarily dependent on these autos who charge anywhere from Rs 7 to Rs 10 per kms. But they seldom stick to this pricing and try to fleese their customers at every given opportunity. If you look like an outsider and new to the city, then u’r definitely taken for a ride. So sometimes other options like Government Bus Service or shared cabs could work out as better alternatives.

We have tried to put down a few pointers that could help you get thru this ordeal while travelin on a budget in India.

Before you get to a particular city, collect enough information about the local transport facilities and approximate rates. For Ex: Bangalore city has a reliable Non A/c and Airconditioned Bus service which are quite effecient and connect all corners of the city. Quite a few techies in the city have abandoned their bikes and cars to ride on these aircon volvo buses to their workplace. You can also choose City Taxi service which need about 20mins of advanced notice. The best among them is Meru Cabs which is reliable and charge Rs 15 per km. But if you must take an auto, be well prepared with the destination and key landmarks. Bangalore autos are required to run by the meter but these guys sometimes avoid using them, tend to take a longer routes and act dumb. So make sure they turn on the meter when u get on.

Mumbai on the otherhand has more options – Their local trains are the most reliable mode of transport but could be quite taxing esp during peak hours due to the enormous crowds who choose to travel on them. So stay away during peak hours and beware of pick pocketers. Alternatively, you can choose their local taxis in most parts of the city and Autos in the suberbs. They are not fussy and will rarely try to cheat you.

Cities like Chennai and Hyderabad are the worst when it comes to Autorikshaw’s. Always make sure that you bargain on the fare before you get on. This way, they will not try to take a longer route and get you to your destination on time.

Learning certain key local words will also help you when u’r out on the streets. Stuff like ‘How Much’, ‘I want to go to __’, ‘Good Morning’, ‘Good Evening’, ‘Thank you’ are most commonly used words while on the road. Alernatively, you can always ask the locals for directions and help. India is still one of the most hospitable countries so don’t feel shy to ask.

Read Full Post »

Happened to meet some of the old boys recently and decided to do an impromptu trip to Coorg. So with a few t-shirts, a jacket and fully loaded camera we headed out of Bangalore at about 11.30pm on friday nite as we had a lot of miles to cover. We had two designated drivers on our way up while the other two slept and switched roles the next day.

Coorg mountain range

Coorg mountain range

With a brief stop for pepsi and french fries at the new 24hr Mc Donalds on the Mysore highway, we were back on the road. After having to take a few U turns on the outer ring rd in Mysore we were finally back on Hunsur rd towards Madikeri (We took the mysore ring rd as its dangerous to take the Srirangapatna to Hunsur rd shortcut at nite). This road is in excellent condition upto Kushal nagar after which we had to navigate thru the pot holes until we reached Madikeri at 5am. We decided to move on to our first destination Talacauvery and reached the mist covered peak by 6.

Talacauvery Entrance early morning

Talacauvery entrance early morning

View from the pond at Talacauvery

View from the pond at Talacauvery

With constant drizzle and mist covering this whole place, we didn’t have much choice but to sit inside the car and wait for the temple gates to open. By 7.30am we had freshened up and ready to enter the temple to offer a brief prayer to the river Cauvery in its purest form.

Abbe Falls in Madikeri, Coorg

Abbe Falls in Madikeri, Coorg

We soon got back to the nearest town Bhagamandala for some hot breakfast and managed to find this small hotel which served hot iddli’s and puri’s. After a hot cup of coffee in the freezing temperature we returned towards Madikeri town and continued towards Abbe falls which is about 7kms beyond. With the heavy downpour this waterfall was quite full and made for a good photo opportunity.

After some more hot tea at a local stall we got back to Madikeri town for a proper meal at the Mayura Valley View hotel but without the view as it was completely covered by mist. We had a sumptuous meal at this restaurant which is currently under renovation and continued on our journey towards Somwarpet. The road became narrow as we went past Somwarpet towards Shanthalli and Kundhalli to reach our destination the Palli Hill Homestay.

This is a 40 yr old traditional coorgi house which is slightly renovated with attached bathrooms for 2 of their bedrooms and is used to host travelers looking for a homely experience. The friendly owner stays at another property within the same compound and is always available. Our one nite stay here was really special with awesome home cooked food and the company of this coorgi family.

Mallahalli Falls, Coorg

Mallahalli Falls, Coorg

Another view of the majestic Mallahalli falls in Coorg

Another view of the majestic Mallahalli falls in Coorg

Early next morning after a wonderful breakfast, we decided to visit the not so famous Mallahalli Falls which is about 3kms from this homestay. Our poor WagonR managed to get us half way after which we had to trek to this falls due to its terrain. After trekkin for 1.5kms we came to a clearing from where we could see this majestic falls and its tremendous flow for almost 2 – 3 kms downstream. We just sat there in the rain appreciating this view until a few leeches attacked us. Another quick photo session and we began our journey back to our car.

Hot lunch awaited us back at the homestay but our car had taken a hit on the gear shaft which was stuck only in 1st gear. So we quickly packed our bellies, thanked our hosts and headed towards Somwarpet slowly. This was another adventure in the making as most of the repair shops were shut being a Sunday.

Nati koli (Local chicken) take shelter in the rain at a village near Somwarpet

Nati koli (Local chicken) take shelter in the rain at a village near Somwarpet

Guess we got lucky that weekend and found this workshop who stayed open just for us and got us back on the road after 5 hrs of grueling repairs. We had to be back in Blr before 4am as one of us had an early morning flight to catch. So with a solid dinner at Kushal Nagar it was non stop driving until we reached home by 2am. We learnt quite a few lessons in this trip but overall we have a lot more memories to cherish.

Quick Facts:

Route – Bangalore – Mysore – Periyapatna – Bylekuppe – Koppa – Kushal Nagara – Cauvery Nishadharma – Hosakote – Suntikoppa – Madikeri- Abey Falls-(40) Bhagamandala – Talacauvery – (48) Madikeri – (40) Somwarpet – (8kms) – Palli Hill Stay – (41kms) Kushalnagar – Hunsur – Srirangapatna – Bangalore

Distance Covered – 730kms

Average Mileage – 14.5kms/ltr (even after driving in 1st gear for 30kms)

Fuel used – 50 ltrs

No of days – 3 nights & 2 days

Read Full Post »

Bikes which made it to the top of Bilikal Betta

Bikes which made it to the top of Bilikal Betta

Been wanting to share this awesome experience with you all for a while and finally got around to writing this blog.

As part of our Sunday rides around Bangalore, we decided to check out Bilikal Rangaswamy Betta, this not so popular yet breathtaking destination which is located about 70 kms from the city beyond Kanakapura Town. Ask the locals for directions from Kanakapura Town circle.

The main reason this location isn’t spoilt is due to its lack of connectivity and motorable roads. Its however very popular among the trekking community. Bikers can get to the top only if they have a good machine and enough experience riding on harsh terrain, else do not even attempt. I’m not sure if a 4×4 jeep can make it to the top either since the road is completely eaten away with huge boulders sticking out.

So about 15 bikers headed towards Kanakapura town early sunday morning and breaked for quick snack at the only decent restaurant in town and were back on the road again. We took the road which goes left behind town and into the fields and soon we could see small hills and mountains. After about 10 – 12kms we reached the last village from where the dirt road begins to climb up and gradually gets steeper.

After another 2 kms, we noticed that the road had disintegrated into boulders and sharp stones. Many of the bikers decided to halt here and not try their luck while a few daring riders rode on. After cross a very bad stretch of .5kms the road again improves and finally only 2 bikes made it to the peak.

The 360 view from the top was just breadthtaking and peaceful. We spotted a small pond with dirty water and a temple with a small courtyard which was locked up. We also met a few trekkers who had just made it to the top after a grueling 1 hr climb. Soon we had to return back to the gang who were waiting for us half way down.

Trekkers at the view point

Trekkers at the view point

After another coffee break in Kanakapura town, we reached Bangalore by 11.30am and had covered a total distance of over 140kms.

Trekkers can take this route – Get to Harohalli on Kanakpura Road (about 30 kms from Banashankari) & take the road adjacent to the bus stand towards Maralawadi/ Doddamaralawadi (11 kms). Continue past Devarahalli to Onaaladoddi (another 5 kms) where you can dump your modes of transport and start trekking.

Posted a few links from my picasa album here

http://picasaweb.google.com/brian.ammanna/IFMRRideToBiliKalluBettaOn5thJuly0902#

If you have been to any destination which is not popular but worth the visit, do share it with us.

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: