Monday, 2 September 2013

Bangalore to Thiruvannamalai - July & August 2013

Bangalore to Thiruvannamalai - July & August 2013

July 2013:
One day trip from Bangalore to Tiruvannamalai Sri Arunachaleswar temple.

After buying new Honda unicorn, I was planning to go for long ride. Later I have decided to go to Tiruvannamalai Sri Arunachaleswar temple.

Like all others I have checked for route in google map to reach Tiruvannamalai. I got the route Bangalore - Hosur - Krishnagiri - Mathur - Uthangarai - Singarapettai - Chengam - Thiruvannamalai.

We started on July 21st 2013 early morning 4.00 AM from my home in Unicorn bike. We reached Krishnagiri around 5.30 AM. From Krishnagiri I took left turn and then right turn to get into NH66. It is not Highway, it is hellway. The road is so horrible. It is full of potholes. After Chengam the route was OK but still it is very bad. The entire road from Krishnagiri to Tiruvannamalai is still under construction.

After lot and lot of struggle I reached the temple at 10:30 AM. We entered the temple through RajaGopuram. There were police security at the entrance. They checked our bags and then allowed us to enter. We rested for sometime then started slowly walking inside.

I was so worried about driving back all the way to bangalore. I was thinking about taking some other route, but I did not get the courage to take the risk because I was so tired. So I took the same route to go back to bangalore. While going back I stopped so many times to take rest. The moment we reached Krishnagiri, we were so happy. In Krishnagiri we rested for some time. Then I took my bike, and I started riding happily and peacefully towards Hosur. In Hosur we stopped again to have some tea. After that we started again and reached bangalore around 5:30 PM.

Totally I rode 373 Kms.

My advise is not to go to Tiruvannamalai by bike from Bangalore. Still if you want to go, take some other route. In 2008 some one wrote in that the Bangalore Tiruvannamalai route is very very bad. Still in 2013 the road is in same condition. 

August 2013:
I again went to same temple with my wife and my mother in law on Aug 17. But this time we went by Bus. It was ok kind of trip.  We started at 8:30 AM and we reached the temple at 2:00 PM. We went by TamilNadu Government bus. This time we entered through Ammani Ammal Gopuram which is on North side. As the temples closes by 12:30 Pm and opens at 3:30 PM, we waited for more than a hour. Actually they did not open the temple at 3:30 PM, they opened it at 4:00 PM. We prepared Puliyogare for lunch. But there were police security at the temple entrance and they did not allow us to take our bag inside. So we gave our bag in luggage counter then we came back. They didn't even allow us to take lunch boxes. After some time my wife went out and took our lunch boxes in her hand bag and came inside the temple. The security did not even allow us to take camera.

There are two entries to worship god. One is the free entry and the other one is paid entry which costs 20 rs. I suggest to take 20 rupees counter because people from this counter will be allowed to go closer to the god so that they can see god clearly. But the people in free entry counter will be standing behind the 20 rs counter. So they don't get clear view because the people who paid 20rs will be blocking their view.

There was an elephant inside. We gave money and took blessings.

Then around 4:30 PM we came out of the temple. We took an auto to reach the bus stand. He charged 10 rupees per head. Then we got into Bangalore Bus. This time also it was a Tamil Nadu Govt bus.

We reached bangalore around 10:30 PM

Temples Open and closing Times
5:00 am Temple Opening Time
12:30 pm Temple Closing Time

3:30 pm Temple Opening Time
9:30 pm  Temple Closing Time

1. Ushathkalam     05-30 a.m.
2. Kalasanthi         08-00 a.m.
3. Uchikalam        10.00 a.m.
4. Sayarakshai      06-00 p.m.
5. Irandamkalam   08-00 p.m.
6. Ardha Jamam    09-30 p.m.

Sunday, 25 August 2013

Munnar -Thekkady Trip - August 2013

Munnar -Thekkady Trip - August 2013

Weekend getaway from Bangalore to Munnar and Thekkady.

After thinking a lot, I ve decided to go to Munnar. Initially my trip plan was from 7th August to 10th August. Later I changed the plan from 7th to 9th.

I have booked ticket in SRS travels non ac sleeper to travel from bangalore to munnar on 6th night i.e. Tuesday.

Here the sad part comes. Monday 4 Aug evening 5 28 pm, there was a news in TOI that around 15 people died in idukki district in cheyappara waterfalls route due to land slide. And the rainfall was recorded as 34 mm. After hearing this news I was thinking about cancelling the trip. But then I started hoping the climate will change.  The next day morning first thing i did is reading TOI. This time Kerala gov advised the tourists not to go to any hill places nearby idukki, because most of the roads are blocked due to land slide. Also they announced a toll free helpline number. On tuesday the rainfall was recorded as 4mm.

Now I have decided to go at any cost.

The bus time was at 8 45 pm, but it was 15 mins late. We boarded our bus, but I saw someone sitting in our seat. So I asked the ticket checker is this the bus goes to munnar. He said yes and he knew why I am asking that question.  He went to that guy and asked him to sit in someother seat. Later I came to know the story of the poor guy sitting in our seat. He is going to velankani, but he is the only person to board the velankani bus. So the bus driver did not come to his boarding point. This guy was forced to take munnar bus till hosur and from there he has to catch his actual bus. So people books ticket in SRS be careful.But the driver was so friendly and he did some favour while returning back to bangalore.

Finally we reached Munnar @6 30 AM. As soon as the bus reached, one man got into our bus and asked me how many of you have come, have you booked hotel, which hotel you wanna go. At that time, I did nt know that he will be the cab driver for us. I did nt answer his single question until I got down from the bus. After getting down I told him I booked Emmel Dwellings hotel. Then he asked me have you booked cab. I said no. Then he explained his tour package and I agreed to book his cab. He dropped us at hotel and asked us to get ready by 10 am.

I booked one standard room with one extra bed which costs 3500 INR for 4 days without food. I booked it via with 1500 discount. But I checkedout one day advance without any refund.

The cab driver name is Selva and his contact number is +91-9497191780. He is really nice and we were so comfortable during our whole trip.

The package details provided by driver are 1000 INR for places towards Mattupetty direction, places towards coimbatore direction 1200 INR and for Thekkady 2500 INR. We have not covered cochin direction.

DAY 1:
Morning 10 am we started from room towards Mattupetty direction in Tata Indigo. First we reached Floriculture center at 10:15 am. Entry ticket is 10 INR Per head and 20 INR for camera charge. It is a garden. Nothing much to see over there. Very few flowers were there. Not worth to visit.

Next we reached Elephant park @10:45 am. We really enjoyed it. One ride costs 350 INR per person. If you wish, they will arrange a photographer for you. 250 INR Charge for this.He will take photos and burn it in a dvd and give you.

Then we continued our trip to Mattupetty dam. We reached at 11:15 am. Since it is off season and due to the land slide , not even a single person were there. And workers were playing volley ball. They did not allow to take boat ride because kerala government temporarily blocked boating. It was little disappointing. There were some people who will take you a photograph for 30rs. This is a nice place and a big dam.

Then we went to Echo point at 12:00 pm. This is a really nice place. This place really echoes. Here also people are there to take photos for 30rs.

We reached Kundala dam at 12:45 pm.Here also boating is available. Pedal boating is 150 rs for one boat. Since there were no one else on boating, we decided not to take boating.

We went to Top station at 1:30pm. Entry charge 15 INR and Camera charge 10 INR. Though there are shops, it is better to take water bottle and snacks. One has to trek for some distance to reach the top station view point. Actually I heard it is a nice place. But my bad luck, there were no clouds at all. So no clouds or mist to see. Top station is border of tamilnadu and kerala. As soon as we reached, our mobile network was in Tamil nadu network.

We left top station at 3 pm and reached our room around 4 pm. We had dinner in Anandha bhavan which is behind Emmel dwellings. The food was very costly and the food was not at all good. One thing I came to know is that unlike other places weekly holiday is on wednesday not on sunday.

We have decided to go to Thekkady next day.

DAY 2:
As suggested by our driver we got ready at7 30 am.

On the way to Thekkady we went to Lock Heart Gap view and spices garden.

Since we were disappointed with the boating and top station, our driver took us to lock heart gap view. This place was full of mist and clouds. It is really a good place. One has to visit this place in the morning to get a good experience.

While going to spice garden, on the way we saw many falls running near by road path. Our driver stopped near one falls, near by road way and safe to play. We could not play in water as we have to drive thekkady. Just we played without going inside water.

Then we went to spice garden(ANAKKARA spice & Ayurvedic Garden). It was really a good experience. They guided us and explained about all the spice and herbal plants & the usage of it. They have shop, in which we can buy the spice, herbal oils, herbal paste and etc which was grown in their farms. We bought some of the spices, herbal paste and some other items. Entry ticket 100 rs per head.

We started to Periyar Tiger Reserve.Entrance fee 25 rupee. Vehicle parking for 4 wheeler is 50 rupee. We walked for some distance from parking lot to reach the boating area. We reached there at 12 35 pm. But the next ride was at 1 30 pm since lunch time was till 1 30 pm. So we waited for one hour. After that we went to boating. For boating we paid 150 rupee per head and 25 rs for camera charge Its was 1.30 hrs ride. Its better to go in morning time, as animals will come out to drink water. As we went by evening no animals has come out :( . We were able to see some deer, kingfisher brid. Boat ride is very slow. Its better to go with binocular, so that we can see whether any animals are there near by the bank of the dam.

While returning back to munnar, we went to see Martial Arts show. There are two shows in a day. One is Kathakali show at 5 pm and another one is Martial Arts at 6 pm. Due to bad weather kathakali show was cancelled and the martial arts show was preponed to 5 30 pm. The show was too good. Though the martial arts looks like a pre planned and the fight show looks like a movie fight, it was really good. The weapons used by them are real. Those fighters may invite you to participate in their show. Without getting afraid, get into the show. Because you dont have to do anything, you have to lay in the floor, they will justjump over you. Thats all. At the end of the show, you can take photos by holding their weapons. it is really worth. Entry ticket 200 INR per head.

We went back to our room at 7 30 pm. Then we went to Saravana Bhavan to have dinner. It is really a nice dinner. We were so happy with the food.

Overall thekkady is not worth to visit.

We started in the morning 9 am to visit places towards coimbatore direction. We had breakfast at saravana bhavan not at the one where we had our yesterday dinner.

First we went to tea museum. We were asked to watch a video for some time. Then they took every one to the place where tea powder is prepared. One old man came and explained us about how tea powder is prepared, different types of tea, usage of tea and also he explained how to prepare tea. He started explaining by asking us what you know about tea. He asked the second interesting question why do we have collar in our shirt. The session was good and informative.

We went to Eravikulam/Rajamalai national park. We reached there at 11 30 pm. Ticket charge is 45 INR per head with camera charges. We have to board the minibus. They did not take the bus until the bus is full. Around 5 to 10 mins we travelled in the bus, then we are allowed to trek for some distance. During trekking we saw varayadu. Only to some distance trekking is allowed. There is nothing special at the top. We came down then boarded the bus to reach the exit.

Then we went to lukkam waterfalls. But no one was allowed to go near or to play in the waterfalls. Because the water flow is very heavy. We just saw the falls, took some snaps and left the place. Our driver suggested us not to take any food in the shops nearby lukkam water falls. Because those food will create food poison.

Since we spent lot of time in park, we decided to go back because our return bus to bangalore is at 5 pm.

We bought some home made chocalates before we returned back to bangalore. We reached bangalore around 4 am. As soon as we reached bangalore we went to sleep. Around 11 am I got a call from the driver. He called us to confirm whether we reached bangalore safely or not.