Winter mornings in Bangalore

There are couple of obvious candidates for capturing the essence of winter mornings in Bangalore – Lalbagh and Cubbon park. There is, however, another place that presents an equally compelling case. Though not publicly accessible, this place takes up almost 100 acres in the heart of Bangalore. If you still could not guess the place, I’m talking about the IIMB campus.

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An evening at Kovalam Beach

Kovalam is a beach town, located just 14km from the city center of Thiruvananthapuram. There are 3 prominent beaches in Kovalam – the Hawa beach, Samudra beach and Lighthouse beach. The lighthouse beach is the largest among the 3 beaches and also the most sought after beach in Kovalam. A 30 meter lighthouse sits on the southern edge of the beach on a small hill-rise.

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Chitradurga and nearby

Chitradurga is a fairly well known destination, specifically for the famous fort. On a visit earlier this year, we learnt about other nearby places which are less touristy and better – Jogimatti and Chandravalli. We made a mental note to ourselves about these places for a later visit. The visit to Chandravalli materialized last week, during the long weekend for Deepavali and Karnataka Rajyotsava.

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An evening at Vani Vilas Sagar dam

Vani vilas sagar dam is situated about 200km from Bangalore and close to the town of Hiriyur on NH-4. Its popularly known as Mari Kanive in Kannada. Imagine a body of water snaking amidst hills around, the dam cutting across the water in the heart of the valley. The hills have lush green cover draping them all around, giant windmills rest atop the hills harvesting the wind energy.

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Shettihalli church ruins

A 200 year old church, today lies in ruins at Shettihalli. About 20 km from Hassan, is the village Shettihalli – where, about 30 years ago, the agriculture-focused village was turned into a backwaters’ area with the commissioning of Gorur dam across river Hemavathi. The church is situated bang in the middle of a vast expanse of land, leading up to the Gorur dam.

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A weekend in BR Hills, Karnataka

For quite sometime, there was tension within the extended family of not having been successful in getting everyone together for an outing. Some of us were getting edgy, not being able to get out of the city. Push came to shove, and we had to go ahead and plan a small getaway with only a subset of people. That’s how it is sometimes. Anyway, cutting to the chase, we picked BR hills as the destination and made the necessary travel and stay arrangements almost a month in advance – to kinda lock in the people who had signed up and not letting them slip away again. Now, we just had to wait for the travel dates.

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An early morning in Nelamangala

Most of us will associate Nelamangala as nothing more than a transit point on the outskirts of Bengaluru, en route to more popular destinations on NH-4 (Tumkur, Chitradurga, Hubli, Belagavi, Pune, …) and NH-48 (Hassan, Mangaluru). To this effect, on the first day of a long weekend, the cars heading out of Bengaluru on the Yeshwantpur-Nelamangala tollway either went on straight on NH-4 or turned left onto NH-48, at this transit town. We had other plans – exploring a less known lake close to this very transit point. Thus the plan was made to spend an early morning in Nelamangala. I came to know about this place because of a tip from friends and we all set out, starting at 4am from Bengaluru. To start at 4am, means waking up at 3:15am, and this, is akin to midnight to many people. And they might say, what’s to see in the night? Its dark! Well, that’s not incorrect. But, the night turning into day is not a spontaneous event. Its a gradual transformation, one that is both beautiful and calming. The proverbial light at the end of the tunnel, that’s the night, starts at the ‘V’ end of the VIBGYOR and slowly progresses towards ‘O’ (yes, it skips some colors in between – good to know you’re actually reading 😉 ). The time spent in this transformation are aptly named blue hour and golden hour (no, they do not necessarily both last a full hour each). Enough of my generic rant now. We reached the lake by 5:30am. It was still dark, and everything was in gray-scale. After going thru a village, disturbing some cattle on the way, we seemed to literally be on the lake bed. The summer heat is already at full swing this year and the water levels were low. Even though, this was a rather decent sized water body, the water had receded quite a bit and was shallow for most of the area. There were lots of barren trees jutting out of the shallow waters. There were lot of birds happily camping on the lake bed, a fact we realized after our footsteps managed to disturb a flock of winged creatures to startle and fly away – sigh. Good morning...

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St Mary Island boat ride

A short boat ride takes one to/from Malpe – St Mary Island. One can either take a public ferry or hire a smaller private boat. We chose the latter and made a small video on the return leg – coming from St Mary Island back to the mainland Malpe.

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Quest for a perfect sunset in Singapore

So, I tell my friend who’s hosting us at Singapore – I want to shoot sunset from some nice vantage. He said he knows just the place. We set about to get to this place – on the way, his vivid descriptions of the place we’re headed to, is raising my expectations and I already have images forming in my mind’s eye. Over the last five days, I’d spoken so much about colors, hues, post-sunset-color-riot in the skies and he was using the same language to sell me on this place and how it’s going to be the best sunset I’ll ever see in Singapore.

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Satpura national park, MP – A visit to Forsyth Lodge

This past weekend, I had a wonderful opportunity to visit the Satpura national park in Madhya Pradesh and stay at Forsyth Lodge, where a few of us bloggers were invited for #TheForsythExperience. I had immediately jumped at this opportunity when it had presented itself. Visiting a previously unvisited state/place was not something I was going to pass on, especially when its a national park area we’re talking about. After having visited few of the Jungle Lodges and Resorts properties in Karnataka, I knew that any of the national parks would be beautiful. After the visit, I can say that “beautiful” is so much of an understatement.

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Glorious sunset at Gudibande

Images and story about my visit to Gudibande last weekend. We witnessed a glorious sunset by the lake side and also had some fun painting light thereafter.

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Belum Caves and Gandikota

Having read about these places far too many times in the recent past, we planned a visit to Belum caves and Gandikota in mid November.

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Lakshmi devi temple at Doddagaddavalli

The Lakshmi devi temple at Doddagaddavalli, is yet another, among a few of the lesser known Hoysala temples, situated near Hassan (wiki page). This temple was built during the 12th century when the ruler of the land was Vishnuvardhana. The temple is situated ~16 Kms from Hassan, off the highway to Belur. Below is the map with directions from Hassan. This temple is said to be one of the older Hoysala temples. One difference that is immediately noticeable from the famous temples at Belur and Halebid, is that this temple is not built on an elevated platform. The temple has four towers/shrines and hence is of a Chatushkoota construction. There are correspondingly four deities inside the temple. Of the four towers, 3 are undecorated, just following a pyramidal stack of layers with a kalasha  at their top. The fourth pillar has ornate carvings and underneath this pillar, inside the temple, is the garbhagudi of the main deity of Lakshmi devi. Pooja is still done within this temple, during morning hours. There is a pond situated behind the temple and the gate that stood between us and the path to the pond was locked. There seemed no other (easy) access to the pond from the road either. The view from the other side of this gate would have been a good one (sigh). We had to be contented with viewing the temple from within the premises, with ~7 feet stone walls on all four sides. The temple is a protected monument of national importance under the archeological survey of India, and the temple is relatively well maintained. Being a not-so-popular place, there is no huge throngs of tourists here, and that is a good thing. The interested traveler can spend quality time at this jewel of a Hoysala...

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Bucheshwara Temple, Koravangla

The Bucheshwara temple at Koravangla is a lesser known Hoysala temple. Situated about 12 KM from Hassan, and over 900 years old, the temple is at the edge of the Koravangla village.

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A short visit to Savandurga and nearby

Savandurga is a hill located about 60km from Bangalore. We took a different approach to get to a good vantage point. From here, the huge facade of the Savandurga hill was visible.

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Radha Kunj

A small lake situated behind the Art of living property off Kanakapura road, is just ~25 KM from Bangalore. Radha kunj is the name of a private garden, owned by Art of living. Beside the garden is a little lake, which is quite beautiful and serene. A narrow bund across the lake is west-facing and offers a clean view of sunsets. We went there on a particularly cloudy day – with the sun playing hide ‘n seek. Being so close to Bangalore, I expected the lake to be crowded and dirty. But I was pleasantly surprised to find hardly any people there and it was relatively clean. One or two people who were there, were enjoying a peaceful, quiet time by the lake. Here are a few images:...

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