Thursday, March 16, 2006


Damodar had come to bangalore (for some personal work), and Pradeep had come back from Korea. Whatelse can be a bigger reason to celebrate? But we were bored of the usual way... it was enough of forum/garuda or 4th block. So we decided to go to Ramanagar. Damu also didn't have a taste of mountaineering/Rock-climbing.
Sunday morning myself, damu, Pradeep, Vasant and Sandy set out on a Pulsar, Fiero and a Yamaha 135. Recently the Mysore Road has been converted to 4 lanes and the road is in good shape.
It didn't take us more than an hour(including the 20 mins at Kadu mane restaurant) to reach the railway crossing near Handigondi(not a surprise.. as the bikes never went below 100kmph). At such a speed, the pineal riders were literally crying and covering their ears from the deafening wind(myself and damu).
Just before Ramanagar, near Handigondi village, there is a huge monolith. It attacted us. We decided to climb it. It is the same monolith on which there was a proposal to carve 1050 ft Buddha statue.
The ride upto the hill base was very bumpy and a challenge to our bikes(beasts). The last stretch was kind of mountain biking.
We scaled the mountain from the side which is fairly challenging to climb. Scrambling through shrubs... and crawling through rocks...the climb didn't take us more than an hour(with rests inbetween). The view from top was superb. The mountain top was covered by fairly dense shrub forest and grass.
We spent some time below a huge overhanging rock chatting and eating. The pictureperfect views of rocky mountains made us dumbfolded. Every mountain seemed to be provoking us to scale it!!

We didn't want to go back so early, but since Damu had a lot of appointments... he had to reach Bangalore by 2pm.
Our backward journey started by 1pm. The path down seemed to be well treaded and it didn't take us more than half an hour to reach our bikes.
We refreshed ourselves at a stream near the village and set out to bangalore... with tears in our eyes!!!

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Tirupati (5/6-03-2006)

Tirupati... What is there in this place? why do thousands of people throng this place? Why do people pour their money like water here? Why do people get their heads shaved off here? I'm astonished to see even women; who consider hairs as their most valuable asset, without even slight hesitation, get their heads shaved. Why?
Lots of unexplained, unanswered questions remain.. but He keeps attracting people like a magnet. No one can escape from his magnetic force( this is the reason for his name, Krishna... one who attracts).
Being attracted by that force, I went to Tirupati on 5-06-2006 along with my school buddy Satish Nandihalli. Since we left by the 7:30pm bus from Bangalore, we reached Tirupati by 1:30 am. I thought, since we'll be reaching in odd time, we can get the darshan by afternoon. But... there is no odd time in Tirupati. We got the darshana time on 6th 11am. So, we had more than one full day with us to roam around!!!.
We had decided earlier to climb the Tirumala mountain by foot from the Alipiri gate. But, there was no bus to Alipiri. So we had to start our trek from Tirupati bustand itself at 3am. By the time we reached the top, it was around 7.
On the first day, we visited SrIkALahasti and tiruchanoor.
It is believed that the incident of BeDara kaNNappa happened at SrIkALahasti. The temple complex over here is very huge and ancient.
By evening we visited the Padmavati temple at tiruchanoor and returned back to Tirumala. Strolled around for a while and had a hearty sleep at the Tourist Amenities Complex.
Next day morning, we visited the SrI veMkaTeSwara museum. The museum is well maintained and informative. I came to know many new facts about Tirupati.
The mountains of Tirupati had born because of the movement of tectonic plates. The area had risen from the sea due to the motion of Indian plate. The proof of which, stands the stone arch which is said to be formed due to erosion by waves. And this incident is attributed(by geologists) to Lord Varahaswamy lifting the earth from under the sea.
Surprisingly, the mountain range is in the shape of a serpent whose hood appears to be at the Seshadri(Tirumala).
After seeing the museum, we joined the queue for darshan at 10am. After 2 and a half hour(only), Lord gave darshan to us.
Rest of the day, we spent roaming around the nearby places.. Papavinasanam, Akashganga, Hathiram baba muth..etc. But, due to lack of time, we couldn't see the stone arch.
By evening, we were in Tirupati. There we strolled around for some time and by 10pm, we sat inside our bus. Thats all we knew. When we opened our eyes, we were in Kempegowda Bus Station, Bangalore at 3:45am.

And again with the same set of unanswered questions, my countdown for the next visit has started...

Saturday, March 04, 2006


I'm lucky to have seen some of the most beautiful places on this earth(Ofcourse... in karnataka). I feel highly privileged for that. As already mentioned in my previous posts, western ghats have been my favourites.
As my natives(both paternal and maternal) are in the Malenad region (heart of the Western Ghats), I also got a chance to know it closely. I've watched it change rapidly in the past 20 years. My heart has jumped with joy on seeing its grandeur... and also weeped with sorrow on seeing it's pitiable state.
As the name of my website says... The Nomad, I'm always in search of new places for hiking/trekking/cycling. This has led me to some nice places within handsreach from Bangalore.
My friends suggested me to record all my experiences, and the result is this site. I'm not a literature guy. I feel it really boring to write(...due to laziness). But, I also don't want to forget all the sweet experiences. Hence... my site is poorly updated. I apologize from my heart for it. As and when I find time, I'll try to update my site with my experiences in the past 2-3 years during my trek/hikes. Apologies all my friends who had come along with me to those heavens and are waiting for my writeups to be posted.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Cycling to Makalidurga (13-08-2005)

Cycling has always been a passion to me. I own an 18 geared Hero Swing. I had bought this one, after selling my old Hercules MTB.
Gautam(my fellow Infoscion) had also bought a new bicycle and wanted to test it(or rather....test himself). Since I had been to Ramanagar by cycle recently, he asked me to organize a cycle trip to a nice place nearby. Even Manoj(my PESIT batchmate) showed interest. So, we decided to cycle to Makalidurga( about 65 kms from Bangalore) on 13-08-2005.

Manoj and I started on that saturday at about 5:30am. We met Gautam near IISc(at around 6:15am), had our breakfast at Yelahanka and cycled on the Bellary Road towards Doddaballapur. The journey was bumpy, but pleasant. Our only fear factors were the speeding buses and lorries. They always made sure to get us off the road whenever they approached. Bullies on the road!!!
All along the road, we could see the green farms and fields(thanks to the recent rainfall).
When we reached Doddaballapur, it was around 9:30. In order to make sure that we were on the right route, Manoj(popularly known as topi Manoja, as he is always seen with a cap) enquired a passerby, the route to Gowribidanur.

Manoj: Gowribidanurge ide daari naa?
Passerby: Howdu... hege hogtiraa?
Manoj: Cycle nalli.
Passerby : Saar... swalpa topi tegedu yochane maadi... cycle nalli hogokke aagattaaa?
Manoj: Saar... naavu bengaloorinda cycle nalle bandiddivi....

The passerby went away without uttering a single word.
The last 10kms of our journey was through winding roads. By this time, all the soft materials in our bags(spare T-shirt, towels), were on our seats... to soothe our aching base.
At the 17km, we took a left(mud road) which goes to the Makalidurga railway station. The railway station is very small, but very beautiful and clean(without any human remains). Beside the railway station is a small hanuman temple. We parked our vehicles near the temple and set out to ascend. As usual, we decided not to follow the regular path.. and make our own path. We started climbing straight. Within few minutes, we were in front of indomitable(seemingly) rocks. Myself and Gautam, decided not to step back. But, Manoj found it difficult to climb the rock(... wall). So, he promised to reach the top by the regular way and meet us there.
With great difficulty, we climbed a certain portion only to find that we are trapped. Now, we couldn't climb up, nor descend. Somehow clinging to the roots of a tree(which ran down all through the rock), we crossed the rocky(most difficult) part. In this fight, my sandals were dropped. The rest of my trek was with a single chappal to my left leg. The hill was rocky and my foot got good accupuncture treatment.
Surprisingly, lemon grass and turmeric plants were found in abundance all over the hill.
Scrambling through the rocky slopes, when we reached the fort, the view was amazing. Shimmering Gundammanakere on one side and the majestic railway track on the other. Cool breeze to add. It was a feast for the eyes. Green clad Nandi hills on the distant edge, added to the charm.
The fort on top was completely in ruins. Only the Shiva temple in the heart of the fort was somewhat in shape. But, it was closed. We learnt that it would be open only on Mondays.
We took a nap near the temple, only to be waken up by a herd of goats. We also had a chat with the shepherd boys. No sight of Manoj yet. We waited for some time, later guessed that he must have stayed back at the temple as he was very much tired. The shepherd boys showed us every nook and corner of the fort. Since it was not a popular tourist spot, majorly there were no inscriptions on the fort walls, except for the act of some students of Dr.AIT college, about which I had mentioned in my previous post. The fort is spread over a large area. It has a lot of water points inside. After roaming around the fort, we reached the temple below at about 2:30. On our way down, we tried to search my slipper... but couldn't find it. As we expected, Manoj was waiting for us at the temple. At the temple, a lady offered us Ginnu. Ginnu is a sweet prepared from fresh milk just after the cow gives birth to a calf. The lady also said that, it is a custom in the nearby villages to offer this sweet to the temple whenever a calf is born.
We left the place at around 3:15 pm. Fully tired, our return journey seemed to be very tough. And moreover, I was barefoot. So, I bought a pair of Hawai slippers on the way. Adding to the troubles, my tyre also got punctured. Nowadays, it is easier to get your bike repaired, but if there is any problem with your bicycle, may GOD help you. This is the case even in villages. The FACE OF CHANGING INDIA.
With all this, by the time we reached yelahanka, it was about 7pm. Gautam had gone ahead of us. Myself and Manoj decided to take some light refreshments at a hotel nearby. Our condition was so bad that the hotel owner taking pity on us, offered a stay in his hotel for the night.
With aching legs and bums, by the time we reached home, it was 8:30pm.

A nice cycle expedition ended, but our limits were extended. Our body was aching, but our mind was thinking.... where to go next???

Click here for more photos.