Thursday, October 20, 2011

Ramanagara Trek – Bouldering, Rock Climbing, Rappelling, Chimney Climbing and Trekking

As Dusshera approached, I planned to make the festival a little different this time. As a member of Bangalore Mountaineering Club, I chose to trek with my friends Shravan and Gowtham. I went to Ramanagara, where SHOLAY movie was shot. Ramanagara is 60km to the south-west of Bangalore. A group of 10 started at 6.30am and reached Ramanagara at 8am after having breakfast on our way. Our coach came on time with the climbing equipment and taught us the basics of and styles in rock climbing.

    We started ‘Bouldering’ in which we have to use the grip in our hands and legs to climb the boulders. After climbing two such boulders, the coach gave some tips for advanced rock climbing using ‘Top Roping’ style. With the help of grooves in the rock, we anchored our hands and legs. Simultaneously, we pushed our body up by balancing our weight towards the rock. A few of us slipped and suffered bruises on our hands. Later, we ascended a steep rock cliff and performed ‘Rappelling’. We descended down the rock face using a rope. Though, it was scary at the edge of the cliff, Dandeli rappelling experience helped me gather courage.

    After Rappelling, we had our lunch in Ramanagara at 1pm. Then, we came back to face the toughest challenge in the trip, ‘Chimney Climbing’. We had to climb a rock cleft with vertical slides 25 feet high. Earlier, all of us were scared to climb up as a slip from the top would result in a serious injury or even death. A 10-year old boy showed us the way by climbing it with great difficulty. With this inspiration, I climbed it very fast in less than 3 minutes. But I was scared to death after finding that, a guy half my weight is supporting me from the top of the cleft, in case of any emergency.

Finally, we took nearby hill steps and reached a beautiful temple. We further ascended through a dangerous steep and had a fabulous view of Ramanagara town. We took rest on top of the hill for an hour and moved back to Bangalore by 6pm.

Monday, October 10, 2011

A weekend trip with my family

I took my family to Shivanasamudra, Mysore, Halebidu and Belur for a two day trip. I contacted Sri Vinayaka Tours with the help of ‘Just Dial’ and got a very good cab deal.

We started at 8am and reached Shivanasamudra, which is around 130 kilometers to the west of Banagalore, at 10.30am. As the Cauvery river flow was full due to rains, it was a real treat to watch Shivanasamudra. We enjoyed the waterfalls for an hour and drove towards Mysore.

We halted at Srirangapatna and visited Shri Ranganathaswamy temple. This temple was built 1200 years ago and the idol of Shri Maha Vishnu is in resting position. Then we visited Dariya Daulat bagh, the summer palace of Tipu Sultan built in 1784. This palace is made up of wood and stands tall even after more than 200 years. Then, we visited Ranganathittu Bird sanctuary but were disappointed to hear that it was closed due to Cauvery floods.

    Later, we went to Chamundi hills and visited Chamundeshwari temple. My nephew enjoyed a lot playing with monkeys near the temple. We rushed to Tipu Sultan’s palace in Mysore and reached at 5pm. The palace will be closed at 5.30pm and cameras will not be allowed inside the palace. By the time we leave our cameras in our car and went back, the palace gates were closed.

    Afterwards, we went to Mysore gardens while it was raining. We managed to attend a Musical Fountain, the main attraction at Mysore gardens. It was incredible to watch both the musical foundation and the crowd dancing to the tunes. We stayed that night at Mysore itself as planned.

The next day morning, we visited the Royal Mysore palace. We should remove our foot wear before entering the palace. I was amazed watching at the work done in durbar halls.
Then, we drove to Hoysaleswara temple that was built around 900 years ago in Halebidu. Though many sculptures were destructed by many invaders, the remains are still splendid.
We proceeded to Chennakesava temple, another masterpiece in Belur town. I loved the temple’s architecture and the inscriptions. Most of the sculptures are carved by “Amarshilpi Jakkana”. A legend says that people of Belur town protected this temple from the invaders by covering the entire temple with sand.
Finally, we came back to Bangalore at 10pm on the second day.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Bangalore City Trip

My sister’s family and my mother visited Bangalore in the first week of September. During that time, I took them to Bangalore sight seeing trip. Karnataka State Tourism Development Corporation (KSTDC) conducts one-day Bangalore sight seeing trip. This post will help people who plan to visit the major tourist spots in Bangalore. I reserved the tickets through the following site:

We started from Koramangala at 6.30am and reached Badami house near Corporation circle. All the tourist buses to different destinations start from Badami house. Our bus started at 7.15am with 12 tourists. A guide explained us Bangalore statistics in detail. The statistics include the number of two-wheelers and four-wheelers, average salary and the history of the city. Meanwhile, we reached the beautiful ISKON temple. We visited the Lord Krishna’s temple and also had our breakfast at ISKON canteen itself. We also bought different varieties of prasadam.

Later, we visited Anjaneya temple, which is nearby ISKON and located in a residential area. The 22 feet deity of Anjaneya is carved out of a single granite stone. Shri Maha Lakshmi’s temple is adjacent to this temple. Then, we headed to Sri Raja Rajeswari Temple, which is the last temple in the list.

The best part of the tour began at Banneerghatta National Park, which is 22 kilometers to the south of Bangalore. We purchased tickets worth 160/- each for a jungle safari. We travelled in an iron grilled mini bus that took us into the forest. Initially, we saw deers, a herd of bison and crocodiles. Later the bus took us to bear, lion and tiger safaris. In each safari, animals will be kept in an area surrounded by electrified fence. Iron grilled bus travelled in that area amidst the animals. My nephew was really excited at watching the animals and even invited those to get into our bus. After the safaris, we visited different animals in the zoo in a hurry to catch our bus. Though it was amazing, I felt that we should dedicate half a day to Banneergatta National Park.

We had our breakfast on our way back to Bangalore. The guide took us to ‘Mysore Resham Udyog’ where we found clothes and artifacts that are expensive. Later, he took us to an art museum in which we weren’t much interested. An art aficionado would love to visit this place.

We proceeded to Jawaharlal Nehru planetarium where we played in the adjoining park. The shows start at 4.30pm and 5.30pm. We choose 4.30pm show. The sky show was fantastic covering the galaxy, stars and planets. Though we were very excited looking at the sky show, many of us felt asleep out of tiredness. After this show at 5.30pm, none of us are interested in watching Musical fountain. So, we opted out and came back to home.

Finally, I would say KSTDC organized a very good trip. But, given a chance I would take a private vehicle and visit ISKON temple and Bannergatta National Park only.