Dec 28, 2008

Shravanabelagola - Mahamasthakabhisheka

Anish said “Hey Sidda! Let’s go see Mahamastakabhisheka

Mom said “No” as usual.

I persisted.

Dad said “Go. Let them go or they’ll have to wait another 12 years”

“Thanks Dad.”

We left home at 2am, a cold night, on my Kinetic Honda. The cold was bearable within city limits but once on the highway it was freezing, especially while riding in the front. Fingers became numb, nose would freeze… The ride was somewhat lonely, hardly any traffic on the highway. Somewhere near Kunigal, we saw a car with a smashed front with a sole occupant seemingly waiting for help to arrive.

The chill factor got worse as we rode on… at times we shivered. Somewhere after Channarayapatna, we left the highway at Hirisave and took the road to Shravanabelagola
…. Another 18km ride. I was just waiting for this journey to end. Few minutes, we saw tents, thousands of them. It looked like a refugee camp. People were just coming out fighting the bitter cold. Small groups were huddled around fire here and there. We rode slow, looking at the sights… then we saw a row of shops set up for the camp area. We stopped as soon as we saw a tea-shop. As I remember it took us a minute to get off the scooter… our joints were frozen stiff. We stood close to the coal stove trying to soak up the warmth. The first few minutes we had difficulty holding the glasses… cold meets hot. After three glasses of tea we felt little better but it was still cold. We chatted with the shopkeeper and few visitors about the event which would commence in few hours.

We parked the scooter in the bus-stand and positioned ourselves on Chandragiri, the smaller of the two rock hills of Shravanabelagola. We got a good view of Vindhyagiri and could see Bahubali‘s head and shoulders and the massive scaffolding erected around the statue. Cold was giving way to sun’s heat now. The place was getting busy now with people filling up the hill we were on and we could see the privileged ones, mostly in white, slowly trudging up Vindhyagiri towards Bahubali. Down below, police had barricaded the streets and vehicles were off limit and we suddenly realized our scooter… We moved it to a different spot and came back to our place on the hill. The hill was almost full now. The time was nearing… I’m not too sure the order of colors, we saw water, milk, sandal paste, turmeric, vermilion, flowers… Just imagine the quantity of liquids required to bathe the almost 18m statue! It was a sight worth looking at. Once in twelve years!

We watched just the first one hour of the event and decided to head back… we did not have plans of getting stuck in the ever increasing crowd… it was a sea of people. We said bye to Bahubali, Shravanabelagola and the people and moved towards Channarayapatna where we had lunch and started off towards Bangalore.

Four years later, Gulli and visited Shravanabelagola during a weekend. We reached late afternoon, checked into a hostel, a simple little place, went for a walk, saw Bastis… it was relaxing, silent, peaceful and serene. Morning, we woke up early, bathed and went up Vidhyagiri and stood before Bahubali’s feet. Wow! What a statue it is! I was wondering how it was created, how much it weighed, there was no chance for any mistakes while the artists sculpted... We spent about an hour looking around the cells where the monks used to live. As I type out the words, I feel I should revisit the place.

India is full of such wonders, be it natural or man-made. There’s so much to see; our temples, forts, towers, mosques, tombs, What kind of talent and skill gave such wonderful forms to stones! Truly amazing!! Surely people of those times had put in lot of effort and time to create these wonders. They also lived in synch with nature. Modern man somehow ends up messing up with Mother Nature… sad but true.


Dec 25, 2008

Jesus Christ

The picture's not so good but you have to see this statue if you ever go to Panaji, Goa. I cannot recall where excatly it's located but it's on the elevated parts of Panaji.


Dec 23, 2008

Chilamkur night sky

One night, after dinner, Praveen and I were walking within The India Cements Limited, Chilamkur staff colony... And suddenly there was a total black-out. Absolute darkness! The first few seconds we just saw black every where, then slowly, as our eyes adjusted to the darkness, we could see thing in the faint light coming from the sky. I looked up, to the sky, it was packed with stars; tiny, small, big and large. This is the first time I saw such a scene- jet-black screen with twinkling, shiny dots. That's when I realized the beauty of the rhyme-

Twinkle, twinkle, little star,
How I wonder what you are!
Up above the world so high,
Like a diamond in the sky!

Chilamkur is a remote village near Yerraguntla in Cuddappah District of Andhrapradesh. Between 1993 and 1998, we used to visit the cement plant quite often and got a chance to see the beauty of interior Andhra. We traveled the stretch between Chilamkur and Kurnool few times and every time it was an adventure. Flash floods forcing us to take long detours, road blocks, our Maruti Omni having trouble with lights and once hand-brake jammed... I remember seeing a small spot full of date palm giving an effect of an oasis in the Mid-East. During another visit, we drove next to red colored hills which looked like a picture out of Texas.

I love to see sunrises in Andhra, there's some special effect in them.


Dec 20, 2008

Four shots from Jamkhandi

Staircase at Jamkhandi Palace

Rameshwara Temple next to the Palace
It's said that a person who passes through that narrow gap with a wish in the mind will have a wish come true.

One of the faces of the hills in early morning light

A lonely Peepul tree on the hill top

The spot is wonderful to watch sunrises and sunsets... peaceful and tranquil.


Dec 17, 2008

Faces in Rocks

To my eyes...

this is like a dead man's face sticking out of the grave
Koongal Betta, near Ramanagara, near Bengaluru, Karnataka


this is like a British cop wearing a high hat
Badami, Karnataka


Dec 14, 2008

Scooter-Bicycle Tow Trip

Looking back into the past, I could call this the craziest and the scariest acts.

Jayanth and I used bicycles to commute to college or tuition classes and on the way back, we used to get towed by one of friends who had bikes or scooters. Tow-riding went on for few months and both Jayanth and I got pretty good, even in traffic. We knew when to hold hands and when not to, we were experts at managing the momentum we had picked. At times we rode confidently at 50khph.

One day after college, we (Nagaraj was the third guy) planned a ride to Bannerghatta, which was about 20km from our college SSMRVC. Nagaraj and I on my Bajaj Super (Bajaj Chetak’s younger brother) and Jayanth on his bicycle. Nagaraj was riding pillion and towing Jayanth. The first 5-6km we did 20-30 kmph beyond which the traffic was lesser and the road was ours now. We gradually went up to 50s and Jayanth was cool and confident. Nagaraj was doing his job nicely. “Faster?” I asked Jayanth, “Yes” was the reply. Open the throttle little more, 60, 70 and 80! I was amazed at Jayanth’s control over the bike with just one hand on the handle-bar. We did 80s for almost 2km in a stretch. I wonder how the tires took the beating. The ride back home was not so fast but not too slow also. We had discovered a new kind of adventure.

After few days, Jayanth and I decided to go to Nandi Hills (the main reason was to enjoy beer in cool weather) and Nagaraj also wanted to join us but we had only my scooter. We looked at each other… why not??

Atlas cycle. CAL 150, gas tank full, bag with packed food and few beer bottles. And high spirits. We started early, rode slowly and carefully, dodging pedestrians, cattle, traffic and cops. Soon we were out of city limits and on the highway. We rode with lot of care… we had to cover 60km, one way. And parents and home did not know about our new found method. 4km beyond Devanahalli, we went off the highway on to the road to our destination. Now the traffic was sparse and our speed went to 80s. The road was a straight line for almost 8km, riding at an average speed of 60kmph. That was fun!

Soon we were right below Nandi Betta, looking up at the road snaking up the hill ahead of us. Now our worry was how I would be to tow uphill on twisting & turning stretch of road. What would we do at hair-pin curves? Jayanth, was cool, as usual. We decided to ride slow since Jayanth needs to be in contact at all times. The moment he loses contact, he would loose momentum and might come to a stop. And to tow from zero is tricky for the one riding the bicycle, especially uphill. We were fast learners and mastered the technique. We reached the summit without much difficulty. People were giving us looks…

Explore the ruins. Relax in the coll shade of massive trees. Enjoy the cool air. Beers vanished. Food finished. Time to head back now. This trip was all about riding and beer but the ride dominated the booze.

Downhill ride was fun and Jayanth enjoyed it immensely. 8km of freewheeling is not something we could do everyday. Once back on the plain road, we touched 90s, that’s before we hit the highway. We were getting bolder and scooter was capable of doing 110kmph but we did not wanted to put ourselves in danger or spoil the fun. It was dark when we reached back home.

Following day, back at the college our adventure was the talk of the day.


Dec 11, 2008

Chamundi Hills

My second visit to Chamundi Hills, went with my cousin Vivek. We got off the bus on the main road, walked 2km to reach the steps, and walked up, first by road and then by steps. We climbed under the hot Sun...

We stopped by to see the Nandi, actually this was the first time I saw it so closely. The entire surface is smeared with oil and is sticky. Like all Nandi's this one too is a calf. Cute chubby face with big eyes.

I feel this is the second largest next to the Nandi at Lepakshi.

Then we went up to the top, visited the famous Chamundi temple. This was one day trip to Somanthpur-Chamundi Hills-Mysore and back to Bangalore.


Dec 9, 2008

Gokak Falls

Dipi pointing out birds to Dad… I think it was November, part of the year when water flow is less.

This is the hanging bridge; it was a different experience to walk across it, swinging lightly as we walked along with local people. I feel it's a great combination of nature's wonder and man's creation; a lovely water fall and a beautiful bridge.

This water-fall is somewhat similar to Niagara Falls though Niagara is U-shaped and Gokak Falls is almost straight. We got off from the bridge and walked on the river bed… stone bed, upto the edge. It was scary to stand on the smooth rocks and look over the edge.

There are plenty of cotton gins on this hill and cricketer Sunil Gavaskar’s father used to be an employee of one of the mills here.

The visit was a short and sweet one… just Dad, Dipi and me.


Dec 7, 2008

Volvo FH12 and MAN Tractors

Ever since I remember, I love trucks, especially the big ones with lot of tires. They are beautiful sight to look at; either parked or while they cruise on a highway.

This is the first time I ever saw a Volvo... on NH4 near Chitradurga. I was impressed by the looks and stopped by to see it more closely. Many years later, I got a chance to visit Volvo factory at Hoskote near Bangalore… not once but many times and an opportunity to work with the engineers there. This tractor is Volvo FH12, FH12 means 'high cabin, 12 liter engine'.

During the same journey, on the same stretch, some-where near Hiriyur, we saw two MAN tractors. These tractors looked like ancient warriors compared to the FH12.

These powerful tarctors were towing 16-axle (8 wheels in each axle) trailers loaded with massive transformers weighing close 100 tonnes, more or less. The avarage speed at which they travel could be 15kmph. They are led by scouts on bikes and trailed by an escort car. These things don't cruise but scream their guts out and crawl...


Dec 5, 2008

Bathi Hill

Davangere’s my Dad’s home town. And that’s the house my grandfather built during mid 60s. Now, the house is not there, I mean it was demolished couple of years since I shot this picture.

This is Siddappa temple before renovation.

The temple is located half-way up Bathi hill at Bathi village which is about 6km from Davangere on the way to Harihar. Davangere and Harihar can be called as twin cities with just 12km separating them. The hill offers a nice view of the surrounding mostly flat terrain. Green fields, few ponds and lakes and more hills in the distance. Evenings are good time to spend there; enjoy cool breeze and sunsets.

This is how the temple looked like few years ago after the so-called renovation work started. I’m not sure if the work is complete or still pending.

During a visit long time back, when I was about 6 or 7 years old, Dad, Dipi and I had walked half way around the hill, at the same elevation as the temple, to a small cave formed naturally. On the way, I remember Dad telling us that a lion lived in the cave when asked if any animal stays there. That was the first time I ever saw a natural cave. During another visit with lots of cousins, we had climbed the second half but the slopes were scattered with lots of rocks and boulders making the climb unsafe for little kids. We gave up after the three-fourth mark.

Bathi Siddappa is our home deity. Here's a short video of the temple shot in march 2013.


Dec 3, 2008

The Power of Dreams

I love this song!

To dream the impossible dream
To fight the unbeatable foe
To bear with unbearable sorrow
To run where the brave dare not go
To right the unrightable wrong
To love pure and chaste from afar
To try when your arms are too weary
To reach the unreachable star

This is my quest
To follow that star
No matter how hopeless
No matter how far
To fight for the right
Without question or pause
To be willing to march into hell
For a heavenly cause
And I know
If I'll only be true
To this glorious quest
To reach the unreachable star!


Dec 1, 2008

Bannerghatta on bicycles

May or June 1984

Skanda, C V Nagendra, and I planned a trip to Bannerghatta, a 22km ride, in the first week of our summer vacations. This would be our first trip outside Bangalore on our own.

I had an Olive Green Humber Bicycle and my friends had one Atlas and one Hero. We planned a great deal and worried what we would do if we got a flat tire or a brake failure as they were a big problem!

We packed bread and home-made tomato jam and water in bottles. We left early, riding leisurely occasionally stopped by to catch our breath. Beyond the city limits, road was flanked by woods. It was peaceful and the air was fresh. The peace was occasionally disturbed by the traffic; smoke bellowing KSRTC buses or trucks laden with sand, granite or bricks. We reached Bannerghatta by 10 or 10 30 and we had breakfast. We spent time looking around the zoo and then we left to the small granite hill near-by. We explored the small granite hill near by with an ancient temple at the base (this was my second visit). By 3 or 3 30 we decided to head back home. We reached home safely and without a flat tyre... not really an adventerous trip.

Now, looking at the traffic now on the same stretch of road, it’s a complete contrast. The jungle now is a concrete jungle, peace replaced by the noise of traffic and air filled with dust kicked up by the vehicles. How modern man destroys tranquility in the name of development!


Nov 29, 2008

NCC Camp at Annie Besant Park

It’s a permanent venue for NCC camps. I spent 11 days here with my friends and PUC I class-mates from PES College. This was an opportunity for us to learn life away from the comforts and luxury of home. We reached Doddaballapura by train and from there we were transported to the camp area by one of the military trucks.

Tents big enough to accommodate 15 grown-ups were pitched in a huge square with a quadrangle in the center. Every tent had a snake pit around them. The first day, we were read out the camp rules and allowed to settle in our respective tents. We explored the park out of curiosity. Found a couple of bore wells and water taps, our source for water to drink and wash. We discovered there were no bathrooms or toilets, Indian Army wanted us to be real close to nature.

This was the first time I slept in a tent, with just a mat on the earth. Wind was blowing like crazy through the night and our tent had a nice tear in a corner, right next to me. I hardly slept through the night. The next morning, we were woken up early. It was cold and we had to wash with cold water… ooohaaahah! What an experience!

We all assembled in the quadrangle, dressed in our uniforms. We went for a cross country jog and then exercised, after which we had a short break during which we had breakfast and relaxed. Then came the drill session… attention! Baye mood! Dhaine mood! Piche mood! By the left quick march!! left-left-left-right-left... look straight, swing your arms high, left-left-left-right-left... keep your knees straight, dig your heels into the ground… Oh man! The Gurkha officers made us spend double the energy of what their food gave us. The sessions never seemed to end. Most of us were just waiting to hear 'squad-halt!', 'stand-at-ease' and 'disperse'. We were served three meals a day and we could choose between veg and non-veg. Food was no way near to home food but not bad too.

Most of the officers were friendly but strict. I remember there were three ‘Chatri’s. And in our college group, there were three Prasads. Babu Prasad, Skanda Prasad and me. The Gurkhas asked us if we were cousins and we asked them if they were brothers. My other tent mates were Gurudutt M P, Ramesh P, Bharath, Sridhar...

One morning, our officer made us jog down to the Doddaballapura Railway Station, it was a deserted little place with hardly any activity. We exercised on the tarmac road with a few local people watching us with amused expressions. On the way back to the camp, again jogging, we stopped every half kilomater and made to push ups or sit-ups or any activity to sap our energies out. Most of us were hungry and just waiting to reach the camp food area. What a morning that was! The camp was not just drills or exercising, we were given tasks to make us get used to hard work like watering plants, levelling the dirt path within the camp area for which we had to dig with spades and move dirt from a near by spot. We fetched water from a bore well and sprayed the dirt path we had repaired. The officers never ran out of ways to kep us busy... One of the nights, four of us were asked to watch the food material store room. I remember how we struggled to stay wake in the cold weather till morning.

After a week or so, one after-noon, I got a surprise. Dad, Mom and Dipi had come to see me. They stayed for few minutes, 15-20 minutes and left. Dad gave me a bundle of snacks which got over in no time.

One of the days, a day trip to the near-by Nandi Hills was organized. We were dropped off on the main road at the base of the hill, given breakfast and asked us to take the road up. A 8km trek. It was fun! We made it to the summit in about 2 hours. We explored the hill and it’s fort and ruins and assembled back at a pre-designated time and spot expecting the trucks to be there to take us down. No! We were asked to climb down the steps!! Most boys started complaining pain and few experienced cramps by the time we reached the base. That was not the end, we had to trek 4kms of rough terrain to reach the trucks. With the sun blazing down, mouths dry and stomachs growling… You are in the army now!

Our camp had a small open air theater in natural settings with granite slab benches for seating an audience of about 300. The stage area was sheltered with Bougainvilla creeper and other small trees. On the tenth evening, couple of senior army officers were present for the closing… not a ceremony, whatever you call it …who gave away prizes and gave short speeches. I revisited the place sometime 1996 with Gulli.

No beds. No electricity. No hot water. No bath for eleven days!! When I got back home, my hot water bath lasted one hour.


Nov 28, 2008

Bhagawathi Tea Estate

Sometime between December 1985 and February 1986

I got permission from my Dad to go on a business (actually a service trip) with two uncles and a service engineer to rectify a nagging problem in a weighbridge supplied by our company, EFGE Load Cells to Bhagawathi Tea Estates, Wynad, Kerala. EFGE is pronounced FG, which means ‘foil gauge’, a delicate little strain sensor.

We left Bangalore in our HM Ambassador Mark III by 6 30 pm heading towards Mysore. On the outskirts my uncles picked up few beer bottles. After a while, one of my uncles, handed me an open bottle and asked me to have. What?? I was like… Anyway, I tasted the cold beer and liked it. I went real slow. I enjoyed my first bottle of beer. We broke our journey at Mysore and decided to continue the next morning.

The next morning, we had dosa for breakfast at a real tiny place in the narrow streets of old Mysore city. The dosa just melted the moment it landed on my tongue. This is the most memorable dosa I ever tasted. We got with our journey… Gundlupet, Sultan Battery… and we reached Wynad some time afternoon. The weather there was hot and humid… typical for a tea estate. I guess we did not work much, may be just a cursory check of the weighbridge. That night we had wine, and I had some and liked the taste. The color was wonderful and taste was excellent. As it is, grape juice was one of my favorite. We had a good dinner and peaceful sleep in the silent hills.

We started the new day with typical Kerala style tea served in glasses and after a while was Kerala breakfast. I think it was ‘Pattu’ with Bengal gram and 'Appam'. Every morning our guest house cooks served us different dishes of Kerala. Real expert cooks they were. For me it was more of a holiday… while my uncles were trying to sort out the weigh bridge problem. I walked around the estate through the tea shrubs, up and down the slopes. From one point I looked down towards our guest house and then to its left further down the hill, a little stream flowed in the valley with little houses next to it, children played around while the women washed clothes in the stream. Typical story book scene it was.

This is where I first saw tea leaf picking. It was a women’s job, they carried huge woven cane baskets on their backs and dropped leaves into them as they chose and picked the leaves from the shrubs. Once the baskets were filled, they carried them down to the factory area where the leaves and weighed and wages paid accordingly. One of the days, the factory manager showed us around the plant. It was interesting to see how raw leaves were washed, dried, dehumidified and turned into dust and then graded and packed. The place was full of managers… AM, DM, EM, FM, GM, etc. I can recall few; Accounts, Deputy, Estate, Factory and General.

Not sure if it was the second or third evening at the estate; we were invited to the GM’s bungalow for drinks. Whisky was offered and I declined it, I was not sure if I could handle it. The GM was an ex-army person and cordial to us. I think, the same evening, my uncles decided to go to a nearby town to fetch drinks and on the way back a big stone hit the underside of our Ambassador damaging the oil sump. Back at the guest house, the booze session was little wild with one of the uncles in real high spirits.

Work on the weigh bridge was going nowhere and the managers were getting impatient with us. After several rounds of discussions over phone with my Dad, it was decided that we head back home, leaving the job incomplete. Somehow nothing was going well… no progress on work, bad remarks from the customer and a damaged car. Our journey back home was a real drag; because of low oil pressure the engine was damaged and we drove real slow... litreally limped back.

If not for anything else, this trip introduced me to the world of booze. I had the confidence to handle it while most of friends had not even touched it. Years later I gave up drinks, have remained a teetotaler.

Nov 25, 2008

Honda ad I like

This post is not directly related to 'Journeys across Karnataka'. I'm passionate about Honda and would love to travel around India on a Honda bike. This is one of the Honda adverts I like, great music!


Nov 23, 2008

Naldurg Fort

Riding between Bijapur and Bidar (I think some where after Solapur), Gulli and I stopped by to talk to these local kids. I think they were walking back home from school. We passed by this massive Naldurg fort... I regret we did not venture inside. Hope to visit this wonderful looking fort some time in the future.

That's my Hero Honda Splendor. Great bike it was. We got 70+ kilometers per litre of petrol riding mostly between 50 to 60kmph and occassionaly touching 80. My Spledor was smooth, effortless and efficient through out our 13 day trip circling Karnataka covering close to 3000km. Not even a flat tyre.


Nov 21, 2008

Kittur Rani Chennamma memorial

Once while passing through Bailhongal, Mahadevappa Gajarappa of Hangaraki showed us Kittur Chennamma's tomb. I'm not sure if this is the brave queen's tomb or a memorial.

Even 180 years after her death, it is still not clear if she died as a prisoner in 1829 or she was let off and died at an old age.

To see paintings of the brave warrior queen visit this post- Rani Chennamma.


Nov 20, 2008

Byadgi Chilly Market

I used to frequent Byadgi APMC (Agricultural Produce Market Committee) during 1999 - 2000 to install an electronic weigh bridge. The work dragged on... staff had real bad attitude to work.

Anyway, we managed to get the weighbridge working.

We saw different seasons of the market, peak and slack. During the peak season, I saw red everywhere; massive heaps of red chilly, women sitting around cleaning & sorting and men filling and weighing sacks and loading trucks.

The place, not just the market, the entire town buzzes with activity; trucks, bullock-carts, material, people, dogs, pigs... The air in the market is strong with the aroma of chilly.

This where I first saw how tough a farmer's life can be. They toil and sweat in the fields for months to get a good yield and bring their produce to the market to be harassed by the heartless APMC staff. Everyone of us, should know what a farmer goes through to feed the country and learn to value food. Never ever take food and water for granted.


Nov 17, 2008

Horsley Hills

This was one of the wildest trips I'd ever been. I picked the place out of Andhra map and planned the trip... route, time and all.

Satish, Prithvi, Ganesh, Praveen (Mama) and I took off on my Kinetic Honda scooter and two Yamaha RX 100 bikes. We left Bangalore at 6PM with one tent, booze, soft drinks, a one-foot Rambo style knife. We hardly travelled 45km, these guys stopped (against my wishes) at a road-side restaurant on the outskirts of Kolar. these guys were desperate for booze. We had dinner too and the session went on till 10PM.

The journey resumed, we continued towards our destination... Madanapalli and then Horsley Hills. We crossed Karnataka-Andhra border and after few kilometers, we stopped at a fork, we were confused and the map was confusing us even more. So we waited for some vehicle to come by... a KSRTC bus almost ran Satish who was waving at the driver to stop. After about 5 mins, a Ambassador car came by, this guy stopped but a good 30 meters away from us. Satish walked towards the car trying to find out the directions... the driver just took off. It was Mama's doing- he waved the knife at the car driver and done the same at the bus too. Finally we decide to take the direction of in which the bus and car had come.

2 AM, Madanapalli was sleeping except for two guys loading something into a car... We asked them directions for Horsley Hills and took off in that direction. We really took off since the roads were very good. At times I hit 90s on my Kinetic Honda even though it was not comfortable with a box full of bottles and a tent on the foot-board. We reached the hill-station but the place was sleepier than Madanapalli, not a soul to be seen anywhere! It was 3AM. The place was dark & misty and we were tired & sleepy. We did not bother to look for a hotel. We found a level grassy patch and pitched the tent.

Prithvi, Ganesh, Praveen, Satish
The tent was too small for five grown-ups and especially with four drunks. I did not sleep at all... foul air, snores, stones poking from beneath and cold air. I was just waiting for dawn and the moment I saw light, I asked these guys to wake up. No. No response. I just crawled on them out of the tent! Freshened my mouth with 'Sprite' and started looking for a tea-joint. Nothing in sight. We rented a guest house for few hours, had tea and freshened up. By the time I finished my bath, Mama, Prithvi and Ganesh were drunk! At 9 30 AM!

Drunk at 10-30 AM
We rode around the place... not a very big hill-station but a beautiful one. It's named after a British army officer Horsley. Andhra's highest point is located at Horsley Hills. We climbed up and finally reached a point where we had to climb through a tree's branches to cross-over to another rock. Only Prithvi and I went right to the top. Mama and Ganesh were too drunk for the adventure and Satish... Forget it!

We did some more sight-seeing before we decided to head back. The down-hill ride was fun, we free-wheeled most of the way, leaning heavily through the curves.

Dog eying Prithvi
This time, we headed towards Chitamani instead of Kolar and stopped for a typical Andhra meal. We stopped on and off through the journey... just like that.

An unforgettable trip!!

Nov 15, 2008

Tungabhadra at Hampi

A lonely Basava watching Tungabadhra

Part of the river flowing very slow


Nov 13, 2008

Shishunala Sharif's tomb, Shishunala

Sant Shishunala Sharif's tomb at Shishunala, Haveri District, Karnataka. Shishunala is a sleepy little village off NH4 close to Shiggaon.

Shishunala Sharif, the was a popular figure who was spiritually enlightened. His simple, down-to-earth songs attracted masses and united religious communities. Even now, his songs are popular among Kannadigas.

I visited Shishunala again years later, see how Shishunala Sharif's tomb had changed.

Nov 11, 2008


This is a collage created by picking photos from my collection.

Going clockwise, starting from the top left image-
1. Savandurga as seen from Bangalore
2. Rapids of river Cauvery at Mekedatu, 100km from Bangalore
3. Sunflower, somewhere between Badami and Jamkhandi
4. Bidar Fort
5. Three friends at Chikkasiddarabetta
6. Ramdevarabetta, Ramnagar near Bangalore

Before I was introduced to Blogspot, I organised my photos in folders. This image was one of the welcome images to my photo gallery.


Nov 9, 2008


Some time 2003.

Praveen and I had come to Ramagundam to try an experiment on Volvo tippers operating in one of the coal mines of Sengareni Colleries. We got a chance to ride in one of the tippers...

...empty when we went down into the open-pit mine and loaded as we climbed up. While we waited for the tipper to be loaded, I looked up at the walls of the pit, 100m high, it was scary when a couple of pebbles rolled down. The tipper was loaded in a couple of minutes- quick job by a Volvo backhoe loader.

In the below image, the black strips are coal deposits.

We went up a man made hill created by dumping the OB (over burden). The tipper has to reverse very carefully, stop at the edge and lift the bucket... a very risky job.

During the three day stay, we took off few hours to see Godavari. The water, as you see was less flowingly sparsely creating tiny sandy islands. We waded through the thigh deep waters and reached one of the islands. To my surprise I saw a Shiva Linga made of sand... the day before it was Maha Shivaratri. As a kid, I always wanted to make one... I was so happy to see this.

It was a great feeling to be walking halfway through a might river like Godavari!

I picked small white pebbles unique to this river... smooth surface, white and light. I noticed my shadow under water... it had a ghostly aura. If you observe it, you can see part of me, my reflection and my shadow......

Our experiment was not a successful one but the trip was not a waste.


Nov 7, 2008

Bangalore University

On the way to Savandurga, Gulli and I had stopped in Bangalore University, waiting for Deepak, Girish and Rajesh to catch up. We had tender coconut water and were chatting away when these flowers caught my attention. The blue-white sky-cloud was a great background for these pink flowers.


Nov 6, 2008

Coracle ride in Kali river

December 31, 2006

My second ride in a coracle in a major river. Kali, the river is akin to the name. In this two kilometer ride, first we pass under an ancient bridge, pass by tiny islands on which people actually live, saw crocodiles, passed through mild rapids and finally reached the bank with lot of cover from trees with branches touching the waters.

You should try this once. Jungle Resorts, Dandeli, Karnataka.


Nov 5, 2008

Ramakrishna Ashram, Bangalore

Mom and me spent some time in this serene place. The garden is well maintained with lots of colorful flowers. I snapped up a few pretty flowers...


Nov 4, 2008

One more sunset at Bokyapur Lake

This is on a different evening.


I agree with this

Do you?


Nov 3, 2008

Sunsets at Bokyapur Lake

I was lucky to see these wonderful sunsets on three different evenings.