Drive to Shivasamudram.....Weekend getaway from B'lore

/* Originally Posted on 20 Nov*/

Two things am really passionate about is seeing new places n eating good food :-).

This weekend after a bit of research on net, me n my hubbs decided to drive down to Shivasamudram. This place is located in Mandya district in Karnataka. The Kaveri River splits here into two branches-- Gaganachukki and Bharachukki.Gaganachukki is some 120 km from B'lore and Bharachukki is another 15kms from there. For more details on how to get there visit

We started from home(Indiaranagar @ Blore) at around 12(N guys trust me tht was really late, had we started atleast one hour before we would hv had much more fun.....but well both of us are real lazy bones n this is the earliest we could make :) ).

We reached Gaganachukki by 3 in the eve. The first hydro electric project in India
is supposedly constructed here. I had read a few good reviews about this place but well now the entry to waterfall is completely barricated(after unfortunate death of a s/w engg). So all that u can do at this place is look at the waterfall and enjoy the water sparay from a distance(with some good naughty monkeys to give u comapny)

From there we drove down to Bharrachukki which is another 15km away...N yes this is more like my place even thou the water fall here is smaller than gaganachuki, there is some action happening here! You will have to climb down to reach the mouth of the falls(but you have well laid steps all the way down). At the edges, the water velocity is not v high and so you can cross /swim from one end to another ! The best part here is the 'Kharakkas' or 'Theppa'(they are boats in the shape of a basket) in which the boatsman will take u as near the waterfall as one can(tip him liberally n he will add a few jathkaas...imagine a roller coaster ride in waterfall).......its really a experience!!

N the drive is worth find a few ancient, ruined temples on the way which looks straight out of history channels!!

A few tips you may use if you intend to drive down to this place:

1. Leave early. There is anoher place called thalakaad which is about 20km from here. You can fit this into your itinary if you start early.
2.Spend most of your time in Bharrachukki. Its better to cover gaganachuki on way back(this way u can give it a miss if u dont hv time, n trust me there is nothing much u loose)
3.Its suggested to take Mysore road, Kanakapura road is devoid of traffic, but your vehicle will curse you for taking this road
4.Carry food with u. No dhabas or hotels(except one in gaganachuki) around. Carry an extra pair of clothing.

So now u know where to head if u intend to spend one good day!! Happy travelling...

Also can anybody let me know some other weekend getaways from banglore..

Women Bartenders!!

/* Originally posted on 12 dec*/

SC cheers Women bartenders but is the Indian society ready to accept them behind the bar? This seems to be the latest debate which is on. Below is my take on it...

Till date, how many women do u c in a bar unaccompnied by a male friend\relative\colleague(leaving out 'all lady nights')? Given this scenario wouldnt it raise eyebrows to see a lone lady bartending? Havent we heard of quite a crimes happening under influence of drinks....are women bartenders safe then? Dont we all remeber Jessica Lal incident

All the above have been the debates raised by diff sections of society. But well I would like to believe that today women are strong enuf to handle any situations....all these cons are just a part of job...well each job has its own cons n one just has to live with them!!No change has happened without a hue n cry being raised n this is no different!

Lets raise a toast to all our Lady bartenders...Hic Hic Hurray!!

A Victorian Walk

/* Originally posted on 18 jan 2008*/

Relive 19th Century colonial Bangalore,Experience the natural wonderland of Lalbagh
Is this something u had always wanted to do?Would you like to know bangalore better? Wondering about Bangalore History--- Its Victorian sructures , forts n story behind? Trust me I tried finding this info online\thru local bangloreans but with hardly any success (I almost concluded tht Bangalore is just another artificial cosmo city). So where do I find this info? might be the answer. They organize heritage Walks,Fort Explorations, Victorian Bangalore Walks covering history and heritage, nature and environment, and culture and communities of Bangalore chaperoned by knowledgeble tourist guides. N what better time to do this than by foot on crisp Bangalore mornings(They do have late eve \all day programs too) accomapnied by friends, colleagues, spouse n children!!

Hindu has carried a review abt this site sometime back. You acn read this at

Guys, I just found this site an hour go n am all excited n rearing to go!! Incase I make it this weekend, will write a blog on my exp!!

Trip to Puttaparthi

/* Originally posted on 3 mar */

This was a complete improptu trip with no planning whatasover. We(I n my hubbs again) were on our way to Lepakshi(my last blog) n had stopped at a petrol bunk to ask directions. At the entrance we saw a sigboard of Satya Sai Baba N on asking for directions realized tht Puttaparthi it was only 60 km away from there!

Well neither of us are believers of Satya Sai Baba(No offence meant for believers) but decided to make the trip n it was worth it!

This place is a good 170 km from B'lore. We took NH7 road thru Yelahanka, Chickballapur, Begapally and Andhra border up to Kodikonda(same as Lepakshi) n Puttaparthi is 60 km right from here. The road was in a pretty good conditions and with plenty of direction signboards n the most dependable Indian GPS System(who else but the pedestrians, auto-drivers, co-passengers) finding the place is no problem at all!

At the very entrance you see massive school, medical, university buildings run by Satya Sai baba n One thing which stands out here is the proverbs in different languages from across the globe!

Baba's Ashram here is called 'Prashanthi Nilayam' n this holds beautiful mediation hall n row after row of rooms\dorms buit for piligrims(unfortuanely we couldnt find accom here; But finding accom here at affordable rates is any easy job!); But from what I am told, the experience of staying here is something to be experienced to be believed! Another interesting feature here is all piligrims visiting here are advised to be dressed in all white n girls pin up ur hair(i was pulled up for it :( ) and if u arent in a sari, remeber to wear ur duppata(pulled up again :( )

We had darshan of Baba n u should c the mass of humanity assembled there!! Do note that Baba gives darshan only twice in a day one at 8 or 9 in morn n at 3:30 in eve. So plan your trip accordingly.

Puttaparthi thou is a small place in heart of Andra(rather in border), has a truly cosmopolitan mix of people, culture n shops here!! We had our dinner at a tibetian place run by an Italian n dessert at German bakery run by a Nepali n trust me the cusines u get here are as authentic as it can get.

All in all an intersting place to visit n do not forget to pick up a few tibetian\nepali knick-knacks when u r there!

The paradox of life...any solutions?

How many times havent we heard people complaining about "Mechanical Life" and musing about idylic life way back at home.

I am bought up in hyd("mechanical life") but basically hail from a temple town in kerala("idylic life")........lemme just try comparing these two

Life in hyd typically starts with a shrill alarm waking u up from ur luxurious sleep n then its one mad rush to dress up n reach office(home made food is a long forgotten luxury) after putting up with traffic jams, dust, sound n pollution!! life in office is abuzz with mails, conf calls, escalations, documentation, soltaire n ofcourse communicator(even to talk to person sitting next to u). Then u reach home dead tired( irrespective of whether u work or not, who wouldnt be after sitting for 9 hrs before the comp n battling all traffic woes) n after a quick dinner(at hotel\mess, cafeteria or maggi in worst cases) u cant think of anything but hit the bed as u gotta start the same grind all over again tomo!!!! n then comes the much looked forward to weekends....but what do most of us end up doing?? Laundry, catching up on sleep n catching up with some family in effect in a week u dont spend more than 10 hrs with ur dear n near ones (isnt tht a real sad statistc!!)

Compare this with an idylic life in a small town...most of them here are house wives or work in regular 9-5 shifts n traffic jams are unheard of......Mornings are spent leisurely with morn tea, catching up on news paper, a heartilly home made breakfast with family n then to office where work pressure is an occasional welcome!! U r back at home by 6 or 7, n hv enuf of time to catch up with ur family\neighbours b4 retiring to bed after a prince(ss)ly dinner!!! Ofcourse all the luxuries of modern life would be missing here but the quality of life abound with greenery, temples, time more than makes up for it!

Now, doesnt the latter option seems more appealing...but given a chance how many of us would opt for it? Well a fortnight vacation in these idylic locations is something we might look fwd to.....but anything more than it would start suffocating us!! N dont we all enjoy the economic independence n all the perks tht it comes with(eating out, weekends in malls, vacations).

Isnt this situation a real paradox!! Any solutions??

The Magic Of "Wait"

/*originally posted on 18 dec 2007*/

Have u ever been in a situation where in each waking moment u r daydreaming abt some yet-to-happen event say your b'day, meeting up friends. You have these events chalked out minute by minute n u look fwd to it with great excitement. But when the D-Day comes, these events do not appear so much 'Larger Than Life' n u start looking fwd to the next big event.

Sounds familiar...This I call is the 'Magic of wait'. But are we losing the fun of daily living by getting lost in these dreams of Big day. Might be yes...but dont u think half the fun is in building up the dreamsz. How boring would it be if you give ur spl day only as much of extra attention as any other mundane day!! Dont we all remember how as kids we are excited abt our b'days even thou it might be months away....Agreed we cant lead a child's care-free life now...but lets try n indulge ourselves with 'Magic of Wait' occasionally n c what diff it can make!

Do lemme know ur thots on this.

Review---Mumbai Salsa

/* Originally posted on 30 oct */

Last weekend saw me n my hubbs at Innovative mutilpex for the night show of "Mumbai Salsa"(well even i hadnt heard much abt the movie but the review in TOI convinced us)

No popular starcast(but well i hv always thot that the off beat actors do a better HW), no out of life characterization or story(what u c is what u get), no great budget......... But a good movie packaged well: justice done by the actors, director, story writer.

The story is about 8 characters(4 heros, 4 heroines obviously), all well settled with good pay packs which is burnt up in parties, clubs. The other central character in the movie is the night club 'Mumbai Salsa' where these 8 characters meet and then the story revolves around how their life changes.

Well the movie doesnt hold any gr8 surprises but you empathise with the actors.....dumped by gf\bf, teenage pregnancy, unhappy jobs, balancing career n personal life(mercifully no perfect sati savitris or mean evil thinking villans here)

All in all a good paisa it when u hv nothing better to do on a weekend!!

Book Review How Opal Mehta Got Kissed Got Wild and Got A Life

/*Originally posted on 30 Now*/

Am sure the word "piracy" is the first word that comes to ur mind as soon as u hear the title! Well the incident was really unfortunate, but keeping alll those ethical issues aside, trust me the book makes a good light reading!

The book revolves around a nerd Opal Mehta whose only aim in life is to get into Harvard n everything she has done right from her childhood was with just tht sole objetive!!! N so she goes for Harward interview with near perfect score n well researched answers for any possible q.....but one q tht stumps her is "what do u do for fun"(now now having fun just didnt fit into her scheme of things)!! Her parents now come up with this crazy idea 'HOGWAL' to spice up her life (just to get her into Harvard) n this is the plot of the book!!

The characters n scenes are all well sketched.....Opal's struggles to fit into Peer group, teenage crushes, aakeovers, the way heads turn when u r no longer a plain jane n even a few serious issues like parents struggles to give their child the best, student politics!!

N the moral, "Love urself for what u r n u wld never be happy if u do things which u dont enjoy but end up doing them just to appear 'cool' is nicely driven home with no bhaari sermons being shoven down ur neck!

Wine, Dine n Unwind-New Restaurant Mantra

Long gone are the days when restaurants were purely utility based----- straight backed chair, 2 page menu serving regional indian food, 3-4 soft drink brands is what the hotel was all about (well there would have been fancier ones, but then these were the majority). But in last few years the 'eating out' culture has reaaly caught up(thnx to the heavy IT Pay packs)

Now the restaurant even down the street is a multi-cuisine restaurant with all fancy decor n lighting!! A few fancy join go so much out of their way to build a ambience that most of us end up visiting to enjoy the place rather than the food!! But well nobody is complaining(what better than a glass of wine, a plate of pasta n a CHOCOLATE MOUSSE to unwind on any day) n a few of my fav places include:

100 ft Restaurant: This is a 'Boutique Restaurant'(true to its literal meaning, its a boutique + restaurant) .... so while you are waiting for your food, you can do some some cool shopping(atleast window shopping yaar; but trust me they do have some chic fashion accessories n 'Knick-knacks'!! Shopping n gr8 food...can u think of a better combo :)

Jalsa: This restaurnt takes u back to bygone mughal - e - azam times....Stewardsdressed up as 'Akbar', their female counterparts as 'Jodha Bai' n the hotel itself decked up as a 'Mughal Palace'!!! . The ambience is made complete by the regular urdu shaayari recitals, giant screen playing umrao Jaan songs......U feel as if u hv been transpoted to a 'Theme Park' till the head waiter who is wearing a full Mughlai Darbari getup, complete with necklace and a big gown and maching Juties greets you an suggests you to try out the rich mughlai food (the sweetdish, rabri with malpua is my fav here)!!

Angeethi: The 'dhaba in the middle of the city'. The decor is right out of leaflet of Hyderabad or Lucknow with an advertisement of raw mutton, filmi posters featuring really old movies like Sholay. The filmi low lying cots, hookahs n the 'Pan-Wala' completes the authenticity of the arrangement. Chandini Chowk is another restaurant with the same theme

Gufaa(Ohri's): As u enter the restaurant u feel as if u hv been literally transported to a 'Gufaa' what with the creepers hanging on the wall, tables like tree trunks, waiters dressed up as hunters and the lighting being provided by what seems like fire in tree barks! Try their Pathari gosht kabab. Its yum!!!!

N another one in the list is Barbeque Nation though not for their interiors but rather for the innovative idea of keeping a barbeque grill right in the middle of ur table n letting u roast your own food! N trust me u will end up literally licking up the food....

The other one which is a bit 'hatke' from the rest is '20 feet High' An open air restaurant & bar ......The whole place is set up on a parapet like extension of a building which is (you guessed right) 20 Feet high to give u the feel of a European Street side restaurant.... N ofcourse serves u exclusive Eupoean food (Steaks, Sizzlers, Beer et all)

The other place which is again known more for its ambience is Samarkand ...The cuisine and the ambience(Bit like 'Angeethi')) are designed to transport you to the exotic lands of Mangolia, Afghanistan and Samarkand. This serves North West Frontier Cuisine.
For a taste of the cuisine from the forbidden kingdom there are two places that are worth visiting. The Taste of Tibet in Brigade Road and Momo Hut in Koramangala. Everything from Momos, Shabalay to Shaptra and Tingmo are available for putting your savoury senses to forbidden pleasures

N if u wanna eat some good authentic Punjabi Khanna try 'Kund' - a small unassuming place in Indira Nagar. You will surely come back for more!

If u r in Karnataka make sure u try the regional Mysore Masala Dosa(A small street side eatery in Kormangala dishes out real tasty ones), Mangalore Fish curry, Beef Pulliammunchi n Coorgi Pandi Curry! For all other southern delicacies all under one roof one can always try Malgudi thats spread all over Bangalore

Well these r just a few.........Untill then "Bon Apetit" :)

To read reviews of other resturants in Bangalore vist Koshys, Umerkot, 64 Flavours!

'Jumper' Movie Review

/*Originally postes on 28 Feb*/

Catching a late night movie on a week-day(U atleast hv something to look fwd to at EOD...makes our day atleast partly bearable; of course on flip side be ready for a'sleep-hangover' the next day)!

Anyways this tuesday I n my hubbs dearest happened to watch Jumper at Fun Cinemas(the first I been to this theater n it seemed pretty good)! Well I am no english movie freak n had gone along for my hubbs sake but i dont really regret my decision!

The movie is abt a guy who realizes he is a 'Jumper' (somebody who can teleport) and how life changes for him! In the begining he has it all easy with teleporting to bank lockers(to steal money ofcourse) n then to all exotic locations in world(the ones shot atop pyramids in Egypt, Monuments in Rome are my fav n worth watching the movie for)! But ofcourse all good things come to an end and our jumper lands into trouble in hands of a group called 'Paladrin'. 'Paladrin' is a group of religious psychos who are after eliminating all these jumpers and the movie revolves around how he saves himself(n his GF) from their hands!

All in all the movie is a "jump" in visual treat as u get to see few exotic locations n gr8 stunts!

A Trip to Lepakshi Village

/* Posted on 28 Feb */

One fine Saturday I n my hubbs dearest decided to check out the Lepakshi village (u c we both are outdoor persons n if we are at home for more than a day, u will c us on each others' throats :) ).

Lepakshi Village is in Hindupur (Ananthapur Dist) of AP. Though it’s in AP, the place is quite near to B'lore (hardly 140 km from B'lore)! We started early in the morn (U c 9 is v early for our standards esp on a weekend) n took NH7 road thru Yelahanka, Chickballapur, Begapally and Andhra border up to Kodikonda. Lepakshi is 12 kms away from Kodikonda. We reached the place by around 12:30 (had stopped on the way for breakfast).

Lepakshi is a small sleepy village thou it boasts of the famous heritage structures of the Largest Nandi n Lepakshi Temple. This place would be of interest only if u enjoy old historical monuments. It is steeped in some interesting mythological stories(to narrate the story should be another blog in itself) n has a few exquiste carvings including 'Padmini' and 'Vaastu Purush' - female n male with perfect stats! But the biggest attraction here might be the 'hanging Pillar'...Imagine the entire temple is supposedly balanced on this 'Hanging Pillar'. But unfortunately one of skeptical British scientists of Pre-Independence era didn’t believe this n in an attempt to prove it wrong , sturbed the equilibrium of the pillar n now its kinda tilting to one side! He supposedly got the pillar pulled from all sides using big iron rods.....Imagine what hue-n-cry would it have risen if the same had happened to a british monument! Another attraction here is a 3D-Krishna painting on temple roof! N do u know from where intrinsic designs of the famed Andhra handloom saris come from?? They suposedly are a replica of the carvings in this temple pillar!!

Adjacent to it is one of the largest Nandi statue (somebody told me its largest in world!). Looking at it from a distance you may not be wowed by its size...but once u go n stand next to it u feel dwarfed.

all in all a Good trip (but as i said u will enjoy it only if u r interested in archaeology, history n all....dont go there expecting any adventures)!!

A trip to Coorg

/*Posted on 26 Mar*/

This weekend saw me n my hubbs travelling to the Scotland of India, Coorg approx 250km from B'lore. We started at around 7:30 in morn almost 3 hours behind schedule.The route we took is B'lore--> Mandya--> Srirangapatnam-->Ilwal-->Hansoor n then to Virajpet. This way u end up saving atleast 40km n lots of traffic as u dont touch Mysore!

In Coorg we were camping at a popular homestay "Honey Valley" which is a small settlement in the lap of western ghats surrounded by spices, Coffee,honey estates ! Its a stone-throw away from 'Thadiyaanamol' - highest peak in western Ghats. Getting to this place is an exp in itself... we drove down to 'Kabani Kaad'- the nearest town . From there HoneyValley is just 3km away but the terrain is so rough that only a experienced jeep(at times travelling vertically) can take u there.....

Even before reaching honeyvalley we could feel a distinct flavour in air making you giddy---Might be the fresh air mixed with smell of coffee n spices! This place is a perfect example of staying in harmony with nature....Honeyvalley generates their own Hydro Electricity, grows enuf of veggies n fruits tht they are almost self sufficient!!
They have approx 10-15 cottages....varying from Tribal Huts to dorms n the standard double bed cottages! These cottages do not have any extravagant comforts....No Fancy decorations, No mutli-cuisine food(what u get is simple tasty home made coorgi food...but wait till u taste their honey / Pandi Curry;I was left licking my fingers) No room service, Forget AC they dont even hv a fan( Very soon u realize tht nature is the best Fan or AC u can ask for)!
Honeyvalley has this magic about that we decided to cancel all our plans to go 'sight seeing' (We fitted in most of them on the drive back to b'lore) and decide to go trekking. Honeyvalley is surrounded by beautiful trekking spots (all well documented)! The rain did play a spoilsport but well trekking in rain with leeches for company is an experience in itself! We could do only two of their treks(They have around 10-15)---'The Ride Walk' to forest n a trek to their own waterfall 'Chingara' (Imagine they have a Private Waterfall')! The treks take us thru brooks, ridges, streams, Jungle clearings n ofcourse greenery all around! But unfortuanetly the rains made us miss the trek to thadiyanamol...its a 6-9 hr trek n supposed to be the best trek in this part of the country!

HoneyValley is the home of Chengappa Family who supposedly were providing these services free of cost to tourists esp foreigners! Its only for last few years tht they have taken to commercializing it(thou the charges are still v nominal)! Chengappa family along with Jack(a foreigner who fell so hopelessly in love with this place that he has made it his home) and a handful of other people ensure that this place is run seamlessly.I am for sure going back to this place.
On the way back we did vist Bagamandala, Raja seat, Thala Cauvery n the golden temple, thr biggest Tibetian setllement in India @Bylakuppe. However they somehow fade off in comparision to HoneyValley. The difference in waether can be felt during the drive. Cold in Coorg and hot in the plains.