Tuesday, November 27, 2007

A weekend outing to Sivasamudhram, Somanathpur and Thalakadu

Last weekend, I was on a trip with my company mates to a few places in the outskirts of Mysore. It was a wonderful trip, so I thought I should write a travelogue.

It all started when Ashley Noble, ‘a noble person’ (only in his msn login name :-)), an Australian bush-walker who is afraid of walking in Indian roads, a pure vegetarian only when few pages from zoology books are moved to botany books (hmm...he considers fishes as water plants!!), my company-mate from Australia, emailed me on his travel plans to Bangalore. We have few things in common – both of us are weird guys (if you ask me for proof, read the second part of the sentence), fond of photography – not just because we had invested few hundred dollars in our new digital camera, and love traveling to exotic places – probably we both form the complete list of guys in our team who would be happy if our office is built in the middle of a jungle. Both of us were thinking about traveling to Hampi but then we had to change our plans as the train/flight tickets weren’t available for that weekend. After going through a few Geography and History books (hmm…many others call it as a travel planner though they only contain information about the maps, places and some weird Indian Historical facts, which are only found in 10th standard Geography and History books :-)), we decided on the place, only a day before the trip. In the meantime I learnt how to apply permutations and combinations – of places and time slots, how to use distance-time equations and how to apply some of the weirdest graph algorithms to cover maximum places in a 2 day long weekend. Most of you would agree with me that choosing a place from a travel map for a 2 day trip is not an easy exercise though Indian map looks small in those books. :-) At the end, ‘two days trip’ became just ‘a day trip on Saturday’ – Thanks to my workaholic colleague, who suggested that we take a day’s rest on Sunday to make a fresh start @ office on Monday. Finally, we all (7 of us) agreed to start our journey @ 8 AM in front of the office gate.

It was Saturday morning 8 AM. I was standing before the mirror wearing a full hand shirt and a jeans pant- My friend, who stood beside me, was quick to tease me that I lacked dressing sense. I wonder how he said that - I wore a branded shirt, sold by a busy shop, promoted by a famous Indian model, designed by a popular fashion designer and manufactured by a leading mill. If it’s that bad a shirt, why would they design, manufacture, promote and sell it in first place? :-) In a way my friend’s statement is true – whenever I go to a shop to purchase a dress, every dress in the shop would look equally good (or equally bad) and I usually come-up with a random number to pickup the dress, unless I go out with my friend or my sister. You know… the world is so complex for a single person to be good at everything :-). So I chose not to be good at a few things, which includes the so called ‘dressing sense’. :-) When I went past him, he showed a wry smile on his face as if he was indicating that he was a connoisseur @ fashion design and I was a mug to ignore his comments. :-)

Suddenly, a dejavu struck me – 5 years ago, I missed a trip to Ooty by not coming to the boarding place on time. Afraid of making the same mistake once again, I began to act faster - I wore my shoes and ran towards the car, which was waiting for me in front of the company. Finally, I reached the company at 8:20 AM. I was afraid that people would start pulling my legs for coming late. But that wasn’t the case. I read somewhere that “if you have to make a line appear big without redrawing it, then draw a small line next to it”. That is exactly what happened that day…though I came late, the girl (it’s not tough to guess who that girl was) who came at the last became the scapegoat and people started making fun of her.

We all started from office @ 8:30 AM driving straight to Sivasamudhram waterfalls, which was around 150 kms from Bangalore. I had been to that place couple of years ago with my friends, and it took 2 1/2 hours for us to drive there in our bikes. Given that I was not a rash driver, I thought we would reach there in around 2 hours by car. But, the driver had other plans – he had more liking on the brake pad than that of the accelerator. The bad roads were also helping his cause. The car was traveling as slow as a bullock cart and our experience inside the car was also no different – we felt as if we were sitting inside a bullock cart riding on a bumpy road, and we reached Sivasamudhram around 12:15.

First we reached a hillock near the waterfalls. We had a good view of the falls from a distance and we had a mini photo session. The river had plenty of water – Thanks to the monsoon rains. Then we went to another falls – Barachuki, which was around 10 kms from Sivasamudram. I was waiting for a place like this for 3 months ever since I learnt to swim, coz I haven’t tested my swimming skills in the moving water. I wanted to jump into the river and swim against the stream but I know that I was ambitious. When we reached near the falls, 5 of us jumped into the water and 2 other HEY-MY-SHIRT-WILL-GET-WET guys were playing the role of the photographer. First, we had to cross the river by walking on top of the stones and get to the other side. When I was walking on top of the slippery stones, I slipped twice and fell down -somehow I managed not to become a joker. We took bath in the falls - the water was flowing in full speed and it was falling as hard as a rock. We all had enough fun while playing in the water – I was trying to put to use some of my swimming skills and others also had their share of fun. Ash, Ramesh, Veda and I were busy climbing on the rocks and playing in the water. Siva glued himself standing under the falls – in fact he hardly moved. Sudhakar was playing the role of a camera man to perfection and Bindu was playing the role of a care taker of our bags. :-)

It was around 3 PM when we started again to drive towards Somanathpur temple. We had our lunch on the way. The taste of the food was very mean and we had to settle with a few parathas, rice and curries. We then reached Somanathpur temple around 5 PM and we took a few snaps inside the temple. The carvings on the temple weren’t as impressive as the ones in Belur or Halabedu, but still good enough to attract tourists. I had some fun talking to a few school kids who came there to visit the temple as a part of their school excursion. I saw a pattern among the students- Most of those girls were cute, neat, stood in straight lines and looked studious like a typical first-bench-student. Most of those boys were naughty, dirty, running around the temple and looked like typical last-bench-students. Guess it falls in line with a popular view that ‘girls are methodical but boys are creative’. The kids were very eager to shake hands with Ash, even before we introduced him as Steve Waugh’s brother-in-law. :-)

The initial plan was to visit- Sivasamudhram waterfalls, Somanathpur temple and Ranganathithu bird sanctuary. But, the time was 6 PM; so, the bird sanctuary was already out of our agenda. We finally decided to visit Thalakadu, though the driver warned us that it was too late to go there. We convinced him to drive us there – Thanks to the influential skills training that I attended a few months back. :-) On the way, we watched the sun-set and Ash made full use of his camera by clicking a few snaps. When we reached Thalakadu, it was around 8 PM – the driver took 2 long hours to drive 27 kms. It was very dark and we started walking through a half-closed gate. We had no clue on where we were heading to. It looked like a mini jungle with no lightings and there were no signs of any other Homo-Sapiens in the near vicinity. When we saw a dark moving beast at some distance, alarm bells started ringing in our ears. We were preparing ourselves to run. I wasn’t panicking coz I knew that I needn’t be the first person to reach the car; if I wasn’t the last one in the race, I would be safe. :-) Finally, we began to see the glimpse of the face of the animal and it looked like a pale under-fed cow. We continued to walk for some more time, but we had to cut short our walk and come back to the car, when we saw a few dogs staring at us.

We started our journey back to Bangalore @ 8:15 PM and we had some fun on the way by playing Anathakshari – Veda, Siva and I formed a team and Bindu, Ramesh and Sudhakar formed the second, though Veda ended-up singing for both the teams. In the meantime, Ash was enjoying a sound sleep. We had dinner on the way in a hotel @ Mathur and finally reached office around 11 PM, which was just couple of hours more than our planned time of arrival. Sometimes I think that we normally write down the planned time only to know by what margin we are late and it is never meant to be followed. :-)

In short, the trip was very enjoyable and memorable one too.


bindu said...

Great blog Kart.. you missed the joka of the day and the pic of the day too ;)

kart said...

Thanks Bindu.

Sudhakar didn't share the pic of the day, so I can't post it. 'The joke of the day'... is a tough one to choose coz there were too many candidates. I guess it would be one of those pranks played on Veda or Sudhakar.

ThaniX said...

so, you didn't watch anything in "thalakadu" ? 8 PM must be pretty late to watch anything.

kart said...

@Thanix: Yes da. We didn't see anything @ Thalakadu except for few dogs and a pale cow.

shobana said...

Looks like a fun trip:)
Bangalore has lots of places to travel around.!
Should visit all these places sometime:)
Gud to know that you had fun:)

kart said...

Yes Shobana. I had good fun. I have become a travel freak now, unlike how I used to be in college - sitting vetti inside hostel. :-)