Back in June, a bunch of us decided to vacation at Chikmagalur, a hill station quite close to Bangalore. We booked a couple of rooms with the Horticulture Department of Karnataka (they run lodges there), prepared ourselves by packing warm clothes, and left. The check-in time was supposed to be around noon, so leaving at 6 in the morning, we were sure to reach there around noon. After a few hiccups that I’d rather not mention, we were at the bus stand at 7 am. We caught the first bus to Chikmagalur only to realise there weren’t any seats left. Getting down at the next stop, we spent some time snacking on biscuits while I spoke to a friend. In the heat of the moment, someone brought up the topic of going to Mangalore, and just as that came up, a bus to Mangalore was in sight. Without thinking, all of us boarded the bus and began our trip to Mangalore. “Screw the room bookings money”, we said. We ended up staying in Bhatkal for a couple of days, visiting Idugunji and Murudeshwar in the process. Then headed over to Honnavar and Jog Falls. Jog was brilliant, even though it wasn’t the right season for it. We stayed here for a night and boy, was it fun! All in all we clocked about close to a thousand kilometers and about 6 days out of the house in total. EPIC! Here’s the map of the whole trip: View The Bhatkal Trip in a larger map
Over the weekend a couple of us from college and a good friend from school decided that we should head out somewhere for the long weekend. After some initial thought and some troubles, we decided a one day trip was better. Initially, we decided to go to Siddara Betta, which is a small hill about 25kms from Bangalore. It’s situated off the Magadi Road. At the last minute, we didn’t take the turn towards the hill, but instead took Mysore Road and thus began what was going to be a 330km, wild ride through some remote parts of Karnataka and some well known parts as well. En route to Mysore, we repeatedly saw signboards to Talakadu, which sort of got on my nerves because Talakadu was quite far off. Nevertheless, it excited my two pals, Virinchi and Somonnoy, who would scream in unison every time we passed a Talakadu signboard. It was in a similar fashion that we ended up going to Kanva reservoir.Kanva reservoir is a small reservoir that is about 8kms off the Bangalore-Mysore SH17. What we didn’t know was that the 8km stretch was beyond traversable by car. And yet, we decided to go ahead anyway. After an hour of torturous driving that included some wheel spin and almost getting stranded, we reached what was supposedly the reservoir. Kanva reservoir turned out to be nothing more than just a 30 feet wall built across a large lake. It was ridiculous. And to make matters worse, the water level was very low thanks to the bad summer we’ve had so far. Nevertheless, we decided that we had to do some justice to the 8km drive, and sort of had a little fun by the water. Coming back from Kanva was much better. We took a detour that took us through several small villages and then to Channapatna. The one lane road was well tarred and maintained which helped us make up some time. If you are really interested in going to Kanva, I suggest that you ignore the signboard on SH17 and head towards the town of Channapatna where you come across a road diversion. Take the right and left at the dead end and head straight from then on. It’s best to ask for directions every few minutes as it could get a little tricky. Back on the SH17, we threw fuel economy out of the equation and sped on towards Mysore. Several minutes later, we stopped by McDonald’s. The air-conditioned McD is a nice place to stop by for some burgers and a cool drink as well. Back on the highway after an hour, we raced towards Mysore. About 25kms before Mysore is the deviation to Krishna Raja Sagara Dam (KRS). The road isn’t all that great, but manageable. It’s best to reach KRS before 4pm or you’ll end up being in the midst of a large crowd. People are no longer allowed on the dam for security reasons (somebody threatened to blow it up). So you’re stuck at Brindavan Gardens. It’s not such a damper. The place is quite an eye sight, and especially a place for love birds. It’ll take you at the least a couple of hours to go around Brindavan Gardens (leeway for photographs and tea breaks taken into consideration), so make it fast. There’s a colourful display of fountains at 7.30pm or so, but we couldn’t wait for that long. We left as soon as the sun went down. From then on it was nonstop to Bangalore where we reached home somewhere around a little past 10pm. All in all, a thoroughly enjoyable trip. We only wish we had left Bangalore earlier so we could go around Mysore as well. Maybe next time!
Engineering has been quite monotonous so far. At least 6 hours of classes everyday and sometimes up to 8 hours. Thankfully, you only have to be stuck with each subject for less than 5 months. After the semester exams, a bunch of us close friends headed off to Gokarna, a small town in the Karwar district which has some really beautiful beaches that attract a lot of foreigners. We initially wanted to go by train, but the train timings were such that we would reach Shimoga in the middle of the night, and from there, we would need to take a bus to Gokarna. Instead we took a sleeper coach bus right from Bangalore itself. The bus was an hour late! En route, our dear friend Somo made the bus wait for a good 10 whole minutes as he came running from home. We reached Gokarna at 7 in the morning. What was surprising was that there was almost no humidity despite being a coastal town. The weather was excellent! Once at Gokarna, we had to hire autorickshaws to Om Beach. The beach is pretty far from the bus stand and 100 bucks for the rick is worth it. En route the tiny ghat section, you will see Gokarna’s other beaches which are equally as beautiful as Om Beach. Once at Om Beach, we had to walk till the end of the beach to find a place to stay as every other shack was either booked or available only to foreigners. Apparently, charging foreigners a large amount for a lousy shack is how these people manage to keep the price cheap for us. The entire stay for 2 days was just brilliant. Day 1 went away with exploring the geography of the place, lazying by the beach, and a visit to the temple. On day 2, we trekked quite a lot in the somewhat hot sun and found a stunning spot where we could see a panoramic view of the sea. Sadly we hadn’t taken our cameras on the trek. The rest of the day was spent floating in the sea, playing catch in the water, and losing precious stuff. Budget wise, I had expected us to spend close to Rs.2,500 like the last trip to Mangalore. Surprisingly though, the whole thing worked out at exactly Rs.1,600 per head! Here’s the run down for those planning to go to Gokarna:
- Travel – by bus (to and fro), sleeper coach (Seabird) — Rs.800
- Accommodation – Sunset Cafe — Rs.300 per room (2 people in a room with maximum 3 allowed)
- Food – this was the costliest because we did not skimp on our non-veg craving, and yes, ’cause we’re hogs, lol – Rs.450
- Autorickshaw – the only way to travel from the beach to the town — Rs.200