Saturday, July 8, 2017

Drive to Yelagiri Hills

It was end of June but not typical summer for Bangalore. Despite a cool weather in Bangalore, we thought of going to Yelagiri hills just for a nice drive and family outing. Yelagiri is a very small hill station but due to short distance from Bangalore it is a good drive for outing. Most of the drive is on Chennai highway which has great road except considerable wait on toll plazas. There are number of good eateries on this road. The restaurant where we stopped was full of tourists and so we could have coffee only. From Krishnagiri we took left and drove on AH45 for next twenty kilometers. This road was again good. Then we left highway and drove on village side roads for next ten kilometers to reach a small town Ponneri which is at foothill for Yelagiri. From here drive of next ten kilometers which has fourteen hairpin bends is scenic and eye catching. Traffic on this road was not high but there were tourists vehicles stopped at haipin bends to capture the lush green beauty in their cameras. Each hairpin bend offers a different view of green valley down under it. After three hours of drive for one hundred and fifty kilometers, we reached on top of Yelagiri hills. It was ten o'clock by now and first thing we had is, a great breakfast just near to the lake entrance.

After a satisfying breakfast we went to lake. Lake was not so big but well maintained. There were number of boats and a long queue. Boating was little costly but this is the main attraction of the place. I guess lake was not so deep. We spent half an hour in lake and then we roamed around. There are some rides and well maintained park in lake premises. Kids had fun in park whereas parents went for a refreshing walk. From lake we moved towards Nature park. On road from lake to Nature park, there were numbers of  road side shops selling jack fruits and fried fishes. Nature park has good landscaping and well made scenery but still there is a miss of Midas touch in the park. Yelagiri hills is not very big but worth visiting due to its cool ambiance and less exploited as it is less popular. There are number of resorts and homestay. I knew about the good track to Swamimalai peak and Murugan temple on top but we happily skipped these as we had senior citizens in our group. After staying in Yelagiri for four hours we started our journey back for Bangalore. This time we changed our route and drove via Jolarpettai. After crossing Krishnagiri toll, we stopped at an eatery for late lunch. In next two hours we were back to home with happy moments of Yelagiri hills trip.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Winston Churchill: A Life

Book "Winston Churchill: a life" written by historian John Keegan is a short biography of Churchill but it gives the complete details about his life, his thought process and events around him when he led his country in second world war. John Keegan seems to be unbiased while describing the character of Churchill. Churchill used his reach to press to glorify himself in wars. Churchill never had a great opinion about India and its citizen, simply because it never fought war or never shown serious resistance towards British.

Book clearly presents the picture on why Winston Churchill was one of the finest prime minister of England. He shown hope to its countryman when everyone was sure about German overtaking the county. He could pulled Unites states in to the war by untiring efforts. Not only this but when German was loosing how he traveled a lot despite his illness just to keep its county head high during negotiations going on between "Big three" countries including Russia and United States.

This Book is one of the best for reading enthusiasts who would like to know about the great statesman of England or hero of second world war.

Monday, February 27, 2017

A Pleasant Trip to Kovalam

Though a travelling enthusiast I could visit Kerala for first time after spending almost ten years in south India. It was a trip to Kovalam in Thiruvananthapuram and Kanyakumari in February end and weather was still expected to be mild. On Thursday evening we left office early and went to Krishnarajpuram station to catch Kochuveli express which reaches Kochuveli station in Thiruvananthpuram in morning. We quickly moved to Kovalam beach which is one of the most famous and beautiful beaches of Kerala. We had booking in Hotel Neelakanata which is on the beachfront only. Hotel is two hundreds meters away from parking but this is not a problem as they send trolleys for luggage. The walk to hotel was interesting along the seafront. Ambiance was not hot but humid. We reached early so rooms were not ready. We had breakfast and then we checked in to the room. Room was clean and comfortable. Quickly we came out to beach and went into water. Our kids were having fun in making sand castle. After a fun of few hours we came back to room. We had a great lunch in hotel's restaurant which serve very appetizing buffet. Then we had a short sleep before going for the plan for rest of the day.

In evening we planned for visit to Padmanabhaswamy Temple which is in the center of the town. This temple is one of the wealthiest and dedicated to lord Vishnu. Like most of the renowned south Indian temples it has magnificent gopurams, dravidian style of architecture and high walls. Approach road to temple entrance was very tranquilizing effect on visitors, with a big pond on one side and old palace on opposite. Men can enter the temple in dhoti and bare chest only whereas women can go in sari. After drashan of deity we had a walk in beautiful and very pleasant premises. A team of girls were performing ritual dance. After coming out we had a short walk in town before we started back for our hotel in beach. It was late evening when we reached back to beach. Soothing sound from sea was making the ambience joyful. All the restaurants on the beachfront were attracting tourists with the fish in display and other items on their menu. We had dinner in our restaurant and then we came out for a walk in night. It was an amazing feeling to walk between calm sea on one side and busy restaurants and bars on other with flashing lights. Lighthouse was showing its powerful torch light on the calm water in sea. We sat near lighthouse for a brief before coming back to hotel for a perfect sleep.

Next day plan was to go to Kanyakumari which is around hundred kilometers from Kovalam. Just after coming out of city our first stop was at Poovar. we hired water taxis or small motor boats to go to Poovar island. Boats were passing though mangroves picturing a perfect greenery schenic place. This drive went through beautiful riverbridges, small jungles, green water and riverside unending coconut trees. In next thirty minutes we reached to island where we spent sometime before return. We headed to Kanyakumari again. It took long three hours as road goes through numerous towns and not very wide. We skipped Padmanabhapuram Palace which was in our itinerary and reached to Kanyakumari in late afternoon. After having a simple but satisfying food near boating dock we reached to dock to catch ship for Vivekananda rock. Wind was blowing mildly. In twenty minutes we reached to Vivekannda rock island which is marvelous, standing tall amidst high wind. View of Thiruvallurar statue is magnificent. After having imperturbable time amid calm breeze, we came back to dock by ship. We went to sunset point which was not very far. Place was a happening abode with every inch occupied by people by time of sunset. After sunset we started back for Kovalam and it was night when we reached to hotel feeling tired but excited.

Next morning I got up early and went for a walk on seafront. Weather was pleasant. After some time we came to restaurant to have delicious breakfast. Fishers's sound was on peak and they were pulling out their net which they put into water on last night. Seeing them fishing was another fascinating experience. We spent a decent time in beach and enjoyed the waves before going to swimming pool of hotel. It was almost noon and we packed our bag and checked out. We moved to Kochuveli station where we had evening train. Waiting room was vacant and we made ourselves comfortable there for next five hours. We had lunch in railway canteen which was surprisingly good. As we had ample time so few of us came out of station and took auto-rickshaws to go to the nearby Veli lake which is another attraction of the town. We just had a walk and few clicks before coming back to station. Our train was on time and we boarded it with lot of foods packed from canteen and nearby dosa shop. Train journey was comfortable. We reached back to Bangalore in next morning with lot of amzing memories and pleasant moments captured in amazing photos from the trip.