Sunday, November 26, 2017

Trip to Bandipur Forest

It was a cool Sunday morning. We started our Bandipur trip in early morning so we could skip the city traffic. By seven, we were out of city and on Mysore road. Next two hours morning drive was soothing for everyone. Mysore road is full of good eateries and we stopped at one to have breakfast and tea. In next one more hour we reached to Srirangapatna town. Our first stop was Tipu Sultan's summer palace which is also known as Dariyal Daulat Bagh. Next we went to Tipu's tomb, where Tipu breathed his last during war.  After interaction with Tipu,'s history we were back to road to Bandipur. 

After five hours of drive, we reached to MC resort which is located just at the start of Bandipur forest area. This place is having very calm ambiance and in between small hills. We got four cottage rooms which just have everything one need. Room was not highly spacious but sufficient to give comfortable stay. Room opens into open veranda, a perfect idling place. Ambiance inside is clean and resort has children play area, swimming pool and a good restaurant. Food has lot of variety and were delicious.

After an hour of rest we went to Jungle safari reception point. We booked open jeep for jungle safari. Near reception, monkeys were the point of attraction. They were quick enough to snatch food items from visitors. Safari took us inside jungle which has number of wild animals. Heard of deer can be seen in any corner. We could see peacock, lizards, elephants and other animals and birds. At one water body we waited long for tiger, but we were not fortunate to see this majestic animal of jungle. I believe morning safari has better chance to have a glimpse of them. After two hours of safari we were back to reception point. Then we came back to resort.

Next morning we got ready and enjoyed roaming in the resort before having a heavy and tasty breakfast. We checked out from resort and after an hour long driving we reached to Mysore palace. I have visited it before but for most of the people in our group it was the maiden visit. They were impressed with the beauty and architecture of the palace. Kids enjoyed the elephant ride in the palace backyard. After visiting the palace we had our lunch in a restaurant in downtown. After lunch we started our journey back to Bangalore. Drive on Mysore road is always joyful. Our next stop was at Ramanagaram which is famous for wooden toys. No one can leave these wooden toy shops without being impressed with its craftsmanship. After a tea there, our car was again on the road but it was slowed to minimum once it entered into Bangalore city. Traffic was huge and it took a lot of patience driving in the middle of concrete jungle we have in the city. We could reach home after evening and it was time to appreciate the great trip of Bandipur forest we just finished.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

A visit to Kanwar Lake Bird Sanctuary

"Kanwar jheel" as called by local people or "Kanwar Lake Bird Sanctuary" as named in government documents, is about fifty kilometers only from my hometown Dalsinghsarai. Still I never got a chance to visit it before. This lake is also very near to the village of my relative. So when I visited them this time I could get few hours to have a quick visit to the lake as well. 

The Kanwar Lake is located in the Bengusarai district of Bihar. It is 30 Kilometers from Begusarai and 7 Kilometers from nearest railway station DSKS Nagar Garhpura in Samastipur- Khagaria railway. As information available in mu sources, it is the largest freshwater oxbow lake in Asia and is thrice the size of Bharatpur Sanctuary. 60 migratory birds from Central Asia migrate to the lake in winter. About 106 species of resident birds have been recorded. It is a must visit for the bird watchers and nature lovers. There is famous Jaimanglagadh temple in the midst of the sanctuary. Unfortunately wetland area is shrinking, being captured by locals and dying due to pesticides. In last thirty years it shrink-ed to one third. 

When we reached Kanwar lake, it was late afternoon. Our car reached up to temple crossing the narrow lanes. There was no clear information on lake entrance so we took help of google map satellite view to reach to the water body. We passed through slum to reach the lake where number of fishermen were coming back from lake. One fisherman offered us the boat ride in lake in two hundred rupees only. He gave enough time taking us to the far ends of wetland or lake and talked about lake, birds, flower and fauna around. It was not a planed visit and we did not have DSLR camera so we could not take pictures of birds but we enjoyed the beauty of lake and nature around. It was a mesmerized feeling altogether. Hope we can conserve it for next generation as well.

More information and pictures are well captured in below links:

Monday, October 2, 2017

A Day Back in Vidyapatidham

When I was a kid, an outdoor trip mostly means to Vidyapatidham. Vidyapatidham, also called as Bajidpur or Vidyapatinagar is a historical Nirvana place of great Maithili poet Vidyapati. It is only at ten Kilometers from my hometown Dalsinghsarai. I remember visiting this small temple town almost ten times with my brother, my cousins and other relatives. Some of these trips were by bicycle and more than twenty years back. After darshan in temple, we used to eat puri-sabji or chana in small eateries outside temple. Sometimes we used to buy some wooden toys and famous Badh lai (a sweet dish) as well.

Vidyapatidham is believed to be the place where the renowned poet breathed his last in search of Maa Ganga. Due to his failing health, he was not able to reach the banks of Ganga. Local stories says that the Ganga river changed its course to reach him to fulfill his wish. There is a famed temple of lord Shiva in Vidyapatidham in commemoration of this great poet and devotee of Lord Shiva. A statue of Vidyapati is placed in the middle of the town. This place can be reached by train and there s a tourist bungalow as well to host people.

This year when I visited my hometown on Durgapuja holiday, we planed to visit this small rustic temple town again. A family trip to Vidyapatidham temple was always in the wish list of my mother. We hired E-rickshaw which charged us two hundred rupees for both side journey. Reaching there doesn't take more than half hour. When we entered in the temple premises, I felt the time is stuck and there is no major changes except newly painted boundary walls.. Flower vendors are sitting on chowkis with big umbrellas above them. People used to wash their legs from same well before entering into temple. Devotees taking walk in numerous temple around the main red colored Shiva temple. After puja, we came outside temple premises. Walking in temple lane reminded me my old days in Vidyapatidham.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

A. Lincoln: A Biography

After doing extensive research to find the best book on Abraham Lincoln, in Amazon and Flipkart; I decided to buy the book "A. Lincoln: A Biography" by Ronald C White, Jr. For my delight, I selected the best book to read about Lincoln's biography. After reading this book, I don't agree more with USA today that "If you read one book about Lincoln, make it A. Lincoln."

This book is well researched, voluminous but interesting read, covering all aspects of his life with details. While reading this book, a reader feel like going through that age and being the witness of social and political development in Lincoln era of US. How United states was developed, how the colored people struggled to come out of slavery and how a leader can win a war and peace together. The book focus well on his upbringing and give full understanding of how he could become president in completely fragile country, divided into pro-slavery and anti-slavery states. His leadership skills of taking enemies along and being a good learner to deal with war just after becoming president, is well presented. This book delivers complete justice to one of the finest politician who not only successfully removed the evil of slavery from the country but was able to build the union back from division. His leadership is awakening for the whole world and this book is a must to read for people who has interest in history of United States or in life of one of the greatest political leader ever.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Unwinding in Alleppey Backwaters

Alleppey houseboat was always in my traveling bucket list. Backwaters of Alleppey or Alappuzha was fascinating me from long time and finally I could plan it this year. Apart from its beautiful houseboats, tranquilizing backwaters and green countryside its equally famed for its boat race which used to be organized on second Saturday in the month of August every year. I planned accordingly. On Thursday night I had my train from Banswadi station in Bangalore for Changanassery station in Kerala. Next morning it was slight rain when train entered in Kerala. In the journey, a tree was fallen down on track before our station so it took some time for rail officials to clear the track. Train was little late when we reached to Changanassery station. Our taxi driver was waiting there for us. Once the taxi was out of this small town and on road to Alleppey it was a pleasant drive among mesmerizing sight of greenery. There is water body on mostly either sides of road and these water bodies and greenery is almost not troubled by human intrusions. People of this countryside know living with nature and unlike most of the other parts of India, environment is preserved in its best way. Kerala teaches us respecting nature and living with it. In the next one hour, we reached to the ferry point where most of the houseboats starts its journey for the day. Hundreds of houseboats were dangling around the shore. I booked a lavish houseboat through India vacationz Houseboats. These people were highly professional and helped in reaching there and arranging tickets for boat-race as well. Their houseboat named as "Anthem of the Lakes" was one of the finest and it has more than what one may need for a luxurious visit. This boat was having two floors, five rooms, one terrace and one kitchen. We settled in our room quickly. By the time boat started its voyage in the backwaters, we got freshened up and came upstairs to sit in terrace gallery. 

The view from houseboat porch was amazing. The sights of everlasting lake, calm backwaters, passing by houseboats, green banana leaves, lengthy coconut trees, aroma of fresh air and serene landscape was heartwarming. Allepey claim itself as Venice of East. I have visited Venice and so can confirm that it’s not less gorgeous than Venice. It’s alike Venice with rustic rural state and in the lap of mother nature and greenery. Shortly we got the lunch in traditional Keralite cuisine including rice and fresh fish. After the lunch we just sat there for few hours idling around. Boat took a visit to Vemband Lake which is alike a sea having no end in sight. Houseboat started its journey back. On the way, Houseboats were blustering horns to get sideways from houseboats. In backwaters, view of unending rows of banana trees on both sides of the canal and coconut trees kissing the ground were amazing. My son was busy playing building blocks and carom but quick to make noise when other houseboats were passing by. When houseboat reached to ferry point it was evening by then and we got tea and snacks. These four hours in backwater was astounding and lifetime experience. In night after having dinner we went back to our room. From window we could see the backwater outside our room and endless houseboats hanging around and far. 

Next morning, we got up early and after getting ready we roamed outside for a while to see the scenery before clicking some of the incredible pictures in picturesque background. When it was breakfast time, houseboat gusted the horn for the short journey in backwaters. While we were having breakfast, boat was having ride along waterways refreshing the amazing experience we had yesterday. After two hours of ride it came back to the start point and we had to say goodbye to this elegant houseboat. 

Now it was the time to explore Alappuzha town and seeing famous boat race. We hired an autorickshaw and soon we reached to the town. We had to walk for few kilometers to reach the venue. Walking in the town was astonishing as well. Grid of canals or waterways is passing through most of the town, same as Venice. Ferryboats are giving tourists a joy ride. We bought a toot for my son which is mostly used during boat race by locals for cheering up their teams. Soon we reached to the finishing point of Nehru cup boat race. Ambiance was amazing there with loud noise and cheerful crowd having fun. We were early and it was time for qualifying rounds. Huge snake boats are unique in Kerala and one boat is rowed by almost fifty people. When these long boats were near finishing point, trying to surpass each other, sound and energy level of crowd was going to the peak. Soon crowd was very high and mercury was at its peak so we left the scene early but not before watching enough rounds of boat race. After walking back along the beautiful canals, we took autorickshaw to reach Alappuzha railway station. We had few hours and so after lunch we moved into waiting room. In evening we boarded our train for Bangalore with our bag full of memories.

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.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Day to Day Economics

This post is about the book "Day to Day Economics" written by Satish Y Deodhar. It is one of the business books published by IIM Ahmedabad. This explains some of the day to day macroeconomic and microeconomics activities very well, with very simple, sharp, and practical examples. 
One of the excerpt from this book explain the economics activities of government and private sector very well.The existence of pure public goods, natural monopolies, and externalities are clear cases of market failures. In such situations, the private sector either cannot provide goods and services profitably, or provides them with a disregard of social costs. Therefore government has legitimate reasons for undertaking the economic activities.
Similarly other chapters on Budget, Banking, Free trade, Inflation, Govt's monetary policy and Share market explain the key words of finance with clarity. Book not only goes beyond the facts and terminology but helps reader in understanding it in very enjoying way. This is highly recommended for people not having economics background.

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.