Kazan Cathedral, Saint Petersburg

Sunday, 27 June 2010


Google Maps: Hogenakkal, Tamil Nadu, India
We started early morning for the Hogenakkal Falls. Recently released Raavan was the source of our motivation to invest a Sunday for some experience. It took us a good 3 hours which included a filling breakfast of omellete dosa at a roadside dhaba.

Hogenakkal was crowded and humid. We started from a hanging bridge which took us to the other side of the fall. We wanted to execute the most important of our plans - a ride on the round shaped 'dongi' which was a popular feature of this place.

We fixed up a boat and were taken to a nice long ride through different corners of the sprawling waterfall before being dropped at a river bank. There with a smoothly flowing water we had a playful bath and returned back on the dongi after a couple of hours.

We had another round of bath at a regular waterfall reshaped to make sure more people including ladies can have fun. We were hungry when we came out and immediately attacked a cane juice shop for some fructose laden energy.

We were back to Bangalore by 5 PM although I was feeling sleepy all the way. I was driving by the way.

Sunday, 13 June 2010


Trip: Delhi > Jaipur > Udaipur > Ranakpur > Ahmedabad > Mumbai > Davangere > Chitradurga > Bangalore

We started early from Davangere. A delectable bene-dosa (butter dosa) at a famous restaurant gave us the right kick and we drove the 40 odd miles to Chitradurga in an hour. Although I was here twice before, the agenda for this time was very clear - we had to reach the top.

We reached the foot of the hill we targeted to climb. Small steps were carved on the rocks to help us although the hill was steep enough to generate fear as to how we will climb down without tumbling. We reached the top after three rests and were welcomed by the city entirely visible from there. The ground of fort was chequered with grey rocks and green grass. It was richness in abundance - a treat for eyes.

We decided the climb down from the other side. It turned into an adventure after we realized midway there was no route further. It took some jumping, skidding and falling before we saw the ground. It was time for a break. Unfortunately the bottle of drink we bought was picked by one of the monkeys and we satisfied ourselves with water.

Walking to the other side of the fort we realized that there is a staircase made to the top of another hill which was still higher that the one we were on. We decided to take that one. The nature started conspiring in accordance with our plans.

As we reached the top of the Chitradurga Fort it started drizzling. We were tired with the climb and hence welcomed the rain and the wind with open arms. Standing at the top of the fort in rain and enveloped by clouds was really special. I don't remember many occasions such as this one.

Saturday, 12 June 2010


Google Maps: Panchgani, Maharashtra, India
Trip: Mumbai > Mahabaleshwar > Panchgani > Bangalore

Leaving the city of Arthur Road Jail and Mahalaxmi Race Course, I went straight to Panchgani  Being alone as its advantages. I was at my whim as to where to turn the steering wheels. Panchgani as accessible and inviting.

Just stopped and clicked the orange on way@Panchgani

The only problem was that it was a weekend of peak season and finding a hotel room proved to be a mission impossible. Ultimately I checked into a hotel off the main road that led to Mahabaleshwar.

Hotel view@Panchgani

The main attraction at Panchgani is a bustling hill station and seclusion from Mumbai. Businesses have sprouted here in the form of high altitude go-carting, boating and forest treks. The moment I checked into the hotel, it started raining hard. The butler told me it was the first hard rain of the season and would last for a while. 

View from Parsi Point@Panchgani

The hotel room had a balcony large enough to sit and have dinner while rain poured incessantly. The winds would bring sprinkles of water to me and would leave me with goosebumps now and then. The next day I started early at 6 and stopped my car at Parsi Point. It boasts of a majestic view and a nice restaurant right at the edge.

Ridge view from Harrison's Folly@Panchgani

Moving further towards Mumbai-Bangalore Highway I stopped at a place called Harrisons Folly. It is a huge plateau of a land where one can drive to the edge. The sunbeams were trying to cut across the heavy clouds and the entire panorama was mesmerizing - all the more as I was standing there alone with my car.

Sunrise at Harrison's Folly@Panchgani

Satisfied with my morning excursions I decided to move ahead quickly as I had to reach Davangere by evening. By 8 AM I was already back on the Mumbai-Bangalore Highway. The next stop would be Highway McDonalds at Kolhapur.