Bike Rides Bangalore

Friday, October 5, 2018

Weekend Getaways from Chennai

“Madras Manathil is now the Singara Chennai!” The Tamil phrases interpret as Madras at heart is now the beautiful Chennai. Chennai needs no big introduction. People of Chennai are the city’s biggest asset. They are reliable, helpful and warm-hearted. Weekends in this city can be well spent by taking long drives to places around it. From Filter Coffee to Cappuccino, from temples to Bike and Barrels, theme parks inside the city to long drive destinations, the city has all of it. It was a weekend, and all of us were quite exhausted with our routine schedules. To take a break from the hectic period of time, we planned for a road trip to Pondicherry. We were a group of 8 people who wanted to spend whole day exploring the roads that lead to Pondicherry and have fun there finally! So, here I will let you guys know a few places where we stopped by. The distance between Chennai to Pondicherry is 156 kilometers if you take the East Coast Road. 3 hours is enough for you to reach Pondicherry without any break. I thought to rent a bike online since my bike was yet to be serviced. After doing a bit of research I finally got a bullet on rent from wheelstreet. Everything was set we wanted a trip with a lot of explorations and pit stops. Here are a few places where we checked in on the way.


Cholamandal Artists’ Village

This village, 9 km from Chennai has over 20 resident painters and sculptors, who live as a community. They run the Artists Handicrafts Association and a permanent exhibition that displays sketches, metal, terracotta sculptures, handicrafts and paintings making the village a self-supporting entity. Theatrical and dance performances were also held in open-air theatres in late evenings which was a visual treat!

Kovalam beaches
Located 40 kilometers south of Chennai, this beach is popular for fishing. An ancient Catholic church, Dargah and temple available on the beach are special tourist attractions. A private luxury beach resort, Taj Fisherman’s Cove is there for people to avail when they stay near the beach with the sea view. We had a talk with the fisherman and went for shallow sea diving and sea surfing. Little bargaining is required for reducing the price at which they take you for the ride. We relaxed on the shore for a long time and then had a turtle walk as well! Trust me, it is worth the time!


Muttukadu Boat House


Not very far ahead, the first long back-water bridge is present and the start of the bridge on the right is Muttukadu Boat House. This boat house is a TTDC initiative and is quite an amazing picnic spot to try all sort of watersports like jet-skiing, pedal boating, rowing and canoeing, etc. Some of us went along the calm sea tides by rowing and the rest tried the jet-skiing for the thrill.


Mahabalipuram
Mahabalipuram lies on the Coromandel Coast that faces the Bay of Bengal. This place is listed among the UNESCO world heritage sites and it has shore temples, rich carvings that will inflame your imagination, especially at sunset. The place also has luxury resorts and cottages where you can spend time in leisure. We spent hardly one hour here and then trotted away to Pondicherry


Pondicherry
Also called as the “Little France”, Pondicherry has the French flavor in it with the colonial mansions, boulevards, and placid promenades, spellings on signboards and buildings, names of roads and public places. Walking along the colorful streets is a delight, especially when you walk a group of people. To list some places to visit here, you can go to botanical gardens, serenity beach, French quarter and temples. Pondicherry has people who follow very different cultures and languages. To treat your eyes on the streets and amazing places, you definitely need two things, a group of people and a bike. Bike rides are always content to heart and make us feel complete during the ride. Roam around the colorful streets, attractive places in bikes. What if you guys don’t own a motorbike of your own? You can always rent one! We used rental bikes to travel and had a great experience. Happy Riding guys! :)


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Saturday, September 1, 2018

Avathi Betta - Unexplored Hill near Bangalore

Place: Avathi betta / Avathi Hills, Sri Lakshmi Timmaraya Swamy temple 

Distance: 44 km from Bangalore
Type: Temple and optional trek
Ideal for: Family and serenity seeker
Trek Difficulty:  Very easy
Trek Length: Less than 300 meters
Trek Duration: 15 minutes
Location on Google Maps: Avati, Karnataka


I was just back from my Kumaraparvata Trek which was an amazing trek. After taking a long rest for 15 days my feet were itching for a trip again. I saw GoPro Man's video about this unexplored place called Avathi. The climate was great so without a second thought I called off for a short bike ride.

Best of the Beast
Saturday Morning: We were on the Bangalore-Hyderabad highway early in the morning. As usual, there were a lot of bikes flying towards Nandi Hills. Even we were on the same route but our destination was different. The roads were fogged up and the climate was cool.

The roads were covered by the mist. Little scary for riding but an amazing experience

Sunrise on the way. Couldn't capture the sunrise due to the fog.
Breakfast time: We pulled over at Udupi Swada for breakfast. Idli vada and tea in a climate like this was a bliss. Since the distance to be covered was less we had no hurries. We resumed the ride after a good break.

Idli Vada Sambar dip. Anyone?
The signboards and google maps were helpful in finding the route to Avathi betta. The last 2 km stretch was not good as the road was under construction and I had to ride over the loose rocks (hope the work is completed by now). We reached the destination at 8.45 am.

Avathi hills: As expected there were none other than us. There is Timmaraya Swamy temple which was closed. Since I had seen GoPro man's vlog I knew there is a way to climb further and reach the peak. I rewatched the vlog to find out the route as there was none to help us out. The way at the back of the temple would lead the way to the peak. 

There is a path beside the temple which leads to the peak of the hill

The place was shining with the sunrays
A short trek of 15 minutes lead us to the summit of the hill. Since this hill is at a very low hight the panoramic views weren't extraordinary but the view of the Nandi hills was surely amazing. A lot of times we get out of the city to enjoy peaceful time amidst nature but the tourists' population has increased a lot in the past year that you would find even more chaos and disturbance at popular attractions. This is so true with Nandi hills, Avalabetta, Mysuru and lot of such places.

The trail which leads to the peak
Venkateshwara Naama painted on rocks throughout the tail

The peak is an open area. Sadly there is no shade to sit if the climate is hot

You can see Nandi hills range from here
Lake view from the peak
But this place was different. There was nobody apart from us so it helped me relax my mind in complete silence. The cold breeze, the green paddy fields, and lake view were enough to please my eyes. I took a power nap and started descending after spending 2 hours at the peak.

I crashed on the hill to grab my sleep but the sun rays were eager to kiss my cheek ;)

Which jump is good? Upper Mumbiker Nikhil jump or Lower Sakre cubes Dab while jumping?

When you are high on fitness giving a macho pose is a must ;)


Sri Lakshmi Timmaraya Swamy temple: It was 12 o'clock in the afternoon by the time we came back to the temple. There were a lot of devotees around the temple. That's when I realized the previous day it was Vaikunta Ekadasi. This temple is dedicated to Lord Venkateshwara so it was not surprising to see the temple decorated with flowers. After having darshana and of course Prasadam we were about to leave that's when I saw a signboard which was pointing to the cave temple.

Sri Lakshmi Timmaraya Swamy temple at the base

The sign at the top reminds me of Tirupati



The temple was decorated with flowers

because

It was Vaikunta Ekadashi

Shrine of Lord Venkateshwara swamy

Shrine of Goddess Lakshmi on the left
Cave Temple: It is said that the great saint Goutama maharishi meditated here in a cave formation between large boulders situated below the temple. The place was quite beautiful but the caves were filled with bats so I didn't dare to enter inside. 

This signboard caught our attention
Beyond that signboard was this steps carved in the rocks
Which lead to this Shanku Theertha. It is around 51 ft in depth. 

Further walking down we reached this cave temple. The cave was filled with bats so I didn't dare to take a photo inside.

We came back to the parking area on the other side. It was around 2 pm we had enough time to visit Nandi hills but I wasn't in the mood of that so we started riding back.

We took these stairs to reach the area where we parked our bike

I loved the quotes written on each step on either side
We stopped at Indian Parata company for the lunch. The place was a little crowded but the food was really good. After having pizza we started riding back to Bangalore. 

Pizza at Parata Company
Conclusion: It was a short and sweet ride which refreshed my mind without having to go through the tiredness at the end of the ride. Avathi betta is a nice unexplored place with no crowd. It is less likely that it will drag a crazy crowd ever. I would suggest you to visit this place only if you are looking for a serene place away from the crowd. 

You can combine this place with either Nandi hills or Bhoganarasimha Swamy temple.


Other Recommended Trekking Places near Bangalore:
1. Savandurga Hill,  - 50 km 
2.  Shivaganga Hill - 50 km
3. Nijagal Betta, Tumkur - 52 km
4. Makalidurga, Doddaballapura - 55 km
5. Mandaragiri / Basadi Betta - 60 km
6. SRS Hills, Ramnagar - 60 km
7. Skandagiri Hills - 60 km
8. Hulukadi Betta - 65 km
9. Rayakottai - 74 km
10. Antharagange, Kolar - 75 km
11. Bilikal Rangaswami Betta 75 km
12. Avani Betta - 95 km
13. Siddara Betta - 100 km
14. Madhugiri Fort, Tumkur - 103 km

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Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Excursions in India that will fuel your wanderlust


Travel excites you, invokes the desire in you and once it is over, it leaves you into a meritorious world.

To make the most out of the travel, the first step is the selection of the place that has the ability to fuel up your desire to explore more. We all love to travel, we travel alone, we travel with family and we wish to enjoy each and every moment we have during the holiday time.

Here I present some of the amazing traveling destinations in the country that has the ability to hold your senses for long. Each moment you feel at these places will leave you to spellbound and you will never wish to leave the place. These are the Indian destinations to invoke the vigor and enthusiasm in your soul. Stay tuned and read on.

1. Chadar Trek 
Chadar Trek is one of the most popular and one of the most adrenaline-filled treks in Ladakh. The most thrilling part of the trek is to cross the frozen Zanskar River. The trek is carried in the months of December and January when the climate is utterly chilled. This is the time when the Zanskar River is completely frozen to facilitate the path to the trekkers. Conquering this trek will you the happiest person on this planet. The views you capture during the trek are awe-inspiring.

A glimpse of the Chadar Trek

2. White Rafting in Rishikesh
For the energetic you, the white water rafting in Rishikesh is a must try. Do not wait for your age to grow and try this grade 5 rafting before it is too late for you to try. This river rafting is not for novices. Experience the roaring of Ganges and conquer the mighty streams that come your way. Mark your name and reach your destination completely drenched in the pure water of the river.


River Rafting at Rishikesh

3. Trip to Andaman 
The Andaman and Nicobar Islands is not only one of the best romantic honeymoon destinations in India but it is popular for its adventurous activities as well. The most popular is the scuba diving in the Indian Ocean that will provide you a rare chance to meet the vibrant coral and a variety of marine species. If you are looking forward to an amazing holiday destination this season, the Andaman is the right choice for you.

Andaman: Isn't that is a beautiful beach? 
4. Camping in the Thar Desert
You do not get a chance to stay amidst the rough and dry sands in the desert, do you? Hence, for this vacation why don’t you book your tickets to Rajasthan and spend some time with your own self amidst the roaring sands of the Thar Desert. This will be a different shot, instead of booking yourself a room in a luxury resort, put your hand over a camp, and observe the amazing aura of a desert.


Camping in Thar desert

5. Trekking in the Himalayas 
Thinking of spending your vacations in the Himalayas? Well, there are several treks that will not only satiate your adrenaline-filled desire but it will also provide the rare opportunity to observe the local culture of the Himalayan villages and to capture the breathtaking and unspoiled nature amidst the mountains. Whether you are an amateur trekker or an expert, Himalayas have trekking zones for both. Choose your destination and head on for an amazing Himalayan trekking.

Dodital Trek
6. Ladakh Bike Trip 
Are you looking forward to your amazing holidays in Ladakh? Ladakh is a small valley in Kashmir and the place is known for its amazing natural beauty. Ladakh is the best place for the romantic couples, the adventure enthusiasts and people who like to explore places on their own. Accompany your friends along and embark on a biking trip to Ladakh. The experience of the trip will be worth the efforts are taken.


Bike trip on this road is definitely every bikers dream
7. Have an encounter with the wild cats
Our country is popular for its wild cats, the Tigers. There are a number of places where you can get a chance to observe these fierce animals but spotting them in their natural habitat is something worthwhile. Reach the Ranthambore National Park and spot a Tiger enjoying his meal with his family. Contemplate how he saves his kids from the other wild animals and rest peacefully in his abode. This Tiger visit in Ranthambore is beautified by the Aravalli Hills and the Vindhya hills as its backdrop.


Ranthambore Tiger
8. Exploring the Goa Beaches
Goa is a small state located at the South-west of India. The state was once ruled by the Portuguese and today it is known for its pristine churches and vibrant beaches. Explore the Goa beaches and we are sure you will find a new reason to live your life. Goa is a place for people who have left their enjoyment behind in the race of completing the routine responsibilities. Goa is a place to be visited at least once in a lifetime.


Goa beaches

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Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Holiday Differently with Sterling Holidays, Wayanad - Day 2

This is the second part of my stay in Sterling Wayanad. If you have not read the previous post then I highly suggest you read it first and then come back to this post.

Read my previous post: Holiday Differently with Sterling Holidays, Wayanad - Day 1

Raindrops pattering on my window pane and chirping birds to wake me up this morning. Walking straight to my balcony to captivate the view of the Muthunga forest drenched in the drizzling rain. I wish I sit there infinitely with a hot cup of coffee in the loop of nature.


Best of the beast: Spotted this wild tusker just opposite to our resort
Tusker spotting: With the tribal village walk the last day, I was looking forward to what's next. I freshened up quick and walked with my camera. Soon I came to the reception, I have informed me that there was a tusker just outside the resort. With excitement, I managed to run to spot the tusker. It was the first time I spotted a tusker in the wild.  His name is Mani and is spotted often along this stretch grazing the bamboo grass. It's an experience within itself to surround by the wilderness of Wayanad. We went for the bird watching but it started raining so we had to return back to the resort.


Morning walk for bird watching

Bird spotting is not an easy task


The scenery became more beautiful after the rain


There is also a manmade pond inside the property. Besides this is the butterfly park

A perfect place for the photograph
As it was drizzling, I came back to the resort and hopped onto a buggy to reach the restaurant. The breakfast was Kerala cuisine themed - Appam, Idiyappam, and Puttu to be precise and the usual English breakfast. The breakfast was heavenly and served hot complimenting the monsoon.


Buffet breakfast. Both Indian and English breakfirst served.

Traditional Kerala breakfast

When the food looks gorgeous you can stop taking pics

Soon after the breakfast, a bus was arranged for the sightseeing which included Sultan Bathery Jain temple, Phantom rocks, and Assumption Forane church. While everything seemed to be going perfect little did we know that the trouble was waiting for us? Our bus was stopped over by locals at Sultan Bathery. That's when we realized it was a nation-wide strike by public transport organizations against Motor Vehicles Amendment Bill. All the yellow board vehicles were being obstructed and were not allowed to go any further. After an hour of the confused moments, the organizers were able to sort out the matter.  They allowed us to visit till the Jain Temple and Church but phantom rocks had to be dropped.


Out bus got pulled over as it was a nation-wide strike by public transport organizations
Chandranatha Swamy Jain Temple: The Jain Temple in Sulthan Bathery is one of the most important among the many Jain temples in Kerala. Dating back to the 13th century, the temple is said to have been built in the prevalent architectural style of the then reigning Vijayanagar dynasty. The temple has an interesting history. It first served as a shrine, and then became an important center of commercial activity. Later in the 18th century, it became a dumping ground of ammunitions by Tipu Sultan. In fact, the town of Sulthan Bathery (Sultan’s Battery) is named after this temple. Now it's a home to several bats fluttering their wings.


Chandranatha Swamy Jain Temple

 In the 18th century, it became a dumping ground of ammunitions by Tipu Sultan.

Assumption Forane Church: The church was initially started by the French Missionaries and later on with the migration of people from all parts of Kerala and from other states like Tamilnadu and Karnataka, Sulthan Bathery became more populated. The Church was under several dioceses and presently under Mananthavady diocese. The new church is well planned with worship space for a large number of persons and the interiors are well decorated. The annual festival is in January during which thousands gather here to offer prayers. The church is open for prayers to all irrespective of caste and while we were there we saw people from other states offering prayers.


Assumption Forane Church

That was the biggest ceiling fan I have seen so far in my life

A beautifully decorated prayer hall
After sightseeing, we decided to head back to the resort and it started raining heavily. After waiting for some time we could board the bus. The bus took inner roads avoiding the main roads to bypass unwanted attention during the Bandh. 

Traditional Kerala Style Lunch: It was 2 pm a perfect time to have lunch, and guess what the traditional Kerala Sadhya meal was waiting for us. The dining table had plantain leaves arranged in a fashion and the staff was in the Kerala traditional attire. We were served a countless number of items among which I loved Kerala rice, Banana chips, and Bamboo rice payasam. I was overwhelmed by the lunch and it was a complete meal.


Authentic Kerala dishes for the lunch

Kerala style Banana leaf meal

Even though the sightseeing plan was minimal, we were not worried because there were many activities inside the resort that kept us engaged throughout the day.

In Resort Activities: We gathered for Pottery, Mr. Sijoy taught us basics of clay pottery making and gave chance to each of us try. Since I knew my poor art and craftsmanship, I decided to get my hands on Paintball and Archery. Apart from these, a lot more games like Air Hockey, Carrom, Foosball, Table Tennis, Snookers, and kids play area were present and are enjoyable too.


Learned the basics of Pottery.

Archery

Paintball


My all time favorite foosball

There were a lot of other activities in the play area
Resort Tour: Next, we proceeded to explore different parts of the resort. Sterling Wayanad comprises of 60+ rooms which fall under Classic, Premiere & Privilege category suiting the guest requirement. I would say it is a blend of luxury, comfort and a great service.  Steps away from the multicuisine restaurant, there is a big swimming pool and an open bar. They also help us relax and rejuvenate with their gym and spa centers.


This is the studio rooms. Neat and tidy rooms

The spa room


Swimming time: Who wouldn't love the swimming pool? The pool view tempted me to dive in. The pool depth is around 4 ft which is ideal for all age groups. The water was clean and chlorine free. I literally enjoyed relaxing in the pool and experimenting my action camera. It was drizzling while we were in the pool which added fun to the swimming. 


The top view of the swimming pool

It was fun to swim when raining

I couldn't resist but jump into the pool
After the swimming, I badly needed a hot tea. The tea point was presented in a street food theme which I totally loved. The crunchy chilly pakoda and hot tea complemented well with the climate with occasional rain showers throughout the day. The tea tasted heaven in this climate. We spent the next two hours just enjoying the rain and chilling in the lovely climate.


The snacks were arranged in local chai wala style.

Rains and these hot bajji's and pakodas are the best combinations

Barbeque dinner: Soon it was 8 pm, the dining table was lit up with beautiful candles and the aroma of barbeque boosted my appetite. One of the chefs was preparing Kotthu Parota in the live counter. Seeing the making of Kotthu Parota was exciting. All the items on the menu were great. No matter how full you are the dinner isn't complete without having deserts. The Pudding and Gulab jamun were simply fantastic.


The table was lit with these little candles. It was a sight to behold

Barbeque dinner

Night Safari: The same night, the safari was planned by the resort. I had been to a couple of safari rides before but those were the day safari rides but I was really excited to sight wildlife at night. It was a no moon day so the night was completely dark and we boarded the jeep. The thrill started as soon as we started. We spotted a big herd of deer. The deer were curiously looking at us while we were trying to click their photos with flash. I soon realized that taking photos in this dark doesn't make sense so I kept my DSLR in the bag and kept my eyes on the window to captivate moments in the forest. We spotted some more group of deer but my eyes were eagerly waiting to spot a leopard. Leopard's are often spotted here so I had some hope on spotting it. We finally spotted an elephant standing just beside the road. Before we could stop and take the U-turn it was gone. I just had a glimpse of it. Spotting wild animals in the forest is purely a matter of luck but the driver's thrilling stories were entertaining throughout the ride. I was at least a little lucky in this matter. It was 12 am by the time we reached back the resort.


Riding in the forest at night was a thrilling experience

We spotted many heads of deer but no luck with any leopard or tiger

Back to Bangalore: After a holiday in Sterling Wayanad, I really have been refreshed to the core. We had to head back to Bangalore. The departure was planned at 8 am and after breakfast, we check out. I had fallen in love with this resort as home in the last two days. As Kanishk (from sterling) said: "People come here as guests and leave as friends". This statement was 100% true. After a group photo and crazy boomerang, we started our journey back to Bangalore. I reached my home at 6 pm.


Conclusion: My time in Kerala have always been memorable. I always look for experiences than just sightseeing. Sterling Wayand helped me to discover the Tribal village, the paddy fields, taste the authentic Kerala food and experience the thrill of night Safari. If you are going to Wayanad with your friends and family then I recommend you to try this resort for a different holiday experience.

For booking, you can visit Sterling Resort official website.

Don't forget to leave your thoughts in the comment section below. Do +1 or Like if you loved my trip
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