Thursday, 2 May 2013

'ICE COLD' Krishna..!

This place was known little those days. Tourists used to talk about the tedious and dangerous journey, however they could'nt stop passing exhilarating remarks. Many years ago this place was in clutches of Veerappan and his gang. A notorious and intelligent poacher who evaded many attacks from brave STF men. He made sure to kill senior police officers who targeted him. His business was to kill elephants, deer and sell the skin in black market. Hence, as this place was/is more of elephant and tiger habitat, conditions were favorable for him to settle down. So, forest people and the government thought it was not safe for civilians to get inside this abundant green region.
Not so far from Gundlupet, by passing a small village, a check-post can be found. "Welcome to Himvad Gopalaswamy wild life sanctuary" a big board is attached to the check-post. Like any other range, this also has timings for visitors. Forest guards claim that elephants come in many number and relax near the check post till sunlight hits the ground.
Foot hill check post.
 A historic temple with Lord Krishna as deity is on top of the hill. History says that this temple was built by Hoysala dynasty and developed by Mysore Wadeyars. A thin layer of ice is formed on the Garbha-gudi dwara (shrine door), which persists through out the year. Scientifically it is proven that due to intense moist wind and low temperature across the hill, the mist is formed. As sun rays cannot penetrate the temple, there is less chance of melting of ice. Hence a new name for Lord Krishna - "Himavad Gopalaswamy".

            Temple Entrance.
First time when I visited with my family, was quite impressed by the scenic beauty. We saw a tusker grazing alone quietly blocking the only road; it was scary as the hill road was narrow and we all were travelling by bus with full capacity. A small intervention in his peace would have been fatal for us. Soon the tusker climbed the green hill and our driver with a great relief managed to climb the rest of the hill. Lord Krishna is as usual eye catchy and attractive. After sunset wild animals pay a visit to him; which is why civilians must leave before 4:30 PM in the evening. There is no option for tourists to stay over night on top of the hill.
Surrounding the temple is green rain forest with lots of tall grass. Ideal for elephants to graze and for tourists to locate the wild animals. This forest has shares from all three neighboring states, Bandipur from Karnataka, Madhumalai from Tamil Nadu and  Waynad from Kerala.
                                                                   View from the temple.
Fog is common and mostly a great experience factor on top of the hill. Many bore-wells are the source of drinking water, a small lake can be found down the lane infront of the temple. Forest guards told me that lake is the main source of drinking water for wild habitats.

Elephant Herd - Down the hill
There is an interesting fact about this place; it is also a myth. Crows are not seen on top of the hill; only white cranes are found in large.
Trekking from one hill to neighboring hills is interesting and dangerous. Hill with the temple belongs to Karnataka, and the hill adjacent to it belongs to Tamil Nadu, hence inter state roaming will be activated. Due to lots of accidents and mishaps trekking is now restricted by the forest dept.
View from a different hill
Environment will be mostly peaceful and less polluted always. Many people enjoy the early morning mist, chilling weather and later drive to Bandipur and Masinagudi which are very popular wildlife destinations. Well, do visit this place to find out more. Am glad that the Government has taken initiative and has declared this place a conservative forest.

Place: Himavad Goplaswamy betta
Distance from Bangalore: 220 kms
Nearest Places: Bandipur, Masinagudi, Madhumalai, Ooty.
Ideal place for Photo shooters.


Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Perfect Blend...!

"Life is like a river"--people say this often because water can take any shape during it's flow, likewise our lives takes its own shape during the course of time. A long and lazy route can be deviated to a fun filled route. A Perfect Blend of wildlife and lots of coffee plantations with beautiful homestays is situated just 250 kms away from Bangalore. The place is called COORG. To be precise, the entire district is called Coorg which comprises of many small places surrounded by natural beauty.
Road to Kutta.
 The Rajah's of Mysore called this place as "Karunada Kashmeera" (Kashmir of Karnataka), possibly because of the cool misty weather all through the year. Apart from its scenic beauty, this land is also famous for producing many brave hearts who sacrificed their lives for the country. Sir Manek Shaw, General Cariappa served the nation during Indo-Pak and Indo-China wars. 
By crossing hunsur and Nagarhole reserved forest, on the foothills of Brahmagiri  is a small town called "Kutta". This town banks on the neighboring state Kerala too and is in southern tip of the district Coorg. Well known for its peaceful environment and surrounded by lush green plantations, Kutta homes for several tourists spots. Lakshman theertha or popularly known as Irpu falls is one amongst the favorite spots. Ethnic coorgis consider this place as divine, they take a dip every year during Utsav.
Wild Dohles @ Nagarhole sanctuary.
A Tusker @ Nagarhole sanctuary.
Irpu falls
 In the midst of the forest with pleasant chirping of birds, it is indeed a healthy background. Climbing on the rocks to get drenched by ice cold water is a thrilling experience. This water source unlike others is not polluted. There are lots of home stays which offers hygenic food and cozy shelter at reasonable rates. Adding to that, the hosts will be polite and caring too. A typical coorgi home will be a big farmhouse with coffee and pepper plantations.

A homestay @ Kutta. 
A getaway which is not so far from the busiest hub is certainly delightful for body and soul. Like I said, a perfect blend of coffee aroma and wildlife around, one can breathe easily and live longer. 

Friday, 5 April 2013

A Silent-Bloody Valley

Yeah is a silent valley. A beauty of its own with ice cap mountains around, lush green turfs on hills, yellow sunflowers, red and white tulips, lots of birds and absolutely stunning environment. The place is called KASHMIR..."Heaven on Earth"...!!. History says that before Independence, the Rajahs and Britishers used to visit Srinagar and its sibling towns for holidays. It was due to its picturesque beauty and fresh air. Specially a ride in Dal lake would make anyone feel like a Rajah..! Now, post independence this Heaven has been transformed as HELL. Yes, that's hell of a truth. We all know why the heaven got transformed into Hell. I will not get into those facts. I really admire Kashmiri's  for their hardwork and courage. But I strongly object the radical movements running behind the screen due to which the civilization is on stake. 

A view from Dal Lake, mesmerizing weather. There was sunshine, rain with clouds rumbling..! 
Srinagar is the capital of Kashmir and also for CRPF, BSF, J&K Police and Special Forces. There are two things which happen quietly here, one is tourism and another is defense mechanism by Indian jawans. Despite heavy artillery and dedicated patriotic soldiers, people live on a thin ice. Each and every moment they recall the mishaps which ruined their future. Many have migrated to other parts of country, many of them have stayed back looking for hope. It never ends..!
Well, I recommend everyone to visit Kashmir once in a lifetime least. The experience is truly unexplained. Impeccable weather, extremely soothing fresh air, colorful city, clean gardens, precious lake, chilling mountains and amazing spots to trek. What more can a nature enthusiast expect..? just go see it..! 
         Snow Peaks of Sonamarg.
        Glacier River with fresh water.
       Lush green Pahalgam.
In past few months, kashmir valley is getting heated up due to politics. The era of shedding blood has begun. It all started again with Pak's cease fire violation, crossing the border illegally and also many terror attacks. This is turning out be a slow poison for the locals as tourists think twice to visit the place. Major revenue is generated by the tourism department, which is also a kind of Mafia over here. 
             Pahalgam : A place to RAFT with many rapids.
   Gulmarg. Level 2: Close to LOC.
Sonamarg: Level 1: Place to Ski.
Places to visit are many in Kashmir, but there are very important places which no one should miss : Srinagar, Sonamarg, Gulmarg and Pahalgam. There are many budget hotels, house boats for accommodation. Food is not a problem for both Veggies and Non veggies. However, boozers should think twice. 
I have made an attempt to throw little light on this gorgeous place. Tourism here not only improves the state infrastructure but also improves the security. More number of tourists, more secure is the valley. Think once.!