There are hundreds of places to see in India. Each and every state has a charm of its own. Whereever you go they have some speciality to showcase. A traveller is just amazed and has to stop for a moment to realise how beautiful the world can be.

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Recently there was some disturbing news from Assam. I thought this is an opportunity for me to update the information I have. The last post was simply based upon my perceptions and hence may have been quite inaccurate. So I decided to go with the GPI 2012 data this time. GPI stands for Global Peace Index and unfortunately India stands a lowly 142 out of 158 countries . Here is the link for complete information http://www.visionofhumanity.org/gpi-data/. What makes it so bad ?

According to GPI there are 23 major indicators of peace in a country. A ranking has been done [1 to 5] where 5 stands for the worst case of peace and 1 stand for most peaceful.
The factors are viz
1> Perceived Criminality in Society - 5
2> Security Officers and Police - 1
3> Homicides - 2
4> Jailed Populations - 1
5> Access to weapons - 4
6> Organized Conflict (Internal) - 3
7> Violent Demonstrations - 3
8> Violent Crime - 3
9> Political Instability -  1.3
10> Political terror - 4
11> Weapons imports - 1
12> Terrorist acts - 4
13> Deaths from conflicts(internal) - 3
14> Military expenditure - 1.5
15> Armed Services Personnel -  1
16> UN peacekeeping funding - 1
17> Heavy weapons - 1
18> Weapons exports -1
19> Military capability - 4
20> Displaced people - 1
21> Neighboring Country relations -3
22> Conflicts fought - 5
23> Deaths from conflicts(external) - 2

I picked out some of the worst cases in order to find out whom to blame and whether there is anything travelers should worry about

1> Perceived Criminality in Society - 5           [ Traveler - WARNING]
5> Access to weapons - 4
6> Organized Conflict (Internal) - 3                [Traveler - WARNING]           
7> Violent Demonstrations - 3                        [Traveler - WARNING]
8> Violent Crime - 3                                      [Traveler - NOTE]

10> Political terror - 4                                    [Traveler - NOTE]
12> Terrorist acts - 4                                     [Traveler - WARNING]
13> Deaths from conflicts(internal) - 3
19> Military capability - 4
21> Neighboring Country relations -3
22> Conflicts fought - 5

If we do some clustering with our neighbors we can see
Bhutan -> Most Peaceful
Nepal,China, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka -> Moderate to Bad
India, Myanmar and Pakistan -> Horrible state of peace

While it will require a complete statistical analysis to find the factors amiss between India and Bhutan, I must make a few guesses. Since India is a large country and different regions have different quality of life and peacefulness , can we identify those regions of problems?

 So I decided to run a comparison with Bhutan, one of the most peaceful countries in the region. These are the points where Bhutan scores much better than India. ( A significant difference I have assumed to be more than one point difference in the scale 1-5. So Jailed population where India scores 1 and Bhutan scores 1.5 is not significant)
Perceived Criminality in Society - Bhutan 2, India 5
Access to Weapons                  - Bhutan 2, India 4
Violent Crime                           - Bhutan 1, India 3
Political Terror                          - Bhutan 2, India 4
Terrorist Acts                           - Bhutan 1, India 4
Deaths from conflicts(internal)   - Bhutan 1, India 3
Military capability                     - Bhutan 1, India 4
Displaced People                     - Bhutan 4, India 1  [ NOTE: Its surprising Bhutan scoring so badly here]
Conflicts fount                          - Bhutan 1, India 5

Based upon these studies I am updating some details about the states of India. It is quite impractical to come to India with a single ranking in mind. I feel most of the places in India are still pretty safe for travelers, with the usual precautions.

India is geographically very vast and culturally very vibrant with an incredible variety.

1. Foreigners require special permission before visiting some areas of India
2. Tariffs are different for foreigners in hotels , entrances to National Parks, Camera Fees etc.
These views are personal nature based upon author's experience and study and may not necessarily agree with the views expressed by others.

Category 1.
-> Andhra Pradesh -> Naxalite Violence in some districts(must avoid those areas). Recently there were some issues related to diving the state to two parts. Widespread demonstrations and strikes happened. But so far it has cooled down and pretty safe to travel.
-> Bihar -> Naxalite Violence. This state has improved a bit after a bit of political stability. Safe to travel.
-> Chattisgarh -> Naxalite violence. Few isolated incidents but mostly safe to travel.
-> Goa -> Safe. Do not indulge in drugs.
-> Gujarat -> Safe. The ghosts of riots have died down and with some political stability its safe.
-> Haryana -> Safe. Few cases of drugs peddling and illegal activities.
-> Himachal Pradesh -> Safe. Few cases of drugs peddling and illegal activities
-> Jharkhand -> Some incidents of Naxalite violence ( very few areas - just be careful where you go )
-> Karnataka -> Safe. There were some rumors due to which there was a mass exodus of people from the North Eastern part of India. But state assures everything is under control. No real incident reported so far.
-> Kerala -> Safe.
-> Madhya Pradesh -> Some incidents of Naxalite violence ( very few areas - just be careful where you go )
-> Maharashtra -> Very isolated incidents of Naxalite violence in some areas. Mumbai ( the Economic capital of India) has been a terrorist target frequently. There is a new problem of political nature of which travelers can just check before traveling. Somehow the political party managed to stage some violent demonstrations against some settlers from northern parts of India.
-> Orissa -> Few incidents of Naxalite violence. Several incidents of attacks on Christians ( foreigners ref - Graham Stuart Steins) and caste/religion related issues. Although the incident is very old but it reflects the sensitivity of the state.
-> Punjab -> Safe
-> Rajasthan -> Safe. Not much in the news lately.
-> Sikkim -> Safe
-> Tamil Nadu -> Safe. Some political issue was there regarding a Dam , but otherwise rest of the regions are safe.
-> Uttar Pradesh -> Safe. Isolated incidents of political turbulence and caste problems. New government has come to power and things are safer than before.
-> Uttarkhand -> Safe
-> West Bengal -> Safe. Problems with Gorkhaland issues have subsided. Strikes and demonstrations continue to happen which is also a spectacle to behold.


-> Andaman & Nicobar Islands
-> Chandigarh
-> Dadra & Nagar Haveli
-> Daman & Diu
-> Lakshwadeep
-> Delhi
-> Pondicherry

STUDY BEFORE YOU GO: These states are large affected by extremist activities and political turmoil.Check before you go.

-> Arunachal Pradesh -> Very beautiful state but has border disputes with China.
-> Meghalaya -> Extremist activities
-> Mizoram -> Extremist activities
-> Tripura -> Extremist activities
-> Manipur -> Extremist activities

-> Assam -> Largely affected by extremist groups. Check before you go
- large number of civilians and security forces killed here over the last few decades. Has become an extremely sensitive place after some riots in 2012. Natural calamities and riots have wreaked havoc.
-> Nagaland -> Largely affected by extremism . Check before you go
- Violent Extremism in last few decades. ( Read 'These Hills called Home' by Temsula Ao to get a beautiful picture of the land)
-> Jammu and Kashmir -> Very affected by extremism , border disputes with Pakistan and China.
- Thousands of security forces killed. Thousands of Kashmiri Pandits and other civilians killed. It hangs on a balance of mistrust between India and Pakistan. The Shimla agreement, Nehru's plebiscite factor at UN are some important turning points in history.
Leh/Ladakh falls in Jammu and Kashmir and is considerably safe to travel than the areas bordering Pakistan.

Autonomous Areas of India


1. http://www.lonelyplanet.com/thorntree/thread.jspa?threadID=349028

2. http://www.heartspace.org/travel/TravelTips.html

3. http://zine375.eserver.org/india.html

4. http://www.indiamike.com/
5. http://traveller.outlookindia.com/travelogue.aspx
Outlook traveler excellent and genrally goes into more details.

1. [FOREIGNERS] Carry traveler's cheques. Do not carry dollars/pounds/euro etc in bulk. Exchange money only at registered outlets and do not fall into traps of agents and unscrupulous men ( esp just outside international airports, popular tourist destinations).

2. [FOREIGNERS] Carry enough cash in Indian Rupees at different bags and different pockets of your dress. Credit cards are hardly accepted except in major cities like Mumbai,Delhi,Bangalore,Kolkata,Chennai etc and that too only at very selective outlets. Even then they may charge 2% extra for not paying in cash.

3. ATMs are found in all major towns and cities. Note: It may not be wise to withdraw money from strange ATMs as than can attract extra charges and also keep your card secured else a misplaced card can be misused very well within a few hours. Keep all those numbers at a safe place with someone so that you can login imediately and block the cards.

4. [FOREIGNERS] Carry identity cards and important phone numbers etc in case of an emergency.
-> Check that you are properly insured
-> Check that you have all medical vaccinations

5. [FOREIGNERS/ALL] Do not give any alms to beggars ( Begging in India is a big business and you will help someone else. I came to know begging is also a crime, hence please discourage beggars )

6. [FOREIGNERS/ALL] Be careful about agents. See tariff charts properly . Things in India are usually quite cheap. Taking out money in large amounts may lure thugs and pickpockets ,so be careful.

7. [FOREIGNERS/ALL] Must book hotels before you travel to a place. Or else you must have someone like a friend or a colleague reliable enough to find you one at a reasonable rate.

8. [FOREIGNERS/ALL] Must book train/bus tickets if possible except on short travels or local trains and buses. Use the hotel/driver or any local person's help in case of very remote areas.

9. [FOREIGNERS/ALL] Travel as much possible during the day. Can travel by bus/train at night , public transport is very safe , but may not be very hygienic. Night travel is also very popular as India is quite big so try to check out the best means to travel to a place.

10.[FOREIGNERS/ALL] Carry biscuits/chocolates , packaged drinking water before traveling. Eat only branded food packaged properly. For meals eat the local cuisine to get a Taste of India and stick to popular dishes to avoid previous days leftovers. Also eat at popular joints or places where lots of people are eating to avoid a stomach ache.
Buy food items from hawkers very cautiously and eat only if it is definitely safe. Mobile hawkers have been known to add sedatives to food and later rob away everything leaving passengers half dead and unconscious.
Never, never accept food from any fellow passenger whom you have befriended just on that journey. 90% times it will be a person who is excited to talk to you and know about your country , but the rest can sedate you on a pretext and take away everything you possess. Refuse food politely from fellow passengers even children.
Sometimes you will meet with people who will ask you if you can understand English , Hindi etc. If you stop to listen they will cook up a story that they lost everything while traveling and God would help if you can just buy them some food for the baby or ticket to travel to a particular place. You must avoid these, they will be there even if you come back after a month.
NEVER buy tickets from persons other than authorized rail counters , shopkeepers ,travel agents etc. People on the move wanting to sell loose tickets means its a bad ticket and if caught traveling on those you will be in big trouble.
NEVER offer to watch over someone else's luggage anywhere whether its a bus stand or rail station or airport. He may have just left a bomb for you.
Similarly be careful not to touch luggage without a owner. Inform the authorities immediately.

11. [FOREIGNERS/ALL] Transsexuals/Hijras are a menace in all major Indian towns and cities. If you are a young male traveler they will extract money. Keep Rs 5 or Rs 10 change enough in your pockets to ward them off.

12. [FOREIGNERS/ALL] Women travelers are subject to various types of problems
a. There are hardly any urinals and so make use of one whenever you find it.
b. Keep change of coins to ward of child beggars.
NOTE: Be very careful that sometimes beggars throw dirt to divert attention and then run away with your belongings
c. European and American travelers who are generally fair skinned attract a lot of curiosity. That is why try to wear local dresses like salwar-kameez which will keep ogling eyes away. Also it will prevent unwelcome body touches especially in tourist spots and crowded places.
d. Many Indians like to take photos with young beautiful and fair skinned girls , generally to show off. If you oblige be careful that they do not stalk you.
e. Prying eyes and cameras can be looking out for beautiful girls. So it is necessary to dress in Indian clothes like salwaars that are loose and generally covers most of the legs and arms. Adequate dress and choosing company will avoid anything.
f. Travel with information
      - Do not take photographs where mentioned. Especially in places like temples or bathing places
      - Leave your shoes outside before entering active religious places. May not be necessary for ruins
      - People usually offer the right hand to give something. giving with left hand is sometimes taken badly. For example while buying something pay with the right hand.

13.[FOREIGNERS/ALL] Elderly people are generally respected in India. So similarly they will expect you to respect elders
a. Keep medicines ready and all first aid stuff. Hospitals and ambulances in India can be very unpredictable.
b. Insist on new needles and syringes , labelled drugs with prescriptions and bills to avoid any unscrupulous activity

14.[FOREIGNERS/ALL] Children can fall sick very easily
a. Study the climate and weather of a place before you travel very closely
b. Carry everything for an infant and for children above 5 years be careful as to what they eat and touch
c. Children thief are a huge menace. Keep them safe.
d. Indians love children so they may want to fondle them. Be careful and do not let them out to anyone.

15. [FOREIGNERS/ALL] Pets can be taken to India
a. Study the environmental conditions carefully
b. India is a land of exotic animals. Do not let your pet wander.
c. Street dogs and cats and birds are common. Do not be scared and keep your pet safe from them.

16. [FOREIGNERS/ALL] When you are visiting a holy place
a. Hindus - Temple -> Leave footwear outside. wear appropriate dress to cover body.
Cow is holy to Hindus. So are several other animals.
b. Muslims - Mosque -> Footwear outside , wash properly and cover your head with a turban( Seek help from local before you go )
c. Christians - Church ->
d. Sikhs - Gurudwara -> Cover head and leave footwear outside
e. Jews - Synagogue ->
f. Parsi - ->

- Note that all holy places do not let people from other religion to enter their premises. Inquire well beforehand before you attempt to travel
- All holy places have a proper dress etiquette. Please try to follow that. Even if it is a UNESCO Heritage site , i.e. under archaeological department , please try to follow some dress sense
- All holy places generally do not welcome anyone in an inebriated state
- In all holy places even if cameras are allowed inside , use it judiciously so as not to infuriate any one.
- During festivals beware of stampedes. Sometimes thousands gather at a single place like Varanasi or Tirupati or GangaSagar ,Amarnath etc.

17. [FOREIGNERS/ALL] When visiting a National Forest
- Tariffs for safari and camera/video camera amateur/professional charges can be different
- In some forests be careful not to breakaway from your group unless you are an expert on wild animals as well as tribal especially in Sunderbans , Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Kaziranga Forest, Corbett National Park etc etc . These are really big and wild.
- Respect Indian laws and NEVER buy any animal part. Even if you are caught to possess , buy or sell any such animal part like a tiger nail or rhino horn or elephant ivory etc ( huge list - practically covers everything) it can put you in jail along with a huge fine.
- Do not in any way damage, alter or collect even as memento exotic plant species. These are all covered under law and have same punishments similar to those of collecting exotic samples of animal parts. (But , if you are a qualified personnel then you can get permission to do so. Whatever you get , make sure you get it from the correct person ,in writing.)
NOTE: You can of course buy spices , plants etc at the market. Unlike animal parts most plants products in the market are legal.
- In case of trekking/ mountaineering through forests please follow adequate details before for each and every route. Since all such routes are exquisite with a charm of their own these can be very demanding. Know well before any attempts because rescue operations and wilderness related tasks are very tricky.

18. [FOREIGNERS/ALL] When you are in trouble
- Sickness -> using your knowledge judiciously try to decide the best course of action. Generally even if hospitals are ill equipped and unhygienic , doctors and nurses are very good in their job and are highly qualified to handle any situation. Seek a qualified doctor.
- Death/Birth -> All deaths and births have to be registered in India. In case you have an unfortunate incident during travel do not fail to appear at nearest police station to register a FIR(First Information Report) if it is due to unnatural causes. If it is due to natural causes , please find a doctor , or a hospital to get proper doctors certificate for death.
- Loss of money/credit cards/traveler's cheques etc - Money lost is gone. Keep an alternative source of money.
Credit cards-> Keep the numbers and other details on separate emails encoded . Once lost , try to block them immediately. Traveler's cheques cannot be encashed by others and are safest to travel with. Get in touch with bank if you lose it.
- In every case if you do not have anything try to get in touch with
a. a police personnel -> generally the most reliable
b. a government servant -> Like a magistrate/ IPS officers/ Army personnel / Railway station Masters/ Airport staff/ etc who may help you out as best as they can.
c. If you are traveling with a vehicle try to utilize your Driver as he may be the best person around to help.
- If you are threatened by something or somebody -> If it is a disturbed area , or an extremist activity please first go to a safe area and then seek help.
(Please keep yourself updated about all recent news when you travel)

- Weather Related -> If you are stuck at remote places due to bad weather , flood , snowfall , landslide etc please bear with the terrain and act judiciously as locals advise.

- Maps are hardly available in India. GPS facilities are also very scarce. Before going to a place user can consult these.
a. http://maps.yahoo.com/
b. http://mapsofindia.com/

- Enjoy





Do not forget to see the slideshow at the end of this page.


This website has nice caveats/tips etc.





DISCLAIMER:- This is neither an advertisement,nor a proof of authenticity of these sites. Please check and verify before you book. Please let me know(post comment) any other good WEBSITES to add to this list.


DAY 1: Group of 3 bikers without any pillion riders.
Highway no : 88
Bangalore --> Ramanagara --> Maddur --> Mandya --> Srirangapatna ( Road Excellent)
Srirangapatna --> Hunsur ( The Mysore Bypass is so -so , and then again its excellent)
Take highway 88A from here
Through Rajiv Gandhi Park --> Gonigoppal
Gonigoppal -> Virajpet --> Kakabe
Back to Virajpet
Virajpet --> Siddhapura (Night stay )

We started from Bangalore around 7:30 in the morning and took the Kanakpura Road. Soon we reached the junction from where we got into NICE Road. As usual we drove fast on NICE road and reached Mysore Road i.e Highway no 88 in a few minutes.

After regrouping again on Mysore Road we started off fast towards Mysore. The first town that we entered on our way was Ramnagara. There is a very nice restaurant called Kamat just on the other side of the road. We reached there and had a hearty breakfast of chow chow bath.

After breakfast we started off again at great speed towards Srirangapatna which was our next destination.
I was the slow driver amongst the three of us but I also drove at great speeds except that I was scared of the breaks in the dividers from where people were crossing roads in bicycles or bikes. There were also some scary moments when a guy was actually trying to coerce his bull to cross the road and I realized very late at great speed that he is actually tugging on to the bull using a rope from the other side of the road. Fortunately braving all situations and enjoying the cool breeze on the face I reached Srirangapatna bus stand.

After a water break we took the diversion towards the bypass to go to Hunsur directly without having to go through Mysore. It was on this road that I really started enjoying the journey. The road condition was not excellent and that probably prevented everyone from going at break neck speeds and I got a lot of opportunity to see the beauty of Mysore state in its vibrant greenery all around.

But very soon we reached the end of the bypass and caught the highway 88 again towards Hunsur. Again we found the road was awesome and here number of vehicles was quite low enabling us to reach great speeds even though there was no divider.

We took some petrol at a Essar Petrol Pump on the way and soon after that we faced a brief shower. Just as we stopped to save ourselves from the rain and have a snax break the rain subsided and we were back on our way.

After crossing Hunsur we were in two minds . Initially we thought we will go through Nagarhole Forest to enjoy the beauty of the forest. But getting diverted from that we actually crossed Rajiv Gandhi Park en route to Gonigoppal . Here we traveled through the forest and then coffee estates and the journey was amazing. Although I must say some crazy drivers were blaring their horns all throughout spoiling the charm of the countryside.

At Gonigoppal we had a hefty lunch at a local restaurant. Although they were not specialists of any Coorgi dishes but still the items were quite delicious and were ravished.

At the restaurant when we inquired about home stays we came to meet Mr. Ganapathy (dilipganapathy@gmail.com ) who offered us to stay at his residence estate as a home stay near Siddhapur. We were quite excited about his offer but we wanted to travel towards Kakabe also to see the countryside .So we had a deal that we will call him and confirm our night stay.

After a sumptuous lunch we traveled towards Virajpet. The journey from Virajpet towards Kakabe was truly amazing and we felt the mountain air into our lungs. There was a chill and yet the sun was high ,it added a wonderful colour to the mountains around. The blue of the sky was like never before and the greenery all around was a treat to watch.

After quite an often snap breaks to take photos we reached Kakabe. We were a bit tired at this point and the setting sun was adding a great amount of thrill to our ride. When we reached the Coffee Country ( homestays) we found everything was fully booked.

It was indeed a very beautiful place with the mountain roads overlooking even greater mountains and valleys on all sides. It was as if we had reached the end of the road and had to rest there.

But then we were destined to stay at some better place so we called Mr Ganapathy to confirm our stay in Siddhapur. Then we sped towards Virajpet.

The journey from Virajpet to Siddhapur was one of the most thrilling ones I had. It was pitch dark and the mountain roads twisted and turned no ends. We traveled at great speeds and the darkness just loomed upon us mysteriously. My fingers were numb from the chill of the mountain breeze and my eyes were dancing in the twists and turns . Finally at Siddhapur Mr Ganapathy had arranged someone to pick us up and take us some 12 km away from the city into the heart of his coffee estate.

In the myriad of the roads that followed in complete darkness just with motorcycle headlights and darkness abuzz with insects of all kind we entered the place which was a beautiful one.

We got refreshed , had some wonderful coffee and the eventful journey came to an end with a great dinner.
@ Contact Mr Ganapathy
We were charged @ 1500 Rs for single room home stay along with an additional bed for the third person and Food @ 150 Rs per head.

DAY 2:
Siddhapura --> Dubare --> Madikeri
Madikeri -> Abby Falls
Back to Madikeri
Madikeri --> KushalNagar --> The Golden Temple ( Tibetan Monastery )
Back to KushalNagar
Kushal Nagar -> via Highway no 88 --> Hunsur --> Srirangapatna --> Mandya --> Maddur
Snax at CCD in Maddur
Maddur --> Bangalore
Total - 700 km approx

We started next morning with a visit in the estate garden . It was quite beautiful and then accompanied by one of the caretakers of the house we went to a nearby beautiful place called Orange Country which was of a more commercial place.

Here we just saw the Cauvery River walk which was something that we could have probably done without and then we returned to the residence. After a morning shower we had a great breakfast again with dosas and omelette and coffee.

After this we say bye-bye to the people there and lest I forget 4 doggies(There was one great Dane , a couple of Dalmatians and another which I am not sure at it was kept locked in its kennel all throughout our stay)

After leaving the estate we went straight to Dubare Elephant Camp. I had already visited this camp on my earlier visits and so had the others , so none of us were interested in the elephant ride , nor the water rafting. So we proceeded towards Madikeri.

Here we came along with Nature in some of the most beautiful places on the road. It was so beautiful we had to stop and take a look and then click a few snaps.

However soon after a few hours through the amazingly narrow mountain roads and through the hundreds of turns and bends we finally reached Madikeri , the capital town of the district.
It was quite cold and the hike towards Abby Falls was really a mountain ride with some great bends and real steep slopes. Maneuvering
our bikes we reached the falls and as usual it did not look as great as the first time it had been. So we had a drink of coconut water and started returning to Madikeri. Here it started raining cats and dogs and I got completely soaked . After a brief wait in Madikeri just for the rain to subside we started off again towards KushalNagar , which was our next destination.

At this point it started raining real heavily ,so much so that I couldn't drive straight. I was completely soaked to the skin yet I kept driving as there was no point or place to stop. I was only scared of the rain water bouncing on my helmet guard and entering my eyes , hoping that my lenses will stay intact. It way quite impossible to travel wearing glasses.

At Kushalnagar the rain was low and even as I reached the Tibetan Monastery the sun was out. I called the other guys to find that they had rented a room just to get changed into fresh clothes. I was already at the Golden Temple and did not have the opportunity to change. And I just tried to drain away the water from my boots. I changed my socks just to get a better feeling.

After a long wait and a very flat lunch the others somehow couldn't find the way to the monastery so I decided to start returning to KushalNagar,

After I reached KushalNagar we decided to meet again at Srirangapatna , a great distance from Kushalnagar around a 125 km at a stretch because we were already late and did not wish to waste the daylight.

I drove alone in the setting sun and at a constant speed of over 80 kmph and at times at 90 to 100 kms per hour. After crossing Hunsur it was already very dark and I had to reduce my speed because I could not keep the helmet windshield closed. With the open windshield there was another problem , insects of all shapes and sizes.

However after a tremendous ride of more than 2 hours at a stretch I reached the mouth of the bypass of Mysore where my limbs started revolting and I stopped at a roadside tea stall for a break. However it was no stopping for Aditya and Supratim and they crossed the tea stall at great speeds in just under 15 minutes . I smsed them and soon we meet on a junction at Bharat Petroleum in Srirangapatna.

The next part of the journey was on the Mysore Highway which was filled with tension as there were too many vehicle and traveling at very high speeds. The Volvo buses with their extraordinaire silencers was cruising the fastest of all , taking advantage of its bulk which even the foreign cars capable of monstrous speeds preferred to stay clear.

After numerous bruises with insects and several stops I finally reached Maddur where we stopped at a Cafe Coffee Day , a haven for bikers like us. We got refreshed , got some excellent coffee and snax and proceeded towards the last part of our journey , back to Bangalore.

By the time I was in the outskirts of Bangalore , I was in a great state of fatigue. On top of that my vehicle went to reserve and it was after 11 PM at night and all petrol pumps had gone to sleep. Fortunately with some cool driving at constants speeds I soon reached NICE road and met Aditya and Supratim who were waiting for me there . The rest was like a smooth city ride back to home with a lot of cramps but a great feeling of a great ride.


Route from Bangalore to Hampi
Bangalore --> Tumkur --> Chitradurga ( on National Highway 4)
Chitradurga --> Hospet( on National Highway 13)
We started from Bangalore around 12 o clock at midnight and reached Hampi around 10 am. We would have probably reached a couple of hours earlier, but we were stuck in Bangalore traffic from midnight till 3 o clock in the morning and it was raining cats and dogs leading to a terrible traffic chaos in the outskirts of the city near Tumkur Road.
Anyways after reaching Hampi we started looking for a place to stay. It seemed everything was booked for the weekend and we have arrived as unwelcome guests. Just to give a brief idea , Hampi has very little lodging facilities. It is mostly guest houses which are just normal houses payable for guests. As such the facilities are bare minimum. On top of that Hampi being on the UNESCO World heritage site there are lots of visitors from Europe and Americas, Japan etc who have no idea about rates in India and have pampered the localites a bit with their $$s. As a result we also ended up paying 500 Rs (INR) for a clumsy room for the night. We were just happy to see it had a attached bathroom and a mosquito net and above all a comfortable bed. It was called the Santosh Guest House , just beside the parking lot at the entrance of Hampi Bazar(Bazar means Market).
After getting fresh we saw it was best to have some brunch ( breakfast + lunch) at the local shops inside Hampi Bazaar. Here I need to mention that all shops in Hampi have only vegetarian items( at least we did not find any non-vegetarian).We settled for a restaurant called Geetha Restaurant which had a table giving a nice view of the road inside the bazaar leading to the gate of Virupaksha Temple.
We had some nice hot chapatti sabzi ( bread with mixed veg curry ) and similar poori sabzi all of which was prepared there and then and was steaming hot and very fresh. 3 Pooris + sabzi = 30 Rs2 Chapatti + sabzi = 20 RsTea was very costly at 12 Rs a glass which was of gigantic size so 6 of us had 3 glasses of tea divided by 2.It was a very nice meal except for the constantly buzzing flies and the occasional sound of monkeys jumping on the corrugated roof top of the restaurant.Incidentally it seemed if you are adventurous then you can get anything from Israeli salad to Tibetan momo here.

The Sacred Center itinerary
Virupaksha Temple --> Hemakuta Hills & Hemakuta Temples --> Kadalekalu Ganesha --> Krishna Temple --> Krishna Bazaar and pool --> Sasivekalu Ganesha --> Back To Hampi bazaar
VIRUPARKSHA TEMPLE : Here you have to first enter the first gate and leave your shoes. Then there is a entrance fee , which was not needed for us somehow after they took 100 Rs for 2 cameras. (Unfortunately it is some absurd amount for foreigners - which is very bad)Virupaksha Temple is very nice and its an active temple and even today lots of people still pray and give pooja. I saw few more deities this time than I saw last time a few years back. But the old elephant is still there ( not sure if its the same one that I saw on my last trip). This time it was busy blessing people in exchange of cash.
After Virupaksha Temple we walked to see the Matangi Tank beside the temple which seemed to be in fact part of the temple complex itself.Then we moved to the right of the Virupaksha Temple to see the Hemakuta hill and its temples. It was a dull cloudy day so we enjoyed the trip on the stone very much. After some photos we moved downhill on the other side just in front of Kadavekalu Ganesha. Unlike Hemakuta which was barren and devoid of people this was right on the main road and hordes of excited tourists thronged the area. We moved towards the Krishna Temple which again gave us a serene feeling. With hardly a soul inside the temple , we enjoyed its wonderful structure and its present day inhabitants some squirrels like messengers of God playing in the compound without disturbance or fear.
Next we moved to see the market place beside Krishna Temple and a pool long deserted by civilization where we caught our breath a little and moved on to see the Sasivekalu Ganesha. Here again there was a big crowd. It is very ironic that people till date still crowd the ruins of the temples which have deities inside them and ignore the ones where the idols are probably destroyed. But the best thing to note is that we did not need to leave our shoes except Virupaksha Temple( and latter at Kodandarama Temple)
After this long round in the afternoon we sat for a cool drink of lime soda in a local restaurant and enjoyed the chatter of the local people.
Hampi Bazaar --> Straight to Monolithic Bull --> Take stairs and some trek to Achyut Raya Temple --> There is a small trek to a mountain top which we skipped and headed towards Courtesan's Street leading to Kempa Bhupa Marg --> Kodandarama Temple --> Varaha Temple --> River Tungabhadra was overflowing.
Some of us were too tired so they decided to rest , the rest of us walked towards Monolithic Bull. There was a film shooting going on here and lots of curious onlookers gathered to witness that. I was busy taking some photos on the stairs beside the Monolithic bull when a lathi wielding guard asked me to clear the line of sight of the camera. That pissed me off badly , film companies are always welcome as long as they do not disturb normal tourists and play loud music completely devastating the feeling one gets amongst such ancient ruins.
Ignoring the elite crowd of movie buffs I moved forward and fished a short trek to AcyutRaya's Temple which was best when I came here last time. This time the ruins were cleaned and the temple structures were organized and its certainly going to be the next tourist hotspot.
One point I wish to mention here of what we witnessed here was that some Japanese girls were being harassed by some local lads. I couldn't understand what went on between them but it seemed that the local lads were too keen to get photos with the Japanese girls which got a bit ugly when some perverted snob got too close for comfort.
On the left of The Courtesan's street there was the Kodandarama Temple beside that was the furious Tungabhadra river already flowing over its brims.We spent a quite time there and moved to see the Varaha Temple which was a deserted place. After that we decided to have a rest on the banks of the river where it was furiously gushing and we could see fish jumping in its furious waters.

End of day 1We had some trouble finding a proper restaurant in Hospet. Finally we had dinner in a restaurant called Manasi Garden Restaurant which was quite good.
Sacred Center continued Day 2
Hampi Bazaar --> Straight to Monolithic Bull --> Take stairs and some trek to Achyut Raya Temple --> There is a small trek to a mountain top which we skipped and headed towards Courtesan's Street leading to Kempa Bhupa Marg --> Kodandarama Temple --> Varaha Temple --> Further to King's Balance --> Vitthala Temple --> Inscribed Vishnu Temple Back by the same route to Hampi bazaar
On day two we had to leave early. We wanted to stay another day but we were informed that it was booked so they cannot spare us. However they were nice and offered us to keep our luggage. We however kept it in the car we had come in.After a great breakfast again we set off again from Monolithic Bull. We saw the Achyut Raya Temple again and then passing the Varaha Temple we again sat down beside the Tungabhadra. This time we saw a fisherman catching a good booty with his expertise.
Then we moved on and saw the King's Balance on the way. Next we saw the Vitthala Temple, the temple with musical pillars. But unfortunately that part was cordoned off due to maintenance work.However still we enjoyed the temple and then had a short walk beside the Tungabhadra river where we saw the Inscribed Vishnu Temple.
Then we walked back to Hampi bazaar again ,same route we had come.
We had a heavy lunch at Geetha Restaurant. This time we had rice items.Veg+Egg fried Rice/ Plain Rice / Dal Fry /Alu Fry / etc. 6 people with a lot of cokes and a lot of food it was very good and cost us about 500 Rupees total.
After Lunch we bid goodbye to Hampi Bazaar and took our cab directly to Royal Center
Royal Center Itinerary
Hazara Rama Temple --> King's Audience Hall --> Underground Shrine Chamber --> Mahanavami Dibba ( A pyramid like stone structure)Royal Enclosure
Next we moved to the Zanana Enclosure Ranga Temple --> Lotus Mahal --> Elephant Stables --> Queen's Tomb
NOTE: Same ticket that we bought in Vitthala Temple is valid here also
We started the Royal Center a bit late, I knew we needed another day for this but then due to bookings in the lodgings we had to leave. We got some other places to stay , and even saw few foreigners staying in very shabby places , open nets on the verandah and all but we decided to return to Bangalore at night. So the first thing we did was to reach the best place in Royal Center the Hazara Rama Temple which was indeed a beautiful piece of art. It had stories on all its walls and pillars. From there we moved on to the Royal Enclosure and I was thrilled to see the underground shrine chamber.
While my friend's sat on the Mahanavami Dibba I hovered around the royal bath and its huge stepped tank which was definitely a treat to watch and the aqueducts which brought water to these tanks.
After this we took a shortcut through the fields to Zanana Enclosure. It is a guarded enclosure where we found the tickets for the Vitthala temple were still valid here. First there was the Queen's tomb and near the walls were the huge primitive guard towers. But the best thing to notice here was the Lotus Mahal which surely looked beautiful even in the late afternoon.
The elephant stables were huge and on another side was some archaeological exhibits. I was photographing these happily when someone informed that photography was prohibited. Its sometimes seems so silly that government bodies like ASI can prohibit you from taking photos of Lord Ganesha idol of the 15th Century which is lying open without any care.
Bygones ,we moved on after a refreshing drink of green coconut water to see the Ranga Temple , somehow the guard did not let us inside.
Just as we were planning what to do next it started raining buckets. We ran into the shelter of our cab and then sped towards the Tungabhadra Dam which we wanted to see. Getting down at the entrance we had to buys tickets of 5 rupees each , which was not clear why we have to buy tickets to see a dam and no one collecting the money was a government official. But then it seemed to be the law of the day.
After a lazy stroll we walked back to the cab and started off for Bangalore. Midway we haled once at Chitradurga for dinner in an empty deserted restaurant.
Apart from the tyre puncture and the very slow driver we reached home safely at 6 o clock in the morning. It was a wonderful trip per head at only 2500 Rupees(INR) approximately per head.
The sites to watch out for
Best site for maps and details : http://www.hampi.in/
Other good site : http://www.karnatakatourism.org/hampi.htm
For more queries contact me for free gyan.


These are some photos from the travel to Hampi. It is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Situated near the Tungabhadra river in Karnataka , this is one of the tourise places one must visit. The best time to visit is in winter. The HAMPI ( HUMPI ) festival is in November.
You can see the ruins of the great Vijaynagar temple and their kingdom.Continuous excavations are going on and its a wonderful treat to watch.
I liked the temple with Musical Pillars which made our journey truly successful.
lo blassing

stairs to the kingdom

the gang

its a hard job

the pillars of the Vijaynagar  empire  standing high

In the old temple

Ruins all over


This was a well planned trip. Bhim had booked a Qualis which arrived sharp at 11:30 PM on Friday night and we set out for Kemmengundi. The vehicle booked from Pooja travels (9845336779) was as usual very comfortable. Our driver Swamy wanted to know whether we'll go to Kemmengundi directly , because then he'll avoid the road via hassan and take an alternative road via Tumkur. The journey was uneventful except for my fir of hiccups which lasted full 30 mins and then gave me some relief. In the morning we entered Kemmengundi and the first place we stopped by was near a Horticulture department and a small waterfall nearby. It had a temple and sleepy people were thronging the place. We found nothing much to see there so we proceeded to the main sightseeing spot.
Kemmengundi is nice and it was maintained well with lots of flowers in its gardens. We completed our morning chores ,got fresh , had a hefty breakfast at a overburdened cafe and finally set out for Z-point. Z-point the name comes because the trek route takes a Z on its path and its visible from all nreaby mountains. the weather was hot and humid , but fortunately there were no leeches.
We crossed the Z-point and reached the top in just half an hour. We sat the scorching sun getting the bird's eye view of the terrain and then we came down. There was a mountain stream enroute which provided us some relief with its cool water gushing down.
The next point was the Raj-Bhavan which is nothing but a park well maintained. We sat there for a while , took some pictures and lazed away.
Then we arrived at the Hebbe falls. We had to leave our Qualis and book a Mahindra Jeep because they said the 8-9 km stretch is treacherous and not possible without a jeep. The jeep charged a mighty 650 rupees for 6 people , which I later realised was quite reasonable. After a cool drink of coconut water we set out. The Jeep ride was terrific and really hair rising. We finally reached a point where even the jeep will go no further. We set out on foot from there . There were heavy green plantations all around and the noise of creeks even at daytime would give you a shiver. Slowly we walked around a mile or so when I got the first glimpse of Hebbe falls. It was really tall and beautiful. Towering over 600 feet its waters were chilled and the air was moist with its sprays. Some of my friends had a swim , while I refrained myself and just took photos. Guessing from the bulk of water it carried at this time it was easily seen how magnificient it will be after the rains. Luckily here also we were not attacked by leeches , mostly because the ground was dry on the trek route. After an hour , enjoying the majestic waterfalls we returned to our jeep. Then it was a bone breaking journey again back to the starting point.
After reaching the starting point we had a hefty lunch at the only hotel available. It was not exactly filthy but our driver had a harrowing time when a cow got too impressed by his lunch.
After lunch we started for Mulayangiri , the highest peak of Karnataka. The journey from Hebbe Falls to Mulayangiri was through the Bhadra Wildlife sanctuary and the greenery of the world around was really beautiful and breathtaking. the road was fine and the journey was cool except that I had another fit of hiccups which settled after 30 minutes again .
When we reached the base of Mulayangiri ,i.e the maximum point till which vehicles can go , it was already late in the afternoon. We hurried to the steps which took us to the top. The air was really pleasant at the top and there was a small Shiva temple which seemed like some sort of a shelter for trekkers. We also saw a few trekkers sleeping nearby on the mats.The setting sun was a wonderful treat to watch and I took several photos there. We sat there near the cliff and watched the calmness with which evening settled. We were keen to have some tea and observed that the temple priest and his lads offer tea for some money. We also ordered some and then we asked the lads 'esto' - i.e how much and they stunned us '100 Rupees' . We were nearly bowled over. Probably they thought its some good place to make money. We had a good laugh, canceled our order and returned to our vehicle.It was a long day and we longed for the comforts of a bed. So we drove to Chikmagalur , the district town. We got a shock here. We checked a dozen reasonably good hotels and all were fully booked. It seemed like festival time , but we understood in a small city like this its better to be prepared for this. The Hotel Woodlands which had a dormitory was a hell of a place , with missing window panes and an equally dirty toilet. Finally we got some good rooms in Hotel Samrat , just near the bus stand at a reasonable rate.
I had already taken a couple of antacids to boil down my hiccups and after a refreshing shower I felt much better. We had a hot dinner at a nearby non-veg restaurant called 'Oasis'. Everyone wanted to eat non-veg and it was nonveg with red chicken curry and Kerala laccha parathas.

We started day 2 very lazily. Two of the guys woke up after a hour and we had already completed a hefty breakfast by then.Anyway after all the delay we finally set off for Belur, the wonderful temple city. When we reached Belur , the sun was already scorching the sky. But the first glimpse that I had , I was simple awed by the beauty of the Temple. We hired a professional guide who gave a brief history of the temple and that it was a Vishnu Temple. Then he took us inside the temple saying that Belur temple was famous because of its interior architecture. And truly it was. Inside it was small and dark and cool. But when they lit up the lights we saw the amazing stuff on the ceilings. The figurines and the carved statues were simply breathtaking. After almost an hour of showing us the temple and explaining its beauty , I was glad to get a real chance to photograph it. I took a snap of everything that struck me as exquisite.
Belur was wonderful and after that we left for Halebid. This is another temple town and can be called twin of Belur. The temple architecture is slightly different. When we reached here it was terrific hot. Sandals were not allowed inside the temple so we were literally jumping at every step on the stones. Unlike Belur , Halebid had a more beautiful exterior. Its interior is not as good as Belur though. The Halebid temple seemed like a Shiva temple. Outside the temple there is a big garden , unlike Belur where its surrounded by a huge wall. Belur has a pool in the temple complex and Halebid had a whole lake where even boating was allowed( but it was too hot )
As we left Halebid and moved towards Hassan we were contemplating visiting some other places on the way. So I emptied my camera onto a pen drive but after a huge lunch again guys felt that it was enough and we better return to Bangalore directly.
The rest of the journey was quite uneventful. We took the road from Hassan , back to Bangalore and then via NICE road to home.
All in all , the cost came to 1600 Rs per head for the two day trip.

Durga Puja

Durga Puja is one of the biggest festivals in Bengal. It is not only the time when Goddess Durga returns to her fathers house , but it is also the time for all festive loving Bengalis to get together and celebrate the occasion for 4 days at a stretch. It is a time when Bengalis staying outside Bengal go back to their homes, the nuclear families get together and worship Goddess Durga. For ages the trend of worshipping has changed and it has a new look every year. Apart from the shopping spree before the festival , when people with all their round the year savings get the best things for their family. They bug new clothes , new shoes and what not. Kolkata , the heart of the Bengali civilization dresses up as a whole. In earlier times it was landlords (zamindars)who actually arranged and spent for the pujas , but in course of time with the rise of the great Bengali middleclass the focus has shifted to barwari ( public) pujas. They erect pandals in fields , on roads and almost every gullee (street) and road of the cities , not only Kolkata but Durgapur, Asansol ,Berhampur, Siliguri etc. Public puja's based on collections from public are so popular that even villages have caught up and they celebrate it in there own style. While pandals in cities are built by reputed builders with a theme and lots of lightings and shops giving the appearance of a fair . The themes are sometimes based on simple facts , wonderful structures or even latest events. It can be said that it is an way of providing tribute to the greatest works of humanity. Of late, the latest trend is to inaugurate the pujas by famous personalities , cricket stars and popular politicians. But the pujas in the villages are a lot different. It is quite detached from the city pujas which is more about pomp and show. The village pujas , and especially the family pujas ( there are no zamindars any more) give us a glimpse of the actual festivity. It is not about just lighting crackers and cultural functions. This is an occasion to get together with the family , meeting them after a year or even years. This is the occasion when everyone ,whether a ceo of a company or the principal of a college ,they get on like children do and intimately entwine the relations more stoutly. All the elders show the proper way of doing the pujas , even the children of the family get do mix with each other under the open sky and run around and enjoy the true essence of freedom. I have been fortunate enough to witness such pujas from my childhood in my maternal uncles home. Every year for the last 25 years approximately the pujas have added a different vigor and dimension to the worship. More than the worship , the community work at the time of floods is more to cherish. Here are some of the snippets of the pujas which show the fun and the effort that brings together people, binds relationships and teaches people to cooperate and succeed.

GOA - A Traveler's Paradise

Of late Goa has been in the news for a wrong reason. The safety of travelers to Goa especially foreign travelers is the point of discussion now. Fortunately the top traveler season in Goa dies down in the months of summer when business is low. I have been to Goa 2 times and both the visits are memorable to me. Goa is best not just for its beaches , the food (specially seafood) is awesome. Its churches and forts are a treat to watch and the state itself is in holiday mood whole of winter which gives a soothing sense to weary travelers.

Its pristine beaches , the bamboo shacks , the aroma of the sea fish , everything has a charm in it. Even when you lazily walk on a lonely beach with the waves breaking near your feet , the deep blue sea devoid of any movement , with its vastness , and its sound of silence reminds you of days gone by wherein you left your soul on the road less travelled by.

Its beautiful sunsets and the rising tides wants you to long for another day , another bright sunny morning with the sparrows chirping and the sea birds flying in a formation.

Our journey map which I will elaborate later on.

- Thurs night --> Start for Goa via Tumkur --> Friday Morning Jog Falls - Friday Noon -> Karwar --> Palolem beach Goa - the ideal beach for bachelors A huge swim. Lost and found spectacles -> A fabuluous lunch Evening -> A fish and Vodka combi -> Slept away for dinner Night -> The waves- Saturday Morning -> A slow rise --> Fishing --> Dona Paola -> Some spped boating in Dona Paola -> Welcome to Baga beach -> crowded beach --> a hefty swim again - this time however within security nets -> A fabulous lunch again -> Evening in the calangute beach and shopping in the town - missed the cruise -> A faltu dinner with awful Fenny -> Walk back at dead of night to the Baga beach ( all around the sea) - The wonderful insects of night - blue - Sunday Morning - > Get a last glimpse of Baga beach -> Off to Anjuna Beach to find a great swimmer -> Off to Vagator Beach - a nice place and a cool drink of Coconut Water - > The great Chapora fort and the awesome charm of the sea beyond and the heat within - > The Agonda Fort - what a place - a gaol -> The DoodhSagar water falls and the journey in a tuck like jeep through the gushing water of the streams to the falls. Bhim's swim in the chilled water of the falls. -> An equally bumpy and goofy ride back -> A tremendous Lunch at 5 o clock with Fish and Rice for the famished ones - A stop on the way to pick up beers -> Return on the way via Hubli -> A charming dinner at a roadside dhaba - Some road to Tumkur and enter Bangalore early morning -> A completely washed way through the NICE road and back to home at 8 o clock.

Tony Cottages & Coco Huts
Contact Nos: +91 9422060497 / 832 2643 436
E-Mail: info@tonycottagespalolem.com

NOTE: We stayed in these cottages. These had attached bathrooms too. But the structures were very shaky and the foundation creaked and made noise with every movement you make. The bathroom and toilet facilities were also very basic and separated from the main room by just a curtain.

SAMEER Cottages and Coco Huts
website : www.resortdepalolem.com
E-Mail : info@resortdepalolem.com,ananddesai@yahoo.co.in
Phone : +91 9422059215 /
STD : 832 Landlines : 2644072 /2644615 / 3231010
NOTE: These cottages looked better. Also these were probably costlier at approx Rs 1000+ per hut during top season.

These are some other NUMBERS I found on the internet.
15 Cottages [Rs 700 to Rs 4500]
number- 2643262

19 Huts, 4/5 Cottages [Rs 350 to Rs 500 for huts, Rs 600 to Rs 1000 for cottages]
Number-2644550/ 2643104

10 Rooms [Rs 300 to Rs 650]
Number- 2644261

Palolem - 9767608809

Some great reviews for this on facebook.
website : www.Alessandra-Resort.com
E-mail : Alessandra.resort.goa@gmail.com
Review : http://www.facebook.com/pages/Canacona-India/Alessandra-Resort-Palolem-Beach-South-Goa/6296198694


ROSE BUDS - 9422454114
RESORT DE PALOLEM - 9822059215


DERSY BEACH RESORT : This is also a secluded beach but the water is not very calm. This was a nice beach resort with huts .
Phone : 832 2647503

Tel.: 2647328, 2647604
Email: dunhill_resort@rediffmail.com

If you are planning to stay on this beach you must do a booking beforehand. This is a very secluded beach and shuts down completely after sundown.

We stayed at a coco hut.
website : http://www.treehutsingoa.com/morjim.htm
Phone : +91 9822483188

Their huts were quite pretty and nice , but bathrooms are outside in a shared area.
They served complimentary breakfast and also prepare dinner etc based on dinner.




Wayanad is a beautiful place amidst the hills of northern Kerala. We were a group of 6 guys who booked a Chevrolet Tavera and started for Wayanad from Bangalore one fine Friday night. The weather was wonderful on the Bangalore -Mysore highway and we were quite fortunate to get a wink of sleep before reaching Mysore. We had a small incident on the road when the vehicle won't start because there was insufficient gear oil.
On reaching Wayanad the next morning we found ourselves in the mist of things. We somehow managed to book a hotel and get in because it was chill outside. But Arun Guest House , the one in which we took Deluxe rooms had hardly any deluxe facilities apart from running hot water. The pillows were like mats and the blankets were equally shabby. Anyways it was heaven for us after a night long ride.
We woke up a couple of hours later to start exploring Wayanad , but unfortunately we found that our vehicle has a problem and we sent the driver to the nearest garage to repair the problem. So we set out on foot and soon found a neat restaurant to have breakfast. It was Masala Dosa and Tea by unanimous choice. But after getting the Dosa we realized we made a big mistake. Dosa or any fried stuff in Kerala is made of coconut oil. Somehow the oil is very pungent and gives a distinct flavor.
Anyway we soon figured a wonderful bakery shop near to the bus stand itself where we had fine juice and cakes.Lookout for the special Walnut cakes here.

By this time it was already 10 o clock and we found that our Driver hasn't yet managed to repair the problem in the car and has called a mechanic. He checked a lot of things and finally what I understood was that the car has to be taken to the garage. We were a bit disappointed because we had planned to start the day with a bang by visiting some of the nearby sightseeing places. Nevertheless we accepted fate and started loitering inside Kalpetta. Kalpetta is a very small town we found and it soon ended with the highway cutting through the heart of the city. Myself and Bhim booked an auto and he took us to some nearby peak where there was some mining activities going on. Basically it seemed they were just creating new roads . It was hot and there was hardly anything to see there so we soon started walking back and taking an occasional photo on the return journey.
Back to the hotel we did not know what to do .We called our driver and came to know that a guy has gone to calicut the nearest big town to get some spare part of the car. He said it was not available there in Kalpetta. Calicut is just 70 kms away and he as expected to be there in a couple of hours . So we estimated that since it was almost 12 o clock we may as well have our lunch since the breakfast had been pretty weak.
There is a wonderful hotel called Woodlands - a classic hotel. It was indeed a classic hotel with wonderful food and service. They served some pretty decent mutton biriani and whole meals. On a whole it was nice , except that the mutton could've been more tender. But the fish items were very good. Moreover nothing was cooked in coconut oil so we happily gulped a lot of stuff.


Returning to the hotel we found the car was still not available. But our worries started when we found the driver is also not available. We tried to call him and it was simply ringing out. Soon afterwards he switched off his mobile. This was too much for us. We really got pissed off. It was very rude on his part. First the car should've been properly serviced before such a long journey , which he did not care to do. And now we are waiting for more than 4/5 hours for the car to get repaired and no sign of Driver. Finally after trying for half and hour we called their office in Bangalore . i.e TUNGA Travels . After a lot of heated discussions we finally gave the owner an ultimatum that either your driver turns up quickly or we do not pay ( It was a hollow threat anyway because we had already paid him a good amount by which he can happily go back also ) . Thus a lesson was learnt that , NEVER trust the TRAVELS (Esp Travels like TUNGA TRAVELS) or their drivers. They are basically in the business of making money. e kept assuring us that he had talked with the driver and he will come in half an hour. This half hour stretched to one hour , then to one and a half hours . And we were all confused that if his phone is switched off then how come the owner called the driver. We soon came to know that. Some guy went to calicut , did his shopping happily without any hurry and came back around 3-4 o clock and till then the driver happily went to sleep oblivious of his passengers in the garage somewhere.


We are gentlemen so we decided not to chase the issue further, that will leave a bitter taste to the whole tour ( later we realized how wrong we were) .
Finally we were able to go to Soochipara Falls in short while.
The walk to Soochipara falls was a nice one. It was covered by greenery and the road was concrete and a nice one. Although the area was not at all clean. People happily throwing away plastics , even though its clear its a no plastic zone. We sat awhile in front of the Falls . It was a small one, but had slight fury in the waters . A young girl stood just on the rock where it was crashing into and was enjoying the stealth cool fury of the water.
Soon we started our ascent back . There was a nice view point and a place to sit and relax under the setting sun .
Next we went to Phooket Lake. Unfortunately the gates were already closed for the day. We just roamed and lazed around before returning hotel after a cup of Kerala tea .( tea in Kerala is a bit coarse and has a different aroma ) Its hugely different from the flavor of Darjeeling tea.
After a hefty dinner again at Woodlands we called it a day. We had to sign out at morning 7 am the next day.
My deluxe room I soon found was not much deluxe with the blanket not sufficient and mosquitoes hovering around everywhere. I hardly managed to get a wink when it was time to get up .


After signing out from the Hotel we had a buffet breakfast at Woodlands which was again a very pleasant one. Then we started off towards Kanthapara Falls.
Kanthapara Falls was a cool place. Devoid of the human attention it was clean and wild. We spent a long time there musing the charm of the falls
Next we got off to what seemed like a way to Meenmurti Falls. It showed a way 4 kms aft inside the woodies. We started walking asking the locals en route. Soon inside the woods we lost our way. Some of us decided to check out an alternative way . Meanwhile a localite turned up. clad in a lungi with a sickle in hand , he was trying to explain something . We understood that he was referring to some jungle vehicle that takes 250 Rs to take us to the falls . We decided to turn back and figure it out. then no one was interested in the falls any more , because the woods itself was glorious and it was just nice to sit there and enjoy the sun.
Next on the route we went to Phantom Rock. It was a wild place , but it was nice to get a view of a mountain carved by nature's forces.
After a few snaps there we started towards Eddakal caves, the last point on the sightseeing. After reaching a certain point we had to go the rest of the way by jeep . We bought tickets separately and soon were jumping on the mountain road in a medieval version of a jeep . Reaching the caves we had to buy tickets again. What a cost we thought just to see some natural stuff. The caves were quite spectacular . Except the fact that we were not able to figure out if the writings drawings on the walls were of primitive man or our recent guests .
Anyways after a wonderful journey to the caves we started off towards Mysore. Catching the last glimpse of the Wayanad and Kerala.
See Kodalgallery for all photos.

P.S> We later found the driver charged us double for Friday night stating that whole night driving invites double charge. For us it was first time in our umpteenth journey in South India , but the first with this travels. Be careful is what the owls say.

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