Wednesday, December 31, 2003

Pune.... A stranger in a not so strange world....

Wednesday and Thursday , December 24th/25th 2003,

It was 4'o clock in the evening and we were on the first rows of the Volvo us all rearing to go. The driver looked smart and we had a great view of the front the volvo being such a classy bus. Anyways, here I was really excited about the trip and all and we were scheduled to reach Pune at 8:00 in the morning and well I thought after breaking our fast we would roam around the town for Christmas. I was imagining an enjoyable Christmas and the bus rolled to Chitradurg for a break after about 4 hours from Bangalore. The road was smooth and we were all caught up in the movie Vertical Limit in the bus. As it was about 9:30 or so I felt the bus stop half way from Chitradurg... and just when I was thinking that it would be a stop for some leak or something, the driver said something about a puncture... well i was thinking that should be ok since these guys are expert in fixing flats.

But lady luck had also taken a holiday so the spare had also a falt, the drivers took off for an hour to get another tyre which was not exactly a volvo tyre but would work for sometime and after an hours break off we went and I was thanking god that things were going on smoothly... a few kilometres ahead, we again had another puncture which took some hours to fix... I was still thinking that well trouble comes in threes but hopefully it stops here. It was in Hubli that we fixed the flat the second time and well right at 3:00 ish in the morning the tyre gave away again... now the passengers were losing it one by one but they were very patient since they could not do anything about it. I was like .... YEESHHHH i just hope we reach pune in the afternoon but because of the delay we had to face the worst of the traffic on the highway which was still being built and so all the vehicles were doing single lane and it was difficult to manouvre the bus fast. Then the handy man put on another movie for entertainment and guess what it was Khiladi.... ha ha ha As if I did not have enough to think about than seeing Ayesha Jhulka's poodle face and Akshay Kumar doing his female act.... EGADDDDD... I think some corner my luck was holding when the TV suddenly fused out.... i was thankng the powers that be gratefully...

We reached Belgaum at 7:00 in the morning and well all were really exhausted by the rough ride and just wanted to go home. The folks were getting cranky and started taking the driver's trip. One of them a marathi guy started hassling the driver for a 200/- refund for the delay and well made a big commotion which was unnecessary I felt and delayed us for some more minutes... god I was by this time just praying for whatever patience I had left.... Ha ha oh yes, since the TV of the bus was also fused out this freaked out the already frayed travellers.... then it was time for some dhinchak music which they put off after all started complaining...

Believe me stress can do a lot to your sanity... :)

I was just praying that a fight should not start right then ..... people were complaining their heads silly... I was praying for deliverance from this situation... had a small tiff with hubby too so I was fuming silently and hungrily.... since rocky did not let me have more food... man i was so pissed... i think the whole situation was getting to us... he he !!

Anyway we had smooth roads from Satara to Pune and then the Pune Highway Traffic started. By the way my dream of going through the expressway did not realise since we enter Pune before the express way....

Because of the frustation on the highway our driver let out some of his anger on a truck driver who was not giving way by making the handyman open the door and flung an empty bisleri bottle while overtaking aggressively and cursing all at the same time... I was stunned at the behaivour and the bottle hit the truck driver &%&&&^%$#^@#%#$@Q$#@ right at his face and it was an expression worth observing... LOLOLOL

Well it was Christmas that day and it all seemed that my plans of enjoying the town would go down the drain. All I could hope for was to reach our friend's place safely.

At last after doing two tunnels and winding road in midst of the traffice I could see Pune nestled the lap of the mountains.. it looked to me like that from where we were entering Pune and well my first impression was well its just like Bangalore... just a wee bit more polluted and a WHOLE lot of two wheelers, especially Bajaj M80 and M50. This contraption was supposed to be the best thing in Pune and was used by majority of the locals....

Well after meeting friends Ranjan and Leena we had a scrumptious after lunch of chicken and rotis and I was starving... we chilled and just took in the breath that was of Pune's.
In the evening after all the excitement settled in we went to dinner at The Bounty's in Kalyani Nagar and this place seems to serve the best of the sizzlers and i was not disappointed. YUM YUM is not enough to explain it...

Friday December 26th 2003

Osho' Ashram and MG Road was on my itenary and well we took off in the morning on Ranjan's Pulsar. After sitting on bullets, pulsar was a bit on the uncomfortable side. But hey who is complaining as long as it takes me to places... LOL.

Well Osho's Ashram.... one word MAROONand SPACED OUT.

Traveller's Tip: if you going to Pune please avoid wearing maroon since the locals look at you ina wierd manner which you may not like. Maroon is exclusively for the Oshoites, a friend informed me !!

The guides were tired and had a very serious on the verge of rude expression in their faces and well we were told to keep silent for the 15 minute walk inside the ashram. I went through a couple of osho magazines and bought two just to have a feel about what this thing was all about. Got a pink I am on Tour label to stick on my dress and well was called for, "we want only pink labels coming in please".. had me wanting to burst out laughing.. but what the heck....

After a short video clip on Osho and his talks, we went around the campus. I noticed that the campus was very well designed and aesthetically pleasant. And there were people flowing in maroon robes inand out and with their own purpose... as I was walking with the group i saw a beautiful lady in maroon dancing wildly in her own way in the concrete floor which i think is a playground or something....

The funny part was that even though we were asked to keep silent, there was a huge commotion of converstaion all around.... I did not see the purpose... Auroville in Pondicherry also asks the people to keep silent but the surrounding is so silent that one would not like to talk too and there are always some genre of people who cannot stop conversing.... But silence in Osho was not a big deal as everybody was talking normally leading a normal life albeit in maroon.

Anyway, saw the auditorium from afar and it looked very imposing.. it was in the shape of a pyramid and it reminded me of the glass pyramid of Le Louvre in France.

So maroon was the highlight of the visit. Otherwise the people there are very helpful more so when you are a foreigner. They thought i was one and the moment I started talking in shudh Hindi they came to their normal pattern of conversation which was " I am not interested either way" Maybe if i would have behaved otherwise I would have got more info ... LOLOL.

Went to the German Bakery from there and had the famous Apfel Stroodle and Kase Kuchen but the quality sucked. I think the german cafe in Bangalore can boast of better quality food any day. Heard so much about it but my husband says that it is the hangout place for many and well majority were the hippy kind with large tatoos smoking dope and speaking a foreign tongue... In the process I saw some cool modified Bullets in the parking lot and made my day.

That afternoon we were off to Girivan.... where we had an amazing time for three days and 2 nights meeting friends and generally having a ball of a time with bonfires and stories from college. The reunion was about the "animal farm" my husband's Symbi classmates getting together after ten years... and what a reunion it was... Lot of chaos, authentic Maharashtrian food comprising of Bhaakhri, Pitla, Thetsa, Chicken curry,puranpoli,Kadi, etc, great service, exhange of humourous stories round the bonfire.... the works... I had a gala time clicking snaps.... finished off 5 reels...he he !!! Have to write a detailed account on that ...

Saturday, December 27th 2003

Long morning walks around the mountainous pathways, lemongrass tea, cricket match. exploration of the place and then a heavy lunch after which we went to Pawna Lake and could see the Tikkona fort from afar... was to exhausted to stay awake that night...

Sunday, 28th December, 2003.

After heavy goodbyes and promise of returning to meet up sooner than the usual ten years, we made our way to Pune and on the way my friend Leena ( Ranjan's wife) took me to the Osho Teerth park ... you can visit the park as a visitor from 3 to 6 in the morning and from 9 to 11 in the morning I think. The rest of the time is for the Oshoites. Well the park is a creative wonder... they have transformed a drain into a park... amazing. I was impressed with the work that they had put into this project.And it was worth the visit. Could not click any snaps... this park was an ideal place for couples who wanted to get away... and could see a lot of them huddles and doing whatnot hanky panky LOLOLOLOL !!! but heck thats life !!!

Boarded the bus At 7:00 pm and then reached Bangalore at 11am in the morning this time without any mishaps with the sound of Pyar to hona hi taaaaaaaaa ( Remo sings ta instead of "tha"), and Kuch kuch kota hai ringing in my ears.... Finally reached familiar ground namma Bangaluuru and man I was glad to be back home under blue skies and fresh air...

SIGH it was a good break !!! Am gearing for more in Jan.... to Goa we go on our bikes.... hopefully my bike is ok before that it is still being operated on in the garage... LOL...

Wishing all my friends a very happy new year !!

Due to some error I have deleted my last post... boo hoo... (

Sunday, October 12, 2003

The Land of Happiness and Peace

Mysore ....

A cool place to chill out in India.

none as far as I am conecerned.

The Bottom Line
A nice place to just relax and have a historical journey.

Mysore - the land of happiness and peace and history....

This place has got an old world charm. This review is from the tourist's point of view. I have been to Mysore a number of times. It so happens that Mysore is just three and some odd hours from Bangalore and whenever my friends and relatives come by for a visit to Bangalore we end up going to Mysore as that is the nearest place which we can finish visiting within a day and come back.

Mysore has a lots of places which you can visit.

The first stop is the Mysore Palace . Its an amazing architecture and this palace reminds us of the culture and tradition. The whole palace is very well maintained.

One of the most interesting things about this palace are the painting in the walls. Its painted in such a way that from whichever angle you see the painting seems to be looking at you.

The ceilings have been painted beautifully. Its intricate handiwork leaves with you a feeling of awe.This artwork can be seen only here and this has been replicated in Bangalore's Vidhana Soudha (Parliament) to some extent.

There are several doors in the palace. Whats interesting about the doors is that each door is carved in a different manner and some doors have been made of silver and bronze with intricate carvings on it.

The whole tour of the palace is an interesting experience. There are guides taking you through the palace and you can also buy stuff which is typically from Mysore like Sandalwood carving in the shops placed inside the palace. The guides change their accents according to the tourists they get from abroad. I found that pretty interesting :).I had friends coming down from Germany and Japan and the accent of the guide helped them a lot to understand the tour. Well good for all !!:)

The next destination is Chamundeswari temple . This temple is situated on the top of a hill. The journey to the top of the hill is fascinating. The view as you travel up the hill is amazing. You can see almost the whole of Mysore from the top. The roads are good and its a smooth ride up. Once you reach on top, you will get to see a colorful array of shops selling flowers and stuff which can be taken back as souvenirs of Mysore.

My friends from abroad are always fascinated by the monkeys and the shopkeepers who sell flowers. They look very colorful :).

The temple is very well built and its typical of South Indian Structure. Besides the temple, the view from this place is awesome.

As you come down hill you can enter and check out another temple which is known as the Bull temple. There is a huge bull residing on this place. This bull is supposed to be the second or the third largest bull in the world. Anyway its a good place to just sit there and chill out. The structure of the bull is worth seeing. Its carved out of a single stone.

After you have finished this tour the next place to go is the Brindavan Gardens Or Krishnasagar Dam . This garden has been built on one side of a dam. This is an amazing place and its a great place to stay overnight. This place is usually kept for last if you are traveling in a package tour. You have to walk for quite sometime as vehicles are not allowed inside the entrance of the garden. This is a huge garden which is very well maintained and it has not lost its charm. The only thing that I did not like about this was that it was too crowded in the evenings. This is because the garden looks awesome in the evenings. Its good a musical fountain show and the whole garden is artistically lit up when dusk falls.

There are facilities to stay in the garden but I suggest you make the reservations in advance. I recommend that you end your trip in the gardens and stay over for the night and go out of Mysore the next morning.

For that matter the Mysore Palace is worth seeing when its all lit up in the evenings.

There are lots of other stuff to see in Mysore. For example, the Philomena Church which reminds me of the Great Dome in Germany. Its built in similar lines. Its a huge church and a tourist attractions.

The Mysore Zoo is a treat for the kids. This is one of the well maintained zoos and you easily while away your kids time... My nieces and nephews went crazy when they saw this zoo.

Mysore is a good place to buy antiques and work or art. Just opposite the Mysore Zoo you will see a couple of shops where you can check out stuff which you can take home or give a gift to your friends.

Mysore is famous for its silk too. You can check out the sarees or silk scarves in an Emporium where you are sure to be given a good price. Its expensive no doubt but its worth the price.

Mysore is very famous for its sweet dish. Mysore Pak.
Make sure you have a taste of this sweet.

If you want to stay back here, Hotel Das Prakash is a very good place to stay. Hotel Ramanashree is also another hotel where you can stay.

On your journey to Mysore, I recommend that you make a detour to Shrirangapatna which has Tipu Sultan's summer palace and his mausoleum. The whole palace is made of wood and it has huge lawns which have been maintained well. Tipu's life and achievements have been placed here inside this palace. This whole palace is very picturesque.

I would recommend that you go on a package tour to Mysore but if you have friends its all the more better to move around with them independently. As far as price is concerned Mysore is reasonable unless you are buying stuff like silks and antiques.

You can check this place out if you want to take a short break. You can also stop by this place when you are going to Ooty from Bangalore. Usually its best to travel by bus. If you are traveling independently you can take a taxi and take tour of the city. It will cost you about 300 to 400 rupees.

This place is also accessible by train. You can board the Satapdi express from Chennai. Its one of the best trains in India in terms of facilities and the speed.

Well I hope I could provide enough information regarding this place.

If you want more information you can check the following websites

Whenever you decide to visit India, make sure this place is in your calendar.


Best Suited For: Friends
Best Time to Travel Here: Anytime

Friday, October 10, 2003

Ooty-- Wellington here we come

Sniff sniff cough cough i go and i think i am feeling like going and getting cozy in a quilt with a book. Have a heavy head and SIGH !!!

This is the result of a extended weekend in Wellington and walking in the clouds and then coming back to Bangalore and sitting in the AC i think. But whatever the case might be, the weekend trip was a well deserved break. Myself along with my visiting relatives decided to visit Wellington some 15 kms from Ooty. We have a relative who is in the defense and he was staying in the Defense Staff Services College. We started from Bangalore in a Qualis. We were 6 of us and we fitted well into a qualis with all the luggage. I was having mixed feelings since it was Puja time and well i wanted to celebrate the Puja like a true Bengali but well the option of going up to the hills was irreristible and so off we went. After reaching the outskirts of Bangalore we had breakfast in Kamat Lokruchi which is famous for its food. After having our fill of dosas and sugarcane juice we went on ahead via Mysore and then to Bandipur. Bandipur was pretty dry but the moment we started to drive through the Mudhumalai section it was raining cats and dogs. But after a few kilometres we had dry weather again which was very pleasant.

Got to see some lovely deers and peacocks and as we speeded up Masinagudi we saw ahead of us the ghats which we were going to climb and which had about 36 hairpin bends. Our qualis was easily lumbering up the ghats and at the top we stopped to take a few pictures.

I am a picture freak so i do not let any opportunity go by when i see some nice landscape.

Anyway this route was pretty good and not many were travelling through this route so it was kind of okay. We saved upon the kilometres because of this ghats. the other route is kind of longer. Our driver knew his routes well. I was impressed. We reached Ooty and then Coonor and then Wellington at 6:00 in the evening.

The next day we came down to Ooty and did some leather shopping there. Leather is cheap there specially if you have some DSSC guy with you. You get upto 40 percent discount.

The thread garden of Ooty is another thing which was kind of nice to see. I was dying to see some nice landscapes and waited till we could go to Dodabetta peak. It was raining for sometime and i thought that this would put a damper but hey what the heck the peak was all the more beautiful because of the peak. you can see Kerela, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu from this place.

The Nilgiri hills is so blue and beautiful. Anyway, we clicked a lot of snaps walked in the clouds and had some hot pakoras and coffee.

As we were having coffee suddenly the clouds cleared and we had a maginificent view there. more snaps followed. You know it was truly like walking in the clouds in the dodabetta peak !!

The next day we visited Beulah's farm where we would buy some wines and some jams. His homemade wines are famous in Bangalore. So we went and sampled all his stuff and it was a heady hour i must say that we spent. The wine was tasty and as I was tasting the wine I wanted to buy everything but I had to be satisfied with 4 bottles of wine and 2 bottles of Jams. I must say that if one goes that side one must visit this place if one likes to have wines.

As we were roaming about the hills in our car i was hard pressed not to stop the car and start walking. Such a place is made for walking. Fresh mountain air, pine forests all around you with birds chirping about and a nice winding path, the weather being sometimes rainy and sometimes sunny. I was also thinking that it would be wonderful biking it up here.

Anyway after a very scenic trip we made our way back to bangalore. And back to the daily routine of work and french grammar but i must say it was a well deserved break and I hope we can do this soon. In fact I am praying that we take off for the Diwali weekend in our bike. Some are saying Pondicherry, some are saying Kodai... anyplace is good for me !!

So here i am eager to travel again !! I can never tire of travelling.. Love seeing new places and making new friends !!