Friday, July 13, 2012

Kashmir - a preview

Kashmir "the paradise on earth" stands proud worthy to its name..I consider myself blessed for this chance to visit Kashmir..Kashmir is beauty personified in every aspect..Embodiment of scenic charm and picturesque grace,beautiful flowers adorning the meadow..I wanted to stay there forever....There are many places in India brimming with nature's exquisiteness but Kashmir stands apart...At one end palatial grren has dove white clouds caressing the mountains , while at other end there are snow crowning them....Cascade of crystal clear water gushes through river, rills and spring...Silhouette of Shikara (row boat) on Dal lake...Tulips, daisies, roses, orchids ornates the majestic Mughal gardens...Calm maple, pine orchard bedeck the country roads..There are apple orchards too...Dainty saffron to dry fruits , every bit of Kashmir is alluring...Age old traditions and rich heritage makes Kashmir a tourist's retreat...Ignore the terrorists unrest time and again, this place is an ideal place what we would describe as frozen beauty defying time.......all together paints a rainbow of colours in heart..
To me Kashmir was like a dream journey of my life..Stay in houseboat is something I treasured for eternity..The journey was en route Trichy-Chennai-Delhi -Srinagar...In the capital city too I got a chance to visit few places.. Until I post my sojourn to each place, enjoy the pics..

Gliding above clouds

Mughal garden..

Smiling bloom

Caressing clouds..

Standing tall..

Snow cap

Shikara (row boat)

Gushing brook

Another smile...

More snow..

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Raja seat- coorg , Karnataka

Raja seat is in western end of Madikeri...It started drizzling and stopped abruptly to everybody's relief..The air around the place carries an aura of soothing calmness..Raja seat, which means seat of Raja has always been associated with the King of Kodagu as they used to spend their evenings with queen or at times after a stressful day of royal duties.. Sitting on one of the benches overlooking the western ghat with soft breeze, I knew what the king might have felt.. We spotted Buddhist monks relaxing too..

There is a Gandhi mantap,and a well maintained garden..There flowers in all colours and shades ..The view point is the best part especially the sunset.. I am sure the sunrise would only be equally good...There is an entrance fee of rupee five, opposite to the park there is a mini train that goes around the place.. It was so much fun riding the mini train with all its staged station and dummy signals.. I saw people of all age giving it a try.. The ticket to the train is also rupee five..

There ends yet another journey close to mother earth, I am taking back home beautiful memories...

If you are planning for a one day trip start very early with Talacauvery ..The best time to be there is by 6:30 am to 7 : am ..Descending down and moving onto Madikeri to Bylakuppe to Kushalnagar which opens up for the visitors at 9 :30 am..You do need some time to go around to get the hang of it..Next would be to Nisargadhama to Dubare Elephant camp..Post lunch you can head to Abbey falls (if its a monsoon) or to Madikeri fort finally for a sunset at Raja seat..
Where to eat:
Its better to carry something for breakfast as all restaurants open up very late in Madikeri..
Lunch - I would recommend East end hotel, Madikeri.. Food is decent and the place well maintained, only thing its a bar attached restaurant..But this time unfortunately I couldn't find a good restaurant that served authentic kodagu cuisine..Better luck next time..
Feng- shui  artifacts to tibetian handicrafts are available for a reasonable price.. Apart from that throughout Coorg honey, coffee and tea powder are attractive part..

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Harangi dam, Dubare elephant camp - Coorg,Karnataka

Ahead of Dubare , we headed onto Harangi dam which is 6km from Nisargadhama..Harangi Dam  buit on river Kavery, is a grand water reservoir....Since it was closed for some maintenance all we could was happily sit and relax with no hustle bustle of the crowd...There is a statue of  goddess kavery near the reservoir...The road towards the dam is deserted and its a relief from the highway road that we left behind...

Dubare forest reserve is 10 km from Harangi dam.. Dubare elephant camp is managed by the forest department of Coorg..Take a left turn from the highway driving towards Madikeri and you’ll find   yourself through narrow country road with coffee and cocoa plantation with sprinkler.. Most house had a look of farm house at the outset , there were traditional houses too…On both side of the road are either occupied by coffee plantation or traditional homes… I felt like going through my native except for the coffee plantations..
Driver told us that the river Cauvery and the climate has made the land very fertile for all these plantations and flora to flourish…When our vehicle had to pave its way to the approaching vehicle both drivers had to work to avoid any kind of clash…
Dubare elephant camp has been a taming center for elephant from the days of Maharaja of Mysore..This elephant camp now also functions as an information hub... To reach the camp we had to cross the river in a raft.. Rafting is another top attraction especially during monsoon…. Tucking in life jacket we were guided to the raft with few instructions from the raft guide and commands to be followed , I had my basics of rafting done and slowly rowed through the river, it was fun to move right under the low tree branch crouching , lying flat, rowing fast, turning slow, sitting still enjoying the beauty around etc etc…There are two options for rafting, one is of 8.5km and another 12km..The 12km is alluring during the monsoon (june to september)when the water levels are high with a strong downstream current..The best time to visit Dubare camp is at nine in the morning if you are interested to take part in the elephant camp activity.. Like Nisargadhama there are elephant safaris but costlier and shorter than Nisargadhama.. Apart from elephant camp there are options for fishing and for short trekking ..River Kanake and Sujyoti merges here with river Kavery making it great for fishing, there is a back water (forgot the name)near by which is also known for its fish resources only thing one has to obtain a permit from Coorg wildlife society , Madikeri..But fishing is not realy my kind of thing, waiting patiently with rod,reel, angler at the mercy of fish, I still wonder how come I had so much fun in school during monsoon getting away from the prying eyes of teacher sneaking away with friends...Experiencing elephant  at arms distance was exciting...To get the most out of the experience morning nine is the prime time when the elephants are taken for a bath, tourists are allowed to get involved in scrubbing, oiling and every steps, do watch out for the calf 'the most entertaining' part , watching it move along the herd enjoying the water, splashing water all around, I couldn't help but smile reminded about human kids, this of course made this day great just like my last day at Kushal nagar...After bath visitors can also feed the elephants with their everyday dose of jaggery, banana etc...How cool isn't.. Ironically the elephants are so tamed they appear completely out of their natural way of life...

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