Monday, 26 March 2012

Bike Ride To Nandi Hills, Bangalore

Nandi hills is a beautiful hill station in Bangalore. It is a perfect weekend destination for Bangalooreans. It is located about 60 km North of Bangalore and about 5970 ft above sea level. Nandi Hills is also known by name Nandi Gram or Nandi Durga. Nandi Hills was tippu sultans summer retreat. There is Tippu's summer residence but it is not open to public. We shouldn't miss Tipu's drop there.

 It is a 600 ft cliff face from where Tipu used to throw his prisoners and criminals as punishment.
There is an ancient Nandi or bull which Nandi Hills gets its name. These hills are sources of river Arkavati and Vrushabhavati. On top of the hills there is an 100 year old temple of Ugra Narasimha and Yoga Narasimha. This temple is built in Dravidian Architecture. Inside this temple there is a beautiful lake called Amrit Sarovar Lake.
Nandi hills has a perfect scenic landscape. When we reach top of hills, we can see awesome view of whole Bangalore and surrounding cities. This is the perfect place to enjoy sunset and sunrise. We can enjoy beautiful nature and small time trekking there. This the perfect place for bird watchers too as you can see a lot of birds chirping there. You can see grapes, vineyard road side on the way to Nandi hills
Avoid keeping food items in hand because you will see monkeys everywhere :)

How to reach

Nearest Places Devanahalli International Airport, Chikkaballapura, Hebbal
How to reach here Fastest and most convinient way to reach Nandi hills is by car/bike or by auto rikshaw. There is a well connected road to Nandi hills. But we have to be careful because you get many hairpin curves.
From Bangalore it takes almost one and half hour if you go by car or bike.
You can go in government buses also. There are buses for every half n hour from Bangalore central Bus station "Majestic". And from Chikkaballapur there are frequent mini buses.
Bangalore to Nandi Hills directions : From Hebbal flyover take NH7 and take a left diversion (about 10km after passing by Bangalore International Airport flyover) There is a board in English "Nandi Hills 22 km". Go in that direction.
Nearest Airport & Railway station Nearest Airport is Bangalore International Airport, Devanahalli. 10 Kms from Airport.

Nearest Railway station is Chikkaballapura Railway station

Places to visit

                  Tippu Drop
Arkavati river origin
Tippu's summer palace
A big Nandi
100 year old temple of Ugra Narasimha and Yoga Narasimha
A beautiful lake (Amrita sarovar)inside the temple

Culture and Food

Food You will get all kinds of local foods in Nandi hills. There are many small restaurants in Nandi hills where you can get fast foods, soft drinks. If you want special varieties, you will get it in luxury hotels near by.
Hotels Mount View Hotels - It is not worth because of poor service
Luxury Hotels :

KSTDC Mayura pine top
Silver oak farm
Guest house of Horticulture Department

Small Hotels :
Club Cubana
Hotel Sandarshini
Punjaabi Dhaba
Lifestyle of people You will see all kinds of lifestyle of people as it is in Bangalore and highly cosmopolitan City.
Best time to visit: Nandi hills is open to visit from 6 am to 10 PM every day  

Sunday, 25 March 2012

Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary, Karnataka - Paradise for birds

The Deccan Plateau of Karnataka is shelter for hundreds of birds. Because of its constant weather, temperature and natural resources, birds love Karnataka. It has many bird sanctuaries. Western Ghats, green hills, deep jungles, rivers, lakes, green farmlands etc support a very pleasant life for birds.
Ranganathittu bird sanctuary is also known as “Bird Kashi of Karnataka”. It is in Mandya district and covers 67 square kilometers. The “Bird Man of India” Dr. Salim Ali had visited here and he suggested Mysore Maharaja (Wodeyar) to convert this area as bird sanctuary. According to his suggestion, Mysore Wodeyar announced it as “Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary” on July 1st, 1940.

River Kaveri flows across the sanctuary. Western part of the sanctuary attracts more tourists, nature lovers and bird watchers. This sanctuary has small islands. In 18th century, when Kanteerava Narasimharaj Wodeyar was ruling Mysore, a check dam had been built to Kaveri River. So ther are many small natural islands. Nesting and breeding of birds takes place in these islands. These islands have plenty of aquatic animals and insects. These animals and insects are major source of foods for birds.
We can see varieties of trees here like people tree, banyan tree, bamboos, Neelgiri trees etc. And also we can see animals like monkeys, wild cats, bats and crocodiles.

Thousands of birds will come here every year for nesting and breeding. You can see domestic birds as well as foreign birds like white ibis, common sand piper, laser wisley duck, white necked storks, spot billed duck, river terns etc. These foreign birds arrive from different countries in the month of December and start laying eggs. And they go back in the month of July or August with their little ones. They come back again in the next year.

If you want to see the beauty of entire sanctuary then better to hire a boat. Boating facility is available across the sanctuary and you will love birds and beautiful nature.

How to reach
Nearest Places Srirangapatna, Mysore, Bangalore
How to reach here You can reach Ranganthittu by bus or train. There are many buses from Bangalore to Shringapatna. And from Shrirangapatna it takes just 15 minutes to reach sanctuary. You can hire an auto.
Nearest Airport & Railway station Nearest Airport is Bangalore International Airport nearly 125 KM from airport. Nearest Railway station is Shrirangapatna railway station and Mysore railway station (15 km from sanctuary).
Places to visit
                      Ranganathittu Bird sanctuary is on Bangalore - Mysore highway. There are many other tourist places to visit nearby sanctuary. You can visit Sringapatna Ranganatha temple, Mysore palace, KRS dam, Brindavan gargen, Tippu palace, Mysore museum etc.
Culture and Food
Food You will get only local foods nearby sanctuary. All types of rice items and non veg items you can taste.
Hotels There are small hotels available in the sanctuary. There are hotels avaialable in Shringapatna. If you want more comfortable accommodation then better to stay in hotels of Mysore. There are many hotels like Pai hotel, Hotel royal heritage, hotel metropole.
Lifestyle of people

Lifestyle of people is simple and religious. they lead a tradtional life style. Age old customs and rituals are still followed by them.
Best time to visit: June to December
Languages spoken  : Kannada and English. Tamil and Telugu are other popular languages here.

Friday, 23 March 2012

Mirjan Fort- Kumta : During Monsoon

"Kumta" - My native town, is situated in coastal area of Karnataka and belongs to North Canara district.
 Mirjan is a small village in Kumta, situated almost 11 kms from Kumta town on National Highway 17 between Kumta and Ankola.
The Specialty of this small village Mirjan is – it has an historical importance fort called Mirjan Fort. Earlier Mirjan was also known as “Midijay”, “Mirji”, Merji”.

Fort entrance

This fort covers almost 10 Acres of land. It is built with Red Laterite Stones which are available in coatal area and tropical region. Since Kumta comes in Coastal line, you can see red laterite stones everywhere here.
You will get many surprises when you enter into the fort. You can see many deep wells ( These wells are very deep, you cant see the end of the well and they are full of water irrespective of seasons), many secret doors, tunnels, watch tower, flagpole like structures. 

Flagpole like structure in the fort

History of this fort is somewhat scattered. Even localites are not able to answer properly about the history of this beautiful fort.
Some say that this fort was built between the year 1562 - 1606 by Queen " Chenna Byradevi" who ruled this area during that particular period. She belonged to "Salva" dynasty and she was popular as "Queen of Pepper"
Mirjan was main port during that period and they used to export pepper, rice, elachi, coconuts and other spices to different part of the country.

Later this fort was ruled by many kings. To get the control on this fort Kings used to fight with each other. During war, people used to take protection inside this fort. 
Photo taken from top of the fort

The department of Archeology has done excavation here in the year 2000. this fort is included in the list of preserved historical places.
Now you can see the beauty of Mirjan Fort in many movies especially in Kannada movies.

Deep well inside the fort

Nearest Places :You can visit many tourist places near by Mirjan Fort. Gokarna Shiva Temple, Om beach, Dhareshwara Beach, Murdeshwara, Yana, ApsaraKonda etc
How to reach Kumta:Kumta is well connected by Buses. You can get direct buses from Bangalore. It is almost 10 hours journey from Bangalore. Otherwise you can take buses from Hubli. There are frequent buses from Hubli.
Nearest Airport & Railway stationNearest Airport is Mangalore Airport. It takes almost 6 hours to reach Mirjan from Mangalore Airport. Nearest Railway station is Kumta Railway station and Hubli Railway station, Honnavar railway Station.


You can visit many tourist places near by Mirjan Fort. Gokarna Shiva Temple, Om beach, Dhareshwara Beach, Murdeshwara, Yana, ApsaraKonda, Karwar. Kumta is covered by greenery, hills, dense forests also you can see many beautifull water falls here. You can see green paddy fields and Sugarcane fields everywhere.
Kumta is also famous for its arts and crafts shops. You can get all kinds of crafts which are made from sandalwood.

Beautiful view from top of the fort


Kumta has an unique culture. You can see mixed culture here. Its population consists of Brahmins, Konkanis, Halakki Gowda's and many more.
You will get traditional foods here. More popular food is Havyaka Brahmin's unique food which is very tasty vegetarian food. Dont miss any of their recipes when you visit Kumta. Since it is coastal are you can enjoy varieties of sea foods also.
HotelsHotel Panduranga International
Kamat Hotel
Annapoorna Railotel

Best time to visitDuring Monsoon- You can unleash greenery.  Mirjan fort wears green look during monsoon.