Saturday, 25 August 2012

Kodaikanal - Where Misty Clouds Kiss Rolling Green Hills - Part 2

Kodaikanal - Part 1

After Coaker's walk our next visit was to Pine Tree Forest - A small and beautiful forest full of Pine Trees. Thank God, this forest was free of mist and we could see it clearly. Pine trees are evergreen trees growing 3–80 m tall. Our driver cum tour guide told us that Pine trees are long lived typically reaching ages of 100–1000 years, some even more. Here also you can go for horse ride to see the entire forest. Except pine trees there is not much to see here. Forest was peaceful. We spent half an hour here and moved to our next destination ie, Suicide Point.
Pine tree Forest
Suicide Point, Fog & Misty Clouds :
When our guide told us that he is taking us to Suicide point I was curious and asked him what is the speciality of that place. He said the view of green valley from that point is simply breathtaking. Many people have bid adieu to this world by jumping from this point so the name Suicide Point. I was bit scared to go but when guide described the beauty of the valley, we thought of visiting. Everybody wished mist should not be there. But our wish did not come true :(
When we reached the point and looked below, we could not see anything but fog and misty clouds. We could not even had a glimpse of the valley. It was like we are catching those misty clouds standing on the edge of the suicide point. Disappointment was waiting for us here also.

 Pillar Rocks, Water fall and Misty Clouds  :
Pillar Rocks and the water fall was our nex destination. Pillar Rocks are huge steep cliffs. There are three huge rocks similar to large pillars, with the middle one resembling Lord Ganesha. Mist played a spoil sport here too and hide our view. We patiently waited some time for mist to clear up. Some how we had a glimpse of these giant rocks. There is a small water fall near the view point of Pillar Rocks. Many tourists were enjoying in the water.
Giant Pillar Rocks Covered with Mist

Liril Falls (Pambar Falls):
Our next place was Liril Falls. On the way our tour guide told that the first advertisement of Liril soap was shot here, so the name Liril falls. Before it was known as Pambar falls. I tried to recollect the first ad of Liril soap which I had seen many years ago during the intervals of Mahabharata and Ramayana serial. A blurr picture of the falls appeared in my mind. But I could recollect the famous music tone of the ad la la lalala.... This music tone is still used in the liril soap ad.
When we reached Liril falls I was surprised. I could not believe that ad was shot here. It was a small stream of water and doesnt look like a falls. I again asked the guide to reconfirm whether the ad was shot here. He said during rainy season this falls looks beautiful with full of water. So here is the picture of Liril Falls and Liril soap ad.

Liril falls where first ad of Liril soap was shot

First Ad of Liril Soap..Observe the falls in the background
Chettiar Park :
Our Next Destination was Chettiar Park. It is a small park but beautifully landscaped and neatly maintained. Loved those colorful flowers. Perfect place for honeymoon couple. We spent some time here and indulged in greenery. Twilight surrounded us and it was time to return to the hotel. With this our one day itinerary of Kodaikanal completed and we started preparing for next day Munnar visit.

Chettiar Park

Observations & Conclusions :

1. Economy of Kodaikanal is depending on tourism.
2. Never visit Kodaikanal during winter and rainy season. During winter mist will spoil your plan and you can not see any attractions and you can not tolerate deadly cold as we suffered. During rainy season continous rain will not allow you to come out. So best time to explore Kodaikanal is the Summer.
3. It is always better to go for a package tour as you will have a guidance of your tour guide and proper information about places. There wont be any difficulties and confusions in reaching places around the town.
4. There are many other attractions in Kodaikanal. If those are not included in your itinerary then pay a small amount extra say 100 Rs to your tour guide and he will happily take you to those places.
5. If you want to do shopping in Kodaikanal then buy home made chocolates of different varieties and flavours. Almost all shops sell home made chocolates. You can also buy Eucalyptus oil which is available everywhere here as hills of Kodaikanal are full of Eucalyptus trees. And also you can buy warm clothes and winter wears.
6. Kodaikanal was ruled by British and some Christian missionaries earlier. So you can see many old and beautiful churches.

Monday, 20 August 2012

Kodaikanal - Where Misty Clouds Kiss Rolling Green Hills - Part 1

When we decided to visit Kodaikanal - "Princess Of Hill Stations" almost an year and half ago I was so excited. Because it was my first ever visit to an hill station. It was a package tour of four days - One day in Kodaikanal and three days in Munnar. So we had to cover as many places as possible in Kodaikanal in just one day.
We boarded the bus at night from Bengaluru. Very soon I slipped into sleep. When I opened my eyes I saw only rolling green hills covered with misty clouds. Bus was running ascending and descending steep hills at 2000 m above sea level. View from the bus was breathtking. It was peak of winter season. Though hills were surrounded by misty clouds, we could spot some waterfalls hiding in the hills. Kodaikanal hills are part of western ghats and you can see plenty of Eucalyptus trees on the hills.

View of a Falls in dense mist enroute to Kodaikanal
I was shivering in the cold but enjoyed nature's beauty till we reached Kodaikanal town. When we reached Kodiakanal it was 7 AM and bus stopped infront of 'Hotel Ruby International' where out tour operator had booked room for us. Check-in was smooth. After a refreshing breakfast we started for sight seeing in Indica car which was waiting for us outside the hotel.  Car driver was our tour guide.

1. Kodaikanal Lake :
Kodaikanal lake also known as Kodai Lake is the most popular tourist attraction of Kodiakanal. Our car driver told that Kodaikanal town was developed by British and early British missionaries who ruled us. He also said that Kodai Lake is man made lake and credit goes to Sir Vera Levinge. Boating service is available here with rowing boats and pedalling boats and a public ferry. We settled with pedalling boat to explore the beauty of this star shaped lake. Rs 75/person for an hour pedalling.  We enjoyed and explored the beauty of this silent and peaceful lake for an hour in a pedalling boat and spotted many species of fish in the lake. This was a pleasant experience with cool breeze around. Lake covers an area of 60 acres. Lake is bordered by a well maintained road. You can hire bikes, horse or cycles and enjoy the ride around the lake. Many hotels, resorts, shops surround the lake.
Panoramic View of Kodai Lake

2. Coaker's Walk And the Mist:
Coaker'd Walk was our second destination in Kodaikanal. It is a narrow pedestrian path, constructed by Lt. Coaker in 1872, a one kilometer mountain road which runs along the edge of steep slopes. It starts near van Allen hospital and joins the main road above St. Peter's Church. View of plains and Valley from Coaker's walk is spectacular. From here you can see Dolphin's nose, valley of the pambar river, birds eye view of Periyakulam etc on cloudless and clear day. This place is photographer's paradise. We were not lucky to see all these because dense mist was covered everywhere. We could see only mist, mist and mist as if they are trying to kiss the green valley. There's an observatory with telescope about halfway along. We thought atleast from telescope we can see the valley but there also except mist we could not see anything. I was so disappointed. You can see street shops all the way to the right and valley towards the left.
A File photo of Coaker's walk in 1900 (Image source : Wikipedia)

See the Current image of Coaker's Walk below..covered with fog
View of the valley from Coaker's walk.....

To be continued......... ......    

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Just Clicked It : Colors of Krishna

While I travel daily to my office, I used to watch a family which stays roadside in a small tent selling attractive arts and handicrafts on the footpath. These crafts include idols of God, flower pots, toys etc made from China Clay- a type of mud and plaster of Paris.
It was the previous day of Krishna Janmashtami. I was on my way to office and as usual I looked at footpath to see those beautiful crafts. But that day there were only idols of Lord Krishna. Those Krishna idols in different hues were so much attractive that I couldnt take my eyes off them. There were idols of Baby Krishna, Butterboy Krishna, Bal Krishna, Playful Krishna, Radha-Krishna, Girdhar Gopal and many more. Sitting in the bus I managed to click few snaps of those idols.

Krishna Rocks in Different colors

I am a devotee of Krishna eversince I started watching the TV serial "Mahabharata" at the age of six. When I think of Lord Krishna, his pranks, his lovely and naughty smile, his immense love for his devotees come to my mind. Krishna idols reflect beauty, sense of peace, elegance, love, devotion and power which I cant see in any other idols.  I have many collections of Krishna Idols, Krishna photos, calenders at my home decorating walls, hall, showcase, rooms and even kitchen. Some of them are my personal collections and some I got in the form of gifts. When I bought one more idol last time, my hubby had warned me "If you bring Krishna idol again, you will be out of home". So this time I didnt dare to buy :) But no worries... I have seen all the above qualities in my hubby. So why idols when I have real man with me? Hehehehe......But what should I do? Krishna idols tempt me to buy.

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

August - The Month Of Flower Show @ Lalbagh, The Green Queen Of Bengaluru

This is my third post on Lalbagh. August month arrived and I was turning the pages of calender. When I saw the "Independence Day" in red color I remembered the Independence Day flower show of Lalbagh. Lalbagh, The Green Queen Of Bengaluru holds flower shows twice every year - Republic Day flower show in January and Independence Day Flower Show in August. During flower show all roads of Bengaluru lead to Glass House of Lalbagh Botanical Garden. Lakhs of people visit a week long flower show every year. Thousands of flowers will be displayed in the show with main attraction/theme placed at the centre of the glass house. Its a visual treat for us to see flowers of different color, different shape and different scent.
By this time, preparations for the flower show must have completed in Lalbagh. All workers in Lalbagh must be busy in giving final touch to the arrangements as show is kicking off on 9th August.
I visited last year's Independence Day flower show with my family. I was mesmerised by the beauty of colorful flowers. Last year's main attraction was replica model of Lotus Temple, Delhi placed at the centre of the Glass House. This replica model was built using two lakh carnations, 75,000 white and cream color roses and more than 10,000 ornamental leaves. This was very attractive. 

Replica Of Lotus Temple, Delhi, Made of Flowers
There were also many other floral arts showcased. The Glass House displays all the winning entries of the Flower Competition. You can see all types of flowers here. Roses, Tulips, Orchids, cactii, Dalhia, etc. The flowers will be brought from Ooty, Mysore and other parts of the country.  Seeing these beauties, I remembered an old Kannada Song - "Hoovu Cheluvella Tannenditu" (Meaning - Flower says it has got all the beauty of the world) How True!! Eyes are not enough to catch the beauty of the flower and exotic flower arrangements.  
Flower Butterfly

There was vegetables exhibition too along with vegetables carvings.

Vegetables Man

You can also buy flowers, flower pots, plants, seeds etc from seperate stalls kept for selling. You can also see the other stalls selling home decorative items, showpieces. 

However there is an announcement by show authorities related to the flower show this year. As per the news in a local news paper, it will be a low key affair this year as state Government has decided to cut on the spendings of the show in the backdrop of severe drought in the state. The grandeur of the show would be toned down. But show would not prove to be a disappointment to flower lovers as lakhs of flowers will be displayed.
The main attraction of the flower show, at the glass house centre, will be decoration themes of tree house, panda, ducks and dinosaurs. Along with these themes, attractive flower baskets will be displayed in the glass house.
Entry fee hiked:
Flower lovers will have to pay Rs10 more for entry fee than last year. The ticket prices have been raised from Rs 30 to Rs 40 for adults. Children’s entry fee remains unchanged at Rs10. The parking fee for cars will be Rs 50 and for Tempo Travellers Rs500.

Thursday, 2 August 2012

A Day @ Innovative Film City, Bengaluru - Perfect Weekend Destination for a Family

Are you looking out for a fun filled, adventerous weekend place for entire family in Bengaluru? Then Innovative Filmcity is the perfect destination for you. Situated just 35 Kms from Bengaluru near Bidadi on Mysore road, Filmcity theme park offers varities of attractions, loads of fun to children.
One day is not enough to enjoy all the attractions it offers.
Entry Fees :
 I visited Film city almost a year back with my family.  That time the basic entry fees was Rs 50 per person and you need to pay seperately for each of the attractions/games inside. Otherwise you can
buy a ticket of Rs 750/head and enjoy all the attractions. Still camera and Video camera fees are seperate. However there are different pacakages for a family, corporates and school children. Do check it out at the counter.
Entrance Building & Front View :
You are welcomed by a huge entrance building which is built in European style & Rome Architecture. It looks like a grand palace from the distance. There are some beautiful and attractive European style marble statues near the entrance and on the entrance building. I had not seen such a huge entrance building so far and loved those European style statues.
Front View Of the Film City
European Style Architecture On Entrance Building
European Style Statues

Are you thinking that you have seen these scenes somewhere? No wonder, you must have seen these pictures in many movies. Innovative Film City is a favorite shooting spot for movies. When I visited, three movies shooting was going on. I met Kannada actor Sihi Kahi Chandru and had a converstaion with him. He happily posed for photos :)
Other Attractions Of Filmcity :
Due to shortage of time we could not visit and experience all the attractions and games. Here I am writing my experiences with those few attractions we visited.
1. Dinosaurs Park : 
Kids love this park. There are many models of dinosaurs displayed with their scientific names and the period they lived on the earth. There are lot of greenery in this park with an artificial mini waterfall. You feel that you are in a jungle full of dinosaurs. But the sound made by Dinosaurs could scare children. Entry Fees : Rs 50/head. Worth visiting with kids.

2. Mirror Maze :
Mirror Maze is the best and must visit attraction of Filmcity. Entry fees is Rs 75/Person and it is worth your penny. You have to wear plastic gloves to avoid any stains on mirrors. Once inside, the only source of Light which guides to the Exit are the dimly lit small red lights around the mirrors and the mirror reflections. Very exciting. Stay inside as long as possible to enjoy. The more you stay inside, the more fun it is. Of course, it is a bit challenging to find the exit with those dim right lights. The funny part, you will be meeting your group people again and again. Do hold your kids hand for he may get lost and start crying. Mirror Maze manages to bring the child in you.

3. Aqua Kingdom :
 It has an artificial beach with real sand and palm trees etc. I didnt like this artificial beach. Water is not so clean. There is loud music inside which irritated me. Waves will be for 15-20 only. Kids may enjoy. Entry fees is Rs 150/person and it is waste of your money.

4. Tussads Wax museum :
This is the collection of wax statues of celebrities, politicians etc. There are very few Indin celebrities statues. Entry fees Rs 75/Person. You can avoid this too.

Wax Statue Of Mahatma Gandhi
Wax Statue of Merilyn Manroe
5. 4D Theatre :
The good Part of the Film city is the 4D theatre. We really enjoyed the 4D cinema. The cinema was on earth's evaluation. We completely lost in this movie but sadly cinema lasted only for 15 minutes. Entry fees Rs 100/Person and worth paying.

6. Cartoon City :
This is for kids. Entry is free but if you want to play the games or want a ride then you have to pay Rs 30 per ride. Water based Shark Attack is good. Dashing Car is just ok.

7. Roller Coaster :
This is the integral part of all amusement parks. I enjoyed this in filmcity. It makes your heart leap to your mouth.

8. Film City Market street :
This looks like an European Market Street wearing a posh look. There are some shops like Bata etc. But no wonder... everything is expensive.

9. Wannado City :
Has some attractions for kids like Video games etc.
10. Cafeteria : Food is costly here. Outside food is not allowed inside the Film city. There are Mcdonald's and Coffee Day outlets.

Attractions I missed :
Due to shortage of time I missed following attractions :
1. Ripley's Believe it or not
2. Innovative Talkies
3. Haunted Mansion
4. Miniature City
5. Fossils museum
6. Mini Golf
7. Teddy Museum
8. Roller Skating
9. Roll a ball

Overall Conclusion :
Very expensive though, Innovative Fil City worth visiting atleast once. Go early in the morning to enjoy maximum attractions. Carry a spare cloth with you. If you want to enjoy all attractions then better to buy a ticket of Rs 750 otherwise buying seperate tickets for each attraction would be worth.