JP Park, Mathikere, Bangalore

The Jayaprakash Narayan Park (JP Park) is located at the junction of Jalahalli and Mathikere. Developed at a cost of Rs 8.5 crore, the park boasts of 20,000 varieties of plant species, 60,000 flowering plants and shrubs and 5,000 medicinal herbs. Just like Lalbagh, a nursery would be functional soon. There is a rock garden in the park modelled after the one in Almatti. A musical fountain will be functional shortly.

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The park has three grooves called Pavithra Vana, which will have mini grooves called Nakshatra vana, Rashi Vana and Navagraha Vana. Apparently, each star in the zodiac constellation has a particular plant/tree ascribed to it. The groove would have plants of every star, rashi, planted.

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The park also has a 4.5-km jogging track, bamboo garden, palm garden, and play area for kids. 

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There are also a few acres devoted to a football court, volleyball ground, kabaddi ground and a 1,000-seater amphitheatre, though most of them are still in the making.

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Main attractions in the park are the two water bodies of 15 and nine acres each. 

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The bigger lake has already attracted migratory birds like pond heron, coot hen, little cormorant, moorhen, pelicans etc. I had sighted one bird in this place.

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The Musical fountain or the light show is the best one after Brindavan Graden.

At present, the park is open to the public freely. But a minimal entry charge might be levied later based on the maintenance costs.

Yes, there’s a separate parking area to accommodate 200 cars and 400 two-wheelers. And the entire park is a no smoking zone. Also eatables are not allowed inside the park. Timings: 5 am to 8.30 am and 5 pm to 8.30 pm.

Route Map  :-
From MG Road, take a right turn on any of the intersections and arrive at Cubbon Road which is parallel to MG Road
Continue on Cubbon Road past the Chinnaswamy Cricket Stadium, Minsk Square (Yeah, the one with the Flight prototye), General Post Office, and Hotel Capitol
Continue on Raj Bhavan road past the Governor’s mansion
At the intersection, take a right turn onto Palace Road
At the intersection of the Highground Police station, turn left onto Sankey Road / Chowdaiah Road
Continue on Sankey Road / Chowdaiah Road past Golf Course, Le Meridien, Windsor Manor and Cauvery Theatre
Immediately after Cauvery Theatre, turn left onto Sankey Road
Continue on Sankey Road past Sankey tank and Chowdaiah Memorial Hall
At circle, continue on CV Raman Road and pass Indian Institute of Science.
Turn left onto MS Ramaiah Road towards Jalahalli / MS Ramaiah College / Mathikere
Arrive at Mathikere Bus-stop and follow the directions from Mathikere Bus stop below.

From Mathikere Bus stop
Ask anyone where JP Park is, and follow their instructions.
If after 5 minutes you have not found JP Park, Ask someone else, and follow their directions for the next five minutes.
Follow the above steps till you reach JP Park

From Mathikere Bus stop (Alternative set of instructions)
Going towards Gokula / BEL / Jalahalli on MS Ramaiah Road, immediately after passing Mathikere Bus stop, take a left turn onto Mohankumar Road.
After around 2 minutes, there is an intersection with a bus stop on the right side of the road.
Take a right turn at the intersection onto Srinivas Murthy Road
The Jayaprakash Narayan Park will be on your left.

 

 

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The Ooty Trip

I had been to this place twice during my childhood days, and this was the third time. Also the toy train journey was really amazing experience, which I had mentioned in my previous post. I had booked a room in the Sunpark hotel well in advance. The hotel was good, though Nandini, my wife felt that the Lake view hotel would have been better.

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The first place we went to see immediately after our lunch was the botanical garden. This garden was laid out in 1848 and is currently maintained by the Horticulture Department of Tamil Nadu.

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There is a beautiful green lawn where one can relax and have some fun with family and friends. We had visited this place twice as we couldn’t cover it completely on the first day. This is one place which Nadini was very keen to see and I am glad that we could see it completely on the last day of our stay in Ooty.

If you are lucky then you may find some birds in the botanical garden………..

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We had hired a local taxi and our driver was called Mahalingam, who was fond of having food in jain hotels.

The second day was really memorable as we had been to the Pykara Lake,

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6th mile & 9th mile

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Pykara falls ( The waterfalls was almost dried up with less water ), Oak tree and Pine Tree forest, The Golf Course, Rose Garden; where we got one memorable photo together. It has about 1000 varieties of roses ranging from red to yellow.

We had visited the St.Stephen’s Church :-

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We also visited Sim’s park, though it couldn’t be compared with the Botanical Garden in Ooty, but still it was nice.

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On the third day in Ooty, we went to Doddabetta; the highest peak in South India. It stands at 2,623 Meters tall. However, we weren’t so much impressed visiting this place. Also we couldn’t see the Lamp’s Rock and Dolphin’s Nose view points due to bad weather and fog.

We had been to tea garden in Coonor, where my wife had dressed like a tea plucking lady and had posed for some pictures.

I liked the angel’s statue in the St.Thomas Church, which I had seen before in one of the travel books.

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We had been to the sacred heart church where many movie shootings were done.

All in  all, it was a memorable trip to Ooty, which will forever be framed in our hearts for a long time.

Melkote Trip

We had booked a taxi for Melkote on Saturday evening and planned to leave on Sunday morning. The cab arrived at the first pick up point at 7.35 am and we left Ramurthinagar by 8 am. We reached the second pick up point by 9.15 am.

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Melkote is 125 kms from Bangalore on the mysore road and about 2 hours journey. One has to take the right turn after Mandya, which is 90 kms from Bangalore.

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You can also board the KSRTC bus upto Mandya and then any city or private bus.

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We reached Melkote in the afternoon and the first place we saw was the beautiful Kalyani, a large pond. This pond had featured in many movies. We took some snaps near this place before going to the Yoga-Narasimha Swamy Temple, which is on top of a hill. The temple was really good and one gets a different feeling while on the top.

The view from the top of the temple is very nice.

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Then we left to the Cheluvanarayana Swamy Temple. Here the presiding deity is Lord Cheluva-Narayana Swamy or Tirunarayana or Lord Krishna. Later, we headed to the Raya Gopura ( this was the place which had attracted me to visit this place ). We spend some time in this place clicking pictures.

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We left this place and reached the Akka-Tangi Ponds on the way back to our cab. It started raining and we had to halt near some ruined structure.We had puliyogare and sweet pongal. I am very fond of sweet pongal since my childhood days.

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We left to Srirangapatna after our lunch. We went and saw The Mausoleum Of Tipu Sulthan and “Sangama”, the amalgamation of three holy rivers Kaveri River, Kabini

River and Hemavati River.

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It was another wonderful trip.

Lepakshi

We left to Hindupur which is 120 kms from bangalore on one sunday morning at 10.45 am and got into a KSRTC bus which was about to leave to Hindupur. We reached Hindupur at about 1.30 PM. Leepakshi is 15 kms from Hindupur Railway Station.

We had to catch a local bus to Lepakshi.

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The view while entering the temple.

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Virupanna, as the king’s treasurer, had vast sums at his disposal, which he spent on making Lepakshi a magnificent temple. It consists of three shrines — dedicated to Shiva, Vishnu and Virabhadra. Virabhadra, a wrathful manifestation of Shiva, was the patron deity of the Nayak rulers.

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The temple core is surrounded by a large open court entered from the east with large gopuras to the north and west. A monolithic Nagalinga — the largest of its kind in India — and Ganesha in the second interior court entice the eye by their sheer scale and perfection.

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This temple is a master piece of art work done by the Vishwakarma Brahmin Stapathis who sculpted this temple. This was built in the 16th century and sits on a mount.

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The Lepakshi temple can be divided into three sections – the ‘Mukha Mandapa’, (or the ‘Nitya Mandapa’ or ‘Ranga Mandapa’), the ‘Artha Mandapa’ and ‘Garbha Griha’, and the ‘Kalyana Mandapa’.

One mandapam has pillars with life-sized images of dancers, musicians and other sculptures, created by the artisans of the Vijayanagar Empire.

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There is one particular pillar which is hanging from the roof. you can pull an handkerchief or even a newspaper under it.

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 The ceilings have breathtakingly beautiful mural paintings. Sadly, most of which have started to fade. 
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The sculptures and the mural paintings seen in the Natya and Kalyana Mandapams are exceptional for their artistic beauty and skill. Most of these sculptures portray the mythological puranic episodes like ‘Ananthasayana’, ‘Dattatreya’, ‘Chaturmukha Bramha’, ‘Tumburu’, ‘Narada’ and ‘Rambha’.

The ‘Natya’ (Dancing) and ‘Ardha’ (worship) Mandapas are the best parts of the temple in terms of architecture. The ‘Natya’ Mandapa has been adorned with sculptured pillars depicting life-size musicians and dancers.

The Lepakshi temple has been built in honor of Lord Veerabhadra. According to the legend the Kalyana Mandapa of the temple had witnessed the marriage Lord Shiva and Parvati.

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The huge granite Nandi Bull is carved out of a single stone and is placed at some distance outside the Lepakshi temple is considered to be the biggest monolithic Nandi in India.

It is a revitalizing trip for those who believe in heritage sites, for those who marvel at the art of our ancestors.

Chikmaglur – Our Team Outing

We took the risk of going for this trip during the peak rainy season. It seemed certain that the rain would play the spoilsport and make us to spend the most part of our stay indoors, playing some indoor games, but it was our resolve to be there…which made the difference. 
We were fourteen in total and our group included three girls. One should really appreciate them for coming forward and making this trip a memorable one.
We had planned for this particular trip from such a long time that many of us almost thought that this trip may never take place. Finally, we left Bangalore in a mini bus after completing our work on Friday night from office at 1.10 am. The destination was Chikamaglur, which was about 250 kms from Bangalore and then we had to go to Jungle Greens Home Stay is at a distance of 21 Kms from Chikamagalur.
Chikamagalur means town of the smaller daughter. Chik means smaller or younger, Magalu means daughter, and Oor means town or city, hence Chikamagalur. The local Raja gave this place as dowry to his younger daughter, from then on, this place is called so.
We had a very nice time in the bus while traveling; we started watching the latest hindi movie “Singham”…as the movie progressed, I noticed that most of them had fallen asleep. They only started waking up when the end credits started rolling on the TV screen. We all got down and had tea and coffee at a small road side dabha. We still had to cover a long distance…and the dawn was yet to come.
We reached Chikamaglur and had to ask for directions to reach Jungle Greens Home Stay. We saw many coffee and pepper creeper estates on the way. I was almost lost in nature at this time. Our bus could not go through the narrow road towards the home stay, so we had to travel by jeep.
Jungle Greens Home Stay is surrounded by Mountains, Jungle and Coffee Estates, which had pepper trees too. The main objective of Jungle Greens is to encourage and promote Country side tourism which most people might not have experienced. Even the Muthodi Forest is about twenty minutes drive from Jungle Greens Home Stay. We could hear the peacocks sing from the home stay, though we weren’t so lucky to see them.
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 Some of us, including me, preferred to walk to the home stay and it was really pleasant early morning walk. We were greeted by birds on the way, which were singing somewhere in the coffee gardens. We could only hear them.
We settled in the rooms and got ready. Then we had our tea/coffee which was followed by break fast. Now, we were ready for the first trekking of the day, which was the private water falls called Hulikal Waterfalls. We had to travel by bus and then wait for the jeep to arrive. The jeep was supposed to carry us further to the waterfalls. Again, we had to travel in two teams as the jeep could accommodate only 6-7 people at a time. There was a small water flow crossing which had a gate. This gate is usually locked as it is a private property. We had to wait for the key and also for the second batch to arrive.
One thing that bit scary was the bite from leeches; as they were everywhere near by the water falls during the rainy season. The horse leech is very commonly found in this place. We were not aware of the leech attack unless we noticed the blood flow from our body parts. As the leech bite is painless in nature. We had carried packets of salt to avoid them, which could help us only to some extent.
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The jeep left dropped us at one spot, from where we had to trek to reach the water falls. When we kept silent, we could hear the nature hum. The path which leads to the waterfalls wasn’t an easy one. I felt like halting at some point, but thanks to my colleagues who somehow managed me to get to the falls. The falls was amazing, nothing like I had seen before in my life. Though I had seen many water falls before, but they were crowded by people who made it look less beautiful. This was the perhaps the first waterfalls where we were all alone.
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By the time we returned back to the home stay, it was 5.30 pm. We were late for our lunch and couldn’t venture out for the next destination as per our plans. So, we decided to stay at the home stay and enjoy the camp fire. And again, this was first time at least for me to enjoy the night in the camp fire, dancing to the music coming from the stereo system. There was also slight drizzling to make the evening memorable.
Later, we settled to play UNO (card game), many were new to this game and they started enjoying the game. We played until 2.00 am and then settled down to sleep. We woke up early in the morning and got ready. The break fast was good.
After the breakfast, we left to the shooting spot near Mallandur village in our bus. We made a mistake of going too far into this shooting spot, which had grass lawn spread across. Our bus got stuck in the middle and it refused to move forward. We started thinking about the way to get it out of that place.
One of our team mates Mr.Prashanth suggested to get hay from one of the houses in the village, so that to spread it below the wheels of the bus. It would help it to move forward on the wet ground. It was also raining to add to our misery.
Prashanth went along with some villagers, who had come there to graze their cattle and came back with bundles of hay. Meantime, the driver and cleaner had gone in search of help and came back with some strangers in a jeep.
We even called our home stay owner and updated him about the situation. He told us that he would be sending his son to help us out. He came in the jeep after sometime. Two jeeps were tied to our bus with ropes and we tried hard once again and this time we succeeded. It was a team effort, which provided us the success. We thanked them for helping us and left to Chikmaglur.
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After lunch, we left to Mulayangiri the highest peak in Karnataka, with a height of 1,930 metres (6,330 ft), it is the highest peak between the Himalayas and the Nilgiris after Chembra peak (2100 m),Banaura peak(2073m),and Vellari mala(2339m) of Wayanad district of Kerala.
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The climate was harsh, with rainfall and strong winds blowing against the climb, which made it difficult to climb the steps to reach the Shiv temple on the top of the Mulayangiri. I decided not to go, as I had been to this temple twice before.
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Once again, while descending from the top of Mulayangiri the bus was stuck in the mud on the side of the road. It was already late in the evening; we were thinking different ways to get out of this situation which could strand us in this spot. However, we were lucky that a group of guys traveling in a jeep stopped by to help us out this situation.
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We finally headed towards bangalore watching the movie “Zindagi Na Milege Dobara”. I dozed off to sleep as I was tired. Also I had seen this movie twice before. Finally, we reached bangalore at 12.30 am. This was one of the best trips of my life…Like the saying quoted by Praveen goes…
“If the path is beautiful, ask where it leads to. But if the destination is beautiful, don’t ask how the path is, just keep going”.
 

Jog Falls – Murudeshwar – Gokarna – day 2

Jog Falls – Murudeshwar – Gokarna

  • With Ravi Sidula

Day 2

 

I woke up at 6.00 am, took my bath and got ready. Ravi was in good sleep, so didn’t wanted to disturb him by turning on TV. I went to “Your Quote” app and “WordPress” blog, started posting some of my writings. Ravi woke after some time, got ready. We went and spoke to the person at reception. He agreed to give us one hour extra for check out. We went to the place where a mini local bus was waiting with passengers, it was going towards Murudeshwar. We got into the bus and got the last two seats. The bus left to Murudeshwar which was 16 kms from Batkal, halting every place picking up and dropping the passengers. We reached our destination by 10.50 am.

The view of the sacred temple tower from a distance was wonderful, so was the Lord Shiv’s huge statue which became visible from some distance. We clicked some snaps from mobile and Ravi’s DSLR Canon camera.

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The first thing we saw when we neared was the beach.

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However, we didn’t have the time to visit the beach.Also we thought we could go to the beach at Gokarna instead. We went to the temple and then walked towards the huge Lord Shiv statue, clicked some snaps over there. Also Ravi and myself did video calling from our mobiles to show the place to our spouses.

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We walked back to the bus stop after sometime and got into a crowded mini bus. Ravi found one seat at the corner, myself a seat near the driver. The bus left to Batkal, halting at places like before. We finally reached Batkal at around 12.30pm. We both relaxed for a few minutes and then checked out of the hotel by 1pm.

We walked to Batkal KSRTC bus stand which was at a walkable distance from the hotel. Well, we had skipped the breakfast. We both just had some Britania Good Day biscuits which were left from the previous day, and some sips of Sprite. We enquired and came to know that there was no direct bus to Gokarna, we had to travel to a place called Kumta and from there catch Gokarna bus. Kumta bus was ready, we went to nearby shop within the bus stand and purchased some biscuits and a water bottle for our trip. We didn’t have time to have proper lunch. The bus left the Batkal bus stand, it passed by the same route of Murudeshwar. We reached Kumta  KSRTC Bus stand. The Gokarna bus was ready but all the seats were occupied. We decided to go by the same bus to save time. Also we thought some passengers would get down on the way, and we would get our seats.

We reached Gokarna in the afternoon around 2.40pm. Gokarna is a small, but clean town in UK. UK stands for Uthara Karnataka.

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We asked the locals for direction to Kudle beach. We walked for sometime and reached the beach. We spent sometime at the beach.

Then decided to go to Om beach which was on the other side of the mountain. Some local person told us that it is at walkable distance, we had to climb some steps to reach the Om Beach. However, we had taken the vehicle route to reach the Om Beach. The path wasn’t even as it went through mountain. However, the trek was breath taking beautiful with greenery on both side of the road. Birds chirping was like they were singing some song, which nice melodious to ones ears. The best way to reach the Om beach from Kudle beach was by auto, who would charge any where between Rs.130 to 150/-. Also one could hire a bike and go on this wonderful nature route.

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We didn’t know that this route is about 6 kms long. We came across some foreigners trekking to and from Om beach. We spotted paragliding at this place as well.

We halted at a small café on the way to have our lunch, as we were almost starving without proper food since morning. All we could get was some fried rice and veg noodles, but the price was on the higher side. It was almost 4pm by then, so we decided to book bus back to Bangalore from Gokarna itself. Initially, we were thinking to book a bus from Shimoga. But now realised that we wouldn’t have enough time to reach Shimoga and catch a bus to Bangalore from there.

We continued our trek post lunch and halted at some places, which seemed like view point of the beach from the top of the mountain.

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We clicked some snaps from there. We finally reached Om beach around 5pm. Though the trek was tiring, but the destination was mesmerizingly beautiful. We felt thirsty as we had already exhausted our water supply during the trek. We went to a café nearby the beach, bought some soft drink and water bottle. It felt heaven drink cool drink and water at the beach. We explored the beach, clicking some pics as the sun started to set slowly. We had enough time to spend at the beach and relax a bit.

Around 6.30pm, we walked back and got into an auto. We had booked Durga travels bus to Bangalore and we had to get to the check post from where private bus left to Bangalore. We got at the check post, decided to have our dinner. But it seemed too early for dinner as it was only 7.30 pm. Finally, we reached a hotel called Hotel Shiva Prasada. I ordered meals and Ravi ordered idlis. The food wasn’t good. We walked back to the check post, had kulfis on the way. We waited for our bus to arrive, which came in some time. We boarded the bus. The bus left in few minutes.

The ghat section route from Gokarna is a bad one. Also the bus we had booked didn’t have good suspensions to avoid the terrible jerks due to bad roads in the ghat section. We were tossed in the sleeper bus like we were put in some grinder. Some fellow passengers picked up a fight with the driver as the bus reached some town. The reason being that the driver didn’t stop the bus when some female wanted to attend nature call very badly in the ghat section.  The driver tried to justify for not halting saying that the ghat sections has snakes and it could attack in the dark. But the furious men weren’t willing to listen to him. At one point, I even felt that the bus might not reach Bangalore. But somehow the tension subsided, passengers got in and the bus continued its journey. They halted at some local hotel for dinner around 1.30 am, which we both felt was odd time to have dinner.

The travel was little better after that place with less jerks as the ghat section was almost over. It would have been best to travel by train. However, train journeys should be planned much in advance and then ours was an unplanned journey.

We finally reached outskirts of Bangalore city by 6.30 am. We both got down near Lalbagh. Then got into BTS bus to reach Madiwala. We both booked Uber cabs to our homes. Thus a wonderful journey had come to an end leaving behind wonderful memories to cherish for a lifetime…

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jog falls – Murudeshwar -Gokarna day 1

Jog falls – Murudeshwar -Gokarna Trip

-with Ravi Sidula

Day 1

Ravi and myself left Bangalore city KSRTC Bus Stand at 7.30am. We chatted for some time and then went to sleep as both of us didn’t have proper sleep the previous night. Ravi couldn’t sleep for some reason, whereas, I can’t sleep as I’m into US shift. We had some short nap until the bus halted at some place for breakfast. I woke up Ravi who was in sound sleep. We had idlis and vada dipped in hot and tasty sambar. After breakfast we had hot cup of coffee. They played some Kannada movies during the rest of our journey. Finally, we reached Shimoga around 2pm in the afternoon. We got down at the KSRTC Bus stand and enquired about the bus to Jog Falls.

They informed us that there is no direct bus to Jog Falls, we would have to catch two or three buses to reach our destination. We decided to have some food, so went to a restaurant within the bus station. We ordered for Masala Dosa and Vada, had to wait for some time as most of them were having rice dishes at that time. We had crispy and tasty Masala Dosa, Vada and then hot cup of tea.

After having food, we returned to our waiting spot in the bus stand, we checked with a conductor about bus to Jog Falls. He told us that their bus which is going to Sagara would go via Jog Falls. We got into the bus which left in few minutes.

The long journey through the ghat section was mesmerising with greenery spread across on both the side of the road. Two hearts were happy to see so much greenery after a long time. The eyes that were bored watching the concrete jungles in the city was pleased to see so much greenery too.  The journey seemed like never ending bus ride in greenery…

We reached Jog Falls around 5pm. The bus conductor warned us that the last bus to Honavar leaves by 6pm and not to miss it. We got the entrance ticket of Rs.5/- each. The view of the Jog falls was breath takingly beautiful. The only thing was the water was less at the falls, but the nature view was awesome.

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It reminded me ‘Up’ animated Hollywood movie. We started clicking some snaps at the Jog falls. Ravi made a video call, spoke to his wife who was at Hyderabad at that time. He started showing her video of the Jog falls. Technology is good as it brings people at far together for that moment.

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Soon, it started getting dark, we remembered the good conductor’s warning just in time and started walking out of the Jog Falls towards the bus stand.

We asked a fruit seller about the Honavar bus. He scared us saying that the last bus to Honavar should have left. Ravi asked him is there any way to go to Honavar? He replied no and that we may to spend our night at Jog Falls itself. Sagara bus was about to leave…but there was no point in going to Sagara now. Fortunately, the last bus to Honavar came just then. We both got into it thanking our good luck. It got dark after the sun set. We both took some short naps as the bus went through the ghat section once again to reach Honavar.

We got down at Honavar and asked directions for Batkal Bus. We waited for the Batkal bus at the bus stop point. On private vehicle came to a halt at the stop and it was going to Batkal, but we didn’t like to take risk. Finally, Batkal bus came, we got into it and took tickets. We had booked the room through makemytrip.com while traveling in the bus to Jog Falls. The bus passed by Murudeshwar. Murudeshwar was 16kms away from Batkal and we got hotel room reservation in Batkal.

We reached Batkal and got down in the KSRTC Bus stand. Luckily for us the Royal Oak Hotel was very near to the KSRTC bus stand, walkable distance from there. We checked in to room no.303, refreshed and went to have dinner at first floor which served non veg meals till mid night.  The hotel offered privacy to its customers with curtain partition for each table. We ordered our dinner and took some snaps as we waited for our food to arrive. After few minutes the waited came and served us hot and sour chicken soup which was hot, spicy and tasty. Then we ate tasty food. We returned to our comfy and cosy room to take rest for the night. Soon, we both drifted into sound sleep as we both were tired from long bus journey, with dreams and excitement waiting for the next day….

Day 2 …coming next..