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Old 28th December 2006, 00:02   #1
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Default My weekend getaway to Mangalore

It all started with me deciding that I'd had enough of my native Bangalore city life and work stresses that were causing me to contemplate an ascetic life. And the last I'd been out of BLR on my personal time was in Nov 2000 to Goa - a previous life. A friend then mentioned that he had some social agendas in Mangalore and would I please come with him in his Swift? The stone, as they say, was cast.

I had 1 week to decide upon the complete logistics and route info, with my friend an even more city animal than I. Coupled with the horror stories heard from some of my colleagues abt the NH48 beyond Sakleshpur made me seek TBhp for best practices abt the route. Notable mention is to be made of Samurai - who was generously forthcoming abt routes/alternates etc. and Speedometer, rjstyles69 and Hemi. A fabulous opportunity to sync up with Samurai was set.

Decided upon the Hunsur-Madikeri-Puttur-Soolya route, with the breathtaking scenery of Coorg beckoning. Started out from BLR on 22-12-06 Friday at an oft-postponed time from my easy-going friend; finally at 930 am rolled out of the Shell pump on Mysore Road. My friend was eagerly at the wheel, this being his first actual intercity drive.

The Mysore Road is a commanality - and I'm going to skip narrating it. After taking the Hunsur Road, found the road acceptable to motoring inspite of the potholes - all thanks to the ebulience we were carrying. After Ilwala we were pleasantly shocked that the road had been developed into a delicious 4-lane (6 -lane in some places) black-top double road. Latched on to a Zen who was until that point, taking it easy. Thought we'd irritate him just a wee bit since the day was so calm. After seeing us stuck in his rear view mirror for 7 kms, he finally had it and floored it to create nonexistent tracks for himself and disappeared. Poor guy - he must have ruined his car on those Madikeri roads(more of that later) trying to lose us. Removing our evil hats now that we'd had
our share, settled down to experience the beautiful scenery from around Piriyapatna; stopped for some snaps. I took over from my friend here all the way till after Madikeri - and probably was the closest I came to hearing a grown man cry. Piriyapatna till after Madikeri was done in the same time as from Bangalore - Srirangapatna. All along my N73 was used to capture that amazing Coorg scenery. The road was typical ghat road - twisty as a ringworm in bowl of hot noodles. And blind corners- with namma KSRTC buses - including the BLR-MLR Volvos plying at breakneck speeds - I salute those drivers for their amazing skills. But what scenery! Passed the Tibetan monks affiliated to the Dalai Lama to whose people the Indian Govt has given asylum from the People's Liberation Army.

The route from Madikeri to Mangalore was a sheer experience in Nature at its best. That the road was a diplomatic nomenclature is another matter. having handed over the wheel to my pal so I could absorb the scenery - I must say my pal's disgust at the beating his underutilized Swift was taking at the mercy of Indian roads was well balanced by his admiration of the scenery around him. I still maintain I got a better bargain.

Stopped at a couple of points for detailed photography (sorry Samurai - my N73 is the best camera I ever owned ) and the train of KSRTC Volvos and Rajahamsas that came from the opposite direction were at first annoyed that they couldnt overtake each other due to our (safely) parked car - but then recognizing us as intrepid wide-eyes, waved and smiled at us. This is when I was further impressed by their one-handed driving skills at 60 kmph on ghat roads barely as wide as the buses. And they overtake too with a smile.

Finally reached Mangalore by around 7 pm. I was entirely amused that they collected toll on a road that can be best described as a chiropractor's sales department. Checked into the Summer Sands Beach Resorts 8 kms on the Cochin highway from Pumpwell Circle. Fabulous resort - has a private beach and quaint Mangalore-style independant cottages.

Next day was spent sightseeing around Mangalore - I must compliment my friend for being an extremely competent host. Looked around various places of historical interest as well - as diverse as Sultan Batteri - which is nothing much to look at by itself, being a canon formation for Tippu Sultan, but is rumored to have a secret tunnel to Srirangapatna which has not been discovered yet,encompassing the famous Mangala Devi temple after which Mangalore derives its name from(I'm agnostic, BTW) to the famous 250 year-old Alosius Church with its acclaimed oil paintings on its walls and ceiling. I must admit to having been transported back in time to when the paintings were fresh. Samurai coordinated our next day's rendezous with each other during this time. Samurai, I must admit I couldnt hear you properly when you called the first time due to my pal hollering across from the drivers seat across into my right ear to every
pedestrian about various route directions! A whole day of these now common hollerings into my right ear made me learn my first ever 2 Tulu words, " Enje Poppini !" (Translated into Angrezi, roughly, "How to go ?"), and followed up by "Thanks, ave !" (Still dont know what "ave" means). Was taken to Pabba's Ice Cream parlor - apparently a Mangalore export, and a good one at that! Spent the whole evening in the ocean and the private beach with some birds. Topped off the night at the Pegasus night club.

The next day was filled with anticipation of 2 things: the Samurai race and meeting the bull. Hmm, Or was it the other way?! Yes - it might I was looking forward to meeting up with Samurai by around 4 pm and for this famous (I discovered thru Samurai) bull race that happens yearly at this village called Mulki (also discovered thru Samurai before I left BLR) 40 kms from MLR. Consider it an extremely good piece of fortune to have come to Mangalore at this time. The NH17 stretch exiting MLR was in bad shape, but became smooth a few kms later. Samurai had called when he left his house. Came into Mulki in abt 45 mins, called up Samurai for directions to this race; considered myself lucky (I'd never seen a Mangalore-style ancestral environment) when Samurai said we'll meet up at his ancestral place. Waited at a strategic junction for him to show up - which he did, in style, with his black Baleno clearly the fastest land animal on NH17 heading towards Mangalore that day.

And what an ancestral setting it turned out to be! Me being a Bangalorean used to city-style residential settings, had to suck in oxygen forcefully to avoid choking on the beauty of Samurai's place. And then came a close inspection of his hyper well-maintained black Baleno - which glistens like new inspite of it never having been waxed. This was followed up by, what I can only describe as a martial arts demo that was as mind-blowing as it was bed-wetting. I thank The Warrior for sparing my aquiline and gorgeous face (yes, I'm a damn narcissist) while ensuring I can still pass on my genes. Some of Samurai's professional photography skills were displayed and having been treated to a classic "bele obattu" and tea in Samurai's house, were shown more of amazing eye-candy around Samurai's ancestral abode.

Headed towards the bull race while picking up Samurai's 2 cousins enroute. The bull-race, called Kambala, happens yearly, and has been a tradition since hundreds of years. I must admit that the bulls I saw there during the race would make any of us city-dwelling 2-legged bulls seem like the mere wannabes that we are. I'd thought all Indian animals were genetically programmed to be skinny - but no, not these bulls. These had muscles and hair that would make even the most prolific adult film actor feel like Ms. Sissy Wetpants.

Samurai's detailed version of the kambala: http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/travel...lo-racing.html (Kambala: The ancient sport of buffalo racing)

Clicked a lotta stunning hi-res pics(sorry again, Samurai) and vids of the Kambala with my N73 - which I must say has been a great investment at the right time. Samurai clicked some professional ones with his Olympus telephoto camera and tripod. Finally departed with Samurai and his cousins by 7 pm to head back to MLR to catch my night sleeper bus to BLR - my pal would stay on due to his social commitments. The bus came via the reviled NH48 via Sakleshpur. Was almost tossed out of my bed many times. After Sakleshpur the road was smooth and I woke the next AM after a dreamless contented sleep to smell the Bangalore air.

Upon inquiring with the driver abt the visual state that he would have seen of the screwed up NH48 stretch, he says the road should be motorable by cars in another 8-10 days time as they're repairing that stretch currently.

All-in-all, a much vaunted get-away and something that I'll recommend to anybody who cares to listen. Thanks once again to my pal, Samurai The Warrior and the beautiful city of Mangalore.


Some salient pics:




Piriyapatna




Piriyapatna to Madikeri




Madikeri




Coorg WW-II Memorial




Me - at the beach resort. Notice the Mangalore-style cottages. They have modern interiors.




Sunset, 23-12-06, heading back to the resort





Sunset-Part II, from the beach




A photogenic Samurai against a photogenic backdrop



Proud villager with his Kambala race bulls





The participants





Kambala race track





Towards the finish line





The official Kambala photographer
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Old 28th December 2006, 00:37   #2
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Wow! That's one of the most hilerious travelogue I have read. Dude, you have the gift. Great effort.

Regarding my mugshots, I look like the village bumpkin I have become, that's why I always stay behind the camera.
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Old 28th December 2006, 07:29   #3
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Nice Travelogue Mate!!! Hope ur words come true about NH48 repair.. the stretch is too imp to be ignored...

Abhi
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Old 28th December 2006, 10:58   #4
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Well written!! Reminded me of akroy's travelogues
MAG, Would have loved to see some martial arts pics too, looks like Mr. Samurai was too fast for you

Last edited by WhiteKnight : 28th December 2006 at 11:00.
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Old 28th December 2006, 13:46   #5
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Great write up Mag and let me not guess rather say you had a nice stay @ Mangalore apart from the roads.
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Old 28th December 2006, 14:31   #6
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Quote:
looks like Mr. Samurai was too fast for you
WhiteKnight, Getting the pics is not a problem, but their Intellectual Property holder needs to be respected!

rjstyles69, your guess is absolutely right!

Last edited by theMAG : 28th December 2006 at 14:39.
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Old 28th December 2006, 14:37   #7
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Nice rpeort Mag. I have had the pleasure of spending time with Samurai and I am looking forward to visiting him in Mangalore sometime. After reading your report I am going to sit and chalk out a definate plan. Nice pics from the N73. Not bad at all.
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Old 28th December 2006, 15:13   #8
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Exhilarating !!!One of the best travelogues in Team-BHP.Delving in the ancient games is always a fun.
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Old 28th December 2006, 16:40   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by theMAG View Post
A whole day of these now common hollerings into my right ear made me learn my first ever 2 Tulu words, " Enje Poppini !" (Translated into Angrezi, roughly, "How to go ?"), and followed up by "Thanks, ave !" (Still dont know what "ave" means).
Hi mag..
A great write up i must say..A Very enjoyable read.......loved the pics tooo.....Nd Mag buddy..Think you are the first one to get tulu in team-bhp...Wel..."Thanks,ave"...in tulu is for Thanks sir!!...or rather Thanks..Ok!!!..Glad you had a great time out here...Wehn you decide to come back again..which am sure you wil..do gimme a buzz...
rgrds,
angelfire
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Old 29th December 2006, 10:21   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by theMAG View Post
WhiteKnight, Getting the pics is not a problem, but their Intellectual Property holder needs to be respected!
Agreed!!!
Anyway we really enjoyed your travelogue, especially your writing style. To quote one
Quote:
Waited at a strategic junction for him to show up - which he did, in style, with his black Baleno clearly the fastest land animal on NH17 heading towards Mangalore that day"
Awsome!
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Old 29th December 2006, 10:44   #11
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very nice write up theMag. enjoyed every bit of it.
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Old 29th December 2006, 11:17   #12
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Very entertaining travelogue, you have a gift mate
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Old 30th December 2006, 15:40   #13
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Thanks guys for that appreciation - makes a difference. Originally I didnt want to put up any travelogue - I didnt think anyone might read/appreciate it. Well, now I know!
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Old 30th December 2006, 15:42   #14
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Suggestions for any must sees in Mangalore? Might be heading there next week.
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Old 30th December 2006, 15:48   #15
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Well written my friend. Most enjoyable. I must go and look up "The Moderator that doesnt smile" someday.
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