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Old 21st October 2008, 19:39   #1
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Default Magical Malnad - A weekend trip

This would resemble a sequel to my post "Work and then Play" posted a few months ago. The last time around when I accompanied my wife to Manipal on her official trip, I had the opportunity to meet Samurai who in turn guided us to experience the awesome 'White water Rafting' at Sitanadi.
The link to the same post is:
http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/travel...then-play.html (Work and then Play!!!)

This time my wife was to be an observer in a branding research group discussion held at Shimoga.
Since it happened to be a Saturday, she did not have to try too hard to convince me to join her. The idea was to drive the 280 kms to Shimoga and after her work drive onwards to Thirthahalli and stay at Vihangama Holiday Retreat. I called up the resort and booked a room which was thankfully available at such short notice.

I woke up at 4 am on saturday and once the morning ablutions were through we left home at 5 am. I took the Yelahanka - Doddaballapur road and on reaching Doddaballapur took the Dobbspet road. This road, which was newly laid has already begun showing signs of wear and has lot of potholes just after Doddaballapur, it improves considerably as we leave Doddaballapur behind. On this road I had the unusual phenomenon of hundreds of crows sitting on the road early in the morning and these were causing a nuisance in terms of having to slow down everytime there was a huddle of them as they would refuse to fly away till we were almost on them. One even crashed into my windscreen. Luckily there was no damage.

6.30 am we were at Kyathsandra, just outside Tumkur. We stopped for the popular idly at our usual hotel.

Kyathsandra @ 6.30 am
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Pavithra Idly Hotel
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The Hotel's Speciality
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We need to turn back from Kyathsandra to go on to the Tumkur bye pass which is just about half a kilometre away from the toll booth. This Bye pass too is in pathetic condition and one has to be very careful to avoid the craters.

After Tumkur, the NH206 starts and it is in reasonably good condition till Tarikere.

Enroute Gubbi
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Just before Tiptur we saw this qualis which had overturned trying to negotiate the curve at high speed, the police were trying to clear the road with the help of locals,

Result of taking a curve too fast
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A bit of human power and back on four wheels
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Soon we were at Arasikere and the huge lake outside the town was half full and it was a lovely sight.

Arasikere- 'Kere' in Kannada is lake
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The roads were good in patches till Birur, once we cross Birur the road condition deteriorates and it is in really bad shape for 10 kms before and 10 kms after Tarikere town. This 20 km stretch will easily take about 45 mins to cover. Once we clear this stretch, the road is better towards Bhadravati, we took the Bhadravati bye pass road towards Shimoga. Again as you enter Shimoga the roads are being redone so it is slow progress. We managed to reach Shimoga by 11am.

The group discussion went on till 4 pm and we were treated to a sumptous lunch at a small hotel whose name I can't recall. We left Shimoga town by 4.30 pm and took the Thirthahalli road, this again starts off badly but improves as you leave Shimoga.

Everytime we have been on this route we had avoided stopping at Gajanur where there is the Upper Tunga Dam, usually there is a large crowd which used to put us off, this time there were no vehicles parked so we decided to check out the place, surprsingly one is allowed quite close to the dam and the guard feebly says no photography but said we can click away if we want.

The Tunga Reservoir
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The Upper Tunga Project Dam @ Gajanur
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After Gajanur we enter the Shettyhalli forest range which is an awesome drive through bamboo forests with glimpses of the Tunga flowing on one side.The road inside the forest is bad in patches and then suddenly as we leave the forest it becomes excellent. We could not stop and take pics as it was getting dark and looked like it would rain.

We reached Vihangama Holiday Retreat by 7 pm to a warm welcome by Mr. Dayananda, the owner of the property whose hard work and enthusiasm shows in the landscaping. A coffee later the skies opened up and we were treated to a typical Malnad Deluge. I played around with the settings on my camera and got the raindrops in this snap.

Rain @ Vihangama
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A heavy dinner was spread out for us and this time again we were the only guests at the resort. Chatted with the family for some time and it was time to sleep.

.....Will Continue.
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Old 21st October 2008, 20:25   #2
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....Continuation.
Woke up to chirping birds at 6.30 am after a dreamless slumber all night.
My wife wanted to sleep for some more time, so I went off alone to get some pictures.
During the last visit we were told of a beach like place by the river where one could venture into the water, so off I went looking for this place. I discovered paradise in the form of a clean secluded beach with only egrets and kingfishers for company. The whole place was bounded by wild bamboo with colourful birds flying around.

The "Beach"
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Moonset
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River tern
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Another view of the river
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I then took a walk in the arecanut plantation clicking snaps.

A parakeet
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Reaching for the skies
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A view of the canopy
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The Arecanut Plantation
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Road to Paradise
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Bird on a wire
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The Holiday Retreat
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Came back to a good breakfast spread of bread and omlettes along with 'Akki' rotti. Tucked in quite a lot of the tasty stuff and went for my bath. Soon it was the dreaded time to start back into the real world.

For the return journey, we decided to explore a new route and with the help of the owner of Vihangama we charted out a route through Chikmagalur. Left Vihangama at 10 am and started off towards Koppa.

The advantage of this route is that we are in enchanting Malnad hills throughtout the journey till Chikmagalur, with hardly any traffic. We experienced some of the best sceneries which is typical of this region of Karnataka, the pictures don't do justice to the views one gets.

On the way to Koppa
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Enroute Balehonnur
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Near Aldur
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We reached Chikmagalur by 1pm and called in on my cousin who is a doctor there and had lunch with his family. We left Chikmagalur by 3 pm and were on our way to Belur.

Enroute Belur
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After a short scenic drive we reached Belur and turned left onto the Belur-Hassan road, this road is among the best roads in Karnataka, this 37 km stretch is a pleasure to drive on, excellent visibility, well marked and in top condition.

Belur -Hassan Road
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Windmills on the Belur-Hassan Road
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Windmill of the Gods??
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From Hassan we got into the mad bustle of cars returning to Bangalore after the weekend.
It was worse than Mysore road on a weekend, to make matter worse it started raining cats and dogs just before Bellur Cross and had to undergo bumper to bumper traffic and compete with highhway racers who want to overtake you at any cost with scant regard to oncoming traffic. Reached Nelamangala cross at 7 pm. The nightmare continued till Peenya and it took us one hour to negotiate the 25 kms to our house. Reached home to a tripmeter reading 703 kms.

Roadhog-"Coco"pine
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Journey Details:
Car : Optra 1.6 petrol
Passengers: 2 adults
Fuel consumed : 54.5 litres
Total Number of kms travelled: 703 kms
Fuel Efficiency: 12.89 kms (95% ac)

Route details:
Onward:
Yelahanka ---Doddaballapur---Dobbspet---Tumkur---Gubbi---Tiptur---Arasikere---Kadur
----Birur---Tarikere---Bhadravati byepass---Shimoga---Thirthahalli

Return:
Thirthahalli---Koppa---Jaipura---Balehonnur---Aldur---Chikmagalur---Belur---Hassan---
---Channarayapatna---Yediyur---Kunigal---Nelamangala---Yelahanka.

Best time to vist Malnad:
Post monsoon, October to February.

Vihangama Holiday Retreat Contact: Mr. Dayananda
.:: Vihangama ::.
Phones: 08181-228211
9448105125 (Kaneena Kadidal)

Warm Regards,
Hari.
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Old 21st October 2008, 20:26   #3
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Great one. Was waiting for this to come. So, finally you found time to post.

Hope you had nice time. Waiting for the rest.

Oops. Just pressed submit and I see you concluding the trip.

Last edited by mjothi : 21st October 2008 at 20:27.
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Old 21st October 2008, 20:49   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lukeskywalker View Post

Pavithra Idly Hotel
Attachment 62422

The Hotel's Speciality
Attachment 62423

Man this reminds me of my college days.. This is a very well know place if anybody is in and around tumkur. College night outs.. I know a friend who used to take us to this place at all odd times in the night.. just for a cup of tea..
U know those nightouts, those last minute preperations for exams..

Last edited by Pal-leo : 21st October 2008 at 20:52. Reason: correction..
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Old 21st October 2008, 21:12   #5
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Hari its past 9pm now and how do I get thatte idli's ? Dam that picture of the idli with the chutney.I have never missed a chance to stop at Pavithra Hotel during my drives across this route man. Wouldnt you agree the chutney is mouth watering ?

Vihangama again is an excellent place to stay.Also my compliments to you for that perfect shot of the Gajanur Dam.
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Old 21st October 2008, 21:22   #6
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@ Mjothi
We did have a nice short holiday, it got over too soon.

@Pal-leo
Hey which college in Tumkur did you study and in which year?
I'm from SSIT, graduated in '94.

@Riju
HeHe, wanna drive out to Bidadi for similar stuff? We shall do a TBHP idly drive once.
You are right, the chutney and the butter on the steaming idlies.... awesome!!
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Old 21st October 2008, 22:36   #7
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Very nice Writeup, you have visited best organized place, my father delighted to see Vihangama, they have better than 5 star service.

Regards,

Ravi.
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Old 21st October 2008, 22:53   #8
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A very nice and detailed write-up with pictures covering every aspect of the trip. Seems like you really had an un-winding experience.

btw, the idlis looks quite delicious
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Old 21st October 2008, 23:30   #9
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I see that the guys at Pavithra have started to serve "benne" with the idlys again. There was a time (quite shockingly) when they had stopped serving the little white lumps of ecstasy they were so famous for. Looks a trip down there is inevitable now.

Hari, some wonderful shots there.
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Old 22nd October 2008, 06:19   #10
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wow!!!!! I'm from the tiptur area, the Arsikere lake got out a number of memories of my summer hols I spent there. its been 7 years since I've seen that area again. Thanks a ton Hari..You made my day!!!!!
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Old 22nd October 2008, 07:33   #11
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Hmmm.. so some one gets the 'mood' to write it down- That was quick than the expected time he he. That idly picture is like slurrrrpy.. slurrrrpy.. stuff.

As usual great pictures and thanks for sharing the route & accommodation details.
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Old 22nd October 2008, 09:08   #12
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Hari, another excellent travelogue with some amazing pics !! I was waiting for this travelogue.
I am not surprised that the Qualis turned turtle. There are some very sharp curves and these fellows (Qualis and Sumos) drive very fast and at times come on the way of the on coming vehicle while negotiating the turn.

Now, I need to visit this place called Pavithra for Idlis soon.

Abhi
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Old 22nd October 2008, 09:23   #13
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@ Ravibhat
Thanks Ravi, its my second visit to Vihangama and both the times we were the only guests, BTW how was your Ooty sojourn? Travelogue pls.

@mobike008
Thanks friend

@Rahul
I did not know that the butter was not a part of the idly routine, have always had it with the 'little white lumps of ecstasy' as you so correctly call them.

@Bluestraveller
You are welcome mate

@Jai(nevertouchme)
Thanks Jai, you are on for the next malnad trip and no excuses this time.

@Abhi
Thank you Abhi, surprised that you have not stopped for Idlies at this hotel.
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Old 22nd October 2008, 09:45   #14
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Quote:
@Abhi
Thank you Abhi, surprised that you have not stopped for Idlies at this hotel.
In my previous trips, I always passed Tumkur between 4-5AM, so couldnt take any breakfast breaks. Hence missed out on this hotel.

Abhi
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Old 22nd October 2008, 10:04   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lukeskywalker View Post
@Rahul
I did not know that the butter was not a part of the idly routine, have always had it with the 'little white lumps of ecstasy' as you so correctly call them.
Back in the days (1992-94) they used to make some brilliant sambar as well. Then for god knows what reason, they stopped and started supplying saagu with the idly's. Yes, there was a time when they had stopped serving butter and I was mighty disappointed because since 1990 (IIRC) I have had this habit of ordering two (sometimes more) extra benne's on each idly. Fattening, but I was super thin till about a year back. So it didn't matter. Coming to think of it, it doesn't matter even now . So when are we driving down to Tumkur for breakfast guys?

Reminds of those days we used to start off from Hubli and all I used to look forward to was the bread and mirchi's at Haveri, the chicken fry in Chitradurga, idly's at Tumkur and the chinese food at Blue Heavens (sadly they were forced to shut down by an ex-CM or so I hear).

PS: Just as I was about to submit this post, granny walked into my room with this on my plate......

Magical Malnad - A weekend trip-img_0368.jpg

Yup, thats fresh home made benne.
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