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Old 4th January 2010, 17:45   #16
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Hi Aravind, a very happy new year to you and your family, a nice innovative start to the travelogue, please upload photos quickly and take us through all the days of travel faster, I am a bit impatient here lol.
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Old 4th January 2010, 18:05   #17
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Awesome wrtiteup. The smile on the kids face is evident that they thoroughly enjoyed the days outing.
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Old 4th January 2010, 18:30   #18
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hey star, very good travelogue, i m hooked, please continue.
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Old 4th January 2010, 18:52   #19
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Hey Dude..all these, were you jotting down/recording notes during preparation and actual trip OR walking down memory lane and recap? Amazing amount of details..keep'em coming!
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Old 4th January 2010, 20:25   #20
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Default Thanks a lot guys for your appreciation

Quote:
Originally Posted by laluks View Post
Happy New year Star

A wonderful start, waiting for the story to evolve.
BTW nice collage - where's that white tiger from?
Thanks Laluks, the white tiger is at Bannerughatta national park.

Quote:
Originally Posted by addyhemmige View Post
This is already becoming exhausting and we are still with the first
day!!!

Good going Star. Keep it coming!!!
yes, it is exhausting for me as well to recollect all the details and type it out, but it is
worth the efforts for me as it will help me and my family to revisit to these memories whenever
needed.


Quote:
Originally Posted by abhinav.s View Post
Very good write up and Pics!! Eagerly waiting for the rest now!

Could you please share the cost of the Grand safari?
Thanks abhinav for your appreciation.
Entry to grand Safari cost us 825 RS for 4 adults, 3 kids, one still camera, one video camera
(110 RS), I have the split in the video camera, will share in the end.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lukeskywalker View Post
Hi Aravind, a very happy new year to you and your family, a nice
innovative start to the travelogue, please upload photos quickly and take us through all the
days of travel faster, I am a bit impatient here lol.
Hi Hari, your contact at Kotagiri indeed helped. thanks very much. Yes, i will try and upload
asap. new year has brought some business emergencies as well, hence the additional delays. Hope
i will be able to meet your (& everyone's) expectations

Quote:
Originally Posted by ElantraGT View Post
Awesome wrtiteup. The smile on the kids face is evident that they
thoroughly enjoyed the days outing.
Thanks ElantraGT. Kids indeed enjoyed a lot every time when they saw an animal, they use to
exclaim loudly. our bus used to fill with laughter as other adults also used to enjoy the
excitment among these three kids.

Quote:
Originally Posted by srikanthpotluri View Post
hey star, very good travelogue, i m hooked, please
continue.
Thanks Srikanth, Sure i will try to pen as fast as i can.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sanjayc View Post
Hey Dude..all these, were you jotting down/recording notes during
preparation and actual trip OR walking down memory lane and recap? Amazing amount of
details..keep'em coming!
most of the details are being recalled from the memory as of now. But i am now on the wrong side
of 35, In coming years, the chances that i will loose my elephantine memory are high, hence this
travelogue with details so that it is easier to remember.

Thanks for your appreciation.

Tonight i will try to complete the Day 2 .. Belur - Halebidu - Drive to Madikeri - Checking into
the homestay.
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Old 4th January 2010, 20:45   #21
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Star@ take your time and fill all of us in..Don't want you to rush and cut corners, more so, becos, this will serve you some happy memories in future. So do a perfect job of it! We are all eyes & ears for this travelogue.

Am sure no one will mind if you don't bother replying to our posts in the interim..please concentrate on the travelougue..cannot afford to miss even the minutest detail. Thanks for the stupendous effort, anyways. At the end, you can clarify all our doubts/questions;-}
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Old 4th January 2010, 21:48   #22
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On day 2 we learnt more about our chariot for the trip and its Sarathi.

Toyota Qualis had already run in 220000+ KMs. It had a co-passenger seat (60% of the front row), center row of 3 seats, the rear cabin had 2 benches facing each other. Me and my friend exchanged positions alternate days between this front co-passenger seat and middle row.
Kids always occupied the rear cabin which gave them enough room for all their fun activities and often fights as well. The troublesome kid was immediately moved to the front seat and this strategy worked well to reduce the fights among the kids.

It also had a good quality (JVC or Panasonic ??) ICE with good quality tweeters and a video screen. This was one of the main attraction for the kids. We listened to variety of music (golden oldies, gazals, modern bollywood, bhajans etc) and movies (3 movies over 7 days).

The Charriot was owned by the Sarathi, Let us call him Asif bhai. Asif bhai had maintained the veicle very well. He was boasting that it still had the original clutch plate assembly. Later on we learnt that the tyres were old and weak, hence that restricted the speed.

Asif bhai was middle aged, very soft spoken, father of three kids and a very careful driver. Initially he was bit reserved, took more time than what we thought was appropriate. But later on the frequencies more or less matched and he often joined us in several of our conversations on board, got invited to most of the transit lunch, coffee, tea sessions.

Asif bhai helped us load/un-load the luggage on the top of the vehicle whenever needed, ensure that it is securely tied up, kept watch on it when we were busy on our visits leaving him in the parking lot along with the luggage and other valueables.

Asif bhai had a decent collections of music and movies with him. He also carried a mobile phone with him which helped us to contact him when we could not locate him or the vehicle. His pre-paid SIM card stopped working while we were in Ooty, he promptly called his home (from a public phone), asked them to load the money into his SIM, again his phone was working within an hour.

His vehicle was not registered as a tourist vehicle (= white / black number plate). This ensured no stopages at the TN-Karnataka border. At one plact he had to shell out RS 30 for chai-paani. This white number plate helped him to save RS 750/- supposed to be paid at the border for the interstate permit

Vehicle was filled (tankful) three times viz. at Shell station @ Peenya, at Madikeri and at Ooty. In all he must have filled in approx 4750-5000 RS worth of diesel. Total KMs run by us were approx 2050 = RS 2.4 per KM.
He was charging us RS 7.0 (= 290% margin), Apaprt from this he earned some staying+ food allowance RS 175 per day, most of it was saved by him.

Most importantly he ensure that we were safe, secure and had fun w/o worrying about the driving pressures and ensure that the trip was without any untoward incidence.

We would ofcourse love to have him back as our sarathi next time when ever we plan such a trip. I hope he also reciprocate the thinking.

Here are some pictures of the vehicle and its sarathi.
Attached Thumbnails
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Story of a Vacation (:-))-dsc04228.jpg  

Story of a Vacation (:-))-dsc04464.jpg  


Last edited by StarVegabond : 4th January 2010 at 22:02.
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Old 5th January 2010, 00:30   #23
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Nice narration Star.
The kids getting transferred to the front row - hilarious.
Loving every bit of the story yaar.

that's some cool mathematics and observation - 300% profit!!

Last edited by laluks : 5th January 2010 at 00:32.
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Old 5th January 2010, 12:22   #24
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Hei Star. Nice travelogue.
I thought I will let you complete your travelogue at your leisure but not able to hold on to patience.
So please continue.
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Old 5th January 2010, 13:06   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by laluks View Post
Nice narration Star.
The kids getting transferred to the front row - hilarious.
Loving every bit of the story yaar.

that's some cool mathematics and observation - 300% profit!!
yes, Transfering the troublesome kid from their own cabin to front row was depriving them of the fun they were having. This was the most effective weapon thoughout the trip.

yes, Travel and Toursim seems to be very attractive business. Margins are 5x-10x the product manufacturing business. But it is a very seasonal and high risk business with high exposure to sistemic and environmental circumstances.


Quote:
Originally Posted by arindamray View Post
Hei Star. Nice travelogue.
I thought I will let you complete your travelogue at your leisure but not able to hold on to patience.
So please continue.
Thanks Arindam for the compliment.


Sorry guys, i could not post Day 2 yesterday night. i was tired by 11 PM and went to sleep. I would certainly do better today.

Now i need to get into a customer meeting, so you can see some update by the evening.
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Old 5th January 2010, 13:56   #26
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Sir. Excellent. As everyone said, it is very innovative. And very professional.

I was waiting if you will upload some slide shows

Good to hear about your Sarathi. Its tough to get someone like that in these days. Good find.
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Old 5th January 2010, 16:18   #27
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Default Day 2 : Bangalore - Belur Drive

Wife woke me up at 4 AM, she was already after the morning chores. we woke up our daughter, guickly got ready by 4:45 AM. Other family was already up and on way to getting ready. Eventually everyone got ready by 5:15 AM. I called up the driver, he told me that he is on his way and would reach in 10-15 minutes. We had our morning tea and by that time driver and the vehicle arrived.

We took all the luggage downstairs and asked Asifbhai to load it on the top carrier. He did not had any rope to tye the luggage. My (wo)man friday wifey had the rope (plus a spare one in case of loosing the first one) ready and it was used to tie up the luggage.

Once again everything at home was checked (balcony doors locked, gyser and gas switched off, fans, tubelights, TV etc switched off) and eventually locked the home and boarded our charriot by 6:20 AM.

Kids were happy to occupy the rear cabin making lot of happy noise.
We took the bellary road - hebbal - BEL circle - Peenya and reached the shell fuel station by 6:50 AM. There was good amount of traffic on roads by that time. Peenya intersection was full of incoming bus traffic. We filled in the diesel, got cleaned the wind shield, checked/topped up
the tyres, paid money and left towards Nelamangal by 7:05 AM.

Morning breeze was cool, roads became lesser dense when we approached nelamangala. we turned right towards Kunigal. the highway is still under construction. crossed Kunigal town by 8:15 AM. Kids fell assleep, hence we changed our plans of having thatte Idly at Kunigal, But Asif bhai wanted a cup of tea, so we stopped some time after kunigal. Had a cup of tea and after 15 minutes re-started the journey.

Next stop (9:50 AM) was Kamat Upachar at Udayapura some distance after Chennarayapattana. After Bio break, we found that there are two sides to the Kamat Upachar. One opens at the regualar gate, where as the other counter opens behind the adjacent petrol pump. The second one offers self service system and the price is 30-50% lower than the service section the other side. We had been to Kamath Upachar atleast 6-7 times till now, but not aware of this self service counter.

We opted for the service section, quickly finished the breakfast. My Friend had his regular saturday fast and he missed the idlies, dosas, upmas, puri-bhaji which others were quietly gobbling up. He got some potato wafers and a cup of tea. We left the Kamat Upchar by 10:30 AM.

Quickly crossed Hassan town, reached Belur by 11:45 AM.

Here is a collage of the photogrpahs taken on way most of them from a moving vehicle.
Attached Thumbnails
Story of a Vacation (:-))-blrbelur-road-glimpses.jpg  


Last edited by StarVegabond : 5th January 2010 at 16:20.
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Old 5th January 2010, 16:55   #28
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Default Day 2 : Belur Chennakeshava Temple

Note to MODS : I am aware of the rule about not posting back to back.
As i would be uploading many photogrpahs, i would be taking the liberty to post back to back. You may please merge all the Day 2 posts (mentioned in the title of the post) and make it a single post. Thanks for your help.


Day 2...Continued at Belur Temple.
-----------------------------------

There was already a huge rush of vehicles and people at the temple. There seems to be a new rule that mobiles are not allowed inside the temple premises. The security guards were inspecting each bag to find out the mobile and ask the person to deposit at that counter. But the counter was no where visible. Eventually i had to go back to the vehicle parked over a KM away and hand over the phones to Asifbhai. Rule without the right enforcement mechanism and infrastructure creates chaos, confusion and delays.

We hired a english speaking (other options are kannada and hindi) guide so that we can learn more about the history, georgaphy and civics of Hoysala empire and the Chennakeshava temple. The charges for the guided tour is RS 250/- (receipt from Karnataka tourism), whole guided tour took about an hour. There was a power outage plus a heavy rush of people inside the temple hence we could not take much snaps. Hence i have also uploaded some snaps from our previous trip as well.

Initially the guide was explaining at a relaxed pace, but latter on we often had to ask him to slow down. This was the third time we had hired the guide (out of the five visits to Belur), We have most of the explanation shot in the camcoder. We also paid a tip (RS 100/-) to the guide.

Chenna(=Beautiful) Keshava (=Lord Krishna) statue is one of the most beautiful statue of the lord i have seen after Udupi (Bala krishna = Child Krishna) and Pandharpur (Vithoba = the one who is standing on the brick). The sequence of standing in front of the lord and looking straight into the eyes is a moment of truth for me. It is like a mischeivious two year old child standing in front of his/her mother and trying to explain what he/she has done is right. I generally do not experience such a humbling experience in every temple. This is probably the reason why Chenna Keshava temple attracts me of often.

I had learnt about Hoysala during my secondary school. He was always an inspiration becasue of the fact that he was the boy who killed the lion faced animal single handedly at the instruction of his Guru (= teacher) . The boy grew on to build one of the most powerful empire in sourthern part of India, During the peak of the prosperity, they build three temples, one each at Belur, Halebidu and Somnathpura. We also had plans to visit Somnathpura (near Mysore) on 31st or 1st jan.

As told by the guide, all three temples have three bottom most layers Consisting of carvings of Elephants (= Strenght), Lion like animal (= Courage), Horses (=speed). Strenghth, Courage and Speed were the founding values of Hoysala Empire.

The key highlight of the temple architecture is Shila Balike (=Stone girls) or Madanike (=a woman as beautiful as godess Rati, wife of the god Mandan, In Hindu mythology Rati and Madan are the most beautiful & handsome couples ever). These Madanika statues are supporitng the caves of the outer wall of the temple. Each statue is unique and depicts a way of alankar (= combination dressing, hair style, jewellary, makeup, accessories, posture, emotion).

I would not go into the details of each and every explanation given by the guide and would let the pictures speak for itself. We can always go back to the video when we need more details.

We came out of the temple by 13:05 AM and waked to the car, left for Halebidu,
Attached Thumbnails
Story of a Vacation (:-))-belur-01.jpg  

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Story of a Vacation (:-))-belur-13.jpg  

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Story of a Vacation (:-))-belur-15.jpg  

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Old 5th January 2010, 17:45   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StarVegabond View Post
I had learnt about Hoysala during my secondary school. He was always an inspiration becasue of the fact that he was the boy who killed the lion faced animal single handedly at the instruction of his Guru (= teacher) . The boy grew on to build one of the most powerful empire in sourthern part of India, During the peak of the prosperity, they build three temples, one each at Belur, Halebidu and Somnathpura. We also had plans to visit Somnathpura (near Mysore) on 31st or 1st jan.
IIRC, Somnathpura temple was not built by the Hoysala Kings, but by their commander. Also I am not sure if both Belur and Halebid temple are built by the same king.

There are few other smaller and lesser known Hoysala temple around the area - hotstuff have a nice travelogue around them.
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Old 5th January 2010, 18:26   #30
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Default Day 2 Belur Temple Continued

More snaps of Belur Temple
Attached Thumbnails
Story of a Vacation (:-))-belur-07.jpg  

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Story of a Vacation (:-))-belur-40.jpg  

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