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Old 5th January 2010, 18:41   #31
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A detailed travelogue and very nicely written. The pictures are also quite good, hope you had a SLR, it must have been treat to watch.
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Old 5th January 2010, 19:12   #32
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Default Day 2 : Halebidu Temples

Belur to Halebidu drive took some 20-25 minutes. During this drive the children opened thier snack boxes and there was total silence in the rear cabin. Only noise heard was that of munching.

It is said that Halebidu (= old small village) temple was more beautiful than the Belur one, but most parts of the halebidu temple has been destroyed during wars and invasion. There is no puja (=offering to the god) at this temple. The deity here is Lord Shankara (lord of destruction), there are two temples of Hoysaleshwara and Kedareshwara side by side with its own Nandi (=Bull which is the vehicle of the lord) in the front. There is a very beautiful landscaped garden and a river (Yagachi ?) flowing besides. There is a museum as well in the temple vicinity. There are three jain basadis in the visinity. We did not hire any guide here, we quickly went arround the temple, offered our silent prayers to the lord, took some "been there done that" snaps, spent some cooler moments on the garden/the lawn, and back to the vehicle by 2:20 PM.

Most amazing part of the learning was these temples were almost 800 years old and still standing despite going through invasion, destruction by teh enemies of the Hoysala empire and abuse by the tourists over some many years. As an Engineer i can imagin the amount of effort has gone into planning, developing, constructing such a piece of architecture. It makes me proud that our ancestors have left us such a great heritage of capabilities, culture and values.

On the other hand I often see people who jump to take credits for the smallest of the tasks getting completed. We often see the structures errected (flyovers, roads etc) etc become unusable within few years of constructing.

The architect and the sculptor of these temples did not receive any best contributor or engineer award and no day is dedicated to him. The difference seems to be in the passion to contribute the best and selfless attitude. Every time i visit these place, I return very humbled (more and more on successive visits) with this thought.
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Last edited by StarVegabond : 5th January 2010 at 19:16.
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Old 5th January 2010, 19:33   #33
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Star, will you be uploading the relevant parts from the videos?
That'd be nice, but don't know whether it hurts the guides' jobs :(
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Old 5th January 2010, 20:08   #34
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EXQUISITE!!

Request you to please consider putting the date alongside the day number for better reference and flow.
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Old 5th January 2010, 21:02   #35
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mjothi View Post
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.

Thanks Mahesh, Wish you and your family a very happy new year, Are you back from your trip ?

in fact my first trip plan sent to my friend was in power point. I have the copy some where, i will upload in the end for nostalic reasons

Yes, Asif bhai was a good sarathi, generally it works like this, "if we treat people as humans, they also reciprocate the same way". I have found that this works most of the time.


Quote:
Originally Posted by arindamray View Post
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.
Thanks for the info, i was not knowing about Somnathpura temple.
In fact we did not get an opportunity to visit Somnathpura as our porgram got slightly modified during the journey.

I know that there are several temples around Hassan viz. Kondajji (17KM north of Hassan), Doddagaddavalli (16KM from Hassan on way to Belur), Arakere, Javagal (33KM from Arsikere), Alur (12 KM from Hasan on Sakleshpur road), Palya (8KM from Alur town), Mosale (12 KM from Hassan on Holenarsipur road), Arkalgud (30 KM from Hassan).

i did some internet research prior to the trip that is how i know these places. I have not visited any one of them yet.

I am yet to read the travelogue from hotstuff, will read when find time.

Quote:
Originally Posted by akas_chauhan View Post
A detailed travelogue and very nicely written. The pictures are also quite good, hope you had a SLR, it must have been treat to watch.
Thanks Akas for the compliments. My camera is not A DSLR, but a normal Sony still camera, these photographs have been taken at 5 MP resolution, but down scaled to fit into the size regulations of T-BHP.

Quote:
Originally Posted by laluks View Post
Star, will you be uploading the relevant parts from the videos?
That'd be nice, but don't know whether it hurts the guides' jobs :(
Hi Laluks, My Sony Camcoder is 7 year old, i have lost the drivers and CDs, hence i am not in a position to convert the mini DV into a DVD/VCD etc. in Mumbai i knew the shops, here i am not aware, where i can get it done. If you are aware, please let me know

I can certainly arrange for a limited private viewing of these videos on a LCD TV if need, let me know if you want to see.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sanjayc View Post
EXQUISITE!!

Request you to please consider putting the date alongside the day number for better reference and flow.
Thanks Sanjay for the compliments, i will certainly put the date in the next post. in fact i forgot the same. thanks for reminding.
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Old 5th January 2010, 21:27   #36
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StarVegabond View Post
Yes, Asif bhai was a good sarathi, generally it works like this, "if we treat people as humans, they also reciprocate the same way". I have found that this works most of the time.
very true.

Quote:
Originally Posted by StarVegabond View Post
Hi Laluks, My Sony Camcoder is 7 year old, i have lost the drivers and CDs, hence i am not in a position to convert the mini DV into a DVD/VCD etc. in Mumbai i knew the shops, here i am not aware, where i can get it done. If you are aware, please let me know

I can certainly arrange for a limited private viewing of these videos on a LCD TV if need, let me know if you want to see.
If your laptop has firewire port, then I can help you with the software.
Hmm that sounds like the next meet
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Old 5th January 2010, 21:37   #37
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Default Day 2 : 26th Dec 2009 - Halebidu temple continued...

More snaps from Halebidu Temple
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Old 5th January 2010, 21:45   #38
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I did few of those villages around Haasan.Temples were great But only one or two people around.Belavdi is the bigger one around 10 km from halebidu.Temple in Mosale was in shambles and boys playing cricket in vicinity.However, Belur Remans the best of them.
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Old 5th January 2010, 21:52   #39
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Default Day 2 : Dec 26th : Halebidu - Hassan - Madikeri journey

Drive to Hassan took about 20-25 minutes. in between the road conidtion is very rough and has pot holes in stretches. Had a quick lunch consisting of Roti, Dal, Rice at Hotel Kadamba. It is very close to the road going to Gorur-Coorg. Children and the Ladies freshened up at the rest rooms. We started our drive towards Gorur at 3:20 PM.

We were almost one and half hour behind schedule when compared to our plan. SUN was very warm outside, but there was cool breeze, which cooled us fast. The road to Gorur was full of pot holes and rough patches.

Initially we had plans to visit Gorur Dam and back waters. But the kids and the ladies were fast asleep after the lunch. so we just passed through Gorur ( 24KM from Hassan), Arkalgud (+8 KM), Turned right towards Sanivarsanthe (=saturday market, +23 KM) and reached Somwarpet (+26 KMs) The Road conditions are just average, in Marathi it is called Nag Modi Rasta (= road like a snake trace), often filled with potholes, rough edges, gravel etc.

We reached Somwarpet by 6 PM, Took a break near the bus stop, had one of the best coffee at Ganesh Darshini.

Then i remembered i did not had the road map / directions to reach the homestay. On 10th Dec on suggetions of Laluks and Lukeskywalker, i contacted Prince Zahed on his mobile. He told me that his resort is already fully booked. He game me an alternative number. I contacted one Mr. Satish, he immediately directed me to a website where the details of homestay was hosted. i checked and called satish back, discussed the tariff and other conditions, requested him book the homestay. next day i deposited RS 1000/- in the bank account given by Satish, called and confirmed with Satish. He gave me the contact details of the homestay owner and asked me to call him when i am near Madikeri.

So, I called up the homestay, they told us that it is some 15 KMs from Madikeri andwe have to proceed towards Murnad from madikeri. The owner of the homestay would pick us up from Murnad main road.

So we again started from Somwarpet at 6:30 PM, reached Madikeri (+41 KMs) by 8:00 AM. It took quite an effort to locate the road to Murnad, we were sent in different directions by different people, Eventually we were on the right road by 8:45 PM. Reached Murnad by 9:15 PM

The Owner of the homestay (mr. Ganesh) was waiting for us on the main road with his maruti omni.He asked us to follow him.

We were being driven through some of the most narrow roads with plantations on either side of the road, and after 15 minutes drive, we at last reached the home stay. These 15 minutes were most hilarious of all, At one side all the kids were hungry and begining to cry, outside it was drizzling, visibility was poor, our journey never seems to be getting over, the adults in the car were pulling my leg for making reservation at the unknown ( or jungle) place, Asif bhai telling us that it is difficult for him to return from this place next day etc.

When we eventually reached a bunglow which was well lit, fabulous lawn outside, the smiles lit up once again. the host (Mr. Ganesh) and Hostess (Mrs Renu) welcomed us with very warm hearts.

~ 125KM distance from Hassan to this home stay was covered in 6 hours, avg speed of ~ 20 KM.

I told Mr. Ganesh that now i realize why he did not give me the road map earlier when i called him from Bangalore. It is beacuse, even if i had the road map, it would very difficult for me to reach this place without his assitance. Everyone burst with laughter.

We were led to our respective rooms. Our room was warm (considering cold outside), bright, with a king sized bed with a smaller side bed with an attached bathroom. My wife was happy when she turned the tap, hot water started flowing. Immediately we took bath one by one and we were ready by 10 for the dinner.

Hot, fresh, wonderfully smelling food was served by the hostess. Food consisted of Beans fry, Vegitable curry, Rasam, Rice, Wheat Chapati, Rice Roti, Papad, pickles. It was one of the most delicious meal, kids were eating very quietly, without making any fuss (= they were hungry and liked the food). My friend who was fasting till now, liked the food served. He was asking several questions about the Coorg Food to the host and hostess who answered very patienty. We urged them to join us, but they poilitely declined,

Hostess prepared a thali (= food plate) for Asifbhai and he was served food on the varanda outside.Host also told us he would provide him with a place to sleep along with a bathroom/toilet facility next day. It was very gracious of them to make this offer.

We had a conversation about our plan for the next day with the host. He explained us what all we can do in the vicinity of the home stay. We decided to take it easy and spend the morning arround. We moved our sight seeing plan by half day.

We were all tired after a very long day, , we all went into deep sleep most probably at 11:00 PM.

Here is a collage of the snaps taken during the journey, all of them from a moving vehicle.
Attached Thumbnails
Story of a Vacation (:-))-roads-hasan-madikeri.jpg  


Last edited by StarVegabond : 5th January 2010 at 22:12.
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Old 6th January 2010, 10:10   #40
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Default Day 3 : 27th Dec : Relaxed Morning at Homestay & around and a lot of learnings

Original plan was to go to Dubare, But now it was changed. We woke up at 7 AM. Already my friend's family was up. I heard the discussion between Mr. Ganesh and my friend, After freshening up, i rushed out.

The world outside was beautiful as if the nature presented itself in its best suit

The house we were staying was a beautiful bunglow in the middle of the coffee plantation with mother cauvery blessing to the maximum. We learnt that Mr. Host was working in northen part of India for several years and then eventually settled down in his home town. They are currently in several occupations viz.

* Plantations (Coffee, Black & White pepper, Cinnamon, Cardamom, Orange, Cherry, Chikku, Papaya, Coconut, Arcanut, bettle-leaves)
* Paddy Fields
* Retailing of whatever they grow in their plantations plus honey, nilgiri oil etc
* Plant nursery
* Home stay

Household consisted of a ground plus first floor bunglow, one side house like structure for storing wood and other items, one garage with a pumpset plus a large set of pipes, a maruti omni, an old scooter, a large concretized fornt area, and a larger open gorund for drying the coffee beans. The house had solar charged water heater system along with conventional electricty based gysers as well as wood fired water heating. Pumpset and the pipes were used for watering the paddy fields and plantations once a year during feb-march-april.

I will let the pictures speak for itself on the household and arround
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Old 6th January 2010, 11:14   #41
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Great write up and pics! The home stay specially looks really awesome and makes you want to stay there rather than venturing out for any sort of sight seeing!! i see you eventually ended up doing the same by hanging around the home stay..
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Old 6th January 2010, 12:46   #42
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Default Day 3: Dec 27th : Small pleasures - Coffee & Conversations

Anything can happen over a cup of coffee,

I know from my expereince that this is a true statement. Once again this got proved when the hostess brought a fresh, hot, aromatic cuppa for each one of us. Aroma itself told that this is one of the best coffee i ever had. one sip confirmed by doubts.

The conversation continued while we took stroll outside the house. I capture below the gist of our conversation with the host (& hostess)

* Major coffee producing countries are Brazil (65% of world production), Columbia, Malasia, Kenya, India (4% of the total world production)

* Coffee is often referred to as Black Gold. It was part of major global trade during previous centuries.

* Black soil is needed for coffee plantation. Coorg is blessed with Black soil, cool weather and mother cauvery provides water needed for growing the coffee. No cotton is grown in coorg.

* Coorg is one of key centers where coffee is grown in India. Coorg is divided as North Coorg and South Coorg with Mother Cauvery making the division herself.

* India grows two variety of Coffee viz. Arebica and Robusta. Arebica is grown in North Coorg while Robusta is a major crop in south Coorg.

* A Coffee plant survives for 90-100 years after which it is uprooted and new plant is grown in it's place

* Generally Coffee is harvested for 45 days startign from Jan 1st week. Once the harvesting is over, water is sprinked for 3 months (Feb-Mar-Apr) over the plants. Every plantation has a pumpset and a set of pipes to fetch the water from the Cauvery. Coffee needs good rains during blossoming, Our Host uses 6 labourers (some part time) round the year in his plantation.

* Cost of Land in and arround Coog is RS 10-15 Lacs for the land having access to water facility and/or access to Cauvery river. The cost goes up depening on the yield and the mix of revenue generating plantation available on the land.

* Pesticide is required to be sprinked 6 times a year. Copper Sulphate mixed with another Amway product is the popular pesticide.

* Coffee plants are procured from Coffee Board. It takes minimum 3 years for a plant to give beans. Generally yield is one ton per acre. Our host grows approx 25 acre per year.

* Coffee which we drink is derived from the following process

1. Plantations produce coffee beans and harvest them
2. Harvested beans are processed using a process "CURING". It includes drying of the beans under sun light, removing the humidity as well as other impurities from the beans.
3. After curing, the beans are GRADED. There are 5 grades from Premium quality to Low quality viz. AAA+ , B+, C, C+, Black&Beats. AAA+ grade commands a price of RS 120/KG where as Balck&Beats command price of RS 70/KG.
4. Beans are sent to the market where auction takes place once in every 15 days. The market is located at Kushalnagar. There are warehouses near the market in case the beans are required to be stored. The transportation and warehousing costs are borne by the growers.
5. The Roasters buy the beans from the market using bidding. They ROAST the beans
6. The roasted beans are POWDERED as needed.

* Host fondly remembered the all time peak price of RS 240 RS/KG during 1994-97. Some of the growers became rich over night, but most just blew the money away. It is said, some of them used to go for lunch to mysore every week-end.

* There is a Coffee growers association in Coorg, which sets the pricing guidelines and monitors the auction process. Generally payment to the growers is done online along with the auction letter in 2-3 days from the actual auction. The Association also helps growers to learn best practices and often deputes teams to other countries like Brazil, Columbia etc. The association also helps the growers to solve problems, conducts awareness seminars among the growers as well as users, sometimes help in raising financing as well.

* Coorg now has one engineering college and one dental college. Host drops his daughter to the school/college on his own even though the school bus comes to the door step if needed.

* Host goes to Murnadu (15 minutes drive) atleast once a day. He has a post box there. The LPG and Fuel for vehicle is bought from Madikeri (15 KMs away)

* Power cut is quite often, hence most of the households have their own inverter as well as solar based water heating systems.

* Roads are still a problem in most of the coorg. successive governments seems to have given lesser priority for this region. Now access road from Mysore to Madikeri is improved. Hopefully things should improve in coming years.

* The difference between Brazil and India is as below. Most of the Coffee plantatiosn in Brazil are very vast, owned/controlled by the government and use automated systems for watering, pesticide sprinkling, as well as harvesting. The Plantations in India are small, owned by private growers and most of the process is manual.

* Chikmagalur is another district where coffee is grown. Leading Coffee chain owns huge Arebica plantations at Chikmagalur

* Leading liquor boron married a lady from coorg. he owns 600 acres of plantation near Somarpet

* Owners of leading automotive comapny, which bailed out the scam hit IT company recently also own 1000 acres plantation near Nagarhole.
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Last edited by StarVegabond : 6th January 2010 at 12:55.
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Old 6th January 2010, 13:12   #43
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Man, you have collected the entire coffee history of coorg. Interesting read.

waiting for more
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Old 6th January 2010, 15:59   #44
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Default Day 3 : Dec 27th : Conversation about Cinnamon and Pepper

After the Coffee, COnversation moved to other produce Peeper (Black & White), Cinnamon.

These are grown in between the coffee plantations. Pepper is a Creeper plant whose fruits (seeds ?) aare dried, powdered and used. Cinnamon is a type of tree whose skin is chopped and used.

Host demonstrated how they chop the outer skin of the tree trunk. Imagine if our skin is peeled and used as a food or ornament or dress ???

The hostess also has a plant nursery, she sell the plants to the several other plantations arround.

We could also locate three fruit trees Coconut, Papaya, Chikku.

I will let the pictures speak.
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Last edited by StarVegabond : 6th January 2010 at 16:16.
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Old 6th January 2010, 16:00   #45
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GK titbits definitely make your travelogue quite interesting.
Please continue.
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