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Old 7th January 2010, 21:07   #61
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Default Day 4 : Dec 28th : Glimpses of Coorg

Today is the fourth day of our trip. We were already on the road since last 3 days. For academic interest i would just re-visit to the route map which we followed till now. I also attach some glimpses of Coorg we witnessed from Murnad till Dubare.

Today we would be visiting the points K (Dubare), L (Nisargadhama) and M (Tibetian Monastery) and then proceed to Hunsur. We had changed out route to Ooty on advice of the Host of the homestay from the previous via Nagarhole route to now Hunsur-Mysore-Bandipur-Ooty.

We had a target of reaching Ooty by 6 PM as we were bit worried about the Bandipur national park getting closed after 6 PM. But it turned out to be untrue later in the evening.

So here is the Coorg route map which we followed and some glimpses of this beautiful part of the world.
Attached Thumbnails
Story of a Vacation (:-))-glimses-coorg.jpg  

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Last edited by StarVegabond : 7th January 2010 at 21:08.
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Old 7th January 2010, 21:33   #62
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i guess all the forest roads close by 21:00 as per some court order. is bandipur road different?
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Old 7th January 2010, 23:44   #63
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Default Day 4 : Dec 28th : Dubare Elephant Camp

Elephant, the most magnificiant animal on the earth. Feared, Respected, Loved, Worshiped by all mortals. Our ancient scripts say that most beautiful walk is Elephant like walk (Gaja-Gamini), the women who walk like elephant are considered to be beautiful (I do not know on what basis, the ancient scripters thought so) e.g. There is a description in Mahabharata regarding Draupadi, the most beautiful princes of those times and the very cause of the war between two families. She has been often described as Gaja-gamini Panchali.

Unlike past, now-a-days cat walk is considered to be most beautiful, people pay premium money to be in the front row to witness the catwalk.
Coming back to the Elephants, Dubare was once training camp for the famous Mysore Dasara Elephants. Every kid (including the one inside me) wants to be with the elephant, ride it, touch it, feel it, feed it, get blessed by it. This desire made us include Dubare in the iteranary.

We reached Dubare Elephant camp (via siddapur) by 9:30 AM. Those were the most well spent 2 hours (9:30 AM 11:30 noon) of our life till now. The smile of my daughter says it all.

To reach Dubare, one needs to cross River Cauvery in a both. There are two boat service providers (RS 30 for each person for to & fro journey). If one is late then the queue lengthens as seen in the snap which was taken wheile we were returning from the camp.

Elephant cativities are conducted only during morning 9 AM till 11:30 / 12.00 noon. After which elephants are sent back into jungles. The fare board mentions all the activities one can do/witness at the camp and the respective charges for it.

We witnessed the following elephant activties

* Ele-bathing
* Ele-shower
* Ele-farting
* Ele-shiting
* Ele-walking
* Ele-dining (elephant waiting for the food to be served)
* Ele-feeding (elephant getting fed)
* Ele-riding
* Ele-nursing (applying medicines to the wounded elephants)

No words can describe these experiences, one as to really go and first hand witness the activities.

One big advantage as i see is the kids are no longer fearful of the elephant.

We also got to know more about the elephants in the camp. The youngest one being 8 months old female and the oldest one being 48 years old male elephant. Elephants are fed 2-3 times a day. They were preparing the RAGI Mudde for the elephants. Each time a elephant would eat some 15-25 balls (each of appeared to be about 1.5-2 KGs).

Every Elephant has a Mahut (= Boss / rider / Trainer). Elephants are trained to obey its Mahut. The instructions are either in the form of verbal or touch the head, pulling the ears or poking the sides or the head.

Well trained elephants have been man's best best friend (apart from Dogs / Horses / Donkeys) over thousands of years. They have been used in wars, for pulling heavy loads, for consrtuction of roads, temples, bridges etc, as a ride (=ambari), during celebration (e.g. Dassera), as a showcase etc etc.

As far as my knowledge goes, Elephant is the only animal on this earth which has different teeths for eating and show off. A person who says some thing and does opposite is always compared to this aspect of elephant e.g. in Hindi : " Uske to Khane ke daant alag, aur dikhaneke daant alag ", meaning he has different teeths for eating and showing.
Poor Elephant gets blamed for no fault of its.

We did the elephant ride, at a time 4 adults and 2-3 kids are allowed on a elephant. Total ride distance is about 200 meters in circular fashion.

Apart from these activities, there were water rafting activity, which we did not do due to paucity of time.

We returned by 12.00 noon, every one was hungry, we eat what-ever available khara-bhat at the nearby resturant (we go the last 4 plates) and a cup of coffee/tea got into the vehicle and drove to wards our next destination by 12:20 PM i.e. Nisarga dhama.
Attached Thumbnails
Story of a Vacation (:-))-other-side-dubare.jpg  

Story of a Vacation (:-))-dubare-intro.jpg  

Story of a Vacation (:-))-elephant-bathing.jpg  

Story of a Vacation (:-))-knowing-riding-elephants.jpg  

Story of a Vacation (:-))-dsc04409.jpg  

Story of a Vacation (:-))-eelphant-feeding.jpg  

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Old 8th January 2010, 12:14   #64
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Hey, Sar were the charges for a family or a person! hehehe, no i was surprised by the charges of bathing and feeding. You can see that free of cost. The travelogue is going on well, looking forward to more and more.
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Old 8th January 2010, 13:37   #65
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Majic View Post
Hey, Sar were the charges for a family or a person! hehehe, no i was surprised by the charges of bathing and feeding. You can see that free of cost. The travelogue is going on well, looking forward to more and more.
Majic,

Everything about the animal is Elephantine in nature, so fees also match.
In actual, Entry fees were for all 4 adults, Activity fee was changed for only 2 adults. For Elephant ride, fee was charged for all 4 adults, Kids enjoyed free ride in entry, all activities plus ride.

Santa seems to be happy with kids even after the Xmas.


I think, the feeding charges might include the part of the food served to the elephant.

Last edited by StarVegabond : 8th January 2010 at 13:45.
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Old 8th January 2010, 23:59   #66
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Nisargadhama (= a place where ecology or environment lives) consists of the following.

1. A hanging bridge across revier Cauvery (+old wooden ropeway bridge as well),
2. A childrens play garden,
3. A deer and elephant park,
4. a set of cottages (i do not know how to make reservations),
5. a bamboo forest specimen,
6. several different trees with name labels,
7. few machans (tree houses),
8. a ecology museum and awareness center,
9. some resturants, shops etc.

The activities one can do there are elephant rides, boating (i found boats barked onto the land), Understand more about our environment (tree, plants, flowers, animals etc), playing in the garden (refer photos) as well as relax and rejuvinate.

We spent about 45-60 minutes there, took some been there done that snaps. I will let the pictures do the talking.
Attached Thumbnails
Story of a Vacation (:-))-nisargadhama-1.jpg  

Story of a Vacation (:-))-nisargadhama-2.jpg  

Story of a Vacation (:-))-nisargadhama-3.jpg  

Story of a Vacation (:-))-nisargadhama-4.jpg  

Story of a Vacation (:-))-nisargadhama-5.jpg  

Story of a Vacation (:-))-nisargadhama-6.jpg  

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Old 9th January 2010, 00:34   #67
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Default Day 4 : Dec 28th : Golden Temple or Namdroling Monastery

Bylakuppe (approx 4 KM from Kushalnagar) is the largest Tibetian settlement in India. While entering the region, i read a board which mentioned that Foreigners need a special permit to enter Bylakuppe.
Namdroling Monastery or the Golden temple has three 40 feet statues of Padmasambhava, Buddha Shakyamuni and Amitayus. I have attached few snaps taken inside the monastery by my friend.

My camera ran out of batteries and videocamera also ran out of the casset. We have the video from our previous visit.

I would like to recall our previous visit to golden temple during October 2004, We had reached Bylakuppe at 6.30 PM, Due to the power cut the whole village was in darkness. We waited at a nearby tea stall for some 45 minutes, had some tea, still the electricity did not get restored. We were about the leave from the place, and voila lights were switched on. We again reluctantly made a decision to visit the temple. Once we were inside the monastery, our eyes almost poped out and the mouth remained opened for some time. We were spelled bound looking those 40 feet statues, we had never gone through such a experience before.

We spent about 30 minutes inside the monastery, offered our silent prayers and took some photographs.

We bought mini DV cassets and duracell batteries at the nearby market which also sells assortment of Tibetian goods.
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Old 9th January 2010, 12:26   #68
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Default Day 4 : Dec 28th : Bidding Goodbye to Coorg, Some thoughts about the Core of Coorg

We left the Monastery some time between 1.45 PM to 2:00 PM. Asifbhai was feeling hungry and wanted to have the meals in Kushalnagar where he knew a good place to eat. But now as we had already come further, he decided to drive further towards Hunsur,

The drive was very good, roads excellent, we discussed about how good our visit to Coorg has been and what all we missed to see in coorg viz.

1. Madikeri (Abbi Falls, Omkareshwar Temple, Fort, Raja's Tomb).
2. Valnoor Fishing Camp
3. Jungle lodge stay at Dubare
4. Veerabhoomi Tourist village at Kudlur
5. Harangi Dam
6. Nagarahole & Irupu falls
7. Kabini
8. Some Trekking arround the Kodagu.
9. Kakabe
10. Polibetta Golf Course
11. A photograph in traditional men's wear
12. Witnessing the Hutri Festival
13. Spending more time in the Tibetian Village to witness their way of life.

Out of the above list, my family had visited locations 1, 5 & 6 as well during the previous trip, but we had not visited Nisargadhama during 2004 nor the homestay or plantation visits.

This list might be just the tip of the Coorg-burg. I am sure there is more to Coorg than what we imagine. So next trip needs to be planned, i do not know when.

The thoughts moved towards the 2 C's of Coorg viz. Courage and Culture.
Coorg Culture is unique, appears to be foogy from a distance, but when you go near, it is as warm and hospitable as possible. Athithi Devo Bhava (= Let Guest be the God) seems to be truely practiced in coorg more so in the homestays. People on the road are ever ready to share information, provide directions, help the travellers.

Prior to the visit i had done some research regarding Coorg. Two most important aspects I learnt were

1. Kodava Ancestral house is called Ain mane, which resembles old fortress. I would i lke to stay in one in fure if possible. There is more to Ain Mane than the appearance. May be i will learn more when i visit.

2. In Kodagu nothing happens without Igguthappa. He is the rain god, the grain god and even controls the date of Huthri festival. I would like to visit visit a Iguthappa temple during the Huthri festival. There seems to be lot of folklore arround Igguthappa, would like to listen to some first hand.

Soon i found we had crossed Peripattana and driving towards Hunsoor. We stopped at a highway resturant known to Asifbhai immediately after Hunsur. Initially we were reluctant to go in, But Asif bhai re-assured us about food being good.

We ordered Tomato bhaji, Mix Veg, Daal & Roti. It was one of the good meals we had on the highway. My wife requested to meet the Chef. immediately i was bit worried. I remembered the advertisement of the Chinese Resturant chain.

She enquired with the chef about how he had made the Tomato bhaji with such a wonderful tangy taste. After the information exchange, we paid the bill, bought some chocolates and bananas from the neighbourhood shop and again boarded our chariort.

Destination was Ooty. Watch read 4.05 PM. The day was still young...

Last edited by StarVegabond : 9th January 2010 at 12:28.
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Old 9th January 2010, 15:51   #69
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Was off to Chennai(yeah, it started again ) yesterday so couldn't catchup.

Cool, so start to Ooty from Coorg by 16:05, interesting. Waiting for the rest.

Kakabe and the Thadiyendamol is good trekking areas, any plans?
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Old 9th January 2010, 21:50   #70
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I omitted the last but the most important C of the Coorg : Courage.
here it is.

Coorg or Kodagu is famous for its warriors who served the British and later on the Indian military. Field Marshal Cariappa and General Thimmayya are the two most famous, well known among them durign modern era, But i am sure there are thousands of more brave men who have given their life to protect our beloved country, many of them might have laid their lives at the line of duty. We often forget to remember these courageous men who have ensured that we sleep peacefully earn our livelihood and also enjoy our holidays including Coorg which is their homeland. We would like to dedicate our thoughts to this brave men and thank them to make life a lot better.

Quote:
Originally Posted by laluks View Post
i guess all the forest roads close by 21:00 as per some court order. is bandipur road different?
I had parked this question for a while, Yes, i learnt it at the begining of Bandipur forest area, there is a board. Somehow i was under the wrong impression that we need to cross bandipur-Masinagudi ghat and reach Ooty before sun set (else the roads would be closed).

Quote:
Originally Posted by laluks View Post
Was off to Chennai(yeah, it started again ) yesterday so couldn't catchup.

Cool, so start to Ooty from Coorg by 16:05, interesting. Waiting for the rest.

Kakabe and the Thadiyendamol is good trekking areas, any plans?
Good to know that your wheels started rolling again. Yes, again i did a wrong calculation (based on my wrong perception), i again thought we can reach Ooty (from Hunsur) in 2.5 to 3.0 hours, which turned out to be over aggressive estimation.

Sure, Kakabe & around is under plan, But we would be occupied till June this year. there are 3 weddings in the family, plus a trip to Mumbai/Pune for the school vacation, June/July School re-opening plus few of my business trips thrown in between blocks the time till probably August middle. might plan some time after the rainy season during 2010.

Going Forward with the story...

Soon we reached mysore bypass and turned towards Bandipur - Ooty.
Soon it started raining. we stopped the vehicle and moved all the luggage inside the rear cabin. We continued like that till we reached the destination even though the rain stopped after 30 minutes.

We entered Bandipur forest by 5:50 PM. On the TN side of the checkpost, Asifbhai had to shell out some chai-pani.

Soon we encountered some deers, an Elephant on the road. There was a Jeep with some foreigners trying to photograph the elephant. We did not wait and proceeded further.

Asifbhai was bit relactant to drive through Masinagudi, so we took the longer route, the road conditions were good, Soon we started climbing the ghat roads. Fogy conditions become worse. Visibility became poor, climb became slower. We could not see anything on the side of the roads due to darkness.

The kids were bored of the drive, the luggage in the rear cabin made the things worse. They were getting hungry as well, soon the snack packets (half remaining) got over, We were still at some 20 KM from Ooty and fog was very dense. I was not knowing clear road map to Kotagiri, hence called up the Nahar's stone house (or British Banglow) and informed them that we woudl be delayed. He told me that the fog is very dense, so we may not reach Kotagiri by 10:30 PM, hence he asked us to have dinner at ooty (@ Nahar's resturant) and then come to Kotagiri. That was nice of him to give us this advice.

Eventually we reached Ooty 8:30 PM and went into Nahar's Restuarant.
Kids and ladies were happy with the warm insides of the resturant, rest rooms etc. Resturant was full, But we got the table immidiately. After freshening up, we ordered the dinner consisting of Chinese Soups & Starters, Regular Punjabi main course. Food Quality was good, But Service was percieved to be very very slow, probably becasue, we were bored and kids were hungry.

Eventually we started for Kotagiri by 9:45 PM. The drive was extreemly slow, Dense fog, narrow roads and minimal traffic made Asifbhai very cautious. We felt as if we are in KR Puram Jam and moving very slowly.

Soon a man friday RED (Octavia Laura??) with James bond number on it (007) signaled us to follow him. He was our guiding lamp till we reached Kotagiri. We would like to thank this unknown Eventually with couple of more phone calls , we reached the destination by 11:15 PM.

The staff at the stone house were waiting for us, they immediately ushered us into our respective rooms. Asifbhai was again provided with a warm place to sleep (Thanks to the guys at Nahar's).

We called it a day (i think) by 11:45, It was a real real long day for us.
For the first time in 4 days, kids were bit bored with the drive.
I think, with a bit more planning from me, we could have kept them cheerful and energetic.

Last edited by StarVegabond : 9th January 2010 at 21:56.
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Old 10th January 2010, 01:06   #71
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StarVegabond View Post
Nisargadhama (= a place where ecology or environment lives) consists of the following.

1. A hanging bridge across revier Cauvery (+old wooden ropeway bridge as well)...
Is the old bridge still in usable condition? I remember it used to be the only bridge to get across the river. Me and a couple of friends were crossing it and suddenly one of my friends started swaying the bridge and I almost dropped my camera into the water. I think this was around 10-12 years back
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Old 10th January 2010, 20:34   #72
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Originally Posted by addyhemmige View Post
Is the old bridge still in usable condition? I remember it used to be the only bridge to get across the river. Me and a couple of friends were crossing it and suddenly one of my friends started swaying the bridge and I almost dropped my camera into the water. I think this was around 10-12 years back
Old bridge is still there, but useable or no, i do not know, , I think the access is closed to that side of the nisargadhama (or at least, i did not see it.). We can see it from the new hanging bridge.


Hi Laluks,

i think, my answer to your question was not clear. Bandipur forest also closes entry at 9 PM (& not 6 PM as i had wrongly understood earlier).
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Old 10th January 2010, 21:22   #73
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Originally Posted by StarVegabond View Post
Hi Laluks,

i think, my answer to your question was not clear. Bandipur forest also closes entry at 9 PM (& not 6 PM as i had wrongly understood earlier).
It was clear to me star.
Waiting for the Ooty episode.
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Old 11th January 2010, 12:01   #74
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Default Day 5: Our place of stay at Kotagir & early morning

Woke up at 7 AM, when the kid from next door knocked the door. The kids were calling my daughter. Freshened up and rushed out.

What i saw was one of the amazing views of nature. I went inside, woke up the rest of the gang (wifey and daughter) and brought them out. We were again trigger happy and shot (our pictures) at will. I am attaching here some of them. Again our pictures does not make justice to the mother natures beauty. We could not capture the finer aspects of her attire in our camera. But our eyes were good enough.

I will be going back after learning more about the photography, having bought a good enough camera to capture what we could not capture this time.

Last two days, i was bit shy to upload the pictures taken by us, having seen some of the wonderful snaps from people who had been to Ooty. But as the story needs to be told and without pictures, story would be incomplete, so decided to upload whatever best we could capture with our humble cameras and knowldge.

We were told that the Stone House was built by the British, It seems to have one of the best view in Kotagiri. It is also called British Bunglow (that is what i remember Lukeskywalker calling it). Now owned by Mr. Nahar. He has built and adjacent building which houses more rooms, a wellness spa, resturant etc. I think, Mr. Nahar love this property a lot, the maintenance seems to be excellent.

We spent some time in the garden, under the rising sun. My friend was happy that after 3 days his Tata Indicom data connection was working, he straight away went into his mails. Meanwhile the kids started playing in the garden and the ladies enjoying the view and inspecting the flowers.
Eventually, we had to get ready for the day, i went top the other side of the stone house and woke Asifbhai who was fast asleep, asked him to get ready in an hour. We used that hour to get ready ourselves as well. Went for breakfast at 8:45 AM. This place is only vegetarian kitchen. We had a good breakfast consisting of Idly-chetney-Sambhar, Plain Dosa, and Bread-Butter-Jam for the kids. The menu choices were very limited, We would have liked some authentic food from Nilgiri region, but we are not complaining as the quality of breakfast served was very good.

Mr. Rajkumar, the manager was very courtious, explained us all the nearby details. The staff were also very quick to ensure that our needs are met with. With help of Mr. Rajkumar we chalkedout our program for the day as below

Visit to Kodanadu view point, followed by Catherine watter fall and then go to Coonoor and visit the attractions there. Our plan was to return to retreat by evening. Children were excited that there would be camp fire in the evening (or atleast everyone thought so).

We started from the retreat by 9:45 AM with a cuation from Mr. Rajkumar that by 12 noon, the fog would be back and our views might get curtailed.
Attached Thumbnails
Story of a Vacation (:-))-nahar-1.jpg  

Story of a Vacation (:-))-nahar-2.jpg  

Story of a Vacation (:-))-nahar-3.jpg  

Story of a Vacation (:-))-nahar-4.jpg  

Story of a Vacation (:-))-nahar-5.jpg  

Story of a Vacation (:-))-nahar-6.jpg  

Story of a Vacation (:-))-nahar-7.jpg  

Story of a Vacation (:-))-nahar-8.jpg  

Story of a Vacation (:-))-nahar-9.jpg  

Story of a Vacation (:-))-nahar-10.jpg  

Story of a Vacation (:-))-nahar-11.jpg  

Story of a Vacation (:-))-nahar-12.jpg  

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

Story of a Vacation (:-))-nahar-14.jpg  


Last edited by StarVegabond : 11th January 2010 at 12:13.
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Old 11th January 2010, 14:22   #75
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Star,How much does a stay at teh british bunglow cost?
The place looks nice and good sceneries around.

BTW, very nice photos too.
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