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Old 2nd February 2010, 18:01   #31
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Oh yes, I did meet one fellow BHPian in Udupi who rolled down upon seeing my T-BHP stickers and asked my handle. His was something like AK something. My memory is poor. This was on 26th ot 27th of dec. This happened right outside Woodlands hotel in Udupi. If the person I saw reads this, please identify yourself!
Aw!!! man, meeting some TBHPian, that too unplanned & yet you forget his name. Leave away me, if he remembers your handle, you're gonna have it

Whoever has done that Rangoli in the picture "Tradition oozes right from the Rangoli", its simply fantastic, looks almost flawless to me.

Something in this picture "Krishna rides the Navaratna Theru" is very much attractive (apart from God himself), may be its the dark background, very nice shot.

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@Aargee: Thanks for your words of inspiration and your support in visiting this thread time and again!
Take it easy bud. Like I said before, I always want to make something like this, but I'm unable to do it until now, atleast I'm enjoying the pleasure by reading your experiences.

Last edited by aargee : 2nd February 2010 at 18:05. Reason: Add more contents
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Old 3rd February 2010, 13:54   #32
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On 28th morning, I set out to Mangalore from Udupi. Was busy arranging my DVD collection, that I didn't have a wink of sleep the night before. I had to pic my Uncle and Aunt from Mangalore who were arriving by train. I left home after watching a couple of movies, around 3:40 in the morning. It's been almost 10 years since I'd been to Mangalore. The NH17 till Padubidri was a breeze. The next 5 km trip, i had to reduce speeds from 100 to 65 kmph.
I noticed something terrible. My windscreen used to get fogged out, and I kept the A/C on so that it clears off. Further, I had to constantly use the wipers with the water jet to clear things from out side as well. But between Padubidri and Mulki, god knows what was in the air, my windscreen became black.
I had to stop on the side and armed with a bottle of water and a soft cloth, wipe out the whole windscreen. The cloth turned black!
I had to do this again after crossing mulki. The air was clearer past mulki and I didn't have this problem until I hit the stretch again.
It was more like exhaust from some chimney or industry hanging around in air, getting stuck on to your windscreen and turning it black, reducing visibility early in the morning before the sun was up.
The train came late and I had to wait in Mangalore station till 6. I wanted to beat the morning traffic that would start with day break. I'm very vary of the monster bus drivers between Mangalore and Manipal.
I reached back home by 7:30 am and had a sound sleep till 1pm.
The rest of the day was spent around again in shopping, going to the temple, going to Manipal and other local things.
we left Udupi to Sringeri on 31st.
Distance travelled in Udupi and Mangalore: 286 Kms
Fuel: 20 litres
Mileage in city: 14.3 (was amazed because some parts of udupi had pathetic road, especially the place where my house was).

It was very very hot and humid on the 31st afternoon. I was refreshed after 3 days of rest in Udupi where I drove only 286 kms. The road to Manipal looked as though we had nuclear testing done. Everytime I crossed that road, I had layers or red soil on my car. A/C was running full blast to keep the temp down and the dust out.
We had lunch at Manipal at my once favourite Shantala restaurant. Left Manipal at 2 pm. Road was ok till Hebri. I could keep around 50. Good thing was the potholes were patched, rather bizzarely. Hebri onwards, the road to someshwara was good in patches. The other one's were being laid freshly.
With A/C on, it was very difficult to sit in the sweltering heat.
I had a brief stop at Someshwara.
We started the climb from Someshwara around 3:30. It was a big blessing. All of a sudden we had surprise showers. Very heavy that too. All the way till we reached Agumbe.
Hello! Are we talking of showers on the 31st of Dec? Yes, we are.

The skies opened up and it poured.
A trip close to heart - Pune to Tirunelveli-agumbe-1.jpg

It was hazy with all the rain. Temperature dropped shortly, just like visibility.
A trip close to heart - Pune to Tirunelveli-agumbe-2.jpg

Wipers working over time.
A trip close to heart - Pune to Tirunelveli-agumbe-3.jpg

It rained all the way till Agumbe.
A trip close to heart - Pune to Tirunelveli-agumbe-4.jpg

Many vehicles stopped on corners, having been taken unawares of sudden rains. Guess they didn't bother to check their wipers before their trip. No one would expect rains on 31st dec, so heavily as well.
Roads were excellent from Agumbe till Sringeri. We reached Sringeri by 4:45 pm. There was so much of rains in the whole belt that it was cold and wet. The parking lot of Sringeri was looking like puddles joined together by land!
Coming up next. Photos of Sringeri.
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Old 3rd February 2010, 15:20   #33
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After unloading my car, (which took a long time, considering the fact that I had slush and puddles to avoid), we had wonderful Bonda and Idli from Maruti. Maruti is perhaps the most famous brahmin lunch home in Sringeri, followed by Akshaya mess. I ventured out to Tunga. I love rivers. It's a pain to see people spitting in rivers and more so polluting them with soap, shampoo and detergents. Well, atleast tunga at sringeri doesn't have industrial effluents.
After a nice stroll around Sringeri town and the temple complex and the tunga bridge, I caught up with the pooja in Narasimha Vana by HH Bharathi theertha Swamiji. Of course this was preceded by the dinner at the mutt.
After a nice darshan and puja, we retired for the night in our rooms. New year eve was spent in complete silence contemplating on spirituality in a holy place. A far cry from normal city experiences where I used to have drunk revellers tapping the bonnet of my car to show their eagerness and revelry in welcoming a new year. What a way to begin the new year!
Here are a few photos of Sringeri the next day.

Candid shot where I'm caught unawares, logging the trip details in my netbook for the day.
A trip close to heart - Pune to Tirunelveli-sringeri-1.jpg

Can't afford Ganga Snanam? Have Tunga snanam. Views of Tunga
A trip close to heart - Pune to Tirunelveli-tunga-1.jpg
A trip close to heart - Pune to Tirunelveli-tunga-3.jpg
A trip close to heart - Pune to Tirunelveli-tunga-2.jpg


Every prayer begins with him. Lord of Ganas in Sringeri
A trip close to heart - Pune to Tirunelveli-ganesha.jpg

Dhanvantari Homam in progress.
A trip close to heart - Pune to Tirunelveli-pooja-1.jpg

Agni is the face of god. Offering to Agni is offering to the gods!
A trip close to heart - Pune to Tirunelveli-pooja-2.jpg

Propitiate the 5 elements. The cosmic vibrations need to go on. That's what rituals are actually aimed at.
A trip close to heart - Pune to Tirunelveli-pooja-3.jpg

Leaf out of a book of prayers
A trip close to heart - Pune to Tirunelveli-leaf.jpg

1st of January was spent reflecting on gods, early morning walks on the banks of Tunga, breathing the air filled with homa smoke, relaxing under the sun, talking to temple elephants, catching up with the puja of Shankarachaya HH Shri Bharati Thirtha Mahaswamiji, catching random snaps of Sringeri and ofcourse, keeping our baby engaged!
Will upload more photos in the night.
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Old 3rd February 2010, 15:23   #34
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On 28th morning,
We started the climb from Someshwara around 3:30. Very heavy that too. All the way till we reached Agumbe.

Roads were excellent from Agumbe till Sringeri. We reached Sringeri by 4:45 pm. Photos of Sringeri.

Waiting for those Photos of Sringeri. BTW, are Agumbe and Sringeri hill stations? Pardon my ignorance pl!
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Old 3rd February 2010, 15:30   #35
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Agumbe is atop the western ghats. There's a 8 km long drive from Someshwara, (the foot hills), to Agumbe. Agumbe is at an altitude of 2710 ft above MSL. It rains so heavily there during the monsoons that it's got the sobriquet "Cherrapunji of south". Still Dec 31st rainfall was totally unexpected. The heavy rainfall washed away our mandatory stop at sunset point from where one could see the sun set over Arabian sea 50 kms away.
From Agumbe it's all hilly terrain, with the land evening out. Ghat roads all the way to sringeri and beyond.
The 8 km climb is through dense forest where one can spot even bisons occasionally. It also traverses 14 hair pin bends.
Someshwara at the foot hills is famous for Cobras and some waterfalls.

Agumbe is also the quaint village where the whole of Malgudi days (RK Narayan) was shot. Want to see Agumbe immediately? Pick up the dvd of swami and friends! The place where Lawley's statue stands is actually the place where roads split to teerthahalli and sringeri. The small ground, the two towers on either sides of the road everything is intact even now. Lawley's statue was removed after the shoot was over.

Last edited by MX6 : 3rd February 2010 at 15:36. Reason: Adding about Agumbe
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Old 3rd February 2010, 15:43   #36
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Isn't Agumbe the habitat of the King Cobra too?
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Old 3rd February 2010, 16:09   #37
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Isn't Agumbe the habitat of the King Cobra too?
Spot on.
The renowned herpetologist, Romulus Whitaker, calls Agumbe as the Capital of King Cobra (Ophiophagus Hannah)!

I remember seeing a programme ages back in Nat Geo where someone travelled the west coast of India for almost 52 days searching for the biggest king cobra. He spotted on in the forests of Someshwara. His life long wish was to kiss the snake on its hood.
He did that on TV, on an 18 ft King Cobra and happily returned back to his country.
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Old 3rd February 2010, 16:14   #38
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Hey MX6,

You seems to have all of my favourite key words in your travelogue

Pune, Murudeshwar, Marvanthe, Udupi, Krishna Math, Agumbe, Malgudi days, Chirapunji of south, Sringeri...

Your Bundle of Joy is very charming. You are indeed a very doting father.
Weaving a 20 days road trip around a 1 year old's schedule is indeed remarkable. She seems to be in her best of the spirits. I liked the way you exposed her to the road trip, also your precautions in getting the new tyres, getting the vehicle servcied etc. Keep it up.

Hopefully when your daughter grows up, she would read this travelogue and understand the efforts taken by you to keep her comfortable even on a road trip.

Well done..

i would be looking forward to the next chapters of your travelogue.
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Old 3rd February 2010, 17:30   #39
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Hey MX6,

Your Bundle of Joy is very charming. You are indeed a very doting father.
Weaving a 20 days road trip around a 1 year old's schedule is indeed remarkable. She seems to be in her best of the spirits. I liked the way you exposed her to the road trip, also your precautions in getting the new tyres, getting the vehicle servcied etc. Keep it up.

Hopefully when your daughter grows up, she would read this travelogue and understand the efforts taken by you to keep her comfortable even on a road trip.

Well done..

i would be looking forward to the next chapters of your travelogue.
Thanks Starvegabond. I'm indeed a very doting father. My profile pic is actually my daughter's hand on mine (the b/w one). The whole trip was for her. That's why the title is as it is. A trip close to heart! We wanted her to be in the best of the spirits. Else there's no point in going anywhere. My daugher recognises our car now. She loves getting in to her car seat!

Thanks for your words.
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Old 3rd February 2010, 19:13   #40
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Agumbe is atop the western ghats. There's a 8 km long drive from Someshwara, (the foot hills), to Agumbe. Agumbe is at an altitude of 2710 ft above MSL.
From Agumbe it's all hilly terrain, with the land evening out. Ghat roads all the way to sringeri and beyond.
The 8 km climb is through dense forest where one can spot even bisons occasionally. It also traverses 14 hair pin bends.
Someshwara at the foot hills is famous for Cobras and some waterfalls.

Thanks friend, Very useful info provided. The place is certainly recorded in in my radar. But, I am scared of cobras, really. He he..
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Old 4th February 2010, 12:00   #41
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2nd Jan, I was up early. It was very foggy and cold in Sringeri. The view from our window was amazing. Even in that cold weather, it was amazing to see Ayyappa Bhaktas doing their morning prayers.
Many pilgrims arrived in buses. I saw cooks pull out gas cylinders and stoves from the bus and start making breakfast early in the morning for all the passengers. It had rained overnight to leave puddles of water all over the car park. Overall, it was a sleepy village waking up to another day of silence and spiritual bliss.

First view of Sringeri parking lot at 6 am.
A trip close to heart - Pune to Tirunelveli-parking-lot.jpg

Also observe how marshy this place is and all the filth and plastic on lower right corner. There's an interesting story that unfolds on 3rd of Jan, which I'd call the 2 hour transformation of Gandhi Maidan. Will cover it when we get there.

7:30 in the morning I ventured out. The customary walk around Sringeri temples. I could see that everytime a bus comes, we have hoards of pilgrims coming. It was a riot of colours.
A trip close to heart - Pune to Tirunelveli-crowd.jpg

10 am. The bridge across Tunga river is open and people can cross over to Narasimha Vanam to seek audience and blessings of shankaracharya.
A trip close to heart - Pune to Tirunelveli-bridge-across-tunga.jpg

Some random snaps of Vidyashankar temple.
A trip close to heart - Pune to Tirunelveli-vidya-shankar-temple-1.jpg
A trip close to heart - Pune to Tirunelveli-vidya-shankar-temple-2.jpg
A trip close to heart - Pune to Tirunelveli-vidya-shankar-temple-3.jpg

1 pm. Off to the dining hall (Bhojan Shala). Interesting way they arrange plates here.

The plates that feed millions
A trip close to heart - Pune to Tirunelveli-plates.jpg

When the hall is empty and clean, it was too inviting for my little one who felt free to roam all around.
A trip close to heart - Pune to Tirunelveli-dining-hall.jpg

it was yet another day of bliss. Little did I realise that Sringeri would be woken up from it's slumber, due to an unexpected visitor. The next day we had police all round. We had to move out cars out of the parking lot to almost out of Sringeri. The whole place transformed within hours. That's the transformation of Gandhi Maidan story. There was too much of hustle and bustle and tension in the air.
The unexpected visitor was Karnataka CM, Mr. B S Yediyurappa. Watch this space later tonight.
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Old 4th February 2010, 12:31   #42
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Nice pics of Agni offerings, parking lot and Temple.
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Old 4th February 2010, 13:10   #43
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Thanks for showing that part of india...Definitely a place to visit..
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Old 4th February 2010, 13:20   #44
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Your travelogue's going very good. I think you were having all these things to pen down in your mind even when you were travelling.
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Old 4th February 2010, 14:02   #45
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Nice pics of Agni offerings, parking lot and Temple.
Thanks LongDrive lover

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Your travelogue's going very good. I think you were having all these things to pen down in your mind even when you were travelling.
Much of it is still fresh in my memory. I didn't look at this trip as going places where I've not been and doing things I've not done and taking photos of unseen. I wanted this to be an experience of India. An India that we all belong to but seldom realise as our eyes are marred by the routine mundane.
Thanks for your kind comments.

Mods. I hope it won't be an issue of uploading photos of chief minister here. Please advice. If not, I can just put the photos of the transformation he brought to this place with this visit and not CM's photos.
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