Sunday, December 1, 2013

Road trip to Coorg (Madikeri) - A Photo Essay

Way back in April 2013 I had made a trip to Coorg. We had explored various weekend gateway options like Goa, Pondicherry, Ooty etc... and finally decided on Coorg. We decided to drive to Coorg from Bangalore. Since the we wanted to come back to Bangalore the next day, we decided to cover as many places as we can on the way to Coorg.

First stop was the Tibetan colony which falls somewhere in between Mysore and Coorg. It is a great place to see the Tibetan culture, custom and architecture in close proximity.  The central monastery is an amazing place to be in. As soon as you enter it, you will find that this place is so serene and peaceful and it feels as if time has slowed down. There are few shops around where you can buy mementos.

Next stop was Dubare. Dubare is known for its elephant camp and is situated at the bank of  river Kaveri. During peak monsoon when the river level is high, one can also take a boat ride in the river. Its a nice place to spend couple of hours.

We also visited Kanive bridge, which came somewhere on route to Nisargadhama . Kanive bridge is a simple suspension bridge across the Kaveri river.

After spending few minutes at the bridge and taking few photograph we moved along to visit our next stop. Nisargadhama is a a nice picnic spot. Though the park is not that great, it has few bamboo machans and provision for elephant ride. Better buy the ticket for elephant ride from the park entrance it self. The best part of this park is the river that flows behind the park where one can hire pedal boat and take a small ride in the river.

Finally we reached our our hotel (home stay actually). It was a lovely place surrounded by trees.

After a bit of rest and refreshments we headed to Raja Seat. Its a fantastic place which has a nice garden and gives a panoramic view of the valley. By this time, thick mist had set in which gave even better feel of this place. Seeing the sun go down behind the horizon from here is an amazing experience.

Now it was time to head back to our hotel where we had one more surprise waiting. The hotel guys had provision of a camp fire, so we decided to do one. Though campfire in summer was not very enjoyable but we still had fun playing around it.

It was finally time to retreat to bed after a long and exciting day.

Day 2
There was not much to do in the morning so most of us lazed around the hotel. After having a heavy breakfast we checked out from the hotel and left for Bangalore. The plan was to visit Abbey falls and then also visit Mysore zoo on the way.

Abbey falls is situated inside a coffee plantation. A 10 minute walk through the plantation brought us to Abeey falls. However I was bit disappointed seeing it. It was not majestic, probably because we had visited during summer. I am sure the view will be breathtaking if visited after monsoon.

  After visiting Abbey falls we drove back to Bangalore and visited Mysore zoo on the way. Over all it proved to be a nice trip, though I would surely like to come back during winter season.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Mesmerizing Mumbai

Back after a long pause, this time to document another visit to the Maximum City (Mumbai). As always a trip to Mumbai brings back some old memories that I have when I had first visited the city.  The beauty of this city among st the chaos always leaves me amazed and mesmerized.

Though I have been to Marie lines many times before, I never got a chance to spend some quality time gazing at the Sea and doing just nothing. One of the reasons for not being able to do this till now is that most of the times I will be in a hurry to catch a train to reach Vashi (where I used to stay). This time I was not in a hurry. I had booked a room in one of the hotel that is right in front of the sea.

Sea Green hotel is a compact little hotel situated right on the main Marine lines road and it commands an unmatched view of the Queen's Necklace. For about Rs.4800 per night its a perfect choice, considering the fact that other hotels in the surrounding area charge very high. Make sure you ask for a sea facing room. Its an amazing experience just sitting in the balcony and enjoying the view of one of the best places in Mumbai.

View from hotel's balcony

Nevertheless my trip started from Bandra terminus, from where I headed to hotel. If you are travelling to South Mumbai and are taking a cab or other private vehicle then do try to take the route via Bandra - Worli Sea link, which is marvelous piece of architecture and one of the first cable-stayed bridge to be constructed in open seas in India. You need to pay a toll tax of about Rs 120 for a car, but its worth paying for one time experience. If you of my kind who likes to take photographs then make sure you have your camera out. Though stoppage is not allowed on the Sea Link you can get some decent clicks from a moving car. This is what I got.

It was almost 12.30 PM, and I checked in the hotel. Sea Green Hotel does not have a dedicated restaurant but there are plenty of choices for restaurants in the surrounding area. I chose Shiv Sagar, which is serves decent vegetarian food or all kinds. After a filling lunch, I went back to hotel to take a nap. Later in the afternoon I took a cab to Gateway of India. One thing that I recommend doing here is to hop on to a boat ferry that takes tourists for a 30 minute joy ride on a short spin around the Gateway. The ride is really fun but if you are visiting during a weekend then do expect a long queue to get on to the ferry. Another thing to try here is to take a Tonga (horse) ride which again is fun. They charge somewhere between Rs.300 to Rs.600 based on how long the ride is. Again, don't forget to get your camera ready.

Horse Carriage ride
Later on I took a cab back to Charni road. There is a small sandy beach near Charni road called Chowpatty beach, where one can get an unobtrusive view of the Arabian Sea and if you are not too much of a hygiene freak then you can even get your feet wet and take a walk across the beach. Seeing the sun go down behind the city skyline is an experience in itself. I spent entire evening here taking photographs, playing with my daughter in the sea and later having variety of street food.

So, if you are a foodie and do not mind having food at open air stalls then Chawpatty is the place for you. You will find varity of food ranging from Pao-bhaji, pulaov, pizza, dosas and finally to top it all with Baraf ka Gola (Indian version of Ice candy ). Having golas make you refreshingly fresh and for me it also takes me right back to my child hood memoirs where we would run out of house on hearing the "Tring tring..." sound of the bottles of the "Golawala". Those were the days...I murmur with a sigh. Here are few photographs I took at Chowpaty.

Soon after the sun went down, I took a walk back to the hotel and about half an hour later it rained for almost 2 hours. I sat back in my hotel's balcony and enjoyed cool watery breeze blowing gently across my face. I just wanted to pause that moment for as long a possible.

No moment stays for long though, and neither did this. I had to catch an early morning train to Bangalore the next day so I to decided to hit the sack, but not before taking couple of photographs of the beautiful Queen's Necklace.

I was up early next morning and just before leaving back this lovely experience I took final few photographs. The early morning sight of Queen's Necklace is equally beautiful, just that there is more peace and serenity in the atmosphere as the traffic is very less.

Here is where my trip ends. Getting back to madness of work and responsibilities will be little easier after such a refreshing trip.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

A new dawn (@ Hebbal)

After a long break, I decided to go for a early morning shoot at Hebbal Lake. Skies were clear and I knew that it would present some good opportunities to capture some back-lit shots. The sun had not risen yet, and I got in position where I though I can get the early morning sun right behind my subjects. Soon the sun appeared at the horizon and I starting clicking, taking advantage of the warm light which was reflecting on the  lake. Here are few shots that I got.

I especially like the 1st and the 7th shot. 

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