Rhine river, Dusseldorf

It’s been a week now in Dusseldorf and one view which I used to see every day en route to the office is Rhine river. The lush green blanket (of grass) spread across both sides of the river covered with fog in the morning and various shades of the sky in the evening. It was more pleasant in the evening as people strolling around, running, families relaxed and enjoying their time with kids etc., a wonderful sight to view every day (from the Theodor-Heuss Brucke bridge). It was then I decided, it would be my first place to visit in Dusseldorf.

It was Sunday evening when I & my friend made then plan to visit the place. It’s a 15-20 minutes walk to the place where I lived. As it was Sunday, not many people were seen outside. Sun was setting down when we reached the place (Rheinpark Golzheim) and the sky was showcasing its different shades. The moment was very calm with a small breeze going passing through my ears making a huss noise, eye stretching trying to capture the frame, lights from the bridge and the nearby buildings making it look even more better. Amidst of all that, planes/rockets flying in the sky leaving its traces behind making it look like a scribble pad. We stayed watching that view for 5-10 minutes and started walking towards Dusseldorf eye. After walking for a while, we grabbed an ice cream and settled on one of the benches, staring at the view and people who busy in their lives. We talked a bit and started our way back to the home.

As we walked back, it felt good & relaxed that I visited the place and was able to spend some quality me-time. Definitely, a must visit place either in the morning or evening.


Jog Falls, Shivamogga

It’s been in my wishlist from a very very long time to visit JOG FALLS but wasn’t able to due to one or the other reasons. I have seen people posting mesmerizing photos & videos of the waterfalls covered in the fog and the milky white water in the background, it was just breathtaking to see. Jog Falls is the second-highest plunge waterfall in India falling from a height of around 253 meters (after Nohkalikai falls, Cherrapunji). There are 4 cascades which known as Raja, Rani, Rover, and Rocket. Each cascade has its own significance: Raja, plunging in one sheer column but it meets Roarer half way who creates a lot of noise. Rocket is ideally named as it shoots down from the mountains but it is Rani, who looks elegant in her white coat of foam.

It was rainy season and yet again we planned to visit Jog falls but wasn’t able to schedule it. That’s when one of our close friends informed about their house inauguration at Shivamogga. The function was on Sunday, so we planned to leave Bengaluru by Friday night and reach by Saturday early morning via train to Shivamogga. The stay (at Royal Orchid) was booked by them for two days. The plan wasn’t final whether to visit the falls or not because of heavy floods (in and around Kodagu district) even after we boarded the train at night from Yeshwantpur railway station.

We reached on Saturday early morning and took an auto to the hotel. After a quick nap, we quickly got ready and had our breakfast at the hotel and booked a cab for Jog falls and surrounding places for Rs. 1700. It was around 11.30 when we started from the hotel and first place of visit was Agoreshwara Temple, Ikkeri. A guide was explaining the sculptures and history of the place to a group which we joined to understand its importance in the past. After spending an hour, we started our journey to Jog Falls.

The only frame where we saw 2 cascades

It was raining all the time and by the time we reached Jog, it was fog all around. We could hear the sounds of the water hitting the rocks on the bottom but the amount of fog made it invisible to see any of those. Also, the steps to travel down to the bottom of the waterfall was closed due to safety reasons. We joined the crowd waiting for the waterfall to be visible. Every time, the fog was getting cleared (and the waterfall was just about to see), people started shouting in excitement. We waited there for more than an hour to catch a glimpse of the waterfalls in whole but like many others, were disappointed as we could only see a couple of cascades for a glimpse of seconds. With a heavy heart, we took the decision of returning back and promised to come back to see the full glory of it. We had our lunch at the Mayura Gerusoppa operated by KSTDC at Jog falls. The price was bit high and quality was not that great. From there, we visited one more place and were back to Shivamogga by 7.30 PM.

Even though we visited the place but it didn’t fulfill the desire and was left half-hearted (especially for myself as it’s was my first visit to the much-awaited place and I wasn’t able to see its full glory). Will be definitely coming back to see, feel and experience its natural beauty soon.

Getting There:

  • By Train – One can get down at Shivamogga (for better hotels) or Talaguppa (last stop which is 15 KMs away from Jog falls) when traveling from Bangalore. Overnight intercity express is the most convenient train to reach Bangalore. From Talaguppa one can hire autorickshaw or shared jeeps to visit Jog falls.
  • By Bus – There are direct buses to Jog falls from Bangalore. Jog fall is also well connected by all buses which ply on Bangalore – Honnavar highway.
  • By Road – The road condition from Bangalore is excellent. It is at a distance of 375 KMs from Bangalore. So is the other road from Honnavar.

Travel Tips:

  • The best time to visit the falls are the monsoon months of July – August.
  • A weekend gateway to Jog should be sufficient (i.e relaxed and not straining yourselves).
  • One need not worry about parking as there is enough parking space created by KSTDC.
  • Even though there is steel fencing done, many people try to get on it or climb on slippery rocks which resulted in many deaths. So kindly be careful especially in the rainy season due to moist and fungus.
  • One can stay in Shivmogga or search homestays around Jog falls, which would embark you on exploring other nearby places and enjoy its calm, serenity and landscape beauty.
  • There is a KSTDC hotel which is not great but good enough in case your hungry. Also, toilet facilities are well taken care of.
  • If one is traveling by road, you could enjoy the views, landscapes, historical places etc en route to the falls. Make sure, you guys plan it well.

Off to Sakleshpur, again!

Its been over 2 years that I parted my ways with Software AG but remained friends with many of my colleagues (even till today). We had one group of ourselves consisting of 7-8 people who used to go together for breakfast, lunch, tea break. It was such a fun hanging out with them and we use to discuss many things: from office gossip to share market conditions especially at Tea break. We had been to a couple of trips when we were in the same office. Now, that I was the only one who separated from the group, we were planning for a trip since 6 months now but one or the other guy wasn’t able to turn up due to their family commitments.

A week back, Harsha had called to ask if I’m up for the trip to which I replied “Tentative” because I wasn’t in a mood to go. After discussing with other people, they picked SAKLESHPUR for the weekend trip. I had already been to that place a couple of time now which demoralized me more not to go but my wife persisted to go and have fun (as she knew them from a couple of years now). They booked a homestay called “Mystique Falls” which was outside the city and somewhere inside the jungle. Travel date was set to Saturday, 21st July and pickup time was 6 AM. Everyone had their pickup points planned accordingly the previous night and decided to meet at Nelmangala-Hassan flyover.

At Mayura Veg Hotel

As planned, everyone reached the first meeting point to have tea and snacks. From there on, we drove for an hour before stopping for breakfast at Hotel Mayura Veg (near Bellur cross). We quickly filled our stomach and were back on the road in order to reach the homestay on time for lunch. After stopping once or twice in the middle, we reached the designated place as informed by Homestay owner. We were informed to park our vehicles there (as the road is not suited) and from there a jeep picked us up and dropped near the homestay. In order to reach the homestay, one should cross the bridge.

My first impression of the homestay was negative and it wasn’t nowhere what I had expected (even others to some extent). We dropped our bags in the room provided and went for lunch. Lunch was OK with not many options for Veg or Non-veg. We had our lunch and were back to our room thinking what to do next as it was raining outside. Staff informed us that no water activities due to heavy rainfall and rise in water levels. Everyone was dejected and there was nothing else to do apart from relaxing in the room. After much deliberation, we went to play mud volleyball. It was a thrilling experience as guys were excited, fearful (due to leeches), feeling cold (due to continuous rain). Everyone had a great time for an hour before we decided to go back to the room and rest for a while.

It was just 5 PM in the evening when I, Prashanth and Harsha went to the common area asking staff to prepare for snacks, coffee & campfire. They were kind enough to prepare hot snacks (Mirchi bajji) with coffee and lightened the campfire for us. An hour passed when other friends arrived and sat around us. Everyone was making their body warm around the campfire, chatting and discussing various things. It was drinks/dinner time and we were still there chilling ourselves. We moved our ass only when the wood turned into ashes (time was around 11.30 PM) and retired to our room. The staff informed us that they would take us to the trek tomorrow morning around 6 AM, so be ready.

Next day morning, most of the guys weren’t ready for the trek but we pushed them to come. In order to not get drenched, the staff provided a plastic sheet to cover our body in case it rains. It was hardly 10mins of the trek, there were leeches on everyone’s feet. A couple of guys frightened and returned back whereas others continued. We tried to apply salt as and when leeches were on our body but later on, it didn’t matter as we ignored and kept trekking. The last part of the trek was difficult due to the steep and slippery nature caused by continuous rains.

After an hour, we reached the top and the view from it was just refreshing. The wind was breezy and the clouds were moving with such a rapid pace.  On reaching the top, everyone’s phone was buzzing as there was network reception. They called their respective families to inform about their whereabouts. After that, we sat there changing our positions every few minutes in all directions to catch the glimpse of the forest. The climate was changing drastically, that’s when the guide signaled us lets get back to the camp. The trek to down was even more dangerous as there was no support to lean/catch. At one point, one of my friends slid down taking another with him but luckily the guy in front balanced somehow and they stopped after a few meters. It was such a scary sight to watch and everyone’s heart was in their mouth. In an hour, we reached back safely.

Breakfast was ready and everyone was hungry. We had our stomach’s full and went for our room, got fresh in no time to travel back to Bengaluru. We had planned many activities but nature played its course and we ended doing nothing but eating & talking about love stories, linkups, family responsibilities, and many other idiotic topics. Even though it didn’t go as we planned yet it was fun and relaxing with such friends.

Getting There:

  • By Road (Preferable)– The road condition from Bangalore is excellent till Sakleshpur. It is at a distance of 230 KMs from Bangalore taking Bangalore-Nelmangala-Hassan-Sakleshpur NH.
  • By Train – One can get down at Sakleshpur when traveling from Bangalore. From there, one has to reach Hanbal in order to get picked up by Homestay staff.
  • By Bus – There are direct buses to Sakleshpura from Bangalore.

Travel Tips:

  • The best time to visit – Monsoon (July – August).
  • Carry extra clothing, shoes, umbrella/raincoats etc.
  • Carry a medical kit in case of emergency as its remote place.
  • Download the maps offline which is very important as the network signals become weak.
  • Keep contacting the homestay staff in case of confusion/dilemma. [sometimes address in the google maps is wrong which is informed by the homestay staff prior]
  • If you have friends who booze, it is recommended to buy it en route or at Sakleshpura.
  • Pack food items of your interests as it will be needed due to various activities.



Mooch Marod

PARATHA, it’s one dish which is irresistible. I always loved and enjoyed Parathas especially Aloo paratha. It’s just mouthwatering. And over the years, the fond for it increased multi-fold which led me to taste many varieties of paratha’s across many places but wasn’t getting the authentic taste of it. Adding to it, I used to see many posts on Instagram where people used to put this very big paratha and tagging their friends to enjoy the delicacy. To my dejection, I never found a place in Bengaluru where they served such a huge paratha.  But then, God heard my prayer :-P. I don’t remember the post (in Facebook) in which they mentioned about “Mooch Marod” serving authentic paratha’s and in very big sizes. Being a food lover, I was eagerly looking forward to visiting the place.

It was Sunday, 4th April afternoon and it is time off from the home kitchen. My wife suggested going to visit the place. It is located in Channasandra, Whitefield which is 30 minutes drive from my home. When we reached the place, it was pretty sunny and empty. One of the things which we intrigued us was that there were 2 shops opposite each other (of the same name). We were confused and asked the guy who was handling the finances, he then informed that one serves only veg parantha and other serves only non-veg. Both the shops are small but they have good space outside for people to sit on cots (Khatiya) which gives authentic desi feeling.

The menu is simple with the only couple of things (Paratha & Lassi) of which they are expert of. When enquired, the stuff required for parathas is complete and they require at least an hour to prepare the material and additional time for cooking. When we requested again, he asked us which paratha we need (we ordered queen Aloo Onion paratha which was of size 20-inch weighted around 2 kg) so that he will try to check and get it for us but it would take 20 mins minimum, to which we agreed. We were hungry like hell and couldn’t control more, which made us order a 2 lassi which came in a big steel glass (easily of 750ml).

When the paratha eventually came, we were flabbergasted its size and the amount of butter given with it along with raita. Butter chunk was given in another plate which was easily 250gms in weight. The taste was just pure homemade with the paratha cooked evenly and no sides of it were left raw. We tried our best to finish but could complete only 60% of it and they were courteous enough to pack the rest to home. When we paid the bill, we were satisfied with our core and loved the hospitality they have given. One other thing which I observed while paying the bill is the amount of respect they had for Military men. They had a special discount of 15% for them.

It’s a must try for anyone who wants to get the desi feel of authentic Punjab style parathas and lassi. With a group of 6-8 friends, you could have a enjoy deliciously emperor size paranthas (of size 24 inches) and a bucket full of lassi :-).



Pabbas, Mangaluru

I had been to Mangalore a couple of times but never knew that there was a famous ice cream parlor for which people wait outside in a queue. I have heard people waiting for many things in line, but for you Ice cream?! I said to myself, “Okay, let’s try and see what’s so special about Pabbas“.

It was New year’s time and we had no plans of ours so my wife insisted to visit their parents home (which was in Udupi then). That’s when we planned to visit Pabbas as it’s only an hour drive from there. We reached Udupi in the evening of 28th December and rested for the day. Next couple of days, we visited a couple of beaches, explored new places in and around Udupi & Agumbe (St. Mary’s Island, Kudlu Theertha, Varanaga etc). IOn the last day, we went trekking to Kudlu Theertha in the morning and reach back around evening. Everyone dazed off for a while and around 6.00 PM, we suddenly planned to visit the ice cream parlor. We reached there by 7 pm and waited for 15-20 minutes to get the seating. The place was hustling with people and out of it with people gossiping, waiters rushing around etc. The first impression about it wasn’t good (as I seldom like crowded places). But, then the impression changed to neutral as one has to see the time of visit to the place (being a new year Eve) and the staff was experienced enough to manage the crowd.

I’m not an Ice cream fan but what intrigued me was their menu. I’m not referring to various kinds of ice cream flavors but how they have used ice cream in things I didn’t even imagine such as Pizza, Sandwich, Gadbad and many more. We tried many things(Chocolate Dad, Special Gadbad, Cake sandwich, Pizza ice cream, Tiramisu etc.) but my personal favorite is the Cake Sandwich. To sum it up, it was a good experience.

Done with Ice creams

If you guys are visiting Mangalore and have a few evening hours to spend, then I would recommend you to try their Ice creams (check Zomato for the user’s pick to get the idea).

Koodlu Teertha, Agumbe

It’s the last day of the year 2017 and the day was spent well. As I write this blog, I feel some calmness inside me due to the experiences which I had earlier in the day. As many of you are aware of my fondness for traveling, I follow many accounts related to tourism & travelers on Instagram. One such account posted a picture of a picturesque waterfall. At first, when I looked at it, wouldn’t believe it was in Karnataka. I went through the tags for the post and many other comments to find the name of the place, which was Kudlu Teertha, Agumbe.  Luck favored me as this place was en route to Udupi. I made up my mind to visit this place on my next visit to Udupi.

We had come to Udupi to be with my in-laws as we had a long weekend ahead on the occasion of New year. We had visited St. Mary’s Island the other day and couldn’t go to Kaup beach as we were tired. At night, we decided to leave for Koodlu Teertha early in the morning and reach back home in the afternoon as elders had plans to visit a temple. We left early in the morning around 8 from Udupi and reached Varanga to visit the Jain temple. By the time we left the place, it was around 9.30 AM. We went to Seethnadi Hotel to have our breakfast and from there to the destination.

The road to waterfalls is partly good (cement road) and partly off-road. Locals inform the travelers not to travel by their cars as they might get damaged but we decided to take it anyway. It took us about 45 mins to reach the parking area of the falls from the hotel. We didn’t expect the crowd to be large in number but then we were surprised. The entry ticket per person is Rs. 50 add to that the parking fee of Rs. 50 and camera charge Rs. 200. One has to trek for 1.5 km from the parking to reach the falls.

The trek to the reach falls is tiring as it passes through difficult terrain. There are few steps in between which might help the visitors a bit. It was tiring but when the waterfalls unraveled in front of us, it was just mesmerizing. The tiredness of trekking for more than half an hour vanishes by seeing the baffling beauty of the place and the height of the waterfall from where the water descends from a height of about 300 feet. It plunges straight into a pond which is not deep and one can swim easily. The calm and tranquillity found near the waterfall are just magical, adding to it was the echo of the sounds. To reach closer to the waterfalls, we had to cross a small water stream, as soon as we stepped into the water, it sent chills all over the body. Water was too cold which freaked many people and made the person jump instantaneously. Her cousins jumped into the water while we stood there admiring the waterfall.

I was pretty pleased with the location where it was situated, how it was not disturbed by the visitors, not much litter around and no washing of clothes or any absurd things we see at other places. I had the plans to swim but then dropped it due to water being so cold. We sat on the rocks immersing our legs into the water and looking at the waterfalls, huge rocks and the echoes created by the people in happiness. It was serene and the atmosphere around makes you feel rejuvenated. Time had passed around 2 hours at this place that’s when we called her cousins to come out of the pond to which they were dejected. After a lot of persuasions, they came out and changed their clothes. As we walked back, everyone was happy to the core of visiting this wonderful place. Upon reaching near parking, we had snacks (bread omelet, lemon juice, cold beverages etc.) at a small shop and started our journey back to Udupi.

Important Information:

  • Best time to  visit: August to December
  • How to reach from Udupi:
    • By Bus: One can take a bus, get down at Hebri and hire an auto.
    • By car: It’s an hour and 30 minutes drive.
  • If your planning to visit the waterfalls, also visit Varanga Basadi which is nearby (best time is evening).
  • As the waterfall is deep in the forest, it’s recommended to carry water bottles and snacks along with yourselves.
  • In monsoons seasons, be watchful of the leeches.
  • Kindly DO NOT litter and let’s keep the nature clean.

St. Mary’s Island, Malpe Beach, Udupi

St. Mary’s Island was on my bucket list from a couple of years ( back when I visited Mangalore). Ever since it always evaded me from getting there. Tried planning with friends a couple of times, but nothing worked out. Even a couple of months back, we had to visit Malpe beach but couldn’t go due to time constraints. And here I’m today, finally after visiting St. Mary’s island felt like one quest completed.

Many people had told me to visit the place and even in many sites, this was ranked no.1 in must visit attractions near Udupi. Curiosity made me dig up the history of the island and I found this: In 1498, Vasco Da Gama landed on his journey from Portugal and named this island as a dedication to Mother Mary.

I visited Udupi twice within 3 months now, courtesy: my in-laws stay there. Luckily, the place where we stay is very near to Malpe beach. We all planned and decided to leave early and come back soon.

Malpe beach, famous for many reasons. The primary reason being ‘St. Mary’s Island’. The sole reason for many people to visit Malpe beach is to visit this island. And we were also one of them. We reached boating office around 10 AM while the ferry was getting prepared. The tickets cost us Rs. 250/- per person (which I felt pretty expensive). I guess, we were the second trip to the island, but had to wait for a modest half an hour for people to gather. Finally our boat set to sail when around 80 people boarded it. The ferry went past some very small islands formed of only rocks. We were moved to smaller boat near the island so that we reach the shoreline if the island. It takes around 30 minutes to reach island from the boating office.

The first impression of the island was clean and impressive. The island now provides various kinds of water sports. Before you enter into the island, bags are checked. One has to take tickets for camera (Rs. 200) and for luggage (Rs. 20 per luggage). The island is not vast in size and can be easily covered in an hour. I had decided not to let myself in the water whereas my wife and her cousins readily jumped into the water. We walked around the beach and settled somewhere near the end. My wife & her cousins got into the water yet again, playing within themselves. As time passed by, it was getting crowded. I took pictures of them and the beautiful scenic views presented to my eyes. It was such a bliss even in such scorching heat.

After playing for more than an hour, we decided to leave. Everyone quickly dried themselves and went to the only food court available. There weren’t many options available so we sticked to veg puffs & tea. We sat in the shade and talked for a while to get back the lost energy. As we walked back, we enquired about the cycle ride near gate, were shocked to know that it charges Rs. 150 for mere 30 mins ride. We nodded our heads and walked back to the same shore where were dropped, to catch the ferry. As we reached there, her cousins wanted to have a go with ‘Jet Ski’. The ticket for the ride for 2 mins ride was pretty expensive i.e. Rs. 300/- per person. Three of them (Herself and two cousins) experienced the feeling of Jet Ski. As they finished, the ferry was about the leave. We quickly boarded and were off the island.

It was different experience all together where I travelled in a ferry, moved to smaller boat in the sea, explored the island, water sports etc. One thing which pinched me a bit was the price. It was hiked up pretty much and people didn’t care about it much even if it would ticket cost them Rs. 500 or parking cost them Rs.100. At the end of the day, there was a good vibe about the island which makes you forget everything.

Tips for visiting St Mary’s Island:

  • Best time to visit: Dec to March.
  • Get here early, people pour in so fast that it becomes crowded soon.
  • Take your time and checkout all the corners of the island.
  • Take care of our body, carry sunscreen lotions, caps, umbrella’s and sunglasses.
  • Outside food is not allowed inside the island (gate) but can be had outside the island gate.
  • Last ferry from the island is at 6 PM, so make you get on that :P.

How to reach Malpe beach:

  • By bus, it would take around 20-25 minutes and cost of the ticket would be Rs. 15.
  • By car, it depends upon where you have made your stay.

Advice: Irrespective of mode of you travel, its best to book a hotel near the bus station as its centre to many places such as Manipal View point, Malpe Beach, Krishna temple, quickly connects to highway etc.

Christmas Day

It is Christmas Day. Even though I belong to a different religion, I always loved Christmas for one sole reason and that was SANTA CLAUS. In my childhood, have seen many Christmas & Santa movies which increased my love for Santa every year.  As a kid, I believed in Santa very much, but as I grew up it decimated. One of the things I love about Christmas is the coziness and the anticipation that comes along with it.  I love how society (schools, offices etc.) shuts down and everyone gathers inside their houses to eat warming, seasonal foods that they’ve looked forward to all year long.

This year, one of our closest friends (Mamta & Nelson) had called up for the Christmas party at their home. We were speculative at first as we had plans of our own, as that was a long weekend. We decided not to travel anywhere as most of the places were booked and many of them were overly priced. A day before Christmas we decided to go the party. My brother was also in the city so we tagged him along to the party. We reached their home around 8 PM and many people had already gathered in. The party was organized in the party hall on the terrace. She introduced her friends to us and we jelled up pretty quickly. We bought a ‘Fish Bowl’  with a couple of golden fishes as Christmas gift for them, which they loved it.

One of their friends had brought Christmas cake, which they decided to cut to start the proceeding. After the cake cutting, snacks were served with alcohol & cold beverages. I personally enjoyed the pineapple sponge cake which brought the childhood memories of Hyderabad. If I remember correctly, I had 5 pieces of it ;-). Everyone sat around in groups with their friends & families talking, enjoying the songs tuned in by one of the guests.  As announced earlier, ‘Housie‘ game was arranged for the guests whose ticket was Rs. 20 each. We had taken 6 tickets in total (2 each or myself, my wife and brother) just to test our luck. And as expected, we failed. All of three of us failed and didn’t win neither of the three lines nor the full housie. As we were done with the game, dinner was brought to serve. There were Veg and Non-Veg dishes for the guests. I was already filled up with the starters and the cake :-), so had little vegetable rice and raita to it. My brother was bit high after a couple of drinks and was talking about luck and other stuff. We finished our dinner and sat for a couple of minutes until the hosts became free.

It was around 11.30 at night when we decided to take leave from them. We went down to collect our bag and take one last selfie amongst us for the remembrance. It a first-time experience attending a Christmas party for me and thoroughly enjoyed being there. Also, happy seeing the hosts having fun which was clearly evident on their faces. We were glad that we made to the party and had lots of memories to cherish for.

Dirt Mania, Bengaluru

It’s a year now that we’ve been married. We had our ups and downs on our way but time flies really fast. We didn’t plan anything as our parents wanted to be with us for our first marriage anniversary but then they had to drop out due to a family emergency. It was Monday, so we took off from our offices. We got fresh, wore new clothes and went straight to temple for the offering to god. We had our breakfast outside and went back home as there was no other plan for the day, at least that’s what she thought. Behind her back, I had planned a surprise for her in the later part of the day.

It was around 2.30 in the afternoon that I told her to get ready and we are going outside. She asked me about it but I kept giving some random answers making it more confusing. The place we were going was 50 km far and it would take easily more than an hour to reach there. I had already contacted the guy and informed we will be reaching there by 4 PM so that all the arrangements can be made without anything mess up. She was puzzled by what I was up to and she never got a hint about it. She wasn’t getting any idea as there weren’t any sign boards which would ease up her job of finding out what and where we were going. After driving around an hour and 15 minutes, we reached the place, ‘DIRT MANIA‘. And that’s when she understood what I was up to. We checked with the person who was in charge and he told us to wait for half an hour as the arrangements weren’t made completely. Meanwhile, he insisted us to have your lunch and come back around 4.30 PM. We went back to a nearby place to have some snacks, that’s when he called saying, arrangments were done.

When we reached, we drove a couple of quad bikes to check which one we were comfortable with. We picked our quad bike (The Gritty SportsMan) and started our ride. We picked ‘Nature Trail‘ which was 15 km from the place. The instructor drove another bike who was first, followed by my wife and then me. The ride was enthralling, to say the least, we crossed mud roads, into the small water channels, in the fields, up the hills etc. By the time, we reached hilltop she was ecstatic. We parked our bikes and then came the final surprise of the day. A table with two chairs on the hilltop with a sunset in the background. At first, she thought it was for someone else but then she realised it was a surprise for her. She looked baffled and had no words to say. For few minutes, she just stood there admiring and taking in the beauty of the place and the arrangements made. We sat down and she had so many questions to ask such as how did I pull it off? How didn’t she knew about it? etc. I gave the answers to those questions and we talked for a while before we cut the cake and celebrated. A camera person also accompanied us on the way up and he shot good pictures of us and the picture-perfect scenes. All in all, everything planned went without any hiccups. On the way back home, she thanked me many times for such a wonderful surprise.

I would like to thank the team of Dirt Mania in making my plans successful. They were friendly and had given us space when needed. We will definitely be coming back again for many more experiences and encourage others to go visit the place.

Dinner at Toscano

As I write this blog, we are inching towards completing one year of our marriage anniversary. My wife had ordered clothes for me as a surprise but to her disappointment, the fitting wasn’t that great. With a heavy heart, she returned them back and we went to Forum Mall, Koramangala for shopping. We shopped for clothes and decided to dine at Toscano which is famous for its Italian pizza, as this was her long-awaited checklist.

We settled down at one corner and waited for the menu to check out for options. The ambience is very calm and it feels like Italian restaurant once you enter filled with the aroma of spices & natural herbs. As we sat down, one of the waiters brought flatbread and couple of sauces as starters. At first, I was taken back as we didn’t order but then got assured as this was complimentary from them. I don’t remember which thin crust pizza we had ordered: ‘Rustica’ or ‘Four seasons’. She wanted to try wine for a long time and we decided the time was apt for us to taste (Anniversary occasion). After taking the suggestions from the waiter, we placed a takeaway for one bottle of wine. In the meantime, pizza arrived. The aroma of the pizza was different than what we have in domino’s or pizza hut. It tasted delicious. As we were finishing our pizza, the bottle of wine arrived packed. We were pleased with the service and the food taste. We settled the bill and headed back to our home.

Upon reaching home, Out of curiosity, I checked for the prices & reviews of the wine bottle and found I was cheated by the waiter and the restaurant. They had charged me extra 1500-1800 bucks for the wine bottle. The content which was there earlier vanished and taught me a lesson.

Amrutesvara Temple, Amruthapura

It was time for us to head back to Bengaluru from Udupi after such a long break. My Father-in-Law also accompanied with us as he had a meeting next day in the Bengaluru office. We left Udupi in the morning hours after having our quick breakfast at home. The weather was warming up and birds started their singing while we drove from the hilly areas. We crossed Agumbe in no time. After a while, we stopped at a small hotel somewhere in the interiors of a small village to have our breakfast, again. One of the famous food in and around is ‘Mangalore Bun‘. We all had a heavy breakfast this time and started our journey.

As we were reaching Thirthalli, my wife told me about Amrutesvara Temple which is near Tarikere. I never heard of the temple name before. Her aunt had told about the recent visit to the temple to her, so did her father. They expressed the desire to visit the temple as it on the way. We saw the signboard pointing to left just as we crossed Tarikere. As we took left from NH-206, had to travel another 6 km to reach the temple. One wouldn’t know amidst the village, there comes a piece of history. I didn’t notice at first as its just after a turn. The temple is maintained well with lush green garden all around and a fence guarding the temple. Sun was blazing hot which made the walk more difficult. As we entered the temple’s outer sanctum, we felt cooler.

The sculptures, idols, black shining pillars supporting the temple, carvings all around showcased the amazing talent of sculptors in Hoysala dynasty. It really baffled me seeing the carvings which such precision and thoughtfulness. As per few guides information, each side of the temple wall depicts a story in anti-clockwise. The temple walls have lots of miniature decorative towers which has its own significance. As we go around the temple, we see a couple of more temples. There’s a specific broken sculpture near the tree which signifies 12 sun signs sculpted in one rock. After looking around, we sat in the outer sanctum for a while, one of the temple poojari informed about the food provided by the temple.

We sat there for a while admiring the beauty of the temple before we headed back. I took a couple of pictures of the temple, inner sanctum, sculptures outside, miniatures on the temple walls etc. Many people travel the road we had taken but very few know about the temple. If anyone is going on that route, I urge them to pay a visit to this beautiful temple, which has a lot to say and show about Hoysala dynasty and its architecture. The best time to visit the temple would be in the evening.

Trip Details (By Car):

Route (From Bengaluru): Bengaluru -> Kunigal -> Tiptur -> Arsikere -> Kadur -> Amruthpura (247 Kms)

Route (Towards Bengaluru): Udupi -> Agumbe -> Thirthalli -> Tarikere -> Amrutesvara Temple (187 Kms)

Malpe Beach, Udupi

Malpe Beach, famous among rest of the others and one of the primary reason being St Mary’s Island. It’s also famous for low-end water sports which are why picnic seekers and conventional vacationers are the primary habitats of it. The reason I wanted to visit this beach was that of its picturesque sunset at the Arabian Sea in the backdrop of St Mary’s Island hence gets crowded in the evening. However, In the daytime, you will only get a hazy and distant glimpse of St Mary’s Island.

We had planned a day earlier to visit Murdeshwar and another temple in order for us to return back by evening to Malpe beach. The road to reach Malpe beach is very busy and narrow. It took us good 30 minutes to reach there. As we reached near, we were astonished to see huge crowd everywhere and added to that was parking issue. The place was too crowded and vibrant section of Malpe beach. There is also a beautiful marble statue of Mahatma Gandhi on the beach side. Restaurants, Coconut vendors, are in surplus on the beach side. I dropped my wife, her mother and grandfather near the Gandhi statue in search of parking, went so far ahead (nearly a km) and parked the car.

We (me & her brother) decided not to walk back so far as the sun was setting already. I informed about our whereabouts and told them we will catch them up after half an hour. I was amazed to see two sides of the beach: one which was so crowded & bustling and the other being so scarce. I was lucky that we parked our car on the road, which was hardly 100m from the beach. The first impression of the beach was very clean and a positive vibe of it. We sat down near the empty boats which were far away from the water and people. The color of the sky, the raw smell, very few people around made me pleased to a great extent. We gazed as far as possible into the sea looking for ships, boats or anything which caught our attention. I was so lost in the waves coming by that her brother had called me twice before I came back to normalcy. We were getting calls to come back as it was getting darker and they needed to go back home. As we started back, so did many people, created the traffic. We were forced to take another road which proved lucky for us. We picked them up within few minutes and headed back to home.

I haven’t had much time to spend at the beach nor had time to travel to St. Mary’s island, which is why I decided to go for it one more time with ample amount of time on hand and try few water sports.