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Showing posts with label Travel. Show all posts

Kodaikanal - Gift of the Forest

I have been staying in Bangalore for the last two years, working day in and day out. Off late was feeling too much cramped by not being able to enjoy at all. This was the time I came across articles posted on this site, Travel Diaries and thanks to the posted articles, I started believing that for a small trip all we need is a decision and a weekend. As there are a lot of places to explore near to Bangalore, so I discussed my plans with some of my friends. What I realized they also had same opinion about me and were planning to go out for some time.

Four was the company for us and one fine evening we packed our bags and boarded a late night bus to "Kodaikanal". We had whole travel plan in our mind that we will have our first stop in Kodaikanal where we had to take permission from the District Forest Officer to enter the forest for trekking but were unaware of the little obstacles we may face in-between.

We had little hint that Kodaikanal may give a feeling of a hill station but never imagined that it would welcome us with somewhat like below.

The scenic beauty made us believe that it is going to be one of the best Independence Day celebrations. We had a limited time of 3 days with us to explore whatever we could have and it takes more than 2 days to trek till Munnar Top Slip.
On the outskirts of Kodaikanal, our bus had a pit stop at a highway roadside hotel. We had a delicious South-Indian breakfast and as expected it was "VOWWW".

On reaching Kodaikanal, we straight away rushed to District Forest Office (DFO) to seek permission for trekking to Munnar. We were with our full spirits when we arrived at DFO but it had something weird in its box for us.

Government officials simply rejected our request to enter the forest by saying ‘It’s dangerous to trek in this season due to some internal problems in that area’. As it was our Independence day so we could not get District Forest Officer to talk and convince him to grant the permission. Waited and kept argued for 3 hours but their response was same and finally we decided to step back and search for a good decent hotel keeping one thing in mind ‘Lets Live today and Fight tomorrow’.

Kodaikanal is a small town with lot of staying options suitable to all budgets. Luckily we got a very good place managed by Tamil Nadu Government itself with easily affordable price of 500/- per room. Rooms were really clean and surroundings were AWESOME.

We had complete half day with us so we just moved out to explore the city after having an economical & hygienic lunch in the HOTEL itself. The moment we stepped out of our hotel we saw many tourists cycling on the roads so without wasting a second we went to a nearby cycle shop and grabbed four cycles on rent.

Cycling after a long time was an extraordinary experience and we were feeling like kids again. We cycled around 5 km. to very a popular and beautiful place called ‘CROAKER'S WALK’. Within no time it was evening and place started to transform into a beautiful hill station with lights glowing in night.

There was a small teashop where we had one of the best tea of our lives having unique & fresh aroma, unfortunately the teashop guy was unable to fulfil our one of the companion's request of having Bournvita instead of Tea & Coffee. After having snacks we set out to explore the place on foot, as evening was setting in we were enjoying the foggy air of the evening.

Again we had our dinner in our hotel itself and we ended our day with 100% positive attitude that we will definitely get our permission tomorrow for trekking early in the morning itself.

Day 2– We were standing at DFO at sharp 9 AM and got to know that officer will arrive at around 11 AM, this did not matter as we were prepared to wait. Finally, our long wait ended and the officer arrived. Despite sitting immediate outside the office we could not get officer's appointment and finally we had conversation with him over the mobile phone only and answer was still 'NO'. We decided to keep aside our egos and asked the same officer to suggest some better alternatives as we thought that the Forest officer is the person most knowledgeable about the Forest. By seeing our eagerness to trek, the same officer suggested us an alternate trek at Tamil Nadu, Kerala border.

We boarded a common city bus in the late evening which took around 2-3 hours to reach our destination place. We have already decided that instead of luxuries of hotel we will be pitching in the tents. So immediately after reaching our spot we starting preparing our camps & bonfire to cook some food.

It was a perfect night with 0% pollution and brightly shining stars which is a little difficult to find in city's life. While camping you can cook your own food under the blue sky; you can cook whatever you like. Naturally prepared food is always out of the league and same we experienced while having it under the dark blue sky - 'SIMPLY DELICIOUS'.

The place had plenty of Eucalyptus tree leaves which made lighting fire easy. After the dinner, our beautiful camps were waiting to serve us with a good sleep.

Day 3:
Whole beautiful nature was in front of my eyes in the morning. I was feeling rejuvenated and 6 hours of sleep seemed like a sleep of continuous 24 hours.

No doubt it was one of the wonderful mornings I saw, having said that it was also our last day of trip so we quickly geared ourselves for 6 KM trek which includes one waterfall also. I was really excited about the waterfall as I love playing with water irrespective of not knowing how to swim.

In the beginning itself we saw a tomato and garlic plantations coming our way which was quite surprising and delightful to see.

After these plantations, we came across one Mystery Rock and if taken a closer look at you will find the rocks on the upper side resemble some faces. There was something unusual about this place.

After meddling over the mysteries associated with the Mystery Rock, we again continued our trekking on the less explored path:

In our 6 km. of trekking we searched our way through the forest and lot of different trees, majority being pine trees:

In about one hour we completed the trek and reached our cherished spot, "the Waterfall". Seeing a waterfall without any crowd was amazing.

When you go there avoid removing your shoes as the place has leeches and be careful with the slippery rocks. It is hard to explain the feeling I had of being close to the nature on this calm little waterfall, you will have to experience it on your own.

It was time when we had to move and leave the place for Kodaikanal where we had to catch our bus back to Bangalore. However, it was every difficult to bid farewell to such lovely surroundings.

Standing here I was thinking that our trip could have got extended by a few days more but I was really happy in my heart that despite not getting the DFO's permission to trek we did not ended up spending time in Kodaikanal itself, but instead explored a new place which most common tourists does not do.

Finally, our much desired break was coming to an end and it was the time to say good bye to this place and start your return journey to Bangalore.

Kodaikanal is situated in Dindigul district of Tamil Nadu and is 9 hours from Bangalore by bus. The nearest Railway stations are Palani Railway Station - 64 km. north, Kodai Road Station - 80 km. south east and Dindigul Railway Junction - 100 km. east.

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From Udaipur, On the trail of Maharana Pratap...

Such is the richness of heritage in Rajasthan that almost every street, every village and every corner has been  an intricate block in the exquisite historical panorama of this country.
Majority of the attacks on India during ancient times originated from the West. It was the exemplary courage and selfless sacrifice of the brave Rajput rulers which had weathered most of these attacks time and again. Rajasthan has played a much significant role in preserving the fabric of Indian tradition and culture.

After the grand Chittorgarh, our excursion took us to "Udaipur", the city of Lakes. As I always say - The best plans should be kept early in your schedule. In line with my philosophy the first on schedule was the "Walk down the history lane which had witnessed the legendary battle of Haldighati, from Udaipur to Nathdwara via Haldighati".

All the good things start with praying to God, just on the outskirts of Udaipur there is a small temple of Lord Krishna. However you have to climb a 100 steps to reach to the temple. After praying we were all set to our first destination, Haldighati Museum.

This is the route which had once witnessed the battle of Haldighati. The excursion around Udaipur has been designed in such a way that one gets to walk the way which was be taken by Maharana Pratap for the battle of Haldighati. The hospitality of the local population is amazing and is worth mentioning. They are always willing to go an extra yard to assist the tourists in order to metamorphose their good experience into an excellent one.



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