Sunday, October 31, 2010

Brindavan Gardens and Krishnaraja Sagar Dam: Travelogue and Photo essay

The Brindavan gardens are about 30 kms from the Mysore city and takes about 30~40 mins. They are located at the Krishnaraja Sagar dam.

We went at 4:30 PM during Dasara. Generally, there is a musical fountain and a show at around 6:30 PM. It used to be a great show but now there are several such fountains and its kind of lost its charm.

It is best to go a little early and you have to cross a long bridge or go in a boat to the musical fountain. We skipped it as we were with a small children. The garden itself is a good place for hanging out though it was very crowded due to Dasara season in Mysore.

I have taken a few photos of the dam arounf twilight hour and they are quite beautiful.

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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Trip from Bangalore to Mysore by SH-17 road: Tips and Experience

Distance : about 140 kms and takes 4 hours.
Time: 2 hrs to get out of Bangalore and 2 hrs on the highway!!! From Richmond circle Woodlands hotel we took the BGS fly over (or the Deve Gowda flyover as people put it to cross the Majestic Jams). Yet we were held up at the "Satellite" Bus station for nearly 30 mins.
Route: For old timers who have seen the earlier road, this is a major improvement . However, for people who have driven on the Golden quadrilateral from Chennai, the road has far too much miscellaneous traffic - from Bullock carts to Cycles to Trucks. This does slow you down. It is quite scenic though with the advent of all the Coffee days and Kamaths, their hoardings are an eye-sore spoiling the landscape.

You will go through Ramanagar, Maddur, Mandya, Srirangapatna. Each has a fancy board like Ramanagar says Silk City Ramnagar etc. The pain in this route is that there is no by-pass for these - and each extends for more than 3~4 kms, especially Mandya.

Food: Maddur is known for its "world famous" Maddur vada and the route is dotted with Cafe Coffee Days,Kamat, McDonalds, KFC and other. But personally, its anyway a 4 hour journey - you dont need a break.

Some tips:

  1. If you are planning to do it in 3 hrs, get out of Bangalore real early morning.
  2. Take the BGS flyover to get out of the city fast (If you leave from Richmond Circle, Woodlands Hotel)
  3. Avoid weekend rush. I did it during Mysore Dasara season but managed to avoid weekends
  4. Turn right at the big "Mysore" green arch if you plan to go to Yadavagiri Dasaprakash Paradise (see my Hotel Review)

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Saturday, October 23, 2010

Review of Hotel Dasaprakash Paradise Mysore, Yadavagiri

Visited: 11-14 Oct 2010 during Mysore Dasara Festival. I had booked in advance as I felt it is safer. Mysore city gets very crowded with tourists during the Dasara festival

Location: This is located in Yadavagiri. Please be sure that you are not getting confused with Hotel Dasaprakash. When asking for local directions it is better to say" Hotel Paradise, Dasaprakash , Yadavagiri" together so no one gets confused and misdirects you to the other hotel

Its situated in a nice quiet residential area with hardly any shops or transport closeby. If you wanted to do shopping and stay in the heart of the city , it may be a good idea to choose their budget hotel Hotel Dasaprakash Mysore

Rooms: We chose the ac rooms and was around 2700 per day. Rooms were clean and neat and the house keeping and room service was quite good. The room was smaller than what I imagined it. The reception lounge is huge

Parking: Ample parking is available in an open lot. I parked my car there for 3 days and took a rented car to roam around with ease.

Food: They have one restraunt below. Pure Veg and I think it is called Vishala. The food I felt was a little spicy for my taste especially since I travelled with small children. However, they can customise and the service staff are very accomodative. For example, I got plain dhall for my kids even though it wasn't on their menu.

A few photos at the hotel reception lounge

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Santhome beach: Foreshore estate - a photograph of a fishing boat in the hot sun

This is one part of the beach that has not changed for a long time. It sent me back atleast 15 years when I went there. You can see the fishing boat and catamaran and net drying poles there still reminding you that it is dumingkuppam fishing village and not Foreshore Estate, Santhome Chennai!!!!

From Blogger Pictures

In the hot sun a couple of guys were drinking at the beach. This is some of the areas shown in the "Kannathil Muthamittal" movie ("Peck on the cheek" Maniratnam movie)

Friday, October 22, 2010

Review and pics of Hotel Woodlands Bangalore

We stayed at Woodlands for 3 days on 9-11 and 14 Oct 2010.

Location: The place is right in the middle of Bangalore , thought for first timers, when coming from Hosur road to Richmond circle, there is an acute turn next to a hidden name board for woodlands

Parking: Ample parking space is available.

Room size: Large (Actually this is a very old and conservative hotel and you will enjoy the large albeit old  but clean rooms)

Food: There is a Sunheri restraunt for breakfast and lunch and Woodys for Dinner.

I liked the buffet south indian breakfasts which were complimentary. Especcially their super small handkerchief sized dosas and masala dosas.

Lunch is "Sappad" on a Banana Leaf - man what a 5 course meal - starts with puri sambar, rasam, mixed rice, curd, sweets and more....

Dinner is in Woodys inside the campus but outside the building.

Room service is ok but the service in the restaurant is quite poor. Its not equipped to handle the crowd. Price of food is high and not quite commensurate with service or helpings

Tariff: around 2.5K + Taxes for Non-ac rooms.

Looks: Nice conservative old place
A picture of the entrance
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An old car parked at the entrance
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Old building housing the entrance and some reception
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2 views from the room on 6th floor
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Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Trip from Chennai to Bangalore by Road - A distance of about 350 kms - Tips, Places to eat and road guide

I am publishing this post mainly for people who want to travel Chennai to Bangalore by road  and are driving this route for the first time

Distance : Around 350 kms
Best route: Chennai (RA Puram - Poonamallee - Vellore - Vaniyambadi - Krishnagiri - Hosur - Bangalore) NH4 - NH46 and NH7
Key route markers and turns: Ensure you turn right after Krishnagiri (under a flyover onto NH7) - remember the left takes you to Dharmapuri and Salem.
Start time: 7 AM (From Chennai)
Reached at: 12:30 PM at Koramangala and 1:30 PM at Richmond Circle Woodlands Hotel

Best places to eat  breakfast or lunch depending on when you leave -
If you leave at 7 AM from the city (like RA Puram or T Nagar) you will reach
1.  Jains Hotel in Poonamallee (opposite Tirupati cutting) on the left side of the road. This is a great place for breakfast at around 8 AM . (There are 2 hotels that look alike  - take the one that is marked as Jains)
2. Alternatively you could drive till Kanchipuram around 8:30 AM and eat at Arasuvai Arasu there.
3. Around 10:30 you will be at Vellore - Just before the second flyover on the highway you will see a board that says "Katpadi". Take the feeder road leading to Katpadi and under the flyover turn right - in the large circle. (You will see several boards that say Way to VIT (Vellore Institute of Technology) - you will know you are on the right track if you see them). There is a place called Aryas right there in the circle itself - you cant miss it. where you can eat here. Good decent food. There is also a AC wing in this restraunt. We prefer this to Saravan Bhavan since it is right on the highway unlike Saravana Bhavan which is inside the city. This place, Aryaas also has good parking - ask the security guy.

Things to watch out:

  • The Ambur Vaniyambadi towns are on the highway and there is significant bus traffic. So slow down in the city
  • Arcot bridge people come in the opposite direction
  • Expect traffic snarls in Hosur and Koramangala onwards.
  • After Atibele take the elevated expressway to reach Madivala. Thats the fastest way to gain entry into Bangalore - takes less than 40 mins from there. Dont overspeed on the elevated expresssway (80 kmph is speed limit) as there are cops and speed guns all over.

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Monday, October 18, 2010

Folk music artists performing at Chamundi Hills during Dasara Festival : Mysore

We were at Chamundi Hills and we found some folk artists playing at the Chamundeswari temple. They were not paid artists - just a band playing for the godess for free because they enjoyed it. It was very interesting to listen to them when standing in the queue.

I got a 30 sec clip.

Video Shot with Nikon D5000 f/1.8G 35mm AF-S lens

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Sunday, October 17, 2010

The changing skyline of Bangalore: Cityscape

Bangalore was once a sleepy middle class joint with PSUs and nice houses. If you needed to go out - you went to MG road for a walk, Vidhan Soudha and Cubbon park.

Now it is surprising that so many skyscrapers and malls and most people seem to be spending their time at these malls.

I stayed at Woodlands, in Richmond circle - pretty much in the centre of the city and took a photograph on the east and west side of Bangalore. Pretty much symbolises the change I am referring to from OLD Bangalore to NEW Bangalore!!

The OLD Bangalore Sklyine

The NEW Bangalore Skyline

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Bangalore and Mysore Photos during Dasara - Places to visit

A quick upload of Mysore Vacation Photos
1. Krishna Raja Sagar - Brindavan Gardens
2. Mysore Palace - with lighting taken from the road during Dasara festival
3. Srirangapatna and Tipus palace
4. Chamundi Hills - Chamundeswari Temple and Bull temple

Detailed travelogue later

To see each pic follow the link
All shot with my Nikon D5000 and mostly Nikkor AF-S 35mm f/1.8G
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Friday, October 8, 2010

My new flexible tripod bought in India in ebay

It is chinese but available in India and has performed ok in the last 3~4 days. I bought it on ebay india

Similar to a Joby  Gorillapod