@dhanashree’s

truth opinions variety movies fun substance people food ideas life !!

Archive for travelogues

weekend in namma bangalore..enjoi maadi

we travelled to bangalore on friday night, with sridhar and ranjini, in bangalore express. reached cantonement by 4.30am n  then bengaluru by 5am.

weather was cooler than cool! we hired pre paid cab n reached university campus if iim-b where we were put up. the temperature inside the campus was easily 3-4 degrees lower than city (which was also cold by the way) due to crazy amount of greenery, well maintained landscaping in every nook and corner and stone structures all over..

entire bangalore is characterized by lots of greenery, cleanliness and an underlying aesthetic sense to every house, every shop, every girl walking down the street who is innovatively dressed.. the climate was rainy n cloudy n it spiced up our holiday feeling..

however theres really a lot of orderly non-honking traffic, on these quiet  green roads, and it takes long time to reach from one place to the other…  this phenomena is more bogging down than in mumbai… which was one surprising thing for me.

we met smita and naveen on mg road and hung out in the area, had chat amongst lot of chit chat n laughter, n later went to one of the many malls on brigade road.. smita has been a very good and old friend and anand and naveen met for the first time. but we all struck off surprisingly well and had fun.. there are some people who connect, and not bring other material things in between, and i think we all had connected with honesty. it was a nice evening.

sunday we went to banerghatta national park, as it was close to where we were put up. its grand safari is worth seeing, there is good variety like white tiger, lions, bears etc. the zoo is also worth a watch. we have shot peahens spreading the entire beautiful bunch of colourful feathers on the rainy day n a baby elephant playing mischief with his flock 🙂

sunday night, a university car dropped us back to bengaluru station, and we had a night train back home again.

it was a crisp n memorable weekend.

take aways:

1. i knew about one new city

2. we thought we should do something to stay in a better city.

3. smita got inspiration to start a walk in the evenings, after she learnt our  morning schedule 🙂

 

 

cunnoor or coonoor ?

it was the first time i experienced such a long pongal vacation, in mumbai we never knew anything more than its name! mom n dad (the ‘in law’ suffix doesn’t make much difference in my life, yeah they are as loving as my parents) are visiting us, and we wanted to make the most of  the weekend… hence coonoor… generally travelogues start with how we started n which bus we took and where we stopped etc etc, but unless you are planning to go there like next week or something, you really don’t feel like reading all that… so with a li’ll fast forward, we are in coonoor… its as picturesque as dreams can ever get!! we are put up in a pretty citibank guesthouse (anand is a citibanker). overlooking the taj garden retreat, this is in upper cunnoor.. just very close to the marketplace…  the first day was spent lazying about and taking long walks, and playing golf in the mini course, the cooks in the guest house put together really tasty and simple food… the next day we took a coonoor tour in a tourist cab and like a typical hill station we were shown few places like dolphin’s nose, suicide point (theres one in every hill station i bet!! 🙂 ) , water falls etc etc. we have a fresh stock of  snaps  n videos now, will upload on the photos link here tonight.. the third day we took an ooty tour, which is half an hour away from coonoor. its bigger n more commercialized tourism, pretty place though. 

in the daytime we used to freak out, eat in some very good places, evenings would bring in cold with them and gradually chilling breeze, and then was time to retreat to the guest house, gather in front part near the porch n play cards next to the heater, all four of us sitting under different corners of the same blanket.. 🙂

 i am glad we breathed in more of the essence of the place than from a tourist point of view.. the whole place is full of tea estates, all the hills are laden with neat carpets of tea plantations… walking down the hills, seeing the sky change colours, having a hot cuppa chai at a local stall is life. there are tiny government transportation buses that take you places if you’re tired walking… 

this was pretty much my version of our trip. cute n crisp holiday ‘twas..

puducherry

writing long posts is boring, and reading them too is not a very different feeling..so i have decided that all posts hence should be shorter..

a rare long weekend in a long time, this time we decided to go to pondicherry , now called puducherry…

drive on the ECR at early hours.. what do i describe… packed food.. good music… occasional stop for snaps, there are so many trees all around and by the way since ECR is an “ east coast road ”, so we have the calm morning sea and fresh clean white n fluffy waves for company… so almost every wind down the road makes for a picture perfect stop…

puducherry is serenity personified… have you observed that some places have this soothing thing in them , and a degree of honesty, and many of them happen to be in the vicinity of holy temples or churches or like puducherry, the aurobindo ashram ?

pondicherry-street_scene_3.jpg  afternoon was quiet and spent in the suite, they had tasty food…

evening we set off for the beach… the streets were full of simple locals who mostly use bicycles to travel… also quite some french locals unlike the rest of india… bargaining at vegetable vendors or traveling on the back seats in bicycles..etc

old houses..quite some with french name boards… it’s a different culture, and a classic example of fusion culture at that…

 

the beach is lovely… lots and lots of empty space, a wide enough road, official, old structured but newly painted buildings of pondicherry like the high court, all lined up neatly on one side, eateries serving chat and spiced sweetcorn and roasted bhuttas… the sea looks beautiful.. its strange, the same water body behaves with discretion with every beach it meets… i wonder if the have some things between them like friendship and love and maybe animosity…

pondicherry-ocean.jpg

well, everytime i look at the horizon behind the sea, the sky on the top of the beach, i get a feeling of how small i am and how magnificient they all are…

it was quite a good evening… and when it just started drizzling, we decided to make a move…

next day, we went to auroville… a city in itself, but a city with a mission… a place with a message…

auroville makes a subject in itself to write and talk about, don’t know where to start from, i think instead of disturbing its aura with my introduction, i recommend you strongly  to visit http://www.auroville.org/  

it all started when few people and governments came together and said, let us have a place which doesn’t belong to any one country or any one religion, and which is not a part of any one culture… and that’s how it was formed… there were more than 50 families coming from different parts of the world.. and staying here for more than 2 generations now.. they are partly funded by the contributing governments but also indulge in unconventional occupations, which give them happiness… auroville products include aroma candles, zari, embroidered, hand painted kurtis etc,  and lot of such tiny but useful things…  there are a couple of boutiques near the matri mandir, that sell all these… oh! so,  there existed this li’ll part of the world too.. thank god i did explore it 🙂  

weekend visit to mahabs

by the way, went to mahabalipuram yesterday… its not the first time i went there, but it’s the first time i remember to write post trip..

also this time surprisingly, we had a better planned trip… packed food, good cds in the car etc..etc.. inlike our usual selves huh ?

on the way, we stopped  by a crocodile park, it’s a crocodile bank it seems… people can deposit extra crocodiles when they want 🙂 sorry… but seriously, unexpected in a place like ecr highway where you see nothing but guys in white wraparound skirts (‘lungi’ is a gross word, please) selling tender coconut water and unruly cars excited about the no traffic area… it’s a different effort and a good one at that… we saw many crocodiles… read about different types.. . they were all sleeping dint even budge.. some had green moss on their designer skinned backs…no- its not as yuck as you imagine.. its ok to look at so many crocodiles together… we have some scary snaps to boost of now… with crocs in background… 

there were turtles also, we have shot a couple cosying together in water,  😉 shall put the link for the uploaded video here. it was chooooo chweeeeeet!! … but i bet it must be difficult for them with those stone hard backs or shells or whatever.. 🙂

the next stop was at this restaurant called moonrakers… if you love sea food…you’ll love this place… it smells plenty of fish… i had a difficult time getting used to to the ‘fragrance’, but once done.. the place has some tasty food ..

window shopped for some traditional brocade work on kurtis,carpets, junk jewelry… etc etc…

then we reached the actual stone carvings of mahabalipuram…

arjuna’s penance,others in background 

we shot a documentary on them…  voiced by us, explaining about the huge standalone balanced rock on the rock, that has refused to budge over centuries,

balancing rock 

the carvings, elephants etc etc…

some of the stones have those marks on them… chain like they used to put wood and water in them, when wood expanded due to water, rocks broke, that’s one of the methods the sculptures used… 

some movies like the recent ‘guru’ – abhishek bachhan and aishwarya were shot here…

then theres a shore temple some distance apart too…

 

all this is worth the drive till here…by the time its 4.30 pm, we headed back…

stopped on the way at mgm resorts for coffee… 

faced some bad traffic jam in the city late evening…dinner was an easy salad and sandwiches…

 

  

what stuff are holidays made of..

this is a kind of evening i like. i am in matheran.
i am in a mansion look alike resort. my suite has oldish black rose wood furniture and it smells of herbal incense.
i come out to the spacious verandah that has a big grandpa’s swinging chair and wooden fence on which I prefer to sit. a family is staying in the adjacent suite, and an old lady is sitting in their verandah sipping her coffee and keeping an occasional eye on the monkey hanging down from the roof vying for the biscuits kept on the table aside.the whole place is surrounded by trees trees and more trees and you cannot hear anything but their rustling.my ears have taken a day to get used to the infinite calmness. 
i proceed towards the dining arena that has its old grandeur preserved in the large oval mirror with carvings and other furnishings and the tea pots like other crockery that makes you feel like a movie that’s in flashback mode.. the food tastes great !
i feel like going for a walk.. i walk out towards the gate, only to find a couple of guys with 3-4 good looking and tall and healthy horses in tow.. “ madam 5 point leke jayenge.. bolo kitna ? “ .. as in we will give you a horse ride to 5 sightseeing places / peaks ( as matheran is all of a hill top ) .. how much would you negotiate..i just nod at them to not invite further offers and start walking..

                    on the way…

the road is tiny and muddy and red. It is winding down amidst the trees and greenery is all that i can see as far as i can. it seems to tell the road.. uff you are coming in my way.. occasional boards and advertisements of  other resorts/hotels arrowpoints etc hanging down from the trees help me find my way. a cheering of crowd and a fading sound of horse hoofs in the mud tells me that theres a road next to mine but theres no way I can see it through that dense a greenery.
now I see a chai stall that play hindi music and two old men sitting on the bench outside with legs folded and knees near their chins sipping tea and chatting away after the day’s work. this is the first sign that market is close by. it is followed by a “futwear mart” – note the spelling and slowly the shops have increased in density next to each other.
on my left is a railway track were the matheran mini train comes thrice a day in the mornings, enough to make the place noisy and hustling bustling with chaiwalas, coolies to carry people’s luggage to their destinations, horse wallahs etc.but now there are kids playing on the tiny tracks and people posing for snaps on it.
i have reached the market. it’s a very chirpy colourful and entertaining place. i realized here that it was already sunset as now I could catch a glimpse of the sky due to the wider road. shops clamouring and clinging to each other on both sides of the road and curiously vying for attention with their colourful ware and misspelt but decorated lighted name boards. some have embroidered scarfs and shawls while others have pretty brown handpainted typical matheran bags, still others have wooden artefacts waiting to be bargained and taken away.
there are eateries that smell of hot samosas, and spicy chaat and a vendor frying bhutta (sweetcorn) on charcoal. the chikki shops draw most of the people to them.
the market boasts of an eager crowd with myriad variety. You can see faces that can be traced to different cities and sometimes different countries.some look busy, some are eager to buy, some want to wait outside a eaterie for their turn, a traditional indian wife here wants to strut her new fashionable outfit which she is uncomfortable to carry off, and of course there is also a variety of people who are just strolling for leisure.
i go up a smaller bylane off the market road, that has many leather ware shops.. leather that is manufactured locally by the villagers. i am already hungry and getting ready for a round of bargaining as i see pair of  flowery slip-ons..