Sunday, August 30, 2009

Tipu's Summer Palace

Just to avoid being all-day in front of Laptop, me and Thiru decided to visit some beautiful places in Bangalore. I googled and Tipu’s Summer Palace looked inviting. It is walkable distance from City market bus station. Situated near Chamrajpet, Tipu’s Summer palace is no short of architectural wonder. Made of stone, wood and sand, this palace has been used in paintings by the Europeans. As a tourist attraction, the Palace has an art gallery depicting Tipu’s life, achievements and visions. A model of a Tiger eating a British soldier is also placed there, believed to be a favourite of Tipu. Tipu used to envision himself like a Tiger!! Another interesting artifact kept is a model of rockets used by Tipu in his wars. Our own rocket specialist, Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam has studied the exact science of the rocket in England and praised its simplicity and effectiveness.

(Click on the image for larger view)

There is a well maintained Garden around the Palace. At Rs.5 entrance fee per head, the Palace is worth a visit.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Antaragange Trip - 4. Trekking it the second time

Around 1:15pm, we started our climb by steps to the Shiva temple… we noticed another path which might have been the one taken by Neeru’s friend!!… someone started to count the steps… first few counts were met with chorus sounds… and then it was laughed off… I had read in net the day before that there were around 300-400 steps… only to find that it would be have near about 100-150!! :P… there were lot of monkeys on the way.. and we took of safety of not taking any snaps till we reached the temple… the temple looked like carved from rocks…. There was a small pool with virtually no water.. there seemed to be a built shower over the pool where ppl were taking bath… it might have been the one referred in the net saying that the source of shower is unknown! Spiritually believed to be coming from ganges… which is why the place might have got its name… Antara-gange (ganges in the deep)…

Mohan wanted a decision again!!.. we were feeling a bit tired.. and he wanted to reach Bangalore b4 sunset… we decided to climb until 3pm and then to come back… that way we could start by 4:30pm on way back home… after the temple.. there were steps carved out of rocks… which were quite easy to climb.. especially in light of our trekking experience of morning :P…. we climbed for a while.. the steps guiding us…

( On our way up )

( A wonderful view from the hills )

After the steps vanished.. we found large rocks on either side of path… it was like easier version of morning’s trek trip!! We were grateful to Neeru now :P… we would have missed all the fun had we not taken that path in morning… shortly, we started climbing huge rocks.. taking snaps,, and taking rest frequently… water supply was also depleting rapidly… from this hill, we had a better and wider look at the other hills.. and the beautiful valley below.. we could even see the road by which we came… we took snaps of them.. and like the cactus in morning, this time we took snaps around a flowery plant…

( rare flowers!! atleast in these parts :P )

We kept climbing not sure of where to stop and return back.. we saw another cave and decided to explore it on our way back just like it happened in the morning… after many breaks, we reached a flat ground.. we promptly found a shady place near trees and sat on the rocks to rest… we decided to have a prolonged rest there…and return back… we could see a small hill in front.. me and thiru decided to climb.. it was tricky and difficult… I found the climb adventurous and led the way… shortly after, Isli joined us.. and we climbed pretty difficult rocks… now and then we would stop, shout to the others to take snaps of us.. we had fascinating urge to climb further and further.. it made us climb pretty difficult ones and feel happy about it…

( Me, Thiru and Nitin on top of the small hill )

after we could climb no further, we took another path to come down… after the hill ended, there was agricultural land.. we walked on the very sides to prevent damage to newly growing plants and re-joined the others… while we were away, they had fun swinging on a tree’s branch!! There were big rocks under the tree which they used to climb onto the tree itself!! Thiru enthusiastically joined them too!!.. I too tried, but no space left :P… so started taking their snaps :D…

( resting on rocks!! )

We all rested then on the rocks.. some of them lying down flat on the rocks… shortly, discussions started on different topics.. it went on for a while.. and then it was time to go back…

( time to leave :(.. )

I took few parting snaps of the landscape and of us leaving the place.. As decided earlier, we went to the cave on our way back… this one was lot trickier than the one in morning.. some of them ducked under the rocks, while some climbed onto steep rocks to enter it… Thiru was giving live commentary on phone!! :D.. the rock on top of cave was very large and inviting for a climb.. but it seemed very dangerous to climb.. dunno what came to mind, I decided to have a go at it..ignoring good advices of not to climb… I just leaped onto it and climbed with the momentum of the jump.. it was definitely dangerous, had I slipped I would have got heavy bruises.. I stayed for a while and came back.. climbing down was very slippery and once again I jumped down with momentum to reach safely… then I went in to join the fun of watching Mohan taking baby steps (to quote Aish :P) to climb :D.. we took video of it and it is a must watch!!! :D…

( Inside the cave again! :).. see carefully what Thiru is doing :P )

After the cave exploration :P, I again decided to take a different route (buoyed by my morning’s success and feeling of thrill :P).. others kept calling me.. and I kept replying.. when I was nearing them, I came across huge rocks blocked by thorny plants.. I yelled to say that I couldn’t cross it.. they asked to follow the path back and come… that would have very tough and time consuming… so, I just had a go at climbing the rocks.. which actually proved to be not difficult :P… then my legs started to tremble and shake while going down the path.. perhaps I got scared a bit.. or may be my legs were tired… and then came Neeru’s moment of madness :P.. she just ran down the slippery-rocky path!! Thankfully thiru didn’t get knocked off and Nikhil was below to hold her!!.. phew… she gave us the creeps :P… I wanted to rest.. but others were thirsty and wanted to reach as soon as possible.. dunno how I managed, but I was feeling very difficult to climb down as my legs were shaky… there was still a bottle left in my bag which no one had checked!! Thiru was still talking on phone!! :D… me, thiru, mohan and neeru shared the water.. others had gone ahead and were having cup of tea from the lonely shop in front of the steps… we too ordered and lo!! It was tasty and refreshing after the tiring climb…

Shortly afterwards, we were on our way back to Bangalore… we stopped to get water bottles… all were hungry.. so we decided to stop at CCD near a petrol bank we had seen on our way in the morning… all of us washed our faces after giving the orders… we ate leisurely as there was enough day-time left :P....

On the way back, me and thiru pointed out different shops and colored houses we had seen in the morning.. thiru took some photos on the move to capture the hair-styles with wind blowing on our faces :D… then mohan and prakhar couldn’t resist driving fast :P.. it was my first time on a bike with someone driving at 80+kmph.. it was a bit scary to me :P… prakhar and rakesh went directly to their homes.. rest of us assembled at mohan’s home.. had a chat about the trip with his friends there.. Aish, Neeru, thiru, ravi, Nikhil and me then took the bus to indiranagar.. we scanned through the photos to see how good they had come out…. It started drizzling and by the time we got down it was getting heavier.. me and thiru said goodbye to others and were on our way to room… I had brought the umbrella while thiru decided to enjoy the rain!.. we had hot bath and slept early… thus ended one of the most memorable day in my life!!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Antaragange Trip - 3. Tricky Way down

(A view taken while coming down )

And so we started our way down.. Mohan and Aish found it a bit tough to climb down… the thick vegetation with thorns gave many scratches this time for most of us… Aish got one even inside her right ear!!.. we were worried abt the finding the right way.. but we had little difficulty… as it was mostly straight – forward.. I broke away from the rest of the group to reach them following a different path… while I enjoyed it and proved to be a shorter path, I got many scratches through this path.. thankfully, I found and removed the small thorns sticking to my fingers.. I realized another thing.. I started to like trekking!!

( Light n funny moments like this help a lot...)

Isli & Prakhar were in front and others followed them.. after a while, they had gone too much in front… we saw a cave and went that way, while those 2 had gone towards car… rakesh and me went ahead to check if we could enter the cave… a steep rock had to climbed to get into the cave… which was almost impossible… there was another way around the rock… but blocked by a cactus and the entrance to cave was very narrow.. so I said that we cannot enter the cave… and should go back.. thankfully Rakesh made a way… he broke down the blocking branches of the cactus (with his shoes ofcourse :P)… we managed to enter the cave through the very narrow path… me and Rakesh then climbed the steep rock from the inside of cave… it was all then taking photos with different poses and different views… there were two very large rocks on the rear side with little gap between, enough to walk… but blocked at the end preventing from going out through that way… mohan asked ppl to balance between those rocks without touching the ground.. and he took photos taking a view as though those ppl climbed between the rocks :P :D…. it was real fun… and in middle of all this, the other group(Isli n Prakhar ) found us missing and called us using mobile :P.. thankfully tower strength was very good.. we told them that we were in a cave… they came back and said that they were near a big rock arrangement.. we replied that we were underneath it :P… we all shouted to catch their attention.. and they replied back, which we could hear.. and shortly they found us and joined inside the cave..

(Rear and front view of the cave)

Few of us came out of the cave while Isli n Prakhar went in… Rakesh got badly stuck while trying to come jumping down from the steep rock… somehow he managed to come through after lot of scrambling … we started again in direction of car… easier for us as Isli n Prakhar had gone so far as to see it… and thus we finished our first of trekking efforts…

It was decision time again to decide what next… not surprisingly, we decided to have our lunch and then take the steps to go to temple and beyond… it was around 12:30pm.. so there was enough time left… near the car parking there is an old abandoned temple… and a broken guest house… it had a verandah with no one around.. ideal place for us to have lunch… we opened the parcel.. only to find the bisibelabath spilled all over inside the plastic bag!! … so we threw it besides the temple where there was a garbage dump.. a monkey went near it and skillfully opened and started eating… Isli took videos of it :P… few other monkeys were watching us, but none went near the one eating the rice… thankfully for us, the dosas were well packed…. We shared it among us… along with snacks I had bought.. when we threw one dosa pack after eating, a monkey went to it and looked through it for food… I decided to lead them to the rice pack by showing a dosa pack… and suddenly all hell broke loose… the monkeys started fighting and screaming!!! Somehow, we were not attacked.. phew.. it was scary…

After the light meal, prakhar and ravi went to get water bottles and cool drinks… and we took much needed rest.. few inside the car.. few on a closed well near the car… the surrounding was a nice shady place and with light breeze blowing… after they arrived back, we immediately finished the cool drinks… partly due to hunger.. partly due to thirst… It was time to embark on our second climbing session…

Monday, August 24, 2009

Antaragange Trip - 2. First tryst on Trekking

We started climbing the steps which lead to the temple… I was enthusiastically clicking away photos with my new Sony – W210 camera… when suddenly Neeru said that there is a path through the rocky mountain to reach there..her friend had tried it.. so we reluctantly :P started that way…and what a experience it would turn out to be.. :)

Most us being first time trekkers, we were naturally enthusiastic about climbing through the unknown…which ultimately proved the factor in enjoying the climb as well as in taking the daring decisions :P… So with gr8 anticipation, we started our journey… the path was full of rocks… we were amazed by the arrangement of the rocks… we could see few weeds in between the rocks… and trees and plants and thorns where there was enough ground for sand… Initially it was an easy path.. with very easy climbing rocks… few scattered glass pieces were visible here and there… all the while I was clicking away snaps… to the right of us, we could see large no. of trees and hills beyond… we were on the assumption that we had to reach those hills ... We then came across a little steep climb to a rock which was surrounded by big rocks… there were two possible ways to go on top of it… one ducking a little to top… the other a steeper one.. which required a helping hand (though one or two of us climbed without help :P)… while few of us were at climbing the rock.. few others were looking for a possibility of alternate route.. which was found easily.. and we took that path… we had to continuously avoid thorns.. which was easy in the beginning… but became harder as we progressed.. at few places where large rocks were on top of a rock, we posed as though we were pushing those rocks/ preventing from fall :D..

(On our way into the unknown)

We then came across a large & relatively flat rock looking as though dangling on the big rocky base… few climbed on it but found no way ahead :P… we had to take the thorny route between the rocks… around the corner one had to duck to knees to cross unscathed from thorns… then came our first moments of indecision… we could not see any signs of path leading to the temple… and we had no idea where the path lead to… Isli was pointing to those hills beyond the forest to be the place to reach… Mohan was telling that Neeru’s friend would surely have not taken this path :P…. while we were deciding on further course of action, it was our first refreshment break.. just water :P… Isli reminded us that climbing down would be very difficult, if not impossible, if we failed to find the path to temple… most of us were not ready to back-off so soon on our first trekking experience.. and so, we decided to go ahead, no matter what lied ahead :P.. much to the satisfaction of all… we joked that we should use GPRS to find a way :P… while some said we would need a helicopter to bring us back.. :D…

(Rough Path.. second difficult hurdle)

There was another group of trekkers ahead of us.. which increased our hopes.. as we climbed further, we took pictures of the beautiful landscape around.. sometimes posing around the cactuses… then came our second hurdle… huge rocks and thick vegetation in front… the group in front of us had gone through it and offered help to come.. :).. the path was full of thorns and many got scratches.. one had to hold each other’s hand to cross the thorny and slippery path and then climb onto a large flat base rock.. few snaps were taken on that flat rock.. few daring ones went near the edges of the rock and leaned backwards for a pose!!... few even climbed (including me :D) on a little dangerous looking rock nearby:…. Neeru fell both during climbing up and way down from that rock :P.. we took a break there.. resting and enjoying the beautiful landscape all around us.. we had an excellent view of the valley below... we could climb only little further.. as the rocks became very steep afterwards… though the group ahead of us climbed a step further, we realized it was way-too much for us… and Mohan had started to find it very difficult to climb… we also realized that this path was only for trekking.. and not the one to lead to temple :P.. but what an enjoying experience it was to trek through this path.. :) Rakesh was the lone man to climb a little higher than us… we were now concerned on getting back as climbing down is always tougher and tricky…

(On top - Rakesh)

Sunday, August 23, 2009

A Wonderful trip to Antaragange - 1. Getting there

First things first: We went on August 8th, 2009. It was a trip organized by my colleagues in office – the joinees of 2008. The one who could make it to the trip are – Me (Sundeep), Thiru (Thirukumaran), Neeru (Niranjini) & Isli (Nitin) – DD office, Aish (Aishwarya), Ravi, Nikhil, Prakhar, Mohan Karthik and Rakesh – RMZ office.

I will have to start from previous day of the trip to give a larger picture. It was quite boring at office for me and Thiru while Neeru had lots of work that she couldn’t even go to Airtel office for transferring her internet connection. And why was she transferring the net?.. She was leaving the office (and all of us :( ) on August 14.. and the trip was infact organized by her as her last trip..(ofcourse, only as an employee of AD.. :P) Me and Thiru spent most of the day on Googling about the place (Antaragange).. And also were seeing trip photos of our college class-mates on Orkut.. which gave us the place for next trip - Hogennakkal… I asked Thiru to come to my room as my room-mate was out-of-station. We bought ready-made chappathis and parottas for dinner. I did the cutting work of baby-corn, onions and palak. The curry was awesome thanks to Thiru :P.. We had to assemble at 6:30am sharp at Binnamangla stop.. so we slept early and kept the alarm at 5:30am… while trying to sleep I kept thinking on the things to be taken for the trip… and I realized that I had to get up earlier than 5:30am to reach the bus stop by 6:30am… In the morning I got up b4 Thiru… and inspite best efforts, we reached few minutes late to the bus-stop.. only to see that we were first to the bus-stop… Neeru called up to inform that she was going with Isli to Mohan’s house (meeting place…) I told Thiru that Neeru would wear something different.. like something modern and stylish :P… Thiru predicted “Jeans and sleeveless” :P…While we were waiting for others to join us, Thiru scolded me for having come so early :( He then told me about a secret saying not to tell anyone… the secret had started like this and now so many ppl knew!! :D…. (The Picture was taken while me and thiru waited at the bus-stop)

We were joined by Aish, Ravi and Nikhil at around 6:45-6:50AM… Aish knew only one bus no. which goes through that route and fortunately we got a bus soon…. I got a window seat and was seeing the progress of Metro-rail project on Old-Madras road… I kept Thiru busy by pointing out different places along the way like bypanahalli station, big bazaar etc… We crossed KR Puram and in a short while, Aish informed us the bus stop using mobile :P…. We got down and reached Mohan’s house… Rakesh had come with Prakhar, Isli and Neeru were already there… His Mom welcomed us warmly and gave us all the precautionary advices… We needed a torch for gng inside caves :P but no one had it… Thiru said he has one… but in mobile :P… Mohan’s mom scolded him for not buying one :P..

Finally we started our journey.. Ravi and Nikhil in car as drivers and Aish and Neeru as passengers for them :P… 3 bikes…I sat behind Mohan’s 200cc Pulsar… Thiru went with Isli’s 150cc Pulsar (but only 40kmph speed limit as it had not been yet to 1st service..)… Prakhar drove with Rakesh…Poor Mohan, found it very difficult to drive at 40kmph :D… Ppl in car took photos on the way… We stopped twice on our way: first to have tea and snacks and next at a Sagar hotel for breakfast (after failing to find Kamat hotel as mentioned in guide to Antaragange on wiki :x..)… Thiru had his camera battery charged at the hotel.. while we were waiting for the food to arrive, Isli took a nap… He had woken up at 6am!! :P.. I then told that I woke at 5:10am much to surprise of Thiru :P… We also ordered parcel for lunch… when the bill came, Neeru commented on how cheap the bill was!! (she is used to pay so much for herself :D) Less than Rs.500 for 10 ppl for breakfast n light lunch :D… we asked for directions while leaving the hotel :P… (The Picture was taken outside Sagar)

After much of slow driving and frequent asking of directions, we reached kolar… Antaragange is 4km from there.. there was a big shady place for car parking near an abandoned temple, while the bikes were parked near the road… It was finally time to start our wonderful trip.. we took few pictures b4 starting… Can you see a yellow car hidden behind the ppl below?

L2R: Nikhil, Ravi, Aish, Thiru, Prakahr, Isli, Neeru, Mohan n Rakesh

A few details on Antara Gange

Antara Gange is a mountain situated in the Shathashrunga mountain range in the southeastern portion of the Indian state of Karnataka. Antara Gange literally means "Ganges from deep" in Kannada. It is about two miles from the town of Kolar and seventy kilometers from Bangalore.

Antara Gange is famous for the temple situated on the mountain. In the temple is a pond which gets a continuous flow of underground water from the mouth of a Basava (stone bull). There is a steep, narrow path to the top of the mountain. There are seven villages on this mountain, including Therhalli. The mountain contains volcanic rocks and lot of caves around.


Tip for going to a trekking trip there:

If you happen to be in Chennai/Bangalore and like Trekking, you may like to join here:

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