Tag Archives: budget travel

At The Other End Of Fear : Skandagiri Trek | Part 1

Have you ever scared of being all alone in a strange place you have never been to? Your answer maybe Yes or No.

How did it feel like to be scared and helpless in a remote place all alone? I never had such an experience, until I did the Skandagiri Trek all alone.

Skandagiri : is a mountain 70km away from Bangalore having a mountain fortress at the top of it. The peak is at an altitude of about 1350 meters.

Before the Journey Begins :

While going through many of the internet articles on this place, it was mentioned in many places that, night trek was banned, villagers were rude, police would take the trekkers under custody and so on. Even before actually starting the trek itself, it had become a scary activity to undertake. The fear created by these thoughts pulled me away from the idea of going there for a trekking.

But somehow I convinced myself that all those fearful thoughts are imaginary and decided to do it anyway.

The Journey Begins :

As I am always on the look out for a shoestring budget trip, I found a train from Bangalore to Chik Ballapur. It will cost you only 20/- from Bangalore till Chik Ballapur.

Train to Skandagiri
Train to Skandagiri

The train was supposed to start from Bangalore city Junction at 08:30 hours but it was late. And the train which was supposed to reach Chik Ballapur around 11, reached there only around 12.

From the railway station, I walked to the town and had my Bruch from nearby decent restaurant.

From Chik Ballapur Town to the base :

I asked a couple of people how to go to Skandagiri in broken Kannada, but I didn’t get any proper replies. So I decided to rely completely on Google Maps as usual.

Maps showed me that the base is 5km away from the town which is an hour of walking. So around 13:00 hours I started walking towards the base of Skandagiri following the maps. And I walked through the village road enjoying the view minus the harsh sunlight.

Through the village to Skandagiri
Through the village to Skandagiri

Around 14:00 hours, I reached the base of the hill. I found the temple mentioned in other blog posts which confirmed that I didn’t take any wrong turn anywhere.

temple at the base of skandagiri
temple at the base of skandagiri

The Trekking Begins :

Google maps again showed that the peak was 3km away from the base which was equivalent to another hour of hiking. Continue reading At The Other End Of Fear : Skandagiri Trek | Part 1

Velankanni : Standing tall, Surviving the Harsh blows

Leaning tower of Velankanni
Leaning tower of Velankanni
Wonderful Architecture of Velankanni
Wonderful Architecture of Velankanni

Are you wondering about the leaning towers and curved pillars of Velankanni??! Gotta be some architectural marvel. eh?

Well I am really sorry for the misunderstanding that I caused you. They are not leaning towers or curved pillars. They are just an optical illusion or rather a faulty image. No, they are not edited.

I did this trip to Velankanni a few years ago when I had only my camera phone which happen to be my favourite camera till date. I already stated that fact in my old posts in which I showed you, my 3.2 mega pixel travels. From Tanjavur, I travelled to Velankanni with the same camera phone. That phone camera created this funny illusions when I clicked in a hurry.  The actual structure looks like this.

Not so lean towers
Not so lean towers

So lets go and see some decent pictures from the trip.

Welcome to Velankanni Church
Welcome to Velankanni Church
Welcome to Velankanni Church
Welcome to Velankanni Church

The first thing that anyone would notice is the beautiful architecture and the predominant white colour of the buildings which gives the place a more divine feel.

Grand Architecture of Velankanni
Grand Architecture of Velankanni

The town is home to a significant Roman Catholic shrine dedicated to God in the name of Our Lady of Good Health, Basilica of Our Lady of Good Health.

Grand Architecture of Velankanni
Grand Architecture of Velankanni

The architecture gives it a kind of European look.  But behind this white divine look, this church has a story of survival to tell. And many sad stories of the people who lost their life during the Christmas Tsunami.

It was the year 2004.  Tsunami struck along the coasts of most landmasses bordering the Indian Ocean. In India, the most affected place was Tamilnadu.

Location of Velankanni
Location of Velankanni

You can see the location of Velankanni, in the map. Velankanni was badly hit during that tsunami. It was a Sunday and it was Christmas time. There were a lot of people in that church, that morning. Though water did not enter the shrine as it was built on high ground,  the receding waters swept away hundreds of pilgrims who were on the beach.

But now things are different.  They rebuilt everything. Everything looks beautiful now. A new life has started.

Beautiful Church at Velankanni
Beautiful Church at Velankanni
Beautiful Church at Velankanni
Beautiful Church at Velankanni

Pilgrims are coming in large numbers. Various prayers are offered. And the place is well landscaped and looks beautiful.

Beautiful Church at Velankanni
Beautiful Church at Velankanni

The Catholic Basilica devoted to Our Lady of Good Health is popularly known as the “Lourdes of the East”. And Velankanni is home to one of the India’s biggest Catholic pilgrimage centres. Pilgrims offer various kinds of prayers.

Very dedicated offering
Very dedicated offering

I saw some very dedicated prayers being offered. People walk on their knees over the walkway spread with sand all the way around 500-600 meteres, maybe more than that.

The way
The path
The starting point
The starting point
And the destination
And the destination

It was a very interesting trip to Velankanni.

There are some more pictorial memories from the trip.

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A compilation of failed and funny shots. Hope you have enjoyed the journey to Velankanni.


This is in response to Show your World, a monthly event hosted by a fellow travel blogger/expat Yulika of TinyExpats.com

Show Your World
Show Your World

 

How I Jimpified My life in Agumbe Rainforest

We do complain about almost everything. “It is so hot, why is it not raining?!!” :  Our first complaint. Then one day it started to pour cats and dogs. “I will get sick because/of this rains. When will it stop?” : the next one. Our complains go on and on. Due to similar complaints, many of the people avoid travelling during monsoon time. I agree that it is quite uncomfortable to travel during monsoons. But if you decide to celebrate the rains, it is completely a different thing.

I decided to celebrate the rains. Which could be a better place to visit during monsoon season, than a rainforest?! So it was Agumbe this time.

Agumbe is a small village in Karnatka around 360km away from Bangalore. Agumbe is one of the wettest places in India. Some say it is the wettest place in India, Some say it comes after Cherrapunji. As I haven’t visited Cherrapunji yet, this is the wettest place in India for me. Thus the destination was fixed. With a fellow explorer, we went to Agumbe from Bangalore on our bike.

It was a very pleasant climate when we started off. It wasn’t raining, even though the dark clouds were flying around. But Agumbe, true to its reputation, welcomed us with a heavy rain from nowhere.

First rain in Agumbe
First rain in Agumbe

It was sudden, it was heavy and the visibility was less. Let me remind you one thing that, it was just the starting of rainy season. So we knew we are officially in Agumbe.

Later We met our couch surfing friend and we were all set for our rainforest adventures. The roads were awesome, the asphalt as well as the greenery on the sides. It offered a smooth soothing ride.

The lovely roads
The lovely roads

And the place was filled with trees, plants and all sort of green things. Oops, I was going through a rainforest. No need to emphasis these things. But anyway I had some photography fun with these trees and lush greenery.

One stop for a photography experiment
One stop for a photography experiment

Soon the forest off-road welcomed us. It was even more beautiful.  But it was a bit tricky road as it was not a metalled road. At the end of that road awaited the trek route. Even more beautiful, it was.

Let the trek begins
Let the trek begins

Our trek to find out the waterfalls began from here. The route to the destination was not smooth, we had so many obstacles to cross in that route. But thankfully they were some beautiful obstacles.

Water crossings on the way
Water crossings on the way

We were experiencing a proper rainforest for the first time. The trees were tall, the forest was dense. And the rain made everything so green.

An authentic rainforest experience
An authentic rainforest experience

And someone was already in love with the forest and left his/her mark on one particular tree.

Must have hugged the tree as well
Must have hugged the tree as well

And the forest returned it’s love by creating steps for an easier trekking.

Steps made by Nature
Steps made by Nature

Anyway it was an easy trek. The authorities have already made concrete steps for a better trekking  experience for people of all experience levels, beginners to experts.

As we were walking through those man-made as well as natural steps, the rain which was taking a short break came back to visit us. What else can we expect inside a rainforest?! But by that time, we saw the first glimpse of the waterfalls.

Rainfall and Waterfall
Rainfall and Waterfall

And there it was, water falling as high as 300 feet (probably). The people looked really tiny.

Koodlu waterfalls
Koodlu waterfalls

Thus we reached Koodlu falls successfully.

Some guy enjoying the Grandeur of Koodlu falls
Some guy enjoying the Grandeur of Koodlu falls

I felt it was an easy trek. Maximum half an hour to reach the falls. As well-defined trekking paths are visible unlike before, less chances of getting lost.

After that we went to see a view-point. Clouds were kind enough to make some way for us to give a glimpse of the beauty.

Another waterfalls from the view point
Another waterfalls from the view point

And it was time for our greatest adventure to meet some rainforest wildlife. We already met some ‘leeches’ on our way, if you like to call them ‘wildlife’. Well, sure they are part of the forest. So our first encounter was with leeches. But the next one was even better (call scarier if you may). It was a viper.

Viper : Up close and personal
Viper : Up close and personal

We met a guy who helped us to spot this snake. To be able to try my hands on my first ever ‘wildlife photography’ attempt was fun. And I could start off with a Viper! It was definitely a great experience.

Attention Foodies : Contribution Invited

If you have been following me for some time, you must be knowing how “cheap” I am 😉 I travel in the cheapest way possible. But there are certain costs that can’t be controlled much. The cost of food and water are some of them. One cannot eat really cheap, unhealthy food while travelling.  As I am NOT a big time foodie I am able to control that cost somehow by eating cheaper food to survive.

But at times you get opportunity to reduce this cost further by cooking by yourself and not eating out from a restaurant.

My experiment with Food

Recently it so happened that I got a chance to stay with a friend of mine while travelling. There was all the facilities to cook. Then I didn’t know what to cook, how to cook and so on. But as I was on a tight budget I had to do something about the cooking part.

Then I found Oats in the fridge. Just oats!  Nothing else, no milk, nothing.

I boiled water and added oats. Then I found pickle jar in the fridge. Pickle, One of the best friends of bachelors who are still learning to cook. So I just added a bit of pickle in the already boiling oats and mixed it thoroughly. And my food was ready! No curry, no milk, no sugar, I didn’t need any of them.

Here is the picture to prove that I too can cook 😉

My Food experiment
My Food experiment

Hope you have enjoyed my pathetic cooking experiment. 😉

 What you can do to help me

Here is a chance for you to help me and other travellers during their travels. If you are a foodie, food blogger or simply someone who likes food, please do share simple recipes for travellers that they can make with minimum resources at an economical cost.

Here the oats will cost around  ₹40 for half kilo. It will be enough for a day probably. Very economical and healthy. So if you know such recipes ( better ones 😉 ) please do share. Do share the post and ask other bloggers who loves food,  if they can contribute an easy recipe. Help me compile a collection of easy recipe for the travellers on the go.  Hopefully I can try some of them during my next trip.

Thanks in advance 🙂

Travel Theme : Altruism

When life Gives you lemons..
When life gives you lemons
When life gives you lemons

Some times we might be bored with long travelling.

We  stay away from home, travelling to the main stream touristy places, click those usual picture with that monument, click some front cam selfies, try to push that building, try to pick up the dome of the beautiful architecture, try so many other trick photography items that are tried and tested by millions of others. And after doing all these things, at the end of the day we might be missing something.

We might be introspective about the trip. What was the purpose of this trip, what have I earned from the trip, I spend all the money and what have I gained from it?  Sometimes it is hard to find a purpose of our trips.

So here I have a meaningful suggestion Continue reading Travel Theme : Altruism