My Travel Diary Karnataka

Whenever there is a long weekend, people in Bangalore will be out for a long drive. Am not an exception to this, we plan a trip to one of the weekend getaways from Bangalore well in advance. We leave from Bangalore early in the morning hoping we will avoid the early morning traffic jam, not once we were lucky to avoid the traffic. Most of Bangalore will be on Nice Road heading to one of the resort. We like Jungle Lodges and we will be one of the early birds to make the reservation. In this post am going to take back my mind to Kabini, Bandipur, Coorg and Hampi.

Kabini The drive from Bangalore to Kabini is around 220 kilometres and takes around 5 hours. We went to Kabini around 4 years back. We were not lucky to get our reservations at Jungle Lodges and we ended up staying at Kaav Safari Lodges. We paid a premium for the quality of service and food. This is where I realized going on a holiday to Europe is a better choice economically. Kabini was a total disappointment because we hardly spotted any wildlife. I went on Jungle Lodges Safari two times and both times I was not lucky to spot any wildlife. What I liked about Kabini is the beautiful river and trees presenting nature at its Best.

Bandipur The drive from Bangalore to Bandipur is also around 220 kilometres and takes around 5 hours. What I liked about Bandipur is the proximity to Masinagudi. Masinagudi is in Tamilnadu and Bandipur is in Karnataka, distance between these two places is around 25 kilometres. We went on a holiday to Bandipur around 3 years back, we were lucky to get the reservation at Jungle Lodges. The advantage of staying in Jungle Lodges is the early morning and evening safari part of the package. Jungle Lodges has the permission to drive deep into the forest. Comparatively we were able to see lot of wild life at Bandipur and Masinagudi.

Coorg The drive from Bangalore to Coorg is around 260 kilometres and takes around 6 hours. We had been to Coorg twice, we stayed at Heritage Resort first time and at Club Mahindra second time. First trip was six years back and the second trip was two years back. What was consistent about both my trips was the quality of food at Coorg which was exceptional. There are plenty of places to visit in and around Coorg. We had been to Raja’s Seat, Madikeri Fort, Omkareshwara Temple, Abbey Falls and View Point Park. Tala Cauvery which is considered as the source for River Cauvery is a beautiful drive from Coorg and is around 90 minutes drive. There is also a Tibetan Monastery near Coorg which is a must visit place.

Hampi I always like staying in a village, Hampi is the perfect place for a long weekend. We had been to Hampi three years back. There are plenty of places to see in Hampi. Jungle Lodges is located in a village at Hampi which was the highlight of our trip. We went to Hampi for 3 days and I liked the early morning running and yoga. It is always healthy and nice to run in a village where we can breathe fresh air. One thing we must avoid at Hampi is the tour guides. It makes sense to make use of Google and decide the places we plan to visit for the day.

There are many more nice places by drive from Bangalore to be covered. Hopefully Covid-19 will leave this World soon, we can go back to our normal life and start planning the cool destination when we have a long weekend. Take Care and Be Safe.

Go back to Village

I was born in a village in Tamilnadu but grew up in Chennai, a Metro City in India. I have never stayed in a village for more than two months at a stretch. During the school days it was a family trip to visit relatives in villages. After most of my relatives moved to cities, I hardly visited any village. Recently I visited one of the village, looking at their lifestyle and quality of life they have, I can only envy them. For someone depending only on agriculture income in a village, am aware of the hardships they go through every year due to unpredictable monsoon. In this post am going to look back at the city life when I was in Chennai, my gated community experience at Bangalore, teachings of Covid-19 and why I now feel it makes sense to go back to village post retirement.

I was in Chennai for more than four decades until six years back when I moved to Bangalore. In Chennai we were living in a rented independent house initially, subsequently we moved to a small apartment and we continued our living in apartments. Life in a small apartment was beautiful. I had lot of friends, play most part of the day when its a holiday and during the summer vacation we used to play day and night. When there were festivals or New Year, we used to have grand celebration with lot of cultural programs and dinner. Most of the family living in our apartment will participate in these events. We were living as one large family in these apartments. Today, even after my brother and myself moved to Bangalore with our families, my parents want to continue living in the same apartment because they have some nice friends and they just can’t miss their place. The families in this apartment live as one large family.

I moved to Bangalore around six years back and we live in a gated community. There are around one thousand seven hundred flats with all the amenities and convenience stores. On the amenities, we have a nice club house, few swimming pools, decent library, tennis court, indoor badminton and squash court. Moving to convenience stores we have few grocery stores, vegetables and fruits store, two clinics, pharmacy, two chat shop, nice salon and few others coming up. When I started living in this community I was enjoying the stay, I picked some nice friends and joined few groups. Some of the positives of living in a gated community are a) we have runners and yoga group – I joined the runners group and we used to run together during weekends and there were yoga trainers teaching yoga for lot of residents b) Senior Citizens Group – the senior citizens do their morning walk, some of them do laughing meditation and in the evening they have nice time chatting in the garden c) Children’s Play area – sitting in the balcony and watching Children’s play is something that I like the most, this is fun and at times it is a learning for me hearing their conversation. This is one thing I like even today staying in a gated community. After enjoying the honeymoon of gated community for first few years, I started seeing the other side. a) even our neighbors wont say Hello b) when there are celebration for festival or new year, hardly people participate. c) the runners and yoga group slowly disappears and it will be back to running on our own. d) there are bunch of people who have learnt to throw out anything from their balcony e) there are smokers who prefer to smoke from their balcony with no concern on the senior citizen or children on the next door f) even for the general body meeting there wont be a quorum for the meeting g) what I didn’t like the most is, even during these Covid-19 days, you will find residents not wearing the mask. My two cents about gated community is we live together in a community without knowing each other and people don’t care about others, they do what they want to do.

Image Courtesy : The Hindu

After having such a mixed experience in a Gated Community and after all the most valuable teachings from Covid-19, I have started thinking life will be much better in a village. Kindly click this link for my learning from Covid-19: https://rainbow-thoughts.com/2020/05/01/lessons-from-covid-19/ . In today’s world what is very important in our life other than our family and friends are WiFi, Mobile, Netflix and Tata Sky. I can move to a village, maybe have better network coverage for WiFi and Mobile Data, Netflix and Tata Sky can move with us wherever we go. To have these services where we stay doesn’t matter. Why I also started thinking about moving back to a village is, I can have better quality of life. I can start my day running or walking, I can continue doing my yoga, I can eat home grown vegetables and fruits, I can stay connected with my family and friends and overall I will have a healthier life. I have started thinking about the pros and cons of moving back to village, am certain life will be much better than what I experience in a gated community. Am hoping one day I will go back to a Village.

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My Travel Diary Gokarna

We visited Gokarna on a family holiday in Dec 2019. I love driving long distance and we decided to drive to Gokarna from Bangalore. Gokarna is around 500 kilometres from Bangalore and is a 10 hour drive. We left early in the morning from Bangalore, had our breakfast and lunch on the way and reached Jungle Lodges at Gokarna in around 9 hours. The drive through Sharavati valley wildlife sanctuary is a memorable one. Jungle Lodges is completely cut off from Gokarna town, the rooms were nice and the food was very good. Gokarna is known for Mahabaleshwara Temple and Beaches. The purpose of visiting Gokarna was to have good time together with family, get some fresh air with nice food and also see some important places. We had great family time, had nice stay completely cut off from pollution and Jungle Lodges treated us with very good food. Let me talk about the places we visited from here.

Jungle Lodges

Mahabaleshwara Temple Mahabaleshwara is known for its Shiva Linga also known as Aatma Linga. I read that this is a 4th century temple and is one of the seven sacred Muktistala in Karnataka. The temple is located on the shores of Arabian Sea. There are few other small temples around Mahabaleshwara temple, one other temple we visited is Sri Maha Ganapathi Temple.

Om Beach and Kudle Beach The shape of Om Beach is considered to be in the shape of Om and hence it derives its name and also considered auspicious. Om Beach is a place any photographer would love to be with their camera. There are plenty of water sport in Om Beach and I also saw lot of people enjoying their meditation and practicing yoga. Kudle Beach has a perfect C shape, it is know for its scenic view and the click of sunrise and sunset is a delight to watch anytime.

Murudeshwar Temple After staying at Gokarna for 2 days we left to Jog Falls. On our way we visited Murudeshwar Temple. Murudeshwar is known for its tall Shiva Statue located on the shores of Arabian Sea. Murudeshwar temple has a 20 storey Gopuram and has a lift to have a view of the 123 feet Shiva idol. The temple surrounded by Arabian Sea on three sides is one more photographers paradise.

Jog Falls Jog Falls is the tallest waterfall in India on the Sharavati River located in the Shimoga district. We stayed at Sharavati Adventure Camp for a day which is opposite the Sharavati River. We had a nice welcome after we checked into our rooms to realize none of our mobile phones were working. The rooms were located opposite the river and we had a nice view of sunrise and sunset. The resort arranged a drive to Jog Falls next day morning, we were there for around 3 hours clicking some nice photos.

After having nice time for three days in Gokarna and Jog Falls we started driving back to Bangalore. When I was driving, for few seconds I lost concentration and there was a SUV on the opposite direction and we could have had a head on collision. Thankfully, I turned the wheels to right side and the driver of SUV was already to his right and we were safe, I will never forget this. What I liked about my trip to Gokarna is the Beautiful drive from Bangalore, comfortable stay at Jungle Lodges with nice food, a town with beautiful historic temples and nice beaches to hang out. One of the Must Visit place in Karnataka.

Importance of Vitamin D

I didn’t know the importance of Vitamin D until my Orthopedic Doctor in Chennai asked me to do a Blood Test for Vitamin D. With deficient Vitamin D, I started going through internet on Vitamin D and with the recent Covid-19 pandemic we read and hear more about immunity to stay healthy and safe. Let me start with some of the health issue I had in the past before I come to why I went for Vitamin D test.

Image Courtesy: Physicsworld.com

Fractures – I first had a fracture in my left shoulder more than 20 years back. I had a fracture on my right wrist 18 years back. My right shoulder was dislocated 15 years back and I underwent arthroscopy. I always start my day running, I used to go to Marina Beach in Chennai to run. After I moved to Bangalore I switched from running to walking so that I won’t get hurt. My trip to Milan 3 years back motivated me to go back to running and I started running very well. In Dec 2018 when I was in Chennai I met with a freak accident while running and had a nasty fracture on my left elbow. My Orthopedic Doctor did a surgery to place a plate and multiple screws to connect the broken elbow bones. I used to do physio for more than 3 hours a day and thankfully the elbow is normal now. Even when I was recovering from this fracture at Chennai, I used to walk in the morning. When I returned to Bangalore I started running and I will be very careful while running. I always thought I either don’t know to fall down or my bones are not strong resulting in fracture.

Throat Infection – My throat used to get infected very regularly. Whenever there is change of season or water my throat gets infected. I will go to a Doctor and after I take the medicine I will be fine. I thought my throat was very sensitive and hence the infection.

With due respect to my Doctors I must admit none of the Doctors have tried to find out why is the regular fracture or infection. Around 3 months back my legs were paining and I was thinking it must be due to running. I was regularly running more than 10 kilometres a day for many years. When I was in Chennai I visited my Orthopedic Doctor, X-rays of the leg confirmed there was no issue with bones or joints. He suggested me to do a Blood Test for Vitamin D and I was shocked when I got the report. My Vitamin D count was deficient as per the table and I started taking medicines for the same. Now, my legs are not paining and finally I learnt the correct reason for regular fracture and infection.

I went through internet and understood the below benefits, symptoms and source for Vitamin D. Below details are picked from MedicalNewsToday.

Benefits – Promoting Healthy Bones, Supporting Immune, regulating insulin levels, influencing the expression of genes involved in cancer development.

Symptoms of Deficient Vitamin D – Regular Infection, Bone and Back Pain, low mood, hair loss and muscle pain.

Source for Vitamin D – Getting sufficient sunlight, Fatty Fish, Egg Yolk, mushroom. fortified milk and fortified cereals.

Am a vegetarian and I hardly was getting exposed to sunlight until my Doctor helped me understand the importance of Vitamin D. What was surprising is none of the Annual Health Check up gives importance to Vitamin D and this is never considered. Last 3 months I make it a point to go out and get exposed to sunlight as it is the main source for Vitamin D. With the recent articles on Covid-19 and Immunity am glad I got my Vitamin D checked at the right time.

Am writing this to educate my friends with the importance of Vitamin D. I hope the Annual health checkup done by Private Hospitals also include checking of Vitamin D count. This will help people to stay immune, have strong bones and stay healthy.

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My Travel Diary B.R. Hills

I went to B.R. Hills around 3 years back and I still remember my visit to this place well and am just waiting for life to return to normal in India so that I can visit B.R. Hills one more time during the weekend.

Where is B.R. Hills – Biligirirangan Hills is located at around 180 kilometres from Bangalore. This is the ideal weekend place with family from Bangalore. Drive from my place is around 4 hours, so we can leave on Friday evening and return home on Sunday. During the winter temperature can drop to around 10 to 15 Celsius, this is the best time to visit B.R. Hills.

Stay at B.R. Hills – I always like staying at Jungle Lodges and thankfully we have K.Gudi Wilderness camp run by Jungle Lodges here. The location of K.Gudi camp is so scenic and you will get to see lot of birds around their camps. The added advantage of staying here is they arrange Jungle Safari early in the morning and evening. If we are lucky we can spot a Tiger and we will definitely see Deer, Monkey, Elephant and lot of Birds.

Things to do in B.R. Hills – I must always start my day running or walking and also do a little bit of Yoga. The early morning Trekking followed by yoga here will be a nice experience. We will get to see lot of Birds and also few elephants around K.Gudi Wilderness Camp. We don’t have Televisions and this must be one of the best place to relax our mind and have a quiet sleep.

Jungle Lodges is known for Jungle Safari. Jungle Lodges has the permission to go deep inside the forest and if we are lucky we can spot a Tiger. I went on Safari twice but could not spot a Tiger. I was able to spot few animals and there were plenty of rare birds.

Other Places around B.R. Hills – Biligiri Rangaswamy Temple is around 5 kilometres from K.Gudi camp and is located at the top of B.R. Hills. Drive to this temple and the view from top of this hill is beautiful.

B.R. Hills is a nice place for 2 days break and the most ideal place for people like me in Bangalore. We can reach this place in 4 hours and the moment we hit Nice Road we will be out of Traffic. Am waiting for Covid-19 to leave and life to return to normal so that I can plan a trip to B.R. Hills.

We can see Nature at its best in B.R. Hills, we can see some wildlife and we can have the ideal break.

My Covid-19 Experience

Last few weeks are the toughest days for many of us. Wherever we are, life is only about Social Distancing, Hygiene and Immunity. Am waiting for the virus to leave so that I can see my niece and take her to mall, I want to go to Chennai to see my parents, I want my family, friends and relatives to live life without fear. I want to take few minutes to share my experience during the last few weeks.

There is one thing that this virus has no impact, that’s my work. I continue to work as usual and I don’t see any challenge to work from home. I only hope after this virus is gone, lot of corporates in cities like Bangalore allow employees to work from home so that there is lesser pollution and we give a better environment to children.

I learnt cooking from my mom few years back, what I like in my cooking is I put the right amount of salt and spice. Last few weeks am cooking more and also trying out new dishes. Am now a better cook.

For the first time I started washing the vessels and also started cleaning the floor. I realize these two are the most toughest job.

I watch lot of old English and Tamil movies in Netflix and YouTube. I stopped watching TV since I want to keep my mind positive.

One thing I can’t miss is either running or walking. Last 2 weeks I walk inside my house and cover almost 6,000 steps. I do my regular exercises and yoga at home. Since, I can’t step out I sit in my balcony during sunrise.

I started reading more about Astrology. This is one thing which is giving me lot of hopes that things will be better after April 12, 2020.

I haven’t gone outside my community gate for more than 2 weeks. I haven’t traveled a kilometer in my car.

Am back to Blogging with a new site. I want to continue writing here once in a while. I also want to read lot of books and blogs in the future.

I haven’t gone to a temple last few weeks. I keep praying at my home so that this virus will leave this world very soon.

Am learning not to forward anything that comes as forward on whatsapp.

Am not listening to my favorite music these days. I keep listening to lot of devotional songs in the morning.

Covid-19 on a better side is helping everyone become a better person. My only concern is about people who get infected and leave this world. It is very clear that no country in this world is actually developed. I sincerely hope that we humans are kind to other humans, animals and nature. I will continue with my prayers for this Covid-19 to leave this world soon.