Saturday, January 29, 2011

bamboo flowers

on the way to coorg, we had stopped briefly to get an aerial view of srirangapatna.
just a couple of kilometers off the main road [bangalore - mysore] - a deviation would take us to nimishambha temple, hat is very popular.

much before that, is a spot - a small hill - called kari ghatta.
no signs or markings, one has to just know where to turn.
a small hill, with a vishnu temple, that was supposed o have been established by the sage brughu.

from the hilltop, one can get a view of srirangapatna and also the dariya daulat [gumbaz?]

seen faintly in the mist.

another spot we stopped at - near coorg - was at the neerkolli estate [kotle kaadu].

typical of that region, the vegetation was thick
among the other usual sights a rare one was the bamboo flowers, though already dried.
a closer look:

legends from many parts of the world refer to this phenomenon :

  • “When bamboo flowers, famine, death and destruction follows”, says a tribal legend in Mizoram.
  • When bamboo flowers it dies! Anyone familiar with bamboo has probably heard this
  • bamboo plant flowers once in every 48 years, brings along with a plague of rats
the reasons for this - on further enquiry seem to be that the flowers are eaten by rats, who also cause damage to other crops.
the dried bamboo can also catch fire - leading to additional damage.
of course, it takes time to grow again.
i could not confirm the 48 year theory, as i have heard that bamboos are evergreen.

speaking of rare blooms, i have heard of 'kurunji' in tamilnadu, that blooms once in 12 years.

Sunday, January 23, 2011


one of the distractions or sources of entertainment while traveling - to overcome the boredom while waiting at airports [or even in trains], is to imagine what the other person might be saying - while listening to loud cell-phone conversations.

such 'dialogs' are called halfalogs.

some recent ones..

'sir, there was heavy fog in my hometown. i got delayed getting to kolkatta and was in transit from early morning. i just landed in bangalore and am in the bus. will check my mails after reaching my room'. ....... what do you mean by this is becoming a habit?... i sent you the documents you wanted this morning, from my gmail id. ...'
=== this halfalog was heard while boarding the Bangalore flight in Delhi!

'you know what? i am going to chennai. i am so excited. i will be there for 3-4 days. am planning to go to pondicherry for a day. i heard that you get very good leather items, and cheap too.. what? jaipur or delhi is cheaper? can you then get me a nice pair of kholapuris? ya, and by the way, i forgot to tell you that my dad has given me permission to spend upto 5,000/- rupees and buy whatever i wanted. but then, it seems that they have reduced the baggage allowance to the US. i don't know ya, these airlines are taking everyone for a ride. how can i visit the US for 2 weeks without at least 5-6 pairs of footwear? anyway, this is the first time that i am traveling alone. that was why my dad insisted on shatabdi, so that even if i sleep off, someone would ensure that i eat. and also i get used to flying to the US alone to meet some of my cousins .. etc etc etc etc ..'
the person at the other end had very little [or no] opportunity to speak. it was a monologue - though fit enough to be classified as a halfalog.
=== the person who was halfalogging was a 20-something. and a first time traveler by a day train..

there were many others - more business halfalogs, that make an interesting guessing game of what the company, customer, value of the deal, competition etc could be.

just like most people seem to be quite free with sharing personal details online, most people seem unmindful of the surroundings while talking personal or professional matters.

Friday, January 14, 2011


one of the other lesser known spots in coorg is mandalpatti.
the abbi falls is very popular and attracts a steady stream of tourists.
a deviation from that road - and a further 25 kilometers will bring you to mandalpatti.

the road, where it exists, is also in fairly bad shape. some of the steep hairpin bends with loose gravel, make it a thrilling [and risky] drive. in a couple of points,

the shola forests
another estate we visited in bhagmandala
amidst a thick forest, the place was just off the main road.

the estate had a stream running through.

the water was fresh and cool.

one more aspect to observe if you get a chance to got through coffee plantations is to look for the kopi-luwak [pronounced kopilua] or civet coffee.
coffee beans, eaten by wild cats [civets] and the undigested beans that are excreted - are considered very special and tasty - quite likely because of the enzymes in the digestive system that give them the special flavor.
in most estates, these are not really used, as the quantities are very limited and do require special cleaning, packaging etc.

of course, no trip down the jungles is complete, particularly in the monsoon or damp areas, without leeches.
as we walked through thickly wooded paths, we did come across a few.

they are considered to have therapeutic value and no need to panic.
it is interesting to see how these small leeches quickly bloat up with your blood!
this is a picture of one that had its fill, and then was caught.

Sunday, January 9, 2011


we drove from Bhagmandala to Talacauvery in the morning. the misty mountains and valleys
hid the rising sun.
The talacauvery complex was just waking up with no other visitors.
the priests were already busy for the morning puja.

the spot of the origin of Cauvery was not to be touched - and the excess water flowed into a larger tank, where one could have a bath.
the complex also has a shrine for sage Agastya, who was said to have brought cauvery to the Earth.
adjoining the complex is the Brahmagiri hill, which has a steep climb [on well cut and paved steps, with hand rails] and offers an excellent 360-degree view.

an aerial view of the talacauvery tank.
the source of the cauvery is under the glass covered roof  in the picture.

at the foot of the complex, a small deviation took us to a century old house, of the senior priest of the complex.
this is not generally open to the public but we could go  because of the contacts. an interesting feature to see was the water seeping through the crevices in the rocks, in the backyard of the house.  
to capture this natural and fresh source of water for bathing and other purposes a contraption was made to collect the water.
an old 'bullet' motorcycle in the backyard completed the vintage ambiance.

we accessed the cauvery devara kaadu [mentioned in the earlier post], from their backyard.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

lesser known coorg - Cauvery Devara Kaadu

I had an opportunity to visit some of the lesser known - read not so touristy- spots in coorg on a whirlwind trip a couple of days ago.
thanks to our son-in-law's father [i believe here is no term for his relationship in english, what we call sambandhi], who had taken the pains to plan out the details so elaborately, though short, this was a wonderful trip.

among the spots we covered were the Cauvery Devara kaadu [at tala Cauvery, the source of the cauvery river], not usually accessible to the public without special permission.

the entrance to this section is right at the foot of the Tala Cauvery complex.

this path [motorable only with a 4WD, would apparently take us to a spot in kerala in about 18 km, which, otherwise, would take about 120km, by normal road].
the devara kaadu portion [below], is very heavily wooded and is not inhabited and apparently nobody enters this section - considered very sacred by the local community.

more pictures of some other spots in my later posts.