Saturday, May 27, 2006

books section

I have created a section in the sidebar called "book I am reading", where i'll be updating about the books I am reading. I won't do the loaded thing called 'review', that's left for experts. I'll just be jotting down whatever I feel about the book, this is purely for my use, for keeping track of books i read.

Just felt like doing it.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

my treks

Just thought of refreshing my memory about all the treks I’ve done, was kinda losing the count so..

1. Soligere-Muththaththi – it was entirely first-timer’s excitement. Loved the view from the top of the hill onlooking the Kaveri river! Fog was playing hide-n-seek which made the scenic beauty more picturesque. Rain n breeze only added more beauty to the whole picture!! Thanks to my friend Imran for re-introducing me to nature. I read this apt quote somewhere “what other people call God, I call it Nature”. Yes, the journey had begun!!

This place is in Bangalore Rural district, at about 3 hrs journey from Bangalore city in Kanakapura road. Many of us know about Sangama, Mekedatu, Muththatthi, Bheemeshwari fishing camp, etc…but I wud say Soligere is a hidden gem!!! Here are some snapshots clicked by another trekker friend Bhagyesh.

2. NagarahoLe-Brahmagiri range – This is my favorite trek among the treks I have done so far. We trekked in Brahmagiri range of hills in Karnataka-Kerala border n ended the trek in a village called Tirunalli which belongs to Kerala state. I saw lots of wildlife - elephants, sambhar deer, snakes, giant squirrel, etc at this trek, main ones being leeches!!! Enjoyed trekking in dense jungles as well as grassland. See the pictures here, again from Bhagyesh’ camera.

3. BR Hills – This trail was closed for trekkers for many years as this was Veerappan area; they opened it only last year after his death. The trek was good, but not-so-good as there were many restrictions from the forest department n they didn't give us permission to stay in the forest, but got to see the famous ‘dodda sampige mara’ (big champak tree) which is a religious place for soliga tribes, heard that Veerapan used to visit this place quite often.

4. Bandipur-Gopaplaswamy betta – This is another best trek I have done. The overnight stay in the anti-poaching camp in the forest at KuLLanabetta (see the picture) was memorable; at night a girl ventured out n ran into a bison!! Next day we encountered an elephant family, I saw wild elephants from a close distance at approx. 15 feet!! Later that day we climbed Gopalaswamy betta n ended our trek at Himavath Gopalaswamy temple.

5 . Tadiyandamol – This trek is special as I did it with my friend Subha, who is as crazy as me about trekking. Tadiyandamol is the highest peak in Coorg district; standing 5700 feet tall from the sea level. Was a quite steep but good trek. Also got to see Naalkunaadu palace (I had read about it in Maasthi’s Chikaveeraraajendra novel) and Iggutappa temple. But what I loved most are the coffee plantations, they are just awesome!!!

6. Dalhousie - My first stint at north India; have written about it already here and here.

7. Kodachadri – was another good trek in my own south canara; western ghats is best as always. The overnight stay near the Mookambika temple heightened our spirits. This temple which is on top of Kodachadri is called Moolapeetha, originally Shankaraacharya did pratishthe (I don’t know the English word for this) of the goddess here, from here the goddess was taken to Kollur it seems. On the second day we visited Kollur, Anegudde, & Udupi temples, n enjoyed the evening in Malpe beach. Pictures are here.

8. Bisle – Bisle is the densest forest i've ever entered. My friend Subha has already written about this trek excellently here. Wish I could write like her..

9. Sakleshpura Railway Track – Any trekker’s dream, very popular trail; but it has lost its charm as gauge-conversion work was going on there. It isn’t secluded n dangerous place anymore. Soon trains are going to start in this route (Bangalore to Mangalore), n then trekking may be difficult in this route. So have the satisfaction of getting to the popular destination; enjoyed crossing bridges n tunnels though.

10. Chembra – Chembra is one of the highest peaks in Kerala, with the altitude of 8500 feet. We camped on plain place, where there was a heart-shaped pond n we had to stay in tents. The view from the top of the mountain was lovely. I did this trek just before leaving for Iran.

And, the journey continues...

Monday, May 08, 2006

flower of gods' garden

Paarijaatha - a delicate, fragrant, cute little flower..

Paarijaatha is my most favorite flower I guess (though I like colorful carnations a lot). Fragrance of paarijaatha is something out-of-the-world. Moreover, paarijaatha brings lots of memories of my childhood. We have a paarijaatha tree at home. Throughout the year this tree is decorated with fresh-looking paarijaatha flowers early in the morning, which is a treat to the eyes! Paarijaatha flower blossoms at evenings, filling fragrance in the air … I am getting reminded of those good ol’ days during deepavali n uththaana dwaadashi evenings when my father used to do tulasi-pooja for which me n my sis used to collect these just-blossomed paarijaatha flowers. Voice of my father chanting “suvarNa pushpam samarpayaami…” still fresh in my mind.

I am also getting reminded of a song my sister used to sing often - “munjaavinali hasiru hullu makamallinali paarijaatha hoova haasidanthe…” I don’t remember the lyrics further n name of the poet, it’s a beautiful song but (will ask my sis abt it when I get back home).

I know mythological stories about paarijaatha too; like why paarijaatha blossoms only in the evenings. Here the story goes…

Paarijaatha was in ‘nandanavana’, Indra’s garden, it was truly flower of gods’ garden, n was not available on earth. Once when Lord Krishna visited devaloka with his family, Rukmini sees it n she wants it in her garden too. True to his reputation of being mischievous thief, Krishna steals the paarijaatha plant n gets it for Rukmini (I don’t know why he chose to steal it; he could’ve asked Indra for it). Anyways, Rukmini is happy with it. But her happiness doesn’t last long, as the tree grows in slanted position n gets inclined on Sathyabhama’s compound which was adjacent to Rukmini’s; causing all the flowers to fall on Sathyabhama’s compound. Rukmini gets angry with the tree n cursed paarijaatha that it will blossom only at evenings.

That’s an interesting story, but it’s true that paarijaatha tree is always in a slanted position; I don’t know why. Also people (in south canara) believe that they have to steal the plant from others’ place (as Krishna did) if they want one for them. They believe that if they get it with the consent of the owner, the plant doesn’t survive in their garden.

In south canara, almost all homes have paarijaatha trees at the end of their courtyards. I have seen few trees in Indiranagar area though they are rare in Bangalore. I enter into a kinda time-machine every time the breeze filled with fragrance of paarijaatha flower blows on me when I take evening walks in Indiranagar, the time-machine in which I go 15 years back n relive my childhood!!

ps: pictures are not mine, got them from net.