In an earlier life, repetitive tourism (in whatever guise:temples, tirth yatra or just a getaway) would be good cause for loud and insistent protests, to my parents lasting aggravation. Post marriage has resulted in a surprising complacency and tolerance that I would not have believed myself of conjuring (though there might be differing opinions on this!). Ergo, we found ourselves cruising along on Mysore road for the second time in as many months. Though its been a couple of years now, we cannot get over our luck at being blessed with this highway:shiny clean and even enough to eat off. As battered as we were by our road trips to South Kanara, we treated this one with the normal emotions Indians reserve when treated to a motorable highway:unselfconscious delight and surprise. This trip was hastily planned with frantic calls to resorts and plenty of second guessing and rethinking to boot. With a friend’s recommendation, we settled on the Royal Orchid otel Hotel ckhoHotel at Brindavan Garden KRS. Brindavan gardens that provided the colour to a hundred tacky wet-sari songs in all possible vernacular tongues.
Day 1:We took the Rajhamsa from Bangalore to Hampi. This is a direct bus but a better choice would have been a Volvo to Hospet and local transport to Hampi which is 12 km from Hospet. As soon as we set foot in Hampi , guides and rickshaw drivers stalked us like any typical tourist spot. We walked past them to figure our way to Padma Guest house (try this number if you want to book 08394 241331) which is just around the corner of the street, haggled with the landlady Padma (as Chetan had hinted me to bargain prices), checked in for Rs.350. But I feel the price was not a bad option considering I am not the foreigner who would take a room for Rs.50 and soak in the culture.
The dream start Mulliyangiri one of the dream place to visit in my list located in Chikmagalur. The place which is famous for coffee and is known as the 'coffee land' of Karnataka , one of the largest coffee producer’s districts of the country. Mullyanagiri is the highest peak in Karnataka , with a height of 1,930 metres (6,330 ft), it is the highest peak between the Himalayas and the Nilgiris. Friday night as planned everyone assembled around 10:30 PM at the pickup point near majestic. At 11:15 PM we started from Bangalore with the fear of rain play in our plan. With fun filled night journey we reached our homestay by 4:00 AM.
This had been one of our dream treks and got lucky that one of our Bangalore based trekking club got permission for the route. Obtaining permission is quite difficult owing to the fact that the trek ranges along restriced areas of both Kerala and Tamilnadu and most the trek route would be along the border of the states.The plan was to cover the trek with in 2 days which would be difficult to squeeze since the ideal time to cover the trek would be 3 days. So we had to cover a distance of 35 (15Km on first day and 20Km on the next) within two days. We had started towards Munnar Friday night and got to reach Chinnar at 7 am the next day, where we first encountered the Kerala border check post. The guide joined us there and we went along the picturesque road towards Munnar. We had a great breakfast (Appam and Puttu-kadala curry) at a place called Marayur inside the Kerala border on way towards Munnar. The highway route was amazing with beautiful tea estates and gorgeous valleys.
After another long gap we got an opportunity, in the form of a 4 day Christmas holiday, to go on an outing. It was late by the time we started planning and getting accommodation was getting difficult. After evaluating different options, we closed in on to either Coonoor or Kudremukh. We got a booking in a small hotel in Coonoor. But Kudremukh was more tempting as we had read quite a bit about it and it appeared more beautiful and pristine. Kudremukh or "Kudere Mukha"literaly means "Horse Face". It gets this name from the highest peak in that region which resembles the face of a horse. It belongs to the Western Ghats mountain ranges of India and has 600 sq. km. of protected forests. There was a large open pit iron ore mine by KIOCL ( Kudremukh Iron Ore Company Ltd.) which has ceased operations now owing to environmental pressures.