Tales of a Traveller

Exploring the unexplored.

Archive for the category “Friends”

The Lion Forest

That’s wha t the name of the this forest literally means – The Singharaja Forest. This forest is a Heritage site as declared by UNESCO. They say this is among the world’s best Rain Forests to be visiting. If one is taking this trip to the forest one must be prepared to walk miles of kms in a day, continuously. Also one must be prepared to get bitten by a lot of leeches and be prepared to see a lot of reptiles.

We took a bus from Pettah in Colombo to Deniyaya, that is a another entrance to the forest, it is a less explored place. Though the ditance was less than 150 kms, it took us a good 6 hrs to get there by the direct bus we took.

Our guide for the forest tour Sanjaya Ruwan was there waiting for us with his Tuk Tuk. He rode through some crazy little roads for a little over 15 kms and we arrived out the tiny cute little homestay that he had arranged for us.

The place was neatly tucked just outside the forest area. It was so serene and beautiful that we just ended up clicking one too many clicks even before we began the trek through the forest. We began the trek early in the morning so that we could see many birds and the reptiles in the area.

Sanjaya got to the home stay early in the morning. He smeared salt all around my feet saying that it keeps the leeches away. The the trek began, we say some crazy Green Pit Vipers and Black Pit Vipers apart from climbing and walking through this humongous forest to get to some of the waterfalls in the region. The place was simply awesome, very fresh.

After this the next day, we walked around in another direction to see a different kind of flora n fauna. We saw a few Sri Lankan endemic birds. And I also saw a snake that was eating a frog and clicked a few pics.

The greenery was just too peaceful to leave, apart from the fact that there was no mobile network coverage, it was a different level of serenity and joy. After the joyous trip we began on our way back. This time we took a bus to Galle and then the Highway bus to Colombo. We reached much quicker than the time we took to reach there.

The guide in Singharaja Forest Sanjaya did an awesome job, taking us around to the best parts of the jungle. It was a weekend that was very well spent. The joy and the elation was simply profound.

Avala Betta

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Like always this was a ride, that was like decided on the spot after Gobbling up our Paranthas n Chai at the Great Patantha Company near Nandi Hills. The Idea of riding more beckoned us to just say yes to Vidur’s idea of riding to this unheard place.

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This place is about 90 kms approx from Bangalore. We had already covered about 40 kms to the Break Fast point and so happily rode to this place. The cemented roads upto the top of the hill was a surprise.

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This place is very charming and scenic. Nature’s beauty is in abundance. Absolutely calm and peaceful letting you blend in with Nature. In most cases apart from a few devotees who are there to visit the Temple, you will be the only souls in that Hill. This is not at all commercial, to the fact that there is not even a water shop or snack shop there. We got there after Break Fast and Chai so we were not particularly hungry or thirsty but just the beauty of the place and the joy of clicking photographs kept us going. This is definitely for travellers who love being with Nature and all by themselves.

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We chilled there for sometime before we rode back stopping at a Tea Stall in the Village.

Distance – 90 kms

Time – about 1 n half hour one way

Food & Water – Not Available

The Pics and Videos shall be uploaded n shared soon.

That Kumbakonam Degree Coffee

Both me and Dewang were casually munching dinner when we suddenly had this idea of driving to Mahabs. We took the OMR route and drove at a steady speed around 10 pm.
We reached the OMR-ECR intersection from where we took left and headed on ECR towards chennai. Thats when we saw this Kumbakonam Degree Coffee shop.
The place was very cute n small. Enough rooom to sit anf enjoy a nice coffee.
As expected the coffee was simple and tasty. We both enjoyed our cups and like always we repeated the order again.
The place has become a regular now. We love going there and enjoying our coffee there.

Cheers. To more such coffee rides.

Ladakh – The dream that eludes !!!!

This is one dream that has certainly been eluding me and a few close friends for a very longtime now. We had planned to get to Ladakh quite a few times and never even got close.
Now that i work in Bangalore and my friends are abroad, I had given up on Ladakh fr a few years until suddenly out of nowhere Praneet’s call lands on my cell and he begins with the customary superlatives and then mentions Ladakh and says that I have to get to Delhi by the weekend and we shall drive to Ladakh. These words were like music to my ears and I kinda felt the rush of a few thousand orgasms.
I had a different battle/ war to fight at home to get the necessary permissions to travel to Ladakh. I was allowed to go on one major condition, i.e I would not ride a 2 wheeler in the entire trip.
I reached Delhi and began calling Praneet, he was in some place with loud music and so he cut the call and sent me a message asking me to get to RSVP in JayPee Continental. I took a cab and reached the place only to be greeted by Praneet, Nishu, Divya, Silvia and a few more friends. We danced and partied all night and by the time we got back to the guest house, it was around 7 in the morning.
We slept, took rest and then in the evening we went to Red Fort, a place that I had not visited in my 2 years stay in Delhi. A nice place, but the heat was killing us ( Me, Praneet & Silvia ), we had to get to the airport to pick up Deniz and Rubina.
We picked them up, got to the guest house and then headed tp party. The evening was so much fun, dancing and chilling. Once done we headed back to the guest house to crash.
We began in the after to head towards Shimla. We took our first break to eat at a customary dhaba near Karnal. We had our shares of Lassi’s and Parathas. We also stopped en route at a place which was called Tiger Trails, we had to take a winch to get to the other side of the hill. It was a nice ride and we had a jollyful time. Then we started on our way to Shimla. We reached there quite late and managed to find the place designated for our night stay there. We drank, ate and had a joyful time. Deniz was at his dragoneous best, spitting out fire and made our evening worthwhile, while all this was happening, Rubina was busy removing her making up.
We got up and went our way to explore shimla, we checked out of the place too, we had our break fast in a very dingy place in the corner of a cross road, Deniz would vouch for the fast that the restroom probably had a better view than most places in shimla. We also walk to Mall Road, climbed up the small view point and clicked loads of pics everywhere.
Then we headed to Manali, the distance to Manali wasn’t too much but just that we had to encounter winding roads and the scary sound on the tingling waters of River Beas. We drove slowly and cautiously to get to Manali. We stopped at a few places where the view was amazing. We took our time to reach Manali. We had our difficulties in locating the place where we had to stay for the night.
We crashed in our respective rooms and drank, ate and made merry before we all crashed. In fact I slept much earlier than the rest.
Then we continued on our way to Leh, the drive was through Rohtang, we had an amazing time while the weather began to get more cooler and the winds began to get more chillier, we began to see the snow clad mountains and also snow covered on most parts of the roads, it was an amazing experience in itself. We were all clicking ourselves to glory with the DSLR’s. We stopped at a very nice point from where the view was breathtaking, all we could eat there was Maggi, Break Omelet and Chai Tea. While riding on our way to Rohtang just before we reached there the mountains had come crashing down thereby closing the roads. We were left with no option but to return back to Manali. Disgusted as we were, we wanted to still continue on the ride and see a few more places. So after much discussion and contemplation we decided to drive to Dharamshala/ McLeodganj.
We started the next day, the ride to Dharamshala was simply beyond the mind to even fathom, we were like the only souls in that part of the country driving through the mountains, it was so much fun, we reached dharamshala very late in the night. we couldn’t see much of the countryside in the night, but the view in morning from the balconies of our hotel rooms was simply awesome. We had sumptuous breakfast before we left to the Dalai Lama Monastry. That was another place that got ticked off the Bucket List. We also drove around the super tiny roads of the town in Mcleodganj. All that was so much fun. Once done with all this we decided to head to chandigarh.
The drive to chandigarh was very much a descent from the Himalayas to the plains. It was a long drive, praneet’s mother did not like the idea of us driving to get home in the middle of the night, so we kind of drove a little quicker to make it back to Chandigarh. We in fact got to Parwanooo. The town from where Praneet belonged. We slept well there after our customary celebrations.
Then the next day morning I took my Bus to Delhi and then a flight back home in Blore. the other continued on a tour around chandigarh and then Delhi before they headed to Thailand and other places.

We all have our itineraries booked for next year, this time around we hope to scale the peaks and cross the passes that will get us to Leh/ Ladakh.

Things to Note – You will need a Whole lot of guts, adversities are a way of life up there so the temperament to withstand them is also the key, all necessary medicines, Diamox should be treated as a compulsion, eat less but eat many no of times, keep smiling, enjoy everything you see and feel, beauty is in abundance, every nook and corner calls for a click and will keep you mesmerized. Take your time, switch off your mobile phones, no laptops and all other electronic goods, for you are as close as you can get with Nature.

Cost – Around 50k per head for a round trip including airfare, food and stay. Around 10 days.

Pack less and travel light. Carry camera with loads of extra memory cards and batteries.

As Ladakh has been one dream that has been eluding us for a long time. We are wanting to get to the top of the world and so We are already considering to book our air tickets for next year.

Praneet, Silvia, Rubina and Deniz have a special mention as they made this trip a memorable and fascinating one. I now know that I have friends in different parts of the globe.

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