Tales of a Traveller

Exploring the unexplored.

Archive for the tag “exploration”

The Crazy Beaches – Hikkaduwa & Unawatuna

This was one of those laid back weekends when I kinda felt enough is enough and decided to just get my lazy bum of the couch. I took the bus to Hikkaduwa, have been hearing a lot about this place ever since i set foot in lanka a good 6 months ago. This place was simply insane, lovely beaches and while walking on the beach, I spotted this super huge turtle, in fact there were a few that I saw later on. Loads of foreigners wer baking themselves in the sun, chilling with beer and their respective BF’s and GF’s.

I then kind of wanted to see more such places, that’s when one of the localites there asked me to go to Unawatuna Beach. He mentioned that I would love it there. And boy, I did. That was like simply out of dreamworld. The beaches were simply awesome and wonderful. There were people jumping into the waters with their entire family. People baking in the sun, sipping beer, juices, reading books and other simply enjoying nature. I met a Belgian here, who was travelling with his wife. They travel to one place every year. The weather also was in tune for everybody to chill & enjoy.

I simply let all the awesomeness sink in and enjoyed the weekend clicking loads of pics and enjoying the beaches and the lovely bunch of people at the beaches.

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The Lone Rock Fort – Sigiriya & The Rock Temple – Dambulla

A weekend to enjoy and not too many things to do in the guest house, I decided to do what I love most, backpack n travel. I took the bus that went towards Anuradhapura, getting down at Dambulla and proceeding to Sigiriya. I reached close to the fort and saw this huge single kind of rock in the middle of nowhere. Walked up to the ticket counter and was suprised that they gave a discount to the people visiting from the SAARC countries. The climb to rock fort began very steadily with steps that were there. There were huge ponds or water catchment areas on both sides. Then there is a spiral step installed where we get to the Rock Paintings that date back a few centuries behind, if not more.

Then you get to a place called the The Lion Paw. That is from where the steep climb to the fort begins. Though now we have metal steps placed, it is indeed a crazy steep climb to the top. One too many people were huffing and panting in the effort to get to the top. Once you get to the top, all there is are ruins of the fort that kind of controlled the island country. The guides there were explaining everything the knew about the place to all the tourists.

It was very nice. I finished looking around and then descended down and walked out of the fort t the main road, as it was evening, i wanted to find a nice decent place to crash for the night. I was lucky enough to find a place very close to the fort at about LKR 1000 for the night. I stayed there, the guy even allowed me to watch EPL in his house and then I had Rice n Curry for dinner and munched Lays apart from the Plain Tea I kept having.

I left early in the morning towards Dambulla, to see the Rock Temples there.

Once I got to Dambulla bus stand, I asked the locals for guidance to reach the temple. One man guided me and also asked the bus driver to drop me just outside the temple, which he promptly did. There was a huge Buddha Statue to welcome me. They say, this statue of Buddha in this position is the biggest in the world. We then have to walk around the statue to get over the hill where the Buddhist Monks used to meditate in the meditation halls they had created in the hills by cutting the rocks. These places were absolutely awesome. The huge statues, the carvings on the walls, the paintings all around. Everything was simply mesmerizing. The view, the pleasant wind blowing up there, the cute lil lotus pond, the little cats playing around there.

Everything was a sight. Once I was done with the temple, i went back to the town and then took the bus back to Colombo. After having spent the weekend happily getting to know the history of the island country.

The Fort – The Town – Galle

This was on a rainy saturday morning when I decided that enough is enough and packed my bag and left for Galle. The place is about 125 kms from Colombo. I took an AC Bus costing about 300 LKR to get to Galle.

The  Bus drops you right in the centre of the town at the Galle Bus Stand. Opp is the garden, The cricket Stadium and further down the lane is the Galle Fort. I took a stroll into the Fort. The Fort is huge and probably had the entire town of Galle inside it at some point of time in history. Walking around the fort enjoying the sight that it had to offer was pretty awesome. Loads of tourists from different parts of the globe were also enjoying the weekend.

There were a few cliff jumpers who were entertaining crowds at some cliff points in the Fort. Also the Lighthouse was a sight in itself and the beaches here and there around the fort.

Once I got done walking through the fort, i stopped at a Danish Coffee house to grab a sandwich and some coffee. And also took advice on more places to visit in Galle, That’s when a guy at the Cafe asked me to go and visit Peace Pagoda and the Jungle Beach there. Both of them actually turned out to be a really good and awesome place to visit. I thoroughly enjoyed the calm and serene nature of the Jungle Beach. I kind of enjoyed sitting n sipping some kool juices for like almost 4 hours before i set myself to return back to Colombo.

It was indeed a day very well spent.

Had a great time chilling with myself.

Distance – Colombo to Galle – 125 kms

Time – 3 hrs on Galle Road else about 2 hrs if you take the expressway

Cost – 600 LKR Bus Ticket – to n fro

Snacks – 1000 LKR

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.

Kempu (red), mannu (soil) and gundi (pit) — Kemmangundi

The ride to kemmangundi was with BMC Bangalore Motorcycle Club, we all met at Parle G factory on tumkur road. We had our formal introductions and then the briefing by our Pilot Roshan/ Vasu. We were about 15 bikes. We rode to tumkur at a steady pace before we stopped at our favourite joint for breakfast where all of us gobbled up Idli’s and Vada’s and a few managed Dosa’s too. Everybody slurped their cups of Coffee n Tea.
The we continued on our journey. I was more of a pillion on this ride, clicking photographs and enjoying the ride. We rode through a state highway with people crossing the roads like maniacs and also we had cows n dogs enjoying the roads at their leisure.
We reached Kemmangundi in Chikmangalur around about Lunchtime and unwinded ourselves to enjoy the place. We all had Lunch and then took some rest before we headed to explore the place. We rode to Kalhatti Falls and then we headed to a garden which was well maintained. Vasu Sir, Imran and many others had their share of fun with the sprinklers installed to water the lawn grass.
Then we trekked to a place from where the view was serene and blissful.
We took our strolls and enjoyed the trail. Clicking loads of pics and helping each other in the steep climb. The place has a lot of trails on offer and can be enjoyed for trekking and other adventure sports in winter.

Distance – 275 kms from Blore Approx

Cost – Around 2k per head in a decent Overnight Home Stay including 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner & 1 Breakfast.

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.

Through a fallen tree

Through a fallen tree

Nothing was to dampen my spirit, not even this fallen tree on the exploration trip around the Telugu Ganga.

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