Thursday, June 8, 2017

Meeting friends in Bangalore : 24 May 2017


After 2 days in Nandi hills we went to Bangalore city. The Mister was clear he was least interested in monument hopping so I planned to show him the gardens instead but that did not go as per plan. Well atleast we drove through Cubbon park. 

On the first day, friends decided to catch up for dinner as I was in BLR after 3 yrs. They treated me to a wonderful dinner at Farzi Cafe, UB city. I found my new love Karela calamari. The food was lipsmacking and the company warm and comforting. 


The second day I decided to go for darshan to Shree Brahmachaitanya Mandir, after which we met family friends and Gurubandhus. Parimala aunty and Chetan took us to lunch at a new place in their neighborhood of J P Nagar. A lovely Punjabi meal at Asha sweets followed. She blessed me with gifts as I was visiting her first time after marriage with the mister. I missed Ashwath Narayan uncle a lot. 

The evening too was spent with another dear friend, S dinning at Sodawaterbottleopenerwala, the Parsi-Irani outpost at Lavelle road. Husband had his fill of Dhansak and Saria, while I gorged on the snacks and made a meal out of it. Mushroom on khari, bun maska and chilli cheese toast with lagan nu achar and was surprised with the fruitified Raspberry! We complimented the chef for the food before we left. 

The next day we were to leave for Srirangapattana. While we were at the restaurant the cab guys called and I shared rest of my itinerary with them. He seemed very polite but I had doubts if he was listening. There was a second call amidst din and I knew nothing got across. In the morning the driver called "Madam I am Narsimha, waiting for you outside the airport!" 

So there went our plan of our early start of the drive to Srirangapattana. Then Narsimha arrived and right in front of our eyes started loading some other people's bags in the boot of the car. Such was our day. Finally we did leave Ibis city center by 11.30 am. Fortunately after that our simpleton driver turned out to be very good with navigation and driving too. 

To tell you about Ibis. We booked it on Booking.com. It gave us the options to pay at the hotel and showed some offer. I was happy with the price which looked like 25% less. On reaching the hotel we were pointed out that the price did not include taxes. I had a hunch, it came true. The reservation had embedded links that gave the actual break up. So we shelled out 28% more and stayed there for the location. I wanted the view of Cubbon Park and proximity to my friend's home so I could meet her. On being shown the room, I was totally disappointed. It was a very tight space with only a moulded semi-circular space for a bathroom. The window had a slice of the view of Cubbon park and Kanteerva Stadium. I decided to be happy with it so not to upset our holiday mood. My husband liked the space though for its modern design or was it their breakfast? To give it to them the breakfast which was included in the package was wonderful and we freaked out on the melt in the mouth idlis kept in a steamer so you got them hottest. 

On the way we munched on Shrewsbury biscuits we had packed from Sodawaterbottleopenerwala the previous night and watched the trees and houses fly by.

video

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Nature at its Dramatic best : 23 May 2017

We hopped off the airplane and went straight to the pick up point 5 at Bangalore airport where our cab came and drove us straight in the opposite direction of the city to Nandi Hills. Through hairpin bends and lot of screaming as your car navigates to reach the top. After checking in we went to the KSTDC restaurant attached to the Hotel Mayura Pine Top only to be turned away as it had closed down for the day at 6 pm itself. We missed our evening tea so bought a large bottle of Mango slice and returned to our room. The winds were blowing swaying the tree outside our balcony. The rest of the evening we refused to move away from the view.

Yeah I hate to say this in the beginning of the post itself but the food was terrible we survived on the wonderfully fresh fruits we bought in Chikkaballapur plains before we ascended Nandi, freshly peeled Pomelo, jackfruit and purple grapes.



We slept early as there was no TV. The hotel room was only a month old and pristine. At around midnight I heard some commotion outside in the veranda. The power was fluctuating and there was thundering and lightening. I woke up and sat in the balcony. Nature was at its dramatic best. It is amazing to watch the lightening and thunder on such a large canvas unlike the restrained view from a city apartment. I was mesmerized and stayed awake watching it through the night, the thunder and the scintillating fireworks. Sometimes I was induced with fear of being struck by lightening. Finally in the early morning hours I drew the curtains apart and let the scenes into the room and lay in my bed to catch a few winks before dawn. However there was no sunrise that day after the storm. It was misty all the way until late afternoon.


The view from our room was so terrific combined with gushing winds causing the tree outside our balcony to sway wildly, we did not have the need to step out for a walk at all. We just vegetated. The second day evening finally I thought the Mister needed a little bit of showing around so we walked all along the circumference of the hill and reached the Tipu's drop, the dark history of Nandi from where traitors and prisoners were thrown into the valley below. I was however sad to see a fencing along the sharp rockyside. The fencing has tamed Tipu's drop even though it makes it safe for tourists, the fear inducing no more to experience. I had done it in the past so many years and I prefer the rawness. There that's my husband sitting near the fence and the patchwork of the fields below. You wouldn't have dared to go there without that fence. Lost is the adventure!


Here is another picture just to show you the gradient of Tipu's drop. It has been sculpted a bit now to make it easy for tramplers.

Visited the temple on the top near the Tipu's drop and its beautiful enclosed pushkarni. Leaving you with a video to enjoy the awesomeness of Nandi hills.


video



Sunday, June 4, 2017

New experiences in and around Bangalore with the Mister.


23 May to 31 May 2017

We have been married for a year and a half exactly, I said to my husband and "We have been postponing our long vacation due to health reasons. Lets just go when you are better now." Just that and he nodded in agreement, telling me to book places with panoramic views and no visiting monuments!

I took that as a direction and designed this trip to help us rejuvenate completely. So the itinerary went like this.


  1. Hop off the airplane > Take a cab to Nandi hills. Stay 2 days in the new Gandhi Nilaya. I was to be smitten totally you will see in the separate post on Nandi hills.
  2. From the hills hit the Bangalore city and explore. Well the explore part did not happen as planned but had a lovely time meeting all the wonderful friends in my life in the 2 days that we were there. 
  3. Mysore was not on the plan and Shrirangapattana I love enough to just chill there on the banks of the Kaveri but we visited the Shri Ranganath temple and Tipu's summer palace yet again. This time made sure I went to Ranganatitthu bird sanctuary. What an amazing experience paddling around in the boat watching not just birds but crocs too.


4. Finally spending 2 most beautiful and luxurious days on Crystal Estates in Pollibetta, Coorg. We lived our dream of staying on a plantation with a cook to churn out delicious meals, a butler and another helper to wait on us, a driver to take us around the estate. The entire plantation to ourselves almost!

Join me in the journey as I write down memories of this enchanting time...