Friday, April 30, 2010

Devarayana Durga, Madhugiri Fort, Lepakshi Trip

With our theme for this year vacation being Hilly area.... ancient monuments... yesterday we decided for a day trip to see Devarayana Durga, Madhugiri Fort and Lepakshi in Andhra.

Devarayana Durga is about 100 kms away Bangalore. We started around 10 AM and took the NICE road to reach Tumkur Road ( toll Rs 83 ) about 35 kms aways from home, from there we drove on NH4 for about 35 Kms to reach Dobbaspeta, 24 kms before Tumkur and took the Uredagiri road, and took a left to Devarayana Durga about 8 kms drive up in the hill, a nice hilly drive. We were there at 12.30 PM.

We first went to Boga Narasimha temple which is down and then climbed up another 3 kms to reach the summit. Very nice and cool place. They collect a parking charge of Rs 15/. There is a walkway to temple. Mud path. Enough monkeys are there, so you have to close the windows of car at all times!

TVS group is maintaining the Yoga Narasimha Swamy temple. Vaishnavaites are managing. They gave Moong Dal rice with coconut, plus Thayir Saadam as Prasadham. They are also providing proper lunch at Dasappa Chathram. Very Simple. Rice Payasam, Rasam and Buttermilk. We started back at 2 PM.

Next stop in our trip was Madhugiri Fort, promoted by Karnataka Tourism corporation which is about 50 Kms from Dev Durga. Road is decent. We were there at the Madhugiri fort at 3 PM. We parked in the entrance and no parking charges inside the court complex. We started the climb, which is about 400 meters high, as the board said. Very tough to climb, and slippery. Weak hearted avoid the climb, but try upto a certain easy point. The Karnataka government (Toursim Department) could try to make the steps better, instead of leaving them as it is. Antiqueness is very risky. At midway, towards the fort, the steps become clean and neat, and easy to climb, though very steep. Enough water needs to be poured into our system. Kids liked it. Lovely to see Goats gracing, on the edge of cliffs! The bad sight was Ganja peddlers and Pig farm in the foot hills.

We reached downhill, got some juice and started around 4.30 PM to our next stop Lepakshi in Andhra Pradesh, 15 kms from Hindupur, which is 45 kms from Madhugiri. I could have driven back to Bangalore, from there which is about 120 kms from Bangalore. So we were adding only 60 Kms to see some ancient temple! The roads near the border are horrible. We drove in the fields, mud and all for few kilometers. ( I should have had a jeep! ) Someone has to do something for that place. Idiotic MPs of the border states dont even bother I think. Someone has to wield the stick to make the PWD guys lay the road.... Otherwise the trees gave shade and weather was lovely. Nice rest stops....

@ Hindupur we missed the Bombay sweets, where my friend (roomie at Hyderabad) used to get sweets from - in the Bus stand area, which was NTR constituency! We clicked the photos at the junction, where there is NTR statue... called NTR junction, leads to many places. I filled petrol, which costs as good at Tamilnadu, Rs 2 cheaper per litre than Karnataka.

We took the road to Lepakshi, 15 kms away, where a 500 years old temple of Veera Bhadraswamy is present. Wonderful architecture and it is not maintained well. The parking charge was Rs 10/- and we parked in front of a coconut vendor house, who forced us to buy 2 coconuts. We clicked the Nandi statue on the way. Even though it is AP, they spoke Kannada.

A friend of my wife called and they chatted in roaming for sometime in the temple when the Arathi was going on. Women!

After having our cuppa Coffee, Thumsup... we started at 5.40 PM and after a smooth 15 Kms drive, touched the NH7 near Puttaparthi main road around 6 PM, second time in 6 days! We reached home at 8.45 PM, after stopping at Devanahalli Airport area to watch 2 flights land in the night at around 7 PM.

Round trip 330 Kms. Worth the day!


Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Hogenakkal Trip

Last Sunday we decided to hit the roads to see Hogenakkal in Tamilnadu ( near Karnataka border ) as a day trip. Vacation mode for kids.

It is about 180 kms from Bangalore ( via Hosur -Krishnagiri - Dharmapuri - Pennagaram ) and a 4 hours drive.

We started at 9.50 AM and reached there at 1.30 PM, right in time for lunch. On the way we stopped in Dharmapuri for getting some Coconut water and Dharbooz. We had packed some fried rice and snacks and were saved! Not many decent hotels are there. We also bought some fish, after checking various places on the road side. 10 rs a piece. But you have to be vary of the oil they use! ( stomach collapsed in the evening ). Even if you buy and give the fish to cook, they charge obscenely it seems! The place near the river bank, where they do pooja's was so dirty. We managed to find a place for eating food under tree shade, with troubles from monkeys, cows and dogs. It is the area, were people offer Karuppu ( Karumam ) for elders passed away. Thithi area. People were cooking and eating near that temple.

We never new it was such a dirty place, commercial minded and very badly managed. I was thinking how Ooty was spoilt like this.

I would never reco this place to anyone, unless they want a drive, and a bit of hill scenary! with villages along the way.

The Pennagaram Panchayat collects Rs 30/- as parking charge about 13 kms before Hogenakkal. Idiots. I hope some TN authorities take care of this. Also at TTDC hotel you can park for Rs 10 and the watchman collects another Rs 10 for tea!

There is another route via Thali, Palakodu and Rayakottai. About 20 kms less, but I am told roads are bad. Some blogger had written about Jigani - Anchetti - Pennagaram route on hills. I would like to try that once....

The falls area is dirty with smell, oil massage washes and there was limited water flow. The bathing area is so crowded with people!

The hanging bridge is a good view point. We did not want to take the coracle, as we were afraid of accidents. We saw one person taken to hospital after drowning.

The heat killed us literally. We were not prepared for that heat! Kids said, that's it - no more visits for this area.

We started back at 4 PM and reached home at 8 PM, with heavy rains on the Krishnagiri Ghats and saw some accidents on the way. Tough to drive after 6 PM. Experience helps.

Morale - get the real tips before you hit the road.