Wednesday, August 5, 2009


We are not used to planning anything special on annual day as a matter of fact we have never done this. Recently i was checking my website status and found that is registered on 30th july 2003. That is when i thought we are old and needed to do something. So suddenly I got a thought of taking some under privilege children to Jungle lodges – Bannurghatta Nature camp and give some awareness to them about nature. About which i have been talking ever since we started and never done anything.
So for the first time this year we budgeted 15k towards this and decided to take some 25 odd children with 4-5 staff. We spoke to dream a dream initially who came back us with 25 children, 4 teachers and 10 volunteers, which we found little odd. In the mean time i visited Sumangali Seva Ashram with help of my pilot friend ravi, in 5 minutes the president set up a meeting with warden of school and confirmed 27 children and 2 teachers will accompany and they will take care of the transportation. We fixed the day as 1st aug since it was a Saturday and children can take off from school.
On 1st august we, complete staff of holiday mantra i.e. Shashi, Hema, Abraham and his Wife, Ram Prasad, Shama Rao and we were also accompanied by my dad and my 3 year old niece Shraya and good friends Mr. Manjunath and Mr. Narasimaha Murthy arrived at JLR Bannerughatta NC at about 12.30. Children had already arrived at the camp and were checked in and we having lunch. We too had a good lunch and shraya had lost completely to surroundings.
Children left for safari later in the afternoon and we too followed them. As usual we were all thrilled in safari and shraya had a ball looking live at all the carnivores animals. After the safari my dad,hema,Abraham + his wife,manjunath and narasimha murthy left to Bangalore.
Myself, shamarao and ram returned back to camp with children, in the mean time children had also see the zoo and were exchanging jokes, that they have fixed appointment with animals for the night.
After tea and biscuits and milk and biscuits for children, thanks to shama rao and ram we kept children busy with some nice memory games which was fun. At about 6.45 it started to pour and rained cats and dogs for about an hour and our (children’s) camp fire dreams were shatters but we showed them some wildlife movie to keep them busy.
At dinner table i met Kalyan Varma renounce photographer and wildlife activist and was all praise to us for giving children this holiday, so quickly i seized the opportunity and asked him can he give a small slide show and small talk about conservation. Which was my initial thought before the program to invite someone good, which i did not pursue? Kalyan was more than happy to do it the next day after breakfast.
We sighed off the day with dinner.
I was woken up in the morning by calls of barking dear and prayers of children at 6 and 6.30 we all had tea and the program was to go for a nature walk, i was not feeling well and feeling feverish. I told all that i am not coming but i could not hold myself and joined the group after litter thought that i would have not missed if i had a client and now this children i do not want to give a miss.
Nature walk was really good experience where i to kept learning so many new things. Sincere thanks to k m of jlr.
After breakfast it was time for kalyan’s slide show. The conference room in jlr is posh and nice, children were thrilled to be seated like big men. We started at 10.20 and kalyan explained his in ability to explain in kannada and i stood in to translate where ever he was stuck. The slide show was just fantastic and it was a pleasure for me to too. Pictures were too good and had then cam talk about conservation by taking tea as base.
I will go little in details about this conservation talk, because it touched me and would also have touched all the children.
Tea – What do we need to make it? Tea leaves, Milk, Water, Sugar.
Tea Leaves – where do we grow, in high altitude above 4000ft and were earlier there were rainforest and now surely we making tea forest without any animals and variety of species of plants. Animals are caged to small patches of shoal forest, which also has a short life.
Milk – comes from cows from Villages where there is no fodder for it and are left in forest to graze. There are about 1.5 laks cows are left to graze in bandipur forest alone every single day.
Water- We are not near water body’s and we build dams and submerge forest to an unprecedented extent.
Sugar – Sugar cane is grown in the fringes of the forest and there is constant man animal conflict.
So the problem is that we are too many people need great awareness in using our natural recourses. All this was told by kalyan with few little kannada words he knew and with lots of breathtaking pictures and was really and wonderful experience. Sincere thanks to kalyan varma for this beautiful slide show which was educative and an eye opener.
At the end it was an overwhelming experience when a child came on stage and spoke a few words about the complete experience.
My sincere thanks to all clients to make this happen, without them it was not possible.
My sincere thanks all the staff of Holiday Mantra
My sincere thanks to children of sumagali seva ashrama.
This experience has made me to work harder so that i can give it back more to society at large.
To see more pictures in movie check this link

Friday, July 10, 2009



Finally i was on my way for much awaited, much hyped hike to valley of flowers. We were 5 in the group, in that myself and an army man were reasonably fit to hike all the way and rest were fit to do the trek with complete help of mules.

Day1: Drive to to last road head Govind ghat was eventful, we were stopped by a landslide near pepal koti. We were watching the clearing of the road from a distance and and after lot of discussions we finally decided to cross the road block by foot and instructed the driver to see us later in joshimath. The total stretch we had to cross was about 15 mts. we had just done 3 mts we heard the rumbling of rocks on top and loud noise started to increase and we quickly guided our heals back to safety and were shocked to see the boulder came down was as big as truck and we were thanking our luck, we spent that night safely in pepalkoti.

Day2: Roads we not opened till 10am and to our destiny we have to cross the land slide area by foot and took private taxi and headed to joshimath and we instructed our drive to come slowly and stay back at govind ghat.We reached Govind Ghat by 1p.m we finished lunch and started to hike towards Ganghari and it was nice uphill trek and it had nice view of Govindghat as we climbed and beautiful waterfall on the right side. Hike was not very strenuous and we did not stop en route much because we had started land and wanted be to at gangaria before dark. As we kept going climb was more or less flat and we hiked all the way along river puspavati. At about 4.30 we stopped to wash our face and i tired my new gadget canon 450d to capture water flow in slow sped by mounting digislr on tripod. We had tea at about 5 pm in small island created by river puspavati 1km before gangaria. We reached Ghangaria by 6 pm and army accommodation was more than comfortable for hike of this height.

Day4: Today we took the gamble to going to valley of flowers and hoped the weather would be good. Once we left the village the trail was just beautiful and was just full of flowers and it was living up to its expectations of being valley of flowers. I was just taking too much of time in taking lot of time in taking pictures and trying different compositions. Hike was not at all tough and we were cruising and i was just loving the complete misty-cloudy feeling and chill in the air. After about an hour we got a descent and lead us to a bride over a gorge, under which the glacier water was in its full flow. Then we got into even thicker canopy of tress on the uphill and found some nice mushrooms and trail lead us to a opening, it was not so un assuming place and a gentle walk for another 15 minute we were in real valley of flowers. It was just awesome, weather was just too good and cloud cover was just fading away and good sun shine and great time for good pictures. We hiked into the valley for about 1 hour and settled to had grub and by 2 pm started to descend back. It was an amazing experience coming out of the valley and cloud covering all the peaks again and by the time we were close to start of our trek it started to rain but not so heavily. Then near the check-point/entry point of valley of flower we saw one baba in small tent/cave. He made us some tea and we are surprised to see him making good milk tea at that height and the milk was tetra packed one and must be really expensive. But gave our little donation and head back to our luxurious army accommodation.
Day 5: Today weather was not as pretty as yesterday but out sprits were high. Today trek was real sucker and hard. We started by 8 am and by 9 we had gained some good height and it stared to rain. We stopped for tea and breakfast. Then the climb got harder and harder. We were going from 12k to 14k and we were taking heavy breath understandably. It was more tough because i was taking pictures, every time i find a good flower i stop bend set the tripod and take pictures. Most of the times i was feeling i will take these pictures when i am coming down but made up my mind i may not get this weather then and the same happened. By 12 pm i was on top completly exhausted and i was in no position to see the lake - Himkun sahib. It was also misty and the after tea in my stamoch and some time elapsed, things started to clear and i was shell shocked to see lake and here i was just speeach less. If thought this was ultimate, best was yet to come. I saw old sardar's taking a holy dip in the lake. I too tried and after the first dip i did not know what was happening and i completed 3 dips and do not know how i cam out from the lake. It took 20 minutes to come to my senses of feeling my body. I was completly frozen! Then afte some time we had nice hot and sweet halwa and explored small hilloks aroud the lake and i was takeing pictures left right and center. Then at aroudn 1.30 we stared our desednt to gangaria and everystep was just fun because you feel better and better when you on desedn in hight altituede because your body gets more oxygen. By 4.30 we were in gagaria and had half a dozen gulab jamoos to sign off my trek part for the day and camped back in army accomodation. Today was on the most staisfing days of my treking days. It was hard on boday and awsome for eyes and beauty was taking us beyond mind. Pictures were good because it had rained in the morning and there was nice glossy sheen on the plants. By 11 am we were back in Govind Ghat. That was the end of my Valley Of Flowere-Himkund Shaib Tour.

Day6- At around 7 am we started to desend and it was like nice sprint and had goodfun, on the way i interaced with some japanese trekers took some good long breaks on the way. Some of the best pictures i have got in this trip was on this day.

Monday, July 6, 2009


Travel Blogs General Blogs Photos

It was pleasant morning when we started to lesser known hoysal tour organised by my good friend lakshmi and arun. First stop was doddagaddvalli, temple is located on the banks of nice lake and it was picturesq setting to feel, more than to take a ideal picture. Temple is mostly intact and is nice serene place without any crowd.
Later in the afternoon after lunch we went to belur and as usual it was class act of hoysala.
On 5th July we had a coffee tour in bikod estate and it was nice. I learnt rain water harvesting in estate which was new to me. I thought rain water harvesting is only of homes and never thought it can be for large estate.

Post breakfast we visited Belavadi which was also in very nice and best part is the drive through lush green fields and colourful sunflower fields. Temple per say it was nice but i felt the temple is packed in between the village homes, not located on bank of a water body which is what i am programmed to look for, but the garbha gudi had nice energy.
Later we visited Hulikere- bathtub of natyarani shantala. Should have been in great sight when she was really bathing there thanks to my imagination. Nevertheless it is cute little pond.

Dwarasamura is in 100% ruins and raised to ground century's ago.But the sad part is thought of ASI to have mayura kstdc in beween Beautiful hoysaleswara. What a sight it would have been if people come and see the ruins and later visit the hoysaleswara temple and followed by the lake. One could have visualized the grandeur of dwarasamudra in its d day's.
We visited hoysaleswara later, it must have been my 15 + visit. We visited Basti halli, pre Hinduism of hoysal architecture.But one thing was certain for me was even though Jainism was there in these temples in the santam satorims but circumference of the temple had complete stories of Hinduism. So i see conflict of one's religion which is superficial(outside) and inner soul remain the same, like present day conversions too. Like people going to church with agarbattis.
What i am saying here is that human mind is same today too. We get bored in one ritual which is old and we get attracted to other just because it is in Vogue. this implies to everthing in life for a man. He is always curious to try new things but the journey continues in experimenting, till he end, when feels that all are tricks of this mind.
I thinks as usual i have gone a bit too much philosophical in this. But the tour was good nicely executed.
Kudos to Lakshmi and Arun and looking forward for more.