Monday, December 23, 2013

CPL filters

I have been flaunting a lot about CPL filters in my previous write-up but barely with any examples. I did only demonstrate, how haze was nullified as well as how cleaner the sky looks. Somebody asked me if I can really show an example where applicability of CPL filter could be understood. Consequently, here are two pictures of lotus pond shot without and with CPL filter. Basically both of them were shot with CPL filter on the lens ring. Only difference was the first one was shot at a position where CPL had no effect while the latter was shot twiddling the CPL ring to get rid of reflections. Note how clear are details of foliage with CPL filter especially color saturation.  Also shimmering pond is eliminated too! The shots were taken at an angle to Sun's axis (not exactly 90 degrees). Note that if you shoot straight into Sun or exactly 180 degrees along axis of Sun, the photo will give undesirable look than without having CPL filter. The phenomenon can be even corrected with softwares however they may degrade the quality of image by infusing noises.


Any critiques, please address in comment section.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Divine nature, Desperate leeches, Adamant serpent - An unfinished trek to Arishinagundi Waterfalls

Today I would like to narrate some of our experiences of trek to Arishinagundi Waterfalls visited a month back. Hope you will enjoy our experiences :-)


Arishinagundi waterfalls is situated in exotic location amidst western ghats. It was well known for me from past 2 years, however lack of partners inhibited me from visiting this beautiful waterfall. In addition to that I also knew that there is no roadway to waterfall and need to trek from kollur for 6kms in dense rain forests. Not to forget, the region is home to wide variety of serpents :D. This time two of my office colleagues showed interest to visit the waterfalls and we planned just 2-3 days before commencement of journey. Rajesh booked Rajahamsa which was the only bus option available to Kollur. Since we decided just few days back, we ended up reserving last rows of bus :D. We were foreseeing a great trek along with bumpy journey :D.

We three congregated at Majestic bus stop and the bus started journey around 8:40PM. Looking at the condition of bus, we were sure of having good gymanstics inside the bus. We had preamble of what is going to happen further with greetings from poor suspension. We were getting massaged across every humps and bumps and sometimes high jumps! The bus stopped at Kamat hotel near Dabaspet and fortunately Rajesh occupied vacant seat in front row. Now myself and Amit were left stranded in last row. The bus resumed the journey and I was able to get good sleep till Shimoga. Like pitching the ball, we were getting pitched high by bus :D. A passenger alighted at Shimoga bus stand and Amit grabbed the middle seat immediately. Even though it was Friday, the off-season kept bus relatively empty at last rows. Also to my knowledge, people ply to kollur mostly by private vehicles. From Shimoga onwards, roads are simply ridiculous. Also the last seat added more pain to journey. I was the only now left in last row. After many hours of wobbling and jumping we are here in Kollur at 6AM. Ourselves found a room to refresh and ready by 7:30AM

We left to Mookambika temple to seek blessings before we could start. There was small queue and main door of temple was supposed to open by 8AM. We had to wait for 30 minutes before door could open. It was open exactly at 8AM and crowd had gathered by that time. Since we occupied the queue very early, it was going inside. We had darshan of mother mookambika and were out in matter of 15mins. Later Rajesh and Amit had blessings from the temple elephant :-). We had breakfast nearby hotel and then ready to start :-).


One of the shop person guided us to reaching the waterfall. As per his directions, we obtained permission from RPFO of Kollur. For each, the cost is 275 and compulsory guide charge of 500 is levied. RPFO convinced that guide is not required and showed us an approximate map to reach the waterfall site. We also nodded head and went ahead without a guide. As per RPFO, it was 4km journey from the sanctuary gate (3km jeep trail + 1km of deep valley).

We waited for shimoga bus at 9:45AM to drop at as Dali which was sanctuary gate stop. The bus did not show up even around 9:50AM. Instead we hired an auto for 40Rs till gate. Here starts our trek. The main gate was closed and we entered the sanctuary via the small gate. As per the placards, this region is conserved forest area with 64 types of medicinal plants. We could smell the fragrance of those great medicinal plants at some places too! Even though the trail is clear, the authorities have erected huge obstacles deliberately to curb vehicular traffic.

As we proceeded further, the wilderness started to haunt us. There was no sound at all except the sound of animals and sometimes flowing water. We were completely in middle of dense rain forests with high woods and darkness. Only at some places we could see sneaking sun :D. But the air was fresh with natural sounds and devoid of mobile signal :-). Few meteres of stroll, here comes leeches ascending all our legs :D. Oh man they were so many ;-). Due to extended monsoon season, the marshy regions were still alive and consequently leeches too! They were desperately trying to suck blood of city morons :-). Having aware of this fact, we had applied repellent prior to our long journey into woods. The leeches were hopping to suck those tasty(?) blood but could not penetrate further. We were just pulling them out from our shoes and socks but there were many. Eventually we left them as it is. As we moved on, the tiredness started haunting. It was not straight path with lots of steep ups and downs. Whenever we wished to stop, the leeches used to attack us. We were really in the battlefield facing those adamant leeches. It was difficult to sit down anywhere either. Finally we spotted a sunny region where we could atleast rest for a while. After crossing two to three streams with pure acqua, we encountered a junction where we took left instead of right.


The wrong path lead us to a house in middle of wilderness. We were bit relieved and talked to women worker in the house. She was speaking Kundapura Kannada which I somehow grasped. She said we had taken wrong path and continue towards right and keep climbing up till we see board to reach waterfalls. She blessed us and requested us to be very much careful and attentive while walking. Since the place is home for cobras, one needs to be watchful of footsteps. That's heart of village people who are always caring and concerned despite being less educated. We also met the house owner's son who had pale eyes and held Rajesh's hands firmly presuming that his mother has arrived. The worker mentioned that his mother has gone to cut grass for cattle. We gave him chocolate and worker pacified him that his mother is yet to arrive.

After brief period of emotions we took right path and climbed with lot of energy. We could feel the water flow all over the walk and confident that waterfall is somewhere nearby. It was like a treasure hunt for us. We climbed steep grades and walk path was similar to my village hills with thorny bushes and stones. You need to be so much watchful downwards while walking not only for snakes but also for these rocks. Slight mistake will make you stumble and risk of spraining ankle. We walked along steep gradients and did not find board at all but the sound of gushing water could be still be heard.


It was difficult to spot this spider at first glance. Its web was shining under Sun. We thought it was some kind of vine but later Rajesh's sharp eye noticed the wild stuff :D


Presuming that we were lost, we headed back. We had bookmarked some trails along left side and one of them lead us to house. The owner lamented that we should have walked a bit further to spot the board :-(. We climbed the hills again through the dense woods with owner's son help. By the time we reached the jeep trail again, we were completely exhausted and sweating profusely. Our entire body was washed in sweat. It was really tedious to climb woods jumping over huge fallen trees but great workout for heavyweights like me ;-). We thanked him and rested at this place for sometime.

We were disappointed and in despair. At one time, decided to return since it was already 1:30PM. Also due to presence of dense vegetation, it feels like the region would be dark around 4PM itself. We were also deprived of water and forgot to fill water in house :-(. We relaxed on the ground for sometime, had dry fruits and glucose water to stimulate us. Few minutes later, our energy was replenished :-). Also Amit was tenacious on spotting the waterfall at any cost. Consequently we resumed our trudge towards waterfalls. The glucose, orange and dry fruits gave us ample energy to walk further. After an hour of walk again on redundant path, we reached the spot where we retreated. While Rajesh sat on a rock, we spotted first snake. That was short but venomous, grey in color. Rajesh woke up instantly since it had passed just nearby him.

We continued to walk further up the hills with fatigue. By then our body was fully washed with sweat. We really had tremendous workout that day! Few distance later, OMG we spotted the deviation! If at all we had moved little further from last time where we backed out, we would have easily spotted the board :-(. We cheered with enthusiasm in wilderness and checked the time. It was 2:30PM. It was decided at any cost we would reach the same place by 4PM to avoid early darkness.




We started walking down the valley through dense rain forest. It was so dark under high woods, at times we felt like having torch. We were petrified to hear the harsh sound of wild insects amidst dense rain forest. It was unclear if they were kind of different species or due to confined area, the sound was recursing :-). Their sound seemed as if some predator is on its way :D. As we moved downwards, there we spot some more scary reptiles and poisonous frog. The frog had sprayed venom before crossing us. That was the unique frog found in western ghats whose venom, if impacted on eye blinds human eye for 15-20mins as per Rajesh's encyclopedia. The trail downwards was very narrow and slippery. We had already crossed two water streams. We could see good view of waterfall from distance and hearing its roar. Just few meters before we could reach waterfall, an adamant snake sleeping along the trail refused to leave the place. Amit slightly tried to move it away but it was only lifting head unmoved :-(. It was already 3PM by then and we were unaware of any such reptiles further. We had no choice other than heading back :-(. Even I forgot to take a picture of distant waterfall :-(. We filled our empty bottles with pristine acqua running down the stream through rocks. That was very cold and clear water.

We reached the diversion point around 3:30PM. Amit was holding long thick twig to dispel reptiles on ground if we come across. We had almost wasted 2hrs before realizing that we were on right path. Eventually the snake blocked our way further towards waterfall. Also heuristics of Rajesh helped a lot under this circumstance. He was well aware that the darkness would evolve around pretty much early as 4PM and we felt it too! We walked further towards Kollur main road and managed in one hour :-). Never have mindset that climbing downwards is easy along these rocky trail. You need good energy to defy gravity along steep gradient ;-). If you act frivolently, you may even stumble spraining ankle. Remember there is no one to help here and its very dense & creepy jungle! It was 4:20PM and we felt like 6PM. Rajesh was perfect in his word :-). We reached Kollur main road at 5PM. There was beautiful sunset sparkling Kodachadri ranges. Someday we have plans to hike these ecstatic western ghats. As we were waiting for bus, leeches started ascending our legs. Our repellent had lost power and one of leeches started sucking blood happily :-). Apply little bit of odomos and it fell down! We caught up with local bus and reached Kollur. After refreshing for some more time in hotel, we left the place to have dinner. 8PM sharp bus started moving towards Bangalore. This time it was middle seat and hence no more entertainment ;-)

Now you know why the title is somewhat strange ;-). Overall a very great experience and we really made it except that we missed waterfall site by just few mts because of snake. May be it happened for our good. The beautiful part was we trekked almost for 14kms with luggage and really enthralled to realise our stamina ;-). I was bit dissappointed about not reaching waterfall but later was really happy to have walked 14kms along the hills. That boosted my confidence and was truly invigorating. The path was really made up of steep gradients and many ups & downs. We had very good workout too :D. Amit was saying no need to exercise for 6 months atleast :D. One more great thing was walking along the woods having great medicinal values. Almost 64 types of medicinal plants are present here and breathing air from these plants itself provides healthy feeling. We could smell fragrance of some plants too which was very much soothing! Atleast once in a year one needs to trek here. It is kind of free service to our lungs. These places are natural tranquilizers. The chirping birds, melody of streams, shimmering western ghats, tall woods and ofcourse the clean air makes western ghats an enduring place to relax. Moreover jumping across the thick wooden logs, the steep gradients, narrow trail, the high hills, tangled vegetation provide an all round workout for the body too! On our return to Kollur, we met the person in bus who helped us to climb the lost path. When I mentioned about incident, he said people rarely visit during this time. He asked us to visit during January timeframe when people presence is more and snakes would not be present along trail.

Some tips after our journey experience:

  1. Please, please hire a guide. Do not start without guide. We were really mis-guided by forest officer even though he took 500 guide charge :-(. It was great lesson for us. Even though the path is clear you need guide to get rid of surprises especially the nasty reptiles and poisonous amphibians. Do not listen to forest officer and insist for guide at any cost. Anyhow there is mandatory charge Rs.500 for guide so you have every right to ask for guide.
  2. Have sufficient energy stuffs like dates, dry fruits, glucose and citrus fruits. Please carry glucose without fail. Have sufficient quantity of water (atleast 5 ltrs per 3 persons). Once you reach waterfall you can fill empty bottles with water nearby waterfalls. It is cool as well as pure having great medicinal value.
  3. Do not get bothered by leeches. Have things like odomos, lime or salt. Let them suck up your bad blood ;-). You can apply odomos prior to start of journey as repellent.
  4. Start early and make sure you start back to reach by 5PM to Kollur main road or Santosh hotel which is mid of ghat section. If you are late to start to waterfall from Kollur or Santosh hotel, please defer the plan. This is highly dense forest and wild animals may start roaming by 5PM due to early darkness. In our case, Rajesh was well aware of this fact and this was other reason to return back after seeing snake rather than dispersing it. Who knows how much more we may have come across.
  5. The forest officer again mis-guided us that total distance is around 4kms from gate. It is 6kms comprising of 5kms of jeep trail and 1km down the valley. The women worker was pretty much right and asked us to climb high till we see board. Still we backed off :-(. Trust the locals nearby more than anyone else. Listen to them carefully and follow their guidelines whoever it may be(worker, landlord or anyone).
  6. Do carry first aid along with you
  7. Last but not least, please please do not litter beautiful western ghats with paper waste or plastics. Understand and respect habitat of wild animals
Checklists (All of them must):
  • Energizers: Chocolate bars, dry fruits, glucose
  • Dehydrators: electrol
  • Fruits like apple, orange
  • First Aid Kit
  • Water (preferably 2ltrs per person). Once you reach waterfall, you can fill from streams.
  • Leech repellent
  • An extra pair of socks
  • Few basic pills for headache, vomiting
Optionally, carry extra pair of clothings, snake bite medicines and a towel.

Whats next! Yes, go again with a guide :D. We may plan to go again but not sure about the timeframe. But may plan along different path and compulsorily with a guide. After February, water starts receding.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

ಈರುಳ್ಳಿ ಆಲೂಗೆಡ್ಡೆ ಪಲ್ಯ :-)

ಇವತ್ತಿಗೆ ಪಲ್ಯ ಖಾಲಿಯಾಯಿತು. ಮತ್ತೆ ತಯಾರಿಸಿದರೆ ಹೆಚ್ಚಾಗುತ್ತದೆ. ಆದ್ದರಿಂದ ಅಡುಗೆ ಮನೆಯಲ್ಲಿ ತಯಾರಿಸುವ ಬದಲು ನನ್ನ ಬ್ಲಾಗ್ ಪುಟದಲ್ಲಿ ತಯಾರಿಸುತ್ತಿದ್ದೇನೆ. ಕಂಪ್ಯೂಟರ್ನಲ್ಲಿ ಪಲ್ಯ ತಯಾರಿಸುವಾಗ ಸ್ಟೊವ್ ಎಂದು ತಿಳಿ ಅದಕ್ಕೆ ಬೆಂಕಿ ಹಚ್ಚುವ ಸಾಹಸಕ್ಕೆ ಇಳಿಯಬೇಡಿ.

ಬಹಳ ವರ್ಷಗಳ ಹಿಂದೆ, ಮಸಾಲೆ ದೋಸೆ ತಿನ್ನಲು ಹೋಟೆಲನ್ನು ಅವಲಂಭಿಸುತ್ತಿದ್ದೆ. ಏಕೆಂದರೆ ಆಲೂಗೆಡ್ಡೆ ಪಲ್ಯ ತಯಾರಿಸಲು ಬರುತ್ತಿರಲಿಲ್ಲ. ಒಂದು ಶುಭದಿನದಂದು "ಅಷ್ಟು ಸುಲಭದ ಪಲ್ಯ ಕಲಿಯಲು ನಿನಗೇನು ದಾಡಿ" ಅಂತ ಅಮ್ಮ ಜೋರು ಮಾಡಿದರು. ಇದಕ್ಕೆ ಅಪ್ಪನ ಸಪೋರ್ಟ್ ಬೇರೆ :-(. ಕಡೆಗೆ ಊರಿಗೆ ಹೋದಾಗ ಅಮ್ಮ ತಯಾರಿಸಲು ಹೇಳಿ ಕೊಟ್ಟರು. ಅರೆ ತುಂಬಾ ಸುಲಭ :-). ಆಲೂಗೆಡ್ಡೆ ಬೇಯಿಸುವುದು ಮಾತ್ರ ಸ್ವಲ್ಪ ಸಮಯದ ಕೆಲಸ [ಜೊತೆಗೆ ಕುಕ್ಕರ್ ತೊಳೆಯುವುದು :-(]. ಆದರೂ ತಿನ್ನುವಾಗ ತುಂಬಾ ಮಜ ಬರುತ್ತದೆ. ಸುಮಾರು ೩ ವರುಷದಿಂದ ನಾನೆ ಮಸಾಲೆ ದೋಸೆ ಆಸೆಯಾದಾಗ ತಯಾರಿಸುತ್ತೇನೆ :-). ದೋಸೆ ತಯಾರಿಸುವ ವಿಧಾನವನ್ನು ಸಮಯ ಸಿಕ್ಕಾಗ ಬರೆಯುತ್ತೇನೆ. ಪಲ್ಯ ತಯಾರಿಸಲು ಅಮ್ಮ ಹೇಳಿಕೊಟ್ಟ ರೆಸಿಪಿ ಇಲ್ಲಿದೆ (೩ ಮಂದಿಗೆ ಸಾಕಾಗಬಹುದು)

ಬೇಕಾಗುವ ಸಾಮಾಗ್ರಿಗಳು:

೧) ಈರುಳ್ಳಿ (ಸುಮಾರು ೩)
೨) ಆಲೂಗೆಡ್ಡೆ (ಸುಮಾರು ೫ ಸಾಧಾರಣ ಗಾತ್ರದ್ದು)
೩) ಶುಂಠಿ (ಸಣ್ಣ ತುಂಡು)
೪) ಒಗ್ಗರಣೆ ಸಾಮಾನುಗಳು (ಹಸಿಮೆಣಸು, ಘಾಟಿ ಮೆಣಸು, ಸಾಸಿವೆ, ಕಡಲೆ ಬೇಳೆ, ಕರಿಬೇವು ಸೊಪ್ಪು)
೫) ಚಿಟಿಕೆ ಅರಿಶಿನಪುಡಿ
೬) ನಿಂಬೆಹಣ್ಣು - ೧

ತಯಾರಿಸುವ ವಿಧಾನ:

ಆಲೂಗೆಡ್ಡೆಯನ್ನು ಮೊದಲೇ ತುಂಡರಿಸಿ ಬೇಯಿಸಿಡಿ. ಆಲೂಗೆಡ್ಡೆ ಬೇಯಲು ಕುಕ್ಕರಿನಲ್ಲಿ ೩ ವಿಶಲ್ ಸಾಕಾಗುತ್ತದೆ. ಹಾಗೆ ಈರುಳ್ಳಿಯನ್ನು ತುಂಡರಿಸಿಡಿ.

ಮೊದಲು ಬಾಣಲೆಯಲ್ಲಿ ಎಣ್ಣೆ ಅಥವಾ ತುಪ್ಪವನ್ನು ಸುರಿಯಿರಿ. ನಂತರ ಅದಕ್ಕೆ ಹಂತಹಂತವಾಗಿ ಸಾಸಿವೆ, ಕಡಲೆಬೇಳೆ, ಹಸಿಮೆಣಸು, ಘಾಟಿ ಮೆಣಸು ಮತ್ತು ಕರಿಬೇವು ಸೊಪ್ಪನ್ನು ಸೇರಿಸಿ ಚೆನ್ನಾಗಿ ಕರಿಯಿರಿ. ಮಿಶ್ರಣ ಕಪ್ಪಾಗದಂತೆ ನೋಡಿಕೊಳ್ಳಿ. ನಂತರ ಅದಕ್ಕೆ ತುಂಡರಿಸಿದ ಈರುಳ್ಳಿ ಯನ್ನು ಸೇರಿಸಿ ಮಿಶ್ರಣವನ್ನು ಹದವಾಗಿ ಕರಿಯಿರಿ. ಈರುಳ್ಳಿಯ ಬಣ್ಣ ಸ್ವಲ್ಪ ಬದಲಾದ ನಂತರ ಅದಕ್ಕೆ ನೀರನ್ನು ಸೇರಿಸಿ. ಹೆಚ್ಚು ನೀರನ್ನು ಸೇರಿಸಿದರೆ ಪಲ್ಯ ಮೆತ್ತಗಾಗುತ್ತದೆ. ಬೇಕಾದಷ್ಟೆ ಸೇರಿಸಿ. ಇದೇ ಮಿಶ್ರಣಕ್ಕೆ ಸ್ವಲ್ಪ ಅರಿಶಿನ ಜೊತೆಗೆ ಬೇಕಾಗುವಷ್ಟು ಉಪ್ಪನ್ನು ಸೇರಿಸಿ.  ೧೦ ನಿಮಿಷ ಈರುಳ್ಳಿ ಬೆಂದ ನಂತರ ಅದಕ್ಕೆ ಬೇಯಿಸಿದ ಆಲೂಗೆಡ್ಡೆಯನ್ನು ಸೇರಿಸಿ. ಆಲೂಗೆಡ್ಡೆಯನ್ನು ಹಿಚುಕಿ ನಂತರ ಬಾಣಲಿಗೆ ಸೇರಿಸಿ ಮಿಶ್ರಣವನ್ನು ಚೆನ್ನಾಗಿ ಕಲಸಿ. ಸ್ವಲ್ಪ ಹೊತ್ತು ಸಿಮ್ಮಿನಲ್ಲಿ ಬೇಯಿಸಿ ನಂತರ ಅದಕ್ಕೆ ನಿಂಬೆಹಣ್ಣನ್ನು ಹಿಂಡಿದರೆ ರುಚಿಕರವಾದ ಪಲ್ಯ ತಯಾರು. ಇದನ್ನು ದೋಸೆ ಅಥವಾ ಚಪಾತಿ ಜೊತೆಗೆ ಕೂಡ ತಿನ್ನಬಹುದು.

ಕೊನೆ ಹನಿ:

೧) ಶುಂಠಿ ಆಪ್ಶನಲ್ ಆದರೂ ಬಹಳ ಇಂಪಾರ್ಟೆಂಟ್. ಇದು ಆಲೂಗೆಡ್ಡೆಯ ಅಡ್ಡ ಪರಿಣಾಮವನ್ನು ತಡೆಯುತ್ತದೆ ;-)
೨) ದೊಡ್ಡಕ್ಕ ತುಂಬಾ ಚೆನ್ನಾಗಿ ತಯಾರಿಸುತ್ತಾರೆ. ನಾನು ತಯಾರಿಸುವ ಪಲ್ಯದ ರುಚಿ ಇನ್ನು ಅವರ ಮಟ್ಟಕ್ಕೆ ತಲುಪಿಲ್ಲ.
೩) ಹಾಗೆ ಒಗ್ಗರಣೆಗೆ ಶೇಂಗಾ ಕೂಡ ಸೇರಿಸಬಹುದು ಆದರೆ ಆಲೂಗೆಡ್ಡೆ ಜೊತೆಗೆ ಸೇರಿ ಅಡ್ಡ ಪರಿಣಾಮದ ಜುಗಲ್-ಬಂದಿ ಆಗುತ್ತದೆ :-)
೪) ಈರುಳ್ಳಿ ತುಂಡರಿಸುವಾಗ ದಳದಳ ಅಂತ ಕಣ್ಣೀರು ಸುರಿದರೆ ಅಣ್ಣಾವ್ರು ಹೇಳಿದ "ಕಣ್ಣೀರಧಾರೆ ಇದೇಕೆ" ಹಾಡನ್ನು ಕೇಳಿ ಅಥವಾ ನೀವೆ ಹಾಡಿ ;-) [ಶುಭಪಂತುವರಾಳಿ ರಾಗದಲ್ಲಿರುವ ಹಾಡನ್ನು ಇಲ್ಲಿ ಕೇಳಿ ಅಣ್ಣಾವ್ರ ಕ್ಷಮೆ ಕೇಳುತ್ತಾ]. ಇಲ್ಲದಿದ್ದರೆ ಕೆಳಗೆ ಬರೆದಿರುವ ನನ್ನ ರಿಮೇಕ್ ಕೂಡ ಹಾಡಬಹುದು ;-)
"ಕಣ್ಣೀರಧಾರೆ ಇದೇಕೆ ಇದೇಕೆ
ಪಲ್ಯದ ಈರುಳ್ಳಿಯೆ ಈ ಪರಿಯ ಕೋಪವೇಕೆ"
೫) ದೋಸೆಗೆ ಚಟ್ನಿ ತಯಾರಿಸುವ ವಿಧಾನವನ್ನು ಇಲ್ಲಿ ಬರೆದಿದ್ದೇನೆ.

ಹಾಗೆಯೇ ಈ ತಿಂಗಳ ೨ ನೇ ವಾರದಂದು ನನ್ನ ಬ್ಲಾಗ್ ೪ನೇ ವರುಷಕ್ಕೆ ಕಾಲಿಟ್ಟಿದೆ. ತುಂಬಾ ಸಂತೊಷವಾಗುತ್ತದೆ ಅಷ್ಟು ವರುಷದಿಂದ ಬರೆಯುತ್ತೇನೆಂಬುದನ್ನು ತಿಳಿದು. ೧೦೦ ಕ್ಕು ಹೆಚ್ಚು ಬ್ಲಾಗ್ ಲೇಖನಗಳನ್ನು ಬರೆದಿದ್ದೇನೆ. ಬಹಳಷ್ಟು ಮಂದಿ ಪ್ರಶಂಸಿಸಿದ್ದಾರೆ ಹಾಗೆ ಕೆಲವರು ತಿದ್ದಿದ್ದಾರೆ ಕೂಡ.  ಹಾಗೆ ಬರೆಯಲು ಇನ್ನು ಬಹಳಷ್ಟು ಬಾಕಿ ಇದೆ. ಆದರೆ ಸಮಯದ ಅಭಾವದಿಂದ ಬರೆಯಲು ಸಾಧ್ಯವಾಗುತ್ತಿಲ್ಲ. ಇನ್ನೆರಡು ವಾರ ಏನೂ ಬರೆಯಲು ಸಾಧ್ಯವಿಲ್ಲವೇನೋ. ೪ವರ್ಷದ ನನ್ನ ಅನುಭವಗಳನ್ನು. ಪ್ರತ್ಯೇಕ ಪುಟದಲ್ಲಿ ಗೀಚುತ್ತೇನೆ. ಸಂತೋಷದ ವಿಷಯವೆಂದರೆ ನನ್ನ ಬ್ಲಾಗ್ ವೀಕ್ಷಕರಲ್ಲಿ ಸುಮಾರು ೯೫% ಮಂದಿ ಗೂಗಲ್ ಸರ್ಚ್ ನಿಂದ ಬಂದವರು. ಇದರಿಂದ ನನ್ನ ಬ್ಲಾಗ್ ಪುಟಕ್ಕೆ ವೀಕ್ಷಕರ ಕೊರತೆ ಇರುವುದಿಲ್ಲ ಕೂಡ :-). ಈ ದಿನದಂದು ನನ್ನ ಎಲ್ಲಾ ಒದುಗರಿಗೆ ಧನ್ಯವಾದಗಳನ್ನು ಅರ್ಪಿಸುತ್ತೇನೆ.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Walk along rail tracks from Castle-Rock to Dudhsagar waterfalls - Part 2

Continued from here

This is the concluding part of our walk towards Dudhsagar waterfalls.

After few more hard walk, we reached the Dudhsagar station and we could hear the plunge of waterfalls from station itself! People who have visited during peak monsoon season describe it as sound of ocean from station :-). But we heard the normal sound of plummet. The sound  indicated that there is considerable flow of water :-). We also enjoyed the view of beautiful western ghats from Dudhsagar station.


500m later, Hurray! we made to it to the milk of ocean at 3:30PM :-). We took nearly 5:30hrs to complete the stretch including almost 90 minutes of break+photoshoots. We were really delighted to complete the 15km trudge ;-). At waterfall site, we could see considerable water plunge and as predicted not as much seen during August monsoon season.  As a consequence of walk, we were tired and sweating profusely. There was ocean of milk on the ghats while ocean of sweat on our body! Nevertheless it was delightful to watch the geography of Dudhsagar waterfalls.

The four tiered waterfall plummets from height of 310 mts before reaching the valley. The water gathers high kinetic energy due to this height coupled with multiple rocky divisions as it reaches first level of plunge. The source of water is Mandovi river which meets Arabian sea somewhere in Goa state. A dam is constructed across the Mandovi river before the waterfalls whose excess water also let out which gives more vigor to the ocean of milk during monsoon. This has been prominent tourist attraction from many years and one can see thousands of videos floating around Youtube mainly the trains passing the waterfall. As we reached waterfall site, we rested nearby the initial reach of water to ground. The camps were already setup for night stay. The pond at the first plunge is around 3 feet deep but suddenly dips to 30feet. So be careful if you wish to venture into water. Rajesh is a good swimmer and he could manage very easily. I did not knew swimming and hence only enjoyed the landscape and joy of people. One can also walk down the valley to have full view of the 4 tier waterfall alongside enjoying in water. We did not visit the valley point because of tiredness. The other reasons were lack of vigor in waterfall and excitement reduced further as we saw heavy garbage dump everywhere :-(. We also skipped view point due to same said reasons.

As dusk evolved around the region, the clouds started hovering on sky. Also there was beautiful sunlight on western ghats shimmering the Mandovi river valley. I grabbed some shots and bracketed few HDRs. We were planning to have start trail timelapse however clouds ruined our enthusiasm. I had especially taken the nifty-fifty f/1.8 to grab start trail timelapse and now everything in vain. We did not carry tripod but our Australian friend offered his tripod for few hours on request. Now with clouds covering sky, there was no point in grabbing any star trails. The region was completely dark by 7:30PM and we were getting ready to have dinner. The organizers had carried pre-cooked chapathis along with MTR ready to eat food items. We also had carry bags to collect the our garbage back. There was one more group of campers who prepared food on their own. The other group were also making merry and too much noise near the camp :D. Whenever we had to move around the place, torch was only source of light. It was also soothing to hear the sound of waterfall plunge. This was mainly due to total internal reflection at night and deep silence. At night due to TIR, the sound is reflected back to earth surface by atmosphere which echoes the sound back to earth. Please refer some physics article to know about total internal reflection ;-).


There is only small tea shop situated near waterfall site. Earlier they used to serve only tea. Now they serve bunch of other stuffs like water bottle, cool drinks, biscuits and food on demand. Everything is sophisticated now. The shopkeeper is from Kulem and has been in business from past 5 years. He also suggested us to visit during peak monsoon time. The shopkeeper said that the water plummets with tremendous amount of energy during the monsoon season that one has to cross railway bridge bending the body! Otherwise the generated wind can push you into valley :D. He also mentioned that the water sprinkles generated due to fierce plunge on the rocks can reach even beyond tracks. One can have bath just with sprinkling water itself :D. He sleeps on the platform and opens the shop shutter early next morning. Not sure if he stays here during monsoon season too. Since this is exclusive shop here, the charge is also too high. Even people have no choice! Most of his goods arrive via the trains which halt at Dudhsagar for few minutes. Eventually, something is better than nothing. There are also toilets behind the shop for urgent nature calls :-).

We had good dinner and setup a campfire for just rejoicing. Camp fire was not required since the weather was too humid. I was surprised to feel the untidy weather right in middle of dense forest despite being autumn! The sudden gathering of clouds may have increased the humidity of region. I slept early around 9:30PM. Despite the noise created by the other campers, the fatigued body provided good sleep for sometime. Later we could not sleep due to ocean of sweat flowing on our body. Midnight, despite the foggy weather, it was sweating terribly. Me and Rajesh were sleeping in one tent and we decided to open the tent zipper to have free air flow. Later on, I had very good sleep till morning and ready for next day activity.

20 Oct 2013,

Early morning we woke up around 6:30AM and had to get ready to catch the Amaravati express which briefly halts for 2-3 minutes at Dudhsagar station.After having great sleep, we were fully refreshed and ready for one more long walk but we were catching train to Castlerock to reach Bangalore as early as possible. We had to get refreshed and later pack up the tents and walk towards the station which is around 0.5-1km from waterfall site. The energy of waterfall seemed like little bit increased relative to previous day. It was time for one more photo shoot-out ;-). Captured some pictures and videos before packing our stuffs. The organizers had brought ready to eat pulav for morning breakfast but none of us were ready to eat it :-). Consequently we thought of having breakfast in Ramanagar itself. We also thought of going down the valley but did not have ample time and hence skipped it.

Around 8:30AM we were ready to leave the place and it was time to say Goodbye to the majestic waterfalls located in middle of dense western ghats. We moved towards the Dudhsagar station with our luggage as well as tent baggages. In one of the tunnels, water dripping from top directly fell down on the power button of camera. The camera failed to power on further :-(. It had faced heavy rains in past but just for little drip it broke down :-(. May be the impact was on prominent location which made it to break down instantly. My assumption was that battery power board would have gone for toss and needs replacement. Not sure, will have to diagnose once reaching Bangalore.

9:30AM, Amaravati express arrived at the station and started moving towards castle rock. I wanted to grab some videos but camera was in vain :-(. There was supply checking also but we did not have tickets. Previous day, Rajesh had inquired organizers whether they have bought return tickets and answer was yes. Unfortunately it was not. We were annoyed to hear that :-(. Rajesh got raged hearing this but kept silent. This is first time I was traveling without tickets and such small incidents makes railways to incur losses too! Fortunately, the ticket checker never returned and we safely landed in castle rock station without any fine but that was really bad experience and we were feeling guilty too :-(.

The train reached Castlerock in matter of 15 minutes. We then boarded our bus towards Ramanagar. We reached Ramanagar around 10AM to the same hotel as previous day. So did we have breakfast here? Alas no breakfast at all :-(. The hotelier said they would prepare on demand but only limited stuffs. Three of us decided to skip the breakfast and had apples with cool-drinks. The coordinator promised that bus would again stop at Kamat Hotel near Hubli for Lunch. It is obvious that places like these have feeble human movement and consequently hotel men prepare less food. On prior notice, they would have prepared something for us may be.

The bus started moving towards Hubli and reached Kamat restuarant at 2:30PM. We had good lunch here. The place was heavily crowded since 2-3 buses arrived altogether. After having lunch the bus started moving towards Bangalore. Surprisingly, Hubli-Dharwad bypass is also two laned! People in bus were having entertainment to pass time but I was happy to sleep :-). I slept in batches at times to be fresh for next day work. I also enjoyed lush green meadows and coconut plantations from Haveri to Chitradurga along with beautiful sunset. I could not grab any pics since my camera was down. Our Canadian friend had captured some good snaps of vivid patterns in sky. The bus stopped again at Tumkur for light snacks before heading to Bangalore again. We reached Bangalore around 11:30PM and thus ending our small journey.

Great experience once again. I never get bored traveling. This time I was pretty much lamenting since I had left macro lens at home. Later I realized after watching beautiful wild butterflies, I should have carried the same instead of tele lens. The other thing which annoyed us was lack of co-ordination by the organizers. People were seen scattered all along during our walk. There was never feeling of one group. Coordinators were never bothered to inspect if people of group were in comfortable position or not. Fortunately none of them broke down and everyone was fit. They were also not checking for all people in group before moving the bus. As said before, the incident of traveling without tickets was irritating :-(.

Miscellaneous stuffs [Boredom ;-)]

One has to visit the waterfalls just for fun during these days. The actual visit should be during July-August monsoon season when you really experience milk of ocean. It will be raining heavily but the glory is incredible especially from view point.

Overall happy that I am fit to walk for 15kms ;-) and spend some night in wilderness but not so much excited since could not feel the ocean of milk. Also too much garbage around the place somehow reduced the excitement about the place. After experiencing thunderous roll of Hanumangundi and Sirimane waterfalls, I am used to enjoy only waterfalls with exuberant flow. Walk during peak monsoon season will be unique experience with heavy rains and region covered with many water stream and greenery. Also water falling from tunnels will be enjoying experience too ;-). We plan to go during peak monsoon season but no plans to walk again though!

Last Note:

My prediction was near right about camera break down. The service center personnel informed that battery power board was blown out and had to be replaced. Some parts of the board were burnt due to short circuit created by water inflow. Since PCBs can't be repaired (due to molding), there was no option other than replacing entire circuit board. That would be costing bit more but I had really tough time without camera for 2 weeks :-(. Anyhow I gave them green signal to replace the PCB and decided to be bit more cautious from now onwards especially during rainy season. After repair, the camera is alive again :-) with fully serviced.

One HDR is documented here

Could have captured dusk to dark timelapse but realized only after night :D. Wanted to grab star trail timelapse at night but could not due to reasons stated in blog.

Two videos this time:

1) Vasco-Hazrat Nizamuddin express passing through Dudhsagar waterfalls

2) Small compilation of Dudhsagar waterfalls


From this blog onwards, I am including this new section to appreciate people who have helped me during travel and review my pictures and blogs. The lone credit goes to my friend +rajesh singh for his thorough review. Great thing about him is more than appreciation he provides constructive criticism which makes me to think a lot before I publish any content. He is far more experienced traveler and trekker than me and has been to many unexplored destinations in and around coastal Karnataka. I am grateful to him for sparing some time to review my work :-).

My credit also goes to beautiful open source image editors DarkTable and GIMP

Hope you enjoyed the two part blog. If you wish, leave feedback for any improvements.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Band of Colorful Moon

These shots were taken during bright full moon day of Raksha bandhan. Just casual shot. After noticing the moon, I was tempted to grab some pictures of the bright shining energitic moon. Consequently pulled my camera, mounted the tele lens and started snapping the moon. What are those colors then? They were taken with varying white balances ;-). That creamed moon with vivid colors ;-). My primary intention was to learn how white balances work. I am still amateur photographer and needs lot of practice to strengthen my skills. This is one such practice carried out to learn a concept. Hope you enjoyed the picture. You can additionaly splice moons with a string to transform it to rakhi ;-).

The colors represent daylight, shadow, tungsten and cloudy white balances correspondingly. So what is WB? It is amount of color temperature shift required to retain white object as white in picture :-). What is color temperature? Back to physics :-). It is the color emitted by black body at particular temperature. If you recall concept of black body radiation, more the temperature, higher is the frequency emitted by the body [how? please read Neil Bohr's atomic model ;-)]. So at high temperature, the color is violet while at lower ones its red (visible range). Similarly when you increase color temperature of picture, the photo turns violet and red as you lower it. White Balance is amount of shift involved in balancing the color temperature. So lower the white balance, more bluish the color while red on other side of temperature. Both WB and CT are measured in in Kelvin

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Travel to Mysore and nearby places during Dasara season

Today I am sharing few travel experiences from our Mysore visit during Dasara timeframe (nearly two months after visit). The write-up was basically delayed due to lack of time. Primary time eaters are picture editing. However, pictures reveal stories and hence there is no charm in writing without pictures. I have kept this travelogue relatively short and concise. Hope you will enjoy reading our experience!

Oct 13, 2013

Many of us have already visited Mysore numerous amount of time. It is familiar hangout place for Bangaloreans during weekend. Except me, none of travel gang members had visited Mysore during Dasara time. Finally the journey to Mysore was on during this weekend. We all agreed to the plan and booked the same 7Rs/km cab. This time we were four of us. The planning was done just 2 days before the journey. Since I had some personal work on Saturday, the plan was fixed for Sunday. Unfortunately, I caught ill on Friday night and it threatened to spoil travel plans. But things were fine on Saturday with no loss of enthusiasm ;-). Thats the best way to keep away ill-health as per my father! Sunday, we had planned to start by 7AM and return after watching lighted Mysore palace. Even this time, the cab person delayed the start and consequently commenced journey 45 mins late. Not much traffic on bright Sunny day and it seemed many had traveled to Mysore to have glimpse of town during last day of Navaratri.

To pass time in cab, as always we discuss few topics during our journey. Most of the times it will be based on politics, science or architectural marvels [No junk  movie stuffs ;-)]. This time discussion topic was our one and only category-4 storm 'Phailin' :D. The 1999 super cyclone had devastated Orissa killing almost 10000 people. It was one of the worst ever cyclone faced by India. This time a slightly lower intensity cyclone was about landfall on Orissa coast with 220kmph wind speed. Fortunately the effect was restricted to 6hrs and casualities were less due to preventive measures. Myself and Rajesh are very much interested in geography :D and were discussing some of physics behind cyclone formation. Even Sudhir showed interest which boosted our discussion. We were discussing science behind the frequent cyclonic formation over Bay of Bengal compared to Arabian sea. The other topics were usual politics and few religion related. The cab was moving at normal pace and we halted for breakfast at Kamat Ruchi near Ramanagar. We had hefty breakfast here despite of high cost. The breakfast was tasty too :-).

Our plan was just to visit Brindavan gardens and Mysore town. The driver asked if we wish to broaden our visit in and around Srirangapattana as well. Oh, I had totally forgotten about that ;-). We said yes to driver and our first stop was Srirangapattana Temple itself. Around 11AM we reached the place. As expected the place was heavily crowded. The temple also was under renovation. It is believed that the Ranganathaswamy temple along cauvery river considered to be holy along with two more temples. I am not sure about the other temples. Some devotees visit these temples in a single day which is considered to be more sacred. There was long queue for darshan of Lord Ranganathaswamy. After being in queue for 20mins, we had darshan of deity. Quite old temple but has good architecture constructed out of stones. The array of pillars were looking awesome! We bought and had tasty laddus from temple too! Outside the temple there were many healthy horses fostered by local people. People could climb into horse with fee of Rs.20. I believe they were also taking for ride with a hefty fee. Rajesh and Sudhir enjoyed the hop into horse and felt like emperors and I enjoyed grabbing their pics ;-).

Next is the confluence of two rivers, Sangama. It has been long time since I visited this place. Again too much crowd and shops. These shops seem to be only present during Dasara times. The place is confluence of two rivers Sangama and Lokapaavani. Lokapaavani flows from North direction towards south to meet Cauvery river. The place is good if you want to have swim along the river. The surroundings are garbaged too much and not well maintained. Confluence of rivers is considered to be holy place in India and hence religious activities are carried out here.

After Sangama, we visited Gumbaz a monument where TippuSultan constructed for his father. Nothing much to be seen here but relax for sometime. One can enter the tomb and have a look. The main attraction is the garden spread for quite large area. After this our plan was to visit Balamuri water stream. We skipped summer palace and nimishamba temple due to lack of time.


Balamuri is on the way to Brindavan gardens along Madikeri route. Enjoy the beautiful rural landscape throughout the journey. Few minutes drive, we reached Balamuri. The cauvery river flows here. A place looks like small waterfall. Again huge crowd enjoying the bath in flowing stream. Both Rajesh and Sudhir felt jealous watching them since they had not brought alternate clothes :-). Finally bit of relief with small coracle ride. 50Rs is the charge per person. After ride, we went along the falling stream to enjoy the flowing water. Later it was time to savor churumuri :D. We had 2/4 churumuri with pineapple. Churumuri was tasty but pricy too! This is the time small vendors mint money. Later we left for Brindavan Gardens.

It was time to revisit Brindavan gardens. It was nostalgic feel for me when I visited with my parents enjoying the musical fountain. 10yrs back, we were even allowed to enter top of dam to have magnificent look of reservoir. We had even experienced the times when reservoir was full. The gravity pull of reservoir and gusty winds were awesome and fearful experience at those times. Due to frequent suicide cases or terror threats(?), the authorities do not allow to top of reservoir. There is nothing here to enjoy other than musical fountain nowadays. It has become mere place of relaxation and we only did that on this day :-(. Atleast some part of year, authorities should allow public to visit the top of reservoir. After few hours of relaxation, we started towards Chamundi hills.

The traffic jams added delay to our journey within city limits which was rare sight during our days. This also delayed ascending of hills. There were humongous amount of visitors and consequently vehicles were not allowed to park near temple. We had to climb few steps to reach the Chamundi temple. The temple would open only at 6PM and there was long standing queue for darshan including special entrance. It was only 5:30PM and unfortunately we decided skip the darshan. We roamed around the streets of temple and enjoyed the Sunset too! There was cool breeze passing through the hillock which provided pleasant feeling. It was around 6:30PM, we headed back to city but still the temple had not opened. The queue now had expanded twice as earlier and there were flood of vehicles along the way. We could not visit Nandi, again due to time constraints but enjoyed the city view at night for few minutes from view point.

7:30PM, we were near Mysore palace and could see sparkling palace from distance itself. We were tempted to enter palace immediately but I was hungry :D. We had tasty meals nearby well known hotel and later walked towards Mysore palace. The streets nearby were decorated with lights and it seemed like entire town was glowing. The massive crowd was the eye-witness to festive fervor. Even though I had been to this place many times, this is first time I am photographing glittering mysore palace. Never had tried to take pictures before. Now it is time to experiment ;-). I did not take much shots basically due to plethora of distractions mainly tents and people. Here is the type of occasion where you require UWL lens. I could have grabbed better pictures if at-least pandals were not present. Also flying whistles inserted too much noise in picture :-(. Nevertheless, I was happy with my first experiment. But things needs to be much more proper. Will plan during off-season just to picturize Mysore palace ;-).

9:00PM sharp, authorities switch off the lightings. It was time to say good bye to palace city. We spotted our taxi and started towards Bangalore. It was around 1:00AM when we reached Bangalore. I was really happy with some of palace pictures even though critiques say needs much more improvement. Any skill is all about practice, constant effort and most importantly happiness more than appreciation. That is only thing which makes you master. Experienced photographers say that best picture you will take will be only tomorrow and that applies for everyday :-). That means one needs to enjoy and keep shooting not wait for tomorrow ;-). Moral of story is, needs much more practice and work on better composition to grab better picture. The best is yet to come :-).

Here are some panorama and HDRs composed during journey. Could not find time for exclusive write-up.

The HDR pictures


Some Panorama shots


I am not sharing any palace pictures in this post. The pictures are documented here

There is small timelapse of clouds hovering around Brindavan Gardens. Will club all timelapse videos into one on fine day!

Did not grab much videos and hence none this time.


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