Thursday, February 27, 2014

Shri Vishwanatham Bhajeham

Shiva is sign of energy, simplicity and unpredictability. One needs energy to move on during unpredictable times and simplicity to lead peaceful life. These are  qualities which I learnt from the almighty. Today on auspicious day of Mahashivaratri I would like to share some of HDR and panoramic pictures from Yana visit known for surreal rocky landscapes. I wanted to write detailed blog on Yana but due to lack of time could not commit. This is the only day wherein devotees are allowed to enter sanctum sanctorum of temple. The place will be heavily crowded today with myriad of pilgrims visiting to have darshan of Lord Bhairaveshwara. The post is dedicated Lord Bhairaveshwara of Yana who is residing deity of the place.

Yana is one of those beautiful treasures of coastal Karnataka located in between spectacular rainforests of Uttara Kannada district. One needs to travel in order to feel region shrouded under dense canopy of western ghats. Amidst this magnificent nature lies Yana which has almost 61 limestone rocks stamped on its surface. Of them, the prominent are the two large peaks namely Mohini Shikara and Bhairaveshwara shikara. Lord shiva is self formed under Bhairaveshwara shikara and water drips from top of shivalinga all through year. Precisely the Lord is described as "Ganga Chandika Bhairaveshwara". The reason behind such a name will be described in my detailed blog (or you can google it!). The environment beneath the monolithic rock is natural AC :-). It is so cool under the natural air cooler of western ghats! There are plethora of streams which run besides thick tall woods finally merging with Aghanaashini river near Kumta. If you ever visit Gokarna or Kumta, don't ever miss to visit this alluring natural splendor. Here are pictures after boring narration ;-).


 This one is not so well composed. Just posted for archive.

The below picture is not composed with RAW files. Nowadays I compose HDR in RAW and I can see difference from JPG files. One can tweak resulting image to vast extent without losing quality or infusing noise. Eventually I have corrected myself :-).

Even though trajectory of Sun starts to change around Makara Sankranthi, Shivaratri signifies the end of winter and beginning of spring. Usually a week or two before Shivaratri, strong breeze pervade the region signifying end of winter. It is also period of sickness too due to significant transition in weather!

On this day, I would like to share one of my favorite composition "Sri Vishwanatham Bhajeham" by Shri Muthuswamy Deekshitar, a Sanskrit rendetion with blend of 14 raagas. The beauty of Shri Deekshitar composition is the aligning tint of raaga with song literature. He describes the majestic shiva in 14 raagas with fabulous literature. The song starts with "Shri" raaga and ends with "Bhoopala". The song is divided into two sections. The first section comprises of Shri, Aarabhi, Gowri, Gowla, Naata, Mohana and later follows the reverse path. The second section comprises of Saama, Lalita, Bhairava, Saranga, Shankarabharanam, Kambodhi, Devakriya, Bhoopalam and later goes all the way reverse path of 14 raagas with spectacular progression :-). The depth of Shri Deekshitar's scholarship is evident from this  masterpiece.

If you admire carnatic classical music, do hear this bautiful music sung in chorus in two parts.  The delightful rendition is of this song goes to Smt. M L Vasanthakumari however not finding link anywhere :-(.

1) Sri Vishwanatham Bhajeham Part-1:
2) Sri Vishwanatham Bhajeham Part-2:

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Flying over bridge, cruising through tunnels: Sharavathi River Basin, Honavar, A splendid experience!

Konkan rail train journey one of beautiful train journeys to cherish in India. The mesmerizing landscape from Mangalore to Roha is just heaven to watch during monsoon season. The lush green paddy fields, the rivulets fancied by bent coconut trees, the distant western ghats, the breath taking tunnels and bridges transports you to into an exotic location. During my recent train journey from Udupi to Kumta, I shot those landscapes and safe in my camera ;-). The location which always excited me everytime along this route is the longest bridge constructed across mighty Sharavati river near Honavar along Konkan railway route. It has been one of my gretest desire too from many years to visit this place again. Here how it goes!

I was on my toes as train reached Murudeshwara station. The two dimensional view from distance rendered the Shiva statue and pinnacle adjacent to each other stamped to the sky. The train started chugging towards Manki station. Few minutes later we were in Manki. My excitement peaked as train departed from Manki station. The heart palpitated as the train pierced through Manki tunnel and was eagerly waiting for that moment to arrive. Few more minutes hear I see the Sharavathi river bridge  signboard and there she goes :-). The train rattled along this mighty bridge with high speed. The landscape is simply amazing sight to watch. One of the hot-spots along the Konkan  railway route which one should never miss during the itinerary.

I do want to visit during monsoon even! The river which has small width near Jog falls, widens to more broader landscape near Honavar adorns the region with intriguing nature. I did shoot the train journey video along this magnificent region during my itinerary. During my journey towards Kumta, I shot along the west side since the  shooting straight to sun spoils the footage. At this time of day, the west part had beautiful soft light of Sun which exposed the region with perfect colors. Similarly during my return journey, I shot from east side since it was evening. Again the same effect as described earlier. Had it been golden hour, I would have shot towards the Sun, to capture those beautiful golden sun sparkling the river. Enjoy the train journey along beautiful Sharavathi river basin. Dive into darkness with speeding loco passing through two tunnels further onwards. Also the video has footages from return journey too! So, do not miss to watch entire video ;-).

The majority of audio has noise of breeze but landscape has turned out to be pretty well in full HD ;-). Audio is corrected but still not so tidy. May be I should have sat on foot-board to grab better audio.

Whenever I find time, will try to compose entire train journey video. Stay tuned!

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Bike ride to Hogenakkal Waterfalls

It's been quite long time since I posted something mainly because of shift in priority. Finally here is a post after long delay. It has been almost 3 months since we traveled to Hogenakkal waterfalls and eventually I found some time to compile experiences of the journey.


Never had this in mind till the last moment. There was a plan to visit waterfall but not by bike. At last moment some of them backed off and it was myself and Rajesh left over. Cab would be dearer to hire, buses would be late and eventually bike was the only option. We had almost dropped the plans but Rajesh asked if we can go for it. I was bit skeptical though since the shine was in dirt and its been long time being serviced :D. Finally the crave for travel made me to accept the proposal ;-) and the stage was set. It was only a day before we made this plan and were unaware of any details on route. Can be termed as candid plan. I had been to Shivansamudra alone last time in bike covering more than 300kms. That time the bike was in good shape and I was alone. This time we were two heavyweights and had to cover 300kms in unserviced bike :-). Despite of all the confusions, we decided to travel in bike. Apart from what was mentioned above, there was one more problem which was language. We both did not knew Tamil and travel after Hosur required some language exposure. To avoid language problems, Rajesh took prints of routes including the important junctions. Our first trust was on google maps and next the locals. Anyhow we were looking forward this unique candid journey with full enthusiasm. Hogenakkal is around 150kms from SilkBorad Junction and would be taking around 3hrs in bike under the assumption of having good roads. Remember bike is not car ;-) it is not enough to have good roads but evenly paved roads. Even the patches cut down bike speed but cars can negotiate well.

Early morning woke up with chilly weather outside. Seems like winter has finally started. Rajesh caught up with me at HSR BDA junction around 7:30AM.  We had breakfast at 7:30AM and ready to cruise around 8AM from silk board. There was not a single traffic hiccup in middle and we took elevated highway for quick exit from city mess. The city was enveloped with thick blanket of fog and could not take picture due to time constraints. Once we reached NH-6, everything was smooth until border area. Later on, the constructions are still under way at slackening pace. We reached Hosur and not sure whom to ask :-). People did not understand my half baked Tamil language :D. Fortunately a Kannada speaking person assisted us to find SH-17 towards Palacode. A km later, we saw signboards in English towards Palacode and were greatly relieved for achieving the first target successfully.

Next hurdle was finding the Hogenakkal cross after Palacode. We successfully reached Palacode and took Palacode bypass. It never looked like bypass but we felt being inside city. The roads are good to excellent at some places while bad at remaining. Overall 75-25 (good-bad). The distance covered was around 60kms. After Palacode bypass, we spotted diversion towards right. I was bit doubtful whether we were on right track but Rajesh was confident. The signboards were only in Tamil. After riding for 2kms along this path, we spotted a clear signboard mentioning Hogenakal-70kms :-). Yes this was our second victory. Even roads were really very good along this path. But we were still unclear about as how to reach Hogenakkal-Dharmapuri road.

As our journey progressed, we came across confusing deviation towards Pennagram. Rajesh said that we have to follow Pennagram deviation as per map. But the signboards were showing other path for Hogenakkal. Since we were not sure, we decided to ride along the prescribed route. Few kms after, here we are at Hogenakal-Dharmapuri Road :-). We were really excited that finally we will reach falls without any further more complications. From this junction, distance is 28kms to waterfalls. Along the way there were few more deviations but signboards were crisp to lead us to waterfalls. Also all signboards were presented in English language too!


10kms before falls site, we had to pay entrance fee of Rs.10/-. Once we did the payment, it was nice drive along the semi-ghat section. Especially 2-3kms were like proper ghat sections with steep curves and hairpin bends. Also there were many monkeys too :D. They were roaring even when we were riding bike, fearing threat :-). Along the route we came across a bridge but did not see ample water. I was bit suspicious if we could find considerable water in waterfall area. After beautiful journey for 10kms we entered Hogenakkal town. There is again parking fee here. We rode bike nearby waterfalls rather than parking in entrance.

As we neared our confusion was cleared and there was good amount of water to enjoy. The cauvery river is the source of waterfall. The geography is bit awkward. The water falls along multiple divisions with great velocity. Due to the presence of uneven rocks and height, the water gathers tremendous kinetic energy while reaching ground. The authorities have also constructed walls for proper head bath. People can make use to have thunderous head bath :-). This place is not risky at all and one can manage  even without knowing swimming. There are protective rails around the constructed walls. Initially we had glimpse of shorter plunge on hanging bridge. Even this place has entrance fee but nominal. Later we crossed one of the streams to get to main waterfalls. This place also has protective rails to cross. The biting fishes created tickling sensation in our leg :-). Rajesh was saying biting fishes are good since they clean dead cells from body (not shark or whales but small fishes :D). After crossing stream, we had good look of main waterfall area. There is also a view point where one can see panoramic view of waterfalls. It also has entrance fee ;-). There are many massage providers here :D and also fish curry cookers. The oil massager plead to you to feel massage. Many people were having nice massage and later on bathing in river. If you enjoy relishing river fish, there are many fish vendors here for you.





We were curious to see the distant waterfall plunge which had multiple divisions placed in a curve. That was really great sight to watch. When inquired, people asked us to take coracle ride to reach the view point. The coracle costs around 960/- per trip. If you are 6, it costs 160 per head. We were only two and fortunately found 2 more and hence price reduced to 240/- per head. Still it was bit high price but left with no option. We were adamant to reach to the view point and also enjoy the ride on river. Having paid the amount, there is that thud, coracle being rolled into river and we were ready to start. As we were traveling we came across coracle shop which serves some chips and cool drinks :D. That was unique shop we had seen for first time.




We had small twiddle in middle of river which we enjoyed :-). After sometime, we reached the banks from where one needs to walk for 0.5kms towards view point. The coracle is carried in pickup vehicle till the other side of river bank. We had some oranges here before proceeding further. It seemed like we have path to reach this point via road. Did not inquire much about it. It was really mesmerizing sight from view point. The water plunges energetically with absolute beauty. The eye-catching part is the array of falls aligned along curve and falling towards common gorge. Some people were also seen nearby waterfalls to have closer look. After enjoying this wonderful sight we headed back towards the bank to resume our coracle ride towards the entrance. It seems during heavy outflow from KRS, the waterfall is not at all accessible and entire area looks unified. Even view point will be submerged in water!





I was having friendly chat with the sailor since he knew Kannada. He was narrating many stories including people who were washed away due to galloping water. Also few people were rescued in helicopter during huge water inflow. He was also stating some things about slow down in IT. It seems some of his friends are also hit because of slow-down. So recession is something severely striking from top to bottom then ;-). The sailor does this job during the proper seasons and fishing during high torrents. He also said that water on the other side of valley is 80feet while it was only 3-4 feet nearby waterfall. But the velocity of water gives it fiery look despite being only 3-4 feet in depth. It is this velocity coupled with rocky landscape provides glory to waterfall. we also sailed along those gushing water. The sight of coracle sliding down along the torrent was bit intimidating :D. We also enjoyed the distant hills along with cauvery river landscape. After nearly 90 minutes of joy we reached the entrance again.



It is time to have some fun in water. I did not have backup clothes but Rajesh had them. He enjoyed in the platform of thundering water from a height and had nice head bath. It is easy manage here since authorities have constructed safety structures. Also being flowing water, no need to worry about purity of water. Once Rajesh finished head bath and we were ready for lunch. We had lunch in one of the hotels maintained by TamilNadu tourism. They had only south Indian meals costing Rs.60/- which was OK to clear our hunger albeit being spicy. After resting briefly for sometime, we started back to Bangalore around 3:30PM. This time I rode since I enjoy up-hilling of ghats which involves frequent shifting of gears :D. Even while driving I prefer up-hilling to downhill since it requires frequent gear shifts :D. Pretty weird right ;-). Even father teases me hearing this weird joy ;-). We had smooth ride till Hosur which we reached around 6:30PM. The only problem along the rural route is villagers taking law unto themselves. People spread hay along the width of road to separate out grains from grass. This would lead to slippery of bike if not ridden consciously.

The ride from Hosur was bit cumbersome with heavy traffic and brisk crossing of people along the NH-6. There were lot wrong sider too :-(. It is not worth to pay toll to such highways with too many U turns and not much alternatives to human crossing. The U turns sometimes turned out be intimidating due to swift veering of  vehicles. We were riding very slowly around 40kmph most of the times and felt greatly relieved after reaching electronic city toll gate. 7:15PM, we reached Silk board junction and ending one more journey. We had tea in one of restaurant before dispersing.

I was exhilarated about journey and strength of my bike ;-). My shine truly shined :D. Despite being unserviced for many months and having capacity of 125cc, it was smooth ride altogether! This may be usual but I did not have prior records carrying two heavy weights :D for such long distance. Now I have full confidence on my bike but requires a overhaul before gearing it for one more long journey.

Total Distance covered: 145*2=290kms (170kms Rajesh + 120kms myself) from silkboard junction


Silk Board Junction->Hosur = 30kms (NH-6)
Hosur-> Palacode = 60kms (SH-17)
Palacode->(Hogenakkal-Dharmapuri road) = 25kms
Hogenakkal junction->Hogenakkal waterfalls = 28kms (SH-60)

Note state highway numbers belong to TamilNadu not Karnataka. If you follow SH-17 of Karnataka you will reach Mysore ;-)

Rely on google maps and you will reach the target!

  • My friend Rajesh for detailed review of writeup
  • To all those people who helped us to take proper route
  • Google maps
  • Last but not the least, my bike ;-) for sustaining long journey!

  • Water, preferably 2ltrs/person
  • Energy bars like chocolates
  • Fruits like apple, orange
  • Glucose if required
  • First Aid Box

Nothing much this time except for a panoramic shot and short Hogenakkal video. One of the reason to delay this post was the video rendering. Video editing (especially full HD) can be sometimes boring if your system is not equipped with royal processor (like i5) and GPU. Nevertheless, lack of disk space forced me to compile video finally :-).



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