Friday, August 28, 2015

Skywatch Friday: Magic Island Tonsepar

A sweltering day of summer in coastal Karnataka. Myself and my better half visited the Tonsepar for brief recreation amidst sticky weather of coastal Karnataka. Even though we reached early, we had to wait our turn to board the ferry since the authorities have to muster minimum 30 humans to start ferry towards uninhabited island. After wait of nearly 45 minutes, we boarded the ferry and reached St.Mary's island in 20 minutes. The funniest part of the journey was the group of people carrying all sorts of food stuffs towards the island for making party (hope they won't spoil the beautiful island). So here are pictures from Tonsepar bounded by volcanic rocks, shell sand, green ocean and coconut trees. The beautiful splashes originated from the barging tidal waves ramming against the age-old sub volcanic rocks presents perfect beauty of nature and a click to shot ;). Hope you enjoy the pictures of our short visit







I would like to visit once more to this mesmerizing island to capture the glimpses of golden hour sun dazzling between the coconut trees :).

Share your spectacles at Skywatch Friday page

Monday, August 10, 2015

A bike jaunt to Kanva resevoir & Ramadevara betta

22 Oct 2014,

Hazy/Tardy morning of Deepavali. The peaceful city was ready to embrace the crackling sound of crackers. Expectedly, the hiding of street dogs ensued ambush of crackers. Banks had foreseen the rush of people to ATMs and accordingly filled them with only 1k denominations to cater huge demand (even banks cant fill ATMs on holidays). I was struggling to obtain the change for 1k note and consequently could not buy milk on this festive day. This time, I did not visit my hometown to celebrate the festival due to valid reasons. The yummy malpuri prepared by mother was replaced by few sweets from local sweet shop. I finished my house work by 11AM and felt sluggish for some time. On a whim, I decided to have a ride on my bike and subsequently packed bag with camera & food. At 12:00PM, I rolled my motor on the ground and ride was ON.

It has been long time since I set out for long ride due to hectic work schedule. As a brief hiatus from routine work, my soul wished for frolic bike ride towards countryside. The destination was none other than Kanva Reservoir. On numerous occasions, I was gazing at the signboards of Kanva Reservoir on my way back from Mysore. This time I decided to thrash my sluggishness with short bike ride towards Kanva reservoir. Accordingly, I started around 12:00PM from my house and rode towards Mysore road. As expected, the festive days had cleared the vehicular path and it was quite a free ride. However, the joy arrives with slight intimidation from bursting crackers and sometimes the left overs. Despite the festive fervor, the Mysore road was intermittently occupied by Road Interceptor. For obvious reason, this is right choice since the traffic was almost nix and people would be tempted for road rage. However, the placement of such interceptors astonished me since most of them were stationed near humps. Not sure how much advantageous they turn out in such locations?! There is valid reason ;). The device can sense the speed from distance itself and along speed-breakers, is perfect place to catch the culprit ;). Cool idea right 8-). Everything stems out of experience you know ;). Nevertheless, my bike barely crosses 60kmph and hence I had no problems cutting through the speedwall ;).

My ride prolonged past Ramanagara and expectedly I spotted the deviation just before Channapattana to reach reservoir. I enquired with sugarcane juice vendor before proceeding. "Just follow the straight road for 8kms Sir, you will spot it". "However, the reservoir would be dry now", he lamented. I was dissappointed, but wanted to have a ride of 8kms along the rural path. Had a glass of tasty sugarcane juice before resuming the journey. As expected, the 8kms ride along the rural path was breath-taking with distant hillocks, clouds at the distant horizon, the bullock carts, the mango plantations, sugarcane fields and intermittent water bodies. The roads were good to ride and reached reservoir in 10 mins.


As per earlier conversation, the reservoir was completely dry with slight patch of water (may be influenced by ground water). I parked bike nearby a banyan tree and stared at the sky for sometime. The brooding clouds were making their way for brief spell of storm. For a moment, I observed the direction of clouds and accordingly positioned camera for timelapse. Even this time, I predicted the cloud build-up with its direction correctly and the storm is captured as timelapse :). You can watch the video below. Even though there was disappointment due to empty reservoir, it was overridden by beautiful timelapse. I did not carry tripod. The bike seat was transformed to virtual tripod :D. I wanted to prolong the timelapse till sun shines again on the reservoir, however due to rain had to switch off the camera. Eventually, I was happy with the achieved result.

I was having brief friendly chat with few local people. They were curious about my setup and asked me if I am from any newspaper agency. I briefed them about myself and said that it is just hobby. To their satisfaction, I showed the movements of clouds in the LCD screen and they were astonished to see the movements :). One of them was supervisor of dam. He invited me to visit around January timeframe during which authorities are expected to let out water for irrigation from other sources.

Later on, the rains receded and it was time to start back. On the way, I stopped at Kamat hotel to have lunch. My next plan was to visit Janapada Loka nearby however I was more interested about Ramadevara betta near Ramanagara. Also the dearth of time and probable storm compelled me to skip Janapada Loka. 20mins later, I reached Ramanagara. An interior ride of 3kms leaves you at the gate of Ramadevara betta.

The Ramadevara hill enjoys the status of conserved forest area. It is the habitat for rare breed of vulture. Due to this, the entry timings are restricted from 8AM to 5:30PM beyond which forest gate is shut for public visit. I looked at my watch and it was 5PM. One of the nearby shopkeeper asked me to backout since it is already time and 30 minutes is way too less to reach the hillock temple. It requires climbing of 450 steps to reach the temple of Sri Rama situated at the top. Somehow, tenacity to visit did not allow me to pull back. I climbed up the hill  with frenetic pace and wow I made it in 10 mins :D. I was elated; not without gasping & throbbing heart. I could not believe myself though :).

The crowd was feeble, while the environment was serene. I had darshan of main deity and observed spatharushi hill & ramateertha. Heard the mythology from the temple priest. The highlight was his enthusiasm in narrating the story since it was based on my request. After rains is the best time to visit this hill filled with verdancy, cool breeze & splendid nature.

Once enjoyed the fabulous views from the summit (barring few points), I descended towards the foothills and observed glorious sunset past monsoon rains.  As predicted, no gatekeeper locked the entrance even after 6PM ;). After enjoying colorful Sun descending amidst hillocks, it was time to say goodbye to this untamed location.

I often visit rural areas to understand their life. Hailing from village, my inclination has been majorly towards village life. When you here from them, a sense of satisfaction fills your soul. Despite earning far less than us, they lead happy simpler life. Your suffering vanishes for the moment and feel complacent. Also the serene village environment provides a healthy distraction from treacherous city life.

On the way back, the skies opened up fleetingly and myself drenched in drizzle for short time. The only intimidating part was firing of rockets. Their course cannot predicted sometimes and they have different law of trajectory :). They follow different rules of physics and accordingly veer as per the amount of inclination, tail position etc.. [Probably you can have trial in subsequent festive time and come up with a eureka!] The other part was riding through large puddles due to lack of proper rain water drains along the highway. I was once sceptical about the condition of bike since it has been long time being serviced. However, the quality of Honda engines is never comparable. The Hondas don't have fancies but deliver quality content :).

As the shades of dark gradually smeared over city, the sky was filled with colors & artifcats manifested by festival of lights. On the flip side, dodging unhinged street dogs (may be including domestic ones?), howling and desperately hunting for safe haven to hide, created menace along the roads. They pose threat to two wheelers who stumble upon timid doggies. All parts of city were filled by sparkling lights in front of doors, whistling flyers and of-course reverberating thunder of crackers emanating amidst constricted walls of city. The nauseated late night howling dog noise was equally jarred by squeaky Deepavali crackers (of-course with varying frequencies than monotonous doggy sounds)

That's the end of one more beautiful & fascinating bike ride towards rural area. I was immensely exhilarated on my accomplishment of yet another successful ride. Hope to stretch for longer distances in the years to come! Even though I don't wish to visit Kanva again, I have immense desire to revisit Ramadevara Hills.

What's special this time

1) Storm Timelapse:

One more time, I predicted the storm movement properly and here is the outcome! I wanted the entire scene from storm building till arrival of sun to be captured. However it rained in middle and had to guard the camera. Nevertheless was happy with the result. Hope you enjoy too!

There is a story behind this timelapse. Initially I was apprehensive, if the clouds would transform into storm or not. In middle of 50 frames, a beautiful wood pecker was standing still nearby banyan tree. I was tempted to stop the timelapse and grab few pictures of the bird. Somehow my heart wanted to prolong the timelapse and be patient. However the mind was still impulsive. It was tiny battle between mind and heart and eventually heart won :). As a result, the storm formed at the distant horizon and my timelapse turned out quite nice. At the same time, my eyes enjoyed the colorful wood-pecker. This was a lesson for me to be persistent when you begin a work. There may be distractions in between however it is upto you to move on rather than diverting. Sometimes the diversion has fruits but not always. Similarly in my case the timelapse yielded fantastic results at the end while my eyes enjoyed the posture of wood pecker. Even if the timelapse was a failure, something was achieved at the end. Ultimately, we have to embrace failure and learn from them rather than assuming greener grass on other side of the horizon.

2) Detailed note on Ramadevara Betta:
The beauty and uniqueness of hill tempted me to post exclusive write-up on this place. Apologies to share duplicate pictures in this post too. Please read it here.

3) Sunset in your Eyes:

Apart from timelapse, I had great time breathing in Ramadevara Betta. Also during the descent, Mother nature garnished spectacular art over the stratosphere which helped to me hone my photography skills further. Those moments culminated in colorful HDR sunset shots ;). All of those are documented here.


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