Friday, February 26, 2016

Skywatch Friday - Golden hour at Nandi Hills

We intentionally chose to visit the Nandi Hills during the golden hour of Sunset. It would be eye-catching to watch and photograph the Sun sinking beneath the silhouette of hills. We were bang on time and reached the peak on time. But alas! :(. The gate will be closed at 6PM and our enthusiasm was thrashed for a moment. With monsoon taking a break, only few clouds were hovering over the stratosphere. Disgusted with our failure, we cursed ourselves for not noting the hill timings. We climbed the unguarded nearby ridge and wow!! What a beautiful sunset at the western horizon. Perfect light metering by the Sun & clouds :).

I took few shots and later we started descending down the hills. Some more glory ahead :). Eventually our visit paid off to some extent after witnessing golden beauty of Sun. Winter would be appropriate to visit when Sun sinks far too early than the closure timing.

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Sunday, February 21, 2016

Chunchanakatte falls - where Cauvery roars and deity quiets

I was longing for a dreamy weekend visit towards Coorg to experience the waterfalls of rainforest and blend with nature for few days. I guess my mind was too much in dreamy mood than being doer :P. I barely found any accommodation & bus tickets towards coorg when my mind flung into action just 3 days before long Dasara holidays. Once again settled for few local visit due to my ignorance.


Indecisiveness & sloth means denial of amenities at popular tourist destinations. It led to missing out travel to my favorite destination i.e. western ghats. The only thought arose out of mind was Shravanabelagola which my better half had not visited. The previous day on the fly, Chunchanakatte flashed on to my mind and we rapidly swerved our plan to Chunchanakatte. While my aspirations shattered last year, this was right moment to visit and circumvent the shatters :).

Chunchanakatte is hamlet located in KR Sagara Taluk of Mysore district. Our plan was to start early and enjoy maximum time in falls. The morning glitch always hampers the plan and we launched around 8AM. At first, I had hunch that we would be battered by loathing traffic diverging from Bangalore. Fortunately, being festive day, we did not face any traffic snarls and could cut through the city in an hour. We could have chosen Mysore route but likely Dasara crowd along the path steered us towards Channarayapattana. It was winding drive till Channarayapattana and later on uplifting rural beauty. Just splendid scenes of swaying palms, green meadows, meandering canals, grazing cattle with fragrance of sugarcane. Each and every mile past Channarayapattana is an exhilarating experience. And why not! The smooth highways topped up our joy.

After a winding drive, we finally reached the deviation leading to Chunchanakatte. This road is typical rural path with umpteen pot-holes and bumps. This abrupt transition to dilapidated path is psychologically unwelcome. However, to reach the target one has to bear such obstacles. Despite the eyesore path, the eyecatching landscape is simply ineffable and one will be tempted to get down from the vehicle to enjoy the scenery frequently! The signboards towards the Chunchanakatte is difficult to spot and GPS is only rescuer here. After hobbling for 16kms we reached Chunchanakatte and its time to explore.

Beuatiful rural landscape
The falls is located beside the temple and can be viewed from temple view point. The Kodandarama temple has historical importance of Lord Rama's stay during exile. Sita is standing to the right side of Sri Rama instead of left. Due to valid reasons, we could not visit the temple and headed straight towards falls. Authorities have built steps to reach the falls and one can view the beauty approximal to falls. We could hear intensifying murmurs of galloping water as we started to descend towards falls.

Temple viewed from Falls
The rugged rocky trails propels the stream of Cauvery water to thundering waterfalls. Despite the lack of healthy monsoon, we could witness the true glory of the waterfall. This is due to the fact that no reservoir precedes the falls. The KR Sagar dam is located past the falls. The river before reaching the brink of plunge forks in two directions and finally merges after the plunge. The energetic plunge is located at proximity of temple.The height of waterfall is approximately 20mts while width may be around 150mts. The roar of waterfall is obviously highest during peak monsoon season when it rains cats & dogs at Bhagamandala. The swollen Cauvery river submerges the boulders which are visible now and creates rapid torrents gushing with tremendous kinetic energy.

Falls from view point of temple

The Rainbow

The deity quiets while Cauvery roars

During monsoon, despite the swarming rapids of cauvery not even a pinch of sound can be heard from sanctum sanctorum. This is attributed to mythology event which wikipedia article quotes as " it seems Lord Rama was tired of Sita Devi’s constant complaining so he cursed that women should not talk unnecessarily and add to the noise pollution. Even though women till now do not seem to have been touched by the curse, river Cauvery’s (who is considered a woman) roar at least is not heard in the garbhagudi of the temple." And hence cauvery's deafening noise, deaf out at garbhagudi :)

Lord Rama temple
Monkey menace:

While we were seated under shadow of one of the boulder, grumpy growling monkey approached us. At the behest of our ancestor, I allowed it to scan my bag for a while. Monkeys if found food, can devour within moments. The saddest part is that they spoil non-food items as well. This monkey was carefully rummaging each and every compartment and could not find anything. As mark of protest at the end, he pulled out few cables and started chewing in front of me. Fortunately, he did not fling additional lens or any other dear items. I silently walked away from the spot after custom's investigation and the officer was gracious enough to let me go :D.

No food.. Then take that!

See I am chewing your accessories!
After brief stay, we started towards Bangalore at 3:00PM. It was 4:30PM, we were feeling ravenous after a long appetite break. Hitherto early morning breakfast, nothing nutrition was consumed. We reached Mayura hotel near Yediyur and replenished the energy.

Busy Fishermen
One can lament the need of tedious journey for just tiny waterfall visit having nothing much significance. But travelers do believe, road trips are to blend with nature not with social media.

How to reach:

Buses are feeble and private vehicles are the best source of transportation to this remote village.Despite lot of deviations, the GPS made sure we were on right track even on crumbled village road.


Channarayapattana is ideal location

Season to visit:

It is worth visiting the spot with cauvery river plummeting from short height (of-course with extreme energy).

Note: Some information is taken from wikipedia

Finally enjoy video of Cauvery dancing in Chunchanakatte


Friday, February 19, 2016

Skywatch Friday - Brimming Manchinbele

Monsoon has been vehement over interior of Karnataka rather being usually in Western Ghats. Though we could not witness the glory of Cauvery plunging down the valley of Shivanasamudra, we could watch the other glories nearby Banaglore. One of them was brimming Manchinbele reservoir whose source is Arkavathi River. The indolent monsoon eventually thrived in interiors during its withdrawal time-frame. As a result of 2 months of copious rains, the Manchinbele which rarely swells, filled up after long years. The abundant rains tempted me to visit this place once more which consequently lead to drive of 50kms on a cloudy weekend. This was first visit to my wife as well and she was enthralled to view the beauty of nature. The visit was enticed by the filled Manchinbele reservoir. The rains of yesteryears have filled the reservoir with umpteen water to allure the visitors. Unfortunately the entry is crippled due to foolhardy visitors. The gates are locked due to the drowning of a visitor who were dabbling in reservoir water. One can only enjoy from outside the reservoir arena. Even the farmers denied entry to their fields stating their inability to entertain the visitors to have closer glimpse. This was direct consequence of said incidence which tempted authorities to serve notice to farmers (owning nearby fields) curtail visitors towards reservoir through their fields. Despite all these fuss, it was exhilarating to watch the reservoir from nearby vantage. One can climb further-up to have better frame of the region from the summit of hillock. Apart from reservoir, one can also enjoy the verdancy of region garnished by monsoon rains. This would be right time to visit the location and respire pristine wind away from city! Time constrains thrashed our desire to move up the hill.

Hope you enjoy short footage as well which includes short blue hour timelapse.

For brimming visual beauty of stratosphere visit Skywatch Friday Page

Friday, February 12, 2016

Skywatch Friday - Waiting for Maiden Peddle Boating

Somewhere during peak of monsoon season 2015, we had been to Bannerghatta National Park. After the Safari and zoo visit, we had glimpse of peddle boat a few walk away. My wife insisted to for it, but I was bit doubtful. Our swimming skills were naught and we never tried peddle boating till date. Any-ways, I accepted her temptation and we booked our slot to peddle over the swamp. Before we could get hold of our turn, I had look around. Instantly the boat and tree caught my eye as well as camera. The resultant was capture of HDR shots comprising of boat & tree which created beautiful image. Initially there was a glitch. The initial exposures ranged from -2 to +2 EVs with +1 as increment. However this did not reveal the highlights much. The Sky was still whitish which tempted me to go below -2. The final composition ranged images bracketed from -3 to +2 (6 images). By this way, I cleared my myth of having symmetrically bracketed images for HDR composition. The clear learning was that the properly exposed images are required for nailing HDR rather than juggling with numbers and geometry :). Hope you enjoy the pictures!! By the time, our turn had arrived and we enjoyed the peddle boat ride. Barring few hiccups initially, the ride was smooth and exhilarating. It provided a brief workout as well for the body. Despite providing life jackets, the swamp is marshy and boat could get stuck in middle.

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Friday, February 5, 2016

Skywatch Friday - Festive fervour at Melukote

I am revisiting few places nearby Bangalore to entertain my better half. This is next itinerary of our jaunt towards rural parts nearby Bangalore. For this week, it was none other than beautiful Melukote nearby Mandya. Being 140kms far from city, we had to start as early as 9AM to spend umpteen time amidst the serene town. Barring tiny hiccups, we reached Melukote around 1:15PM and first impression was huge crowd! The festive season has bloomed the charm on the temple town and people seen in large numbers to seek blessings of Lord Vishnu.

Melukote is hamlet situated 40kms from Mandya of Karnataka state. It is pre-dominantly famous for archaic temples namely Cheluvanarayanaswamy and Yoganarasimha temples both replica of Lord Vishnu. This temple is believed to be built during hoysala regime when Sri Ramanujacharya was residing here. Apart from architectural marvels, the place is adorned with exhilarating landscape, shining water bodies (there are many) and mouth watering local delicacies namely puliyogare, curd rice, sweet pongal and mirchi bajji.

Cheluvanarayanaswamy temple


Yoganarasimha temple

One has to climb 400+ steps to reach the temple situated atop hillock. The idol of Lord Narasimha is believed to be installed by his devotee Prahlada himself.

Akka-tangi kola

Mythology narrates that the ponds were built by sisters.

The akka pond is slushy while the tangi's pond is crystal clear. One can visualize the same during visit. A turtle resides in akka kola while myriad of fishes rove around tangi pond keeping it clean.

Large number of fish on Tangi kola while small turtle in akka kola. One could witness swarming fishes towards the bank seeking food from pilgrims.
Ironically, the purest pond termed was contaminated by people with plastic & flowers and other materials as offering to the water body

Placard suggests that water from tangi kola could be drank raw without any sterilization!


On the way back, one can relax under the atmosphere of beautiful lake. Despite being blemished by the civilization, the surrounding provides absolute tranquillity amidst lovely nature.

On final note, it's heart warming beautiful rural sunset.

At the end, watch the video full length to march along the virtual trails of Melukote. I have provided annotations wherever required and hope it keeps the viewers interested :)

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