April 29, 2014

A year for drives

A year for drives...

That is exactly what this year is looking for me. A new car always has that effect I believe on many new owners. You want to 'test' your car and what better ways than driving along the vast expanses of our country!

So the next trip up is not something which was planned, but it is something which I never imagined myself doing. I always thought it was too difficult, or maybe just not 'me'. A lot many things are changing in me anyways after my marriage to B. Well, that should be another post altogether!

So, we are planning to drive to Trivandrum. This was a planned trip, but the driving bit was not planned. We had intended to book a Tatkal train ticket or maybe take a flight, even though at the last moment. But, reading and looking at the supposed to be great routes on the Bangalore- Salem - Madurai- Nagercoil route and the little frenzy inducing stretch between Nagercoil and Trivandrum, I thought why not try it.

There will be a fair bit of driving and with both of us geared up to use our new car alot, this was a perfect opportunity!

April 14, 2014

Thirthahalli - Relaxed and laid back

Thirthahalli has been on the cards since the time we drove down to Chitradurga, and saw what great roads the Tumkur route had. The plan was to cover Shimoga, but that was soon changed to Thirthahalli as we found a great place which we wanted to visit... Kolavara Heritage Resort. It is a home stay in the real sense, a family who invites you into their home for a few days. They spoil you with food which is delicious, freshly prepared and all through authentic Malnad. I am so thrilled that Vatsala and Nishcal took care to ensure that every meal had a Malnad touch to it. They kept to basics also understanding the need for simple foods which might be suited to kids. Personally was really touched that they dished out a fish fry for my daughter, as she is huge on fish in general!

The surroundings are quiet and peaceful and there are so many nooks which just invites you to sit and read. And this is something I keep hoping for time and again whenever I am visiting any place over a weekend. Kolavara fit into the reading bit completely. It was perfect for the reading and siting about with a drink in the evening. The sounds of the night and a water flowing somewhere near by will be all that you will hear. The property has ample space to walk about and it has so many wonders to thrill most city kids!

In terms of location, if you are looking to go about and see a lot of things, there are not too many places which you can visit easily. There is Kuvempu, a very famous Kannada poet's house and a hilllock atop where is last remains are kept. His home has been converted into a museum and the smallest of smallest things have been saved and preciously polished and displayed for the visitors. The house in itself is adorned with paintings, photographs of his family, books, certificates and diploma! They also have a small bookstore with many translated works by the poet. The hillock proves to be a great location for watching the sun set into the ghats and see the dry expanse of the northern regions of Karnataka.

I picked up The House of Kanooru, which is the translated work of an original Kuvempu novel. This was made into a movie by Girish Karnad, called Kanooru Heggadithi in the year 1999. He acted, directed and wrote the screenplay for this movie, and this movie won the National Film Award for the Best feature film in 2000.

Kuvempu's House, which is a museum now

Entrance to the Kavishala

Another view of the Kavishala

The dry beauty of the pre monsoon ghats

Sun set at the Kavishala

Another view of the ghats
On our way back we stopped at the Sakrebyle Elephant camp, as I was sure T would be thrilled to see elephants. In fact she had a choice to see either the Lions or the elephants, and elephants were her pick! Might just be the mallu blood in her! ;)

Clinging for protection

A mother and daughter

Entrance to the camp
It took us about 7 hours to drive to and from Kolavara. Shimoga is an hour less, and Shimoga would be better situated if you wish to go to Jog falls or the Lion Safari etc. One of the places we wanted to visit was Agumbe, which was said to be a great temple and again a great place to watch the sunset. But, alas, we overslept after the great lunch and then decided to laze around some more and finally just skipped it ! But, no regrets!