Monday, July 23, 2007

Destressing in the lap of nature

Last week had been really hectic for Anurag. Late nights in office, work even on Saturday. So a de-stress break was much needed. As for me, I am always ready to de-stress (read I am the eternal travel bug). Here’s what happened:
Sunday morning 7o clock: Unusually early for me to be up. In half sleep I ask "Are we going to Big Banayan tree today?" Anurag replies "Yes. But you can sleep some more time. We can leave after 10".
I remember the heap of utensils lying in the kitchen sink. And the fact that maid servant is on leave. I finally get up at 7:30 and tackle the utensils in the kitchen while asking Anurag to take care of the camera and get the bull ready. Then prepare tea. After tea and biscuits, I go to the kitchen again to prepare parathas. We will take these with us for lunch along with the jeera aloo prepared the previous evening. And my favorite mom-made chundo. Lunch packed and oh dear..its already 10.
Anurag asks me to hurry up. Take bath and get ready.
11:00 am: We are out on Bannerghtta and fill up the petrol tank. We were armed with printout of blogs for directions to the Big Banayan tree. We have to hit Mysore road. The Mysore road passing through Banashankari is a pain. If all the speed bumps there are added up, it might equal the speed bumps in rest of thinks. Anyways, we soon reach Kengeri. Blogs say we have to turn right after Kengeri on Kumbalgod junction. I see no Kumbalgod junction. We keep going straight to cross Wonderla and reach Bidadi. We realise we have come ahead. U-turn and go back some 10 kms. Ask some people on the way and take the correct turn. Here's some help so that you won’t miss the turn like we did. After you cross Kengeri, you should see the Rajarajeshwari Medical college on your side of the road(left side). Go further ahead and you should see Rajarajeshwari Dental College on the right side of the road. It’s a huge white building. Right next to it is a road which goes inside. You have to take this road. There is a railway crossing and it is an industrial area. Keep going straight for around 6kms and you will reach the Big Banayan tree. The ride suddenly gets bumpy once you leave the 'makkhan jaisa' Mysore highway.
12:30 pm: We are there. Go around the Big Banayan tree. We took lots of pictures and admired the amazing maze of branches all over the place. I had read that the tree is spread in 2 acres of land. There is a small temple inside the compound. The sad part was people had written their love proclamations all over the tree. We were really sad to see that but otherwise the place is maintained quite well. Many people had come there and we also saw some sign boards mentioning some resort nearby.
1:00 pm: Leave Big Banayan tree and go towards Manchinbele dam following the directions on the blog printout. There aren't really detailed directions except, keep going straight and when you reach a forked road, take the left. Be prepared for a more bumpier ride. On the way we saw huge satellite receivers....that’s what I think they were. They were like dish antennas..only they were HUGE. We were going forward on the bumpy road which was still good due to the landscapes around us. Full of greenery and the weather was also good. The clouds were following us wherever we went. The road takes some twists and turns and dips and climbs. Suddenly on a dip, we see a newly paved out road. Wondering if its a mirage, we go ahead. It really is a new road...Overjoyed we move ahead.
Now comes the most memorable moment of the day: On reaching the top of one of the climbs, we see a lake below. The road almost dropping into the lake. It was an amazing sight. Took pictures and moved ahead. We saw the dam on the way but there was a locked gate telling prohibited area. And we wanted to ride some more on the new road so we just went ahead to see where this road leads us to. But after a while the new road stopped as abruptly as it started and the same old bumpy road stared at us.
So U-turn it is.
2:00 pm: We should have lunch. See 2 trucks parked on the side of the road and go and park there. Open our packed lunch and eat it. 2 dogs look at us expectantly. Give them a paratha and go back to the dam. This time lots of vehicles parked on the sides of the road near the locked gate. So we ask people and they tell us to park the bike and walk towards the dam from an opening next to the gate. We walk up to the dam. It is amazing. Lot of water on the one side of the dam and lot of greenery on the other side. The watchman comes and tells us this is a prohibited area but as you have come from far, give me 20 Rs and I will allow you to see the dam. Ok, so here goes 20 Rs. Whether the deed was right or wrong...we loved the sight from top of the dam. Finally the watchman drove us out. But we collected some information from him like the water released from the dam goes to Makedatu. And the dam was built 35 years ago.
3:00 pm: Out on the road. On the way we see a car going down onto a road. Below we saw the lake and lots of cars and 1-2 small buses there. People were going into the water. We also went down on the pathway. Had a nice time there. Went into the water and took pictures. Climbed some rocks around. It was good. It had turned very cloudy and we decided to leave.
4:15 pm: Back on the road and a little while later we see the rain approaching us. That was a first. To see the rain at a distance while we are still in the no rain area. And what a rain it was. Falling on us like little pieces of stone. But we got used to it in a while and really enjoyed the ride in the rain. It was lovely and from then on...the rain followed us where we went. The dry roads told us that it hadn't rained there but when we reached, it started drizzling.
5:15 pm: Back on the mysore highway. There is one diversion there near a petrol pump, saying towards kanakpura and hosur road. We took that diversion. Kya road hai. Too good. On the way, there is a meteorological observation center and around it, Freedom garden. Many vehicles were parked there and it looked good so we also stopped there. Spent some time roaming on the grass and admiring the water fountain. From the slope we could see the road, the fountain and the black clouds. Some sight it was. Anurag says this tells me India is shining. See the cleanliness, the roads and the discipline. Then I felt India is not too far behind the other developed countries.
6:00 pm: Reached Gottigere on Bannerghatta Road. That new route which we tried helped us bypass the horrible banashankari road with its mad traffic, jp nagar and we are near home. We stopped at Uphara Bhavan hotel in Gottigere and had tea, coffee and snacks. Back home at 6:30.
What a day! Completely de-stressed at the end of it.

No comments: