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A twist, A turn; there’s the Coffee land

With a week gone by admiring the western ghats, of my beautiful state. It was time, i took my tigress for a spin in the similar trench, and time she needed some fresh air.

With multiple options in our head, we finally shortlisted chikmagalur to roll. As usual, we 3 folks: Varun aka sleepy joe, myself aka zenwalker and Harish aka HKCrazy, initially decided to drift. With just  a day left for the big day, another friend Mallikarjuna aka Malli tagged along.

By tradition, we always depart on friday evening and do the night drive to save the day time, but this time we broke that out and decided to do early morning drive due to people commitments. Around 0300, the other three reached my home in their carriage. We departed bangalore around 4AM and took the Mangalore highway. Early morning drive was pleasant and enjoyable as the traffic is almost zilch.

Enroute Hassan

A burst out laughing moment, when our HKCrazy, went looking for a compass in his kitty to find out the rising sun direction :D After tears in the eyes with pain in the belly, we started off. The drive was calm and serene all along the highway. Was about to skip the detour towards Shravanabelagola, the guys decided to hit this place as well few of us hadn’t been there till. Shravanabelagola is around 15+ kms away from the highway, the road passes through calm serene farm lands and villages.

Since, we reached this place early morning, the sun heat was less and the rock was much cooler. Climbing this hill wasn’t of a big task except for sleepy joe.

Spend another hour at this place enjoying the morning breeze, mild sun heat and the environment around.

Having breakfast, we left towards Hassan. In next an hour, we reached hassan and took a break for a while. Then we left towards destination via Belur. Around 1 PM we reached chikmagalur town. There we bought some stuffs and then departed towards our home stay which was around 20 kms away from the town.

Around 1500 we reached our home stay. The home stay was in the midst of coffee plantations and it was a pleasant to be in this pace. The road towards the homestay wasn’t that good yet it brought a good feeling to drive through.

This Oakridge homestay sits in the midst of 300 acre coffee plantation and very near to the highest peak of Karnataka: Mullayangiri.

The home stay is pretty big enough and has around 5 rooms with 2 big halls. Can accommodate at least 20 people. We paid 2k per head which includes 3 time food. The rooms are kept pretty clean, the rest rooms were facilitated and maintained well.

The homestay has alot of resting places one can relax by either indoors or outdoor watching the beautiful nature ahead.

After resting for some time and then lunch (thanks to caretaker, who waited till evening on lunch), we took some power naps. Then around 1630, we decided to refresh ourselves with a bit of sport. There was a huge area in front of the house which used for drying coffee seeds available for playing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The cricket went on for another hour or so. The scorching heat was something unbearable during the hour.

The evening went on a bit relaxing after the sport activity. We just took shower and then tea with snacks were served. The caretaker at this premiss is a very nice lady who took care of us and rest of the family who were in the adjoining rooms, well. She even voluntarily offered us some juice.

 With all the snacks done, it was time for us to take a stroll and enjoy the nature and prepare the night fall while the other family in next rooms decided to wander out to nearby places.

And the final class act of our “Dead bowler”, was hilarious :p

Around 7ish, caretaker played the music and a fire for the snacks (kababs and bajjis), we enjoyed the evening for another hour or 2 and then for dinner around 0930. Rest few hours just passed away by chit chatting ourselves next to the fire, before hitting the sack.

Day 2:

Next day, we all woke up around 8 and got ready by 10. Finishing off the breakfast, we decided to hit the mullayanagiri. After fresh up, off to the highest peak in karnataka. From the homestay, it was around 13 kms away. It took as another 30 mins to reach; the roads were not that great.

Driving at this altitude was really awesome with the nature around.

The view from the up top was really spectacular.

Admiring the beauty

Fella enjoying the vacation, perfect place ;)

Stairway to heaven!

The Ariel look at the tigress was splendid and to me it looked as if the guards were surrounded ;)

Spot the tigress ;)

Next hour we spent at the hill-top enjoying the view and then back to the parking lot. By this time, the tigress grabbed my attention towards her. What happens next is just obvious ;)

While, i was busy shooting the tigress, one of the visitor dropped by and requested to take a pic. Apparently, he was a FIAT freak too and a member of Team FIAT India forum and goes by name Renju (Sorry, if i  have spelled it wrong)

We then departed, since the roads on the hill-top was really narrow and the traffic increased, i had to slow down a lot. It was a bit of challenging yet fun to drive down the hill, while the beauty of nature impresses the corner of the eye.

We had left our luggage back at the homestay, we drove back and got refreshed a bit and finally bid adieu to the plantation. We then decided to visit Kemmannugundi.

It was another 40km away distance. Another hour or 2 well spend driving in the midst of the nature and through the curves. What better feeling one can get than driving our beauties, ye? ;)

On the way, we visited a coffee shop which was again in the coffee plantation run by the owner. Though the prices here were exorbitant, we still wanted to sip away a cup. On the way, we managed to click away few snaps.

With refreshment break done, we then departed towards kemmannugundi. While the fellow guys took a turn by turn for back-seat nap, we finally reached the place. The road enroute kemmannugundi is not good. For few kms the road is just gravel and muddy. At this point, the rain started to pour. Looks like the rain gods wanted us to cool down and have more fun of the nature around.

With a lot of heat around, it was big relief that it rained. We enjoyed the cold breeze, the rain and not to mention the spectacular beauty of nature around.

Love is in the Airrrr!!

With african Drug lord ;)

When the rain stopped after 30 mins or so, we decided to depart from this scenic beauty. Next was to visit kalhatti falls, which is widely known for its medicinal benefits from the waterfalls.

Surely this place is really messed up and our people have created hell lot of garbage in the name of divine. Sad! :(

With more curves down the terrain of chikmagalur, we reached the skirts of this district, where the roads stopped being fun to drive. Yet the distant mountains were looking spectacular to mesmerize.

Then as we had planned earlier, we visited HKCrazy’s distant relative home. With a bit of coffee and snacks, it was time we finally bid adieu to this heaven.

The return route we chose via Berur -> Kadur -> Tiptur -> Tumkur. The roads were good but single lane. Thus it took around 5 hours to reach bangalore.

It’s often said by wise folks that to make any thing better, not just the place/environment matters but equally the company one has. I am glad and thankful to proudly say that, i have the vibrant, enthusiastic friends who always make my trip an awesome event.

Thanks for reading :)

More pics : https://plus.google.com/photos/104890710223822575506/albums/6127078325195441185

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Drifting across Sumptuous city : Part 1

How the weather has changed in just over night!, I kept wondering, when i woke up from the paddling dreams of golden odyssey when the train roared its horns across the jaipur junction.

Start of Day 1,

We had already planned the hotel in which we wanted to stay for the entire 5 days. Initially we had planned for just 3 days in jaipur. But upon deeply exploring and planning we realized that more is required. Since we already planned for Ranthambore safari, so we just get 2 days to spend at jaipur alone.

From the station in the morning we proceeded towards Hotel Rani Mahal, hawa sadak which was around 5 kms away. Reaching the hotel we were informed that the rooms wont be available till 10 AM onwards. So we had to wait till then. Thankfully the hotel management provided us a spare room to refresh, upon our request.

By around 9 AM, we decided to wander around the city leaving behind the luggage in their custody. This hotel to our dismay, wasn’t at a commercial place nor at a different place where usually hotels shall be, but in between the residential environment. The owner has converted the house into a hotel and make it look like it’s a heritage one.

Even the interiors have been decorated to look like it’s a palace.

The room we got wasn’t that spacious nor equipped to fit in 3 people. However, since we hardly spent a few hours except for night sleep in the room, we decided to accept it.

After refreshing, we prepared for the days visiting places which was City palace, hawah mahal and Jantar mantar. All these 3 places are just adjacent to each other in the midst of the busiest place of the city.

As we go higher in the hawah mahal, the narrow channel window designed here allows the air to gush through which keeps this place very windy and cool.

Further on, we proceeded towards City palace which was adjacent to this mahal. En-route, we found public dropping by and buying few grains then offering to the birds.

On inquiry, we came to know that it’s a belief that by offering some thing every day to birds/animals something, one can wash off their sins.

On one side, its great that people believe in such good things and treat animals/birds like they should which allows human:Non-Humans to live in harmony but on the other hand, i wonder why still human does sin? o_0

 

The city palace is quite big and neatly maintained. Thanks to the Govt. who has taken keen interests in keep such monuments to its great form by cleanliness and restoration activities.

The city palace is quite vast and very rich.

Its been said that, the hawah mahal was mainly built for the queen to enjoy her times when the king is away or king spending time carrying out his duties in the city palace. Being their, i realized how much of an enjoyment she must have had.

Next stop, Jantar mantar. Though it looks great to see all the astronomical works done by past folks, yet many things is not understood.

Spending time here for a while, we then had lunch at the nearby hotel before decided to hit the Chowki dhani as we had planned up.

Chowki dhani exists very outside of the city beyond airport, which was around 40 mins away drive. This place gets crowded as the sun goes down.
From outside, this place looks as a normal hotel, but upon entering it gets much interesting.

The whole place is ranges around few acres, and its fully converted and simulated to look like an exact typical village aura of 70s time. Not only it looks splendid, but it carries one to the past. I loved the whole vibe going on in here.

All the structure are built to exactly look vintage.

There are a lot of events happening here. One never gets bored here. Beyond the cold weather, this place just carries you away to enjoy every moment.

This place has also many vintage play stuffs for the younger ones.

This place also has resort, restaurant and bar. The whole place looks very pleasant to chill out.

After spending some time at this place, we decided to hit the dinner table around 10. Still this place was busting out with a lots of activities.

I must confess that the food here was just bad as it can be. Though the quantity and varieties were very, but without taste it just blows.

Around 1030, we decided to depart from this place. Luckily the rickshaws were available outside this place due to its fame.

Await for the Part 2. ;)

Thanks,

Zen :)

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An Aurulent Odyssey : Jaisalmer, YHAI Desert Trekking

After a cold night long journey in the train from Jodhpur visit, we landed in Jaisalmer around 5AM. We caught the auto from the station and immediately hurried towards the BSF (Border Security Force) camp, where our YHAI camp was set up. All along the road one can see the BSF base on either side with here and there hotel buildings. We landed at the camp site in 15 odd minutes, and in that bone chilling cold morning, we were expected to fill up some forms and attest our photos to the admit card.

With all that done, finally we were allocated an empty tent. Apparently we were the first ones to be there from our batch. So an tent number 8 was allocated to us, we rushed off towards it, in desperate seek of shelter and warmness from the bitter cold.

We took some rest for a while till we get acclimatised for the cold weather and then wander around the camp site to see its vastness. This camp site was pretty big to accommodate Family, cycling and trekkers with each batch of 50 odd members.

Next we went on to look for our morning accustoms which needs to be done. The restrooms were organized by the BSF themselves properly and the camp organizers had separated out in 2 sections: one for family and other set for trekkers and cyclist.

Thanks to YHAI and BSF folks in maintaining and providing and constructing the comfortable restroom at this premises. With wind gusting through the tents, nature calls were really relished :D

By around 8 AM, still the weather outside was chilling and there was no much mood for us to enjoy the outside arena. Yet we marched out of our tent for some snaps. One thing its must to emphasis about YHAI and all of its camp site is (based on my experience as well) is that the cleanliness which is strictly followed and emphasized to all by every one here is just commendable.

While we waiting for our breakfast to be served, we then decided to charge all of our digital equipments here while more and more batch mates enrolling in.

It was evidently noted here is that where the charging point was present there a big circle used to be always present exchanging talks and getting to know each other.

In this new digital age, to group up people, provide a common charging place is the mantra ;)

With spending the whole life in the concrete jungle such as bangalore, this place provide a tranquil setting in which to unwind. Moving on, as the first day was just for acclimatize and sight seeing, and by this time we had made a good friend who was a solo traveller for the first time and a tent mate, himself calling as “vatsal” and was from Mumbai. At first he looked very pale and malnourished to us yet a determined chap with silence much visible. With more getting to know about each other we then decided to unravel the plan for rest of the day. Vatsal as well wished to join us for this plan. We 4 of us got our-self prepared and left the camp around by 9.

Bada Bagh:

This place existed outside of the city and we took a rickshaw to this. Legend says that this place is the only place in and around jaisalmer which has greeneery all over it.

This is due to the fact that a small reservoir was being constructed by the kings who ruled over this place. This reservoir helped the people all across this land for water resources and farming.

The roads in and around the jaisalmer is being well maintained by the army force. Its definitely commendable about their hard work and keep it well clean of the surrounding areas.

Around 10 kms away from the main city, we reached this place wherein a 50 INR entry fees was received. From distance this place looks beautiful, but at a closer look its all ruined and no maintenance done to the least. An entry fees taken is what made useful, i wonder! This place was then turned graveyard for the royal family, ever since.

There were alot of royal graves here belong to the kings and their relatives depicting the number of wives each had.

Along with the king, the age old tradition also mandate the wives to scarifies themselves via sati system, hence one can see the grave of kings and his queens along in the same place.

We roamed around this place and wondering about the number of wives these kings had by looking at the markings on their grave stone.

I kept thinking, what make these kings wanting to marry so many : was it because of the status? or was it because of wish? I never know! :o

The guide we hired to explain about this grave did gave us quite a good information and knows how to talk. Quite a smart person himself, we chatted away for a while with him though.

Once the show was over, we decided to have some look around a bit with few photo shoots. Doing so, we found the typical mess our people create : Beer bottles, plastics. When do we improvise? :o

These sculptures draws the inspiration from the mogul age yet some essence of our own. Unlike the moguls, these are built in a interlocking pattern such a way that it can withstand the earthquakes. These interlocking joints are free to move thus providing any one to disassemble them away like lego blocks ;)

Gadsisar Lake:

After finishing the royal grave, we then decided to hit back to the city center by visiting this water reservoir build ages ago by the kings for not only consumption purposes but as well serving as an entertainment theater.

This lake is surrounded by temple and mini fort. Boating is as well available in this lake.

Our camera wandered across this place for few snaps which depicted the local culture. 386223904882614pizapw1422811122

Fort:

After finishing this place, we then decided to visit the living fort in Rajasthan. This fort looks beautiful from outside and almost golden due to its special stone color from which its built from ground up.

Standing on the roof top of this fort, one can easily draw an virtual circumference of this city which is very small.

This fort is overly crowded with dwellers just as it used to be in the olden days but with less population, i believe. It also has few temples with in its boundaries.

Camel skin based or so claimed as items are sold outside of this fort, although one has to be cautious when buying such items at not so cheap price.

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By around 6 PM, we decided to hit back to the base camp as the evening shall gets more colder here and prepare for the next day trek.

Day 1: 28th Dec

The first day of the trek, the camp leader and the program director with few others assembled all of us for some briefing.

After an hour program, we had our breakfast at the base camp which was always finger licking good and memorable. We were then commanded to form a line and get ready with our minimal baggage for the next 5 days of no bath or proper cleanup and deposit back the remaining luggage so as to make room for the incoming batch people.

By this time we had found 2 another good people who were part of our tent from the previous night. They each named themselves as Rafiq and Aditya from Kerala and TN respectively. Our group from 3 (Myself, Harish and Mallikarjuna) had now become 6 (3 + Vatsal, Rafiq and Adithya) and we all seemed to do well together so far regardless of our language, culture, etc.

Once the depositing was done, we then proceeded towards the bus which would drop us off to the next camp which was around 30 kms away from the base camp. hmm..Not so walkable, to hell with trekking : i felt :(

Our first camp was Khabha, the bus dropped us off around 3 kms away from this camp.The ride in this bus was as usual, but the view we got around along the road side was beautiful though deserted over the horizon.

After grabbing our gear, took few snaps at this deserted place next to the highway.
All around us, the place was just barren with no single soul lurking to the miles apart.

By this time, our camp leader : an retired teacher arrived. Greeting all of us, he took us to the camp site. Meanwhile we spotted few deers in this landscape as per his words.

As we started walking silently, at the distance of around a km away all of us started to spot herds of deer.
No matter how quite we marched ahead and tried to spot those deers with a better camera shots, they were always 1 step ahead of us in spotting us and running away. Yet with the small digital equipment we had, we managed to get few snaps of it though at a distance. This was one of those moments, we wished to have a bigger lenses :(

After around 20-30 mins of walk in that dusk time, we reached the khabha camp.

Once reaching this camp, few of us rested and few of us went ahead to occupy our tents and cleaning it.

 

 

 

 

 

As usual, once we reach any camp site, after settling down with the tents and taking up the sleeping bags by each, we are given instruction about the camp site, open air toilet locations for males and females, washable vs drinking water locations, food and tea timings, etc. by the camp leader.

By around 5 PM, we were served with tea and biscuits and then we went for a near by farm land over the small hill for the sun set as informed by our camp leader. There we spend few hours taking snaps and playing around.

A few masti at this place wouldn’t do any harm ;)

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That evening, we just spent more time in the tent discussing and joking around. At around 8 the dinner was served. Later we went for a walk around the tent area. The day did ended with not so well trekking yet with justifiable getting to know people and making new friends.

Day 2: 29th Dec

Next morning, we all woke up early finished off all our open air nature calls in the very early hours then decided to hit the near by area for a better sun rise view and few snaps.

Unleashing our creativity with the cameras ;)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By 7 AM or so the tea was ready with biscuits. After that we had breakfast around 8 and then departed to the next camp. This upcoming journey was the real one which lasted for more than 5 hours of walk in the middle of nowhere. Walking under the hot sun yet breezy wind in midst of desert land is really awesome feeling one must get.

While we were trekking, out of no where a dog runs by us, it played with us for few minutes and then we wanted to feed it with the biscuits in our bag.

Unfortunately the dogs in this area never have tasted biscuits, i believe. The food we offered was straight away rejected with out even tasting it by this cute dog. It then left us waving goodbye by its wiggling tail and disappeared in few minutes over the landscape.

Further on, we found a large patch of bright yellow sand and the vast land surrounding it gave a good location for some photo shoot ;)

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Walking in the bright hot sun in the desert sand, we not only felt a bit strained in the legs but we also were visited by the junglee camels grazing all over the places. One such gave a good pose for us over looking the horizon ;)

Our convoy looked best, trekking over the desert land.

Around noon, we stopped for a resting point till the rest of the convey catches up to proceed.

Before our next pit stop, we decided for a few landscape photoshoot.

Further into our path, we encountered few local village folks, dressed in the cultural heritage who looked like folk dancer group.

 

After enjoying folk dance for a while and paying them up, we then continued our journey in the hot sun. In the cold December month, the desert was quite a bit hot, while i kept wondering in summer weather if it would be a hot oven.

At around 4 PM, we reached the Sam sand dunes camp site. To our dismay, unlike other camp site, this one was in the middle of over crowded area and next to highway. Sam sand dunes is pretty famous place and people all over the country visit this sand dunes and the resorts available here.

This camp site was a bit led down to me personally though since i always love the deserted place to conceal myself away. As usual, the camp leader welcomed us and we were distributed our sleeping bags and we assigned ourselves comfortably to the respective tents available for men and women.

While we rested for a while, hot beverages with biscuits were made ready to us. As the instructions were laid out to us about the camp site, nature call sites, dangers of outsiders might lurk around, etc. we then decided to hit the sand dunes in the later part of the evening around 6 for the sunset.

Then before the sun starts to set down completely over the horizon, we decided to play along in the sand for a while. So time to unleash our childishness :D

The hope of friendship bonding ;)

After dusk, we returned back to our camp site as we were requested to not lurk outside the compound as it could not be much safer around. When we were back, we were served with dinner around 730. Then a small folk concert was arranged by the YHAI with half paid expenses by us.

The performance was really good and it went on for an hour. In the cold night, we all sat down and watched the performance by them. It was truly commendable art.

Day 3: 30 Dec

The next morning, we all prepared for the surprising ride of this trek: The camel ride. This was fully sponsored by the YHAI themselves.

Required number of camel were already assembled in front of our camp site to pick us up. We were informed to leave early as possible due to the longer distance. Around 8 AM, we all boarded the desert ship and began to march ahead.

To me personally, the whole camel ride seemed pointless as the terrain in which we traveled for like 2 hours was not that difficult nor bad than a plain land, with no sand, yet it was longer one in a colder morning.

We made a pitstop for feeding the camels and take a big of rest in the bright hot son. We were not that tired as the weather was really cold even at the peak hours of the day.

After along walk in the deserted cold landscape, passing along few villages, we were finally dropped along a road side from where we are supposed to walk for the rest of the day to reach our Sudasari camp site.

In the middle of nowhere, there was a road with zebra crossing. Hmm.. we wondered ;)

Traveling further on the road was more fun and all along the stroll, no where we could find a soul till our eye sight could meet the horizon ;)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Onward, we traveled on this road, the landscape was getting more beautiful all along. The yellow-golden sand, cold breezing wind, desert barren texture with hardly can be noticed canopy made the journey more pleasant yet different.

Next comes our pit-stop for lunch around 1PM.

The cold chilling breeze was still something to irritated about and i preferred for some sun. After the lunch, what else one prefers under the warm sun from the irritating cold wind with nothing to ponder upon the world pleasures ;)
The best sleep one can have without any man-made comfort. The mother earth is just beautiful and comfortable.

After an hour, we decided to start off, with tough breaking my sleep, i continued towards the camp with the rest of the troop.

We were suppose to reach the Sudasari National Reserve forest area where our camps were laid down with special permission from the Rajasthan national forest conservation authorities.

 

 

 

 

We could not find this black buck bird at all, though we camped in the same area for a day long. Only the memory of this sign board with the bird is available with us today, sad! :(

Finally, we entered the Sudasari Forest Reserve, wherein we were greeted by our camp leader who all the way from Camp had come to the forest entrance area to receive us.

From the entrance of the forest reserve, we had to further walk down for another 3 kms or so to reach our camp area. The whole area just looked so deserted and wild. This serene vast wilderness just gives you more adrenaline to explore much more ;). Truly the mother earth is just beautiful beyond imagination.

At last, we entered the camp site in between of no where ;)

The first cute fella to greet was this naughty puppy who was really cute, cuddly and playful. I just dropped off my rucksack and started to play with him :D

 

 

 

Like rest of the camp sites, the protocol is to rest for a while in the camp area with sipping hot coffee with biscuits and chit-chat with the fellow convoy about the days experience and joke around for a while. This followed by cleaning up our tent area and assembling at a common point for the rules to be laid down by the camp leader.

At distance we could eye upon a deserted sand dunes which was just what we wishes all along to experience as the Sam sand dunes were just too commercialized and crowded with garbage every where. This sand dunes of Sudasari seemed to be just tailored to our wishes. Thanks to YHAI for providing us this experience of sand dunes.

As planned, we hit it out to this sand dunes in the evening. All around us, no garbage, no soul was found lurking around this area. Perhaps the pleasant feel was nurtured by this dunes.

While we were at this sand dunes, we were able to spot the desert fox doing its business, though we tried to slow down and get close to it for a better photo, the wild fox was much smarter than us to run away.

Nevertheless, we chased it down and tried to capture the photo of it with our limited capacity camera equipment.

The best shot we could got. (Left side of pic, zoom in,)

After chasing the fox, we were back to have some fun on the dunes in the dusk.

Meanwhile, the 2 tweety birds started dancing to the tune of the dunes dusk :P

After the sun went down, we returned back for the camps.

Day 4: 31 Dec

The next day morning was much more brutally cold. We were wake up early in the morning to a bone chilling cold weather.

It was almost impossible to touch the freezing cold water. Few minutes out of the gloves, our fingers would go numb. With much difficulty, we prepared ourselves and washed our utensils.

For the days journey through the dry land and desert to the next camp :Barna, we were accompanied by a camel wagon which carried the water needed and luggage if any body cant carry it.

We again traveled through barren lands with a patch of cultivation done here and there with lonely huts up the hill. These lonely houses looked beautiful and pleasant to live in. With deep thinking in the back of my mind of wishing to have such houses in the middle of now where, i continued the journey.

After a while of plain desert land, we were again welcomed by the path of sand dunes. The convoy again rested here for the rest of the troops to join up. Though the sun was bright and hot, the cold wind continued to keep us cold and normal.

Time again for us to play in this sand for a while ;) These sand dunes just made us go back in time from our younger days :D

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The canon ball throw of Mr. Rafiq was really a surprise move to him by us and it was way fun throwing him off :twisted:

 

 

 

 

 

 

With a few more stunt photos of our-self, the fun ended as the rest of the troops joined us.

 

 


 

At last we got the group photo taken with almost all folks present at the same location.

With the barna camp visible at a far distant, we continued our journey towards the camp in the bright hot sun.

This camp lies within the PAK border range of 60 Kms. We rested in the camp for a while and then hit out the near by sand dunes next to the highway for the year end sun set enjoyment in the nice company.

As the sun went down, the weather started to hit much harder and cold. The night was much colder than ever. While i decided to rest inside the warm tent, few folks tried to enjoy the new years night in the harsh cold wind with a camp fire.

Day 5: 1 Jan

The next morning was even worse than ever. It was colder, windy with dense fog.

The fog was really thick with only few feet distance of visiblity. Meanwhile, when we were getting ready, our transport had arrived back to drop us to base camp.

As our ride continued along the highway, the fog got more dense with more chilling weather. After 40 mins of ride, we reached the base camp.

The base camp was almost deserted with most of the batches have left for their voyage, we were given a tent and our rucksacks back from deposit counter.

While few of us took bath, i continued to shiver with all the woolen cloths on my body, yet it turned futile against this cold weather.
There was plenty of time for us to spend time here as our train was in the evening towards jaipur.

Few of the team from our batch waved good bye to each other and us for their onwards journey, we stick back to the base camp wasting time with the hope of some sunlight to warm up.

For the last 5 days, our device batteries were dried out, as one would find the oasis in the desert much importance: most of us rushed towards the charging point at the base camp with the same importance :roll: . Again this became a social point for alarge number of people to exchange words. Fate of new age, i say :shock:

We spent a while talking and wasting time at the base camp while we finished our breakfast and lunch there.

There after around 2PM we left the base camp with adeui to rest of remaining convoy, we departed towards the train station. On the way, our autowala took us to a handloom shop based on our request about buying things back for our home.

We spend next ~2 hours or so looking things to buy at this shop. The rates were not reasonable though but looked genuine products being sold here. They as well showed us alot of order receipts from different parts of the country.

We ordered few bed sets, sarees and stone made utensils and gave our addresses to be shipped back and departed to train station around 5 PM as our train to Jaipur was at 530.
I am yet to get the product from that shop due to the mishaps and idiotic mistakes done by the initial dispatch via stupid bastards Professional couriers :mad: , now my package is again dispatched second time via India post. Praying this time i get my package in a reasonable time.

Myself, Harish, malli and Rafiq departed towards jaipur, while adithya continued his journey towards Delhi.

With 6 long days of memories, sand in our shoes and dresses, we finally said adieu to the golden city : Jaisalmer, and welcoming for the pink city : Jaipur.

Thanks for reading,
Zen :)

P.S: Await for the next travelogue on Jaipur :mrgreen:

A kannada version on the same topic can be found here:
https://kcharish.wordpress.com/2015/01/31/inthelandofmarwarsdesert-jaisalmer/

DSC_0183

Disembark on the prismatic land of Marwars – Jodhpur

In the time of middle year, there was a news rumoring around in my company that there would be an official weekly off at the year-end. So myself having being done the Sarpass trek in 2011 from YHAI, and over enjoyed the snow and chilling weather, always wanted to try the other extreme terrain i.e Desert. After getting an official confirmation about the mandatory week vacation, myself and a colleague planned to do the desert trek conducted by YHAI at Rajasthan. Since we had around 2 weeks timeline including the holidays, weekends etc. we as well decided to do the rest of the Rajasthan.

As part of the planning team, myself and colleague (Harish) discussed extensively how to efficiently conclude this visit such a way that a maximum utilization is done. Thanks to his at-large patience in doing extensive online research about flights, train availability vs cost, stay, places to visit, etc. We were able to come up with the a draft plan, wherein we decided 2 days for Jodhpur, 6 days for Jaisalmer and rest 3 days for Jaipur. Due to the less time availability and reluctant to tight schedule our visit, we decided to drop Udaipur and cover up these places properly than rushing.

As per the initial draft, we started booking the flights and searching the accommodations at tripadvisor. Once that was done, we were just left with train bookings to be done. As the days rolled by, we began to dig deeper into the place details and what to do, eat, stay, etc. As we began digging, we came up with alot of information about this place. Harish carefully document everything we could collect from the research. We then started off with micro planning: day wise to do, places to eat in this trip. Again with extensive discussions, disagreements, ego clashes, pain in the a** moments etc. we concluded the initial draft of the detailed itinerary as well. Since we had only 2 days to spend in Jodhpur, we had to carefully articulate our plan based on the time of landing, distance between the hotel,  forts, eatable places, train timings and commuting time required to each of those places along with fort operational timings 9-5PM.

Finally, the D-day arrived. All of us were very excited for this adventure.  IMG_20141225_052052Our flight was at 7AM from BLR – Mumbai – Jodhpur. We all arrived at the BIAL by 6AM. The weather was nice and pleasant. The crowd at the airport was as usual. There were no much of an eye treat to me though, looks like kingfisher shutdown did effected alot :P

IMG_20141225_064505The Jet-Airways flight was supposed to depart on time, but bangalore weather kicked us back and delayed the departure by almost 1 hour. The outside mist on the runway was really dense and it was really nice to stand there and enjoy the view for a minute. Though we boarded the flight, we were made to wait for almost 45 mins in that leg room crumpled seats before departure. Nevertheless, you always get an eye treat in the flight ;)

We reached the mumbai airport around 10 AM. Thanks to Jet airways, they served us a complimentary breakfast and lunch during our travel. IMG_20141225_092800The food served was pretty good and we enjoyed it. There was veg and Non veg served. Both of them were good, with a work load for the mouth with eye on the hostess, the next hour or so enjoyed the ride. The mumbai domestic airport is quite clumsy and kinda stinks.

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We finally landed at jodhpur airport which was really a nice airport unlike others because it’s an air-force base than a commercial type. One can see fighter jets and bunkers all around and the airport is heavily guarded with armed army men.

Day 1:

After refreshing at the hotel room, we decided to depart towards the Umaid Bhavan palace. From our hotel to palace, the distance was around 8 kms. We traveled via rickshaw. In Rajasthan (tourists places) the rickshaw guys has a standard rates which is exorbitant regardless of the distance. One has to haggle alot with them though.

DSC_0206This palace looks very lavish and beautiful from the outside. Most of the palace is converted to a star hotel and only 10-20% is allowed for the public visit which is turned museum. The work of art on this place is really nice and the stone color and texture is marvelous.


DSC_0093(Click on images to see in bigger resolution)

The interior painting, structure design is really good.

DSC_0128There were alot of antique clocks being displayed in this palace, one such impressiveness was this King Alexander one. Looks like the king of this palace was crazy about clocks ;)

The hotel next door which DSC_0089must be magnificent inside uses this car and other luxury ones for the incoming guests. They also welcome the guest with typical rajasthani style music including maharaja welcome.
This palace has only the antique collection of the maharaja’s collection including lots of vintage cars being displayed.

It took us around 2 hours or so to complete this palace, once we are done we headed straight down the clock tower which was the market area of jodhpur, pretty happening place. After reaching this place, i realized that the jodhpur which was appearing silent and calm city is no more the same. Around this area and surroundings, the situation is a mess. One has to be completely careful about crossing roads. The traffic and the road sense is so horrible that one would not care to run over.

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The place is heavily dusty and noisy, traffic is horrible and very dense. We roamed around this market place for a while before hitting the snacks shops ;) In the pic you can see the gateway as well as the clock tower at the back. This place is very famous in jodhpur though. Just adjacent to this lies the fort Mehrangarh.

Gourmet:

Jodhpur is very famous for its sweets and snacks, which now i can fully agree upon. We had the best snacks and sweets here.

First stop was at Janata sweet shop near the ghanta ghar (clock tower). This shop is quite big and is mostly crowded. They serve all kinds of sweets.

Menu is quite extensive though. ;) Click on it to take a look in detailed.
Here we had mawa kachori which was not only very sweet but really tasty.

Next we had the road side chats which looked very colorful yet tasty.

Our next stop was at shahi samosa. This spot is the busy and crowded place one can easily spot on.

The samosas and kachori always prepared hot as the demand here is really high.

The shahi samosa is top knotch. The stuffing is really tasty and definitely tastes buds cries for more ;)

Next we decided to roam around the place for a while again and then hit the Kalinga restaurant as planned which was rated must try for non veg food. This restaurant lies apposite to the Railway station which is just 5 – 10 mins walkable distance to clock tower.

This place is pretty well maintained and ambiance is good. Restaurant also serves alcohol too. The prices are in medium range and food variety is alot. I ordered Laal Maans and Handi gosht with roti and they both ordered veg curry.

Laal Maans -> Red curry mutton is famous rajasthani non veg dish. It really tasted very good here and its a bit spicy though one can request to reduce the spice. The mutton was really cooked well.

Handi Gosht -> Mutton cooked along with ghee and tasty herbs and spice. Again rajasthani – moghul style dish. I loved both the dishes here.

At the same time, the veg food was satisfactory to the guys. So we all enjoyed the food here.

The detailed menu list can be seen (Click to enlarge).

Finally we exited this place around 930 and then departed towards our hotel room. Day 1 concluded with much fun and yummy food.

Day 2:

Next morning as we had already planned and booked to do Zip line activity (Kudos to Harish’s suggestion), we departed to this place which was inside Mehrangarh fort organized by flyingfox.

We had booked for a morning batch considering the broad day light for better experience and photography as well. We reached the place on time.
Their office is very small and located at the north edge of the fort.

They intake batches every 30 mins. As soon as we enrolled in, we were requested to put on the zip line gear. Our batch had almost 8 members, they helped us with wearing the gear if need be.

Once the whole batch is ready with the gear, we are taken to the adjacent practice and demonstration zip line which is just few feets above the ground so as to demo and give us a trial.

Once that is done, we are then taken to the first of 6 zip lines activity which is atleast 70-100 feet above the ground and its outside the fort grounds.

For us, the height did not matter nor we were bit scared at all. Perhaps our team is an adventure oriented and been doing many such activity, so were more excited than fear. Of all the time, i kept thinking how i can make the ride on the zip line more fun, what way i should position to make it more thrilled yet different ;)mygif

You can see few more zip line pics in below links:

The full 6 zip line took almost an hour activity and loads of fun. Once the activity is finished we decided to hit the grand Mehrangarh fort as planned.

We spent almost 4-5 hours at this place as well as the near by Jaswant tada : The royal burrial grounds. These Jodhpur forts/palace are well-organized and maintained.

We deiced to take a snaps on the fort wall overlooking the view of the blue city. Most of the houses are painted blue and its very dense. Hardly can notice much canopy here.

I wonder how these people survive the hot summers when there is in need of the shades. Yet as any other place of india and as any indian citizen, people and this city around the fort is pretty dirty and garbage filled all over the place.

Not to forget the contribution of the rest of indians as tourists. I did not observe nor see any foreigners dumping the garbage wherever they wish.

Some relaxation moments overlooking the city.

There is a nominal entry fees for Indians and a way higher price for foreigners compared to ours; which i do not understand why. There is also Audio guide available at slightly higher price of  around 80 INR and varies fort to fort.  Those audio devices and ear pieces are well maintained. There is an extra audio jack for 1 extra person to plug into the same device, if one has a spare headsets.

The interior walls of the fort are still kept untouched as the way it was during the king’s time so as to resemble the damages done to it during the war times.
Till date one can see the canon ball damages on the wall here and there. The engineering done on these walls to protect is really smart and shows how futuristic their thinking were. Looks like the old definition of Fast thinking wont work always proves well here.

At the entrance we can see the hand prints of the women who were the victims of the sati system in those days.

Although i wonder why only few hand prints here but not many more. Nor the reason behind having such a print is also not known to me yet. Any ways, RIP on those poor souls.

The interiors are really well designed using stone and at some places wood. I did admired the work done by the architects. This place has some ideas inspired by the mogul. The arches well denotes the moghul inspiration and rest depicts ours own.

The place where maharaja used to be seated for the fun activities in the evening times.

The interior of the forts is being converted to a museum with alots of stuffs assembled from the king’s time. I liked the sword designed being displayed here which is definitely inspiration from turkish region.

The interiors are well decorated and colored. I really liked the artwork done here although the mirror every where felt its inspired from the moghul times.

Thankfully the art and the precious decorations are well maintained and transformed back as if it were earlier. Looks like the goverment or the trust is serious into this matter, which is commendable.

One thing for sure is that, one would need alot of patience and energy to roam around this fort to see everything in detailed. As there is no resting places atleast inside the fort halls, so it’s quite difficult for the old folks to commute around comfortably and same goes to the younger kids who would be least interested in historical stuffs.

The keen eyes do get alot, which could be well appreciated here. This enables us to notice and appreciate the richness, purity and big hearts our kings and people had in the past. Gone are those days sadly :(

The fort exit area has few shops, looks like they are being run under the monitoring body of trust or royal family if not government. We did notice rajasthani style shops selling shoes, dress materials along with the decoration items.

Next we decided to visit the nearby royal family burial ground called Jaswant Tada; which is in walkable distance from this fort.

This place is build from marble stone all over. It’s really beautiful and all the royal family get buried here based on their position in the family. The king gets a big palace kind of monument and rest of his family gets a smaller ones. Yet this is again on the hill area along with fort.

These much smaller grave is for the distant relatives of the royal family yet served for the kingdom. This place currently is not fully maintained by the royal family but kept clean by and large. Some of the graves are ill maintained though.

 Finishing this place in 30 mins or so, we headed back to the fort for our terrace visit from where the sunset can be seen amidst blue city. The terrace walls are filled with cannons and war items. It’s a pleasant to be present in the aura of weapons.

Around 6PM we decided to head back from the fort. Upon exiting the fort, it was time for some photography activity, capturing the external beauty of this fort and unleash our creativity, if you will :D

The backside of this fort, leads a walk path towards the clock tower which is the market and center place. It’s hardly 2 kms downwards path. Those who can’t stand the stress of an inclination path on your legs, should not try this path. The path is almost 60-70 deg inclined position uphill. We decided to walk down as not only its fun for us, but saving 70 – 100 bucks for the rickshaw too.

It was almost dusk and its time for some mouth fills, after all jodhpur is famous for this snacks ;)

Gourmet:

As we had already done enough research over internet, we had prepared the list of best shops which we can satisfy our taste buds. Our first target was from previous days experience was Shahi samosa. All the day, our tastes buds were demanding for the gift of samosa. The time we went in, the somosa’s were freshly prepared as if it were made for us :D

Watching all those samosa in the frying pan, definitely my mouth started to water. I really started to crave for the stuffing in the samosa. Along with samosa, we also had kachori and mirchi bajji, but none of those beat samosa ;)

Next we targeted our next sweet shop Shri Mishrilal Hotel and Restaurant near the clock tower. This place has varieties of sweets served including lassi.

Screenshot - 01162015 - 11:19:15 PMThese are the special items of jodhpur or perhaps this sweet shop per say. We loved all these items and found very typical rajasthani sweets except doodh feeni which was almost as like south style of pheni.


The lassi as well was really good, tasty and very thick. The cream on top adds a beautiful essence to the drink. The place though looks very small from outside, but the inside is quite big and kept clean. This place also gets over crowded around 730 PM onwards.

We next moved on to the other side of the clock tower gate to target the Omlet shop. I was the only one who tasted the omlet here and it was really good.

Most of the shops at jodhpur closes around 830 unlike many metro cities. We were suprised to see the market place and shops getting shutdown by 830. The sweet shops closes a lil later though, thankfully.

After our food enjoyment, it was time for us to bid adieu to jodhpur and off to Railway station for our next adventure in desert at Jaisalmer.

The desert trek story will be coming soon, stay tuned :)

Accommodation:

Though jodhpur is quite a small city, yet the good hotels with comfortable stay were costly on Tripadvisor. Based on the recent reviews and pics, we picked up the Dhillion Guest house which was just 5 kms away from the Jodhpur airport.

This guest house is quite big and has a center court-yard for a good relaxation and time pass. This guest house also has around 6-7 rooms. Some are big to accommodate 3 and some are just for 2.
The room we got kept pretty good and clean. Well maintained facility over all. Would rate this 4, not 5 for the cost. During our stay, 3 foreigners were staying in other rooms.

The hot water is available all the time due to solar facility added recently by the owner. There is enough ample parking space inside and outside of this facility for guests vehicles.

The owner is a retired college professor. He is well cultured, soft-spoken, helping person who takes care of his guests well.

Since, this guest house is in the outskirts of the city, there is a nearby auto stand if one needs or there is a public bus facility available as well, though we could not travel much due to less in number and time mismatch and we heard from the locals that its irregular as well. This guest house is also near to the famous area called polo grounds near Airforce, most of the locals would easily recognize this name.

thats-all-folksHope it helps :)

Thanks,
Zen :)

Generic method to avoid long IF clauses

Dear Reader,

Recently at work, i was working with a library which had lot of properties wherein they must be verified for its Truth value before exporting or importing respective attributes to file or back to UI respectively.

Basically, the raw code initially looked roughly like below:

void ExampleMethod() {
SomeType type = new SomeType();

if (type.HasValue1)
  //Export Value1
if (type.HasValue2)
  //Export Value2
if (type.HasValue3)
  //Export Value3
if (type.HasValue4)
  //Export Value4
if (type.HasValue5)
  //Export Value5
if (type.HasValue6)
  //Export Value6
if (type.HasValue7)
  //Export Value7
if (type.HasValue8)
  //Export Value8
if (type.HasValue9)
  //Export Value9
if (type.HasValue10)
  //Export Value10
if (type.HasValue11)
  //Export Value11
if (type.HasValue12)
  //Export Value12

if (type.HasValue25)
  //Export Value25
}

The above case got repetitive at many places for other types in the same library based on level of their appearance in the UI viz. tree level node. The body of the if-clause all over the place remained same i.e 1 – Check for Truth, 2 – if success, Add to some final list for exporting/importing if not already present.

The method complexity in some cases went over 20 which was getting really gruesome to me. Finally, i decided to refactor the code to reduce not just the complexity but also find a unified solution for other basic types if need be.

Struck to me are 2 possible yet simple solutions yet satisfying the required criteria.

Solution 1: To use the Dictionary<Func< T >, SomeType>, but the body of all those if clauses required another 3rd parameter which hindered me to not opt the dictionary since Dictionary can’t have more than Key : Value pair thus making me to add dictionary inside dictionary which is not only complex in readability aspects but also Value dictionary may not be unique as well. So i had to discard this solution.

Solution 2: To make use of Generic Methods with delegates via lambda expression. This proved to be a working solution in this case yet very simple and effective.

void CheckAndDoSomething < T > (Func< T > property, object Value,
object otherValue) where T: struct
{
  Type t = typeof(T);
  if (t is bool && property())
  {
     //Do some thing with Value and OtherValue
  }
}

void ExampleMethod()
{
  SomeType type = new SomeType();
CheckAndDoSomething(() => type.HasValue1,value0, otherValue0);
CheckAndDoSomething(() => type.HasValue2,value1, otherValue1);
CheckAndDoSomething(() => type.HasValue3,value2, otherValue2);

}

Hope it helps,
Thanks,
Zen :)

FIAT Family Dayout : Bangalore 2014

Dear All,

I got an email invitation for this event (Thanks to Tousiff, KHT). This sunday i.e 21 Dec i attended this event with my family. The invitation said the event is 1030 onwards and at Confident Cascade Resort, Bannerghetta Road. I was there by 1130 AM. By then few event was going on in the grounds for the kids. Few friends from Team Fiat forum (TFI) were already presented there.

After couple of minutes discussions with them and with welcome drink, we proceeded to the ground where the event was taking place. There were few kids busy playing stuffs which had been set up in the ground. By the time we stepped into ground, the organizers were involving the adults to participate in few games. It was fun to watch and enjoyable as well. On the spot, they we serving cool drinks to all. Sipping away the not so cold drink under the hot sun, the game went on. Later on we were joined by few other guys from TFI and few others (sorry i don’t remember their names).

There were around 100 people at this event around mid day. More folks kept coming later on. After few outdoor events, the lunch was served by 130PM. The food was good. Around 3 PM the indoor event got started. This included few professional dance performances, dances from few audience and with clown act. Around 5 PM the event got ended with asking the audience to sign a wall kept outside. With tea/coffee, sandwich and bajjis we bid goodbyes to all.
Totally this event was really good and i wish more people had come to this. On total, around 200 people had attended roughly.

Sunday well spent ;) :)

Thanks and have fun :)

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Xiaomi Redmi File transferring with Linux.

Explained in simple steps:

1. You need ADB (Android Bridge) tools. Just paste this in your terminal as SU bash <(curl https://raw.githubusercontent.com/…/nexus…/master/install.sh)
2. The nexus tool downloads and install appropriate version of ADB for your Linux box. Wait few minutes.
3. As SU, execute => adb start-server
4. Enable USB debugging on ur RedMe and connect to your linux box.
5. Still as SU, execute => adb devices. It shall list your android device.
6. If you get “????????? no permission” as output from step 5, then you have not started adb service as SU and other commands too.
7. Once you got things straight. Now copy files from phone to pc via “adb pull” or paste to phone via “adb push”.
8. In my case, i wanted to copy entire DIR onto phone. So i did just “adb push /PC_DIR_Path/DIR_TO_COPY /PHONE/DIR_COPIED
9. To know the path on your phone, just use any file explorer and get the details of path. In my case it was /storage/sdcard1/Music. It could be different on yours.