2020 gift to self – Happy New Year

We all like to gift the best to oneself……I sometime do that by eating my favorite ice cream, cooking a favorite dish for my son…yes we feel gifted doing for people we love the most…some times reading one page from a favorite book, a veces putting my leg out of the balcony with my little one and sipping tea while the rain sprinkles our feet…..aaahhh…small moments matters.

A couple of invitations from family and friends for the new year’s Eve kept me thinking where to head….finally decided with family……..too much pressure 😃

Yet, the strong Aries quality in me made sure to do my solo ride to welcome 2020 in style…..After the late night dinner, I as usual was ready by 6 and headed off to Shoolagiri dam.

The weather was at it’s best and Sun decided to be a bit lazy in showing up as clouds over powered them….so the chill in air was fresh making it a good ride……

Completely unexpected was a bit of off roading for about 5 kilometers….not a good one for car travel…….I went slow to the unknown roads between a couple of villages.,…..

Almost close to the dam, I met a couple on Dominar………we talked, did some photos, I breathed fresh air….ahhh my bike as well cleaned itself with the freshness in air……I loved the gift to self…….185 kilometers to begin…

Happy New Year folks….so what gift did you give your self…..???

One more ride in 2019

Since last two days, I was bent upon using my bike that stood clean and waiting to go running on the highway after its recent service.

Inter city travels kept me hopping off and on to Bangalore, leaving no time for my bike that was waiting for me. I was determined to take her to the closest highway.and……yes I did it.

Here is a glimpse from my evening ride to Hosur, via Nice Road…..Sun was perfect asking me to pull out my phone.

A sea of clouds, near Bangalore city

Every city comes with some sought of an advantage. The moment….a place becomes “city”, it is overcrowded or at the least moderately crowded. And this means weekends are the only time off the bustling crowd, either tucked away at corner in the house or to some place that is at a short driving distance.

For “Bangloreans”, Chikmangalur is a privilege. Not far away, yet throwing various options, be it lazing at a resort, engaging in adventure activities, soaking in early morning sun, trekking or submitting oneself to almighty at one of the popular temples, this place has it all.

This was a quick click on my way back in the early hours.

Kolar temples

When there comes a impetuousness to take deeper plunge in spiritual mood for various reasons, be it to praise the God, trying to purify oneself, asking for forgiveness, praying for strength to overcome challenges or any other untold reason; We are naturally drawn towards where He is closest. It is usually our little prayer room/corner at home or a temple. For long, I haven’t had a spiritual tour and indeed it was sending a disagreeable chill into my spine. There was a desperate need for self fulfillment. Well, this is normal to all believers of God, especially when guilt takes over for not having prayed enough.

It was spiritual time. Taking into account, the travel time and leave consteaint, day trip was most appropriate. I pre-booked a cab, to visit 4 temples which will cover approximately about 250 kilometers. On my list was, Kotilingeshwara, Bangaru Tirupathi, Mulbagal Anjaneya Temple and Kurudmale MahaGanapathi temple. On the day of travel, I started at 5 a.m. via Hoskote Toll, passing Narasapuram, Kolar and then crossing Bangarupet(the famous pani puri place) thus covering 90 kms. The cab reached by 6:45 am and we awaited for the temple to open. At 7.00, the ticket counter opened and a nominal fee of Rs.20/- was charged for entry. Being a weekday, there were less than 15 people, even on a Monday (the day of Shiva).

As you enter a narrow path, advancing towards the short door (where a taller person may have to bend), one can see an array of Shiva Linga’s. Notably, these are not of same sizes, presumably because the Linga’s were donated by people based on individual financial capacity. As an age old story goes, the aim is to install 1 crore Shiva Linga’s. Walking past the beautiful pathway, at the center there are two main temples. One, where the Trimurthi’s (Brahama, Vishnu and Maheswara) are housed and second that housed the first Linga. The view was divine and peaceful, for the Deighty was dressed up in flowers while the priest chanted slokas admiring the Lord. After my prayer, I followed the path that led me to the tallest Linga (38m) outside the main temple premises. Facing the the Linga was a big Nandi which cannot go unnoticed. Post spending a little more than an hour, I left for the next destination at 8:15 am. To be precise having spent some me in solitude may be next to impossible on peak days and presume one might take about two hours or more.

Bangaru Tirupathi temple is about 20 minutes from Koti Linga, I reached at about 8:35 in the morning. Located, amidst a sleepy village with less than 4/5 shops selling pooja articles and couple of vendors selling eatables, the gopuram(gatehouse tower or entrance) of the temple stands out. Since the temple was above the hill, one has to climb roughly about 70/80 steps (an estimate, never really counted). Just as I entered the temple gopuram, there appeared a beautiful pond that housed a smaller temple like structure(very common in South Indian temples) right at the centre. I was in the company of chirping birds and monkeys that were waiting for some coconut/banana to be offered. Now this is what I call “soul satisfaction”. Moving on from the pond, passing by another entrance, I started climbing the deserted steps that welcomed me with trees on both sides. In about 7 minutes, the small temple shrine was nearly ready for visitors with the priest almost done with cleaning.

An uniqueness about this shrine was that the deity was visible via a window rather a door; one has to bend slightly to see the Lord. Taking advantage of being the first visitor, I stood looking at the beautiful idol and prayed to my hearts content. Icing on the cake was the spectacular view, that stretched as far as one’s sight can reach. Aaahhh…each of us need something like this to re-energize ourselves. After a couple of photographs, it was time to move to the next destination. It was quarter past 9, which means I spent a little less than an hour, yet to my heart’s content.

Mulbagal, was 17 kms drive. Since the road were not busy, I was ropped in about 30 minutes. Unlike, previous places, this one was a crowded town and notably a good number of muslim population had chosen to settle. This 5000 year old temple was centrally located attracting good number of people, irrespective of weekend probably due to its proximity to the town’s bus station. This was a older temple and was evident from the inner walls, pillar and the Deity himself. These aged old temples, if any of you have had the experience, has a distinguishing fragrance filled with divinity. Well, it is for sure not because of any perfumed incense sticks. Personally, this was my favorite from this trip. The sight of Lord Venkateshwara on an ekadashi day was stunning. So was Lord Hanuman. It was time to head toward the last destination on my list, Kurudumale.

For those, who wish to take a break, A2B is on the highway after exiting Mulbagal, though a small detour may be required. MahaGanapathi temple is relatively near from Mulbagal and took about 15 minutes. The idol of Ganesha is one the biggest that I have seen.

Whilst preparing for this blog, the very guilt of not spending more time was hitting me hard. For those, who are planning a trip around these aged old shrines it is advised to choose a weekday to unwind from maddening work that gives no time for soul.

Hope this write up is useful for those planning for a break outside Bangalore.

My lunch date with Aaru…

Aaru and me usually meet up around Jayanagar or MG Road to plan our up comming rides. We first got introduced owing to common interest to ride RE; Post which we did most of the rides together. I can say we are growing to be besties☺️ After an exciting Bali off roading we were engrossed in work and hardly phoned each other. Suddenly, it seemed like something was missing, I was with Aaru for 10 days and we eat, danced and spoke a lot. That indeed got us to know each other better. She is a sweetheart, I say.

I texted her for a quick catch up and we decided to meet at UD. Anyone, who has been living in Bangalore for a while cannot miss Upahar Darshini.. popular known as UD. Even after 10 years since my first visit, this place has a long que late afternoon at 3 for lunch. The USP…quick service coupled with tasty food.

Amidst a long list of growing resturants that cater to non vegetarian dishes; good vegetarian options are countable. UD in particular has consistent in keeping it’s originality, that kept attracting visitors. Moreover, the location is a plus for it is at the heart of Jayanagar. A visit on weekdays is suggested, for relatively peaceful lunch over other times, be it, weekday dinner or weekends.

Personal recommendations include all paneer, mushroom and babycorn dishes. I can guarantee that taste buds will be taken care after an sumptuous meal, wanting for more. One can also find multi- coloured food being served. Despite limited options for desserts, it’s worth a try.

Here we are spoiling our tastebuds with Lemon mushroom dry , Pulao and Lime soda….followed by a walk around the colorful market.