My First trip with Neeli


Group of close friends call themselves Neeli…Ashu(Adarsh), Jyothi(Jyo),Prasanth(Shantha),Shobha(Rani),Aravind(Nettu),Abhi and Diggu(New gen kids).Now since I am married to Nettu,  am part of it too.

This was my first trip with this gang. Most awaited, atleast for me. I had always heard them talking about Kemmanugundi.Those talks made me curious to see the place.

We decided to make this trip on the occasion of sankranti (Pongal, 14th Jan 2011).

We started off  at 6.45 am on 14th Jan from Ashu and Jyo’s place. Our travel companion was Innova. Our next stop on the way was at Tumkur. Why Tumkur? Very famous tatte idlies is the attraction. Ravidasrshan Hotel & Pavitra Hotel are 2 famous hotels near Kyatsandra,Tumkur . For all you foodies, worth a try. First photo session also started here. Clicked few snaps and back on the road.

On the way after few minutes was a mountain with a temple at the peak. Definitely an attraction. Shobha was pointing at the mountain telling digu that its a big mountain, All the rest of the eyes were already eyeing at the mountain and the next minute Shantha took a U turn and we were there in Innova , racing up to reach the top.

Its was an amazing view from the top. Fresh air, Surrounded by mountains and a mining area among mountains. The mountain is named Narashimha betta…& we renamed it as Digu betta. After enjoying nature and photography, we were heading towards gubbi, Kadur which is after KB Cross. Sankranti is the time for Kabbu(sugarcane) and Kadle. We stopped by at KB cross for sugar cane juice and hasi kadle.

We reached Rangers Nature farm Camp around 1.30 in the noon. Ryan Fernandez was waiting for us. We said Hi to him and his dog Dracko. Rooms were clean and ready for us to occupy. Neeli stayed in the same set of 3 rooms in the previous visit. It was a big farm with Jungle feel.

All our stomachs were growling, In about half an hour we freshened up for lunch. Lunch was served in a small dinning area (Open hut kind of place) by Nagesh-the care taker and cook. Very tasty lunch, combination of veg and non veg.

We did not want to lose any time by relaxing. So we decided to cover Hebbe water fall for the day. It was not at all a easy drive to reach the destination. Terrain was uneven. Normal four wheelers or 2 wheelers cannot be driven in that route.We hired a Jeep. Charges are 1500 rs , up & down the route.

After the breathtaking drive through Estates,Forest and Mountains, we reached the place & after that we had to trek a kilometer. In the semi thick forest crossing 3 streams of water, we reached Hebbe Water Fall. The view of the Water Fall was Majestic. For a few seconds, it felt like Hebbe is coming to Hug me with its big arm. Water was freezingly cold. As soon as you step into the water, feels like blood circulation has stopped.

Initially we found few stones in the stream right opposite to the waterfall. Jyo and me were so much wanting to get into water, but could not dare because of the cold freezing water. It was because of Adarsh we mad up our minds to get into the water and we did it with his support. So there we were 3 of us in the cold water in the lap of the waterfall.

Nettu stayed away as he was recovering from fever and cold. Shobha thought it was too chilling, Shantha was exploring the waterfall, He climbed up for even more closer view. Best part was the kids who just did not care water temperature and played to their hearts.
We had to head back before sunset & the Jeep was waiting for us. We started to walk back.Digu, Abhi and all of us were hungry. We unpacked and enjoyed some eatables. It was followed by photo session at the brief halt. Driver Vishawanath plucked some vanilla for us without estate owners knowledge. I carefully put it in my backpack and everyone the enjoyed vanilla smell smeared in my hands.

We reached the camp around 7pm. It was cold. We were all served garam chai. We had some nice gup shup. In the meanwhile, Dinner & Camp fire was getting ready. It was a hot and tasty dinner. Now we were all set for Camp fire. We lit the camp fire with the help of kerosene and newspaper. Getting warmth in cold weather was an awesome feeling. Jyothi narrated the most awaited story of the evening. “Unexpected Guest”.Day 1 ended & we were off to Sleep in our nests.

Day 2.
Day 2 was dedicated for kalathgiri waterfall. Shantha had already visited this place with his other friends. His description about the place made us all go for it. It needed lot of trek to reach Kalathgiri waterfall. Shantha did not reveal the real distance, he only encouraged us saying we can make it and it’s worth the effort. We drove in Innova for about 22kms to a place called Santaveri. Way to the waterfall was through the estate. From there we had to walk up the mountain.

We all started off from there and kept walking and walking and walking. we could not hear any sound of water fall around. We were slowly loosing energy . Imagine the little ones waiting to see water and play in it. Throughout the trek, we motivated the kids by answering all their questions and  Chocolates.

Just about 1 km before we hit the place, we saw a small stream flowing across. A ray of hope. We were carrying a small portable gas stove. We stopped right there. Maggi time. Yayyyy. We made maggi near that stream. Kids & elders just relished. It was a refreshing break and we started walking again.

We reached the peak in no time and we’re there at the entrance of Bhadra reserved forest. Restricted area. We had to convince the forest officer that we will just see the waterfall and head back in an hour. Looking at our efforts to climb up that high, with families & kids and some salesman’s words from Adarsh, we headed towards waterfall with forest officer.

We arrived at the spot. Speechless. View of the magnificent waterfall. After about half an hour of enjoying the view, we moved back to a beautiful stream that lead to the waterfall. Water again was very cold. But we couldn’t resist getting into the water, including kids. We all soaked ourseleves in stream of fresh water. Me n Jyo even shampooed our hair.
After an hour of play, the forest department guys forced us to head back.

We quickly had our packed lunch and headed back. We could relax and spend more time only after we cross the reserved forest area. We crossed that border. As we were walking down the hill, we found a location to put up a tent we were carrying. Time for some snacks and black vanilla tea. Trust me it was tasty. Thanks to Jyo for that idea of making vanilla black tea.

As sun was about to set, we had to reach back to Innova. With lip balm for cracked lips and Dairy Milk for tired souls, we reached the place from where we had started.

Back to our camp. Some tea, some fun and delicious dinner. Off to bed. Good night.
Since I was sleepy I missed Jyothi’s story of the night. “Eye of the needle”.
Day 3

Day 3 was the day to visit the Historic places around.
First visit was to Amritapura. GPS was of great help to plan the day.

Amruthapura Temple is situated at about 4 kms from Tarikere. This temple was built in 1196 by Amrutheshwara Dandanayaka (commander) under Hoysala king Veera Ballala 11, hence the place is named as Amritapura. Temple has sculptures carved depicting instances of Ramayana, Mahabharata and Bhagavatha. All the temples built by Hoysala rulers have star shaped foundation. Noticeable fact.
We took a guide service to learn more about the temple.

Next destination was Belavadi Veeranarayana temple. Belavadi is located 29 km southeast of Chikmagalur town on the Chikmagalur-Javagal highway and 10 km north of Halebidu. Not many tourists or travellers visit Belavadi though they visit Belur and Halebidu. This temple is bigger than Amritapura temple. Speciality of this temple are the Idols of lord Krisha, Yoga Narashima and VeeraNarayana. They are very beautiful,Intricate and neatly carved. Krishna Idol is declared as one of the most beautiful Idols by Arachelogical survey of India. March 23rd is the day when Sunlight falls directly onto the Veeranarayana idol in Garbha gudi.


The last historic temple we wanted to cover was Halebidu. We reached the place just in time. Exactly half an hour before closing time of the temple doors. We quickly hired a guide for a quick explaination of the history behind the Halebidu temple. Guide  tried to cover the story within half an hour.
Halebidu was once known as Dwarasamudra.It was renamed as Halebidu after the city was ruined by Bahmani Sultanate.Word means ruined city.
It enshrines Hoysaleswara and Shantaleswara, named after the temple builder Vishnuvardhana Hoysala and his wife, Queen Shantala.

As the temple closed by 6 in the evening, we left the place. On the way back Nettu narrated his favourite movie story”The Ghost Writer” and this story remined Jyo of a similar story of movie “11th commandment”. We took Hassan route to Bangalore this time. We stopped at Hotel Mayura for dinner. Tiny Tiny idlis with sambar was a hit among all other dishes we had.

We finally reached home at 11.45 in the night. Back to our respective homes, Wishing digu a very Happy B’day on 17th Jan 2011.


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