Tada - A One day affair

All of us were having busy days at work and needed an excuse to escape work-dom! As random as it can get, we decided one evening to do a full day outing to Tada. Mainly to hang out and bug Mewan during his last days in Chennai :P. So in a matter of an hour, we had our cab booked, route decided and group excited for the trip :)

Date: Oct 2, 2012
Janta: Mewan, Ramya, Raj, Jeeva, Srini, Vishnu, Me :)
Destination:  Tada (aka Ubbalamadugu Falls)

We decided to leave early morning from Chennai so that we could reach Tada at a decent time and get good amount of time to trek. The cab picked up Raj, Jeeva first (they were the bakra's to wake up early) and then picked up Ramya, after which they came to pick us (Mewan, Vishnu and Me) up. This was probably my 6th trip to Tada falls, though with separate gangs! Tada is close to 2 hrs drive from Chennai towards Chittor. The drive is pretty good until you reach the entry point of Tada. After which it gets a little uneven with almost no roads.
Until my last visit, Tada was not really a big hangout place and there were almost no shops/security/entrance fee/parking lots. This time, loads of change! There was a specific entry fee charged for every vehicle and for folks with Cameras. They also checked vehicles for liquor! Looks like Andhra tourism department found a new way to get some income ;)
We started trekking towards the falls close to 11 am. The trek started with a long walk on a not so stoney path. The small stones turned into bigger ones and then got more complicated with a pile of rocks! All of this was along the stream which is created due to the falls and we had to cross the stream several times during the trek. At some points, it was easier to walk in the water than get on to the shore and climb the rocks! Not complaining, as the stream water was amazingly clear and cold, we loved getting drenched in that water. Our walk went on for close to 3 hours until we hit a point where it was impossible to climb - impossible not because of our capability but because of the amount of crowd present! It was a herd out there, As if Gandhi bapu had specifically asked people to gather at Tada for a march or something!
We couldnt reach the actual falls due to the heavy mass of people :( Better luck next time! Anyways, All of us had our share of adventures during the trek - I lost the sole of my shoes (Yes! this has happened to me at the same place before!), Srini fell while jumping from one rock to another! Ramya had a royal fall from a small rock (she calls it hillock), Vishnu slipped a couple of times and scared the stones! Jeeva slipped too - I am assuming it was because of the slimy stones, but you never know who he spotted and slipped ;)..And Mewan lost his walking stick :P Nevertheless,  all of us had an awesome time teasing Ramya and Mahes babu, making fun of Raj at every thing he spoke, fighting with Mewan whenever he tried to pull my leg and making funny faces wherever we saw a camera focusing on us!

We returned back to our cab completely exhausted and starving! We had walked for close to 6 hours and had woken up every muscle, ligament and bone in our bodies. The only thing we wanted now was a good meal and sleep! We grabbed a nice hearty lunch on the way back and then enjoyed the car ride back home with Jeeva as the DJ :)

For those of you who are interested to go there/just curious:
Route to Tada: http://goo.gl/maps/54l0v
About Tada: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ubbalamadugu_Falls

Discovering Andaman..

This year (2011) vishnu and I had one of the best vacations. We are not usually good with making long term vacation plans. Whenever we speak about a trip and make plans 4 months in advance, most likely that trip never happens! But this trip was different, we suddenly decided to go somewhere far away and chill out! And in 3 weeks we were on this beautiful trip! I am talking about our awesome trip to Andaman Islands. J Since this trip was for chilling out and to unwind, we decided to just take a readymade package and not bother about exploring stuff ourselves. That’s when makemytrip.com came in handy. We picked the 6 day package to Port blair and back.
Discovering Port blair was an interesting experience. The place breathes freedom! (I don’t have any other better way to express that feeling!) Places like the Cellular Jail, Ross Island, Viper Island – fill you with patriotism. Visiting Cellular Jail gave me goose-bumps, not because it looked partially haunted, but it oozed with real stories of freedom fighters. I came out from that place with mixed feelings, feeling of love for the country, feeling of respect for those who sacrificed their lives, feeling of anger for the ruthless british-ers and a feeling of sorrow for what has happened to the country for which so many lives were sacrificed.
Another most incredible part of our trip was Snorkeling @ the Coral Island a.k.a North Bay Island. Initially when people said we could do snorkeling there, I never believed it! I never thought that India actually had well maintained coral beaches to host snorkeling! I was pleasantly surprised with my snorkeling experience. We saw fishes of all sizes and colors, some were really cute and some little scary. J We saw 7 kinds of corals (to me they looked all the same ..:P ) and basically had a good time in the lovely water.  Vishnu and I are now motivated to take swimming seriously and indulge in discovering underwater lifeJ.
It would be unfair if I didn’t mention about the beautiful beaches in Andaman where we had completely forgotten about everyday life and just submitted ourselves to the sea and sand!  The ones we visited are Corbyn’s Cove beach, Coral beach at North Bay Island, Ferar beach @ Ross Island, Chidiya Tapu (south most tip of Andamans to see the sunset), Beach no:5  on the Havelock island. All of these beaches are different in their own special ways.  It was a great sun, sea and sand combination and we absolutely enjoyed the combination J (Now you know where I got such a bad tan from).
I guess I can go on and on about all the lovely things we saw and experienced in this very down-to-earth place. However, I would prefer saying this story through pictures. So, here you go!






Day 6

My special thanks to makemytrip.com for really making our trip memorable J and our very helpful driver  Salim bhaiya. And BTW, We plan to go to Andamans again and do scuba diving, and explore north Andamans J

Kabini with friends

OK, I realize that this post has been due for more than a month now. Sorry folks I just got caught up with maid madness and life as such :) So, now I am here trying to do justice to this beautiful travelogue of mine and making sure that you still enjoy reading my blog :)

Sometime early March 2010 our gang @ work decided to do a weekend trip. We had many options, From Pondicherry to Elephant valley, to Wayanad, to Goa, to Pune. We had almost finalized going for a 3 day trek on the out skirts of Pune and realized that it cannot happen cos we were all from the same team and all of us cannot take the same day off :( [Lesson 1: Never make friends gang from the same team...lol]

Then we said, to hell with the leave, let’s just go chill out in Goa. Praveen made the entire plan in like half an hour and we were all excited to go there! - Guess what, that also flopped, this trip would 1. cost us more than we thought 2. would need us to take 2 days leave..(back to square one). Finally, we all settled for a nice, neat nature trip to Kabini.
Why Kabini? - err simple. It can be visited during the weekend and nobody needs to worry about taking leave. Yes, some of us had already been there with a different set of friends, but that was not a problem at all.
So, as usual, like the enthu-patani I went ahead and booked train tickets, accommodation in Kabini River lodge, Cab service from Mysore - Kabini - Mysore for 8 of us. Super-duper excited that all of us are finally going somewhere!!!!! But, all the excitement came down in no time, when we figured out that out of the 8, 1 had to go to US, other had project deadlines and other two had sudden/urgent commitments at home. So our 8 person gang shrunk to just 4! [Lesson 2: Avoid making advance book for any trip :p] However, the good part is, the 4 of us stuck to the plan like glue and decided to make it come what may.
On July 23rd 2010 we took the train from Chennai to Mysore (Mysore express). The train journey was pretty historic for the reason that, Aanchal, was travelling in a train for the very first time!! (Yippee!!). She had no idea how a SL class in the train would be and it was fun answering doubts like: middle berth kaha se ayegi? upper berth pe kaise chadte hain? Koi Shoes le gaya toh? etc etc. Another historic moment is Praveen finally learnt how to play cards :) hehehe. He hates playing cards but because of popular demand (i.e. 3 out of 4) he had to learn. We first bugged him with "5 cards" and then we super-bugged him with "UNO". Our man was the champ in UNO by the end of the trip ;) [Lesson 3: There is always a chance to learn new things ;) ]. After the cards session we were all set to sleep when Aanchal said "story sunao" - and whenever she said that, the prompt response she got was "Ek gau mein ek kisaan raghu tatha. Toh kisaan ka naam kya hain?" lol... We did finally entertain her with various stories from our life. Praveen was so ignorant that he snored when Vishnu and I were animatedly reciting our love story! Aanchal also did share some stories from her life, which I would refrain from mentioning here (obviously!)

July 24th: Day 1 @ Kabini - We reached Mysore in the morning and we had our cabbie waiting with a placard. We set out for Kabini after a quick breakfast at a nearby hotel. The road trip was scenic and musical - Our driver had songs from God-knows-which-era that we had to plead him to put something more recent and understandable! We reached Kabini River lodge in 3 hours and we were pleasantly surprised by the campus. The place was well maintained and the lodge rooms looked elegant. We explored the campus, jumped on to the tyres hanging on the tree and climbed a tree and took some funny photos until we got our rooms. 
We were asked to assemble for lunch and then our Jeep safari was @ 3 pm. The lodge, not only had good rooms, they had very friendly people to help us out and also had some good food served :). After hogging well at the lunch, we started our jeep safari. the weather was simply awesome, cloudy, cold and drizzling. Praveen took out his heavy binoculars to spot Cheetahs and leopards, but it could only spot spotted dears. The more we looked around, the more dears, yeah in cycle gap we saw peacock. langur, Elephants, kingfisher and many more birds and animals. But to our bad luck no leopard came to honor our presence :( [Lesson4: Go to Kabini during summer, there are more chances of spotting a leopard] We finally ended our day with loads of UNO games and idea photos ;)

July 25th: Day2 - Our day started very early in the morning, by 6 am we were out for our second round of safari - boat safari :). The river was serene and beautiful. We spotted many birds , sambar deer and an elephant crossing from one side of the river to the other. Our morning safari ended in couple of hours, and we again came back without any signs of a leopard :(. We packed our bags and left Kabini with the hope that next time we come here, the leopard  will be nice to us :) We spent the rest of the day @ Mysore. We saw the Mysore palace, St. Mary’s Cathedral (One of the oldest ones) and did some random shopping too :) We had far too much time to spend before our train and were desperate to find a place where we could just sit and yap! We landed in the same hotel where we had breakfast on Day1. We spent 3 hours over 1 cup of tea and the restaurant guy started giving us dirty looks [Lesson 5: Never book a return ticket so late in the night]. We played decent and left the restaurant before the manager came and chucked us out! We decided to just go to the Mysore Station and wait! The friendly driver dropped us back to the station and watched people come and go and comment on every creature on the platform until our train appeared.  We were delighted to step on to it and get back to pavilion :) and that marked the end of our trip :)
So, finally we made a trip and had a super time too :) Looking forward for more...praveen where are we going next?