April 9, 2014

Tips while travelling to Coorg in the monsoons

Coorg, in southern Karnataka forms a part of the Western Ghats and is an ideal destination to visit across seasons. Monsoons, though considered off season, leaves this coffee country covered in lush greenery and a blanket of mist, and is quite the preferred time of visit for many travellers. Since it receives sufficient amount of rains from June to September, it is best advised to take note of a few points while travelling to Coorg during the monsoons.

1.      Coorg offers numerous trekking and camping options like Tadiyandamol and Brahmagiri and monsoon trekking is slowly getting popular. If there is anything that loves the rain as much as the trekkers, it is the leeches. Proper rain gears, vinegar, salt and lime can definitely be quite helpful against the blood suckers. The narrow paths on the ridges turn slushy during monsoon and trekking shoes with a good grip can help overcome that.

2.      Waterfalls like Irpu, Abbi, Mallalli, Chingara and Cheluvara are a delight to watch while it rains. The water flows at its thundering best and can leave anyone spellbound. The same waters leave all the rocks and boulders slippery due to its continuous overflow. Be sensible to not climb onto any of those rocks as it would be quite tough to grip them.

3.      Nagarhole national park and Brahmagiri wildlife sanctuary in Coorg are some of the best wildlife parks that Karnataka boasts of. Dubare elephant camp is another interesting place of visit. However, these may remain closed during the monsoons if the rains turn incessant and hence checking with the concerned authorities beforehand is highly advised.

4.      Coffee plantations are synonymous with Coorg and a stay in one of them during the monsoons can be an enchanting experience. A walk through the plantations under one umbrella with your beloved might sound quite romantic. Leeches, small snakes and few other slimy creatures are sure to give you accompaniment. Make sure to wear high rubber boots if still you cannot resist the temptation, but wandering too deep is not advisable.

5.      For the adrenaline junkies, there are numerous adventure sport activities like river rafting, kayaking, canoeing, micro light flying, quad biking, zip lining and much more. While monsoon is when Barapole and Kaveri (rivers where water sports activities are conducted) has the best rapids, it is also advised to pre-check with the organizers about water levels and the risk involved while venturing into them during the torrential rains. The same applies for other adventure activities too.

6.      A drive through the curvy roads of Coorg lined with coffee plantations and magnificent vistas is a pleasure. However the roads might not be quite conducive for that leisurely drive during the monsoons. Drive cautiously as most roads are in bad conditions and some have unmarked speed breakers. Driving during the night in the rains is definitely not recommended.

7.      Coorg is a beautiful hill station away from the maddening civilization, where you would want to let go of your inhibitions. Age might not be a criterion when it rains and you would want to splash that puddle in front of your cottage and soak in that heavenly pour. Keep yourself dry and stay warm inside the room post the fun. As a precaution, it is advised to carry generic medicines in case a cold invades.   

8.      During the monsoons, temperatures drop and the best way to keep warm and dry is to wear appropriate clothing. Light rain gears, hooded jackets, high boots, many pairs of socks and an umbrella or two should definitely go into that suitcase. 

You may read more posts about Coorg here-
http://www.talesofanomad.com/2013/09/dubare-white-water rafting.html

April 3, 2014

The Evening Sky...!!

Sun splashing its myriad shades as it disappears between the many hills of Western Ghats while creating a colourful palette of the evening sky. December 2012.

March 26, 2014

Kumara Parvatha Trek- A Tall Climb...!!

Kumara Parvatha (KP) is the second highest peak in Coorg, fifth highest in Karnataka and the trek to its summit is considered one of the toughest in western ghats. Also known as Pushpagiri, KP at 1712 meters is the highest peak in Pushpagiri wildlife sanctuary which spreads over the borders of Coorg and Dakshina Kannada districts. It has two trek routes- one from Coorg (Somwarpet) and the other from Kukke subrahmanya. The trek is a total of 22 kms while entering from somwarpet and exiting via kukke. The trek route cuts through grasslands, forest patches and massive rocks, as expansive vistas of green carpets spread out.

What happens when someone who is not a frequent trekker and does not have any commendable previous experience of trekking decides to conquer KP without any proper preparations usually taken before an arduous trek? Add a wrong attire and a sagging heavy shoulder bag, and the trek becomes a gruelling one.
From now on that 'someone' stands corrected as 'I'.

The tiny bus stand of Somwarpet had just woken up as the group alighted from the bus. A couple of shops were open and after the morning ablutions we headed to one of those small shops which served hot idlis and dosas. Gobbled down a few idlis and washed it down with a hot coffee before meeting our trek guide. The group ambled back into the vehicle and then a short drive past small villages and vast paddy fields led to Beedhalli, where we disembarked. The trek was to begin from Beedhalli, where all we could see was a lonely house, a couple of stray calves and the road meandering along the paddy fields. There was nobody around except for us. After distributing the tents and food onto different hands we followed our trek leader along a narrow path that cut across a paddy field. It was a small group of 11 members and Santosh (organiser) and myself were the ones to trod behind. The first frame of greenery arose before us, as hills and trees sprung up from nowhere. The narrow path across the field led to a small forest patch and suddenly the openness of the paddy fields with the beaming sun gave way to shades and gradients. The path wasn't well defined, but we just needed to follow the person ahead of us. With long stumps for support we trudged forward and soon there was more greenery and hills all around. We made our way through the frail forest path with knee high bushes all along. The forest patch cleared up after a while and we were knocking the doors of the forest office for the permission and passes.

First glimpse of greenery and forest
The real trek was only about to begin and I could already feel the weight on my shoulders. While on a trek, common sense says carry minimum requirements. In addition to the fact that my shoulder bag was not a proper backpack, I carried a 1500 page guide book (Did I think my guide wouldn't know the trek route?), a few travel magazines (Did I imagine that I could snooze off under a tree with the magazines providing a shade while on the trek?) and an extra jean pants in addition to the one I was already wearing (Does anybody wear a jean on a trek?).

As Santosh and our guide completed the formalities at the forest office, we trekkers walked to a stream that flowed just ahead. Water was only ankle deep and we had to cross it to trek further. We played in the waters for a while and captured the absolutely serene surroundings. The water slithered over slippery round pebbles and made its way deep into the dark green forest as the sun's rays seeped through the canopy and glistened the beautiful stream making an idyllic setting. There is a broken bridge above the stream which was used by trekkers and forest officers sometime back. Now all begin the trek by wading across the stream.

The stream we cut across
The formalities finished in a while and then we moved forward into deeper greenery. Sun rays very rarely seeped through the thick canopy as we walked over the thick foliage that had covered the forest trail. We went past many massive tree trunks which lay by the side. The undulating forest landscape looked beautiful with trees, entwined roots over the ground, fallen leaves, trunks, very little sunlight and the meandering trail to KP. We went past many moss gathered stones which defined the path feebly and the small trickling streams which were on the verge of being completely dry very soon. Monsoons were over and the for the gleeful crowd, the place was devoid of any leeches. It was stoned pathway at many places.

Lovely foliage
The meandering trail to KP

The weight of the books and clothes on my shoulder pulled me down many a time. Not undertaking any prior preparation for this arduous trek slowly crept in as I could feel the tiredness and fell way behind the group. Though we did take very short breaks in between, the bag and the jeans wasn't helping. I had my first cramps on my left leg shortly. I sat down, had a few sprays and was back on my feet. Struggling, I trudged forward and had taken only a few steps when cramps caught my other leg too. I needed rest and sat down for a while with a couple of them from the group. After the rest, I was back on my feet and we walked quicker to catch up with the group that went ahead. The pain waned slowly and we walked deeper into the forest.

We had to crawl over a small rock and climb further before breaking at a clearing to have our packed lunch. Vistas opened up before us and only then did we realise how high we were and how far we had climbed. Hills covered in green canopy and distant valleys spread before us as we gazed for a while before satiating our hunger. Though I did not have any further cramps, the pain on my shoulder was slowly got the better of me. Santosh pointed out that, the bag I had was not a proper backpack and that could be the reason for the pain. I just nodded at my ignorance. It had been more than three hours since we began the trek and we had covered less than half the distance before the break. After the long lunch break, we trekked further up, collected water that trickled through the cracks in rocks, and enjoyed the vistas that opened up intermittently between the foliage. Animal presence is a rarity on the trek but we did spot a few elephant droppings on the way. Our guide passed on the information that elephants are sometimes found wandering in the night through the corridor which we had cut across.

Magnificent vistas from where we stopped for lunch
Our tired legs trudged forward through the thick canopy for long and after a while the greenery disappeared and what lay ahead of us was a massive black rock at forty five degrees. It was a tough climb with that heavy load on my back. Crawled, clambered and scrambled my way up the rock with a little help from my guide. However, the spectacular views from the top more than made up for the tough climb. We rested for a while as we took in the vistas and relieved my shoulder off the backpack (or was it a rucksack?). Brown hill tops made their presence felt and peeked through the verdant canopy that spread out like a vast green ocean. The blue sky in the background made for a lovely landscape frame. Shortly we were in for another rock climb, and this a tougher one compared to the earlier. The climb was longer as the rock was a larger one and the small stones and gravel made it a bit precarious. With short breaks, scrambled over the large rock and made my way up with much difficulty. I kept looking down to see the distance I had crawled and that made me skip a beat. It was indeed the toughest part of the climb. All had the much needed rest after that tough climb. I got into lighter pants which helped a lot and my trek mates chorused that I should have done that much earlier. Took off my shoes and my feet were relieved to take in the fresh air. The panoramic vistas from the top were spectacular and for the first time during the trek I felt I had covered a lot of altitude. The fresh air, beautiful vistas, lots of greenery, distant brown hills and the clear blue sky recharged my mind and little bit of my body before we set for the final leg of the climb. 

First rock climb
Vistas after the first rock climb
The second rock climb
We had to encounter one more rock, which was fairly easy before the final stretch which was purely rocky. The final climb too wasn't strenuous and we finally made it to the top of Kumara Parvata. It definitely was a moment of excitement, happiness and contentment on conquering the 1700 meter KP. There is a small shrine on top and the place is pretty much flat surfaced with lots of space for campers. Though we hardly met any trekkers till then, once up, we were in for a surprise as numerous trekkers had made their way up and already set up their tents. There is a small water hole on top from where trekkers can refill their bottles. We were in a hurry to set the tents as the sun was about to set. Few ran to get the bottles refilled while other put up the tent. Post that I wandered around and all I could see were tall peaks, distant valleys, widespread greenery and the orange sky as the sun went down the horizon.

The final leg to the top
Atop KP!

Views from the top of KP
It got dark pretty fast and we had an early dinner after the campfire was set. It got quite cold and windy as we went deeper into the night. People in other tents were awake and singing at the top of their voices as we snuggled into our respective sleeping bags inside the tents. The wind was blowing quite hard and we were quite apprehensive about the tents being blown off and we sleeping staring at the beautiful night sky. Would have been a considerable option if not for the wind. We were also told that though animals are a rarity, it is best advised not to wander around in the dark. It was cold inside the tent despite being inside the sleeping bags and with the constant sound of the wind, it was tough to get some sleep even with the day's tiredness. I suddenly felt something move outside the tent. Must have been a stone or a wood piece that hit the tent because of the wind pressure is what I told myself. However, it kept me intrigued for a few seconds and then my co-trekker inside the tent said,"Niranjan, what was that?". Silence prevailed for a moment and wild thoughts ran through my head before I laughed and said that there must be something that is lurking outside. So that definitely was 'something', but we did not dare open the zip of the tent to check. 

Dozed off in a while and woke up at the break of dawn to witness the sunrise. It was cold and hazy outside the tent and I slowly crawled out of it. Trekkers sheepishly gathered as darkness gave way for light and the sky cracked with a splash of orange hue. Undoubtedly the sun's rise made a beautiful frame with the magnificent landscape in the foreground. We dismantled the tents, packed and trekked our way down via Kukke subrahmanya side, another route. This is the route that is normaly taken by most trekkers while trekking KP. The route is also comparatively a longer one. After a photo shoot with other trekkers we began trekking down the rocky stretch. After the initial easy walk, it was a sharp slanting drop which was quite adventurous and slightly risky. The path was almost a right angled one and I precariously made my way down that stretch. Definitely one of the most dangerous stretches on the trek.This was the only rocky path on the way down before it led to the forest patches and open grasslands. However, there were teenage trekkers in slippers and sandals going down rock in minutes. They just whizzed past me as I struggled to take each step. Must be frequent trekkers, I thought.


Down the treacherous stretch
 The last stretch was over big stones and it ended at a small stream where we prepared maggi for our breakfast. That steep walk down did make me quite nervous and I was happy to be back on the forest path. It was back to undulating pathways, greenery, foliage and trees with sunshine seeping through. There were a few climbs and shortly we were in front of Sheesh parvata with majestic views of the low lying valleys and distant hills painted in different shades of green. We ambled along the path and captured the views of magnificent landscape from dizzying heights. There were many rocky protrusions which made for some spectacular vantage points. Spent a considerable amount of time enjoying the vistas and then trekked further. 

Sheesh Parvata

Many of the hills that we saw from the vantage points had to be crossed before we touched Kukke town. The further paths were along the ridges of the hills with 360 degree view of the surrounding hills and valleys. From the ridges the path slowly made its way through grasslands over hill tops from one hill to another. On the way up, we escaped the sun's beat due to the forest cover which was present during most part of the trek. While on the way down we lacked that and got us tired very early into the trek. I spent time capturing the wonderful vistas and lost a lot of time due to this. Santosh urged me reduce the time spent on photography in order to catch up with the group which had gone ahead. I lagged behind during a major part of the trek, due to tiredness, heat and photography. The frequency of my breaks increased and that made it all the more tough to catch with the rest. Kukke town could be seen at a distance, way down between the hills and that seemed like a long long walk past the numerous hills that stood between the town and me. The grasses were almost knee high and I held onto them at a few places where the path seemed a bit tricky. I had run out of water and the sun along with the heavy shoulder bag (I kept cursing it during most part of the trek) took a toll on me. Meanwhile, we crossed path with many trekkers who were on their way down. 

The white spots is Kukke town, the finish point
After a while I saw Mantapa, a stone structure at a distance which is used by many trekkers as a camp site. The place also has a water source and my group waited for me as I made way through the tall grasses. Rested there for a while as I gained back my strength to trudge forward. There were numerous trekkers near the mantapa and the trek ahead was a bit crowded one. The path turned slightly treacherous from mantapa but the tall grasses helped balance myself. Slowly the density of trekkers reduced, my breaks frequency increased and the gradient of the hills came down. I could see my group far ahead as the hills became vast open grasslands for a while with flat paths. That was helpful, but I was quite tired and even the breaks did not help. I reached a vantage point with a few seats where Santosh waited for me while others had just left. The sun was right above and I did not rest for long so as to catch up with the rest. The path further led to a small forest patch and soon we crossed a pond. I was sure we were quite close to Bhat's house, where we were to break for lunch. Bhat is a temple priest who has his house in the middle of nowhere and almost all trekkers take a break and have food at his house for a very nominal amount. I was exhausted by the time I walked into Bhat's house. All that I wanted to do was sit, eat and quench my thirst. I took off my shoes and bag, stretched my legs, washed with some cold water and happily sat down to have lunch with others. That meal was definitely one of the most satiating ones I had ever had. 

Mantapa amidst the grasslands

After resting for a while and a photography session later, we were back on our heels. My energy levels were up again and I walked ahead of the group with our guide. Sun was the only concern as it brought the energy down considerably. It was more open lands and slowly the group caught up with me. Most in the group were surprised to see the slow tortoise lead the group for a while. It was not long before they went past me as I took more breaks along the winding paths that entered a forest patch. My tired legs almost gave up as the path took me deeper into the forest. The group was ahead of me and I could hear their sounds and they called out frequently to make sure I followed them. The forest patch turned into a thick one and the gradient got steep as I walked deeper. Even though the sun had not gone down, light had reduced considerably and I was alone for the entire part of this last stretch. Tiredness had the better of me and my legs almost gave up at many places as it was tough to get up after each break. Exhaustion made the stretch seem like the toughest part of the trek. Engulfed with foliage, entwined roots and trees, I felt I was in the middle of a jungle. It was absolute silence as I made my way through the forest with fading light and no soul in the vicinity. It did feel eerie at times. My group was way ahead of me and I had to reach down before it turned totally dark. I did not carry a torch and the last 15 minutes of the trek which seemed like an hour was in almost darkness without any rest. I took each step with immense difficulty and was extremely happy as I heard voices soon. I was close to the finish point. I smiled, was relieved and let out a cry on seeing others wait for me. I had achieved it! I had conquered Kumara Parvata!

The last forest patch
Even though I go on a few treks after this, KP has been the toughest trek I have ever done. There were instances when I had doubts about completing the trek, but am glad that I scrambled, crawled, pulled myself up at many points, overcame exhaustion and conquered it with utmost contentment. The spectacular vistas that the trek offers is breathtakingly beautiful and would leave you spellbound for long.

Signing Note- A body and soul wrenching trek, worth every single sweat...!!

Starting point- Somwarpet (Coorg)
End point- Kukke Subrahmanya (Dakshina Kannada)
Distance- 22 Kms (8 Kms uphill and 14 Kms downhill)
Contact- Santosh Nair (Exotic Expeditions)- 09986450370

March 21, 2014

Wego India Interviews Tales of a Nomad

Glad to let you all know that Wego India, a popular travel portal features my interview on their website. Link to the same is here- http://www.wego.co.in/travel-guide/experience/plan-ahead-travels-reduce-unnecessary-expenditures-says-travel-blogger-niranjan/


“Plan ahead for your travels to reduce unnecessary expenditures,” says Travel Blogger Niranjan


His passion for being on the road, meeting curious strangers, understanding interesting cultures and capturing beautiful photographs, has taken him to various places in India and abroad. Apart from sharing his travel tales on his blog Tales of a Nomad, Niranjan also regularly writes about his travel experiences on websites such as Yahoo.comSpice FlairTravel Thru History and CLAY.  Read this interview with Niranjan where he talks about the must-visit travel destinations and shares tips on making travels more affordable. Read more

March 20, 2014

Lesser Known Temples in Tamil Nadu- Book review

There is more to a temple than religious beliefs, mythological significance, deities and blessings. There is art, culture and history revolving around every temple. The book, 'A historian's guide to lesser known temples in Tamil Nadu' by Pradeep Chakravarthy talks about the less popular temples in Tamil Nadu and focuses on the stories behind those lovely places of worship. 

For the tourist who looks at a temple beyond its religious importance, the book is a guide which helps explore the temple paths which are rarely trod on. It features temples from the Pallava, Chola and Nayak period which spreads over Chennai, Kanchipuram, Tanjavur, Kumbakonam, Madurai and Tirunelveli. The focus is on the numerous unknown temples that got lost amidst the more famous, wealthy and frequently visited ones in Tamil Nadu. Pradeep has gone in depth describing the architectural exuberance, delicate carvings, intriguing inscriptions and rich heritage behind these magnificent creations from the bygone era. In Pradeep's words, "Temples are social institutions which help us understand history, not from a textbook point of view but from a traveller's perspective of how our ancestors tackled problems which we face even today."

The book is aptly dedicated to the numerous anonymous craftsmen who played significant roles in the creation of these lesser known temples in Tamilnadu. Definitely an interesting read for temple buffs, heritage enthusiasts and culture vultures. It is time travellers and tourists explored temples from a heritage and cultural perspective than from a purely religious one. 

You can download the soft copy here- http://goo.gl/ZeEPdy
Link to review of the book by The Hindu is here- http://www.thehindu.com/books/temples-and-a-travelogue/article3331862.ece

March 12, 2014

Glowing Snow Mountains...!!

Sun went down the horizon bathing the snow capped mountains in a glowing orange light. 
Binsar, Uttarakhand. November 2013.

March 6, 2014

The Vegetable Vendor...!!

From one of the alleys of Varanasi. February 2013.

March 3, 2014

New Domain

Hello people! Have moved on from my blogger address and have a new domain for my travel blog- Tales of a Nomad...!! Type http://www.talesofanomad.com/ and enjoy the travelogues. Followers, please update your reading list. However, clicks on the old web address would be redirected to the new one. 

February 26, 2014

Srirangapatna- Tipu Sultan's Isle...!!

Surrounded by river Cauvery , the the river island of Srirangapatna came into prominence after Tipu Sultan, one of the fiercest rulers made it his capital. Situated close to the cultural city of Mysore, this small island exudes the languorous character of a town that still breathes the fame and valour of its erstwhile ruler. The reminiscences of the empire are still evident and most of it are well maintained by the archaeological survey of India. State highway that connects Bengaluru and Mysore cuts the island into two . While travelling from Bengaluru, the fort enclosure and Ranganatha swamy temple is on the right, while Daria Daulat Bagh, Gumbaz and sangam is on the road that leads to the left.

Started early from Bengaluru and had a short stop at Maddur for breakfast before reaching Srirangapatna. I took a right near the bus stand which led me through the narrow road lined with street vendors and went past the Bangalore gate into the heart of this small river island. The island does have a few other entrance gates, namely Mysore gate, Delhi gate, Elephant gate and Water gate. The gates were the entrances into the fort from different sides during the times of Tipu. The first structure that I encountered after entering the fort walls was Jama Masjid, soaked in turmeric yellow. I rode past the masjid and Narasimha temple, and the straight road took me to Ranganatha swamy temple. The road is lined with vendors selling temple paraphernalia, food stalls and horses which are lined up to lure the visitors for a ride.The tall gopuram (entrance tower), though under renovation, looked quite attractive with its wonderful architecture. Built with a beautiful blend of both Hoysala and Vijayanagara architecture, the temple has Vishnu in reclining position as its main deity. The inside of the temple also has some wonderful architectural display on its pillars, ceilings, walls and in its courtyard. The temple teemed with both pilgrims and tourists and I made my way out after paying homage to the lord.

Bangalore gate
Ranganathaswamy temple

The places of interest have been marked with directions at most crossroads, which helps the tourists. I began with the ruins of Tipu Sultan's palace, also known as Lal mahal, less than 200 meters from the temple. Though only the base structure and a few broken walls remain, the palace was once well known for its splendid designs, rooms and halls of magnificent proportions and underground drains. The palace was dismantled during Colonel Wellesley's rule in early 19th century. The gate was closed when I visited and I peered from outside to have a glimpse of the ruins.

Lal mahal
The road from there took me along the fort walls to Colonel Bailey's dungeon, one of the most visited places on the island. A bastion cleverly conceals this dungeon and cannot be seen unless you reach very close. Many British prisoners including Bailey were chained onto the stone slabs and imprisoned here. I walked down to the dungeon and noticed that it had beautiful symmetric arches. There is a huge canon in the centre of the dungeon which had come down crashing through the roof during a battle. The big hole in the roof can be seen right above the canon. I walked back and captured a few frames of the beautiful cauvery, that flows next to fort wall.

Bailey's dungeon

As I rode on, the road to the Obelisk disappeared suddenly and all that I could see was a narrow trail which led to a secluded part of the fort. Greenery had overgrown onto the fort boundaries and the walls could barely be seen. There were a couple of  shepherds who were relaxing as their sheep enjoyed the pasture. The trail that led to the obelisk was across an undulating landscape. I trudged to reach the top where the obelisk is situated and there wasn't another soul around. Situated in the western corner of the island, next to the fort walls, the obelisk was erected in memory of the British soldiers who died during the siege of Srirangapatna. Since it is located at a corner of the fort, the views from the obelisk are beautiful. I walked back to my bike and then went past the dilapidated Delhi gate and Water gate to a few bathing ghats. These gates have narrow paths which lead to over grown bushy trails which ends at the bank of the river. I rode further past the small tea stalls, neatly painted houses and groups of chatting locals, in search of more history. The island definitely has a quaint charm of its own. There is a memorial erected at the place where Tipu Sulthan's body was found during the fourth Anglo-Mysore war in 1799. Another dungeon that I visited was Thomas Inmam's dungeon, which was used by Tipu Sultan and Haider Ali to imprison Maratha invaders and other Indian prisoners. 

The Obelisk
Delhi gate

I then rode my way back to Bangalore gate after circumnavigation of the fort and my last place of visit was Jama masjid, soaked in turmeric yellow. I so wish the mosque was painted in white, which would have given it a lot of elegance. However, the beautiful architecture with tall minarets somewhat made up for the weird colour sense. As I walked in, it was a delight to see a number of young children trod in for their Islamic studies since  the masjid doubles up as a madrasa. It was so calm and peaceful inside, and the only sound that disturbed was the cooing of the many doves that happily nestled inside the minarets. It doesn't come as a surprise why Tipu offered him namaaz at this beautiful mosque.

Jamia Masjid

Across the highway, the first place of stop was Daria Daulat Bagh, the summer palace of Tipu Sultan. Built in 1784, this palace is now preserved as a museum amidst sprawling greenery. Built on a raised platform, it has open corridors and wooden pillars.The palace extensively displays beautiful intricate murals depicting victories in war, scenes from Sulthan's noble court and various portraits. It also houses a list of Tipu's memorabilia, historical data, European paintings and Persian manuscripts. The palace definitely gives a thorough insight into the life of Tipu Sultan, the various wars fought and the fall of Srirangapatna.

Daria Daulat Bagh
From Tipu's summer palace I went past a Catholic cemetery and  took a right turn at Abbe Dubois church to ride past vast open fields and deserted narrow winding roads to Ghosai ghat. There are a few shrines by the Cauvery at this bathing ghat. Interestingly there were a few idols on a couple of rocks jutting from the river. It seemed like a surreal frame as the idols placed on the rocks stared in oblivion and the cauvery peacefully flowed against a green background. The left turn from Abbe Dubois church leads to the famous Nimishamba temple, which I skipped. 

Ghosai ghat
Gumbaz, the mausoleum of Tipu Sultan and his parents lies about a kilometer away from the church. I gazed at the beautiful structure with impressive intricate Islamic architecture for a while before entering the inner chamber. It extensively displayed the exceptional skills of workmanship. Gumbaz was built by Tipu Sultan and enshrines the tombs of Haider Ali, his wife Fathima Begum and Tipu himself. A magnificent large dome crowns the structure with polished black granite pillars, carved windows and stands on a wide stone platform. There are also numerous other tombs in the outer courtyard which belongs to the relatives of Tipu. Next to the Gumbaz is a mosque, Masjid-E-Aksa, which also has wonderful architecture. 

The tombs inside the chamber
After paying homage to the Tiger of Mysore, I rode to my last destination- Sangam, which is further east of Gumbaz. I was greeted by hoards of pilgrims, cormorants spreading their wings on jutting rocks, vendors selling eatables and semi immersed idols at this confluence of two tributaries of Cauvery. Cauvery looks most gorgeous at this point as it flows at its vigorous best. Many pilgrims who visit the place consider a dip in these waters as sacred. Numerous coracles can be spotted which are ready to take the visitors on a ride. There is a small shrine at the confluence near the steps that leads down to the gorgeous Cauvery. 

The flowing Cauvery

After a few solitude moments at the Sangam, gazing at the serene landscape, I rode back to Bengaluru. For a moment I stopped by to capture the age old stone pillared Wellesley's bridge, which connects Srirangapatna to the mainland. It still stands strong over the Cauvery even after heavy floods over the last couple of centuries and helps people travel from the chaotic world to the world of a bygone era.

Wellesley's bridge

Signing Note- Soak in the quaintness of this river island as you enrich your historical knowledge...!!

Route- Bengaluru- Ramnagara- Maddur- Mandya- Srirangapatna

Distance- 125 Kms

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