You can see the pics here.
One day Gunda asked me if I would like to have a trip to Coorg. I said how come you have a sudden plan for Coorg dude? He said, we are going with his friends who are 7 in number. Then SHAMELESSLY added, "we need a photographer for the trip" . Man, this is the limit.. but it never hurts to have a nice trip and that too with a big gang :) I said "ok, will go, sponsor my trip", me too getting shameless :p
Chapter 1: Leaving bangalore
So, Gunda was doing all the planning over the week and I was busy completing some irritating office tasks x-(
Finally the day came(Friday the Nov 25th' 2008), and we were all set to go there.
We packed our bags, filled up songs in pendrives(cabs usually have thumb-drive enabled music players), and started at 11:00 PM. Collected all the friends within bangalore and left the city by 1:00 AM.
Chapter 2: Waking up the whole night and the fight for a good hotel
Man, can you think of a good way to adjust 10(including driver), in a Qualis. And the scenario being, we all were not slim ;) Well well, I decided to sit in the front because I was not much interested in the telugu discussions going in the back. I thought I will be the only one to sit in the front, but Gunda again came and shared the front seat with me. Well that was nice of him as I could have a hindi talk also for sometime :) but the overall journey was so tiring that I was like .. okkkies. ... everyone beared, it wasn't just me :)
Few more things added to the joy ride, like, the driver playing road rash or may be NFS underground? My heart pumped a few litres at every hair-pin-bend or at every over-take. All the guys sitting behind weren't aware of the thoughts going in my mind and they rest in peace all the way. Poor me was struggling hard to steal a second of nap :-( The speedometer constantly pointed 100-110 and added more and more adrenalin.
Anyways, whole night went like this, and finally at 4:00 AM we reached Kushalnagar. The driver stopped in front of a hotel. We went inside and came back and started for the next hotel. Just as an important point(which we discovered later), Kushalnagar is the centre of all the exciting places in that area. We SHOULD have stayed there only, but at 4:00 it was hard to find any nice place nearby. Finally our driver planned to go to Madikeri(The Scotland of India), some x kms from Kushalnagar. We searched for a few hotels when we reached there at 6:00 AM. By 7:30 we were all in a Ok-Ok-not-so-bad-not-so-good hotel. It charged some 900 for a double-bed room. We were(specially me) so tired that we slept and woke up at 10:00 AM.
Chapter 3: The first day and we missing out things and driver skipping out things
At 10:30 AM we left the hotel, had a simple breakfast, and then started for the tour. The driver said that he will be visiting all the *NICE* places around. He started from Baghmandala temple. We had a nice time there, it was built more in tibbetian style and I loved the architecture. We obviously took a lot of pictures. Then we started for Talacauvery. This is a sacred place and is known as the origin for Cauvery river. It also had stairs to climb up some 300 ft to have a nice view of the hilly ranges. .Then we went to see Abbi falls and then raja seat for some musical fountain and then back home. So all looks nice and well planned, isn't it? What the hell man, we have been deprived of the most amazing views of Kushalnagar. All the day we roamed around Madikeri. We totally skipped the Kushalnagar chapter(or the driver did?). We were so busy in secondary items that we totally missed the items that are a MUST VISIT in the list. And the night came :-(. We were still in the delusion that we will cover all those places the next day.
Chapter 4.a: The second day, the day of life-time-adventures
On sunday, we were supposed to get up at 5:30 AM because we had to visit Nagarhole(pronounced Naagarhodey), which is a wild life sanctuary. The driver told us that we could only get tickets between 8:00-11:00 AM. So we had a quick filler and started for the destination. On the way, I asked Gunda about the list he made having all the places to visit. I saw the list and to my surprise, we covered only a few of them!! Few of the biggest attractions like Golden temple and the tibbetian monastry, Dubare, Nisargdhama, Harangi Dam and many more which were not in our list were cruelly murdered by our polite driver. We quickly asked the driver that why the hell we are skipping these items today also. He replied that now we are off the track to those places and we have to make multiple trips on the same path again to go there. That was a big lesson for us and we learned the lesson by heart :| So, finally with a bit of disappointment, we moved towards Nagarhole.
There should be some adventure also, else it would become boring. So it started with the driver. Soon we all knew the fact that he doesn't know hindi/english/telugu and specially the route to Nagarhole. He was all confused and asking everyone in the way. And you all know the Indian public :) They will tell you the way which you should not be going :) And so we had a lot of U-turns, a lot of dead-ends :) But finally after a lot of hard-work and me doing a bit of GPS task, we reached Nagarhole sanctuary at 11:30 AM. Now what? Can you guess? ... the adventures have just begun :)
The person sitting at the gate asked us the purpose of visit and we got a reply in turn that safari can only be done between 6:00-8:00 AM and 3:00-5:00 PM. Cool man this is awesome!! Now what next? Should we sit and wait? Well may be not. The gatekeeper being kind to us and a bit killer to the driver(who was trying to heavily optimize the cash/petrol ratio), told us the way to Iruppu falls. Cool we started for there.
In the way, we stopped at kutta(please don't feel anything hindi'sh). Had some tummy fillers :p and then moved for Iruppu. Can you guess what happened before we could ever reach there? ... I think we ate too much which helped the front left tyre of our Qualis to blow its own ass away with a phisssss sound. Man we were dumb-struck!! Now what!! We were stuck in middle of no-where. Our driver bolted the tyre off and vanished in a second. We were left all alone(poor 9 guys :p). But we have our ways to pass time. Few of us started roaming around. It has been said that in the land of the dumb, the man with a voice will be king. We planned to prove them wrong and started playing dumb-charades where silence will be heard. But my goodness, rather we made more sound.. And me? Well you know... the one and the only ... photography. I peeped in someone's kitchen-garden and took a few snaps and then peeped in someone else's garden :p. I took a whole bunch of pictures(only flowers, please don't call me for privacy intrusions :) ). After 3 hours, the driver came back, did some repairing and we left for Iruppu. That was one nice place. A multi-tier waterfall with cold and knee deep water. We really had a nice time there.
Then our adventure trip took us to the sanctuary at 4:00 PM. We booked 9 tickets at 85/person. Boarded the safari bus and started at 4:00. In the start we were so excited with a few stags that I almost harassed my camera. Later we saw two elephants (actually their asses). All in the bus were so excited that I can't explain. I was kind of anxious that .. okk.. the start sounds good. Lets see the bigger story. What what what!!! Did I say bigger story?? Man how can I be so dumb?? You know what ?? The initial 5 minutes in the two hour ride was the whole picture. Rest we were so lucky that the only thing which added to the list of pretty animals we could admire was a wild bore. haha.. this reminds me a famous dialogue on luck from the movie Omkara(I am sure you have watched the censored version of Omkara so you will miss the dialogue by Saif sitting on a small bridge over a lake). Mannnn!! We were so tired and happy from the safari that we decided to leave for bangalore. We left the place by 7:00 PM.
Chapter 4.b: A night of a nightmare
Do you think our adventure ride has finished? Hell no!! Just wait and watch, you are about to reach the climax you would have never expected. This story will blow all the hit-charts, I am sure. So, on our way back to bangalore, our driver, as usual, started playing NFS underground(I can see the similarity, there also you need to drive in dark;) ). We crossed the whole sanctuary and crossed mysore and finally we were on the legendary mysore highway. Our driver started playing hot pursuit against our will. We shouted, he slowed, but then back to the game once we lose sight of the pounding speedometer. It was raining good with a short sight. That added to the recipe which you may want to try when you think you are of no use to this world :p. Cool, so what happened?? Yes, I was sitting in front and the driver speeding up to heaven. Soon I realized that we are going to hit an almost-stopped Innova in our way, we being at the same speed, and so realized the driver. He jumped on the brakes. A large cheeeeeeeeeeeeeennnn and then booooooooooooooooooooooommmmmm sound. All the sins of my tiny life flash-backed as I could see myself approaching the end!! Everyone shouted in both the vehicles and I could not speak a word after seeing the crushed hood of our vehicle and still safe without a scratch. Luckily no-one was hurt in blood, but were hurt. I could see the excitement of the trip going away and the pain covering everyone's eyes. That was a bad ending of the movie which we never expected. We called on a new cab which later dropped us to bangalore. I was at home at 3:00 AM.
Chapter 5: Learning and conclusion
Learning includes a thorough research of the place which we have to visit. Have a driver with which we could communicate well. Plan the trip ourselves instead of relying on the driver to jot down all the lists of places.
Conclusion says that overall it was an awesome trip. We loved it. Accidents can be avoided if one is extra careful but rest of the experience was great. I would love to go to the place once again and to add the missing parts to our list of coorg visit :) Adventures like punctured tyres should be enjoyed as we did :) Finally a big thanks to Gunda who arranged all this. It was really a great experience of the life-time.