The well-kept secrets of Angkor Wat

The well-kept secrets of Angkor Wat

Battambang, surprisingly the second largest city in Cambodia, is where I finally found the bona fide flavour of the country and which doesn’t adhere to rules laid down for its tourist-centric trail.

Initially, I wanted to take a boat to Battambang from Siem Reap, despite knowing that the journey time would be doubled. The water levels of the Tonle Sap river were quite low, so that made sure I stuck to the three-hour road journey. To my surprise, this town that came across as a laid-back settlement, was actually the second-largest in Cambodia and has witnessed its fair share of tumultuous events in Cambodia’s long, mutinous history.

The bamboo train
Apart from the past that it still retains, Battambang has also held on to its ancient bamboo train system. Extremely impatient for a ride, I left the very same day for Odambang, the village from where you can ’board’ the train. The train is nothing more than a large bamboo platform mounted on train axles powered by a small gokart engine, and as mundane as it looks, the journey atop is nothing short of exhilarating.

I didn’t realise it till I sat on it, and waited for the young boy to pull the engine cord that brought the bamboo train to life. Within a few seconds, we were hurtling through greenery with fierce speed. With no roof, doors, or seatbelts and with only a railing to hold on to, it’s more thrilling than a rollercoaster ride. The most quirky part is that when another bamboo train approaches from the opposite side, you have to stop to get off, heave the cart off the tracks, change positions and resume! It could actually be tiresome once the novelty wears off, but the teamwork of strangers is quite endearing.

For ages, the rural parts of the surrounding region have had the bamboo train as its most dependable mode of transport. I was sad to learn that it was phasing out and would soon be replaced by the modern railway system, and glad that I had a chance to experience it before that happened.

Art of making rice paper
Around the main Battambang town are a host of elfin villages that introduce you to the rural heart of Cambodia in a way that none of the other places here do. I started this tryst in one such village where I saw and learnt the traditional way of making ’rice paper’. This is not the paper used for artwork but refers to the thin, translucent layer of pounded and steamed rice used to wrap fresh spring rolls.

Until I spent hours there observing how the rice is boiled, drained and milled before even starting the real process, I would have never thought of the humungous effort that goes into making an everyday dish here. My remork or ’tuk tuk’ driver was on a mission to show me ’real Cambodian food’ and the village of Phsa Prohok welcomed us with a stench that pervaded my senses for days after.

Fish paste, which is a condiment of freshly pounded fish of all kinds that is left to rot, is a major ingredient in authentic homemade Cambodian food. Though I was assured by everyone that once cooked, the smell evaporates, there was no way I could be convinced to buy some and try it out. What I did buy though was the delicious bamboo sticky rice. Though it is found pretty much all over Cambodia, the sticky rice in Battambang, the ’rice bowl of Cambodia’ is famous all over. Getting off from the ubiquitous hammock that Cambodians love to lie in, the young girl at the roadside shack heated one of the bamboo pieces over fire and cracked it open to reveal the ready mix of steamed rice, coconut milk and nuts. Despite not being a rice lover, I devoured it in minutes. No visit to the palate trail is complete without a visit to the petite Battambang Winery, the sole winery of Cambodia, so we made a pit stop there to sample the traditional red and white wines apart from the locally brewed brandy and delicious ginger ale.

The mini Angkor Wat
While Angkor Wat is Cambodia’s biggest draw, few know that tucked away in Battambang is a primeval temple that is believed to have been the inspiration for the magnum opus. A long flight of steps up the quiet hillock takes you to the Banon temple which was built in the 11th century by Udayadityavarman II. It has five towers pointing towards the sky and looks like a smaller version of Angkor Wat.

Being surrounded by dense foliage, it’s hard to get anything more than a glimpse of the expanse below. But if you want a grand view, the best bet is the hill atop which rests the temple Phnom Sampeu. It commands a surreal sight of Battambang in the distance and a vast canopy of green in the foreground of the dark hills that glow like embers in the last rays of the dying sun. Before it turned completely dark, I spiralled down the hill on a ’bike taxi’ for my most awaited moment.

The colony of batsClose to the base is a limestone cave that houses a colony of bats that numbers close to three million. I was sceptical initially, as I had not read about it in my guidebook or heard about it from fellow travellers, but I decided to give it a shot because the locals know best. We parked the bike on the roadside and stood solemnly like the handful of other people waiting for the spectacle. I turned my face towards the cave that a native pointed out and waited with bated breath. As the light began to dip, the distant din grew louder and slowly the insect bats spilled out of the cave’s mouth, tumbling, reeling and getting back into the file that flew towards the fields each night in search of food. I stood there with my neck craned up for nearly an hour, amazed at this secret that Battambang cradles. As the last of the bats dissolved into the night, I left the site trying to discern the dark track still moving across the sky. I’m not sure if the bats earned Battambang a special place in my heart, but they would definitely be a big part of my reason to return.

 

http://www.bangalorelivenews.com/lifestyle/20/the-well-kept-secrets-of-angkor-wat

 

10 Places to See Before They’re Gone

Along with the depletion of earth’s natural resources, the weather is getting crazy: deadly tornadoes, sweltering heat (I’m talking to you Texas), and freak blizzard hurricanes. Since the world is going through a weird phase right now, who knows how much longer we’ll have some of the world’s natural wonders.

In case you’re inspired to set out to see a few before they disappear, consult today’s infographic for an idea of where to visit. An interesting aspect of today’s infographic is the timer each destination has until its demise. While the future is grim, it gives a pretty good idea of how much time you have, and money you have to save up, in order to plan a trip to your destination.

After looking at today’s infographic, I would like to go to the Congo Basin and Glacier National Park. It will be such a treat to be able to experience Earth’s amazing treasures before they disappear, so go see them while you still can! [via]

 

The Netherlands

The Netherlands

We speak Dutch – not German. And, yes, you can call our country Holland – even though it’s officially the name of a province

Amsterdam is not a country – It’s the capital city of the Netherlands

The Netherlands is not a city in Amsterdam – it’s the other way around

We smoke marijuana– but we don’t do it as much as you think nor do we make a big deal out of it. But you’re right: it’s legal

Prostitutes are legal and easily found – but you’ll find more on any given street corner in Bangkok

In our professional life we expect to receive at least 25 paid holidays a year. And if you want to make us work overtime you better have a damn good reason for it

We travel in caravans – France is our Nr.1 family destination

You often find us abroad – we love traveling and always have. Although we hate meeting other Dutch people during our travels.. it ruins the ‘unique experience’

We don’t have ANY mountains – we’re one of the flattest countries in the world, we barely have hills. Our women on the contrary..

Dutch women are beautiful – and I wish I had a better picture to show everyone

We’re not patriotic – our favorite past-time is complaining about our country

We often complain about Moroccan and Turkish immigrants – enough said

We still regard Germany as our rival – both for fun and when we need to vent our frustrations

We make jokes about everything – we’re extremely down to earth and are not afraid to make jokes about 9/11, WWII or any other sensitive topic. We usually tend to try and brighten up a situation with a joke – even though it’s sometimes horribly inappropriate

Everybody rides bicycles – our former prime minister came to work on his bicycle every day, did yours?

We make amazing cheese – We eat tons of cheese and its a big part of our culture. We even have cheese shops where they only sell cheese. It’s like heaven – but then real.

Kerala’s top 10 budget beach hotels, homestays and guesthouses-http://www.theguardian.com/

Kerala’s top 10 budget beach hotels, homestays and guesthouses

Whether you’re looking for inner peace or just want to laze on some of India’s best beaches, you can stay in style without breaking the bank on Kerala’s beautiful coast

    • Matt Robson and Harriet O’Brien
    • The Guardian, Wednesday 2 October 2013
    Odayam Beach near Varkala, Kerala

    Odayam Beach near Varkala, Kerala. Photograph: Alamy

    Bohemian Masala, Varkala beach

    Budget accommodation doesn’t get much better than this. Bohemian Masala offers an imaginative alternative to the somewhat homogenised options on Varkala beach, a backpacker colony teetering on the edge of a cliff that has spectacular ocean views. Brush the banana leaves aside in its lush tropical garden and pass under the net-covered lanterns at night. The terracotta-coloured cottages have been designed with a lot of love by owners Susan and Danesh. Services include yoga, meditation and an Ayurvedic treatment centre. A new organic restaurant is under way. There are also simple huts, should your budget be very tight. Peace and tranquillity is free and in abundant supply.
     +91 999 5050104, thebohemianmasala .com. Cottages £12.50-£45 MR

    Fort House, Kochi (Cochin)

    Fort House, Kochi Strictly speaking, Fort House is more jetty-side than beach-side hotel. It’s a lush little haven right on the waterfront of Fort Kochi offering great views over the enormously wide harbour, and just a short walk from the neighbourhood’s spectacular Chinese fishing nets – with all the attendant bustle of traders and stalls. Sixteen rooms give on to charming gardens that are dotted with terracotta sculptures, offering slightly rickety accommodation in an old Dutch colonial building; the neater if less characterful boarding is in a block built about five years ago. There’s an Ayvuredic spa and a waterside restaurant serving the coconut-rich cuisine of the Malabar coast as well as pasta options. Just across the road a small theatre stages nightly performances of Kerala‘s traditional and riotously elaborate Kathakali dance dramas.
    • +91 484 22 17 103, hotelforthouse.com. Doubles from £35 room onlyHOB

    Karikkathi Beach House, Kovalam beach

    Karikkathi Beach House, Kovalam beachMr Sajjad has built two beach-facing properties south of touristy Kovalam. Simplicity, seclusion and a breathtaking location make it feel marvellously romantic. Each house has two double rooms and the whole property can be booked for groups or families. Home-cooked meals are served on the shady terrace.
     +91 471 272 0238, karikkathibeachhouse.com, Rooms from £67 a night; house (sleeps four) from £135. All prices full-board MR

    Motty’s Homestay, Alleppey beach

    Motty's Guest HouseMotty enjoys meeting people, and his guesthouse has therefore become much more than a business; it is a hobby. Affable, informative and with a passion for his hometown’s heritage and architecture, he has furnished his guesthouse with antiques and artwork. Doors, shutters and fittings were all salvaged by Motty and lovingly restored. Don’t miss his workshop, it’s a mini museum. His wife Lali cooks delicious south Indian cuisine and provides cookery classes. Borrow one of Motty’s bicycles, explore the town or visit Alleppey beach. Surprisingly, it’s not unlike a typical British seaside resort with a dilapidated pier and ice-cream stalls – and instead of donkey rides, you can amble along on a camel. Two canals run parallel through the city and pass rambling old warehouses before they connect the coast with Kerala’s famous inland waterways. This makes Alleppey a perfect access point for the coast and the backwaters.
     +91 477 2263535, alleppeybeach.com. Doubles £70, including breakfast and dinner MR

    Kadappuram Beach Resort, Nattika beach, Thrissur

    KadappuramKadappuram Beach Resort, Nattika beach.Kerala is the heartland of Ayurveda medicine and healing, and Kadappuram Beach Resort, 25km from the cultural capital of Thrissur, caters specifically for Ayurvedic rejuvenation. The predominantly female/European clientele follow a 14-day programme in an intimate resort built around a lagoon right next to the spectacular Nattika beach. The 12 cottages are constructed from natural materials and come with huge verandas and four-poster beds. The standard programme includes daily massages, steam baths and prescribed treatments. The garden has more than 300 species of plants and 600 coconut trees and includes a spacious yoga studio. Vegetarian cuisine is served buffet-style with Ayurvedic beverages for a complete health bonus.
    • +91 487 239498, kadappurambeachresorts.comRooms £60-£95, winter, £45-£55 monsoon season. Ayurveda £40 per day. Includes yoga and meditation, meals and snacks MR

    Kannur Beach House, Thottada beach

    Kannur Beach houseKannur Beach houseFor a true homestay experience, try the easy-going charm of Kannur Beach House, where Rozi, Nazir and their three children make you feel at home immediately. All guest rooms have balconies and ocean views. Home-cooked Malabari cuisine is served at a long table under a canopy of bougainvillea, where guests and the family eat together. For some solitude, take an early morning walk around the lagoon and see if you can spot kingfishers, herons, kites and cormorants. Settle into a hammock at sundown, rock gently under the palms and watch the light turn the beach golden.
    • +91 984 718 4535, kannurbeachhouse.com. Single room £22, double £30, includes breakfast and dinner MR

    Waves Beach Resort, Adikadalayi, Thottada

    WavesDreaming of a private beach but travelling on a budget? Waves Beach Resort might be just your place. The pleasant and understated resort was recently established by Seema and her family on a cliff top. Guests can opt for the large bungalow, one of four octagonal-shaped cottages or a homestay. Ocean breezes are combined with home-cooked meals, which are all included in the price. The best feature is the private beach at the end of the cliff path.
    • +91 949 5050850, wavesbeachresort.co.in. Double-room homestay £20, double-room cottage £25, double-room bungalow £30, all full-boardMR

    Costa Malabari 2, Kannur

    Costa Malabari Set in a wild garden on top of a cliff with views of dramatic coves and rugged peninsulas, Costa Malabari 2 is one of three properties belonging to the insightful owner Mr Kurian and his partners. Rooms are spartan, but open the shutters and the sea air will keep you cool and comfortable. Bold visitors can climb down the slightly precarious steps where there is a good chance of finding the beach deserted – quite an achievement in India. Sublime home-cooked food served on banana leaves is another highlight. Take a coastal walk, explore the village or try to witness a Theyyam ritual: a dance performance unique to the area. Some of the properties even remain open during the monsoon.
    • +91 484 237 1761, touristdesk@satyam.net.in. Rooms £15pp per night full board MR

    Kanan Beach Resort, Nileshwar

    Kanan Beach Resort, NileshwarNorth of the town of Kannur, much of the Keralan coast is still very undeveloped by tourism. So there are glorious, empty beaches and quiet rivers and estuaries that seem a world away from the crowded backwaters of the more Catholic south. A small complex of white cottages with traditional wood-tiled roofs, Kanan Beach Resort backs on to a long sweep of golden sands just beyond the small town of Nileshwar. Fishermen launch their boats here, herons and egrets stalk the shallows. Paths run between the beach and the resort’s gardens – complete with coconut palms and hammocks. This is a simple-yet-stylish outfit, its 10 generously sized bedrooms opening on to wide decks. You sink into the peace here, lounging by the pool, taking Ayurvedic treatments in the small spa or pottering to the sea. You won’t find much in the way facilities for visitors beyond the hotel but the genial staff will arrange temple visits and rice-barge cruises on the waterways.
    • +91 467 22 88 880, kananbeachresort.com. Doubles from £73 room only HOB

    Nirvana Cottages, Bekal

    Nirvana Cottages, BekalDating from 1650, imposing Bekal Fort stands high above a curving, palm-fringed beach. It’s an important historic site, well conserved too, but there was little else to bring tourists to this part of far northern Kerala until a few years ago. Now a few high-end hotels have been developed – along with this less costly little resort. Dramatically set just below the fort and adjacent to a mosque, Nirvana Cottages is a complex of six traditional Keralan-style houses built of the same pink laterite stone as the great 17th-century monument and dotted around a two-acre coconut grove with paths leading to the sea shore. The pleasingly simple rooms range from standard (and a bit of a tight squeeze) to luxury (at more than double the price) while facilities include Ayurvedic treatments, restaurant and, unusually, a cricket bowling machine.
    +91 467 22 72 900, nirvanabekal.com. Doubles from £18 for standard rooms and from £50 for luxury accommodation, including breakfast HOB

    • This article was amended on 7 October 2013 to correct the telephone number for Motty’s Homestay.

    A heritage road trip -Joyce Dias / The Goan

    A heritage road trip  Joyce Dias / The Goan
    Tired of visiting the same old beaches on a weekend? Venture inland into the villages and explore Goa’s heritage that will awe you with historical splendour

    Goa, which Hindu scriptures state was created by Lord Parashurama has so much to offer, other than its much-alluded beaches and bars. Those with an interest in colonial history should venture inland into Goa’s villages. Over the centuries, Goa was the kingdom of several kings and rulers – the last of whom were the Portuguese – and each of these have left behind their religious and architectural influences. It doesn’t matter if you are a tourist or a local; you only have to have a nose for the past which still lives through the stories and structures of Goa. While most have but a weekend to spare for this ‘extra-curricular’ activity, a weekend is just what you need to satiate your penchant – for now.
    The following are two itineraries each spread over a day; at the end of this fulfilling sojourn, you will feel like you have stepped out of a very enriching historical movie.

     

     
    Itinerary 1:

    photo-from-cabo-de-rama-fort-south-goaphoto-from-cabo-de-rama-fort-south-goa

     

    St.Anthony’s church, Cabo de Rama,
    south Goa
    photo-from-cabo-de-rama-fort-south-goa
    Way to Cabo De Rama fort, south Goa
    photo-from-cabo-de-rama-fort-south-goa
    Cabo De Rama fort, south Goa
    photo-from-cabo-de-rama-fort-south-goa
    View from Cabo De Rama fort, south Goa
    photo-from-cabo-de-rama-fort-south-goa
    View from Cabo De Rama fort, south Goa
    photo-from-cabo-de-rama-fort-south-goa
    Road to Cabo De Rama fort, south Goa
    photo-from-cabo-de-rama-fort-south-goa
    Rice field near Cabo De Rama fort, south Goa


    Cabo de Rama: Start from Margao to Canacona to the first site on the list – Cabo de Rama or Cape of Rama which is 32 kilometres south of Margao. The name derives itself from the myth of Lord Ram and his wife, who were supposed to have come and stayed here during their exile. The fort was built in 1598, by the King of Soonda to keep a check on the Portuguese. The descendant of this King is one of the last living Kings in Goa. The fort was handed over to the Portuguese by the King because he was under attack and wanted help from the Portuguese. A few rusty old cannons can still be found in the fort. Till 1955, the fort served as a prison for the Portuguese. Inside the fort is the church of St Anthony that served as a place of worship for the residents of the fort. The fort is under threat of crumbling into the sea as the rocks on which it stands are slowly but steadily developing cracks. From the Fort, one gets a magnificent view of the Arabian Sea.
    Lunch at Agonda or Palolem: These pristine beaches that are south of Cabo de Rama lay undisturbed, but over the last 2-3 years have become a craze with the tourists because of the afore-mentioned reasons. Recommended fare: Seafood.
    Partagal Math: This structure is over 500 years old. It is the seat of the Vaishnava Hindus. The religious head of the Hindus resides here in this place. Near the Math is a huge is a banyan tree that is said to be a 1000 years old.


    Cotigao Wildlife Sanctuary: Home to wildlife and flora, most of which has been untouched by civilisation. Though there are hamlets of the indigenous tribes within the sanctuary, they share a harmonious relationship with the forest.

     
    Itinerary 2

     


    The Figueiredo House: With your base as Margao, start for Loutolim which is 10 kilometres away. An upper-crust Goan Catholic house belonging to Maria de Lourdes Figueiredo de Albuquerque who is in her 80s, this house has an impressive collection of porcelain and furniture among other things.
    Ancestral Goa:

    Popularly known as Big Foot, Mahendra Alvares to whom this belongs, has recreated the Goa of the days of yore with life-size statues and quaint houses spread over a large area, interspersed with trees. The information about these various aspects of Goan culture and tradition is recounted by guides. Worthy of mention is the rock sculpture of Mirabai, cut by Mahendra Alvares from a single piece of rock in 30 days. This has found place in the Limca Book of Records.
    Casa Alvares:

    Casa means house in Portuguese. A tour inside the house enlightens one on how a typical family during the Portuguese times lived.
    Rachol Seminary:

    Five kilometres from Loutolim, this enormous structure is like a castle – with regard to its appearance and its interiors. It lies within the Rachol Fort. “It is famed not only as a heritage site, but also because of the visit of Swami Vivekananda from October 15-17, 1892. Swami Vivekananda pursued important theological works he found in the library and held discussions with the priests there,” says Fr Victor Ferrao from the seminary.
    Lunch at Nostalgia, in Raia: The restaurant, Nostalgia popular for its Goan ambience and Goan food is 3.5 kilometres from Loutolim.

    Fernando's Nostalgia

    QUICK FACTS

      • Timings:
        11:00 AM to 3:00 PM, 7:00 PM to 11:00 PM
      • Food Type: 
        Portuguese, Goan
      • Payment Methods:
        Visa, Master, Cash
      • Average Meal for Two:
        Rs.800

     
    Menezes Braganza House, Chandor:

    Proceed to Chandor which is 11 kilometres away. Chandor, also known as Chandrapur was the first capital of the Kadamba Kings. In Chandor, proceed to Menezes Braganza house, a 16th century mansion furnished with antiques dating back four centuries. Built for the two sons of the Menezes family, the Menezes Braganza house is one wing that is restored. For Rs 500 per person, one gets to see the delights of marble floors, huge chandeliers and sprawling halls.
    -With inputs from Sanjeev Sardesai, Hands on Historians
    Travel Tips
    Keep in mind civic sense, the decorum of the place you visit and carry your litter back with you
    Itinerary 1:
    This itinerary can be used any day of the week. Travel to Margao from anywhere in Goa by bus.
    From Margao, it is preferable to have your own/hired vehicle as the next site on the list – Cabo de Rama – does not have buses plying to it
    Should you decide to take a bus from Margao, you would have to get into the bus heading for Canacona. Buses going to Canacona begin their journey from the KTC bus stand in Margao
    Do not doze off, though with the breeze kissing your face you will be tempted to do so. Instead, enjoy the scenery and ask the bus conductor to stop when you need to alight
    The bus ride to Canacona and the other places mentioned takes between 45 minutes to 1.5 hours. Bus fares to Canacona, Agonda, Palolem begin at Rs 20 and may go up to Rs 25
    A hired car with a driver (WagonR, non-AC) would cost you Rs 1800 for itinerary 1
    Itinerary 2:
    It is advisable to use this itinerary on a weekday. Travel to Margao from anywhere in Goa by bus.
    From here, it is preferable to have our own transport/hired vehicle as buses along the routes of itinerary 2 are infrequent; the bus journey would consume most of your time without leaving you with any time for the places you need to see
    A bus ride to Loutolim and Raia from Margao will cost Rs 10. These buses do not ply from the main KTC bus stand. Instead, they begin their journey from the bus stand in front of the police station in Margao.
    A bus ride to Chandor costs Rs 12. These buses ply from the KTC bus stand, Margao
    Should you take the bus to go to the Figueiredo House in Loutolim, which is the first on the list, you will need to bear in mind that the bus goes to Cortalim or Panjim, via Loutolim.
    A hired car (WagonR, with driver, non-AC) along the routes of itinerary 2 (minus Verna) will cost Rs 1300. Should you decide to visit Verna, the cost is Rs 1500 approx
    Of shrines and scenes
    Ponda, also known as the cultural capital of Goa, has a lot to offer besides just religious sites. Pick one of the itineries below and take a journey out to this lesser-explored part of Goa
    Kishore Amati/The Goan   23 March 2013

    Antruz Mahal, or Ponda as it is popularly known, is a land of temples. Although, the former statement stands true, it is a little-known fact among the tourists and the locals, that there are various other places to visit as well like the Bondla Wildlife Sanctuary and the spice farm. The best part of this side of Goa is that it is quite less populated, thanks to the busier Northern part of the state and hence, less noisy and clean. Following are two itineraries that will give you a glimpse of the rich culture that is rooted here and leave you with an experience that you will be sure to cherish for a long time.

     
    Itinerary 1
    Shree Shantadurga Temple, Kavlem:

    The Shree Shantadurga temple at Kavlem is approximately 33 kms away from Panjim. History suggests that the original site of the temple was destroyed by the Portuguese in 1564. However the deity was taken away safely to the present site. The Nayanmanohar Deepa stambha (the tall structures that is built in for placing oil lamps) is a crowd-puller. The lake in front of the temple provides an added attraction as well. The dome or the kalas of the temple is very unique and considered as one of the best in Goa, and the pillars and flooring are made of Kashmir stone. Despite being one of the oldest temples in Goa, the temple has many halls that have all the modern amenities.
    Breakfast at Kurpas, Nageshi: Ask for Tato bab in Nageshi and you will be directed towards this tiny hotel usually occupied by old-timers busy in their daily banter. The piping hot mirchi and bhaji pao, prepared by the owner Jaya Surya Naik is a must-try out of the very few options available on the menu.
    Sahakari Spice Farm, Curti:

     

    Situated at Curti in Ponda, the Sahakari Spice Farm enlightens you on where exactly the spices that lend deliciousness to your daily cooking come from. The tour guides also educate you on how these may be used as home remedies for various ailments. Apart from this, traditional dances such as fugdi, zagor and dhalo are performed by women and children, which are a hit with the visiting tourist. The lunch at the farm is one of the high points of this green tour. The restaurant has been designed in a very rustic manner, where the guests are able to relax in natural surroundings. The roof is made out of coconut leaves, wooden planks serve as benches and serving bowls made out of coconut shells make the environment calm and relaxing.

     
    Bondla Wildlife Sanctuary:

     

    Small and hard-to-get-to, the Bondla Wildlife Sanctuary is undeniably beautiful. However, its remote location means that you must have your own/hired transportation to get there. Absence of road signs/directions makes getting here even more difficult. Don’t miss the Black Cobra and the newly-landscaped botanical gardens.
    Itinerary 2
    Shree Nagesh temple:

    Shri Nagesh Temple is a “swayambhu” shrine of Lord Shankar known for its miraculous myths. According to legend, a boy noticed a cow from his deviating from his path and showering the site with milk. On further exploration, a shivlinga was found at the site. A distinctive feature of the devasthan is that it was unaffected by the religious persecution of Portuguese rulers in the 16th century. This was because at that time, Ponda was not under the domain of the Portuguese and this facilitated the transit of Saraswat deitie Shri Nagesh, Shantadurga, Ganapati, etc. The temple also has a beautiful and well-maintained lake where devotees can take a dip.
    Breakfast at Nageshi: The experience of having the good ol’ bhaji-pav in the morning can either make or break the day of any Goan. And Sadu’s gadda (although it’s a tiny hotel and not a cart) may be credited with making the day of many locals, thanks to the simple, yet delicious patal bhaji pav which is the signature dish of this place.
    Tropical Spice Plantation, Keri: The Tropical Spice Plantation is spread over a large area of fertile land, which offers the perfect setting to feel one with nature. All the elements of a refreshing ambience like the green cover, the vegetation, the chirping of birds and the serene stream make it a perfect getaway especially from the busy and noisy Northern part of the state. The venue has a lot to offer and is much more than just a spice farm. One can enjoy an elephant ride as well as a bath from these friendly giant creatures. The traditional Goan lunch served on a banana leaf in the open air space is one of the highlights and a must try.
    Devki Krishna Temple, Marcela: The Devki Krishna temple at Marcela is located about 17 km from Panjim. This temple is the only one in the world where the presiding deity is Krishna and his mother, Devki. Like many other temples in Goa, the Devki Krishna temple was subjected to displacement due to Portuguese rule. Eventually, it was established at the present location in Marcela. The Devki Krishna deity is the main feature of the garbha griha, or inner sanctum of the temple. Devki is depicted in a standing posture with the child, Krishna in her lap. Beautifully-carved in black stone, the bearing of the deities is unique in its own way.
    On a different Goan trail
    If you’re looking for something different to do on your day off, we’ve got something for everyone – the Cotigao Wildlife Sanctuary for the nature lover, Cabo de Rama fort for the heritage afficionado, Mayem Lake for a relaxing day or the Splashdown Water Park for some adventurous fun. Ponda in South Goa even has a Butterfly Conservatory if you’re looking for something unique
    Cotigao Wildlife Sanctuary
    Located in Canacona and bordering Karnataka, the Cotigao Wildlife Sanctuary is the green heritage of Goa. Such forests are called Devachi Rai (sacred spot) by the indigenous people living there. The forest spanning 86 sq km is home to wildlife such as gazelles, sloth bears, porcupines, panthers and hyenas; however, sightings of these are very rare. One can, however, spot a few species of monkeys, wild boar and the Gaur. Frogs, snakes, monkeys, insects and exorbitantly-plumed birds are in ample supply. Marked trails are hike-able.
    The forest is also home to indigenous tribes and shepherds who live in hamlets inside the sanctuary. The wardens at the reserve’s small interpretative centre will show one how to get to a 25 metre high treetop watchtower, overlooking a waterhole that attracts a handful of animals around dawn and dusk.
    Trip Advisor
    The Cotigao Wildlife Sanctuary is 60 km from Panjim and is open from 9 am to 5 pm. A basic entry fee is charged at the gates
    Take a bus from Margao to Canacona bus stand. From the Canacona bus stand, board a bus to Cotigao village. The bus will drop you within 2 km of the gates
    However, to explore the inner reaches of the sanctuary, one really needs one’s own transport
    The distance from Margao to Canacona is 40 km and the bus fare is approximately Rs 26. From Canacona, it is 14 km to Cotigao village and the bus fare is Rs 10
    A hired taxi with driver will cost you approximately Rs 3500
    Fort of Cabo de Rama
    Cabo de Rama is one of many historic forts in Goa, but by no means one of the most interesting. The fort itself is not much more than a ramshackle ruin, and presents no real interest to most tourists. However the view from the tower and landscape that surrounds it makes it a worthwhile daytrip from any of the Canacona beaches or the Colva bay beaches.
    Named after Lord Rama (it is said that Lord Rama accompanied by his wife Sita took refuge here during his exile from Ayodhya for 14 years), this ancient fortress is located in the Canacona district of Goa, just 25 km south of Margao. It is one of the oldest forts in Goa, build before the arrival of the Portuguese.
    Inside the fort, there is the church of Santo Antonio which is in excellent condition and still used by devotees. The white church and the black fort provide a photographic picture of stark contrast. People come here to pray and just enjoy the mystical atmosphere of the fort. Cliffs drop steeply to the sea provide a panoramic outlook of the surrounding areas, at the western side of the fortress.
    Trip Advisor
    Cabo de Rama is located 25 km south of Margao
    It is 10kms from Palolem beach and 16 km north of Agonda beach
    Cabo De Rama fort can be easily reached by hiring a taxi or a cab from any nearby place in south Goa
    Taxi charges from Margao to Cabo de Rama are approximately Rs 2500
    There is also a regular bus service from Margao to Cabo De Rama fort daily
    Close to the fort is a small paradise beach that gives you a welcome opportunity for a refreshing dip in the sea after visiting the fort
    There’s also a shack on the beach offering cold drinks and basic some basic lunch
    Mayem Lake
    Mayem Lake is located in Mayem in Bicholim Taluka, which is 30 km from Panjim. The route is very picturesque and dotted with cashew trees, betel nut trees and pineapple plantations.  It is a desirable destination for boating. The tourism department has introduced paddle boats, which can be hired on an hourly basis. It has a well-maintained garden, an ideal place to sit, munch and observe.
    The energy of the place is unbelievable, especially on the weekends. There are small eateries around along with a few Goan handicraft shops as well. The famous Saptakoteshwar temple is just 7 km away from the lake.
    For overnight stays, the Goa Tourism Development Corporation offers inexpensive accommodation at the Mayem Lake Resort located at the edge of the lake. For nature lovers, it is an idyllic deal, as the lake view can be hypnotic during early mornings and late evenings.
    Trip Advisor
    Mayem Lake is 30 km from Panjim and it takes about an hour to get there
    There are few buses along the route, so it is advisable to hire a car for travelling to the lake. It costs about Rs 350 to rent a car
    Boating charges on the lake: Rs 100 for 30 minutes, Rs 140 for an hour
    For accommodation at the Mayem Lake Resort, advance booking is advised
    Splashdown Waterpark, Anjuna
    Splashdown Waterpark in Anjuna boasts of five pools, a variety of slides, flumes and other interesting features. There is something to do for all ages, and for the mild and strong at heart. The slides have been built with utmost precision taking into consideration the safety of visitors. Splashdown is a great place to spend quality time with your family and friends. There are a number of different slides to keep you busy and the excitement levels high.
    The ‘Caterpillar’ is a medium-speed body slide but provides a real splash at the end, mostly meant for kids. The gentle curves and bends before reaching the bottom are fun to experience. The Twister is one of the most popular rides at Splashdown. It takes you through a series of crazy twists and turns. You lie on your back directly on the slide and experience thrills and chills of the ‘Twister’ as you gain speed before safely landing in the slide pool.
    The Awesome 3some is another ride that begins with a steep descent from a height of 30 feet. After the first bump, you experience the thrill once again before ending up in the landing pool. This slide provides extreme thrill and has three lanes so you and two friends can race each other to the bottom.
    Trip Advisor
    Splashdown Goa is a 20 minute drive from Panjim and a 10 minute drive from Mapusa
    It is open from 10.30 am to 6 pm everyday
    From Mapusa, a regular bus service from Mapusa bus stand to Anjuna via Arpora drops you at the doorstep of the Splashdown Goa Waterpark
    From Panaji, you have to take a bus to Calangute, alight at Calangute and board the bus for Anjuna. Alight at the waterpark
    If you are travelling by car/bike, go past the Mapusa bus stand and at the junction of Carvalho Petrol Pump take the right towards Calangute. Drive 1.4 km ahead and take the second turn to the right. Around three km later, you will come to a fork. Keep left. Continue half a kilometre turning left at the junction past the Anjuna Church and again turn left at the roundabout. Drive about 1.2 kms ahead and Splashdown Goa is to your right
    From Panjim, cross over the Mandovi river and follow the NH 17 until you reach the O’Coquerio roundabout. Turn left and take the Chogm road towards Calangute following it for 6.5 kms till you reach the St Alex Church, Calangute. Turn left and then immediately right to head for the Calangute Market. Turn right approximately after one km at the Hotel Neelam Grand to get on to the Calangute-Anjuna road. Follow this road 4 kms past the Hotel Hilton Double Tree. Splashdown Goa will be to your left.
    Mystic Meadows: The Butterfly Conservatory of Goa
    Located at Priol in Ponda, Mystic Meadows, The Butterfly Conservatory of Goa is the labour of love of husband-wife duo  Yashodan and Jyoti Heblekar and proves how it takes small things to make a difference. The duo created their own butterfly island out of a single hill slope in a sleepy Goan village.
    The park is spread over 4000 square metres, and is recreated to be like a walk through a typical tropical forest, replete with streams and endemic plants.

    A place that was once barren and without any natural source of water is now a safe haven for butterflies. More than 133 species of butterflies have been photo documented at this place over the year and it is possible to spot around 25 species on any given day. You can watch the butterfly evolve from its egg to caterpillar to a chrysalis and a butterfly. An artificial stream, a bamboo bridge, a Koi (fish) and a turtle pond have also been added.
    Trip Advisor
    Ponda lies about 28 km south-east of Panjim and 17 km north-east of Margao
    One can reach there by car or even the bus
    The nearest railway station to Ponda is at Margao
    The Butterfly Conservatory is around 4 km from the Sahakari spice farm, 3 km from the Tropical Spice Plantation and 6 km from Savoi Plantation
    November to January are the busiest times at the Conservatory. Not only is it full of butterflies but the climate is also perfect

    Madiwala Lake- Travel

    Madiwala Lake, cranes, herons and swamphens The recent trip to Ranganathittu had put us in a birding frenzy. We already visited Ulsoor lake in the recent past. We got to see lots of birds and some interesting looking insects there. Madiwala lake was already in our list for some time. We wanted to see what all birds visit this lake during winter. So last Sunday(06-Jan-2013) it was an impromptu trip to Madiwala lake. Sunset seen from Madiwala lake. Like us, if you’re coming from Whitefield, you can take outer ring road and then, just after crossing Silk Board, take a left to get into 29th Main. Soon you will see the parking lot on your left. You can park your vehicle(4-wheeler) inside the park for Rs. 20. Entree fee is Rs. 5/adult and Rs. 2/child. And still camera fee is Rs. 100. Ticket rates The lake also has a park, well shaded with big trees. The park seemed more popular to young couples who wanted to enjoy each others company. A children play area and a boating club are also there. Paddle boats are available at a rate of Rs. 100/half hour. Boating station Now back to birding. Well, we read that there are several different types of water birds in the lake. And during winters, the pelicans add to the attraction. To our dismay, we didn’t find any pelican. We did see lots of purple swamphens, cranes, purple herons and kites. It looks beautiful when hundreds of white cranes fly around the lake in a formation during sundown. Here are some of the pictures for you to enjoy. A park maintainer clearing water hyacinth Black Ibis Cranes and Purple Swamphens living in harmony. Purple Heron Beautiful yellow flower Seed of the same same flowering tree A band of wasps Probably a senior wasp of the band Two cute puppies playing around The mosque near the lake – See more at: http://thetravellerweare.blogspot.in/2013/01/madiwala-lake-cranes-herons-and.html#sthash.Gh5jYIy5.dpuf

    ಮಂಜಿನ ಮೋಡಿಯಲ್ಲಿ…

    ಮಂಜಿನ ಮೋಡಿಯಲ್ಲಿ…

     
    •  186 reads
    • Tue, 08/27/2013 – 01:00
     

    ಹಿಮವದ್ ಗೋಪಾಲಸ್ವಾಮಿ ವನಶ್ರೇಣಿಯ ರಮಣೀಯ ನೋಟ – ಚಿತ್ರಗಳು: ಸಿ.ಆರ್.ವೆಂಕಟರಾಮು

    ಚಾಮರಾಜನಗರ ಜಿಲ್ಲೆ ಎಂದಾಕ್ಷಣ ವಿವಿಧ ಬೆಟ್ಟಗುಡ್ಡಗಳು ಕಣ್ಮುಂದೆ ನಿಲ್ಲುತ್ತವೆ. ಜಲಪಾತಗಳು ಧುಮ್ಮಿಕ್ಕುವ ಸದ್ದು ಕಿವಿಯಲ್ಲಿ ಗುಂಯ್‌ಗುಟ್ಟುತ್ತದೆ. ರಕ್ಷಿತಾರಣ್ಯಗಳಲ್ಲಿ ಕಾಡುಪ್ರಾಣಿಗಳ ಚಿನ್ನಾಟ ಮನದಲ್ಲಿ ಸುಳಿಯುತ್ತದೆ. ಇಂಥದ್ದೇ ಅವಿಸ್ಮರಣೀಯ ಸ್ಥಳಗಳಲ್ಲಿ ಒಂದು ಹಿಮವದ್ ಗೋಪಾಲಸ್ವಾಮಿ ಬೆಟ್ಟ. ಸ್ವಚ್ಛ ಪರಿಸರದ ನಡುವೆ ಕಂಗೊಳಿಸುತ್ತಿರುವ ಕೃಷ್ಣನ ಅಪೂರ್ವ ದರ್ಶನ, ನಾಳೆ ಕೃಷ್ಣಾಷ್ಟಮಿ ವಿಶೇಷ…

    ಸದಾ ಮಂಜಿನಲ್ಲಿ ಮಿಂದೇಳುವ ಹಸಿರ ರಾಶಿ, ಕಮಲದ ದಳದಂತಿರುವ ಶೃಂಗ ಶಿಖರ, ಸುತ್ತುವರಿದ ಎಂಟು ಪರ್ವತ, ಕಣ್ಣು ಹಾಯಿಸಿದಷ್ಟೂ ವನಶ್ರೇಣಿಗಳ ಸಮಾಗಮ… ನಡುವೆ ಚಿನ್ನದ ರಂಗಿನಿಂದ ಕಂಗೊಳಿಸುವ ಕೃಷ್ಣ ದೇಗುಲ…

    ಇದುವೇ ಚಾಮರಾಜನಗರದಲ್ಲಿರುವ ಹಿಮವದ್ ಗೋಪಾಲಸ್ವಾಮಿ ಬೆಟ್ಟ- ಶ್ರೀಕೃಷ್ಣ ದೇವಾಲಯ. ಬೆಟ್ಟ-ಗುಡ್ಡಗಳ ನಗರಿ ಚಾಮರಾಜನಗರದ ಶಿಖರದಲ್ಲಿದೆ ಈ ಹಿಮವದ್. ಚಾಮರಾಜನಗರ ಜಿಲ್ಲೆ ಎಂದಾಕ್ಷಣ ಬಿಳಿಗಿರಿರಂಗನಬೆಟ್ಟ, ಮಲೆಮಹದೇಶ್ವರ ಬೆಟ್ಟ ಸೇರಿದಂತೆ ವಿವಿಧ ಬೆಟ್ಟಗುಡ್ಡಗಳು ಕಣ್ಮುಂದೆ ನಿಲ್ಲುತ್ತವೆ. ಭರಚುಕ್ಕಿ, ಹೊಗೇನಕಲ್ ಜಲಪಾತದಲ್ಲಿ ನೀರು ಧುಮ್ಮಿಕ್ಕುವ ಸದ್ದು ಕಿವಿಯಲ್ಲಿ ಗುಂಯ್‌ಗುಟ್ಟುತ್ತದೆ. ಬಿಳಿಗಿರಿರಂಗನಾಥ ಸ್ವಾಮಿ ಹುಲಿ ರಕ್ಷಿತಾರಣ್ಯ, ಬಂಡೀಪುರ ರಾಷ್ಟ್ರೀಯ ಉದ್ಯಾನ, ಕಾವೇರಿ ವನ್ಯಜೀವಿಧಾಮ, ಮಲೆಮಹದೇಶ್ವರ ವನ್ಯಜೀವಿಧಾಮದಲ್ಲಿನ ಕಾಡುಪ್ರಾಣಿಗಳ ಚಿನ್ನಾಟ ಮನದಲ್ಲಿ ಸುಳಿಯುತ್ತದೆ. ಇಂತಹ ಹಲವು ತಾಣಗಳಲ್ಲಿ ಸದಾ ಹಿಮಹೊದ್ದು ಮಲಗಿರುವ ಹಿಮವದ್ ಗೋಪಾಲಸ್ವಾಮಿ ಬೆಟ್ಟವೂ ಒಂದು. ಪಶ್ಚಿಮ ಘಟ್ಟದಲ್ಲಿ ಅತ್ಯಂತ ಶ್ರೀಮಂತವಾಗಿರುವ ಬೆಟ್ಟ ಕೂಡ ಇದು. ವರ್ಷದ ಬಹುಕಾಲ ಈ ಬೆಟ್ಟ ಹಿಮಹೊದ್ದು ಮಲಗಿರುವ ಕಾರಣ `ಹಿಮವದ್’ ಆಗಿಯೂ, ಕಮಲದ ಆಕೃತಿಯಲ್ಲಿರುವುದಕ್ಕೆ `ಕಮಲಾಚಲ’ ಎಂದೂ ಪ್ರಸಿದ್ಧಿ ಹೊಂದಿದೆ.

    ಇಲ್ಲಿಯ ಹುಲ್ಲುಗಾವಲು ಪ್ರಮುಖ ಆಕರ್ಷಣೆ. ಪರ್ವತ ಶ್ರೇಣಿಗಳ ನಡುವೆ ಅಕ್ಷಾಂಶ- ರೇಖಾಂಶ ಬರೆದಂತೆ ಹರಿಯುವ ಹಳ್ಳ- ಕೊಳ್ಳಗಳು ಮೋಡಿ ಮಾಡುತ್ತವೆ. ಈ ಬೆಟ್ಟ ಬಂಡೀಪುರ ರಾಷ್ಟ್ರೀಯ ಉದ್ಯಾನದ ಸಂರಕ್ಷಿಸಲ್ಪಟ್ಟ ತಿರುಳು ವಲಯಕ್ಕೆ (ಕೋರ್ ಜೋನ್) ಸೇರಿದೆ. ಇದು ಅಳಿವಿನ ಅಂಚಿನಲ್ಲಿರುವ ವನ್ಯಜೀವಿಗಳ ಸಂತಾನಾಭಿವೃದ್ಧಿಗೆ ಯೋಗ್ಯ ಪ್ರದೇಶ.

    ಗೋಪಾಲಸ್ವಾಮಿ ಬೆಟ್ಟ ಸಮುದ್ರಮಟ್ಟದಿಂದ 5,770 ಅಡಿ ಎತ್ತರದಲ್ಲಿದೆ. ಕಾಲ್ನಡಿಗೆಯಲ್ಲಿ ಬೆಟ್ಟಕ್ಕೆ ಹೋಗಲು ಎರಡು ಮಾರ್ಗಗಳಿವೆ. ಗೋಪಾಲಪುರ- ಕುಣಗಹಳ್ಳಿ ಮಾರ್ಗದ ಮೂಲಕ ಬೆಟ್ಟ ತಲುಪಬಹುದು. ಗುಂಡ್ಲುವಿಜಯಾಪುರ- ಹಂಗಳ ಮಾರ್ಗವಾಗಿಯೂ ಬೆಟ್ಟ ಏರಬಹುದು. ಈ ಬೆಟ್ಟ ಅಪೂರ್ವ ಗಿಡಮೂಲಿಕೆಗಳ ಆಗರವೂ ಹೌದು. ಕೋಲ್ಕತ್ತದ ಸಸ್ಯ ವಿಜ್ಞಾನಿ ಆರ್.ಎಲ್. ಬದ್ವಾರ್ ಎಂಬಾತ ಏಳು ದಶಕದ ಹಿಂದೆ ಬೆಟ್ಟಕ್ಕೆ ಬಂದು 120 ಬಗೆಯ ಗಿಡಮೂಲಿಕೆಗಳನ್ನು ಸಂಗ್ರಹಿಸಿದ್ದ ಎಂದು ದಾಖಲೆ ಹೇಳುತ್ತವೆ. ಇಲ್ಲಿರುವ ಹಲವು ಗಿರಿಕಂದರಗಳ ನಡುವೆ ವೇಣುಗೋಪಾಲ ಸ್ವಾಮಿ ದೇವಾಲಯ ಇಲ್ಲಿನ ಪ್ರಮುಖ ಆಕರ್ಷಣೆ. ಆರಂಭದಲ್ಲಿ ಈ ದೇಗುಲ ಹೊಯ್ಸಳ ವಾಸ್ತುಶಿಲ್ಪ ಮೈಗೂಡಿಸಿಕೊಂಡಿರುವಂತೆ ತೋರುತ್ತದೆ. ನಂತರ, ವಿಜಯನಗರದ ವಾಸ್ತುಶಿಲ್ಪದ ಪ್ರಭಾವಕ್ಕೆ ಒಳಪಟ್ಟಿರುವಂತೆ ಕಂಡುಬರುತ್ತದೆ. ಈ ಎರಡು ಮಾದರಿಯಲ್ಲಿ ದೇಗುಲವಿದೆ ಎನ್ನುತ್ತಾರೆ ಇತಿಹಾಸ ತಜ್ಞರು.

    ದೇವಾಲಯದ ಒಳಗಡೆ ಶಕುನಾಸಿ, ನವರಂಗಗಳಿವೆ. ನವರಂಗದ ಬಲಗಡೆಗೆ ಇರುವ ಆನೆ ಆಕಾರದ ಗೂಡಿನಲ್ಲಿ ಸುಗ್ರೀವನ ಮೂರ್ತಿಯಿದೆ. ಶುಕನಾಸಿ ಪ್ರವೇಶಿಸುವ ದ್ವಾರದಲ್ಲಿ ಜಯ- ವಿಜಯರ ವಿಗ್ರಹಗಳಿವೆ. ಗರ್ಭಗುಡಿಯಲ್ಲಿ ಅಷ್ಟದಳ ಪೀಠದ ಮೇಲೆ ವೇಣುಗೋಪಾಲ ಸ್ವಾಮಿಯ ವಿಗ್ರಹವಿದೆ. ಕೊಳಲು ಹಿಡಿದು ನಿಂತಿರುವ ಗೋಪಾಲಸ್ವಾಮಿ ಭಕ್ತರ ಆಕರ್ಷಣೆಯ ಕೇಂದ್ರಬಿಂದು.
    ವೇಣುಗೋಪಾಲ ಮೂರ್ತಿಯ ಎಡಭಾಗದಲ್ಲಿ ರುಕ್ಮಿಣಿ, ಸತ್ಯಭಾಮೆ ಹಾಗೂ ಗೋವುಗಳ ವಿಗ್ರಹಗಳಿವೆ. ದೇಗುಲದ ಮುಂಭಾಗ ಕಲ್ಲಿನಿಂದ ರಚಿಸಿರುವ ಬೃಂದಾವನ ಇದೆ. ಧ್ವಜ ಸ್ತಂಭ, ಬಲಿಪೀಠಗಳಿವೆ. ಧ್ವಜ ಸ್ತಂಭದಲ್ಲಿ ಶಂಖ, ಚಕ್ರ, ಗರುಡ, ಆಂಜನೇಯನ ಚಿತ್ರ ಕೆತ್ತಲಾಗಿದೆ. ದೇಗುಲದ ಸುತ್ತಲೂ ಹಸಿರು ಕಂಗೊಳಿಸುತ್ತದೆ. ದೇಗುಲದ ಬಳಿ ನಿಂತು ವನಶ್ರೇಣಿಯ ಸೊಬಗು ನೋಡುವುದೇ ಅಂದ.

    ಪ್ಲಾಸ್ಟಿಕ್ ನಿಷೇಧ
    ಗೋಪಾಲಸ್ವಾಮಿ ಬೆಟ್ಟ ವನ್ಯಜೀವಿ ವಲಯ ಹುಲಿ, ಆನೆ, ಚಿರತೆ, ಕಾಡೆಮ್ಮೆಯಂತಹ ವನ್ಯಜೀವಿಗಳ ಆವಾಸ ತಾಣ. ಈ ಬೆಟ್ಟಕ್ಕೆ ನಿತ್ಯ ಬರುವ ಪ್ರವಾಸಿಗರ ಸಂಖ್ಯೆಯೂ ಈಗ ಹೆಚ್ಚಿದೆ. ಮೋಜಿಗಾಗಿ ಬರುವ ಯುವಜನರ ಸಂಖ್ಯೆ ಲೆಕ್ಕವಿಲ್ಲ. ಬೆಟ್ಟಕ್ಕೆ ಬರುತ್ತಿದ್ದ ಪ್ರವಾಸಿಗರು ತಿಂಡಿ- ತಿನಿಸಿನ ಜತೆಗೆ ಪ್ಲಾಸ್ಟಿಕ್ ಬಾಟಲ್ ಕೊಂಡೊಯ್ಯುತ್ತಿದ್ದರು. ಹುಲ್ಲುಗಾವಲಿನಲ್ಲಿ ಕುಳಿತು ತಾವು ತಂದಿದ್ದ ತಿಂಡಿ-ತಿನಿಸು ಮೆಲ್ಲುವಾಗ ಪ್ಲಾಸ್ಟಿಕ್ ಚೀಲ, ಬಾಟಲ್ ಹುಲ್ಲಿನಲ್ಲಿಯೇ ಮರೆಯಾಗುತ್ತಿತ್ತು. ಇದು ವನ್ಯಜೀವಿಗಳ ಜೀವಕ್ಕೆ ಕುತ್ತು ತರುತ್ತಿತ್ತು.

    ಈಗ ವನ್ಯಜೀವಿ ಸಂರಕ್ಷಣಾ ಕಾಯ್ದೆ ಅನ್ವಯ ಬೆಟ್ಟ ಪ್ರದೇಶದಲ್ಲಿ ಸಂಪೂರ್ಣವಾಗಿ ಪ್ಲಾಸ್ಟಿಕ್ ಬಳಕೆ ನಿಷೇಧಿಸಲಾಗಿದೆ. ಪ್ರವೇಶ ದ್ವಾರದಲ್ಲಿಯೇ ಪ್ರವಾಸಿಗರ ವಾಹನ, ಬ್ಯಾಗ್ ತಪಾಸಣೆ ನಡೆಯುತ್ತದೆ. ಈ ಮೊದಲಿನಂತೆ ಬೆಳಿಗ್ಗೆ ಬೆಟ್ಟಕ್ಕೆ ಹೋಗಿ ನಿಸರ್ಗ ಸೌಂದರ್ಯ ಸವಿದು ಸಂಜೆ ಊರಿನತ್ತ ದೌಡಾಯಿಸುತ್ತಿದ್ದ ಅವಕಾಶಕ್ಕೆ ಕಡಿವಾಣ ಬಿದ್ದಿದೆ. ಬೆಟ್ಟ ಪ್ರವೇಶಿಸಿದ ಒಂದೂವರೆ ಗಂಟೆಯೊಳಗೆ ವಾಪಸ್ ಮರಳಬೇಕಿದೆ. ಅವಧಿ ಮೀರಿ ಉಳಿಯಲು ಯತ್ನಿಸಿದರೆ ಬೆಟ್ಟದಲ್ಲಿರುವ ಅರಣ್ಯ ಇಲಾಖೆ ಸಿಬ್ಬಂದಿ ವಾಪಸ್ ಕಳುಹಿಸುತ್ತಾರೆ.

    ಪ್ರವೇಶ ದ್ವಾರದ ಬಳಿ ಪ್ಲಾಸ್ಟಿಕ್ ತಪಾಸಣೆಗೆ ಒಬ್ಬ ಅರಣ್ಯ ರಕ್ಷಕ ಹಾಗೂ ಮೂವರು ವೀಕ್ಷಕರನ್ನು ಅರಣ್ಯ ಇಲಾಖೆ ನಿಯೋಜಿಸಿದೆ. ಶನಿವಾರ ಮತ್ತು ಭಾನುವಾರ ಬೆಟ್ಟಕ್ಕೆ ಬರುವ ಪ್ರವಾಸಿಗರ ಸಂಖ್ಯೆ ಹೆಚ್ಚಿರುತ್ತದೆ. ಈ ವೇಳೆ ವನ್ಯ ಸಂಸ್ಥೆಯ ಪ್ರತಿನಿಧಿಗಳು ಕೂಡ ಪ್ಲಾಸ್ಟಿಕ್ ತಪಾಸಣೆಗೆ ಅರಣ್ಯ ಸಿಬ್ಬಂದಿಯೊಂದಿಗೆ ಕೈಜೋಡಿಸುತ್ತಾರೆ. ಅಂದಹಾಗೆ ಈ ಬೆಟ್ಟ ಇರುವುದು ಗುಂಡ್ಲುಪೇಟೆ ಪಟ್ಟಣದ ನೈರುತ್ಯ ದಿಕ್ಕಿನಲ್ಲಿ, 15 ಕಿ.ಮೀ. ದೂರದಲ್ಲಿ.

    ಗಿರಿಕಂದರಗಳ ರಾಶಿ
    ಈ ಬೆಟ್ಟದ ಸುತ್ತಲೂ ಗಿರಿಕಂದರಗಳಿವೆ. ಪೂರ್ವಕ್ಕೆ ತ್ರಿಯಂಬಕಾದ್ರಿ, ಪಶ್ಚಿಮಕ್ಕೆ ನೀಲಾದ್ರಿ, ಉತ್ತರಕ್ಕೆ ಮಂಗಳಾದ್ರಿ, ದಕ್ಷಿಣಕ್ಕೆ ಶಂಬರಾಗಿರಿ ಬೆಟ್ಟವಿದೆ. ಆಗ್ನೇಯಕ್ಕೆ ಹಂಸಾದ್ರಿ, ನೈರುತ್ಯಕ್ಕೆ ಗರುಡಾದ್ರಿ, ವಾಯವ್ಯಕ್ಕೆ ಪಲ್ಲವ ಹಾಗೂ ಈಶಾನ್ಯ ಭಾಗದಲ್ಲಿ ಮಲ್ಲಿಕಾರ್ಜುನ ಗಿರಿಗಳಿವೆ.

    ವೇಣುಗೋಪಾಲ ಸ್ವಾಮಿ
    ಮಂಜುಮುಸುಕಿದ ವೇಣುಗೋಪಾಲ ಸ್ವಾಮಿ ದೇವಾಲಯ