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Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Drive from Bangalore to Chennai

Since we bought the i10, we had been to Chennai around 7 times. And 7 being my lucky number, I wanted to share some tips and learning for those deciding to travel to Chennai and back by car.

Well, the first decision to take as ever is the route. As you would know, Chittor route is the shortest, but then many parts are still under construction / conversion from 2 lane to 4 lane. So, its advisable to use the Hosur road.

The Route
Well, this is the route that I take mostly.

View Larger Map

Breakfast / Tiffin Options
Hosur - Meenakshi Bhavan (just beneath the Hosur Overpass)
Hosur - Vasanta Vihar (Gauri Shankar) behind Hosur old bus stand.
A2B (about 22 kms from Hosur towards Krishnagiri, near Chinnar)
Vellore (I don't know, but I avoid it as you need to go beneath the over passes at Vellore).

Where to Speed up ?
The section from Hosur to Krishnagiri is quite good, with lots of slopes (both up & down). The hassle in this stretch could be the lorries, that find it difficult to climb the slopes, and you might have to wait and zip past a couple of over friendly lorries.

From Krishnagiri, the road to Vellore is a run-way. One can easily do average speeds of over 90 kmph, with top speed of 130 kmph. You can find Ambur bit irritating, as there is no flyover here. There are atleast couple of traffic signals that takes about 2 mins each to cross. Once you cross Ambur, you can zip to Vellore at about 100 kmph average speed.

You will be greeted with as many as 7 over passes at Vellore - yes. All the intersections at Vellore have over passes, so if you wanna take a diversion to Katpadi or Arani or other places, then watch out for sign boards.

The road from Vellore to Kanchipuram intersection is quite good, but there would be slightly increased traffic, that requires all your skills to wade through the maze. The stretch from kanchipuram crossing to Sriperumbudur is a bit patchy I would say as the tar has melted and you can see the yellow & white lines curves on the road. As a result of this, you need to tighten your grip on the steering wheel a bit, to have more control.

As I say near Tambaram, I mostly take the road from Sriperumbudur to Tambaram. This stretch is approx. 22 kms, but takes atleast 45 mins to negotiate.

The section from Hosur to Krishnagiri is very scenic with lots of lows and highs, that offers a breathtaking view from your driver seat.

There are lots of temples around Krishnagiri - Aravamudha Perumal temple, Kaatu Veera Anjaneya Temple, etc.

Once you reach Jolarpet, you can see the Yelagiri hills on the right (if you are travelling from Bangalore to Chennai). Take a moment to capture it if you want.

Near to Vellore, you have Sripuram & Ratnagiri. Sripuram is about 14 kms from the highway, whereas you can see the Ratnagiri temple from the highway itself.

Toll Gates
Electronic City - Rs. 35 (I avoid it when travelling towards Chennai, but take it on the return. You can zip past 12 kms in about 6 mins.)
Attibele - Rs. 20
Krishnagiri - Rs. 25
Vaniyambadi - Rs. 35
Pallikonda - Rs. 45
Walajapet - Rs. 25
Sriperumbudur - Rs. 25 (I can avoid it, as I take a detour before this toll towards Tambaram)

Time Chart
Silk board to Hosur ~30 mins
Hosur to Krishnagiri ~45 mins
Krishnagiri to Vellore ~75 mins
Vellore to Sriperumbudur ~60 mins

View the various Pics that I've taken on the highway.

Other Tips
1. Fill up the tank before embarking on a long journey, and check the tyre pressures.
2. The best time to drive is early mornings. Better start early by around 5:00 to 5:30, and you could have a smooth exit passage from the starting city.
3. If you are stopping on a highway, be sure that your car is completely off the tar (yellow line). Most of the Truck drivers drive on the extreme left, so beware.
4. Do not get too bothered about the attractions, pay attention to the road and the moving vehicles.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

1st Drive to Nandi Hills

I've been to Nandi hills a couple of times before on bike, but this has been our first trip on Car. We started around 12:00 Noon, and zipped past Hebbal, Yelahanka Junction & then as we neared BIAL, my wife urged me to detour to the BIAL. The approach to the BIAL is just fantastic, with flyovers to all directions. Its a 5 km drive from the Hyderabad road, and you will enjoy every minute of it. We just drove past the drop point, and then took a U-turn back.

Then, took a left after Devanahalli towards Nandi Hills, and got some fresh grapes on the way.

The roads were sprinked with water, the clouds decorated the hills and it was a fantastic sight indeed. We didn't miss a moment.

As we approached the ghat section, the adrenaline level raised within myself. After all it was my second drive on a ghat section (first one being on Chamundi hills). The climb was pretty smooth on our i10, I managed to climb the best part on 3rd gear, without too much gear shifts. We stopped at about 1200 metres above sea level, and took some pics.

The next part of the climb was rather steep, and I had to use 1st gear at times. There were about 10 hair-pin bends, but the roads are well laid and pretty broad, so you will find it pretty easy.

Reached the top around 2:00 PM, took the Rs. 80 ticket, and the drove to the top. It was hard to find a parking place, and we got one finally.

We then did some mini treks to capture some breathtaking visuals.

I didn't miss the water droplets on the lush grass, it offered me immense joy as would do to a nature lover.

The clouds closed in and mist began to settle. Suddenly the climate changed, and the backdrop became breathtaking from amazing.

Within few minutes, there was a slight drizzle that turned into a downpour. Then, we began to scurry back to our car and started from there around 3:00 PM.

The retreat was less fun and I remembered one tip from my Guru - Do not drive down a slope in neutral, do not keep pressing brakes all the time to decelerate, use lower gears. Just at the foot of the hill, we found a tea shop, and wow, very hot tea - fitting for the weather indeed.

From then it was a cruise, as we reached our home in Old Madras Road by about 4:45 PM.

More photos can be found from -
2010_01_01@Nandi Hills

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Shell - Fill Tank and get a Ferrari toy car (1:38) Free

Shell is offering a Ferrari toy car free on filling a tank. And what the offer is for 4-wheelers (Min Rs. 1500) and 2-wheelers (Min Rs. 350).

There are six different Ferrari model cars to collect, a display of stunning performance and brilliant design -
1. Ferrari Formula One F2005
2. 360 Spider
3. F430
4. F50
5. Enzo
6. Superamerica

I've already managed to get these models

Ferrari Enzo


360 Spider


So, what are you waiting for, go get your grabs. Hurry, offer closes 25th October 2010.

Saturday, October 02, 2010

My Endhiran Experience

Hurray ! I've been able to get a first day (01-Oct-2010) evening show ticket at Rex Theatre, Brigade Road, from www.bookmyshow.com. I am waiting to experience the experience. I will write more on the night of 1st Oct !!!

Its 01-10-10. Morning on the way to my office, there was an unusual traffic near Marathahalli. Innovative multiplex had innovatively converted open areas surrounding the adjoining buildings into car-parking slots. The crowd was monstrous, it took me about 15 minutes to cross Innovative from Salarpuria, I knew its going to be big...

People at my office were all talking about this crowd in front of Innovative, and we realized that it would only be a trailer of what should be going on in Chennai. Nevertheless everyone in my office were getting jealous and the news spread very quickly that I am gonna watch Endhiran in the evening...

We decided to go by bike, as we new parking at Brigade's gonna be a problem, and when we reached there about 5:00 PM, I was convinced that I have taken a wise decision... The very poster of Endhiran was ominous, and I didn't want to miss that...

The crowd kept building up, and the shouts of people waiting outside were deafening.

People had come to enjoy in various forms, few were wearing Endhiran T-Shirts, while few came with balloons and paper glitters... At about 6:00 PM, the previous shows' crowd were beginning to stroll out with loud cheers. I could sense that people were spell-bound, and were still experiencing the experience within.

Finally, we were able to squeeze to the theater hall. The crowd was just getting set to erupt, and we were getting bit worried if we would not be able to hear any dialogues, but after few opening bursts the crowd got settled down to enjoy every bit of it...

The titles, well as usual once you see "SUPERSTAR RAJINI"'s name in the title board, you could imaging the decibel levels, it was just awesome !!!

I am not going to write the story or the review frame by frame, but I would like to share some captivating moments... Quite contrary to the norm with Rajini's movies don't expect any punch dialogues, but there is style and charisma in abundance throughout...

Shankar's Robot, the real metal Robot is indeed a marvel in itself. The eyebrows, the lips and Rajini like steel face are all minutely crafted to perfection. Christened Chitti, the Robots initial days are described in an engrossing way - Chitti dealing with a Traffic Constable, Chitti learning things and helping Sana to take her MBBS Exams. Chitti is made to be an evolving robot, learn things as it unfolds, and this concept has been brilliantly told by Shankar.

Chitti's description of itself - My name is Chitti, Processor - Pentium 1 Zeta Hertz, Memory - 1 Terabyte, tickles your comic senses. The scan of telephone directory and Chitti's answers to questions posed by various people, are all neatly crafted by Shankar.

The robot has electromagnetic powers and can move and attract any metallic substance. The stunts in the market, where Chitti grabs hold of the weapons and presents as Goddess Kali, the train stunt scene, the horizontal run on the side of the train are well pictured.

Some minute details like the temperature the Robot can withstand, water-proof, its capability to charge itself from a electric supply are all well explained by Shankar at various places..

Then comes the true characteristics of a machine vs human, the lack of heart, the lack of feelings and emotions, very nicely unfurled and infused into Chitti. There is a la 3-Idiots scene where Chitti handles a complicated pregnancy case, very neatly unraveled.

Every one would have read from all reviews that Chitti would begin to have a liking for Sana (Aish). The Irumbile irudhayam mulaitthadho song is indeed mind blowing, and Ash's dance is worth to mention. Very soon its followed by Chitti's dance showcase and here again, Chitti's dances (all CG) takes you by storm, and Ash easily wins over Chitti's CG dance by sheer elegance, you can see why she is the real beauty. You can see a refreshed Aish in Sana (not the frustrated Rahini from Raavan).

Danny as a villain by this time is beginning to corrupt Chitti. You might get emotionally attached when Chitti says to Danny "I want to live". Danny infuses a *RED* chip on to Chitti (to create mass destruction), and Chitti gets a new name - "Chitti v2.0" with the look of Moondru Mugam "Alex Pandian", with a lightning style girdha, you can accept only Rajini with these looks...

Many terms are bit IT centric like Gigabyte, v2.0, Ctrl+Alt+Del, Worming, De-worming, and many more. We are in 2010, and if you are aiming for hollywood standards, you must accept these terms. The presentation is in such a way that even B & C centres would cherish the overall experience.

From here on, its Chitti's destruction after abducting Sana, and you enjoy every minute of it, to an extent due to Shankar's presentation, but largely due to Rajini. If it was any other hero donning a negative role, the plot would have been lost. Its Rajini's screen presence, mannerisms and charisma that keeps you focussed. Chitti meanwhile creates an empire, and again you stand to admire these scenes. If Sivaji was human Rajini performing Robot like gravity defying stunts, you get to experience the fight where Chitti takes out all the guns from the army, and shoots back, you could have seen this from the trailor, but it gives you a whole new experience when you watch it as part of the movie.

Vaseegaran tries various tactics to rescue Sana and de-activate Chitti, all intellectually laughed away by Chitti. You can argue why is Vaseegaran not taking the henchman route? But that brings Chitti to the forefront, and keeps your adrenalin pumping. The scene where Chitti detects Vaseegaran (also in the same appearance as other Robot Rajinis) would keep you spell-bound.

I don't have a word to describe the last 45 minutes of the film, you need to experience it. Its a combination of the Matrix, the Anaconda, the Godzilla, the Terminator, some glimpses of 2012 and Shankar's very own imagination. The climax has a tinge of emotion, when Chitti hugs Vaseegaran for one last time.

Forget about storyline, who cares for a story in a Rajini movie. I certainly didn't. I am not an ardent Rajini fan either, but I truly enjoyed the ride. Aish has done a good supporting act and makes her presence felt throught the movie.

Rahman !!! Wow, Randy's camera and locations has given a rich sheen to all the songs. I especially loved the Arima Arima song, with a Robot Lion. Wow, amazing you can admire Rajini even when he is dancing with Lions. The much talked about Background music for the Climax is to an extent eaten up by the Visual magnificence.

Well, its a Stage planned & executed by Shankar, sponsored by Sun pictures, competed by all technicians (camera, music, art, sound, editing, etc.), acted by India's leading actress and our Superstar. At the end of it you would forget everything, but remember the phenomenon called Rajinikanth. You can't enjoy, admire, salute and look at awe at one person, be it Keanu Reeves or Arnold Schwarzenegger or John Travolta or Pierce Brosnan or our own Amitabh or SRK or Aamir or even Kamalahassan, but you will for Rajini. There was, is and will be one and only Superstar of World Cinema.

No movie can be without flaws and I don't want to write about it either. You need to appreciate the honest effort at a stifle budget when compared to Matrix, Titanic and 2012. You need to watch it, go and enjoy the roller coaster of an experience. You will cherish it for ages.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Gavi Gangadhareshwara Temple, Basavangudi

Sri Gavi Gangadhareshwara Temple was cut out of a rock somewhere around the ninth century. It was later renovated by Kempe Gowda, the founder of Bangalore. Dedicated to Lord Shiva, this temple is situated in the Gavipuram-Guttahalli, about 3 km from the City Market. Shri Gavi Gangadhareswara Temple of Bangalore houses a unique image of Agni, the God of Fire, probably the only one of its type in the entire South India. To the left of the main entrance, is a splendid image of Shakti Ganapathi, with 12 hands. There are four monolith pillars in the courtyard, which represent Damaru, Thrishula and two fans.

A natural monolith rock formation, the Sri Gavi Gangadhareswara Temple of Bangalore is visited by thousands of devotees every year, in the month of January. They come to Bangalore on the sacred day of Makar Sankranti to witness a unique phenomenon. On this day, for one hour, the sunrays fall on the Siva Linga, after passing through the two horns of the image of Nandi Bull, the vehicle of Lord Shiva.

The architects of Sri Gavi Gangadhareshwara Temple deliberately planned it in such a way that on Makar Sankranti, the sun's rays always pass through Nandi's horns, while lighting up the Shiva Lingam. This unique phenomenon can be witnessed only for one hour i.e., between 17.00 hrs and 18.00 hrs on this particular day.

Location of the Temple

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Reaching the temple
You can cover Kumaraswamy temple (Hanumantha Nagar) and this temple at one shot. From Hanumantha Nagar 50 ft Road, take the 5th cross, and proceed straight to Hanumantha Nagar Park. Go further straight, and you can find this temple.

The temple is situated within a cave. The prakaram around sivalinga is about 4.5 ft high, and it will be a good experience to go around.

Useful Links

Friday, September 24, 2010

Kumara Swamy Devasthana, Hanumantha Nagar

Kumara Swamy Devasthana in Hanumantha Nagar (near Basavangudi), Bangalore is a famous temple of Lord Muruga. The temple is situated on a hillock.

There is also a wikipedia article for this temple, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kumara_Swamy_Devasthana,_Bangalore

Location of the temple

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Reaching the temple
You can reach the temple from Outer ring road via Kathriguppe main road, or from Basavangudi (from Jayanar or City Market). The roads are quite narrow, but are very clean and neat and free of potholes.

About the temple
The main entrance of the temple (base of the hillock) has a Ganesha temple. You need to climb about 75 steps to reach the Murugan temple. Within the main temple, you can find idols of Lord Ganesha, Lord Muruga (with Sivalinga in the foreground) and Goddess Shakthi.

Some Photos

Other Points to Note
There approach road to the temple is very calm, and you can find ample parking space in the neighbouring streets. The timings are 6:00 AM to 12:00 Noon and 5:30 PM to 8:30 PM.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Srinivasa & Anjaneya Temple, Indira Nagar

This temple is situated on the 100 ft road, near the intersection of CMH Road and 100Ft. road. The temple has a sizeable (bigger than human) size Lord Balaji or Srinivasa or Venkatachalapathy (whatever you may call). There are also idols of Lord Hanuman (in the posture of carrying the Sanjeevini hill), Lord Vinayaka and Goddess Andal.

Location of the temple

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Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Om Sakthi Temple, Kaggadaspura

There are many Amman temples in Bangalore. However, this Om Sakthi temple in Kaggadaspura is a miniature of Melmaruvathur Adhiparasakthi temple, I must say. The presiding deity is Adhiparasakthi, and believe me you will experience a vibration as soon as you enter the temple premises.

Location of the Temple

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Way to the temple
If you are coming from Old Madras Road (from Indira Nagar, towards K.R. Puram), watch out for Big Bazaar on the right. Take the right turn before big bazaar and proceed for about 3 kms. As you drive, you will navigate through the crowded Nagavarpalya Marker, DRDO, Dominos Pizza, Mega Mart, Reliance Fresh and Nilgiris (on Kaggadasapura Main Road). Proceed further till you find a Sweet Chariot shop of the left. Exactly opposite (on the right) is 13th Cross. Display boards are present, so you won't miss it. Take the right turn and going down for about 100 metres, you will find an apartment by name "Rocking heights" on "C Cross". Take the left just before this apartment. The road is bit narrow and you will find "ID Idly/Dosa Batter factory" at your right. Proceed bit further about 25 metres, and you will find this temple. If you are driving a car, better to park it somewhere on the 13th Cross, as "13th C Cross" is very narrow.

Pooja Items
You will get lemon, flower garlands, Archana items, Kumkum etc. in a shop situated very close to the temple.

The month of "Aadi" is very famous for Om Sakthi, and every day abhishekams are performed. Fridays are very auspicious. You can book for abishekam or archana at the temple counter. On Fridays, its better to wear Red clothing. Ladies with Red attire are allowed to enter the "Garba graha" and perform "aarthi" / "Kumkuma archana".

Overall your experience will be blissful. Please make sure you visit this temple.

Murugan Temple, Vijinapura

Not many would have known this, but this little area by name Vijinapura, near K.R.Puram Railway station is rich in various temples. The area has Ganesh temple, Anjaneya Temple, Shani Bhagwan temple, Ayyappan Temple, Yellamma (Amman) temple and Murugan Temple to name a few.

Location of the Temple
The Muragan temple is a bit hard to locate, Google maps did not have the location at first, Now I've added it.

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Temple at Night

Temple at Day

About the temple
The temple has idols of Lord Ganesha in the left, Subramanya or Murugan in the middle and Siva Lingam in the right. The temple also has a navagraha to the right of the entrance. The temple is pretty small, but must visit as this is only Murugan temple on Old Madras Road. The Gurukkul is very friendly too. Abishekams are performed in the morning around 6:00 AM.

Abhishekams can be performed for Vinayaga, Muruga & Sivan & Navagrahas at a cost of Rs. 150 each or Rs. 501 for all.

Other helpful Tips
The approach roads are pretty small, so please travel in your two wheeler.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Bangalore to Shravanabelagola

Long drives has always been my passion, and for sometime we have been planning to visit Shravanabelagola. Unlike my earlier trip to Mysore, I did not plan much for the trip. I just had a casual look at the route map to Shravanabelagola, and it looked like this -

View Larger Map

We started off around 7:30 from home, had breakfast at our Krishna Paradise in Pai Layout. Then filled fuel at Shell, and started from there by about 8:00 AM.

The route map goes like this Old Madras Road -> Ulsoor Lake -> St. John's Church Road -> Nandi Durga Road -> Jayamahal Road -> Mekhri Circle -> C.V.Raman Road -> Yeshvantapur -> Neelamangala -> Mangalore Road -> Kunigal -> Yadiyur -> Hirisave -> Shravanabelagola. At the time I went, the Neelamangala toll gate was under trial, so toll was not collected at that time. Once the Yeshwantapur - Neelamangala Flyover is inaugurated, I am sure you need to pay a decent price for a swift fly :-)

There roads are in the process of being converted from 2 lane to 4 lane, and hence you may have to take quite many diversions, many without even a warning sign.

After dreading the potholes and take diversions, reached Hirisave at around 11:00 AM. I took a left turn at Hirisavu to Shravanabelagola (about 18 kms).

This road would be very quiet and very enjoyable to drive, with lots of turns and scenaries around. Reached Shravanabelagola by 11:30 AM. You can easily locate the hills from anywhere near Shravanabelagola.

There is ample parking space around the temple, parking fee is Rs.20.

Just within Vindhyagiri, you could find a paid toilet and chappal stand. YOu can also find lot of tender coconut shops, and believe me you will enjoy the taste of the tender coconut.

Shravanabelagola - esplanation of Chandragiri & Vindhyagiri

After refreshing ourselves, we began the Climb. Its about 650 steps, and would take around 30 - 40 mins to reach the top. On the way up, you can find breathtaking views of the chandragiri temple & the lake between.

Never miss a moment, keep clicking...

On reaching the top you can find the idol, and never stop admiring at the marvel.

You could offer Abhishekam at the foot of the statue for a prescribed fee.

There are other small Jain idols at the top. The view from the top again is amazing, so worth spending some moments there.

The Downhill was more enjoyable, as you had to court gravity and slope. Took about 30 mins to reach the base of Vindhyagiri.

There are quite some shops at the bottom of Vindhyagiri. I got a bokoma for Rs. 20 and few massage items.

I took a moment to visit the entrance of Chandragiri, and click a snap.

There was one "Hotel Raghu", but we did not take a chance, we had few snacks from a bakery and started back around 2:00 PM. I took another route from Shravanabelagola to Join Hassan - Bangalore road, and my boy this road was just the sanctuary my i10 was yearning for... It was an amazing 15 mins drive through scenic spots and villages...

Reached Neelamangala around 4:15 and from there on it was a clutch and break affair, and reached home around 7:00 PM after having dinner at A2B Indira Nagar.

Overall it was a refreshing drive ~ 310 kms !!!