Aandi Gundi Night trek near Ramanagar

There is a small town named Ramanagar, in the Bangalore Mysore highway and is around 60 kms from Bangalore. Aandi Gundi is about 6 kms before Ramnagar to the left. To reach this village you need to cross railway track and go one km further. We stopped our car near pupil tree where there is a temple. This is the starting point to climb all the way up. We reached this place late at night and the entire village had gone to sleep. To reach the base of the peak, we had to cross the village and there were just too many street dogs enough for the villagers to wake up. We just continued walking  and there is another temple after which the hard unknown trail starts. There is no trail as such and we lost our way. Lucky it was full moon and we had our GPS and torch ready. After trying here and there we made our own way through the nearby smaller hill. The total trek is for about an hour or 90 minutes. There is enough space on top for trekkers to sleep there is no source of water. The night view and early morning view from peak is worth climbing. At night it's the Ramanagar city view or the street light view and in the morning it's the mist - fog covered nearby peaks. Don't forget to take mosquito repellent else you might keep yourself awake whole night even if you are in a sleeping bag. Check out the video below which will explain more. This is a nice weekend hangout place to kill time.

Trekking at Ettina Bhuja

Ettina Bhuja located deep inside Western Ghats, known for it's thick rain forest and wild animals, located at Shishila about 15km from Dharmasthala, Karnataka, India. This place got it's name from the look that it has when seen from far. It looks precisely like the shoulder of an ox (Ettu - Ox, Bhuja - Sholder). Yes Ettina Bhuja means shoulder of an ox. Ettina Bhuja is surrounded by many other peaks - Amedikallu peak. 

We started our trek from Anu Gowda's house. You can reach this place by bus and their house is the last stop. There is a well laid tar road to reach their house. We reached this place early in the morning. After having breakfast we started our trekking through their farm land and after crossing a river. You can easily cross this river without getting your shoes wet, as the water level is not too high. This may not be the case during monsoon. There is a temple soon after crossing the river where you can pray for a safe trek. We went on for another 30 mins where you will find a stream to the right and this is the last place to find water. Be careful in this region as this place is known for wild elephants. We could easily see that because of the fresh destruction of trees and it's dung. Villagers/Guide told us that there were 12 elephants along with a calf, which can be dangerous for us if there is an attack.

We went on and the entire trekking trail is about 8 miles from Anu Gowda's house till the peak. It takes almost four hours to reach the peak. Two third of the trekking is through thick forest and you can walk in the shade, but is steep in some of the places. Just before reaching the peak is a steep climb. Climbing the peak at the end is almost vertical and is a bit dangerous. You will have to get down and walk a bit if you want to take rest under tree shade. There is a small stream with ice cold water even during summer, just before the peak and you can check with the villagers. Check out the video below.

On one side of the peak is Dakshina Kannada and on the other side is Shimoga district. There is another way to get to the peak and on the way is an old temple which is visible when you climb on top. Many take this as an exit route. It will be a shorter trek hardly 4 kms and there is a jeep route.

Trekking during summer to this place can be a bit challenging for first timers because of high temperature and humidity. Be careful and do not stay in the forest for long time. 

Camera: Nikon D600 + Nikon 14-24mm lens.

Time lapse of Lightening and Rain in Bangalore City

It was a cloudy day and was about to rain. Usually, it doesn't rain during this time of the year (in April first week) unless there is some cyclonic storm in the Bay of Bengal. The temperature in Bangalore had reached almost 38 degree Celsius during day time and this first rain (in 2014) was more like nature's way of switching on air conditioner. The temperature had dropped more than ten degrees on the next day.

I was at home and just opened the window. It was nice to see lightening and heavy rain outside. So, I pulled out my camera and also, my tripod. Placed it right next to the window and focused it to infinity. I switched to manual focus and adjusted my camera settings to f4 and ISO 1600. Even though my lens had the capacity to go up to f 1.4 (which I had tried earlier), I opted for f 4 as it was too bright at f 1.4 even though it was dark outside. The street and industrial lights (light pollution) was enough to brighten up the sky.

While capturing lightening photos it's good to keep the shutter open for long time, but was not possible as I opted for time lapse feature within the camera and the lowest that I could opt for was 1 sec. Below is my first lightening and rain time lapse that I had captured.

Location: Malleshwaram, Bangalore,  India
Camera: Nikon D600 + Nikon 50 mm + Tripod

Small waterfall but great weekend fun

This is about a small, not so fa waterfall which is not so famous but a nice place to hangout on a weekend located near Dabbe Falls. This waterfall above the Dabbe waterfalls in Shimoga and is about one kilometer before reaching Dabbe Falls. Check out my previous post on Dabbe Falls here [Link].

There is a mud road/ jeep track to reach this location, but trekking all the way to this place will be even more fun. This small waterfall is hardly a few meters in height and is less dangerous. But you need to be careful as it's slippery and also water current maybe high during monsoon. Ideal time would be to go after the monsoon season so that there is less water and you can get into the water to have fun.

The reason why you need to visit this place and why I consider this place to be better than other falls is - Falls like Jog or Dabbe are few hundreds of feet in height and will be dangerous. These falls are the best to see from far, but if you want to get into risk free water and have maximum fun, then this is the place you need to spend time.

Location: Near Dabbe Falls, Shimoga, Wester Ghats, Karnataka, India
Camera: Nikon D600 + 50mm 1.4d + 14-24mm lens + Tripod

Dabbe Falls in Shimoga

Dabbe Falls is one of the famous falls in western Ghats, but not so known to people maybe because it's hard to reach the falls as it's deep in the jungle. The waterfall is about 600 feet high. You can reach the bottom of this falls during summer and is not very deep (almost 4 to 5 feet), but advised not to try this during monsoon.

As of this writing there is a jeep route which will take you all the way to Dabbe Falls near 'Gowdra Mane' (house), our vehicle (TT) could almost reached this place but did not go further because of the muddy track. It can be very challenging to go by your vehicle during monsoon as the jeep route is not made of concert or tar. From this house, it's a dangerous steep (80-85 degree slope) walk for about 30 minutes. Can be challenging for first time trekkers, need a rope if you want to go to the bottom of the falls. There is no way you can see the falls without getting down as it's in the middle of the jungle. The trekking trail is dangerous and slippery and you need to hold branches and roots to get down and climb up.

You need to get forest entry ticket before entering the forest at Shimoga or the local forest department and will cost Rs. 250 for entry and Rs. 50 more for trekking. One copy of your original photo ID card is a must and localities in this region will inform local police or forest dept that you are in that place. Also, you can stay over night at 'Gowdra Maney' in your sleeping bag. You need to make an entry of your name before entering the falls in the above mentioned house.

It was great fun for us and we stayed in our sleeping bag overnight with some night time photography and cooking on our own. Not much of wild animals in this region even though it's in the middle of jungle. Nice place to visit during summer. Check out the video below and don't forget to share.

The Lost World - Kanoor Kote

Kanoor Kote is located in the midst of Sharavathi reserved forest. Reaching this place for stranger would be tough as many locals on the way predict the kilometers but don't know the exact distance to Kanoor Kote. Kanoor Kote was built by Rani Keladi Chenamma who ruled Keladi province after her husband's death. Keladi chenamma's name is considered as one of the brave women of Karnataka and of its history. 

Kanoor Kote says every word of history which was lived there even today and to reach here is one major task for any tourist and it will make you still wonder how did they traveled in such route when there was no transport at all. The fort is located in the deep jungle which is Reserved forest for wild animals. One can hear a lot of animal making noise while trekking towards the fort. It is adviced to trek to the fort in group rather than alone or few.

We were charged Rs 150 by forest dept and a trekking fee of Rs 50 more. There are few forest department sign boards and few cement chairs to sit just before Kanoor Kote. There is zero amount being spent in preserving this old historic fort. This place is not an ideal place to camp overnight and instead would recommend to stay in some villager's house located few kms away. We had walked almost 30 kms to reach this place from Dabbe Falls. There is a jeep route which will take you almost all the way till this fort. You need to walk for about 2 kms at the end to reach this fort. Check out this video.

Camera: Nikon D600 with Nikon 14-24mm lens
Location: Kanoor Fort, Shimoga, Karnataka, India

Early Morning at Sonamarg

This image below was captured during my Kashmir Great Lakes trekking (day 1) at Sonamarg. The landscape here is very beautiful and is ideal for landscape photographers. The green mountain slopes, snow covered mountain peaks, glaciers near the peak makes this place a must visit in your lifetime. Sonamarg is on the way from Kashmir to Leh.

Download this photo [here] or contact me directly to download.

Camera: Nikon D600 with Nikon 14-24 mm lens
Location: Sonamarg, Kashmir, India.