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Category — South

Hamida of Yadgir

***Note: When I wrote this story all those years back in 2000 I promised myself I would visit Yadgir one day. Well the day is yet to come but often I am reminded of Hamida who told me an enchanting story of a quaint little town I glimpsed from the train. Yadgir has stayed with me over the years, silently calling and reminding, like it’s name suggests.***

Out of the mist suddenly emerges a fort atop a hill. The morning sunlight hits the hill and scatters around it an orange aura. The whole setting is so romantic and scenic, like just out of a storybook. This is the first sight I got of a town called Yadgir.

I had to leave for Pune suddenly due to unforeseen circumstances and so for the first time in my life traveled in the unreserved compartment. It was an experience of a lifetime, its so different here, the people are ready to share even the little place they have to sit, and in doing this there is no hesitation. As it is friendship happens so easily on a train but in here it is even more easier. Here I met a girl or should I say lady whose name was simply Hamida, she is a lecturer of philosophy in Bangalore. She was very sweet in talking (literally), and extremely helpful. She went calling after another lady who got down on the wrong station and had realized coz she had overheard her telling someone her destination. All this I had watched but I still had not actually spoken to her.

It was an hour and a half before she had to get down that we got talking when she offered me her window seat. Out of politeness I asked her where she was gonna get down and she replied ‘Yadgir’. Yadgir, what kind of name is that?, now that was my first thought, so I asked her how her town got its name. The history is really interesting.

About 300 years ago the king Adil Shah conquered Yadgir, which was then part of Gulbarga and was called Hassanabad. He built a fort on the hill, which dominates the city and a palace Firdaus Mahal for his queen Firdaus Jahan. One day Adil Shah’s teenage son fell of the hill while flying a kite and in those last moments as he clung on for his life he called out to his friends ‘Yesbir’ (which means hold my hand in urdu), but he could not be saved and his father named the place after his son’s dying words. Years later the Yadavas of Bijapur took over and as the hill looked like the hump of a bull and also that couldn’t pronounce the present name, they named it ‘Yetugiri’, these names later changed to Yadgir.

From the train the sight of the fort on the hill in the early morning mist reminds u of the place u dreamt your prince charming would come from. Through the town runs the Bhima River. In the fort is found the palace, a dome can be seen from far called the ‘Tope ghar’ which houses the canon. There are rooms where the artillery was stored and u can still find the smell of gunpowder there. There is also the ‘Ghadial khana’ (or clock house) which had a bell which would be rung at each hour to tell the time. There are 3 ponds, which are special. The ‘Baheno ka talab’ (or pond of 2 sisters) has a partition wall in the middle and it is said that how much ever water u take out there is always water over the partition wall, joining the 2 parts. The ‘Souten ka talab’s'(pond of 2 wives) specialty is that how much ever water u add the water never flows over the partition wall, the pond is forever divided and the ‘Peta nagri talab’s’ depth has never been measured, it has no bottom.

At about a 30 min. drive from here is the town Naikal. Here the fort’s walls look like stacked upside down pots. Folklore has it that a potter turned down his sister’s request for a pot and she cursed him that his pots would not sell, and so his stacked pots turned to stone and became the walls of the fort.

The scenic beauty and tranquility of this place is something to be absorbed. ‘Yadgir’ sounds like the word ‘Yadgiri’ which in Urdu means ‘something to remember with’ and this town has given me something to remember. As the train pull out of the station I bade Hamida goodbye with a promise to her and myself to come back someday.

March 25, 2015   No Comments

TfN: 27 Things I Didn’t Know About Mysore

Mysore has always been next door to Bangalore and like all things next door, I’ve always put it off thinking it was next door after-all. I did visit it often though either as a stop on the way to the Nilgiris or to visit Dad who would be working there for part of the year.

Lately as I’ve been reading to prep for Tour of Nilgiris, Mysore surprised me. There was a wealth of information on the city and I knew so little of it. So here’s some interesting info I came across. Mysore is the first stop on the tour!

  • The name Mysore is an anglicised version of Mahishūru, which means the abode of Mahisha in the Kannada language. Mahisha stands for Mahishasura, a mythological demon that could assume the form of both human and buffalo. According to Hindu mythology, the area was ruled by the demon Mahishasura. The demon was killed by the Goddess Chamundeshwari, whose temple is situated atop the Chamundi Hills.
  • Until 1947, Mysore served as the capital of the Kingdom of Mysore.
  • Mysore Airport is also known as Mandakalli Airport.
  • The city was the location of the first private radio station in India.
  • 1897 an outbreak of bubonic plague killed nearly half of the population of the city.
  • With the establishment of the City Improvement Trust Board (CITB) in 1903, Mysore became one of the first cities in Asia to undertake planned development of the city.
  • A fire at a television studio in 1989 claimed 62 lives.
  • The highest temperature recorded in Mysore was 38.5 °C (101 °F) on 4 May 2006, and the lowest was 7.7 °C (46 °F) on 16 January 2012.
  • Among 63 cities covered under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission, Mysore City Corporation was adjudged the second best city municipal corporation and was given the “Nagara Ratna” award in 2011.
  • The city got its first piped water supply when the Belagola project was commissioned in 1896.
  • The city has had an underground drainage system since 1904.
  • Mysore was rated the second cleanest city in India in 2010 and the cleanest in Karnataka.
  • The first college to be set up for higher education was the Maharajas College, founded in 1864.
  • A high school exclusively for girls was established in 1881 and later it was converted into Maharanis Women’s College.
  • The  University of Mysore was the sixth university to be established in India and the first in Karnataka.
  • The Mysore Medical College, founded in 1924, was the first medical college to be started in Karnataka and the seventh in India.
  • The Dasara festivities, which are celebrated over a ten-day period, were first introduced by King Raja Wodeyar I in 1610.
  • The main palace of Mysore, Amba Vilas was burned down in 1897, and the present-day structure was built on the same site.
  • The Mysore Pak  traces its history to the kitchen of the Mysore palace.
  • Mysore is the location of the International Ganjifa Research Centre, which researches the ancient card game Ganjifa and the art associated with it.
  • Kannada writers Kuvempu, Gopalakrishna Adiga and U. R. Ananthamurthy were educated in Mysore and served as professors at the Mysore University.
  • R. K. Narayan, a popular English-language novelist and creator of the fictional town of Malgudi, and his cartoonist brother R. K. Laxman spent much of their life in Mysore.
  • Sudharma, the only Indian daily newspaper in Sanskrit, is published in Mysore.
  • Mysore was the location of the first private radio broadcasting station in India when Akashavani (voice from the sky) was established in the city on 10 September 1935 by M.V. Gopalaswamy, a professor of psychology, at his house in the Vontikoppal area of Mysore, using a 50-watt transmitter.
  • In 1957, Akashvani was chosen as the official name of All India Radio (AIR), the radio broadcaster of the Government of India.
  • Javagal Srinath, who represented India for several years as its frontline fast bowler, comes from Mysore.
  • India’s first youth hostel was formed in the Maharaja’s College Hostel in 1949.

All Facts Credited to Wikipedia.

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December 13, 2012   No Comments

I’m an Official Blogger at TfN 2012 :)

It all started with Chenthil, like a lot of things do :)

Che cycles and I find it amazing to see him come back all exhilarated. He cycles maybe a maximum of 50 km, that’s 50 km! It should be tiring with all the undulations and bad roads, it should be exhausting with legs groaning but he seems invigorated. To me its a paradox. I’ve been into sports all my life so I understand the exhilaration he feels, I’ve felt it too. But now well over 30 do I really want to do that to myself?

Then last year Che went along with TfN as official photographer. The conversations we had over the 8 days of tour were, simply put ‘wierd’. He talked about carbon frames, fixies, bonking and more. And he came back gushing! For days after he wouldn’t stop talking about the scenic routes, the curves and climbs, the riders and their endurance, their ages, the cycles, the food,… Oh! I can go on :)

My curiosity piqued, I wanted to know more about why people push themselves. Its a high no doubt but what makes people want that high, why do people want to cycle up a mountain, why do people want to cycle?

I wanted to experience TfN, see the high with my own eyes. So this year when Che started talking about TfN 2012 I asked if I could travel along and blog about it. The guys at TfN graciously said yes. I’m going to TfN this year and I’m not cycling it! Yay! 😀

Ok, I’m all set to travel but what do I know about cycling? Last I cycled was in school, agreed it was the coolest bike with both front and back shock absorbers and a boy’s cycle at that, still back then I was 16 and in my prime 😛 A few years back I thought to try it again and borrowed a friends cycle. Day 1 saw me cycle across the city in one gear fearing for my life and Day 2 had me throwing in the spade at the Windsor Manor climb. So what do I know about cycling?

Being an official blogger isn’t easy, you have to do justice to the event. When its a sport, its tougher. You have to cover so much. I needed a voice, a story. I’ve been wondering about this for a while now. I read up on cycling, TfN, articles about TfN, cyclists blogs,… and still I don’t seem to know it. Ah, don’t mistake, I know about it just don’t know know it, you know. Its the experiential that missing.

That’s my voice – my story. I’m an outsider and my story’s from this side of the fence as I watch TfN 2012 unfold. Along the journey I hope to learn more about cycles, touring, TfN, cycling terminology, what cyclists eat, what makes them tick and much more.

Hope you join me as I watch them ride | suffer | brag :)

8 days of TfN through three states and national parks this years starts December 16th. Sadly its full. But this year the TfN guys have a special – Entrée. So if you can’t/didn’t make it to the full tour you can join us for a 3 nights 2 days ride through the Nilgiris. You can know more and register here.

Video Courtesy – Venky | Video Shot by – Chenthil (ChePhoto)

October 11, 2012   No Comments

Madras 17th – 19th Dec 2004

Had gone to Chennai over the weekend. Was good. This is no write-up but had some adventres riding to and fro and here are some of them.

odometer – 1557

Was to leave at 6am on Friday but then the idea of having chai and a smoke in my roomie’s company got the better of me and so finally left at 7:10am. She had just come back from work and was complaining that it was freezing outside and that I was mad to be going out and that too on a bike.

Didn’t feel very cold but then once was on NH4 proper there was a mist and my fingertips froze. Started feeling them again only at 9:30 whenI took a break at Mulbagal. After a smoke headed out again only to stop about 30km before Ranipeta. The roads were psycotic didn’t wanna stop didn’t know when the ghats came and went. Reached Sri Perumbudurat after 12. After the 4 lane highway, the roads were terrible. Finally reached Chennai only after 2pm.

From there on went on to spent a weekend completely lazing around and doing absolutely nothing.

Did go to the beach though, after all its a tradition for me, a trip to Chennai would not be complete without going to the beach.

Headed out of Chennai on Sunday, didn’t wanna leave, the holiday spirit was catching on u see. Finally left at 10:30am. Managed to find my way out till Sri Perumbudur and someway beyond. Then at one point saw a board saying For Bangalore Straight and Chittor and RanipetaRight. Had been though Ranipet and did not enjoy one bit of it so thought would take the straight road even though no one seemed to travel by that road. (logic said that must be a bypass). Anyway turned out to be a road underconstruction. So all the time had gained on the4 lane was lost. Did 50-60kph for a good 60 km. Did some off-roading too coz the road somewhere in between just wasn’t there. Finally reached Vellore and just kept on. Had no clue where I was headed(except that this road somehow reached Bangalore) but then its the road so thought lets just go where ever its takes me.

Next reached Ambur and at this point was starting to think I was onNH7. Next thing I know I see a board saying Vaniyambadi. Well now don’t need to say what I did next. So put a pit stop at the biryani place and picked up two biryanis and moved on again. Stopped on the way and belted biryani. That was when I saw the time, was nearing 5pm. Realized that I didn’t wanna be on the highway after dark so started out again. Just someway before the turn for Krishnagiri smelt something burning. Actually slowed down thinking it was my bike (had been pushing her hard u see). Then saw this bike in front emitting loads of smoke and this guy was just sending it, must have been doing a good 90 odd. Then saw this hint of flame near his silencer and for a second thought WoW this guy had some NOS unit fitted but then realized that some bag he had tied to his bike on the side was on fire. And so started the chase. That was one funny chase. I leveled with this other guy who couldn’t push any futher so he looked at me and then the bike in front and nodded and so did I, the silent communication of riders on a highway. So took off again with horn blaring, just then the bike on fire guy overtook a tempo, now it was not only us but also the tempo guy honking away to glory and he actually leaned out of the window and started screaming too. But our bike dude just wouldn’t stop he actually picked up more speed. Finally caught up with him and waved to this babe sitting at the back and she actually waves back and am like hey stop stop. At this point my speedo was showing some 100kph. Went a little further and stopped to see if all was ok. That was whenI realized the smal lick of flame I had seen was actually the whole bag burning. Lucky babe, she was sitting with her foot next to the bag, her salwar and she could have got burnt.

From there on then just belted with an eye on the sun. Remembered the movie Race the Sun. Finally reached Hosur flyover at 6:30pm and breathed a sigh of relief. A good 150km or so in about an hour and ahalf. Good stuff. Reached home at 7pm. Sat down and listened to my roomie talking away again about me being completely crazy but that was only until I told her had got biryani for her. As soon as she tasted it she was like so when u going next. 😉 felt good to be back home.

odometer – 2224

On the whole a good trip. Bike handled like a dream and roads were psycotic.

Moral learnt – don’t aways follow logic, sometime u have to apply logic to logic or just blindly follow traffic. And a 100cc is capable of a hell of a lot. Completely proud of my babe.

December 17, 2004   1 Comment

“Bisi bisi, Seedless Kadlaykai” 26-27 June 2004

I did it, I did it… my legs weren’t a part of me and they still aren’t, its as if they a life of their own. Can’t believe they actually climbed more then 9 km and walked about 23km over the weekend, am so amazed… Its been a fantastic weekend…

Had gone on a trek this weekend. We left here at about 8:30 in the morning on Saturday and went to Harihara via Kanakpura. On the way we saw a Veeragallu (hero stone) which is quite rare as it had 4 layers of carvings. From Harihara we started our trek up to Soligere through Basavana Betta Forest. Soligere is the highest hill in Kanakpura Taluk about 1500 msl. Climbing for about 9 km we reached the top at about 4:30pm. The top of the hill is about 1.5 km from Soligere village. At the top there is just a small lodge with a outhouse which is about 500years old and was used by the kings as a hunting lodge. Though the best part about the top is the view, it is one of the only places in Kanakpura where you would get about 150 degree view. I just sat for hours staring at the scenic valley below. You can see the Cavery winding through the valleys right from Shivsamudra to Galibore and beyond, Shimsha as a silver streak in the hill, Nagmalai where starts M M hills. You can even identify the fishing camps at Galibore, Bheemeshwari and Doddamakalli. The wind is superb blowing in from 3 directions. The scene just got better and better as evening closed in, with the wind bringing in the mist, the villages all lighting up, it looked like a star-studded valley. I wonder if this description described well enough the beauty of it all, I still feel I didn’t absorb enough.

Later after dinner we had a talent show and had a good number if laughs with all the jokes and imitations. Prasanna (this guy I met there) did an excellent imitation of an auto in the city and kept coming up behind people went they least expected it and in a completely Cubbon park voice saying “Bisi bisi, Seedless Kadlaykai”.

We slept that night in 2 small cramped rooms terrified to even answer nature’s call as we were warned about elephants wandering about in the vicinity. In the morning we went on a nature trail looking for footprints and all. Saw some lovely birds and beetles.

After which had breakfast and left with packed lunch for Mutatti. The locals informed us of elephant activity in the area so had to proceed slowly. Mid-way we had to change routes as there were elephants ahead and we couldn’t go past them, so had to follow a different trail. Saw some elephant tracks and fresh dung, though the highlight was seeing dung beetles, hadn’t ever thought would see them in India. They are superb…

Once we reached Mutatti we then went down to the Cavery and played in the water for a long time. Had to hold on for dear life due to the water current but it felt so relaxing. We then headed back home. The roads are superb with mountains on both sides, and what curves, ooh la la… To top it all it rained on the way back. To finish the trip we had Benne Dosa and hot coffee. One amazing weekend, great people, great place, superb fun…

June 28, 2004   No Comments

Mulangiri 22-23 May 2004

Have you ever gone on a voyage that cleansed your soul?
Have you ever felt so alive that you wonder if you ever lived before?
Have you ever felt so small that you wonder why you are?
Have you ever felt so complete that you wonder who you are?
Have you ever felt the power and known that it’s just you?
Have you ever felt the force and known that it’s with you?
Have you ever had questions and known that the answers up to you?
Have ever realized that the journey’s yet not through?

For those who don’t know, we took off on 3 yamahas for the mountains on a two day trip in which we covered 600 km.

The route was — Bangalore –> Hassan –> Halebid –> Belur –> Chickmaglur –> Mulangiri –> Doddapeeta(Baba Budangiri) –> KemmanGundi –> Bangalore

May 24, 2004   1 Comment