Lessons while travelling in South India

Some lessons from my recent trip to Kodai Kanal:

  1. Do not underestimate Bangalore traffic
  2. RB1 is not a separate coach number – it means B1 with RAC seat – nearly missed my train because I couldn’t find the coach.
  3. Railway station with the same name as the city you wish to reach may not be in the city – Kodai Kanal Road station is almost 80 km from the city
  4. Do not trust google maps – shows Elephant Valley Resort right next to the Kodai Lake – its around 20 km from there.
  5. Do not book a non-AC bus – just because you do not think you’ll need AC – the bus was uncomfortable as hell.

 

 

North East – The last two days

Well – the last two days were definitely worth the trip – also they helped turn this trip from ‘hopeless’ to ‘good’. Went for a jeep safari on the first day and was able to get many great shots of rhinos, elephants, water-buffalos, hog-deers . . . . Was great fun. Of course the fun cannot always continue and had to “suffer” an afternoon of site-visits (which were supposed to be visits to tea-garden) with my friend. However on the whole – very nice. Few photos at the end.

Yesterday was great – I was finally alone – and realised that I actually love my company. Went for an early morning elephant safari (got up at 4:00 !!!) – interesting – but the jeep safari was better. Spent the rest of the day exploring the place – chilling out and all to soon the day was over.
More later .. . – have to catch my flight now.

North East Day 3-4: Never again . . .

Never again am I going to let someone else plan my trips.
The last two days have been absolutely useless. Yesterday was spent waiting for the ILP and then travelling to Tezpur (3 hour journey which took almost 6 hours) – where we were to board a night bus for Tawang (one of the oldest monasteries in India right next to the China border). It was all fine as long as there was something to look forward to. Then all hopes were dashed – there were no night buses / jeeps / bullock carts !! You can reach Tawang only by jeep and they leave only at 5.30 in the morning. Also it takes more that 12 hours to reach. So that meant wasting one day to go and one to come back – that left me with a night when I could stay there. Made no sense at all. Plan 2 was to go to an eco-camp for rafting — seems that was too expensive – no idea how much though. Plan 3 was to go to Bomdila (supposedly 3 hours from Tezpur and supposedly very beautiful). So we opted for plan 3 – little did I know it would take 5 hours to reach – 1 hour for lunch and 5 hours to come back !!!
So I ended up spending 11 hours for lunch – that ought to be a record. Finally I took matters in my hand and decided to spend my last two days in Kaziranga and stop sitting in buses / jeeps for the rest of the trip. So I'm writing this from a beautiful resort in the middle of the jungle . . . .. . . Lets see how the rest of my trip goes . . And as my school motto goes "Never Give In" – I'm not going to lose hope and discard this trip as totally hopeless.
More tomorrow . . . . . . .

North East Day 2: Guwahati Temples

Today was a day for temples – it seems Guwahati is called a city of temples – there are quite a few of them here.
First we went to the Arunachal Bhawan (found it after a loong search – as it is in a small house on the end of a smaller street) and applied for the ILP (In-Land Permit) which is required for going into Arunachal. If you don’t want to “waste” a day in Guwahati – I would suggest that you get the ILP from Delhi or Mumbai. Anyways – I missed out on that option – and spent the day in Guwahati. 
As I said – a day for temples – Kamakshi Devi (the line was sooo looooooooong I didn’t even think of going in) – Umananda (small temple on a river island – very nice place to go) – had lunch – and the Balaji temple (very beautiful South Indian temple – nicely landscaped – unfortunately my camera went crazy – the mirror got stuck and many photographs came half black :-((((( )
And last of all Kalakshetra – a nice park with a small museum and a big open-air theatre – very nice place. 
Well – that was the end of the second day – quite uneventful and not the best – but lets hope for the best – should get my ILP tomorrow – and then its off to Arunachal – Bomdila and Tawang – then Kaziranga. Lets see what else can go wrong. . .
It seems the North-east area hates my camera – last time I had come to Calcutta – and my SLR was stolen – this time – first I got fined for using the camera yesterday – and today the mirror got stuck – now till I can get it repaired I’ve lost the ability for auto-focus . . . . . but I guess things could be worse 🙂