Monday, March 10, 2014

Bengaluru Diaries: a Hill and a Tree and a Dam in Half a Day...

After residing in Bengaluru (or Bangalore) for 2 years, I had tried exploring it as much I can. Since it is blessed to be in midst of hills on all 4 directions, it enjoys probably “the best” metro climate. And ofcourse, gives away lot of hills and rivers and viewpoints to explore. I have finally
Omkar Hills
decided to put down- “Places to visit in Bengaluru” and will start with the most recent visited ones from Bangalore Southà

#1. Omkar hills

This place is said to be the highest point in Bangalore. It is in RajaRajeshwari Nagar. When driving on Mysore Road from Bangalore, take the left at Uttarahalli Main Road, drive past the BGS Apollo hospital and then take the right next to JSS College. This road goes to the top of Omkar Hills. Omkar Hills has a dwadasha jyothirlinga (caution: elders are bound to get more & more devotional/emotional/sentimental!) temple and Ashram which was founded by Shri Shivapuri Mahaswamiji.

You’ll enjoy the strong breeze here and the panoramically view of the city is super awesome. Just behind the temple is world's second largest clock, said to be bigger than the Big Ben, the clock
Dodda Alada Mara
tower in London, and its making took two years.

Upon climbing a few steps you can see an old banyan tree surrounded by statues (Ramanujacharya, Shankaracharya, Madhwacharya, Jesus, Koran, Buddha, Mahaveera and the Guru Granth Sahib) representing various faiths/religions and singing aloud strong message of unity in equally strong blowing wind.

#2. Dodda Alada Mara or Big Banyan Tree

This tree is a giant 400 year old located in the village of Kettohalli. Before you google this village, it is really easy to access the place if you can identify a small road next to Rajarajeshwari Dental college (near Kumbalagod junction)! This single plant covers 3 acres.  In the 2000s, the main root
Manchinbele Dam
of the tree succumbed to natural disease, and thus the tree now looks like many different trees with over thousand aerial roots.

The tree has fenced boundaries, and benches for people to sit. There is a small shrine, many monkeys, some lays and soothing shades- good picnic place indeed!

#3. Manchinbele Dam

This beautiful dam is constructed by Sir M  Visvesvaraya which is around 9 km s further ahead from Big Banyan tree (don't miss the left at Chandrappa Circle). River Arkavathi forms the back waters of the Manchinbele Dam. You’ll find a couple or two government appointed watchman’s eating your head and money! This place suffers from govt.’s poor tourism showcasing- not much publicity, no maintenance, lack of connectivity, lack of proper security and lifeguards. Apart from that, really wonderful place to be!
On Top of Dam

#4. Ruppi’s Hotel & Resort

This is a place run and owned by Kannada film industries famous Real Star, Upendra. I visited this place for a short snack after visiting Dodda Alada Mara and Manchinbele Dam. This is just a km away from Dodda Alada Mara. Onion pakoda and onion rings that we ordered along with the chai were just delicious. Interiors, cottages, playgrounds and restaurants- all have looked good to me in my first impression. I have promised myself to visit this place again to explore!
Ruppi's Hotel & Resort

I recommend you to cover all 4 places mentioned above in the order- 2,3,4,1! Will take less than half a day and to be at Omkar hills at around 7.30pm will be the best thing to do! It’ll energize you for the rest of the coming week, guaranteed!

No greens,
Cloudy & Chirpy,
I set out to search,
White flowers... 
Bangalore had Blossomed,
Red flowers...
Green flowers...
Blue flowers...

[Photo Credit: Sharath P R, Thanks to Chikkappa [Ramesh], Chikkamma[Ratna], Doddappa[Karunakar] and Munna[Sharath] for being the part of this trip!]