Monday, March 2, 2015

Konkon Reise - Netravati to Sabarmati: Part II - Mangalore, blessed by Gods and Rivers

Mangalore is a major city and seaport in Karnataka. Located between Arabian Sea and Western Ghats, this city serves as administrative head-quarters of Dakshina Kannada (formerly South Canara) district as well. Blessed with two rivers - Netravati and Gurupura - Mangaluru handles a major portion of India's coffee and cashew exports. It is believed that the city is named after Hindu goddess Mangaladevi.
Before annexed by British in 1799, this city was ruled by Kadambas, Vijayanagar, Chalukyas, Rashtrakutas, Hoysalas, Portuguese, Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan at various time in history.
Recently ‘Mangalore’ became ‘Mangaluru’ as part of a renaming exercise. Politicians do this exercise in frequent intervals. After independence, many Indian cities were subjected to this ritual (including three out of four metros). I think more are in pipeline.
I reached ‘Mangalore Junction’ at five in the evening. This station is located somewhat far from city centre (Mangalore Central station is in city itself). As I didn't see any bus there, I hired an auto to reach the city. By the way don’t fall in to this temptation; if you can wait for some time or ready to walk a bit you will get a bus to reach the city.
As I reached late in the city; I had to drop my plan to visit Panambur beach for watching sunset. As sun went to see India’s western sisters I booked a room at TajMahal Lodge in Hampanakatta ('Hampanakatte' in Tulu). After shower, I started my night walk.
There was no particular destination or time limit. So I walked aimlessly through the city. University College, Clock Tower Circle, Gandhi Park, Town Hall, Corporation Bank Head Office and then reached Forum Fiza Mall.
Isn’t it a bigger, but younger brother, of Bangalore Forum Mall? I spent close to one hour there, simply walking through brightly lit but relatively vacant corridors. After having some quick food from ground floor I left Forum and started walking towards the lodge.
This time I took a different route and it proved to be a longer one. This road went through neat and clean residential areas, but I saw hardly any human being till I reach Old Kent road. Finally back to the hotel for a good sleep.
Thannirbhavi Beach
I am not a big fan of waking up early. But as a traveller, every time I sleep unnecessarily I would be forced to remove one entry from my wishlist. Why to take the risk? So after getting ready, I boarded a bus to Kaloor (R45) from Hampanakatta circle. After a while I got down at Kuloor and crossed the bridge across Gurupura River on foot.
Kudremukh Iron Ore Company’s plants, Mangalore Seaport, Indian Oil’s Facilities and Mangalore Chemicals and Fertilizers are located nearby. Kudremukh Iron ore Company(KIOCL) was running one of the largest Iron mines in the world at Kudremukh in Western Ghats. They used this facility at Mangalore to pelletise the ore for exporting. Expiry of the lease and ecological concerns forced the company to stop operations in 2005.
Beach was around 4 kms away. Bus frequency is very low in this route - no more than some one in two hours or so. Hence, I joined with a couple of people standing there to catch a bike or tanker for a ride. After talking to a local guy for some time about KIOCL finally got a tanker lorry. This would drop me near Silver Jubilee gate. During my journeys I travelled through different types of vehicles but this is the first time I am in a tanker lorry!!! through the side of Gurupura river I walked rest of the way to Tannirbhavi.
After a while I am again at the shores of Arabian Sea. Apart from the voice made by sea waves there were hardly any voice at that deserted beach. At a distance a group of fishermen were pushing their boat to a side. On the other side a couple was walking towards the road.
I spend close to one hour there by walking up and down through the shores and clicking photos. Waves slowly came, touched my feet and went back. Sometimes they come very fast and drenched me in seawater. Finally its time to go; this time in a bus.
After checking out from hotel, I got a direct bus(R11) to Mangalore Jn railway station. This bus journey remembered me my daily commute to school. When we board the bus at 4 in the evening there may hardly an inch left in the floor; still we someway got inside. Inside it was like a pressure cooker. Here also it was the same, only difference was this time I got a seat!!!
Mumbai Express was already waiting there for me to get in.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Konkon Reise - Netravati to Sabarmati: Part I - Sakleshpur to Subrahmanya Road, Wild Wild Western Ghats

Run...Run...Run… I was not late as per the schedule. Still the internal urge to reach railway station and the excitement of going to unknown places made me stay on the edge. My train - ‘YPR-KWR Express’ - was waiting for me at Yeshwantpur terminal.
As usual this time also other passengers started requesting me to change the seats. Their reason is to bring the entire family together; but for me it is to see the side view. I frequently gave up my lower berths to senior citizens and even moved to other bogies. But, most of that happened in night. In a day train its not a valid reason.
In this case the family requesting for rearrangement was not in any dire need for the same. Finally I agreed; in exchange for another window seat. Interestingly the seat they offered belongs to someone else!!! and they came and claimed it after one-one and half hour. After that I don’t have any option other than getting my original seat back. But they started with another round of excuses - his mother sitting there is not well. Obviously I can’t agree on that after seeing her. In anyway they are occupying more than 8-10 seat in that boggy. Finally I settled for another seat, and started waiting for Sakleshpur to come.
Located on Malnad region in the lap of Western Ghats, Sakleshpur is the starting point of a beautiful train track. 58 km track from Sakleshpur to Subrahmanya Road station is decorated with 58 tunnels, 109 bridges and around 25 waterfalls. Although most waterfalls are visible only in rainy season and bridges are very short in length; it forms a wonderful sight in combination with mystic Western Ghats.
Train stopped for some time at Sakleshpur. When we restarted our journey, I positioned myself at doorstep to catch all sceneries. Slowly we started moving… and one by one tunnels started coming. Lights were not turned on our boggy. Hence, there would be complete darkness whenever we went inside a tunnel. Many of us start shouting on top of our voice the moment we enter inside a tunnel.
It was a wonderful thing to do; forgot everything and enjoy. How many times we want to whistle on top of our voice and won't be able to do because of the crowd around us? How many of us get such an opportunity everyday? We made full use of it. Till all of us were tired, we were shouting and whistling on top of our voice each time we enter in to a tunnel.
Probably the biggest sound was made by a lady standing behind me. Her whistling was fantastic. Rest of us - the mortals - were wondering what to do to produce such a big and beautiful whistle :)
This is a wonderful line to travel, both sides were surrounded by forests. In between, one can see small iron bridges constructed over rivulets. As I was travelling in January end, many streams were running dry. I think, I should travel through this route again on July or August. 
Iron mesh frames were placed on rocky/semi-rocky areas facing the track to stop or control landslide. Still landslides happens during monsoons. While we travel, we could see railway employees checking the tracks on those isolated areas. There were hardly any shed nearby; I wonder how they spend time at night.
One need to see both sides of the track - in one side you can see big boulders saying hello to you, and on other side you can see beautiful valleys!!!
Subhrahmanya Road
This wonderful stretch comes to an end at Subrahmanya Road Station. This station is just 7 KM away from famous ‘Kukke Subrahmanya’ Temple. By the time train left this station, there were hardly 4-5 people sitting here and there in my boggy. I slept for some time and missed Netravati River and Bridge. When I woke up, we were approaching Mangalore Jn (and train was running some 25 minutes ahead of the schedule)
// Photos

Friday, February 6, 2015

Gandhi would have shocked? Really?

US President Barack Obama on Thursday said the "acts of intolerance" experienced by religious faiths of all types in India in the past few years would have shocked Mahatma Gandhi.

I don't think M.K.Gandhi would have shocked after seeing today's India, as far as religious intolerance is concerned. India improved a lot from 1930s and 40s. If anyone has doubts, just take look at the photos taken during the partition. 


1. Religious intolerance in India would have shocked Mahatma Gandhi: Obama - TOI

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Think beyond dams and trees in NE India

Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER)… Dr. Jitendra Singh has announced “Make in Northeast” initiative, beginning with a comprehensive tourism plan for the region

“in the long run seek to promote exclusive Northeast expertise in areas like tea processing, organic farming, food processing, exploitation of wind power through wind mills, AYUSH, wellness therapies like spas, etc”.

Everyone is interested in promoting North-East region; central government’s assistance is also flowing to this area. Hope that, at least this time someone will think beyond constructing dams and cutting down the trees while thinking about development.


1. GoI

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Brave Kids of India - Those who lived up to the situation

Republic will confer Bravery awards to 24 brave kids on Jan 26
Confucius once told, “If you see what is right and fail to act on that, you lack courage”.

Many of us often fell in to this situation, where we know something happening in front of us is not right; but we often lack the courage to do something to stop it, to act against it.

Here are those 24(16 boys and 8 girls) brave kids of India upon whom the republic will confer National Bravery Awards. I salute each of those brave kids (and others), who lived up to the situation and fought against injustice.

Bharat Award – went to 16.5 year old Resham Fatma (Uttar Pradesh), a victim of Acid attack, for putting on a brave face while fighting off her persecutor.

Geeta Chopra Award – Went to 13.5 year old Gunjan Sharma (Assam) who displayed exemplary valour in saving her friends from their abductor.

Sanjay Chopra Award – Went to 16.5 year old Devesh Kumar (Uttar Pradesh) who displayed outstanding courage while confronting two chain-snatchers.

BapuGaidhani Award – Went to,
13.5 year old Rumoh Meto - who saved a person from electrocution – from Arunachal Pradesh,
15 year old Late Riya Chaudhary – who sacrificed her life while trying to save her father from those who attacked her family members - from Uttar Pradesh and
16 year old Late Monika - who lost her life while trying to save a child from drowning - from Uttarakhand.

Other recipients of bravery award are,
Zeal Jitendra Marathe, HiralJitubhaiHalpati and Late Master Gaurav Kumar Bharti (all from Gujarat),
Master Sahanesh R (Karnataka),
AshwiniBanduUghade (Maharashtra),
Brainson Singh and Tooldev Sharma (both from Manipur),
Ripa Das (Tripura),
Balram Dansena (Chhattisgarh),
Rajdeep Das (Jharkhand),
Anjith, Aqil Mohammad and Midhun (all from Kerala),
Stevenson Lawriniang (Meghalaya),
Late Mesak K Remnalalnghaka (Mizoram),
Mhonbeni Equng (Nagaland),
Labhanshu (Uttarakhand) and
Late Gaurav Kumar Bharti (Uttar Pradesh)

Once again my salute to all those brave kids. Let’s make a decision that when next time something wrong happens in front of us, we will rise up to the situation and help the victims as well as law enforcement agencies.



1. GoI