The 1800km Coastal Karnataka Roadtrip – Part 3 – Malpe – Kavimane – Jog

I’ve always wanted to go on long road trips, but with both Jo and me working, trying to find a contiguous block of holiday has been rather difficult. With me taking a break and Eid holiday coming during middle of the week, we got a chance to do our road trip. Part 3 continues..

Waking up beach side in Malpe, I was more excited than ever – we had a long day coming up.Kavimane, Kavishaila and more importantly, I was really excited about the ride through Agumbe. Agumbe  is called as “The Cherrapunji of the South” due to heavy rainfall it receives, and the ghat roads leading to it are rather infamous. Plus driving through it in July meant that we’d be driving during the wettest month of the year and I wondered what would be in store.

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The 1800km Coastal Karnataka Roadtrip – Part 1 – Bangalore – Mangalore

I’ve always wanted to go on long road trips, but with both Jo and me working, trying to find a contiguous block of holiday has been rather difficult. With me taking a break and Eid holiday coming during middle of the week, we got a chance to do our road trip.

With a date set, we next wondered which route to take? We considered Coastal Karnataka(Bangalore – Goa – Mangalore – Bangalore) and Tamil Nadu(Bangalore – Madurai – Kanyakumari – Thanjavur – Chennai – Bangalore), but eventually decided upon Coastal Karnataka after consulting with resident travel expert Ashwin. He also suggested few additional places(OK, he suggested a lot of the intermediate places) and we decided on this route and timeline.

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Keepin’ busy for a month

So when I resigned from CGI, I thought I’d have to stay through the entire 2 month notice period with the org. However, since there was no dependency on me, I was hoping for an early release and thankfully that did happen. I initially thought of joining the new job right away but decided to take a month-long break from work and relax for a month.

A month seemed quite a lot, however the days went by so fast I didn’t even realise that my break was over. So here’s somethings I did to keep myself busy(few of those I had been meaning to do since a long time, never got around to doing it)

  • The first week was pretty much devoted to completing a freelance job I had with SAP – to write a 6-part tutorial series on how you can use SAP Web IDE and Github for collaborative development
  • I also spent a fair amount of time in playing/completing games that I had been meaning to since a while: Tropico 4, Transistor, Just Cause 3, Journey, Pillars of Eternity, Broforce, Uncharted 3 and few more
  • Realised how much working at home without a power backup would be a pain because of BESCOM’s sustained powercuts(couple hours almost daily, if not more)
  • Became what Jo calls, “house husband” – do housework ie get fruits/veggies, chop ’em, do the dishes some laundry(they seem so easy.. took couple of hours easy)
  • Cleaned the wiring clutter in our house, esp the one around my desktop. Bought 1m of velcro, used it to tie around lose cables coming from the landline, Ethernet cable from Act, tons of wires coming from/behind the desktop. It’s not quite pretty, but still loads better than how it was before.
  • More cleaning, this time inside the desktop cabinet, tied up wires coming from PSU(which is not modular) and replaced the fan which came with the cabinet(which are incredibly noisy) with BitFenix Spectre. I’ve been replacing each of the fans in the cabinet with this one, they are pretty silent and for the lighting fanatics, they’ll leave your eyes dazzled.
  • Went on a 1,800km roadtrip across coastal Karnataka and Goa(will post travelogue soon)
  • Did some light reading for upcoming new role
  • And lots of sleep, especially thanks to above mentioned powercuts by BESCOM

Overall, it was a good one month break which went by way faster than I imagined!


In with the new (job)

July has been a month of great changes.. I started my first job in July in Chennai –  new city, staying on my own, earning my own money.. but that was about 9 years back.

This year again, July is a month of change. After 5 years(and few days) at CGI(erstwhile Logica), I will be moving away and onto the new unknown. Reasons for moving are many – completed my project, didn’t like the new project’s commute/timings, tech stagnation and personal growth are some of the major ones. Where to next, you might ask?

Well after all these years of corporate life, time for something new – will be joining as the DevOps guy. From Oracle to Rails, on-premise to AWS, this is something that will be a challenge I am sure, and I look forward to it.

Wish me best wishes 😉

New desktop for the house

Jo’s been inquiring about a new system since quite some time – her current laptop is in a state of broken mess(half the keys don’t work/battery ded etc) and she’d require me to give up my desktop if she needed to work on something for a bit. She does read quite a bit, but that’s something she’s sorted using the Kindle PaperWhite and her Nexus 5X.

Past Friday, she gave me a reminder about having it would be nice and me being a bit free, decided to come up with a new build. Mandatory things were:

  • semi decent processor
  • 8GB RAM (she’s a webdev, browsers are memory hogs)
  • Budget cap of ₹30,000

That’s about it. I started with a base 6th gen Skylake based i3-6100 as my system build. Since I wasn’t sure about the pricing, these are what I came up with:

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Two years and 16,000km with Rosemary – The Maruti Suzuki Celerio

Two years back, I bought(rather, Dad bought & leased it to me, I’m still repaying him :-D) the Maruti Suzuki Celerio. Why Celerio? I was looking at something within ₹6,00,000 – that meant the Ford Figo(which I bought, almost took delivery but had to cancel), the Swift etc were out of conisderation.

Dad told me that a new car is coming and is quite within the budget and he was right. The car seemed to be pretty good – looks good(from the front anyway), and with its hype about the AMT(and from Magnetti Marelli of all places) I decided to zero-in on the car.. till I realized the AMT is only upto the VX trim(no ABS/Airbags/BT stereo etc) and with a waiting time of 3 months or so – decided to nix this and went for the Manual transmission Zxi (Optional trim)

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Weekend 2-day roadtrip to Srirangapatna, Kushalnagar and Madikeri – Day 2

Jo always wanted to pay a visit to Kushalnagar, Bylakuppe  and surroundings and I always wanted to drive down that side, but thanks to our sheer laziness or something always coming up, Madikeri – Kushalnagar trip always remained a pipe dream.

Day 2 continues..

So, for Day 2 we had originally planned like so: Nisargadhama – Mysore – Chamundi Temple – Bangalore. However, since we couldn’t visit the Monasteries on day one, we decided to visit Monasteries on day 2 and skip Mysore/Chamundi since it’d have been way too late by the time we reached home.

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Weekend 2-day roadtrip to Srirangapatna, Kushalnagar and Madikeri – Day 1

Jo always wanted to pay a visit to Kushalnagar, Bylakuppe  and surroundings and I always wanted to drive down that side, but thanks to our sheer laziness or something always coming up, Madikeri – Kushalnagar trip always remained a pipe dream.

Last Thursday, we decided to bite the bullet and decided to go ahead with the trip. Although originally planned as a day trip, I felt that doing a trip till Madikeri, exploring nearby places and heading back wouldn’t be possible in a  day(or if indeed possible, it would be incredibly tiring) and decided to split it across 2 days.

We planned it like so:

Day 1: Bangalore – Srirangapatnam – Tipu Sultan’s Summer Palace(aka Daria Daulat Bagh) – Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary – Check in to hotel – Kushalnagar/Bylakuppe Monastaries – Raja’s Seat

Day 2: – Nisargadhama – Mysore – Chamundi Temple – Bangalore

Day 1

Day 1 started with us leaving from home at about 6am. For most trips which involve us leaving the city, I prefer to leave as soon as possible, that way we can exit Bangalore city with least traffic and with the time saved, we can use the time elsewhere. This time again was no exception, we took the the Mysore road instead of NICE ring road and within an hour we were at Bidadi and stopped by Adyar Anand Bhavan(A2B) for our first pitstop.




Bellies filled and caffeine kicking into the system, we started on from A2B. The last time I took the Bangalore – Mysore highway, the umpteen number of speed breakers, especially after Mandya was really annoying. Thankfully, now majority of the speed breakers have been removed. On the flip side, they have been replaced by Nakabandis – and I almost hit them couple of times thanks to trucks blocking the path and my sight till the last minute. With lack of reflectors on them, these will be a huge liability during night.

The drive was event-free and we reached Srirangapatna at around 9:30am and went straight for Tipu Sultan’s Summer Palace(aka Daria Daulat Bagh). There wasn’t anyone around, spare for a bus full of school kids. Parked the car, paid the entrance fee (Rs. 5 per person, no extra camera charges) and started exploring.


There were some repair works going on, so we had to enter the palace via a weird side entrance route. Once past this, the grand gardens welcome you



The gardens had some other guests as well..



The chirping of birds with the silence because of lack of people around perked our moods up. Once you cross the gardens and walk into the palace, the sheer brilliance of the architecture and paintings on the walls astound you. We weren’t allowed to take any pictures of these, but they will leave you spell bound. In addition there are quite a lot of framed sketches, paintings, portraits of Tipu’s fight against the British, his sons’, his trusted advisers and other things such as coins and inscriptions hanging by the walls mean you can easily spend couple of hours in the palace without knowing how time flew by. We spent about an hour here and just as we were about to leave, tourists had started to pour in.

From here, we started towards Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary. With the distance being just over 6km, it didn’t take us long to head here. You’ll see a big welcome board when you’re close by



 Once past this, there’s separate entrance fee for vehicle(Rs 30 for car) and for people (Rs 60 each). Remember to keep this ticket with you, even after exit- the forest official insists on you returning back the ticket while the ticket explicitly says this should be avoided.
Once in, there are quite a few benches on the shores of the river and it’s pretty common to see photographers with their huge equipment sit down there. We headed off for the boating, which cost Rs 60 per person. If you want you can take an entire boat for your self or go on a shared boat. We opted for the latter and thankfully, we were the last to board and didn’t have to wait before starting off. The officials will ensure that they don’t start unless all the folks have worn lifejackets.
The boat ride is incredibly relaxing. The pilot is well aware of the different types of birds and will point and explain the names of the birds and their habitats. There were quite a few crocodiles basking in the sun.

The boat ride took about 20 minutes, though we’d have preferred it to be bit longer. We took a small walk across the sanctuary and then started to head towards our hotel. The road again from Srirangapatna to Kushalnagar was really good, barring the first few kms from Ranganathittu were it was pothole central.



It took us about 2 hours to reach our stay, Palm Era Resorts.

Palm Era was a nice place to stay – it was just off the main road and surrounded by lush greenery and was quite serene.





We had originally planned to check-in, grab some lunch and head towards Bylakuppe but were a bit tired from the morning drive + walk around the above places and decided to take a nap and push Bylakuppe trip for the next day. Instead, we decided to head towards Madikeri later on in the evening and watch the sunset from Raja’s Seat.

The evening drive from Kushalnagar to Madikeri was more fun thanks to lot of twists and turns of climbing the mountains – as a driver I always prefer taking ghat roads as it keeps me more engaged than straight 6-lane highways. We reached Raja’s seat in about 30 minutes and the sheer number of cars parked made my jaw drop – didn’t expect that many cars. Raja’s seat had an entrance of Rs 5 person & a parking fee of Rs 10. While it sounds grand, Raja’s Seat is pretty much a small garden. Don’t let that fool you, however – the view was pretty awesome




Due to the clouds and fog, we couldn’t grab the best sunset view but what we saw was good enough.. There was also a Toy train track(for kids and adults) but it was not operational when we visited



With darkness falling, we grabbed some Charumburi and head towards the town centre in search of places where we can get home made chocolates and fruit wine. After walking around for a bit and asking multiple shops, we finally got a shop.. and stocked up.



With us still full from Charumburi, we decided to head back to our resort and have dinner there. The drive back, however was a bit scary since it was pitch dark with absolutely no streetlights whatsoever. Thankfully the board leading to our resort was lit and we didn’t have any problems reaching.

Day 2 will continue in another post.

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