A roadtrip off the beaten track Karnataka and Tamil Nadu

XXIII NDA course organising a 3-day "Southern Sojourn" in Chennai end of Jan 2017, proved to be the Spark for an ambitious road trip!

The old war horse! Our trusty Innova was getting a bit long in the tooth.

The Innova Crysta Z delivered in quick time for the trip.

Dramatis personae : Shail and Vijai celebrating forty eight years of togetherness

The trip focussed on temples, exotic locales, forests, mountain roads, coastal highways and catching up with friends and family

Sparks in the eye!

Happiness after our darshan of Lord Balaji at Tirumala!

At the Mahalakshmi Temple, Kolhapur
With Rita and Kishore Gupte at Belgaum

Bangalore was vibrant, albeit crowded.

Celebration of Republic Day done with fervour in Bangalore. Quite a surprise to see a man shimmy up the flagpole to free a knot.

Was great fun meeting up with Jolly and Vivek and the children. Their's is an 'open house' for all their friends and children.

Smile as w-i-d-e as the dosa

Chennai was a blast!!

XXIII NDA Course was at their "best" behaviour during their Southern Sojourn!

At Sangeetha Restaurant savouring traditional dishes
Mahabalipuram excursion
Breakfast after golf
XXIII NDA at Chennai
Memorable evening at the DBA Officers Mess, Chennai
Shekhar Sridharan, hats off for organising a truly memorable "Sojourn"

Tirumala to Tirupati, a scenic 22 km drive

Breathtaking views!

TTD signages

Lord Balaji's darshan took 5 hrs. Next morning went for a darshan of his consort at the Padmavathi Ammavari Temple, Tiruchanur

Shops a blaze of colour

On to Lord Murugan's Temple at Thiruthani Hill, one of the six abodes of Lord Muruga

Temple on a hill was not too crowded

After reaching Pondicherry a visit to the Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Jesus

Aurobindo Ashram, a quiet haven in a shady bye lane

No cameras inside!

Admiring local artificats

A stroll in the French quarter

Verdant lanes were pleasing to the eye

Vinayagar Ganesha Temple

Auroville Bakery was a pleasent surprise

Bread, biscuits , pizzas, pies and more

Cheerful staff

Relaxed ambience for spending a few hours

Matri Mandir visitors centre

Banyan tree seen in the one km walk from the Visitors Centre to the Matri Mandir

Dappled light filtering through deep shade

Serene environs of Matri Mandir
Serenity Beach in north Puducherry at sunset

Gandhi statue at the seaside Promenade


Paradise Beach has a laid back ambiance

Coconut palms


Fish fried on a husk fire

Absolutely uncrowded

Nothing like sipping a cool drink

Shady palms

Road near Krishnnagiri was a back-breaker

Days in Bangalore were a blast : catching up with friends and family
58 Engineer Regiment get together at Jaya and Gopal's home

On to Shravanabelagola for a darshan of Bhagwan Bahubali

At 3.30 pm the afternoon sun blazed. A climb of the smooth dome-shaped hill is daunting. 650 steps carved in the granite rock of the hill do require some determination.

No looking back!

Nearly there

24 Tirthankaras in a chamber around the main statue

Next stop - Madikeri, Coorg

Kodagu customs, a proud martial tradition

The air breathes coffee & pepper

A visit to Abbey Falls on the upper reaches of Kaveri River

The view from Mandalpatti was reputed to be fabulous

So off we went !

The last 5 kms were definitely not for our car!

But only for a 4 x 4 Jeep. We did give it a try and went some distance

Visit to a coffee plantation, 110 acres, five generations

A darshan at Omkareshwar Temple in the night

An early morning visit to Raja Seat

Raja Seat

After taking in this grand vista, we were off on a beautiful drive to Mangalore

Highway 66
Picturesque drive next to the sea

Murudeshwar was an eye opener

Fishing boats

Largest Shiva statue in the world

A twenty storey gopuram with a lift going up 18 levels

Literally kilometers of beaches

View north
Shiva temple at Murudeshwar
A beautiful suspension bridge for two wheelers over the Sharavathy River

Beautiful panorama

From this quaint viewpoint

The drive on the jungle road from Honnavar to Jog through the mountains was scenic

Jog Falls where the Sharavathi River drops 830 ft, is the second-highest waterfall in India after the Nohkalikai Falls (1100 ft) in Meghalaya.

View from the north bank of the Sharavathi closest to the falls

Jog Falls panorama from the north
View from the Sharavathi bridge

The Sharavati, flows over a tremendous chasm, 960 ft deep, with the water in four distinct falls. The Raja Fall pours in one unbroken column sheer to the depth of 830 ft. Halfway down it is encountered by the Roarer, another fall. A third fall, the Rocket, shoots downwards in a series of jets; while the fourth, the Rani, moves quietly over the mountain side in a sheet of foam.

1400 steps from the viewpoint take you to the bottom of the hill where the waterfall can be seen at the opposite side.

The water over the centuries has weathered out three pools in the hard rock, 100, 70, and 40 ft deep

A friendly visitor

A brief chat

before he bids adieu!

Drive from Jog - Sirsi - Belgaum was engaging; decent roads without too much traffic

The last leg!

Samosas at Belgaum

Quick halt at Pune

And we were soon at Mumbai

In summary, a 4200 kms three- week trip driving a beautiful car over some of the best drives anywhere, with lovely company, stopping where and for how long we wanted, reconnecting with friends ... what more could one ask for?


Created with images by Abhishek_Kumar - "Sudan Block"

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