Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Hognekal & Ercaud Trip

Place : Hognekal Falls, Salem and Ercaud Hill station.
Date : 10'th and 11'thMarch 2007
Participants : Harish. M, Srinivasan Prakash, Divya, Nirmala, Radha, Phanidhar, Bala Krishna, Brijesh, Prabhakar E, Prabhakar NK,
Total distance covered : 676 KMS
Mode of Transport : Tempo Traveller with pushback and Audio coach .
Total cost of the Trip : 9000 RS for entire group

Background for the Trip :
One of my team members Srinivasan Prakash was very keen / enthusiastic to invite our entire team to his native Salem. He said that we can visit his residence and then spend a day in Ercaud hill station which is located at a distance of 40 kms from Salem. I then googled to check whether we can visit any other places on the way. I came to know that Hognekal falls can be covered on the wayto Salem. So i checke with Srini and he said that we can easily cover Hognekal falls on our journey towards Salem. So we made a plan of starting from Bangalore on 17'th Feb 2007 around 6AM, reach Hognekal by 11, spend some 2-3 hours and then travel to Salem. Then we had plans of halting in Ercaud.

We sent out a mail and there were 17 of our team members who were interested to come (Even outTL's PM" said that they will join us, but they will come in thier own Cars, as they did not want to disturb us and be an obstacle for our happiness).
I informed Srini that 17 is not a good number, as we wil have problems booking a vehicle. We need to book 2 vehicles or a 20+ seater Swaraj Mazda.
I was hoping and i was confident that atleast 4 people will drop out. Then 13 of us can be easily fitted in one TT ( As i am used to people dropping out of trips in last moments, so i always have some backup plans if i am organising a trip).

Unfortunately myself and my collegue were asked to travel to our Gurgaon office on some official work. We were said that we may return by 26'th Feb. So the trip was postponed to 2'ndMarch and then to 10'th march as our stay extended. Then we felt that we may be required to stay in urgaon till march end, so we requested Srini to go ahead with the trip on 10'th March itself. SO rini asked for some suggestions to go ahead with the plan and i suggested him about the do's and don'ts.
Fortunately due to some urgent requirement in Bangalore i was asked to fly back on 6'th March back to Bangalore. It seemed that i was sent back mainly to make it up to the trip. According to our previous plan we thought of leaving from Bangalore by 6 AM and as per my prediction, due to last minute dropout's , finally we ended having only 10 people on the trip.

Actual Trip:
I woke up by 5 AM on saturday and gave wakeup calls to al my collegues. Then myself and Bala Krishna took a bus to ulsoor and boarded the TT by 6:10 AM. Then we picked up other collegues from Marathalli, Kempfort, Koramangala Madiwala and started towards Hosur by 7:15 AM. We stopped at Tamilnadu border paid the border crossig feeof 800 bucks and entered tamilnadu. By 8:30 AM we stopped at Hosur Saravana Bhavan for Breakfast. After having breakfast we headed towards Hognekal
by 9:30 AM. We took the route via Krishnagiri-> Dharmapuri to reach Hognekal as this road is good. On the way we listened to some good music, played Bluff and had an important photo session (Taking snaps of people who were sleeping and then decide who looks cute while sleeping).

By 11:45 we reached Hognekal. As soon as we got down from TT, we were approached by group of Coracle riders offering us a coracle ride to view Hognekal falls. they were asking for 100 bucks per head which was too costly. but they had an union and they had decided to screw the tourists and grab as much money as possible from tourists. Finally they agreed to 90 bucks per head.
There were quite few feedback which i received for my previous blogs. Few of my friends complained that i have given all details , but i have not mentioned anything about going to Loo :-) . so this time i am even mentioning it. Few of us wanted to go to Loo, so we went to Pay and use Toilet located in the Bus sop. When enquired the Toilet attendant said 3 RS per head. We said that we are not going to take bath, for which he replied 10 RS for bathing...........I thought that there should be some limit to loot the tourists, paid him the amount and started to Coracle ride.
We took 2 Coracles (5 in each + Rider) . Coracle is called Teppa in Kannada. It is made of Bamboo sticks. Initially we went in coracle for 50 meters, then we had to get down and walk . The riders carried the Coracle and came to the next boarding point. We took some snaps on the ay and then boarded the Coracle. The fee per head is RS: 10 which was collected at this point. We then had some snacks on the way. People in each coracle were busy splashing water on people seated in other Coracle. I got bit irritated and shouted on them , as i was taking snaps in my Camera. I had to finally keep my camera inside the bag. The rider took us to few small falls in the coracle and finally put us in a Island . Here we had Water melon , jumped in the water and enjoyed for about 30 minutes. This was the right time for me to take revenge. So i dragged in all the people and drenched them. The most badly effected was Bala Krishna, who was first fully drenched. Then after going to the shore, he was fully covered by sand. Before we could take a snap of him in that state, he ran back into the waters. Phani was the only person , who was not dragged in, as he was gaurding all our belongings. We then took the coracle and started our return journey. On return journey we had a discussion of what is the meaning of Hognekal. The explanation was that "Hognekal" is a Kannada word. Hoge in kannada means Smoke and Kal means Stone. So when water gushes between the rocks, it looks like smoke and hence the name Hognekal.

Snaps Taken @ Hognekal Falls

I had high expectations from Hognekal, but i was not really impressed by Hognekal. Water falls from some small streams and flows between rocks, just like water flowing in a Canal. People say that in rainy season, u can see the canal like structure, water will be overflowing and u can't see any rocks.
one interesting thing in this place were the small kids aged around 10 years standing on top of the rocks and shouting that they will jump into the water if someone gives them 5 rupees. Money makes people do anything, so sad........................................................
There was a special Coracle market in Hognekal, where people used to carry snacks, cool drinks and sell them in Coracles. So if u feel like having any snacks u can buy them while riding in the coracle itself.

After finishing the ride, we had our lunch in a hotel in Hognekal and started towards Salem by 4 PM. We reached Srini's house in Salem by 5:30 PM. As his parents had gone out to get us some snacks, milk etc, we had a small photo session. I took snaps f Srini's house and our entire group. Srini's house is pretty good, having ample parking space, some garden and well designed and spacious interiors. There was a big swing inside Srini's house, which his dad said was more than 100 years old, and made of Teak. So all of us sat on it, took some snaps and had a look of his entire house. We had some cool drinks, Mixture and then we left to Ercaud.

Srinis House @ Salem & Srinis Guest House @ Ercaud
Ercaud is around 40 kms from Salem and the journey is via Ghat section. We had a beautiful view of entire Salem lighted in the night on our journey to Ercaud.
Due to Ghat section, Brajesh and Bala krishna got an stomach upset and they were not willing to have their dinner. But after resting for 15 minutes, they felt good.Srini then took us t o Shevroy hotel and gave us a treat. According to him, it was his Birthday treat, for the Birthday he had celebrated some 4 months back. We had a lot of fun in the hotel, rather than dinner, as the service was very bad. After finishing every course of meal, we were required to wait for 15 minutes for ext items to come.
After finishing our Dinner, we went to Srini's Guest house. The guest house is not occupied by anyone and Srini said that they come here very often, stay and then return back. We took the keys from watchman and entered the guest house. It has hall, kitchen and dining hall in ground floor and 2 bed rooms on first floor. The girls occupied one bedroom and all the guys occupied another room. Before going to sleep, we had lots of fun pulling Phani's leg. The topic for pulling Phani's leg cannot be disclosed openly :-)..................................

Near Guest House in Ercaud & Boating @ Ercaud
Sunday early morning, all woke up by 5 AM and got ready by 6:30 AM. Most of them got Hot water to bath, but few of them who took bath at last had to use Cold water, including me. We then went around; had some photo session and then the Watchman send a local boy Stalin with us to show us the places. We had our morning Tea on the way and then we first went to Shevroyon Cave temple. The priest here said that the cave leads you to Tala kaveri and people who do a 44 day wrath only can enter the cave and take that path. I tried t take a snap of the cave temple from outside, for which i had to hear a few words from the priest. He said that u people look like educated people and despite of putting a board that "Camera is not allowed inside the temple" u r taking snaps. We replied by saying that we are only trying to take snaps from outside. I was very much surprised to see a board put u in English language, as u rarely see English hoardings in Tamilnadu.

There were 2 swings put up and we guys started playing there. Bala krishna sat on one of them and Prabhakar NK pushed the swing hardly and due to Bala's weight the swing broke and Bala had to land once again in Dust. Luckily he was not injured so much. We then visited Meenakshi temple . We then had our Breakfast and then visited Lady's seat and Gent's seat. ( These are View points from which u can see the entire Ercaud and Salem city using Telescopic view). We thought it was enough and we did not visit Childrens seat. I pulled Divya's leg saying, don't feel bad that we are not visiting your seat. Divya was bit frustrated, as i had pulled her leg a lot in the journey. I have a habit of pulling all my friend's leg. Most of them in my team / troop are used to it. As divya was new to the team , she was getting used to it :-).

Ercaud Scenic view

We then returned to the Lake and planned to go for Boating. Few of them were not interested. Finally 5 of us went for boating. We planned to take Paddling boats, but since we were asked to wait for 30 minutes for it, we took Rowing boat. On the way we requested the Rider and rowed for some distace.As i had done rowing before in Honnemaradu, it was easy for me, but for others (Nirmala, Divya, Radha and Phani), it was difficult.They were just splashing water and the boat was not going ahead. After finishing the ride, we drove to Pagoda point, another View point, where there was good cool breeze. After spending some time here we returned back to the guest house and started our journey back.

For me Ercuad is not such a highly rated place. I would rate Kemmanagundi, Ooty, Kodaikanlal , Mullianagiri, Kudremuk as very good when compared to Ercaud. But Ercaud has good weather, a lake and few view points, but not so much greenery.
On the way back to Salem, Srini took us to his Sericulture farm ( His dad and their friends are doing it in partnership it seems). We had a look at the Silk worms being feeded by Mulberry leaves. We then had an discussion of how these silk worms later will be killed and then Silk will be extracted . So we asked the girls not to wear Silk sarees :-)

We then went o Srini's residence, had good lunch, followed by Mangoes, Water melon. Played Basket ball for some time (There is only one Basket put in the veranda portion, where we played). Then we left Salem by 4: 30. On the way we had a Anthyakshari session, followed by Dance floor, where all of them danced to some Hindi / Tamil / Telugu and Kannada music. Most of them in the trip were fully impressed by Mungaru male songs, as I repeatedly asked the driver to play them for 5-6 times. Finally some of the members themselves requested for Mungaru male songs.

We finally reached Bangalore by 8:30 PM on Sunday. After dropping all of them, I and Bala finally got down from the TT by 9:30 PM. It was end of another fun filled trip.

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