Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Tada Hills & Waterfalls - A Picture Album (Nellore - Andhra Pradesh)

As promised in the last post, here's a photo album of the trip, right from the night spent under the tarps to the dinner at a highway dhaba, the next night on the way back to the city after the trek, and the entire fantastic trek in between!!!

Photo Courtesy:
Pics 1, 5, 9, 15 by Rajesh.
Pics 4, 10, 11,14, 16, 17, 18 by Vishwanathan
Rest by your's truly!

TO GET THERE: Refer the prev. post.

Dedicated to the Emperors Gang of CTC

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Tada Hills & Waterfalls (Nellore - Andhra Pradesh)

My good old readers might have seen this good old post in this blog on Tada! Its been in my wish list for a super long time and just recently it got off it and how???!!!!!!!!!! 
When I saw Tada in the CTC mail, I instantly applied and somehow got selected. It was called an Easy+ and it was a one night, one day trek. 23 of us left to Tada in 4 cars (no, u need not get confused! 1 was a SUV!!!) We left at about 10:30 and reached the base hills at about 12 midnight. With some sleeping bags, blankets and shared tarps, the night was well spent beneath the moon. 
We started with the trek at about 6:30 am. In about half an hour of plain trek, we reached the 1st water source, a stream. Further uphill trek and at about 10:30 we halted for breakfast. I should say, bread never tasted that good and I've never seen such a competition for bread!!!! Well, it was a couple hours of uphill trek that did that magic.
There was a wall constructed most probably by the British (or Dutch, coz Pulicat close to here belonged to Dutch). This may have been their watch tower. A similar wall was also there in Parappalaru. It does amaze me that the people who came to colonize us, managed to find all these places and also managed to build some walls there!!!! 
After breakfast, we went on further and by noon we were at the waterfalls. Water wasn't falling much but the depth was about 10 ft and it was super chill. The beginner swimmer in me, had to get in only with my swim tube! But, soon my both my calves got cramped with the sudden temparature change. I got out and my friends helped me to ease out those cramps.
Usually that's the point till which most people venture. However with some experienced trekkers in the group who knew the track very well, we ventured further more and that was indeed the awesome part. The trek got 'not-so-easy' from this point when the climbs at some places were just vertical upwards or downwards!!! 
At some places I had to throw my bag down and then climb down, so was the terrain. At some places there were several varieties of wild ferns that the terrain looked right out of a tropical rain forest!!!

At some places we had to walk through water and streams and finally we did reach the top. The lunch of our packed, cold Chapattis did taste heavenly after all this!!! The water which had gotten almost over in the uphill task was replaced with fresh water from the streams atop, which also tasted fantastic.
After spending almost an hour there, we started back down and downhill was in a different route and that was splendid than ever. At 2 different places we did a bit of rapelling with getting down using a rope. By the time all of us were done with the 2nd rapelling, it was dark! So the last 45 mins of the trek (15 mins downhill and the rest on plains) was in the dark with our torches!!! Now, that's something I haven't done before at all!!! 
In a nutshell, we trekked, we did a bit of mountaineering, a bit of rapelling and a dash of night trekking too!!! That's more than awesome. Loved every bit of it... In the earlier post on my blog, the guys ventured on their own and did not take up this route. To reach the falls there are quite a few trails, with 1-2 easier than this.
Well, I left to Tada with 23 strangers and came back with 23 friends and some of them pretty much became close friends! Now looking forward for a moderate trek with CTC and yeah, someone please take me to Himalayas soon (not Everest, some Shiverest would do!!! But I've gotta do a Himalayan trek atleast once!!!).
Suddenly as I'm writing this post, just thought of how many 'hill' treks (both rocky terrains and forests) have I done earlier before my first trek with CTC - Pon Uthiyur, Killiyur Falls in Yercaud, Settavarai, Gingee Fort (my first), Savandurga, Narttamalai, Pavagadh, and Parappalaru (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3). 
So far, Parappalaru was my most favourite. Now..... Parappalaru or Tada???? Well.......... I should give it to Tada, with Parappalaru close behind it.  
Wait n watch. More pics coming up soon.....

From Koyambedu, Chennai: 70 km (get to Puzhal and get going).

Dedicated to Emperors Gang of CTC

Friday, November 28, 2014

Chokhi Dhani (Kanchipuram - Tamil Nadu)

A few months back, I went to this hotel called Choki Dhani close to Chennai for an evening & dinner. Originally I had no intention to write about it. However the place is too good for me to not write about it. 
As the name says, its a Rajasthani themed restaurant and space! Space??? Well, its not just a restaurant. Its located in the outskirts of Chennai and in a huuuge space. Its a small village ambiance created in that space. 
Right from the entrance, everything is Rajasthani styled. The walls are painted with wall art similar to Rajasthani tribal art. 2 life sized dolls of a man and woman styled in Rajasthani attire, and 2 men playing drums & trumpet welcome you. 
As soon as you enter, there's a paan wala. Soon after him is a beautiful water body, with a stage in the centre. Pedal boat is available at the waterbody, but I guess I'm a bit grown up for a little round on a pedal boat! Right at the centre stage are some musicians and there was also a fake wearable horse (the one worn for horse dance). Yup, I did try it on and did a few steps for their music!
Behind this was the actual set up with Jaljeera as welcome drink! There was bullock cart ride, camel ride, mehendi etc.
Next to it is a small village set up, complete with little huts, cots as seating arrangements, musicians etc. I got to try 'hukkah' too! Also a small fake well with life size bulls showing the traditional way of water pumping! 
Next to it was what was called 'Jungle Mangal', a little forest setup, with waterfalls and tree top house with drums too!!! Also there was a artificial cave temple of Sai Baba as well.
As time went by, performers started performing. A magician, pulled out a Rs.5 coin which I put in his bowl from my husband's jeans!!! Dancers performed beautiful dance in their swirling skirts and one of them managed to pull me up too, to join them! 
There was this amazing dancer, who took 6 earthen pots atop her head and stood over 2 glass tumblers!!! 
Katputli or Puppet Show was awesome as well! There were some typical games like shooting the balloon, ringing a toy etc... As night fell, the lighting as great. Totally I loved the ambience, it was too good.
And finally the dinner - food part! The restaurant was in the interiors under concrete roof. Food was a typical spread of all Rajasthani varieties incl, 3-4 types of roti etc. After that, came the sad part - lemon rice, tamarind rice and some other rice!!! Just because the place is in Chennai, doesn't mean they had to serve rice!!! People visit a place like this, for its uniqueness. I've been to Rajawadu in Ahmedabad, a similar styled restaurant, and I definitely liked their food better than this. Also Rajawadu served in open huts which just had ceiling, on mud floor, not in a concrete building like this, which also I loved better in Rajawadu.
Except for the wrap up - dinner & dining hall, rest, the ambiance, the maintenance, the sheer size I was definitely amazed... That's a great effort!!!

P.S: This is NOT a sponsored post 

Chokhi Dhani Chennai
NH-4, Near Queensland Theme Park, Kevlur Road, Tandalam,
Sriperambudur, Chennai - 602 105, INDIA
Ph: +919003223695

Dedicated to Venkat

Friday, November 21, 2014

Wallpaper Project - 1

I've been wanting to do this since long, but somehow never managed to get myself to browse through all my photographs and bring out the pics that look like wallpapers esp., textures! Finally today I thought, I have to start it, atleast with some 10-12 pics..... So here they are!!!

Did you like them??!!!! More coming up soon, but irregularly between travel posts!!!
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