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When you visit a visit Tiger Reserve, you either see a tiger or you do not. We were at the Bhadra Tiger Reserve and when you are at a place that prides in being home to a score of tigers, you go on a safari hoping to see the elusive cat.

That November day when JLR's* Jeeps drove us into the Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary, we sighted the common monkey, Spotted Deer, Sambar Deer, Barking Deer, Indian Gaurs, an eagle and a few Malabar Pied Hornbills to name a few animals (and birds) . What we weren't lucky enough to spot, was the 'big cat.'

The naturalist who led the safari told us that the Bhadra Tiger Reserve had 18 to 22 tigers within its wilderness. I guess that wasn't our lucky day. 

A few pictures from the safari:
(Sorry about the quality; I couldn't help the shakes because strapped to me, was a 10-month old :) )

Other sights from Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary:

A camera to watch the tigers.
They even help identify the tigers in the Reserve because apparently, no two tigers are alike if you look at their stripes. 

The 'British Bungalow' at Bhadra Tiger Reserve.
The colonisers used to use this building as a rest house on their way to Chickmagalur, they say. 

The forest guards' shelter right in the middle of the Bhadra wilderness.

Solar-powered fences marking the boundaries of Bhadra Tiger Reserve and keeping the animals and locals safe. 

*Jungles Lodges and Resorts

This rock face up here is a showcase of one of the showiest of waterfalls in Karnataka. What you see is obviously not its best show. It is such a pity that its not in its full glory all year through. This is Jog Falls or Gerosoppa Falls.

The Jog Falls is at its best during the Monsoons or just as the rainy season is wrapping up. Or when the Linganamakki Dam upriver decides to let off some steam.

When River Sharavati falls here, it does so in the form of around half a dozen smaller falls. Four of these falls that make up the mighty Jog have been christened: Raja Roarer, Rocket and Rani. Apparently, these names are attributed to the way they fall. Raja is supposed to be the majestic one. He plunges down a good 900 ft and so is the king of this show. His neighbour Roarer -- they say-- may not be just as tall but louder, he is. Rocket shoots right down into the ravine below reminding one of a Rocket on its way down. And Rani is the elegant queen of this waterfall, the one that cascades over its rocky path very gracefully.

We visited in late November and it was reason to be glad and sad at the same time; glad because we were finally able to see the famous Jog Falls and sad because it looked like it was having a bad-hair-day.

The silver lining is that each of the Falls of the Jog was distinct, even the small one at the foot of Raja. That baby looked like a bundle of energy. I doubt you could tell this one apart with all the water that gushes down when Raja and Roarer are 'in-season.' The two unnamed falls in between Rocket and Roarer should have been named Rajkumar and Rajkumari; they seemed to be outdoing the rest that day.

Jog Falls might have been a bit of a disappointment that day. But its surroundings were not. The area was quilted in rich green vegetation. Even the rocky background of the falls looked quite striking. While taking in the setting, I noticed a couple of pretty waterfalls to the left of the famous four. They seemed to be going about their business undeterred by the fact that they were over-shadowed by their illustrious neighbours.

Ok. So Jog Falls done. However, I'm not crossing it off the list yet. Now I want to see it at its grandest.

(If you'd like to see what Jog Falls looks like in its full glory click Here)

Linking to the meme-- 

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A two-tiered beauty called Multnomah Falls
Road tripping across Karnataka

Exploring: Earth| Water| Fire| Air


Mt. St. Helens
Mt. St. Helens in Washington
(Official entry for Earth)
It is amazing what volcanoes can do to the earth. It can change the lay of the land. It can create vast stretches of 'devastated' areas and it can give rise to really handsome looking landforms. It can petrify trees and carve out beds for lakes. I'm filled with awe every time I visit a volcanic site.

Mt. Hood, OR
Mt. Hood, Oregon


It is fascinating to see geo-thermal energy heat up water and throw it up into the surface of the earth, sometimes to great heights. Here are pictures of  a Geyser in Napa, California and a Mud Pot in Mineral, California.

Old Faithful Geyser
Old Faithful Geyser of California in Calistoga, CA
(official entry for WATER)

Mudpot at Lassen
Mud Pot at Lassen Volcanic National park, also in CA.

If you look at the Mud Pot carefully, you can see some bubbles. And that is proof that the water in the puddle is boiling hot. Both, the geyser and Mud Pot let out a lot of steam into the air but I have another entry for 'Air.'


This is a picture from Kilauea in Hawaii. It was an experience of a kind -- watching one of the most active volcanoes spew hot volcanic gas into the air. And it was my first volcano tour, so you can imagine how exciting it must have been.

Kilauea Caldera
Gas and steam at the Halemaumau crater in the Kilauea Caldera at Volcanoes National Park on Big Island, HI.
(Official entry for AIR)

Fire -- hot liquid fire

The next picture is that of a painting of 'Pele'  I happened to see while I was visiting Jaggar museum on Crater Rim Drive in Volcanoes National Park, HI. I was so allured by it . I stood looking at it for awhile and I decided I just had to bring back a picture of it; just to admire it every now and then.

Volcanoes are looked at with fear and reverence in Hawaii,which has had a long history with Volcanoes.

One of the most dramatic spirits of the Hawaiian pantheon is Pele, goddess of volcanoes. Ancient traditions about her reveal an impetuous, lusty nature, at times gentle and loving but always jealous and unpredictable, capable of sudden fury and great violence.
- Herb Kane, Artist, Historian, Author. 

Pele -  by Herb(ert) Kane
(Official entry for FIRE)

This post is an entry for 'Explore the Elements'

Explore the Elements - the travel Photo-blogging Challenge is an initiative by Thomas Cook. The idea is to put up a post with  travel pictures that best portray the elements. 

A big Thank You to Sangeeta of Life is a Vacation for nominating me for the challenge. 

Now I'd like to pass the baton to:

Jitaditya of Travelling Slacker
Indrani of iShare
Niranjan of Tales of a Nomad
Vijay Sharma of Photo Journey

More about the contest HERE

Duck Car
Ducks to go -- everywhere. 
On one of our trips to the 17- Mile Drive in Monterey California, I came across this car that had DUCKS writ all over it.  We had stopped for lunch in one of those golf resorts along the drive when we saw this quirky car. We were amused.

I just had to take a couple of pictures, like it was one of those POIs along the scenic route. 

Ducks to go
There's a whole brood of them in there.
Don't miss the license plate.

Linking to the meme-- 
Our World Tuesday

NH-48. Bangalore-Mangalore Highway

We're in 'Discover-Karnataka* mode,' We decide to step out of the all-too familiar Mysore-Bangalore region. The initial plan: to drive through a part of the Karnataka coast,  say hello to the waterfalls that make up the famous Jog Falls and have a brush with some wildlife at Bhadra Sanctuary.

At the eleventh hour, a couple of things crop up. The road trip must go on, at least part of it. The coastal part of the itinerary has to be scrapped.

Bangalore-Mangalore Corridor

This road trip kicks off from the IT City. We take the Outer Ring Road and then get on to Tumkur Road. Soon we find ourselves on NH-48 or the Bangalore -Mangalore Highway. The road is really good -- perfect to zip through. It is a Friday morning; a misty one. That makes the landscape even more alluring. There are coconut palms. There are sugarcane fields; Ragi (Millet) fields too. And with the mist kissing these crops and the rocky stretches along the route, it makes for an awesome morning drive.

NH-48. Bangalore-Mangalore Highway

NH-48. Bangalore-Mangalore Highway

NH-48. Bangalore-Mangalore Highway

Rustic Karnataka

When we reach a place called Baragur, Northwest of Chennaryapatna, it's time to change direction, head north and merge into NH-206. The road we take is SH-7 and what a refreshing change it is from the highways in the state that we know all too well. State Highway 7 is a smaller road with one lane in each direction. 7 meanders through rustic Karnataka offering sights of more farmland, nondescript hamlets and innumerable trees that look like Banyan. Long stretches of the highway are lined with these trees, their prop roots meeting in the middle of the road and kept trimmed by moving vehicles, they are made to look like long wooded tunnels.

Karnataka countryside - SH-7

Karnataka countryside - SH-7

Karnataka countryside - SH-7

The road to the coast

At Arsikere we merge in to NH-206 and are westward-bound once again. This is the Bangalore Honavar Highway. (Honavar is where the Sharavati River empties itself in the Arabian Sea.)

We pass through some of the big and small towns here. We bypass Bhadravati but drive into the thick of Shimoga to get some lunch.

Soon we are back on the highway. This part of NH-206 is also State Highway 13. We head to Sagar. The fields on the roadsides are partly green with wild plants and partly golden with bales of stacked up hay. There is something else that catches the eye -- miles of high tension electrical lines probably form the power house at Linganamakki Dam.

These parts also seem to be beautified with several roadside ponds that looked liked water-lily ponds. Not a flower to be seen but floating leaves on water is a picturesque sight, indeed.

NH 206/Shimoga,Karnataka

NH 206/Shimoga,Karnataka

NH 206/Shimoga,Karnataka

Later we pass a pretty sad looking Sharavati; its water is dammed at Linganamakki.
We find ourselves in our first destination. (The account and pictures coming up in a different post.)

The next day we get onto 206 once again. This time we turn off before Bhadravathi to get to the wilderness of the Bhadra Tiger Reserve. On the way there's this sight -- The Bhadra Dam (The best part is what is on the other side of the dam -- the Bhadra Reservoir.)

Bhadra Dam, Karnataka
Bhadra Dam

The following day we hit 206 again, this time to head home. We retrace the NH-206, SH-7, NH-48 route and find ourselves back in Bangalore.

Coming soon: posts on Jog Falls and Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary.

*Karnataka is a state in South India

Spring is almost synonymous with flowers.  Ever since I got to see Cherry Blossoms at the Japanese Tea Garden in San Francisco, it's what comes to mind first when the season rolls in. I yearn for the sight of those pretty white flowers that cloud its trees and turn the whole place into a fairytale-like setting.

Did you know that Cherry blossoms last for only about a fortnight and for the Japanese it symbolises the brevity of human life?

Cherry trees are an integral part of Japanese gardens -- world over -- so you know where to head, if you want to see these prettiest of pretty blossoms.

Last Spring I was in the Pacific Northwest and my desperation to see cherry blossoms led me to Portland Japanese Garden in Portland, Oregon. I was quite disappointed not seeing those pretty white flowers, for the major part of my walk through the garden. I was almost out of there, when my eyes fell on a flowering tree that was cloaked in pink flowers.

It was only later that I learn that this flowering tree that stood out from its green neighbourhood was also a cherry tree; the Weeping Cherry Tree to be precise.

Linking to the meme -- 

If you are a flower person, you might also like:

Chinese New Year Parade, San Francisco.
From the Chinese New Year Parade in San Francico, CA.
The Chinese community in the San Francisco Bay Area has been putting up a late evening Chinese New Year Parade in SF since the 1800s. It is a show of song and dance, culture and lights. This year's Parade is scheduled for the 7th of March (2015).

If you would like to see this grand cultural showcase, find the parade route here

Chinese New Year Parade, San Francisco.
I got to see the event in 2012. You'll find an account and some pictures from the Year of the Dragon in this post -- From the Chinese New Year Parade in SF

You might also want to visit:

One late Sunday afternoon we felt the weekend slipping away and thought we should just get out of the house for a bit. Hubby was in the mood for a drive and because driving around Bangalore city is not exactly our idea of fun, he said let's just drive up to Nandi Hills and come back.

Honestly, this time the idea was not to see Nandi Hills. All we wanted to do was a leisurely drive before the weekend ended. And since it was a holiday we didn't expect to find parking space up there. It was already half-past-four when we began our ascent up the hill. We were driving up when everybody else seemed to be driving down the hill and back to the city.

Sunday was already wrapping up but this is what we got to see as we were driving up the hill -- some cloud-filtered evening sunlight. (photos above and below)

Late afternoon light filtering through some clouds; a sight we saw as we were driving up. 

Now if we'd gone one Saturday or Sunday morning like we normally would have done, we just might have had trouble finding parking space, even some shade to sit for a while and take in the birds-eye view of Nandi Hills' environs. And since it was evening, we and the DSLR -- I decided to take, just in case there was a photo-opportunity -- didn't have to deal with harsh sunlight. Perfect. Period.

Catching some light on a hillock; a sight from the top of Nandi Hills.

More of that cloud filtered light; another shot from the top.

Don't miss how the light plays on the plains below. 

Later that evening.
It looked like the clouds were there to stay.

A closer look at some late evening light fighting its way through the clouds that refused to move.

And then, the sun just set behind those clouds.

Now, I wonder what early mornings up there are like ;)

Nandi Hills is around 60 Kilometres from Bengaluru (or Bangalore) city. In case you would like to know more about this place situated in the district of Chickaballapur(a), you can read about it HERE

Note: Nandi Hills is close to traffic after 6. So if you don't want to be too late to arrive, you might want to remember that. If you are there by 6, you might be allowed some grace time to walk around and enjoy the evening breeze or gusts, whatever is in nature's plans for the day.

Thank you for the votes, Indibloggers. :)

Linking to the NF memes:
Catching the light                                  &  Our World 


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