• Karnataka,  Travel Bag

    A road trip following the Kaveri

    The Kaveri (or Cauvery) has been in the news for all the wrong reasons lately. For peasants and the gentry, it is a source of life and livelihood, for pilgrims it is as sacred as the Ganges and for politicians, it is a pivot that might decide the fate of the next election. For tourists and travelers though, the river can be a source of great inspiration. For it is born in a spring adjoining a temple, been a witness to kingdoms and civilizations of great importance through the ages, it’s waters irrigate the great rice bowl lands of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. A gently flowing river, I have often wondered…

  • Valparai
    Tamil Nadu,  Travel Bag

    A weekend trip to Valparai

    When the idea of making a weekend trip to Valparai struck me, I discovered that the origins of this hill station, and the flourishing state of much of it’s tea estates are due in no small part, to pioneering gentlemen from the days of the British Raj. It comes as a bit of a surprise therefore, that history books are noticeably devoid of any mention of the beginnings of this place. Indeed, precious little is known about Carver Marsh, the man who introduced tea plantations to the Anamalai ranges.   Bangalore to Valparai If opting for a bus, Pollachi is the closest point that most buses from Bangalore will ply to. Most private, overnight buses from Bangalore take the Salem-Erode-Tirupur-Udumalpet…

  • Side Pockets,  Tamil Nadu

    RE-BLOG: A Higher Place, A Divine Treat | OPEN Magazine

    Cannot help but re-blog a few scintillating pieces of writing that I read recently. The first one begins with an introduction to the quaint British concept of hill stations and then delves into details of the writer’s experiences in the charming town of Kodaikanal. Rajni George paints a most endearing picture, one filled with fond memories, insights about the places that only somebody who actually grew up there can reveal, and most importantly, wonderful anecdotes about the people who live in Kodaikanal. Read on to find out more.. A Higher Place | OPEN Magazine. The next one is a lip-smacking, culinary journey through the temple towns of Tamil Nadu. V. Shoba guides us through a labyrinthine path across some esoteric and some famous…

  • Mannavanur Lake
    Best of the Travel Bag Tales,  Tamil Nadu,  Travel Bag

    Discovering Mannavanur on a trip to Kodaikanal

    It was a lovely Saturday morning – not too cold, with a gentle breeze blowing. Our vehicle had stopped that day at a decrepit tea shop a few kilometers outside Salem. I asked the kid there for directions to the toilet. In response, he just pointed to the backyard and uttered a single word “kaadu” (forest). I was sure he had misunderstood my question, so I came back to the car with a bemused smile on my face. Kodaikanal to Mannavanur Our plan was to spend one day in the idyllic environs of Mannavanur, a small village 30 odd kms to the west of the popular hill station of Kodaikanal,…