Hi all, it’s been a while since I last wrote, hasn’t it?
This post is about a short trip we took to a place called Avalabetta around 90 kms from Bangalore. But it turned out to be more than 150kms for us.
You see, my family and I love to travel. These one-day trips, especially, attract us a lot, because my dad loves to drive and if he makes up his mind to go somewhere, which is quite rare, we all readily agree at the opportunity! And we all love to sing in the car as we drive. Yesterday, my sister was missing, so not much of the singing happened. Besides, NO one knows about Avalabetta and there are no signboards anywhere. So we had to concentrate on the roads.
Our day started off with dropping my doddi at the airport, because we were all headed in that direction anyway. She left to Calcutta to meet her daughter. She is my favourite doddi. We bid her goodbye and got onto the Bangalore-Hyderabad highway.
Not too far away, we spotted a really fancy temple. Oh! It was my parents’ anniversary! 31 years! That was why we went on the trip in the first place. So they were in a very thankful mood, for being happy together for 31 years. (Obligatory ‘touch wood’). They’re a role model couple for me. (Minus the fights on what to watch on TV. Hehe.)
So here, this is the temple.
It was really pretty, but honestly I didn’t get the temple feel. When you visit a temple, there’s something about the atmosphere that makes you feel like it’s holy. This was just too modern and fancy. Like Iskcon. I don’t feel like Iskcon is a temple. Anyway, outside that temple, there was a tamarind tree, where we went and plucked some unfortunately ripe tamarinds. They were not nice. We all like the unripe, sour ones! Slurrrppp!
So back on the highway. We began looking for a Peresandra, from where we had to take a left turn (according to some random website called Sutha Mutha).
(PS: We assumed someone very reliable had told my father about Avalabetta and given him proper directions, but turns out he read about it in Bangalore Mirror and decided to follow what the paper said. (I didn’t know people relied like this on newspapers. I must be more careful about what I write.)
Anyway, we were lost after a while on the highway. Well, there was Google maps, but we didn’t really know what to look for, because everyone we asked didn’t know Avalabetta. We didn’t know how to pronounce it. We called it AvaLabetta (Like ‘her betta’ in Kannada) but they pronounce it Aavalakonda. The localites there are Telugu speaking people. So we were all confused.
After finding Peresandra, we were looking for a place called Mandikal. (I read it as Knee Leg in Kannada but it’s actually Knee Stone in Kannada). From Mandikal, a right turn would lead us to the foot of the hill. On our way there, we saw a bunch of farmers doing something interesting on our right. We just had to stop! I ran to the farmers and asked them what they were doing. They were harvesting potatoes! There were so many potatoes cropping out of the mud, and we got so much joy from pulling them out of the mud; it almost felt like we were creating them!
Also, I was hell bent on playing with puppies, calves, kids (goat babies), anything. It’s a thing I like doing when I’m on trips. But I couldn’t find puppies anywhere. I found goats and their babies but they were too scared. I heard this one buffalo crying. I thought he was calling out to me. I took a banana for him and went to him but he got so scared! I was offended.
Back en route to our destination, Avalabetta. But wait. We all had to pee. But of course, there are no fancy rest stops in India. So yes, we all secretly watered someone’s mango grove. Sshhhh..
We finally got back on track. The farmers we helped actually told us were were off route. So we took a U-turn and asked a bunch of people that directed us correctly. We found the foot of the hill and began our journey up. My my! How horrid the road was! It’s under construction still and we thought our car would conk out. But it has very high self Esteem and couldn’t conk out. It took us up the very steeeeeep hill until we got on top.
Phew! The view was beautiful! There was not a soul in sight and we had the hilltop all to ourselves! It really is like a non commercial Nandi Hills. It was really sunny, but during Winter the place will be ideal. There’s a Forest Office guest house atop the hill, so if you ever feel like waking up to that view, and watching sun rise/set there, you can stay there.
We went to the temple at the hill, and I think I forgot to click pictures there. The pujari said it is more than 1,000 years old. This was more like a temple. Old, non-fancy, with the smell of karpoora and teertha, it was perfect. The deity was inside a cave, so going from a really sunny courtyard into a cool cave felt otherworldly. It was a Narasimha temple, the God our family is supposed to pray to. My mum told me that my dad was supposed to be named Narasimha, if not for Ramesh. (Thank God they chose the latter!)
After praying there, and being ripped off by the pujari, who took 700 bucks from my dad, we went down in search of food. We stopped at Peresandra again, which is apparently famous for chakkli.
Dabba thara ithu. After eating the chakli my mum makes it’s impossible to eat other chakkli. We also ate cucumber from the road, which I had a craving for. Then my daddy bought us Nandini majjige. Yum!
We stopped for lunch at a Panchagiri hotel, which looked all fancy from outside but was like a cave inside. Not a cool cave, this one.
After lunch, we decided to stop by at Bhoganandeeshwara temple, which is at the foot of Nandi hills. A little out of our way, but according to my sister, worth it. The temple was lovely. Built during Vijayanagara empire’s reign, it has amazing architecture, but of course all the sculptures are half destroyed thanks to invaders. That adds some sort of affect to these South Indian shiles.
Also, make a note to not go to Shiva temples during Shivrathri period. Apparently there was a mela going on, so it was REALLY dirty. But there was a very traditional, kola. I don’t know what you call it in English.
So from this temple, we left and came back home. It was a long, but fun day! A good trip after really long. So thank you dad, mom, and thank you car and thank you dad for driving the car.
Thank you for being a role model couple for me. Hope you guys grow younger with time. I don’t think I need to tell you both that I love you. So I won’t. : P
Cheers! : )