Skywatch Friday - A view from the Top Station, Munnar

We were in Munnar last week.

Munnar in monsoon is mindblowingly beautiful.

One of the "Must see' places in Munnar is the "Top Station" on the Kerala - Tamil Nadu border in South India.

As the same suggests, it is one of the highest points of Kannan Devan Hill ranges @ 6170 feet. It used to be the highest station on the Kundala valley railway - now defunct - built by British to transport tea chest from hills to railway station in Bodinayakanur.  It overlooks a breathtakingly beautiful valley giving you a 180 degree view.

We went there in the afternoon. The fog was rising up. The sun was still shining. The shadow play on the hills was already on.

We clicked this picture. We liked the contrast of red roof of a building - a church - with surrounding green.

The blue sky with white clouds completed the frame. Click on the picture to see it in original size.


We urge you to go to Munnar now when it is raining. It is green everywhere disturbed only by the white cascades flowing from the mountains.

We will come back with detailed posts on our experience in Munnar. Stay tuned.

If you are interested to experience Indian monsoon in all its glory, here is the list for you. Please click on the link below.

Celebrating Indian Monsoon - A List!

For other posts in Skywatch Friday series, please click here.

Skywatch Friday

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Food Safari - Buttering lesson in Davanagere!

It is a known fact that Indians are fond of eating and India is a gourmet's paradise. The interesting aspect of Indian culinary diversity is the cuisine changes every 100 Kms or sometimes even every 50 Kms. Another curious aspect of India is that many dishes are associated with the place they come from. Thus we have Mysore pak, Dharwad peda, Machilipattinam laddu, Tirunelvelli halwa, Chettinad Chicken, Lonavala chikki, Bikaneri Bhujia, Banarasi pan and so on.

To that you add "Davanagere Benne Dose (pronounced as "dhosay")" or " Davanagere Butter Dosa".

This is unique. This is not a typical Masala dosa or neither is it a plain dosa. It is a combination of two. Let us explain. 

We are sworn gourmets savouring local food wherever we travel. Davanagere in Central Karnataka in South India has been our breakfast pit stop for a long time whenever we drive on NH4. Our regular adda is Sri Guru Kottureshwara benne dose hotel opposite the dental college. It is easy to reach from highway. Plenty of parking and plenty to eat!

Davanagere Benne Dosa

You have only two items on the menu here. "Benne Dose" and "Khali Dose". Benne dose is slightly larger and has more butter than its smaller cousin and less buttered Khali dose! Our favourite has always been Benne Dose. A "Plate" of it means a pair. If you want only one, you have to order "Single".

These dosas are celebration of Benne or butter. This is the celebration of gluttony. Forget your dieting and indulge in the bliss of savouring crispy dosa with spicy "palya" and "chutney".

The benne dosa in Davangere is made on large "tavas" or "cooking plate" heated up by firewood. Yes, it is firewood which is still used in these places to cook dosa. The dosa batter is poured on the tava and then comes the fun. Dollops of butter is now thrown over it. Literally. The butter slowly melt merging into the batter. The batter now gets cooked. Crispy on one side and soft on the other side. It is now turned over and some more butter is thrown over it! Benne Dosa is ready now. Slightly thicker, crispy. The honey comb structure is visible when you open it. 

Davanagere Benne Dosa
When we clicked this, they were preparing Khali dosa. 
Davanagere Benne Dosa
Cooked over wood fire

Davanagere Benne Dosa
Hot Khali dosa with palya and chutney
Davanagere Benne Dosa
Ready to serve khali dosa
It is served with "Palya and Chutney". The palya is made of potato and onion mixed with ground green chillies. We are not sure of the recipe. It is not the same alu masala you find in Masala dosas served elsewhere. There is no seasoning for palya like in regular masala dosa. We think that boiled alu (potato) is mashed to which stir fried onion and grated chilli is added and mixed. The chutney is again simple. The chutney here is boiled, not fried with a tempering as is typical. It’s a simple mix of coconut, green chillies, salt, and just a pinch of cardamom.

When we went to Goa and Sirsi recently, we stopped over at this place for our breakfast. As usual we ordered a plate and the aroma lasted till we reached the destination!

Davanagere Benne Dosa
A plate of Davanagere Benne Dosa

We saw this nice video on Youtube which will show how the Benne Dose is prepared in Davangere style. Just notice the amount of Benne or butter that is thrown on the dosa! Looks like it is the same place. Not sure.

Davanagere Benne Dose

Next time when you are driving on NH 4, take time to stop over at Davanagere to indulge in Benne Dose. Make sure you don't land up between 1 PM and 4 PM when the hotel will be closed.

Here is the Google map link for the hotel.

http://goo.gl/maps/Ue3Bg

If you are a foodie like us, you may love to see the following posts

Food streets of Indore

A Check list for gourmet's on travel in India

In search of Suleimani chai

Momos in Mirik

Bhopali breakfast

Bahadura laddu and ghevar of Gwalior

For other posts in "Food Safari" series please click here.

Food Safari

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Skywatch Friday - Palace in the Sky!

When did you last see an Indian mythological on your TV screen?

We all would have seen the scenes of the palace in the sky in them. Those grand sets of Indra's palace floating in the sky with clouds moving around. How would you feel if you are offered a similar sight on the ground?

This is the first impression you get when you are driving from Belgaum towards Bangalore. You come out the hustle bustle of city traffic and enter one of the lovely stretch of highway in the country. You negotiate to the top of a high ground overlooking a fantastic valley of green expanse. Then you take slight left turn and comes the surprise!

You will see a palace kind of a building on a small high ground in the distance. Wow! you exult and you are now eager to come closer and see the palace.

Yes, this is what happened when we were driving back from Goa last week. Monsoon clouds provided a perfect background which made this building float in the sky from a distance.

This is the newest addition to fabulous public buildings in the country. A replica of fantastic "Vidhana Soudha" the assembly hall in Bangalore. This is "Suvarna Soudha", the assembly hall and secretariat of Government of Karnataka for Summer sittings.

We stopped and clicked the pictures of the building. Being a holiday there was no chance for us to go inside.

Here is what we saw. Please click on pictures to see them in original size.

This is how it looks from the distance....in the clouds!
We come closer and click at an angle. We loved the sky and clouds above.
This one shot in front and zoomed. It is just fabulous!
When you drive on this road next time, stop for a minute. take a pause and get awed at this lovely sight.

For other posts in Skywatch series, please click here.


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Magic of Monsoon drive in western ghats 2 - Awestruck @ Amboli!

We promised you with our memorable return trip from Goa. Here we are.

After a lovely get together on the previous day where we met many roadies and their families as part of HVK Forum, we got up early for the Monsoon drive with the group. This route was chosen with great care by HVK himself to take us through some pristine forests of Western ghats. As luck would have it, we were not destined to join them. There was an emergency at home and we had to rush back.

We had an option to go back on the same route we drove to Goa on the previous day. The other option was to drive through Amboli ghat.

It was five years back when we drove back to Bangalore from Panjim in heavy rains. We then drove through Amboli ghat. That drive was memorable. We had actually driven under the canopy of waterfalls. It had rained heavily in Goa for 36 hours forcing us to stay indoors completely. When we left Goa the next day through Amboli ghat - we did not have luxury of different routes then as other routes were bad - we had not bargained for what was in store. We just could not believe our eyes as we drove in fog under canopy of waterfalls. We can never forget that drive.

Refreshing our memories, we did our return drive through Amboli this time. We kept our fingers crossed as we had left early and Amboli is notorious for landslides and roadblocks. Heavy rain on previous day meant that we were in a treat. We left behind Sawantwadi and entered Amboli ghat.  We entered Amboli ghat to be treated to lush greenery all around. A quietude broken only by the sound of an automobile now and then. 

Rains kept pouring off and on. It was not ferocious like the previous day. It was foggy with sun playing hide and seek. Soon we were to see a spectacle. For next five KMs we were treated by myriad of lovely cascades. Each one different. Each with its own character. We had to stop and frame them in the camera. Every few meters of drive we were awed by a waterfall. The grand finale was reserved for the Amboli falls. The Tallest of all. 

Join us for a drive under the waterfalls. Did we say we were awestruck at Amboli? You can see why. We assure you that you will be left spellbound after this journey!

Click on the pictures to see them in original size.

Monsoon drive in Amboli ghat
We enter Amboli ghat! It is green everywhere with a light drizzle 
Monsoon Drive in Amboli Ghat
The complete ghat and valley was foggy. We had to drive real slow. 
Monsoon drive in Amboli Ghat
A trailer of spectacle to unfold - the first of the waterfalls
Monsoon drive in Amboli ghat
Twins.......cascading gently over the rocks 
monsoon drive in amboli ghat
A canopy of water falls beckons us......
monsoon drive in Amboli ghat
This stretch was lovely. A fall at every five meters!
monsoon drive in Amboli ghat, waterfalls in amboli ghat
........and the spectacle continues
monsoon drive in Amboli ghat, waterfalls in amboli ghat
........it gets increasingly beautiful
monsoon drive in Amboli ghat, waterfalls in amboli ghat
This was a bigger one. It was glorious!
monsoon drive in Amboli ghat, waterfalls in amboli ghat
--------Followed by a smaller cousin
monsoon drive in Amboli ghat, waterfalls in amboli ghat
........and this one seemed to be in a hurry!
monsoon drive in Amboli ghat, waterfalls in amboli ghat
This is how it was. We had to wait for fog to clear to get a better view of the cascades
monsoon drive in Amboli ghat, waterfalls in amboli ghat
This one was a beauty. Hidden in the woods and coming out roaring!
monsoon drive in Amboli ghat, waterfalls in amboli ghat
.......and this one too....
monsoon drive in Amboli ghat, waterfalls in amboli ghat
This was taller and gentle
monsoon drive in Amboli ghat, waterfalls in amboli ghat
This was a perfect setting. Canopy of trees, misty on the top, water cascading gently over the rocks. Can it get any better?
monsoon drive in Amboli ghat, waterfalls in amboli ghat
The grand finale when the mist lifted!
monsoon drive in Amboli ghat, waterfalls in amboli ghat
The tallest and the main falls called simply as Amboli waterfalls
How did you feel? We felt rejuvenated. We would have loved to take a U Turn and drive back to experience the bliss. But we had to go. 

A quick breakfast in the shacks near the main falls, held us in good stead till we reached Bangalore. Thanks to HVK that we were able to make it. We missed lovely drive through Kadra - Dandeli - Joida. But we were adequately compensated by the spectacle in Amboli.

Travel Tips

Route - Panjim - Sawantwadi - Amboli ghat - Belgaum - Bangalore

Road condition - Excellent through out. Stunning landscape through out.

Eateries - There are shacks near Amboli falls who provide basic Breakfast. Hot and nice. There is also a restaurant by Maharashtra tourism if you want more options.

Tips - The ghat gets foggy in the monsoon. Though there is no need for fog lamps, need to drive carefully. The series of water falls can be seen only when it rains heavily in the hills. The main waterfalls will be good till november.

Please check out the first part of the monsoon drive in Western ghats here


For a complete list of experiencing monsoon in India - drives, waterfalls, places to god, treks etc. - please click on this link below.

Celebrating Indian Monsoon - A List!

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If you need help, please write to us by using the contact form on the side bar. Happy to help.

Monday Medley - Monsoon and the Scorpio!

We are naming our Monday posts as "Monday Medley". Yes, this will be a potpourri of interesting articles, posts from fellow bloggers which we liked, interesting images of fellow travellers or images from our own portfolio. We hope it will be a good start to the week. 

We all love our cars. Don't we?

We wanted to profile the mean machine which carries us all around the country. A faithful companion which has taken us to the remote corners of Chhattisgarh, the mountains of Sikkim, the shores of Kushi beach and to the waterfalls in Western ghats and many more. The Scorpio. Incidentally we just completed 125,000 KMs in last three and half years yesterday.

In the last week's monsoon drives to Goa and this week's drive to Sirsi -Yellapur, we clicked the mean machine in different surroundings. Take a look and we hope you like them the same way we did framing it.

Please click on the pictures to see them in original size.

Next to a lovely sun flower field between Birur and Tarikere off highway.
Next to a lovely sun flower field between Birur and Tarikere off highway.
In front of a lovely lake near Soraba, Karnataka
In front of a lovely lake after Soraba, Karnataka
On a  beautiful stretch of road on the way to Gudavi bird sanctuary, Soraba
On a  beautiful stretch of road on the way to Gudavi bird sanctuary, Soraba
Inside a green tunnel in Yellapur forests
Inside a green tunnel in Yellapur forests
Soaked in rain. On the way to Unchalli falls, Sirsi
Soaked in rain. On the way to Unchalli falls, Sirsi
scorpio and monsoon drive
We saw this lovely patch on the way to Unchalli falls. Lucky to take off the road and get this clicked

Scorpio and monsoon drive
In Anmod ghat, Karnataka 
scorpio and monsoon drive
In Amboli ghat. On the way to Belgaum from Goa
scorpio and monsoon drive
A bit of off roading in Yellapur forests :-)
BTW the man machine gets ready for another chance to hit the highway this weekend again!

For complete list of celebrating monsoon in India including our drives, water falls, treks, itineraries etc. please click the link below

Celebrating Monsoon in India - A List!


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If you need help, please write to us by using the contact form on the side bar. Happy to help.