Avalabetta Peak – Half day trip from Bangalore

Avalabetta hills or Avalabetta peak is another weekend getaway around 100 kms from Bangalore. All said and done, probably it isn’t wise to go there on a weekend? Just like Nandi hills, maybe it’s crowded. I would always visit this place on a weekday.

What is different from Nandi hills which is around 30-40 kms closer going from Bangalore?

For one, the trek to the top is challenging while you don’t trek at all in Nandi hills. You just park your car, take pictures and leave in Nandi hills. No, that’s not true. Nandi hills have a few other things to offer as well. But let’s concentrate on Avalabetta for now. At Avalabetta, they have the entrance gates closed. So you park your car/motorbike and walk up. Say 3-4 kms? Feels quite long if you are unprepared (which I was). Compared to Nandi hills, it’s more dangerous. No safety rails and the rocks are easily accessible. You just need to be careful. I too climbed the rocks and I’m still alive, so just be careful. If your gut feeling says that you are stretching your luck, you stop right there. Also make sure there is someone to help you if you are going to climb these rocks. Friends, other tourists. It’s a tricky place to easily get stuck.

There are good views and you can easily manage to get a couple of good photographs early in the morning. Nandi hills security check-post opens only at 6 am which is kind of disappointing because the sun is already out by the time you reach the top. I’m not sure if Avalabetta hills have any such security measures. I hope it doesn’t.

So go there on a weekday. You can trek, you can take pictures and you can see lot of monkeys. There is a temple at the top and fantastic views on both right and left side of the temple leading to the rocks.

Last but not the least, the drive to the place is nice. Around 80 percent of the drive is on NH with good roads and the rest not so good village roads. Motorbikes can be fun, but I did it in a car. Starting early can help you beat the summer heat, also get you some good pictures. Some members of tripadvisor reports that the security guard asked for money. I didn’t see any security guard, though there were people selling water bottles, fruits and butter milk. Also there were reports of restrictions due to safety issues, again I’m unaware if that exists now.

A view from Avalabetta hills

 

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Go-Karting in Bangalore

Whenever I visit a new place, I check for karting facilities nearby. A vice that I have been nurturing for long. Many great Formula 1 drivers have started their career on karts, also they are comparatively lesser expensive way of connecting poor people like me to Motorsports.

Like many say they can forget their worries listening to music, I say I forget my worries behind the steering wheel of a kart (wish I could afford more,lol). You take your focus away from the job in hand only to end up in a pile of tires or a cloud of dust. In the last karting place I’d been to, I saw a lady who was trying her hands on go-karting, crash into the dusty tires. Re-affirmation to the importance of focus.

Now to the actual subject…

Google handed me a huge list and it was up to me to select the places. Based on my search here are the 10 places (with useful links)I bookmarked.

Since karting tracks are away from the city and Bangalore being notoriously bad for it’s traffic, I couldn’t visit all of the above mentioned places. Most of them aren’t worth your time and money from the YouTube videos I watched.

Priorities vary depending on people and hence I will put down a quick review of places I have visited. My priorities are simple:

  • Driving experience
  • Condition of go-karts
  • Technicality and condition of the track
  • Customer service
  • Value for money

There are people who kart with their families/friends/cousins/relatives as a weekend getaway or a family outing. My opinion won’t be of much help to them, they probably want to have a good time which is not the primary intention of this post.

Gurukuls Go-Karting: (Rs. 250 for 6 laps)

The place had 4+ stars review in Google. To me this place was a big disappointment. The track was small, karts were below average and nothing great about the staff (two young lads). I went there on a weekday. Also I believe they cheated on the number of laps and I was only allowed 5 laps instead of 6. I couldn’t care less. I’m never going back there.

I would rate this place a 2/5. Make sure you count your laps or have someone counting it for you.

Meco kartopia: (Rs. 750 for 6 mins for Rotax karts and other options…)

My favorite of the lot. They have variety of options in terms of price (differ according to the power of the kart and time); the one I chose was the most powerful Rotax kart, the most expensive option as well. They claim to have 21 horsepower but I doubt that. The track was nice and long, though not very technical. The corners are low to medium to high speed after a long straight which makes it exciting. I visited the place on a weekday and they had one section of this track closed which makes this track very simple. The karts were powerful, would be an understatement. Give it to a person doing this for the first time and see him end up in dirt trail outside the track. I had difficulty fitting in those karts but I take full responsibility of that. My body weight has been on the higher side for the past 1 year due to laziness.

I would rate this place a 3.5/5. Check with the reception and they will give you the lap timings. This place also organizes various autocross events, karting events and I hope someday I can drive in such events.

Karting track, Meco Kartopia
Rotax Kart, Meco kartopia

Red riders sports: (Rs. 650 for 12 laps and other options…)

I have a love-hate relationship with this place. I love the fact that the track had number of corners, but at the same time hate the fact that karts were pathetic. The karts felt absolutely under-powered. Unlike Meco kartopia, there are lack of straight sections where you can go super fast and even if there were, you would been a year older by the time you cleared it.

I would rate this place 2.5/5 for their facility and good staff.

Red riders sports, go kart track

Play Arena: (Rs.240 for 6 laps)

Seriously?

The track is the smallest with lap times less than 20 secs. So you are paying Rs. 240 for 120 secs of fun and the real question… is it really fun? I stood outside the track and wondered, then promptly left the place.

I rate this place 1/5

Go kart track, play arena.
  1. Patels Inn, RT Nagar: (Rs. 140 for 6 laps)

Patels Inn is a resort, so nothing much to expect. The only thing that is positive about the place is price. The track is small and I think I finished 6 laps under 75 secs. Karts are in pathetic condition. Make sure you get the elbow protector (they gave me one without asking) because the rear is not insulated.

I rate this place 1.5/5. The fact that it is cheap made me give it a higher rating other wise it was 1/5 or less.

Patels Inn, Go kart trackThe above mentioned places, I visited personally and these are my thoughts regarding the place. In future, if I happen to visit any of the places that I have missed out or any new place, I shall update them here.

Go-karting in India is mainly a pass time; mostly a weekend fun getaway or a friends meeting spot. Karting deserves much more. Watching the European karting championship is as thrilling as watching a proper race. I hope karting gets bigger and better in India in the coming years.


 

 

Bannerghatta Biological Park – Bangalore Getaways

I am not much acquainted with this A-1 city of South India. When I stepped out into the streets for the first time, I was amazed. People from various places of India. Perfect! That’s what makes a city, a city. Isn’t it?

None of my travel plans had Bangalore in agenda until recent times. It’s only recently that I took a liking to this place and I did visit this place. Not that Bangalore is known for it’s natural beauty or so, there are too many pubs and bars which is pretty close.

Raghu: What do you want to do in Bengalooru? You are our guest.

Me: I don’t know, you tell me.

Raghu: You can go to Christ College and watch Bengalooru Hudugi’s (girls) or go to a pub, drink and play fusball.

Me: I don’t mind at all.

Raghu: Baba, you are our guest. Bengalooru will feel bad if I don’t take you around. Tell me, do you want to go to Bannerghatta Biological Park? Nandi Hills? Avalabetta? 

Me: We will visit them all.

Raghu: Yaay! we will do them all. 

I am glad we ended up doing at least one, ie Bannerghatta National Park and Zoo. Thanks to me and Raghu, we were super lazy.

The Google map location for this place, 12.800199, 77.578211

Please don’t use Gmaps for going to this place. The direction given in Google maps are not right. I have marked with black on the route that needs to be taken to reach the Biological Park which is the right one. We had troubles initially following Google maps and finally had to ask our way to this place. You need to go towards the zoo and the parking lot is nearby and so is the national park.

Bannerghatta Map

Once we reached there in Raghu’s car, we paid the parking fee which is Rs. 40 and we took my camera and head over to the ticket counter.

The prices for tickets are : Adults Rs 160 and for still-camera Rs. 25 (I don’t remember the remaining rates but can assure you that it’s quite cheap). This price is for the Grand Safari around the National Park and visiting the Zoo. If you take any one out of the equation the prices won’t be this much, though I would recommend doing both or at least the Grand Safari.

We paid for our tickets and entered the gates. The person shows us the way towards a waiting shed. We had to wait for our turn to go for the safari. They have a big green mini van/mini bus kind of thing with grill all around to take us into the forest.

The bus started and we are off for the Safari. Let pics do all the talking now. Half of them were clicked by Raghu…

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There is a separate safari (locations in those 400 acres) for each of the animals. We only have to buy a ticket and they will drive you around all those locations.

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The Bear looking at Raghu’s phone.

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Sleepy lion was woken up by throwing water, of course officials did the sin.

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Raghu… Tiger cat!!!

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Siberian Tiger – The white one

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A closer look at the Siberian Tiger

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Grinning tiger

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After the Grand safari came the Zoo,

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Crows and kisses …. Raghu didn’t understand, then I had to explain with examples of guns and roses. Silly Raghu.

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Wild Cat

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So these were the pics from Zoo. I thoroughly enjoyed the trip. It was really nice and as usual it is always nice to be in India due to such places.

I know I have mentioned the name Raghu too many times here. A friend who wants to stay anonymous, that is Raghu. Errr… Raghu is Batman. When Bangalore sleeps, Raghu sips Old Monk and walks wobbly on top of buildings wearing lungi. Raghu is not the hero Bangalore deserves, but neither the hero Bangalore needs.

Highlights:

Distance from Bangalore : 30-40 kms, (check out the maps)

Food: The place is in the outskirts hence you might as well have your food from the city. You are not allowed to carry food inside the Park. There are small places to get Indian food around the place which is a km from the National Park. 

Time taken to cover the whole attraction : 2.5 hrs (give or take)

Review :

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Pros:

Cheap, Clean, Silent getaway, Amazing weekend trip to take family and kids too, Grand Safari, Wonderful guides during the safari, Different kinds of animals in the national park, Clean zoo

Cons: 

In the outskirts of city and hence the drive is a bit long and tiring through the Bangalore traffic, Weekends are probably very crowded and queues can be very long.

Best time to visit:

Avoid weekends to stay away from crowd and long queues. Mornings are considered to be better if going on a weekend (opens at 9:30 am).

Things to be careful about:

  • Make sure you and your family don’t put your hands or any part of your body outside the vehicle through the opening in the grill. The guides do tell you that but if there is children going with you, be careful.
  • They do not allow any kind of food items when you go for the safari.
  • Try and occupy the front seats of the safari vehicle. Gives you a better view of the overall happenings and the guides/driver is really helpful in clicking pictures and explaining stuff.
  • The driver and the guide expect a tip at the end of the travel. If you feel they have been very cooperative in making you understanding things, do consider giving tips. We paid a sum of Rs 100 each to both of them as a tip but I am not sure about the norm. Hopefully Rs. 200 is decent.

My opinion:

A wonderful place. Definitely worth a visit. Recommended.

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On that bombshell, Good night!


Some of the pics posted here are not watermarked because of laziness. They still belong to me and Raghu.

The world of career and college- CollegeDunia!

 


The Internet is a very tricky place. On one side there is information in abundance while on the other side you find a lot of junk that needs to be avoided.

‘How your life should be’, ‘How your boss should be’, ‘How your parents should behave’, ‘How your boyfriend/girlfriend should behave’ or even ‘How your pet dog should treat you’ are some of the most common quotes you will find on Internet. Seriously, I feel we have started getting to a point where we have unrealistic expectations from most of the circumstances and people involved in our lives.

This particular post is meant for one of the things that gets quoted on FB quite often-‘Jobs, careers, college, future’. All of them are mostly related to each other.

While people are often seen quoting about all these, where is something that guides and helps the youngsters reach there. To be honest, life is too short and it is really sad to see people taking up odd jobs just for the sake of money. It is a known fact that we are most productive while doing something that we love to do.  But not many are lucky enough to build a career in something that excites them. If everyone were to wait till they find a perfect job, more than half of the entire population would have been unemployed. So what strikes a balance between your requirement and job satisfaction should be the minimum requirement of every working individual or anyone who is looking forward to build a successful career.

To avoid this, students need to start strong and start clear. They need to know what they are getting into and where they are enrolling themselves. College life is one of the most important phase of any student; personally and academically. It is therefore important that you choose your college and course wisely rather than going for Engineering, when your passion is clearly in fine arts. It makes absolutely zero sense to do that. It’s like Sachin Tendulkar holding a mic and Lata Mangeshkar holding a cricket bat.

Recently, I came across this website called collegedunia.com, which happens to be an extensive listing portal with info of say 10,000 + colleges in India; a platform developed with the intention that students can come and look up any institution they would want to go to, select different career paths, view what are the courses available in any particular institution and good things like that.

Apart from this, I also found that there is information about various entrance exams, events and college festivals as well. There was nothing like this during my time, of course not.

I was going through the website and just as a part of checking out the website, I searched for the top universities in Karnataka and I gladly found a big list describing various colleges, courses offered and ratings to show how good the colleges are.

For people who don’t know where Karnataka is, it happens to be a state in South India. It’s close proximity to Kerala has seen many of the Keralities moving to Karnataka. The reason why I chose Karnataka is simple; Karnataka is beautiful. Period.

The homepage of collegedunia.com shows the search box to search for a particular college, if you have any in your mind.

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Pic taken from home page of collegedunia.com

In this above picture, you can see on the upper right side that there are various other options that I have mentioned earlier in the post on exams, colleges, news etc.

Once you scroll down, you can see various career options listed down and clicking on them takes you to a page with the names of all the top colleges in the business. Pretty useful.

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Pic courtesy : collegedunia.com

If you scroll down even below, there are three other thing which caught my attention

  1. The entrance exams in India were mentioned below. This sadly didn’t have any description when I clicked on it. Anyway we have Google for that.
  2. The top courses opted by students in India.
  3. The featured colleges list, where they review a particular college.

Scope for Improvement:

As with anything there is always a scope for improvement and this website also has some as far as I can see. Things they can do in the near future, if you ask me.

To start with

  • They can add a list of certification courses; which can be a good enhancement to the main course that a student might be doing.
  • They can think of rolling out career news bi-weekly or monthly, just to keep the students updated on the Market scenario.
  • They can include various top universities, courses and exams from abroad for students who wish to migrate to foreign land to do their further studies.

Before I end this post I must conclude by urging everyone to go through this site which I think is pretty helpful. I am sure that you might have cousins or friends struggling with decision-making process in regards to choosing a college and I am pretty sure this website can come to your rescue.

Last but not the least, FB says… having a bad relationship can hurt you a lot but trust me on this, having a wrong career step in a world which produces around hundreds of thousands of graduates globally  a year can burn you a lot more and turn your morale in to ashes. Career change has never been so difficult because the competition is high and the market is saturated. Choose what is best for you and stay on top of the game…. would be my advice to the youngsters.

On that informative bombshell, Goodnight!