11 January 2013

What's in a Name?

Note: Back Dated Post. written sometime in Oct 2012

So the stork has announced his intention to visit! By the time this post goes public, the stork would already have arrived. Only upon the visit, would I finally know if it’s a king or a queen, till then I just have to keep guessing from the black and white screens of ultrasound images. Do I have a preference? Maybe I do :-) but I am not telling you!

The job of naming His or Her Majesty has already begun though. After diligent efforts, I figured it’s not an easy task. Here are the complexities which parents would typically contemplate while doing the ‘Naamkaran
“I want a unique name, but should be meaningful”

“The spelling should not be complicated. Want to avoid confusion”

“Hey, we are in the 21st century, the world is a small place now. I want my kid to have a globally acceptable name. Should not be similar to a slang in Spanish”

“I want a short name maximum 5 alphabets”

“Damn, our surname sucks! We need to find a name which suits the surname”

“The name should be clearly masculine or feminine. I would hate people to ask me if it’s a he or a she”

“How about inventing a word from the mother and father’s name”

“All my friends have already taken the good ones; don’t want to be seen copying anyone”

“The family astrologer will give his divine benediction in the form of an alphabet for the name”

“My grandmother had already made it clear even before I married that she would name her progeny. Problem is, the in laws don’t like her chosen name”

“I don’t want a Muslim or Christian name. The name should be an identity of ethnicity”

“I DON’T want the name to identify any particular caste, language or ethnicity”

“It’s crazy how names get always modified by friends to a ‘call name’”

“This is such a lovely name, if only that sick celebrity had a different name”

“Hell with this naming business, let’s just ask the babe to pick his or her own name by lottery!

And the list will keep growing…

In my experience till date, which surely will get more intense in the months to come, I have a few general observations to make.
1. There are tons of great names for girls out there, but there is a dearth of great boy names.

2. There is limited flexibility in naming innovation if one were to sample names from South India. Predominantly, names are cognates of the Hindu pantheon of gods/goddess

3. It’s important to think of a name’s suitability in the times it would really be tested, that is several years later.

Some Boy Names I Longlisted

Ansh
Anunay
Anvay
Arman
Arth
Ashk
Atharv
Bhramar
Eklavya
Saahil
Nirav
Saanjh
Sanchay
Nirvaan
Abhirut
Saarth
Shardul
Palash
Ridhaan
Rishaan
Vihaan
Akshit
Adhrit
Archan
Ishaat
Sharvil
Nimit
Iheet
Aryamaan
Anvit
Taral
Alakh
Agharn
Nilay
Akshan
Advay
Anay
Arin
Raayan
Yashas
Parinay
Pravit
Tvarit
Svarit
Aayan
Viaan
Nivaan
Yuvaan

Some Girl Names I Longlisted

Asmi
Tarana
Paridhi
Shipra
Muskaan
Prisha
Swara
Dhriti
Shrila
Svna
Sia
Kyra
Kaayna

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24 December 2012

Beautiful Country: Stories from another India

I just finished reading "Beautiful Country: Stories from another India". The fairly large book is an output of the travels of two women from the Planning Commission in their quest to understand the efficacy of the centrally sponsored schemes like Mid day meal, National Rural Health Mission, NREGS, etc. Having access to the government wherewithals in the form of state choppers, servile beaurocracy in their travels they have penetrated into remotest corners of the country's fringes; from the Nicobari Islands in the south to Ladhakh and Kashmir in north; from Manipur, Nagaland in the north east to the deserts of Rajasthan in the west. An excellant book for anyone wanting to learn about India.

While reading the chapters, I made some questions. If one just reads these questions, it would suffice to give an overview of this magnificient book. Answers given at the end, in reverse order of the questions

1. The riverine islands, called as chars or chaporis found predominantly in Dibrugarh district of Assam, are formed when the silt in the Brahmaputra gets deposited leading to formation of sandbars which eventually get habited by weeds, grasses, animals and humans. The biggest char in the world, also a UNESCO world heritage site, has another notorious claim to fame. From this island Sanjoy Ghose, a young activist (and brother of noted TV news anchor Sagarika Ghose) was abducted and killed in 1997. Name this island.

2. Which state of India is called the Scotland of the East?

3. Khasi are an ethnic group who inhabit the Khasi and Jaintia hills of Meghalaya. According to Khasi legend, once a Bengali and Khasi were caught in a great flood and had to swim to save themselves. The Bengali tied his bundle of books on his head and started swimming. The Khasi, on the other hand, held his books in his mouth. Suddenly a huge wave swept over them and the Khasi accidentally swallowed his books. This ancient folklore is attributed as a reason to what present day linguistic characteristic of the Khasi?

4. In the remote interior hilly regions of Meghalaya, how do the Khasi measure distances?

5. Shah Jahan had given this town the title Dar-us-suroor (Door of Delight). His beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal was originally buried here before her remains where shifted to Taj Mahal in Agra. Which town?

6. The towns of ____ and Kukshi lie near the Gambhiri river flowing in the Dhar district of Madhya Pradesh. Kukshi used to be a renowned centre for hand printing and that the Gambhiri river was intrinsic to its fame. When the dyers used to wash their cloth in its waters, the copper sulphate in the river gave the cloth its characteristic black and red colors. The exact technique was kept a tight secret. As their fame grew, the neighboring town of ____ called the dyers from Kukshi to train local artisans. However, in an ironic twist of fate, today no one remembers Kukshi. The red and black distinctive print, born in Kukshi, has now become famous all over the world as the ____ print. Fill in the blank.

7. In which part of India would one come across the local deity Bon Bibi or lady of the forest and the man eating half tiger demon Dokkin Rai.

8. As per old Ladhakhi tradition, the first two boys of the family are married to the same woman. The fourth and subsequent boys became makpas, that is, they left their father's home to serve in the home of their wife. What typically used to be the fate of the third born boy in the family?

9. The ___ are an agricultural tribe found mainly in Orissa, Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal. It is believed that the British brought them to West Bengal to work in the tea gardens. Who?

10. This place supposedly gets it name from the local word for olive. Some trace its origin to a Bhutanese term meaning a place where warm clothes are bought and sold. Devout Hindus however believe it is named after Lord Shiva, who is the region’s presiding deity. Which is this place?

11. The 130 km stretch between River Teesta on the west and River Sankosh on the east is more commonly known by what name?

12. The royal game Polo originated in this Indian state, earliest recorded citation is from 1300 AD. Sagol Kangjei as Polo is called locally is played with seven players on each side. Every man who can muster a pony plays, and every boy who cannot, plays on foot. Which state?

13. On 20 Nov 2004, the central government announced that Prime Minister would visit Imphal and return this to the people of Manipur. It is a place of great cultural, historical and emotional significance for the Meitei, local inhabitants of Manipur. For many centuries it was the seat of the Manipuri kings. The locals lost access to this place when the British captured it during the Anglo Manipuri war. After, Independence, it continued to be used by the army and the Assam Rifles. Its return had been a long standing demand of the people. Identify the place?

14. The Indian Air Force Base on Car Nicobar Island is spread over two hundred acres. It is said that when Jawaharlal Nehru visited this island, Edward Kutchal, a tribal leader, donated the land to the government. In return, what did he ask for as compensation?

Answers
14. Nehru's Coat
13. Kangla Fort
12. Manipur
11. Dooars
10. Jalpaiguri in West Bengal. ‘Jolpai’ is olive in Bengali, je-le-pe-go-ri is the Bhutanese term and Jalpesh is Shiva
9. Oraon
8. They are sent to monastery to become a lama
7. Sundarbans
6. Bagh
5. Burhanpur in MP
4. The number of betel nuts or supari chewed during the journey
3. Khasi language has no script, unlike Bengali
2. Meghalaya
1. Majauli

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28 April 2012

Travelogue - Tulunadu

Old Post Alert!
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Introduction – Tulunadu is the Tulu speaking region covering districts of Udupi, Dakshin Kannada and Kasargod. This region (see map below) has been demanding a separate state, on linguistic grounds, but their voice has never reached any sympathetic listeners.

The Tulunadu region is also part of the longer Karavali coast, which is the linking stretch of sand connecting the Konkan coastline of Maharashtra, Goa in the north with the Malabar coastline of Kerala in the south. Mangalore and Udupi are two main cities 60 kms from each other. Mangalore is about 370 odd kms from state capital Bangalore.

Mangalore – Mangalore lies between the Arabian Sea and the Western Ghats mountain ranges, and is the administrative headquarters of the Dakshin Kannada (formerly South Canara) district in south western Karnataka. It is the only city in Karnataka to have all four modes of transport: air, sea, road and rail. The very fact that it has as many as 5 names is testimony to its rich and varied demographics. The Tulus call it Kudla, the Konkanis or Saraswat Brahmins call it Kodiyal, the Beary speaking Muslims call it Maikala, the Malayali’s emigrants from Kerala call it Mamalapuram and finally the Kannadigas call it Mangaluru. Due to so much diversity, Hindi has found acceptance as a common language which is widely understood and spoken, something miserably absent in and around Bangalore. Mangalore is famous for its temples, tiles, PSUs and beaches. It is very hot, even in the relatively colder month of December; one feels the urge to take off the shirt.
Udupi – Udupi is the cultural and culinary epicenter of Tulunadu. While most would be familiar with the ubiquitous Udupi kitchens serving delicious idlis and dosas, it is also a very important pilgrimage centre. The 13th century old Sri Krishna Mutt is the top draw attraction. Apart from Hinduism, Udupi district also is famous for the towns of Karkala and Moodabidre, which are centers of Jainism. There are several temples here (which the Jains call as basadi). All together, Udupi is a cauldron of religious and spiritual fervor.

Why go there?
Religion and Beaches. That’s all there is, frankly. If you are the religious traveler who loves visiting temples and their kind, then surely Tulunadu will appeal to you. Check out the section called “How many days/nights should one plan for and what should be the itinerary?” where I have laid out my answers in a better level of detail.
There is one more reason to go to Mangalore. This might sound to be a silly answer to the question ‘Why go there’, but really I would go to Mangalore to eat ice cream in Ideal Ice Cream Parlor. I just truly loved this place which is said to be the largest ice cream parlor in India. So merits a visit, does it not?

When to go there?
Avoid summer at all costs. Even in the cold months of December, it is sweltering hot. I guess the weather is very Chennai-esque. I also understand the region gets very heavy rainfall from the monsoon laden winds flowing from the Arabian sea. For the religiously bent, it may be pertinent to check the festival calendar and visit accordingly, for example Sri Krishna Mutt at Udupi has some designated dates of grandiose ceremonial worship when the town is painted red in a spiritual vaudeville. It would be good to visit accordingly.

How to go there?
Getting to Mangalore is probably the easiest part of the whole story. There is an overnight train and numerous reasonably priced buses that ply regularly. A slightly more adventurous idea would be self driving to Mangalore. It would take roughly 6-7 hours. While coming from the eastern side of Karnataka (i.e. Bangalore side) one would have to cross the formidable Western Ghats and this stretch of roads is really egregious. If you don’t want the roller coaster experience or if you are worried about your car’s innards, then you would better limit your gear to a maximum second. Once in Mangalore, getting around is really easy. It’s a small place really with just one or two arterial roads.


St. Mary’s Island – Getting to St. Mary’s Island is easy, but one should be aware of a few things in order to fully enjoy this wonderful island. From the jetty at Malpe port, ferries with a capacity of atleast 60-70 leave every hour or half an hour depending on season. This mother ferry will take about 15 mins to arrive at the island. There are no docking ports for such big boats, hence they operate smaller, more agile feeder boats which load and unload people from the mother ferry to and fro the island. This whole logistical operation is time taking and exceedingly chaotic. People rush, drop things in the water and what not. Once crusoed on the island, you are given 45 mins before the next mother ferry will arrive for the return trip. Actually 45 mins is sufficient to idyll and splash around on the island beach, however I noticed people had planned longer picnics. If that is the game plan, then one must arrive early, possibly by the first or second ferry 10ish in the morning and then spend a leisurely full sun and sand day on this dainty island.

How many days/nights should one plan for and what should be the itinerary?

Atheists - For the atheist traveler it’s a no brainer really. Such people should budget maximum one full day here. St. Mary’s Island and Panambur Beach or even further south Someshwar Beach can be comfortably covered in 8 hours of daylight. If you happen to be the devout traveler, then the above question is crucial and should be tackled thoroughly as part of your pre trip planning. Further, secular devouts who are fine with temples, dargahs, basadis and churches alike would need even more planning. For all the devout segments, I shall try to offer my suggestions which can be used as a prima facie guidance.
Hindus – Plan for at least 2 full days. Split it into one day for Mangalore and the other day for Udupi. Even with two full days, your job would be cut out and you would need to prioritize which temples you want to visit. I counted as many as 15 in the index page of a local tour operator’s booklet.
Christians – I would guess 1 day is enough. There are 3 or 4 great churches in and around Mangalore.
Jains - 1 full day should be good enough. Ideally if you base yourself at Udupi, then it would be better rather than setting your base camp in Mangalore. Both Karkala and Moodabidri are closer to Udupi than Mangalore; however, they are still in reasonable proximity of Mangalore. Plan your day trip as Mangalore-Udupi-Karkala-Moodabidri-Mangalore if your base is in Mangalore or Udupi-Karkala-Moodabidri-Udupi if it is in Udupi. The former route is ~ 200 kms while the latter would be ~100 kms.
Muslims – There were a couple of mosques and dargahs which were marked as tourist locations, but really I do not have a good idea.
Secular Devout – Plan for atleast 3D/4N and base yourself in Mangalore.

What is the ideal budget?
By any stretch of imagination, Tulunadu is not expensive. A 10-12K budget is good enough for a comfortable 3 star accommodation inclusive of sightseeing, food and car hire. I do not think budget is a matter warranting prolonged thought if you are planning to visit this part of Karnataka, focus instead on the number of days and itinerary.

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Running for Literacy

Foreword: My friend Shreerang is back to running for literacy, and while I lament my absolute physical inability to follow suit, I still got inspired to think. The thoughts have been distilled into this article.

Almost every year this time, Shreerang puts on his running shoes and hits the training regimen to prepare for his run. He is part of a relay team of 12 runners who aim to cover 199 miles and raise funds for India Literacy Project. At the outset, I will align the reader with some necessary inputs. My friend does not do this for the sake of it. He is genuinely interested in the end literacy goal rather than just the fun element, he trains hard, reaches out to his network assiduously in order to raise awareness and most importantly digs out a sum from his own pocket which equals all the funds he raises. He does this every year, since 3 years now. I admire him and his devotion, but still, somewhere I have a problem with the scheme that is working here

Running for Literacy. My chief argument is – Why do people have to run to increase cancer awareness, to reduce child labor, to protect wildlife and in this case, to improve literacy in India. It has caught on undoubtedly and off course it is working. Isn’t running a serious business? Isn’t literacy an even more serious, almost critical business? So what is this invisible co relation between the two? I think I know the answer

I have been a spectator to at least 4 cases in the last 1 year of people taking part in this or that marathon in this or that part of the world for this or that cause. Given my moribund social network, if a person like me gets 4 requests for donations in a span of 1 year, I can safely assume this to be a trend dangerously bordering a fad. I am afraid for every genuine Shreerang out there, there must be a compensating charlatan who is really just interested in that elusive one line to add in his resume. I went to the relay’s website and saw there were 7 or 8 teams of 12 members each running under the banner India for Literacy. These are people who might never return to their home country. Are all of them as dedicated as my friend? The question I am trying to answer is are they really interested in the running or are they interested in literacy in India. Even after murdering the cynic in me, I just cannot convince myself of the latter proposition

Then there is another diversion my thoughts take. If I assume that running for literacy is indeed positively co related, then why haven’t Indians here in India taking en masse to the streets? If Indians in the US can run for literacy in India why don’t Indians in India do this in the same scale? Surely running is not that difficult. It is a national tragedy if a billion plus people have missed this

Coming to the co relation part, when I was thinking about this article a thought had struck. I later cancelled my own thought after some clarity dawned. I wrote down two sentences and compared them
“When I run and raise funds, I am contributing to improving literacy in India” vs. “When I pay tax, I am contributing to the GDP growth of India”. My original hypothesis was just like it’s impossible to trace how the tax I pay directly impacts India’s growth story it’s equally impossible to trace how the funds raised from running could impact literacy. The reason why the funds-from-running-led-to-a-child-more-literate train of events looses steam is this – the funds collected would flow into a corpus of ‘donations’ and that’s the end of their lifecycle. Very similar to the direct tax receipts the Revenue Secretary feeds on! Figuratively speaking, this is akin to donating a few more drops of water to make the lake swell a fraction more. This corpus would then be used to fund individual projects some 3-6 months duration, some bigger. Let’s take a project as an example. One such project could be bringing children who have simply stopped coming to school in the 10 most backward villages of drought struck Boppal district in Karnataka. For executing this project, money would be required to pay the on field expenses of volunteers, affiliated NGOs etc. Maybe some one can come up with an idea of awarding a bicycle to children who return, stay for 2 years and show satisfactory progress. Here, there would be capex involved in buying second hand bicycles from towns and cities and transporting them to Boppal. So in summary, strictly technically speaking, the money collected from relay runs in the US only funds ILP’s donation corpus and not literacy in India. Runners are basically pinning their hopes on the existence of a functional, efficient bridge from ILP’s donation corpus to literacy in India. Probably, it does exist but who knows!

But thinking deeper, I rejected this analogy of fund raising from running with paying income tax because of a fundamental difference. When I pay tax, I do not influence or energize or mobilize others to do so. On the other hand, when someone runs for a noble cause, he catalyzes non interested dormant individuals into activism. That then circles me back to the original question with which I began. Why do people run for noble causes and why does this scheme exist at all in the first place? To answer in short – it appears to me that it is a good marketing channel, that’s just about it.

ILP needs funds. Period. So there is a significant ‘demand’ for funds. There are people who are genuinely or otherwise interested in helping ILP with money, since most do not have the time to visit Boppal themselves as a field volunteer. So there is ‘supply’. Throw in the relay race or marathon in the picture now. What we have is a public event which attracts one and all from near and far. Why not use this as a platform for the supply to meet the demand and Voila! so it happens. The runner is happy. He/She enjoys the run part and the feel good part of helping a noble cause. The relay organizers are happy. ILP is more than happy, it gets funds which would have been near impossible to channelize otherwise by any other medium.

It just remains to be hoped that Sandhya who ran away from school in Boppal is also happy after coming back to school.
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31 December 2011

2011 Review and 2012 Plan

Refer this: 2010 Review and 2011 Plan

First things first, let me review the 2011 plan, how much did I manage to achieve
1. Learn Kannada: Abandoned within two months due to lack of motivation
2. Complete 5 stories: Managed to do only 2. Hey! Atleast it’s not a duck!
3. Trading Success: A thorough, complete, unambiguous disaster.
4. Watch the Indian Grand Prix: Cancelled due to multiple reasons

The above, seen in isolation, would mean red marks crawling all over my 2011 report card. But as they say don’t judge a book by its cover, it would be worthwhile to read on the full 2011 review below, as last time, classified into The Peaks - moments of high achievement which brought great pleasure; The Plateaus - moments of no achievement no failure; The Troughs - moments of distress, pain and failure.

The Peaks
1. Remuneration finally decided to move north
2. Spotted a leopard in Bhadra
3. Travelled to a new international destination Langkawi, Malaysia
4. Travelled to 4 new domestic locations – Bandipur, Bhadra, Hyderabad and Tulunadu (Mangalore, Udupi)
5. Watched Metallica live
6. Adopted Twitter in daily life’s routine
7. Made a second big ticket real estate investment

The Plateaus
1. Professional growth
2. XYZ (personal stuff beyond the purview of publishing on this blog)
3. Completed only 2 stories
4. Last year’s real estate buy turned an earning asset

The Troughs
None!

2011 was undoubtedly the annus mirabilis of my life yet. No trough is really dream stuff. Haven’t had such sunny and balmy phase ever. But that old stock market adage looms ominously in front of me – what goes up, comes down. Hope 2012 proves otherwise. Here are my plans for 2012

1. Learn Mandarin: Sounds childish, my romances with languages never last even one full season. This time, it is different. More on this later
2. Get a promotion: yada yada yada…
3. Initiate my culinary independence: 30 years have gone by and I still rely on food not cooked by me. Hope to take some definitive, if not exhaustive steps in this uncharted, and hated direction
4. Read 5 books on Indian political, constitutional or regional history
5. Deftly manage the colossal debt I have acquired: With two home loans, the need for fiscal prudence is at its greatest. Plan is to rationalize expenses in order to boost the bottom line. Pretty important stuff, probably the single most crucial determinant of 2012 success.
6. Write 2 stories: A very modest, achievable target which I would be furious to miss
7. 24 blog posts in 2012: This is just to force some more discipline into my writing.

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13 December 2011

Travelogue - Bhadra

Introduction – Lakkavalli Dam, Bhadra Reservoir, Bhadra Tiger Reserve, Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary and River Tern Lodge are different monikers to address essentially the same area (see map below). To better understand, each item needs some explanation. Lakkavalli is a small village off National Highway 206 some 40 kms before Shimoga (from Bangalore). Near this village, a dam called Lakkavalli dam, was constructed on the Bhadra river from 1946 to 1965 by Bharat Ratna Sir M Visvesvaraya and more importantly an alumnus of my alma mater College of Engineering Pune. The dam’s reservoir was hence called as Bhadra reservoir. Now this region was a huge forest area, some parts of which got submerged due to the reservoir. “The area was declared as "Jagara Valley Wildlife Sanctuary" by the Government of Mysore in 1951, covering an area of 77.45 sq. miles. After a systematic survey and census of the entire area including animals, birds and plants, it was thought to bring some more area under the Jagara Valley Forests. The adjacent area, which were rich in wildlife was surveyed and the Sanctuary was reconstituted in the year 1974, as Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary” (source –http://projecttiger.nic.in/bhadra.htm)Then in the year 1998, under the aegis of Project Tiger, the whole of Bhadra wildlife sanctuary was made Bhadra Tiger Reserve
This is a highly secluded area quite untouched by the commercialization of travel & tourism. There is just one resort in the entire region called River Tern Lodge, which is owned by the Karnataka state government undertaking Jungle Lodges & Resort. No other private resorts or even makeshift Homestays are around. If one wishes to visit the reserve he has only two options. One, stay at River Tern Lodge and accompany their authorized guides on a jeep safari into the jungle or two, approach the forest range office at Lakkavalli and try out your luck!


Why go there?
It would be more relevant to first talk of ‘Why you should not go there?’ This is not the place for you, if you are the urban city noveau riche variety. This is not the place for you, if you think 12K for a 1N/2D package stay is way too steep. If you have reached till here unscathed by the previous two impediments, then there is just about no other reason why you should not go there! Boat safari – While everyone, me included, grant a lot of attention to the jeep safari it’s smaller cousin the boat safari never gets its due. I have travelled abroad in Langkawi, Malaysia and the standard of River Tern Lodge’s boat safari is at par with international destinations. The islands which play peek-a-boo with the rising and ebbing water level as the seasons go, are covered with rich verdant deciduous to semi-evergreen forests supporting an absolutely unique ecosystem for mammals and especially birds to thrive. In the morning boat safari which we took from 7:00AM to 8:30AM, our guides and co-travelers jointly spotted a Kingfisher, Osprey, Crested Serpent Eagle, Brahminy Kite, Brown Fish Owl, Cormorants, Egrets, Bonnet Macaque, Wagtails, Drongo, Grey Hornbill, Mongoose, Spotted Deer, Jungle Fowl and a Paradise Flycatcher. In case you lost count, that would be 15 animal/bird sightings! Still wondering “Why go there?”
Jeep Safari – When you enter the reception area, you would see a white board with recent sightings written methodically by the resident naturalist of the resort. There are several books on Indian wildlife which one can soak in. All this I found really cool. Lastly, I am aware that no review about any wildlife resort in India can be complete without touching upon the Holy Grail for all wildlife enthusiasts – the Tiger. While the density of tiger population here is among the lowest in any South Indian reserves, but this can be compensated by the brilliant hawkeyed drivers and guides. For the first time in all my travels, I saw the elusive leopard. We were told it was a very, very lucky and rare sighting. Full credit to our jeep safari driver. I gave him a pat on the back:-) When to go there?
River Tern Lodge is so named due to tens of thousands of migrating river terns which nest on an island in the Bhadra reservoir during the months of April-May. These birds come here to roost and offer a noisy spectacle for the visitors in the boat safari. The water level in the reservoir is at its lowest during these summer months, exposing many more tops of hitherto submerged hillocks. The heat makes the animals drink more often and hence offering some of the best wildlife sighting opportunities. Best time to visit would be the hot summer months. Don’t worry, all accommodation is A/C

How to go there?
Drive towards Tumkur. Take the Shimoga bye-pass road at Tumkur (instead of going to Tumkur town) and cross Gubbi, Tiptur, Arsikere, Kadur, Birur, Tarikere. After crossing Tarikere, take the left that also has a Kuvempu University direction board. Travel 14Km till you reach Lakkavalli. At Lakkavalli you will find a sign board to the River Tern Lodge, which is about 4km away. Alternately you can contact the Range Forest Office at Lakkavalli for enquiries. The River Tern Lodge is 38km from Shimoga and is located by the Bhadra Reservoir.
Alternately, one could take a train from Bangalore to Shimoga. There is a very convenient overnight train which runs daily.

How many days/nights should one plan for?
If we keep the budget away, then ideally a 2N/3D stay would be perfect. There is enough to do, see or not do over a 2N/3D period.

What is the ideal budget?
All Jungle Lodges & Resorts have a pricing plan which is all inclusive and on per person per night basis. For River Tern Lodge, it is Rs 4K per person per night. This is that one thorn in the flesh which might deter someone (definitely it does deter me) from extending their 1N/2D jaunt to a more comprehensive 2N/3D itinerary. I think the pricing, although on the expensive side, is fair and correct. I would be surprised if majorities come out saying they did not see ‘value’ in that price. Having said that, I wish JLR come up with some innovative pricing which attracts people to stay longer

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09 December 2011

Testing Embedded Slideshow

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