February 10, 2006

Sandisk 1GB Audio Player (SDMX1-1024)

I was looking out for an USB flash drive in the market for the past few days. But after searching the internet and looking at the different products, I decided to buy an MP3 player (that can also be used as a data storage and carry device). I was also very curious to catch a cheap deal that comes during the thanksgiving period at USA. I had many options, when I have to choose one. iPod was one of my option when I was searching. But iPod was a bit costly option, when compared to its counterparts. After discussing with my brother, finally I decided to hold on with Sandisk's products. I chose 1GB Audio Player that comes in Silver color. The cheapest deal I could catch is for 95$. I saw few cheaper deals, but could not catch that on time ;(. Finally I order Sandisk 1GB for 95$. My brother's friend got that here when he returned back from USA.

It been a nice experience with this player. The moment I got this player, I felt it very light and small. Even after you load the battery (one AAA battery) it does seem to weigh much. The player included Audio player, FM Radio and Voice Recording. It plays MP3 and WMA files. You have a plenty number of controls and options to play with. FM Radio too rocks. You can store 20 preset stations. Nowadays I'm roaming around the city with this player's headphones on!!

It is a better choice!!

February 5, 2006

Wayanad - place where I tried hard core trekking

Wayanad, situated in the northern part of Kerala was our target during the Republic day holidays (26th to 28th Jan). We planned to take off at around 11 PM on 25th night. Unfortunately I had some critical work on 25th evening and it was a hectic schedule to complete my work and join the people at 11. Somehow I joined them in hurry burry at the last moment. I cant forget the way I completed the work, packed my stuffs and got into the van.

It was all set and we headed towards the Mysore road to reach Wayanad by early morning. By 07:00 AM we reached Kalpetta and booked rooms at MGT hotel. Everyone was so tired that it took sometime for everyone to refresh and finish our breakfast. Since we were late, we couldn't take the Kerala's famous dishes 'Appam' and 'Puttu'. We took the usual stuffs likes Dosa and Chappathi there.

Day 1 :
Our plan for the day one was to climb the Chembra peak and stay there that night (if we could get some tents and stuffs). Since we didnt plan well in before, we could not get the tents ;(

Chembra Peak :

To reach Chembra peak, we need to first reach a place called Meppadi, that was around 17 kms from Kalpetta. From Meppadi you can see the Chembra estate direction board. When we reached the Chembra Estate gates, the watchman asked us for the pass to enter the estate. So two of our guys took the van back to the Forest office at Meppadi to get the pass. It seems, that is an easy job to get the pass. From the information we got from the watchman, to reach the peak's bottom we need to walk 7kms and from the bottom, the peak is around 3kms. So we decided to take the van inside the estate and cross atleast some distance with the van. But after seeing the tea estate sperad on both the sides of the road, we decided to walk all the way. We started to walk carrying the heavy bags, catching the estate's beauty with our cameras. It took around two hours to reach the peak's bottom. We refilled our water bottles there. Then started the real trekking, it was an absolute hilly terrain surface. It was a sunny day with the Chembra peak having no trees, it was harder to trek ;( We stopped at a place where we found a shade benith a rock. It almost took an hour or half more than an hour to reach a lake at the top. That was simply awesome!! A small lake at the top of the mountain. To reach the top of the peak we still need to trek a kilometer. Everyone were so tired that we planned no more to trek and rested ourself there. Two guys (Rajasekar and Santhosh) from our gang were so enthusiastic that they climbed till the peak and returned back while we took some rest for an hour. Since we didnt have enough drinking water (and tents too), we planned to return back to the hotel that night itself. At exactly 05:00 PM we started to get down the mountain. It was very slippery while getting down. But we took very less time when compared to climbing up the hill. At around 08:00 PM we reached Meppadi. We took a local bus from there to reach Kalpetta. Had a pakka dinner at Kalpetta. Everyone is so tired that we had no time to think of the moments we spent there. Had a very deep sleep that night.

Day one ended that way.

Day 2 :
For the second day, we had plans to visit four places (Nellamalla valley view, Meenmutty falls, Edakkal Caves and Karapuzha Dam). But we could make it only to three places leaving the Edakkal Caves. We should have started little earlier that day ;( We thought that these places won't need any trekking, but I would say reaching the Meenmutty falls was really adventurous and cool stuff for a trekker. It was too steep and slippery when compared to Chembra peak. The most coolest part was that we had the trees all the way, making the trek interesting.

Nellamalla Valley View :

We need to again cross the place Meppadi to reach this place. The path was intially not good, it was a red sand road with dust rising all the way. But after some distance, it was good. Since this too was like trekking, few people stopped in the midway. But we continued till the edge of the Valley view. When we reached the edge of that mountain, it was great. We could see a big green valley from there. The MeenMutty falls can also seen prominentely from there. MeenMutty falls was our next destination. It was real thrill to see the next destination, from a mountain that in just opposite to that falls, leaving a big valley in between.

MeenMutty Water Falls :

MeenMutty falls is the biggest Water falls at Wayanad. It is near the NeelaMalla Valley view. We have to trek for around 2-3Kms to reach the MeenMutty water falls. This trekking there was something opposite, we need to climb down the mountain to reach the falls. I think this was the most slippery and steep trekking we had at Wayanad. It took nearly one and a half hours to reach the falls. On the way we saw a butter milk shop. We were so badly dehydrated that we drank butter milk for Rs. 180 (Rs. 4 per glass). I'm saying the total amount that includes the butter milk we drank while climbing up and down the hill that day. MeenMutty falls is pretty wide and high. We took bath at the falls and asusual took some snaps too. MeenMutty falls will be an unmemorable place at Wayanad.

KaraPuzha Dam :
Our next destiny for that day was KaraPuzha Dam. We actually had plans to visit Edakkal caves, but since we took little more time at the MeenMutty Water falls, that plan was dropped. I couldn't say anything special about KaraPuzha Dam. That is because it was around 07:00 PM and it was already dark when we reached there. So the KaraPuzha Dam was just one of the place we visited ;)

Day 2 ended with a pretty good and heavy dinner at Hotel Kalpana, Kalpetta. Few of us had plans to see the sunrise the next morning. The problem is we have to wake up the next morning around 05:00 AM, if we need to see the sunrise.

Day 3 :
As planned, few of us got up early that day and started for the Sunrise. It was bitter cold outside when we boarded the van to the Sunrise Valley at around 05:30 AM.

KanthanPara Water Falls/Sunrise Valley :

We had no idea of where the sunrise valley is. But we started ;) On the way to Meppadi we enquired with all the persons we could see. But no one seems to have heard about that valley. Finally we found a person who adviced us to go to the Kanthanpara falls and climb up little higher that mountain to see the early morning sunrise. He was not sure that is the Sunrise valley, but he is sure that we could get a good view on the sunrise from there. We reached the KanthanPara falls and climbed up that hill for around a kilometer. Till 07:00 AM we could not see the sun, and suddenly the sun came out of clouds to show as how awesome it will be to see the sunrise for a hill top. That was an awesome feel there. We took a pretty good number of snaps. This was one of the important places we visited during the trip.

We returned back to the room by 08:30 AM and started to pack our bags, coz., we need to vacate the rooms that morning. Our next target was Banasura Dam. Since we reached Kerala, we havent taken the dish 'Aapam' (the Kerala's special), so we decided to take some Appams for that breakfast ;)

Banasura Dam :

Banasura Dam, the biggest earth dam (naturally formed dam) in Asia. Believe me, it was that much big. It was an amazing view to see the mountains and huge waters in-between stagnant over there. I couldn't cover the whole beauty available over there with my cam. Guys who have been put there for security purposes doesn't allow people to take snaps. It was a nice experience there. Since we people were damn tierd from the last two day's trekking, we were so slow walking along the dam.

Kuruva Dheep (Island) :
Kuruva Dheep, an island surronded by the back waters of Kelara. It spreads for around 950 acres. We had planned to spend the whole afternoon over there. It is pretty far from Kalpetta when compared to the other places. We need to cross the place called Mananthavady before reaching this island. We bought some lunch parcels at Mananthavady. Kuruva Dheep is a place where you can rest yourself for hours. We people being totally tired, it was a soothing place for all of us. We crossed the surronding water using the boats available there. Seeing the fresh waters we couldn't stop getting into the water. So we did that too ;) We spent around an hour in the water. The day being not very sunny, it was FUN in the water. We rested ourselfs for half-an-hour under the bamboo shades and started back to Bangalore.

On the way back to Bangalore, we hummed the 'all time best' tamil songs. Muthu and Prem led the show with some splendid songs. Finally we reached our homes by 04:00 AM in the morning. We didnt plan that trip as a trekking trip, but it finally ended at a hardcore trekkers trip ;)

Good to experience the thrill at Wayanad!!

More snaps at