Here are a few shots.
Some experiments with manual focus
Discovery Turbo - You got to have it :)
So, be ready for the finals this Sunday, RCB Vs DC :)
Rays of thoughts from the less-enlightened one.
After few photos and enjoying the cool breeze, we were back on the highway after an hour and headed towards Nirmal.
Nirmal is a small town on the NH7 in the Adilabad district. This place is famous for its wooden toys. Hunger pangs had returned so we decided to a stop for some food. We drove till the end of the town looking for a nice eating place but there were none. So we headed back again to an Udipi tiffin center which looked decent. We finally got to eat some nice Dosa and Puri and also some double sweetened tea. Our initial plan was to visit all the places near Nirmal all day, stay back overnight and start back to Hyderabad the next day morning. But during b’fast we decided that if we are done with everything by 5pm, we would leave the same evening and be back to Hyderabad by night. I was also ready for it because the one way 210 kms journey was not that tiring. The only problem was that I was the only person who could drive in the group.
Anyvow, after a nice breakfast, we headed to the Pochera waterfall which was around 35 kms from Nirmal town. Once out of the town, we were surrounded by cool forest area and a ghat section road but the road was in such a horrible condition that all the fun and excitement of driving on a ghat road just vanished. Lots of heavy trucks for the highway construction activities made it even worst. But I was excited to spot a few Volvo and MAN tippers and trucks. I felt happy that even the trucking industry is on the move :)
The waterfall is 10 kms away from the highway. The tourism department has done some construction work near - landscaping, statues, hedges and plantation etc. It somehow didn’t look that good. We headed a few steps down towards the waterfalls. It wasn’t big and the water wasn’t clean. There were concrete steps leading towards the water. Some parts of it looked artificial. Like a little part of rock cut on purpose to create a smaller waterfall which fell into a man-made tank at the side. It wasn’t that impressive but was fun. The photo sessions began and I got an opportunity to stretch and sit under the shade of the rocks.
They were actually trying to catch some fish with their hands :)
We were here for around 45 mins and headed to the much bigger Kuntala falls. This one too was far inside from the main highway. The road was narrow with green paddy and jowar fields at both the sides.
The road then swept down into the valley and towards the Kuntala village. After the village, the road got narrower and much more green with huge trees on both sides.
It ended into a parking area from where we had to walk down to the waterfalls. There were 400 steps down into the valley to reach the water. We could hear the gushing water from well above the steps. The first glimpse of it was very beautiful. We stopped at a viewpoint on the steps and admired the beauty from above.
Ajay commented that it is very small for being the highest waterfalls in AP (and also since he had been to Jog fall just a couple of weeks back). We headed down. Once we were at the foot of the waterfalls, Ajay took back his comment. It looked, big, majestic and beautiful. The sight of it made us feel that it was worth the trip.
This waterfall has a history of bad incidents so there were security guys there to see to it that people are within the limits of the falls. We anyvow went quite close and had a nice photo session. We sat there for quite some time admiring the sights and sounds.
P.S: If the persons in the above picture happen to read this blog, and want to get a copy of the picture in its original size and without the watermark, you can mail me. My id is available in my profile.
After spending more than an hour here, we decided it was time to head back. The walk up the steps 400 steps was by far the most difficult thing we did the whole trip.By the time we were back in Nirmal over that horrible ghat road, it was 5. We stopped at the same Udipi hotel, had some dosas and puris again. There was a handicrafts shop just opposite to the hotel which had the world famous Nirmal toys made out of the soft Poniki wood. We did some shopping here (man, they are expensive) and decided to head back to Hyderabad.
By the time we started our return journey, it was 6 pm. We thought of covering as much distance as we can before it became dark. We were chatting generally and listening to music. By 6.30, it got dark and the headlights headache started. Driving in the night on the highways is such a horrifying experience. And added to it, the horrible road condition made it even worst. Most of the drivers don’t care to dip especially the bus drivers and city car drivers (majority of the city drivers don’t even what it means to dip lights at night). But this wasn’t new to me so there was nothing much to complaint. As we were driving, the Chevrolet Tavera which we spotted at the waterfall came in sight and we all got excited again :)
The next 2 hours were spent discussing about about movies, red and blue colors and lots of overtaking jugalbandi with the tavera on the night highway. We were stopped once at a police checkpost since it was a naxalite area but no checking happened maybe because we didn’t look like naxalites. We drove till 8.30 nonstop and it was high time we stopped. I badly needed to stretch. We stopped before Kamareddy and here is where we lost track of the Tavera. Tierdness and fatigue was starting to creep in and so was hunger. We decided to stop at the next Dhaba for dinner. The next dhaba came at 9 pm just before Tupran around 55 kms from Hyderabad. I had hardly slept for 4 hrs the previous night and got up at 4.30 in the morning so I was so sleepy by now that I could hardly stand up at the dhaba. People were looking at me with concern. So I decided I had to do something to get rid of the sleep. I went out in the cool breeze till the food arrived. A few phone calls, a walk under the night sky and a very tasty chicken curry along with tandoori naan did the trick. To top it off, a big cup of masala tea and I was back to normal. We started off towards Hyderabad at around 10.30.
The traffic heading towards Hyderabad was very less when compared to the oncoming traffic which meant continuous bright headlight glare. After 30 mins of driving, the tea effect vanished and I was yawning continuously and trying hard to keep my eyes open. Ajay sitting beside me was trying very hard not to fall asleep by doing some neck exercises and head banging. The other occupants were sliping in and out of sleep continuously. We finally entered the city limits at around 11.30. I dropped off Ajay, Anand and Deepak at Paradise, Kranthi at Patny and headed home. There was lots of police checkings happening since it was Saturday night and I wanted to avoid them since I was not even in a position to speak. So I took the Musheerabad road back home. After 18 hrs of nearly non-stop driving and 550 kms later, I fell on my bed at 12.30 like a log and got up today morning at 11 am.
Overall the trip was very exciting. The Sriram Sagar project and the Kuntala falls were worth the trip. This was my longest solo driving till date on a single day. Though I have travelled long distance by road before, there was always another person to take over the driving after a few hours. The swifie was amazing. Even with 5 adults, some luggage and the AC in full speed, it easily touched 120 without a sweat and did not loose its composure on the road. I am sure it would have gone much higher. I tried to calculate the mileage and I guess it was close to 15 though not accurate. It is more than what I had expected and I very happy about it. The only problem is that the stiff suspensions make the ride a bit bumpy on bad roads. But on smooth road, it was like gliding on clouds. The stiff suspensions have the advantage of high speed stability and good cornering. Even driving for 2 hrs without stopping was not that tiring. I loved every bit of the driving. All I could say after the end of the journey was – wow!!! what a trip and what a car !!!!!
Place: Kuntala waterfall, Pochera waterfall, Sriram Sagar Project. Nirmal, Adilabad District, Andhra Pradesh, India
Distance: Nirmal – 210 kms from Hydearbad.
Waterfall – 25 – 40 kms from Nirmal
Route: NH7 – Nagpur Highway from Hydearbad
Paradise, Bowenpally, Medchal road – Medchal – Tupran – Kamareddi – Armur – Nirmal.
Road Condition: BAD. Lots of detours onto kacha shoulder roads because of construction work happening on the highway.
Car: Maruti Suzuki Swift Zxi , June 2008.
To signoff, here is the pic of the poniki wood deer heads I bought for mom from Nirmal. Arent are beautiful?
But life nowadays is so practical – I drive a soft sounding 4 stroker with a butter slab of an engine & gear box and a 1300 CC petrol hatchback with so much electricals that the doors & windows cannot be opened from inside without having the micro-chip embedded key inside the keyhole.
There was lots of activity in the last 30 days - trip to Tirupati, a long due exam, some really bad movies, dating tips to first timers, bouts of fitness-freakishness, visiting cousins, loosing helmet in office parking lot etc.
Benu had the Tirupati trip in his mind from a really long time. And as always, things just remain inside. So I had to step in and take charge and get things out of his tilted head. So before it got too late (meaning peak summer and the vacations), we booked the tickets on the first weekend of April. We decided to walk up the holy 7 hills this time so we booked the darshan tickets for the evening slot. It was my first time up the Tirumala on foot so I was looking forward for it. I have been on other such journeys/treks before though. (Sabarimala twice, Kedarnath in heavy rain & zero visibility, Vaishnao Devi once). (Yes, I have traveled a LOT. From Kanyakumari to Kashmir, Gangtok to
This was from the train on the way to Tirupati. I got up early just to capture this.
I was always fascinated by the windmills at Tirumala since I was a kid. No wonder I have invested in Suzlon :) Here is a tip - usually on bright sunny days, the background gets over exposed and you cannot get far-off or tiny objects to be visible clearly in the picture. You can rectify this by reducing the exposure value (the EV number) in the camera. Lowering the value captures less light by altering the shutter speed and(or) the aperture size of the lens.
The EV reduction trick works here too. Look how blue the sky looks instead of bright white. I don’t believe in altering/enhancing photos in photo-editor softwares.
It was time for us to buy a new car at home. And convincing everyone that it was time for us to buy a new car seemed like a big uphill task. But when it comes to convincing people, no one can get better than me. Hehehehaha *evil laugh*. In a couple of weeks, everyone at home wanted a new car :) . That was the easy part, convincing the folks at home. The difficult part was to zero in on the car. And as usual, it was me who had to take care of this job.
There was lots of hype about the new Maruti Suzuki Swift Dezire, the sedan version of the highly successful Swift. Or Swift-with-a-boot as all the auto mags started calling it. Though it isn’t visually as perfect as the swift or other sedan, it has its own charm. And with that class breaking price tag, it was the perfect car to fit our bill. But as it turns out now, there is so much demand for the car and so less supply that the waiting period is close to 9 months with all dealers freezing future bookings. Generations change in that period of time !! Who wants to wait for another generation? Other options were the beautiful Chevy Aveo and the practical Ford Fiesta and other hatchbacks – the Hyundai Getz and the Chevy U-VA. The sedans were very good but I never liked the idea of buying the base variant of any car - just the bare-bones car without any bells and whistles. And what pissed me off most was that safety features are only present in the high variants and none in the base. U-VA was good and Tim liked its looks a lot but somehow it didnt appeal to everyone. Finally, we decide to go with the Swift hothatch. The fully loaded 2008 Zxi model with ABS, airbags, 1 DIN stereo with steering controls was the best VFM. Delivery period 3 weeks as promised by the dealer.
Now waiting eagerly to lay my hands on the black bug-eyed temptress. I always hated it when it rained in the mornings while going to office. The city roads would become a mess and driving would be a nightmare – a clear indication of how our hard earned money is filling up the bank accounts of the government officials. Now I am hoping the drive to office this monsoon would be a pleasant experience. A complete post will be dedicated to the beauty once it arrives :)
Ah, the summer. It is here in its full glory. 40 degrees centigrade is just another day in
And now moving away from everything hot to something cool. The last 2 movies which I saw were really good. Ghamyam and Parugu (yes, you read it right, I AM watching telugu movies regularly since late. It shows how bad life sucks ;) ). Ghamyam had a very different story which I liked. It even had a bike with character. Parugu was kinda ok. The lead actress should have been someone good. She wasn’t that great but resembled Gajula’s Apasara ;). One of the songs was shot at The Petra, Jordan (or something similar to it) – I was blown away. Did not expect it in a telugu movie. All credit goes to the director.
Well, life isn’t going to be all peachy from next month. Benu is moving away to
Anyways, me signing off now. Happy summer time folks.
P.S: Did I mention I have joined guitar classes?