The Last Mile Paradox. A Traveler’s Escapade

An early alarm. A hot cup of coffee. Getting ready. I looked out of the window, no sunrise yet. I had a train to catch at 5 30 am. I was very excited. It was the day my travel would begin. I would go from Bangalore to Mangalore but not as a straight journey. I had decided to visit several places along the way, to experience and enjoy nature and peace to its fullest.

This trip meant a lot to me. I would be away from traffic, away from noise and pollution and most importantly, away from all the stress. I am a happy traveler. I adjust to whatever comes along the way and I don’t get upset or complain because something did not work out as I had planned. After all, this travel was to relax and not to add more stress to myself. My itinerary had a few places along the way that I hadn’t visited before like Lion Safari near Shimoga, dams and rivers and other historical places.

Travel is so much more easier now with the internet helping us all along the way. Just with a few clicks, I was able to book my train tickets, book a room and get some information on places I could visit. I boarded the train to Mysore, my first stop. I reached there by 8 am and headed straight to the K.R.S dam. This dam built across the Kaveri river is majestic. being a weekday,  crowd was literally non-existent. I stood at the tip of the dam staring into the vast amount of water stored. Water that would sustain agriculture and life in that region. birds soared high in the air and I just stood there with the breeze brushing past me.  After a while, a walked through the Brindavan Gardens. I watched people fixing the fountains there. Probably preparing it for the musical fountain show they host  on the weekends. One of them told me that its a spectacular event to watch. As I walked on, I found it satisfying to watch the canals that ran the length of the garden with the dam hanging in the background.

I saw the Mysore palace on my way to the Chamundi Hills. That palace never ceases to fascinate me with its rich heritage from the king’s era. How amazing might have been to stay there and rule a kingdom. I had been to the Palace before so I decided not to go there this time.It was noon by the time I reached the hills. It was very hot and wished I had come sooner. A huge statue of the demon Mahishasura and the towering  Chamundi temple stood there at the peak. It was very cool inside the temple. No air coolers or air conditioners, just remarkable architecture that kept the temple cool. I had an amazing lunch there, the traditional South Indian meal on banana leaf. I sat down by the temple side for some time and then resumed my journey.

I then went to the railway station, en route to my second stop which was Shimoga, the gateway to the Western Ghats. These days, Domestic Airlines are highly affordable but I prefer train as most of the train journeys allow me to witness some great scenery through jungles and hills. It was night by the time I reached Shimoga. I checked into the hotel, thankful that it was exactly how they had described  it online. I was up early the following morning, ready to cover all the places I had in mind. I first went for a Lion Safari. Its where the forest department  would take tourists to see wild animals(mostly lions)  in the sanctuary . the excitement we had died down as we  found only well fed lions and elephants that just slept  in the shade. I was a little disappointed with that. But it was a king cobra that suddenly appeared that managed to get everyone’s attention, including our guide’s.

I then went to Sagar, a small town near Shimoga and known for the Jog Falls. By the time I reached  there, it was drizzling and the the water falls were partly covered by clouds. But the rains had filled up the Sharavathi river and it roared as if fell into the chasm. I felt so powerless being in front of this majestic source of energy. The clouds soon cleared and the view was spectacular. I walked down the steps that took me to the bottom  of the falls and the lower I went, the cooler it got. the staircase goes very close to a small waterfall where people usually sit for sometime and let the mist from it soak them. Its very relaxing. At the very bottom, the roaring sound of water falling  was deafening. A huge mist cloud was formed and I got curious as to whats behind the  waterfall but the very thought of me drowning got me to just stay where I was.  This was the best  place on my trip so far and it definitely was for the rest of it.

From Jog, I joined a group of people and went to Honnemaradu, a modest settlement on the backwaters of River Sharavathi. It was very quiet there. We hired a boat that took us to a near by island. We sat on the boat’s edge and tried our had at fishing. I wasn’t fortunate enough to catch one though. It was six in the evening and I decided to go to Thirthalli and halt there for the night. Its a small village on the banks of river Tunga and the last place before I had to climb down the ghats to the coastal region. The following day, I caught the first Minibus to Udupi. The journey on ghats terrifies me.  And this was the Agumbe Ghat, one of the steepest roads I’ve been on. I was extremely alert the whole way and kept checking in and out to make sure nothing seemed out of place. Finally after slow, scary thirty five minutes , we are out of the ghats and at sea level.  People say Agumbe is one of of the most beautiful place to see and the scenery  along the way is breathtaking.  All that is fine but what people won’t tell you is that while you keep staring into the world outside, there is a chance the bus falls off the cliff killing everyone. Nope! No scenery is worth dying for.

Finally I reached Udupi. The  city famous for the Krishna Temple. It had been two beautiful days so far and I was on the last leg of my travel. Each time I go somewhere , time just flies and just before I reach my destination, I get this feeling of  ” This cannot be the end of my travel, I should go more”. I call this my “Last Mile Paradox”.

I visited the Krishna Temple. The priest told me fascinating stories about the temple and gave me a book about its origin. After a meal there,  I left. On my way to Mangalore, my final destination, I realized I had to book a room to stay for the night. Thanks to internet, I went  though a list of available rooms and booked the one which had very good reviews.Online booking is truly one of the best things to happen to travelers. I stumbled upon the International Flights section while booking my hotel, and man the air fares were very cheap. I thought to myself that the next trip I take should be out of India  .As I traveled to the end of my trip,  I put my earphones on and soaked in the memories I had from the past couple of days.


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