My trip to Asia was a month long, so I am going to publish this post in multiple parts..
My flight from HK to Chennai was rescheduled by Cathay and they were gracious to provide me an overnight stay in HK.
As soon as I checked in the Hotel, I opened the window shades of 26th floor room and saw towering residential buildings. Even with lack of sleep from my long 14 hour flight, I mustered some energy to use my tripod for a shot of the night skyline from the room.
The next morning, after breakfast, I left for Lugard Road near Victoria peak and hiked the trail even though it was raining. The view from this trail is much better than the one you get from Sky Terrace at the Peak.
After the tram ride down, I walked along Hollywood blvd to reach Man Mo Temple. I remember visiting this temple in 2012 and it has a magical draw to it. I took a few photos and left back for the hotel to check out for the airport.
Chennai Arrival - I was surprised to see my little one show up at 2.30 am to pick me at the airport...For some reason, I didn't pull my DSLR camera out of the bag during my first leg of the stay in Chennai. I met a few relatives; visited temples in Triplicane and Nanganallur. We met college friends over dinner at New Woodlands and ended my Chennai trip on a high note with Mango Ice Cream topped with Banganapalli Mangoes....yumm...
On July 4, took a flight to Coimbatore, my hometown. I didn't explore many places around Coimbatore during this trip. I just relaxed at home, did my routine morning walk in the race course and enjoyed good food in restaurants including the famous Hotel Annapoorna! For the Coimbatoreans out there, they have a special 'Breakfast like a King' option which includes idli, masal dosa, vada, pongal, kesari, and filter coffee for under US$2!
I did visit Marudhamalai Temple on one of the evenings and I got lucky as it coincided with the Blue Hour which allowed me to get a nice shot of the newly renovated temple. Coimbatore is also the home for historical Perur Temple
Bangalore and Mysore
After 5 days in Coimbatore, we took the train to Bangalore. Kids enjoyed the AC sleeper car experience more than the shatabdi chair car rides they did from Bangalore to Chennai earlier. The scenery from Salem to Hosur through the thoppur ghat was photographer friendly! Once we reached Bangalore, all our energy was drained by the traffic enroute home and we didn't feel like going out anywhere after that.
After 3 days of meet & greet with relatives and some great food at Mayas and MTR House in Bangalore, we proceeded to Mysore.
The train ride from Bangalore to Mysore was very scenic. I spent most of time at the doorway instead of sitting inside the Chair Car as the window was not clear enough for photography.
Once we reached a much more relaxed Mysore, I got back my enthusiasm for photography and with my equally enthusiastic sister with me (who was after my pictures from the trip) I rushed to KR circle to capture the light trails of vehicles in the iconic landmark in the heart of the city.
After a day in Mysore, we took a tempo traveller and headed to Coorg. The route was beautiful with lush green surroundings from the recent monsoon. We saw a lot of Tobacco farms and coffee plantations on the way. Upon reaching our homestay, we had a hearty lunch, rested for a while, and walked around the estate area. It was a very relaxed setting with a view of coffee plantation from the room and occasional rain and mist.
Tree HouseMist over tree house in Coffee Estate Traditional Home Typical karnataka home in Coorg Rain and Fog View from the Resort inside Coffee Estate Abhidama ResortThe kind of Disneyland I like :) Madikeri TownFog over Madikeri Patio area in our roomRoom view
That evening we stopped by Abhi falls, which was a short drive from Madikeri. It rained a lot after we started our hike to the falls. Luckily we were prepared with umbrellas and raincoats. With the help of my sister, who provided cover from rain, I took a few shots of Abhi falls in full flow from the monsoon run off. We tried our luck at Raja Seat but it was completely covered by Mist.
The following morning, we took a very adventurous jeep ride to the Mandalpatti Peak. Although the ride was just ~21 kms, bumpy stretch meant it took more than a hour and half to get there. I was really impressed with the Jeep driver's skills as he drove with ease and style.
Hill was covered with mist but the scenery was just breathtaking. I took shots of the misty scene and a frog that was spotted by my son.
We got back to the homestay for lunch and headed to Iruppu falls that afternoon. This place is so green and moist, I was not surprised when I saw sign boards warning about King Cobra Nest at the location. It was raining once we got to the falls but this time with the help of my brother, who gave me cover from rain, I took a long exposure shot of the waterfall.
Our drive back to Mysore was through a 40 km stretch of a tiger reserve. Nagarhole national park was beautiful with tons of wildlife. The only thing we didn't spot was tiger..I wish we did..we saw wild boar, spotted deer, elephant, peacock, Indian Gaur on the route through the park.
After crossing national park, we passed through small villages near Hunsur where I stopped for a brief moment to capture sunset shot in the farm lands.
We had a pretty light agenda for a few days in Mysore after the Coorg trip. We visited St. Philomena's Church in the city and also visited the Lalitha Mahal Palace restaurant for an afternoon tea. They didn't allow DSLR photography inside the facility. However, I convinced the dining hall manager with my small 20mm prime lens ..to justify it is a small camera ;) and managed to capture a few pictures.
Royal DiningLalitha Mahal Palace Hallway in Lalitha MahalPalace hallway Lalitha Mahal PalaceMysore Heritage Building St Philomena's ChurchSunburst over the church St Philomena's ChurchTallest spire on a Church in Asia University of MysoreCampus drive inside the university
That concludes the first 2 weeks of my trip.....I will continue this blog covering my last 2 weeks of trip to Coonoor, South India temples, Chennai, & Maharashtra