Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Ramanagaram: A trip to see Bollywood history

If you ask someone about one of the most famous movie in Bollywood (film industry in Mumbai, India: Synonymous to Hollywood), you can't miss one movie in most of the lists: 'Sholay'.

Landscape of Ramanagaram

The place we visited recently has its relation to this legendry Bollywood movie. Ramanagaram is situated ~ 50 kms from Bangalore in the Bangalore-Mysore highway. Its a small town with lots of huge rocky outcrops. This place is also popular with rock climbers and adventure sports enthusists. The location was also selected for the village "Ramgarh" in the hindi movie Sholay.

I got my first car recently and my friends were anticipating a long ride (they are just scapegoats, I was actually wanting to have on long drive) in it. So one fine day decided to drive to Ramanagaram ans see the places around. 

On a fine Saturday morning called up my friends Pankaj and Kshitij (they are my college friends from Kanpur working in GM). They were still sleeping, the common time pass for Bangalore techies on a Saturday morning. 

from left: Me, Kshitij and Pankaj

"Hey Pankaj" --- "Kya hain" --- "Chalna hain kya Ramanagaram" --- "Chalna hain kya? chalte hain. Kab nikalna hain" --- "9:30 tak latest nikal chahltein hain" --- "Theek hain. Hey Kshitij, Phuki ka phone hain. Ramanagaram chalna hain. Chal uth jaa jaldi". And thus our trip to Ramanagaram was finalized. I quickly went to have my bath.

By the time I left home it was 10. Filled my fuel talk to full and picked up my friends. We hit the Bng-Mysore highway by ~ 11 and then started the smooth ride towards Ramanagaram. The highway is awesome for drive and you can test your vehicles performance. All said and done, there is something you should be careful of:
"I wan enjoying the nice empty roads and sudenly was intercepted by a traffic police vehicle. I was told I exceeded speed limit. I was given a ticket. The speed limit was 50 and I was driving at 70. 70, thats because its a new car dude, I sould have been driving over 100 at such roads. Anyway, I paid the fine (Rs. 300/-) and moved on. So don't get carried away and keep eyes on the speed limit boards."

We stopped over to have our meal in the middle. The day was extremely hot and we had some tough time. We were expecting similar weather even at Ramanagaram and had our second thoughts on going on a long trek.  We reached there at ~ 12:40, distance covered ~ 60 kms. At Ramanagaram, take a right turn after "Ghousia College of Engineering" to hit a small road away from the highway. The road will take you upto the base of a temple. Its also passes through a small ghat kind of area. Its approx. 4 kms from the highway. We parked our car there and looked around for the roads.

Me with Ramanagaram kids. Car parking

A guide hopped in and promised us to provide the trip of a lifetime :) He was asking for Rs. 50/- and we agreed. He guided us through a route through a very small village. He started showing us stuffs (most relates to the movie Sholay). He showed us the place where the bridge was made (relate to the movie), where Thakurs house was located. One funny claim: "You remember the goat Jaya Bacchan hugged in the movie, that was mine", the guide said. He finally lead us 
through to the place where Gabbar Singh had his "adda". Its was combination of some nice hillocks, spreaded uniformely around. Some small rocks are spread around and the place was surrounded by high rocks hills (looked like a ideal place for rock climbing and rappling).  His claim of this place as Gabbar's den was realistic, and the place looked very similar. We started clicking pictures of the place and also enacted a small movie of the Gabbar Singh's "Kitne aadmi thein" dialouges (Pankaj as Gabbar). 

Gabar's den

Its time to move on. We came back to the base of the temple and bid adieu to our guide. A set of around 400 steps lead us to the top of the hill where the temple is situated. Saw a water tap and quickly quenched our thirst. Saw the places around and took rest. The view from the top was amazing. We can get a good view od the landscape around, with small rocky hills surrounding the place.
Temple at hill top

It was around 4 pm by then and we decided to move back to Bangalore. Reached home at around 6 pm after beating the traffics inside Bangalore. Went out for dinner with Kh,Pnk and headed back home. It was tiring because of the extremely hot weather, but fun. Some new places to see, and just hang out at some places outside Bangalore (my idea of a perfect weekend).

Informations that migt help:
- Distance ~60 kms each way
- Water is available but nothing to eat. Carry eatables
- Roads are awesome, you will atleast enjoy the ride
- Turn right from the highway after "Ghousia College of Engineering" and drive until you see the entrance to the temple. There are enough parking space there for free
- Take a guide, its helps and its fun

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