Thursday, 30 May 2013

Travel Apps for Budget Holiday

There’s an app for that! (Actually several)

It’s the classic conundrum of travel: when you have time to go, you don’t have the money. But, don’t let a shortage of cash hold you back from your next bit adventure. With the right apps on your phone, you can still hit the road without having to hitch a ride.


Opera Software, makers of the money-saving Opera Mini mobile browser, have compiled a list of the top 8 travel apps to make your trips this summer easier and, more importantly, to save you precious money and time.

Most of the below apps are available across app stores:


1. Get packing

Check out the Packing (+To Do!) app, which helps you keep your packing under control. For a price that’s less than the cost of that toothpaste you forgot last time you traveled, this app lets you create, edit and share packing lists, as well as providing sample lists, if you don’t want to start from scratch. No more paying premium for travel essentials you forgot to pack. (Cost: Rs. 55)

2. Scope out the sleeping arrangements

TripAdvisor is a great way to check out new hotels, B&B, inns and hostels. You can compare prices offered by various travel portals such as or, check availability and book. It has millions of traveler reviews and opinions to guide you in picking the one that suits your taste and budget the best. Sometimes the deals can be as good as half the price. (Cost: Free)

3. Design a custom itinerary

No more searching through your inbox to find your airline reservation. No more scrambling to get directions to your hotel. No more worrying about what time your business dinner starts. With TripIt, everything you need to get you where you’re going and back again is at your fingertips—on your smartphone, tablet or online at TripIt. (Cost: Free)

4. Create your own travel guide lets you create your own travel guide for sights, restaurants, bars and hotels in hundreds of cities worldwide, based on expert suggestions, as well as recommendations from your friends. allows you to have your guides and entire city maps offline with a quick download – so you don’t have to spend a dime on international roaming charges when you access them offline later. (Cost: Free)

5. Reduce roaming

The Opera Mini mobile browser makes your web browsing a lot faster - especially on a slow network - because it shrinks webpages, so your phone processes as little as 10 percent of what you see on your screen. This translates into cost savings, especially while roaming internationally, and less processing means battery savings. (Cost: Free)

6. Take the high road

If you’re driving, Google Maps is a mapping and navigation solution that offers free service to its users globally. The application has features such as Places that help users find places nearby, navigation, 3D Maps, and Indoor Maps. Google Maps allow users to search for places, calculate routes, travel time, directions and even plan out public transportation. (Cost: Free)

7. Share your experiences for free

Viber is a useful app for international travelers to stay in touch with friends and family. It allows you to call, text, and send photos worldwide for free to over 140 million users. Viber lets everyone in the world connect. Freely! (Cost: Free)

8. Stay conscious of costs

If you are traveling international and planning to shop for some souvenirs or local bargains but afraid you'll end up paying more than you need to, then having a currency converter in your hand can be very advantageous. XE is one of the best currency-conversion apps out there. All you need to do is set a default currency, and it will remember recently updated rates, so you can calculate your budget even when you don’t have an internet connection. (Cost: Free)

Friday, 24 May 2013

Kolar: Shadow of the ancient Kuvalapura

Kolar: Shadow of the ancient Kuvalapura

Overview: Kolar district is a well known travel destination with many ancient temples like Avani, Mulbagal, Kaivara. But Kolar City alone also has many specialities to offer. Like the ones we experienced recently. We decided to visit the two popular temples in Kolar- Someshwara temple and Kolaramma temple. Kolar or ancient Kuvalapura was ruled by the Gangas in the 3rd century followed by the Cholas and later by Hoysalas and the Vijayanagara rulers.
The Someshwara temple was built in the 14th century by the Vijayanagar rulers in a typical Dravidian style. This temple also closely resembles the Someshwara temple in Ulsoor, Bangalore. The entrance has a high stone Mahadwara half of which is recently painted in yellow. On the walls we can see the carvings of elephants, dwarfs and lions. The sanctum wall at cardinal directions have Devakoshtas flanked by two slender pillar turrets. The Kalyana mantapa in the south-west is an exquisitely beautiful structure known for craftsmanship on granite. The small shrine towards north-west is dedicated to the consort of the main deity Shiva.
Someshwara temple, KolarSomeshwara temple, KolarSomeshwara temple, KolarSomeshwara temple, Kolar Someshwara temple, KolarSomeshwara temple, KolarSomeshwara temple, KolarSomeshwara temple, Kolar Someshwara temple, KolarSomeshwara temple, KolarSomeshwara temple, KolarSomeshwara temple, Kolar Someshwara temple, KolarSomeshwara temple, KolarSomeshwara temple, Kolar Someshwara temple, Kolar Someshwara temple, KolarSomeshwara temple, KolarSomeshwara temple, Kolar
Near to the Someshwara temple is the Kolaramma temple which is the village godess as well. This temple indicates two shrines built in Dravidian style of architecture. The main doorway is well carved having an imposing appearence. The lower course of the wall to the left of the mukhamantapa has Rajendra Chola's inscriptions in old Tamil. A Bhutagana and lion are depicted below and above the cornice respectively. Inside the temple are the idols of Sapthamatrikas and of Kolaramma, in the form of Mahishasuramardhini with eight hands and a demon under the feet. There is also a stone image of the six feet high Kalabhairava which is known as Mukanacharamma because of the broken nose.
Kolaramma temple, Kolar Kolaramma temple, Kolar Kolaramma temple, Kolar Kolaramma temple, Kolar Kolaramma temple, Kolar Kolaramma temple, Kolar Kolaramma temple, Kolar Kolaramma temple, Kolar Kolaramma temple, Kolar Kolaramma temple, Kolar
How to reach: Bus: KSRTC buses and also several private buses ply regularly from Bangalore to Kolar.
By Bike/Car: Take the NH4 to reach Kolar via Hosakote.
Food/Accommodation: Kamat Upachar is a good option for food on NH4 near Narsapura.

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Thursday, 9 May 2013

Ghati Subramanya, Vidurashwatha & Lepakshi: A day well spent

Ghati Subramanya, Vidurashwatha & Lepakshi: A day well spent 

Overview: Charting a well planned itinerary, we set off for a full day trip to Ghati Subramanya, Viduraswatha and Lepakshi on a Sunday morning. We set off early to avoid the crowd at Ghati Subramanya. The temple, dedicated to Lord Subramanya was already getting thronged by tourists. This should not be confused with the Kukke Subramanya temple in the Western Ghats. Similar to Kukke, people here offer many types of pujas to the Lord. We had the darshan of the God and then went to the Kalyani, near to that lot of Naga stones installed by people. From there we had breakfast next to the temple.
Ghati Subramanya Ghati Subramanya Ghati Subramanya Ghati Subramanya Ghati Subramanya
From here, we continued on the Gouribidanur road to reach Vidurashwatha. Legend says that there was a tree in this place which was planted by Vidura during Mahabharata which fell in 2001. There is also a Naga devata temple here which is frequented by many people and it is said to fulfil one's wishes.
On the way to Vidurashwatha Vidurashwatha Vidurashwatha
After Vidurashwatha, we crossed the state border to reach Andhra Pradesh where we headed to Lepakshi. Lepakshi is famous for the Veerabhadra temple and the paintings and carvings inside the temple. This place was once a very important trading route during the Vijayanagara kingdom. The temple was built by the Vijayanagara king Achyuta Devaraya in the 15th century. There is an interesting story of the king ordering for blinding the builder Vipanna due to some misunderstanding. On hearing this, Vipanna himself plucked his eyes and threw it on temple walls. It is said that the stains are still visible even today. Other specialities in Lepakshi are the huge Nandi bull, Open air marriage hall, and many paintings on the ceilings.
Lepakshi  Lepakshi Lepakshi Lepakshi Lepakshi Lepakshi Lepakshi Lepakshi Lepakshi Nandi Bull, Lepakshi
How to reach: Bus: KSRTC buses plying from Bangalore to Ghati Subramanya and Vidurashwatha. To reach Lepakshi, take a bus to Hindupur. From Hindupur, many private buses are available to reach Lepakshi.
By Car: Travel towards Doddaballapur and after Doddaballapur, watch out for an arch leading to Ghati Subramanya. From there continue on the same road to join the Hindupur road. Just before the Karnataka-AP border is Vidurashwatha. From there continue on the same road to Hindupur. At Hindupur, take the road towards Bagepalli to reach Lepakshi.
Food/Accommodation: Its advisable to carry food from home as there are no proper restaurants on the way.

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