Kitchen Sink or Swiss Army Knife

(img src: pixabay)

In a recent conversation, I kept referring to something as a kitchen sink. After a while, in a very subtle change of tone, the other participant in the discussion called it a swiss army knife. The words make a difference in the way our mind looks at things.

When we say kitchen sink, it is a negative reference to everything under the world being put into the product (often referred to as feature-itis). Sometimes we are quick to judge and call it this, without necessarily understanding the product development journey so far.

When you call it a swiss army knife, this suddenly changes to a product with a carefully thought out superset of features, where each feature can be useful to a different user, and as a whole, is considered a usual package.

In fact, the metaphor extends visually as well. Our minds never picture a kitchen sink as a clean thing – it is always overflowing with dirty dishes (I don’t know why!!), whereas the swiss army knife is pictured as a slick compact device with more features than you can visually count.

Travelogue – Andaman – April 2023

Andaman gcmouli travelogue
Swaraj Dweep aka Havelock (Andaman)

We did a 5 day trip to Andaman. Trip planning assistance was done through The good part about planning your trip with guys like these are that, you get to plan your itinerary more or less by yourself (instead of one of those pre-planned boxed travel agent tour plans). Our requirements were simple. We wanted a relaxed holiday (did not want to keep running around). We wanted to spend some time in a resort with private beach access. The folks at PYT came up with a great plan. Lets dive into it in detail. Most opinions below are strictly mine. Your mileage may vary.

Day 1:

  • Fly from BLR to IXM (Port Blair). Dep 1130AM and arrival 2PM. Super wierd time, and we hate airline food for lunch. So we picked up sandwiches from Starbucks.
  • We had our Port Blair tour coordinator Arshad and a driver waiting at the arrival area with a name placard. (Will give phone number details etc at the end of the post).
  • Arshad gave us the plan for the day, and logistics. He is like a genie kinda guy. Shows up at just the right time and the right locations to help you with next step logistics. Very impressive coordination mechanics.
  • We checked in to Sinclairs Bay View. Great room (renovated recently) with fantastic views.
  • The property is kinda slightly aged and is in need of some sprucing up (exteriors, dining area, common area etc). Food is ok-ok in the restaurant. The staff, however, is amazing levels of warm / friendly / smiling. This made up for a bunch of issues. They are genuine and try to help. (Example – there was a large group of about 80 pax (pharma company sales offsite) during the time we were there. The staff made sure to tell us to come to the restaurant ahead of the usual buffet time, so that, we can avoid the noise/rush when the large group comes). Our package had a breakfast and dinner included in the tariff.
  • After we had freshened up, we headed off to the Cellular Jail. Spent about an hour or so soaking in the history of this place. Despite the crowds, it hits you hard on the kind of lives that the prisoners led here.
  • We had about an hour and half remaining for the sound and light show at the Cellular Jail. We sneaked a quick visit to the Corbyn Cove Beach. We were not impressed at all in this beach. Bunch of water sports. But nothing else.
  • We sped back to the Jail for the sound and light show – which was amazing. Tugs at your heart strings. Definitely emotional seeing the hard ships that some of our freedom fighters went though.
  • Back to our hotel room after this, had dinner and retired.
  • During all this time, we had the phone number of our scorpio driver (Sarfu). Jio phone signal is weak but not completely absent. In most places, we had some weak signal. We were however told that, if there was any situation where we dont have signal, we could just flag down any tourist vehicle driver and ask to call to Arshad or Sarfu, and people would oblige. I found that fascinating.

Day 2:

  • We had a ferry (Makruzz) to catch to Havelock at 8AM. Reporting time at the jetty is an hour before. Arshad had whatsapped the tickets the previous night. Sarfu was at the hotel in the morning. We had packed breakfast from the hotel (butter-cheese sandwiches (tad bit small, which we were a bit disappointed with), a muffin, biscuits, an apple and a banana). When we reached the jetty, we saw that almost everyone in line had a similar packed breakfast paper bag in their hand. The cruise is a large air conditioned catamaran type luxury boat. 90 min journey. Took us close to 2 hours though. You need to do security etc (pass bags through xray etc) at the jetty.
  • On reaching Havelock, we had Basheer (who was our Havelock coordinator) waiting for us on the jetty with a driver (with a name placard). We were whisked to our hotel – Sandyy Wavess. This is one of a half dozen resorts on a stretch of road with an access to the beach.
  • Super cozy rooms. Great pool. Neat access to the beach. Except please do plan with the tides – which can change the scene within a couple of hours. You would see an awesome beach, but in a few hours, the tide receeds significantly and the beach is just not useable. So enquire about this in advance. (And if this is not available, there is no point in booking a beach access resort). We had this issue.
  • The restaurant was a mess. Staff shortage (which I learnt from one of the servers whom we befriended). It was one chef churning out stuff. The food was good though, but would always take anywhere between 60-90 minutes at a minimum (which pissed us off quite a bit!). The food being good was the saviour. Breakfast and dinner was a buffet – so we needn’t had to do the excruciating wait. Our package had a breakfast and dinner included in the tariff.
  • We went to the beach (on the property), relaxed a bit, and then in the evening headed to Radhanagar beach – apparently the 6th most cleanest beaches in Asia. True to this, the beach is an amazing one. Super clean. Fine sand. Great waves. Fantastic sunset.

Day 3:

  • The first half was going to be to Elephanta Island – where all the water activities are organized. Contrary to its name, it is not an island, even though you take a speed boat to it. It is just a remote part of the same Havelock island, which you go by boat.
  • Super well organized again. You can buy tickets before you take the speed boat. You get assigned a speed boat. You got to remember the boat name (ours was Sea Lion 16). The boat waits for you for 3 hours and brings you back. You can also buy tickets at the destination.
  • All guests get a complementary introductory 5 min snorkeling session. Basically a bait tactic to take the free session, and then lured to deeper waters. We wanted to do this towards the end, but we ran out of time and skipped it.
  • Our package had jetski and glass bottomed boat as part of it. The glass bottomed boat ride is awesome. You can see the corals and the coloured fish clearly.
  • We took a few extra rides – Black eye and Standing rides – which are just different kinds of inflatables pulled by a speed boat. (Wife and kid went on this). We also did Sea Walk (a unique experience) and para-sailing.
  • The Sea walk is a beautiful experience. You are taken to a platform away from shore. Ladders go down to the sea bottom from the platform. The area is netted all around (so that large fishes / sharks do not come in).
  • They put a 45 kg pressurized helmet on your head/shoulders and lower you down (climb down the ladder). Each person has a diver assigned and a photographer taking pics. You go down 20-30 feet to the ocean floor. The diver basically moves you around and shows you the corals, the colourful fishes (think nemo type fishes), and sets you up for good pics, which the photographer is busy shooting with a go-pro. This goes on for about 10-15 mins and then you are pulled up. This does momentarily make the ears pop for some folks (it did for me, did not impact my wife).
  • Overall, the organization is wonderful for the kinds of crowds that this place gets.
  • Back at the hotel by around 130PM and we had food (had to wait 90 minutes for it though).
  • We had the evening to ourselves, but we could not resist the urge to head back to the Radhanagar beach again.

Day 4:

  • Time to head back to Port Blair. This time the ferry was Nautica Lite. A very similar luxury boat. Same duration. The timing was slightly later. So we had the luxury of having a good breakfast buffet before the journey.
  • Back in Port Blair, we had planned lunch at Cafe Amaya. This roof top restaurant has continental fare and was recommended by PYT and others as well. The food was good and the view was awesome.
  • We had the evening to ourselves. We did a leisurely walk down to the Flag Point area (this is very close to the Sinclair BayView hotel). A good long walk. We visited this small temple – Alaikadal Ayyanaar. Beautiful temple. We walked down to the first ever tricolour flag that was hoisted by Subash Chandra Bose in 1943. History goes that, when the Japanese evacuated after WW2, they handed the islands to Bose, who was the supreme commander of the Azad Hind Fauj.
  • We walked past the awesome food trucks, and found one which was selling falooda/ice creams. Yumm-max ice creams was had. We skipped the other trucks, because we were not too confident about handling the veg and non-veg food together.
  • We popped into the Ramakrishna Mission for 10-15 minutes and listened to the evening aarthi.
  • Back at the hotel, we had a good dinner and retired.

Day 5:

  • Originally we did not have anything planned, but in the last minute, we had asked Arshad if there was something we had missed and could cover in a few hours. Our flight back to BLR was only at 230PM.
  • We realized we had not seen Ross Island (Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose Dweep – NSCB Dweep). This was the summer retreat for the British officers.
  • The place is in ruins with tree roots growing eerily over the ruined walls. But one can imagine, how grand it would have been during those times.
  • The tourism board has done a good job of putting concrete paths through these ruins all the way to the light house (and the lone sailor man statue) at the edge of the island ; and golf carts (for a fee) to ferry people around. This was super useful, given the scorching sun.
  • The island has quite a few deer (saw many) and peacocks (did not get to see any). The golf card driver said that, the British had brought these deer to this island for food (venison). When the British left, there were about 15 deer, and now there are about 500 of them.
  • Headed back to the hotel in a couple of hours. Had an early lunch. Headed to the airport. And back in Bangalore for peak hour traffic at 530PM 🙂


  1. The Andamans is super super hot in April. You can get dehydrated / zapped very easily. Wear shades and a hat. Put on sunscreen. Keep drinking water all the time. Interesting tidbit – you will only get 2 lt water bottles in most shops. An elderly shopkeeper lady explained why to us – people drink 1 lt bottle in one go and throw the bottles all over. 2 lt bottles however last for some time, and have a handle on top of the bottle.
  2. Both the islands are super clean. Clean roads, pedestrian pathways. No plastic bottles (in the sea or on land). No junk. Was so heartening to see.
  3. Arshad Port Blair coordinator number – +91 99332 74036
  4. The coordination among these organizers is impressive and you should not have to worry too much at all.
  5. Airtel and BSNL have good signal strength across the islands, I am told. I had Jio and we had coverage in about 50% of the areas.
  6. Take adequate cash when you head there. ATMs are available but do not risk it. Given spotty network connectivity, do not rely on UPI. Especially in Elephanta Islands / Havelock.
  7. PB resorts do not have beach access. Some have good views. We realized that this might not necessarily be that big a deal, for some folks.
  8. Ask about the tides and when the beaches are usable.
  9. Don’t miss the Havelock water rides.

Pictures in the twitter thread below:

I have a check-in to make …

This is a post that I had posted way back in 2013 (in my old wordpress blog). This was during my engineering days. This was around the time I got back to Synopsys from a short stint (my first stint) at Microsoft. I found this somewhere and it brought a smile. Reposting it.

I sauntered down the steps, two at a time. The sun was just beginning to rise. The river was its best – shining, shimmering. The clamour of feet. So many others rushing down to the river as well. She can take any number of people though. She is the Ganga, after all. I slip down the last step and slink into the water. The tingling freshness of the chill water. The warm breeze blowing ever so lightly over my body. I dunk three times. And slip into my morning ablution rituals.

I climb back up into the first step, and with a sprightly step walk back up. My mind racing still on the algorithmic problem I have been trying to solve. I think I have the answer. I just need to try one more thing. Just one more thing, and I am done. I am almost at the top of the steps, when I notice the brightly dressed young man, the old woman, and the van parked next to them. The young man had this mesmerizing smile and looked into me. Almost piercing. So piercing that I could not look away. He smiled again and lifted his hands towards me in a gesture of requesting me to come close to him.

“Can you please help me get this old woman into the van?”

A flurry of thoughts rushed into my mind. Why was he just asking me? There were so many people around me. Most of them seemingly genuine enough to help other people in need. Something about these two did not seem right. A flash in my mind tells me that, these two were staring at me when I was rushing towards the river. I had not given much thought then. Should I help them? Should I not? Is it wrong to not help people asking for help? The scriptures talk about ‘karma’.

I flung all these thoughts to the side, and I said, “No!”, in my most indignant manner ever. A few passers-by stopped and stared.

“I know about you types. I know how you hire. I know how you do personality tests. This is why I hate you, you white search engine company! I have told you a dozen times, that I do not want to come join you. And you still persist.”

“You think I cannot see your logo with the three multi-colored rings in small print on the bumper of your van? Think again.”

“And for heaven’s sakes. Could you not get a better costume designer? Someone who could be more natural. The old lady looks exactly like the one in all of Kamal Hassan’s movies.”

“And now if you will excuse me, I have a check-in to make”.

And I bolted up the stairs. I had the last piece of my solution to the problem.

Note: This is a transcript of an early morning dream that I had a couple of days ago. One of the very few dreams that I actually remembered after I woke up.

Intensity and Intentionality

“The delta between intensity and intentionality is dissipated energy.”

This simple sounding statement that Jayawant Tewari (JT) made today in a discussion at work, is actually not that simple.

Take a couple of minutes. Read it. Digest it. No, go on. Really.

There is so much in it. Intensity is energy, diligence, focus, raw power in doing something. Intentionality is the doing all that to achieve the right outcome. If you are just putting intensity and not really being intentional about it, you are just wasting energy.

Ponniyin Selvan Movie Review

I got to see the movie on the third day of release. I hate first day first shows. There is too much noise and excitement that one cannot enjoy the movie. And I really wanted to enjoy this one.

As is my usual style, I am going to be jotting down my thoughts on this movie as easily readable/skimmable points, and they are in no particular order.


The cast is just amazing. Karthi was perfect for Vandhiyathevan. There is a word in Tamizh called ‘Thunukku’ – loosely translating to spunk. The attitude of going by the gut and having the confidence that one can take care of any repercussions. When one reads Kalki’s account, one can almost see the almost naughty wicked smile on Vandhiyathevan’s face. And from now on, when I read it from now on, Karthi’s face will come to mind.

Jayaram is awesome as Nambi. Perfect wit. Again very close resemblance to the character. Each time he says – Narayanaaaa, it is perfect match. The only thing that I did not quite like is the relationship between Vandhiyathevan and Nambi portrayed in the film, where the latter is shown as manhandled by the former a few times etc. I always felt that there was a very complex emotional bond between these two – vaccillating between jealousy, hate, suspicion, trust and in some places massive respect. That did not quite come out. but its ok – for those who do not know about this from the book, the characters do their part well.

Jayam Ravi does justice to the Prince Arulmozhi Varman role. I noticed a very natural persona portrayed by him (brought out beautifully by the director of course). No overacting. And then you realize that, this is exactly what the characterisation of Ponniyin Selvan is, in the epic by Kalki. He is portrayed as this down to earth, no nonsense, no drama Prince.

Now the two ladies – both Trisha and Aishwarya do their part really well. Trisha balances the emotions of coyness, the responsibility of being royalty, and the twinkle in her eyes lights up each time she sees Vandhiyathevan. Perfect portrayal in my opinion. Aishwarya does not necessarily need to do anything. I think her looks lends itself to the deceptively helpless but super dangerous character that is Nandini. Honestly she does not need to (and she does not) do anything exceptional ; but casting made all the difference.

The Pazhuvettarayars play their part. Nothing special. I really wish more could have been brought out of Chief Minister Anirrudhar played by Mohan Raman. A miss. The script could have brought out so much for this character, especially given the superb actor as well.

Not a lot has been spoken about Madhuranthakan in the reviews, but I liked Rahman’s acting. The Prince who was intentionally brought up as a Shiva worshipper and no exposure to ruling the Kingdom, who is cunningly brainwashed and lured into being the true heir of a large Kingdom, is portrayed pretty darned well by him. His lack of expertise but the lust that has been injected into him, comes out well.

Lastly, and intentionally lastly, I really wish they could have cast someone else for Aditha Karikalan. Vikram looks too old. And no, please dont justify the character requires a war torn look. Vikram just looks old. He showcases his acting prowess with his monologue etc, but this was the one casting miss that I would say.

The story and the cinematography

My opinion is going to be that of a movie goer who went to see an adaptation of this ultimate epic that everyone is talking about. I intentionally put aside any expectation of similarity to the book.

In recent years, my wife and me have just lost patience to watch 3 hour Tamizh movies. Just cannot able to. This one broke that jinx. It is fast paced and we did not even notice the time fly by.

Again, I would say – ignore the several plot twists that the original tome has. Kalki wrote this like a mega serial for a weekly Tamizh magazine. Can you think of making something like Radhika’s Chitti into a movie. Just put that into perspective. I liked the way Jayamohan has involved most of the characters involvements into the plot and kept most of the main story line intact. There are a couple of scenes that seemed forcibly added for movie effects – example – the bridge falling down with Chinese warriors hacking the wooden beams/ropes down. Ahem. Was not really needed.

I am not an expert in Cinematography but I kind of liked the simplicity of it all. I really did not expect grandeur. Maybe because I saw the few interviews following the audio launch where I heard about Mani’s fascination of Kurusowa and realism etc. I liked what I saw. Some awesome scenes stand out – Vandhiyathevan walking through the market place of Thanjavur. Kalki takes a chapter for this, but brilliantly covered in a couple of minutes. The meeting between Kundavai and Nandini was covered beautifully. Poonkuzhali’s and Vanathi’s characterization could have been slightly better – the former being portrayed kinda crassly in my humble opinion. Her strength as an independent woman does not quite come out. For those who have watched the movie, there is an easter egg from Prabhu (General Periyavelaar) where he calls Poonkuzhali – “Ey Ponnu ..”. That is such a common dialogue of this veteran actor and brought a smile to my face.

The Camera, lighting etc etc has been debated enough by others. I just felt it did justice to the story that was told.

Locations are brilliant (classic Mani!). The sets are decent. I read somewhere that Thota Tharani has always wanted to do a period movie (his father did sets for all the raja rani movie of yesteryear).

There was a comment by some ‘reviewer’ about the dialogues being weak and it was surprising for Mani’s calibre. Hello, you cannot bring in Thalapathi or Roja level dialogues to a period movie like this. The dialogues are not the hero here. It is the story line and the plot.


The only comment that I will make is – the music supports the story well (mostly!). Two of the songs are part of the screenplay. There is at least one song that seemed force fitted. The music is nothing to be recalled for. Maybe the one song – Ponni Nadhi Paakanume – is hummable and has recall factor ; the rest are meh. Not bad. They are ok. But not spectacular or recallable.


Overall, I liked the movie. I am glad that this awesome epic got its movie. Please do not compare the book and the movie. The movie is an adaptation. It is near impossible to make the full book / plot into a movie. Maybe a series, but not a movie.

New Leaders and Imposter Syndrome

As you grow in your career and if you start leading teams of people, there is an inevitable period of time, when you would suddenly feel – what am I doing? I don’t do tactical stuff? Am I unfairly getting paid?

Remember – as you grow (and lead teams), you are now paid not for just your work. You are paid to take on accountability. You are on point for stuff. You are paid to take on that ‘stress’. 🙂

A leader in my org in the US said – most of his time goes in resolving conflicts. How is that for something worth getting paid for? 🙂 

This was part of a long deep conversation with one of my colleagues ; and I feel that this is something a lot of people (including me) go/went through.

Imposter syndrome in PMs and introspections

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Today, I want to write about a conversation that I had with a colleague recently. As PMs in a large company, there are times, when execution takes front-seat (and there are other times, when innovation takes precedence). During these war-time PM periods where one needs to focus on execution, it is very common to hit a form of imposter syndrome, where you start questioning yourself – “what value did I add?”

Our conversation led to two levels of introspection that I suggested – 

a) Step back. Rewind. Think about (say) the last month. How many times did you have to make a decision? I bet that half of these decisions were ones that others would have just said – “Its the PMs call”. This is a huge value add. The PM is where the buck stops. Judgement calls are made by PMs. We own these decisions and stick by them (until of course, in some cases, we are proven wrong). 

b) The secondary thought that occurs when you do the above exercise is – “If not me, anyone could have made these calls.” That is where I vehemently disagree. These judgement calls / decisions are a by-product of days/months of being steeped into the product aspects of what we are working on. It is not a function that another dev can write (sure the quality of devs can churn different quality of code, but immaterial, transferable). The PM is the only person who has actually spoken to someone in Marketing, all stakeholders, Leadership, devs, the vendor tester, the design team. yes, all of them – and that is what gives you the unique context and the ability to make these (hopefully well-rounded) judgement calls. 

I have been through these phases, and I am grateful that I have had folks help me through them. I thought I would share this, just in the case, there are others out there, who face this situation.

Visual Appeal in PM Resumes

img src: pixabay

I was giving some feedback on visual appeal in a PM resume, to a mentee, and had a few thoughts. Typing them here as well, hoping this would be of use to other folks as well.

  • Simple parsable (by human eye and machine) resume format with lots of impactful work data is preferred over visual jazz.
  • Some basics like alignment and balanced text blocks, are a must. Eg. all left aligned text blocks aligned to the same ruler. Pass your resume through a few friends ~ if possible, a designer. They can spot imbalanced text blocks from a mile away.
  • Same font throughout the resume. Make it a legible common font. In the race to make it a one-pager, dont go too small a font size. Dont go below 11 (max 10). Distinguish headers with an increased size, bold, or both. Play with shades of grey to make things stand out.
  • Dont play with margins too much. Always print out as a pdf and check how it looks. There are still some orgs, which print out resumes for interviewers.
  • If you really want to put in some pizzaaz (and it is Ok to do so), ensure that you do it perfectly well. Use an available resume template if needed. There are lots of freely available ones out there.
  • These are just some top of mind points that I thought off. In no way, is this a complete visual tip guide for a PM resume. Are there other tips that you recommend?

Keep them busy!

I spoke about this in a recent 1-1 and I thought I would pen this here. (Used to do this quite often early and want to restart doing it).

This is in context to being a PM in a large scale company but with appropriate modifications, I feel it works everywhere.

We were talking about focus time. In a large company, there is always a sense of being busy. You might be accountable for making triaging decisions, attending stand-up meetings, aligning stakeholders, prep-ing for exec presentations, among many other things that you are thrown into, on a day to day , hour to hour basis. So, how then, do you carve out time for focus work?

One of the many ways that I have seen work (and I tell my team to do so as well) is to keep your important stakeholders busy. In the case of my team, it is the dev team (and the dev lead). I have nothing against them (or any stakeholder for that matter) ; but it is usually an unwritten rule that devs look up to the PM for anything that they may need help on / get blocked on. So, if you time it and keep them busy during the time when you want to do focus work (say write a deep spec, or analyze competition, or do some data work), you tend to not be interrupted.

How do you do this?

  1. Ensure that the stakeholders have everything that they need for the current project at hand.
  2. Have a ready ‘to-analyze’ list – that you can toss at a dev(s) to go do some effort estimate / tshirt sizing
  3. Send the stakeholders a pre-read of a document that is being worked on with an explicit ask to drop comments (and a follow up meeting to discuss)

The main thing, however is not the external interrupts, during when you are in the zone. It is your internal interrupts, which I also crudely called guilt-checks. Did I give everything that is needed for the designer? Should I give more context to the team? Is there anything due from me for the exec-preso? For this, you basically ensure that you write down a guilt-check list and make sure you are convinced that everything is taken care of.

This blog post (like many others in my blog) is mostly a top of mind dump. What do you think about this problem? Do you have a process to get into the zone? Comment / reply / or engage on twitter (@gcmouli).

Travelogue: Malnad – Apr 2022

After staying put at home (other than a couple of minor trips to Chennai / Kumbakonam) all through the Covid phase, we finally ventured out on a road trip holiday as a family (wife, 12 y/o kid, and me). Writing this as a travel journal format, so that, it could hopefully help folks plan similar trips.

Plan: Bangalore -> Horanadu -> Sringeri -> Udupi -> Kollur -> Baindur -> Bangalore (later added Chikmagalur into the mix)

Day1 (Wednesday) – Started from Bangalore around 1045AM. (Kiddo had his last exam that day).

Used the city route to get out of the city (MG road -> Malleswaram -> Yeshwanthpur -> Tumkur Road -> Nelamangala). Manageable traffic. It was not that bad.

Outside the city, it was Nelamangala -> Yediyur -> Kunigal -> Chennarayapatna -> Hassan -> Belur -> Kottigehara -> Kalasa -> Horandu.

Had packed lunch (lemon rice and curd rice). Ate somewhere in the middle.

Horanadu Annapurneshwari Temple Arch with sunset behind the mountains

Reached Horanadu around 6PM. Temple was practically empty. Had a super darshan. Had packed dinner as well (Chapati and Amul Shreekand). Had it in the parking lot of the temple ; and left around 720PM.

Reached Sringeri around 9PM. This is a dark route with multiple small patches of very bad road, through very dense forests, and almost no habitation.

The dense jungle route between Horanadu and Sringeri

Finally reached Sringeri at around 9PM. Stayed at Guru Krupa (new serviced apartments that have come up very close to the Temple/Mutt complex). Decent spacious simple rooms. Basement car parking.

Day 2 (Thursday): Spent the entire day in Sringeri. Morning was Sharada temple and Guru Paduka Puja to the Acharya. Afternoon, did a quick sortie to Hariharapura (one of the adjunct mutts in the area, which is about half hour away). Breakfast was at Maruti tiffin rooms (as always). Lunch and dinner was at the Mutt. Saw the night Chandramouleeswara Puja by the Acharya and retired for the night.

Sringeri Raja Gopuram in all its finery in the night.

Tip 1: Watch out for the badly laid concrete road from the main Bharathi street that goes down to Guru Krupa. Height difference between the concrete topping and the mud shoulder is at least half a feet. I missed seeing it in the night, and hit the underbody of the car. Later in the evening, we saw another car stuck with its underbody scraped up.

Tip 2: Download offline google maps before the trip. Internet can get very spotty in the middle of the forest area. I had downloaded the map, and it was super useful.

Day 3 (Friday): Started early at 605AM. Headed eastwards towards Udupi. Original plan was to hit Udupi for breakfast. But we felt hungry much earlier. Around 7, chanced upon this fantastic restaurant in the middle of nowhere. Good clean veg food.

Seethanadi Veg – An hour from Sringeri on the Sringeri-Udupi route
Route from Sringeri to Udupi

Malnad roads at their best. Wonderful surface quality. Winding around the moutains. With my new automatic car, I had one less thing to focus on (changing gears). Totally enjoyed the drive.

Malnad roads 😍

Reached Udupi around 830ish. Krishna temple was not crowded at all, given that it was a weekday (Friday). Had a wonderful darshan. It was Devi Alankaram that day. Finished darshan around 9AM.

The road until Kundapura is a brilliant stretch of road. This is the Kanyakumari National Highway. In multiple places, you can see the Arabian see on the side. Past Kundapura, there are two roads that lead to Kollur. We took the second one (as suggested by Google maps). Road was pretty good.

Reached Kollur around 1015ish. Temple was super crowded. Probably because it was Friday (auspicious for Devi). But good darshan none the less.

Kollur to Baindur

Started from Kollur around 1130ish towards Sai Vishram Beach Resort, Baindur. We had good reccos from multiple people about this resort. Original plan was to spend Friday second half. All of Saturday and leave on Sunday.

Sunset from the Sai Vishram resort beach
Sai Vishram beach resort. The Arabian sea is right there beyond those trees.

Some observations about the Sai Vishram resort:

  1. If you are a close to nature person, you will probably like it. Family like ours, who are pretty averse to reptiles and insects, did not take to it too lightly. We found huge lizards, cockroaches and a toad – all within the room.
  2. We took the tent room initially – very close to the beach. You can hear the waves. It was unkempt and we saw the lizards here. Asked for a change in room ; got shown a delux room (higher up in the property and further from the beach), which looked like it had not been cleaned at all.
  3. We came back to the tent room and asked for a full clean up and got prepared to settle down ; but they gave us a beautiful beach cottage right next to it. Great, we thought.
  4. We went out to the beach for playing. Had an excellent time. The beach is super clean and private.
  5. We then had dinner. Food here is average, but not bad at all. Simple wholesome veg food.
  6. We came back to room for a shock. More lizards and a huge toad on the door. We called the staff again. The staff, I should say, are super helpful. A guy came immediately and helped remove the toad and scared the lizard away.
  7. Thats when my son started complaining of stomach issues (pain/vomit/loose stools). Could have been something we ate at dinner ; or some salt water intake during the water activities (as suggested by the staff).
  8. Later in the middle of the night, we had a huge cockroach dance around the ceiling.
  9. The property website says – there might be lizards, frogs and snakes on the property. We had seen the first two, and had no intention on seeing the third. We made plans to leave the next day.
  10. We also thought, with the kiddo sick, instead of doing a Bangalore return (8-9 hours), we could break in the middle.
  11. I should say however the staff were super helpful and courteous. Beach proximity is amazing. I wish they maintained the property better (or had non-nature-focused rooms for families like us).
  12. Signal strength in most places is super low and they dont have intercom facility – so its a huge exercise in itself to call a staff member up in the middle of the night.

Snagged a room at the Vismita County resort in Chikmagalur sometime in the middle of the night.

Day 4 (Saturday): Had an early breakfast and left around 9Am. Reached Chikmagalur around 145PM – right on time for lunch.

This drive is super pretty . Goes through Agumbe. We missed a turn somewhere and ended going through Sringeri, and then back to SH27, through Balehonnur and eventually to Chikmagalur.

View from our room. Vismita County, Chikmagalur
Vismita County, Chikmagalur

Notes on Vismita County:

  1. Great property
  2. Newly developed – only about 1.5 yrs old
  3. Very well maintained.
  4. Has about 2 kms of bicycle trails within the property – they provide cycles
  5. Food was really good
  6. Helpful staff. When we had to get some meds for my kid for the stomach upset, they sent someone fairly late in the night up to town to get the meds.

Day 5 (Sunday): Had breakfast around 8AM and left around 920am. Fairly uneventful drive back to Bangalore.