Monday, November 21, 2011

Mesmerizing Mumbai

Hello friends,

I had been to Mumbai after a very long time. This time not with family, but with colleagues. We were sent for a training to our Mumbai office. Also for a change I did not take my camera :)
The team:
1. Shimsha
2. Namitha
3. Maanasa
4. Chiranjivi
5. Yours Faithfully (Arjun )

The HR Manager  came to us and spoke about the technology that we were supposed to learn. As a result, the 5 of us were told about the training that was to be held at Mumbai. We were enthralled after hearing the news. The training was supposed to be held from 24th October to 10th November, 2011. So , we left Bangalore on 23rd October. We all were busy packing the previous day. Finally on the day of travel , I got up very early. Usually , I get up late :) , started roaming around the house, ensured everything was packed. Loads of messages and calls were arriving to my phone with best wishes from my family and friends.
The flight was booked , and the departure time was 12.30 PM. We were at the airport early. All of us met at a discussed point. The families of most of us had come to the airport to wish us. After taking all their best wishes, we entered the airport for our boarding pass. After that(security check), we were waiting for 12.30 PM to arrive soon, as it was a new experience for most of us. Most of us, travelled for the first time in an airplane.
Bengaluru - Mumbai : GO Airlines

Mumbai as seen from the plane during landing

At around 2pm, we landed at the Mumbai Airport. They gave us a warm welcome to Mumbai. Warm because it was 38C :)

Sunday, October 9, 2011

At Nature's Lap - Ooty

To feel the touch of nature, Ooty is a right spot for the lover of nature. It is located at a distance of 300 km from Bangalore. It sparkles with fresh vegetation and sceneries. It is “queen of all hill station”. The height of the hills in the Nilgiri range varies between 2280 and 2290 meters. It attracts the tourist by its charming flowers. Lofty mountains, dense forest, acres and acres of tea estates are green feast for the eyes of the tourist.
The fast food world man runs his life in this world of tension; and living in the sweltering heat; to while away his short leisure hour he can spend that with nature (ooty).The weather of valley is salubrious. Ooty is a best place to know the culture and tradition of India and tribal people.
Botanical gardens, lamb’s rock and Dobabetta peak, kalhatty fallskandal, cross shrine, mini garden and rose garden; Mudumalai Wildlife Sanctuary and National Park are till more amusing places in Ooty and its surroundings. Ooty lake boating is a remarkable spot which highly entertains the tourist. Udagamandalam otherwise called as Ooty. Its mountain train journey on a ratchet and restrain track which commences from kallar will give a new adventures effect. Finally Nature never betrays the tourist.

On August 5th , 2011 we left Bangalore and headed towards Ooty. It was a very memorable one. The time was 2AM,and the driver came to my house. We were ready with the luggage. On the way near Mandya, we sipped some hot tea at a stall on the highway. We had planned to reach Bandipur by 6AM, as the gate opens at 6, following the night ban. All went on perfectly.

The Team included : Sujay , Sushmitha , Arjun , Ambika and Suresh uncle
Jumbo charge : image by Sujay

Jumbos at Bandipur

Though we did not stop at Bandipur for a safari, these gentle giants were found at a far distance.To know more about my Bandipur trip , see this link :
 After we cross the border, we enter the Mudumalai Sanctuary.The Mudumalai sanctuary lies on the northern and north-western side of the Nilgiri (Blue Mountains), about 80 km north-west of Coimbatore in the extreme north-western corner of Tamil Nadu, on the interstate boundaries with Karnataka and Kerala states in southern India. 

This 321-sq-kms wide sanctuary includes a National Park measuring an area of 103-sq-kms. The sanctuary has various mixtures of flat land, open grassland, swamp and valleys. Apart from the wide range of animal and bird life, the rich fauna of this sanctuary has made Mudumalai very popular with wildlife enthusiast. 

There are tigers at Mudumalai, though it takes a lot of luck and determination to spot one of these big cats that are such masters of secrecy. But there are several other creatures of the jungle that can be sighted more easily.

Nilgiri gardens on the way to Ooty. 

The Nilgiri , often referred to as the Nilgiri Hills, are a range of mountains with at least 24 peaks above 2,000 metres (6,600 ft), in the westernmost part of Tamil Nadu state at the junction of Karnataka and Kerala states in Southern India. They are part of the larger Western Ghats mountain chain making up the southwestern edge of the Deccan Plateau.

Things to see around Ooty :
Ooty Botanical Gardens

If you are on a sightseeing tour to Ooty, you might want to visit the Government Botanical gardens, which were laid out in 1847.The picturesque gardens that are maintained by the Horticulture department of the state, cover an area of about 22 hectares. The Gardens have well over 650 species of plants and trees, including a fossil of a tree, which is believed to be more than 20 million years old. The garden is very popular with nature lovers and those who long to walk among greenery and see rare ferns and shrubs up close. If you are in Ooty in the month of May, then you can also be a part of the summer festival, which is held here annually. The festival holds flower shows and various cultural programs showcasing the talent of the locals and the renowned artists.
  • Doddabetta peak
The Dodabetta Peak stands at an altitude of 2,623 meters. It is the highest point in the district, making it possibly the best vantage point around Ooty. It is merely 10km from Ooty so you can simply grab your camera and head straight to the peak, and click amazing pictures of he valley below. Many say that on a clear day, which is honestly not that often, one can see far off areas, even the plains of Coimbatore and the flat highlands of Mysore.
  • Annamalai Temple
Annamalai Temple is a situated about 20 km distance from Ooty. This place has grown as a famous temple of Lord Muruga, known as 7th Hill house of the lord. The view from the Temple is really awesome. There is an observatory at the top of hill for the public to enjoy the magnificent panoramic view.
  • Ooty Rose gardens
its an amazing and very large area garden. You can enjoy varieties of roses there. The roses bloom only for 2-3 months a year (not sure when), so going there off-season is not very interesting. If interested can buy the seeds and plants also.
  • Wax World - (Wax Museum)
Its a private investment not supported by Govt. Don't expect much like other foreign wax museum which are helped by tourism authorities for advertisements and promotions. But for sight seeing its good. more attraction is the very old house, where the museum is set up. Candles are available. But it is suffering from funds for expansion so they request tourists to visit so that they can get help from them, which is the only form of support.
  • Sims Park (Coonoor)
similar to ooty botanical garden. Very rare plants and trees are there.
  • The Tea Factory
several tree gardens and factories are there. On the way you will get lots of them. They will approach you with free tea taste and offer some tea packets to buy. But be cautious if you don't have much knowledge about tea, better not to buy from them as the packet tea has not the same taste as they gave you to taste.The spices quality is not so good.
  • Boating at Pykara
it's an awesome experience. Though the rate of boating is little bit high but still it is worthy. Fresh air, good feeling and good view
  • Falls at Pykara
  • Historical Dam with Power station at Pykara
  • Hidden Valley
  • Echo Rock
some called it as 'Lambs rock" naturally took the shape of a lamb. Go through a very small forest and then you can see the rock.
  • shooting point
one very nice place is that. Don't miss it. The view is very pleasant.
  • Pine forest
Its a natural beauty. After the end of the forest a lake is there. Be careful while walking as the path has slope.
  • Dolphin's Nose

Then we moved towards shooting point :
Shooting point is an elevated expanse of land with a steep climb. As you climb to the top the view of the valley below is just astounding.

After enjoying our time at the Shooting point, we later remembered the song Chayya Chayya from the film Dil-Se, where Shah Rukh Khan dances on the top of the train in the Nilgiris. So, we also planned to enjoy the same feeling. As a result, we went to the Ooty Railway station to go till Coonoor by train and then return. 

The Nilgiri Mountain Railway was built by the British in 1908, and was initially operated by the Madras Railway Company. The railway still relies on its fleet of steam locomotives. NMR comes under the jurisdiction of the newly formed Salem Division. In July 2005, UNESCOadded the Nilgiri Mountain Railway as an extension to the World Heritage Site of Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, the site then became known as "Mountain Railways of India." after it satisfied the necessary criteria, thus forcing abandonment of the modernisation plans. For the past several years diesel locomotives have taken over from steam on the section between Mettupalyam, Coonoor and Udhagamandalam. Local people and tourists have led a demand for steam locos to once again haul this section

After returning , we had some delicious lunch and moved to Dodda Betta peak. At the entrance of the peak, there were many endemic birds such as Great Tit, Nilgiri Laughing thrush , Black bird etc.,

Doddabetta is the highest mountain in the Nilgiri Hills, at 2637 metre (8650 feet). There is a reserved forest area around the peak. It is 9 km from Ooty,on Ooty-Kotagiri Road in the Nilgiris District of Tamil NaduSouth India. It is a popular tourist attraction with road access to the summit. The Chamundi Hills can be viewed from the peak.The name "Doddabetta" traces its roots from the Badaga/Kannadalanguage translating into 'Big Mountain'. Hecuba (2375 m), Kattadadu (2418 m) and Kulkudi (2439 m) are the three closely linked heights in the west of the Doddabetta range and nearby Udagamandalam. In the Nilgiris plateau Doddabetta is highest peak of the Nilgiris districtsss remarkable for the flattened curve of its summit. Sholas cover the hollows of its slopes. Slightly stunted, rhododendron trees, in the midst of thick coarse grass, flowering sub-elphine shrubs and herbs are common, even very near the peak.There is an observatory at the top of Doddabetta with two telescopes available for the public to enjoy the magnificent panoramic view of the whole district. It opened on June 18, 1983 and is run by the Tamil Nadu Tourism Development Corporation (TTDC).

Great tit

From the top of the Dodda Betta peak, Coonoor can be seen. The houses in the picture belong to Coonoor town

Then, we went to the Tea factory and museum. The detailed report is given in this link.

After coming out of the museum, we bought some delicious chocolates and moved to the Botanical Garden . It was very late in the evening, we just made a quick visit to the park.

The 22-acre (89,000 m2Ooty Botanical Gardens was laid out in 1847 and is maintained by theGovernment of Tamil Nadu. The Botanical Garden is lush, green, and well-maintained. A flower show along with an exhibition of rare plant species is held every May. The Gardens have around a thousand species, both exotic and indigenous, of plantsshrubsfernstreesherbal and bonsaiplants. The garden has a 20-million-year-old fossilized tree.

Image by Sujay


Thursday, September 1, 2011

Process of Manufacturing of Tea Powder

We all drink and relish the beautiful taste of Tea. There are many brands of tea in India, and each one of them have created its own trademark in the industry.

Tea is the agricultural product of the leaves, leaf buds, and internodes of various cultivars and sub-varieties of the Camellia sinensis plant, processed and cured using various methods. "Tea" also refers to the aromatic beverage prepared from the cured leaves by combination with hot or boiling water, and is the common name for the Camellia sinensis plant itself. After water, tea is the most widely consumed beverage in the world.It has a cooling, slightly bitter, astringent flavour which many enjoy.
The term herbal tea usually refers to infusions of fruit or herbs containing no actual tea, such as rosehip tea or chamomile tea. Alternative terms for this are tisane or herbal infusion, both bearing an implied contrast with tea. This article is concerned exclusively with preparations and uses of the tea plant, Camellia sinensis, the Minnan word for which is the etymological origin of the English word tea.

Tea Estates near Ooty

We had been to Ooty and had been to the tea Museum. There we could witness , how tea powder was prepared.

Tea Museum

Process of tea manufacturing

Tea leaves are passed on to the Withering trough, Where it gets crushed and goes to the Rotor Vane

Incomplete crushing of tea leaves

This is the Last stage of the CTC machine. From here, it goes to the Drum


The tea powder goes into a machine called Fibromat. As the name says, it separates fibre from tea powder by a mesh.


The Dhool is now fed into the Fluid bed driver. It passes over a perforated, stainless steel  sheet of dimensions 2025ft x 16ft. Hot air is passed through the heater. Drying process takes 16 minutes

Fluid bed drier

Tea powder goes for packing

Final product

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