Kodagu First a Celebration. Positive News, Facts & Achievements about Kodagu, Coorgs and the People of Kodagu – here at Home and Overseas
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    Caption:

    1) Some of the honey, jams and sauces produced by Nectar Fresh. 2) Chayaa Nanjappa with business partner Rajappa at Ahaar expo in Chennai. 3) The entire processing unit consisting of a container to feed honey to the settling unit.

    They say ‘fruit of hard work is sweet’ and in this case it is metaphorically and literally sweet. Shall we call this a success story of a lone lady who made it big in the small scale industries sector or the growth of a brand which has today become one of the leading names in the field of honey? It is difficult to describe one without the other as this is the story of a lady who started a honey brand from scratch which has grown to great heights over the years. In this Weekend Star Supplement, SOM introduces its readers to this lady who says ‘If I could make it, then any other lady can

    ’ A flavour for every season

    History:

    Nectar Fresh was launched by Chayaa Nanjappa in 2007 at Bangalore and was backed by Khadi and Village Industries Board. Born on June 20, 1971 at Kodagu, Chayaa says, “I had a gut feeling and wanted to do something connected with my hometown. That instant I knew I wanted to start honey manufacturing and wanted to name it as Nectar Fresh.”

    “The plant was doing well in Bangalore but due to some circumstances we had to relocate to Mysore in 2010.

    Initially people said that Mysore is a small town and is not feasible for such businesses. But for me Mysore has been a lucky mascot. Most of the major deals were struck after we shifted here,” she says.

    The plant was relocated to Kadakola near Mandakalli Airport when Chayaa partnered with Rajappa of MyStore.

    Speaking about Nectar Fresh, Chayaa says, “We are one among the top 5 honey manufactures in India and are the only ones who are manufacturing different varieties of honey. Usually the Khadi and Village Board products are not considered as product for the high end markets. But today we have replaced international brands in hospitality sector under the Board. We have used their logo in our brand because it is the Board which has supported us. Also, there is a notion that business is only for the elite class who come from the same background or have the educational qualification for it. But we have proved this wrong. Anyone can do it if they have the survival instinct. Today we employ around 50 persons all over the country and around 20 in our Mysore plant.”

    Chayaa, a PG Diploma holder in Mass Communication, underwent specialised training at Central Bee Research and Training Institute, Pune. She is also a member of the National Bee Board and is the first lady to have a honey processing plant in the country.

    Process

    The company has its mobile vans placed near the fields across India. Hence they are the only producers of a variety of honey in the country. They are also the first brand to launch honey blisters.

    “Every month we have different varieties of honey according to the flowering season. This month it is acacia, clover and Himalayan honey,” says Chayaa, adding that lychee honey has the greatest demand.

    Although Nectar Fresh has a wide network, it’s manufacturing unit is only at Mysore. The unit produces around 1,000 tonnes a day and is planning to increase it to 4,000 tonnes by procuring more equipment.

    Processing plant: First, the honey is loaded into the container. This honey undergoes around 30 microns of filtration. It later undergoes moisture reduction and then again 2 microns of filtration. It is then cooled and sent to settling tanks. This will later be filled in containers and packed.

    The brand has also started dealing with jams and sauces to help sick women groups. It aims to provide them with the technical knowhow and quality assurance and in turn market their produce thereby giving them a channel to avoid middlemen.

    The processed honey is tested for quality at Pristine Laboratories, Bangalore and also at the units’s in-house laboratory.

    Varieties

    Nectar Fresh is known for its varieties in honey which include Coorg honey, rapeseed/mustard, eucalyptus, lychee, sunflower, Himalayan, acacia, clover, south Indian etc.

    Market and export

    Nectar Fresh today exports its produce to the Middle East, Malaysia and Australia. They will be looking forward to capture the US and European markets very soon.

    The brand has replaced top international brands in India and today has a monopoly with the five star hotels.

    “Previously we were not keen on our own private labeling and would supply in bulk and to the hospitality sector. But now we are entering the retail market also. We are the major suppliers to the Honey Society and are vendors for DFRL in city. Apart from this, ITC, Kerala Ayurveda, Taj group of hotels, Apollo etc., bottle their products here,” says Chayaa.

    Mission beyond market

    With an aim to be a leader in their business in India, Nectar Fresh is also seeing to offer its service beyond market. Apart from helping women with jams and sauces, they have empowered the locals around Kadakola region by providing them training and employment. They are also backing tribals by sourcing honey from the Sirsi belt.

    The company is also associated with various charitable organisations helping girl child and Chayaa herself is a member of many women organisations in the country.

    Competition

    When asked about their major competitors in the market, Chayaa said “We have replaced many international brands including Australia’s Beerenberg Farm. In India, our major competitors are Kashmir Apiaries and Kejriwal Enterprises.”

    Future

    The company will soon be launching honey pouches with an aim to make honey available to even the lowest section of the society. The pouches are being prepared with the help of CFTRI. They will also be launching premixes of coffee and tea. The mix, which comes with milk, sugar and coffee/tea powder, can be prepared by just adding to a cup of water. With this the company plans to rule the Indian market and introduce Mysore and Kodagu to international customers.

    Work hard and believe in yourself

    I am not a feminist. But I support those women who work hard to stand on their feet. Most of the time, laws favouring women are abused and the most genuine cases do not have the privilege to use it. Hence, through our brand we intend to empower such women.

    “Believe in yourself and have that never-let-go attitude. The success you achieve through this will give you a lot of self-respect rather than finding easy ways of making money.

    “I have faced many hardships while coming this far. As a single woman, it was initially difficult for me to survive in this field. But that did not discourage me. With help from Corporation Bank, the government and of course from my business partner, now sky is the limit for Nectar Fresh. If I was able to achieve so much, then any woman can.”

    source: http://www.starofmysore.com / Feature Articles / October 29th, 2011

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    October 29th, 2011adminArts, Culture & Entertainment

    Kushalnagar:
    – Marking the 57th Wildlife Week an ‘Elephant Utsav’ has been organised by the District Forest Department and Wildlife Division on Oct. 31 at Dubare Elephant Camp.

    Briefing about the Utsav here yesterday, Kushalnagar Range Forest Officer M.M. Achappa said “the programme to be held from 9 am to 12 noon that day will feature various games for the tamed elephants housed in the camp. The elegantly decorated elephants will also participate in an eating competition. On the lines of Dasara, the elephants will be bathed in river Cauvery and after feeding will be caparisoned and decorated.”

    Continuing Achappa said “the mahouts have been strenuously training the elephants in running race, football, eating sugarcane, obedience to masters, rescuing the injured mahouts and Kavadis from forest, group activities and a variety of other items which will surely enthral the tourists. The sprawling ground in front of the old Ins-pection Bungalow in Dubare has been readied for the Utsav which is aimed to subdue the elephant-human conflict and also bring in awareness on preservation of wildlife among the people.”

    As part of the Utsav competitions have been arranged in quiz, extempore speech, painting and singing with special relevance to environment, forest and wildlife for students of schools and colleges in Somwarpet.

    Madikeri DCF K.S. Anand, Wildlife DFO Motappa and Somwarpet ACF Prasanna Kumar are also expected to participate in the Utsav, according to sources.

    source: http://www.starofmysore.com / General News / October 29th, 2011

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    October 29th, 2011adminNri's / Pio's, Sports

    Dhyan chand celebrations: Guest of Honour Leslie Claudius receiving a memento from chief guest Swati Kulkarni, charge de affaires at Indian Embassy. Right, winners Ahli-Sidab Club with the trophy and dignitaries. – O.K.Mohammed Ali/ TIMES OF OMAN


    MUSCAT:
    Ahli-Sidab Club beat Coorg (Orange) 3-1 via sudden death to lift the trophy during the Dhyan Chand Day celebrations held at the Ahli-Sidab ground yesterday.

    The hockey celebrations organised by the Indian Social Club Bhojpuri Club in association with Al Omaniya Financial Services and the Indian Embassy ended with an hockey exhibition by the school girls from Indian School Muscat and Indian school Al Seeb.

    Ahli-Sidab and Team Coorg Orange both qualified for the final which was witnessed by chief guest Swati Kulkarni, guest of honour Olympian Leslie Claudius, special guests Hamad Hamad Al Ghafri, Mustafa Al Lawati, Mohammed Shambeh Al Raisi, hockey veteran S.A.S. Naqvi, officials from Oman Hockey Association, representatives of the sponsoring companies and a host of hockey lovers who cheered on their teams.

    “It was a very exciting game, both teams played very well and that is how a good game of hockey should be played,” said Leslie, who also thanked the organisers.

    The technical committee had ISC sports secretary Imtiaz Usman, Salih Thacher and Azra Aleem, who also had the spectators enthralled with their running commentary.

    During the prize distribution Guest of Honour Leslie Claudius along with Charge de Affaires Swati Kulkarni and others handed the trophies to the winners, runners-up, and other individual stars.

    Mohammed Ayad from Ahli-Sidab was declared the best goalkeeper where as the best defender was Nadeem from UTSC.
    Taking the best forward award was Mobin from Team Coorg Orange.The Man of the final for his outstanding display of hockey was Shankar from Team Coorg Orange and the biggest award of all the Man of the Tournament was handed over to Saleh, who represented Ahli-Sidab.

    The tournament was sponsored by Al Omaniya Financial Services, Passage to India Restaurant, Natural Stone LLC, Raha Poly Products, Sadolin Paints, Al Ansari Group of Companies, Air India, Purshottam Kanji Exchange, Al Taqdeer Fashions and Gulf Cricket Academy.

    Speaking after the tournament, Mohammed Irshad, the convener of the Bhojpuri Wing, said: “We have been organising this special day every year and I thank all those who have come forward to support the event. I also extend my thanks to Team Coorg, UTSC and Ahli-Sidab for making the day memorable.”

    Mohammed Irshad also mentioned that he was honoured to have Olympian Leslie Claudius as the guest of honour this time.
    “He (Leslie Claudius) was kind enough to oblige and accept our invitation to be part of the Dhyan Chand Day programme,” he said. “I must also acknowledge the moral support provided by the Indian Embassy.”

    source: http://www.timesofoman.com / Times News Service / October 29th, 2011

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    Indian doubles star Rohan Bopanna and Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi of Pakistan have clinched their second ATP doubles title of the season at the 2011 Stockholm Open on Sunday.

    Rohan Bopanna and Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi has clinched 2011 Stockholm Open tournament on Sunday, after beating Brazil pair Marcelo Melo and Bruno Soares in the final in straight sets with a 6-1 and 6-3. The Indo-Pak pair has clinched third doubles ATP title at Stockholm, after winning 2011 Gerry Weber Open in Halle and Johannesburg Open in 2010. The top seed Bopanna and Qureshi has won the championship final in just 57 minutes and bagged €29,400 prize money and taken 250 ranking points each.

    The 31-year-old Rohan Bopanna also won ATP doubles title in 2008 along with the Eric Butorac of Untied States at Los Angeles. The Indo-Pak pair will play next tournament at the Bank Austria Tennis event, played on Indoor hard courts schedule to begin on 25th October. Bopanna and Qureshi will battle against their Stockholm Open finalist Marcelo Melo and Bruno Soares in the opening round of Bank Austria Tennis tournament on Wednesday in Austria.

    Bopanna and Qureshi are playing outstanding tennis in the doubles matches, where the pair also reached the semi finals of the 2011 US Open tournament, before falling to Poland pair Fyrstenberg and Matkowski in straight sets.

    source: http://www.livetennisguide.com / filded under Tennis News by Terry Lawrence / Monday, October 24th, 2011

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    Kandy, October 22nd, Agencies

    Chikka second in men’s section
    Gurbani Singh showed great stamina as she beat Isza Fariza Ismail of Malaysia on the 34th hole on Saturday to win the 124th Sri Lankan Amateur Golf championships.

    With this victory, the young Indian re-established herself as one of the leading amateurs in the region. She had earlier won the semifinals on the 16th hole.

    In the men’s category, India did well as S Chikkarangappa finished runners-up with a total score of 292 over 72 holes.

    Chikkarangappa’s effort included a 66 in the third round.

    Gurbani beat Thom Yuet of Malaysia five and three in quarterfinals and then Shanika Fernando of Sri Lanka in the semifinals.

    Poor show

    All three Indians — Sujjan Singh (77-72), Anirban Lahiri (71-79) and Himmat Rai (77-73) — came up short in the second round as the cut came three-over 147, to make an early exit from the inaugural CJ Invitational in Gyeonggi-do (Korea).

    Himmat was done in by a disappointing eight, a triple bogey on par-5 14 and he ended with a six-over total.

    Lahiri had a nightmarish round with three bogeys in first four holes and then two doubles on the seventh and ninth with another bogey in between on eighth.

    He was eight-over for front nine, followed by a third double bogey on 10th to go 10-over. But he eagled 12th, birdied 14th and 16th before bogeying 18th.

    Meanwhile, 25-year-old Korean Lee Ki-sang used a stunning start to snatch the third round lead from American star Anthony Kim and tournament host K J Choi.

    Atwal slips to 20th

    Arjun Atwal failed to keep the momentum going as he slipped from joint lead to 20th position at the end of the second round of the Children’s Miracle Network Classic in Florida.

    Atwal could manage just two in the second round, even as he gave away two bogeys.
    Meanwhile, Justin Leonard had a nine-under 63 as he tied for the team with Henrik Stenson and Bio Kim at 12-under 144 for 36 holes. Stenson shot 64 and Kim 65.

    Kapur misses cut

    Shiv Kapur, fighting to save his card on the European Tour, suffered a setback as he missed the halfway cut at the Castello Masters on the European Tour in Valencia.
    His modest first round 72 was followed by a 73 that led to him to missing the cut by two shots.

    Local favourite, Sergio Garcia shot a eight-under 63 to move into the halfway lead and put himself in position to win his first title in almost three years.

    Smriti tied 30th

    Smriti Mehra managed to overcame her finishing blues to make the cut at the Sanya Ladies Open golf tournament in Sanya, China.

    The veteran golfer shot rounds of 73 and 71 to be even-par 144. Smriti is tied 30th alongside the winner of last year’s Hero Indian Open, Laura Davies (70-74) and former LPGA player, Jennifer Rosales (73-71).

    China’s Pan Yanhong maintained her one-stroke lead over Thailand’s Kongkrapan Patcharachuta at the end of second round.

    Pan signed out with a three-under 69 for a two-round total of 136, one stroke ahead of Patcharachuta.

    source: http://www.deccanherald.com / Home> Sports

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    October 23rd, 2011adminSports, World Opinion

    After several months of searching, Shell Advance, the leading motorcycle lubricant brand, unveiled Coorg to Munnar via Ooty, India, as the world’s ultimate Riding Wonder at an exclusive event held at the 2011 Shell Advance Malaysian Motorcycle Grand Prix.

    In Sepang, Shell Advance guests joined a panel of experts from Ducati, Dorna, Shell Advance and the Sepang International Circuit, as well as selected media from China, India and Indonesia, in a discussion to decide which route would be crowned the world’s ultimate Riding Wonder from the list of the top 7 Riding Wonders voted for by the public.

    The panellists’ votes were combined with the public votes from 8 countries to reveal Coorg to Munnar via Ooty, India as the winner. It received many public votes and was chosen by two of the seven panellists because of its varied scenery, mixture of mountain climbs, twisting corners and diverse wildlife along the route.

    One lucky guest, Alessandro Donadello from Italy, also won the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to visit India and the Ultimate Riding Wonder.

    Tanmay Jaswal, Shell Advance Global Marketing Manager: “When Shell Advance launched the 7 Riding Wonders of the World campaign, we were asking biking enthusiasts to help us find the riding roads, tracks and routes around the world that best complement our ethos of Responsiveness, Control and Enjoyment.

    We were overwhelmed with the response that we received and the results across all 22 routes were so close throughout the competition, but unfortunately there can only be one winner.

    We would like to congratulate Alessandro on winning and look forward to giving them the chance to experience the world’s ultimate Riding Wonder in India.”

    Panellist Nicky Hayden, Ducati Corse rider, said: “I’ m really pleased that Coorg to Munnar via Ooty, India has been named the world’s ultimate Riding Wonder. There are so many great rides out there and I love the tracks, but think it was a good choice”

    Alessandro Donadello “I can’t believe that I’ve won, I have never won anything in my life before. Thanks to Shell Advance I am here in Malaysia, and now my first trip trip to India It?s like a dream come true. It will be a once-in-a-lifetime experience that I’ll never forget!”

    Source: Shell
    source: http://www.bikeland.org / October 22nd, 2011

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    October 23rd, 2011adminCoffee News

    Coonoor (Tamil Nadu) :
    Indian coffee planters and exporters are brewing profits like never before due to soaring prices and growing consumption of the aromatic beverage worldwide.

    Riding on surging commodity rates globally, producers of the green bean, mainly from Karnataka, and exporters are making a killing as prices in international and domestic auctions rule at historic highs on growing demand despite competition from traditional and new players.

    “Indian coffee growers and exporters are on cloud nine as their Arabica and Robusta bean varieties have regained ground and are competing with the best in the world for better prices on growing demand,” a representative of the planters’ body told IANS.

    A decade after cyclical highs and lows and lifting of quotas under the World Trade Organization (WTO) regime, the Indian coffee sector is at the cusp of a new era as the latest trends indicate an upward bias in global demand and prices this year too.

    “The Indian coffee sector’s export performance last fiscal (2010-11) was outstanding on all counts — quantity exported, value realisation and unit value,” D. Hegde, incoming president of the United Planters’ Association of Southern India (Upasi), said on the margins of its 118th annual meet here, about 70 km from the industrial city of Coimbatore in the plains.

    Though production for the coffee year 2010-11 was a tad lower at 302,000 tonnes than the estimated 308,000 tonnes – but 4.3 percent higher than 289,600 tonnes in the previous year (2009-10) – export quantity zoomed to 319,892 tonnes, posting a whopping 63 percent (123,793 tonnes) increase from 196,099 tonnes in the previous year and helping producers to reduce inventory stocks.

    Similarly, for seven months from April to mid-October this year, exports were up 20 percent to 201,570 tonnes from 167,624 tonnes in 2010.

    The phenomenal increase in export volumes turned into a boom as value shot up by an unprecedented 80 percent to Rs.3,724 crore in 2010-11 from Rs.2,072 crore, an increase of Rs.1,652 crore year-on-year (YoY) as a result of unit value going up 10 percent to Rs.116 per kg from Rs.106/kg in the corresponding period.

    In the first seven months (April-October) this fiscal year, export value zoomed to Rs.2,738 crore from Rs.1,681 crore.

    “The astonishing increase in export quantity and value augurs well for further consolidation of gains, as prices of other milds (Arabica) are more than double that of Robustas in the auctions conducted by the International Coffee Organisation (ICO),” Hegde asserted.

    The upward trend in price of other milds continued to touch 280 cents per pound (lb) during January-September 2011 from 184 cents/lb in 2010, an increase of 53 percent YoY, while that of Robusta rose to 114 cents in the same period from 80 cents in 2010, up 42 percent YoY.

    Prices in the domestic auctions conducted by the Indian Coffee Trade Association (ICTA) reflected a similar trend during the first eight months (Jan-Aug) of 2011, with Arabica Cherry beans sold at Rs.199 per kg as against Rs.121 per kg in 2010 and Robusta Cherry at Rs.111 per kg as against Rs.77 in 2010.

    With the state-run Coffee Board estimating post-blossom production to be 322,250 tonnes, including 217,725 tonnes of Robustas and 104,525 tonnes of Arabica varieties, the prospect of demand for Indian beans is brighter as consumption in traditional and emerging markets are encouraging.

    A steady rise in domestic consumption (108,000 tonnes) notwithstanding, exports constitute over 70 percent of the coffee produced in the country, mostly (98 percent) from southern India, with Karnataka accounting for 71 percent (213,780 tonnes), followed by Kerala at 22 percent (65,650 tonnes) and Tamil Nadu 5.5 percent (16,650 tonnes).

    In value too, of the Rs.4,041 crore revenue generated in 2010-11, Karnataka generated Rs.3,018 crore (73 percent), Kerala Rs.693 crore (17 percent) and Tamil Nadu Rs.305 crore (7.4 percent) from exports and domestic sales.

    The aromatic beans are grown in the cooler climes of the bio-diverse Western Ghats (mountain region) that straddles across the three southern states.

    (Fakir Balaji can be contacted at fakir.b@ians.in)
    source: http://www.twocircles.net / by Fakir Balaji > IANS / October 23rd, 2011

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    COONOOR: Oct 23rd
    Ministers give it a miss at the last minute

    The Annual Plantation Conference hosted by the apex association in the South – The United Planters Association of Southern India (Upasi) appears to be losing its sheen in recent years.

    Union Ministers, who have confirmed participation, have in the last 4-5 years given the event a go at the last minute leaving Upasi to find either a local Member of Parliament or the Chairperson of one of the commodity boards stand-in to inaugurate the conference.

    This year, the association postponed the event by more than a month to October 23 and 24, hoping to get the Union Commerce Minister, Mr Anand Sharma, participate in this annual conference.

    People in the know of developments say that for the first time in the history of Upasi has the conference been postponed by over a month. (It has for the last four-five decades been conducting the event by mid-September as a ritual).

    When this did not materialise, the association sought time from the Union Minister for Rural Development, Mr Jairam Ramesh, and the Minister for Labour and Employment, Mr Mallikarjun Kharge. Though Mr Jairam Ramesh had confirmed his programme, it is learnt that he could not make it at the last minute.

    The postponement of the conference, it now appears has not brought about the desired effect.

    The association even departed from its usual format of arranging the commodity outlook session a day-ahead of the annual conference.

    Over dependence on the elected representatives and ministers, missing schedule-deadline in the conduct of the annual meet seems to have taken its toll on the attendance at this year’s meet with more than half the members giving it a miss.

    YOUNG MINDS

    A visible, yet welcome change was the presence of plantation owners’ children taking part in all the deliberations this year, eagerly listening to the older generation.

    Mr M.D. Balakrishna, former Upasi President (1988-89) and a coffee planter from Chikmagalur, said, “Earlier, the meets were orderly, for the corporate brought their professional work culture in managing the events and organising them. The annual meets used to be held much early, before the crop year commenced. Now only few corporates are in the sector; many have withdrawn. With their absence, the onus is on the plantation owners and few service providers to managing the meets annually.”

    Plantation owners have two issues on hand – manage the trade body and manage their estate besides coping with the changing national and global policies. This has delayed the younger generations to actively involve on both platforms.

    Many plantation owners’ children do work in different industries such as banking, managing cafes or at different value chain of commodity processing before going back to managing their estates. This has also delayed them to take a plunge in serving the trade bodies.

    Talking about the diverse talent younger generation is bringing to the trade bodies, Mr Marvin Rodrigues, Vice-Chairman, Karnataka Planters’ Association (KPA) and a planter from Hassan, said, “youngsters are coming back to the plantation sector after having worked at industries. For me, managing labour shortages on the estate has taught me good HR skills.”

    Mr Bose Mandana, former Vice-Chairman of the Coffee Board and a coffee planter from Kodagu, said: “We have come long way to reach a stage in managing our trade bodies ourselves. When total export controls were in place, we had limited or no role to play in marketing the produce. Now, we are free to manage, but problems are plenty.”

    source: http://www.thehindubusinessline.com / L.N. Revathy > Anil Urs / October 23rd

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    October 22nd, 2011adminSports

    India’s Rohan Bopanna and his Pakistani partner Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi yesterday advanced to the final of men’s doubles competition of the Stockholm Open tennis tournament after a hard-fought victory over Marcos Baghdatis and Juan Martin Del Potro.

    The top-seeded Indo-Pak pair beat the duo of Baghdatis of Cyprus and Del Potro of Argentina 2-6 6-2 10-8 in a thrilling semi-final match of the 600,000 Euro tournament, which lasted one hour and eight minutes.

    The ‘Indo-Pak Express’ had earlier beaten German pair of Michael Kohlmann and Alexander Wask 7-6(5) 7-5 in the quarter-finals.

    In the final, the duo will take on the winner of the semifinal match between Juan Ignacio Chela of Argentina and Brazilian Andre SA and Brazilian pair of Marcelo Melo and Bruno Soares.

    Bopanna and Aisam were rusty in the opening set as they struggled with their serves with four double faults to none of their opponents. Baghdatis and Potro were also much better on service returns as they bagged the first set in quick time.

    The Indo-Pak pair fought back in the second set with a much improved service game, which put pressure on their opponents in committing unforced errors, and took the match to the decider.

    The deciding set saw both the sides sparing no inch to their opponents but Bopanna and Aisam came up with better serves and held their nerves at crucial moments to come out winners.

    Bopanna and Qureshi, who had won the Gerry Weber Open in Halle, Germany earlier this year, are currently No 7 for the Battle for London — the ATP World Tour Finals next month — with just three qualifying spots left for grab.

    source: http://www.bangaloremirror.com / Bangalore> Sports / PTI / Friday, October 21st, 2011

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    When three women who have been friends for a decade decide to take their first trip together, we had to make it spectacular; and Coorg was the star of our spectacle.

    We set off on a train to Bengaluru and on reaching the station, we unwittingly got into a ‘No English, no Hindi, only Kannada’ auto rickshaw to the Satellite Bus stand. From there, a super clean, very on time KSRTC bus took us to Kushalnagar, which is about 225 km from Bengaluru in four hours.

    It was a fantastic drive on superb, pothole free roads. Kushalnagar is a bustling little town with warm and friendly people. There are many hotels which are quite close to the bus stop and also conveniently priced for us budget travellers.

    Two places you should definitely visit from here are Bylekuppe and Dubare Forest reserve. Bylekuppe is a Tibetan settlement which houses a beautiful monas-tery. It is such a calming experience to see the monks dressed in maroon and yellow sit down to prayer in the large hall with the gleaming golden Buddhas.

    From there we went to Dubare, which was a paradise for the animal lover in me.The high point of the reserve is the elephant interaction programme. You can roll up your sleeves and get dirty as you bathe an elephant, while cavorting around in the Kaveri flowing at your feet and then feed them huge globes of food and finally as a reward for your hard work, get up on the Jumbos and experience the jungle as they see it. It’s a memory that will be etched in your heart forever.

    The next day, still talking animatedly about the elephants, we boarded a bus to Madikeri. About 35 km away from Kushalnagar, it is a gentle climb up a hill. Once we got there we were joined by a fourth team member; the rain, who was our constant companion from then on! Undeterred, we whipped out our umbrellas, zipped on our raincoats and headed out to see the Abby falls.

    The mighty Kaveri in all her fury, cascading down steep rocks, to become the glorious Abby falls. We could not take our eyes off her, and try as we might, we could not take a picture that did justice to her splendour.

    There are many other to-dos in Madikeri that tourist guides will give you but I suggest you slow down, walk through the narrow winding streets of Madikeri, breathe in the fresh mountain air and
    experience nature at her pristine best.

    Writer is a travel enthusiast

    source: http://www.deccanchronicle.com / by Dwithiya. R / Home> Channels> Lifestyle> Wanderlust / October 18th, 2011

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