Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Ride to Kodachadri

Day One (9th March  2013)– Bangalore to Kodachadri – 405 kms,

It was the time you feel you have to step out and taste the fresh unpolluted air, After a frantic search for a place to head out in the weekend a decision was made to visit Kodachadri .

As usual it’s hard to get sleep when you have a bike ride the next day, inspite of that caught a brief moment of sleep and bidding adieu to mom left home at 6 am and headed towards Shimoga via Tumkur . It was quite an uneventful ride till Shimoga and I had decided this trip to be done at a slow pace. It was around 10.30 that I reached Shimoga and filled up fuel and checked on further directions to Kodachadri. I had to reach Ayanur which is on the Shimoga- Sagar road and had to take a deviation upon reaching Ayanur. Enroute made a brief stop at the Lion and Tiger Safari , hardly anyone visiting the place inspite of being  a weekend. The road till Ayanur was good being a  National highway, but once I entered SH towards Nagara the next place on my way, the road were potholed but nothing when compared to what I was to experience in the evening.

Nagara has a beautiful Fort which is now almost in ruins , but did spend a while looking at the landscape from the top of the fort which was quite a pleasant view. Had lunch at sampigekatte which is at just around 20 ms from Kodachadri, the food was in malnad style simple, but delicious and the people I must admit are quite friendly, a drastic change from the city life. Just few kms before kodachadri I came across a board which said “ Bubble Pond” the board was quite interesting and I could say the place was quite captivating and I did not regret stopping to check out this place and getting refreshed at the pond, the pond was crystal clear and I could see the plants below clear and green, there were bubbles that would start whenever a sound was made or the birds started chirping. Reached Pathalgere guest house at 2.30 in the afternoon this place is quite convenient if you are traveling by your own vehicle instead of trekking and is conveniently located at the base of Kodachadri and is the starting point from where Jeeps enter the kodachadri Ghats. The owner of Pathalgere Mr Prabhakar is quite a good host and was happy to accommodate a lonely traveler at any time. He welcomed me with hot and tasty tea made from fresh milk . No sooner did I dump my luggage and headed towards the road it started raining, This was quite unexpected since it was scorching hot the whole afternoon, the rains indeed cooled down the blistering heat . I took this delay to chat up with Prabhakar and he advised me to be careful on the roads and wanted to know if I would change my plans of riding and take a jeep instead, to which I humbly declined.  I had no intentions of sitting in a jeep and take a bumpy ride. He knew that I was adamant on traveling alone he adviced me to be careful and to watch the sunset at the temple and not stay for long at the top as it would get dark and would be difficult to navigate alone in the dark.

I promised I would and headed towards an adventurous ride on non-existent roads, the road was riddled with rocks and pebbles and realized why only 4wd jeeps are preferred, but the ride was quite amazing and I enjoyed it to the core. Stopped at few places and took few snaps and upon reaching the temple parked the bike and started trekking, visited the Ganesha cave temple and then the Shankaracharya mantap  it took around 20 minutes for me to reach the top from the temple, the views were magnificient and cannot be described and should be experienced , The priest at the mantap offered buttermilk and lemon juice and when he came to know I am alone he also advised not to stay for long and to reach the temple to view the sunset. I took their advice and then stepped down, it was almost time for the sunset to start the temple area was soothing to see and quite clean and maintained well and this whole place had a kind of calmness  from which you do not want to get away , they have a small shop where you can get coffee and few snacks  to munch on , apart from this not much is available, It was around 6.15 the sunset started and each minute was different in colour and beautiful to watch. It was getting dark fast after the sunset at 6.45 and started my descent towards the guesthouse which is round 9 kms from the top ,the terrain which was difficult enough to climb in daylight I had to complete the same downhill in the darkness, it was at 7.30 that I reached the guest house.  There was another group of visitors who were staying at the guesthouse and had started up a campfire I chatted up with prabhakar for some more time and had a go at a delicious dinner before I hit the sack.

Tiger and Lion Safari- Shimoga

Lotus Bud

Nagara Fort

View from Nagara Fort

The Bubble Pond - Gouri Teertha

Directions to Gauri Teertha

A short intro about the pond

This is the terrain i had ride luckily i am used to riding on Bangalore roads- did not make much difference

Galipata location

Kodachadri Kurves

sunset at kodachadri

Day  2 (March 10th 2013)– Kodachadri-Kollur-murudeshwar-Idagunji-Jog Falls – Bangalore – 595 kms

Waking up in a countryside puts you in a very pleasant mood and that was how the second day of this trip started, went for a stroll inside Mr. Prabhakars farm and spent time at a nearby stream.

Time does run fast, it was already 8 and I returned to my room to  have piping hot coffee served by Mr Prabhakar.  After thanking Mr Prabhakar for a pleasant stay started towards Kollur the next destination. 

This was a ride thru the mookambika forest and the early morning pleasant weather helped me seeing variety of birds. Tthis road from kodachadri to Kollur was blocked due to repar works , but riding a two wheeler has its advantage, managed to navigate thru the construction work and reached kollur around 10 am.
Visited kollur temple and took blessings from the deity, Still a whole day ahead  and having ample to return to Bangalore started pondering on the next destination. I remembered seeing the place Murudeshwar while entering Kollur and the directions indicated it was around 65 kms from kollur. Being Shivratri thus the next place was decided. 

Travelling around 25 kms I reached the Mangalore Goa highway, being near the coastal area the humidty came along with it , riding for another hour I reached Murudeshwar. The huge temple Gopuram and the shiva statute surrounded by the Arabian sea on three sides was mesmerizing. Even thought it was crowded owing to shivrathri I managed to get Darshan within an hour. Next took the elevator to the 18th floor of the rajagoupram  which gave me a magnificent view of the Arabian sea and the Shiva statue. Had lunch at a beach hotel just next to the temple and made plans for heading home, there were two routes to reach Bangalore from here, one via mangalore and the other via Shimoga, both were approximately 500kms, decided against the mangalore route as the ghat section would be difficult to cover during dark and preferred the plain straight road via Shimoga.

It was around 3 in the afternoon when I left murudeshwara, hardly had I travelled for a few minutes , saw directions indicating it was 4 kms to Idagunji fampus for the ganesha temple, not sure how often I might travel here did not want to miss this place and went ahead. Came to know the temple opens only at 3.30 , had  few more minutes and made it useful by taking a quick siesta in the temple premises.
Again had a quick Darshan of Lord Ganesha after the temple opened and not much to do here headed out to the highway. The plan was to reach Shimoga around 6 and fuel up here and reach Bangalore around 10 . But did not realize Jog falls is just enroute ,  even though I had been here couple of times during my past visit I did not want to skip having a view of the falls. Reached Jog around 5,  though there was not much water at the falls the place was quite pleasant and I took this opportunity sit for a while and enjoy the surroundings . It was  around 6 and darkness was setting fast and I decided the trip was worthwhile and not to stop much for anymore visits, as planned crossed Sagara at around 7 and reached Shimoga at 8 where I fuelled up my bike again and started my journey back to Bangalore. The drive was bit difficult as I had to ride with my helmet visor open to avoid the flashing lights from oncoming vehicles. 

Had a brief stop to have a delicious dinner and then piping hot coffee at midnight near arsikere.
As I neared Tumkur and had to take a deviation towards Bangalore Byepass, couple of policeman stopped me to check what I was doing at this time riding alone. Along came with the normal questions  - where from , where to, luckily I had all the documents in place and they had nothing to complain or seek a bribe from me and had to let go off wishing me to ride safe.
The ride from here was uneventful and I loved to ride in the traffic free Bangalore roads and reached home around 2 am.

I did not realize when I crashed into my bed and was taken of to dreamland.


These are the only wild animals i could see


The Gopuram seems to reach the sky


Let me Go

Water less Jog Falls

Thats the entrance to Jog Falls

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Ride to Kolli Hills

Kolli Hills 27th Oct 2012

The travel bug had been lying low for sometime, until my biker friends suggested a trip to Kolli hills, a route which has 70 hair pin bends.
Unfortunately we couldn’t work out a group trip to this place .
But I got a chance to ride on 27th Oct 2012  when my wife had to visit her mother’s place  most of my friends where busy and couldn’t join, I did not want to miss this opportunity and decided to ride alone.

As normal on any previous trip I couldn’t sleep due to the excitement of riding and this ride comes along with a much claimed hair pins curves en-route.
Managed to get a wink at 1 am and woke up at 4.00 and was on the road by 5.30.
The route till Salem was uneventful and I reached there by 9.30 not before taking a short break in Krishnagiri where I gave an early morning visit to Anjaneya Temple.
I have travelled on this route twice this year and was quite familiar until Salem, from here I checked out Rasipuram and thereon towards Namakkal. Before reaching Namakkal a deviation to the left leads on to Kolli hills.

The only drawback I faced throughout was directions or places mentioned in Tamil, which I can speak but have no clue how to read the script. GPS helped me in getting the right directions to Kolli hills which was filled with greenery on either side of the roads and was quite scenic.
The excitement was getting over me to experience the much acclaimed 70 hair pin curves and couldn’t stop myself and accelerated ahead. The twisty’s are quite enjoyable provided safety is taken care of. Once the climb started I decided not to stop until I reach the summit, but the views en-route was so breathtaking that I had to stop myself to digest the beauty of nature.

At last I reached the 70th hairpin curve , I really felt there were more than 70 that I had covered and there were yet few more kms and curves to cover before I reach semedu( the main town ), it was around 10.30a.m and the odometer read 300 kms .
The hair pin ride now done, I wanted to take the downhill route to enjoy more, but before that there were few more places here worth visiting. First being the Akasha Ganga water falls, the falls  is around 14 kms further to the left from Semedu.

The village folk were quite helpful in directing me as my phone GPS failed cause of no network.
The first bad news since morning was the falls was closed for public as the security personnel there had found a dead body and had stopped entry to all visitors to the falls until the body was fished out. I badly wanted to see the falls and planned to stay in Semedu and visit the next day. The other attraction of kolli hills is Arapaleshwara temple which is just opposite to the entrance to Akasha ganga falls.
Visited the temple and had breakfast in a nearby village. I now planned to return to Semedu to arrange for a stay , en-route there is a small waterfall known as Masilla, which I found again courtesy the locals who were quite helpful again in letting me know about the place and provided directions to reach .
Took a much needed break under the falls, after a refreshing  bath and whiling away I started towards semedu and settled in Kolli hills resort. The resort manager Viji was quite friendly and suggested a few places that can be visited.

Taking his advice I visited the boat house and the botanical gardens which is just a few kms from the resort.
Both these places did not interest me much and the boat house was a small water body with a couple of small boats to paddle in. The botanical garden was again a small garden area with few flowering plants here and there, and few displays around a fountain.
The next place was the view point which is just 1 km from Semedu, this place was quite beautiful and  the whole valley below can be seen from the view point.  After a peaceful view of the sunset and the valley below I promised to be back for the sunrise.
The evening spent here watching the sunset and the valley below covered in mist was quite worth the trip, as it gets dark in the winter and there is not much to do I headed back to the resort and winded up the for the day.

Few Pics from Day 1
Hair pin bends to reach Kolli hills

70/70 - number of hair pin bends covered

Much deserved break after the twistys

Meeting in progress- — at Arappulishwarar Temple

The main deity Arappulishwarar

Arappulishwarar Temple

Masilla Falls

Masilla Falls - another view

one of the many paddy fields around the hills

This was not for abandoned :-) the owner of this cycle uses it to transport grass for his livestock

Boat house @ Kolli Hills

Found this scary guy in the botanical garden @ kolli hills

One amazing view @ Kolli Hills

Loved to watch the sunset - peace @ Kolli Hills

attempt to blend with the natural colors

The cosy home stay @ Kolli hills- can contact on the number for prior bookings

Map of the few places in and around Kolli hills

Day 2 Kolli hills:

The excitement of visiting the falls made me wake up early at 5, it was totally dark and cold when I opened the door and decided to watch TV for an hour. Since visitors are allowed to visit the falls only after 8 in the morning I decided to visit the view point I had been yesterday. Being hardly a km from the resort reached there in no time for a mesmerizing view of the valley, the villages were waking up in the valley below and specks of smoke could be seen from above. After spending nearly an hour and saying good bye to the valley went towards to the waterfall. Reached there in 30 minutes and after paying a quick visit to the temple, headed towards the gate which was closed yesterday.
Was happy to pay the entrance fee of 10 rs. the guard made me sign a register and informed to sign back when I return from the falls, precautions taken to ensure people who go down are accounted for on their return.

The steps were steep and few people were already climbing back tired. The gushing noise confirms the falls is near, after a few more steps a beautiful view is available where you can see the falls making you feel that the water is actually falling down from the sky. The days wait and the trek down to the falls was worth the view.  I could hardly stand there without getting drenched as the water was splattering around it was difficult to take pictures without getting your camera wet, a bit risky one too.
I was reluctant on taking a dip in the falls as it was hardly yesterday that a body was fished out of this place, but was happy in getting my feet wet from the flowing water. There were lot of bird activity and found a few varieties here, after satisfying myself to the content of my heart started my climb up the stairs, the downhill climb which was easy was not the same while climbing back, with a lot of panting and rest reached the top in half hour.

The climb had made me hungry; thanks to the few eateries near the temple I had a scrumptious breakfast.
It was around 10 and nothing much to do I decided to head back to my room and check out. On the way I came across a small waterfall which was quite tempting, since I missed a dip in the earlier falls I did not want to let go off this opportunity, how many falls do you get when you are in Bangalore .
I did not know the name of this falls and this was almost kind of secluded and devoid of any human activity , so made  myself comfortable and spent a while enjoying the beautiful and unpolluted nature.

It was now time to head back, went straight to the room and doing the necessary checkout prepared myself to enjoy another round of twisty downhill.
If I had enjoyed the uphill twisty yesterday it was not less while coming down, added that you get to see the beautiful valley down.
Once I reached the plains I gazed back to see where I had come from and promised to return. The return to Bangalore was just a breeze except to the extended traffic near the toll gates; good I was on a bike and was able to skip these long queues.
Reached home around 7 in the evening taking with me lots of memories of Kolli hills.

Few Pics from Day 2

one of the best view points to watch the sunset and the number of villages that dot the valley

yes, thats the stairs to reach the waterfalls - easy to climb down :-)

Akasha Ganga @ Kolli Hills - Magnificent waterfalls worth a visit

Moth Caterpillar

Wish I could stay there :-0

Scarlet Minivet

Indian Silverbills

View point across Akasha Ganga falls

The white speck between the ranges is the magnificent falls

One of the many streams found in Kolli hills

Love the curves :-) @ Kolli Hills