A South Western Holiday!
The Plan was simple. 5 days Leave from Office. Get away some where. I saw a few posts about how green Karnataka was. Instead of the usual Kerala plans, It was Kemmangundi & Kudremukh clubbed with a few beaches & Temples. Sudeep from Tumkur wanted to join in as he was himself eager on doing a Karnataka trip sometime soon.
Day 1 : Run to the Hills, ASAP!
With my parents leaving on a pilgrimage to Himalayas, I was free at home relaxingly dumped the rain-wear extra gloves + dresses onto the tank-bag. The Canon too fitted in. Left home around 4 30 AM on Saturday the 11th of September 2010. The highway was as usual calm & deserted. I reached the outskirts of Bangalore around 9 AM. Took the Elevated Flyover & missed the Nice Road flyover. Hence had to go into the City & hell a lot of traffic to take the Nice road. In a hour or so Sudeep rightfully joined me around Neelamangla. We took the NH 48 Towards Hassan, The roads were Ok, lots of potholes to watch-out for.
Nice Road, Bangalore
The Sun was behind the clouds for most of the time, It was more of drizzling for most of the time than any botheration of sun’s rays. We took our first break somewhere after Kunigal, at some dosa corner. A few masala dosa’s & we were off from the place. It was already 400 + Kilometers onto the trip & I tanked up midway to Hassan. Meanwhile the Sun was blowing down heat for a change & we were vastly getting drained out. With so many potholes to look out for & some crazy traffic made our progress a bit slow. We stopped by Kamat hotel somewhere before Hassan for a good lunch & some much needed butt break.
After a hour, We started back towards Hassan, We were planning to stay put in Chickmagalur by Sunset. We expected bad roads in between, But thankfully the roads were good enough & with very little traffic after Hassan. Once we crossed Hassan, The greenery started increasing & the ride was soothing enough to chill ourselves.
The Views Started Changing Dramatically!
Soon, We reached Belur & wanted to check out the famous temple & whats so special about it. Sudeep wasn’t comfortable coming into the temple all sweated out, So i took the honor of going into the temple & shooting a few snaps.
Belur Temple, Karnataka
We started towards Chickmagalur, We had to skip Halibedu as time was running out fast. It was already 3 30 PM & We planned to push up to Kemmangundi by dusk. It took us close to a hour to reach Chikmagalur, with smaller roads & congested traffic on the way. But the views kept increasing beautiful. We took another break at chickmagalur for some snacks & juices. We reached the forest check-post at 5 PM & we were let off after a few questions on the purpose of the visit.
The roads up-ahead were really horrible & we really didn’t seem to enjoy most of it. Apart from the increasing butt pain due to extensive potholes, the mist covered roads were rather giving us a threat to riding safe. At a few places we did not know if the roads were turning left or right one wrong move would see us go down the hill. Waited in a few places for the mist to cover in or some vehicles to pass by for the better.
Even a Stone Turns GREEEN here!
We had to take more than a lot of breaks in between for photos & butt breaks. The whole environment seemed so amazing. It was so lush green everywhere & we seemed to completely lose mind over time & enjoy the scenery. Soon darkness fell. It was already 6 30 & the Kemmangundi was atleast 17 Kilometers away! We spotted a lonely bungalow where a group of youths were busy drinking. They obviously didn’t like me poking into their home. The watchmen said the next 17 kilometers were rough & tigers cross during night & not safe to go after sunset. Obviously he was drunk too much & demanded a little money to stay in his home for food + stay.
I kindly rejected to face the music a head than to rely a drunkards voice. Sudeep wasn’t convinced, We couldn’t bravely go ahead nor cowardly go back. It was like a suicidal! I went ahead a bit more faster, not thinking about the distance ahead but just to handle one corner at a time & just pothole’s & stones to look out for. I suspected a puncture as my rear was wobbling & fish-tailing a lot. We just happened to spot 3 / 4 locals in the next 16 kilometers. Around 7 30 PM, We finally reached Kemmangundi. Spotted a group of Bikers & asked them if there are any hotels / accommodation to look out for. They gave a negative reply that hotels are normally booked out, but to try the local lodges up the hill. We went ahead & checked the first dormitory. It was booked. They referred us to another lodge up the hill. After walking up some 50 steps up the hill, we reached the lodge office & finally got a room. Paid 300 bucks for it. Clean room with leaner restrooms. Only problem was that there was no power connection but we weren't complaining Had dinner in a nearby hotel & crashed onto the bed soon.
Day 2 / 3 / 4 coming up next