Monday, November 19, 2007

Kemmanagundi

Kemmanagundi literally means "pit of clay" which might not sound very interesting but trust me, it is one of the best kept secrets of Karnataka.


There were around 5-6 bikes planned for this trip but as usual many backouts and we came down to two and no points for guessing me and Ashu.

We met at MG Road at 6:30 AM and he was with a pillion, Ajeet. Soon we were inching towards Neelmangla through heavy truck traffic. Tank up at Shell Petrol Bunk and we stopped for breakfast at a dosa joint. Road was good, weather was perfect and we took next stop after 100 km and had some fresh juice. I glanced at my wrist watch and a smile came to my face. We were just 40 odd km from Hassan and it was not even 11 AM. Good we were on schedule.


We soon crossed Hassan city and took the road to Belur via Halebidu. There was a big pothole on the road and my speedometer cable snapped off due to that jerk :(. Though road was not one of the best but I loved the route. Soon we were in Chikamaglur and we stopped for lunch. Vegeterian it was. You see navratri and all :).


We had barely moved 5-6 km from Chikamaglur and it started raining. We had to wait at a small shack as neither Ashu nor Ajeet had any rain protection. "Necessity is the mother of all inventions. This was proven true with these raincoats. Cost Rs 8/- per piece :).


A shorter but bad road route to Kemmanagundi is if you take a left turn after some 8 km from Chikamaglur but we chose the longer but good tarred road route. The roads were amazing and rain kept us company almost throughout . We reached Kalahatti falls at around 4 PM. We were slowed down substantially because of rains. By the time we reached Horticulture Department Guesthouse, sun had started turning red.

Now the difficult part. We had tried booking the guesthouse over phone from Bangalore but no one picked up the phone and like we feared there was no room available. I must tell here that there is no other place in Kemmanagundi to stay apart from this guesthouse unless you want to spend some quality time with big cats of the jungle :D. After some persuasion and negotiations, we finally managed to get a room with dirty sheets and damp beds :(. Thank god we carried our sleeping bags. No electricity and we had a candlelight dinner at the canteen. Walked back to our rooms and retired.

Next day morning, my shoes were still dripping so I wore floaters. We rode out towards Z-point. It was all muddy and slushy with last day's heavy rains. We went as far as our bikes could do, clicked some photos and returned.


Spectacular views! There wasn't any time to trek till Z-point. Maybe next time. We headed towards Hebbe Falls.


After diverting from the Chikamaglur road towards Hebbe falls, we could see the landscape changing from green to brown. It was a mining area and we could see that in the dark coloured soil. After sometime the real bad jeep track started.


Hebbe falls is some 8-10 km from this point and it took us almost an hour to cover. The track looked like a seasonal waterway which was used as road when there is no water in it! I doubted whether my bike would be able to take on it but it was a pleasant surprise :). After reaching the foothill, there was a small walk till we reached the waterfalls. We had to cross few streams and on the way I noticed that my feet were infested with leaches! I could see stains of blood on them. I washed my feet and floaters throughly in the water and moved on.


Hebbe Falls. What a sight! We spent some time admiring and clicking the waterfalls and soon were back on track. We wanted to reach Baba-Budayangiri by noon. The ride towards Baba-Budayangiri was full of spectacular green hills and twisty roads. And ther trafiic was so low that we were wondering if this was the correct road! We stopped at this spot which looked like just taken out from windows XP wallpaper! I had never seen anything so pure green and blue! We stopped and clicked loads of photos there.


By noon, we had taken the diversion and were climbing towards Baba-Budayangiri. This road was smooth and quite steep. It felt like top of the world from B-Top! The beautiful green valley below with clouds shielding sunlight at some spots was just fantastic. But we had to move on and we did.


The roads deteriorated further. The soil is very clayey and it was damn skiddy after rains. But we were out of bad roads and into Chikamaglur by 4 PM. Lunch time!

After having some chicken biryani, we started off for Bangalore at around 5 PM. It was hardly 10 mins on the road and it started raining heavily! We immediately took shelter under a shed. We waited for more than half an hour and there wasn't even slightest hint of rains slowing down. We finally decided to push off at around 6.

As we moved towards Hassan and then to Bangalore, there was no sign of rains slowing down. Though I had a rain proof jacket, I didn't have rain proof pants. We were chilled to bone riding for 150 kms in rains !! Due to heavy rains and headwind, visibility was very less and we could not go past 60 kmph. Finally some 100 km before Bangalore, we stopped for garamagaram chai and changed to dry clothes. What a relief! The rains were now just a drizzle and we just wanted to reach Bangalore as soon as possible. With non stop riding, we managed to enter Bangalore at around 1 AM. Due to less speed in rains, I got a whopping 47.5 kmpl of average!

Reached home at around 1:30 AM, took a hot shower and crashed on the bed with a content smile. I just visited the most beautiful place in Karnataka!


Summary:
-------------

Date:
20th Oct 2007 to 21st Oct 2007

Riders:
1. Ashish - Bajaj Avenger
2. Ashutosh - RE Thunderbird
3. Ajeet - Pillion with Ashutosh

Route:

Bangalore
- Neelmangla - Hassan - Halebidu - Chikamanglur - Kemmanagundi - Hebbe Falls - Baba Budayangiri - Chikmanglur - Belur - Hassan - Bangalore

Total Distance covered: 760 KM

Night Stay:

Kemmanagundi: Horticulture Department Guest House. Double Room for Rs 550/-

More pics can be seen here

Thursday, October 18, 2007

The Great South-Eastern Ride

Two bikes, 4 states, 1 week, 2000+ km - that makes the Great South-Eastern Ride.


I had to attend a wedding ceremony in Vijaywada and was thinking of attending the reception at Vizag too. Naren was all set to book the bus tickets in the evening. Suddenly while having my lunch in office, this idea struck me - "How bout riding to Vijaywada?" I had not ridden to that part of the country and the distance looked like do-able but I was sure no one will join me for this ride. Pondered on this for some time. What the hell, I will ride solo :). I had to take leave from mon to wed. I thought of chipping in two more leaves and extend the ride. So finally thought of riding from Bangalore - Vijaywada - Vizag - Puri - Kharagpur.

When I told this plan to Anjai Lal at the lunch table, he laughed it off. Actually it did look crazy. Some 1800-1900 km one way. Anyways I posted my intent on BN and got some idea about the roads. Only thing was that I will have to do it solo as no one will take 5 days off for this crazy ride. Little persuasion and Saswata agreed :).

T - 1 day:

Eicher road maps were opened, local.live.com was searched, printout of the maps were taken , leaves were already approved and we were set to burn some real rubber next day.

Day 1 (Bangalore - Hoskote - Chittoor - Naidupetta - Vijaywada)

Woke up at 4 AM as per plan. But I think God did not want us to leave in time.
  • 4:45 AM: Got ready and looked out of balcony - it was raining! We did not want to start riding in rains so called up Saswata to delay our departure by 30 mins. So 5:30 AM was the new rendezvous time.
  • 5:25 AM: Got call from Saswata that he has a flat tyre! Instructed him to get it fixed from the 24X7 petrol bunk at Airport Road.
  • 5:50 AM: Another call from Saswata - "That bunk has no repair shop".
  • 5:55 AM: Left home. 300 m from home, a black cat crossed the road in front of me. Not that I really believe in these superstitions, but the way things were happening since morning, I could not help noticing and registering this.
  • 6:05 AM: Met Saswata. It seemed the valve of his rear tube was gone. Went back to his home on my bike to check if that valve can be replaced(??) from his roomie's bike. Had no idea at that time that it was not possible.
  • 6:30 AM: Called Ashu, if he can give any mechanic's number. The one he gave did not pick the phone. Reached back at the petrol bunk. On enquiry found that HP bunk at MG road has a 24 hr mechanic shop. I rushed to that shop.
  • 7:05 AM: Woke up Bashir bhai, the mechanic and persuaded him to come with me for changing the tire-tube. It started raining again :(
  • 7:15 AM: Bashir bhai took his auto and we left in his auto. Bashir bhai was desperate not to get wet.
  • 7:40 AM: Auto made some wierd sounds, jerked and stopped. We tried pushing it also but in vain. (Imagine two guys one in full riding gear pushing an auto on Airport Road.)
  • 8:00 AM: Finally reached Saswata after walking the last 1 km.
  • 8:30 AM: Back at MG Road to pick my bike and we moved to Old Madras Road full 3 and a half hour behind schedule. The insane traffic till Hoskote further threw us 30 more minutes behind schedule.
Anyways, from past experience we have seen that there is generally only one breakdown per ride and we have passed that (touch wood :D). A quick breakfast after crossing Hoskote and we were on the smooth two-lane highway to Tirupati. The road was amazingly nice and for the first time I saw a three digit figure on the speed limit board and that too on a two-lane road without divider!


One chai stop in between and we stopped for lunch only after crossing Tirupati. It was scorching hot contrary to the early morning showers we saw. Had nice North-Indian style food for lunch and a break of around 1 hour and we again hit the road. Now we were waiting to reach Naidupetta where we were to merge with the 4-lane Chennai-Kolkata Highway (Part of the GQ project). We saw rain clouds hovering over Naidupetta from a distance and asked Saswata to stop and wear the raingear but he insisted on moving on. Result - Completely drenched in the rain.
My Fieldsheer Hydro Tour Jacket saved upper body from getting wet but I was drenched otherwise with that irritating sloshy sound coming out of the shoes everytime I move my feet.
Naidupetta to Vizag was a breeze with patches of hot sun and rains. We witnessed some amazing sites of sun playing between clouds which left us with an awe.



Couple of stops in between for chai and we hit Vijaywada at around 10:30 PM. Thanks to Bandi for fabulous arrangement at the Vijaywada club. Filled our bellies with some real good chicken and dozed off. Odo Reading: 664 KM.


Day 2 (Vijaywada):

No riding today. Woke up lazily. It was too hot and we roamed around in AC car only. Attended first South Indian wedding. It was a very nice experience. Some real good veg food and we were off to bed pretty early.

Day 3 (Vijaywada - Rajahmundry - Vishakhapatnam):

We had to cover just 400 km and we had a full day to do that. We started off at around 9:30 AM. The roads were just amazing! 4 lane divided highway with greenery on both the sides.


There were some showers in between which were quite enjoyable. We stopped for clicking pics in between and finally parked at a dhaba near Rajahmundry for lunch.


Rajahmundry is almost half way between Vijaywada and Vizag. We had some delicious Kaju-masala with tandoori rotis. This actually was a great combination :). After some 1 hour of chilling out in the dhaba, we hit the roads again. The landscape became yet more beautiful with small hillocks replacing the green pastures on both sides.


We entered Vizag at around 6:00 PM. Usual city traffic :(. After a lot of directions from a lot of people, we reached our place to crash - Waltair Club. Again thanks to Bandi, this was one amazing place to stay! Didn't do much that day apart from a nice drive on beach road in his Skoda. Had some real good fishes and prawns for dinner and went to bed.

Day 4 (Vishakhapatnam):

Got up at leisure in the morning. First thing was to search for Bajaj Service station. The chain was quite loose after 1K+ km of riding. I must say the people at Varun Motors were very proactive in checking my bike for problems. They quickly tightened the chain and checked the oil level and viscosity. In an hour we were back to the Waltair Club. Evening was spent roaming around on beach road and a short ride to Kailashgiri.


The view of Vizag city lighting up when it gets dark looks quite fascinating. Tried some experiments with the night mode in my camera. Results were OK not very good.


Attended the reception in Waltair club and dozed off with a smile imagining about the route which was ahead.

Day 5 (Vishakhapatnam - Ichhapuram - Balugaon - Nirakarpur - Puri):

Planned to wake up early but it was well past 7 when we woke up. By 8:30, we were on the road again riding through slight drizzle. After some 10 km I suddenly realized, that my cellphone is not there with me. Rushed back to the club and got caught in heavy rains :(. Finally found the cellphone and joined Saswata again. Today we were racing with rains. There was a constant drizzle for about 100km and we could see dark rain clouds behind us.
Suddenly I noticed that I cannot see Saswata in my rear view mirror. I slowed down but no sign and then I recieved an SMS from him - "Engine gone. Not able to start. Get Mechanic". Now this was the last thing to expect. Tried calling him but could not connect. I rode back and caught up with him after some 8 km. First suspicion was engine sieze but it did not look like that. Then I remembered, I am riding with Saswata! That means he must be out of petrol. Checked the fuel cap which was on reserve. "Oh reserve mein tha? mujhe laga ki abhi ON mein hi hai" was his expression. I tied his bike to mine using a rope and I did the towing job for some 5 km till we reached the petrol bunk.

We thought of having lunch at either Rambha or Balugan where, we heard, we will get very good prawns :). Riding till Ichhapuram was quick on the 4-laner. Ichhapuram is on AP-Orissa border, the last town in AP on this route. After crossing Ichhapuram, the road suddenly disappeared! I mean there was nothing, no road not even potholed one. zilch! And to complement it, there was a small drain perpendicular to where the road should have been. On enquiry, we were told to take a left, cross the village, take a right and we will hit the NH 5 again. We followed the directions through dusty village roads where everyone was staring at us without a blink and we reached the so-called NH-5. Dodging through the potholes and trucks we managed to go few tens of km further. Didn't even notice when we entered Orissa. I was quite amused and shocked to see this state of NH-5. I always had this notion that being a part of GQ, NH-5 is all 4-laner.

"Ye 4-lane highway kab aayega?", I stopped and asked one elderly looking person. "Kam se kam 3 saal to lagega.", was his reply.
"Are yahan nahin, aage kitni door milega?"
"Achha! aage ??? balugan ke baad hoga"

And we rode on! It started getting extremely hot and humid. Sun blazing on our heads. Suddenly the landscape changed. We could see small hillocks and there we got the first glimpse of Chilka lake! It's just beautiful. Period.


We stopped at a roadside dhaba and devoured on spicy prawn curry and rice. After enquiry about the route to Puri, we were told to take a right at Nirakarpur towards a state road which will directly take us to Puri bypassing Khorda.

The state road from Nirakarpur to Puri was a mud road, cemented at some patches but the landscape was so beautiful that you would not notice the road condition. The 60 km stretch through villages, paddy fields and marshes was very refreshing.


By the time we reached Puri, it was already dark. We found a decent double room with tv at Hotel Nayak's Plaza for 200 bucks. This guy was so thrilled to know that we were riding from Bangalore, he gave us special discount (or he just said so).

Quick shower, darshan at Jagannath Puri dhaam, lazy stroll at the beach and we were back to the hotel. Dozed off - less than 24 hours to reach KGP :).

Day 6 (Puri - Konark - Bhuvaneshwar - Cuttack - Kharagpur):

We planned to wake up early to see sunrise at Konark temple but as usual we were late :). We checked out at 8:30 AM. Konark is about 40 km from Puri. This route should be must on every Biker's list. The road goes through a wildlife reserve and then along the sea. No traffic at all at this time of year. On visiting the Sun Temple, I was amazed - if this is just Konark, how intricate and intimate would Khajuraho be?


We had our breakfast and moved towards Bhuvaneshwar. Crossing Bhuwaneshwar through heavy traffic in full sun was a pain. Again prawns for lunch and a small nap at a roadside dhaba and we were good to go again. The feeling on seeing the first board showing distance to KGP cannot be described here. I was like yes! we did it :) Now I can stretch my arms and reach KGP :).


The roads were all good again. 4-lane highways and I did a speed test of my Avenger also. I could cruise at 115 kmph for quite some time.

Last fillup at a petrol bunk, one person came to me and asked, "Koi picture ka shooting ho raha hai? Aap log hero ho?", appreciating the riding gear :)

We entered KGP at twilight. We miscalculated the distance of last leg as somewhere near 350 km. It was infact around 450 km.

KGP at last! A round of surprises to known faces there and I settled in my wing in RK Hall. No early to bed now :) . Eggies time :)

Day 7 (Kharagpur):

Amazing good old kharagpur :)

Day 8 (Board Howrah - Yeswantpur Express from Kharagpur):

A big task for the day was to book the bikes in train. The procedure is pretty easy. Will write about that in some other post (maybe). It seems the parcel charges are increased and now they charge as per Rajdhani charges. We had to pay 1550/- per bike from KGP to Bangalore. Boarded our train post dinner. Lying on the berth, recaping last week with a content smile, we left Kharagpur.


Summary:
-------------

Date:
25th Aug 2007 to 1st Sep 2007

Riders:
1. Ashish - Bajaj Avenger
2. Saswata - Honda Unicorn

Route:

Bangalore
- Hoskote - Chittoor - Naidupetta - Nellore - Vijaywada - RajahMundry - Vishakhapatnam - Srikakulam - Ichhapuram - Balugan - Nirakarpur - Puri - Konark - Bhuwaneswar - Cuttack - Kharagpur

Total Distance covered: 2005 KM

Night Stay:

Vijaywada : Vijaywada Club. Courtsey Nitish Bandi
Vishakhapatnam: Waltair Club. Courtsey Nitish Bandi
Puri: Hotel Nayak Plaza. Rs 200/- for double room with TV. No AC.
Kharagpur: RK Hall of Residence, IIT KGP :D


More pics can be seen here


Sunday, October 07, 2007

Skandagiri: The long awaited trek

I was tempted to go to skandagiri when I first saw a set of pics being forwarded on mails but something or other, the plan never matured. It was one fine day when Ladha and Piyush saw these pics and we decided to hit it coming sunday.

Saturday night no electricity => Plan almost dropped due to lack of sleep and internet. Internet? yeah we needed to check where exactly this place is located. Finally power came back at midnight and I checked the route in some blogs. A sleep of 2 hours for few of us including me and night out for others and we were ready by 3 AM to hit the roads. 2 water bottles, 2 bags to keep jackets while climbing and 6 of us on 3 bikes headed towards outer ring road. Myself with Piyush as pillion on my Bajaj Avenger, Dotty with Mahe as pillion on his Bajaj Avenger and Nair with Ladha as pillion on HH Passion.


To reach Skandagiri, one has to take the Devenahalli road, yeah the new airport is coming up at Devenahalli. Total tide was 70 km. Straight till Chikaballapur from Bangalore and then a left turn from there leads to Papagni Mutt which is the base of the hill. Road is a four laner till the Nandi Hills left turn and a two laner bumpy one after that. It was still dark when we parked the bikes near Papagni Mutt. We were quite surprised seeing sizeable number of two wheelers parked there. So, we were not alone :).


Whole idea to start so early was to reach the top by sunrise. We refused to take a guide and started moving towards a faint trail. It was dificult to say if we were on the right track. Some plastic bottles lying here and there kept us going in the belief that people do come here :).


We were half way (or we thought so) when horizon started turning red. Ah the sunrise ! The surroundings were clearer now but the peak was nowhere in visual range due to slight mist. As we climbed up, the mist turned to fog and then to thick clouds. We could hardly see anything farther than 3 ft and yes we lost our way!! We had to cross some seriously steep rocks and Piyush almost lost it there. He was like what the hell are we doing here and how are we supposed to come back! Luckily we found the trail after sometime. I guess it tool close to 2 hours to reach the top with some 3-4 breaks in between.


The winds were amazing at the top but no view because of thick fog. We were quite surprised to see so many people on the top. Had some chilli bajji, omlettes and tea. After some 20 mins, fog started clearing and we could see some breathtaking views. And at this point, we realized that we have gained much more height than we thought :)


Descent was much quicker with trail very clear thanks to no fog :). Soon we were at the foothills and this time we could see the peak too. Everyone had that content smile saying yes, we did it :). Most of the people were first timers in trekking and it was a wonderful experience.


On return, we took a different route. We took a right turn from Papagni Mutt towards Nandi hills and then the usual Nandi Hills - Bangalore route. We did not stop anywhere on our way back and were back at home for lunch. Finally trip accomplished with so many lazy bums :)


Stats:
------

Date:
12 August' 2007

Route:
Bangalore - Yelahanka - Devenahalli - Chikaballapur - Papagni Mutt

Distance:
70 km one way

More pics can be seen here.


Saturday, September 15, 2007

MM Hills

I really love unplanned trips :). We planned of just meeting at MG Road on saturday morning and decide then and there where to go. Good old Ladha was pillion with me. We on my avenger and Hathee on his reached MG Road on time. We called Saswata to find out he was getting ready.
Waiting for Saswata at HP Petrol Bunk, MG Road

We moved on till Mysore Road Shell Petrol bunk and asked him to join us there. He arrived after some time with a surprise package of Sagarneel. So four bikes with 5 riders headed towards Mysore Road. Early morning ride with Ladha as pillion to talk during ride-it was good :). Soon we reached CCD and settled for breakfast at the restaurant nearby.

Now the million dollar question popped up - Where to go ? After some discussions we shortlisted Malai Mahadeshwara Betta better known as MM Hills and Himavad Gopalaswamy Betta also known as HGS Betta. I called vasanth and sachin to enquire about distance, road conditions and all but they were also not very clear. After consulting a waiter from the restaurant we zeroed upon MM Hills as according to the waiter it was just 70 km from there and looked good for single day ride. So zoom we went towards Mandya and then towards Malavalli.

Somewhere near Malavalli

Near Malavalli, we saw the first signboard showing MM Hills. It was still 121 km from there and we had already come close to 100 km already! Few people were not ready for such a long ride and we had to return back the same day. But now there was no turning back and we moved ahead. We stopped at few places to click pics. After Kollegal the roads became bumpy and narrow but the surroundings were just beautiful and weather amazing! We crossed few small villages where people were staring at us as if we landed straight from Mars.

90 degree isshtyle pose :)

Soon after some more beautiful rural roads, we reached the foothills. We clicked some snaps there but did not keep the fabulous twisties in front of us waiting for too long.


It is so amazing, I guess a different kind of high riding through forests, negotiating curves, approaching a hair-pin bend. The feeling cannot be described in words. Enjoying the surroundings, we soon crossed the hills and reached a valley. It was a bit disappointment when we reached the destination as there was just a temple and it was real hot at that time of day! But as someone said that it's not the destination but the journey which matters, we had our lunch and started climbing the hill again carefully leaning on those pretty curvy roads :). On the way we took a detour which looked a very promising road and boy what a road it was ! Thick forest and roller coaster kind of ups and downs :). After around 5-6 km of ride, we reached a village and sadly that was the dead end so we had to turn back.


On return, we stopped near shivanasamudram to chill at the banks of Cauvery.


The great ride was complemented by showers and we thoroughly enjoyed the ride in rains. By 5 PM, we touched the Bangalore-Mysore Road. Had a refreshing cuppa chai and chilli bajji and hit the couch in CCD :). After relaxing for more than a hour, we started moving leisurely towards Bangalore only to stop at the good old Chandigarh Punjabi Dhaba near Ramanagram :).


Garama-garam chai, mast chicken and kishore kumar songs. What else for a perfect evening :). Filled our bellies as it was already dinner time. From Ramanagram to Bangalore is just a formality and we quickly did the run. At our apartment parking, final reading was 480 km. I guess maximum for Ladha in a day :). I hope he did not hurt his back much after pillion riding for 480 km in a day :).

Summary:
-------------

Date:
4th Aug' 2007

Riders:
1. Ashish with Ladha as pillion On Bajaj Avenger
2. Sumit Chatterjee aka Haathee on Bajaj Avenger
3. Saswata on Honda Unicorn
4. Sagarneel on Hero Honda Achiever

Route: Bangalore - Mandya - Malavalli - Kollegal - MM Hills - Shivanasamudram - Bangalore

Total Distance covered: about 480 km

More pics can be seen here.


Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Monsoon Ride: BR Hills

It happens all the time. Tens of people make a plan and finally only one or two left. Same story repeated with our plan to ride to Biligiri Rangaswamy Betta also known as BR Hills. Cutting the long story short, finally only me and PJ were left for the ride. PJ was travelling with his wife and had booked K.Gudi Jungle lodges which was out of budget for me. So were thinking of dropping the plan and he would leave in his car with his wife.

Surprise surprise! Came to know about a group of people from "Avenger Owners Bangalore" community who were going to Shivanasamudram. Since it was enroute BR Hills, they joined us or rather we joined them? Whatever, finally 6 avengers with 8 riders were ready for one amazing ride.


Only 3 bikes (myself, PJ with his wife and Rajesh) showed up on saturday morning. We started off and others were supposed to catch up with us on the way. We were having breakfast when other three bikes (Vishal, Nipin, Gautam and pillion Pradeep) zoomed past us. We quickly paid the bill and moved ahead. After catching up, a round of introductions and we were on the roads again.

Ride was pretty smooth till Shivanasamudram except for few small patches between Maddur and Malavalli. Shivanasamudra falls were in full glory at this time of year. Clicked loads of photographs and moved towards BR Hills. It was still 10 AM.


Road till Kollegal was good with amazing surroundings. After Kollegal, the two lane state highway became a single lane village road passing through villages and farmlands. Though the road was bumpy, I enjoyed it thoroughly because of amazing landscapes. Soon after we were at the toll gate of the BR Hills wildlife reserve. This is where the most beautiful ride ever started. As soon as we entered the sanctury, it started to drizzle. Lush green surroundings, light drizzle, smooth tarmac and twisty road. What else can one ask for? Around 10 kms of amazing ride and we were at BR Hills.



Food first. Everyone was hungry and we could locate only one place. Had nice meal and cheap too :). BR Hills was quite a small place. A hill top, a temple and a village. There was a jungle lodge around 20 km away. We spent sometime clicking photographs. Thanks to Vishal and his camera, we had some really good pics :).


Since, there was nothing much to do there, we started back to Bangalore except PJ and Mrs PJ who moved towards the jungle lodge. We departed after giving lots of advice to them at around 3 PM. We spent hell lot of time in the jungle clicking photos and yes for the first time, I saw a wild elephant :).



After around one hour, we were moving towards Kollegal when someone struck with this idea to visit Brindavan Gardens and immediately we all took a U-turn :). The road to Mysore through Yellandur was bumpy at most of the places but as we neared Mysore, it got better. By the time we reached Brindavan Gardens after asking directions for n times, it was already dark and the garden was in full glory with fountains and amazing light work. We clicked some snaps and saw the musical fountain show. IMHO the musical fountain show at Wonderla was much better.



By 8 PM we were again back on the roads searching for some place to fill our bellies. Vishal told about some Hotel Fishland near Srirangapatna famous for its Mangalore style fishes. Fishes and that too Mangalore style! What else can one ask for :D. Soon me, Vishal, Prady and Rajesh were devouring Mackerils and Anjils while Gautam was trying to catch up with Nipin who mistakenly did not stop and moved on. We got a call from Gautam that he is waiting for us at Maddur CCD and there was no news from Nipin. We could not even reach his phone.

After dinner, it was a sprint to CCD. We relaxed there for some time . In the meantime got a call from Nipin also. He reached Bangalore. After around an hour, we were back on the tarmac, this time slower. We reached Bangalore at around 2:30 AM after covering around 500 km. Amazing experience especially my first sighting of a wild elephant! :D


Summary:
-------------

Date:
14th July' 2007

Riders:
1. Ashish
2. Prabhjot with his wife as pillion
3. Vishal
4. Gautam with Pradeep as pillion
5. Nipindra
6. Rajesh

all on Bajaj Avenger

Route: Bangalore - Maddur - Malavalli - Shivanasamudram - Kollegal - BR Hills - Yellandur - Mysore - Srirangapatna - Bangalore

Total Distance covered: about 500 km

More pics can be seen here and here.