Saturday, 10th Dec 2006:
The plan was to meet at Citibank,
02:54 AM: My alarm rang. For the first time I pressed Stop instead of Snooze! Called Gopal and told him to reach my place by 3:30 AM.
02:56 AM: Called Ashutosh and told him to be ready. He was already awake :)
02:57 AM: Called Naveen. He was on a night out! Very nice, I complemented :)
03:35 AM: Gopal reached my place. I hopped on his bike and left for Naveen’s place in Koramangla.
04:00 AM: Naveen’s place. Jumped into the car and left for
04:15 AM: Shetty reached
04:17 AM: We reached
04:30 AM: All seven on board and we were leaving
Naveen and Shetty were driving.
For Naveen, his car is just like his old splendour without indicators and headlight. He doesn’t bother to use either indicators or dipper. He coolly drove till Neelmangla inspite of critically acclaimed remarks from three passengers to follow traffic rules. Road till Neelmangla was good four lane highway. We reached Neelmangla at around 5:30 AM and stopped for Chai session. Neelmangla is around 30 km from
Our next stop was Hassan which is around 150 km from Neelmangla. This road is a two lane highway. Road is very good but one has be extra cautious for incoming traffic while overtaking as there is no divider. We saw sunrise on the way.
Shetty reached Hassan at around 7:30 AM. We followed and reached at around 7:50 AM. We took few wrong turns and instead of going via bypass, we entered the city. There was some confusion in locating Shetty in the city which ate up a good 45 minutes. Finally we met near the main Bus Stand and left for our first sightseeing enroute, Halebeedu.
Halebeedu is a small town around 40 km from Hassan with an ancient carved temple. The place is prominent in the archeological map of
The temple was magnificent and was a real feast for eyes. After a long long time, I was visiting a place of mythological and archeological importance. I guess the last one visited by me was Sarnath in 1999.
Halebeedu is the kind of place where you can spend a long time talking to local guide, identifying all the details of the place and the carvings. But because of a tight schedule, we could not hire a guide and quickly roamed around and clicked some snaps.
There was a huge rush in Halebeedu because of two groups from some school visiting. We thought of leaving quickly to reach our next destination, Belur before the huge groups. It was very obvious that they too would be visiting the place.
Belur again was quite similar to Halebeedu with another nicely hand carved temple.
Here also we quickly took snaps, roamed around and zoomed to next target, Chikamanglur.
Chikamanglur is 30 odd km away from Belur. Road was again narrow but good with a beautiful view of
Soon we were in Chikamanglur city. We followed Shetty into a one-way and were busted by a traffic policeman! Shetty however managed to get away but the policeman noted down his number. Conversation was difficult with the policeman and we called Shetty. Shetty came back and negotiated with the policeman in Kannada. The matter was resolved with 100 bucks.
Now we had to cover one of the most heard about routes. Chikamanglur to Sringeri. This route is considered to be biker’s paradise. One of the most scenic routes in
We had our lunch on entering Sringeri. After that we visited Shankaracharya Math in Sringeri. It was again an old carved temple with nice serene premises. We fed some catfishes in the lake within the compound.
From Sringeri we left for Agumbe. Agumbe is the last point uphill on this route. From there we had to start our descent from
Our next stop was Udupi. Or may be not. On the way, Shetty had a Flat Tire !!! It was already dark and changing the tire in the forest in dark took an hour ! We were back on road at around 7:15 PM.
We reached Manipal at around 8:15 PM. We decided to stay there only for night. Udupi is just 6 km from there. Shetty and his cousin went to their home and five of us hired a hotel in Manipal.
Manipal is a small town famous for its medical college and engineering institute. The crowd in Manipal seemed more metrosexual than in
I had seen a signboard of a place called Hotel Fishland on our way just 200 m before our hotel. I being a seafood fan suggested the place. Gopal and Pandey had to go to a veg restaurant for dinner. Rest three of us (myself, Ashu and Naveen) proceeded to Fishland J Ah, what a tasty fishes! The owner of Fishland was too enthusiastic to make us taste his choice of fishes. We gathered a lot of funda also about fishes. We had Melu (Average size of fish is 2 m!), Baracuda (Only fish with green bone) and all time favourite prawns. The preparation was too good. We finished the meal with Rice and Fish curry. Yummy! :)
At 11:30 PM, we were dozing on our beds.
...to be continued to conclusion...