Sigandur-Khandya Bike Tour

Are you RE rider? You got to read this…

Finally it was decided to go to Shimoga & camp at friend’s farm. This being my first long distance motor bike ride, I was totally unprepared & never bothered to prepare for it. No rain jacket, no water proof bag or rain-fly, no safety guard. I was completely drenched by the time I reached Nelmangala from Electronic city via Nice road. Even the clothes inside my rucksack. Two of my friends – Shilesh & Amith joined me (Sujeeth) in their RE Std 500CC & Himalayan. Funny thing, I was on Dream Neo (110CC) & they never had to wait for me to catch up with them during the entire trip!. In fact, I waited for them for half an hour on one occasion. We camped at a Daba near Chitradurga, shivering & riding all the way..

Slept with semi-wet cloths, next day wore  fresh wet clothes & started to Sigandur. Story cut short – We visited Sigandur Chowdeshwari Temple, crossing over the backwaters on ferry which is worth mentioning because of scenic beauty & rest to “bums on fire”. We started to Khandya, near Aldur, Chikmagalur. We realized that we’ll have to ride almost till early morning to reach our destination, so we decided to camp at a temple ground at Theerthahalli. Amith had lost bungee cords & few other stuff (he lost his wallet too by the time we came back home!!).

Ground seemed famous place with too many mid-night visitors coming over & leaving immediately after seeing our tents. Lucky us, there was no vandalism…

Next day before departing, I made my bag water proof with 2 garbage bags as it was cloudy. Visited Khandya after 15 long years, yet the memories of fast flowing Bhadra River, Cricket, Homa & pujas, Hospitality at priest’s house, Akki Rotti still very clear in my mind. River was not too fierce & we ended up spending 2-3hours playing & chatting nothing.

We all left from a daba near hassan & I could not see them overtake me the entire stretch from Hassan to Nelmangala. At the end of the trip, I wondered what if I was riding RE! Both of them took too many breaks in between, missed correct route while I rode non-stop without single rest between destinations to keep up avg speed of theirs!

On serious note, RE demands more adventurous rides, much more than 1153Km in two days. Let’s plan it……

Check out our Gallery for this tour’s pictures.

Solo Pune Tour and Raigad Trek

A Maratha Stronghold

I always wanted to do a solo trip long before I did Pune Raigad tour. Solo treks to nearby hills around Bangalore didn’t happen nor the multi day cycling trip that I kept planning for ages. Perhaps everything happens for a reason, I got to do my first solo trek outside Karnataka.

Travel was completely by public transport. Bangalore-Pune buses are plenty, both Govt and Private luxury buses operate on the route whereas buses from Pune to Raigad aren’t good. The journey took anywhere between 4-5 hours though ETA on map is just 2:50 hours. Swargate bus station in Pune isn’t tourist friendly either, Help-desk, conductors and boards all in Marathi. Since I started late from Pune I reached Mahad late and decided to stay in a guest house and start early to Pachad village where the trail-head is located for Raigad Trek.  Food was delicious & I tried Maharashtrian cuisine throughout the tour. People were surprised to see someone from Bangalore doing solo trek to Raigad and enquired whether I’m researching on Shivaji’s history. Everything here is influenced by Shivaji’s memory, be it Dhol Tasha or a political rally. I had thought of doing Raigad and Torna treks in one and half days but bus delays and breakdown in Koyna wildlife sanctuary on the way to Mahad town hurt the plans. And so I had to wait till morning for the trek. Gave me an opportunity to visit Savitri river that once fed Chhatrapati Shivaji’s horses and his army.

The cliffs are intimidating & no wonder why Shivaji chose these places for his forts. Suits guerrilla warfare perfectly. Trek distance is 5km from Pachad village, difficulty is moderate. An impregnable fort perched on top of a hill with cliffs on all sides. Shivaji was coronated here and commanded an empire covering entire western and central India. It was bombarded with cannons by the East India Company and now the fort is in ruins. I went with expectations of seeing what we generally see on google. Its anyone’s guess that the landscape becomes lush green during monsoons with many streams and waterfalls springing back to life. MTDC isn’t doing a great job in maintaining the heritage site.

Check out our gallery for the pictures of the landscape and rope-way video.

 

Bandaje and Didupe Waterfall Treks

Go with the flow – Water fall(s) trek – blog by Anuradha Raghuraman

Day 0 

Took a day off, catched a bus from chennai to bangalore & reached around 8.30 PM at silk board. Dinner was a refreshing mudka tea and bruchetta which also served the dinner for my travel partner Suneeth Sonu (SS). Met up SS around 9, Bangalore was quiet busy with no cabs and we hopped onto Auto and found the bus to Ujire. Boarded the bus on time and sleeper was bit amusing in the way pillow was laid which had cut short the sleep place. within few minutes the bus entered the dead end and struggling to return back.  Roads was pretty bumpy and could sense from the motioning of the bus. Cold wind was slowly blowing in the bus and was rolling with the bus to sleep off.

Day1

Almost awake last night and realized there was puncture/break down at 3.0 am, happily utilized the time to sleep off for 2 hours. The pleasure of sleep made us to miss the ujire bus stop. Next stop would be dharmsthala and luckily bus would come back to ujire and got dropped. From bandaje to Ujire is 10 kms and took an auto to bandaje home stay. With no time freshened up the home stay and had breakfast at mane, forest officer instructed us not to camp near the water falls. And also crossing 2 villages would also not be possible on the same day.

Quickly we picked what is required for the day and started the trek with food rations and Puliogare. Lost the route at couple of places and finally were in the main trail. There was a big bunch which was heading us, could hear voices of them which helped us to judge we are in the right path. Initially saw puffed rice here and there on the trail, had a feeling that someone was eating, perhaps realized later that the crowd which was ahead of us are marking the trail to return back which was quite useful for us too.

After 3 kms there was a stream which was hidden in the forest and spent around few minutes clicking pictures & drenched one of shoes as a balancing act. The trail remained a closed forest for with tall trees, dried twigs, creepers and as time passed by the gurgling sound of water faded. Even after 5.5kms the trail remained the same and all we heard was dry twigs which hissed on shoes. 2 or 3 different types of tall tress was captivating to stop by. Was a humid day which made us soak in sweat and got energized with buttermilk. My physical in activeness was quiet promptly seen, In fact asked SS to moved ahead of me and as a camaraderie-ship we trekked together. After 6.2km there comes landscape at the beginning  with the hot sun blazing but was lucky enough to have the glimpse of the falls and yet to hear the falls pulsation

By this time both of us were hungry and tired. Bottling up with mixed emotion of hunger/tiredness/laughing at this crazy trail . In order to reach near the falls, there were several more climbs. Took baby steps on the burnt terrain and there were few trees where we rested for a while. The falls is not of proximity & could see that the crowd ahead of us are a miniature now.

Suneeth did a quick check on a short cut and was able view the falls, it was quiet disappointing to view the falls as the flow wasn’t promising. After few clicks, we started moving down and was totally missing my purple boots. Toes were hurting so badly while declining . Both of found a shade and then consumed 1 packet of puliogare and we were unable to eat after 4 mouths and packed the rest, used the crackers as spoon as missed to take cutlery. This trail for sure cant be hiked during monsoon and heard that it will be closed. Post this all i was thinking, why didn’t i take any serious effort buy boots, am so bloody attached with things which has served me and results in retaining them despite of the use. This makes to decide for 2018, will do a “Project Detachment’ which i will trash/give away for old things and make room for new stuffs in all aspects.

Reached the stream and spend a good amount of time, refilled my bottles to drink, leg spa with cold water turned my legs to into lizardish legs with no sensation,  washed my hair with cold water and enjoying the freshness. SS dis a agility stunt of walking in the woods and which was in the centre of the stream.

As we need to reach the base before sunset as instructed by the forest officer started from the stream around 5. Post reaching the close to base, found a jeep which was passing by, hitchhiked to reach the mane. Rested for a while and had the puligare. Had a luxurious hot water bath at the homestay, post refresh we were trying to just to hang around the veranda.

Mane was supposed to be a old house built around 60 years ago but was very well maintained, a kitchen with wood fire facility. From veranda(200 mts) whole house is connected and go from one place to another. When it rains it would a mesmerizing experiences to sit in the veranda (center of house) with a book and coffee. Infact me and SS were discussing if we can come over monsoon and stay here for 2 days with no reason. Dinner was served with suprises hot food was served with 2 curries and buttermilk and kheer. After the yummy food, owner gave a best place to sleep for the night and SS camped at the veranda.

As per the plan we were supposed to do the ballarayanadurga trek based on the trail we experienced, decided to ditch and take up other falls.

 

Day 2

Woke up in the morning super fresh, freshened up quickly and left for Didupe. From bandaje its another 15 kms and took another auto to reach closer to didupe. As SS was refreshing at parameshwar rao house  was taking down the notes for the blog.

The owner has collected 150 types of grains as part of hobby/research. Post the refresh, there were several people who was getting ready to reach didupe. While the jeep came, excitedly took the front seat next to driver and swinging the legs outside. Jeep went around  6 kms. Left the bags in one of the villagers house and left for falls as again we couldn’t camp near falls, falls is 1.5 kms easily reachable. One can enter the falls and enjoy. Its been a while I saw a falls pounding to earth with force. Its thrilling to watch the source of water standing beneath with a challenge to eyes. Spent around 1 hours and enjoying the nature shower with strong massage, force full water on my heads cracked up. Generally am grateful for such moments, something was different at that point. I wanted to LET GO many things from my mind. This was the self conversation I was holding while in the falls for sometime

I let go my past beliefs

I let go the beliefs which I learned from others

I let go the people who had wronged me in some way

I let go my limitations

I let go the persons who I want to erase from my life

I let go my past

I let go my mistakes which have done knowingly or unknowingly

After 1+ hour  was completely physically and mentally relaxed, everyone regrouped and started walking. There was a wonderful lunch which was arranged by home-stay owner which I had tasted some authentic dishes. Rice flakes with sambar, chutney made of banana flower stem, jack fruit curry with channa. Enjoyed the lunch and the suggestion provided wasn’t convincing decided to go ahead. As it will take a while for the jeep to come started walking on the trail also dragged couple of guys from other gang. As we reached the main road, had a local cola was refreshing. we didn’t know the location name of paremeswar rao house, SS engaged the bus driver with map, got down at the place and refreshed.

Post the refresh there is a close irumai falls which we decided to visit. Paramerswar rao had a women milk society, spent sometime in understanding what is done on a daily basis. Wanted to try to camp near the falls, with all that decided packed the stuffs and started walking. There was another house which we kept the bags and left to falls, again this was much easily reachable. Spent sometime in the falls without drenching, The rocks were of different shapes and took some profile pictures for SS. NO CAMPING NEAR THE FALLS is usual now and decided to stay at the house. As we came back, had enough time to kill listening to music/counting the 7 stars again and again while making wishes. Carried a good amount of food ration in order to survive in the mountains, as all the plans changed, we had maggi to finish for dinner. Consumed maggi and laid the 2 tent outside the house which is another learning f in the trip. Surrounded by tall trees, with a little gurgle of stream was bit convincing for camping.

Day 3

There was another couple who stayed with us inside house and decided to travel together next day morning.

Woke up early had a good hot water bath. They had big cooper vessel attached in the bath room, outside the bathroom wood fire is placed so its heated (something new which I saw). Without any second thoughts i left old shoes there and Started walking back to paramerswar rao house walking and running in floaters. Ate breakfast there and a jeep which came and dropped all of us at dharmashala temple. All of us except SS went to temple, had a quick darshan with less than an hour had annandhanam . Found SS and took a normal bus to bengaluru. Was a tiring bus journey with my lower part of journey screaming for mobility. As the bus stopped for a break, wanted to get down and pick up a tea and it was snatched away happily by SS, with a disappointment had the tea and we finished all the snacks had in the bags

Bengaluru traffic is very dramatic and the live commentary from ticket collector was very scary, based on this comments we had a feeling that I couldn’t catch the 11 bus  at silk board. 20 kms before decided to get down from the bus and took the cab/auto to reach the bus stop. Managed to get a auto and all roads were empty but not sure why every single driver told us there is heavy traffic all over, reached the bus stop on time and took the bus. For all the day suffering the bus reached chennai in 4.45 minutes in the early hours of 3.45 at koyambedu. Hopped on multiple buses as skeptical to take a cab at that hour and reached home. My trip/trek is never complete with periods on and so was the last day which am habituated

Words I learnt

Bisi neeru, Mosuru,sulupa sulupa, eradu

https://hugthebackpack.blogspot.in/p/go-with-flow.html

Bangalore Heritage Cycling

We covered a total distance of 57 Km.
Places we visited are Bull Temple, Gavi Gangadhareshwara Temple, Vidyarthi Bhavan, Bimba Art Hut, Ragigudda Temple, Masjid-e-Bilal, Madivala Lake

Bull Temple: 500 years old and legend says it is getting bigger and bigger. Long story short, farmer chased away nandi and when he came back next morning to the same place, he found a statue of nandi which was not there earlier. Hearing this story, Chieftain of Bangalore Kempegowda nuilt a Temple around it. Farmers started offering Kadale Kayi which became Kadale Kayi Parishe.
Gavi Gangadhareshwara Temple: Sunlight falls on the idol through the arc of nandi horns only once a year during Makara Sankranthi. It also has four monolith pillars. one of Damaru, Thrishul. Built by Kempegowda after being released from prison of 5 years by Rama Raya.
Vidyarthi Bhavan: Famous Restaurant since 1943, visited by many VIPs. We found more crowd here than in temples 
Bimba Art Hut: Looked after by couple, 100 year old building, beautiful art on display and sale. I personally felt they are overly priced but yet worth visiting once. Awesome miniature art.

Tadiyandamol Trek & Rafting

Group: Sujeeth, Sharath, GautamSaroj, Roshan, Priyanka & Keerthana

This trek was a milestone for Adventure Junkie, being the first trek which we could pull off with all the participants being from out of Karnataka.

We reached Napoklu at 3:40. Being a single group, Itinerary was very flexible according to their convenience and we left our home stay at 07:30 in the morning after taking a good nap. We had appetizing neer dose, chutney and curry and took Puliyogare parcel for the lunch. We reached Nalaknad palace at 8AM but it was closed, may be because of TV serial shooting or may be we were too early to that place I guess. Instead of going by Jeep till check-post, we hiked along the road through coffee estates and few streams. Took necessary permission and started hiking. We were slow as there were many first time trekkers but they were as determined as seasoned trekkers to reach the peak.

We saw an ecstatic group who were making whoopee at a view-point which confused me (it was my third time to Tadiyandamol) whether we reached peak already. Saroj and his girl friend decided to stay there at the view-point until we return back from the peak. Saroj & Sharath were extremely helpful by motivating their friends. Sharath had forgotten to take few packets of Puliyogare but I was sure that would be sufficient for everyone along with plenty of snacks that we had provided. There was definitely dilemma in rest of the group whether to continue till the peak or not, which seemed like another half the effort considering the inclination. After little persuading, we started again taking little rest in between.

We spent good time at the peak, had lunch. I was clear that everybody was tired so I decided to run back to the vehicle & get it as near to check-post as possible. It was decided that the group descend 20 min after I start. I ran back as fast as I can, twisting my ankle and skidding countless times but it was indeed fun to reach back to Nalaknad palace  in 1 hr 40 min.

I reached check-post, drank water and fed few biscuits to a dog. Guess what, It started following me; sometimes went ahead of me & was turning back to see whether I’m following it or not!! No wonder why they call it the most faithful creäture on earth. I felt overwhelmed & without eating fed it three packets of biscuits & cake when I took little rest.

We drove for few kms from the palace and both of us, driver & myself realized it is not possible to drive uphill with the bad tyres we had. Tavera which we had hired had clocked 6.5 lakh Kms. Having said this, I must say it was seriously well maintained (except tyres) by owner who himself was the driver for us.

I waited but grew anxious about group’s safety and started hiking towards check-post. That is when I found my companion following me again!. I ascend, it followed; I descend, it follows. Checked it few times. We hiked together till last camping site where I met the group. It turned back for the last time and went jogging towards the check-post. I wondered if it was the same dog which followed us till the peak back in 2012.

Barbecue, Camping & Rafting:

As far we are concerned, we include Barbecue to bring different groups together. Everybody contributed in preparing it, from cutting veggies, starting coal fire, brushing the chicken with sauce, cleaning up the ground & pitching tents. Group was so friendly that I did not feel as an organizer. Dance, at least two steps after a decade was my achievement! :-p

Had a wonderful dinner after the party. Food was home cooked by the owner of the home-stay.

Next day, We visited Chelvara Waterfalls, Kaveri Nisargadhama & indulged in Class 2 River rafting near to Dubare Elephant camp.

 

Cycling to Kelavarapalli Dam

Team Size: 11
Arun Muthu KumarSujeeth MonuSuneeth SonuSatish SatsAbhinav GanachariGanesh GangotriRaju V SVarun Verma N and Bharath AmbatiMadhushree Dasgupta
Total distance – 72 kms
It was Bharath Ambati and Madhushree’s first +50km ride after many years.
Congrats guys for making it at a much speed and pushing your limits.

Bangalore Rock Climbing

After waiting many days to avoid getting drenched in afternoon rain which was Bangalore’s signature weather for long time, at least we felt that way…. We finally decided to head to Ramnagar to do some Rock Climbing, without bothering about rain. We were a team of 4 – Sujeeth, Suneeth, Vaibhav & Praveen.

We reached the crag at 12:30PM, took our own time to set up anchors and it started raining again and we had to wait till rock got dried. we started climbing at 1:30 & climbed till 5:30PM. We covered 4 routes out of 12 routes which are at Senapathy. Climbing after a long gap made us tired but also it was so refreshing that we decided to climb more often. We climbed the following routes:

  • Malgudi days : Grade 5.6 : Height 90 feet
  • Life Begins at 40! : Grade 5.7 : Height 90 feet
  • VRS : Grade 5.7 : Height 90 feet
  • You Kan : Grade 5.7+ : 90 feet

We cleaned up the routes and immediately started our journey to Bangalore expecting rain. It started raining heavily by the time we reached Ramnagar but as we had been by bike, there was no option other than ride & get drenched completely or wait whole night for the rain to stop! Finally, we came home with wet ropes and dangled it everywhere inside the home for two days to let the ropes dry :-). Felt like I’m tying new kind of “Thorana” for the upcoming festivals.

Watch our space for upcoming climbs around Bangalore…

 

Western Ghats Cycling and Treks

Awesome trip to Sharavathi Valley Wildlife Sanctuary and Mookambika Wildlife Sanctuary. Team Size: 13
We combined Cycling and Trek together during the trip. Lata Murli, Thara, Shruti Naik, Sangeetha Shameem, Srinivas Patibandla opting to trek. And Gandharva Shetty, Murugappan, Lalit Narayan, Gurucharan, Vireshwar Dixit, Mayank Singh, Sujeeth Monu, Suneeth Sonu decided to do cycling. Thanks everyone for joining us and making this an unforgettable trip.

The ride was challenging on the first day, we covered 50+ kms with elevation gain being around 1100m. Road is patchy and not in great condition making it much more difficult. Thanks to driver of our support vehicle, we couldn’t carry extra water and snacks. Only few shops along the entire route where you get something to eat. Mayank Singh captured videos on gopro during the journey and Gandharva Shetty’s energy levels were insanely ‘high’. Gurucharan helped coordinate between the group and ensured no one is left behind.

Second day’s ride to Kollur was mostly downhill and route passes through Mookambika wildlife sanctuary. Few streams and falls along the route.

Meanwhile, the trek group spent an entire day at Bheemeshwara waterfalls on the first day. And on second day I accompanied them to Hidlumane waterfalls, which cascades in 6-7 steps. The trek distance to the waterfalls is 6.4 km with elevation gain of 286 m. Leech infested during this time of the year.

BBQ was arranged during the trip and Shruti Naik, Sangeetha Shameem helped us cook. Lalit Narayan came up with Chicken recipe and it was delicious.

Kudremukh Trek

Team Size: 23
It was a memorable trip to Kudremukh Forests again for the second time and this time we did Kudremukh Trek. Our first visit here was in summer to Bavikonda Peak. The transformation of the forests due to monsoon was clear. Unique landscape when compared with other trails in Karnataka. Very Rich in Flora and Fauna.
Camaraderie that developed in this group was amazing. Thanks to all these wonderful people for joining us.
Satish Sats volunteered for the trip. Thanks to Praveen Kumar, Shreyas Hebbar, Sagar Iyer for helping us Pitch tents, Pack and consolidate Camping gear. Yashas Rn, Chetan Kumar S, Vinay Kumar, Swamy Raj, Anjan Prasad, Bharath Sagar, Pavan Vasanth, Sandeep. All the Beautiful pics are provided by Guru Prasad, Ganesh Gangotri, Bharath Kumar N.

Cycling to Pyramid Valley

Ride to Pyramid Valley:

Team Size: 4; Shubha, Mayank Singh, Suneeth Sonu and one more.

We rode to Pyramid valley starting from Adventure Junkie – Silk board – Kanakpura road covering a distance of 43.9 Km. More stats available here https://www.strava.com/activities/1165442116

We took the Thottikallu Falls – Bannerghatta – Electronic City road. Forest road cuts through the Bannerghatta National Park, Greenery and uphill with elevation gain of 502 m. Dog breeding and training centre of CRPF nestled somewhere along the route. And a lot of things happened. Broke my mobile screen, missed spotting an elephant crossing the road at Bhuthanahalli forest area, a fall on the busy Hosur road. More stats available in the below link https://www.strava.com/activities/1166150032

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