Biking in heaven, Kodagu
Our initial plan was to leave early on Friday evening and travel as much possible, so we could save time the next morning. Since our work schedule held us up until late evening, we decided to meet at our friend’s place in Kengeri. It was 9.15pm by the time we reached his place. Soon after, talks about our plans and general talks went on through dinner. After relishing the colorful Avalakki bath and Payasam, all of us were fully charged and determined to start off the next minute! It was about fifteen past ten when we kicked our bikes and hit the road. We decided to halt at Kushalnagar which is about 242 kms from Bengaluru. The three bulls we rode on were Discover 125cc, Bullet 300cc and an extraordinary Passion Plus (would be about 100000000...........cc, since it never ran over 50kmph!) .Nine of us traveled the whole journey. Four guys, three bikes, a girl and God. Our Plan was to go on an exciting Road trip to Madikeri.
After the much needed rest, we checked out of and rode towards Harangi Dam. It seemed very dry waiting for the rains to fill it up. After stopping for some pictures, we moved further towards Somawarpet. All of us just loved the ride. We saw green everywhere! We reached a golf course on our way which was lush green and tempted us to stop our bikes and take a walk to see what was on the other side of it. What a gorgeous view it offered! The hillocks, the greenery, the curvy roads, and the freshly flowering tree with yellow flowers made it picture perfect. By the side were cows grazing and it seemed to me like this was the best way amidst nature. None could miss capturing the beautiful scenery.
|India's Official Mower|
|View of the lake from the top of the peak|
About forty five minutes passed by, and we realized time is evil and we had to move on! We reached Somawarpet; we inquired about the route to Honnammana Kere, a small lake about 7 kms from Somawarpet. After spending some time near the lake, we decided to trek the hillock just in front of the lake. We got to know about a cave temple on that hillock which made us more curious. Steps were laid only up to the cave, but up ahead is a trail that leads to the peak. View from the peak top was gorgeous. But little had we realized that the best was yet to come.
After getting down, we explored an old temple at the base of the hillock. Inside the temple, resided Shiva in the form of a Linga and Nandi guarding him. The small temple had idols of other gods and the ceiling too carried some decorative carvings. It also had a tree which seemed to have sprung from the top of the ceiling. It was indeed a beautiful temple.
|Temple and hill we climbed|
We traveled back to Somawarpet for at Canara lunch home. They served us full meals after which we moved towards Madikeri. Now, our destination was a place named Mandalpatti. We had to stop by at few places and check on the route since we really did not know the exact route to this place. After a lot of queries, a group of men told us to reach Hatti Hole and people there would guide us on how to go further. On our way, we stopped by a rivulet. The water level was perfect for us to go down and across. Since the sun went down and it was getting dark, we moved on towards our destination. We inquired about the route to Mandalpatti, and the man who answered us was surprised to know that we actually were heading to that place on bikes! The route told by him was very confusing and hard to remember. We followed his directions up to a point where the road lead to two paths. After a small discussion we decided to follow our hearts and move on the right path! Slowly, it turned into a 4x4 road, on which riding a bike would be risky but challenging and exciting for a biker! The bike ride on this path was the best part of the whole journey. And any biker, with no doubt, would enjoy it thoroughly. An opportunity for a ride like this, itself, was worth the journey. After a lot of negotiation with the roads and lot of ifs and buts, checks on the route every now and then with a handful of people we spotted throughout, we reached the approach road to Mandalpatti, a place unknown to most if us. As we moved further, the light went down and we hurried to get a view from the top. The place had turned into a misty heaven, the beauty of which cannot be expressed in words but only experienced. It seemed like we were amidst clouds and they were passing across. Suddenly, the place grew brighter. The clouds had moved on. The view form top was gorgeous and will always remain in our eyes forever. We had never seen a place so heavenly.
We spent some time here, and left to Madikeri. We had to rush on since it was already dark and drizzling. After a safe ride, we reached the lodge and freshened up for dinner. After a long night’s sleep, we went on to see Omkarnatheswara temple, Abbey falls and Gaddige. At this point in time, we wished to see Mandalpatti again! We revisited Mandalpatti.
About Mandalpatti: 20 kms from Madikeri.
Directions: Take the road towards Abbey Falls .At the Y fork deviation, go right. There is a sign board for Pusphagiri WLS which is 17kms. This place inside wildlife sanctuary gives you a view of Kote Betta on one side and Pusphagiri range on the left .The View is just awesome. One needs to pay a small fee for entry. Apart from the watch tower, there is the Forest Dept. Office, the last point till where your vehicle can go. Beyond this, the nature will take you on for the walk of your life.
|Some More Great roads|
|Road To Mandalpatti|
|View of Kotte betta (named so since it looks like a fort)|
|Signage near Abhifalls|
We were back to Madikeri for lunch and left to Bengaluru. We reached Bengaluru by 11:00 pm.
Places visited: Kushalnagar, Somawarpet, Honnammana Kere, Hatti Hole, Mandalpatti and Madikeri.
Route: Bengaluru-Mysore road till Srirangapatana. Then take the bypass road (Ranganathittu bird sanctuary road) , Yelawal - Kushalnagar -Harangi Dam -Somawarpet -Honnammana Kere –Somawarpet – Hatti Hole - Mandalpatti-Madikeri –Abbey Falls- Mandalpatti - Madikeri -Kushalnagar-Yelwal-Srirangapatana- Bengaluru.
Travel Distance: 700+ kms
Trip Date: 5,6 jun 2010. Caution: Reach Madikeri and then travel to Mandalpatti. Roads from Hatti Hole to Mandalpatti absolutely not suitable for bikes or cars.