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Stone mantapa

View from quite, cool corner of stone mantapa @ Shivagange — Except for the sound of wind, it was dead silent.

No dust/polluted air. No honks/scary noises of vehicles. No one to disturb you. Just cool breeze.

One can sit for days without anyone pestering you.


I have started another blog “Payaniga” for all my travel tales.

For those who dont know Kannada —

(in Kannada) payana = travel, journey; payaniga = traveller.

ps: song for the time being – musafir hoon yaaro… :p

Bitten by the Riding Bug

Place Visited: Shivasamudra – Gaganachukki & Bharachukki
Route Taken: Bangalore – Maddur – Malavalli – Shivasamudra – Malavalli – Maddur – Bangalore.
Total distance: 306.3 KMs
Team: Girish (on his Electra),
Rana (Thunderbird),
Sachin (Red Pulsar 180) and
Prashanth (Black Pulsar 150)
Plan and Pre-plan:
Till 10 in the night on Saturday, my plan was to go to Chamundi hills alone and be back by evening. But thanks to Dr. Prithvi Raval, Here it is how internet comes to our help. I came to know about Girish’s plan of riding to Shivasamudra, a fellow BN through BikeNomad (Forum/Yahoo Group). I got Girish’s phone number from Doctor and confirmed about the trip. After discussing about which route to take, we decided to take Mysore instead of Kanakapura road. Reason being – 4 lane highway for about 80 KMs. Our plan was to meet at Banashankari around 0630 hrs, and from their start the journey.

L to R: Me, Sachin, Rana and GirishIntroduction:
Got up early @ 0520. Thats too early on a Sunday morning. By 6, I was mounting my Cramster Turtle on my Black Pulsar. Called up Girish confirming that I will be in Banshankari by 6.30 and started to the meeting place by 6.05. I was there by 6.25 and was expecting those guys to turnup bit late. But surprisingly they turned up in time. After brief introduction – just got to know the names and handshakes.After air-check of Girish and Sachin’s bike, I was leading the way since other three didn’t knew the route to Mysore road.

Fuel hunt & Breakfast:
Intial 40-45 KMs was a bit slow, searching for a petrol bunk which accepts credit card. Sachin was adamant to pay by cash. But he gave up, and filled his bike in Ramnagara by paying by cash. Once filled, we speeded up towards Maddur, our next stop – for breakfast. Reached there by 9 or so. Had breakfast in a hotel just before Maddur and a brief photo session.

Rana's Thumper Our journey continued and we took a left just after Maddur. The milestones were saying we are still another 45+ KMs from our destination. Our next stop was in between Malavalli and Maddur (Don’t remeber the place’s name). It was very scenic – paddy fields on one side and a water-body on the other. It was time for another photo session and flex our muscles.

When we were about to leave, there came an another group of bikers and stopped for photo session, some 200 mtrs ahead of us. After the brifge, the standard of the road started detirorating. By the time we had covered, we were on bumpy road full of potholes. And hence our speed dropped. Once we crossed Malavalli, road became better and were back to higher speed. Our next stop was ‘Shiva Hydroelectric Station’ – since no one is permitted inside (security issues), we headed towards the falls.

When we reached Gaganachukki, all of us were desperate to jump in to the water. But the local shopwala said its very dangerous to go near the foot of the falls. And he suggested us to move further up where we can easily take bath. We followed his directions and found a very much suitable place for taking bath. Rana was first to jump into the water and last to come out. Its very easy to convince a hippo to make him come out of water than making Rana coming out.

After spending a good one hour in water, we headed towards Bharachukki. First thought that came to our mind was – “We should have come here first before going to Gaganachukki” :(. In the end due to time constraints, we decided not to jump in to the water. Instead we took a boat ride (not exactly a boat, its circular in shape and made of bamboo – we call it as ‘theppa’ – ‘?????’ in Kannada.

We started of back towards Bangalore around 2PM after a brief visit to Darga near Bharachukki. Stopped for lunch @ Malavalli. After reching the Mysore road, we (Sachin and Myself) lost track of Rana and Girish. So almost 40 KMs was total economy ride, riding at 40-50KMph and takind breaks every 10-15 KMs to cool our *you-know-what*. Both of us reached Kengeri by 6.30PM and still no sign of Rana and Girish. As both of us had other appointments, we departed. From there, I went my friend’s house and then back home. Reached home at 7.30PM and my bike’s tripmeter showing 306.3 KMs – so far longest ride in a day for me.

That was the end of my first ride in a group. But still the beginning – still a long way to go. As Srikeerti says – “Another weekend, another place visited, another satisfied biker.” :)


Boat way, originally uploaded by Prashanth Manikya.

Varanga, a jain pilgrimage is approximately 75 KMs from Mangalore and 45-50 minutes journey from Karkala. It’s a small village well known for the jain temple (basadi) which is in the middle of a pond. The basadi is called as ‘Kere Basadi’. The basadi is also a chaturmukha basadi similar to the one in Karkala. On all the four sides of the basadi statue of 22nd Thirthankara Neminatha, is established. Only option to reach the basadi is by boat – they charge a nominal fee of Rs. 2 per person for the trip.

Kere basadi, originally uploaded by Prashanth Manikya.

Mission Munnar

Munnar Snaps

There was this continuous hum of the engine along with murmurs and frequent laughs. I don’t know why these engines, their sound come in dreams. After some time, the engine sound died and the murmurs also – I guess the dream weaver listened to my request. Suddenly the chill wind started blowing, and I was about to ask my roommate to switch off the fan. As I opened my eyes to call him, I saw blurred images walking outside the window and saw the Sun God rising behind the clouds and a group of coconut trees. By the time I came out of my drowsiness, I realized that I was sleeping in a vehicle on that sunny Saturday morning. Sripathi, Shyama, Shreyas, Raghu, Rajesh, Abhi and Vijay were chatting outside the vehicle. There we were en route to Munnar, much awaited dream-come-true trip.

It all started when Sripathi sent a mail on 19th Nov calling for trip. I thought this call as a routine one. Routine in the sense like I had sent a mail lot of times in the past 2 years calling for a trip; Shyama also had sent. We had loads of discussions whenever we met in Bangalore. But this call was not a routine – responses started coming from all different directions – finally we decided on ‘Munnar’ for a two days’ trip on 4th and 5th Dec, 04.

According to our plan, we were supposed to start from Bangalore at 5 in the evening on Friday Dec 3rd. This was the team for the trip – Sripathi, Shreyas, Shyama, Raghu, Abhi, Vijay, I and the last entry Rajesh. To everyone’s astonishment, late latheef — Sripathi was on time and everyone except Raghu and Vijay were waiting in Shreyas’ house. Vehicle, Tempo traveler was late by an hour and thirty minutes. After the ‘puja’ rituals we started at 6.45 PM, picked up Raghu and Vijay on the way. Hours went like minutes with our non-stop nonsense and soon all of us were hungry. We stopped some where near Hosur – don’t know the exact place – and opened the dinner packets from Shreyas’ house. Lemon rice and curd rice – they were damn tasty. After the delicious dinner, we were back on road. Again, we started of with loads of PJ’s and also plenty of incidents of college days remembered – good old internals, classes, lecturers, and funny incidents in the classes. Soon afterwards, one by one dropped to sleep.

As we had planned, we were supposed to reach Guruvayur by 7 AM on Saturday, but were still near Salem at that time due to headlights problem. But our still our spirit was high, had loads of fun and plenty of photo sessions, especially Sripathi’s Highway dance. Finally we reached Guruvayur by 11 AM, went to the temple and were back to our vehicle by 2 PM after waiting in the long queue for the ‘darshana’. Everyone was hungry, so we attacked our food packets, thanks to our moms for those plenty of chapathis and side dishes. Due to insufficient time, we dropped our plan of going to Alleppey and started our journey towards Munnar – the place of misty mountains at 3 PM.

We reached Munnar town at 9 PM, after a journey full of PJs, going back to our good old college days, Sripathi’s practical jokes and not to forget few cold wars & exchange of words within the group. On the way, we stopped at ‘Cheeyappara water falls’, but the timing was bad. Water fall was faintly visible to our eyes in the dark at 7-7.30 in the evening and was invisible to our cameras. There we got a pineapple seller who was selling them for very cheap. We bought 50 fruits in total and apart from those we ate some 5 or 6 there itself – don’t ask the result of this next day. We got a place to sleep in Munnar – a small dormitory having 10 beds in one big hall with 2 baths attached. We went out for dinner in the cold which was touching our bones and back to cozy bed by 11PM. Everyone were sleepy but the enthusiasm or the ‘josh’ within kept everyone awake and again we had a great time pass. As the time rolled by, one by one surrendered to the sleep.

Trip plan was ready for Sunday – Shreyas, Rajesh and Raghu had collected required information from localites. After a long time I got up so early on a Sunday morning, by 7.30 everyone were up and ready for the outing. We checked out from the dorm, and started towards Munnar top-station. On the way we stopped at one lake – don’t remember the name – have to ask Shreyas for the name. Had a quick photo session over there and we missed the route to top-station and went in a different way – roamed around in between plenty of tea estates, but fortunately got back to the correct road. On the way again, we stopped at echo point – not to forget – had lot of screaming, whistling in the echo point. And the next destination was ‘shooting point’ – I had confused it for firing point used by military people, but that was a film shooting point?. Next was the Munnar top-station.

We were in the clouds, nothing was visible just clouds – we were just floating. Just for the patch of land where we were standing nothing was visible. The visibility was reduced to few meters due to the heavy fog. From the parking place to the view point was almost 300 to 400 meters – we need to climb down to the point. After the quick descend, needless to say we had photo session, took rest and had another round of informal discussion and recalled good old days – Gone are the days but not memories. But, one thing which man has never able to conquer – Time – was running out. We started back from the top station to Munnar town. On the way, we stopped at Matupatti dam – very beautiful place for boating, but there was a long queue for boating. So we dropped the plan of boating, but there were plenty of colorful butterflies flying around the boat house, had a good time over there with the butterflies. And journey started towards Munnar.

After a quick lunch in Saravana bhavan, vehicle started moving towards Rajamalai – which is a natural habitat of wild mountain goats. Such kind of species is living only in two places in the world – one in Kerala, the other in Australia. We hired a jeep for eight of us, since HMV were not allowed to the top of the hill due to small road. There, hundreds of people were searching for the wild goats. We entered the sanctuary premises with the hope of having a look of the goat. We wandered inside for more than one and half hours with no luck. But when shyama complained about this to the jeep driver while going down the hill, he just stopped the vehicle and showed us 4-5 goats and finally we managed to take photos of those rare goats.

From the foot of Rajamalai started our journey back to Bangalore at around 6 PM, to the same old routine after a 2 days’ break. According to the plan we were supposed to reach B’lore by 6 AM on Monday. But we had to a problem with the vehicle half, so we had to travel to B’lore from Thiruppur by bus. Finally we managed to reach B’lore by 1 PM. That was a well deserved trip to all of us.