Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Ride To the peaks of Westren Ghats

The last time i visited these places it was late monsoon, and we had ample time and luxury of warm and safe mode of transport and best of all i didn;t had to drive the car  :) , and the coldness and breez of the surrounding mountains will create a shiver in your body once you land outside of your car, coupled with that the amazing scenery surrounding the place and white , dark and silver clouds playing hide and seek around these mountains can make anyone feel truly out of this world experience, and if your a nature lover then you won't expect anything more than this.

Armed with memories of last trip, me and couple of my colleagues decided to visit the place again and explore around these places. but this time it was a true biker who's trying to come out of me and hit the tarmac. and not to mention that its summer time and all those greenery and all those mist on the mountains are replaced by skin burning heat and anger of the sun and miles of miles of dried out grass and plantation, certainly its not the best time to visit the place but the biker in us don;t care of these things ... for a biker only 2 things important .. the destination and the road towards it.

so the plan begin with a 2 days bike ride and covering most of the surrounding places and our destination set was Mullayanagiri [Chikkamagalore dist,] so me,vishal,sumanth and abhi all set to ride to this place on one fine weekend and finally with 3 bikes and 4 ppl plan got freez and dates fixed.

The Ride

we started around 5AM in the morning , the plan was to sync up near Nice junction on Tumkur road and i will be starting from my home and others will also gather around 6AM, i was able to wake up early and everything went according to plan and i was there at the sync up point well within time and it was the other 3 who are late arriver's  and it took almost 7AM before we started our journey, we rode pretty quickly towards Hassan road and with the new road laid, one can easily identify it with its thick black color still afresh and literally no sand or dust on it, although its summer but the morning temp is damn cold and even after wearing good hand glouse and riding jacket i was shivering from the cold wind slashing through the gaps of the jacket and hands and i was so desperate for the sunlight that the minutes were acting like hours ..   one thing is sure waiting always sucks ..either waiting for some thing or your girl frnd or Sun rays to hit the earth. after riding couple of distance we made a halt and it was good opportunity for me to warm up with the engine heat, there by making my bike a multipurpose utility :) .

finally the Sun heat started to build up and the morning coldness slowly turning in to scorching heat, soon we started to sweat in our heavy riding gear and started to feel like we are wearing more cloth than necessary .. which couple of hours back felt inadequate for cold, we reached breakfast point in Kamat highway restaurant and after quick breakfast took some time to relax before hitting the road, during couple of km's we were facing another problem .. i was feeling very sleepy due to effect of heavy breakfast and sweaty heat .. both are very dangerous combinations for bikers .. although an uncomfortable wet feeling due to sweat avoided sleepy riding but were pretty much tiered for doing nothing hard work.

On the way just took time to visit Belur and Around afternoon we were able to reach chikkamagalore city and after finding a decent hotel it was time to have some good food and relax, eventhough the city is surrounded by beautiful landscape and high mountains, the summer has taken its toll on the city, entire city is burning in heat and dust, it was surely not a pleasant ride with traffic signals troubling with stop and go traffic at some points, but due to less petrol Sumanth and Abhi were left behind near a petrol pump and separated with us, i had to wait for them for almost 30 min ahead.


Reaching the starting point towards Mullayanagiri took very less time once we left the city and after regrouping there and spending couple of minutes there, we have started the climb and with R15 and Bullet and Eliminator bikes it was not an issue at all, till we reached the peak we took plenty of breaks and spent good time in photography, after reaching the peak and spending little time, we realized that we need to plan for night stay at some other location, as per earlier plan we suppose to tent here on peak ..but due to water problem and food unavailability we decided to camp @ Kemmanagundi peak.

As the time passed we realized that we have to move on from Mullanyanagiri if we wants to camp @kemmanagundi as its already getting evening and reaching our destination might take time considering the road from Mullayanagiri to Kemmanagundi is not in good shape, soon it was non stop ride to downhill and started our journey towards Kemmanagundi , first half distance covered in good time as road was in ok condition and its lonely road with no-one around in the hill side and forests are making way for the road. the absence of human species gave the wild creature abundance opportunity to sing and dance in the wild...additing to that was the sweet music of our motors and smell of petrol burn from Bullet :D.

Soon we reached the View point on the midway and reached at right time for the sunset. we took good view of surrounding mountains and changing color of the sky every second as sun descends to its resting place for the day. although Day ended with Sunset but out owes has just begun and from there it was very painful journey to our destination, first of all roads are very bad state and its almost no road and lot of boulders, sands and gravels  all around the path, and adding to that there is no light and my stock R15 twin lights are useless for long distance. semi offroading in darkness of the night and in the middle of jungle and on mountains something which can't be forgotten easily.

we reached a hotel in kemmangundi from where the peak is just 2km distance and as per plan we have to pitch a tent on top for the night, so we took a big break at the hotel which provided us with food and water for the night and after spending some 2 hours near the hotel, me and vishal went to the top to scout for the place to pitch the tent, in the top there was a under-construction govt bungalow and the gates were locked so that we can't go any further... so we decided to park bikes there and walk inside the gates..soon we found some construction workers for bungalow and after requesting them for allowing us for the night to pitch tent in the top.. our plan seems to be working. soon we went back to hotel where Sumanth and Abhi were waiting, and brought everyone to the top after carefully parking our bikes at the bungalow gate for the night. 

It was around 9 pm and its total dark at the peak with only one flash light we are able to reach another view point and a small structure kind of thing which is constructed for the tourists and this place gave us good opportunity to pitch tents inside of that. after quick unpacking and pitching tents it was time to relax so we all sat outside on the grass and our frnds had some drinks while gazing on the starts which were clearly visible and its like a blanket covered with so many holes , due to pollution in cities we will not see the starts and its beauty but here there is no pollution noise .. just fresh air and lot of peace.

so around midnight i went to bed and rest kept Njoying there drinks and nature at max, i woke up early in the morning expecting to see some mist ..but due to summer there no mist and no breez ..which disappointing me little and  forced me to go back to tent to have some more sleep, by the time i woke up again it was 7AM and had to packup .. quickly we packed our tents back and after cleaning all the garbage and disposing it to nearby dustbin .. we headed for the next destination.... the Breakfast :)
The Day of Rocks and Sand ....

While having Breakfast .. we stick to the plan which we devised earlier ..which included a visit to famous Hebbe falls and by afternoon should return back towards B'lore to finish the ride.
so didn't had much time to plan for other things .. so we pressed ahead with current plan .. we reached a small muddy junction from where all tourists should hire a Jeep to the falls which happens to be some 12-16km distance from Kemmanagundi .. now the path leading to the falls is dirty stony path carved along the mountains and full of all kind of stones with variety of sizes coupled with red sand all over the place, the dust from the sand coloring the bike and its riders at every possible inch.

Now as we already decided to head to falls with bikes, so there was no confusion was there when the couple of jeep guys warned us that its difficult to reach the falls on bikes. finally we started rolling our bikes and first 2-3 km distance it was the usual kaccha road with lot of loose sand and rocks but some how ridable surface [flat], but as soon as we went further we realized why did the jeep guys warned about this road... it was completely offroad path and loose sand , gravels and big rocks posing some serious danger ..add to that was the incline/decline slopes and gorges created by rain waters .. for the first 10 min i was not bothered ..but soon i started thinking of returning as my R15 fairing and sleek tyres are no match for this offroading and the traction from  tiers useless it was like hell for me... while the Bullet and Eliminator some how managed to head forward. now becouse of R15's riding position also started giving pain in wrists and have to have too much concentration on riding and escaping the rocks and loose sand, the max speed on that entire stretch i was able to achieve is 15kmph .. and it took lot of time before we reach the base of the falls. now all that time i was wishing for only one bike "Impulse" .. and here it reminds that R15 is no where near to even for semi off-roading .. and i think i was the only guys with R15 who done this place .. and seriously i won't advice anyone to try with ur bike .. unless u have Duke or Impulse.

After reaching the base we took some time off to gather all the strength and energy to walk for another 1-2km to reach falls .. so we parked the bikes and secured the luggage in the near by house there [estate] and started our walk towards the falls .. now although we are happy to walk and very much relaxed .. i faced another problem i was wearing the riding shoes .. now its started to give me uncomfortable feeling .. and only place it given me advantage while on walking was near crossing the small streams i need not to take off those .. and water also won;t enter in side the shoes. after reaching falls we spent 2 hours playing in chilled water .. and for me it became nightmare to stay inside water more than 10 min .. as my legs almost froze with chilled water and started to pain.. after finishing our relaxed time around water .. we head back to our bikes .. and now i had even more worried as once again i need to take that off-road to reach back to kemmanagundi. due to body got relaxed in water .. it was little easy while coming back and also due to incline in many places ..didn;t face much problem .. although i dropped by bike 2 times from standstill point. after reaching back to that muddy junction ..most of the ppl amazed that we did took that path to reach falls on bike and even one guy shocked by seeing R15 did it.

Again we took some time off and after relaxing we headed towards B'lore soon as my R15 felt the tarmac below it started to roar in happiness.. by the time i reached Tumkur it was almost 8pm.. and it took another one and half hour to reach my home. all in all it was excellent experience especially the off-roading part which i am not gonna try again on R15.

Pics :