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Old 23rd September 2011, 14:48   #1
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Bangalore
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Default Out Bound at Chikmagalur

It all started out with suggestions for a good place to have a team building outing and people were pretty sold out to Serai, Chikmagalur. That was in August 2011, when it was pouring. Well, it made my dream to be in the malnad monsoon come true.
Switch forward to September and the mood in the office had built up to a point where there was not a discussion without “Serai”, “chikmagalur” or such being mentioned.
Finally, 15th Sep and we were ready to move, some 45+ guys in a bus, 5 guys in their cars (cannt miss the drive opportunity!!) and 1 brave heart on a Classic 500!!
The plan was for all of us to drive over to the Mayura hotel in Bellur cross and have breakfast together. BUT, as luck would have it, the guys in the cars and the C500 had their own way and none of us had breakfast at the said location.
We (3 of us in my car) started off on the journey at 0800hrs from HSR layout (the last pick up point, other 2 were in Jayanagar) and managed to hit the NICE road through Hosur road by 0830hrs. Had a brief stopover at Shark dhaba for breakfast, a few minutes after Solur. Service was quick, fuss free and food pretty tasty. Thanks Fauji for suggesting the place.

Breakfast at Shark Dhaba
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The drive was pretty smooth and fast till a little after Bellur cross, thanks to the 4 lane highway. Managed to hit 140+kmph. It was a tad slower after that till we crossed Chennarayapattana, with the road becoming a single carriage way.
Reached Hassan by 1130hrs and nostalgia got the better of me and decided to drive down to Malnad College of Engineering (MCE) for a quick look around. The college has not changed much and brought back some fond memories.
There was a festive set up to the place with people milling around and giving strange looks to the big black car going around the campus.
Met up with Prof. Jayaram, who is now heading the mechanical department and is also the Vice Principal. Was informed that MCE is now a deemed university and that day (15th Sep 2011) was the Graduation day for the first batch. He even invited us to inaugurate the event and have lunch before proceeding further. Was not sure if I was made up for such an honour, had to politely decline and started to proceed towards our destination.

Snaps from the College
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To our nice surprise, found a wonderfully constructed indoor stadium adjoining the outdoor stadium too!!
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Further down the road and couldn’t resist the temptation to visit the room that was home to me for 4 long years. Saw it and felt at home again. No time to get down and explore further.
Turned around and continued the drive towards Serai.
The Hassan town road sucks, in fact there is hardly anything left to call it the road. Cursed our way out of the town and hit the road to Belur.

The road to Belur is well tarred and offer a very smooth drive. As we picked up speed there was a heavy downpour, relished the malnad “pour” after a gap of 15 years, felt wonderful. We made steady progress and hit the Belur-Chikmagalur stretch by about 1200hrs. This stretch is ridden with pot holes and pretty bad patches inbetween. There was a 2km stretch of road on the bank of a small lake, was a wonderful twisty to drive on. Envyed our C500 guy being able to hug the curves much better than us.
As we entered Chikmagalur, the rains almost disappeared, spare the occasional drizzle. As luck would have it, we lost our way and asked for directions to somebody standing in a house; the guy looked out as if we were speaking gibberish and stood dumbfound for a good 2min. Noticed a beautiful rocky beige thar approach us from the opposite side and waved him to stop. This guy was courteous enough to stop and asked us to follow him till a junction where he asked us to take a left turn into Mudigere road while he took off right.
Drive to Serai was going smooth when out of the blue we had the big black Laura jump up in the air a few centimeters with all the 3 of us saying what the hell!! Kept moving and one of us turned round to see that we had driven over a huge (probably 10inches in diameter) jackfruit which had missed the bus that was travelling in front of us!!
Reached Serai at 1240hrs to a cold coffee welcome drink and boy was it refreshing!!
Checked-in and dived into the pool, where 2 other guys in a Xylo had made it an hour before us.

Snaps from Serai
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The rest of the day was spent in fooling around the pool, a big lunch, some beer, a team bonding session (kabbadi and nothing less), dinner and a long time with colleagues talking over various things.

Don’t know when shut eye arrived…

Day 2 started pretty early. Woke up by 0530hrs and was looking around on what to do. Lazed around in the room and found out that the rest of the gang has teamed up to climb Mulliyanagiri (highest peak in Karnataka at 6300ft.). After a lot of dilemma, decided to do the climb in the C500, which our friend was very generous to lend since he had a few office stuff to attend to (office stuff in team building, come on, well, thanks to that we had the C500).
Prakash and me decided to do the climb together. This was the first time I would be riding the C500 so far (not too far just 60km). We put on the riding gear (actually just the shoes, jackets and helmet for me) and off we were towards the peak.

The Thumper
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The Thumped
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The C500 (actual even the other Bullets) has tremendous traction and power ofcourse, we were hitting 60kmph without too much of a trouble.
A cloud filled peak was waiting for us to conquer. This was an amazing experience with the thumper. Has to be ridden to be believed.

Mulliyanagiri from Kaimara
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We kept a steady pace and reached the final turn off for the climb (8km in all) and found the rest of the 45+ guys were already there and trekking up the road.
The sight of the thumper brought a loud cheer, the thumper acknowledged with a few loud bangs and off we started the climb.

The Foot Soldiers
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The Winding Road UP
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The handling of the thumper around the curves was extremely reassuring. There was not a single time when I felt that she would give up on me or would slip under from me. The road up was not very wet to start with but as we reached the clouds it started to become pretty windy and cold. While I had my helmet, Prakash had to make do with just the jacket for cover.
Reaching the top most motorable point, we saw the Xylo gang celebrating the conquest with their shirts off and shouting out loud. Guys were getting a little concerned to climb further up from there (there are 500 odd steps to be climbed to reach the 6300ft mark, where there is a small temple) but joined together to complete the conquest on foot.

The Changing scene as we climb UP
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Celebrations as we reach the foot of the 500 step climb
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Trekking up the 500 steps
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Resting the tired legs
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Long way to go still
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The peak was completely engulfed in clouds/fog whatever you call them, and we were chilled to the bone. A quick check told us the priests and the support staff up here could provide us with some hot coffee and even a meal if required. All of us gulped down the hot beverage and thanked the staff there for the much needed fluid.

Reaching the temple on top
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There was a small cave that the priest pointed to and said we could walk/crawl in for upto 1.5km. We went a little under 50meters and didn’t have any further courage to explore that place.

At the mouth of the cave
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The climb down was pretty uneventful. Re-sighted the scenic route, took a couple of more snaps and thumped our way back to Serai.

The First set of Foot Soldiers arrive as we start our decent
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The Climb down parting shot
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The whole exercises took us around 2.5hrs and were more than refreshing hours.
Waiting for us after the climb was a sumptuous lunch. Having filled our tummies, we retired to our rooms, had a refreshing bath, while a few of us had a rollicking time in the pool.

The plan was for me to return on 16th Sep since I had a few things to attend to at home. But then the weather had its effects and we had a couple of guys who had tcons to attend in the evening. Thought we would leave by 1900hrs and reach Bangalore late in the night. But got stopped from driving at night. We then decided to leave early morning on 17th Sep, so I would still be in time for the work at home.
The night was spent chatting and keeping ourselves amused with stuff. Hit the sack by 2300hrs with a plan to leave by 0430hrs.

Was woken up by Jai around 0330hrs and the 3 of us got ready to leave by 0430hrs.
The check-out procedure took some time, front desk had to be woken up and the system booted up and we finally left for Bangalore by 0502hrs.
The drive back was pretty uneventful and we hit the NICE entrance on Tumkur road by 0750hrs. We dropped Prakash at HSR layout by 0830hrs. There was way too much traffic on the NICE road towards Electronic city. It was 0911hrs when I reached home in Jayanagar.

Was a beautiful trip and a good (much needed) break from the routine. Now back to the grind and looking forward to the next break. Stay tuned……
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