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Old 10th February 2012, 13:47   #1
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Thumbs up Fauji's drivologues - Marriage an excuse, Drive a pleasure - Mullayanagiri and Bekal

Folks, another quickie from me again . This time it is to attend a marriage in Uppala near Kasargod. That is an excuse to drive over the hills, laze around the beach and ofcourse attend the marraige too!!!

We had told Ranjan Shetty - the guy getting married - that we will come to his marriage only if it is on the weekend. Ranjan works in my wife's team and a good friend. Everything falls in place and marriage is on 22 Jan 2012 in Upppala, a small town near Kasargod on Kerala - Karnataka Border. And we have an excuse to drive!! As a bonus, we call up Rajeev Nair, another hotelier friend now posted with Taj in Bekal - which opened only in December - and he makes sure that we stay there with minimum cost!!

We have two options

a) Leave early morning and drive straight to Uppala via Shiradi - Mangalore to reach by late afternoon, attend reception in the evening and other formalities the next day, come back home on sunday.

OR

b) Leave on the previous day and drive to Chikkamagalur. Stay with good friend Prakash of Thotadahalli estate - who now run possibly one of top five home stays in CKM - and then drive to Upppla via Charmadi after watching sunrise @ Mullayyanagiri. This means we have to leave after office and hit the road straight.

We decide to take second option and we pack our bags. Rest like they say was a pleasurable weekend drive over the hills, spending time on the beach, attend the marriage and get back on sunday.

We leave office around 4.30 and reach NICE road at Electronic city by 5 PM. The drive from there till Chikkamagalur is a breeze. I was expecting congestion near the toll booth on elevated road but fortunately there is none and we reach Thotadhahalli by 9 PM.

Prakash and Pallavi own 65 acre Thotadhahalli estate at the foot hills of Mullayyanagiri. A year back homestay bug bit them and they established a beautiful homestay in their estate. Aesthetically done rooms with excellent food, it is possibly one of the best in CKM. I am saying this not because Prakash is my friend. The bungalow and surroundings have immaculate lawns, flower beds and large area for kids to play around. Pallavi is a top notch bonsai specialist and you will be amazed to see her bonsai collection.

www.thotadhahallihomestay.com

We have dinner with Prakash and Pallavi and hit the bed so that we are up in the morning for sun rise in Mullayyanagiri. I am not sure how many times i have seen the sunrise/sunset in Mullayyanagiri. But everytime, it is a humbling experience. The calm and quiet surroundings - especailly during sunrise, the hills, the mist, the fresh air, the greenery.........what better way to begin the day with .....

This time is no different. Let the pictures take over the rest of kahani!!

We get up early and hit the winding road leading up to Mullayyanagiri. Staying close to the Giri was a boon - it is just 15 mins drive from estate. There is no traffic and is a pleasant drive up the hill.

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The place is quiet as move towards parking lot. Surprisingly there is no mist and we are happy that we will be able to see good sunrise. When we reach we find three other vehicles - two cars and a tempo traveller - and loud music. What the heck. The music is coming out of TT which has brought a group of families - all educated middle class and possibly IT folks - who have climbed up leaving behind some kids and a lady. The loudspeaker is blaring the songs from "Band Baja Baarat" in full volume spoiling the whole atmospehere. I tell them to switch it off and enjoy the nature. They don't like my comments but switch it off. Why are people so deperate to crete a "Noisy city atmosphere" where ever they go? If that is the aim, why can't they stay back in their own home. It is sad.

The sun comes up in all glory.

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Hills, Hills, Hills everywhere. The rays of morning sun carassing the peaks making them glisten and shadow play around them is mesmerising.

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We return back satiated. After an excellent breakfast, we bid good bye Prakash and hit the road to Upppala via Mudigere - Charmadi - Ujire - Belthangady - Bantwal - Mangalore. The road through out is good except for small spots at the hair pin bends near Charmadi viilage. The views from Charmadi ghat is something to be savoured. We had driven on this during monsoon and now it looks different. Where are the water falls we had seen then?????

Views from Charmadi

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We comfortably reach NH 17 and cross Netravathi bridge near Ullal. The road is getting widened an traffic is heavy. We slow down a bit.

Netravathi river

Fauji's drivologues - Marriage an excuse, Drive a pleasure - Mullayanagiri and Bekal-dsc_1505.jpg

We reach Taj Vivanta, Bekal around 3 PM. This is a new addition to Taj properties and will provide a stiff competition to The Lalit which is the first one to set shop in Bekal.

To be concluded - Taj Bekal, the Bekal fort and lovely drive back via Taliparumba
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Old 10th February 2012, 14:05   #2
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Default Re: Fauji's drivologues - Marriage an excuse, Drive a pleasure - Mullayanagiri and Be

Just that I dont have such reasons to drive!@
The sunrise snap is very nice! That is a keeper.
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Old 10th February 2012, 14:24   #3
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Default Re: Fauji's drivologues - Marriage an excuse, Drive a pleasure - Mullayanagiri and Be

Too lazy to look up updates in the Routes/Travel Queries section; how is NH17 now from Mangalore south-wards?
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Old 10th February 2012, 15:27   #4
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Default Re: Fauji's drivologues - Marriage an excuse, Drive a pleasure - Mullayanagiri and Be

Quote:
Originally Posted by ampere View Post
Just that I dont have such reasons to drive!@
The sunrise snap is very nice! That is a keeper.
Thanks Ampere. It was a lucky opportunity which we did not want to miss.

Quote:
Originally Posted by skandyhere View Post
Too lazy to look up updates in the Routes/Travel Queries section; how is NH17 now from Mangalore south-wards?
The road condition from Mangalore down south towards Kerala is excellent. Till Kasaragod, road widening is in progress but road condition is good. Beyond that the road condition is very good though it is a double lane road.
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Old 10th February 2012, 16:17   #5
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Default Taj Vivanta @ Bekal, Bekal fort and nice drive back home

Taj Vivanta in Bekal opened in December last year. It is not much publicised. It is a beautiful property and has stamp of Taj. The location is fantastic. The resort is located at the confluence of Kappil river with Arabian sea. The architectural design resembles Balinese resorts with tatched roof etc (Not sure how they will manage during monsoons). It is spread out - i think the property is 200 acres - and has access to Kappil beach making it almost a private beach in sitself. It has two categories of rooms - Tower rooms and Plunge villas. The "Asia's largest Spa" spread over 2 acres is under construction. Here are some pictures

Balcony with "Day bed". You have to give it to marketing guys for coining these new words!!

Fauji's drivologues - Marriage an excuse, Drive a pleasure - Mullayanagiri and Bekal-dsc_1512.jpg

The view of the river from Balcony

Fauji's drivologues - Marriage an excuse, Drive a pleasure - Mullayanagiri and Bekal-dsc_1516.jpg

The Room

Fauji's drivologues - Marriage an excuse, Drive a pleasure - Mullayanagiri and Bekal-dsc_1517.jpg

Plunge villas

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Entrance to a Plunge villa

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"Day bed" and plunge pool

Fauji's drivologues - Marriage an excuse, Drive a pleasure - Mullayanagiri and Bekal-dsc_1531.jpg

Exterior landscaping

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The Lounge bar

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The pool - Notice confluence of river with sea

Fauji's drivologues - Marriage an excuse, Drive a pleasure - Mullayanagiri and Bekal-dsc_1544.jpg

Fauji's drivologues - Marriage an excuse, Drive a pleasure - Mullayanagiri and Bekal-dsc_1685.jpg

We walk down to the beach and spend some time there watching the sunset and play in waters. The beach is empty and clean. This is not part of fishing area and there is no stench either. After seeing another lovely sunset - though cloudy in the end - we get back to get ready for the marriage reception.

The sun, sand and the sea!!

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Fauji's drivologues - Marriage an excuse, Drive a pleasure - Mullayanagiri and Bekal-dsc_1618.jpg


The plan is to visit Bekal fort next day, have breakfast and drive back home. We get up lazily and check out and head straight to Bekal fort. This fort was virtually unknown to people outside Kasargod till Mani Ratnam beautifully shot one of most poignant songs of BOMBAY "Tuhire Tuhire" here. After that this has become visible and part of tourist circuit.

If you haven't seen/heard the song, here is the You tube link



It is a simple fort built overlooking arabian sea. There is no architectural grandeur here. It is impregnable as it is built on a highground. For more details you can look at this Wikilink.

Bekal Fort - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The fort

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Fauji's drivologues - Marriage an excuse, Drive a pleasure - Mullayanagiri and Bekal-dsc_1717.jpg

Bekal Beach as seen from fort

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Fauji's drivologues - Marriage an excuse, Drive a pleasure - Mullayanagiri and Bekal-dsc_1703.jpg

Arabian sea as seen through the fort
Fauji's drivologues - Marriage an excuse, Drive a pleasure - Mullayanagiri and Bekal-dsc_1704.jpg

Watch tower as seen through the pigeon hole

Fauji's drivologues - Marriage an excuse, Drive a pleasure - Mullayanagiri and Bekal-dsc_1714.jpg

The sights of the sea from here is lovely. The sad part is that the fort is open only till 5.30 PM which means one can't see the sunset from the ramparts of the fort. After spending an hour in the fort we move back to marriage hall, have breakfast and bid good bye to Ranjan and hit the road.

We had two options again. To go via Mangalore - Shiradi or via Taliparumba - Iritty - Virajpet. I call up H V Kumar and ask his recommendation. I ask him about road conditions on Taliparumba - Virajpet stretch. He gives thumbs up except for few bad patches and we are now on the home run.

What a pleasnt surprise this route turns out to be! HVK had actually told us that the road goes through some beautiful areas of Wayanad district. How true it is. The road is winding and narrow. Fortunately we are driving on sunday, there is no traffic on the road and we can do decent speeds. But road condition is excellent throughout till Virajpet. It goes through beautiful scenic areas of Wayanad. Kutthupuzha river forms beautiful landscpe on its journey.

Waterways and beautiful landscape!!

Fauji's drivologues - Marriage an excuse, Drive a pleasure - Mullayanagiri and Bekal-dsc_1720.jpg

Fauji's drivologues - Marriage an excuse, Drive a pleasure - Mullayanagiri and Bekal-dsc_1723.jpg

The surprise is when we enter Karnataka border. The road continue to be good and goes through Brahmagiri Wild life sanctuary. There is always a possibility of sighting wild animals in this stretch.

From Viarajpet, the road till Gonikoppa is good and then onwards to Hunsur is broken with potholes. I don't foresee this section getting repaired soon as i could see road side trees getting cut for widening.

Hunsur - Ilwala - Sri Rangapatna is a breeze as usual. More humps have come up on Mysore - Madikeri road. However, I am sceptical of Bangalore - Mysore road but i don't have a choice today. I keep my fingers crossed and to our luck, the road is pretty empty throughout except at the signals in Channapatna and Ramanagara. A customry halt at Maddur Tiffannys for Maddur Vade + Coffee and we are back in Bangalore at 8 PM.

A weekend well spent and rejuvenated to go back to work on Monday. I hate Mondays. Who doesn't?

Vital Statistics

Fauji's drivologues - Marriage an excuse, Drive a pleasure - Mullayanagiri and Bekal-beka.jpg

Total Distance - 998 KMs
Road condition - Excellent except Gonikoppa - Hunsur stretch
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Old 10th February 2012, 16:29   #6
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Default Re: Fauji's drivologues - Marriage an excuse, Drive a pleasure - Mullayanagiri and Be

Just one word WOW!!! now I know from where you shared those snaps in the other thread!!!. The sun rise one is the best how was the road from Mullayangiri to Bekal?
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Old 10th February 2012, 16:46   #7
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Default Re: Fauji's drivologues - Marriage an excuse, Drive a pleasure - Mullayanagiri and Be

ooh hooo Capt.!! This is like one trip every weekend in the last month! Those snaps are awesome. Lucky that you didnt have the mist play spoil sport at Mulliyannagiri.

Taj Bekal seems to be a neat place.

Must say the Bekal Fort has not changed much from what I saw during my college days.

Capt. you must start something like the Lonely Planet, I will set up a publishing company for you
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Old 10th February 2012, 16:49   #8
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Just one word WOW!!! now I know from where you shared those snaps in the other thread!!!. The sun rise one is the best how was the road from Mullayangiri to Bekal?
Hey Asdon...thanks.

The road from Mullayyanagiri is via Mudigere - Kottigehara - Charmadi - Ujire - Belthangady - Mangalore - Kasaragod. It is very good except for few spots on Charmadi ghat. The traffic on Mangalore - Kasaragod is heavy and road widening is also happenning. But the condition on this stretch is also good.

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Prakash and Pallavi own 65 acre Thotadhahalli estate at the foot hills of Mullayyanagiri. A year back homestay bug bit them and they established a beautiful homestay in their estate. Aesthetically done rooms with excellent food, it is possibly one of the best in CKM. I am saying this not because Prakash is my friend. The bungalow and surroundings have immaculate lawns, flower beds and large area for kids to play around. Pallavi is a top notch bonsai specialist and you will be amazed to see her bonsai collection.

www.thotadhahallihomestay.com
The weblink is wrong and the correct link is here

Home

Last edited by mobike008 : 11th February 2012 at 10:53. Reason: Back to back posts. Please wait for 30 Mins before next post or use EDIT button to make changes to existing post.
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Old 10th February 2012, 23:18   #9
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Default Re: Fauji's drivologues - Marriage an excuse, Drive a pleasure - Mullayanagiri and Be

Great snaps Captain (as always).

Looks like nothing comes between you and the Scorpio on the weekends :-)
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Old 11th February 2012, 00:47   #10
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Default Re: Fauji's drivologues - Marriage an excuse, Drive a pleasure - Mullayanagiri and Be

Captain, thank you very much for posting these photos. My home is very close to Bekal and Kappil beach. You can imagine how happy I must be to see these photos.

The Taj Vivantha resort is very beautiful. I missed a good chance to visit it last time I went home.

When I drive back to Bangalore, I usually take the following routes:

Kanhangad - Panathur - Baghamandala - Madikeri - Mysore - Bangalore

Narrow and not so good roads between Panathur - Baghamandala. But the drive through the forests is worth the effort. The rest of the route has good roads.

Kasaragod - Cherkala - Sulliya - Madikeri - Mysore - Bangalore

The road between Sulliya - Madikeri is discouraging. I avoid that most of the times.

I also thank you for the beautiful pictures of Mullayingiri.
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Old 11th February 2012, 06:46   #11
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Default Re: Fauji's drivologues - Marriage an excuse, Drive a pleasure - Mullayanagiri and Be

@Fauji sir - again a wonderful travelogue this time short and crisp ! Pictures are beautiful, thanks for sharing.
How are the Tower rooms and Plunge villas priced at Taj, Bekal ? It seems to be a very nice place.
I'd skipped the visit to Bekal when I visited Mangalore last year mainly due to bad conditions of roads at that time but now this is definitely on my list, will possibly combine this with a visit to Calicut sometime soon.

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Old 11th February 2012, 08:09   #12
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Default Re: Fauji's drivologues - Marriage an excuse, Drive a pleasure - Mullayanagiri and Be

One has to give it to you for cranking up the zaniest of excuses to drive!
And that too to the North Kerala coast via Chickmagalur!

Pity that more and more trees are being cut down to widen roads - and they are not replanted wither!

ThunderBird, how is the Kanhangad-Panathur-Bhagamandala road now?
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Old 11th February 2012, 09:48   #13
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Default Re: Fauji's drivologues - Marriage an excuse, Drive a pleasure - Mullayanagiri and Be

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ThunderBird, how is the Kanhangad-Panathur-Bhagamandala road now?

Sir, as always the roads from Kanghangad - Panathur - Karike are in good shape. After Karike, the condition deteriorates and remains that way for the next 15 kms. Not many potholes but some portions of the road has lost tarmac.
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Old 11th February 2012, 10:20   #14
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Default Re: Fauji's drivologues - Marriage an excuse, Drive a pleasure - Mullayanagiri and Be

Thanks for the wonderful travelogue. I think I have decided on the holiday spot during my next trip to India

Last year we went to Bekal Fort (on the way back from Kollur), but they were so strict about the 5:30pm closure, and did not allow us inside.
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Old 12th February 2012, 11:24   #15
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Default Re: Fauji's drivologues - Marriage an excuse, Drive a pleasure - Mullayanagiri and Be

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Originally Posted by DieselDestiny View Post
ooh hooo Capt.!! This is like one trip every weekend in the last month! Those snaps are awesome. Lucky that you didnt have the mist play spoil sport at Mulliyannagiri.

Taj Bekal seems to be a neat place.

Must say the Bekal Fort has not changed much from what I saw during my college days.

Capt. you must start something like the Lonely Planet, I will set up a publishing company for you
Thanks Sandeep!! Yeah, last two months have given nice opportunities to go around. Bekal has not changed much than what we had seen eight years back except that you see palatial bungalows - i saw a imported convertible parked inside a bungalow - thanks to Gulf money!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by rakirank View Post
Great snaps Captain (as always).

Looks like nothing comes between you and the Scorpio on the weekends :-)
Thanks Rakirank!! Credit to snaps to Wifey who is the official photographer!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Thunderbird View Post
Captain, thank you very much for posting these photos. My home is very close to Bekal and Kappil beach. You can imagine how happy I must be to see these photos.

The Taj Vivantha resort is very beautiful. I missed a good chance to visit it last time I went home.

I also thank you for the beautiful pictures of Mullayingiri.
Thanks Thunderbird. Indeed, Taj is a beautiful property and will help build tourism in Malabar which is neglected cousin in Kerala. Kannur backwaters can rival alleppey/Kumarakom. Add to that Mapilla cuisine, you have all ingredients!!
Quote:
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@Fauji sir - again a wonderful travelogue this time short and crisp ! Pictures are beautiful, thanks for sharing.
How are the Tower rooms and Plunge villas priced at Taj, Bekal ? It seems to be a very nice place.
I'd skipped the visit to Bekal when I visited Mangalore last year mainly due to bad conditions of roads at that time but now this is definitely on my list, will possibly combine this with a visit to Calicut sometime soon.
Thanks Narayan. Being first season the tower rooms are being charged 8K plus taxes - one sould negotiate - and plunge villas must be around 12K upwards. Quite expensive though. Lalit in Bekal is still more expensive.

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One has to give it to you for cranking up the zaniest of excuses to drive!
And that too to the North Kerala coast via Chickmagalur!
Sirji, how can we miss the marriage of a friend which gives us a chance to drive. Driving in the hills is always fun and who can do better than you!!! Look at the Ladakh TL of yours which is just mindblowing!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by vb-san View Post
Thanks for the wonderful travelogue. I think I have decided on the holiday spot during my next trip to India

Last year we went to Bekal Fort (on the way back from Kollur), but they were so strict about the 5:30pm closure, and did not allow us inside.
Thanks VB San. Yes, it is a good place to explore Malabar region of Kerala.
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