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Old 6th March 2012, 12:09   #1
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Default Bangalore - Chikmaglur - Kemmangundi - Bangalore - on motorbikes

I will be posting the travelogue in multiple parts, otherwise, I will be out of my day-job too soon if I blog the entire trip together.

Part-1 - from Planning to Halebidu

The last motorbike roadtrip we had was nearly 4 years back. Many things happened since then - my kiddo was born, sold my bike, a long trip to US and back, bought another bike, etc. We'd planned many times since then but could never get around to execute it.

But, this time it was for real. My wife was going to hometown with her parents and the kiddo which gave me a 3-day opening. We had to plan in advance. Route was chosen such that there is no or minimal heavy traffic on it. Ruled out trips to Kerala, Mysore or TN - we've done those before. Hampi was the favorite destination up north, but it is all highway and heard too much heavy traffic on it. Chikmaglur was selected for the scenic route and popular points in between - Belur and Halebidu - known for the ancient Hoysala architecture temples. But Chikmaglur would need only 1 day of riding. Besides Chikmaglur was at the foothills of the western ghats - it would be unfair not to climb the ghats - therefore added Mullayangiri and Kemmangundi to the itinerary. We had no idea what was in store for us.

Day-1 - March 2nd

6:30am in the morning of March 2nd, Ramku and I met in front of IISc campus to begin our roadtrip. Helmet - check, Saddlebags - check, backpack - check, homestay bookings - check, Bajaj Avenger - check - off we go.

Bangalore - Chikmaglur - Kemmangundi - Bangalore - on motorbikes-tbhp1.jpg

As soon as we started from Bangalore we were greeted by a traffic jam. But it was over soon and we got on to a 6 lane Bangalore-Nelamangala highway. At Nelamangala, we turned left on NH-48 (Nelamangala - Mangalore highway) which was a 4-lane highway. The excitement of riding for next 3 days ensured we ignored how under-prepared we were for the morning chill. The monotonous straight line highway dissipated our enthu and the body began showing signs of cold - cramps and bodypain. We wished for the sun to show up little sooner than usual. We were in a catch-22 situation - if we ride slowly we prolonged our agony - if we ride fast, the chill would multiply and bite harder. Somehow we survived the ride to Channarayapattna where we stopped for breakfast at Kamat Upachar.

Bangalore - Chikmaglur - Kemmangundi - Bangalore - on motorbikes-tbhp2.jpg

Bangalore - Chikmaglur - Kemmangundi - Bangalore - on motorbikes-tbhp3.jpg

The body warmed up after a round of idli, vada, masala-dosa, kesari-bath and coffee. We continued the ride and were in a far better rhythm - in fact the first time we started enjoying the ride.

It takes a long time to get out of Bangalore, much longer to get the Bangalore out of you.

Halebidu

Soon we got off the highway at Hassan and turned towards Belur. The nicely paved 2-lane road was less crowded and frequent curves and ever changing scenery took the monotony out of the ride. At times, we dropped speed occasionally to check out interesting scenery - at other times we overtook each other to break the riding pattern. Halfway down that road we saw a right-turn to Halebidu and took it - thinking we will go from Halebidu to Belur to Chikmaglur.

Bangalore - Chikmaglur - Kemmangundi - Bangalore - on motorbikes-p1010866.jpg

At Halebidu we parked bikes next to a tender-coconut vendor hoping he would protect our bags and helmets - which were not locked. The sun was scorching by now, the jackets were off and tucked inside the bags. We had couple of much needed tender-coconut to quench our thirst and proceeded to the Hoysaleshwara temple. The sun was too bright, still managed a decent set of photos.

Bangalore - Chikmaglur - Kemmangundi - Bangalore - on motorbikes-tbhp4.jpg

Bangalore - Chikmaglur - Kemmangundi - Bangalore - on motorbikes-tbhp5.jpg

Bangalore - Chikmaglur - Kemmangundi - Bangalore - on motorbikes-tbhp6.jpg

We got back to our bikes and found everything intact. Thinking that the Belur pictures won't be as good in such a harsh bright light, we decided to go straight to Chikmaglur, have lunch, drop our bags at homestay and return to Belur in evening when the lighting was soft.

It didn't happen that way and thankfully so.
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Old 7th March 2012, 11:09   #2
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Default Halebidu - Chikmaglur - Mallandur

Part -2 - Mallandur - Coffeebean Homestay

Halebidu to Chikmaglur ride was awesome - frequent turns and nice roads - we stopped by near a water-body. By 2pm we reached the famous Town Canteen and had lunch there - no, not their famous benne-dosa but a regular meal of a tomato-rice and curd-rice.

Bangalore - Chikmaglur - Kemmangundi - Bangalore - on motorbikes-tbhp7.jpg

Bangalore - Chikmaglur - Kemmangundi - Bangalore - on motorbikes-tbhp8.jpg

Sticking to our new plan of going back to Belur after dumping our bags at homestay, we started for our homestay. Coffeebean Homestay is a coffee estate located in Mallandur, 20kms away from Chikmaglur, towards Muthodi. We thought it should take a maximum of 20 mins to get there. How wrong we were - the road took us straight into the hills. There, it turned and turned and then turned some more. At some time we lost track of the distance, got into a groove, and just enjoyed the hair-pin turns - reminded me of my weekend bike trips to Skyline Blvd in US. 40 minutes later we reached Coffeebean at Mallandur.

Bangalore - Chikmaglur - Kemmangundi - Bangalore - on motorbikes-p1020159.jpg

Bangalore - Chikmaglur - Kemmangundi - Bangalore - on motorbikes-p1020155.jpg

Coffeebean is a 100-acre coffee estate which primarily grows arabica coffee, peaberry coffee and pepper. Peaberry coffee-beans are the whole-beans, very strong flavor and popular in Tamil Nadu.

Bangalore - Chikmaglur - Kemmangundi - Bangalore - on motorbikes-tbhp9.jpg

Our energy levels were down to zero and unsurprisingly we agreed we are not going back to Belur. A cold refreshing lemon-and-ginger juice helped but we were fast asleep as soon as we were shown our room.

Bangalore - Chikmaglur - Kemmangundi - Bangalore - on motorbikes-tbhp10.jpg

The host Mr. Amarnath woke us up around 5 pm and served us a delicious and refreshing arabica coffee from his estate with biscuits. Mrs. Amarnath joined in and commented that we are the first folks to have come to their estate on motorcycles. They suggested we go to a sunset point nearby - kavi-kalmata - and arranged a Jeep for us.

Kavi-kalmata

Venkatesh, the highly skilled driver of the war-veteran Mahindra jeep, took us on a roller-coaster Indiana Jones ride thru coffee estates and steep gravel roads. Inspite of Venkatesh, the jeep could only go so far. From there, Venkatesh put on his guide hat and took us on an hour-long trek to the top of a ridge with deep valleys on both the sides. We had the beautiful valley full of plantations on one side and the raw forest of Bhadra sanctuary on the other side. There were no clear trails going up. It was getting dark and we had to start the climb down soon. We were getting nervous. To make things worse, Venkatesh lost the trail. Once the sun sets it would be pitch dark and nearly impossible to find our way back. And we were on the edge of Bhadra forest! Luckily Venkatesh found a trail, but not before Ramku and I endured a few scratches climbing down the non-existent trails.

Bangalore - Chikmaglur - Kemmangundi - Bangalore - on motorbikes-tbhp11.jpg

Bangalore - Chikmaglur - Kemmangundi - Bangalore - on motorbikes-tbhp12.jpg

Bangalore - Chikmaglur - Kemmangundi - Bangalore - on motorbikes-tbhp18.jpg

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Bangalore - Chikmaglur - Kemmangundi - Bangalore - on motorbikes-tbhp15.jpg

All along, Venkatesh talked to us about the mountain goats, wild-hens, Bhadra forest, genealogy of Mr. Amarnath, elephant fodder, plantation labor problems, local cheap drinks that give a 'kick,' etc. Venkatesh told us how 'small' Mr. Amarnath's 100-acre estate is - compared to 1000-acre estates around. I got a whole new perspective there.

By the time we got back to the estate, it was pitch dark... almost. The sky was clear - no clouds, no pollution - the half-moon shone more brightly than a full-moon does in a city. I pulled out my 10x-30x binocs and we lay flat on our backs on the estate frontyard floor to see the moon. A thought of regret must have occurred to the Amarnaths for letting bikers into their estate, fortunately they let us be. Ramku had some fundas on spotting planets - we claim to have spotted Venus, Jupiter and the red planet Mars.

Bangalore - Chikmaglur - Kemmangundi - Bangalore - on motorbikes-tbhp16.jpg

They offered to light a bonfire for us in their fireplace. We saw there was one bonfire already going near the security post, so we went and sat there - saving some wood and pollution. Ramku and I had our steaming soup there, then we went inside the house for dinner. A variety and tasteful spread of fresh dinner with specialties like thepla, vegetables, rice, sambar, curd, fruits and two varieties of desserts was served just for us. We were the only guests that night. Tired from the long journey and a hike meant, we went to bed early and slept like a log.

Day-2

We woke up to the sound of alarm at 6am and got ready for another hike at 6:30am. Our guide this time, Sridhar, didn't arrive till 7am. That gave us enough time to walk around the estate and enjoy the company of birds and flowers. At 7am, Sridhar arrived with another refreshing coffee, and we started to our second hike, this time on our bikes, to bande-kallu. Sridhar accompanied us on one of our bikes. We parked our bikes inside a house at the foothill and we started climbing. Within 30 minutes, we were at the peak of the mountain. It was a very steep walk thru a coffee-estate. As in the case of previous hike, the view from the top was spectacular. We could see endless waves of mountains on the horizon in all directions.

Bangalore - Chikmaglur - Kemmangundi - Bangalore - on motorbikes-tbhp17.jpg

After a brief stop there, we got down, picked up our bikes, got to the homestay, had a bath and went down where the breakfast was served. We hogged on the hot-from-tawa akki-roti and stuffed egg-plant vegetables sumptuously, followed by fruits and dessert. I couldn't say no to yet another coffee.

It was time to say goodbye to Coffeebean and Amarnaths and move to our next destination, Kemmangundi, via Mullayangiri.

The roads we choose decide the adventures we come across.
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Old 7th March 2012, 11:30   #3
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Default Re: Bangalore - Chikmaglur - Kemmangundi - Bangalore - on motorbikes

Nice Travelogue. This log is definitely bringing back memories from my bike rides. Hopefully, I do one soon.

By the way, Please do not ride without the helmets.
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Old 7th March 2012, 12:26   #4
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Default Re: Bangalore - Chikmaglur - Kemmangundi - Bangalore - on motorbikes

thanks.

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By the way, Please do not ride without the helmets.
Those two pictures at turnings were for posing only. We rode with helmets all along.
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Old 7th March 2012, 13:36   #5
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Nice T-Log Pachchu. Good write up with amazing pics! the lush green Bhadra forest in your pics remind us of our drive to Kudremukha where we witnessed similar lush green forest all around!

Waiting for Mullayanagiri and Kemmangundi bits now!
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Old 8th March 2012, 00:08   #6
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Default Re: Bangalore - Chikmaglur - Kemmangundi - Bangalore - on motorbikes

Hi, havent heard of those view points you trekked to. Seems like a great place for trekkers. How much did it cost including the jeep rides?
Waiting for your next leg of the trip

Cheers

VW
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Old 8th March 2012, 10:20   #7
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Default Re: Bangalore - Chikmaglur - Kemmangundi - Bangalore - on motorbikes

The first trek, kavi-kalmata sunset point, we went by jeep, it cost us Rs.600 for jeep and Venkatesh picked us up from the estate. It is 7KMs further (away from CKM) towards Muthodi. Somewhere we make a right turn and drive up the hill thru estates. I have Venkatesh #, if you want PM me.





For the second trek, we went on our own bikes (it cost us nothing except petrol for 7kms), so I know the directions very well.

This is the starting point (we actually parked in the house marked by the center of this map). you can do wine tasting there in that house after the trek and buy some if you want. It's 7km from Mallandur and half-km from the mainroad.

Wikimapia - Let's describe the whole world!

this is the exact destination - bande-kallu - once you look at the map, you'll why it's called that

Wikimapia - Let's describe the whole world!

View from the peak



Bangalore - Chikmaglur - Kemmangundi - Bangalore - on motorbikes-bandekallumap.jpg

Quote:
Originally Posted by VindyWheels View Post
Hi, havent heard of those view points you trekked to. Seems like a great place for trekkers. How much did it cost including the jeep rides?
Waiting for your next leg of the trip

Cheers

VW

Last edited by pachchu : 8th March 2012 at 10:43. Reason: adding my youtube video links
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Old 8th March 2012, 10:27   #8
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Default Re: Bangalore - Chikmaglur - Kemmangundi - Bangalore - on motorbikes

The sunset point sure looks very nice. With that green and the sinking sun it sure must
have felt heavenly.
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Old 16th February 2013, 00:23   #9
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Hi, me and my friends are going to drive to Chikmanglur tomorrow, can anyone help out with a decent place to stay as we are on a slightly tight budget (In the sense not everyone is willing to shell 3k for a room/night). Any help would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 16th February 2013, 00:31   #10
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Hi, me and my friends are going to drive to Chikmanglur tomorrow, can anyone help out with a decent place to stay as we are on a slightly tight budget (In the sense not everyone is willing to shell 3k for a room/night). Any help would be greatly appreciated.
You can try planter's court. Its about 3-3.5K for two people. So in effect the amount is half per person.
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Old 16th February 2013, 00:33   #11
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You can try planter's court. Its about 3-3.5K for two people. So in effect the amount is half per person.
Thank you very much Ampere. Appreciate it! Will call in for reservations tomorrow while on the way.
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Old 16th February 2013, 00:40   #12
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You can try planter's court. Its about 3-3.5K for two people. So in effect the amount is half per person.
I checked out the reviews on tripadvisor, seems like a lot of mixed reviews. What has been your personal experience of the place?
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Old 16th February 2013, 00:48   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NikhilSorot View Post
I checked out the reviews on tripadvisor, seems like a lot of mixed reviews. What has been your personal experience of the place?
The reviews are mixed no doubt. I have never stayed there. But as far as I know, thats the only main hotel in CKM (if you leave the 5-stars). Mostly you find home stays.
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