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Old 1st October 2015, 13:10   #1
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Default When brown turns green – Ride to Chikmagalur!

They say ‘Seeing is believing’. I had to see Chikmagalur twice just to believe that it is not a brown place (last time I went there all I could see were brown mountains everywhere) but rather a serene lustrous environment with tall green forest and vast mountain ranges. 5 bikes, 8 friends and 2 days of completely surrendering amidst the beautiful landscape – was a total bliss to our eyes and souls

Chikmagalur, the first time I visited this place was in the month of January this year. And trust me what I saw wasn’t a good experience at all. May be I was stupid enough to go there at that point of time when all I could see was brown patches of mountains everywhere. This time around when one of our very close friend, Arun (there would be two Arun in this travelogue) came up with this 2 days trip to Chikmagalur I was the first person to say a big NO. I didn’t want to go so far and once again see the color BROWN. Then came the convincing mode of Atul, Arun no 2. and Arun no 1. – they showed me snaps of how Chikmagalur would look like at this point of time, how it will be green and amazing, how my vision would change from brown to green and what not. Somehow not convinced at all I reluctantly said yes and decided to go ahead with this trip. At least if nothing I can get some decent landscape pics.

Most of the route plan and accommodation was figured out by Arun no 1. The days of travel were 12 and 13 Sept.

Total travelers: 8
Riders: Arun 1, Arun 2, Mohan and Mahantesh (both Mohan and Mahantesh are Arun no 1’s friend)
Pillions: Megha (Mahantesh’s better half), Rakesh (Arun no 1’s friend) and me
Bikes: Thunderbird 500, Pulsar 150, Pulsar 200NS, KTM Duke 200, KTM Duke 390
Route: Nelamangala > Hassan > Sakleshpur > Mudigere > Chikmagalur > Kemmanagundi > Kadur > Arsikere > Channarayapattana > Kunigal > Nelamangala
Total distance covered: 753kms (as per Atul’s ODO)

Atul and me started from our home at around 4:45am and was supposed to meet the rest of the group near the Nelamangala junction towards Hassan. We took Nice Road via Bannerghatta Road and reached Nelamangala junction at around 5:20am. (Paid Rs 48 for toll). Arun no 1, Arun no 2, Mohan, Mahantesh, Megha, and Rakesh reached the meeting point by 5:40am. After some quick hi-hello, ice breaker and tea, we started our journey towards Hassan at 6am.

The cool morning breeze and empty highway, the ride was just simply awesome. All the time I pass NH48, it gives me a feeling I am seeing it for the first time – serene green nature on both sides of highway. We reached a restaurant called ‘Ananda Bhavan’ and stopped by for breakfast at 7:30am, by now we already covered 120kms. Masala dosa, idly vada, kesri bath, puri and tea – a sumptuous breakfast to energize us enough for the rest of the day. After food, bio breaks we continued our trip to Hassan. Though it was a bright sunny morning, the sunlight wasn’t very harsh and the ride was a pretty normal one all up till Hassan highway junction. As soon as you reached the cool town of Sakleshpur (we reached at around 11am), you immediately feel the aroma of wild forest and coffee estates. It’s a complete bliss riding through this beautiful town. We took couple of tea and petrol-filling breaks on our way to Mudigere. There were some minor hiccups with Mahantesh’s bike which was all sorted out.

We reached Mudigere and the roads were super bad, patchy, and dusty. The ride wasn’t comfortable at all, however, the only positive was the beautiful landscape and the greenery all along the way. After some rumbling here and there, we reached Chikmagalur town at about 2pm. Straight away we went to our hotel, ‘Vishwas Residency’ – a decent place with nice and cozy rooms. Three rooms were shared among 8 guys with a super awesome discount, thanks to Arun no 1. After some quick freshening up, we decided to head out for lunch as it was already 3pm and then go towards Mullayangiri. We literally hogged through our lunch in a place called ‘Dolphin’ – chicken, mutton and egg biriyani. Mahantesh and Megha had to head out as they wanted to have only veg food and this place served pure non-veg.

Done with our lunch we headed towards Mullayangiri at about 3:45pm. I was super excited of all to see whether I see a green or brown Chikmagalur this time around. We reached a view-point (don’t remember the name now), and OH MY GOD!! I just couldn’t believe what I saw. Wherever I turned my eyes, it was all green, green and green. I was full-on happy as now I can really see – Chikmagalur is so beautiful and the greenest thing I have ever seen in my life. The mountain ranges with full grown tall green trees, fresh grass on the grounds, the cool breeze, moist terrain and the lovely green atmosphere. I couldn’t ask for anything more. We spent some time here clicking pics and enjoy the nature. Not every day we get to see such beautiful frames of Mother Nature. At around 5:15pm we headed for Mullayangiri peak. We reached by 5:30pm, not much crowd at that point of time, we could easily park our bikes and started our climb up the peak.

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Just for some general knowledge gyaan, Mullayangiri is the highest peak in Karnataka and one of the best trekking spots. The view from the top was spectacular - green, smoky due to fog, mild sunlight, setting sun amidst the clouds all added to the serenity. I was personally very happy to see such a beautiful scenic surrounding. We all took pics, rested for a while – getting lost in this magnificent view. Luckily and even strangely, there wasn’t much crowd so we could have our own time there. What was most amazing was the setting sun amidst the dense fog, it created a blanket of golden smoke which just gave a divine feeling. This was by far one of the most marvelous scene I have captured with my eyes in recent times. Not only me, everyone just enjoyed this rare moment of their life.

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When it started becoming dark, we started descending down the stairs and left at around 7pm, didn’t want to be dinner for the wild bears and leopards – never know what comes in your way. After an hour we reached our hotel totally tired and exhausted. Everyone decided to take a rest for a while, freshen up and then go for dinner out. I took bath and thought of having a quick nap, the power nap converted into a ‘not waking up for dinner’ nap. Atul tried waking me up but all in vain. Other folks left for dinner at around 9:30pm. Atul got some paneer fried rice for me, I have absolutely no clue when I ate it how I ate – was still in deep sleep. Gulping the food, again I fall flat to sleep. Guess all other guys retired for the day by 11pm. And so this is how day 1 of a magnificent journey came to an end.

Next day started with Arun no 1 coming and banging everyone’s door to get up. It was around 8am and after a long tiring previous day I am sure we all wanted to sleep a bit more. Nonetheless, we still have yet another long day so without much tantrums we all got up and started to freshen up. It took all of us an hour to get ready and step out for breakfast. Went to a nearby veg restaurant called ‘Annapoorna’ and had some yummy food – rava dosa, masala dosa, poori, pongal, idly-vada, akki roti, tea and coffee.

At around 9:30am we got geared up, packed our bags and left the hotel rooms to head towards our ride up to Baba Budhangiri and Datta Peeta. The ride up the mountains was too mesmerizing as it was all covered with greenery and a blanket of misty cool fog. We stopped at multiple places to click pics with our bikes. On the way you can see the Manikhyadhara falls flowing through a fleet of stairs. We reached Baba Budhangiri at around 11am. This place is a pilgrim site for both Hindus and Muslims. We parked our bikes and enjoyed the serene nature. I somehow felt this looked like an Indian version of Scotland. The weather was excellent and the misty environment was just lovely. I could spent a whole lifetime amidst this splendid nature. We did cross a beautiful foggy lake as well on our way back. Before going any further we thought of having some quick snacks to satiate our hunger for a while – we had some boiled eggs, omelets, pulav, egg rolls, paratha with daal, bhajjis, tea – like whatever was available in that small kirana shops.

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By now it was 12:45pm and Arun suggested we should go to this amazing heavenly lake called Gaalikere, not many people would know about this lake. The ride to this lake was almost 4/5kms from Baba Budhangiri, complete off-roading for a very small stretch, pillions had to literally get off the bikes. And trust me once we reached the lake, it was like a WOW expression on all our faces. I have in my lifetime never seen such an amazing lake – it looked like a place from a different planet. The lake was completely covered with fog, a tree branching out from the lake banks, rocks – all these gave a very spooky surrounding atmosphere. We all sat down and enjoyed what we saw for quite some time. It was like attaining nirvana. Special thanks to Arun no 1 for showing us this fantastic place.

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It was already 1:45pm and we still had to go a long way towards Kemmanagundi. It also started drizzling a bit. We started our ride towards Kemmanagundi via Bhadra Tiger Reserve. This was the most amazing off-road trail I ever did in my life. Haunty forest on both sides, a road with no-road, water filled puddles, fear to spot any form of wildlife, and no form of human civilization – damn, it was no less than a movie. This hill range is an absolute beauty in terms of flora and fauna. I believe this is one of the unique and scenic ride that one can have amidst Western Ghats, one can find many free flowing water streams and falls all across the way. However, it is only recommended if you are going by private transport. There is no public transport that goes till Kemmanagundi as the road condition is very poor and it lies in Bhadra Tiger reserve so they do not prefer to take that road. We stopped by couple of spots to take pics.

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Around 5:30pm we reached the Kemmanagundi peak terrain and the forest check post. It was already getting to be dusk and with girls in our group we decided to not climb up the peak, but instead head back to Bangalore. This time around we took a different route to come back. So around 6pm we headed towards Kadur to catch up NH 48 by-pass via Arsikere and Channarayapattana. This was a state highway and had too much of traffic with many rash drivers. We stop by Channarayapattana to have some mild snacks (remember we are yet to have our lunch).

Around 8pm we hit the NH48, a small quick break and we started our journey ahead. Somewhere in between we had our dinner. Rest of the ride was a boring highway night ride – most of all already exhausted and sleepy. 12:30am we reached Nelamangala junction and this was the time to say goodbye to everyone. From here Atul and I were taking the Nice Road to BTM and others towards Yeshwantpur. Around 1am Atul and I reached home. Everyone else WhatsApped – reached safe and sound!!

One more lovely and memorable trip comes to an end. But when we all retired back on your beds, I am sure all of us were satisfied and contented for we had an amazing experience of our life. Until next time – hope Chikmagalur always remain GREEN!

Guess I have inspired many of you to take your next trip to Chikmagalur. Hurry up before it turns BROWN. Hope you liked reading the travelogue. Thanks!
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Old 1st October 2015, 17:09   #2
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Default re: When brown turns green – Ride to Chikmagalur!

That is a wonderful post Nandita. Such road-trips are always fun with friends. Now I also want to visit this place.

The photos too are stunning. Are you a professional? Thanks for sharing this travelogue.
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Old 1st October 2015, 17:51   #3
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Default re: When brown turns green – Ride to Chikmagalur!

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Originally Posted by nivatakavacha View Post
The photos too are stunning. Are you a professional? Thanks for sharing this travelogue.
@nivatakavacha - I am yet to attain the tag of being a professional, would consider myself still a learning photographer. It is my passion so trying my bit to do what I love doing.

Thanks once again
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Old 1st October 2015, 18:53   #4
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Default re: When brown turns green – Ride to Chikmagalur!

Was already drooling over the pictures and now the nicely written words make it even better! Absolutely stunning!

Question: Any particular reason you guys took the Sakleshpur - Mudigere route instead of the usual Belur route?

Cheers
Suhas

Last edited by Added_flavor : 1st October 2015 at 19:01.
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Old 1st October 2015, 20:21   #5
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Default re: When brown turns green – Ride to Chikmagalur!

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Originally Posted by Added_flavor View Post
Question: Any particular reason you guys took the Sakleshpur - Mudigere route instead of the usual Belur route?

Cheers
Suhas
Thanks Suhas!

As you already said, the Belur route is the 'usual' route, wanted to try out something different and more scenic. Hence took the Sakleshpur - Mudigere route. However, most part of this route was in bad shape.
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Old 3rd October 2015, 11:38   #6
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Default Re: When brown turns green – Ride to Chikmagalur!

Love it!

The best part of this travelogue is that the journey was done in normal bikes. Biker's spirit lives strong in this group.
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Old 3rd October 2015, 13:30   #7
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Default Re: When brown turns green – Ride to Chikmagalur!

Fantastic travelogue and really great pictures! I've been desperately waiting for some time off to ride down to Bangalore and meet my friend who relocated there. We haven't had a chance to hit the highways together in over a year and Chikmagalur is definitely on my ride-tinerary.

The fact that I came across this post just after getting my bike back from a service makes me wonder if the universe is telling me something
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Old 4th October 2015, 19:46   #8
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Default Re: When brown turns green – Ride to Chikmagalur!

We just returned from Chikmagalur this evening and I was pleased to see this thread! Fantastic pictures and it does justice to the kind of beauty that lies in the place. Though this is not the first time we visited, this was the best in terms of the greenery. To add to the beauty, there are lots of lakes around the town which is very peaceful and remote without much of human activities. Makes a wonderful place to sit and relax with some snacks.

Next time if you visit the place, consider staying in an estate. That will just be the topping on the cake. There is no better thing than a coffee in your cottage with the rains outside.
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Old 5th October 2015, 08:22   #9
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Default Re: When brown turns green – Ride to Chikmagalur!

Hi Nandita

I am happy that your perspective about Chikkamagalur has changed now, as it is one of the most beautiful places in Karnataka.

I have read most of your travelogue and good see that your photography skills are improving.

What I am most pleased to see is that you are wearing knee caps. I see a lot of irresponsible rider drivers going on long drives without proper gears. I am happy to see that you are actively wearing some protection.

Don't let the biker spirit die in you

Regards
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Old 5th October 2015, 15:35   #10
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Default Re: When brown turns green – Ride to Chikmagalur!

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Originally Posted by D'Artagnan View Post
Love it!

The best part of this travelogue is that the journey was done in normal bikes. Biker's spirit lives strong in this group.
Thanks. We believe that 'its all about the ride and definitely not about the rider or the bike'.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tushar View Post
Fantastic travelogue and really great pictures! I've been desperately waiting for some time off to ride down to Bangalore and meet my friend who relocated there. We haven't had a chance to hit the highways together in over a year and Chikmagalur is definitely on my ride-tinerary.

The fact that I came across this post just after getting my bike back from a service makes me wonder if the universe is telling me something
I guess you should pack your bags and head out to Chikmagalur soon. Thanks for liking the t-log though.

Quote:
Originally Posted by audioholic View Post
We just returned from Chikmagalur this evening and I was pleased to see this thread! Fantastic pictures and it does justice to the kind of beauty that lies in the place. Though this is not the first time we visited, this was the best in terms of the greenery. To add to the beauty, there are lots of lakes around the town which is very peaceful and remote without much of human activities. Makes a wonderful place to sit and relax with some snacks.

Next time if you visit the place, consider staying in an estate. That will just be the topping on the cake. There is no better thing than a coffee in your cottage with the rains outside.
Sure. @audioholic. This time was a quick 2 day trip. Will definitely plan an estate stay next time. Any good one you recommend?

Quote:
Originally Posted by chandrda View Post
Hi Nandita

I am happy that your perspective about Chikkamagalur has changed now, as it is one of the most beautiful places in Karnataka.

I have read most of your travelogue and good see that your photography skills are improving.

What I am most pleased to see is that you are wearing knee caps. I see a lot of irresponsible rider drivers going on long drives without proper gears. I am happy to see that you are actively wearing some protection.

Don't let the biker spirit die in you

Regards
Thanks Chandra. Safety always comes first whether it is riding or driving. So Atul and me (also, the team we ride with) take precautions to ensure we ride/drive safe.
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Old 5th October 2015, 17:18   #11
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Default Re: When brown turns green – Ride to Chikmagalur!

Wonderful photography! Looks like a nice, enjoyable ride!
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Old 5th October 2015, 17:44   #12
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Default Re: When brown turns green – Ride to Chikmagalur!

Good Travelogue Nandita. Beautiful photos

We were planning a Chikmagalur drive for some time now but never happened. After going through your TL, can't wait further
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Old 6th October 2015, 10:51   #13
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Default Re: When brown turns green – Ride to Chikmagalur!

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Wonderful photography! Looks like a nice, enjoyable ride!
Thanks Naveen.

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Originally Posted by iVento View Post
Good Travelogue Nandita. Beautiful photos

We were planning a Chikmagalur drive for some time now but never happened. After going through your TL, can't wait further
Thanks for liking the t-log @iVento. Hope you head out for Chikmagalur soon.
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Old 7th October 2015, 09:10   #14
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Default Re: When brown turns green – Ride to Chikmagalur!

Great travelogue, reminds me of our trip last year. I wasn't a Team-bhp member then but I can correlate to all the details of your travelogue clearly. We traveled by car as few ladies and kids were there, this trip was planned by my colleagues to take a 2 day break from our hectic work life to connect with each other and it turned out to be a great trip.

Attached memory is from Mullayangiri peak point.
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When brown turns green – Ride to Chikmagalur!-altaslmymkk8gmsdtqulabbxho7ngkijga9ns86la2z9gmw.jpg  

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Old 7th October 2015, 22:38   #15
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Default Re: When brown turns green – Ride to Chikmagalur!

What is the BEST route from Bangalore to Chikmagalur..?
As per google this looks to be the best bet:
Bangalore->Kunigal->Yadiyur->Channarayapattana->Hassan->Belur->Chikmagalur
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