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Old 2nd June 2024, 12:13   #421
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Re: Living an evolved dream: My 2019 Kawasaki Ninja 1000 ownership review. Edit: 5 years up!

Weekend Ride to Kerehaklu Estate, Aldur (May 2024)

After a month of gap in April when the other steeds in the garage got their chance to stretch their legs on different trips, it was time for another extended weekend trip on the Ninja. The location of choice this time was a lovely coffee estate in the Chikmagalur zone bordering Bhadra wildlife reserve, roughly 40 km west of Chikmagalur town. This trip was to take us back to what we probably love doing the most among all our trip genres, hiking trails amidst nature. The better half had come up with a plan to stay and hike at the beautiful and rustic Kerehaklu Ecostay, nestled inside 300 acres of coffee, pepper and Avocado plantations. Kerehaklu estate supplies specialty coffee to many popular brands such as Blue Tokai, etc and I was told they have their own in-house brand too. Of course, lovely coffee aside, the main USP of this place (and the reason we were interested) was their concept of well-marked and colour coded DIY hiking trails inside the estate which anyone could take and complete based on their fitness levels and preferences. More on that later.

This was a simple extended weekend trip, so two nights and three days meant we had the first day for chilling around the property, the second day for a long hike and anything we wanted to do, and on the third day we would check out and ride back home. The bookings were done at least a month in advance, and it was a pleasure interacting with the owner of the property Mr. Ajoy Thipiah, who would later end up joining us on many of the activities later when we were there.

The distance wasn't much this time - just a simple ~290 km from home and an ultra-familiar route which has been beaten to death many times over. We decided to start a bit later than usual by around 6AM or so. There wouldn't be too much traffic on the highway anyway, because it was a Friday.

Our German shepherd didn't want to see us go out on another trip, and was lurking around the bike in the portico, trying to convince us not to go . On a lighter note, here is a wheelbase comparison of a MY 2019 Ninja 1000 and a MY 2021 German Shepherd Dog, almost evenly matched eh?
Living an evolved dream: My 2019 Kawasaki Ninja 1000 ownership review. Edit: 5 years up!-img_0109.jpg


It was a gloomy morning, what with pre-monsoon showers setting in early over Karnataka in the month of May and bringing summer to a premature end here. The weather was pleasant throughout the three days of this trip, to our surprise. Anyway, here is the better half taking a break while I adjust some music playlists, after we hit the first toll roughly ~60km into the ride
Living an evolved dream: My 2019 Kawasaki Ninja 1000 ownership review. Edit: 5 years up!-img_0122.jpg


We stopped at one of our favourite places - MTR which has a branch after Yediyur now. Needless to say, we enjoyed their signature Masala Dosas, Rava Idlis and filter coffee to wash it all down.
Living an evolved dream: My 2019 Kawasaki Ninja 1000 ownership review. Edit: 5 years up!-mtr_bfast.jpg


At a routine toll plaza 2-minute break before continuing the journey
Living an evolved dream: My 2019 Kawasaki Ninja 1000 ownership review. Edit: 5 years up!-img_0137.jpg


Post this we had a relaxed ride to Hassan and Belur, following which we stopped at Growers' coffee house, a quaint little cafe on the Belur - Mudigere highway, just to take a short break. The better half had cold coffee while I settled for their tender coconut Souffle
Living an evolved dream: My 2019 Kawasaki Ninja 1000 ownership review. Edit: 5 years up!-growers_coffee.jpg

Living an evolved dream: My 2019 Kawasaki Ninja 1000 ownership review. Edit: 5 years up!-img_0150.jpg


After this break, we entered the Mudigere - Aldur sector where we were welcomed by the vast expanse of coffee plantations on both sides. We weren't very far from our destination, so we stopped at a few places like this just to catch some sights and sounds of the recharged (by rain) greenery
Living an evolved dream: My 2019 Kawasaki Ninja 1000 ownership review. Edit: 5 years up!-img_0158.jpg


Soon we arrived at the fork where the last leg of the journey involved breaking off from the main road and taking this mud pathway to reach Kerehaklu estate. Thankfully the path was almost flat and didn't have too many sharp or big stones.
Living an evolved dream: My 2019 Kawasaki Ninja 1000 ownership review. Edit: 5 years up!-img_0162.jpg

Living an evolved dream: My 2019 Kawasaki Ninja 1000 ownership review. Edit: 5 years up!-img_0167.jpg


We reached the property and were soon welcomed by the owner Mr. Ajoy, who led us to our cottage. Here is an impromptu and temporary parking lot near the cottage area. Our good luck with crowd continued with this trip too - we were the only ones in the property that weekend, so we had the full place to ourselves!
Living an evolved dream: My 2019 Kawasaki Ninja 1000 ownership review. Edit: 5 years up!-img_0195.jpg


From where we parked the bike, there was a flight of stairs which led to a group of four cottages set amidst thick tree and plant cover of the surrounding jungles, adjacent to each other at varying levels of elevation.
Living an evolved dream: My 2019 Kawasaki Ninja 1000 ownership review. Edit: 5 years up!-img_0234.jpg


Narrow and steep flight of stairs set along a slope, for the cottage inhabitants to come back to the parking lot / dining area.
Living an evolved dream: My 2019 Kawasaki Ninja 1000 ownership review. Edit: 5 years up!-img_0232.jpg


This was our cottage, rustic yet elegant and matched well with the rustic surroundings
Living an evolved dream: My 2019 Kawasaki Ninja 1000 ownership review. Edit: 5 years up!-img_0231.jpg


The interiors of the cottage were typical of a wooden jungle log-hut cabin, rustic yet very clean and sufficient for a quiet weekend getaway in the midst of nature.
Living an evolved dream: My 2019 Kawasaki Ninja 1000 ownership review. Edit: 5 years up!-img_0168.jpg

Living an evolved dream: My 2019 Kawasaki Ninja 1000 ownership review. Edit: 5 years up!-img_0172.jpg


The bathroom was spacious and sufficiently equipped with all the necessary amenities too.
Living an evolved dream: My 2019 Kawasaki Ninja 1000 ownership review. Edit: 5 years up!-img_0173.jpg


The balcony outside had a couple of easy chairs to sit and admire the idyllic surroundings, watching the rain while we sipped on some piping hot coffee
Living an evolved dream: My 2019 Kawasaki Ninja 1000 ownership review. Edit: 5 years up!-img_0177.jpg

Living an evolved dream: My 2019 Kawasaki Ninja 1000 ownership review. Edit: 5 years up!-7de5c1_219eb19ef2264d35b612ff19a6da7e12mv2.jpg


The cabin had nice mesh-covered (to prevent bug ingress) windows on all sides, increasing the airy feel and allowing a view of the surrounding foliage from all sides.
Living an evolved dream: My 2019 Kawasaki Ninja 1000 ownership review. Edit: 5 years up!-img_0176.jpg


The host asked me to park the bike in his safe garage area, sharing garage space with his trusted steeds for the next two days.
Living an evolved dream: My 2019 Kawasaki Ninja 1000 ownership review. Edit: 5 years up!-img_0247.jpg


Soon it was time for lunch, so we headed to the dining area which was located above the flight of stairs. Here is a picture of the dining room area.
Living an evolved dream: My 2019 Kawasaki Ninja 1000 ownership review. Edit: 5 years up!-img_0236.jpg


There was also an open air bonfire area, but that was for the evening or night later on
Living an evolved dream: My 2019 Kawasaki Ninja 1000 ownership review. Edit: 5 years up!-img_0301.jpg


The interiors of the dining room were cozy and well lit up. We were the only ones in the property that day anyway, so the lunch spread was kept simple yet delicious.
Living an evolved dream: My 2019 Kawasaki Ninja 1000 ownership review. Edit: 5 years up!-img_0181.jpg

Living an evolved dream: My 2019 Kawasaki Ninja 1000 ownership review. Edit: 5 years up!-img_0183.jpg


Food was again a very noteworthy aspect of this property - most or all of the dishes were of the local Malnad cuisine, with special attention to detail given on locally procured and organic ingredients and freshly ground spices for every meal. We had our first taste of their food with this lunch on day 1, comprising local (to this region) rice balls called Kadubus, with local styled gravy dishes and accompaniments.
Living an evolved dream: My 2019 Kawasaki Ninja 1000 ownership review. Edit: 5 years up!-d1_lunch.jpg


After an early lunch, we lazed around in the room until 4PM or so. Then our host (and the estate owner) Mr. Ajoy met us in his 4x4 Bolero Invader, and took us on a ride through the massive estate, taking special effort to show us so many species of plants and trees and their significance in a coffee estate ecosystem. We also had fun tracking some pugmarks and elephant and bison telltale leftover signs left behind by trespassing wildlife in some parts of his estate on the previous day. This jeep ride lasted well over two lovely and informative hours, with tons of interesting trivia shared by the walking and talking encyclopaedia that Mr.Ajoy was, on any topics related to nature, flora and fauna and of course coffee plantation life.

Here are some random snaps captured during the informative jeep ride through the estate. Rustic trails treading through the coffee plantation
Living an evolved dream: My 2019 Kawasaki Ninja 1000 ownership review. Edit: 5 years up!-img_0210.jpg


A tiny stream flowing through the foliage amidst diffused sunlight
Living an evolved dream: My 2019 Kawasaki Ninja 1000 ownership review. Edit: 5 years up!-img_0200.jpg


Bamboo shoots forming a canopy
Living an evolved dream: My 2019 Kawasaki Ninja 1000 ownership review. Edit: 5 years up!-img_0199.jpg


Sunset amidst the coffee plants
Living an evolved dream: My 2019 Kawasaki Ninja 1000 ownership review. Edit: 5 years up!-img_0216.jpg


The mighty Bolero Invader 4x4 - a rare offroader sought after by many enthusiasts because it sold in very few numbers before getting discontinued. Our host seemed to love this vehicle too!
Living an evolved dream: My 2019 Kawasaki Ninja 1000 ownership review. Edit: 5 years up!-img_0222.jpg


After this jeep ride ended around sunset time, we thanked Mr. Ajoy and he dropped us back at our cottages. We enjoyed some lovely in-house Arabica black coffee with homemade cookies while watching the sun go down.
Living an evolved dream: My 2019 Kawasaki Ninja 1000 ownership review. Edit: 5 years up!-d1_coffee.jpg

Last edited by KarthikK : 5th June 2024 at 18:42.
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Old 5th June 2024, 11:25   #422
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Re: Living an evolved dream: My 2019 Kawasaki Ninja 1000 ownership review. Edit: 5 years up!

Weekend Ride to Kerehaklu Estate, Aldur (May 2024) continued ...

The place had almost no network connectivity, so we spent some time in our cottages truly disconnecting from gizmos and instead admiring nature. The sudden and unpredictable torrential downpours were particularly fascinating to watch. Soon it was time for dinner - again simple wholesome dishes, with an aromatic Sambar rice and a couple of Rasgullas wound up a light dinner.
Living an evolved dream: My 2019 Kawasaki Ninja 1000 ownership review. Edit: 5 years up!-d1_dinner.jpg


Kerehaklu had five different color coded trails, labelled white, blue, yellow, orange and red in increasing orders of distance, elevation variation and difficulty levels, with white being the easiest at ~1km across almost flat terrain, and red being the toughest at ~9km through a jungle and ascending a hill. Appropriate direction boards were put up for all the trails wherever there were forks in the pathways, so all one needed to do was keep eyes peeled for the particular trail color they chose and follow all the direction prompts related to that particular color and they would complete and make it back to the start point. We particularly loved this DIY trail hiking concept because it negated the need for a trail guide and gave us the freedom to explore at our pace.

We had already decided that we would go for the longest and most fun trail on their list - the Red trail on Day 2 after an early and light breakfast, which would then take us till afternoon to return. We were served some delicious Masala Dosas with home-grown assorted fruits for a simple breakfast by 7.30AM
Living an evolved dream: My 2019 Kawasaki Ninja 1000 ownership review. Edit: 5 years up!-img_0243.jpg


After around 8AM, we departed on our hike trail, accompanied by Mr. Ajoy for a portion of the hike where he showed us some rare species of trees and plants in the estate, gave us some tips on the trail routes through the jungle and plantation trails, and informed us about regions to avoid because of some recent sightings of elephants in those portions of the estate.

Picking up these naturally growing Mulberries
Living an evolved dream: My 2019 Kawasaki Ninja 1000 ownership review. Edit: 5 years up!-img_0252.jpg


Ajoy sir and his friendly Beagle Kiwi double up as our route guides for a short portion of the trail, until they bid goodbye to us and we continued on our way.
Living an evolved dream: My 2019 Kawasaki Ninja 1000 ownership review. Edit: 5 years up!-img_0249.jpg


The sun was fully up in the sky, but the thick foliage cover meant hardly any sunlight was visible to us. However the weather was quite humid and uncomfortable. Thankfully we had carried sufficient water to quench our thirst whenever needed. Since the monsoon had not yet started in May, there were very few leeches in this time of the year. We hardly encountered a couple of them and even those were only near a stream in the valley, which we were anyway expecting and flicked them off after a quick check. Here are some snaps of the hiking trail through Kerehaklu estate, ascending elevation towards a hilltop clearing.
Living an evolved dream: My 2019 Kawasaki Ninja 1000 ownership review. Edit: 5 years up!-img_0253.jpg

Living an evolved dream: My 2019 Kawasaki Ninja 1000 ownership review. Edit: 5 years up!-img_0257.jpg


A dried up stream in the summer awaiting recharge in the monsoon
Living an evolved dream: My 2019 Kawasaki Ninja 1000 ownership review. Edit: 5 years up!-img_0259.jpg


Sunlight peeking through the dense rainforest-like foliage
Living an evolved dream: My 2019 Kawasaki Ninja 1000 ownership review. Edit: 5 years up!-img_0215.jpg


Bunches of wild mushrooms such as these were springing up after the first few spates of summer thundershowers on the parched land
Living an evolved dream: My 2019 Kawasaki Ninja 1000 ownership review. Edit: 5 years up!-img_0254.jpg


A clearing in the jungle trail, giving a view of the western Ghats where this estate was located
Living an evolved dream: My 2019 Kawasaki Ninja 1000 ownership review. Edit: 5 years up!-img_0205.jpg


Treading through coffee plantations
Living an evolved dream: My 2019 Kawasaki Ninja 1000 ownership review. Edit: 5 years up!-dsc_0059_60_61_tonemapped.jpg


A spider luring prey with its web of deceit
Living an evolved dream: My 2019 Kawasaki Ninja 1000 ownership review. Edit: 5 years up!-dsc_0174.jpg


Exploring a top of some hillock en route
Living an evolved dream: My 2019 Kawasaki Ninja 1000 ownership review. Edit: 5 years up!-untitled.jpg



We were done with the hike in around ~4-5 hours and were back at the cottage area, with this picture drenched in sweat, for the memory books, lol! The hydration backpack used on the bike journey came in handy doubling up as a hiking backpack for our water bottles for this trail.
Living an evolved dream: My 2019 Kawasaki Ninja 1000 ownership review. Edit: 5 years up!-img_0268.jpg


After freshening up, we made our way to the dining area where lunch was ready. Simple Akki rottis (similar to rice Bhakris) with Sabji and Payasam (Kheer) for lunch helped satiate our appetite.
Living an evolved dream: My 2019 Kawasaki Ninja 1000 ownership review. Edit: 5 years up!-d2_lunch.jpg


Post-lunch we retired to our cottages for some rest and timepass. The better half settled in with her kindle to read some novel, while I mostly just enjoyed time in the balcony watching random birds and animals showing up, and then a heavy burst of thundershowers kept me entertained for another couple of hours or so.

By around 5PM or so, we stepped out to a large drying yard within the estate to try and take the drone up for some aerial shots of the location. The pathway inside the estate
Living an evolved dream: My 2019 Kawasaki Ninja 1000 ownership review. Edit: 5 years up!-img_0313.jpg


The coffee berry drying yard where we could see the rain gods clearing up and opening up a portion of the skies during sunset
Living an evolved dream: My 2019 Kawasaki Ninja 1000 ownership review. Edit: 5 years up!-img_0351.jpg


I proceeded to fly the drone here to capture some mesmerizing views of the Western Ghats and the surrounding Bhadra forest from inside Kerehaklu estate.

The estate bungalow location
Living an evolved dream: My 2019 Kawasaki Ninja 1000 ownership review. Edit: 5 years up!-dji_fly_20240511_164930_957_1715426379681_photo_optimized.jpg

Living an evolved dream: My 2019 Kawasaki Ninja 1000 ownership review. Edit: 5 years up!-dji_fly_20240511_171140_989_1715427708430_photo_optimized.jpg


Views all around of the western Ghats
Living an evolved dream: My 2019 Kawasaki Ninja 1000 ownership review. Edit: 5 years up!-dji_fly_20240511_165202_969_1715426533459_photo_optimized.jpg

Living an evolved dream: My 2019 Kawasaki Ninja 1000 ownership review. Edit: 5 years up!-dji_fly_20240511_165016_960_1715426427050_photo_optimized.jpg

Living an evolved dream: My 2019 Kawasaki Ninja 1000 ownership review. Edit: 5 years up!-dji_fly_20240511_165126_967_1715426497026_photo_optimized.jpg

Living an evolved dream: My 2019 Kawasaki Ninja 1000 ownership review. Edit: 5 years up!-dji_fly_20240511_165634_977_1715426803765_photo_optimized.jpg

Living an evolved dream: My 2019 Kawasaki Ninja 1000 ownership review. Edit: 5 years up!-dji_fly_20240511_170440_984_1715427288670_photo_optimized.jpg


After the sun went down, we passed time till dinner. We had specifically requested for a simple dinner after all the over-eating of the past two days. There was just some simple Rotis with Egg Masala and another mixed vegetable. Lovely Gulab Jamuns completed the meal. We retired for the night following dinner.
Living an evolved dream: My 2019 Kawasaki Ninja 1000 ownership review. Edit: 5 years up!-d2_dinner.jpg


We woke up a bit late on Day 3, had a leisurely breakfast and relaxed for a while until it was time to check out and depart homewards. Simple breakfast of Rava Idlis and a couple of other local dishes that I forgot to capture.
Living an evolved dream: My 2019 Kawasaki Ninja 1000 ownership review. Edit: 5 years up!-img_0359.jpg


A couple of departing pictures with the Ninja in front of the property as always
Living an evolved dream: My 2019 Kawasaki Ninja 1000 ownership review. Edit: 5 years up!-img_0245.jpg

Living an evolved dream: My 2019 Kawasaki Ninja 1000 ownership review. Edit: 5 years up!-img_0363.jpg


The return ride was largely uneventful and was just a simple ~300km distance back home along the Hassan expressway. This trip added a simple ~580 km on the odometer to wind up the quota for the month of May.
Living an evolved dream: My 2019 Kawasaki Ninja 1000 ownership review. Edit: 5 years up!-img_0365.jpg

Living an evolved dream: My 2019 Kawasaki Ninja 1000 ownership review. Edit: 5 years up!-img_0395.jpg


That's all I had for this trip. Until my next ride report, thanks for reading!

Last edited by KarthikK : 5th June 2024 at 18:50.
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Old 9th June 2024, 19:45   #423
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Re: Living an evolved dream: My 2019 Kawasaki Ninja 1000 ownership review. Edit: 5 years up!

Nice ride and well done. Those pictures of the south indian breakfasts with filter coffee make my mouth water and always bring a smile to my face when I reminisce about my rides down South.
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