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Old 6th April 2021, 18:44   #1
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Default Quick weekend getaway to the Western Ghats

I have never been a photography fanatic. Hence, although I travel a lot and to many scenic destinations quite regularly, it is very usual that I seldom bother to click pictures worth making a travelogue out of it while on any drive. However, there are times when you have someone who are pro at this and they travel with you.

This is what happened when 4 of us decided to catch-up over a long drive with an overnight stay as we had been planning it since many months. Thanks to my photography friends this time that this one will be more of a photologue rather than a travelogue!

Quick weekend getaway to the Western Ghats-000-introduction.jpg
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Old 6th April 2021, 18:48   #2
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Default re: Quick weekend getaway to the Western Ghats

The destination:



Honestly, we weren’t keen on any specific destination as long as we get to drive for 5-6 hours from Bangalore. My personal favourite of-course was to drive towards the western ghats. The increasing mercury levels in Bangalore meant we better head towards the ghats. While I have been to most of the usual places in and around Chikmagalur-Sakleshpur belt, I would end up staying at my folks’ home. However, this time was different, and it also included an overnight stay.

In the month of August 2020, I had visited Kalasa to a relative’s place and since it was monsoons, the experience was anything less than terrific. The beauty of this location is that you get to experience the western ghats with both coffee and decent tea plantations all around.

These are some of the pictures from the drive last year around here when the monsoons were at peak just to give an idea as to how wonderful this whole region is:

Quick weekend getaway to the Western Ghats-kalasa-aug-01.jpg

Quick weekend getaway to the Western Ghats-kalasa-aug-2.jpg

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Hence, thought of heading this side for the weekend that now has a lot of resorts and homestays too. Then, I stumbled upon a place near Kalasa in Chikmagalur district that looked excellent by the images just like a lot of properties. Location was quite remote from the main road and that meant thicker vegetation too.

The general thumb rule is not to fall for the images and double check more which I did and took plunge. The other usual predicament in my case was to stay at a homestay or a resort in the region where I have grown-up. With this, I had to call them up, figure out the details about the property, the type of accommodation that will work for us and then make the booking.

Place of stay:

We decided to stay at the RIVERMIST RESORTS, off Sunkasale before Kalasa. This is on the Kottigehara-Balur-Kalasa route, and about an hour from Kottigehara, right in a valley inside a coffee plantation surrounded by hills and hills on all the sides.

The vehicle:

I could notice through satellite view on maps that the location of this resort, especially the last 5km to destination wasn’t a regular road. This was more of a road leading into coffee estates, means mostly with no tarmac. During my conversation with the resort staff, they also informed me that the approach to resort will be through a typical road through a coffee estate, full of gravels and stones but no asphalt. Hence, as-long-as the vehicle has decent ground clearance, it would easily make it. So, we simply decided to take my Ertiga than take chances on a low GC car.

Last edited by paragsachania : 6th April 2021 at 20:21.
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Old 6th April 2021, 19:02   #3
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Default re: Quick weekend getaway to the Western Ghats

The Drive:



Apart from myself who stays in North Bangalore, rest of the 3 companions were put up in Electronics City/Hosur Road area in Southern Bangalore. Idea was to pick them up around 0530 which to me is a bad start time for my usual morning drives and due to the OCD that I have to drive far away from the weekend crowd, we successfully manage to escape all of them by taking the Magadi exit and join Hassan highway at Gudemaranahalli.

Breakfast Stop:
I seriously had no plans to enter Kunigal town for my favourite thatte idlies. We were too early for this place as well. But the occupants in the car prompted me to take them to that place since the first time we went there together was in 2013 after which the awesome and consistent taste of idlies had ensured that they too had become regular visitors to here for breakfast on weekends.

These images are actually from our drive 8 years back, in 2013:

Quick weekend getaway to the Western Ghats-01-kunigal-2013-1.jpg

Quick weekend getaway to the Western Ghats-01-kunigal-2013-2.jpg

Quick weekend getaway to the Western Ghats-01-kunigal-2013-3.jpg

The place has no name (on maps) but has been serving steaming hot thatte (plate) idlies since nearly 3 decades now. It is located right next to Kunigal Circle Police Station. The co-ordinates for the place can be accessed through this link.

The usual suspects, at the same location, after 8 years now!

Hungry for many, hungry for more

Amith (acs) and Jaison (mighty_lothar):

Quick weekend getaway to the Western Ghats-02-breakfast-01.jpg

Vivek Nair the Photographer with yours truly:

Quick weekend getaway to the Western Ghats-02-breakfast-3.jpg

The ever tasty thatte ildies served with a vada, curry and chutney. For those of you who are keen to know or rather accustomed to it, thatte idlies taste better with the curry than sambar and that has been the practice at most of the places serving them. Very rarely are these idlies served with sambar.

Quick weekend getaway to the Western Ghats-02-breakfast-2.jpg

We actually savour our breakfast in absolute peace, away from all the crowd and then continue towards our destination, of course with that content breakfast:
Quick weekend getaway to the Western Ghats-03-driving-along.jpg

Last edited by paragsachania : 6th April 2021 at 20:33.
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Old 6th April 2021, 19:07   #4
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Default re: Quick weekend getaway to the Western Ghats

The drive continues...



This one was clicked while we passed the Belur temple, a landmark for lifetime for me since I have grown up next to this monumental beauty.

Quick weekend getaway to the Western Ghats-04-belur-temple.jpg

Since all of had a good breakfast, we didn’t make an otherwise mandatory stop at Kottigehara for the signature neer dosas here and rather continued towards Kalasa.

Just around Balur, we pulled over for a quick break and then managed to capture the most important element of the drive, the vehicle itself:

Quick weekend getaway to the Western Ghats-04-pitstop-1.jpg

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The resort was another 20-25 minutes, 4 Km from Sunkasale, off Kottigehara-Kalasa road. The last 4 Km to resort was an interesting one, something that my car sees on a regular basis around here whenever I visit my friends and folks. So, it wasn’t surprising to see why the resort management suggested we get a car with better GC.

Just before you reach the resort complex, there is small stream that you need to pass over Nethravathi river. The water level here was not high, thanks to summer but will certainly be at a higher location during and most monsoons for which there will be an alternate approach.

Quick weekend getaway to the Western Ghats-12-forest-walk-3.jpeg
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Old 6th April 2021, 19:19   #5
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Default re: Quick weekend getaway to the Western Ghats

Of Resort, Waterfalls and an awesome location:



We reached the resort around 11:30am, just in time as planned. From the absence of algae on the path leading to the resort, it gave a hint that the resort was newly constructed or else the paths here pretty much are covered with dried algae during this time of the year.

Quick weekend getaway to the Western Ghats-05-resort-1.jpeg

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The property is actually right inside a valley as part of coffee plantation. You will notice this as you start descending 4km soon after you exit the main road and there are hills all around the property on every side.

With check-in formalities done and sanitization of baggage, we settled down in our rooms:

Quick weekend getaway to the Western Ghats-06-rooms-1.jpeg

Quick weekend getaway to the Western Ghats-06-rooms-2.jpeg

Quick weekend getaway to the Western Ghats-06-rooms-3.jpeg

Overall, the rooms are all well planned to suit the needs of a small family to a large group for which they have larger rooms too.

The best part of the location was that the river Nethravathi was flowing right through the property. Hence taking a dip in the not-so-deep waters was a matter of 2 minutes’ walk from our cottage:

Quick weekend getaway to the Western Ghats-07-waterfall-resort-1.jpeg

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After spending some good time in the river, we got fresh and it was time for lunch. Since we had planned to visit nearby POIs, we ensured not to have a stomach-full lunch which otherwise would make all of us lazy since we had woken up quite early that morning.
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Old 6th April 2021, 19:35   #6
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Default re: Quick weekend getaway to the Western Ghats

Kodige Falls & Ranijhari viewpoint:



Soon after lunch, we headed to visit 2 POIs: Kodige Falls & Ranijhari. Mind you that the route to these POIs are actually not in the best of their shape and hence prefer to take a ride in the Jeeps that the resort has. They normally arrange this. We also noticed a VW Polo parked at one of the POIs (Kodige Falls) with oil splashed all over the front bumper and we suspected a bad underbody hit.

There is adequate parking place here (paid). During Dec-April, the roads remain broken but a car with decent GC will manage here if driven carefully.

One of the images of Kodige falls with some creative use of shutter by the pros with me:

Quick weekend getaway to the Western Ghats-08-kudige-01.jpeg

Few more captured from the view point:

Quick weekend getaway to the Western Ghats-08-kudige-01.jpg

Quick weekend getaway to the Western Ghats-08-kudige-2.jpg

After spending some time at Kodige falls, it was time to head to Ranijari view point. The road conditions remain same, with many cars parked at the base of the view point and walking towards the edge of this viewpoint.

It is at this location where you realise how you are in the middle of 2 of the most spectacular western ghat ranges – Kuduremukha range on one side and Charmadi range on the other. This was one place where we spent maximum time. It was also the location where the 2 photography aficionados with us spent a lot of efforts to capture the sunset behind a row of hills:

Quick weekend getaway to the Western Ghats-09-ranihjari-6.jpeg

Quick weekend getaway to the Western Ghats-09-ranijhari-3.jpeg

Quick weekend getaway to the Western Ghats-09-ranijhari-01.jpeg

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Quick weekend getaway to the Western Ghats-09-ranijhari-2.jpeg

Quick weekend getaway to the Western Ghats-09-ranijhari-2.jpg

Couldn't help with the dust settled on the camera lens that actually ruined an otherwise marvelous sunset behind curtains of hills.

Last edited by paragsachania : 6th April 2021 at 20:23.
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Old 6th April 2021, 19:52   #7
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Default re: Quick weekend getaway to the Western Ghats

A pleasant evening:



We returned back after sunset and lazed around while Vivek as the usual him set his feet outside the cottage and clicked some wonderful photos in dark:

Quick weekend getaway to the Western Ghats-10-night-pics-6.jpeg

Quick weekend getaway to the Western Ghats-10-night-pics-7.jpeg

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Quick weekend getaway to the Western Ghats-10-night-pics-10.jpeg

We also had a barbeque dinner by the riverside, something that one need to experience when you are around and make full use of the fact that there is a river running just beside the property.
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Old 6th April 2021, 20:07   #8
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Default re: Quick weekend getaway to the Western Ghats

Morning walk in the Forest, some Flora and Fauna:


The next morning, we being early birds, woke up and were ready for a stroll in and around the property along with one of their staff. Along with us were other guests as well who accompanied us.

Quick weekend getaway to the Western Ghats-11-morning-coffee.jpg

This was more of a walk in the coffee estates where their staff explained us about the vegetation flora and fauna. Typically, this is easily an activity that can take hours. But then, we had plans to rush back to Bangalore and check-out by 11am and hence we did this partially.

The evergreen forests are those which remain evergreen throughout a year. Since the location where we stayed is right in the Malenadu heartland, it is surrounded by these evergreen trees. Malenadu is also is a home for some of the rarest of species of flora and fauna, which are synonymous to these forests.

Talking about the floral diversity, some of the rarest of medicinal plants, heritage trees have rooted on this ground for over a century now. In fact, if anyone is driving through Chramadi ghats, you will notice a quite a few signages for medicinal research areas within here administered by the Karnataka Forest Department.

Interestingly the parasite tree where the tree itself is a parasite are found in abundance here. And this parasite tree, instead of sucking out the blood, sucks the nutrients form another tree called the host tree. At one point, this parasite tree kills off the host tree and keeps itself alive. A walk in these forests here is certainly going to keep you and the kids occupied, especially the kids who are growing up reading this in their science books.
The floral diversity present here not only consists of trees and plants, but also has cardamom, bay leaf plant, Palm trees, forest gums etc. You would have certainly come across these during your last visit to a homestay or a resort in the Malenadu region. However, this being right in the heart of western ghats has a lot to see and experience.

Here are some of the images clicked during the walk in the greens:

Quick weekend getaway to the Western Ghats-10-night-pics-01.jpg

Quick weekend getaway to the Western Ghats-12-forest-walk-01.jpeg

Quick weekend getaway to the Western Ghats-12-forest-walk-01.jpg

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Old 6th April 2021, 20:14   #9
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Default re: Quick weekend getaway to the Western Ghats

Soon after our forest walk, we completed the check-out formalities and then were ready to head back home. The Eritga was eager to be cranked and take us all home:
Quick weekend getaway to the Western Ghats-13-check-out-1.jpg

Quick weekend getaway to the Western Ghats-13-check-out-2.jpg

On the way back, we stopped for lunch at A2B, Udyapura as it looked very less crowded:

Quick weekend getaway to the Western Ghats-14-return-lunch.jpg

We reached Bangalore (Peenya) around 16:00 Hours where the rest of the folks got down to catch a Metro to reach their destination. It made sense, especially on a Sunday evening.

Overall, we all thoroughly enjoyed the drive as well as the stay including the variety of local cuisine we got to taste at the resort as well. There are quite a lot of attractions that we did not cover/visit due to the limited time we had. There are a lot of places beyond what we visited that one must include if they visit around here, with at least 3 full days in hand.

Our stay at the resort too was absolutely fantastic as everything fell in place - Location, Type of stay, Waterfalls in February, barbeque dinner by the river at walkaway distance from our cottage, the proximity to POIs like Ranijhari and Ballarayanadurga. Apart from that the food was simply excellent and this mostly included local Malenadu cuisine along with others.

Advise for those wanting to visit this area:
  • Avoid during peak monsoons unless you really want to stay put inside that accommodation of yours
  • Have at least 3 full days in hand and cover a lot of places in and around here that include Tea estates, Cable bridges in Kalasa, Waterfalls in Samse, Kuduremukha, Khyatanamakki, Ballarayanadurga Fort Trek, Ranijhari, Kudige Falls etc.
  • All the places of interest around here take time to reach as progress is slower due to roads around here
  • Better to use the transport provided by the Resort/Hotel staff to visit most of the remote locations, roads leading to which will be slushy just around and during the monsoon months
Must also thank Vivek and Amith for some lovely work behind the lens too.

Thanks you for reading/glancing through….

Last edited by paragsachania : 6th April 2021 at 20:23.
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Old 7th April 2021, 07:08   #10
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Default re: Quick weekend getaway to the Western Ghats

Thread moved out from the Assembly Line. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 7th April 2021, 07:44   #11
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Default re: Quick weekend getaway to the Western Ghats

Wow! What a lovely travelogue with some awesome photos. The resort looks really beautiful. Thank you very much for sharing such a detailed travelogue with photos and information about places nearby. This certainly makes me feel like getting out and going there immediately :-)

Quote:
Originally Posted by paragsachania View Post
Hence, although I travel a lot and to many scenic destinations quite regularly, it is very usual that I seldom bother to click pictures worth making a travelogue out of it while on any drive. However, there are times when you have someone who are pro at this and they travel with you.
This is really great for us, the readers and fellow members here. You travel so much and you have such immense knowledge of places and roads. We often depend on your posts to discover new places, find out new options for food/stay and find out road conditions. It would be amazing if you could capture all that knowledge through travelogues like these. Looking forward to more such travelogues from you.

Quote:
Originally Posted by paragsachania View Post
[h3]
I could notice through satellite view on maps that the location of this resort, especially the last 5km to destination wasn’t a regular road. This was more of a road leading into coffee estates, means mostly with no tarmac. During my conversation with the resort staff, they also informed me that the approach to resort will be through a typical road through a coffee estate, full of gravels and stones but no asphalt. Hence, as-long-as the vehicle has decent ground clearance, it would easily make it. So, we simply decided to take my Ertiga than take chances on a low GC car.
This road seems perfect for my SX4 :-) I will surely take my SX4 and go there soon.
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Old 7th April 2021, 09:53   #12
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Default Re: Quick weekend getaway to the Western Ghats

Drop-dead gorgeous views, thanks for sharing Parag
Quote:
Originally Posted by paragsachania View Post
After spending some time at Kodige falls, it was time to head to Ranijari view point.
My pick from your travelogue, seems like a perfect place to 'indulge in zen'.
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Old 7th April 2021, 10:01   #13
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Default Re: Quick weekend getaway to the Western Ghats

Fantastic pictures of the lovely property and it’s surroundings. Thanks for taking your photography friends along otherwise we would have missed these gorgeous pictures.

Southern states are blessed with nature and the coffee plantations are something to cherish. I just remembered my stay at Amanvana Kushalnagar which is also surrounded by lush greens and Kaveri rivulet flowing beside it. These are the kind of properties that one can enjoy in full solitude.

Thanks for sharing this Parag, nothing can beat the sheer pleasure of going through some lovely pictures and travelogue, first thing in the morning.

Regards.
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Old 7th April 2021, 15:07   #14
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Default Re: Quick weekend getaway to the Western Ghats

Quote:
Originally Posted by paragsachania View Post
Thanks you for reading/glancing through….
Wonderful Travelogue (or rather, photolog in your own admission) Paragsachania. Drool worthy pictures and highly tempting to scoot on a drive over the weekend! Too unfortunate for us that you couldn't squeeze out a couple of more days and bring us more pictures.

The resort looks very attractive and exquisite. The stream that flows through the property alone had be sold for its worth .

Thanks a lot for sharing this wonderful experience.
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Old 7th April 2021, 18:03   #15
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Default Re: Quick weekend getaway to the Western Ghats

Lovely one Parag. Enjoyed reading this.

There are certain things that give one a joy that nothing else can give, one of them is taking a dip in running waters under the open sky.

Settling for the Thatte Idly for the Neer Dosa must have been a big decision.

Last edited by jkrishnakj : 7th April 2021 at 18:05. Reason: Smiley
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