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Old 18th January 2022, 12:39   #1
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Default Circumnavigating Karnataka - Dandeli, Gokarna, Yana, Udupi & Chikmagalur on two motorcycles

I am part of the rare species of female bike riders in India. Most of the girls stay away from motorcycles thinking it is meant for boys/men. I would like to promote responsible riding of motorcycles by women. From a 100cc scooter to a 200cc motorcycle, the journey was exhilarating for me. I read many travelogues on TeamBHP and would like to contribute my travel stories here as well.

My first geared motorcycle is our Duke 200 (which I now fondly call Kiki). I fell head over heels in love with motorcycling and the machine equally. Sheer fun of riding, low end torque, manageable weight, superb braking, and above all the looks - definitely female!

Eventually, we had to buy another motorbike in order not to fight for a chance to ride. That’s how we welcomed the FZ-150 to our abode! This was a ten-day trip across various landscapes of Karnataka on two bikes.

One State, Many Worlds - The tagline for Karnataka Tourism is true to every word.



The flat landscapes around Hubli gives way to lush forests and river Kali towards Dandeli and the Anshi National Park. Snaking through the Kali Tiger Reserve, emerge on the coast of Karwar, welcoming you with blue waters. Ride south and (southwest to) enjoy the unique beaches at Gokarana - with small forests skirting the shores. Travel another 50 kilometres towards forest and hills to be mesmerised by the wonderous Yana Caves. Satiate the appetite with some of the best vegetarian recipes at Udupi. Eventually, the fresh coffee directly from a plantation near Chikmagalur before heading home, and that's the 10-day road trip in a nutshell.

Circumnavigating Karnataka - Dandeli, Gokarna, Yana, Udupi & Chikmagalur on two motorcycles-img_0703.jpg

With our rides ready for a 2000km trip through the north and west parts of Karnataka - our beloved Duke 200 and Yamaha FZ-150 – we started on a fine Saturday morning. The ride was eventful on the monotonous PB road with kind and encouraging elderly men admiring a lady riding a motorcycle. Bharati Lodge - an old building with parking available inside the premises - situated right next to the central bus station has clean rooms and options for all budgets. The traffic on the Hubli-Dharwad Road kept us awake most of the night. Hubli comes alive on Saturday nights with a young crowd (mostly students) from the neighbouring Dharwad city are seen having a good time at fancy eateries and updating their Instagram.

Circumnavigating Karnataka - Dandeli, Gokarna, Yana, Udupi & Chikmagalur on two motorcycles-img_0710.jpg

After an early breakfast from the local favourite Ayodhya Restaurant opposite the bus station, we journeyed towards Dandeli via Dharwad. The road from Hubli to Dharwad is fantastic except for the traffic signal at every 200 meters. On the other hand, the Dandeli Road is in good condition and meanders through wooded routes. Nature First Eco Village is an ideal place to stop for a day if you want to skip the hustle and bustle of a tourist place. A sumptuous breakfast was Rs.100/- including a cup of tea. Continuing, we passed through Haliyal and reached our Airbnb place in Dandeli by lunchtime.

Circumnavigating Karnataka - Dandeli, Gokarna, Yana, Udupi & Chikmagalur on two motorcycles-img_0711.jpg

Dandeli is part of the Western Ghats region with an elevation of 472 metres having a tropical highland climate. It is named after a local legend, a deity called Dandelappa. Located alongside the Kali river, Dandeli is famous for white water rafting and other adventure activities like Kayaking, Zorbing, Jungle safari, Canoeing, River crossing etc. Anshi National Park, which was declared a Tiger Reserve in 2007, is part of Dandeli. In the olden days, the region was known for paper mills, sawmills etc.

Last edited by kiki_13 : 18th January 2022 at 13:18.
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Old 18th January 2022, 12:48   #2
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The dark and wild Kali Tiger Reserve



With one full day to spare at Dandeli, a ride to Castle Rock sounded exciting. Unfortunately, crossing the border to visit Dudhsagar was arduous due to restrictions (unavoidable RTPCR test). Castle Rock is a small village surrounded by dense forests bordering Goa. These woodlands fall under Dandeli Wildlife Sanctuary, also called Dandeli-Anshi Tiger Reserve. This region is famed for birdlife besides Wildlife. It was gratifying to ride until the border on the Karnataka side, as we were on the other side during our Goa ride.

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It was thrilling to traverse through narrow and winding roads to reach Ramnagar, a chief town on the Panjim-Belagavi highway. It serves as a good pit stop to fuel up for the ride ahead, through the forest with scant sunlight. A deviation takes you towards the famous Old Magazine House - a hotspot for feathered friends. The road in the ghat section is under construction at many places. The ride is at snail speed though the scenery compensates for the bad roads. It was a delight to stroll around the empty Castle Rock Railway Station. A small shop nearby serves piping hot local cuisine.

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Spread over a vast area of 1300 square kilometres, Anshi National Park – recently renamed as Kali Tiger Reserve (KTR), was on top of the bucket list of riding routes. The SH34, Ramnagar-Karwar road connects Karwar to Dandeli via Joida. This is the usual route taken, but a detour from Sangave the interior roads with twists and turns take you to Ulavi via Syntheri Rocks. A little ahead of Ulavi, this road connects to SH146 and finally at Anshi joins SH34. The jungle of KTR has a very distinct vibe compared to the adjoining national parks of Bhagwan Mahaveer Wildlife Sanctuary and Cotigao Wildlife Sanctuary in Goa. Some routes are through dense forest with narrow meandering roads, with a stream on one side. Several minor roads lead to interior villages, with many options to explore the area.

Circumnavigating Karnataka - Dandeli, Gokarna, Yana, Udupi & Chikmagalur on two motorcycles-img_0788.jpg

The most popular attractions are Syntheri rocks and the pilgrimage site of Ulavi. From Ulavi, there are other stunning places to visit. To name a few: Shivapura Hanging Bridge, a Panchalinga cave and a viewpoint. There are 4WD jeeps, which will take you around these places for Rs.1000/- per jeep. Locals say the off-road is doable on a motorcycle, so you can give it a try if you are itching to ride your ADV motorcycle on these 4WD routes. It is said that crossing the Shivapura Hanging Bridge to reach Yellapura cuts the distance by more than half, though only two-wheelers are allowed to cross. There are many resorts and homestays around the national park area. Stay in one of them and explore the national park and the hinterland.
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Old 18th January 2022, 12:57   #3
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Default re: Circumnavigating Karnataka - Dandeli, Gokarna, Yana, Udupi & Chikmagalur on two motorcycles

Sokku iddare Yana, Rokka iddare Gokarna



A famous Kannada saying translated as: If you have a lot of money to spend go to Rona (Gokarna) , and if you are feeling over enthusiastic visit Yana.

Circumnavigating Karnataka - Dandeli, Gokarna, Yana, Udupi & Chikmagalur on two motorcycles-img_0797.jpg

The coastal highway NH 66 connecting Kanyakumari to Mumbai is still a work in progress at a couple of places. The sizzling hot sun on the open road drained the energy soon after crossing Karwar. A long lunch break at Ankola to escape the sun was a wise decision. Leisurely lunch at Kamat Restaurant on the highway recharged us. Due to road work, there is no board announcing the deviation towards Gokarana. It was surprising because Gokarana is very popular amongst tourists, and it is the peak season. We rode on ahead at warp speed on the open highway. It was after 10 kilometres we realised we had crossed the deviation. The geography of Gokarna is similar to that of South Goa, Agonda in particular - forests close to the beach, stones scattered around the shores, a small hike to reach some seashore. These forests keep the weather cool and reduce the heat and humidity typical to a coastal province. Evenings and early mornings are pleasant.

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We stayed near the main beach at a charming Airbnb, surrounded by paddy fields and a lot of greenery within the property. Wake up to the chirping of birds and watch the sunset from the beach, which is a mere 5-minute walk away. Plenty of food joints along the seashore serves the conventional menu - seafood, continental and Indian cuisine. Surya Café offers rooms to stay besides finger-licking good food freshly made. Not in the mood for a romantic meal? Head to Hotel Vaibhav, a family-owned restaurant where they prepare made-to-order food. The main beach is pristine, but the other commercial tourist beaches like Kudle and Om beach are tarnished with litter.

Circumnavigating Karnataka - Dandeli, Gokarna, Yana, Udupi & Chikmagalur on two motorcycles-img_0860.jpg

On the butter-smooth NH roads from Gokarna to Mangalore along the Aghanashini river deviate at Mirjan onto Sirsi-Kumta road for Yana Caves. You can stop at the elegant Mirjan fort on the way as well. Take a left turn into the dense forest road at Yana Cross and ride slowly – enjoy the gurgling stream along the road, make a pit stop at the bridges, listen to the birds. There is another route to Yana caves, which will take you to Vibhoothi falls and then to the north parking lot at Yana. You can’t cross from the Yana North Parking lot to the south (Kumta side) by vehicle.

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Park your ride at the parking lot and buy tickets for entry. Tucked in the deep forest, the caves here is something one wouldn’t expect to see in the lush green forest of Western Ghats. A short but steep hike along the stream will take you to the famed Yana rock formations, where a temple is dedicated to Shiva. Leave your footwear and circumvent the temple to explore the caves in detail. Mind the numerous beehives on the rock formations and maintain silence to avoid disturbing them. You will get a glimpse of this wonder of nature - two giant rock hillocks - way before you reach the temple.

Circumnavigating Karnataka - Dandeli, Gokarna, Yana, Udupi & Chikmagalur on two motorcycles-img_0887.jpg

The legend associated with these caves tells us the story of a demon named Bhasmasura, who performed penance to Lord Shiva to obtain a boon. Whomever Bhasmasura placed his hands on would be reduced to ashes. An evil Bhasmasura wanted to test the boon on Lord Shiva. It is said that to escape from the wicked intention of Bhasmasura, Lord Shiva hid in these rock formations. Lord Vishnu taking the form of a beautiful dancer Mohini comes to the rescue and challenges Bhasmasura to a dance duel. While gayly dancing, the demon places his hand on his head and is immediately reduced to ashes. Well paved roads take you to the foot of the hillocks now, whereas, in the olden days, it used to be an arduous trek of around 16km through the dense forest.

Last edited by kiki_13 : 18th January 2022 at 13:23. Reason: added links
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Old 18th January 2022, 13:01   #4
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The foodie’s paradise - Udupi



We headed back to the Mangalore highway (NH 66) and continued our journey to Udupi. Watching mirages on the black tarmac in the scorching sun. Sagar Restaurant with air conditioning was a relief from the heat. Occasional stops at Highway Nest near NHAI toll plaza to refuel with coffee made it easier to reach Udupi around 5pm. The stretch at Maravanthe, with the sea on one side and the river on the other, doesn’t miss taking one’s breath away no matter how many times you ride on that path. Checked in at Leo’s AirBnB apartment near District Hospital and called it a day. FZ needed some minor repairs and found a small workshop nearby to get those done.

Circumnavigating Karnataka - Dandeli, Gokarna, Yana, Udupi & Chikmagalur on two motorcycles-img_0908.jpg

If you have only an hour to spare in Udupi, head to Priyadarshini at Brahmagiri and enjoy a cup of coffee with some snacks. But you may have to wait for a while to get a spot here. So popular with the locals, you will find many working men enjoying their ‘tiffin’ here from 7am to 7pm. The laid-back town is home to the famed Sri Krishna Mutt Temple and the Anantha Padmanabha Temple. This region is a haven for food connoisseurs.

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After a lip-smacking breakfast, we made our way to Varanga Kere (lake) Basadi. Known also as Chaturmukha Basadi with four Thirthankaras facing four directions. As expected, google maps took us for a ‘ride’ through tiny village roads and startlingly, the route was worth every mile we rode. The humble Jain temple is located in the middle of a lake and accessible only by a small boat ride (Rs 20). When you start the ride, a school of fish will ride along with the boat until your destination, reminding you of ‘Finding Nemo’. This 13th Century temple is very unique in its location. Another temple built in the 12th century, opposite the lake temple across the paddy field, is the Hire Basadi, the abode of Neminatha Tirthankara.

Circumnavigating Karnataka - Dandeli, Gokarna, Yana, Udupi & Chikmagalur on two motorcycles-img_0934.jpg

The Malpe beach is equipped with water sports activities, a boat ride to the famous St.Mary’s Island and numerous shacks on the sands offering delectable food. Over a leisurely lunch, we met a fellow traveller friend from Auroville. Meandering through Kodi Bengare-Hoode road, with Sita River on the right and Arabian sea on the left, we reached Delta point where the sea meets the river. This place is best visited at sunset. Malpe beach is 5 kilometres from NH 66, and Delta Point is 11 kilometres from here.

Last edited by kiki_13 : 18th January 2022 at 13:24. Reason: added links
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Old 18th January 2022, 13:06   #5
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The twists and turns of Malnad



A change in weather was much welcome after the balmy, humid time spent at the coast. The yearning to traverse the twists and turns of Charmady was quite strong. Instead of the straight route via Kudremukha – Kalasa and to Mudigere, the chosen path to reach our amiable homestay was Karkala - Bajagoly - Ujjire - Charmady ghat - Kottigehara - Mudigere - Belur road - KR Pete - Smarika Farms, covering 160 kilometres.

Circumnavigating Karnataka - Dandeli, Gokarna, Yana, Udupi & Chikmagalur on two motorcycles-img_0958.jpg

This mountain road comes alive in Monsoon with water cascading at the roadside flowing as scintillating waterfalls. By December, only a few of them survived to charm us. The incredible landscape, from vantage points, compelled us to stop, despite the boards announcing/declaring not to take photographs or selfies. The ascent to the Western Ghats begins after crossing the bustling traffic of Ujjire. Omelette from a non-descript restaurant right after the town perked up our energy levels for the road ahead. Malnad Café is a customary stop when in the area. Based in Banakal, 5km after Kottigehara towards Belur, they serve scrumptious akki rotti with fresh filter coffee. The cordial owner Chandan is warm and welcoming. They are expanding the venture, and construction for a homestay is underway. Feeling at home in this part of Western Ghats – maybe because we lived in Kudremukha for 6 months, we were thrilled to be back in the familiar territory.

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Smarika Farms, located amidst the coffee and pepper plantation, is a short 5-minute drive from the settlement of KR Pete. The place offers various accommodation facilities targeted at both larger and smaller groups. The skilled Chef who hails from a nearby locale prepares delicious meals. The kind owner Sanjay is passionate about hospitality. One of the treasured routes is Chikmagalur – Aldur – Koppa, where a family-run Harsha Café dishes out unrivalled Neer Dose. Another obligatory pit stop we never miss when in Chikmagalur.

Circumnavigating Karnataka - Dandeli, Gokarna, Yana, Udupi & Chikmagalur on two motorcycles-img_0979.jpg

Moving on, we settled on the route suggested by the locals to Mutthodi. Covering 150 kilometres, the day’s ride was: Smarika Farms - Aldur - Magodu – Kanathi Lake - Mallandur - Muthodi Nature Camp - Mallandur - Chikamagalur - KR Pete - Smarika Farms. The unceasing steep path lead us to a serene spot, abundant with greenery, and the reflection of which was seen in the tranquil water of the lake. Time stood still while we basked in the placidness of nature. When we joined the main Mallandur road, the dizzying twists and turns gave way to wider roads. Certain spots in the last few kilometres of the route inside the forest are narrow and miserable. You will emerge at a junction that takes you to Dattapeetha once you cross the nature reserve.


After a restful night and interesting conversations with Sanjay, we bid adieu to Smarika Farms. Covering a distance of 2000 kilometres, the momentous road trip ended with our return to Namma Bengaluru.
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Circumnavigating Karnataka - Dandeli, Gokarna, Yana, Udupi & Chikmagalur on two motorcycles-img_0994.jpg  


Last edited by kiki_13 : 18th January 2022 at 13:27. Reason: added links
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Old 19th January 2022, 05:13   #6
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Default re: Circumnavigating Karnataka - Dandeli, Gokarna, Yana, Udupi & Chikmagalur on two motorcycles

Thread moved out from the Assembly Line. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 19th January 2022, 08:44   #7
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Default Re: Circumnavigating Karnataka - Dandeli, Gokarna, Yana, Udupi & Chikmagalur on two motorcycles

Thanks for sharing Kiki. You will be a inspiration to many more women to take up biking and rides.

The places are really beautiful and serene. We are also able to enjoy the same through your eyes
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Old 19th January 2022, 09:10   #8
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Default Re: Circumnavigating Karnataka - Dandeli, Gokarna, Yana, Udupi & Chikmagalur on two motorcycles

It’s always nice to see bike trips and tours. Been into bikes for a long time and I can relate to the feeling of freedom, the adrenaline rush and the connection with external elements on a bike. Good to see that you ride with the full gear. Stay safe, ride more..have fun!
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Old 19th January 2022, 09:32   #9
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Default Re: Circumnavigating Karnataka - Dandeli, Gokarna, Yana, Udupi & Chikmagalur on two motorcycles

Really happy to read about your trip and to see the pictures. Big kudos to you both and wish you both countless happy miles.

--Anoop
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Old 19th January 2022, 10:05   #10
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Default Re: Circumnavigating Karnataka - Dandeli, Gokarna, Yana, Udupi & Chikmagalur on two motorcycles

Had gone on a similar bike trip in 2019 and covered 60% of the places you did.
But not even one of the rest/food/coffee stops matched.
That's the benefit of perspectives and experiences and Thanks for sharing yours
Will keep the stops in mind next time around.

Ride On.

PS: Hope the roadworks had concluded in the castlerock area.

Last edited by shancz : 19th January 2022 at 10:09.
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Old 19th January 2022, 10:41   #11
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Default Re: Circumnavigating Karnataka - Dandeli, Gokarna, Yana, Udupi & Chikmagalur on two motorcycles

Quote:
Originally Posted by roadrunner_nv View Post
Good to see that you ride with the full gear. Stay safe, ride more..have fun!
I make sure to be geared up even if it is a short ride. Better safe than sorry. I intend on promoting safe riding.

Quote:
Originally Posted by theexperthand View Post
Really happy to read about your trip and to see the pictures. Big kudos to you both and wish you both countless happy miles.

--Anoop
Thanks for helping us through troubling times of Duke's maintenance. If not, this trip wouldn't have happened and blog wouldn't have been written.

Quote:
Originally Posted by shancz View Post
That's the benefit of perspectives and experiences and Thanks for sharing yours

PS: Hope the roadworks had concluded in the castlerock area.
It is always a pleasure to share them and am pleased to see that they are appreciated as well.

The roadwork is still a work in progress, quite bad at certain places.
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Old 19th January 2022, 10:45   #12
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Default Re: Circumnavigating Karnataka - Dandeli, Gokarna, Yana, Udupi & Chikmagalur on two motorcycles

Excellent writeup. Reminds me of road trips with friends a decade and half back. I distinctly remember having to drive my cousin's Accent in reverse for 3/4th of a km after taking a bushy road only to find a 3 feet breach across the road preventing us from motoring further.

There are a number of pristine nature view points and waterfalls in the Sirsi-Yellapura stretch - Jenukallugudda, Magod falls, etc. One wrong turn and chances are you may end up at another wonder of nature. My good friend Bharata has written about many of them https://raobharata.wordpress.com/category/nature/. That part of Karnataka is a heaven for nature lovers.
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Old 19th January 2022, 11:44   #13
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Default Re: Circumnavigating Karnataka - Dandeli, Gokarna, Yana, Udupi & Chikmagalur on two motorcycles

Super travelogue and loved the simplicity in your approach to riding on bikes. Good destinations, reliable steeds, decent stays, great food and awesome coffee/chai breaks are all you need to make great memories on our Indian roads.

Look forward to more such trips logs from you, Kiki. Godspeed.
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Old 19th January 2022, 12:13   #14
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Default Re: Circumnavigating Karnataka - Dandeli, Gokarna, Yana, Udupi & Chikmagalur on two motorcycles

This is quite refreshing to read a travelogue from a lady biker! You guys seem to have had a great time covering Karnataka.

May your tribe increase.
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Old 19th January 2022, 13:11   #15
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Default Re: Circumnavigating Karnataka - Dandeli, Gokarna, Yana, Udupi & Chikmagalur on two motorcycles

This is really good Kiki! Very well written and as a true biker, you have explored the route very well.

I understand biking is unfairly male dominated field and it is a hard time finding decent riding gear/bike for females. I am struggling to find good gear for my wife and a bike which suits her 5 ft height. KTM Duke 200/390 adv is first on list, due to the reasons you have written. Waiting for COVID to settle to do test rides, and hopefully will have another addition to our garage
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