Sunday, August 14, 2011

5) MM hills, BR hills, Shivanasamudra: (7/7/2011)



Exams were finally done. For nearly two months my brain was clogged with exam related stuff, and as expected it didn’t go well either, and I desperately needed to hit the road. It was nearly one month since Karthik had finished his exam. We wanted to go on an epic roadtrip, and initially we planned for a two day trip to Pondicherry, but due to many reasons we had to drop it, which was a huge bummer. Since we couldn’t go to Pondi, we thought of going to at least some place nearby. Since the monsoons had already hit Karnataka, we decided to go to Gaganachukki, since it’s wonderful when it’s full of water and then to Malai Mahadeshwara (Madeshwara) Hills (MM Hills), as we both had seen Biligiri Ranga Hills (BR Hills) before.


Like always, I started from my place , and reached Karthik’s place at around 5. Karthik couldn’t bring his Pulsar along, and hence we decided to go in my Avenger (Avy). We started off from his place and were in SH-17 in no time. I was having a nice re-union of sorts with this road, which is one of my favorite, especially for early morning rides. After riding without breaks for quite some time, we made our first stop for a small chai break, had the best tea ever over there. After a while, we were back on the road. We had to stop for breakfast, and the best place alonh SH 17 to stop for breakfast would be Maddur. We made a halt at Mc Donalds, just before entering Maddur. Finishing our breakfast and fully charged, we made our way to Ganganchukki, by taking a left deviation from a circle on SH 17 in Maddur. The road connecting Malavalli to Maddur isn’t that good, but at least they had patched it up when we had gone. Eventually we reached Malavalli town and then an arch led us to Ganganachukki.


I’ve been to Gaganachukki quite a few times before this, but this was definitely my best visit. Not only was it running with full capacity, the place which usually swarmed by tourists, was completely empty. The only sound we could hear was that of the water gushing down. What an awesome sight that was. That moment would be one of those moments in my life which defined ‘Peace’. We spent nearly 45mins just staring at the falls, and listening to its sound. After some time, we had to leave the place, quite reluctantly. Next destination: MM Hills.

MM Hills:

The trip got off to a good start, with Gaganachukki, and we were going to the much awaited MM Hills. I was told that MM hills had awesome curves, which made me even more excited, as I had a ‘Thing’ for Ghat section roads, and curved roads, especially the hair pin bends. We had to go to Kollegala, from where we would continue on to MM Hills. One other characteristic of a road trip would be a conversation about the good ol days. We were talking about our school days and how things have changed, and stuff like that. This trip, sort of renewed our brohood. And before we knew it, we were in Kollegala. Asking for directions, we continued on to MM Hills. After a certain point we could get a glimpse of the mighty MM hills. As we passed through an arch, we started the ascent. The curves were just too good. Negotiating those hair pin curves was an absolute pleasure. The road connecting Kollegala and an initial stretch of MM Hills, were awesome. But after riding some distance, my mood completely changed. The roads started to get really bad. It was a nightmare there after, because negotiating a hair pin bend on a proper road, is good, but the same on a pot hole infested road, is totally the opposite. There was a point where-in I felt it would’ve been a good idea to turn back, but for the black saints, there is no turning back! We stopped periodically, and took breaks. The road seemed never-ending, and impatience was clearly visible on my face. Finally we could spot a town, sigh! It was a huge relief. We reached a check post, passing which we had to stop nearby to get a glimpse of the whole valley. It was an awesome sight, and totally worth all the pain in our rear. We enquired the locals if there were any places of interest nearby and the only answer we got was ‘The Mahadeshwara Temple’, which was also closed when we went. It was a strenuous journey till there, and I was dehydrated. We had some refreshments there, and spent time roaming around. We had covered quite some ground, but it was just around 1400hrs. We had this conversation:

Me: “Macha, now where?”

SP: “Home?”

Me:”Hmmmm…., I guess so?”

SP: “I got an idea, how about BR Hills too?”

Me:”Thill Yeah!”


To be honest, we were pretty bummed about MM Hills, and since it was pretty early to head back home too, we decided to extend the trip to Biligiri Rangana Betta, better known as BR Hills, for which we had to go back to Kollegala. We had to again, go on those treacherous MM Hills roads, and taking lesser breaks, we zoomed to Kollegala, on the way to which, the clouds burst opened. For a few minutes, I swear, I couldn’t see what was in front of me, just when I thought of pulling over, it decreased. We were soaking wet, and in just a few minutes, completely dry, thanks to the sun and some fast riding, hehe. Reaching Kollegala we took a left deviation from the circle on the main road.

About MM Hills, I wouldn’t really recommend people to visit it, but if you want a feel of riding the Ghat section, and if you have a strong bike, give it a try, hopefully they would’ve fixed the road then. Coming to BR Hills, the ride was the best ride I’ve been on so far. It was dark and cloudy, the roads were wet, and it was drizzling, the route was serene, and had greenery all along. It’s one of those rides, which make you forget everything and just puts you in the happiest state of mind. The forest cover started growing slowly, leading to BR Hills. Eventually we reached a forest department checkpost. Finishing a few formalities there, we were asked to return by 1700hrs. From there onwards, it was dense forest. The road seemed like newly-laid, and was very good, and after riding some distance, we saw few cars on the opposite side having stopped on the middle of the road, going further, we got the best surprise there, a herd of elephants were crossing the road, on to the other side of the jungle, and those cars were cautiously waiting for them to cross. I eventually stopped my bike and switched off the engine. We were wowed at their sight, and Karthik in particular who had visited that place a couple of times before, had spotted wild elephants for the first time in BR Hills. There was also some fear at the back of our minds, knowing the potential of those gentle giants, if they went berserk. Talking about elephants, we resumed riding, and after covering some distance, would you believe it? Another Elephant! This one looked kind of stuck on an incline, I slowed down my engine, and went past it, not irking it or anything. We were sort of in a state of disbelief, having spotted so many wild elephants, and just then, came along a herd of wild Bison grazing along the road, one of which was looking like it wanted to take on us or something. Seriously, what were the odds!? Wild elephants and bison, what next? A Leopard or a lion maybe? Well, that’s too much to ask for isn’t it?

The ride to BR Hills was already so amazing, having encountering wild animals. The route was even better, as the forest kept getting denser as we progressed. At one stretch, it became completely dark, as though someone just switched off the sun. We passed through some small villages stapled to the mountains, and it gave an Ooty kind of a look. Finally we reached the peak, which has a temple, behind which one can get a splendid view of the mountains covered by dense forests. We couldn’t spend too much time there, since it was getting pretty late, and riding through the forest so late in the evening was strongly not recommended by the forest officials. Quite reluctantly we had to leave, bidding adieu to that place. BR Hills were so good, that I didn’t realize that I had skipped my lunch until we made our way back to Kollegala, and I’m not a person who misses his meals all that often. I strongly recommend fellow bikers to head to BR Hills if they haven’t, especially during the Monsoon season, you may not spot elephants, but you’ll certainly enjoy the ride.


BR Hills more than made up for the disappointment we met with at MM Hills. We stopped for a small break after reaching Kollegala, and were feeling that this trip was still kinda incomplete. We had covered Gaganachukki, MM Hills, BR Hills, and the missing link in that trip was Barachukki, which was kind of on the way to Malavalli. We decided to not leave out Barachukki, and took a deviation from the Kollegala-Malavalli road, and went 5kms interior to Barachukki. The gates were closed, but upon bribing the guard, he let us in. I have to confess that it wasn’t as good as Gaganachukki, but it was still a nice way to end the evening. As the sun started to set, we headed back towards Bangalore, via Malavalli and Maddur, and darkness started prevailing soon after. It was the first time, that I was needed to drive nearly 120kms in the night, although I wasn’t worried about most of it, since it was on SH 17, but the road from Malavalli to Maddur, a distance of nearly 35kms wasn’t good and riding along it during dark was a nightmare! To start with, it’s a two lane road, and pitch dark. Vehicles, cars and Lorries mostly ply on it with high beam. A car passing opposite, would blind me for a few seconds, and thanks to the wonderful roads, I felt better driving into huge potholes. It continued on for quite some time. The road seemed never ending, and the 35 odd kilometers seemed like 100kms. It had been a long day on road, having covered so much distance, our backs were slowly starting to complain, and the pot holes infested road from Malavalli only made it worse. We were also tired, having sustained on a light breakfast at Mc Donalds. My left hand was starting to cramp up a little bit, constantly pulling the clutch. Honestly, the situation was so bad that I was thinking of heading back to Malavalli and halt there for the night, and thoughts like camping by the side of the road also crept in, but as I said before there ain’t no going back for the black saints. After somehow managing to ride some distance, we could spot a road with many vehicles crossing it and some lights, alas! It was SH 17 finally, it was like spotting an oasis in the middle of a desert, and spotting SH 17 gave me a sudden burst of energy, which took us to Maddur Tiffanys, where we went on for a deserving meal. We were very hungry and finished our meals in a jiffy and took our own time in getting some much needed rest. After the refreshment, it was time to leave for Bangalore. I love driving in the night, and after having such a wonderful day, and having returned to the safety of the four lane road, If was really pumped, and ripped along SH 17, took no breaks and reached Bangalore in almost less than an hour.

Overall, this was my biggest bike trip. I consider this trip, a personal milestone, as totally we covered around 600kms with a total riding time of approximately 14hrs. And moreover, I was damn proud of my Avy, as I put it to its limits, with the treacherous roads of MM Hills, and making it rip through SH 17, and overall, keeping it running for nearly 14hrs and covering 600kms on it. I’m proud to have been born in Karnataka which is at its best during the monsoons. I feel like redeemed, as this trip re charged the biker in me. I can’t wait for the next trip, which hopefully be sometime soon. Until the next trip, Ciao!

Our much hyped Pondi plan did fall in place, but everything fell in place for this trip, which goes to show, that when the time is right everything falls in place


SP's View of this trip: Saints Ride to the mighty twin hills and waterfalls.


38) MM hills,BR hills,Gaganchukki,Barachukki : (7/7/2011)