Sunday, June 30, 2019

Sunday Ride to Irkasandra Tank with Bangalore Bikers

It was yet another Brilliant Ride with BB. Being a combined welcome Ride for May and June there was no limit on the no. of Riders. So a good turn out of almost 60 people with bikes ranging from 100cc to 1000cc. You will not find such variety in any other group I guess. It was great to meet everyone. Also nice to interact with friends from last welcome Ride and Sakleshpur Ride.

PC: N I John, LetsClick Photography

PC: Aryan

We were Split into 3 groups. Few people dropped out at the last minute. So there was some change in the group. Nevertheless, Ride started on time after John's briefing. I reached meeting point little late, but did not miss the briefing.

Group1 had all Sooper Bikes and Pocket Rockets(Dukes) led by Vijay Shah, followed by Group2 led by John which had a mix of Gixxers, CBRs, R15-R3s, Apaches, REs etc. Group 3 was entirely Humara Bajaj :) (Dominars & Pulsars) led by Manan with Yash tailing.

Ride started on a good note and everything went smooth. Initially Group 2 got split into 2. But we all reached Dobaspet in no time. The leads made sure everybody stopped and nobody went over the flyover. From there we Rode as a group. Took the turn towards Madhugiri(Uridgere-Koratgere Road). Destination was just 25 odd kms from Dobaspet. Beautiful Scenic single lane Road throughout, passing through some villages. Mix of smooth curves and straights. I thought now all the Riders ahead of me will again disappear. But everybody stuck with the group without speeding and Big thanks to John who was leading Group2 on Gixxer for a change. Actually, first time I saw him from close distance Riding slowly :p. Everybody was doing a Jolly Ride, enjoying the scenery.

Just some 10kms after Uridgere we took a right turn. From there Road was not good. Actually the Road was not made yet(the last 1-2kms). So had to Ride slowly and carefully on the loose jelly stones that were not rolled over. It was somewhat like offRoad. My Bike was dancing with tyres slipping left and right :p

As we reached Irkasandra Tank, we were greeted with a cool Breeze and Serene View. Climate was just perfect. Everyone started gazing at the view and then took pics and videos :) This place reminded me of Dandiganahalli dam. We parked our bike there itself and got down to other side for a short "Intro on the Rocks". Some people even took their Bike close to the waters and did "Parking on the Rocks". Intro session as always was fun filled. Took the mandatory group pics and then just hanged around the place for some time, chit chatting. Its a cool place to chill out early in the morning. Very near and easily accessible.

After lazing around a bit, we started back and John made us stop a number of times on the way for the Drone shots :D We can expect to see ourselves Riding in a cool drone video now. Subscribe to N.I John. :)

For Breakfast we took a U-turn towards Tumkur and went to Kamat(near Reliance). Same place where we stopped for last welcome Ride. After Breakfast, John was courteous enough to take our pics at the same Parking place once again :) and Thanks to him, Almost everyone got a chance to take the Gixxer 250 for a short spin. We were all impressed by the looks, refinement and pickup of this Bike.

I took the Gixxer for a short spin just after Hitesh's R15 and both bikes felt Super refined although they have very different Riding postures. R15's is very committed whereas Gixxer's position is upright and comfortable. More comfortable than a CBR, I would say. I'm sure some people in the group will definitely get inspired to buy this bike in near future. This is the advantage of group Ride. You get real time feedback from friends and when you get to take the Bike for a spin, nothing like it. Gives very good idea of different Bikes and their behavior.

After a long break at Kamat, we started back to Bangalore and Reached home by around 12:30-1pm. Some of them who had started early, reached back by 10 or 11am itself. The return Ride was uneventful.

Here's the amazing Drone footage of the Place.
Simple, pure, pleasing video by John

Video Credit: N.i. John, LetsClick Photography
Like, Comment, Share, Subscribe maadi..

All in all it was a perfect chilled out welcome Ride. Great time pass on a Sunday morning. Thanks to BB and John for Organizing. Once again, Welcome to all new members..
Until next time.. Ride Safe, Ride Long.

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Monday, June 10, 2019

Weekend Trip Options from Bangalore(2 days < 250kms one way)- Coorg and Chikmagalur

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The two most visited places from Bangalore for a weekend Ride/Drive are Chikmagalur and Madikeri(Coorg). Simply because they are quite near to Bangalore and have lots to offer as weekend destinations specially from Bangalore. Also they are neither too near nor too far. Perfect for the so called Riding/Driving Enthusiasts for a Short Trip.

This post is aimed at helping people planning for a weekend outing from Bangalore with information about the places, route, map etc. I'll be updating the post with some pics and maps since I've visited both these places numerous times.

Lets first start with Chikmagalur coz there are lots of places to see. Falls, Hills, Temples etc. Its both near to Bangalore and easily accessible. Just a 4 and half hours drive. Coz Blore to Hassan is a breeze. Can cover in 3hrs. From Hassan, Chikmagalur is just 60 kms.

I've prepared a Sample Itenary which people can follow. This will give a fair idea to plan your trip according to your preferences. This itenary is prepared keeping both youngsters and family in mind and is not very challenging to execute.

Leave Bangalore at 4am.
Try to visit Mullayangiri early in the morning. Day1 will anyways be reaching Chikmagalur only by 10 or 11am, so cover the temples and the falls on Day1 and take Rest.
On Day2, can visit Mullayangiri early in the morning. There is some trekking involved, but the view is worth it. There will be some mist as well. And the morning breeze on the hill is something to be experienced. The feeling can't be described in words.

Day1: Blore-Breakfast- Halebidu(Hoysaleshwara Temple) - Belur(Chennakeshawa Temple, Take a Guide if available)-Lodge/Resort Checkin-Lunch
Note: Belur is on the way to chikmagalur. Belur and Halebidu are some 17kms apart. If visiting both, visit Halebidu first and then Belur.
Post Lunch: Dabdabe(Buttermilk) Falls- BabaBudangiri Hill - Lodge - Roam Around in the market(Chats)-Dinner-Halt
Buttermilk falls doesn't involve much trekking. Need to park the car by the side of the road and A jeep will get you down(offroad) near to the falls and from there its just a leisurely walk.
Carry extra clothes and covers. Bababudangiri also not much trekking. Its more of walking.

Day2: Start at 6am from Lodge-Mullayangiri-Breakfast-Lodge(checkout)- Some Other Place-Lunch
Post Lunch: Ayyana kere Lake- Dinner -Blore
Ayyana kere is just a large lake. Peaceful and good place to relax and click pics. Nothing much to do. Its quite far from the city, 25kms on the other side on Chikmagalur. But then you can take the alternate route through Arsikere to Bangalore. Check the above map and see which all places you would want to visit on Day2.

On Day2, in case it gets late, you can stop for dinner on the way(Swathi Delicacy before Kunigal).

PS: There are lots of other places in Chikmagalur which I've purposely left out. Either because its time consuming or because its a little too adventurous to include them in a 2 days plan. I'll share about those places in a separate post. 2 days is not at all enough for Chikmagalur/Madikeri or any such place for that matter. With too many options and misleading reviews on the internet, I'm just trying to bring your confusion down by picking a few places that are worth a Visit.
Any Suggestions/comments are most welcome.


MadikeriComing to Madikeri, one of my fav places for a Trip.

You can visit the following places in Coorg:-

1) Bylakuppe(Tibetian Monastery), Nisargadhama and Dubbare elephant camp in one shot preferably on 1st day itself. Try Zipline at Nisargadhama and Rafting at Dubbare. Check this for the timings:

2) Omkareshwara Temple, Abbi falls, Mandalpatti, Raja's Tomb and Raja Seat all are near Madikeri.
Mandalpatti has some offroading. Better park the bike midway and walk the last stretch.
Abbi falls you've to climb down and climb up some 100-150 steps. You can only take pics from a distance. Can't get down to the waters. Will be a bit crowded.

Raja Seat(Sunset point) and the Omkareshawara temple can be covered at evening time as well. Raja Seat will be open till 8pm I guess.

You can take a walk at Raja Seat if you reach there before its dark and Relax. There's a toy train and musical fountain as well. You can just have some snacks and relax.

3) Talacauvery and Bhagamandala- go early in the morning. Will be a good Ride. Dont keep this for evening/afternoon. Try coffee/tea at some shops on the way.

4) Tadiandimol(Trekking)- Chelavara falls (close to Virajpet). Again, dont keep this for evening.

All the places are touristy places So plan according to your preference. Try to explore some offbeat places. Check this blog post for some maps and info.
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Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Welcome Ride with Bangalore Bikers: Devarayanadurga (DD Hills)

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A Refreshing Ride on the weekend to one of my fav places near Bangalore- Devarayanadurga(DD Hills). Its always a great experience riding with Bangalore Bikers.

I still remember the last time I visited DD Hills with BangaloreBikers a few years ago. I've been to DD Hills a number of times. Both DD Hills and Nandi Hills are my favorite places for a short Ride/Drive so I endup visiting them often, though every time I keep looking for new places to Ride to. This time the place did not matter, I just wanted to Ride with the group.

28th April 2019

Destination: Devarayanadurga Hills (DD Hills)

Riders: around 30 Riders from

Meeting Point:  Indian Oil Petrol Bunk, Toll Gate, Tumkur Road(after Nelamangala) Roughly 120 kms to and fro.

Meeting Time: 5:00 am Ride Start Time: 5:15 am

Route: Home - Meeting Point(Nelamangala) - Kyathsandra turn- Siddagange Mutt- DD Hills
Followed the same route for the return leg since there was some road work happening in the alternate route (Uridgere-Dobaspet)

After a long time I Rode with this group. The Ride was very well organized and co-ordinated. Thanks to everyone from BangaloreBikers for making it successful. Special thanks to John(Founder), the lead and tail riders(Rahul Mohanty, Bala_Madhavan, Chandu and others). It was a Safe, hassle free and Refreshing Ride.

We had a whatsapp group created just for the Ride and there was lot of fun chat happening the previous night.

3:00am: Woke up and got ready quickly. Riding gear and my gopro bag was all set the previous day itself. Added some songs to playlist and put some 3M tapes on the Knee guard to fix some wear and tear which took some time.

Left my home by 4:10am. Since the meeting time was after Nelamangala which was some 35kms from my place, I was not sure if I'll reach on time. But since there was not much traffic, I reached the place soon by 4:35a.m itself before everyone else which I did not realize at first.

My bike's timer was incorrect, it was showing 4:55am. So I was surprised to see that there were no bikes parked there. I was expecting a big lineup with Z900s, GSx750, Daytona, R3, RCs, Dukes etc but the whole place was empty. Just when I was wondering if I've come to the right place, I saw a guy(Aryan) on the side who was sipping tea alone. He was not wearing any helmet or Riding jacket so I was doubtful if he's part of the group. Also, I did not spot his bike anywhere(RC200).

He came up to me and asked "hello are you from Bangalore Bikers?" and Thats when I got assured that I'm at the right place. This guy had come from KR Puram side and had reached the meeting point long back itself. It was his first Ride with the group. Soon another guy came in his Pulsar 220(Akmal) and we parked the bikes side by side. We usually park the bikes one beside another in a line which just looks fantastic in the dark and also very convenient to take pictures and start the Ride.

As we were discussing, other Riders started coming in one by one on their Pulsars, followed by Dominars and Dukes. But I was still waiting for the R3, RCs, Z900s and Daytona :) (I've a Crush on Sports bikes you see, specially the faired ones. I wish there were some Ninjas joining the Ride too.

Since I was joining a group Ride after a long time, I was feeling a bit strange to do the hi hello thing :p So I quietly sat in a corner talking to some folks. Did not take any pictures of the Bikes :(

The group assembled in some time and finally z900 and Daytona also came in. The group had been split into two. John and Rahul started taking attendance of Group1 and Group2 respectively.

People were still exchanging pleasantries and I was eagerly waiting for the Ride to start as I was kinda getting bored.

Finally, John started the briefing session which quickly got the group together. What an amazing guy he is. The briefing helped break the ice for new members and for introverts like me. Briefing session was really good and detailed as I expected covering all the points about Safe Riding, Group Riding etiquette, formation, hand signals etc and it was fun too. Not like a serious monologue. One of the main reasons I joined the Ride was because John was organizing the Ride. He's passionate about Biking and Photography and fun loving. Lots to learn from this guy.

Even though we were late to start the Ride, no hurry was shown while starting the Ride and I really liked that. Some things come only with experience. Took some video of the briefing.

I was part of group2 and we finally started the Ride by 5:35am. In each group the order of the Riders was pre-decided. But not sure how many people noted the order in that short time. Something that we can address the next time by interacting with our group members to understand who'll be Riding behind whom. As recommended by John and other experienced folks, the One Rule that we must and should follow to stay together as a group is to just "Keep the Rider behind you in your rear view mirror" and everything falls in place. When the Rider behind you slows down, you slow down and when you slow down the Rider ahead of you slows down and so on. So you never fall behind and the group sticks together no matter what.

Anyways as the Ride started, the Riders took off on their bikes one by one like Rockets. I was tailing a Cbr 250. It was a pleasant Ride and we took a number of breaks as the distance was short. Keeping the Meeting point on the highway far from the city, early in the morning helped beat the heat.

Even with different capacity bikes, we managed to ride as a group. At Kyatsandra junction(towards Siddganga mutt), we slowed down and was waiting at the turn for Riders coming behind, but they couldn't spot us and went ahead. Honking and shouting did not help :p So me and Bala(funny thing that he was the tail Rider) had to go ahead, take u-turn and come back. If not for Bala, those Riders would've crossed Tumkur I guess :p.

Finally we reached DD hills stopping for some pics on the way. Strangely I did not take any pictures of my Bike or the group. May be next time I'll do that. But I thoroughly enjoyed the Ride through the forest. I did feel like stopping as we neared Namada Chilume between the canopy of trees. That place is so good that you'll feel like stopping. Its a must visit if you are coming there for the first time.

Also one should definitely visit the Bhoga Narasimha and Yoga Narasimha temples and trek up to the top where you get a 360 deg view of the surroundings.

Earlier I was interacting with a Lady Rider and she was a Kannadiga too which I was not aware. Funny thing was, we started conversing in English without knowing that we both speak Kannada well and the whole conversation got recorded on my GoPro without my knowledge. I had a good laugh while watching the video coz when two Kannadigas are talking to each other in English, the accent is somewhat strange. Its like we're speaking English by translating Kannada :p Once we knew we are Kannadigas we switched to Kannada coz its always a pleasure to converse in your mother tongue specially about topics that interest you.

The CBR guy's name was Dhanush(who apparently has been to 'Dhanushkodi' :p). I was tailing this guy for the entire Ride and It was nice Riding behind the CBR. Its like we became Ride partners. He was a kannadiga too and it was a pleasure interacting with these guys.

In the group Ride we normally just head to a view point near the guest house which is a quiet place, perfect for the intro session. Once we parked our bikes and got settled on the rocks, we started having some chit chat. John flew his drone and it soon went so far and disappeared that we were wondering if he lost it.  The Intro session was interesting and fun as usual. With lot of leg pulling and double meaning jokes etc but everything in the spirit of fun. It was nice to meet many new people from different walks of life and to learn about their biking experience. I became friends with a couple of them.

After the intro session, we took the mandatory group photos and then headed to our next destination- Kamat Restaurant for the breakfast. We all were damn hungry by the time we reached Kamat. Spoke to few other Riders-Iqbal, Pavan, Parishrut, Aryan etc. And it was a nice interaction. Bikers usually bond really well within a short time and never run out of things to talk about.

We had a small photo session there as John clicked our pictures. It was so nice of him to take our individual pics as we posed one by one on our beloved bikes. Also got couple of BB group stickers, thanks to Lohith. The time was around 11:30 am and It was getting hot. We started our Ride back and took a small break after the same toll where we had started the Ride. 

Overall it was an amazing ride and I can't wait to ride together again with Banglore Bikers :)
Some pics that folks shared in the forum:-


Me in the bottom row. 4th guy from Left.


Hopefully more pics and videos on the way. I've some Gopro footage too and the Video will be up after editing.
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Thursday, January 3, 2019 : Trekking at Skandagiri, Makalidurga, Savandurga, SiddaraBetta etc is not free anymore.


These days trekking is no more free at 7 popular Trekking destinations around Bangalore i.e Skandagiri, AvalaBetta, Makalidurga, Savandurga, Bidarakatte, Devarayanadurga and SiddaraBetta. It is charged by "" (Rs.250 per Trek per person).

It seems this is a mandate by the Forest dept. which is being implemented since the last 6-7 months. A private organization called "MyEcoTrip" is imposing this rule. Need to make an online payment for trekking by signing up at This can be done prior to the trek or through mobile on reaching the place as well since mobile network is available near the trek base of all these places. But you need to have your debit/credit card with you. Bulk booking is also available(minimum 30). I'd recommend booking in advance if you wish to go trekking at these 7 places.

Once the payment is done you get a message to your email confirming the same. No paper receipts or entry ticket is provided. The guides will accompany you if needed. This is done to regulate the crowd and prevent any untoward incidents it seems. There are forest guards and guides deployed at each of the trek base to ensure the safety of Trekkers.

Although these places do not need any guided tour, In case its your first time trekking, make sure you atleast take the guide's contact numbers in case they are not accompanying you on the trek. Will come in handy in case you venture out on the wrong path and get lost/stuck somewhere. The forest gaurd's contact no. can be obtained from the "" website as well.

Earlier they were charging Rs.450 per person just for the trekking because of which the crowd reduced drastically. Even now I feel, charging Rs. 250 per person per Trek is not fair. Most of the people are not aware of this Mandate and on reaching the place, they are in for a shock and without being able to book, they end up being sent back which is quite frustrating.

In the past, there have been a number of incidents where some people have either got injured or got stuck during trekking and the forest dept. had to conduct search and rescue operations. Also some incidents of accidents, theft, robbery, loss of life. Such incidents had prompted the ban on Trekking at night specially at Skandagiri. Probably, on the same lines, the Forest and Tourism dept may have decided to regulate the Trekking activities which is a good thing. There are arrow marks on the boulders now throughout the route at most of the trekking places and if you follow the same, there's no way you can get lost. If you still get lost, you can call up the guides for help. There are dedicated parking spots to park your vehicles (which is ofcourse charged) at the trek base.

Gone are the days when we used to venture out for a night out/ride and decide on trekking some hill randomly. We would park our bikes beneath some trees or infront of some house in the village and start trekking without any prior information or knowing the way. No Mobile Network. No google maps. There were no arrow marks anywhere either. Getting lost and finding our way back was all part of the trekking experience.

Spending the night atop a hill with those chilly winds, trying to light up a small campfire to warm up our freezing hands was great fun. Watching the sun rise between the clouds was such a treat. Seeing the fog/clouds cover below us gave us a feeling of being on top of the world. Just one word to define the expericence - "Heavenly". There was no crowd whatsover at these places specially during weekdays or during night. During weekends, if you were lucky, the villagers would trek up the hill and sell maggie and other stuff.

Although, we need to appreciate the efforts of the forest department to make the trekking experience better and safer, this needs a lot of improvement. At many of these places there is littering and you can still see empty bottles and plates thrown here and there at the top of a hill.

Instead of charging an entry free, would have been better to deploy the guides at the bottom and top of the hill to warn the trekkers from doing such inhuman acts and imposing a fine for littering and  behaving improperly.

If they are charging Rs.250 per person per trek, they might as well install some dustbins and provide toilet and proper parking facilities at the trek base. Atleast they should maintain a register and make entries of check-in and check-out to make sure people who came in for trekking also got out safe and secure. Note down our phone no.s and vehicle no.s and even ask for Id proof. If someone got stuck you can then easily track them with the help of guides. 

No such thing is being done at most of these places even though these places draw a lot of crowd specially during weekends. Right now you just feel cheated because you pay Rs.250 plus taxes per person and you get "NOTHING" for it. NO Food, NO Water, NO entry ticket, NO Dustbins, NO Toilets, NO information/booklet, NO other facilities. Nobody at the top of the hill or along the route, to ensure safe trekking or to stop people from littering. For Rs.250, I'd expect all this and more. Even a Trekking certificate from the Forest department certifying the successful completion of the Trek :D.

Even if you insist that you are a nature lover or trekking enthusiast, a localite who has been there for trekking a no. of times and you do not need any guide, you still need to sign up with "myecotrip" and make the payment, else you are just sent back by the forest guide. It seems MyEcoTrip, the Forest Dept. and the Guides, all get a commission out of the 250rs. so they are just cashing in on this. Just hope that this money is utilized in the right direction to develop or atleast protect these places as bio-reserves.

You even need to pay to park your bikes/cars without any security guard over there to take care of your vehicles. This is not charged by the forest dept. but rather by some villager who's there to make some money early in the morning. You won't even see them near the parking spot when you return after your trek. Rs.30 is charged per bike at Skandagiri which is ridiculous.

Since the Biking, Touring and Trekking culture in Bangalore is on a full swing, most of the people at these places are the urban crowd like techies, college grads and other trekking enthusiasts who are from well to do families who do not mind spending the money. So these places like SiddaraBetta, Skandagiri, Savandurga, Makalidurga, Devarayanadurga, AvalaBetta etc. which were nature's abode are soon turning commercial. Sad but True. "Nandi Hills" is a prime example. There are many more such hills around Bangalore and I wish they don't lose their natural charm anytime soon.

Trekking has turned expensive for sure with some guided treks in Bangalore charging in the range of Rs. 1200-1500 per person per Trek (including transport of course). Also the entry/parking fees at some of these places make us feel as if Trekking is a rich people's thing. Though we locals still finish the deal in less than 150rs per person for petrol and food by taking our bikes out to numerous other hills where trekking is still free ;)These days I'm on a Solo Trekking spree Riding my Bike whenever I feel like to nearby Forts/Hills around Bangalore that are less visited and totally free from the crowd.  Thank God there is no 250rs. entry fee imposed at "Nandi Hills" as well, else I would have lost money in thousands :) Nandi Hills comes under the Horticulture and Tourism departments. There has been a lot of development efforts in the last few years and there are some multi-crore projects planned for the future like a Theme Park. But I still miss the times when fancy hotels and coffee shops were unheard of in the city outskirts and there was no entry/parking fees for trekking.

I heard from one of the Forest guards that Skandagiri is doing good business and it could soon turn into another Nandi Hills. Trekking enthusiasts and organizations which offer guided trips are preferring other places for Treks like Madhugiri Fort, Kunti Betta, Kabbaladurga etc. to avoid the fee. Surprisingly the crowd at Madhugiri which was once considered a dry, difficult, scary, Boring Trek has now increased :)

Check this out:-

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Friday, July 13, 2018

Kaurava Kunda Ride and Trek

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Kaurva Kunda is an immensely beautiful but less known trekking destination from Bangalore. It is located around 70 kms from Bangalore in Chikkaballapur district.
Riders: Me(Vinay BM), Nithesh, Pavan Kalsur, Vignesh, Chandrakanth

Map Link:

 Here's the Part1 Video- (Onward Ride):

Part2 Video- (Trekking):

The Twin hills are named after the Pandavas and the Kauravas from Mahabaratha. This place is more popular for night Treks. 

Though this grassy hilltop has an altitude of only 250 meters, it offers mesmerizing views of the surroundings. This place is best visited during the Winter months. During december, you can get a view with clouds beneath you  similar to Skandagiri. 

The Trail starts from Hariharapura Village and there are some sandy steps which lead you to the Shiva Temple midway up the Hill and Its an easy trek. Since the climb is not so steep, the trek can be a pleasant experience. 

Once you reach the Temple, you can rest for a while and explore the area. This is a Shiva temple where many devotees and localities would gather for a meditation session in the morning. The place is very peaceful and you can sit by the rocks and spend some time. Strangely, we did not find any other monkeys on this hill. We were the only Monkeys :)

Being away from the hustle bustle of the city, and also being less known to travelers, this place still holds the tranquility unlike other well known places these days.

If you see any localites near the Temple, they would tell you that it is not safe to trek further up the Hill. They might scare you saying there are leopards etc. or that whoever has gone there do not come back. This is just to prevent any adverse incidents causing risk and injury to travelers and also to preserve the place as it is. They will not encourage you to trek to the top for the same reason. If you tell them that you are nature lovers and you do not drink/smoke and litter the place and are experienced trekkers, they will tell you to be careful and guide you in the right path.

From the temple we can go either right or left. But if you go right, its an easier route to reach the top. All the way up, there will be stones, thorns, bushes, shrubs and trees. So you need to trek carefully.

As usual, it was a last min decision to visit this place. Me and my friends wanted to go on a Ride and decided to go to Kaurava Kunda. 5 Guys confirmed for the trip and couple others dropped out. But we all five, were from the same college(RV college) which made this trek special and we named this the "RV Bikers Ride". The meeting point was fixed as Hebbal flyover. 

I left home on time around 5:30a.m and reached the meeting point in no time. It was still dark when I reached there. As usual, my friends were late and all through this time, I was listening to music and watching all other Bike and Car groups meeting at the same place and heading towards Nandi Hills one by one. And there I was sitting alone on my Bike, watching them and waiting for my friends to arrive.

Finally my friends turned up at 6:20am and started blaming each other for the delay :D Anyways we had some chit chat and then started towards Chikballapur. 

As usual, we overtook some groups and many other groups overtook us :p on the Highway. It was a smooth Ride. Because of the popularity of Nandi Hills and also being the route to the International Airport, the traffic is more on weekends and some of the Bike Riders and car guys(specially taxi drivers) are reckless. So you need to Ride/drive this stretch carefully.

Within no time, we reached the Toll and took a break there. Once we crossed Nandi Hills and neared Chikballapur, we started checking our maps. Took a left turn somewhere near Chikballapur and entered the city. From here we lost the route due to some wrong turns. But somehow we navigated back and reached the HariHaripura Village. There is a big pond near this village. I took some video there and we parked our Bikes beneath some trees.

We were not sure from where to start the Trek and there was no one to guide. But looking at the Hill and after asking some locals, we started moving towards the fields and after crossing the fields we reached the base of the Hill and the hike began.

We trekked for some time and reached a place from where we got a good view of surroundings. So stopped for some pictures. Also I was carrying some rusk, biscuits and cake. So we finished all that. All through the trek we were chit chatting and relived our college days.

My friend was carrying a Nikon 5300 DSLR with a zoom lens (55-200mm). So we took some portrait images with background blur.

Because we were chatting and taking lots of pictures, I did not record much in my Gopro. The trek invoked hiking on some granite rocks which were quite slippery with sand. Once we climbed to a certain height, there were steps which led to a Shiva temple.

When we reached there we did not know it was a temple. We were chatting and talking loudly but we heard a strange noise and as we moved closer, we heard the "Om.... Om..." sound.

We were surprised to see around 30-40 people sitting there and meditating with eyes closed. We did not want to disturb them so switched of the Gopro and silently moved to sit on the Rocks on the other side. After some time, we spoke to the people there and asked for the route to the top. But they discouraged us from trekking further saying there are leopards, its not safe, its dangerous. Its risky to trek etc etc.

They also told drinking and all is prohibited. So we told them we are just nature lovers. We've come here only to enjoy the nature, trek and take some pictures. Thats about it. They said you can go at your on risk. This was not very encouraging.

Anyways after exploring the place, we continued the hike from the left side of the temple. But I guess the correct route is from the right side. 

After hiking for some time, we got stuck and to hike further we had to climb over some rocks through the dense bushes and shrubs. We tried as much as possible to find a route but we did not find a proper one.

Our 3 lazy friends decided to return back but me and one another friend were persistent to climb further. Our logic was simple, if we visit any hill, we should climb till the top and get the 360deg view. Its like conquering the hill :p Else whats the point in coming so far from our home and trekking.

The other guys refused to join and said you two take the camera and go if you want. We'll rest and wait for you down here :D

The hike was quite difficult since we had to carve our own way through the shrubs and thorns. But we finally made it to the top.

There was this plateau from where you get a 360deg view. The view was mesmerizing. Wind was blowing with full force. We took some pictures. We were carrying the Dslr with only the zoom lens and being inexperienced with that lens we could not capture the landscape well. But we tried our best.

Wanted to explore around but since our friends were waiting down, we did not want to take any risk of exploring more and getting lost.

But it was like a paradise, we just didn't want to leave that place. We started descending down and again we were stuck :p There was no proper route. We somehow descended down and reached our friends who asked us "how was the experience?". We said-"it was mind blowing. Batte harililla aste, but it was worth It" :D

We soon reached the base of the hill and started riding back towards Bangalore. On the way our Perfect Rider was randomly giving hand signals to move ahead and then asking us to stop. It was hilarious. We were overtaking each other. Once we reached the highway our pace somewhat increased. But still it was a boring Ride. Each of us was Riding at his own pace. 

We took break near a bus stop and sat there waiting for others to catch up. Our water bottles were empty. We took a group photo by asking some guy to click our pic with our bikes, just for the memory.
We thought of having lunch somewhere near Nandi Hills. As we neared Nandi hills, we saw a new Restaurant on the left. There are lot of new, big Restaurants that have come up now. Earlier there was hardly any on this stretch.

We all were damn hungry and had stomach full. I ordered Veg Biryani which was yum. I asked them to make it a bit spicy and it was just perfect. Tipped the waiter and left for Bangalore. The return ride was uneventful. Police were stopping and catching all other Bikers and two wheelers. But we were within speed limits and with our helmets. So we were not caught. We soon reached Hebbal and then parted ways.

All in all it was a Good Ride! Enjoy the video. Do subscribe and share if you like the content.

As always- "Its not about the destination, but the journey.. :)"

Bye bye Until next time.. Cu soon.

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Tuesday, May 29, 2018

ChannaRayanaDurga - A long Drive and a Trek up the Hill Fort

Destination: ChannarayanaDurga
Distance: 100 x 2 = 200Kms.
Car: Ford Aspire
Route: Bangalore - Dobaspete - Uridgere - Koratgere - Channarayanadurga
Cost: 800-900Rs



It was a Saturday evening and I felt like taking my ZMR(Karizma) out for a short Ride. I  had not used the Bike for a long time so, was not sure if all was well with the Bike. There was lot of dust on the Bike, it was looking very dirty. I was thinking if I should get it washed and serviced.

I thought of first cleaning it myself and checking the battery etc. As soon as I started dusting the bike, it started raining and I wondered if it was because I had touched my Bike after a loooong time :D

The Bike started in one go without any hiccups even though I had not used it for a few months. The engine tone was as good as new. The battery was alright too. There was enough fuel for a  Short Ride. So din't even have to go to Petrol pump. It felt so good. By the time I was done with the cleaning and filled some air in the tyres, the rain had reduced to a drizzle and I thought it was a perfect time to take the bike out for a short spin.

I always Ride with the Helmet on and some Jacket/Gloves even if its a short Ride near the house. But this time took the Bike out without the helmet as I wanted to feel some fresh air and also wanted to check if there is any noise/vibration coming from the Bike. But the Bike was perfect. The Ride was smooth and I was happy. The feeling of Riding your Bike in open Roads when its drizzling is the best feeling. Its pure Bliss. The short Ride felt so good that I just can't express that in words.

Later I went to the gym and while I was working out, I thought why not go for a short early morning Ride or drive the next day, Sunday. I called up my Ride partner, Nithesh and he said his Bike was not in good condition but he can join for a drive and that he would confirm by night. My GoPro cam was with him, so I thought that way we can meet and I can collect the GoPro and even record some video of the drive.

Also called up my dear friend, Harsha to check if he's interested. He's a Car guy. So he's always up for short/long drives. At night, I took the Bike out again and me and Harsha went out to have some Benne dose for dinner. We were discussing about T
echnology, Cricket, Politics etc and then the question popped up, where to go tomorrow morning? I did not have any specific place on my mind, I just wanted to wake up early, go somewhere out of the city, relax and come back. But Harsha said, lets go to some trekking place. He's a lazy guy and unlike me he's not into trekking/exploring at all and always prefers comfort and luxury over adventure. So, I was somewhat shocked. I was like, is it you or is it the Benne dose which is making you talk like this?? :p

 Anyways, few places came to my mind like DD Hills, Nandi Hills, Ramnagara etc. But we've been to those places many times. I did think of Channarayanadurga which was in my bucket list for a long time. But it was quite far and would involve some trekking and exploring. Was not sure if Harsha would really be interested. What if he sees the hill and says, its such a huge hill man, no steps to climb, lets go back :D

To be honest, even I was not interested in a long drive and hardcore trekking this time. Basically wanted to have a relaxed outing. Anyways after reaching home I thought lets just take the Tumkur Road and drive till Dobaspet. If interested, we can go to Channarayanadurga or some near by place like Mandharagiri, Nijagal Betta, Sidhgange, Shivgange or DD hills. If it rains or something, we can just have Breakfast and come back.

By 10:30pm, Nitesh said he won't be joining since he had some work. So it was just Harsha and me. We thought we can start by 6am. I still wanted to collect my GoPro so asked Nitesh if I could collect it early in the morning. He said yes, so asked him to keep the batteries for charge. Now that was a good thing.

I packed my gopro gear(the suction mount, the housing case, mic etc), air pump, puncture kit etc in the bag. Kept 1-2 towels and also filled up two water bottles just in case we need it. Since it was car and not Bike, I could stuff in all that I want, whether or not we would need it.

Kept the alarm at 5:30am and slept but woke up at 4:15 itself, couldn't sleep after that. Got ready slowly, cleaned the car and got all set. Thought of calling Harsha at 5:30am, coz I dint want to disturb his sleep. Called him a few times from 5:30-5:35. But he din't pick up :D Finally he only called at 5:40. He was still sleepy and his tone was like, should we go?? where to go?? I told we'll go somewhere you first get ready. He was like- "you are ready is it??". I told I'm ready to leave to your house now, its already late, you get ready fast and give me a miss call.

Called up Nitesh (woke him up :P) and we thought of meeting at Domlur so I can take the Old Madras Road or ORR (Outer ring road) to reach Yeshwanthpur.


Part 1 of the Drive: Vijaynagar -> Domlur->Tumkur Road

Reached Harsha's place around 6.30am and we started  for Domlur from Vijayanagar driving through Goripalya and Mysore Road. The traffic at Residency Road was more than usual. There was huge crowd in front of some schools even at that hour. May be because of new admissions. Parents had gathered like crazy and were waiting for the school gates to open. It was like the crowd in front of some movie theaters.

After some time we reached Domlur, took the deviation towards Indiranagar and parked near Barbeque Nation. Nitesh showed up soon and we din't have to wait for long. Collected the GoPro and started towards Tumkur Road. Thought of taking ORR to avoid city traffic. But google suggested the route through the city itself. It indeed had less traffic. All through the Route, we were chatting and the music was off. Din't feel like listening to music at all.


Part 2 of the Drive: Gorguntepalya->Dobbaspet

We soon reached Gorguntepalya and carried on the Tumkur highway. Turned on the music to listen to our favorite songs. The drive was smooth, even though there was some traffic we were covering distance at a good pace.

It was around 8:30-9 am and we felt a bit hungry, so pulled over for Breakfast at "Sri Rathnam Veg Restaurant" just before Dobbaspet. It has a huge board and there were lot of cars parked in front. There's another restaurant, "Shri Vrindhavan Restaurant" just beside. We actually parked the car at Shri Vrindhavan, but it had less crowd and looked empty. So we went to "Sri Rathnam" :P

It had both Dining and Self Service. It had toilet facilities as well. Probably thats why the breakfast was quite expensive here.

We took a long break here, fixed the Suction mount to the car's windscreen and attached the GoPro. It was the first time I was using the Gopro in the car. In that excitement, I missed the turn towards Dobaspet and went over the flyover. I soon realized and took a U turn on the service road as soon as we got down from the fly over. Google map will suggest you to carry-on further ahead for a few more kms and then take u-turn on the highway. But I was familiar with this route since I've taken this route many times for DD hills, Shivagange, Siddagange, Madhugiri, Siddarabetta etc. You've to go under the bridge and take a turn towards Urdigere and Koratagere. By this time, we had somewhat decided to visit ChannarayanaDurga itself.


Part 3 of the Drive: Dobbaspet->Uridgere->Koratgere->ChannarayanaDurga

The road from Dobbaspet to Koratgere is in Very good condition now. Earlier it was a pain to drive the stretch before Koratgere since it was all muddy and patchy. But the road work is completed now and its a smooth sail all the way.

Since the route passes through some villages, there are well marked speed breakers to limit the speed. Good thing is that the speed breakers are not wide. You won't even feel it if you are in a SUV. As in, they don't unsettle you. You can just lower the speed to 30kmph or less and glide over it. The route is somewhat scenic. Watch out for some curves and the vehicles coming in opposite direction since its single lane throughout.

Just 2 kms after Koratgere, you have to take a left turn from the main road towards Siddarabetta and go under an arch. From here, the road is a bit patchy. There are few humps as well. So go slow. After few kms you'll see a board to Channarayanadurga village on the right. If we take a turn here, after few hundred meters we'll get the first glimpse of Channarayanadurga Hill in the background. As we drive towards the hill, it gets bigger and bigger and looks huge from a distance.


Bangalore - Dobaspete - Uridgere - Koratgere - Channarayanadurga

The Garland of 9 Hill Forts


ChannarayanaDurga is a fort on the top of a hill in Koratagere Taluk, Tumkur district which is around 100Kms from Bangalore. Its one of the Navadurgas, the 9 forts around Bangalore. The popular ones being Nandi durga or Nandi Hills, DevarayanaDurga and Savanadurga which is the largest monolith in Asia. All these hill forts are within a distance of 100kms radius from the Bangalore City.

Channarayanadurga falls in the same vicinity as Madhugiri and SiddaraBetta. In fact after Koratagere, from the main road, you have to take the same left turn towards SiddaraBetta and then take a right turn towards Channarayanadurga. 

This fort was built in 17th Century by the ruler of Madhugiri called Chikkappa Gowda which later fell into the hands of Marathas. There were many battles fought for the possession of this fort. The Mysore Wodeyars and the Marathas continuously fought with each other for this place. The control of the fort changed several times between Marathas and Mysore Wodeyars. The British took over the fort during the third Mysore war and within a short span of time, they abandoned it. 

Channarayanadurga has an elevation of about 3,734 ft. and was one of the strategic fortress during medieval times. The trekking level here is moderate. I would say its one of the ideal trekking destinations around Bangalore and its much easier than climbing Savandurga or Madhugiri. But inspite of all this, the place is not well known and is less popular among travelers compared to Madhugiri and Siddarabetta. Most of the people don't even know that such a place exists. Even my mom who hails from Tumkur is not very familiar with this place. 

So even on a Sunday morning there would be hardly be one or two groups of people visiting this place. Do not be surprised if you are the only one visiting this place. Also there are no signboards to guide the trekkers which makes the climb more interesting. In fact, many people who take the wrong route, get stuck and return back after climbing only half of the hill. 

The trail begins at a small village that’s located at the foot of the hill. You can park your bikes or car at this village beneath the shade of a peepal tree. There's a small shop here where you can have cold drinks as refreshment. Mineral water is not available. Though you can fill up your water bottles with drinking water for free on request at this small shop. The trek will definitely be quite tiring so one needs to carry ample amount of water and snacks.

Starting Point of the Trek at the base of the Hill

My Friend looking like a Terrorist. It was damn Sunny out there. So he covered up his face with the Towel to prevent Sun Burns. Smart Terrrorist!!


The Hike Begins..

When we reached this village it was around 10:30am, there were 2-3 cars parked beneath a peepal tree. Those two groups were already leaving the place after completing the trek. We spoke to them and they said they had started from Bangalore from 4:45am and started the climb by 6:30am itself.

Harsha asked how long it will take to climb? They said it will easily take 3 hours to climb and get down. Hearing that Harsha was like - "Oh Shit!! It will take 3 hours itseems.. Who will climb for 3 hours in this heat?" I was like- "I Know. Relax! Lets have some tea first".

Once those people left, I parked the car properly in shade, below the peepal tree. Mine was the only car there now.

Tea was not available in that shop. So I asked -"bere en ide?" Shop guy- "Maaza, Fanta etc". Harsha asks-"Mountain dew idya???" :p The shop guy gave a look and said "Illa Sir". So we had Maaza. Now Harsha asks-"betta hathbekadre steps idhya?? Shelter idhya?". They said- "Steps ella enu illa". I was about to laugh coz he had asked me the same question and I had told-"ya ya Shelter, Steps everything is there". Then he asks the shop guy-"Sunscreen idhya???" :D :D I was like - "Sumniroo.. Halli idhu. Eneno keli baiskobeda" :p The shop guy politely said No.

Harsha - "Its so hot man.. You should've told before that we are coming here, would have atleast got a Hat, towel and all, we should have come directly without going to Domlur, see those people already came and left. Its damn hot now. Can't climb for 3 hours. There are no other people. So lets go back." (as expected :P)

Me- "Don't act like a girl. We've not come 100kms far just to drink Maaza :P Atleast lets go and climb for some time". I have water bottles and one towel. He was like "Thank God, atleast you got that. I'll put that towel on my head and climb". :P

Just as we were about to start, another car came and they parked beside our car. There were two guys (IT) from Bangalore who had come late just like us. So I told Harsha-"See even they have come for trekking just like us." We asked them-"You've come here for the First time ah??" They said yes and asked us if we have any idea about the Route. We said-"Its our first time as well :p" So these two guys dint stop for us and went ahead while we were setting up our camera and gopro and taking some pics.


There are three stages of the fort.


Part 1 of the Hike :

You can ask the villagers for direction to the starting point here. There are three stages of the fort. 

There is a certain level of mystery surrounding the place because unlike other forts, there is no well defined path to reach the top. There are numerous routes, right and wrong and the left over ruins of the fort makes the place more interesting and intriguing. 

The initial stretch is very steep and covered with rocks. There are some markings of some letters in yellow to indicate the right path but there are no arrows or other signs.

This initially stretch was very tiring, specially after a long drive and more so since I was carrying a  bag with 2.5 ltrs of water, DSLR etc. We were soon gasping for breath. The sun right up on our heads and this initial climb was quite steep and indeed tough as I had read in some blogs. There was a small mantap on the left and Harsha was the first to get in there. I was like- "So finally you found your Shelter."

During the monsoons, this initial trek would be difficult as the smooth rock would become slippery.


You get this View after just a few mins of Trek which goes to show the steepness of the climb at the Start.


The Mantap. The only place which offered some shade.

The Initial climb left us sweating and gasping for breath.

Several attempts have been made by the locals as well as treasure hunters to hunt down any treasure left over at this place. In their search for treasure, they have dug up, damaged and destroyed various structures within the fort. 

After you climb the initial stretch, keep looking for the fort walls and the door opening/entrance in the stone walls. Keep going towards the right. Because if you go towards the left you'll be on the other side of the fort and there is no way to get inside the fort. The elevation would be higher on that side and you might get stuck.

This is where some people get stuck and return back or get frustrated. Whenever you get stuck like that and do not find an easy way, just be determined, do not take any risks of climbing any steep rocks unnecessarily. Instead, just trace back and look for an alternate route.

Glimpse of the First Fort Wall.

Part 2 of the Hike :

Once you reach the first fort walls and the stone structures, the trek becomes easy. By the time we reached here, it was already 12pm and it was damn hot and we were sweating a lot. But beneath the stone structures(roof), it was like A/c. So damn cool. Took a break there and it relieved us of all the strain. Also since we had had our breakfast and were carrying enough water, it was not very tiresome.

View after entering the First Fort Walls

You go through many fort walls and door openings(stone structures). The upper part consists of some vegetation and a pond filled with water. This pond would have served as water source for the people in the fort. There is a small temple/mantap next to the pond.

From the Pond, there are two ways to climb higher. One which goes towards the right and one towards the left.

The Pond. Pictures don't do justice to the beauty of this place.

While climbing up, we had actually missed this pond. We had taken the route that is to the left of the pond and we had spotted the pond later from a mantap. But from there we had moved right and somehow reached the main entrance of the Fort wall.

The Pond picture was taken from here.

The Ruins. Must have been the Storage area for food/ammunition

The second stage of the fort is severely damaged by the treasure hunters. There were few structures which were probably used for the storage of ammunition or food grains. 

The view gets better and better as you climb higher. And surprisingly the colors become more vibrant as in the green vegetation, brown fields, the lakes everything appear clear from the top. The altitude is not much as compared to some other Hills. But the surroundings are such that, right from the start of the climb, you can clearly see the surrounding hillocks(like Madhugiri), the lakes etc. This is because there are no large buildings/trees or forests in the surroundings, So you get a clear, uninterrupted view.

We took lots of pics at this Place


Ideal Place for a PhotoShoot :p


The Road which leads to this Hill.

The two guys we had met earlier were way ahead of us and in fact they had disappeared at the start of our climb itself. We were climbing at a much slower pace and taking more breaks for rest, pictures etc. But when we were taking pics at the second stage of the fort, we saw them climbing up. We thought they've already been to the top and just exploring now. But itseems they had actually got stuck, taking the wrong route and had to trace back. Hence they were behind us. They had taken a route which goes to the left. So remember to keep right and look for the entrance to the fort walls.

From here, we explored the Fort together and got chatting about our jobs, technology etc.

The Two guys we met. We were the only people on the Hill even on a Sunday morning.


Part 3 of the Hike:

Since we were chatting and climbing together with those two guys, we did not feel the strain though it was quite hot. We soon reached the top of the fort and we took a walk around those fort walls. The view from here was Amazing. I climbed up the wall at one place to take a video and it came out really well. This is the shot you see at the start of the video.

The Descent:

We started descending down together and soon reached down to the other side of the pond. This was not the way that we had gone up. So we were not sure if there was a route to go down. And we were thinking of going back. But I thought there must be some route for sure and there indeed was a route behind the bushes(around the pond). After crossing the pond, the actual descent started and we had to watch our steps. After some time those two guys had disappeared. So it was just me and Harsha again. At one point, we lost track of the route and got stuck at a place where we could not get down further. So, had to climb back up and then trace back. All this took a lot of time and effort. It was around 1:30-2pm then. Finally we found a route. But the descent was steep. So we had to be really patient and carefully climb down the rocky surface. It was a good leg workout. Quads, Hamstrings, Calves, Heels, Toes everything :D

Finally, we reached down and walked back to the parking.

The Drive back: Channarayanadurga->Dobbaspet->Bangalore->Bytu Coffee->Home

There was another car and a TT(Tempo Traveller) parked beneath the peepal tree. We again had maaza in the same shop in front of the parking. Our 2 water bottles were totally empty. But to our surprise mineral water was not available at the shop. I asked if we can get some drinking water. The shop keeper obliged. Got the water filled in our bottles. We did not have to spend a penny for drinking water in this trip.

While fixing the GoPro in our car, the TT driver peeped in and he was totally drunk :D He asked few questions and I patiently answered him. We thought of having lunch somewhere in Dobaspet. We both were literally tired after the trek. Also it was quite hot, So I drove slowly till we reached the Koratgere main road. Midway my car's mirror's cap flew off :p It was loose. I quickly noticed and got it fixed back. We took a break here and washed our face. It was somewhat refreshing.

All through the drive, we were chatting and I was driving carefully at a slower speed than normal. As we reached Dobaspet, we were looking for some Hotels but did not find any good ones. So we thought we'll carry on and have something on the Highway. The traffic at Dobaspet junction was bad. Harsha said he'll sleep for sometime and asked me to Drive carefully. As soon as he said that he was Snoring :p Once on the Tumkur highway(NH48) , the traffic built up. I got the company of many cars and the speeds increased. Although I was careful while overtaking.

Soon, we crossed the tolls and entered the city. Harsha also woke up. Did not find any place to stop on the highway. Neither did we want any break. Just wanted to drive home. Harsha said lets go to Bytu Coffee in Hampinagar, we'll get nice dosa, Olge(Obbattu) and all. That sounded like a good idea. It was already around 4pm then. We had yummy Olge(carrot olge, coconut olge), masale dose and then dropped Harsha at his place and bid goodbye.

After coming home I noticed that I had got a Sunburn. The skin around my neck had turned red and the strap of the bag I was wearing had left a burn mark on the Shoulder. The dark skin stayed on for a month and then got dry and peeled off. The last time I had got such tanning and burns was in Delhi during our Ladakh Trip. Thats when I realized why my friend was asking for Sunscreen, hat, towel etc :p and wrapping his face and neck completely like a terrorist.

All in all it was a great day!! A good long drive plus a good trek. Ticked off yet another place from the Bucket list. But as I always say- "One's destination is never a place but a new way of Seeing things. Its not the destination that matters, but the journey".

Part2 of the Video will be up Soon. Subscribe




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One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things. The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.