Saturday, September 27, 2014

Maiden Royal Enfield Bike Trip around Agumbe: 27 – 28th September 2014


Monsoon is the best season around Western Ghats for trekkers, cyclist and bikers.  I had been ambitious to ride in this season.  Many times visited these places by other mode of transport and this is the one maiden Royal Enfield Bike trip on 27 – 28th September 2014.

My ever friend Sudhakar brought Bullet in some time June of this year and I had been behind him to go long drive in the Western Ghats.  Due to some criticality and time constrain it ended up in September 2014.  The initial plan of this trip to go us both but at last moment one more team (Sudhakar colleague Ravi & our cousin Jaga) joined us on Pulsar.

Route
Bangalore - Shivamogga - Gajanoor – Sakrebailu - Teerthahalli - Kuppalli – Kundadri - Agumbe [Night Halt]

Agume - Sringeri - Chikkamagaluru – Mullayyanagiri – Chikkamagalur - Belur - Hassan – Bangalore

The preparation of this trip was not much however the accommodation booked well in advance at Kasturi Akka [Doddamane] home at Agumbe. Sudhakar taken care about the servicing of his bike and both bikes were in excellent conditions.

27.09.2014
We could not sleep more than 4 hours in the night, woke up at 2 am.  Previous night we assembled at Sudhakar home.  Got refreshed and prepared hot tea.  The weather was chill due to last night rain.  Left the home at 3.00 am.  Our first break was outskirt of Tumkur, the first stretch we covered almost 75kms.  Again we had garma garam tea and biscuits and proceeded further.  

The roads were empty and weather was cool and enjoyed the ride.  Taking small breaks reached the Birur at 8.30 am.  Planned to finish the breakfast at Preethi Hotel.  The breakfast was excellent and had yummy Dosa’s.

Reached the Gajanoor dam which is just 11km away from Shivamogga at 10.30 am.  It is quite good place and spent some photography time and left to Sakrebailu.  It is an Elephant training camp and one can find on road side.  We are enough lucky that the crowd was nil.  The road is very panorama view from Shivamogga to Teerthahalli.  Both side trees and ride along with Tunga river is excellent.  Took many small breaks in between and enjoyed the nature.

Took a small deviation at Muduba to reach Kuppalli which avoid almost 40kms distance.  The normal road is, one has to reach Teerthahalli then Kuppalli.  The interior roads are more confusion and you get very rare human beings to get guidance.  Better please don’t take this road, if you are new to this place.  The roads were very in bad conditions due to the heavy rain in this region.  Reached Kuppalli around 2 pm.

Kuppalli is not required introductory since it is very well known place to everyone, the birthplace of the great Poet – writer Vishwamanava Rashtrakavi KUVEMPU.  This is one of the places which is must visit in my list. I am very glad to roam around the home where the great poet grown up.  The place is well maintained by trust and you have to pay Rs.10/- as entry fee.  You can walk through the entire home viz. Kitchen, Guest Room, Study Room etc.  After the Kuvempu home visited the Kavishaila where he got the inspiration to write many great poems.  



Paid tribute to Kuvempu Samadhi.  On the way you can find Poorna Chandra Tejaswi Samadhi [Kuvempu son].  Spent well enough of time and left towards Kundadri.

Kundadri is a hill and a very unique place.  It is very famous for SUN rise/set must visit place if you are around Teerthahalli-Agumbe.  A Jain temple is above the hill and it got its own history.  The ride is challenging however you can find a tar road till to the hill top.  Few stretches are very difficult.  Reached the top and enjoyed the sun set.


The sun was set in west and roads become dark.  Our day relax was at Doddamane Agumbe. 

Doddamane [Kasturi Akka]
Need to say few words about such a lovely home.  Read in many blogs about their love, affection and care.  We did not know when we become the part of their family.  Very friendly people and always greet with smile.  Never happened in my life where a stranger treated like their family member.  Just I can’t express the feelings of joy.  No one should miss this home if you come across Agumbe.  This is again a place where a famous Malgudi Days TV serial has been shot.  You can stay in this 130 years old heritage house, enjoy the pure vegetarian malenaadu food given by Kasturi Akka. They never ask money, you are free to give whatever the amount you want.

We met Kasturi Akka and introduced our-self.  Allotted a big room for four of us.  The body wanted to relax since we were on road since 18 hours.  Dumped our luggage and got refreshed with hot water.  To understand the policy and procedures of the Doddamane, asked the details with Kasturi Akka.  The dinner will be served from 8 pm and we have enough of one hour time.

Leisure walk on the Malgudi days street made us so happy.  The fog was started to acquire the roads and the whole atmosphere become beautiful.  Reached Bus stand and had hot coffee and light snacks. We recalled about the whole day journey and enjoyed the moments.

Finished the dinner and again went a small walk on the street.  The stay was very calm and everything of the first day went cool.


28.09.2014

The early morning 3 am alarm beeped and did not get the sleep.  We took bath around 4 am went for a long walk on the same street.  The morning fog, drizzling made pleasant.  Today we had no much hurry to go back Bangalore and wanted to cover the nearest places.  On bike there were no any nearest places which can be reached.  So decided to descend the famous 13 hairpin curve Agumbe Ghats and come back with same route.

The ride on the curves is memorable and stopped our bikes in several points.  There were no counts of camera clicks with different poses.  Had a small video graph session of Bullet ride by each one of us.  The entire descend and ascend of the Ghat is super.

Reached Doddamane to have the breakfast and pack-up.  Served delicious Bisibelebath & Awalakki with Kashaya.  Adieu to Kasturi Akka and promised to come back soon.

Many times watched in the National Geographic channels about the King Cobra research at Agumbe region by Romulus Whitaker.  He founded Agumbe Rain Research Station (ARRS) in 2005.  ARRS conducts and facilitates a wide variety of research projects, ranging from rainforest ecology, behavioral and population ecology, phenology, geo-informatics and socio economics.  This place is around 2 -3 KMs away from Agumbe bus stand.  Visited the ARRS and met Ajay who is the in charge of the station.  Briefed about their projects and the importance of the place.

Left the place around 10.00 am and there was a small problem to our companion Ravi bike Pulsar.  The blow level was less and enquired about any puncher shop availability in Agumbe and answer was big NO [Be careful riders].  Suggested the nearest place is around 8 km.  Not to take much risk, asked Ravi to ride alone on Pulsar and we all three accommodated on Bullet.  Luckily the guy was available and got repaired and moved ahead.

After 5 -6 kms journey noticed that, again the blow level was reduced. The same exercise repeated; triple ride on bullet and reached Sringeri.  Due to bike issue we skipped Sirimane Falls visit.  Paid darshana to Sringeri Sharadambe and left towards Chikkamagaluru.

The stretch from Sringeri to Aldur, the road condition is very bad due to recent rain.  Quickly finished our lunch at Balehonnuru.  Taking multiple stops reached the Chikkamagalur by 3.30 pm.  The team is more interested to visit Mullayyanagiri and we had very less time.  I have given option to night halt at Chikkamagalur and leave early morning to Bangalore after covering the places around it.  Most of them were not ready stay back and wanted to reach Bangalore by night.  So all decided to visit only Mullayyanagiri.

I had been this place twice before, the stretch was around 20km from the city.  We were happier that not encountered by rain these two days.  Now the situation is change, the clouds are frightened.  As expected, we struck in the rain while approaching to the peak.  Stopped nearby hotel and took out our rain gear and proceeded further. I was aware about the deep valley of this summit, however not tried on bike.  Due to heavy rain the road was not in much good condition and witnessed few places land sliding.  Now the real adventurous part of the ride begun.

After taking the deviation towards the Mullayyanagiri the road become narrow and valley become so deep.  We have to be cautious if any vehicle coming from opposite side. The valley was so beautiful with clouds, drizzling and green carpet across all hills.  The friends were so happy to visiting this place.  We hand no enough time to spend this beautiful place since need to leave Bangalore by night.

Took many photographs and paid tribute to Mullayanagiri and started to descend the summit.  The scariest ride ever in all of our life.  The fog completely covered entire valley and it is hardly visible 2 – 3 feet.  We were aware about the valley and a small mistake can take our valuable life.  Drove very carefully with 10KMs per hour and stopped a while wherever we were not confident.  We all were praying to finish the stretch at the earliest and reach the town.  The weather become worst and heavy rain started pouring without merciless.  The journey becomes challenging and adventurous.  One more mistake happen, while passing a small junction took wrong deviation which again took us to some other summit.  Luckily we come across a four wheeler guy who guided a correct path.  Took U turn headed towards right path and reached Chikkamagalur town by 7.30 pm.

Everyone completely wet and just exchanged the feelings about the descending journey.  The wind was making more shivering and decided to head towards Bangalore.  We were in calculation to reach by mid-night; the time was not with us.  Hardly had we travelled 10kms from Chikkamagalur again the rain started to pour.  Stopped nearby shop and changed the cloths.  The rain was in full mood pouring with thunder and light.  Spent almost an hour at the same place, the rain little calm down now.   Started journey with expectation to reach Bangalore without break anymore. Very sad, again rain started and stopped nearby Dhaba.  No one was ready to get wet again this rain.  Decided to finish the dinner and depend on the situation take a decision.  The time was already 10.30 pm.  Had tasty Daal-Roti and relaxed sometime.

The rain was in the same speed and we had no option to stay back at Dhaba.  All decided to go the nearest town Belur and stay the night at Lodge.  Started the journey in the rain and our pace was very slow.  The roads were filled with water and advised to take very slow ride.  Reached the Belur around 11.30 pm and the rain was in same range.  Decided to go ahead Hasan and relax some time at Bus Stand.  Reached the Hasan at 12.30pm and parked our vehicles at parking lot.  Changed our wet cloths and relaxed on the chairs.  We were badly struggling with sleep and one of our pillion [Jaga] was not having the rain gear and decided to send him by Bus.

29.09.2014

Jaga boarded bus around 2.00 am and we decided to leave Hasan.  Now the rain was shown little mercy on us and left by 2.45 am.  The traffic was not much on highway however it is very dangerous to drive in the night.  We thought we are taking a risk, but we had no any other option.  Keeping 40 -50 km/h pace and decided to take multiple breaks.

The early morning ride in the rain was more adventurous.  Taking multiple breaks, having biscuits-tea reached the home at 7.15 am.  The entire stretch of the journey was 902 kms.

We thanked to god and bikes taking us back with safely.  The overall journey was most memorable and ever first adventurous journey too.


Total expenditure of Petrol – Rs.700/- & Other expenses – Rs.765/- per head

Team

L-R: Ravi, Jaga, Me & Sudhakar