Thursday, October 19, 2017

Belum Caves and Gandikota Fort

Since, it was raining heavily in Malnad region of Karnataka, I cancelled my ride plan to Ghats and made plan to Belum caves and Gandikota fort which were my long pending bucket list.

This was the route we followed.

Few guys cancelled the ride in the last minute. Niranjan who was OK for any place joined the ride, then Shailesh who accompanied me in Rameshwaram ride also joined this time again.

Day 1:

It was early morning 5:00 AM me and Shailesh met near Banashanakari and Niranjan joined us near Hebbal.. Already, hundreds of riders and cyclists have assembled there waiting for their gangs who go rides in the same route. Since, its first time Niranjan and Shailesh meeting, they got introduced themselves and by 6:00 AM we started from Hebbal towards Hyderabad highway.

Since, there was less crowd in the highway, we could pick up the speed pace and by 9:00 AM we had reached Ananthpura. After a stop there for breakfast, we started towards Tadipatri. From Tadipatri took deviation to reach Belum caves.
Entry to caves

Historical facts of Belum caves:
The caves are natural and millions of years old, known to the local villagers for years. These caves are first recorded by Robert Bruce Foote in 1884. Explored and charted by H.D.Gebauer, German caver and his team in 1982-84. Declared as natural heritage by A.P Archaeology department in 1989.
Taken over by A.P tourism dept corporation in 2000. Developed and thrown to public in 2003.

After a trek expedition inside caves, took rest for sometime and started our journy towards Jammalamadugu. We stopped there for lunch and then moved towards Gandikota which is around 10 kms from there.. This terrain in with a small road where we can see the Gandikota reservoir from far and the red color rocks. Also was able to see Deer, few rabbits crossing the road while we ride the bike.

By evening we reached Gandikota fort. Its a small remote village with 1 or 2 bus per day. There is only one hotel here named Hotel Haritha running by Dept of Tourism, Govt of Andhra Pradesh. If anybody have plan to stay here, need to do only online booking and better to book few days earlier. Also, dormitory is available. If beds are vacant, you can get in dorm.

Since we had taken tent we pitched it near hotel itself. Few travelers had pitched their tent inside fort and near to canyon itself. For food, there is no option except Hotel Haritha unless you can cook yourself there.

Gandikota Fort
Grand Canyon Of India
Brief about Gandikota fort:
Gandikota was founded in 1123 by Kapa Raja of nearby Bommanapalle village and a subordinate of Ahavamalla Someswara I, the Western Chalukyan king of Kalyana. The town played a significant role during the Kakatiya, Vijayanagara and Qutub Shahi periods. The fort was made more impregnable by Pemmasani Timma Naidu. The fort was under the control of Pemmasani Naidus for over 280 years.

Day 2:

Early morning we got ready and we went to canyon to watch the sunrise. Although we had watched sunset on previous day, its nice to watch sunrise too. Since can observe the color of rocks changes as sunshine falls. 

Entrance of Gandikota Fort
After spending some time there, we started our journey towards Bengaluru via Muddanur - Pulivendula - Kadiri - Kodikonda - Bengauru. On the way we stopped at Kadiri to have breakfast and reached Bengaluru by afternoon ending our 700 kms of wonderful ride to beautiful places in a beautiful terrain.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Ride to Rameshwaram

Since, there were 3 days leave, was planning for some trip. Many thoughts were floating inside the mind. I had a plan of riding to Rameshwaram and Kanyakumari. Asked couple of friends, whether they can join for ride. Since many did not had leave for Ramadan, they couldn't join for my 3 days plan. Later, Shailesh said he is ON for the 3 day plan and within few mins our route plan was ready.

Day 1-2 (Jun 23rd-24th):

Though we had decided to leave Bengaluru around 7 PM itself,it was around 10 PM when we started from Bengaluru. He took me in some shortcuts and finally we hit Hosur road. After riding for an hour, we stopped at Krishnagiri to fill Petrol and also had Tea break.

A guy met near this shop was surprised when we said we are heading to Rameshwaram. After a break, we started in highway towards Salem. When we reach Namakkal, it was around 4 AM and we both were feeling sleepy. We decided to park our bike in some petrol bunk and sleep for sometime. Took rest for sometime and then we started towards Trichy.

We took diversion from NH to state highways in Namakkal towards Trichy. After breakfast, we en routed towards Rameshwaram via Padukottai-Karaikudi-Manamadurai-Paramakudi-Rameshwaram. Though this is state highway, it was very good for riding. 

We had a plan to reach Rameshwaram by 9 AM and after visiting temple and sightseeing in Rameshwaram, by evening will go to Kanyakumari. But we reached Rameshwaram by 2 PM after taking many breaks. We do not wanted to give more strain to our body by riding continuously. Already we had 620 kms of ride since last 16 hrs and do not wanted to continue further for a day. Hence, we dropped Kanyakumari plan and cancelled room booking there. Although Shailesh insisted to extend our plan for one more day, so that we can visit Kanyakumari also. But, I was not in a position to extend due to shortage of leaves. 

After crossing the Panban bridge,We reached Rameshwaram around 2 PM via Pamban bridge, which connects mainland to island (Rameshwaram). A 2 km bridge is the main connectivity to Rameshwaram. Also, there is a railway bridge next parallel to this road. This Railway bridge is one of the world's dangerous route since its constructed over sea and it requires everyday maintenance. This bridge also reminds of Kalam sahab's childhood where he use to sell news paper in the train which travels in this bridge. 

Then we directly headed to hotel. Our body needed a nice sleep for sometime and we do not wanted to go against it. After taking rest for sometime, we headed to temple for Drashana, which is one of the 12 Jyotirlingas in India.

Day 3 (June 25th)

Early morning around 5 AM we headed towards Dhanushkodi, which reminds of Ramayana where Lord Rama built bridge to connect India and Lanka where one edge of bridge becomes Dhanushkodi which means end of the bow. The 20 km ride from Rameshwaram to Dhanushkodi was excellent. It was very nice experience to ride in a very straight road and sea in both the sides. Had a felling like riding in between the sea itself. Had to ride with wild wind shaking the bikes, sand blowing in the wind. 

5 km before to Dhanushkodi, there is an check post and security guard was not allowing our bike towards Dhanushkodi, the tip. We requested him saying that we had ride 620 kms all the way from Bengaluru. After exchanging few words, he agreed to allow us to ride till end. Earlier, there was no road till Dhanushkodi. One use to go with 4*4 jeeps available there, since it was full of sand. But now, very good road is constructed and any vehicles can go there. 

At Dhanushkodi, there is an abandoned railway station and old church which were washed away in the Tsunami in 1964. Also, we can see few old homes there which are all destroyed. But now, looks like its not permitted to live there.

After spending some time in the tip and beach, we headed back to room and started towards Madhuai. On the way we also visited Abdul Kalam's memorial. Since, it was under construction, nobody was allowed near his graveyard. Around 3 PM we reached Madhurai. Again we took rest for sometime and went to Meenakshi temple. Since, it was long weekend, temple was huge crowded. It took almost 2 hrs for Darshanam. The temple is majestic in its architecture. The pillars and carvings are most beautiful.

After visiting temple, we went for roaming the city. Shailesh wanted to have Biriyani at famour Kumar mess. I accompanied him in the hotel and later I had dinner in different hotel, since Im vegetarian. 

Then it was time for Jigarthanda, a native drink of Madurai made of Almonds. Since, we both are kind of foodies, we prefer to taste native food whenever we travel anywhere. 

Day 4 (June 26th)

We started from Madhurai at early morning around 5:30 AM and we started in NH-7 towards Dindigul. After Dindigul, we took diversion to state highway towards Tirupur. Since, we had planned to ride back via Satyamangalam forest, we took deviation from national highway. The state roads in TamilNadu are well maintained. Around afternoon we reached Bahavanisagar dam which is near Satyamangalam forest. 

We had lunch in the small hotel near dam, and we started our ride towards forest which is Tiger reservoir. After crossing the Satyamangalam check post,had to ride inside a forest,then the thrilling and scary ride begins in Dhimbham ghat which has 27 hairpin bends. This was incredible ride in the ghat section. My dad traveling in his route for almost 30+ years to Coimbatore and Tirupur for cotton business. I remember he use to tell about this ghat since my childhood, how difficult to go in loaded lorry n this Ghat.

After Dhuimbham ghats, we were inside Karnataka state. After a small break for tea, started our journey to Bengaluru via Chamarajanagar - Kollegala - Malavalli - Kanakapura - Bengaluru.

Around 7:30 PM we reached Bengaluru and ended our long ride of 1425 kms. 

Friday, May 12, 2017

One year with my bike, Nandi - Part 5

Jan 26, 2017 - Lepkashi, Andhra Pradesh

It was Republic Day. Woke up early morning as usual for daily running. But this day was not in a mood to run, instead wanted to go some where. I had a spontaneous thought to go for any ride within around 100 kms from Bangalore. Immediately I googled it and decided to go to Lepakshi which is around 120 kms from Bangalore. Since, I have interest on Nandi's in India, it was long pending bucket list to visit Lepakshi. (Also, my bike name is Nandi),

Then, got ready and started my ride towards Bangalore Airport road. Then somewhere after Devanahalli stopped for breakfast. Reached Lepakshi around 9:00 AM after riding in Bangalore-Hyderabad highway, then took diversion in Kodikonda cross to reach Lepkashi. 


The Nandi in Lepakshi is one of the seven biggest in India as identified by Archaeological Survey of India and it is monolithic. Out of seven, four are in Karnataka (Bull temple, Bangalore , Chamundi Hills, Mysore and two in Hoysaleshwara temple,Halebeedu) and remaining two are in Tamil Nadu. 


Another main spot in Lepakshi is Veerabahdreshwara temple which is built in Vijayanagara architectural style and another significance in this temple complex in NagaLinga carved in monolithic and it can be seen from Nandi mantapa which is around 500 mts away. The pillars inside the temple are beautifully carved with many deities ,

Infront of Nandi and over my Nandi

There was another group of 600 bikers who had a ride from Bengaluru and mine was an Solo Ride.  Though I wanted to visit Penukonda fort, which is near leakshi, due to time constraint, I had to return back and kept Penuknda as unchecked in my bucket list.

Mar 11,2017 - Somanathapura

It was already a month ago had been for any ride due to my other trips. This time again Darshan called for trekking. Initial plan was to go to Narasmha Parvatha trek near Agumbe. After enquiring the local guide from Agumbe, got to know that trek route is closed for some time due to summer. So we decided to go for ride. Earlier had plans for 2 days, since I got some work over the Sunday, I finalized to Somanathapura. Since Hoysala temples and Architecture is one of my interests to know, I was eager to visit this temple. It was around 15 years back I visited this temple. Though he was not interested to visit temple, he just agreed to come as he was eager to go somewhere at least.

After we met near Nagarbhavi circle, we started our ride inside JnanaBharathi campus and connected to Mysore road. As usual had Thatte idli at Bidadi and started towards Mandya and reached Somanathapura around 11 PM.

900 year old Chennakeshava temple,Somanathapura

Chennakeshava temple at Somanathapura built by Hoysalas is one of the prominent temples by Hoysalas. This is an Trikutachala temple meaning having three shrines. This temple has shrines of VenuGopala,  Keshava and Janardhana. All three are forms of Vishnu.  

I was trying to understand the story behind many sculptures. And also explained few sculptures to other tourists over there. Hailing from Halebeedu, I got interest towards Hoysala architecture. Though we can find many similar sculptures in most of the Hoysala temples, there are few unique one also.

After this we went to a ruined Panchalingeshwara temple which is around half kms from Chennakeshava temple.
Good thing about my bike is,it will come where ever I take, however the road will be or there will be no road.

From there, we went to Talakadu which is around 20 kms from Somanathapura and while coming back visited Bhramaramba-Mallikarjuna temple at Mudukutore and returned to Bangalore by evening.
Kaveri river flowing in front of Mudukuotore temple,it connects to Talakadu

Mudukutore temple

April 8th, 2017 -Kolli Hills, Tamil Nadu

My friend Vikram was keep asking me to go for some trips or rides. It was almost a year back we both had been a ride to Chamundi hills in his new bike. I just floated him a idea to ride to Kolli Hills, he agreed immediately and plan was ON.

It was early morning 4:00 AM, I picked him near Jayadeva hospital and we started our ride towards Hosur road via Electronic city flyover. Kolli hills is around 280 kms from Bangalore. Have to reach via Bangalore-Hosur-Krishmagiri-Dharmapuri-Salem-Rasipuram-Kolli Hills.

Aerial view of  Hairpin curves in Kolli hills

The specialty about ride to Kolli hills is its 70 hairpin bends. Yes, you read it right. 70 scary hairpin curves and a small road of distance around 24 kms. Meaning of Kolli hills is A mountain of death.

We were tired of riding in hot weather all the way and it was like breezing when we enter the forest area where the real ride begun.  Believe me, you cannot stop anywhere in the middle since the roads are very small. Only near 35th bend, you can stop and can enjoy the scenic panoramic beauty of forest. And another fact is, most of the vehicles do not horn at all in the curves. Really they'll scare the opposite vehicles.

At first bend, before starting ride

One example of hairpin curves in Kolli Hills.This is 35th one

After finishing the ride at 70th and final bend

So, after 24 kms of ride in a small ghat road with 70 bend curves, reached a village. From there, went to a Semmedu, top of the hills. Then been to falls.From the temple,have to get down around a Km to reach a falls where around 1000 steps are there..Unfortunately, there was no water in the falls since it was summer, with a disappointment trekked back and visited Arapaleeshwar temple, a Shiva temple.

After visiting temple, returned back to Rasipurm, had lunch and started our ride back to Banaglore with a thrilled experience of riding 70 bends in a single stretch which every biker should experience once.

So, here I end my stories of bike rides for an year. Will come up with stories of upcoming rides. I have many many rides in the bucket list.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

One year with my bike, Nandi - Part 4

Sep 10th, 2016 - Mysuru

Me and Malli had registered for Celebrations Mysore 10K run. It was scheduled for Sep 11th. Though we decided to ride to Nanjanagudu on Saturday and coming back to Bangalore after Marathon, couldn't go to Nanjanagudu since I got office that day. There were number of bandhs happening due to Kaveri issue called by different organisations and to compensate the bandh day, had to work on Saturday. So plan to Nanjanagudu got cancelled. But sill we rode to Mysuru. Many of my friends suggested not to go in bike, since we need to cross Mandya, where strikes were extreme, we decided to go in bike itself.

Next day after Marathon, we met my beloved friend Balu Sir at his residence. Many thanks to him for arranging our stay at Youth Hostel,Mysuru. Then after meeting him, we ride back to Bangalore.

Oct 30-Nov 1, 2016 - Halebeedu

It was 3 days vacation for Deepawali. I dont wanted to park my bike in Bangalore and go to native for festival. My parents had already warned not to come in bike to native, if I am coming alone. Though last time when I had been to native alone, this time my parents warned like this. 2 days before the vacation, asked my colleague Sanjay, whose native is around 10 kms from my home. We decided to go together in my bike. Next day, early morning I picked him near his home and started our ride. Though we wished to had breakfast specially Thatte Idli at Kunigal,it was too early to have. So continued our ride and stopped at Bellur cross for breakfast. Then we started towards Hassan. I dropped him at his native and went to my home. 

After reaching home, had few happy rides to Pushpagiri hills and other places. After festival I picked Sanjay at Hassan and returned to Bangalore. Usually, Hassan-Bangalore highway will be free, but this time since it was festival and long weekend, it was huge traffic compared to usual days. We got stuck in rain mid way, stopped at many places due to rain and finally reached Bangalore

Jan 22, 2017 - Ranganathittu

Ufff. It was already 3 months since I ad been for a ride in my bike, This time my friend Poornesha came to my room. He was saying to go some where. I told him, will go for a ride to some place towards Mysore road. He said doesn't like to come in bike, instead will go in bus. I gave some build up about Bullet and told about the birds will be migrated in this season. Finally some how convinced him for a ride. We decided to go to Ranganathittu, which is around 140 kms from Bangalore.

Next day, early morning we staretd our ride. As usual. stopped at Bidadi for Thate Idli, Vade for breakfast. Around 10 we reached Ranganathittu. After Mandya, then comes SriRangaPattana. Then from there have to take diversion to right to reach Ranganathittu bird sanctury.

Painted Stork

To visit Ranganathittu, Dec-Jan will be the best season, since birds started migrating from other countries as well. We got a chance to see painted stork and openbill stork. Also, few other birds.

Openbill Stork. migrated from Siberia

After bird sanctuary, we visited RanganatahSwamy temple at SriRangaPattana and returned back to Bnagaolore by evening. After this ride, Poornesha was telling, he'll never come for any bike trip with me in this bike, since its difficult to sit as a pillion in Bullet. Till now, its almost 4 months, I am not able to convince him for another ride.

Few other rides in the next and last post.