The 50/1.8 lens ensured I could shoot at no other focal length. The road conditions ensured that I drove at no more than 50 Km/hr.
That defines my day long solitary bike ride to Talakadu, about 140Km from Bangalore.
I did another unique experiment. Throughout the day, I did not look at the watch. Well I don’t have an operational watch, so I actually mean look at the time on my cell phone. I measured time by looking at the sun and distance on the odometer.
- Km 0 (0535hrs): Departure from Koramangala, Bangalore. Head South on NH 209.
- Km 35: Beautiful sunrise off on the left. I stop by a small pond to enjoy the reflections and take some photographs.
- Km 60: Kanakpura. After Kanakpura the National Highway 209 barely resembles a road.
- Km 61: Short break to stretch. The tea is too sweet. Coffee is better. Somehow, the street side vendors makes great coffee in the South.
- Km 65: I stop to admire Gabbar’s lair in Ramgarh. Photograph a truck going in other direction in my rear view mirror.
- Km 77: I see this structure by the road wondering why there is a mosque in the middle of nowhere. As I drive past I look back to see that there in only one wall. Later I learn that this is an Idgah. The morning shadows are still long.
- Km 106: Malavalli. I ask for directions for Talakadu. Next 1 Km the road is good.
- Km 110: Right turn for Talakadu. 24 Km more. It is just a dirt track now.
- Km 125: Stop by a small hamlet for tea. 4 mini bananas for breakfast. A young man asks for a ride. Glad to have him with me. He speaks in Kannada (I think so). I speak in English. Neither understands each other. We still keep talking as I drive towards Talakadu.
- Km 134: Talakadu. The river beach looks good. Few people bathing in the water. Several round boats anchored on the beach. After parking the bike, I head to the beach. There is a half buried Shiv Ling and Hanuman along the way.
As I get nearer, I find the beach to be very dirty. No bathing here. I walk back towards the parking. The temples are on the other side. A tour guide asks for 75 bucks. Too much I tell him and walk alone. The first temple is easy to find. There is a board with an arrow. Something is written in Kannada. I follow the arrow to the temple. It is a small one, almost buried in sand.
I walk back and see another sign. Following that, I reach a larger temple. This one has been completely excavated. There is a large brick retention wall around it to prevent sand from coming down. I walk down the steps. Nothing interesting. Take some photographs and retrace my steps back.
Another board with an arrow. Following that, I reach an overlook which reveals a huge temple. This one is big.
The path is blocked due to Archaeological Survey of India excavations. So I take a side path which crosses two smaller temples before arriving at the entrance of the big temple I saw from above. At the latter of the two small temples, I stop to drink fresh coconut water. The big temple is quite nice. I walk around taking several pictures.
Moving ahead, there is another temple. This one is a mix of old and new. The lower walls are old and made of stone. The top is cement and white washed.
I make a round of the temple and head back to my bike. On way I relish a cucumber. At the beach I pick up two small books written in Kannada with pictures of the Talakadu temples. I guess the only reason I picked them up was because the little girl selling them was too persistent. I then share a pineapple with the little girl and her friend.
Time to leave. The sun was high in the sky. I guess it was around noon.
- Km 134: I decide to visit the waterfalls of Shivasamudram on the way back.
- Km 136: I head North-West towards the falls. The road goes from bad to worse. Two kids wave to ask for a ride. Again we converse without understanding each other.
- Km 169: Bhara Chukki Falls. The falls are impressive. So is the amount garbage lying around. I decide against walking down to the water. I eat a slice of water melon.
- Km 171: I stop at a small dargah next to a steep cliff. The second falls are here, but nothing is visible.
I head back. The road to Malavalli is excellent. Oasis in the desert.
- Km 184: I take a right turn towards the 2nd falls. Give my 4th ride of the day. The view from the viewing platform is excellent. There is a lot of water in the falls. Wonder how it would be in the monsoons.
- Km 200: Malavalli. I stop for lunch at a Shanti Sagar. The place is pretty crowded. I order a meal, but take off when there is no sign of my food coming. The road ahead is bad and traffic worse. Be wary of private bus drivers
- Km 230: Maddur. I hit the Mysore highway. From here road is good.
- Km 238: I stop for lunch. The meal is good. I feel like sleeping. Moving on, the bike easily keeps 80 Km/hr. My hands, back and ass are sore like anything. I decide to stop for a tea break at Km 295. At the point I find that we are almost in Bangalore. Decide to head home. I didn’t expect the traffic to be bad. From Mysore road, I had no idea how to get to Koramangala. I saw a Metro sign pointing to the right. Having seen Metro on Kanakpura road in the morning, I followed. That landed me on Bannerghatta road. After that it was smooth sailing.
- Km 325 (1713hrs): Home sweet home.
Rest of the photos from the trip: Talakadu Ride