Driving down to Dhimbam Ghats from Bangalore is my favourite ride. A round trip is around 600Km, which makes for a good days ride. The route comprises of country roads, twisties, ghats and 6 lane highway.
I like it so much so that this was my 6th ride in last few years to this area with some variation here and there.
The plan was to ride on the 1st day of the year. But heavy morning rains was a discouragement. Fortunately Jan 2 was clear and a holiday. Not one to miss out on the opportunity, off I went.
Dot five, I was out of the basement. Fog made navigation slow. Soon I was on the Kanakpura Road, dodging the high beam of oncoming traffic. As I left the city the fog settled at a comfortable distance, allowing me to speed up a little.
The first stop was a photo opportunity after Kanakpura.
A little break and some pictures later I was off towards Mallavalli.
The next stop was on the banks of Shimsha River. My attempts to photograph some cattle Egrets was a failure. I had to content myself with some reflections on the river
Malavalli soon came and I stopped for tea.
Double tea with a couple of bananas and I turned towards Sivasamudram.
Past Sivasamudram, I was in for a surprise. The bridge to Kollegal was closed. Not knowing another way to cross the Cauveri, I asked around and then looked at Google Maps. The other bridge to cross the river was upstream at T.Narsipura.
So off I went turning on the rural roads. I would say that was a fortunate diversion. Rarely does one get to see such lush fields ready for cultivation.
By the time I reached Chamarajanagar, my stomach was grumbling. I made the mistake of entering the city and promptly got stuck in traffic. Eventually I extracted myself from the mess and landed at a small eatery. Puris, dosa and couple of Vada later, the stomach was content and I had a smile on my face.
It was still early in the day and the good part was about to begin.
Post Chamarajanagar, the fields gave way to jungle. Trees lined the road replacing irrigation ditches.
The traffic was surprising less and I throughly enjoyed the ride through the forest. The drive down the ghats was fun. Unfortunately they have removed the parapet at the hairpin bends. These parapets serve as a great sitting points to look down on the jungle below. At one of the bends, I took a break and sat down enjoying the chirping of birds while looking down on the dense forest below.
The forest is part of the Satyamangalam Tiger Reserver. While I have not seen tigers, I have spied elephants down in the jungle a couple of times.
After Satyamangalam, the ride to Bhavani was somewhat monotonous. From Bhavani the toll highway start. So speeds were good. At Aiveli, I took a short-cut which bypassed Salem.
Soon I cruised past Dharampuri. Lunch was late at a small roadside dhabha.
At Hoskote, took a diversion to Bagalur and then the Chika-Tirupati route to Whitefield and home. That again was a smart move. Got treated to an excellent sunset, which I would have missed if I have gone on straight to Bangalore.
Finally ended the day with some great sunset pictures.
Overall distance: 610Km
Start time: 0500
End Time: 1830