Trip Date: Mar 19th 2016

Middle of March and there has to be a ride. For a while i had been contemplating the alternate route between Kollegal and Dhimbam ghats which bypasses Chamarajanagar. I had been in this route before (in the other direction) and had gotten hopelessly lost. I had also heard about the Tibetan settlement in Germalam which I wanted to see.

The only hurdle was the temperatures. March had started off extremely hot and I had in mind going ahead doing the Mettur loop. It was going to be extremely hot after descending from the ghats.

Nevertheless, braving the weather, I decided to head out one Saturday morning.

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Sunrise Off Kanakpura Road

The morning was as pleasant as it could be without being cold inside the mesh jacket. I was out of the city in a jiffy and was cruising happily down the Kanakpura road. The sun had just started rising off to the East. It was going to be a hot day.

 

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Illuminated Temple
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Sunrise Silhouette

Top of the mind was to hunt for a place with hot coffee and idly/dosa as a bonus. The joints in Kanakpura were likely to be closed at the hour. My best bet would be a hole-in-the-wall idly place I know of in Malavalli.

 

Kanakpura came and went. I again glanced longingly at Vasu’s Hotel. The place never seems to be open when I ride by. One day I may have to come just to eat here and time my ride according to that.

A little after Kanakpura, I took a diversion to climb a dirt track to a small temple. The view from the hillock was nice and I hung around watching the sun climb up the horizon.

 

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Onroad Selfie
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Sunrise atop the Hill
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Rock Overhang Temple

As I rode down from the temple, I realized that I was running way behind. As always, I wanted to get home before dark.

 

Riding in the dark is a pain and avoidable at best.

Mallavalli came and went. Decided against stopping for food. Little did I realize that this was going to be the norm through the day. I would stop for tea/water and snacks but never for a proper meal.

The road joining Malavalli to Gagnachukki is a charm to drive on. Well laid tarmac, flanked by tree. It was too early for Gulmohar to flower. In season it is a riot of colors.

As I stopped for a bio break, I spied this old temple hiding behind a giant Pepal tree. Extended the break to nose around a bit. While the main entrance was barred by a grill, the compound posed ample photography opportunities.

 

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Multi-headed Snake
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Temple Ruins

Fortunately the  bridge over Kaveri was open. Taking the T.Narsipura bridge would mean a long ride back to Germalam.

 

Crossing the bridge, I stopped at a tri-junction for tea. The road to the left goes towards Barachukki Falls.

 

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Tea Break

At Kollegal, I turned towards M.M.Hills. I little later I turned towards Germalam. This time I was more confident of the route.

 

It was only a matter of time before I turned towards the Tibetan settlement. I must say the setting of the place is beautiful. Rolling hills topped by temple spires, a photographer’s delight.

It was mid-morning and for reason I hardly saw many people. I made a mental note of coming back again.

 

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Old (women), new (prayer wheel)

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On the road less traveled

 

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Temples

 

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Holy Trio

  

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Lone Tree

I searched for a place to have some Tibetan food, but all shops were closed. I decided to make a move.

The road continued to be in great conditions. Last time, when I was in this area there were hardly any roads.

 

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Narrow Jungle Road
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Tiger Zone

 

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Selfie Time
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Early Blossoms

The road merges into the main road which descends to the Bannari Jungles, a place which was once Verrappan territory.

A while back the hairpin bends down the ghat had ample space to park and take a break. I even did a picnic here once. But those days are gone. There is hardly any space to stop, let alone park and take a break.

I descend down to the temple. By now the heat is exhausting. I was looking forward to a tough several hours ahead.

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Bannari Temple

I stop at a dairy shop across from the temple and drink couple of bottle of frozen badam milk.

Mettur dam was the next stop.

Satyamangalam gone. Bhavani gone. And I was at Mettur.

The heat was crazy and I was getting baked in the riding jacket. The thought if taking it off and tying it to the back occurred, but was banished as soon as it came.

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Mettur Dam

 

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Hardly any water in the Dam

Just before the dam I stopped again to hydrate and cool down. Two bottles of cols bisleri and an egg puff later I was on my way.

Never one to give up an opportunity to try new routes (especially the backroads one), I decided to try out a new  road back to Bangalore via Hogenakkal.

So at Mecheri, I turned towards Perumbalai and joined the Hogenakkal road at Pennagaram. Now this a beautiful road with adequate twists and turns to make riding fun.

Given the dry winter, the terrain was quite brown and the mid-day sun didn’t lend itself to good pictures. Plus the heat meant I was not very keen to stop.

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Shady Break

Hogenakkal onwards it was the usual route via Anchetty, Denkankotai, Hosur and home.

Given that I did not stop much, I was home well before dark.

map
Route Map

Trip Stats Distance: 560Km

Start Time: 0500
End Time: 1800
Expenses – Food: 276
Expenses – Fuel: 500

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