This used to be and maybe is still my favorite route. While the Kanakpura stretch is slowly being turned into a boring stretch and the Mallavalli-Shivasamudram stretch is already widened and rendered monotonous.
Yet this route is still one of the best day rides around Bangalore. It has ample sunrise opportunities on the lakes adjoining the Kanakpura Road, there is early morning breakfast at Vasu’s, there are fields around Kollegal and Chamrajanagar, then there are hills of Dhimbam ghats and finally when you are tired at the end of the day, there is a straight stretch of road home. Nothing beats the all-in-one nature of this route.
So early Oct, in my quest to get to 5K Km on the D250 off I went on a morning ride.
First stop, double idli and double coffee at Vasu’s.
Then the sunrise on the highway.
A little down the road, I veered off the highway to watch the sun rise over the fields and take some pictures.
The little red house on the Malavalli-Shivasamudram stretch. I discovered this on one of the previous ride on this route. Fortunately it is a little inside from the road of the road widening would have ruined the view.
Weeds glowing in the sun.
Cauvery river from the Satthegala Bridge
At Kollegal I turned left and then right towards Germalam. This may be my last ride to the Dhondenling Monastery. The road ahead through the forest seems to be closed to two wheelers on weekend. Thanks to the youth who comes and drinks around in the jungle creating ruckus.
Posing in the corn fields around the monastery.
View of the Tibetan settlement.
After roaming around the settlement a bit, I moved on towards Dhimbam ghats.
Forest check post where I was stopped. The guard required a bit of persuasion to let me through. Makes me wary of coming down this road again, since its a long way to go back and go via the alternate route.
View from the top of Dhimbam ghat.
And the Bannari temple at the bottom.
Crossing the Cauvery river.
At Salem, I stopped for lunch at the Selvi Mess and then the sprint back home.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.