Bike Ride: Mettur Circuit

The route map – 565Km of meditating on two wheels.

My usual Spring ride called the “Ides of march Ride”, though sometimes it happens in April. For some reason spring isn’t really here. Pretty much no flower laden trees. That was one of three disappointments I had on this ride.

I started a little late and decided to take the Nice Road to Kanakpura Road. Took me longer than expected, though I was able to avoid the construction on the Kanakpura Road. The sun was just rising over one of the lakes. Beautiful orange hues.

Stopped for the customary bike silhouette. The road was a little higher than the surroundings. That helped with the low angle picture.

Crossed Kanakpura. Was temped to stop at Vasu’s. However decided to skip since I was running late. They have a nice big board now. Good for outsiders who hear the name and come by to eat the yummy food.

The lake on the outskirts of Kanakpura has been developed well for locals to take walks and enjoy the outdoors. A big chariot is seen across the lake on the other end.

A little after Kanakpura, near where the Kavery pipeline accompanies the road, took a small diversion for taking some pictures. The road gently slopes up and then down, providing an excellent spot to take pictures. The early morning light makes the pictures glow. The rocks are great for sitting and taking a break.

At Malavalli, stopped for a tea break and turned towards Kollegal.

This stretch of road from Malavalli to the Satthegala Bridge is my favorite stretch in the Bangalore backroads. And that was the second disappointment of the day.

The road has been widened, cutting trees and removing various artifacts that gave it character. I have fond memories of this stretch. One of my first few rides out of Bangalore was here. That lamenting will wait for some other time.

One of the casualties of road widening is an old temple by the road side. This was once an invisible, hidden behind the bushes, temple where no one went. With the bushes being cleared someone is taking over. The old structure is being torn down.

The old hand pump is gone too. It’ll no longer fill my bottles.

A red brick house amidst coconut trees

After crossing the Satthegala Bridge, took a dirt track down to the river. There wasn’t much water in the river. I was in two minds on whether to go to Hogenakkal or take the Germalam route to Dhimbam ghats.

At Kollegal I took a break to buy some water, biscuits and chips. Couple of kids came to see the bike. One of them (one above with a mask) looked at the number plate and then looking at me said “Corona virus se bhag kar aaye ho?” (Are you running away from Corona virus?). Smiling I nodded.

Deciding to head towards Hogenakkal, I turned towards MMHills. The road conditions have improved since my last ride on this road. The terrain is always lovely. Distance hills mostly covered by haze and the fields in front lush green. A bush was flowering purple.

A nice tree with fresh red leaves was glowing in the sunlight.

Crossing Hanur, the climb to MMHills was somewhat monotonous. The day was hot and road wasn’t in great condition. That climb wasn’t much fun. At MMHills, they have build a huge weird dome next to the temple spoiling the beauty of the place.

Crossing the temple I started the descent towards Hogenakkal. Ever since they rebuilt this road, it has been in great condition. The hillside was turning yellow which was a pleasant sight.

At the bottom of the hill, I turned towards Hogenakkal. This is a fun narrow road that flanks the Kaveri river and the paved road ends at the Karnataka side of Hogenakkal falls.

The falls were the third disappointment of the day. The place was isolated, river bed was dry and I walked across the bed to the falls.

The elevated pathway to the falls was in ruins. I guess effects of previous year’s floor.

Walking on the rocks on the river bed was a surreal experience. Never imagined that I would walk on this riverbed which was always full or torrents of water.

After spending sometime at the riverbed, I drove back to the parking area. Had a packet of chips and bottle of water. Checked if there was an option of crossing the river with the bike. No option was available there.

Tracking my way back to the Karnataka-Tamil Nadu border, I turned towards Mettur dam.

Two views of the Mettur dam.
After the dam it was a long stretch home. The sun was hot and there weren’t any photo opportunities.
I stopped at Mecheri for some coffee and a break. After joining NH44 at Thoppur, it was a break-less ride till Hosur.

At Hosur turned towards Bagalur. Took another break for tea. Then a short cut though fields to Chikka Tirupati and then home with a sore bum.

Ride Month: Mar 2020
Distance: ~570Km

Bike Ride: Germalam, Mettur Dam & Hogenakkal – Triplog

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