A long weekend is closing in and the idea of waking up to a fresh cup of coffee amidst the green and white while the faint chirping of birds is Morning Raaga to be cherished; felt ever so rejuvenating. Adding a little adrenaline rush to the calm teased even further…
So, the plan of riding to Chikmagalur hatched. Stay there for 2 nights, visit a few places and ride back on the 3rd of November early morning which was a Sunday so that we could touchdown by evening and get plenty of rest before the new week began.
Now, Why Chikmagalur?
Chikmagalur is also known as the Coffee Land of Karnataka with lush green estates and mesmerising landscapes which is definitely a sight for sore eyes.
This city rests on the foothills of the Mullayanagiri peak of the Western Ghats which is also the highest peak of the Western Ghats. The city offers pleasant and favourable hill station climate, tropical rainforest, and coffee estates.
There are 2 main routes to reach Chikmagalur:
- Bangalore > Nelmangala > Hassan > Belur > Chikmagalur.
Through NH 75 then SH 57 after Magadi Handpost.
Distance: 244 KMS (approx.)
- Bangalore > Nelmangala > Tumkuru > Tiptur > Banavara > Belavadi > Chikamagalur.
Through NH 48, NH 73 from Tumkuru then SH 57 after Magadi Handpost.
Distance: 241 KMS (approx.)
But we chose the 1st option as the travel time was shorter thanks to the good roads and more places to cover.
Essentials to Pack:
I have listed down the important things to keep handy when travelling on bikes and they are as follows:
- Documents of the vehicle and IDs.
- Tool kit along with a set of jumper cables as you never know when someone’s bike battery wears down. (Learnt that the hard way a while back…)
- Extra covers and bungee ropes.
- Always have a water bottle handy.
- Carry a small first aid kit.
Once we were ready and packed, on the 1st of November 2019 at 5:30 AM a few friends and I started to Chikmagalur with 2 RE Classic 350s and a Kawasaki Ninja 650. The weather was pleasant with a chill in the air, sunny but not harsh and no rains.
Distance: 144 KMS from Bangalore. Time to Spend: 01hr (approx.)
A popular Jain pilgrimage centre in South India. Shravanabelagola is famous for the Bahubali Statue which is supposed to be the tallest monolithic stone statue in the world with a height of 58 feet carved out of a single block of granite. The Gomateswara temple is built on top of Vindhyagiri hill at an altitude of 3347 feet. The climb of 620 steps to the top of the hill rewarded us with a beautiful view of the pond in the centre of the town.
Breakfast Stop: Udayapura
Distance: 51 KMS from Shravanabelagola.
You can choose to have breakfast from Aadya’s Royal Dine or Adyar Ananda Bhavan Sweets & A2B Veg Restaurant. If someone is in the mood for Ice cream Polar Bear is there to please. A little shopping can be done at the Mist COORG SPICE or Malnad silk and fashion plaza. While Athithi Juice Shop can help you hydrate with some fresh fruit juice options. However, we chose to dine at the Aadya’s Royal Dine and found the food served to be much to our liking.
We departed to our next stop around 10:00 Hrs after breakfast, making sure to eat light.
Distance: 50 KMS from Udayapura
Approximately 30 Kms after staying on NH75 we took a left to get on SH21 and after 6kms give or take, we took a right towards Shettihalli and stayed en route for another 12-13kms approx. only to reach the almost submerged (due to the monsoon rains) ruins of a church built in the 1860s by the French Missionaries with a gothic style of architecture. We spent about 20-30 minutes here and clicked a few pictures. And started towards Chikmagalur with no further stops along the way
However, we did stop for 5-10 min about 17 odd kms after Hassan. The lake is named Kalkere.
Distance: 78 KMS from Settihalli
We booked our stay in The Planters Court, K. M Road, Chikmagalur and the rooms were ultra-horrible with water seepage causing fungus on the walls and furnishing however we didn’t notice this as we just kept our luggage and headed to the new pub in the town: Fai Dang, right next to our stay as we were starving. And we truly enjoyed the food there having ordered Roasted Pork, Crispy Pork, Chicken Manchurian, Chicken Lollipop, Potato Chilli, Peanut Masala, Masala Padad Veg Fried Rice and Chicken Fried Rice. (P.S. If you are a Pork lover, you shouldn’t miss the Roasted Pork.) The ambience too was soothing with soft rock classic playing in the background.
After lunch, we retired to our rooms and figured out the disgusting state of the rooms but being exhausted and full we took some rest and spent the rest of the evening trying to figure out another accommodation for the next night as all the rooms were sold out due to the long weekend.
We headed to a small mess kind of place named Kannika Food Court right opposite to our stay to have breakfast and we ordered Lemon rice, Mangalore Buns, Idly and Vada. The food was tasty and light unlike the usual hotel food with soda. After breakfast, we packed up our luggage and headed to the new accommodation close to Mullayanagiri peak.
Distance: 20 KMS from Chikmagalur, K. M Road (Approx.) Towards Baba Budangiri.
Although the distance was just 20 kms uphill, we anticipated the ride to last about an hour-long due to the narrow winding roads. However, to our surprise, the journey took us 3 long hrs out of which 2 hrs just to cover 4 kms of the road due to the high traffic and senseless parking on either side for homestays.
Eco Holiday Homestay
This place was open private land with several metal tents setup with washrooms outside. But the upside was the fact that this stay was amidst nature with a small stream running along and the tents and washrooms were way cleaner. Taking it as a new experience we set our luggage down, had lunch and left to explore Baba Budangiri.
Somewhere on the way to Manikyadhare Waterfalls
The ride uphill was calming with very beautiful landscapes.
A small detour to reach a not so famous yet charming sunset viewpoint was made.
Although this waterfall is really beautiful, people bathing (full-fledged with soap and shampoo etc) under the falls makes the view pretty disappointing. Reaching the waterfalls required us to climb downhill through a series of stairs consisting approximately 150 steps and entry tickets have to be bought. You will find many monkeys too.
We returned to our stay around 18:00 hrs in the evening and a campfire was set up along with our dinner. The homestay chef had prepared Chicken Kebab, White Rice with Chicken Curry and Tomato Curry which was a bit spicy but really delicious. Tuning off for the night by 10 O’clock after dinner, the temperature had dropped down drastically and the midnight showers that lasted till 6 in the morning added to the cold.
We said goodbye to Eco Holiday Homestay and departed with all our luggage towards Mullayanagiri. We stopped at an eatery on the way, had a light breakfast and resumed our ride. The routes were edgy and parts of the Ghats were so foggy that the clear visibility was reduced to a maximum of 7 feet.
Mullayanagiri peak Base
Distance: 18 KMS Approx. from Eco holiday Homestay.
At the base of the peak, you have parking space on the left, we parked our bikes there and left our luggage with a vendor. From the base to the peak we climbed about 550 steps give or take 100 steps. As we reached the peak which is at the height of 6330 ft., we could see nothing but white on either side. I can honestly say it felt almost heavenly. There is a temple at the top and a cave somewhere along the way to the top that we, unfortunately, didn’t know about, hence ended up not going.
We started our ride back to Bangalore and had a few pit stops along the way near the tolls as the heat was taking a toll on us. Our Lunch stop was around 16:00 Hrs in Kunigal Empire restaurant and resumed to ride back to Bangalore to finally touchdown by 19:00 Hrs in our homes.
All in all, it was a great experience with lots of memories even though we weren’t able to cover a few more places. Hopefully we will on our next ride to Chikmagalur.
Until next time, Laugh. Ride. Live!