November 2015 | Bike Rides Bangalore

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Shanmukha Temple and Omkar Hills - Tranquil Bi[ke]Cycle Ride 29/11/2015

Place: Shanmukha Temple and Omkar Hills, Bangalore

Distance: 30 km round trip
Route: Vijaynagar -> BU -> RR Nagar -> Shanmukha Temple -> Kaapi Katte -> Omkar Hills -> BU -> Vijaynagar
Bikes: Bajaj Discover, Honda Activa and Montra BiCycle
Crew:  Vinay, Vinooth kulkarni and Sagar (Myself)
Type: Temple
Ideal for: Friends & Family
Budget: 50/Head

Best of the Beast: Gopuram decorated with LED lights
Shanmukha Temple:
  • The Shrungagiri Shanmukha Temple is the first of its kind with an excellent architecture of the temple tower with Six Faces of Lord Shanmukha (Shan means Six, Muka means Faces) built on a hillock at Rajarajeshwari nagar.
  • Around 2500 crystals are installed on the Gopuram which are illuminated by LED lights at evening. Watching this temple at evening is a treat to the eyes.
  • The temple structure is divided into three stages
    • Panchamukhi Vinayaka (5 faced Ganesha) at the very entrance of the temple.
    • Lord Shiva within Havina Hutta (Snake's termitarium) at the middle.
    • Lord Shanmukha at the summit with Six faced temple tower comprising the core.
  • There is endless collection of Lord Ganesh idols displayed at core of the temple atop.
Omkar Hills:
  • The temple houses replica of 12 jyotirlinga which are in the different parts of the coutry under a single roof, each one with individual Gopuram.
  • Sarvadharma Samanvaya Peetha (seat of equality for all religions), Banyan tree is surrounded by eight mini shrines of different religions.
  • Giant tower clock which is one of the biggest clocks in the world with each hand weighing around 40 kg.
  • A recently constructed Dhyana Mandir (as of 2015).
Sunday Morning: Vinay picked me up from my room at 6.30 in the morning. I had a cycle borrowed by my friend for my last week's cycling event with BTC, Vinay insisted that he will ride bicycle. Vinay's friend who stays nearby also joined with his Honda Activa. It was 7 by the time we left Vijaynagar.

All set for morning ride

Morning Ride: As the distance is short and Vinay was on cycle we cruised at low speed. Took Bangalore University route as it greets you with serene nature away from the dust and pollution. It took less than 40 minutes to reach the Shanmukha temple.

Vinay enjoying peddling

Shanmukha Temple: The architecture of the temple is worth appreciating. Thumb's up to contractor Arunachalam whose extraordinary vision guided him to design the entire temple based on the very name of Lord Shanmukha (Shan means Six, Muka means Face). At the entrance there is a Panchamukhi Vinayaka Temple with Lord Ganesha riding a lion which is unique in its own. After meeting brother of Shanmukha we headed to have darshan of his father - Lord ShivaThis part of the temple is most beautiful with Shiva Lingam carved in Glass and decorated with beautiful lightnings. The entire structure itself is encapsulated in a Havana Hutta (Snake's Nest) structure.

Shanmukha Temple Outer view
Panchamukhi Vinayaka temple at the beginning
Lord Shiva Temple encapsulated in a snake's nest
Interior of Shiva Temple
Shiva Lingam carved in glass and decorated with beautiful lightnings

We headed to the main temple, one has to claim 50 odd steps to reach the summit. You can also see Nice road on the left and Savandurga Hills on the right. At the core of the temple Lord Shanmukha's idol resembling the one on the Gopuram is installed. Gopuram is fitted with Sun tracking system with 2 horizontal and 2 vertical light sensors which captures maximum sun rays from morning to evening. Sun rays thus tracked are directed on to the main deity enabling Surya Kirana Abhisheka to Lord right from the morning. There is a huge collection of Lord Ganesha idols inside the core temple. We spend half an hour more before deciding to visit Omkar Hills as its less than 5 km.

50 odd steps to reach the summit

A big Thrishul rising from the snake's nest

A closer look at the Thrishul
Main Temple housing Lord Shanmukha's idol
Temple Gopuram with six faces of Lord Shanmuka himself

One the largest Monolith of Asia - Savandurga, the photo was taken on some other day at evening

It was almost 9.30 am by the time we left the place, I knew a fantastic hotel called Kaapi Katte nearby to have breakfast. Rates at this place will blow your mind, Idli-Vada at Rs 20 and everything else at very low rate. The quality and neatness of the place attracts so many residences of RR Nagar that it will be rush most of the time. After tasty Idli Vada, Masala Dosa and hot tea we were set to explore Omkar hills.

Kaapi Katte near Kanakadasa cicle, Rajrajeshwari nagar

Omkar Hills: 10 minutes drive took us to Omkar hills, its my 7th visit to this beautiful place. We visited the main temple where replica of twelve Jyotirlinga has been installed, the temple premises gives an excellent peaceful ambiance which makes us to forget the noisy Bangalore traffic. 

Entrance to the Omkar Hills
Omkar temple front view
Omkar temple side view
1,2000 kg bell -  one of the largest bells in the world

There is  a newly constructed Dhyana Mandir, we sat there for a while, the steps behind the Dhyana Mandir leads to the giant clock and Banyan tree. The view of the temple from back is stupendous, the tree is surrounded by eight mini shrines of different religion.

Dhyana Mandir front view
Dhyana Mandir back view
Inside the dhyana mandir
Omkar Hills - back view of Jyotirlinga temple
Sarvajana Samanvaya Peeta: Mini shrines of different religion at single place
Sarvajana Samanvaya Peeta:The tree at the center
Sarvajana Samanvaya Peeta: Mini shrines of different religion at single place

After couple of photographs we headed back to our respective home.

You can even visit Turahalli forest which is less than 7 kms from Omkar Hills.

I recommend you to read the below post where I've explained a lot about Omkar Hills and Turahalli forest

Don't forget to +1 / Like and leave a comment below.


Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Coming Soon: Cable-Car at Nandi Hills

View from Nandi Hills

Hello friends, here's some good news for all travel addicts who love Nandi Hills. No doubt most of you would have already visited Nandi, may be its your unforgettable bike ride with your friends or a calm picnic with your family. Nandi hills is a hot destination for travelers as it has good road connectivity, good weather, beautiful view, serene nature and well maintained by forest department. Now there is one more reason to visit Nandi Hills - Yes its soon getting rope way to carry tourists from base of the Hill to the peak. According to a news report by Bangalore Mirror there is an on going plan about constructing a cable car which will carry tourists from base to the peak at low price. The objective of this project is to drastically cut down vehicular traffic on the road winding up to the Nandi Hills. One could park their vehicle at the base, take the cable car to reach peak.

Chikballapur tourism council has initiated feasibility studies in December and is scheduled to submit a report by May 2016, also ideal location at the base will also be identified. If everything is fine then by 2016 end cable cars would be constructed and will be opened for the public.

It was Shankar Nag's dream to construct rope way at Nandi Hills, back in 1986 he had idea of developing an amusement park, toys, garden and food court -  a huge picnic spot. Thousands of people would come with their families, friends and kids. To add color to that there has to be rope-way from Nandi base to Nandi hills at lower cost. But unfortunately he died in a tragic accident on  Sep 30 1990.

What would be cost of construction?
According to the last survey done in 2004, the officials had estimated each rope-way to cost upto 8 crore. The cost could easily go up to 15-20 crore for each rope-way now, but the exact estimation could known after survey.

When could we expect cable cars running at Nandi Hills?
The complete plan is not yet disclosed by the tourism department yet, I'll update as soon as I get any info but I guess it will take another year or two before it could be opened for public.



Soon, it’s up, up and a(rope)way!


Sunday, November 22, 2015

Cycling to Turahalli Forest - Burning that extra fat 22/11/2015

Place: Turahalli forest, Bangalore.

Distance: 35 km round trip
Route: Vijaynagar -> Banashankari (Meetup point) -> Kanakpur road -> Turahalli Forest -> Vijaynagar
Crew:  7 BTC Members
Type: Sight Seeing
Ideal for: Friends
Budget: 50/Head

Best of the Beast: Turahalli forest

Unlike my usual trips, this one is a different of its kind as I will be cycling all the way with Bangalore Trekking Club (referred as BTC here onwards). If you are hearing about the BTC for the first time then you better check this first. Every week I used to see new events post by BTC but never dared to register, I was always scared of meeting unknown faces and adjusting with them. But all my worries were resolved the moment I met them. Registered for the Cycling to Turahalli Forest, though I had visited this place three times before I wanted to explore it on cycle once. No doubt its the best destination to start your cycling journey.

Brief about the place:
Turahalli Forest: Also known as Karisma Hills, Turahalli is one of the few forest traces near Bangalore. Turahalli, a dry, deciduous forest of 800 acres, is dominated by eucalyptus and other native shrubs. Its a destination for the Rock climbers and Bird watchers. Closer proximity to the Bangalore attracts many Cyclists who are looking for a short yet good cycle ride.

Sunday Morning: Woke up at 4 in the morning, got freshen and left home at 5.15.

All set for cycling event

Vijaynagar - Banashankari: Though Turahalli forest is just 10 km from my home the assembly point was Banashankari which itself is 15 km from my home. This was the first time I was venturing on a bicycle which turned out to be a most memorable trip. I realized that riding bike was much easy as compared to pedaling yourself, I began observing how many ups and downs are there on the road (No it didn't remind me of any ups and downs of my life :P). It was still dark and cold but pedaling kept me sweating and warm, I was afraid if all my energy goes down before I reach the assembly point. Took nearly 45 minutes to reach Banashankari, I called organizer Hiren who said they are waiting underneath the Metro station.

There were 4 people at the spot, waited 15 minutes more before everyone could join. Finally out of 9 people who registered 7 people showed up. We had a small intro before we started, people had come from different places like Indiranagar, BEL circle, Kadgudi etc. After hearing this I felt good as I was not the only one to pedal so long to reach the event starting point. 

Banashankari - Turahalli Forest: Turahalli is just 8 km from Banashankari, so its easy 30 minutes ride. We headed on Kanakpura road, Hiren was leading the way while Subrata was tailing to make sure everyone is safe and sound. It was crowded at the beginning but later the road was empty. We got breakfast parceled at Adigas on the way. The road is down slope all the way until you take right diversion after 7 km at Vajarahalli. Unfortunately, we missed the turn and headed 2 more km and stopped at Nice road Junction, GPS guru came for rescue which navigated till Turahalli Forest.

Entering into the forest
Temple at the Summit
There were a couple of cyclists on the opposite directions, we entered the forest trail. The road turned from tar to mud road, with a tree surrounded in all directions. As soon as you enter the forest you realize you are no more in Bangalore. After half a kilometer, a left turn leads to the summit, its hardly 200-meter steep up ride. There is a Temple at the summit and open space. There was a family with two kids, no doubt its the best place to enjoy Sunday with your family at a serene place like this. Climate was fluctuating drastically, it was drizzling most of the time. We sat there talking about trek experiences when people of the same interest meets topics could go endless. Meanwhile finished the breakfast enjoying the beauty of the place and climate. When I visited this place for the first time 2 years back I had spotted a lot of Peacocks but after that, I never saw them again :( where did they go?

The beauty of the place is ruined because of the jobless people like this.
You can see the mighty Savandurga hill
View of South Bangalore
Turahalli Forest and South Bangalore

After small photo session we decided to leave. BTC has policy of giving feedback at the end of each event. Everyone gave feedback about the event, it was first cycling event arranged by the BTC.

7 BTCians at Summit of Turahalli Forest 
Photo session at the end

My room is hardly 10 km from the place, so I told them I'll take a different route and go solo. I pedaled all the way back and reached by 10 am. 

You can checkout the time lap's video by Hiren below

You can also visit Omkar Hills and Shanmukha temple on your way back, I recommend you to read below posts where I have explained every bit of the destination. 

Special thanks to Mr. Dwarakesh who let me lend his cycle and thanks to BTC for arranging such event.

Don't forget to +1 or Like and leave a comment below.