2018 | Bike Rides Bangalore

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Hogenakkal waterfalls - Niagara Falls of India

Place: Hogenakkal waterfalls, Tamilnadu

Distance: 126 km from Bangalore
Type: Waterfalls, sightseeing
Ideal for: Family and Friends
Best time to Visit:  July to December

Tamil Nadu roads always fascinate me, the countryside roads covered by trees on both the sides are serene to ride. Single lane roads with twists and turns cutting through many villages would be a treat to ride for any biker. I don't know why I never planned a ride to this place until today. Hoganekkal falls can be reached either via Kanakapura or Denkanakotai. I chose the later one as the route is scenic and beautiful.

Best of the Beast: Iconic view of the Hogenakkal Falls
Saturday Morning: I started at 7 am in the morning and reached Hosur at 8.15 from where my other two friends joined. We took the right turn from Hosur and rode straight 30 kilometres until we reached Denkanikottai for breakfast. Sarvana Bhavan in Denkanikottai is famous among the tourists on this route. I had been already to this place on my last ride to Bettamugilalam (which was awesome by the way). The food was not only delicious but also pocket-friendly.

After Denkanikottai, the roads became narrower and more beautiful. Little did we know that we would be crossing the forest called as Anchetty forest. 8 kilometre of the ride through the forest was the best part of the trip I would say.

Riding through the Anchatey forest was one the best experience of this ride
Hogenakkal Waterfalls: Reached Hogenakkal falls at 11 in the morning. As we approached we were stopped to pay the entry fee & parking charges (simply looting) and a bunch of locals approached us to offer coracle ride and body massage. I could understand the coracle ride but body massage sounded strange to me.

We parked the bike and started walking toward the falls. I had no idea about the place so we simply followed directions which read "way to the main waterfalls". As we were walking I could see a lot of people getting body massage that's when I realized this place is famous for body massage. We were intruded by another 10-15 people offering oil massage. Though I was tempted to take it I didn't because it would make me sleepy and would be very difficult to ride back.

The common area for oil massage
We walked towards the main waterfalls. There was again an entrance ticket  (Rs. 5/head) to go over the hanging bridge. It was expected to get the best view of the falls from the hanging bridge but it didn't live up to my expectations. It wasn't looking anywhere close to what I had seen in the google photos. I opened the google again to inquire where to get such great view. A boatman was following us since the beginning who was bugging to take the coracle ride, I showed him the picture and asked him if I can get the same view if I take the coracle ride. After he said yes, I was convinced to go for the coracle ride which was costing us Rs. 750.

The main view of the waterfalls from the Hanging bridge
Coracle Ride: The rides are organized by the govt of Tamilnadu and its a fixed rate, there's no chance of bargaining and on the brighter side no chance of getting cheated by the locals. Max of 4 people is allowed per coracle excluding the boatman. So if you are a group of 6 then you will have to take 2 separate tickets. After wearing the life jacket we boarded the coracle. In the beginning, Rs. 750 for 3 km ride felt overpriced but after seeing the effort needed to row against the water streams we decided to give him additional Rs. 100 as tips.

The boatman peddling
The view is so serene and peaceful to the mind

Beautiful view
The ride was not only scenic but also peaceful. I started missing the coracle ride I did in Dandeli which was an unforgettable experience for me. There were people selling chicken and fish items on the river banks and the heights of marketing reached when we spotted people selling snacks and cold drinks in the coracle. The river divides two states, we could see the Karnataka on the other side. Even Karnataka govt offers the coracle ride, so if you are coming from the Mysur side then you can reach the other side.

A person selling snacks and cold drinks in the coracle
The current was high and the boatman was putting a lot of effort rowing against the upstream to reach the main waterfalls. As we were nearing we could hear the loud roaring of the falls. The view was breathtaking I can't find words to describe the view. You can check my video to get an idea about what I am talking about.

This is the closest view of the waterfalls. It was a magical experience

A lot of tourists enjoying the coracle ride. Don't miss it
We then moved to the viewpoint from where we can get the iconic view of the falls. We had to get down from the boat and climb the stairs, the boatman carried the coracle on his head and followed us. There is a small elevated structure from where we can get a perfect view of the falls. Exactly like the one I saw in the google photos. I was overwhelmed by the view. The boatman offered us to extend the timing by another hour (paying extra 750) so that we can enjoy the waterfalls. We didn't opt for it and crossed the last stream to reach the endpoint.

Hoge = smoke, Kallu = Rock. The reason behind the place name.

The iconic view of the Hogenakkal waterfalls
Can you see the rainbow created in the falls?
It was 2 pm in the afternoon, a perfect time for lunch. We had a nice rice-sambar meal with the fish fry at the nearby local restaurant.

Petrol Khali: My bike was not starting, for some reason, the bike had given up on the mileage and the fuel tank was empty. The nearest fuel station was 13 km on the opposite route to Bangalore. The only option left for us was to buy loose petrol available at the local stores at an extra charge of Rs. 25 per litre. I bought 2 litres which should be sufficient to take me till the next petrol bunk on the way which was around 40 km.

Taking a dip in the River Kaveri: You can't miss getting into the water when you visit waterbody like this. We stopped after a couple of kilometres where there was no crowd and the water was pristine. After playing in the water for an hour we started our ride back to Bangalore at 4 pm. Took a fuel break and tea break and finally reached Bangalore at 7 pm.

Didn't get the swimming glasses? No problem.

Taking a dip in the Kaveri River

The gang. ;)
A bike ride can make you refreshing than anything

Love for roadside tea

Conclusion: I would suggest you visit this place in the month of July to December when the water level will be good. Otherwise, you will get disappointed. The roads are excellent to ride but its equally dangerous so ride with care.

Don't forget to check out the youtube video of this ride. I would really appreciate if you could subscribe to my Youtube channel "Sakre Cubes", which will encourage me to make more of such amazing videos :)


Friday, November 23, 2018

Adichunchanagiri Hills - The only Kalabhairava temple in South India

Place: Adichunchanagiri Hills / Adichunchanagiri Matta, Markonahalli Dam, Kunigal Lake

Distance: 111 km from Bangalore
Type: Temple and optional trek
Ideal for: Family and serenity seeker
Trek Difficulty:  Very easy
Trek Length: Less than 1 kilometer
Trek Duration: 45 minutes

I'm running out of places around Bangalore to visit on a weekend :( that said, planning a trip around Bangalore has become more difficult for me now than it was ever. Well, Adichunchanagiri was on my list since long but since it was a more of a devotional place I'd skipped it until now.

Best of the beast: Blood in the tank, Fuel in the veins
Brief about the place: Adichunchanagiri in Nagamangala taluk of Mandya district is the holy land, engulfed with divine resonance and vibrant nature.  It is believed that Lord Shiva performed penance here, during which he devoured two demon brothers, Chuncha and Kancha. Who were pestering people in the nearby villages for a long time. Thereafter, the place came to be known as Adichunchanagiri and Chunchanakote. Lord Shiva also assured that he would reside at Adichunchanagiri in the form of Panchalingas — Lord Gangadhareshwara, Chandramouleshwara, Malleshwara, Siddeshwara, and Someshwara. The place thus came to be known as ‘Panchalinga Kshetra’.  This temple is the only one dedicated to Lord Kalabhairava in south India and no such temple has been constructed in the past 500 years.

National Highway 75 was a treat to ride
Saturday Morning: I got up and 5.30 and I hit the road at 6.30 in the morning. The first thing I do soon after the ride starts is - have a hot cup of tea to kick start the journey but today was I was not in that mood. After Nelamangala I took a left turn which leads to the Hassan-Mangalur highway. This was the first time I was riding on this stretch, the 4 lanes national highway was a treat to the riders like us with less traffic. After around 60 kilometers I saw this beautiful Begur lake to the left so decided to take the first photo break. This obscure place was a heaven for photographers like me. There were so many different kinds of birds by the lake and the lake itself was spellbound by the morning sun rays.

Begur Lake

Locals starting their work in the morning

Mesmerizing view of the lake

After half an hour of break, we started riding back at 9 am. It was an ideal time for breakfast and that hop cup of tea which I missed in the morning. There were so many restaurants on the highway and fortunately we stopped at this interesting place called "Kicchana Halli Mane". Great ambiance was complimented by tasty food. We ordered Idli-Vada and Mangalore buns to please our tummy. The tea was excellent here. We resumed the ride soon after breakfast.
The buns look like a human face. isn't it?

Found this cute little puppy near a lake

Beautiful lotus flower
Me giving a swag pose everytime we stop for a break
Adichunchanagiri: After another break for a photo shoot, we finally reached Adichunchanagiri. Surprisingly, there were not many people around given the fact that it was a weekend. I parked the bike under shade and started walking towards the temple. After climbing around 200 odd steps we reached the main temple. We deposited shoes and luggage at the shoe counter (better to get rid of the heavy backpack as you have to do a little bit of trekking later on). It was 11 am in the morning but the sun rays were sharp. We started walking towards the main temple.

View of the Adichunchanagiri hills we will be covering today

Statue of  Sri Balagangadharanatha Swamiji, who has immensely contributed to the field of education, medicine, and other fields through the mutt.

Nicely constructed stairs to reach the temple atop

Gigantic statues of dwarapalak at the entrance

As you climb you can get a complete view of the surrounding place

Kalabhairava temple

Dasoha hall
Kalabhairava Temple: In 2008, a magnificent temple dedicated to Lord Kalabhairaveshwara has constructed at a cost of Rs 85 crore by Sri Balagangadharanatha Swamiji. As many as 1,200 people, including sculptors, toiled round-the-clock over nine years to make Swamiji’s dream temple a reality. It is entirely constructed using stones. Doors, pillars, ceiling, everything at the temple is in stone and there are about 64 different varieties of Bhairava statues.

Inside the kalabhairava temple
Kalabhairava statues in different avatara. There are totally 64 avataras displayed in the temple

We were lucky enough to witness the aarti performed for the lord. After aarti, we proceeded to have a look around the temple and its architecture. Well, it was time for a little workout, so we came out of the temple and started ascending towards the summit. En route there were a couple of more temples and a beautiful Nandi statue. 

The new temple which was under construction

Gigantic Ganesha statue caved on a single rock

More steps leading to the summit of the hill

The Nandi statue and the Kalabhairava temple gopuram in the frame

People try to climb this poles to ring the bell

Gangadheshwara swami temple en route

Even though the climb was simple, walking barefoot was little challenging.  It's been ages since I walked without footwear so my feet fragile. After a bit of walking we reached a fort wall (keep this as a reference) from there we had two options. One route would take to the place where we would have to climb using the iron chain to reach the peak. And another route would have to cross the boulders holding the iron rods embedded in the rock (called as ghuta in Kannada) to reach the peak on the other side.

I stepped on a sharp rock edge injuring myself. Walking barefoot can be challenging sometimes

View of the entire temple

Panoramic view of the temple

steps were steep and irregular at places

The path splits into two from this fort wall
The most difficult part of the trek: I opted to try out the chain one first. After 2 minutes of walk, we reached a boulder which looked quite scary. I had to negotiate steep boulders holding small iron rods embedded in the rock. Even more challenging was to reach ‘Akasha Bhairava’ on a vertical rock holding a long iron chain. The crevices between boulders looked unfathomable and very dangerous. I decided to return back from this point as I was scared to climb any further.

This is the toughest part of the trek

While I stepped back to climb the chain, few others climbed till the peak

Yet another cave temple at the peak

Shivalinga inside the cave temple
I decided to go to the other peak which was relatively easy and need to cross boulders using iron roads only. There was a small cave temple on the way beyond which the second toughest pass of the trek was waiting for us. In the beginning, it looked scary but wasn't much difficult to cross. We reached a large flat area where there was a big lamp on the right. Maybe it will be lit up during auspicious occasions only. We sat there for some time enjoying the cold breeze and mesmerizing view.

Oil lamp at the peak. This is the end point of the trek

Disconnect from the world to connect to yourself

Me enjoying the view of the surroundings

It was 2 pm by the time we decided to descend. The descent was quick and easy. After having lunch at dasoha we left the place. I was happy to see the bike and helmets were safe and sound. I did want to visit the pushkarani but somehow we forgot about visiting it. 

Markonahalli Dam: I navigated to Markonahalli Dam on the way back to Bangalore. We reached the dam in 40 minutes. There was a medium crowd at the place most of them were families with kids. The place was beautiful, the backwater was looking serene. It was sunny so we struggled to find a shaded place to sit and relax. I took a power nap for 15 minutes. I really wanted to watch the sunset from this place but it was just 4.30 in the evening. Waiting for more than an hour to watch the sunset didn't feel like a good idea so we decided to visit Kunigal lake which was another 25 kilometers away.

Markonahalli Dam

Markonahalli Dam

Watching sunset would be amazing from this point

It was almost sunset time but we decided to go to Kunigal lake in the meantime
Kunigal lake: If you are one those 90's kids then definitely you would have heard the song moodal kunigal kere. It was a very famous song in Kannada during early 2000. I did want to see the lake just for this reason. GPS navigation wasn't much help to find the exact entry point to the lake so we inquired locals for the directions.

Anybody remembers this song?

The lake wasn't as beautiful as expected though
The lake was huge but it wasn't as beautiful as I had imagined while listing to the old song. Neither we could get a good view of the sunset from this point. This lake is not much popular with the tourists but there were so many localities who had come near the lake for the evening walk and to chill out with their friends and family. 

It was dark already so we decided to head back to Bangalore. another 70 kilometers didn't feel like a big deal to me. I wanted to have a hot cup of tea but sadly there were no restaurants on the left side. Though there were many good restaurants on the right. I reached Bangalore at 7 am and my home at 8 pm. It was an amazing ride 

Conclusion: Adichunchanagiri is an excellent place to visit with your family. Or even if you are a devotional person this is a perfect place for you. You can't expect much on the trekking side but overall the place is a good call for a day's trip.

Important points:
1. How to reach on Bus: Catch the buses going towards Mangalore, Hassan, and Chikmagalore and get down near Bellur Cross and take an auto or other buses to reach Adichunchanagiri, which is around six km from the Cross.
2. The temple would be open from morning 6 till evening at 8.30 pm. there is no closing time in the afternoon
3. Dasoha will be open till 3.30 in the afternoon so make use of the facility.
4. Climbing the hill could be difficult for aged persons.
5. Markonahalli Dam is an ideal place to witness sunset so plan your trip accordingly and don't miss it like the way I did.