May 2018 | Bike Rides Bangalore

Sunday, May 27, 2018

5 Best Trekking places you should take your parents

If you are a trekking enthusiast and always wanted to make your parents experience what you love doing the most then why not take them on a trek? I have been to almost all the treks near Bangalore among which below are the easiest and best treks you can take your parents without any issue.

Note: The trek difficulty mentioned below is for a man or woman of the age 45-55. The trek difficulty may differ from person to person.

1. Shivagange:

Trek difficulty: moderate to difficult.
Food and water en route: Available
Religious significance: High
Crowd: High
Trek Length: 1.5 kilometers one way
Trek Duration: 2 hour one way

This place definitely deserves the top ranking because of its accessibility, trek route, adventure, religious significance and breathtaking view a top.

Brief about the place: Also known as Dakshina Kashi, Shivagange is located just 60 km from Bangalore. Atop the hill and on the trekking route there are numerous shrines of Shiva, Parvathi, and Ganga, including Gangadhareshwara temple and Honnadevi temple. It is blessed with spring water spots, and according to myths, the water is of sacred Ganges, thus it has been named Shivagange. From the west, Shivagange looks like the shape of a Shiva Linga. While from the east, it looks like the shape of a bull, a cobra from the North, and from East, a Ganesha.

Read more about my experience of Shivagange trek

2. Mandaragiri:

Trek difficulty: Easy
Food and water en route: Not available
Crowd: Almost zero.
Trek Length: 0.5 kilometers one way
Trek Duration: Half an hour one way

Mandaragiri offers a short and sweet trek. There are only 435 small steps which can be hiked by people of all age groups. Once you are on the top panoramic view greets your eye. You can pack your food from home and enjoy the meal atop.

Brief about the place: Popularly known as Basadi betta among the locals is one of the important pilgrim centers for Jainism in Karnataka. Pinchi shaped 81 ft high Gurumandir first of its kind in Jain History declared as a Unique world record. The Mandaragiri hill is a small hillock with well carved 435 steps which houses 4 ancient temples of which 2 are from 12th century and other two from the 14th century.

Read more about my experience of Mandaragiri Trek 

3. Siddara betta:
Trek difficulty: Easy to Moderate
Food and water en route: Available
Crowd: Less
Trek Length: 2 kilometers one way
Trek Duration: 1.5 hour one way

Definitely, one of the best trek to do with your parents. The place is of high religious significance. Even though the trek length is more trail is assisted with the steps .to ease the climb.

Brief about the place: Siddara Betta has centuries of history with it. As the name "Siddara betta" refers to "Hills of Saint" in Kannada. Many years ago, the hills were the home of several saints for deep meditation to attain enlightenment. The cave temple at he the summit is worshipped and often visited by Shaiva followers.

Read more about my experience of Siddara Betta Trek 

4. Sri Revana Siddeshwara Betta:

Trek difficulty: Easy to moderate
Food and water en route: Not Available
Crowd: More
Trek Length: 1 kilometers one way
Trek Duration: 1.5 hour one way

Sri Revana Siddeshwara Betta a.k.a SRS Hills, Ramanagar: Ramanagar has some of the best trekking spots which attract trekkers and rock climbers across the state. SRS hill offers a moderate trek with the sacred temple atop and panoramic vista which is a treat to the eyes. The trail is covered with the shed which helps visitors to climb even in peak summer season. 

Brief about the place: It is an abode of Sri Revanna Siddeshwara - a form of Shiva and is sacred among Shaiva followers. The hill houses 3 temples - Sri Revanna Siddeshwara temple at the peak. the Bheemeshwara and the Renukamba temple at the base.

Read more about my experience of SRS Trek 

5. Antharagange:

Trek difficulty: Easy
Food and water en route: Not Available
Crowd: Less
Trek Length: 1 kilometer one way
Trek Duration: 1 hour one way

Antharagange is one of the most beautiful places I've ever been into. From the lovely butterflies to the holy water everything mesmerizes at Antargange. Trek till the temple is very easy. If you want to explore the caves then you will have to trek little more which is difficult and exploring caves is an again difficult task for your parents.

Brief about the place: Known as Dakshina Kashi is a series of rocky hills situated in the Shathashrunga mountain range. There is a temple named Kashivishweshwara Temple in front of the pond dedicated to Lord Shiva which gets continuous water stream from Nandi throughout the year. Visitors carry this holy water in bottles because it is also believed that one can get rid of the diseases by drinking this holy water of Antaragange.

Read more about my experience of Antharagange trek

Don't forget to +1 or Like this post. And I would love to hear where you are taking your parents, let me know in the comment section below :)


Saturday, May 26, 2018

Siddara Betta Trek - When divine meets the Adventure

Place: Siddara Betta, Tumkur

Distance: 100 km from Bangalore
Type: Trekking
Ideal for: Friends and Family
Trek Difficulty: Easy
Trek Length: 3 kilometers one way
Trek Duration: 1.5 hour one way

Trekking group at my office was stagnant since the last trek to Madhugiri. Siddara Betta was in my todo list and it was time to move it to the done list. I created a trekking event and 25 people turned up for the trek. We booked a minibus to accommodate such a big group and also got some snacks and refreshments for the trek.

Best of the beast: Do more than just exist!
Saturday morning: Naresh stays near the office so he took care of onboarding everyone in the morning. Smitha and I were waiting near the Nelamangala toll gate only to be picked up at 7 am. We were welcomed by a big shoutout. The music was playing loud and everyone was dancing. Even I joined them with my zero experience in dancing (Nagin dance came for the rescue :D). We pulled over at Vrindavan Bhavan just before Dabasbete for breakfast.

The dancing session continued with even more intensity after the breakfast. Meanwhile, the bus took right turn at Dabasbete to take Koratgere route. Siddarabetta is another 53 kilometer from Dabasbete. After 42 kilometers an arch to the left welcomed us to the Siddara betta. The road condition was bad for the last 11 km.

We distributed the refreshments while everyone was getting down.  After a first group photo, we started trekking together. There were a lot of vendors on either side of the road and throughout the trail selling Puja items, food, and water. So don't forget to carry your wallet you might feel hungry at any time :P

The trek started after a big selfie
Trekking: An arch reading "Shri Siddeshwara Swamy Kshetra" welcomed us. There's also written signboard in Kannada which says "Devotees are requested to climb barefoot". It's up to you if you want to go barefoot or with shoes on. My suggestion would be to go with shoes if you are planning to go beyond the temple.

An arch welcoming us to the sacred hill 
Steps are laid till the cave temple.

The inclination at the beginning is high which made us take rest often but resulted in such group photos en route
The starting tail is boring yet tiring as we just have to climb plain stairs. But the initial stretch is steep making you tired at the beginning itself. After half an hour of the climb, I looked around only to be amazed by the view of the hills on the other side. After some distance, we came to an open area where there was a hut-like structure. If it's sunny you can take rest at this place but we were lucky to be trekking on a cloudy day so we kept moving.

At few parts the steps have been carved out of the hill with good supporting railings

Hut for resting while trekking.

Look at the lovely view. Wish I could climb all of them.

After this stretch, there are no supporting railings or stairs for some distance. This stretch is short yet can become very tricky during the rainy season. You will find monkeys attacking from this point onwards. Make sure you don't carry any food items in hand.

Panoramic view of the surroundings getting better and better with every step

Last stretch just before the cave temple

Monkeys everywhere. Beware of them if you are carrying anything eatables or bag in hand

Sorry for the bad drawing skills :P Hope you got what I wanted to say in the above picture.
Cave Temple: Finally, we reached the sacred dark cave which is surrounded by a huge group of rocks. As we entered, we could feel the coolness embracing us. The place looked like a miracle, because of the refreshing atmosphere hid inside the caves against the harsh sun rays outside.

Cave temple and the deity worshipped here

huge Vibuthi on our forehead, as the practice of Shiva followers
This area is dominated by monkeys, be careful with it.  The best part of the temple is about to be experienced here.  The priests splashed the cool water of on our heads. The tiredness of climbing the hill just disappeared and soothed our body. They applied huge Vibuthi on our forehead, as the practice of Shiva followers.  We bowed to the Lord Siddeshwara with devotion. The idol is small and crowned by a 5 hooded snake. There were small idols of Basava, Ganapati and many more of Shaiva cult.

Don't miss the fun: Most of the devotees return from this point but the best part of the trek lies beyond the temple. We took the right turn which leads to the summit of the hill. I asked shopkeeper about the summit but he didn't seem to respond positively.

Trek to the peak: Few members of the group had already started walking towards the peak. The trail is rough and not much inclined. There were few tricky parts but easily manageable (be careful in rainy season).  We encountered few caves which act as a resting point during summer time. Within, 30 to 40mins first sight of the peak was revealed. A sense of satisfaction and a joy of accomplishment made us smile. We just turned all around to capture the beautiful views. The blue skies and many lofty mountains in a series. The changing shadows cast by the clouds on the mountains was sublime to watch. I couldn't resist myself from taking Timelapse which turned out to be fantastic. Many group photos to follow and portraits and posing. It was all fun and spend a great time with the group.

Reached the summit after 30 minutes of the trek from the cave temple

Clouds and green landscape created a great composition throughout the trek

The summit is relatively big and flat

I could just look at this view all day long

The panoramic view of the surrounding hills

We could see few lakes as well

Well a group photo at the peak is well deserved

And this jumping photos has become a ritual in my every trip
Descend: At 2 pm, we realized we were all hungry and need to have lunch. We started descending down. Descending down the steep rocks and steps appeared far more difficult than ascending with the trembling legs. In an hour or so we reached the base and boarded the bus.

Returning to Bangalore: All were tired and hungry, the soothing songs helped to take a power nap. Unfortunately, we could not find any good restaurants till Dabasbete. I was hoping to find some restaurants near Dabaspete but since it was 5 pm most of the restaurants were closed. And few of the small restaurants which were open couldn't accommodate 25 of us. 

We traveled a long way in search of a restaurant and finally to stop by a Pravasi restaurant for the North Indian meals. The food was good, after all, it always feels great when we are damn hungry :D. We resumed the journey, the group was refilled with energy and started singing songs. We reached Bangalore at 7 pm.

Summary: Siddara betta is an easy level of the trek you can do this trek without any preparation. Make sure you go till the peak to get most out of the trek.

Important points:
1. There are many shops en route so you can rely on them for the snacks and water.
2. It's optional to wear footwears while trekking. Most of the devotees climb this hill barefoot but if you are planning to go beyond the temple then shoes are a must.
3. There are not many Dhaba's on Tumkur road especially on the left side while coming back to Bangalore. So plan your lunch accordingly. 
4. There will be a free afternoon meal at the base of the hill from 12 pm to 3.30 pm but you need to inform them prior so that they will prepare sufficient food.
5. There are multiple results in google maps when you search for Siddara Betta. Here is the right location on google maps. 

You can also watch my vlog on youtube. Don't miss the time lapse.

Don't forget to Like and +1 this post. If you have any queries ask me in the comment section below.


Sunday, May 20, 2018

Bettamugilalam and Panchapalli Dam - A ride through the forest 13/05/2018

Place: Bettamugilalam, Aiyur forest and Panchapalli Dam

Distance: 200 km round trip
Type: Forest, Sightseeing
Ideal for: Friends
It's not about the destination but the road we take. 
This trip has proved the above quote right. After my Rayakottai trip, I fell in love with the countryside roads in TN. My eyes were eagerly searching for another such destination that's when I stumbled upon this place on TravelTwosome. After quiet research, I came to know there's a small village at the destination but the route is very good. I wanted to ride through the forest in this summer so Bettamugilalam was a perfect choice for me.

Best of the beast: The beautiful route through the Bamboo forest
Sunday Morning: Bangalore climate was fluctuating from scorching sun in the afternoon to thunderstorm rain at evening. So we decided to start early and be back to home before 3 pm. The plan went well and we hit the road at 5.30 in the morning. Umesh joined from silk board junction. After a hot cup of tea, we started riding towards Denkanakottai. We took the electronic city flyover. After Hosur, I put on navigation for Denkanakottai which was 26 km away. The single lane road was covered by trees on both the sides. It was a treat to ride on this route.  After crossing dozens of villages, we reached Denkanakottai. It was 7.30 am a perfect time to have breakfast. I read about Saravana Bhavan being the best place for having breakfast on this route.

Saravana Bhavan: My expectation from restaurants in TN went low after my last visit to Rayakottai, so keeping my expectations low I entered this restaurant which looked average in appearance. The menu had only Idli-vada and Pongal for the breakfast. We ordered Idli-Vada and it was very tasty. I realized why this restaurant was recommended by almost everyone on blogs. Tasty lunch was followed by a hot tea and a low bill. Bill was only 200 for 4 despite we ordered extra idli and vada.

Tasty idli-vada at Saravana Bhavan
From here we have two routes:
1. Denkanakottai -> Aiyur forest -> Bettamugilalam -> Panchapalli -> Denkanakottai
2. Denkanakottai ->  Panchapalli -> Bettamugilalam -> Aiyur forest-> Denkanakottai

The first route isn't recommended as there is a  forest check post just before Aiyur forest who doesn't allow entry to the forest. So we took the second route.

I started navigation to the Panchapalli Dam. After 30 mins of the ride, the scenery drastically changed. We could see hills at far distances and greenery around us. We stopped our bikes to appreciate the view. The road is very narrow and descending. Dams are usually constructed at a lower altitude so the descent wasn't surprising for us but the roads were very narrow and allowed only one to pass at a time. Luckily we were on the bike so we didn't face any problem but if you are in a car then drive carefully.

The route getting prettier as we were nearing Panchapalli Dam

We pulled over bikes to capture the view and few selfies

Panchapalli Dam: As we were nearing the dam the scenery got better. We stopped near the dam bridge to catch a view of the surroundings. Sadly there was very little water in the dam. I bet when the water is full the place would look astonishing as per the image I saw on TravelTwosome blog. After taking a couple of pics we walked closer to the water. There was an abandoned boat which became our studio for the photography. And a submerged idol of god reminded me of the movie Vishwaroopam.

Panoramic view of the Panchapalli Dam.
The dam would look even more gorgeous if the water level is high

Abandoned stone statue of a Hindu God reminded me of the movie Vishwaroopam

crazy group pics are the most memorable ones :D

Abandoned Boat was a perfect frame for a photo of the day
Rode pulsar 200 NS for the first time. I loved the riding experience

A trip is never incomplete without a crazy stunt like this
We couldn't spend more time here as there was no shade to sit. It was just 9 in the morning but it got extremely hot. I started navigation to Bettamugilalam. The route from here was even more thrilling than the previous one. After dozens of turns and twists, we started ascending through the hairpin bends. The road wasn't good (there were no potholes though) which gave the challenge to ride. It was really fun to ride through this stretch especially because of the hairpin bends. Again if you are coming on the car be careful as the roads are very narrow and need very good driving experience. 

Uphill ride with sharp turns gave a thrilling riding experience
After half an hour of the fun ride, we reached the flat ground. Before I could catch a breath I saw the tar road ended and off-road started. I checked maps to reconfirm the route. The terrain was loose and skiddy but the biggest challenge was the inclination. Till now we were ascending but now it was a descent on this off-road path. Negotiating this road was challenging and thrilling at the same time. After nearly 2 km of off-road, we reached Bettamugilalam. It's just a small village. There's no viewpoint or anything at this place. Villagers were curiously staring at us. Sure they must be wondering why fools like us have come to see the village from that far.

Off-road riding starts. It was difficult to ride than what is visible in this photo

Bettamugilalam - Final destination of the day
We started riding back to Bangalore taking another route. The road condition from this side to Denkanakottai is amazing. I opened my mobile to start navigation to Denkanakotai but unfortunately, there was no network (on my Jio phone). So villagers helped us with the route. After 2 km we stopped at a small hotel to grab a cup of tea. To my surprise, the tea was amazing and billed only Rs. 5 per tea.

Stopped at this small restaurant for tea

Beautiful clouds and greenery made a perfect composition for the photo
The sky was looking amazing so I took a couple of photos of the bikes which turned out to be the best pic of the entire trip. We resumed the ride. After nearly half an hour later we entered Aiyur forest which is famously known as the bamboo forest. The route was excellent. The bamboos on either side of the road added to the beauty.  The road was looking stunning, I wonder how would it look in monsoon.

Entering Bamboo forest

Stopped at this lovely spot to capture the photo

Taking a swag pic was the hidden reason behind the trip :D :D
Semi Eari lake: We encountered the last attraction of the day - Semi Eari lake (not mapped on google maps). We sat there chatting for some time and appreciating the beautiful lake. It is very common to spot the elephants here. But we would have to wait for a very long time patiently till the elephants come here to drink water. We couldn't afford time at this moment so we made our move to Denkanakottai in half an hour. We crossed by the Aiyur forest check post. The security guard at the checkpoint saw us but didn't say anything. We drove nonstop till we reached Saravana Bhavan in Denkanakottai.

Small temple near Semi Eri lake
Panoramic view of the Lake
How is my darling looking ;)

Spectacular view of the Nice Road
We had a full meal which not only filled our tummy but also made us dozy. I know eating a full meal while riding isn't a good idea but there were only meals on the menu. It was just 80 km to home which isn't that far. After the lunch, we started riding back to Bangalore. By the time we were very near to the home, it started raining heavily. Luckily we had rain gears which saved us from drenching. Everyone reached home at 4 pm.

Conclusion: As I told at the start of this blog, this trip is more about the journey than the destination. If you are looking for an offbeat place to drive your machine then this is the place for you. Go ahead and plan a trip to this place. I can assure you that you will have a smile on your face by the time you complete the ride.

Important points:
1. As told many times in the post this trip is about the journey, not the destination. Keep no expectations from the destination. Enjoy the roads and you will not be disappointed.
2. This route needs good riding skills especially the off-road part between Panchapalli and Bettamugilalam. Don't attempt this stretch if you are a noob rider.
3. Going in the car may be a bad idea for this trip because you will not be able to enjoy the drive as much you will be able to do on the bike and the routes are really narrow and difficult for the cars.
4. The phone network is available throughout the route except near Bettamugilalam.

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