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Serenity ride- sakleshpur-somwarpet-madikeri

My tryst with cycling started last year, when i was looking to do something else apart from trekking every weekend and I decided to venture into cycling to see how the experience would be. I had chanced upon CAM’s website(cyclingandmore.com), however, i wasnt sure whether they would give cycles for hire. Buying a cycle was ruled out as my dad was against buying one.

My friend recently sent me a link which showed CAM organizing a ride from sakleshpur to madikeri. I checked the registration page and saw that bikes could be rented. I immediately signed up for the ride. After a few mails with shreeharsha, i met harsha near my office and payed him the cash. The next part was to get a bike to ride, as i was ride a cycle after a gap of 9 years. Harsha told me that cycles could be rented from wheel sports. After getting the address, i went on the first weekend of june, to get a merida for rent.

After getting the hang of the gears, i cycled back home, and spent the rest of sat and sun, riding around, so that i could get more comfortable with the cycle and gears. By the end of sun, I was confident of the gears, and knew I wouldnt have to struggle when the actual ride starts.

Finally, on 25th night, after getting the mail from CAM, regarding the starting point, i headed to the hockey stadium, to meet my fellow cyclists and head to sakleshpur for an action packed weekend

The group was a mix of expert riders and beginners like me. After a round of introductions, we headed to the bus to begin the long ride to sakleshpur.

The peleton

Day 1

We reached sakleshpur, by 5 in the morning and checked into a lodge to freshen up. Soon, everyone we ready, and the bikes were taken out from the canters, and were inspected for any faults. Those who had opted for rented bikes, were given the bikes, and were asked to ride it to see if they were comfortable

At 6.15 everyone were ready were ready with their bikes , and we headed off towards manjarabad fort, from where we would take a deviation and head towards somwarpet

All set for the long ride

The weather was cloudy, and it was raining intermittently. Cycling in this misty weather was even more fun. People on the streets were suprised to see 30+ people on cycles riding together. As the ride progressed,  some of the people and the kids began waving at us.

Dark clouds at the start of the ride

There were a few ascents, which was done easily, as everyone where in good spirits. Taking a deviation near manjarabad fort, we headed towards the ghats of somwarpet. With short breaks, for taking snaps and taking a breather from cycling, we proceeded further. Some of the guys, who were used to cycling, zoomed ahead, ,while the rest, took it easy. Our breakfast point was at sukravarasante which was 13kms from manjarabad fort. With the terrain being relatively flat, with a relatively few ascents and descents, we reached the breakfast point by 7.30 after an hour or so of cycling.

Lush greenary

The support vehicles also reached, the spot, and we soon had the idly-vadas which were parceled for all of us. Breakfast was followed by a round of coffee and after a short rest, we were back on the saddle for the next leg of the tour

The terrain soon changed, and there were quite a few ascents. Peddling in those ascents was quite tough and everyone, had to peddle quite slowly, as there still quite a long way to go. With the scenery improving at every turn, the cyclists continued their journey.  There were a couple of ascents which was really steep. I was really finding it difficult to continue peddling on those steep climbs. After taking breaks , the climb was managable.

The ride continues

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A few more hours of cycling took us to to sanivarsante via kodlipet. It was 10 in the morning and we still had another 14kms to go before we reach somawarpet. The stretch from kodlipet to somwarpet is a continous ascent, and my legs were already feeling the stress. Some of the kids, asked us whether we had cycled all the way from bangalore 🙂

The support vehicles were just a phone call away, and they were used effectively when water was running low or for other purposes. The initial plan was to reach somwarpet by 12 noon and after having lunch, the expert riders would cycle till the base of pushpagiri and return back.

Cycling the last 8 kms, was proving to be really difficult as the ascent was quite steep. With my thighs ‘screaming for mercy’, i decided to walk a couple of kms and then cycle for remaining few kms

8 More to go

The ascent

Finally at 1 in the afternoon, I reached somwarpet. We were given instructions during breakfast to proceed to hotel aloka where lunch was arranged.

With lunch completed, a few of us headed to hotel suvidha, where our accomodation was booked. After parking the cycles in the cellar, we went to our respective rooms, while the experts, got ready to go to pushpagiri.

With the easy ride !!! over, it was time to catch up on some sleep before dinner. Dinner was again at aloka and after finishing dinner, we hit the sack as we had to get up early in the morning

Route for Day 1

Sakleshpur-Manjarabad-Shukravarasante-kodlipet->Sanivarasante-Somwarpet

Day 2

This would be the last day of the tour and the route planned was relatively easy.  We started early by 6.30 from somwarpet.

Early morning in somwarpet

Starting the ride from somwarpet

After the inital ascent, we had a few spectacular descents. In addition to the descant, the scenary was simply mesmarizing. All the riders seemed to be enjoying the scenary as they zipped downhill.

Amazing scenary

As it was the last day, people were taking it easy, and posing for snaps.  After a couple of photo sessions and a bit more of cycling, we reached madapur, where we had our breakfast.

We had another 5 more kms to go before we concluded the tour. The last 5 kms would take us to hattihole and the expert riders would carry on till madikeri.  Post breakfast, the support vehicles moved out, while the cyclists started their last leg of the tour.  The route was generally downhill, and within no time we were in hattihole.

The easy ride concluded here, and the experts continued uphill.  Instead of sitting idle, i suggest, to dixitha and others that we head to a hanging bridge which was located 5 kms from hattiihole bridge

There is a hanging bridge near the hattihole river which can be accessed by foot. Myself, dixitha and other guy cycled to the bridge. After peddling for half hour we reached the bridge. The bridge is constructed accross the hattihole river, which allows ppl to cross the river easily. Having spent some time on the bridge, and taking a few snaps, we headed back.

After freshning up, we waited for the other riders to return back.  The bikes were back on the canters and we headed back to bangalore.

The rest of the journey was spent playing dumb sharats and other games. We reached bangalore by 8. After bidding goodbye’s to each other we headed back to our homes, thus concluding an amazing weekend.

Route for Day 2

Somwarpet-Madapur-hattihole-madikeri

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Pics can be found here

Snaps from Manohar’s cam

Snaps from vishy’s cam

Snaps from nithin’s cam

Snaps from Sathish cam

 

 

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Meruthi Parvatha

Meruthi Parvatha a non descript peak nestled in merthi khan estate was the location for this week’s trek.  Srikanth had told me about the trek when I was preparing for thadiyandmol and I agreed to join. Kiran joined too and the total count was 9 ppl.

Tickets were booked and all the 9 of us gathered in majestic at 10 to start the journey to hornadu. The team for the trek (Srikanth, Myself, Subbu Krishna, Aishwarya, Arun, Rekha, Kiran, Vasudendhra and  sagar)

Our conversations began after settling in the bus. Talking about various treks we spent our time. The long journey took us near to hornadu, we got down in between and immediately boarded the bus to basrikatte which is the starting point of the trek.

The sun was peeking out of the clouds, and the mountain at the distance looked majestic. Upon inquiring about the possibility of rain, the locals told us that the rainy season hadn’t started yet.

Distant Mountain

Having a sumptuous breakfast at shivalli hotel, and parceling lunch, we started the trek.

Start of the trek

We walked a back on the road, and took a deviation to enter the merthi khan tea estates which is owned by TATA. The initial part of the trek is through the tea estates.

Merthi Khan tea estates

Obtaining permission was a breeze as we told the watchman that we had come here before and we would be getting down on the other the hill and go to hornadu. With the permission settled, we began the long walk through the estate.

With scenary becoming better, we continued, with srikanth leading the way. After walking for a short while, we had to stop as there was no clear path. There was a small path going upwords, and we decided to take it, provided it wasnt closed.

Srikanth, went a short way up, and asked the others to follow as the path was clear. It took us another half hour to climb to the top from where we could get a good view of the tea estates and the neighboring hills

Tea estates and hills

The path from hereon was straightforward. Myself and kiran started the ascent, with other following. The higher we climbed the views got better. It had rained a few days back and the slopes of the mountains were covered in green. After climbing for some time we took a short break and took a few snaps of the nearby hills

Trekkers paradise

To reach meruthi parvatha we needed to climb three hillocks all of which are in sequence. Kiran and I continued to push, taking small breaks in between.  Subbu and aishwarya were behind us followed by the others.

At 11.30 kiran and I reached the top of meruthi parvatha.  There is a small ganesha statue at the top of the peak.

Ganesha Statue on top of the peak

Since others were quite far behind, we settled down for a nap

Nap time atop the peak

Subbu, Aishwarya and vasudendra joined us atop the peak after some time. It took another hour for arun and others to reach the peak. Everyone looked very tired, and soon the lunch packets were opened, we emptied it in no time.

Lunch was followed by another round of rest, before we headed back to hornadu. Descent was quick, and we reached the clearing where the path to meruthi parvatha begins in no time. Here the path diverges and we had to take a path goin down. With a short break, we took the path going down and we reached a hospital which was located below.

Srikanth and arun were still coming, and subbu and myself went to ask the route, to hornadu. The person at the hospital guided us short distance and asked us to take the road goin down which we did. We passed a couple of small villages and we reached a field.

Jeep Track

Another couple of min, and we reached a small waterfall, where we decided to have a bath.

Waterfall

Spending almost an hour at the falls, we headed to annapoorneshwari temple, where we spent the rest of the evening. Dinner was served in the temple and we boarded the 9.15 bus back to bangalore

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Thadiyandmol – Solo Trek

After a month and half sitting idle in the house due to some functions and official work, i finally decided to head out to the mountains as I could get only the last weekend of may to go out. I had got a mail from shimoga YHAI regarding a malnad state trek which was for 3 days, and when i called the organizer to check if i could attend on the weekend, I was told, I had to attend all 3 days.

With kiran heading to shimoga and srikanth staying back at home, I decided to head solo to bramhagiri. Upon checking with srikanth, I got to know that i had to arrange for the guide and chances of getting a guide are slim, upon reaching srimangala. When even after many attempts i couldnt reach srimanagala forest dept, i decided to go to thadiyandmol as the route was pretty clear and it was also an easy trek.

Srikanth send me a link which showed the presence of tigers in thadiyandmol range, and I knew i was going to the right place :).

After an uneventful journey i reached virajept at 6.15 AM on sat morning. After finishing my morning abulations, I headed to the bus stop and after a short wait I boarded the bus to kakabbe, which is the starting point of the trek which took about 40 min.

Start of the trek

I began the trek at 7.40, and began the steady climb, towards nalknad palace. Since the road towards the palace was winding and was long, I took a shortcut through a couple of fields and reached the palace shortly, as it was closed, i decided to head to the peak and then visit the palace when coming back. I met a couple of people coming down and asked them about the tiger. They confirmed that tigers are present in these parts of the woods, however it cant be spotted easily.  Now that I knew there would no danger, I proceeded further.

Nalknad Palace


Taking few breaks, i continued the climb, and after a short while, I heard some rumbling in the trees, and I paused for a moment, to hear. I hadnt seen any animals till then and I wasnt sure what the sound was. I decided to continue and turn back in case things get a creepier. Thankfully no 4 legged animal emerged and I continued my ascent.

With beautiful peaks emerging at every turn and the scenary becoming more spectacular i continued my ascent. I soon reached the flat land, where people normally camp. After a late breakfast i continued the trek. The climb became a little steep in some places and my lack of fitness was apparently showing. With a few longer breaks, i reached the forest and managed to reach the peak in a little over 3 hrs.

Lush green Peaks

Spending some time on the peak, i began my descent.  After crossing the forest , i took a small nap before resuming my descent.

Greenary all around

Filling up my bottle at a house, i reached nalknad palace. While taking rest at one of the shops, i asked the owner regarding the apparant tarring of roads, and he told me that there are a few people living close to the peak. As per the shop owner, commuting for these people is becoming an issue and they are planning to have road constructed, which enables them to commute easily.

Inside Nalknad Palace

[Note: The path birfucates into two, and the flat path leads to the houses of the people. If you take the road going up, it goes to the peak]

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