We camped at the highest peak of Karnataka (Mullyangiri), hoping to see a beautiful sunrise there. But I woke up the next morning only to see a thick blanket of fog around us. The visibility was so less that if we move few meters away from our tent , it became invisible to us.
We were sure at the moment itself that we will not get sunrise this day . But we didn’t have much options as the route to go down from the peak was also not visible. We waited for a few hours and at around 8:30 am we were able to see a see sun (sunrise timing was 7 O Clock). The sun was so weak, it felt like the cold mist of mountains had frozen the warm sun into a big white ball. At around 9 O clock, with the air getting better around us, we left Mullyangiri for Madikeri.
For Madikeri, we took a long route riding through deeper Ghats via Annapoorneshwari Temple . And from Madikeri we planned to move to Ooty. Our route was
Mullayangiri -> Chikmaglore (because we missed the famous butter dosa of chikmaglore) –>Annapurnashear (Because we like free food)–> Madikeri (Because its one of the top tourist destination recommended everywhere on internet) ->
Mysore (Because we don’t miss famous places otherwise people will ask have you been there although) – Ooty(No idea how it will be)
From Mullyangiri to chikmaglore it was around 30 km ride and we have been to most of that route so many time in last 4 days that we knew the road very well and we were at Chikmaglore within half an hour. Next to a circle was the famous dosa restaurant (Town Canteen) which was mentioned in map (tourist map which we got from chikmagulur). We had our breakfast at this famous shop and indeed the dosa was far better thn dosas we had in last 10 days. Since we were eating dosa 3 times a day from last 10 days at various places of south India, it should not be wrong if we certify this dosa as very good dosa.
After finishing our breakfast , we took direction from some local people and left the chikmaglore at 9 o clock to reach Annapurneshwar temple at Hornadu. Annapurnashwar temple of Hornadu was somewhere in the center of western ghats.
The road from chikmaglore to hornadu was mostly good passing through mountains but there were few kilometer of distance which was really annoying as the road was not good and it was almost afternoon (Its irritating to drive 100km with sun over your head). We managed to reach Hornadu by 12 O Clock. Luckily for us, the prasadam time is from 11am to 3pm. We were in for a delight.
The hall where prasadam was being served had a long corridor where 100s of people were sitting in row and luckly again we didn’t have to wait much and got our place to sit as directed by one of the volunteer. The meal was rice, sambhar, few sweets and rasam. When it was served to us(everything was poured over rice) it didn’t look good.
I was not sure if I would be able to eat all but as I started, the taste was really good and as a result I was asking for more and more food. Although they didn’t serve me extra sambhar (I think they didn’t understand me ) but I was already full so I didn’t complain. While we were eating , suddenly we saw the row sitting on our backside finished there lunch all at same time. Which was little weird for us as how can everyone eat at same time. Is there a time limit to eat our meal? . Are we going slow ?. But later we found the last dish of lunch was butter milk .Once that is served , everyone will drink it and lunch is over. Had a good lunch at temple, we decided to rest for a few minutes in the temple complex and started moving towards Madikeri at 2 O clock
At Hornadu, we came to know that Kundremukh is not accessible at this time of the year, so we started for Madikeri. We took the road via Mudigere & Somwarpet, and the road just kept getting better and better. It is generally noticed that Bangalore – Myosre – Madikeri road is a very beautiful one. But if you are on a bike, then this is one is a much better option, at least the stretch from Somwarpet to Madikari
We reached madikeri at around 4 O clock. It was evening time and as per our research about madikeri, there is one famous place in madekeri (Mandalpatti) which was among the top rated destination. Initially we decided to stay in city and cover all places in two days but there were not much places to visit . So we didn’t stay in city and decided to move towards the Mandalpatti hoping to find some location for camping as well. A few kilometers away from madikeri we found diversion in road , One was going towards the Abbey falls and another one was going towards the mandalpatti. Since water fall was only 5-6km away from the diversion so we decided to cover that also before going to mandalpatti. The water fall was big one but I didn’t find anything to see for more then 5 minutes .
It was like seeing a waterfall which we normally see in movies through a fixed platform. People were not allowed to go near the waterfall and allowed only to enjoy the place from a fixed location .
Without wasting much time , we decided to move towards the main mandalpatti. Since it was already evening and we didn’t have place to stay. We reached the entry point of mandalpatti at around 5 O clock. We purchased the ticket and entered somewhere for which I don’t have any explanation . The view was great everywhere on the route but there was no road . The route reminded me of the bad route of Ladhak. It seems to be an endless road full of dust going somewhere. Whenever we felt the road will end on next mountain , we found the extended route which was hidden by mountains initially. The location was nice but we were not supposed to camp as it was wild life area. So while we were thinking of what to do next , my friend Bhishma got exited seeing a peak in front of us and asked me to take our bike to that mountains.
At that time I wished we had horse and it will be easy for us but bike on that route was little tough. If something happened in our bike during that climb we will be fucked up completely as its impossible to move this Elephant named Royal Enfield with your hands . I disagreed with him but later decided to give it a try . And for few minutes I didn’t see anything , I didn’t even heard his voice when he was asking me to stop as he was making video. I just kept on going and in next few minutes we were on the peak
Spent some time on peak and celebrated a little , it was time to go down which is always more painful then climbing up.
Everything went well and we came out from wild life area. We tried to get some local help for camping inside wild life area and even on the entry but people were scared and they scared us too. They scared us with elephants roaming on roads . So it was not good idea to camp if there is even 1% chances of wild elephant coming to your tent. To be on safe side we went little down at around 2-3 km and found a place to camp.
We set our camp on a small clearing of ground, beside a small, abandoned shop along side the road.
We had got our dinner rations packed so we ate them around the fire we had built to keep warm. Since people had warned us multiple times about elephants, this was one of the scariest camping experience of the trip.
The best time you spent during camping is during night, watching millions of stars and wake up before sunrise to see the darkness getting vanished by sun rays. We woke up at 5 O’clock when it was complete dark, to see the first light coming out from the hills of Madikeri.
Penetrating through the mist sun showering on dense forest of Madikeri, we watched the sunrise with my favorite flute instrumental song in background .Initially I used to enjoy sunrise with silence but later I discovered the beauty of sunrise amplifies a thousand time with good music in background.
But the worst part of doing camping in location which is 20 km away from any city is the time of nature’s call. Sometimes getting a bit sophisticated is a problem for travelers.So I answered nature call with a SMS(Busy right now, will take care of you in a little while). We thought of having a little breakfast (Maggie) in shop near to our camping location which turned out to be very little actually. The shop keeper served us Maggie in small bowl which was around 100 ml capacity. It was more like parshadam from temple than a breakfast. We ate what we got and packed our bags to move towards Ooty.
We again took help from local (this time state bus driver as they know the place very well) and were on state highway again. This time the highway was not as enjoyable as it used to be. Driving on hilly area in hard sunlight is really painful task. It was stretch of around 50km on hilly roads towards Mysore and I was feeling sleepy sitting on back seat of bike. It was scenic indeed but since we had been to so many hills before that we just passed the whole stretch without any break(not even for photos). After 50km we were on plains again and bullet started roaring again on highway and we were in mysore at around 2 O clock.
Mysore is a very well know place in India and that is the reason we visited this place too. I had been to this place before as well but just to mark the map on India with bike ride we decided to cover Mysore palace again. Parked our bike and we were inside Mysore palace.
It was indeed beautiful full of people from around the world but I don’t like the palace as much as I like the story behind the kings of this palace. The king of Mysore was cursed once and can’t have a kids. So the king who was cursed initially adopted a son and made him the king of Mysore. Since the adopted kid was not real blood of king , he can have the kids. The son of adopted child(who has became king now) can have kids and make his son the new king of Mysore. But the twist come again , as the latest king cant have kids now because of that old curse. This continued for 10 generation and ended when the last king died in an accident without any son.
Phew, confusing story of kings which is hard to understand initially . Lets come back to our story. We went inside the entrance of palace but didn’t go inside the palace and decided to rest in garden of palace covered with trees. We rested for an hour and decided to move towards the Ooty.We again took help from local and everyone said the road is straight. We took few stops in between to reconfirm the route but local was right, the road was stratighhht. After around 50-60km , the road to ooty entered wild life sanctuary. The sanctuary road was passing through forest where we found notice board in every one kilometer. Board says
1) Photography not allowed :- We managed to get some video . Breaking rule is good unless you are caught
2) Stopping in between road not allowed due to dangerous animal in forest : We did stop at few places because pain in our asses was more than fear of animal attack
3) Beware of Elephant/ elephant crossing zone : Now this was something dangerous for bike travel . Luckily we were not attacked by any elephant otherwise I would not be able to right this blog
Length of route through sanctuary was around 30-40 km and ooty was around 100 km. But as soon as we crossed the sanctuary, we found two roads for ooty . One saying left 35km and other saying 65 km straight. We enquired from the local and found the left turn was shortcut to ooty which will save around 35 km and road is also good. But the road is open till 9 pm only as the road is again through the extension of sanctuary. Drove for few kilometer and our eyes were pleased by beautiful sunset over the mountains of ooty which was still around 20km.
As we were going close to the Ooty scenic view had already started making us feel good and to add to that it was sunset time with dispersed clouds around the sun which made the sunset looks more beautiful. After few more kilometers on same highway the road turned and it kept on turning after each 100-200 meter. We were on the starting of 36 hairpin road to ooty.
We were on bike so it was not much problem for us but I was just wondering what happened to people who came in car or bus. The turn are really sharp (99% match of real hair pin). We drove a few kilometers on hairpin road and we saw what we were wondering few minutes back. People were vomiting from the bus and car and that time we were glad to come on this trip on bike and not on car.
The elevation rises so rapidly on this road, that it became very cold very quickly. By the time we entered Ooty, Bhishma was shivering with cold (he was wearing shorts). But the place was beautiful. If you are visiting Ooty from the north side, it is highly advisable not to take the longer route from Gudalur, as this route is much superior in terms of the views that it has to offer.
Looking at the beautiful villages on the northern side of Ooty, we had got a feeling it would be a long stay here. But for the day, we were more than exhausted, so got a room quickly and slept.