..On Feb 2, 2014 I got a chance to trek Madhugiri Fort– the second largest Monolith in Asia because of the February’s Welcome Ride planned by The Bangalore Bikers.
Bangalore Bikers is a Bikers Group that promotes safe riding as well as Passionate riding.
For all who do not know; let me tell you Madhugiri is 107 km North-west of Bangalore and 43km north of Tumkur district.
The Plan was to meet up at 5’O clock in the morning at Shell Petrol Bunk near Orion Mall, Bangalore.
I woke up at 4:30 a.m., got ready, packed everything (chocolates, water, energy drinks etc.) and I left my home at 5.
At about 5:20 I reached the Yeshwanthpura Shell, and to my surprise there was no sign of any bike(r) there. I went here and there to find a group of Bikers; and 1km ahead of Shell I found 4 NS bikes, so I joined them.
They stopped at another point to wait for other people to join.
I asked them that there weren’t so many NS’ in Bangalore Bikers.
To which they replied, we are The Naked Wolves and we are going to Hesarghatta Grasslands(30 kms from Bangalore); I told the BB are going to Madhugiri and I think I have missed them, so they invited me to join them.
But I was excited to trek the Monolith; I wasn’t having any smartphone and nor BB’s Contacts; so I asked for their phone to learn the route of Madhugiri.
At about 5:45 I bid them adieu and left alone catching the Neelmangala bypass highway and trying to remember that after some 30 kms I have to take a right turn at Dabaspete; I left with the intention that if I drive at 110kmph I might catch BBians.
I kept driving continuously for 20..30 minutes making safe turns and twists practicing the tactics of Highway Biking.
After some 25kms I verified the turn from a Thela walla on the road and finally at the turn confirmed from the local people there; I reached Dabaspete at around 6:30 and took a right from there.
The road from Dabaspete to Tumkur Highway was back-breaking and butt-biting and was in the state of repair; at some points I found some plain roads on which I managed to achieve a high-speed of 138kmph.
The Madhugiri fort Gate
At 7:15 I reached Madhugiri fort entrance and found a Tavera parked with driver sitting outside. I was alone there in the morning; called my brother to sign-in to BB forum and asked for the admin’s contact. I called them for their whereabouts; they were at Kamath (breakfast point) 60kms away from the Madhugiri.
So now I recalled my mistakes; I didn’t miss them; instead I was far ahead of them. Hence they would take at-least an hour to reach Madhugiri.
So I took a decision to have Breakfast in Madhugiri itself; went to the nearest restaurant there; filled my empty stomach with a plate of Idly and then convinced the owner to keep my helmet till I come back; and went to the destination.
Here I was, at the entrance of Madhugiri Fort- the second largest Monolith in Asia ; thinking deeply whether to climb the rock alone or not.
To my surprise, there came 3 bikes loading 6 guys from Tumkur; from the group one initiated the conversation and asked me to join the Trek, so I thought to join them for a while.
After say 10% of the Trek, there was a very beautiful spot, sort of a large Kund (with no water) ; so I stayed there for 15 minutes, chatted with myself for a while (I love it) and so had to miss that group.
So again I was all alone on that particular altitude.
Old Age Trekking:-
To My Surprise I saw 3 old guys returning from the top and Roaming here and there and taking advantage of their Cybershot (haven’t received my pics till now); from there I started chatting with them and later got to knew of their ages (55, 65 and 68).
I mostly talked to the 68 year old one, Mr Kirloskar (the maximum I can recall); he was carrying a stick pointed at the lower end; as he used it for climbing more than walking).
So the 54 one was their driver, and the other two were Old Friends, both retired Engineers.
Then I started trekking with them along with chit-chat.
68: You came alone?
Me: Yes sir, luckily I got a chance to come alone due to some circumstances
Me: Bike, sir!
68: How much time did it take you and at what speed?
Me: Sir approx. 80 minutes and the highest speed being 138 kmph.
68: Sorry, what was the highest speed?
Me: Sir, 138 and average speed being 80–90kmph.
68: Oh man, how can you drive that fast!
Me: My Bikers’ group taught me Safe-Riding.
68: Okay , let us climb this slope!
Me: Sure sir, you first (as I wanted to see the way he climbed).
He climbed the slope catching the railing with one hand and using his stick as a resistance to avoid sliding through the slope, as he was wearing Sandals.
Me:Sir, Hats off to you!! Since when are you doing this?
68: It’s been 10 years.
Me: Where are you coming from, and how did you plan this?
68: We started on Saturday morning from Dharwad, then we first went to Chitradurga Fort, Trekked and spent there sometime and in the evening we came to Madhugiri and Checked-in here. And today we started at 7 a.m.
Me: So its about 9.30 a.m. now, it means you completed the trek within 2 hours.
68: Yes; (deviates from the topic); It’s good that you are doing these early, we don’t have much time left, and for you it’s lifetime; all the best son.
Me: Thanks a lot sir; it’s just beginning for me. I want to go far….very far.
68: All the best son !!
Mr Kirloskar warned me about this, as he climbed first to this point.
I get a call from Nishanth (a BBian) that 3 of us are going back as a small accident took place of a Ninja guy; and asked me to contact Vinay and gave his number.
So I call Vinay and asked him, ” Dude, will you all climb the rock”
Vinay: Nopes, hardly 30% (as another Mishap took place with the Thunderbird guy Moksh).
Me: Okay, So I am going to the top.
I bid adeau to the Senior Citizen Group and asked them to convey the message to the Bikers’ group that their friend Tarun is climbing to the top.
Just before reaching the top there is a weird pattern of steps carved and supported by unstable railing (as I was warned by the Senior Citizen Group), I somehow managed to climb the steps in one go.
And from there I see the Bangalore Bikers parking their Bikes at the Madhugiri gate.
So it’s about 9:45 a.m. , I thought I reached the top, but ALAS it was hardly 50% of the Rock.
A view from the 50% point.
So I meet the first group from Tumkur returning from the Top at the Mid-Point; rested there for 3 mins; gave them water (as it is Punya to give water to the thirsty)
They asked whether is it your group who is sitting at the top?
I wondered that all were behind me, then how come they are sitting at the top!
I ignored that point and said TATA and then continued !
The path after this is like inclined (40–50 degrees) rock only, without any support (I realized how this is Monolith Rock); so after 2–3 breaks and eating 2 Snickers and having TZynga I entered way through the rooms at the top leading to the other side of the cave.
So the moment I step out of the cave, there I see a WTF :/ expression (as though I came from the Moon to climb this Rock) on the face of 7 people group sitting and enjoying their chilled Beers (got chilled due to the cold weather at the top)
It’s 10:25, I relax by bringing my breathing back to Normal, and after a while I initiate the Conversation.:D
All: Dude, you came alone?
And the same Q & A session went after that.
This was a group with all sorts of profession (Engineers + MBA’s + Advertisers as well) ; one of them being a photographer by passion; and they came by Tavera all the way from Bangalore; started at 4 a.m. reached here by 5.15 and at 6.30 at the Top, so they captured the Sunrise from the Top in their memories.
I always miss the sunrise, every time I have to compromise by watching the Sunrise while Riding.
So with their DSLR, I asked them to take my solo
pic as well as group pic.
The solo pic of DSLR
The thing I appreciated most was that they put the beer cans back into their bags.
A pic with 6 of the 7people group.
So its 11 a.m., I said to myself (enough of Solo now) , lets go down with this group.
After going down say 10 %, I saw some people coming up; and one of these guys was familiar to me, Sahej.
So, some bikers had decided to climb the top, cool
One of them was wearing a helmet (as he didn’t had any helmet lock in his bike).
So after meeting them ,I again climbed to the top; sat at the top with the bikers for a while and moved from there at 11.40 a.m.; and started descending.
Group Selfie-taken by Anupam
ek solo toh banta hi h
Again at the Top
At 12 noon, we are the 60% of the Trek; a message from Vinay saying that we are going as it is getting too late.
Some pics taken while Descending
So we reach the bottom at 12.30 p.m. and saw another 4 bikers sitting near their bikes (one of the climbers had locked the helmet of the bikers sitting at the bottom).
So I started for Bangalore with these 4 Bikers (Duke 200, Ninja 650, 220F and Thunderbird) and bid adeau to the fellow climbers(they wanted to take some rest).
From now onwards, the average speed being 90–100 kmph; I was usually at the 2nd or 3rd position and sometimes on the lead.
We reached Bangalore at 3 p.m.; said ‘Sayonara’ to the bikers and went straight to Ulsoor Gurudwara for Langar.
***Saw a disgusting accident on the MG Road.***
Came to Gurudwara and prayed for the victim also; greeted my parents there and ate a lot that day.
So this day, it was one hell of a journey;one side full Solo 120 km
Total 240kms done that day
And achieved my top speed 138kmph.