Bengaluru To Coorg: A Road experience

Doing a day job can tire you mentally pretty quickly, even if you love it. Spending your time writing code, going to meetings and collaborating with people is sure exciting but you need to do something which is not ordinary for your weekday life to get you back in with more mental energy.

Okay, you’re probably asking me mentally(or even verbally) to cut through the crap and start with the real thing already! Patience, my friend. This too shall pass, like we will pass through this earth and one day, this amazing planet will pass through time and all humans will be somewhere else(you’re reading this Elon, right?).

On a Friday evening, I was browsing through the internet and thought about taking a solo trip somewhere. I noticed the tickets are either too expensive or the place doesn’t excite me. I pinged my flatmate Gunjan(yes, he is a boy with a unisex name, get over it) asking him if he was up for a biking trip to someplace. He quickly agreed and asked me if Madikeri is okay with me or not. Me, being a useless punk that I’m, readily agreed as long as the roads were a sight to remember. He ensured me they were(true story, they are).

We forced ourselves to sleep early since we had to leave at 5 AM on Saturday morning. Gunjan woke me up and he was really excited. Turns out, he didn’t sleep because of the excitement. As this was our first bike trip which was this long(approximately 600 km to and fro), we both got ready quickly and got our asses on the bike(Free advice: Suzuki Gixer isn’t good for the human buttocks).

Gunjan, with a borrowed windcheater

As soon as we got on the NICE road, the hot April weather of Bangalore left us behind and we drove through the beautiful Bangalore outskirts scenery. Our first stop was going to be Srirangapatna. NICE road is one of the most beautiful roads I have been to(not that I have been to many). We saw a lot of fellow bikers on our way and felt a vague sense of biker community patriotism even when we don’t qualify to be called bikers. We took an exit to Mysore road, which is not as (good/nice) as NICE road though. Slowly, slowly sun started rising and we passed through Bidadi(you get the-most-awesome Thatte idli here). We couldn’t stop for the Idli as we planned a stop afterwards for Breakfast. After that, we passed through Ramanagara(Ramesh Sippy’s Sholay was shot here. Also called as Silk city). The road is average except for a few stretches where it gets beautiful. We entered Maddur and had our breakfast there. The rising sun’s light filled the sky, casting its Orange-ish hue on our Idli Vada and Tea was a sight to remember.

Gunjan, not even looking at the camera. Busy stuffing.
Sunrise, sunrise
Looks like mornin’ in your eyes. I love you Norah Jones, please take me as your household help!

After this freshening break, we started again for Srirangapatna. The road till there is pretty much the same Mysore road with occasional beautiful patches. Once we reached Srirangapatna, we thought of going to a popular place like Tipu Sultan’s palace but we decided against it due to the heat. We took a breather and left for our next stop, Bylakuppe.

The beautiful road. Please ignore the speed, I mean look at the road. Goddammit!

The moment we crossed a small railway underpass, we noticed a sudden change in the scenery and we knew, this was it. The thick green patches of canopy was breathtaking site, even for this hot weather. We reduced our speed and went through this road smoothly, taking a moment now and then to capture the surrounding images in our hearts. After some time, we saw a bird sanctuary board and decided to take a small break here. The place was Ranganathittu bird sanctuary. It was situated on the banks of Kaveri river. The entrance had a big lotus pond, which reminded me that there was still hope for us that we wouldn’t kill our planet so soon. It was surrounded by beautiful coconut trees. We could see watch towers and couldn’t resist. When we climbed on top of one, we could see clear settlements of different birds on minuscule island like landmasses in the river water. You can see huge Pelicans playing around those islands. That was an altogether different experience. We spent around an hour there and started for Bylakuppe again.

Behold, the great lotus pond to the rescue.
Literally watching birds. Okay, also pondering over his life

The roads continued to mesmerize us and we, being the hopeless nature romantics that we are, fell in love with it. After one and a half hour drive with a tender coconut water break, we entered Bylakuppe. Our aim here was to visit the Golden temple in the Tibetan settlement. As soon as we entered the settlement, we felt like we entered a completely different land. It was less chaotic and people seemed in general happier than others. Feeling the positive vibes, we entered the Golden temple. It is covered on three sides with residential buildings for the Monks and in the center lies a gigantic monument of colorful artwork, which can easily remind you how little we know about the Eastern culture. That building was closed for renovation.

Closed for renovation :(

We turned left, and there it was! The main building with three Gigantic 60 ft Buddha statues. The entrance had Buddhist art on the wall. The moment we entered, a different wave of energy took us to another dimension, which was taken away from us by all the “Touristy” people clicking selfies(please don’t do this guys, at least in places like these). It made me sad looking at them, the way they choose to look at the world through a 5 inch screen with 60 percent self-coverage in a selfie. The interior was fairly simple, with Chinese windows and Buddhist art on the walls. The three statues were of different Buddhas, center one being Siddhartha. We found a corner and sat there for half an hour without uttering a word, occasionally disturbed by the selfie-crowd.

Amazing, isn’t it?

We left from there around 1 PM for Kushalanagar to have lunch. We asked a local guy about any good restaurants around. He asked us to go to a place called Atithi and we had Meals there. It had a local taste to it. Pretty average place, I’d say.

We reached the entrance of the hill where the ascent started. The scenery leveled up and tall Oak trees took our hearts. We stopped at one place for some coconut water and the scenery. I was usually paranoid about riding up hilly roads but this road is beautifully constructed. I haven’t seen such a smooth climbing road ever in my life. We kept enjoying the trees around us and finally reached Madikeri at 2.30 PM. We quickly looked for a hotel and checked-in. After freshening up and a small nap. We left for having a cup of famous Coorg coffee. Our hotel receptionist suggested a place and we had quite a unique coffee there.

Coffee machine

We left for Raja seat to look at the Sunset. Raja seat is one of the most famous tourist spot in Madikeri. It offers a breathtaking view of the valley and other mountains. It also is a sunset point. We took a different path downhill to sit at a less crowded place. The sun set a little early in the clouds but the sky was playing with its colors like a Nursery kid plays with crayons. We sat there for an hour, listening to Wish you were here, looking at the road which took us up here and as usual, pondering over our life choices.

This puny picture doesn’t capture the beauty but nonetheless, here it is.
Panorama view from Raja seat

We didn’t want to leave but the light asked us to. Roaming around in the town, our bellies signaled us to provide it with some delicacies(Time and hunger waits for none, tide too.). We had our food at Le Coorg Hotel. They have decent ambiance and good food. Although, we pushed it and did some delicious overeating.

Next day, we left for Bengaluru around 11 AM and took a different route going through the state highway. It made us realise how much luxury we have when we saw the dried up ponds, rivers and barren fields. We made a point to use water in a conservative manner so that whatever water we don’t use, can be used by somebody in need.

Often at times, we feel the need to break our schedule and do something different. I imagine all of you reading this feel it. This was exactly that for us. Little by little, we get to experience the roads and the feel our country has to offer. Happy travelling everyone. Feel free to get in touch with me for any queries.