After postponing the dream bike trip of Wayanad(atleast next to The Himalayas :P) , we started planning to atleast replace the Wayanad Bike Trip with a single day trip. Our first choice was the nearby Nandi Hills. After being in Bangalore for nearly 6 years, I had never been to this place (shame on me:)).But with the total distance to be travelled less than 150km we decided to go to some far off place.
After googling on the net and doing research about one day trip's around Bangalore, we narrowed down to Shivansamudra also known as "Bluff" (seriously ,i dont know y) and the option of going to Talakad then onwards. Initially there were totally 8 people interested in the trip (manju, prasanna, nandan, harsha, raghavendra, shantu, manish and me), but due to throat infection nandan backed out of the trip at the last movement (Since he was scared that the trip might aggrevate the infection and he might have to go for swine flu test), leaving 7 people ready for the trip. (which temporarily came to 6 due to some intended confusion from Harsha's side :))
The day was 29th August 2009(My Bike's 2nd anniversary :D) a bright, cheerful Saturday.
We had planned to leave early from Blore at around 6 in the morning in order to avoid "glaring spotlight the Sun". But as always, we were late by around 50 mins with Shantu arriving in the end and received abuses from all the members of the group :P, but on the other hand some people like Prasanna and Manish deserve a commendable mention like getting up at 4.15 and 4.30 in the morning for the trip :D. We had 4 bikes in total with 3 Pulsar 180's and a Bullet Thunderbird. For Raghavendra this was the first bike trip on his brand new bullet and he was raring to go. Since Nandan was absent for the trip , it was Manju 's turn to take his place as the photographer with his newly acquired Canon Sx10 IS from the US :).
We left our meeting point at Kengeri and moved along the Mysore road(SH-17). The traffic at this time was pretty less and we moved at a good pace. The ride in the morning was good, with a train(Guess it is the 6.30 train from Bangalore to Mysore) giving us company for the most part of the journey and me doing a "Dil Chahta Hai race" with the train even though the train was moving at a snails pace :P. Reached our regular stop-over at Shivalli Restaurant near Channapatna and had lipsmaching Idli,vada and masala dosa. While we were busy with our hands and mouths , a Silver Colored Innova pulled into the parking lot of the hotel and it turned out to be driven by the Kannada actor Jaijagadish. Shantu who seriously seemed to be a fan of this guy wanted to take a snap along with this guy, but the actor didnt even step out of his vehicle having his breakfast there itself(clearly he was trying to avoid someone :P ) and we scared Shantu that the actor will surely not take it lightly if he tried to approach him inside his car :).
Hence packing our lunch from the Shivalli Restaurent (you wont find any decent hotels near Shivanasamudra) we moved towards Maddur. Took a diversion to the left(Just after the bypass road ends) and moved towards Malavalli , distance being around 25kms. The road (SH-33)was OK with a few potholes here and there. Reached Malavalli and joined the T. Narsipura Highway (NH-209). Now this road was smooth. Being a 2 lane road and winding left and right beautifully it was a pleasure to ride on this path.
Reached the spot where we could see the Cauvery River starting to play hide and seek along the highway. The river was really wide and was flowing with full force. Took the left turn towards Shivanasamudra(around 25kms from Malavalli) (Prasanna had yet another fall here from his stationary bike) . There are technically 2 famous falls here. One is Gaganachukki and the other the Barachukki. The former offers breathtaking view while the later is much more fun, playing in water et all. In the case of Gaganachukki there are actually 2 paths up to the falls, one to the mountain in the front of the falls(for the view of the falls) and the other directly to the falls(Similar to Jog falls). We took the former path(its encountered first) which is further on the path to Shivanasamudra Hydel Plant(No tourists allowed here :( ). Here manju offered his bike to harsha who has never ridden his bike in a highway(the bike was shaking like a flag fluttering in a gale wind :D) giving him a real biking experience.
Reached Gaganchukki at around 10.30 a.m. The view was spectacular. 2 parts of the same river converging at the this spot cascading via multi-stepped rocks from the height of around 300ft.
We spent some 45 mins at this spot clicking pictures. But apart from the view there was nothing much to be done here.
So we moved on towards the Barachukki falls. For this we had to come back to the NH-209 and travel some 15kms down it crossing the Cauvery River and then reaching a small hamlet where we to again a left to reach the falls. On this route itself there is a slight diversion to reach the 2nd route of the Gaganchukki falls, but no one was interested in that. Reached the top of the mountain from where we had to mount down to reach the actual falls.
Parked our bikes at the top and started descending the mountain to the falls. The stone stepped path is made for the visitors and it is pretty steep running to around 100m or so.While descending we can get the spectacular view of the Barachukki falls not as majestic as the Gaganchukki falls at the same time not that intimidating also. At the base of the falls it is pretty much commercialized with some ladies preparing vadas etc. Also there were coracle rides upto the main waterfalls. But since it was rainy season there were multiple number of waterfalls and we narrowed down on the one which could be reached by the crossing a part of the river which was only just above the knee level.
Saw people struggling to cross 50ft of river , silently laughing at those worthless creatures. " I will show you howz it done !!!!!!!!"saying that stepped into water. "Aaaaaaaaaargh", the river bed was covered with sharp rocks which were also slippery and we were crossing the river barefooted. We crossed the river in the worst possible manner slipping and falling into water again and again and again......, taking help of guys who were trying to help their gal friends :P. After crossing the river we came back to our senses , nursing the bruises on our legs and our egos :(. and didnt even look back at the river.
But the nature's awesome view made us forgot all about our downfall a few minutes back. This waterfalls up close was splendid. It was as if we were playing in the lap of mother nature. The description is beyond words, the entire falls described in one word was "Spectacular". The waterfalls offered some sort of wild nature shower. The water dropping from arount 50 m height directly on your head and back was an experience not to forget. Its wat we call a "more" natural massage. We spent some 2 hrs or so playing in water, sitting under the falls. A lot of nice looking girls(seemed to be from some college) were also present, taking showers under the falls, presenting us a rare sight of 2 of nature's wonders interacting with each other :P.
At around 2 p.m. w started to feel hungry and I tapped my own back for getting the food packed(for it was my idea). We had one of the best lunch we can possibly have, sitting on stones in middle of river and eating the delicious "Bisi Belle Bath" and idlis from none other than Shivalli Restaurant(Better for me to become their brand ambassador and get some money instead of free publicity to them :D) . After lunch me and Raghavendra couldn't resist another dip in the river and a shower under the falls, so off we went and behind us came Manju, Manish, Shantu because for how long can a monkey resist a banana :D.....Speaking of monkeys there are a lot of them here and its better to keep an eye on your luggage.
Then at around 2.30 reluctantly we decided to leave this place. And back came the nightmares we had a couple of hours back, and yet we didnt do any better than last time, if truth is to be told we faired even poorer than last time we crossed the river. We fell and fell,,,, and this time there were no guys to give us "Sahara" :D. But at the end of the day it was actually fun.
Anyway now climbed the flight of the stairs and reached the top and took our bikes. It was around 3.00 and we decided to visit Talakad even though we were dog tired.
For Talakad we had to again come back to the main highway NH-209 and then take a left diversion while moving towards Bangalore.
As far as we know there are 3 places where we can take the left turn, one while coming from Barachukki just after crossing the river, one nearer to the Shivanasamudra diversion, and the remaining one nearer while coming from Bangalore. From all the diversions from NH-209, Talakad is at a distance approximately 25kms.(All the diversions are marked by the Karnataka Tourism...atleast someone did their work right :)).But before we could take the diversion for Talakad while returning from Barachukki Manju and Manish who were the coming in the rear took the right turn(Which goes to BR hills :D ) instead of the left.Hence seeing this Prasanna and harsha started chasing them. This chase took almost 20 minutes to end :P. Anyway we took the second diversion because we wanted to continue on the main road and as well as the diversion didnt seem that inviting(Roads seemed potholed).
After taking the second diversion the roads were really good for about 7-8 kms. Single lane recently laid roads, it was good. After that started the nightmare for our Bikes. The roads gradually started to get potholled and as we moved further tarred road gave way to mud road. Even this mud road was not smooth, it was potholled like the craters on the moon and it even had steep speed breakers!!!!!!!!(I didnt get the logic of these speed breakers on a potholled mud roads). This kept our average speed less than 15km/hr.
Slowly we crawled on this road and reached Talakad by around 4.45 p.m. and went directly to the river banks and relaxed for around half an hour. The river banks were covered with fine sand and there was a constant urge in me and manju to again get into water and sleep over there, but due to the time constraint decided against it.
Then we moved ourselves to have a look at the panchlinga temples which are famous in Talakad. These 4th-12th century temples were recently excavated from tons of sand which has covered the old city of Talakad. According to legend a lady named Alamelamma in possession of some expensive jewelry was pursued by the Mysore Wodeyar's soldiers. She ran upto the river cauvery and before jumping into the river and taking her life , she cursed that the entire town of Talakad will be covered by sand and the Mysore Raja's wont have proper heirs to their Throne's.(For skeptics like me here is a scientific explanation http://www.ias.ac.in/currsci/
Anyway we moved towards the main temple (names of the five temples are the Pathaleshwara, Maruleshwara, Arkeshwara, Vaidyanatheshwara and Mallikarjuna temples) parked our bikes in there. Was approached by a guide who offered us to show all the 5 temples in half an hour and give the stories behind it for a charge of 100 bucks. We agreed and we started to the temples on foot. The entire distance is around 2 kms and it is totally covered by sand. Most of the temples are below the ground level and in order to protect them from the sand some sort of bunds have been constructed around them. Our guide kept telling us stories regarding all the legends, I didnt get much of what he said but shantu kept asking him doubts continuously. Anyway completed tour of the temple and were ready to leave, time was 6 and it started to get dark.
Since we had to move on the "hopeless" roads again, we left instantaneously in order to atleast cross half the distance to NH209 before darkness creeps in. But out of nowhere it started raining heavily(Guess we are singled out by the rain gods, for the past 3 trips we have been drenched by the heavy rains).
Anyway we didnt want to be stuck up in one place hence we moved in the heavy rains itself. Slowly we crawled on the road getting completely drenched. Because of the rain, roads were even worse than what we encountered much earlier. The entire road was covered with sludge. There was virtually no roads present here.My black colored bike had become a brown colored one(The next day when i gave my bike for service the showroom guy was giving me nasty looks :D) The road can be described as a field. I am not sure how the farmers demarcate where their land ends and where does the actual road starts :P. Since didnt find anyone growing ragi, or paddy in the middle of the road am guessing that they figured it out somehow :D. Might be with the help of the stone road markers at some places signifying the gravestone of the long departed road :).
Took around an hour to travel 12kms of this road and then reached decent road. By now the darkness had completely surrounded us(there were a lot of bugs in the air too leaving us teary eyed. :( ). Now we started enjoyed riding on this road with pictch darkness everywhere until we reached NH-209 again. On reaching the NH we took a left and continued on this route until we reached Malavalli.
Now as earlier plan of taking the Kanakpura road to reach Blore we took the route which we had taken in the morning since riding a bike when completely exhausted in the busy 2 lane road at night has the same life expectancy as the American Soldiers in Afghanisthan :). Hence reached Maddur and from there moved via the Mysore road. Had a stopover at Shivalli Hotel :) , having a cup of tea and from there moved non-stop and reached my home at around 10 p.m. .
Was totally exhausted from the day trip but when you look back at it it was actually fun. Playing under the falls in Barachukki, doing offroading near Talakad, the day time drive along NH209, the morning drive along the Mysore road. Overall it was a good trip satisfying our biking genes :) (Atleast for the time being :) )
Total Distance Traveled -> 310 kms
Total Cost Per Person(including fuel,food)-> 450 bucks