May 30, 2011

BR & MM Hills : In the Land Of Bandits


With the advent of summer it was time for us to flee to some hill station for a weekend family getaway, and the first destination in our list was Ooty-Coonoor. But subsequent research made us realize that Ooty at this time of year with summer holidays and flower show in progress was pretty much jam packed. So we decided to head towards some lesser known destinations of BR Hills and MM Hills , a place less frequented by tourists until recently bcoz of notorious Veerappan who dominated these regions. Also this was the first major outing since my brother bought his first car, a spanking new Honda Jazz.

Hence the itinerary was planned and we decided to take the route of Blore-Mysore-Gopalswamy Betta-Chamarajanagar-K Gudi - BR Hills - Kollegal - MM Hills - Hogenakkal (Karnataka Side) -Mettur- Dharmapuri - Hosur - Blore a total distance of 780 km in 2 days.

Day 1 : 21 May 2011 ( Blore-Mysore-Gopalswamy Betta-Chamarajanagar-K Gudi - BR Hills - Kollegal)


Gopalswamy Betta


Got up pretty early in the morning and left home at around 6 am. Initial journey went smooth along  Mysore road and the Jazz made it like a dream. From a Maruthi 800 to a Jazz is quite an upgrade and we found them worlds apart. Had breakfast at Adigas at Maddur and reached Mysore in no time. From here we moved towards Ooty road and as expected it still is in very good condition as I had experienced twice during my previous bike rides. Reached Gundlupet and from there the Gopalswamy Betta Entrance gate is just a few kilometers. The roads were quite bumpy , but the Jazz took and absorbed a lot of those bumps. At the bottom of the hill, the forest guards stopped for the entrance fee. Recently read in newspapers that the entrance fee was hiked to 500 bucks and we were ready to shell it out, but we had a surprise here, the hike had been reverted back and now the entrance charge was just Rs 50. As with my previous outing to the same place we were expecting to catch sight of some elephants , but were a tad disappointed. Also since it was nearing noon there was no mist formation at the top which this temple is so famous for. But the weather on the top was awesome, chilly weather in the middle of a day, in middle of summer. Spent some time around the temple and returned back to take our route to Chamarajanagar via Gundlupet. Had packed lunch en route since getting a decent eatery here is close to none
.
BR Hills Temple

View From The BR Hills Temple
 Gundlupet to Chamarajanagar route was pretty decent and from Chamarajanagar to BR Hills there are 2 routes , one via Yeriyur and one via ghat roads of K Gudi via dense forest. We took the latter and the initial section of the road was a bit rough, but the forests were very dense and we were sweeping our eyes sight left and right to catch sight of wild animals which is very common in these forests.Reached K Gudi and enquired with a forest guard and he informed that the Jungle Safari starts from 3.30 pm and we still had 1.5 hrs to go and planned to visit the BR Hills temple and return back. The path between K Gudi and  BR Hills is really awesome. Single lane road in very good condition and surrounded by some breathtaking forests views and we ended up traversing 3 times along this 20 or so odd kms of road.

K Gudi Safari


There is nothing much to be written about the state of the BR Hills temple which seems to be neglected of late. Lot of people with almost 0 facilities leads to a mayhem. Anyway at this time the temple was closed and we just roamed the temple premises and decided to drive back on K Gudi for the jungle safari. Reached exactly at 3.30 and were let into the first jeep for the evening, with a cost of 400/head. With these forests less frequented by tourists than its neighbors such as Bandipur and Nagarhole and with a tiger density of nearly 30, we had high hopes of catching sight of some these majestic creatures or atleast some wild feline, but sadly we were disappointed. We caught sight of numerous types of deers, spotted deers, sambar, barah singha(best view of the safari) and so on. Also caught hold of langoors, monkeys, Snake Headed eagle. The entire safari took around 1 hr 20 mins from the starting point. Decided to head towards MM Hills via Yeriyur route and by nightfall we reached Kollegal. Since we were unaware of the roads ahead we decided to bunk in Kollegal itself and booked rooms in below average "YepIYes Lodge"(strange name) and had dinner at "Annapoorneshwari Hotel" which was decent. Both of these are quite near to the main bus stand. Had a mosquito riddled sleep.

Day 2 : 22 May 2011 ( Kollegal - MM Hills - Hogenakkal (Karnataka Side) -Mettur- Dharmapuri - Hosur - Blore

MM Hills
Left Kollegal in the morning after having breakfast and packed one for lunch. As soon as we leave Kollegal and move towards MM Hills, a stunning view greats us. The entire horizon around us is filled with hills, feels more or less like driving in center of a meteor crater with the flat surface in the center. Awesome views. Until the hills the roads are pretty decent , but as soon as they start the roads are quite bad, with very little maintenance.One of the things I noticed about the local population of Chamarajanagar district is total disregard for vehicle traffic. Pedestrians, cyclists and even slow moving 2 wheelers move bang in the centre of the highway and even when we let them know of our presence via honks they don't let go of an inch. Quite strange behaviour indeed :P.

 

Reached MM Hills at near to noon and went inside to have the darshan. It was a bit crowded but we had the darshan within 45 mins. In MM Hills rooms also can be booked , but it is long process of (Telephone Enquiry + Sending a advance booking request letter via fax). (http://www.mmhills.com/accom.htm). We decided to move towards Hogenakkal falls from MM Hills since it is just 45 kms (Karnataka Side) from here and also i had never entered via this route made it a bit curious. From the MM Hills- Mettur Highway (SH 79) we need to take a 28 km detour to Hogenakkal and return back to SH 79 to move towards Mettur. This single lane road from the deviation towards Hogenakkal is one of the most scenic roads that I can remember of in Southern Karnataka. The entire 28 kms this desolate road skims along the banks of the river Cauvery and further sandwiched between green mountains on the either sides giving awesome views.

Hogenakkal


Reached Hogenakkal and had a boat ride towards the falls and this took around 45 mins. The official rates are 110/head and 6 persons max /boat. But they were loading the coracles to the brim , hence we decided to book a complete boat to ourselves which came out to be 640(w.r.t. 110*6 and 20 bucks discount :P). Had expected less amount of water bcoz this being summer, but quite surprisingly the water level was quite high. Witnessed again the spectacular views of water pouring from every nook and corner of the rocks, last witnessed nearly 2 years back.


Had lunch enroute on the awesome detour road and joined the main potholed highway. But soon the TN border came and roads became from worse to awesome. TN roads really rock. Came across Mettur dam on the way , but frankly speaking this is not worth it and the views which we get just before entering the dam area and after exiting the dam area and climbing the adjacent hill are more spectacular,  where we can witness the huge water mass the dam is holding up . Being a Sunday afternoon there was a huge rush of people trying to get into a small park which is the only part allowed for visitors , with the dam out of bounds.  The local population had got home made food in huge containers, which they ate under the trees and had a nap after this. This part of the culture is something unique to TN i guess , having never witnessed this anywhere else.



From here we took the Mercheri route and touched the NH-7 expressway some 40kms before Dharmapuri. After this it was smooth ride all the way to Blore with a break at newly opened Kamat Upachar(Just after Krishnagiri I guess) Overall a good drive with nothing that spectacular, but during this time people throng the spectacular places like vultures towards a dead carcass (in fact Hogenakkal from TN side was jam packed), hence speaking in that terms this trip was good.


Snaps Link :

https://picasaweb.google.com/unithinbhat/BRMMHogenakkal#

Trip 'O' Meter : 780 kms


Route Map



9 comments:

  1. Nithin

    is it possible to give me details abt places around MM Hills. mainly Trek spots

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi Prasca
    Around MM Hills, u have a lot of places.. it is listed in the below link
    http://www.mmhills.com/index.htm
    Hogenakkal, Kodugallu etc... trekking options I didn explore since I went with family..

    ReplyDelete
  3. Wow,
    Excellent MM hills,
    Our visit to this place and along with BR hills,Gaganachukki & Barachukki, an epic 600km in a day trip
    http://theloapers.blogspot.com/2011/08/38-mm-hills-br-hills-shivanasamudra.html :D

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hello. Awesome trip by you!
    Could you say more about the MM Hills- Mettur route? How long does it take?

    ReplyDelete
  5. thanks.... w.r.t MM Hills- Mettur route, roads are bad in Karnataka and awesome in TN side.. can be done in around 2 hrs....

    ReplyDelete
  6. Very Helpful article. Thanks or sharing. BTW the route map looks like Australia :)

    ReplyDelete
  7. I am planning a day's trip from bangalore to mysore. What places can I visit in Kollegal?

    ReplyDelete

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