Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Diwali Bike Trip - 2/2

The morning found us at the Chennakesava temple in Belur. Our feet were a little sore with all the walking of the last day. The main temple is housed at the center of complex which to some extent reminded me of Hampi's Vitthal Temple Complex. We walked about lazily. The morning sun felt quite pleasant. Within an hour or so, we checked out of the hotel and were on the road to Chikmagalur, some 40 Kms from there. The road, was straight out of some painting. Hills in the background, clear blue skies, coconut trees swaying slowly in the breeze, paddy fields, a few houses here and there, a pond and the road winding its way through all of it. If the start was some sort of precursor of things to come, we had reason enough to be excited. Soon we were at Chikmagalur, where we had breakfast, and after asking for directions, headed towards Mullaingiri, which, at around 6200 feet, is the highest peak in Karnataka.

It was the first time I was riding my bike on a hilly road. And it was thrilling. Everything, was just perfect. The smiles wouldn't just leave our faces from then on. The road became pretty bad soon but with height, the view kept getting better and greener. Since we had come just after the monsoons, it was very green everywhere. The rounded hills seemed carpeted at places as we got to see all possible shades of green that possibly exist. Unlike the Himalayas, there were no pine or fir trees and instead eucalyptus and tropical trees took their place. The beauty of these hills lay not in their height or raggedness but in their richness and variety of views. At one bend you could encounter a fluorescent, striking, green slope and the other would lead you through a muddy road lined with eucalyptus trees.

"You guys from North India", inquired the father of the cute daughter, as Naman spoke to someone in Hindi from the peak at Mullaingiri. The daughter had just expressed amazement upon hearing Naman's phone ring and had asked me "Which network?".

Dont know why but I say, "Ya, he's from the north and I'm from Bokaro, Jharkhand (I add)."

"Oh Dhoni's place..... he's put Jharkhand on the international map....You must have many places like this there, right?"

I try and act a little intelligent as I havent been around the state.
"It's more a plateau. Not so many hills. Not of this height at least ..."
(I'm not bluffing, in case you are wondering. Look up Chota nagpur plateau in Google!)

As is with me in such occasions, instead of the daughter, the almost six feet brother starts talking to us telling us about ways to reach Kemmanagundi and how we should visit this place during the monsoons when its all misty and driving is very thrilling and risky. By this time we are descending the 200 odd steps that would take us to where we had parked our bikes.

"You must be Software guys, right" says the father.

I look at Naman. "Software guys" is like euphemism for Loser !

We have a quiet descent thereafter.

By the time we reach Kemmanagundi, we are saturated with happiness, if that's possible! Naman remarked somewhere in the middle that in all probability we have not been this happy (more like, this kind of happy) since childhood. I agree with him. There's so much beauty around you and everything appears so pure that you are in a zone. Far removed from the life that you know. It's something special and something rare. We have lunch at the Horticulture Department Canteen which is hostel like in its quality and decide on getting back to the plains before nightfall, instead of staying the guest house. That way we would save time the next day and get back to Bangalore before noon. So we do the 30 minute trek to Z-Point and get awed all over again by the sheer beauty of the hills. The time of the day, with the sun about to set and the peaks casting huge shadows over the plains below, adds to the charm.

The ride down the hilly road is undertaken hastily. We decide to halt at Birur, some 240 Kms from Bangalore, as night driving on a two wheeler on a single lane Highway with no divider is not the safest of things.

Morning at NH208 is as beautiful as I have seen with the light streaming in through the branches and the leaves of the Banyan trees that line it. The traffic is almost nonexistent and the weather is gorgeous. We reach Tumkur by 12 noon after which the 4 lane section of the NH4 makes me race my bike to 110 kmph before sanity prevails. By 1:45 we are home.

56 hours and 660 Kms. It was a great trip. Contrary to expectations, there was no back pain or fatigue but Monday seemed all the more painful.

The network, by the way, was Airtel.


Rohan Rai said...

Well not to add to the comments of appreciation about the splendid beauty of your journey and your narrative skills...My appreciation is for the phrase "Software guys" is like euphemism for Loser !....amazingly well said in these few words about the cruel game which the fate has played (I Guess :))....looser...big looser...bigger looser...biggest looser...even bigger looser ....I can carry on...simply love this word...

Princess Stefania said...

Oh the pictures are beautiful!

Shreyas said...

lovely blog, and what is amazing is that 2/2 is even better than 1/2, which doent happen often, one always seems to lose steam for the second part.
and hillarious conversation dude, i enjoyed it as much as probably u wud have...and loved the 'its more of a plateau' part, typicall loser IITian...hahahaha
hope i can be there to get on one of such loser trips myself :)

Atish said...

@shreyas: u dumbo! it IS a plateau!!

Shreyas said...

abe hero i know it IS a plateau, i was laughing becuase u were trying to be smart and show that you know so much...whata loser!

anonymous coward said...


yaar you stole my comment!! although my official job title is "technical ass", I am just a software guy like half of Bangalore.

dipu, jaldi MBA ke liye jaa yaar and stop being such a looser.