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Published: August 22nd 2014
Januaray 2007. This was my first trip after moving to Bangalore. Varun and Pawan, my colleagues had just bought their bikes and had been looking to go on a long pleasure ride. So on one fine Friday night we along with Imon decided to set out for Coorg the next morning. We memorized the route to Coorg via Mysore through google maps. Smartphones with 3G connections were not quite there then.
Hitting the highway next morning was quite a good feeling. It was a trip where I was kind of leading the pack of four boys on bikes and thus got a feeling of having finally entered adulthood from the protected years of college life.
We headed south-west of Bangalore on Mysore Road which happened to be one of the best highways at that time. We could easily touch 100+kmph on that road at least upto Mysore. It was a bright and pleasant day. The landscape on both sides of the road comprised endless uniform green fields with stony hills and coconut trees as the only aberrations. The stony hills of Karnataka are quite unique. They are like a spilled stack of large hard rocks, the mud covering them
En-route to Madikeri
having been washed off over the ages.
Right before entering Mysore, we took a right turn towards Coorg. On the way to Coorg were Khushalnagar Buddhist monastery, but we kept that for our return trip. Somewhere on our way, I and Varun managed to get far ahead of Pawan and Imon and hence decided to take a detour onto a road which looked like going nowhere. We ended up on a muddy road which lead us to a lake which was completely inconspicuous from the highway because of the bamboo jungle all around it. That place was like a whole different world. No human settlement around. Vast stretch of untouched nature. A lake followed by a hillock and a lot of greenery. For a while we were feeling like Vasco-da-gama.
It was time to get back to the highway after spending few minutes there. Coorg is a hill station and we were expecting steep climb somewhere, but that does not quite come untill the very end. The road does start sloping upwards but hardly becomes steep. It passes through some really unique villages of Karnataka giving a view into a world so contrasting with what we have in
Stone art near the lake we discovered
Bangalore. The life is conspicuously slower there making us question the need of daily grind back in Bangalore.
Closer to our destination we get into the region of large trees which looked much different from the ones which we are used to seeing. Or probably they looked unique because we noticed them properly after long. Our road took us through famous Coorg coffee plantations too.
Just before sunset we were at Madikeri, a hill station town in Coorg. Managed to find a cheap room for four of us. Had dinner at this antique looking restaurant named 'the west end' (if I remember right).
We woke up early the next morning to see sun rise at 'Raja seat'. We hired at auto rickshaw driver who became our tour guide as well and took as around some temples and important places of the Madikeri town. Abbey falls was our next stop. That probably was my first time at a waterfall. we went in the water near the falls though was not possible to get directly below the falls.
After breakfast, we hit the road back to Bangalore. On our way back we visited the majestic Harangi Dam which
was a slight detour from the main highway. We took another detour to Khushalnagar Buddhist monastery. The road to monastery had a Tibetan settlement which was quite a surprise for us. It was like a mini Tibet far too south in India. The monastery was a beautiful place. Peaceful, artistically made and tranquil. We got a chance to see a session of prayer from the Buddhist monks.
By the time we reached Mysore, it began to get dark. We still had 150kms to cover to reach Bangalore. We had to slow down because of dark. We took a stop over at a CCD on Mysore highway (70kms from Bangalore). CCD was still a charm back in those days and specially at unique place like that.
We hit Bangalore somewhere around 9:30 and congratulated ourselves on successfully completing a great road trip!
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