Up in the Clouds

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December 12th 2012
Published: January 13th 2016
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I Still remember that drizzling cold midnight, it was in the end of year 2012, winter probably. I had a shower that late night and then got my bull ready, warmed up the engine, held the helmet in the hand and slowly started riding bullet in a zig-zag way on the empty outer ring road of Bangalore humming an old hindi track,

" Pukartaa Chala Hun Main
Gali Gali Bahaar Ki
Bas Ek Chaaon Jhulf Ki
Bas ek nigaaah ho pyaaar ki

I was on my way to my friends' room to join them for a whole new chapter of ‘Motorcycle Diaries’ on my Royal Bull. The worst thing happened as I reached friend's room, could not wake my friends up from their dead sleep as they hear neither my voice nor my mobile call.

Since they stay at third floor, they should have at least kept the ground floor gate open, which locks anyone in entering inside the apartment, they forgot that as well. So, now I can’t even knock their door on the third floor of the apartment. I lost all my cool and dropped the food I bought for them.

I called them again and again, almost a hundred times (exaggerated round-off), I did even throw stones to their window, no use! Can you imagine this scene around 1.30am? I was on my way back to room, and my blood became as hot as engine crank.

Finally, around 4.00 in the morning, My cell phone started ringing! I picked the call, No response from either side.

First a breeze of Silence, then small spark of lightning, and then the thunder explosion...,I exploded like anything over the phone!Finally cooled down after a while, after all what’s friends for all?

May be after an hour or so, I stretched to their room again and we left early in the morning at 4.30 am after knotting bags tightly on the 'bull'. We had to keep engine idling in neutral for a while near outer ring road for Ravi to join. He was a colleague of Niyas & Majeed then. Some moods can only be understood by riders. If racing is sport, riding is art, the machine itself is art, hence the rider must be a ‘poet’ while starring. You can almost forget what you do for a living when your knees are in the breeze. On the way we had morning tea near Mandya and then set off again. We had breakfast in the second break.

Afternoon, we reached Coorg!

Green Coorg, Nestled in the western ghats is essentially a place for the nature lover, with a rich eco diversity and ever green trees like teak sandalwood. Their economy is mainly based on agriculture & forestry, coffee is a key contributor there.The people seems to be simple and friendly, we heard that the homestay culture is very well rooted over there, because we had a plan of going to Abbey Falls or Dubare elephant camp, but not sure whether we would be able to make it.We took breaks from riding, sometimes in any coffee estates, sometimes near agriculture fields or under some teak tree forest.

In the evening after a long ride, with lots of twists and turns, reached Madikkeri, a small town and had our tea, then changed the gear to Kabkabe, near our final destination Tadiyandamol. In between we lost our way, and the uncertainty added little more flavor in our ride, and somehow finally reached to Kabkabe.

If I remember correctly, we came like this : Bangalore > Mandya > Sreerangapattanam > Kushal Nagar > Madikkeri > Kemod > Kabkabhe > Thadiyandamol
Our plan was to setup a hut somewhere on the hills, and we even had the items required. But after chatting with some guys there who were running resorts, it happened to be a discussion of stay deal.They pulled us back with all of their might explaining the presence of Elephants, Forest Guards and the consequences. Finally we dropped the idea of hut in the forest hills .

By the time we knew that’s typical Resort business strategy, it was too late.

Then we went for a shot walk , it was late in the evening . But if you were a person woke up that time, you would not know whether it was early morning or dawn. The noises in that deadly silent area gave us a unique feeling.

By then, I fell in love with this killing beauty, The misty and husky Coorg. At night, after finishing heavy resort meals, We set the alarm ready and slept.

Got up at 5.30 am and set-off at 6.00 in the morning from the resort room, after 10 minute ride we reached a small plateau above the coffee estates by bike. No more ride possible from there, we locked the vehicles and got the backpack on our shoulder. And yes, drank some sweet forest water from the tiny falls. The trek looked easy first, Views are awesome with many a layers of hill after hill forming waves of ridges somewhere in the distance. The stream above the plateau and a few big boulders offered a good place to rest and fill water for rest of the journey. Trust me you hardly get that kind of sweet, pure and cool water.

I have got a shock in the beginning itself by seeing low battery signal in my Nikon dSLR, forgot to charge it, still I managed to capture with my Canon digital. Two of my close friends were busy in making use of their iPhone at the max with poses and clicks.

The next three kilometers were not all the simple and it took some time and effort. It gets steep and tiring but the views and the surroundings makes the walk a pleasure. Last stretch goes through a ‘real’ forest, another quick steep ascent and we are already at the top. It's around 8 Km and takes no more than three hours to make the journey, give or take an hour based on your fitness levels, all the way I was exasperating my friends by telling them to be fast.

And once on top, there is nothing else you would desire in a trek life, you are up in the spongy clouds with the majestic beauty of tremendous landscape around!

Thadiyandamol is the highest peak in Coorg. Its windy peak offers unhindered views of impressive mountain ranges and valleys of Coorg and beyond. Neatly stacked layers of hills align one behind the other, extending to the horizon and gently merging into the blue sky. Sensuous curves of the ridges lead down the peak and further up to the next one and the next, eventually disappearing into the mist somewhere faraway, inviting the beholder to walk along them and lose themselves in the mystery that the depth of the hills seem to convey.

Beholding the tremendous natural beauty of the scapes by all my senses, I praised The Lord of all the worlds.

While coming back, after filling our "Bull' tanks full, we took a turn near Kushal Nagar to Namdroling Monastery; The Golden Temple at Bylakuppe in Coorg District, where Tibetan have the largest settlement in India, who mainly belongs to Sangha community.

If we go back to history few decades back, many monks (led by Dalai Lama ) fled to India in 60’s and continued in subsequent years to escape the wrath of Chinese forces, One of the respected monk Penor Rinchoppe put the platform for the monastery with the aim of helping those relocated monks. Over the years with every ones support it has developed a lot. Late 90’s the establishment of Golden temple became a reality. Here Buddha’s preachings are preserved for worldwide propagation .This monastery is known as a center for pure upholding of the teachings of Buddha, which is a lineage of Tibetan Buddhism in the world.

When I saw the architecture design, it reminded me of some Kun-fu marshal ads movie ‘gurukul’ set. This Tibetan architecture has enough space to host congregation of hundreds of monks. Once you’re inside, bring your attention to three imposing golden statues, Buddha in the middle, Rinchoppe to right and Amitayus to left(all Deities). There were some kind of prayer going on and they used some instruments to make sounds at each interval , When prayer is in session, the chanting of mantras accompanied by sounds of drums and cymbals etc. resonate the place. Pillars and walls are very much decorated with designs and murals. Some sub-junior 'monks' were playing here and there.

There is one small temple in the front, completed recently which rises vertically with tires of artistic golden turrets and a golden semicircular arch on top. I forgot to tell you, An inevitable part of Buddhist temple are prayer wheel, here you may find hundreds of them, in different sizes, turning the wheel in clockwise direction during prayer considered as an effective way of supplication.

Other than agriculture, they also find time in handicrafts tradition, souvenirs sold thru stores, and of Corse you can get some Tibet style cuisine prepared there in canteen. Besides, this monastery also features a retreat Centre for monks for intensive training with food and stay. We took some clicks and packed back to Bangalore with two bottles of coorg honey, unfortunately later found that the honey was not as pure as they promised while selling.

The journey was a memorable one by all the ways and means, all of us became iron-butt associates due to the continuous ride on the bikes even though we took enough breaks, those who has experienced the burning can only understand it. We had dinner at Empire Restaurant, newly opened then on Mysore road, reached Bangalore around 11.30pm.

(We never know how and when misfortune would hit us,so never be afraid to slow down.)

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