Friday, June 21, 2019

169) Bhasmangi Fort Trek: (7/4/2019)

Place: Bhasmangi Fort Trek
Distance: 130 x 2 = 260km
Directions: Bangalore > Dobbaspete > Madhugiri > Bhasmangi
Krew: Deepak (Deefu) > Ashok (Momz) > Karthik (Sp)
Bikes: Enfield > Pulsar                                                                   
Previous Visit: Nijagal Fort Trek
Budget: Rs 470/head

Bhasmangi Fort is one of those forts, on hearing the name itself, it sends you a shiver. But the trek is a pleasant one as it has a step route till the top. And if you’re like us, you end up proving that the name of the fort has something in it haha! This chapter we took the normal route to the top and while coming down all hell broke loose.

It was about a week since our Nijagal betta trek and since Deefu was in town, we decided to head to Bhasmangi Fort. Last time we visited this place was in 2016 and Deefu could not make it that time. So with Deefu & Momz in the confirmed list we were all set!
TIME: 22:00 (2/12/2016)

Woke up as usual as 5AM, did a few push-ups and sit-ups. After having a sip of coffee I set out. The meet up was scheduled 50kms away from Bangalore at our regular hotel Kamadhenu. After reaching the hotel, I waited for others and in came Deefu and Momz as usual swearing at each other. Momz by the way was wearing a shirt which had elephant symbol on it and saying SRILANKA. We started asking all sorts of questions as we munched on a light breakfast. Momz had to get some documents signed so he said he had to be back at 6PM.
TIME: 07:00


RIDE 1: (Dobbaspete – Madhugiri – Bhasmangi)
As about 1/3rd the distance was already covered, we took it easy at the hotel. Once we left the hotel, we cruised at a decent pace and reached Madhugiri. After Madhugiri, we had to ask around for directions and proceed. Last time we had come via Sira. This time we wanted to experiment with a new route. The riding pace reduced as we had stop frequently and ask for directions, with lot of turns and riding in between towns we made it to final road that would lead us to Bhasmangi. The final stretch I could recollect all events of last trip, but didn’t want them to interfere with this one, so temporarily erased all memories of last time and just went ahead and parked the bike in actually a very decent parking place.
TIME: 07:30

There was the village festival and all the drums were in full flow, lot of people from neighboring villages had also gathered. Without interfering much in their activities we parked our bikes and proceeded towards the regular route.

The trek up hill was not at all exciting as we took the normal route. In about 20mins were at the top. We were really disappointed. The trail ran through various gates and presented us a lot of ruins which was good. But it was just too easy! At the top, we just sat and discussed about the Bali pass trek and preparations for that. We spent about 45mins on top and decided to leave back – on a different route ofcourse!
TIME: 11:00


The trek back down took us 1.5hours, so this kind of tells you we got into some major shit. Okay, ontop it was all fun, we in fact we got on top of the fort wall and started walking on it until we hit a dead end. Then we got on the other side of the fortwall and started circumventing the hillock until we could find a decent trail down. This was risky, as it was a one person path and we had to hold onto to the fort wall and take step by step. When none of the routes looked promising we decided to go straight down amidst the burnt bushes.

With Deefu leading the way, we were making progress. Then as we began making our way down, our hands started turning black as the entire terrain was scorched to the core. With my bad shoes, slipping here and there was always there, hence my jeans also was turning black.
Then a group of people younger than us were climbing up. Then one of them said “Anna, keep your leg in that slot and get down it will be easy” Then Momz was like “Guys, mechanical engineers ah all?” they looked puzzled. “who else would use terms such as  slot?” justified momz and all burst into laughter. He had earned their instant respect among fellow juniors. Deefu and me kept staring at each other and called Momz aside and asked if that much respect was necessary or we had ways to nullify it :P he asked us to shut and climb down haha!


The climb down continued to be challenging and we made sure the fort had lived up to its name. We made down back to the town and the village festival was in full flow. People were dancing around, goats were being beheaded right in the middle of the street and as were proceeding towards the bike, a quarrel among two villagers started and it escalated to a fight between the villages.

We were walking dead right in the middle of the road, as people kept fighting each other and all off a sudden everybody saw us, that freaky feel you get man! We just went to a water tank nearby washed our faces, totally avoiding eye-contact and made near our bikes. We took our bikes, just before heading out we smiled at them and took off with a breath relief.
TIME: 12:30


RIDE 2: (Bhasmangi – Madhugiri – Bangalore)
Okay this was a 135km ride, done with ultra-smoothness. Deefu and me took on the saddles and we began cruising at 80+kmph with ease. The roads were pretty empty and the air began cooling our bodies off from the good trek back down. After cruising past Madhugiri, we stopped at Koratgere for a small break. After which we ended up in a baker for lunch. We just had some Egg puffs, Dilpasand and buttermilk for lunch and continued further to reach back Bangalore as promised to Momz by 3PM itself. Then Deefu and me parked the bikes and started wondering what to do until 6PM as he had said "at 6PM". Haha, momz was like, “guys earlier is also okay :P
TIME: 15:00

This was crazy chapter, last time I remember we had returned from Bhasmangi at about 7-8PM, this time we cruised with ease. And the climb down was crazy but fun. Totally busted our hands but it was worth it! And have you been keeping an eye on the budget of the past few trips? You should, cause we have a point to prove there!"
Until next  time, Ta-da Cia \m/



168) Nijagal Betta Trek: (28/3/2019)

Place: Nijagal betta trek
Distance: 60 x 2 = 120km
Directions: Bangalore > Nelamangala > Dobbaspete > Nijagal Betta
Krew: Datta (Dattu) > Ashok (Momz) > Karthik (Sp)
Bikes: Enfield > Pulsar                                                                   
Previous Visit: Rayakottai Fort Trek
Budget: Rs 250/head

Nijagal betta is small hillock situated at 60km from Bangalore and is the perfect spot to get used to trekking spots around Bangalore. The caves ontop of the hillock are both spooky and exciting! And most important lesson of this trip, you drink any liquid to quench your thirst, water is WATER!

It was about a week since our trek to Rayakottai trek and as the mega Himalayan trip of Bali pass nearing we decided to get a few warm ups before it. So, we thought of Nijagal as it was only an hour ride away and trek is very easy. Momz wanted to meet few people at college hence Nijagal was the perfect choice. Dattu & Momz on the confirmed list!
TIME: 22:00 (27/3/2019)

Oh yeah woke up at 05:00, did a few push-ups & sit-ups, had a sip of coffee & was all set to go! The meet up was scheduled at Dattu’s place, so left my home at about 06:15 and reached Dattu’s place to join Momz. We left Bangalore after a formal greeting!
TIME: 07:00

RIDE 1: (Bangalore – Dobbaspete - Nijagal)
This was straightforward 60kms ride on Tumkur roads. The roads are wide and butter-smooth, so all we had to do was stay awake and watch for idiots. We pulled over at our regular hotel – Kamadhenu for some yummy Sambhar with idly & vada. Haha yeah, the order of the food is correct. You just have to taste the sambhar of this hotel!
TIME: 07:30


With our tummies at peace, we proceeded towards Dobbaspete. As you began to approach Dobbaspete, Nijagal can be seen towards the left side of the road. Below a railway track opposite to a Reliance Petrol bunk a narrow muddy trail leads you the base of the hill. I actually felt happy remembering all of this even though our last trip to this place was a couple of years back! Parking our bikes amidst the trees, we were all set for the trek.
TIME: 08:30

Alright, Nijagal a said earlier is not a big trek. It took us 30mins to reach the top, with lot of fooling around. The trek terrain is easy and can be done without breaking much of a sweat! Like always divided the trek into the following chunks:
i) Initial walk way
ii) Hike uphill
iii) Dark Caves
iv) Lost Ruins
Ok, so, these are the chunks, let’s get this alright!


i) Initial walk ways:
The initial walk way is through a steep muddy trail. This trail has some loose gravels, but very easy to accomplish. One might feel drained as there is no shelter. But the mighty Shivagange and Bhairavadurga seen afar always keeps our spirits high!

ii) Hike uphill:
After the initial walk way, you get good overview of Nijagal. The ancient temple fallen in ruins can be seen but do remember it is a place you have to visit while you return back. This is say as you would cover all the place. Taking the normal steps we reached the Dharga on top. There are buildings on top, most of them lay in ruins.

iii) Dark Caves:
The dark caves on top are the best places to rest. The wind gushes through the narrow stretch making you feel energised. We did fool around trying to climbing ontop of the buildings. Then we entered the caves are just sat speaking about Dattu’s and Momz  Himalayan expedition we would be taking in a month's time for about an 2.5hours.!
TIME: 11:30

iv) Lost Ruins:
Okay after spending about 2.5hours on top, we decided to take an alternate route to the bottom which would take us to the temple directly. You can spot a temple and a rock sliced into half, this should give you a sense of direction.

The descent does offer some challenge, but mostly it is fun! We made it down in no time and we proceeded towards the ancient temple. The temple trust me is kinda spooky, supported by pillars which looked like it could collapse anytime. The air around the temple is also kinda, you know right! We sat near the temple admiring the mighty Shivagange afar! With Dattu’s & Momz jokes you never run out of laughter.
TIME: 12:00


RIDE 2: (Nijagal – Nelamangala – Bangalore)
Ok, this was a 60km ride back, we decided to skip lunch and head back home directly. It was Thursday and we didn’t want to shell out extra for food. We wanted to hydrate ourselves hence we pulled over at a cane juice shop. After having a glass of cane juice, next to it was a small fruit shop. We had a plate of fruits each, next to it was coconut vendor. We had a coconut water, still we were not satisfied. Next to it was a bakery, buying a litre of water we had a sip each, ah there was the satisfaction. Riding back smooth, we reached back Bangalore.
TIME: 14:00

Alright, even though this was a small chapter it was fun and set the foundation for the next chapters to come, stay tuned!
Thursday well spent huh, Until next Ta-da Cia \m/



Tuesday, June 18, 2019

167) Rayakottai Fort Trek & Bettamugililam: (16/3/2019)

Place: Rayakottai Fort Trek
Distance: 100kms x 2 = 200kms
Directions: Bangalore > Hosur > Shoolagiri > Rayakottai > Betamugililam Forest > Denkankotai > Bangalore
Krew: Tonse > Vinay > Ramakrishna > Karthik (Sippy)
Bikes: FZ > Pulsar                                                                          
Previous Visit: Medigeshi Fort Trek.
Budget: Rs 475/head

The Fort of Rayakottai is the southernmost fort hill of Mr.Tippu Sultan. It served a fantastic watch tower for a very good reason. The 360deg view you get from the top of this place runs for kilometres at a stretch. Our trek to this place, wait, actually we never planned to Rayakottai but was a fortunate thing that we planned, as Bettamugililam was pretty much burnt to ashes. And ride from Rayakottai to Bettamugililam was something extra-ordinary.

After the trek to Medigeshi, we were in full flow. So planned a small trip with office colleagues. Since it was their first trip with us, I didn’t want it to be a trek hence had planned Bettamugililam – a peaceful ride.  Tonse, Vinay and my chess buddy Ramakrishna were on the confirmed list.
TIME: 22:00 (15/3/2019)

After a late night chess marathon, yeah woke up at 05:00, did a few push-ups & sit-ups, had a sip of coffee & was all set to go! The meet up was scheduled at Attibele as most of them were staying there. Hence I took the city route early morning and left my home at 6AM. Jibing past vehicles in the traffic reaching silk board I took the normal route as I felt the traffic was a little at ease. Cruising at a decent pace, swearing at few drivers as usual reached Attibele.

Anyway sat on the footpath and awaited others arrival. Once the 3 of them arrived, I asked where we were going. Once a smile appeared on their faces, it was time to introduce some oblivion. I asked if they were up for Rayakottai, once they said we had the entire day for ourselves, with high spirits we took off from Bangalore.
TIME: 06:30


RIDE 1: (Bangalore – Hosur – Shoolagiri - Rayakottai)
So, this was a straightforward 100kms. I had a vague idea of the deviation that we had to take near Shoolagiri as we had goofed up last time. We cruised at a decent pace to reach Shoolagiri, browsing for a hotel, we pulled over one, for some classic TN breakfast. Been a while since I had, had one of them.
TIME: 07:45

From here Rayakottai was just 30mins. After some nice Pongal (even though I hate this dish, Pongal & Omlets are something irresistible in TN, simply love them here!!) we left towards Rayakottai. We could spot the hillock afar. Parking our bikes at the bakery, we requested the bakery people to hold on to our helmets and with the goats spirit awake, we were all set to climb.
TIME: 09:00

The trek as such was pretty easy. It is one of the best short treks around Bangalore. But the view it offers from the top is simply brilliant. Even though we fooled around a lot during our climb it took us 1hour to reach the top.


As we began the climb, we began exploring every cross road we faced. We started cooking up our own stories about Tippu to make the climb entertaining. Every building, fortification, garrison we encountered we would extend the story. We did find some deeper routes this time and overall it was damn fun walk to the top.
TIME: 10:00

Even though it was a Saturday, we had the entire place to ourselves and the gamble had paid off. The beautiful town of Rayakottai could be seen completely from the top. And I crashed down for short 15min nap. Eating some chocolates and having some water, we decided to head back as we had another place to cover for the day.
TIME: 10:30

We took about 30mins to descend this fort hill as we stopped only once in between. With the sun up and shining bright, we could feel our energies being sapped out. But we descended at a decent pace to reach the base. We had some water and then hopping onto our bikes we took off from Rayakottai.
TIME: 11:00

RIDE 2: (Rayakottai – Bettamugililam - Denkankottai – Attibele - Bangalore )
Okay as we left Rayakottai, it was peaceful scenes. Greenery all around, mountains afar, good empty roads, we were like, okay nice cruise to Bettamugililam then. The roads leading us turned into steep ascent and we enjoyed riding the mountain cautiously. Asking the locals for directions regularly we were zooming ahead until we found the road ahead and didn’t know how to proceed. We waited for locals to arrive and when we asked them for directions he pointed towards the mountain (to which by the way, no road was there) and said we had to head in that direction. We looked at each other and from here on it was some kick-ass off road riding.


I mean it started off on decent muddy terrain, before you know were riding on loose gravels and fingers began to pain holding onto the clutch. Riding at not more than 20kmph we reached somewhat patchy terrain where atleast we could pull our bikes over for some rest. 
Continuing further we reached Bettamugililam.
TIME: 12:30

Well, the dip in temperature was quite welcoming. We could feel the cold breeze gushing around us and riding was becoming pleasant by the minute. But once we entered the forest zone we were shocked. Almost all trees had turned into ashes and returned to ground. The sight was quite shocking, the living bamboo trees had died and I learnt from others that it would take atleast 3years for it re-grow. But yet the place had its vibes and the roads were not disappointing at all. Cruising at a decent pace we made it out of Bettamugilliam and continued to Denkankottai. After crossing Dennaikotai we pulled over at a hotel for some yummy lunch – yes omlets!
TIME: 14:00

After a beautiful lunch we got onto our bikes quite drowsily and pushed further. We took the attibele route and directly reached Vinay & Tonse’s place. After which Rama & me proceeded and reached our respective places in one piece.
This ride reminded me of all the other trips pulled on this route - Panchapalli dam, Hogenekkal Waterfalls, Yercaud. So you can easily combine either one of these with Rayakottai if you wish to, Cheers!!
TIME: 16:30

This I must say was the perfect gamble. Had we just rode to bettamugililam it would have been disappointing. Last minute change in plan worked to perfection. And the ride from Rayakottai to Bettamugililam is something I will never forget, crazy piece!”
Until next time, Cia \m/