Saturday, February 17, 2018

Bicycle Tour: Hubli to Karwar through Kaiga – Kadra

Just imagine the situation!!!! After riding a tough trail, around 50 KMs. Destination point is just half of the way. Suddenly you come across a situation, where you asked to go back and take a different trail for security reasons!!! What will be the mindset!!!! Of course, it was impossible to ride back tough ascending trail and reach by 5 pm to catch the bus back to Bengaluru.

Great escape from this situation. After requesting a lot, making them to understand our scenario, finally great soul allowed us to ride through the prohibited trail of Kaiga - Kadra to reach Karwar.

We know that, summer season is not so easy to peddle in any of the trail. But we wanted to do some cycling journey. Finally decided a tour from Hubli [Hubballi] to Karwar through Yellapur – Kadra – Kaiga. Team size become five, after couple of drop outs. Four persons (Myself, Santosh, Ashok, Adarsh) from Bengaluru and Lokesh from Mysuru.

Till today, I have done all tours by BUS to reach the beginning point of the ride. This time, for a change, wanted to experience by train till Hubli. The suggestion is come up from a friend Lokesh, Mysuru.

Route chosen:

Bengaluru – Hubli [Hubballi] by Rani Chennamma Express Train on 16.02.18

Hubli – Kalghatgi – Yellapur – Magod Falls [Night Camping at Magod Falls Nature Camp on 17.02.18]

Magod Falls – Idgundi – Kaiga – Kadra – Karwar on 18.02.18

Karwar – Bengaluru by Volvo Bus back on 19.02.18


Maiden cycling journey through Indian Railways. I was totally blank about the process. Thank you so much to Md. Rafi for guiding me through process.

Bengaluru Railway Luggage centre is backside of the ticket counter. It is easy to reach from Shanthala Silk (Goods shed road). The luggage centre Business Hours is between 05:30 to 20:00. We should be well in advance to avoid any issues. 
Bengaluru Railway Station Luggage Counter
We all assembled at luggage centre by 6.15 pm. There is a evaluator / inspector who validate the goods. After verification, we have to fill the prescribed Form. It is basic data of train details, person details, item description, quantity etc. After verification, the personnel will mention the cost. You have to reach the payment counter with your journey ticket, ID proof Xerox copy. Pay the fees and leave for the place.

Initially we struggled little to complete the process. After handing over the bikes, we came out in search of hotel for dinner. It was dinner time, found a small pity Rajasthani Hotel. Food was good, finished the dinner and back to luggage counter. To avoid any hike-up, requested the luggage personnel to carry ourselves bikes till the bogie. Bikes are boarded, train was ready, our journey is begun.
Selfy at Bengaluru Railway Station

We reached Hubli early morning at 5.30 am. Finished morning core job in the Railway station. Lokesh is about to join with us, who is traveling from Mysuru by different train. When we called him, train was delayed by another one hour. We thought to proceed out of city and wait.
Hubli Railway Station
Hubli is popular for snacks and delicious food. Decided to finish the breakfast in the city. Found descent small hotel for our perfect break. Filled yummy breakfast of Kesaribath, Upama, Avalakki, Idli, Vade, Coffee / Tea.

Breakfast at Hubballi
After breakfast continued our journey. The city was slowly pacing for the day. Mobile click of Rani Chennamma Circle for memory. 
Rani Chennamma Circle - Hubballi
Soon Lokesh joined us, out skirt of the city. Morning ride is pleasant always. Rolling terrain, taking multiple breaks, continued our journey.

Rolling Trail
The sun was started itching very badly. Body was getting dehydration soon. Found sugarcane juice cart, gave a pit stop to enjoy.

Relax for Sugarcane Juice at Kalghatgi
The trail become so tough. Rolling terrain was feeling tough since the hot summer. Taking multiple breaks, reached Yellapur.

Relax in the afternoon
We were hungry very badly; local people referred the descent Khanavali. The Hotel was crowded, waited for sometimes, finally occupied the seat. Yummy Uttara Karnataka [North Karnataka] food filled our stomach.

Yummy Uttara Karnataka Lunch
Lokesh gave us surprise here!!!! As per Initial plan, decided to explore the Sathodi Falls and camp somewhere in remote village Temple or Govt School. Lokesh expressed his thought to camp at Magod Falls which is totally opposite direction of our 2nd day ride. However, he said about pre-booking which he done with his known contacts. We all accepted his proposal based on the condition of wild camping; he agreed.

We all very thankful to Lokesh for his effort to book the Nature Camp. Called the camp authorities to take confirmation about availability of dinner. The personnel said to carry the food since there is no option to cook for small team. Unfortunately, we couldn’t able to get the Roti in Khanavali, but got the dry Roti, curd and Chatney Powder. Something is better than nothing, got the parcel and continued our journey.

Magod Falls Cross
The dream trail around 15 KMs start from the deviation of the highway which take us towards Magod Falls. This is very similar to our last Sirsi ride of Unchalli Falls. Rolling terrain, birds whispering, lonely forest road, complete shaded path, gives you more joy.

On the way to Magod
Rolling killer terrain exhausted our strength, but it is worthier. Taking multiple small breaks, finally reached the Magod Falls Nature Camp.

Magod Falls Nature Camp
Nature Camp is at perfect place; surrounded by dense forest and very close to falls. Everyone has to cross the camping gate to watch the falls. There is an entry ticket for visitors.

Falls View Point
We finished the check-in formalities. I believe, Lokesh had very good relationship with Forest Officer, we had a special treatment by personnel. Dumped our luggage in dormitory, parked our bikes inside the compound.

Magod Falls - Dry
Got refreshed our tiered souls, explored the falls location. Water level was very less; the valley is very scary. I was imagining how it could be in the peak monsoon. Decided to visit this beautiful waterfall in monsoon.

Beautiful Valley
Lazy relaxed moments enjoyed surrounding area. We had very fun-filled photography moments with beautiful sunset. 

Relax at Sunset Point
The area was turning into dark, moved towards our dormitory.

Beautiful Sunset
The good soul HK Gowda, in-charge of camp served us hot tea. Ashok gave suggestion to get some grocery items from Forest Guard and prepare Tomato curry. 

Dinner Preparation
Certainly, we were hungry, wanted some curry to eat with dry Roti. We asked the Gowda, happily handed over his entire kitchen. 

Cooking - Tomato Curry
Team is engaged in preparation of dinner. We took almost half an hour to finish it. Now the time to fill our stomach. Prepared yummy Tomato curry and finished the dinner. 

Delicious Dinner with different varieties
It's time to retire for the day. The dormitory was more spacious for us. Retired for the day.

Day - 1 Camping at Nature Camp
Highlights – Day 1
Day, one come to an end, we peddled around 91 KMs. Yes, most of the trail was Hubli – Yellapur highway but still we enjoyed it.
Route taken Hubli – Yellapur – Magod Falls

Second day was more challenging in terms of trail, timings, permission and team members. Lokesh was booked the return ticket from Yellapur. He wanted to explore around Yellapur and board the bus. We finished morning core jobs had hot tea.

Morning hot tea
I can say, morning ride in the dense forest of Magod – Yellapur cross is awesome. Journey is continued.

Forest Trail
It was almost up trail but cool weather made us easy to peddle. Taking small breaks for photography, reached the highway deviation very soon. Santosh saved a snake which was injured and lying on the road.

Highway Journey
The traffic was much on the road, luckily, we need to peddle very short distance on this highway. Rolling down trail, soon reached the Idugundi. It was the last big village till the Kadra where we can find the shops. The time was to fill the breakfast. Found descent pity Hotel, had hot Puri, Dose.

Breakfast at Idugundi
Took the deviation at Idugundi towards Kaiga – Kadra road. You can feel forest trail ride is really beautiful. The traffic was nothing except the local two wheeler. Today’s our target is to peddle 110 KMs. The day was very tough.

Caring & Sharing
Road is gradually getting lonely, traffic was almost nil. Enjoying the forest rolling trail continued our journey.

This is the interesting point in our tour. It was almost 1 O’clock; we came across the Police Check-post before Kaiga plant which is around 10 KMs away. 

Police Checkpost - Before Kaiga - Kadra trail
Police stopped us; asked us to go back in the same trail to reach Karwar. He briefed about sensitive of this trail which is prohibited for public; allowed only the Kaiga and local villagers. It was impossible to peddle back 30 KMs steep ascend trail which connect the Yellapur – Karwar highway. Our return bus scheduled at 5.30 pm.

We requested a lot to permit us to pass though and reach Kadra. Also made him to sympathize our return journey bus timing. At last we got a hope; he agreed to allow us with on conditional basis. He instructed us not to stop anywhere in the mid; not to take any photograph; also deployed escort till crossing the next check-post.

Our face blown happily, thanked the Police personnel and continued our journey. Indeed, the trail is complete dense forest with narrow road. One side scary valley and another side the hill. Sun rays struggling to reach the ground. Enjoyed the curve trail.

Thanked the escort personnel for accompanying us to cross the prohibited area. Please don’t plan this trail until – unless you have some good contacts.

Ashok and Adarsh had some issue in their health and bike. They decided to stop the peddle and take some help to reach Karwar. The hot sun was itching so badly, it was not so easy to peddle in this hot weather. We gave both of them green signal to manage logistic and safely reach the Karwar bus stand by 5 pm.

I and Santosh decided to peddle fast and finish the tour in-time. We increased our pace, very soon reached the Kaiga township.

Stomach was badly needed to fill the lunch. It was almost 2.30 pm, found descent hotel, finished the lunch, relaxed for sometimes.

Lunch Point
The distance of Karwar is another 40+ KMs, we had roughly 2 – 2 ½ hours; decided not to take any break; journey is continued. Sun was already opposite to us; rolling terrain was not so easy; taking very small breaks reached the Karwar town by 5 pm.

On the way to Karwar
Santosh was much faster than me, however I followed him. We had another 40 minutes to get refreshed. By the time Ashok & Adarsh were also reached Karwar taking the local bus. Got refreshed in the Karwar bus stop and boarded the bus at 5.50 pm.

We all felt very happy to finish the trail. It will be remembered for a long time. Very thankful to Police personnel who allowed us to travel in the prohibited trail. Please plan this trail if you are really having some good contact in Kaiga – Kadra range.

Highlights of Day 2
The day was very tiered and long one. peddled around 110 KMs
Very dense forest between Kaiga – Kadra range

Day - 1 Trail: From Hubli to Magod Falls

Day - 2 Trail: From Magod Falls to Karwar

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Day 4: Biking round trip to Pollachi - Valparai – Atirapally – Ooty – Bandipura – BR Hills – Bengaluru

Chilled morning woke up early. Finished the packing and decided to leave the YHAI Hostel at the earliest. We decided to take trail through Bandipura – BR Hills – Kollegala & Kanakapura. Indeed, the day will be long ride, we worried about the horrible traffic.

Finished the checkout process and had hot tea nearby hostel. Ooty is about woke-up relaxed Sunday morning, we exit through Kallaty hairpin bend curve trail. On the we had some photography.

The traffic was high, driving on signal road was bit tough, soon we crossed the Masinagudi and entered Madumalai Tiger Reserve forest.

Trail is not new to us, many times we had been this place during CATT event. Again, we were not unlucky, not even single wild animal sighted.

Decided to take a breakfast at Bandipura canteen. Always a good stop to have breakfast at this place. Finished our breakfast with yummy food, continued our journey towards Biligiri Rangana Betta [BR Hills]. Trail is known to us, two years back we had been this wonderful trail.

In search of Big Cat (Tiger) in the BR Hills Tiger Reservice forest continued our journey. I love this trail since the traffic is NIL. Very rarely ply the vehicles in this route. Un-luck followed us, reached the Kyata Gudi [K Gudi].

Needed some relax moments at this wonderful nature. We recalled our previous Hero Honda Splendor BR Hills ride.

Journey is continued towards Bengaluru. The sun was itching badly, humidity increased more. Taking couple of short breaks hit the Kanakapura busy road. It was like racing road, vehicles density increased. 

Our pilots were riding like a race, reached Namma Bengaluru around 5 pm. Adieu Santosh at NICE road to meet sometime again.

Memorable four days long journey of biking ended with golden memories.

Highlights – Day 4
Distance Covered: 310 KMs
Places Covered: Kallaty Hairpin Bend Curve, Madumalai Tiger Reserve Forest, Bandipura, BR Hills

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Day 3: Biking round trip to Pollachi - Valparai – Atirapally – Ooty – Bandipura – BR Hills – Bengaluru

The morning was very pleasant; mist was covered the valley, chilled weather made us to stay back little more time. We wanted to leave early and check the luck to see the wildlife. Forest range is just 5 KMs away from our stay. We come to know that, forest check-post keep open between 6 am to 6 pm.

Intentionally delayed to get sky bright, finished morning hot tea nearby hotel and continued our journey towards Athirapally falls. 

After couple of miles, we stopped by forest official at check-post. Finished the formalities of entry; they give us a pass which mentioned the entry time and exit timelines of two hours.

Our journey continued in the dense forest. The roads are lonely except bird whisper; every 10 meters elephant dung across the journey; beautiful valley glance view in between; there was countless photography all the way. 

Believe me, you won’t get any civilization evidence almost 30+ KMs. It is heaven for nature and wildlife lovers.

We reached the Thottapura view point of Sholayar reservoir. Again, we disappointed for not sighting any wild animals, it’s all depends on luck. Spending some good time, we realized, running short of time to cross the forest trail within stipulated two hours’ time bond.

Not stopping anywhere, reached the check-post. The trail gives you thrilling adventurous journey. Handed over the entry pass to forest officials, the journey is continued towards Athirapally Falls.

Reached the entrance gate around 9.30 am. The place was more crowded; ticket counter kept very far from the entrance, paid Rs.30/- entry fees. Had light breakfast near the gate before venturing the waterfalls.

Since long weekend, the place was more crowded. Water level in the falls is less, however it will not disappoint you to get a glorious glance of the falls. Spent sometimes and continued our journey towards Palakkad.

We were on-time as per our schedule; reached soon Chalakudy. Filled the petrol our bikes; stopped couple of minutes to discuss about further journey. Unanimously decided to take a deviation towards Ooty and stay for the third day.

Soon we hit the busy National Highway of Trivendrum – Salem. Traffic was too much; humidity was increasing gradually; stomach was hungry. We skipped morning breakfast and decided to give a stop near Palakkad. We saw A2B sign board about 3 KMs; decided to give a stop. We filled the delicious lunch.

The journey become boring to ride on the National Highway. Again, wanted to take a break, near Coimbatore toll, stopped for sometimes.

Now the Ooty accommodation planning was running in mind. Sudhakar suggested to call YHAI Hostel and enquire about the stay. We had been at Hostel during our Ooty Bike trip. Googled the number, called the person. We were so lucky; accommodation is booked in Hostel.

Taking multiple short breaks, reached the Mettupalyam. The town was more crowded. The Nilgiri hills are visible from the town. Just continued our journey. I think traffic Jam is universal problem, just struck in very bad location. 

Railway crossing, road work, narrow road made huge traffic. It was miles together. Two-wheeler little lucky to make a space and escape from it. By great difficulty, managed to exit from the traffic.

Journey was not so easy after escaping from the Mettupalyam, the Ooty ghat road is more crowded. Adventurous curve road journey was challenging one in the dark. The atmosphere become more chilled. Skilled rider managed to reach Ooty by 7.15 pm.

YHAI staff welcomed us with smile, the guy was same whom I spoke over phone. Finished the check-in formalities and dumped our luggage. Lucky time was with us; entire hostel was empty.

The chilled weather not allowed us to get refresh by cold water; stomach was hungry; casual walk went around Ooty town in search of dinner. Guys did shopping of chocolate and cloths. Finished the dinner and back to Hostel. We were not in mood to sleep early, again played the Card, adieu for the day around 11 pm.

Highlights Day – 3

Rode around 325 KMs

Places Covered: Tea Estates, Vazhachal Wildlife Sanctuary, Thottapura View Point, Sholyar backwater, Athirapally Falls