Tuesday, December 30, 2008

BR Hills & KRS Dam Backyard


Was not really in a party mood though I had 4 days holiday. But wanted a day's ride anyway. Wasted two days a rest due to hurting back. Damn that bowling machine at forum mall. Friday evening felt fit enough, with no other place coming to my mind thought of a ride through BR Hills and check out the KRS dam from the other side, where PraveenS had gone some time back.

Woke up at 5 am, and got ready lazily was out by 6. Hit the Mysore road and boy was it chilly. My hands in my not so thick gloves were freezing. Was unprepared for that cold temperature. Any way sun will bring out the warmth soon. Could not ride fast because of the cold and kept speed just around 100. Reached Shivalli MTR by seven for break fast and nothing like a hot cup of coffee in the winter morning, well at the CCD next door. Back on the road turned left at Maddur towards kollegal. Now on it’s a mix of good and bad roads and hope my back is fit enough to take it. Was becoming a nice ride through the country side. Crossed Malavalli and wondered y din I come through Kanakpura, which would have saved me some time. Anyway there’s lot of time. The unfinished roads/muddy stretches which I had seen last year still there! But thankfully it was over soon. Now thought of exploring few detours if the look interesting. Tried one but it led to a farm house soon. So turned back and had a butt break. Got rid of insulating rain jacket as the sun felt warm enough. Riding solo, have the luxury to stop as many times or as much time as I want. Not much of a speed fest. Guess ZMA relaxes one:) Reach kollegal and ask around for Yelandur. Take a couple of turns to get the right way out of city. Just out of city I see a sign board to BR Hills straight in not so good roads and the road going right towards Yelandur! But BR hills is where I want to go so take the small road. This road went through villages. Fields on either side in Golden color ready for harvest and farmers working in full flow gathering the produce. They laid the crops on the road so that passing vehicles would trample them and grains get separated from the straw. Passing through one of the villages, the road took a 90 degree turn. But there was a straight mud road and a prominent board saying Amekere(Tortoise Lake) 10 kms in kannada. Asked a tea shop guy near by about the lake and he was totally discouraging. Saying like "Saar, don’t go there, there is nothing, only mud road, forest and no people" well that only induced curiosity in me and a lil to his amusement I took the mud road and went in search of Amekere. In no time I was out of the village and riding on open space. Seemed strange with not much trees around too. I came across a canal and few more detours from the path. With lot of time thought of checking one of those. picked one at random and after a lil time riding on the undulating terrain I ended up in a dead end which opened up to a field! Actually the mud along a shallow hill was being used up for what ever purpose. Hardly any one around. After a couple of clicks I head back. catch the main path and went towards amekere, all the while getting away from civilization. Opens spaces with trees and mountains visible at a distance. Stop a couple of time to feel the quite openness. After around 5-6 kms came across a lone village house. Asked an young lad about the lake to which he confidently said 4kms ahead. Well ok and I ride ahead. Just after that there was godown kinda building to the left and almost immediately the path turned into a narrow gravel strewn rock path! And was now going along a small dried up canal. After a km or so found grass on the path with mud visible only on the tire tracks! and bushes around getting taller and the ambiance getting quieter. I even passed a dried up elephant dung. OK so this is elephant area. Atleast the dung was not fresh. After another KM the track went straight into bushes under trees. Now here I stopped and the whole place felt spooky. It was deafeningly quite and all I could here was the ringing in my ears (thanks to the knock on my head in my crash last month). By now my meter was down and got scared. And hastily turned back. Felt like a defeat but fear was over whelming. When I looked back on the path I came could not believe I rode this interior path for such distance, especially me not being much of an adventurous guy. Started riding back and felt bettor as the things opened up around. Reached the village house and breathed sigh relief. Asked the lad about the path, just then his father came running to me and said "The lad does not know anything, I would not have let u go ahead was I here. Its just a small lake and does not look good also. Its very dangerous ahead with all the animals around. We carry a weapon like this (pointing to a sickle in his hand) when going alone around here. Had and elephant come to you what would you have done?" ! with a gulp in the throat I asked him what other animals are around to which he said elephant, deer and tiger! Man! The stuff we do in ignorance. But wonder how come the lad who grew up there not aware of this and confidently told me to go ahead. Dunno whom to believe. May be the old guy 'PutBannapa' wanted to discourage outsiders. Never know. Any was they guided me to a short cut to reach the main road for which I had to ride along the canal which I had crossed earlier. This was a mud road as well and went on like for few kms before hitting the main road.

Now back on track I enter the BR hills forest reserve. Nice smooth narrow roads. Now I putter along slowly enjoying the ride. On a turn I saw a trail going into the forest guarded be two forest guards. Madhanna and Jhadaiyya wont let me pass through. Or even if allowed I doubt weather I would have gone in alone. Chat with them for some time, it seems they guard the post day and night taking turns and always carry a weapon with them. A rifle or a sickle to defend themselves from wild animals. Take a couple of poser pix with Jhadiyya's rifle. Ok ok it was not loaded :). Rode through and started the climb for BR hills temple. Went all the way but too many vehicles and I was in no mood to walk up. came back down a bit to a view point, where I could see the mountain range and forest. The suns up in full glory but not really hot in winter. Blinding the eye though. I don’t wear the goggles so that I can look at the colors naturally. Ride back a bit and take right towards K'Gudi. This goes into deeper forest and bushes right by the side of the road. At one point I saw a couple of dogs. But looked strangely Red. Wait min they must be foxes! Boy I have wild sighting. I pull out my cam in a hurry and they scampered away into the bushes just after focus and before click!. Prolly they got scared looking the pilot lights that were on my bike. I walked up a bit with the cam to see if they were around but they had vanished. Later I was enlightened by Arun that they were infact Dogs, but wild dogs 'Dhole'. These dogs roam in big packs or 30-40 and are quite some killers! It was all quite and i ride along slowly under the canopy. stop many times and kill the engine to feel the forest ambiance. This was my first solo ride in which I was not in a hurry and I stopped at will as much as I wanted keeping my own pace. That’s the advantage of solo riding. But had no company when I stopped. After some blissful riding reach the JLR. This JLR has quite a number of wild animal sightings on the safaris they conduct. I went near a tamed elephant and spent some time. Was already 2 O clock and din realize how time flew. Now I think I may short of time to get to KRS water side. Kinda still got three hours. Ride away from the resort stopping in between for pix. The road gets bad and bumpy. Guess the other side was good for the sake of the resort. Them I came up on a place where the either side of the road opened up. The grass on both the sides dry in golden color and the trees green. Was an amazing place. Spent some quite time there and took a few self photos with timer. But gotta move on. I was hungry by now. reached chamaraja nagar by 3.15. Called up PraveenS to ask directions for the KRS water back yard which he had visited some time back. After a lazy lunch started by 4.

Man now I gotta hurry. Wanted to get some place near water by 5 but looks like I am short of time now. Mysore some 56 kms. Thought I will make it in good time but the road was bit bumpy and my back started hurting a bit and so downed the pace. Numerous irritating road humps. Some how in my random thought I remembered Jim carry and wanted to try out one of his antics. When I saw a villager waiting for a bus, I would leave my handle bar and move my hands forward and backwards as if I was running. LOL. Should have seen the look on their faces, looking at a biker in full gear, goggles running while sitting on the bike:D. Boy did I amuse myself. After Nanjungud it was like mad traffic. Every car, truck, bus and tractor ripping at full capacity! Really wondered y all the easy going touring vehicles have to rip in this narrow 2 lane road!!. Was quite a challenge overtaking vehicles. It was almost 5 by the time I got to Mysore. I have to reach KRS 18 kms and the search for an unknown place all before sundown. Seemed like lost cause now. Just before entering the city saw a sign board for KRS to the left through the ring road. Gladly took and ride throttled to the full. This way avoided getting into the city. Covered some 20 kms in no time. While I was enquiring for KRS and at signal one guy suggested me a short cut instead of following the hoards of vehicles going to KRS. Thanks to him I save some time. Before reaching KRS, fueled up and asked the attendants about a place to go near the waters of KRS dam. It was a like a big conference and they told me about the place called Blue Lagoon, or KRS beach or what ever. But from the directions it was going to the left of the dam where as PraveenS had gone to the right. It was already 5.30 and decided to try out the new directions. Sure enough I found the left towards 'Ulwandi' town. Don’t rmbr the name properly. Asked one guy in the town and he showed me the way asked y would u go in this time?!! Now what was that? Any way after the town sure enough there was a mud road to the right. Took it and I could see faint glimpses of water and KRS Dam. After a couple of kms seemed to be going away and a final curve towards water. The sun was still holding up for me and I finally see the approach for the water. Just than an old man stopped me and demanded 50bux saying that I am entering his property! Paid him up and offroading to the water. Now this is right opposite shore to where PraveenS had gone. Here I am facing the dam from the other side and sun behind me. So can’t exactly see the sunset on the water from here but still an awesome place. The whole place just for me and guess there are thousands of ppl on the other side of the KRS dam. Managed to get there just in time and pull out my cam for some pix. It was amazing place with water on three sides and a dam wall on the other side of water, sunset colors. Could see the island named Blue Lagoon to which I could have gone had I come earlier. Any way this is great time out as well. The sun went down and lights started appearing on the dam wall. It was getting dark and not a soul in sight. Was almost dark before I pushed myself out of that place. Now wanted to get out of the unfamiliar territory in a hurry. But not before stopping in between for pic of the dam wall with lights. All the while I was here voices of an old couple bickering from a near by farm house. Move ahead through dark empty roads towards the main road.

Get back to the main road, and it’s the traffic jam time with hundreds of vehicles approaching KRS. I just about squeezed through from the left side through the bushes and sand. The opposing vehicles had occupied the entire left lane and I just about managed to paddle away. One of the qualis guy asked me what was the jam for? I got irritated and said it was cos of ppl like you who occupy the wrong lane that the jam started. He asked me again and I same the same again. Stupid fellow. As I get away the vehicle to the right are in stand still and hundreds of more vehicles approaching unrelentingly. Boy are they going to stay on the road for quite some time :D Damn Mandya district traffic management all they have to do is put a divider on the road! Any way took a deviation to Sringapatna instead of going to Mysore. It’s getting colder now. Reaching the 4 laner to Bangalore I stop to wear the extra jacket and now its rip time overtaking the vehicles. Lot of traffic on the highway. But its fun zipping through them. At on one particular tight right hand curve I was zipping between vehicles and after the curve saw the speedo to be at 95!. The new bike zma is amazing. Stop for coffee and sandwich at CCD and it’s a fun ride till Bangalore.

Reach home by 10 PM with 465 kms on the trip meter. This ride back from Mysore was unusually awesome and that’s when I realized that it was the first time on the zma. overtaking is just a breeze. All in all a nice day out.