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Plans fail sometimes – please don’t ask why?. When we planned for a team outing!!
After a long discussion, members decided on some great spots Wonderla, Snow city, Coorg, Ooty, Munnar, Mysore etc. These are the sightseeing places in and around Bangalore. Looking at other teams, we always felt we were caged “oh what animal do I look like”. Unfortunately, I was sick the day when this world summit took place. Friday morning I received a text message from my colleague “Hey we are going to Chikmaglur, Is that OK with you??” and “Yes I am in”.
After all the pleading and requesting, this is how we began our short OD (one day) trip to Chikmaglur, a small district in Karnataka, where you find every house with a coffee estate, families owning a big resort on top of the hills.
Yeah!! Lemons were crushed under the tires at 12 ‘o clock on Friday night, we were late because our manager was refusing to join us though he was very much interested. We picked him up from his home and tracked on the NH48, as we had to reach Hassan at 3.00 AM, where we were supposed to pick another ex-colleague.
Travel Distance – The distance from Bangalore to Chikmaglur is 250km – you can travel by local transport, private Tempo Traveler (TT), or by car and also by flight to Mangalore then by bus or hire a cab. Heading towards Hassan and then a deviation from there just 55km away is Chikmaglur.
The “coffee land of Karnataka” also means “younger daughters town” in Kannada. There are stories that this place was bought by a seer named Baba Budan from West Asia whose shrine is located atop the hills. Well, I do not want to start a history feed here.
We reached around 5.30 AM and that guy whom we picked from Hassan did not allow us to sleep whole night, because he kept sharing his stories in the TT. We booked 3 rooms in a hotel named Planters court. Such a nice hotel which charged Rs. 4000 for just 2 hours for using their bathrooms, of course 14 people. Few guys demanded hot shower, so we had to wait for the rusted taps to release hot sprinkles which would only be benefited from 6.30 AM to 7.00 AM (Tourist place always costly). After 7.00 AM, even if you are freezing, you have no option but take a plunge in cold water.
We watched the sun rise – splendid and marvelous scenery. They say a person should take time to watch a sunrise or a sunset once a day. My wish got fulfilled.
We were out-bulged after a wholesome breakfast near the lodge. King like plates filled with delicacies: large Masala dosa, Idli with two wadas, Chikmaglur special bun and famous instant coffee into our bellies. We were stuffed.
Over and out we headed towards Mullayanagiri, a place located 6343sq feet above sea level, the highest peak in Karnataka. It’s one of the best trekking places I have ever seen. In winter, you won’t get to see the place so clear as it is smothered with fog.
One the way, we stopped to take few shots of the gods own nature. Bliss to the souls, embalms you to the evergreen beauty.
Road to Mullayanagiri enthralled us.
Climbing the steps in action.
200 steps in not less than an hour and we made it. There’s a Lord Shiva temple at the top. To beat the scorching heat, you don’t have to cover yourself as the wind blows right thru your hair and it’s chilling under your feet. Lot of Vitamin D, spa like treatment, you may feel the fresh air similar to an ice cube on your face; complete facial. Free from the daily trifles, I felt too good while climbing.
Ah! I looked back to see how many steps I was above. I defeated all of them and stood first as my lean structure was of good help. My fellow mates were still climbing.
A view from the bull temple.
The final destination of Mullayanagiri range. Victory. At last, touched the honorable flag post. On clear days, Arabian Sea is visible from this point. I could not make out anything as everything looked blue.
Next stop was at a small Parvati temple nearby, I found a colorful wooden chariot inside a shed. I don’t know where on earth this gets pulled, but believe me, a fare takes place every year, to mark a feast of Baba Budan and thousands of devotees visit this temple.
We were almost squashed as we had to trek and find paths to reach the main temple at Bababudangiri. We were screaming (Jawano aage bado, badate raho) – keep walking keep searching and could hear the echoes. Hungry and hail looking out for hotel detail..:(. I caught sight of a local kirani (grocery) shop to chill my throat with butter milk and curb my hunger with a packet of Lays.
This place is visited by both Hindus and Muslims. Worshipers believe if you search Baba, you are enlightened. Baba meditated 150 years ago and people say he is still alive. Rest is history.
We didn’t find a proper restaurant and decided to travel another 15 miles to Hebbay falls and take a dip, dance under the waterfall and hog somewhere around. Poor we, as usual. On the way, it was full of mystery to wonderland (The Road to El Dorado types). Oops, if you find a way you will return else you have to stay in the jungle. Ultimate mud roads, breathe taking turns, pelting stones and poking shrubs. I was chanting Hare Rama Hare Krishna. If the tire skids you never know, we would take a free ticket and our whole team would have washed out. Thank god nothing of that sort happened. Mid way we met few people, who told us that road to the waterfalls was under construction and you would not reach there. We drove ahead and asked another man coming in the opposite direction, he just stared like a south Indian film villain and walked off. We chuckled. We drove further and met a man cycling back when stopped and questioned he waved his hands and went off. Now, this was like all gazes and stares to each other. A suspense thriller, yet we drove and this time, a Skoda car coming back. We did not stop them, they passed us and said “All the best”. Come on now this was 90’s mystery where one stares, one says no (illa illa) and another, all the best. We were curious and I remembered CID, ACP Pradhyumna speaking “ye raasta kahan ja raha hai Daya, zara dekho to sahi” and all dare devil movies like purani haveli, gumnam raasta with some background score from the movie “Satte Pe Satta”. What was it that made this place so interesting we wanted to find?
Yahoo! We got the check post and then got the most wanted answer from the guard who said” You are on the right track, but the bus would not reach there, the roads are closed and you will have to walk 5miles. You have traversed 6km now”. Ahey!! Who is going to walk so long, looking at the capacity of the people, we would reach the next day, all were tired and more over hungry. So, we took a diversion to Kemmangundi and drove another 11km.
Kemmanagundi, a place similar to others, you find Ghats section, roads in a zigzag manner. A rock garden hardly found any rocks, but got to see some hybrid Roses, Gerbera and wild flowers.
Surprisingly, discovered a resort cum restaurant, built well at an international locale, a board pointed “Vegetarian” hotel. Wow! We were hungry, if served we would have attacked like an alien.
We made nice plans while stepping inside; order Gobi Manchuri, Fried Rice, Dal Roti with fresh Lime juice. Lip smacking dishes right?? . Unlike other hotels, it was a ramshackle; don’t know when it would tumble down. It looked beautiful outside. On top of the hotel, few families were waiting to be served along with 8 boney stray dogs, barking aloud, with cataract eyes, panting to eat, as if last when they ate was blue moon day. Excuse-me, I wanted to run away.
Two of my team mates left the place searching for another hotel nearby, by chance they find we would eat some better food. They came back saying “there is another Non-Vega hotel behind this place”. Everybody ran towards this hotel, I being a vegetarian had no option but to go stay here. One guy stood up like a Spartan and said” you all wait here; I will go there and check out if there is a menu card”. HAHAHA. He returned saying” The non-vegan pointer points to the same hotel where we initially stood waiting for vegan food.
No other goes but took a U-turn to the vegan hotel. This time few tourists joined us and we lost our tables. One of our members asked the waiter “What’s the menu?” The waiter replied”Nothing” (Enu illa). We drove so far from the city just to hear nothing (bhai kuch to hoga?). Everyone’s faces were pale and now an additional tension “BATHROOM”. Mind it, men are very lucky in this case, they can go anywhere in the bushes and lighten their loads. We ladies have to look for closed and clean washrooms.
Mind-blowing, to use bushes also you have to pay and use.
The ladies would have suffered nervous breakdown if we would not request the owner to allow us use one of their washrooms.
Slurp, the food was here after a long wait, we were served the one and only dish “puri bhaji”. The puri’s were dipped in oil and the bhaji or sabji was absolutely delicious, fabulous, may be the chef forgot to add some masala, salt and little chili powder. I realized when I was in my hometown, I used to make faces for the food my mum made, and would not eat what she prepared by her lovely hands. I felt it was karma that was struck on me that I had to eat this food in the hotel. Few mates refused to eat. But, I decided I will hog. While eating, that guy from Hassan shared awesome stories from his past trips. He was a complete entertainment package with his broken Hindi and Kannada accent. He narrated a cock and bull story to the waiter and nicely relished a plate of fried rice, stating he suffered from jaundice. He made the rest of us laugh and forget what dish we were munching on. Tourists sitting beside were giggling and watching him enact. He took care of the hungry dogs with a packet of Parle-G biscuits throwing one at a time and see them fight over it.
Where’s the wash basin?? We washed our hands from a pipe.
Unhappy, we could not make it to the falls, it was getting dark and we had to leave the place before sun sets else it’s dangerous to drive on the narrow roads. At 4PM we left the place. I spotted many photographers with tripod near the sunset point. They must have taken terrific shots.
We stopped at a dhaba named Giri for a quick break. It was 7PM now. As I got down from the bus, I saw one of my team mate already puking and made me feel to be the next one.
The Giri fellow asked us to join a camp fire especially conducted for tourists coming to this place. Yes, it would be private he said. To compensate the Hebbey falls, we gave in and pushed ourselves inside the resort.
Albeit men did not find their best friends (gum ka saathi rum), they danced. We ladies just watched them groove on the tunes of gangnam style.
Balle Balle till 9.30PM and again hogged the mouth-watering buffet. Soup, Jeera rice, Roti, Aloo sabji (Potato vegetable), Bhendi fry (fried Lady’s finger), Pickle, Poppadom. Whoa! I was happy, I ate a good meal now and I dint have to starve more and look half dead. We winded at 10PM. 10 minutes later, I felt the stir in my stomach and I made a quirk sound. (Bus roko) someone shouted and the TT halted. I immediately got down from the bus and ran straight towards the bush. HAH-AHA I puked. The Bhendi fry fried me off in my tummy. If given a chance I would teach them how to improve their culinary skills. I wanted to reach home and just go to sleep.
Indeed, had a fantastic, refreshing day in Chikamaglur. This trip made me and others relax and enjoy the natural beauty and inhale some fresh air.
After reading this if you are planning to visit the place, the ideal time is either summer or winter. Please carry some food along with you. Now I see why those three men on the way behaved extraordinary. If we would have payed attention to their signs may be we would not have seen such a beautiful resort and have some lovely food. The next day I got my RSS feed updated, few others too stopped the bus in between to let out vigorous acid from their stomach. I was not the only one. HEEHAW.
It’s okay. I am desperately waiting for our next trip, more adventurous than this hopefully.
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