December , that time of the year when the intensity of work dies a bit thanks to long holidays . We the #NightRiders planned a ride into wilderness away from madness of city for a brief time though!
Destination this time around was K Gudi (Kyathadevara Gudi) which is located inside Biligiri Rangana Wildlife sanctury… in Chamarajnagar district. We planned to ride via kanakpura SH 209 which winds its way across towns and villages along Cauvery delta .A dream route for any rider, as it tests the skills of handling the winding roads, unpredictable traffic and innumerable speed breakerson 2 lane highway , thankfully it has tree cover on both sides of road.
We assembled at silk board Junction at 6.30AM and after standard gulping of local tea we zoomed our way out of city via Nice ring road . Roads were empty in early hours providing that much ease for us to wind through at a constant pace. Small towns and villages seem to have plan in place in terms of water bodies that support irrigation support to agricultural lands. Tank bunds and lakes were common sight and each one brimming to full capacity (a positive indicator to rural economy as it revolves around agriculture). Farmers resort to flash strikes when they block the highways … to get the authorities attention to their plight. As travellers when we get held up , we are more worried of destination than acknowledging the plight of farming community….. thats how much we are distanced from reality thanks to our city life.
Our first pit stop was for Breakfast at Kanakpura (the only prominent town with limited choice of hotels in this route). Belted pipping hot idli’s and Dosa’s topped up with hot coffee/Tea. Of the 6 riders, Kavi had planned to give us company till breakfast point. Rest of us continued our journey to BR Hills via malavali where you almost ride a distance along banks of river Cauvery before crossing it heading to kollegal. Having crossed the river many times at diff seasons… It’s sight to behold the river in full flow during monsoons (June-Sept).
We relied more on Indian GPS and best part was each rider stopped and inquired on route ahead at Kollegal.. Due to traffic , group broke up and later we assembled at Diversion and as per sign board indication to BR Hills. Arvind missed the sign board and he had passed a few miles .we informed him of next meeting point (BR Hills Check post). During this intermittent period , we refreshed ourselves with tender coconut!!! Everything tastes awesome away from city and cheaper too!!! . Cursing Arvind who missed the deviation , as we chugged along roads got narrower winding through hamlets … at times roads were so narrow we were literally riding into houses which were bang on the road.Onlookers gave that puzzling look , we assumed they were at awe of the bikes. Later on , the more we throttled through Corn Fields we realized we should have continued on the highway!!! But this realization came too late . We were waiting at intersection in village assuming, Arvind would join us … in the meanwhile Arun indulged in game of Spinning Tops with local lads. As time passed by and no sign of Arvind, we checked with locals who informed us that we would hit the highway in a few kms leading to BR Hills Checkpost.
Indeed Arvind was waiting for us at check post. Ride to Homestay from this point was exciting as we entered the sanctuary. There was Signboards instructing us to drive slow , over and above that knowing how much public follows rules , road was peppered with Speed breakers.Champakaranya Home Stay was amidst coffee plantations with 2 bedroom accommodation cottages and tents. We opted for tents cocooned amidst plantations. We had covered 170kms in 5 hours .
Perfect setting to unwind …. We settled down and planned activity for afternoon. Home stay manager recommended us to go for Jungle Safari , which was 15kms from our location. So after hearty lunch made of fresh vegetables ( very rare in our daily lives) we took off to BRT wildlife sanctuary . We were warned of possible elephant crossings enroute..that added to excitement.We did not spot a single soul apart from few cars which whizzed past.Mind raced ahead of time , wondering how we would ride back in the evening !!!
BRT Wildlife sanctuary is protected reserve situated at confluence of eastern and western ghats. Home to large variety of flora – majorly covered by dry broadleaf and deciduous forests and fauna .mammals include barking deer, sambar deer , antelopes . Sanctuary boasts of healthy tiger count. Recently the Govt declared it as tiger reserves. Soliga sect tribes reside in buffer zones around sanctury.
We had to wait for almost a hour before our turn to spot the wild animals courtesy Junglesafari. Folks killed time clicking Kodak moments .
It wasn’t our day I guess … Forget leopards or tigers we didn’t spot an Elephant and they are supposed to be most densely populated in this sanctuary. Deers aplenty indicates lack of carnivores 🙂 . Apart from body massage thanks to swaying and jostling in jeep we were disappointed. It was almost 5.30pm and with light fading we lost no time in starting back to home stay . None of us opened our mouth until we came out of forest area. Spotted fresh elephant excreta enroute , raising our pulses!!
Back in safety of our tents , we grooved into the night listening to musical compositions of Illayaraja- welcome change from blaring english numbers .
Monday blues kick starts from Sunday morning… And it’s only factor that forces u off the bed , esp in such serene surroundings. By the time we Folks geared up post breakfast it was 11.30am.
Other place of interest is Bili Ranganathaswamy temple located at edge of cliff overlooking sanctuary. Home stay also arrange nature treks into wild reserve.
We bid adieu to Mother Nature for our ride back to daily madness of city life. Amazing Hospitality and yumm food @ homestay which is highly recommended. To avoid village stretch we headed to kollegal via Gumbali. Post kollegal route was overlap of onward hence a a tad boring , Observation power dwindles and only thing that excites you is food. We stopped for lunch at kanakpura.We reached Bangalore by 5Pm and for folks like me (staying in north/ east part of city ),it was another hour of ride through the ever bustling traffic. A satisfied feeling while sharing the experiences of trip over a cup of tea with my better half.
Always thankful to almighty for bringing us back to our homes safely after every ride.
L to R : Arvind, KK, Shaji, Arun, SV
Route Map: https://goo.gl/maps/Jthb2YxsWX32