Saturday, June 17, 2017

Monsoon Cycling in Coorg [Kodagu] - Virajapete to Madikeri


In search of Monsoon went on Bicycle around Coorg [Kodagu], covering Talakaveri, Bhagamandala, Virajapete, Madikeri and a hike to Tadiyandamol [second highest peak of Karnataka] on 17th & 18th June 2017.  Cycling is always thrill and enjoyment especially in Monsoon.  I was eagerly waiting to enjoy this season; my last cycling journey was from Shivamogga to Malpe sometime in February 2017 of this year.  Again, accompanied with me, lovely friends Shanthi Prasad & Sudhakar.  If you read my journey, most of the times they were with me, I am always happy to do more and more with these wonderful guys.

Beautiful Trail on the way to Madikeri
I have chalked down the trail for two days including a Tadiyandamol trek, which is second highest peak in Karnataka.  I had been trekked this place two years back with lovely bunch of friends, however considering the distance in two days, decided to do this wonderful trek.

16.06.17 Night: Bengaluru – Virajapete by Multi-Axle Volvo

17.06.17: Start from Virajapete – Kadanga – Cheyyandane – Nalakhand Palace – Tadiyandamol [Night Halt]

18.06.17: Start from Tadiyandamol – Kakkabbe -  Napoklu – Bhagamandala – Talakaveri – Madikeri

16.06.2017
We booked the Volvo bus which ends at Virajapete to avoid any luggage issues.  The bus was at 11.30 pm from Mysore Road Satellite Bus Stand.  Bus arrived on time, conductor – drivers were very co-operative, boarded our bikes and settled in our seats, journey went well.

Night Journey to Virajapete
17.06.2017
As we expected the bus reached early morning at 4.45 am to Virajapete.  We had enough of time to get refreshed and start our ride.  Finished the morning core job at public toilet at Bus stand, had hot tea & biscuits in a petty shop.  Morning was pleasant atmosphere with cool breeze, understood in the last two days monsoon not showered.

Early Morning at Virajapete
Very soon we crossed the town and hit the Bhagamandala road.  Virajapete town hill was looking so beautiful from far, we stopped a while for morning warm up.  After short exercise to our body, continued our journey.

Outskirt of Virajapete
The trail was rolling and not much difficult, weather was very perfect for cycling.  Not taking risk, asked the localities about availability of breakfast, someone was suggested Kadambi. 

Break for Breakfast
Soon we reached the village, decided to take a break for breakfast.  Tiny village hotel served hot Dose + tea, continued our journey.

On the way to Tadiyandamol
Our target to reach by 11 am max to Thammayya house, which is the base point for Tadiyandamol trek.  We had enough of relax time, now Sudhakar & Shanthi Prasad were in mood to have the Jackfruit

Jack fruit attempt
We found many trees, unfortunately could not able to get a tasty fruit.  But nature had not disappointed us, they found enough of Guava fruits. They were crazy, filled our pocket and backpack.

Unlimited Guava Fruits
We took a deviation towards Nalakhanda Palace road before Kakkabbe.  Passing through coffee estate continued our journey.  Thank you to local people for making us to awareness about herd of wild Elephant movement around this place.  We understood there were 8 elephants & 2 calf.

On the way to Nalakhanda Palace
Nalakhand Palace is on the way to Tadiyandamol peak, decided to explore a while this palace. Guide – cum – Security guard explained about the palace.  Even though it looks very small, however it is very interesting palace.

Nalakhand Palace
Now the most difficult journey started for the day. The trail become so tough, many places we could not able to ride it.
  
Tough Trail
It was not so easy to ride off road with steep trail, we had to stop in many places. Either we stopped for photography or tiredness, reached the Thammayya house.

Sweet Thammayya Home - Night Camping
Smiling face, Thammayya welcomed us, explained about our trek plan and stay at his home.  He is very nice guy who provide a stay and basic tasty food on demand.  Parked our bikes at his home and continued the trekking towards peak.

Beginning of the Trek
The Tadiyandamol is peak around 4 KMs from his house.  Appreciate Forest department for initiating a check-post at base point.  They charging entrance fee Rs.20/- each, I think this is the lowest fees across Karnataka as of now. 

Beautiful Valley
One more interesting and admirable thing is, keeping Rs.50/- each for plastic bottle who carry to trek and amount will be refundable once they bring it back and shown to officials.  I personally recommend not to allow any plastic bottles and other stuffs beyond the check-post point.

Tadiyandamol Valley
Paid the fees and finished the entry permission formalities, continued our trek. The weather slowly turning into rainy, the clouds & mist covering the valley.  Thank you so much to Sudhakar for bringing tasty homemade food for lunch, Chapati, Curd, Chatney, Onion and Pickle. We decided to stop for lunch before rain hit, near big rock [common place of camping for trekker] had yummy lunch.

Yummy Lunch
After a small relax, continued our journey towards peak. The weather was completely turned into mist and rain.
  
Relax Time
The valley was hide and seek in the mist, drizzling added more cool in the atmosphere.  Soon we entered in the forest range from open grassland.  Tadiyandamol trek is 95% in grassland, only at one stretch we pass through forest.

In mid of Forest
How can be a trek without Leech bite, yes, we all had first Leach bite of this monsoon. Hope leeches like my blood more, I am the person got highest bites.  We were about to reach the peak, the rain started pouring heavily, the valley was completely misty.  Taking short breaks at last we conquered the Tadiyandamol peak.

On the Peak
The rain and mist was not shown mercy on us to enjoy the valley, this was my second time upset for not seeing the valley.  The last attempt went vein in misty & rain, this was not so different.  We waited for a while to get a valley vision, but could not. Started descending towards our camping site, rain followed us till the base point.

Relax on peak
We settled our luggage at Thammayya sweet home. We were lucky, only three of us in entire big house. I am in love this place, an old home really gives lot of peace and joy to me.  Tiered bodies wanted hot bath badly. We engaged to light the fire and have a hot bath. Enjoyed entire big HANDE [big pot] of hot water bath.

Hot Water Ready
The day was very relaxed, we did around 30 KMs cycling and 8 KMs trek. Thammayya called us for dinner at 8pm. Hot delicious Anna, Sambar, Happala, Pickle filled our stomach. We can’t gauge their love and affection which shown to us. Thanked them for serving tasty food and retired for the day.

18.06.2017
We all thought, the day will be a long journey. The distance need to cover around 100+ KMs tough trail of Talakaveri and Madikeri. Got up early and finished the morning core job. Now the time adieu to Thammayya family, again thanked him for giving such a wonderful hospitality.

Sweet Thammayya Family
One of my close childhood friend Bandeppa is settled at Napoklu.  Many time I expressed to visit his home while I was trekking in Coorg, unfortunately could not.  Thought, this time I must visit his home since it is on the way to Bhagamandala.  I called him and expressed about my visit with friends, so greeting invited us.

Off Roading
We struggled lot while ascending the Palace to Thammayya house, downhill was also not so easy.  Taken extra precaution while descending towards Palace. Very soon we hit the Bhagamandala road junction, continued our journey towards Napoklu passing through Kakkabbe.

Difficult Stretch
The distance is around 12 KMS from Kakkabbe, my friend was constantly in touch with me to know about our journey. I had been to his home twice before this, so taking assistance reached at 8.30 am. He greeted with smiling face and exchanged the old golden memories.  Breakfast started with sweet KESARIBAATH and finished with hot POORI and Daal. After spending more time, decided to adieu to my friend. Thanked him for inviting us and serving delicious breakfast.

My  Beloved Friend
Our journey was continued towards Bhagamandala. Considering the distance, decided to avoid the unnecessary breaks. The weather was again turned into drizzling. 

On the way to Bhagamandala
 Most of the trail was rolling one, soon reached the Bhagamandala.

The time was around 2.00 pm, Sudhakar bike had some issues and expressed not to take a risk to ride to Talakaveri. I and Shanthi Prasad accepted his request, we both continued our journey towards Talakaveri. Yes, indeed it is continuous steep 8KMs long journey from Bhagamandala, took both as a challenge to ride non-stop.

Bhagamandala Temple
Initial 4KMs journey is manageable, the rest is tough.  Taking small breaks for photography, continued tireless Talakaveri journey. We about to reach the peak, the atmosphere become misty.  

On the way to Talakaveri
Visibility was very poor, we feeling like reaching heaven.  Reached the Talakaveri taking 1 hour 25 minutes, relaxed for sometimes and started descending journey. 

Talakaveri
Reached the Bhagamandala very soon, Sudhakar was waiting for us.  Now the time to fill our stomach with lunch. Hot delicious food filled and relaxed for sometimes.

Pose to Kaveri Holy River Origin Place - Talakaveri
Bhagamandala to Madikeri distance is around 39 KMs, keeping the target continued our journey.  Now we started to feel the monsoon rain.  The entire range was raining heavily, continued enjoying the journey. Trail was mix of ups and down rolling one, soon reached Betageri.

Monsoon Ride Touch
The last 10KMs will be toughest one, so we took a long break. Sky was completely dark, Shanthi Prasad alone had the torch, asked him to lead us.  Our journey was continued in the dark.  The rain was pouring with breaks, finally we hit the tough last mile of journey. Taking small breaks, reached the Madikeri town around 8.30 pm.

Somewhere in dense forest
Enquired about some good hotel for dinner, localities suggested Ambika hotel which near Bus Stand. Finished our dinner and waited for bus.  Return journey schedule was around 11.30pm which start from Madikeri. We were lucky, the driver-conductor were cool, loaded our bikes, relaxed in the seat. The journey went well with mesmerizing our wonderful journey.


Overall ride was around 135 KMs including 8 KMs trek to Tadiyandamol.  This was our first cycling trip which including a trek.  Thank you so much to Shanthi Prasad and Sudhakar joining with beautiful ride.