Thursday, May 22, 2014

[Ride+Trek, 18-May-2014] Chennarayana Durga

The ride wasn’t decided until late in the night on Saturday, the 17th May 2014. I was trying to ensure chores are completed. Shashi was entrusted with finding a place to ride, the backup option being Nandi Hills and Lepakshi (oh, the time is yet to arrive for that).

Finally we decided on Chennarayana Durga, a small village near Madhugiri off Tumkur, about 120 KMs from my place in Bangalore. Trekking was out of the equation as soon as I saw the pictures online. The hill is steep with an inclination of over 60 degrees. And I had become overweight, the last time I trekked was about 10 years back (from Sringeri to Agumbe, 25 KMs via the forest – oh, that’s another legendary story we keep telling everyone!), and this was supposed to be a ride, what the hell. Reasons. They were flowing thick and fast in the mind. We told ourselves that we’ll ride up to that place, and decide to climb up the hill or not depending on our risk appetite (and my stamina, I thought to myself!).

When was the last time you did something for the first time?
That’s one my favorite question, and Shashi took illegal advantage of it. He popped the question, and I could not go against the spirit.

Onward Ride
The ride started a bit late, at 6.50AM, in the morning, owing to Sunday morning laziness on my part. We filled fuel at Shell, JP Nagar, and picked up Madhu (Shashi’s cousin, the pillion rider) from Kumaraswamy Layout. The early morning on Sunday was laid back en route Tumkur Road, near Nelamangala. A breakfast stop just before Dabaspete was brief.

After the deviation from Dabaspete, the road up to Chennarayana Durga was under construction, dusty, rough, and patchy. However, the countryside views and trees along side the road for most part negated the bad road conditions. In any case, after my previous ride to a spot near Cauvery river bank (off Kanakapura) along the non-existent and treacherous paths, this ride proved a cake walk. The pathetic optimist that I’m, all bad roads are considered preparation for the mother of all rides, the Himalayan Odyssey that we are dreaming of for the next year.

We parked our Bullets in front an old lady’s house (trivia: it seems she played host to Late Vishnuvardhan and Bharathi for a meal when they were shooting for the movie “Bangaarada Jinke” in this village a few decades ago) and left our bags as well. The steep climb proved how misfit I’m.

Agree that it was a steep hill to climb, but that was no excuse I thought. Just after climbing for a few minutes, we evaluated whether to continue or go back, the risk was too high. I realized the shoe I was wearing had little grip, wasn’t meant for this sort of an adventure. But we moved on along a different path. I stopped to catch my breath every few minutes, and Shashi/Madhu were waiting on me, egging me on, teasing me, and singing inspiring songs.

At one point, I felt dizzy and at many times, asked them to carry on. But they claimed there’s a trekker’s code that no one gets left behind. Finally I drew on all my strength (ah, so dramatic, ain’t it) to reach the top of the hill. All along, we were powered by bananas and a lot of water. There were a couple of extra forts up above, which they explored by themselves. I had about an hour to myself, all alone, on the top, with a lovely view of the villages. It looked like a perfect spot and time for meditation, and I seized it. The cool breeze enhanced the experience, and a lot of things ran through the mind, many of them trivial, and at the end, there was renewed energy, clarity, and positivity. The climb down the hill was enjoyable and relatively easy.

Return Ride
We had lots of water from a villager’s house, and sat under Peepal tree for a long time. The ride back to Korategere for lunch was sublime. Now I don’t recall why, my guess is, it was due to the fact that the tough part was behind us. The feeling of having won over a great fear. The wind against the sweat. Huge happiness. After lunch at around 4.30PM, we had a relaxed visit to the famous Goravanahalli Temple (Goddess Lakshmi). When we’re travelling, we should seek out the local specials – be it the food, places, and activities. For, every place has its own charm.

The ~30-KM road up to the Tumkur highway NH4 was a toughie and took as much time as we took to cover the remaining ~100 odd KMs. It was dark, raining, and the drivers in the opposite direction had high beam headlights due to the bad road conditions. It was finally a relief to reach the highway at 7.45PM. A sip of hot tea was in order. The rest of the ride via Nelamangala flyover and NICE road to my place off Kanakapura Road was surprisingly easy and quick. A hot shower followed by a tight sleep over the night ended the journey.

When was the last time you did something for the first time? I just did!


Full album:

Photosphere  (a new kind of photo to capture 360 degree view): Thanks to the Google Camera app, the Photosphere images are nice - check this and this.
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