Namma Bengaluru (Bangalore) is famous for two important things, IT and the Weather. You can also include Masala Dosas and few other things to the list. Many surveys which were done recently ended up with one conclusion that the number of non-Bangaloreans residing here is more and this number keeps rising YoY. If anybody is to be blamed it is the Weather and IT industries of Bengaluru.
Past few weeks the weather in Bengaluru is no less than a hill station. There are many places in and around Bengaluru which can be explored with the prevailing weather conditions. It’s been quite some time, I took out Aliza and even she was staring at me. Added to this, I had completed the second service of my TBTS 350 and have to cover few more miles before the next service is due. All in all my hands were itchy and it was time to ride…
I had planned for a day’s ride and was scouting for locations in and around. One of my colleague suggested me to checkout Melukote which was 150 KMs from Bengaluru. Few other friends also suggested the same place for a day’s ride, apart from Talakadu, Bluff and Biligiriranga Hills. Few blogs and articles were available online for Melukote which were informative and attractive, especially this one by Pratap J. (http://www.pixelshooter.net/photo-features/melukote/ )
I started my ride early in the morning at 6.30 AM and took the Mysore Highway after crossing Kengeri. Whenever I happen to cross Bidadi I always stop for a plate of soft thatte idli. (Just like Dasara and Talakadu rides). It was 8 AM when I left Bidadi and headed straight towards Mandya with few stops for a cup of tea.
Once you cross Mandya there is a small board (almost invisible) and you have to take a right soon after this signboard. From here you are greeted with greenery and some soothing village side views. The temperature almost drops at least by few degrees as you ride through this road. You can find the coconut trees and sugarcane plantations on either side of road, welcoming you to their soil (land) with pleasant fragrance of jaggery mills. All along the stretch you will find people working on the roads and the paddy husks are left on the main road. Do not be scared and you are most welcome to ride on that.
From there it is just one straight road and you will find many signboards directing you to Melukote. As you start approaching the destination, you are greeted with numerous gulmohar trees (my fav) and a small lake. From there it is just few meters and you have to take a left for the temple.
And here we are, Melukote
Melukote is a wonderful scenic location which is in Pandavapura taluk of Mandya district, Karnataka. This location is a scared place and is famous for Cheluvanarayana. As you climb the small hill you find Yoganarasimha temple. But before that you have to fight your way through the gang of monkeys! Dangerous monkeys who do not hesitate to jump on you for the bananas and coconut. I had this one big and crazy monkey almost ready to jump on me for the offerings which was meant for the deity. But there is a simple solution to this problem, you have to keep the offerings wrapped in a cloth or just put it under your t-shirt. Also on the way you find many small twigs which comes in handy to scare these monkeys.
Once you reach the top, the scene of the pushkarni (stepped bathing wells) is spectacular with the greenery in the backdrop. No wonder you find many photographers with their latest DSLRs clicking patiently for the elusive CLICK. I had a quick visit in the temple and came back to the same spot to enjoy the cool breeze hitting my face. After some time I got down and headed to the pushkarni for few clicks.
I had also heard of the Akka-Thangi Kola (twin ponds) which was just few meters away. One pond (thangi) is potable and the other is not. And just behind this you find the Academy of Sanskrit Research and the famous pillars, Raya Gopura in front of it.
It was almost 2 PM and I headed for my lunch at the famous Subbanna Mess. This is a typical Iyengar’s mess which serves delicious vegetarian food on plantain leaves for 75 rupees. And this plantain will have puliyogare, white rice, rasam, sambhar, papad, sabji, pickles and a delicious sweet!
From here it was a quick ride to Thonddur Lake, which is quite famous among the locals. The story goes that this lake has never dried and continues to serve the people in and around. The water is so clear here, that Tippu Sultan called it Moti Talab (pearl lake). The lake is really nice and soothing to sit underneath the many concrete slabs. The breeze is always cool and hits your face along the length of the pond. And the moment you are few meters away from the lake, the cool breeze is gone! This is perfect destination for family outing.
From here I headed towards Brindavan Gardens but returned back quickly to avoid the evening rush. It was 4 PM when I left from there and reached Maddur Tiffany’s for a cup of tea and Maddur vada around 5 PM. As you ride along the highway, one cannot miss the world famous Channapatna – known as Gombegala Ooru or toy-town of Karnataka. I had never taken even a single item from this city and pulled over this time to have a look. My ritual of collecting at least one memorabilia from my ride was still due. Then my eyes fell on the tiny and beautifully carved out ship – CONFECTION. Immediately I took it from the racks and hit the roads. (I did pay for the toy!)
If anybody comes across the history of CONFECTION and the story then please do share with me or comment underneath. I am yet to find why it is called as CONFECTION and what the story about this ship is!
It was 7.30 PM when I reached home and the odometer reading was satisfying. It was a ride covering 375 KMs. Definitely worth a day’s ride and a treat to our urban eyes…
- Bangalore – Melkote = 150 KMs
- Road condition = Excellent
- Food = Pure veg food (Subbanna Mess)
- When to visit = ANYTIME
- Places to visit = Yoganarasimha temple, Akka Thangi Kola, Thonddur Lake