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Fantasies flowing through my veins, Dreams capturing my nerves, Adrenaline rush for adventure, I'm proud to be a Restless Rambler. We are a group of 5 bikers sharing a similar passion and a common goal to explore the nature. At the same time we take utmost care and ardent initiatives to contribute in preserving the stable environment and beauty of nature in its purest form.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Kutta Escapade

Restless Ramblers D.7 - Kutta
When you desperately want to piss and the car won't stop amidst a bumpy ride, When intestinal glands contract with hunger and Pizza aroma lures you but you can't buy it, When you wish to see the score of a critical exam and the mouse-click leads you to the message 'Page cannot be displayed'....That's how we felt when we had all the desires to explore but no bikes to fulfill it. When Restlessness occupy our mind, we go overbound to nurture it....Coz we are the Restless Ramblers.

Our journey was partly aided by 'Hertz-Rent a Car' in Koramangla, Bangalore (Contact: Anil - +91-997-230-3020) and partly by Midnight-Drive. Chilled beer, nowadays has become an essential commodity during our trips and sipping it through empty roads makes it worth having it (The one who drives avoids it strictly abiding by 'Rambler Rule Book'). We didn't take the Bangalore--> SriRangapatna--> Mandya--> Krishnarajsagar--> Mysore--> Yelawal--> Hunsur-->Nagarholle --> Kutta route. But I insist you take this route to make your trip convenient.

By the onset of sunrise, we landed in the unexplored terrain wherein we had an encounter with couple of tuskers. Foolish as it sounds, tempting it was to have an elephant trail as we followed it till we reached the territory of the wild. The next moment I could recall is panting for breath and running for life as we heard a roar (Wondering if it was a trumpet or a big wild cat). This barren route through the vicinity of the wild was a cherishable experience although what followed after that was a rather forgettable experience. If Narain Karthikeyan is called the fastest Indian on wheels, I take pride in having mastered the art of being slowest on wheels. Driving @ 7km/hr for almost 2 hrs on a rocky tar full of potholes, where balancing was more skillful than driving and handling clutch more critical than accelerator, resulted in paining eyes and aching backs. So I would suggest others to prefer the Nagarholle-->Kutta road mentioned above instead of the one we opted.

Once we reached Kutta, a small town with around 5k population, our rendezvous with Nitin (Nature Stay Homestay - +91-997-296-1546) accomplished the point 7 of 'Rambler's To-Do List' - White Water Rafting. We had the bite of adventure at the backwaters of Barapole facilitated by 'Ace Paddlers' through a joint venture with Govt. of Karnataka. We completed the 4-hr rigorous 'Exiting yet Safe' rafting with couple of breathtaking moments overpowered by quality guidance and sheer team effort. For more details on Rafting, visit www.acepaddlers.com or contact +91-984-560-0033/44/66/77/99. The major precaution is keep the eating stuff with you as your hunger enzymes won't spare you for a moment you are done with Rafting.
We had a filling meal at the homestay and the tiresome body made us the Resting Ramblers. The homestay is located in the heart of Kutta and is loaded with basic amenities. The surrounding boasts of a coffee estate and a farmyard. While the food was good, hospitality was the trademark of our stay. The next day we opted
for the Irpu falls which is around 5kms from Nature Homestay. I would insist to opt for Irpu in the afternoon as the period of the dusk is the most enchanting period. We started for Bangalore at 17:00 through Nagarholle forest. Leave early if you opt for this route as the main gate to forest closes before 18:00. Our journey was bestowed with a perfect climax as the rains poured down while we drove through the middle of the forest in the dark capturing the glimpse of bisons, wild boars, stags and deers.
The hault points, eating junctions, stay joints and other getaways can be provided on demand. Do write in to shah.raveesh@gmail.com for more details.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Spellbinding Skandagiri

Restless Ramblers D.6-Kalavaarahalli Betta

Half past midnight, amidst the snoring sleep, a knock at door, wondering where are we! Soon on the way to Skandagiri... We're the Restless Ramblers.

Like most of our trips this one was unplanned as well. Ending all the confrontations of strict 'No's and shaky 'Yes's, all we were required was to brush our teeth and pick up few packs of juice. Initially, it was tough to realize the 'I-can-be-awake-all-night' phenomena but with the elegant moonlight and refreshing breeze, biking on empty roads was a 'Dare-I-wink' scenario. The route till Nandi hills road was pretty straightforward considering our previous trips within the same vicinity and after competing with the street dogs, we took the Hebbal-->Airport Road-->Nandi Hills route. It was only later that we were in a fix in our first night expenditure without the route map and any local help to guide us. With mountains on both the sides, we made several guesses on our destination but it was not possible to reach the exact one without the help of a poultry owner and a drunkard passing by.

Unlike our previous ventures where we used to be the lone masters of the expedition, this one was crowded with several bikes at the base. Although later we did realize that they were already at the top the previous evening for camping. We wasted no time and with a dreadful tea bringing us to our senses, we started the memorable night trek at 03.30 A.M. We realized the first shortcoming of such an unplanned trip when we were left in no man's land searching for directions to follow. It was then our Sony Ericsson W800i and K810 flash lights proved worthy. The initial journey was full of pranks to frighten the fellow mates and responding to the torch lights from the peak.

The best part of a night trek is you don't have to fight the scorching sun although it vented its anger on our way back. This trek was a bit tedious and time consuming as you've to find your way to the top. We took around 2hrs 30mins and 3 packs of juice each to conquer the 1350m high peak. Since I easily give way to breathelessness, my strategy in completing such treks is to divide the trek in to 2 halves. I take the first half enthusiastically in feeling the experience, setting up the mood and exploring the place. Once tired, I'm completely focussed on reaching the destination. This passion overcomes my panting for breath. It happened to me till we reached a small temple midway. It was the desire to reach the top before sunrise that kept me moving.

We made it 5 mins before 6.00 and the view was simply unrealistic. Several mountain peaks covered with the misty crown and shades of yellow and orange reflecting all over although the mist hindered the view of much hyped sunrise of Kalavaarahalli betta. It was a gala gathering at the top with temple place supporting camp-fire and guitars adding to the rythm of strong winds. There was delights of green vegetation, joy of orange sunlight, enthusiasm of the red attire and high spirited blue sky to satisfy our ever demanding souls.
Although Antargange was our next trek after Ramanagara, in May-2008, unavailability of the pics at this time prompted my to write about Skandagiri experience.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Absorbing Anthargange!

Restless Ramblers D.8 - Absorbing Anthargange
Boys look up to us for inspiration, Girls figure out us as their destination, Men unite with us due tosheer inclination and Women are lured by the laws of fatal attraction. With a speckless reputation and a shimmering Halo, we are the Restlesss Ramblers.
Route (70-80Km):
BTM-->Silk Board-->Marathalli-->Tin Factory(Cable Bridge)--> Chennai-Tirupati highway-->Kolar Gold Firms-->Pallavi Theatre-->Anthargange
Anthargange was an unique yet a diverse trip that waited a long time to be keyed down on a blog. It was the very first time that Rambling experience consisted a blend of amateur adventurers including a pretty girl. Riding through the forecasted cloudy skies and pre-discussed routes, we blazed witnessing the picturesque landscapes and wierd signboards. The usual journey of around 2hrs was stretched on account of frequent halts accompanied by scenic photoshoots. In the due course, we performed a Tandav on the top of the rocky mountains (courtesy: red ants) and almost a hip-hop while descending.
The first glimpse of Anthargange gives you a pilgrim-feel with patch of boulevard, flights of stairs and bunch of monkeys. Although it is a temple-place with a sacred 'kund' which is said to wash away one's sins (I realized it why it was crowded). The actual rambling experience starts from the rear end of the temple premises. The initial path is a cake-walk with precisely constructed baby-steps and neatly maintained vegetative growth. Our ascend under the scorching sun soon turned out to be a meaningless venture with barren plateau populated with rocks of all sizes. It was more of a joyride and less of an adventure (We literally ate our words in the end). Our conquest almost met with a dull end on sighting an easier route to the top. But...
The need-based adventure soon scaled to an unexpected ecstasy while descending. While others preferred to rely on known path, I and Sumit opted for an unexplored bushy terrain. We surpassed the thorny arena, burnt fields and steep rocks to end up studying the foot prints of wild creatures. We stood standstill on a terrain juxtaposed with app. 30ft high rock separated by around 3.5 ft gap. The only way to the ground beneath was through that gap. Supporting all our cranial nerves and unmeasured adrenaline proportion in our body, we went ahead --- at a 90 degree structured pose with back resting on one side and legs pushing the opposite rock. A slightest reluctance would have invited dreaded repercussions. But we managed with some bruises and celebrated a moment of glory only to realize that we were in "No Man's Land". The only option we had was a 100mt free fall. Though of climbing back again was a real spine-chilling moment of the trip. Neither did we have water nor the cellphone coverage to reach out for SOS. As the dusk settled in, we were almost done by the fear of wild animals. Thankfully, it was written for a well-scripted climax and we returned back with dehydrated bodies and an experience to share with our grandchildren.
I wish we had that photographs as well...although few moments are better preserved by mind.

The Restless Ramblers experiences doesn't take a stand on the type and nature of places they had been to. For each of them, they had their own share of vivid experiences to cherish for lifetime.

For any assistance regarding biking trips in and around Bangalore, write in to shah.raveesh@gmail.com
Conserve Nature...

Monday, May 5, 2008

Rustic Ramanagara

Restless Ramblers D.5-Rustic Ramanagara
Unfavorable circumstances, shaky views, those yellow signboards displaying Ramanagara-55kms and that sudden right turn...As name says it we're the Restless Ramblers.
We started of pretty early for the airport as Keyur was flying to USA and Sujan backed out at the 11th hour leaving the fervent of all ramblers me and Sumit disarrayed. As we weren't wearing our thinking caps amidst the commotion, hardly we could think of any adventurous places so convincing our minds we opted for Mysore highway 24-hr CCD to have a kick of caffeine. We took the controversial NICE Road towards Mysore highway and while driving a yellow signboard displaying Ramanagara-few kms ahead brought us to our senses thereby prompted us to increase the wheel revolutions of the bike and reach Ramanagara.
While we stalled for tea and usual pressure relievance, we came across a scenic railway track with semi-white stones adding glitter to its beauty. Flashback!!! It was a Jai-Veeru's reincarnation. They managed their way to the nearby bushes, climbed the mango trees, captured some self-timered shots and best of all getting our hands at big raw mangoes tucked at a vulnerable height. We managed to provide flexibility and much needed elasticity to our hands which helped us managed to get around 13 mangoes in all and a visible proof that got us caught red-handed. But these childhood instincts and mastered pranks were not submissive and somehow we managed to be at large.
Sipping hot tea and cherishing our proud possession, we glided through the 15'' inch wide road towards the Ramanagara temple. Surviving all types of cuts and curves, there we were at the feet of Ram temple. Initial stairs were smooth with some really ravishing rocky sites in patches and green covers helping our momentum. We reached the temple with a serene reservoir by it was the source of cool sweet water as we discovered it later. The pujari, yet to get into traditional attire shot few of the Jai-Veeru gestures. Now we were about to get into less explored territory, the one beyond the temple which according to us is the perfect site for camping as it is not only safe but also sacred.
Marching ahead, for once you try visualizing the high rock as Sambha's seat, the large plateau with people celebrating Holi, Cave like structures as Gabbar's den and ubiquitous rocks providing climax of Sholay. We were really getting into Jai-Veeru groove and continued wandering ahead till we reached a hanuman temple, stairs beyond which, were leading us to the pinnacle of the crest. Few chameleons and varieties of lizards did provide us some jitters on the way but there was a sigh of contentment once we were swapped by cool gentre breeze. This plateau was barren, full of thorns with just a filthy reservoir full of toads. We'd our moments of mischief with stone throwing, echoing and 360 degree view covering railway track mentioned earlier to the tiniest of vehicles on road and deep vegetation and gigantic rocks on other three sides.
While the sun was ascending, we thought of descending to prevent sunburn and bowing to the almighty and inspecting the undergoing construction of a new cave-temple, we reached the pit and left for home unusually pretty early humming 'Yeh dosti hum nahi todenge, todenge......chhodenge' and for this time Jai-Veeru survived to share the reminiscence.
So guys plan out for Ramanagara, one of the nearest trekking sites to Bangalore and among the very best. While you are there, kindly take responsibility in keeping it clean and free from evidences humans leave behind.
----Rambler Ravish (next is Antargange)

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Picturesque Pearl Valley

Restless Ramblers D.4-Picturesque Pearl Valley (Muthyala Maduvu)

Evening 5.00, Feverish we, Dusk setting in, Opportunity grabbed- We're the Restless Ramblers.

As our lethargic minds refuse to take off in the morning and lazying around continued in the evening, it was tough to charge ahead. Nobody wanted to travel much and googling opportunized us with as Muthyala Maduvu came knocking to our heart. The dusk was about to set in and leaving the city traffic behind was going to be an uphill task. But God bless, B.T.M to Pearl Valley via Bannerghatta Road is a smooth crawling with very few curves. Hardly any chance of losing the way if you seek direction enquiring about 'Anekal village' and as soon as the jaywalkers hear about it confidently they guide you through.

It was almost 18:00 and we were yet to take up a 3km serene road to Muthyala Maduvu via Pearl Valley resort. As always, call it a coincidence or an absolute opportunity that we had to be all alone in the dark as the last visitor left the site on a disparaging note. To keep munching till the valley's pit we bought icecreams with the seller taking advantage of his monopoly. We reached near the small waterfall without much of panoramic views except the setting sun behind the hilly peak and the dried up waterfall at the bottom and the filthy water full of mosquitoes didn't deter our resilient spirits. The hard earned self-timered snaps with the yellow rock behind us reminded us of the 'Lakshya' cliff. We went ahead through the ramshackle temple, a lonely child that stood by it (reminding us of 'Vastushashtra' movie), fear of reptiles and muddy terrain. We'd our share of fun clinging on the trees, exploring the walkable path and feeling the cool breeze seducing our minds.

As we didn't want to end up on a tragic note, we took off for the top under the miser moon that hardly provided us any visibility. The best part of any exploration is to be among the lone group amidst the darkest of nights (while I typed this line, my fingers and my mind are out of sync). We'd a chilled mazaa at the restaurant there which hardly provided anything else and we left the Picturesque Pearl Valley with our stomachs craving for food which finally got sufficed by Apoorva Garden restaurant on the Bannargatta Road. To sum it up it was one of our dumpy rides with equal share of frolic.

---Rambler Ravish (Next is Ramanagara)

Friday, April 25, 2008

Bewitching Nandi Hills

Restless Ramblers D.3-Bewitching Nandi Hills

Least planned, ...in search of bikes and other ramblers, Enjoyed the most with least expense, there's no adventure without agonies- We're the Restless Ramblers.

Nandi Hills was more of a pleasure and leisure trip rather then an adventure although we have our own terms to practise it amidst nowhere.

How to reach there?
About 5 Km before Devanahalli, you will come to a railway level crossing which is identifiable by a prominent hoarding of the Bangalore International Airport, located just across the level crossing, on the right. Driving further about 4 to 5 Kms ahead you will sight the Larsen and Toubro (L & T) Concrete Mixing Plant, identifiable by 3 prominent yellow painted towers. Also behind that you will see a prominent rock hill with a Jain Temple at the top and a Lodging building at a lower level.

You will pass the L & T Plant on your left followed by the rock hill, again on your left. About 300 Metres after the hill you will see a prominent turning to the left, leaving the highway. Take that and thereafter you are in the Nandi Hills viciniy-Help yourselves.

Rather than taking left at the 'T' junction we took a right and ended up at an isolated village sultanpet and crawling to the steep of the old route to reach Nandi Hills,we landed up at House of Dreams-The Silver Oak farm.
As we reached the gates of the farm through a narrow aisle leading towards hilltop, there were two ferocious stout alsesians greeting us straightaway. Soon we'd mutual fondness for each other and Mickey-Minnie truly made our trip memorable.

They took me to the top of the way, with isolated temples which brings up the haunted memories of Ramsay brothers, leading to Tipu's summer capital-Nandi hills. Me with these little guardians on either sides jogging to the top, waiting for each other to be in sync and clicking pictures of lifetime are the memories that won't fade easily. They were punished that night for leaving the premises of the farm. We dined with wine, occupied this jungle house with a picturesque view of landscape and next day visited Nandi Hills in real.

Although with sheer enthusiasm we drove to Nandi Hills, little did we realized that none of us carried our wallets with us. With ambitious HR's it was pretty smooth to convince the personals to waive off parking fares and entry charges. A step further we migrated from bright sunshine to a foggy land full of greenery. Green and White were the only colors visible. Then there's Tipu's drop from where Sultan Tipu used to get the guilty thrown to the bottom till he breaks. There's also a source of river Arkavathi and some temples which is a trademark of Karnataka tourism.

With lungs filled with fresh air and camera full of grandiosque pictures, we left for Bangalore at noon cherishing diabetic grapes at peanut prices. But our end doesn't seem to agree with Yashraj movies and we suffered a tragic sunburn. Although the tanned look was happening, shedding off the peel like a snake later on was embarassing.

Caution: Kindly be responsible enough to prevent any mess by leaving lays wrappers and plastic bottles at this bewitching place. Preserve its beauty.

---Rambler Ravish (Next is Pearl Valley)

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Mesmerizing Siddarabetta

Restless Ramblers D2.-Mesmerizing Siddarabetta

After conquering Shivagange, Devnarandurga was on our cards via Namada Chilume but we spent a lot of time there taking rest, fueling our system and exploring dry & unexciting bushes.The only cheerful thing was few monkeys aiming at our food and making electrifying gestures and spontaneous acts of bunch of couples in every nook of this Deer Park.

Namada Chilume is the place where Prince Ram, during their exile in forest created a sprinkle of water with his arrow to suffice Sita's thirst. Although this 1ft diameter reservoir with unknown source of water origin is religiously significant, it's hardly maintained and thoroughly algae-covered. Also there's a kindergarten within where we'd some snacks as it was closed. There's a passage through the bushes through which you can make it to a rocky area to click few pics.

Now as Siddarabetta caves exploration was on our mind, we bypassed Devnarandurga (although hardly 4kms from Namada Chilume) and through scenice track full of brookes and boulevards with an exception of posterior-breaking under construction patch which provides you to display your skills with zig-zag biking, we reached Siddarabetta at 18:00. Its approximately 40kms from Namada Chilume although milestones may be deceptive.

As soon as we started ascending, the sleeping beggards suddenly on the sideways did an 'Undertaker' showing great spinal cord flexibility. Soon after, there were few people descending and wishing us all the luck to reach the top in the dark and finally the pujari too was descending although he did explain us on how to perform puja. But the best part was a stray dog and my companion for the rest of trek, came from nowhere and guided us to the top. I named it 'RADAR' to the very perfection to suit its deeds. This peak offered more green pasture and was much more steeper then Shivagange and it being second ascending in a day was tiresome but the atmosphere motivated us and finally we made it to the top at around 19:15 and...
...We're speechless and mesmerized by the tranquility in the caves the coolness it offered. We dipped our tired feet in the 'kund' and sprinkled water on face and magically we got rid of all the tiredness in the world. We ritually performed puja to lord Shiva in few artificial lamps which we were told are generally switched off after 18:00. While it was supposed to our back journey, the rejuvenation provided us with hunger for exploring caves with RADAR in the natural darkness. The only lights that were visible was the lamps in village 1200+ meters down from the top.

Although these aren't typical caves, but rocky arrangement which gives you cave-like feel but they are enigmatic in their own terms. Once through the caves, we were in open land full of rocks and vegetation all around. Shining moon above and twinkling fireflies beneath was a sight to watch. I still carry a glimpse of 5 young guns in my mind with the front one carrying a torch, second accompanied by a dog, the third and fourth with a stick to his rescue and bagpack respectively and the last one water bottle. In future, whenever I'll try to be remittent about this trip, this picture alone with narrate everything. We would have zoomed ahead but we took plane's sound for a tiger's roar and for the first time during the trip our minds and legs were in sync and in opposite direction.

Finally we started strolling downwards with an injured Pandava (Keyur during Shivagange) and truly memorable moments. Bread-butter and a parle-G was all we could offer as a grateful gesture to RADAR.On return we took a different route via TUMKUR village which although long, is safe and smooth with odometer frequently chasing 100+. And as there's no adventure without agonies, as we halted on NH4 we had the first meal of the day and it was way too spicy to lower it down the stomach and had to suffice our hunger with Mazza and ended our trip reaching home via NICE road.
I don't remember anything from the moment someone opened the door at 01:30 till I woke up at 10:00 in the morning.
Best time to Ascend: After the dusk as the mood will drench you in mesmerizing peace and chillness. Although take utmost care as you will be all alone in the dark and on way back there has been incidence of robbery.

Precautions: Torch to guide you and cushion to allay aching back on the bike.
---Rambler Ravish (next is Nandi Hills)

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Rocky Shivagange

Restless Ramblers D.1- Rocky Shivagange

1 fine morning, 3 cool bikes, 5 adventurous minds, Endless Roads, Same mission: We are the Restless Ramblers.

We left home on 12th April at 6:00 from BTM,Bangalore with macho Thunderbirds, colorful Bandanas, sturdy bagpacks and protective gears. Little did we know what nature has in store for us and what HE gifted was truly a lifetime experience. Bowing down to Hanuman and revolving thrice on Sumit's advice , we quickly zoomed to Tumkur Road and the adventure started pretty early then what we anticipated.

Leading the trip requires one to be well-versed with the route map and failing to do so provides you familiarity with few petrol pumps, tea stalls, autoriders and local villagers who act as makeshift GPS. Somehow we managed to catch the NH4 with heavy traffic congestion. Here, we tried to beat the boredom of moving inch by inch by opting for the service road and soon we ended up in a spot of bother. We're required to gear down a steep inclination of 45 degrees and it took a Herculean effort from rest 4 of us to prevent 90-kg Sujan gliding together with his Pulsar-180 from the top. A few meters away, on seeing few wheelers stuck up in dampened soil, we dropped the idea of following that route and diverted to main route only to queue up with other vehicles.

We continued the voyage with a tea-break, few unavoidable stoppages and clicking picturesque landscapes. The route was pretty smooth & straight and so while Keyur at my back demanded to click a gigantic Hanuman idol, I was reckless and Thunderbird lost its balance only to brush up with a jogger on the side. If was nice to escape unhurt. Soon we reached Dobbespet flyover where taking left and biking for 8kms took us to the doors of Shivagange temple. Ours being the only bikes over there, villagers queued up demanding parking fare, charity,etc. But my advice is be generous to them as tourism is the only livelihood provider, it seemed to have over there.

Initial few steps to the first temple were tiring and as we were fasting it added fuel to the fire. Targetting the cliff's pinnacle was sheer optimism for us, but then there was Darshan-The overenthusiastic guy among us who always targeted few miles further and he was the one who made us feel on the top of the world once we reached the peak. Scorching sun tried to beat us down & huge rocks with cool shadow lured us for a nap but passion to succeed didn't allow us to surrender. Although disfunctional lungs and dehydrated system forced us to dump our bags behind one of the rocks but cane-juice and few snakes in the bushes preserved our momentum. Finally we made it to the apex and emotions made their way out in various ways. The calm and gentle breeze flowing over the drenched body gave us sense of satisfaction and cave-like rocky structures provided us bundle of joy. But more than anything, its the feel of being at the crest and clicking the tiny world below gives you augustine pleasure.

But as it's said 'There's no Adventure without Agonies', Keyur in trying to imitate few reflexes of mine damaged his ligaments and was lamed for the rest of our trip. That prompted us to start our unlikely descending leaving behind utmost pleasure and preparing for next venture, and on the way there were few who started their journey upwards by then and to my astonishment few with barefoot. Finally it was the cool green cucumber and my favorite raw mango that provided the finishing touch. That's how we conquered Shivagange by 12:00 and left for our next destinations.

Route: Bangalore --> Yeshwantpur-- > Peenya -- > Dasarahalli -- > Nelamangala --> Dobbespet --> Shivagange.
Distance: Approximately 75kms from BTM,Bangalore.
Best Time to Ascend: 06:00 hrs or early hours to escape Sun. It takes on average around 2 to 2.5 hrs to and fro.

Tips: Apply sunscreen else tanning will take your toll, Preserve Water else hardly any chance to get water over the top, Cap/Bandanas/Shades to prevent dry hair and red eyes.
---Rambler Ravish (next is Siddarabetta)