Biking is not my passion, but it rejuvenates me when I accelerate my bike into serenity. This time it was myself, Ganesh and Venkatesh who planned for a road trip to Kemmangundi via Muthodi forest range.
Early in the morning at 5.00 am, we started crusing on NH –75. The weather was cool and most welcoming. After about 2 hours we took our first pitstop at Swathi delicacy for breakfast. After gorging onto the delicious Dosa and Vada, the last thing amiss was a cup of hot coffee. The taste and aroma of freshly brewed filter coffee is purely out of world.
Venkatesh joined us at kunigal, and we started our journey towards Chikamagalur. The cool weather was soon fading away and replaced by harsh dry heat from the sun. By 10.00 we reached Chikamagalur, unable to move further we halted for a tender cocnut to quench our thirst. After touring the town, we planned to have lunch and leave towards our destination, Kemmangundi.
As we drove through the city, we finalized on all the places we had to visit during our stay in Kemmangundi.
Our first destination was Mullayanagiri. The up-hill drive was simply superb, the greenery on either side coupled with the cool breeze was just the perfect trail mix.
To our surprise Mullayanagiri was dry and was not covered with mist, making the clear blue skies a perfect picturesque background to capture beautiful pictures. And luckily enough, as we were about to reach the hill top we spotted a black eagle. I was excited and pulled out my camera to photograph but it was too late.
Venky did not volunteer for a short trek to visit Shiva temple, myself & Ganesh took half an hour to make it. While climbing we spotted Oriental skylark, Red whiskered Bulbul, Blue rock thrush, Honey Buzzard.
Mullayanagiri, which I visited couple of years back was no more the same, it has become a commercial tourist spot with lot of crowd and eateries. Now it was time to move towards Bababudangiri…
As we approached Bababudan giri, due to Tippu Jayanti the area was crowded with lot of tourists. We skipped after seeing the mad rush and continued towards Kemmangundi. There are two roads which will take us to Kemmangundi, one via kemmangundi main road and the second through Muthodi forest. The first is the best for a normal peacefull travel to Kemmangundi, but my passion towards wildlife inspired me to take the second route. Compared to the first choice, here the roads were bad and bumpy, risky coz in case of a puncture, no help could be found. Nevertheless, we continued on this exciting route and I must add the biggest loss in taking the first route is the experience of travelling through the jungles.
The green carpet welcomed us as cool breeze continued to keep us fresh and moving, no tourists around, only the three of us. I guess it was the best time for birding as there was a lot of activities which we could see and hear. We spotted Common Kestrel, Oriental Honey Buzzard, Yellow browed bulbul, Red whiskered bulbul, lesser flame back woodpecker.
The time was around 4.00 in the evening we had another 2 hours to exit the gate and 20 odd km to travel more, we stopped in between and enjoyed the nature for a while. We heard series of alarm calls from the valley, the silence… the vibrant colors of nature… shrill calls of barking deer were mesmerizing.
Finally, by 6.30 pm we reached kemmangundi forest check post, our vehicles looked sturdy, but we dint share the same sturdiness and we had to crash.
After casual chat with forest guard, we left to Rajabhavan guest house, it took an hour for us to complete all the formality and check into our rooms.
The rooms were decent and clean. All we did was freshen up and settled down outside balcony for a long chat with lot of snacks. The feel of lazing in the wilderness is something I always look forward to.
Next morning a small walk around the guest house gave us an opportunity to spot some beautiful birds (Greater Coucal, Drongo, Scarlet minivets, Purple sunbird, flame back woodpecker)
A small trek up to Z point gave awesome panoramic views of western ghats.
With this we had to wind up our short stay at Kemmangundi. Breakfast in the guest house gave some energy to start our journey back to Bangalore.
We reached home safely back by 7.30 pm and so ended our shortest biking trip.
The road we took: