Western Ghats

After a long time I went out on a weekend trip from Bangalore.
The itinerary was like this.
DAY 1: Bangalore to Nagarhole Forest
Nagarhole to Iruppu Falls
Iruppu Falls to Virajpet to Madikeri
DAY 2: Madikeri to Sulya
Sulya to Kukke Subhramanya
Kukke Subhramanya to Bisle Ghat to Hassan
Hassan to Bangalore
DAY 1.
There were a lot of things to see on the way. We started off on a saturday morning and had breakfast at Kamat Lokaruchi on Mysore road. This is near Ramanagara and one of the best places to have traditional south indian breakfast.
We set off after breakfast towards Mysore. After Srirangapatna we took a right turn to take the Mysore bypass. Then we reached Hunsur. After that we took another diversion towards Nagarhole Forest. This is one of the best forest areas of India and one can do a safari in the forest. the Nagarhole forest road is open from 6 am to 6 pm only and the safari is open throughout the day except 1:30 pm to 3:30 pm.
Our driver drove slowly through the forest and we saw monkeys and deer and got a few snaps. It is a 30 km stretch of no stopping for vehicles.
After Nagarhole we had lunch in a small restaurant. Non-veg is available in ample variety in Coorg but it was a bit too spicy even for me.
After that we reached Iruppu Falls which falls under a forest area again and one has to buy tickets Rs 20/head to go and see the falls. Its a small trek to the falls and is safe and sound. Even at the falls the authorities have put a platform for people who want to take a bath.
Fro Iruppu we took a different route to Madikeri through Virajpet and reached Madikeri just around sunset time. I was a bit surprised to see that Raja's Seat has become a big tourist sport now with a toy train. Several years back when we had first come here there was hardly anything. We understood how fast Coorg has become a commercial spot.
We started looking for a decent lodge to stay for the night when we got some rude shock. Shabby places quoted 700/800 Rs per room. Finally we were very lucky to get a new place called Bhuvan Palace on Race Course Road(9448448597) at Rs 400 per room , decent and clean.
We went out for dinner to a nearby hotel called Kings Place which was again quite a decent one. Nights are generally cold in Madikeri but this time of the year (May) its hot.

DAY 2. We started off day 2 with a hefty breakfast. The road to Sulya and Sulya to Kukke was awesome. Right through dense forest, villages it was the pristine beauty of nature that captivated us. We stopped quite a few times to take a snap on the road or just to enjoy mother nature.

When we reached Subhramanya it was already past noon. We stood in the queue for a darshan , but suddenly the queue stopped moving. We realized darshan time was over and will start again at 3:30. We roamed around the temple a bit , took a few photos from outside and finally left the temple. It was cramped in Kukke and it seemed that the street started with the temple and ended there. There were very few visitors like us who came just to see the temple.
We searched a bit for a decent place to lunch but everything was too crowded and finally we had a few bananas and chips and decided to hit the Bisle ghat road.

The road as one can see from the pictures was one of the most beautiful ones that I have traveled on. It seemed to me that repairing the road will probably take the charm away from this place.

We stopped out vehicle a few times and lazily walked on the route just to soak in the beauty of the forest, hear the mysterious sounds and enjoy the cool breeze. We hardly saw 4 to 5 vehicles on this road in the 2 hours that we traveled. There were a couple of viewpoints from where one can see the mighty mountains of the Western Ghats. But on a sunny day like this it was the eerie forest that held most of the charm.

Road condition was bad but it was not risky. There was a few trees and branches on the road but a strong car like Qualis had no problems. Above all there were nothing like landslides or stones falling from the top.

There was a bridge on the way over a small mountain spring. There were stairs to go down and also to the top. We went down to the mountain stream and played in the cool water a bit. ( Myself and another guy were bitten by something , which made its way below the trouser and made a puncture in the skin causing some bloody effect. Fortunately it wasn't something poisonous )

Te viewpoints were pretty nice. If one wishes to do a night stay they can easily carry and tent and stay there at night and enjoy the beauty. But one must carry their own water and supplies(There was a tube-well from which we got muddy water).

Finally the ghats ended and we reached Manjarabad Fort. This is another nice place and a short hike will take you to the fort. The best time to visit the fort will be early morning or late afternoon. We stayed there for sometime enjoying the dusk and then walked down. ( We found there was a guy who actually locks the fort in the evening, although it seemed that there were several other escape routes)

It was almost evening by this time and we had a Dosa to compensate the missed lunch and started off for Bangalore. We had dinner enroute and reached Bangalore at midnight.
That was a sweet weekend trip with a lot of driving.

Here is a small video of the driving. You can watch it without speakers.

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