I strongly feel …...Coorg is the only place in Karnataka where I can dwell rest of my life enjoying the enchanting beauty of the place.
My previous visit to Coorg turned out to be a wonderful bliss.
Though there were many bachelors in the gang, the trip seemed more like a family one. My role resembled that of a tourist guide. I directed them to some of the well known tourist places of Madikeri which I usually do not opt during my solo visits :-P
After a night's stay in coorg we planned to visit abbe falls early morning.
Unexpected meeting sometimes can become a reason for joy.
Let me justify this......
When my crew got down from the bus and headed towards the waterfall.... ..i continued listening to the songs from my iaudio ... I felt a bit lazy to step out and bargain with the jeep drivers who helped the tourists to reach the waterfall. I realized that it was the best time for me to relax and took a small nap.
My sleep was distracted and I woke up when the fellow tourist buses started honking to the top of their frequencies. Seemed I might not get back the sleep and i stepped out in search of our driver so as to discuss, with him, the routes to our next destination.
I turned round and round but the search ended up in vain.
Besides the parking lot I saw a petty shop that was crowded. I walked towards it to en-quire whether they had any clue of our driver. Ramesh, was the first to respond to my words and told me that he had seen him going towards the village to fetch some drinking water and would definitely be late. In the meanwhile I ordered a cup of coffee and continued my chat with Ramesh inquiring about the geography of the place.
Ramesh was the proud owner of a jeep. He had dedicated most of his time to serve the tourists and tourism of the place. Tourists used to hire his jeep making him to act both as a driver and a guide. The source of his income was the money that he received from these tourists.
As we continued peeping into each other's experiences......
For the first time I heard about a hill station named Mandalpatti which was shot in many of the local movies and was packed with lush greenery and scenic beauty.Ramesh used to do the strenuous task of accompanying people to Mandalpatti, driving his jeep on the remote and least known kutcha roads of coorg. I felt the place to be worth visiting and i sneaked in to collect the complete details.
As our discussions continued....
I started gathering all those chunks of data that I got from Ramesh and mapped it into a proper plan with the aim of accomplishing the peak. Accommodation bothered me....but even that was cleared when he promised me to arrange a safe roof above our head to camp overnight.
My heart started pounding realizing the fact that my new Yamaha engine was going to hit the roads for a long ride.
By the time my gang returned from the waterfall, I had a complete itinerary of my next ride. I promised to see Ramesh soon and left the place to join my gang.
The trip turned out to be a great success. Especially for me it was of full satisfaction..,not because of the places i visited but for the plan that I had come up for my next ride..
With complete itinerary in hand , I just waited for a proper weekend to execute my plan.
Early morning of Saturday...four of us started our ride from Bangalore after filling the tanks to their capacity . We had plenty of time in hand. But to avoid the busy roads of Bangalore we left early to join the “Mysore-Bangalore corridors of prosperity”.
Prior to this we had contacted Ramesh and had inquired his availability. He had stood by his words and had told that he would arrange everything before our arrival.He had even given us the exact directions to reach his place.
As Mandalpatti was the only destination in our mind....time wasn't a constraint. All we were supposed to worry was to reach there before sunset. The place was very remote and Ramesh's house was located amidst the forest, near to the hills. Finding any helping hand after sunset was close to nil and we were not ready to afford any risks at that time..
Our ride included many stops for refreshment. We started spending most of our time on the sides of road than riding on the roads ... All we did was to sit on the bikes and chat.. pulling each others legs. We also began recollecting some of the enjoyable events from the past that four of us had together.
After a very long , non strenuous ride, we entered the coffee country. For our astonishment, instead of the sweet smell of coffee ,the citrus smell of oranges welcomed us. For each and every 100 meters of our ride,on the sides, we found orange waalas selling their produce. Oranges were harvested from their local plantations. Fruits were soooooo fresh. We were unable to resist the sight of huge lumps of them. We got them at a cheaper price, so we filled our bags completely ....(looked enough for our 2 days diet).
We had our lunch in one of the well known restaurants of Coorg. Though we never asked Ramesh to arrange food along with our accommodation ...we hoped, he would have considered that as our secondary need. We did not spend time asking people for the confirmation of our route. Instead we called Ramesh and discussed regarding how to locate his place in that outlying area.
Mandalpatti is nearly 20 kms away from the heart of Madikeri. Initial path en routes Abbe falls. A kmstone before the waterfall is the indication to deviate right. Initial 10km of the stretch is a well maintained road. If am not wrong this road probably connects a major place(Might be a taluk) with Coorg. Riding seemed to be a cake walk. But the real challenges started when we astrayed from this and took a completely different path uphill. Roads were completely worn out with the stones completely popped out of the ground. Felt like cursing the road authorities for not laying a proper road at this place. Riding on these kutcha was too difficult as the front tires started moving off the track and we were forced to take pit stops at regular intervals to inspect the condition of those tires. Since the day I bought my bike, for the first time, I fell off breaking a rear view mirror and an indicator.
A view of the Ghats
But I was never programmed to give up.....
We continued …. enjoying each and every moment of our ride and the beauty of the place. Steep rise,down-slopes,ride through the streams gave us a thrilling experience. The track just reminded me of my adventure in Bisile ghats of Somwarpet. The place was serene, wild and weathered. The canopy was thick. The flora and fauna were abundant. Many forms, many varieties. Some of which we had seen, and some were absolutely new. Whatever form they were in, they looked stunning when they were in full bloom.
Stream across our path
It was almost 6 and the sun was moving down the horizon when we reached the intended place. Ramesh's cousin, Vijay, welcomed us. Though we came uninformed about arrangement of food ..he served us with coffee and some munches. We never expected a hospitality of that kind. He even arranged a bucket of hot water to freshen ourselves.
The peak of Mandalpatti is nearly 4 kms from the place where we stood. Vijay advised us not to ride further as the track is a mere jeep one and riding through these slippery path is quite risky. Any damages to the bike can be managed but the ones to our bodies can turn fatal as the nearest medical aid was in Madikeri .We opted to cover those 4 kms on foot.
Dusk approached and the temperature started dropping down.
We postponed our task of accomplishing peak to the morning....Instead, we chose to stroll around reminiscing. By the time we settled in our tents ,the sun had completely set. Pitch dark surrounded us. There were some drastic changes in the environment and it took us some time to cope with those. We managed to rest in our cozy and warn sleeping bags. By the time we woke up our dinner was ready to be served. Even Ramesh joined us on the table. He had come back home after finishing his routine work. We wondered how these guys were so adjusted to their surrounding that they never wrapped any extra piece of cloth around their body like us. We wore layers of jackets and thermals to keep ourselves warm .We spent some time with Ramesh's family and got back to our camp.
It was a night of gale force winds. I only dreamt of negatives and odds .My subconscious mind witnessed our bikes and tents being carried away by those blustery winds by forcing me to become a silent spectator. It was dreadfully cold outside. Thank god!! that we had carried our Sleeping bags, else we would have become victims of hypothermia.
The next morning we took up our march silently with the dawn. It was ice cold outside and we tried all possible tricks to warm ourselves up. We were on comparatively high altitudes. We marveled at the sun peeking over the horizon. The sky was turning pink with the light of the sun coloring the clouds above with a pinking hue. As the sun slowly ascended, the sky in the west turned neon blue as the light reached further out. Consecutively, for the third time..we witnessed the majestic view of sun rising over the ghats.
Way to the peak
Way to the peak
We rested for a while on the watch tower of the peak and witnessed the majestic views of the ghats.
A view from the peak
By the time we returned, the pinkish sky had turned pale yellow mixed with blue. We enjoyed the sight of that.
We freshened up and had a cup of coffee. We whole heartily thanked Vijay and Ramesh for the hospitality that they showered upon the complete strangers in the past 24 hrs. Soon after having our breakfast , we back packed and started our ride back. In the end we were only left with loads of memories to cherish.
How to reach ?
Bangalore -> Madikeri ->(towards abbe waterfall)-> Mandalpatti
Note : Enroute abbe waterfall and deviate right at a Kmstone.