'Twas Saturday morning 7 am and I was still feeling a bit sleep deprived. I had to go to Whitefield at 2 PM for a game of badminton with the guys from work. So nothing to do till then. Even though I had been to the Yercaud ride last week, it felt like a month had passed since then. As I was revisiting the off-road Yercaud adventure in my head, suddenly a go pro video of Avalabetta, which was posted on the bangalorebikers.com forum started playing. Taking this as a hint, I grabbed my phone from under the pillow and searched for Avalabetta. Google prompted that it was 92 kms from my home. So the ride began.
I left home at 8:35 AM after having a sumptuous breakfast. I headed towards the Outer Ring Road in order to reach the Hebbal flyover. Traffic was heavy till I reached Hebbal. After hitting the NH7 airport road, the traffic reduced. I reached the Nandi Hills junction by 9:25 AM.
Nandi Hills intersection. A left turn from here will take you to the famous weekend destination.
Nandi Hills from the highway.
After taking a couple of pictures of the Nandi betta from the highway, I sped ahead. There were a couple of diversions to take as roads were being laid. Bypassing Chikkaballapura, I reached the diversion for Avalabetta (Peresandra diversion), which is just before an underpass. I took the diversion and turned left. From there, the hillock was about 20 kms inside.
Continue on the NH7 to avoid going through Chikballapur.
The road that welcomed me was patchy and I had to manoeuvre through the small potholes and patches and finally reached a good road. Many children dressed in their uniforms waved at me as I passed them, with glowing smiles on their faces. They put a wide smile on my face too! After a couple of minutes the GPS guided me to take a right and then a right again later. I met the same duo of girls who had waved at me earlier. So either I was going about in circles or I was a maze runner in a spiral maze! I stopped at the junction and asked the locals for the right direction. They pointed out that I have to take a left immediately after the right turn near the Mandikal bus stand.
I followed their directions and was back on route. The drive offered very scenic landscapes on either sides. Beware of the numerous intermittent cattle crossings across the road. I had a narrow escape from a cow which suddenly jolted to life across the road. There were a lot of shepherds as well. They didn't seem as happy as the kids were on seeing me. I passed many groups of bikers leaving Avalabetta. They must all have reached here to witness the sunrise, I thought to myself. Confirming the GPS route with the cattle herders, I finally reached the entrance to Avalabetta hill top at 10:35 AM. There were couple of boards but all of them were in Kannada and my command over the Kannada language only helped with identifying the first letter.
Road signs in Kannada to Avalabetta. Look out for these.
The entrance to Avalabetta.
The road uphill is made of concrete and is an easy ride up. I also found steps that led to the temple on the top. I reached the top, parked my bike next to couple of already parked bikes and headed to the temple. A flight of stairs made of cut stones lead you to the temple. There are two temples on the top. A stairway on the left of the first temple will take you to the second temple on the top of the hillock. Families of monkeys will greet you everywhere. Be smart to avoid eye contact. The view from the top is amazing. It isn't as spectacular and as green as the view is from Nandi hills, but you do get a moment of solitude and serenity. I took a mental note to visit this place again for sunrise.
The stone stairway that leads to the top of the hillock.
The main temple.
From the top, I was able to see the fabled pond and rock ledge, of which I had seen many pictures and videos. I figured out the way and headed back down to the first temple through the stairs. A pathway on the right of the temple leads to this wonderful place. Fortunately, there was no one there. I threw my jacket next to the pond and went on to sit on the edge of the rock extension. For some reason, I did not feel afraid. The only sound that I could hear was that of the strong warm wind that was blowing. I enjoyed the silence and the solitude the place offered. I sat there for around 20 mins and then I heard human noises.
View of the pond from the top. Trying to find a way to reach it.
The path on the right of the main temple that leads to the pond.
Some sort of warning?
A group of guys came to the spot and signalled at me that they wanted to click pictures. So I got up and sat a little away from the water body where I could find a shady place beneath a rock structure. The wind was getting hotter. After the group finished taking innumerable photos and selfies, I walked up to them and asked if one of them could click a couple of pictures of mine. I wasn't going to miss a photo at this spot! After a couple of pics of me standing and sitting on the ledge, I thanked them and waited for them to leave. I wanted to try taking a time lapse video on the phone. I used my wallet as a bi-pod for the phone and set it in the time-lapse mode. I waited for 30 minutes for the time lapse to create at least a 5 sec video. Sadly, the activity had nearly drained my phone's battery. I picked up my jacket and headed down to the parking.
This picture gave my mom a mini heart attack!
I left the hill top at 12:15 PM and headed back to Bangalore by the highway route as I had to reach Whitefield by 2. I had read online that there's an interceptor near the Nandi Hills junction on the highway, so I slowed down near the junction. But BAM! I got caught for over-speeding, as the interceptor was at a distance from the junction. After paying the fine for the ticket, I continued on the highway and reached the Hebbal flyover at 1:30 PM. The sun was scorching onto me, draining me of all bodily fluids and the traffic wasn't of any help either. I'm pretty sure many vehicles don't follow the PUC regulations. I reached Whitefield only at 2:45 PM because of the heavy traffic. Played badminton till 4 PM and reached back home at 5PM. Trip meter showed me 251kms and I was dehydrated completely. It was just too hot that day.
I am definitely going to visit this place again, but for sunrise.
- Great for a short ride. Great for group rides as well as solo.
- Much better alternative to Nandi Hills on the weekends.
- There's a small guest house on the top, maintained by the government but there are no places to eat on the top.
- There are a lot of good restaurants like Kamat etc on the highway that you can pitstop at for breakfast or for brunch while coming back.
- If you're carrying your own food, be wary of the monkeys. They gonna want some.
- Carry your own water as well. You're gonna get real thirsty if you stay there till noon.
- You could visit this place all round the year. Best time to visit would be during the early hours of the morning as it gets really hot as it approaches noon.
That's all for now. Cheers!