Channarayna Durga, which is just 100 km from Bangalore , a great place to combine adventure of Bike Ride and a Trek in one day trip.
One day, a friend mentioned that there are around nine Durgas(forts) around Bangalore, which are not so far from Bangalore and offers a combo of a bike ride and trek. Random thought to cover this pattern gave us the motivation to include these in our single day rides bucket. First and third weekend of every month are usually our single day ride weekends because my wife (Anu) works in a bank and they have alternate weekend off.
1. Nandidurga (Nandi Hills)
“Which one, we gonna cover next ?”, I asked my friend Puneet last saturday. He is leading in this travel list and has already covered six. We decided to cover the places which both of us haven’t visited. “Channarayna Durga on Tumkur road”, he replied. We broadcasted the message to other friends as an open invitation to join for the ride.
Company and Bikes
Anu had some work in office, so she skipped the ride. I was supposed to ride solo which is very rare. I wasn’t sure who else is joining us for the ride except Puneet and another friend Aman, which is a fun part of open invitation for ride. I reached Puneet’s place at 6 am where two other friends were waiting, two more joined us at another halt and then finally Aman met us at the breakfast place.
So, finally it turned out to be a “Guys Only Trip”, with 7 people on 5 bikes (one 350 cc enfield, two 500cc enfield, one FZ, and one Harley Street).
Ride is a mix of a great 4 lane highway ride and a scenic 2 lane state highway with very less traffic. Road till Dobaspete(KEB) is NH48, then we need to take a right under the flyover after which the state highway starts. There are three popular treks on this same road(state highway) : Devraynadurga, Channaraynadurga and Madhugiri.
I woke up at 5 am, got ready and had my protein shake as morning energy booster for me. I decided to carry my camera bag, as I was already in a mood to document this trip. We left BTM around 6 am and took the Nice Ring road towards Tumkur. I hate Nice Ring road as this is the only highway which charge toll tax even for bikes. After the toll gate, I switched on to my fast bike ride playlist in the iPod and all set to hit the highway.
Our first halt was near Neelmangala-Tumkur toll gate which was suggested by Puneet, our food expert in the road trips. He always has some recommended place on the highways which is always worth it. Our breakfast place was a small road side shop, just 500 m after the toll gate on the left, which serves tasty tatte idli and mirchi vada. Nothing beats the taste of fresh idli from the first lot. We started again with full stomach and my playlist changed to Arjit Singh.
With awesome roads, great scenery around and voice of Arjit Singh, I was so engrossed that I missed a left for Channarayna Durga and continued on the same road. Luckily, I realized it after 3-4 kms and took a u-turn. Base point of the trek is 3-4 kms off the main road and I had to ask one person for the directions. There is one small shop in the village for water, cold drinks and snacks. We bought couple of water bottles and parked our bikes in front of the shop.
Let me state this frankly that I can see myself as a biker or a photographer but definitely not a trekker. The only motivation to do trekking for me is either lack of choice in such single day rides or as an alternative to cardio on Sunday. It took us total two hrs to climb up and one hr to come down excluding our chill out breaks.
The trek directly starts with a large stretch of rock with high inclination to climb. You have to be careful and make sure that you have good sports shoes or boots with good grip. After an hour of climbing with random breaks to catch hold of breath, or as Puneet mentioned, “taking breaks on the excuse of appreciating the nature’s beauty”, we saw a pond.
I read that there is a pond in the midway of the trek, but I was not expecting it to be such a great place to relax with no one around except us. I setup my GoPro for a time lapse video and one of us played a nice song to create a great ambience. All of us sat beside the water with our feet immersed and were discussing the probability of having a crocodile in the water. The pond side is an amazing spot for camping, although I am not sure if there is some permission issue. We will definitely explore out the camping option next time.
After an hour, we convinced ourselves to leave the comfort zone and move forward. The route after pond is more of an exploration. You have to put some efforts in finding the correct way to top which has its own fun. Unlike the first half, the path is mainly flat land with no major inclinations.
With every step forward and every inch of increase in altitude, we uncovered the awesome view of the valley below. You can see Madhugiri (another popular trek), which is easily recognizable form its size. The view of the straight road in the valley can actually make you high. There are endless scenic shots waiting for you to get clicked and I tried to make full use of that.
At the top, there is fortification with red bricks which must have been built later due to a contrast with the major rocks used in the fort. You can walk around the wall with an amazing view. We stayed there for about half an hour.
It took us around one hour to come down excluding our second halt at pond side. This time we followed a grass path and reached the other side of the pond. The initial stretch with high inclination turned out to be more difficult while going back. It was very slippery and to make things worse, everyone left while I was busy clicking some pictures. With all patience, I followed a zig-zag path to come down. I realized later that I took a different path than others, but in the end it was a great experience.
We took a very much needed snacks break at the same shop downhill where we parked our bikes. The break mainly includes biscuit, water and cold drink (not so cold). Then after answering the usual two questions from people about harley : how much is the price ? and how much is the average per litre ?, I started my bike and head back home.
Again, we have a recommended place for lunch named Khalsa Punjabi Restaurant. The restaurant is around 4-5 km before Neelamangla-Tumkur toll gate, while going back. The restaurant has a typical punjabi dhaba style ambience with wooden cots. You must try Chaas, Paneer Pakora and Punjabi chicken there.
After us, two other bike groups also stopped at the same restaurant and suddenly there were 12-15 bikes parked in front of the restaurant.
We finally reached home at 6:00 pm with one more adventurous experience and one more place done from the travel bucket of nine durgas.