Chasing The South Western Monsoon (On A Motorcycle)

15th Jun 2017

Charmadi ghats

Photo of Chasing The South Western Monsoon (On A Motorcycle) by RUTHaka350

The vague idea of riding in the Indian monsoon has been shaped into a very professional form of riding in the today's riding community.Such an attempt was made here too with the effort of capturing the nature's beauty in the monsoons and also to have a self check on our endurance levels in battering rains!!

Day 1:Bengaluru-Kumbashi

The alarms being obsolete on the day we start riding,waking up around 3AM isn't such a big deal.2-3 Phone calls did the trick for all 3 of us to assemble at our chai adda at 4AM in the morning.

We were supposed to reach Kumbashi for the night and halt at my friend's uncle's place.As three motorcycles set out on the road,RE BULLET,YAMAHA R15 and FZ we did not think of the situations we had to endure in the next 3-4 days!!

The NH 75 welcomed us with it's fog filled cold morning.The road gives us a Monday morning feeling until it reaches Hassan.Having had our breakfast and deciding our further route we started to Belur. Now,from Hassan we have two different routes to approach the konkan coast, one being the Shiradi ghats which offer a picturesque view of the valleys and gorges created ages ago.The other is Charmadi ghats which are dangerously beautiful.As we had not done the charmadi ghats we opted for it.After Belur the next checkpoint would be kottigehara which is again a major pit-stop for all tourists who travel in this route. Kottigehara belongs to chikkmagalur district and the bus stop is a hub for all kinds of vegetarian and non-vegetarian fast food.The authentic Neer dose is quite famous around here and one should definitely give a try.

Day 1

However,we did not stop here but only proceeded further towards charmadi which welcomed us with a slash of rain .Pulled over at the shoulder of the road. All we see is an open meadow and the good heavens pouring over it!! The rain gear was on,the headlights were on and all the three riders protected with the best Armour of it's kind!!! FULL FACE HELMETS!!Now,for all the riders out their who want to chase the monsoons do not even attempt or think of it having an open face helmet!The south canara and western ghats monsoon is like no other and can bring down the staunchest rider of your flock!

Charmadi was glistening with the rains.The dark green hillocks and the thick fog made us dance like crazy in the middle of nowhere.We had lost ourselves and this was just a starter!

Entrance to an oblivion

Photo of Charmadi Ghat, Attigere, Karnataka, India by RUTHaka350

Enchanting Charmadi ghats

Photo of Charmadi Ghat, Attigere, Karnataka, India by RUTHaka350

Amidst the Fog

Photo of Charmadi Ghat, Attigere, Karnataka, India by RUTHaka350

The rains became heavier from this part. Ujjire was the town where we had our lunch and continued towards Karkala and further to Manipal. We were exhausted.At one point between Ujjire and Manipal where we had decided to take off the rain gear proved our judgment extremely erroneous!We were drenched from head to toe and the thick evening fog offered zero visibility.The tea we had with two packets of lays gave us some heat and continued towards Kundapura from Udupi.

The evening turned into a pitch,dark night fast around 7 pm. We had to hit the beach at any cost.We took a wrong turn on reaching Kumbashi and ended up at the gates of a resort.A roaring sound made us look around.We switched on the headlights and swayed around.We were standing in front of the magnificent Arabian Sea!We took a U turn as we made it concrete that this wasn't the perfect time.Headed to my friend's place and had a sumptuous dinner which was the prasada of a Homa(a Hindu ritual).We crashed in their attic!!

Day 2

Day2: Leaving their home around 10AM,we went north to stop at Maravanthe Beach.The Arabian sea was quiet calm though the rains were continual.We stopped at a small shack to drink tender coconut water.The smell gobi manchurian drove our hunger.So breakfast was Gobi for the day.

The clouds gather until Eternity

Photo of Trasi, Karnataka, India by RUTHaka350

Trasi/Maravanthe beach

Photo of Trasi, Karnataka, India by RUTHaka350

Trasi/Maravanthe beach

Photo of Trasi, Karnataka, India by RUTHaka350


Photo of Trasi, Karnataka, India by RUTHaka350

Finishing the breakfast at Maravanthe our next destination was Karwar. Karwar is about 200KMs from Kumbashi and it is a ride to look forward to.We started around 11am,by then the rains had started being a constant reminder of the impending dangers of the road.We had been acclimatized after more than 24 hours of monsoon riding!!We stopped at all major towns: Murudeshwara,Honnavara,Kumta and Gokarna. We netted out a plan to see the Om beach around 1 PM and we took a deviation to our left at Gokarna and approached the beach.Tourist flock in Om beach for their best known reasons and leave the place dirty.We did not climb down the hillock to see the view as we had already captured it through the cameras and we had little time left in the daylight.

Downward half of the Om beach

Photo of Murudeshwar, Karnataka, India by RUTHaka350

We rode to Ankola which is also a small town in the North canara. Stopped at a small hotel where the only entertainment they had was a TV. The food doesn't taste that great up north in coastal Karnataka(NO OFFENSE).Somehow filling up our stomach we continued further to reach Karwar. The road to Karwar is beautiful with strong curves.As one approaches the town we can see the Indian Navy's sea bird project towards the left.The city is a heaven for all beach lovers.

Devbagh beach was at it's swell when we reached Karwar. We continued to reach a major checkpoint,Sadashivgad bridge which connects Karwar mainland to the Karnataka-Goa border.The bridge was a big disappointment to me!There's a construction which is going on parallel to the bridge which blocks the path to the banks of river Kali.

Photo of Devbag Beach, Devbag, Maharashtra, India by RUTHaka350

We returned to Devbagh and also booked a small room to hit the sack.The food in Karwar is quiet amazing as it's menfolk.Being in a state of natural-aberration rather than induced, i stayed back as the other two bought food to the room.To my wonder i do not remember what i ate,if i ate that night!!

Day 3:We were up by 7am and left the room.We stopped at the city circle which had a small chai point near by.The rain made the chai tastier and offered a beautiful view of Devbgah. We left karwar soon.Our destination was Koppa. The distance was around 280Kms which we thought we can easily pull off!!The rains started becoming quiet heavy.The roads to our sides were reduced to a wreckage, of small landslides and water,constantly gushing through the openings.We maintained a decent pace and took a left after Trasi to conquer the Aagumbe ghats once again!!The deviation at Hemmady connects you to 3-4 different routes.All these roads take you via Mookambika forest range which offers narrow curves and steep climbs to negotiate with.We reached the foot of Aagumbe ghats and stopped at Hotel Nandini for our lunch.The taste of Neer-dose still lingers in my mouth.We scaled up the ghats took a few pictures and scaled down as we had to check for the deviation to Koppa.

Hotel Nandini,Aagumbe

Photo of Agumbe, Karnataka, India by RUTHaka350

Sunset Point,Aagumbe.

Photo of Agumbe, Karnataka, India by RUTHaka350

Though we were reluctant to believe,the monsoon was now chasing us!!

We took the road to Aagumbe and visited the Kundadri hill.It was a very steep climb and very steep descent but all the motorcycles managed to negotiate the recklessness beautifully.Taking the road to Sringeri from Aagumbe we had our stop at 5:30Pm in the evening in a small village called Bidaragodu. We stopped to sit and chat near a stream and an hour passed by.We got on our motorcycles seeing the clouds chasing us.Within 2 mins it was pitch black and Koppa was just 20KMs from here.The rain drops were bigger and fell shattering on us reminding us of our every body part.The road is highly risky to ride on in the monsoon.There are no lights and at such rains the visibility is NIL.I was leading but did not know where i should stop or take a turn and purely was depending on the divine guiding spirit to help me cross this juncture!Turns out that this is the second place which receives highest rainfall after chirapunjee and is an elephant corridor!!

I dipped my light to get a high beam and saw a couple sitting on the side of the road with obnoxious faces.This is a costume through the Malnad region of Karnataka.The dolls are a customary practice and legend has that they guard the town and i did only realize this the next morning.

Diavas of Malnad

Photo of Koppa, Karnataka, India by RUTHaka350

We reached my relatives's place where they welcomed us with good lot of authentic Havyaka food.We had good food and a good night's sleep which reduced the physical impact the rain had on us.We were also occasionally blasted by our parents for this.

Day 4

Day 4:Last day of the trip.Saddened to return,we left Koppa with a little breakfast of idli and chutney.The road en route chikkmagluru were beautiful.The romance of the evergreen forest and our bikes was never ending when we leaned on those curves.The morning sun which penetrated through the greenery washed our face off,of all the strains we had endured.

Photo of Chikkamagaluru, Karnataka, India by RUTHaka350
Day 3

We stopped near Chikkmagaluru town for tea and continued to belur. Once you reach belur,the roads are straight and you can easily reach Hassan from here.One of my friends had to reach Mysore for a wedding and he deviated after Channaraypatna. The two of us continued to reach Bangalore at around 6 PM. The traffic welcomed us and was a stark reminder of the difference we have between the western ghats.

Bangalore was also hit by continual rains by then somehow the rain gods did not want to leave our back!

This trip has ever been close to me as i had discovered the joy and stamina to ride through rough terrains in continuous downpours.It is staggering that people in western ghats amidst all their woes,amidst nature's fury treat their guests as gods.We have not progressed being in big towns today but only leading an expensive lifestyle leading us nowhere!!Seems like the distance from us to those people is miles and light years ahead though the odometer shows a 4 digit number.

Keep riding folks.Safety first!!

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