The year 2020 will possibly be remembered as the year of the pandemic, where entire world struggled but eventually came together against the Covid-19 pandemic. In countries like India, we had travel restrictions and lock-down put in for the entire country for almost 2 months and then state wide travel bans which was un-avoidable. But there are a few fortunate people who got opportunity to travel as well during this pandemic, and we were among those, who planned and traveled around during this crisis.
After the lock-down ended in India and situation improved a bit after the travel restrictions eased, we at Hilltrotters planned to take our bikes for a ride after a 7 long months of being indoors and away from nature. After having to stay indoors / work from home and volunteering with local NGO for few weeks during Migrant Laborers travel crisis, this was a much needed respite after the easing of travel restrictions.
Please Note: We as a responsible citizens, have followed all the Covid-19 appropriate behavior such as wearing masks at all times/Use of sanitizers/Staying away from crowd by social distancing, during our short 1-day travel within the state.
The Planning of the Journey:
After the easing of travel restrictions, as we planned earlier I received a invite call from our travel buddy Gaurav Jain (who accompanied us during Meghalaya and Spiti Tours in the past), to plan for a short day ride within 200 kms from Bengaluru. We went through a few options, as I always keep the places of interest ready in my bucket list that I maintain over Google Maps. And thus we found an interesting place, which we have not visited till date. The place was Muthathi situated within the Kaveri Forest Biosphere along the bank of Kaveri river, Malavalli Taluka in the rural Karnataka.
On November 8, as per our plan, We met near Electronic city near to Gaurav's place and started our journey on 4 of us on 2 Royal Enfield bikes. We chose the Kanakapura road to reach our destination, as we wanted to feel the village roads with plenty of tree lines and peaceful ride. On the way, we took many stops, as we were not used to riding for almost over 7 months due to the pandemic. We stopped at Mandarathi Gardenia restaurant just before Kanakapura for our breakfast (link will be given in the next section). The Vada's and Dosa's were fresh and the breakfast spread was excellent here.
After breakfast, we went ahead on the Kanakapura - Mysore road and took a left turn at Halaguru to reach Muthathi, on the way we were delighted to ride on road narrow road which cuts through the Kaveri Wildlife Sanctuary. We could also see Bheemeshwari Adventure and Nature camp on the banks of Kaveri river, and decided that we will be planning to visit this camp in coming days on our next trip. Once we reached Muthathi we had hoped for quiet time at the Kaveri River bank, but we were unaware that it is home to Anjaneya temple, and there was crowd of people taking a dip in Kaveri river. So, we paid customary visit to the river bank, clicked a few pictures and got out from that place as soon as possible, as we did not intend to visit packed public places at that moment. On our way back to Kanakapura road, we stopped at a view point overlooking Kaveri river ghat, which was a nice picturesque location to spend a few minutes at least.
We then realized, we still have half a day more to go and we decided to head for ChannaKesava Temple in Somanathpura which is around 70kms (1hr 30mins ride) from Muthathi. On the way to Kesava temple, the roads of Bannur were really pleasing to the eyes as we could see greenery all around. And the river Kaveri is a big reason for those green fields because of her water source. Finally after clicking some pictures with the nature, we reached Kesava temple around 12 in the noon. I had visited this place before twice and felt the place is really timeless heritage and a quiet place to be, even though there will be many visitors. The amount of preservation of this monument by ASI (Archaeological Survey of India) is huge and commendable effort. We paid the entry ticket and explored the ancient temple thoroughly this time. The number of visitors were very less due to the current on-going pandemic situation, but this was a much needed getaway from our lock-down life for all of us.
The temple was built in 13th Century by Somanatha Dandanayaka, a general of the Hoysala King Narasimha the 3rd. The temple is a finest example of Hoysala Architecture and dedicated to Lord Keshava (Vishnu). The outer and inner walls of the temple are carved with inscriptions depicting Mahabharatha / Ramayana and Bhagavatha Purana, the epics of Hindu Mythology. The interior parts of the temple are a marvel in itself, the ceiling of the interior are carved with intricate designs and make you stare at the top all the time. The main sanctum has the murthi (Idol) of Lord Krishna playing his signature flute which is a main attraction of the temple. All in all, if you are a history buff or interested to study the Hoysala Architecture, this would be the go to place and there are option of taking a guide with you to walk you through the temple history and for the detailed explanation of important carvings on the temple walls.
After spending close to 2-hour at the temple, we finally wanted to start our return journey back to Bengaluru so that we could reach by 7 or 8pm in the evening. Also, we were starving and were looking for a nice restaurant on our way back on the Kanakapura road. And finally we arrived at Malavalli and found out a nice restaurant called "Saviruchi Veg"for our lunch (link will be given in the next section). After our lunch we continued our bike ride on Kanakapura road and ended up having evening Tea/Snacks at the same restaurant where we had breakfast in the morning (cycle of life). The road condition was bad as the Metro Railways construction was on-going throughout Kanakpura - Bengaluru road but there was no better option as the peripheral route which is Mysore - Bengaluru express highway was also battered with the another elevated corridor construction. We reached home in Whitefield (Electronic City - Gaurav) around 8pm safe and sound and felt rejuvenated for the next few days at least due to this much needed and relaxed getaway from the routine life.
1. Muthathi (Kaveri Wildlife Sanctuary)
At a distance of 110 kms from Bengaluru (2hr 30mins ride), this can be reached via Kanakapura road and a diversion at Halaguru.
Muthathi can also be reached by Mysore Road, with a diversion at Channapatna.
You can plan this trip along with stay option at Bheemeshwari Nature camp which makes lot of sense and worthwhile. Bheemeshwari nature camp is just 5-10 kms away from Muthathi and on the same road towards Halaguru.
2. Kesava Temple (Somanathpura)
Kesava temple is one of the nominated Unesco World Heritage sites and maintained and preserved by the ASI (Archaeological Survey of India). It is situated in Somanathpura, which is 135 kms away (3hrs ride) from Bengaluru and just 40kms away from Mysore (around 50mins ride). This is one of the must visit places for its Hoysala Architecture and well preserved intricate carvings on the temple inner/outer walls. You can plan this along with Mysore trip if you are coming from Bengaluru or can plan along with a day trip to Shivansamudram Falls.
We had taken the Kanakapura Road as our chosen route for this journey. Though this can also be traversed via Mysore road. Both the routes having bad road conditions due to Metro Rail construction / Elevated Expressway construction.
Bengaluru -> Electronic City NICE Road -> Kanakapura -> Halaguru -> Muthathi -> Malavalli -> Bannur -> Somanathpura Kesava Temple -> Kanakapura -> Bengaluru
with Overall 292kms (around 9 hrs) of road journey.
Food Options (Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner) on the route:
1. Mandarathi Gardenia:
A nice place to have breakfast / Lunch if you are on the Kanakapura route heading to Bengaluru or Mysore. The food was South Indian specialty with Chinese food/Snacks and Fresh juices available. The sitting arrangement is good along with clean washroom availability on site, and has open parking in front of the restaurant.
2. Saviruchi Veg:
A surprisingly,nice, up-class dine-in restaurant at the center of Malavalli on the Kanakapura Road. All types of cuisine available, but South Indian cuisine being a specialty here, the sitting arrangement is spacious with Family A/C section available along with clean washrooms. Parking is in front of the hotel along with a parking attendant.
For more detailed information or itinerary on Bike trips or Trekking in Karnataka or other awesome places in India, please contact HillTrotters@gmail.com or visit our Facebook page "HillTrotters", also subscribe to us on YouTube channel with "HillTrotters Travelogues".
Please contact HillTrotters@gmail.com for any suggestions or travel related queries.