Wild Winter Ride

At  06:00am, the alarm went buzz. I woke up well aware that going back to sleep was not an option if the UNESCO Heritage Triangle, Karnataka, ride was to happen. There was a change in plans, one of my favourite “couples” was joining me and my roomie, on this ride. Though they wouldn’t want to ride the bikes at all, I thought it was awesome that they too wanted to join. Woke them up, twice, over the phone, and before we knew, it was 7 already. Being one of the first trips, we faced delays due to improper planning namely, bike tuning, important docs, food etc. Result: We hit the road at 8am.

Owing to the traffic, it took us some time to get to NICE road from where we headed to Neelamangala. From there, a left will take you onto NH 48, straight to Shravanabelagola. The NH was under repairs, so it was a “two way” road. Made a mental note, to avoid biking on this route at night.  Around 11am, and we thought it was the perfect time to break for some food. Being a highway, there were dhabas (roadside diners)  at a distance of every 10 kms or so, only problem being, all of them were closed
. We made do with the apples that we had brought along with us from home. 35kms from Shravanabelagola, we found a CCD (read jannat). Got some grub, refreshed ourselves and after an hour, we were back on the road again.

Next stop was the town of Shravanabelagola, fam
ous for it’s Jain temple, which has this huge (55 feet)statue of Gomateshwar. Infact, as one approaches the city, the silhouette of a man on top a hill is perhaps what you notice first. Once at the gates, u realize, that a 10-15 minute climb awaits you (nearly 600 steps). Socks were being sold at dirt cheap rates (Rs 10/pair). One shouldn’t climb the stairs wearing shoes and the ground is quite hot too.  While climbing, we were overtaken by hordes of school kids who, I believe climb these stairs for fun, regularly. On top, a wonderful view of the Chandragiri hill and the temple pond awaited us. It was the first Jain temple I had been to, and found the architecture very interesting. Especially of the Triuta Basadi.  It’s been carved out of a single rock, with attention being paid to the slightest of details. Holy text has been inscribed on the statue, and on top the hill. Legend has it that he meditated in that posture for a complete year, which explains the creepers around his limbs. The next Mahamastabhisheka (which is the most important pooja of the town) happens in 2016 (once in 12 years). And as the priest explained all this to us, click click, went my camera. After our descent, we lunched at this rajasthani bojanalay, the food was homely, yet tasty.  Next stop was Hassan, 51kms from Shravanabelagola. We were beat, on reaching Hassan and we halted at Hotel Kadamba, which is quite reasonable, with the exception that it doesn’t have a geyser in the rooms.
The next morning we headed to the sinking church of Shettihalli (which very few people in Hassan know). 16kms from Hassan, in the small and perhaps forgotten hamlet of Shettihalli, is a church submerged half way in water. I guess it’s accessible during the summers. It was built by a few French missionaries. Click, click again. After an hour or so, we headed to Belur (36kms from Hassan). The Hassan-Belur  stretch has one of the most awesome roads I have ever been on. The condition of the roads, the curves, the windmills en route, all in all a splendid ride. The temples at Belur, built in quintessential Hoysala architecture, are part of the UNESCO world heritage sites. The carvings on the temple walls, of the gods, the goddesses, the beautiful dancers, and the glorious history surrounding them are truly magnificent. Ask a guide to show you around (you get to know a lot of fun stuff). 18kms from there is Haleebidu. Now, the temple at haleebidu isn’t active. I found the temple interiors more interesting than the exteriors. The temple had a garden for a compound and an adjoining lake, unlike the Belur temple which, in comparison, I feel is more conventional in it’s architecture. From then on it was back to Hassan, and almost lunch time (Actually it was way past lunchtime around 3pm). Lunched at Hassan and ended up leaving at 5pm, because of which I broke my golden rule of not riding the highways at night, again :P. 2 butt breaks during the return journey, and at around 9pm, we were back in Bangalore. I had travelled for nearly 320kms in the past 24 hours (my personal best).
Lessons Learnt:
  • Have everything ready, by the night before (especially the bike papers)
  • Start early, that’s when the traffic is less and the Enthu is high.
  • Don’t ride on the highways at night, again. 😀
So that was January 2011. Wondering which temple, beach, awesome routes await me next month.
All pics here : Jan trip 2011

4 thoughts on “Wild Winter Ride

  1. Very informative. Keep writing about unexplored places like shettIhallI. Good luck.
    Read my blog at blitzprollp.wordpress.com

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