Saturday, 15 June 2013

The thrill of riding to the spiritual coast - Murudeshwara & Gokarna - Part 1

Big story, in brief - Our much awaited Leh bike trip resurrected to renew our excitement & our bike trips as dry runs were back. As we had already done a couple of day trips, it was time to take it to the next level. Since the confirmation on Leh trip happened 3 days before hubby’s birthday, I rushed through the internet for routes within Karnataka, which are a joy to ride. Thus, finalized on the journey to Murudeshwara!

It was hubby’s birthday on the 15th of June & we decided to make the day memorable with our first ever long distance bike journey.Although it was a bike trip & as a norm hubby was supposed to do all the riding, as a birthday surprise I managed to keep the destination undisclosed until we were half way through our journey, which is a rarity since I struggle to hold surprises. Apart from the fact that we need to take a day off, hubby had no idea where we were heading & it was fun to see him curious & eager for hints about the place.

On the night before the travel, informed hubby that we need to start before 5 AM & got  to bed after finishing the packing. Also, gifted him the rain gear, monocular & couple other stuff I had brought from Decathlon. Since the rains had started in the coast, we were all ready with the essentials - Rain gear, bag covers etc, to beat the monsoon & enjoy the journey.Being a late sleeper, I managed to write a few clues about our journey. The excitement of travel always makes me jittery & in most occasions opportune me with the privilege of listening to hubby snore :-). With the longest bike trip thoughts wandering in my head, I did pull off a couple hours of sleep.

Day 1: We both concur on starting early for any journey, be it on our bike or car since it gives you ample time to reach your destination without any hurry.Accordingly, got up by 4 & were ready by 4:30 AM. After a few warm up exercises, we were all loaded & started the engine by 4:45 AM. When hubby asked which way should we be going? Nelamangala was my only response!

After reaching Nelamangala,I handed over the first clue which indicated that the next place on the route is Tumkur.Reached Tumkur by 6:15 AM, took a short break, switched roles & I rode from here onto Tiptur. It was 7:45 AM by the time we reached Tiptur & decided to stop for breakfast. On the main road, the first hotel we spotted was ‘Hotel Pai’, a moderate hotel which looked alright & we stepped in. The Idly,Masala dosa & Chow-chow bath were tasty, economical & the service was prompt. Hubby deciphered the next clue as Arsikere & we headed out of Tiptur by 8:15 AM.

At Arsikere, hubby got the next clue indicating the next place as Bhadravathi. Next pit stop was at Tarikere, 10:00 AM & our trip log was updated. Except for a stretch of about 5 kms of decent roads between Kadur & Birur, we were cruising at around 60 kms per hour.  

Bhadra river beams with full capacity, near Bhadravathi
On reaching Bhadravathi, hubby’s face lights up after reading the clue indicating ‘Sagara’ as our next place. Let me give you some background on this, my parents are from Malnad – Sagara & Sirsi being my grandparents places. So, conveniently hubby guessed the destination to be a relative’s house near Linganmakki dam ;-) Not willing to give any other clue, I could only smile & say – ‘You will find out’.
A feast to the eyes, on the way to Sagara
A false rain threat at Shimoga made us get into our rain gear, however the weather was very pleasant & the road was awesome from Shimoga to Sagara. We reached Sagara by 12:15 AM with a drizzle for a few kms & the hunt was on for a decent restaurant. 

Since we were hungry – we didn't bother riding up to the main streets & found a small hotel – Sanman just as we entered the town. We ordered a meal & rice bath, called up home to inform about our safety & gulped down the food. The food, although not very good, was enough to give it an ok. But, if you are travelling with family – there are better options available near the bus stand. Sagara is a small town & we can’t expect much in terms of food, so it’s a safe bet to order south Indian food.

By now, my clues were exhausted & I informed hubby that we need to head to Honnavara, via Jog falls! After finishing lunch, we fed our bike with some food & started towards the world renowned Jog falls by 1:00 PM. It’s on the way to Honnavara & at a distance of 30 kms from Sagara. The rain gods were upon us & the journey was wonderful as we could enjoy nature while riding at not more than 30 kmph!  

We took both the directions :)
A short deviation of 2 kms on the route to Honnavara takes us to the falls via a bridge which seems to be built to ensure you stop & click a few snaps. We spent about 15 mins on the bridge & then rode into Jog falls.
The bridge en route Jog falls

Vehicles are allowed until the view point, so travelers driving with family need not worry about walking long distances.

The Sharavathi River, flows over a very rocky bed & reaches a tremendous chasm. Thus giving birth to the second highest plunge waterfall in India and the water comes down in four distinct falls. 

The Raja Fall pours in one unbroken column to the depth of about 830 ft. Halfway down it is encountered by the Roarer, which precipitates itself into a vast cup and then rushes violently downwards at an angle of forty-five degrees to meet the Raja. A third falls, the Rocket, shoots downwards in a series of jets; while the fourth, the Rani, moves quietly over the mountain side in a sheet of foam. 
The majestic Jog falls

Unfortunately, we couldn’t witness Jog as described above although we were in the monsoons since the Linganmakki dam built across the river Sharavathi determines the water flow in the falls. However, that didn't stop us from posing for a few pictures with the pale jog falls whenever the clouds were not playing their tricks.

After spending an hour at Jog, we left at 3:00 PM towards Honnavara. A distance of 90 kms was covered at ease in 1.45 hrs as the road condition was very good. 

At honnavara
A few clicks on the way & I disclosed our destination as Murudeshwara to hubby.

From Honnavara, we took the left towards the temple town of Murudeshwara & travelled 28 kms to reach the accommodation I had reserved by 5:45 PM.

Mavalli Heritage home, the stay for us in Murudeshwara is a beautiful home stay a few mtrs away from the beach & 2 kms from the Murudeshwara temple.

Mavalli Heritage Home
We were received by Mrs Kaipilly & shown our room which was quite small but clean. However, it was all down hill from here as the hosts were very irritating & money minded. 

Although the homestay has nice decor & feel to it, we didn't see that in the family running it. I guess a one liner on the home stay will suffice here - "Highly not recommended".

After dinner, we settled in our room & decided to call it a day! What plans for the next day, we wanted to keep it open & see what we feel like doing after we get up in the morning. The journey from Bangalore to Murudeshwara was awesome & we were looking forward for more!

More to follow on the next 2 days of the trip, keep reading!

Distance Covered: 470 Kms
Time taken: 11 hrs with multiple stops
Avg bike speed: 60 kmph

Happy travelling!!


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