Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Ride to Bilikallu Betta near Kanakapura

As usual Harsha had chalked out a plan for a cycle ride on Sunday morning to Bilikallu Betta near Kanakapura. Bilikallu means white stone, and betta means hill. The plan was to meet at Family Mart junction at 6am on Kanakapura road, ride to the foot of the hill, trek to the top and back in 3-4 hours, and ride back to Bangalore by 5pm. There even is a motor able road to the top of the hill from Kanakapura. We were supposed to take Harohalli (on Kanakapura road)- Maralavadi - Devaralli route.

Harsha called up on Saturday night and told that he might not join as he had severe tooth pain. So I started on Sunday morning at 5.45 from home hoping to see at least two people at the Family Mart junction. Family Mart just 10 minutes by cycle from my home. Soon after I started riding on Ring Road, another cyclist in Trek 3700 went past me. I was wondering this might be one of the guys joining for the ride. Indeed he was, and introduced himself as Prasad. 3 more guys, Adarsh, Pkota and Satya also joined us at Family mart junction.

After exchanging hellos, we started towards Harohalli. We planned to ride non stop till Harohalli. But then, we couldn't resist to stop and look at the beautiful sunrise on the tank bund after Kaggalipura(?). Prasad took out his camera and shot many photos. Through out the ride, he was regretting not getting a better lens. Adarsh had got new Trek 4300 bike recently and this was the first long ride after getting the new bike. He was in full josh and was always in the front. We reached Harohalli by 7.45 and Pkota took us to the road side hotel where we munched delicious tatte idlis. It seems the hotel guy remembered Pkota's last visit and greeted him! After a visit to a cycle shop to fill in some air, and packing some chocolates, water and biscuit packs, we left for Maralavadi, which is about 10km from Harohalli. One needs to take right turn on Harohalli - Jigani road, just within Harohalli. This road offered perfect country side view with fields and trees along it. We stopped near a Mantapa along the road, to take few pictures.
We continued to ride appreciating the cool breeze. Most of the ride was downhill, and we all were expecting the journey back to be difficult under the hot sun. We reached Maralavadi at 9.45 or so and packed a kg of banana, few packets of Electrol. Pkota was complaining that this was not the same Electrol specified by WHO :D. Somebody added that we do not need Electrol, as it was given to those having lose motion! He had to be explained that since we dehydrate a lot during the pedaling and a trek after that, we would need it to avoid muscle cramps. After Maralavadi we took the road towards the Bilikallu betta. This too offered a nice view with small hills around it. We could see lot of birds chirping around, and regretted the fact that we couldn't name any of them except for Myna and Kingfisher. Again we stopped to appreciate the nice view around. Prasad shot some photos of the country road with a man grazing the buffaloes :D.

Soon the asphalted road ended, and we were at a small village where we were supposed to park our bikes and take to trek trail to the hill top. Some villager offered a shed thatched with coconut leaves. Lot of curious children gathered around us asking for a ride. We asked them not turn/touch the gear shifters and promised to give a ride once we were back from the trek. Some local boy even tailed us till the foothill until he realized that we would not offer any of the eatables to him. There were lot of locals in the fields who promptly pointed us towards the trail leading to the top. As we started climbing we felt the sun getting hotter. We took out the electrol packets and mixed with water and the appreciated the taste. The trail was nothing great, but we were happy to find one such near to Bengalooru. All along the trail we could see the Elephant dung(?). We were wondering how could the Elephants climb the hill! We also saw place where the Elephants might have stayed over night, where there were lot of footmarks. It was 12 by the time we reached the top. Pkota was ahead of all others and we found him taking a sound nap at the temple. We were expecting the hill top to be a deserted place. Instead, there were lot of people around the temple. There was some road repair and other works going on as the annual feast(jaatre) was just 15 days away. Luckily there was a water tank where we refilled the water bottles.

The hill top offered a nice view of a small valley towards Bannergatta. Again the camera was out and there were shots, while Adarsh was trying to take a nap, as he had planned to go to office directly after cycling! This guy had turned up for the ride directly from office without taking any rest and now he had planned to go to back to work! Crazy chap! We quickly finished the Banana and other snacks we had packed along. Rested for few minutes, and started back. While returning we found a couple, climbing the hill. Soon our imagination started flying, hehe.. :D. To add to that the guy mentioned that they did not plan to climb till the top. One of our boys wanted to reply that we already knew of it! Soon, we were back at the village and paid some money to the villager who had offered the shed for parking. We were back at Harohalli at 3.30 or so. Ride back to Harohalli was not that tough as we had thought earlier. Had Onion dosa for lunch at Vasu Hotel. Pkota took off soon after the lunch saying that he had to visit some relative. Adarsh too followed the suit. Rest of us started riding slowly sipping 2-3 tender coconuts along the highway. Harsha called up during one of the pit stop and told that he bought a new Trek 4300! Harsha and I have a secret deal, which still remains secret :D. Ride back was really slow and we were back in Bengalooru by 7pm.

Distances covered:
Harohalli is 37km from Bengalooru. From Family Mart it may be around 30km.
Bilikalli betta is around 12km from Harohalli.

Some pictures from Prasad's camera:


The roadside hotel at Harohalli where we munched delicious idlis :P

Mantapa on Maralavadi road.

Country road

At the foothill.

A tree

View of the valley from hill top

A local tried to explain to us that this rock exactly looked like elephant! Adarsh seemed to be whispering to the rock elephant.

The huge rock at the top under which the temple is constructed.


Prasad's photography.