Vinay Babu Reddy My Bannergatta Road Trip - 2015

Part I

Its Good Friday today and with nothing much to do in Bengaluru except shopping in malls or lunch in a restaurant, thought of going out for a day trip! One day trip in a car may not be very interesting, so I took out my scooter! With no destination in mind, I took off with my Dio at around 8 in the morning.

It was a cloudy and pleasant day with not much traffic. I stopped at the nearest petrol bunk to top-up fuel and air. Immediately, there was a problem - with their air compressor not working properly, it let go most of the air and my tyres were almost deflated. With so little air in tyres, the ride was sublime but knew that I have to fill air as quickly as possible.

I headed to e-city petrol pump; but the compressor was switched off and apparently the attender wouldn’t arrive until 9. With no time to wait, I rang up their manager. Thankfully, he responded immediately and within few mins, a person arrived, grumbling about his tiring last night which made him oversleep. After he set my tyres to the right pressure, I paid him and was ready to go!

As I’m already in e-city, thought of taking one of the “south roads” – Hosur Road, Bannergatta Road or Kanakpura road. As the “city” doesn’t end on Hosur Road, I decided to head towards Kanakpura via Bannergatta!

Took the Neeladri road and within few kilometers, I found this place, which looked like an old fort!

An old fort in e-city and I’m seeing it only now?! I stopped by to have a better look. It’s a nice rustic place with a temple inside, good for an evening picnic! Spent some time here and got back on bike and headed towards Jigni road.

Part II

Until I reached Koppa gate, there was no drama and all went quite well. My scooter, though the ride got stiffer after air check, was running smooth and the engine was barely audible! From here, I took the road to Nisarga layout to connect to the road which borders Bannergatta National Park. I reached end of the layout and further down, stumbled upon a massive quarry!

Sat there wondering, how much stone would have come out of this!

As I went further, the asphalt stopped and the road seemed to disappear. I checked my GPS to be sure, which was of no help. While in confusion, I came across two cyclist who were equally lost. Their plan was to ride to a nearby lake and cover their target of 100kms for the day. I wished them luck and moved on.

Though, I can see the Bannergatta National Park right behind the quarry, the road was nowhere to be found.

With no option, disappointingly I headed back to Koppa gate to take another road which goes right through the forest.

Part III

After a km or so on the Jigni road, I took left at Ragihalli gate. It was a quiet road with not many vehicles. The road can barely fit two cars side by side. After a while, the road narrowed further to this gate.

The board says – start of protected forest.

Never ridden through a forest before, I was getting all excited! As I went in, it got even quieter and gave a true feeling of being in a forest! Though the tarmac seemed quite old, it was smooth and I was enjoying the twisties every bit like I would in a bike.

I stopped at this amazing location and the view in front of me, I believe, is Champakadhama hills. It’s hard to believe that this place is just 20kms from the hustling bustling city! Bannergatta which is spread over 700 hectares, I hear, is one among very few places in the world where wilderness is preserved so close to a big city. It got me thinking - it would be a nice weekend picnic spot.

A few kms in, I realized I couldn’t be more wrong when I noticed this board, which says – do not stop inside the park, with a picture of a bear on it!

I slowed down and started scanning the surroundings for any wild life. Disappointingly, found none and soon I reached the end of the park.

The road continued beyond the park and the view was equally amazing, surrounded by farms

As I crossed Shivanahalli, the road was getting rough and on way, I found another stretch of the national park. Here I noticed electric fencing à-la Jurrasic Park.

While crossing, I stopped at a location which reminded me of western-ghats, on my way to Mangalore a few years back. While I was taking a break in the quiet wilderness, I was interrupted by a forest guard. He warned me not to stop, as this is an elephant crossing zone. I got even more excited and started riding as slow as possible to give a fair chance to my lifelong dream of encountering an elephant in the wild. This forest stretch was pretty small and in no time I reached end of the park without any animal in sight.

Part IV

By now, the rough roads had taken a toll on my bottom and the sun was right above my head. So I stopped at a pond just outside the park, to relax a bit.

After a few more minutes of riding I reached a small village called Billiganakuppe with wonderful looking village houses.

The road was getting better and it connected me to the main road which was pretty wide and smooth. Though my Dio is not long-legged like say an Enfield, I reached Kanakpura road quite quickly.

This road towards Kanakpura was nowhere as interesting as the other roads, with lot more traffic for my liking.

By now, it was noon, so I stopped at a dhaba for lunch and to plan my return trip.

As I gorged on my tasty lunch, I recollected the memories and the unseen landscape in this 70km ride and felt glad that such places still exist and so close to the city!

--Signing off VBR

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