Friday, 9 November 2012

Road Trip: Bangalore to Kasargod

Most of our road trips happen on the spur of the moment. This trip – from Bangalore to Kappil Beach (Kasargod) – was one such. At the break of dawn, we drove out of Bangalore towards Coorg. We expected rain during our journey. The cyclone, Nilam, had had its effect on the weather, and Bangalore had received rains during the previous week.

The route that we took was:
Bangalore – Srirangapatana – Hunsur – Kushalnagara – Madkeri – Bhagamandala – Panathur – Kanhangad – Bekal – Kappil Beach

When we reached Madkeri, rain and mist greeted us. We couldn’t see the hills due to the mist cover. We stopped our car, watched the mist slowly clear, and savored the moment. Hey, but, there was more mist that glided in front of us. The paddy fields were lush; wish I could borrow that Green and paint the world with it. Well, we couldn’t stand there forever and admire Nature; could we? We continued driving towards our destination.

At Bhagamandala, we visited the Sri Bhagandeshwara temple. We were lucky to have reached the temple just before the doors closed for the afternoon.The temple is gorgeous and absolutely neat, and has shrines for Lord Shiva, Lord Ganapati, Lord Subbramanya, and Lord Mahavishnu. The confluence of rivers - Kaveri, Kannike, and Sujyoti – happens here. The rivers flow majestically, and had tempted a few people to take a dip (even in the rain). The aura of the place can only be silently experienced.

Before starting our drive through the Talacauvery forest reserve onward to Panathur, we prayed for a safe journey. This journey, though lonely, was thrilling and breath-taking. We were the only travelers on that road at that hour. Felt as though the road was laid specially for us. Every twist and turn seemed to have waterfalls. The greenery of the forest and the melodies of several birds were soothing. At certain places, we observed that landslides had happened and trees had fallen, and had been cleared. The landscape gradually showed signs of habitation.

Later on, it was a drive through the towns of Kasargod to reach our destination. Oh my God, the road leading to Vivanta by Taj (Bekal)was beautiful (especially after driving on the bad roads)!

Vivanta by Taj resort is impressive, and, oh yes, we fell in love with it. The rooms are neat, spacious, and luxurious. Most rooms face the backwater. Walking alongside of the water is refreshing. The resort also opens to the Kappil beach; heavenly! The resort is a home to several species of birds. The lobby displays the details of birds. The idols kept almost everywhere in the resort and the tropic plants at the garden add glamour to the place. The water body inside the resort, between the lobby and the Latitude (restaurant), is serene. The unique fountains are like little girls laughing away to glory. I’ll let the photos talk more about the resort. We rate a big 5 for the resort – location, service, cuisine, hospitality, maintenance, and ambience.

The tourist spots that we visited during our stay are the Ananthapuram Lake temple, Chandragiri Fort, Bekal Fort, and Madhur Siddhi Vinayaka temple. The Ananthapuram Lake temple is dedicated to Lord Ananthapadmanaba. The temple staff converse in both Kannada and Malayalam. At 12:30 pm (IST), the mahamangalarathi is performed, and then lunch served to all devotees. We enjoyed the puja and the lunch. The Madhur Siddivinayaka temple also follows similar routine. The Madhuvahini stream follows adjoining the temple. There is something about such divine temples that only the soul can savor.

The Bekal Fort opens by 8:00 am (IST). The vehicle parking costs Rs 5, and the entry ticket per person costs Rs 5; for camera, additional Rs 25. The fort had a handful of visitors, giving us an opportunity to explore the place at peace. The security guards patrol and CCTV cameras are installed; ensure that you stay safe, and don’t venture into lonely and unkempt parts of the fort. Yay, a mongoose crossed our path! Again, I’ll let the photos do the talking.

After relaxing and rejuvenating at the resort, we had to trace our way back home (unwillingly!). We decided to try a different route.
Bekal – Udma – Cherkala – Puttur – Uppinangadi – Sakleshpur – Hassan – Chanarayapatana – Kunigal – Nelamangala – Bangalore

The Shiradi Ghat road is pathetic; but because we are familiar with this road, we drove through without any troubles. We made a quick stop at Kamat for a coffee, and then continued our drive. When we reached Bangalore, the horrible traffic brought us back to reality with a thud. Sigh.

I hope that you will try this road trip. If you do, let us know your experience.