Friday, January 22, 2010

The Insignificant time lost!

Commuting is an activity none of us can avoid in our busy city/rat race kinda life. And, 99% of that time is insignificant and is lost in the stream of time available for a day - adding no value to our day and cumulatively to our years.
Now, what if i can make use of that time at least once a week to start with and then gradually move onto the higher planes of optimization?! Sounds crazy? Yes, definitely it can be used up rather than sitting like a log wood on that motorbike or like a potato on the driver's seat in your luxurious cars (I'm talking in particular riding/driving in the city).

Your guesses are correct, it's by the usage of a simple stuff called the 'bike' aka 'bicycle'. This was supposed to be the simplest mode of transport available in the earlier days, although it has undergone a sea of change in terms of technology and look n feel; it still remains simple and amazing.

That's exactly what i did, like all the other funky looking guys you see on the roads nowadays who've taken to biking recently. It sure did come with quite a number of apprehensions and self-doubts, some of 'em are: wouldn't i look awkward with that helmet n attire, would i be able to pedal 22 km up n down to office and back, would i be found wanting in a long ride for speed and stamina?!
Well i'd say from the experience that, fifty % by part of these stupid reasons vanish as soon as you take your bike to the road; and the remaining fifty % you overcome (apprehensions n doubts) and build gradually (stamina, strength n speed) over a period of time. Well there's  no diminution once you take to it and persevere with it, even if it's to achieve fat loss. :)

Once i started commuting to office on my initial bike which was Hercules ACT-105, i found that i take more or less the same time to commute as i do using a motorbike and definitely lesser using a car!
It was challenging initially to push harder on up-hills, and i used to dread that; not anymore. Now, i long for up-hills, the reason - when there's a uphill you've a down hill too, just like our lives.
The uphills improve your stamina, strength, toughness, endurance and extracts effort and makes you a better rider; just like the difficulties in life makes a person stronger and tougher.

You start to notice much more things around to detail, breathing rate and rhythm becomes better and still more you start enjoying the ride, along with having a feeling that you're not polluting the environs and burning fuel.
         Or let me put it in the colloquial phrase - "Not adding to the Carbon Foot-Print". Sounds familiar? If yes, think about it leaving the typecast perception we all have for it. It really makes a difference - the most would be in your day2day life in terms of the relief it provides from the stressful life, then fitness of course; and last but not the least - to the Environment as well!

Another nice thing's you need not stop at as many places as you do when on a motorbike or car, as you can take it through the footpaths and get down and push it through the signals (provided it is safe!). That saves you a lot of time and avoids the frustration of time loss at signals and traffic bottlenecks.
Burning those calories definitely gives you an extra satisfaction factor as well.

Now, enough of the merits; let's move on to the joy and fun part of it. You can embark on long rides early in the morning to see the magical side of it, it just rejuvenates you when you take to the roads having a lot of trees and a good scenic background.
In fact you don't have to go much far, the ORR-Sarjapur jn. to Sarjapur side road is one favourite among bikers because of its proximity. That road can take you through Varthur back to ORR or alternatively to Anekal road.

Some of the other Interesting routes:
- Banerghetta road to Anekal,
- Kanakapura road (towards Cauvery Fishing Camp),
- Magadi Road towards Savandurga,
- Mysore Road towards Big Banyan Tree to Manchinbele Dam to Savandurga.
- Nandi Hills
- Tumkur road (Shivganga or Devarayanadurga or Madhugiri)

These are few to start off with and then there are lot many you'll take to after that.

As a matter of fact Bicycle tourism is quite famous in other countries, especially Europe and US. And it is slowly but steadily picking up here as well.

Let me finish off this post with a quote:

"The bicycle is the perfect transducer to match man's metabolic energy to the impedance of locomotion.  Equipped with this tool, man outstrips the efficiency of not only all machines but all other animals as well."  ~Ivan Illich

Tuesday, January 12, 2010


An egoist can be won over by being respected, a crazy person can be won over by allowing him to behave in an insane manner and a wise person can be won over by truth.

- Chanakya/Kautilya

Saturday, January 2, 2010


Kabalidurga has been on the mind since i read a small description on the net which is the only description available about it, as I presume not many are aware about this place; at least I was not up until recently.
After couple of trips with my brother and his friend Rakesh were canceled in the year end owing to many reasons. The long weekend of the New year was beckoning a trip; and thought of taking the boys for at least a one day trip; and lo this new place was ready as a destination, as it was a new and unexplored place for us.
We initially had plans for an overnight camping as part of the trip, but the spontaneous planning and not having much idea about the place cancelled the camping option. I'd prefer a camping any day, as that renders a special touch to the trip because of the extended time spent and the conversations.
I'm gonna acknowledge Kabalidurga as K'durga hereon.
K'Durga is 80 km from Bengaluru along the Kanakapura road. Needless to say, but the Kanakapura road is a very scenic road with a lot of greenery on both the sides all along the drive/ride. Have had numerous outings to places along this road, and it still remains one of the most favourite roads of mine.
Now for Satanur, you gotta take the Kanakapura road, cross Kanakapura and head to Satanur wherein we take a left towards the famous Cauvery Fishing Camp; now for K'durga you gotta take a right instead of the left and keep going straight for around 6 km before taking a kaccha road to reach the foothill (you can ask anybody for this deviation). Reach the foothill, park your vehicle at a safe spot nearby and start the walk to the hill. Along the way you'll be greeted with some nice scenic hills around, couple of beautiful ponds and a small temple.

Now some info about K'durga and the fort+temples on the hill:
It is a vertical somewhat steep hill with a moderate to partially extreme level rating depending on the climber. To climb the hill one can use the footpath (with some steps in between) having severe gradient.
Ballala III mentions the place as Kabbala, according to Hoysala record from the same place. At the foot of the hill is the village with a temple locally called Kabbalamma. It has a prakara and a small Mukha mantapa. Above the tall vertical hill are located an old Bhimeshwara temple, a granary, magazine house, a small pond, etc. In the middle of the hill is a small cavern being converted into a temple enshrining an image of god Srinivasa. Measuring about half meter in height, above the rocky ceiling is a shikhara and there are two ponds within the precincts of the temple. The top most portion of the hill has one more pond; the hill also has fortifications all around which makes the climb all the more interesting.
As a matter of fact Mysore rulers used it as a dungeon for political prisoners. And Tippu changed the name of the place as “Jafferabad”. Having a view from this hill in the evening, one can undergo sublime experience of enjoying the enchanting scenes including green fields, the gold coated horizon etc.; this being no exaggeration.

That's about the info, now on to the climb. We were four of us with myself, my bro, his friend Rakesh and Rakesh's friend Sanosh. We'd reached the foothill by 3pm after we started the journey from Bangalore aroung 12.30pm. Parked the vehicle and took some time to have lunch which was some nice Veg biriyani prepared at home; the reason for delaying the climb up to 4pm was to escape the scorching sun.

As we were walking to find the starting point of the climb, saw some people climbing down, which helped in finding the starting point of the climb. As we started the climb and proceeded, got a somewhat steep gradient with a railing along for support which was missing intermittently which made it a bit interesting; and this sure was enough to trigger the adrenaline, as the further climb promised a lot of adventure which turned out to be true eventually.

There was good foliage en route coupled with boulders which added on to the beauty of the path.

Sightings of trees like these against the light blue background of the sky makes the trek all the more worthwhile giving some nice clicking opportunities. You'll find quite a number of interesting birds as well on trees; but i screwed up couple of opportunities of snapping birds on a beautiful tree - still an amateur!
I really like hiking these kind of routes which are so naturally appealing, with the contrast of rocky terrain and lot of greenery combined with the breathtaking views around; that given an option I'd run away every weekend to such places, which i used to do a lot before and less frequent nowadays.

We also came across quite a number of cactus plants, carpenter-bees and garden lizards to put on the fauna & flora list as you proceed in the shadow provided by the hill from the scorching sun.

Carpenter-bee posing to show its colors


The view of the hills surrounding on all four sides and the fields interspersed with small ponds keeps improving all along the climb. Around 1 to 1.5 hours will take you to the top of the hill and the top is flat with lot of trees, fortification and few house like structures; may be some of which might have been used by Tippu sultan's soldiers. There also are 2 small temples with the main one of Lord Shiva.
One of the things worth climbing for is the view of the numerous hills and the thick forest, from behind the small temple (towards the back of K'durga); it simply is astounding and magnificent.

We had to quicken things up as it was getting darker, and we had to climb down the steep gradients before it got darker. Hurried up to check the house like structure made out of a cave beneath a rock, which looks mysterious; presume, it was a resting place for the soldiers.
Then we went for the next small brick structure through which trees had grown out and looked interesting with a small door. It was covered with leaves and shrubs inside, and do not have any idea what it might have been used for. Got some clicks and started the climb down which was pretty easier, interesting and less time consuming around say half an hour. The beauty of the surroundings, the hill and the evening sky in the twilight got augmented and provided some nice snaps.
So, managed to reach the foothill before it got darker and immediately started the journey back. And while coming back we sighted the moon in an unusual color pretty close to the horizon and quite big to spur the interest to stop for an exclusive shot of it; was a view you'd never get in a city or have a chance to see. The silence of the place augmented the magical effect of it.
This pic was taken at full optical zoom of 20x trying to capture its color with some leaves in the foreground:

We also had some great 'makki ki roti with saag and lassi' from a eatery called "Balle Balle" (typical small restaurant-dhaaba). Do not miss this as the food's really sumptuous; it is just after the Art of Living headquarters on the left hand side.
Reached Bangalore pretty quickly with less traffic in the night and finally calling it a day.

Great place for a trek any day.