Exploring Chikmagalur Day 1 : Hirekolale Lake & Mallanduru shooting point
Right after winding up our visit to Javagal Lakshmi Narayana Temple, we headed towards our primary destination: Chikmagalur.
We took the scenic route which goes through Belavadi and joins Belur – Chikmagalur state highway 57 at Magadi handpost. It took around 1 hour to traverse 38 km to reach Chikmagalur town. We had our bookings at Giri Inn. It is a no-frills budget stay with a decent covered parking spot for the car if you reach early. Covered car space is limited to max 4 cars in this hotel. We reached there on time at around 11-30am and got the perfect parking spot. This was pretty important for us as we were going to park our car for the next 24 hours and use Scooter to explore around Chikmagalur.
Ditching our car
Yes, a ‘Scooter’!!! We were very much aware of the narrow and crowded roads of Chikmagalur which leads to popular destinations like Mullayyanagiri, Bababudaniri and Kemmannugundi etc. Moreover this time we planned to explore some interior, not very much explored places of Chikmagalur. Road conditions to these places were unknown to us. So to be on safer side, we thought of riding a two-wheeler instead of a car.
To our luck, popular two-wheeler renting platform, ‘Royal Brothers’ were operating in Chikmagalur. So now came the option to choose the ride. There was a fairly less choice of bikes. We had to choose between Activa, Avenger, RE Classic, and RE Thunderbird. Generally, bike rental operators maintain the vehicle poorly, and renting a RE from this kind of operator often results in a breakdown on the way. We own Avenger and didn’t want to go ahead with the same riding feel once again here. So left with the only choice of renting an Activa. Riding a gearless vehicle gives the freedom to concentrate completely on nature and surroundings. To be on the safer side regarding the condition of the vehicle, we chose the newer model available. So before even the trip began, a new Activa was waiting for us in Chikmagalur (At least we hoped for that).
Not so Royal experience
After checking in to the hotel, we quickly had our lunch at the nearby Vishnu Delicacy restaurant. After lunch, Ranjani went back to the Hotel. Boarding an auto-rickshaw I headed towards the Royal Brothers garage which was 2 km away from Giri Inn. Our booking was from 1 pm till 4 pm the next day. Reached the workshop at sharp 1 pm. I was hoping the vehicle would be ready. But to my shock, Royal Brothers garage was literally like some local garage with 2, 3 bikes in very poor condition. There was no one to enquire about. Soon a young boy who was busy washing a vehicle in a nearby washing station came and enquired about my need. He dialed some number and I assumed it was the manager of the rental shop. He spoke to him and asked me to wait for some time as the scooter I booked is not been returned yet from the previous customer!!
After 15 mins of waiting, I tried calling customer service. No response for the first many attempts. Finally, it got connected and a customer rep assured me that solution would be provided soon. Another 30 mins went in vain. Meanwhile, I made various calls and repeated the same story but still, no solution was provided. It was already around 2 pm. It was starting to drizzle outside. Finally, at around 2-30, they provided me an almost dying old scooter which I was sure will not go more than 10 to 20 km. I was asked to take that bike for time being. And scooter I booked would be delivered directly to the hotel I am staying once it is available.
Every minute I was wasting arguing with the royal guys, I was losing a minute to explore Chikmagalur. Realizing this and without having any alternative option, I had to agree to the available scooter and rode towards the town. Luckily the renting firm agent called me by the time I reached Giri inn and provided me the scooter I booked – Activa 4g. As expected scooter was in fairly good condition and within the next few minutes after filling the fuel tank, we set towards Hirekolale lake.
Hirekolale lake is not as much famous as Ayyanakere lake. It is just 9 km away from Chikmagalur town and the route to reach the lake passes through the thin stretch of forest. As soon as we reached the lake, the sky became cloudy.
There was enough space to park 2 wheelers and 4 wheelers and no entry fee or parking fee, even though there was a counter present. Vehicle entry is restricted to the road which goes right towards the beautiful views of the lake. It is just around 100 m walk from the parking space to the viewpoint.
Curvy roads to reach Mullayyanagiri was visible amid fog from the lake. A small viewpoint constructed a few meters away from the shore of the lake is connected by a small walkway. It is a hotspot for photo lovers. after clicking a few beautiful shots and video clips, we were ready for the next destination. The weather was getting cloudy and by the time we returned to the parking spot, it suddenly started pouring heavily. We waited at the counter for around 15 mins for the rain to cease. Dressed up in raincoats, we started the scooter and rode towards Mallanduru in the rain-soaked inner routes of Chikkamagaluru.
Route to Mallanduru
Mallanduru is 16.5 km from Hirekolale lake. The shortest route to Mallanduru from here passes through very beautiful villages like Uluvagilu, Jakkanahalli, and Makodu. you can also witness the view of the magnificent rock hill known as Bandekallu.
After reaching Mallanduru, we were unsure about the route as Google maps showed Mallanduru sunset point somewhere far away from Mallanduru town. Just to be sure, we confirmed the route with a villager and he was kind enough to guide us to the actual viewpoint.
Mallanduru viewpoint also called as Mallanduru shooting point is just 2 km from the town. After the initial few meters of village ambiance, the route traverses through a small thick stretch of coffee estate and forest and it opens suddenly to the vast wide top of a small hillock. a narrow mud road takes you to the end of the open hill. This place makes you feel like you are in mid of some beautiful golf course with the spectacular view of paddy fields on one side and the hills covered by lush green forest on the other side.
When we reached there, a group of bikers were already present at the point. We settled on the grassland for don’t know how much time. It was our last destination for the day and we had all the time till dusk. Watching clouds conversing with each other and the sun rushing to hide behind the hills was altogether a peaceful experience. After the initial glitch at the royal brothers’ delivery center, Day 1 of our trip ended as planned.
Live the experience
Isn’t watching a video is the best way to experience it yourself?