In the company of Solitude! - A solo ride to offbeat destinations in Shimoga

The feeling of need for a new bike ride was building up since many days, and I would often think of my last bike trip, which was more ...

The feeling of need for a new bike ride was building up since many days, and I would often think of my last bike trip, which was more than an year ago. In the moment of heat, I decided to do what it takes.

November, the time of festivals and thus the time of long weekends and vacations. I decided to go for a trip no matter if someone joins me or not.

The D-day (Day 1) : Bangalore - Chitradurga - Davangere (265kms approx)

Wherever you go, go with all your heart. - Confucius

I had just reached Bangalore after celebrating Diwali at home. I was in dilemma, as I had no specific itinerary nor did I have any hotel bookings. All I had was my bike, and a bit of courage. The time was ticking and the sun was growing sharper. That is when I decided to wrap it up and leave for Chitradurga to see the infamous fort.

I filled up minimal petrol to keep the bike lighter and vrrrrrrrrrrooooooooooommm'ed. The road from the ORR to Chitradurga via NH48 and AH47 is one of the best roads, I have ever driven my bike on. There was absolutely no shade on the road. But the beauty of the roads, kind of made up for the lack of beautiful scenes.

As I neared Chitradurga, I could see a lot of windmills on the hills rotating swiftly in the cool breeze. I took a small detour towards one of the hills and watched it closely.

The Windmills!

Another 30kms into the ride, I was at the Chitradurga Fort. Its beautiful. I had only seen the fort in one of the old Kannada songs. Now I was seeing it for real. The fort is really huge, with lots of monuments. I was amused by how the rocks were arranged in perfect equilibrium.

Entering the fort!

Some temple within the fort

Hidimba temple

A small pond inside the fort

On the way back

Click here to view the amazing 360 degree view of the fort! (Opens in new tab)

READ ALSO: Dream ride to Leh Ladakh

It was 6 o clock, when I was done exploring the fort. The sun was going down and pale, while the shadows grew longer. I knew, I had one more hour of ride left before it gets dark. I had promised myself not to ride after the sunset.
I reached Davangere, which is about 60kms from the Fort. Since I had no hotel reservations, it took me a while to find one and rest for the night.

Nowhere can man find a quieter or more untroubled retreat than in his own soul. -Marcus Aurelius

Day 2 : Davangere - Shimogga - Sagar - Honnemaradu - Jog - Gundimane (230kms approx)

It's not about being fearless; it's about jumping anyway! -Anon

Started early on Day 2. It was around 6.40 AM when I left for Shimoga. Initially, I had a plan to go to Jog falls first, and then to explore the Pune-Maharashtra region! (Bhimashankar and Ahupe, one day I shall come). I decided to meet Anuradha, one of my friends who stays in Shimoga.

After about a ride of 15-20 minutes on the AH, a diversion to the left leads to Shimoga. This road is in pathetic condition, with intermittent stretches of good road ranging from a furlong to a kilometer. The repair was in progress. 

As I cruised along, the view on either side of the road was stunning. I could see just greenery as far as my eyes could see. The greenery slowly merging into a white thick fog at the horizon was amazing. My camera could capture only so much.


Click here to view the amazing 360 degree view of the greenery! (Opens in new tab)

I was at Anu's place by 10 am. She helped me plan the journey, as I didn't know much about the places nearby. Now I had a rough itinerary in mind and instead of heading to Jog, I planned for Honnemaradu.

Me and Anu

Honnemaradu is about 7-8 kms away from the highway. The road, as I expected was pathetic, full of mud and gravel. The forest around was dense and it could get pretty dark even in the broad daylight. Plus, I never spotted even a single person or vehicle on the way, which made me feel that I might have taken a wrong diversion. Thanks to the GPS, which put back the faith in me and I continued towards the destination.

The so-called "roads"!!

The place was deserted during this time of the year. Usually, this place hosts a lot of training camps at the nearby islands. Due to some recent accidents at the banks, such camps were stopped for a while. 

Honnemaradu Base

As I reached the banks, it was again deserted and I felt it was perfect! My eyes could only see water as far as it could. The water covered my entire vision. I spent some time wondering the beauty of nature, as I thoroughly enjoyed the solitude and the tranquility.

The Blue Waters of Honnemaradu

Its me!

Click here to view the amazing 360 degree view of Blue waters! (Opens in new tab)

After about an hour and half, it was time for Jog. Due to insufficient rains, Jog was all dried up and seemed to be praying for rain. I spent an hour at the Jog and another half an hour deciding where to go next. Meanwhile, I fuelled my hungry stomach with some light food and a coffee. As I finished my coffee, I decided to finally go for Dabbe falls the next morning.

Jog Crying!!

I still had no idea about the stay at night. I inquired about the nearby lodges with the locals, only to find that the nearest place was Sagar, 30kms away. That would mean that I have to travel 60kms from Sagar to visit Dabbe falls. I wanted to stay as close as possible to Dabbe falls, because it was on the back of mind that Dabbe falls trek was one of the toughest, and I just cannot afford the bike ride to wear me out.

At the exit gate of Jog, with hope of finding a second opinion about places to stay nearby, I inquired with a policeman, who suggested me of Gundimane. I was now on the way to Gundimane - a homestay.  I was told by the ongoers that it would be occupied most of the times and it would be difficult to get a room unless pre-booked online. I still went ahead with my gut feeling and trusted the almighty.

READ ALSO: Why did I cry at the Rupin Pass Summit

The road from Aralagoodu to Gundimane is one of the scariest roads I have travelled on!! Firstly. there is no tar toad, and secondly, it becomes very dark after sunset due to thick forests. The road was so deserted, that I never saw anyone except for a local guy who seemed to be going home after a day's work. I checked with him if I was on the right track, and thankfully, I was. Not to much of my surprise, the road was very muddy and slippery, with no road signs whatsoever.

Finally after a day's ride, I was at Gundimane. I was greeted warmly by the couple there, and it immediately felt like home. I knew I was in the right place. We chatted for an hour about my journey to the politics and what not. They also suggested me the route to Dabble falls, informed me about Bheemashankar, a nearby place. Meanwhile, my legs were strained due to this off-beat ride and they needed some sort of stretching. The stretching exercises from my badminton training came to rescue, and I slept peacefully.


Photographer in me!

( Holy Basil ) Tulsi Katte 

Flower full of Life!

Day 3 : Gundimane - Dabbe falls - Bheemashankar - Gundimane (80kms approx)

Fill your life with adventures, not things. Have stories to tell, not things to show! -Anon 

This was the day where I traveled the least (kms wise) and still the most tiring day of the journey!! Thanks to Dabbe Falls. 

Dabbe falls is about 20-25 kms from Gundimane. A diversion from Konjvalli village leads to "Gowdara Mane" (as its popularly known as) from where the trekking starts. The last few kilometers to the Gowdara Mane goes uphill and is full of gravel and stones. The ride was moderately difficult, with water flowing across the road occasionally.

READ ALSO: My first Himalayan Trek

On the way to Dabbe Falls

The road towards Dabbe

One has to be extra careful even on the straight road. Even a small stone could cause the bike to skid and cause an accident. It is again one of the remote areas like the Gundimane. I kept on asking the ongoers for directions. The vehicle was always in first to third gear, as it was uphill. A real endurance test for my bike and I knew it was gonna be my endurance test at the Dabbe falls trek!

Add captionMy Bike parked at Gowdara Mane

Finally reached Gowdara Mane at around 9.30am. The falls is down the hills. Its just about 2 kms, but its very steep and one has to depend solely on the roots that run down the hill. Climbing down the hill is extremely tiring and risky. At a point of time, I had to sit on the rocks and slide down. You would also find a section of the trek, where you definitely need a rope to crawl down. This part of the trek, I thought was 10 times riskier than the whole trek itself.

Paddy fields on the way to Dabbe!

Trekking down to Dabbe

Roots - the only support

As I crawled down further, I could see the falls roaring at a distance!!

Dabbe is a majesty!! As I walked near the falls, I could feel the tiny water droplets washing my face uniformly. These droplets seemed to be interacting with my skin, which had become pale after the tiresome trek. It was as if the droplets had sprung to life and decided to wash away the pain, bit by bit. It was exhilarating. Check out this video below!

Finally, Dabbe!!

Gushing water!

Selfie at Dabbe

The next stop was Bheemeshwara, (Not to be confused with Bheemeshwari) which was about 30 odd kms away. On the way back, I drove past a snake on those muddy roads. I guess I didn't run over it. I was afraid to even stop and see what happened.

READ ALSO: 10 Reasons why you should travel solo at least once

On the way to Bheemeshwara

After another tiresome hour of ride through patches of worst roads and few more patches of good roads, another diversion down the hill for about 2kms leads to the beautiful Bheemeshwar Temple. Needless to say that the roads were again muddy and dusty as before. This time the road was too steep.

Bheemeshwara Falls!!

 Bheemeshwara is a decent place, and definitely a tough ride. I was satisfied with the overall journey after I climbed around a hundred steps to reach the top at the temple. There is a small waterfall from the top of the hills which flows through the premises of the temple.


There is a legend about the temple which goes back to Ramayana. A priest in his late sixty's narrated this story to me as I keenly observed the way he never felt burdened even after climbing those steps to open the door of the temple just for a single visitor. That's what is devotion I guess. Click here to know more about the legend here. 

Back to the main road from Bheemeshwara

After about an hour's journey, I was back at Gundimane, but only with a pale face and the swollen legs. Beneath my pale face was a voice that was thrilled and overjoyed!! Although the body was tired, my mind was afresh from the two soothing falls I witnessed today. I felt alive again!

It was the time for sunset. The house owner, accompanied me to show the viewpoint where I could see the sunset. I walked another 200 meters up the hill limping and dragging my feet. At the top, I could see the see the sun slowly setting as the atmosphere turned colder. The reddish-orange sky seemed to blend seamlessly with the blue sky towards the east.

Sunset from a viewpoint near Gundimane

Click here to view the amazing 360-degree view from the Sunset viewpoint! (Opens in new tab)

The nights at Gundimane were colder owing to the dense forests. Gundimane is the only house that can be seen from the viewpoint.

Day 4 : Gundimane - Belur - Chikmagalur - Sakleshpura (250+ kms)

This day mainly consisted of a ride from Gundimane to Sakleshpura. On the way, I visited the Chennakeshava temple in Belur. Since Sakleshpur was still around 150 odd km, I left after Belur after another half an hour.

A marvelous piece of Art!

A miniature

Chennakeshava Temple, Belur

The roads from Chikamaglur to Sakleshpur were good and this stretch of the ride was more relaxed, as there was always some shade on the road.

A restaurant on the way

Do not try this at home, or on road or anywhere else! Drive safe always.

Day 5 : Sakleshpur - Kadumane Tea Estate- Bangalore(250+ kms)

I was very tired after these tiresome rides and treks. My legs were in deep pain after the Dabbe trek. They really needed some rest. I still managed to wake up by 6 o clock and left for Kadumane estate. 

Morning fog in Sakleshpur

The ride through the misty roads towards Kadumane was awesome. It was the only good thing today!! Only when I reached Kadumane estate, I learned that they did not allow any private vehicle towards the estate. However, visitors can walk for about a km down the hills to reach the actual scene. Looking at the condition of my legs, I decided that it was best for me, to not go for the walk. This was the toughest choice that I had to make through out the trip, and it was for the better.
It was around 10 am, when I finally left for Bangalore!

A view of Kadumane Estate 

Cat and dog playing together!
Tea powder from Kadumane

This was the most spontaneous trips of my life. Totally unprepared, and with neither any itinerary nor any list of places to visit. It felt really different. I knew, that this ride was going to change me and my perspective towards life and otherwise yet again! I guess this is life. I feel very much alive now. More than ever before. Driving through those thick forests all alone hoping to seek shelter at the night still gives me goosebumps, every time I think of it. Solo travel always teaches you something different. Every single time! Go solo!

Final reading after the trip: 1159 km. (Resets after 1k km)

Fear occupies every one of us. It's inevitable. But I guess its the courage to face the fear is what makes one different!! I am looking at another life-transforming travel, which I have never done before!! Stay tuned and always remember,

It's not the mountain ahead that wears you out; its the pebble in your shoe!




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Little Detours: In the company of Solitude! - A solo ride to offbeat destinations in Shimoga
In the company of Solitude! - A solo ride to offbeat destinations in Shimoga
Little Detours
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