Monsoon bike ride to Madikeri - July 2021

In this article, I will share my experience of a wonderful Monsoon bike ride to Madikeri, Karnataka. Situated in the majestic Western Ghats mountain ranges, it is one of the most popular weekend/holiday destination for people travelling from Bengaluru and Mysuru. Perfect place to experience the beauty of Mother Nature with many sightseeing options at short distance from the town.

Monsoon drives are always exciting because of the several unique experiences it has to offer - chill weather, lush greenery all around, frequent drizzles, and of course heavy pourings. Bike rides are enjoyable during the season and even more adventurous as you are exposed to all of these directly. Also, there are small perks like hot tea for your body while savoring Green Tree for your eyes.

Started as colleagues and now good friends, Myself and Akash had discussed about the trip a couple of days before and zeroed in on Madikeri as the destination. Reasons were obvious - one of the most beautiful places in Karnataka, lot of sightseeing options, journey distance neither too short nor too long. Ticks all the boxes for a perfect weekend bike trip.

Day 1 : Travel to Madikeri - July 17th 2021

After a sound sleep the night, we got ready and reached the agreed meeting point around 8.30 AM. Even though there was continuous downpour the previous night, it was still cloudy in the morning. It was peak monsoon season and since there was a forecast of heavy rainfall for the next 2 days in and around Madikeri, we were prepared with the necessary gears for us and poncho to cover the bags. The distance to Madikeri from Bengaluru is 250 Kilometers and the route is as follows

Bengaluru -> Bidadi -> Mandya -> Mysuru -> Hunsur -> Kushalnagar -> Madikeri

The first hour of our ride passed by swiftly because of the pleasant weather and it was time for breakfast. We stopped at Hotel Sri Renukamba Thatte Idli in Bidadi. Having its roots from the year 1959, this is one of the oldest restaurants in town and best known for consistency of food quality and hence it is the most popular option for people traveling towards Mysore. Legendary Kannada movie actor Dr. Rajkumar used to frequently visit this place, portraits of which are proudly placed on walls by the owner.

Delicious food at Bidadi Tatte Idli Hotel

After breakfast, we continued our journey towards Mysuru. Reached Maddur when we noticed that sky was clear and weather was sunny. It took longer than usual to reach Mysuru as there were constant detours on the highway due to the ongoing lane expansion project. It is estimated that one can reach Mysuru in 90 minutes once this project is completed (scheduled in mid of 2022). As we took a bypass towards Hunsur road, reached Hootagalli which is the hometown of Hemanth, our mutual friend. We gave him a call to check if he is available to meet and he was able to make it in a short time. We decided to catch up with him and simultaneously finish lunch as it was around 2 PM. He led us to a good restaurant nearby, which was close by the infamous Infosys Campus in Mysuru. We revived the good old times for a while, it had been more than a year since we previously met.

2-Hemanth Meetup
Akash, Myself and Hemanth at Hotel Rasoi, Mysuru

After the meal, we headed towards Hunsur and drove for an hour and a half, when we could see few coffee estates which indicated that Madikeri was only a few miles ahead. It started drizzling at this point and as we gained elevation, the rainfall intensified. Had the first panoramic view of Madikeri city from atop, which looked beautiful amidst the clouds.

Madikeri city view from atop
Madikeri city centre

We had some time before Sunset hence decided to visit Raja Seat which is located at the heart of Madikeri town. We were drenched completely but since we were constantly on the ride, our body had adapted to cold weather. But within 5 minutes of exploring Raja Seat after parking our bikes, we started shivering. The views were foggy and could only get a small sighting when winds forced clouds to move, but only for a few seconds.

Felt great after having a cup of tea, then we started searching for a place to stay, as we had not booked any Hotel room. Got a decent room at the town center and we ordered food via room service as it was still raining. Spent the rest of the evening catching up on our lives.

Day 2 : Short trip to Mandalpatti

We were lazy till noon not only because there were continuous showers, but also because it was a Sunday. We ordered brunch again via room service and had it while it was hot. Then we decided to go for a ride in the rain. Our next destination was Mandalpatti, which is around 20 Kilometers from Madikeri. Also known as Mugilpet, thanks to the popular Kannada movie Gaalipata. The ride to Mandalpatti was along the narrow zigzag roads. The views were spectacular and not many vehicles commuted in the route. We took advantage of this as we picked the best spots for photography.

Eye catching beauty on the way to Mandalpatti

Came across a small bridge with around 8 Kilometers to go, where there were jeeps for hire. Although the roads were decent for 2-3 Kilometers, it was extreme off-roads further on to the journey, making it almost impossible for bikes in monsoon. We parked our bikes nearby and got onto the jeep. As we reached the checkpost, I had to get out of the jeep to collect the forest entry permissions. I was fully drenched by the time I came back inside due to heavy showers. As we ascended, we were amazed by the skills of our driver who navigated seamlessly through extremely tough driving condition. We observed this from the back while trying hard not to fall off the jeep. The road visibility was gradually decreasing due to fog covering the peak. We finally reached the parking lot after 20 minutes of a bitter-sweet experience.

As we got down from the jeep, we felt heavy winds gushing towards us, which made us focus on just standing our ground. We could not even spot the summit because of the thick fog and visibility was not more than 10 feet. After climbing for few minutes, took a 360-degree view and we were only able to spot the next few steps to climb. Heaven. That's where we thought we were amidst the thick milk-white clouds. It was a blissful feeling, which we immensely enjoyed. After 10 minutes of walk, reached the summit of this wonderland, where we spent some quality time.

One must experience Madikeri in 2 seasons, Monsoon for the thick fog experience and October to December for clear views of the landscapes. A lot of people miss out on the Monsoon thinking it's an offseason, but I strongly recommend experiencing it at least once.

Stairway to Heaven

After a sense of satisfaction, reached back to the place where our bikes were parked. We had just enough time to enjoy a few moments near the beautiful bridge which we had earlier spotted and a photo session before heading back to the hotel room.

Beautiful bridge on the way

It was dinner time when we reached and after putting on some dry clothes, decided to explore the city for options. We found our preference with Dominos Pizza but the store closes by 8 PM (Yes Really!!) so had North Indian Food at a quality restaurant instead. After reaching back at the hotel, we put out all the wet clothes from our bags, for drying but had no hope that it would. Soon we realized the tiredness as we fell asleep quickly.

Day 3 : Malalli waterfall visit and return to Bengaluru

The plan was to return to Bengaluru via Somwarpet route, as we wanted to visit a waterfall, which is around 25 Kilometers from Somwarpet. Malalli waterfall is formed by Kumaradhara River, a river that also flows near the popular Kukke Subrahmanya Temple dedicated to Lord Subrahmanya, Son of Lord Shiva.

We relaxed at the hotel till noon as we knew that it was going to be a long ride, with almost 280 Kilometers to be covered on the same day. We checked out after lunch and took a deviation towards Somwarpet, after riding 10 Kilometers from Madikeri city. There was continuous drizzle from the time we started and the poncho was protecting our bags from getting wet. Soon we reached a spot around a coffee estate, and the beauty of the place demanded that we stop riding for a while.

Monsoon season at its very best

Within half an hour of the journey ahead, there were heavy showers and it was very challenging to even get a clear vision of the roads, let alone riding. After an hour of difficult riding experience, we reached Shanthalli and the rain subsided. The drive for the next 5 Kilometers turned out to be very exciting. Landscapes started to open up and the views were mesmerizing, with an abundance of greenery all around. We were witnessing the Majestic Western Ghats in full glory and it was such a treat. Soon we sensed that waterfall was getting closer when we heard frequent sounds of gushing water and witnessed a couple of streams that were in close sight. Reached Malalli Falls around 5 PM. Light sprinkles of rain could be observed as we parked our bikes and started walking. As we walked further, we noticed the high fencings at the edges of the cliff, placed for safety. Upon reaching and peeking into the open spaces of the fence, we could see Kumaradhara river flowing at a distance with a huge roar. As we peeked further, we could only see a glimpse of the waterfall, as trees were covering the view. From the views so far, we could tell that the waterfall was at peak glory and we craved for more. There were steps nearby, which led to the base of the waterfall. As we started descending, the views were getting better with each step. After approximately 25-30 steps, we could see the large chunk of the glorious waterfall. The beauty of the waterfall was enriched by the widespread Western Ghats mountain ranges in the background. There were also constantly moving clouds partly covering the mountains, which enhanced the views. Soon a glimpse of Pushpagiri Hill at a distance caught our eye, which is one of the highest peaks in Karnataka and well known for trekking. We couldn't climb down all the steps to reach the base of the waterfall, but we were content with the amazing views which we could relish.

Roaring Malalli Falls and Pushpagiri Mountain ranges in the background

As we started back to Bengaluru, it turned dark within minutes followed by a heavy downpour once again. After a ride for an hour in what was the heaviest rainfall experience of the trip, we stopped at a small town and had delicious Masala Dosa in a small local restaurant, which we gulped in less than a minute as we were hungry. We were drenched fully and couldn't even sit down on the chair but still, we were enjoying the cold weather. There was constant drizzle till we reached Kunigal around 11:30 PM, where we stopped for dinner. Since we got to know that rain had subsided in Bengaluru, we changed to relatively dry clothes before proceeding. Reached Bengaluru after an hour, feeling content with the amazing memories that we carried from the trip.

All necessary precautions were taken throughout the trip to minimize public interactions and safety measures like masks, sanitizers were used appropriately.

PS : Nature is our Home and it is our responsibility to protect it. Please do not litter during the trips, carry them back to do proper disposal.


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