It has now been close to 6 months since we had been on a trip, even a short one. We were impatient to go out and see the places we hadn't yet been to. It was a good test of patience all these months and I think we aced it with flying colors. Things are slowly falling back to normal here. People have come to accept that this virus is here to stay for sometime now and this hurdle can only be conquered by being your own guardian angel and taking all the necessary precautions when stepping out of the house. Staying cooped up in the home isn't a solution anymore. Life must go on, but with precautions.
After a lot of thought over this new norm of life, Akshay and I decided to take a quick trip to a place close to Bangalore, just to set things in motion for us and test the waters before traveling full swing. It was also high time our eyes and minds needed to see and be at a place other than the confinements of our home. So we chose our destination for the weekend - Dandiganahalli Dam. It is at a distance of approximately 85 km from Bangalore. A perfect spot that is not too far for a first time trip post the extremities of the past few months and also not too close, that it would disappoint us of not spending much time on the road.
So we set off at around 7 a.m. Saturday morning. Our travel pack this time included a new item. An item we had wanted to carry all this time. Oh it's not what you are thinking. Of course hand sanitizer is a mandate now. I am talking about a flask filled with hot, masala chai! For those of you who are unaware what that is, it is nothing but tea brewed with aromatic herbs and spices. The kind of tea that you would definitely want to consume during a trip like this one. The fact that eating at a restaurant is still not an option, this flask obviously made it to our travel pack.
As you can see there are several routes to reach this place. We chose the Chikkaballapur road as it passes via Yelahanka which encompasses a beautiful 4-lane road.
We were expecting traffic while heading out of Bangalore as it was a Saturday. Thanks to our lucky stars, there hardly were any, except until we took a detour to the road that led to the dam near Chikkaballapur. Now the thing to remember here is, first, it is a village limits you will be entering. So driving/riding slow is the best thing to do. There is no saying as to from where people will pop out on the road all of a sudden. Second, there are stretches where the road is under repair and at some places seriously damaged. Damaged is an understatement. There are craters like that on the moon on some parts of the road! But this is only a very small stretch as the road overall is indeed very beautiful. Then there are stretches where it passes well within the village so you actually see their lives up close, which is kinda fascinating for Akshay and me. Also the route is very scenic and since it is the onset of monsoons here in Bangalore, the place is lush green. What we loved the most here are the kids. When we passed them they always cheered us on, waving at us and screaming "Byeeee!!!" Simply loved it. A word of caution here is the last 1.5 km or so can be a bit challenging as it is a mud road. Good for 2 wheeler but not so good for a 4 wheeler unless you have good ground clearance and a good suspension on the tow to take some beating.
It was a breathtaking scene that unfolded before us when we reached our destination. Luckily there weren't many people here and many were already departing as it was around 10 a.m. when we finally reached. Fortunately it was not a very sunny day and the occasional clouds brought some relief when the sun turned harsh.
We opened up our flask of tea to savor it by the lake. The atmosphere was serene - seeing the locals let their farm animals graze peacefully around, the small ripples formed by the occasional dragonflies hovering over the water was a different feeling altogether. It made us realize how beautiful this world is and how we missed it all. Nature had indeed recovered with almost no interference from humans. Wish we humans weren't so harmful for the world after all.
We saw a local, with his son, washing his animals in the lake at a distance. The poor kid was given the responsibility of a sheep which seemed stubborn and the boy seemed to be having troubles holding onto the sheep. We found this intriguing and went up to the kid and started speaking to him in the native language (Kannada). He was pretty taken aback and was hesitant to answer at first. But after some chit-chat he seemed comfortable with our presence and with his and his father's permission we clicked a few pictures of the stubborn sheep with his human. To see all our pictures of the day, you may check out the Galleries section of the site.
If you head out further from the dam you will see an old, rattling pier. It was pretty crowded so we couldn't walk on it. Honestly, I am glad I couldn't get on it because it looked pretty unstable and this was not very comforting. Post this pier you will see a trail that leads up a small hillock. Barricades in the form of thorny bushes are placed at the entrance of this trail. Not sure why this is so, but if you make it to the top, it is a breathtaking view, not just for the eyes, but for your lungs as well (pun intended!)
This is a good place to start with one's post lockdown trip. It isn't too far off from the city but also not too close to feel like a short trip. A word of advice is you carry your food and water as there are no eateries around this place. it is a spectacular place indeed, but to continue keeping this place so, people should carry their trash back home. Sadly, the shore is strewn with plastics and other garbage. It is a sad thing that there are no garbage bins around but that should not stop one from keeping this place clean. So if you are heading out here make sure you don't litter it and preserve this place it at it's best for others who arrive after you, seeking the peace that you came out to seek as well.
See you until next adventure...