My hubby, Akshay and I, finally zeroed in on a weekend and planned our short trip, that would not only be our getaway from our routine but will also be Phoenix's break-in. We have always loved Mysore. This city is simply amazing. Less traffic, friendly people, good food and also this place much like a central hub that connects so many other beautiful places around like Ooty, Coorg, Mangalore and cuts short a lot of distance as compared to, from Bangalore. That said, we decided to visit the not-so-much-visited place, Mandalpatti in Madikeri as well.
So you see that was our road map for Phoenix's break-in.
Day 1: Bangalore to Mysore
We usually set off early Saturday morning, but this time we decided to utilise our time to the fullest and hence set out off of Bangalore on a Friday evening. Now, for those of you who are unfamiliar with Bangalore's traffic on a Friday evening...on the Yeshwanthpura junction, trying to wriggle yourself out of the city is no less of a feat than surviving through an apocalypse. Sometimes I wish we had power to shrink like, Ant-Man, escape all the traffic and grow back to normal when you hit the NICE Ring road! So it goes without saying that it took us good 2 hours to reach the NICE road and post that Akshay let Phoenix fly. The bike roared like he was hungry for the open roads and wanted to give us a feel of what he is capable of on the highways. And I must say he managed to impress us both:)
We fuelled up Phoenix en-route and it was now time to fuel our growling tummies. We stopped by at a hotel called 'Vaishali' which falls on the Mysore road, after Channapatna. I wholeheartedly recommend this place for hungry tourists and travellers, as the food here is simply delicious. Hubby and I do not eat heavy on our rides so we ordered a Dal Khichdi and I can say that this was one of the best I had tasted so far! We forgot to click photos of the food as we were busy gobbling up.
Once our tummies were filled and we could think straight, we resumed our journey. It had been a long time since we were out on a night ride. The last time we did that was on the first long ride of our lives, to Goa...from Mysore....on a bike...with no proper riding gears...and a 5 kg backpack on me!!! That is a story in itself and can wait for some other day. So here we were on the beautiful Bangalore-Mysore road, under a star-lit night with fellow riders, drivers, travellers on the road, all of whom seemed to enjoy this particular night ride. And finally, we reached our hotel at around 10.45 p.m. tired, but supremely happy. We stayed at a place called "Southern Star", which is a 4-star hotel in Mysore. Now we don't usually prefer such high-profile hotels for our stay, but my lucky hubby was able to find a really good deal on MMT and we ended up here.
The hotel offers a sumptuous buffet dinner, which was THE BEST one I've eaten so far. The varieties of delicacies will simply blow your palette! Personally, the best dish of the night was, Cabbage pallya. Brought back my childhood memories (Yes! I loved cabbage pallya when I was a kid. Hard to believe, but true).
Later, we retired to a peaceful night knowing tomorrow will bring an adventurous day out with Phoenix.
Day 2: Mysore to Mandalpatti
Our day began early at 5.30 a.m. with us hurrying through our morning chores to hit the road way before the first rays of sun kissed us. With Phoenix, we did not have the headache of mounting the saddle bag or a tank bag. We had carried a top box and that put a rest to a lot of our worries as we could dump all our digital equipment in it and lock it up. We had a quick, light breakfast at 'Ashirvaad Grand'. We prefer having a simple breakfast of the duo who are every South Indian's delight - the Idly-Vada. This restaurant is a nice place to hangout with your family en-route Coorg and the food is good and the best part is you have ample parking space here. So your vehicle can rest safely while you spend quality time with your loved ones.
Once on the road, we were greeted by thick fog at 8.30 in the morning! We were taken aback to see this. It felt as if we were transported into another dimension altogether. As we entered the thick fog, visibility reduced to just 100 meters and our visors started fogging up badly too. We had to ride real slow to avoid any mishaps. And then my adventure-seeker hubby caught sight of this beautiful trail, just off the highway. The photographers in us were awoken and we clicked quite a few pictures here, enjoyed the silence and the foggy sunrise and were on our way again.
The sun was now high up in the sky and the fog was lifting off. We maintained a good speed and tried to reach our destination before it was too sunny. As we took a diversion to head towards Mandalpatti, the roads began to narrow. Concrete roads and even the tar roads started guest appearing along the way. We started wondering as to why there were so few vehicles around. We hardly encountered any oncoming vehicles, which is a good thing, given the size and condition of the roads. As we continued, we realized why this was so. The roads started turning dusty. Well, I can't even call them roads anymore just dusty paths, with thick stones everywhere. Though Phoenix is powerful, torque-wise, it started becoming challenging, what with the smoothness of the dust. It was becoming difficult to find traction and Akshay had to use up all his skills to keep the bike steady. I held onto my dear life like never before! I clinged to my life, half clutching onto my hubby's poor shoulders and half onto Phoenix's saddle stays. At this one point the incline was so steep that I had to get off the bike (hey! not that I am heavy) and give little jolts from behind for it to roll front.
And then when we looked up the road that gave way, in the distance, in the far, far distance, we saw the beautiful Mandalpatti peak. But reaching it was another major challenge. This road was about to put to shame the previous roads in terms of accessibility. Honestly, there was NO ROAD!!! Period. This is the reason why you will find lots of Jeeps providing what is called "Jeep Safari" by the locals, because, apparently these are the only rugged vehicles around that can make it through the roads. By now Akshay's muscles and Phoenix's engine were crying of exhaustion and we decided not to continue further on this road and parked our bike alongside a small peak by the road. We off-loaded our heavy, protective gears and headed to the peak carrying our equipment (that includes, a DSLR, DJI Osmo, 360 camera and of course, our phones for quick shots).
We sat on the peak, enjoying the silence. The only sound was that of the wind howling across our sweaty faces. That was the only sound until humans started invading the place. It is not that I hate people, but there definitely is a minimum expectation of maintaining a decorum that equally respects the tranquillity of the place and also upholds your principles and answers the question as to why you were born a human and not some random animal. Sadly, some "socially, rational animals" do not seem to understand this very simple, easily digestible thoughts and started screaming, shouting, hooting in the name of enjoyment. I know I am no celebrity that you would pay heed to my request, but, from one human to another, if ever you are, I would say, blessed to visit a place of this kind, please, an earnest request. RESPECT IT. Show the respect that this place deserves and behave like the being you were born and not make someone uncomfortable that they leave disappointed, disgusted at the kind of fellow riders/tourists/travellers that they dread to encounter the next time they are out in such tourist spots.
On a better note, sometimes these situations do teach you that, "Ignorance is Bliss", and that is what we did that day. We captured some beautiful snaps of Mother Nature and some pictures of us and started our ride back to Mysore. Now after such an adventure, we could hear our stomachs growling loud and clear, indicating us that it was high time we fed it. And to our luck, we found this amazing place to feed our tummy and our soul. I mean it when I say this. "Big Cup Cafe", that's the name. This place offers some mouth-watering delicacies and also a lot of varieties of coffee serves. We met Ismail, who attended us and was friendly enough to tell us all about the cafe and gave us a tour around.
Until Ismail pointed it out, we did not even realise that we were around some of the finest coffee plants. Yes! this place has coffee plants growing inside! He gave us a lot of information about how coffee is made, the different types of coffee, why were there different coffees in the first place and how Big Cup was the only Indian exporter of coffee beans to an exotic American company. If you looked around this place carefully you could find everything you needed to know about the coffee that you were happily sipping from your cup.
With stomach filled with food and delicious coffee and our minds filled with knowledge, we headed to our hotel room back in Mysore. Sipping on a hot cup of tea in the evening, Akshay and I recounted our journey through the day and how we will cherish it with all our hearts. We knew this was the beginning of many more journeys to come in the future where we will have a disk full of photos and a website full of blog posts and then it was time to head back to Bangalore, until next our adventure :)