Saturday 3 November 2018

Kasargod – God’s own District in God’s own Country

Riding a motorcycle brings out the child in you. When a troupe of kids wave at you from a school bus, it is because you are living their dream of riding a motorcycle. This is one of the most exciting moments on a motorcycle trip. A seven-year-old boy ran to the road shouting ‘KTM, KTM’ while riding through an unknown village road to Settukunnu in Wayanad! That is a riveting moment on our road trips.

With our frequent ride on the BM road, the trip to Hassan is now like the homecoming. The stretch between Hassan and Sakleshpur remains dreadful.Hotel Aashrita(Tel: 08453994105, dbl 1000 onwards) on BM road in Sakleshpur is a convenient option to stay. Surabhi Restaurant, which is part of the Hotel, is an ideal location to increase the footfall of the travellers. They dish up basic vegetarian food with some specialities from Hassan and Mangalore cuisine. Rooms are clean and tidy with helpful staff. Hot water is available between 5 and 7 AM.

Starting early on Saturday morning from Sakleshpur was a good idea. We cruised through the newly laid Shiradi ghat road sans the traffic. Turn left onto Bandadka-Bangalore road at Gundya. It takes a little more than an hour to reach Subramanya. A few kilometres before Subramanya, atHotel Devi Hallimane, we enjoyed the faint drizzle that lasted a mere ten minutes. The route from Gundya to Sullia is enticing, meandering through the forest with the tarmac of the roads in excellent condition. Be prepared for the bumpy ride after deviating from Sullia towards Panathur. The scenery is worth the pain, with zero tourist traffic. KSRTC - Kerala and Karnataka - buses ply on this route, the road bifurcates into two at Narkoodu. The right deviation goes through Bandadka other goes through Aletty- Kallappally. The road we chose is easier to go to Panathur.Gmaps. The Bandadka route connects to a place a little further from Panathur called Panathady. This is easier to get to Kolichal and further towards Kanhangad. Though, at the time of our trip, repair work was going on.Gmaps. Reaching Panathur was a relief from bad roads and satiating the craving for black tea (fondly called "Kattan" in Malayalam). Kolichal is 10 km from Panathur towards Kahnangad.

Kanila Eco Homestay lives up to its name - a simplistic and eco-friendly room with basic amenities. Host Vinod has been helpful starting from booking the place (there was a problem with making payment from the Airbnb app). His experience in the hospitality industry is evident in the way he takes care of every minute detail with his gentlemanly gestures. He is on his toes to make your stay comfortable and as enjoyable as possible. The property is the last house in the colony, with a calm and serene stream flowing by. An ideal place to sleep listening to the sound of flowing water when not gazing at the stars. Chirping birds work as the natural alarm and is the perfect place to enjoy your morning cup of tea without the newspaper - the worry about what's happening in the world. The room is adequately furnished with a kitchenette consisting of essential utensils. Lazy? Sit near the stream with your feet in the water to enjoy free fish therapy. Active? Ask Vinod to take you to a river 30min walk away and swim against the strong current.

Bhagamandala is 40km from Kolichal via Panathur-Karike through a treacherous road inside TalaCauvery Wildlife Sanctuary. Though the roads are pathetic, the ride is spectacular. Expect no traffic until you reach Bhagamandala. A left turn takes you to Madikeri, and 6km to the right takes you to the TalaCauvery temple. Recent floods have created havoc in this region - many trees are still lying partially on the road.

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