Set about 170 kms from Bengaluru (about 190 km from our home) and at around 5000 feet above Mean Sea Level, Biligiri Rangana Hills (also known as BR Hills) is a great spot for a day trip (add Barachukki falls and Mekedatu & you could maybe turn it into a quick weekend getaway). We had planned this trip a little late and hence couldn’t find any accommodation option on top of BR Hills. As such, we ended up booking a hotel in Chamrajnagar.
Prep Before the Journey
Being the monsoons, the thing that we ensured to carry was the raincoats, and a couple of clothes to change into for the drive next day (and of course, the regular spares such as spark plugs, cables and the Motul Tyre Repair, in case of flat tyre enroute).
Drive to BR Hills
We had planned to start at 6:30 AM, on 10th August 2019, to avoid the Mysore Road traffic (which was expected, especially because of the long weekend due to Bakrid on 12th August 2019). However, being the lazy couple that we are, we managed to start only by 8:00 AM. We took the Outer Ring Road from Hennur and then continued on the ORR and followed the Google Maps till we reached Mysore Road where, we did find some traffic congestion, which eased up pretty soon, surprisingly and thankfully.
Our first stop was at Kamat Lokaruchi at around 9:30 AM for breakfast, where we had their famous Idlis wrapped in Turmeric Leaves and a Masala Dosa and of course coffees! We spent about 40 odd minutes there and were back on our way to BR Hills.
We stayed on the NH 275 till we reached Maddur where we took a left turn to hit the NH 948, the road that leads to Malavalli and Kollegal. We made a few photostops enroute and reached BR Hills at around 1:30 PM.
Close to Shivanasamudra, there are many points where the road runs parallel to the Kaveri river and that is where we witnessed up close how amazing, yet terrifying mother nature can be. The Kaveri river was in full flow and to us it looked the river was aggressive and angry (most probably at us humans for screwing up this planet)! At one point we had to cross a bridge and we could feel the bike being pushed to the left by the heavy winds! It was quite the experience.
Reaching BR Hills
At one point, we found that Maps was asking us to take the road to the left that would lead us to BR Hill in about 30 odd KM while the direction board on the road asked us to take the road to the right that would lead us to BR Hill in about 50 odd KM.
We trusted Google Maps, because of our wonderful experiences with Google in the past and it sure didn’t disappoint. While the roads weren’t exactly smooth and were quite narrow, the experience was wonderful, passing through numerous small towns and lush green fields with the view of the many many mountains in the background! Makes for pretty good photographs!
We then resumed our ride and reached the entry point of the BRT Wildlife Sanctuary. One needs to stop at the checkpoint to make an entry. The 4 wheelers are generally checked before being allowed to go through. The sign boards at the entry specifies that one shouldn’t stop anywhere in the sanctuary. We did find a few vehicles stopping midway to click photos, but one should avoid doing that because the roads are quite narrow in the first place and buses ply through them quite regularly, making such stops quite dangerous to everyone.
The drive through the sanctuary was amazing with winding roads and a forest for company. For most of the journey, we didn’t have many vehicles near us, and we totally enjoyed the sounds of natures. For about 100 mtrs, we turned off the bike engine to soak in those sounds! Be careful though; make sure that is done in a straight stretch and that there are no vehicles close by and most importantly do it for a short distance only. Let’s not endanger anyone else (animals or humans)!
At BR Hills
After crossing the sanctuary and riding for a short while, we reached the BR hills. Now, for those who aren’t aware, like we were when we reached there, the viewpoint is behind the temple. To reach the temple we had to climb a number of stairs (was quite the exercise). We found a lot of pilgrims walking all the way to the top, barefooted. Since we weren’t planning to go the temples, we kept our shoes on and started the small hike.
Remember, once you reach the top of the stairs, take a right and walk till you reach the temple. From there you’ll see an arch on the right side of the temple which is the entrance to the viewpoint.
The natural beauty at the top of BR Hills kept us mesmerized. It was a feeling that cannot be put into words and we feel that no amount of photography skills can do justice to the views that this place has to offer! We were, literally, in the middle of clouds!
We spent over an hour at this place, clicking a lot of pics. At one point of time, it started raining cats and dogs and we were forced to take shelter while we put on our rainwear!
Quick Note: The helmet with Pinlock 30 by SMK was incredibly useful with the visor not getting fogged up at all leading to excellent view through the visor making the drive all the more easier! I guess the next thing to purchase would be the water repellent for the helmet visor! (Leave your comments if you have any suggestions??)
After putting on the rain gear, we were on our way to Chamrajnagar to check-in to our hotel, again passing through the BRT Wildlife Sanctuary for another wonderful ride through nature!
While not part of our plan (mainly because we weren’t aware of this place), we luckily saw a few people stopping by here and we decided to check it out. Thank god we did that because, whattay view!!
We decided to ditch the stairs and decided to hike a bit to reach the viewing area! One could just stay there and enjoy the views or click a lot of photos (of course one could do both!). A great place to visit for sure!
Hotel for the Night
Post this we started our ride to the hotel. The roads, most of the time, were in pretty good shape and we reached the hotel in no time where we spent the rest of the day lazing around and grabbing some food! I did forget to mention that we “forgot” to have our lunch and realized this only after reaching the hotel! Goes on to show how amazing and mesmerizing the entire ride was!
Our Stay at Chamrajnagar: Nijaguna Resort Chamrajnagar (A pretty good place to halt, if interested. The food at the resort was quite tasty as well)
Next Day: Barachukki Falls
Given that we witnessed how full the Kaveri river was, we were sure that the Barachukki falls would be in their full glory and decided to check it out the next morning. Our original plan was to visit Mekedatu today, but we were informed by the hotel staff that the road to Mekedatu was not safe and hence closed. Not sure if true but looking at the situation, it did seem plausible.
We had our breakfast at the resort and started towards Barachukki Falls. The road again was mostly good with a few bad patches and we reached the turn towards Barachukki falls in no time. Just about a half odd kilometer from the entrance to the viewpoint, there is place where you can view the Kaveri river flowing up close. Another wonderful opportunity to click some gorgeous photos. Be careful though. There are no barricades whatsoever!
After spending over 30 minutes here, we started towards the falls, which as expected will flowing in full glory! This time, the gate to the viewpoint below the regular platform was also open (an entry fee of INR 5 per person) and the waterfall was spewing water mist all the way to the viewing platform, which in all fairness, was not exactly close to the falls. Wonderful experience. We, for a moment, thought that it had started raining, which turned out to be the water from the falls!
Because of the heavy flow of the Kaveri river and the number of tourists flocking to visit the falls, police were deployed all over the area to ensure safety of everyone. They were stationed at all the major points including the bridges and was surely a reassuring sight that the government is taking steps to reduce risks associated!
After spending close to an hour at the Barachukki falls, we started towards Bengaluru, not before downing a tender coconut each (electrolytes and hydration!). With wonderful roads ahead of us, we decided to have another late lunch. We chose Rasta café as our place for lunch and reached there just around that time we started feeling hungry!
Post lunch, we were back on the highway and on the way home. Luckily, we didn’t face any of the traffic that Mysore Road is notorious for, probably because Monday, 12th August 2019 was Bakrid and not many people had planned to return home on Sunday. As such, we reached home in no time!
That marked the end of a short but wonderful trip and we, surprisingly, weren’t tired or exhausted at all! Maybe it was the excitement of our first long ride, but we felt fresh and content after reaching home instead of being tired and sleepy!
Looking forward to many more such trips (we’re already planning for the next one. Most probably this Independence Day!)
Happy Riding and Safe Travels!!