Coimbatore to Bangalore – Bike Ride
Route: Coimbatore – Sathyamangalam – Kollegal – Malavalli – Kanakapura – Bangalore
Recommendation: Not for the faint hearted. At your own risk.
Distance ~320 km
Start: 27th Dec 1:30 PM Duration: 8 hours
Not happy with the onward journey, decided to take a different route back. This was the Coimbatore-Sathyamangalam-Chamarajanagar-Malavalli-Kanakapura-Bangalore. Coimbatore Sathy road was fabulous and so was climb up the ghats. At the top of the ghats (Dhimbam, I think) someone suggested going via Kollegal instead of Chamrajanagar.
There’s a turning 4km from there towards Kollegal, and we just took it for kicks. The road was amazing. Narrow, winding and the dense bushes almost falling onto you. It was a great decision. Until, of course we came to the state border. The police guy stationed demanded a Rs.10 ‘border charge’ and when asked about the roads ahead just said – ‘kachada’ (garbage). And that one word completely describes what roads we faced next. The road was riddled with potholes and it was quite a job to stay in 4th gear and avoid the potholes.
However, the scenic beauty was so good that these potholes somehow seemed trivial. So until Lokanahalli we went along, with all the cattle, goat and sheep that came our way. Not surprisingly, we hardly saw any vehicles on this route. It was our first-hand experience of traveling through rural Karanataka. After Lokanahalli roads got better but were stacked with hay for kilometers. My car carried a good part of this hay to Bangalore. There was also a place where we had to cross a stream on this State Highway!
Kollegal-Malavalli was pretty decent compared to what we had been through and we sped on and joined NH209 at Malavalli. Then came the Malavalli-Kanakapura stretch, which is the worst road I’ve ever seen. My friend however disagrees. He says there was no road and we were all just driving over mounds of earth through layers of dust. Fact is, no matter what the scenic beauty we had seen earlier, nothing is worth driving the Malavalli-Kanakapura sector. I still can’t believe that it’s a NH. Every nut, bolt and bone ached for a road!
Finally, near the Muthathi turning, the road got better and the last 50 odd kilometers to Bangalore were done in a dazed silence in about an hour’s time.
To sum it up, it was a very picturesque drive, but the roads were just not worth it. It is the road less traveled and we just found out why.