Weekend Monsoon Ride Getaways from Bangalore

Monsoon is the most-awaited season in India, when everything rejuvenates – lands turn green, highways get crowned by lush green canopies and structures, roads appear clean and fresh.

The otherwise disarming charm of places and travel unveil a whole new dimension during monsoons. Presenting the 3 must-visit weekend monsoon ride destinations from my beloved Bangalore.

1) Mekanagadde, Mudigere

Laze around, soak up the pristine air and views of the Western Ghats..

Nestled between Chikmagalur and Sakleshpur, Mekanagadde is the home to ‘Bettada Bhairaveshwara Temple’, a 600-year old temple dedicated to Lord Shiva offering some stunning views of the Western Ghats laced with clouds.

Triumph Daytona 675 R at Bettada Bhairaveshwara Temple at Mekanagadde

Reveling in the pristine air of Mekanagadde!!

Useful Information on Mekanagadde:

  • Route: Bangalore > Sakleshpur > Anemahal > Hanbal > Devarunda > Mekkanagadde
  • Distance from Bangalore: 255kms
  • Road Condition: Brilliant tarmac till Devarunda (the last 5 to 10kms to the temple is being repaired, so be cautious)
  • What to see: Bettada Bhairaveshwara Temple, Mekanagadde
  • Where to Stay: Mekanagadde Home Stay
  • Where to Eat:  Sakleshpur – choose from Hotel Surabhi or Hotel Ashritha (both are right on the highway with good amenities)
Bettada Bhairaveshwara Temple at Mekanagadde near Hanbal Sakleshpur

Bettada Bhairaveshwara Temple in full glory!!

Touring in Sakleshpur on a Triumph Daytona 675R

Its ok to stray off the highway😛

2) Ayyana kere, Sakharayapatna

Witness the magnitude of 2nd largest lake in Karnataka, the biggest lake in Chikmagalur..

With the backdrop of Shakunagiri Hill towering at 4500 feet, this 900-year water body was created to support the farmers overcome shortage of water for irrigation by Raja Rukmangada.

Ayyana kere at Sakharayapatna about 20 kms from Chikmaglur

Ayyana kere – Be stunned by its vastness..

Useful Information on Ayyanakere:

  • Route: Bangalore > Chikmagalur > Sakharayapatna > Ayyana kere (Chikmagalur-Kadur highway NH173)
  • Distance from Bangalore: 225kms
  • Road Condition: Brilliant tarmac all the way up-till the lake-bed
  • What to see: serene roads en route to the lake
  • Where to Stay: Chikmagalur
  • Where to Eat:  Not many options to eat at Sakharayapatna (recommend to eat/carry food from Chikmagalur)
Coffee plantations grace the Sakleshpur to Belur (SH112)

Miles and miles of coffee plantations:)

Sakleshpur to Belur State Highway (SH112)

Green Tunnel:)

3) Kotagiri, Ooty

Tea Estates and delicious chocolates..

Relatively ‘not-so commercialized’ (yet) amongst Ooty and Conoor is Kotagiri (Mountain of the KotasKota is the traditional tribe of Nilgiris), blessed with beautiful roads and hectares of lush-tea estates guarded by cloud-clad Nilgiris.

In fact, the limelight on Kotagiri faded once the direct road from Mettupalyam to Conoor was built – before that one had to reach Ooty via Kotagiri from Mettupalyam.

Touring on the Daytona with Arai Helmet in Kotagiri-ooty

Infini-Tea Plantations grace the Kotagiri-Ooty Highway

Useful Information on Kotagiri & Ooty:

  • Route: Bangalore > Chamarajanagar > Satyamangalam > Bannari > Mettupalyam > Kotagiri (for the love of twisty roads)
  • Distance from Bangalore: 315 kms
  • Road Condition: Brilliant (I am yet to encounter bad roads or bad food in Tamil Nadu!!)
  • What to see: Kodanad View Point & Catherine Falls
  • Where to Stay: Lots of lodges, villas, cottages in Kotagiri
  • Where to Eat:  Head to Ooty (lots of options and don’t forget to relish home-made chocolates)
Roasted Almond Dark Chocolate Moddys or Modern Stores Ooty

Never miss a chance to ride for chocolates😀

Touring on the Triumph Daytona 675R near Kotagiri-Ooty

Lush green hills and step-farms adorning the Nilgiris:)

These monsoon weekend ride getaways are best relished with great company, your favorite music, motorcycles and the numerous breaks along the highway for chai and charcoal roasted corn laced with spicy chutney.

Bon Appetite and Safe Riding!!

Moddy’s aka Modern Stores Ooty

A trip to Ooty is incomplete without tasting and bringing-back home-made chocolates. The art of making chocolates was introduced by the British in the 1800s, when Udhagamandala (the actual name of Ooty) rose to become the numero-uno place for ‘British Collectors’ to spend the summers in south India.

Ooty is the home to two of the oldest home-made chocolatiers in India – Kingstar Confectionary and Moddy’s.

Moddy’s aka Modern Stores has been delighting chocolate-patrons from school kids to tourists to food-connoisseurs to the locals, since 1951 with over a 100 varieties of home-made chocolates.

Roasted Almond Dark Chocolate Moddys or Modern Stores Ooty

Roasted Almond Dark Chocolate

Taste them in any form from ‘solid chocolates’ to ‘liquor-filled bonbons’ to ‘fruit-based bonbons’ to ‘hot-chocolate’ to ‘brownies’ to ‘chocolate pastries’ and you will be smiling from your heart:)

Chocolate Brownie at Moddys or Modern Stores Ooty

Chocolate Brownies – Perfect for Ooty’s weather!!

Useful Information:

  • Timings: 9:30 am to 9 pm (Open all days of the week)
  • Location: Modern Stores 144, Garden Road, Ooty
  • Parking: Ample space to park cars and motorcycles
  • Cash and cards are accepted
  • Don’t shy away from asking for a sample, before buying more quantity
Touring Ooty on a Triumph Daytona 675R

Ooty – best relished on a motorcycle:)

5 Breakfast Ride Getaways from Bangalore – 4th Edition

The quest for more breakfast ride getaways from Bengaluru continues…

Presenting the fourth-set of the 5 best South-Indian Breakfast Getaways from my beloved city.

1) Gayathri Tiffin Room (GTR), Mysore

One of the most iconic vegetarian restaurants in Mysore, GTR has been delighting food-patrons with South-Indian breakfast for decades

  • Must Eat – Masala Dosa + Kesari Bath + Filter Coffee
  • Distance from Bangalore – 150 kms
  • Highway – NH 275
  • Location – Gayathri Tiffin Room (GTR)
  • Timings – 7 am to 11 am and 330 pm to 8 pm (Closed on Monday)
  • Motorcycle Parking- Available
Kesari Bath and Masala Dosa - Gayathri Tiffin Room (GTR) Mysore

Kesari Bath and Masala Dosa – Gayathri Tiffin Room (GTR)

2) Sri Laxmi Bhavan Tiffin Room

Ask anyone in Chitradurga for good breakfast and they will point you to this place, Sri Laxmi Bhavan Tiffin room is nestled in the central part of Chitradurga town with a close proximity to the fort.

  • Must Eat – Khali Dosa + Masala Dosa
  • Distance from Bangalore – 201 kms
  • Highway – NH 4
  • Location – Sri Laxmi Bhavan Tiffin Room Chitradurga
  • Timings – 7 am to 8 pm (Closed on Tuesday)
  • Motorcycle Parking- No dedicated parking (but you can park across the street before the shops open by 9 am)
  • Recommended to visit the Chitradurga Fort, its majestic !!
Khali Dosa at Sri Laxmi Bhavan Tiffin Room Chitradurga

Khali Dosa – Sri Laxmi Bhavan Tiffin Room

3) Swamy Hotel, Hiriyur

Thronged by truckers, Swamy Hotel is the South-Indian replica of a dhaba which is rugged on ambiance but high on taste of the food and friendly staff.

  • Must Eat – Ghee Dosa + Pongal
  • Distance from Bangalore – 159 kms
  • Highway – NH 4
  • Location – Swamy Hotel Hiriyur
  • Timings – 6 am to 12 pm (breakfast-only) – Open all days of the week
  • Motorcycle Parking- Yes, they have all the space to accommodate an entire motorcycle assembly line😛
  • Good to Know – There is a separate family section inside the main hotel (recommended if you are accompanied by your wife/girlfriend and kids)
Ghee Dosa at Swamy Hotel Hiriyur

Ghee Dosa – Swamy Hotel

4) Ganapati Coffee Bar, Madhugiri

Popularly known as ‘Shivanna Hotel’ by locals, Ganapati Coffee Bar is a humble South-Indian mess serving breakfast, lunch and dinner.

  • Must Eat – Khali Dosa + Idli with Chilli Bajji
  • Distance from Bangalore – 105 kms
  • Highway – NH 69
  • Location – Reach the Superintendent of Police (SP) Office inside Madhugiri town and ask the locals for Shivanna Hotel instead of Ganapati Coffee Bar, the hotel is about 200 to 300m from the SP office (Google Maps link to the Madhugiri SP Office)
  • Timings – 7 am to 5 pm – Open all days of the week
  • Motorcycle Parking- Available
  • Recommended to visit the Madhugiri Fort, its majestic !!
  • Good to know – The coffee (ironic to the place) isn’t good
Idli with Chilli Bajji at Ganapati Coffee Bar in Madhugiri

Idli with Chilli Bajji – Ganapati Coffee Bar

5) Kadambam, Channapatna

Although this once beautiful highway is plagued by the hordes of restaurant-chains and eateries, Kadambam stands out with its authentic Iyengar cuisine.

  • Must Eat – Sakkare Pongal + Khara Pongal + Puliyogare
  • Distance from Bangalore – 66kms
  • Highway – SH 17/NH 275
  • Location – Kadambam Channapatna
  • Timings – 7 am to 12 pm (breakfast) – Open all days of the week
  • Motorcycle Parking- Available
Sakkare Pongal and Khara Pongal at Kadambam Channapatna Mysore Road

Sakkare Pongal & Khara Pongal – Kadambam Channapatna

All the above places accept only cash – No Cards.

For more unique breakfast ride getaways, browse Set 1, Set 2 and Set 3

Happy Tripping!!

Ganapati Coffee Bar Madhugiri

Madhugiri, the 2nd largest monolith in Asia next to Savandurga is a popular getaway destination for trekkers. ‘Madhu-giri’ translates to ‘Honey-Hill’, the genesis of the name is derived from the clusters of honeybee colonies which were prevalent in the yester years in the northern parts of the Madhugiri fortress.

Apart from the beautiful landscape, Madhugiri also boasts of numerous ‘messes’ (open throughout the week as opposed to regular hotels that have a weekly holiday) serving south Indian rice with sambar for lunch and delicious dosas, idlis for breakfast.

One of the most popular being ‘Ganapati Coffee Bar’, fondly known by locals as ‘Shivanna Hotel’ which was started by Mr.Shivanna Aradhya in 1976. The place is very minimal in ambiance and dimensions (can only accommodate a maximum of 7 to 10 persons at one-go), but high on taste!!

Khali Dosa:

This is their best breakfast offering, delicious khali dosas with the spicy chutney to wake-up the taste buds.

Khali Dosa at Ganapati Coffe Bar or Shivanna Hotel in Madhugiri

Khali Dosa with spicy groundnut-based chutney!!

Idli with Chilli Bajji:

Butter-soft idlis with chutney and chilli-bajjis (chillies-fried in gram-flour batter) along with potato-onion subji are absolutely yumm:)

Idli with Chilli Bajji at Ganapati Coffee Bar in Madhugiri

Idli with Chilli Bajjis – Perfect breakfast on a rainy day:)

The only disappointment was the coffee, made using instant-coffee powder as opposed to filter coffee.

Useful Information:

  • Timings: 7 am to 5 pm (Open all days of the week)
  • Location: Reach the Superintendent of Police (SP) Office inside Madhugiri town and ask the locals for Shivanna Hotel instead of Ganapati Coffee Bar, the hotel is about 200 to 300m from the SP office (Google Maps link to the Madhugiri SP Office)
  • Parking: Ample space to park cars and motorcycles
  • Cash only, no cards are accepted
  • Distance from Bangalore : 105 kms
  • Terrain: Brilliant roads to relish a motorcycle
Ganapati Coffee Bar or Shivanna Hotel Madhugiri

Humble Abode of Delicious food:)

Interesting Fact:

Madhugiri Fort is a ‘yellu sutinna kote’ which means a ‘fort with seven concentric fortification walls of guard’ similar to the popular Chitradurga Fort and has an underground path leading to the Chitradurga Fort.

Erappana Lingayat Khanavali Dandeli

Dandeli has been a hotspot for wildlife enthusiasts and river-rafting aficionados, relatively unheard-of is its rich-lineage of food-joints locally referred as ‘Khanavalis’ serving North Karnataka food.

A Khanavali is a family-run eatery run mostly by Lingayats that serve authentic vegetarian North Karnataka food consisting of jowar rotis, a few salads, fresh fenugreek leaf salad, chutney pudi (powder) made from green and red chillies, lentil dishes followed by rice with rasam, curd and dessert.

Jowar Roti Meals at Erappana Lingayat Khanavali Dandeli

A Typical North Karnataka Meal  :)

Erappana Lingayat Khanavali is the best place to taste authentic north Karnataka food in Dandeli. They only serve only jowar-roti meals and is run by Erappana’s family since the 1970s.

Erappana Lingayat Khanavali Dandeli

Erappana Lingayat Khanavali – Humble abode to delicious food:)

Useful Information:

  • Timings: 1130 am to 3 pm and 7 30pm to 9 30pm (open all days)
  • Footwear should be removed before dining, as the food is being served in the house
  • Cash only, no cards are accepted
  • No dedicated parking for cars (motorcycles can be parked outside the khanavali)
  • Location: Erappana Lingayat Khanavali, Opposite Naregal Petrol Pump, Patel Circle Dandeli
  • There is no board displaying the name of the khanavali, ask any of the shops and they will guide you – Its on the main road, so easy to locate.
Shimoga to Dandeli- Touring on the Triumph Daytona 675R

Twists, Turns and Smiles:) En-route to Dandeli via Shimoga

Sri Raghavendra Stores Malleshwaram Bangalore

One of my fond memories during my engineering days at MSRIT, Bangalore was belting ‘Station Idly-Vada’ after college at Sri Raghavendra Stores – in fact couple of my friends have spent more time here than in the engineering labs😛

Sri Raghavendra Stores, a modest little place outside the Malleshwaram Railway Station has been serving baby-soft idlys, crispy vadas and delicious chow chow bath (combination of kesari bath and khara bath) and shavige bath (south-Indian version of rice noodles) since 1970’s completing the holy-trinity of south-Indian breakfast places in Malleshwaram with CTR and Veena Stores.

The menu has only 6 items – Idly Vada, Shavige Bath, Chow Chow Bath, Coffee, Tea and Kashaya (a herbal drink, which is a concoction of aromatic spices – the healthy substitute to tea/coffee) and everything served here are absolutely delicious:)

Chow Chow Bath:

Yes, you don’t get them separately😛  In-fact this is their most sold item on the menu followed by Idly Vada.

Chow Chow Bath (Kesari Bath + Khara Bath) at Sri Raghavendra Stores Malleshwaram, Bangalore

Yin and Yang Deliciousness:)

Idly Vada:

Soft-idlis that melt once they hit your mouth and the hot-crispy vada with the chutney makes it complete. Don’t forget to ask for extra butter while ordering the Idly-Vada, the taste is worth the calories😀

The coffee is ok, not great, but perfect to wash down the food.

Idly Vada at Sri Raghavendra Stores Malleshwaram, Bangalore

One of the best Idly Vada in Bangalore:)

Useful Information:

  • Only Chutney is served – No Sambar (You will be banished if you ask for sambar)
  • Self Service: no dedicated place to sit and eat
  • Cash only , no cards are accepted
  • Timings 6am to 11am and 4pm to 9pm (Open all days of the week)
  • Prepaid Food system and they parcel as well
  • Location:  Sri Raghavendra Stores, near Malleshwaram Railway Station, Bangalore

Amit Tea Corner Domlur Bangalore

Amit Tea Corner is not the typical corner chai-shop that serves tea in mini plastic cups out of a flask, although it definitely looks like one. In addition to the fresh-brewed ginger tea, they serve an array of fresh foods ranging from home-made samosas (onion and potato-based), bread omlette, bread pakora, puri sabji and even full-blown mid-day meals.

Ginger Tea & Onion Samosas:

Amit, the owner of the shop has nailed the method to prepare Ginger-flavored milk tea with the right balance of the ingredients, he says it’s the way it’s prepared that brings out the best flavor in addition to the proportion of the ingredients.

Samosas, the perfect complement to tea. All the samosas served are made fresh at the shop and not delivered by a 3rd-party vendor. I prefer the onion samosa over the aloo (potato-based) samosa purely because of the crunchiness.

Ginger Tea with Onion Samosas at Amit Tea Corner Domlur Bengaluru

Ginger Tea and Onion Samosas – The best evening snack :)

Stuffed Bread Pakora:

Another favorite snack with tea, its bread stuffed with mashed potatoes, dipped in besan and deep-fried – served with tomato ketchup, freshly-made pudina chutney and chillies – best relished on rainy days:)

Bread Pakora at Amit Tea Corner Domlur Bengaluru

Bread Pakora – for the rainy days !!

Bread Omlette:

My anytime meal-snack – I love it !!

Bread Omlette with ginger tea at at Amit Tea Corner Domlur Bengaluru

Bread Omlette !!

Vada Pav:

Its not the authentic Maharashtrian vada-pav, but tastes good – the pudina chuntey smeared inside the pav and the green chillies pack the punch.

Vada Pav at Amit Tea Corner in Domlur Bangalore

Vada Pav

Useful Information:

  • Timings: 8 am to 10 pm (open all days)
  • Cash only, no cards are accepted
  • Location: Amit Tea Corner, Domlur (Opposite Domlur Post Office) Bengaluru
  • No place to sit – stand and sip the tea
  • No dedicated car or motorcycle parking (lot of by-lanes to park nonetheless)

Most of the customers smoke and drink tea, one can avoid the passive smoking by savoring the tea at the opposite end of the shop. If you are looking for a quick-snack over a delicious cup of tea and indifferent to the ambiance, Amit Tea Corner will not disappoint you.