Sai Prasad Restaurant Calangute Goa

When it comes to finding authentic food, trust the locals – based on the recommendation of a co-passenger in the local bus, I stumbled upon this ‘mess-type’ bar & restaurant in Calangute serving Goan Fish Curry Rice Thali.

Sai Prasad Restaurant looks like a proper ‘hole in the wall’ place with minimum ambiance packed with delicious food and beer. Although they serve pretty much everything from the sea, its the Goan Fish Curry Thali which holds the numero-uno place among the patrons.

Goan Fish Curry Rice Thali at Sai Prasad Restaurant in Calangute Goa

Authentic & Delicious Goan Fish Curry Rice Thali !!

The Goan Fish Curry Rice Thali is a delicious meal comprising of Goan Fish Curry, Rava-fry Fish, Salad, White Rice, Pickle, Subzi, Papad, Yellow Dal with coconut (trust me it tastes good) and Rava-fried potato fritters (do not forget to ask for more fritters).

View from Siolim Chopdem Bridge across Chapora river in Goa

Goa – not ‘just’ beaches right !!

Useful Information:

  • Cash only, No cards or Paytm payment
  • Timings: 12 pm to 4 pm & 8:30 pm to 11 pm
  • Orientation:  Calangute Goa – Google Maps Link
  • Parking: Motorcycles can be easily parked, no dedicated parking for cars (One can park the car in Calangute Mall & walk to the restaurant which isn’t more than 100m from the Mall)
Peace and football at Morjim Beach in Goa

Beach Essentials 😀  @Morjim Beach

Travel Tips:

  • Ditch the regularly crowded ‘Baga-Anjuna-Vagator sector’ and head to Morjim Beach to spend time with turtles and for beach football 🙂
  • Enroute Morjim – DO NOT forget to soak in the views from Chopdem-Siolim Bridge across River Chapora

Hotel Sri Annapoorneshwari Hariharapura Koppa

When it comes to food, “word of mouth” has never let me down. Suggested by a dear friend, Hotel Sri Annapoorneshwari in Hariharapura, a vtown near Koppa was our breakfast stop during the Malnad Ride and it turned out to be good one.

Run by Mr. Sudhkar GowdaHotel Sri Annapoorneshwari is an extension of Mr. Sudhakar’s house with a mini-shop selling provisions and a home-kitchen, where the food is prepared for the patrons. The porch & garage area of the house is converted into the dining area which overlooks the State Highway (SH 65) connecting Hariharapura and Begar.

Chitranna and Brinda's Kokum Soda at Hotel Sri Annapoorneshwari in Hariharapura, Koppa

Chitranna for the Hunger and Kokum Soda for the thirst – perfect !!

Malnad Roads - between Varanga & Karkala

Malnad Roads – Best Relished on a Motorcycle 🙂

Recommended to Eat:

Breakfast: Chitranna (cooked rice flavored with spices, particularly oil-popped mustard seeds and turmeric) coupled with a few bottles of Kokum Soda are the most delicious on their breakfast menu which includes Idly, Vada, Maida-based Parota (Kerala-style), Dosa, Wheat Chapati etc

Parota and Brinda Kokum Soda at Hotel Sri Annapoorneshwari Hariharapura

So refreshing – Wish we could carry more of Kokum Soda !!

Lunch: Incase you sticking around for lunch, they serve delicious Ragi Mudde, Fish & Chicken thali meals only in the afternoon. However some breakfast items such as Chitranna, Idly-Vada, Parota etc. are available throughout.

Places to visit around Hariharapura:

  • Hariharapura Hanging Bridge : Built across River Tunga , this is one of the few hanging bridges in Karnataka which can be crossed on a motorcycle.

Orientation: Google Maps Link (located about 1 km from the town-center of Hariharapura)

  • Kundadri Hills : A serene hillock with cloud-laced views of the Western Ghats and a Jain Basadi at the summit.

Orientation: Google Maps Link (located about 28 kms from Hariharapura)

Kundadri Hills Karnataka

View worth a ride – summit of Kundadri Hills

Useful Information:

  • Orientation: The eatery is located on the Right-side before entering Hariharapura town (coming from Begar)
  • Timings: 7:30 am to 11 pm
  • Contact Details of the owner: Sudhakar Gowda @ +919841394689
  • Mode of payment: Accepts Cash & Paytm payment only
  • No dedicated parking for motorcycles or cars, however it’s easy to find a spot to park them next to the highway
Hotel Sri Annapoorneshwari at Hariharapura (SH 65)

Hotel Sri Annapoorneshwari at Hariharapura

Brik Oven Church Street Bengaluru

There is something delectable about wood-fired thin-crust pizzas and very few places actually get them right.

Started by Anirudh Nopany and Sreeram Anvesh – Brik Oven located on Church Street (next to India Coffee House) is one of the recent additions to the city’s food-map that serves authentic wood-fired pizzas and sinful milkshakes.

The open-kitchen, shelves of ingredients, piles of wood stacked to fire the oven complete the look of an actual Italian pizzeria.
With only two chefs doing all the work, be prepared to wait. After all, they ‘deliver good food not fast food.’

Meanwhile one can dive-in to the freshly-baked Garlic Bread and Mint with Feta Dip.

Red Cotta Pizza:
Topped with spinach, red peppers, garlic, ricotta and mozzarella, the pizza-base made from freshly kneaded dough has an earthy taste that complements the toppings.
Popeye & Olive Oyl pizza is the chicken-version of the red cotta.

Red Cotta Pizza at Brik Oven Church Street Bengaluru

Red Cotta Pizza – deliciousness!!

Freak Shake:
If you are a ‘chocoholic’ – this is a must-try.

Freak shake is a vanilla milkshake topped with ice cream, Nutella, M&Ms ,Oreo cookie, Chocolate chip cookie, Chocolate brownie, Snickers and slices of waffles & wafer-sticks.

The rim of the mason jar is dressed with a generous amount of peanut butter and cookie crumbs.

Freak Shake at Brik Oven Church Street Bengaluru

Freak Shake – slurrrppp!!

Useful Information:
– Go hungry!!
– Timings 1 pm to 4 pm & 7 pm to 10 pm (Closed on Tuesdays)
– Paid Parking for cars & motorcycles within Brigade Gardens
– The place is usually packed, so head straight inside to book a table
– Payment: Cash and cards are accepted

My search for authentic Italian thin-crust pizzas & delicious wholesome milkshakes ends!!

Ride De Malnad

“On earth there is no heaven, but there are pieces of it” – Jules Renard.

One such beauty is Malnad or Malenadu, a richly-forested, heavy rain fall area spread over the western and eastern slopes of the Western Ghats, covering parts of Shimoga, Chikmagalur, Uttara Kannada, Kodagu and Hassan districts in Karnataka.

Malenadu translates to ‘land of hills’ – is blessed with fantastic winding roads surrounded by coffee estates, daunting hills with Jain temples at the summit, temples of great archaeological & mythical significance, abundant wildlife, birthplace to numerous rivers and delicious Malnad cuisine.

Malnad Roads - between Varanga & Karkala

Malnad Roads – Best Relished on a Motorcycle 🙂

Motorcycles:

  • KTM Duke 390
  • Hero Karizma

Route:

Bengaluru > Hassan > Kottigehara > Belthangady > Bajegoli > Karkala > Varanga > Karkala > Bajegoli > Sringeri (since Agumbe ghat was closed due to road works) > Begar >Nantur > Kundadri Hill > Hariharapura > Kuppalli > Koppa > Jayapura > Balehonnur > Aldur > Chikmagaluru > Belur > Hassan > Bengaluru

Total Distance: 700kms

Neer Dosa at Kottigehara, Opposite KSRTC bus stand

Neer Dosa at Kottigehara – do not miss!!

Varanga:

Varanga, a small town between Karkala & Agumbe is a popular pilgrim centre for Jains with 3 main Basadis aka Jain Temples:

  • Neminatha Basadi – this is the oldest & biggest amongst the 3 Jain Basadis with a history of about 1,200 years
  • Chandranatha Basadi – this houses the Jain Math and has a history of about 1,000 years
  • Kere Basadi – Knows as the ‘Lake Temple’, this is situated in the middle of a green lake in Varanga, like a ‘lotus in a pond’. This Basadi has a history of close to 850 years
Kere Basadi aka Lake Temple at Varanga

Kere Basadi aka Lake Temple at Varanga

Useful Information on Varanga Jain Temples:

  • Best time to visit: Early mornings
  • Best time of the year to visit: October to February
  • Contact the Jain Math inside Chandranatha Basadi to visit the Kere Basadi (lake temple) – it is closed most of the times. The only way to reach this Basadi is in a small wooden boat.
  • Footwear should be removed before entering the Jain temple

Sringeri:

One of the few temples I love and feel drawn towards. With a rich history of about 1,200 years, Sringeri is flocked by pilgrims and nature lovers alike.

Vidyashankara Temple at Sringeri

Vidyashankara Temple at Sringeri

Kundadri:

Cloud-surfing views of the Western ghats, two beautiful ponds on the hill-top and a Jain Basadi with a history of 2000 years – ‘peace’ and ‘serenity’ sum-up Kundadri Hills.

Kundadri Hills Karnataka

View worth a ride – summit of Kundadri Hills

Useful Information on Kundadri Hills:

  • No Entrance Fees
  • Cars & motorcycles go all the way up – one has to climb about 50 steps to reach the view point & the temple
  • Where to Eat: Chitranna (lemon rice) & Kokum Soda at Hotel Sri Annapurneshwari in Hariharapura (28kms from Kundadri)
  • Don’t miss to ride across the ‘Cable Suspended Bridge‘ in Hariharapura
Lemon Rice & Kokum Soda at Hotel Sri Annapurneshwari, Hariharapura

Lemon Rice & Kokum Soda at Hotel Sri Annapurneshwari, Hariharapura

Kavishaila & Kavimane, Kuppalli:

Kuvempu’s ancestral home or Kavimane in Kuppalli has been restored and converted into a museum. The poet’s 250 years old house is a quintessential Malnad house with a courtyard in the middle and jackfruit wood pillars.

Kavimane, residence of Kuvempu at Kuppalli

Kavimane at Kuppalli

Kavishaila is a rock monument on top of a small hill in Kuppalli made of megalithic rocks dedicated to Kannada poet Kuvempu. The rocks have been arranged in a circular fashion with a memorial at the centre of the rock monument where Kuvempu was laid to rest after his death.

PS: Relish the beautifully marked and well paved roads leading to Kavishaila & Kavimane once you deviate from the main highway

Kavishaila at Kuppalli

Kavishaila at Kuppalli

Useful Information on KaviShaila & Kavimane:

  • Entrance fees of 10 INR/person is charged to Kavimane
  • Photography inside the house is NOT allowed
  • Footwear should be removed before entering Kavimane
  • Riding Gear: request the ticket counter guys to hold them
  • Carry a hat and sunglasses while visiting Kavishaila
  • No facility to keep the riding gear at Kavishaila
  • Ample parking for motorcycles at Kavimane & Kavishaila
  • Both are open all days of the year

Badra Coffee Stop – Coffee Shop, Balehonnur:

Do not miss their cold coffee and bread omelette !! Look out for an assortment of coffee powders and Malnad food products.

Badra coffee stop is open all days of the week from 8 am to 7:30 pm

Cold Coffee and Bread Omlette at Badra Coffee Stop, Balehonnur

Badra Coffee Stop – A Must Stop on Balehonnur-Aldur highway!!

Balehonnur to Aldur - best motorcycling roads in Karnataka

Balehonnur to Aldur – one of the best motorcycling roads in Karnataka

Wish you guys lots of motorcycling and food-trips 🙂 – have a wonderful 2017 !!

Ride de Gandikota, Belum Caves and Yaganti

Gandikota & Belum Caves have become one of the most popular places to ride in South India owing to the beautiful landscapes and deliciously spicy Andhra cuisine. Although the roads are boring straights, the stunning vistas of Gandikota, Yaganti and Belum Caves made up for the journey.

Motorcycle ride to Gandikota on a KTM Duke 390, Yamaha R15 and a Hero Karizma

View worthy of 300 kms ride @ Gandikota

Motorcycles:

  • Hero Karizma
  • Yamaha R15 v2
  • KTM Duke 390
Breakfast in Anantpur with Pongal at Sri Mukambika Tiffin Centre, Anantpur

Must Eat – Delicious Pongal for breakfast at Sri Mukambika Tiffin Centre, Anantpur

Yaganti:

Surrounded by beautiful rocks and natural water springs, Yaganti is nothing short of a nature-lover’s delight and a mythology buff’s imagination that teleport you to different universe.

Yaganti consists of the main Uma Maheswara Temple, a Pushkarini and 3 Caves (Agastya Cave, Veera Brahmam Cave & Venkateshwara Cave).

Sri Uma Maheswari Temple at Yaganti

The Majestic Sri Uma Maheswari Temple at Yaganti

Interesting Facts of Yaganti:

  • The Nandi idol facing Shiva has been growing in its size over the years. Archaeological Survey of India has confirmed that the rock grows at the rate of 1 inch per 20 years (10 mm per 8 years) due to special composition of the rock used to build the Nandi idol.
  • There is a burning lamp called Akasha Deepam (meaning sky lamp) on the top of the hill behind the main Uma Maheswara temple. It is lit up every day and it glows from dusk to dawn.

Useful Information on Yaganti:

  • Best time to visit & click pictures: 7 am to 10 am and 4 pm to 6 pm (It gets hot afterwards)
  • Best month to visit: December & January
  • Do not carry riding gear into the temple (unless you love juggling between your gear, phone and SLR camera :p), instead request the guys at any of the shops at the temple entrance to keep them till you return (be kind enough to return the favor by buying some refreshments!!)
  • Watch out for the monkeys, they love everything they see 😀
  • Entrance Fee to be paid/person (no additional fees for camera or recording gear)
  • DO NOT miss to stop for the majestic views of Owk Reservoir & its submerged villages, en-route to Belum Caves from Yaganti
  • Where to eat:
    • Bangalore to Yaganti – Pongal & Masala Dosa at Sri Mukambika Tiffen Centre, Anantpur (near Hotel Masineni Grand)
    • Outside Yaganti Temple – Uggani Bajji & Lime Soda
Lime Soda & Uggani Bajji at the shops outside Yaganti Temple

Lime Soda & Uggani Bajji – must try at Yaganti !!

Motorcycle ride to Owk Reservoir - Enroute to Belum Caves from Yaganti

Owk Reservoir – En-route to Belum Caves from Yaganti

Belum Caves:

Belum Caves is the second largest cave in India. It is a natural underground cave formed by the constant flow of underground water. The caves reach its deepest point (150 feet from entrance level) at the point known as Pataalaganga.

The caves were explored and mapped by Mr H. Daniel Gebauer, a German Speleologist in 1982-1983.

Inside Belum Caves near Kurnool from Bangalore

Inside Belum Caves – gateway to a different universe!!

Useful Information on Belum Caves:

  • Best time to visit & click pictures: I recommend visiting on weekdays, weekends are nothing short of chaos
  • Best month to visit: throughout the year
  • AVOID AT ALL COST carrying riding gear into the cave (it gets hot and plus certain sections of the cave is very tight to get through with the riding gear), instead request the guys at refreshment shops to keep them till you return (be kind enough to return the favour by buying some refreshments!!)
  • Carry a spare tee-shirt, navigating the caves is nothing short of burning 400 calories 😛
  • Entrance Fee to be paid/person (no additional fees for camera or recording gear)
View from Gebauer Hall in Belum Caves

View from Gebauer Hall in Belum Caves – Apt to stash a Bat Mobile 😛

Gandikota:

Gandikota, popularly known as the ‘Grand Canyon of India’ consists of a fort built on top of the gorge formed by the Penna river with the Erramala hills . “Gandi” in Telugu means “a gorge,” and “kota” means “a fort.”

KTM Duke 390 with an Arai Quantum 2 helmet at Gandikota Fort

Inside Gandikota Fort – Such a Poser 😀

Places to Visit within Gandikota Fort:

  • Madhavaraya Temple
  • Jama Masjid
  • Granary
  • Ranganatha Swamy Temple
  • View Points (Gandikota Fort & Gorge)
  • Fort Entrance through which one can ride out in his/her motorcycle
  • Jail
Andhra Snacks, munchies at Gandikota Fort

Must Eat – Munchies at Gandikota Fort 😀

Useful Information on Gandikota:

  • Best time to visit & click pictures: 7 am to 9 am and 4 pm to 6 pm (It gets hot afterwards)
  • Best month to visit: December & January
  • Do not carry riding gear to the canyon and the fort (unless you want to test your stamina), instead request the guys at Haritha Hotel, Gandikota (by AP Tourism) to keep them till you return (be kind enough to return the favor by buying some refreshments!!)
  • Timings: There is no official Open/Close Time, but a good indicator of the close-time is when the hawkers start to pack-up
  • Carry a cap, sunglasses and water
  • Motorcycles are allowed all the way till the Granary (through the fort-walls)
  • Stay:
    • In order to capture Gandikota in the best-light, book & stay at the Haritha accommodation
    • Camping: Legally not allowed, although it can be done by convincing the ‘On Duty night-guard’ (Being a Heritage site, I highly recommend ‘Against’ camping within the fort)
    • Recommended to stay in Prodattur (35 kms from Gandikota) for various accommodation options (We stayed at Sri Swastik Residency, Prodattur – good accommodation with secure parking for motorcycles)
  • Where to Eat: Delicious Andhra Meals at Thilak Hotel, Mydukur Road in Prodattur
Authentic Veg Andhra Meals at Thilak Hotel Prodattur

Must Eat – Authentic Veg Andhra Meals at Thilak Hotel Prodattur

Route:

Bangalore > Anantpur > Peapully > Yaganti > > Banaganpalli > Owk > Belum Caves > Prodattur > Jammalamadugu > Gandikota > Pulivendula > Kadiri > Gorantla > Kodur Junction > Bagepalli > Bangalore

Road conditions in the above route are good with occasional unpaved roads (due to road expansion work), easy to navigate on a hard-suspension motorcycle like the Duke 390.

Total Distance: 800 kms

Ride to Gandikota, Belum Caves & Yaganti on a KTM Duke 390, Hero Karizma & Yamaha R15 v2

The Trio!! Soaking in the view at Owk Reservoir

Go ahead, get on your motorcycles and ride into the new year!!

Living with a Yamaha YZF-R3

After a phenomenal stint in track-oriented performance motorcycling with the R15, Yamaha India kind of fell through the cracks with a heavy focus on volume-driven scooters until the launch of YZF-R3 in late 2015.

Powered by a 321 cc parallel twin, the Yamaha R3 is a hybrid motorcycle that handles a track-day and trip to Rann of Kutch with equal ease and grace.

Having spent some days with the 2016 Yamaha R3 – here is my ownership experiences to help you decide if this is/isn’t the motorcycle you wanna live with.

This review is based on a non-stock YZF-R3 laced with the following goodies:

  • Akrapovic GP Slip-on
  • Aftermarket Chain & Sprockets for a better initial punch
  • ZeroGravity Aftermarket windscreen
  • Metzeler Sportec M5 Interact Tyres
Yamaha YZF-R3 with Akrapovic-GP-exhaust in India

Certain Combos can never go wrong !!

City Commute:

A necessary evil nonetheless, commuting on the R3 is actually a pleasant experience for the rider and the pillion. The riding position isn’t very aggressive and the softer suspension provides a supple ride.

Pillion Comfort:

Exists – except for the water spray onto the back of the pillion during rains.

Touring:

Tarmac touring is where the R3 shines, throw-in a couple of kilometers of broken, bad roads and it doesn’t complain, courtesy the beautiful chassis and suspension.

  • Fuel – happy to gulp 91-octane regular without any chatter/knocking, expect a tank range of 280 kms
  • Suspension – equipped with conventional telescopic front forks and a swing-arm rear, the suspension is very plush, however the rigidity of a Up-Side Down (USD) fork for a sports motorcycle is missed
  • Tyres – the stock MRFs are an absolute disaster & offer poor grip in ALL conditions, highly recommend switching to Metzelers or Pirellis as soon as you buy the motorcycle
Touring on a Yamaha YZF-R3 in India, Malur karnataka

Tour Master Mode 😀

Things I love about the Yamaha R3:

  • Brilliant Engine– the show-stopper of the motorcycle – the parallel twin 321-cc 4-stoke engine offers beautiful refinement
  • Chassis– I have to remind myself that this isn’t a Deltabox but a Diamond frame – what a fantastic motorcycle to ride into, around and out-of-a corner.

Such a Bummer:

In spite of paying close to 4 lakhs INR, the R3 misses out on essentials of a performance motorcycle such as:

  • Tyres – The stock MRFs offer poor grip and are cross-ply aka non-radial tyres
  • No ABS
  • No Steel braided Brake Lines
  • The motorcycle felt cramped for my height (5’10), after riding close to 300 kms my knees started to complain
  • No USD front suspension

The R3 strikes ALL the Right chords in Engine, Handling and Braking departments – making it a reliable and a well-rounded motorcycle to commute, tour and race in a closed track.

Yet it lacks  ‘The Oomph’ – the ‘Revs Your Heart’ element is thoroughly missed in the DNA of the R3 😦

Biryani Ride Getaways from Bengaluru

The urge to ride a motorcycle on an empty highway at dawn in search of a breakfast place is incredible, yet some mornings are meant to be spent in a warm blanket than in a riding jacket on-board a motorcycle!!

Well that’s when you outta go-back to the bed and wake up for biryani-lunch ride 😀

Presenting the best biryani ride getaways from my beloved Bengaluru:

Chinnaswamy Naidu Biryani, Hosur:

Started in the 1920s in Dindigul, Chinnaswamy Naidu, originally a chicken-dealer moved to Hosur after independence perfected the Dindigul biryani.

  • Location: Rajmahal Complex, Bypass Road (Opposite to the new Hosur Bus Stand) Google Maps Link
  • Timings: 11:30 am to 3:30 pm (Open all days of the week)
  • Cash and cards are accepted
  • Type of Biryani: Dindigul Biryani (Chicken, Mutton & Biryani Rice)
Dindigul Biryani at Chinnaswamy Naidu Biryani in Hosur

Dindigul Biryani at Chinnaswamy Naidu

Hotel Hanumanthu, Mysore:

Easily the most famous and replicated biryani place in Mysore. The folks who run the original hotel on Akbar Road in Mandi Mohalla, Mysore call it ‘Pulav’ due to the nature of the preparation and not biryani. Hotel Hanumanthu has been serving gastronomical pulav and mutton chops since the 1930s.

Based on my friend’s recommendation – the mutton chops are extremely delicious and a must-eat.

  • Location: Akbar Road Mandi Mohalla, Mysore Google Maps Link
  • Timings: The timings vary on a day-basis – as provided below:
    • Monday Holiday
    • Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday & Sunday : 7 am to 10:30 am & 12 pm to 4:30 pm & 6 pm to 10 pm
    • Thursday: 2 pm to 4:30 pm & 6 pm to 10 pm
    • Saturday: 12 pm to 4 pm only
  • Cash only
  • Type of Biryani: Pulav (Mutton & Biryani Rice)
  • Chicken pulav is served only on Sundays
Mutton Pulav Rice at Hotel Hanmanthu Mysore

Mutton Pulav Rice at Hotel Hanumanthu

Jai Bhuvaneshwari Military Hotel near Srirangapatna on Blore-Mysore Highway:

If you are a fan of Donne Biryani, this place serves a similar one except the Donne – locally known as Gowdru-style biryani.

  • Location: Baburayankoppal, Near Srirangaptna on the Bangalore-Mysore Highway
  • Timings: 11:30 am to 4 pm (open all days) – Monday holiday
  • Cash only
  • Type of Biryani: Gowdru-style biryani (Chicken, Mutton and Biryani Rice)
  • Chicken pulav is served only on Sundays
  • The place usually packed with partially-drunk borderline-violent men 😀 – so visit this place with discretion 😛
Mutton Biryani at Jai Bhuvaneshwari Military Hotel Bangalore-Mysore Highway

Mutton Biryani at Jai Bhuvaneshwari Military Hotel

Rahamaniya Hotel, Ambur:

The original hotel that kick-started the popularity of ‘Ambur Biryani’. In fact Star Biryani. Managed by one of the brothers is an offshoot of Rahamaniya Hotel.

  • Location: O V Road Mootukollai, Ambur Google Maps Link
  • Timings:
    • 11:30 am to 5 pm & 6 pm to 9 pm (open all days – except Saturday)
    • 11:30 am to 3 pm (on Saturdays only)
  • Cash only
  • Type of Biryani: Ambur Biryani or Vanyambadi Biryani (Chicken, Egg & Kuska rice aka biryani rice)
Ambur Biryani at Rahamaniya Hotel in Ambur

Ambur Biryani at Rahamaniya Hotel

 

Touring on a Yamaha R3 in India in search of biryani

Perfect to explore biryanis on the highways 🙂