Weekend Ride Getaways from Bengaluru: Dam and Reservoirs

Weekend rides out of Bengaluru allows us to experience diverse terrains such as lush forests, functional or abandoned quarries, majestic hill forts, grand waterfalls, tranquil lakes, brilliant hill roads to ride and serene dam reservoirs.

Although Manchanabele dam, Thippagondanahalli Reservoir aka T G Halli Dam, Kanva Reservoir top the popularity charts – here are some serene, less-known dams and reservoirs around Bengaluru that make an ideal weekend one-day ride or drive destination.

Gundal Dam, Kollegal:
Located about 17kms from Kollegal town, the roads to this serene dam is brilliant all along except the last 5kms to the dam entrance – easily the biggest dam in the list, one can ride all the way on top of the dam and explore the backwaters.

Gundal Dam - Touring on the Triumph Daytona 675R and Yamaha R3

Gundal Dam

Useful Information on Gundal Dam:

  • Distance from Bengaluru: 158 kms
  • Location: Gundal Dam Google Maps link
  • What to See: Ask the locals for the partially submerged temple at Gundal dam (entry to the temple is governed by BRT Wildlife Forest Guards
  • No shade at the reservoir (recommend to carry shades, drinking-water and a hat)
  • Carry food/munchies to eat (please do not litter the place and carry back the waste)
  • Where to eat: Chowmein, Soupy Noodles & Momos at Dhondeling Monastery at Bailur, Kollegal
Chowmein and Soupy Noodles at Dhondenling Tibetan settlement kollegal

Chowmein and Soupy Noodles at Dhondenling Tibetan settlement

Harobele or Arakavathy Dam, Kunuru
Located near Kunuru (on the Kanakapura-Sangama road SH92), Harobele or Arakavathy dam is fed by the Arkavathy river is flocked by school kids on field-trips on weekdays and desolated on weekends.

Arai Quantum 2 helmet at Arakavathi or Harobele dam Karnataka India

Peace is its own Reward!! – At Harobele Dam

Useful Information on Arakavathy Dam:

  • Distance from Bengaluru: 80 kms
  • Location: Arakavathy Dam Google Maps link
  • What to See: How a dam works? (Wish teachers take students here for a demo instead of pictures )
  • No shade at the reservoir (recommend to carry shades, drinking-water and a hat)
  • Carry food/munchies to eat (please do not litter the place and carry back the waste)
  • Where to eat: Biryani at Sumukh Restaurant, Kanakapura town
Biryani At Sumukh Restaurant MG Road - Kanakapura town

Biryani At Sumukh Restaurant MG Road – Kanakapura town

Dandiganahalli Dam, Dandiganahalli, Gauribidanur
Located near Gauribidanur, Dandiganahalli is only frequented by the locals for fishing or that occasional theppa (coracle) boat-rides. The place is absolutely serene and the cool breeze makes a wonderful excuse for quick-nap

Dandiganahalli Dam near GauriBidanur Chikkaballapur

Dandiganahalli Dam

Useful Information on Dandiganahalli Dam:

  • Distance from Bengaluru: 90 kms
  • Location: Dandiganahalli Google Maps link
  • What to See: Its just a beautiful spot to spend time!!
  • No shade at the reservoir (recommend to carry shades, drinking-water and a hat)
  • Carry food/munchies to eat (please do not litter the place and carry back the waste)
  • Don’t be deceived by the huge water-body one would see before reaching Dandiganahalli
  • Where to eat: Masala Dosa & Filter Coffee at Nani Hotel, Vijayapura
Masala Dosa at Nani Hotel Vijayapura

Masala Dosa at Nani Hotel Vijayapura

Mavathur Reservoir, Kanakapura Road
Known by locals as Mavathur kere, this is a large man-made reservoir with levee on one side. Access to Mavathur kere is via a narrow-dirt road (you will do just fine on a motorcycle though!) and frequented by shepherds and their herd, this is a beautiful place to spend cool mornings or evenings!!

Mavathur Lake Kanakapura - weekend ride destinations from Bengaluru

Mavathur Reservoir – Peaceful!!

Useful Information on Mavathur Reservoir:

  • Distance from Bengaluru: 64 kms
  • Location: Google Maps link [Look for the left-turn after the Kalyani motors Maruti showroom (before Kanakapura town)]
  • What to See: Relish the water and the green fields around
  • No shade at the reservoir (recommend to carry shades, drinking-water and a hat)
  • Carry food/munchies to eat (please do not litter the place and carry back the waste)
  • Do not visit this place in a hurry, we wanted to spend an hour, but ended spending more than three
  • Where to eat: Masala Dosa, Kesari bath and Filter Coffee at Vasu Hotel, Kanakapura town
Masala Dosa at Vasu Hotel KNS Circle Kanakpura Karnataka

Masala Dosa at Vasu Hotel

Vani Vilas Sagara Dam, Chitradurga
One of the most scenic dams in Karnataka, Vani Vilas Sagara boasts of picture-perfect beauty with blue-water, windmills and hills as a backdrop and ignore the runaway-type highway to reach the dam.

Vani Vilasa Sagara Dam Chitradurga

Vani Vilasa Sagara Dam

Useful Information on Vani Vilas Sagara Dam:

  • Distance from Bengaluru: 181 kms
  • Location: Google Maps link
  • What to See: stunning views from the dam & brilliant roads!!
  • No shade at the reservoir (recommend to carry shades, drinking-water and a hat)
  • Carry food/munchies to eat (please do not litter the place and carry back the waste)
  • Carry a wide-angle lens and an SLR !! (Pano-mode on phone doesn’t justify to capture this beauty!!)
  • Where to eat: Thatte Idly with Vada and butter at Pavithra Idli Hotel, Kyathasandra OR Khali Dosa with Ghee at Sri Laxmi Bhavan Tiffen Centre, Chitradurga town
Khali Dosa at Sri Laxmi Bhavan Tiffin Room Chitradurga

Khali Dosa – Sri Laxmi Bhavan Tiffin Room

Thatte Idli and Vada at Pavithra Idli Hotel Kyathasandra

Thatte Idli and Vada at Pavithra Idli Hotel

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Naaidu Biryani Batlagundu Dindigul

While the biryani-trinity of Thalapakatti, Venu’s and Ponram’s dominate the popularity charts of Dindigul Biryani – it’s the small, no-franchise, unique outlets serving Their version of Dindigul biryani with a slight individuality that excite a biryani-fan.

One such unique biryani getaway is Naaidu biryani restaurant at Batlagundu serving some delicious biryani (mutton and chicken) along with some lip smacking meat-sides such as mutton sukkha, chicken fry etc.

Dindigul Chicken Biryani at Naaidu Biryani Batlagundu

Traditional Dindigul Chicken Biryani served on a plantain leaf – deliciousness!!

Located on the highway connecting Dindigul and Theni at Batlagundu ( about 35 kms from Dindigul) this small biryani place is a welcome relief from the crowded and overpriced Thalapakatti outlets – making it the perfect lunch stop for travelers heading to Theni or Thekkady.

Naaidu Biryani Restaurant at Batlagundu

Useful information:

  • Timings: 11 am to 11 pm Open all days
  • Cash only no cards
  • No dedicated or separate parking
  • Contact Number: Mr.Saktivel 09677753238

Naaidu Biryani Restaurant was discovered by a dear friend during one of his rides – the food is delicious, easy on the wallet and sports wonderful roads to and ahead till Thekkady !!

Road from Batlagundu to Theni aboard the Yamaha YZF-R3

Delight to Ride – road from Batlagundu to Theni – mind the crosswinds though!!

Periyar Ghat - Enroute Kumily on the Yamaha YZF-R3

Periyar Ghat – En-route Kumily, too damn scenic !!

A day with the Kawasaki Ninja H2

Some weekends are surreal!! Never did I dream of riding a full-fledged production motorcycle with a supercharger – the last motorcycle with forced induction to roll-out off a production line was in the 1980s.

Launched in 2015, the Kawasaki Ninja H2 is the world’s only supercharged production hyper-sport street-bike.  Held together in an electric green trellis frame, with the gorgeous star wheels and a brilliant silver mirror paint, the Kawasaki Ninja H2 looks like it appeared out of a worm-hole from another galaxy – imagine Silver Surfer meets a motorcycle!!

Kawasaki Ninja H2 Review in Bangalore

Kawasaki Ninja H2 – Best Relished on a Expressway!!

How does it feel to ride the Kawasaki Ninja H2 ?

It’s built for one and only one purpose “outright speed”.  Hammering this thing off the line is the only way to ride!!

Beyond 4000 rpm with all the electronics – its an absolute effort to keep the front wheel on the ground (even in 6th gear)

However, around a slow corner, the engine throws tantrums with abrupt throttle response, gas-on and everything is back to its best behavior 😀

The Ninja H2 is so mindbogglingly fast – 200 kmph is a joke and it’s just getting warmed up for more!! It commands absolute attention while riding and razor-sharp reactions of an experienced rider.

I have never experienced this kind of urgency and violence in a motorcycle to go so overwhelmingly fast.

Kawasaki Ninja H2 India Review

Stealth Bomber on Wheels !!

Kawasaki Ninja H2 in India - top view

Made to go fast, very fast!!

Some interesting facts about the Kawasaki Ninja H2:

  • The Compression Ratio on a Ninja H2 is a mere 8.5:1 which is the same as Royal Enfield Classic 500 (pun intended :D)
  • The Kawasaki Ninja H2 is the most commercially successful forced induction production motorcycle in the history
  • The logo/emblem on the front of the motorcycle is known as the ‘Kawasaki River Mark’. The River Mark is a long-time Kawasaki symbol that dates back to the 1870s created by Shozo Kawasaki, founder of Kawasaki. Since then the symbol has been adopted by KHI Group (Kawasaki Heavy Industries) to express the company’s technology, originality and innovation.
  • There is NO Start button, but a Ignition ON/OFF Slider on the handle to crank the motorcycle
  • The stunning paint job on the Kawasaki H2 boasts of using pure silver to create the mirrored effect !!
  • Attention to Aerodynamics:
    • The chin spoiler on the upper front cowl (below the headlight) is function disguised in form,  that contributes to generating more down-force
    • There is a slot to tuck the bum of the rider into the seat for more aerodynamic position and also as serves as an anchor during the had acceleration

Hold on, no review of the Kawasaki Ninja H2 is complete without mentioning the ‘Orgasmic rasp of the supercharged engine’. Blip the throttle and the supercharger whirs and whistles – sheer music to a motorcyclist!!

Living with a Kawasaki Ninja H2 in Bangalore - India Review

A Hoot to Ride + the intoxicating music from the supercharger!!

It sounds like nothing else on the road and feels like nothing else too!!

Off Road Riding Experience at Big Rock Motopark – What to Expect

For an average Indian motorcyclist who thrives on commuting and touring, avenues to experience dirt riding on a proper off-road motorcycle or a dirt bike didn’t exist, until a certain C.S Santosh opened Big Rock Motopark in 2013.

Big Rock Motopark is a one of a kind off-road riding training facility at Shapur near Kolar – that is spread across a 45-acre operational farm with a mini-forest, a poultry-farm, vast spaces of dirt trails and a proper off road track.

Off Road Training Programs:

Although they coach professional off-road riders to compete in Indian and International off-road races, their Moto Day programs are aimed to cater the dirt-dreams of enthusiasts. Beginners/Enthusiasts can choose from either a half-day (4-hour) or a full-day (8-hour) training program.

The half-day program has 2 slots to choose from:

  • 8 am to 12 pm (breakfast will be provided)
  • 1 pm to 5 pm (lunch will be provided).
Navigating a Mogul on the Off-road Track at Big Rock Motopark Shapur Karnataka

Joshua , our instructor – Navigating a Mogul!!

Useful Information on Big Rock Motopark:

  • How to book:
    • Contact Information: Reach out to Mr. Nilesh (+919945011116) or Mr. Joshua (+919945205508) to book a slot for the off road program [PS: Don’t reach out to the number on Google – it’s an incorrect number]
    • Expect to follow-up a couple of times, since these guys are full-time professional riders & not available throughout to attend phone calls to take a booking – so be patient!
    • Advance Booking of 1 week is sufficient
  • When to do:
    • Avoid taking up the program during summer – way too hot to ride!
    • The Motopark may close during rains – feel free to call Nilesh/Joshua to check the availability
  • A minimum of 3 persons are required to book a batch and maximum of 6 per batch (since they only have 6 motorcycles)
  • Motorcycles they provide for the training: Honda CRF 230 dirt bikes
  • Cost per rider: INR 6,000 (for half day) and INR 10,000 (for full day)
  • Fees to be paid in Cash at the venue or via online transfer – no card payment or PayTM payment is accepted
  • Complete Riding Gear such as helmet, riding gloves, riding armor (upper & lower), riding overalls (upper & lower), riding boots and dirt googles would be provided by Big Rock Motopark [people with waist size > 36, better to get a pair of jeans upon which the knee armor can be worn]
  • Carry hydrating drink/powder with essential salts (electoral, Gatorade etc.)
  • Location: Shapur, Karnataka Google Maps Link
Approaching a ramp on the Off-road Track at Big Rock Motopark Shapur Karnataka

Off-road Track: Approaching a ramp for a take off!!

Course Structure for Beginner/Enthusiast for the Off Road Riding Program:

The course has three main components:

  • Safety Briefing & Theory: Introduction to Dirt Bikes, Basics & Rider Body Posture, Motorcycle geometry – how this affects the way they need to be ridden etc.
  • Off Road Track Laps: They have a proper off road track with obstacles such as jumps, ramps, berms, moguls etc – the intent is to get used to riding a dirt bike by standing-up, arms position, torque of the motorcycle, rear-wheel slides, loading the front suspension during a turn, gear changing with off-road boots etc.

   Each track sessions lasts for about 15 excruciating minutes followed by a break and back to the track for more sessions

  • Dirt Trails: This involves riding the forest trails within and outside the farm to tackle real-life obstacles such as downhill dirt roads, boulders, sand-bed, small-to-medium rocks etc. Dirt Trails last anywhere between 2 to 3 hrs (I was absolutely knackered and drained after this.)
Dirt Riding Forest Trails at Big Rock Motopark Shapur Karnataka

Forest Trail – Dirt Riding!!

Personally, in spite the horrifying realization of how unfit I am to ride a dirt bike and the immense amount of fitness and training these guys invest – I had an absolute blast with the best of my mates and thoroughly enjoyed the day at Big Rock Motopark – can’t wait to go again!!

Here is a preview of what to expect at Big Rock Motopark – Ride On!!

Video & Image Credits: Nishanth N (Follow him on YouTube and Instagram)

Guide to VRL Motorcycle Transportation in India

Every year May-June, the roads to Himalayas open, attracting hundreds of motorcyclists to pursue their dream rides to the magical Northern frontier. While a fortunate few can afford to ride all the way up-north, transporting motorcycles to the nearest entry point via road and rail saves time and energy.

Motorcycle Crate Transport (popularly known as Motorcycle Cage Transport) by VRL Logistics involving transporting motorcycles in an enclosed crate with minimal/nil damages is becoming a popular option.

Motorcycle crate transport facility is available only across select VRL Logistics Warehouse centers in India.

Motorcycle Transportation Crate Types - Big and Regular at VRL Logistics India

Motorcycle Transportation Crate Types – Big and Regular

Here is all you need to know about motorcycle transportation in a cage by VRL:

Booking Procedure:

  • There is NO system to pre-book/block a motorcycle crate ONLINE
  • One DOES NOT need an AGENT to book or transport
  • Call the VRL Logistics Warehouse Office, provide the details of the destination, number of bikes and date of journey to narrow down the loading date and cost of the transport
  • Cost of the transport (includes transportation + packing) is calculated based on:
    • Type of crate (Regular & Big for the giant ADV motorcycles)
    • Destination

Transport Procedure:

Consists of 3 steps – Documentation, Packing and Loading/Mounting on the crate.

Documentation:

  • Couple of forms need to be filled before they pack/load the motorcycles
  • Verification of motorcycle documents by VRL officers
  • Documents to be submitted to VRL:
    • Copy of RC Card/Motorcycle Registration
    • Copy of Valid Insurance
    • Copy of Valid Emission Certificate
    • Copy of the Driving Licence
  • Payment to be done on the day of the loading in CASH or ONLINE TRANSFER ONLY (No CARDS/DIGITAL WALLET payment is accepted)
  • A Consignee Copy aka Pink Note is provided as acknowledgment of the motorcycle transport – this needs to be shown at the destination to receive the motorcycle

Packing: includes emptying the fuel + packing the motorcycle and the motorcycle gear before loading onto the crate

Loading: includes mounting the motorcycle on the crate and securing the crate with a personal lock

Anticipate a total time-frame of 3 hours to finish the documentation, packing and loading for each motorcycle.

Packed Motorcycle & Gear Secured into the Crate at VRL Logistics Dabaspet

Packed Motorcycle & Gear Secured onto the Crate

 

Read to Load the VRL Motorcycle Transport Crate into the trucks - At VRL Logistics Dabaspet

Ready to Load  into the trucks!

Useful Information:

  • The Bangalore VRL Logistics Warehouse Facility is located at Dabaspet, about 40-50 kms from the city
  • Contact Number of Manager of VRL Dabaspet (Mr. Murthy) – +919343097329
  • Carry a Long-chain with a lock OR Wire Lock to secure the crate
  • Packing material is available in sufficient quantities at the Logistics center – so its not required to carry personal packing material
  • Work Tip: The packing guys expect and demand a tip of 200 bucks/person
  • Carry fuel jerry cans to take back the fuel removed from the motorcycle
  • Carry sufficient amount of water + snacks
  • DO NOT miss the ice-cream at Polar Bear located 3 kms from the VRL Facility in Dabaspet
  • Smoking is NOT ALLOWED in the warehouse – one has to walk out beyond the loading docks to smoke
  • Pack and load your motorcycle gear and spares into the crate
  • DO NOT FORGET to Carry the Chain/Wire Lock Key + Consignee Copy + Motorcycle Ignition Key
Fresh Mangoes with Icecream and Cream at Polar Bear Dabaspet

Never miss a chance to eat icecream 😛 – 3 kms from VRL Dabaspet

Happy Touring 🙂

Unusual Ice creams in Bengaluru

Traditional ice-creams have mostly been consumed in the form of scoops, bars, cones, sundaes etc. However some innovative ice-cream shops have pushing the status the quo of how an ice-cream should look and taste – here is an ode to the unusual/hatke ice-creams in Bengaluru.

Fried Ice Cream:

A big scoop of vanilla ice cream that is quickly deep-fried creating a warm, crispy shell around the still-cold ice cream topped with chocolate sauce and nuts with cherries. A house-specialty, Ocea Special Fried Ice Cream is available throughout the day/year and is one of the most-popular dessert

Where: The Ocea International Hotel, Brigade Road

Useful information:

  • Made-on-order, anticipate a waiting-time of 20 mins after placing the order for the preparation
  • Cost: INR 125
  • Parking: Valet parking for cars
  • They accept cash & cards
Fried Ice-cream at The Ocea International Hotel Brigade Road, Bengaluru

Fried Ice-cream at The Ocea International Hotel

Ice-cream Dosa:

An ice-cream delight that has catapulted a street dosa-shop into stardom among food-lovers & children. Ice-cream dosa is a regular plain dosa smeared with chocolate ice-cream and served with a scoop of vanilla ice-cream instead of the chutney.

Trust me its delicious!

Where: Amarnath Chats, RV Road (landmark: Amaron Battery Showroom)

Useful Information:

  • The place is a food-cart on the footpath serving dosas and idly, one has to stand and eat
  • Cost: INR 70
  • Timings: 5:30 pm to 10:30 pm (open all days of the week)
  • Contact number: +919844235515/ +919448558418
  • They accept ONLY cash, no card payment facility
  • Parking: No dedicated parking space, but lots of by-lanes to find parking
Ice-cream Dosa at Amarnath Chats RV Road Bengaluru

Ice-cream Dosa at Amarnath Chats

Chili-Guava Ice-cream Roll:

A popular form of ice cream in South-East Asian countries, ice cream roll is a hand made using ice cream base spread on a frozen slab and then rolled using a pastry scraper or paint scraper.

Where: Hokey Pokey Koramangala

Useful Information:

  • Made-on-order, anticipate a waiting-time of 20 mins after placing the order for the preparation
  • Cost: INR 120
  • Parking: No dedicated parking space, but lots of bylanes to find parking
  • They accept cash & cards
Chili Guava Ice-cream Roll at Hokey Pokey Koramangala Bengaluru

Chili Guava Ice-cream Roll at Hokey Pokey

Ice cream Burger aka Cereal Ice Cream bun:

2 big scoops of vanilla ice cream form the patty of a burger bun laced with Fruit Loops. Be prepared for a tooth-freeze at the first bite!!

Where: Cafe by the Corner, HSR Layout

Useful Information:

  • Made-on-order, anticipate a waiting-time of 10 mins after placing the order for the preparation
  • Cost: INR 120
  • Parking: No dedicated parking space, but lots of by-lanes to find parking
  • They accept cash & cards
Ice-cream burger at Cafe by the Corner HSR Layout, Bengaluru

Ice-cream burger at Cafe by the Corner

Go out and get an ice cream!!

Sri Guru Kottureshwara Benne Dosa Hotel Davangere

Davangere has become synonymous with a famously rich variety of dosa, known as ‘Benne Dosa’ or ‘Butter Dosa’. In fact several eateries aka dosa camps in Bengaluru have played a pivotal role in “introducing and popularizing” the Davangere Benne Dosa in my city and beyond.

While this delicious creation has been replicated aka commercialized across most of the dosa-camps in Bengaluru. In Davangere, Sri Guru Kottureshwara Benne Dosa Hotel is the undoubted champion of authentic Davangere Benne Dosa.

Davangere Benne Dosa at Sri Guru Kottureshwara Benne Dosa Hotel in Davangere

Davangere Benne Dosa !!

Davangere Benne Dosa is a crispy dosa cooked on wood-fired tava with generous amounts of butter served with Potato Palya (made of boiled mashed potatoes) and spicy coconut-based Chutney.

The dosa is crisp and thin marked by large holes on the surface (as a result of carbon dioxide release in the form of bubbles from the baking soda mixed in the dosa batter) with lots of butter that adds the intoxicating aroma and delicousness.

The menu at the Davangere Benne Dosa Hotel has only 3 items:

  • Benne Khali Dosa (similar to the Set Dosa & each serving/plate consists of 3 dosas)
  • Benne Dosa – Single
  • Benne Dosa – Plate (consists of 2 benne dosas)
Making the Benne Dosas at Sri Guru Kottureshwara Benne Dosa Hotel in Davangere

Wood-Fired Tawa adds to Flavor

Useful Information:

  • Timings: 8:30 am to 9 pm (Open all days of the week)
  • Location: Sri Guru Kottureshwara Benne Dosa Hotel, Medical College Road | Mcc B Block, Davanagere Google Maps Link
  • Parking: No dedicated parking for cars & motorcycles, lots of bylanes can accommodate them
  • They don’t serve coffee or tea 😦  head to ‘Love Food’ Hotel (about 2 buildings away) for coffee or tea
  • Cash only, no cards are accepted
  • The place gets crowded and one has to wait for 20 to 30 mins – however the crowd fades-out between 2 to 4 pm
Sri Guru Kottureshwara Benne Dosa Hotel in Davangere

Sri Guru Kottureshwara Benne Dosa Hotel in Davangere