Saturday, August 14, 2010

Ride into jungles of Coorg

When: 13th and 14th June, 2010

Trip Route:

View Nagarhole-Coorg MotorcycleTrip in a larger map

South India has got some of the finest jungles and to be able to ride through one of these jungles was always going to be an exciting prospect. I had read a lot about the beauty of Kabini, Nagarhole and Coorg in general. The forest stretch comprising of Nagarhole National Park, Kabini Backwaters, Bandipur National Park, Mudumalai NP and Wayanad NP forms one of the finest scenery you would get to see in India. Having read a lot about the Nagarhole NP from various blogs namely Vijay Cavale Blog(, Giri Cavale Blog( and others, I was very keen on visiting this place. So the occasion came in form of attending Sajal's engagement in Bangalore, being long time friends I decided to attend the ceremony and plan a short trip of 3 days to Coorg around it. Anil, another mate from Bangalore agreed to join the ride. Anil, long wanted to do a motorcycle trip together and this was a perfect op. for us. This was going to be a special trip considering it was my last ride before getting married!
So the plan was to take Rohit's Pulsar 200 and Anil on his ZMA to Coorg. Our first priority was to get accommodation inside Nagarhole NP but we could not get it. So then we decided to Stay in a town named Kutta, which is a small town right on the edge of Nagarhole NP and also acts as a gateway to Wayanad Sanctuary in Kerala.

We booked a homestay( as we got its reference from Giri Cavale's blog.We chose a road which is less traveled and goes through some of the thickest forests of South India, infested with all kinds of wild animals. Wild elephants chasing vehicled is not uncommon in this part of the world. There are quite a few ways by which one can reach Nagarhole, like the Bangalore-Mysore-Hunsur-Naharhole if one has a four wheeler or Bangalore-Mysore-Gonikappa-Virajpet-Kutta or the less traveled Bangalore-Mysore-HD Kote-Kabini-Bavali-Kattikulum-Kutta road. We chose the last one as motorcycles are not allowed on the Hunsur-Nagarhole stretch. The last roads passes through some breathtaking scenery.
OK, enough of prelude, here comes the log...

Day 1: The jungle day!

Route: Bangalore-Mysore-HD Kote-Kabini-Bavali-Kattikulum-Kutta

After a late night engagement-bash, I was little tired but got up at around 5 in the morning and called Anil, who was all ready. He came in around 40 minutes to Rohit's place where I was staying. We stared at around 7. Rohit's place from where we started

Traffic is a major problem in Bangalore now and getting outside the city took a lot of time.We took the newly build Kanakpura Road - Mysore Road connecting road and were soon on the Mysore road. We took breakfast at Kamat's with some delicious fare that included Akki roti or Tandoolachi Bhakri as it is called in Maharashtra.

Breakfast time: Akki Roti at Kamat's on Mysore highway

Steamed Idli warpped in a leaf!

Just before Mysore city we took the ring road, this avoided the Mysore city traffic but it was like taking a detour as distance wise it was more. After riding for about 30-40 minutes, we got a diversion for HD Kote. The road from Mysore till Kabini was not very eventful. It was only after Kabini, that the real fun actually started. We were able to see the Kabini Backwaters from a distance. We also came across the fine Jungle Lodge at Kabini which is run by the Karnataka Govt.

On the way to Kabini

Entrance to Nagarhole National Park from HD Kote route

From here on we enter the Nagarhole National Park.We were now riding very slowly and very keenly around to look for any wildlife. There were hardly any vehicles that passed us on this road. These jungles have
a very large population of wild elephants who are known to chase vehicles. Riding inside these jungles is always exciting. Your anxiety levels shoot up when you ride on these roads. It is partly because you are thrilled as well as little scared. The Nagarhole NP has a healthy population of Tigers. The stretch of road which we were riding was crossing the NP.

The Nagarhole boundary at a distance

Inside the park and our first tiger sighthing!

Thick bamboo trees inside the park

Imagine coming across a Tiger in front of you where you are on a Bike!
This is very much a possibility here. But that also adds to the excitement of the ride. There was local motorcycle rider who was little ahead of us.Suddenly out of nowhere he was chased by some wild elephants! He fell to the ground. Fortunately a bus came from behind and the driver of the bus stopped right in between the elephants and the rider. The man immediately lifted his bike and rode back to the place where we were standing. Now we were 3 of us staring the elephants at some distance. There was a group of elephants with a calf which I guess prompted one of the elephant to chase. The elephants backed a little and that is when we decided to rip off ahead. As we crossed a the elephants at some distance, one of them sacred the hell out of us when he chased us briefly but luckily we escaped it. What a thrilling start to the jungle ride!
Our elephant luck was very high that day as immediately we spotted another group of elephants at some distance. They were not as aggressive so we stopped for a while and took some snaps.

Way to Jungle Lodge, Kabini

Beautiful roads inside the jungle

Anil's ZMA on the beautiful road

Expect one to chase you!

Our first sighting from a long distace...

Dream road inside the jungle! (The slower you go here, the better the experience)

Wild elephants with a calf, upclose!

Breathtaking scenery all along!

One of the numerous little lakes that we enountered on the way...

The first deer sighting!

This heavenly stretch literally blew me away. We then reached Kattikulum where one of the road goes to Manvathavady and the other road on the right branches towards Kutta. We crossed into Kerala! Now, we were riding into Wayanad wildlife sanctuary inside Kerala.

Tree tops built probably to ward off elehphants entering the fields

Entering Kerala!

The roads were narrow but a treat to the eyes. So green and thickly forested is this part of the world, it'll easily leave one speechless. This road passes through the Tholepetty wildlife sanctuary of Kerala. It is like a dream to ride here. We again spotted some wild elephants along the road. We were now little hungry and
so decided to speed off to Kutta. We then reached Kutta at around 2 PM. We stayed in a home stay called Green Retreat. This place is amidst a coffee plantationion. The place is owned by Manu and he is a coorgi. We got excellent hospitality and some finger licking good food. As we settled into our room, which was a
very spacious room, our lunch was ready. After a long non-stop ride of around 300 km, the sight of a excellent coorgi food was something else.

Delicious lunch at Kutta!

After munching on the food, Manu arranged a jeep for us to visit the Nagarhole NP at around 4. I was really excited now. Sharp at 4, this guy came with his jeep. We loaded with cameras and boarded the jeep. Soon we entered the gate of Nagarhole NP. From here on motorcycles are not allowed. The jeep driver was in
some kind of hurry so was speeding off. I told Anil to ask him to drive slowly for us to enjoy the beauty of the forest but the request fell on the deaf ears.
We quickly reached the National Park office inside Nagarhole. To our luck, we hopped onto a forest department safari van. I guess they charge 100 something per person for a safari inside the forest. The chances of seeing big game was very less due to the fact that it was raining a little and vegetation was very
thick. Also, the noise that our van made, did not help. Still the scenery is breathtaking. Some 10 minutes into the safari, the driver suddenly stopped and showed us a Dole(Wild Dog) at some distance. Due to lack of optical zoom we could barely take a snap. Another animals that we spotted included a wild boar, elephants n more elephants, sambars, deer. At one point this driver stopped and pointed his finger at some distance and told us there was a "chitte", a leopard! even after trying very hard we couldn’t spot the elusive leopard. I doubt the driver spotted anything in first place!

Shot in the wild!

Deer play at Nagarhole NP

Royal Stag!

Safari into Nagarhole!

And some more dears!

Inside the core area of Nagarhole

Wild Boar sighted!

Wild elephants bathing inside of the pools


Elephants waiting for us to attack!

The safari lasted well over an hour and we were back to the office and sped off back to Kutta. We shopped for some evening essentials and came back to the Manu's place. We explored the beautiful coffee estate before going back to the room.

Dew drops on one of the plans inside the coffee plantation

The famous coorg coffee in its early stages!

Some frog that we found there

A special coorgi dinner was getting ready for us. After enjoying some somas and a tasty dinner, we called of the day and decided to give much needed rest to our tired souls.

Day 2: Irpu falls and a big disappointment

Route: Kutta-Ripe Falls-Kutta-Virajpet-Gonikoppa-Mysore-Bangalore

Woke up to the sound of rains. It looked like it rained the whole night. Today's plan was to go to Irpu falls and visit the Kuruva Dweep which is an island formed by Kabini. So after having breakfast consisting for traditional Akki roti, we decided to start off for Irpu.

Yummy breakfast the next day!

Just as we got ready, My bike refused to start. It looked like a battery problem. The Pulsar 200 doesn't have a kick which was like scary considering the remoteness of the place. We asked Manu if there was any mechanic around but being Sunday there wasn't anybody around to help. I tried to start the bike on a slope and it started, much to our relief. We then headed to Irpu falls in the pouring rains. The road condition to Irpu falls was not that encouraging. After 20 minutes, we reached the starting place for Irpu falls. It is a 20 min hike from here. It was raining pretty heavily. We took the ticket to enter the Brahmagiri Sanctuary in which the falls lie.It is also famous for trekking mainly due to Brahmagiri peak. The Irpu falls lie on the trail on the way to the peak. The falls weren't that spectacular but since it was raining, it had some water. It was crowded a little. Somehow we managed to get few snaps.

Trail to Irpu falls

Irpu falls in rains

As we started the return journey, my bike suddenly gave up and it just stopped. We just couldn't make it start again. So, I told Anil to go to town and look for somebody who can help. It was very frustrating in the rain. Finally Anil came with Manu in his Jeep. We then put the bike into the jeep and brought it to the resort. I then decided to head back via Gonikappa till Mysore maybe and fix the problem. I was not willing to take risk on the next day as I had a flight to catch. So  after having quick lunch we headed back via Virajpet, Hunsur, Mysore to Bangalore. It pretty much rained all the way. The stretch between Hunsur to Mysore was pretty scenic as it passes through northern part of Nagarhole NP. After taking a break at Cafe Coffee Day on the Mysore-Bangalore highway, we reached Bangalore at around 11 pm. I was feeling little sad on having lost a day in the one of the best place one could ride the bike. I will surely be back to this awesome place.


  1. Awesome buddy!! Keep rocking.. :)

  2. Woowwwwwww Amazing Hrishi..truly amazing

  3. Lovely mate!! You made me nostalgic. :(

  4. hrishikesh! i shall always remain jealous of you and your umpteen bike trips. and i hope this wasn't your last one before marriage. i pray to god you get to do this more often with your better half :) :) keep this blog alive. i look forward to reading these travelogues! :)

  5. @quaintkal
    Thanks for praying...I might just need those prayers! :)

  6. Hi,
    Ur pictures are great. Traveling next to wild elephant is always some experience

  7. @Che-rulez
    Yeah riding in the wild is always is a gr8 experience!

  8. @deane barclays
    Glad you liked the blog :)
    Yes, Jungle resorts is one of the better eco-resort managed by Govt. of Karnataka. This whole region is very rich in bio-diversity which makes it a fascinating place. The Waynad homestay looks really interesting.

    1. Have you tried the eco friendly homestay in wayanad? Kudajadri Drizzle Homestay. Just try out.

      Their website is

      For a cheap tariff you will get all the necessary facilities includeing camp fire.

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  10. Hi buddy !! This is Anil from Bangalore. I must say, i'm really loved your blog !!

    I alongwith two of my friends have decided a bike ride from Bangalore to Eddakal Caves and then from thereon to reach Madikeri via the Waynad Forest Region and Kutta. From what I have heard and what I've read in your blog its quiet clear that a Wildlife threat is always a possibility. This has made my friends to give this stretch of bike ride a second thought, which might also lead to cancellation of trip :( !! Could you please advice, if it is completely safe to ride through this forest region during day and reach our destination without any problems from wildlife ?? We have never been to this place before, for the reason which our fear is as high as a peak :( :( !! Appreciate it if you could advice based on your experience ??

    1. Thanks Anil for liking it! :)
      Yes, there is always a threat element if you have wildlife around, esp in a area like Nagarhole/Kabini. But if you are alert and don't create unnecessary noise or venture inside the forest, I think you'll be pretty safe. Just stick to the road. Many local people use these roads.If there is an elephant crossing, give them way and make sure you stay at safe distance and your engines turned on all the time, just in case you need to turnaround! Do not ever leave the road or venture inside the forest without a guide. Hope that will help you to decide.

    2. Hrishikesh !! Thanks a lot for that info :) Will definitely follow what you advised and will post my pics very soon after the trip :)
      This is the first time we are riding to this part of India, so wanted to be 100% sure of all conditions and I really found your blog very useful to know where i'm heading towards !! Your advice was very useful aswell.
      Keep posting and rock it dude !! Take care

    3. Ride safe and enjoy the ride! Have a blast man!

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