Ride to Madhugiri Fort

It was after about one and half year I got a chance to venture out on a long ride on my bike. I’ve been wanting to do so for a long time but something or the other became a hurdle(yep, that DOES sound like the most common cliche). The distance from my place, as given by google maps was about 125 kms. There were a couple of options on which route to take, and I(randomly) chose the following one.

I planned to be back to Bangalore by evening and it was imperative that I left early. As always, because of the fear of not waking up on time, I had a troubled sleep but managed to wake up at 4.45 AM sharp and was out of main gate exactly by 5:00. The first part of the journey was on NICE road and as always its a pleasure to be riding there. Especially in the morning when there’s less number of heavy vehicles and almost no small/medium ones. This part was a breeze with an average speed of about 80-85 kmph. Next was the highway to Tumkur, which again turned out be a smooth, 4 lane road with medium traffic. 50 Kms into that road, I took a detour which I was eagerly awaiting. The thing is that the major highways are all good and everything but they seldom offer a nice view and are mostly heavily inhabited, not to mention loaded with traffic. On the other hand, the state highways are much smaller but instead of being straight as an arrow and mowing down all terrain under them, these bend and turn and blend in with the surroundings and offer vivid views. After I took the detour from a place called Dabbaspet, everything around me was silent and there was no noisy trucks, tempos or cars zooming around. Took a couple pics on this road. One was a small water body and since I had to rest for a while, chose this to take a break.

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This was about an hour and half into the drive and the around an hour more still to go. The weather was great and road turned out to be the same way, although construction was going on at some spots but these were few and didnt do anything to dampen the spirit of the ride. Moving closer to the destination, the following sight met my eye and I was quite sure that I would be climbing this piece of rock very shortly.

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 I read up about the place a night before and found out that this is the second largest monolith in Asia. I understood the part about this being one giant rock but didnt fully realize the extent of what that means till the time I started climbing it. The place was about 10 minutes away from where I took the above picture from and upon reaching Madhugiri, I first had some breakfast, refilled my water bottle and was off to a trek. The entrance of the fort is regular fort-like, a bit less majestic than what I’ve seen in Rajasthan and somewhat more dilapidated. It doesn’t seem like the fort was a big attraction, even to the king who built it. It seemed like it could’ve been an watchtower which expected a few visits from the king in a year.  Moving towards the top seems to consolidate this idea as the concept of a trail or stairs soon begin to disappear. The first signs of that happening are when you see something like this.

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I’m pretty sure that the guardrails were put up later and I really don’t want to imagine how people used to climb this before that. The view to the top from this point looks something like this.

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Moving on, as you start reaching the top, the climb becomes more and more steep and at one point its about 60 degree and you literally have to climb the rock instead of walking upwards. I suggest frequent breaks if you’re not a frequent trekker and this is more exhausting than any regular trek. Coming back to this being a huge rock,  what that means is that it gets more hot even with a mild sun and there is no shade to rest in whatsoever. So if you happen to land here on an awfully bad day(ie lots of sun), then good luck. Reaching to the very top took me around and hour and half with a couple of breaks in between. I was thoroughly exhausted by then and needed a break. But not before clicking the following.

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I ate a few fruits and dozed off for about 15 minutes. Best.Sleep.Ever. And then started the descent. Its always a great feeling coming down a mountain:) . Heavens being on my side, the weather all this while was amazing and hence it was in 40 minutes I managed to find myself at the entrance of the fort once again. Everything was going on time and I took one last pic while riding back before the fort vanished from my site.

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Yes, I am a little obsessed with my bike 🙂

I took a much straighter road on my way back and rode directly to Tumkur from Madhugiri and then was on the state highway after that. This road is longer by around 10 Kms but being a highway, takes lesser time than the one from Dabbaspet. Anyway, around 3 more hours later, I found myself back in my apartment with tanned arms and face and slightly sore bottom. Need to get better biking gear before I do anything like this next time.

South India being a nice place to take short bike ride, I hope I’ll be able to make up for last one year in a short time.

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