Meke: n. Goat (Kannada) [may-kay]
Datu: v. to cross (Kannada) [daa-tu]

The evening of the eve of the journey, we were still convincing and coaxing ourselves that we could do it. By the end of the day over ice cream and chaat (yes, that was the combo), we decided that weather permitting, we would set out on our first bike trip early next morning. Our chosen destination : Mekedatu - A gorge formed by river Kaveri on the outskirts of Bangalore. About 90 km from Bangalore, off Kanakapura road, it would suit us fine.

At 7 am, we were off. The four of us (Robin, Kempraj, Unni and yours truly) on two bikes (TVS Apache 160 RTR, Bajaj Pulsar 180 DTSi) that were until then confined to rides within the city. Inner Ring Road- Silk Board Junction- Kanakapura Road was the route of our choice. Just as we entered Kanakapura Road, we were greeted with a road accident (a bike and a Sumo (MUV) it was, I think) graphically reminding us novices the perils of the highway.
L to R:  Anoop, Unni, Kempraj, Robin

We stopped by at the first eating joint that we came across on touching Kanakapura, for breakfast. After helping ourselves to Idlis, Vadas and Dosas, we topped it up with some potent coffee (Robin managed to down two bananas over that!) .

The rest of the ride upto Sangam was uneventful. But every passing minute of the ride unraveled beautiful scenery - farmlands, ponds, hills, and colourful vegetation. This, along with earthy smells unfamiliar to us city dwellers and silence pierced only by the roar of our bikes made the ride enjoyable. The hair pin bends as we approached Sangam, added that little bit of challenge for the two riders and their machines.

Having ventured while the monsoon was still on, the rivers at the Sangam were full of water. Sangam(a) - v. Meet (Kannada), is the confluence of two rivers Kaveri and Arkavathi. This is where the road ends and to get to get to Mekedatu, we had to cross the river on circular boats called 'thepa'. Somebody had told Kempraj that the boat ride would cost us Rs 500 (hire charges for one boat). So the forbidding cost as well as a nervous Unni resulted in us procrastinating on the bank for quite some time. A guy was selling tickets, presumably for the boat ride. On asking him we were told it would cost us Rs 40 per head for a round trip (which meant only Rs 160 for our gang of four). So after some 'and you were telling..' stares at poor Kempa, we hopped onto a boat.

The boat ride was smooth. But half way through the ride, we could feel our pants getting wet. When we reached the other end, Robin and Kempa got off the boat first. This tilted the boat, allowing more water to get in and making the condition of our pants worse. There was a bus waiting for us on this side.

The bus was no ordinary one. It looked like it was handed down from the British era. But, we soon found out that the driver (equally old, I must add) and the ride were very much capable of negotiating the terrain (unasphalted, uphill) that lead to Mekedatu. A round trip on the bus cost us Rs 40 per head. Again, Kempa was misinformed by someone about roof top seats. There were none, and for a reason!

The bus brought us to Mekedatu in about 10-15 minutes. Getting off the bus, we found that the shallow river at the Sangam(with people wading across), was now flowing through a deep ravine. Climbing down the hill allowed us to set foot on the very rocks that was cut by the river to form the gorge. The rocks exhibited various stages of erosion - some of them smooth, gleaming like silk and others with sharp, jagged edges. There was nothing much to see here apart from the fury of the river gushing through the ravine and the rock faces on either sides. The spot from where a goat could have jumped across (wherein lies the origin of the name Mekedatu), was nowhere to be seen. All the erosion had probably turned it into just a folklore.

I felt Mekedatu was a disappointment compared to the bike ride upto Sangam. Perhaps the expectation was too high or did we miss a thing or two? The photogenic rock faces were a saving grace. A climb to the top, followed by the bus and boat ride got us back to where we had parked our bikes.

It was nearing 2 pm and we had earlier decided to get back to Bangalore by 5 pm. So we hopped into what was probably the only hotel to grab a bite before turning back. The food was nothing special and the fried fish on the road side stalls near Sangam probably would have tasted better than the one we got to eat at the hotel!

The ride back was equally incident free save for a snake cutting across our path and a hay laden tractor refusing to give us way! The roads, especially the national highway, were in excellent condition replete with signage. We maintained good speeds till we got to the edge of Bangalore where rain brought us to a stop. It had been raining on and off the whole day in Bangalore, I was told, but we were lucky to have enjoyed pleasant weather the whole day. A break in the rain got us back on our bikes and we touched base at about 5:45 pm. The rain during the last bit resulted in our bikes getting pasted with muddy water.

Blog revived!

Its been nearly two years since the last post. This time was spent doing absolutely nothing, well almost. However, I relocated myself to my hometown of Bangalore and that meant I could start hanging out with my school mates again.
One day, one of them came up with the idea of going on weekend getaways. After a series of postponements, we finally ventured on our maiden trip on bikes to Mekedatu ( A gorge formed by river Kaveri on the outskirts of Bangalore). This blog was revived to showcase this trip and many more which we hope will follow.