Tonnur Kere and Ranganathittu

Ever heard of Tonnur Kere? Two years back, this place (or rather, lake) had very little presence on the web. Few pictures, a short description and some info on the route were all that was available. Things haven’t changed a lot, even now. But whatever little there was had got me interested. A lake perched high above the surrounding land that would emerge as the road leading to it simply ran out of terrain! With a description like that, who wouldn’t? But it takes more than words and images to get the four of us to set off on a ride, even if it’s only to the neighbouring district. Perhaps the planets have to be in some strange alignment!

With me well and truly back in my home city of Bangalore and having landed a job that allowed for “weekends”, I reckoned it’s time to go see some places that , until now, I had only longed to! So I put down the weekend discussion on going on a ride to Tonnur Kere in writing, (detailing time, route map etc) and shot it off to the other guys. I added Ranganathittu and Kokare Belur to the itinerary as well. That seemed to have done the trick as without too much further fuss, the ride became a reality at the appointed hour (well, a little after that!).

Except for the initial stretch, where the metro work is in progress, the Bangalore - Mysore Road (SH-17) was excellent. Having stared at 6:45 am , we stopped for breakfast after crossing Ramanagara town. After that there was an unplanned stop, 20 km later, as we lost track of Kempa. We had to work out his location by comparing the odometer reading on our bikes (luckily we had noted the reading at our first stop). It was a nonstop ride upto Baburayanakoppal (which is a couple of kilometers before Srirangapatna) after which we had to veer off to the right onto SH 19 that leads you to Pandavapura.
Breakfast stop

After crossing the railway station, we took the road on right hand side (leading towards Melkote) and that brought us to Pandavapura. Every now and then you could smell Jaggery as we passed by units making them. Just after passing a relatively large sized government hospital building, we stopped to ask for directions. We were told we could continue straight on to the village road that was ahead of us (a short cut) or stick on to the SH which would meander to the same place. We chose the short cut and that rejoined the SH close to the bus stand. Further down, we took a left turn towards Thondanur (a green signboard in Kannada marks the turn). The lake we were off to – Tonnur kere - gets its name from the village ( Thondanur kere ~ Tonnur kere). Couple of kilometers on this narrow, but fairly well maintained road got us to the lake, but not without an incident!

As you get closer to the lake, you’ll come across a smaller body of water along the road. After we passed this, we came across a fairly large pothole that covered almost the breadth of the road. With it also being a low point compared to the adjacent terrain, it was filled with water. Robin who was leading the way, and Unni who followed closely behind failed to take notice/ evasive action and ended up getting their bikes dirty. Unni couldn’t stand the sight of his bike with dirt and decided to wipe it off immediately. As he did so, he brushed the hot silencer pipe, burning a portion of his palm. We had a good laugh at his expense!

The lake is approached by taking a deviation, to the left, onto a road that climbs sharply. On the right you will find a small stream fed with lake water and on your left the terrain drops, getting deeper as your climb higher. The road abruptly comes to an end and as expected reveals the lake on the right. The scene of a lake perched above the terrain adjacent to it is a sight that needs to be seen to be believed. There was nothing much to do at the place. We trekked up one of the hills bordering the lake and that gave us some good photo opportunities. Unni even chanced his luck by taking a dip in the lake. There was a small beach like area on the other side of the lake but our plans to go visit Ranganathittu meant it would have to wait for another day.

Tonnur Kere

Another view

Our Rides

We retraced our path upto the Bangalore-Mysore highway and then moved towards Srirangapatna. After crossing a couple of bridges, there is a right turn to be taken to go towards Ranganathittu. We stopped at that place to have lunch. Lunch was a meager affair, but did cost as much as a decent meal would have in Bangalore. After lunch, we made our way to Ranganathittu and proceeded straight for the boat ride.

The not so special lunch

The boat ride gave Unni the opportunity to test his new DSLR and I joined him with my trusty point and shoot. This was the closest I had ever got to wild life and thoroughly enjoyed the short ride clicking away at Storks, Ibises, Egrets and Crocs! After the ride we took a short break for refreshments and then explored the sanctuary on foot. We caught the croc, that we had earlier passed by during the boat ride, in a mouth open pose. We could only curse our luck that we weren’t up close to view and capture that!

Ranganathittu- Boat Ride

"Storks, Ibises. Egrets and Crocs!"

Hmm.. wonder what he's upto!

Open billed Storks

It was almost four and we felt it would not be possible to visit Kokare Belur that day. So we decided to head straight to Bangalore with a stop at Maddur for the famous vadas. Robin and I rode off and kept each other within visual range. With some more distance to go for Maddur, the two of us decided to stop as there was no sign of the other two. Soon Kempa joined us followed by Unni. We decided to have tender coconuts being sold nearby. After a messy drink (the guy had no straws), we rode up to Maddur. We stopped by at a highly advertised hotel for the vadas.

What followed was another long ride all the way upto Bangalore. Fearing traffic on Mysore road near the construction zone, we took a deviation onto the NICE road. This was my first time on the road. The hightly acclaimed road has deteriorated and had sandy patches in between. With no road lighting, we had a tough time. Even the stretch of Mysore Road before we entered the NICE road was tough and scary after it got dark with pedestrians crossing at random and crazy traffic!

We had planned to watch Fast Five – the movie - which released that weekend and had booked tickets for the 9:30 pm show. By the time we made our way to Kempa’s house, it was already 8:30 pm. We decided to freshen up and head for the movie right way. Vikram who chooses not be part of the bike rides, made it for the movie. With the movie done, we landed at Hotel Empire for an extra late dinner at 12:30 am and made it back home by about 1:30 am.

It was good fun. Hopefully we can do a ride every month and don’t have to wait for the next suitable planetary alignment!


Libran Woody said...

Good one indeed... We shall definitely make another ride soon...