Monsoons are beautiful, especially in the western ghats. There are no second thoughts about it. The entire region looks as refreshingly green as it can, thanks to the monsoon showers that wash – off every single strand of dust leaf small or big. So a ride somewhere in the western ghats was inevitable and ‘Where’ was not a tough question to answer. The fact that Chikmagalur is arguably the most beautiful part of Karnataka and its close proximity from Bangalore only made matters much easier and it seemed that it was just a matter of couple more days before we were off to Chikmagalur. That was last year, a plan which never materialized. This monsoon, however, things were better. We were in no quest to look for the tourist places in Chikmagalur or the perfect stay in Chikmagalur.
As we rode through the switchbacks on our way to the Baba Budangiri peak, the fog seemed to grow thicker and thicker. Not much after we had begun to climb we found ourselves standing on the sides of the mountain road. The visibility had gone down to zero. We had stopped not because we could not see what was ahead of us but to enjoy the moment. I couldn’t help but remember my ride from the Rohtang top to Manali during the last leg of my Ladakh ride. It was misty and hardly anything was visible beyond a foot or so on Rohtang that day and it was exactly the same here on the western ghats.
Lost in the serenity of the place, we waited there for some time before the thick cover mist gave way to some sunlight. From misty white to joyful green, the transition was one of the most beautiful ones I had seen in quite some time. I have always loved foggy misty weather so I was quite enjoying it here. The higher we went the thicker the mist cover grew. So much so that it felt eerie at times.
Okay, imagine this. Tall partially visible trees piercing their way up through a veil of mist on one side, not a single sound insight and one narrow snaking road of which, only a few meters was visible. Rest everything hidden under thick fog. The faint sound of vehicles blaring on their way up (and down) were the only sounds that re-assured us of human presence there.
Literally crawling and shivering we moved ahead when abruptly, we found ourselves descending. We had expected the road to take us to the Mullyanagiri peak, the highest point of Karnataka. We, however, were not complaining about missing the diversion that would have taken us to the peak for we were pleasantly surprised to know about a waterfall nearby and instinctively decided to park the bike and climb one of the jeeps heading that way (more on that in another post).
Be it on our way to the Mullyanagiri peak, the Baba Budangiri peak or be it beyond that, the mist and rain in varying intensity were our constant companions. At the Mullayanagiri peak, it became unexpectedly and unbearably cold but it was thrilling at the same time. Wet and wasted, as we finally started descending, we were yet again pleasantly surprised by the bright green colours for as far as the eyes could see.
Small villages beautifully dotted the vast green landscape as the serpentine road snaked its way through the slopes. Sitting on the edge of one such road, my thoughts too took a similar road. I could not help but appreciate how peaceful the place looked, even with its share of tourists. Such places, places where you can see as far as your eyes can take you and appreciate every bit of it calms me down in a strange way. They calm me down and at the same time, let loose a fury of thoughts inside me.
As I finally got up to leave, a thousand thoughts had started to play in my mind yet I felt calm at the same time. This happens all the time and somewhere inside me, I enjoy it too. Maybe it also is one of the things that take me to the mountains often.
Do you like the monsoons? Do you love travelling in this season of greenery?