Monday, February 23, 2009

Goat’s Leap – The not so Grand Canyon!

All you long jump freaks who wanna take the ultimate challenge should take a trip to Goat’s Leap, a.k.a. Mekedatu in the local language. This picturesque spot is bout 90km south-south west of Bangalore. We decided to hit the road for Mekedatu last Sunday morning. The legendary bikers were back after a three month hiatus and were visiting the Cauvery once again. Four of the bikers were from the original gang and we took on three interns to teach them the trade of biking. [:P] I took my mean machine this time. Yeah, my very own trusty and very old rusty Hero Honda Passion! [:D] Anyways cutting to the chase, we set out from Bangalore at about 8 a.m. from Jayadeva flyover in Jaynagar.

So we went, weaving through the typical mayhem on Bangalore roads until we entered the countryside, where the air is less polluted and the roads less jammed. I revved up the 7.5 bhp engine. I liked the deep growl of my bike’s powerful engine. Nah that sounds fake and it is. My bike was screaming by the time I hit 60kmph. Maybe it was screaming with joy after being ridden in the clogged streets of Bangalore for so long! But I did get a lot of satisfaction whenever I zoomed passed an auto! Ha ha take that you suckers. [:P] Soon we reached Kanakpura, where we had breakfast. After refuelling ourselves and asking for directions by means of some very confusing sign language, we were off again. The road is a little bad in the town. And you have to take a left turn and leave the highway in the town. So now it was zooming on the smooth roads in the countryside. Rolling hills, sprawling meadows and tiny huts painted a very beautiful scenery.

And then it changed. Rather abruptly. I urge every biker planning on going to Mekedatu to please read the following very carefully. After bout 25-30 km from Kanakpura, you will come across a sign post saying Chunchi falls 7km to left. You have to continue straight. But go slowly from then on. Not more than 50kmph. Although the roads are smooth and straight, there is deadly stretch just ahead. I am quite sure at least 33% of first time bikers meet with an accident or have near misses there. The road suddenly slopes sharply downward, turns right sharply and becomes half its original width. There is no warning board. A lethal cocktail. And unfortunately our gang also suffered because of it.

Anyways that is the beginning of some very curvy (think Pamela Anderson to visualize [:P]) ghat roads ahead. Finally we reached Sangama where Arkavati meets Cauvery! (so romantic! [:P]). We waded across the knee deep water of the Arkavati and came across some antique buses ferrying people from the river bank to Mekedatu about 4km downstream. I wonder how those buses got there. We decided to trek, which turned out to be a bad idea. It was scorching hot along the sun baked path. It is much more than 4km if you go walking. My friends were cursing me for the torture. I don’t blame them. Finally we reached. And then it was the case of ‘water water everywhere and not a drop to drink’ well except if you wanted to pay 30 bucks for a bottle of water. Boy oh boy, people do like to take advantage of others miseries.

Well to give Goats Leap some credit, its rocks are beautiful, carved out into magnificent sculptures since eternity. There wasn’t much water in river and the water didn’t exactly gush through. I didn’t jump across the canyon as it would have to be called Daniel’s Leap then. [:D] On our way back we took a dip in the river. We stuck close to the banks in shallow waters as there was a possibility of underwater currents.

We lunched on packed idlis and dosas from the Kanakpura restaurant. Neeraj did the noble act of carrying our trash all the way back to Sangama to dispose it in a dustbin. Well done buddy! There we came across some clowns trying to get their bikes and cars across the sandy river bed at Sangama! A Sierra almost got stuck in the sand. Maybe they were inspired by those buses across the river.

Next up was Chunchi Falls. I took on ghat section with the Stunner. Undoubtedly both rider and bike gave a stunning performance.[:D] The diversion to the falls was genuine countryside. Small houses and narrow roads where livestock and bullock carts have right of way. Chunchi Falls was a big letdown. A small speck of white about a mile away down the valley was pointed out as the falls. We decided to go anyways since we had come this far. Luckily we met some guys on their way back who told us that it wasn’t worth the trouble. It was a waterfall only if you really wanted to see a waterfall. Yeah, in that case my shower also is a waterfall. So we decided to head back without paying our respects to Ms Chunchi! [:P]

On our way back we got lost in the village as every road and every house appeared the same. Every lane we took ended into someone’s courtyard. And it is a little unnerving to have all eyes on you as if you were aliens on your high tech spacemobile! Yeah at least my Passion got some admiring looks in its old age, albeit they were from some very gullible villagers. Finally after asking for ‘main road’ to half the village we were back on track. And as a result of that village bike show, we unwittingly took a shortcut to the main road.

The bikers made a final pit stop at the same restaurant in Kanakpura before we hit the homestretch to Bangalore. It was back to the noise and smoke of the great city. Thus ended another weekend gateway that didn’t go all that well. The trek was an energy sapping walk in sweltering conditions and the sights weren’t spectacular as the rivers lacked their most essential characteristics, water. These places are best visited between October and December. So till the next trip, I’ll say vroooooooom!


  1. you seem to be enjoying bangalore A LOT... have you thought of writing a memoir, a travel guide, or journeys in the south... you might make some money :)

  2. yup.. i hv to finish all the must see places before i leave.. i actually visited many places b4 i started my blog!! will write bout them sometime in brief..