I could not wait to get done with my exams and head out. As you could relate, exams are perhaps the most stressful time for any student, I am no different. I therefore jumped at the idea of making good our previous plan (of riding up to the fort) the very next day we finished our university exams.
If Interpreting Zen on 2 wheels was the title of my previous post, “Be One With Nature” could well be the title for this post – you will see why as we go along. As you would recall, our objective last time was to bicycle up to Mirjaan fort and back in which we failed – thus resorting to interpreting Zen:). We were much more determined, better equipped and chose a better time to make it all the way up to Mirjan Fort and back, this time however.
Although we planned to start by 7.30 AM, engaging interactions with some of the guests at Suragi delayed the start. With Piku’s (our newly adopted kitten) disapproving show of his backJ, we started out on the new, gleaming My Bike 7S, available on rent from Emeraldescapes from Dec 2015, on to the familiar roads of Kadle, past the church, turned towards Masur.
Rode briskly across the narrow road dividing the water body up to the bridge at Masur and continued on the somewhat steepish climb towards Hegde. The road from this point is a little rough and can test ones riding skills on a non MTB bicycle, but the ride itself is through some interesting interplay of greenery, chirping birds, mooing cows and pretty much everything else one can imagine about life in a village set up:). After some climbing up the incline, you come across a narrow, decline of a concrete road that we raced past, but were forced to apply brakes to enjoy the blue water body with the clear blue sky above on our right– picture perfect.
The roads of Hegde are pretty interesting, winding through houses, paddy fields, back waters leading eventually to the famous Hegde Temple. Past the temple there’s clear indication that the road would lead to the water body, with wading birds wizzing past the bicycle mounted camera, indicating the same:)
The water front reminds one of the scene from Swades:), people, people on their bikes, with their kids waiting for the boat to arrive from the opposite bank. While we wait for the boat to arrive, we soak in the scenery of the long rail bridge across the river Aghanashini, boats berthed on banks either side – some reminding all the banned sand mining in the area, some folks paddling their canoe towards the estuary(west of us) and many more scenes from a typical water front.
A quick rumble on the opposite bank, indicated the start of the engine powering the boat, that chugs towards us slowly with the characteristic sounds of an old engine. The berthing of the boat by the jetty, disembarking of the passengers and vehicles and eventual embarking on this side, is an interesting watch.
The short boat ride, with your vehicle (in our case the bicycle) on it is a unique experience too. A 5 min, Rs 5 ride one way is almost a meditation, with the humming of the boat engine and the water splashing across the boat when it cuts the waves… Magical.
The ride from this point on to the fort is rather short – about 2 KM and the one from Suragi to Hegde almost 9 KM. This stretch also intersects NH 17 briefly where one needs to make a left towards the fort of Mirjaan.
A few puffing peddles later, we sight our goal for the day – the magnificent, Mirjaan fort. It’s a pity it was closed for some clean up but having been here several times before, it wasn’t a loss at all. I recalled the several trips I had made here with family, friends et al, although the last visit was years ago.
We stop for a few quick snaps wondering why man needs to always undo what nature had done (grow grass on the fort) in the name of cleanliness. It was a pretty interesting sight to see that the fort would have been consumed by the grass (seasonal of course) if there were no intervention by man. It’s commendable however that the administration here cares for this monument and has been steadfastly renovating it bit by bit every year. I see some progress and work every time I get here and for that I am thankful of the local authorities. They are doing their bit to keep alive this heritage and perhaps I should do my bit too.
We stop over for a quick round of refreshments at a local store on the high way and we are told Mirjaan Habba was going on – a sort of a local fair, just opposite the shop. We click a picture to record it as most of the action there apparently would be during the evening times.
The ride back in the baking sun wasn’t easy, but the roads almost always had shade from the tree and cool breeze across the water bodies made it a very pleasant experience to exercise amidst nature.
I began to wonder how the people here, mostly guided by their ancestors have learnt to live one amongst nature, trying to blend in as opposed to changing it completely, some thing we all can emulate.
We returned home for a well made Lemon Sharbath and the welcoming sounds of Piku, planned the next outing – a ride to the Aghanashini Estuary, about 12 KM from Suragi, shortly. Today’s ride took about 3.5 hours in all from start to finish across 22 + KM’s.
Its always fun to ride a bicycle but to be one with nature, while riding it is mesmerising indeed.
Looking forward to the next one eagerly…..