It was a high-pressure work week and a bike ride was due. Trying to hit the target of a minimum one bike ride a month, we planned a short day trip amidst all the hustle-bustle of daily life. While surfing travel blogs for "Day Rides from Bangalore", I chanced upon a link to this place often called as the "Chhota Ladakh", although it looks nothing like Ladakh, I was intrigued. A quick google search for the photos and I added this to my list of bike rides this year.
The route (map)
Distance: 50 km (one way)
With a long week at work, I was craving for a short ride out of the city. So I just shared the link of the place to the group and by Friday night there were 5 bikes, 7 riders ready to go. We decided to leave a little late on Saturday, as it was a short ride and it is pretty cold in the early morning, nowadays. So we left by 9 am and stopped for breakfast at A2B Bhavan just after KR Puram before the toll gates. After a light South Indian Breakfast, we rode towards Kolar.
The highway is in very good condition and we encountered very less traffic. The weather was perfect for riding the bike, chilly winds and a bright sun accompanied us throughout the day. As you approach Kolar, the scenery changes from farmlands to rocky terrain. Small hillocks of big boulders started to appear across the horizon. One wonders, Did someone just put these boulders along the countryside? They start to appear from a distance and after a while, they are everywhere, you drive right amongst the boulders. About 10 km short of Kolar, there is a village called Kendatti. You will spot an Empire restaurant, you need to take the next U-turn and take the first left into a dirt road.
A bit of off-roading, through some narrow village roads and fields, you will hit the quarry. As you get off the bike and head of towards the high ground that surrounds this quarry, you glimpse the view of the small lake below. Quite a drastic view around the whole scenery of rocks and greenery. There is only one entry point to this quarry, and you need to be careful while going down, as there is no proper path to reach there. It is a small path down the cliff which can get a bit slippery. It is advised to wear shoes here and avoid slippers/sandals.
It is a quarry that has been inactive for over a year and collected water in most of its sections. This blue water and the white rocks of the quarry make it look very attractive. Attractive enough for people to call it the "Chota Ladakh".
Though I still do not understand how anyone can compare this place to Ladakh, even for its views, which are really tough to find in this region, this place does have its own charm. A truly offbeat destination, ideal for a small outing, even a picnic along with friends and family. We chilled around the lake, laying on the rocks, playing with the water. The main appeal of this place for me was the solitude it had to offer. We spent around an hour at this place and no other person/group to disturb us.
The water did seem inviting but since it was a quarry earlier and having reading many blogs stating that the water might be chemical, we decided to dip our legs and enjoy. Since it is was a quarry you need to go down into it, to reach the water. Once you are down, you are surrounded by the wall of the quarry, a towering vertical rock face. Might be a splendid rock climbing experience? There is only one entry point to this quarry and feels like a scene from some of the action games. You can also see some local birds dropping by the water. We could spot a couple of ducks, cattle egrets out there.
Remember to carry water and snacks as there is nothing nearby. Water is a must, it can be hot as there is no shade in there. Also, it would be good to carry a bag to gather all the garbage, as there is no place to dispose your waste.
While we were returning we decided to go via a small pond nearby and thought we would rest a bit under the boulders. About 2-3 km inside from the quarry we found a small lake with a few boulders by the side. We decided to put on some music and laze around on the boulders for a while. We had our lunch shortly, after hitting the highway. The drive back was effortless and we reached KR Puram within an hour.
Overall it was a comfortable short bike ride out of the city. The roads won't disappoint you. I and the bike both were tired of the daily commute to the office and this ride was pure bliss for us both, much-needed break from the daily traffic.