Upasana retreat – A pleasant stay near Kudremukh / Kalasa

Upasana retreat – A pleasant stay near Kudremukh / Kalasa

After a hectic month of marriage, guests, food, and dance, shifting from Kolkata to Bangalore and resume work, I was craving for a soothing break. So as the idea popped into my head, I quickly started searching for the best places to visit near Bangalore that can be covered within 2 days (as with job title, you only weekends for yourself isn’t it? Thankfully, there are plenty of options, so much so that often it leaves you baffled. Given the high rise in temperature, we couldn’t think of anything better than visiting a hill station. Our choice was easy and sorted, the places we decided to go was Chikmagalur. Yeah, nothing fancy as we have already been there quite a number of times, frankly we have lost the count, yet the green mountains seem to be so enchanting that you wouldn’t mind visiting over and over again. 

Searching the stay 

When it comes to planning a Romantic getaway near Bangalore, it’s quite a task. For us, luxury isn’t really the thing we look for, but as it was going to be a trip to just relax and spend time with each other, we decided to find something that is beyond our basic choice. So the hunt began! There are plenty of stay options at Chikmagalur and nearby areas, from top-notch resorts to basic homestays, we were looking for something that wouldn’t make a hole in our pockets as well as offer standard facilities. After searching numerous options, I finally found a semi-luxurious stay called Upasana Retreat.

Watch our video on Upasana Retreat

Tucked away in the lap of nature, this place will surely rejuvenate you. A place so beautiful that you could only have seen in movies or wallpapers. The idea of visiting a Hill station near Bangalore became all the more intriguing.

 

A Upasana Retreat is located at a stunning location bordering the Kudremukh National Park. For those who know about Kudremukh, you could imagine what the surroundings would be like. And for those who don’t know, you can imagine greenery at all sides, listening to the soothing sound of water streams, birds chirping and the cool breeze playing around you at all times. Kudremukh is recognized as one of the last biodiversity spots in the country and you won’t be disappointed coming here if your soul is searching for peace and relaxation.

 

The experience

We started around 3:00 am in the morning from Bangalore as our plan was to reach the stay before breakfast. After driving for continuous 6 hours we stopped to gulp on some delicious neer dosa on our way. 

 As we moved up towards our destination, the bending roads become even more beautiful. The palette of mountains folded in green was a fabulous sight to watch. We dropped down the window glasses and let the fresh air in. The kick of fresh air into our pollution-filled lungs was kind of a rejuvenating therapy for us. We have been to a number of places in Bangalore, but the western ghats never fail to impress us.

 Driving happily through the whirling roads of western ghats, we almost reached our homestay near Kudremukh- Upasana Retreat. Although, I’d prefer calling it a budget resort instead of a basic homestay. The road to the resort was thrilling to cover, you have the fascinating sight of mountains and carefully trimmed plants that add to the greenery. The retreat is constructed in four levels, as you enter through the main gate, on your left you got pretty play area for your kids, and on your right is the ayurvedic spa. Moving forward, the huge badminton court will definitely catch your attention. Next on the level is the super sexy swimming pool, the crystal clear blue water with a green mountainous background would make you jump in it without waiting for a minute. And finally, the level that has the stunning building painted in red and white that gives the feeling of an old charming bungalow in the countryside.

 

Out of all the weekend getaways from Bangalore we have traveled, this will surely remain in our good books for a long long time. Not just the beautiful location, everything about this place made our trip so much more memorable. Starting from the delicious food, the campfire,  the amiable staff, everything about this place made us promise ourselves to come back again.

 

Activities at Upasana Retreat

If  you are looking for a homestay near kudremukh to pamper yourself with some relaxation and rejuvenation, then Upasana has the right things on their plate for you:

  • Refresh your mind with some early morning Yoga activities (for groups only)
  • A Spa center to experience ultimate relaxation
  • Coz up with your partner near the campfire under the sky and watch the stars play hide and seek with the clouds.
  • If you are in some sporty mood – there’s Table Tennis, Chess, Shuttle Cock, Carom to go for
  • Borrow a book from the library and get yourself a cozy corner to read
  • If you are with your buddies, don’t miss the chance to show your singing talent to them, join the karaoke sessions and have fun

 

Places to visit near Kudremukh

You can choose from a number of things to do in Kudremukh, Upasana Retreat is located in close proximity to various activity areas thus you can plan accordingly.

Following activities/sightseeing tours are available at Upasana Retreat at additional costs on a Full or Half day basis. They will be happy to arrange transportation and provide a guide on prior request.

  • Tea and Coffee plantation walk
  • Elneer waterfall visit and Brahmagudi
  • Amba Theertha Riverfront visit
  • Mydadi Mountain Top
  • Kyathanmakki (Viewpoint)
  • Trek to Kudremukh Peak
  • Many more locations around the place 

So be it a romantic getaway from Bangalore or a family vacation, or just a time for yourself, Upasana retreat can be your best option for a stay that will suit your budget as well as give you abundance memories to cherish forever.

 

How to reach Upasana retreat? 

Upasana retreat is located around 300 kms from Bangalore. The best way to reach and enjoyable way to reach this place is by car. A scenic drive through the hilly town will be an added advantage to your trip. 

Bike ride to Coorg in Monsoon

Bike ride to Coorg in Monsoon

Our bike ride to Coorg was one of the most unforgettable experiences we had in our entire life. From non-stop rain, to getting lost in the jungle, dark pitch black roads to riding through the hairpin bends, one could not ask for more adventure in a single trip. We had it all, though a bit annoyed at one after one incidents taking toll on us, we are ready to go again without any second thoughts.

Planning our bike ride to Coorg

We have been eagerly waiting for the monsoon season to set in. Why? Well, unlike others who choose to stay home and enjoy the rains sipping some hot and sour soup, my friends and me are more likely to hit the road and get drenched to our cores (I literally mean it). So, as the monsoon had announced its arrival we instantly decided upon Coorg to be our destination for monsoon bike ride trip. Coorg being one of the favorite places to visit near Bangalore and the distance of Coorg to Bangalore being within a doable limit, we at once agreed upon it and started planning accordingly. Therefore, the place being decided, we were stuck at choosing the route. There are a number of places to visit in Coorg and if one can plan, most of the places can be covered at ease. So, we choose to explore South coorg, situated adjacent to the famous Nagarhole national park.

Read places to visit in Coorg

We started our search for a nice homestay where we could go and relax after a daylong ride. Blessed we were to have found the homestay right how we wanted it – in midst of the jungle, just a stone’s throw away from the Nagarhole reserve forest and river rafting camp. With less intervention of technology (read Internet and mobile), surrounded by green all around us, and overlooking the Brahmagiri from the room, we had a splendid stay at Coorg Blossom.

Decided route: Hebbal – Nelamangla – Kunigal – Channarayapatna – Kushalnagar – Periyapatna – Gonikoppal – Coorg blossom homestay

Day 1

We couldn’t wait to start the day as our excitement was on its high end. We reached hebbal sharp at 5AM, which was our decided point of starting. However, we could only start our journey at around 6AM as we all got busy discussing about the bikes, route and other biking stories. The total count stood at 22 with 13 bikes and 2 cars. without wasting anymore time, we straight headed to our next destination which was Kamath Upachar. After having a tummy-full breakfast and a small get-to-know session we started our journey. No sooner than we left the breakfast joint, rain started accompanying us, though we were not bothered as we already had our rain gears on predicting correct about the frequent showers. There are a number of things to do in Coorg, starting from trekking, rafting, camping, but our motto was to ride across Coorg and discover its magnificent beauty that specially unfolds during the monsoon.

bike ride to coorg

We continued our journey while rain didn’t find a moment good enough to halt. Once we reached Channarayapatna, my rider and I stopped to refuel, the other riders had gone ahead meanwhile. After refueling, we went ahead on the same road only to realize after a while that we are headed on a wrong direction. Due to rain, we could not even take out our mobile phones (Realization: Technology cannot save you always). After getting directions from the locals, we finally found the right direction and hurried to catch the fellow riders. Soon we sighted them, but before that, we had to witness an ugly accident. It was raining and two local people were speeding dangerously, they could not control the speed and skid badly. Luckily, the rider survived leaving only with a broken leg and fractured elbow, the pillion was safe suffering minor cuts. (Realization: Respect speed, it has the power to take lives).

After we made sure the injured is on his way to hospital, we decided to move on. The beauty of riding through Coorg especially during monsoon is hard to explain. I mean there’s no such phrase or word that would justify its beauty, at least I am not aware of any. We almost forgot that we were completely drenched in rain with unbearable body pain and a cold butt, all these didn’t matter as our expectations from the ride has surpassed and we were overwhelmed with the natural beauty Coorg had in store for us. Our decision to ride to Coorg from Bangalore was all worth.

First stop – Namdroling Monastery – Golden Temple at Bylakuppe

The Namdroling Monastery is no doubt one of the most popular places to visit in Coorg. We reached the parking lot of the famous temple to park our bikes, rain still being with us without a miss. As most of us has visited the place a number of times, we decided to sit and sip some hot coffee and save ourselves from the chill. While a few (like me) decided to explore the beauty of this famous place. You will be spellbound by the cleanliness and simplicity of the place. No fuss, No queues, just a normal place where you can feel the calm and positivity in air. If you arrive there at the time of their prayer, you can see a number of monks and nuns chanting mantras. Suddenly you’ll feel that you have landed in mini Tibet. There are small shops inside and outside the temple complex where you can shop for Tibetan souvenirs. After exploring all the temple complexes and a bit of souvenir shopping we geared up again to ride to our next destination – our homestay.

Golden Temple at Bylakuppe

The unfortunate detour

As I have already mentioned that we were, very lucky to have found a homestay in such an amazing location, hardly did we know that the journey to the homestay would be so difficult. Just riding a few kilometers after leaving the monastery, we had to stop as a bridge had collapsed. With no option left, we had to take a detour. The road that we took later was no doubt a scenic one, but heavy rain made it bit difficult for us to maintain a decent speed. After reaching Gonikoppal, we had to go down south in order to reach Kutta. It started pouring and we didn’t had any other option other than to stop. A mid-aged person approached us speculating that we were lost. We told him about journey and how we desperately we wanted to reach our homestay. Surprisingly, he happened to be our host. We were damn lucky to have found him. We didn’t hesitate anymore to ride in heavy rain as we were already drenched from tip to toe, our host led the way and we all followed.

Coorg Blossom homestay

Google may ditch you #Incident 1

While all of us were together following our host, one of the car tried to act smart and went ahead following Google Maps. He ended up reaching some other homestay having a similar name. Luckily, the people around there were very kind and helpful, the owner of the other homestay showed them the correct way and finally they reached the actual homestay where we are supposed to stay.

Lost in jungle #Incident 2

We stick together while riding maintaining a decent speed so that each and every rider is able to follow. The single line formation was broken by a duo, who stopped saying they needed a break and will follow us soon. As rest of us were really tired and in a hurry to reach the homestay, we decided to keep moving slowly. As hilly roads are full of twists and turns, it is very easy to lose way if not following the lead rider and that’s what happened with the other two riders who stopped for a break. Lost their ways, they were wandering around the jungle. It was going to be dark soon, and inside the forest, mobile signal was hard to get. Rest of us reached the homestay but left with no options except for counting minutes. After almost an hour, they were able to track the route of the homestay. Later, we came to know one of the rider was hit badly by a XUV 500, by god’s grace he was not hurt (Realization – Safety gears are necessary whenever you are riding).

Calling it a night

Once everyone reached the homestay safe and sound, we filled our tummy with delicious buffet kept ready by the hosts. They had also prepared some snacks like pakora and bhajjis to enjoy in the chilling weather. All done, the riders spoke about their riding experiences and shared interesting stories. The clock clicked 12, tired we all called it a night.

Day 2

As we rolled our sleepy eyes and came outside the room, the mighty Brahmagiri was standing atal to greet us morning. Clouds made it difficult to sight the whole range, but the bits and pieces was worth a sight too. The photo enthusiasts in our group took out their gadgets to get a clear shot but failed multiple times. Panorama, time-lapse and landscape, we tried every possible mode to capture the beauty. hoping to capture some other natural wonders we started to take a tour of our homestay which was spread across an acre of land having lot of attractions. Starting from small pond, to natural water streams, our host was kind enough to show us around and tell us about how local people use the gift of nature in their daily lives. There was a small and long trek route from the homestay, but we decided to skip it as it was raining heavily.

After a fulfilling breakfast, it was time to leave and head towards the next destination. Due to less time in hand and continuous rain, we dropped our plan to visit Mandalpatti. While discussing about more places to visit in Coorg, our host suggested us to visit Irupu falls.

After a brief photo session in the lapse of nature and along with our rides, we bid adieu to our lovely hosts and started our journey of the day towards Irupu falls.

Parking at Irpu falls

Ride carefully in rain #incident 3

A few kilometers into the ride, one of our riders met with an accident. He was maintaining an average speed of 50-60km/hr, in the turn the bike skid badly due to gravels on the road. Safety gears did its job again that saved him from being injured badly. Looking at his condition, another person travelling in car came forward to ride his bike while he traveled in the car to get some rest. Soon we realized the bike’s foot break is damaged and it needs a proper fix. We were already late, so without wasting anymore time we straight headed towards the falls. Oh yeah, four of the riders decided to head back from that spot as they had to reach Bangalore early.  

To the waterfall

One can spot the waterfalls from quite a distance; it is a mesmerizing site to see the clouds circling the peak of the green mountains. It was drizzling as we approached the road to parking lot; rain seemed to help remove the quote of dust and made the green mountains look even lively. It is a small walk till the viewpoint and you have to pay INR 50 per head as entry fees. Putting on our rain gears and taking all possible weapons to save ourselves from rain, we started walking the long path to witness the mighty waterfalls. On our way, we crossed a small bridge, hiked a little and climbed few stairs.

Irpu falls - trek

Tired and cold, we had less desire to visit more places in Coorg, however the gorging sound of the water falling from a scary height and at a great volume, made us all more curious to look forward. A few steps later we could get a clear view of the talked about waterfall. Monsoon seemed to have given it not some but huge power, I confess that I was bit scared approaching near the falls. However, the perimeter was secured with iron railings but still you will find some people who thinks themselves par excellence attempting to do the forbidden.

An usual moment to capture the memories in some of the water resistant phones and it was time to move on. A quick walk downhill and a last sight of the breathtaking view was all we could take back with us. After a short tea break (most necessary thing to do when you are constantly getting drenched in rain), we started our journey back home.

Irpu falls - Monsoon

The unforgettable journey back home – Coorg to Bangalore

I have been to a number of rides, rode in different terrains, different temperatures, different situations, but the ride to Bangalore from Coorg was one of the most unforgettable one I could totally pledge. We were cruising at normal speed on our usual route only to realise that the road is closed due to heavy rainfall. left without any choice, we had to take a detour once again. ew others. On enquiring about the fastest route to reach the bangalore, a localite suggested a short cut. the road, quite obvious was unknown to us, yet we took a chance to take that shortcut. indeed a best decision i could say. It was already starting to get dark and once on that shortcut road, it was completely dark. we realised there’s nothing but only trees beside us which indicate that we were going through a jungle. Riding through that zigzag road, nothing but our headlights to see the narrow road was one hell of an experience, oh not to forget the constant pouring. It felt like we were challenged by nature at every turn of our Bangalore to Coorg bike trip, with heavy rains, roads blocked, taking unknown routes and what not. Finally we sighted the main road and everyone looked relieved. We stopped for small tea break and a moment of silence prevailed as we all were in an awe of nature’s beauty and certainly realising what a hell of trip it was.

Back on the main highway, we didn’t bother much about the speedometer as everyone just wanted to reach home safely not wanting anymore adventures. Thankfully, with no more detours or sudden breaks we rached Bangalore around 3:00 AM bidding goodbye to our fellow riders with the promise to go on another adventurous ride soon.

My First Bike Ride To Nandi Hills

My First Bike Ride To Nandi Hills

It’s been only two weeks since I shifted to Bangalore, all I can say is – Life has never been so thrilling. The reason of choosing Bangalore to be my holy abode, is that I believed it to be a biker’s den. And needless to say, nothing would have pleased me more than a place to transfigure my dreams into reality.

First bike trip in Bangalore – Nandi hills

So, after a lot of planning, anticipations, and countless suggestions, me and my biking group ( oh, I somehow managed to a part of Bangalore Bike Riders) buddies decided Nandi hills to be the first place to start our biking venture with. Nandi hills tops the list of search results on Google when searched for best places to visit in Bangalore/ bike trips within 100kms from Bangalore. In fact, the image results will urge you to take this exhilarating trip at the earliest. So, we too were ready with our agenda – bike trip to Nandi hills. Nandi hills is mere 50 kms from Hebbal circle, so we fixed Esteem Mall at Hebbal as our meeting point. We didn’t want to miss the site of the sunrise, rising bright out from the blanket of clouds, so we decided to start early morning. All of our group members reached the meeting point well on time (5:00 AM). Esteem mall being a common meeting point for all bikers, I was amazed to see the count of bikers that have gathered to start a trip towards their decided destinations. The vibe altogether made me more astounded about Bangalore and its biking culture.

Let’s go to Nandi hills

5:30AM –
After a formal greeting and meeting session, we started our journey towards the much talked about destination in Bangalore- Nandi hills. We were running behind schedule and the hope of catching the mystical sunrise at the top of the hill was fading away. As we started our journey, the roads became wide and smooth. Accelerating on top gear to  experience the essence of biking on highway. A halt for tea break right after the toll, the background dotted of the sun shining bright with its first rays falling on us. I was ready with my camera as I couldn’t afford to miss capturing the alluring scenery of the sideways.
6:30AM –
We reached the circle from where the road to Nandi hills begins. You get a magnificent view of the mountain from this point itself. The road to hilltop is a sheer joy to ride on and the hairpin bends made the ride even more venturesome. There were atleast 40 hairpin bends which we crossed smoothly. I must confess at first I felt a little scared, but as we moved on my fear was blotted out while I enjoyed the mesmerizing views.
7:30AM –
We rode till the parking area, quite contradictory to a mountain setting, this place was teeming with people, a mix of all age groups. The parking was full of bikes ranging from 100CC scooters to 1000CC superbikes. A glance at the parking lot would explain how popular Nandi hills is for bikers.
We parked our bikes, and moved on to stand in the queue to buy entry ticket. The hike starts right after you cross the big gate (which seemed to be transported from medieval times). Continuing our hike, we started exploring the nook and corner of the place simultaneously clicking photos ?

Come let’s explore

We arrived at the viewpoint, the famous spot (I was told even clouds come and touch your feet if you are there on the right season right day and right time ofcourse). Sadly, we reached Nandi hills a little late, hence the view was not even close to what I had pictured in mind after seeing the photos in Google ? A little disappointed we walked towards breakfast joint, consoling my mind atleast good food will make it compensate for missing the sunrise. Being a Bengali and a diehard foodie, I was taken aback seeing seeing the only options – Idly, Dhosa and Puri. Left with limited choice I went for my favorite south Indian dish- Dhosa.
9:30AM –

After a while lot of photo session and insta-worth selfies, we decided to return back as their was nothing much left to explore. Bidding adios to the hill-top beauty, we descended towards our way down.

10:30AM –

It was time to leave. Sad, as the trip was near to end, we took our bikes and started descending from the mountain riding again through the zigzag road.

Reaching the circle again, we bid final goodbyes and departed our ways towards our own destinations.

About Nandi Hills in a nutshell

Nandi hills also known as Nandidrug and Nandydroog is an excellent choice if you are planning a one day trip from Bangalore. It is situated at 4,851 ft above sea level and offers magnificent view of the surroundings from the top. Having historical connection with the great Tipu Sultan, this place evolves around interesting stories which can be very exciting to hear. With a dash of history, and awestrucking views to vest your memories with, a bike ride to Nandi hills can be a trip to remember forever.

Places to see at Nandi hills

  • AMRITA SAROVAR
  • TIPPU SULTAN’S FORT
  • TIPPU’S DROP
  • Yoga Nandeeshwar Temple
Hebbal to Nandi hills: ~60 kms
Best time to visit:

Throughout the year, best October to June

Route:

Hebbal – Devanahalli – Nandi hills

Nandi Hills

Tippu's Drop, Nandi Hills

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