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Vrooming through a past

A glimpse of Chitradurga Fort.

A glimpse of Chitradurga Fort.

Vrooming through a past

A lot of people ask me why I love roaming around on my bike this much. "What's the fun in riding yourself to exhaustion," they ask. Often, I am not able to answer this and it's the last question you want your mom or better-half to hurl at you after you are home guzzling gazillion miles of tarmac on the stretch.

Why do biker's ride? Why do we like to pick our bikes and roam around without a destination in mind? Well, the reason is simple. We like it because we love it. I mean If you ask us to choose between a hand or a bike, we'd, without a shadow of doubt, choose the bike. The only thin line that divides us from commoners is the unconditional love to our mean machines and a sense of strange brotherhood amongst ourselves while sharing a common interest in riding.

Recently, along with 15 free souls from 'The 5th Gear Riders', I went on a ride of over 400 km to the windy and one of the most pre-historic places which is located close to our city -- Chitradurga.

As per the itinerary, the meetup point was decided to be at the Kaga Chicken Center near Penya at 5 am. I started early to the meetup point to take the privilege of meeting all other riders and jelling well before the start as most riders were new to the club. I reached at around 4.45 am but was unable to find the riders at the point. I called other riders and got to learn that there were some confusion about the meetup point and hence they were off the route. After a bit of delay, all the riders showed up and LN Agarwal, who happens to be the founding pillar of the 'The 5th Gear Riders', gave an initial briefing about the route plan and the pit stops for the entire trip. Video clips were distributed for night visibility and riding positions were also detailed. The stage was set, and the bike engines were guzzling all set to burn the tarmac. And finally, the ride started with the dawn light cracking the darkness from the far horizon. I was again liberated; my soul was again set free to fly into the open winds. It was just me, my bike and a couple of friends! The destination doesn't matter when you have a great company to ride along.

We stopped for the breakfast at around Tumakuru by 8.30 am and our plan was to reach our first destination Ankali Mutt by 10.30 am as we had a timed plan to cover. Post the sumptuous breakfast and impromptu photo session, we started for our next destination and we were able to make it there by 11 am. We hired a local guide who took us through the journey of the mysterious underground caves explaining the intricacies and the apprehended stories of the Swamy who used to stay in yesteryears and his daily chores on those caves. It took us a solid two hours to cover the place and by the time we were out, it was time for another supper session. We stopped for a quick bite before heading out to our next destination, Chitradurga Fort. That eventually turned out to be a full-course meal for all the riders. Post the lunch, we headed out to explore the grandeur of Chitradurga Fort as I had heard a lot about it. We bought the fort's entry ticket and hired a local guide to take us through the fort journey.

The guide explained how the fort was built in the form of a snake's moving posture and the way the grand entrances were laid down to protect the fort from being attacked by Tipu Sultan's enemies who was reigning the fort in that era. The fort is built in a series of seven concentric fortification walls with various passages, a citadel, masjid, warehouses for grains and oil, water reservoirs and ancient temples. There are 18 temples in the upper fort and one huge temple in the lower fort. Among these temples, the oldest and most interesting is the Hidimbeshwara Temple.

The masjid was an addition made at the time of Hyder Ali's rule. The fort's many interconnecting tanks were used to harvest rainwater, and the fort was said to never suffer from a water shortage. Towards the end of our guided tour, while returning the back to the front exit, we met an Indian rock climber and wall climber Jyoti Raj from Chitradurga also known as 'Kothi Raju' or 'Monkey King'. He is also the only person to have scaled Karnataka's highest waterfall, the 830-foot Jog falls, climbing in the opposite direction to that of the flow. After the mystique fort tour, we started for Bangalore by 5.30 pm post some refreshments and reached our exit point at Peenya Metro Station around 10.30 pm.

What matters is riding, not because it is required but because we love it and this is what inspires us to travel again and again.

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