Reach not for the stars, for they shall fade away with dawn.
Like slowly fading embers, they will be washed away by rain.
Head down and resilient, walk ahead through the twisting trail.
Step following a step, come sunshine or hail.
Look back and smile, at the twisting narrow alleys
That you left behind.
Look ahead and rejoice, at the vast expanse of valleys
And the red rising sun.
Located close to the Kudremuka range, Kyatanamakki is a true off roaders paradise. Owning a 4*4 is not enough to get you there, you really need to have some nerves of steel to tackle the ruts and sharp turns that take you to the top of this beautiful hill. Once you reach the top of the view point, you are greeted by this majestic view of kudremuka range that is simply mesmerizing. We spent close to 90 minutes at the top of Kyatanamakki and it definitely wasn’t enough!
Kyatanamakki has been on my to do list for a while as its quiet popular among bikers (even on a bike it’s no cakewalk to get to the top). What started off as some random discussion on a Watsapp travel group turned into a full-fledged plan. We decided that a Overnighter with family would be the best way to enjoy this and thus started the earnest hunt for a place to stay. After a lot of search online and on maps, we realized that we have just 1 option that is close to Kyatanamakki top. All other options were around kalasa or horanadu, which was a no-no for us as we wanted to be as far away from the crowd as possible. After some additions and subtractions from the travel list, it was 6 cars (5 families + 1 bachelor)who decided to head to the hills.
Horanadu Heights is a 2 month old property and after a quick chat with Mr Praveen the owner, we decided to book the place as this seemed to be our only viable option. What did swing our vote was the view from the property. Located some distance above Horanadu town, the homestay has a great view of the hills and is the perfect place to put your feet up and enjoy some quiet time soaking in the views. The property has 4 rooms of which 3 are dorm style and only 1 is a small room. The cost of stay + food is a very economical Rs 1,500 per head per night and the food is very simple but sumptuous home cooked meals.
Decided on a relaxed start of 6.15 am from Nelamangala turnoff towards mangalore. We were able to get a move on by 6.45 am and stopped for breakfast at Halli mane at 7.30. After some vada, dosa and piping hot coffee, we decided to get a move on. We were back on the NH at 8.30 am and decided to dive via Belur – Chikmagalur – Aldur – Balehonnur – Magundi – Balehole – Horanadu. Roads are good all the way and it was a relaxed drive, which ensured that we reach Horanadu by 1.30 pm after a couple of coffee stops on the way.
Horanadu to Horanadu heights homestay is 5 kms of washed out road which needs some careful driving. The Rapid and Punto in our convoy managed to make it without any under-body hits. Hence the road is doable in any kind of vehicle as long as you drive carefully. Takes about 20-25 minutes to cover the 5 odd kms.
After some cold lemon juice and some hot food, we stretched out for a couple of hours and whiled away time talking about everything and anything. 5.30 pm is when our bolero arrived and we headed out to Kyatanamakki. Horanadu heights to Kyatanamakki is about 4 kms of which 2 kms is pure off roading trail. We were travelling cattle class 🙂 and it was an absolute joy sharing the experience with like-minded folks. The last stretch to the top of the hill is a real treat and the first sight of those rolling hills is something worth experiencing!
After 90 minutes of posing, clicking, sitting, standing, jumping and what not, the sun decided to bid adieu and we also said goodbye to awesome Kyatanamakki. The drive back to the homestay in fading/no light was exhilarating to put it mildly. Back at the homestay we decided to end the evening in the company of some Scottish gentlemen and some lively banter.
Valley of the Sun
Then next morning we were in for another treat. The mist covered valley provided the perfect canvas for sunlight to create a different array of breath taking paintings. Words and pictures cant capture the sense of wholesome quiet and tranquility one experiences in the instant.
Post sunrise, everyone got busy finishing up their daily chores and getting ready to head back home. After a hearty breakfast of akki rotti and neer dose, we drove out at 10 am. The plan was to visit Amba teertha and spend some time. The last stretch to Amba teertha is again high GC territory hence the rapid and punto stayed put at Prince of Kalsa while the duster, create and TUV ambled down to Amba teertha with everyone on-board.
After a lot of monkeying around in amidst the rocks, we hit the road again and decided to drive up to Kanive viewpoint. The last stretch of the road from Kanive homestay to the view point is again in very bad shape and only doable by high GC vehicle. We decided not risk it and hence parked our steeds outside kanive homestay and walked up to the viewpoint. After a few minutes in the noon sun, everyone was ready to head back to the comfort of our cars.
We drove along the MDR to hit Sunkasale and then continued further downhill via Kelagur – Balur – Kottigehara. After a long lunch stop at Fresh Bean Café in Banakal, we hit the road again at 3.30 and headed home. The drive via Mudigere – Belur – Hassan – Kunigal – Nelamangala – Bangalore was uneventful except for a couple of tolls which were jam packed.
Interesting roads, stunning vistas, fabulous company – one can’t ask for more. Thus ended a beautiful weekend.
Big shout out to Pradeep for this stunning capture!
Route and Road Conditions
Bangalore – Chikkmagalur – Balehonnur: Nothing new here. Roads are all good and easy to drive
Balehonnur – Magundi – Balehole – Haluvalli: Good to very good 2L roads. Makes me wish for a small fast car that I throw around
Haluvalli – Hornadu: 1.5L road with some potholes and broken sections
Hornadu – Hornadu Heights: Not really a road. Mix of gravel, stones, mud with some patches of tarmac. Doable in any car with some careful driving
Hornadu – Prince of Kalasa: Good 2L road
Prince of Kalasa – Amba Teertha: Doable only in a SUV or a high GC car.
Kalsa – Kanive Homestay: Good 2L roads
Kanive – Sunkasale: MDR road is narrow but otherwise very motorable. Not sure what the condition will be during monsoons as we did see a few sections which didn’t seem very stable and had mud and dirt strewn all over the road.
Sunkasale – Kottigehara: Very good 2L twisty tarmac
Kottigehara – Belur – Hassan – Bangalore: Good roads. Nothing new here.
Things to Consider
- Mr. Praveen and his family at Hornadu height go out of their way to make you comfortable and ensure that almost every ask is fulfilled. Bit thank you to him and his family for making sure that we are taken care of well.
- Do not expect resort of star level facilities at Hornadu heights, it’s a very basic homestay and hence they will ensure that you have a safe place to park your ride, hot tasty food, warm comfortable bed and clean modern loos. Anything else, is nonexistent.
- The Bolero camper that we hired cost us Rs 1,500 for the trip up and down. 14-15 adults can easily be accommodated in 1 such camper and it’s a super fun way to enjoy the ride to the top of kyatanamakki. You also do have MM550s plying to the top, not sure of the cost though.
- Sunrise and sunset would be the best time to visit.
- October might be the sweet spot to visit here as you will get to see rolling green hills all around and will still have a high probability of catching a sunrise/sunset.
- Road to Hornadu height is not great but any car can do it with some careful driving.
Preferred Pit Stops
- Swathi Delicacy, Kunigal
- A2B, Udayapura
- Mayura Delux, Chikkamagalur
- Bhadra Stop, Balehonnur
- Fresh Bean Cafe, Banakal
Best Time to Visit
October to February would be the ideal time as it gets extremely hot during summers and the green hills would have turned brown. Sunrise and Sunset from here is beautiful.