After our weekend trip to Bylakuppe, Sayantani and I want to convert to Buddhism, but Aaron doesn’t seem very convinced. Born to an atheist dad and a Hindu mom, and armed with a Jewish name, he cannot be more confused. His reason: that stall selling your dinner stinks. Don’t believe him, that curd-rice eater, because that stall selling our dinner smelled of awesome, fresh beef momos. (Tip to couples thinking of producing babies in Bangalore: do it at the risk of your child turning into a vegetarian!!)
We started on Saturday thinking we will come back from Mysore if Aaron can’t take the ride. At four years and 10 months, he is not yet a rider, even if he is strapped to me and sits in front holding the handlebar. He tends to fall asleep and that’s when our woes begin. But this time we started early, at around 5.45 a.m., and reached IndraDhanush (next to Shivali restaurant on Mysore Road) by 7.30.
There he got enough time to eat, relax, and even play around before we started toward Bylakuppe again at 8.30. It was a longish stop, but we owed him that much. He had to digest the idlis. We didn’t eat much, keeping our stomachs ready for the gastronomic delight awaiting us at Bylakuppe.
After Srirangapatna, the road turns right towards the Ranganthittu Bird (and Crocodile) Sanctuary. And that is the road leading to Madikeri, the locals told us. The speed came down drastically because the road is narrow and a single carriageway, but the beauty all around kept us absolutely cool. I mean “cool,” because for the next 20 kilometers we had huge trees on both sides of the road keeping the sun out. After that the road is almost made and we could make up for lost time doing good speeds till Hunsur and even beyond Hunsur. Just before Bylakuppe, say about a kilometer before, the bad road starts. It continues to be bad till Madikeri, as we discovered the next day.
Bylakuppe at 10.40 a.m. Not bad, the sun’s still not hot, we could keep our jackets on throughout the ride. Six kilometers inside the Tibetan camp is the Namdorling monastery, and the Paljor Dhorgey Ling guest house on the opposite side. Dhorgey is pronounced dorjey. The room we got was decent enough with two beds and a nice attached toilet. All for Rs 350. Now, that’s what I call sasta tikau. The lama at the reception, Dawa, doesn't smile much, but is pretty hospitable otherwise.
A frantic search for curd rice took us to an Indian restaurant downstairs, Shanthi (with the “h”). We fed Aaron there and rushed to look for momos. Inside the monastery there is a canteen that serves Tibetan food. We had our lunch there, but found better momos that evening at Yakar hotel (first camp, a kilometer inside the main gate).
Sunday we headed for Madikeri and both Sayantani and I came back with aching bones. The ride was very bumpy and Madikeri in the middle of the day is not as pretty as we remembered it from 2003. It is hot, sunny, and the view nothing spectacular. Took some boring pictures from Raja’s Seat and headed back. Again, for momos. Thank Lord Buddha for the MRF Nylogrip Meteor rear tyre I got for my bike. It is 4.3 inches wide and bore the brunt of the potholes.
Sunday afternoon was spent relaxing in the Tibetan camp, riding our bike throughout the camp and buying some Tibetan prayer items and CDs. I also bought a couple of nakli adidas tees, that wife thinks are too bright to be worn in Bangalore. But I will give them a try some time for sure.
After stuffing ourselves with almost 100 momos each in those two days (am exaggerating, musta been around 80 each), we headed back to Bangalore on Monday. Early morning, again. Reached Bangalore around 10.50 in the morning and called up office to say am not coming in. Why? Because I am still having momos in Bylakuppe. Shh!