Where Goats Dare: Mekedatu

The Kaveri river has many attractions lined up, all within half a day's ride from Bangalore. Mekedatu is one such curiosity, all but a 100 km one way. Like Bheemeshwari, Shivasamudram and other Kaveri hotspots, Mekedatu is connected via the Kanakpura road, which from my experience is quite enjoyable (given the traffic is moderately sane and there are no bus drivers playing Road Rash)

So with another Sunday to kill, two of us head out for a ride through South Karnataka country side to pay another visit to Ma Kaveri, and to check out what this deal with the goats is all about.
The rides this time were two Royal Enfield Bullets: T-Bone (my Classic 350) and Dhanno (Standard 500).

Dhanno is an 2005 model Bullet, with an iron cast engine and four gears with the shift on the right side. Basically, she is a Bullet from the old school and one of the last of her kind. More about her in the next post. 

We started in at around 12 noon on the usual route with the usual conditions: Mysore road, which was completely jammed; NICE road, which liberated us from the city and; Kanakpura road which was, as usual, completely crazy but thankfully not gridlocked.

What I like about the Kanakpura highway is the winding roads through the villages and the country, with lush green canopies on both sides. There are scattered hills and lakes which add to the scenery. The road itself is a National Highway (no. 209) which is pretty well built, and at least till the time of writing this piece was free of ditches and pot holes. However, as its just a two-lane road full of curves and fast traffic, commuters need to be vigilant. 

After reaching the town of Kanakpura we take the rural road which leads to Sangam. This section of the road is narrow and isolated and runs through dry fields. There is a certain charm here which makes this my favorite section of the route to ride on. It's like a crossover between the Wild-West and the Savannah.  

Finally we make it to Sangama, which literally is the confluence of the rivers Arkavati and Kaveri.

This is a public location, developed by the government of Karnataka, with facilities and a resort. Also there are a lot of food vendors around, the specialty here being fresh water fish fried in burning red spices.

The sheer number of tourist scattered here was shocking given the remoteness of the location. And of course, the garbage around was proportional to the number of people. 

There were ominous signs everywhere for the adventurous kind. This one for some reason reminded me of Sharknado:

The confluence itself is a shallow and rather broad stretch of water, which it turned out, you have to cross, and travel another 4 kilometers, via bus or foot, to reach the super goat territory that is the Mekedatu gorge.  

Mekedatu literally means 'goat's leap' in Kannada. Legend has it that long ago some herdsmen saw a goat leap across the the gorge to escape a tiger. Hence, the place was dubbed as such. My take on the whole thing is that those locals must have been smoking something holy, because another version of the myth says that the goat was Shiva himself. Still, why would the mighty Lord Shiva have to escape a tiger? Unless the predator was his wife, and he was caught doing something she disapproved of.

Funnily, I don't actually remember seeing any semblance of goats there, not counting this one trying to cosplay.

As it was the end of the dry season, the gorge and the river did not have much water. In any case all visitors are strongly advised extreme caution, as the edges are slippery and the falling into the rapids below would be lethal, and there are no divine goats around to rescue you.

Mekedatu is located deep inside a wild-life sanctuary, and we had a nice evening stroll on a forest trail parallel to the river. . .

. . . while keeping an eye out for trouble.

After some time we took the last bus back to Sangam, just in time for the sunset. The place looked much more serene now that most of the tourist had gone home and the residents were wrapping up their day. 

It was time now for us to head back home to Bangalore, bidding adieu Kaveri and her legends. We reached Kanakpura after dark which meant heavy traffic going back home, but nothing we weren't prepared for.

 All in a day's work. 

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