19th-20th December, 2015,
I woke up at 3 in the morning. Rahul and I got ready and left at 4. We were going to see the famous sunrise at Nandi Hills. It was dark and cold outside. The street light lit the road, casting huge shadows of nearby tree branches. As we rode further down the road I got to see a very rare sight very few get to see, – ‘Empty roads of Bangalore city’.
We had to travel 60 kms to reach Nandi Hills. We were at a good speed on my bike until we reached the national highway. Once we were out, we crossed the national highway and moved further west. The roads were pitch black, there were no street light, trucks coming from opposite direction had their high-beams on poking me right in the eyes. And to make the matter worse there were speed breakers with no strips painted on them making it harder to see them in dark night. May be even in day time they would be a nightmare. I slowed down and rode at 30 kmph. It took us a while to reach Nandi hills at this speed. But it’s better late than never.
We saw heavy non moving traffic at the base of Nandi Hills. Rahul said we had yet a long distance to cover. If the traffic does not clear up then we’d miss the sunrise. I didn’t like the thought of that. I pushed the thought aside and waited there among other vehicles waiting to move ahead. While we were waiting a guy opened the back door of his car which was next to me. Started playing loud party music, took a beer glass in his hand. Soon he was joined by other young boys and girls. I was furious but I also pitied them. Their ignorance knew no limits. These morons did not have slightest idea how to enjoy the nature. They were causing nuisance to other people. I hoped the traffic moves soon so that I could get rid of these morons. And yes, I was in luck. The traffic cleared. I rode faster though the traffic to make it to the top in time. We realized that the traffic was caused due to a broken down vehicle at the narrow passage of the road which was now moved aside.
We reached at the top at the twilight. I was afraid of missing the sunrise. A police man was diverting all the bikers at a parking lot where already hundreds of bikes were parked. I parked my bike while Rahul went ahead and bought the tickets for us. Rahul said we should have come here in his car. I looked straight where he was pointing. The police man who was diverting all the bikes in right direction was allowing all the cars to pass by from the left side. The cars could go straight to the sunrise point, where as all others who came on two wheeler had to walk a long distance from the parking lot to the sunrise point.
We started walking fast. Rahul was walking faster than me. It was hard to tell if he was walking or running. He overtook three girls and while climbing steps, he stumbled and almost fell down. The Three girls he overtook giggled, but Rahul didn’t turn back. He regained his balance and continued walking straight. I was walkin behind the girls. When I asked Rahul if he was ok, the girls stopped giggling and gave me way to pass by. When we walked farther away from girls, we both laughed at the incidence. It was almost bright now. I could see a wall on my right. Further ahead the height of the wall reduced as we walked further up.
I peeked from the top of the wall at the valley down below. My jaw dropped and I froze in time. I could not believe what I was seeing. There was a thick blanket of clouds slowly moving like fluid between two hills. It was as thick as cotton. I felt as if I could walk on it. I was desperate to watch the sun coming up through these clouds. But to witness that sight I had reach to the east end of the hill. Now I started walking faster. We walked into a hazy pathway and arrived at pointed barricades on the edge of the hill. There was already a huge crowd there waiting for the sun to shine on the eastern horizon.
I decided to walk further ahead away from the crowd so that I can get a good view to capture a time-lapse video of the sunrise. I setup my camera and stood by the barricade to witness this breathtaking view. Sun was about to show up any moment. The clouds were moving gracefully. The upper puffs of the clouds were swirling with the wind and disappearing into thin air. I could have spent the entire day watching such a beautiful view.
I heard the crowd cheering. I looked at the horizon. The sun had made it’s appearance in the purple sky. Ohh… it was so damn amazing view, it can not ever be explained in words. You have to experience it yourself. I just kept watching, clouds just kept moving, early morning turned into a late morning, sunrise turned into a day. We spent hours there just taking in the view. The sheer beauty of that event was just too much for me to take in. Rahul told me that he had been here many times before but he had never witnessed such a great view of the clouds. I wondered if my being there on that perfect day was just a coincidence. I recalled the very first morning of the trip when I looked at the packed bags in my living room and said to myself, “Pranay, you are going have an awesome trip”. I thought to myself that I should travel more. The world is more beautiful than I can ever imagine.
As the Sun rose higher in the sky, the cloud started disappearing. I realized how hungry I was when me and Rahul entered in a restaurant on the hill top. We finished our breakfast and took a round of the entire hill. We saw all the possible views the Nandi hills had to offer.
I started riding back to the city but my mind was still lingering atop Nandi hills. I had gathered some amazing memories that day. I guessed how many would feel jealous after watching the photographs and videos I had captured there.
Also check out this video that I shot
In the evening I went to see my friend Manmath at his place. He had invited me over for a dinner. I reached on the address he had given me. I was on a very busy street. I asked for directions to guy passing by. He told me to take the next right turn. As I took the right turn I felt like I traveled through a wormhole. Just a moment ago I was on a busy street and now I was in completely silent and calm place. I stopped the bike to look back just to be sure what I experienced really happened. I could see the same busy street from where I was standing, yet it was all quiet there. I followed the road lit by the street light. Met Manmath at the gate. We went up to his apartment. He introduced me to his wife, Priyanka. We started our conversation with cold drinks and snacks. I told them about my experience at Nandi Hills. They were shocked to see the time-lapse video I had shot of the Sunrise.
Manmath is a photographer and he too loves to travel. He showed me photographs of his recent trips where he had captured some great photographs of wildlife. For dinner we went to ‘Bhagini’, a famous restaurant chain in Bangalore. Our conversation continued late into the night.
The next day want into bag packing and making reservations for my next trip. It was Christmas time and getting bookings in either hotels or home-stays becomes difficult in holiday season. I made my bookings for a hotel in Waynad as I could not get any homestay there. But for Coorg I found and booked a beautiful homestay in Polibetta.
Rahul and I had dinner at a restaurant later in the day. I’m grateful to Rahul for inviting me to stay at his place. The next day I was going to continue with my roadtrip which was getting more and more awesome…