August 26, 2012

One day ride : Pyramid Valley

A gloomy and dark skyline coupled with the chillness in the air that acts like a belt and keeps you strapped to the bed was enough to give a late start to what was supposed to be the start of a day long ride to explore something new around Bangalore. It was alreay 6:30am and the early morning filter-coffee did not do enough to shake the laziness out of me. After quickly skimming through the newspaper and a few games of TempleRun, i was still unsure about the ride - the powerful mind was fickle today and was not able to decide. The secondary idea of hitting the gym also surfaced for a few seconds only to be taken precedence by the idea of finishing Sudha Murthy's book 'Wise and Otherwise'; this also did not last for long and the mind was yearning to venture out. Another dose of hot chai made me realize that this newly acquired trait, that is laziness, was doing me no good and i was slowly slipping into a trap which would be tough to come out of.

The clock struck 9.5 times and i started from my abode of peace and tranquility, and with the option to take the rains head-on. Since it was already late, i decided that a short ride spanning a few hours would be nice enough. I had spotted Champakadhama Swamy in Google Maps along Bannerghatta Road and it looked like a possible destination to check out. But only after i took the deviation from Bannerghatta Road, did i realize that this temple was still 'in' the proximity of civilization and i could see many going inside the temple. I was not in a religious mood and hence dropped the idea of stepping inside the temple. I had expected this temple to be REALLY old and dilapidated, as this temple was supposed to be constructed by the Pandavas - i moved on.

There was a small lane, next to the hillock on the right and i just kept riding, the tarred road soon gave way to gravel road and soon i hit a Bannerghatta National Park unmanned checkpost - i was excited with the thought of exchanging pleasantries with some lions and tigers. But the muddy stretch just spanned a couple of kilometers and i was soon out of the National Park. The tarred road again began and i continued. There were hardly any boards suggesting the locality in which i was, but the mind was busy looking at the distant scenery which had a few hillocks. I wasn't sure where this road would lead me to, and hence i was all the more excited. The thought of stumbling on some ancient ruins or an old temple or just a beautiful viewpoint kept me going. The road soon gave way to some more gravel road which lasted for quite sometime. Driving at a measly 10-20km/hr, i was enjoying the surrounding scenery while keeping a strict vigil on the surroundings to spot anything 'interesting'.

With only greenery and plains all around, i continued and realized that this was possibly the closest village neighboring Bangalore and wanted to know the name of the region. After a good slow 30min ride, i hit a stretch of tarred road again and the boards informed me that i was in Kagalipura and then the inevitable happened - i hit Kanakpura road. I had no intentions of returning to the city traffic for now, and hence took the left and continued. A Karnataka Tourism board informed me that Mekedatu was just 70kms away and it looked like a possible option. I stuck with Kanakpura road. The occasional drizzles were soothing for this tired soul, but the soothing was short lived and the rain gods fell upon me and my fellow beings with EverReady power. Taking shelter in what was like a warehouse i quickly packed everything into my daypack hid it inside my jacket. The EverReady power was probably half charged and the rains stopped soon.

Have you seen cloudy skies but still the Sun shines and the whiteness blinds you? Well, it was precisely like that. The ride was beautiful and there was hardly any traffic on Kanakpura Road. I was 'cruising' at a good 50km/hr(remember wet roads?) and suddenly spotted a board with the label 'Pyramid Valley'. Took the left, and after a 1-2km ride reached Pyramid Valley campus.

I always wanted to visit Pyramid Valley, but the thought that this might be another rip-off ,like KempFort, made me stall the plans. I simply hated visiting KempFort as it offered no spiritual solace!

Sometimes, its really wonderful that places with no expectations turn out to be good experiences.

Parked my bike inside the campus and was told that there would be an introduction to the campus in the Information Desk on the left of the entrance. They played a 10min video which detailed almost every aspect of Pyramid Valley. I liked the way it was presented - simple, short and not much verbiage. The clock had struck 12pm and i was starting to feel hungry. The place serves FREE FOOD daily :)(hurray!) Decided that i would first have lunch and then enter the pyramid, for i knew that once i enter the pyramid it would take a few hours to roam around.

A very simple lunch - comprising of onion+tomato chutney, okra curry, sambhar, rice and buttermilk was perfect.

I then entered the pyramid. This was a huge space - around 25,000sq ft of space. The center of the pyramid has a small tower on top of which there is a space for 'intensive meditation'. A notice at the entrance of the tower 'informs' you about the 'heat' on top of it and requests you to climb only if you think you can brave it for 30minutes. I took the challenge and climbed up. I saw a few lying down and had opined that they were doing shavasana, but i could hear a gentle rumbling sound from one of the men lying down. I sat down and tried to meditate, only to be disturbed by this 'rumbling'; i tried!(trust me i tried!) But me got the better of me, and i nudged the guy(who was deep into one of the best REM sleeps) and asked him to 'calm' down.  And that's how I restored silence again in here :)

A 45min meditation was perfect, at the end of which i could feel my tshirt totally soaked in sweat. By the time i climbed down , there were hardly half-a-dozen people inside this HUGE space and i simply loved the chill air flowing through at the ground level. Sat there for a few more minutes and then left this absolute 'black-box'. The pyramid is not made of concrete, but is a steel structure, made of girders.

Took the Kanakpura road on my way back. Stumbled on Trimurthy temple(on your right) which has 3 big statues of Ganesha, Hanuman and Krishna.

Hit the NICE road and was back home by 3:30pm.

Distance travelled : 70kms
    Petrol : 150
    Coconut Water : 15
    NICE Road toll(from Kanakpura to Bannerghatta Road) : 9

I would definitely recommend Pyramid Valley as a nice getaway from Bangalore - just to relax and enjoy the calmness. There is no 'intrusive marketing' about the courses and other things about the place and you are pretty much free to do whatever you want(albeit 'silently'). I would go there again, for sure, mostly with my family.

The place also offers stay options - dormitory and private rooms. Also some residential courses are offered. Looks like a possible weeklong holiday for your elderly parents who might be tired with the city life.

I did not want to talk much about the Pyramid Spiritual Sciences Movemement or the associated belief system in here, as i am myself not educated about them. But if you are into meditation, then this place is a MUST visit as you can sit inside the pyramid and just float away in the all-pervading silence(i just hope that you do not hear the rumbling!). The place is also EXCELLENT if you just want to ride out of Bangalore and read a Book :)

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