We were slated to start at ten, but by the time everyone gathered, bicycles
got adjusted, tuned,
exchanged, etc, it was past eleven.
To get our tempo up, we rolled through the hostels,
yelling slogans like "cycling ka tempo high hai"...
click on pictures to enlarge
Exiting IIT through the
gate opposite the HC, we turned right at Bara Sirohi village and went up
Shiwali Road to the bridge over the
lower ganga canal.
We pedaled along the east canal road past the IITK boundary, crossing Nankari
in the distance. It was a pleasant ride along the full waters of the canal. We crossed the small village
of Lodhar and
after 5km, reached
we turned east along a bumpy road. We stopped at a mustard field
to taste the flowers (yes, really!) and then we were at Mandhana.
all lined up and ready to roll (nearly!).
From here, it was 8 km to Bithoor
along rolling country roads.
The red line going up to the left is along the canal. (click on image for
rest of route on gmap)
Note: You can follow the route interactively on this
also gives distances, satellite maps, kilometer markers, calories, etc.
At Bithoor we headed to Brahmavart ghat. brahma + Avart) is
literally the axis of the universe's rotation, and there is a small temple
at the ghat, with a little brass stub which indicates this axis. When this
became known everyone in the group started gawking at
the temple, but
unfortunately for the priest, the religious sentiments were not strong
enough to translate into donations.
A number of
boats are always lined up at the ghat, and people wanted to go for a boat
ride so we piled into three boats and went across to the sand banks.
Boats one and two launching from the ghats. You can see the pontoon bridge
in the distance. It wasn't finished -- the landing on the
other side wasn't quite ready. Else one can even cycle across.
Boat three which I was on, had the elderly Jayant Kumar as boatman. He told
us stories of how the 450 crores that had been assigned to develop tourism in
Bithoor were being
wasted in constructions like a projection into the river, which was sure to
be covered up by sand in the coming rainy season itself. Later, we would
visit the useless Nana Rao park, which had also been built out of this
This little sandpiper flew in very near us as we were approaching Rani
Lakshmibai Ghat. On the other side, I saw the other chap, probing the
Common sandpipers. Left bank, and Right bank mudflats.
By the time we got back it was well past two. Lunchtime. We headed for the
the new Nana Rao park built by the UPTDC. Surprise!! The restaurant there
turned out to be more of a snackstall. They had no lunch, and even for
snacks, they were in no
position to cater to 24 people. Also, the complex was completely artificial
and there were no historical associations. While crores have been spent on this
lavish commercial tinsel park, the actual ruins of the Rajmahal of
Nana Rao Peshwa lie in
beyond the mercenary ambitions of this project.
After we complained to the manager that it shouldn't have been called a
"restaurant", they agreed to refund our entry fee and the bicycle parking
charge - at best a pyrrhic victory.
the ruins from this area (from an earlier 2002, visit)
After lunch we visited Dhruv Tila, which is where Dhruv is said to have done
his fierce tapasya. The mud cliffs here can be dangerous, especially during
the rains. But it was dry and everyone had a good look at the river vista
from the top.
We headed back via the Bithoor-Kalianpur road. For some reason, this road is
perpetually in a terrible condition, though right now it was bad because of
extensive re-surfacing work.
A brown rock chat just outside the dhaba where we finally had lunch
Although it was barely four pm, the sun was low as we reached a marsh area
along the kalianpur road. This area was quite rich in birdlife, with sarus,
purple heron, grebe, sandpiper, pond heron, egrets, etc.
sarus crane couple in the winter landscape
By the time we reached IIT, the groups had splintered, and people
to their rooms.
Mass ride announcement (date change): 20 Feb: We are planning for at
least 100 riders to go on a 65km ride. Most likely route: IITK - Shiwali-
Chowbepur - Bithoor - Mandhana - IITK. Mark your calendars from now. [9AM,
Saturday Feb 20].
See other IITK bicycling links and other announcements at http://www.cse.iitk.ac.in/~amit/bicycling/.
a purple heron peeping out of the grass: on the marshes off the kalianpur-bithoor road
group photo from dhruv tila
group photo from UPTDC Nana Rao park, Bithoor
If you have pictures of this trip you would like to contribute, feel free to
edit this page or send me a link.
I have set up a tentative group page at
http://sites.google.com/site/iitkcycling/ which has a starter page
for this trip.
Ravi Kiran, pls
post the list of people there, maybe users can directly upload...
Amitabha Mukerjee Dec 2009