Birur Jn. - Arsikere Jn.
28 Sept., 1966
Having arrived at Birur jn. from Talguppa at 1106, we remained in the through carriage for Bangalore, waiting for the Express from Poona to take us to Arsikere. Bored by its delayed arrival, we had had lunch (Rs. 1:05 P.), then looked around the station. But for some shunting activity, it was all very quiet. The express arrived at 1347, late by 143 mins. Our carriage was shunted by an MHS (2-8-0) from pfm. 3 to pfm. 1 and attached to the rear of the Express. It was hauled, unusually, by YG (# 4232) - which had possibly replaced a YP that had failed somewhere. It made very slow progress, at about 30 kmph, too poor for an express even by the standards of those years.
(211) Birur Jn. (2605' ) d 1406 (136 mins. behind schedule). Ran SSE, across arid, undulating terrain, sparesely treed. After about 4 km., the En end of Baba Budan Hills came clearly into the view to the W. . We moved a little away from the ridge, crossed a patch of coco- and areca-nut trees with the trunk road to Bangalore close on the left; train held up for 15 mins. The road crossed over to fore-left, as we curved a little to the right,
(206) Kadur (2390' ) a 1432, d 1436. Quite a big station, aligned NW/SE, with a cement-paved pfm. at left. Two loops to the left with two goods trains, with engines attached lined up one behind the other on the first loop, with unloading activity proceeding from a third on the farther loop. Sizeable town of red-tiled houses which looked like barracks, outside the station just past the road. This was was the take-off point for the Baba Budan Hills. Ran across a quite level, arid plateau, curved right to hit ESE . A light drizzle came down as we picked up some speed, crossed Kabblihalla by 5 x 40' girder bridge with very little water flowing; then slowed down to pass
(189) Devanur (alt. ?) at 1501, crossing a Poona-bound express waiting on thde loop to the left. Low level, sand-filled pfm. at right, with a small, tiled, brick office. Accelerated to 40 kmph, past fields of jowar with scattered coconut trees; curved into SSE again
(182) Banavar (2577' ) passed at 1512. Rather a long, beaten earth, low-level pfm at left with a smasll office; two loops to the right and a small goods shed, without a roof. Undulating terrain on both sides, with some jowar and coconut trees. Ran SE with low hills to SW; approaching Arsikere, speede up a bit more, with low ridgers to both SW and NE.
(166) Arsikere Jn. (2645' ) a 1532, more than 150 mins. late. The passenger for Mysore had left on time, and we had a 12 hour wait for the next connection. More than that, we would be passing half the way to Mysore in the dark. Large but desolate junction, aligned NNW/SSE, with long main pfm. with offices to the left and an equally long island to the right, connected by a foot overbridge in the NNWn end. Killed time (rather than let time kill us), watching a dimunitive FM (0-6-0) doing shunting work on the loops beyond the island.
The ASM was kind enough to spare the key of the upper class waiting room, where both of us had a bath in the water stored in a drum. Then had supper, at the standard Re. 1: 05 P., whiled away more time with nothing much to look at. Got into the train as it arrived from Mysore, but would head back only early next morning. Went to sleep, conscious briefly when the train started at 0400.
For the rest of the journey to Mysore: Woke up at 0700 when the train was at Mandagiri station. Through widely undulating terrain, in a drizzle - could not ascertain direction as the sky was overcast..... Hosa Agrahara, d 0733, on a leveller plateau. A 4-carriage local to Mysore stationed on the loop....across some paddy fields ..... Hampapura (790 METRES) d 0749, then R. Cauvery came in on the right, crossed by 13 x 40' girder bridge.
Krishnarajanagar (2455' ) a 0758, d 0818. 200-m. long, well-sheltered, 3 ft-high pfm, alighned W/E on loop at right; two more loops to the left. A siding abutting the Wn end with a goods shed. Had coffee while waiting for a crossing ...... Past Dornahalli (2496' ), crossed R. Lakshmitheertha by 16 x 40 + 8 x 60 girder bridge - longer than the one for Cauvery! ..... Sagarakatte, non-stop at 0826, then ran E-ESE, edging on to the reservoir, passing close to it ... Krishnarajasagar, within a cutting, no loops or sidings, d 0850.... a chemical factory as we entered the outskirts of the city ....
It was drizzling when we checked into a small lodge in Mysore. When there was a respite, we walked backed to the station. My friend went on the m.g. branch to Chamrajanagar, but I found the call of history too strong to resist and went in the opposite direction to Srirangapatnam, 15 km. en route to Bangalore.
In a light drizzle, I sauntered the walls of the Fort, with R. Cauvery flowing past, a mute witness to the dramas enacted 175 years previously, culminating in the defeat of Tipu Sultan by Lord Cornwallis and heralding the establishment of British hegemony over the Southern tip of India. Sat on the fort wall gazing at the historic dungeon near the railway line. Returned to the lodge as the night fell, and my friend too was back from Chamarajanagar. The drizzle lowered the temperature below 25 degrees C., too chill for me. We took the late night m.g. train to Bangalore, thence the morning express on b.g. to Madras, bringing our first long tour together to a close.
- Baba Budan Hills form a crescent-shaped range, running roughly Wwds of the line we were travelling. With peaks rising above 6000', its domain includes a number of ravines, with steep slopes which are (were?) densely covered by trees and a number of streams flowing to join R. Bhadra. Coffee was first introduced here 400 years ago by a Muslim saint, and is now cultivated on most of its slopes, the principal town being Chikmagalur on the Sn. side. People who have been to the Hills say that they are really very enchanting.