Avalanche, Queen of Hills

In the season of heat, me and my brother are here riding in the verdant landscape, a place proven to be the source of Tea for most of the state in India, yes you guessed it right, its Ooty (Ootacamund), Avalanche to be precise. Ooty well known for its blue mountains, beautiful landscapes, splendid green downs, fresh-home chocolates it is a hill of extraordinary scenic beauty endowned with salubrious climate, no doubts it is called as Queen of Hill Station. Youngsters in Coimbatore be like, “boring in Coimbatore? Not able to sleep at night? Come let’s drive to ooty for a cup of tea.” Ooty is so close to our hearts.

Neverthless, Ooty still remains as the getaway destination for youngesters from Coimbatore. April 28 – May 1, being a holiday season, we are aware how route via Mettupalam will be bottle necked. Decided to take the least known route, to drive via Kerala, Anaikatti, Mulli and Ooty/Avalanche. 99% of tourist will avoid this route, major reason for non availbility of public transport, but the distance remains the same.

The Crew

Royal Enfield -> Yogesh, (me) Koushik
Driving on this offbeaten track from Anaikatti to Mulli was adventurous, taking us through a huge variety of scenery, quiet village roads, meadows fringed with towering trees and the experience of cornering the ghat section with Royal Enfield, it’s just classic. Words fail to describe the magnificence of Ooty.

Coonoor Map

Indigenous variety of Flora

Crossing the Kerala border, verification on crossing the state border is mandatory and the officers are strict, failing to provide any one of the following docs will result in non allowing to cross the state border, DL, insurance and RC copies are mandatory for the check. Once the legal documents are good an entry is made before opening the doors to enter Ooty.

Ramaiah Sagar/Reservoir and power generation unit (2400 Meters Above sea level)

Ramaiah Sagar has six hydro-electric power generation unit also called as Kundah Power House is one of the major electricity generating unit in Tamil Nadu. Avalanche, Emerald along with Upper Bhavani form the source of water for Kundah Power House. This project is a symbol of India-Canada co-operation hence the power house is named as “Canada Power House”. Canada power house 2 the one seen in picture has two power generation unit that generates 180 MW of electricity and stands as a major power resource for Ooty and Coimbatore.

Canada Power house 2

Kundah Power House Details

  • Kundah Power House 1 – Kundah Bridge, generates 60MW, 25 KM from Ooty
  • Kundah Power House 2 – Geddai, generates 175MW, 16 Km from Kundah/Manjoor
  • Kundah Power House 3 – Parali, generates 180MW, 122 Km from Kundah
  • Kundah Power House 4 – Parali, generates 100MW, 122 Km from Kundah
  • Kundah Power House 5 – Avalanche, generates 40MW, 18 Km from Kundah
  • Kundah Power House 6 – Poruthimund Dam, generates 30MW, 26 Km from Kundah

10:00 Crossing 43 hair pin bends we reached Manjoor, had breakfast, a good long chat at the hotel before starting to Avalanche. 16 Km away, 32 hair pins remaining from our destination and we were running on reserve fuel, the worst part is from Manjoor to Avalanche there is no petrol station, sharing the thoughts of leaving the vehicle behind, catch a bus and leave (on normal roads itself its difficult to push an Royal Enfield in hills no way). We started to calculate the distance 32 Km on total, taking hills into consideration 3 ltrs of petrol, the vehicle would be running for a minimum of 60 Kms, had our fingers crossed and off we went through the hills.

12:00 Reached Avalanche lake and the shocker, the checkpost was closed, the slots for safari were full and there was no vacancy to park the vehicle itself. Tourist started to queue up, within minutes the entire road was filled with cars and bikes, few even tried to use their influence by contacting higher officials and bypass the queue, but nothing worked, the security didn’t show any soft corner for recommendations. In the mean time we both moved up the hill nearby landed our bags and rested looking at all the drama the tourist were performing.

In the mean time checked with other tourist who returned from safari, mentioned the safari is total waste, due to crowd the safari gets finished within an hour with not much stops to view upper bhavani and lakkadi lake and Emarald lake.

We decided not to waste time getting stuck inside, so spent time resting at the hill taking photos before making our move back.

Emerald Lake

12 at noon and still due drops seen

Though we didn’t have the chance to visit, here are the details on spots available for visit,

From the check post, one can drive his/her own vehicle up to 3  km, after which the vehicles will be parked and need to board the forest transportation (a bus) for rest 2 hours of the trip. They charge 150 rs for the entire journey.

  • Lakkadi Lake 12 Km
  • Upper Bhavani 24 Km
  • Emerald Lake 12 Km
  • Kundah 24 Km

On starting our return we were like in search for water in desert, the sign of relief on seeing Bharat petroleum sign board saying “Petrol bunk 2 km away.” And again the hurting part the petrol price 78 odd rupees per litre, it really hurts.

Kundah Tea Factory

Also came across the waterfalls. Spent worth-full time before marching towards Coimbatore.

The bike tank covers were open, and the cloth was out from the covers. Looking around, we spotted the culprit responsible for this act, also got hold to snap a photo, beware of him 

Monkey it was. They do it in search for food. With full rights they use to jump from one vehicle to the other and open the tank covers and start their check. The good thing about the monkeys is they don’t scratch anywhere on your vehicle, they do their checks and if they find food they take it else leave things as such and move to other vehicle. So gentle they are 

A day well spent, though it was summer the humidity was very less, we were able see due drops even at 12 noon, Ooty a best getaway destination during all season. Avalanche, Ooty a must visit destination for all riders, photographers, people who want to spend a day surrounded by serenity. Until next time, happy summer holidays guys.

Arkavathi Reservoir/Chunchi Falls

Best time to visit: All Season

Recommended for: All age groups can visit, Chunchi Falls – Need to trek down, trek is easy.

What makes this ride extra special?

The PULSAR is back, yes it’s the same machine which marked the black day in TLT, now its back in action after 6 months ready to conquer the streets.

Arkavathi Dam built across the river Arkavathi, a tributary of river Cauvery and this was constructed recently in 2004. Mentioning the dimensions of the dam, covers a length of 720 mts at 29 mts height with 4 spillway gates. The dam is surrounded by natural beauty, the calm and soothing atmosphere offers visitors a wonderful weekend getaway for some worthful relaxing moments.

A challenging season among the four, the good aspect is days are longer which gives us more time to explore and the down side is battling with the burning temperature. After a month we decided to ride, the trio are back.

The Crew

RE: Deepan

Pulsar: Harish

Apache: Koushik

5:30 For the first time in 2018 TLT riding towards Kanakapura road, we have seen Kanakapura as a rain hit, cold and breezy one, not sure how it resembles during the summer. With the benefit of doubts, entered Kanakapura road and a short discussion on the distance, to reach Arkavathi need to go through Kanakapura so we had another 40 Km ahead of us, we decided to stop in the regular hotel Krishna Sagar at Kanakapura for a coffee. And here comes the confidence booster from Harish, ah just 40 KM, in 30 min we can reach there. Reality we took 45 minutes.

The ride was pure, and spell bound when we saw the rain hit roads, striking us with strong cold wind, unexpected condition during summer.

6:15 At our regular refreshment hotel. Started with coffee, by the time idly got ready, plate for each, enquired what else is ready, the chef told vada will be ready in 10 minutes and his 10 minutes lasted till 7:30, but that one hour was more productive and fun with our shit chat.

8:30 The way was familiar, while riding we checked with each other and realized it was similar to that of Chunchi falls. Enquired a villager and he mentioned first will be Arkavathi reservoir and moving further for another 10 km will be Chunchi falls. He directed us with the correct way to the reservoir (as usual google maps was leading to no mans land). The morning vibes on reaching the reservoir, silent atmosphere, tall steel structures, birds flapping their wings over the water and people in coracle with fishing nets, it was more lively and soothing.

Not sure what they were discussing.

This is how we explore, if something happens, fled away from that place.

Sign for being the next capetown 

The reservoir proves to be a major source of water for the nearby villages, though the water level doesn’t seem to be such, but during monsoon season the water level is believed to be at its max.

Found a perfect spot under the tree shade, snack time. And the chat begun, this time it was about 2018 milestone. Without second thought (location) was the word that came out from Harish and Deepan, when as to why (location) ? 2017 milestone total 1000 KM, 2018 double it, as simple as it is. Without wasting much time updated the same in website (since we were aware when time goes by plan changes by.)

Next visit to Chunchi Falls

9:45 Second visit to this secluded waterfall (not anymore), ticket counter has been put up, as entry fee of 10 for two wheelers and 20 for four wheelers, and on reaching the place another fee is collected as parking fee of 10 for two wheeler and 30 for four wheeler. And more over even a sign board with marking directing the way for the trek and the trek down has been modified. Just remembered the old days where we jumped through rocks, lost path, being stealth and everything got changed over an year. Spotting tourist was once rare and now this has become a tourist spot. But one remained the same, not allowed to get in the water. Click here for Chunchi Falls (2017 visit)

Overall a day well spent. Rides had been normal in Q1, more rides planned in Q2, hoping to execute them successfully. Thank you readers for all your valuable feedbacks which kept us improving the blog and so do on our rides, happy to share featuring TLT at Digital Travel Guru which earned us a place where bloggers collaborate. Keep supporting and keep following like you always do. Until next ride, c u soon.

Mandaragiri/Basadi Betta

Recommended for: 

Best time to visit: All season

Things to Carry: Water, Snacks

Into the hottest season of the year having longest days and shortest nights, no surprise temperature is at highest peak point, but that’s not stopping from riding and this time Mandaragiri Hills.

The Crew

This place is popularly known as Basadi Betta and is one of the important pilgrim centers for Jainism in Karnataka. Pinchi shaped 81 ft high Gurumandir first of its kind in Jain History. The Guru Mandir is dedicated to the Digambar Jain  ascetic Acharya 108 Sri Shanthinsagarji Mahara. Shri Mukha Mantapa at the base has installed tall statue of Chandranatha Thirthankara inaugurated in 2011. The Mandaragiri hill is a small hillock with well carved 435 steps which houses 4 ancient temples of which 2 are from 12th century and other two from 14th century. And it would be a disgrace if am not mentioning the Mydala kere garnishing the entire area.

6:00 Shortest ride, just 60 KM and an hour to reach this ancient beauty. Spot few morning walkers and riders reaching Mandaragiri. One can reach the top by hiking through 435 steps or take your bike to the hill through the off road. First the hike, not the one that would test your stamina, hardly 10 minutes of walk took me to the hill. When you have gone through Huthriduga, Huliyurdurga, Kabbaldurga then this one is a cakewalk 

A small pond to the left of the hill. The entire surrounding was covered with rocks, red muddy sand, it was like being in middle of a desert. Moving behind the hill, a glimpse of water was seen, with all the excitement moved forward and then the beauty was revealing itself. It was Mydala Kere lake,

10:00 While descending the hill along with Nischal and team (a fellow traveller, got ourselves introduced for the first time) a person (guard) was hiking with keys and hundi, when asked he told he will open the Gurumandir. And what took, got down, now its time for my bike to do the hike.

Learnt from the guard that he used to open the mandir everyday between 9-10 in the morning and closes by 6 in the evening. Lets see few photos inside the temple

At the base of the hill

In spite of the midday heat, this is the season for some delicious fruits, got hold of few like jackfruit, watermelon and muskmelon to beat the heat.

Mandaragiri is a perfect picturesque and a half day getaway during the weekend.

Madakasira Fort, into Vijayanagara Samrajam

Recommended For: 

Best time to visit: All over the year

A ride to the age of Vijayanagara period and no doubts this has been declared to be of National importance. First interstate ride, crossing Karnataka and entering into AP.

Into AP, Andhra welcomes me

Madakasira is mostly called as Shivalaya by the people, and was constructed during the 8th Century during Vijayanagara period. At the fort hills stands Lord Shiva Temple which is why Madakasira is called as Shivalaya, and this place come to life during the festive days especially during Maha Shivaratri, almost 500 people gather at the fort hill during the night and pooja will take place at regular intervals all over the day. In other days it is visited by few people mostly by villagers and tourists and it remains as a least visited national importance.
Source: A boy from the village

Things not to do

Madakasira fort has lots of cave formation between the rocks, try not to enter and explore them as the caves may be hollow and may lead to a fall. Mentioning this as I came across a situation where the previous night a villager tried to enter one of the caves and resulted in falling down 120 ft, and after hours of crying loud people were able to identify that a person has been stuck. And it was when I trekked the situation was informed to the fire rescue people for the rescue. Be aware.

There are three ways by which one can reach Madakasira Fort,

  1. Via Nelamangala, Dabaspet, Madhugiri and Madakasira Recommended – Good Roads, Shortest distance
  2. Via Dodaballapura, Madhugiri and Madakasira Not Recommended – Roads are in bad condition and quite secluded too (Regret that I took this route)
  3. Via Devanahalli, Chikkaballapura and Madakasira Good Roads, longest route

Better to carry snacks, if planning to spend some time over hill.

8:00 Reached Madakasira village, Telugu being my mother tongue, there is no problem for me in communication, checked with the local about where the trek starts and had a chat about the place.

The trek is straight forward, it is well paved with rocks stacked up like steps, so there will be no difficulty in finding the path. The trek will keep one interesting and for people who love archaeological visits Madakasira won’t disappoint.

The Crew

Crossing each fortification is always a thrill,

The Burj

While trekking came across this boy, accompanying me, it was a good long chat from then. Lucky that I had a person to share the trek with. Learnt that he used to come with his brother to offer pooja to Lord Shiva and also about the history of this temple. Once you reach the fort hill, you can find the Shivalaya (Lord Shiva temple) and adjacent a lake, learn that during raining season it would be completely filled.

Introduced to his brother who was preparing for the pooja, and they offered me to step in the temple and also with their permission took snaps too.

From the temple, far away there was a lantern structure seen, learnt that during festive season a person would climb up and light the lantern that would burn across the day. And he said even I can reach there, but need to climb rocks and advised to be careful.

The way from temple to the lantern it is like walking through a maze. Keeps one wondering always as what could be next. Excellent.

Here’s where the entire fort can be seen in a side view. Mesmerising.

And here comes the power nap, first power nap in 2018  explored every nooks and corners of the fort, astonished by the way it had been constructed, took snaps, clock was striking 12:00 and started to trek down. And the people were welcoming, the person whom I checked with for the parking and start of the trek, invited for lunch on my return, so kind of him 

Karnataka Welcoming ..

A good place to visit and hangout with friends, if you’re ready to battle with the heat, considering you’re in AP.

Ending Feb with 1 ride, until next time, c u guys. Happy reading.

Markonahalli, Devarayanadurga, Solitary Voyage

After a long time, reliving the moment how everything got started. Once in a while a solo ride really makes a difference, in fact gives the freedom to learn. Not one but two exploration this time, click on any of the below to get started, happy reading

The Course

Bettamugilalam, A Vespenturous Ride

Welcome readers for the first post of 2018. The Uniqueness of this ride is we have a female rider in the Crew in her Vespa (from being a pillion rider to a rider) and she definitely had our eyebrows raised on her riding skills by exceeding the phase at times, kudos. And of course the proud moment of being the first female rider in TLT. Appreciate it, and I/We encourage more trip with her machine.

It’s been a month since anyone had a bike trip and more over being the first ride for TLT in 2018, everyone were excited. After exploring much in Karnataka we chose this time to drive towards Tamilnadu, visit Panchapalli (originally Panjapalli) and return via Bettamugilalam, believe it or not we were clueless till Friday evening on what to explore at Panchapalli, thanks to our friends Anitha and Manjunath guiding us to plan effectively.

The Crew

Apache: Harish, Koushik

RE: Castro, Vino

Vespa: Paddy, Hema

The plan was to assemble at Electronic City toll, me(Koushik) and Harish from Marathahalli while rest of the crew from Bannerghatta. The start for me and Harish was quite different, involving as a peace maker in a road feud (what a beginning )

5:00 Everyone assembled at EC toll, wishing all a happy new year and off we started towards Panchapalli Dam.

The Hypothermic ride:

Starting few kilometres on the Hosur NH made us share the thought that weather is not so cold as previous year, but nature proved us wrong, gradually the temperature started to get down and by the time we were in Dhenkanikottai road everyone started to shiver, the cold was piercing, our hands and feet were benumbed, teeth chattered, chilled to the marrow, we reached a place where the fresh and crispy fog started covering like an invisible ghost, zero visibility, our engines were running cold even after the 55 KM run stretch. Stopped and checked the temperature, 13 degree it was  waited waited and waited but it kept on freezing. A start that we never expected off, simply superb.

6:30 The artistic golden sun got up like a baby and started painting the dark black sky into a bright blue sky. Reached a village where we had our breakfast, hot and soothing traditional Kuli Paniyaram and Idly, running through plates after plates, so tasty and yummy. Village foods are always good.

And battling the cold with the help of hot steam 

The water fuming like a warm steam, but don’t dare to get in, it’s icy chill

Panchapalli Dam:

A peaceful place to be in.

8:00 Reached Panchapalli reservoir, it was impressive, mountains covering the entire nature in the front, water splashing across the reservoir walls, tree branches dancing welcoming the morning, gentle breeze, it was like an enormous garden in a royal palace.

We also spotted a boat, and also tried to move it to the water, unfortunately we weren’t since they were tied on either sides. But managed to snap photos, one seemed to be like we were actually travelling in the boat.

Learnt that the Panchapalli falls is dry, need to drive for a while in the off road and then to trek, localites mentioned as it is good for bird watching. We tried our best, but the muddy off road with loose rocks made it difficult for our vehicles to move further. But we still managed to trek for few distance and find some perfect spots for camping.

Note:The trek is through forest, draining your energy, better to carry ample water, people also warned about presence of elephants. So beware, apart from that, this place has lots of ware bouts and camping spots, all you need to do is be patient and explore.

Bettamugilalam:

Recommended for: , Bird Watching, Elephants too (50 – 50 Chance)

Bettamugilalam – Aiyur Forest may not be known to most of the riders, yes it is a secluded area, but in riders perspective it is a heaven.

I bet you guys, it is a must drive through destination for a biker. The drive from marandahalli to bettamugilama is through the forest and to make it more interesting it is a mixed ghat section of off road and tarmac. It has all the twists and turns, narrow curves, number of hair pins, and the “W” curve, this had me feel nauseous as I was a pillion facing opposite direction recording Castro and his RE conquering the curves. My head was like taking a 180 and a reverse 180. God. Driving with a pillion facing the opposite direction that too in the ghat section puts an extra pressure on the rider since the pillion will be moving in opposite direction to that of the rider on curves and it’s the riders responsibility to balance, and Harish just mastered it out.

Then came the drive through bamboo forest, the location was picturesque that it made us to stop every 5 minutes. It is a treat for photographers.

Note: For all the riders and photographers out there, do visit this place, it will never disappoint you.

And the pleasing vocal from Castro, that made the scene more lively. We also found a perfect rest place for a power nap, instead it turned out to be chit chat moment, discussed on future rides, on the 2018 milestone too (will be updated soon), managed to bring down a jack fruit too and trying to hide it from the villagers , an hour of resting and back we started to Bangalore.

With all the fun Panchapalli and Bettamugilalam provided with, a perfect start for 2018, all we wished is for a safe, successful and fun exploring season ahead.

Until next time, happy reading.

Goa, New Year 2018 in Heaven

Welcoming 2018 in Heaven – Goa. Best New Year celebration ever, never before and never again. Happy new Year readers.

This post features essential information that would be helpful for first time visitors to Goa. This post solely describes our experience over the four days (Dec 30, 2017 to Jan 2, 2018) and we believe this would give a clue on deciding over the everlasting confusion of choosing between North Goa and South Goa.

This was a car trip from Bangalore featuring Anil, Harish, Me (Koushik K) and Yatinder.

Note: Information on places has been included, unlike other posts this will not answer what, why and how the celebrations were 

Prices may vary depending on the occasion and your flexibility on the spending. At an appro. for a 4 day trip it would cost between 8,000 to 12,000 (inclusive of party)

North Goa – 1) If you’re a beach lover expecting for electrifying vibes and lively surrounding then north goa is likely to be your destination.

2) Humidity is high comparatively, but that will never be a factor when you’re in the sea swimming and battling with the tides and relaxing with a fresh juice/snacks in your beach bed under the sunshade.

3) Best sea food restaurant – Curlies at Anjuna Beach (Do try it out)

South Goa – 1) Calm/secluded beaches, life guard will be present though. Kind of private beach feel, best to be with your partner.

2) Humidity is lower than north Goa.

3) High life, Casinos, if you’re to spend luxurious on party’s then South goa is you’re place to be.

4) Best sea food restaurant – Spice Goa, Panjim

Goa CuisineXacuti recipe, a spice prepared in Goa including white poddy seeds, sliced or grated coconut and large dried red chillies. Usually prepared with chicken or Lamb, Chicken Xacuti, Chicken Cafirial, Mutton Xacuti, Mutton Cafirial. And in deed what’s without sea food, lobsters, prawns, crabs and varieties of fish, but try these out only in restaurants as the beach hotels don’t prepare them as they are supposed to.

We being a beach freaks, we landed in North goa and went on for the exploration on each and every beach, we saved South Goa for the last day.

North Goa

Listing out in the way we visited. We booked our stay at Vagator.

Day 1: 30 Dec 2017

  • Calangute – Best for Morning Walk and Sunset. Water sports, comparatively not as fun as in Baga
  • Baga – Best for Sunset/late afternoon, affordable water sports/food/drinks
  • Anjuna – Food/drink/party and night life

Day 2: 31 Dec 2017 New Year Eve

  • Vagator – Best for sunrise and Party at Vagator hill top (only during the festive nights)
  • Morjim – Best for whole day visit, major attraction during sunset at affordable price
  • Ashwem – Best for Sunset and Party
  • Anjuna – New year eve party the Night Life

Day 3: 1 Jan 2018

  • Candolim – Best for Sunset, expensive on water sports/food/drink
  • South Goa – The Casino Land
  • Cruise party, Casino at Cruise/7 Star Hotel a party land.
  • The Grand Hyatt, Panjim – Casino: 2000* entry fee per person. 2500 rs worth play coins with drinks and snacks served at play table and complementary dinner (buffet) until 1 AM.

Other Casino

  • Casino Pride – Cruise Casino (will not be moving, a stable cruise casino) 2000* entry fee per person, 1500 rs worth play coins with drinks and snacks served at play table and complementary dinner until 1 AM.
  • Deltin jack – Cruise Casino (will not be moving, a stable cruise casino) 4000* entry fee per person, 3000 rs worth play coins with drinks and snacks served at play table and complementary dinner until 1 AM.

Day 4: 2 Jan 2018

Stay at Panjim.

South Goa

  • Marimar beach – Calm and pleasant beach.
  • St. Francis Xavier Church/Bom Jesus Basilica – nearly 500 years old church, A UNESCO world Heritage Site.

Photos of each in chronological order.

Calangute

Best for Morning Walk and Sunset. Water sports, comparatively not as fun as in Baga.

Baga

Best for Sunset/late afternoon, affordable water sports/food/drinks.

Anjuna

Food/drink/party and night life

Kongming Lanterns flying all over the sky carrying wishes on the New Year eve.

Kongming army.

Vagator

Best for sunrise and Party at Vagator hill top (only during the festive nights)

Morjim

Best for whole day visit, major attraction during sunset at affordable price.

Ashwem

Best during Sunset and Party

Candolim

Best for Sunset, expensive on water sports/food/drink

South Goa

The Casino Land

And yes we also won using the play chips. Play chips exchanged for money… money money money money ..

South Goa

Marimar beach

Calm and pleasant beach.

St. Francis Xavier Church/Bom Jesus Basilica

Nearly 500 years old church, A UNESCO world Heritage Site

A day in Palakkad, To the Tranquil Waterfall

Bored? Lets drive to OOTY <-  This here is an old trend. Bored? Lets drive towards Kerala (Palakkad) <- Is the new trend. Second week of December in Coimbatore, and Friday night my brother returning from office and sharing the thought, bored, shall we drive to a waterfall called Meenvallam at Palakkad, there will be no second thought when it comes to ride, yes was my answer.

Meenvallam

Best time to visit: Jul to Nov

Things to carry: Water Bottle(S), salt and match stick (prone to LEECHES) be careful with the match stick in forest.

9 Dec 2017 6:00 alarm goes off, it took 30 minutes for us to get ready, this time not carrying my DSLR and our phone camera had some tiresome job to be done for the day.

The Crew

6:30 the city is already astir. Home makers garnishing the wet streets with colourful eye catchy rangoli in front of their home, newspaper vendors with loads of paper on their bicycles make their rounds, early morning walkers preferably old champs, the morning joggers with their mobile phones tied to their arms, vegetable sellers, pleasant Brookefield Mall (not after 10 AM), the artistic golden sun started painting CBE railway station and the traffic free Ukkadam junction simply

Fresh windy cool and crispy air started whistling like an invisible ghost on reaching the Palakkad highway, a butter smooth ride being in RE 350, we could see the odometer dial gradually moving from 70 to 80 to 90.

7:45 Reached Palakkad, our tummies showed the sign of being hungry, time for some authentic Kerala breakfast. Checked in a hotel, ordered a plate of Appam, 3 appam in each. Soft and delicious with sambar and chutney . Sharing the comic things in each other workplace we had the 3 appam for nearly 30 minutes, even the waiter came and asked how about Tea, we acknowledged get it but we are not finished with Appam yet, get 3 more pieces.

8:30 Towards Meenvallam, 15 KM from Palakkad city, after which the rest 6 KM is a combination of offroad and normal tarmac. To our surprise we reached a place where river stream was flowing, not sure was that the way, just let the RE in. Few meters good, but the rocks were loose enough on the river stream resulting in no friction on the tires to move on, failed. But it was good to ride a vehicle on the river stream. We didn’t stop, went again came back and again and again, it was like a child playing to and fro in an escalator.

9:00 Reached meenvallam, officials told water is low, on reaching yes they were right. We were the only two in the entire surrounding area. What next let’s climb to the waterfall, nearing the waterfall, the rocks were damn slippery that we started to slide on the rocks, 0% grip, we were crawling like a baby.

The leech Attack

Going through wet rocks, on reaching the falls, our feet had no grip, we were just sliding on the rock beds, needed to be very careful while climbing the rocks, was quite interesting too. Then I felt some kind of pinch on my right leg, some black jelly kind of worm, oh God LEECH, didn’t have matchbox, no salt nothing we had. Just held it and pulled away hard to get it off from my feet, it was like a rubber extending and finally coming out, yuck, and obviously blood streaming out. After few minutes, just checked my left leg and between second and third finger something was seen extending, another LEECH, should have carried some salt …

Should be cautious, though these are of less harm when it gets attached to arms or legs, not much of a damage than causing a puncture wound and sucking pure blood. In case if you come across a leech on you, remove the leech and the wound will continue to bleed, just clean the affected area and apply a bandage if you have one on handy, but remember try not to scratch the wound.

Time for nature bath. Moved away from the falls, trekked to find the clear water and off into the water. The entire forest had number of ways for the water stream, we found a way and it was like a private space, clear, icy chill water. 1 hour in the water before leaving Meenvallam.

12:00 What next?

Dhoni Falls

Yes you read it right it’s Dhoni Falls, my brother and his friends came here last year. Since I haven’t been yet and still half of the day left we decided to try it out. One should trek 4KM through the forest to reach the falls and when they went it was heavily raining and it was leech ground. We reached Dhoni falls and the notice said batch starts by 14:00 hrs, on enquiring it was told they allow in batches 150 to 200 members a batch, it takes 4 hours to trek, a guide will be accompanying and its 100 rs per head. My brother was what’s this S***? When they visited, no guide, no restrictions in timings its all on our own till the falls. And the official also mentioned water flow is very less, will not allow people to enter in the water. WHAT?? It’s like treating a child, so we both regretted the idea of trekking with a guide, so Dhoni falls dropped. Waited for a while and started to Coimbatore.

Featured for:  

Trek Distance: 8 KM (to and fro)

Best time to visit: Jul to Nov

Things to carry: Water Bottle(S), salt and match stick (prone to LEECHES) be careful with the match stick in forest.

But wait, it’s not fair enough for not showcasing how Dhoni falls be like, here are the photos taken by this crew back in 2016 when there was no restriction nor a guide to take through the trek,

This may be the last post of 2017. Thanks for all the support and appreciations, 2017 has been a sublime year for me (Koushik) and I believe for the entire crew. 27 riders, 22 explorations – didn’t have any sights near by that number when me(Koushik)/Harish started. I thank all riders for being a part of the team, suggesting improvements on planning and getting a success story at the end of each trip. Once a TLTian you’re always a TLTian. Last but not the least it would be a disgrace if am not mentioning you readers, TLT is nothing without readers, it’s you’re continuous support and feedback that made us to ride and explore places every weekend, proud and happy to say by today TLT total view stands at 6000, thank you all for achieving this feat in a short time span (7 months). 2017 has been a memorable year with loads of memories. Keep supporting and following us, will be back with new rides in 2018, see you soon, wishing you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy new year 

Yelagiri, Qu’elle Surprise

A sudden plan popping out on 2nd Dec evening, when a reader pinged and asked why don’t you guys review about Yelagiri? The point is we don’t prefer picnic spots since we are aware in some point of our life we will be visiting with our family , since this was from a reader, we didn’t have a second thought.

3 Dec 2017

The longest sleepless wait ever finally came to an end. It was 3 AM in the morning and time for the ride, wasn’t like other, the speciality was we are driving to Tamilnadu, hurray. Didn’t worry about the route, survived in Karnataka itself, now we are driving to our state. As usual a morning coffee at our regular shop, having a good chat about movies with that anna, he also praised about Mersal movie and Theeran, finally pulling my leg in by introducing STR topic and ____ (let’s leave that part)

The Crew

Ride was a butter smooth one, stopped for coffee at Krishnagiri, exchanging the rides, enjoying the early morning view, chatting all nonsense, went on the wrong way, enquiring the locals and finally to see the sign board that said take right for Yelagiri.

Places to visit

It was already 7:30, we were sharing the thought that this will be the non-misty hill climb in this year. And as we suspected it was until half way, then suddenly there was the first sight of mist, wow, we never expected that. From the base need to travel 14 KM that comprises of 14 hairpin curves, few of them were narrow ones, but it is manageable, unless there is a bus or a heavy vehicle on the opposite way. In the second curve we saw a car, with the parking lights on and he was in middle of the road, WT?? Not sure how he got his driving license? He turned out to be a fun element for us, enjoying the curves, going closely on the chicane, monkeys on the barricades hugging each other to bear with the cold and the young ones crossing the road unaware of the consequences, counting each and every curve, stopping for photos, cracking fun of the car drivers, an interesting and fun one. Entire ride below,

Reached the checkpost, that said we have reached Yelagiri. It was 8:30, stopped for a coffee, the traditional Tamilnadu way of preparing Tea/Coffee, the boiler, tea bag, ahhhh, the taste that it brings in, unexplainable.

Near by shop had homemade chocolates, got some for our friends back at Bangalore. It’s not prepared at Yelagiri, it is from Kodaikanal so they charge 150 for 200 gms, and indeed good too. If you’re in need of a pure bitter dark chocolate demand for it, since the dark chocolate we got were added with sweetness.

Main attractions included, Boat house, Nature park, Venkatesha Temple and Murugan Temple. Boat house and Nature park opens at 9:00 in the morning. We weren’t interested in either of them,but just to kill time we went on to boat house and complaining each other, look at the climate, look at the water, look at the pedalling boat, look at the entire environment and look who is beside me, our fate . But that had lot of photo shooting locations around, spent ample time in capturing number of pics that suited for our profiles. Then had a brief chat with the vada shop vendor, enquiring about the yelagiri.

This is not a tomato, its an Apple


Price of row boat:50 per head
Price of Pedal boat:200 per boat
Came out of the boat house, spotting Parrot Astrology, Harish jumping and shouting lets check out our future, I replied you go ahead, am least interested and I don’t believe on these. But he insisted, let the parrot predict for both, else even am not gonna check. I agreed for it and then came hilarious part and the scam act (kind of). Will describe at later part of the post (Scroll down for the entire scene).

11:00 Moved away to withdraw money from ATM, in the mean time I checked with local auto driver about the places around, he directed us to a trek, I was like what? A trek in Yelagiri? Are you sure it is a trek? He replied yes, around 4 Kilometers one way. Harish came back refilling his wallet, told him about the trek and he too was interested. But our tummies were not ready without filling them up. Stopped by a village hotel, Idly, Poori, Dosa – laughing and sharing the scenes of Parrot Astrology, ate the max as if we were in for a good nap… Nooooo, trek first.

The difference between Karnataka and Tamilnadu is shown in this one pic, in Karnataka – Plate, plastic paper then food, Tamilnadu – Plate, banana leaf and food. This is TN.

Way for the Trek – Swamimalai

Recommended for: 

Distance: ~ 8 KM (two way)

Difficulty: Moderate (for Trekkers), Challenging (for Non Trekkers)

Things to carry: Water bottle(s), snacks (place carry the wastages in your backpack)

2-3Km away from Yelagiri, there is a village called Mangalam, drive through the village until you see a temple, stop by the temple and walk few meters straight, right, left through the village and you can reach the trek (if that right left didn’t take you to trek staring point please get in touch with the villagers)

No need to worry about losing the path, there is no deviation once you reach the starting point, it’s a straight trek. Even for us, after a long time completed a trek without losing our way. Initial few meters were walk through paddy fields, then the bare section, walk through the rocks and water stream. It seemed that it had rained early morning making us less comfortable on the rocks, but if you have a good trek shoe that will do the job. The entire valley was ripe with the sounds of the mountain birds and the fresh air from the surrounding tress was very soothing and energizing.

On reaching half way, surprise was waiting for us, mist covering up the horizon, and the cool breeze kept the entire scene mesmerising.

12:50 It took us nearly an hour to reach the peak, and what else POWER NAP time. But took us some time to find a perfect rock for the nap since most of the rocks were wet.

13:00 From last night 21:00 our brain had no rest, backpack and shirts as pillow we went on to take a deep sleep for some time. Suddenly Harish waking me up and saying have an alpha state sleep (I still don’t know why he told that) I removed the scarf, opened my eyes and in front of me I could see only white fog everywhere, in fact even we were covered by fog, the fog was gently abut passing us.

13:45 Decided to trek back, checked the view point and trekked back. Even at 14:00 the fog was unraveling itself, this made our eyebrows raise and comment even TN has some good places, we haven’t explored much. Had a good long, shitty chat, watching each other’s back on slippery rocks and after 45 min, back down.

Recapped the moments, shared the thought of whether this might be the last trip of 2017 and started back to Bangalore.

Rewind guys, still a part of the day to narrate.

Taboo: Superstitious

The entire part is from my point of view, I/we respect each and every people belief, this shows how our belief can be an innocence for an act of money.

We just wanted to check the Parrot astrology (Kili Josiyam in Tamil) and we clearly told we don’t want palm reading, but while proceeding the lady performed the act very cleverly, illusionist. This is how it started, Harish going first, the parrot took a hidden god photo (Lord Murugan), then the lady went to say his good characters and that something bad power is on him, that will end soon and from Jan everything will be good for him. Then for me, parrot picked Lord Durga, said the positives of me then all the bad sins had already passed away a month back so no much worries but still something is troubling (I was like What??) I believe in God, but not in these kind of things. It was a kind of negotiations, asking about marriage, children, chances of business etc etc but her speech was so impressive that we were possessed to her words, then came her performance.

Now she called Harish and told to extend his hand and I will say a way to push all the bad sins from you, then she asked to pick a random photo and enquired about family God. Then said all positive things, long things like it should go away, family should be good, in the middle added the amount also (in 600 rs it should go away), not once but twice, she made sure that we are gonna pay her 600. For a normal human being with a God photo in hand, the words we say are to be kept, so no other option we went on to pay that 600 and handed over some Kumkuma  placed on a thin sheet where she asks him to write his name and to put in a three corner road and without turning back go away.

Okay now we want to see what extreme this goes, so next she asked me to come, the same thing, I replied I pray all God and I believe in God but not in these kind of rituals, there is none in particular and the same wording with a slightest of difference in the middle added 500 instead of 600 rs, but at that point itself I replied am out of funds, when she asked me to say again I told the same, really we were out of money. Then she stopped immediately and told okay I am doing it for free and handed over the Kumkuma and told to place it near a plant and without turning back leave the place. We were like 

But just think how is that with a stipulated money all the negatives will be pushed away from us? The reality was she was in need of money and we were the victims, victims of our innocence. According to me if something good needs to happen, it will happen on its own terms and God doesn’t need money to make it happen, it’s not like give and take policy. In these situations people they themselves should give it according to their capability and with full satisfaction and not by forcing a person. So beware of that lady readers.

But nevertheless even we were quite pulled away by her words, and we were in search of three corner road, a plant and followed her words, after placing the cover with Kumkuma without turning back fled away from the place. Beware guys in 10 min she earned 1000 rs, thank goodness no GST charged 

Later it was a comedy scene for us, thinking back and laughing on each and every words that she told us, especially on chances of two wives and three children (1 wife three children or 2 wives three children), may be on another visit I will confirm with her.

With that said, yet another exploration in 2017, went on to discuss to finish 2017 with this ride itself or push for one more ride, YES was the answer, so where’s it, stay tuned that’s all I have as of now. Happy Reading.

Huliyurdurga, Alpine of Navadurga’s

Featured for: 
Trek distance: ~5 km
Recommended for: Trekkers/Mountain Climbers
Difficulty: Challenging, better to be in a group
Best time to visit: All season but make sure it’s not raining

A trip with lot of expectations only to end up as a fun factor, misleading path, trek turning out to be a mountain climb etc etc The one we never expected off. But yet another exploration of the NavadurgaHuliyurdurga.

Swamy bringing in his friends, winsley and Thanga for this ride.

The Crew

The course was same as that of Huthridurga. In fact we needed to drive extra 20 km from Huthridurga. The drive scene was a recap of the previous one so skipping it out, Nece Road -> Tavarakere -> Magadi -> Huliyurdurga, instead of one scene. Right after crossing Tavarakere, on the curvy roads, from no where a dog came in an attempt to cross the road, I was in high speed, what else high on the brakes, sqeeeeeeeeeesh on the Tarmac and it was just a fraction of sec separating us both. Thank goodness. Need to be very careful during those situations, avoid the panic and your good to go.

Purchased snacks and food at Magadi and off to Huliyurdurga. 7:30 reached Huliyurdurga. This time got the way right to the trek start point in the first attempt.

Way to Reach Trek:

Reach Huliyurdurga Police station, adjacent to the police station take the off road and it will lead directly to the abandoned temple which is start of the trek.

Now here’s the tricky part, which trek path to take, left or the right and you stand facing the Huliyurdurga temple, most will consider taking the left path on taking a look at the surrounding, but that’s the dumbest decision. It would be a thriller but also will let you know later what would happen if you trek in this path.

The one with wide spread arena to your right side is the correct one. First I will narrate the positives of the trek, sorry it wasn’t a trek I would rather consider as Alpinism, later part I will narrate the erroneous act that we did.

Enter the fort, rock positioned steps until you reach the Ganesha Mandap.

Again two routes diverge through the forest one to the right and one to the left, don’t take either of them. Move slightly to the left from Ganesha mandap, look up, a bare Rocky Mountain with a huge rock risen like a shield will be seen. That’s the way, from this point it’s no more a trek it’s a mountain hike 

Needed to calculate each and every move, a single misplaced step result in lading hard. The hill was in a 70 degree inclined position and that had all the hurdles to go through, to make it more interesting it also had a cave kind of rock structure, need to crawl through it.

Reached a point which seemed to be the end, but no, in front an 85 degree inclined rock was seen marking the final stretch of Huliyurdurga. To be frank hiking that was really challenging. Standing on a 5 ft long and 5 ft wide base, in the front you have the 85 degree inclination to the left vertically deep covered with tree branches and not sure where it ends and to the right the hard rocky path which led to this place. A moment of hesitation, then removed the shoes and time for some bare foot hiking. One thing was for sure, if started the hike there is no way in backing up. That really tested my stamina, legs helping in holding the grip, hands pulling upward, the next 10 minutes was an intense adrenaline push. Collapsed on the ground after conquering the massive inclination . But the view that was setup in front – simply mesmerising. All it takes is that slightest of risk to enlighten the day.

Nothing at the top rather than a two wall abandoned fort. Sun was right at top of my head, spent some time and decided to hike back. Okay now that I had ascended how to descent the same 85 degree. It was quite difficult with the backpack, no doubt readers your mind voice is right, left the backpack to roll down, then I came sliding all the way down, ouch . Thought of crawling down slowly rather turned out to be a sliding event, from 10 min hiking to 1 min sliding. Here and there scratches/bruises on the lower arms, awesome. But these bruises were good comparatively to flesh eating thorns.

Reached back to Ganesha Temple, a family was performing the rituals, they offered me to join for the puja, got the blessings of Lord Ganesha and the little girl offering me Prasāda, me acknowledging her and she replying “You’re Welcome Brother” with her fruity voice. Then she went on again and came back running offering me the Chrysanthemum flower and again with her pleasant voice “You’re Welcome Brother”, still her voice is ringing in my ears on typing this. The innocent smile she had on her face delightful to watch, she is a Cherub.

Had a small conversation with the family while walking from Ganesha Temple before bidding bye to the family and to the cute angel.

Man vs Wild moment:
Now narration on comedy of errors. Rollback to starting point facing Huliyurdurga temple, we all took the way on the left that was our first step and it too seemed compromising as we reached a fort structure similar to that Huthridurga, then while trekking we also came across a Nandi statue mistaking it to be the right path, finally ending up in middle of a dense thorn forest pricking our skins. Few blood shed moments too.

Even after the first experience we didn’t learn our lesson , on reaching Ganesha mandap we took the way on the left and again being a victim for the thorns. Did everything on reaching the dead end, thankful for the dry branches, those were so dense covering the entire path else we would have gone in the wrong way with a belief that we are trekking right. But that led us to some peculiar moves too, like, we saw a tree root strong enough to help pull us up, Swamy was the first to try it out. The scene was like in a Man vs Wild show, Swamy trying out like Bear Grylls and me being the Camera crew, again to end up in a no mans land,  Had no knife, no ropes just a stick that too we had got hold off from one dry branch. Hell of an experience.

But got hold of the neighbouring Navadurga – Huthridurga. It was a delight to witness the adjacent navadurga that we trekked weeks ago, waved a Hi to Huthridurga and back again to Ganesha Mandap, later my brain realised left and right explored now try out straight up which was the correct one finally, as narrated earlier.

And the blood shedding moment:

All Navadurga are not the same, the one which paved the way will not be the same for other. Had lot of disappointing moments, first impression is the best, better to ask the localities before making a move, huliyurdurga thought us a lesson “start from the basics.”

Though the trek didn’t seem to workout as we expected, hanging out with this gang was really fun, gave us lots of memorable moments  especially with Winsley and Thanga.

Post Trek Scene:

Bandaids and coconut oil came to our rescue, we were just counting the number of bandaids 1,2,3,4,5..6..7..8…. and the best comment for the above pic was this one, “now your fingers are similar to Nadal fingers” feeling proud

Time for a break to Navadurga, so whats next? …… Stay tuned.